TO JOHN LANGE
Luther complains of his opponents raging against him. March 21, 1518.
The vendors of Indulgences are thundering at me from the pulpit, so that their stock of insulting epithets is exhausted. They tell the people that I shall be burned in fourteen days — another makes it a month. They are also issuing counter-propositions, so that I fear ere long they will burst with fury. I am advised not to go to Heidelberg, so that they may not accomplish through deceit and wiles what they are unable to achieve through force. But I shall render obedience, and come on foot, and, if God will, pass through Erfurt; but do not wait for me, for I shall scarcely be able to start till the
Wednesday after Quasimodo. Our Prince, who devotes much time to the study of this theology, and loves it, is a warm protector of Carlstadt and me, and will not permit me to be lured to Rome.
They know this, and are furious at it. So that you may not have an exaggerated account of the burning of Tetzel’s theses, I shall tell you the facts. The students, who are heartily sick of sophistical teaching and longing for the sacred Scriptures, are most favorable to me. Having heard that Tetzel, the originator of them, had sent a man from Halle, they immediately went and asked how he dared bring such things here. Some bought a few, while others robbed him of several, and burned the rest
— about eight hundred copies — after proclaiming that the burning and funeral of Tetzel’s answer to them would take place at the Market at two o’clock. And all this was done without the knowledge of the Prince, the Town Council, or any of us. We all think it very bad of our people treating the man so. I am innocent, but feel certain I get all the blame. It has caused much talk, especially among Tetzel’s followers, who are naturally very angry. I do not know how it will all end, only it has placed me in a more perilous position.
MARTIN LUTHER. Wittenberg.