Monday, October 31
"The peasants mistook spiritual liberty for carnal license."
- Schaff, VII, §75, "The Peasants' War: 1523-1525"
Peasant Revolt Memorial Day
Towards the end of his life, Luther believed he endured demonic assults which left him "no rest for even a single day."
Of all the assaults "none was more severe or greater than about my preaching, the thought coming to me: All this confusion was caused by you." (Saemmtliche Werk, LIX, 296; LX, 45, 45; 108, 109, 111; LXII, 494.)
Today we mourn the many killed (Protestant and Catholic), as well as the many led to kill (both Protestant and Catholic), as a result of the Protestant Revolt. It's a very ecumenical remembrance--much more than other remembrances of which you might have heard.
Yes, it's a grim day. Quoted in my hometown paper will no doubt be the annual uber-Lutherans reminding the townspeople that the Pope is still the Anti-Christ. Well, they do say that the Anti-Christ will lead to the death of many . . .
"My opinion is that it is better that all the peasants be killed than that the princes and magistrates perish, because the rustics took the sword without divine authority. The only possible consequence of their satanic wickedness would be the diabolic devastation of the kingdom of God. Even if the princes abuse their power, yet they have it of God, and under their rule the kingdom of God at least has a chance to exist. Wherefore no pity, no tolerance should be shown to the peasants, but the fury and wrath of God should be visited upon those men who did not heed warning nor yield when just terms were offered them, but continued with satanic fury to confound everything . . . To justify, pity, or favor them is to deny, blaspheme, and try to pull God from heaven."
(Letter to Nicholas Amsdorf at Magdeburg, from Wittenberg)