TO NICOLAS VON AMSDORF
Luther’s friend Amsdorf was Professor in Wittenberg, and later Bishop of Naumburg. June 23, 1520.
The grace and peace of God! Honored dear sir. The time to be silent is past, and the time to speak has come, as we read in Ecclesiastes. I have put together some observations, as we agreed upon, to place before the Christian nobility, to see if God will help the Church through the laity, seeing the clergy, whose duty it is, have become indifferent. I send this to your Excellence for approval, and, if need be, correction. I know that I, poor despised creature, will be accused of presumption in haranguing such exalted people upon such weighty matters, as if there were no other than Dr. Martin Luther to
espouse the cause of Christianity and give advice to such learned men. Perhaps it was decreed I should one day commit a folly in the eyes of God and the world, and this is the time I have chosen, and if I succeed, I may at length become Court fool, for I must verify the saying, “A monk must be present at whatever is being done in the world.” More than once a fool has uttered wise sayings, and wise people have often talked foolishly, as St. Paul says, “Whoever will be wise in this world, let him become a fool.” So, seeing I am not only a fool, but a sworn doctor of divinity, I am happy to fulfill my oath in this foolish fashion. Please apologize to those of ordinary understanding for me, for I do not know how to gain the favor of the intellectual, which I was wont long ago to desire so eagerly, but which I now despise. God help us not to seek our own, but solely His glory. Amen.
In Augustinian cloister. MARTIN LUTHER. Wittenberg.