What Saith the Scripture?


Phila delphia > The History of Protestantism by J. A. Wylie

The History of Protestantism
Volume Second - Book Tenth

J. A. Wylie

James A. Wylie

A Voice from the Philadelphian Church Age
  Wisdom is justified.

J. A. Wylie As I Knew Him ---New Window
by C. A. Salmond, M.A., Edinburgh, 1890

by Rev. James Aitken Wylie, LL.D.

Author of "The Papacy," "Daybreak in Spain," &c.

"Protestantism, the sacred cause of God's Light and Truth
against the Devil's Falsity and Darkness."

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London, Paris & New York.

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Table of Contents



Germany -causes disposing it toward the New Movement — Central Position — Free Towns — Sobriety and Morality of the People — Switzerland — The Swiss — Hardy-Lovers of Liberty — The New Liberty — Some Accept, some Refuse —France— Its Greatness — Protestantism in France Glorified by its Martyrs — Retribution — Bohemia and Hungary— Protestantism Flourishes there — Extinction by Austrian Tyranny — Holland — Littleness of the Country—Heroism — Holland raised to Greatness by the Struggle — Belgium — Begins Well — Faints — Sinks down under the Two-fold Yoke of Religious and Secular Despotism.
Italy — Shall Italy be a Disciple of the Goth? — Pride in the Past her Stumbling-block — Spain — The Moslem Dominancy — It Intensifies Spanish Bigotry — Protestantism to be Glorified in Spain by Martyrdom — Preparations for ultimate Triumph — England — Wicliffe — Begins the New Times — Rapid View of Progress from Wicliffe to Henry VIII. — Character of the King — His Quarrel with the Pope — Protestantism Triumphs — Scotland.
Influence of Germany on Sweden and Denmark — Planting of Christianity in Sweden — A Mission Church till the Eleventh Century — Organized by Rome in the Twelfth — Wealth and Power of the Clergy — Misery of the Kingdom — Arcimbold — Indulgences — Christian II. of Denmark — Settlement of Calmar — Christian II. Subdues the Swedes — Cruelties — He is Expelled — Gustavus Vasa — Olaf and Lawrence Patersen — They begin to Teach the Doctrines of Luther — They Translate the Bible — Proposed Translation by the Priests — Suppression of Protestant Version Demanded — King Refuses — A Disputation Agreed on.
Programme of Debate — Twelve Points — Authority of the Fathers — Power of the Clergy — Can Ecclesiastical Decrees Bind the Conscience? — Power of Excommunication — The Pope's Primacy — Works or Grace, which saves? — Has Monkery warrant in Scripture? — Question of the Institution of the Lord's Supper — Purgatory — Intercession of the Saints — Lessons of the Conference — Conscience Quickened by the Bible produced the Reformation.
The Battles of Religion — More Fruitful than those of Kings — Consequences of the Upsala Conference — The King adopts a Reforming Policy — Clergy Refuse the War-levy — Conference respecting Ecclesiastical Possessions and Immunities — Secret Compact of Bishops — A Civil War imminent — Vasa threatens to Abdicate — Diet resolves to Receive the Protestant Religion — 13,000 Estates Surrendered by the Romish Church — Reformation in 1527 — Coronation of Vasa — Ceremonies and Declaration — Reformation Completed in 1529 — Doctrine and Worship of the Reformed Church of Sweden — Old Ceremonies Retained — Death and Character of Gustavus Vasa — Eric XIV. — John — The "Red Book " — Relapse — A Purifying Fire.
Ebb in Swedish Protestantism — Sigismund a Candidate for the Throne-His Equivocal Promise — Synod of Upsala, 1593 — Renew their Adherence to the Augsburg Confession — Abjure the "Red Book" — Their Measure of Toleration — The Nation joyfully Adheres to the Declaration of the Upsala Convocation — Sigismund Refuses to Subscribe — The Diet Withholds the Crown — He Signs and is Crowned — His Short Reign — Charles IX. — His Death — A Prophecy.
Paul Elia — Inclines to Protestantism — Returns to Rome — Petrus Parvus — Code of Christian II. — The New Testament in Danish — Georgius Johannis — Johannis Taussanus — Studies at Cologne — Finds Access to Luther's Writings — Repairs to Wittemberg — Returns to Denmark — Re-enters the Monastery of Antvorskoborg — Explains the Bible to the Monks — Transferred to the Convent of Viborg — Expelled from the Convent — Preaches in the City — Great Excitement in Viborg, and Alarm of the Bishops — Resolve to invite Doctors Eck and Cochlaeus to Oppose Taussan — Their Letter to Eck — Their Picture of Lutheranism — Their Flattery of Eck — He Declines the Invitation.
Paul Elia Opposes — Harangues the Soldiery in the Citadel — Tumults — The King summons a Meeting of the Estates at Odensee — His Address to the Bishops — Edict of Toleration — Church-Song — Ballad-Poetry of Denmark — Out-burst of Sacred Psalmody — Nicolaus Martin — Preaches outside the Walls of Malmoe — Translates the German Hymns into Danish — The Psalms Translated — Sung Universally in Denmark — Nicolaus Martin Preaches inside Malmoe — Theological College Established there — Preachers sent through Denmark — Taussan Removed to Copenhagen — New Translation of the New Testament.
The King summons a Conference — Forty-three Articles of the Protestants — Agreement with the Augsburg Confession — Romanist Indictment against Protestants — Its Heads — In what Language shall the Debate take place? — Who shall be Judge? — The Combat Declined at the Eleventh Hour — Declaration of Protestant Pastors — Proclamation of the King — Dissolution of the Monasteries, etc.. — Establishment of Protestantism — Transformation undergone by Denmark.
Scheme for Restoring the Old Faith Abortive — Unsuccessful Invasion of the Country by Christian II. — Death of the King — Interregnum of Two Years — Priestly Plottings and Successes — Taussan Condemned to Silence and Exile — The Senators Besieged by an Armed Mob in the Senate House — Taussan given up — Bishops begin to Persecute — Inundations, etc. — Christian III. Ascends the Throne — Subdues a Revolt — Assembles the Estates at Copenhagen — The Bishops Abolished — New Ecclesiastical Constitution framed, 1547 — Bugenhagen — The Seven Superintendents — Bugenhagen Crowns the King — Denmark Flourishes — Establishment of Protestantism in Norway and Iceland.


A feature of our version of "The History of Protestantism" is an index to the entire 24 books of J. A. Wylie's prodigious account of Christianity's remonstrance against the errors of the Church of Rome. The index will assist you in finding the location of KEY words in the text, so that you may research Wylie's library without the time and difficulty of reading every single book. "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the Word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so" (Acts 17:11).



CHAPTER 1 Back to Top


Germany -causes disposing it toward the New Movement — Central Position — Free Towns — Sobriety and Morality of the People — Switzerland — The Swiss — Hardy-Lovers of Liberty — The New Liberty — Some Accept, some Refuse —France— Its Greatness — Protestantism in France Glorified by its Martyrs — Retribution — Bohemia and Hungary— Protestantism Flourishes there — Extinction by Austrian Tyranny — Holland — Littleness of the Country—Heroism — Holland raised to Greatness by the Struggle — Belgium — Begins Well — Faints — Sinks down under the Two-fold Yoke of Religious and Secular Despotism.

WHAT we have already narrated is only the opening of the great drama in some of the countries of Christendom. Protestantism was destined to present itself at the gates of all the kingdoms of Europe. Thither must we follow it, and chronicle the triumphs it obtained in some of them, the defeat it sustained in others. But first let us take a panoramic view of the various countries, as respects the state of their peoples and their preparedness for the great, spiritual movement which was about to enter their territories. This will enable us to understand much that is to follow. In these opening Chapters we shall summarize the moral revolutions, with the national splendors in some cases, the national woes in others, that attended them, the historical record of which will occupy the pages that are to follow.

In some countries Protestantism made steady and irresistible advance, and at last established itself amid the triumphs of art and the higher blessings of free and stable government. In others, alas! it failed to find any effectual entrance. Though thousands of martyrs died to open its way, it was obliged to retire before an overwhelming array of stakes and scaffolds, leaving the barriers of these unhappy countries, as France and Spain, for instance, to be forced open by ruder instrumentality's at a later day. To the gates at which the Reformation had knocked in vain in the sixteenth century, came Revolution in the eighteenth in a tempest of war and bloody insurrections.

During the profound night that shrouded Europe for so many centuries, a few lights appeared at intervals on the horizon. They were sent to minister a little solace to those who waited for the dawn, and to give assurance to men that the "eternal night," to use the pagan phrase, had not descended upon the earth. In the middle of the fourteenth century, Wicliffe appeared in England; and nearly half a century later, Huss and Jerome arose in Bohemia. These blessed lights, welcome harbinger of morn — nay, that morn itself — cheered men for a little space; but still the day tarried. A century rolls away, and now the German sky begins to brighten, and the German plains to glow with a new radiance. Is it day that looks forth, or is it but a deceitful gleam, fated to be succeeded by another century of gloom? No! the times of the darkness are fulfilled, and the command has gone forth for the gates to open and day to shine in all its effulgence.

Both the place and the hour were opportune for the appearance of the Reformer. Germany was a tolerably central spot. The great lines of communication lay through it. Emperors visited it at times; imperial Diets were often held in it, which brought thither, in crowds princes, philosophers, and scribes., and attracted the gaze of many more who did not come in person. It had numerous free towns in which mechanical arts and burghal rights flourished together.

Other countries were at that moment less favorably situated. France was devoted to arms, Spain was wrapped up in its dignity, and yet more in its bigotry, which had just been intensified by the presence on its soil of a rival superstition — Islam namely — which had seized the fairest of its provinces, and displayed its symbols from the walls of the proudest of its cities. Italy, guarded by the Alps, lay drowned in pleasure. England was parted from the rest of Europe by the sea. Germany was the country which most largely fulfilled the conditions required in the spot where the second cradle of the movement should be placed. In its sympathies, sentiments, and manners Germany was more ecumenical than any other country; it belonged more to Christendom, and was, moreover, the connecting link between Asia and Europe, for the commerce of the two hemispheres was carried across it, though not wholly so now, for the invention of the mariner's compass had opened new channels for trade, and new routes for the navigator.

If we consider the qualities of the people, there was no nation on the Continent so likely to welcome this movement and to yield themselves to it. The Germans had escaped, in some degree, the aestheticism which had emasculated the intellect, and the vice which had embruted the manners of the southern nations. They retained to a large extent the simplicity of life which had so favorably distinguished their ancestors; they were frugal, industrious, and sober-minded. A variety of causes had scattered among them the seeds of a coming liberty, and its first sproutings were seen in the interrogatories they were beginning to put to themselves, why it should be necessary to import all their opinions from beyond the Alps, where the people were neither better, braver, nor wiser than themselves. They could not understand why nothing orthodox should grow save in Italian soil.

Here, then, marked by many signs, was the spot where a movement whose forces were stirring below the surface in many countries, was most likely to show itself. The dissensions and civil broils, the din of which had distracted the German people for a century previous, were now silenced, as if to permit the voice that was about to address them to be the more distinctly heard, and the more reverentially listened to.

From the German plains we turn to the mountains of Switzerland. The Swiss knew how to bear toil, to brave peril, and to die for liberty. These qualities they owed in a great degree to the nature of their soil, the grandeur of their mountains, and the powerful and ambitious States in their neighborhood, which made it necessary for them to study less peaceful occupations than that of tending their herds, and gave them frequent opportunities of displaying their courage in sterner contests than those they waged with the avalanches and tempests of their hills. Now it was France and now it was Austria, which attempted to become master of their country, and its valorous sons had to vindicate their right to independence on many a bloody field. A higher liberty than that for which Tell had contended, or the patriots of St. Jacob and Morat had poured out their blood, now offered itself to the Swiss. Will they accept it? It only needed that the yoke of Rome should be broken, as that of Austria had already been, to perfect their freedom. And it seemed as if this happy lot was in store for this land. Before Luther's name was known in Switzerland, the Protestant movement had already broken out; and, under Zwingli, whose views on some points were even clearer than those of Luther, Protestantism for awhile rapidly progressed. But the stage in this case was less conspicuous, and the champion less powerful, and the movement in Switzerland failed to acquire the breadth of the German one. The Swiss mind, like the Swiss land, is partitioned and divided, and does not always grasp a whole subject, or combine in one unbroken current the entire sentiment and action of the people. Factions sprang up; the warlike Forest Cantons took the side of Rome; arms met arms, and the first phase of the movement ended with the life of its leader on the fatal field of Cappel. A mightier champion was to resume the battle which had been lost under Zwingli: but that champion had not yet arrived. The disaster which had overtaken the movement in Switzerland had arrested it, but had not extinguished it. The light of the new day continued to brighten on the shores of its lakes, and in the cities of its plains; but the darkness lingered in those deep and secluded valleys over which the mighty forms of the Oberland Alps hang in their glaciers and snows. The five Forest Cantons had led gloriously in the campaign against Austria; but they were not to have the honor of leading in this second and greater battle. They had fought valorously for political freedom; but that liberty which is the palladium of all others they knew not to value.

To France came Protestantism in the sixteenth century, with its demand, "Open that I may enter." But France was too magnificent a country to become a convert to Protestantism. Had that great kingdom embraced the Reformation, the same century which witnessed the birth would have witnessed also the triumph of Protestantism; but at what a cost would that triumph have been won! The victory would have been ascribed to the power, the learning, and the genius of France; and the moral majesty of the movement would have been obscured if not wholly eclipsed. The Author of Protestantism did not intend that it should borrow the carnal weapons of princes, or owe thanks to the wisdom of the schools, or be a debtor to men. A career more truly sublime was before it. It was to foil armies, to stain the glory of philosophy, to trample on the pride of power; but itself was to bleed and suffer, and to go onwards, its streaming wounds its badges of rank, and its "sprinkled raiment" its robe of honor. Accordingly in France, though the movement early displayed itself, and once and again enlisted in its support the greater part of the intelligence and genius and virtue of the French people, France it never Protestantized. The state remained Roman Catholic all along (for the short period of equivocal policy on the part of Henry IV. is no exception); but the penalty exacted, and to this day not fully discharged, was a tremendous one. The bloody wars of a century, the destruction of order, of industry, and of patriotism, the sudden and terrible fall of the monarchy amid the tempests of revolution, formed the price which France had to pay for the fatal choice she made at that grand crisis of her fate.

Let us turn eastward to Bohemia and Hungary. They were once powerful Protestant centers, their proud position in this respect being due to the heroism of Huss and Jerome of Prague. Sanctuaries of the Reformed faith, in which pastors holy in life and learned in doctrine ministered to flourishing congregations, rose in all the cities and rural districts. But these countries lay too near the Austrian Empire to be left unmolested. As when the simoom passes over the plain, brushing from its surface with its hot breath the flowers and verdure that cover it, and leaving only an expanse of withered herbs, so passed the tempest of Austrian bigotry over Bohemia and Hungary. The Protestantism of these lands was utterly exterminated. Their sons died on the battle-field or perished on the scaffold. Silent cities, fields untilled, the ruins of churches and houses, so lately the abodes of a thriving, industrious, and orderly population, testified to the thorough and unsparing character of that zeal which, rather than that these regions should be the seat of Protestantism, converted them into a blackened and silent waste. The records of these persecutions were long locked up in the imperial archives; but the sepulcher has been opened; the wrongs which were inflicted by the court of Austria on its Protestant subjects, and the perfidies with which it was attempted to cover these wrongs, may now be read by all; and the details of these events will form part of the sad and harrowing pages that are to follow.

The next theater of Protestantism must detain us a little. The territory to which we now turn is a small one, and was as obscure as small till the Reformation came and shed a halo around it, as if to show that there is no country so diminutive which a great principle cannot glorify. At the mouth of the Rhine is the little Batavia. France and Spain thought and spoke of this country, when they thought and spoke of it at all, with contempt. A marshy flat, torn from the ocean by the patient labor of the Dutch, and defended by mud dykes, could in no respect compare with their own magnificent realms. Its quaking soil and moist climate were in meet accordance with the unpoetic race of which it was the dwelling-place. No historic ray lighted up its past, and no generous art or chivalrous feat illustrated its present. Yet this despised country suddenly got the start of both France and Spain. As when some obscure peak touched by the sun flashes into the light, and is seen over kingdoms, so Holland:, in this great morning, illumined by the torch of Protestantism, kindled into a glory which attracted the gaze of all Europe. It seemed as if a more, than Roman energy had been suddenly grafted upon the phlegmatic Batavian nature.

On that new soil feats of arms were performed in the cause of religion and liberty, which nothing in the annals of ancient Italy surpasses, and few things equal. Christendom owed much at that crisis of its history to the devotion and heroism of this little country. Wanting Holland, the great battle of the sixteenth century might not have reached the issue to which it was brought; nor might the advancing tide of Romish and Spanish tyranny have been stemmed and turned back.

Holland had its reward. Disciplined by its terrible struggle, it became a land of warriors, of statesmen, and of scholars. It founded universities, which were the lights of Christendom during the age that succeeded; it created a commerce which extended to both hemispheres; and its political influence was acknowledged in all the Cabinets of Europe. As the greatness of Holland had grown with its Protestantism, so it declined when its Protestantism relapsed. Decay speedily followed its day of power; but long afterwards its Protestantism again began to return, and with it began to return the wealth, the prosperity, and the influence of its better age.

We cross the frontier and pass into Belgium. The Belgians began well. They saw the legions of Spain, which conquered sometimes by their reputed invincibility even before they had struck a blow, advancing to offer them the alternative of surrendering their consciences or surrendering their lives. They girded on the sword to fight for their ancient privileges and their newly-adopted faith; for the fields which their skillful labor had made fruitful as a garden, and the cities which their taste had adorned and their industry enriched with so many marvels. But the Netherlanders fainted in the day of battle. The struggle, it is true, was a sore one; yet not more so to the Belgians than to the Hollanders: but while the latter held out, waxing ever the more resolute as the tempest grew ever the more fierce, till through an ocean of blood they had waded to liberty, the former became dismayed, their strength failed them in the way, and they ingloriously sank down under the double yoke of Philip and of Rome.

CHAPTER 2 Back to Top


Italy — Shall Italy be a Disciple of the Goth? — Pride in the Past her Stumbling-block — Spain — The Moslem Dominancy — It Intensifies Spanish Bigotry — Protestantism to be Glorified in Spain by Martyrdom — Preparations for ultimate Triumph — England — Wicliffe — Begins the New Times — Rapid View of Progress from Wicliffe to Henry VIII. — Character of the King — His Quarrel with the Pope — Protestantism Triumphs — Scotland.

PROTESTANTISM crossed the Alps and essayed to gather round its standard the historic nations of Italy and Spain. To the difficulties that met it everywhere, other and peculiar ones were added in this new field. Unstrung by indolence, and enervated by sensuality, the Italians had no ear but for soft cadences, no eye but for aesthetic ceremonies, and no heart but for a sensual and sentimental devotion. Justly had its great poet Tasso, speaking of his native Italy, called it —

"this Egyptian land of woe,
Teeming with idols, and their monstrous train."

And another of her poets, Guidiccioni. called upon her to shake off her corrupting and shameful languor, but called in vain —

"Buried in sleep of indolence profound
So many years, at length awake and rise,
My native land, enslaved because unwise."

The new faith which demanded the homage of the Italians was but little in harmony with their now strongly formed tastes and dearly cherished predilections. Severe in its morals, abstract in its doctrines, and simple and spiritual in its worship, it appeared cold as the land from which it had come - a root out of a dry ground, without form or comeliness. Her pride took offense. Was Italy to be a disciple of the Goth? Was she to renounce the faith which had been handed down to her from early times, stamped with the approval of so many apostolic names and sealed with the sanction of so many Councils, and in the room of this venerated worship to embrace a religion born but yesterday in the forests of Germany? She must forget all her past before she could become Protestant. That a new day should dawn in the North appeared to her just as unnatural as that the sun, reversing his course, should rise in that quarter of the sky in which it is wont to set.

Nowhere had Christianity a harder battle to fight in primitive times than at Jerusalem and among the Jews, the descendants of the patriarchs. They had the chair of Moses, and they refused to listen to One greater than Moses; they had the throne of David, to which, though fallen, they continued to cling, and they rejected the scepter of Him who was David's Son and Lord. In like manner the Italians had two possessions, in which their eyes were of more value than a hundred Reformations. They had the capital of the world, and the chair of St. Peter. These were the precious legacy which the past had bequeathed to them, attesting the apostolicity of their descent, and forming, as they accounted them, the indubitable proofs that Providence had placed amongst them the fountain of the Faith, and the seat of universal spiritual dominion. To become Protestant was to renounce their birth-right. So clinging to these empty signs they missed the great substance. Italy preferred her Pope to the Gospel.

When we cross the Pyrenees and enter Spain, we find a people who are more likely, so one would judge, to give Protestantism a sympathetic welcome. Grave, earnest, self-respectful, and naturally devotional, the Spaniard possesses many of the best elements of character. The characteristic of the Italy of that day was pleasure, of Spain we should say it was passion and adventure. Love and song filled the one, feats of knight-errantry were the cherished delights of the other. But, unhappily, political events of recent occurrence had indisposed the Spanish mind to listen to the teachings of Protestantism, and had made the maintenance of their old orthodoxy a point of honor with that people. The infidel Saracen had invaded their country, had reft from them Andalusia, the garden of Spain, and in some of their fairest cities the mosque had replaced the cathedral, and the adoration of Mohammed had been substituted for the worship of Christ. These national humiliations had only tended to inflame the religious enthusiasm of the Spaniards. The detestation in which they held the crescent was extended to all alien creeds. All forms of worship, their own excepted, they had come to associate with the occupancy of a foreign race, and the dominancy of a foreign yoke. They had now driven the Saracen out of their country, and torn the standard of the Prophet from the walls of Granada; but they felt that they would be traitors to the sign in which they had conquered, should they renounce the faith for the vindication of which they had expelled the hosts of the infidel, and cleansed their land from the pollution of Islam.

Another circumstance unfavorable to Spain's reception of Protestantism was its geographical situation. The Spaniards were more remote from the Papal seat than the Italians, and their veneration for the Roman See was in proportion to their distance from it. They viewed the acts of the Pope through a halo which lent enchantment to them. The irregularities of the Papal lives and the scandals of the Roman court were not by any means so well known to them as to the Romans, and even though they had been so, they did not touch them so immediately as they did the natives of Italy.

Besides, the Spaniards of that age were much engrossed in other matters. If Italy doted on her past, Spain was no less carried away with the splendid future that seemed to be opening to her. The discovery of America by Columbus, the scarce less magnificent territories which the enterprise of other navigators and discoverers had subjected to her scepter in the East, the varied riches which flowed in upon her from all these dependencies, the terror of her arms, the luster of her name, all contributed to blind Spain, and to place her in antagonism to the new movement. Why not give her whole strength to the development of those many sources of political power and material prosperity which had just been opened to her? Why distract herself by engaging in theological controversies and barren speculations! Why abandon a faith under which she had become great, and was likely to become greater still. Protestantism might be true, but Spain had no time, and less inclination, to investigate its truth. Appearances were against it; for was it likely that German monks should know better than her own learned priests, or that brilliant thoughts should emanate from the seclusion of Northern cells and the gloom of Northern forests?

Still the Spanish mind, in the sixteenth century, discovered no small aptitude for the teachings of Protestantism. Despite the adverse circumstances to which we have referred, the Reformation was not without disciples in Spain. If a small, nowhere was there a more brilliant band of converts to Protestantism. The names of men illustrious for their rank, for their scholarship, and for their talents, illustrate the list of Spanish Protestants. Many wealthy burgesses also became converts; and had not the throne and the priesthood — both powerful — combined to keep Spain Roman Catholic, Protestantism would have triumphed. A single decade had almost enabled it to do so. But the Reformation had crossed the Pyrenees to win no triumph of this kind. Spain, like France, was too powerful and wealthy a country to become Protestant with safety to Protestantism. Its conversion at that stage would have led to the corruption of the principle: the triumph of the movement would have been its undoing, for there is no maxim more certain than this, that if a spiritual cause triumphs through material and political means, it triumphs at the cost of its own life. Protestantism had entered Spain to glorify itself by martyrdom.

It was destined to display its power not at the courts of the Alhambra and Escurial, but on the burning grounds of Madrid and Seville. Thus in Spain, as in many other countries, the great business of Protestantism in the sixteenth century was the origination of moral forces, which, being deathless, would spread and grow from age to age till at length, with silent but irresistible might, the Protestant cause would be borne to sovereignty. It remains that we speak of one other country.—

"Hedged in with the main,
That water-walled bulwark, still secure
And confident from foreign purposes,"

England had it very much in her option, on almost all occasions, to mingle in the movements and strifes that agitated the nations around her, or to separate herself from them and stand aloof. The reception she might give to Protestantism would, it might have been foreseen, be determined to a large extent by considerations and influences of a home kind, more so than in the case of the nations which we have already passed in review.

Providence had reserved a great place for Britain in the drama of Protestantism. Long before the sixteenth century it had given significant pledges of the part it would play in the coming movement. In truth the first of all the nations to enter on the path of Reform was England.

When the time drew nigh for the Master, who was gone fourteen hundred years before into a far country, to return, and call His servants to account previously to receiving the kingdom, He sent a messenger before Him to prepare men for the coming of that "great and terrible day." That messenger was John Wicliffe. In many points Wicliffe bore a striking resemblance to the Elijah of the Old Dispensation, and John the Baptist of the New; and notably in this, that he was the prophet of a new age, which was to be ushered in with terrible shakings and revolutions. In minor points even we trace a resemblance between Wicliffe and the men who filled in early ages a not dissimilar office to that which he was called to discharge when the modern times were about to begin. All three are alike in the startling suddenness of their appearance. Descending from the mountains of Gilead, Elijah presents himself all at once in the midst of Israel, now apostate from Jehovah, and addresses to them the call to "Return." From the deserts of Judah, where he had made his abode till the day of his "showing unto Israel," John came to the Jews, now sunk in traditionalism and Pharasaic observances, and said, "Repent." From the darkness of the Middle Ages, without note of warning, Wicliffe burst upon the men of the fourteenth century, occupied in scholastic subtleties and sunk in ceremonialism, and addressed to them the call to "Reform."

"Repent," said he, "for the great era of reckoning is come. There cometh one after me, mightier than I. His fan is in His hand, and He will throughly purge His floor, and gather the wheat into the garner; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire."

Even in his personal appearance Wicliffe recalls the picture which the Bible has left us of his great predecessors. The Tishbite and the Baptist seem again to stand before us. The erect and meager form, with piercing eye and severe brow, clad in a long black mantle, with a girdle round the middle, how like the men whose raiment was of camel's hair. and who had a leathern girdle upon their loins, and whose meat was locusts and wild honey!

In the great lineaments of their character how like are all the three! Wicliffe has a marked individuality. No one of the Fathers of the early Church exactly resembles him. We must travel back to the days of the Baptist and of the Tishbite to find his like — austere, incorruptible, inflexible, fearless. His age is inconceivably corrupt, but he is without stain. He appears among men, but he is not seen to mingle with them. Solitary, without companion or yoke-fellow, he does his work alone. In his hand is the axe: sentence has gone forth against every corrupt tree, and he has come to cut it down.

Beyond all doubt Wicliffe was the beginning of modern times. His appearance marked the close of an age of darkness, and the commencement of one of Reformation. It is not more true that John stood on the dividing line between the Old and New Dispensations, than that the appearance of Wicliffe marked a similar boundary. Behind him were the times of ignorance mid superstition, before him the day of knowledge and truth. Previous to Wicliffe, century succeeded century in unbroken and unvaried stagnancy. The yearn revolved, but the world stood still. The systems that had climbed to power prolonged their reign, and the nations slept in their chains. But since the age of Wicliffe the world has gone onward in the path of progress without stop or pause. His ministry was the fountain-head of a series of grand events, which have followed in rapid succession, and each of which has achieved a great and lasting advance for society. No sooner had Wicliffe uttered the first sentence of living truth than it seemed as if a seed of life, a spark of fire had been thrown into the world, for instantly motion sets in, in every department and the movement of regeneration, to which a the first touch, incessantly works its lofty platform of the sixteenth century. War and 1etters, the ambition of princes and the blood of martyrs, pioneer its way to its grand development under Luther and Calvin.

When Wicliffe was born the Papacy had just passed its noon. Its meridian glory had lasted all through the two centuries which divided the accession of Gregory VII. (1073) from the death of Boniface VIII. (1303). This period, which includes the halcyon days of Innocent III., marks the epoch of supremest dominancy, the age of uneclipsed splendor, which was meted out to the Popes. But no sooner had Wicliffe begun to preach than a wane set in of the Papal glory, which neither Council nor curia has ever since been able to arrest. And no sooner did the English Reformer stand out in bold relief before the world as the opponent of Rome, than disaster after disaster came hurrying towards the Papacy, as if in haste to weaken and destroy a power which stood between the world entrance of the new age.

Let us bestow a moment on the consideration of this series of calamities to Rome, but of emancipation to the nations. At the distance of three centuries we see continuous and systematic progress, where the observer in the midst of the events may have failed to discover aught save confusion and turmoil. First came the schism of the Popes. What tremendous loss of both political influence and moral prestige the schism inflicted on the Papacy we need not say. Next came the deposition of several Popes by the Council of Pisa and Constance, on the ground of their being notorious malefactors, leaving the world to wonder at the rashness of men who could thus cast down their own idol, and publicly vilify a sanctity which they professed to regard as not less immaculate than that of God.

Then followed an outbreak of the wars which have raged so often and so furiously between Councils and the Popes for the exclusive possession of the infallibility. The immediate result of this contest, which was to strip the Popes of this superhuman prerogative and lodge it for a time in a Council, was less important than the inquiries it originated, doubtless, in the minds of reflecting men, how far it was wise to entrust themselves to the guidance of an infallibility which was unable to discover its own seat, or tell through Whose mouth it spoke. After this there came the disastrous campaigns in bohemia. These fruitless wars gave the German nobility their first taste of how bitter was the service of Rome. That experience much cooled their ardor in her cause, and helped to pave the way for the bloodless entrance of the Lutheran Reformation upon the stage a century afterwards.

The Bohemian campaigns came to an end, but the series of events pregnant with disaster to Rome still ran on. Now broke out the wars between England and France. These brought new calamities to the Papacy. The flower of the French nobility perished on the battle-field, the throne rose to power, and as a consequence, the hold the priesthood had on France through the barons was loosened. Yet more, Out of the guilty attempt of England to subjugate France, to which Henry V. was instigated, as we have shown, by the Popish primate of the day, came the Wars of the Roses.

These dealt another heavy blow to the Papal power in Britain. On the many bloody battle-fields to which they gave rise, the English nobility was all but extinguished, and the throne, now occupied by the House of Tudor, became the power in the country. Again, as in France, the Popish priesthood was largely stripped of the power it had wielded through the weakness of the throne and the factions of the nobility.

Thus with rapid and ceaseless march did events proceed from the days of Wicliffe. There was not an event that did not help on the end in view, which was to make room in the world for the work of the Reformer. We see the mountains of human dominion leveled that the chariot of Protestantism may go forward. Whereas at the beginning of the era there was but one power paramount in Christendom, the Pope namely, by the end of it three great thrones had arisen, whose combined authority kept the tiara in check, while their own mutual jealousies and ambitions made them a cover to that movement, with which were bound up the religion and liberties of the nations.

Rome had long exercised her jurisdiction in Britain, but at no time had that jurisdiction been wholly unchallenged. One mean king, it is true, had placed his kingdom in the hands of the Pope, but the transaction did not tend to strengthen the influence of the Papacy in England. It left a ranking sense of shame behind it, which intensified the nation's resistance to the Papal claims on after occasions. From the days of King John, the opposition to the jurisdiction of Rome steadily increased; the haughty claims of her legates were withstood, and her imposts could only at times be levied. These were hopeful symptoms that at a future day, when greater light should break in, the English people would assert their freedom.

But when that day came these hopes appeared fated to be dashed by the character of the man who filled the throne. Henry VIII. possessed qualities which made him an able coadjutor, but a most formidable antagonist. Obstinate, tyrannical, impatient of contradiction, and not unfrequently meeting respectful remonstrance with transports of anger, he was as unscrupulous as he was energetic in the support of the cause he had espoused. He plumed himself not less on his theological knowledge than on his state-craft, and thought that when a king, and especially one who was a great doctor as well as a great ruler, had spoken, there ought to be an end of the controversy. Unhappily Henry VIII. had spoken in the great controversy now beginning to agitate Christendom. He had taken the side of the Pope against Luther. The decision of the king appeared to be the death-blow of the Protestant cause in England.

Yet the causes which threatened its destruction were, in the hand of God, the means of opening its way. Henry quarreled with the Pope, and in his rage against Clement he forgot Luther. A monarch of passions less strong and temper less fiery would have striven to avoid, at that moment, such a breach: but Henry's pride and headstrongness made him incapable of temporizing. The quarrel came just in time to prevent the union of the throne and the priesthood against the Reformation for the purpose of crushing it. The political arm misgave the Church of Rome, as her hand was about to descend with deadly force on the Protestant converts. While the king and the Pope were quarrelling, the Bible entered, the Gospel that brings "peace on earth" began to be preached, and thus England passed over to the side of the Reformation.

We must bestow a glance on the northern portion of the island. Scotland in that age was less happily situated, socially and politically, than England. Nowhere was the power of the Roman hierarchy greater. Both the temporal and spiritual jurisdictions were in the hands of the clergy. The powerful barons, like so many kings, had divided the country into satrapies; they made war at their pleasure, they compelled obedience, and they exacted dues, without much regard to the authority of the throne which they despised, or the rights of the people whom they oppressed.

Only in the towns of the Lowlands did a feeble independence maintain a precarious footing. The feudal system flourished in Scotland long after its foundations had been shaken, or its fabric wholly demolished, in other countries of Europe. The poverty of the nation was great, for the soil was infertile, and the husbandry wretched. The commerce of a former era had been banished by the distractions of the kingdom; and the letters and arts which had shed a transient gleam over the country some centuries earlier, were extinguished amid the growing rudeness and ignorance of the times. These powerful obstacles threatened effectually to bar the entrance of Protestantism.

But God opened its way. The newly translated Scriptures, secretly introduced, sowed the seeds of a future harvest. Next, the power of the feudal nobility was weakened by the fatal field of Flodden, and the disastrous rout at the Solway. Then the hierarchy was discredited with the people by the martyrdoms of Mill and Wishart. The minority of Mary Stuart left the kingdom without a head, and when Knox entered there was not a baron or priest in all Scotland that dared imprison or burn him. His voice rang through the land like a trumpet. The Lowland towns and shires responded to his summons; the temporal jurisdiction of the Papacy was abolished by the Parliament; its spiritual power fell before the preaching of the "Evangel," and thus Scotland placed itself in the foremost rank of Protestant countries.

CHAPTER 3 Back to Top


Influence of Germany on Sweden and Denmark — Planting of Christianity in Sweden — A Mission Church till the Eleventh Century — Organized by Rome in the Twelfth — Wealth and Power of the Clergy — Misery of the Kingdom — Arcimbold — Indulgences — Christian II. of Denmark — Settlement of Calmar — Christian II. Subdues the Swedes — Cruelties — He is Expelled — Gustavus Vasa — Olaf and Lawrence Patersen — They begin to Teach the Doctrines of Luther — They Translate the Bible — Proposed Translation by the Priests — Suppression of Protestant Version Demanded — King Refuses — A Disputation Agreed on.

IT would have been strange if the three kingdoms of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, lying on the borders of Germany, had failed to participate in the great movement that was now so deeply agitating their powerful neighbor. Many causes tended to bind together the Scandinavian and the German peoples, and to mould for them substantially the same destiny.

They were sprung of the same stock, the Teutonic; they traded with one another. Not a few native Germans were dispersed as settlers throughout Scandinavia, and when the school of Wittenberg rose into fame, the Scandinavian youth repaired thither to taste the new knowledge and sit at the feet of the great doctor of Saxony. These several links of relationship became so many channels by which the Reformed opinions entered Sweden, and its sister countries of Denmark and Norway. The light withdrew itself from the polished nations of Italy and Spain, from lands which were the ancient seats of letters and arts, chivalry, to warm with its cheering beam the inhospitable shores of the frozen North.

We go back for a moment to the first planting of Christianity in Sweden. There, although the dawn broke early, the coming of day tarried. In the year 829, Anschar, the great apostle of the North, stepped upon the shores of Sweden, bringing with him the gospel. He continued till the day of his death to watch over the seed he had been the first to sow, and to promote its growth by his unwearied labors. After him others arose who trod in his steps. But the times were barbarous, the facilities for spreading the light were few, and for 400 years Christianity had to maintain a dubious struggle in Sweden with the pagan darkness. According to Adam, of Bremen, the Swedish Church was still a mission Church in the end of the eleventh century. The people were without fixed pastors, and had only the teaching of men who limerated over the country, with the consent of the king, making converts, and administering the Sacraments to those who already had embraced the Christian faith. Not till the twelfth century do we find the scattered congregations of Sweden gathered into an organized Church, and brought into connection with the ecclesiastical institutions of the West. But this was only the prelude to a subjugation by the great conqueror. Pushing her conquests beyond what had been the Thule of pagan Rome, Rome Papal claimed to stretch her scepter over the freshly-formed community, and in the middle of the twelfth century the consolidation of the Church of Sweden was the consolidation of the Church of Sweden was completed, and linked by the usual bonds to the Pontifical chair.

From this hour the Swedish Church lacked no advantage which organization could give it. The powerful body on the Seven Hills, of which it had now become a humble member, was a perfect mistress in the art of arranging. The ecclesiastical constitution framed for Sweden comprehended an archiepiscopal see, established at Upsala, and six episcopal dioceses, viz., Linkoping, Skara, Strengnas, Westeras, Wexio, and Aabo. The condition of the kingdom became that of all countries under the jurisdiction of Rome. It exhibited a flourishing priesthood with a decaying piety. Its cathedral churches were richly endowed, and fully equipped with deans and canons; its monkish orders flourished in its cold Northern air with a luxuriance which was not outdone in the sunny lands of Italy and Spain; its cloisters were numerous, the most famous of them being Wadstena, which owed its origin to Birgitta, or Bridget, the lady whom we have already mentioned as having been three times canonized;[1] its clergy, enjoying enormous revenues, rode out attended by armed escorts, and holding their heads higher than the nobility, they aped the magnificence of princes, and even coped with royalty itself. But when we ask for a corresponding result in the intelligence and morality of the people, in the good order and flourishing condition of the agriculture and arts of the kingdom, we find, alas that there is nothing to show. The people were steeped in poverty and ground down by the oppression of their masters.

Left without instruction by their spiritual guides, with no access to the Word of God — for the Scriptures had not as yet been rendered into the Swedish tongue - with no worship save one of mere signs and ceremonies, which could convey no truth into the mind, the Christian light that had shone upon them in the previous centuries was fast fading, and a night thick as that which had enwrapped their forefathers, who worshipped as gods the bloodthirsty heroes of the Eddas and the Sagas, was closing them in. The superstitious beliefs and pagan practices of old times were returning. The country, moreover, was torn with incessant strifes. The great families battled with one another for dominion, their vassals were dragged into the fray, and thus the kingdom was little better than a chaos in which all ranks, from the monarch downwards, struggled together, each helping to consummate the misery of the other. Such was the condition in which the Reformation found the nation of Sweden.[2]

Rome, though far from intending it, lent her aid to begin the good work. To these northern lands, as to more southern ones, she sent her vendors of indulgences. In the year 1515, Pope Leo X. dispatched Johannes Angelus Arcimboldus, pronotary to the Papal See, as legate to Denmark and Sweden, commissioning him to open a sale of indulgences, and raise money for the great work the Pope had then on hand, namely, the building of St. Peter's. Father Sarpi pays this ecclesiastic the bitter compliment "that he hid under the prelate's robe the qualifications of a consumate Genoese merchant." The legate discharged his commission with indefatigable zeal. He collected vast sums of money in both Sweden and Denmark, and this gold, amounting to more than a million of florins, according to Maimbourg,[3] he sent to Rome, thus replenishing the coffers but undermining the influence of the Papal See, and giving thereby the first occasion for the introduction of Protestantism in these kingdoms.[4]

The progress of the religious movement was mixed up with and influenced by the state of political affairs. The throne of Denmark was at that time filled by Christian II., of the house of Oldenburg. This monarch had spent his youth in the society of low companions and the indulgence of low vices. His character was such as might have been expected from his education; he was brutal and tyrannical, though at times he displayed a sense of justice, and a desire to promote the welfare of his subjects. The clergy were vastly wealthy; so, too, were the nobles — they owned most of the lands; and as thus the ecclesiastical and lay aristocracy possessed an influence that overshadowed the throne, Christian took measures to reduce their power within dimensions more compatible with the rights of royalty. The opinions of Luther had begun to spread in the kingdom ere this time, and the king, quick to perceive the aid he might derive from the Reformation, sought to further it among his people. In 1520 he sent for Martin Reinhard, a disciple of Carlstadt, and appointed him Professor of Theology at Stockholm. He died within the year, and Carlstadt himself succeeded him. After a short residence, Carlstadt quitted Denmark, when Christian, still intent on rescuing the lower classes of his people from the yoke of the priesthood, invited Luther to visit his dominions. The Reformer, however, declined the invitation. In the following year (1521) Christian II. issued an edict forbidding appeals to Rome, and another encouraging priests to marry.[5] These Reforming measures, however, did not prosper. It was hardly to be expected that they should, seeing they were adopted because they accorded with a policy the main object of which was to wrest the power of oppression from the clergy, that the king might wield it himself. It was not till the next reign that the Reformation was established in Denmark.

Meanwhile we pursue the history of Christian II., which takes us back to Sweden, and opens to us the rise and progress of the Reformation in that country. And here it becomes necessary to attend first of all to the peculiar political constitution of the three kingdoms of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. By the settlement of Calmar (1397) the union of the three kingdoms, under a common sovereign, became a fundamental and irrevocable law. To secure the liberties of the States, however, it was provided that each kingdom should be governed according to its peculiar laws and customs. When Christian II. ascended the throne of Denmark (1513), so odious was his character that the Swedes refused to acknowledge him as their king, and appointed an administrator, Steno Sturius, to hold the reins of government.[6] Christian waited a few years to strengthen himself in Denmark before attempting the reduction of the Swedes. At length he raised an army for the invasion of Sweden; his cause was espoused within the kingdom by Trollius, Archbishop of Upsala, and Arcimboldus, the Pope's legate and indulgence-monger, who largely subsidized Christian out of the vast sums he had collected by the sale of pardons, and who moreover had influence enough to procure from the Pope a bull placing the whole of Sweden under interdict, and excommunicating Steno and all the members of his government.[7] The fact that this conquest was gained mainly by the aid of the priests, shows clearly the estimate formed of King Christian's Protestantism by his contemporaries.

The conqueror treated the Swedes with great barbarity. He caused the body of Steno to be dug out of the grave and burned.[8] In want of money, and knowing that the Senate would refuse its consent to the sums he wished to levy, he caused them to be apprehended. His design, which was to massacre the senators, was communicated to the Archbishop of Upsala, and is said to have been approved of by him. The offense imputed to these unhappy men was that they had fallen into heresy. Even the forms and delay of a mock trial were too slow for the vindictive impatience of the tyrant. With frightful and summary cruelty the senators and lords, to the number of seventy, were marched out into the open square, surrounded by soldiers, and executed. At the head of these noble victims was Erie Vasa, the father of the illustrious Gustavus Vasa, who became afterwards the avenger of his father's death, the restorer of his country's liberties, and the author of its Reformation.

Gustavus Vasa fled when his sire was beheaded, and remained for some time in hiding. At length, emerging from his place of security, he roused the peasantry of the Swedish provinces to attempt the restoration of their country's independence. He defeated the troops of Christian in several engagements, and after an arduous struggle he overthrew the tyrant, received the crown of Sweden, and erected the country into an independent sovereignty. The loss of the throne of Sweden brought after it to Christian II. the loss of Denmark. His oppressive and tyrannical measures kept up a smoldering insurrection among his Danish subjects; the dissatisfaction broke out at last in open rebellion. Christian II. was deposed; he fled to the Low Countries, where he renounced his Protestantism, which was a decided disqualification in the eyes of Charles V., whose sister Isabella he had married, and at whose court he now sojourned.

Seated on the throne of Sweden (1523), under the title of Vasa I., Gustavus addressed himself to the Reformation of his kingdom and Church. The way was paved, as we have already said, for the Reformation of the latter, by merchants who visited the Swedish ports, by soldiers whom Vasa had brought from Germany to aid him in the war of independence, and who carried Luther's writings in their knapsacks, and by students who had returned from Wittemberg, bringing with them the opinions they had there imbibed. Vasa himself had been initiated into the Reformed doctrine at Lubeck during his banishment from his native country, and was confirmed in it by the conversation and instruction of the Protestant divines whom he gathered round him after he ascended the throne.[9] He was as wise as he was zealous. He resolved that instruction, not authority, should be the only instrument employed for the conversion of his subjects. He knew that their minds were divided between the ancient superstitions and the Reformed faith, and he resolved to furnish his people with the means of judging between the two, and making their choice freely and intelligently.

There were in his kingdom two youths who had studied at Wittemberg under Luther and Melancthon, Olaf Patersen and his brother Lawrence. Their father was a smith in Erebro. They were born respectively in 1497 and 1499. They received the elements of their education at a Carmelite cloister school, from which Olaf, at the age of nineteen, removed to Wittemberg. The three years he remained there were very eventful, and communicated to the ardent mind of the young Swede aspirations and impulses which continued to develop themselves during all his after-life. He is said to have been in the crowd around the door of the Castle-church of Wittemberg when Luther nailed his Theses to it. Both brothers were eminent for their piety, for their theological attainments, and the zeal and courage with which they published "the opinions of their master amid the disorders and troubles of the civil wars, a time," says the Abbe Vertot, "favorable for the establishment of new religions."[10]

These two divines, whose zeal and prudence had been so well tested, the king employed in the instruction of his subjects in the doctrines of Protestantism. Olaf Patersen he made preacher in the great Cathedral of Stockholm,[11] and Lawrence Patersen he appointed to the chair of theology at Upsala. As the movement progressed, enemies arose. Bishop Brask, of Linkoping, in 1523, received information from Upsala of the dangerous spread of Lutheran heresy in the Cathedral-church at Strengnas through the efforts of Olaf Patersen. Brask, an active and fiery man, a politician rather than a priest, was transported with indignation against the Lutheran teachers. He fulminated the ban of the Church against all who should buy, or read, or circulate their writings, and denounced them as men who had impiously trampled under foot ecclesiastical order for the purpose of gaining a liberty which they called Christian, but which he would term "Lutheran," nay, "Luciferian." The opposition of the bishop but helped to fan the flame; and the public disputations to which the Protestant preachers were challenged, and which took place, by royal permission, in some of the chief cities of the kingdom, only helped to enkindle it the more and spread it over the kingdom. "All the world wished to be instructed in the new opinions," says Vertot, "the doctrine of Luther passed insensibly from the school into the private dwelling. Families were divided: each took his side according to his light and his inclination. Some defended the Roman Catholic religion because it was the religion of their fathers; the most part were attached to it on account of its antiquity, and others deplored the abuse which the greed of the clergy had introduced into the administration of the Sacraments…. Even the women took part in these disputes…all the world sustained itself a judge of controversy."[12]

After these light-bearers came the Light itself — the Word of God. Olaf Patersen, the pastor of Stockholm, began to translate the New Testament into the tongue of Sweden. Taking Luther's version, which had been recently published in Germany, as his model, he labored diligently at his task, and in a short time "executing his work not unhappily," says Gerdesius, "he placed, amid the murmurs of the bishops, the New Testament in Swedish in the hands of the people, who now looked with open face on what they had formerly contemplated through a veil."[13]

After the New Testament had been issued, the two brothers Olaf and Lawrence, at the request of the king, undertook the translation of the whole Bible. The work was completed in due time, and published in Stockholm. "New controversies," said the king, "arise every day; we have now an infallible judge to which we can appeal them."[14]

The Popish clergy bethought them of a notable device for extinguishing the light which the labors of the two Protestant pastors had kindled. They resolved that they too would translate the New Testament into the vernacular of Sweden. Johannes Magnus, who had lately been inducted into the Archbishopric of Upsala, presided in the execution of this scheme, in which, though Adam Smith had not yet written, the principle of the division of labor was carried out to the full. To each university was assigned a portion of the sacred Books which it was to translate. The Gospel according to St. Matthew and the Epistle to the Romans were allotted to the College of Upsala. The Gospel according to St. Mark, with the two Epistles to the Corinthians, was assigned to the University of Linkoping; St. Luke's Gospel and the Epistle to the Galatians to Skara; St. John's Gospel and the Epistle to the Ephesians to Stregnen; and so to all the rest of the universities. There still remained some portions of the task unappropriated; these were distributed among the monkish orders. The Dominicans were to translate the Epistle to Titus and that to the Hebrews; to the Franciscans were assigned the Epistles of St. Jude and of St. James; while the Carthusians were to put forth their skill in deciphering the symbolic writing of the Apocalypse.[15] It must be confessed that the leisure hours of the Fathers have often been worse employed.

As one fire is said to extinguish another, it was hoped that one light would eclipse another, or at least so dazzle the eyes of the beholders that they should not know which was the true light. Meanwhile, however, the Bishop of Upsala thought it exceedingly dangerous that men should be left to the guidance, of what he did not doubt was the false beacon, and accordingly he and his associates waited in a body on the king, and requested that the translation of Pastor Olaf should be withdrawn, at least, till a better was prepared and ready to be put into the hands of the people.

"Olaf's version, he said, "was simply the New Testament of Martin Luther, which the Pope had placed under interdict and condemned as heretical." The archbishop demanded further that "those royal ordinances which had of late been promulgated, and which encroached upon the immunities and possessions of the clergy, should, inasmuch as they had been passed at the instigation of those who were the enemies of the old religion, be rescinded."[16]

To this haughty demand the king replied that "nothing had been taken from the ecclesiastics, save what they had unjustly usurped aforetime; that they had his full consent to publish their own version of the Bible, but that he saw no cause why he either should revoke his own ordinances or forbid the circulation of Olaf's New Testament in the mother tongue of his people."

The bishop, not liking this reply, offered to make good in public the charge of heresy which he had preferred against Olaf Patersen and his associates. The king, who wished nothing so much as that the foundations of the two faiths should be sifted out and placed before his people, at once accepted the challenge. It was arranged that the discussion should take place in the University of Upsala; that the king himself should be present, with his senators, nobles, and the learned men of his kingdom. Olaf Patersen undertook at once the Protestant defense. There was some difficulty in finding a champion on the Popish side. The challenge had come from the bishops, but no sooner was it taken up than "they framed excuses and shuffled."[17] At length Peter Gallus, Professor of Theology in the College of Upsala, and undoubtedly their best man, undertook the battle on the side of Rome.

CHAPTER 4 Back to Top


Programme of Debate — Twelve Points — Authority of the Fathers — Power of the Clergy — Can Ecclesiastical Decrees Bind the Conscience? — Power of Excommunication — The Pope's Primacy — Works or Grace, which saves? — Has Monkery warrant in Scripture? — Question of the Institution of the Lord's Supper — Purgatory — Intercession of the Saints — Lessons of the Conference — Conscience Quickened by the Bible produced the Reformation.

THAT the ends of the conference might be gained, the king ordered a list to be made out beforehand of the main points in which the Protestant Confession differed from the Pontifical religion, and that in the discussion point after point should be debated till the whole programme was exhausted. Twelve main points of difference were noted down, and the discussion came off at Upsala in 1526. A full report has been transmitted to us by Johannes Baazius, in the eighth book of his History of the Church of Sweden,[1] which we follow, being, so far as we are aware the only original account extant. We shall give the history of the discussion with some fullness, because it was a discussion on new ground, by new men, and also because it formed the turning-point in the Reformation of Sweden.

The first question was touching the ancient religion and the ecclesiastical rites: was the religion abolished, and did the rites retain their authority, or had they ever any?

With reference to the religion, the Popish champion contended that it was to be gathered, not from Scripture but from the interpretations of the Fathers. "Scripture," he said, "was obscure; and no one would follow an obscure writing without an interpreter; and sure guides had been given us in the holy Fathers." As regarded ceremonies and constitutions, "we know," he said, "that many had been orally given by the apostles, and that the Fathers, Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome, and others, had the Holy Spirit, and therefore were to be believed in defining dogmas and enacting institutions. Such dogmas and constitutions were, in fact, apostolic."

Olaf replied that Protestants did not deny that the Fathers had the Spirit, and that their interpretations of Scripture were to be received when in accordance with Holy Writ. They only put the Fathers in their right place, which was below, not above Scripture. He denied that the Word of God was obscure when laying down the fundamental doctrines of the faith. He adduced the Bible's own testimony to its simplicity and clearness, and instanced the case of the Ethiopian eunuch whose difficulties were removed simply by the reading and hearing of he Scriptures. "A blind man," he added, "cannot see the splendor of the midday sun, but that is not because the sun is dark, but because himself is blind. Even Christ said, 'My doctrine is not mine, but the Father's who sent me,' and St. Paul declared that should he preach any other gospel than that which he had received, he would be anathema. How then shall others presume to enact dogmas at their pleasure, and impose them as things necessary to salvation?"[2]

Question Second had reference to the Pope and the bishops: whether Christ had given to them lordship or other dominion save the power of preaching the Word and administering the Sacraments? and whether those ought to be called ministers of the Church who neglected to perform these duties?

In maintaining the affirmative Gallus adduced the eighteenth chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel, where it is written, "But if he will not hear thee, tell it to the princes of the Church;" "from which we infer," he said, "that to the Pope and prelates of the Church has been given power to adjudicate in causes ecclesiastical, to enact necessary canons, and to punish the disobedient, even as St. Paul excommunicated the incestuous member in the Corinthian Church."

Olaf in reply said

"that we do indeed read that Christ has given authority to the apostles and ministers, but not to govern the kingdoms of the world, but to convert sinners and to announce pardon to the penitent."

In proof he quoted Christ's words, "My kingdom is not of this world."

"Even Christ," he said, "was subject to the magistrate, and gave tribute; from which it might be surely inferred that he wished his ministers also to be subject to kings, and not to rule over them; that St. Paul had commanded all men to be subject to the powers that be, and that Christ had indicated with sufficient distinctness the work of his ministers when he said to St. Peter, 'Feed my flock.'" As we call no one a workman who does not fabricate utensils, so no one is to be accounted a minister of the Church who does not preach the Rule of the Church, the Word of God.

Christ said not, "Tell it to the princes of the Church," but, "Tell it to the Church." The prelates are not the Church. The apostles had no temporal power, he argued, why give greater power to bishops now than the apostles had? The spiritual office could not stand with temporal lordship; nor in the list of Church officers, given in the fourth chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians, is there one that can be called political or magisterial. Everywhere in the Bible spiritual men are seen performing spiritual duties only.[3]

The next point raised was whether the decrees of man had power to bind the conscience so that he who shirked [4] them was guilty of notorious sin?

The Romish doctor, in supporting the affirmative, argued that the commands of the prelates were holy, having for their object the salvation of men: that they were, in fact, the commands of God, as appeared from the eighth chapter of the Book of Proverbs, "By me princes decree righteousness." The prelates were illuminated with a singular grace; they knew how to repair, enlarge, and beautify the Church. They sit in Moses' seat; "hence I conclude," said Gallus, "that the decrees of the Fathers were given by the Holy Ghost, and are to be obeyed."

The Protestant doctor replied that this confounded all distinction between the commands of God and the commands of man; that it put the latter on the same footing in point of authority with the former; that the Church was upheld by the promise of Christ, and not by the power of the Pope; and that she was fed and nourished by the Word and Sacraments, and not by the decrees of the prelates. Otherwise the Church was now more perfect, and. enjoyed clearer institutions, than at her first planting by the apostles; and it also followed that her early doctrine was incomplete, and had been perfected by the greater teachers whom modern times had produced; that Christ and his apostles had, in that case, spoken foolishly [5] when they foretold the coming of false prophets and of Antichrist in the latter times. He could not understand how decrees and constitutions in which there reigned so much confusion and contradiction should have emanated from the Holy Ghost. It rather seemed to him as if they had arrived at the times foretold by the apostle in his farewell words to the elders of Ephesus, "After my departure there shall enter in grievous wolves not sparing the flock."

The discussion turned next on whether the Pope and bishops have power to excommunicate whom they please?[6] The only ground on which Doctor Gallus rested his affirmative was the eighteenth chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel, which speaks of the gift of the power of binding and loosing given to St. Peter, and which the doctor had already adduced in proof of the power of the prelates.

Olaf, in reply, argued that the Church was the body of Christ, and that believers were the members of that body. The question was not touching those outside the Church; the question was, whether the Pope and prelates had the power of casting out of the Church those who were its living members, and in whose hearts dwelt the Holy Ghost by faith? This he simply denied. To God alone it belonged to save the believing, and to condemn the unbelieving. The bishops could neither give nor take away the Holy Ghost. They could not change those who were the sons of God into sons of Gehenna. The power conferred in the eighteenth chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel, he maintained, was simply declaratory; what the minister had power to do, was to announce the solace or loosing of the Gospel to the penitent, and its correction or cutting off to the impenitent. He who persists in his impenitence is excommunicate, not by man, but by the Word of God, which shows him to be bound in his sin, till he repent. The power of binding and loosing was, moreover, given to the Church, and not to any individual man, or body of men. Ministers exercise, he argued, their office for the Church, and in the name of the Church; and without the Church's consent and approval, expressed or implied, they have no power of loosing or binding any one. Much less, he maintained, was this power of excommunication secular; it was simply a power of doing, by the Church and for the Church, the necessary work of purging out notorious offenders from the body of the faithful.

The discussion next passed to the power and office of the Pope personally viewed.

The Popish champion interpreted the words of Christ (Luke 22), "Whosoever will be first among you," as meaning that it was lawful for one to hold the primacy. It was, he said, not primacy but pride that was here forbidden. It was not denied to the apostles, he argued, or their, successors, to hold the principality in the government of the Church, but to govern tyrannically, after the fashion of heathen kings; that history showed that since the times of Pope Sylvester — i.e., for twelve hundred years — the Pope had held, with the consent of emperors and kings, the primacy in the Church, and that he had always lived in the bonds of charity with Christian kings, calling them his dear sons; how then could his state of dominancy be displeasing to Christ?

Doctor Olaf reminded his opponent that he had already proved that the power conferred by Christ on the apostles and ministers of the Church was spiritual, the power even to preach the Gospel and convert sinners. Christ had warned them that they should meet, in the exercise of their office, bitter opposition and cruel persecutions: how could that be if they were princes and had servants to fight for them? Even Christ himself came not to be a ruler, but a servant. St. Paul designated the office of a bishop, "work" and not "dominion;" implying that there would be more onus than honor attending it.[7] The Roman dominancy, he affirmed, had not flourished for twelve hundred years, as his opponent maintained; it was more recent than the age of Gregory, who had stoutly opposed it. But the question was not touching its antiquity, but touching its utility. If we should make antiquity the test or measure of benignity, what strange mistakes should we commit! The power of Satan was most ancient, it would hardly be maintained that it was in an equal degree beneficent. Pious emperors had nourished this Papal power with their gifts; it had grown most rapidly in the times of greatest ignorance; it had taken at last the whole Christian world under its control; when consummated it presented a perfect contrast to the gift of Christ to St. Peter expressed in these words, "Feed my sheep." The many secular affairs of the Pope did not permit him to feed the sheep. He compelled them to give him not only their milk and wool, but even the fat and the blood. May God have mercy upon his own Church.[8]

They came at length to the great question touching works and grace, "Whether is man saved 'by his own merits, or solely by the grace of God?"

Doctor Gallus came as near to the Reformed doctrine on this point as it was possible to do without surrendering the corner-stone of Popery. It must be borne in mind that the one most comprehensive distinction between the two Churches is Salvation of God and Salvation of man: the first being the motto on the Protestant banner, the last the watchword of Rome. Whichever of the two Churches surrenders its peculiar tenet, surrenders all. Dr. Gallus made appear as if he had surrendered the Popish dogma, but he took good care all the while, as did the Council of Trent afterwards, that, amid all his admissions and explanations, he should preserve inviolate to man his power of saving himself. "The disposition of the pious man," said the doctor, "in virtue of which he does good works, comes from God, who gives to the renewed man the grace of acting well, so that, his free will co-operating, he earns the reward promised; as the apostle says, 'By grace are we saved,' and, 'Eternal life is the gift of God;' for," continued the doctor, "the quality of doing good, and of possessing eternal life, does not flow to the pious man otherwise than from the grace of God." Human merit is here pretty well concealed under an appearance of ascribing a great deal to Divine grace. Still, it is present — man by working earns the promised reward.

Doctor Olaf in reply laid bare the mystification: he showed that his opponent, while granting salvation to be the gift of God, taught that it is a gift to be obtained only by the sinner's working. This doctrine the Protestant disputant assailed by quoting those numerous passages of Scripture in which it is expressly said that we are saved by faith, and not by works; that the reward is not of works, but of grace; that ground of glorying is left to no one; and that human merit is entirely excluded in the matter of salvation; from which, he said, this conclusion inevitably followed, that it was a vain dream to think of obtaining heaven by purchasing indulgences, wearing a monk's cowl, keeping painful vigils, or going wearisome journeys to holy places, or by good works of any sort.

The next, point to be discussed was whether the monastic life had any foundation in the Word of God?

It became, of course, the duty of Doctor Gallus to maintain the affirmative here, though he felt his task a difficult one. He made the best he could of such doubtful arguments as were suggested to him by "the sons of the prophets," mentioned in the history of Samuel; and the flight at times of Elijah and Elisha to Mount Carmel. He thought, too, that he could discover some germs of the monastic life in the New Testament, in the company of converts in the Temple (Acts 2); in the command given to the young man, "Sell all that thou hast;" and in the "eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake." But for genuine examples of monks and monasteries he found himself under the necessity of coming down to the Middle Ages, and there he found no lack of what he sought.

It was not difficult to demolish so unsubstantial a structure as this. "Neither in the Old Testament nor in the New," Doctor Olaf affirmed, "is proof or instance of the monastic life to be found. In the times of the apostles there were no monks. Chrysostom, in his homily on the Epistle to the Hebrews, says, 'Plain it is that the Church for the first 200 years knew nothing of the monastic life. It began with Paulus and Antoniius, who chose such a life, and had many solitaries as followers, who, however, lived without 'order' or 'vow,' till certain arose who, about A.D. 350, framed regulations for these recluses, as Jerome and Cassian testify." After a rapid sketch of their growth both in numbers and wealth, he concluded with some observations which had in them a touch of satire. The words of Scripture, "Sell all that thou hast," etc., were not, he said, verified in the monks of the present day, unless in the obverse. Instead of forsaking all they clutched all, and carried it to their monastery; instead of bearing the cross in their hearts they embroidered it on their cloaks; instead of fleeing from the temptations and delights of the world, they shirked its labors, eschewed all acquaintanceship with the plough and the loom, and found refuge behind bolted doors amid the silken couches, the groaning boards, and other pleasures of the convent. The Popish champion was doubtless very willing that this head of the discussion should now be departed from.

The next point was whether the institution of the Lord's Supper had been changed, and lawfully so?

The disputant on the Popish side admitted that Christ had instituted all the Sacraments, and imparted to them their virtue and efficacy, which virtue and efficacy were the justifying grace of man.[9] The essentials of the Sacrament came from Christ, but there were accessories of words and gestures and ceremonies necessary to excite due reverence for the Sacrament, both on the part of him who dispenses and of him who receives it. These, Doctor Gallus affirmed, had their source either from the apostles or from the primitive Church, and were to be observed by all Christians. Thus the mass remains as instituted by the Church, with significant rites and decent dresses.

"The Word of God," replied Olaf, "endures for ever; but," he added, "we are forbidden either to add to it or take away from it. Hence it follows that the Lord's Supper having been, as Doctor Gallus has admitted, instituted by Christ, is to be observed not otherwise than as he has appointed. The whole Sacrament — as well its mode of celebration as its essentials — is of Christ and not to be changed." He quoted the words of institution, "This is my body" — "take eat;" "This cup is the New Testament in my blood" — "drink ye all of it," etc. "Seeing," said he, "Doctor Gallus concedes that the essentials of a Sacrament are not to be changed, and seeing in these words we have the essentials of the Lord's Supper, why has the Pope changed them? Who gave him power to separate the cup from the bread? If he should say the blood is in the body, I reply, this violates the institution of Christ, who is wiser than all Popes and bishops.

Did Christ command the Lord's Supper to be dispensed differently to the clergy and to the laity? Besides, by what authority has the Pope changed the Sacrament into a sacrifice? Christ does not say, 'Take and sacrifice,' but, 'Take and eat.' The offering of Christ's sacrifice once for all made a full propitiation. The Popish priestling,[10] when he professes to offer the body of Christ in the Lord's Supper, pours contempt upon the sacrifice of Christ, offered upon the altar of the cross. He crucifies Christ afresh. He commits the impiety denounced in the sixth chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews. He not only changes the essentials of the Lord's Supper, but he does so for the basest end, even that of raking together [11] wealth and filling his coffers, for this is the only use of his tribe of priestlings, and his everlasting masses."

From masses the discussion passed naturally to that which makes masses saleable, namely, purgatory.

Doctor Gallus held that to raise a question respecting the existence of purgatory was to stumble upon plain ground, for no religious people had ever doubted it. The Church had affirmed the doctrine of purgatory by a stream of decisions which can be traced up to the primitive Fathers. It is said in the twelfth chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel, argued Doctor Gallus, that the sin against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven, "neither in this world, neither in the world to come;" whence it may be inferred that certain sins will be forgiven in the future world. Not in heaven, for sinners shall not be admitted into it; not in hell, for from it there is no redemption: it follows that this forgiveness is to be obtained in purgatory; and so it is a holy work to pray for the dead. With this single quotation the doctor took leave of the inspired writers, and turned to the Greek and Latin Fathers. There he found more show of support for his doctrine, but it was somewhat suspicious that it was the darkest ages that furnished him with his strongest proofs.

Doctor Olaf in reply maintained that in all Scripture there was not so much as one proof to be found of purgatory. He exploded the fiction of venial sins on which the doctrine is founded; and, taking his stand on the all-sufficiency of Christ's expiation, and the full and free pardon which God gives to sinners, he scouted utterly a theory founded on the notion that Christ's perfect expiation needs to be supplemented, and that God's free pardon needs the sufferings of the sinner to make it available. "But," argued Doctor Gallus, "the sinner must be purified by these sufferings and made fit for heaven." "No," replied Doctor Olaf, "it is faith that purifies the heart; it is the blood of Christ that cleanses the soul; not the flames of purgatory."

The last point to be debated was "whether the saints are to be invocated, and whether they are our defenders, patrons, and mediators with God?" On this head, too, Doctor Gallus could appeal to a very ancient and venerable practice, which only lacked one thing to give it value, the authority of Scripture. His attempt to give it this sanction was certainly not a success. "God," he said, "was pleased to mitigate the punishment of the Jews, at the intercession of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, then shut up in limbo, and on the express footing of their merits." The doctor forgot to explain how it happened that the merits which could procure remission of punishment for others, could not procure for themselves deliverance from purgatory. But, passing this, the Protestant respondent easily disposed of the whole case by referring to the profound silence of Scripture touching the intercession of the saints, on the one hand, and its very emphatic teaching, on the other, that there is but one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.[12]

The conference was now at an end. The stage on which this conference was conducted was an obscure one compared with that of Wittemberg and Augsburg, and the parties engaged in it were but of secondary rank compared with the great chiefs between whom previous contests of a similar kind had been waged; but the obscurity of the stage, and the secondary rank of the combatants, are the very reasons why we have given it so prominent a place in our history of the movement. It shows us the sort of men that formed the rank and the of the army of the Reformers. They were not illiterate, sectarian, noisy controversialists — far from it; they were men who had studied the Word of God, and knew well how to wield the weapons with which the armory of the Bible supplied them. In respect of erudition they were ahead of their age. When we confine our attention to such brilliant centers as Wittemberg and Zurich, and to such illustrious names as those of Luther and Melancthon, of Zwingle and Ecolampadius, we are apt to be told, these were the leaders of the movement, and we should naturally expect in them prodigious power, and vast acquisitions; but the subordinates were not like these. Well, we turn to the obscure theater of Sweden, and the humble names of Olaf and Lawrence Patersen — from the masters to the disciples - what do we find? Sciolists and tame imitators? No: scholars and theologians; men who have thoroughly mastered the whole system of Gospel truth, and who win an easy victory over the sophists of the schools, and the dignitaries of Rome.

This shows us, moreover, the real instrumentality that overthrew the Papacy. Ordinary historians dwell much upon the vices of the clergy, the ambition of princes, and the ignorance and brutishness of the age. All these are true as facts, but they are not true as causes of the great moral revolution which they are often adduced to explain. The vice and brutishness of all ranks of that age were in truth a protective force around the Papacy. It was a state of society which favored the continuance of such a system as the Church of Rome, which provided an easy pardon for sin, furnished opiates for the conscience, and instead of checking, encouraged vice. On the other hand, it deprived the Reformers of a fulcrum of enlightened moral sentiment on which to rest their lever for elevating the world. We freely admit the causes that were operating towards a change, but left to themselves these causes never would have produced such a change as the Reformation. They would but have hastened and perfected the destruction of the putrid and putrifying mass, they never could have evoked from it a new and renovated order of things. What was needed was a force able to restore conscience. The Word of God alone could do this.

Protestantism — in other words, evangelical Christianity — came down, and Ithuriel-like put forth its spear, touched the various forces at work in society, quickened them, and drawing them into a beneficent channel, converted what would most surely have been a process of destruction into a process of Reformation.

CHAPTER 5 Back to Top


The Battles of Religion — More Fruitful than those of Kings — Consequences of the Upsala Conference — The King adopts a Reforming Policy — Clergy Refuse the War-levy — Conference respecting Ecclesiastical Possessions and Immunities — Secret Compact of Bishops — A Civil War imminent — Vasa threatens to Abdicate — Diet resolves to Receive the Protestant Religion — 13,000 Estates Surrendered by the Romish Church — Reformation in 1527 — Coronation of Vasa — Ceremonies and Declaration — Reformation Completed in 1529 — Doctrine and Worship of the Reformed Church of Sweden — Old Ceremonies Retained — Death and Character of Gustavus Vasa — Eric XIV. — John — The "Red Book " — Relapse — A Purifying Fire.

IF "Peace hath her victories no less renowned than War," we may say that Religion has her battles yet more glorious than those of kings. They spill no blood, unless when the persecutor comes in with the stake, they make no widows and orphans, they leave behind them as their memorials no blackened cities and no devastated fields; on the contrary, the land where they have been waged is marked by a richer moral verdure than that which clothes countries in which no such conflicts have taken place. It is on these soils that the richest blessings spring up. The dead that lie strewn over these battle-fields are refuted errors and exploded falsehoods. Such battles are twice blessed: they bless the victor, and they bless, in measure yet larger, the vanquished.

One of these battles has just been fought in Sweden, and Pastor Olaf was the conqueror. It was followed by great and durable consequences to that country. It decided the king; any doubts that may have lingered in his mind till now were cleared away, and he cast in his lot without reserve with Protestantism. He saw plainly the course of policy which he ought to pursue for his people's welfare, and he resolved at all hazards to go through with it. He must reduce the overgrown wealth of the Church, he must strip the clergy of their temporal and political power, and set them free for the discharge of their spiritual functions — in short, remodel his kingdom in conformity with the great principles which had triumphed in the late disputation. He did not hide from himself the immense obstacles he would encounter in prosecuting these reforms, but he saw that till they were accomplished he should never reign in peace; and sooner than submit to defeat in a matter he deemed vital, he would abandon the throne.

One thing greatly encouraged Gustavus Vasa. Since the conference at Upsala, the light of the Reformation was spreading wider and wider among his people; the power of the priesthood, from whom he had most to fear, was diminishing in the same proportion. His great task was becoming less difficult every day; time was fighting for him. His coronation had not yet taken place, and he resolved to postpone it till he should be able to be crowned as a Protestant king. This was, in fact, to tell his people that he would reign over them as a Reformed people or not at all. Meanwhile the projects of the enemies of Protestantism conspired with the wishes of Gustavus Vasa toward that result.

Christian II., the abdicated monarch of Denmark, having been sent with a fleet, equipped by his brother-in-law, Charles V., to attempt the recovery of his throne, Gustavus Vasa, knowing that his turn would come next, resolved to fight the battle of Sweden in Denmark by aiding Frederick the sovereign of that country, in his efforts to repel the invader. He summoned a meeting of the Estates at Stockholm, and represented to them the common danger that hung over both countries, and the necessity of providing the means of defending the kingdom. It was agreed to lay a war-tax upon all estates, to melt down the second largest bell in all the churches, and impose a tenth upon all ecclesiastical goods.[1] The possessions of the clergy, consisting of lands, castles, and hoards, were enormous. Abbe Vertot informs us that the clergy of Sweden were alone possessed of more than the king and all the Other Estates of the kingdom together. Notwithstanding that they were so immensely wealthy, they refused to bear their share of the national burdens. Some gave an open resistance to the tax; others met it with an evasive opposition, and by way of retaliating on the authority which had imposed it, raised tumults in various parts of the kingdom.[2] To put an end to these disturbances the king came to Upsala, and summoning the episcopal chapter before him, instituted a second conference after the manner of the first. Doctors Olaf and Gallus were again required to buckle on their armor, and measure swords with one another. The contest this time was respecting revenues and the exemption of the prelates of the Church. Battle being joined, the king inquired, "Whence have the clergy their prebends and ecclesiastical immunities?" "From the donation of pious kings and princes," responded Dr. Gallus, "liberally bestowed, according to the Word of God, for the sustentation of the Church." "Then," replied the king, "may not the same power that gave, take away, especially when the clergy abuse their possessions?" "If they are taken away," replied the Popish champion, "the Church will fall,[3] and Christ's Word, that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it, will fail." "The goods of the Church," said the king, "go into the belly of sluggards,[4] who know not to write or preach any useful thing, but spend the hours, which they call canonical, in singing canticles, with but small show of devotion. Since therefore," continued the king, "it cannot be proved from Scripture that these goods are the absolute property of the clergy, and since they manifestly do not further the ends of piety, is it not just that they be turned to a better use, and one that will benefit the Church?"

On this, Doctor Gallus held his peace. Thereupon, the king ordered the archbishop to reply, but neither would he make answer. At length the provost of the cathedral, George Turson, came forward, and began to defend with great warmth the privileges of the clergy. "If any one," he said, "dare take anything from the Church, it is at the peril of excommunication and eternal damnation." The king bore the onset with great good-nature. He calmly requested Turson, as a theologian, to handle the matter in a theological manner, and to prove what he had maintained from Holy Scripture. The worthy provost appears to have declined this challenge; for we find the king, in conclusion, giving his decision to the following effect, namely, that he would give all honor and all necessary and honest support to the pious ministers of the Church, but to the sluggards of the sanctuary and the monastery he would give nothing. To this the chapter made no reply, and the king took his departure for Stockholm.[5]

The bishops, however, were far from submitting quietly to the burdens which had been imposed upon them. They met and subscribed a secret compact or oath, to defend their privileges and possessions against all the attempts of the king. The deed, with the names appended, was deposited in a sepulcher, where it was discovered fifteen years afterwards.[6] An agitation of the kingdom was organized, and vigorously carried out. The passions of the populace, uninstructed for the most part, and attached to the old religion, were inflamed by the calumnies and accusations directed against the king, and scattered broadcast over the kingdom. Disorders and tumults broke out; more especially in Delecarlia the most northern part of Sweden, where the ignorance of the people made them an easy prey to the arts of the clerical agitators.[7] The country, at last, was on the brink of civil war. Gustavus Vasa resolved that an end should be put to this agitation. His chancellor, Lawrence Andersen, an able man and a Protestant, gave him very efficient support in the vigorous measures he now adopted. He summoned a meeting of the Estates of Sweden, at Vesteraas, June, 1527.

Gustavus addressed the assembled nobles and bishops, appealing to facts that were within the knowledge of all of them, that the kingdom had been brought to the brink of civil war, mainly through the factious opposition of the clergy to their just share in the burdens of the State, that the classes from whom this opposition came were by much the wealthiest in Sweden, that this wealth had been largely acquired by unlawful exactions, and was devoted to noxious uses; that the avarice of the bishops had reduced the nobles to poverty, and their oppression had ground the people into slavery; that for this wealth no adequate return was received by the State; it served but to maintain its possessors in idleness and luxury; and that, unless the necessities of the government were met, and the power of the throne upheld, he would resign the crown and retire from the kingdom.[8]

This bold resolve brought matters to a crisis. The Swedes could not afford to lose their magnanimous and patriotic king. The debates in the Diet were long and warm. The clergy fought stoutly for their privileges, but the king and his chancellor were firm. If the people would not support him in his battle with the clergy, Gustavus must lay down the scepter. The question, in fact, came to be between the two faiths — shall they adopt the Lutheran or retain the Popish? The monarch did not conceal his preference for the Reformed religion, which he himself had espoused. He would leave his subjects free to make their choice, but if they chose to obey a clergy who had annihilated the privileges of the citizens, who had devoured the wealth of the nobles, who were glutted with riches and swollen with pride, rather than be ruled by the laws of Sweden, he had no more to say; he would withdraw from the government of the realm.[9]

At length the Diet came to a resolution, virtually to receive the Protestant religion. The day on which this decision was come to is the most glorious in the annals of Sweden. The Estates decreed that henceforward the bishops should not sit in the supreme council of the nation; that the castles and the 13,000 estates which had been given to the Church since the times of Charles Canut (1453) should be restored; that of the castles and lands, part should be returned to the nation, and part to those nobles from whose ancestors they had been wrested; and if, in the interval, any of these donations had been sold, restitution must be made in money. It is computed that from 13,000 to 20,000 estates, farms, and dwellings passed into the hands of lay possessors. The bishops intimated their submission to this decree, which so effectually broke their power, by subscribing their names to it.[10]

Other articles were added bearing more directly upon the Reformation of religion. Those districts that adopted the Reformation were permitted to retain their ecclesiastical property; districts remaining Popish were provided by the king with Protestant ministers, who were paid out of the goods still left in possession of the Popish Church. No one was to be ordained who was unwilling, or who knew not how, to preach the pure Gospel. In all schools the Bible must be read, and the lessons of the Gospel taught. The monks were allowed to reside in their monasteries, but forbidden to beg; and safeguards were enacted against the accumulation of property in a dead hand — a fruitful source of evil in the past.[11] So far the Reformation of Sweden had advanced in 1527. Its progress had been helped by the flight of the Archbishop of Upsala and Bishop Brask from their native land. Deserted by their generals, the soldiers of the ancient creed lost heart.

The coronation of Gustavus Vasa had been delayed till the kingdom should be quieted. This having been now happily effected, the monarch was crowned with great solemnity on the 12th of January, 1528, at Upsala, in presence of the whole Senate. It cost Vasa no little thought beforehand how to conduct the ceremony, so as that on the one hand it: might not be mixed up with the rites of the ancient superstition, nor, on the other, lack validity in the eyes of such of his subjects as were still Popish. He refrained from sending to Rome for investiture; he made three newly ordained bishops — Skara, Aabo, and Strengnas [12] — perform the religious rites; the Divine name was invoked; that part of the coronation oath was omitted which bound the sovereign to protect "holy Church;" a public declaration, which was understood to express the sentiments both of the king and of the Estates, was read, and afterwards published, setting forth at some length the reciprocal duties and obligations of each.

The declaration was framed on the model of those exhortations which the prophets and high priests delivered to the Kings of Judah when they were anointed. It set forth the institution of magistracy by God; its ends, to be "a terror to evil-doers," etc.; the spirit in which it was to be exercised, "in the fear of the Most High;" the faults the monarch was to eschew — riches, luxury, oppression; and the virtues he was to practice — he was to cultivate piety by the study of Holy Scripture, to administer justice, defend his country, and nourish the true religion. The declaration concludes by expressing the gratitude of the nation to the "Omnipotent and most benignant Father, who, after so great a persecution and so many calamities inflicted upon their beloved country, by a king of foreign origin, had given them this day a king of the Swedish stock, whose powerful arm, by the blessing of God, had liberated their nation from the yoke of a tyrant" "We acknowledge," continued the declaration, "the Divine goodness, in raising up for us this king, adorned with so many gifts, preeminently qualified for his great office; pious, wise, a lover of his country; whose reign has already been so glorious; who has gained the friendship of so many kings and neighboring princes; who has strengthened our castles and cities; who has raised armaments to resist the enemy should he invade us; who has taken the revenues of the State not to enrich himself but to defend the country, and who, above all, has sedulously cherished the true religion, making it his highest object to defend Reformed truth, so that the whole land, being delivered from Popish darkness, may be irradiated with the light of the Gospel."[13]

In the year following (1529), the Reformation of Sweden was formally completed. The king, however zealous, saw it wise to proceed by degrees. In the year after his coronation he summoned the Estates to Orebrogia (Oerebro), in Nericia, to take steps for giving to the constitution and worship of the Church of Sweden a more exact conformity to the rule of the Word of God. To this Diet came the leading ministers as well as the nobles. The chancellor Lawrence Andersen, as the king's representative, presided, and with him was joined Olaf Patersen, the Pastor of Stockholm. The Diet agreed on certain ecclesiastical constitutions and rules, which they subscribed, and published in the tongue of Sweden. The bishops and pastors avowed it to be the great end of their office to preach the pure Word of God; they resolved accordingly to institute the preaching of the Gospel in all the churches of the kingdom, alike in country and in city. The bishops were to exercise a vigilant inspection over all the clergy, they were to see that the Scriptures were read daily and purely expounded in the cathedrals; that in all schools there were pure editions of the Bible; that proper care was taken to train efficient preachers of the Word of God, and that learned men were provided for the cities. Rules were also framed touching the celebration of marriage, the visitation of the sick and the burial of the dead.

Thus the "preaching of the Word" was restored to the place it undoubtedly held in the primitive Church. We possess its pulpit literature in the homilies which have come down to us from the days of the early Fathers. But the want of a sufficient number of qualified preachers was much felt at this stage in the Reformed Church of Sweden. Olaf Patersen tried to remedy the defect by preparing a "Postil" or collection of sermons for the guidance of the clergy. To this "Postil" he added a translation of Luther's larger Catechism for the instruction of the people. In 1531 he published a "Missal," or liturgy, which exhibited the most important deviations from that of Rome. Not only were many unscriptural practices in use among Papists, such as kneelings, crossings, incensings, excluded from the liturgy of Olaf, but everything was left out that could by any possibility be held to imply that the Eucharist was a sacrifice — the bloodless offering of Christ — or that a sacrificial character belonged to the clergy.

The Confession of the Swedish Church was simple but thoroughly Protestant. The Abbe Vertot is mistaken in saying that this assembly took the Augsburg Confession as the rule of their faith. The Augustana Confessio was not then in existence, though it saw the light a year after (1530). The Swedish Reformers had no guide but the Bible. They taught; the birth of all men in a state of sin and condemnation; the inability of the sinner to make satisfaction by his own works; the substitution and perfect expiation of Christ; the free justification of the sinner on the ground of His righteousness, received by faith; and the good works which flow from the faith of the justified man.

Those who had recovered the lights of truth, who had rekindled in their churches, after a long extinction, the lamp of the Gospel, had no need, one should think, of the tapers and other substitutes which superstition had invented to replace the eternal verities of revelation. Those temples which were illuminated with the splendor of the Gospel did not need images and pictures. It would seem, however, as if the Swedes felt that they could not yet walk alone. They borrowed the treacherous help of the Popish ritual.

Several of the old ceremonies were retained, but with new explanations, to divorce them if possible from the old uses. The basin of holy water still kept its place at the portal of the church; but the people were cautioned not to think that it could wash away their sins: the blood of Christ only could do that. It stood there to remind them of their baptism. The images of the saints still adorned the walls of the churches — not to be worshipped, but to remind the people of Christ and the saints, and to incite them to imitate their piety. On the day of the purification of the Virgin, consecrated candles were used, not because there was any holiness in them, but because they typified the true Light, even Christ, who was on that day presented in the Temple of Jerusalem. In like manner, extreme unction was practiced to adumbrate the anointing of the Holy Spirit; bells were tolled, not in the old belief that they frightened the demons, but as a convenient method of convoking the people.[14] It would have been better, we are disposed to think, to have abolished some of these symbols, and then the explanation, exceedingly apt to be forgotten or disregarded, would have been unnecessary. It is hard to understand how material light can help us the better to. perceive a spiritual object, or how a candle can reveal to us Christ. Those who tolerated remains of the old superstition in the Reformed worship of Sweden, acted, no doubt, with sincere intentions, but it may be doubted whether they were not placing hindrances rather than helps in the way of the nation, and whether in acting as they did they may not be compared to the man who first places a rock or some huge obstruction in the path that leads to his mansion, and then kindles a beacon upon it to prevent his visitors from tumbling over it.

Gustavus I. had now the happiness of seeing the Reformed faith planted in his dominions, His reign was prolonged after this thirty years, and during all that time he never ceased to watch over the interests of the Protestant Church, taking care that his kingdom should be well supplied with learned bishops and diligent pastors. Lawrence Patersen (1531) was promoted to the Archbishopric of Upsala, the first see in Sweden, which he filled till his death (1570). The country soon became flourishing, and yielded plenteously the best of all fruit — great men. The valor of the nobles was displayed on many a hard-fought field. The pius and patriotic king took part in the great events of his age, in some of which we shall yet meet him. He went to his grave in 1560. [15] But the spirit he had kindled in Sweden lived after him, and the attempts of some of his immediate successors to undo what their great ancestor had done, and lead back the nation into Popish darkness, were firmly resisted by the nobles.

The scepter of Gustavus Vasa passed to his son, Eric XIV., whose short reign of eight years was marked with some variety of fortune. In 1568, he transmitted the kingdom to his brother John, who, married to a Roman Catholic princess, conceived the idea of introducing a semi-Popish liturgy into the Swedish Church. The new liturgy, which was intended to replace that of Olaf Patersen, was published in the spring of 1576, and was called familiarly the "Red Book," from the color of its binding. It was based upon the Missale Romanum, the object being to assimilate the Eucharistic service to the ritual of the Church of Rome. It contained the following passage: — "Thy same Son, the same Sacrifice, which is a pure unspotted and holy Sacrifice, exhibited for our reconciliation, for our shield, shelter, and protection against thy wrath and against the terrors of sin and death, we do with faith receive, and with our humble prayers offer before thy glorious majesty." The doctrine of this passage is unmistakably that of transubstantiation, but, over and above this, the whole of the new Missal was pervaded by a Romanizing spirit. The bishops and many of the clergy were gained over to the king's measures, but a minority of the pastors remained faithful, and the resolute opposition which they offered to the introduction of the new liturgy, saved the Swedish Church from a complete relapse into Romanism. Bishop Anjou, the modern historian of the Swedish Reformation, says — "The severity with which King John endeavored to compel the introduction of his prayer-book, was the testing fire which purified the Swedish Church to a clear conviction of the Protestant principles which formed its basis." It was a time of great trial, but the conflict yielded precious fruits to the Church of Sweden. The nation saw that it had stopped too soon in the path of Reform, that it must resume its progress, and place a greater distance between itself and the principles and rites of the Romish Church; and a movement was now begun which continued steadily to go on, till at last the topstone was put upon the work. The Protestant party rallied every day. Nevertheless, the contest between King John and the Protestant portion of his subjects lasted till the day of his death. John was succeeded by his son, Sigismund, in 1592. On arriving from Poland to take possession of the Swedish crown, Sigismund found a declaration of the Estates awaiting his signature, to the effect that the liturgy of John was abolished, and that the Protestant faith was the religion of Sweden.

CHAPTER 6 Back to Top


Ebb in Swedish Protestantism — Sigismund a Candidate for the Throne-His Equivocal Promise — Synod of Upsala, 1593 — Renew their Adherence to the Augsburg Confession — Abjure the "Red Book" — Their Measure of Toleration — The Nation joyfully Adheres to the Declaration of the Upsala Convocation — Sigismund Refuses to Subscribe — The Diet Withholds the Crown — He Signs and is Crowned — His Short Reign — Charles IX. — His Death — A Prophecy.

SINCE the middle of the reign of Gustavus Vasa, the liberties of the Reformed Church of Sweden had been on the ebb. Vasa, adopting the policy known as the Erastian, had assumed the supreme power in all matters ecclesiastical. His son John went a step beyond this. At his own arbitrary will and pleasure he imposed a semi-Popish liturgy upon the Swedish clergy, and strove, by sentences of imprisonment and outlawry, to compel them to make use of it in their public services. But now still greater dangers impended: in fact, a crisis had arisen. Sigismund, who made no secret of his devotion to Rome, was about to mount the throne. Before placing the crown on his head, the Swedes felt that it was incumbent on them to provide effectual guarantees that the new monarch should govern in accordance with the Protestant religion. Before arriving in person, Sigismund had sent from Poland his promise to his new subjects that he would preserve religious freedom and "neither hate nor love" any one on account of his creed. The popular interpretation put upon this assurance expresses the measure of confidence felt in it. Our future sovereign, said the Swedes, tells us that he will "hate no Papist and love no Lutheran."

The nation was wise in time. The synod was summoned by Duke Charles, the administrator of the kingdom in the absence of Sigismund, to meet at Upsala on the 25th February, 1593, and settle ecclesiastical affairs.

There were present four bishops, four professors of theology, three hundred and six clergymen, exclusive of those who had not been formally summoned. Duke Charles, and the nine members of council, many of the nobles, and several representatives of cities and districts were also present at this synod, although, with the exception of the members of council, they took no part in its deliberations. The business was formally opened on the 1st March by a speech from the High Marshal, in which, in the name of the duke and the council, he welcomed the clergy, and congratulated them on having now at length obtained what they had often so earnestly sought, and King John had as often promised — but only promised — " a free ecclesiastical synod." He invited them freely to discuss the matters they had been convoked to consider, but as for himself and his colleagues, he added, they would abide by the Augsburg Confession of 1530, and the ecclesiastical constitution of 1529, framed for them by Lawrence Patersen, the late Archbishop of Upsala.

Professor Nicolas Olai was chosen president, and the synod immediately proceeded to the all-important question of a Confession. The Augsburg Confession was read over article by article. It was the subject day after day of anxious deliberation; at last it became evident that there existed among the members of synod a wonderful harmony of view on all the points embraced in the Augustan Symbol, and that there was really no need to frame a new formula of belief. Whereupon Bishop Petrus Jonmae, of Strengnas, stood up and put to the synod and council the interrogatory, "Do you adopt this Confession as the Confession of your faith, and are you resolved to abide firmly by it, notwithstanding all suffering and loss to which a faithful adherence to it may expose you?"

Upon this the whole synod arose and shouted out, "We do; nor shall we ever flinch from it, but at all times shall be ready to maintain it with our goods and our lives." "Then," responded the president in loud and glad tones, "now is Sweden become as one man, and we all of us have one Lord and God."

The synod having thus joyfully completed its first great work, King John's liturgy, or the "Red Book," next came up for approval or non-approval. All were invited to speak who had anything to say in defense of the liturgy. But not a voice was lifted up; not one liturgical champion stepped down into the arena. Nay, the three prelates who had been most conspicuous during the lifetime of the former king for their support of the Missal, now came forward and confessed that they had been mistaken in their views of it, and craved forgiveness from God and the Assembly. So fell the notorious "Red Book," which, during sixteen years, had caused strifes and divisions in the Church, had made not a few to depart from "the form of sound words," and embittered the last years of the reign of the man from whom it proceeded.

We deem it incumbent to take into consideration three of the resolutions adopted by this synod, because one shows the historic ground which the Reformed Church of Sweden took up, and the other two form the measure of the enlightenment and toleration which the Swedes had attained to.

The second general resolution ran thus: "We further declare the unity and agreement of the Swedish Church with the Christian Church of the primitive ages, through our adoption of the Apostolic, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds; with the Reformed Evangelical Church, through our adoption of the Augsburg Confession of 1530; and with the preceding Reformation of the Swedish Church itself, through the adoption of the ecclesiastical constitution established and held valid during the episcopate of Laurentius Petri, and the concluding years of the reign of King Gustavus I."

In the fourth resolution, over and above the condemnation of the liturgy of King John, because it was "a stone of stumbling" and "similar to the Popish mass," the synod adds its rejection of the "errors of Papists, Sacramentarians, Zwinglians, Calvinists, Anabaptists, and all other heretics."

In the sixth resolution, the synod declares it to be "strictly right that persons holding other forms of faith than the Lutheran should not be permitted to settle in the kingdom;" nevertheless, having respect to the requirements of trade and commerce, they grant this indulgence, but under restriction that such shall hold no public religious meetings in their houses, nor elsewhere, nor speak disrespectfully of the national creed.

It is easy to pity, nay, it is easy to condemn this narrowness; but it is not so easy to apportion due praise to the synod for the measure of catholicity to which it had attained. Its members had repudiated the use of the stake for conscience-sake; that was a great advance at this early period; if, notwithstanding, they framed an edict that has the aspect of persecution, its object was not to coerce the opinion of others, but to defend their own belief. Plotters and foes abounded on every side; it behooved them to take measures to guard against surprise, and as regards other points, fuller information would have qualified their judgment on some of the opinions enumerated in their, list of ostracized sects. But despite these defects, we find in their creed and resolutions the pure and renovating breath of our common Protestantism. The faces of these men are turned toward liberty. The molding principles of their creed are those which generate noble characters and heroic actions. It scattered among the Swedish people the germs of a new life, and from that hour dates their resurrection to a nobler destiny. The spirit of the Upsala convocation embodied itself in Duke Charles's illustrious son, it bore him in triumph into the very heart of Papal Germany, it crowned his arms with victory in his Protestant campaigns, and the echoes of the solemn declaration of the Estates in 1539 come back upon us in battle-thunder from many a stricken field, and grandest and saddest of all from the field of Lutzen.

The synod had done its work, and now it made its appeal to the nation. Will the Swedish people ratify what their pastors had done at Upsala?

Copies of the declaration and resolutions were circulated through the kingdom. The sanction of the nation was universally and promptly given. All ranks of persons testified their adherence to the Protestant faith, by subscribing the Upsala Declaration. The roll of signatures contained the names of Duke Charles, Gustavus, Duke of Saxony and Westphalia, the grandson of Gustavus I., 14 councilors of State, 7 bishops, 218 knights and nobles, 137 civil officials, 1,556 clergymen, the burgomasters of the thirty-six cities and town's of the realm, and the representatives of 197 districts and provinces. This extensive subscription is proof of an enthusiasm and unanimity on the part of the Swedish people not less marked than that of the synod.

One other name was wanted to make this signature-roll complete, and to proclaim that the adoption of Protestantism by the Swedish people was truly and officially a national act. It was that of King Sigismund. "Will he subscribe the Upsala Declaration?" every one asked; for his attachment to the Romish faith was well known. Sigismund still tarried in Poland, and was obviously in no haste to present himself among his new subjects. The council dispatched a messenger to solicit his subscription. The reply was an evasion. This naturally created alarm, and the Protestants, forewarned, bound themselves still more closely together to maintain their religious liberty. After protracted delays the new sovereign arrived in Sweden on the 30th of September the same year. The duke, the council, and the clergy met him at Stockholm, and craved his subscription to the Upsala resolutions. Sigismund refused compliance. The autumn and winter were passed in fruitless negotiations. With the spring came the period which had been fixed upon for the coronation of the monarch. The royal signature had not yet been given, and events were approaching a crisis. The Swedish Estates were assembled in the beginning of February, 1594. The archbishop, having read the Upsala Declaration, asked the Diet if it was prepared to stand by it. A unanimous response was given in the affirmative, and further, the Diet decreed that whoever might refuse to sign the declaration should be held disqualified to fill any office, civil or ecclesiastical, within the realm. Sigismund now saw that he had no alternative save to ratify the declaration or renounce the crown. He chose the former. After some vain attempts to qualify his subscription by appending certain conditions, he put his name to the hated document. A Te Deum was sung in the cathedral the day following, and on the 19th of February, King Sigismund was crowned. The struggle of Sweden for its Reformation, which had lasted over twenty years, came thus at last to a victorious close. Arcimbold, by the preaching of indulgences, and the political conflicts to which this led, had ploughed up the soil; Olaf and Lawrence Patersen came next, scattering the seed; then arose the patriotic Gustavus Vasa to shield the movement. After a too early pause, during which new dangers gathered, the movement was again resumed. The synod of the clergy met and adopted the Augustan Confession as the creed of Sweden; their deed was accepted by the Estates and the nation, and finally ratified by the signature of the sovereign. Thus was the Protestant faith of the Swedish people surrounded with all legal formalities and securities; to this day these are the formal foundations on which rests the Reformed Church of Sweden.[1]

Only a few years did Sigismund occupy the throne of Sweden. His government, in accordance with the Upsala Declaration, partook too much of the compulsory to be either hearty or honest; he was replaced in 1604 by Charles IX., the third son of Gustavus Vasa. When dying, Charles is reported to have exclaimed, laying his hand upon the golden locks of his boy, and looking forward to the coming days of conflict, "Ille faciet."[2]

This boy, over whom his dying sire uttered these prophetic words, was the future Gustavus Adolphus, in whom his renowned grandfather, Gustavus Vasa, lived over again, with still greater renown.

CHAPTER 7 Back to Top


Paul Elia — Inclines to Protestantism — Returns to Rome — Petrus Parvus — Code of Christian II. — The New Testament in Danish — Georgius Johannis — Johannis Taussanus — Studies at Cologne — Finds Access to Luther's Writings — Repairs to Wittemberg — Returns to Denmark — Re-enters the Monastery of Antvorskoborg — Explains the Bible to the Monks — Transferred to the Convent of Viborg — Expelled from the Convent — Preaches in the City — Great Excitement in Viborg, and Alarm of the Bishops — Resolve to invite Doctors Eck and Cochlaeus to Oppose Taussan — Their Letter to Eck — Their Picture of Lutheranism — Their Flattery of Eck — He Declines the Invitation.

IN tracing the progress of the Reformation in Sweden, our attention was momentarily turned toward Denmark. Two figures attracted our notice — Arcimboldus, the legate-a-latere of Leo X., and Christian II., the sovereign of the country. The former was busy gathering money for the Pope's use, and sending off vast sums of gold to Rome; the latter, impatient of the yoke of the priests, and envious of the wealth of the Church, was trying to introduce the doctrines of Luther into Denmark, less for their truth than for the help they would give him in making himself master in his own dominions. Soon, however, both personages disappeared from the scene.

Arcimbold in due time followed his gold-bags to Italy, and Christian II., deposed by his subjects, retired to the court of his brother-in-law, Charles V. His uncle Frederick, Duke of Holstein and Schleswig, succeeded him on the throne.[1] This was in 1523, and here properly begins the story of the Reformation in Denmark.

Paul Elia, a Carmelite monk, was the first herald of the coming day. As early as 1520 the fame of Luther and his movement reached the monastery of Helsingfor, in which Elia held the rank of provincial. Smitten with an intense desire to know something of the new doctrine, he procured the writings of Luther, studied them, and appeared heartily to welcome the light that now broke upon him. The abuses of the Church of Rome disclosed themselves to his eye; he saw that a Reformation was needed, and was not slow to proclaim his conviction to his countrymen. He displayed for a time no small courage and zeal in his efforts to diffuse a knowledge of the truth in his native land. But, like Erasmus of Holland, and More of England, he turned back to the superstitions which he appeared to have left. He announced the advent of the heavenly kingdom, but did not himself enter in.[2]

Among the early restorers of the Gospel to Denmark, no mean place is due to Petrus Parvus. Sprung of an illustrious stock, he was not less distinguished for his virtues. Attracted to Wittemberg, like many of the Danish youth, by the fame of Luther and Melancthon, he there heard of a faith that brings forgiveness of sin and holiness of nature, and on his return home he labored to introduce the same gracious doctrine into Denmark.[3]

Nor must we pass over in silence the name of Martin, a learned man and an eloquent preacher, who almost daily in 1520 proclaimed the Gospel from the cathedral pulpit of Hafnia (Copenhagen) in the Danish tongue to crowded assemblies.[4] In 1522 came the ecclesiastical and civil code of Christian II., of which we have already spoken, correcting some of the more flagrant practices of the priests, forbidding especially appeals to Rome, and requiring that all causes should be determined the courts of the country. In the year following (1523) the king fled, leaving behind him a soil which had just begun to be broken up, and on which a few handfuls of seed had been cast very much at random.

In his banishment, Christian still sought opportunities of promoting the best interests of the land which had driven him out. One is almost led to think that amid all his vices as a man, and errors as a ruler, he had a love for Lutheranism, for its own sake, and not simply because it lent support to his policy. He now sent to Denmark the best of all Reformers, the Word of God. In Flanders, where in 1524 we find him residing, he caused the New Testament to be translated into the Danish tongue. It was printed at Leipsic, and issued in two parts — the first containing the four Gospels, and the second the Epistles. It bore to be translated from the Vulgate, although the internal evidence made it undoubted that the translator had freely followed the German version by Luther, and possibly by doing so had the better secured both accuracy and beauty.[5] The book was accompanied with a preface by the translator, Johannis Michaelis, dated Antwerp, in which he salutes his "dear brethren and sisters of Denmark, wishing grace and peace to them in God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ." He bids them not be scared, by the bulls and other fulmination's of the Vatican, from reading what God has written; that the object of Rome is to keep them blindfolded, that they may believe implicitly all the fables and dreams she chooses to tell them. God, he says, has sent them, in great mercy, the Light by which they may detect the frauds of the impostor. "Grace and remission of sins," says he, "are nowhere save where the Gospel of God is preached. Whoever hears and obeys it, hears and knows that he is forgiven, and has the assurance of eternal life; whereas, they who go to Rome for pardon bring back nothing but griefs, a seared conscience, and a bit of parchment sealed with wax."[6] The priests stormed, but the Bible did its work, and the good fruits appeared in the following reign.

Frederick, the uncle of Christian, and Duke of Holstein and Schleswig, was now upon the throne. A powerful priesthood, and an equally powerful nobility attached to the Romish Church, had exacted of the new monarch a pledge that he would not give admission to the Lutheran faith into Denmark; but the Danish Bible was every day rendering the fulfillment of the pledge more difficult. In vain had the king promised "not to attack the dignity and privileges of the Ecclesiastical Estate,"[7] when the Scriptures were, hour by hour, silently but powerfully undermining them.

A beginning was made by Georgius Johannis. He had drunk at the well of Wittemberg, and returning to his native town of Viborg, he began (1525) to spread the Reformed opinions. When the Bishop of Viborg opposed him, the king gave him letters of protection, which enabled him to set up a Protestant school in that city,[8] the first of all the Protestant institutions of Denmark, and which soon became famous for the success with which, under its founder, it diffused the light of truth and piety over the kingdom.

After Johannis came a yet more illustrious man, who has earned for himself the title of the "Reformer of Denmark," Johannis Taussanus. He was born in 1494, in the country of Fionia; his parents were peasants. From his earliest years the young Taussan discovered a quick genius and an intense thirst for knowledge, but the poverty of his parents did not permit them to give him a liberal education. Following the custom of his time he entered the Order of John the Baptist, or Jerusalem Monks, and took up his abode in the monastery of Antvorskoborg in Zealand.

He had not been long in the monastery when the assiduity and punctuality with which he performed his duties, and the singular blamelessness of his manners, drew upon him the eyes of the superior of the order, Eskildus.[9] His parts, he found, were equal to his virtues, and in the hope that he would become in time the ornament of the monastery, the superior adjudged to the young Taussan one of those bursaries which were in the gift of the order for young men of capacity who wished to prosecute their studies abroad. Taussan was told that, he might select what school or university he pleased, one only excepted, Wittemberg. That seminary was fatally poisoned; all who drank of its waters died, and thither he must on no account bend his course. But there were others whose waters no heresy had polluted: there were Louvain, and Cologne, and others, all unexceptionable in their orthodoxy. At any or all of these he might drink, but of the fountain in Saxony he must not approach it, nor taste it, lest he become anathema. His choice fell upon Cologne. He had been only a short while at that seat of learning when he became weary of the futility's and fables with which he was there entertained. He thirsted to engage in studies more solid, and to taste a doctrine more pure. It happened at that time that the writings of Luther were put into his hands.[10] In these he found what met the cravings of his soul. He longed to place himself at the feet of the Reformer. Many weary leagues separated Wittemberg from the banks of the Rhine, but that was not the only, nor indeed the main, difficulty he had to encounter. He would forfeit his pension, and incur the wrath of his superiors, should it be known that he had gone to drink at the interdicted spring. These risks, however, did not deter him; every day he loathed more and more the husks given him for food, and wished to exchange them for that bread by which alone he felt he could live. He set out for Witternberg; he beheld the face of the man through whom God had spoken to his heart when wandering in the wilderness of Scholasticism, and if the page of Luther had touched him, how much more his living voice!

Whether the young student's sojourn here was known in his native country we have no means of discovering; but in the summer of 1521, and about the time that Luther would be setting out for the Diet of Worms, we find Taussan returning to Denmark. His profiting at Wittemberg was very sufficiently attested by a most flattering mark of distinction which was bestowed on him on his way home. The University of Rostock conferred upon him the degree of Doctor in Theology, an honor which doubtless he valued chiefly because it admitted him to the privilege of teaching to others what himself had learned with joy of heart at the feet of the Reformers.[11]

The monastery at whose expense he had studied abroad had the first claim upon him; and some time elapsed before he could teach publicly in the university. He brought back to the monastery, which he again entered, the same beautiful genius and the same pure manners which had distinguished him before his departure; but the charm of these qualities was now heightened by the nameless grace which true piety gives to the character, "As a lamp in a sepulcher," says one, "so did his light shine in the midst of the darkness of that place."[12] It was not yet suspected by his brethren that they had a Lutheran among them under the cloak of their order, and Taussan took care not to put them upon the scent of the secret, nevertheless, he began betimes to correct the disorders and enlighten the ignorance of his fellow-monks — evils which he now saw had their origin not so much in the vices of the men as in the perversity of the institution.

He would draw them to the Word of God, and opening to them in plain language its true meaning, he would show them how far and fatally Rome had strayed from this Holy Rule. At the Easter of 1524 he preached a sermon setting forth the insufficiency of good works, and the need of an imputed righteousness in order to the sinner's justification. "All the blind supporters of the Pontifical superstition," says the historian, "were in arms against him."[13] The disguise was now dropped.

There was one man whose wrath the sermon of the young monk had specially roused, the prior of the convent, Eskildus, a bigoted upholder of the ancient religion, and the person who had sent Taussan abroad, whence he had brought back the doctrine, the preaching of which had converted his former friend into his bitter enemy.

That he might not corrupt the monks, or bring on the monastery of Antvorskoborg, which had preserved till this hour its good name untarnished, the terrible suspicion of heresy, the prior formed the resolution of transferring Taussan to the convent of Viborg, where a strict watch would be kept upon him, and he would have fewer opportunities of proselytizing under the rigorous surveillance which Prior Petri Jani was known to exercise over those committed to his care. The event, however, turned out quite otherwise. Shut up in his cell, Taussan communicated with the inmates of the convent through the bars of his window. In these conversations he dropped the seeds of truth into their minds, and the result was that two of the monks, named Erasmus and Theocarius, were converted to the truth.[14]

The horror-struck prior, foreseeing the perversion of his whole brotherhood should he retain this corrupter a day longer in the monastery, again drove Taussan forth. If the prior saved his convent by this step, he lost the city of Viborg, for it so happened that about that time a rescript (1526) of King Frederick was issued, commanding that no one should offer molestation to any teacher of the new doctrine, and Taussan thus, though expelled, found himself protected from insult and persecution, whether from the prior or from the magistrates of Viborg. By a marvelous providence, he had been suddenly transferred from the monastery to the city, from the cell to the vineyard of the Lord; from a little auditory, gathered by stealth at his grated window, to the open assemblies of the citizens. He began to preach. The citizens of Viborg heard with joy the Gospel from his mouth. The churches of the city were opened to Taussan, and the crowds that flocked to bear him soon filled them to overflowing.[15]

It was now the bishop's turn to be alarmed. The prior in extinguishing the fire in his convent had but carried the conflagration into the city; gladly would he have seen Taussan again shut up in the monastery, but that was impossible. The captive had escaped, or rather had been driven out, and was not to be lured back; the conflagration had been kindled, and could not now be extinguished. What was to be done? The bishop, Georgius Friis, had no preachers at his command, but he had soldiers, and he resolved to put down these assemblies of worshippers by arms. The zeal of the citizens for the Gospel, however, and their resolution to maintain its preacher, rendered the bishop's efforts abortive. They bade defiance to his troops. They posted guards around the churches, they defended the open squares by drawing chains across them, and they went to sermon with arms in their hands. At length there came another intimation of the royal will, commanding the disaffected party to desist from these violent proceedings, and giving the citizens of Viborg full liberty to attend on the preaching of the Gospel.[16]

Foiled in his own city and diocese, the Bishop of Viborg now took measures for extending the war over the kingdom. The expulsion of Taussan from the convent had set the city in flames; but the bishop had failed to learn the lesson taught by the incident, and so, without intending it, he laid the train for setting the whole country on fire. He convoked the three other bishops of Fionia (Jutland), the most ancient and largest province of Denmark, and, having addressed them on the emergency that had arisen, the bishops unanimously agreed to leave no stone unturned to expel Lutheranism from Denmark. Mistrusting their own skill and strength, however, for the accomplishment of this task, they east their eyes around, and fixed on two champions who, they thought, would be able to combat the hydra which had invaded their land. These were Doctors Eck and Cochlaeus. The four bishops, Ivarus Munck, Stiggo Krumpen, Avo Bilde, and Georgius Friis, addressed a joint letter, which they sent by an honorable messenger, Henry Geerkens, to Dr. Eck, entreating him to come and take up his abode for one or more years in Jutland, in order that by preaching, by public disputations, or by writing, he might silence the propagators of heresy, and rescue the ancient faith from the destruction that impended over it. Should this application be declined by Eck, Geerkens was empowered next to present it to Cochlaeus.[17] Neither flatteries nor promises were lacking which might induce these mighty men of war to renew, on Danish soil, the battles which they boasted having so often and so gloriously fought for Rome in other countries.

The letter of the four bishops, dated 14th of June, 1527, has been preserved; but the terms in which they give vent to their immense detestation of Lutheranism, and their equally immense admiration of the qualities of the man whom Providence had raised up to oppose it, are hardly translatable. Many of their phrases would have been quite new to Cicero. The epistle savored of Gothic rigor rather than Italian elegance.

The eccentricities of their pen will be easily pardoned, however, if we reflect how much the portentous apparition of Lutheranism had disturbed their imaginations. They make allusion to it as that "Phlegethonian plague," that "cruel and virulent pestilence,"[18] the "black contagion" of which, "shed into the air," was "darkening great part of Christendom," and had made "their era a most unhappy one." Beginning by describing Lutheranism as a plague, they end by comparing it to a serpent; for they go on to denounce those "skulking and impious Lutheran dogmatizers," who, "fearing neither the authority of royal diets nor the terrors of a prison," now "creeping stealthily," now "darting suddenly out of their holes like serpents," are diffusing among "the simple and unlearned flock," their "desperate insanity," bred of "controversial studies."[19]

From Lutheranism the four bishops turn to Dr. Eck. Their pen loses none of its cunning when they come to recount his great qualities. If Lutheranism was the plague that was darkening the earth, Eck was the sun destined to enlighten it. If Lutheranism was the serpent whose deadly virus was infecting mankind, Eck was the Hercules born to slay the monster. "To thee," said the bishops, casting themselves at his feet, "thou most eloquent of men in Divine Scripture, and who excellest in all kinds of learning, we bring the wishes of our Estates. They seek to draw to their own country the man who, by his gravity, his faith, his constancy, his prudence, his firm mind, is able to bring back those who have been misled by perverse and heretical teachers." Not that they thought they could add to the fame of one already possessed of "imperishable renown, and a glory that will last throughout the ages;" "a man to whom nothing in Divine literature is obscure, nothing unknown;" but they urged the greatness of their need and the glory of the service, greater than any ever undertaken by the philosophers and conquerors of old, the deliverance even of Christianity, menaced with extinction in the rich and populous kingdoms of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. They go on to cite the great deeds of Curtius and Scipio Africanus, and other heroes of ancient story, and trust that the man they address will show not less devotion for the Christian commonwealth than these did for the Roman republic. Their hope lay in him alone — "in his unrivalled eloquence, in his profound penetration, in his Divine understanding." In saving three kingdoms from the pestilence of Luther, he would win a higher glory and taste a sweeter pleasure than did those men who had saved the republic.[20]

This, and a great deal more to the same effect, was enough, one would have thought, to have tempted Dr. Eck to leave his quiet retreat, and once more measure swords with the champions of the new faith. But the doctor had grown wary. Recent encounters had thinned his laurels, and what remained he was not disposed to throw away in impossible enterprises, he was flattered by the embassy, doubtless, but not gained by it. He left the Cimbrian bishops to fight the battle as best they could.

CHAPTER 8 Back to Top


Paul Elia Opposes — Harangues the Soldiery in the Citadel — Tumults — The King summons a Meeting of the Estates at Odensee — His Address to the Bishops — Edict of Toleration — Church-Song — Ballad-Poetry of Denmark — Out-burst of Sacred Psalmody — Nicolaus Martin — Preaches outside the Walls of Malmoe — Translates the German Hymns into Danish — The Psalms Translated — Sung Universally in Denmark — Nicolaus Martin Preaches inside Malmoe — Theological College Established there — Preachers sent through Denmark — Taussan Removed to Copenhagen — New Translation of the New Testament.

MEANWHILE the truth was making rapid progress in Viborg, and throughout the whole of Jutland. The Gospel was proclaimed not only by Taussan, "the Luther of Denmark" as he has been called, but also by George Jani, or Johannis, of whom we have already made mention, as the founder of the first Reformed school in Viborg, and indeed in Denmark.

The king was known to be a Lutheran; so too was the master of his horse, Magnus Goyus, who received the Communion in both kinds, and had meat on his table on Fridays. The army was largely leavened with the same doctrine, and in the Duchies of Holstein and Schleswig the Lutheran faith was protected by law. Everything helped onward the movement; if it stopped for a moment its enemies were sure again to set it in motion. It was at this time not a little helped by Paul Elia, the first to sow the seeds of Lutheranism in Denmark, but who now was more eager to extirpate than ever he had been to plant them. The unhappy man craved permission to deliver his sentiments on Lutheranism in public. The permission was at once granted, with an assurance that no one should be permitted to molest or injure him. The master of the horse took him to the citadel, where at great length, and with considerable freedom, he told what he thought of the faith which he had once preached. His address fell upon attentive but not assenting ears. When he descended from his rostrum he was met with a tempest of scoffs and threats. he would have fallen a sacrifice to the incensed soldiery, had not a lieutenant, unsheathing his sword, led him safely through the crowd, and dismissed him at the gates of the fortress. The soldiers followed him with their cries, so long as he was in sight, saying that "the monks were wolves and destroyers of souls."

This and similar scenes compelled Frederick I. to take a step forward. A regard for the tranquillity of his kingdom would suffer him no longer to be neutral. Summoning (1527) the Estates of Denmark to Odensee, he addressed them in Latin. Turning first of all to the bishops, he reminded them that their office bound them to nourish the Church with the pure Word of God; that throughout a large part of Germany religion had been purged from the old idolatry; that even here in Denmark many voices were raised for the purgation of the faith from the fables and traditions with which it was so largely mixed up, and for permission to be able again to drink at the pure fountains of the Word. He had taken an oath to protect the Roman and Catholic religion in his kingdom, but he did not look on that promise as binding him to defend all "the errors and old wives' fables" which had found admission into the Church. "And who of you," he asked, "is ignorant how many abuses and errors have crept in by time which no man of sane mind can defend? " "And since," he continued, "in this kingdom, to say nothing of others, the Christian doctrine, according to the Reformation of Luther, has struck its roots so deep that they could not now be eradicated without bloodshed, and the infliction of many great calamities upon the kingdom and its people, it is my royal pleasure that in this kingdom both religions, the Lutheran as well as the Papal, shall be freely tolerated till a General Council shall have met."[1]

Of the clergy, many testified, with both hands and feet, their decided disapproval of this speech;[2] but its moderation and equity recommended it to the great majority of the Estates. A short edict, in four heads, expressed the resolution of the Assembly, which was in brief that it was permitted to every subject of the realm to profess which religion he pleased, the Lutheran or the Pontifical; that no one should suffer oppression of conscience or injury of person on that account; and that monks and nuns were at liberty to leave their convents or to continue to reside in them, to marry or to remain single.[3]

This edict the king and Estates supplemented by several regulations which still further extended the reforms. Priests were granted leave to marry; bishops were forbidden to send money to Rome for palls; the election was to be in the power of the chapter, and its ratification in that of the king; and, finally, the ecclesiastical jurisdiction was restricted to ecclesiastical affairs.[4]

Another influence which tended powerfully to promote the Reformation in Denmark was the revival of church-song. The part which Rome assigns to her people in her public worship is silence: their voices raised in praise are never heard. If hymns are ever sung under the gorgeous roofs of her temples, it is by her clerical choirs alone; and even these hymns are uttered in a dead language, which fails, of course, to reach the understandings or to awaken the hearts of the people. The Reformation broke the long and deep silence which had reigned in Christendom. Wherever it advanced it was amid the sounds of melody and praise. Nowhere was it more so than in Denmark. The early ballad-poetry of that country is among the noblest in Europe. But the poetic muse had long slumbered there: the Reformation awoke it to a new life. The assemblies of the Protestants were far too deeply moved to be content as mere spectators, like men at a pantomime, of the worship celebrated in their sanctuaries; they demanded a vehicle for those deep emotions of soul which the Gospel had awakened within them. This was no mere revival of the poetic taste, it was no mere refinement of the musical ear; it was the natural outburst of those fresh, warm, and holy feelings to which the grand truths of the Gospel had given birth, and which, like all deep and strong emotions, struggled to utter themselves in song.

The first to move in this matter was Nicolaus Martin. This Reformer had the honor to be the first to carry the light of the Gospel to many places in Schonen. He had studied the writings of Luther, and "drunk his fill of the Word,"[5] and yearned to lead others to the same living fountain. The inhabitants of Malmoe, in 1527, invited him to preach the Gospel to them. He obeyed the summons, and held his first meeting on the 1st of June in a meadow outside the walls of the city. The people, after listening to the Gospel of God's glorious grace, wished to vent their feelings in praise; but there existed nothing in the Danish tongue fit to be used on such an occasion. They proposed that the Latin canticles which the priests sang in the temples should be translated into Danish. Martin, with the help of John Spandemager, who afterwards became Pastor of Lund, in Schonen, and who "labored assiduously for more than thirty years in the vineyard of the Lord,"[6] translated several of the sacred hymns of Germany into the tongue of the people, which, being printed and published, at Malmoe, formed the first hymn-book of the Reformed Church of Denmark.

By-and-by there came a still nobler hymn-book. Francis Wormord, of Amsterdam, the first Protestant Bishop of Lund, was originally a Carmelite monk. During his residence in the monastery of Copenhagen or of Helsingborg, for it is uncertain which, led by love of the truth, he translated the Psalms of David into the Danish tongue. The task was executed jointly by himself and Paul Elia, for, being a native of Holland, Wormord was but imperfectly master of the Danish idiom, and gladly availed himself of the help of another. The book was published in 1528, "with the favor and privilege of the king."[7] The publication was accompanied with notes, explaining the Psalms in a Protestant sense, and, like a hand-post, directing the readers eye to a Greater than David, whose sufferings and resurrection and ascension to heaven are gloriously celebrated in these Divine odes. The Psalms soon displaced the ballads which had been sung till then. They were heard in the castles of the nobles; they were used in the assemblies of the Protestants. While singing them the worshippers saw typified and depicted the new scenes which were opening to the Church and the world, the triumph even of Messiah's kingdom, and the certain and utter overthrow of that of his rival.[8] Long had the Church's harp hung upon the willows; but her captivity was now drawing to an end; the fetters were falling from her limbs; the doors of her prison were beginning to expand. She felt the time had come to put away her sackcloth, to take down her harp so long unstrung, and to begin those triumphal melodies written aforetime for the very purpose of celebrating, in strains worthy of the great occasion, her march out of the house of bondage. The ancient oracle was now fulfilled: "The ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with songs."

In particular the Psalms of David may be said to have opened the gates of Malmoe, which was the first of all the cities of Denmark fully to receive the Gospel. The first Protestant sermon, we have said, was preached outside the walls in 1527. The announcement of "a free forgiveness" was followed by the voices of the multitude lifted up in Psalms in token of their joy. Louder songs re-echoed day by day round the walls of Malmoe, as the numbers of the worshippers daily increased. Soon the gates were opened, and the congregation marched in, to the dismay of the Romanists, not in serge or sackcloth, not with gloomy looks and downcast heads, as if they had been leading in a religion of penance and gloom, but with beaming faces, and voices thrilling with joy, as well they might, for they were bringing to their townsmen the same Gospel which was brought to the shepherds by the angels who filled the sky with celestial melodies as they announced their message. The churches were opened to the preachers; the praises uttered outside the walls were now heard within the city. It seemed as if Malmoe rejoiced because "salvation was come to it." Mass was abolished; and in 1529 the Protestant religion was almost universally professed by the inhabitants. By the king's direction a theological college was erected in Malmoe; Frederick I. contributed liberally to its endowment, and moreover enacted by edict that the manors and other possessions given aforetime to the Romish superstition should, after the poor had been provided for, be made over for the maintenance of the Protestant Gymnasium.[9]

This seminary powerfully contributed to diffuse the light; it supplied the Danish Church with many able teachers. Its chairs were filled by men of accomplishment and eminence. Among its professors, then styled readers, were Nicolaus Martin, the first to carry the "good tidings" of a free salvation to Malmoe; Andreas, who had been a monk; Wornlord, who had also worn the cowl, but who had exchanged the doleful canticles of the monastery for the odes of the Hebrew king, which he was the first by his translation to teach his adopted countrymen to sing. Besides those just named, there were two men, both famous, who taught in the College of Malmoe — Peter Lawrence, and Olaus Chrysostom, Doctor of Theology. The latter's stay in Malmoe was short, being called to be first preacher in the Church of Mary in Copenhagen.[10]

The king's interest in the work continued to grow. The Danish Reformers saw and seized their opportunity. Seconded by the zeal and assistance of Frederick, they sent preachers through the kingdom, who explained in clear and simple terms the heads of the Christian doctrine, and thus it came to pass that in this year (1529) the truth was extended to all the provinces of Denmark. The eloquent Taussan, at the king's desire, removed from Viborg to Copenhagen, where he exercised his rare pulpit gifts in the Temple of St. Nicholas.

Taussan's removal to this wider sphere gave a powerful impulse to the movement. His fame had preceded him, and the citizens flocked in crowds to hear him. The Gospel, so clearly and eloquently proclaimed by him, found acceptance with the inhabitants. The Popish rites were forsaken — no one went to mass or to confession. The entrance of the truth into this city, says the historian, was signalized by "a mighty outburst of singing." The people, filled with joy at the mysteries made known to them, and the clear light that shone upon them after the long darkness, poured forth their gratitude in thundering voices in the Psalms of David, the hymns of Luther, and in other sacred canticles. Nor did Taussan confine himself to his own pulpit and flock; he cared for all the young Churches of the Reformation in Denmark, and did his utmost to nourish them into strength by seeking out and sending to them able and zealous preachers of the truth.[11]

This year (1529), a truly memorable one in the Danish Reformation, saw another and still more powerful agency enter the field. A new translation of the New Testament in the Danish tongue was now published in Antwerp, under the care of Christian Petri. Petri had formerly been a canon, and Chancellor of the Chapter in Lurid; but attaching himself to the fortunes of Christian II., he had been obliged to become an exile. He was, however, a learned and pious man, sincerely attached to the Reformed faith, which he did his utmost, both by preaching and writing, to propagate. He had seen the version of the New Testament, of which we have made mention above, translated by Michaelis in 1524, and which, though corrected by the pen of Paul Elia, was deformed with blemishes and obscurities; and feeling a strong desire to put into the hands of his countrymen a purer and more idiomatic version, Petri undertook a new translation. The task he executed with success. This purer rendering of the lively oracles of God was of great use in the propagation of the light through Denmark and the surrounding regions.[12]

CHAPTER 9 Back to Top


The King summons a Conference — Forty-three Articles of the Protestants — Agreement with the Augsburg Confession — Romanist Indictment against Protestants — Its Heads — In what Language shall the Debate take place? — Who shall be Judge? — The Combat Declined at the Eleventh Hour — Declaration of Protestant Pastors — Proclamation of the King — Dissolution of the Monasteries, etc.. — Establishment of Protestantism — Transformation undergone by Denmark.

BUT the wider the light spread, and the more numerous its converts became, the more vehemently did the priests oppose it. Their plots threatened to convulse the kingdom; and Frederick I., judging an aggressive policy to be the safest, resolved on another step towards the full establishment of the Reformation in his dominions. In 1530 he summoned all the bishops and prelates of his kingdom,[1] and the heads of the Lutheran movement, to Copenhagen, in order that they might discuss in his own presence, and in that of the Estates of the Realm, the distinctive articles of the two faiths. The Protestants, in anticipation of the conference, drew up a statement of doctrine or creed, in forty-three articles, "drawn from the pure fountain of the Scriptures," and presented it to the king as the propositions which they were prepared to maintain.[2] The Romanists, in like manner, drew up a paper, which they presented to the king. But it was rather an indictment against the Protestants than a summary of their own creed. It was a long list of errors and crimes against the ancient faith of which they held their opponents guilty! This was to pass judgment before the case had gone to trial: it was to pass judgment in their own cause, and ask the king to inflict the merited punishment. It was not for so summary a proceeding as this that Frederick had summoned the conference.

Let us examine the heads of the Protestant paper, mainly drawn up by Taussan, and accepted as the Confession of the Danish Church. It declared Holy Scripture to be the only rule of faith, and the satisfaction of Christ in our room the only foundation of eternal life. It defined the Church to be the communion of the faithful, and it denied the power of any man to cast any one out of that Church, unless such shall have first cut himself off from the communion of the faithful by impenitence and sin. It affirmed that the worship of God did not consist in canticles, masses, vigils, edifices, shaven crowns, cowls, and anointings, but in the adoring of God in spirit and in truth: that "the true mass of Christ is the commemoration of his sufferings and death, in which his body is eaten and his blood is drunk in certain pledge that through his name we obtain forgiveness of sins."[3] It goes on to condemn masses for the living and the dead, indulgences, auricular confession, and all similar practices. It declares all believers to be priests in Christ, who had offered himself to the Father a living and acceptable sacrifice. It declares the Head of the Church to be Christ, than whom there is no other, whether on earth or in heaven, and of this Head all believers are members.[4]

This document, bearing the signatures of all the leading Protestant pastors in the kingdom, was presented to the king and the Estates of the Realm. It was already the faith of thousands in Denmark. It struck a chord of profoundest harmony with the Confession presented by the Protestants that same year at Augsburg.

The Romanists next came forward. They had no summary of doctrine to present. The paper they gave in was drawn up on the assumption that the faith of Rome was the one true faith, which, having been held through all the ages and submitted to by the whole world, needed no proof or argument at their hands. All who departed from that faith were in deadly error, and ought to be reclaimed by authority. What they gave in, in short, was not a list of Romish doctrines, but of "Protestant errors," which were to be recanted, and, if not, to be punished.

Let us give a few examples. The Romanists charged the Protestants with holding, among other things, that "holy Church had been in error these thirteen or fourteen centuries;" that "the ceremonies, fasts, vestments, orders, etc., of the Church were antiquated and ought to be changed;" that "all righteousness consisted in faith alone;" that "man had not the power of free will;" and that "works did not avail for his salvation;" that "it was impious to pray to the saints, and not less impious to venerate their bones and relics;" that. "there is no external priesthood; " that "he who celebrates mass after the manner of the Roman Church commits an abominable act, and crucifies the Son of God afresh;" and that "all masses, vigils, prayers, alms, and fastings for the dead are sheer delusions and frauds." The charges numbered twenty-seven in all.[5]

The king, on receiving the paper containing these accusations, handed it to John Taussan, with a request that he and his colleagues would prepare a reply to it. The article touching the "freedom of the will," which the Romanists had put in a perverted light, Taussan and his co-pastors explained; but as regarded the other accusations they could only plead guilty; they held, on the points in question, all that the Romanists imputed to them; and instead of withdrawing their opinions they would stand to them, would affirm over again "that vigils, prayers, and masses for the dead are vanities and things that profit nought."

This fixed the "state of the question" or point to be debated. Next arose a keen contest on two preliminaries — "In what language shall we debate and who shall be judge?" The priests argued stoutly for the Latin, the Protestants as strenuously contended that the Danish should be the tongue in which the disputation should be carried on. The matter to be debated concerned all present not less than it did the personal disputants, but how could they determine on which side the truth lay if the discussion should take place in a language they did not understand?[6]

The second point was one equally hard to be settled: who shall be judge? The Protestants in matters of faith would recognize no authority save that of God only speaking in his own Word, although they left it to the king and the nobles and with the audience generally to say whether what they maintained agreed with or contradicted the inspired oracles. The Romanists, on the other hand, would accept the Holy Scriptures only in the sense in which Councils and the Fathers had interpreted them, reserving an appeal to the Pope as the ultimate and highest judge. Neither party would yield, and now came the amusing part of the business. Some of the Romanists suddenly discovered that the Lutherans were heretics, schismatics, and low persons, with whom it would be a disgrace for their bishops to engage in argument; while others of them, taking occasion from the presence of the royal guards, cried out that they were overawed by the military, and denied the free expression of their sentiments,[7] and that the king favored the heretics. The conference was thus suddenly broken off; the king, the Estates of the Realm, and the spectators who had gathered from all parts of the kingdom to witness the debates, feeling not a little befooled by this unlooked-for termination of the affair.[8]

Although the Romanists had fought and been beaten, they could not have brought upon themselves greater disgrace than this issue entailed upon them. The people saw that they had not the courage even to attempt a defense of their cause, and they did not judge more favorably of it when they saw that its supporters were ashamed of it. Taussan and the other Protestant pastors felt that the hour had come for speaking boldly out.

Setting to work, they prepared a paper exhibiting in twelve articles the neglect, corruption, and oppression of the hierarchy. This document they published all over the kingdom. It was followed by a proclamation from the king, saying that, the "Divine Word of the Gospel" should be freely and publicly preached, and that Lutherans and Romanists should enjoy equal protection until such time as a General Council of Christendom should meet and decide the question between them.

From that time the Protestant confessors in Denmark rapidly increased in number. The temples were left in great degree without worshippers, the monasteries without inmates, and the funds appropriated to their support were withdrawn and devoted to the erection of schools and relief of the poor. Of the monasteries, some were pulled down by the mob; for it was found impossible to restrain the popular indignation which had been awakened by the scandals and crimes of which report made these places the scene. The monks marched out of their abodes, leaving their cloaks at the door. Their hoards found vent by other and more useful channels than the monastery; and the fathers found more profitable employments than those in which they had been wont to pass the drowsy hours of the cell. Not a few became preachers of the Gospel; and some devoted to handicraft those thews and sinews which had run waste in the frock and cowl.

The tide was manifestly going against the bishops; nevertheless they fought on, having nailed their colors to the mast. They fed their hopes by the prospect of succor from abroad; and in order to be ready to co-operate with it when it should arrive, they continued to intrigue in secret, and took every means to maintain a brooding irritation within the kingdom. Frederick, to whom their policy was well known, deemed it wise to provide against the possible results of their intrigues and machinations, by drawing closer to the Protestant party in Germany. In 1532 he joined the league which the Lutheran princes had formed for their mutual defense at Schmalkald.[9]

It is not easy adequately to describe the change that now passed upon Denmark. A serene and blessed light arose upon the whole kingdom. Not only were the Danes enabled to read the Scriptures of the New Testament; in their own tongue, and the Psalms of David, which were also often sung both in their churches and in their fields and on their highways, but they had likewise numerous expounders of the Divine Word, and preachers of the Gospel, who opened to them the fountains of salvation. The land enjoyed a gentle spring. Eschewing the snares which the darkness had concealed, and walking in the new paths which the light had discovered to them, the inhabitants showed forth in abundance in their lives the fruits of the Gospel, which are purity and peace.[10]

CHAPTER 10 Back to Top


Scheme for Restoring the Old Faith Abortive — Unsuccessful Invasion of the Country by Christian II. — Death of the King — Interregnum of Two Years — Priestly Plottings and Successes — Taussan Condemned to Silence and Exile — The Senators Besieged by an Armed Mob in the Senate House — Taussan given up — Bishops begin to Persecute — Inundations, etc. — Christian III. Ascends the Throne — Subdues a Revolt — Assembles the Estates at Copenhagen — The Bishops Abolished — New Ecclesiastical Constitution framed, 1547 — Bugenhagen — The Seven Superintendents — Bugenhagen Crowns the King — Denmark Flourishes — Establishment of Protestantism in Norway and Iceland.

AN attempt was made at this time (1532) to turn the flank of the Reformation. Jacob Ronnovius, the Archbishop of Roeschildien, a man of astute but dangerous counsel, framed a measure, professedly in the interest of the Gospel, but fitted to bring back step by step the ancient superstition in all its power. His scheme was, in brief, that the Cathedral-church of Copenhagen, dedicated to Mary, should be given to the Franciscans or to the Friars of the Holy Ghost; that the mass and other rites should not be abolished, but retained in their primitive form; that the offices and chantings should be performed, not in the popular, but in the Latin tongue; that the altars and other ornaments of the sacred edifices should not be removed; in short, that the whole ritualistic machinery of the old worship should be maintained, while "learned men" were, at the same time, to preach the Gospel in the several parishes. This was a cunning device! It was sought to preserve the former framework entire, in the firm hope that the old spirit would creep back into it, and so the last state of the Danish people would be worse than the first. This scheme was presented to the king. Frederick was not to be hoodwinked. His reply put an effectual stop to the project of Ronnovius. It was the royal will that the Edict of Copenhagen should remain in force. The archbishop had to bow; and the hopes that the retrogades had built upon his scheme came to nothing.[1]

Scarcely had this cloud passed, when danger showed itself in another quarter. The ex-King Christian II., supported by his Popish allies in the Netherlands, and encouraged by the clerical malcontents in Denmark, made a descent by sea upon the country in the hope of recovering his throne. Discomfiture awaited the enterprise. As he approached the Danish shore a storm burst out which crippled his fleet; and before he could repair the damage it had sustained, he was attacked by the ships of Frederick, and the engagement which ensued, and which lasted a whole day, resulted in his complete rout. Christian was seized, carried to Soldenberg, in the Isle of Alsen, shut up in a gloomy prison, and kept there till the death of Frederick in 1533. [2]

So far the young Reformation of Denmark had been wonderfully shielded. It had kept its path despite many powerful enemies within the kingdom, and not a few active plotters without. But now came a short arrest. On the 10th of April, 1533, Frederick I., now in his sixty-second year, died. The Protestants bewailed the death of "the Good King." He was in the midst of his reforming career, and there was danger that his work would be interred with him. There followed a troubled interregnum of two years. Of the two sons of Frederick, Christian, the elder, was a Protestant; the younger, John, was attached to the Romish faith. The Popish party, who hoped that, with the descent of Frederick to the tomb, a new day had dawned for their Church, began to plot with the view of raising John to the throne. The Protestants were united in favor of Christian. A third party, who thought to come in at the breach the other two had made for them, turned their eyes to the deposed King Christian II., and even made attempts to effect his restoration. The distracted country was still more embroiled by a revival of the priestly pretensions. Frederick was in his grave, and a bold policy was all that was needed, so the bishops thought, to hoist themselves and their Church into the old place. They took a high tone in the Diet. They brow-beat the nobles, they compelled restoration of the tithes, and they put matters in train for recovering the cathedrals, monasteries, manors, and goods of which they had been stripped. These successes emboldened them to venture on other and harsher measures. They stretched forth their hand to persecute, and made no secret of their design to extirpate the Protestant faith in Denmark.

Their first blows were aimed at Taussan. The removal of that bold Reformer and eloquent preacher was the first step, they saw, to success. He had long been a thorn in their side. The manifesto which had been placarded over the whole kingdom, proclaiming to all the negligence and corruption of the hierarchy, and which was mainly his work, was an offense that never could be pardoned him. The bishops had sufficient influence to get a decree passed in the Diet, condemning the great preacher to silence and sending him into exile. He was expelled from the Cathedral-church of Copenhagen, where he usually conducted his ministry; every other church was closed against him; nay, not the pulpit only, the pen too was interdicted. He was forbidden to write or publish any book, and ordered to withdraw within a month from the diocese of Zealand. In whatever part of Denmark he might take up his abode, he was prohibited from publishing any writing, or addressing any assembly; nor could he discharge any ecclesiastical function; he must submit himself in all things to the bishops.[3]

When rumors of what was being enacted in the Diet got abroad, the citizens of Copenhagen rushed to arms, and crowding into the forum filled it with tumult and loud and continued outcries. They demanded that Taussan should be restored to them, and that the Diet should refrain from passing any decree hostile to the Protestant faith, adding that if harm shoal befall either the religion or its preacher, the bishops would not be held guiltless. The Diet saw that the people were not in a mood to be trifled with, and some of the senators made an effort to pacify them. Addressing the crowd from the windows of the senate-house, they assured them that they would take care that no evil should happen to Taussan, that no hostile edict should pass the Diet, and that their Protestant customs and privileges should in nowise be interfered with; and they exhorted them to go quietly to their homes and attend to their own affairs. These words did not allay the fears of the populace; the uproar still continued. The senators now got angry, and shouting out with stentorian voice they threatened the rioters with punishment. They were speaking to the winds. Their words were not heard; the noise that raged below drowned them. Their gestures, however, were seen, and these sufficiently indicated the irritation of the speakers. The fumes of the "conscript Fathers" did but the more enrage the armed crowd. Raising their voices to a yet louder pitch, the rioters exclaimed, "Show us Taussan, else we will force the doors of the hall."

The senators, seized with instant fear, restored the preacher to the people, who, forming a guard round him, conducted him safely from the senate-house to his own home. Ronnovius, Archbishop of Roeschildien, the prime instigator of the persecution now commenced against the adherents of the Lutheran doctrine, had like to have fared worse. He was specially obnoxious to the populace, and would certainly have fallen a sacrifice to their wrath, but for the magnanimity of Taussan, who restrained the furious zeal of the multitude, and rescued the archbishop from their hands.

The prelate was not ungrateful for this generous act; he warmly thanked Taussan, and even showed him henceforward a measure of friendship. By-and- by, at the urgent intercession of the leading citizens of Copenhagen, the church of their favorite preacher was restored to him, and matters, as regarded religion, resumed very much their old course.[4]

The other bishops were not so tolerant. On returning to their homes they commenced a sharp persecution against the Protestants in their several dioceses. In Malmoe and Veiis, the metropolitan Tobernus Billeus proscribed the preachers, who had labored there with great success. These cities and some others were threatened with excommunication. At Viborg the Romish bishop, George Frisius, left no stone unturned to expel the Reformers from the city, and extinguish the Protestantism which had there taken root and begun greatly to flourish. But the Protestants were numerous, and the bold front which they showed the bishop told him that he had reckoned without his host.[5] Not in the towns only, but in many of the country parts the Protestant assemblies were put down, and their teachers driven away. Beyond these severities, however, the persecution did not advance. The ulterior and sterner measures to which these beginnings would most assuredly have led, had time been given, were never reached. Denmark had not to buy its Reformation with the block and the stake, as some other countries were required to do. This, doubtless, was a blessing for the men of that generation; that it was so for the men of the following ones we are not prepared to maintain. Men must buy with a great price that; on which they are to put a lasting value. The martyrs of one's kindred and country always move one more than those of other lands, even though it is the same cause for which their blood has been poured out.[6]

The calamities of the two unhappy years that divided the decease of Frederick I. from the election of his successor, or rather his quiet occupation of the throne, were augmented by the rage of the elements. The waters of the sky and the floods of ocean seemed as if they had conspired against a land already sufficiently afflicted by the bitterness of political parties and the bigotry of superstitious zealots. Great Inundations took place. In some instances whole towns were overflowed, and many thousands of their inhabitants were drowned. "Ah!" said the adherents of the old worship to the Protestants, "now at last you are overtaken by the Divine vengeance. You have cast down the altars, defaced the images, and desecrated the temples of the true religion, and now the hand of God is stretched out to chastise you for your impiety."[7] It was unfortunate, however, for this interpretation that these Inundations swallowed up the house and field of Romanist and of Protestant alike. And, further, it seemed to militate against this theory that the occurrence of these calamities had been simultaneous with the apparent return of the country to the old faith. There were not wanting those who regarded these events with a superstitious fear; but to the majority they brought a discipline to faith, and a stimulus to effort. In two years the sky again cleared over the Protestant cause, and also over the country of Denmark. The eldest son of Frederick, whose hearty attachment to Protestantism had already been sufficiently proved by his reforming measures in Holstein and Schleswig, was elected to the throne (July, 1534), and began to reign under the title of Christian III.

The newly-elected sovereign found that he had first to conquer his kingdom. It was in the hands of enemies, the bishops namely, who retired to their dioceses, fortified themselves in their castles, and made light of the authority of the newly-elected sovereign. Christopher, Count of Oldenburg, also raised the standard of revolt in behalf of Christian II. The wealth of the religious houses, the gold and silver ornaments of the cathedrals, and even the bells of the churches, coined into money, were freely expended in carrying on the war against the king. Much labor and treasure, and not a little blood, did it cost to reduce the warlike count and the rebellious prelates.[8] But at last the task was accomplished, though it was not till a whole year after his election that Christian was able to enter on the peaceable possession of his kingdom. His first step, the country being quieted, was to summon (1536) a meeting of the Estates at Copenhagen. The king addressed the assembly in a speech in which he set forth the calamities which the bishops had brought upon the nation, by their opposition to the laws, their hatred of the Reformed doctrine, and their ceaseless plottings against the peace and order of the commonwealth, and he laid before the Diet the heads of a decree which he submitted for its adoption. The proposed decree was, in brief, that the order of the episcopate should be for ever abolished; that the wealth of the bishops should revert to the State; that the government of the kingdom should be exclusively in the hands of laymen; that the rule of the Church should be administered by a general synod; that religion should be Reformed; that the rites of the Roman Church should cease; and that, although no one should be compelled to renounce the Roman faith, all should be instructed out of the Word of God; that the ecclesiastical revenues and possessions, or what of them had not been consumed in the war just ended:, should be devoted to the support of "superintendents" and learned men, and the founding of academies and universities for the instruction of youth.

The proposal of the king was received by the Diet with much favor. Being put into regular form, it was passed; all present solemnly subscribed it, thus giving it the form of a national and perpetual deed. By this "Recess of Copenhagen," as it was styled, the Reformed faith was publicly established in Denmark.[9]

So far the work had advanced in 1536. The insurrection of the bishops had been suppressed, and their persons put under restraint, though the king magnanimously spared their lives. The Romish episcopacy was abolished as an order recognized and sanctioned by the State. The prelates could no longer wield any temporal jurisdiction, nor could they claim the aid of the State in enforcing acts of spiritual authority exercised over those who still continued voluntarily subject to them. The monasteries, with some exceptions, and the ecclesiastical revenues had been taken possession of in the name of the nation, and were devoted to the founding of schools, the relief of the poor, and the support of the Protestant pastors, to whom the cathedrals and churches were now opened. The work still awaited completion; and now, in 1547, the crown was put upon it.

In this year, also a memorable one in the annals of Denmark, the king called together all the professors and pastors of his kingdom and of the two duchies, for the purpose of framing a constitution for the Protestant Church. A draft, the joint labor, it would appear, of the king and the theologians, of what scented the Scriptural order, was drawn up.[10] A German copy was sent to Luther for revision. It was approved by the Reformer and the other theologians at Wittemberg, and when it was returned there came along with it, at the request of the king, Bugenhagen (Pomeranus), to aid by his wisdom and experience in the final settlement of this matter. The doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Danish Protestant Church were arranged substantially in accordance with the scheme of the king and his theologians, for the emendations of Wittemberg origin were not numerous; and the constitution now enacted was subscribed not only by the king, but also by two professors from each college, and by all the leading pastors.[11]

The Popish bishops having been removed from their sees, it was the care of the king, this same year, to appoint seven Protestant bishops in their room. These were inducted into their office by Bugenhagen, on the 7th of August, in the Cathedral-church of Copenhagen, with the apostolic rite of the laying on of hands. Their work, as defined by Bugenhagen, was the "oversight" of the Church, and their title "superintendent" rather than "bishop."[12] When installed, each of them promised that he would show fidelity to the king, and that he would use all diligence in his diocese to have the Word of God faithfully preached, the Sacraments purely administered, and the ignorant instructed in the principles of religion. They further engaged to see that the youth gave attendance at school, and that the alms of the poor were rightly distributed. The names and dioceses of these seven superintendents were as follow: - Peter Palladius was appointed to Zealand; Francis Wormord to Schonen; George Viborg to Funen; John Vandal to Ripen; Matthew Lang to Arthusien; Jacob Scaning to Viborg; and Peter Thom to Alborg. These were all men of piety and learning; and they continued for many years hugely to benefit the Church and Kingdom of Denmark by their labors.[13]

In the above list, as the reader will mark, the name of the man who was styled the Luther of Denmark does not occur. John Taussan was appointed to the chair of theology in the University of Roeschildien. It was judged, doubtless, that to train the future ministry of the Church was meanwhile the most important work of all. He discharged this duty four years. In 1542, on the death of John Vandal, he was made superintendent of Ripen.[14] Of the three Mendicant orders which had flourished in Denmark, some left the kingdom, others joined the ranks of the people as handicraftsmen; but the majority, qualified by their talents and knowledge, became preachers of the Gospel, and in a very few years scarce a friar was there who had not renounced the habit, and with it the Romish religion, and embraced the Protestant faith.[15]

This year (1547), which had already witnessed so many events destined to mould the future of the Danish people, was to be illustrated by another before it closed. In the month of August, King Christian was solemnly crowned. The numerous rites without which, it was believed in Popish times, no king could validly reign, and which were devised mainly with a view to display the splendor of the Church, and to insinuate the superiority of her Pontiff to kings, were on this occasion dispensed with. Only the simple ceremony of anointing was retained. Bugenhagen presided on the occasion. He placed on the king's head the golden crown, adorned with a row of jewels. He put into his hands the sword, the scepter, and the apple, and, having committed to him these insignia, he briefly but solemnly admonished him in governing to seek the honor of the Eternal King, by whose providence he reigned, and the good of the commonwealth over which he had been set.[16]

The magnanimous, prudent, and God-fearing king had now the satisfaction of seeing the work on which his heart had been so greatly set completed. The powerful opposition which threatened to bar his way to the throne had been overcome. The nobles had rallied to him, and gone heartily along with him in all his measures for emancipating his country from the yoke of the hierarchy, the exactions of the monks, and the demoralizing influence of the beliefs and rites of the old superstition. Teachers of the truth, as contained in the fountains of inspiration, were forming congregations in every part of the kingdom. Schools were springing up; letters and the study of the sacred sciences — which had fallen into neglect during the years of civil war began to revive. The University of Copenhagen rose from its ruins; new statutes were framed for it; it was amply endowed; and learned men from other countries were invited to fill its chairs;[17] and, as the consequence of these enlightened measures, it soon became one of the lights of Christendom. The scars that civil strife had inflicted on the land were effaced, and the sorrows of former years forgotten, in the prosperous and smiling aspect the country now began to wear. In June, 1539, the last touch was put to the work of Reformation in Denmark. At the Diet at Odensee, the king and nobles subscribed a solemn bond, engaging to persevere in the Reformed doctrine in which they had been instructed, and to maintain the constitution of the Protestant Church which had been enacted two years before.[18]

Still further towards the north did the light penetrate. The day that had opened over Denmark shed its rays upon Norway, and even upon the remote and dreary Iceland. Norway had at first refused to accept of Christian III. for its king. The bishops there, as in Denmark, headed the opposition; but the triumph of Christian in the latter country paved the way for the establishment of his authority in the former. In 1537, the Archbishop of Drontheim fled to the Netherlands, carrying with him the treasures of his cathedral.

This broke the hostile phalanx: the country submitted to Christian, and the consequence was the introduction into Norway of the same doctrine and Church constitution which had already been established among the Danes.

Iceland was the farthest possession of the Danish crown towards the north. That little island, it might have been thought, was too insignificant to be struggled for; but, in truth, the powers of superstition fought as stout a battle to preserve it as they have waged for many an ampler and fairer domain. The first attempts at Reformation were made by Augmund, Bishop of Skalholt. Dismayed, however, by the determined front which the priests presented, Augmund abdicated his office, to escape their wrath, and retired into private life.[19] In the following year (1540) Huetsfeld was sent thither by the king to induct Gisser Enerson, who had been a student at Wittemberg, into the See of Skalholt.[20] Under Enerson the work began in earnest. It advanced slowly, however, for the opposition was strong. The priests plotted and the mobs repeatedly broke into tumult. Day by day, however, the truth struck its roots deeper among the people, and at last the same doctrine and ecclesiastical constitution which had been embraced in Denmark were received by the Icelanders;[21] and thus this island of the sea was added to the domains over which the sun of the Reformation already shed his beams, as if to afford early augury that not a shore is there which this light will not visit, nor an islet in all the main which it will not clothe with the fruits of righteousness, and make vocal with the songs of salvation.





[1] Tasso, Sonnets.
[2] Guidiccioni, Sonnets.
[3] Shakspere, King John, act 2, scene 1.

[1] See ante, vol. 1, bk. 3, chap. 5.
[2] See Svenska Kirkoreformationens Historia. I Tre Afdelningar. Af L. A. Anjou. Upsala, 1850 History of the Reformation in Sweden. In Three Divisions. By L. A, Anjou. Upsala, 1850.)
[3] Maimbourg, lib. 1, sec. 57.
[4] Gerdesius, tom. 1, p. 78; tom. 3, p. 277.
[5] See extracts by Gerdesius from the Code of Ecclesiastical and Civil Laws, by Christian, King of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway — Hist. Reform., tom. 3, pp. 347, 348.
[6] Gerdesius (Loccen. Hist. Suec., lib. 5, p. 169), tom. 3, p. 278. Sleidan, 4, 62.
[7] Gerdesius, tom. 3, pp. 282, 283.
[8] Sleidan, 4, 62.
[9] Gerdesius, tom. 3, p. 287.
[10] Ibid. (Vertot, ad ann. 1521, p. 175), tom. 3, 286.
[11] Ibid., tom. 3, p. 290.
[12] Vertot, ad ann. 1521, p. 175.
[13] Gerdesius, tom. 3, p. 291.
[14] Ibid., p. 291 (foot-note). The whole Bible in the Swedish language was published (folio) at Stockholm in 1541.
[15] Gerdesius (Puffendorf, l.c., p. 284), tom. 3, p. 292.
[16] Gerdesius (Vertot, l.c., pp. 60, 61), tom. 3, p. 293.
[17] "Episcopi moras nectere atque tergiversari." (Gerdesius, tom. 3, p. 294.)

[1] Baazius, Invent. Eccles. Sueo-Goth.; Lincopiae, 1642.
[2] Acta Colloquii Upsaliensis habiti, ann. 1526, inter D. Petrum Galle et M. Olaum Petri.
[3] Acta Colloquii Upsaliensis.
[4] "Praevaricator sit reus notoris peccati?" (Acta Colloquii Upsaliensis.)
[5] "Praedixisse vana de Pseudoprophetis," etc. (Acta Colloquii Upsaliensis.)
[6] "Liberum excommunicare quemcunque volunt? " (Acta Colloquii Upsaliensis.)
[7] "Plus oneris quam honoris." It is difficult to preserve the play upon the words in a translation.
[8] "Non pavit oves, sed lac et lanam, imo succum et sanguinem illis extraxit. Deus misereatur suae ecclesiae." (Acta Colloquii Upsaliensis.)
[9] "Dat (Christus) solus virtutem et efficacem Sacramentis, haec est gratia justificans hominem." (Acta Colloquii Upsaliensis — ex Baazio.)
[10] "Sacrificulus Papisticus." (Acta Colloquii Upsaliensis.)
[11] "Corradit opes. (Ibid.)
[12] Acta Colloquii Upsaliensis — ex Baazio.

[1] Baazius, Inventar., lib. 2, cap. 6, p. 203 - ex Gerdesio, tom. 3, p. 300.
[2] Gerdesius, tom. 3, p. 300 (Verdot, l.c., pp. 68, 69; et Puffendorf, p. 288).
[3] "Si removerentur bona eccl. collabascit ipsa ecclesia." (Baazius, Inventar.)
[4] "Insumuntur in ventres pigros." (Ibid.)
[5] Baazius, Inventar., lib. 2, cap. [8, p. 206 — ex Gerdesio, tom. 3, pp. 301, 302.
[6] Puffendorf, l.c., p. 294; et Baazius, l.c., p. 222 — ex Gerdesio, tom. 3, p. 306.
[7] Seckendorf, l.c., p. 267 — ex Gerdesio, tom. 3, p. 303.
[8] Gerdesius, tom. 3, pp. 307 et seq.
[9] Vertot, 1.c., pp. 89, 90; Puffendorf, p. 296 — ex Gerdesio, tom. 3, p. 309.
[10] Gerdesius, tom. 3, p. 311. As in some other countries, so in Sweden, the nobles showed fully as much zeal to possess the lands of the Romish Church, as to propagate the doctrines of the Reformed faith. We find the patriotic king rebuking them for their greed. In a letter written to the knights and nobles of Oestergotland, February, 1539, we find Gustavus addressing them in a mingled vein of indignation and satire, thus: "To take lands and dwellings from churches, chapters, and cloisters, that they were all prepared, with the greatest zeal, to do; and in that fashion, doubtless, they were all Christian and Reformed." But he complains that beyond this they had rendered the Reformed faith no assistance.
[11] Baazius, lib. 2, cap. 13, pp. 223, 224 — ex Gerdesio.
[12] They were ordained by Bishop Petrus Magni, of Vesteraas. This helped to give them, and of course the king also, prestige in the eyes of the Romanists, inasmuch as it preserved their succession unbroken.
[13] Admonitio Publica ab Ordinibus Regni Suecici evulgata, et in Festo Coronationis Regiae Gustavi I, promulgata, A. 1528 — ex Baazio, pp. 228-236.
[14] Forma Reformationis Ecclesiae Suecicae in Concilio Orebrogensi definita atque publicis Clericorum Suecicae subscriptionibus confirmata, et lingua patria publicata, A. 1529 — ex Baazio, pp. 240-244.
[15] His tomb is to be seen in the Cathedral of Upsala. An inscription upon it informs us that he was born in 1490, and died in the seventieth year of his age, and in the fortieth of a glorious reign. He was equally great as a warrior, a legislator, a politician, and a Reformer. His great qualities were set off by a graceful person, and still further heightened by a commanding eloquence. "Two genealogical tables are engraved upon the tomb," says a traveler, "which trace his lineage from the ancient princes of the North, as if his great virtues did not reflect, rather than borrow, lustre upon the most conspicuous ancestry." (Coxe's Travels in Sweden and Denmark, vol. 4, pp. 132-134; Lond., 1787.)

[1] The two modern historians of the Church of Sweden, more especially during the period of the Reformation, are Dr. H. Reuterdahl, Archbishop of Upsala, and L. A. Anjou, Bishop of Wisby. To these writers we are indebted for the facts we have given, touching the establishment of Protestantism in Sweden under Duke Charles and King Sigismund. The titles of their works are as follow: — Svenska Kyrkans Historia, af Dr. H. Reuterdahl; Lund, 1866 (History of the Swedish Church, by Dr. H. Reuterdahl; Lund, 1866). Svenska Kirkoreformationens Historia, af L. A. Anjou; Upsala, 1850 (History of the Reformation in Sweden, by L. A. Anjou; Upsala, 1850).
[2] Encyclop. Metrop., vol. 12, pp. 614-616; Lond., 1845.

[1] Sleidan, bk. 4, p. 62.
[2] Olivar., Vita Pauli Elice — ex Gerdesio, tom. 3, pp. 339, 340.
[3] Gerdesius, tom. 3, p. 342.
[4] Pantoppidan, Hist. Reform. Dan., p. 124 — ex Gerdesio, tom. 3, p. 342.
[5] The title of the book was: Thette ere the Noye Testamenth paa Danske ret efter Latinen udsatthe, 1524, id est, Hoc est Novum Testamentum Danice ex Latine accurate expositum, 1524 (This is the New Testament in Danish, accurately translated from the Latin, 1524). — Gerdesius, tom. 3, p. 350.
[6] Olivar., Vita Pauli Elice, pp. 75, 76 — ex Gerdesio, tom. 3, p. 352.
[7] Pantoppidan, p. 148 — ex Gerdesio, tom. 3, p. 354.
[8] Pantoppidan, l.c., p. 81. Johannis became Bishop of Ottonburg (1537) under Christian III., and died in 1559. (Gerdesius, tom. 3, p. 355.)
[9] Bib. Dan., l.c., p. 2 — ex Gerdesioo tom. 3, p. 356.
[10] Bib. Dan., l.c., p. 3.
[11] Resenius, ann. 1521 — ex Gerdesio, tom. 3, p. 356.
[12] Olivar., l.c., Bib. Dan., tom. 1, p. 5.
[13] Gerdesius, tom. 3, p. 357.
[14] Pantoppidan, Hist. Reform. Dan., p. 154. Bib. Dan., l.c., pp. 6, 7.)
[15] Bib. Dan., 1.c., pp. 9, 10.
[16] Olivar., Vita Pauli Eliae, pp. 110, 111; et Pantoppidan, Ann. Dan., p. 183 — ex Gerdesio. tom. 3, p. 359.)
[17] Gerdesius, tom. 3. p. 359.
[18] "Phlegetonteam illam et credelem Lutheranae virulentiea pestem." (Epistola ad Jo. Eccium, 1527.)
[19] See the documents in extenso in Gerdesius — Instrumentum Henr. Geerkens Datum a Cimbriae Episcopis, and Epistola ad Jo. Eccium. (Tom. 3, pp. 204-214.)
[20] Epistola ad Jo. Eccium — Gerdesius, tom. 3, p. 206.)

[1] Pantoppidan, l.c., p. 172 et seq.
[2] Gerdesius, tom. 3, p. 364.
[3] Pantoppidan, p. 175.
[4] Gerdesius, tom. 3, p. 365.
[5] Gerdesius, tom. 3, p. 366.
[6] Hemming, Epist. Dedicat. in Comment. in Ep. ad Ephes., p. 382, ann. 1564. Biblioth. Dan., tom. 9, p. 695 — Gerdesius, tom. 3, p. 367.
[7] Biblioth. Dan., tom. 9, p. 696. The title of the book was — Psalmi Davidici, in Danicum translati et explicati a Francisco Wormordo, et impressi in monasterio S. Michaelis Rostochii, 1528. (Gerdesius, tom. 3, p, 367.)
[8] Gerdesius, tom. 3, pp. 368-370.
[9] Ibid., tom. 3, p. 371.
[10] Pantoppidan, l.c., p. 191. Gerdesius, tom. 3, p. 371.
[11] Biblioth. Dan., tom. 1, p. 13 - Gerdesius, tom. 3, pp. 371, 372.
[12] Gerdesius, tom. 3, p. 374.

[1] Olivar., Vita Pauli Elliae, p. 113 - Gerdes., tom. 3, p 375.
[2] Gerdesius, tom. 3, p. 376.
[3] "Veram Christi Missam esse Jesu Christi paenarum ac mortis commemorationem, in qua ejus corpus editur ac sanguis potatur in certum pignus," etc. (Confessio Hafniensis, 1530. art. 26. — Gerdesius, tom. 3, p. 377; et Mon. Antiq., p. 217.)
[4] Confessio Hafniensis — Pontani, Hist. Dan., tom. 2, ab Huitfeldio, Chron. Danico, tom. 2, p. 1322.
[5] Articuli Pontificii in Comitis Hafniensibus 1530 exhibiti — Gerdesius, tom. 3; Mon. Antiq., p. 231.
[6] Gerdesius, tom. 3, pp. 380, 381.
[7] Pantoppidan, l.c., p. 235.
[8] Gerdesius, tom. 3, p. 382.
[9] Seckendorf, lib. 3, sec. 31, p. 89. Pantoppidan, l.c., p. 241. Gerdesius, tom. 3, pp. 385, 386.
[10] Gerdesius, tom. 3, p. 386.

[1] Pantoppidan, p. 253 — Gerdesius, tom. 3, pp. 388-390.
[2] Gerdesius, tom. 3, p. 390.
[3] Pantoppidan, pp. 269, 270 — Gerdesius, tom. 3, p. 397.
[4] Pantoppidan, p. 277 — Biblioth. Dan., tom 1, p. 23 et seq. — Gerdesius, tom. 3, pp. 397, 398.
[5] Pantoppidan, p. 272.
[6] Gerdesius, tom. 3, p. 399.
[7] Helvader, ann. 1532, pp. 92, 93. Paulus Orosius, Hist., lib. 7, cap. 37, p, 568 — Gerdesius, tom. 3, p. 390.
[8] Olivar., Vita Pauli Eliae pp. 142, 174 — Gerdesius, tom. 3, pp. 402, 406.
[9] Cragius, Hist. Christ. III., lib. 4, p. 153; ed. Copenhagen, 1737 — Gerdesius, tom. 3, pp. 406-408.
[10] Mosheim speaks of this plan as the sole work of Bugenhagen. This is a mistake. In the preface to the constitution, as given by Grammius in his edition of Cragius' History of Christian III., are these words: "Convocatis doctoribus et praedicatoribus ecclesiarum et Daniae Regno et Ducatibus suis, illud in mandatis dedit rex, ut ordinationem aliquam sacram conscriberent, de qua consultarent" (Having called together the doctors and preachers of the Church in the kingdom of Denmark and its duchies, the king gave it in command that they should subscribe a certain ecclesiastical order, respecting which they were to deliberate). — Gerdesius, tom. 3, p. 408.
[11] Cragius, in his History of Christian III. (pp. 170, 171), has preserved a list of the original subscribers. The list may be seen in Gerdesius, tom. 3, p. 459.
[12] "Superintendentes dicti potius quam Episcopi." (Cragius, Hist., l.c., p. 169 — Gerdesius, tom. 3, p. 411.)
[13] Gerdesius, tom. 3, pp. 411, 412.
[14] Vita Taussani, in Biblioth. Dan., tom. 1, p. 25 — Gerdesius, tom. 3, p. 412.
[15] Cragius, l.c., p. 172.
[16] Gerdisius, tom. 3, p. 410. Cragius says that Christian III. was the first king who inaugurated his reign with the rites of the Reformed religion. He is mistaken in this. The reader will recollect that Gustavas Vasa of Sweden (1528) was crowned in the same way. Varillas, in his History of Revolutions, complains that Pomeranus invented a new ceremony for the coronation of kings. (Pantoppidan, l.c., p. 312.)
[17] Among the learned foreigners who taught in the University of Copenhagen, Gerdesius specially mentions John Macabaeus or M'Alpine, of the Scottish clan M'Alpine, who had been a student at Wittemberg, and "a man of great learning and piety." (Gerdesius, tom. 3, pp. 416, 417. Vinding, Descript. Acad Hafniae, pp. 71-73.)
[18] Seckendorf, lib. 3, sec. 75, pp. 242, 243. Gerdesius, tom. 3, pp. 414, 415.
[19] Cragius, Annal. Christ., tom. 3, p. 203.
[20] Ibid., p. 218. Seckendorf, lib. 3, sec. 75, p. 242.
[21] Cragius, ad ann. 1548. Pantoppidan, ad ann. 1547 — ex Gerdesio, tom. 3, p. 416.


A feature of our version of "The History of Protestantism" is an index to the entire 24 books of J. A. Wylie's prodigious account of Christianity's remonstrance against the errors of the Church of Rome. The index will assist you in finding the location of KEY words in the text, so that you may research Wylie's library without the time and difficulty of reading every single book. "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the Word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so" (Acts 17:11).



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