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429 [429]

all their fauourers, whiche do helpe, consayle, harbour or gyue them anie thyng, al their messengers and wryters, proctors, suerties and al other their friendes, shall incurre lyke daunger, and receaue condigne punishment for so great offence, and contempt of our commaundement, from Oenepont. 

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I.e., Innsbruck.


Here enseweth the Copie of a letter wrytten vnto the Emperour Maximilian.
¶ To our moste victorious Lorde Maximilian the Emperour, Iacobus Selestadiensis, 
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This is the celebrated humanist Jacob Wimpheling.

moste humble commendations.

MOste victorious Emperour, when 

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This letter from Jacob Wimpheling to Maximilian is translated fromMatthias Flacius, Catalogus testium veritatis (Basel, 1562), pp. 326-7.

I had read your maiesties Epistle, and receiued instructions of your Secretary I prepared my selfe with all my whole endeuour to satisfie your maiesties desire. for euen from my yougth hetherto, I haue applied all my care & studie, first for the honour of your maiestie, & consequently for the amplyfying of the Germaine nation, and sacred Romaine Empyre. Albeit I know my selfe farre vnable to satisfie your desyre and purpose, and there are many whiche can fulfill this matter muche better, whiche haue greater learninge and experience of these common matters. There be also with other princes and in the Senates of common wealthes, many excellent learned men, whiche can exornate and beautifie Germanie, and perswade to reduce all the clergie vnto a Christian discipline, and to an vnitie & peace of the vniuersall churche. Wherein not only your maiestie, but also your predecessors, as Charles the great & his sonne Ludouicus Pius the Othoes, Conrades, Frederickes and Henrikes, and last of all, Sigismundus haue with all labour and diligence trauailed, beyng stirred thereunto, vndoubtedly thorowe the zeale & charitie which they bare vnto almightie God, and thankefulnes vnto Christ, for his benefites whiche he bestowed vpon mankinde and specially for the benefite of his moste bitter passion. For Christe became not poore for vs, that we should lyue in all riote and wantonnes vpon his patrimonie, and shewe forth our ambition and couetousnes: neither did he suffer hunger that we should glutte vp our selues, or suffred labors chastitie & greuous tormentes, that we should liue in idelnes, wantonnes. & all kynde of voluptuositie. Neither they whiche liue vpon the church goodes, seme to haue any respect hereunto, as touching thatperteineth to temporall riches, that the clerge should liue only in idelnes, hauing al thinges at their wil without labour. Surely ther was another cause why that they in tymes past did empoueryshe them selues to endowe churches, verely that they might the better attend vnto deuine seruice, without care of want of lyuing, whiche they might easely gett and gather, out of the fieldes, woodes, medowes, and waters. To the intent that they should liberally geue almes vnto the poore Christians, wydowes, orphanes, aged and sicke persones. For so it is founde to be in the institutions of the canonicall profession whiche we suppose was written by the commaundemēt of Ludouicus Pius the Emperour, and allowed by the councell of the Byshops. The goods of the churche (as it is alleaged by the fathers, and declared before) are the vowes of the faithfull and patrimonie of the pore, for the faithfull thorow the feruentnes of their faith, and loue of Christ beyng inflamed, hauing an earnest desire of that heauenly kingdome, haue enriched the holye churche with their owne goodes, that thereby the souldiours of Christ might be norished, the church adorned, þe poore refreshed, & captiues, according to the oportunitie of time redemed. Wherfor those which haue the administratiō of those goodes, ought diligently to be looked vpon, that they do not conuert them vnto ther owne proper vse, but rather, according to the possibility of the things, they do not neglecte them in whome christ is fedde & clothed. Prosper, is also of the same minde, affirming that holly mē did not chaleng þe church good to their owne vse, as there owne proper gods, but as thinges commended vnto the poore, to be deuided amongst them. For that is in possessing to contempne, not to possesse a thinge for himself but for others, neither to couet the church goods, with couetousnes to haue them himself but to take them wt a godly zele to help other. That which þe churche hath is cōmon to al thē which haue nothing, neither ought thei to giue any thing of that vnto thē which haue of their owne. for to giue vnto thē which haue inough, is but to cast thinges away. Hetherto, we haue entreated of forein maters. now forsomuch as it is expedient that all such as professe christs religion shuld be thankfull vnto him and specialy his peculier ministers, (that is) þe priests, and being prouided for, by the great liberality of the Emperors noble men and other faithful people, that they should absteine from al labor and worke, they ought to be mindful of so gret benefitts, wherby ther life should not moue þe people to no anger, nor giue any occasiō of obloquy or hatred, but that the lay people might be edified, & mutuall amyty florysh, all offēces shuld be vterly takē away, the reuerēt prelats

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