Table of Contents | Words: Alphabetical - Frequency - Inverse - Length - Statistics | Help | IntraText Library
Martin Luther
Open Letter to Christ. Nobility of the German Nation

IntraText CT - Text

  • Luther's Cover Letters
    • To the Esteemed and Reverend Master NICHOLAS VON AMSDORF Licentiate Of holy Scripture and Canon at Wittenberg, my special and kind friend; Doctor Martin Luther.
Previous - Next

Click here to hide the links to concordance

Luther's Cover Letters

To the Esteemed and Reverend Master NICHOLAS VON AMSDORF Licentiate Of holy Scripture and Canon at Wittenberg, my special and kind friend; Doctor Martin Luther.

The grace and peace of God be with thee, esteemed and reverend dear sir and friend.

The time to keep silence has passed and the time to (Eccl 3:7) speak is come, as saith Ecclesiastes. I have followed out intention1 and brought together some matters touching the reform of the Christian Estate, to be laid before the Christian Nobility of the German Nation, in the hope that may deign to help His Church through the efforts of the laity, since the clergy, to whom this task more properly belongs, have grown quite indifferent. I am sending the whole thing to your Reverence, that you may pass judgment on it and, if necessary, improve it.

I know full well that I shall not escape the charge of presumption in that I, a despised monk, venture to address such high and great Estates on matters of such moment, and to give advice to people of such high intelligence. I shall offer no apologies, no matter who may chide me. Perchance I owe my God and the world another pie of folly, and I have now made up my mind honestly to pay that debt, if I can do so, and for once to become court jester; if I fail, I still have one advantage, -- no one need buy me a cap or cut me my comb.2 It is a question which one will put the bells on the other.3 I must fulfill the proverb, "Whatever the world does, a monk must be it, even if he has to be painted in."4 More than once a fool has spoken wisely, and wise men often have been arrant (1 Cor 3:18) fools, as Paul says, "If any one will be wise, let him become a fool." Moreover since I am not only a fool, but also a sworn doctor of Holy Scripture, I am glad for the chant to fulfill my doctor's oath in this fool's way.

I pray you, make my excuses to the moderately intelligent, for I know not how to earn the grace and favor of the immoderately intelligent, though I have often sought to do with great pains. Henceforth I neither desire nor regard their favor. God help us to seek not our own glory, but His alone! Amen.

Wittenberg, in the house of the Augustinians,
on the Eve of St. John the Baptist (June 23d),
in the year fifteen hundred and twenty.




1 Unserm furnchmen nach. See Introduction, p.57.



2 An ironical comparison of the monks' cowl and tonsure with the headgear of the jester.



3 i.e., Which one turns out to be the real fool.



4 The proverb ran, Monachus semper praesens, "a monk is always there." See WANDER, Deutsches Sprichworterlexicon, under Monch, No. 130.






Previous - Next

Table of Contents | Words: Alphabetical - Frequency - Inverse - Length - Statistics | Help | IntraText Library

Best viewed with any browser at 800x600 or 768x1024 on Tablet PC
IntraText® (V89) - Some rights reserved by Èulogos SpA - 1996-2007. Content in this page is licensed under a Creative Commons License