The Pens in Frederick’s Dream

Posted Aug 10, 2013 by Cristina Mendoza in Christian History Hits: 560

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Therefore I … write these things according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction. 2 Cor 13:10

“If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.” -Martin Luther

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right....”  -Martin Luther

Frederick of Saxony, surnamed the Wise, was the most powerful elector of the German empire at the period of the reformation. A dream he had and related just before the world was startled by the first great act of reformation is so striking that I feel justified in repeating it in this connection. It was as follows:

“Having gone to bed last night, tired and dispirited, I soon fell asleep after saying my prayers, and slept calmly for about two hours and a half. I then awoke, and all kinds of thoughts occupied me until midnight.... I then fell asleep again, and dreamed the Almighty sent me a monk, who was a true son of Paul the apostle. He was accompanied by all the saints, in obedience to God’s command, to bear him testimony, and to assure me that he did not come with any fraudulent design, but that all he should do was conformable to the will of God. They asked my gracious permission to let him write something on the doors of the palace-chapel at Wittenberg, which I conceded through my chancellor. Upon this, the monk retired thither and began to write; so large were the characters that I could read from Schweinitz what he was writing [about 18 miles]. The pen he used was so long that its extremity reached as far as Rome, where it pierced the ears of a lion which lay there, and shook the triple crown on the Pope’s head. All the cardinals and princes ran up hastily and endeavored to support it.... I stretched out my arm: that moment I awoke with my arm extended, in great alarm and very angry with this monk, who could not guide his pen better. I recovered myself a little.... It was only a dream.

I was still half asleep, and once more closed my eyes. The dream came again. The lion, still disturbed by the pen, began to roar with all his might, until the whole city of Rome, and all the States of the holy empire, ran up to know what was the matter. The Pope called upon us to oppose this monk, and addressed himself particularly to me, because the friar was living in my dominions. I again awoke, repeated the Lord’s prayer, entreated God to preserve his Holiness, and fell asleep.... I then dreamt that all the princes of the empire, and we along with them, hastened to Rome, and endeavored one after another to break this pen; but the greater our exertions the stronger it became: it crackled as if it had been made of iron: we gave it up as hopeless. I then asked the monk (for I was now at Rome, now at Wittenberg) where he had got that pen, and how it came to be so strong. [In those days they used goosequills for pens.] ‘This pen,’ replied he, ‘belonged to a Bohemian goose [Huss] a hundred years old. I had it from one of my old schoolmasters. It is so strong because no one can take the pith out of it, and I am myself quite astonished at it.’ On a sudden I heard a loud cry; from the monk’s long pen had issued a host of other pens. I awoke a third time; it was day light.” History of the Reformation, Book III, Chap. 4. (Emphasis mine).

Frederick related the foregoing to his brother John...on the morning of Oct. 31, 1517, stating that he had dreamed it during the previous night. The same day at noon Martin Luther advanced boldly to the chapel at Wittenberg and posted upon the door ninety-five theses, or propositions, against the Papal doctrine of indulgences. This was his public entrance upon the great work of reformation.

Inspiration is in agreement:

Satan will excite indignation against the humble minority who conscientiously refuse to accept popular customs and traditions. Men of position and reputation will join with the lawless and the vile to take counsel against the people of God. Wealth, genius, education, will combine to cover them with contempt. Persecuting rulers, ministers, and church members will conspire against them. Christian Service, p. 158.

Pure and undefiled religion must be constantly presented before the people. Let the truth come forth from pen and voice in a way that will have weight with every soul who shall read the articles in our papers or listen to our speakers. We are dealing with eternal realities. Christ’s lessons, from first to last, are weighty with eternal issues.—Manuscript 17, 1910. {CW 22.4}

We are under obligation to declare faithfully the whole counsel of God. We are not to make less prominent the special truths that have separated us from the world, and made us what we are; for they are fraught with eternal interests. God has given us light in regard to the things that are now taking place in the last remnant of time, and with pen and voice we are to proclaim the truth to the world, not in a tame, spiritless way, but in demonstration of the Spirit and power of God.—Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers.