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Aphorisms

His other most important work was a collection of spiritual aphorisms, after the manner of Logau, published in 1674 under the title of "The Cherubinical Wanderer" ("Der cherubinische Wandersmann"). After having fallen into oblivion, this work was brought forward and re-edited by Friedrich von Schlegel, and has since then been several times republished. 252 It consists of a series of short sayings, generally comprised in a single couplet, at most in two or three, on the deepest relations of the human soul to God. Many of these sayings are pearls of wisdom, lustrous with a wealth of meaning which grows upon the reader the more he ponders them; but it is no less true that others pass the bounds of deep but sober thought into a mystical pantheism, of which the expression is often extremely and even wilfully jarring. Angelus defends himself against the charge of pantheism by an appeal to the writings of other mystics, especially Tauler; but Tauler, if at times he seems to merge the personality of the human soul in the abyss of the Divine Nature, is practically guarded by his clear, unflinching recognition of duty, and at least he never loses the Divine in the human. It is this last tendency which strikes at times an insoluble discord in these aphorisms. We can only give a very few of them:--










"Th'Unspeakable, that men use God to call,

Utters and shows itself in the One Word to all.

God is all virtue's aim, its impulse and its prize,

In Him its sole reward, its only 'wherefore' lies.

The nobler aught, the commoner 'twill be,

God and His sunshine to the world are free.

My God, how oft do I Thy gifts implore,

Yet know I crave Thyself, Oh, how much more!

Give what Thou wilt, eternal life or aught,

If Thou withhold Thyself, Thou giv'st me nought.

All goodness flows from God, therefore 'tis His alone;

Evil springs up in thee, that may'st thou call thy own.

253

Is aught of good in thee? Give God the praise of all

To claim it for thine own, is ever man's true Fall.

The noblest prayer is, when one evermore

Grows inly liker that he kneels before.

Faith by itself is dead, it cannot live and move

Till into it is breathed the living soul of Love.

The rose demands no reasons, she blooms and scents the air,

Nor asks if any see her, nor knows that she is fair.

How fairly shines the snow, whene'er the sun's bright beams

Illume and colour it with heavenly gleams;

So shines thy soul, white, dazzling as the snow,

When o'er it plays the Day-spring's radiant glow."

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