D’Aubigne’s History of the Reformation of the 16th Century: Summary of Book 2, Chapter 10

This is a concise chapter summary. To read the original work of Dr. J.H. Merle D’Aubigne click here. If you have the time, it is worth the read. D’Aubigne’s scholarship is excellent and he writes with a refreshing and warm evangelical fervor.

Luther’s communication with George Spalatin continued. Luther wrote to him on the subject of Elector Fredrick’s desire to get a bishopric for Staupitz. Luther warned against it. “Why would you surround this man with all the whirlwinds and tempests of Episcopal cares?” Luther’s communication with Spalatin displayed the frank zeal that would characterize much of his reforming work.

After telling Spalatin he did not think the elector understood salvation he said, “Do not conceal it.” Luther also wrote to Spalatin and told him it is not possible to believe in and serve Christ without offending people in the world. “Sheep are rare in this region of wolves,” he wrote.

Prince Fredrick’s cousin was Duke George of Saxony. Duke George was the grandson of a King of Bohemia. Influenced by the Hussites he seemed a likely supporter of the Reformation. However, his desire to humble the churchmen did not equal a desire to humble his own heart. In July 1517, Luther preached in Dresden for Duke George and his court.

He preached from Matthew 20:20-23. In his sermon he taught that only those who receive the word of God with faith are the true disciples of Jesus Christ. While at least one of his hearers was converted (Madame de la Sale), others including the Duke and his secretary Jerome Emser were greatly offended.

Emser invited Luther to supper. Although he at first refused, he eventually came because of Emser’s insistence. Luther soon realized a trap had been laid. There were several Dominicans and a master of arts from Leipsic present. They were all there to debate with and humiliate Luther. The dinner ended with a laugh, but there was truly nothing funny about the ugly opposition to the evangelical doctrines Luther taught.

D’Aubigne, J.H. Merle. History of the Reformation of the 16th Century. Translated by H. White. London: Religious Tract Society, 1846.