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From Here to Forever

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    Progress in Sweden

    In Sweden also, young men from Wittenberg carried the water of life to their countrymen. Two leaders in the Swedish Reformation, Olaf and Laurentius Petri, studied under Luther and Melanchthon. Like the great Reformer, Olaf aroused the people by his eloquence, while Laurentius, like Melanchthon, was thoughtful and calm. Both were of unflinching courage. The Catholic priests stirred up the ignorant and superstitious people. Upon several occasions, Olaf Petri barely escaped with his life. These Reformers were, however, protected by the king, who determined upon a reformation and welcomed these able assistants in the battle against Rome.HF 152.2

    In the presence of the monarch and leading men of Sweden, Olaf Petri with great ability defended the reformed faith. He declared that the teachings of the Fathers are to be received only when in accord with Scripture; that the essential doctrines of the faith are presented in the Bible in a clear manner, so that all may understand them.HF 152.3

    This contest serves to show us “the sort of men that formed the rank and file 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. [They were] 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.”6Ibid., bk. 10, ch. 4.HF 152.4

    The king of Sweden accepted the Protestant faith, and the national assembly declared in its favor. At the desire of the king, the two brothers undertook the translation of the whole Bible. It was ordered by the diet that throughout the kingdom, ministers should explain the Scriptures, and that the children in the schools should be taught to read the Bible.HF 153.1

    Freed from Romish oppression, the nation attained to a strength and greatness it had never before reached. A century later, this hitherto feeble nation—the only one in Europe that dared lend a helping hand—came to the deliverance of Germany in the terrible struggle of the Thirty Years’ War. All Northern Europe seemed about to be brought again under the tyranny of Rome. The armies of Sweden enabled Germany to win toleration for Protestants and to restore liberty of conscience to those countries that had accepted the Reformation.HF 153.2

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