Luther wrote to one of his former brethren in the convent of Erfurt, the monk George Spenlein, “Oh, my dear brother, learn to know Christ and Him crucified. Learn to sing unto Him a new song, to despair of yourself, and to say to Him, ‘Thou, Lord Jesus Christ, art my righteousness, and I am Thy sin. Thou hast taken what was mine and hast given me what was Thine. What Thou wast not, Thou didst become, in order that I might become what I was not.’ Beware, my dear George, of pretending of such purity as no longer to confess yourself a sinner; for Christ dwells only with sinners. He came down from heaven, where He was living among the righteous, in order to live also among sinners. Meditate carefully upon this love of Christ, and you will taste all its unspeakable consolation. If our labors and afflictions could give peace to the conscience, why should Christ have died. You will not find peace save in Him, by despairing of yourself and of your works and in learning with what love He opens His arms to you, taking all your sins upon Himself and giving thee all His righteousness.”1
“The hour drew nigh in which the Reformation was to burst forth. God hastened to prepare the instrument that He had determined to employ. The elector, having built a new church at Wittenberg, to which he gave the name All Saints, sent Staupitz in the Low Countries to collect relics for the ornament of the new edifice. The vicar-general commissioned Luther to replace him during his absence, and in particular to make a visitation of the forty monasteries on Misnia and Thuringia.”
“There is no doubt that much good seed was sown in the different Augustinian convents during this journey of the reformer. The monastic orders, which had long been the support of Rome, did perhaps more for the Reformation than against it. This is true in particular of the Augustinians. Almost all the pious men of liberal and elevated mind who were living in the cloisters turned toward the gospel. A new and generous blood ere long circulated through these orders which were, so to speak, the arteries on the German church. As yet nothing was known in the world of the new ideas of the Wittenberg Augustinian, while they were already the chief topic of conversation in the chapters and monasteries. Many a cloister thus became a nursery of reformers. As soon as the great struggle took place, pious and able men issued from their obscurity, and abandoned the seclusion of a monastic life for the active career of ministers of God’s Word. At the period of this inspection of 1516, Luther awakened many drowsy souls by his words. Hence this year has been named “the morning star of the gospel day.”2
1 The Triumph of Truth by J.H. Merle D’Aubigne Pgs. 49-50. 2The Triumph of Truth by J.H. Merle D’Aubigne Pg.54.