TUE MYSTICAL ELEMENT IN LUTHER'S CONCEPTION OF 'FAITH'
I>i connexion with the discussion of Luther's conception of faith on page 107, 1 would refer to my hook, Die Anschauung vom Heiligen Geiste beiLuther, the chapter 'Geist und Glaube' (pp. 25-46), which includes the inquiry into Luther's conception of Faith and how far Faith for him is not merely confidence and trust (conjidere, fiducia), but also a ' cleaving to God ' in feeling and will (adhaerere D(o). And then let the reader study the noble little work of Johann von Kastl, Be Adliacrendo Bto, to recognize the inner connexion of Luther w ith Mysticism in regard to his conception of faith, especially the 12th chapter, 'De Amore I)ei quod effieax sit.' Luther says nothing of tho impelling power of Faith to bring to new birth, to justify and to sanctify, that is not also said in this chapter of the ' Amor Mysticus'.
'Solus amor est, quo convertimur ad Deum, transforniamur in Deum, adhaeremus Deo, unimur l)eo, ut. simus unus spir tus cum eo, et beatificemur cum eo.'1
Here ' amor' is tho ' potent, active, creative thing that changes us and brings us to new birth '. 'Love too, like Faith, is the 'affect' that knows no quiescence.
' I'roinde nihil aruoro acutius, nihil subtilius, aut penetrabilius. Nee quiescit, donee universaliter totam amahilis penetravit virtu-tem et profunditatem ac totalitatem. et unum se vult facere cum amato. Vehementer tendit in eum et ideo nunqiiam quicscit, donee omnia transeat et ad ipsum in ipsum veniat.'2
The effect of this ' adhaesio' is thus exactly that which Luther also frequently describes :
' Quippe qui Deo adhaeret, versatur in lumine . . . qua ex re est
1 ' It is Love alone whereby we are turned to God, and changed into the form of God, whereby we cleave to God and are made one With God, so that we are one spirit with ilim and are beatified with Him.'
1 ' For nothing is keener, nothing more subtle or more penetrating, th in Love. Nor doe- it Kit until it has penetrated the whole power and depth and entirety of its object, and its will is to make itself one with the loved one. It strives towards him with vehemence and so never has rest until it has passed through all things and reached nim and entered into him.'
r hominis in hac vita sublimior perfeetio, ita, Deo uniri, ut tota anima cum omnibus potentiis suis et viribus in Dominum Deum suum sit collecta, et unus fiat spiritus cum eo.'1
Luther calls this, in a still more violent expression, 1 mit Gott ein Kucha werden ' (to become kneaded into one cake with God).
It should at th« same time be note! that in Johann von Kastl this ' amor' is already permeated through and through by Faith, Trust, Comfort, and the longing for certitude, and that for him no less than for Luther the ' Remission of Sins' stands as the first step in the ' ordo salutis', the order of salvation. Thus:
' Sic scilicet in Domino Deo de omni sua necessitate audeat plcne tntaliter confidcre. Hoc ipso facto in tantum Deo complacet, ut suam ei gratiam largiatur et per ipsam gratiam veram sentiat caritatem et dilectionem, omnemque ambiguitatem et t'morem expel-lentem in Deoque confidenter spcrantem " (op. tit., ch. 5).
And so ' adhaesio' may come about just as well by means of 'faith': ' sed tantum fide et bona voluntate adhaerere Deo'3 (ch. 6).
Here, too, are freedom from care and the assurance of consolation the things to be prized: ' et eius consolatione suaviter reficitur'1 (ch. 7).
And the whole series of religious experiences, so often recurring in Luther, are already displayed in Johann von Kastl in their characteristic order:
'. . . peccatorum remissio, amaritudinis expressio, collatio dulcedinis et securitatis, infusio gratiae et misericordiae, attractio et corroboratio familiaritatis atque abundans de ipso consolatio, firmaque adhaesio et unio.'5
1 'He indeed who cleaves to God abides in light. . . . Wherefore is it man's loftier perfection in this life to be so united to God that the whole soul with all its strength and all its powers is gathered into its Lord and God and becomes one spirit with Him.'
2 ' So then let (the soul) of its very necessity make the venture to trust wholly and completely in the Lord God. In this very wise is the soul so pleasing to God, that He bestows His own grace upon it, and by that very grace it comes to feel the true love and affection which drives away all doubt and all fear and hopes confidently in God.'
3 ' but only to cleave to God in faith and good will.'
' 'and by his consolation is (the soul) sweetly restored.'
5 ' The forgiveness of sins, the expelling of bitterness, the bestowal of sweetness and security, the inpouringof grace and of mercy, the attraction and the strengthening of friendship with Him and abundant comfort in Him, and a firm cleaving to Him and union with Him.'
Rut a complete judgement upon Luther's connexion!' ith Mysticism will only he possible when all the manuscript remains of the popular mystical preaching of his time become known, which as yet lie undisturbed in our libraries. They will show the background and setting of Luther's thought and phraseology, the soil out of which they grew, and how many similarities and analogues there are to the feelings to which Luther gives expression. Were we unaware that the pamphlet Of the Liberty of a Christian was by Luther, we should probably count it among these writings. And in any case there are to be found within the limits of the so-called "mystical' literature contrasts in mental attitude that go farther than that between this work of Luther's and that of Jokann von KastI from which we have been quoting. And Luther is reallv far more akin such a mystj» as Meister Eckhnrt in his attitude than are either 1'lotinus on the one hand or, on the other, the crowd of God-enamoured monks and nuns, the ' doctores ecstatic! * and ' seraphici6uc,h as Ignatius and John of the Cross, Theresa and Madame Guyon.
But such comparisons as this are illuminating not only upon the question of the historical relation between Lutheranism and mystical religion, which is, after all, not a very important issue, but also upon the question as to the connexion between the two in their essential nature. It has been said that for a Protestant to love Mysticism is mere dilettantism: if he is in earnest, he must become a Catholic. But then ' Mysticism' is »n ambiguous term. If we mean by it the melting transport of a transcendent quasi-nuptial rapture, then the assertion may be justified. But the really typical ' moments' of mysticism—' creature-feeling' and ' union'
are not less but more possible upon the basis of Luther's ' fides' (' faith' as ' fiducia ' and 'adhaesio') than upon the basis of the ' amor mysticus '.
Johann Arndt says at the commencement of his Four Smks of True Christianity (cii. 5): ' By this heart-felt confidence and heartfelt trust man gives his heart to God utterly, reposes only in God, surrenders himself ar.d attaches himself to Hire, unites himself with God, becomes a sharer in all that is of God and of Christ, becomes one God with God.' This is simply Luther's doctrine (his ' tides' as ' fiducia' ¡>nd ' adhaesio '), clarified arid raised to a high, r pow< r. Tiiese expressions might well be found in Luther's Of the ¡Liberty of a Christian— indeed their meaning is
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