Spirit of Prophecy, VOLUME 4 - (1884) CHAPTER VII
GREAT CONTROVERSY - (1911) CHAPTER VIII
Inasmuch as it has now been acknowledged and proven that the first 17 chapters of the book Great Controversy as well as it's forerunner, Spirit of Prophecy, Volume 4, was copied from historians, Wiley and D'Aubigne, it was not thought necessary to reproduce the entire 17 chapters. Besides, some work has been done in some of these early chapters by others in order to obtain the proof and the admission. It is thought only necessary to reproduce one chapter taken t random from the 17 as a sample of how the works in Ellen's books were produced. It can be seen that no room was left in the copy work for visions or indeed any other instruction from God, inasmuch as almost all the works and words of others were used in the chapter. Thus, it can be shown, was the way that all of the first 17 chapters were compiled, and the same method and extent was followed in the later chapters throughout the book in theology and future events. In this chapter, the book Spirit of Prophecy, Volume 4, will be used inasmuch as the later edition, Great Controversy, does not deviate from the original paraphrase and copy. D'Aubigne was written in 1841 and was read by Ellen White.
Here the crown of Charlemagne was placed on the head of the youngest but most powerful monarch of Christendom. An unusual pomp and magnificence were displayed in this ceremony. Charles V., Frederick, princes, ministers, and ambassadors, repaired immediately to Cologne. Among the crowd of strangers who thronged this city, were the two papal nuncios, was commissioned to congratulate the new emperor he was specially charged to prevail upon Charles to crush the rising Reformation "Let us first learn what our father the Elector of Saxony thinks of this matter," The situation in which Frederick was placed was a difficult one that neither his imperial majesty nor any other person had shown that Luther's writings had been refuted, and that they only deserved to e thrown into the fire; and finally, he requested that Doctor Luther should be furnished with a safe-conduct, so that he might appear before a tribunal of learned, pious, and impartial judges.
D'Aubigne, History of the Reformation, Book 4, Chapter 11, pp. 170-175
A new emperor, Charles the Fifth, had ascended the throne of Germany, and the emissaries of Rome hastened to present their congratulations, and induce the monarch to employ his power against the Reformation. On the other hand, the Elector of Saxony, to whom Charles was in great degree indebted for his crown, entreated him to take no step against Luther until he should have granted him a hearing. The emperor was thus placed in a position of great perplexity and embarrassment. The elector had declared firmly that neither his imperial majesty nor any one else had yet made it appear to him that the Reformer's writings had been refuted; therefore he requested that Doctor Luther be furnished with a safe-conduct, so that he might answer for himself before a tribunal of learned, pious, and impartial judges.
White, Ellen, Spirit of Prophecy, Volume 4, pp. 119-120 (1884)
The entire nation was agitated. Princes and nobles, knights and citizens, clergy and laity, town and country, all participated in the struggle. Never had so many princes met together in diet, but public attention was more particularly directed to another question, which the emperor had also mentioned in his letters of convocation -- that of the Reformation. The great interests of worldly policy grew pale before the cause of the monk of Wittemberg. had written to the elector to bring Luther with him to the diet, assuring him that no injustice should be shown to the Reformer, that no violence should be used towards him, and that learned men should confer with him.
Luther's friends were alarmed, but he himself did not tremble. His health was at that time very weak; but that was a trifling matter for him. "If I cannot go to Worms in good health," replied he to the elector, "I will be carried there, sick as I am. For if the emperor calls me, I cannot doubt that it is the call of God himself. If they desire to use violence against me, and that is very probable -- for it is not their instruction that they order me to appear -- I place the matter in the Lord's hands. He still lives and reigns who preserved the three young men in the burning fiery furnace. If he will not save me, my life is of little consequence. Let us only prevent the gospel from being exposed to the scorn of the wicked, and let us shed our blood for it, for fear they should triumph. It is not for me to decide whether my life or my death will contribute most to the salvation of all. You may expect everything from, except flight and recantation. Fly I cannot, and still less retract."
D'Aubigne, History of the Reformation, Book 7, Chapter 1, Pp. 192-6
The attention of all parties was now directed to the assembly of the German States which convened at Worms soon after the accession of Charles to the empire. There were important political questions and interests to be considered by this national council; but these appeared of little moment when contrasted with the cause of the monk of Wittemberg.
Charles had previously directed the elector to bring Luther with him to the Diet, assuring him that the Reformer should be protected from all violence, and should be allowed a free conference with one competent to discuss the disputed points. Luther was anxious to appear before the emperor. His health was at this time much impaired, yet he wrote to the elector, "If I cannot perform the journey to Worms in good health, I will be carried there, sick as I am. For, since the emperor has summoned me, I cannot doubt that it is the call of God himself. If they intend to use violence against me, as they probably do, for assuredly it is with no view of gaining information that they require me to appear before them, I place the matter in the Lord's hands. He still lives and reigns who preserved the three Israelites in the fiery furnace. If it be not his will to save me, my life is of little consequence. Let us only take care that the gospel be not exposed to the scorn of the ungodly, and let us shed our blood in its defense rather than allow them to triumph. Who shall say whether my life or my death would contribute most to the salvation of my brethren?" "Expect anything from me but flight or recantation. Fly I cannot, still less can I recant."
White, Ellen, Spirit of Prophecy, Volume 4, Pp. 119-120 (1884)
But the rumor of Luther's coming was already current through the city the emperor's courtiers were alarmed; but none showed greater indignation than the papal legate. On his journey, Aleander had been able to discover how far the gospel announced by Luther had found an echo in all classes of society. The Papacy was still standing, but its buttresses were tottering, for their ears already distinguished a presage of destruction. Aleander was frightened. He immediately used every exertion to prevent the appearance of the bold and formidable Luther. "Would it not be scandalous," he said, "to behold laymen examining anew a cause already condemned by the pope? Will not Luther's powerful eloquence, which has already committed such ravages, drag many princes and lords into inevitable destruction?" Aleander pressed Charles closely; he entreated, threatened, and spoke as thenuncio of the head of the church Charles submitted and wrote to the elector if he (Luther) would not retract what he had written, Frederick must leave him behind at Wittemberg.
It was not sufficient for Aleander that Luther did not appear at Worms; he desired his condemnation. He was continually soliciting the princes, prelates, and different members of the diet; he accused the Augustine monk not only of disobedience and heresy, but even of sedition, rebellion, impiety and blasphemy. But the very tone of his voice betrayed the passions by which he was animated. "He is moved by hatred, and vengence, much more than by zeal and piety, "was the general remark, and frequent and violent as were his speeches, he made no converts to his sentiments. A feeling of Luther's innocence predominated in the assembly.
D'Aubigne, History of the Reformation, Book 7, Chapter 1, Pp. 196-198
As the news was circulated at Worms that Luther was to appear before the Diet, a general excitement was created. Aleander, the papal legate to whom his case had been specially instructed, was alarmed and enraged. He saw that the result would be disastrous to the papal cause. To institute inquiry into a case in which the pope had already pronounced sentence of condemnation, would be to cast contempt upon the authority of the sovereign pontiff. Furthermore, he was apprehensive that the eloquent and powerful arguments of this man might turn away many of the princes from the cause of the pope. He therefore, in the most urgent manner, remonstrated with Charles against Luther's appearance at Worms. He warned, entreated, and threatened, until the emperor yielded, and wrote to the elector that if Luther would not retract, he must remain at Wittemberg.
Not content with this victory, Aleander labored with all the power and cunning at his command to secure Luther's condemnation. With a persistence worthy of a better cause, he urged the matter upon the attention of princes, prelates, and other members of the assembly, accusing the Reformer of sedition, rebellion, impiety, and blasphemy. But the vehemence and passion manifested by the legate plainly revealed that he was actuated by hatred and revenge rather than by zeal for religion. It was the prevailing sentiment of the assembly that Luther was innocent.
White, Ellen, Spirit of Prophecy, Volume 4, Pp. 120-121 - (1884)
Aleander grew uneasy. He besieged the monarch unceasingly they demand that he shall be placed under the ban of the pope and of the emperor. Aleander was in reality pressing for the condemnation of the reformer Charles V. could not resist the solicitations of the nuncio This was all that Aleander desired; and he was promised to be introduced to the diet on the 13th of February Ambassador from the sovereign pontiff, and surrounded with all the splendor of his high office, he was also one of the most eloquent men of his age. The friends of the Reformation looked forward to this sitting with apprehension many were reminded of Annas and Caiaphas going to Pilate's judgment-seat, and calling for the death of "this fellow who perverted the nation." Luke 23, 2. He sins against heaven he sins against the church he sins against councils he sins against the world. "In Luther's errors there is enough to burn a hundred thousand heretics " What are all these Lutherans? A crew of insolent pedagogues, corrupt priest, dissolute monks, ignorant lawyers, and degraded nobles, with the common people, whom they have misled and perverted. How far superior to them is the catholic party in number, ability and power. A unanimous decree from this illustrious assembly will enlighten the simple, warn the imprudent, decide the waverers, and give strength to the weak. The enthusiasm of his language had produced a deep impression on the assembly. If the eloquent Luther had been present; if he had been able to reply to this speech; if, profiting by the avowals extorted from the Roman nuncio by the recollection of his former master. But no one rose to speak. The assembly remained under the impression produced by this speech; and agitated and transported, showed itself ready to extirpate Luther's heresy by force from the soil of the empire. Nevertheless, it was a victory only in appearance. The greatest of her orators had spoken in the assembly of the princes, he had given utterance to all that Rome had to say. But it was precisely this last effort of the Papacy that became a signal defeat in the eyes of many who had listened to it. If a hold confession is necessary for the triumph of the truth, the surest means of destroying error is to make it known without reserve.
D'Aubigne, History of the Reformation, Book 7, Chapter 3, Pp. 209-215
With redoubled zeal, Aleander urged upon the emperor the duty of executing the papal edicts. Overcome at last by this importunity, Charles bade the legate present his case to the Diet. Rome had few advocates better fitted, by nature and education, to defend her cause. The friends of the Reformer looked forward with some anxiety to the result of Aleander's speech. There was no little excitement when the legate, with great dignity and pomp, appeared before the national assembly. Many called to mind the scene of our Saviour's trial, when Annas and Caiaphas, before the judgment seat of Pilate, demanded the death of him "that perverted the people."
With all the power of learning and eloquence, Aleander set himself to overthrow the truth. Charge after charge he hurled against Luther as an enemy of the Church and the State, the living and the dead, clergy and laity, councils and private Christians. "There is enough in the errors of Luther," he declared, "to warrant the burning of a hundred thousand heretics." What are all these Lutherans? A motley rabble of insolent grammarians, corrupt priests, dissolute monks, ignorant lawyers, and degraded nobles, with the common people whom they have misled and perverted. How greatly superior is the Catholic party in numbers, intelligence, and power! A unanimous decree from this illustrious assembly will open the eyes of the simple, show the unwary their danger, determine the wavering, and strengthen the weak-hearted." .
The legate's address made a deep impression upon the Diet. There was no Luther present, with the clear and convincing truths of God's word, to vanquish the papal champion. No attempt was made to defend the Reformer. There was manifest a general impulse to root out the Lutheran heresy from the empire. Rome had enjoyed the most favorable opportunity to defend her cause. The greatest of her orators had spoken. All that she could say in her own vindication had been said. But the apparent victory was the signal of defeat. Henceforth the contrast between truth and error would be more clearly seen, as they should take the field in open warfare.
White, Ellen, Spirit of Prophecy, Volume 4, Pp. 121-123 (1884)
The majority of the princes were ready to sacrifice Luther; but no one desired to immolate the rights of the empire and the grievances of the Germanic nation. It was accordingly Luther's most determined personal enemy, Duke George of Saxony, who spoke with the greatest energy against the encroachments of Rome. "The diet," said he "must not forget its grievance against the court of Rome. these are some of the abuses that cry that out against Rome. All shame has been put aside, and their only object is, money, money, so that the preachers who should teach the truth, utter nothing but falsehoods, and are not only tolerated, but rewarded, because the greater their lies, the greater their gain. It is from this foul spring that such tainted waters flow. Debauchery stretches out the hand to avarice. The officials invite women to their dwellings under various pretexts, and endeavor to seduce them, at one time by threats, at another by presents; or if they cannot succeed, they ruin their good fame. Alas, it is the scandal caused by the clergy that hurls so many poor souls into eternal condemnation. A general reform must be effected. Even Luther had not spoken with greater force against the abuses of Rome. The duke's speech produced a proportionally greater impression, as his hostility to Luther was notorious. This did not satisfy the assembly, which desired the appearance of the reformer. Luther's friends were terrified.
D'Aubigne, History of the Reformation, Book 4, Chapter IV, Pp. 216
The majority of the assembly were ready to sacrifice Luther to the demands of the pope, but many of them saw and deplored the existing depravity in the church and desired a suppression of the abuses suffered by the German people in consequence of Rome's corruption and greed of gain. Duke George of Saxony, stood up in that princely assembly, and specified with terrible exactness the deceptions and abominations of popery, and their dire results. In closing he said; "These are but a few of the abuses which cry out against Rome for redress. All shame is laid aside, and one object alone incessantly pursued: money! Evermore money: so that the very man whose duty it is to teach the truth, utter nothing but falsehoods, and are not only tolerated but rewarded; because the greater their lies, the greater are their gains. This is the foul source from which so many corrupt streams flow out on every side. Profligacy and avarice go hand in hand. Alas; it is the scandal caused by the clergy that plunges so many poor souls into everlasting perdition. A thorough reform must be effected."
A more able and forcible denunciation of the papal abuses could not have been made by Luther himself; and the fact that the speaker was a determined enemy of the Reformer, gave greater influence to his words. The council now demanded the Reformer's appearance before them. Notwithstanding the entreaties, protests, and threats of Aleander, the emperor at last consented, and Luther was summoned to appear before the Diet. With the summons was issued a safe conduct, insuring his return to a place of security. These were borne to Wittemberg by a herald, who was commissioned to conduct him to Worms. The friends of Luther were terrified and distressed.
White, Ellen, Spirit of Prophecy, Volume 4, Pp. 123-125 (1884)
The safe-conduct contained in the letter was directed. Gaspard Sturm was commissioned to bear this message to the reformer, and accompany him to Worms. All his friends were in consternation. "The papists," said he, on seeing the anguish of his friends, "do not desire my coming to Worms, but my condemnation and my death. It matters not. Pray not for me, but for the word of God. Christ will give me his Spirit to overcome these ministers of error. I despise them during my life, I shall triumph over them by my death. They are busy at Worms about compelling me to retract; and this shall be my retraction: I said formerly that the pope was Christ's vicar, now I assert that he is our Lord's adversary, and the devil's apostle."
The youth of the schools were also to have their representative at the side of the champion of truth he bade farewell to his colleagues. Next came Luther, Schurff, Amadorff, and Suavon, in the car. The friends of the gospel and the citizens of Wittemberg were deeply agitated, and invoking God's aid, burst into tears. At Leipaic no respect was shown him. At Naumburg he met a priest, probably J. Langer, a man of stern zeal, who carefully preserved in his study a portrait of the famous Jerome Savonarola, the priest approached Luther, and held it out to him in silence. He had hardly been a minute in the town, when he heard loud cries in every direction; it was the publication of his condemnation. with astonishment saw the imperial messengers going from street to street, everywhere posting up the emperor's edict commanding his writings to be deposited with the magistrates. "Well, doctor, will you proceed?" asked the imperial herald in alarm. "Yes," replied Luther; "although interdicted in every city, I shall go on."
D'Aubigne, History of the Reformation, Book 4, Chapter IV, Pp. [illegible]
The friends of Luther were terrified and distressed they entreated him not to imperil his life. He replied, "The papists have little desire to see me at Worms, but they long for my condemnation and death. It matters not. Pray not for me, but for the word of God. Christ will give me his Spirit to overcome these ministers of Satan. I despise them while I live, I will triumph over them by my death. They are busy at Worms about compelling me to recant. My recantation shall be this, I said formerly that the pope was Christ's vicar; now I say that he is the adversary of the Lord, and the apostle of the devil."
Luther was not to make his perilous journey alone. Besides the imperial messenger, three of his firmest friends determined to accompany him. A multitude of students and citizens, to whom the gospel was precious, bade him farewell with weeping. At some towns no honors were proffered them. As they stopped for the night, a friendly priest expressed his fears by up before Luther the portrait of an Italian reformer who had suffered martyrdom for the truth's sake. The next day they learned that Luther's writings had been condemned at Worms. Imperial messengers were proclaiming the emperor's decree, and urging all men to bring the prescribed works to the magistrates. The herald, in alarm, asked the Reformer if he still wished to go forward. He answered, "I will go on, though I should be put under interdict in every town."
White, Ellen, Spirit of Prophecy, Volume 4, Pp. 125-126 (1884)
From Weimar the reformer proceeded to Erfurth. This was the city of his youth. A multitude of the inhabitants of Erfurth thronged the road, and gave utterance to their joy. At the gate, in the public places, in the streets where the poor monk had so often begged his bread, the crowd of spectators was immense. There was a great desire to hear him preach; the pulpit had been forbidden him, but the herald, sharing the enthusiasm of those about him, gave his consent. This friar, who had been accustomed in former times to unclose the doors and sweep out the church, went up to the pulpit, and opening the Bible, read these words: "Philosophers, doctors, and writers," said he, "have endeavored to teach men the way to obtain everlasting life, and they have not succeeded. I will now tell it to you," In the whole of this sermon there is not a word about himself; not a single allusion to the circumstances in which he is placed. He preaches Christ, and Christ only .
Luther departed from Erfurth continue his journey on the following morning The people gazed with emotion on this daring man. An immense crowd flocked eagerly around him "They will burn you, and reduce your body to ashes, as they did with John Huss." But nothing frightened the monk. "Though they should kindle a fire," said he, "all the way from Worms to Wittemberg, the flames of which reached to heaven, I would walk through it in the name of the Lord; I would appear before them; I would enter the jaws of the behemoth, and break his teeth, confessing the Lord Jesus Christ."
D'Aubigne, History of the Reformation, Book 7, Chapter 7, Pp. 238-242
At Erfurth, Luther was received with honor. Surrounded by admiring crowds, he entered the city where in his earlier years, he had often begged a morsel of bread. He was urged to preach. This he had been forbidden to do; but the herald gave his consent, and the monk whose duty it once was to unclose the gates and sweep the aisles, now ascended the pulpit, while the people listened to his words as if spell-bound. The bread of life was broken to those starving souls. Christ was lifted up before them as above popes, legates, emperors, and kings. Luther made no reference to his own perilous position. He did not seek to make himself the object of thought or sympathy. He hid behind the Man of Calvary, seeking only to present Jesus as the sinner's Redeemer.
As the Reformer proceeded on his journey, he was everywhere regarded with great interest. An eager multitude thronged about him; and friendly voices warned him of the purpose of the Romanists. "You will be burned alive," said they, "and your body reduced to ashes, as was that of John Huss." Luther answered, "Though they should kindle a fire all the way from Worms to Wittemberg, whose flames should rise up to heaven, I would go through it in the name of the Lord, and stand before them; I would enter the jaws of this behemoth, and break his teeth, confessing the Lord Jesus Christ."
White, Ellen, Spirit of Prophecy, Volume 4, Pp. 126-127 (1884)
The alarm was universal in the camp of the pope's friends. How could they hinder this monk from coming? They directed their course towards the castle of Ebernburg. But, Luther, undismayed, turned his eyes on the messenger, and replied, "Go and tell your master, that even should there be as many devils in Worms as tiles on the house-tops, still I would enter."
D'Aubigne, History of the Reformation, Book 7, Chapter 7, Pp. 224-246
The news of his approach to Worms created great commotion. His friends trembled for his safety, his enemies feared for the success of their cause. Strenuous efforts were made to dissuade him from entering the city. The papists urged him to repair to the castle of a friendly knight, where, they declared, all difficulties could be amicably adjusted. Luther, declared, "Though there should be as many devils at Worms as there are tiles on its roofs, I would enter."
White, Ellen, Spirit of Prophecy, Volume 4, Page 127 (1884)
All were expecting him. A great crowd was waiting for him at the gates. Two thousand persons accompanied him. It was greater than at the public entry of the emperor and then with a loud voice, and in that plaintive measured tone in which mass is said for the repose of the soul, he sang these words. If The Story Be True, Luther slighted from his car, and said as he touch the ground, "God will by my defense." Charles V. immediately summoned his council. Modo, bishop of Palermo, and chancellor of Flanders, replied, if we may credit the testimony of Luther himself, "We have long consulted on this matter. Let your imperial majesty get rid of this man at once. Did not Sigismund cause John Huss to be burnt? We are not bound either to give or to observe the safe-conduct of a heretic." "No," said Charles, "we must keep our promise."
They submitted, therefore, to the reformer's appearance before the diet. there were many persons in Worms who were delighted at the opportunity of at length beholding this illustrious servant of God. This remarkable man. Meantime the crowd still continued round the hotel of Rhodes, where Luther had alighted. To some he was a prodigy of wisdom, to others a monster of iniquity. All the city longed to see him. They left him, however, the first hours after his arrival to recruit his strength, and to converse with his most intimate friends. But as soon as the evening came, counts, barons, knights, gentlemen, ecclesiastics, and citizens, flocked about him. All, even his greatest enemies, were struck with the boldness of his manner, the joy that seemed to animate him, the power of his language, and that imposing elevation and enthusiasm which gave this simple monk an irresistible authority. But while some ascribed this grandeur to something divine, the friends of the pope loudly exclaimed that he was possessed by a devil. On the next morning the hereditary marshal of the empire cited him to appear at four in the afternoon. The marshal of the empire appeared; Luther prepared to set out with him. The crowd that filled the streets was still greater than on the preceding day. It was impossible to advance. The tops of the houses and the pavements of the streets, above and below, all were covered with spectators. Luther advanced with difficulty. The old general said kindly, "Poor monk, poor monk, thou art now going to make a nobler stand than I or any other captain have ever made in the bloodiest of our battles. But if thy cause is just, and thou art sure of it, go forward in God's name and fear nothing. God will not forsake thee."
D'Aubigne, History of the Reformation, Book 7, Chapter 8, Pp. 248-253
Upon his arrival at Worms, the crowd that flocked to the gates to welcome him was even greater than at the public entry of the emperor himself. The excitement was intense, and from the midst of the throng a shrill and plaintive voice chanted a funeral dirge, as a warning to Luther of the fate that awaited him. "God will be my defense," said he as he slighted from his carriage. The emperor immediately convoked his council to consider what course should be pursued toward Luther. One of the bishops, a rigid papist, declared: "We have long consulted on this matter. Let your majesty get rid of this man at once. Did not Sigismund bring John Huss to the stake? We are under no obligation either to give or to observe the safe-conduct of a heretic." "Not so," said the emperor, "we must keep our promise." It was therefore decided that the Reformer should be heard.
All the city were eager to see this remarkable man, and he had enjoyed but a few hours rest when noblemen, knights, priests, and citizens gathered about him. Even his enemies marked his firm, courageous bearing, the kindly and joyous expression upon his countenance, and the solemn elevation and deep earnestness that gave to his words an irresistible power. Some were convinced that a divine influence attended him; others declared, as had the Pharisees concerning Christ, "He hath a devil." On the following day, Luther was summoned to attend the Diet. An imperial officer was appointed to conduct him to the hall of audience, yet it was a difficulty that he reached his place. Every avenue was crowded with spectators, eager to look upon the monk who had dared resist the authority of the pope. As he was about to enter the presence of his judges, an old general, the hero of many battles, said to him kindly, "Poor monk! Poor monk! Thou art now going to make a nobler stand than I, or any other captains, have ever made in our most bloody battles. But if thy cause is just, and thou art sure of it, go forward in God's name, and fear nothing! He will not forsake thee."
White, Ellen, Spirit of Prophecy, Volume 4, Pp. 127-128 (1884)
Never had man appeared before so imposing an assembly. ...The Emperor Charles V., ...in all, two hundred and four persons; such was the imposing court before which appeared Marin Luther.
This appearance was of itself a signal victory over the papacy. The pope had condemned the man, and he was now standing before a tribunal which, by this very act, set itself above the pope. The pope had laid him under an interdict, and cut him off from all human society; and yet he was summoned in respectful language, and received before the most august assembly in the world. The pope had condemned him to perpetual silence, and he was now about to speak before thousands
Some of the princes, when they saw the emotion of this son of the lowly miner of Mansfeldt in the presence of this assembly of kings, approached him kindly, and one of them said to him, "Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul." And another added, "When ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, the Spirit of your Father shall speak in you." Thus was the reformer comforted with his Master's words by the princes of this world. He advanced, and stood before the throne of Charles V., a deep silence followed . the chancellor of the archbishop rose and said pointed with his finger to about twenty volumes placed on a table in the middle of the hall, "required you to answer two questions. Do you acknowledge these books to have been written by you?" "Are you prepared to retract these books, and their contents; or do you persist in the opinions you have advanced in them?'"
"As to the first, I acknowledge as mine the books that have just been named; "As to the second, seeing that it is a question which concerns faith and the salvation of souls, and in which the word of God, the greatest and most precious treasure either in heaven or earth, is interested, I should act imprudently were I to reply without reflection. I might affirm less than the circumstance demands, or more than truth requires, and so sin against this saying of Christ; 'Whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.' For this reason I entreat your imperial majesty, with all humility, to allow me time, that I may answer without offending against the word of God" This reply was worthy of the reformer that he should appear calm and circumspect might cause a suspicion of passion or rashness by taking reasonable time, he would give a stronger proof of the unalterable firmness of his resolution This restraint, this calmness, so surprising in such a man, multiplied his strength a hundred-fold, and put him in a position to reply, at a later period, with such wisdom, power, and dignity, as to deceive the expectations of his adversaries, and confound their malice and their pride.
D'Aubigne, History of the Reformation, Book 7, Chapter 8, Pp. 253-256
At length Luther stood before the council. The emperor occupied the throne. He was surrounded by the most illustrious personages in the empire. Never had any man appeared in the presence of a more imposing assembly than that before which Martin Luther was to answer for his faith.
The very fact of that appearance was a signal victory for the truth. That a man whom the pope had condemned should be judged by another tribunal, was virtually a denial of the pontiff's supreme authority. The Reformer, placed under ban, and denounced from human fellowship by the pope, had been assured protection, and was granted a hearing, by the highest dignitaries of the nation. Rome had commanded him to be silent, but he was about to speak in the presence of thousands from all parts of Christendom.
In the presence of that powerful and titled assembly, the lowly-born Reformer seemed awed and embarrassed. Several of the princes, observing his emotion, approached him, and one of them whispered, "Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul." Another said, "When ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, it shall be given you, by the Spirit of your Father, what ye shall say." Thus the words of Christ were brought by the world's great men to strengthen his servant in the hour of trial.
Luther was conducted to a position directly in front of the emperor's throne. A deep silence fell upon the crowed assembly. Then an imperial officer arose, and pointing to a collection of Luther's writings, demanded that the Reformer answer two questions, -- whether he acknowledged them as his, and whether he proposed to retract the opinions which he had therein advanced. Luther replied that as to the first question, he acknowledged the books to be his. "As to the second," he said, "seeing it is a question which concerns faith, the salvation of souls, and the word of God, which is the greatest and most precious treasure either in Heaven or earth, it would be rash and perilous for me to reply without reflection. I might affirm less than the circumstances demand, or more than truth requires; in either case I should fall under the sentence of Christ: 'Whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in Heaven.' For this reason I entreat your imperial majesty, with all humility, to allow me time, that I may answer without offending against the word of God."
In making this request, Luther moved wisely. His course convinced the assembly that he did not act from passion or impulse. Such calmness and self-command, unexpected in one who had shown himself bold and uncompromising, added to his power, and enabled him afterward, to answer with a prudence, decision, wisdom, and dignity, that surprised and disappointed his adversaries, and rebuked their insolence and pride.
White, Ellen, Spirit of Prophecy, Volume 4, Pp. 129-130 (1884)
For a moment Luther had felt dismay. His heart had been troubled disturbed his soul; and he felt the necessity of looking for strength he was not without his moments of trial, in which the face of God seemed hidden from him. His faith grew weak; his imagination was overwhelmed. In this hour of bitter sorrow he falls to the earth, and utters these broken cries, which we cannot understand for this is not my work, but thine. But the cause is thine. History here raises the veil of the sanctuary, and discloses to our view the secret place whence strength and courage was imparted to this humble and despised man. After he had thus prayed, Luther found that peace of mind. As the hour for his appearance was not far off, he drew near the holy scriptures that lay open on the table, and with emotion placed his left hand on the sacred volume, and raising his right towards the heaven, swore to remain faithful to the gospel, and freely to confess his faith, even should he seal his testimony with his blood. After this, he felt still more at peace. God was with Luther. His countenance was serene; his features tranquil; the everlasting One had raised him on a rock. This time Luther was calm, free, and confident without the least perceptible mark of embarrassment. "Will you defend your books as a whole, or are you ready to disavow some of them?" replied in the most submissive and humble manner. He did not bawl, or speak with violence; but with decency, mildness, suitability, and moderation, and yet with such joy and Christian firmness.
"As for the second, I have written works on many different subjects. I have treated of faith and good works, in a manner at once so pure, so simple, and so scriptural, that even my adversaries, far from finding any thing to censure in them, allow that these works are useful, and worthy of being read by all pious men. If, therefore, I were to retract these, what should I do? I alone should abandon truths that friends and enemies approve, and I should oppose what the whole world glories in confessing. Secondly, I have written books against the papacy, in which I have attacked. Were I to retract what I have said on this subject, what should I do but lend additional strength to this tyranny, and open the floodgates to a torrent of impiety? Lastly, I have written books against individuals who desired to defend the Romish tyranny and to destroy faith. I frankly confess that I may have attacked them with more acrimony than is becoming my ecclesiastical profession. I do not consider myself a saint; but I cannot disavow these writings, for by so doing I should sanction the impiety of my adversaries, and they would seize the opportunity of oppressing the people of God with still greater cruelty."
"Yet I am but a mere man, and not God; I shall therefore defend myself as Christ did. 'If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil,' John 18: 23, said he, "by the mercy of God, I conjure you, most serene emperor, and you, most illustrious princes, and all men of every degree, to prove from the writings of the prophets and apostles that I have erred. As soon as I am convinced of this, I will retract every error, and be the first to lay hold of my books and throw them into the fire.
"What I have just said plainly shows, I hope, that I have carefully weighted and considered he dangers to which I expose myself, but, far from being dismayed, I rejoice to see that the gospel is now, as in former times, a cause of trouble and dissension. This is the character, this is the destiny of the word of God. 'I came not to send peace on earth, but a sword' said Jesus Christ, Matt. 10: 34. God is wonderful and terrible in his comments; beware lest, by presuming to quench dissensions, you should persecute the holy word of God, and draw down upon yourselves a frightful deluge of insurmountable dangers, of present disasters, and eternal desolation I might quote many examples from the oracles of God, I might speak of the Pharaohs, the kings of Babylon, and those of Israel, whose labors never more effectually contributed to their own destruction than when they sought by counsels, to all appearance most wise, to strengthen their dominion. 'God removeth mountains, and they know in not.'"
D'Aubigne, History of the Reformation, Book 7, Chapter 8, Pp. 257-264
For a time his heart sunk within him as he contemplated the forces that were combined against the truth. His faith faltered as his enemies seemed to multiply before him, and the powers of darkness to prevail. Clouds gathered about him, and seemed to separate him from God. He longed for the assurance that the Lord of hosts would be with him. In anguish of spirit he threw himself with his face upon the earth, and poured out those broken, heart-rending cries which none but God can fully understand. It was not for his own safety, but for the success of the truth, that he wrestled with God, and he prevailed. Peace returned to his soul, and he rejoiced that he was permitted to uphold and defend the word of God before the rulers of the nation.
As the time for his appearance drew near. Luther approached a table on which lay the Holy Scriptures, placed his left hand upon the sacred volume, and, raising his right hand to Heaven, he vowed to adhere constantly to the gospel, and to confess his faith freely, even though he should be called to seal his testimony with his blood.
When he was again ushered into the presence of the Diet, his countenance bore no trace of fear or embarrassment. Calm and peaceful The imperial officer now demanded his decision as to whether he desired to retract his doctrines. Luther made his answer in a subdued and humble tone, without violence or passion. His demeanor was diffident and respectful; yet he manifested a confidence and joy that surprised the assembly.
He stated that his published words were not all of the same character. In some he had treated of faith and good works, and even his enemies declared them not only harmless but profitable. To retract these would be to condemn truth which all parties confessed. The second class consisted of writings exposing the corruptions and abuses of the papacy. To revoke these works would strengthen the tyranny of Rome, and open a wider door too many and great impieties. In the third class of his books he had attacked individuals who had defended existing evils. Concerning these he fairly confessed that he had been more violent than was becoming. He did not claim to be free from fault; but even these books he could not revoke, for such a course would embolden the enemies of truth, and they would then take occasion to crush God's people with still greater cruelty.
"But as I am a mere man, and not God," he continued, "I will defend myself as did Christ, who said, 'If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil.' By the mercy of God, I implore your imperial majesty, or any one else who can, who ever he may be, to prove to me from the writings of the prophets that I am in error. As soon as I shall be convinced, I will instantly retract all my errors, and will be the first to cast my books into the fire. What I have just said, will show that I have considered and weighted the dangers to which I am exposing myself, but far from being dismayed by them, I rejoice exceedingly to see the gospel this day, as of old, a cause of trouble, and dissension. This is the character, the destiny, of God's word. Said Christ, 'I came not to send peace, but a sword.' God is wonderful and terrible in his counsels. Let us have a care lest to our endeavors, to arrest discords we be found to fight against the holy word of God, and bring down upon our heads a frightful deluge of inextricable dangers, present disaster, and everlasting destruction. I might cite examples drawn from the oracles of God. I might speak of Pharaohs, of kings of Babylon or of Israel, who were never more contributing to their own ruin than when, by measures in appearance most prudent, they thought to establish their authority. God 'removeth the mountains, and they know not.'"
White, Ellen, Spirit of Prophecy, Volume 4, Pp. 130-133 (1884)
Luther had pronounced these words in German with modesty, but with great warmth and firmness; he was ordered to repeat them in Latin. The imposing assembly that surrounded the reformer, the noise, and his own emotion, had fatigued him. But Luther, after a brief pause to take breath, began again, and repeated his speech in Latin with the same energy as at first the Chancellor of Treves, the orator of the diet, said indignantly, "you have not answered the question put to you. You are required to give a clear and precise answer. Will you, or will you not, retract?"' Upon this Luther replied without hesitation. "Since your most serene majesty and your high mightinesses require from me a clear, simple, and precise answer, I will give you one, and it is this: I cannot submit my faith either to the pope or to the councils, because it is clear as the day that they have frequently erred and contradicted each other. Unless therefore I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture, or by the clearest reasoning--unless they thus render my conscience bound by the word of God, I cannot and I will not retract, for it is unsafe for a Christian to speak against his conscience."
"Here I stand, I can do no other; may God help me. Amen." (There are two Powers in the world, and there are none other greater than they. The first is the Word of God A solitary and undefended monk stood up as the representative of conscience enlightened and upheld by the Word of God. Wiley, Book 6, Chapter 6, Pg. 344) The assembly was thunderstruck. Exclaimed, "This monk speaks with an intrepid heart and unshaken courage." (Rome had lost the battle The fatal word had already been spoken; the decisive blow had been struck. Wiley, ETC, Pg. 344) "If you do not retract," said the chancellor, as soon as the diet had recovered from the impression produced by Luther's speech, "the emperor and the states of the empire will consult what course to adopt against an incorrigible heretic." At these words Luther's friends begin to tremble; but the monk repeated, "May God be my helper; for I can retract nothing." Firm as a rock, all the waves of human power dashed ineffectually against him. The strength of his words, his bold bearing, his piercing eyes, the unshaken firmness legible on the rough outlines of his truly features, had produced the deepest impression on this illustrious assembly.
D'Aubigne, History of the Reformation, Book 7, Chapter 8, Pp. 265-267
Luther had spoken in German; he was now requested to repeat the same words in Latin. Though exhausted by the previous effort, he complied, and again delivered his speech, with the same clearness and energy as at the first. As he ceased speaking, the spokesman of the Diet said angrily, "You have not answered the question. A clear and express reply is demanded. Will you not retract?"
The Reformer answered; "Since your most serene majesty and the princes require a simple answer, I will give it thus: Unless I shall be convinced by proofs from Scripture or by evident reason (for I believe neither in popes nor in councils, since they have frequently erred and contradicted themselves), I cannot choose but adhere to the word of God, which has possession of my conscience. Nor can I possibly nor will I ever make any recantation, since it is neither safe nor honest to act contrary to conscience. Here I take my stand; I cannot do otherwise. God be my help! Amen." Thus stood this righteous man, upon the sure foundation of the word of God.
The whole assembly were for a time speechless with amazement. The emperor himself and many of the princes were struck with admiration. The partisans of Rome had been worsted; their cause appeared in a most unfavorable light Said the spokesman of the Diet, "If you do not retract, the emperor and the States of the empire will proceed to consider how to deal with an obstinate heretic." Luther's friends, who had with great joy listened to his noble defense, trembled at these words; but the doctor himself said calmly, "May God be my helper; for I can retract nothing."
Firm as a rock he stood, while the fiercest billows of worldly power beat harmlessly against him. The simple energy of his words, his fearless bearing, his calm, speaking eye, and the unalterable determination expressed in every word and act, made a deep impression upon the assembly.
White, Ellen, Spirit of Prophecy, Volume 4, Pp. 133-135 (1884)
The intrepid monk, who had hitherto boldly braved all his enemies, spoke on this occasion, when he found himself in the presence of those who thirsted for his blood, with calmness, dignity, and humility. There was no exaggeration, no mere human enthusiasm, no anger; overflowing with the liveliest emotion, he was still at peace; modest, though withstanding the powers of the earth; great in presence of all the grandeur of the world In the hall of the diet there was one greater than Charles and than Luther A profound impression had been produced on the chiefs of the empire Many lords and princes were won over to a cause supported with such conviction. With some, it is true, the impression was transient; but others, on the contrary, who concealed their sentiments at that time, at an after-period declared themselves with great courage Frederick had gone to the diet filled with great uneasiness. he had been deeply moved by the resolute bearing the reformer. He was proud of being the protector of such a man Frederick then formed the resolution of protecting the doctor more courageously in future. (The yes or the no of this monk would decide, perhaps for ages, the repose of the church and of the world. Pg. 266)
Alexander saw the impression Luther had produced; there was no time to lose; he must induce the emperor to act with vigor It was a mere trifle to purchase the mighty pontiff's friendship at the cost of Luther's life On the day following Luther's appearance, Friday, April 19, the emperor ordered a message to be read to the diet, which he had written in French with his own hand. "who have all been renowned as defenders of the Roman faith, I am firmly resolved to imitate the example of my ancestors I am about to dismiss the Augustine Luther, forbidding him to cause the least disorder among the people; I shall then proceed against him and his adherents as contumacious heretics, by excommunications, by interdict, and by every means calculated to destroy them "
"The princes of Germany," exclaimed even George of Saxony, Luther's inveterate enemy, "will not permit a safe-conduct to be violated. This diet, the first held by our new emperor, will not be guilty of so base an action. Such perfidy does not accord with the ancient German integrity." ("The Rhine," said they, "should receive his ashes, as it had received those of John Huss a century ago.") The rumor of these discussions, which lasted two days, circulated through the city Pallavicini speaks of four hundred nobles ready to enforce Luther's safe-conduct with the sword. On Saturday morning placards were seen posted at the gates at the gates of houses and in the public places On one of them might be read merely these expressive words of the preacher: "Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child." Eccl. 10:16. The enthusiasm of the people, not only in Worms, but also in the most distant cities of the empire ", that the course suggested by the Romanists might compromise the supreme authority, excite revolts, and even shake the empire.
Frederick, without showing his kindly feelings towards the reformer, contined himself to observing every one of his movements. It was not the same with men of every rank in society who were then at Worms. They fearlessly displayed their sympathy. On Friday, a number of princes, counts, barons, knights, gentlemen, ecclesiastics, laymen, and of the common people, collected before the hotel where the reformer was staying; could hardly satiate themselves with gazing on him Even those who thought him in error were affected by the nobleness of soul that led him to sacrifice his life to the voice of his conscience.
D'Aubigne, History of the Reformation, Book 7, Chapter 9, Pp. 268-275
His words had been free from pride, passion, and misrepresentation. He lost sight of himself, and of the great men surrounding him, and felt only that he was in the presence of One infinitely superior to popes, prelates, kings, and emperors. Christ had spoken through Luther's testimony with a power and grandeur that for the time inspired both friends and foes with awe and wonder. The Spirit of God had been present in that council, impressing the hearts of the chiefs of the empire. Several of the princes openly acknowledged the justice of Luther's cause. Many were convinced of the truth; but with some the impressions received were not lasting. There was another class who did not at the time express their convictions, but who, having searched the Scriptures for themselves, at a future time declared with great boldness for the Reformation.
The elector Frederick had looked forward with anxiety to Luther's appearance before the Diet, and with deep emotion he listened to his speech. He rejoiced at the doctor's courage, firmness, and self possession, and was proud of being his protector The papacy had sustained a defeat which would be felt among all nations and in all ages.
As the legate perceived the effect produced by Luther's speech, he feared, as never before, for the security of the Romish power, and resolved to employ every means at his command to effect the Reformer's overthrow. With all the eloquence and diplomatic skill for which he was so eminently distinguished, he represented to the youthful emperor the folly and danger of sacrificing, in the cause of an insignificant monk, the friendship and support of the powerful see of Rome.
His words were not without effect. On the day following Luther's answer, Charles Fifth caused a message to be presented to the Diet, announcing his determination to carry out the policy of his predecessors to maintain and protect the Catholic religion. Since Luther had refused to renounce his errors, the most vigorous measures should be employed against him and the heresies he taught. Nevertheless, the safe-conduct granted him must be respected, and before proceedings against him could be instituted, he must be allowed to reach his home in safety. "I am firmly resolved to tread in the footsteps of my ancestors," wrote the monarch.
"The Rhine," they said, "should receive his ashes, as it received those of John Huss a century ago." Rumors of the designs against Luther were widely circulated, causing great excitement throughout the city Hundreds of nobles pledged themselves to protect him. Not a few openly denounced the royal message as evincing a weak submission to the controlling power of Rome. On the gates of houses and in public places, placards were posted, some condemning and others sustaining Luther. On one of them were written merely the significant words of the wise man, "Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child." The popular enthusiasm in Luther's favor throughout all Germany convinced both the emperor and the Diet that any injustice shown him would endanger the peace of the empire, and even the stability of the throne.
Frederick of Saxony maintained a studied reserve, carefully concealing his real feelings toward the Reformer, while at the same time he guarded him with tireless vigilance, watching all his movements and all those of his enemies. But there were many who made no attempt to conceal their sympathy. Princes, knights, gentlemen, ecclesiastics, and common people surrounded Luther's lodgings, entering and gazing upon him as though he were more than human. Even those who believed him to be in error could not but admire that nobility of soul which led him to imperil his life rather than violate his conscience.
White, Ellen, Spirit of Prophecy, Volume 4, Pp. 135-139 (1884)
Richard of Greiffenkiau, archbishop of Treves, had with the permission of Charles V undertaken the office of mediator. The reformer with some of his friends arrived at the archbishops'. the bishops with several nobles, deputies of the free cities, lawyers, and theologians, "Do not oppose the holy councils. If you did not uphold the decrees of our fathers, there would be nothing but confusion in the church. The eminent princes who hear me feel a special interest in your welfare; but if you persist, then the emperor will expel you from the empire, and no place in the world will offer you an asylum I reply, that the gospel of Christ cannot be preached without offence. Why then should the fear or apprehension of danger separate me from the Lord, and from that divine word which alone is truth? No; I would rather give up my body, my blood, and my life."
The princes and doctors having deliberated, Luther was again called in. Luther, "I consent with all my heart that the emperor, the princes, and even the meanest Christian, should examine and judge my works; but on one condition, that they take the word of God for their standard. Men have nothing to do but to obey it. Do not offer violence to my conscience which is bound and chained up with the holy Scriptures."
"I consent to renounce my safe-conduct. I place my person and my life in the emperor's hands, but the word of God never." there still remained one judge whom he himself had once demanded a general council. The delegates offered a council to Luther. "I consent," replied he, "but"--and to make such a request was to refuse a council "on condition that the council shall decide only according to Scripture." Luther's immovable firmness and inflexibility are doubtless surprising. His refusal to bend beneath the iron yoke of the pope emancipated the church and began the new times. The interposition of Providence was manifest. This is one of those grand scenes in history over which hovers and rises the majestic presence of the Divinity.
D'Aubigne, History of the Reformation, Book 7, Chapter 9, Pp. 276-285
Earnest efforts were made to obtain Luther's consent to a compromise with Rome. Nobles and princes represented to him that if he persisted in setting up his own judgment against that of the church and the councils, he would soon be banished from the empire, and then would have no defense. To this appeal Luther answered: "It is impossible to preach the gospel of Christ without offense. Why, then, should the fear of danger separate me from the Lord and that divine word which alone is truth? No; I would rather give up my body, my blood, and my life."
Again he was urged to submit to the judgment of the emperor, and then he would have nothing to fear. "I consent," said he in reply, "with all my heart, that the emperor, the princes, and even the humblest Christian, should examine and judge my writings; but on one condition, that they take God's word for their guide. Men have nothing to do but render obedience to that. My conscience is in dependence upon that word, and I am the subject of its authority."
To another appeal he said, "I consent to forego my safe-conduct, and resign my person and my life to the emperor's disposal; but as to the word of God--never!" He stated his willingness to submit to the decision of a general council, but only on condition that the council be required to decide according to the Scriptures. But his unwavering firmness was the means of emancipating the church and beginning a new and better era. The power and majesty of God stood forth above the counsel of men, above the mighty power of Satan.
White, Ellen, Spirit of Prophecy, Volume 4, Pp. 138-140 (1884)
"This imperial majesty commands you to return home in the space of twenty-one days, and forbids you to disturb the public peace on your road, either by preaching or by writing." Luther felt clearly that this message was the beginning of his condemnation. now he had to take leave of his friend, and fly far from them, beneath a sky lowering with tempests. With all his heart he gave God the glory. "The devil himself," said he, "guarded the pope's citadel; but Christ has made a wide breach in it, and Satan was constrained to confess that the Lord is mightier than he." The princes of the church came out to meet a monk.
Aleander triumphed. He held in his hand two copies of the edict against Luther immediately sent the decree to the printers and forwarded it to every part of Christendom. "Satan himself under the form of a man and dressed in a monk's frock we forbid you to harbor the said Luther after the appointed term shall be expired, to conceal him, to give him food or drink. We enjoin you, moreover, to seize him, or cause him to be seized, wherever you may find him. As for his adherents, you will apprehend them, confine them, and confiscate their property." The emperor himself had spoken, and the diet had ratified his decree. All the partisans of Rome burst into a shout of triumph. "It is the end of the tragedy."
D'Aubigne, History of the Reformation, Book 7, Chapter 9, Pp. 276-293
Luther was soon commanded by the authority of the emperor to return home, and he knew that his notice would speedily be followed by his condemnation. Threatening clouds overhung his path; but as he departed from Worms, his heart was filled with joy and praise. "Satan himself", said he, "kept the pope's citadel; but Christ has made a wide breach in it, and the devil has been compelled to confess that Christ is mightier than he." On this journey the Reformer received the most flattering attentions from all classes. Dignitaries of the church welcomed the monk upon whom the pope's curse rested, and secular officers honored the man who was under the ban of the empire.
He had not been long absent from Worms, when the papists prevailed upon the emperor to issue an edict against him. In this decree Luther was denounced as "Satan himself under the semblance of a man in a monk's hood." It was commanded that as soon as his safe-conduct should expire, measures be taken to stop his work. All persons were forbidden to harbor him, to give him food or drink, or by word or act, in public or private, to aid or abet him. He was to be seized wherever he might be, and delivered to the authorities. His adherents also were to be imprisoned, and their property confiscated. His writings were to be destroyed, and finally, all who should dare to act contrary to this decree were included in its condemnation. The emperor had spoken, and the Diet had given its sanction to the decree. The Romanists were jubilant. Now they considered the fate of the Reformation sealed.
White, Ellen, Spirit of Prophecy, Volume 4, Pp. 140-141 (1884)
On the next morning he resumed his journey. In this lonely spot the reformer's fate was to be decided a sudden noise was heard, and immediately five horsemen, masked and armed from head to foot, sprung upon the travellers. God had been pleased to conduct him to a place of repose and peace. On the summit was an old castle, surrounded on all sides. It was to this lofty and isolated fortress, named the Wartburg, that Luther was conducted and yet this abduction had been so mysteriously contrived, that even Frederick was for a long time ignorant of the place where Luther was shut up. The spring passed away; summer, autumn, and winter succeeded; and still the walls of the Wartburg enclosed their prisoner. Aleander triumphed; the Reformation appeared lost. But God reigns and the blow that seemed as if it would destroy the cause of the gospel, did but contribute to save its courageous minister, and to extend the light of faith to distant countries.
D'Aubigne, History of the Reformation, Book 7, Chapter 9, Pp. 293-297
with the co-operation of true friends, the elector's purpose was carried out, and Luther was effectually hidden from friends and foes. Upon his homeward journey, he was seized, separated from his attendants, and hurriedly conveyed through the forests to the castle of Wartburg, an isolate mountain fortress. Both his seizure and his concealment were so involved in mystery that even Frederick himself for a long time knew not whither he had been conducted.
White, Ellen, Spirit of Prophecy, Volume 4, Pp. 141 (1884)
Luther's calmness was not of long duration. Seated in loneliness on the ramparts of the Wartburg, he remained whole days lost in deep mediation. At one time the church appeared before him, displaying all her wretchedness, at another, directing his eyes hopefully towards heaven, he could exclaim, "Wherefore, O Lord, hast thou made all men in vain?" Psalm 89:48. And then giving way to despair, he cried with dejection, "Alas, there is no one in this latter day of his anger, to stand like a wall before the Lord, and save Israel." Then recurring to his own destiny, he feared lest he should be accused of deserting the field of battle, and this supposition weighted down his soul. The poor monk, solitary and a prisoner, had many a combat to fight alone. A multitude of writings composed in the Wartburg, succeeded each other rapidly, and the beloved voice of the reformer was everywhere hailed with enthusiasm.
The captivity of the Wartburg separates these two periods. Providence which was making ready to give so great an impulse to the Reformation, had prepared its progress by leading into profound retirement the instrument destined to effect it. The work seemed for a time buried with the workman; but the seed must be laid in the earth, that it may bring forth fruit; and from this prison, which seemed to be the reformer's tomb, the Reformation was destined to go forth to new conquests, and to spread erelong over the whole world.
Hitherto the Reformation had been centered in the person of Luther. His appearance before the diet of Worms was doubtless the sublimest day of his life. His character appeared at that time almost spotless; and it is this which has given rise to the observation, that if God, who concealed the reformer for ten months within the walls of the Wartburg, had that instant removed him for ever from the eyes of the world his end would have been as an apotheosis. But God designs no apotheosis for his servant; and Luther was preserved to the church, in order to teach, by his very faults that the faith of Christians should be based on the word of God alone. He was transported suddenly far from the stage on which the great revolution of the sixteenth century was taking place; the truth, that for four years he had so powerfully proclaimed, continued in his absence to act upon Christendom; and the work of which he was but the feeble instrument, henceforward bore the seal not of man, but of God himself.
D'Aubigne, History of the Reformation, Book 7, Chapter 1, 2, Pp. 1-24
In the friendly security of the Wartburg, Luther for a time rejoiced in his release from the heat and turmoil of battle. But he could not long find satisfaction in quiet and repose. In those solitary days, the condition of the church rose up before him, and he cried in despair, "Alas! There is no one in this latter day of His anger to stand like a wall before the Lord and save Israel!" Again, his thoughts returned to himself, and he feared being charged with cowardice to withdrawing from the contest. Then he reproached himself for his indolence and self-indulgence. Yet at the same time he was daily accomplishing more than it seemed possible for one man to do. His pen was never idle. While his enemies flattered themselves that he was silenced, they were astonished and confused by tangible proof that he was still active. A host of tracts, issuing from his pen, circulated throughout Germany.
But it was not merely to preserve Luther from the wrath of his enemies, nor even to afford him a season of quiet for these important labors, that God had withdrawn his servant from the stage of public life. There were results more precious than these to be secured. In the solitude and obscurity of his mountain retreat, Luther was removed from earthly supports, and shut out from human praise. He was thus saved from the pride and self-confidence that are so often caused by success. By suffering and humiliation he was prepared again to walk safely upon the dizzy heights to which he had been so suddenly exalted.
As men rejoice in the freedom which the truth brings them, they are inclined to extol those whom God has employed to break the chains of error and superstition. Satan seeks to divert men's thoughts and affections from God, and fix them upon human agencies; to honor the mere instrument, and to ignore the Hand that directs all the events of providence. Too often, religious leaders who are thus praised and reverenced loss sight of their dependence upon God, and are led to trust in themselves. As a result, they seek to control the minds and consciences of the people, who are disposed to look to them for guidance instead of looking to the word of God. The work of reform is often retarded because of the spirit indulged by its supporters. From this danger, God would guard the cause of the Reformation. He desired that work to receive, not the impress of man, but of God. The eyes of men had been turned to Luther as the expounder of the truth; he was removed that all eyes might be directed to the eternal Author of truth.
White, Ellen, Spirit of Prophecy, Volume 4, Pp. 142-143 (1884)