Luther and the Reformation: eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 145 pages of information about Luther and the Reformation:.


Luther now realized that the true Gospel of God’s salvation and the pontifical system were vitally and irreconcilably antagonistic; that the one could never be held in consistency with the other; and that there must come a final break between him and Rome.  This much depressed him.  He showed his spiritual anguish by his deep dejection.  But he soon rose above it.  If he had the truth of God, as he verily believed, what were the pope and all devils against Jehovah?  And so he went on lecturing, preaching, writing, and publishing with his greatest power, brilliancy, and effectiveness.

Some of the best and most telling products of his pen now went forth to multitudes of eager readers.  The glowing energy of his faith acted like a spreading fire, kindling the souls of men as they seldom have been kindled in any cause in any age.  His Address to the Nobility electrified all Germany, and first fired the patriotic spirit of Ulrich Zwingli, the Swiss Reformer.  His book on The Babylonian Captivity of the Church sounded a bugle-note which thrilled through all the German heart, gave Bugenhagen to the Reformation, and sent a shudder through the hierarchy.[9] Already, at Maximilian’s Diet at Augsburg to take measures against the Turk, a Latin pamphlet was openly circulated among the members which said that the Turk to be resisted was living in Italy; and Miltitz, the pope’s nuncio and chamberlain, confessed that from Rome to Altenberg he had found those greatly in the minority who did not side with Luther.


[9] Glapio, the confessor of Charles V., stated to Chancellor Brueck at the Diet of Worms:  “The alarm which I felt when I read the first pages of the Captivity cannot be expressed; they might be said to be lashes which scourged me from head to foot.”


But the tempest waxed fiercer and louder every day.  Luther’s growing influence the more inflamed his enemies.  Hochstrat had induced two universities to condemn his doctrines.  In sundry places his books were burned by the public hangman.  Eck had gone to Italy, and was “moving the depths of hell” to secure the excommunication of the prejudged heretic.  And could his bloodthirsty enemies have had their way, this would long since have come.  But Leo seems to have had more respect for Luther than for them.  Learning and talent were more to him than any doctrines of the faith.  The monks complained of him as too much given to luxury and pleasure to do his duty in defending the Church.  Perhaps he had conscience enough to be ashamed to enforce his traffic in paper pardons by destroying the most honest and heroic man in Germany.  Perhaps he did not like to stain his reign with so foul a record, even if dangerous complications should not attend it.  Whatever the cause, he was slow to respond to these clamors for blood.  Eck had almost as much trouble to get him to issue the Bull of Luther’s excommunication as he had to answer Luther’s arguments in the Leipsic Discussion.  But he eventually procured it, and undertook to enforce it.

Project Gutenberg
Luther and the Reformation: from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook