« PreviousContinue »
the goose, which is only a domestic bird, a peaceable creature, and whose flight is not very far in the air, has nevertheless broken into their toils, other birds soaring more boldly towards the sky, will break through them with still greater force. Instead of a feeble goose, the truth will send forth eagles and keen-eyed vultures." This was fulfilled in the Reformation a hundred years later. When Huss was brought to the stake and the fagots were piled up around him, he said to those doing it, “You are now going to burn a goose [Huss signifying goose in the Bohemian language], but in a century you will have a swan, whom you can neither roast nor boil." This surely was fulfilled in Martin Luther.
We might mention many other forerunners of the Reformation, but space will not permit. These men who preceded the work of Luther were only preparing the way for a mighty overturning of the powers of the papacy, a work which was effected in the Sixteenth Century Reformation.
Martin Luther was born at Eisleben on Nov. 10, 1483. He was educated in the university at Erfurt. In 1507 he was ordained a priest; in 1509 he became a bachelor of theology and commenced lecturing on the Holy Scriptures. God revealed to this man the glorious truths of justification by faith. The Roman church and religion was made up largely of works, doing penance, etc. But when God revealed to the reformer the truth of justification by faith, he began to herald the same forth with all the powers and energies which God gave him. From the time he nailed the ninety-nine theses on the church door in Wittenberg, Germany, a new epoch in the church began.
Luther had a faithful colaborer by the name of Melanchthon. Their works spread rapidly over Germany. Thousands upon thousands threw away the galling yokes imposed upon them by the Catholic church and came out into the clear light.
About the same time that Luther was preaching the truth revealed to him, Menno Simons came out and also began to preach salvation from sin. About this time Zwingli began to preach the truth of salvation from sin throughout Switzerland. Thus the Reformation rapidly spread in every direction.
Among the noted reformers who followed Luther may be named John Calvin. Though he held some doctrines which were not Scriptural, as predestination, yet he effected a great work and led thousands out of darkness. Religious liberty came as a result of the Reformation. The great Babylon of popery was declared by Luther to be fallen, and there is no question but that at his time there was a fulfilling of the Scriptures in the calling of God's people out of her.
Not only was a great reformation the result of preaching the glorious truth of justification by faith, but those who came out under this teaching began to protest against the superstitions, the false doctrines, and the evil practises of the papacy. This set them in direct opposition against the church of Rome, and thus those who came out under the reformers were called Protestants.
There is no question but that God was in the Reformation and that he raised up such men as Luther, Melanchthon, Zwingli, Menno Simons, and Calvin to lead the people of God out from under the galling yokes imposed upon them by the church of Rome into a blessed Christian liberty and enjoyment of the privileges of the gospel. Though the reformers did not have the clear light as it shone in the days of primitive Christianity, yet the truth that they did preach, coming as it did out of the utter darkness that had covered the earth for more than one thousand years, was like brilliant rays of light from heaven. Thousands upon thousands rejoiced in that light and embraced it.