How would Jefferson have been regarded if in 1786, ten years after the Declaration, he had sent forth what he called the Declaration of Independence, enlarged here, abridged there, with new topics and new treatment, and with what seemed at least a concession to the power from whom we had separated, had added to the names of the Committee and the vouchers of the Continental Congress, that this was its act and deed for a nation? Melanchthon did worse than this. The Declaration of Independence was the mere form of an act consummated. The Augsburg Confession was a document of permanent force, and of continuous use. To alter any of its doctrines, was to acknowledge that so far the Confessors had erred, and to excite the suspicion that they might have erred more; and to alter the phrases, no matter what explanation might be given would be construed as involving alteration of doctrine. Nor were the adversaries of our faith slow in taking advantage of Melanchthon’s great mistake.
Charles Porterfield Krauth
The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology