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he turned to the Scriptures, and these guided him to life. He was well aware that knowledge alone does not make the theologian, but the whole disposition of the mind, and the application of knowledge in practice. He was a practical, living theologian, exhibiting in his person what Luther afterwards expressed in the renowned saying—“that prayer and meditation make the theologian.” But Staupitz did not resign himself to a wholly contemplative inner life. He had at the same time a practical turn; his sound understanding, his many-sided culture and winning eloquence fitted him for association with men of every class; his family and his education, his attractive and dignified appearance, and his presence of mind, specially adapted him for association with the great. He enjoyed the distinguished confidence of his Electoral Prince, Frederick the Wise, and was frequently counselled with, and even employed successfully on embassies. He moved with ease in the upper circles, so that one day when one of the Saxon Dukes propounded him a catch-question at the table, he answered in such a manner that the Elector-Prince added, laughing, “Do you want to ask any more questions ? Staupitz won't permit himself to be silenced.” In fine—to use Luther's words about “his” Staupitz—"he was a great man, learned and gifted in the schools of the Church, but also pleasant and honored at Courts and by the great. He had a thorough understanding, an honest, upright, noble mind, not undignified and truckling.” These characteristics, a deeply pious inner life on the one hand, and great knowledge of the world with an aptness for association with men of all kinds on the other—these seem to be very distant from each other; but in fact by the most intimate union of both on the foundation of an “upright, noble mind,” Staupitz became chiefly what he was, and obtained the position in which we must recognize his peculiar mission at once. In this way he was fitted, as no other one was, for first implanting in Luther’s soul the seeds of a deep spirit of faith and aiding in its development,
-out of which afterwards grew his activity as a Reformer, and afterwards, when the time had come, to provoke him to work in the world, to draw forth his light from under the bushel of the Monastery walls, and to place it in the candlestick of the University, to accompany him on his first perilous path in the public, and to guard him with strong influence.
Staupitz soon obtained a distinguished position in his Order. In 1503 he was selected as General Vicar of the Chapter at Eschwege, in 1511 as Provincial of Thuringia and Saxony, in 1515 as General Vicar of the Augustinian Order throughout all Germany. He applied himself to the performance of his duties as Director of his Order with zeal, and interested himself in several of the brothers (especially Luther) with great love and intelligence. But on the whole he did not succeed by far in obtaining what he wished in the reformation of his community, and he was accustomed to say in his dejection,—“One must plough with horses when he has them; and he that has no horses, must plough with oxen.” A much more satisfactory sphere of operations, richer in results, was opened to him in the University of Wittenberg. This High School, whose influence has extended throughout all Europe, was founded in 1502. Frederick the Wise, took special counsel of Staupitz in its foundation, and he was made the first Dean of the Faculty of Theology, so that he had as a duty, that which was so much at his heart, the success of theological studies.
Here appears now first the connection between Staupitz and Luther in its whole external significance. But this requires us to go back to its early history. Staupitz first learned to know Luther, as a younger brother in the Augustinian Monastery, during a visitation. Pressed by anguish of conscience, the young Luther had sought, through ecclesiastical and monastic books, during his Monastery-service, after some certain evidence of salvation, without being able to attain in this way true peace. Staupitz, who recognized the noble spirit in its cloudy covering, not only lightened his depressed condition, but gave his soul true heavenly food. He led the mind of the youth off from self-tormenting thoughts and fruitless speculations to the expiatory love of God in Christ, so that his mental struggles Inight prove a saving discipline from the Lord, in order to prepare him for greater things. He rebuked him for making a sin out of every mole-hill,” and taught him to hold to the living Christ, not as an image of the fancy, but as an actual, sin-forgiving Saviour. “You want,” said Staupitz once to Luther, " to look upon yourself as a sinner through your fancy and imagination, and hence you only have a fancied and imaginary Saviour.” At another time when Luther was frightened in view of the Sacrament, he said to him : “ Your thoughts are not of Christ; for Christ does not terrify; He comforts.” At the same time Staupitz showed Luther, that the works of the Law could not lead to peace, because they would produce in men “either presumption or despair;” and by thus directing Luther from the righteousness of works to the grace of God in Christ, he directed him in the way in which God would really use him for great results. Thus being elevated in his inner life, Luther continued his studies in the Scriptures and in the rich doctrines of the Church with joy, and with such results, that in 1508, when he desired to fill bis corps of instructors at Wittenberg, Staupitz was able to call upon Luther—then for twenty-six years his friend
-as a co-laborer. From this time forth these men entered into as intimate relations of friendship as the difference of age and position in life would allow.
It is well known that Luther soon became a very active teacher, so that Staupitz, in 1512, forced him to become Doctor of Theology; and at length, in 1517, by the controversy concerning indulgences, he 'kindled a fire, which extended throughout all Germany. Whether Luther received any external impulse to this his first public step towards the Reformation, is not certain; but there is no doubt that there was an internal impulse, especially on that side which is here so important, viz: the real nature of repentance. The most of the celebrated theses of Luther treated of repentance, and all proceed from the true signification of repentance. Without preaching repentance Luther would not have been Luther, and his work no reformation. But that his recognition of the nature of repentance was due to Staupitz, is established by his own testimony. Like a voice from Heaven, he says, Staupitz taught him that that repentance only is real, which takes its rise in a recognition of the love and justice of God, but that which is ordinarily shown as the end and completion of repentance, is rather its commencemuent. “These words of yours," Luther writes in a letter to Staupitz, - stick in me as the sharp arrows of a warrior; I begin to compare them with passages in the Scriptures concerning repentance, and see, all fit together most beautifully in the same meaning; so that, although heretofore there was no more bitter word in the Scriptures than repentance, now there is nothing sweeter and more pleasant to me.”
So much is certain that Staupitz accompanied the first bold steps of his young friend with a fatherly interest. At this time he wrote Luther, “I am pleased that in the doctrine you preach you give God alone the honor, -ascribe every thing to God and not to man: it is clear that man cannot attribute too much honor and goodness to God.” And in Augsburg, when Luther was called upon to defend himself before Cardinal Cajetan, Staupitz, who had accompanied him, said, “Recollect, my brother, that thou hast undertaken this business in the name of Jesus Christ.” Nevertheless a time was to come when the paths of the two would separate. Staupitz would, in a mild and animating manner, urge on Luther, the young
hero of the faith, and direct him in the right way; but he himself was not of heroic spirit. His whole character, essentially founded upon love, was marked by the predominance of the inner life, and he undoubtedly followed the sure voice of his own nature thus appointed by God, when he did not array himself alongside of Luther as a combatant, but lingered on the outside of the question which had been propounded by him as a forerunner. For him the Word of Christ was a word of peace, for Luther a word of the sword. On this account the bolder Luther stepped forward, the more modestly the peaceable Staupitz withdrew; and at last nothing was left him but to betake himself from the field of contest to a place of secure quiet. He went to Salzburg, where he had a patron in the Archbishop Lang, and was active along with him as Court preacher. Here he entered the Benedictine Order, was made in 1522 Abbot of the Monastery of St. Peter, and later, Vicarius and Suffragan of the Archbishop. Until the day of his death—December 28, 1524—Staupitz labored in the spirit we have already recognized in him. He could not keep pace with Luther, but he did not array himself against his work. He took Luther's writings to Salzburg, and in that country laid the foundation for the transmission of a freer and more meditative spirit, from which partly proceeded the later evangelical movements that resulted in the expatriation of the evangelically inclined Salzburgers, in 1732. The personal relations between Staupit? and Luther were not indeed dissolved; it is true, some estrangement and reproaches were not wanting, but they could not separate from one another. Staupitz invited the persecuted Luther to come to him at Salzburg; they would live and die together. Luther wrote to him before his decease those grand and beautiful words : “If I have ceased to be loving and dear to thee, yet shall it not be right for me to forget thee or to be unthankful to him, through whom first the Light of the Gospel began to shine in my heart, out of the darkness.'
We have three of Staupitz's productions still extant, which may enable us to understand his tone of thought and his inner life. They were written about the commencement of the Reformation, and their titles are as follows: “The precious Love of God,” “ The Holy Christian Faith,” “The Imitation of the voluntary Death of Christ.” The beginning and end of Staupitz's treatises are these words of a childlike faith : " Jesus, I am thine; save me!”
His solution of his theology was comprised in these words, which embodied its beginning, middle and end. The living Christ was every thing to him; the central point of the Scriptures, the revelation of the divine love and saving power, the only type which includes all, the ground of salvation for every one, and the efficacy of the communion of all the saints, and the source of the true unity of the Church. Herein Stau
pitz stands on the platform which was esteemed as vital by the noblest German mystics before his time, the platform of Love—the love of God, mediating through Christ and enkindling true human love. But he was not content with this alone; he pressed with all his power the necessity of repentance and faith, and the imitation of Christ proceeding from the same, in opposition to all mere doctrine of law or works, and here is that which placed him so near the Reformation, and made him a most direct pioneer of the same.
God—these are briefly the thoughts of Staupitz—is the actual love, perfect in itself. This highest love must be loved for its own sake, and above all else. A man cannot do this through others, because it is a matter of experience. He cannot learn it through his natural understanding, nor even from the letter of the Holy Scriptures. The true Teacher of the divine love is the Spirit of the Heavenly Father and of Christ, from whom our hearts are penetrated with love. God himself, who is love, must dwell in our souls,—whence all power proceeds to execute all the commandments; whence, and not simply from external perusal of the Scriptures, springs the light of Christian faith; whence flow also true hope and sure trust, which are grounded, not on our works,-not, even on our love towards God, but on that love of God which He works in us. The love of God is formed in our hearts through Christ, in whom the unspeakable love of the Father is revealed to us. He is the stone in which the kindling spark of love rests; but this does not leap forth unless it be struck forth from the solid steel by the Holy Spirit. But when this takes place, then the sparks are kindled in the hearts of the faithful ; love springs from love, from the love of God to us, our reflected love to God. This love does not always remain of the same degree, and man must sometimes perceive the withdrawal of love through his own weakness, in order that he may magnify God, as the only Saviour; still it is a sure, abiding work, and where it is perfect there is conformity with God and His will, there is freedom from servile relations to himself and all other creatures, and it is brought pass
that man, forgetting his own life and his own profit, only seeks the honor and will of God, and is reconciled in spirit with God.
True evidence of the divine love is to be had through faith in Christ. Believe in Him as the Son of God, and doubt not, or at least heartily desire to believe in Him, and thou shalt be blessed. They who believe in Christ, dare be certain as to their prospects for salvation : they will be justified and born again, and have forgiveness of sins,—which end, neither confession nor penance, nor any human work, can secure,-nothing but faith in Christ. Faith in Christ leaves no man resting on himself, but draws him away from himself, and rests not until he is reconciled with God. It so unites all believers that they have but one heart and one soul in God, whence springs the unity of the Church. It unites believers with Christ also, in such a manner that they become one body with Him, of which He is the Head and they are the members, and through this union Christ Himself, being in our hearts, pours forth all spiritual gifts.
From this follows also, through faith, the imitation of Christ, first in loving, and then chiefly in suffering and dying. Death came into the world through sin, and has, along with sin, been spread abroad over all mankind. Christ has conquered sin and death, and has become a pattern of the true suffering and dying which overcome sin and death. 66 If thou
diest like Christ, then beyond all doubt thou diest blessed. He who will do this, let him learn to die from St. Peter and the other saints, or see how the pious end their lives. I wish to learn from Christ and no one else; He is a pattern, from God, to me, of how we should labor, suffer and die. It is He alone, whom all men can imitate,-in Him is prefigured for each and every one, good living, suffering and dying, so that no one can live, suffer or die, unless in conformity with the example of Christ, in whose death all other death has been swallowed up.".
These are the ground thoughts of our Staupitz, which we have expressed for the most part in his own words. Who cannot see now of what peculiar elements the Reformation of the German Church has been composed :that Christ is set forth as the only ground of salvation and Mediator of the divine Grace living in Her midst. Justification and pardon of sins proceed from Him through faith—the true unity of the Church is founded on Him -and above all, in opposition to every thing that is human, the honor is given to God and Christ. It does not require a moment's reflection to understand that the hidden seed of all this lay in Staupitz's soul, and that he was the means of implanting and developing it in Luther's soul. Luther carried out what Staupitz had prepared; and in the latter there was foreshadowed all that was unfolded in the fulness and power of life of the former.
But we may honor unduly even him who plants and him who waters ; we should honor them only as tools in His hands, by whom, in whom, and for whom are all things. We must say, with the great apostle, who might have boasted that he had done more than all the rest : * So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.”
THE CHRISTMAS TREE.—ITS BIBLICAL BACK-GROUND.
FROM THE GERMAN OF SCHIFFER.
Thus we come to the Biblical Back-ground of the Christmas tree. The name of “ Adam and Eve” has stood at the 24th of December, in the Christian calendar, ever since the fourth century, at which time Christinas began to be celebrated in Western Europe. If we call to remembrance that on the evening of this day the Christmas.tree is lighted up; if we look up at its gilded and shining fruits; at all the pleasant gifts with which it is beautified; if we take into account the fact that in former times it was a general custom, and it is not yet quite obsolete, to place figures of Adam and Eve under the tree, while an angel, with a flaming sword, surmounted it; there can be no doubt of the Christian reminiscence intended to be brought back. In the first and chief place, it is to remind