The Smalcald Articles.

Articles of Christian Doctrine which were to have been presented on our part to the Council, if any had been assembled at Mantua or elsewhere, indicating what we could accept or yield, and what we could not.

by Martin Luther (1537)
Translated by F. Bente and W. H. T. Dau
Published in:
Triglot Concordia: The Symbolical Books
of the Ev. Lutheran Church.

(St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921), pp.453-529.

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Article III: Of Chapters and Cloisters

That chapters and cloisters [colleges of canons and communistic dwellings], which were formerly founded with the good intention [of our forefathers] to educate learned men and chaste [and modest] women, ought again to be turned to such use, in order that pastors, preachers, and other ministers of the churches may be had, and likewise other necessary persons [fitted] for [the political administration of] the secular government [or for the commonwealth] in cities and countries, and well-educated, maidens for mothers and housekeepers, etc.

If they will not serve this purpose, it is better that they be abandoned or razed, rather than [continued and], with their blasphemous services invented by men, regarded as something better than the ordinary Christian life and the offices and callings ordained by God. For all this also is contrary to the first chief article concerning the redemption made through Jesus Christ. Add to this that (like all other human inventions) these have neither been commanded; they are needless and useless, and, besides, afford occasion for dangerous and vain labor [dangerous annoyances and fruitless worship], such services as the prophets call Aven, i.e., pain and labor.

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Rev. Robert E. Smith
Walther Library
Concordia Theological Seminary.

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