TO JOHN BRAUN, VICAR IN EISENACH The first extant letter of Luther.
He invites Braun to come to his ordination as priest in Erfurt. April 22, 1507.
To the saintly and Right Reverend Priest in Christ, John Braun, vicar in Eisenach, my beloved friend in
Christ, grace and peace in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I would be afraid, best of friends, to trouble you with my letters and requests, did I not know from the many benefits you have showered upon me how kindly you feel towards me. Therefore I have no hesitation in addressing you, confident that our mutual friendship will secure the favourable consideration of these lines. For seeing the holy God has, of His manifold goodness, so highly exalted me, an unworthy sinner, and deemed me worthy to enter His service, then I must be grateful, and
try, as far as I can, to fulfill the duties entrusted to me. My father has arranged that, with God’s help, I shall be consecrated to the office of the priesthood on Sabbath four weeks. The day has been fixed to suit my father. Perhaps I may be presuming too much on your love, when I humbly beg for your
presence also. I do not ask you to make this troublesome journey because of any services I may have rendered you, for I know of none, but because I experienced so much of your goodness when with you lately. You will then, perhaps, best beloved father, lord, and brother (the first title belongs to your age and office, the second to your merits, and the third to your order), if your clerical and domestic duties permit, honour me by standing by me with your dear presence and intercession, so that my offering may be acceptable in God’s sight. And, lastly, I would remind you that you pass our cloister, and must not seek other quarters! But one of our cells must content you. May you be preserved in Christ Jesus our Lord! In our cloister at Erfurt. MARTIN OF MANSFELD. I scarcely like to moot it, but if it were not beneath the dignity of their order, and did not give too much trouble, I would esteem the presence of the members of the College at my ordination at Erfurt a great honor.