О Боге

Beethoven, the Man and the Artist, As Revealed in His Own Words by Ludwig van Beethoven, edited by Friedrich Kerst and Henry Edward Krehbiel:

311. "I am that which is. I am all that was, that is, and that shall be. No mortal man has ever lifted the veil of me. He is solely of himself, and to this Only One all things owe their existence."

     (Beethoven's creed. He had found it in Champollion's "The Paintings
of Egypt," where it is set down as an inscription on a temple to the
goddess Neith. Beethoven had his copy framed and kept it constantly
before him on his writing desk. "The relic was a great treasure in his

312. "Wrapped in the shadows of eternal solitude, in the impenetrable darkness of the thicket, impenetrable, immeasurable, unapproachable, formlessly extended. Before spirit was breathed (into things) his spirit was, and his only. As mortal eyes (to compare finite and infinite things) look into a shining mirror."

     (Copied, evidently, from an unidentified work, by Beethoven; though
possibly original with him.)

313. "It was not the fortuitous meeting of the chordal atoms that made the world; if order and beauty are reflected in the constitution of the universe, then there is a God."

     (Diary, 1816.)

314. "He who is above,—O, He is, and without Him there is nothing."


315. "Go to the devil with your 'gracious Sir!' There is only one who can be called gracious, and that is God."

     (About 1824 or 1825, to Rampel, a copyist, who, apparently, had been
a little too obsequious in his address to Beethoven. [As is customary
among the Viennese to this day. H. E. K.])

316. "What is all this compared with the great Tonemaster above! above! above! and righteously the Most High, whereas here below all is mockery,—dwarfs,—and yet Most High!!"

     (To Schott, publisher in Mayence, in 1822—the same year in which
Beethoven copied the Egyptian inscription.)

317. "There is no loftier mission than to approach the Divinity nearer than other men, and to disseminate the divine rays among mankind."

     (August, 1823, to Archduke Rudolph.)

318. "Heaven rules over the destiny of men and monsters (literally, human and inhuman beings), and so it will guide me, too, to the better things of life."

     (September 11, 1811, to the poet Elsie von der Recke.)

319. "It's the same with humanity; here, too (in suffering), he must show his strength, i.e. endure without knowing or feeling his nullity, and reach his perfection again for which the Most High wishes to make us worthy."

     (May 13, 1816, to Countess Erdody, who was suffering from incurable

320. "Religion and thorough-bass are settled things concerning which there should be no disputing."

     (Reported by Schindler.)

331. "All things flowed clear and pure out of God. Though often darkly led to evil by passion, I returned, through penance and purification to the pure fountain,—to God,—and to your art. In this I was never impelled by selfishness; may it always be so. The trees bend low under the weight of fruit, the clouds descend when they are filled with salutary rains, and the benefactors of humanity are not puffed up by their wealth."

     (Diary, 1815. The first portion seems to be a quotation, but Beethoven
continues after the dash most characteristically in his own words and a
change of person.)

322. "God is immaterial, and for this reason transcends every conception. Since He is invisible He can have no form. But from what we observe in His work we may conclude that He is eternal, omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent."

     (Copied, with the remark: "From Indian literature" from an unidentified
work, into the Diary of 1816.)

323. "In praise of Thy goodness I must confess that Thou didst try with all Thy means to draw me to Thee. Sometimes it pleased Thee to let me feel the heavy hand of Thy displeasure and to humiliate my proud heart by manifold castigations. Sickness and misfortune didst Thou send upon me to turn my thoughts to my errantries.—One thing, only, O Father, do I ask: cease not to labor for my betterment. In whatsoever manner it be, let me turn to Thee and become fruitful in good works."

     (Copied into the Diary from Sturm's book, "Observations Concerning the
Works of God in Nature.")