Page:Vactican as a World Power.djvu/261

This page needs to be proofread.


to him in nature Ockham, the Franciscan, who thundered against the Pope, and who in loosening more and more the bonds which tied him to the Church tended gradually to regard the Bible as the infallible foundation of God's kingdom on earth; and those German mystics, the gentle Tauler and the Frankfort author of the ^beologia Germanica, who had ranked the inner activity of the soul, the submission to God in all things, purity and nobility of motive, far above outward actions. Staupitz had placed these books in the choleric young Augusrinian brother's hands in order to quiet him; and Luther found in them what he wanted to find. Grace is not accorded through the Sacraments, but comes from the rightmindedness of the receiver. Good deeds do not suffice, and consequently faith alone does suffice. Out of books that were still Catholic he read what was no longer Catholic. His teaching concerning justification declares outright that since the Fall man no longer has free will. To carry on the struggle by oneself is useless. One can only cast oneself wholly and absolutely upon the mercy of God and the grace of Jesus Christ.

Great natures once grown chaotic carry their struggles out into the world. Not everything, God knows, was corrupted in Luther's time; but as always the good that was done took place in secret, and a later world would remember of this epoch of the late Middle Ages only that it was a kind of darkly clouded eve which cast only shadows upon Luther's brooding soul. Naturally the unruly spirit of a man at odds with himself could find enough worthless things to destroy to keep him busy for a long while. Impelled by his own inner tumult Luther rose up against much that was amiss in die Church he was soon in opposition to that Church itself.

His breach with Rome did not take place suddenly. It was not out o preconceived purpose that he broke up the ancient unity. It may be that moral considerations were the deeper and stronger causes of his apostasy, but the intellectual causes were not missing. His Biblical lectures of the years between 1513 and 1517 show us a man fed on Scholasticism according to the manner of Ockham who voices his doubts as to the divine right of the Roman Primacy. The scene at Antioch and the roles there played by Paul and Peter caused him to waver. There Paul had acted "straightforwardly" in accordance with the meaning and the truth of the Gospel, which Peter had denied.