Quotes Tagged "medieval"
The question of the religious significance of that change of emphasis, and of the validity of the intellectual processes by which Luther reached his conclusions, is one for theologians. Its effects on social theory were staggering. Since salvation is bestowed by the operation of grace in the heart and by that alone, the whole fabric of organized religion, which had mediated between the individual soul and its Maker--divinely commissioned hierarchy, systematized activities, corporate institutions--drops away, as the blasphemous trivialities of a religion of works. The medieval conception of the social order, which had regarded it as a highly articulated organism of members contributing in their different degrees to a spiritual purpose, was shattered and differences which had been distinctions within a larger unity were now set in irreconcilable antagonism to each other. Grace no longer completed nature: it was the antithesis of it. Man’s actions as a member of society were no longer the extension of his life as a child of God; they were its negation. Secular interests ceased to possess, even remotely, a religious significance; they might compete with religion, but they could not enrich it. Detailed rules of conduct-- a Christian casuistry--are needless or objectionable; the Christian has a sufficient guide in the Bible and in his own conscience. In one sense, the distinction between the secular and the religious life vanished. Monasticism was, so to speak, secularized; all men sood henceforward on the same footing towards God; and that advance, which contead the germ of all subsequent revolutions, was so enormous that all else seems insignificant. In another sense, the distinction became more profound than ever before. For, though all might be sanctified, it was their inner life alone which could partake of sanctification. The world was divided into good and evil, light and darkness, spirit and matter. The division between them was absolute; no human effort could span the chasm.