Able Teacher and Preacher -- He was an able and earnest teacher, and an eloquent preacher, and his daily life was a demonstration of the truths he preached. His knowledge of the Scriptures, the force of his reasoning, the purity of his life, and his unbending courage and integrity, won for him general esteem and confidence.-- GC 81.
Lack of Fear -- Wycliffe appealed from the synod to Parliament; he fearlessly arraigned the hierarchy before the national council, and demanded a reform of the enormous abuses sanctioned by the church. With convincing power he portrayed the usurpations and corruptions of the papal see.-- GC 89.
Fearlessness and Humility -- He fearlessly maintained his teachings, and repelled the accusations of his persecutors. Losing sight of himself, of his position, of the occasion, he summoned his hearers before the divine tribunal, and weighed their
sophistries and deceptions in the balances of eternal truth.-- GC 90.
Preacher of God's Word -- But it was in another field that Huss began the work of reform. Several years after taking priest's orders he was appointed preacher of the chapel of Bethlehem. The founder of this chapel had advocated, as a matter of great importance, the preaching of the Scriptures in the language of the people. Notwithstanding Rome's opposition to this practise, it had not been wholly discontinued in Bohemia. But there was great ignorance of the Bible, and the worst vices prevailed among the people of all ranks. These evils Huss unsparingly denounced, appealing to the Word of God to enforce the principles of truth and purity which he inculcated.-- GC 99.
Clarity and Power -- The words of Jerome excited astonishment and admiration, even in his enemies. For a whole year he had been immured in a dungeon, unable to read or even to see, in great physical suffering and mental anxiety. Yet his arguments were presented with as much clearness and power as if he had had undisturbed opportunity for study.-- GC 112, 113.
Deep Fervour -- Luther was ordained a priest, and was called from the cloister to a professorship in the University of Wittenberg. Here he applied himself to the study of the Scriptures in the original tongues. He began to lecture upon the Bible; and the book of Psalms, the Gospels, and the Epistles were opened to the understanding of crowds of delighted listeners. He was mighty in the Scriptures and the grace of God rested upon him. His eloquence captivated his hearers, the clearness and power with which he presented the truth convinced their understanding, and his deep fervour touched their hearts.-- SR 341.
Fearless Bearing -- The simple energy of his words, his fearless bearing, his calm, speaking eye, and the unalterable determination expressed in every word and act made a deep impression upon the assembly. It was evident that he could not be induced, either by promises or threats, to yield to the mandate of Rome.
Christ had spoken through Luther's testimony with a power and grandeur that for the time inspired both friends and foes with awe and wonder.-- SR 348.
God's Chosen Instrument -- Luther was God's chosen instrument to tear off the garb of hypocrisy from the papal church and expose her corruption. He raised his voice zealously, and in the power of
the Holy Spirit cried out against and rebuked the existing sins of the leaders of the people.-- 1T 372.
Calm, Dignified Power -- The calm, dignified power of Luther humbled his enemies, and dealt a most dreadful blow to the papacy.-- 1T 373.
Words With Majesty -- Luther's prayer was heard. His courage and faith returned as he met his enemies. Meek as a lamb he stood, surrounded by the great men of the earth, who, like angry wolves, fastened their eyes upon him, hoping to awe him with their power and greatness. But he had taken hold of the strength of God and feared not. His words were spoken with such majesty and power that his enemies could do nothing against him. . . .
The calm bearing of Luther was in striking contrast to the passion and rage exhibited by those so-called great men. They could not frighten him into a recantation of the truth. In noble simplicity and calm firmness he stood like a rock.-- 1T 374, 375.
Forcible Exposition -- At the next interview, Luther presented a clear, concise, and forcible exposition of his views, fully supported by many quotations from Scripture.-- GC 136.
Solemnity and Earnestness -- The solemnity and deep earnestness of his words gave him a power that even his enemies could not wholly withstand.-- GC 154.
Prudence and Dignity -- "For this reason I entreat your imperial majesty, with all humility, to allow me time, that I may answer without offending against the Word of God."
In making this request, Luther moved wisely. His course convinced the assembly that he did not act from passion or impulse. Such calmness and self-command, unexpected in one who had shown himself bold and uncompromising, added to his power, and enabled him afterward to answer with a prudence, decision, wisdom, and dignity that surprised and disappointed his adversaries, and rebuked their insolence and pride.-- GC 156.
Careful Preparation of His Defence -- With his mind stayed upon God, Luther prepared for the struggle before him. He thought upon the plan of his answer, examined passages in his own writings, and drew from the Holy Scriptures suitable proofs to sustain his positions.-- GC 157.
Subdued, Humble Tone -- The imperial officer now demanded his decision as to whether he desired to retract his doctrines. Luther made his answer in a subdued and humble tone, without violence or passion. His demeanour was diffident and respectful; yet he manifested a confidence and joy that surprised the assembly.-- GC 158.
Courage and Firmness -- The courage and firmness which he now displayed, as well as the power and clearness of his reasoning, filled all parties with surprise.-- GC 160, 161.
In the Presence of God -- The papal leaders were chagrined that their power, which had caused kings and nobles to tremble, should be thus despised by a humble monk; they longed to make him feel their wrath by torturing his life away. But Luther, understanding his danger, had spoken to all with Christian dignity and calmness. His words had been free from pride, passion, and misrepresentation. He had lost sight of himself, and of the great men surrounding him, and felt only that he was in the presence of One infinitely superior to popes, prelates, kings, and emperors. Christ had spoken through Luther's testimony with a power and grandeur that for the time inspired both friends and foes with awe and wonder. . . .
The elector Frederick had looked forward anxiously to Luther's appearance before the Diet, and with deep emotion he listened to his speech. With joy and pride he witnessed the doctor's courage, firmness, and self-possession, and determined to stand more firmly in his defence.-- GC 161, 162.
Clear Reasoning -- The contrast between the two disputants [Oecolampadius and Eck] was not without effect. The calm, clear reasoning of the Reformer, so gently and modestly presented, appealed to minds that turned in disgust from Eck's boastful and boisterous assumptions.-- GC 184.
The Wesleys and Whitefield
Justification and Renewal -- Wesley's life was
devoted to the preaching of the great truths which he had received-- justification through faith in the atoning blood of Christ, and the renewing power of the Holy Spirit upon the heart, bringing forth fruit in a life conformed to the example of Christ.
Whitefield and the Wesleys had been prepared for their work by long and sharp personal convictions of their own lost condition; and that they might be able to endure hardness as good soldiers of Christ, they had been subjected to the fiery ordeal of scorn, derision, and persecution, both in the university and as they were entering the ministry. . . .
As members of the Church of England, they were strongly attached to her forms of worship, but the Lord had presented before them in His Word a higher standard. The Holy Spirit urged them to preach Christ and Him crucified. The power of the Highest attended their labours. Thousands were convicted and truly converted. It was necessary that these sheep be protected from ravening wolves. Wesley had no thought of forming a new denomination, but he organised them under what was called the Methodist Connection.-- GC 256, 257.
Gospel of the Grace of God -- Thus while preaching the gospel of the grace of God, [John] Wesley, like his Master, sought to "magnify the law, and make it Honourable." Faithfully did he accomplish the work given him of God, and glorious were the results which he was permitted to behold. At the close of his long life of more than fourscore years-- above half a century spent in itinerant ministry--
his avowed adherents numbered more than half a million souls. But the multitude that through his labours had been lifted from the ruin and degradation of sin to a higher and a purer life, and the number who by his teaching had attained to a deeper and richer experience, will never be known till the whole family of the redeemed shall be gathered into the kingdom of God. His life presents a lesson of priceless worth to every Christian. Would that the faith and humility, the untiring zeal, self-sacrifice, and devotion of this servant of Christ, might be reflected in the churches of today!-- GC 264.
Humble Men of Reformation Times
Simple, Straightforward Reasoning -- By argument, sophistry, the traditions
of the Fathers, and the authority of the church, many endeavoured to overthrow
the truth. Its advocates were driven to their Bibles to defend the validity of
the fourth commandment. Humble men, armed with the Word of truth alone,
withstood the attacks of men of learning, who, with surprise and anger, found
their eloquent sophistry powerless against the simple, straightforward reasoning
of men who were versed in the Scriptures rather than in the subtleties of the
schools.-- GC 455.