TO THE ELECTOR FREDERICK OF SAXONY January 25, 1521.
Most Gracious Lord and Patron, Most Serene Prince! My poor prayers and most humble service are ever at your Grace’s disposal. Having been informed, through your Highness, of the opinions and intentions of His Roman, Imperial, and Spanish Majesty regarding my affairs, I offer His Majesty and your Electoral Grace my most humble thanks, and rejoice that His Majesty will espouse the cause which, if God will, is that of God, a universal Christendom, and of the whole German nation, and not that of a single man, much less mine. Therefore I am still ready to do or leave undone all that is consistent with the glory of God and a Christian’s honour, or whatever the Holy Scriptures command. So I humbly beseech your Grace to beg His Majesty to provide me with a safe-conduct against all violence, and to command that the matter may get a judicial hearing before learned Christian men, lay and clerical, whose characters are above suspicion, and who are well grounded in the Bible,
knowing how to distinguish divine from human laws, and that these men may be forbidden to proceed against me till it has been proved that I have acted wrong. And as a worldly head of a sacred Christendom is to preside over this Assembly, my opponents the Papists must meantime cease raging against me in such an unchristian manner, laying snares for my honour and life, before I am refuted
or even tried. So, although hitherto my anxiety has been mainly to save the honour of the gospel rather than my unworthy self, I hope I shall henceforth be excused if I use means for my own protection, as well as for the safety of the Divine Word. To enable me to do this, I look confidently to the protection of the Emperor and your Electoral Highness. For I am ready, whenever I get a safe- conduct, to appear at the Diet of Worms before learned, pious, and upright judges, so that all may see I have not acted thoughtlessly, or sought worldly honour or my own advantage, but obeyed conscience, as a humble teacher of the Holy Scriptures, to the praise of God, and for the salvation of a common Christianity, the good of the German nation, and the deliverance of a united Christendom out of an abyss of tyrannical narrowness and blasphemy against the Most High.
That your Electoral Highness, along with His Imperial Majesty, may extend a loving, watchful eye over the troubled condition of Christendom, is ever my earnest prayer, as is only the duty of a poor humble chaplain and subject. At Wittenberg. On the day of St. Paul’s conversion.
Your Electoral Grace’s obedient chaplain, MARTIN LUTHER . (De Wette.)