TO GEORGE SPALATIN June 8, 1516.
Thanks for your good wishes, dear Spalatin. Through the grace of God I reached home in good health, at least bodily. God knows if also spiritually. All this I owe to your love. I got your letter from the brothers. You write that our Serene Prince wishes to make our esteemed Vicar-General (Staupitz) a bishop, and desires your cooperation. You are acting uprightly as a friend, but I would like that your entreaties with the honored father were not so full of fire; for I shall act differently, so that he who is being over-praised may hesitate in his purpose. Do you wonder at this? Certainly not because I despise your counsel, but because love prompts the desire, consequently the judgment is in
abeyance. “For true love,” says Chrysostom, “seldom judges aright.” I say this because you are
swayed by the Prince’s favor, and I do not wish the esteemed father to do what you urge to please the Prince. Your Prince is fascinated with much that appears lovely in his sight, which is far from pleasing to God. Frederick the Wise is very clever in worldly things, but in those pertaining to God and the salvation of souls I consider him sevenfold blind, even as your Pfeffinger. I do not say this in a corner to malign them, but to their faces at every opportunity. Were I certain that your project came from God, then, would that you had a tongue of fire, and the Pater were pure stubble! But remember that what you and the Prince are discussing secretly is known, for before I got your letter I heard that the esteemed father would be made Bishop of Kimsche. These happy times are long gone by when it was considered a grand thing to be a bishop, but now there can be no more miserable position, for it
means leading a life of gluttony and debauchery such as that of Sodom and Rome. You see this when you compare the life and work of the old bishops with ours. How many are immersed in wars, while their homes have become a very hell of insatiable greed! Notice how far this man is removed from such vices, so that when the time comes for him to be lured into the terrible vortex of the Bishop’s courts you will try to prevent the calamity. But enough of this! If your petition really admits of no delay tell me at once, because the esteemed father does not return from Antwerp till autumn, so I must send a special messenger to Cologne, where he told us to forward his letters. Farewell in the Lord, and pray for us. From the cloister at Wittenberg.
MARTIN LUTHER, Augustinian.