The Heavenly and the Eternal

If God also adds that mystical and creative sensuality, which seeks to give external reality to everything inward, to the striving toward extension and penetration of those who move in this course, then after every flight of their spirit to the infinite they must set down in pictures or words the impression it made on them as an object so as to enjoy it themselves afresh, transformed into another form on a finite scale. They must also instinctively and, as it were, enrapturedly – for they would do it even if no one were there – represent for others what they have encountered as poets and seers, as orators or as artists. Such people are true priests of the Most High, for they bring deity closer to those who normally grasp only the finite and the trivial; they place the heavenly and the eternal before them as an object of enjoyment and unification, as the sole inexhaustible source of that toward which their creative endeavors are directed. Thus they strive to awaken the slumbering seed of a better humanity, to ignite love to the Most High, to transform the common life into something higher, to reconcile the children of earth with the heaven that belongs to them, and to counter the ponderous attachment of the age to baser things. This is the higher priesthood that proclaims the inner meaning of all spiritual secrets and speaks down from the kingdom of God; this is the source of all visions and prophecies, of all holy works of art and inspired speeches that are scattered abroad on the chance that a receptive mind might find them and let them bring forth fruit in itself.

May it yet happen that this office of mediator should cease and the priesthood of humanity receive lovelier definition! May the time come that an ancient prophecy describes when no one will need a teacher because all will be taught by God! If the holy fire burnt everywhere, fiery prayers would not be needed to beseech it from heaven, but only the gentle quiet of holy virgins to tend it; thus it probably would not break out in dreaded flames, but its sole striving would be to put the inner and hidden glow into balance among everyone.

Schleiermacher, On Religion: Speeches to its Cultured Despisers

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The Holy Rejected Spinoza!

Respectfully offer up with me a lock of hair to the means of the holy rejected Spinoza! The high world spirit permeated him, the infinite was his beginning and end, the universe his only and eternal love; in holy innocence and deep humility he was reflected in the eternal world and saw how he too was its most lovable mirror; he was full of religion and full of holy spirit; for this reason, he also stands there alone and unequaled, master in his art but elevated above the profane guild, without disciples and without rights of citizenship.

Schleiermacher, On Religion: Speeches to its Cultured Despisers

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A Victor!

To defend something is always to disparage it. Suppose that someone has a warehouse full of gold, and suppose he is willing to give every ducat to the poor – but in addition, suppose he is stupid enough to begin this charitable enterprise of his with a defense in which he justifies it on three grounds: people will almost come to doubt that he is doing any good. As for Christianity! Well, he who defends it has never believed it. If he believes, then the enthusiasm of faith is not a defense – no, it is an attack and victory; a believer is a victor.

Kierkegaard, Sickness Unto Death

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Be of Good Comfort

Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man: we shall this day light such a candle by God’s grace in England, as, I trust, shall never be put out.

Hugh Latimer’s famous words of consolation to Nicholas Ridley as they are both about to be burnt alive for heresy.

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