Christian Mysticism eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 330 pages of information about Christian Mysticism.

LECTURE IV

[Greek:  “Edizesamen emeouton.”]

HERACLITUS.

“La philosophie n’est pas philosophie si elle ne touche a l’abime; mais elle cesse d’etre philosophie si elle y tombe.”

COUSIN.

   “Denn Alles muss in Nichts zerfallen,
    Wenn es im Sein beharren will.”

GOETHE.

   “Seek no more abroad, say I,
    House and Home, but turn thine eye
    Inward, and observe thy breast;
    There alone dwells solid Rest. 
    Say not that this House is small,
    Girt up in a narrow wall: 
    In a cleanly sober mind
    Heaven itself full room doth find. 
    Here content make thine abode
    With thyself and with thy God. 
    Here in this sweet privacy
    May’st thou with thyself agree,
    And keep House in peace, tho’ all
    Th’ Universe’s fabric fall.”

JOSEPH BEAUMONT.

   “The One remains, the many change and pass: 
      Heaven’s light for ever shines; earth’s shadows fly: 
    Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass,
      Stains the white radiance of Eternity.”

SHELLEY.

CHRISTIAN PLATONISM AND SPECULATIVE MYSTICISM

2.  IN THE WEST

“Know ye not that ye are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”—­1 COR. iii. 16.

We have seen that Mysticism, like most other types of religion, had its cradle in the East.  The Christian Platonists, whom we considered in the last Lecture, wrote in Greek, and we had no occasion to mention the Western Churches.  But after the Pseudo-Dionysius, the East had little more to contribute to Christian thought.  John of Damascus, in the eighth century, half mystic and half scholastic, need not detain us.  The Eastern Churches rapidly sank into a deplorably barbarous condition, from which they have never emerged.  We may therefore turn away from the Greek-speaking countries, and trace the course of Mysticism in the Latin and Teutonic races.

Scientific Mysticism in the West did not all pass through Dionysius.  Victorinus, a Neoplatonic philosopher, was converted to Christianity in his old age, about 360 A.D.  The story of his conversion, and the joy which it caused in the Christian community, is told by St. Augustine[188].  He was a deep thinker of the speculative mystical type, but a clumsy and obscure writer, in spite of his rhetorical training.  His importance lies in his position as the first Christian Neoplatonist who wrote in Latin.

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Christian Mysticism from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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