Martin Luther’s Quote on the Plague

In the March 22, 2020 sermon, I quoted Martin Luther (1483-1546), the German theologian and father of the Protestant Reformation. In 1527, a deadly plague affected the town of Wittenberg where he lived.

Luther wrote a letter entitled, “Whether One Should Flee From a Deadly Plague,” to his friend, Rev. Dr. Johann Hess, who was a pastor in the city of Breslau. Included in that letter is this quote:

I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me however I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above.

The full text of his letter can be accessed here, Martin Luther Letter.




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