Luther and Reformation by James Atkinson

James Atkinson, The Great Light. Luther and Reformation.

James Atkinson’s masterly analysis of Martin Luther’s role in the Reformation is volume 4 in the Paternoster Church History series, edited by F.F. Bruce. It also covers Calvin, Zwingli, Henry VIII, Edward VI,. Mary Tudor and Elizabeth I.

The Paternoster Press has never held the digital rights for this title. All reasonable efforts have been made to contact the current copyright holder without success. If you hold the rights or know who does, please contact me.

James Atkinson, The Great Light. Luther and Reformation. The Paternoster Church History, Vol. IV. Exeter: The Paternoster Press, 1968. PHbk. ISBN: 085364084X. pp.287. [Click to visit the download page]


  • Preface
  1. Luther’s Discovery of Evangelical Theology
  2. Luther Teaches Evangelical Theology
  3. The Papacy Repudiates Evangelical Theology
  4. Luther Faces the Problems of the Reformation
  5. Luther’s Reconstruction of the Church in Saxony on Evangelical Principles, 1525-32
  6. Developments to the Death of Charles V, 1532-58
  7. Zwingli and His Background
  8. The Reformation in Switzerland
  9. Calvin’s Life and Work
  10. Calvin’s Theology
  11. The Reign of Henry VIII, 1509-47
  12. The Reign of Edward VI, 1547-53
  13. The Marian Reaction, 1553-8
  14. Scotland: Saviour of the Reformation
  15. Elizabeth, 1558-1603
  16. The Church Under Elizabeth
  • Chronological Tables
  • Bibliography
  • Index


The Reformation has a significance that is permanent, for in that century the Reformers everywhere in Europe challenged a faithless, secularized Church with the authority of the original Gospel, a challenge that is relevant at all times and in all places to both Protestant and Catholic alike. This volume deals with Luther’ s fruitless struggle to find a gracious God, through which agony God found him; his consequent reformation of the Church by this rediscovered evangelical theology of faith in Christ only; his stand against Pope and Emperor on the unshakeable ground of the Bible, conscience and common sense; his establishment of the evangelical Church in Saxony. There is recounted the brief, tragic history of Zwingli, and his somewhat Erasmian reformation of Zürich and the surrounding region….

Merle d’Aubigné’s History of the Reformation Vols. 1-5

Jean-Henri Merle d'Aubigné (16 August 1794 – 21 October 1872)
Jean-Henri Merle d’Aubigné (16 August 1794 – 21 October 1872). Artist unknown – Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, No. 270, November, 1872., Public Domain. Source: Wikipedia

Jean-Henri Merle d’Aubigné (16 August 1794 – 21 October 1872) was a Swiss historian of the Reformation, His writings reflect the thoroughness of his research and some are still in-print today. This title is in the public domain.

Jean-Henri Merle d’Aubigné [1794-1872], History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century, Vols. 1-5. London: Religious Tract Society, 1846[?]. Hbk. pp.867. [Click to visit the download page for this book]


  • Preface
  1. State of Europe Before the Reformation
  2. The Youth, Conversion, and Early Labours of Luther – 1483-1517
  3. The Indulgences and trh Theses – 1517 – May 1518
  4. Luther Before the Legate – May to December 1518
  5. The Liepsic Disputation – 1519
  6. The Papal Bull – 1520
  7. The Diet of Worms – 1521, January to May
  8. The Swiss. 1484-1522
  9. First Reforms – 1521 and 1522
  10. Agitation, Reverses, and Progress. 1522-1526
  11. Switzerland – Germany. 1523-1527
  12. The French. 1500-1526
  13. The Protest and the Conference. 1526-1529
  14. The Augsberg Confession – 1530
  15. Switzerland – Conquests. 1526-1530
  16. Switzerland – Catastrophe. 1528-1531
  17. England Before the Reformation
  18. The Revival of the Church
  19. The English New Testament and the Court of Rome
  20. The Two Divorces


I have been often requested to publish an English Edition of the first three volumes, of my History of the Reformation, carefully revised and corrected by myself, and which might thus become a Standard Edition in Great Britain.

I have acknowledged the necessity of this task. In fact, without overlooking the merit of the different English translations of this work; even the best, I am compelled to· say, have failed in conveying my thoughts in several passages; and in some cases this inaccuracy has been of serious consequence. I will mention one instance.

At the end of the year 1844, I received several letters from the United States, in-forming me that, besides 75,000 copies of my History put in circulation by different American booksellers. The American Tract Society had printed an edition of 24,000 copies, which they sold through the instrumentality of more than a hundred hawkers (colporteurs), principally in the New Settlements….

Wayside Sketches in Ecclesiastical History. 9 Lectures by Charles Bigg

John Wycliffe, subject of Ecclsiastical History Lecture 5
John Wycliffe, subject of Ecclsiastical History Lecture 5. Image from William Henry Beckett [1847-1901], The English Reformation of the Sixteenth Century with Chapters on Monastic England, and the Wycliffite Reformation. London: The Religious Tract Society, 1890. Hbk. p.63.
Professor Bigg’s nine lectures on various aspects of ecclesiastical history were given a different times and to different audiences, Nevertheless, but he sees the common thread of the development of the church running through them. This title is in the public domain.

Charles Bigg [1840–1908], Wayside Sketches in Ecclesiastical History. Nine Lectures with Notes and Preface. London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1906. Hbk. pp.230. [Click to visit the download page for this volume]

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  1. Prudentius
  2. Paulinus of Nola
  3. Sidonius Apollinaris
  4. Grossteste
  5. Wycliffe
  6. A Kempis
  7. The English Reformation – I
  8. The English Reformation – II
  9. The English Reformation – III


One of the most notable events of the fourteenth century was the removal of the papacy from Rome to Avignon. It lasted from 1305 to 1378, and was followed by the Great Schism, from 1378 to 1414, during which there were two rival popes, one at Rome, the other at Avignon.

Avignon was in France though not of it. The city belonged to the King of Naples, who was also Count of Provence. The choice of this place of exile was determined by the struggle between Philip IV. of France and Boniface VIII., and this struggle was the direct result of the new temporal sovereignty of the Pope. Crushed between two formidable rivals, the Emperor and the King of France, the Pope put himself under the protection of the latter, and by this act became the bishop in the French political game of chess…

Three Articles by T.H.L. Parker on John Calvin

John CalvinThomas Henry Louis Parker [1916-2016] taught for many years at the University of Durham and was a world-renowned expert on John Calvin. In 2013 I gained his permission to digitise his articles from Evangelical Quarterly.

This is what Dr Parker wrote:

Thank you for your email about the Evangelical Quarterly articles. My word! this is going back a year or two, but I well remember writing the first two, when I was in my twenties and trying to find my literary feet. The third was a paper I gave at  a conference [IVF of some sort] in Cambridge, in the company of various interesting figures – F.F. Bruce I remember and of course my great friend David Knox [Broughton in Australia].

Certainly you may have my permission to put them on line. Very gratifying, after all this time. But you must remember that I was then even more ignorant than now – although I think that I was on the right lines, walking as I did in the steps of Peter Barth and his more famous brother.

Here are the three articles, all downloadable as PDFs.

T.H.L. Parker, “The Approach to Calvin,” The Evangelical Quarterly 16.3 (July 1944): 165-172.

T.H.L. Parker, “A Bibliography and Survey of the British Study of Calvin, 1900-1940,” The Evangelical Quarterly 18.2 (April 1946): 123-131.

T.H.L. Parker, “Calvin’s Doctrine of Justification,” The Evangelical Quarterly 24.2 (April 1952): 101-107.

I also have this monograph available:

T.H.L. Parker, Supplementa Calviniana. An Account of the Manuscripts of Calvin’s Sermons Now in Course of Preparation. London: The Tyndale Press, 1962. Pbk. pp.23.

You can read Lee Gatiss’s obituary of Dr Parker on the Church Society website. The back-issues from the Churchman he mentions are available free of charge, together with hundreds of articles from The Evangelical Quarterly on the website.

History of the Reformation by Thomas M. Lindsay

Thomas Lindsay’s comprehensive introduction to the European Reformation and Counter-Reformation is now available on-line for free download in PDF. These volumes are in the public domain and so can be freely copied and distributed.

Thomas Martin Lindsay [1843-1914], A History of the Reformation in Two Volumes, 2nd edn. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1907. Hbk. pp.528+631.



Map Showing the Reformation and Counter-Reformation (1520-1580)
Map Showing the Reformation and Counter-Reformation (1520-1580)

Volume 2 has an interesting map hidden away in a pouch on the back cover. I have included images at varying resolutions on the main download page if you are interested.

Contents of Volume 1

Book 1: On the Eve of the Reformation

Chapter 1 – The Papacy
Chapter 2 – The Political Situation
Chapter 3 – The Renaisance
Chapter 4 – Social Conditions
Chapter 5 – Family and Popular Religious Life in the Decades Before the Reformation
Chapter 6 – Humanism and the Reformation

Book 2: The Reformation

Chapter 1 – Luther to the Beginning of the Controversy About Indulgences
Chapter 2 – From the Beginning of the Indulgence Controversy to the Diet of Worms
Chapter 3 – The Diet of Worms
Chaper 4 – From the Diet of Worms to the Close of the Peasant’s War
Chapter 5 – From the Diet of Speyer, 1526, to the Religious Peace of Augsburg, 1555
Chaper 6 – The Organisation of the Lutheran Churches
Chapter 7 – The Lutheran Reformation Outside Germany
Chapter 8 – The Religious Principles Inpsiring the Reformation

Contents of Volume 2

Book 3: The Reformed Churches

Chapter 1 – Introduction
Chapter 2 – The Reformation in Switzerland Under Zwingli
Chapter 3 – The Reformation in Geneva Under Calvin
Chapter 4 – The Reformation in France
Chapter 5 – The Reformation in the Netherlands
Chapter 6 – The Reformation in Scotland

Book 4: The Reformation in England

Chapter 1 – The Church of Henry VIII
Chapter 2 – The Reformation Under Edward VI
Chapter 3 – The Reaction Under Mary
Chapter 4 – The Settlement Under Elizabeth

Book 5: Anabaptism and Socinianism

Chapter 1 – Revival of Medieval Anti-Ecclesiastical Movements
Chapter 2 – Anabaptism
Chapter 3 – Socinianism

Book 6: The Counter-Reformation

Chapter 1 – The Necessity of a Reformation of some sort of Universally Admitted
Chapter 2 – The Spanish Conception of a Reformation
Chapter 3 – Italian Liberal Roman Catholics and Their Conception of a Reformation
Chapter 4 – Ignatius Loyola and the Company of Jesus
Chapter 5 – The Council of Trent
Chapter 6 – The Inquisition and the Index

The Oxford Reformers – John Colet, Erasmus & Thomas More

Frederic Seebohm [1833-1912], The Oxford Reformers. John Colet, Erasmus and Thomas More

The 3rd edition of Frederic Seebohm‘s book on John Colet, Erasmus and Thomas More is now available for download in PDF. This material is in the Public Domain

Frederic Seebohm [1833-1912], The Oxford Reformers. John Colet, Erasmus and Thomas More, 3rd edn. London: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1896. Hbk. pp.551. Click here to download.


Chapter I

  1. John· Colet returns from Italy to Oxford (1496)
  2. The Rise of the New Learning (1453-92)
  3. Colet’s previous History (1496)
  4. Thomas More, another Oxford Student (1492-6)
  5. Colet first hears of Erasmus (1496)

Chapter II

  1. Colet’s lectures on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (1496-7)
  2. Visit from a Priest during the Winter Vacation (1496-7?)
  3. Colet on the Mosaic Account of the Creation (1497?)
  4. Colet studies afresh the Pseudo-Dionysian Writings (1496-7?)
  5. Colet lectures on ‘I. Corinthians’ (1497?)
  6. Grocyn’s Discovery (1498?)

Chapter III.

  1. Erasmus comes to Oxford (1498)
  2. Table-talk on the Sacrifice of Cain and Abel (1498 ?)
  3. Conversation between Colet and Erasmus on the Schoolmen (1498 or 1499)
  4. Erasmus falls in love with Thomas More (1498)
  5. Discussion between Erasmus and Colet on ‘The Agony ‘in the Garden,’ and on the Inspiration of the Scriptures (1499)
  6. Correspondence between Colet and Erasmus on the Intention of Erasmus to leave Oxford (1499-1500)
  7. Erasmus leaves Oxford and England (1500)

Chapter IV.

  1. Colet made Doctor and Dean of St. Paul’s (1500-5)
  2. More called to the Bar-In Parliament-Offends Henry
    VII. – The Consequences (1500-1504)
  3. Thomas More in Seclusion from Public Life (1504-5)
  4. More studies Pico’s Life and Works-His Marriage (1505)
  5. How it had fared with Erasmus (1500-5)
  6. The ‘Enchiridion,’ &c. of Erasmus (1501-5)

Chapter V.

  1. Second Visit of Erasmus to England (1505-6)
  2. Erasmus again leaves England for Italy (1506)
  3. Erasmus visits Italy and returns to England(1507-10)
  4. More returns to Public Life on the Accession of Henry
    VIII. (1509-10)
  5. Erasmus writes the ‘ Praise of Folly ‘ while resting at
    More’s House (1510 or 1511)

Chapter VI.

  1. Colet founds St. Paul’s School (1510)
  2. His Choice of Schoolbooks and Schoolmasters (1511)

Chapter VII.

  1. Convocation for the Extirpation of Heresy (1512)
  2. Colet is charged with Heresy (1512)
  3. More in trouble again (1512)

Chapter VIII

  1. Colet preaches against the Continental Wars – The First Campaign (1512-13)
  2. Colet’s Sermon to Henry VIII. (1513)
  3. The Second Campaign of Henry VIII. (1513)
  4. Erasmus visits the Shrine of our Lady of Walsingham (1513)

Chapter IX.

  1. Erasmus leaves Cambridge, and meditates leaving England (1513-14)
  2. Erasmus and the Papal Ambassador (1514)
  3. Parting Intercourse between Erasmus and Colet (1514)

Chapter X.

  1. Erasmus goes to Basle to print his New Testament (1514)
  2. Erasmus returns to England-His Sa~ire upon Kings (1515)
  3. Returns to Basle to finish his Works-Fears of the Orthodox Party (1515)


  1. The ‘N ovum Instrumentum’ completed – What it really was (1516)

Chapter XII.

  1. More immersed in Public Business (1515)
  2. Colet’s Sermon on the Installation of Cardinal Wolsey
  3. More’s ‘Utopia’ (1515)
  4. The ‘Institutio Principis Christiani’ of Erasmus (1516)
  5. More completes his ‘Utopia ‘-the Introductory Book (1516)

Chapter XIII.

  1. WhatColet thoughtofthe ‘Novum lnstrumentum’ (1516)
  2. Reception of the ‘N ovum Instrumen turn’ in other Quarters (1516)
  3. Martin Luther reads the ‘Novum Instrumentum’ (1516)
  4. The ‘Epistolre Obscurorum Virorum’ (1516-17)
  5. The ‘Pythagorica’ and ‘Cabalistica’ of Reuchlin (1517)
  6. More pays a Visit to Coventry (1517?)

Chapter XIV.

  1. The Sale of Indulgences (1517-18)
  2. More drawn into the Service of Henry VlIl. – Erasmus leaves Germany for Basle (1518)

Chapter XV.

  1. Erasmus arrives at Basle-His Labours there (1518)
  2. The Second Edition of the New Testament (1518-19)
  3. Erasmus’s Health gives way (1518)

Chapter XVI.

  1. Erasmus does not die (1518)
  2. More at the Court of Henry VIII. (1518)
  3. The Evening of Colet’s Life (1518-19)
  4. More’s Conversion attempted by the Monks (1519)
  5. Erasmus and the Reformers of Wittemberg (1519)
  6. Election of Charles V. to the Empire (1519)
  7. The Hussites of Bohemia (1519)
  8. More’s Domestic Life (1519)
  9. Death of Colet (1519)
  10. Conclusion


A. Extracts from MS. Gg. 4, 26, in the Cambridge University Library, Translations of which are given at pp. 37, 38 of this Work
B. Extracts from MS. on. ‘I. Corinthians.’ – Emmanuel College MS. 3. 3.12
C. On the Date of More’s Birth
D. Ecclesiastical Titles and Preferments of Dean Colet, in Order of Time
E. Catalogue of early Editions of the Works of Erasmus in my possession
F. Editions of Works of Sir Thomas More in my Possession


Resources on the Counter-Reformation

Public Domain books on the Counter-Reformation are not easy to find, but thanks to a recent visit to Book Aid I have been able to add one to my on-line bibliography.

Arthur Robert Pennington [1814-1899], The Counter-Reformation in Europe. London: Elliot Stock, 1899. Hbk. pp.280. Click to Download in PDF.

You will also find Public Domain articles by Donald Maclean on this subject.

Donald Maclean [1869-1943], “The Counter-Reformation in Scotland: First Jesuit Assault 1580-1603,” The Evangelical Quarterly 2.1 (Jan. 1930), 46-69. Click here to download in PDF.

Donald Maclean [1869-1943], “The Counter-Reformation in Scotland: The Beginnings 1560-1580,” The Evangelical Quarterly 3.3 (July 1931): 278-296. Click here to download in PDF.


Gosse’s Biography of Zwingle

Ulric Zwingle from Gosse (1892)
Ulric Zwingle from Gosse (1892)

The following public domain biography of Ulric Zwingle (Ulrich Zwingli) is now available for download in pdf:

Robert Wilkes Gosse, Ulric Zwingle. London: James Nisbet & Co., 1892. pp.160.

CHAPTER I. Zwingle’s Birth and Early Life

“Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;-
“Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.” – LONGFELLOW.

 Standing upon an elevated spot at dusk overlooking a city or town we see specks of light appearing here and there in the darkening streets below, as the lamplighters go their rounds, illuminating scenes which would otherwise be enveloped in darkness. A spectacle somewhat resembling this presents itself to the mind’s eye as we look back in thought at that period of deep interest to every devout student of the history of the Christian Church, the Reformation period. There is terrible widespread spiritual darkness overshadowing all-the darkness of superstition, idolatry, error, which takes possession of the human soul whenever it puts man in the place of God. That darkness, which has been gathering for centuries, is almost unrelieved by a single ray, till at length we observe one brilliant light appearing in our own island home, burning with a clear and steady blaze, its rays extending throughout the length and breadth of the land. Bishops, Monks, Friars, and Priests – yea, and Popes also – endeavour in vain to extinguish it. That light is the candle kindled by the great “Evangelic” or “Gospel Doctor” of the fourteenth century, John Wycliffe. Standing alone, until his labours began to tell in the conversion of others, he faithfully taught the truth, sacrificing everything to the Gospel, and laying all his talents, every power that he possessed, upon God’s altar, to be used by him in His most blessed and honoured service, and for the enlightenment of his fellow-country men by means of the Word of God, which he disseminated.

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