TO JOHN LANGE, PRIOR AT ERFURT

It was in Lange’s church in Erfurt, still standing, where the first evangelical sermon was preached. Luther begins lecturing on Galatians.

October 26, 1516.

I would require two secretaries, for I do nothing almost all day but write letters, therefore if I repeat myself you will understand why it is. I am lecturer in the cloister, reader at meals, preach daily, and direct the students’ studies, am the Prior’s vicar (which means being vicar eleven times over), inspector of fish-ponds at Leitzkau, must espouse the Herzberg people’s cause at Torgau, expounder of St. Paul and the Psalms, besides my letter-writing. Behold what a leisurely man I am, and in addition am plagued by the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil. I sent several of the brethren you sent me to Magister Spangenberg, to take them away from this pestilential air. I felt

much drawn to the two from Cologne, and having such a high opinion of their abilities, kept them with me, although at much expense. We support twenty-two priests, forty-two youths, etc., out of our poverty. But the Lord will provide. You write that you began to lecture on the Sentences yesterday. I shall begin to expound the Epistle to the Galatians to-morrow, although I fear that with the plague here I shall not be able to continue. It has already robbed us of two or three, but not in one day. The smith opposite lost a son, who was in good health yesterday, and the other is infected. Yes, indeed, here it is, and is beginning to rage with great vehemence especially among the young. You counsel

me to flee for refuge to you. But why?

The world will not come to an end although Brother Martin perish. But if the plague spread, I shall send the brothers out into the world. As for me, seeing I have been placed here, my vows of obedience demand that I remain till I am ordered elsewhere. Not that I have no fear of death, for I am not the Apostle Paul, but only his expounder, and I still hope the Lord will deliver me from this fear also. Farewell, and think of us. Amen.

MARTIN LUTHER, Augustinian.

On 31st October Luther nailed his ninety-five theses on the door of the Schloss Church in Wittenberg. He was impelled to this, through Tetzel’s sale of Indulgences, at the instigation of the Archbishop of Mayence.

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