This is a concise chapter summary. To read the original work of Dr. J.H. Merle D’Aubigne click here. If you have the time, it is worth the read. D’Aubigne’s scholarship is excellent and he writes with a refreshing and warm evangelical fervor.
Upon reaching his 18th year Luther was sent to the University of Erfurth. It was his father’s desire that he studies the law. Luther (at least at first) did not disappoint. He dove into his studies with characteristic vigor. Unlike the other students, he desired not only to master the content of the classics but also to sound their depths and understand the very spirit that animated them.
Although steeped in the shadows of his age, Luther had a serious religious inclination. He attended Church each morning before he began his studies. “To pray well,” he said, “is the better half of study.” Often Luther would enjoy spare hours in the great university library. It was here that he saw a Bible for the first time. He was 20 years of age. He read that Bible many times.
However, Luther had a fear of what would happen to him at death. He had been taught to fear Christ and had no comfort for his soul. When sick or injured there was only terror in his heart as he imagined facing the judge of all the earth.
In 1505, Luther was awarded the M.A. and doctor of philosophy. It seemed he was soon to reach that zenith that his father had aspired for him. However, having satisfied some of his great thirst for learning he felt a dreadful dryness in his soul. He had to make peace with God. He had to become holy. Resolving to change his career path from law to the Church, he traveled home with the intent of telling his father, but he was unable to say what was on his heart.
However, on the return trip to Erfurth, he was caught in a dreadful storm. The lightning flashed and he made a promise to become a monk. By the end of the summer, he was in the convent of the hermits of St. Augustine.