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life, to enter the married state, which I re- beg you will add your blessing. Because gard as commanded by God.
the country is in such a turmoil, I do not
venture to urge you to be present. But if Ten days later, on Tuesday, June 13, you can and will kindly come of your own he and Käthe were married in the cloister, accord with my dear father and mother, in the presence only of Jonas, dean of the you may imagine it will give me special castle church; Bugenhagen, the city pas- pleasure. tor; Apel, a colleague of the law faculty; and the town councilor Lucas Cranach To Spalatin: and his wife. In a letter written the next day to Spalatin, who was at the time in
I have stopped the mouths of those who Torgau, Jonas announced Jonas announced the event,
slandered me and Katharine Bora. If I speaking of the mingled emotions with
can manage to give a banquet as a witness
to this marriage of mine, you must not only which he had witnessed it, and added: "To-day he gave a small breakfast. A
be present, but also lend your aid, if there
should be need of provisions. Meanwhile, fitting service I suppose will be held in due time, when you also will be present.
give us your benediction and your good Two days later Bugenhagen wrote Spala
wishes. I have brought myself into such tin: "Malicious talk has brought it to pass
contempt by my marriage that I hope the that Dr. Martin has unexpectedly become angels are laughing and all the demons
weeping a husband. After a few days we have thought these sacred nuptials should be celebrated before all the world by a public
To Amsdorf: ceremony, to which you also without
The report is true that I married Kathadoubt will be invited."
rine suddenly that I might not be compelled Accordingly, a fortnight later, on the
to hear the noisy talk customary on such an twenty-seventh of the month, a service was occasion. I hope I shall still live for a little held in the city church, and a wedding while, and this last service I did not wish to feast was given in the cloister, Luther's refuse my father, who asked it of me. At father and mother, with a large circle of the same time I wished to confirm what I friends, being present. A few extracts had taught by my deed, for I find so many from the invitations sent out for this occa- pusillanimous despite the light of the gospel. sion are worth quoting for the light they Thus God has willed and done. For I am throw upon the mood he was in and the
not passionately in love, but I esteem my motives prompting him to marry.
wife. And hence to celebrate my marriage To Rühel and two other Mansfeld
I shall give a banquet next Tuesday, when councilors he wrote:
my parents will be present. I want espe
cially to have you here; wherefore I now What an outcry, dear sirs, I have caused
invite you, and beg you will not stay away with my book against the peasants! All is
if you can possibly help it. forgotten that God has done for the world through me. Lords, priests, peasants, and
To Marshal von Dolzigk: everybody else are now against me, and threaten me with death. Well and good, Doubtless you have heard the news of my since they are so mad and foolish, I have venture upon the sea of matrimony. Aldetermined before my death to be found in though it seems strange enough to me, and the state ordained of God, and so far as I I can hardly believe it myself, the witnesses can to rid myself entirely of my
former are so positive that I am obliged in honor to popish life, and make them still madder and credit them. I have therefore undertaken, more foolish, all for a parting gift. For I with my father and mother and other good have a presentiment that God will one day friends, to set a stamp upon the affair and give me His grace. So, at my dear father's make it certain by a banquet to be given desire, I have now married, and have done next Tuesday. I beg that, if convenient, it in haste that I might not be hindered by you will kindly support me with venison, these talkers. A week from Tuesday I and will be present yourself and help seal purpose giving a small party, which I want the aftair with joy, and do whatever else the you as good friends to know about, and I circumstances demand.
To Leonard Koppe:
former's mind and heart should have been
full of other things than marriage. Suddenly and unexpectedly God has taken
But Luther, as usual, was unmoved by me captive in the bonds of holy matrimony, the criticisms of his friends and the attacks so that I must confirm it with a banquet on
of his foes, and never regretted what he Tuesday. That my father and mother and had done. His reasons for the step were all my good friends may be the merrier, my
many. The varying accounts he gives of Lord Katharine and I beg you will send us them are doubtless all true to the facts. as soon as possible, at my expense, a keg of His motives were complicated, as might be the best Torgau beer you can find. I will expected, and he could not himself have pay all the costs. I would have sent a analyzed them fully. He had long bewagon, but I did not know whether I could lieved and taught that marriage was find what I wanted. For it must be sea- higher than celibacy, and the conviction soned and cool, that it may taste well. If had been forcing itself upon him that he it is not good, I have determined to punish ought sometime to put his principle into you by making you drink it all yourself. In practice, and thus bear public testimony addition, I beg that you and your Audi will
to his own attitude and give his followers not stay away, but will appear in good spir- the benefit of his example. He had at first its. Bring with you Master Gabriel and his
no personal inclination to the step. He wife, if you can do it without expense to
had had very little to do with women, and him, for I well know he is almost as poor
was so absorbed in his great work that as I am.
marriage was the last thing he cared for.
But the unhappy experiences of the spring Luther's marriage raised a great hue of 1525 led him to believe the end of the and cry. The union of a renegade monk world, or, at any rate, his own death, imwith an escaped nun, violating as it did minent, and he began to think it time to their own personal vows, and ecclesiastical marry, if he was ever to do so. His natuand civil law as well, seemed to many to rally belligerent temper, excited to an throw a sinister light upon the whole re- unusual pitch at this time, also urged him formation movement. Now, they declared, on. The more his enemies raged against the significance of the Reformation was him, the more he loved to provoke them. revealed to all the world, and it was clear Many men in his position, Melanchthon what Luther had had in mind from the be- for instance, would have avoided all unginning. Satirical attacks appeared in great necessary grounds of offense; but Luther numbers. Slanderous tales were spread was of a different type. Though he would about him and his bride. Even many of do nothing his conscience disapproved, he his friends were thrown into consterna- was glad enough when his deeds offended tion, and feared he had dealt a death-blow those opposed to him. As he often said, to the cause. The lawyer Jerome Schurf, he never felt so confident he was right as when he heard the report that Luther was when they denounced his conduct. contemplating marriage, remarked: "If It is not surprising, the situation being this monk takes a wife, the whole world what it was, that Katharine's suggestion and the devil himself will laugh, and all to Amsdorf should find him in a receptive the work he has accomplished will come to mood. To marry a nun would only make naught.” Others, though wishing to see his testimony the stronger and the hostility him married, regretted that he had chosen of his opponents the more bitter. As if all Käthe rather than some woman of wealth this were not enough, he visited his parand position. The time, too, seemed to ents in Mansfeld late in April, and was almost everybody particularly inoppor- impressed with his father's eager desire tune. His prince and supporter, the Elec- that his oldest son, now finally freed from tor Frederick, had died only a month his monastic bonds, should marry, as he before, and all Saxony was still mourning had wished him to do long years before. him, as Luther was, too, for that matter. To please him thus became an added moMoreover, the peasants' war was not yet tive for the step. And it may be he felt he ended, and the whole country was in an owed something to Käthe herself, whom uproar. In these circumstances many not he had assisted to escape from the convent, unnaturally felt as though the great re- and for whom he had failed as yet to find a
husband. Perhaps he was thinking of this when he once remarked that he married his Käthe out of pity.
When he came to an understanding with Käthe we do not know. He probably met with no obstacles from her after he had decided to press his suit, and his courtship, it may fairly be presumed, was brief and matter of fact enough. Neither he nor Käthe was violently in love. Her willingness to accept either him or Amsdorf shows that her own heart was not deeply engaged, and Luther himself no doubt correctly described his feelings toward her in the letter to Amsdorf already quoted. But a protracted engagement was the last thing he desired. Constantly under the eyes of the whole world as he was, with enemies and friends observing his every movement, he naturally wished the matter concluded as speedily as possible. Years later he remarked, "It is very dangerous to put off your wedding, for Satan gladly interferes and makes great trouble through evil talkers, slanderers, and friends of both parties. If I had not married quickly and secretly, and taken few into my confidence, every one would have done what he could to hinder me; for all my best friends cried, 'Not this one, but another.'
Melanchthon, who was kept in the dark until the wedding was over, was almost beside himself with annoyance. On the sixteenth of June he wrote the following characteristic letter to an intimate friend:
On the thirteenth of June, without informing any of his friends of his intention, Luther unexpectedly married Von Bora. The customary ceremony took place in the evening, Bugenhagen and Lucas the painter and Apel alone being invited to the feast. You will perhaps wonder that in this unhappy time, while good and right-minded men are everywhere sore distressed, he does not sorrow with them, but rather, as it seems, lives voluptuously and tarnishes his reputation, when Germany specially needs his wisdom and strength. I suppose it has happened in this wise. The man is very accommodating, and the nuns fell upon him and plotted against him with all their wiles. Perhaps his much association with them, though he is honorable and high-minded, softened or even inflamed him. In this way he seems to have fallen into this untimely
alteration of his mode of li rumor that he misbehaved w hand is an evident lie. No done, you ought not to take fault with it. I suppose mar ral necessity; and the marri humble, is at the same time pleasing to God than celiba see that Luther himself is in spirits and disturbed over th as earnestly and wisely as courage him, for he has as y deserving to be called unwort ble. I still have evidences o so cannot condemn him. B prefer to have him humble alted and lifted up. The lat not only for the clergy, bu men as well. For success b casion of evil thoughts, no rhetorician says, to the fool the wise. Then, too, I hop will make him more sober, give up the buffoonery we ha him for.
Luther evidently unders and had good reason for into his confidence. But de thon's impatience at the eve reconciled to the new order became a stanch friend and of Frau Käthe.
Luther himself, thoug deeply in love, grew very f and cherished her warmly his life. We have only a f letters he wrote her. T particular endearments be ing "Meine herzliebe Kät and the signature "Dein others. But they show c terms on which husband and the sympathy and und could count upon from eac summer of 1526 he w "Käthe sends greetings, for thinking her worthy letter. She is well, by th and is in all things more dient, and obliging than hope,-thanks be to G would not exchange my wealth of Cræsus." Som ferring to his marriage, h has turned out well, G For I have a pious and tru
her husband's heart can rely." To Käthe would have been entirely out of sympathy herself he once said: “Käthe, you have a with it, had he heard of it. But he perpious husband who loves you. You are an formed an incalculable service in dignifyempress.” And on other occasions he ing married life and ascribing to it a declared he held her dearer than the king- sacredness above the career of monk or dom of France and the dominions of nun. Instead of a temptation to a less perVenice, and even loved her better than his fect way of living, as woman was too own life. To be sure, he did not think commonly represented by the religious her perfect. He recognized her faults as teachers of the middle ages, he saw in her well as his own. He was hot-tempered, one ordained of God to be the companion and she had a quick tongue, and often hard and helpmate of man, and in their union, words passed between them. But despite not in their separation, he found the ideal such temporary ebullitions, they lived for life. Religion had been making too much the most part on good terms, and he found of the abnormal. Luther's greatest service her congenial despite the great difference to the modern world lay in his recognition in their temperaments and interests. of the normal human relationships as the
The following words throw a flood of true sphere for the development of the light upon the experiences of his married highest religious, as of the highest moral, life:
Luther's marriage took place in the Ah, dear Lord, marriage is not an affair
cloister where he had lived ever since he of nature, but a gift of God. It is the sweetest and dearest, yes, purest life. It is
came to Wittenberg. Here he and Käthe. far better than celibacy when it turns out
made their home for the rest of their lives.
It was a roomy building, and had accomwell; but when it turns out ill, it is hell.
modated at one time as many as forty For though all women as a rule know the
monks. While Luther was at the Wartart of taking a man captive with tears, lies, burg, its inmates, under the influence of and persuasions, and are able to distort everything and employ fair words, neverthe
his teaching, began to renounce monasless, when truth and faith, children and fruits himself had no inclination to follow their
ticism and to return to the world. He of love, are there, and marriage is regarded example. Writing to Link in December, as holy and divine, then it is indeed a blessed
1521, he said: “Do thou meanwhile constate. How eagerly I longed for my dear
tinue with Jeremiah in the ministry of ones as I lay deadly ill at Schmalkalden!
Babylon, for I also will remain in this I thought I should never again see wife and
habit and rite unless the world become anchildren here. How I mourned over the
other." separation! I am convinced that the natural
The exodus went on steadily until in longing and love a husband has for his wife
1523 only Luther himself and the prior and parents for their children are greatest Brisger remained in residence. Although of all in those who are dying. Now that I
criticized and laughed at both by enemies am by God's grace well again, I cherish my
and friends for not putting his own prinwife and children so much the more. No one is so spiritual as not to feel such inborn ciples into practice, and turning his back
upon the monastic life, he continued for a love and longing. For the union and communion of man and wife are a great thing. and to keep up the required devotions. But
long time to observe the monastic rules
gradually one after another of the tradiLuther's ideas about woman were not tional ceremonies and practices fell into modern. She was the weaker vessel, he abeyance, until finally the building ceased maintained, and was made to be subject to to be a monastery in aught but name. At the man. Her true life was in the home. the same time the traditional monastic The faithful, obedient, and efficient wife hospitality was still maintained, and the fulfilled the highest ideal of womanhood. place was overrun with escaped monks The eloquent description of a virtuous and others temporarily in need. woman in the thirty-first chapter of Prov- In 1523, Luther laid off the monastic erbs he regarded as valid for his own time dress when in the convent, but continued and all times. Of the so-called emancipa- to wear it in public, “to strengthen the tion of the sex he knew nothing, and weak and to spite the pope," as he remarked in a letter to a friend. Finally, in had to protest that he was given too much, October, 1524, he discarded it altogether, as, for instance, in the following letter to and appeared thenceforth in the ordinary the Elector John, written in 1529: costume of a university professor. In December of the same year, when
I have long delayed to thank your Eleche and Brisger proposed to vacate the
toral Grace for the clothes and the gown monastery and let be devoted to other you sent me. I respectfully beg your Elecpurposes, the elector virtually made
toral Grace not to believe those who say I Luther a present of the building, with the
am in want. I have, unfortunately, especourt in front and the garden behind, and cially from your Electoral Grace, more than put a small house belonging to it at the I can conscientiously bear. It does not bedisposal of Brisger. The gift to Luther come me as a preacher to have a superfluity, was legally confirmed seven years later by
nor do I desire it. I feel your Electoral Frederick's successor, the Elector John. Grace's all too mild and gracious favor so The building in which Luther was mar
much that I am beginning to be afraid. For ried, and where he continued to live for
I should not like to be in this life among the rest of his life, was thus no longer a
those to whom Christ says, “Woe unto you cloister, but his own private dwelling. rich, you have your reward.” Besides, to
While the monastery was still flourish- speak humanly, I do not want to be burdening, he depended entirely upon it for his some to your Electoral Grace. I know your support, as all the other monks did. But
Grace has to give to so many that nothing with the exodus of most of its inmates, remains over; for too much destroys the and with the waning respect for monas
sack. The brown cloth is too splendid, but, ticism in Wittenberg and its neighborhood, in order to show my gratitude to your Electhe income of the monastery from begging toral Grace, I will wear the black coat in and from the voluntary gifts of the faith- your honor, although it is too costly for me, ful was greatly reduced, and it was found and if it were not your Grace's gift, I difficult even to collect the rents and other should never wear such a garment. I beg taxes legally due, as Luther frequently your Electoral Grace will henceforth wait complained in letters to the elector and until I ask, that I may not be prevented by Spalatin. The situation was finally met your Grace's anticipation of my wants from by giving him a salary for his university begging for others who are much more work, and for the rest of his life this re- worthy of such favor. mained his only regular source of income. For his services as preacher in the city As this letter suggests, he was continually church he received nothing, and in ac- asking gifts for others, but he did it rarely cordance with a not uncommon custom of for himself, and as a rule only when he the day he refused to take money for his needed venison or wine for some social fesbooks, though more than one publisher tivity. From the city council he apparently made a fortune out of them. His salary never solicited anything on his own acat first amounted to a hundred gulden, in- count, but they knew the city owed its trinsically equal to fifty dollars of our growth and prosperity largely to him, and money; but probably the equivalent in pur- frequently showed their appreciation of the chasing power of six or eight hundred fact. He would not consent to be relieved dollars to-day. When he married, it was from taxation, but scarcely a year passed doubled, and some vears later another hun- that he was not voted substantial gifts of dred was added, making with the payments one kind and another. Despite it all, the in kind regularly allowed him by the elec- early years of his married life were full of tor, an assured income of about four money troubles. He was very free with hundred gulden. This was the same what he had, giving away his last gulden amount received by Melanchthon, and was without hesitation, and when there was no unusually large for a university professor more money, tableware and household orof the dar.
naments, presented to Käthe or himself by In addition, gifts of all sorts poured in admiring friends, would often go to renot only from the elector and the town lieve the wants of the needy. Käthe kept council of Wittenberg. but from admirers as firm a hand on him as she could, and in all parts of the world. Occasionally he many a gulden was saved which would