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Monday, January 18, 2010

The Swan's Song

Last week I came across a note I had written and stuck in one of my history books. I thought it is worth sharing.
When John Wycliff finished translating the Bible into English he wrote in the margin that one of the motives for his work was "that there might be government of the people, for the people, and by the people." These words were made famous when Abraham Lincoln used them in the Gettysburg Address but they were borrowed from John Wycliff.
In John Wycliff's time the church and state were united and both were corrupt. His translation work was the seed of the Reformation. John Huss read Wycliff's English Bible and preached what he learned from its pages. As a result, he was burned at the stake in 1415. At his execution he said, "Today you will roast a lean goose (his name, Huss, meant goose) but 100 years from now you will hear a swan sing . . ."
One hundred years later, on October 31, 1515, Martin Luther posted his 95 Thesis on the church door and the Reformation shifted into high gear. The swan's song!

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