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Ernst Troeltsch, The Divine Seed


The Spirit, or the present living consciousness of salvation, and the facts of history and of the cultus, have been placed in a new relation. All that concerns the Church, doctrine, and dogma seems to be simply a precipitation of a personal religious life of that kind, and can only be understood in its true sense by the gracious inward influence of the Spirit, the movement of God within the soul. The spirit of God can only recognize His own Presence in the Scriptures and in the Church, and only thus can strength and nourishment be drawn from them; left to themselves both the Bible and the Church are merely a dead letter or an empty ceremonial. This is mystical "spiritual religion" in the service of a direct and personal religious life, preserving that which is alone worthy, a life in the spirit which rises above and conquers the world. German mysticism evolved this theory as the foundation of practical reform, in connection with the emancipation of late mediaeval lay-Christianity from its ancient setting; at the same time, with varying consistency, it remained in touch with the objective institution of the Church, and, so far as lay in its power, it preserved the main Christian tendency by its emphasis upon personality. Read Complete


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