From his Exposition of the Magnificat of the Year 1521.


Scripture divides man into three parts, as says St Paul (1 Thess. v. 23): "God, the one God of peace, sanctify you through and through; that thus your whole Spirit, Soul, and Body, may be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." And every one of these three, together with the entire man, is also divided in another way into two portions, which are there called Spirit and Flesh. Which division is not natural, but attributive; i.e. nature has three portions—spirit, soul, and body—and they may all together be good or evil. And this is called being spirit or flesh, of which at present we are not to speak.1

The First Division.—The spirit is the highest, noblest part of man, wherewith he is fitted to apprehend intangible, invisible, eternal things; and it is briefly the house within which the faith and word of God dwells. Of this David (Ps. li. 10)

1 "Man," says Luther elsewhere, "with reason and will, internal and external, with body and soul, is called flesh, for the reason that he, with all his powers, internally and externally, only seeks that which is flesh, and is advantageous to the flesh. The soul is thus deeply immersed into the flesh, so that it wishes to preserve and protect it from suffering prejudice; and therefore that it is more flesh than the flesh itself." In the preface to the Epistle to the Romans, "Thou art not to understand flesh and spirit here in such a way as that flesh alone should be that which has to do with impurity, and spirit that which concerns what is internal in the heart; but St.

says, "Lord, make in my most inward part a right spirit," -i.e. an upright strong faith. Again, of those who were unbelieving he says (Ps. lxxviii. 37), "For their heart was not right towards God, and their spirit was not in faith towards God." (If the spirit be no longer holy, nothing besides is holy. But the spirit's holiness subsists in the simple, sincere faith, because the spirit does not concern itself with tangible things. Only the faith of the spirit is important.)

The Second—the soul—is just the same spirit conformed to nature, but still in another agency; namely, in that in which it vitalizes the body and operates through it, and is often taken in Scripture for the life. For probably the spirit might live without the body, but the body does not live without the spirit. We see this division as it lives and acts even in sleep also, and without intermission; and its manner is not to apprehend intangible things, but such as the reason can recognise and estimate. And thus the reason is here the light in this house; and when the spirit does not enlighten, as with a higher light, this light of reason rules; and therefore it can never be without error. For it is too feeble to act in respect of divine things. To these two divisions Scripture appropriates many things as sapientiam and scientiam—the wisdom to the spirit, the knowledge to the soul; and accordingly, also, hatred, love, desire, horror, and the like.

The Third is the body with its members, the agencies of which are only bringing into exercise and use what the soul knows and the spirit believes. And to adduce a parallel to this from Scripture, Moses made a tabernacle with three distinct compartments (Ex. xxvi. 33, 34, xxvii. 9). The first was called sanctum sanctorum, within which dwelt God, and there was no light therein; the second sanctum, within which stood a candlestick with seven pipes and lamps. The third was called

Paul, as Christ (John iii. 6), calls flesh, all that which is born of flesh, the whole man with body and soul, with reason and all senses; for the reason that everything in him is stirring towards the flesh. Therefore that thou mayest know to call him fleshly who without grace thinks, teaches, talks of high spiritual matters, as thou probably mayest learn it from the works of the flesh (Gal. v. 19), since he also calls heresy and hatred works of the flesh; and Rom. viii. 8 says, that through the flesh the law is weakened, which is said not of uncleanness, but of all sins, and most of all of unbelief, which is the most spiritual sin of all."

atrium, the court; and it was under the open heaven, in the light of the sun. In the same figure a Christian man is depicted. His spirit is sanctum sanctorum, God's dwelling-place iu dim faith without light. For he believes what he does not see, nor feel, nor apprehend. His soul is sanctum: there are seven lights; that is, all kinds of understanding, discrimination, knowledge, and perception of bodily visible things. His body is atrium, which is manifest to every man, that it may be seen what he does and hpw he lives. [If to a Christian his spirit be maintained entire and complete (jrvevfia oXoKXrjpov), the soul and the body may also continue accordingly without error and evil works. Otherwise it is not possible, where the spirit is faithless, that in such a case the soul and the whole life should not go wrong and ill; although probably they avail themselves of good intentions and imaginations, and use special devotion, and have pleasure therein. Let this for the present be sufficient for the illustration of the two words Soul and Spirit, for the reason that they are almost used in common in the Scripture.]



A. From the "Scriptural Thoughts of the Powers of Hie Human Soul," of Heinrich Willi. Clemmens (Prof, and Preacher at Bebenhausen)}

HEILBRONN, 1760, 8.

The powers of grace that operate in the soul, and new beget the man, determine the spirit of the man, which afterwards penetrates the entire soul; and in so far as the spirit's abode is in the innermost recesses of the soul, it is called the spirit of the mind, irvevfut Tov Voo?. As such a spirit it is again afterwards specially subjected, in a gratefully passive manner, to the Holy Spirit, and to His gracious influences, which are always carried

1 Communicated as the only endeavour known to me to establish the idea of iTntvfix Tov »oof, spiritus mentis. See above, p. 185; vid. Observation 2.

forward and exalted in the hearts of the faithful, and is related to these operations of the Holy Spirit, as human feeling considered in itself is related to the general assistance of grace, or to that grace which is common to the first man as to all men. "Spiritus est facultas animse," says in this sense Bengel, "quum ea spiritus divini operationem suaviter patitur; at vov<; est facultas animse foras progredientis et cum proximo agentis, 1 Cor. xiv. 14."

In respect of the Reason, so far as it alone rules, the word nvevfMf which points to a foreign power, not for one time only, stands as a manifest proof, that in the Reason man has a definite ground of his doings—peculiar, it is true, but altogether corrupted by sin. If, on the other hand, the Reason is used in good understanding, and by those who are brought under grace, it occurs that now and then such an epithet as irvevfia is applied thereto; while the faithful, for the very reason that they are under grace, allow their reason and all their senses to be animated by the operations of grace, and receive a spirit in themselves which afterwards may receive and retain in the innermost ground of the soul the impressions of the Holy Spirit, that does not until then rightly carry on and complete the condition of grace. Thus at least speaks the Holy Scripture; for otherwise it could not be known why, in 1 Cor. xiv. 14, irvevfia and vow, spirit and understanding, should be distinguished, and why, according to Eph. iv. 23, the believer is daily to allow himself to be renewed in the spirit of the understanding, irvevfia rov voo<;.

If the Reason works under grace, it becomes ever more qualified to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length, and the depth and height, of the knowledge of God which is in Christ Jesus. At the beginning, it abides by the first omnipresent grace which is near to all men; and if it here proves faithful, it will become from time to time invested with new grace, and so pervaded, that a spirit of understanding enlivens its doing and pleases God; and that these powers daily become renewed, awakened, and set in movement to the praise of the wisdom and glory of the great God and the Saviour Jesus Christ; and by the help of the good Spirit, and the gracious work of the perfecting Spirit, and His constant influx,

Even in the innermost ground of the soul,
Mingle themselves with the most childlike sighs.

Thus, then, in this innermost ground of the soul, the irvevfia Tov voos, the spirit of the mind and of all the powers of the soul, has its dwelling.

B. From a mediceval pamphlet, entitled " The Life of the Thinking Soul."


Here it is to be observed, that the soul is divided into three parts in the Scripture, and each part has its specific name. The lowest part is referred to the lowest powers; therefore it is named a soul when it is united with the part that is with the body, and gives to the body a life. The middle part of the soul is called a spirit, and is that which is conformed to the three highest powers. The highest part of the soul is that in which these three powers are originally in union; and when effluent, like the ray from the sun, it is called a mind or thought, and is the apex sharp and pointed of the soul, wherein (scil. the apex) the image of the Holy Trinity is impressed. And it is so noble, that no appropriate name can be given to it; but it is described in many words as best it can be. And this is the highest point in the soul, and the elevation of the spirit. These are the highest powers, which must precede a separation of the soul, that is, between the soul and the spirit. When this elevation transpires with the spirit, all is free. The division which, according to St Paul's words, is operative in us, is the living and powerful word of God, which is penetrating more than a sword that cuts on both sides, by which the spirit, free from all things, may prosecute its subtle work of inspection; and, as St Augustine says, nothing is more wonderful than this dividing between the soul and the spirit, since they are essentially one thing. But this division takes place for this reason, that in man might not be left that which is brutal and sensual, and that that which is spiritual in man might soar aloft in freedom; so that he may thus become fitted for the dignity of beholding the divine glory, and so be united to God, and transformed into God's own image. If he thus depends on God, he becomes a spirit with God.