He's not well known today, but in his time—the 14th century—John Tauler was the premier preacher in all of Europe. Each time he stood in the pulpit at the Strasburg Cathedral, large crowds gathered anticipating a great sermon. Rarely were they disappointed.
Tauler was described as "a learned and eloquent man [with] a loving and tender heart. He spoke from his heart, not from his head only." Who wouldn't be pleased to be described that way?
Nevertheless, there must have been a time when something—not easily discerned by a crowd—was lacking in the popular preacher. Humility, perhaps? Perhaps there was too much Tauler and too little Jesus in his preaching.
The only person who cared to speak into Tauler's life was a mysterious Christian layman known as Nicholas of Basle who, many years later, would be burned to death in Vienna as a heretic. Apparently Nicholas and Tauler often visited.
During one of these visits, Nicholas said, "John Tauler, you ...1