TO GEORGE SPALATIN
Luther relates his experiences at a hunt. August 15, 1521.
I have received the third sheet of Confession, dear Spalatin, Philip sending it along with the first; but the printing is execrable. Would that I had sent nothing German. See he does not print my German postils, but rather returns what I have sent you, and I shall get them done elsewhere. For why should I work so hard only to have things turned out in so slovenly a manner? I should not like the Epistles, etc., to be so sinned against, so shall send no more at present, although I have ten large sheets
ready, and till these shameless money-makers, the printers, cease looking solely to their own interest, no more shall be sent. Philip has sent me three sheets of Latomus, with which I am much pleased. I wish Carlstadt would write in a more polished way against celibacy, for I fear he will affront us. If he were only better adapted for the praiseworthy work he has undertaken; for our opponents slander the very best that can be written, so we must be careful not to bring discredit on the Word, for we are a spectacle unto the world, as St. Paul teaches. Perhaps I am mixing myself in things that do not
concern me; but what can be more dangerous than to incite people to matrimony? I would like the question of matrimony left free according to Christ’s command, but I am powerless in the matter. Do not trouble yourself as to my bearing my exile patiently. It is all one to me where I am, if I am not a burden to these people, but I fancy I live here at the expense of the Prince, or I should not remain an hour longer if I thought I were consuming this good man’s substance, although he supplies my wants
abundantly. Try to shed light on this, for he always declares it comes out of the Prince’s pocket. I am so constituted that I worry incessantly for fear of burdening any one.
I followed the chase for two days last week, to get a taste of the pleasures which fine gentlemen love so well. We caught two hares and a few poor roes. Truly a worthy occupation for idle people! Amid the nets and the dogs I pondered over theological matters. I could not but feel sad at the deep mysteries which lay concealed beneath the gay scene. For, does not the devil with his dogs, those godless teachers, bishops, etc., thus pursue and take captive innocent creatures — those poor believing souls; but worse is still to come. I had managed to save a poor hare, and hid it under my coat, but the dogs discovered it, and bit its leg through the coat, and choked it, so we found it dead. Thus do the Pope and Satan, despite my efforts, try to ruin saved souls. I have had enough of this kind of hunting, and think it finer to slay bears and wolves, and godless creatures such as these. See that at Court you learn to hunt for souls, so that one day you may find yourself in Paradise — a piece of game which it gave Christ, the best huntsman, much trouble to catch and keep. I have changed my mind and send the rest of the postils. But let them be printed on good paper, with Lotter’s letters, for it will be a
large book, and I’ll spread it over the four quarters of the year, so that it may not be too heavy. But it must not be as I wish, but as you can arrange there. Let the MS. be returned to me. I know what Satan is after. I wonder if my “Magnificat” will ever be ready. Farewell, and pray for me. MARTIN LUTHER . (Walch, 5:15. 7 3.)