INTERPRETER OF AUGUSTINE AND PAUL
WHEN Martin finally brought the course of lectures on Psalms to an end is not certain. Perhaps it was with the Easter holiday in 1515, perhaps not until the October following that the long series was completed.1 He had now been three years in Wittenberg and had won the respect of his colleagues for spiritual earnestness and energetic scholarship. In spite of the impulsive violence of language and intolerance for many highly regarded scholastic authorities which grew as he gained confidence in his own conception of the truth, the Augustinian brothers both in Wittenberg and in the neighboring convent showed their trust in his ability and character. When he took over Staupitz's Biblical chair he was also appointed subprior of the convent, and in 1515 he was made director of its higher studies. In the same year, at a convocation of the order held in Gotha on April 29, he was, as we have seen, elected district vicar for a term of three years. This was a position of heavy responsibility, for it brought under his supervision the cloisters of the Meissen and Thuringian districts, eleven in all, including his mother cloister at Erfurt and important houses at Dresden, Gotha, and Magdeburg. Dr. Staupitz often traveled far in pursuit of his administrative duties, and as second in command for a part of the cloisters many burdens must have pressed heavily on Martin's shoulders. At the moment when these new responsibilities came to him he was deep in the preparation of his second course of magisterial lectures, that on the Epistle to the Romans.
The duties of district vicar called for prudence as well as administrative zeal. This appears in letters which Martin wrote to the various convents under his charge. In one he begs for the return of a runaway brother who____________________