Friday, June 20, 2014
The spiritual foundation of morality
Rudolf Steiner, May 28, 1912:
We have to consider in these coming days one of the most important and significant fields of our anthroposophical study of life. We are often reproached for our inclination toward the study of far-distant cosmic developments in their connection with man; it is said that we like to lift ourselves into spiritual worlds, too frequently only considering the far-distant events of the past and the far-reaching perspective of the future, and that we disregard a sphere which concerns man most intimately — the sphere of human morals and human ethics.
It is true that this, the realm of human morals, must be looked upon as the most essential of all. But what must be said in answer to the reproach that we are less concerned with this important field of man's soul life and social life than with more distant spheres is that when we realize the significance and range of anthroposophical life and feeling we are only able to approach this subject with the deepest reverence, for it concerns man very closely indeed; and we realize that, if it is to be considered in the right way, it requires the most earnest and serious preparation. The above reproach might perhaps be stated in the following words: What is the use of making deep studies of the universe? Why talk about numerous reincarnations, or the complicated conditions of karma, when surely the most important thing in life is what a certain wise man after he had attained the summit of this life, and when after a life of rich wisdom he had grown so weak and ill that he had to be carried about, repeated again and again to his followers: “Children, love one another!”
These words were uttered by John the Evangelist when he was an old man, and it has often been said that in these four words, “Children, love one another!” is contained the extract of the deepest and most practical moral wisdom. Hence many might say: “What more is wanted, provided these good, sublime, and moral ideals can be so simply fulfilled as in the sense of the words of the Evangelist John?”
When to the above statement one adds that it is sufficient for people to know that they ought to love one another, one thing is lost sight of, namely, the circumstance that he who uttered these words did so at the close of a long life of wisdom, a life which included the writing of the most profound and important of the Gospels. A man is only justified in saying anything so simple at the end of a rich life of wisdom. But one who is not in that position must first, by going deeply into the foundations of the secrets of the world, earn the right to utter the highest moral truths in such a simple manner.
Trivial as is the oft-repeated assertion, “If the same thing is said by two persons it never is the same,” it is especially applicable to the words we have quoted. When someone who simply declines to know or understand anything about the mysteries of the cosmos says “It is quite a simple matter to describe the highest moral life” and uses the words “Children, love one another,” it is quite different from when the evangelist John utters these words, at the close of such a rich life of wisdom. For this reason, he who understands these words of St. John ought to draw from them quite a different conclusion from that usually drawn. The conclusion should be that one has first of all to be silent about such profoundly significant words, and that they may only be uttered when one has gone through the necessary preparation and reached the necessary maturity.
Now, after we have made this statement — which it is quite certain many will take earnestly to heart — something quite different, which is of the deepest importance, will come to our mind. Someone might say: “It may be the case that the deep significance of moral principles can only be understood when the goal of all wisdom is reached; man uses them, nevertheless, all the time. How could some moral community or social work be carried on if one had to wait for a knowledge of the highest moral principles till the end of a life of striving for wisdom? Morals are most necessary for human social life; and now it is asserted that moral principles can only be obtained at the end of long striving after wisdom.” A person might therefore reasonably say that he would doubt the wise arrangement of the world if this were so; if that which is most necessary could only be gained after the goal of human effort had been attained.
Life itself gives us the true answer to what has just been said. You need only compare two facts which, in one form or another, are no doubt well known to you and you will at once perceive that the one can be right as well as the other; firstly, that we attain to the highest moral principles and their understanding only at the conclusion of the effort after wisdom, and secondly, that moral and social communities and activities cannot exist without ethics or morals. You see this at once if you bear in mind two facts with which you are most certainly acquainted in one form or another. You may have known a man who was highly developed intellectually: he may have possessed not only a clear intellectual grasp of natural science, but he may also have understood many occult and spiritual truths both theoretically and practically — and yet you may have known that such a person was not particularly moral. Who has not seen people clever and highly intellectual going morally astray? And who has not also experienced the other fact, from which much may be learned! You, doubtless have known someone with a very restricted outlook, with limited intellect and knowing but little, who being in service brought up not her own but other people's children. From their earliest days she has probably assisted with their education and development and perhaps to the day of her death sacrificed to these children all she had in a selfless loving way and with the utmost devotion; yet if one had brought to her the moral principles that one had gained from the highest sources of wisdom, she would not, in all probability, have been particularly interested; she would probably have found them useless and incomprehensible. On the other hand her moral actions had accomplished more than mere recognition of moral principles. In such cases we feel that we must bow in reverence before that which streams out of the heart into life and creates an infinite amount of good.
Facts of such a nature often answer the riddles of life far more clearly than theoretical explanations, for we say to ourselves that a wise Providence, in order to impart to the world moral actions, moral activities, has not waited until people have discovered moral principles. There is in fact, to begin with — if we disregard unmoral actions, the basis of which we shall get to know in these lectures — something contained in the human soul as a divine heritage, something given to us as original morality which may be called “instinctive morality,” and it is this which makes it possible for humanity to wait until it can fathom moral principles.
But perhaps it is quite unnecessary to trouble much about investigating moral principles! Might it not be said that it is best if people trust to their original moral instincts and do not perplex themselves with theoretical explanations about morals? These lectures are to show that this is not the case. They are to show that, at least in the present epoch of humanity, we must seek for anthroposophical morals and that these morals must be exercised as a duty which comes as the fruit of all our anthroposophical science and practice.
The philosopher Schopenhauer, in spite of much that is entirely erroneous in his philosophy, made this very true statement regarding the principles of morality: “To preach morals is easy, but to give them a foundation is difficult.” This statement is very true, for there is scarcely anything easier than to pronounce in a manner appealing to the commonest principles of human feeling and perception what a person ought to do or leave undone in order that he may be a good man. Many people no doubt are offended when it is asserted that this is easy, but it is easy, and one who knows life, and knows the world, will not doubt that scarcely anything has been spoken about so much as the right principles of ethical action, and the man who speaks upon general ethical principles meets with almost universal approval. One might say it pleases listening minds, for they feel they can agree in an unqualified manner with what the speaker says when he discourses on the very commonest principles of human morality.
Notwithstanding this, morals are certainly not established by ethical teachings or moral sermons. Truly not. If morals could thus be founded there would be no immorality at the present day, for one might say that the whole of humanity would be overflowing with moral activities. For undoubtedly everyone has the opportunity of hearing the finest moral principles, since people are so fond of preaching them. But to know what one ought to do and what is morally right is of least importance compared with the fact that there should be within us impulses which, through their inward strength, their inward power, are themselves converted into moral actions, and thus express themselves externally. It is well known that ethical sermons do not produce this result. A moral foundation is laid when a man is guided to the source whence he must draw the impulses which shall supply him with forces leading to ethical activity.
How difficult these forces are to find is shown by the simple fact that innumerable attempts have been made, for example, from the philosophic side, to found a system of ethics, a code of morals. How many different answers exist in the world to the questions “What is goodness?” — “What is virtue?” Put together what the philosophers have said, beginning with Plato and Aristotle, and passing on through the Epicureans, the Stoics, the NeoPlatonists, the whole series down to modern philosophical opinions; put together all that has been said from Plato to Herbert Spencer upon the nature of Goodness and Virtue and you will see how many different attempts have been made to penetrate to the sources of moral life and impulse.
I hope in these lectures to show that it is only by delving into the occult secrets of life that it becomes possible to penetrate not only to moral teachings, but to moral impulses, to the moral sources of life itself.
A single glance will show us that this moral principle in the world is by no means such a simple matter as might be supposed from a certain convenient standpoint. Let us for the moment take no notice of what is usually spoken of as “moral,” but consider certain spheres of human life from which we may perhaps be able to obtain a great deal toward a moral conception of life.
Not the least among the many things learned from spiritual science is the knowledge that the most manifold conceptions and impulses have held good among various peoples in different parts of the earth. In comparing two sections of humanity which at first seem separated, one can consider the sacred life of ancient India, and observe how it has gradually developed up to the present day. One knows that what was characteristic of the India of primeval times is still true at the present day. The feelings, thoughts, and conceptions have been maintained that we find in this region in ancient times. It is remarkable that in these civilizations there have been preserved an image of primeval times, and when we consider what has been maintained up to our own day we are looking, so to say, at the same time into the remote past.
Now, we do not progress very far in our understanding of the different peoples on Earth if we begin by only applying our own moral standards. For this reason let us for the moment exclude what might be said about the moral things of those times and only inquire: What has developed from these characteristics of venerable ancient Indian civilization?
We find, to begin with, what may be described as “devotion to the spiritual” most highly honored and held sacred. This devotion to the spiritual was the more highly valued and counted sacred the more the human being was able to sink into himself, to live quietly within himself, and, apart from all that man can attain on the physical plane, to direct the best in him to the spiritual worlds. We find this cultivation, this dedication, of the soul to the foundations of existence as the highest duty of those who belonged or belong to the highest caste of Indian life, the Brahmins.
Nothing impresses the moral feelings of the Indian people more than this turning to the Divine-Spiritual with a devotion which forgets everything physical; an intensely deep introspection and renunciation of self. The moral life of this people is permeated by a devotion which controls every thought and action. This is apparent from the fact that those who belonged to other castes looked upon it as natural, especially in ancient times, that the caste of religious life and devotion and the life of ritual should be considered as something apart and worthy of reverence. That which underlies this cannot be understood by means of the common principles of morality laid down by philosophy, for at the period when these feelings and impulses developed in ancient India they were impossible among other peoples. In order that these tendencies could develop with such intensity both the temperament and fundamental character of the Indian people were required. As civilization proceeded, emanating from India, they spread abroad over the rest of the Earth. If we wish to understand what is meant by the Divine-Spiritual we must go to this original source.
Let us now turn our attention away from this people and direct it toward Europe. Let us consider the peoples of Europe before Christianity had affected European culture very much, when it had only begun to spread in the West. You all know that Christianity spreading into Europe from the East and South was confronted by the peoples of Europe, who possessed certain tendencies — a definite inner worth and definite forces. One who studies with spiritual means the history of the introduction of Christianity into Central Europe and also here in the North, knows at what cost the balance was struck between this or that Christian impulse and what was brought to meet it from Northern and Central Europe.
And now let us inquire — as we have already done in the case of the Indian people — “What were the most characteristic moral forces brought to Christianity as a moral possession, a moral heritage, by the peoples whose successors form the present European population, especially the population of the North, Central Europe, and England?” We need only mention a single one of the principal virtues, and we know at once that we are expressing something which is truly characteristic of these Northern and Mid-European peoples. With the word “valor,” or “bravery,” we have named the chief virtue brought by the Europeans to Christianity; and the whole of the personal human force was exercised in order to actualize in the physical world what the human being intends from his innermost impulse. Intrinsically the further we go back to ancient times the more we find this to be the case — the other virtues are consequent upon this.
If we examine real valor in its fundamental quality, we find that it consists of an inner fullness of life which is practically inexhaustible, and this fullness of life was the most salient characteristic among the ancient peoples of Europe. Ancient Europeans possessed within them more valor than they could use for themselves. Quite instinctively, they followed the impulse to spend that of which they had a superabundance. One might even say that they were wasteful in pouring out their moral wealth, their fitness and ability, into the physical world. It was really as if among the ancient people of Northern Europe each one had brought with him a superfluity of force which was more than he needed for his own personal use; this he was therefore able to pour forth in an excess of prodigality and to use it for his warlike deeds. Modern ideas now consider these self-same warlike deeds, which were the outcome of ancient virtue, to be a relic of the past, and in fact they are classed as vices; but the man of ancient Europe used them in a chivalrous, magnanimous manner. Generous actions were characteristic of the peoples of ancient Europe, just as actions springing from devotion were characteristic of the people of ancient India.
Principles, theoretical moral axioms, would have been useless to the peoples of ancient Europe, for they would have evinced little understanding for them. Preaching moral sermons to a man of ancient Europe would have been like giving one who does not like reckoning the advice that he ought to write down his receipts and expenditures with great accuracy. If he does not like this, the simple fact remains that he need not keep accounts, for he possesses enough for his expenditure, and can do without careful bookkeeping if he has an inexhaustible supply. This circumstance is not unimportant. Theoretically it holds good with regard to what the human being considers of value in life, regarding personal energy and ability, and it also applies to the moral feelings of the inhabitants of ancient Europe. Each one had brought with him a divine legacy, as it were; he felt himself to be full of it, and spent it in the service of his family, his clan, or his people. That was their mode of active trading and working.
We have now characterized two great sections of humanity which were quite different from one another, for the feeling of contemplation natural to the Indians did not exist among Europeans. For, this reason it was difficult for Christianity to bring a feeling of devotion to the latter people, for their character and predispositions were entirely different. And now after considering these things — putting aside all the objections which might be raised from the standpoint of a moral concept — let us enquire into the moral effect. It does not require much reflection to know that this moral effect was extremely great when these two ways of looking at the world, these two trends of feeling, met in their purest form. The world has gained infinitely much by that which could only be obtained through the existence of a people like the ancient Indians, among whom all feeling was directed to devotion to the Highest. Infinitely much it has also gained from the valiant deeds of the European peoples of early pre-Christian times. Both these qualities had to cooperate, and together they yielded a certain moral effect. We shall see how the effect of the ancient Indian virtue as well as that of the ancient Germanic peoples can still be found today, how it has benefited not only a part but the whole of humanity, and we shall see how it still exists in all that men look up to as the highest.
So without further discussion we may assert that something which produces this moral effect for humanity is good. Doubtless in both streams of civilization it must be so. But if we were to ask: what is “goodness”? we are confronted once more by a puzzling question. What is the “good” which has been active in each of these cases? I do not wish to give you moral sermons, for this I do not consider my task. It is much more my task to bring before you the facts which lead us to an anthroposophical morality. For this reason I have thus far brought before you two systems of known facts, concerning which I ask nothing except that you should note that the fact of devotion and the fact of bravery produce definite moral effects in the evolution of humanity. Let us now turn our attention to other ages. If you look at the life of the present day with its moral impulses you will naturally say: “We cannot practise today — at least not in Europe — what the purest ideal of India demands, for European civilization cannot be carried on with Indian devotionalism”; but just as little would it be possible to attain to our present civilization with the ancient praiseworthy valor of the people of Europe. It at once becomes evident that deep in the innermost part of the ethical feelings of the European peoples there is something else. We must therefore search out that something more in order to be able to answer the question: What is goodness? What is virtue?
I have often pointed out that we have to distinguish between the period we call the Graeco-Latin or fourth post-Atlantean age of civilization and the one we call the fifth, in which we live at the present time. What I have now to say regarding the nature of morality is really intended to characterize the origin of the fifth post-Atlantean age. Let us begin with something which, as it is taken from poetry and legend, you may consider open to dispute; but still it is significant of the way in which fresh moral impulses became active and how they flowed into mankind when the development of the fifth age gradually set in.
There was a poet who lived at the end of the 12th century and beginning of 13th century. He died in the year 1213, and was called Hartmann von Aue. He wrote his most important poem, entitled “Poor Henry,” in accordance with the way of thinking and feeling prevalent in his day. This poem particularly addresses what was thought about certain moral impulses among certain peoples in certain circles. Its substance is as follows: Poor Henry once lived as a rich knight — for originally he was not poor Henry but a duly installed knight — who did not take into account that the things of the physical world decay and are temporary; he lived only for the day and thereby rapidly produced bad karma. He was thus stricken with a form of leprosy; he went to the most celebrated physicians in the world but none of them could help him, so considering his life at an end he sold all his worldly possessions. His disease preventing intercourse with his fellows, he lived apart on a solitary farm, well taken care of by an old devoted servant and daughter. One day the daughter and the whole household heard that one thing alone could help the knight who had this destiny. No physician, no medicines, could help him: only when a pure virgin out of pure love sacrificed her life for him would his health be restored. In spite of all the exhortations of her parents and of the knight Henry himself, something came over the daughter which made her feel that it was imperative she should sacrifice herself. She went with the knight to Salerno, the most celebrated school of medicine of the day. She did not fear what the physicians required of her; she was ready to sacrifice her life. But at the last moment the knight refused to allow it; he prevented it and returned home with her. The poem then tells us that when the knight returned home, he actually began to recover and that he lived for a long time and spent a happy old age with the one who had determined to save him.
Well, to begin with, you may say that this is a poem, and we need not take literally the things here spoken of. But the matter becomes different when we compare what Hartmann von Aue, the poet of the Middle Ages, wrote at that time in his "Poor Henry" with something that really happened, as is well known. We may compare what Hartmann wrote with the life of Francis of Assisi, who was born in the year 1182 and lived in Italy.
In order to describe the moral nature contained in the personality of Francis of Assisi, let us consider the matter as it appears to the spiritual investigator or occultist, even though we may be looked upon as foolish and superstitious. These things must be taken seriously, because at that period of transition they were producing such momentous effects.
We know that Francis of Assisi was the son of the Italian merchant Bernardone,and his wife. Bernardone travelled a great deal in France, where he carried on his business. We also know that the father of Francis of Assisi was a man who set great store on outer appearances. His mother was a woman possessing the virtue of piety, having fine qualities of heart, and living devoutly according to her religious feelings. Now the things recounted in the form of legends about the birth and life of Francis of Assisi are entirely in agreement with occult facts. Although occult facts are frequently hidden by history in pictures and legends, these legends still correspond with them. Thus it is quite true that before the birth of Francis of Assisi quite a number of persons knew through revelation that an important personality was about to be born. Historical records show that one of the many people who dreamt — that is, who saw in prophetic vision — that an important personality was about to be born was Saint Hildegarde. At this point I must emphasize once more the truth of these facts, which can be corroborated by investigations into the Akashic Record. She dreamt that there appeared to her a woman whose face was smeared and covered with blood, and this woman said to her: "The birds have their nests here upon Earth, the foxes too have their holes, but at the present time I have nothing, not even a stick upon which I can lean." When Hildegarde awakened from this dream, she knew this personality represented the true form of Christianity. And many other persons dreamt in a similar manner. From the knowledge at their disposal they saw that the outer order and institution of the Church was unfitted to be a receptacle, a covering, for the true Christianity.
One day, while Francis of Assisi's father was on business in France — this, again, is a fact — a pilgrim went to Pica's house, to the mother of Francis of Assisi, and said to her: “The child you are expecting must not be brought into the world in this house, where there is abundance; you must bring him to birth in the stable, for he must lie upon straw and so follow after his Master!” This was actually said to the mother of Francis of Assisi; and it is not legend but truth that as the father was in France on business the mother was able to carry this out, so that the birth of Francis of Assisi actually took place in a stable and upon straw.
Another thing is also true: Some time after the child was born a remarkable man came into the little town, a man who had never been seen in that neighborhood before and was never seen there again. He went through the streets again and again saying "An important person has been born in this town." And those whose visionary life was still active also heard the ringing of bells at the time of the birth of Francis of Assisi.
Besides these few details a whole series of phenomena might be adduced, but we shall content ourselves with the above, which are only mentioned in order to show how significantly everything was concentrated from the spiritual world, regarding the advent of a single personality in that age.
All this becomes especially interesting when in addition we consider something else. The mother had the peculiar impression that the child ought to be called “John” and he was therefore given this name. However, when the father returned from France where he had done good business, he changed it and gave his son the name of Francis, as he wished to commemorate his successful journey. But originally the child was called John.
Now we need only draw attention to a few details from the life of this remarkable man, especially from his youth. What sort of a person was Francis of Assisi as a youth? He was one who conducted himself like a descendant of the old Germanic knights, and this need not appear remarkable when we consider how peoples had intermingled after the immigrations from the North. Brave, warlike, filled with the ideal of winning honor and fame with the weapons of war — it was this which existed as a heritage, as a racial characteristic, in the personality of Francis of Assisi.
There appeared in him more externally, one might say, the qualities which existed more as an inward quality of soul in the ancient Germans, for Francis of Assisi was a “spendthrift.” He squandered the possessions of his father, who was at that time a rich man. He gave freely to all his comrades and playfellows. No wonder that on all the childish warlike expeditions he was chosen as leader by his comrades, and that he was looked upon as a truly warlike boy, for he was known as such throughout the whole town. Now, there were all sorts of quarrels between the youths of the towns of Assisi and Perugia; he also took part in these, and it came about that on one occasion he and his comrades were taken prisoners. He not only bore his captivity patiently and in a knightly way, but he encouraged all the others to do the same, until a year later they were able to return home.
Afterwards, when in the service of chivalry a necessary expedition was going to be undertaken against Naples, he had a vision in a dream. He saw a great palace and everywhere weapons and shields. Up to the time of his dream he had only seen all kinds of cloth in his father's house and place of business. So he said to himself, this is a summons for me to become a soldier, and he thereupon decided to join the expedition. On the way there, and still more distinctly after he had joined the expedition, he had spiritual impressions. He heard something like a voice which said “Go no further, you have wrongly interpreted the dream picture which is very important to you. Go back to Assisi and you shall there hear the right interpretation!”
He obeyed these words, went back to Assisi, and behold, he had something like an inner dialogue with a being who spoke to him spiritually and said, “Not in external service have you to seek your knighthood. You are destined to transform all the forces at your disposal into powers of the soul, into weapons forged for your use. All the weapons you saw in the palace signify the spiritual weapons of mercy, compassion, and love. The shields signify the reasoning powers which you have to exercise to stand firmly in the trials of a life spent in deeds of mercy, compassion, and love.” Then followed a short though dangerous illness, from which, however, he recovered. After that he passed through something like a retrospection of the whole of his life, and in this he lived for several days. The young knight who in his boldest dreams had only longed to become a great warrior was transformed into a man who now most earnestly sought all the impulses of mercy, compassion, and love. All the forces he had thought of using in the service of the physical world were transformed into moral impulses of the inner life.
Here we see how a moral impulse evolves in a single personality. It is important that we should study a great moral impulse, for though the individual cannot always raise himself to the greatest ethical heights, yet he can only learn of them where he sees them most radically expressed and acting with the greatest forcefulness. It is precisely by turning our attention to the greatest and most characteristic manifestations of moral impulses, and then by considering the lesser ones in their light, that we can attain to a correct view of moral impulses active in life.
But what happened next to Francis of Assisi? It is not necessary to describe the disputes with his father when he became prodigal in an entirely different manner. His father's home was well known for its lavish hospitality and wastefulness — for that reason his father could understand his son's extravagance, but he could not understand him after the radical change he had undergone, when he laid aside his best clothes and even his necessities and gave them to those in need. Nor could he understand his son's frame of mind when he said, “How remarkable it is that those through whom in the West Christianity has received so much are so little respected,” and then Francis of Assisi made a pilgrimage to Rome and laid a large sum of money on the graves of the Apostles Peter and Paul. These things his father did not understand. I need not describe the discussions which then took place; I need only point out that in them were concentrated all the moral impulses of Francis of Assisi. These concentrated impulses had then transformed his bravery into soul forces; they had developed in such a manner that in his meditations they produced a special conception, and appeared to him as the Cross and upon it the Savior. Under these conditions he felt an inner personal relationship to the Cross and the Christ, and from this there came to him the forces through which he could immeasurably increase the moral impulses which now flowed through him.
He found a remarkable use for that which now developed in him. At that time the horrors of leprosy had invaded many parts of Europe. The Church had discovered a strange cure for these lepers, who were then so numerous. The priests would call the lepers and say to them: " You are stricken with this disease in this life, but inasmuch as you are lost to this life, you have been won for God, you are dedicated to God." And the lepers were then sent away to places far removed from mankind, where, lonely and shunned, they had to spend the remainder of their lives.
I do not blame this kind of cure. They knew no better. But Francis of Assisi knew a better one. I mention this, because from actual experience it will lead us to moral sources. You will see in our next lectures why we are now mentioning these things. These moral impulses led Francis of Assisi to search out lepers everywhere, and not to be afraid of going about among them. And actually the leprosy — which none of the remedial agents at that time could cure, which made it necessary that these people should be thrust out of human society — this leprosy was healed in numberless cases by Francis of Assisi, because he went to these people with the power which he possessed through moral impulses, which made him fear nothing; it rather gave him courage not only carefully to cleanse their wounds, but to live with the lepers, to nurse them conscientiously, yea, to kiss them and permeate them with his love.
The healing of Poor Henry by the daughter of his faithful servant is not merely a poetic story, it expresses what actually occurred in a great number of cases at that time through the historically well-known personality of Francis of Assisi. Observe what really took place. In a human being, in Francis of Assisi, there was a tremendous store of psychic life, in the shape of something which we have found in the ancient peoples of Europe as bravery and valor, which had been transformed into soul and spirit, and afterwards acted psychically and spiritually. Just as in ancient times that which had expressed itself as courage and valor led to personal expenditure of force, and manifested itself in Francis of Assisi in his younger days as extravagance, so it now led him to become prodigal of moral forces. He was full to overflowing with moral force, and this actually passed over to those to whom he turned his love.
Now try to realize that this moral force is a reality, just as much a reality as the air we breathe and without which we cannot live. It is a reality which flooded the whole being of Francis of Assisi, and streamed from him into all hearts to which he dedicated himself, for Francis of Assisi was prodigal of the abundance of force which streamed forth from him, and this is something which has streamed into and intermingled with the whole of the mature life of Europe, which has changed into a soul force, and thus worked, as it were, in the world of external reality.
Try to reflect upon these facts, which at first may apparently have nothing to do with the actual question of morality; try to grasp what is contained in the devotion of the Indian and the valor of the Norseman; reflect upon the healing effect of such moral forces as were exercised by Francis of Assisi; and then in our next lecture we shall be able to speak about real moral impulses and we shall see that it is not merely words which give rise to morality, but realities working in the soul.