Luther’s friends were falling away, or growing timid. Even Staupitz was hesitating, now that the goal to which the movement tended was more distinctly visible. In the coldness or the absence of these friends, other allies hastened to proffer him their somewhat doubtful aid. Drawn to his side rather by hatred of Papal tyranny than by appreciation of Gospel liberty and purity, their alliance somewhat embarrassed the Reformer. It was the Teutonic quite as much as the Reformed element — a noble product when the two are blended — that now stirred the German barons, and made their hands grasp their sword-hilts when told that Luther’s life was in danger; that men with pistols under their cloak were dogging him; that Serra Longa was writing to the Elector Frederick, "Let not Luther find an asylum in the States of your highness; let him be rejected of all and stoned in the face of heaven;" that Miltitz, the Papal legate, who had not forgiven his discomfiture, was plotting to snare him by inviting him to another interview at Treves; and that Eck had gone to Rome to find a balm for his wounded pride, by getting forged in the Vatican the bolt that was to crush the man whom his scholastic subtlety had not been able to Vanquish at Leipzig.
There seemed cause for the apprehensions that now began to haunt his friends. "If God do not help us," exclaimed Melancthon, as he listened to the ominous sounds of tempest, and lifted his eye to a sky every hour growing blacker, "If God does not help us, we shall all perish." Even Luther himself was made at times to know, by the momentary depression and alarm into which he was permitted to sink, that if he was calm, and strong, and courageous, it was God that made him so.