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BV 5082 .A4 1918 Addison, Charles Morris, 1856-1947. The theory and practice of mysticism
THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF MYSTICISM .
RECTOR OF ST. CONN. P.^^^^ ^^' MAY 2 1918 D. JOHN'S CHURCH.D. DUTTON y COMPANY 681 FIFTH AVENUE . STAMFORD. .. p.THE THEORY AND PRACTIC| OF MYSTICISM CHARLES MORRIS ADDISON. NEW YORK E.
COPYEIGHT. Bv E. 191 8. DUTTON & COMPANY Printed in the antted States of Hmertea . P.
TO JOHN WALLACE SUTER WITH WHOM I HAVE SOUGHT FOR GOD .
thought it was a curious abnormality in the religious life of the past.PREFACE The this lectures which form the substance of volume were written at the request of the Faculty of the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge and were delivered there in May. Tennessee. This will explain their familiar char- acter. So had I once thought. Sewanee. I was speaking to to friends whom them I wished to it interest in Mysticism. 19 1 5. because of its growing importance in and for the life of to-day. But I have been led by so many unlooked-for . They were not written for publication but for intimate conferences with younger ministers and young men studying for the ministry. to get to study and practise it. in November of the same year. They did not think Mysticism had any mesThey sage for them or for their people. at the Theological Department of the University of the South. They were given also.
I wish to express my thanks Burns and Oates for permission to quote from their edition of Francis Thompson's poems. Lowell. and also to Houghton Mifflin Company for similar privileges in connection with the works of C. So I wrote out of my own heart and the lectures came out more like sermons than essays. that I felt drawn to get others to start on the same path and to outgo me. minister or layman can walk in it. . to Messrs. In conclusion. to the Macmillan Company for of Tennyson and the their permission to give extracts from their editions Matthew Arnold. M.iii Preface and gracious openings to feel differently and to gain so much. surely any other man. A. because I was a missionary and not a professor. For if the Way was open to me.
VI. The Longing for God and tions Its Implica- 3 39 74 II. Francis of Assisi. The Way Toward God III.106 149 183 Modern Mysticism Practical Mysticism . Heinrich Suso and . . IV.CONTENTS I. Mother Julian of Norwich V. The Meeting Point St. .
THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF MYSTICISM .
there are 3 many little hand- . Du Prel and Recejac and James and others have made much clearer ''the bases of the mystic knowledge. There has of late been much careful study of Mysticism as a Science. On the other hand. but they tend rather to make more intelligent the criticism of Mysticism than to make more Mystics. may be of What we use in are. to be interested is and its psychological methods. to understand its philosophical and theological assumptions hope. it. I Mysticism as an Art." but their discussions are mainly academic. They are tremendously interesting.THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF MYSTICISM THE LONGING FOR GOD AND These learning ITS IMPLICATIONS lectures are concerned with the the- ory of Mysticism only as that how to practise in.
attributed to a few peculiar people a mental aberration. and more. to seek its foundation in our common human in nature. have been actual practice of Mysticism. whose authors and tion. to explain . most of them having more than in the I interest in the body soul. give the art of being a Mystic a firmer basis than is afforded by the little tract. ories they should make use of the the- studies of others. *'How to Wake the Solar Plexus. upon very weak philosophical presuppositions. which are founded (some of them) upon very distorted views of psychology. an ascetic life.4 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism books. titles I need not menwhich offer you short and easy paths to the practice of Mysticism. show the implications contained its and having discovered essence. to it. it ." Too long has Mysticism been regarded as a peculiar thing. my practical suggestions : — at times attached to sists. and try to show how the have set forth may be applied to the and by making depend upon scientific foundations. but the thing itself per- And my aim is to get at the thing itself. a theological heresy. like to I should mediate between these two like to extremes. and with theological ideas widely at variance with the truths of Christianity. All these.
and of certain implications contained in it. the individual idiosyncrasies and the theological vagaries which lie in wait for the student of Mysticism. show how the art is to be practised and so make it useful in our lives and in the lives of those to whom we are called to min- ister. as painting and sculpture are founded on man's craving for beauty. will is show us how Mysticism. In this lecture I purpose to speak of this longing. but assuming them exactly as Mysticism does. Only so shall we be kept from drifting into side issues and non-essentials. say that the cause of Mysticism conscious need of God.The Longing for God and Its Implications 5 its method. Such feeling a course will also help us to understand the common and I which binds us practical to the Mystics. Mysticism is founded on man's conscious need of communion with God. Everything else in Mysticism grows It is the art which some men out of this. and be guided by this golden thread through the psychological intricacies. and modern a thing is man's This makes a very broad foundation. to proceed to build our study on them. have developed to satisfy this need. as broad as religion itself. not to prove any of them. .
If there called the Book of were no unsatisfied desires in the religious life there would be nothing to promise but the Jews looked forward. There is a longing in the human heart for God. universal and inextinguishable. with the promise of a Seed . he does not know. his fetishes and medicine men. yearned and strained their eyes. it may not even be clearly known. but we know that all he does comes from the outreach of his soul towards something not himself. They are the people of a still unfulfilled prophecy. Adam All the way from and Eve. but it is there in every The savage with his crude rites and heart.6 The Theory and is Practice of Mysticism for Mysticism only one form of religion. which his tainable. may not clearly formulate his want. It may not always be acknowledged. it breaks ofif in the mid. Their book is an unfinished torso. a longing so deep and so intense that it was well called by one who knew the dryness of the Syrian desert the "thirst" of the soul for the living God. Just what the want or whence the satisfaction come. — dle of a sentence. cruel sacrifices. thirst All the is way through. the for a Saviour the most prominent characteristic of their Book. is The Old Testament Promise. felt want leads him is to to believe is obis.
in a dry and weary land where no water is. thirsteth for God.The Longing for God and Its Implications 7 which should deliver their posterity from the curse of their sin. that I knew where I might might come even to his seat. that I The Psalms. Isaiah 55:6. 2. with his anx"Art thou he that should come ious question or look we for another?" always there is the constant onlooking expectation and desire. * call ye upon him while he is near. :i. seek thee my soul thirsteth for thee." find him. • * Psalm 63 :i. so panteth shall I my soul after thee. my stroke is heavier than ^ my groaning. my longeth for thee. Psalm 42 3." * • Job 23 :2. thou art my God. and so learn why all his troubles had come upon him: "Even to-day is my complaint bit: ter." ^ "Seek ye the Lord while he may be found. earnestly . O God. deepest expressions of the refull are of these longings: "As the hart panteth after the water brooks. my soul When will I flesh come and appear before God?" ^ "O God. The whole drama of the life of Job is the delineation of his strugg^le to find and reach God. for the living God. John the Baptist. . down to that last Old Testament character. Oh. ligious life.
of the appalling contrast between the hallowed glory of that creed which was once mine and the lonely mys- tery of existence as now it I find it. as think at times I must. It is felt persists. which was but the visible expression of a desire to reach the ultimate Zeus. way (and all words remind us of left with their sublime trust out) : "When at times I think. The his latter said. whoever he might be. — at such times I shall ever feel impossible to avoid . The same longing to-day. show us the Father. in the lives of such men Kingdon Clifford and George Romanes. by physicians and philosophers and poets. cases are almost as well The known lost as the texts I have quoted. and it sufficeth us". before he found the Job's. There his it. It is about us by many men of science. and the altar to the Unknown God. and who knew his loss and deplored There are few things more pathetic than the awful void made. who not only God but the very enjoyment of poetry and music out of life.8 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism And remember Philip's question: "Lord. is Darwin. by a wrong idea of the nature of the as he and proof required before a man could find God.
." ^ for God and Its Implications 9 pang of which my nature is sus- know For such men a glory has departed. With Dotting echoing^ straits between us thrown.: The Longing the sharpest ceptible. of a longing which just missed connection with its object: knew where it in the "Yes. live alone. Romanes. Few have voiced it better than Matthew Arnold. They may not re- peat the world-old cry of Job: *'0h. that I I might find him". 29. Ends we seek." We Again mortal millions "We but dream we have our wish'd for powers. in the sea of life enisled. they may veil garb of scientific research or in the imagery of the poet. regain It is a common condition in these days among many men. watery wild. Ah some power exists there which is ours ? Some end is there we indeed may gain ?" ! heart for ^ But the proof of the longing of the human God does not depend only upon the p. But the question is there. Thoughts on Religion. we never shall attain. the poet of aloofness. tlie shoreless. and they miss it and seek to it. and they it is gone.
they are only potentially Mystics. Our own hearts tell the Sometimes it is weak and does not trouble us. and knows it. but there are degrees of desire.lo The Theory and Practice of Mysticism testimony of others. I think that the only reason you and I are not Mystics is that we do not want God enough. this unsatisfied yearn- the cause. who have felt this The Mystics are the people want most keenly and been I is . Man is incomplete. and that heart find rest in in each of us is restless until God. Now. is same We have felt the longing. This means that while all men may be religious. and sometimes it breaks out fiercely and will not let us alone. He received no answer to his eager questions until may learn a lesson from the . have said that all men feel it that the want universal. all It is because there it is one it heart in of us and God made for himself. the fundamental postulate of Mysticism. and will be satisfied with noth- ing less than God. very lonesome. and went to an Indian Sage to learn how to find him. the reason. ing is as I have said. Most of the time our spiritual life story. We young man in Vivekananda's story who thought he wanted God more than anything. most desperately in earnest to satisfy it.
towards a good which the heart imperatively demands and may which the mind cannot conceive. or rather very inexplicable. It is a state of desire. as a passion of the soul . but which is characterized well enough by the German word Sehnsucht. Then he released him. "A breath of air. is a state of the soul which it is difficult to define. as regards both its object and its cause.The Longing he had gone for God and times. Its Implications ii Then the Sage rose and took the young man down to the river to bathe with him." And the Sage said "When you want God as you wanted that breath of air you will find him. very indetermi- nate. the first moment. It is an aspiration towards an unknown object. Such a state indeed be found in men of very different ." As Emile Boutroux says: "The starting point. And when the young man had recovered the Sage said to him: "What did you want most when you were under the water ?" The young man answered. and while they were in the water the Sage suddenly grasped the young man and held him down under the water till he was almost drowned. very real and liable to be very infrom his meditation : many tense. vague and disturbed.
the more is she drawn toward the Father. . 1908. and may have very different deit is grees of signification. And this is the is drawing of the Father." and then from Ruysbroek. January.12 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism characters. as were in a glance or flash. In the Mystic pro- found and lasting. The longing breathes through their every utterance. which gradually forms for itself an idea of the object of its aspiration." ® Any one who will spend one hour with the Mystics will need no proof of this statement. Thus is the soul drawn and quickened into a union with the Eternal Goodness. p. and thus the soul taught of Him who draweth her unto Himself. and unite herself with the Father. from the "Theologia Germanica. the soul conceiveth a long- ing to approach unto the Perfect Goodness. And is the stronger this yearn- ing groweth. it works in the soul. that she cannot enter into a union with Him except she come unto Him by the 'International Journal of Ethics. and the more is revealed unto her. and her desire quickened. and lastly from the old English mystic writing called "The Cloud of Unknowing": Christ. 183. first Let me only quote these passages. "Now mark how the When somewhat Father draweth of this Perfect men unto Good is disit covered and revealed within the soul of man. the more revealed unto her.
" * any thought rise and will press continually above thee betwixt thee and that darkness. and what wouldest thou have ?' say thou that it is God that thou wouldest if "And have. . Trans. while our impotence is likewise eternal. and naught but Him. need there are conMan is incomplete and knows pleteness. and they can never be "Here there begins an nevermore be satisfied. which shall satisfied. 'Him "> I covet. it. 201- 202. p. for they are eager and greedy. you see. And as the spirit desires joy. I Behold! she puttcth on ^ tliat life of which have spoken afore. pp. God and our capacity for Germanica. eternal hunger. Theologia by Winkworth : pp. it is always longing to realize Be^old then the beginning of an eternal aspirajoy. tion and of eternal eflForts. but he has also a sense of com- If he did not he could not know his incompleteness. faction The want postulates its satis- It implies.' " Now in this sense of tained certain implications. These are the poorest of all men. and is invited and constrained by God to partake of it. * The Cloud of Unknowing. and ask thee saying. and of our created spirit towards an uncreated good. •Maeterlinck: Ruysbroek and the Mystics.The Longing life for God and now Its Implications 13 of Christ." It is the yearning and the inward aspiration of our faculty of love. 'What seekest thou. ' and also its own capacity to receive it. 147-148. Him I seek. 90.
there must be co-operation by man. given a certain axiom. only fair to say at once that I make There is my own these presuppositions of Mysticism. or man's spiritual relationship to him. possession. there follow. (e) While the priority must be on of God.e. in our study of Mysticism. if this able to get at longing. It is a Mystic Way. it. (d) To obtain this satisfaction there must be some essential relationship between God and the side Man. there are implied in certain apparently necessary deductions: (a) tion. and the ultimate possibility of our being him in complete and satisfying communion. be given. universal and in some men intense. satisfaction short of the Infinite God. if in- complete. there are practical means to be used to gain the end. As in geometry. certain deductions flow naturally from it. or . The mere longing The mere longing There can be no implies its satisfac- (b) (c) implies a prior. so here.14 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism God. and as no Mystic has ever cared to prove the existence of God. it We cannot understand together unless we can meet it on its own ground. i.
for the longing is as wide as humanity and many men have tried to satisfy it in many ways. so I feel no need if I it. But for us we must leave aside the fascinating field of Mysticism as it is found among non-Christian systems of religion and thought. The savage dimly gropes. the Positivist his Humanity. to Christian Mysticism. With sublime confidence our Mysticism God for granted. to do more than base I this study on these as facts. the Buddhist has his Nirvana. It is is but Christian Mysticism. Jesus Christ no more thought of proving the existence of God takes this than you and I would think of stopping now to prove the existence of the atmosphere in and through which we are speaking and listening . as it a large subject is. and confine our study. the Philosopher his Absolute. but for the Christian God. even the Mystic his Abyss. but the whole enormous. and assume at once that the longing is not for Nirvana or the Unknowable.The Longing for God and Its Implications 15 the possibility of intercommunion with him. to should never get to my subject were obliged prove every step leading to And it is only fair to add that our subject is not Mysticism in general. as our practice must be confined.
All the so-called proofs are only ex- post facto reasonings on facts already given by God.^^ " "There is no demonstration mode of demonstration whose of the being of God. and Christ was so sure. whereas number is used in every we show its existence by using it. even : 'You cannot prove the existence of a Deity by any reasoning process. : of the Unknowable. the existence of God cannot be demonstrated if He is the W^hole. The proofs. when we try to put Him far from us as The attempt to prove the existence of God would be like endeavoring to prove that number exists by the use of certain numerals. Christ found God already in- stalled in the heart of man. by which the reasonableness of his existence is demonstrated after the fact is already known. as : we are slow to perceive. being of God by man there may be the manifestation of God to man. p. object is In every it. that God cannot be proved. are merely his manifestations. for there may be nothing in a logical conclusion ." [Mulford: The Republic of God. It is not a truth that is to be counted among the achievements There can be no demonstration of the of human thought. multitudinous and manifold.] "Surely. that about the he could not bring himself to argue mere existence of the Father in whose Being and Love he perpetually rested. and the arguments merely expositions of his modes of manifestation. then. the ground and content of all demonstration. And more than this he must have known. 5. to arrive at it is assumed. It can form no term in the formulas of logic.16 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism to each other. possible demonstration all thought.
which God. The Psychic Factor. p. and what the Mystic has actually done. It is something which men have all along taken for granted. this relation of long- ing between is man and the invisible world. it may be said that all mankind.] "It is with purpose that T use the word assumption. He will not be logically found in your conclusion. to be "one'd" in his deepest nature with God. and if God be in your premises. tlie existence of a quasi-human God has always been an assumption or postulate.] . As a matter of history. or deities of a psychical nature similar to that of humanity. is a satisfaction prepared If. It probably never occurred to any one to try to prove the existence of such a God until it was doubted. is a relation of which only the subjec- which was not in the premises. you have begged the question.) The first inference we draw from this longing of man for God is that such longing . 204). The Mystic does not care to know anything about God he wants to know God. to feel you can have that God is. and doubts on that subject are very modern. more or less Such a postulate has formed a part of all human thinking from primitive ages down to the present time.' " [Dresser: The Perfect Whole. Omitting from the account a few score of ingenious philosophers. 81-82 (quoting Van Norden." [Fiske: Through Nature to Cod. and as far as he can. implies that there for it. p. (A.The Longing for God and Its Implications 17 The this is best proof to experience him. as John Fiske says. have taken for granted the existence of a Deity. is him touch you. the wisest and the simplest. pp. If He be not in your premises. 164.
a God. and food. God. that we are For one transcendant moment. Whereas now we are infinitely obliged. is real. ecy that he shall be found. And if want be a treasure. Nowhere in Nature do we find such maladjustment to environment. then it is something utterly without precedent in the whole history of creation. even so low as that — are proofs all its somewhere is water. we never could have been obliged. We could never else have enjoyed anything: Our own wants are treasures. some time. The universal healthy longing for God is a proof that there nay. positiveness ." ^^ ""Wants are the bands and cements between God and us. and a prophI say this with all more "The thing we long for. Nowhere do we find the implantation of a desire which has not somewhere provided for it its complete satisfaction. is non-existent. sure everything is . From Eternity it was requisite that we should want. because we want infinitely. and the objective term. of the eagle for his mountain. Therefore every longing satisfaction is a prophecy and a proof of provided somewhere. drink. is somehow. Had we not wanted. of the ass for his master's crib.: i8 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism tive term. and crag. Man. and mate. —nay. The longing of the duck for the water. of the moose for that his mate. for every thirst has and to thirst is to postulate the drink.
will Fichte held) learning.' said Pascal. we could never have enjoyed His eternal Blessedness. And so." [Traherne: Centuries of Meditations. the Wants are the ligatures between God and sinews live in that convey Senses from Him into us. "In the physical world hunger is a mark of health and the want of appetite proclaims disease. that "In accord with this conjecture as to the position of reit is determined by the movement will-to-believe. that the seeking brings the finding with it. It is of is an old observation of religious : ex- perience. Whatever we impute — living beneficence: the world will not reject this imputation." stagnation.' The religiousness of man's nature is world comes back to us as a quality pre-resident there is this not Impute then to the world a the whole illusion of reality? to the substance of his revelation. p." [Hocking. so the spirit is dead if it has no longing.] . And had we not been created to love Him. So the mind grows through the longing to know. For had we not been obliged by having our wants satisfied. written that he who is seeks finds the connecinfallible tion between seeking and finding infallible. 34-35-1 ligious truth. will be even as you have willed it.The Longing for God and Its Implications 19 Everywhere in this Hfe satisfaction means and stagnation means death. we should not have been created to love Him. came 'like a flash of the whole the solution of a problem that had long appeared insoluble. But he who seeks finds has already found. Your belief becomes (as an evidence of your character not of your — proved to him. and to Sabatier this thought light . us. whereby we Him. 147. pp. never find Him. . . The Meaning of God in Human Experiwaits his assent till He who God is — ence. namely. but may be thus understood. and feel His enjoyments. Such it connection may be many-wise understood. 'Thou wouldst not seek me hadst thou not already found me.
20 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism It is the mood of hope. for more of his life. for ever closer that they communion with him. "I am come have it may have life. partial possession. but also a present. speaking from 'In that thou hast sought me. crying ever for more intimate knowledge of Christ and more and more of the fulness of God. Paul said: I I "Brethren. this intense desire to know more of God. and that they may more abundantly. on whatever radiant height he be." ^^ it. ''He hath set Eternity in their As Augustine says. but we see him after that." and wherever hended. . They are seeking a PresGod's side. of his power." The Mystics themselves realize this. this longing not only implies a satisfaction to be provided in the future.) Next. in to There must be something of the Infinite us or we could not know enough about it long for heart. more of the divine likeness in the soul. of his holiness. may he is still pressing on with unsatisfied longings and quenchless ardor towards loftier summits. 3:11. though not yet understood. (B. "Eccles. count not myself to have apprepress on." And St. the only hopeful sign. thou hast already found me.
ought of him graciously. that we can never seek God until what time that he of his goodAnd when we see ness sheweth him to us. at least Him less account was seeking Him that Him with an increased affection. and I had him and wanted him: and this is and should be our common working in this life. p.: The Longing ence which is for God and Its Implications 21 St. than it or. to seek with great desire to see him more blessedfully. Hear Bernard Songs" in his Homilies on the "Song of "I sought after sirous to love. for Him whom my it soul was de- was not then wished to do. it seems to St. Bernard : "Mother Juliana: Revelations of Divine Love. 28. p. . And thus I saw him and sought him. it able to love it One whom loved it had not yet found. then are we stirred by the same grace." ^* I : now so blind And *• it is not so far a cry as Song of Songs. as to my sight. and on that might love though as- suredly it would not have sought Him without having some degree of love for Him previously." ^* And "For in the most beautiful language Mother Juliana of Norwich expresses the same idea: saw him and sought him for we be and so unwise. 35. already within them.
Vol. That But . the Individual. consciousness of this inner meaning of even our poorest ideas. p. we not are seeking something which. live. the child's. "It is this instinct that who says: we for the merely articulate when we talk of true Being means something for us. however. We we seek. thing of which we are crying for some- The search for we have just caught a glimpse. God really follows the finding It is of us by God. because he has suggested himself to us that we immediately realize our seeking love. We seek a city still out of sight.22 The Theory and Practice o£ Mysticism our first own day and our own homing Royce. even The atmosphere you and I stretch before the lungs. because of the positive presence and finite Being. then already we is actually possess something of finite Being even in our if seeking ^^ for the readi- ness to seek already something of an ata poor one." is tainment. . in a very small measure. In the conif this trast with this goal be so. Royce : The World and i8i. the result of his prior. mother's love before the And so when out our hands for holiness already. or it. I. is a fact. It is need and crave ** its satisfaction. we have we could know how to long for When we cry out for the living God.
when she sought Thee. but art that one thing which is only necessary and which alone can satisfy our souls? Was it any comfort to Mary Magdalene. "I desire not that which comes forth from thee. Thou wast.) Having this glimpse of the Infinite God. VI." '' As "O the poet Faber says majesty unspeakable and dread! Wert thou less mighty than thou art. I dung say. to find two angels which presented themselves instead of Thee? Verily. No demigods will do. my Lord alone. p. cap. that she whilst may gain Thee? What Thou givest not Thyself. I cannot think was any joy unto her. " Gertrude More Spiritual Exercises. O Lord. Too little for our heart. but only I desire Thee. O sweetest love. For that soul that hath set her whole love and desire on Thee can never find any true satisfaction but only in it Thee. 26. the longing for him cannot be satisfied with anything less than the Infinite.: The Longing for God and Its Implications 23 (C." ^^ "Alas. "Catherine of Genoa. : . God. Vita e Dottrina. too great for our belief. what is al Thou canst give to a loving soul which sigheth and panteth for Thee and esteemeth al things as is al.
" ^' is (D. " The Cloud of UnknoixAng. satisfy. are greater than our qualification for perfect They do not we know. 20. not long for anything if We could we ourselves had reached finality." ^* ''Surely he that seeketh will not rest God perfectly he him finally in the is in of any angel or saint that remembrance Heaven. love. 24 The Theory and "But greatness which Practice of Mysticism is infinite makes room For all tilings in its lap to lie We should be crushed by a magnificence Short of infinity. are not here? Why do we seek things that Why do we not sing through because these days are the the world as the bluebird sings through the spring days? bird's is all.. nor our ears with their hearing. and being made divine and That lies just in this sense of want. Our intellects are not filled with their knowledge nor our hearts with their —great. which makes us superior to the beasts of the "Poems. and so our eyes are not satisfied with their seeing. It is and they are not our all. We beautiful as these satisfactions are they are not enough for us.) And then again this longing the proof of our divinity and capacity. p. p. io6. This world not our whole environment. .
p. good thing possible. I am not arguing but only belong together. but because the Infinite finite There is a which is the cause of all the yearning and which makes the yearning muThis the Mystic takes for granted also. not only because little attached to longa glimpse and a wc have possession already. There is a Sonship in Humanity because there This makes every is a Fatherhood in God. 82. Christian Ethics. . and so we do. into our own weakness and shall be satisfied. Vol." "^ can show himself in : Wendt. The Teachings of Jesus. clares that "The Teachings of Jesus. tual. is infinitely in his Ethics: "Every man richer in his being than in his perinfinitely formance. I. Eph. not only because we demand and the the Infinite. Vol." Romans 8:10. 13:5." de"God does not become the Father. self or is more than he shows himto be. 193. I John 3:1. 3:17. I. II Cor.The LfOnging field is for God and Its Implications 25 just this superior and superb insight insufficiency. p. but is the Heavenly Father even of those "" who become His sons. real relationship illustrating when I (luute: "" Martensen says. God and Man belong together. Some day we And is satisfied not only because satisfaction ing.
The Theory and
Practice of Mysticism
"What such experiences may be more compactly
stated in terms of
the logic of communication as follows:
order that any two beings should establish
communication they must already have something in common."
"As every being
capable of attracting
way, like God, as bearing within itself some resemblance to its Prototype, the soul is by a strict necessity atIn fact, what tracted to the kindred Deity. belongs to God must, by all means and at any ^^ cost, be preserved for Him." "For nothing can have any longing desire but after its own likeness, nor could anything be made to desire God, but that which came from Him and had the nature of Him." ^^ "The Word became flesh that He might
capable of receiving Divinity."
not lost God.
They have only lost the way to God. God needs to be made real and present before men can be
The Meaning of God
" Gregory of Nyssa
The Soul and
the Resurrection, quoted
Studies in Mystical Religion, William Law, The Spirit of Love.
II, p. 59.
They must exchange
for a constant feeling of his pres-
they must be made aware what Mysticism undertakes to do. It is not vaL^ue, but immediately and intensely practical. The need is real and nothing but reality will satisfy it. It is an Art to be
practised rather than a Science to be reasoned
considers that the academic question,
"Is there a the
is best answered by showing by obtaining a personal con-
viction of his presence.
so the Mystic's
a personal one:
and how may
him?" Therefore there is a Mystic way. Men must understand the path call it what you or the process or the rules which will help them to get into comwill munion with God. The trouble with most of
from lack of desire or from lack of knowledge of the way. Our souls have not yet Such a touch is thrilled at the touch of God. not a casual happening, a matter of luck, or even of temperament. It is real, and the real in us must be developed until like meets like. Cor ad cor loquitur, and we know even as we
called the Mystic
The Theory and
Practice of Mysticism
before treating of
ture I will gather up something of what
have been thinking and anticipate something of what we are going to think and try to make
into a definition of Mysticism.
have said that Mysticism was most true also, and must be said, that the deepest things in life, it is hard to
Definition always tends to clearness,
sometimes we have a knowledge which it not easy to put into words. So Mysticism
almost defies definition.
and yet as recognizable as Beauty, or Love or God, yet still it is possible to get a better understanding of it and to approach some sort of definition which will be true as far as it
The word Mysticism is commonly used in many connections, and very loosely. Sometimes
used to denote Symbolism or Al-
undue stress upon poetic form. means the wildest vagaries of Oriental occultism and magic, and sometimes
merely the harmless idiosyncrasies of the poor
only unpractical and cannot balIf
ance his accounts.
not understand a
man's theology we think we have condemned it when we have called it mystical. But if we press further for a proper under-
we are met by just as much divergence among those scholars who attempt a definition as among the unthinking
standing of the thing
crowd which does not care
Bampton Lectures on "Christian Mystilist
cism." gives a selected
of twenty-six, and
safe in saying that not
Perhaps we can best guide ourselves through their confusion by dividing them into four classes 1st: Those which mistake disparagement and abuse for definition, as Noack: "Mysticism is formless speculation"; and Vaughan, who, after spending many "Hours with the Mystics" can only say of them that their principle is "That form of error which mistakes
than two of them agree.
for a divine manifestation the operations of
human faculty." And then you know Harnack, who, with Hermann and the whole Ritschlian school, bitterly opposes a Mysticism
they misunderstand, defines
applied to a sphere above reason"
mann says bluntly that "the Mystic's experience of God is a delusion."
" But it is wrong always to define anything by its abnormalities or even by its exaggerations. as defines it when Ewald by saying: "Mystical theology begins by maintaining that man has fallen away from God and craves to be again united with him." This is perfectly true. Cal- .30 The Theory and It is certain Practice of Mysticism that these statements do not at least believe that not all help us. 2nd: Those who would describe Mysticism by its aberrations and excesses. and Max Nordau "Mysticism blurs outlines and makes the transparent opaque. but Mysticism is more than. rapture for says of it: philosophy". Homo-sexuality is not love. There is a normal and an abnormal love. as with Vic- tor Cousin. 3rd: Those who run to the other extreme and would define Mysticism in such broad and general terms as to merge it into ordinary Christian living and thought. who defines it as consisting "in substituting ecstasy for reason. and so there is a normal and an abnormal Mysticism. We must Mystics are fools if we would come into any sympathetic apprehension of their teaching. and while we may learn much from the diversions from the norm. or is at least not exactly like. we must not confound the two nor make the exception the rule.
that the trend of our Christian Hving is to be more and more towards Mysticism as its most perfect expression when properly understood and used. " Atonement and Personality. regarded by ordinary Chris- an abnormal by-way or by-re- gion of special experiences rather than as the realization in special fulness of that the central inspiration which is and meaning of all it- Christian life as well practical as contempla- tive. And Moberly. there would have been no Mysticism. the Holy Ghost. We may all hope.The Longing for God and Its Implications 31 vinism or evangelicalism. Had ." ^^ Such definitions evaporate all that is definite in Mysticism. his great book. . in "Atonement and Personality. is while Christianity which is content to remain 'non- impoverished at the very center of All Christians profess to believe in being. in other words." as says: "In proportion is Mysticism either claims to be or tians as being. and perhaps some us expect. But just now we are seeking a definition that will really dep. 315. only all Christians un- derstood and lived up to their belief they would all have been Mystics or. in that proportion does the Mysticism directly liable to various self become forms of the exaggeration mystical' its and unhealthiness.
that bring them close together again. 4th : Recejac says : "Mysticism claims to be able to know the from dialectics. that "that type of religion which puts the emphasis on immediate awareness of relation with God. cannot attain. the Mystic xv. p. as Prof. "The Mystics in Mystical Religion. both in its philosophy and its practice." And Miss " Studies ** *" Underbill says: p. omitting all that it has in common. unaided. most truly.32 fine The Theory and our subject. intense and living stage. Jones says." -^ but we must first distinguish clearly its principles and methods from those which are non-mystical. I Practice of Mysticism hope to show. Unknowable without help and is persuaded that by means it of love and will reaches a point to which -" thought. Ru"Mysticism is simply Religion in its most acute. . definitions. 7. hope more.'' And Rufus M. Mysticism is Jones says. p. on direct and intimate con^^ sciousness of the divine Presence. Studies in Mystical Religion. xv. from the last So we may group of which try to tell us something of Mysticism where it is dififerentiated from ordinary forms of Christianity. before we can intelligently fus M. The Bases of Knowledge. I think.
p. p. in that inefifable experience which they call the act of union. 26.'' Schure defines Mysticism as ''The art of finding God in one's self. itself is divine.The Longing for God and Its Implications 33 find the basis of their method not in logic but in life. James Thayer Addison : what is to follow. In theological language their theory is of knowledge essentially that the spirit of man." I "^^ hardly dare to add another to the undefinable many definitions of Mysticism. he can express this experience least inadequately as a union with the Divine. the only reality. : *" Mysticism in the Fourth Gospel. that. which can. a spark of true being within the seeking subject. capable of immediate ''^ communion with God. especially after call- ing it . fuse itself with and thus apprehend the reality of the sought object. 28. . and yet it T am impelled to do so in the hope that may clear the way for a better understanding of " Underbill Mysticism." is "Mysticism ence in which ly that is form of religious experi- man so directly and intuitive- conscious of God's presence within him. with the aid of symbols. in the existence of a discoverable real.
as the Creed of a Mystic. viz. that kind believes but in terms of a man. And — — lastly. but he perseveres until he accomplishes his purpose and attains real union with God. an experience of intimate communion with God. are only helpful . But we must remember while necessary for a science.34 The Theory and if I Practice of Mysticism even have to anticipate some of I my state- ments. I call tion It your attention to what is in my definiand not in the others. To carry this out he believes that by a course of training he may so develop his inmost self call it what you will that his whole nature becomes open and susceptible to God to such a degree that the fact of God's presence within him becomes. and I say that a Christian Mystic is of a Christian who longs for. the supreme reality of his life. the true Mystic not only has this longing fit for God and this determination to himself for God. that definitions. I think this is important. and who he can have. the method. in this life. It is such a personal thing that it prefer to describe not as a system called Mysticism. This is his supreme purpose. through Christ. connects the Longing with the Fruition by : a Way. for him.
It is open to all who want God enough to put themselves in it. There is a Mystic Way. and if we follow it it brings its own reward. Fortunately we do not have to depend upon definitions. result. ence. and the atmosphere of their country is so rare that we cannot breathe it suddenly. with . where so many of us have so far failed. nor is it a matter of logical demonstration. taste and see !* say they cry in accents of astound- ing certainty and joy. cism by defining its It is a life which must make is appeal to our lives. then there in our hearts before we can even see those who have seen him. Leave your deep and absurd trust in the senses. and it ends at the last by their finding themselves in him. heart are the ones If the pure in who see God. but never as doers. for God and Its Implications 35 We can never understand Mystiit. As Coventry Patmore makes them " 'Oh. their lives are lived on a plane to which we have not yet reached. 'Ours is an experimental sciits We can but communicate our system. We come to you not as thinkers. They have been to the country we only read about. in establishing direct communion with God.: The Longing for an art. They have succeeded. and if we choose must be some purity we can follow it. and best studied in the lives of the Mystics themselves.
as seen by the mys. have arisen who. for here each man must Is adventure for himself but we defy you to stigmatize our experiences as impossible or invalid. and the impossibility of attaining to the doubtless admirable grazing One after another. straining frantically at the rope. assuring you that we have slipped the knot and are free of those grazinggrounds. idealists lies beyond it. our veracity. to be flung back at last into the tion. cannot promise you what we have seen. dark. which may possibly you anything. We . she has surely report fact but can never communicate personality. with you. formless. your world of experience so well and logically founded that you dare make of it a standard? Philosophy tells you that it is founded on nothing better Certainly it it than the reports of your sensory apparatus and the traditional concepts of the race. If philosophy has taught taught you the length of her tether. perfect. have announced to the world their approaching liberty only land which ." real than that which will is expounded by the youngest and most promising demonstrator of the psycho-chemical universe. This is evidence which you are bound to bring into account before you can add up the sum for you will find it imtotal of possible knowledge possible to prove that the world. yet one that refuses to die out. "unimaginable.36 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism their language of dot and dash. our results. that We much be quite candid like : Examine us shall see as as you our ma- chinery. little circle of sensa- But here we are. probably it is im- is illusion . in any event. with excess of is less bright. tics. it is true. never . a small family.
. I beg find it less unfamiliar than you think. world. SUGGESTED READING Fiske: Through Nature Co. 1899. leave anything behind except. World. So I propose in the next lecture to take them at their word. our prewhich you know are only unfavorable opinions founded upon ignorance. you to carry over to it the few thoughts I have given you to-day. "mysticism" the science of ultimates the science of self" evident Reality. Mifflin Jones: Social Law in the Spiritual John C. Adventure Start on the Mystic Way. Houghton. for God.The Longing for God and Its Implications 37 touches the foundation of things. which cannot be "reasoned about. . the Root and the Flower. which truly is Whereas what the calls knows nothing. to God." because it is the object of pure reason or perception. and we cannot see. I trust. Like Bergson's Memory. judices." Aurea Dicta CXXVIII. our study is to be cumulative. . . and to let them tell us what they have done and felt.] Let us accept their invitation to taste and Experiment in all honesty. Winston Co. 1904. and make up from their testimony a directory of the Way and see I think you will if the path is not inviting.' ["The Rod.
Inge: Christian Mysticism. Life. Revell Co.38 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism Charles Scribner's Sons. Inge : Light. 1904. Macmillan & Co. translated by Miss Winkworth. Fleming H. 1899. Fleming: Mysticism in Christianity. RoYCE Sources of Religious Insight. St. : 1874. Augustine Confessions. 1913. Theologia Germanica. and Love. . 1912. : Charles Scrib- ner's Sons. Methuen & Co.
granting that this longing is a genuinely human thing. but universal. And we saw that from this longing grew a number of postulates. and felt by all men. We saw in the last lecture that he begins with a sense of need. that to desire to have. truths which could reasonably be assumed. The Mystic believes that this want is not purely subjective. And because his de- sire is so intense. al- though in varying degree. a taste of divinity given to him is whet his appetite for is more . because he knows that nothwill satisfy is it.II THE WAY TOWARD GOD The Mystic aims to find God and to com- plete himself in him. ing less than find God he sets out to God by experience. to seek to find. So to-day it is our purpose to study how the 39 . but is part of his di- vine endowment. and sure in his heart that he will arrive. a need not peculiar to himself.
means to be used by which reach God. striving to remake the character. To know more makes likeness and as each touch of Therefore is added comes a I keep repeating that Mysticism not a mere opinion. not even a hunger. is like God. to fit it that . It is a practical way of life. or better still. however great. it is be found already It is the Whatever we Mystic Way.40 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism Mystic proceeds to attain his aim. like. or perhaps call it the secret of that descent into the center of his being that there. certain means by which man may hold himself open for God to come to him. But the Mystic knows that the mere fact of relationship is not enough. truer knowledge. a development of the self in It is a the attempt to satisfy that hunger. God may it. He like cannot know God a circle. bears his nature. Unless man call a process. certain There are man can we had better say. not a philosophy. The hope of success lies in this relationship which we have assumed exists. until To know that at once reveals the humiliating difiference. he cannot find God nor hope to know him. he becomes more God. is It is but a virtuous one.
p. If In other words. . living union with God. the fitting of one's self to receive God. we read the works of the Mystics themselves we discover a certain order in their discipline. the Mystic cares for purity of heart only that by it he may see God. 109.* we ac- quire experience of all This at once differentiates Mysticism from the vagueness and visionariness which have to it. sometimes set down clearly as a road The Bases of the \fyslic Kttoivledge. but all in the true these are subordinate to the practical aim. only a means to an end. As Recejac says "There is no : other means of getting^ possession of the Absolute than by adapting ourselves first it to it. ' p. which is Sanctity. been ascribed definitions and rules out It we have studied. many of the may dream and Mystic poetize and philosophize. 35.The it Way Toward God 41 may become worthy to receive the satisfaction it craves. and when once it has taken possession of us in ourselves. 'Quoted in Underbill: Mysticism. the perfecting of individual is character. Leuba says is : "One of the marks of the true Mystic 2 the tenacious and heroic energy with which he pursues a definite moral ideal." Even Sanctity. the at- tainment of the supreme end.
] by full confession. and by the contemplation of God. and is brought to sin. I think we shall gain in clearness if we adhere to the larger number. eth those who are beginning or repenting." ^ Ruysbroek calls his three steps the Active Life. The union belongeth to such as are perfect. by love." [Theologia Gcrtnanica. : : . by pureness and singleness of heart. and also is brought to pass in three ways to wit. Trans. and by the willing endurance of all manner of temptation and trials. and the Contemplative Life. pass in a threefold wise: by contrition and sorrow for by hearty amendment. as in the "Theologia Germanica. the Inward Life. alike that but in character they are so much we can make which will a composite diagram of them do for our purpose in understandif it do not fit any one Mystic exactly. by Winkworth pp. Miss Underbill compromises on five. the Creator of all things. The purification concern: . 44-45. So also no one can be united with God unless he be first enlightened. even * "Now be assured that no one can be enlightened unless he be first cleansed or purified and stripped.: 42 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism for others to follow. the enlightenment. although he proceeds to subdivide each of these. the purification secondly. and also taketh place in three ways to wit. Some of them have insisted on three. ing the principle. by the practice of virtue and good works. Thus there are three stages first. sometimes appearing only in the course of a life of devotion. in the Mystic Way vary somewhat These steps in number. The enlightening belongeth to such as are growing. Others set forth seven. the union. thirdly. by the eschewal of sin.
It need not imply a definite consciousness of its Object. but it need be none the less urgent because vague and diffused. then. finite tempt of the and sinful to eliminate. not only by repudiation but by discipline. 2nd. The sight of God and Self thus brought together even with the slightest understand- ing of the former. that desire for Metanoia. catches a glimpse of goal and undergoes a change ing. that the processes er. gives to the Self that sense of shame we call change we is call Repentance. Conversion.— The Way Toward God 43 and by thus subdividing make our steps shortI would say. of which we have already treated. 3rd. The awakening it of the soul when. The Longing. through which the Mystics in general pass from longing to fruition are these seven: 1st. more its or less suddenly. the imperfections and sins which keep the soul away Pur- from God. 4th. the result of which It is the at- often the crudest asceticism. It is in the level of its liv- the result of what is called in re- ligious phrase. The Mystical word following for this is Not but running parallel . gation. That surely must come first and be real and intense.
Purgation. then . search is It is called Illumination. asking nothing. it will occupy the whole the Soul. which satisfies. and sometimes. processes all by which the soul. last step in mysteriously conIt is the nected with the death of the Self. Meditation. along with the sense of growing union come awful moments the sense of the Divine Presence is lost. ])repared for the final step. the next step. called Contempla- are the Silence. 5th. the . seen. the mountain top 6th. this In gradually becoming more pure in heart. visions and adventures of the soul. It is called the Dark Night of It is or the Mystic Death. even not completely. along with the satisfaction come moments of black despair. putting itself en rapport with God.44 The Theory and is Practice of Mysticism with this tion. Joy enters the soul. Then these glimpses result is some day in a vision soul. and for long field. But so near are joy and sorrow in life that along with the vision come alternations of darkness. attunes itself. when Some- times this state will alternate. Prayer. at a time. In utter submission is the soul gives up and. The is rewarded. in which if clear enough to rejoice the a sense of the Divine Presence. if not yet reached. Concentration.
the joy that tense. it the Mystic. to the earnest soul seek- ing satisfaction. enhanced It is too real for that. Like a long- dreaded and long-expected death. It now comes more may also be either sudden or gradual. when it comes it is always sudden and yet there is no touch of God which comes to the soul that is . of understand. while you will. I. II. life. It is Life. but with may be the same in essence if it is as the ordinary sort. Way Toward God in perfect union. there comes the answer back from God. It is shown. The soul recognizes has nothing to do with the acceptance of theological statements. much higher is in de- By so much as the initial longing was in- greater. In tracing more in detail these steps the Mystic Way we need not retrace the first. 45 which cuhninates to God waiting only for the complete preparation of man's soul only those reward it who have endured It is called the by inward joys which to the end can Unitive State. life on a higher plane. Sooner or later.The 7th. The its connection goal. You may call this Conversion. We take the Longing for granted. gree. the setting of the character in a different environment. but these are very relative terms.
and uncertainties and longings and regrets. thoughts and feelings gather until a word will give them life and force to the overthrowing of spirit- ual But the fitting dominions. but there must have been came to him in the "goads. guidances in his Jife's work.* * "There are times in Alpine climbing when the stroke of an ice-axe or the shout of a climber will set an avalanche in motion. all unsuspected and unheeded.] ." as he looked back over the course of his life. shall say that even that result was sudden ? As fluences well fix the moment when the rose blooms or the apple ripens. Au- gustine has told us in his "Confessions. 163." many warnmuch St." The Psychology of the Christian Soul. lege" and was converted. p. Conversion is always both a process and a ings that crisis. St. principalities and powers. Paul's is called sudden. and yet all found afterwards to have had their convergence upon that one supreme moment when he heard the words. how many from leadings were given him. withholdings sin. in- from many sources. too. It was not the shout that was fit to move a thousand It was the weight of the snow itself in tons of snow. But who "Tolle. equipoise so fine that the least vibration of the air could start it. So.: 46 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism not long prepared for. preparation in twinges of conscience. word must be rightly spoken and the right word is always [Steven an appeal to something already within the soul.
^ "Spontaneous awakenings are the fructification of that which has been ripening within the subliminal consciousness. 47 this ex- To almost every one perience and looks back upon the recollection of a long. to use. conflict. ings had been stifled. . if there comes at the time.The Way Toward God who has had it. upon the fight the man has made how sudden the defeat seems. unflesh appreciated preparation. But "defeat" is not the word the flesh. 108. But these all left their mark and their effect was cumulative. As the strength of them increased. The had been and the spirit against Doubts had been fought and longmodes of life were criticised and then acquiesced in. much more for the influx of the new the new man in Christ Jesus.] "The ideal dawns: the will is exercised in its direction." [Starbuck: The Psychology of Religion. Thoughts came unbidden and were dismissed. the fight against them increased also. If the breaking of the dam stands for it the crumbling of the old and lower self. And then some day the dam bursts and the water of life floods the soul. stands self. as the waters rose the dam was built higher and higher It is the everlasting to meet and resist them. p. lusting against the spirit.^ It is vic- tory. and we It all depends call that moment Conversion.
stress of the past are forgotten. And here there is an even deeper joy. Paul. is given some definite task. enter into the city and it shall be told thee what thou must do. of a blinding radiance. the joy of self -surrender and of service. begins in All the storm and In its joyous submission to God the soul." God is seen everywhere and in everything. His word. The convert hears some definite command. 112." must be heeded. new birth. released from the bonds of self. finally the ideal is unexpectedly realized. its The is true of the Mystic. The function of the will in Conversion then seems to be to give point and direction to the unconscious processes of growth which in turn work out and give back to clear consciousness the revelations striven after." were the words to velop the whole world in a failing. But then these vague raptures which ennew light must not dissipate the personal touch which God has laid upon the soul. leaps up to find ''all things new.. All nature is irradiated with him.] . it is. p. there is unrest and distress. like St. begins here. as of every Christian." [Ibid.48 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism Thus does the second stage of the Mystic Way open. and a joy which unutterable. In almost all cases when the Mystic has spoken. "Rise. It is the awakening of the life it soul. give me thine heart. "My son.
the social instincts are crushed. In his light we see light.The St. crowning gone St. the flesh is denied. involving often a complete change not only of the inward but of the outward life. Damian. 13I •"Divine love draws those and this so greatly that they . IV." Navies. Then the becomes manifest. before. This is partly as self-punish- ment for the past." So Conversion. among some Mystics so deep and infinite difference intense as to lead ceticism. Way Toward God 49 Paul. Paul "was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision. is them into the extremest as- All that would make life pleasant cut off. Francis came the words from the Crucifix: "Go.*' III. falling into decay. partly an attempt to avoid the old temptations. but wholly to the Object loved. seizes beyond themit belong no longer to them[Dionysius: Diznnc selves. Francis began immediately to repair the fabric of St. If Conversion is the sight of is God in Christ. all must end that has in a decision of the will. the is which. to be complete. repair my house. and partly a setting free whom selves." St. then surely Repentance self in the light of the sight of God's Holiness. and to St. as thou seest. Then comes the desire for Purification.
" . of a vision that he had.1 . neither thou knowest thyself nor God. 30.50 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism of the soul for the highest thing. when it is clean and when the mirror is foul. edge." [The Cell of Self -Knowlmeek. he should verily be [The Cloud of Unknowing. when it is foul. in which all things are clearly seen. and see he has told us. more than austerities. then mayest thou see nothing clearly Avithin. and began else. any more than are ascetics Mystics. generally tempoits They outgrow Suso fifteen is character. p. in God's name. On a certain Whitsunday a Heavenly messenger appeared to him and ordered him. "Meekness see in itself is nought feeling of a man's self as he verily but a true knowing and For surely whoso might and feel himself as he is. all He at once ceased and threw the instruments of his sufferings into a river. the which is as a mirror. p. ii6. him behoveth to cleanse his soul. speaking of himself in the third person. the attain- ment of GodJ All this differs from the repentance of the ordinary Christian only in degree. abnormal After years of the most terrible a fair example. and even here we must be careful to remember that not all all Mystics are ascetics. is. Even among is it the ex- tremists their asceticism rary.] "And wete thou well that he that desireth for to see God. to lead a more natural ' life. to continue them no more. and right so it is of thy soul.
Miss Underhill's quofrom Rolle and Petersen and St. Book I. III. I:i." says St. retained. As tations way is of looking at Reality. all God forsake. "for absence if is not deof that tachment sire the desire remains —but detachment which consists in suppressing de- and avoiding pleasure.The It is the Way Toward God spirit 51 Mystic which underlies the monastic vows of Poverty. Chastity and Obedifor Poverty." ® And truly * again Richard Rolle things for tells us: "If thou see Ill. Chap. John of the Cross show how high and pure is the Mystic's ideal. of not being taken captive by the mere show of "Things." ^ It is this that sets the soul free even though possession still may be And Gerlac Petersen says: "Let all things I be forsaken of me so that. Ignitum cum Deo Soliloquitim. being pure." "I It one's attitude towards such. am not speaking here of the absence of things. . may be able. 4. True poverty is only the new ence. inward spaciousness and without any hurt. John of the Cross. to suffer want of all those things which the mind of man can desire out in great of or except God himself. more * The Ascent of Mount Carmel.
all out thine eyes. it is not —put thou fast. are and whatever else they may do or means to an end. It is monkish pudiated. *• III. wake thou never so long. and family need not be re- And a all Obedience is seldom as of the It is to monk to human these. It is slight wonder if in some cases he stripped himself of more than was needful. and if it were lawful to do — as bers. . purity of heart which life he seeks. thou never so early. p. The Mystic is after God and so pushes from him everything that would hinder his search." for- rise "Fast thou never so much. thou never so sharp yea. He thou never so hard. God alone. rising of sin be in thee. But deny. Superior. 113. wear . A horrible example is given by that otherThe Mending of Life. " The Cloud of Unki^oiving. stop thou thine ears and thy nose never so and do all : the pain to thy or canst think though thou shear away thy membody that thou mayest this would help thee right nought. Ch. cut thou out thy tongue of thy mouth." ^^ Yet will stirring and Of Chastity the Mystic has none of the feeling.52 The Theory and '" Practice of Mysticism what thou despiseth than what thou saketh. They have no value in themselves.
. The ing for a better only as that is are parts of Mysticism human. however the earth may become irradiated for him with the sense of himself. by the use of means. be he Mystic or not. expect approval by this statement: —"In to that and by God's will. time. to turn from the "shows of things" to self God himSo far the by ever completer adjustment. a method by which man attempts to put himself. into direct relation to reality. As we have seen. We come now to another step where the ways part somewhat. God everywhere. I had great I consolation of their deaths. the strivlife." IV. And would ^^ because rid to follow the aforesaid that he I had commenced way and had prayed me of them. Mysticism is a life process. albeit did also some grief. and in a short time there also died all my God feel children. looks for He does not expect to come at p. steps have been quite in harmony with those taken by any earnest man. God within God "Book of the Ditniie Consolation. the glimpse of the goal. 5. me in fol- lowing the way of God: my husband died likewise. longing. the Mystic.The Way Toward God who seems 53 wise saintly Angela da Foligno. there died who was a great hindrance unto my mother.
and it is a large and varied one. to and raptures and ecstasies. parallel to that of Purgation. have said. those peculiarly mystical tendencies to the hearing of voices and the seeing of visions. and it includes Quiet. which the Mystic tends naturally to practise during the whole of his career which develops step by step with his trances will : — . This is the step called ConIt is. Silence. By Contemplation I mean the Practice of the Presence of God. obeys the laws which govern all other forms of genius in being susceptible of culture. as I templation.54 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism processes of reason. It is and even to that of Illumination. It is not taken alone. Prayer. then. the common in which the Mystic most characteristic quality of Mysticism. For as Miss Underbill says "Transcendental genius. with telescope or microscope or by the logical To find God he must retire into his inmost self and there be quiet and look and listen. Recollection. and indeed cannot develop its full powers without an educative process of some kind. and much hard work if we could come to its practice. This strange art of Contemplation. In it are found also medium by which and It is the works. These need much careful study if we would understand the theory.
as it were. " Ibid. Be thou obedient to this call and be silent before the Lord. " Underbill : Mysticisni. 359." '^ "Now the education which tradition has ever prescribed for the Mystic consists in the gradual development of an extraordinary faculty of concentration. 360. laying hold upon the Word of God which is infallible and which hath called thee. "but from thine own activity steadfastly fixing thine eye upon one point." says Boehme. For this end gather in all thy thoughts and by faith press into the Center. tion. . on undertakes the — — the skirts of the true seekers of the Absolute and brings discredit on their science. . ineffectual and sometimes harmful Mysticism which has always existed: the dilute cosmic emotion and limp spirituality which hangs. It is the want of such training such *super-sensual drill' which is responsible for the mass of vague. p.The vision Way Toward God 55 and his love it —demands of the self which same hard."^^ a power of spiritual atten- All the powers of the soul must be gathered and concentrated upon "one point. and is the price of all true liberty." ''Cease. . sitting . dull work. : p. the same slow training of the will which lies behind all supreme achievement.
] [Isaac Penington "In time of strong temptation. by constant sense. p. that thou : raayest only look at and contemplate God. to feel the gate of mercy and tender love opened to us. of running into the ex- tremes of asceticism and here self -mutilation. and daily experience."^^ Just as attention was called to the danger. and mercy and love flow in upon us. that it is not by our willing or running. " Boehme Dialogue of the Super-sensual Life." [Molinos Mora Mystica. so we should be warned of another common exaggeration which has often brought Mysticism into disrepute. ness One is the active state of spiritual is receptiveness. the other —"a mere spiritual lazi- half-hypnotic state of passivity. 116. obtain what our hearts desire and seek after. p.] . that we can attain anything." is Horce Mystica. blessed be the Lord forever. in the Purgative stage. There is danger that this Quiet degenerate into or be mistaken for Quietism. who keeps His throne and His abode in the bottom of thy soul. according to our wisdom and strength. desertion and desolation it necessary for thee to get close into thy centre. "So being beaten to it. we therefore daily wait at the posts of God's heavenly wisdom.: 56 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism alone with him in thine inmost and most hidit- den self cell. thy mind being centrally united in and attending his will in the patience of hope. p. *'It is : important that we should know. 56." this perver- Ruysbroek has sternly condemned sion. but by God's showing mercy to us in Christ. 72. whereby we may and daily do.
The Way Toward God 57 denounce and crush all quietism." ^^ If we have at all understood what is meant by Recollection and Quiet. that what we had " Quoted in Underbill by Hello. It is exact opposite of the divine peace. of desire. a crime of Icse-majcste. full of affection. from every interior Such a repose is treason blinds a Quietism God. in order that they may more tranquilly enjoy their false repose they abstain and exterior to activity. or if we should attempt to put these into practice. : at- Mysticism. p. after full of seeking. useless man remains and inert. seated within himis This repose simply the laziness and this tranquillity is forgetfulness of God. one's self and one's neighbor. plunging him into that ignorance which is not superior. the opposite of the peace of the Abyss. of that marvelous peace which full is full of activity. that burning and insatiable peace more which we pursue more and we have found it. Between the is all peace of the heights and the quietism of the depths there the difference that exists be- tween God and a mistaken creature. man. 385. but inferior to all knowl- edge. we should find. per- haps to our surprise. such a self. from condensa- tion . These quietists remain in a state of utter passivity.
ject or idea Intense absorption upon one ob- may lead to physical trance or cata- lepsy. The whole matter it is plation. it tained to is was Prayer It not the petitionary side of prayer.58 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism in its highest form. to be actually lost in thought. but it is more largely receiving. As Godfernaux says. it is no part of it. but has behind and through it all the intense longing for God. complete and rigid anesthesia. Before leaving this step in the Mystic Way touch on some of its results. I need hardly remind you that while this may accompany the Mystic's contemplation. a state made familiar by hypnotism. but if we would be acceptable conversationalists we must be good listeners. Prayer is asking. which have received from many more attention than we must they deserve. By itself it has no spiritual value. it is talking with God. of course carries with results to psychical and psychological. of his navel. It is possible to let go all hold of the outer world. which we know be associated with concentration. it is only "the extreme . because largely of Contemcomposed of conit centration. and to listen for God is to be greatly rewarded. It may accompany anybody's contemplation say. and is equally important and useful.
431. Boehme was sent into a trance by looking at the reflection of the light seen on a copper kettle. But this comes not from the ecstasy itself. while St. p. Nevertheless they do have their value. common use of sym- bols to stimulate the Mystic's attention and so special For each some thing or act is used as the help towards gaining the vision or the trance. Catherine of Siena. and in many of them they have been valued above their real worth. and properly criticised." This accounts for the to cause the ecstasy. . They have not realized their earthly origin and have forgotten how easy it is for the starving to see visions. must be admitted to have great importance. or involuntary on a raft in mid-ocean. The reason is these states of ecstasy and rapture have bulked so large in the history of Mysticism because its subjects have been of such intense nature that in them they have been most extraordinarily induced.The Way Toward God '"^ 59 form of a state which must be classed among the ordinary accidents of conscious life. Francis of Assisi and many others would gaze upon the Crucifix. The Holy Communion would do this for St. but from its after "As quoted in Underbill: Mysticism. whether their fasting be voluntary and for righteousness' sake.
but it is an enhancement of the " Underhill Mysticism. exalting. p. 432." The ecstasy of which we are speaking is not only physical and psychological. "For I tell thee truly that the Devil hath his con^^ templatives as God hath his. and the other be enfeebling and morbid. "Thus. a natural thing working upon something given. and which can give the subject nothing more than he had before. distinguish those results way could we "* Hilton : Scale of Perfection. and exhilarating. .6o The Theory and It Practice of Mysticism its effects. 216." ^^ The same person may have two trances. under cover of the Good?" [Recejac: The Bases of the Mystic Knowledge. p. The same organs tion are used in satisfying both. p. and one be healthful. like an idea in the mind or a crucifix before the eyes. In the end it is Reason which must give : its other In what from the inferior suggestions which Desire often imposes on the consciousness. 54. is must be known by fruits. when the mystic eye is pure it sees in God only such things as add to the moral and rational life of humanity. yet he would to dis- be a hardy physiologist credit all nutrition who undertook to its by a reference degene- rate forms. according to the degree in which the Absolute is infused in the consciousness.] seal of approval to the results of Inspiration. "It all the difference between a healthy appe- tite for nourishing food and the morbid cravof diges- ing for garbage.
with all his powers of ex- pression. . What tic the object is. with the flash of one hurried glance. St. extracting it it itself from the contradictory throng of sensuous images that might find out . new and higher subject's receptivity. St.The Way Toward Gcxi 6i and the means by which. what tell the vision or what the voice heard. XVII. . "the blind intent of stretch- ing" toward God. through the unification of the whole personality. is which is perceived. light was wherein was bathed. what that . love and will. The vision is sudden. Au"My mind withdrew its thought gustine says : from experience. Paul. the single point of contact with God at the "apex" of the soul. the most exalted act of perception of which our nature is capable. Bock VII. Chap. ineffable. the Mysthis experience who has had Even can rarely it us. of That attained to the vision Which Is/' 2« * Confessions. revelations may be received. The Mystic who tries to tell of it stumbles with the load of the multitude of symbols he is obliged to use. overwhelming. hid behind the statement that was not "lawful" to utter what he had seen in the third Heaven. It is the comple- tion of the effort. reason. And it thus.
actually is true. In this rapture the soul disIt it appears. according transformation in God. dwells in it that radiant darkness. all who then becomes. Bernard has said. Is it any wonder if joy completely breaks them down?" ^^ "Suso: Lt/?." - desire follows and pursues. This forgetfulness of self is. Chap. the soul rapt by the divine its power of the resplendent being above ral faculties into the nakedness of the Noth- ing. as the acquires. though there remains an invincible diversity between us. To speak is in the comnatu- mon language. but not entirely. leaves all its faculties and to all its qualities. but does not become divine. Scripture saith. the law of Jesus promises finite "My and shows us the eternal fruition of his divinThere are persons who have an experiity. mental knowledge of God. but the can never attain to the infinite. : 79. * Ruysbroek Mirrorj p. . a — — less completely. forgetting itself. in a measure. "And this more or whether the soul whether in the body or out of the body is more or less united to God. LV. a certain manner. in things for the soul. Nevertheless." as St.62 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism *'When the soul. certain qualities of divinity.
so one of the first results of Illumination is the illumination of the outer world with the "light that never was on sea or land. I hope you have noted all along the apthey tell proach to the fifth step in the Mystic Way which we have now reached." ^^ V." Eckhart was before Tennyson in saying: "The meanest thing that one knows in God for instance. then laboriously prepared for. The Illumination is now a fact. . yellow if jaundiced. dimly longed for. many more such authors know they passages. And as the seeing eye makes all the world it sees. They cannot tell We us. God is found within. But tell must go where they have been. if one could understand a flower as it has its Being in God that would be a — "Angela da FoUgno: Book of Divine Cotisolation. negatively by purification and positively by introspection and concentration and prayer. p. but we need us of. if we would see what they saw. man can in no wise speak or even stammer. First. not therefore doubt the fact "But these most excellent and divine workings in the soul whereby God doth manifest himself. glowing with beauty if in perfect health.— The I Way Toward God could not 63 could quote even their us. 189.
and bury its beholder amidst inward joys. not by them. and utterly hushed whatever exists only to pass away." [Starbuck: Psychology of Re"I felt ligion. and other visions of kind far unlike. but He made us that abideth for- having said this. since. ID. if any should hear. and this one catch up. and the very soul hushed unto herself. that we might hear His word. 'We made not ever'. and waters and air." But more truly. but by Himself. the heavens. I had a general feeling of buoyancy.64 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism higher thing than the whole world.] . hushed all dreams and imaginary revelations. Ch." dwelled in "And the bodily sight stinted. but the spiritual sight my understanding and I I abode with ^'' reverent dread. : IX. . touch that Eternal Wisdom that abideth over all. be withdrawn. p. all these are saying. Augustine: Confessions. if. but were to hear Him whom in these we love. "We were saying then: If to any the tumult of the flesh were hushed. ^ Juliana of Norwich VIII. as our study has shown us. and He alone were to speak.] my face must have shone like that of Moses. It was the greatest joy it was ever my lot to experience. and pass beyond herself by not thinking of self. : Revelations of Divine Love. not through voice of angel. and in rapid thought. if this could be continued. — ourselves. joying in that saw. so our unending life might be such as was that moment of understanding for which we sighed would not this be to enter into the joy of the Lord? [St. hushed too. not through sound of thunder. 120. must the illumination be within. every language and every sign. and absorb. Bk. His very self without these and even as we now stretch out ourselves. having roused our ear to Him who made them. The Mystic. not through tongue of flesh. nor in the dark riddle of a similitude. they then were to be silent. hushed the phantasies of earth.
and at times even with the diflferent same per- son. Chap.'® again. as oil is : . it is a knowledge of the deep things of God. far other from all these. yea. I enThy guidance into my inmost self. attains to a "Vision of the Heart" which means more to him than anything he can see with his eyes. nor yet as heaven above earth but higher than I. and he that knoweth It. as though the brightness of this should shine out more and more brightly. because It made me and I below it. knoweth eternity. Nor above my soul. no "flight of the alone to the Alone.] " Dante Paradiso." But the illumination varies with persons. which shines for all fiesh nor as it were a greater of the same kind. 82. Book VII. above water. because I was made by It. Not such tered with : .'^ Thus this vision fills the whole being. And I entered and beheld with the eye of my soul (such as it was)." or * "And being thence admonished to return to myself. above the same eye of my soul. and with its greatness take up all space. : . above my mind." [St. but other. for Thou wert my Helper. but al- ways comes the personality to is whom is the illumination preserved. XXXIII. Augustine: Confessions.The Way Toward God 65 by contemplation. it was was this light. " Angela da Foligno. the Light Unchangeable not this common light. for some it is large and light and dazzling. There as yet no absorp- tion of the finite by the Infinite. He that knoweth the Truth. knoweth what that Light is. Sometimes all is light. and I was enabled to do so. X.
" All good Christians have to complain of periods of "dryness in prayer. as before. what comes to the soul is revand strength and enrichment. common As Star- buck says: *lt is one of the best established laws of the nervous system that it has periods of exhaustion. called Negation. p. if exercised continuously in one direction. and is as such. made ready for the communion with God. only here. By them the light is tested.^* elation felt In every case. or by some. that of reaction. But in between comes the next stage in the Mystic Way. " Starbuck The Psychology of Religion. And if the ordinary * Revelations of Divine Love. as with Mother Juliana of Norwich." Here again we find the state a common one among Christians.66 The Theory and it is Practice of Mysticism again small and intimate. "The Dark Night of the Soul. -^ a period of rest. 24. : p." still is further pursuit of its aim. the true distinguished from the false. it what distinguishes It is is its greater intensity. . 204. and can only recuperate by havin. ''humbled yet exultant. VI. and the soul." or of peculiar openness to temptation when their spiritual life seems to be at a low ebb.q. a psychological law.
my God. which are. feel the loss It is far harder now to of the Perfect. the enfeeble- ment. "My God. and these thoughts seemed to my mind to be realities. because I attacks the will. Guyon.The Christian's Way Toward God 67 weak experiences of God can cause such after. almost overwhelming force. the dreadful thought takes possession of abandoned of God." This is the utmost depth to which the soul can be brought." says Mme. . It was hard enough to break away from the Imperfect in the soul that it is the Purgative stage. but we must remember that there comes the sense of a real spiritual loss. what must be the intensity of the Mystic's loss of all he held most dear certainly ? and counted on most ly to It is not mere- be thought of as physical or psychological.fatigue. of course. The hold on God is loosened. "though without committing them. There is. and this weakness Temptations seem to come in "I had thought of all the sins. as I said. the foundations. the "aridity" which is so hard to bear a spiritual "ennui" which is — — as real as physical fatigue. the lassitude. the horror as of those who think they have committed the "unpardonable sin. why hast thou forsaken me?" But have in this state there are other feelings which depress nearly as much.
be done. but Thine. to be swalIt is lowed up in God. It is not clearly defined. claiming nothing. We are drawing fear. the soul is almost ready for the which is Union." will is "Although the exercise of the portant element in Conversion. its spiritual purpose. close. content. the soul has been with all its illumination and joy. And here this trial has fore. near the last step. an im- we are con- . of light along the Way." my heart was occupied by created And Santa Teresa. nor does this definite place. have appeared But here the alternations are more intense and trying. Now it must very selfhood. owning nothing.68 felt The Theory and that Practice of Mysticism things. as in the second step. it appear always at The alternations of hope and all and darkness. deeper. its moral. says "The Devil then sends so offensive a spirit of bad temper that I think I could eat people up. it has self its been the give up which has enjoyed. Hereto- itself." These and many others are the forms by which we recognize the Negative state. as not willing acceptance It of a duty. if need be. with all its purification. "Not my will. reaches much as the words. in her quaint self: depreciation and sense of humor." are deeper than "I must work the works of Him that sent me.
how feeble any description is. As Myers has interpreted St. refuses to sist The personal will must be In many cases relief persistently or to come until the person ceases to remake an effort in the direction he ^" desires to go.The Way Toward God life. If we cannot gain the experience for ourselves. VII. and here even their words fail them. p. the last vestige of self see. the removing of and self will. in their own words. It will not be necessary here to attempt a description at second hand of what is soul with God as understood by the Mystics. 69 fronted with the paradox that in the same per- sons who is strive toward the higher self sur- render often necessary before the sense of assurance comes. you not a backward. is really It is a forward. given up. and that is to let the Mystics tell us. Paul's "unlawful": "Starbuck: The Psychology of Religion. step. 113. which are be taken the only remaining barriers between the soul and God. . even as far as their Illumination." Thus Negation. and thus are the before the soul can feel last steps to itself *'oned" with God. there is only one meant by the union of the way. as we have seen. they know.
by communion with the may rise to be divine. Many expressions. not in Jesus alone. Book. of Pantheism. Clement of Alexandria says: "It is. then. lend color to this view and have brought much discredit upon Mysticism." '' ''From him there began the interweaving of divine and know be made like human nature in order that the hudivine. all lessons to know will one's for if one knows himself he God. the greatest of self. but in all those who ** not only believe but enter upon the Ill. T. Such state- ments as are condemned in the Mystics may be found in many theologians who are not Mystics. taken by themselves. the danger which so many come perilously near. Chap. life Pcedagogus. But a careful study will show that it is a mistake. he bringeth you where I have been?" would only call your attention all to the com- mon error of attributing to Mystics the extreme view of some regarding the absorption of the soul in union. .! 70 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism it "O could I tell ye surely would believe O could I only say what I have seen! How should I tell or how can ye receive How. I till it. man. and knowing God he will God.
possibly of iron. In such the Deity a manner the soul set in the Deity penetrateth through the soul and dwelleth in the soul. but the divine source (or property) ^^ of the majesty. the iron does not cease to iron and the source (or property) its of the fire retaineth own it. be. III. *I became Man for you. . and so also the source (or property) of the is fire. it is Now still .The Way Toward God ^- 71 And even Athanasius which Jesus taught. If you do not become God for me. The fire so penetrateth and shineth through the iron that it : giveth light. Behold a bright flame. propriety: it doth not take the iron into then as well as before. but doth not alter only giveth it it (from being a soul). yet the soul doth not comprehend the Deity. you do me wrong' "? What they mean is explained by the oft-used simile of Boehme: "I give you an earthly similitude of this." "Origen: " Boehme : Contra Celsum. which of itself is dark and black. . The Three-Fold Life of Man. 190. p. the Mystic. ^. but the Deity comprehendeth the soul." Does Eckhart. is but it penetrateth (and shineth) through the iron. go any farther when he writes: "Our Lord says to every loving soul. and it is iron fire in itself." says "He became flesh that we might be made capable of receiving Divinity.
gaining complete freedom. though all that God and he [The Cell of Self-Knowledge. Union can never distinction The ^* remains Nay. after the word of Saint Paul saying thus: Qui adhccrct Deo unus spiritus est cum is God. but by a deadly sin. 24. that is to say: 'Who so draweth near to by such a reverent affection touched before. : this is what the spirit longs for. and all this is for onehead of love and accordance of will and in this onehead is the marriage made between God and the soul. with a and superBut even if the divine union be effected without medium we must understand become confusion. illo. but it is not pantheistic. forever inviolable. 'he with God. own may personality. though all that the heat and the fervour of this work cease for a time. p. ^ "And for that that I would that thou knew what manner of working it is that knitteth man's soul to God." God and the creature can never be confounded. naturally naturally.' as IS it one spirit be two and sere in kind. "Ruysbroek: Mirror of Eternal Salvation. gaining at last the perfection of their it. finding self by losing This be paradoxical. so far from Pantheism is this idea of union that the Mystics claim that they are in this gaining and not losing.I . pp." .^^ "The union of the soul with God is far more inward than that of the soul and body. the which shall never be broken. 87-88.' That is. nevertheless yet in grace they are so knit together that they are but one in spirit.72 The Theory and *'To enjoy Practice of Mysticism God without supreme that intermediary desire. and that maketh it one with Him in love and accordance of will.
Hod- der & Stoughton. 14-15. The Macmillan Co. Religion. P. CoE The Spiritual Life. how stands it with the Does the soul find in God? To this will I answer as it herself or not? soul that is lost appears to me. Light and Love. Steven : The Psychology of the Christian Soul. that the soul finds herself in the point. itself with where every rational being understands itself. Christian. Underhill: Mysticism. pp.The ''Now I Way Toward God 73 might ask. Ames: : The Psychology of Religious Experience. yet it in the eternity of the can never reach the ground. there must at least be "a point of contact. Mifflin Co. 191 1. 1900." this union. Houghton. E. Ltd. The Soul of a 1900." the study of that point lecture and ask. *Eckhart: Life. Inge. Dutton & Co. Eaton & Mains. Walter Scott. To gain which is not confusion. Although it sinks and sinks Divine Essence. . has left a back upon self to little Therefore God point wherein the soul turns itself and finds itself. To we will turn in the next Where and how do God and man meet? SUGGESTED READING Starbuck: Gr<\nger : The Psychology of 1900. 1910. ^''' and knows it- be a creature.
." * • And Brooks : so he does. but not only is the Job II 7. V. 9. the mystic have studied the mystic yearning and way man longing for God. if he will take.^ The longing it itself is fundamental. John i:i8. and — man seeking God. by his searching. 40. that will man cannot/ The man's desire and must be active. will What he really means to arise and go back my father. Phillips Sermons. it From all that has been said so far may begin to look as though we thought that man. 74 p. will lead him home. whereas we believe. there is a path for the prodigal which. to say is.Ill TH^ MEETING POINT We . just because is implanted. Deep calleth unto deep because originally they were one. might find out God. but we must never forget that to God belongs the priority. The home *'I is behind the prodigal as well as before him. with Job and John. 8. Vol.
and in another sense. here. He must steps at least The to we have discussed in the last lecture have this for their purpose. it implies some faculty of the which which I is is at least not the logical faculty mind and even yet a mysterious and little known part of us. he runs to meet his son before he arrives. being mutual. We must ask now. He doesn't. have said that Mysticism implies the whole . which is called Contemplation. are working toward each other. God finds him. man fit cannot be utterly passive.The Meeting Point 75 father behind his start. this is an exercise of the mind. In other words. we meet the heart of the mystery of God's revelation of himself. we discover one which mark of MystiThis is the fourth step. There infinite desire in the Father's heart for his and an omnipotent will to accomplish God and man. How does man find is God? an child. himself to meet God. It is their prior inherent relationship which creates the desire and which guarantees its satisfaction. as we stands out as the distinctive shall see. at the heart of Mysticism. then. but when we come study them carefully cism. In a sense. Where is the Meeting Point? The search that desire.
life. the desire for some good. Mysticism. Even in the ordinary man's life. fundamental. Will. and Intellect are useful in dis- tinguishing and discussing certain functions of ourselves about which separately. and co-ordination of the whole In the pursuit of ends the order is that which I have given. as I have cially endowed souls.76 The Theory and Religion. Practice of Mysticism man. necessary to move As Aristotle says: "The intellect . the most intense desire. the exercise of the ordinary man's faculties to their utmost. it lectual pursuit. the eager out-going willing to get trol of the it. I know it is unfashionable to make hard and fast distinctions. No one who does not long intensely can be a is Mystic. And certainly the strongest will and the keenest intelis. We have spoken in the first lecture of the part deIt is sire plays in Mysticism. and then the criticism and conmind is the usual succession. we can at least think Mysticism is not the exercise of some unique faculty which is not common to all men. and the longing the will. and yet the old-fashioned names are not slices of but touch and Feeling. Christianity. but peculiar to a few speIt is rather. all make demands on every faculty man possesses. indicated. that is the combination personality.
Repentance and Purgainto tion are acts of the will. as I have It is also Christian life of every man. and then the defining of the purpose of the will some channel commanded by God. must be employed. and "where a will there's a way. But everything so far is preparatory. we are to think now of this one faculty which the Mystic." lecture we spoke of the Way by which the will endeavors to gain its end. is preparatory. The longing gives the im- petus. the readjustment of the life on a new plane which we call Conversion." So in our second moves nothing. While it is still perfectly true that the whole man. All this. even to hands and feet. has learned to train and use.The Meeting Point by itself 77 desire. there's Thus urged on by the will decides to act. then comes the glimpse of the goal. every part and faculty. where the union so long sought and in so many directions. above all men. come to the middle step of the common to the It is when we Seven we have described that of the question. a faculty known to be a reality itself because by it place . said. is alone found to be real and satisfying. here : we find ourselves at the heart The secret of Mysticism lies claims to have discovered the meeting where God and Man see face to face.
but which organ by which it seems that man can get most easily and most perfectly into communication with God. Touch is the primal sense. In the find the Mystics say that ** we God is within us. tnena. in Bernhard Pick. and about which we God. first place. p." ^ own nature that we feel God. lo. Verily the kingdom of God himself shall find within you. in that part of us we call familiarly our know so little. It Is faculty which we need not name we will describe simply as that this which we must now study. and whosoever knoweth It is in the deep of our it. claimed also to be a faculty resident in all men and not an endowment of a few geniuses. but to his touch. 37. feel We don't look like him. Paralipo- . him and respond with spirit we do where alone inmost re- spirit can meet soul. a yet. Men many have been trying tried in in all ages to find They have many directions and by methods.78 its The Theory and Practice of Mysticism It is use real objective effects follow. we don't we don't act like him. and said that the undevout astronomer was mad. They have used microscopes and got up •Oxyrhynchus Logia. They have used telescopes. think like him. in the cesses of our own nature.
inside or outside. and sees then that they belong . leading lives of strenuous activity. we cannot go anywhere. in the farthest star. without finding glimpses of him. nor through the sees only something when it gets back to the God God in the heart. at least. going on crusades to redeem the city of Jerusalem. as God is everywhere. It strongest microscope. and then carries back in the "mind's eye" to the farthest star or to the smallest atom. But it is as certainly true that there is no complete satisfaction by any or all of these ways. and then they have gone outside once more and endeavored to find God by doing his will. must report at once back of these to our inmost selves nothing is — ours until it touches our hearts. Then again they have looked within as far as their brains. Certainly. of philanthropic work. or plunging into social work. and concocted interesting and complicated intellectual reasons why God must exist. Everything that comes to us from our five senses or our brains. connects itself there with the only true idea of God.The Meeting Point 79 ingenious arguments from design in Nature implying an ingenious Designer. thinking out proofs of a probable God. The eye sees no God which. or our outward activity.
who has felt no God in himself. that we find ourin his image there he can reveal himself to us. selves made . and some which may be heard by the ear. we will consider it as settled that the descent into our own spirits is at the same time the ascent to God.So The Theory and Practice of Mysticism together and prove each other. there is the seat of what we call Inspiration the naked and unashamed conversation with God in the cool of the day which we wanderers from Eden are always trying to regain. I we come and there alone. "To mount for he to God is to who inwardly en- and intimately penetrateth into himself . is "As he thinketh in his heart. is the whole universe — to him." and so. astronomer or ploughman. and some which the mind of man can entertain and aspects of reason upon. For these are the words of Tertullian. followed later by Albertus Magnus. we may add. so he. who says: enter into one's tereth self. Now while I do not deny that there are some God which may be seen by the eye. within us can do say that only at some point into complete and satisfactory contact with the Father of Spirits. — other ways. So while we will not disparage the It is there. the heavens will always seem empty. To the man. There our likeness to him seems to be complete.
the very commonplace of Mysticism. even in our hearts. Jones says: "It establish has been the contention of Mystics that in all ages God himself is the ground of the all soul." And Rufus M. p." We do not have to ascend up into Heaven to bring him down to us. and in the depths of their being men partake of one central divine life.. Being is nothing beyond yourself. You even now hold it within you in your heart of hearts. . to quote in order to Royce says: "According to Mysticism. and yearn for love. "The kingdom of God is within you. because we Lord is very nigh us.. its then the contention of Mysticism is that point of contact with us men is at that place within us where we finite bits of his infinitude strive for holiness It This is seems hardly necessary it. in his book on Gerson "The whole effort of Mysticism is directed . nor do we have to go mounts up down know him up." If there is this omnipresence about us and within us which we call God. his living presence in the in: * Studit's in j]fysliial Religion.The Meeting Point gets St above and beyond himself and surely to God. to embrace and experience God. infinite in holiness and into Hell to bring that the love. xxxii." * And Schwab writes.
p. and never quite lost out of "Nevertheless thou art never nearer •Whyte: Santa Teresa. Thou hast lost Him. He thy reason. let them be sure that they walk in the most excellent way: they lay their pipe right up to the fountain. Those who can in this manner shut themselves up in the little heaven of their own hearts. Him till . Nor need you speak loud. as if He were far away. and relate to Him your troubles. Nor need you cry for wings like a dove so as to fly to Him. He is still it. where He dwells Who made heaven and earth. Settle yourself in solitude." ^ "See then the mercy and courtesy of Jesus. but where? Soothly in thy house. that if thou hadst its lost all thy reason of thy soul by left thee first sin. and you will come upon God in yourself." To quote from the Mystics themselves would be to quote from all "You need not go to heaven to see God. and is in thy soul." While Schure says that Mysticism is "the art of finding God in one's self. And then entreat Him as your Father. in thy soul. or to regale yourself with God. that is to say. thou shouldst never have found but so Him again. 49.: 82 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism nermost soul.
. pp." "Where shall I find God? In myself. Him This is His mercy also. where He may be found. as the Prophet thou hast found Him. and seek Him there. 83 He is in thee. that He would suffer Himself to be lost only there. and all Mystical Rules in all times and countries have been laid down for putting the true Mystical Doctrine. saith: 'Truly Thou art the hidden God. so that thou needst not run to Rome." The Meeting Point thou hast found Him. Idem. 72-73. and bring into thy heart the away love of virtues and full charity. nor to Jerusalem to seek Him there. though He till be lost from thee but thou art not in . and then shalt thou hear thy Lord speak to thee.' hid in thy soul. that thou canst Therefore put nor hear Him. This is the whole aim of the Mystical Life. and destroy the love of sin and vanity. but turn thy thoughts into thy own soul where He is hid. is That But then I myself must be in a state for Him to come and dwell in me. • ' Hilton: The Scale of Perfection. pp." ® "And what hindereth thee that thou canst neither see nor hear Him? in Soothly there is so much din and noise thy heart of vain neither see thoughts and fleshly desires. these unquiet noises. 71-72.
pp." *'But thou. are commonly made by those who make them all. the concentration of the wavering will. when thou prayest. that thus He gives her liberty. all upon "one thing. the incalculable benefit of this occasional but fre- quent intercourse with the Perfect: conclusion and this is the sum of the whole matter. which is God. so as to enin able her to receive Himself. is called Recollection. but that the soul must give herself to up absolutely Him for Him to do this.84 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism the soul into such a state. and assign periods of months and years during which the steps. that That the soul her- our Father who is heaven should dwell in her. they say. And of this process they describe the steps. in her Preface to The Life of Florence Nightingale. II. . the focusing of the scattered loves. an unpublished Volume of Selected Readings from the Mystics." ^ This gathering up <A the faculties and fixing them upon the kingdom of God within. Vol. self should be heaven. that God enlarges this 'palace of our soul' by degrees. the recalling of the wandering thoughts. enter into thy inner cham• Cook : 233-234. put into beautiful language by the Mystics. that there is something within us infinitely more estimable than often comes out.
to wait until thou for Him than for thee. "Eye hath not seen. They connect with certain manifestations of God. . Victor. in another place. book of Hidden Things it is written/ says Eckthou stand at the door and knock and wait' He is no farther off needst not seek Him here or there than the door of the heart. There must be some faculty in our nature which is especially adapted to making connection with God. Minor.'" [Underbill: Mysticism. 'is to have God. to the height of science. 6:6. hart. but a mutual necessity. and so directly and intuitively known. p. but the actual touch of God him- — •Matt. . There He stands and waits and 'I : " 'In the waits until He finds Thou needst not call is harder thousand times more than thou canst need Him. the knowledge we have of Him must be entirely personal. nor ear heard" they cannot. pray to thy Father.' ambition. to know itself. St. Thy opening and His entering are but one moment. 'God. incommunicable by any one else. who is in secret." Now if God is to be found within us. and having shut thy door. Him from a distance. He needst thee a .1 . and thy Father.The Meeting Point 85 ber. LXXV. 'can as little do without us. who ^ seeth in secret shall recompense thee.'" [Rich.' Our attainment of the Absolute is not a one-sided 'For our natural will. and the good will of God and we may never cease from longing till we is to have us have Him in fulness of joy. . says Lady Julian. as we without Him.' he says. " 'If the let its first mind would fain ascend and principal study be Benj. openest thee ready to open and let Him in. 159.
This sense is what the — — Mystic is reaching to. and the discovery and use of a faculty in man which. and which he. which even Animism must feel. At the start we must take their word ^" although these lecsense. tures would not be written if the study were only academic and not in order to find the Mystic experience true for ourselves. it dis- as did There has never been an age in any religion which there were not to be found some lives imbued with what we call Mysticism with a sense of an unseen presence. called Contemplation." personal and interior. trying to discover. . What is this "sixth by which we men may and must stand face to face with God and re-join our natures to his? Here again we must ask the Mystics themselves. to cover in us that faculty and to use the Mystics. proceeds to use and develop and perfect by the act.86 self it The Theory and Practice of Mysticism must come through something in us call what you will made as the eye and ear for its especial purpose. hav- ing found. of contact is what makes religion possible. or combination of acts. claim- ing that he has discovered. so man at This point least believes. The Hindu in — '"John 4: 42. connects with God.
dreaming of his ancestors. piercing through the whirlwind and fire until the earthquake and the voice as *'a he hears God's sound of gentle stillness". which Elijah. inherent in man's nature. reaching the spirit real to world through the dream world. it sings itself into communion with the Unseen in many of the hymns of Brahminism. and sitting day after day not in thought. the visitations of that spiritual Socrates called his Daemon. It is the very essence of what Socrates and Plato taught. however variously and absurdly each subject would explain them? This power. wrapping himself into unconsciousness lost.The Meeting Point 87 religion is full of it. The savage. of personal union. the prophet's clairvoyance and clairau- . not known dent.— are not these experiences and types of Mysti- monitor whom cism indicating its essence. gives the sense if of oneness. both equally him. the Indian fakir. but in the void where is thought not. is of the essence of Mysticism. not of identity with God. or used by all but still universally resiwhich connects with God. Elisha opening the eyes of the young man that he also might see the vision of the mountain full of horses and chariots of inspiration with its fire.
see visions " and sing the holy words that are given :4. to Plotinus and Jamblichus. 12 . They belong in the church. not only to Montanism and the monkish OmIgna- phalopsychites and Hesychasts. Some have visions. truths and else facts incommunicable. A ly. tius says : church most certainly have a knowledge of things to come. Paul coming to visions and revela- tions of the Lord. "Some gins at the distaff utter divine oracles. bringing to light the secret things of men and expounding the mysteries of God. to the Neo-platonists. but to less ex- aggerated and more orthodox forms.— 88 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism dience. St. telling of the experience he had had fourteen years before. II Cor. "how that he was caught up into Paradise and heard unspeakable words which it is not lawful for a man were to utter. faculty in What do they show ? man by which he knows intuitiveAnd then the the reason being in abeyance." it " I could multiply examples not superfluous. others utter prophecies and heal the sick by laying on of hands and others still speak in many tongues. to trace the later workings of this same faculty." Tatian declares that "our virin the . Christian church does not have to go outside of itself.
It matters not that these psychic phenomena were misunderstood at the time. as I said. Now my point is this: that these are all manifestations of the principle upon which Mysticism is rests. have persisted. claim is that these are facts. in Mysticism. and that because Mysticism always the same (as Harnack says) we are here j^ctting hold of facts which only to-day are having light thrown on them by the advances of a scientific psychology.The Meeting Point 89 them". but if we wish to know the truth about the heavens we go to the latest and best . It is interesting disrepute in day to study the old astrologers. and Tertullian and many more of the Fathers give the same testimony. even toAverroes and Paracelsus are worthy of more attention than they receive. or chemistry because was preceded by alchemy. men theinto have built on these all The mystical ologies are what have brought Mysticism ages. As well might we dis- We credit astronomy because All I it had it its origin in astrology. are not very clear about them even to-day. I am not with the theologies facts. and that they are the basis of whatever truth and facts and that the same power there may be concerned.
p- ." describing the mystical The pseudo-Dionysius. To come closer to the subject before us.go The Theory and Practice of Mysticism treatise on astronomy. Plotinus is as far back as we need to go. illumined St. lieve all that Plotinus We do not need to be- and Dionysius the Are- opagite have to say about their Mysticism even could we understand it. We accept them as Mystics because they undergo the same exfacts perience and build their theories on the same which once gave insight and foresight Paul on the way to Damascus and St. let me show you what the Mystics call this faculty before we bring it to the bar of modern psychology. Fenelon and Fox. John in Patmos when he was in the spirit on the Lord's Day. He calls this faculty ''another intellect is different from that which reasons and ^^ de- nominated rational. and is to be seen supporting. and passes into the truly mystical darkness of ignorance. adept. and that not only ex- plains to us the stars but incidentally explains the old astrologers too. where he excludes all intellectual apprehensions and abides in the utterly Im" Ennead VI. to the prophets. guiding and inspiring Santa Teresa and Tauler. says: "Then is he delivered from all seeing and being seen.
of giving life and needful things to the body and ordering and governing it for the best." in his Treatise '^ 9I St. Teresa calls the prayer of quietude." The author all: of the "Theologia Germanica" gives about the most important statement of "Now the created soul of man hath also two eyes. VI. but if the soul shall see with the right eye. writing." says: "It is this sweet calm which S. the one has the power of seeing into eternity. Or if the left eye is fulfilling its office toward outward thin^^s. the other of seeing into time and the creatures. and be as though it were dead. VIIT." "Dionysius: : working. I. But these two eyes of the soul of man cannot both perform their work at once. . then must the its right eye be hindered in in its contemplation. holding conversa- tion with time and the creatures. which is much the same as what she elsewhere ^^ calls a sleep of the active powers.of "The Rest of the recollected soul is its Beloved.The Meeting Point palpable and Invisible. " Theoloflia Germanica. Bk. Section III. that is. Mystic Theology. on the Love of God. Chap. 20. D. of perceiving how they differ from each other. then the left eye must close itself and refrain from working. Cap. — that ^° is. Francis de Sales. " De Sales Of the Love of God.
in the little spark.] "The union of the soul with God is far more inward than that of the soul and body. and plentiful in fruit. which alone can apprehend God. Grace unites not to any work.] in "Grace never comes If it the intelligence or in the could come in the intelligence or in the will. 4-5. It is an indwelling and [Eckhart: a living together of the soul in God. pp. p. The true union between God and the soul takes place which is called the spirit of the soul. Inge. of great help." Light. the intelligence and the will would have to tran- scend themselves. i-s Whose Grace. not of the theory but of the facts and the actual processes "Mystical knowledge proceeds not from Wit. that the soul finds herself in the where every rational being understands itself with itself. appears to me. with most delightful communicated meek and lowly. intimacy. 50. .: 92 The Theory and This is Practice of Mysticism what the Mystics themselves say. enters not into the Soul by the ears. Life and Love. The Spiritual Guide. but from Experience it is not invented. nor by the continual reading of books. On this a . but proved not read. master says : There is something secret about it and thereby he means the spark of the soul. but received and is therefore most secure and It efficacious. but by the abundant infusion to the of the Holy Spirit. how as it stands it with the soul that is lost in God ? the soul find herself or not? To this will I Does answer point. . . Although it sinks and sinks in the eternity ." [Molinos: will. Now I might ask.
] [Eckhart: Light. a power independent of sense and reason. in the ''Alicrocosmus." I quote again from Max call MiJller. Vol. 14-15. it 93 can never reach the Therefore God has left a little point wherein the soul turns back upon itself and finds itself. Chap. pp. \h ." : who I writes "There not only is in man a faculty which simply the faculty of apprehending the in religion Infinite. yet I suppose a very real power if ^^ Microcosmus. Life and Love. W^ill you bear with me a 1 little farther in I my quotations. I. and knows itself to be a creature. a power in a certain sense contradicted by sense and reason. in his "Science of Religion. yet j^round. I. iilc. which still think necessary that may further explain myself and supplement Lotze." writes: names by more modern authorities? "Within us lurks a world whose form we but imperfectly apprehend. 13. Bk. p. I.The Meeting Point of the Divine Essence." ^^ And Ribot says: "The ordinary conscious personality is only a feeble i)ortion of the whole psy^" chological personality." Inge. and whose working when in particular phases it comes under our obserthese old — vation — surprises us with foreshadowings of unknown depths in our own being. but in all things. "Ribot: Les Maladies. \22.
as we call it. them is — for they are so discon^^ How to regard tinuous with ordinary consciousness. screens. own organ of knowledge. there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different. its totality No be account of the universe in final which leaves these other forms of conthe question." "Quoted " James : in Bjerregaard. p. but apand at a touch there in all they are. and open a region though they fail to give a map. is but about one special type of consciousness. how neither sense nor reason have been able to overcome it. As the senses are a . Yet they may determine attitudes. "The Varieties of Religious Experiences. whilst all parted from it by the filmiest of it. its own method. 388. 12. We may go through ply the requisite stimulus life without suspecting their existence.94 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism see how it has held its own from the beginning of the world. sciousness quite disregarded. p." ^* As William James says: "Our normal waking consciousness. its own own results. though they cannot furnish formulas. definite types of mentality which probably somewhere can have their field of application and adaptation. while it alone is able to overcome both reason and we sense. spiritual is a distinct sphere of the human soul its its mov- ing from within. having objects. Lectures on Mysticism. their completeness.
] "And. moral and spiritual. the strong propension of the reason to find a are moral and religious meaning girdling the course of events. looking out to the exworld. The investigation of the evidences. They leap instinctively into exercise by the contact of the personality with another and higher personality. The ternal sense of the right. may indeed furnish fit occupation for the highest intellects.The Meeting Point 95 But we thorities. as a heavenly melody falling on the ear. p." [Caird University Sermons. 16. it is hension of God and divine things that maintained there is an appreis independent of that which comes to us in the form of propositions and doctrines. which have immediate aflinities with the spiritual world. but as a living reality which it immediately and intuitively perceives. as the splendour of an infinite loveliness breaking on the eye of faith. 181. which receive impressions from that world." [Caird University Sermons. the instinct of dependence. so the personality has faculties. the thirst for a chief good." [Smith: The Magnetism of Christ. but it is by no such process that the essence of religion wins its way into the soul. roughly and popularly speaking elements of that spirit- — — ual side. 14. "Now though these powers use reason in their latter stages and can always vindicate themselves in the court of reason. p. and which may be possessed in fullest measure by the man who could not define or prove a single article of a theological creed.] "Of all things good and fair and holy there is a spiritual cognizance which precedes and is independent of that knowledge which the understanding conveys. in like manner.] : : . and which become powers in the life through these impressions. they do not work by reasoning. It comes upon the spirit not as a proposition which it has proved. really need Our own lives furnish us no fortifying with auwith bet- fundamental endowment of the being. p. the analysis and systematic development of the doctrines of religion.
96 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism call ter proofs. under great emotion same ocean in history — — of grief or joy. of intense excitement. What we parts. The one the drudge and mentor and director which we know and which gets tired and dies. so we have seen and philosophy nay. able. able to connect with the in other men. when what its we and call self. our mind is is really made up of two use. of fer- vent prayer. Yet it is this unconscious part which is the very tossing ocean which feeds the little founfull of wrecks tain of our conscious mind and argosies and dead faces and the traces of — vanished generations. . and the other the immeasurably vaster portion which we seldom see and only a little of tener guess we have. do we not know this also from dear experience? able to connect with God. For have we not known some supreme moment. of a single petty experience hoard of petty maxims reasoned out disappears and a new power comes above the threshold of consciousness and takes control ? And when it has sunk once more below the threshold we only with — then discover the bleeding wound or the evi- dence of some superhuman exertion or the sense of a presence which leaves us tingling. with all self-consciousness its self-carefulness.
but by-products. though parts of its process. or which we call the dogmatic or intelwhich we call the ritualistic or in- stitutional. its These are not Mysticism. such as unusual nervous sensitiveness. is thus in all respects like any other Christian." I think have said enough to support my here the peculiarity which distinguishes Mysticism from those forms of point that we have religion lectual.The Meeting Point saying. extremes of joy or sorrow. And they have said. plus the use of this organ and plus also certain rewards or punishments which flow from its use. "Truly 97 God was in this place and 1 knew I it not. And we have asked the Mystics to tell us what they thought was their secret. We have felt that they were preliminary to Mysticism proper. with a perfect and positive unanimity. and which seems to have the power of receiving The Mystic intimations directly from God. Beyond or underneath the usual course of the Christian life there is in Mysticism the development and use of a faculty which works best when both mind and will are in abeyance. an abnormal liability to visions and hallucinations. We have laid aside the emotions and the will. that .
and then that through it came to them a knowledge of God. a faculty which they could cultivate. in meeting God.98 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism they used. This it is is a prac- study and for our purpose not necesof the sub- sary to enter the much-debated conscious. generally ineffable and indescribable. but having enough body to it to be afterward presented to their own intellect to be reasoned on in the usual way. and is active quiescent. Few They psychologists would deny differ its existence. they gained the real knowledge. that for its highest working this faculty needed that the ordinary activities of the brain be stopped. faculty seemed to them something distinct from their intellect. field As yet we know too little about it. are here concerned only We is with the fact: which is That by the use of a faculty not the logical mind. but gained it not by ratiocination but by intuition. valuation of very widely in their definition and it. All I can say regarding this is that further definition is at present tical beyond our powers. which seemed to them to be and truest part of their personality. something which did not use logical processes that by it the deepest and that this . certain truths positive spiritual mostly when that are received and a com- .
As Hocking says truly: "The misinterpretation of Mysticism here in question is due to the fact that what is a psychological report (and a true one) is taken as a metaphysical statement (and vated. that something within us is especially formed to meet with God. It is that penumbra of the intellect which Bergson calls Intuition." ^^ Professor James. p. there is actually and "The subconscious self *• Mind. than authority. 42. says: whom is no higher ited psychological entity.The Meeting Point gg I munion with God terious field is established. lies believe that in this the seat of this faculty back mysIt is we call the sub-consciousness. No. is nowadays a well-accredand I believe that in it we have exactly the mediating term required. 8r. is by and this each one of us must do if he would know. like every other organ. Apart from all religious considerations. We know best that we have eyes by seeing things with them. but I see no reason to doubt. . and that. whether they be of God. The only proof it may be we have it culti- using it a false one). from its eflfects. are to use our minds to try the spirits. it a large field and contains much which We both useful and harmful. that ourselves.
The Self manifests through the organism.'' ^^ from this region play in the religious May make I interrupt here for one clearer my own position. as it seems.— : loo The Theory and more life in Practice of Mysticism total soul literally our than we are at any time aware of. Myers said first 1892 in his essay on the is Subliminal Consciousness written: as true as is when it was 'Each of us in reality an abiding psychical entity far more extensive than he knows. is always some part of the Self unmanifested and always. as Myers calls them. but there . field The exploration of the transmarginal has hardly yet been seriously undertaken.' Much of the content of this larger back- ground against which our conscious being stands out in relief is insignificant. enter into for a large part. and of prayer. genius seem also to have their origin and in our study of conversion. . Imperfect memories. 'dissolutive' silly jingles. of mystical experiences. we have seen how striking a part invasions life. phenomena it of various sorts. But in it many of the performances of . some power of organic expression in abeyance or reserve. inhibit! ve timidities. It is in the Century Dictionary ''James: Varieties of Religions Experience. p. an individuality which can never express itself completely through any corporeal manifestation. that I is moment to may not I be more misunderstood than necessary? am reminded of one of the clearest definitions of Mysticism among the many that are to be found to-day. but in what Mr. 511.
The Meeting Point
"Mysticism and Rationalism represent oppoof theology, Rationalism regarding
the reason as the highest faculty of
the sole arbiter in
matters of religious doc-
trine; Mysticism, on the other hand, declaring
that spiritual truth cannot be apprehended by
the logical faculty, nor adequately expressed
terms of the understanding."
yet while this definition
clear as far
and makes a perfectly true
ing to supply the defect of the logical faculty.
If ''spiritual truth cannot be
the logical faculty,"
this is the
very secret of Mysticism,
to be told, even in a dictionary.
definition only tells us
truth can be also received
understood by some function of the subliminal
whatever you please,
and we have at least made the definition fuller and more correct, even though the claim of the
Mystic should prove to be unfounded.
this is the claim of the
Mystic and so
necessary to an understanding of him,
The Theory and But
Practice of Mysticism
relation to Rationalism
not be so clear.
opposite to Rationalism but not
Both are necessary
to see the
to the full
religion of this earth.
But nothtwo set at
Nothing is commoner than to see Mysticism classed with mere emotionalism.
the seat of the emotions,
as of the true memory.
has a mental
not the passive, unrea-
soning and irresponsive automaton which people
not the old one, between heart and
head, between feeling and knowledge, but beessential, the
tween two kinds of knowledge. And both are knowledge which comes through Scholasticism and the knowledge which comes through Mysticism. The one is mediate and proceeds by logic indirectly; the other is immediate and proceeds deductively from a prior suggestion. This is not the time to discuss
their relative merits; there is certainly a dif-
ference in priority.
add, that which
not called for by
argument, that God's nature seems more akin
The Law of Psychic Phenomena,
The Meeting Point
to the mystical side of man's nature.
Love, not Logic. Omniscience does not ratiocinate, it simply knows, and the soul, made in the image of God, meets God intuitively (however it may rationalize about Him later), so that we must ask it first, not "are your logical processes correct?" but simply, ''have you seen
" "Now, undoubtedly, religious beliefs, new and old, often do present themselves to the minds of individuals in an intuitive and unaccountable way. They may subsequently be justified at the bar of Reason and yet Reason might never have discovered them for herself. They would never have come into the world unless they had presented themselves at first to some mind or other as intuitions, inspirations, immediate Revelations: and yet (once again) the fact that they so present themselves does not by itself prove them to be true." [Rashdall: Philosophy and Religion, p. 136.] "But just as our primary wide-awake consciousness throws open our senses to the touch of things material, so it is logi:
conceivable that if there be higher spiritual agencies
that can directly touch us, the psychological condition of their
doing so might be our possession of a subconscious region, which alone should yield access to them. The hubbub of the waking life might close a door which, in the dreamy Subliminal, might remain ajar or open." [James: The Varieties of Religious Experience, p. 242.] "The notion of a subconscious self certainly ought not at this point of our inquiry to be held to exclude all notion of a higher penetration. If there be higher powers able to impress us, they may get access to us only through the subliminal door."
[Ibid., p. 243.]
"Disregarding the over-beliefs, and confining ourselves to
the fact that the
^^^ Theory and
Practice of Mysticism
And so we come back to the heart of the matter.
Leaving for the last lecture any practical we may have found, let us remind ourselves of the point we have reached, the meeting point with God. The Mystic, that he may see God, get any the least glimpse of him, must prepare himself, and having stripped from him everything that would hinder of sight, hearing, touch, even thought, then he comes to the next and most important step of all, that which stamps him as soon as he takes it, as a Mystic, different in this respect from other creatures; he sits down in this utter nakedness and in silence and
without effort at
in the "still small voice," or to
God to speak show himself
It is the
some vision or
some touch upon
heart by which he
the powers upon
the "inward look."
In quiet and
in silence the soul
sounds have been The efforts of Recollection to bring stilled. the mind and heart and will into harmony have
conscious person is continuous with a wider self through which saving experiences come, a positive content of religious experience, which it seems to me, is literally and objectively true, as far as
The soul is at peace. 2 vols. No longer is it content to do.The Meeting Point 105 succeeded and so relax. C. Green & Co. Co. and its being becomes one great receptivity. 1906. Yale University Press. Longmans. "Speak. Felix Alcan. the unruly will The attitude is that of listening. 1912. Du James: The Varieties of Religious Experience. God's. 1899. Court Publishing Co. McClurg & Co. Mifflin et & Delacroix: Etudes d'Histoire Mysticisme. 1902. for thy servant heareth" and not mistake heavenly sounds for earthly. The next move is SUGGESTED READING Prel: The Philosophy of Mysticism. Hocking The Meaning of God in Human Experi: ence. Jastrow: The Sub-conscious. 1899. George Redway. 1908. Hudson: The Law of Psychic Phenomena. It is in the ante-room of the Presence. de Psychologie du Paris. Open A. It finds its satis- faction in being. is silenced. . Ribot: Essay on the Creative Imagination. The busy thoughts are hushed. 1889. Lord. Houghton. C. It can say now. Recejac: The Bases of the Mystic Knowledge. Scribner's Sons.
to pro- now to study these processes in the lives of some sample Mystics and see out in practice what oretically. but in whatever century tin's we find : them we 1 will find St. it For is helpful to study the Mystics chronologically. how they bear we have been studying the- It history of Mysticism is an impossibility. It is a religious exercise which occurs sporadically and unexpectedly throughout history. I think.IV ST. certain purposes. not It A an evolution. will be interesting. and it tried to account for it psychologically. bearing in mind what ceed we have learned. like Melchisedec. FRANCIS OF ASSISI. HEINRICH SUSO AND MOTHER JULIAN OF NORWICH Having the Mystic discussed in our previous chapters Way. It is an emergence. appears. has no history. of course. without a genealogy but with a blessing. Mar- words true "All Mystics speak the same 06 .
And so we may the more readily omit any historical presentation. Sometimes the Mystics appear in ly told that here he groups. because they are typical of the life and its process which we have been trying to describe. should be must not expect an ordered evolution." Mysticism is such a personal thing. but just as often it appears with no apparent reason. Francis — Suso — Mother Julian 107 language and come from the same country. relates so student much more to eternity than who looks to history. It is embarrassing to have to choose. to time. that the as he should. to see the order- growth of ideas and institutions. to discover causes and relations. because our purpose is practical and we can be helped more by selecting some figures of especial interest and studying them.St. that such is due to a reaction against over-intellectualism or against some tight ecclesiastical organization. and any . Sometimes a low ethical order of things or a time of spiritual dryness will seem to cause a Mystic revival. and we may or say. but just as often they are lonely as well as unexpected figures in the pages of history. see an spirit. There have been periods when we can unusual outpouring of the mystical see.
with all its intensity. Francis. and of I think we may gain a wider underof the subject if we take two men and one woman. is the typical Mystic of the Middle Yet for this very reason his Mysticism brought into clearer relief and is seen. We will tell their story and see if it be possible to fit them into the scheme we have already laid down. so that each type. in England (1343-1413). in many of traits of his character and in his mode life. to be a very human thing. I may stand by itself as a ask you to look with ( 1 me at St. and with Na- . but better of those all can speak these standing who interest me most. They are also so far removed from each other that we cannot trace any influences acting between them. More than any I know he kept himself in His closest touch with everything human.lo8 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism I choice will seem arbitrary. By seeing our theories translated into life we may understand and practise them the better. and choose them from different countries and from different centuries. Francis of Assisi 182-1226) and Heinrich Suso of Julian of Germany (1300-1365) and Mother Norwich. St. might seem far re- moved from Ages. knowledge of men was unusual.
his love and sympathy. and above all. Francis —Suso— Mother Julian 109 ture in her every aspect he had the deepest sympathy. his keen insight and common sense. .^ His and after it was greater to realize. influence over his time was a passion. his desire to be like Christ. It is not to our purpose to study these larger aspects of his character and work. like Christ.St. especially for the larks. his joyous temperament. 170. just went I about doing good. He simply stepped into the midst of everything that was abhorrent to him and brought with him his unflagging courtesy. to ^ speak of this only in passis remind you of what p. They can be understood only after thorough knowledge of the conditions which he faced. a man who not only made a deep impression on whose influence and who has even now a personal devotion accorded to him which I dare to say is received by no one save the life of his time. so often forgot- Mirror of Perfection. by his Master. and then. ing. than we are even now beginning He is one of the great men of the world. while his love for the birds. but one persists after seven centuries. to He ordered his followers always have a plot for flowers in their more useful vegetable gardens.
literature. mother probably French. sent home to be taken ill with a fever. destined of the town. more personal and interior. captured and imprisoned there for a year. I turn to the man himself. spending the time in reconciling enmities and singing French chansons." He was for a time a soldier fighting against Assisi's enemy. ''the best dressed to take over his father's business. and sometimes astonishingly influential and and successful. is We have not time to show how true this of Francis. that Theory and Practice of Mysticism it is not incompatible with true Mys- ticism to be extremely practical and constantly busy. above all. in His name was Francis Bernadone. how he stands to the lepers John Howard to the prisoners of — England or a Dorothea Dix to the insane of America. where he hovered between life and death for many . he undermined and finally did away with the burden of Feudalism in his own land. the cheeriest man in the dungeon. son of a rich cloth merchant. into political of Italy as a how he influenced art how be brought a new temper life. Our aim in these lectures is different. Perugia. leader in the gay life man in Assisi. born his Assisi in 1182. by his institution of the Order of Tertiaries.no The ten. and how.
But he is a Mystic. was not the Church his need. Francis begins to emerge. —and now then. out of this gay. St. his year's The come out of He had imprisonment and long illness with that sense of something lacking in his life which comes to so many young men and must come to every Mystic. It is the first step in the Mystic Way. He with his former life and yet he could see nothing else to do. little more intercrowd of pallid figures of whose hallucinations and self-inflicted tortures and incredible miracles we read in Golden Legends and Acta Sanctorum. merchant-soldier.St. the joy- ousness and sweetness of the former trouba- sublimated and spiritualized into the troubadour of God. a consistent expression of the Mystic steps are easily traced. and all his the Franciscans. quaintly. as so often fill we know. the knight errant of the Church. perhaps a esting than the rest of the life is spirit. Some people think of him only as a half crazy medieval monk. and so he went back to it again. yet with dour. And failed to here. Some people know Francis only as the founder of the great order of Brothers Minor. Once more he was the leader satisfied . simply. Francis — Suso— Mother Julian all iii weeks. pleasure- loving.
never being stinted of money. pp. to meet proportions. he gathered an equipment of princely and But he got no further than Spoleto. wondering at its might. waking. Francis.^ where he again fell ill of a fever. morn. weakened and discouraged. Who had shown him this thing." [Salter: The Legend of St. so in this vision he withdrew within himself entirely. he began earnestly to ponder this vision. And when Francis had revealed his whole purpose. And just as in the first vision he had been as it were quite carried out of himself for his great joy. 15: i6a . the lord or the servant?' And when he answered 'the lord/ that other said again unto him: 'Wherefore then dost thou leave the lord for the servant. when he had yielded unto sleep. and came back. 'unto thine own country. •"When his journey therefore he had gone to Spoleto to set forth on and go into Apulia. and to be told concerning his salvaChanged in his mind is he now. awaiting the will of the Lord. he added 'Which can do the better for thee. seeketh to mould himself unto the Divine Will. coveting worldly good fortune. he heard while half asleep one asking him whither he desired to proceed. for the vision that thou hast seen behoveth thee to understand in other wise. and a rich lord for a poor?' And Francis said: -Lord. Yet none the less anxious about his journey. and it shall be told unto thee what thou shalt do. started off.112 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism in processions and dances and banquets. fusing to go into Apulia.' saith He. what wouldst thou have me to do?' 'Return. he began to ponder somewhat. and having the chance to go to war again with a knightly train to take part in some feud in Apulia. and meditating so earnestly And so. at early that he could sleep no more that night. he returned toward Assisi in haste and with gladness and joy exceeding.' Then. and retion from himself.
frequenting a cave near Assisi. we must acknowledge that his way succeeded. Men then did nothing by halves. For him and his of saints the youngest.St. attendlittle wayside chapels. When they turned from sin they became ascetics of the severest and most uncompromising sort. nothing can stop him and he will stop at nothing. For two years he went about trying to find . typical of his time. and as the end crowns the work. And here we must remember that the Italy of his day was even more intense than it is now. young men whose jealousy he Then for months he wandered about. we must judge as far as we can. It is vain for us to call him enthusiastic and visionary and laugh at his extravagances. gentle indeed but virile. The stream of his intense nature was being dammed up. and when he breaks loose now and hears his call. life. all of him is He most restless. In studying such a it. time it was the only way to express himself. They sinned completely and gorgeously. lived ago. And Francis was a man forth. and no one knew when it would break ing Masses in the 700 years from the standard of the time. as The popular idea weak and negative is totally wrong. Francis — Suso^Mother Julian 113 the jeers of the had excited.
still holding streets. arousing himself and 'I looking at them with a smile which they did not recognize. After long searching they found him far behind. but plunged in a revery so profound that he seemed to be rooted to the all conscious of that ground and unwas going on.' " He was his troubadour spirit into his Lady Paramour was • to be new life. bustling 'Don't you see the matter with you?' about him as if to awaken him. more more pure than you carrying over could ever imagine. Sabatier : The Life of St.114 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism what his Father's business was. The and feast was prolonged far into the night. he is thinking of taking a wife?' said one. 22. in his hand his sceptre of King of Misrule.' answered Francis. were making continual efforts to take "His friends to induce him up his old habits again. and his the Lady Poverty. Francis. they proclaimed him King of the Revels. 'Yes. . am thinking of taking a wife rich. They thought they had conquered and as in old times. 'What is they cried. One day he invited them all to a sumptuous banquet. ^ more beautiful. roar. at its close the guests rushed out into the which they filled with song and upSuddenly they perceived that Francis was no longer with them. p.
he. the hardest act of self-sacrifice. One day. To this sensitive and fastidious young man even his love for her. on the eve of his death. Peter's. he sees that this incident was the real turning point the leper of his life. Then the dam broke. wrote his will and as he cast a backward glance over the way by which he had been led. He says. riding his richly-caparisoned horse around Assist he came suddenly upon a leper and he wheeled his horse and spurred him away in horror. and rode away a free man. for the lepers were banished from all social intercourse. but for one class he had an instinctive and deep-rooted repugnance. the sight of a leper was loathsome. Here was the renunciation. He gave away much money and more sympathy. and then knelt and kissed his hand.St. He really cared for them. He thought he could remain rich and yet understand the poor. He turned his horse and went back and gave all he had of money. Francis — Suso— Mother Julian 115 But as yet he had not known how to declare He went to Rome and sat among the beggars on the steps of St. Theirs was a living death. The Church even had a solemn and terrible service for their seclusion from mankind. Others agreed with him. as he begins his last . Years afterward.
Brother for Francis. the third step in Way. flashed upon him that he had found do." Then suddenly it of Assisi." lepers them. He did not realize the largeness of the work. nor scrip for your journey. a little farther from the town. He had not heard the personal call. the clear directions from Christ himself as to what he should He threw away every- . the so he began to repair. thus to begin to do penance when was in sin seemed to me very bitter to see and the Lord himself led me amongst I showed mercy to them. but still what to do with himself was not clear. his orders. with his little own hands. and when I left them. nor shoes nor staves. that which had seemed to me bitter was changed for me into sweetness of body and soul. Attending Mass in it one morning he heard the words in the Gospel for "Take neither gold nor silver nor the day: brass in your purses. and This was his conversion. To sonal property. . and began to repair that. the chapel of San Damiano on its the outskirts priest he gave all his perThis done he built a hut by the side of the still smaller chapel of the Portiuncula.ii6 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism Testament: I "The Lord gave it to me. He dreamed that he was to repair the Church.
Soon Bernard of Quintavalle. It was all summed up in doing what St. the rough cord. and he." It was all Other men came to join as simple as that. but sensible to us unnecessary we see also a very sane and man doing them.St. Then a real but still simple Rule was set forth. and then more. So the order of Brothers Minor grew. He took them to a church and opened the Gospel and read the verse to ''Brethren. and they certainly . a rich and prominent man of Assisi. Francis — Suso— Mother Julian It 117 thing and put on the commonest dress of the poorest Apennine peasant. decided to attach themselves to him and to follow his example. Go. then. and they jour: neyed to Rome to have it approved by the Pope. this is our life and them and said our Rule and that of all who may join us. a peasant. and do as you have heard. desired only to do what Christ In his life we modern Christians find did. Francis did. the gray tunic and It its was rule the real founding of the Order. we know. And was that simple verse. some very shocking and imitations. was the taking of the Franciscan habit. these three. and Pietro. not out of a paper constitution but as the direct out- come and influence of a man's life.
his heart. He could not himself be free and yet be rich. povcontumely are means by which the man who would be free dominates the tyrant within. upon — — He did not set himself to be the judge of the rich. free. his soul. nakedness. railing at those who were better this thought. Nowhere do we find St.ii8 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism Open up some very heart-searching questions. Chap. Francis laying any their stress erty. but for utterly to freedom of spirit him there was a and that was royal road to be poor. These things. Chap. and above all. he Being an advenmust carry no such He must have his hands. off. Some men can. * ' The Little Flowers.* Asceticism is belief in pain and want for own sakes. And here his aim was joy as much as that of any epicurean. cold. XXVII and Chap. turer. but he had tried He was no child of the it and had failed.® Both his poverty and his asceticism are so spontaneous and joyous that they are forever taken out of the gloomy category of Monasticism. as agreeable in themselves to God and as laying up grace in Heaven. Cheerfulness was blessed and sadness damned burden. hunger. XCVI. and entirely poor. a knight errant. . proletariat. VIII. Mirror of Perfection.
longing to be like Christ with which he started has its symbolical fulfillment in the reception of the Stigmata in the solitude of the Mount and heard "And as he thus marveled it these words: was revealed by him that appeared to him that by divine Providence this vision had been shown in such form to the end that he might understand that not by the martyrdom of the of Alvernia. in his youthful zeal he rather overdid the mauling of his body. So we may thankfully omit that from our study of this man and be glad that he shows us how we may Thus we come to the end when the escape. and fed it sparely." as he called his body. Francis —Suso—Mother Julian iig by him. for cise. fied until hardy. To be sure. his vision He saw . ever unsatishe had made it willing and swift and But this step we call Purgation was him only an exhilarating knightly exerand natural- All this joyousness of nature ness and absolute freedom from anything that was morbid make Francis' life singularly free from that stage we have called Negation. and he confessed this himself. Eager and keen. he spurred and flogged this "Brother Ass.St. that Dark Night of the Soul which shrouds so many sometimes for many years.
The Life of St. Francis. whom he loved with his whole heart. having completed forty years of his age and twenty years of perfect penitence. on the 4th of the Nones of October. his whole strength." ^ Turn we now to another sample of the same ' The Little Flowers. 192. 'St. CXXIV. where. His friends tell the story with simple pathos: "And having said this he was carried to St. » The Mirror of Perfection. in the year of our Lord 1227. The union was very nearly complete. The Little Flowers. his whole soul." trying to conceal almost reached. who. lives and reigns forever and ever. 185. passed away to the Lord Jesus Christ. his most ardent desire and fullest affection. Mary of the Angels. p. he.I20 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism body but by the enkindling of his mind must he needs be wholly transformed into the express image of Christ crucified in that glorious apparition. Chap. with the Father and the Holy Spirit." ® Then he came down from '^ the Mount from his nearest friends the "marks of the Lord Jesus. . his goal The wracked body could bear no more and he failed rapidly. with his whole mind. Bonaventura: pp. following him most perfectly. p. Amen. running after him most sweetly. 139-4O. and at the last reaching him most gloriously.
He became a Dominican monk. another troubadour. near Constance. saying: 'Thou knowest well enough already how to give voice to God and cient. later Francis. entering the monastery at Constance when he was 13 years old.St. on 1300. after many years of unceasing labors and sufferings he died at . living Teutonic than St. Seuss. St. At length. D. the families being both noble and an- devotion to his mother he by her name. "While there he made such great progress in learning that he was about to be promoted to the degree of Doctor of Theology. but of the heavier sort. Then he was transferred to Cologne. Heinrich Suso was born at Ueberlingen. but he was forbidden to accept this honor by a voice from God within him. Benedict's Day. A. Latinized into Suso. where he studied diligently at the University.' From that time forth he began to preach with great zeal and fervor and to devote himself to the conversion of sinners and the guidance of souls along the highest paths of mystical perfection. his father's name being von Berg. He was From well born on both sides of his house. Francis —Suso — Mother Julian more than a century 121 Spirit. his called himself — to draw other men to him by thy preaching.
however. and bare facts just recorded." When. in his Bampton Lectures "In his old age. he was stopped by a heavenly message from God forbidding it. he published the history of his life. shortly before (p. when he found proved her for to out this ghostly theft. 173) says: his death in 1365. and then surreptitiously circulated. p. 5- . the rest of it was given to him and he was going to treat it in like manner.122 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism Ulm." He has left us two books from which we must draw all our knowledge of his life save the Paul. He wrote his own or rather his experiences related to his friend Elizabeth Stagelin were set down by her "Later on. Thus what follows remained unhurt. *• Suso : Life. life. was buried in the cloister of ^ the Dominican convent in that city. for the most part.^*^ Of this book Inge. he re- it and forcing her to give up him all the writing. on the Feast of the Conversion of St. Translator's Preface. which is one of the most interesting • The Life of xxxi. the Blessed Henry Suso. he burnt up all of it that was there. to it Many good were also added by him after her death in her name. p. in 1365. just as she had written instructions it with her own hand.
1896). says: spirit of this *'In is Suso's narrative the century pictured with a vivid- ness and reality Froissart himself. but in writing them he says: gained many a bright inspiration of divine truth whereof these meditations were a cause. Suso's store of glowing and vivid lanthirst of guage never the soul for fails." The result he gives us is in dramatic form. talks " The Little Book of Eternal IVisdom. These form a short appendix to the book and are not very "He valuable." of a hundred short meditations on the Passion which he had vowed to make." He nal wrote himself "The Little Book of EterIts origin w^as a series Wisdom. does not surpass. Francis — Suso— Mother all Julian 123 and charming. The hunger and God and the answering love of man have never found a more pure and beautiful expression. He is the Servitor and Eternal Wisdom p.of literary ecstatic gift is autobiographies. . 21. and between him and the Eternal Wisdom there " sprang up a tender intercourse. Unlike most Mystics who declare on each occa- sion that "tongue cannot utter" their experiences." A writer in the Edinburgh Reviezv (for OcChrist manifested in the inner tober. his contemporary. Suso's remarkable.St.
But they are softened and sweetened and made human by passing through his own heart and being expressed in his beautiful language. there was no fect conversion need to be over-careful about ordinary faults. versation half is The contreats his sweet. yet with a quaint and humorous boldness. in our study of both the Eternal Wisdom and the Life together the various steps in his Mystic experience which for us are more important than the theological discussions. that he in him.124 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism with him and answers his questions. his soul was still dissipated within him. Eckhart. The servant Master with reverence. which might tarnish his good name. But we turn away from these. And though he had worn the religious habit for the five previous years. he was so kept by God the while. The answers of the Eternal Wisdom show an intimate acquaintance with the writings of Dionysius and Thomas Aquinas and Suso's master. "The first beginning of the Servitor's per- to God took place when he was in his eighteenth year. and it seemed to him that if God only preserved him from weightier sins. had always an unsatisfied feeling withwhenever he turned himself to the ob- . We must trace. Nevertheless.
and are spoken by the beautiful and all-loving Wisdom. and have desired to take her for my spouse. no one either guessed or came near to guessing it for it was a secret illumination and drawing sent by God. it and it seemed to him that must be something quite different which could bring peace to his wild heart. and have sought her out from my youth. . wondering how it had come over him. Francis — Suso — Mother Julian 125 jects of his desires. until the kind set God him free from it by turning him. and another that. and lead him through bitter and sweet until she brought him to the right path of di. and I became a lover of her beauty. p. and it wrought in him with speed a turning away from creatures.' These words stand written in the Book of Wisdom. Then did the Eternal Wisdom meet him in a spiritual and ineffable form." *^ " 'Her have I loved. His companions marvelled at the speedy change. " Life of the Blessed Henry Suso. and one said this. "A Servant was filled with disgust and dejection of heart on his first setting forth on the uneven ways. 6. and yet he could not help himself.St. and he was ill at ease amid his restless ways. He felt at all times a gnawing reproach within. but as to how it was.
but I never could grasp it. the game All the time that love is Bternal Wisdom with love. but w^hat it is I have not as yet fully understood. "Alas. I am is it. or what is it? Bternal Wisdom Thou art and hast of thy- — — self nothing but imperfection. why hast Thou devine truth. — . after well reflecting on his wonderful progress. what of love. love does not know how dear love "Suso: Eternal Wisdom. without which I can never attain true rest." or "The Servant Lord! art Thou this thing. my God. and this is the game The Servant of love? —But Lord. he thus spoke to God: Sweet and tender Lord! from the days of my childhood my mind has sought for something with burning thirst. why didst Thou not show Thyself to me long ago. layed so long? I How many !" a weary way have not wandered ''Eternal Wisdom — Had My I wouldst not have known sibly as done so thou goodness so sen^^ now thou knowest it. Lord. 25-27. I have pursued it ardently many a year. and yet it is something that attracts my heart and soul. for I know not what it is. am I it.126 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism And. pp.
The Servant Lord." Here we see the longings of Suso's heart. which are they ? Eternal IVisdom They are the persons Eternal — — — who have fect denied themselves in the most per^* manner. Quite early him. then only does love feel how dear ! love was. of I must ." "He in felt at all times a gnawing reproach with- kind is and yet he could not help himself until the God set him free by turning him. The Servant Alas. is And then the turning." It the usual Christian experience.St. 62-63. for constancy belongs to eternity. pp. The Servant Lord. Lord! — Lord — this is a dreary game. who are these persons? IVidsom— The very purest of all. is. and in eternity the most like to God. Francis —Suso— Mother Julian from 127 but when love separates love. the conversion. **He had always an unsatisfied feeling within him. the beginning of his Alystic Way. the awakening. in his course visions were given tells In Chapter III of his Life he probably the first one of the many. inconstancy never cast aside in any one while time lasts? is Eternal Wisdom In very few persons. "Suso: Eternal IVtsdom.
. Practice of Mysticism not describe lest I spoil the beauty of his own his description: "His heart was athirst and yet satisfied. .128 The Theory and it. Wishes were stilled in him and desires had departed. . and it seemed to him as if he were floating in the air. not . adding: know not what Heaven is Ah. The heavenly glances came again and again in his innermost interior. just as when a choice electuary has been poured out of a box. ." ^^ But along with these glimpses of God's presence within him comes the sight of himself and his sinfulness and unworthiness. lo. The powers of his soul were filled full of the sweet taste of Heaven. The box This still keeps the good flavor of it. p. Heaven. He went on his way in body and no one saw or took note of anything in him outwardly: but his soul and mind were full even of heavenly marvels. . heavenly taste remained with him for a long time afterwards and gave him a yearning and longing after God. ''Was there ever a suitor subjected to as hard terms as " Life of the Blessed Henry Suso. He said I afterwards: If this be . Thou who art my heart's good! Never can this hour pass from my heart. mind was joyous and blooming.
' He was greatly strengthened persevere by good inspirations of this sort. and me from their bitter participation? How very wonderful do Thy judgments appear!" is is "The Servant —Woe a dreary pastime! My ^'^ grew all the terrible auswhich Suso is almost the crowning example among Mystics.St. one thing I must say: couldst Thou not have found out some other way. There no wooer but he is a sufferer no lover a martyr. to save me and show Thy love for me. 31." me. but he is or against to ^« it. "Eternal IVisdom. p. whether with their will . Francis — Suso—Mother Julian 129 these? A is thought from God answered: *By ancient right love and suffering go together. . but this whole nature rebels against these words. some way which would have exempted Thee from Thy great sufferings.. Lord. A mere recital of Out of this feeling terities of "Ibid. 13. Remember all the mishaps and vexations which earthly lovers suffer. in Thy eternal wisdom. p. Lord. how shall I ever endure it all? Gentle Lord. Therefore it is not unjust that he who aims so high in love should meet with some things repugnant to him.
Probably what their lords and ladies called luxury would be considered hardships by us. we feel should not only pity their mistake but also for them a great reverence as for men who. At any rate. a life of . though mistaken. own They used methods of their day." In Chapters XVII-XX may be found his own account. Suso cut with a stylus into his bosom's flesh over his heart. the attempt to fit a soul to meet and see God was a worthy one.130 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism flesh his morbidities makes our tender modern St. And so we feel ourselves shocked reading of what Francis and Suso did to their poor bodies. Instead of wearing a pectoral cross of gold over a swelling clerical waistcoat. from his eighteenth to his fortieth year. after the Servitor had led. We the must not judge others by our Francis and Suso and the standards. who pamper themselves and are ministered unto. creep and shrink from even the thought. the name *7^su. and yet austerity of some sort cannot be avoided even to-day. The saints of to-day are not the easy livers. at least dared to the utmost to gain an end we only feebly wish for. They may have mistaken the means. which closes thus: "At length. the ones as St. in letters an inch high.
and a breaking through his uncrushed natural man. and endeavor. he left way. and he saw that he must press on still further in quite another oft". It is true indeed. that everything must be let go by him who would attain perfection but they do not understand how this letting-go of things . to die or leave off these exercises. is to be managed. . and to rid them^"Life of the Blessed Henry Suso. with their undisciplined reason. 80. they know not how. the if he wished to reach perfection. Francis —Suso—Mother Julian man 131 exercises. Read the beautiful Hymn of Suffering in The Little Book of Eternal Wisdom. p.St. to go this and that. according to the outer as have been in part described above —such —and when his whole frame was now so worn and wasted that nothing remained for him except them and God showed him that all this austerity and all these practices were nothing more than a good beginning. 64. they try to behold God as all in all. p." ^® These sensible words also follow. showing growing sense of wherein self-discipline lies: ''The same thing happens with these persons when. and they try to let go this and that without discretion. let according to their imperfect intelligence.
. 206-207. pp. or indirectly through creatures. spirit of self-renunciation." Then he enters the ''other way. that is to say. either by Himself. still humbly using the third person. 66." the higher. describing the new trials which befell him when he outgrew ^^ Life of the Blessed Henry Stiso. ""Ibid. p. is harder school which Angelic Guide thus described by the thither: who conducted him "The youth answered: ply in an entire 'The highest school and the craft which is taught there consist simand perfect detachment from self. This fault arises either or unmortified from unlearned ^^ simplicity craftiness. whether joyful or sad.. or how he feels.132 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism selves of all thing's without attending to the necessary distinctions. and to make God's honor and glory his sole directly aim. how a man may attain to such an abiding that. as far as human frailty will allow. no matter how God treats him. just in the way that the dear Christ acted towards his heavenly Father/ " ^^ There are few more distressing or dramatic stories than the Servitor proceeds to tell. the one object of his strivings shall ever be to continue always the same by a perpetual giving up of self.
Francis — Suso— Mother The Julian 133 his lonely self-macerations. a vision by the heavenly Whereupon he sought one of the bright show him the manner of God's secret dwelling in his soul. flesh is cutting of the mere childish suffering compared to the false accusations of thievery and deception and adultery. and see how God plays his play of love with thy loving soul. the loss of reputation. is without parallel. of the regard of friends. into the deepest gloom. the ruin of his Christian influence as a preacher and a teacher. in lovely form. . after the time of his "It came sufferings was over.St. and saw that his body over his heart was clear as crystal. he says: to pass once. Even with such bright visions as this one to cheer him. a joyous glance into thyself. Surely in the state his perfect school- called Purgation Suso had nor was he spared the state called The Dark Night of the Soul. and that in the centre of his heart the Eternal was sitting tranquilly. he still fell. that early one in morning he was surrounded spirits. The beauty and pathos of the story told by him in Chapter XL ing. beside whom there sat.' He looked immediately. In Chapter VI of his Life. then. Wisdom. he tells us. The Angel princes of heaven to answered thus: 'Cast.
" three '' in love in the arms of the beloved And then in Chapter interior sufferings XXIII we read of his common to many . to cry to At last." fering Life of the Blessed Henry Suso. God suffered him to remain under these Christians: "One of these inations against the faith temptations about nine years. during which he ceased not. was impious imagthe more he fought against them the more perplexed he became. and encircled by God's arms. with wailing heart and w^eeping eyes. 21-22. he set him entirely free from them and bestowed upon him great steadfastness and "The second interior sufwas an inordinate sadness.134 full The Theory and Practice of Mysticism of heavenly longing. A partial cause of this was that his turning away from creatures to God had been carried out with such excessive speed and severity that his bodily frame had suffered greatly from it. . pp. which leaning lovingly towards God's side. when God deemed that the time was come. and pressed close to His Divine heart. God and all the saints for help. . the Servitor's soul. This trial clearness of faith. lay thus entranced and drowned God. . He had such a continuous heaviness of spirit that it was as if a mountain lay upon his heart.
and thus set him free from the hell in which he had so about ten years. of his body. from his lonely lence. any ecstasy. Francis — Suso—Mother Julian 135 lasted for eight years. p.: St. The holy man delivered him from it." He is Con- and guide to many. 79- . unlike so many. in attending to his interior "After he had spent many years life. He was turned from the abuse cell. to apply himself also by manifold revelations. It seems to have been rather a lessening of the miraculous occurrences of his earlier years. and made to lead a useful and from sinormal life in the world. it did not mean any excess of visions. With him. fessor " to the salvation of his neighbor." "- After this plane of serene he comes out on the broad high communion which is called by some the Unitive State.. long dwelt. and made known to him his suffering. He takes an in- Ibid." was nally the thought that he and that this The third suffering was damned eternaught could avail to put him terrible all among the saved suffering "After had lasted which time he never looked upon himself in any other light than as one damned. he went to the holy Master Eckhart. God urged him.
" "^ *'How is it that thou so readily forgettest thyself when thou art so perfectly encompassed with the external Good? What is it thy soul seeks in exterior things herself so secretly the ** ** who Kingdom carries within of Heaven?" ^* Life of the Blessed Henry Suso. Elizabeth Stageinto sin later chapters. of his time. p. p. The theology is is. as I have said. 213. must He must habitually thing. Eternal Wisdom. both of his Little lin. but there a charm about is the statement show- ing the sweet spirit of the of language which man and a beautybeyond that of Eckhart with these words of in- and Tauler. The Book and of his Life. 63. answering the questions put to him by his spiritual daughter." reject all that "If a man is not the one cannot comprehend the matter let him be passive and the matter will comprehend him. . Let us leave the man his ringing in our ears: "He who terior wishes to dwell in his inmost rid himself of all multiplicity. become the statement of deep truths about the Nature of God.136 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism terest in the career of those he sees falling and becomes the savior of many. the right and wrong use of Reason.
must be adorned with virtue. fasting. that not one person in a thousand comprehends. thou hast Me before thy eyes. To Hugh "Eternal Wisdom. "Eternal Wisdom. and direct thy mind at all times on high in secret and divine contemplation. notice.1 . love. thus wilt thou attain to the loftiest pitch of perfection. is tliis doctrine Keep thyself secluded from all mankind. p. encircled with self-denial. And as to other exercises. bend them all to this as their end. p. such as poverty. 123. with their end in view." [Eternal IFisdom. — The truest. The soul to feel me interiorly in the recesses of a secluded life and sweetly to enjoy me. tical 132. must first of all be cleansed from sin. in a most useful." Coming Life I to my third example of the Mystic find myself free of any biographical quote her earliest editor. decked out with the red roses of ardent strewn over with the fair violets of humble submission and with the white lilies of ^^ perfect purity. keep thyself free from the influence of all external things. and use just so much and so many of them as may advance thee to it. and go astray the long years. wherein with a steady gaze from which thou : never swervest. and most pracfew words.St. Behold. Francis —Suso— Mother Julian 137 "Spiritual hunger and actual devotion must impel thee to that wishes me more than custom. watching. doctrine in all the Scriptures that. they all continue in other exercises. and every other castigation. because. will more than amply convince thee of all the truth requisite for the attainment of the summit of perfection in a godly life. disenthrall thyself from all that depends on chance or accident.
is In the second chapter of her book.138 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism Cressy (born 1605) in his address to the reader: "I was desirous all to have told thee somewhat I of our virgin compiler of these Revelations. the mark of the true Mystic. "which creature [had] desired before three gifts by the grace of God. . a reclear a cluse. living in a cell attached to the little Norman church of St. Julian in Norwich. the mind of the Passion. second. thirty years of age. few unknowns convey to us as knowledge of their character as this one." in the However." of which four manuscripts have been preserved to us. unlettered. the 13th day of She was then. Mother Julian was an anchoress. she tells us: "This Revelation was made to a simple Christian." out of her longing for more love to God and her trouble over the sight of man's sin and sorrow. living in deadlie flesh Lord 1373. but after the search could not discover anything touching her make I could more than book it- what she occasionally sprinkles self. she says." ginning with this intense desire. which called "Revelations of Divine Love. she asked of God these three things: First. Bethe year of our Maie.
6. so asked I this third mightilie without any condition. but as thou wilt. and third. and if it be not Thy will. ^'^ " Revelations.' my youth. For the third [gift] by the grace of God and teaching of Holie Church. was not the common use of prayer. for one thought this : This sickness I desired in might have it when I were thirty years old. be not displeased for I will not that I desired of him. the wound of verie contrition. the keen imagGod." i.St. She thought she was near her end. and the third dwelled continually. e. These twaine desires beforesaid passed from my mind." At the time appointed the sickness came. . but her life was spared and in the time of recovery came the other gift. the "mind. my life. Therefore I said 'Lord.. p . and if that it be Thy will that I might have it. the wound of kind com- and the wound of wilful longing to Right as I asked the other twaine with a condition. "of the Passion and the sickness some bodily was with a condition. "These two desires. to have of God's gift three wounds. thou knowest w^hat I would. good Lord. Francis — Suso— Mother Julian 139 sickness. That is to say." she tells us. that I I conceived a mightie desire to receive three in wounds passion.
" time as well as discriminating judgment and have no time to introduce you to the as revealed in her book. given her in what she elations.140 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism ination of the passion of her Lord. shines through all she says. On the night another shewing. in spite of self-repression and extreme modesty. for God's sake. that you I woman : ^ Revelations. "Julian gives a reflection at the careful account. Then calls through all the years to follow (she speaks once of fifteen and again of twenty years save three months) there er understanding of come to her the ever clearwhat the visions meant which had been vouchsafed. Only a careful and repeated reading of it will give you the right understanding of her character. lasting after 9 o'clock of one of the next day came This was "shewings" or revthem came quickly and from about 4 o'clock till morning. as Miss Warrack. p. . one of her editors. says (p. suggestive of great calmness and power of observation and certitude afterwards. xix). 193. She closes an early chapter with these words "And therefore I pray you all. and counsel you for your own profit. which. Fifteen of consecutively."^ Of all these things.
as Jesus Christ hath shewed it to you. But thou shalt never wit therein other without end.. fort to us all : for it is God's will that ye take it with a great joy and liking. thou shalt wit more in the same. the loving nature of God. p. p.. 24. and fifteen years after and more I was answered in ghostly understanding. Hold thee therein." -^ and obliterthe end she ating herself she leaves this teaching for all. " Ibid. love and endless goodness would shew it generally in com- shewed to. theme At sums it up in these words: "And from the time that it was shewed I desired oftentimes to wit in what was our Lord's meaning. All her "even Christens" are objects of this 'Ibid. 2ia . Its It will is repay the most careful study." "® It is to the teaching of her book that I would turn. Who sheweth it thee? Love. saying thus: 'What? Wouldst thou wit thy Lord's meaning in this thing? Wit it well: love was his meaning. Wherefore sheweth He it thee? For Love. Francis — Suso— Mother Julian it 141 leave the beholding of a wretch that was and mightily wisely and meekly behold in God that of his courtesie.' Thus was I learned that Love was our Lord's meaning.St.
of the ent . : : of the medieval Mystics. and she had an attendant who cared for her. 194) ''And for this knowing are we most blind. had probably two or three rooms. Her illness seems to have satisfied her and given her all she felt she needed of bodily infirmity. She was immured in her narrow cell. In this she is very differ- from the type. to induce tions reveal to her. which.142 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism same love. there wt fail. Julian lays little stress on ascetic practices. and all should rest in it and return She says (p. and she could converse with them through her barred window and could join in the prayers and sacraments offered in the little church through the "squint. however. She differs also in that her life was monastic in the highest degree." which is still in existence. For some of us believe that God is all mighty and may do all and that He is all wisdom and can do all: but that He is all love and will do all. Many people must have been attracted to her. Her knowledge of human nature. Immediately after no attempt She made any more." In marked contrast to Suso and to so many it. She lives the rest of her life in growing appreciation and understanding of what these sixteen Revelait came all the visions she ever had.
and I had him and wanted him". 27. and this is and should be our common working in this life as to my sight. the paradox of saw him and sought him. is most simple and her use of words constantly apt and illuminating. Her grasp of the thought is only equalled by her power of expressing it. She begins with the great longing: "For I saw him and sought him. It seems to me that no one has more perfectly caught the strange sensation of having yet longing for God. . And when we see aught of him gVaciously then are we stirred with the same grace to seek. is lar£^e. Francis — Suso—Mother Julian 143 thoughts and temptations and sins of men and is women. to see him more blessed fully. and her treatment of them wonderfully keen and modern. And thus I saw him and sought him. as this example shows." ^^ Her style. and I had him and wanted him. no one has so clearly stated the loving priority of God's seeking. for we be now so blind and so unwise that we can never seek God till what time that he of his goodness sheweth him to us.St. p. with great desire. the cause and therethe priority found in these phrases: *1 *" God and Revelations.
sin. *'Fbid. and sithen I make thee to will it. 99- p. But Jesus answered by this word and said 'Sin is behovely but all shall be well. 98. And so I be- and methought if sin had not been we should all have been clean and like to our Lord as he made us. how should it then be that thou shouldst not have thy seeking?' " ^^ And she concludes from this that "for all things that our good Lord maketh *I my am brought our Lord sudmind and shewed these words and all this is my will that us to beseek himself he hath ordained ^"^ it to us from without beginning. thought me. . First thou have it. : '^Revelations. the beginning of sin was not letted. and thou seekest it.144 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism fore the satisfaction of ours. . and sithen I make thee to beseek it. . For elsewhere she says denly to said: it : *'And ground of thy beseeking. *'And after this our Lord brought to my mind the longing that I had to him before and I saw nothing letted me all but .." She has a most unmedieval conception of sin. that all should have been well.'p. for then. by the great foresaid wisdom of God. And thus in my folly before this time I often wondered why. and held generally in us .
then I saw full it is ready p.' " "And in these same words I saw an high marvelous privity hid in God. ^* In which sight we shall endlessly have joy. but the answer let given "full mistely. p. which privity he shall openly make and shall be known to us in Heaven. 68. p. of the Atonement. ^ Ibid. I close wnth this passage. "Cf. but at the is is end all she can say that she believes she is right. 143. and manner of thing be '^ well. and the Church. and note fine passage on p. coming out as it does upon the high plane of surely that the Mystic philosophy "And "Ibid. In which knowing we shall verily see the cause why he suffered sin to come. . only is me say that there plicity in a freshness and a naive sim- her treatment of the Incarnation. 127. Many chapters are given up to the discussion. and that her statements are startlingly modern and interesting for their truth to-day as well as for their historical value." She cannot reconcile the hard doctrines of Holie Church with this sight of sin in the light of God's love. 70." ^^ We may not study any further.. all shall Francis — Suso— Mother all Julian 145 shall be well.: St..
which is the Maker to whom it is oned." ^® SUGGESTED READING Jones: Studies 1909. Plotinus' Select Works. so that : shall never in for our soul sitteth in God very rest and our soul standeth in God in sure strength. and therefore. Bell *' & Sons. 191 1. in Mystical Religion. . and our soul is kindly rooted in God in endless love. . for he is ground in whom our soul standeth. God is nearer to us than our own soul. Translation by Taylor.146 The Theory and and more to Practice of Mysticism to US easie to come to the knowing know our own soul. . G. if we will have knowing of our soul and communing and dalliance therewith it behooveth us to seek in it our Lord God in whom it is inclosed. Macmillan. Macmillan. Jones: Spiritual Reformers in the i6th and i/th Centuries. of God than . p. 150. and he depart is mean that keepeth the substance it and the sensuality together. Revelations. For our soul is so deeply grounded in God and so endlessly treasured that we may not come to the knowing thereof till we have first knowing of God. 1914. Ltd.
Lewis: St. Catherine of Siena. Martensen : De Sales: Of Boehme. London. 1897. Graham : Santa Teresa. etc. Eckhart: Translation by Field. of Life.St. the Areopagite. & Co. Gardner St. Co. Westminster Art & Book Co. Translation by Winkworth. London.. Sabatier: The Life of St. Suso: Life. Suso: Little Book of Eternal Wisdom. 1905. John of the Cross. 1907. London. Translation by Parker. 1906. 1894. Francis —Suso— Mother Julian 147 The Works of Dionyshis. : The Fire of Love and the Mending Methuen & Co. 1908. M. Methuen 1907. Thomas Baker. Tauler and twenty-five of his sermons. : J. Walter Hilton: The Scale of Perfection. The Angelus Co. & Co. Richard Rolle : . 1899. James Parker & Co. 1913. Longmans. Methuen & Co. C. Dent & 2 vols. 1914. Upham Mme. Ruysbroek: The Adornment of the Spiritual Marriage. Hodden & Stoughton. I\L Dent & Sons. London. M. 1885. & Co. Eveleigh Nash. J. Scribner's Sons. Guyon. Catherine of Genoa. 1897. 1910. Ruysbroek: Reflections from the Mirror of a Mystic. 1907. 1909. Francis of Assist. J. the Love of God. 1916. Green London. VON Hugel: Dent St. 1909. MoLiNOs: The Spiritual Guide. Ltd. 1905.
Practice of Mysticism : Mother Julian of Norwich Kegan Paul. London. Fox: Journal. 1901. The Spirit of Love. . Law The Spirit of Prayer. Revelations of Divine Triibner Co. 1902. and. 2 vols.148 The Theory and Love. . Trench.
conceptions in which it has no place. much is rather obsolete are those. I believe to be a force with which we must reckon increasingly. but forms the last connection between all So far from It being an obsolete view. We are living in the era of the Spirit. So far Mysticism from be- longing only to the surmounted past. but it it most compelling force is so to-day.V MODERN MYSTICISM Mysticism is not a mere matter of historical interest. and there is surely a recrudescence of Mysticism going on all about us a just and justifiable reaction after the century of hard intellectualism and the century of even harder materialism. It which satisfies only an has not only been the in religious life. I quote DuPrel ''Mysticism does not stand be- — : side the other phenomena of Nature. though modern. unconphenomena. nected with them. the study of antiquarian curiosity. but rather will it much attain its full 149 significance in the .
" will be organically It would seem worth while. Studies of English Mystics. When you see it here or there. you feel per- fectly at home with it. Mysticism having no history. You say. then. 238. xxvi. And this not only for ourselves. on historical evidence. As well the Kantian 'Critique of Rea- son' as the physiological theory of sense per- ception and Darwinism point ' to a view of the world into which Mysticism fitted." ^ ence. and possibly to enter into the movement ourselves. and to be able to explain the process. being sporadic and yet universal." haps. on authority. p. or at least to wise for us to have gained that experiknow how others have gained it. the * It suffers a per- Harnack's statement. : .150 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism future. but as ministers in a day when ''thousands are craving for a basis of belief which shall rest not on tradition. but on the ascertainable facts of It is human experience. Du Prel "Inge: Philosophy of Mysticism. is same old thing. any one who has studied it carefully and sympathetically can generally recognize it when it appears. to see what Mysticism looks like to-day. from sameness. where and how it is showing itself. early or late. "Here little. p.
but how different and what different use they make of their Mysticism! So that when we come to study the Mysticism of the present day you have only to look clearly and Mystics. of course. to start with Kant.Modem "Mysticism be true sence it Mysticism is is. as everybody does. manifestations. Mystics. Men of very different characters have been Dante was a Mystic. and. In it. but this might lead to the suspicion that I regarded him as a Mystic. you will not be surprised to find it. Paracelsus. Catherine of Siena. immured in a cell. It appears in all departments of thought and life. One ought here. And yet I should like to say that Kant has done great service to the modern advance of philosophical Mysticism when he used the weapons of intellect against itself. like . nor be confused by finding it under many different forms. moulding the politics of Europe and making the Pope do what she told him. and St. I begin with Philosophy. That its the same." found to in its es- all is the way made along. 151 is always the same. but so was Mother Julian of Norwich. in the explana- and in the use of and it tions offered regarding is very various. it. are both typiWordsworth and Browning were both cal.
which Modern Philosophy. The quaint. 456. Still farther was the way opened by von Hartmann in his "Philosophy of with its own tail. deeply grounded in philosophy and Johannean in its theology. stung. . the Unconscious." Fichte. especially in his "Characteristics of the Present Day. the logical mind he opened the way. but he was helping tinctly toward a better grounding of Mysti- cism in the philosophical thought of the age. for another knowledge of Reality which Mysticism has not been slow to take advantage of." He may not have practised dis- what he preached. and therefore entirely unsympathetic Professor Bowen of the Harvard of my day said of him both of ''Hartmann attempts to prove that the germs all philosophy and all revealed religion are to be found in the heated fancies of the Mystics. unmystical. He says: "One of the most favorite and customary fanatics 'Bowen: is tricks of tongue." is full of mystical thought. as he himself taught.fence among these is this: to give to the thing p. these fancies again being due to in^ spirations from the Unconscious." and in "The Way Towards the Blessed Life.: 152 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism the fabled scorpion.
immediate. 32. God appears. . p.e. the charge that this doctrine which we teach is Mysticism. but in his own. a to all 153 is name which hateful it. and and nicknames constantly enriched by fresh additions. Ibid. and thou beholdest Him. and thou wilt find Him within thine — own * • breast.. resign thyself to Him.— Modern Mysticism hateful only to them. and eflficient Life. i.' Wouldst thou behold God face to face. lives and loves. Only one of the most common of these odious nicknames I will here notice.. thou canst find Him wherever thou art. no longer surrounded by shadows nor hidden by a garment. men. The is existing store of such inexhaustible. and would be in vain to attempt here any complete enumeration of them." ^ The Way Towards go the Blessed Life. as He is in Himself? Seek Him not beyond the skies." * "In that which the Holy Man does. p. and the question that is unanswerable from the mere empty and imaginary conception of God 'What is God?' is here answered: 'He is that which he who is devoted to Him and inspired by Him does. it in order thereby to decry and is it render tricks suspected. Behold the life of His devoted ones.
: 154 The Theory and is Practice of Mysticism There in that last passage the distinct echo of Eckhart and Suso. In his "Life of Jonathan Edwards. 'Now unto the King eternal. He was reading one day the words of Scripture. Schleiermacher's influence is also to be reckoned with and is clearly traced through Maurice and Kingsley to . Amen. 24) "We may trace in his experience the un- —union with ist: mistakable marks of the mystic in every age God. He pression in the intense language of the Psalm- 'My . A sense of the divine glory was. invisible. dif- .' when there came to him for the first time a sort of inward. our own Professor Allen and Dr. absorption as it were into finds ex- the inmost essence of the divine. for the morning.' more than who watch "The seeking and the v^aiting were at last rewarded. that in Jonathan in the ultra-Calvinistic fact. the only wise God. immortal. soul breaketh for the longing it hath they my soul waiteth for the Lord." Professor Allen says (p. be honor and glory forever. as it were. likely to ticism obtained a foothold in this country Edwards Mysand thought of his day. Allen in his turn has called attention to the be overlooked. sweet delight in God and divine things.
conversing sweetly with Christ and wrapt and swallowed up in God. so for us. He says. sweet sense of Christ and the work of redemp- heaven. I think. the vital chapter such states of consciousness ought to form from which the other chap- ters get their light. of mystical states will shed ness. and be. swallowed up began to have an inward. He thought how happy he should be if he might be wrapt up to God in it were." If William James will not allow himself to be called a Mystic. in his "Varieties of Religious Experience": "One may say truly.Modem Mysticism 155 fused through him. for my own constitution out from their enjoyment almost entirely. The Book of Canticles attracted a fit expression for his mood. alone mountains or some solitary wilderness. I Whether my treatment more light or dark- shuts do not know. as forever. It him as seemed to him as in the if he were in a kind of vision. he is surely the cause of Mysticism in many others. in him He tion. that personal religious experience has its root and centre in mystical states of consciousness. and I can speak of them only at sec- me . who in these lectures are treating personal experience as the exclusive subject of our study.
in his evident longing to be somehis." He was too clear-sighted and honest to count is himself more than an onlooker. upon the at least subject so externally. No doubt there is a germ in me of something similar that makes admiring re''James's respect for the mystic cellent instance of his " James: Varieties of Religious Experience. In answer to a certain question in my questionnaire on this point he replies as follows: 'I believe in God not because I have experienced His presence. and of the paramount im® portance of their function. but because I need it so that it "must" be true.: 156 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism to look ond hand. receptive as I can be as objective and I shall and think succeed in convincing you of the reality of the states in question. p.' 'The whole line of testimony on this point (the existence of such an experience) is so strong that I am not able to pooh-pooh it away. 379- . But though forced I will I . but there much pathos thing more. for he was himself no mystic and always disclaimed having what he called the 'leaky' form of consciousness. These words of which are quoted by Professor Pratt. show more than sympathy was an exopen mind and empirical point of view.
which at least corresponded to the mystic's consciousness of God. 232. its influence in the past and portance for the religion of the future: "It is im- the conception of men whose piety has been won after long conflict. In this it is somewhat like another experience that I have constantly.' he said. as the sense of an unknown something backing me up. p.Modern Mysticism sponse. yet agrees with him in his high estimate of the value of its Mysticism.' " "^ differing Moreover. and rather faint.' 157 This 'something' in him. October. . a tune that is always singing in the back of my mind but which I can never identify or whistle or get rid of. it Especially at times of moral crisis comes to me. to be sure. though from him in so many ways. or a Beyond. a great void in my life. whose single-minded devotion to an abstraction has resulted from a vast experi' The Hibbert Journal. Something like that is my feeling for God. James's colleague Royce. he once described to me in an- other fashion. know that if it should cease there would be a great hush. It is most indefiAnd yet I nite.. 1911. 'very vague and impossible to describe or put into words. It is. whose thoughts have been dissected by a very keen inner scepticism.
even more than in the past. Vol. from it scientific study. 85. It has been the ferment of the faiths." These are fess. as in the past. . I conthe but they are valuable as coming from keen observers. the inaccessible refuge of the nobler heretics. p. in our sense of the ' Royce : The World and the Individual. Mysticism's power lies practice. and all more valuable as being in its unprejudiced. the teacher. through the devotional books.158 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism ence of painful complications of life. . Here again. the comforter of those who are weary of finitude. more than half ® of the technical theology of the Church. all statements of outsiders. but as a psychoform of religion which to-day. of countless youth who know no metaphysics. have come to realize that we must no longer. logical We come even closer to the heart of Mysti- cism when we study the philosophies of Eucken and Bergson. I.. yet these men. the forerunner of spiritual liberty. while we may not claim them as Mystics. regard as the vagary of a few unbalanced religionists. it has determined directly or indirectly. must be recognized and reckoned with as a most important factor in man's religious life.. the inspirer through poetry. of the despairing.
the Mystic's turning away from the logical rea- son. but to one familiar with the Mystic thought. The only possible remedy "It seems as if himself. trend of both is clearly in that direction. It will not be necessary to give any restatement of the thought of these two men. which are characteristic man could never escape from and yet when shut into the monotony of his own sphere he is overwhelmed with a sense of emptiness. In Eucken I will only call your attention to these three passages. to distinguish within him the narrowis and the larger finite life life.: Modern Mysticism 159 word. here er is to radically alter the conception of man himself. his belief that true knowledge can come only from vital communion with the object This position is taken up especially by Bergson and given standing and popularity to-day. these two men are laying foundations in philosophy and psychology for a deeper and truer Mysticism to come. and through which he enjoys communion with the immensity and truth of the the infinite . They are popular teachers largely because they gratify this longing of the modern thinker for the spiritual. Their works and teaching are well known. the sought. the life that strait- ened and can never transcend itself.
this mode of thought remains an indispensable element in all development of independent spirituality. level ? all Can a man spiritual On the possibility of his doing so rests to life. to realize the Whole through direct communion and thereby into the • The Meaning and Value of Life. though not calling it by name. our hope of supplying any meaning or value At least we recognize to-day the hopeit ^ lessness of trying to supply from any source external to the individual. for it is the function of religion not only to infuse a sense of the Whole appeal to the work of life. p. It not only persists throughout the Middle Ages but comes into prominence in modern times in new shapes and shows powerful even at the present day." Speaking of Mysticism Eucken says: *'But even when this loss is recognized.: i6o The Theory and Practice of Mysticism rise to this universe. " The Life of the Spirit. p." ^^ Again Eucken speaks of Mysticism. 77- . but foregoing all medium of work. If we give up the immediate presence of Infinite being in the soul. that it is still must inevitably and immeand spontaneity. when he says *'But there is a further and more specific the life of the soul diately lose in depth manifestation of religion. 48.
vivifying at what else Absomust have remained ence. 125. thought. the declares there it is a definite transcendental principle in man. the heart or core of personality there. though his conclusions have not been reached by the mystic's road. he says. and can never transcend itself. to distinguish in man two separate grades of being. act.'" p. he says.' He invites us. and to an infinite life through which he enjoys communion with immensity and At bottom. . as we have seen. Eucken. 'God and man initially meet. far excel those of the philoso- pher in lucidity and exactness. Further. but their practical in- structions in the art of self-transcendence. mystics tell us no more and no less. p. all the books of the the truth of the universe. 94.Modern Mysticism unsealing the sources of a deeper first life. He and the Gemiith." the stage of finite exist- Where Eucken misses the point by avoiding any discussion of this ''direct communion'* " The Meaning and Value of Life. "It is interesting to note that the p. The 'redemptive remaking of personality' in conformity with the transcendent or spiritual life of the universe.1 [Underbill: atui Mysticism. Note also Hermann's words in Eucken Bergson. 64. spiritual like and heroic. most recent teaching of Rudolph Eucken is in this respect a pure and practical mysticism. life is for him the central necessity of is human life. . by which man may appropriate that infinite life. the life that is straitened and finite. 'the narrower and the larger life. The not a that calls of reality. also a quickening of the lute in human ^^ nature. i6i So arose a distinctive or characteristic re- ligion and with with it it that complete transcendence of the world which issues in pure inwardness of life. an mystics.
is incomplete. That far we may study we him and claim him as more into the philosophy of directly a guide Mysticism than any modern thinker. but that only by sympathy can we become on intimate terms with them." What to its later developments it may lead him when he follows into the realm of religion cannot tell. "Can man rise to this spiritual level?" Bergson. and by omitting. He tells us that we cannot know the real things by keeping at a distance from them. that Bergson's system. on the contrary. it He is consistent in refusing to ^" let be judged "spatially" and as "static. apparently with tention. " Creative Evolution. but as far as he has gone he seems to me to be opening a way for the use and development in religion of that mysterious part of us we glanced at in the third lecture. We must remember here. any study of experimental religion. plunges us at once into the closest intimacy. while clear.i62 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism in- with God. that penumbra about our logical reason which he calls Intuition. . xiv. p. before we go any further. holding himself quite aloof and leaving us with the empty and unanswered question. and so by living them know them.
a faculty which really extended to God because it was the God-part of them. credited by philosophers and by the street. ''spatial thinking." is incomplete and unsatisfying. deeper. the knowledge we can get of God by the intellect. is the vital point in them. for our purpose. and the great works of art produced. The New . yet. as I said. This is what the MysThey tics have been laughed at for saying. Mysticism has been dishis theories. man in the by both because it was impatient of reason and claimed to use a power or faculty which worked while reason was in abeyance. to explain nor do I need to do more than call your attention to what. Bergson is not ready to go as far as this.Modern Mysticism This is 163 not the place. He contends that theology. Bergson says that it is through intuition that the great advances in philosophy have been made." ^^ it "Intuition. 53. p. not the concepts intuition. if " Le Roy : could be prolonged beyond a Philosophy of Henri Bergson. that it does not reach Reality. have felt and said that they had another faculty. more far-reaching. intuition produces the concepts. but he claims for intuition the same priority: "Concepts are the deposited sediment of intuition. perhaps.
what life is in us and in the universe. we know it through insight and not by reasoning. but also all philosophers agree with each other. Such as it is. 278. what we are. fugitive is tem what survives it. what God is. teaching in these words "The implication is that so far as we do know what anything is. Intuition is that art of intellectual sympathy by which one transports one's self into the interior of an object in order to become harmonious with what is peculiar to it alone and so studying: "It therefore follows that solute should be apprehended only inexpressible" (p. Practice of Mysticism few would not only make the philoso- pher agree with his own thought." and incomplete. Dodson has summed up the beginning. while all else is dependent upon analysis.: i64 The Theory and instants. The philosophic view of the world would be tion which has been my " Dodson : Bergson and the Modern Spirit. p. lo). . it is in each sysworth more than the system and ^* This sentence from Bergson's explanation of his troduction to a mystical and in own system in the little "Inis New Philosophy" all distinctly harmony with we have been an abby an intuition. It is the cultivation of this "art" of intui- theme from the very Dr.
using scientific ods. in our English poets of the seventeenth century. His intellect would look out and ask questions about the material world. with his "Flaming Heart" the Silu- inspired by Santa Teresa. 321. to go farther back than would be in strictly honest a lecture called "Modern Mysticism. can answer." There are fascinating and significant utterances. Poetry reflects the spirit of an age and is prophetic of that which is to come. also look in The same intellect methwould and ask questions about the heart of life. p. : " Dodson Bergson and the Modern Spiritual Reformers. '^ developed into intuition. p. Vaughan with his wonderful poem. and fore- — seers. questions which the intellect." But it is time we turned from the philosoin phers to see Mysticism manifested other men and other ways. so rich is this field. and instinct. Spirit. worthy of more study than they have ever received. rist.Modern Mysticism 165 that of the man in whom both of these complementary powers of the mental Hfe were well developed. both of self and of God.^*' The poets are seers inseers. 130. "Jones: . Crashaw. would give a true and satisfying reply. One is tempted.
And heaven Hold infinity in the palm of your hand And eternity in an hour. His "An- Days" is as much a poem as his words "To see a world in a grain of sand in a wild flower. has not only tried to ex- press his visions in words. But we must not study them. there are flashes which have never been excelled." Wordsworth poet. and Donne and the newly discovered Thomas Traherne. so we may count him as the first of our moderns. an acute psychologist. and he reached God by the com- . but he learned from Swedenborg and Boehme and Law.i66 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism "I saw Eternity the other night Like a great ring of pure and endless hght. of all Mystics. and although much of his art is too strange to be true. All calm as it was bright". for too much presses from the last century. Far his pas- greater than his passion for Nature sion for God. William Blake was living until 1827. is much more than a nature is He is a seer. but to put them into pictures of strange cient of form and color. and we must note that he alone. Strange and wild were his mystic outbursts.
petty cares. a mountain top. Caroline Spurgeon speaks thus truly of him: "He found that when his mind was freed from preoccupation with disturbing objects. when our emotions —thus purified are excited to the point of passions. These were to him what the crucihis gaze — sounding " spurgeon: Mysticism in English Literature. which he describes as a 'wise passive'happy stillness of the mind. . that our vision becomes sufficiently clear to enable us to gain actual experience of the 'central peace subsisting forever at the heart of endless agiWhat Wordsworth needed to fix tation.' or a He will. 61. 'little enmities and low desires. stilling of the H and attune our minds to this condition. and self-seeking. self-asserwe can habitually tive. w^aterfall. an emptying out of all that is worrying. It is a purifying process. believed this condition could be deliberately induced by a kind of relaxation of the and by a busy intellect and striving desires.' " '^ upon was some natural object.' ness.' that he could then reach a condition of equilibrium. a small celandine. and train ourselves it is then. we may at any moment come across something which will arouse our emotions.— a Modern Mysticism 167 mon steps of the Mystic. p.
II. " But we must still be seeking?" And then in many passages. pure Mysticism when he says "Nor less I deem that there are Powers Which of themselves our minds impress That we can feed this mind of ours In a wise passiveness. "Never did in quest of right or wrong. Wm. Tamper with conscience from a private aim. That nothing of itself will come. . Renunciation. Wordsworth. "Think you.: : : . the trampling down telling of passion. p. he describes the consciousness of the Infinite. not conceit. when he says I." It is Then come Concentration and Receptivity. His three It is states are clearly traced: First. nor did ever yield Wilfully to mean cares or low pursuits. Catherine. 1 68 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism fix was to St. Vol. from which I choose only one. 'mid all this mighty sum Of things for ever speaking. Frarucis or the bread on the altar to St. Nor was in any public hope the dupe Of selfish passions . but truth- with a purpose. the Unitive state ^"The Poetical Works of i8o.
In In Mcmoriam we have the struggle between the intellect and the heart. he is truly representative of and while perhaps he had in him certainly he did not at first he grew steadily into the Mystic thought. Because he was keenly alive to the intellectual movements of his time. because he had not the mystical temperament. And through things. . Wordsworth. And the round ocean and the living air.: Modern Mysticism "And . And the blue sky. objects of all thought. I." : The Poetical Works of Wm. Vol."" I need not say much of Tennyson. pp. and in the mind of man A motion and a rolls spirit. not the root of the matter — — "A warmth The within the soul would melt freezing reason's colder part. Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns. and the final victory lies with the latter: the Victorian age. 152-153. like a And man in Stood up and answered *• wrath the heart I have felt. but he is all the more a proof of my thesis. that all all impels All thinking things. 169 I have felt A presence that disturbs me with the joy Of elevated thoughts a sense sublime Of something far more deeply interfused.
as a cloud I Melts into Heaven. Vol. most *" The Works of Tennyson. and thro' loss of Self — The gain of such large life as match'd with ours Were Sun to spark unshadowable in words. typical whom I consider the and consistent Mystic of all our poets. — Themselves but shadows of a shadow-world. clearness.— lyo The Theory and it Practice of Mysticism And say: was to the scientists that he dared to "Speak to him. thou. he de- clares : "And more. p." I ^'^ turn to Browning. VIII. And nearer than hands and feet. my Sat all alone. And past into the Nameless. and it is all built on the Mystic bases of optimism. in the Ancient Sage. and the supremacy of intuition over There is a remarkable resemthe intellect. the limbs Were But strange. for spirit is he hears And Closer with Spirit can meet he than breathing. His work is one consistent whole from beginning to end." until at the last. not utter mine and yet no shade of doubt. son! for more than once when I revolving in myself The word that is the symbol of myself. the supremacy of love over evil. touch'd my limbs. The mortal limit of the Self was loosed. 48. .
from her it Yorkshire wilderness. injustice both to To leave Browning and to him now for the rest." "Rabbi Ben Ezra. the same insistence on the fact that "Love was his meaning." as well as in ''Jo^^^i" nes Agricola. instead of from her Revelations. for I am a lover of Browning and you know what they are when they get started.: Modern Mysticism 171 blance between him and Mother Julian of Norwich. the same calm optimism." the same trust in the power of intuition. would be an Mysticism. There Mysticism the same sense of unity under diversity. I can give you only samples of how many of many minds have been touched by this ing and have given it men feel- strange character. and to say more than places. From Paracelsus to Asolando you will find is these thoughts appearing in the most unusual "Old Pictures in Florence. That Emily Bronte. I could illustrate every trait of her by quotations from Browning's poems. various expression. I dare not begin to quote. the same attitude towards temptation and sin. voices "Last Lines" thus in her ." But to quote unless fully." and "A Grammarian's Funeral. in this unless the discussion be carried through." **A Pillar in Sebzevah" and "A Death in the Desert.
" " Faber's Hymns. as by our side Him almost as untrue. left alone. as which when giving expression to is more Protestant than "But God is Catholic never so far off to be near. exist in Thee. As to remove His throne beyond Those skies of starry blue. — As I —undying Hfe— have power earth and in Thee. Every existence would Keble's to all. ever-present Deity. is As even He "To is within: our spirit The home He think of Is holds most dear. . ^^ 196." "Two Worlds are Ours" is familiar and Faber is never so sweet and simple his Mysticism. And suns and And Thou wert universes ceased to be. Missing my joy. Life that in me has rest. "O God within my Almighty. I walked the earth Myself God's sanctuary. "So all the while I thought myself Homeless. p.: 172 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism breast. forlorn. "Though man were gone. and weary.
A man becomes aware of his life's flow. by Matthew Arnold. Vol. and need only refer to his wonderful poem. to be. and he sees The meadows where it glides. And hears its winding murmur. the sun. Our eyes can in another's eyes read clear. sinks inward. pp. When. . a lost pulse of feeling stirs again. And The eye say. "The Meet- ing". the breeze. " Poems. we And The then he thinks he knows hills And the sea where his life rose. 124-125. we know. jaded with the rush and glare Of the interminable hours. When Is our world-deafen'd ear A bolt by the tones of a loved voice caress'd is shot back somewhere in our breast. and the heart lies plain. but you might overlook his neighbor in Salem. where it goes. who is less well known than he ought and who wrote some of the most beautiII. as in these lines from "Only "The Buried Life": —but this is rare is When a beloved hand laid in ours. And what wc mean.— Modern Mysticism — 173 Matthew Arnold rather unexpectedly shows ihis side of his character to us occasionally. and what we would." ^^ I Of course Whittier was a Mystic.
always unforewarned. in the street sometimes. Or on the hillside. one of which. . Thrice in my perhaps have truly prayed. I. Who that hath strive to Would known these visitations fleet make them trite and ritual? past. —a larger life Upon his own impinging. with swift glimpse Of spacious circles luminous with mind. IV. finer than himself.174 ful The Theory and Practice of Mysticism sonnets in our language. God. Tauler and Suso. Our own Lowell touches his deepest note when he speaks of the themes which occupy Eckhart. is That beckons and gone. p. Sometimes at waking. Loving those roots that feed us from the And At prizing more than Plato life things I learned that best academe. that still pray at morning and at eve. To which the ethereal substance of his own Seems but gross cloud to make that visible. Vol. Thrice stirred below my conscious self. Touched to a sudden glory round the edge. called I "The Presence. A grace of being. a mother's knee. mean Jones Very. You may remember (and I think he has nothing more beautiful) these lines from *'The Cathedral": "No man can think nor in himself perceive. is have ^^ felt That perfect disenthrallment." 52— The Cathedral." is distinctly mystical. which "Lowell's Poetical Works.
'tis your estranged faces. we touch Thee.— — Modern Mysticism 175 But time would fail me to tell of all the poets. world intangible. Beats at our own clay-shuttered doors. where you will our modern language. The eagle plunge to find the air That we ask of the stars in motion If they have rumor of Thee there? "Not where the wheeling systems darken And our benumbed conceiving soars! The drift of pinions. tics. : "The angels keep their ancient places Turn but a stone."). Coventry Patmore. in great and small. That miss the many-splendored thing. and Evelyn Underhill. this time from the author of "The Hound of Heaven". Inapprehensible. if you know it already. we view Thee. William Canton. would we hearken. George Russell ("A. and start a wing! 'Tis ye. we clutch Thee! "Does the fish soar to find the ocean. find. E. world unknowable. the thoughts of the old There is the whole Celtic school in MysEng- William Sharpe. . But I cannot leave the poets without one more quotation. so much the better: land and Ireland — "O O O world invisible. Yeats. who is Fiona MacLeod. we know Thee.
—clinging lo. my daughter. Practice of Mysticism "But (when so sad thou canst not sadder) Cry and upon thy so sore loss — Shall shine the traffic of Jacob's ladder Pitched betwixt Heaven and Charing Cross. life. The Kingdom of God Poems. : Within You. the influence of the principles upon which Mysticism is based. 2* And Christ walking on the water. " Hart Preventive Treatment. p. . strange and even shocking. is how many many silly and Mysticism rife to-day! of education and moral reform we have within a generation the wonderful development of the psychology of the child mind and the return to and dependence upon the In the field power of suggestion. some true and helpful. in the night. self. Not of Gennesareth. the insistence on the value of ** all the surroundings of a child's is II. "Yea.176 The Theory and . p. my Soul. Cry. I think. Francis Thomp- son. even if some of the results are unmystical.-^ The talking to the baby as it goes to sleep. 226. Heaven by the hems." Turning from individuals to certain movements of modern times we may trace. including the sub-conscious fantastic. then in ways. 374. but Thames. If Mysticism is the use of the whole man. Vol.
the comes find to be treated. — all are showing us how will large our little life is. calling psychical hygiene. a power which has always been used. is being carried on. One of the earliest. The literature is enormous. about whom Horatio Dresser has written a book called "Health and the Inner Life. as the poor man and sights." about 1840. and still the classical book on the subject. At the same time was living in this country Phineas P. Quimby. the power of suggestion. or what is called mind over matter. Eddy's teachings. Neither of them. the discovery in after years of some long forgotten fear or degradation. is now coming to be studied and used as never before. both mental and moral. the use of the sub-con- . however." Quimby is the source of all Mrs. More and more you stress being laid on what Miinsterberg it distinguishes from psychical therapy. If you will read the works of Waldstein and Quackenbos and Mason you will see how this psychical education. is Feuchtersleben's "The This goes back to Dietetics of the Soul. In the realm of the purely physical. knew that whatever of truth was in their system was founded on the principle of Mysticism.Modern Mysticism the sounds 177 tempers and ideals.
' " ^^ But *• this is waste of time. the Christian Scientist uses it for the purely selfish pur- pose of relieving a headache or curing constipation or gently ousting a cancer by saying it isn't there. monumental and aggressive absurdity would have become as apparent to her as it is to tion principles to the is others. therefore. 157. "It presumed not. Therefore our bodies have no existence and disease cannot exist in a non-existent body. for otherwise their intense. It is not Mysticism. and is a fine example of what the sub-conscious self can be led into when entirely unregulated by the reason. The Law of Psychic Phenomena. Our bodies are composed of Matter. a matter of credulity and incantation. or rather as an avenue of approach for God to reach us.178 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism it scious self. Let us see how they look in a syllo- gism: " 'Matter has no existence. is My point is that Christian Science Hudson: a reversion to a type of p. . It is not known whether that strange woman who said she discovered Chris- tian Science ever studied to reduce her founda- form of a syllogism. but it that debased It is form of which we call Magic. But whereas Mysticism uses as a means of reaching God.
There are many other symptoms
of more sensible uses of the power which Mysticism holds over the body,
those queer creatures
are publishing books
to be Well,"
and "The Will
How to Wake the Solar Plexus."
acquire large wealth or
give us directions how, by concentration,
to us just
we want or need. Magic, all of it. But more serious are the movements called New Thought, Mental Healing, all the way up Volumes might to the Emmanuel Movement. be written, as many have been written, all with accounts demonstrating the power of the subthe wife
through suggestion, over the body,
power of modifying function and
and actually healing many
increasing or decreasing the circulation of the
a sign of the modern Mysticism.
as to the sphere of religion in
tianity, the evidences are all
modern ChrisEvery us.
one of these movements I have spoken of has a tendency to become distinctly religious, if not Christian. Beginning in revolt against the
church, they are steadily returning to Christ.
Christian Science has changed from a dose to
a dogma, from a cure
The Theory and
Practice of Mysticism
country and in England
people are gathering together to seek
themselves through the Mystic
God Way, and
finding him, not only in sporadic outbreaks of
Buddhism and Bahaism,
Mr. Bjerregaard's, but
ways men as
ing in ever larger groups to utilize the powers
of this subliminal
These groups bear
are nameless, but the
many names and some
to his cell
the same that drove the anchorite and the Quaker to his meeting, while the methods are identical with those of the oldThe er Mystics whose way we have traced.
books of devotion written of late are almost all distinctly mystical. Such books of enormous
popularity are Annie Payson Call's "Power Through Repose," and Ralph Waldo Trine's "In Tune with the Infinite." What could be more mystical than this from the heart of the "The great central fact in hulatter's book:
ing into a conscious vital realization of our oneness with this Infinite Life, and the opening of
ourselves fully to this divine inflow."
please, that this
not any closet
doctrine, but that the
book has sold
hundred thousands, and
million people to-day.
read by perhaps a
and homely and modern way, the mystic sense which we all have and which has been hungry for so long. The number of books on Intercessory Prayer and Meditation, the number of reprints of the works of
touches, in a plain
the older Mystics, are
signs of the
Mysticism of which I am speaking. I suppose none of us realize how hungry people are to-day for this kind of teaching. T am
how very largely it is seems to me it is the duty of the Church to speak to these people, in the name of God, to 'suggest" God to the subliminal self, and so develop a new and a better, because a more clearly understood and more
Church is attempting show in my next and last
Church is trying in various ways, both to voice and to satisfy this growing need. I have shown, I hope, how universal and how growing it is. It must Interest us to see how we are meeting it, and besides, the Church has much to learn from this movement if it would approach it sympathetically. It would gain as much as it
The Theory and
Practice of Mysticism
would gain a deeper sense of the
of spiritual things, of a
intercessory prayer which these aberrant
and of the power of Mys-
are using magnificently.
believe in a Spirit
and goings we cannot
whose comings ought to hold our-
open to his breathings, come they whence
VON Hartman: The Unconscious. Fichte: The Way Towards the Blessed Eucken and Bergson passim
William Blake Poems. William Wordsworth Poems. Robert Browning: Poems.
In Tune with the Infinite. Dresser: The Power of Silence. Brackett The Technique of Rest. Call: Power Through Repose.
to hold itself open to its come they whence they may. and should study it carefully with its a view to influences. that does not mean But \\hat I most want to that nobody can. in greater or less degree. failed if I have not made you see that the great Mystics were not psychic freaks but only extreme examples of that life hid with Christ in God which is open. If I have not made tJiaf clear. practice.VI PRACTICAL MYSTICISM I HAVE failed utterly if I have not made it clear that Mysticism is not a curious by-path which the student of history need not tread. then you must agree with what said in closing my last lecture. to but a every child of God. constantly recurring and revivifying I have force in the history of our religion. The theory of Mysticism is before us. 183 . If I have not I failed. that the Christian Church has much to learn from Mysticism.
pert treatment. I want to speak first of certain exhibitions of the Mystic spirit in the worship and work of the Church to-day. and they deal almost exclusively with the abnormal.: 184 The Theory and is Practice of Mysticism show that when you do it really understand last Mysticism. Eucken voices this need very clearly when he says *' *It is not only at particular points that civilization does not correspond to the demands . dition in It is only a symptom of a con- which we all find ourselves. you will find practise it. be- have already mentioned them and behowever much I am in sympathy with them. The wreckage which crowds their clinics is thrown up from the troubled sea of our modern life and needs special and excause. The world is restless and the revival of interest in Mysticism shows that it is trying to reach some center which is calm. and ask you to see with me how some men are practising it and offerit. I pass by the Emmanuel Movement and cause I the many Healing Missions. their purpose is narrower than my theme. very hard not to this And so I call lecture Practical Mysticism. ing opportunities for others to practise and then to close with some more intimate suggestions.
When we take an inside view of life we find that a life of mere bustling routine preponderates. Any one who thinks it all over and reflects upon the difference between the enormous labor which has been expended and the accompanying gain to the essentials of life must either be driven to complete negation new ways and despair. as a in conflict in many ways with those demands. or feverishly exercising all their powers. that unlimited ambition and vanity are characteristic of individuals. that men struggle and boast and strive to outdo one another. and pressing forward. but that civilization. But throughout it all we come upon nothing that gives any real value to life.Practical Mysticism 185 of spiritual whole. and nothing spiritually elevating. is life. portant We feel. the wide interval between the varied and im- of work to be done at the circumference and the complete emptiness at the centre. Hence we do not find any meaning and value in life. or must seek life and liberating men from the sway of the petty huof guaranteeing a value to . that they are always running to and fro. with increasing distress. but in the end a simple huge show in life is which culture reduced to a burlesque.
how this feeling of weariness spreads and produces a longing for more persistence.186 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism But this will force men to resume the ^ quest for inner connections. the Spiril. and that the Indian religions. If the rush and hurry in these days. are gaining also in the West. The Life of . which release men from the cares and troubles of time. ^ many adherents we have Is not this to be connected with the change in vital feeling which described?" This reaching out for more peace and repose in life is evident in many directions. It is a remarkable feature of the presis ent day that the old mysticism regaining its power of attraction. takes its toll in physical or nervous or mental exhaustion. which is so confused end so empty. to : * Quoted Eucken Hermann Eucken and Bergson. which sweeps us along breathlessly either with or against our will. to re-create. then we turn to the blessings offered by the noble men and women who change teach us * how in : to be calm.' " man. pp. it can be easily understood all how men grow tired and weary of and bustle. pp. 33-34. more peace and repose the rush and yet in the in life. And then again he says in another place: is "If this really the case. 158-159.
and men and women are beginning to feel a loss a loss : . only a it is as I symptom. But the cure is based on the root principle of Mysticism and uses its very methods. those which belong to all men and which we feel are needed by all men. It is an unconscious plagiarism. Most men are healthy in body and mind. and widespread as are its effects in the life of the individual. They have given us no time to think of God. very interesting to trace. And we are studying the larger issues and uses. widespread as is this nervous exhaustion.Practical Mysticism 187 the current of our thoughts. and countless variations of these are crowded. this mental strain. and these days of haste and unrest have had the same effect on the spiritual life as they have had upon the nervous system. to be quiet and know. said. The life of the Spirit has been dwindling. For there is in us all the need of God. To those who can stultify their intellect even Christian Science brings But its blessing of calm and cheerfulness. and so the cHnics of the workers in the the New Thought Emmanuel Movement. and the over-emphasis on the abnormalities have made many feel that the cure must be as peculiar as the disease. and a side issue. to commune with him in prayer.
the religiously restless. in a time apparently so unfavorable. and heard . And so there has arisen alongside of the ef- weakened and the mentally unbalanced. Once more. nor even by the ordinary method of Church-going. to provide forts to provide help for the nervously help for the spiritually stunted. in various ways. many have begun. as widespread as the need. are just those of the old Mystics. In response to this. the people know about. a movement.1 88 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism not to be supplied by any amount of strenuous social service. who want not only to As we have Here to- seen from the beginning of these studies. the seekers for reality in their rela- tion to God. to guide this longing aright and to satisfy it. day. but to feel God. I call One of the leaders in this movement is the Rev. while various. this longing is the basis of Mysticism. we find an intense and growing feeling for God. A few years ago I met him at the Dean of the Cathedral in house of the Boston. and for the your attention to them. Cyril Hepher of Newcastle-on-Tyne. last time. which is yet the outgrowth of and the re-action from this very period of devotion to material things. Here again the methods used.
intellectual. "There was silence and I heard a voice. Hepher had published his experiences and Fellowship his sermon in a volume called "The of Silence. he must learn to bring the busy. begins to appear. a lect for the sake of the spirit. his body half in the interest of his brain. he has only hard his lesson when he stands there there is a space still to cover —where the intellect itself comes to silence. even as on lower plane he had to learn how to still his . thinking brain intelto a halt he must learn how to still the ." Since then Mr. and another capacity in man's nature. a remarkable Cathedral from the text." from which I am permitted to quote "Man is ment when when he has forgotten the existence of . not brought to his highest attainhe has won mental concentration. when he would set free the very highest power latent within the soul of man. When a man has fastened his whole being upon his spiritual development.: Practical Mysticism 189 him tell Misof his experience in conducting sions of Help in New The next Sunday he preached sermon in the Zealand and in Canada. a capacity for a yet higher' form of consciousness than the comes to quiescence.
secret meditation. there are thousands of people in the for meditation. to Christian as to Theosophy. this other I way —of medita- wish I could take you with me to a little Church in New Zealand. and what not. — — you who are finding tion in fellowship.igo The Theory and Practice of Mysticism physical organism for the sake of the intellectual. new world who are crying out who are absolutely weary of a religion which cannot give them the power of an immediate contact with the Unseen. She the Mother of meditation but there are very few of her children who will take the time to practise it. — away their interest to strange Science. there are few but would say that the claim of one half-hour a day of silent meditation in the Presence of God is an absurd claim even for the busiest man. in which this The first is in Now. to New — though that holy practice of meditation was a thing unknown within the Church of God." "There are two great forms consciousness can be practised. Thought. and you are and right glad am I to practising it here: stand in this pulpit this morning and speak to is ." "But there is yet another way. and who are turning practices. where about two years ago I first experienced .
was emptiness save for the Great Presence. you it. The there. there WTre no words of preparation: we entered.Practical Mysticism 191 little the meditation in fellowship: —a white Church. we knelt. —no — — grew a deeper sense the work of prayer. and out of that congroup. and the — of silence. had been before in all my life. Once know^n. ever hard. never lose a day without It will en- . No one spoke. lying presses: in a circle of pines and cy- — the September afternoon was drawinto the silent Church. for one. you are practising here. We had found the strange and mystic power of the fellowship sciousness there — sense of a Divine Presence. Someone was unseen. and when at last w-e rose and passed out into the evening light we had been nearer to God than ever I. which soon we perceived. yet there. as we passed no minister in all the pulpit. we were still and our souls began to be united with a new and strange sense of human fellowship in that silence. a mighty One half-hour sped away. And that and will it is a sacred privilege. and in all one little word and one tiny prayer were the only sounds that broke the stillness. priest at the altar. no student from any school. a little ing on and the dusk was settling over the land. became easy.
even to he silent words of the Psalmist. many other places in who are learning to exquisite many now in groups of men hear God's voice in that I do not know anything concerning conditions of Church life in America. the he can follow. England and in New Zealand and in Canada. as the world. There are plenty of people who are turning away from the Church why ? They tell us that they fail : — to find a sufficient depth of spiritual reality in our public worship. ''Men and women of Boston. .— 192 The Theory and itself. but I know something of them in and holy silence. and I know this: that wherever I have been I have found that men are growing dissatisfied with our Church service." Zealand expe- . It may be that my words fall on some ears that are responsive. They are asking for some greater measure of spiritual depth. Practice of Mysticism large souls and and there it will draw to its circle will be found here. certain: will not — there gain if is not a Of this I am man amongst us who in part. He speaks again of his New unto God. We believe that the res- toration of holy silence into our worship will be gain for the whole people. that — when we assemble for holy worship we may with more vividness enter into the Presence and touch God.
riences in an article in
church were held meetings with a group of Friends (Quakers) and Theosophists.
happened word; presently some rose from their knees and sat down. We were but a handful. There was no sound of vocal
He thus describes what "We knelt without a
leader at faldstool, or altar, but
I cannot put into words what happened, but some aspects of the experience T must try to express. First there came
'Meeting' had begun.
very quietly the sense of a Presence.
work of prayer grew
friend in a far country;
Presence that could be felt. God was speaking to us, not in words, or voices, but in that speech which does not need to be uttered, yet if I may
saying that mattered so much, as that
was not what He was He was there and we with Him. That was enough. ''Then, again, one perception that grew as the minutes slipped by unnoticed was the sense of fellowship. We in that church were no It was unqueslonger isolated individuals.
say so bold a thing,
The Theory and
Practice of Mysticism
tionably a corporate act in which
gaged, or rather a corporate experience that
had come to us. "Afterwards I came to understand that this manner of prayer depends on fellowship of mind and creates what it depends on. The Quakers end their meeting by shaking hands
of fellowship cannot
If their experiences are like ours
can perfectly understand the
enter their meeting too
significance they set on their simple sacrament
One idea is dominant in every mind that of waiting upon God, waiting for the moving of the Spirit.
in the spirit of unanimity.
I try in
weigh the experior
told very inadequately, but
at least without conscious exaggeration,
shall I say of it?
realization of the
from other times of
Presence, in that
approach to the
into the psychic in other in-
terests than the direct
approach to God,
for example, use methods
the association in
motionless silence, and they assert that where
is lacking unanimity of mind they have no success; a single person who resists the
desire of the rest
vent any advance.
meeting put to illegitimate uses; but they are alike in their use of the psychic atmosphere which is created in silence and fellowship. To
a sufficient condem-
also the psychic,
there can be no function or capacity of our nais
not for holy uses.
of fact the secret of the preacher's influence
often enough the psychic power with which he
endowed, which unconsciously he
"I believe our Quiet Meeting to have been
the consecrated use of latent psychic forces
to the spiritual,
''A third reflection suggests to me, that
use of silence in our
lift it to
a higher spiritual level. In one church North, the silence after the Consecra-
tion of the Blessed
The Theory and
Practice of Mysticism
Eucharist, though but a bare two minutes,
teaching a congregation a
of adoration. Since it began to be observed, a marked growth in the acceptance of the Eucharist itself has been observed there. But
this is so
that the only
is still left
a church in the
holds, that the
land where the superstition
one thing at
cost to be destroyed in choral
the meetings held by
is shown in Dean Rousmaniere in the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, in Boston. The
of the same sort of spirit
Class in Personal Religion emphasizes the
the silence "directed," for
is observed such a mowhich the worshippers are asked to hold steadily in their minds the thought in the prayer which has happened to be the most real expression of their needs or of their experience. Those who enter into the spirit of these meetings know their power to The work among the calm and comfort.
after each prayer there
ment or two
Friends at the Cathedral bring the Spirit, which
among them needs
another attempt to a
more formality of expression,
Ernest C. and we should welcome it. as some of it is. the presence of God seems to brood there. the spirit in the form. of the parish work is filled with the sense of it. and the smallest detail sacramental system. but even more intense. a simple service of short prayers and long silences. which makes some of our social work seem perfunctory and irreligious. Hargrove. It is being done in the Church of the Comforter in Greenwich Village in New The whole atmosphere is saturated York. There is another work of the same sort. and all the paraphernalia of an institutional church. once a week. especially as on his side he is evidently coming to see that we have something to offer him but we have room to receive him while he can hardly accommodate us. they do is done with the spirit. and even extends far beyond its borders. A layman. with the Mystic spirit.Practical Mysticism 197 which sometimes loses The Quaker has a great contribution to make to us. Mr. They have but all a rescue mission for men. began the Mission some years ago and still conducts. . giving later an interpretative address. One of his courses was upon "Discipleship as a Present Day Possibility. The spirit of it permeates the whole parish." in .
you see. and last- Intimacy.' with much glare of light and crash of organ. the Mystic science tice ly. which sounds like the Mystic's Union.. and brief manly is heart to heart talks. A recent writer has said: are finding out and teaching their people to value and apprehend the power of active. igS The Theory and Practice of Mysticism which he spoke of the inner life as a "life lived in the presence of God and in union with God" of the acts of the Inner Life and of the means of attaining the Inner Consciousness. I hope that slowly. But the principle of and hearty services. My own experience has served to show me how even the average parishioner will respond to any effort to supply this need of quiet and ''Some priests silence in worship. such as (following closely. the minds of ship stubbornly rooted in many priests as the ideal of worit and corporate devotion. at 'bright least. Way) clearing the ground and purification of con- and heart. Construction and the Prac- of Recollection and Detachment. the principle will be generally recognized. energizing co-operative silence before God. long before And I fear will be we get altogether rid of the notion that from beginning to end of a serv- .
clergy and congregation must be continuously employed in saying or singing something as loudly as possible. giving the people time for silence. will respond at once and see the need and reasonableness of the change. at some early hour. can be made more helpful by the introduction after the Prayer for the Church Militant and of Holy after the Consecration of the ancient Secretae. introducing periods for silent prayer and humble listening into public wor- Should it be tried suddenly we know would be troubled and think that the minister had either fainted or was inattentive to his duty and wandering in that the congregation his mind. that they may realize the Divine Presence by calm- ing their inner selves and fitting them to •Lawrence Enderwych. is This because they have felt the need in their own hearts and had never realized that the public service in office Church could supply it. draw . But the congregation to whom the matter is explained. The quiet Communion." this idea in the ^ minds of So deeply rooted is priests and people to try the ex- alike that very few care or dare periment of ship.Practical Mysticism 199 ice.
20O The Theory and Practice of Mysticism nearer to that Unitive State which the Sacra- ment symbolizes. and then prayers should be made. to an is intense personal co-operation in desiring one thing of the Lord. human and intercessory. and sends us out of His house with a look of joy and strength on our faces. silence should be kept that all may concentrate their thoughts and desires on the subject prayed for. The atti- tude of the people inattention to changed from languid a familiar form of words. chiefly personal national and petition. To feel ill at ease in a service of silence is to argue a lack of acquaintance with God. needs. seldom seen after the more formal services of the day. this worship of the silence can be made use of. I am only afraid of pauses in a conversation when I am talking to a stranger and feel awkward . but these should lead up to a few words of direction and explanation by the leader. in many ways. and then after each for a space. And in ordinary services. This sense of a personal partaking in the prayer. brings the sense of God's presence and the knowledge that we are working together with Him for the good of others. Hymns may be heartily sung and beautiful anthems listened to. or for larger.
The need of God is a personal thing. intimate friend can afford to be In these and in other ways of which tell I could you. and while crowds and co-operation and common worship are helps. I have spoken of the ways some are trying to meet men's needs. deplore the restlessness of the age. There arc . We all know and practical. Mysticism brings the soul face to face with God. here that I must become personal and need not enlarge upon Eucken's words with which I began. With an silent. things will give who have tried these them up. Certainly none It seems to be grow- ing. And feel very strongly that a great just now.Practical Mysticism in his 201 I presence. I know there are I some who would It is like to begin. were there time. which is what the soul wants. the need is in the soul and must be filled there in utter loneliness. It is very free and simple. Some of I us feel that better things are impending. But there are other and even better ways than these. 1 think you will see is how all the spirit of Mysticism expressing it- self in the religious life of the Church. many people are waiting to be shown the way into Mysticism as the remedy for what we deplore.
— 2oa The Theory and Practice of Mysticism no intermediaries. They are not like mathematical axioms which can be handed from one mind to another and com- mand acceptance because the common human reason cannot deny them. . whoever he may be. nor companionships. and many quotations. if I had only you in the theory. So my last word must be to the individual. entirely uninfluential They must remain and powerless until we experience them ourselves. We must remember that these mystical and states facts which we have studied are only authoritative for those who have them. with much reference to others. to accept the testimony of these mystical states from any Mystic except as being true That does not make them true for us. this. We have no right for him. perhaps even of the proselyter. My motive you know from the beginning has been practical. I should be disappointed interested that of the missionary. but all I have said has been at second hand. I have tried in these lectures is open even to have presented a sequence of the various steps a sample of the general path to be taken by the man who wants God. I would not leave you with only to make it plain that the way I the average normal man.
life intellectualists and the Church's so the fullness of the requires the same combination of differing qualities. to try to be the kind to set ourselves in the men they were. If it does we know. As the world of thoughtful men can be divided into only two classes. or that men were. is way. each supplement- Only the great inteland religious geniuses can in themselves combine the two men like Augustine and Eckhart and Phillips Brooks. if we can. the intuitionists.Practical Mysticism 203 What we must do. but if my appeal be one-sided I myself have told you. to try to use the same processes by which others have succeeded in attaining their desire. the Aristotelians and the Platonists. p. lectual — makes me * feel that this side is the more im- James : Varieties of Religious Experience. each learning from the other. 422. that the Church would not lose something.* There are some who will never know. You will already have discovered my limitations and know on which side I must be classed. therefore. . some who will never care to know. I cannot think it is prejudice which ing the other's defect. and then to see if the same reward will come to us. each respecting the other. for I do not mean of to say that if all all men should be Mystics.
They apply to religion and its teachers as well as to philosophy and its teachers. Men and women want they want to feel to know God in their hearts Him there as an ever-present help in time of trouble. but if we will take it and persevere I believe the end is sure. but they are hungry for God. At any rate. He is speaking of one of the greatest of Mystics: "Eckhart must preach with the understanding — ay. behooves us to be leaders of men in this their search for God. As I unIt derstand the time. yes. not to be able to prove Him there in time of controversy. and to be true leaders we must go on ahead and be able to show that we know the way. men are not controversial. not sceptical. He had been early trained to a sense of the importance of learning. To be such as this we must fit ourselves. I have often wished to quote these words of Professor Royce.. written a good many years ago. not mere stationary finger posts. I am certain the duty rests upon us. must be built up anew in every . but with the spirit also. We must be living guides. The way is not easy. 204 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism portant to be emphasized in these days. but once more these so precious fruits of contemplation must be communicated to others.
But the man who wants to make his philosophy of devoting himself immediately interesting to the serious-minded amongst the people must not dwell upon those remoter consequences so much as upon the principles. Such popular translation of philosophy. as the actual outcome. for it is just the most fundamental principle of life that the unlearned inquirer . to a continual renewal and refreshment of his own most The technical fundamental thinking itself. weaver of philosophical theories may or may not bear in mind the fact that had it not been for the vital perplexities of experience the problems of the immediate issues of life the schools would never have come into ex- — istence. as the very form and body of his religious For all this own personal and meant the one great guidance of object —the salvation of human souls. in case a man's philosophy means to him in any sense the mirror of life. the the perplexed. must always tend. the portrayal of truth. Accordingly.— Practical Mysticism 205 hearer's mind life. in the man who thus translates. such a technical student may long neglect the renewed examination of his own fundamental principles for the sake their to the development of most remote theoretical consequences.
You must It continually re-initiate yourself into the mys- your own philosophical doctrine. 266. 'alone with the divine. and tremendous to translate such fundamental principles into the speech of your hearer's spiritual experience.' can come to be nevertheless in unity with all other spirits. even in his isolation. ' Perhaps Good and Royce : Studies of Evil. p. would be to solve would be to show whether and how the individual. and with all that constitutes the esthis is indeed pos- sence of reality. then. daily you too must if But you are experience and must re-state to yourself this abstrusely spiritual truth that lies at the basis of your teries of life as of your hearer's. well. must become and remain a personal as well as a technical matter with you. Are they It To an- swer this question adequately the religious paradox. . People naturally begin in phicritical losophy with the most of its issues." ^ And then very lately he has added these impressive words: "Is such a direct touch with the divine possi- ble? The mystics it of all ages have maintained right? that is possible. in touch with all that lies beneath and above himself.2o6 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism desires to get. if you are to show him that the most abstruse truth walks daily beside him.
follows that individual experience re- mains a source of religious insight as indispensable and as fundamental as it is. happens in their own cases. inadequate and in need of supplement. revelation. loses precisely its most intimate nificance. on the other if hand. unless this privilege has been yours.Practical Mysticism sible. of inw^ard vision. but must accept their revelation as an insight without knowing in w^hat precise and if it sense "It it is insight. all the mystics confess that. unless to feel the presence of it your has sometimes seemed to you as if the way to the homeland of the spirit were opened to your sight by a revelation as from the divine. as rectly to the interior light. Unless you have inwardly felt the need of salvation and have learned to hunger and thirst after spiritual unity and self-possession. you have seemed Deliverer. the way to a higher growth in insight . all the rest of religious insight is to you a sealed book. this is possible. And unless. of hope. by itself. of illumina- tion. of devotion. viewing their experience merely as an individual experience. know not how it happens. they alone. an appeal of the divine spirit diBut. in moments of peace. as we sig- have seen. 207 Unless it is possible.
sionary must bear his testimony and be prepared to see in the I many of his converts. in trying to make clear • what we were going : to think about to- Royce Sources of Religious Insight. It is a personal and very private matter. but it is sermon and not mine. as there are schools for teaching Mathematics and Theology. public. if he is for- tunate enough to have any. For. we are all members one of another. no one who remains with his merely individual experience of the presence of the divine and of his deliverer. will be slow and uncertain But on content the other hand. go far beyond him development of his truth. of as a fact. One hesitates to speak of it in and fears the immodesty of pretending But the misto know enough of it to teach it. pp. has won I the whole of any true insight. 31-34- ." preaching. I confess. said in my first lecture. and can have no insight into the I way my of is salvation unless salvation for all thereby learn of the way there my brethren.2o8 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism to you. And men see it no unity of the leged to enter it spirit unless all are privi- it ^ whenever they and know Royce's and love This is it. How shall we practise it? There are no schools for teaching Mysticism.
Of course men have this desire know that. ." this "blind stretching of the soul. and have said said." The Scale of Perfection.Practical Mysticism 209 is gether. What are we aiming at? On what thoughts do our minds heart naturally rest? What is the supreme purpose toward which our efforts as well as tions definitely turn? There will be our aspiranothing but disappointment until these questions are an- swered. in this life. with entire honesty and the keenest searching. 1 But I have also and contend. As Walter Hilton says: "^ ''Ransack thy conscience and look what thy will is." Now Mysti- cism all is founded on this longing. ' for therein consisteth the whole business. through Christ. some degree. in it. p. 151. This is his supreme purpose. Therefore the first thing for us to do to is "to seek the look into ground of our hearts. No one can be a Mystic who has not this ''single intent." ourselves and ask. that "a Christian Mystic that kind of believes a Christian who longs for and who he can have an experience of intimate communion with God." toward God. we do so desire this intimate communion with God. that with the Mystic this longing is much more intense than it is with the Aristotelian. whether. as a matter of fact.
but end. the real satisfaction of your many fickle wishes. but a compelling impulse. . Like physical hunger. then attention to the second part of I call your said my definition. 40. God is not means. it me beg you make thorough.— 2IO If The Theory and you to will Practice of Mysticism let undertake this search. p. is God. We do not all know what we really want. You seek something with God and do with him just as though you made him a candle with which to look for something and having found it you throw the candle away. Other wishes may appear superior and you may be too easily discouraged and too entirel}/ acquiescent." ^ If you find this desire to be not a vague hart's : : wish. But if you will persist in your search I think you will find. most of you. I To carry out this ''will to know God. that the real answer to your many questions. You may not reach your deepest desire at first." that the Mystic believed that by a course of training he could so develop his inmost self * Quoted in Horce Mystica. Too often Eck- words are true of us "Know that when you seek your own you never find God there till you seek God alone. the want is so diffused that we may feel the emptiness in some place where it is not.
Jones's ''Social Law in the World. a good deal Spiritlater." You are both after the same thing. — some Mys- meet him now on his own ground. I want to suggest that you begin at this point to read the writings of tic. Let me warn you however that such reading must be persevered in. and this way is open to all who want God enough to walk in it faithfully. Mysticism is an Art and has its way of self -development. out of my own experience." and then. . ''the ground of his heart. But you will not be daunted if your heart is fixed. That is. at least. But before I ask you to take up this way. much will be unintelligible to you. with his purpose. and when once you "catch the idea" the reading becomes easy and the sympathy grows. If you will allow me to suggest. for you will meet much at first with which you will not be sympathetic. This makes your first introduction to Mystic literature hard.Practical Mysticism call it 211 what you will that his whole nature would become open and susceptible to God increasingly. You will be in sympathy. and much that you think you understand will be alien if not repulsive. I think you will find your path made easier if you read such a book as Profeswill be able to You sor ual Rufus M.
" sane. besides Eckhart and Tauin Germany. Catherine of Siena. Those whom I like best might sure. and St. whom I have just quoted. and that wonderful woman. Life and Love. very little ascetic. You will be guided. Then there is the English Mystic. and principally." w^hich quotes and elaborates and teaches and draws you toward the subject as no other book does. But in between. There is a little book edited by Dr. I am what is best for you in the multitude of riches. Santa Teresa and Molinos of Spain. with his "Scale These are all (or Ladder) of Perfection." which will serve as an introduction to Eckhart and Tauler and Ruysbroek and Suso. and find not appeal to you: sions. St. Suso and Ruysbroek. I conclude ler. called 'Xight. who will surely grow in your estimation and love if you will give her the chance. ''Theologia Germanica" is good to begin with. selected from the German Mystics. Walter Hilton. Inge. At any rate. and not in the least I dare not begin to tell you what visionary. Mother Julian of Norwich. — to read after these. St. you should read some real Mystic's real book. Augustine's Confes- Francis of Assisi.212 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism Evelyn Underhill's fascinating and authoritative v^ork called '^Mysticism. .
This is where practice is most imperative and most useful Many repent and have faith but few removed. man is converted he reHe repudiates his sin and avail by itself. disciplines his character. come back to the Mystic's course of train- ing. that they are only means. After you have read the Mystics themselves. even the lectures about" them. but divine. I said. psychological and Biblical and And when a pents and reforms. That desire comes then follows Conversion. But even goodness does not To see God there are other veils than sin to be And so we come to the fourth and most important step (for the Mystic) Contemplation. His purpose is so clear and intense that he can never worship his tools. will seem to you I trite and tasteless. It We can- not get away from it is may not be fash- ionable. that. This is where we must lay the emphasis for ourselves and for others. it he cares for purity of heart only that by he may see God. — .Practical Mysticism this advice 213 by asking you to read Mysticism much more than you read about Mysticism. What are the means he uses? We have He insists studied them in the second lecture. the books about them. As first.
easily a good ques- tion to ask ourselves whether. even a God is much time as that. to commune with God. with any least as regularity. of Quiet and Silence. to find how long it does take you. Men complain of God's silences and think. so inter- minably loquacious themselves. the reason is call him inscrutable. He is waiting for a decent pause in the conversation. You will be astonished. and how half hour a day to Contemplation.214 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism reach the fruition of union with God. in our search for we have given. which take much time and more patience and trouble. "Be . but I that God cannot communi- cate with them because they never give him a chance. and studied earthworms after month. when you seriously try. so noisy. because few understand the necessity of Prayer. to become perfectly quiet and abso- lutely silent. Darwin watched month come at? the tendrils of a vine for years to gain one scientific fact. not only your lips but your soul must be silent. I repeat. of Recollection and Concentration. worth at hard it is. To know God. takes time. care to give much it time to these exercises. to worship God. and few. very few. they are so busy. It is Is God more God.
that my last is word must be said. He attains the union with God. as if He were far away. but know that don't know any It would not be honest to keep on talkHere 1 must stop and be content. and relate to Him your troubles. my definition of Mysticism is still my I said. Him. ing." . I ? 1 know I that I ought to say more. ' not the fruit of conthe soul scious endeavor or self discipline or continued These may fit self '"You need not go to heaven to see God. where He dwells Who made heaven and earth. The severes third and last stage in goal. let them be sure that they walk in the most excellent way: they lay their Settle yourself in solitude. And then entreat Him as your Father. not content. just to point on- ward." It is here.Practical Mysticism still 215 silence and know that I am God. Those who can in this manner shut themselves up in the little heaven of their own hearts. *'He per- he accomplishes his purpose." and I heard a voice. God's presence within him becomes the supreme reality of his life. No." ^ end abruptly I "There was Do more. Nor need you speak loud. "The Mystic experience prayer or meditation. or to regale yourwith God. but compelled. at the end of our comuntil mon search. pipe right up to the fountain. to Nor need you cry for wings like a dove so as to fly and you will come upon God in yourself.
p. hopefully. yes. ." solute assurance *' ^^ Humbly. but when I comes it comes from Another.2i6 The Theory and Practice of Mysticism it for the gift. Cobb : Mysticism and the Creed. xiii. with ab- await that Shewing.
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