Theologica Germanica

Chapter 41

Now that he is to be called, and is truly, a Partaker of the Divine Nature, who is illuminated with the Divine Light, and inflamed with Eternal Love, and how Light and Knowledge are worth nothing without Love.

Some may ask, ’What is it to be a ’partaker of the divine nature,’ or a Godlike man?’ Answer: he who is imbued with or illuminated by the Eternal or divine Light, and inflamed or consumed with Eternal or divine love, he is a Godlike man and a partaker of the divine nature; and of the nature of this True Light we have said somewhat already.

But ye must know that this Light or knowledge is worth nothing without Love. This ye may see if ye call to mind, that though a man may know very well what is virtue or wickedness, yet if he doth not love virtue, he is not virtuous, for he obeyeth vice. But if he loveth virtue he followeth after it, and his love maketh him an enemy to wickedness, so that he will not do or practise it, and hateth it also in other men; and he loveth virtue so that he would not leave a virtue unpractised even if he might, and this for no reward, but simply for the love of virtue. And to him virtue is its own reward, and he is content therewith, and would take no treasure or riches in exchange for it. Such an one is already a virtuous man, or he is in the way to be so. And he who is a truly virtuous man would not cease to be so, to gain the whole world, yea, he would rather die a miserable death.

It is the same with justice. Many a man knoweth full well what is just or unjust, and yet neither is nor ever will become a just man. For he loveth not justice, and therefore he worketh wickedness and injustice. If he loved justice, he would not do an unjust thing; for he would feel such hatred and indignation towards injustice wherever he saw it, that he would do or suffer anything that injustice might be put an end to, and men might become just. And he would rather die than do an injustice, and all this for nothing but the love of justice. And to him, justice is her own reward, and rewardeth him with herself; and so there liveth a just man, and he would rather die a thousand times over than live as an unjust man. It is the same with truth: a man may know full well what is true or a lie, but if he loveth not the truth he is not a true man; but if he loveth, it is with truth even as with justice. Of justice speaketh Isaiah in the fifth chapter: ’Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!’

Thus may we perceive that knowledge and light profit nothing without Love. We see this in the Evil Spirit; he perceiveth and knoweth good and evil, right and wrong, and the like; but since he hath no love for the good that he seeth, he becometh not good, as he would if he had any love for the truth and other virtues which he seeth. It is indeed true that Love must be guided and taught of Knowledge, but if Knowledge be not followed by love, it will avail nothing. It is the same with God and divine things. Let a man know much about God and divine things, nay, dream that he seeth and understandeth what God Himself is, if he have not Love, he will never become like unto God, or a ’partaker of the divine nature.’ But if there be true Love along with his knowledge, he cannot but cleave to God, and forsake all that is not God or of Him, and hate it and fight against it, and find it a cross and a sorrow.

And this Love so maketh a man one with God, that he can nevermore be separated from Him.

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