Moreover, this dragon tail of the mass, has produced a multiplicity of abominations and idolatries.
First, purgatory. Here such a traffic was carried on with requiems, vigils, the seventh, thirteenth, and annual celebrations, and finally with the congregation-weeks and all-souls-day, and soul-bath in purgatory, that the mass was used almost for the dead alone; yet Christ instituted the Sacrament for the living alone. Wherefore, purgatory, together with all its imposing aspects, its methods of worship, and its profits, should be regarded as a satanical delusion. For it is likewise contrary to the doctrine of the chief article, that Christ alone and not the works of men, should help our souls. And besides this, there is nothing commanded us or enjoined concerning the dead. For this reason we may justly omit it, even if it were not erroneous or idolatrous.
Here the Papists introduce Augustine and several Fathers, who, it is thought, have written concerning purgatory, under the impression that we do not perceive the purpose for which these passages are written. St. Augustine does not write that there is a purgatory, nor was there any Scripture to induce him to write to this effect, but he leaves it doubtful whether there is one; and he says: "His mother desired to be remembered at the altar and the Sacrament." Now, all this was nothing but the devotion of individuals, and established no article of faith,– a thing which pertains to God alone. But our Papists introduce such declarations of men, for the purpose of inducing men to place confidence in their shameful and execrable annual fairs, where the mass is offered for souls in purgatory. These opinions they will always fall far short of proving by the writings of St. Augustine. But whenever they shall have abolished this annual purgatorial fair, of which St. Augustine never dreamed, then we shall confer with them whether St. Augustine's words, independent of the Scripture, may be tolerated, and whether the dead should be remembered in the Sacrament. For when men frame articles of faith out of the deeds or words of the holy Fathers, it is of no avail; for their manner of eating, clothing, houses, &c., would also thus become an article of faith, as was the case with the relics of saints. Nothing else but the Word of God, not even an angel, can properly establish articles of faith.
Secondly, evil spirits, with deception and falsehood unutterable, have practised many malignant and wicked artifices, by appearing as the souls of persons, exacting masses, vigils, pilgrimages, and alms. All of which we were compelled to observe as articles of faith, and to live according to their requisitions; and the Pope confirmed these things, as he also did the mass and all other abominations. Upon this point also we cannot yield, or concede any thing.
Thirdly, pilgrimages. Here, masses, remission of sins, divine favors, are sought; for the mass has introduced all these. Now, it is undoubtedly certain that these pilgrimages, instituted without the Word of God, are not enjoined upon us; nor are they necessary, while we can enjoy a better state of affairs, and since we may abandon them without sinning and incurring danger. Why, then, do men forsake their own preachers, the Word of God, their wives and children, &c.,– the care of these being necessary and commanded,– and follow after useless, uncertain, and pernicious phantoms of the devil? Unless because the devil has prompted the Pope to commend and confirm this procedure, in order that multitudes of people might fall from Christ, rely on their own works, and become idolatrous, which is its worst consequence, especially, as it is useless, not commanded, or advised, but uncertain, as well as most pernicious. Upon this subject, therefore, we cannot yield or concede any thing. And let it be preached that such procedure is unnecessary as well as dangerous, and it shall then be seen in what estimation pilgrimages will stand.
Fourthly, fraternities. Here the convents, canonries, and vicarages, have made over by writing, and conveyed by fair and lawful sale, all the masses, good works, &c., both for the living and the dead,– a transaction which is not merely a human contrivance, unsupported by the Word of God, uncommanded and useless, but repugnant also to the first article concerning redemption; therefore it cannot by any means be tolerated.
Fifthly, relics of saints. Under this name the grossest falsehoods are circulated, and egregious impositions practised with the bones of domestic animals. An imposition so dishonest, worthy to excite even the derision of Satan, should long since have been exploded; and indeed if even some beneficial result had attended it, yet unadvised, unauthorized by the Word of God, it would still be utterly useless and unnecessary. But like the mass, this was its worst feature,– people were bound to believe it capable of securing pardon and the remission of sins.
Sixthly, here indulgences present themselves, which are offered both to the living and the dead, yet for money, for which this sacrilegious Judas, the Pope, sells the merits of Christ, together with the superfluous merits of all saints, and of the whole church. All of which is intolerable, and not only without the authority of God's Word, and without an adequate motive or command, but also repugnant to the first article. For the merits of Christ cannot be obtained by our works or money, but by grace through faith, without any money or merit; not through the power of the Pope, but through the preaching of the Word of God, are they held forth and offered to us.