«The is greedy bring ruin to their households, but the one who hates bribes will live» (Proverbs 15:27, NW).
In 1519, succession the death to the of throne Maximilian between I, Habsburg’s two main Emperor, candidates: unleashed Francis I a of Struggle France and Charles I of Spain. According to the Golden Bull, issued by Charles IV in the late fourteenth century, imperial elections were carried out by seven great princes in the Empire: the King of Bohemia, the Archbishops of Cologne, Mainz and Trier, and the Prince-electors of Brandenburg, Saxony and Palatine. So a struggle to win the electors’ vote soon began with all sorts of gifts. Margaret of Austria, Charles’s aunt, offered the Archbishop of Mainz the Arch-chancellorship of the Empire, in addition to 103,000 gold florins. On the other hand, the Prince of Palatine collected 139,000 florins. The Archbishop of Cologne was a bit cheaper: 40,000 florins. In all, it’s estimated that Charles spent around 800,000 florins in bribes to secure the crown of the Holy Roman Empire of the German nation.
But there was an elector whose vote was unknown: Fredrick the Wise of Saxony, Martin Luther’s protector. Rome was very interested in obtaining his support to crush Luther and his followers once and for all. So it sent emissaries to Frederick, urging him to apply as a candidate to the Empire’s throne, while promising him the Vatican’s support in exchange for his commitment to restrain the Augustinian monk. Actually, it was very tempting. When the French learned of it, they immediately tried to contact the Saxon prince; from Charles’s side, they offered him the possibility of marriage between his sister, Catherine, and the elector’s nephew, John Fredrick But none of that was a determining factor, instead it was the lack of ambition of Fredrick the Wise, who voted for Charles without receiving any kind of bribe. That’s why Charles felt an obligation to respect the protection Fredrick gave Luther until the elector’s death. The history of the Reformation would have probably been very different had he accepted bribes from any of the two candidates.
The Bible’s advice is the following: «You must never twist justice or show partiality. Never accept a bribe, for bribes blind the eyes of the wise and corrupt the decisions of the godly» (Deuteronomy 16:19, NLT).
Ask the Lord today to keep you away from dishonest actions.