TO NICOLAS GERBEL
Luther’s touching letter to the pious lawyer in Strassburg, March 18, 1522.
I take it for granted, my beloved Gerbel, that you got my letter from the desert through Philip, but although you have not answered it, I cannot let your good clerk return without a few lines from me, to send you my love and beg for your prayers. For Satan rages as well as those about me, and threatens me with death and hell, and tries to destroy my flock. Therefore I cast myself alive amidst the fury of Emperor and Pope to try to drive the wolf from the fold, and my only protection is from above, while I dwell among my enemies, who can destroy me any hour. But Christ is Lord over all, the Father having put all things under His feet, even the wrath of Emperor and devils. If He wishes me to be killed let them do it in His name; but if not, who then can destroy me? Cleave to the gospel with fervent
prayer, for Satan wishes to root out the gospel and deluge Germany in its own blood. And he will do it, for no one is ready to stand as a wall towards God for the house of Israel, and because of our deep ingratitude in proclaiming the gospel only in words, not sweetened by love. So let all pray earnestly, for danger is ahead, and the devil means to assail us with incredible cunning and all his might. May you be happy with your beloved wife, and greet all our friends.
MARTIN LUTHER . (Walch, 5:15. 659.)