Christian Mysticism eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 407 pages of information about Christian Mysticism.

Alternations of mirth and sadness followed each other many times, “to learn me that it is speedful to some souls to feel on this wise.”  Once especially she was left to herself, “in heaviness and weariness of my life, and irksomeness of myself, that scarcely I could have pleasure to live....  For profit of a man’s soul he is sometimes left to himself; although sin is not always the cause; for in that time I sinned not, wherefore I should be so left to myself; for it was so sudden.  Also, I deserved not to have this blessed feeling.  But freely our Lord giveth when He will, and suffereth us to be in woe sometime.  And both is one love.”

Her treatment of the problem of evil is very characteristic.  “In my folly, often I wondered why the beginning of sin was not letted; but Jesus, in this vision, answered and said, ’Sin is behovable,[283] but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.’  In this naked word sin our Lord brought to my mind generally all that is not good....  But I saw not sin; for I believe it had no manner of substance, nor any part of being, nor might it be known but by the pain that is caused thereof; and this pain ... purgeth and maketh us to know ourself, and ask mercy.  In these same words (’all shall be well’) I saw an high and marvellous privity hid in God.”  She wondered how “all shall be well,” when Holy Church teacheth us to believe that many shall be lost.  But “I had no other answer but this, ’I shall save my word in all things, and I shall make all thing well.’” “This is the great deed that our Lord God shall do; but what the deed shall be, and how it shall be done, there is no creature beneath Christ that knoweth it, ne shall wit it till it is done.”

“I saw no wrath but on man’s party,” she says, “and that forgiveth He in us.  It is the most impossible that may be, that God should be wroth....  Our life is all grounded and rooted in love....  Suddenly is the soul oned to God, when it is truly peaced in itself; for in Him is found no wrath.  And thus I saw, when we be all in peace and love, we find no contrariousness, nor no manner of letting, through that contrariousness which is now in us; nay, our Lord God of His goodness maketh it to us full profitable.”  No visions of hell were ever showed to her.  In place of the hideous details of torture which some of the Romish visionaries describe almost with relish, Juliana merely reports, “To me was showed none harder hell than sin.”

Again and again she rings the changes on the words which the Lord said to her, “I love thee and thou lovest Me, and our love shall never be disparted in two.”  “The love wherein He made us was in Him from without beginning; in which love,” she concludes, “we have our beginning, and all this shall be seen in God without end.”


[Footnote 257:  The indebtedness of the fourteenth century mystics to Eckhart is now generally recognised, at any rate in Germany; but before Pfeiffer’s work his name had been allowed to fall into most undeserved obscurity.  This was not the fault of his scholars, who, in spite of the Papal condemnation of his writings, speak of Eckhart with the utmost reverence, as the “great,” “sublime,” or “holy” master.]

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Christian Mysticism from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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