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denying ourselves for Him.... By self-denial, I mean the soul's
quitting all its own interest in itself, and an entire resignation of
itself to Him as to all points of service and duty; and thus the soul
loses itself in God, and lives in the possession not so much of its
own being as of the Divinity, desiring only to be great in God, to
glory in His light, and spread itself in His fulness; to be filled
always by Him, and to empty itself again into Him; to receive all from
Him, and to expend all for Him; and so to live, not as its own, but as
God's." Wicked men "maintain a _meum_ and _tuum_ between God and
themselves," but the good man is able to make a full surrender of
himself, "triumphing in nothing more than in his own nothingness, and
in the allness of the Divinity. But, indeed, this his being nothing is
the only way to be all things; this his having nothing the truest way
of possessing all things.... The spirit of religion is always
ascending upwards; and, spreading itself through the whole essence of
the soul, loosens it from a self-confinement and narrowness, and so
renders it more capacious of Divine enjoyment.... The spirit of a good
man is always drinking in fountain-goodness, and fills itself more and
more, till it be filled with all the fulness of God." "It is not a
melancholy kind of sitting still, and slothful waiting, that speaks
men enlivened by the Spirit and power of God. It is not religion to
stifle and smother those active powers and principles which are within
us.... Good men do not walk up and down the world merely like ghosts
and shadows; but they are indeed living men, by a real participation
from Him who is indeed a quickening Spirit."

"Neither were it an happiness worth the having for a mind, like an
hermit sequestered from all things else, to spend an eternity in
self-converse and the enjoyment of such a diminutive superficial
nothing as itself is.... We read in the Gospel of such a question of
our Saviour's, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? We may
invert it, What do you return within to see? A soul confined within
the private and narrow cell of its own particular being? Such a soul
deprives itself of all that almighty and essential glory and goodness
which shines round about it, which spreads itself throughout the whole
universe; I say, it deprives itself of all this, for the enjoying of
such a poor, petty, and diminutive thing as itself is, which yet it
can never enjoy truly in such retiredness."

The English Platonists are equally sound on the subject of ecstasy.
Whichcote says: "He doth not know God at all as He is, nor is he in a
good state of religion, who doth not find in himself at times
ravishings with sweet and lovely considerations of the Divine
perfections." And Smith: "Who can tell the delights of those
mysterious converses with the Deity, when reason is turned into sense,
and faith becomes vision? The fruit of this knowledge is sweeter than
honey and the honeycomb.... By the Platonists' leave, this life and
knowledge (that of the 'contemplative man') peculiarly belongs to the
true and sober Christian. This life is nothing else but an
infant-Christ formed in his soul. But we must not mistake: this
knowledge is here but in its infancy." While we are here, "our own
imaginative powers, which are perpetually attending the best acts of
our souls, will be breathing a gross dew upon the pure glass of our

"Heaven is first a temper, then a place," says Whichcote, and Smith
says the same about hell. "Heaven is not a thing without us, nor is
happiness anything distinct from a true conjunction of the mind with
God." "Though we could suppose ourselves to be at truce with heaven,
and all Divine displeasure laid asleep; yet would our own sins, if
they continue unmortified, make an Ætna or Vesuvius within us.[362]"
This view of the indissoluble connexion between holiness and
blessedness, as between sin and damnation, leads Smith to reject
strenuously the doctrine of imputed, as opposed to imparted,
righteousness. "God does not bid us be warmed and filled," he says,
"and deny us those necessities which our starving and hungry souls
call for.... I doubt sometimes, some of our dogmata and notions about
justification may puff us up in far higher and goodlier conceits of
ourselves than God hath of us, and that we profanely make the
unspotted righteousness of Christ to serve only as a covering wherein
to wrap our foul deformities and filthy vices, and when we have done,
think ourselves in as good credit and repute with God as we are with
ourselves, and that we are become Heaven's darlings as much as we are
our own.[363]"

These extracts will show that the English Platonists breathe a larger
air than the later Romish mystics, and teach a religion more
definitely Christian than Erigena and Eckhart. I shall now show how
this happy result was connected with a more truly spiritual view of
the external world than we have met with in the earlier part of our
survey. That the laws of nature are the laws of God, that "man, as
man, is averse to what is evil and wicked," that "evil is unnatural,"
and a "contradiction of the law of our being," which is only found in
"wicked men and devils," is one of Whichcote's "gallant themes." And
Smith sets forth the true principles of Nature-Mysticism in a splendid
passage, with which I will conclude this Lecture: -

"God made the universe and all the creatures contained therein as so
many glasses wherein He might reflect His own glory. He hath copied
forth Himself in the creation; and in this outward world we may read
the lovely characters of the Divine goodness, power, and wisdom....
But how to find God here, and feelingly to converse with Him, and
being affected with the sense of the Divine glory shining out upon the
creation, how to pass out of the sensible world into the intellectual,
is not so effectually taught by that philosophy which professed it
most, as by true religion. That which knits and unites God and the
soul together can best teach it how to ascend and descend upon those
golden links that unite, as it were, the world to God. That Divine
Wisdom, that contrived and beautified this glorious structure, can
best explain her own art, and carry up the soul back again in these
reflected beams to Him who is the Fountain of them.... Good men may
easily find every creature pointing out to that Being whose image and
superscription it bears, and climb up from those darker resemblances
of the Divine wisdom and goodness, shining out in different degrees
upon several creatures, till they sweetly repose themselves in the
bosom of the Divinity; and while they are thus conversing with this
lower world ... they find God many times secretly flowing into their
souls, and leading them silently out of the court of the temple into
the Holy Place.... Thus religion, where it is in truth and power,
renews the very spirit of our minds, and doth in a manner spiritualise
this outward creation to us.... It is nothing but a thick mist of
pride and self-love that hinders men's eyes from beholding that sun
which enlightens them and all things else.... A good man is no more
solicitous whether this or that good thing be mine, or whether my
perfections exceed the measure of this or that particular creature;
for whatsoever good he beholds anywhere, he enjoys and delights in it
as much as if it were his own, and whatever he beholds in himself, he
looks not upon it as his property, but as a common good; for all these
beams come from one and the same Fountain and Ocean of light in whom
he loves them all with an universal love.... Thus may a man walk up
and down the world as in a garden of spices, and suck a Divine
sweetness out of every flower. There is a twofold meaning in every
creature, a literal and a mystical, and the one is but the ground of
the other; and as the Jews say of their law, so a good man says of
everything that his senses offer to him - it speaks to his lower part,
but it points out something above to his mind and spirit. It is the
drowsy and muddy spirit of superstition which is fain to set some idol
at its elbow, something that may jog it and put it in mind of God.
Whereas true religion never finds itself out of the infinite sphere of
the Divinity ... it beholds itself everywhere in the midst of that
glorious unbounded Being who is indivisibly everywhere. A good man
finds every place he treads upon holy ground; to him the world is
God's temple; he is ready to say with Jacob, 'How dreadful is this
place! this is none other than the house of God, this is the gate of


[Footnote 316: In R.L. Nettleship's _Remains_.]

[Footnote 317: In addition to passages quoted elsewhere, the following
sentence from Luthardt is a good statement of the symbolic theory:
"Nature is a world of symbolism, a rich hieroglyphic book: everything
visible conceals an invisible mystery, and the last mystery of all is
God." Goethe's "Alles vergängliche ist nur ein Gleichniss" would be
better without the "nur," from our point of view.]

[Footnote 318: Récéjac, _Essai sur les Fondements de la Connaissance

[Footnote 319: In the _Edinburgh Review_, October 1896. The article
referred to, on "The Catholic Mystics of the Middle Ages," is
beautifully written, and should be read by all who are interested in
the subject.]

[Footnote 320: This is Kant's use of the word. See Bosanquet, _History
of Æsthetic_, p. 273: "A symbol is for Kant a perception or
presentation which represents a conception neither conventionally as a
mere sign, nor directly, but in the abstract, as a scheme, but
indirectly though appropriately through a similarity between the rules
which govern our reflection in the symbol and in the thing (or idea)
symbolised." "In this sense beauty is a symbol of the moral order."
Goethe's definition is also valuable: "That is true symbolism where
the more particular represents the more general, not as a dream or
shade, but as a vivid, instantaneous revelation of the inscrutable."]

[Footnote 321: Or rather of power and dignity; for in some early
Byzantine works even Satan is represented with a nimbus.]

[Footnote 322: Emerson says rightly, "Mysticism (in a bad sense)
consists in the mistake of an accidental and individual symbol for an
universal one."]

[Footnote 323: The distinction which Ruskin draws between the _fancy_
and the _imagination_ may help us to discern the true and the false in
Symbolism. "Fancy has to do with the outsides of things, and is
content therewith. She can never _feel_, but is one of the most purely
and simply intellectual of the faculties. She cannot be made serious;
no edge-tool, but she will play with: whereas the imagination is in
all things the reverse. She cannot but be serious; she sees too far,
too darkly, too solemnly, too earnestly, ever to smile.... There is
reciprocal action between the intensity of moral feeling and the power
of imagination. Hence the powers of the imagination may always be
tested by accompanying tenderness of emotion.... Imagination is quiet,
fancy restless; fancy details, imagination suggests.... All egotism is
destructive of imagination, whose play and power depend altogether on
our being able to forget ourselves.... Imagination has no respect for
sayings or opinions: it is independent" (_Modern Painters_, vol. ii.
chap. iii.).]

[Footnote 324: Cf. Harnack, _History of Dogma_, vol. ii. p. 144: "What
we nowadays understand by 'symbols' is a thing which is not that which
it represents; at that time (in the second century) 'symbol' denoted a
thing which, in some kind of way, is that which it signifies; but, on
the other hand, according to the ideas of that period, the really
heavenly element lay either in or behind the visible form without
being identical with it. Accordingly, the distinction of a symbolic
and realistic conception of the Lord's Supper is altogether to be
rejected." And vol. iv. p. 289: "The 'symbol' was never a mere type or
sign, but always embodied a mystery." So Justin Martyr uses [Greek:
symbolikôs eipein] and [Greek: eipein en mystêriô] as interchangeable
terms; and Tertullian says that the name of Joshua was _nominis futuri

[Footnote 325: So some thinkers have felt that "the Word" is not the
best expression for the creative activity of God. The passage of
Goethe where Faust rejects "Word," "Thought," and "Power," and finally
translates, "In the beginning was the _Act_," is well known. And
Philo, in a very interesting passage, says that Nature is the language
in which God speaks; "but there is this difference, that while the
human voice is made to be _heard_, the voice of God is made to be
_seen_: what God says consists of acts, not of words" (_De Decem
Orac_. II).]

[Footnote 326: Aquinas says of the sacraments, "efficiunt quod
figurant." The Thomists held that the sacraments are "causæ" of
grace; the Scotists (Nominalists), that grace is their inseparable
concomitant. The maintenance of a real correspondence between sign and
significance seems to be essential to the idea of a sacrament, but
then the danger of degrading it into magic lies close at hand.]

[Footnote 327: In the case of irregular Baptism, the maxim holds:
"Fieri non debuit; factum valet." Cf. Bp. Churton, _The Missionary's
Foundation of Doctrine_, p. 129. The reason for this difference
between the two sacraments is quite clear.]

[Footnote 328: It is, of course, difficult to decide how far such
statements were meant to be taken literally. But there is no doubt
that both Baptism and the Eucharist were supposed to _confer_
immortality. Cf. Tert. _de Bapt._ 2 (621, Oehl.), "nonne mirandum est
lavacro dilui mortem?"; Gregory of Nyssa, _Or. cat. magn._ 35, [Greek:
mê dynasthai de phêmi dicha tês kata to loutron anagennêseôs en
anastasei genesthai ton anthrôpon]. Basil, too, calls Baptism [Greek:
dynamis eis tên anastasin]. Of the Eucharist, Ignatius uses the
phrase quoted, [Greek: pharmakon tês athanasias], and [Greek:
antidotos tou mê apothanein]; and Gregory of Nyssa uses the same
language as about Baptism. See, further, in Appendices B and C.]

[Footnote 329: E.g. [Greek: metallaxis] (Theodoret), [Greek:
metabolê] (Cyril), [Greek: metapoiêsis] (Gregory Naz.), [Greek:
metastoicheiôsis] (Theophylact). The last-named goes on to say that
"we are in the same way _transelementated_ into Christ." The Christian
Neoplatonists naturally regard the sacrament as symbolic. Origen is
inclined to hold that _every_ action should be sacramental, and that
material symbols, such as bread and wine, and participation in a
ceremonial, cannot be necessary vehicles of spiritual grace; this is
in accordance with the excessive idealism and intellectualism of his
system. Dionysius calls the elements [Greek: symbola, eikones,
antitypa, aisthêta tina anti noêtôn metalambanomena]; and Maximus,
his commentator, defines a symbol as [Greek: aisthêton ti anti
noêtou metalambanomenon].]

[Footnote 330: Harnack (_History of Dogma_, vol. vi. p. 102, English
edition) says: "In the centuries before the Reformation, a growing
value was attached not only to the sacraments, but to crosses,
amulets, relics, holy places, etc. As long as what the soul seeks is
not the rock of assurance, but means for inciting to piety, it will
create for itself a thousand holy things. It is therefore an extremely
superficial view that regards the most inward Mysticism and the
service of idols as contradictory. The opposite view, rather, is
correct." I have seldom found myself able to agree with this writer's
judgments upon Mysticism; and this one is no exception. The "most
inward Mysticism" does not occupy itself much with external
"incitements to piety," nor is this the motive with which a mystic
could ever (e.g.) receive the Eucharist. The use of amulets, etc.,
which Harnack finds to have been spreading before the Reformation, and
which was certainly very prevalent in the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries, had very little to do with "the most inward Mysticism." My
view as to the place of magic in the history of Mysticism is given in
this Lecture; I protest against identifying it with the essence of
Mysticism. Symbolic Mysticism soon outgrew it; introspective Mysticism
never valued it. The use of visible things as stimulants to piety is
another matter; it has its place in the systems of the Catholic
mystics, but as a very early stage in the spiritual ascent. What I
have said as to the inconsistency of a high sacramental doctrine with
the favourite injunctions to "cast away all images," which we find in
the mediæval mystics, is, I think, indisputable.]

[Footnote 331: The most recent developments of German idealistic
philosophy, as set forth in the cosmology of Lotze, and still more of
Fechner, may perhaps be described as an attempt to preserve the truth
of Animism on a much higher plane, without repudiating the
universality of law.]

[Footnote 332: I refer especially to Huysmans' two "mystical" novels,
_En Route_ and _La Cathédrale_. The naked Fetishism of the latter book
almost passes belief. We have a Madonna who is good-natured at Lourdes
and cross-grained at La Salette; who likes "pretty speeches and little
coaxing ways" in "paying court" to her, and who at the end is
apostrophised as "our Lady of the Pillar," "our Lady of the Crypt." It
may perhaps be excusable to resort to such expedients as these in the
conversion of savages; but there is something singularly repulsive in
the picture (drawn apparently from life) of a profligate man of
letters seeking salvation in a Christianity which has lowered itself
far beneath educated paganism. At any rate, let not the name of
Mysticism be given to such methods.]

[Footnote 333: I refer especially to the horrors connected with the
belief in witchcraft, on which see Lecky, _Rationalism in Europe_,
vol. i. "Remy, a judge of Nancy, boasted that he had put to death
eight hundred witches in sixteen years." "In the bishopric of
Wartzburg, nine hundred were burnt in one year." As late as 1850, some
French peasants burnt alive a woman named Bedouret, whom they supposed
to be a witch.]

[Footnote 334: The degradation of Mysticism in the Roman Church since
the Reformation may be estimated by comparing the definitions of
Mysticism and Mystical Theology current in the Middle Ages with the
following from Ribet, who is recognised as a standard authority on the
subject: "La Theologie mystique, au point de vue subjectif et
experimental, nous semble pouvoir être définie; une attraction
surnaturelle et passive de l'âme vers Dieu, provenant d'une
illumination et d'un embrasement intérieurs, qui préviennent la
réflexion, surpassent l'effort humain, _et peuvent avoir sur le corps
un retentissement merveilleux et irresistible_." "Au point de vue
doctrinal et objectif, la mystique peut se définir: la science qui
traite _des phénomènes surnaturels_, soit intimes, _soit extérieurs_,
qui preparent, accompagnent, et suivent la contemplation divine." The
time is past, if it ever existed, when such superstitions could be
believed without grave injury to mental and moral health.]

[Footnote 335: This language about the teaching of the Roman Church
may be considered unseemly by those who have not studied the subject.
Those who have done so will think it hardly strong enough. In
self-defence, I will quote one sentence from Schram, whose work on
"Mysticism" is considered authoritative, and is studied in the great
Catholic university of Louvain: "Quæri potest utrum dæmon per turpem
concubitum possit violenter opprimere marem vel feminam cuius obsessio
permissa sit ob finem perfectionis et contemplationis acquirendæ." The
answer is in the affirmative, and the evidence is such as could hardly
be transcribed, even in Latin. Schram's book is mainly intended for
the direction of confessing priests, and the evidence shows, as might
have been expected, that the subjects of these "phenomena" are
generally poor nuns suffering from hysteria.]

[Footnote 336: At a time when many are hoping to find in the study of
the obscurer psychical phenomena a breach in the "middle wall of
partition" between the spiritual and material worlds, I may seem to
have brushed aside too contemptuously the floating mass of popular
beliefs which "spiritualists" think worthy of serious investigation. I
must therefore be allowed to say that in my opinion psychical research
has already established results of great value, especially in helping
to break down that view of the _imperviousness_ of the ego which is
fatal to Mysticism, and (I venture to think) to any consistent
philosophy. Monadism, we may hope, is doomed. But the more popular
kind of spiritualism is simply the old hankering after supernatural
manifestations, which are always dear to semi-regenerate minds.]

[Footnote 337: It is, I think, significant that the word "imagination"
was slow in making its way into psychology. [Greek: Phantasia] is
defined by Aristotle (_de Anima_, iii. 3) as [Greek: kinêsis hypo tês
aisthêseôs tês kat energeian gignomenê], but it is not till
Philostratus that the creative imagination is opposed to [Greek:
mimêsis]. Cf. _Vit. Apoll._ vi. 19, [Greek: mimêsis men
dêmiourgêsei ho eiden, phantasia de kai ho mê eiden].]

[Footnote 338: Reuchlin, _De arte cabbalistica_: "Est enim Cabbala
divinæ revelationis ad salutiferam Dei et formarum separatarum
contemplationem traditæ symbolica receptio, quam qui coelesti
sortiumtur afflatu recto nomine Cabbalici dicuntur, eorum vero
discipulos cognomento Cabbalæos appellabimus, et qui alioquin eos
imitari conantur, Cabbalistæ nominandi sunt."]

[Footnote 339: The mystical Rabbis ascribe the Cabbala to the angel
Razael, the reputed teacher of Adam in Paradise, and say that this
angel gave Adam the Cabbala as his lesson-book. There is a clear and
succinct account of the main Cabbalistic docrines in Hunt, _Pantheism
and Christianity_, pp. 84-88.]

[Footnote 340: But the notion that the deepest mysteries should not be
entrusted to writing is found in Clement and Origen; cf. Origen,
_Against Celsus_, vi. 26: [Greek: ouk akindynon tên tôn toioutôn
saphêneian pisteusai graphê]. And Clement says: [Greek: ta aporrêta,
kathaper ho theos, logô pisteuetai ou grammati]. The curious legend of
an oral tradition also appears in Clement (_Hypolyp. Fragm._ in
Eusebius, _H.E._ ii. I. 4): [Greek: Iakôbô tô dikaiô kai Iôanê kai
Petrô meta tên anastasin paredôke tên gnôsin ho kyrios, outoi tois
loipois apostolois paredôkan, oi de loipoi apostoloi tois
hebdomêkonta, ôn eis ên kai Barnabas.] Origen, too, speaks of "things
spoken in private to the disciples."]

[Footnote 341: The following extract from Pico's _Apology_ may be
interesting, as illustrating the close connexion between magic and
science at this period: "One of the chief charges against me is that I
am a magician. Have I not myself distinguished two kinds of magic?
One, which the Greeks call [Greek: goêteia], depends entirely on alliance
with evil spirits, and deserves to be regarded with horror, and to be
punished; the other is magic in the proper sense of the word. The
former subjects man to the evil spirits, the latter makes them serve
him. The former is neither an art nor a science; the latter embraces
the deepest mysteries, and the knowledge of the whole of Nature with
her powers. While it connects and combines the forces scattered by God
through the whole world, it does not so much work miracles as come to
the help of working nature. Its researches into the sympathies of
things enable it to bring to light hidden marvels from the secret
treasure-houses of the world, just as if it created them itself. As
the countryman trains the vine upon the elm, so the magician marries
the earthly objects to heavenly bodies. His art is beneficial and
Godlike, for it brings men to wonder at the works of God, than which
nothing conduces more to true religion."]

[Footnote 342: This was a very old theory. Cf. Lecky, _Rationalism in
Europe_, vol. i. p. 264. "The _Clavis_ of St. Melito, who was bishop
of Sardis, it is said, in the beginning of the second century,
consists of a catalogue of many hundreds of birds, beasts, plants, and
minerals that were symbolical of Christian virtues, doctrines, and

[Footnote 343: The analogy between allegorism in religion and the
hieroglyphic writing is drawn out by Clement, _Strom._ v. 4 and 7.]

[Footnote 344: The distinction, however, would be unintelligible to
the savage mind. To primitive man a _name_ is a symbol in the

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