Luther and the Reformation: eBook

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

In 1525, Luther’s friend and protector, the Elector Frederick, died.  This would have been a sad blow for the Reformation had there been no one of like mind to take his place.  But God had the man in readiness.  “Frederick the Wise” was succeeded by his brother, “John the Constant.”

In Hesse, in Holland, in Scandinavia, in Prussia, in Poland, in Switzerland, in France, everywhere, the Reformation advanced.  Duke George of Saxony raged, got up an alliance against the growing cause, and beheaded citizens of Leipsic for having Luther’s writings in their houses.  Eck still howled from Ingolstadt for fire and fagots.  The dukes of Bavaria were fierce with persecutions.  The archbishop of Mayence punished cities because they would not have his priests for pastors.  The emperor from Spain announced his purpose to crush and exterminate “the wickedness of Lutheranism.”  But it was all in vain.  The sun had risen, the new era had come!

Luther now issued his Catechisms, which proved a great and glorious aid to the true Gospel.  Henceforth the children were to be bred up in the pure faith.  Matthesius says:  “If Luther in his lifetime had achieved no other work but that of bringing his two Catechisms into use, the whole world could not sufficiently thank and repay him.”

A quarrel between the emperor and the pope also contributed to the progress of the Reformation.  A Diet at Spire in 1526 had interposed a check to the persecuting spirit of the Romanists, and granted toleration to those of Luther’s mind in all the states where his doctrines were approved.  The respite lasted for three years, until Charles and Clement composed their difference and united to wreak their wrath upon Luther and his adherents.


[16] The death of Adrian VI., on the 14th of September, 1523, was a subject of general rejoicing in Rome.  There was a crown of flowers hung to the door of his physician, with a card appended which read, “To the savior of his country.”


A second Diet at Spire, in 1529, revoked the former act of toleration, and demanded of all the princes and estates an unconditional surrender to the pope’s decrees.  This called forth the heroic Protest of those who stood with Luther.  They refused to submit, claiming that in matters of divine service and the soul’s salvation conscience and God must be obeyed rather than earthly powers.  It was from this that the name of Protestants originated—­a name which half the world now honors and accepts.

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