TO THE ELECTOR `FREDERICK OF SAXONY
Luther wishes Melanchthon to be set apart to expound the Holy Scriptures. March 23, 1524.
Grace and peace in Christ! Most Serene High-born Prince, etc. Doubtless your Grace knows that by the grace of God we have many promising youths among us, from distant lands, all thirsting for the Word of God, while enduring many hardships, some living merely on bread and water. Now I have been urging M. Philip to lecture on the Holy Scriptures, because he is so much better qualified to do so than I. For although I would gladly do it, it would necessitate my giving up the translation of the Bible into German. But whenever we plead with him to do so — the whole University desiring it — he defends himself thus, that he was appointed and is paid by your Grace to teach Greek, and must do so. Therefore I am requested by all to beg your Electoral Grace, for the sake of the dear young people,
and for the furtherance of God’s Word, to see if it be not possible to have his salary directed for the exposition of the Holy Scriptures, as there are many young people qualified to teach Greek; and it is not seemly that his time should be taken up with elementary teaching, while higher work, which might produce much fruit, and could not be repaid with money, be left undone. Would we had more
who were thus fitted to lecture, for, alas, there are enough who think themselves able, and occupy the place of others, because they happen to be there. But the time will come, as was formerly the case, when such work, no matter how unwillingly, must be left undone for the want of the right people to do it. Hence we must now train people while we can, and do our utmost for our successors, and if it be your Grace’s good pleasure, I beg you to bind over the said Philip to lecture on the Bible, even if he require a larger salary to do so. I commend your Electoral Grace to the tender mercies of God.
Amen. Your Grace’s obedient servant, MARTIN LUTHER .