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[Footnote 33: [Greek: ho nous basileus], says Plotinus.]

[Footnote 34: Roman Catholic writers can assert that "la plupart des
contemplatifs étaient dépourvus de toute culture littéraire." But
their notion of "contemplation" is the passive reception of
"supernatural favours," - on which subject more will be said in
Lectures IV. and VII.]

[Footnote 35: "Die Mystik ist formlose Speculation," Noack,
_Christliche Mystik_, p. 18.]

[Footnote 36: The Atomists, from Epicurus downwards, have been
especially odious to the mystics.]

[Footnote 37: The theory that time is real, but not space, leads us
into grave difficulties. It is the root of the least satisfactory kind
of evolutionary optimism, which forgets, in the first place, that the
idea of perpetual progress in time is hopelessly at variance with what
we know of the destiny of the world; and, in the second place, that a
mere _progressus_ is meaningless. Every created thing has its fixed
goal in the realisation of the idea which was immanent in it from the

[Footnote 38: Origen in _Matth._, Com. Series, 100; _Contra Celsum_,
ii. 64. Referred to by Bigg, _Christian Platonists of Alexandria_, p.

[Footnote 39: _Paradiso_ viii. 13 -

"Io non m'accorsi del salire in ella;
Ma d'esserv' entro mi fece assai fede
La donna mia ch'io vidi far più bella." ]

[Footnote 40: "Deo nihil opponitur," says Erigena.]

[Footnote 41: Compare Bradley, _Appearance and Reality_, where it is
shown that the essential attributes of Reality are _harmony_ and

[Footnote 42: I.e. "necessary" or "expedient."]

[Footnote 43: _Life_, vol. i. p. 55.]

[Footnote 44: J. Smith, _Select Discourses_, v. So Bernard says (_De
Consid._ v. I), "quid opus est scalis tenenti iam solium?"]

[Footnote 45: Aug. _De Libero Arbitrio_, ii. 16, 17.]

[Footnote 46: _Troilus and Cressida_, Act III. Scene 3.]

[Footnote 47: This idea of the world as a living being is found in
Plotinus: and Origen definitely teaches that "as our body, while
consisting of many members, is yet an organism which is held together
by one soul, so the universe is to be thought of as an immense living
being which is upheld by the power and the Word of God." He also holds
that the sun and stars are spiritual beings. St. Augustine, too (_De
Civitate Dei_, iv. 12, vii. 5), regards the universe as a living
organism; and the doctrine reappears much later in Giordano Bruno.
According to this theory, we are subsidiary members of an
all-embracing organism, and there may be intermediate will-centres
between our own and that of the universal Ego. Among modern systems,
that of Fechner is the one which seems to be most in accordance with
these speculations. He views life under the figure of a number of
concentric circles of consciousness, within an all-embracing circle
which represents the consciousness of God.]

[Footnote 48: [Greek: psuchês peirata ouk an exeuroio pasan
epiporeuomenos hodon outô bathyn logon echei], Frag. 71.]

[Footnote 49: J.P. Richter, _Selina_. Compare, too, Lotze,
_Microcosmus_: "Within us lurks a world whose form we imperfectly
apprehend, and whose working, when in particular phases it comes under
our notice, surprises us with foreshadowings of unknown depths in our

[Footnote 50: As Lotze says, "The finite being does not contain in
itself the conditions of its own existence." It must struggle to
attain to complete personality; or rather, since personality belongs
unconditionally only to God, to such a measure of personality as is
allotted to us. Eternal life is nothing than the attainment of full
personality, a conscious existence in God.]

[Footnote 51: J.A. Picton (_The Mystery of Matter_, p. 356) puts the
matter well: "Mysticism consists in the spiritual realisation of a
grander and a boundless unity, that humbles all self-assertion by
dissolving it in a wider glory. It does not follow that the sense of
individuality is necessarily weakened. But habitual contemplation of
the Divine unity impresses men with the feeling that individuality is
phenomenal only. Hence the paradox of Mysticism. For apart from this
phenomenal individuality, we should not know our own nothingness, and
personal life is good only through the bliss of being lost in God.
[Rather, I should say, through the bliss of finding our true life,
which is hid with Christ in God.] True religious worship doth not
consist in the acknowledgment of a greatness which is estimated by
comparison, but rather in the sense of a Being who surpasses all
comparison, because He gives to phenomenal existences the only reality
they can know. Hence the deepest religious feeling necessarily shrinks
from thinking of God as a kind of gigantic Self amidst a host of minor
selves. The very thought of such a thing is a mockery of the
profoundest devotion."]

[Footnote 52: See, further, Appendix C, pp. 366-7.]

[Footnote 53: [Greek: hena genesthai ton anthrôpon dei]: Pythagoras
quoted by Clement. Cf. Plotinus, _Enn._ vi. 9. I, [Greek: kai hugieia
de, hotan eis hen syntachthê to sôma, kai kallos hotan hê tou henos ta
moria kataschê physis, kai aretê de psychês hotan eis hen kai eis mian
homologian henôthê].]

[Footnote 54: Proclus, _in Tim._ 83. 265.]

[Footnote 55: Aug. _Ep._ 187. 19: "Deus totus adesse rebus omnibus
potest, _et singulis totus_, quamvis in quibus habitat habeant eum pro
suæ capacitatis diversitate, alii amplius, alii minus." More clearly
still, Bonaventura, _Itin. ment. ad Deum_, 5: "Totum intra omnia, et
totum extra: ac per hoc est sphæra intelligibilis, cuius centrum est
ubique, et circumferentia nusquam."]


[Greek: "To eu zên edidaxen epiphaneis ôs didaskalos, hina to aei
zên husteron ôs theos chorêgêsê."]


"But souls that of His own good life partake
He loves as His own self: dear as His eye
They are to Him; He'll never them forsake:
When they shall die, then God Himself shall die:
They live, they live in blest eternity."


"Amor Patris Filiique,
Par amborum, et utrique
Compar et consimilis:
Cuncta reples, cuncta foves,
Astra regis, coelum moves,
Permanens immobilis.

"Te docente nil obscurum,
Te præsente nil impurum;
Sub tua præsentia
Gloriatur mens iucunda;
Per te læta, per te munda
Gaudet conscientia.

"Consolator et fundator,
Habitator et amator
Cordium humilium;
Pelle mala, terge sordes,
Et discordes fac concordes,
Et affer præsidium."



"That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; to the end that ye,
being rooted and grounded in love, may be strong to apprehend with all
the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to
know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye may be filled
with all the fulness of God." - EPH. iii. 17-19.

The task which now lies before me is to consider how far that type of
religion and religious philosophy, which I tried in my last Lecture to
depict in outline, is represented in and sanctioned by Holy Scripture.
I shall devote most of my time to the New Testament, for we shall not
find very much to help us in the Old. The Jewish mind and character,
in spite of its deeply religious bent, was alien to Mysticism. In the
first place, the religion of Israel, passing from what has been called
Henotheism - the worship of a national God - to true Monotheism, always
maintained a rigid notion of individuality, both human and Divine.
Even prophecy, which is mystical in its essence, was in the early
period conceived as unmystically as possible, Balaam is merely a
mouthpiece of God; his message is external to his personality, which
remains antagonistic to it. And, secondly, the Jewish doctrine of
ideas was different from the Platonic. The Jew believed that the
world, and the whole course of history, existed from all eternity in
the mind of God, but as an unrealised purpose, which was actualised by
degrees as the scroll of events was unfurled. There was no notion that
the visible was in any way inferior to the invisible, or lacking in
reality. Even in its later phases, after it had been partially
Hellenised, Jewish idealism tended to crystallise as Chiliasm, or in
"Apocalypses," and not, like Platonism, in the dream of a perfect
world existing "yonder." In fact, the Jewish view of the external
world was mainly that of naïve realism, but strongly pervaded by
belief in an Almighty King and Judge. Moreover, the Jew had little
sense of the Divine _in_ nature: it was the power of God _over_ nature
which he was jealous to maintain. The majesty of the elemental forces
was extolled in order to magnify the greater power of Him who made and
could unmake them, and whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain. The
weakness and insignificance of man, as contrasted with the tremendous
power of God, is the reflection which the contemplation of nature
generally produced in his mind. "How can a man be just with God?" asks
Job; "which removeth the mountains, and they know it not; when He
overturneth them in His anger; which shaketh the earth out of her
place, and the pillars thereof tremble; which commandeth the sun, and
it riseth not, and sealeth up the stars.... He is not a man, as I am,
that I should answer Him, that we should come together in judgment.
There is no daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both."
Nor does the answer that came to Job out of the whirlwind give any
hint of a "daysman" betwixt man and God, but only enlarges on the
presumption of man's wishing to understand the counsels of the
Almighty. Absolute submission to a law which is entirely outside of us
and beyond our comprehension, is the final lesson of the book.[56] The
nation exhibited the merits and defects of this type. On the one hand,
it showed a deep sense of the supremacy of the moral law, and of
personal responsibility; a stubborn independence and faith in its
mission; and a strong national spirit, combined with vigorous
individuality; but with these virtues went a tendency to externalise
both religion and the ideal of well-being: the former became a matter
of forms and ceremonies; the latter, of worldly possessions. It was
only after the collapse of the national polity that these ideals
became transmuted and spiritualised. Those disasters, which at first
seemed to indicate a hopeless estrangement between God and His people,
were the means of a deeper reconciliation. We can trace the process,
from the old proverb that "to see God is death," down to that
remarkable passage in Jeremiah where the approaching advent, or rather
restoration, of spiritual religion, is announced with all the
solemnity due to so glorious a message. "Behold, the days come, saith
the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel,
and with the house of Judah.... After those days, saith the Lord, I
will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts;
and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall
teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother,
saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know Me, from the least of
them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord.[57]" That this
knowledge of God, and the assurance of blessedness which it brings, is
the reward of righteousness and purity, is the chief message of the
great prophets and psalmists. "Who among us shall dwell with the
devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He
that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth
the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of
bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his
eyes from seeing evil, he shall dwell on high; his place of defence
shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given unto him; his
waters shall be sure. Thine eyes shall see the King in His beauty;
they shall behold the land that is very far off.[58]"

This passage of Isaiah bears a very close resemblance to the 15th and
24th Psalms; and there are many other psalms which have been dear to
Christian mystics. In some of them we find the "_amoris
desiderium_" - the thirst of the soul for God - which is the
characteristic note of mystical devotion; in others, that longing for
a safe refuge from the provoking of all men and the strife of tongues,
which drove so many saints into the cloister. Many a solitary ascetic
has prayed in the words of the 73rd Psalm: "Whom have I in heaven but
Thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee. My flesh
and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my
portion for ever." And verses like, "I will hearken what the Lord God
will say concerning me," have been only too attractive to quietists.
Other familiar verses will occur to most of us. I will only add that
the warm faith and love which inspired these psalms is made more
precious by the reverence for _law_ which is part of the older
inheritance of the Israelites.

There are many, I fear, to whom "the mystical element in the Old
Testament" will suggest only the Cabbalistic lore of types and
allegories which has been applied to all the canonical books, and with
especial persistency and boldness to the Song of Solomon. I shall give
my opinion upon this class of allegorism in the seventh Lecture of
this course, which will deal with symbolism as a branch of Mysticism.
It would be impossible to treat of it here without anticipating my
discussion of a principle which has a much wider bearing than as a
method of biblical exegesis. As to the Song of Solomon, its influence
upon Christian Mysticism has been simply deplorable. A graceful
romance in honour of true love was distorted into a precedent and
sanction for giving way to hysterical emotions, in which sexual
imagery was freely used to symbolise the relation between the soul and
its Lord. Such aberrations are as alien to sane Mysticism as they are
to sane exegesis.[59]

In Jewish writings of a later period, composed under Greek influence,
we find plenty of Platonism ready to pass into Mysticism. But the
Wisdom of Solomon does not fall within our subject, and what is
necessary to be said about Philo and Alexandria will be said in the
next Lecture. In the New Testament, it will be convenient to say a
very few words on the Synoptic Gospels first, and afterwards to
consider St. John and St. Paul, where we shall find most of our

The first three Gospels are not written in the religious dialect of
Mysticism. It is all the more important to notice that the fundamental
doctrines on which the system (if we may call it a system) rests, are
all found in them. The vision of God is promised in the Sermon on the
Mount, and promised only to those who are pure in heart. The
indwelling presence of Christ, or of the Holy Spirit, is taught in
several places; for instance - "The kingdom of God is within you";
"Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in
the midst of them"; "Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the
world." The unity of Christ and His members is implied by the words,
"Inasmuch as ye have done it to one of the least of these My brethren,
ye have done it unto Me." Lastly, the great law of the moral
world, - the law of gain through loss, of life through death, - which is
the corner-stone of mystical (and, many have said, of Christian)
ethics, is found in the Synoptists as well as in St. John. "Whosoever
shall seek to gain his life (or soul) shall lose it; but whosoever
shall lose his life (or soul) shall preserve it."

The Gospel of St. John - the "spiritual Gospel," as Clement already
calls it - is the charter of Christian Mysticism. Indeed, Christian
Mysticism, as I understand it, might almost be called Johannine
Christianity; if it were not better to say that a Johannine
Christianity is the ideal which the Christian mystic sets before
himself. For we cannot but feel that there are deeper truths in this
wonderful Gospel than have yet become part of the religious
consciousness of mankind. Perhaps, as Origen says, no one can fully
understand it who has not, like its author, lain upon the breast of
Jesus. We are on holy ground when we are dealing with St. John's
Gospel, and must step in fear and reverence. But though the breadth
and depth and height of those sublime discourses are for those only
who can mount up with wings as eagles to the summits of the spiritual
life, so simple is the language and so large its scope, that even the
wayfaring men, though fools, can hardly altogether err therein.

Let us consider briefly, first, what we learn from this Gospel about
the nature of God, and then its teaching upon human salvation.

There are three notable expressions about God the Father in the Gospel
and First Epistle of St. John: "God is Love"; "God is Light"; and "God
is Spirit." The form of the sentences teaches us that these three
qualities belong so intimately to the nature of God that they usher us
into His immediate presence. We need not try to get behind them, or to
rise above them into some more nebulous region in our search for the
Absolute. Love, Light, and Spirit are for us names of God Himself. And
observe that St. John does not, in applying these semi-abstract words
to God, attenuate in the slightest degree His personality. God _is_
Love, but He also exercises love. "God so loved the world." And He is
not only the "white radiance" that "for ever shines"; He can "draw" us
to Himself, and "send" His Son to bring us back to Him.

The word "Logos" does not occur in any of the discourses. The
identification of Christ with the "Word" or "Reason" of the
philosophers is St. John's own. But the statements in the prologue are
all confirmed by our Lord's own words as reported by the evangelist.
These fall under two heads, those which deal with the relation of
Christ to the Father, and those which deal with His relation to the
world. The pre-existence of Christ in glory at the right hand of God
is proved by several declarations: "What if ye shall see the Son of
Man ascending where He was before?" "And now, O Father, glorify Me
with Thine own self, with the glory which I had with Thee before the
world was." His exaltation above time is shown by the solemn
statement, "Before Abraham was, I am." And with regard to the world,
we find in St. John the very important doctrine, which has never made
its way into popular theology, that the Word is not merely the
Instrument in the original creation, - "by (or through) Him all things
were made," - but the central Life, the Being in whom life existed and
exists as an indestructible attribute, an underived prerogative,[60]
the Mind or Wisdom who upholds and animates the universe without being
lost in it. This doctrine, which is implied in other parts of St.
John, seems to be stated explicitly in the prologue, though the words
have been otherwise interpreted. "That which has come into existence,"
says St. John, "was in Him life" ([Greek: ho gegonen, en autô zôê
ên.]) That is to say, the Word is the timeless Life, of which the
temporal world is a manifestation. This doctrine was taught by many of
the Greek Fathers, as well as by Scotus Erigena and other speculative
mystics. Even if, with the school of Antioch and most of the later
commentators, we transfer the words [Greek: ho gegonen] to the
preceding sentence, the doctrine that Christ is the life as well as
the light of the world can be proved from St. John.[61] The world is
the poem of the Word to the glory of the Father: in it, and by means
of it, He displays in time all the riches which God has eternally put
within Him.

In St. John, as in mystical theology generally, the Incarnation,
rather than the Cross, is the central fact of Christianity. "The Word
was made flesh, and tabernacled among us," is for him the supreme
dogma. And it follows necessarily from the Logos doctrine, that the
Incarnation, and all that followed it, is regarded primarily as a
_revelation_ of life and light and truth. "That eternal life, which
was with the Father, has been _manifested_ unto us," is part of the
opening sentence of the first Epistle.[62] "This is the message which
we have heard of Him and announce unto you, that God is Light, and in
Him is no darkness at all." In coming into the world, Christ "came
unto His own." He had, in a sense, only to show to them what was there
already: Esaias, long before, had "seen His glory, and spoken of Him."
The mysterious estrangement, which had laid the world under the
dominion of the Prince of darkness, had obscured but not quenched the
light which lighteth _every_ man - the inalienable prerogative of all
who derive their being from the Sun of Righteousness. This central
Light is Christ, and Christ only. He alone is the Way, the Truth, the
Life, the Door, the Living Bread, and the True Vine. He is at once the
Revealer and the Revealed, the Guide and the Way, the Enlightener and
the Light. No man cometh unto the Father but by Him.

The teaching of this Gospel on the office of the Holy Spirit claims
special attention in our present inquiry. The revelation of God in
Christ was complete: there can be no question that St. John claims for
Christianity the position of the one eternally true revelation. But
without the gradual illumination of the Spirit it is partly
unintelligible and partly unobserved.[63] The purpose of the
Incarnation was to reveal God _the Father_: "He that hath seen Me hath
seen the Father." In these momentous words (it has been said) "the
idea of God receives an abiding embodiment, and the Father is brought
for ever within the reach of intelligent devotion.[64]" The purpose of
the mission of the Comforter is to reveal _the Son_. He takes the
place of the ascended Christ on earth as a living and active principle
in the hearts of Christians. His office it is to bring to remembrance
the teachings of Christ, and to help mankind gradually to understand
them. There were also many things, our Lord said, which could not be
said at the time to His disciples, who were unable to bear them. These
were left to be communicated to future generations by the Holy Spirit.
The doctrine of development had never before received so clear an
expression; and few could venture to record it so clearly as St. John,
who could not be suspected of contemplating a time when the teachings
of the human Christ might be superseded.

Let us now turn to the human side of salvation, and trace the upward
path of the Christian life as presented to us in this Gospel. First,
then, we have the doctrine of the new birth: "Except a man be born
anew (or, from above), he cannot see the kingdom of God." This is
further explained as a being born "of water and of the Spirit" - words
which are probably meant to remind us of the birth of the world-order
out of chaos as described in Genesis, and also to suggest the two
ideas of purification and life. (Baptism, as a symbol of purification,
was, of course, already familiar to those who first heard the words.)
Then we have a doctrine of _faith_ which is deeper than that of the
Synoptists. The very expression [Greek: pisteuein eis], "to believe
_on_," common in St. John and rare elsewhere, shows that the word is
taking a new meaning. Faith, in St. John, is no longer regarded
chiefly as a condition of supernatural favours; or, rather, the
mountains which it can remove are no material obstructions. It is an
act of the whole personality, a self-dedication to Christ. It must
precede knowledge: "If any man willeth to do His will, he shall know
of the teaching," is the promise. It is the "_credo ut intelligam_" of
later theology. The objection has been raised that St. John's teaching
about faith moves in a vicious circle. His appeal is to the inward
witness; and those who cannot hear this inward witness are informed
that they must first believe, which is just what they can find no
reason for doing. But this criticism misses altogether the drift of
St. John's teaching. Faith, for him, is not the acceptance of a
proposition upon evidence; still less is it the acceptance of a
proposition in the teeth of evidence. It is, in the first instance,
the resolution "to stand or fall by the noblest hypothesis"; that is
(may we not say?), to follow Christ wherever He may lead us. Faith
begins with an experiment, and ends with an experience.[65] "He that
believeth in Him hath the witness in himself"; that is the
verification which follows the venture. That even the power to make

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