CHAPTER VIII. RATIONALISM AND ITS EFFECTS
Leibniz, the librarian and archivist of the Duke of Brunswick, having taken already some part in the work of bringing about a reconciliation, entered into a correspondence with Bossuet, the Bishop of Meaux. He favoured a compromise on the basis of acceptance of the beliefs of the first five centuries, and published his Systema Theologicum as a means of bringing the Catholic standpoint before the minds of his co-religionists. Bossuet and the French historian Pellisson reciprocated his efforts, but the schemes of Louis XIV. and the hopes of the English succession entertained by the House of Brunswick out an end to all chances of success.
From the beginning, though Luther and Zwingli were at one in their opposition to Rome, they were unable to agree upon a common religious platform. The Sacramentarian controversy, confined at first to Luther and Carlstadt, grew more embittered after Zwingli had espoused openly the side of the latter. Several German princes having embraced the views of Zwingli, it was felt necessary to preserve some kind of unity amongst the Reformers, especially in view of the threatening attitude assumed by Charles V. A conference was called at Marburg (1529), at which Luther, Melanchthon, Osiander, and Agricola agreed to meet Zwingli, Oecolampadius, Butzer, and the other Swiss leaders. The conference failed to arrive at a satisfactory agreement, but in 1536 the Concord of Wittenberg was concluded, whereby it was hoped that peace might be restored by the adoption of a very ambiguous formula. Luther, however, refused to allow himself to be bound by the agreement, and the controversy went on as violently as before.
In the meantime Calvin had undertaken to preach doctrines on the Eucharist entirely different from those put forward by either Zwingli or Luther, with the result that Zurich found itself in conflict with Geneva as it had found itself previously in conflict with Wittenberg. To restore some semblance of unity among the Swiss Reformers Bullinger, the recognised head of the Zurich party, entered into communication with Calvin, and a doctrinal agreement was arrived at known as the Consensus Tigurinus (The Zurich Concord) in 1549. Later on this was confirmed by the Confessio Helvetica (1564).
After the death of Luther in 1545 Melanchthon became the acknowledged head of the Lutheran party. On many questions he was inclined to disagree with the doctrine of his master. His teaching in regard to the Eucharist began to approximate more closely to the views of Calvin, so that the Impanation and Companation theories of Luther lost favour in Germany. The Philippists or Crypto-Calvinists gained ground rapidly in the country, with the result that the German Protestants were split up into hostile sections. A conference was held at Naumburg in 1561, but it broke up without having done anything to restore religious unity. At last in 1576 the Elector August of Saxony summoned an assembly of theologians to meet at Torgau, for the discussion of the differences that had arisen between the orthodox followers of Luther and the Crypto-Calvinists or followers of Melanchthon. Jacob Andrea, chancellor of the University of Tubingen, was the life and soul of the reunion movement. Taking the plan of agreement that had been formulated by him as a basis for discussion the conference drew up the Book of Torgau, copies of which were despatched to the Lutheran princes and theologians for an expression of their opinion. When this had been received the Book of Torgau was revised (1577) and a Formula of Concord ('Formula Concordiae ) was compiled, embodying the Confession of Augsburg, Melanchthon's Apology for this Confession, the Articles of Schmalkald and the two Catechisms issued by Luther (1577). But as there was no authority to enforce this Formula several of the states refused to accept it.
In Saxony under Christian I. (1586-91) the Philippists in favour at court triumphed over their adversaries, but on the death of Christian the orthodox Lutherans secured the upper hand, and Nicholas Crell, the prime minister and chancellor of Saxony during the previous reign, was thrown into prison, and later on he was put to death (1601). Calvinism continued to make steady progress in Germany. It was introduced into the Palatinate during the reign of Frederick III. (1583), and though suppressed by his son and successor, it gained the upper hand. Similarly in Hesse-Cassel, in Lippe, Brandenburg, and Anhalt, it gained many new adherents. All attempts at peace amongst the warring sects having failed, Calvinism was recognised formally at the Peace of Westphalia (1648).