l jealousy. Partly owing to the general downward tendency of the age, but mainly on account of the interference of the secular authorities with ecclesiastical appointments, the gravest abuses had manifested themselves in nearly every department of clerical life, and the cry for reform rose unbidden to the lips of thousands who entertained no thought of revolution. But the distinction between the divine and the human element in the Church was not appreciated by all, with the result that a great body of Christians, disgusted with the unworthiness of some of their pastors, were quite ready to rise in revolt whenever a leader should appear to sound the trumpet-call of war.
Nor had they long to wait till a man arose, in Germany, to marshal the forces of discontent and to lead them against the Church of Rome. Though in his personal conduct Luther fell far short of what people might reasonably look for in a self-constituted reformer, yet in many respects he had exceptional qualifications for the part that he