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sults and unfruitful in spiritual and creative issues. But a reviving of classic antiquity as the Renaissance might thus be, it was yet, as Professor Eucken (in his fine volume of "Lebensanschauungen") very properly regards it, first of all something which signified a development of modern life.
At the outset, it has to be said that there does not seem to be any lack of firmness in the hold which modern thought has of that aspect of the Reformation in which it appears as the resistless reaction of the European mind or a revolt against the imperial despotism of Rome, with the formal or mechanical unity it imposed. It is undeniable, as Goethe indeed said, that the human mind tried in the Reformation so to free itself, however partially it may have done so. Its attempt to break with authority was just the greatest gain of the movement. The thought of our time more clearly affirms Protestantism, in the palmy regions of poetry and art, to have been the precursor of Protestantism in the realm of reason, and also in that of religion. It yet apprehends that not from the mere feeling after liberty-for, as Hase has it, the struggle after freedom was regarded as a subordinate matter and not from the scientific, but from the religious conscience in Luther did the Reformation proceed.
There can be little doubt that the cause of Luther's revolt was the preaching of Tetzel on indulgences, their shameless abuse, in fact, that which led to Luther's ultimate rejection of them. But it is a serious mistake to suppose that Luther's theses bore merely on the abuse of indulgences, for they really aimed to summon men to a new view of life and its relations to God and to church. Protestantism is to us, as to Kahnis, an essentially religious development, and, as such, to be measured by the law of its own territory of life. The form it took in Luther was due, as Köstlin declares, to his direct and mighty grasp, his in
tuition, and his unifying view of truth. The Bahnbrecher, or path-breaking pioneer, was he, though there are, of course, the senses in which he was son of the ages that went immediately before. The mysteries of the heavenly kingdom woke in Luther a deep awe-the speechless awe that dares not move; and his perception of spiritual truths and realities was vivid in character. It was, moreover, joined to great natural shrewdness. His clearness of insight and creative genius made him the great religious power he was. Extraordinary strength of will and indomitable purpose are what always mark him: he is, in fact, apt so to luxuriate in his strength that he becomes to us a fine example of that ßpis or proud aggressive strength to which the Greeks so fittingly drew attention.
Deeply do the lines of his sturdy, cheerful, unconstrained Thuringian nature impress themselves upon our modern view. It was the greatness of Luther that, when the monastic world, in which he had believed and lived, fell in ruins around him, his faith in the new world, disclosed by saving and justifying faith, never for a moment wavered. It must be said, however, that his habits of self-scrutiny, or attempts to get behind and examine his feelings and inner experiences, do not impress us with the calm repose we expect to find attendant on true strength. Titanic strength is, as we have said, present in him, but he is by nature too restless and all unquiet. Impetuosity marks him, but not the rashness which is often mistakenly associated with Luther. This Achilles, with courage never to submit or yield, is marked, in fact, by great caution.
Harnack has not thought it too much to say that Luther's Christianity was the Reformation, and one of our own theologians remarks that Luther, as long as he lives, is the Saxon Reformation. Modern thought indeed retains Luther as the representative of Protestantism, of large ideas, and of individual freedom, in a word, of what Isaac Taylor
styled an uncompelled, undamaged service of the man to God. For it sees that to him we owe the moral ideals of the life of to-day, in which the ascetic ideals of medievalism have been replaced by ideals not merely humanistic but Christian. This is so because of the movement he headed, even although he was himself much less the champion of anything like liberty or toleration than might be wished. We do not altogether wonder that liberty was no perfect or immediate result of Luther's revolution, for we remember that, as Lord Acton has expressed it, "achieved liberty is the one ethical result that rests on the converging and combined conditions of advancing civilization." It is the unconscious greatness of Luther to pave the way for such advancing freedom and ethical achievement. There are senses in which Luther is clearly the precursor of Schiller and Kant, of Lessing and Goethe, even though he maintained an attitude on the servitude of the will very different from the ethical freedom of Kant and Schiller, and spurned that liberalism which Lessing and Goethe, as apostles of culture, suggest for us. Luther, in fact, builded better than he knew, when he sought to rectify the church by repairing and renewing the foundations whereon her life of faith doth rest.
For, as her faith is, so will the church's strength be. Therefore was it that Luther gradually-far more gradually than the Minerva-like process is generally supposed to have been-came to lay the stress he did on faith alone as that which justifies, and even that faith, as conceived by Luther, a very abstract thing indeed. Justification became to him a result of the imputed merits of Christ in a way that appeared quite independent of the moral and spiritual state of the subject. This was a consequence of the antithesis between sin and grace, or Law and Gospel, having attained a place that was central in his thought. It became, in fact, the so-called Angelpunkte or corner-stone
of his thought, so that he was thereby led at times almost, but not actually, into grave antinomian tendencies.
Less religious and mystical, more intellectual and humanistic, than Luther, was Zwingli, with, in fact, a marked distaste of that mysticism to which Luther's work owed so much. Zwingli was far more detached than Luther from the outer organization of the ancient church, and it is his glory to have brought into lasting prominence, in the power of the congregation, a general principle of church government whose after affects have been so lasting and great, for social and political, as for ecclesiastical, life, as to be beyond dispute.
Whatever our age may think of Calvin as thinker and theologian, it is ready to allow, what has been said by one who has no special proneness to Calvinism, that he was the pioneer of modern efforts to reconstruct, in more complete and scientific form, the contents of the Gospel narratives.
Less logical than Calvin, less courageous either mentally or morally than Luther, stands Melanchthon, the friend of both, scholar and diplomatist of the movement. Preeminently the theologian of the Lutheran Church was Melanchthon, for he performed the important function of systematizing the theology of the times, and his literary productiveness was of an astounding character. His range was, in fact, encyclopedic, the age of the specialists being not yet. His peace-loving spirit and his devotion to truth. are held in honor to-day, for the world to-day-and every day-is less in need of the rushing reformer or the dainty humanist, than of the peaceable, pure, and devoted Christian. And such, we may allow, was Melanchthon, albeit he was not always so mild as is popularly supposed. He had, besides, a rather larger measure of that spirit of compromise which seems to be so much in favor in the institutions of our own country to-day. The merit was yet his
to have uncompromisingly opposed the superstitious tyranny of Rome; to have fostered learning in face of the Philistinism of the reforming party; to have left his impress as the "Teacher of Germany" on education in Protestant schools and universities; to have mitigated the rigor of theological theory; to have safeguarded public order, and preserved the sense of historic continuity; to have proved, in fact, the worthy lieutenant of the mightysouled Luther; and to have earned the veneration and gratitude of after ages, in respect of the finely disciplined spirit he displayed, and the calm and peaceful services he rendered.
The peculiar niche filled by Melanchthon was just that of standing in the gateway of a new time, and trying to focus and peacefully unify, in and through his own single personality, all the influences at work amid the storm and stress of his age. Therein he was unique. In our day the restoration of the unity of Christendom in a purified churchly community is clearly seen to have been the ultimate and highest end of all Melanchthon's efforts. It has been properly claimed for him (for example, by Professor A. Dorner, of Königsberg) that he really opened up a new world to thought, in the way he passed beyond the former dualism of nature and grace to recognize the unity behind them, and clung to the possibility of nature-knowledge being harmoniously linked to knowledge ethical and religious. There seems to be more adequate recognition of his services to ethical thought of a philosophical character to-day than ever before. And it is clearly realized that his distinctive service lay in the way he was able to unite the speculative with the empirical, the naturally known with the historically revealed. It could not be otherwise with Melanchthon, for to him Nature also is offspring of God. Melanchthon's ethical feeling and his dislike of antinomian perversions are among the characteristics that mark him.