Luther and the Reformation: eBook

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

The first presentation to the king of Sweden, by William Usselinx, touching the planting of a colony on the west bank of the Delaware, looked to the establishment of a trading company with unlimited trading privileges; and the argument for it was the great source of revenue it would be to the kingdom.  But when Gustavus Adolphus entered into the subject and gave his royal favor to it, quite other motives and considerations came in to determine his course.  As the history records, and quite aside from the prospect of establishing his power in these parts of the world, “the king, whose zeal for the honor of God was not less ardent than for the welfare of his subjects, availed himself of this opportunity to extend the doctrines of Christ among the heathen,"[39] and to this end granted letters patent, in which it was further provided that a free state should be formed, guaranteeing all personal rights of property, honor, and religion, and forming an asylum and place of security for the persecuted people of all nations.  And when these gracious intentions of the king were revived after his death, the same ideas and provisions were carefully maintained, specially stipulating (1) for every human respect toward the Indians—­to wit, that the governors of the colony should deal justly with them as the rightful lords of the land, and exert themselves at every opportunity “that the same wild people may be instructed in the truths and worship of the Christian religion, and in other ways brought to civilization and good government, and in this manner properly guided;” (2) “above all things to consider and see to it that divine service be duly maintained and zealously performed according to the unaltered Augsburg Confession;” and (3) to protect those of a different confession in the free exercise of their own forms.[40]

It is plain, therefore, that the spirit of religion, the spirit of evangelical missions, the spirit of Christian charity, and the spirit of devotion to the protection of religious liberty and freedom of conscience were the dominating motives on the part of those who founded the first permanent settlement on the territory of Pennsylvania.


[39] History of New Sweden, by Israel Acrelius, p. 21.

[40] Rehearsed in the commission to Governor Printz, 1642, sections 9 and 26.


Bating somewhat the missionary character of the enterprise, the same may be said of William Penn and his great reinforcement to what had thus been successfully begun long before his time.  He was himself a very zealous preacher of religion, though more in the line of protest against the world and the existing Church than in the line of positive Christianity and the conversion and evangelization of the heathen.  He had himself been a great sufferer for his religious convictions,

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