“Although I know full well and hear every day that many people think little of me and say that I only write little pamphlets and sermons in German for the uneducated laity, I do not let that stop me. Would to God that in my lifetime I had, to my fullest ability, helped one layman to be better!
I would be quite satisfied, thank God, and quite willing then to let all my little books perish. Whether the making of many large books is an art and of benefit to Christendom, I leave for others to judge.
If we cannot all be writers, then we all want to be critics! I will most gladly leave to anybody else the glory of greater things. I will not be ashamed in the slightest to preach to the uneducated layman and write for him in German.
Although I may have little skill at it myself, it seems to me that if we had hitherto busied ourselves in this very task and were of a mind to do more of it in the future, Christendom would have reaped no small advantage and would have been more benefitted by this than by those heavy, weighty tomes which are only handled in the schools among learned schoolmen.
Furthermore, I have never forced anyone or begged him to listen to me or read my sermons. I have served the church unstintingly with that which God gave me. This is my duty.
If anybody so chooses, he is free to read others and listen to them. If people do not want to read my books or hear my sermons, that does not matter very much.
As far as I am concerned it is quite enough, really more than enough, that some laymen—and those the most distinguished—are humble enough to read my sermons. And if nothing else motivated me, this would be more than sufficient.”
–Martin Luther, “Treatise on Good Works,” Luther’s Works, Vol. 44: The Christian in Society I (ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann; vol. 44; Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 22.