misjudging the 'unique majesty' of God. And he feels the 'treinendum' in the 'maiestas' when he asserts that God ' is wroth', and demands ' awe' as a fundamental characteristic of religion when he says: ' Ita fit, ut religio et maiestas et honor indu constet. Metus autem non est, ubi nullus irascitur.'1 He says that a God who cannot be angry cannot love either: and a God that knows neither love nor anger would be ' immobilis' and not the ' Deus virus', the living God of Scripture.
This ancient battle of Lactantius against the ' deus philo-sophorum' comes to life again in the Middle Ages in Duns Scotus's battle for the God of 1 Willing', as opposed to the God of ' Beingand for the validity of volition as an essential in religion, as opposed to ' cognitionAnd the non-rational elements which are still latent in Duns Scotus break out openly in Luther in a wThole series of some of his most characteristic thoughts.
This aspect of Luther's religion was later tacitly expunged, and is to-day readily dismissed as ' not the authentic Luther', or as 'a residuum of the scholastic speculations of the nominalists'. But, if that is so, it is strange that this 'residuum of Scholasticism' exercised such a power in Luther's own mental life as it palpably did. In point of fact this is not a 'residuum' at all, but beyond all question the mysterious background of his religious life, obscure and 'uncanny', and to estimate it in all its power and profundity we need to abstract the lucid bliss and joyfulness of Luther's faith in the divine grace, and to see this faith in relation to the background of that mysterious experience on which it rests. It matters not from what source, whether ' nominalism' or the traditional teaching of his Order, his consciousness was first stirred; we have in any case in Luther the numinous consciousness at first hand, stirred and agitated through its typical ' moments', as we have come to know them. It is a corroboration that these ' moments' appear in Luther in
1 ' Thus it comes that religion and majesty and honour dep»nd upon fear. But there is no fear where none is angry.'
their completed series, and so point back to the common basis that unites them all.
(1) We are not here concerned with the many strands, strong at the outset, weaker later, but never altogether disappearing, that connect him with Mysticism. Nor are we concerned with the surviving effects of the ' numinous' element of the Catholic worship in his doctrine of the Eucharist, which cannot be wholly derived either from his doctrine of the forgiveness of sins or from his deference to the written w ord of scripture. Let us rather consider Luther's ' minus speculation«*»' upon the 'unrevealed' in God in contrast to the ' facies Dei revelata' (revealed face of God), upon the 'divina maiestas' and the ' omnipotentia Dei' in contrast to his 'gratia', as he treats of thein in his work Da Servo Arbiirio. The investigation as to how far Luther took over ' doctrines' from Scotus does not amount to much ; they stand in most intimate connexion with his own innermost religious life, of which they are a genuine first-hand utterance, and shoul 1 be examined as such. Luther himself guarantees expressly that he does not teach such things merely as subjects of dispute in the schools or as philosophical deductions and corollaries, but because they are a central part of the religious experience of the Christian, who must know them in order to have faith and to have life. He rejects the cautious foresight of Erasmus's view, that such things should at least bo withheld from the common people, preaching them himself in public sermons (e.g. upon Exodus, in reference to the hardening of Pharaoh's heart) and writing them in his letter to the men of Antwerp. And again, just before his death, sp<iak:ng of his book lie, Servo Arbiirio, in which these ideas jitand clearly expressed, Luther acknowledges that nothing he wrote was so truly his own.
Is this borne out in his general teaching? His words in the Great Uatechisin, 'To have a God is nothing else than to trust Him from the heart', might seem to imply the negative. And certainly to Luther God is He who ' overbrims with pure goodness'. Yet this same Luther knows depths and abysses in the Godhead that make his heart despond, from which he flees for refuge to the ' Word like a ' hare to his cleft in the rocksflees, it may be, to the Sacrament or to absolution, or to the comforting official pronouncements of Dr. Pommeranus, but in general no less to every word of comfort or promise in the Psalms and the Prophets. But that before which his soul quails again and again in awe is not merely the stern Judge, demanding righteousness—for He is wholly a ' God of revelation'—but rather at the same time God in His ' unrevealedness', in the aweful majesty of His very Godhead; He before whom trembles not simply the transgressor of the law, but the creature, as such, in his ' uncovered' creaturehood. Luther even ventures to designate this awe-inspiring, non-rational character of deity as ' Deus ipse, ut est in sua natura et maiestate'1 (an assumption which would be in fact a dangerous and erroneous one; for no distinction of the non-rational and the rational aspects of God should imply that the latter is less essential than the former).
The passages relevant in this connexion from Luther's De Servo Arbitvio are cited often enough: but to understand the wellnigh daemonic character of this numinous feeling the reader should particularly note the effect of the following passage from Luther's sermon on Exodus xx. The preacher leaves no means untried to bring out effectively the element of numinous horror in his text:
' Yea, for the world it seemeth as though God were a mere silly yawner, with mouth ever agape, or a cuckold, who lets another lie with his wife and feigneth that he sees it not.'
But' He assaileth a man, and hath such a delight therein that He is of His Jealousy and Wrath impelled to consume the wicked'.
' Then shall we learn how that God is a consuming ■fire. . . .' ' That is then the consuming, devouring fire.' 'Wilt thou sin? Then will He devour thee up.' ' For God is a fire, that consumeth, devoureth, rageth ; verily 11c is your undoing, as fire consumeth a house and maketh it dust and ashes.'
1 'God Himself, as He is in his own very nature and majesty.'
And in another place :
' V ea, He is more terrible and frightful than the Devil. For He dealeth with us and bringeth us to ruin with power, smiteth and hammereth us and payeth no heed to us.' ' In His majesty He is a consuming tire.' 'For therefrom can 110 man refrain: if he thinketh on God aright, his heart in his body is struck with terror . . . Yea, as soon as he heareth God named, lie is filled w ith trepidation and fear.'1
It is the absolute ' nuinen', felt here partially in its aspect of ' maiestas' and ' tremendum '. And the reason I introduced these terms above to denote the one side of the numinous experience was in fact just because 1 recalled Luther's own expressions, and borrowed them from his 'divina maiestas' and ' metuenda voluntas', which have rung in my ears from the time of my earliest study of Luther. Indeed I grew to understand the numinous and its difference from the rational in Luther's I)e tienv Arbitrio long before I identified it in the ' qadosh ' of the Old Testament and in the elements of ' religious awe " in the history of religion in general.
(hie must have beheld these gulfs and abysses in Luther to understand aright how significant it is that it is the same man who on the other hand endeavours to put the whole of Christianity into a confiding faith. The same contrast noted above in the religion of the Gospel and in the paradoxes of the' faith in God the Father' recurs in the religious experience of Luther, but in unexampled intensity. That it is the unapproachable which becomes approachable, the Holy One who is pure goodness, that it is ' Majesty' which makes itself familiar ami intimate—there is the inwardness of the matter and this finds only very dubious expression in the subsequent one-sided doctrine of the schools, where the mystical character of the ' V, rath',—which is of the essence of ' holiness' infused with that of - goodness',—is referred simply to the righteousness of God, and taken thus as righteous anger or indignation.
1 Vide the Krlangen edition of Luther's works, Xiiti, pp. 2l0ff., 222, ?8l. -2:37 ; xixv, p. 107 ; xlvii, p. 143 ; 1, p. 2C0.
(2) Once the numinous consciousness has been aroused, it is to be expected, seeing that it is a unity, that one of its moments will be found to be bound up with the rest. In the case of Luther we llnd next after this element of ' Wrath ' the numinous manifesting itself in the set of ideas which we may fairly call those of Job. The Book of Job, as was seen above, is not so much concerned with the aivefulness of the majesty of the numen as with its mysterious ¡less; it is concerned with the non-rational in the sense of the irrational, with sheer paradox baffling comprehension, with that which challenges the ' reasonable' and what might be reasonably expected, which goes directly against the grain of reason. To this place belong Luther's violent onslaughts upon the ' whore Reason', which must seem grotesque to any one who has not rightly grasped the problem of the non-rational element in the idea of God. But certain set phrases, constantly recurring in Luther and very typical of him, are specially significant in this connexion, as showing the strong feeling he had for the non-rational aspect of the divine nature in general. The most interesting passages are not those in which he gives this feeling currency in the small change of popular edification, that soothes itself with the thought that God's ways are too high for us men; but those in which he lays hold of some startling paradox. He can indeed tell in quite a homely and popular way ' how strange a lord our God is', and refer this to the fact that God does not esteem or count as the world counts, and that He disciplines us by the strange ways of His guidance. Such expressions are of general currency; but others—and these the more characteristic—strike a loftier note. God is altogether ' mysteriis suis et iudiciis impervestigabilis' (' beyond tracking out in His mysteries and Ilis judgements'), displays—as in Job—His 'vera maiestas' 'in metuendis mirabilibus et iudiciis suis incom-prehensibilibus' (' in His fearful marvels and incomprehensible judgements'), is in His essence hidden away from all reason, knows no measure, law,or aim,and is verified in the paradox: 'ut ergo lidei locus sit, opus est, ut omnia, quae creduntur, abscondantur' (' in order, therefore, that there may be a place for faith, all the things that are believed must be hidden away'). And his concern is not simply to note this as an inconceivable paradox, to acknowledge it and liow before it, but to recognize that such a paradox is essential to the nature of Go l and even its distinguishing characteristic.
'Si enim talis esset eius iustitia, quae humano captu posset iudicari esse iusta, plane non esset divina et nihil! ditlerret ah humana iustitia. At cum sit I)eus verus et unus, deiude totus incomprehe.nsibilis et inaccessibilis humana ratione, par est.immo necessarium est.ut et iustitia sua sit incomprehensi-bilis. 1
Theology gi'. es expression to its perplexed endeavour to find a name for the elements of the non rational and the mysterious in the repulsive doctrine that God is ' exlex' (outside the law), that good is good because God wills it, instead of that God wills it because it is good, a doctrine that results in attributing to God an absolutely fortuitous will, which would in fact turn Him into a ' capricious despot'. These doctrines are specially prominent In the theology of Islam, and this can be immediately understood if the two positions we maintain are sound, viz. that such doctrines are really perplexed expressions of the non-rational, numinous side of the divine nature, and that this is altogether the preponderant aspect in Islam. And we find thein also in Luther in the same connexion. In this very fact, however, lies the excuse for doctrines in themselves so blasphemous and horrible: they are caricatures prompted by a deficient psychology and a mistaken choice of expressions, and not by any disregard of the absoluteness of moral values.
(3; From the point of view already considered in detail it will be seen that, with such feelings as a basis, it was inevitable that the doctrine of predestination would in due course make its appearance in Luther's religion. And in his
1 ' For were His justice such as could be adjudged as just by the human understanding it were manifestly not. divine, und would differ in nothing from human justice. Iiut since God is true and i-ingle, yea in Ills entirety incomprehensible and inaccessible to human reason, it is right, my it follow» necessarily, that His justice also is incomprehensible.'
case we do not need, as we did in the case of Paul, to postulate the close inner connexion between this doctrine and the numinous temper, for in the De Servo Arbitrlo it is palpably evident. The one explicitly depends upon the other, and the inward bond of union between the two is so unmistakable that this treatise of Luther's becomes a sort of psychological key to related phases of religious experience.
It is only occasionally that these purely numinous elements in Luther's religious consciousness are displayed so strongly and forcibly as in the treatise I>e Servo Arbitrio. But in his battles with ' desperatio' and with Satan, in his constantly recurring religious catastrophes and fits of melancholy, in his wrestlings for grace, perpetually renewed, which bring him to the verge of mental disorder, in all these there are more than merely rational elements at work in his soul. Moreover, even when he is speaking solely in rational terms of Judgement, Punishment, and the Wrath of God, we must, if we are to recapture the real Luther in these expressions, hear sounding in them the profoundly non-rational strain of ' religious awe'. For this Wrath of God also has often, perhaps has always, something in it of that Fury of Yahweh, that opyrj of the iiumen.
(4) This circumstance suggests a further point. The expressions ' unrevealed God ' and ' trcmenda maiestas' manifestly repeated only those ' moments' of the numinous which we found first in our analysis of it (p. 13), especially the ' tremendumthe daunting aspect of the numinous. What of that of ' fascination' in Luther 1 Is it missing altogether, to be replaced merely by the rational attributes of trustworthiness and love and the corresponding element in the mind of the worshipper, viz. faith and trustfulness 1 No, beyond all question it is not. Only, the element of fascination is in Luther wholly interwoven with these rational elements and comes to utterance with them and in them. This can be felt forcibly in the boisterous, almost Dionysiac, blissfulnesa of his experience of God.
' Christiana are a blissful people, who can rejoice at heart and wing praises, stamp a:i 1 dance and leap for joy. That is well pleasing to Go 1 and doth our heart good, when we trust in God and had in Hflji our pride and our joyfulness. Such a gift should only kindle a lire and a light in our heart, so that we should never cease dancing and leaping for joy.
Who will extol this enough or utter it forth ! It is neither to he expressed nor conceived.
If thou feelest it truly in the heart, it will be such a great thing to thee that thou wilt rather be silent than speak aught of it.'1
Here should be borne in mind what was remarked earlier (p. 48) respecting the interweaving of the non-rational with the rational and the consequently deepened import of rational expressions. As the awe-inspiring character of the Transcendent is comprised in the God of sternness and punishment and justice, so is its bliss-giving character included in the God who 'overbrims with pure goodness'. Indeed it is in\ olved in the ' overabounding' and mystical tone of Luther's actual creed. Here, as elsewhere, there is no mistaking his connexion with Mysticism.3 Though for Luther faith begins more ami more to take the place of ' knowledge' and ' Love of God' (Gottes-Minne)—which means a marked qualitative alteration of the whole religious temper, as compared with that of Mysticism—yet, despite the change, it remains obvious that there are definite features in 'Faith', as the term is used by Luther, which justify us in classing it with the mystical ways of response to which it is in apparent contrast, and clearly distinguish it from the ' fides' taught by the Lutheran school with its determinate, well-ordered, unmystical temper. 'Faith' for Luther pi Ays the same essential part, mutatis mutaivlis, as ' knowledge ' and ' love ' for the earlier mystics: it is the unique power of the soul, the 'adhaesio Dei', which ■unites man with God : and 'unity' is the very signature of the mystical. So that when Luther says that Faith makes man 'one cake' (ein- Kuche) with God or Christ, or holds him 'as a ring holds a jewel' (siintt annulus gcrnmam), he is nut speaking any more figuratively than when Tauler says the same of Love. 'Faith' for Luther, as 'Love' for Tauler and the 1 Erlaugi;n ud., xi. l'J4, 1 See Appendix \ I.
mystics generally, is a something that cannot be exhaustively comprised in rational concepts, and to designate which' figures' and ' images' are a necessity. To him ' Faith' is the centre of the Soul—the fundus animae or 'basis of the soul'of the mystics—in which the union of man with God fulfils itself. It is at the same time an independent faculty of knowledge, a mystical a priori element in the spirit of man, by which he receives and recognizes supra-sensible truth, and in this respect identical with the ' Holy Spirit in the heart' (Spiritus Sanctus in corde). 'Faith' is further the 'mighty creative thing' in us and the strongest of affects, most closely akin to the Greek ' enthusiasm' (kvOova-La^taOat). It even takes over all the functions which all ' enthusiasts' from Paul onwards have ascribed to ' the Spirit'; for it is ' faith' that' transforms us inwardly and brings us forth anew '. In this regard, different as it is in its inner attitude, ' Faith' is very similar to the ' amor mysticus'. And in the bliss of the ' assurance of salvation' (certitudo salutis) that it arouses, and the intensity of Luther's ' childlike faith', we have in a subdued form a recurrence of the ' childhood' feelings of Paul, which go beyond mere comfort of the soul, appeasement of conscience, or feeling of protectedness. All subsequent mystics from Johann Arndt to Spener and Arnold1 have always felt these aspects of Luther's inner life to be congenial and akin to their own, and have carefully collected the relevant passages from his writings as a defence against the attacks of the rationalized doctrine of the Lutheran school.
For in opposition to the ' rationalizations ' of the schools the non-rational elements are maintained and fostered in the western Mysticism that came to its later flower both on Catholic and Protestant soil. In this, as in Christian Mysticism as a whole from its first stirrings, the elements of the non-rational already detailed are easily recognizable, most prominently of all those of ' mystery ', ' fascination', and ' majesty'. The element of ' awe', on the other hand,
1 [Johann Arndt, 1555-1621; Gottfried Arnold, 1666-1697; Philipp Jacob Spener, 1G35-1T05: the last-named was one of the founders of 'Pietism ' in Germany. (Trans.)]
recedes and is subdued ; there has never been in the West a Mysticism of Horror, sucli as we iind in certain kinds of Indian Mysticism, both I uddhist and Hindu—in Iihagavad-Ghita, eh. 11 1—in some forms of the Shiva and Durga worship, and in the horrible form of Tantrisin. Yet, though the treviendum element in Christian mysticism is subdued, it is not entirely lacking. It remains a living factor in the Caligo and the altvm Sileatium, in the 'Abyss', the 'Night.', the 'Deserts' of the divine nature, into which the soul must descend, in the ' agony','abandonment','barrenness', taed/um, in which it must tarry in the shuddering and shrinking from the loss and deprivation of self-hood and the 'annihilation ' of personal identity. Thus Suso writes:
' In this inconceivable mountain of the supra-divine Where (the ' height of the divine Majesty transcending substance ') there is a precipitousness of which all pure spirits are sensible. Here the Sow enters a secret namelessness, a marvellous alienation. It is the l>ottomless abyss no creature can sound— . . . the spirit perishes there, to become all-living in the wonders of the Godhead.' -
And he can pray:
' All, woe is me, Thy wrathful countenance is fo full of fury. Thy turning away :n anger is so unendurable. Woe is me! And the words of Thy enmity are so tiery, they cleave through heart and soul.' 3
This note is familiar also to the later mystics. Thus St. John of the Cross says :
• As this clear sight of the divine comes like a violent assault upon the soul to subdue it, the soul feels such anguish i'i i's weakness that all power and breath leave it together, while sense and spirit as though they stood burdened beneath a dark unmeasured load sutler such agony and are oppressed by such deadly fear that the soul would choose death as a mitigation ami refreshment.'4
And agaiu :
' The fourth kind of anguish is brought into being in the eoul . . . from the Majesty and Glory of God.'"
' See Appendix II.
1 Suso, (iern.ar. writing«, ed. Denifle, pp. 280 ff. ' Ibid., p. 353.
' St John of the Cross, Tht Ascent qf Mount Carmel. 1 Ibid.
' Therefore He destroys, crushes and overwhelms (the soul) in such a deep darkness, that it feels as though melted and in its misery destroyed by a cruel death of the spirit. Even as though it were to feel it had been swallowed by some savage beast and buried in the darkness of his belly.'1
But in our Western Mysticism the writer in whom the non-rationally ' dreadful' and even the ' daemonic' phase of the numinous remains a most living element is Jakob Böhme. For all his adoption of its motives, Böhme is in his speculation and ' theosophy' sharply distinguished from the earlier Mysticism. He is at one with this (as represented, for instance, by Eckhart) in aiming at a ' construction' and an understanding of God, and from Him of the world: and, like Eckhart, he finds as a starting point for his speculation the ' primal bottom', the supra-comprehensible and inexpressible. But this stands to him, not for Being and Above-being, but for Stress and Will; it is not good and above-good, but a supra-rational identification of good and evil in an Indifferent, in which is to be found the potentiality for evil as well as for good, and therewith the possibility of the dual nature of deity itself as at once goodness and love on the one hand and fury and wrath on the other.2 If the
1 St. John of the Cross, The Ascent of Blount Carmel.
1 The ' ferocity' is the origin of Lucifer, in whom the mere potentiality of evil is actualized. It might be said that Lucifer is ' fury ', the 0/1717, hypostatized, the ' mysterium tremendum' cut loose from the other elements and intensified to mysterium horivndum. The roots at least of this may be found in the Bible and the early Church. The ideas of propitiation and ransom are not without reference to Satan as well as to the divine Wrath. The rationalism of the myth of the 'fallen angel' does not render satisfactorily the horror of Satan and of the ' depths of Satan ' (Rev. ii. 24) and the ' mystery of iniquity ' (2 Thess. ii. 7). It is a horror that is in some sort numinous, and we might designate the object of it as the negatively numinous. This also holds good of other religions than that of the Bible. In all religions 'the devilish ' plays its part and has its place as that which, opposed to the divine, has yet something in common with it. As such it should be the subject of a special inquiry, which must be an analysis of fundamental feelings, and something very different from a mere record of the ' evolution of the idea of the devil.'
inventions and comparisons with whose aid Böhme composes a sort of chemico-physical romance of God, strike us as extremely quser and bizarre, the strange intuitions of the religious feeling underlying them are yet highly significant-. They are intuitions of the numinous, and are akin to those of Luther. With Böhme, as with Luther, the non-rational energy and majesty of God and his ' awefulness' appear conceptualized and symbolized as 'Will'. And with Böhme, as with Luther, this is conceived as fundamentally independent of moral elevation or righteousness, and as indifferent toward good or evil action. It is rather a 'ferocity', a 'fiery wrath' about something unknown ; or, better still, not about anything at all, but \\ rath 011 its own account and without- reference to any object; an aspect of character which would be quite meaningless if taken literally in the sense of a real conceivable and apprehensible anger. Who is not directly conscious that it is simply the non-rational element of 'awefulness ', the trcmeiulum, for w hieh 'Wrath',' Fire ', 'Fury', are excellent ideograms?1 If such an ideogram is taken as ail adequate concept, the result is anthropomorphism, such as mythology illustrates, and the writings of Lactantius (v. p. 99). And if speculation follows, based upon such concepts, the result is the pseudo-science of theosophy. For the characteristic mark of all theosophy is just this: having confounded analogical arid figurative ways of expressing feeling with rational concepts it then systematizes them, and out of them spins, like a monstrous web, a ' Science of God', which is and remains something monstrous, whether it employs the doctrinal terms of scholasticism, as Eckhart did, or the alchemical substances and mixtures of Paracelsus, as Böhme did, or the categories of an animistic logic, as Hegel did, or the elaborate
1 I'ühme'B disciple, Johann Pordage, his some feeling of this when he writes: ' So hope I then, that you will not be angered with me, if you find that I impute to God acerbity and bitterness, dread, wrath, Ere, . . . and the like. For even Jakob Böhme found no other words in which to express his exalted sensation (kti,pfiii'!untj\ of God. \ ou must then take all those forms of speech in a high divine sense, far removed from ail imperfection 1 (Dirint and True Metaphysic, 1. 16fi).
diction of Indian religion, as Mrs. Besant does. For the history of religion it is not on account of his theosophy that Böhme is interesting, but because in him behind the theosophy the consciousness of the numinous was astir and alive as an element of genuine value: so that herein Böhme was an heir of Luther, preserving what in Luther's own school came to be overlooked and disregarded.
For the Lutheran school has itself not done justice to the numinous side of the Christian idea of God. By the exclusively moral interpretation it gave to the terms, it distorted the meaning of 'holiness' and the 'wrath of God', and already from the time of Johann Gerhardt and onwards Lutheranism was returning to the doctrine of divine airdOtta. or passion-lessness. More and more it deprived the forms of worship of the genuinely contemplative and specifically ' devotional' elements in them. The conceptual and doctrinal—the ideal of orthodoxy—began to preponderate over the inexpressible, whose only life is in the conscious mental attitude of the devout soul. The Church became a school, and her communications, in truth, found a more and more contracted access to the mind, as Tyrrell has put it somewhere, 'through the narrow clefts (?) of the understanding'.
Schleierm acher was the first to attempt to overcome this rationalism, most boldly and uncompromisingly in the rhapsody of his Discourses, with less heat and more subdued tone in his Glaubenslehre and his theory of the ' feeling of absolute dependencewhich in point of fact give a representation—as has been pointed out already—of the first stirring of the feeling of the numinous. It will be a task for contemporary Christian teaching to follow in his traces and again to deepen the rational meaning of the Christian conception of God by permeating it with its non-rational elements.
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