Christian Mysticism eBook

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

[Footnote 308:  This “mystic paradox” has been mentioned already.  It is developed at length in the Meditations of Diego de Stella.  Fenelon says that it is found in Cassian, Gregory of Nazianzus, Augustine, Anselm, “and a great number of saints.”  It is an unfortunate attempt to improve upon Job’s fine saying, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him,” or the line in Homer which has been often quoted—­[Greek:  en de phaei kai olesson, epei ny toi euaden outos.] But unless we form a very unworthy idea of heaven and hell, the proposition is not so much extravagant as self-contradictory.]

[Footnote 309:  The doctrine here condemned is Manichean, says Fenelon rightly.]

[Footnote 310:  St. Bernard (De diligendo Deo, x. 28) gives a careful statement of the deification-doctrine as he understands it:  “Quomodo omnia in omnibus erit Deus, si in homine de homine quicquam supererit? Manebit substantia sed in alia forma.” See Appendix C.]

[Footnote 311:  The Archbishop of Paris, the Bishop of Meaux (Bossuet), and the Bishop of Chartres.]

[Footnote 312:  If two beings are separate, they cannot influence each other inwardly.  If they are not distinct, there can be no relations between them.  Man is at once organ and organism, and this is why love between man and God is possible.  The importance of maintaining that action between man and God must be reciprocal, is well shown by Lilienfeld, Gedanken ueber die Socialwissenschaft der Zukunft, vol. v. p. 472 sq.]

[Footnote 313:  “Thought was not,” says Wordsworth of one in a state of rapture; and again, “All his thoughts were steeped in feeling.”]

[Footnote 314:  E.g., he writes to Madame Guyon, “Je n’ai jamais hesite un seul moment sur les etats de Sainte Therese, parceque je n’y ai rien trouve, que je ne trouvasse aussi dans l’ecriture.”  It is doubtful whether Bossuet had really read much of St. Teresa.  Fenelon says much more cautiously, “Quelque respect et quelque admiration que j’aie pour Sainte Therese, je n’aurais jamais voulu donner au public tout ce qu’elle a ecrit.”]

[Footnote 315:  Of course there is a sense in which this is true; but I am speaking of the way in which it was understood by mediaeval Catholicism.]


[Greek:  En pasi tois physikois enesti ti thaumaston; kathaper Herakleitos legetai eipein; einai kai entautha theous.]

ARISTOTLE, de Partibus Animalium, i. 5.

                          “What if earth
    Be but the shadow of heaven, and things therein
    Each to other like, more than on earth is thought?”


“God is not dumb, that He should speak no more. 
If thou hast wanderings in the wilderness,
And find’st not Sinai, ’tis thy soul is poor;
There towers the mountain of the voice no less,
Which whoso seeks shall find; but he who bends,
Intent on manna still and mortal ends,
Sees it not, neither hears its thundered lore.”

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Christian Mysticism from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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