After proving that the secular rulers were free and in duty bound to correct the evils of the Church, Luther sketches a plan for preventing money from going to Italy, for reducing the number of idle, begging monks, harmful pilgrimages and excessive holidays.
Die deutsche Philologie im Grundriss (1836) was at the time of its publication a valuable contribution to philological research, and historians of German literature still attach importance to his Geschichte des deutschen Kirchenliedes bis auf Luther (1832; 3rd ed., 1861), Unsere volkstiimlichen Lieder (3rd ed., 1869) and Die deutschen Gesellschaftslieder des 16.
He did, indeed, succeed in making Luther admit that there was some truth in the Hussite opinions and declare himself against the pope, but this success only embittered his animosity against his opponents, and from that time his whole efforts were devoted to Luther's overthrow.
About the same time Martin Luther was in the full course of his protest against the papal supremacy and had already burnt the pope's bull at Worms. The two opponents were girding themselves for the struggle; and what the Church of Rome was losing by the defection of the Augustinian was being counterbalanced by the conversion of the founder of the Society of Jesus.
The triumph of so fanatical a reformer as Christian brought about the fall of Catholicism, but the Catholics were still so strong in the council of state that Christian was forced to have recourse to a coup d'etat, which he successfully accomplished by means of his German mercenaries (12th of August 1536), an absolutely inexcusable act of violence loudly blamed by Luther himself, and accompanied by the wholesale spoliation of the church.
The famous theses which Luther nailed to the door of the church at Wittenberg in 1517 cannot be called a confession, but they expressed a protest which could not rest there.
It may be said in general that while Luther insisted that public worship ought to be conducted in a language understood by the people, and that all ideas and actions which were superstitious and obscured the primary truth of the priesthood of all believers should be expurged, he wished to retain as much as possible of the public service of the medieval church.
He got an answer couched in somewhat ironical terms to the effect that Protestantism owed its existence in a measure to the house of Saxony, from which the prince descended, seeing that this house and that of the landgrave of Hesse had stood quite alone against Europe in upholding Luther and his cause.
The unmeasured invective of Luther and Aleander has not ceased to re-echo, and the old issues are by no means dead.
He felt that Luther had omitted to make adequate answer to an important practical question, how Christ's death on the cross could be brought into such actual connexion with every individual believer as to be the ground of his actual justification.