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From Here to Forever

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    Peace With God

    A desire to find peace with God led him to devote himself to a monastic life. Here he was required to perform the lowest drudgery and to beg from house to house. He patiently endured this humiliation, believing it necessary because of his sins.HF 77.4

    Robbing himself of sleep and grudging even the time spent at his scanty meals, he delighted in the study of God's Word. He had found a Bible chained to the convent wall, and to this he often repaired.HF 77.5

    He led a most rigorous life, endeavoring by fasting, vigils, and scourgings to subdue the evils of his nature. He afterward said, “If ever monk could obtain heaven by his monkish works, I should certainly have been entitled to it. ... If it had continued much longer, I should have carried my mortifications even to death.”3Ibid., bk. 2, ch. 3. With all his efforts, his burdened soul found no relief. He was at last driven to the verge of despair.HF 78.1

    When it appeared that all was lost, God raised up a friend for him. Staupitz opened the Word of God to Luther's mind and bade him look away from self and look to Jesus. “Instead of torturing yourself on account of your sins, throw yourself into the Redeemer's arms. Trust in Him, in the righteousness of His life, in the atonement of His death. ... The Son of God ... became man to give you the assurance of divine favor. ... Love Him who first loved you.”4Ibid., bk. 2, ch. 4. His words made a deep impression on Luther's mind. Peace came to his troubled soul.HF 78.2

    Ordained a priest, Luther was called to a professorship in the University of Wittenberg. He began to lecture on the Psalms, the Gospels, and the Epistles to crowds of delighted listeners. Staupitz, his superior, urged him to ascend the pulpit and preach. But Luther felt himself unworthy to speak to the people in Christ's stead. It was only after a long struggle that he yielded to the solicitation of his friends. He was mighty in the Scriptures, and the grace of God rested upon him. The clearness and power with which he presented the truth convinced their understanding, and his fervor touched their hearts.HF 78.3

    Luther, still a true son of the papal church, had no thought he would ever be anything else. Led to visit Rome, he pursued his journey on foot, lodging at monasteries on the way. He was filled with wonder at the magnificence and luxury that he witnessed. The monks dwelt in splendid apartments, attired themselves in costly robes, and feasted at a sumptuous table. Luther's mind was becoming perplexed.HF 78.4

    At last he beheld in the distance the seven-hilled city. He prostrated himself upon the earth, exclaiming: “Holy Rome, I salute thee!”5D'Aubigne, bk. 2, ch. 6. He visited the churches, listened to the marvelous tales repeated by priests and monks, and performed all the ceremonies required. Everywhere, scenes filled him with astonishment—iniquity among the clergy, indecent jokes from prelates. He was filled with horror at their profanity even during mass. He met dissipation, debauchery. “No one can imagine,” he wrote, “what sins and infamous actions are committed in Rome. ... They are in the habit of saying, ‘If there is a hell, Rome is built over it.’”6Ibid., bk. 2, ch. 6.HF 79.1

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