Luther and the Reformation: eBook

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

Luther’s friends trembled lest he should share the fate of Huss; his enemies trembled lest he should escape it; and both, in their several ways, tried to keep him back.

Placards of his condemnation were placed before him on the way, and spectacles to indicate his certain execution were enacted in his sight; but he was not the man to be deterred by the prospect of being burnt alive if God called for the sacrifice.

Lying fraud was also tried to seduce and betray him.  Glapio, the emperor’s confessor, who had tried a similar trick upon the Elector Frederick, conceived the idea that if Von Sickingen and Bucer could be won for the plot, a proposal to compromise the whole matter amicably might serve to beguile him to the chateau of his friend at Ebernburg till his safe-conduct should expire, and then the liars could throw off the mask and dispose of him with credit in the eyes of Rome.  The glib and wily Glapio led in the attempt.  Von Sickingen and Bucer were entrapped by his bland hypocrisy, and lent themselves to the execution of the specious proposition.  But when they came to Luther with it, he turned his back, saying, “If the emperor’s confessor has anything to say to me he will find me at Worms.”

But even his friends were alarmed at his coming.  It was feared that he would be destroyed.  The Elector’s confidential adviser sent a servant out to meet him, beseeching him by no means to enter the city.  “Go tell your master,” said Luther, “I will enter Worms though as many devils should be there as tiles upon its houses!” And he did enter, with nobles, cavaliers, and gentry for his escort, and attended through the streets by a larger concourse than had greeted the entry of the emperor himself.[12]


[12] “The reception which he met with at Worms was such as he might have reckoned a full reward of all his labors if vanity and the love of applause had been the principles by which he was influenced.  Greater crowds assembled to behold him than had appeared at the emperor’s public entry; his apartments were daily filled with princes and personages of the highest rank; and he was treated with all the respect paid to those who possess the power of directing the understanding and sentiments of other men—­a homage more sincere, as well as more flattering, than any which pre-eminence in birth or condition command.”—­Robertson’s Charles V., vol. i. p. 510.


Charles hurried to convene his council, saying, “Luther is come; what shall we do with him?”

A chancellor and bishop of Flanders urged that he be despatched at once, and this scandalous humiliation of the Holy See terminated.  He said Sigismund had allowed Huss to be burned, and no one was bound to keep faith with a heretic.  But the emperor was more moral than the teachings of his Church, and said, “Not so; we have given our promise, and we ought to keep it.”

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Luther and the Reformation: from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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