Full Text for Bernard of Clairvaux as Luther's Source: Reading Bernard with Luther's "Spectacles" (Text)

CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY OCTOBER 1990 Human Claims to Freedom and God's Judgment Richard Klann ............................... 241 Martin Luther on Preaching Patrick Ferry. ............................... 265 Bernard of Clairvaux as Luther's Source Franz Posset ................................. 281 Homiletical Studies. ............................ 305 Bernard of Clairvaux as Luther's Source: Reading Bernard with Luther's "Spectacles" Franz Posset The nine hundredth birthday of Rernard of Clairvaux, celebrated in 1990, is a good occasion to call to mind this French medieval master's achievement and his impact on the German Reformer Martir! Luther. Bernard deserves to be re- introduced to Christian spirituality today, because he is one of the greatest spiritual authors of the church universal. His greatness was recognized and valued by Luther. The Reformer's numerous references to Bernard testify to his high esteem for Bernard as a great witness to the evangelical truth, and they sh~w simultaneously Luther's close familiarity with this last of the church fathers and the greatest representative of monastic theology. The celebration of Bernard's nine hundredth birthday gives us the occasion to point out Bernard's general importance not only for the Roman Catholic Church, but also for the churches of the Reformation. Besides, there is another specifically theological reason for celebrating Bernard's birthday. It is his ecumenical significance for genuine Christian theology as such. A close scrutiny of Bernard's writings and of Luther's works reveals a striking congeniality of these two giants in the history of Christendom, an affinity to such a degree that previous generations of Lutheran scholars could view Bernard as the forerunner of Protestantism. This ecumenical perspec- tive needs to be pointed out again today, although not necessarily in the same manner. Historically speaking, it would be more accurate to think of Luther's Bernardine outlook in terms of a filiation hernarclienne.1 Thus, by going back to the original Luther and to the original Bernard, a common theological ground can be established, or further secured, for the future of theology-and with an ecumenical accent at that. It remains remarkable that in previous centuries people made more of the congeniality between Luther and Rernard than is generally done today. For instance. the oldest Protestant ecclesiastical history, the Magdeburg Centuries, reserved a special place of honor for the Cistercian abbot of Clairvaux. And Luther's old foe, Erasmus of Rotterdam, also went on record with the observation that the Reformer's teaching went back to Rernard (and Augustine).' Keeping 282 CONCORDIA THEO1,OGICAL QUARTER1,Y these hints in mind, Luther may be our guide not only to the tl . L thought-world of Rernard, but also to a future ecumenical theology grounded in pre-scholastic theology. The purpose of b this study is to uncover some of Bernard's thoughts which 0 served as a source of Luther's spirituality and theology and h to learn from Bernard what Luther learned for his teaching 1 and preaching in the Reformation. In order tci regain access t to Bernard as a teacher not only of Martin Luther but of all Christians today, I want to invite the reader to focus with me- , using Luther's "eye-glassesM-on those texts from the large 1 body of Bernard's writings which Luther employed in his ; preaching and teaching. 1 We must be selective because Luther's references to Bernard ' amount to more than five hundred, not counting allusions 1 made in his table-talk and in his correspondence. Before going into greater detail on the congeniality of Bernard and Luther, it is fitting to review at least briefly the life and works of Bernard. We can intersperse with these biographical data some observations on Luther's use or neglect of certain Bernardine writings. I. Rernard and Luther We focus on the preaching, theologizing, and praying Bernard because this focus corresponds to Luther's view of the great pre-scholastic teacher of the church. Luther spoke often and most admiringly of him: "I love Bernard as the one who among all writers preached Christ most charmingly [auff das aller lieblichste]. I follow him wherever he preached Christ, and I pray to Christ in the faith in which he prayed to Christ.":' "Bernard is golden when he teaches and preaches."! "Rernard with his preaching excels all other doctors including even Augustine."" To Luther it was a joy to listen to Bernard's "fine preaching."" Apparently, Luther the preacher was most interested in Hernard the preacher, that is, the preacher of the crib and the cross of Christ, but not of the crusade. The German Cicero looked up to Bernard as the greatest medieval rhetor. This observation is mirrored in Luther's numerous references to Bernard's rhetorically exquisite "sermons." Luther, the theologian of grace and of faith. accepted Bernard as his spiritual master and as one of the greatest witnesses to the gospel. Bernard's thoughts had a remarkable influence upon Luther's early lectures on the Psalms and on Bernard of Clairvaux as Luther's Source 283 the Pauline Letters-delivered during the decisive years of his "Reformational turn." This fact led Carl Stange, a scholar of both Bernard and Luther, to the observation-on the occasion of a Lutheran academy's commemoration of the eight hundredth anniversary of Bernard's death in 1953-that Luther found the "decisive impulse for his further [Reforma- tion] development" in reading Bernard.7 There is a theological continuity from the apostolic tradition via Hilary, Jerome, Augustine, and Bernard to Luther. In this regard the Reformer declared once at the table that as an adolescent he "took to heart Hilary, Jerome, Augustine, Bernard, etc." These fathers did not read Aristotle, Luther observed, and, as a young man, indeed, he had been left with the belief that these church fathers were no theologians at all- since they had not read Aristotle-or perhaps they were theologians "of a different kind."* Luther was so impressed with the Cistercian father that he did not shy away from calling him the "Divine Bernard" (Divus Bernardus), in contemporary humanistic fashion." Luther especially esteemed an assertion of "grace alone" which he had found in Bernard's sermon on the Annunciation of our Lord and, similarly, a story which he must have encountered in The Golden Legend wherein the aging abbot is reported to have said that a monk's life, work, and achievements meant nothing for eternal salvation.'" Early in his career, during his first lectures on the Psalms, Luther stated that Bernard "meditates beautifully" on man's justification by God's non-imputation of his sins. Thus, there is great probability that Bernard was one of the decisive causes of Luther's Reformation breakthrough-a probability which has up to now scarcely been acknowledged. In a writing of 1539, indeed, Luther specifically states: "that sinners shall be stirred to repentance through the preaching or the contempla- tion of the passion of Christ, so that they might see the enormity of God's wrath over sin and learn that there is no other remedy for this than the death of God's Son-this doctrine is not mine but Bernard's ...."12 Not only the preaching and teaching Bernard made a great impression on Luther, but also the praying Bernard.13 Apparently Luther and Bernard shared common thoughts on prayer. The spiritual master Bernard-when praying and thus 284 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTEH1,Y moving "in faithw-was "a beautiful teacher" who "ascrib everything tc~ Christ."I4 Luther corlsidered what Bernard h; said on prayer the most beautiful thinking thereon that he hi ever heard or read, and he posed this rhetorical questio "What could be more Christian"?*"'Therefore, Bernard w; a fine man who had Christian thoughts."'~ Thus, also regard to a life of prayer, Bernard was Luther's mentor. TI German Reformer approvingly observed that Bernard pain takingly admonished his people to prayer, making "excellen statements in this regard." Bernard's experience of the "sweetness of the faith" enjoyc the admiration of both the young Luther and the agin Luther.'Vn Luther's eyes Bernard was such a great mastc because "he knew Christ as his Savior and felt [Him] in h: heart" and so "did not err in the spirit."'%uther appreciate Bernard so highly that he reserved the honorific title ( "father" for him alone, and he recommended the diligent stud of his works: "He is the only one worthy of the name 'Fathc Bernard' and of being studied diligently.'72u Who was this man whom Luther revered so highly? It i impossible, of course, to present an exhaustive biography c his life and works here. But some basic statements abou Bernard are in order. In a letter to a Carthusian prior Bernarl once called himself the monster of his age, the "chimaera" o the twelfth century. Thus, his life reminded himself and other of the fantastic fire-breathing monster with a lion's head anc a serpent's tail and a goat's body: "May my monstrous life, m: bitter conscience, move you to pity. I am a sort of moden chimaera, neither cleric nor layman. I have kept the habit o a monk, but I have long ago abandoned the life."2L To some contemporaries he may have appeared a chimaerz indeed. But the impression he made upon others, and centuriet later upon Luther, was quite different. To the Reformer he war the last of the church fathers, a superb biblical theologian, anc an even greater preacher than Augustine. Luther's Order of thc Hermits of St. Augustine was naturally particularly fond ol Augustine, so that it is somewhat surprising that Luther ranked the preaching of Bernard even higher t,han Augustine's. In Bernard's time a new theology influenced by the ancient pagan philosophy of Aristotle arose in the form of what today Bernard of Clairvaux as Luther's Source 285 is called Scholasticism. It was fostered and inspired by Peter esAbelard, Bernard's foe. This medieval theological develop- ldrnent was utterly despised by Luther as the business of "sow ldtheologians" who were rooting in the dirt. This "development" n:he considered a theological deformation which needed to be ~ssubjected to a reformation which would return to the pre- inscholastic church fathers and ultimately to the Sacred le Scriptures. s- As to biography itself, there is very little historical '" information about Bernard's early years. Somewhere between the years 11 11 and 11 13, at the age of twenty-one, he entered :d the strict Benedictine monastery at Citeaux. Only a few years g later he was sent to found a new cloister at Clairvaux, where ?r he became the abbot. He led the monastery there until his is death-hence his name "Bernard of Clairvaux."" Some time before 1124 he wrote his first spiritual master- piece, The Steps of Humility and Pride. Probably in the following year, 1125, he composed the Letter on Love. This "letter" was placed at the end of another tractate which he wrote shortly afterward, On Loving God. These early works did not leave any traceabIe impact on Luther's works, even though they were quite influential elsewhere throughout subsequent ages. During his convalescence from an illness Bernard wrote a series of sermons entitled In Praise of the Virgin Mother which are also known, from the initial Iine in Latin, as Missus est Angelus. In these so-called "Marian" serrnons the christocentric concentration is never lost. The Berilardine focus on Christ incarnate led Luther to exclaim in his late lectures on Genesis: "Bernard really loved Christ's incarnation!"" ' Beginning with the year 1128, Bernard became involved in church politics and in the affairs of the Knights Templar. This ; order was established at Jerusalem by a cousin of Bernard, at 3 whose request he wrote the Book in Praise of the New Militia 1 between 1128 and 1136. Neither this work nor the one : immediately preceding it, On the Conduct and Duties of f Bishops (1127-1 128), had any noticeable impact on Luther. In the 1 1:3OYs Bernard treated the question of Grace and Free I Choice. In his introduction he states: "We trust the reader may be pleased to find that we have never strayed far from the Apostle's meaning," that is, the intention of St. Paul. This 286 CONCORDIA 'I'HEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY treatise may, indeed, be considered Bernard's commentary o Paul's Letter to the Romans, to which he referred eightee times explicitly and twenty-five times impli~itly.'~ Bernar was particularly concerned with Romans 5-8. His leitmotifwa the question which he posed at the beginning: "What part d you play ... if it is all God's work?" More precisely he askec "What part, then, does free choice [liberum arbitrium] play? He gave the answer with one verb in the passive form: salvatu~ That is to say, free choice itself is in need of redemption. Thus his answer was that free choice plays no active part what soever: "Take away free choice and there is nothing to bc saved. Take away grace and there is no means of saving .... Goc is the author of salvation; 'free choice' is merely capable ol receiving it. None but God can give it; nothing but free choice can receive it." He continued: "For to consent is to be saved." "Where you have consent, there also is the will [voluntas]. But where the will is, there is freedom. And this is what I understand by the term 'free choice."' Bernard made it perfectly clear that "salvation is from the Lord (Psalm 3:9), not from free choice." He stated that "whereas the whole is done in free choice, so is the whole done of grace," and, referring to Romans 916, he asserted: "it is not a question of man's willing or doing but of God's grace."" Bernard argued that he who justifies himself ignores the justice-righteousness of God, and he is one who takes his own merits from elsewhere than grace.'" At times, passages in Grace and Free Choice sound like Luther. But they are thoughts which Bernard developed on the basis of Paul's Letter to the Romans. Strangely, however, Luther did not pay much attention to this Bernardine "commentary" on the Letter to the Romans. No direct quote from this work can be located in Luther's works. The question arises whether Luther had access to it and, if so, whether he ever studied it. In 1135 a Carthusian friend invited Bernard to undertake a commentary On the Song of Songs. Thus, the "sermons" contained in this work were not delivered as homilies to the monks, but were Bernard's biblical reflections written in the literary form of sermones, to be read by or to other monks. The most famous sermon in this series is number 43, known from its initial word as Fasciculus Myrrhae, in which Bernard's affective christocentrism comes to its culmination. Sermons 61 Bernard of Clairvaux as Luther's Source 287 and 62 are meditations on the wounds of Christ, a devotional practice which was continued in the following centuries. Also 1,uther was advised by his superior, John von Staupitz, that he ought to meditate on the wounds of Christ in order to overcome the theological doubts raised by his concentration on predestination." Luther obeyed. These eighty-six "sermons" are actually a sequence of tractates-at times more concerned with personal (and more or less mysticai) experiences than with the biblical text-and they are interwoven with excursions into dogmatic theology and church history. In any case, Bernard's biblical medita- tions are always connected to the personal experience of man's existence before God in the "world"-inside or outside the cloister walls; and thus they are "existential7' interpretations of the Bible. Luther made ample use of these Benardine "existential" meditations. Luther's quotations from and allusions to these sermons on the Canticle are so numerous that they cannot be treated here in a comprehensive way. They deserve a study of their own. Bernard's labors on the Song of Songs lasted many years. He had to interrupt them more than once. During a sojourn at Paris in 11 40, he gave a public talk to student clerics, urging them to quit their life of vice. Shortly afterwards, he edited his talk in the form of a tract under the title On the Conversion of Cl~rics. It was a call to enter the monastic life. More than twenty people from his original audience followed him back to his monastery at Clairvaux. This work seems, however, to play no role in Luther's works. In the same year, 1140, Bernard participated in the Synod of Sens where Peter Abelard's teachings were to be discussed. Instead they were referred to Rome. From this historical context emerged Bernard's famous "letter" to Pope Innocent 11: Against the Errors of Abelard, which is counted as number 190 in a collection of more than five hundred letters. It too, however, left no trace in Luther's works. Three years later, around 1 143-1 144, two Benedictines at Chartres, who had difficulties with their superior, requested from Bernard a clarification of the Rule of St. Benedict. Bernard's response was a treatise entitled On Precept and Ilispensation. There he set forth his view of the relationship between the power of the abbot and the free conscience of the 288 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAI~ QUARTERLY subordinate monk. Luther knew this work and commented c it, praising Bernard in doing so.2S In 1145 a former monk of Clairvaux become Pope Eugenit 111. In 1146 Rernard was summoned by pope and king to drui up support for a French crusade to the Holy Land. This dut ' kept him on the road for one and a half years-until the sprin of 1148. When this "armed pilgrimage," as one may describ the original idea of a "crusade," resulted in failure, Bernar came under criticism which adversely affected his Cistercia monasieries. During that time, Rernard must have had th reform-minded Archbishop of Arrnagh (Ireland) as his gues at Clairvaux; he died there in 1148. Bernard gatherec information about the prelate's life and homeland and st produced the Life of St. .Malachv. This work appears to hav' 1,et.n unknown to Luther. Resides com~nenting and meditating on the Song of Song: in his iast years, Bernard was occupied with the reformatior of the church on all levels, including the monarchical head Therefore, in 1 1 52-1 1:',:3 he wrote five volumes on the papa oi'ficci entitled 011 Consideration, in response to the request o. the first Cistercian pope, Eugenius III. This work includes criticisms of t.he contemporary papal administration anc outlines the pastoral duties of a pope. This work became a means of examining the consciences of popes and other rulers in the Middle Ages."' In the following paragraphs, I shall highlight only those sections which Luther quoted or to which he at least aliuded. The pope is told to engage in the "consideration" of things unknown to him, including his own self. Bernard saw the danger of ending up with a hardened heart. as the pharaoh did in Exodus 7:13, a theme which Luther would pick up.3u Book Two deals with the "three-fold consideration of the self." If one does not know oneself, one is like a building without a foundation. In this context the pope was reminded that the Apostle Peter's successor was not to receive silver and gold. The saintly abbot inculcated this thought: "You are the one shepherd r,ot only of all the sheep, but of all the shepherds," referring to John 10:16. In Book Three the admonitions continue. Christ is the head of the church, her Lord; the pope is onl~7 His steward. Christ claims the possession of the earth for Himself by right of creation, by merit of redemption, and ource Hernard of Clairvaux as Luther's C 289 1 by gift from the Father. The pope should leave possession and rule to Hirn. ; Hook Four considers the pope's immediate milieu, which Bernard described in powerful metaphors. The pope had to provide the example of a pastor. Again, the simple model of St. Peter is evoked. He had never gone in procession adorned with either jewels or silks, covered with gold, carried on a white horse, attended by a knight, or surrounded by clamoring servants; and "he believed it was enough to be able to fulfill the 1,cird's command" of John 21:15. And quite bluntly and prrivocativeiy Bernard added: "In this [finery], you are the succt:ssor not of Peter, but of Constantine.'? He could not. have said it more clearly, but he added yet: "To preach the gospel is to feed. I-)ci the work of an evangelist and you have fulfilIed the work (if the pastcir." In the epilogue to Book Four Bernard wantetl the pope t.o see the EIoly Roman Church, of which he was the head, as the mother of the churches, not the mistress (domina:!. He told the pope that he was not the !ord of hishops, 'but one of them, and the brother of those who love God and the companion of those who fear Him. He was to be a friend of' the bridegroom (Christ) and an attendant of the bride (the churctl). He was to be the shepherd of the people. Indeed, Bernard's ije Consideratione contains the most critical, yet loyal, and the "most virulent attack ever written'' on the Vatican.'" 1,ut.her referred to Bernard's "advice to a pope" at least ten times, and he demanded that "all popes should know it by heart." It is known that a copy of Ile Consideratione (as published by Anton Sorg at Augsburg) was available in the library of Luther's friary at Erfurt-besides copies of Bernard's sermons on the Song of Songs and his Sermones de Tempore et de San~tis.:'~ Toward the end of his life Bernard carefully edited and revised his most important writings, word by word, so as to leave a definite inheritance behind. He selected 225 letters for an official collection intended for publication. Other writings contain his life-long teaching, as occasioned by the liturgical calendar, cast in the literary form of "sermons." They were based mostly on the pericopes of the various feasts in the ecc:lesiastical calendar. The aging Bernard himself edited a vast collection of his sermons and thus created a handbook of the liturgical year, including sermons on the high feasts of the I,ord, the feasts of the Mother of God, and the feasts of other 290 CONCORDIA 'THEOLOGICAL QUARTERIJY saints. Luther made use of' these collections, especially of the first sermon on the Feast of the Annunciation. In regard to the collection of letters, there is some evidence that Luther had access to it or that somehow he had knowledge of some of its contents, such as letters 91, 201, and 385. But perhaps the adage-like utterances which are found in these letters were handed down separately through the ages and in this way became known to Luther as Bernardine proverbs. Bernard died on August 20, 1 Approximately twenty years later, in 1174, he was elevated to canonical sainthood. A hundred years later his impact upon Christian piety grew even more when, not only the story of his life, but also quotations from his works were woven into The Golden Legend by Jacob ef' Voragine, who repeatedly interspersed readings alloted to the high feasts of the liturgical year with references to St. Bernard (and St. Augustine, of course). The reading in 7'11~ Golden 1,egend for March 25, that is, the Feast of the Annunciation, was immediately followed by the reading of "The Passion of the Lord." Both are permeated by Bernardine thoughts. Thus, Hernarci's spirituality became an integral part of Jacob de Voragine's lectionary of the lives of the saints. By the late Middlc Ages this Legenda Aurea was translated into various languages and widely broadcasted in printed form.:':' 1,uther was familiar with The Golden Legend and loved to refer especially to its story of Bernard. The works of St. Bernard were often created in response to given circumstances. Yet they provide us with lasting insights from the spirituality of the great master of Western Christian- ity. Bernard, from among all the doctors of the church, was declared by Luther to be worthy of diligent study and worthy of being addressed as a father in the faith: Pater Bernhard~s.~~ I I. Lu thtlr and Bernard's Sermons A. General C:onsiderations In reading the vast Bernardine opus with Luther's selective spectacles, one encounters many ideas which caught Luther's eye. Early on, Luther learned from Bernard that in religious matters "nt~t to progress is to regress.",'" In the present study we shall limit ourselves to Bernard's Advent sermons and take notice of those passages which most likely inspired Luther in his own preaching and teaching. Bernard of Clairvaux as Luther's Source 29 1 One must note at the outset that the "mysticism" of the Middle Ages did not have a lasting impact on Luther, although he was touched by it for several years, especially by what is called "German my~ticism."~~ Of course, Bernard's mysticism deserves fuller attention than can be given here; and whether or not and, if so, to what degree it rubbed off on Luther is a matter of debate. Reinhard Schwarz considered Luther one of the "great mystics" in the history of Chri~tianity.'~' Certainly, however, the Bernardine statements which Luther remem- bered reading are not "mystical" ones. The Reformer was interested in Bernard as a biblical theologian and a preacher of the gospel, nut as a "mystic" in the sense in which the term is usually understood today. Bernard's most mystical passages had no traceable impact on Luther. The Reformer alerted his audience primarily to Bernard's christocentric piety, that is, to meditation on the wounds of Christ, to his incarnational christology, and to his theology of grace alone and faith alone. Experts might miss a closer examination of Bernard's and Luther's Mariology. It certainly deserves further considera- tion, but it cannot be treated here. A note in this regard is, however, in order. Along with many others, Luther mistakenly believed that Bernard's traditional honorific title of Doctor Mellifluus originated in his sweet praise of the Virgin Mary, as the Reformer indicated in a lecture in 1527, where simultane- ously he had rather critical words for any exaggerations in Marian piety: They who made Christ a judge sought His mother as yaracleta as Bernard did, who is one of those elect who fell into error [at this point]. I hope that in the end they found better insights. The same is true for Anselm, who is called the Chancellor of the Virgin (Cancellarius Virginis). And Bernard is called the Doctor Mellifluus because of his preaching about the virgin.3H A corrective note is in order in regard to this designation of Bernard as Doctor Mellifluus. This honorific title-"Dr. Honeysweet"-is grounded not in Bernard's praise of Mary, but in his expertise in biblical theology. Tradition regarded him, above all, as an interpreter of the Sacred Scriptures, depicting him opening "the Book" and drawing the hidden meaning from the literal sense of the biblical text as Moses - drew water from a rock or as one draws honey from the honeycomb.:"' Thence comes his title of Doctor3f~lIif7nus-x~d not from his sermons on Mary. Luther kepi his distant:: from any exc?gg:'erated Marian devotion by incessant.1~ applying his theo!ogicr-tl principle of christocentrism. Therefore, down to his last sermon at Wittenberg in 1546, Luther deplared Bernard's rreatrne~~t of the gospel of the Feast of the Annu~ciation an3 complained that he had "most impious" things in sermons such as Missus est Angelus. Luther wanted to correct this distortion and demanded that 911 the Feast of the Annunciation one use one's rhetorical talents to procia.;m the incarmate Christ, in order to tell the people that "we are m:<.,di. tiis brothers" !as Bernard, by the way, had said in a sermcjn on the C:anticlle). In his table talk Luther once spoke sevtwly of' :Wssus est Angelus: "Bernard spent his entire sermcin rln thi. praise of Mary and forgot about God's deeds." Tile real joy stemmed n(.!t from the creature, Mary. hut from the i'zl:t t.hat. the Creator. Himself came into the world to make Himself our salvation.'!: One should really call the Feast ot'the Annunciation the "Feast Ilny of the Incarnation of (Ihri~t.."~' iVhether I,uther was aware of' it or not., his own suggestion ctorrcspr,~:decl partially to Bernard's r~ccasional designation of this feast as the Fi~ast of the "Annunciat.ion of the Lord,'' :e ;Miwi;ie Virgirlis. In any case, I .uther was clearly an eag,.i-tr ret-ttier of Bernard c)f'Clairvai~x. Indeed, in his study of the hisi.or:c of the c*oulir:ils and the church Luther, in refuting ccrtain critics whc, slighted his knowledge of the church fathers. cieclarcc! with justifica- tion: "I have read more t.han they think.''^!.: Cert,ainly he had read Bernard's Advent serrntjns. L-uther's reauhit~g and preaching profited from them. The thoughts in Herna~d's Advent sermons found a welcome reception in 1,uther's thinking, start.ing with Luther's first courst? !;n the Psalms ( Dicta ta). R. .'ipec.ifi'c: Examples of I~lISrlenc~ Luther explicitly indicated in his Dir-iata that, when speaking of a "happy soul," he meant thc phrase I11 the sense in which it was used in Bernard's :\dv~nt sermons. I,uth~r. Hernarci of C:lair=vaux as Luther's Source 293 approprSritc..ti Berzard as ~;,~IuLvs: "So Blessed Bernard in an Advent soi-inon expresses this idea with different words as fi>lic~ws: '0 happy sc;u! which all~nys judges itself before the eyes iif Gciii and act-uses itself. Recause if -ive judge uurseIves, we will not he judged by Gtid.'""' Luther was referri~lg to a passage in Hcrnciit-d's third Advent sermon, where the original wiirdi~lg is s!igi~tly different.:' Tn view of this explicit reference to Bernard's third Advent Sermc;tll. [ill? may infer with some propriety that something else in th~~t sermon influenced Luther's thinking. IT is a passage in which Bernzrd addressed his brethren: saying that it was worth their while to celebrate the Advent of the Lord; to be delighted by so much divine consolation, to be excited by so much worthiness, and to be inflamed by so much love." It may have been this passage which Luther had in mind (quite pcjssibly in combination with other Hernardine loci1 when he mentioned Bernard in another place in his Dictata. Luther's vagueness creates some difficulty in locating his reference in Bernard's opera. Luther declared that "Blessed Rernard said" that the divine consolation is so t.ender that no consolation from elsewhere is tolerated. Luther's Latin may best be understoud with t.he help of his own German version: "But Gud's Word is so terlcler that it does not tolerate any addition; it wants tci be all by itself or not at all."4" Luther's German form of the citation is close to Johannes Tauler's, who aiso quoted it as a Rerna~ifine saying-and in German: "Divine consola- tion is so tender that it does not. admit in any way any consoiation from anywhere else." i7 Luther may have y uoted a Hernardine dictum according to Tauler's citation of Bernard, since TauIer provided him with the German vei-sion of the same idea. In other words, a statement in Bernard's third Advent sermon may have been melded with the Hernardil-te line as handed down by Tauler. Admit.tedly, t,he specific wol-ding- of this line most likely has its origin ir, a Pseudo-Bernardine text. Then, too, it has some sirnilarit,~ to ~i sentence in a Remardine Lenten sermon::" In effect, I,uthc;,. blended Bernard's teaching with Tauler's teaching, here in the I)ietat;3 and elsewhere-for instance, in his Christmas sermon of 152(3.1'' 294 CONCORDIA THEOLOGTCAL QUARTERLY 3. The Triple Advent The concept of the "triple advent of Christ" also had an impact on Luther's Dictata. Luther thought he had read of it in Bernard's sermons on the Canti~le.~~' However, the Cister- cian preacher developed the concept of the three comings of Christ in his Advent sermons, especially in the third Advent sermon. Bernard's concept includes the following elements: The first coming is the incarnation, which is the general advent to all men, ad homines. Then there is the parousia, usually called the "second coming," the advent on the day of judgment, which is Christ's coming against men, contra homines. The third advent is the spiritual birth in the soul- a "mystical" advent, in homines. Bernard numbered these three advents differently at times: what is known as the "second coming" is also called the "third advent," and the spiritual advent in the soul can become the "second advent" in his counting. Thus, between the incarnation in past time and the parousia at the end of time, the spiritual advent in the individual soul takes place as the second (though hidden) advent..' St. Rernard also preached on the triple advent in his fifth advent sermon, where he repeated that the intermediate advent is the hidden one in which only His chosen ones see the Lord, in themselves, and so their souls are saved.;"n his sixth sermon, he also focused on the heavenly guest's arrival, that is, Christ's spiritual advent in the soul: "You have a noble guest, 0 flesh, a very noble guest; and your salvation depends entirely on Him. Give honor to so great a guest."":' The concept shows up also in his seventh sermon, a rather short one in which St. Rernard treated the topic of "triple utility" (de triplice utilitate). Here he discussed the usefulness of the triple advent for man-firstly, it serves to illuminate our blindness; secondly, to assist our infirmity; thirdly, to protect us and fight for us in our fragility. A11 these things occur in the believing soul where Christ resides by faith.34 Bernard's concept of Christ's triple advent served Luther as the immediate matrix of his interpretations of Psalm 101:2 ("when wilt Thou come to me?") and Psalm 102:2 ("non advertas faciem tuam a me" in the Vulgate; "turn not Thy face away from me"). In expounding Psalm 101:2, Luther declared that he understood the time of the Lord's coming to be any Bernard of Clairvaux as Luther's Source 295 given time, whether past, present, or future. Luther added that St. Bernard spoke pulchre (in a beautiful way) about the distinction between the several comings of Christ ... 'I'he reference to St. Bernard in the course of the Dictata was triggered by Luther's knowledge of Bernard's concept of the spiritual encounter with Christ as one of the three advents of Christ. Luther, speaking in the words of Psalm 102:2, expressed the hope that Christ would not turn away His "face" from him. At this point he was definitely lecturing within the framework of St. Bernard's triple advent of Christ. However, Luther spokeof Christ's triple facerather than advent, because Psalm 102 speaks of the "face of the I,ord." Luther adapted the wording, but retained the content of the Rernardine concept: Christ's face is triple: firstly, in His first advent when He was made incarnate who as Son of God is the face of the Father. . .; secondly, in the spiritual advent without which the first is good for nothing-and so one has to recognize His face through faith; thirdly. in the second and last advent when His face will be fully visible..(; Luther, then, did not refer to St. Rernard by name in interpreting Psalm 102:2. However, the concept of a triple encounter with Christ is so distinctly Bernardine that one must assume that Luther borrowed it from the abbot's Advent sermons. In his interpretation of Psalm 101:2, then, Luther explicitly referred to the Bernardine "distinction" between the three advents of Christ; in speaking on the ensuing psalm, he used the sequence of the three advents in the way in which St. Rernard had stated it. Later on, too, in these same lectures Luther spoke of St. Bernard again, as he dealt with Psalm 219:46.17 Thus, it is safe to say that Rernard was Luther's spiritual companion during this entire series of early lectures on the Psalms. 4. Adventus Christi Mysticus in Iudeos The idea of Christ's triple coming borrowed from Bernard's Advent sermons could very well have co~ltributed to another thought in Luther's early exegesis, even though there is no specific indication that Luther was thinking of Rernard on that occasion. It is Luther's mention of "Christ's mysterious coming to the Jews" in the course of his lectures on the Letter to the Romans, specifically in expounding Romans ll:26.'H L,uther did not specify what he meant by mysticus in his 296 CONCORDlA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY "adventus Christi mysticus in ludeos," except t.hat in hi. subsequent sentence he contrasted this "mystical advent" tc the "corporal advent" of Christ. The latter was the firs coining, the physical coming of Christ. in the flesh, ir fulfiiment of the prophetic saying of Isaiah (59:20) quoted bj Paul in Komans 11:26.-') At this time in his life, however Luther was willing to submit himself to the judgment of th~ church fathers, who, despite the clear significance of Isaiah 59:20, referred Romans ll:25 to a future end-time. To be sure, said Luther. no one could elicit this idea from Isaiah or Paul except for the guidance of the fathers. This guidance, however, led to the conclusion that "now. . .'blindness has come upon part in Israel,' but in that future day not a part but all of Israel will be saved. Now a part has been saved, but then all.''Ni This is the "mystical advent of Christ" for the salvation of the Jews. 1,uther's expression "in Iudeos" deserves closer attention. He said nclt "ad Iudeos," but "in Iudeos." I should like to propose xhat behind this wording lay St. Bernard's concept clr" '*the triple advent of Christ," which, as we have seen, consisted in a coming ad homines, a coming in homines. and a coming contra homines. The third is the coming for the last judgment. The first is the coming into the flesh. Both of these comings are generally observable, Bernard says, while the coming in homines is "hidden." It is the "spiritual corning" of Christ which is experienced only by the elect, who see Him within themselves, because they are believers and Christ comes through faith to live in their hearts. This coming is hidden, he says, using the Latin word "occ.ultus." In this perspective I skould like to suggest that Luther's expression of "mystical advent" is to be understood as the hidden advent in the heart of the believer. Thus, Luther may be understood as saying that the "mysterious coming to the Jews" (in Iudeos) is a coming into the hearts of Jews when they become believers. as they are granted this grace through the mercy of God (Romans 11:26, 32). It seems to me that Bernard's concept of the triple advent of Christ contributed here to Luther's exposition. Certainly elsewhere in his lectures on Romans, namely, in expounding Romans 8:16, Luther made quite explicit use of Bernard's first sermon on the Feast of the Annunciation.!;! 5. The Incarnation of the Son Bernard's first Advent sermon contains an attempt to answer the questicjn of why specifically the Son became Bernard of Clairvaux as Luther's Source 297 3 incarnate and not the Father or the Spirit. Bernard's response 1 to this question began to leave its traceabie marks in Luther's t works a decade or so aftctr his lectures on Romans. Luther, in r reading the Kernardine Advent sermons, would have encoun- tered this paragraph: . . .Hut why from the Three Persons in whom we believe as the Highest Trinity is it the Son who comes, and not the Father or the Holy Spirit'? This surely did not happen without reason. . ."Rut who has known the mind of the Ilord6! Or who has bee11 His counselor?" And, of course, it hapyeneci not without the highest consultation of the Tri~lity that, it was the Son who came; and if we consider how our exile came about. we may be able to understand a little how fitting it was for the Son to be the one who most of all liberated us. Lucifer was hurled by God from heaven, because he tried to usurp for himself the similarity [sinlilitudo] of the Most High, and such equality was considered robbery. It is proper only to the Son. The Father, therefore, jealous on the Son's behalf, seems by that act to say: "Vengeance is mine. I will repay." 1And the Son said:] "I observed Satan fall from the sky like lightning." . . .[Lucifer] performed no act. All htl did was thirlking with pride (superbia); and in a moment, in the bat of an eyelid, he was cast down beyond recall. . . .(jL This Kernardine reflection on the mystery of the incarnation appears for the first time in Luther's works in a sermon of 1526. 1,uthcr combined this Hernardine thought with a colorful comparison (also inherited from the patristic tradition) of Gad and a fisherman who uses a worm on his hook. God hides the divinity of the Son (the hook) within the humanity (the worm- an image taken from Psalm 22).".' The Reformer likewise integrated Rtrnardinc thinking on the incarnation into his Christmas sermons of 1533 and 1535, his exposition of John 1:14 in Scptenlber of 1537, and finally his last exegetical project, the lectures on Genesis. In fact, in his Christmas sermon of 1533 Luther referred to Bernard's thinking Inore directly than in 1526. Indeed, the stenographer of this sermon, Georg Rorer, wrote the name Kernardus in the margin of his notes, in order to explain 1,uther's refcrcnce tv unnamed fathers who had given some 298 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY thought to the matter of which he was speaking." Luther preached these words on Christmas in 1533: There were fathers who gave some thought to this matter, and they said that the devil, when living in heaven, saw that God would become man, and this caused his down-fall; [they said] that, because God assumed this nature, not the angelic one, therefore there was envy and haughtiness. . .[These fathers] wanted to indicate the great joy [which we should feel] and the overwhelming goodness [of God shown in this], that He assumed, not the angelic [nature], but Adam's. . .flesh and blood, which had been spoiled by the devil through sin and death and Two years later, again on Christmas (December 25, 1535), Luther gave the afternoon sermon on the Christmas gospel, focusing on Luke 2:lO-13. He followed in the tracks of tradition when, in a sort of allegory, he alluded to the burning bush: but for Christmas one would have to fear its brightness; but because of Christmas night one has no need to be afraid, because the angels have brought a joyful light. The allusion to the burning bush on Mount Sinai was a motif used by St. Bernard as he preached about Mary as the woman of Revelation 1Zti6 Within this same sermon Luther made an explicit reference to the Doctor Mellifluus in speaking of the Son of God assuming, not an angelic nature, but our human nature: "Saint Bernard was a wonderful man (mirabile vir); he believed that the devil in paradise learned that God would become man. . . ." Luther continues, however, by saying of the good angels that "they do not mind at all and they are happy that God is not called an angelic God (Eng-elischer Gott) and that God becomes, not an angel, but a person."67 Thus, Bernard's words on the Son of God becoming a man and not an angel (Engel) again entered the Reformer's mind (as they had two years earlier) when he stood in the pulpit on Christmas Day of 1535. Conclusion Bernard, as the greatest representative of monastic theol- ogy, influenced Luther, not only as a friar, but also as an ex- friar and even as the Reformer. In this article I could demonstrate such a conclusion only with respect to some of Luther's early works and some later sermons and with respect Bernard of Clairvaux as Luther's Source 299 ;to Bernard's Advent sermons. But Luther's repertory of iBernardine thoughts was much larger. The impact of Bernard ;on the elder Luther is to be demonstrated el~ewhere.~;" However, at this point in the history of research, not all of Luther's allusions to Bernard have been retrieved by scholars. There are still a number of references which remain uniden- tified at this time.fi'' Nevertheless, we may maintain that there is evidence of Luther's sympathetic use of Bernardine sources. Luther, during his entire career, enjoyed the spiritual company of Bernard in spite of the centuries that separated the two. The great German preacher of the Reformation drew various insights from the great French preacher of the Middle Ages, as the more than five hundred references to Bernard in the most complete edition of Luther's works indicate. Therefore, a recent study (on Bernard and Calvin) is wrong when it insinuates that Luther did not seem to make much use of Bernard's thinking."' The evidence presented here shows the contrary. The import of this evidence is magnified by noting that Luther totally neglected Peter Abelard, Bernard's scholastic foe. And, if one compares Luther's allusions to the representatives of the so-called "German Mysticism" (such as Meister Eckhart, Johannes Tauler, and the anonymous Frankfurter who wrote the Theologia Gerznanica), one comes upon some surprising facts: Luther never directly or indirectly quoted or mentioned Meister Eckhart by name; and, compared to Bernard, Luther referred relatively rarely to Tauler and to the Frankfurter whose work he had edited. Luther's often literal quotations from, direct references to, and indirect allusions to Bernard outnumber these others by the hundreds. During his entire life as friar, as ex-friar, and as "Church Father" of the Church in Germany, Luther was indebted to Bernard, the monastic theologian. This debt is not surprising, because monastic theology understood itself as rather removed from the theology of the Scholast,ics, whom Luther called "sow theologians." Thus, Bernard was to Luther truly a father in the faith, as the Reformer himself indicated by reverently speaking of the abbot as the only theologian really worthy of being called "father" and of being studied diligently: Pater Bern h ardus. 300 CONCORDTA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY ENDNOTES See Pierre Chnunu, as quoted by Theo Bell, Bernhardus LXxit Bernurdus van CYairva ux in Martin Luthers Werken (Delft Eburcm, 19H9), p. 345; August Neander, Dcr heilige R~rnharc undscin Zpit~ilter(Hamburg-Gotha, 1813), second editicin, 1848 Hubert Jedin, A History of the Council of' Trent, txanslated by E. Graf (New York: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 19.57): 1, g. 190. WA, 46:782,21-24. (The abbreviation of WA means the Weirnar A usgabe, i.e., the critical edition of Luther's works. j WA, TR, 1: no. 584; WA, TR, 5: no. 5439a. WA, TR, 3: 295, 6-7 (no. 330). See WA. 15:'755, 7-9 (sermon of November 20, 1524). Carl Stange, Bernhard von Clairvaux. Studien der 1,uther- Akadernie, edited by Carl Stange on the order of thr board of directors (Berlin: Verlag Alfred Topelmann), p. 5, See Erich Klein~idam. "Ursprung und Cegenstand der Theologie bei Hernhard von Clairvaux und Martin Luther," Die~~st der Vermittlung, edited by Wilhelm Ernst et al. (Leipzig: St. Henno Verlag, 1977), yp. 221-247; Franz Posset, "Rernardus Keciivivus: The 147irkung~ge~chichteof a Medieval Sermon in the Reforma- tion c~f the Sixteenth Century," Cistercian Studies, 22 (1987). pp. 239-249; itfern, Luther's Catholic Christology According to His Johnnnine Lectures of 1527(Milwaukee: Northwestern Publish- ing House, 1988), pp. 116-128; idem, "Monastic Influence on Martin Luther," Monastic Studies, 18 (Montreal: The Renedic- tine Priory. 1988j, pp. 136-163. WA, TR, 3: 295,3ff.; WA, 60:125, 40-44. See WA, 20:736, 15-19. See WrA, ;2:175,33-34; Bell, op. cit., pp. 42-71. &'A, 40, III:354,3-5 (manuscript), 16-24 (printed version). WA, 40,III: 25-26. See WA, 43:33, 26-27 See WA, 40, JII:652,20-23 (on Isaiah 9:5f15461). Bernard of Clairvaux as Luther's Source 301 Brull(i Scott James, The Letters of St. Bernard of Clairvaux (London: Burns Oates, 1953), pp. 401-402 (no. 326). See Jean Leclercq, "Introduction" to Bernard of Clairvaux: Selected Works (.New York and Mahwah: Paulist Press, i987), pp. 1;3-57. See Bpi-nard McGinn, "Introduction7' to On Grace sr:d Free Choic.e :(;istercian Fathers Series, 19, KaIamazoo: Cistercian Publications, 197'7), 5, n. 13. Opera, 111: 165-200, (Opera is the abbreviation used from here on f:):. the critical edition of Bernard's works. Sancti Rernardi dperr? Omnia, edited by Jean Leclercq, Henri Rochais, and C.H. 'I'albot [Rome: 1457-). "Qui seipsunl iustificat, Dei iustitiam ignorat. . . Qui est qui seipsu~n justificat? Qui merita sibi aliunde praesumit quanl a gratiri." Opera, 111: 201, 1-3. See also 203, 14-19. See bl:A, TR, 2112, 9-11 (no. 1490); H'A, TR, 5:293. 28-36 (no. 565Xa); W-4, Rriefwechsel, 9:627, 23-2.5 (February 23, 15.12). See WA, 8:331, 13-15; 634, 1-5. See the appendices in the translation of De Consideratione in c he Cistercian Fathers Series (37j, Five Books on Consideration: Advice to a Pope, translated by John D. Anderson and Elizabeth 7'. fiennan iKalamazoo: Cistercian Publications, 19763, p. 138. See also Karl Bihlmeyer and Hermann Tuchle, I'?hurch I3istoz-y, translated by Victor E. Mills and Francis J. Miller (Westminster, Maryland: The Newman Press, 1963), volume 2: p. 170; Jaroslav Pelikan, The Christian Tradition: A Histor-v of the Develc~pment of Iloctrinr, The Growth of Medieval Theology (600-1300) (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 19781, \~olurne 3: p. 300; cf. volume 4: p. 71. Upcn2, X21:396, 11- 14. See Leclercq, "Introduction" to Bernard oi'ciairvaux, Selected Works; p. 25. See Jun Matsuura, "Restbestande aus der Ribliothek des E;rfurter Augustinerklosters zu I,uthers Zeit und bisher unbekann te eigenhandige Notizen Luthers," Lu theriana: Zum ,500. Geburtstag Martin Luthers von den Mitarbeitern der Weirnnrer Ausgabe (Cologne: Bohlau, 1984). pp. 313. 324, 326. CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY The Golden Legend of I/acohus de Voragine, translated h! Granger Ryan and Helmut Ripperger (New York: 1941). Opera, IV: 340, 1; quoted in WA, 56:486, 7. See Nt?ngt R. Hoffman, Luther and the Mystics (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1976). See Reinhard Schwarz, "Martin Luther (1483-1546)," Grosse Mvstiker: Leben und Wirken, edited by Gerhard Ruhbach and Josef Sudbrack (Munich: Verlag C.H. Beck, 1984), pp. 185-202. See I~clercq, "Introduction" to Bernard of Clairvaux, Selected Works, p. 3:i. See WA, TR. 1:45, 21-29 (no. 118); WA, TR, 1:218, 27-219, 12 (no. 494). WA, 47:698,2; 695, 2 (l53l). "Ich hah mehr gelesen, denn sie meinen." WA, 50:519, 27-28. "Unde b. Bernardus sermone de adventu istum versum aliis verhis sic exprimit: '0 felix anima, que [=quael in conspectu Dei seipsam semper iudicat et accusat. Si enim nos ipsos iudicare- mus, non utique a Deo iudicaremur.'" WA, 4:198, 19-21. "Diligit enim animam, quae in conspectu eius et sine intermis- sione considerat, et sine dissimulatione diiudicat semetipsam. Idque iudicium nun nisi propter nos a nohis exigit, quia si nos- etipsos iudicaverimus, no11 utique iudicabimur." Opera, IV:181, 4-3. "1)ignum est, fratres, ut tota devotinne Domini celebretis adventum, delectati tanta consolatione, stupefacti tanta dignatione, inflammati tanta dilectione." Opera, IV:182, 3-5. "Jta ut recte R. Bernardus dixerit, quod delicata est consolatio divina et non datur admittendibus alienam." WA, 4:331, 14-15. See Luther's German version in IVA, 8:143, 34-36. Tauler: "gottlicher trost sol sin also zart, das er in keine wise gestot do man andern trost enphohet." See Martin Treu, "Die Bedeutung der consolatio fur Luthers Seelsorge bis 1525," Lutherjahrbuch, 53 (1986), p. 12. See Sermo 9 (Qui Habitat), which contains a passage with the content under discussion here: "consolationes eius laetificabunt anirnam tuam, dummodo non ad alia convertaris." Opera, IV:440,13-18. It could also be that Luther had the similar saying Bernard of Clairvaux as Luther's Source 303 in mind (attributed to Bernard by his disciple Gaufried) in the Pseudo-Rernardine Declaniationes de Colloquia Sirnonis cum