TO JOHN LANGE March 28, 1522.
Greeting! Without doubt you did not leave the cloister without good reasons for doing so, although I
wish you had risen above all reasons. Not that I dispute your right to do so, but because I do not wish to give our opponents occasion for slandering us, even as St. Paul preached the gospel in Achaia without being chargeable to any man, thus retaining his apostolic freedom, etc. But I remind you of
all this too late. When I have time I shall write to the Church in Erfurt, although you and yours far surpass us in knowledge of the Word. But the power of the Word is either very faint or quite latent within us, else we should not be so cold, hardened, bold, quarrelsome, and drunken. In short, the old tokens of Christian love are not visible, St. Paul’s words being inverted, “We have the kingdom of God in words, but not in power.” I cannot come to you, for it is not right to tempt God by needlessly running into danger, especially as I have enough here; being attacked through the Papal and Imperial Edict, and enjoy as much freedom as the birds of the air, whose only protection is God Almighty. I see that many of our monks leave the cloister for the same reason they enter it, viz. to indulge their sensual appetites, through which Satan brings the gospel into evil repute. But they are idle creatures, so are better to go to ruin without the cowl than beneath it. Greet all friends, for I do not know who may be with you just now. Carry our cause and the life of our Elector to the Lord in prayer, else I fear he may not be able to hold out long. And if this our head were away, there might be an end to the salvation which God may give to our Syria.
MARTIN LUTHER .