Page:The letters of Martin Luther.djvu/142

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Christian love are not visible, St. Paul’s words being inverted, “We have the kingdom of God in words, but not in power.” I cannot come to you, for it is not right to tempt God by needlessly running into danger, especially as I have enough here; being attacked through the Papal and Imperial Edict, and enjoy as much freedom as the birds of the air, whose only protection is God Almighty. I see that many of our monks leave the cloister for the same reason they enter it, viz. to indulge their sensual appetites, through which Satan brings the gospel into evil repute. But they are idle creatures, so are better to go to ruin without the cowl than beneath it. Greet all friends, for I do not know who may be with you just now. Carry our cause and the life of our Elector to the Lord in prayer, else I fear he may not be able to hold out long. And if this our head were away, there might be an end to the salvation which God may give to our Syria. MARTIN LUTHER . WITTENBERG.

LXXIX

TO GEORGE SPALATIN

Luther wishes names of precious stones.

March  30, 1522.

All hail! I send you the letter you were expecting, my Spalatin. I cannot remember what I wrote to Herzog John Frederick, except that I advised him not to introduce innovations unless it could be done without giving offense to the weak, and that all must be done in love. I wrote the same to Herzog Karl.

I have not only translated the Gospel of St. John in my Patmos, but the whole of the New Testament, and Philip and I are now busy correcting it, and, with God’s help, it will be a splendid work. Meantime we need your help, to find out proper words, therefore be ready to supply us with the common terms for some things we require, but not those used at Court, for this book is to be written in the simplest language that all may understand it; and so that I may begin at once, send the names of the precious stones mentioned in Rev. chap. 21, and would that you