King James Bible Adam Clarke Bible Commentary Martin Luther's Writings Wesley's Sermons and Commentary Neurosemantics Audio / Video Bible Evolution Cruncher Creation Science Vincent New Testament Word Studies KJV Audio Bible Family videogames Christian author Godrules.NET Main Page Add to Favorites Godrules.NET Main Page

Bad Advertisement?

Are you a Christian?

Online Store:
  • Visit Our Store




    THE transformation effected by the Gospel in Sweden during the reign of Gustavus Vasa was incomplete. The whole lump was not leavened. Many of those who received the Reformation did not understand it; and a very large number of Swedes had no wish for it. This state of things, and the vexations which the king’s sons caused him, saddened his old age. At the beginning of the year 1560, the king, feeling ill, convoked the Diet. It met on the 16th of June, and he appeared and took his seat in it in the 25th, having beside him his sons Erick, John, and Magnus, and on his knee his youngest son Charles. He spoke, calling to mind the deliverance which had been granted to Sweden forty years before; and this he attributed to the help of God. ‘What was I that I should rise up against a powerful ruler, king of three realms, and the ally of the mighty emperor Charles the Fifth, and of the greatest princes of Germany? Assuredly it was God’s doing.

    And now, when the toils and pains of a troubled reign of forty years are bringing down my gray hairs to the grave, I can say, with king David, that God took me from the sheepcote and from following the sheep to be ruler over his people.’ Tears stifled his voice. After a pause he resumed, — ‘I had certainly no anticipation of so high an honor when I was wandering about in the woods and on the mountains to escape from the sword of my enemies who thirsted for my blood. But blessing and mercy have been richly bestowed on me by the manifestation of the true Word of God.

    May we never abandon it! I do not shrink, however, from confessing my faults. I entreat my faithful subjects to pardon the weakness and the failures which have been observed in my reign. I know that many persons think that I have been a harsh ruler; but the days are coming in which the sons of Sweden would gladly raise me out of the dust if they could. f480 ‘I feel that I have now but a short time to live; and for this reason I am about to have my will read to you; for I have good reasons for desiring that you should approve it.’ The will was then read, the Diet approved it, and swore that it should be carried out. Then Gustavus rose and thanked the States for making him the founder of the royal house. He resigned the government to his son Erick, exhorted his sons to concord, and stretching out his hand towards the assembly, gave it his blessing, and thus took leave of his people.

    On the 14th of August Gustavus took to his bed, which he was no more to leave till his death. He said, — ‘I have been too much occupied with the cares of this world. With all my wealth I could not now buy a remedy which would save my life.’ One of those about him, anxious to know what pain he felt, said to him, using a German mode of speech, — ‘What do you want?’ He replied, — ‘The kingdom of heaven, which thou canst not give me’ His chaplain, in whom he had no great, confidence, suggested to him that he should confess his sins. Gustavus, who had confessed them to God as well as to his people, but who had a horror of confession to a priest, replied unceremoniously and indignantly, — ‘Thinkest thou that I shall confess my sins to thee?’ A little while after, he said to those about him, — ‘I forgive my enemies, and if I have wronged any man, I pray him to forgive me. I ask this of all.’ He then added, — ‘Live all of you in concord and in peace.’ During the first three weeks he spoke in a remarkable manner about things temporal and things spiritual. During the last three he kept silence, and was frequently seen raising his hands as if in prayer.

    After makings profession of his faith, he received the communion of the body and the blood of the Savior. His son John who was present, and was the cause of his anxious forebodings, which were too soon realized, having heard the confession of his father, exclaimed, — ‘I swear to abide by it faithfully.’ The king made a sign for paper to be given him, and he wrote, — ‘Once professed never to be retracted, or a hundred times repeated to ...’ His trembling hand could not finish the sentence. After this he remained motionless. The chaplain having begun again his exhortations, one of those in attendance said, — ‘You speak in vain; His Majesty hears no longer.’ Then the chaplain leaned towards the dying man, and asked him whether his trust was in Jesus Christ, and entreated him, if he heard, to make some sign. To the astonishment of all, the king with a clear voice answered, ‘Yes.’ He then breathed his last. It was eight o’clock in the morning of September 29, 1560. f481 Erick, his eldest son, who was heir to the crown, had hitherto appeared little worthy to wear it. In his character were united the eccentric disposition of his mother, the princess of Saxe-Lauenburg, and his father’s passion. He was rash and presumptuous; and when Gustavus spoke to him by way of exhortation or rebuke he was angry. Gustavus, deeply mourning over him, wrote one day to him, — ‘For the sake of the sufferings of the Son of God, put an end to this martyrdom which thy aged father endures on thy account.’ In his sports he was singular and even cruel. Erick and John, the latter the eldest son of the second wife, were constantly at variance, at first about their games, then about their fiefs, and at last about the crown. Everybody knew that the younger of the two brothers was ambitious of the birthright of the elder, and thought that he was entitled to the realm. The father was weighed down with grief on account of these two sons.

    Erick had not been left without good counsel. A French Protestant, named Denis Burrey (Beurreus), a zealous Calvinist, had succeeded Normann as his governor. In addition to Burrey, another Frenchman, Charles de Mornay, baron of Varennes, was well received at his court. The two Calvinists persuaded Erick to ask for the hand of the Princess Elizabeth, even before she became Queen of England. Duke John exerted all his influence to promote this plan, which, in case it succeeded, might leave to him the crown of Sweden. Magnificent embassies were sent; John and Erick himself went to England, but the princess never gave him any hope.

    At the time of the prince’s accession to the throne, the people had some hope of him. The germ at least of great qualities was in him; and his understanding, which was above the average, had been developed by the care of his teachers. He was well acquainted with literature, with mathematics, philosophy, and foreign languages. His figure was well formed; he was a good rider, a good swimmer, a good dancer, and a good soldier. He spoke pleasantly and was agreeable in his intercourse with others. But in the depth of his nature was a temper strange, distrustful, suspicious, and fierce, which might on a sudden display itself in outward acts calculated to excite at once both pity and horror.

    Burrey, who had been appointed to instruct the prince in letters and in science, was not entrusted with the department of religion. This belonged to the archbishop, Lawrence Petersen, and to the Lutheran ministers named by him. Erick was to be a good Lutheran; but the French Protestant, convinced of the truth of Calvin’s principles, made them known to his pupil. Calvin himself, doubtless through the medium of Burrey, was in correspondence with Gustavus in 1560, towards the close of the king’s life.

    In Sweden the Calvinists gave especial prominence to the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper. Burrey, who appears to have apprehended the doctrine in the way of logic rather than of spiritual insight, maintained it by syllogisms. He said, — ‘All who eat the flesh of Christ and drink his blood have eternal life. Now the ungodly have not eternal life. Therefore the ungodly do not eat the flesh of Christ.’ The Apostle John says nothing about the corporeal mastication, but speaks only of the spiritual.

    Therefore, he recognizes no other mastication but that which is by faith.

    Christ gives his body and his blood only to those who show forth his death . But the ungodly do not show it forth. Therefore he does not give it to them. The Frenchman maintained these doctrines in a Latin work. He had of course a right to do so; but he had no right to attack as he did the archbishop, brother of Olaf, a zealous defender of the Lutherans, or to allege either in conversation or in his writings that the prelate was a papiSt. The true Protestants, and foremost among them Zwinglius and Calvin, generally expressed great respect for Luther and for all his disciples, acknowledging them as brethren in the faith. But the sectarian spirit, unfortunately, was beginning now to take the place of the Christian spirit.

    The influence of the French Protestants, however, made itself felt in other respects and in a wholesome way. Erick, shortly after his accession to the throne, abolished the festival days which were connected with a superstitious system, and the Catholic rites which had been retained in the divine service. He went farther, and made it everywhere known that his kingdom was a free state, open to all persecuted Protestants. Many Protestants, therefore, especially French, came to Stockholm and were kindly received by the king, becoming even particular objects of his favor.

    This gave rise to jealousies and suspicions. The question was raised whether the king was not a Calvinist in disguise. Wine having become scarce in Sweden, in consequence of the obstacles thrown in the way of the trade by Denmark, it was asked whether it would not be permissible to make use of some other fluid at the Lord’s Supper. The Frenchman, Burrey, held the opinion that it would, and this increased the grief of good Lutherans. The archbishop especially declared himself strongly and with good reason against this fantastic proposal, and published a Latin work on the subject. f487 These controversies gave rise to much agitation in Sweden; but they were superseded by troubles of a graver kind. Duke John, Erick’s younger brother, having put forward claims which Erick would not satisfy, and having even caused the king’s envoys to be arrested, and invited the inhabitants of Finland to take an oath of fealty to him and to defend him, was made prisoner on the 12th of August, 1563. A rumor was afterwards current of a conspiracy of the Sture family, who had exercised, before the reign of Gustavus, the royal power as administrators of the kingdom. Their intention, it was said, was to overthrow the house of Vasa and restore the hereditary kingdom to their own family. Erick having met in the street a servant of Svante Sture carrying a gun, this unfortunate man was sentenced to death at the beginning of January 1567, and several of the Stures and of their friends were thrown into prison. With this incident began the great misfortunes of the prince. Infelicissimus annus Erici regis , he said, speaking of this year in his journal. On May 24 Svante Sture and another of the prisoners had asked pardon of the king and had received a promise of early liberation. In the evening, as the king was walking with Caroli, ordinary (or bishop) of Calmar, some one ran up and told him that his brother, Duke John, had made his escape and had raised the standard of rebellion. In a state of great excitement, he returned to his castle. His mind wandered; he fancied that everyone was a conspirator; he saw himself already hurled from the throne; and, beside himself, he went, dagger in hand, into the room in which Nils Sture was confined. He rushed upon the unhappy man and pierced him in the arm; one of his guards gave the fatal stroke. At this moment the prison of the father of Nils Sture opened, and the king, overpowered at the sight, fell at his feet and cried, — ‘For God’s sake pardon me the wrong that I have done you!’ The old man, who did not know what he meant, answered, — ‘If anything should happen to my son, you are responsible to me before God.’ ‘Ah,’ said the king, whose thoughts were wandering more and more, — ‘you will never pardon me, and for this reason you must share the same fate.’ He then fled precipitately, as if the castle were full of assassins and every prisoner loaded with chains were pointing a dagger at him. He took the road to Floetsund, attended by some guards; and in a little while one of these returned with an order to put to death all the prisoners in the castle ‘except Sten.’ Two of them bore this name, and considering the uncertainty, both of them escaped, but the rest perished. Ere long the unhappy Erick was seized with horror at the thought of his crime. He believed himself pursued by the ghost of Nils Sture, whom he had slain.

    Filled with distress and remorse he plunged into the forest. Burrey, who had left the castle at the moment when the order to execute the prisoners arrived, immediately set out in the track of the prince, whom he desired to recall to his senses, and from whom he intended to obtain, if possible, the revocation of the cruel order. He at length came up with him in the middle of the wood; but the raving man fancied that his old teacher had shared in the conspiracy of those whose lives he wished to save. A prey to the most violent madness, he gave an order to one of his guards, and the Frenchman whom he had loved so well, to whom he owed so much, fell at his feet, pierced through and through. The unhappy man then got away from his guards, who were still accompanying him, and fled alone. He threw away his kingly apparel, and wandered about in the woods, in the fields, and in the loneliest places, with a gloomy air, wild eyes, and fierce aspect.

    No one knew where he was. Like the king of Babylon, he went up and down in the land afar from the haunts of men; his dwelling was with the beasts of the field, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven. At length, on the third day after the murder, he made his appearance in the garb of a peasant in a village of the parish of Odensala; and presently several of his men who were in search of him ran up to him. ‘No, no,’ said he on receiving the acknowledgments of those who respectfully saluted him, ‘I am not king.’ ‘It is Nils Sture,’ he added, ‘who is administrator of the kingdom.’ This was the man that he had assassinated. They endeavored in vain to pacify him. ‘Like Nero,’ he exclaimed, ‘I have slain my preceptor.’ He would neither eat nor sleep; all entreaties were fruitless. At last Catherine Maenstochter, to whom he had been strongly attached and who soon became his consort, succeeded in persuading him.

    He now became more calm and allowed them to take him to Upsala. On June 3 he was taken back to Stockholm. He was in a state of great agitation when he entered the town; his heart rent with remorse, his eyes and his hands raised to heaven. It was a long time before he entirely recovered his reason.

    Negotiations were set on foot between Duke John and the unhappy king.

    The former requested an interview with his brother, and this took place on October 9 at Wantholm, or, according to some authorities, at Knappforssen, in Wermeland. The brothers met under an oak tree, which is still called the King’s Oak. They had a second interview shortly after at Swarhjo. Erick, who was perpetually haunted by the thought that the murders which he had ordered had deprived him of the crown, fell at his brother’s feet and hailed him king. From this time he considered himself a dependent on his brother and spoke sometimes as if he were king and sometimes as if he were a captive. He appeared, at the beginning of 1569, before the States assembled as a high court of justice, and there energetically defended himself, sparing no one, and least of all, the nobility. When John interrupted him by telling him that he was out of his mind, he replied, ‘I have only once been out of my mind, and that was when I released thee from prison.’ He was deprived of the crown on the ground that he had lost his reason, and was sentenced to perpetual confinement, but with royal treatment.

    Duke John had now reached the summit of his ambition. He set himself to win over adherents, so that no one might be tempted to call to mind the fact that his throne was usurped. He was amiable and obliging alike to the nobles, the ecclesiastics, and the people; and the popularity which he enjoyed seemed daily to increase. ‘Certainly,’ people said, ‘he means loyally to carry out the will of his father.’ But the joy and the popularity did not last long. It was soon perceived that he was giving full play to his hatred of Erick, whom he called his most deadly enemy. He spared his life, indeed, at the entreaty of the queen, widow of the late king, but he made him suffer all the horrors of the most rigorous imprisonment.

    The unhappy prince had to endure in his own body shameful treatment at the hands of his keepers and of those whom he had displeased in the course of his reign. One day a man more mad and more cruel than himself, Olaf s, had a violent altercation with him in the prison, and left him lying in his blood. ‘God knows,’ wrote Erick to his brother John (March 1, 1569), ‘what inhuman tortures I am forced to endurehunger and cold, infection and darkness, blows and wounds. Deliver me from this misery by banishment. The world is surely large enough to allow of the hatred between brothers being mitigated by the distance of places and of countries.’ But nothing could appease his enemy, his brother. At first he had allowed him to see his wife and his children, which was a great pleasure to the unhappy man; but this consolation was afterwards refused him. They gave him neither paper nor ink, and in the long hours of his captivity he used to write with water blackened with charcoal on the margins of the books which he was permitted to read. On these he left, in particular, an eloquent defense of his cause.

    Other motives also came into action to destroy the premature popularity of John III. With the life of Burrey and the prison of Erick the Calvinistic period in Sweden was over; with the accession of the new king the popish period began. Sweden presented at this time an example of the manner in which Rome proceeds to bring back to her feet a people that had departed from her. John took delight in the pomp of the Romish worship, and his wife, a Polish princess, was a decided and zealous Roman Catholic.

    Although she did not belong to that fanatical, barren, and superstitious ultramontanism, which is not even a religion, she firmly believed that outside the pale of her own Church there was no salvation. But her faith was sincere. She had no wish that conversions should be effected by force; nevertheless she was convinced that the best of all good works was to extend as widely as possible the domain of the pope. She had for her confessor a Jesuit, named John Herbest; and the work of darkness, of which this man was one of the principal agents, was carried on in a Jesuitical manner. The king began by listening without objection to the assertions of his courtiers that a moderate Catholicism, a middle standpoint between Popery and Lutheranism, would be the best religion. John thought so. He consequently published in 1571 an ordinance purporting that as Anschar had in the ninth century introduced true Christianity, they must abide by it, and must preach good works, as giving salvation equally with faith. At the same time exorcism at baptism, tapers on the altar, the sign of the cross, the elevation of the host, and the multiplicity of altars were re-established. The archbishop, Lawrence Petersen, offered no opposition to this ordinance, either from weakness of age or of character, from dread of Calvinism, or from fear of the king. His brother Olaf would have been more vigilant and more steadfast. Further steps were soon taken. The queen, at the suggestion of Cardinal Hosius, implored the king to re-establish the dignity of the priest and the sacrifice of the mass. f495 On the death of the archbishop, in 1573, John III. named as his successor Lawrence Gothus, a man who being always willing to yield could not fail to be an excellent instrument for the accomplishment of the purposes of Rome. The king caused to be drawn up seventeen articles, which sanctioned the intercession of the saints, prayers for the dead, the reestablishment of convents and of all the ancient ceremonies. The archbishop signed them; and as soon as this pledge was obtained, the ceremony of the consecration was performed with much pomp. On this occasion re-appeared the miter, the episcopal staff, the great cope called pluvial , and the holy oil for the anointing of the prelate. Henceforth, Catholicism was in the ascendant. John had his son Sigismund brought up in the strictest Romanism, in the hope of thus opening the way for him to the throne of Poland, which Cardinal Hosius had promised him. Two Jesuits, Florentius Feyt and Lawrence Nicolai, sent by the famous society with which the king was in correspondence, arrived at Stockholm in 1576, and gave themselves out for Lutheran ministers. They ingratiated themselves amiably and adroitly, says one of them, with the Germans, and this at first more easily than with the Swedes. They paid visits to the pastors and conversed with them on all manner of subjects for the purpose of gaining them over. They spoke Latin with ease and elegance, so that the good Swedish pastors, who were unlettered men, were filled with admiration, and promised them their co-operation. Feyt, in a college at Stockholm, newly founded by the king, and Nicolai, at the university of Upsala, spread out their nets, and by lectures, sermons, disputations, and conversation, they succeeded in bringing back to the abandoned faith now one and now another, thus drawing after them a goodly number of souls. f498 The cardinal lavished his instructions upon them. ‘Let them avoid creating any scandal,’ he wrote to the Jesuit confessor of the queen; ‘let them extol faith to the skies; let them declare that works without faith are profitless; let them preach Christ as the only mediator and His sacrifice on the cross as the only sacrifice that saves.’ The main point was to get the Swedes to re-enter the Roman pale by giving them to understand that nothing was preached there but the doctrines of the Gospel. This once accomplished, some means would certainly be found of again setting meritorious works by the side of faith, the Virgin Mary by the side of Christ as intercessor, and the sacrifice of the mass by the side of the sacrifice of Calvary. The king commanded all the pastors to attend the lectures of these Jesuits, passing themselves off as Lutherans. These men quoted the writings of the reformers, but at the same time confuted them, and endeavored to show that they contradicted one another. The king was sometimes present at these disputations, and even took part in them. He spoke against the pope, and thus gave the foreign theologians a pretext for making a clever apology for the Roman court. The reverend fathers, moreover, were not particular. They gained over a secretary of the king, named Johan Henrikson, who was living with a woman whose husband he had killed.

    Father Lawrence, in the first instance, gave absolution to these two wretched people; and afterwards a dispensation to marry. This convert , after having again been an accomplice in crimes, died from drunkenness. In a short time, other Romish priests arrived in Sweden, and were placed in various churches. At the instigation of these missionaries of the pope, many young Swedes were sent abroad, to Rome, to Fulda, and to Olmutz, to be educated there in Jesuit colleges at the expense of the state. Many Roman Catholic books were translated, especially the catechism of the Jesuit Canisius; and these were distributed in large numbers among the people. Cardinal Hosius did not fail to write to the queen that she should by no means be disheartened nor slacken in her efforts to bring about the conversion of the king. At the same time he wrote to the king entreating him to become a true Catholic. ‘If there be any scruple in your majesty’s mind,’ said he, there is nothing upon earth I desire more than with God’s help to remove it.’ f502 The queen and her connections at length prevailed upon the king to take one step towards the pope. Count Pontus de la Gardie set out for Rome, with instructions to request the pontiff, on the part of John III., to appoint prayers to be made throughout the world for the re-establishment of the Catholic religion in the North; to propose his own return and that of his people into the Roman Church, upon condition nevertheless that the ecclesiastical estates which were in the hands of the king and of the nobles should remain there, that the king should be acknowledged head of the Swedish Church, that mass should be allowed to be said partly in Swedish, that the cup should be received by the laity, and that marriage should be permitted to the priests, although they ought to be exhorted to celibacy.

    The court of Rome, without accepting these conditions, left the negotiations open, in hope of getting more another time. The king, desirous of giving the pontiff a mark of his zeal, caused to be composed and printed, in 1576, under the direction of the Jesuits, a new liturgy almost entirely Roman in character; and in the following year he began to persecute those who refused to accept it. Cardinal Hosius now gave thanks to God for the conversion of this prince (October 1577).

    This same prince, who now bowed down his head under the yoke of the pope, signalized this year (1577) by the perpetration of one of those crimes which reveal an unnatural heart, a man devoid of feeling. His unhappy brother, although now rendered completely powerless and reduced to a state of the deepest wretchedness, gave him some uneasiness.

    Among the people there had been movements in his favor. Mornay had been accused of aiming at the restoration of Erick, and on this charge had been put to death on August 21, 1574. It had been openly said that it would be better for one man alone to suffer than for so many to perish in his cause. In January 1577, the king wrote to Andersen of Bjurum, commander at Oerbyhus, to which place the ex-king had been recently removed. Here is the order given by a brother for the death of a brother; a document such as is not to be found elsewhere in history. It appears that John recollected his brother’s cleverness and energy, which qualities, however, must surely have been diminished by his imprisonment. ‘In case there should be any danger whatsoever, you are to give king Erick a draught of opium or of mercury strong enough to ensure his death within a few hours. If he should positively refuse to take it, you are to have him bound to his seat and open veins in his hands and feet till he die. If he should resist and render it impossible to bind him, you are to place him by force upon his bed, and then smother him with the mattress or with large cushions.’ John III., however, did an act of mercy at the same time. He ordered that, before putting his brother to death, a priest should be sent to the Calvinist Erick, at whose hands he should receive the sacrament. What tender concern for his salvation!

    The secretary Henrikson, the man who had killed the husband of the woman with whom he lived, consequently arrived at the castle of Oerbyhus accompanied by a chamberlain and the surgeon-major Philip Kern. The latter had prepared the poison, and the three men brought it with them. On Sunday, February 22, the priest presented himself to do his duty. After an interval of two days, the poison was served up to the unfortunate prince in a soup. He took it quite unsuspiciously and died in the night (two o’clock A.M.), February 26, at the age of forty-four. The deposed king had certainly committed a crime when he wounded with a dagger Nils Sture, whose intention he believed was to snatch from him his crown. But at the spectacle of this cold-blooded poisoning, directed in an ordinance with such minute details, and effected in so cowardly a manner, we feel the shudder of horror aroused by great crimes. John then wrote to Duke Charles that their brother had died after a short illness , of which he, the king, had been informed too late. Charles understood what this meant, and he expressed his grief at the unworthy manner in which King Erick had been buried. ‘He was nevertheless,’ wrote Charles, ‘king of Sweden, crowned and anointed; and whatever the evil into which he may have fallen, which may God forgive him! in the course of his reign he did many good deeds worthy of a brave man.’ Swedish refugees in various places lamented his tragic end, and even called upon France to avenge it by placing his heir upon the throne. f507 After Erick’s death, the fratricide king continued his progress towards popery. The clever Jesuit, Antoine Possevin, who made his appearance as envoy from the emperor, but who was in fact a legate of the pope, arrived in Sweden, for the purpose of getting the king and the kingdom to decide on making a frank submission to Rome. The king had an interview with him in the convent of Wadstena, and was formally but secretly received by this reverend father into the communion of the Roman Church. While pardoning his sins, the Jesuit imposed on him the penance of fasting every Wednesday, because it was on this day that he had caused his brother to be poisoned. The influence of this Jesuit was at the same time felt throughout the Church. Orders were given to withdraw from the psalms all the passages against the pope, to exclude Luther’s catechism from the schools, and to submit to the canonical laws of Rome, an extract from which was published. Martin Olai, bishop of Linkoping, having called the pope Antichrist, appeared publicly in the cathedral, and before the altar was stripped of his pontifical decorations. His diocese was given to Caroli, ordinary of Calmar, a former courtling of Erick’s, a treacherous man, who had driven the king to the murder of Sture. At the same time Jesuits were entering the kingdom under various names and various dress; and believing that the time for cautious proceedings was past, they preached vigorously against evangelical doctrine, which they called heretical, so that it began to be said among the common people that these men could do nothing but curse and bark. The district entrusted to the government of Duke Charles was the only one that was protected from this Romish invasion. f510 Suddenly the tide ceased flowing and seemed to turn back towards the fountain-head. John III. had cast his eyes upon the duchies of Bari and Rossano, in the kingdom of Naples, believing that his wife, as the daughter of Bona Sforzei, had some title to them. But the pope had taken a course opposed to his interests; and he had likewise sacrificed Sweden in a treaty, which had been concluded through his mediation, between Russia and Poland. At the same time the principles of freedom which Protestantism had made current, especially in opposition to the lordship of the priestly class, had so deeply entered into men’s minds that the practices, the artifices, and the impudence of the Jesuits appeared revolting to the townsmen, and were stirring up in the whole nation a spirit of resistance to the encroachments of the papacy. At length, in 1583, Queen Catherine, who had been the soul of the popish reaction, died; and the king having married again, his second wife, Gunila, declared herself heartily against Rome.

    At this time the tide, which ever rising had borne along with it into Sweden the rites and the doctrines of Rome, was succeeded by the ebb, which as it retired swept away successively everything which the rising waters had deposited on these northern shores. The pastor of Stockholm, who had become a Catholic, was deprived; the Jesuits were driven out of the kingdom, and the posts which they held in the college of Stockholm were given to their adversaries. Public opinion energetically declared itself against the adherents of the pope; and the king, turning from one wrong course to another, began to persecute them, although he still retained his liturgy. He died in 1592, and his son Sigismund, a zealous papist, who, since 1587, had been king of Poland, now returning to Sweden, began to oppress Protestantism. His uncle, Duke Charles of Sudermania, an intelligent and enterprising prince, who was not only opposed to popery, but had a leaning towards the Protestant side, put himself at the head of this party. Sigismund was obliged to leave Sweden, and Charles became first administrator of the kingdom and ultimately king. f511 Charles convoked at Upsala a general assembly for the purpose of regulating the state of the Church. On the 25th of February, 1593, he was there present himself with his council, four bishops, more than three hundred pastors, deputies from all parts of the kingdom, many nobles, townsmen, and peasants. There was a young professor of theology from Upsala, Nicolaus Bothniensis, who had distinguished himself by his resistance to Romish institutions, and had even been thrown into prison.

    The assembly, desirous of doing honor to his fidelity, now named him its president. With one accord the assembly declared that Holy Scripture interpreted by itself was the only basis and the only source of evangelical doctrine. After this all the articles of the Confession of Augsburg were read; and Peter Jona, who had just been named bishop of Strengnaes, rose and said, ‘Let us all hold fast this doctrine; and will you remain faithful to it even if it should please God that you must suffer for so doing?’ All answered, ‘We are prepared to sacrifice for its sake all that we possess in the world, our property and our lives.’ Peter Jona, then resuming his speech, said, ‘Sweden is now become one man, and we all have one and the same God.’ f512 All the changes in doctrine and in ritual which had been introduced in the reign of John III. were abolished. The teaching of evangelical doctrine was universally established. The assembly of Upsala was an event the results of which were felt far and wide, beyond the limits of Sweden. This was manifest when, at a later period, by the services of Gustavus Adolphus, the Reformation was consolidated in Europe.


    God Rules.NET
    Search 80+ volumes of books at one time. Nave's Topical Bible Search Engine. Easton's Bible Dictionary Search Engine. Systematic Theology Search Engine.