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His father once beat him so mercilessly that he ran away from home and was so "embittered against him that he had to win me to himself again." His mother, "on account of an insignificant nut, beat me till the blood flowed, and it was this harshness and severity of the life I led with them that forced me subsequently to run away to a monastery and become a monk." The same cruelty was the experience of his earliest school-days, when in one morning he was punished no less than fifteen times.The meager data of his life at this period make it a work of difficulty to reconstruct his childhood.
The Augustinian rule lays especial stress on the monition that the novice "read the Scripture assiduously, hear it devoutly, and learn it fervently" (Constitutiones Ordinis Fratr. These writers are "evidently led by hearsay, and follow the legendary stories that have been spun about the person of the reformer" (Oerger, , 80). A strange oversight, running through three centuries, placed the date of his ordination and first Mass on the same day, 2 May, an impossible coincidence.
His schooling at Mansfeld, whither his parents had returned, was uneventful.
He attended a Latin school, in which the Ten Commandments, "Child's Belief", the Lord's Prayer, the Latin grammar of Donatus were taught, and which he learned quickly. At eighteen (1501) he entered the University of Erfurt, with a view to studying jurisprudence at the request of his father.
There is no reason to doubt that Luther's monastic career thus far was exemplary, tranquil, happy ; his heart at rest, his mind undisturbed, his soul at peace.
The metaphysical disquisitions, psychological dissertations, pietistic maunderings about his interior conflicts, his theological wrestlings, his torturing asceticism, his chafing under monastic conditions, can have little more than an academic, possibly a psychopathic value. Unfortunately Luther himself in his self-revelation can hardly be taken as a safe guide.