TO JOHANN OECOLAMPADIUS
Luther praises him for having quitted the monkish life. June 20, 1524.
Grace and peace in Christ! I beg you, dearest OEcolampadius, not to ascribe my not writing to you to ingratitude or sloth; for I have not heard from you since you quitted your order, and fancied that since Christ had strengthened your heart through the power of the Spirit, you had overcome your superstitious conscience, and were now too great to write me, or need a letter from me. Truly, I
highly approve of the praiseworthy step you have taken, and Philip never ceases speaking of you, and rejoices that you keep him in remembrance. May the Lord strengthen you in your great undertaking — the exposition of Isaiah — although I know Erasmus takes no pleasure therein. But do not let his displeasure disturb you. He has performed the task to which he was called — he has reinstated the ancient languages, thus defrauding godless learning of their crowds of admirers. Perhaps, like Moses, he will die in the land of Moab, for he is powerless to guide men to those higher studies which lead to
divine blessedness. I rejoiced when he ceased expounding the Scriptures; for he was not equal to the task. He has done enough in exposing the evils of the Church, but cannot remedy them, or point the way to the promised land. Take my prolixity in good part. I know you do not need my consolation, for Christ will not forsake you. Pray for me, for I am so occupied with outward things that my health is in as great danger of being injured as my spirit. The monks and nuns who have left their cloisters rob me of many hours, for I am expected to find homes for them all, etc. Farewell, dear OEcolampadius. The grace of Christ be with you! Greet all who are of one mind with us.
MARTIN LUTHER .