Seers of the Infinite

Seers of the Infinite have ever been quiet souls. They abide alone with themselves and the Infinite, or if they do look around them, grudge to no one who understands the Mighty Word his own peculiar way.

I maintain that in all better souls religion springs necessarily by itself, that a province of its own in the mind belongs to it, in which it has ultimate sway; that it is worthy to animate most profoundly the noblest and best and to be fully accepted and known by them.

The sum total of religion is to feel that, in its highest unity, all that moves us in feeling is one; to feel that whatever is single and particular is only possible by means of this unity; to feel, that is to say, that our being and living is a being and living in and through God.


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

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