TO CHRISTOPH SCHEURL
Luther’s modesty as to his own classical attainments. May 6, 1517.
My greeting! To begin with, best of friends, I must thank you for Staupitz’s pamphlet, but I am quite ashamed that the honored father should circulate my insignificant writings among you.
Truly I did not write them for the cultured Nurnbergers, but for our rough Saxons, for whom religious instruction must be broken into infinite particles.
Even were I to do my utmost, I never could furnish anything which would find favor with men so versed in classical literature, and how much less in your eyes, seeing my sole endeavor is to bring myself down to the capacity of the common people. Therefore, pray keep what I write from the learned; and I took great pains, according to your instructions, to write a friendly letter to Eck, avoiding everything disagreeable. I do not know if he has received it. I send you these theses or propositions, and through you to Link, or to any one who may like such trifles. If I do not deceive myself; they are not Ciceronian, but those of our Carlstadt, rather of St. Augustine, which are far more sublime and superior to those of Cicero, even as Augustine, or rather Christ, is exalted above Cicero. These propositions are a standing reproach to the ignorance of those who consider them paradoxes (very striking ones), rather than look upon them as orthodox (that is, in accordance with
the pure doctrine of the Church universal), not to speak of those who are shameless enough to malign them as errors, a class of people who neither read St. Paul’s Epistles, or, at least, read them without comprehending them, thus leading themselves and others astray. To modest men who do not quite see through them they appear wonderful, and I regard them as fundamental truths in their primitive purity. Praise be to God who causes light to arise out of the darkness. I presume our father vicar is
not with you. We hope he may come to us. Dr. Christian Reuter has departed this temporal life. May
God give him eternal life. Amen. Amsdorf and all friends greet you. Farewell. MARTIN LUTHER, Augustinian. Wittenberg. (Schutze.)