TO JOHN BRAUN
Luther had been hurriedly summoned by Frederick the Wise, on the recommendation of Staupitz, to be Professor in Wittenberg in 1508; he apologizes for not bidding adieu.
March 17, 1509.
To the saintly and Right Reverend Father in God, Herr John Braun, priest in Eisenach, my beloved lord and father.
Greeting from Brother Martin Luther, the Augustinian monk!
Stop wondering, honored father, that I stole secretly away from you as if no friendship existed between us, or as if I had been ungrateful enough to root out of my heart all remembrance of your great kindness to me, or let a rough north wind blow away my love for you. Indeed it is not so, although my actions may lead you to suppose this. I have certainly left — that I must confess, and yet I have not gone away, for the best part of me, at all times, remains with you. For although I have departed in body, I am ever with you in thought wherever you are, and I hope you will never feel differently towards me from what you do now. But to come to the point. In order to get quit of the dreadful idea that your love might perhaps begin to doubt my fidelity to you, I have torn myself away from my manifold occupations to write you, as it is so difficult to convey anything. And what do you think is my sole object in writing, but to send you my love, and ask you to have as much confidence
in me as I have in you! And although I cannot compare myself with you in anything good, still my
love for you is very great, and having nothing else to bestow, I once more assure you of it. For I know
your generous heart desires nothing from me, but that we may be one heart and soul in the Lord, even as our faith is one and the same in Him. But you must not be offended at my leaving so quietly, for my departure was so sudden that even those in the house scarcely knew. I always intended writing, but had no time. However, I felt very sorry not to see you. I am now, by God’s command or permission, settled in Wittenberg, and very well, only the study of philosophy is most disagreeable to me; for from the first I would have preferred theology, viz. the theology which goes to the kernel of the nut and touches the bone and the flesh. But God is God, and man often errs in his judgment. He
is our God, who will guide us lovingly to all eternity. Kindly note all this, which has been written in the greatest haste. And when you have a messenger you will honour me with a line, and I shall do the same. With all good wishes from first to last, and credit me with what you would like to believe of me. Once more farewell.
MARTIN LUTHER, Augustinian. WITTENBERG. (Walch, 5:21, p. 514.)