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THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT 
OF RELIGION 



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THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT 
OF RELIGION AS STUDIED 
IN SAINT CATHERINE OF 
GENOA AND HER FRIENDS 


By BARON FRIEDRICH VON HÜGEL 


MEMBER OF THE CAMBRIDGE PHILOLOGICAL SOCUTY 
HON. LL.D. (ST. ANDREWS), HON. D.D. (OXFORD) 


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1 


VOLUME SECOND 
CRITICAL STUDIES 


LONDON: J. M. DENT & SONS 
NEW YORK: E. P. DUTTON & CO. 


MCMXXVII 



First Edition. December 19 0 8 
Reprinted March 1909 
Second Edition 1923 
Repritited 1927 


PrInted in Great Britain 



CONTENTS OF THE SECOND VOLUME 


THE frontispiece consists of a reduced facsimile, in photogravure. of 
a lithograph by F. Scotto, entitled liVen. Batt&. Vernazza," which was 
printed and owned by the firm of Gervasoni, and which appeared in the 
large 4to volume, Ritratti, ed Elogi di Liguri Illustri, with the text printed 
by Ponthenier, all in Genoa. This book was published there. in monthly 
parts, from 1823 to 1830. Scotto's highly characteristic lithograph no 
doubt reproduces an authentic likeness; and probably the original portrait 
was, in the first instance, owned by the Canonesses of S. Maria delle 
Grazie, Battista.s own convent in Genoa. The picture now in the posses- 
sion of the Nuns of S. Maria in Passione. the successors of those Canonesses. 
is of a quite conventional, secondary type. 


P ART IlL-CRITICAL 


PAGB 


CHAPTER IX.-PSYCHO-PHYSICAL AND TEMPERAMENTAL 
QUESTIONS 
Introductory 
I. Catherine's Third Period, 1497-1510 
II. Conclusions concerning Catherine's Psycho-Physical Con- 
dition during this Last Period . 
III. Catherine's Psycho-physical Condition, its Likeness and 
Unlikeness to Hysteria 
IV. First Period of Catherine's Life, 1447-1477. in its Three 
Stages . 
V. The Second, Great Middle Period of Catherine's Life. 
1477- 1 499 
VI. Three Rules which seem to Govern the Relations be- 
tween Psycho-physical Peculiarities and Sanctity in 
General. 
VII. Perennial Freshness of the Great Mystics' Main Spiritual 
Test, in Contradistinction to their Secondary. Psycho- 
logical Contention. Two Special Difficulties 
CHAPTER X.-THE MAIN LITERARY SOURCES OF CATHE- 
RINE'S CONCEPTIONS 
Introd uctory 
I. The Pauline Writings: the Two Sources of their Pre- 
conversion Assumptions; Catherine's Preponderant 
Attitude towards each Position 
II. The J ohannine Writings 
III. The Areopagite Writings 
IV. Jacopone da Todi's .. Lode" 
V. Points common to all Five Minds; and Catherine's Main 
Difference from her Four Predecessors 
V 


3- 61 
3-9 
9- 1 3 


14- 21 


22-27 


28-3
 


3 2 -4 0 


40-47 


47- 61 


62-110 
62.63 


63-79 
79-9 0 
90-101 
102-110 


110 



VI 


CONTENTS 


CHAPTER XI.--CATHERINE'S LESS ULTIMATE THIS-WORLD 
DOCTRINES 
Introductory 
I. Interpretative Religion 
II. Dualistic Attitude towards the Body 
III. Quietude and Passivity. Points in this Tendency to be 
considered here 
IV. Pure Love. or Disinterested Religion: its Distinction 
from Quietism 
CHAPTER XII.-THE AFTER-LIFE PROBLEMS AND DOCTRINES. 
I. The Chief Present-day Problems, Perplexities, and Re- 
quirements with Regard to the After-Life in General . 
II. Catherine's General After-Life Conceptions 
III. Catherine and Eternal Punishment 
IV. Catherine and Purgatory 
V. Catherine and Heaven-Three Perplexities to be con- 
sidered . 
- CHAPTER XIII.-THE FIRST THREE ULTIMATE QUESTIONS 
I. The Relations between Morality and Mysticism, Philo- 
sophy and Religion 
II. Mysticism and tbe Limits of Human Knowledge and 
Experience 
III. Mysticism and the Question of Evil 
CHAPTER XIV.-THE Two FINAL PROBLEMS: MYSTICISM 
AND PANTHEISM. THE IMMANENCE OF GOD. AND 
SPIRITUAL PERSONALITY, HUMAN AND DIVINE. 
Introductory 
I. Relations between the General and the Particular. God 
and Individual Things, according to Aristotle. the Neo- 
Platonists, and the Medieval Strict Realists 
II. Relations between God and the Human Soul 
III. Mysticism and Pantheism: their Differences and Points 
of Likeness 
IV. The Divine Immanence; Spiritual Personality 
CHAPTER XV.-SUMMING-UP OF THE WHOLE BOOK. BACK 
Or THROUGH ASCETICISM, SOCIAL RELIGION. AND THE 
SCIENTIFIC HABIT OF MIND. TO THE MYSTICAL ELE- 
MENT OF RELIGION 
I. Asceticism and Mysticism 
II. Social Religion and Mysticism 
III. The Scientific Habit and Mysticism 
IV. Final Summary and Return to the Starting-point of the 
\\Thole Inquiry: the Necessity. and yet the Almost 
Inevitable Mutual Hostility, of the Three Great Forces 
of the Soul and of the Three Corresponding Elements 
of Religion 
INDEX 


PAGE 


111-18I 
111,112 
112-121 
121-1 2 9 


12 9- 1 5 2 


15 2 - 181 
182- 2 5 8 


182-199 
199-218 
218- 2 3 0 
230- 2 4 6 


246- 2 5 8 
259-3 08 


259- 2 75 


275- 2 9 0 
29 0 -3 08 


3 0 9-34 0 
3 0 9,3 10 


3 1 0-3 1 9 
3 1 9-3 2 5 


3 2 5-335 
336-34 0 


34 1 -39 6 
34 1 -35 1 
35 1 -3 66 
3 6 7-3 86 


3 8 7-39 6 
397-4 22 



PART III 
CRITICAL 


VOL. II. 


Ð 



THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT 
OF RELIGION 


GRAPTER IX 


PSYCHO-PHYSICAL AND TEMPERAMENTAL QUESTIONS 
INTRODUCTORY. 
I. Plan of Part Three. 
The picture of Catherine's life and teaching which was 
attempted in the previous volume will, I hope, have been 
sufficiently vivid to stimulate in the reader a desire to try and 
go deeper, and to get as near as may be to the driving forces, 
the metaphysical depths of her life. And yet it is obvious 
that, if we would understand something of these, we must pro- 
ceed slo\vlyand thoroughly, and must begin \vith comparatively 
superficial questions. Or rather, we must begin by studying 
her temperamental and psycho-physical endowment and con- 
dition, and then the literary influences that stimulated and 
helped to mould these things, as though all this were not 
secondary and but the material and occasion of the forces and 
self-determinations to be considered later on. 
2. Defects of ancient psycho-Physical theory. 
Now as to those temperamental and neural matters, to 
\vhich this chapter shall be devoted, the reader \vill, no doubt 
long ago, have discovered that it is precisely here that not a 
little of the VÜa e Dottrina is faded and \vithered beyond 
recall, or has even become positively repulsive to us. The 
constant assumption, and frequent explicit insistence, on the 
part of more or less all the contributors, upon the immediate 
and separate significance, indeed the directly miraculous 
character, of certain psycho-physical states-states which, 
taken thus separately, would now be inevitably classed as 
most explicable neural abnormalities,-all this atmosphere of 
nervous high-pitch and tremulousness has now become a 
3 



4 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


matter demanding a difficult historical imagination and 
magnanimity, if we would be just to those who held such 
views, and would thus benefit to the full from these past 
positions and misconceptions. 
Thus when we read the views of perhaps all her educated 
attendants: "this condition, in which her body remained 
alive without food or medicine, was a supernatural thing." ; 
" her state was clearly understood to be supernatural when, 
in so short a time, so great a change was seen"; and" she 
became yellow all over,-a manifest sign that her humanity 
was being entirely consumed in the fire of divine love" : 1 
we feel indeed that we can no more foHow. And when we 
read, as part of one of the late additions, the worthless legends 
gathered from, or occasioned by, the uneducated Argentina: 
" in proof that she bore the stigmata within her,-on putting 
her hands in a cup of cold water, the latter became so boiling 
hot that it greatly heated the very saucer beneath it " : 2 we 
are necessarily disgusted. And when, worst of all, she is 
made, by a demonstrable, probable double misinterpretation 
of an externally similar action, to burn her bare arm with a 
live charcoal or lighted candle, with intent to see which fire, 
this external one or that interior one of the divine love, were 
the greater: 3 we can, even if we have the good fortune of 
being able, by means of the critical analysis of the sources, to 
put this absurd story to the discredit of her eulogists, but feel 
the pathos of such well-meant perversity, which took so sure a 
way for rendering ridiculous one who, take her all in all, is so 
truly great. 4 
3. Slow growth of Neurology. 
We should, of course, be very patient in such matters: for 
psycho-physical knowledge was, as yet, in its very infancy, 
witness the all-important fact that the nerves were, in our 
modern sense of the term, still as unknown as they were to 
the whole of Græco-Roman antiquity, with which" neuron II 
and "nervus" ever meant ccmuscle" or" ligament" and, deriva- 
1 Vita, pp. 143b; 149 b . 159 b ; 153 a . a Ibid. p. I53 C . 
8 Ibid. pp. I29C. 134 a . 
t I have already traced the steps in the growth of this legend. It is no 
doubt this element in the biography which irritated John Wesley, the 
man of absolute judgments; although he himself. with shrewd good 
sense. indicates its possible secondary origin. "I am sure this was a 
fool of a Saint; that is, if it was not the folly of her historian, who has 
aggrandized her into a mere idiot" (Journal, ed. P. L. Parker, London. 
19 0 3). 



PSYCHO-PHYSICAL AND TEMPERA
IENTAL 5 


tively, U energy," but never consciously what they now mean 
in the strict medical sense. Thus the Vita (1551) writes: 
lC There remained no member or muscle (nervo) of her body 
that was not tormented by fire within it "; lC one rib was 
separated from the others, with great pains in the ligaments 
(nervi) and bones"; and lC all her body was excruciated and 
her muscles (nervi) were tormented" : 1 where, in the first and 
last case, visible muscular convulsive movements are clearly 
meant. St. Teresa, in her own Life (1561 or 1562), writes: 
lC Nervous pains, according to the physicians, are intolerable; 
and all my nerves were shrunk"; and lC if the rapture lasts, 
all the nerves are made to feel it." 2 Even Fénelon (died 1715) 
can still write of the human body: U The bones sustain the 
flesh which envelops them; the nerves" (ligaments, minor 
muscles) U which are stretched along them, constitute all their 
strength; and the muscles, by inflation and elongation at the 
points where the nerves are intertwined with them, produce 
the most precise and regular movements." 3 Here the soul 
acts directly upon the muscles, and, through these and their 
dependent ligaments, upon the bones and the flesh. 
4. Permanent values of the ancient theory. 
And yet that old position with regard to the rarer psycho- 
physical states has a right to our respectful and sympathetic 
study. 
For one thing, we are now coming again to recognize, more 
and more, how real and remarkable are certain psycho- 
physical states and facts, whether simply morbid or fruitfully 
utilized states, so long derided, by the bulk of Scientists, as 
mere childish legend or deliberate imposture; and to see how 
natural, indeed inevitable it was, that these, at that time quite 
inexplicable, things should have been attributed to a direct 
and discontinuous kind of Divine intervention. We, on our 
part, have then to guard against the Philistinism both of the 
Rationalists and of the older Supernaturalists, and will neither 
measure our assent to facts by our ability to explain them, 
nor postulate the unmediated action of God wherever our 
powers of explanation fail us. On this point we have admir- 
able models of sympathetic docility towards facts, in the 
\vorks of Prof. Pierre Janet, in his medico-psychological 
1 Vita, pp. 127c, I43b, I44 b . 
z L
ïe, tr. by D. Lewis, London. ed. 1888. pp. 27, 420. 
3 Existence de Dieu. I. I. 31: æuvres. ed. Versailles. 1820. Vol. I. 
p. 51. 



6 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


investigations of present-day morbid cases; of Hermann 
Gunkel and Heinrich Weinel, in their examination of mostly 
healthy psycho-physical phenomena in early Christian times 
and writings; and of William James, in his study of instances 
of various kinds, both past and present.! 
And next, these (at first sight physical) phenomena are 
turning out, more and more, to be the direct or indirect conse- 
quence of the action of mind: no doubt, in the first instance, 
of the human mind, but still of mind, both free-willing and 
automatically operative. And at the same time this action 
is, more and more, seen to be limited and variously occasioned 
by the physical organism, and to be accompanied or followed, 
in a determinist fashion, by certain changes in that organism. 
Yet if we have now immeasurably more knowledge than men 
had, even fifty years ago, of this latter ceaselessly active, 
limiting, occasioning influence of the body upon the mind, we 
have also immeasurably more precise and numerous facts 
and knowledge in testimony of the all but boundless effect of 
mind over body. Here, again, Prof. Janet's writings, those 
of Alfred Binet, and the Dominican Père Coconnier's very 
sensible book register a mass of material, although of the 
morbid type. 2 
And further, such remarkable peripheral states and 
phenomena are getting again to be rightly looked for in at 
least some types of unusual spiritual insight and power 
(although such states are found to be indicative, in exact 
proportion to the spiritual greatness of their subject, of a 
substantially different mental and moral condition of soul). 
\Vitness again the Unitarian Prof. James's Varieties, and the 
Church-Historical works of the Broad Lutheran German 
scholars Weinel, Bemouilli, and Duhm. 3 
And lastly, the very closeness with which modern experi- 
men tal and analytical psychology is exploring the phenomena 


1 Pierre Janet. Automatisme Psychologique. ed. 1903; Etat Mental 
des Hystériques, 2 vols., 1892, 1893. Hermann Gunkel, Die W'irkungen 
des hâligen Geistes. Göttingen. 1899. Heinrich Weinel. Die TVirkungen 
des Geistes und der Geister. Freiburg, 1899. William James, The VarÙties 
of Religious Experience. London, 1902. 
Z Pierre Janet. Ope cit. Alfred Binet. Les Altérations de la Personnalité. 
Paris, 1902. M. Th. Coconnier, L'Hypnotisme Franc. Paris, 1897. 
a W. James. op. cit., especially pp. 1-25. H. Weinel, Ope cit., especially 
pp. 128-137; 161-208. Bernouilli, Die Hez"ligen der Merowinger. 
Tübingen, 1900. pp. 2-6. B. Duhm, Das Geheimniss in der Religion, 
Tübingen. 1896. 



PSYCHO-PHYSICAL AND TEMPERAMENTAL 7 


of our consciousness is once more bringing into ever-clearer 
relief the irrepressible metaphysical apprehensions and 
affirmations involved and implied by the experience of every 
human mind, from its first dim apprehension in infancy of 
a " something," as yet undifferentiated by it into subjective 
and objective, up to its mature and reflective affirmation of 
the trans-subjective validity of its U positions," or at least of 
its negations-pure scepticism turning out to be practically 
impossible. Here we have, with respect to that apprehension, 
such admirable workers as Henri Bergson in France, and 
Professors Henry Jones and James Ward in England; and, 
for this affirmation, such striking thinkers as the French 
Maurice Blondel, and the Germans Johannes Volkelt and 
Hugo Münsterberg. And Mgr. Mercier of Louvain, now 
Cardinal Mercier, has contributed some valuable criticism of 
certain points in these positions.! 
S. Difficulties of this inquiry. 
Now here I am met at once by two special difficulties, the 
one personal to myself and to Catherine, and the other one of 
method. For, with regard to those three first sets of recent 
explorations of a psycho-physical kind, I am no physician at 
all, and not primarily a psychologist. And again, in Cathe- 
rine's instance, the evidence as to her psycho-physical states is 
not, as with St. Teresa and some few other cases, furnished 
by writings from the pen of the very person who experienced 
them, and it is at all copious and precise only for the period 
when she was admittedly ill and physically incapacitated.- 
And yet these last thirteen years of her life occupy a most 
prominent place in her biography; it is during, and on 
occasion of, those psycho-physical states, and largely with 
the materials furnished by them, that, precisely in those 
years, she built up her noblest legacy, her great Purgatorial 
teaching; the illness was (quite evidently) of a predominantly 
psychical type, and concerns more the psychologist than 
the physician, being closely connected with her particular 
temperament and type of spirituality, a temperament and 
type to be found again and again among the Saints. All this 


1 H. Bergson. Essai sur les Données Immédiates de la Conscience. ed. 
18 9 8 . H. Jones, Tlze PhilosoPhy of Lotze, 1895. J. Ward. Naturalism 
and Agnosticism. 2 voJs., 1899. M. Blondel, l' Action, 1893. J. Volkelt. 
Kant's Erkenntnisstheon.e. 1879; Erfahrung und Denken, 1886. H. 
Münsterberg, Psychology and Life. 1899. D. :Mercier. Critérz.ologie 
Générale. ed. 1900. 



8 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


and more makes it simply impossible for me to shrink from 
some study of the matter, and permits me to hope for some 
success in attempting, slowly and cautiously, to arrive at 
certain general conclusions of a spiritually important kind. 
But then there is also the difficulty of method. For if we 
begin the study of these psycho-physical peculiarities and 
states by judging them from the temperamental and psycho- 
logical standpoint, we can hardly escape from treating them, 
at least for the moment, as self-explanatory, and hence from 
using these our preliminary conclusions about such neural 
phenonema as the measure, type, and explanation of and for 
all such other facts and apprehensions as our further study of 
the religious mind and experience may bring before us. In 
this wise, these our psychological conclusions would fUlTIish 
not only a negative test and positive material, but also the 
exclusive standard for all further study. And such a pro- 
cedure, until and unless it were justified in its method, would 
evidently be nothing but a surreptitious begging of the 
question.- Y et to begin with the fullest analysis of the 
elementary and nonnal phenomena of consciousness and of 
its implications and inviolable prerequisites, would too readily 
land us in metaphysics which have themselves to operate in 
and with those immediate and continuous experiences; and 
hence these latter experiences, whether normal and healthy, 
or, as here, unusual and in part maladif, must be carefully 
studied first. We have, however, to guard most cautiously 
against our allowing this, our preliminary, analysis and descrip- 
tion of psycho-physical states from imperceptibly blocking 
the way to, or occupying the ground of, our ultimate analysis 
and metaphysical synthesis and explanation. Only this 
latter will be able, by a final outward movement from within, 
to show the true place and worth of the more or less pheno- 
menal series, passed by us in review on our previous inward 
movement from without. 
6. Threefold division. 
I propose, then, in this chapter, to take, as separately as is 
compatible with such a method, the temperamental, psycho- 
physical side of Catherine's life. I shall first take those last 
thirteen years of admitted illness, as those \vhich are alone at 
all fully known to us by contemporary evidence.-I shall then 
make a jump back to her first period,-to the first sixteen 
years up to her marriage, with the next ten years of relaxa- 
tion/ and the following four years of her conversion and 



PSYCHO-PHYSICAL AND TEMPERAMENTAL 9 


active penitence. I take these next, because, of these thirty 
years, we have her own late memories, as registered for us 
by her disciples, at the time of her narration of the facts 
concerned.-And only then, with these materials and instru- 
ments thus gathered from after and before, shall I try to 
master the (for us very obscure) middle period, and to arrive 
at some estimate of her temperamental peripheral condition 
during these twenty years of her fullest expansion.- I shall 
conclude the chapter by taking Catherine in her general, life- 
long temperament, and by comparing and contrasting this 
type and modality of spiritual character and apprehension 
with the other rival forms of, and approaches to, religious 
truth and goodness as these are furnished for us by history. 
The ultimate metaphysical questions and valuation are 
reserved for the penultimate chapter of my book. 


I. GATHERINE'S THIRD PERIOD, 1497 TO 1510. 
I. Increasing illness of Catherine's last years. 
Beginning with her third and last period (1497-1510), there 
can be no doubt that throughout it she was ill and increasingly 
so. Her closest friends and observers attest it. It is pre- 
sumably Ettore Vernazza who teJIs us, for 1497, (( when she 
was about fifty years of age, she ceased to be able to attend 
either to the Hospital or to her own house, owing to her great 
bodily weakness. Even on Fast-days she was obliged, after 
Holy Communion, to take some food to sustain her strength." 
Probably Marabotto it is who tells us that, in 1499, H after 
twenty-five years she could no further bear her spiritual 
loneliness, either because of old age or because of her great 
bodily weakness." We hear from a later Redactor that, 
H about nine years before her death (i. e. about 1501), there 
came to her an infirmity." And then, especially from November 
15 0 9, May 1510, and August 1510 onwards, she is declared 
and described as more and more ill.! Indeed she herself, both 
by her acts and by her words, emphatically admits her 
incapacitation. For it is clearly ill-health which drives her to 
abandon the Matronship and even all minor continuous work 
for the HospitaL In her Wills we find indeed that, as late as 
1 Vita, pp. g6c; 117b; 127a; 97c. 133b (dated November II. 1509, in 
MSS.); 146b; 148a. 


" 



10 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


lVlay 21, 1506, she was able to get to the neighbouring 
Hospital for Incurables; and that even on November 27, 
15 08 , she was U healthy in mind and body." But her Codicil 
of January 5, 15 0 3, was drawn up in the presence of nine 
witnesses at midnight,-a sure sign of some acute ill-health. 
Indeed already on July 23, 1484, she is lying U infirm in bed, 
in her room in the \Vomen's quarter of the Hospital, oppressed 
with bodily infirmity." 1 
2. A bnormal sensations, impressions and moods. 
Her attendants are all puzzled by the multitude and 
intensity, the mobility and the self-contradictory character 
of the psycho-physical manifestations. Perhaps already before 
1497 " she would press thorny rose-twigs in both her hands, 
and this without any pain"; and so late as about three weeks 
before her death U she remained paralyzed (11zanca,)" and no 
doubt anaesthetic U in one (the right) hand and in one finger of 
the other hand."-Probably again before 1497 U her body could 
not," at times, U be moved from the sitting posture without the 
application of force." In February or 
1arch 15 10 U she could 
not move out of her bed"; in August U on some occasions 
she could not move the lips or the tongue, or the arms or legs, 
unless helped to do so,-especially on the left side,-and this 
would, at times, last three or four hours."-In December 1509 
" she suffered from great cold," as part of her peculiar con- 
dition; on September 4, 1510, U she suffered from great cold 
in the right arm." 2 
On other occasions she is, on the contrary, intensely hyper- 
aesthetic. Some time in February or March 1510, " for a day 
and a night, her flesh could not be touched, because of the 
great pain that such touching caused her." At the end of 
August U she was so sensitive, that it was impossible to touch 
her very bedclothes or the bedstead, or a single hair on her 
head, because in such case she would cry out as though she 
had been grievously wounded."-These states seem to have 


1 From my authenticated copies of the original wills in the Archivio di 
Stato, Genoa. 
\I Vita. pp. 113b, 149c; 143b, 152c; 138b, 155a. Note the parallels in 
St. Teresa's Lite, written by herself, tr. D. Lewis, ed. 1888. P. 234: u When 
these (spiritual) impetuosities are not very violent, the soul seeks relief 
through certain penances; the painfulness of which, and even the shedding 
of blood. are no more felt than if the body were dead." P. 30: u I was 
unable to move either arm or foot, or hand or head, unless others moved 
me. I could move. however, I think. one finger of my right hand:. P. 31 : 
II I was paralytic. though getting better. for about three years:. 



PSYGHO-PHYSICAL AND TEMPERAMENTAL II 


been usually accompanied by sensations of great heat: for 
on the former occasion H she seemed like a creature placed 
in a great flame of fire"; whilst on the latter H she had her 
tongue and lips so inflamed, that they seemed as though 
actual fire." 
And movement appears to have been more often increased 
than diminished. In the last case indeed U she did not move 
nor speak nor see; but, when thus immovable, she suffered 
more than when she could cry out and turn about in her bed." 
But in the former instance H she could not be kept in bed" ; 
and in April I5IO U she cried aloud, and could not keep 
herself from moving about, on her bed, on hands and feet."- 
There are curious localizations of apparently automatic move- 
ments. During an attack somewhere in March 15 1 0 U her flesh 
was all in a tremble, particularly the right shoulder" ; on later 
occasions H an arm, a leg, a hand \vould tremble, and she 
\vould seem to have a spasm within her, with all-but-unbroken 
acute pains in the flanks, the shoulders, the abdomen, the 
feet and the brain." On an earlier occasion U her body 
writhed in great distress." On another day U she seemed all 
on fire and lost her power of speech, and made signs with her 
head and hands." On one day in February or March 1510 
H she lost both speech and sight, though not her intelligence" ; 
and on September 12 U her sight was so weak, that she could 
hardly any further distinguish or recognize her attendants." 
-The heat is liable to be curiously localized. Early in 
September 1510 H she had a great heat situated in and on 
her left ear, which lasted for three hours; the ear was red and 
felt very hot to the touch of others." 
Various kinds of haemorrhage are not uncommon. On the 
last-mentioned occasion bloody urine is passed; bleeding of 
the nose, with loss of bile, occurs in December 1509; very 
black blood is lost by the mouth, whilst black spots appear all 
over her person, on September 12, 1510; and more blood is 
evacuated on the following day. In February or March 1510 
H there were in her flesh certain places \vhich had become 
concave, like as paste looks where a finger has been put into 
it." At the end of August 1510 H her skin became saffron- 
yellow all over." 
Troubles of breathing and of heart-action are frequently 
acute. Somewhere about March 1510 " she had such a spasm 
in her throat and mouth as to be unable, for about an hour, to 
speak or to open her eyes, and that she could hardly regain 



12 THE 11YSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


her breath." U Cupping-glasses were applied to her side, to 
ease her heart, and lung-action, but with little effect." On 
one occasion" she made signs indicative of feeling as though 
burning pincers were seizing her heart "; and on a day soon 
after U she felt like a hard nail at her hearL" 1 
Disturbances of the power of swallowing and of nutrition 
are often grave and sudden, and in curious contradiction to 
her abnormally acute and shifting longing for and revulsion 
from certain specific kinds of food. On .A.ugust 22, 1510, 
U she was so thirsty that she felt as though she could drink 
up the very ocean" ; {{ yet she could not," in fact, {{ manage to 
swallow even one little drop of water." On September 10 
H her attendants continuously gave her drinking water; but 
she would straightway return it from her mouth." And on 
September 12, "whilst her mouth was being bathed, she 
exclaimed, { I am suffocating,'-and this because a drop of 
water had trickled down her throat-a drop which she was 
unable to gulp down." And on a day in August U she saw a 
melon and had a great desire to eat it; but hardly did she 
have some of it in her mouth, when she rejected it with 
intense disgust." So too with odours. A little later, U on 
one day the smell of wine would please her, and she would 
bathe her hands and face in it with great relish; and next 
day she would so much dislike it, that she could not bear to 
see or smell it in her room."-And so too with colours. On 
September 2 U a physician-friend came to visit her in his 
scarlet robes; and she bore the sight a little, so as not to pain 
him." But she then declared that she could no longer bear 
it; and he went, and returned to her in his ordinary black 


1 Hyper-aesthesia and sensation of heat: Vita. pp. I42a. 153a. Increase 
of movement: ibid. and pp. 145b. 143a. 153c. 141a. Loss of speech and 
sight: pp. 141b. 141C. 159c. Localization of heat: p. 157b. Haemor- 
rhages: 138c. 159c. 160a. Concavities and jaundice: pp. 144a. 153a. 
Spasms: pp. 143c. 71c. 141C. 142b. Cf. St. Teresa. loco cit. p. 3 0 : II As to 
touching me, that was impossible, for I was so bruised that I could not 
endure it. They used to move me in a sheet. one holding one end, and 
another the other:' P. 31: "I began to crawl on my hands and feet." 
P. 263: .. I felt myself on fire: this inward fire and despair. .:' P. 17 : 
"The fainting fits began to be more frequent; and my heart was so 
seriously affected, that those who saw it were alarmed." P. 27: .. It 
seemed to me as if my heart had been seized by sharp teeth." P. 235 : 
.. I saw. in the Angel's hand. a long spear of gold. and at the iron's point 
there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at 
times into my heart. and to pierce my very entrails. . . . The pain is not 
bodily. but spiritual:. 



PSYCHO-PHYSICAL AND TEl\;IPERAMENTAL 13 


habit. And yet we have seen, from the Inventory of her 
effects, that she loved to have vermilion colour upon her bed 
and person. 1 
And her emotional moods are analogously in tense and 
rapidly shifting. In the spring of 15 10 U she cried aloud 
because of the great pain: this attack lasted a day and a 
night"; in the night of August 10 U she tossed about with 
many exclamations"; and at the beginning of September 
U she cried out with a loud voice." At other times, she 
laughs for joy. So at the end of April U she would laugh 
without speaking"; on August II U she fixed her eyes 
steadily on the ceiling; and for about an hour she abode all 
but immovable, and spoke not, but kept laughing in a very 
joyous fashion"; on August 17 great interior jubilation 
H expressed itself in merry laughter"; and on the evening of 
September 7 U her joy appeared exteriorly in laughter which 
lasted, \vith but small interruptions, for some two hours." -And 
her entire apparent condition would shift from one such 
extreme to the other with extraordinary swiftness. In the 
autumn of 1509 U she many times remained as though dead; 
and at other times she would appear as healthy,-as though 
she had never anything the matter with her." Already in 
December 1509 she herself, after much vomiting and loss of 
blood, had sent for her Confessor and had declared that U she 
felt as though she must die in consequence of these many 
accidents." Yet even on September 10, 15 10 , U when she was 
not being oppressed and tormented by her accidents (attacks), 
she seemed to be in good health; but when she was being 
suffocated by them, she seemed as one dead." 2 


1 Swallow: Vita, pp. 149c. 150a; 15gb; 159c; 150a. Odours and 
colours: 153c, 154b. Cf. St. Teresa, loco cit. p. 27: "I could eat nothing 
whatever. only drink. I had a great loathing for food,'. P. 43: "I have 
been suffering for twenty years from sickness every morning." P. 3 0 : 
.. There was a choking in my throat. . . . I could not swallow even a 
drop of water," P. 263: "A sense of oppression, of stifling,'. 
\I Exclamations: Vita, pp. 144a, 148b. 155a. Laughter: ibid. 145 c . 
14 8b . 149 b . 157 c . Sudden changes of condition: 135b. 138c. 159b. Cf. St. 
Teresa, loco cit. pp. 28. 29: .. That very night," Feast of the Assumption. 
1537, " my sickness became so acute that, for about four days. I remained 
insensible. For a day and a half the grave was open, waiting for my body. 
But it pleased Our Lord I should come to myself. I wished to go to 
confession at once. Though my sufferings were unendurable, and my 
perceptions dull, yet my confession was. I believe. complete. I communi- 
cated with many tears." 



14 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


II. CONCLUSIONS CONCERNING GATHERINE'S PSYCHO- 
PHYSICAL CONDITION DURING THIS LAST PERIOD. 
I. Her Ülness not prÙnarily Physical. Her self-diagnosis. 
Now we saw, at the beginning of this chapter, how readily 
her attendants concluded, from all these extreme, multiple, 
swift-changing and self-contradictory states, to their directly 
and separately supernatural origin.-And indeed the diagnosis 
and treatment of her case showed clearly that it was not 
primarily physical. So in the case, probably in November 
1509, of the cupping-glasses, when it she got medically treated 
for a bodily infirmity, whilst her real trouble was fire of the 
spirit"; so with a medicine given to her by the resident 
Hospital physician, some time in April 15 10 , It from taking 
which she nearly died"; so with Giovanni Boerio's three- 
weeks' treatment of her, in May 1510, a treatment which led 
to no other results than momentary additional distress; and 
so with the declaration of the ten Physicians who, even on 
September 10, four days before her death, it could find no 
trace of disease in her pulse, secretions, or any other symptom," 
and who consequently abstained from prescribing anything. 
And hence, more or less throughout her last nine years, it there 
was confusion in the management of her, not on her own part, 
but on that of those who served her." 1 
For-and these two further points are of primary import- 
ance-the tending of her, as distinct from physic, was 
throughout held by herself to be of great importance; and 
yet this care was declared by her to be often useless or 
harmful, owing to the powers of discrimination possessed by 
her attendants being as much below their good-will, as her 
own knowledge as to the differences between her healthy and 
malad-if states exceeded her power of herself acting upon this 
knowledge against these sickly conditions. it She would often 
appear to be asleep; and would awake from such a state, at 
one time, quite refreshed, and, at another time, so limp and 
broken down as to be unable to move. Those that served 
her knew not how to distinguish one state from the other; 


1 Vita, pp. 71C; 145 c ; 147 b ; 159 c . 159 a ; 127a. Cf. St. Teresa. loe. 
cit. p. 23: II I was in my sister's house, for the purpose of undergoing 
medical treatment-they took the utmost care of my comfort.'. P. 27: 
II In two months, so strong were the medicines, my life was nearly worn 
out:. If The physicians gave me up: they said I was consumptive:. 



PSYCHO-PHYSICAL AND TEMPERAMENTAL 15 


and on recovering from an attack of the latter sort, she would 
say to them: (Why did you let me continue in that state of 
quiet, from which I have all but died? ' " So, on September 5, 
H she cried aloud on waking from a state of quiet, which had 
appeared to be (healthy) quietude, but had not been so." 
And indeed, already on January 10 previous, she had shut 
herself off from her Confessor, H because it seemed to her that 
he bore with her too much in her sayings and doings." 
Yet, at least after this time, Marabotto does oppose her some- 
times. Thus on two, somewhat later, occasions she respectively 
makes signs, and asks, that Extreme Unction be given her; 
but only some four months later did she actually receive it. 
In these cases, then, she either had not, even at bottom, a 
correct physical self-knowledge; or her requests had been 
prompted, at the time, by her secondary, 1naladij consciousness 
alone.-When first visited by Boerio, she takes pleasure in 
the thought of getting possibly cured by him; but H in the 
following night, when great pain came upon her, she reproved 
herself, saying, ( You are suffering this, because you allowed 
yourself to rejoice without cause.'" But this declaration dis- 
tinctly falls short of any necessary implication of a directly 
supernatural origin of her malady, as the Vita here will have 
it, and but refers, either to the continuance of earthly exist- 
ence not deserving such joy, or to her persistent fundamental 
consciousness that the phenomena were partly the fruitful, 
profitable occasions, and partly the price paid, for the mind's 
close intercourse with things divine. 
Indeed her (otherwise unbroken) attitude is one, both of 
quiet conviction that physic cannot help her, and of gentle 
readiness to let the physicians try whatever they may think 
worth the trying: so with the cupping-glasses, and the various 
examinations and physickings. Especially is this disposition 
clear in her short dialogue with Boerio, where, in answer to his 
assertion that she ought to beware of giving scandal to all the 
world by saying that her infirmity had no need of remedies, 
and that she ought to look upon such an attitude as H a kind 
of hypocrisy," she declares: H I am sorry if anyone is scandal- 
ized because of me; and I am ready to use any remedy for 
my infirmity, supposing that it can be found." 1 
1 Self-knowledge as to II quietudes": Vita. pp. 15
b. 157 a . Mara- 
botto's attitude: 139b; 141C. 143c. 149a. Relations with Boerio: 147 c . 
147 b . Cf. St. Teresa. loco cit. p. 86: .. My health bas been much better 
since I have ceased to look after my ease and comforts. " 



16 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


2. Her preoccupation with the sPiritual suggestions afforded 
by the pheno1nena. 
It would, indeed, be a grave misreading of her whole 
character and habits of mind to think of her as at all 
engrossed in her psycho-physical states as such, and as having 
ever formally considered and decided that they must either 
come directly from God or be amenable to medicine. On the 
contrary, she is too habitually absorbed in the consideration 
and contemplation of certain great spiritual doctrines and 
realitie
, to have the leisure or inclination for any such 
questions.-Indeed it is this very absorption in those spiritual 
realities which has ended by suggesting, with an extra- 
ordinary readiness, frequency and vividness, through her mind 
to her senses, and by these back to her mind, certain psycho- 
physical images and illustrations for those very doctrines, 
until her whole psycho-physical organism has been, all but 
entirely, modified and moulded into an apt instrument and 
manifestation for and of that world unseen. 
Thus, after her greatest psycho-physical and spiritual 
experience in November 1509, she declares to Vernazza, when 
he urges her to let him write down the graces she has received 
from God, that U it would, strictly speaking, be impossible to 
narrate those interior things; whilst, of exterior ones, few or 
none have happened to me." And she never entirely loses 
her mental consciousness in any state not recognized by her- 
self as maladif. So, on a day of great psycho-physical trouble 
in February or March 1510, U they thought she must expire; 
but, though she lost both sight and speech, she never lost her 
intelligence." And even on September II and 12, amidst 
foodlessness and suffocations, her intelligence still persists.- 
In the March previous U her mind appeared to grow daily 
in contentment." Some days later, her attendants U saw 
how, after an hour of spasm and breathlessness, and then a 
great restriction of all her being, she returned to her normal 
condition, and addressed many beautiful words to them." 
And later on, U her attendants were amazed at seeing a body, 
which seemed to be healthy, in such a tormented condition." 
But U soon after she laughed and spoke as one in health, and 
told them not to distress themselves about her, since she was 
very contented; but that they should see to it that they did 
much good, since the way of God is very narrow." 1 
1 Remark to Vernazza: Vita. pp. 98c. 99a. Persistence of intelligence: 
I4 IC ; 159b. c; 143a; 143c; I45b. Cf. St. Teresa. loco cit. p. 4 08 : II She ,. 



PSYCHO-PHYSICAL AND TEMPERAMENTAL 17 


3. Interaction and mutual suggestion of her sPiritual and 
Physical states. 
As to the extraordinary closeness and readiness for mutual 
response between her sensible impressions and her thoughts 
and emotions-her sensations turning, all but automatically, 
into religious emotions, and her thoughts and feelings trans- 
lating themselves into appropriate psycho-physical states- 
we have a mass of interesting evidence. 
Thus when, about the end of November 1509, in response 
to her seeing, on some wall of the Hospital, a picture of Our 
Lord at the Well of Samaria, and to her asking Him for one 
drop of that Divine water, U instantly a drop was given to her 
which refreshed her within and without." The spiritual idea 
and emotion is here accompanied and further stimulated 
by the keenest psycho-physical impression of drinking. And 
such an impression can even become painful through its ex- 
cessive suggestiveness. Thus she herself explains to Maestro 
Boerio, on September 2, 1510, that she cannot long bear the 
sight of his scarlet robe U because of what it suggests (repre- 
sents) to my memory," -no doubt the fire of divine love. 
Three days later, on the contrary, (( she mentally saw herself 
lying upon a bier, surrounded by many Religious robed in 
black," and greatly rejoiced at the sight. Here the very im- 
pression of black, the colour of death, will have conveyed, 
during this special mood of hers, a downright psycho-physical 
pleasure, somewhat as Boerio's reappearance, on the former 
occasion, in a black gown, had been a sensible relief to her. 
So also with scents. When, certainly after 1499, U she 
perceived, on the (right) hand of her Confessor, an odour which 
penetrated her very heart," and U which abode \vith her and 
restored both mind and body for many days," we have again 
a primarily mental act and state which she herself knows well 
to be untransferable, even to Don Marabotto himself. Here 
the association of ideas was, no doubt, the right hand of the 
Priest and her daily reception, by means of it, of the Holy 
Eucharist. For the latter, U the Bread from heaven, having 


(Teresa herself) "never saw anything with her bodily eyes. nor heard 
anything with her bodily ears:' P. 189: II The words of the divine locu- 
tions are very distinctly formed; but by the bodily ear they are not 
heard." P. 191: II In ecstasy. the memory can hardly do anything at all, 
and the imagination is, as it were, suspended." P. 14 2 : II You see and 
feel yourself carried away, you know not whither." P. 187: "I fell into 
a trance; I was carried out of myself. It was most plain,'. 
VOL. II. C 



18 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


\vi<hin it all manner of delight," is already connected in her 
mind with an impression of sweet odour. U One day, on 
receiving Communion, so much odour and sweetness came to 
her, that she seemed to herself to be in Paradise." Probably 
the love for, and then the disgust at, the smell of wine, was 
also connected with her Eucharistic experiences. Certainly 
U one day, having received Holy Communion, she was granted 
so great a consolation as to fall into an ecstasy, so that when 
the Priest wanted to give her to drink from the Chalice (with 
unconsecrated wine) she had to be brought back by force to 
her ordinary consciousness." Vivid memories of both sets 
of psycho-physical impressions are, I think, at work when 
she says: U If a consecrated Host were to be given to me 
amongst unconsecrated ones, I should be able to distinguish 
it by the very taste, as I do wine from water." And as the 
sight of red rapidly became painful from the very excess of 
its mental suggestiveness, so will the smell of wine have been 
both specially dear and specially painful to her. 1 
Indeed her psycho-physical troubles possess, for the most 
part, a still traceable, most delicate selectiveness as to date, 
range, form, combination, and other peculiarities. Thus some 
of the most acute attacks coincide, in their date of occurrence 
and general character, as the biographers point out, with 
special saint's and holy days: so in the night leading into 
S1. Lawrence's day, August 9 and 10, 1510; so on the Vigil 
of St. Bartholomew's day, August 24; and so in the night 
previous to and on the Feast (August 28) of S1. Augustine, 
special Patron of her only sister's Order and of the Convent in 
which her own Conversion had taken place thirty-seven years 
before. Yet we have also seen how that these synchronisms 
did not rise to the heights which were soon desired by her 
biographers, for we know that she died, not (as they would 


1 Picture: Vita, p. 13Sa. Red and black robes: 154b,IS6c. Suggestions 
of odour: 118c, I Iga; gc, 8a, gb. Cf. St. Teresa, loco cit. pp. 57. 58: ., One 
day. I saw a picture of Christ most grievously wounded: the very sight of 
it moved me." P. 247: II I used to pray much to Our Lord for that living 
water of which He spoke to the Samaritan woman: I had always a 
picture of it with this inscription: · Domine, da mihi aquam:" P. 231 : 
.. Once when I was holding in my hand the cross of my rosary, He took 
it from me into His own hand. He returned it; but it was then four 
large stones incomparably more precious than diamonds: the five wounds 
were delineated on them with the most admirable art. He said to me 
that for the future that cross would appear so to me always, and so it did. 
The precious stones were seen, however, only by myself:' 



PSYCHO-PHYSICAL AND TEMPERAMENTAL I9 
have it) on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, 
September I4, but early on the day following. 
Thus too as to her incapacity to swallow and retain food, 
we find that, up to the end, with the rarest exceptions of a 
directly physical kind, she retained the most complete facility 
in receiving Holy Communion: so on September 2, I5Io, 
when" all ordinary food was returned, but the Holy Eucharist 
she retained without any difficulty" ; and so too on September 
4, when, after" lying for close upon twelve hours with closed 
eyes, speechless and all but immovable," Marabotto himself 
feared to communicate her, but" she made a sign to him, with 
a joyous countenance, to have no fear, and she communicated 
with ease, and soon after began to speak, owing to the vigour 
given to herby the Sacrament." Yet here too the abnormality 
is not complete: some ordinary food is retained, now and 
then; so, minced chicken, specially mentioned for December 
I5 0 9, and on September 3, I5 I o. 
As to her heat-attacks and the corresponding extreme-the 
sense of intense cold,-it is clear how close is their connection 
with her profound concentration upon the conception of God 
as Love, and upon the image of Love as fire. It is these 
sudden and intense psycho-physical, spiritually suggestive 
because spiritually suggested, heat-attacks which are, I think, 
always meant by the terms" assault" 'assalto), "stroke" 
(ferita), and" arrow" (saetta): terms which already indicate 
the mental quality of these attacks. And these heats are 
mostly localized in a doctrinally suggestive manner: they 
centre in and around the heart, or on the tongue and lips, or 
they envelop the whole person" as though it were placed in 
a great flame of fire," or "in a glowing furnace." Indeed these 
heats are often so described, by her attendants or herself, as to 
imply their predominantly psycho-physical nature: "it was 
necessary, with a view to prolonging her life, to use many 
means for lightening the strain of that interior fire upon her 
mind"; and" I feel," she says herself, on occasion of such 
an attack, " so great a contentment on the part of the spirit, 
as to be unutterable; whilst, on the part of my humanity, 
all the pains are, so to say, no pains." 
As to her boundless thirst, her inability to drink, and her 
sense of strangulation, their doctrinal suggestions are largely 
clear. Thus when" she was so thirsty as to feel able to drink 
up all the waters of the sea," and when she calls out" I am 
suffocating" (drowning, io affogo), we are at once reminded 



20 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


of her great saying: "If the sea were all so much love, there 
\vould not live man or woman who would not go to drown 
himself in it (si affogasse)." And when, at the end of August 
1510, unable to drink, she herself declares "all the water that 
is on earth could not give me the least refreshment," there is, 
perhaps, an implied contrast to that " little drop of divine 
water" which had so much refreshed her a year before. 
And finally, the various paralyses and death-like swoons 
seem, at least in part, to follow from, and to represent, the 
death of the spirit to the life of the senses, and to mirror the 
intensity with which perfection has been conceived and 
practised as " Love going forth out of self, and abiding all in' 
God and separated from man." Thus when, on August 22, 
1510, " she had a day of great heat, and abode paralyzed in 
one hand and in one finger of the other hand for about 
sixteen hours, and she was so greatly occupied (absorbed), 
that she neither spoke, nor opened her eyes, nor could take 
any food." 1 
4. Only two cases of sPiritually unsuggestive i1npressions. 
It is indeed profoundly instructive to note how that, in 
exact proportion as a human-mental mediation and suggestion 
of a religious kind is directly traceable or at least probable in 
any or all of these things, is that thing also worthy of being 
considered as having ultimately the Divine Spirit Itself for its 
first cause as well as last end; and that, in exact proportion as 
this kind of human mediation and suggestion is impossible 
or unlikely, the thing turns out to be unworthy of being 
attributed, in any special sense, to the spirit of God Himself. 
Of such spiritually opaque, religiously unused and ap- 
parently unuseable, hysteriform impressions, I can, even dur- 
ing the last days of these nine years of admitted infirmity, 
find but two clear instances,-instances which, by their very 


1 Synchronisms: Vita. pp. 148b; 150b; 152a. 160c, 16Ib. Communion 
and ordinary food: 154a, 154c, 138c; 154c. Heats:" Assalto," e.g. 138b, 
c; 143a. c; "ferita" and U saetta," e.g. 141a, c; 145a. Their localization: 
135a, 141c; 153a; 142a. 158a. Their psycho-physical character: 13Sb. 
144b. Thirst and its suggestion: 149c, 159c; 76c; 152b, 13Sa. Paralyses: 
134b; 149c. Cf. St. Teresa, op. cit. p. 28: her death-swoon occurs on 
evening of the Assumption. P. 235: Heat, piercing of the heart as by a 
spear, and a spiritual (not bodily) pain, are all united in the experience of 
the heart-piercing Angel. P. 423: ., Another prayer very common is a 
certain kind of wounding; for it really seems to the soul as if an arrow 
were thrust through the heart or through itself. The suffering is not one 
of sense. nor is the wound physical; it is in the interior of the soul:. 



PSYCHO-PHYSICAL AND TEMPERAMENTAL 21 


unlikeness to the mass of her spiritually transparent, readily 
used impressions, strongly confirm our high estimate of the 
all but totality of her psycho-physical states, as experienced 
and understood and used by herseJf. On September 7, 1510, 
after having seen and wisely utilized the spiritually suggestive 
image of " a great ladder of fire," she ends by having so vivid 
an hallucination of the whole world being on fire" that she 
asked whether it were not so, and caused her windows to be 
opened that the facts might be ascertained; and" she abode 
the whole night, possessed by that imagination," as the Vita 
itself calls this impression. At night, on September II, she 
complained of a very great heat, and cast forth from her 
mouth very black blood; and black spots came out allover her 
body. And on the 13th, " she was seen with her eyes fixed 
upon the ceiling, and with much movement of the lips and 
hands; and she answered her attendants' queries as to what 
she was seeing with 'Drive away that beast. . . .' the 
remaining words being inaudible." 1 
Here we have, I think, the only two merely factual, un- 
suggestive, and hence simply delusive, impressions really 
experienced by herself and recorded in the V ita, a book whose 
very eagerness to discover things of this kind and readiness 
to take them as directly supernatural is a guarantee that 
no other marked instances of the kind have been omitted 
or suppressed. And these two impressions both take place 
within a week of her death, and respectively four days before, 
and two days after, the first clear case of organic disease or 
lesion to be found anywhere in the life. 


1 Vita, pp. Is8a; 160a. Cf. St. Teresa, oþ. cit. p. 41: II We saw some- 
thing like a great toad crawling towards us . . . The impression it made 
on me was such, that I think it must have had a meaning." Contrast with 
this naïvely sensible sight and the absence of all interior assurance, such 
a spiritual vision as II Christ stood before me, stern and grave. I saw Him 
with the eyes of the soul. The impression remained with me that the 
vision was from God, and not an imagination II (pp. 40. 41). Another 
quasi-sensible sight. with no interior assurance. or question as to its 
provenance and value, is given on pp. 248, 249: .. Once Satan, in an 
abominable shape, appeared on my left hand. I looked at his mouth in 
particular. because he spoke, and it was horrible. A huge flame seemed 
to issue out of his body, perfectly bright without any shadow." Another 
such impression is recorded on p. 252: II I thought the evil spirits would 
have suffocated me one night. . . I saw a great troop of them rush away 
as if tumbling over a precipice:' 



22 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


III. CATHERINE'S PSYCHO-PHYSICAL CONDITION, ITS 
LIKENESS AND UNLIKENESS TO HYSTERIA. 
Only by a quite unfair magnifying or multiplying of the 
two incidents just described could we come to hold, with 
1\1r. Baring-Gould, that Catherine was simply a sufferer from 
hysteria, and that the Roman Church did well to canonize her 
on the ground of her having, in spite of this malady, managed 
to achieve much useful work amongst the sick and poor.! 
Here we shall do well to consider three groups of facts. 
I. Misapprehensions as to hysteria. 
The first group gives the reasons \vhy we should try and get 
rid of the terror and horror still so often felt in connection 
with the very name of this malady. This now quite demon- 
strably excessive, indeed largely mythical, connotation of the 
term springs from four causes. 
First, the very name still tends to suggest, as the causes or 
conditions of the malady, things fit only for discussion in 
medical reviews. But then, ever since 1855, all limitation to, 
or special connection with, anything peculiarly female, or 
indeed generally sexual, has been increasingly shown to be 
false, until now no serious authority on the matter can be 
found to espouse the old view. The malady is now well 
known to attack men as well as women, and to have no 
special relation to things of sex at all. 2 
Next, probably as a consequence from the initial error, 
this disorder was supposed to come predominantly from, or to 
lead to, moral impurity, or at least to be ordinarily accom- 
panied by strong erotic propensions. But here the now care- 
fully observed facts are imperatively hostile: of the 120 living 
cases most carefully studied by Prof. Janet, only four showed 
the predominance of any such tendencies, a proportion un- 
doubtedly not above the percentage to be found amongst 
non-hysterical persons. 3 
And again, the term was long synonymous with untruthful- 
ness and deceit. But here again Prof. Janet shows how 
unfounded is this prejudice, since it but springs from the mis- 


1 Lives 01 the Saints. ed. 18981 Vol. XI September 15. 
a Pierre Janet. Etat Mental des Hystériques. 2 vols' l Paris, 1892. 1894: 
Vol. II. pp. 260, 261; 280; Vol. I. pp. 225. 63. 
· Ibid. Vol. I. pp. 63. 225. 226. 



PSYCHO-PHYSICAL AND TEMPERAMENTAL 23 
placed promptitude with which the earlier observers refused 
to believe what they had not as yet sufficiently examined 
and could not at all explain, and from the malady being itself 
equivalent to a more or less extensive breaking-up of the 
normal inter-connection between the several, successive or 
simultaneous states, and, as it were, layers of the one person- 
ality. He is convinced that real untruthfulness is no com- 
moner among such patients than it is among healthy 
persons.! 
And, finally, it is no doubt felt that, apart from all such 
specifically moral suspicions, the malady involves all kinds of 
fancies and inaccuracies of feeling and of perception, and that 
it frequently passes into downright insanity. And this is no 
doubt the one objection which does retain some of its old 
cogency. Still, it is well to note that, as has now been fully 
established, the elements of the human mind are and remain 
the same throughout the whole range of its conditions, from 
the sanest to the maddest, whilst only their proportion and 
admixture, and the presence or absence and the kind of 
synthesis necessary to hold them together differentiate these 
various states of mind. In true insanity there is no such 
synthesis; in hysteria the synthesis, however slight and 
peculiar, is always still traceable throughout the widespread 
disgregation of the elements and states. 2 And it is this 
very persistence of the fundamental unity, together with 
the strikingly different combination and considerable dis- 
gregation of its elements, that makes the study of hysteria 
so fruitful for the knowledge of the fully healthy mind and of 
its unity; whilst the continuance of all the elements of the 
normal intelligence, even in insanity, readily explains why it 
is apparently so easy to see insanity everywhere, and to treat 
genius and sanctity as but so much degeneracy. 
2. Hysterifornt Phenomena observable in Catherine's case. 
The second group of facts consists in the phenomena which, 
in Catherine's case, are like or identical to what is observable 
in cases of hysteria. 
There is, perhaps above all else, the anaesthetic condition, 
which was presumably co-extensive with her paralytic states. 
" Anaesthesia," says Prof. Janet, U can be considered as the 
type of the other sYlnptoms of hysteria; it exists in the great 
majority of cases, it is thoroughly characteristic of the malady. 
1 Pierre Janet. Etat Afental. Vol. I. pp. 226. 227. 
a Ibid. Vol. II, pp. 253. 257. 



24 THE MYSTICAL ELE
I{ENT OF RELIGION 
In its most frequent localization (semi-anaesthesia) it affects 
one of the lateral halves of the body, and this half is usually 
the left side." Or," a finger or hand will be affected." Such 
" insensibility can be very frequent and very profound"; but 
" it disappears suddenly" and even" varies from one moment 
to another." 1 
Then there is the corresponding counter-phenomenon of 
hyper-aesthesia. "The slightest contact provokes great pains, 
exclamations, and spasms. The painful zones have their seat 
mostly on the abdomen or on the hips." And" sensation in 
these states is not painful in itself, by its own intensity, but by 
its quality, its characteristics; it has become the signal, by 
association of ideas, for the production of a set of extremely 
painful phenomena." So, with the colour-sense: "one patient 
adores the colour red, and sees in its dullest shade' sparkling 
rays which penetrate to her very heart and warm her through 
and through.'" But" another one finds this' a repulsive 
colour and one capable of producing nausea.'" And similarly 
with the senses of taste and odour. 2 
Then, too, the inability to stand or walk, with the conserva- 
tion, at times, of the power to crawl; the acceptance, followed 
by the rejection, of food, because of certain spasms in the 
throat or stomach, and the curious, mentally explicable, 
exceptions to this incapacity; the sense, even at other times, 
of strangulation; heart palpitations, fever heats, strange 
haemorrhages from the stomach or even from the lung; red 
patches on the skin and emotional jaundice allover it, and 
one or two other peculiarities. 3 
Then, as to a particular kind of quietude, from which 
Catherine warns her attendants to rouse her, we find a 
patient who" ceases her reading, without showing any sign 
of doing so. She gets taken to be profoundly attentive; it is, 
however, but one of her attacks of 'fixity.' And she has 
promptly to be shaken out of this state, or, in a few minutes, 
there will be no getting her out of it." 
As to Catherine's consciousness of possessing an extra- 
ordinary fineness of discrimination between sensibly identical 


1 Pierre Janet. Etat Mental. Vol. I. pp. 7. 8. I I, 12. 57. 21. 
a Ibid. Vol. II. pp. 82. 91; 70. 71. 
a Ibid. Vol. II. Troubles of movement. pp. 105, 106; of nutrition, pp. 285, 
70. 7 1 ; strangulation, heart palpitation, fever heats, p. 282; haemorrhages 
and red patches. p. 283; jaundice (ictère emotionnel). p. 287; and note the 
II isch
rie:' p. 28 3, top, compared with Vita 1 p. 12a. 



PSYCHO-PHYSICAL AND TEMPERAMENTAL 25 


objects, we see that U if one points out, to some of these 
patients, an imaginary portrait upon a plain white card, and 
mixes this card with other similar ones, they will almost 
always find again the portrait on the same card." And 
similarly as to her a ttaching a particular quasi-sensible 
perception to Marabotto's hand alone, we find that, if M. 
Janet touches Léonie's hand, he having suggested a nosegay 
to her, she will henceforth, when he touches the hand, see 
that nosegay; whereas, if another person touches that same 
hand, Léonie will see nothing special. 
As to Catherine's feelings of criminality and of being 
already dead, IV!. Janet quotes M., who says, U I am like a 
criminal about to be punished"; and R., who declares, U It 
seems to me that I am dead." As to the hallucination of a 
Beast, Marcelle suffers from the same impression.! 
And,-perhaps the most important of all these surface- 
resemblances,-there is Catherine's apparent freedom from 
all emotion at the deaths of her brothers and sister, and her 
extraordinary dependence upon, and claimfulness towards, 
her Confessor alone. U These patients rapidly lose the social 
feelings: Berthe, who for some time preserved some affection 
for her brother, ends by losing all interest in him; Marcelle, 
at the very beginning of her illness, separates herself from 
everyone." "It is always their own personality which 
dominates their thoughts." Yet these patients have U an 
extraordinary attachment to their physician. For him they 
are resolved to do all things. In return, they are extremely 
exacting,-he is to occupy himself entirely with each one 
alone. Only a very superficial observer would ascribe this 
feeling to a vulgar source." 2 
3. Catherine's personality not disintegrated. 
But a third group of facts clearly differentiates Catherine's 
case, even in these years of avowed ill-health, from such 
patients; and these facts become clearer and more numerous 
in precise proportion as we move away from peripheral, 
psycho-physical phenomena and mechanisms, and dwell upon 
her practically unbroken mental and moral characteristics, 
and upon the use and meaning, the place and context of 
these things within her ample life. 
For as to her relations with her attendants, even now it 
is still she who leads, who suggests, who influences; a strong 
1 Pierre Janet, Etat Mental. Vol. I, p. 140; Vol. II. pp. 14, 72. 165. 

 Ibid. Vol. I. pp. 218. 219; 1
8, 1:>9. 



26 THE 
IYSTICAL ELEl\IENT OF RELIGION 


and self-consistent will shows itself still, under all this shifting 
psycho-physical surface. Thus Don Marabotto now adminis- 
ters, it is true, all her money and charitable affairs for her. 
But it is she \vho insists, alone and unaided, upon the true 
spiritual function of that impression of odour on his hand.- 
Vemazza, no doubt, has now to help her in the fight against 
subtle scruples, on occasion of her deepest depressions. But 
her far more frequent times of light and joy are in nowise 
occasions of a simply subjective self-engrossment or of a 
purely psycho-physical interest, for her mind is absorbed if 
in but a few, yet in inexhaustibly fruitful and universally 
applicable ideas and experiences of a spiritual kind, such 
as helped to urge this friend on to his world-renewing 
impulses and determinations.-Her closest relations and 
friends, one must admit, succeed by their action, taken 
eighteen months and then again two days before her death, 
in getting her to desist from ordering her burial by the side 
of her husband. But we have seen, in the one case, how 
indirectly, and, in the other case, how suddenly and even then 
quite informally, they had to gain their point.-Her attend- 
ants in general, and Marabotto in particular, certainly paid 
her an engrossed attention, and the all but endlessness of her 
superficial fancies and requirements have been chronicled by 
them with a naïve and wearisome fulness. But then she 
herself is well aware that, had they but the requisite know- 
ledge as to ho\v and when to apply them, some sturdy 
opposition and a greater roughness of handling would, on 
their part, be of the greatest use to her, in this her psychical 
infirmity; indeed her shutting herself away from l\Iarabotto, 
as late as January 1510, is directly caused by her sense and 
fear of being spoilt by him. 
It is true again that, already in 1502, we hear, in a probably 
exaggerated but still possibly semi-authentic account, of her 
indifference of feeling with regard to the deaths of two 
brothers and of her only sister; and that, from January 1510 
onwards, she gradually excludes all her attendants from her 
sick-room, with, eventually, the sole exceptions of lVlarabotto 
or Carenzio and Argentina. But her Wills show conclusively 
how persistent were her detailed interest in, and dispositions 
for, the requirements of her surviving brother, nephews, and 
nieces; of poor Thobia and the girl's hidden mother; of her 
priest-attendants, and of each and all of her humblest 
domestics; of the natives in the far-away Greek Island of 



PSYCHO-PHYSICAL AND TEMPERAMENTAL 27 
Scios; and, above all, of the Hospital and its great work 
which she had ever loved so well. 
We have indeed found two cases, both from within the 
last week of her life, of mentally opaque and spiritually 
unsuggestive and unutilized impressions which are truly 
analogous to those characteristic of hysteria. But we have 
also seen how forcibly these two solitary cases bring out, by 
contrast, the spiritual transparency and fruitfulness of her 
usual, finely reflective picturings of these last years. For 
here it is her own deliberate and spiritual mind which joyously 
greets, and straightway utilizes and transcends, the psycho- 
physical occurrences; and it does so, not because these 
occurrences are, or are taken to be, the causes or requisites 
or objects of her faith and spiritual insight, but because, on 
the contrary, they meet and clothe an already exuberant faith 
and insight-spiritual certainties derived from quite another 
source. 
And finally, if the monotony and superficial pettiness of 
the sick-room can easily pall upon us, especially when pre- 
sented with the credulities and hectic exaggerations which 
disfigure so much of the Vita's description of it; we must, in 
justice, as I have attempted to do in my seventh and eighth 
chapters, count in, as part of her biography, her deep affection 
for and persistent influence with Ettore and Battista Vernazza, 
and the exemplification of her doctrine by these virile souls, 
makers of history in the wide, varied world of men. 1 
In a word, it is plain at once that, given the necessarily 
limited number of ways in which the psycho-physical 
organism reacts under mental stimulations, certain neural 
phenomena may, in any two cases, be, in themselves, perfectly 
similar, although their respective mental causes or occasions 
may be as different, each from the other, as the Moonlight 
Sonata of Beethoven, or the working out of the Law of 
Gravitation by Newton, or the elaboration of the implications 
of the Categorical Imperative by Kant, are different from the 
sudden jumping of a live mouse in the face of an hysterically- 
disposed young woman, or as the various causes of tears and 
laughter throughout the whole world. 
1 The biographical chapters of Volume I give all the facts and refer- 
ences alluded to in this paragraph. It would be easy to find parallels for 
most of these peripheral disturbances and great central normalities in 
St. Teresa's life. 



28 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


IV. FIRST PERIOD OF CATHERINE'S LIFE, 1447 TO 1477, 
IN ITS THREE STAGES. 
If we next go back to the first period of her life, in its 
three stages of the sixteen years of her girlhood, 1447-1463, 
the first ten years of her married life, 1463-1473, and the 
four years of her Conversion and active Penitence, 1473-1477, 
we shall find, I think, in the matter of temperament and 
psycho-physical conditions, little or nothing but a rare degree 
of spiritual sensitiveness, and an extraordinary close-knitted- 
ness of body and mind. 
1. F rOl1
 her childhood to her conversion. 
Thus, already in her early childhood, that picture of the 
Pietà seems to have suggested religious ideas and feelings 
with the suddenness and emotional solidity of a physical 
seizure-an impression still undimmed when she herself 
recounted it, some fifty years later, to her two intimates.-It 
is true that during those first, deeply unhappy ten years of 
marriage, we cannot readily find more than indications of a 
most profound and brooding melancholy, the apparent result 
of but two factors,-a naturally sad disposition and acutely 
painful domestic circumstances. Yet it is clear, from the 
sequel, that more and other things lay behind. It is indeed 
evident that she possessed a congenitally melancholy tempera- 
ment; that nothing but the rarest combination of conditions 
could have brought out, into something like elastic play and 
varied exercise, her great but few and naturally excessive 
qualities of mind and heart; that these conditions were not 
only absent, but were replaced by circumstances of the 
most painful kind; and that she will hardly, at this time, 
ha ve had even a momen l' s clear consciousness of an y 
other sources than just those conditions for her deep, keen, 
and ever-increasing dissatisfaction with all things, her own 
self included: all peace and joy, the very capacity for either 
seemed gone, and gone for ever. But it is only the third 
stage, with its sudden-seeming conversion on March 20, 
1473, and the then following four years of strenuously active 
self-immolation and dedication to the humblest service of 
others, which lets us see deep into those previous years of 
sullen gloom and apparently hopeless drift and dreary 
wastage. 



PSYCHO-PHYSICAL AND TEMPERAMENTAL 29 
The two stages really belong to one another, and the depth 
of the former gloom and dreariness stood in direct proportion 
and relation to the capacities of that nature and to the height 
of their satisfaction in the later light and vigour brought to 
and assimilated by them. I t was the sense, at that previous 
time still inarticulate, but none the less mightily operative, of 
the insufficiency of all things merely contingent, of all things 
taken as such and inevitably found to be such, that had been 
adding, and was now discovered to have added, a quite deter- 
mining weight and poignancy to the natural pressure of her 
temperament and extemallot. And this temperament and 
lot, which had not alone produced that sadness, could still less 
of themselves remove it, whatever might be its cause. Her 
sense of emptiness and impotence could indeed add to her 
sense of fulness and of power, once these latter had come; 
but of themselves the former could no more give her the 
latter, than hunger, which indeed makes bread to taste deli- 
cious, can give us real bread and, with it, that delight. 
And it was such real bread of life and real power which 
now came to her . For if the tests of reaJity in such things 
are their persistence and large and rich spiritual applic- 
abiJity and fruitfulness, then something profoundly real and 
important took place in the soul of that sad and weary 
woman of six-and-twenty, within that Convent-chapel, at 
that Annunciation-tide. Her four years of heroic persistence; 
her unbroken Hospital service of a quarter of a century; her 
lofty magnanimity towards her husband, Thobia and Thobia's 
mother; her profound influence upon Vernazza, in urging 
him on to his splendid labours throughout Italy, and to his 
grand death in plague-stricken Genoa; her daringly original, 
yet immensely persuasive, doctrine,-nearly all this dates 
back, completely for her consciousness and very largely in 
reality, to those few moments on that memorable day. 
2. Her conversion not sudden nor visionary. 
But two points, concerning the manner and form of this 
experience, are, though of but secondary spiritual interest, far 
more difficult to decide. There is, for one thing, the indubit- 
able impression, for her own mind and for ours, of complete 
suddenness and newness in her change. Was this suddenness 
and newness merely apparent, or real as well? And should 
this suddenness, if real" be taken as in itself and directly 
supernatural? 
Now it is certain that Catherine" up to ten years before" 



30 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


had been full of definitely religious acts and dispositions. 
Had she not, already at thirteen, wanted to be a Nun, and, 
at eight or so, been deeply moved by a picture of the dead 
Christ in His l\iother's lap? Hence, ideas and feelings of 
self-dedication and of the Christ-God's hatred of sin and love 
for her had, in earlier and during longer times than those of 
her comparative carelessness, soaked into and formed her 
mental and emotional bent, and will have in so far shaped 
her will, as to make the later determination along those earJier 
lines of its operation, comparatively easy, even after those 
years of relaxation and deviation. Yet it is clear that there 
was not here, as indeed there is nowhere, any mere repetition 
of the past. New combinations and an indefinitely deeper 
apprehension of the great religious ideas and facts of God's 
holiness and man's weakness, of the necessity for the soul to 
reach its own true depth or to suffer fruitlessly, and of God 
having Himself to meet and feed this movement and hunger 
which He has Himself implanted; new combinations and 
depths of emotion, and an indefinite expansion and heroic 
determination of the will: were all certainly here, and were 
new as compared with even the most religious moments in 
the past. 
As to the suddenness, we cannot but take it as, in large part, 
simply apparent,-a dim apprehension of what then became 
clear having been previously quite oppressively with her. 
And, in any case, this suddenness seems to belong rather to 
the temperamental peculiarities and necessary forms of her 
particular experiences than to the essence and content of her 
spiritual life. For, whatever she thinks, feels, says or does 
throughout her life, she does and experiences with actual 
suddenness, or at least with a sense of suddenness; and there 
is clearly no more necessary connection between such sud- 
denness and grace and true self-renouncement, than there 
is between gradualness and mere nature; both suddenness 
and gradualness being but simple modes, more or less fixed 
for each individual, yet differing from each to each, modes in 
which God's grace and man's will interact and manifest 
themsel ves in different souls.! 
And then there is the question as to whether or not this 


1 Prof. W. James has got some very sensible considerations on the 
pace of a conversion (as distinct from its spiritual significance. depth. 
persistence. and fruitfulness) being primarily a matter of temperament: 
Varieties 01 Religious ExperÙnce. 1902, pp. 227- 2 4 0 . 



PSYCHO-PHYSICAL AND TEMPERAMENTAL 31 


conversion-experience took the form of a vision. We have 
seen, in the Appendix, how considerable are the difficulties 
which beset the account of the Bleeding Christ Vision in the 
Palace; and how the story of the previous visionless ex- 
perience in the Chapel is free from all such objections. But, 
even supposing the two accounts to be equally reliable, it is 
the first, the visionless experience, which was demonstrably 
the more important and the more abidingly operative of the 
two. More important, for it is during those visionless 
moments that her conversion is first effected; and more 
abiding, for, according to all the ancient accounts, the im- 
pression of the Bleeding Christ Vision disappeared utterly at 
the end of at longest four years, whereas the memory of 
the visionless conversion moments remained with her, as an 
operative force, up to the very last. Witness the free self- 
casting of the soul into painful-joyous Purgation, into Love, 
into God (without any picturing of the historic Christ), 
which forms one of the two constituents of her great latter- 
day teaching; and how entirely free from directly historic 
elements all her recorded visions of the middle period turn 
out to be. l 
3. Peculiarities of her active þenitence. 
As to the four years of Active Penitence, we must beware 
of losing the sense of the dependence, the simple, spontaneous 
instrumentality, in which the negative and restrictive side of 
her action stood towards the positive and expansive one. An 
immense affirmation, an anticipating, creative buoyancy and 
resourcefulness, had come full flood into her life; and had 
shifted her centre of deliberate interest and willing away from 
the disordered, pleasure-seeking, sore and sulky lesser self in 


1 By the term H visionless." I do not mean to affirm anything as to the 
presence or absence of ideas or mental images during the times so de- 
scribed, but to register the simple fact, that, for her own memory after 
the event, she was, at the time. without anyone persistent. external- 
seeming image.-Note how St. Ignatius Loyola in his Testament, ed. 
London, 1900, pp. 91, 92, considered the profoundest spiritual experi- 
ence of his life to have been one unaccompanied or expressed by any 
vision: II On his way" to a Church near :Manresa. II he sat down facing 
the stream, which was running deep. While he was sitting there, the eyes 
of his mind were opened," not so as to see any kind of vision, but II so as 
to understand and comprehend spiritual things. . . with such clearness 
that for him all these things were made new. If all the enlightenment 
and help he had received from God in the whole course of his life. . . 
were gathered together in one heap. these all would appear less than he 
had been given at this one time." 



32 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


which her true personality had for so long been enmeshed. 
Thus all this strenuous work of transforming and raising 
her lower levels of inclinations and of habit to the likeness 
and heights of her now deliberate loftiest standard was not 
taking place for the sake of something which actually was, 
or which even seemed to be, less than what she had possessed 
or had, even dimly, sought before, nor with a view to her true 
self's contraction. But, on the contrary, the work was for the 
end of that indefinite More, of that great pushing upwards 
of her soul's centre and widening out of its circumference, 
which she could herself confirm and increase only by such 
ever-renewed warfare against what she now recognized as her 
false and crippling self. 
And it is noticeable how soon and how largely, even still 
\vithin this stage, her attitude became H passive." She pretty 
early came to do these numerous definite acts of penance 
without any deliberate selection or full attention to them. 
As in her third period her absorption in large spiritual ideas 
spontaneously suggests certain corresponding psycho-physical 
phenomena, which then, in return, stimulate anew the appre- 
hensions of the mind; so here, towards the end of the first 
period, penitential love ends by quite spontaneously suggest- 
ing divers external acts of penitence, which readily become so 
much fresh stimulation for love. 
I take this time to have been as yet free from visions or 
ecstasies-at least of the later lengthy and specific type. 
For the Bleeding Christ experience, even if funy historical, 
occurred within the first conversion-days, and only its vivid 
memory prolonged itself throughout those penitential years; 
whilst alJ such other visions, as have been handed down to us, 
do not treat of conversion and penance, at least in any active 
and personal sense. And only towards the end of these years 
do the psycho-physical phenomena as to the abstention from 
food begin to show themselves. The consideration of both 
the Visions and the Fasts had, then, better be reserved for 
the great central period. 


v. THE SECOND, GREAT MIDDLE PERIOD OF GATHERINE'S 
LIFE, 1477 TO 1499. 
It is most natural yet very regrettable that we should know 
so little as to Catherine's spiritual life, or even as to her 



PSYCHO-PHYSICAL AND TEMPERAMENTAL 33 


psycho-physical condition, during these central twenty-two 
years of her life. It is natural, for she had, at this time" 
neither Physician nor Confessor busy with her, and the very 
richness and balanced fulness of this epoch of her life may 
well have helped to produce but little that could have been 
specially seized and registered by either. Yet it is regret- 
table, since here we have what" at least for us human 
observers, constitutes the culmination and the true measure 
of her life, the first period looking but like the preparation, 
and the third period, like the price paid for such a rich 
expansion.-Yet we know something about three matters of 
considerable psycho-physica] and temperamental interest, 
which are specially characteristic of this time: her attitude 
towards food; her ecstasies and visions; and certain peculi- 
arities in her conception and practice of the spiritual warfare. 
I. Her extraordinary fasts. 
As to food, it is clear that" however much we may be able 
or bound to deduct from the accounts, there remains a solid 
nucleus of remarkable fact. During some twenty years she 
evidently went, for a fairly equal number of days,-some thirty 
in Advent and some forty in Lent, seventy in all annuallY'- 
with all but no food; and was, during these fasts, at least as 
vigorous and active as when her nutrition was normal. For 
it is not fairly possible to make these great fasts end much 
before I496, when she ceased to be Matron of the Hospital; 
and they cannot have begun much after 1475 or 1476: so 
that practically the whole of her devoted service and ad- 
ministration in and of that great institution fell within these 
years, of which well-nigh one-fifth was covered by these all 
but total abstentions from food. Yet here again we are 
compelled to take these things, not separately, and as directly 
supernatural, but in connection with everything else; and to 
consider the resultant whole as the effect and evidence of 
a strong mind and will operating upon and through an 
immensely responsive psycho-physical organism. 
For here again we easily find a significant system and 
delicate selectiveness both in the constant approximate 
synchronisms-these incapacities occurring about Advent 
and Lent; and in the foods exempted-since there is no 
difficulty in connection with the daily Holy Eucharist, with 
the unconsecrated wine given to her, as to all Communicants 
in that age at Genoa, immediately after Communion" or with 
water when seasoned penitentially with salt or vinegar. And 
VOL. II. D 



34 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


if the actual heightening of nervous energy and balance" 
recorded as having generally accompanied these two fasts" is 
indeed a striking testimony te> the extraordinary powers of 
her mind and will, \ve must not forget that these fruitful fasts 
were accompanied, and no doubt rendered possible, by the 
second great psychical peculiarity of these middle years" her 
ecstasies. 
2. Her ecstasies and visions. 
It is indeed remarkable how these two conditions and 
functions, her fasts and her ecstasies of a definite, lengthy 
and strength-bringing kind, arise" persist and then fade out 
of her life together. And since, in ecstasy, the respiration, the 
circulation, and the other physical functions are all slackened 
and simplified; the mind is occupied with fewer, simpler, 
larger ideas, harmonious amongst themselves; and the 
emotions and the will are, for the time, saved the conflict and 
confusion, the stress and strain, of the fully waking moments; 
and considering that Catherine was peculiarly sensitive to all 
this flux and friction, and that she was now often in a more 
or less ecstatic trance from two up to eight hours: it follows 
that the amount of food required to heal the breach made by 
life's wear and tear would, by these ecstasies, be considerably 
reduced. And indeed it will have been these contemplative 
absorptions which directly mediated for her those accessions 
of vigour: and that they did so, in such a soul and for the 
uses to which she put this strength, is their fullest justification 
as thoroughly wholesome, at least in their ultimate outcome, 
in and for this particular life. 
And the visions recorded have these two characteristics" 
that they all deal with metaphysical realities and relations- 
God as source and end of all things, as Light and food of the 
soul, and similar conceptions, and never directly with his- 
torical persons, scenes, or institutions; and that, whereas the 
non-ecstatic picturings of her last period are grandly original, 
and demonstrably based upon her own spiritual experience, 
these second-period ecstatic visions are readily traceable to 
New Testament, Neo-Platonist, and Franciscan precursors" 
and have little more originality than this special selection 
from amongst other possible literary sources. 
3. SPecial character of her sPiritual warfare. 
Catherine's ecstasies lead us easily on to the special method 
of her spiritual warfare, which can, I think, be summed up in 
three maxims: "One thing, and only one at a time"; II Ever 



PSYCHO-PHYSICAL AND TEMPERAMENTAL 35 


fight self, and you need not trouble about any other foe" ; 
and II Fight self by an heroic indirectness and by love, for 
love,-through a continuous self-donation to Pure Love 
alone. ' , 
Studying here these great convictions simply in their 
temperamental occasions, colouring, and limitations, we can 
readily discover how the" one thing at a time" maxim 
springs from the same disposition as that which found such 
refreshment in ecstasy. For here too, partly from a con- 
genital incapacity to take things lightly, partly from an 
equally characteristic sensitiveness to the conflict and con- 
fusion incident to the introduction of any fresh multiplicity 
into the consciousness, she requires, even in her non-ecstatic 
moments, to have her attention specially concentrated upon 
one all-important idea, one point in the field of consciousness. 
And, by a faithful wholeness of attention to the successive 
spiritually significant circumstances and obligations, interior 
impressions and lights, which her praying, thinking, suffering, 
actively bring round to her notice, she manages, by such 
single steps, gradually to go a very long way, and, by such 
severe successiveness, to build up a rich simultaneity. For 
each of these faithfully accepted and fully willed and utilized 
acts and states, received into her one ever-growing and 
deepening personality, leave memories and stimulations 
behind them, and mingle, as subconscious elements, with the 
conscious acts which follow later on. 
4. Two rellzarkable consequences of this kind of warfare. 
There were two specially remarkable consequences of this 
constant watchful fixation of the one spiritually significant 
point in each congeries of circumstances, and of the manner 
in which (partly perhaps as the occasion, but probably in 
great part as the effect of this attention) one interior condition 
of apparent fixity would suddenly shift to another condition 
of a different kind but of a similar apparent stability. There 
was the manner in which, during these years, she appears to 
have escaped the committing of any at all definite offences 
against the better and best lights of that particular moment; 
and there was the way in which she would realize the 
faultiness and subtle self-seeking of anyone state, only at 
the moment of its disappearing to make room for another. 
I take the accounts of both these remarkable peculiarities 
to be substantially accurate, since, if the first condition had 
not obtained, we should have found her practising more or 



36 THE MYSTIGAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


less frequent Confession, as we find her doing in the first and 
third, but not in this period; and if the second condition had 
not existed, we should have had, for this period also, some 
such vivid account of painful scruples arising from the 
impression of actually present unfaithfulnesses, such as has 
been preserved for her last years. And indeed, as soon as we 
have vividly conceived a state in which a soul (by a wise 
utilization of the quite exceptional successiveness and simpli- 
fication to which it has been, in great part, driven by its 
temperamental requirements, and by a constant heroic watch- 
fulness) has managed to exclude from its life, during a long 
series of years, all fully deliberate resistances to, or lapses 
from, its contemporaneous better insight: one sees at once 
that a consciousness of faultiness could come to her only at 
those moments when, one state and level giving place to 
another, she could, for the moment, see the former habits and 
their implicit defects in the clear light of their contrast to her 
new, deeper insights and dispositions. 
Now it is evident that here again we have in part (in the 
curious quasi-fixity of each state, and then the sudden replace- 
ment of it by another) something which, taken alone, is simply 
psychically peculiar and spiritually indifferent. The per- 
sistent sense of gradual or of rapid change in the midst of 
a certain continuity and indeed abidingness, characteristic of 
the average moments of the average soul, is, taken in itself, 
more true to life and to the normal reaction of the human 
mind, and not less capable of spiritual utilization, than is 
Catherine's peculiarity. Her heroic utilization of her special 
psychic life for purposes of self-fighting, and the degree in 
which, as we shall find in a later chapter, she succeeded in 
moulding this life into a shape representative of certain great 
spiritual truths: these things it is which constitute here the 
spiritually significant element. 
And her second peculiarity of religious practice was her 
great simplification and intensification of the spiritual combat. 
Simplification: for she does not fight directly either the Devil 
or the World; she directly fights the" Flesh" alone, and re- 
cognizes but one immediate opponent, her own lower self. 
Hence the references to the world are always simply as to an 
extension or indefinite repetition of that same self, or of 
similar lower selves; and those to the devil are, except where 
she declares her own lower self" a very devil," extraordinarily 
rare, and, in their authentic forms, never directly and formally 



PSYCHO-PHYSICAL AND TEMPERAMENTAL 37 


connected with her own spiritual interests and struggles. And 
Intensification: for she conceives this lower self, against which 
all her fighting is turned, as capable of any enormity, as 
actually cloaking itself successively in every kind of disguise, 
and as more or less vitiating even the most spiritual-seeming 
of her states and acts. 
And here again we can, I think, clearly trace the influence 
of her special temperament and psycho-physical functioning, 
yet in a direction opposite to that in which we would naturally 
expect it. For it is not so much that this temperament led 
her to exaggerate the badness of her false self, or to elaborate a 
myth concerning its (all but completely separate) existence, as 
that, owing in large part to that temperament and functioning, 
her false self was both unusually distinct from her true self 
and particularly clamorous and claimful. It \vould indeed be 
well for hagiography if, in all cases, at least an attempt were 
made to discover and present the precise and particular good 
and bad selves, worked for and fought by the particular saint: 
for it is just this double particularization of the common 
warfare in every individual soul that gives the poignant interest 
and instructiveness, and a bracing sense of reality to these 
lonely yet typical, unique yet universal struggles, defeats, and 
victories. 
And in Catherine's case her special temperament; her par- 
ticular attitude during the ten years' laxity, and again during 
the last years' times of obscurity and scruple; even some of 
her sayings probably still belonging to this middle period; 
but above all the precise point and edge of her counter-ideal 
and attrait: all indicate clearly enough what was her con- 
genital defect. A great self-engrossment of a downrightly 
selfish kind; a grouping of all things round such a self-adoring 
Ego,. a noiseless but determined elimination from her life and 
memory of all that would not or could not, then and there, be 
drawn and woven into the organism and functioning of this 
immensely self-seeking, infinitely woundable and wounded, 
endlessly self-doctoring" I" and " !vIe": a self intensely, 
although not sexually, jealous, envious and exacting, in- 
capable of easy accommodation, of pleasure in half successes" 
of humour and brightness, of joyous" once-born" creature- 
liness: all this was certainly to be found, in strong tendency 
at least, in the untrained parts and periods of her character 
and life. 
And then the same peculiarity and sensitiveness of her 



38 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


psycho-physical organism which, in her last period, ended by 
mirroring her mental spiritual apprehensions and picturings 
in her very body, and which, even at this time, has been 
traced by us in the curious long fixities and rapid changes of 
her fields of consciousness, clearly operates also and already 
here, in separating off this false self from the good one and in 
heightening the apprehension of that false self to almost a 
perception in space, or to an all but physical sensation. 
We thus get something of which the interesting cases of 
CI doubleness of personality," so much studied of late years, 
are, as it were, purely psychical, definitely maladif caricatures; 
the great difference consisting in Catherine herself possessing, 
at all times, the consciousness and memory of both sides, 
of both" selves," and of each as both actual and potential, 
within the range of her one great personality. Indeed it is 
this very multiplicity thus englobed and utilized by that 
higher unity, which gives depth to her sanity and sanctity.! 
5. Precise obfect and end of her striving. 
And all this is confirmed and completed, as already hinted, 
by the precise object of her ideal, the particular means and 
special end of the struggle. Here, at the very culmination of 
her inner life and aim, we find the deepest traces of her 
temperamental requirements; and here, in what she seeks, 
there is again an immense concentration and a significant 
choice. The distinctions between obligation and supereroga- 
tion, between merit and grace, are not utilized but tran- 
scended; the conception of God having anger as well as love 
arouses as keen a sense of intolerableness as that of God's 
envy aroused in Plato, and God appears to her as, in Himself, 
continuously loving. 
This love of God, again, is seen to be present everywhere, 
and, of Itself, everywhere to effect happiness. The disposi- 
tions of souls are indeed held to vary within each soul and 
between soul and soul, and to determine the differences in 
their reception, and consequently in the effect upon them, of 
God's one universal love : but the soul's reward and punish- 
ment are not something distinct from its state, they are but 
that very state prolonged and articulated, since man can 
indeed go against his deepest requirements but can never 


1 I would draw the reader's attention to the very interesting parallels 
to many of the above-mentioned peculiarities furnished both by St. 
Teresa in her Life. passim. and by Battista Vernazza in the Autobio- 
graphical statements which I have given here in Chapter VIII. 



PSYCHO-PHYSICAL AND TEMPERAMENTAL 39 


finally suppress them. Heaven, Purgatory, Hell are thus not 
places as well as states, nor do they begin only in the beyond: 
they are states alone, and begin already here. And Grace 
and Love, and Love and Christ, and Christ and Spirit, and 
hence Grace and Love and Christ and Spirit are, at bottom, 
one, and this One is God. Hence God, loving Himself in and 
through us, is alone our full true self. Here, in this constant 
stretching out and forward of her whole being into and 
towards the ocean of light and love, of God the All in All, 
it is not hard to recognize a soul which finds happiness only 
when looking out and away from self, and turning, in more 
or less ecstatic contemplation and action, towards that Infinite 
Country, that great Over-Againstness, God. . 
And, in her sensitive shrinking from the idea of an angry 
God, we find the instinctive reaction of a nature too naturally 
prone itself to angry claimfulness, and which had been too 
much driven out of its self-occupation by the painful sense 
of interior self-division consequent upon that jealousy, not to 
find it intolerable to get out of that little Scylla of her own 
hungry self only to fall into a great Charybdis, an apparent 
mere enlargement and canonization of that same self, in the 
angry God Himself. 
And if her second peculiari ty, the concen tra tion of the 
fight upon an unusually isolated and intense false self, had 
introduced an element of at least relative Rigorism and con- 
traction into her spirituality, this third peculiarity brings a 
compensating movement of quasi-Pantheism, of immense 
expansion. Here the crushed plant expands in boundless air, 
Jight and warmth; the parched seaweed floats and unfolds 
itself in an immense ocean of pure waters-the soul, as it 
were, breathes and bathes in God's peace and love. And it is 
evident that the great super-sensible realities and relations 
adumbrated by such figures, did not, with her, lead to mere 
dry or vague apprehensions. Even in this period, although 
here \vith a peaceful, bracing orderliness and harmony, the 
reality thus long and closely dwelt on and lived with was, as 
it were, physically seen and felt in these its images by a ready 
response of her immensely docile psycho-physical organism. 
6. Catherine possessed two out of the three conditions 
apparently necessary for stig11zatization. 
And in this connection we should note how largely reason- 
able was the expectation of some of her disciples of finding 
some permanent physical effects upon her body; and yet why 



4 0 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


she not only had not the stigmata of the Passion, but why she 
could not have them. For, of the three apparently necessary 
conditions for such stigmatization, she had indeed two-a 
long and intense absorption in religious ideas, and a specially 
sensitive psycho-physical temperament and organization of the 
ecstatic type; but the third condition, the concentration of that 
absorption upon Our Lord's Passion and wounds, was wholly 
wanting-at least after those four actively penitential and 
during those twenty-two ecstatic years. \Ve can, however, say 
most truly that although, since at all events I477, her visions 
and contemplations were all concerning purely metaphysicaJ, 
eternal realities, or certain ceaselessly repeated experiences of 
the human soul, or laws and types derived from the greatest 
of Christian institutions, her daily solace, the Holy Eucharist: 
yet that these verities ended by producing definite images in 
her senses, and certain observable though passing impressions 
upon her body, so that we can here talk of sensible shadows 
or II stigmata II of things purely spiritual and eternal. 
And if, in the cases of some ecstatic saints, mental patholo- 
gists of a more or less materialistic type have, at times, 
shown excessive suspicion as to some of the causes and effects 
of these saints' devotion to Our Lord's Humanity under the 
imagery and categories of the Canticle of Canticles-all such 
suspicions, fair or unfair, have absolutely no foothold in 
Catherine's life, since not only is there here no devotion to 
God or to Our Lord as Bridegroom of the Bridal soul: there 
is no direct contemplative occupation with the historic Christ 
and no figuring of Him or of God under human attributes or 
relations at alL I think that her temperament and health 
had something to do \vith her habitual d\vel1ing upon Thing- 
sYlnbols of God: Ocean-Air-Fire-picturings which, con- 
ceived with her psycho-physical vividness, must, in their 
expanse, have rested and purified her in a way that historical 
con tingencies and details would not have done. The doctrinal 
and metaphysical side of the matter will be considered later on. 


VI. THREE RULES \VHICH SEEM TO GOVERN THE RELA- 
TIONS BET\VEEN PSYCHO-PHYSICAL PECULIARITIES 
AND SANCTITY IN GENERAL. 
If we next inquire how matters stand historically with 
regard to the relations between ecstatic states and psycho- 



PSYCHO-PHYSICAL AND TEMPERAMENTAL 41 


physical peculiarities on the one hand, and sanctity in general 
on the other hand, we shall find, I think, that the following 
three rules or laws really cover, in a necessarily general, some- 
v{hat schematic way, all the chief points, at all certain or 
practically important, in this complex and delicate matter. 
I. Intense sPiritual energizing is accol1zpanied by auto- 
suggestion and mono-ideisnz. 
It is clear, for one thing, that as simply all and every 
mental, emotional, and volitional energizing is necessarily and 
always accompanied by corresponding nerve-states, and that 
if we had not some neural sensitiveness and neural adapta- 
bility, we could not-whilst living our earthly life-think, 
or feel, or will in regard to anything whatsoever: a certain 
special degree of at least potential psycho-physical sensi- 
tiveness and adaptability must be taken to be, not the 
productive cause, but a necessary condition for the exercise, 
of any considerable range and depth of mind and will, and 
hence of sanctity in general; and that the actual aiming at, 
and gradual achievement of, sanctity in these, thus merely 
possible cases, spiritualizes and further defines this sensitive- 
ness, as the instrument, material, and expression of the soul's 
work. 1 And this work of the heroic soul will necessarily 
consist, in great part, in attending to, calling up, and, as far as 
may be, both fixing and ever renovating certain few great 
dominant ideas, and in attempting by every means to saturate 
the imagination with images and figures, historical and sym- 
bolic, as so many incarnations of these great verities. 
We get thus what, taken simply phenomenally and without 
as yet any inquiry as to an ultimate reality pressing in upon 
the soul,-a divine stimulation underlying all its sincere and 
fruitful action,-is a spiritual mono-ideism and auto-sug- 
gestion, of a more or less general kind. But, at this stage, 
these activities and their psycho-physical concomitants and 
results will, though different in kind, be no more abnormal 
than is the mono-ideism and auto-suggestion of the mathema- 
tician, the tactician, and the constructive statesman. Newton, 
Napoleon, and Richelieu: they were all dominated by some 
great central idea, and they all for long years dwelt upon it 
and worked for it within themselves, till it became alive and 


1 The omnipresence of neural conditions and consequences for all and 
every mental and volitional activity has been admirably brought out by 
Prof. W. James. in his Varieties 01 Religious Experience. 1902. Vol. I. 
pp. 1- 2 5. 


. 



42 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


aflame in their imaginations and their outward-moving wills, 
before, yet as the means of, its taking external and visible 
shape. And, in all the cases that we can test in detail, the 
psycho-physical accompaniments of all this profound mental- 
volitional energy were most marked. In the cases of Newton 
and Napoleon, for instance, a classification of their energizings 
solely according to their neural accompaniments would force 
us to class these great discoverers and organizers amongst 
psycho-physical eccentrics. Yet the truth and value of their 
work and character has, of course, to be measured, not by 
this its neural fringe and cost, but by its central spiritual truth 
and fruitfulness. 
2. Such 1nechanis11ls specially nlarked in PhilosoPhers, 
Musicians, Poets, and Mystical Religionists. 
The mystical and contemplative element in the religious 
life, and the group of saints amongst whom this element is 
predominant, no doubt give us a still larger amount of what, 
again taking the matter phenomenally and not ultimately, is 
once more mono-ideism and auto-suggestion, and entails a 
correspondingly larger amount of psycho-physical impression- 
ableness and reaction utilized by the mind. But here also, 
from the simplest forms of the " prayer of quiet " to absorp- 
tions of an approximately ecstatic type, we have something 
which, though different in kind and value, is yet no more 
abnormal than are the highest flights and absorptions of the 
Philosopher, the Musician, and the Poet. And yet, in such 
cases as Kant and Beethoven, a classifier of humanity accord- 
ing to its psycho-physical phenomena alone would put these 
great discoverers and creators, without hesitation, amongst 
hopeless and useless hypochondriacs. Yet here again the 
truth of their ideas and the work of their lives have to be 
measured by quite other things than by this their neural 
concomitance and cost. 
3. Ecstatics possess a peculiar psycho-Physical organization. 
The downright ecstatics and hearers of voices and seers of 
visions have all, wherever we are able to trace their tempera- 
mental and neural constitution and history, possessed and 
developed a definitely peculiar psycho-physical organization. 
We have traced it in Catherine and indicated it in St. Teresa. 
We find it again in S t. Maria IVlagdalena dei Pazzi and in 
St. Marguerite Marie Alacocque, in modern times, and in St. 
Catherine of Siena and St. Francis of Assisi in mediaeval 
times. For early Christian thnes we are too ignorant as 



PSYCHO-PHYSICAL AND TEMPERAMENTAL 43 


regards the psycho-physical organization of St. Ignatius of 
Antioch, Hermas, and St. Cyprian, to be able to establish a 
connection between their temperamental endowments and 
their hearing of voices and seeing of visions-in the last two 
cases we get much that looks like more or less of a mere 
conventional literary device. 1 
We are, however, in a fair position for judging, in the typical 
and thoroughly original case of St. Paul. In 2 Cor. xiii, 7, 8, 
after speaking of the abundant revelations accorded to him, 
he adds that" lest I be lifted up, a thorn" (literally, a stake) 
" in the flesh was given to me, an Angel of Sa tan to buffet me." 
And though" I thrice besought the Lord that it might depart 
from me, the Lord answered me, , My grace is sufficient for 
thee; for grace is perfected in infirmity.'" And he was con- 
sequently determined" rather" to" glory in his infirmities, so 
that the power of Christ may dwell within" him. And in 
Gal. iv, I4, I5, written about the same time, he reminds his 
readers how he had " preached to them through the infirmity 
of the flesh," commending them because they" did not despise 
nor loathe their temptation in his flesh" (this is no doubt the 
correct reading), " but had received him as an Angel of God, 
as Christ Jesus." 
Now the most ancient interpretation of this" thorn" or 
II stake" is some kind of bodily complaint,-violent headache 
or earache is mentioned by Tertullian de Pudicitia, 13, and 
by St. Jerome, Comm. in Gal.loc. cit. Indeed St. Paul's own 
description of his "bodily presence" as "weak," and his 
" spoken word" as II contemptible" (2 Cor. x, 10), points this 
way. It seems plain that it cannot have been carnal tempta- 
tions (only in the sixth century did this interpretation become 
firmly established), for he could not have gloried in these, nor 
could they, hidden as they would be within his heart, have 
exposed him to the contempt of others. Indeed he expressly 
excludes such troubles from his life, where, in advising those 
who were thus oppressed to marry, he gives the preference to 
the single life, and declares, " I would that all men were even 
as I myself" (I Cor. vii, 7). 
The attacks of this trouble were evidently acutely painful: 
note the metaphor of a stake driven into the live flesh and 
the Angel of Satan who buffeted him. (And compare St. 


1 H. Weinel's Die Wirkungen des Geistes tmd der Geister im nacha- 
postolischen Zeitalter. bis auf Irenä'lts. 1899. contains an admirably careful 
investigation of these things. 



44 THE l\lYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


Teresa's account: II An Angel of God appeared to me to be 
thrusting at times a long spear into my heart and to pierce 
my very entrails"; cc the pain was so great that it made me 
moan "; II it really seems to the soul as if an arrow were thrust 
through the heart or through itself; the suffering is not one 
of sense, neither is the wound physical"; and how, on another 
occasion, she heard Our Lord answer her: U Serve thou Me, 
and meddle not with this.") 1 
These attacks would come suddenly, even in the course of 
his public ministry, rendering him, in so far, an object of 
derision and of loathing. (Compare here St. Teresa's declara- 
tion: U During the rapture, the body is very often perfectly 
powerless; it continues in the position it was in when the 
rapture came upon it: if sitting, sitting; if the hands were 
open, or if they were shut, they will remain open or shut" ; 
U if the body" was U standing or kneeling, it remains so.") 2 
Yet these attacks were evidently somehow connected, both 
in fact and in his consciousness, with his Visions; and they were 
recurrent. The vision of the Third Heaven and his apparently 
first attack seem to have been practically coincident,-about 
A.D. 44. We find a second attack hanging about him for 
some time, on his first preaching in Galatia, about A.D. 51 
or 52 (see I Thess. ii, 18; I Cor. ii, 3). And a third attack 
appears to have come in A.D. 57 or 58, when the Second 
Epistle to the Corinthians and that to the Galatians were 
written; note the words (2 Cor. i, 9), U Yea" (in addition to 
his share in the public persecution), cc we ourselves have 
had the answer of death within ourselves, that we should 
not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead." 
(And compare here St. Teresa: in July 1547 U for about four 
days I remained insensible. They must have regarded me 
as dead more than once. For a day and a half the grave was 
open in my monastery, waiting for my body. But it pleased 
Our Lord I should come to myself.") 3 Dr. Lightfoot gives as 
a parallel the epileptiform seizures of l{ing Alfred, which, 
sudden, acutely painful, at times death-like, and protracted, 
tended to render the royal power despicable in the eyes of 
the world. 4 Yet, except for the difference of sex and of 


1 Lite, v.'Yitten by herself. ed. cit. pp. 235, 423; 136. 
2 Ibid. pp. 149, 4 20 . 3 Ibid. pp. xxii, 28. 
4 It is to Dr. Lightfoot's fine Excursus in St. Paul's EPistle to the 
Galatians, ed. 1881. pp. 186-191. that I owe all the Pauline texts and 
most of the considerations reproduced above. 



PSYCHO-PHYSICAL AND TEMPERAMENTAL 45 


relative privacy, St. Teresa's states, which I have given here, 
are more closely similar, in so much as they are intimately 
connected with religious visions and voices. 
And, amongst Old Testament figures, we can find a similar 
connection, on a still larger scale, in the case of Ezekiel, the 
most definitely ecstatic, though (upon the \vhole) the least 
original, of the literary Prophets. For, as to the visionary 
element, we have his own records of three visions of the glory 
of Jahve; of five other ecstasies, three of which are accom- 
panied by remarkable telepathic, second-sight activities; and 
of twelve symbolic (better: representative) prophetic actions, 
which are now all rightly coming to be considered as having 
been externally carried out by him. l And we get psycho- 
physical states, as marked as in any other ecstatic saint. 
For we hear how Jahve on one occasion says to him: "But 
thou, son of man, lay thyself on thy left side" (i. e. according 
to Jewish orientation, towards the North) " and I shall lay the 
guilt of the house of Israel" (the Northern Kingdom) " upon 
thee; the number of days that thou shalt lie upon it, shalt 
thou bear their guilt. But I appoint unto thee the years of 
their guilt, as a (corresponding) number of days, (namely) one 
hundred and fifty days. . . . And, when thou hast done with 
them, thou shalt lay thyself on thy right side" (i. e. towards the 
South), " and thou shalt bear the guilt of the house of Judah" 
(the Southern Kingdom); "one day for each year shall I 
appoint unto thee. And behold I shall lay cords upon thee, 
that thou shalt be unable to turn from one side to the other, 
till thou hast ended the days of thy boundness" (iv, 4-8). 
Krâtzschmar, no doubt rightly, finds here a case of hemi- 
plegia and anaesthesia, functional cataleptic paralysis lasting 
during five months on the left side, and then shifting for 
about six weeks to the right side. And the alalia (speech- 
lessness), which no doubt accompanied this state, is referred to 
on three other occasions: xxiv, 27; xxix, 31; xxxiii, 22. 
And note how J ahve's address to Ezekiel, "son of man," 
which occurs in this book over ninety times, and but once in 
the whole of the rest of the Old Testament (Dan. viii, 


1 Visions of Jahve's glory: i, 1-28; iii. 22-27; xl. I; xliv. 4. The five 
other Ecstasies and Visions: viii, I foIl.; xi, 1 foIl.; xxiv. I foIl.; xxxiii. 
22; xxxvii, I foIl. Second Sight: viii. 16; xi, 13; xxiv, I. Representa- 
tive Actions: iv. 1-3. 7; iv. 4-6. 8; iv. 10; ix, 11-15; xii. 1-16; xii. 
17-20; xxi. I I. 12; xxi. 23-32; xxiv. 1-14; xxiv, 15-27; xxxiii. 22; 
xxxvii, 15-28. 



46 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 
I7), evidently stands here for the sense of his creaturely 
nothingness, so characteristic of the true ecstatic. 1 
Now, at this last stage, the analogy of the other non- 
religious activities of the healthy mind and of their psycho- 
physical conditions and effects forsakes us; but not the 
principle which has guided us all along. For here, as from 
the very first, some such conditions and effects are inevitable; 
and the simple fact of this occurrence, apart from the question 
of their particular character, is something thoroughly norma1. 
And here again, and more than ever, the emphasis and de- 
cisions have to lie with, and to depend upon, the mental and 
volitional work and the spiritual truth and reality achieved 
in and for the recipient, and, through hinl, in and for others. 
Even at the earlier stages, to cling to the form, as distinct 
from the content and end, of these things was to be thoroughly 
unfair to this their content and end, within the spacious 
economy of the spirit's life; at this stage such clinging 
becomes destructive of all true religion. For if the mere 
psycho-physical forms and phenomena of ecstasy, of vision, of 
hearing of voices is, in proportion to their psycho-physical 
intensity and seeming automatism and quasi-physical object- 
ivity, to be taken as necessarily a means and mark of sanctity 
or of insight, or, at least, as something presumably sent direct 
by God or else as diabolical, something necessarily super- 
or preter-natural: then the lunatic asylums contain more 
miracles, saints, and sages, or their direct, strangely similar 
antipodes, than all the most fervent or perverted churches, 
monasteries, and families upon God's earth. For in asylums 
we find ecstasies, visions, voices, all more, not less marked, all 
more, not less irresistibly objective-seeing to the recipient, 
than anything to be found outside. 
Yet apply impartially to both sets the test, not of form, 
but of content, of spiritual fruitfulness and of many-sided 
applicability-and this surface-similarity yields at once to 
a fundamental difference. Indeed all the great mystics, and 
this in precise proportion to their greatness, have ever taught 
1 The above translation and interpretation is based upon Krätzschmar.s 
admirably psychological commentary, Das Buch Ezechiel, Göttingen, 1900. 
pp. v, vi; 45, 49. But I think he is wrong in taking that six months' 
abnormal condition to have given rise, in Ezekiel's mind, to a belief in a 
previous divine order and to an interpretation of this order. All the 
strictly analogical cases of religious ecstasy, not hysteria, point to a strong 
mental impression. such as that order and belief having preceded and 
occasioned the peculiar psycho-physical state. 



PSYCHO-PHYSICAL AND TEMPERAMENTAL 47 


that, the mystical capacities and habits being but means and 
not ends, only such ecstasies are valuable as leave the soul, 
and the very body as its instrument, strengthened and 
improved; and that visions and voices are to be accepted 
by the mind only in proportion as they convey some spiritual 
truth of importance to it or to others, and as they actually 
help it to become more humble, true, and loving. 
And there can be no doubt that these things worked thus 
with such great ecstatic mystics as Ezekiel, the man of the 
great prophetic schemes and the permanently fruitful picturing 
of the Good Shepherd; as St. Paul, the greatest missionary 
and organizer ever given to the Christian Church; as St. 
Francis of Assisi, the salt and leaven and light of the Church 
and of society, in his day and more or less ever since; as St. 
Catherine of Siena, the free-spoken, docile reinspirer of the 
Papacy; as Jeanne d'Arc, the maiden deliverer of a Nation; 
as St. Teresa, reformer of a great Order. All these, and 
countless others, would, quite evidently, have achieved less, 
not more, of interior light and of far-reaching helpfulness of a 
kind readily recognized by all specifically religious souls, had 
they been without the rest, the bracing, the experience 
furnished to them by their ecstasies and allied states and 
apprehensions. 


VII. PERENNIAL FRESHNESS OF THE GREAT MYSTICS' 
MAIN SPIRITUAL TEST, IN CONTRADISTINCTION TO 
THEIR SECONDARY, PSYCHOLOGICAL CONTENTION. 
Two SPECIAL DIFFICULTIES. 
I. A false and a true test of mystical experience. 
Now it is deeply interesting to note how entirely un- 
weakened, indeed how impressively strengthened, by the 
intervening severe test of whole centuries of further experi- 
ence and of thought, has remained the main and direct, the 
spiritual test of the great l\lystics, in contradistinction to their 
secondary psychological contention with respect to such ex- 
periences. The secondary, psychological contention is well 
reproduced by St. Teresa where she says: "When I speak, 
I go on with my understanding arranging what I am saying; 
but, if I am spoken to by others, I do nothing else but listen 
without any labour." In the former case, " the soul," if it be 
in good faith, " cannot possibly fail to see clearly that itself 



48 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


arranges the words and utter..., them to itself. How then can the 
understanding have time enough to arrange these locutions? 
They require time." 1 Now this particular argument for their 
supernaturalness derived frolll the psychological form-from 
the suddenness, clearness, and apparent automatism of these 
locutions-has ceased to carry weight, owing to our present, 
curiously recent, knowledge concerning the subconscious 
region of the mind, and the occasionally sudden irruption of 
that region's contents into the field of that same mind's 
ordinary, full consciousness. In the Ven. Battista Vernazza's 
case we ha ve a particularly clear instance of such a long 
accumulation,-by means of much, in great part full, atten- 
tion to certain spiritual ideas, words, and images,-in the 
subconscious regions of a particularly strong and deeply 
sincere and saintly mind; and the sudden irruption from 
those regions of certain clear and apparently quite spontane- 
ous words and images into the field of her mind's full 
consciousness. 2 
But the reference to the great Mystics' chief and direct 
test, upon which they dwell with an assurance and self-con- 
sistency far surpassing that which accompanies their psycho- 
logical argument,-the spiritual content and effects of such 
experiences,-this, retains all its cogency. St. Teresa tells us : 
"When Our Lord speaks, it is both word and work: His 
words are deeds." "I found myself, through these words 
alone, tranquil and strong, courageous and confident, at rest 
and enlightened: I felt I could maintain against all the world 
that my prayer was the work of God." "I could not believe 
that Satan, if he wished to deceive me, could have recourse to 
means so adverse to his purpose as this, of rooting out my 
faults, and Ünplanting virtues and spiritual strength: for I saw 
clearly that I had become another person, by means of these 
visions." "So efficacious was the vision, and such was the 
nature of the words spoken to me, that I could not possibly 
doubt that they came from Him." U I was in a trance; and 
the effects of it were such, that I could have no doubt it 
came from God." On another occasion she writes less posi- 
tively even of the great test: "She never undertook any- 
thing merely because it came to her in prayer. For all 
that her Confessors told her that these things came from 
1 Gp. cit. pp. IgOC; Ig2C. Ig3 a . 
2 See Prof. W. James's admirable account of these irruptions in his 
Varieties of Religious Experience. 1902. pp. 231-237. 



PSYCHO-PHYSICAL AND TEMPERAMENTAL 49 


God, she never so thoroughly believed them that she could 
swear to it herself, though it did seem to her that they were 
spiritually safe, because of the effects thereof." 1 This doctrine 
is still the last word of wisdom in these matters. 
2. First special difficulty in testing ecstasies. 
Yet it is only at this last stage that two special difficulties 
occur, the one philosophical, the other moral. The philoso- 
phical difficulty is as follows. As long as the earlier stages 
are in progress, it is not difficult to understand that the soul 
may be gradually building up for herself a world of spiritual 
apprehensions, and a corresponding spiritual and moral char- 
acter, by a process which, looked at merely phenomenally 
and separately, appears as a simple case of mono-ideism and 
auto-suggestion, but which can and should be conceived, 
when studied in its ultimate cause and end, as due to the 
pressure and influence of God's spirit working in and 
through the spirit of man,-the Creator causing His own 
little human creature freely to create for itself some copy 
of and approach to its own eternally subsisting, substantial 
Cause and Crown. There the operation of such an under- 
lying Supreme Cause, and a consequent relation between 
the world thus conceived and built up by the human soul 
and the real world of the Divine Spirit, appears possible, 
because the things which the soul is thus made to suggest 
to itself are ideas, and because even these ideas are clearly 
recognized by the soul as only instruments and approaches 
to the realities for which they stand. But here, in 
this last stage, we get the suggestion, not of ideas, but of 
psycho-physical impressions, and these impressions are, ap- 
parently, not taken as but distantly illustrative, but as some- 
how one with the spiritual realities for which they stand. Is 
not, e. g., Catherine's joy at this stage centred precisely in the 
downright feeling, smelling, seeing, of ocean waters, penetrat- 
ing odours, all-enveloping light; and in the identification of 
those waters, odours, lights, with God Himself, so that God 
becomes at last an object of direct, passive, sensible per- 
ception ? Have we not then here a t last reached pure 
delusion? 
Not so, in proportion as the mystic is great and spiritual, 
and as he here still clings to the principles common to aU 
true religion. For, in proportion as he is and does this, will 
he find and regard the mind as deeper and more operative 
1 Life. written by Herself. pp. I90b; I96b; 224c; 295c; 4 I 3 b . 
VOL. II. E 



50 THE MYSTIGAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


than sense, and God's Spirit as penetrating and transcending 
both the one and the other. And hence he will (at least 
implicitly) regard those psycho-physical impressions as but 
sense-like and really mental; and he will consider this 
mental impression and projection as indeed produced by the 
presence and action of the Spirit within his mind or of the 
pressure of spiritual realities upon it, but willhold that this whole 
mental process, with these its spatial- and temporal-seeming 
embodiments, these sights and sounds, has only a relation 
and analogical likeness to, and is not and cannot be identical 
with, those realities of an intrinsically super-spatial, super- 
temporal order.-And thus here as everywhere, although here 
necessarily more than ever, we find again the conception of 
the Transcendent yet also Immanent Spirit, effecting in the 
human spirit the ever-increasing apprehension of Himself, 
accompanied in this spirit by an ever-keener sense of His 
incomprehensibility for all but Himself. And here again the 
truth, and more especially the divine origin of these appre- 
hensions, is tested and guaranteed on and on by the conse- 
quent deepening of that spiritual and ethical fruitfulness and 
death to self, which are the common aspirations of every 
deepest moment and every sincerest movement within the 
universal heart of man. 
Thus, as regards the mentality of these experiences, Cathe- 
rine constantly speaks of seeing" as though with the eyes of 
the body." And St. Teresa tells us of her visions with" the 
eyes of the soul "; of how at first she" did not know that it 
was possible to see anything otherwise than with the eyes of 
the body"; of how, in reality" she never," in her true visions 
and locutions, " saw anything with her bodily eyes, nor heard 
anything with her bodily ears"; and of how indeed she later 
on, on one occasion, " saw nothing with the eyes of the body, 
nothing with the eyes of the soul," -she" simply felt Christ 
close by her,"-evidently again with the soul. Thus, too, 
Gatherine tells us, that " as the intellect exceeds language, 
so does love exceed intellection"; and how vividly she feels 
that " all that can be said of God," compared to the great 
Reality, " is but tiny crumbs from the great Master's table." 1 
And, as to the inadequacy of these impressions, the class- 
ical authority on such things, St. John of the Cross, declares: 
U He that will rely on the letter of the divine locutions or on 
the intelligible form of the vision, will of necessity fall into 
I Vita. passim; Life. ed. cit. pp. 40. 4 I; 408; 206. Vita. pp. 87c. 77b. 



PSYCHO-PHYSICAL AND TEMPERAMENTAL 5I 


delusion; for he does not yield to the Spirit in detachment 
from sense." U He who shall give attention to these motes of 
the Spirit alone will, in the end, have no spirituality at all." 
U All visions, revelations, and heavenly feelings, and whatever 
is greater than these, are not worth the least act of humility, 
bearing the fruits of that charity which neither values nor 
seeks itself, which thinketh well not of self but of all others." 
Indeed (( virtue does not consist in these apprehensions. Let 
men then cease to regard, and labour to forget them, that 
they may be free." For (( spiritual supernatural knowledge 
is of two kinds, one distinct and special," which comprises 
U visions, revelations, locutions, and spiritual impressions" ; 
(( the other confused, obscure, and general," which U has but one 
form, that of contemplation which is the work of faith. The 
soul is to be led into this, by directing it thereto through all the 
rest, beginning with the first, and detaching it from them." 
Hence (( many souls, to whom visions have never come, are 
incomparably more advanced in the way of perfection than 
others to whom many have been given "; and (( they who are 
already perfect, receive these visitations of the Spirit of God 
in peace; ecstasies cease, for they were only graces to prepare 
them for this greater grace." Hence, too, (( one desire only 
doth God allow and suffer in His Presence: that of perfectly 
observing His law and of carrying the Cross of Christ. In the 
Ark of the Covenant there was but the Book of the Law, the 
Rod of Aaron, and the Pot of l\Ianna. Even so that soul, 
which has no other aim than the perfect observance of the 
Law of God and the carrying of the Cross of Christ, will be a 
true Ark containing the true Manna, which is God." And 
this perfected soul's intellectual apprehensions will, in their 
very mixture of light and conscious obscurity, more and more 
approach and forestall the eternal condition of the beatified 
soul. U One of the greatest favours, bestowed transiently on 
the soul in this Hfe, is to enable it to see so distinctly and to feel 
so profoundly, that it cannot comprehend Him at all. These 
souls are herein, in some degree, Jike the Saints in Heaven, 
where they who know Him most perfectly perceive most 
clearly that He is infinitely incomprehensible; for those who 
have the less clear vision do not perceive so distinctly as the 
others how greatly He transcends their vision." 1 
1 Ascent of Mount Carmel. ed. cit. pp. 159. 163; 264. 265. 102. 195: 
Spiritual Canticle. ed. cit. p. 238; Ascent. pp. 26. 27; Canticle. pp. 206. 
20 7. 



52 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


3. Second special difficulty in testing ecstasies. 
The second special difficulty is this. Have not at least 
some of the saints of this definitely ecstatic type shown more 
psycho-physical abnormality than spiritually fruitful origina- 
tion or utilization of such things, so that their whole life 
seems penetrated by a fantastic spirit? And have not many 
others, who, at their best, may not have been amenable to 
this charge, ended with shattered nerve- and will-power, with 
an organism apparently incapable of any further growth or 
use, even if we restrict our survey exclusively to strength- 
bringing ecstasy and to a contemplative prayer of some 
traceable significance? 
(I) As a good instance of the apparent predominance of 
psycho-physical and even spiritual strangeness, we can take the 
Venerable Sister Lukardis, Cistercian Nun of Ober-Weimar, 
born probably in 1276. Her life is published from a unique 
Latin MS. by the Bollandists (A nalecta, Va!. XVIII, pp. 305- 
367, Bruxelles, 1899), and presents us withamediaevallynaïve 
and strangely unanalytic, yet extraordinaril)l vivid picture of 
things actually seen by the writer. " Although," say the most 
competent editors, "we know not the name nor profession of the 
Author, whether he belonged to the Friars or to the Monks,1 
it is certain that he was a contemporary of Lukardis, that he 
knew her intimately, and that he learnt many details from her 
fellow-nuns. And though we shall be slow to agree with 
him when he ascribes all the strange things which she ex- 
perienced in her soul and body to divine influence, yet we 
should beware of considering him to be in bad faith. For, 
though he erred perchance in ascribing to a divine operation 
things which are simply the work of nature, such a vice is 
common amongst those who transmit such things." 2 I take 
the chief points in the order of their narration by the Vita. 
" Soon after Lukardis had, at twelve years of age, taken 
the Cistercian habit, her mother died," over twelve English 
miles away, at Edurt, yet Lukardis " saw the scene" in such 
detail (( in the spirit," that, when her sister came to tell her, 
she, Lukardis, " anticipated her with an account of the day, 
the place anp hour of the death, of the clothes then being 
worn by their mother, of the precise position of the bed and 
of the hospital, and of the persons present at the time." 
1 Two Confessors of hers are mentioned by her, Vita, p. 352: Fathers 
Henry of Mühlhausen, and Eberhard of the Friars Preachers. 
2 Analecta. loco cit. p. 310. 



PSYCHO-PHYSICAL AND TEMPERAMENTAL 53 


She soon suffered from U stone" in the bladder; II quartan, 
tertian, and continuous fevers," and from fainting fits; also 
from contraction of the muscles (nervi) of the hands, so that 
the latter were all but useless and could not even hold the 
staff on which she had to lean in walking, till they had been 
"tightly wrapped round in certain clothes." Yet (( she would, 
at times, strike her hands so vehemently against each other, 
that they resounded as though they had been wooden boards." 
" When lying in bed she would sometimes, as it were, plant 
her feet beneath her, hang her head down" backwards, "and 
raise her abdomen and chest, making thus, as it were, a highly 
curved arch of her person." Indeed sometimes " she would 
for a long while stand upon her head and shoulders, with her 
feet up in air, but with her garments adhering to her limbs, 
as though they had been sewn on to them." "Often, too, by 
day or night, she was wont to run with a most impetuous 
course ;-she understood that, by this her course, she was 
compensating Christ for His earthly course of thirty-three 
years." 1 
" On one occasion she had a vision of Christ, in which He 
said to her: 'Join thy hands to My hands, and thy feet to l\Iy 
feet, and thy breast to l\Iy breast, and thus shall I be aided 
by thee to suffer less.' And instantly she felt a most keen 
pain of wounds," in all three regions, " although wounds did 
not as yet appear to sight." But" as she bore the memory of 
the hammering of the nails in to Christ upon the Cross within 
her heart, so did she exercise herself in outward deed. For 
she was frequently wont, with the middle finger of one hand, 
impetuously to wound the other in the place appropriate to 
the stigmata; then to withdraw her finger to the distance of 
a cubit, and straightway again impetuously to wound herself. 
Those middle fingers felt hard like metal. And about the 
sixth and ninth hour she would impetuously \vound herself 
with her finger in the breast, at the appropriate place for the 
wound." -After about two years" Christ appeared to her in 
the night of Blessed Gregory, Pope" (St. Gregory VII, l\iay 
26 ?), (( pressed her right hand firmly in His, and declared, 
, I desire thee to suffer with 
Ie.' On her consenting, a wound 
instantly appeared in her right hand; about ten days later a 
wound in the left hand; and thus successively the five wounds 
were found in her body." "The wounds of the scourging 


1 Analecta. pp. 3 11 -3 1 3. 



54 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 
were also found upon her, of a finger's length, and having a 
certain hard skin around them." 1 
U At whiles she would lie like one dead throughout the day; 
yet her countenance was very attractive, owing to a wondrous 
flushed look. And even if a needle was pressed in to her 
flesh, she felt no pain."-u On one occasion she was carried 
upon her couch by two sisters into the Lady Chapel, to the 
very spot where her body now reposes. After having been 
left there alone for about an hour, the Blessed Virgin appeared 
to her, with her beloved Infant, Jesus, in her arms, and suckling 
Him. And Lukardis, contrary to the law of her strength"- 
she had, by now, been long confined to a reclining posture- 
It arose from her couch and began to stand upright. And at 
this juncture one of the Sisters opened the Chapel door a 
little, and, on looking in, marvelled at Lukardis being able 
to stand, but withdrew and forbade the other Sisters from 
approaching thither, since she feared that, if they saw her 
standing thus, they might declare her to be quite able, if she 
but chose, to arise and stand at any time. Upon the Blessed 
Virgin twice insisting upon being asked for some special 
favour, and Lukardis declaring, 'I desire that thou slake 
'my thirst with that same milk with which I now see thee 
suckling thy beloved Son,' the Blessed Virgin came up to 
her, and gave her to drink of her milk." And when later on 
Lukardis was fetched by the Sisters, she was" found reclining 
on her couch. And for three days and nights she took neither 
food nor drink, and could not see the light of day. And as a 
precaution, since her death was feared, Extreme Unction was 
administered to her. And, later on, the Sister who had seen 
her standing in the Chapel, gradually drew the whole story 
from her." 2 
" After she had lain, very weak, and, as it were, in a state 
of contracture, for eleven years, it happened that, about the 
ninth hour of one Good Friday, the natural bodily heat and 
colour forsook her; she seemed nowise to breathe; her wounds 
bled more than usual; she appeared to be dead. And her 
fellow-Sisters wept greatly. Yet about Vesper-time she opened 
her eyes and began to move; and her companions were 
wondrously consoled. And then in the Easter night, about 
the hour of Christ's Resurrection, as, with the other sick Sisters, 
she lay in her bed placed so as to be able to hear the Divine 


I Analeeta. pp. 314. 315. 


I Vita. loco cit. pp. 317. 3 1 9. 



PSYCHO-PHYSICAL AND TE1iPERAMENTAL 55 


Office, she felt all her limbs to be as it were suffused with a 
most refreshing dew. And straightway she saw stretched 
down to her from Heaven a hand, as it were of the Blessed 
Virgin, which stroked her wounds and all the painful places, 
the ligaments and joints of her members, gently and com- 
passionately. After which she straightway felt how that all 
her members, which before had for so long been severely con- 
tracted, and how the knots, formed by the ligaments (nervi), 
were being efficaciously resolved and equally distended, so 
tha t she considered herself freed from her hard bondage. She 
arose unaided from her couch, proceeded to the near-by 
entrance to the Choir, and prostrated herself there, in fervent 
orison, with her arms outstretched in cross-form, for a very 
long hour. And then, commanded by the Abbess to rise, 
she readily arose without help, stood with pleasure, and walked 
whithersoever she would." "A t all times she ever suffered 
more from the cold than any of her companions." 1 
"As, during those eleven years that she lay like one 
paralyzed, she was wont, on every Friday, to lie with her 
arms expanded as though on the Cross, and her feet one on 
the top of the other; so, after the Lord had so wonderfully 
raised her on that Paschal day, she, on every Friday and 
every Lenten day, would stand erect with her arms out- 
stretched, crosswise, and, without any support, on one foot 
only, with the other foot planted upon its fellow, from the 
hour of noon to that of Vespers." _It Whilst she was still un- 
cured, and required some delicate refection which the Convent 
could not afford, there came to her," one day, "the most 
loving Infant, bearing in His Hand the leg of a chicken, newly 
roasted, and begging her to eat it for His sake." She did so, 
and was wonderfully strengthened. Apparently late on in 
her life (( they procured, with much labour and diligence, all 
kinds of drinkables from different and even from distant places 
for her. But she, having tasted anyone of them, would 
straightway shake her head, close her lips, and then declare 
that she could not drink it up." "However delicious in itself, 
it seemed to be so much gall and wormwood when applied to 
her mouth." 2 
And if we look, not at se
mingly childish fantasticalness in 
certain mystical lives, but at the later state of shattered health 
and apparently weakened nerve- and will-power which appears 


1 Vita. pp. 319. 3 20 , 



 Ibid., loç, cit. pp. 3 2 7. 334. 35 2 . 



56 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 
so frequently to be the price paid for the definitely ecstatic 
type of religion, even where it has been spiritually fruitful, 
our anxiety is readily renewed. Look at the nine, possibly 
thirteen, last years of Catherine's, or at the last period of St. 
Margaret 1\Iary's life; note the similar cases of S5. Maria 
Magdalena de Pazzi and Juliana Falconieri. And we have 
a figure of all but pure suffering and passivity in St. 
Lidwina of Schiedam (1380-1433), over which 1\1:. Huysmans 
has managed to be so thoroughly morbid. 
(2) And if such lives strike us as too exceptional to be 
taken, with whatever deductions, as a case in point, we can find 
a thoroughly fair instance in the life of Father Isaac Hecker. 
Here we have a man of extraordinary breadth, solidity, and 
activity of mind and character, and whose mysticism is of the 
most sober and harmonious kind. Yet his close companion 
and most faithful chronicler, Father Walter Elliott, tells us : 
(( From severe colds, acute headaches, and weakness of the 
digestive organs, Father Hecker was at all times a frequent 
sufferer. But, towards the end of the year 1871, his headaches 
became much more painful, his appetite forsook him, and 
sleeplessness and excitability of the nervous system were 
added to his other ailments. Remedies of every kind were 
tried, but without permanent relief. By the summer of 1872 
he was wholly incapacitated." U The physical sufferings of 
those last sixteen" (out of the sixty-nine) C( years of his life 
were never such as to impair his mental soundness . . . 
though his organs of speech were sometimes too slow for his 
thoughts." His digestion and nervous system had been im- 
paired by excessive abstinence in early manhood, and by 
excessive work in later life, C( till at last the body struck work 
al together. During the sixteen years of his illness every 
symptom of bodily illness was aggravated by the least attention 
to community affairs or business matters, and also by interior 
trials," although he still managed, by heroic efforts, at times 
directly to serve his congregation and to write some remark- 
able papers. Yet this state continued, practically unbroken, 
up to the end, on December 22, 1888. 1 And although the 
various proximate causes, indicated by Father Elliott, had no 
doubt been operative here, there can, in view of the numerous 
similar cases, be no question that the most fundamental of 
the reasons of this general condition of health was his strongly 
1 The Life of Father Hecker. by the Rev. Walter Elliott. New York, 
1 8 94, pp. 37 1 . 37 2 . 4 18 . 



PSYCHO-PHYSICAL AND TEMPERAMENTAL 57 


mystical type and habit of mind and his corresponding 
psycho-physical organization. 
(3) In view of those fantasticalnesses and of these ex- 
haustions, we cannot but ask whether these things are not 
a terrible price to pay for such states? whether such states 
should not be disallowed by all solid morality, and should 
not prompt men of sense to try and stamp them out? And, 
above all, we seem placed once more, with added anxiety, 
before the question whether what is liable to end in such 
sad general incapacitation was not, from the first, directly 
productive of, and indeed simply produced by, some 
merely subjective, simply psycho-physical abnormality and 
morbidness? 
(4) Three points here call for consideration. Let us, for 
one thing, never forget that physical health is not the true 
end of human life, but only one of its most important means 
and conditions. The ideal man is not, primarily and directly, 
a physical machine, perfect as such in its development and 
function, to which would be tacked on, as a sort of concomitant 
or means, the mental, moral, and spiritual life and character. 
But the ideal man is precisely this latter life and character, 
with the psycho-physical organism sustained and developed 
in such, and only such, a degree, direction, and combination, 
as may make it the best possible substratum, stimulus, in- 
strument, material, and expression for and of that spiritual 
personality. 1 Hence, the true question here is not whether 
such a type of life as we are considering exacts a serious 
physical tribute or not, but whether the specifically human 
effects and fruits of that life are worth that cost. 
No one denies that mining, or warfare, or hospital work, 
both spiritual and medical, involve grave risks to life, nor that 
the preparation of many chemicals is directly and inevitably 
injurious to health. Yet no one thinks of abolishing such 
occupations or of blaming those who follow them, and 
rightly so; for instant death may and should be risked, 
the slow but certain undermining of the physical health 
may be laudably embarked on, if only the mind and character 
are not damaged, and if the end to be attained is found 


1 Robert Browning. in Rabbi Ben Ezra, viii; :Matthew Arnold, in 
Culture and Anarchy. 21; Prof. James Seth, in A Study of Ethical 
Principles, 1894, pp. 260-262; and Prof. Percy Gardner, in Oxford at the 
Cross Roads, 1903, pp. 12-14, have all admirably insisted upon this most 
important point. 



58 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


to be necessary or seriously helpful, and unattainable by 
other means. 
The simple fact, then, of frequent and subsequent, or even 
of universal and concomitant ill-health in such mystical cases, 
or even the proof of this ill-health being a direct consequence 
or necessary condition of that mystical life, can but push back 
the debate, and simply raises the question as to the serious 
value of that habit and activity. Only a decision adverse to 
that serious value would constitute those facts into a con- 
demnation of that activity itself. 
And, next, it must be plain to anyone endowed with an 
appreciable dose of the mystical sense, and with a sufficiently 
large knowledge of human nature and of religious apprehension 
in the past and present,-that, if it is doubtless possible quite 
erroneously to treat all men as having a considerable element 
of mysticism in them, and hence to strain and spoil souls 
belonging to one of the other types: it is equally possible to 
starve those that possess this element in an opera ti ve degree. 
Atrophy is as truly a malady as plethora. 
And here the question is an individual one: would that 
particular temperament and psycho-physical organism con- 
genial to Sister Lukardis, to Catherine Fiesca Adorna, to 
l\Iarguerite Marie Alacocque, and to Isaac Hecker, have- 
taking the whole existence and output together-produced 
more useful work, and have apprehended and presented more 
of abiding truth, had their ecstatic states or tendencies been, 
if possible, absent or suppressed? Does not this type of 
apprehension. this, as it were, incubation, harmonization, and 
vivifying of their otherwise painfully fragmentary and heavy 
impressions, stand out,-in their central, creative periods,-as 
the one thoroughly appropriate means and form of their true 
self-development and self-expression, and of such an appre- 
hension and showing forth of spiritual truth as to them,-to 
them and not to you and me,-was possible? And if we are 
bound to admit that, even in such cases, ecstasy appears, 
psycho-physically, as a kind of second state, and that these 
personalities find or regain their fullest joy and deepest 
strength only in and from such a state; yet we know too that 
such ecstasy is not, as in the trances of hysteria and of other 
functional disorders, simply discontinuous from the ordinary, 
primary state of such souls; and that,-again contrary to 
those 1naladij trances,-whenever the ecstasy answers to the 
tests insisted upon by the great mystics, viz. a true and 



PSYCHO-PHYSICAL AND TEMPERAMENTAL 59 


valuable ethico-spiritual content and effect, it also, in the long 
run, leaves the very body strengthened and improved. 
And if, after this, their productive period, some of these 
persons end by losing their psycho-physical health, it is far 
from unreasonable to suppose that the actual alternative to 
those ecstasies and this break-up, would, for then'l, have been 
a lifelong dreary languor and melancholy self-absorption, 
somewhat after the pattern of Catherine's last ten pre-con- 
version years. Thus for her, and doubtless for most of the 
spiritually considerable ecstatics, life was, taken all in all, 
indefinitely happier, richer, and more fruitful in religious truth 
and holiness, with the help of those ecstatic states, than it 
would have been if these states had been absent or could 
have been suppressed. 
And thirdly, here again, even from the point of view of 
psycho-physical health and its protection, it is precisely the 
actual practice and, as interpreted by it, the deepest sayings 
of the standard Christian mystics which are being most 
powerfully confirmed,-although necessarily by largely new 
reasons and with important modifications in the analysis and 
application of their doctrine,-by all that we have gained, 
during the last forty years, in definite knowledge of the 
psycho-physical regions and functions of human nature, and, 
during two centuries and more, in enlargement and precision 
of our religious-historical outlook. 
If we consider the specific health-dangers of this way, we 
shall find, I think, that their roots are ever two. These 
dangers, and with them the probability of delusion or at least 
of spiritual barrenness, always become actual, and often acute, 
the minute that we allow ourselves to attach a primary and 
independent importance to the psycho-physical form and 
means of these things, as against their spiritual-ethical con- 
tent, suggestions, and end; or that we take the whole man, 
or at least the whole of the religious man, to consist of the 
specifically mystical habits and life alone. Now the first of 
these dangers has been ceaselessly exposed and fought by 
all the great ethical and Christian mystics of the past, e. g. 
St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa; and the latter has 
been ever enforced by the actual practice, as social religion- 
ists, of these same m:ystics, even if and when some of their 
sayings, or the logical drift of their speculative system, left 
insufficient room or no intrinsic necessity and function for such 
things. 



60 THE 
IYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


(5) And everything that has happened and is happening in 
the world of psychological and philosophical research, in the 
world of historico-critical investigation into the past history 
and modalities of religion, and in the world of our own present 
religious experience and requirements, has but brought to 
light fresh facts, forces, and connections, in proof both of the 
right and irreplaceableness of the Mystical element in life and 
religion, and of the reality and constant presence of these its 
two dangers. For, as to these dangers, we now know, with 
extraordinary clearness and certainty, how necessary, constant 
and far-reaching is, on its phenomenal surface, the auto-sug- 
gestive, mono-ideistic power and mechanism of the mind; yet 
how easily, in some states, too much can be made of such 
vivid apprehensions and quasi-sensible imagings of invisible 
reality,-things admirable as means, ruinous as ends. And 
we also know, with an astonishing universality of application, 
how great a multiplicity in unity is necessarily presented by 
every concrete object and by every mental act and emotional 
state of every sane human being throughout every moment of 
his waking life; and how this unity is actually constituted 
and measured by the multiplicity of the materials and by the 
degree of their harmonization.-Hence, not the absence of 
the 
lystical element, but the presence both of it and of the 
other constituents of religion, will turn out to be the safeguard 
of our deepest life and of its sanity, a sanity which demands 
a balanced furness of the soul's three fundamental pairs of 
activities: sensible perception and picturing memory; re- 
flection, speculative and analytic; and emotion and volition, 
all issuing in interior and exterior acts, and these latter, again, 
providing so much fresh material and occasions for renewed 
action and for a growing unification in an increasing variety, 
on and on. 
The metaphysical and faith questions, necessarily raised by 
the phenomenal facts and mechanisms here considered, but 
which cannot be answered at this level, will be discussed in a 
later chapter. Here we can but once more point out, in con- 
clusion, that no amount of admitted or demonstrated auto- 
suggestion or mono-ideism in the phenomenal reaches and 
mechanism of the mind decides, of itself, anything whatsoever 
about, and still less against, the objective truth and spiritual 
value of the ultimate causes, dominant ideas, and final results 
of the process; nor as to whether and how far the whole 
great movement is, at botton1, occasioned and directed by the 



PSYCHO-PHYSICAL AND TEMPERAMENTAL 6I 


Supreme Spirit, God, working, in and through man, towards 
man's apprehension and manifestation of Himself.! 
1 I owe much clearness of conception as to the function of auto-sug- 
gestion and mono-ideism to the very remarkable paper of Prof. Emile 
Boutroux. .. La Psychologie du Mysticisme/' in the Bulletin de I'Institut 
Psychologique International. Paris. 1902, pp. 9-26: Engl. tr. in the 
International Journal 01 Ethics, Philadelphia. Jan. 1908. There are also 
many most useful facts and reflections in Prof. Henri Joly's Psychology 
oj the Saints. Engl. tr' lI 189 8 . pp. 64-117. 



CHAPTER X 


THE MAIN LITERARY SOURCES OF CATHERINE'S 
CONCEPTIONS 


INTRODUCTORY. 
I. The main literary sources of Catherine's teaching are four. 
The main literary sources of Gatherine's conceptions can be 
grouped under four heads: the New Testament, Pauline and 
Johannine writings; the Ghristian Neo-Platonist, Areopagite 
books; and the Franciscan, J acopone da Todi's teachings. 
And here, as in all cases of such partial dependence, we have 
to distinguish between the apparently accidental occasions 
(her seemingly fortuitous acquaintance with these particular 
writings), and the certainly necessary causes (the intrinsic 
requirements of her own mind and soul, and its special 
reactions under, and transformations of, these materials and 
stimulations). And during this latter process this mind's 
original trend itself undergoes, in its turn, not only much 
development, but even some modification. She would no 
doubt owe her close knowledge of the first two sets of writ- 
ings to the Augustinian Ganonesses, (her sister Limbania 
amongst them,) and to their Augustinian-Pauline tradition; 
her acquaintance with the third set, to her Dominican cousin; 
and her intimacy with the fourth, to the Franciscans of the 
Hospital. Yet only her own spiritual affinity for similar 
religious states and ideals, and her already at least partial 
experience of them, could ever have made these writings to 
her what they actually became: direct stimulations, indeed 
considerable elements and often curiously vivid expressions, 
of her own immediate interior life. 
2. Plan of the following st'ltdy of these sources. 
I shall, in this chapter, first try to draw out those character- 
istics of each group, which were either specially accepted or 
transformed, neglected or supplanted by her, and carefully to 
note the particular nature of these her reactions and refashion- 
62 



SOURCES OF CATHERINE'S CONCEPTIONS 63 


ings. And I shall end up by a short account of what she 
and all four sets have got in common, and of what she has 
brought, as a gift of her own, to that common stock which had 
given her so much. And since her distinct and direct use of 
the Pauline and Johanninewritings:is quite certain, whereas all 
her knowledge of Neo-Platonism seems to have been mediated 
by pseudo-Dionysius alone, and all her Franciscanism appears, 
as far as literary sources go, to take its rise from jacopone, I 
shall give four divisions to her chief literary sources, and a 
fifth section to the stream common to them an.! 


I. THE PAULINE WRITINGS: THE Two SOURCES OF 
THEIR PRE-CONVERSION ASSUMPTIONS; GATHERINE'S 
PREPONDERANT ATTITUDE TOWARDS EACH POSITION. 
It is well that the chronological order requires us to begin 
with St. Paul, for he is probably, if not the most extensive, 
yet the most intense of all these influences upon Catherine's 
mind. I here take the points of his experience and teaching 
which thus concern us in the probable order of their develop- 
ment in the Apostle's own consciousness,-his pre-conversion 
assumptions and positions, first, and the convictions gained 
at and after his conversion or clarified last; 2 and under each 
heading I shall group together, once for all, the chief reactions 
of Catherine's religious consciousness. 
Now those Pauline pre-conversion assumptions and positions 
come from two chief sources-Palestinian, Rabbinical j udaism 
(for he was the disciple of the Pharisee, Gamaliel, at Jerusalem), 
and a Hellenistic religiousness closely akin to, though not 
derived from, Philo (for he had been born in the intensely 
Hellenistic Cilician city Tarsus, at that time a most im- 
portant seat of Greek learning in general and of the Stoic 
philosophy in particular). And we shall find that Catherine 


1 In Chapter XII. 
 iv. I shall show reason for strongly suspecting 
that Catherine possessed some knowledge. probably derived from an 
intermediate Christian source. of certain passages in Plato's Dialogues. 
But the influence of these passages can. in any case. only be traced in 
her Purgatorial doctrine, and had better be discussed together with this 
doctrine itself. 
I My chief obligations are here to Prof. H. J. Holtzmann's Lehrbuch 
de,. Neutestamentlichen Theologie. 1897. Vol. II. pp. 1- 22 5: II Der 
Paulinismus ..; but I have also learnt from Estius and Dr. Lightfoot. 
and from my own direct studies in St. Paul. Philo. and Plato. 



64 THE MYSTIGAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


appropriates especially this, his Hellenistic element; indeed, 
that at times she sympathizes rather with the still more 
intensely Hellenistic attitude exemplified by Philo, than 
with the limitations introduced by St. Paul. 
I. St. Paul's A nthropology in general. 
If we take the Pauline Anthropology first, we at once 
come upon a profoundly dualistic attitude. 
(1) There is, in general, U the outer" and U the inner" man, 
2 Cor. iv, 16; and the latter is not the exclusive privilege 
of the redeemed,-the contrast is that between the merely 
natural individual and the moral personality. And this con- 
trast, foreign to the ancient Hebrews, is first worked out, with 
clear consciousness, by Plato, who, e. g., in his Banquet, causes 
one of the characters to say: U Socrates has thrown this 
Silenus-like form around himself externally, as in the case of 
those Silenus-statues which enclose a statuette of Apollo; but, 
when he is opened, how full is he found to be of temperance 
within" ; and who treats this contrast as typical of the dualism 
inherent to all human life here on earth. 1 -This contrast 
exists throughout Catherine's teaching as regards the thing 
itself, although her terms are different. She has, for reasons 
which will appear presently, no one constant term for U the 
inner man," but H the outer man" is continuously styled H la 
umanità. " 
(2) The H outer man " consists for St. Paul of the body's earthly 
material, H the flesh "; and of the animating principle of the 
flesh, H the psyche," which is inseparably connected with that 
flesh, and which dies for good and all at the death of the 
latter; whereas the form of" the body" is capable of resuscita- 
tion, and is then filled out by a finer material, H glory." 2_ 
Here Catherine has no precise or constant word for the 
(( psyche" ; her H ulnanità " generally stands for the It psyche" 
Plus body and flesh, all in one; and her H anima" practically 
always means part or the whole of It the inner man," and 
mostly stands for U mind." And there is no occasion for her 
to reflect upon any distinction between the form and the 
matter of the body, since she nowhere directly busies herself 
with the resurrection. 
The U inner man " consists for St. Paul in the Mind, the 
Heart, and the Conscience. The Mind (noûs), corresponding 
roughly to our theoretical and practical Reason, has a certain 
tendency towards God: It The invisible things of God are 
1 Symposium. 216e. J I Cor. xv. 35-53. 



SOURCES OF CA THERINE'S CONCEPTIONS 6S 


seen by the mind in the works of creation," Rom. i, 20; and 
there is (( a law of the mind" which is fought by U the law of 
sin," Rom. vii, 23; and this, although there is also a U mind 
of the flesh," Co1. ii, 18; U a reprobate mind," Rom. i, 28; 
and a (( renovation of the mind," Rom. xii, 2.-Catherine 
clings throughout most closely to the Pauline use of the term, 
as far as that use is favourable: note how she perceives 
invisible things U colla mente mia." 
The Heart is even more accessible to the divine influence,- 
at least, it is to it that God gives U the first fruits of the Spirit 17 
and U the Spirit of His Son, crying Abba, Father," Gal. iv, 6; 
2 Cor. i, 22. As an organ of immediate perception it is so 
parallel to the Mind, that we can hear of U eyes of the heart" ; 
yet it is also the seat of feeling, of will, and of moral conscious- 
ness, Eph. i, 18; 2 Cor. ii, 4; I Cor. iv, 5; Rom. ii, 15. It 
can stand for the inner life generally; or, like the Mind, it 
can become darkened and impenitent; whilst again, over the 
heart God's love is poured out, God's peace keeps guard, and 
we believe with the heart, I Cor. xiv, 25; Rom. i, 21; ii, 5; 
v, 5; Phil. iv, 7; Rom. x, g.-All this again, as far as it is 
fa vourable, is closely followed by Catherine; indeed the per- 
sistence with which she comes back to certain effects wrought 
upon her heart by the Spirit, Christ,-effects which some of 
her followers readily interpreted as so many physical miracles, 
-was no doubt occasioned or stimulated by 2 Cor. iii, 3, U Be 
ye an epistle of Christ, written by the Spirit of the living 
God . . . upon the fleshly tables of the heart." 
And Conscience, U Syneidesis "-that late Greek word intro- 
duced by St. Paul as a technical term into the Christian 
vocabulary-includes our U conscience," but is as compre- 
hensive as our U consciousness." -Catherine practically never 
uses the term: no doubt because, in the narrower of the two 
senses which had become the ordinary one, it was too 
predominantly ethical to satisfy her overwhelmingly religious 
preoccupa tions. 
(3) Now, with regard to this whole dualism of the (( outer" 
and the U inner man," its application to the resurrection of 
the body in St. Paul and in St. Catherine shall occupy us in 
connection with her Eschatology; here I would but indicate 
the two Pauline moods or attitudes towards the earthly body, 
and Catherine's continuous reproduction of but one of these. 
For his magnificent conception of the Christian society, 
in which each person, by a different specific gift and duty, 
VOL.li. F 



66 THE 1IYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


co-operates towards the production of an organic whole, a whole 
which in return develops and dignifies those its constituents, 
is worked out by means of the image of the human 
earthly body, in which each member is a necessary part 
and constituent of the complete organism, which is greater 
than, and which gives full dignity to, each and all these its 
factors (I Cor. xii). And he thus, in his most deliberate and 
systematic mood, shows very clearly how deeply he has 
realized the dignity of the human body, as the instrument 
both for the development of the soul itself and for the work 
of that soul in and upon the visible world. 
But in his other mood, which remains secondary and 
sporadic throughout his writings, his attitude is acutely 
dualistic. His one direct expression of it occurs in 2 Cor. 
v, 1-4: (( For we know that, if our earthly house of this tent 
be dissolved, we have a building of God,.a house not made 
with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this also we groan, 
desiring to be clothed upon with our habitation that is from 
heaven. We who are in this tabernacle do groan, being 
l?urthened." Now this passage is undoubtedly modelled by 
St. Paul upon the Book of Wisdom, ix, IS: (( For the cor- 
ruptible body is a load upon the soul, and the earthly 
habitation presseth down the mind that museth upon many 
things.'" And this latter saying again is as certainly formed 
upon Plato (Phaedo, 81 c): II It behoves us to think of the 
body as oppressive ånd heavy and earthlike and visible. And 
hence the soul, being of such a nature as we have seen, when 
possessing such a body, is both burthened and dragged down 
again into the visible world." 1 And it is this conception of 
the Hellenic Athenian Plato (about 380 B.C.) which, passing 
through the Hellenistic Alexandrian Jewish Wisdom-writer 
(80 B.C. ?) and then through the Hellenistically tinctured ex- 
Rabbi, Paul of Tarsus (52 A.D.), still powerfully, indeed all but 
continuously, influences the mind of the Genoese Christian 
Catherine" especially during the years from A.D. 1496 to 
ISla. 
Catherine's still more pessimistic figure of the body as a 
prison-house and furnace of purification for the soul, is no 
doubt the resultant of suggestions received, probably in part 
through intermediary literature, from the following three 


1 E. Grafe. "Verhä1tniss der paulinischen Schriften zur Sapientia 
Salomonis:. in Theol. Abhandlungen Carl von Weizsãcker Gew'z"dmet. 
1892. pp. 274-276. 



SOURGES OF CATHERINE'S CONCEPTIONS 67 
passages :-(I) Plato, in his Cratylus (400 B.C.), makes Socrates 
say: U Some declare that the body (sõma) is the grave (së111a) 
of the soul, as she finds herself at present. The Orphite 
poets seem to have invented the appellation: they held that 
the soul is thus paying the penalty of sin, and that the body 
is an enclosure which may be likened to a prison, in which 
the soul is enclosed until the penalty is paid." (2) St. 
Matt. v, 25, 26, gives Our Lord's words: It Be thou re- 
conciled with thine adversary whilst he is still with thee on 
the way. . . lest the Judge hand thee over to the prison- 
warder, and thou be cast into prison. . . . Thou shalt not go 
forth thence, until thou hast paid the uttermost farthing." 
And (3) St. Paul declares, I Cor. iii, IS: (( Every man's work 
shall be tested by fire. If any man's work shall be burned, 
he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so 
as through fire." These three passages combined will readily 
suggest, to a soul thirsting for purification and possessed of 
an extremely sensitive psycho-physical organization with i 
attendant liability to fever heats, the picture of the bod
 as, 
a flame-full prison-house,-a purgatory of the soul. ; 
_ _ 
2. St. Paul's conception of (( Spirit. JJ 7í II ."A..... 
A very difficult complication and varying element,.l' . . 
introduced into St. Paul's Anthropology by the terII:1 in INn' C.,' 
which he has poured all that is most original, deepest;
 most
 
deliberate and abiding in his teaching,-the Spirit, (( Pneuma." 
For somewhat as he uses the term (( Sarx," the flesh, both in its 
loose popular signification of (( mankind in general "; and in 
a precise, technical sense of (( the matter which composes the 
earthly body" ; so also he has, occasionally, a loose popular use 
of the term (( spirit," when it figures as but a fourth parallel 
to (( mind," (( heart," and (( conscience"; and, usually, a very 
strict and technical use of it, when it designates the Spirit, 
God Himself. 
(I) Now it is precisely in the latter case that his doctrine 
attains its fullest depth and its greatest difficulty. For here 
the Spirit, the Pneuma, is, strictly speaking, only one-the 
Spirit of God, God Himself, in His action either outside or 
inside the human mind, N oûs. And in such passages of St. 
Paul, where man seems to possess a distinct pneuma of his 
own, by far the greater number only apparently contradict 
this doctrine. For in some, so in I Cor. ii, the context is 
dominated by a comparison between the divine and the 
human consciousness" so that" in v. II, man's Noûs is 



68 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


designated Pneuma, and in v. 16, and Rom. xi, 34, the Lord's 
Pneuma is called His N oûs. And the U spirit of the world " 
contrasted here, in v. II, with the U Spirit of God," is a still 
further deliberate laxity of expression, similar to that of 
Satan as U the God of this world," 2 Cor. iv, 4. In other 
passages,-so Rom. viii, 16; i, 9; viii, 10, and even in 1 Cor. 
v, 5 (the U spirit" of the incestuous Corinthian which is to be 
saved),-we seem to have U spirit" either as the mind in so far 
as the object of the Spirit's communications, or as the mind 
transformed by the Spirit's influence. And if we can hear of 
a U defilement of the spirit," 2 Cor. vii, I, we are also told 
that we can forget the fact of the body being the temple of 
the holy Spirit, I Cor. vi, 19; and that this temple's profana- 
tion U grieves the holy Spirit," Eph. iv, 30. Very few, sporadic, 
and short passages remain in which It the spirit of man" 
cannot clearly be shown to have a deliberately derivative 
sense. 
Catherine, in this great matter, completely follows S1. Paul. 
For she too has loosely-knit moods and passages, in which 
U spirito" appears as a natural endowment of her own, 
parallel to, or identical with, the U mente." But when 
speaking strictly, and in her intense moods, she means by 
II spirito," the Spirit, Christ, Love, God, a Power which, though 
in its nature profoundly distinct and different from her entire 
self-seeking self, can and does come to dwell within, and to 
supplant, this self. Indeed her highly characteristic saying, 
(( my Me is God," with her own explanations of it, expresses, 
if pressed, even more than this. In these moods, the term 
(( mente" is usually absent, just as in St. Paul. 
Now in his formally doctrinal Loci, St. Paul defines the 
Divine Pneuma and the human Sarx, not merely as ontologic- 
ally contrary substances, but as keenly conflicting, ethically 
contradictory principles. An anti-spiritual power, lust, 
possesses the flesh and the whole outer man, whilst, in an 
indefinitely higher degree and manner, the Spirit, which finds 
an echo in the mind, the inner man, is a spontaneous, counter- 
working force; and these two energies fight out the battle in 
man, and for his complete domination, Rom. vi, 12-14; vii, 
22, 23; viii, 4- 1 3. And this dualistic conception is in close 
affinity to all that was noblest in the Hellenistic world of S1. 
Paul's own day; but is in marked contrast to the pre-exilic, 
specifically Jewish Old Testament view, where we have but 
the contrast between the visible and transitory, and the 



SOURCES OF CATHERINE'S CONCEPTIONS 69 


Invisible and Eternal; and the consciousness of the weakness 
and fallibility of " flesh and blood." And this latter is the 
temper of mind that dominates the Synoptic Gospels: "The 
spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak"; and" Father, 
forgive them, for they know not what they do," are here the 
divinely serene and infinitely fruitful leading notes.-And 
Catherine, on this point, is habitually on the Synoptist side: 
man is, for her, far more weak and ignorant than forcibly and 
deliberately wicked. Yet her detailed intensity towards the 
successive cloaks of self-love is still, as it were, a shadow and 
echo of the fierce, and far more massive, flesh-and-spirit 
struggle in St. Paul. 
3. The Angry and the Loving God. 
And, as against the intense wickedness of man, we find in 
St. Paul an emphatic insistence-although this is directly 
derived from the Old Testament and Rabbinical tradition- 
upon the anger and indignation of God, Rom. ii, 8, and 
frequently.-Here Gatherine is in explicit contrast with him, 
in so far as the anger would be held to stand for an emotion 
not proceeding from love and not ameliorative in its aim and 
operation. This attitude sprang no doubt, in part, from the 
strong influence upon her of the Dionysian teaching concerning 
the negative character of evil; possibly still more from her 
continuous pondering of the text, " Like as a father pitieth 
his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him. 
For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we 
are dust," Ps. ciii, 13, 14,-where she dwells upon the fact 
that we are all His children rather than upon the fact that 
we do not all fear Him; but certainly, most of an, from 
her habitual dwelling upon the other side of St. Paul's 
teaching, that concerning the Love of God. 
Now the depth and glow of Paul's faith and love go 
clearly back to his conversion, an event which colours and 
influences all his feeling and teaching for some thirty- four 
years, up to the end. And similarly Catherine's conversion- 
experience has been found by us to determine the sequence 
and all the chief points of her Purgatorial teaching, some 
thirty-seven years after that supreme event. 
Already Philo had, under Platonic influence, believed in an 
Ideal Man, a Heavenly l\lan; had identified him with the 
Logos, the Word or Wisdom of God; and had held him to be 
in some way ethereal and luminous,-never arriving at either 
a definitely personal or a simply impersonal conception of 


. 



70 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 
this at one time intermediate Being, at another time this 
supreme attribute of God. St. Paul, under the profound 
impression of the Historic Christ and the great experience on 
the road to Damascus, perceives the Risen, Heavenly Jesus as 
possessed of a luminous, ethereal body, a body of " glory," 
Acts xxii, II. And this Christ is, for St. Paul, identical with 
" the Spirit" : "the Lord is the Spirit," 2 Cor. iii, 17; and" to 
be in Christ " and " Christ is in us " are parallel terms to those 
of " to be in the Spirit" and" the Spirit is within us " respect- 
ively. In an four cases we get Christ or the Spirit conceived 
as an element, as it were an ocean of ethereal light, in which 
souls are plunged and which penetrates them. In Catherine 
we have, at her conversion, this same perception and con- 
ception of Spirit as an ethereal light, and of Christ as Spirit; 
and up to the end she more and more appears to herself to 
bathe, to be submerged in, an ocean of light, which, at the 
same time, fills her within and penetrates her through and 
through. 
But again, and specially since his conversion, St. Paul 
thinks of God as loving, as Love, and this conception hence- 
forth largely supplants the Old Testament conception of the 
angry God. This loving God is chiefly manifested through 
the loving Christ: indeed the love of Christ and the love of 
God are the same thing. And this Christ-Love dwells within 
us. 1 And Catherine, since her mind has perceived Love to 
be the central character of God, and has adopted fire as love's 
fullest image, cannot but hold,-God and Love and Christ 
and Spirit being all one and the same thing,-that Christ- 
Spirit-Fire is in her and she in It. The yellow light-image, 
which all but alone typifies God's friend1iness in the Bible, is 
thus turned into a red fire-image. And yet this latter in so 
far retains with Catherine something of its older connotation 
of anger, that the Fire and Heat appear in her teaching more 
as symbols of the suffering caused by the opposition of man's 
at least partial impurity to the Spirit, Christ, Love, God, and 
of the pain attendant upon that Spirit's action, even where it 
can still purify; whereas the Light and Illumination mostly 
express the peaceful penetration of man's spirit by God's 
Spirit, and the blissful gain accruing from such penetration. 


1 II The love of Christ'" Rom. viii, 35, is identical with" the love of 
God which is in Christ] eSTIs," Rom. viii, 39. .. The Spirit of God dwelleth 
in you," Rom. viii, 9; 1 Cor. iii. 16. .. I live, not I: but Christ liveth 
in me," Gal. ii. 20. 



SOURCES OF CATHERINE'S CONCEPTIONS 71 
4. The Risen Christ and the Heavenly Adam. 
St. Paul dwells continuously upon the post-earthly, the 
Risen Christ, and upon Him in His identity with the pre- 
earthly, the Heavenly Man: so that the historical Jesus tends 
to become, all but for the final acts in the Supper-room and 
upon the Cross, a transitory episode ;-a super-earthly bio- 
graphy all but supplants the earthly one, since His death and 
resurrection and their immediate contexts are all but the 
only two events dwelt upon, and form but the two constituents 
of one inseparable whole.-Here Catherine is deeply Pauline 
in her striking non-occupation with the details of the earthly 
life (the scene with the Woman at the Well being the single 
exception), and in her continuous insistence upon Christ as 
the life-giving Spirit. Indeed, even the death is strangely 
absent. There is but the one doubtful contrary instance, in 
any case a quite early and sporadic one, of the Vision of the 
Bleeding Christ. The fact is that, in her teaching, the self- 
donation of God in general, in His mysterious love for each 
individual soul, and of Christ in particular, in His Eucharistic 
presence as our daily food, take all their special depth of 
tenderness from her vivid realization of the whole teaching, 
temper, life, and death of Jesus Christ; and that teaching 
derives its profundity of feeling only from all this latter 
complexus of facts and convictions. 
5. Reconciliation, Justification, Sanctification. 
(I) St. Paul has two lines of thought concerning Reconcilia- 
tion. In the objective, juridical, more Judaic conception, the 
attention is concentrated on the one moment of Christ's 
death, and the consequences appear as though instantaneous 
and automatic; in the other, the subjective, ethical, more 
Hellenistic conception, the attention is spread over the whole 
action of the Christ's incamational self-humiliation, and the 
consequences are realized only if and when we strive to 
imitate Him.-they are a voluntary and continuous process. 
Catherine's fundamental conversion-experience and all her 
later teachings attach her Reconciliation to the entire act of 
ceaseless Divine" ecstasy," self-humiliation, and redemptive 
immanence in Man, of which the whole earthly life and death 
of Christ are the centre and culmination; but though the 
human soul's corresponding action is conceived as continuous, 
once it has begun, she loves to dwell upon this whole action as 
itself the gift of God and the consequence of His prevenient act. 
(2) As to Justification, we have again, in St. Paul, a pre- 



72 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 
ponderatingly Jewish juridical conception of adoption, in 
which a purely vicarious justice and imputed righteousness 
seem to be taught; and an ethical conception of immanent 
justice, based on his own experience and expressed by means 
of Hellenistic forms, according to which" the love of God hath 
been shed abroad in our hearts," Rom. v, 5. And he often 
insists strenuously upon excluding every human merit from 
the moment and act of justification, insisting upon its being a 
" free gift" of God.-Catherine absorbs herself in the second, 
ethical conception, and certainly understands this love of God 
as primarily God's, the Spirit's, Christ's love, as Love Itself 
poured out in our hearts; and she often breaks out into angry 
protests against the very suggestion of any act, or part of an 
act, dear to God, proceeding from her natural or separate self, 
indeed, if we press her expressions, from herself at all. 
(3) As to Sanctification, St. Paul has three couples of con- 
trasted conceptions. The first couple conceives the Spirit, 
either Old Testament-wise, as manifesting and accrediting 
Itself in extraordinary, sudden, sporadic, miracwous gifts 
and doings-e. g. in ecstatic speaking with tongues; or,-and 
this is the more frequent and the decisive conception,-as an 
abiding, equable penetration and spiritual reformation of its 
recipient. Here the faithful" live and walk in the spirit," are 
"driven by the spirit," "serve God in the spirit," are" temples 
of the Spirit," Gal. v, 25; Rom. viii, I4; vii, 6; I Cor. vi, I9 : 
the Spirit has become the creative source of a supernatural 
character-building.1-Here Catherine, in contrast to most of 
her friends, who are wedded to the first view, is strongly 
attached to the second view, perhaps the deepest of St. Paul's 
conceptions. 
The second couple conceives Sanctification either juridically 
and moves dramatically from act to act,-the Sacrifice on the 
Cross and the Resurrection of the Son of God, the sentence 
of Justification and the Adoption as sons of God; or ethically, 
and presupposes everywhere continuous processes,-beginning 
with the reception of the Spirit, and ending with" the Lord 
is the Spirit."-Here Catherine has curiously little of the 
dramatic and prominently personal conception: only in the 
imperfect soul's acutely painful moment, of standing before 
and seeing God immediately after death, do we get one link 
in this chain, in a somewhat modified form. For the rest, 


1 JI. J. Holtzmann, op, cit. Vol. II. p. 145. 



SOURGES OF CATHERINE'S CONCEPTIONS 73 


the ethical and continuous conception is present practically 
throughout her teaching, but in a curious, apparently para- 
doxical form, to be noticed in a minute. 
And the third couple either treats Sanctification as, at each 
moment of its actual presence, practically infallible and com- 
plete: II We who died to sin, how shall we any longer live 
therein?" II Freed from sin, ye became servants of 
righteousness"; "now we are discharged from the law, 
having died, to that wherein we were beholden; so that we 
serve in newness of spirit"; II they that are after the flesh, 
do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after 
the Spirit, the things of the Spirit," Rom. vi, 2, 18; vii, 
6; viii,S. Or it considers Sanctification as only approxi- 
mately complete, so long as man has to live here below, not 
only in the Spirit, Rom. viii, 9, but also in the flesh, Gal. ii, 20. 
The faithful have indeed crucified the flesh once for all, 
Gal. v, 24: yet they have continually to mortify their members 
anew, Col. iii, 5, and by the Spirit to destroy the works of the 
flesh, Rom. viii, 13. The" fear of the Lord," " of God," does 
not cease to be a motive for the sanctified, 2 Cor. v, II; vii, I. 
To " walk in the Spirit," U in the light," has to be insisted on 
(I Thess. v, 4-8; Rom. xiii, 11-14), as long as the eternal day 
has not yet arisen for us. And even in Romans, chapter vi, 
we find admonitions, vv. 12, 13, 19, which, if we press the 
other conception, are quite superfluous.! 
And here Catherine, in her intense sympathy with each of 
these contrasted conceptions, offers us a combination of both 
in a state of unstable equilibrium and delicate tension. I take 
it that it is not her immensely impulsive and impatient 
temperament, nor survivals of the Old Testament idea as to 
instantaneousness being the special characteristic of divine 
action, but her deep and noble sense of the givenness and 
pure grace of religion, and of God's omnipotence being, if 
possible, exceeded only by His overflowing,self-communicative 
love, which chiefly determine her curious presentation and 
emotional experience of spiritual growth and life as a move- 
ment composed of sudden shiftings upwards, with long 
apparently complete pauses in between. For here this form 
(of so many instants, of which each is complete in itself) stands 
for her as the least inadequate symbol, as a kind of shattered 
mirror, not of time at all, but of eternity; whilst the succession 
and difference between these instants indicates a growth in 
J Holt.zmann, Ope cit. Vol. II. pp. 15 1 . 152. 


, 



74 THE MYSTICAL ELEMEi
T OF RELIGION 
the apprehending soul, which has, in reality, been proceeding 
also in between these instants and not only during them. 
And this remarkable scheme presents her conviction that, 
in principle, the work of the all-powerful, all-loving Spirit 
cannot, of itself, be other than final and complete, and yet 
that, as a matter of fact, it never is so, in weak, self-deceptive, 
and variously resisting man, but ever turns out to require a 
fresh and deeper application. And this succession of sudden 
jerks onwards and upwards, after long, apparently complete 
pauses bet\veen them, gives to her fundamentally ethical and 
continuous conception something of the look of the forensic, 
dramatic series, with its separate acts,-a series which would 
otherwise be all but unrepresented in her picture of the soul's 
life on this side of death and of its life (immediately after its 
vivid sight of God and its-elf, and its act of free-election) in 
the Beyond. 
6. Pauline Social Ethics. 
As to Social Ethics, St. Paul's worldward movement is 
strongly represented in Catherine's teaching. Her great 
sayings as to God being servable not only in the married 
state, but in a camp of (mercenary) soldiers; and as to her 
determination violently to appropriate the monk's cowl, 
should this his state be necessary to the attainment of the 
highest love of God, are full of the tone of Rom. xiv, 14, 20, 
" nothing is unclean of itself: save that to him who accounteth 
anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean,"-" all things 
are clean"; and of I Cor. x, 26, 28, " the earth is the Lord's, 
and the fulness thereof." And her sense of her soul's positive 
relation to nature, e. g. trees, was no doubt in part awakened 
by that striking passage, Rom. viii, 19, " the expectation of 
the creation waiteth the revealing of the sons of God; for 
the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will." 
On the other hand, it would be impossible confidently to 
identify her own attitude concerning marriage with that of 
St. Paul, since, as we know, her peculiar health and her 
unhappiness \vith Giuliano make it impossible to speak here 
with any certainty of the mature woman's deliberate judgment 
concerning continence and marriage. Yet her impulsive 
protestation, in the scene with the monk, against any idea of 
being debarred by her state from as perfect a Jove of God as 
his,-\vhilst, of course, not in contradiction with the Pauline 
and generally Catholic positions in the matter, seems to 
imply an emotional attitude some\vhat different from that 



SOURCES OF CATHERINE'S CONCEPTIONS 75 
of some of the Apostle's sayings. Indeed, in her whole 
general and unconscious position as to how a woman should 
hold herself in religious things it is interesting to note the 
absence of all influence from those Pauline sayings which, 
herein like Philo (and indeed the whole ancient world) treat 
man alone as " the (direct) image and glory (reflex) of God," 
and the woman as but" the glory (reflex) of the man," I Cor. 
xi, 7. Everywhere she appears full, on the contrary, of St. 
Paul's other (more characteristic and deliberate) strain, ac- 
cording to which, as there is " neither] ew nor Gentile, bond 
nor free" before God, so " neither is the woman without the 
man, nor the man without the woman, in the Lord," I Cor. 
xi, II.-And in social matters generally, Catherine's convert 
life and practice shows, in the active mortifications of its first 
penitential part, in her persistent great aloofness from all 
things of sense as regards her own gratification, and in the 
ecstasies and love of solitude which marked the zenith of her 
power, a close sympathy with, and no doubt in part a direct 
imitation of, St. Paul's Arabian retirement, chastisement of 
his body, and lonely concentration upon rapt communion 
with God. Yet she as strongly exemplifies St. Paul's other, 
the outward movement, the love-impelled, whole-hearted 
service of the poorest, world-forgotten, sick and sorrowing 
brethren. And the whole resultant rhythmic life has got 
such fine spontaneity, emotional and efficacious fulness, 
and expansive joy about it, as to suggest at once those 
unfading teachings of St. Paul which had so largely occasioned 
it,-those hymns in praise of that love" which minds not high 
things but condescends to things that are lowly," Rom. xii, 
16; "becomes all things to all men," I Cor. ix, 22; "rejoices 
with them that rejoice, and weeps with them that weep," 
Rom. xii, IS; and which, as the twin love of God and man, 
is not only the chief member of the central ethical triad, but, 
already here below, itself becomes the subject which exercises 
the other two virtues, for it is "love "that" believeth all 
things, hopeth all things," even before that eternity in 
which love alone will never vanish away, ibid. xiii, 7
 8 . 
Here Catherine with Paul triumphs completely over time: 
their actions and teaching are as completely fresh now, 
after well-nigh nineteen and four centuries, as when they 
first experienced, willed, and uttered theine 
7. Sacral1zeJltal teachings. 
In Sacramental matters it is interesting to note St. Paul's 



7 6 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 
close correlation of Baptism and the Holy Eucharist: II All 
(our fathers) were baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in 
the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all 
drink the same spiritual drink," I Cor. x, 3; "in one Spirit 
were we all baptized into one body, . . . and were all made to 
drink of one Spirit," Christ, His blood, ibid. xii, 13. And 
Catherine is influenced by these passages, when she represents 
the soul as hungering for, and drowning itself in, the ocean of 
spiritual sustenance which is Love, Christ, God: but she 
attaches the similes, which are distributed by St. Paul among 
the two Rites, to the Holy Eucharist alone. Baptism had 
been a grown man's deliberate act in Paul's case,-an act 
immediately subsequent to, and directly expressive of, his 
conversion, the culminating experience of his life; and, as 
a great Church organizer, he could not but dwell with an 
equal insistence upon the two chief Sacraments. 
Catherine had received baptism as an unconscious infant, 
and the event lay far back in that pre-conversion time, which 
was all but completely ousted from her memory by the great 
experience of some twenty-five years later. And in the latter 
experience it was (more or less from the first and soon 
all but exclusively) the sense of a divine encirclement and 
sustenance, of an addition of love, rather than a consciousness 
of the subtraction of sins or of a divine purification, that 
possessed her. In her late, though profoundly characteristic 
Purgatorial teaching, the soul again plunges into an ocean; 
but now, since the soul is rather defiled than hungry, and wills 
rather to be purified than to be fed, this plunge is indeed a 
kind of Baptism by Immersion. Yet we have no more the 
symbol of water, for the long state and effects to which that 
swift act leads, but we have, instead, fire and light, and, in 
one place, once again bread and the hunger for bread. And 
this is no doubt because, in these Purgatorial picturings, it is 
her conversion-experience of love under the symbols of light 
and of fire, and her forty years of daily hungering for the Holy 
Eucharist and Love Incarnate, which furnish the emotional 
colours and the intellectual outlines. 
8. Eschatological n
atters. 
In Eschatological matters the main points of contact and 
of contrast appear to be four; and three of the differences are 
occasioned by St. Paul's preoccupation with Christ's Second 
Coming, with the Resurrection of the body, and with the 
General Judgment, mostly as three events in close temporal 



SOURCES OF CATHERINE'S CONCEPTIONS 77 


correlation, and likely to occur soon; whilst Catherine 
abstracts entirely from all three. 
(I) Thus St. Paul is naturally busy with the question as to 
the Time when he shall be with Christ. In I Thess. iv, IS, he 
speaks of "we that are alive, that are left for the coming 
of the Lord," i. e. he expects this event during his own 
lifetime; whilst in Phil. i, 23, he H desires to depart and 
be with Christ," i. e. he has ceased confidently to expect this 
coming before his own death. But Catherine dwells exclu- 
sively, with this latter conception, upon the moment of death, 
as that when the soul shall see, and be finally confirmed in its 
union with, Love, Christ, God; for into her earthly lifetime 
Love, Christ, God, can and do come, but invisibly, and she 
may still lose full union with them for ever. 
(2) As to the Place, it is notoriously obscure whether St. 
Paul thinks of it, as do the Old Testament and the 
Apocalypse, as the renovated earth, or as the sky, or as the 
intervening space. The risen faithful who" shall be caught up 
in the clouds to meet the Lord," I Thess. iv, IJ, seem clearly 
to be meeting Him, in mid-air, as He descends upon earth; 
and" Jerusalem above," Gal. iv, 26, may well, as in Apoc. iii, 
I2; xxi, 2, be conceived as destined to come down upon 
earth. But Catherine, though she constantly talks of Heaven, 
Purgatory, Hell, as II places," makes it plain that such ee places" 
are for her but vivid symbols for states of soul. God Himself 
repeatedly appears in her sayings as H the soul's place"; and 
it is this (( place," the soul's true spiritual birthplace and home 
which, ever identical and bliss-conferring in itself, is variously 
experienced by the soul, in exact accordance with its dispo- 
sitions,-as that profoundly painful, or that joyfully distress- 
ing, or that supremely blissful" place" which respectively we 
call Hell, and Purgatory, and Heaven. 
(3) As to the Body, we have already noted St. Paul's doctrine 
intermediate between the Palestinian and Alexandrian Jewish 
teaching, that it will rise indeed, but composed henceforth of 
" glory" and no more of "flesh." It is this his requirement 
of a body, however spiritual, which underlies his anxiety to 
be" found clothed, not naked," at and after death, 2 Cor. v, 3. 
Indeed, in this whole passage, v, I-4, " our earthly house of 
this habitation," and "a building of God not made with 
hands," no doubt mean, respectively, the present body of flesh 
and the future body of glory; just as the various, highly com- 
plex, conceptions of "clothed'" "unclothed," "clothed upon," 


, 



78 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


refer to the different conditions of the soul with a body of 
flesh, without a body at aU, and with a body of glory.-Now 
this passage, owing to its extreme complication and abstruse- 
ness of doctrine, has come down to us in texts and versions of 
every conceivable form; and this uncertainty has helped 
Catherine towards her very free utilization of it. For she 
not only, as ever, simply ignores all questions of a risen body, 
and transfers the concept of a luminous ethereal substance 
from the body to the soul itself, and refers the" nakedness," 
" unclothing," " clothing," and" clothing upon" to conditions 
obtaining, not between the soul and the body, but between 
the soul and God; but she also, in most cases, takes the 
nakedness as the desirable state, since typical of the soul's 
faithful self-exposure to the all-purifying rays of God's light 
and fire, and interprets the" unclothing" as the penitential 
stripping from off itself of those pretences and corrupt 
incrustations which prevent God's blissful action upon it. 
(4) And, finally, as to the Judgment, we have in St. Paul 
a double current,-the inherited Judaistic conception of a 
forensic retribution; Christ, the divine Judge, externally 
applying such and such statutory rewards and punishments to 
such and such good and evil deeds,-so in Rom. ii, 6-10; and 
the experimental conception, helped on to articulation by Hel- 
lenistic influences, of the bodily resurrection and n1an's whole 
final destiny as the necessary resultant and manifestation of 
an internal process, the presence of the Spirit and of the 
power of God,-so in the later parts of Romans, in Gal. vi, 8, 
and in I Cor. vi, 14; 2 Cor. xiii, 4.-Among Catherine's say- 
ings also we find some passages-but these the less character- 
istic and mostly of doubtful authenticity,-where reward and 
punishment, indeed the three" places" themselves, appear as 
so many separate institutions of God, which get externally 
applied to certain good and evil deeds. But these are com- 
pletely overshadowed in number, sure authenticity, emotional 
intensity, and organic connection with her other teachings, by 
sayings of the second type, where the soul's fate is but the 
necessary consequence of its own deliberate choice and gradu- 
ally formed dispositions, the result, inseparable since the first 
from its self-identification with this or that of the various 
possible will-attitudes towards God. 
(5) We can then sum up the main points of contact and of 
difference between Paul and Gatherine, by saying that, in 
both cases, everything leads up to, or looks back upon, a great 



SOURCES OF CATHERINE'S CONCEPTIONS 79 


culminating, directly personal experience of shortest clock- 
time duration, whence all their doctrine, wherever emphatic, is 
but an attempt to articulate and universalize this original 
experience; and that if in Paul there remains more of explicit 
occupation with the last great events of the earthly life of 
Jesus, yet in both there is the same insistence upon the life- 
giving Spirit, the eternal Christ, manifesting His inexhaustible 
power in the transformation of souls, on and on, here and 
now, into the likeness of Himself. 


II. THE JOHANNINE \VRITINGS. 
On moving now from the Pauline to the Johannine writ- 
ings, we shall find that Catherine's obligations to these 
latter are but rarely as deep, yet that they cover a wider reach 
of ideas and images. I take this fresh source of influence 
under the double heading of the general relations of the 
Johannine teaching to other, previous or contemporary, con- 
ceptions; and of this same teaching considered in itself. 1 
I. ] ohannine teaching contrasted with other syste-n
s. 
(I) As to the general relations towards other positions, we 
get here, towards Judaism and Paganism, an emphatic insist- 
ence upon the novelty and independence of Christianity as 
regards not only Paganism, but even the previous Judaism, 
" The law \vas given by Moses; grace and truth came by 
Jesus Christ," i, I7; and upon the Logos, Christ, as " the 
Light that enlighteneth everyman that cometh into the world," 
"unto his own," i. e. men in general; for this Light" was in the 
world, and the world was made by Him," i, 9-11. There is 
thus a divinely-implanted, innate tendency towards this light, 
extant in man prior to the explicit act of faith, and operative 
outside of the Christian body: "Everyone that is of the 
truth heareth my voice," xviii, 37: "he that doeth the truth 
cometh to the light," iii, 21: "begotten," as he is, not of man 
but " of God," i, I3; I John iii, 9. And thus Samaritans, 
Greeks, and Heathens act and speak in the best dispositions, 
iv, 42; xii, 20-24; x, 16; whilst such terms and sayings as 
"the Saviour of the World," "God so loved the world," iv, 4 2 , 


I My chief obligations are here again to Dr. H. J. Holtzmann.s 
Ne-utestamentliche Theologie. 1897. Vol. II. pp. 354-39 0 ; 394-39 6 ; 399- 
4 01 ; 4 2 6-43 0 ; 447-4 66 ; 4 66 -5 21 . 



80 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


iii, 16, are the most universalistic declarations to be found in 
the New Testament.-And this current dominates the whole 
of Catherine's temper and teaching: this certainty as to the 
innate affinity of every human soul to the Light, Love, Christ, 
God, gives a tone of exultation to the musings of this other- 
wise melancholy woman. Whereas the Johannine passages of 
a contrasting exclusiveness and even fierceness of tone, such 
as "all that came before Me are thieves and robbers," x, 8; 
"ye are from your father the devil," viii, 44; "ye shall 
die in your sin," viii, 21; "your sin remaineth," ix, 41, are 
without any parallel among Catherine's sayings. Indeed it 
is plain that Catherine, whilst as sure as the Evangelist that 
all man's goodness comes from God, nowhere, except in her 
own case, finds man's evil to be diabolic in character. 
(2) With regard to Paulinism, the Johannine writings give 
us a continuation and extension of the representation of the 
soul's mystical union with Christ, as a local abiding in the 
element Christ. Indeed it is in these writings that we find the 
terms" to abide in " the light, I John ii, 10, in God, I John iv, 
I3, in Christ, I John ii, 6, 24, 27, iii, 6, 24, and in His love, 
John xv, 9, I John iv, 16; the corresponding expressions, 
" God abideth in us/' I John iv, 12, 16, " Christ abideth in 
us," I John iii, 24, and" love abideth in us," I John iv, 16; 
the two immanences coupled together, where the com- 
municant " abideth in Me and I in him," vi, 56, and where 
the members of His mystical body are bidden to " abide in 
J.\;le and I in you," xv, 4; and the supreme pattern of all these 
interpenetrations, " I am in the Father, and the Father in 
Me," xiv, Io.-And it is from here that Catherine primarily 
gets the literary suggestions for her images of the soul 
plunged into, and filled by, an ocean of Light, Love, Christ, 
God; and again from here, more than from St. Paul, she 
gets her favourite term }LÉlJEtlJ (It. restare), around which are 
grouped, in her mind, most of the quietistic-sounding elements 
of her teaching. 
(3) As to the points of contact between the Johannine 
teaching and Alexandrianism, we find that three are vividly 
renewed by Catherine. 
Philo had taught: "God ceases not from acting: as to 
bum is the property of fire, so to act is the property of God," 
Legg. Alleg. I, 3. And in John we find: "God is a Spirit," 
and" My Father worketh even until now, and I work," iv, 24; 
v,I7. And God as pure Spiritual Energy, as the Actus 



SOURCES OF CATHERINE'S CONCEPTIONS 8t 


Purus, is a truth and experience that penetrates the whole 
life of Catherine. 
The work of Christ is not dwelt on in its earthly begin- 
nings; but it is traced up and back, in the form of a spiritual 
"Genesis," to His life and work as the Logos in Heaven, 
where He abides U in the bosom of the Father," and whence 
He learns what He " hath declared" to us, i, 18; just as, in 
his turn, the disciple whom Jesus loved U was reclining" at the 
Last Supper U on the bosom of Jesus," and later on " beareth 
witness concerning the things" which he had learnt there, 
xiii, 23; xxi, 24. So also Catherine transcends the early 
earthly life of Christ altogether, and habitually dwells upon 
Him as the Light and as Love, as God in His own Self- 
Manifestation; and upon the ever-abiding sustenance afforded 
by this Light and Life and Love to the faithful soul reclining 
and resting upon it. 
And the contrast between the Spiritual and the Material, 
the Abiding and the Transitory, is symbolized throughout 
John, in exact accord with Philo, under the spatial categories 
of upper and lower, and of extension: U Ye are from beneath, I 
am from above," viii, 23; "He that cometh from heaven, is 
above all," iii, 31; and" in my Father.s house," that upper 
world, "there are many mansions," abiding-places, xiv, 2. 
Hence all things di vine here below ha ve descended from 
above: regeneration, iii, 3; the Spirit, i, 32; Angels, i, 51; 
the Son of God Himself, iii, 13: and they mount once more 
up above, so especially Christ Himself, iii, 13; vi, 62. And 
the things of that upper world are the true things: "the true 
light," U the true adorers," U the true vine,'" " the true bread 
from Heaven," i, 9; iv, 23; xv, I; vi, 32: all this in contrast 
to the shadowy semi-realities of the lower world.-Catherine 
is here in fullest accord with the spatial imagery generally; 
she even talks of God Himself, not only as in a place, but as 
Himself a place, as the soul's" loco." But she has, for reasons 
explained elsewhere, generally to abandon the upper-and- 
lower category when picturing the soul's self-dedication to 
purification, since, for this act, she mostly figures a downward 
plunge into suffering; and she gives us a number of striking 
sayings, in which she explicitly re-translates all this quantita- 
tive spatial imagery into its underlying meaning of qualitative 
spiritual states. 
(4) As to the Johannine approximations and antagonisms to 
Gnosticism, Catherine's position is as follo\vs. In the Synoptic 
VOL. II. G 



82 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


accounts, Our Lord makes the acquisition of eternal life 
depend upon the keeping of the two great commandments of 
the love of God and of one's neighbour, Luke x, 26-28, and 
parallels. In John Our Lord says: U this is life eternal, that 
they should know Thee the only true God, and Him Whom 
Thou didst send, even Jesus Christ," xvii, 3. To U know," 
'YLVWUICEtV, occurs twenty-five times in 1 John alone. Here 
the final object of every soul is to believe and to know: 
I( they received and knew of a truth. . . and believed," 
xvii, 8; "we have believed and know," vi, 69; or I(we know 
and have believed," 1 John iv, 16. And Catherine also lays 
much stress upon faith ending, even here below, in a certain 
vivid knowledge; but this knowledge is, with her, less 
doctrinally articulated, no doubt in part because there was 
no Gnosticism fronting her, to force on such articulation. 
And the J ohannine writings compare this higher mental 
knowledge to the lower, sensible perception: " He that cometh 
from heaven," witnesseth to what he hath I( seen and heard,'1 
iü, 32 ; I( if He shall be manifested, we shall see Him even as ' 
He is," 1 John iii, 2. And they have three special terms, in 
common with Gnosticism, for the object of such knowledge: 
Life, Light, and Fulness (Plerõma),-the latter, as a technical 
tern1, appearing in the New Testament only in John i, 16, and 
in the Epistles to the Colossians and Ephesians. Catherine, 
also, is ever experiencing and conceiving the mental appre- 
hensions of faith, as so many quasi-sensible, ocular, percep- 
tions; and Life and Light are constantly mentioned, and 
Ji"'ulness is, at least, implied in the psycho-physical con- 
comitants or consequences of her thinkings. 
On the other hand, she does not follow John in the intensely 
dualistic elements of his teaching,-the sort of determinist, aU 
but innate, distinction between" the darkness," I( the men who 
loved the darkness rather than the light," and the Light itself 
and those who loved it, i, 4, 5; üi, 19,-children of God and 
children of the devil-the latter all but incapable of being 
saved, viii, 38-47; x, 26; xi, 52; xiv, 17. Rather is she like 
him in his all but complete silence as to U the anger of God," 
-a term which he uses once only, iü, 36, as against the twenty- 
two instances of it in St. Paul. 
And she is full to overflowing of the great central, pro- 
foundly un- and anti-Gnostic, sensitively Christian teachings 
of St. John: as to the Light, the only-begotten Son, having 
been given by God, because God so loved the world; as to 



SOURCES OF CATHERINE'S CONCEPTIONS 83 


Jesus having loved his own even to the end; as to the object 
of Christ's manifestation of His Father.s name to men, being 
that God's love for Christ, and indeed Christ Himself, might 
be within them; and as to how, if they love Him, they will 
keep His commandments,-His commandment to love each 
other as He has loved them, iii, 21; iii, 16; xiii, I; xvii, 26; 
xiv, 15; xv, 17. In this last great declaration especially do we 
find the very epitome of Catherine's life and spirit, of her who 
can never think of Him as Light and Knowledge only, but 
ever insists on His being Fire and Love as well; and who 
has but one commandment, that of Love-impelled, Love- 
seeking loving. 
(5) And lastly, in relation to organized, Ecclesiastical 
Christianity, the Johannine writings dwell, as regards the 
more general principles, on points which, where positive, are 
simply pre-supposed by Catherine; and, where negative, find 
no echo within her. 
The Johannine writings insist continually upon the unityand 
inter-communion of the faithful: "They shall become onefold, 
one shepherd"; Christ's death was in order t. that He might 
gather the scattered children of God into one"; He prays 
to the Father that believers" may be one, as we are one"; 
and He leaves as His legacy His seamless robe, x, 16; xi, 52; 
xvii, 21; xix, 24. And these same writings have a painfully 
absolute condemnation for all outside of this visible fold: 
U The whole world lies in evil"; its" Prince is the Devil" ; 
U the blood of Jesus cleanseth us from all sin," within the 
community alone; false prophets, those who have gone forth 
from the community, are not to be prayed for, are not even 
to be saluted, I John v, 19; John xii, 31; John i, 7; v, 16; 
2 John, 10. For the great and necessary fight with Gnosticism 
has already begun in these writings. 
But Catherine dies before the unity of Christendom is again 
in jeopardy through the Protestant Reformation, and she 
never dwells-this is doubtless a limit-upon the Christian 
community, as such. And her enthusiastic sympathy with 
the spiritual teachings of Jacopone da Todi, who, some two 
centuries before, had, as one of the prophetic opposition, 
vehemently attacked the intensely theocratic policy of Pope 
Boniface VIII, and had suffered a long imprisonment at 
his hands; her tender care for the schismatic population of 
the far-away Greek island of Chios; and her intimacy with 
Dre. Tommaso Moro, who, later on, became for a while a 



84 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


Calvinist; all indicate how free from all suspiciousness 
towards individual Catholics, or of fierceness against other 
religious bodies and persons, was her deeply filial attach!nent 
to the Church. 
In the Synoptists Our Lord declares, as to the exorcist 
,vho worked cures in His name, although not a follower of 
His, that" he that is not against us, is for us," and refuses to 
accede to His disciples' proposal to interfere with his activity, 
l\1:ark ix, 38-41; and He points, as to the means of inheriting 
etemallife, to the keeping of the two great commandments, 
as these are already formulated in the Old Testament, and 
insists that this neighbour, whom here we are bidden to 
love, is any and every man, Luke x, 25-37. The J ohannine 
writings insist strongly upon the strict necessity of full, 
explicit adhesion: the commandment of love which Our Lord 
gives is here" My commandment," " a new commandment," 
one held "from the beginning "-in the Christian community; 
and the command to " love one another" is here addressed to 
the brethren in their relations to their fellow-believers only, 
xiii, 34; xiii, 35; xv, 12, 17. Catherine's feeling, in this 
matter, is clearly with the Synoptists. 
2. ] ohannine teaching considered in itself. 
If we next take the Johannine teachings in themselves, we 
shall find the following interesting points of contact or contrast 
to exist between John and Catherine. 
(I) In matters of Theology proper, she is completely 
penetrated by the great doctrine, more explicit in St. John even 
than in S1. Paul, that" God is Love," I John iv, 8; and by 
the conceptions of God and of Christ" working always" as 
Life, Light, and Love.-But whereas, in the first Epistle of 
John, God Himself is " eternal life " and" light," v, 20; i, 5; 
and, in the Gospel, it is Christ Who, in the first instance, 
appears as Life and as Light, xi, 25; viii, I2: Catherine no- 
where distinguishes at all between Christ and God. And 
similarly, ,vhereas in St. John" God doth not give" unto 
Christ" the Spirit by measure" ; and Christ promises to the 
disciples" another Paraclete," i. e. the Holy Spirit, iii, 34; xiv, 
I6; and indeed the Son and the Spirit appear, throughout, as 
distinct from one another as do the Son and the Father: in 
Catherine we get, practically everywhere, an exclusive con- 
centration upon the fact, so often implied or declared by 
St. Paul. of Love, Christ, being Himself Spirit. 
(2) The Johannine Soteriology has, I think, influenced 



SOURCES OF CATHERINE'S CONCEPTIONS 85 


Catherine as follows. Christ's redemptive work appears, in 
the more original current of that teaching, under the symbols of 
the Word, Light, Bread, as the self-revelation of God. For in 
proportion that this Logos-Light and Bread enlightens and 
nourishes, does He drive away darkness and weakness, and, 
with them, sin, and this previously to any historic acts of 
His earthly life. And, in this connection, there is but little 
stress laid upon penance and the forgiveness of sins as 
compared with the Synoptic accounts, and the term of turning 
back, (j'rpJcþEtV, is absent here.-But that same redemptive 
work appears, in the more Pauline of the two J ohannine 
currents, as the direct result of so many vicarious, atoning 
deeds, the historic Passion and Death of Our Lord. Here 
there is indeed sin, a " sin of the world," and specially for this 
sin is Christ the propitiation: "God so loved the world, as to 
give His only-begotten Son "-Him " the Lamb of God, that 
taketh a wa y the sins of the world," i, 29; I John ii, 2 ; John 
ii, 16; i, 29, 36. 
Catherine, with the probably incomplete exception of her 
Conversion and Penance-period, concentrates her attention, 
with a striking degree of exclusiveness, upon the former group 
of conceptions. With her too the God-Christ is-all but 
solely-conceived as Light which, in so far as it is not 
hindered, operates the healing and the growth of souls. And 
in her great picture of all souls inevitably hungering for the 
sight of the One Bread, God, she has operated a fusion 
between two of the J ohannine images. the Light which is seen 
and the Bread which is eaten: here the bare sight (in reality, 
a satiating sight) of the Bread suffices. If, for the self- 
manifesting God-Christ, she has, besides the Johaninne Light- 
image, a Fire-symbol, which has its Jiterary antecedents rather 
in the Old Testament than in the New, this comes from the 
fact that she is largely occupied with the pain of the impres- 
sions and processes undergone by already God-loving yet still 
imperfectly pure souls, and that fierce fire is as appropriate a 
symbol for such pain as is peaceful light for joy. 
Now this painfulness is, in Catherine's teaching, the direct 
result of whatever may be incomplete and piecemeal in the 
soul's state and process of purification. And this her con- 
ception, of Perfect Love being mostly attained only through 
a series of apparently sudden shifts, each seemingly final, is 
no doubt in part moulded upon the practically identical 
Johannine teaching as to Faith. 



86 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


True, we have already seen that her conception of the 
nature of God's action upon the soul, and of the soul's reaction 
under this His touch, is more akin to the rich Synoptic idea 
of a disposition and determination of the soul's whole being, 
(a cordial trust at least as much as an intellectual apprehension 
and clear assent), than to the Johannine view, \vhich lays a 
predominant stress upon mental apprehension and assent. 
And again, she nowhere presents anything analogous to the 
Johannine, already scholastic, formulations of the object of 
this Faith and Trust,-all of them explicitly concerned with 
the nature of Christ. 
But, everywhere in the] ohannine \vritings, the living Person 
and Spirit aimed at by these definitions is considered as 
experienced by the soul in a succession of ever-deepening 
intuitions and acts of Faith. Already at the Jordan, Andrew 
and Nathaniel have declared Jesus to be the Christ, the Son 
of God, i, 41, 49; yet they, His disciples, are said to have 
believed in Him at Cana, in consequence of His miracle there, 
ii, II. Already at Capernaum Peter asserts for the twelve, 
H We have believed and know that Thou art the Holy One 
of God," vi, 69; yet still, at the Last Supper, Christ exhorts 
them to believe in Him, xiv, 10, II, and predicts future events 
to them, in order that, when these predictions come true, their 
faith may still further increase, xiii, 19; xiv, 29. And, as far 
on as after the Resurrection we hear that the Beloved Disciple 
U saw" (the empty tomb) U and believed," xx, 8, 29. We thus 
get in John precisely the same logically paradoxical, but 
psychologically and spiritually most accurate and profound, 
combination of an apparent completeness of Faith at each 
point of special illumination, with a sudden re-beginning and 
impulsive upward shifting of the soul's Light and Believing, 
which is so characteristic of Catherine's experience and 
teaching as to the successive levels of the soul's Fire, Light 
and Love. And the opposite movement-of the fading away 
of the Light and the Faith-can be traced in John, as the 
corresponding doctrine of the going out of the Fire, Light and 
Love within the Soul can be found in Catherine. 
Again, both John and Catherine are penetrated with the 
sense that this Faith and Love is somehow ",raked up in souls 
by a true touch of God, a touch to which they spontaneously 
respond, because they already possess a substantial affinity to 
Him. U His," the Good Shepherd's, U sheep hear His voice," 
x, 16; they hear it, because they are already His: the Light 



SOURCES OF CATHERINE'S CONCEPTIONS 87 


solicits and is accepted by the soul, because the soul itself 
is light-like and light-requiring, and because it proceeds 
originally from this very Light which would now reinforce 
the soul's own deepest requirements. This great truth 
appears also in those profound J ohannine passages: " No man 
can come to Me, unless the Father which sent Me draw him" ; 
and "I manifested Thy name unto the men whom Thou 
ga vest Me out of the world," vi, 44; xvii, 6. 
And this attractive force is also a faculty of Christ: "I will 
draw all men unto Myself," xii, 32. And note how Catherine, 
ever completely identifying God, Christ, Light, Love, and, 
where these work in imperfectly pure souls, Fire, is stimulated 
by the last-quoted text to extend God's, Christ's, Love's 
drawing, attraction, to all men; to limit only, in various 
degrees, these various men's response to it; and to realize so 
intensely that a generous yielding to this our ineradicable 
deepest attrait is our fullest joy, and the resisting it is our 
one final misery, as to picture the soul, penitent for this its 
mad resistance, plunging itself, now eagerly responsive to that 
intense attraction, into God and a growing conformity with 
Him. 
(3) As to points concerning the Sacraments where Catherine 
is influenced by John, we find that here again Baptismal 
conceptions are passed over by her. She does not allude to 
the water in the discourse to Nicodemus, iii,S, although she is 
full of other ideas suggested there; but she dwells upon the 
water in the address to the Woman at the Well, iv, 10-15, that 
"Ii vingwa ter," which is, for her, the spirit' s spiritual sustenance, 
Love, Christ, God, and insensibly glides over into the images 
and experiences attaching, for her, to the Holy Eucharist. 
But, as to this the greatest of the Sacraments and the all- 
absorbing devotion of her life, her symbols and concepts are 
all suggested by the Fourth Gospel, in contrast to the 
Synoptists and St. Paul. For the Holy Eucharist is, with her, 
ever detached from any direct memory of the Last Supper, 
Passion, and Death, the original, historical, unique occasions 
which still form its setting in the pre- J ohannine writings, 
although those greatest proofs of a divinely boundless self- 
immolation undoubtedly give to her devotion to the Blessed 
Sacrament its beautiful enthusiasm and tenderness. The 
Holy Eucharist ever appears with her, as with St. John, 
attached to the scene of the multiplication of the breads,-a 
feast of joy and of life l \vith Christ at the zenith of His eartWy 



88 THE MYSTICAL ELE!vIENT OF RELIGION 


hope and power. For not Cl a shewing of the death" in " the 
eating of this bread," I Cor. xi, 26, is dwelt on by John; 
but we have: " I am the living Bread. . . if any man eat 
of this bread, he shall live for ever," John vi, 51. 
And Gatherine follows John in thinking predominantly of 
the single soul, when dwelling upon the Holy Eucharist. For 
if John presents a great open-air Love-Feast in lieu of Paul's 
Upper Chamber and Supper with the twelve, he, as over against 
Paul's profoundly social standpoint, has, throughout this his 
Eucharistic chapter, but three indications of the plural as 
against some fourteen singulars. 
And, finally, John's change from the future tense, with its 
reference to a coming historic institution, "the meat which . . . 
the Son of l\ian shall give unto you," vi, 27, to the present 
tense, with its declaration of an eternal fact and relation, "I 
am " (now and always) " the living bread which came down 
out of heaven," vi, 51, will have helped Catherine towards the 
conception of the eternal Christ -God offering Himself as their 
ceaseless spiritual food to His creatures, possessed as they are 
by an indestructible spiritual hunger for Himself. For if the 
Eucharistic food, Bread, Body, has already been declared by 
St. Paul to be "spiritual," 2 Gor. iii, 17, in St. John also 
it has to be spiritual, for it is here" the true bread from 
heaven " and " the bread of life " ; and Christ declares here 
" it is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh (alone) profiteth 
nothing," vi, 32, 63. Hence Catherine is, again through the 
Holy Eucharist and St. John, brought back to her fa vourite 
Pauline conception of the Lord as Himself" Spirit," "the 
Life-giving Spirit," 2 Cor. iii, 17; I Cor. xv, 45. 
(4) And if we conclude with the Johannine Eschatology, we 
shall find that Catherine has penetrated deep into the follow- 
ing conceptions, which undoubtedly, even in their union, 
present us with a less rich outlook than that furnished by the 
Synoptists, but which may be said to constitute the central 
spirit of Our Lord's teaching. 
Like John, who has but two mentions of " the Kingdom of 
God," iii, 3, 5, and who elsewhere ever speaks of " Life," 
Catherine has nowhere "the Kingdom," but everywhere 
"Life." Like him she conceives the process of Conversion as 
a "making alive" of the moribund, darkened, cold soul, by 
the Light, Love, Christ, God, v, 21-29, when He, Who is 
Himself" the Life," xi, 25, and" the Spirit," iv, 24, speaks to 
the soul" words" that are" spirit and life," vi, 63; for then 



SOURCES OF CATHERINE'S CONCEPTIONS 89 


the soul that gives ear to His words U hath eternal life," 
v, 24. 
Again Catherine, for the most part, appropriates and de- 
velops that one out of the two Johannine currents of doctrine 
concerning the Judgment, which treats the latter as already 
detennined and forestalled by Man's present personal attitude 
towards the Light. The judgment is thus simply a discrimina- 
tion, according to the original meaning of the noun "pílTt
-like 
when God in the beginning U divided the light from the 
darkness," Gen. i, 5; a discrimination substantially effected 
already here and now, U he that believeth on Him, is not 
judged; he that believeth not hath been judged already," 
iii, 18. But the other current of doctrine, so prominent in 
the Synoptists is not absent from St. John,-the teaching 
as to a later, external and visible, forensic judgment. 
And Catherine has a similar intennixture of two currents, 
yet with a strong predominance of the immanental, present 
conception of the matter. 
And even for that one volitional act in the beyond, which, 
according to her doctrine, has a certain constitutive importance 
for the whole eternity of all still partially impure souls-for 
that voluntary plunge-we can find an analogue in the 
Johannine writings, although here there is no reference to the 
after life. For throughout the greater part of his teaching- 
from iii, 15, 16, apparently up to the end of the Gospel,-the 
possession of spiritual Life is consequent upon the soul's own 
acts of Faith, and not, as one would expect from his other, 
more characteristic teaching, upon its Regeneration fron1 
above, iii, 3. And the result of such acts of Faith is a 
It Metabasis," a upassing over from death to life," v, 24; I John 
iii, 14. Catherine will have conceived such an act of Faith as 
predominantly an act of Love, and the act as itself already that 
1\ietabasis; and will, most characteristically, have quickened 
the movement, and have altered its direction from the 
horizontal to the vertical, so that the U passing, going over," 
becomes a It plunge down into" Life. For indeed the Fire 
she plunges into is, in her doctrine, Life Itself; since it is 
Light, Love, Christ, and God. 
Catherine, once more, is John's most faithful disciple, where 
he declares that Life to stream out immediately from the life- 
giving object of Faith into the life-seeking subject of that 
Faith, from the believed God into the believing soul: U I am 
the Bread of Life: he that cOlneth to Me shall not hunger "; 


. 



go THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 
U he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same beareth 
much fruit" ; vi, 35; xv, 5. 
And finally, she follows John closely where he insists upon 
Simultaneity and Eternity as contrasted with Succession and 
Immortality, so as even to abstract from the bodily resurrec- 
tion. He \vho (( hath passed out of death into life" (already) 
(( possesses eternal life "; U whosoever liveth and believeth 
on Me, shall never die" (at any time); (( this," already and 
of itself, (( is life eternal, that they should know Thee, the only 
true God, and Him Whom Thou didst send, even Jesus 
Christ;" and the soul' s abiding in such an experience is Christ's 
own joy, transplanted into it, and a joy which is full, v, 24; 
xi, 26; xvii, 3; xv, II. And there is here such an insistence 
upon an unbroken spiritual life, in spite of and right through 
physical death, that, to 1\Iartha's declaration that her brother 
will arise at the last day, xi, 24, Jesus answers, tt I am the 
Resurrection and the Life: he that believeth on Me, though 
he die" the bodily death, U shall live " on in his soul; indeed 
(( every man who liveth" the life of the body, (( and who 
believeth in !vIe, shall never die" (at any time) in his 
soul, xi, 25, 26. John's other line of thought, in which the 
bodily resurrection is prominent, remains without any definite 
or systematic response in Catherine's teaching. 
(5) We can then summarize the influence exercised by 
John upon Catherine by saying that he encouraged her to 
conceive religion as an experience of eternity; as a true, living 
knowledge of things spiritual; indeed as a direct touch of 
man's soul by God Himself, culminating in man's certainty 
that God is Love. 


III. THE AREOPAGITE WRITINGS. 
Catherine's close relations to the Areopagite, the Pseudo- 
Dionysius, are of peculiar interest, in their manifold agree- 
ment, difference, or non-responsiveness; and this although the 
ideas thus assimilated are mostly of lesser depth and in1port- 
ance than those derived from the New T estamen t writings 
just considered. They can be grouped conveniently under 
the subject-matters of God's creative, providential, and restor- 
ative, outgoing, His action upon souls and all things extant, 
and of the reasons for the different results of this action; of 
certain symbols used to characterize that essential action of 



SOURCES OF CATHERINE'S CONCEPTIONS 9I 


God upon His creatures; of the states and energizings of the 
soul, in so far as it is responsive to that action; of certain 
terms concerning these reactions of the soul; and of the 
final result of the whole process. I shall try and get back, 
in most cases, to the Areopagite's Neo-Platonist sources, the 
dry, intensely scholastic Proclus, and that great soul, the 
prince of the non-Christian Mystics, Plotinus. 1 
I. God's general action. 
As to God's action, we have in Dionysius the Circle with 
the three stages of its movement,-a conception so dear to 
Catherine. H Theologians call Him the Esteemed and the 
Loved, and again Love and Loving-kindness, as being a 
Power at once propulsive and leading up" and back H to 
Himself; a loving movement self-moved, which pre-exists in 
the Good, and bubbles forth from the Good to things exist- 
ing, and which again returns to the Good-as it were a sort 
of everlasting circle \vhirling round, because of the Good, from 
the Good, in the Good, and to the Good,-ever advancing and 
remaining and returning in the same and throughout the 
same." This is (( the power of the divine similitude" present 
throughout creation, (( which turns all created things to their 
cause." 2 The doctrine is derived from Proclus: (( Everything 
caused both abides in its cause and proceeds from it and 
returns to it "; and (( everything that proceeds from some- 
thing returns, by a natural instinct, to that from which it 
proceeds." 3 And Plotinus had led the way: (( there" in the 
super-sensible world, experienced in n10ments of ecstasy, It in 
touch and union with the One, the soul begets Beauty, 
Justice and Virtue: and that place and life is, for it, its prin- 
ciple and end: principle, since it springs from thence; end, 
because the Good is there, and because, once arrived there, the 
soul becomes what it was at first." 4 


1 I am much indebted to the thorough and convincing monograph of 
the Catholic Priest and Professor Dr. Hugo Koch. Pseudo-Dionysius Areo- 
pagita in seinen Beziehungen zum Neo-Platonis1n'Us und Mysterienwesen, 
Mainz, 1900, for a fuller understanding of the relations between Dionysius, 
Proclus, and Plotinus. I have also found much help in H. F. l'.Iüller's 
admirable German translation of Plotinus, a translation greatly superior 
to Thomas Taylor's English or to Bouillet's French translét.tion. And I 
have greatly benefited by the admirable study of Plotinus in Dr. Edward 
Caird's Evolution 01 Theology in the Greek PhilosoPhers. 1904, Vol. II. 
pp. 210-34 6 . 
2 The Divine Names. iii. I; ix, 4: English translation by Parker, 
18 97, pp. 49, 50; 106. 
3 Institutio Theologica. c. 35; c. 31. t Enneads. vi. ch. ix. 9. 



92 THE MYS'fICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


And Dionysius has the doctrine, so dear to Catherine, that 
U the Source of Good is indeed present to all, but all are not," 
by their intention, U present to It; yet, by our aptitude for 
Divine union, we all," in a sense, (( are present to It." (( It 
shines, on Its own part, equally upon all things capable 
of participation in It." 1 Already Plotinus had finely said: 
(( The One is not far away from anyone, and yet is liable to 
be far away from one and all, since, present though It be, It 
is " efficaciously (( present only to such as are capable of re- 
ceiving It, and are so disposed as to adapt themselves to It 
and, as it were, to seize and touch It by their likeness to It, 
. . . when, in a word, the soul is in the state in which it was 
when it callie from It." 2 
We have again in Dionysius the combination, so character- 
istic of Catherine, of a tender respect for the substance of 
human nature, as good and ever respected by God, and of a 
keen sense of the pathetic weakness of man's sense-clogged 
spirit here below. U Providence, as befits its goodness, pro- 
vides for each being suitably: for to destroy nature is not a 
function of Providence." (( All those who cavil at the Divine 
Justice, unconsciously commit a manifest injustice. For they 
say that immortality ought to be in mortals, and perfection 
in the imperfect . . . and perfect power in the weak, and that 
the temporal should be eternal . . . in a word, they assign 
the properties of one thing to another." 3 
2. Syn
bols of God's action. 
(I) As to the symbols of God's action, we have first the Chain 
or Rope, Catherine's U fune," that U rope of His pure Love," of 
which (( an end was thrown to her from hea ven." 4 This 
symbol was no doubt suggested by Dionysius : U Let us then 
elevate our very selves by our prayers to the higher ascent of 
the Divine. . . rays; as though a luminous chain (rope, UEtpa) 
were suspended from the celestial heights and reached down 
hither, and we, by ever stretching out to it up and up . . . 
were thus carried upwards." 5 And this passage again goes 
back to Proclus, who describes the (( chain (rope) of love" as 
U having its entirely simple and hidden highest point fixed 
amongst the veryfirst ranks of the Gods" ; its middle effluence 


1 Divine Names, iii, I; ix. 4: Parker. pp. 27. [04. 
2 Enneads, vi. ch. ix. 4. 
3 Divine Names. viii. 7: Parker. pp. 9 8 . 99. 
C Vita, pp. 47c. 4 8a . 
i Divine Names. Hi. I: Parker. pp. 27. 28. 



SOURCES OF CATHERINE'S CONCEPTIONS 93 
U amongst the Gods higher than the (sensible) world " ; and 
its third, lowest, part, as U divided multiformly throughout the 
(sensible) world." (( The divine Love implants one common 
bond (chain) and one indissoluble friendship in and between 
each soul (that participates in its power), and between all and 
the Beautiful Itself." 1 And this simile of a chain from heaven, 
which in Dionysius is luminous, and in Catherine and Proclus 
is loving, goes back, across Plato (Theaetetus 153c and Re- 
public, X, 6Ib, 99c) to Homer, where it again is luminous 
(golden). For, in the Iliad, viii, 17-20, Zeus says to the Gods 
in Olympus, (( So as to see all things, do you, 0 Gods and 
Goddesses all, hang a golden chain from heaven, and do you 
all seize hold of it "-so as thus to descend to earth. 
(2) We have next the symbol of the Sun and its purifying, 
healing Light, under which God and His action are raptur- 
ously proclaimed by Dionysius. (( Even as our sun, by its 
very being, enlightens all things able to partake of its light 
in their various degrees, so also the Good, by its very exist- 
ence, sends unto all things that be, the rays of its entire good- 
ness, according to their capacity for them. By means of 
these rays they are purified from all corruption and death. . . 
and are separated from instability." U The Divine Goodness, 
this our great sun, enlightens. . . nourishes, perfects, renews." 
Even the pure can thus be made purer still. (( He, the Good, 
is called spiritual light . . . he cleanses the mental vision 
of the very angels: they taste, as it were, the light." 2 All 
this imagery goes back, in the first instance, to Proclus. For 
Proclus puts in parallel (( sun" and H God," and (( to be en- 
lightened " and (( to be deified " ; makes all purifying forces to 
coalesce in the activity of the Sun-God, Apollo Katharsios, 
the Purifier, who U everywhere unifies multiplicity. . . 
purifying the entire heaven and all living things throughout 
the world " ; and describes how U from above, from his super- 
heavenly post, Apollo scatters the arrows of Zeus,-his rays 
upon all the world." 3 The Sun's rays, here as powerful as 
the bolts of Zeus, thus begin to play the part still assigned 
to them in Catherine's imagery of the (( Saëtte " and (( Radii " 
of the divine Light and Love. And the substance of the 
whole symbol goes back, through fine sayings of Plotinus 
and through Philo, to Plato, who calls the Sun " the offspring 
1 In Platonis Alcibiadem. ii, 78 seq. 
I Divine Names, iv. I; iv, 5: Parker. pp. 32. 33; 38. 
I In Parmenidem. iv. 34. Iu Cratylum. pp. 103; 107. 


. 



94 THE MYSTICAL ELE11ENT OF RELIGION 
of the Good and analogous to it," and who (doubtless rightly) 
takes Homer's (( golden chain" to be nothing but the Sun.. 
rays,-thus identifying the two symbols.! 
(3) Fire, as a symbol for God and His action, is thus praised 
by Dionysius: U The sacred theologians often describe the 
super-essential Essence in terms of Fire . . . For sensible 
fire is, so to say, present in all things, and pervades them aU 
without mingling with them, and is received by all things; 
. . . it is intolerable yet invisible; it masters all things by its 
own might, and yet it but brings the things in which it resides 
to (the development of) their o\vn energy; it has a transform- 
ing po\ver; it communicates itself to all who approach it in 
any degree; . . . it has the power of dividing (what it seizes) ; 
it bears upwards; it is penetrating; . . . it increases its own 
self in a hidden manner; it suddenly shines forth." 2-All 
these qualities, and the delicate transitions from fire to light 
and from light back to fire, and from heat immanent to heat 
applied from without, we can find again, vividly assimilated 
and experienced, in Catherine's teaching and emotional life. 
But the Sun-light predominates in Dionysius, the Fire-heat 
in Catherine; and whereas the former explicitly attaches 
purification only to the Sun-light, the latter connects the 
cleansing chiefly with Fire-heat, no doubt because the Greek 
man is busy chiefly with the intellectually cognitive, and the 
I talian woman with the morally ameliorative, activities and 
interests of the mind and soul. 
3. The soul's reaction. 
(I) As to the soul's reaction under God's action, and its return 
to Hif\1, we first get, in Dionysius, the insistence upon Mystical 
Quietude and Silence, which, according to him, are strictly 
necessary, since only like can know and become one with 
like, and God is (( Peace and Repose" and, H as compared 
with every known progression, Immobility," and (( the one 
all-perfect source and cause of the Peace of all " ; and He is 
Silence, U the Angels are, as it were, the heralds of the Divine 
Silence,"-teaching not unlike that of St. Ignatius of Antioch, 
(( Jesus Christ . . . the Word which proceeds from Silence." 3 
Hence (( in proportion as we ascend to the higher designations 
of God, do our expressions become more and more circum- 
scribed"; and at last (( we shall find, not a little speaking, 
1 Republic. VI, 508c. Theaetetus, 153c. 
I Heavenly Hierarchy. xv. 2: Parker. pp. 56, 57. 
I Divine Names, xi. I; iv. 2: Parker. pp. 113, 34. Ad Magnesios. viii. 2. 



SOURCES OF CATHERINE'S CONCEPTIONS 9S 


but a complete absence of speech and of conception." 1 As 
Proclus has it : U Let this Fountain of Godhead be honoured 
on our part by silence and by the union which is above 
silence." 2 And Plotinus says: U This," the Divine, (( Light 
comes not from anywhere nor disappears any whither, but 
simply shines or shines not: hence we must not pursue after 
it, but must abide in quietness till it appears." And when it 
does appear, (( the contemplative, as one rapt and divinely 
inspired, abides here with quietude in a motionless condition, 
. . . being entirely stable, and becoming, as it were, stability 
itself." 3-All this still finds its echo in Catherine.-But the 
treble (cognitive) movement of the Angelic and human 
mind,-the circular, the straight-line, and the spiral,-which 
Dionysius, in direct imitation of Proclus, carefully develops 
throughout three sections, is quite absent from Catherine's 
mind. 4o 
(2) We next get, in Dionysius, the following teachings as 
to Mystical Vision and Union. (( The Unity-above-Mind is 
placed above the minds; and the Good-above-word is un- 
utterable by word." (( There is, further, the most divine 
knowledge of Almighty God, which is known through not 
knowing. . . when the mind, having stood apart from all 
existing things, and having then also dismissed itself, has been 
made one with the super-luminous rays." (( We must contem- 
plate things divine by our whole selves standing out of our 
whole sel ves, and becoming wholly of God." (( By the resistless 
and absolute ecstasy, in all purity, from out of thyself and all 
things, thou wilt be carried on high, to the super-essential ray 
of the divine darkness." (( It is during the cessation of every 
mental energizing, that such a union of the deified minds and 
of the super-divine light takes place." 5 And the original 
cause and final effect of such a going forth from self, are 
indicated in words which were worked out in a vivid 
fulness by Catherine's whole convert life: (( Divine Love is 
ecstatic, not permitting any lovers to belong to themselves, 
but only to those beloved by them. And this love, the 


1 Mystic Theology. iii: Parker, p. 135. 
a Platonic Theology, III, p. 13 2 . 
3 Enneads, v, ch. v. 8; vi, ch. ix, I I. 
( Divine Names, iv. 8-10: Parker. pp. 42-45. In Parmenidem, vi, 52 
(see Koch, p. 152). 
6 Divine Names. i. I: vii. 3; vii. I; Mystic Theology. I; Divine Names. 
vii. 3: Parker. pp. 2; 91. 92; 87; 130; 91. 92. 



96 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 
superior beings show by being full of forethought for their 
inferiors; those equal in rank, by their mutual coherence; 
and the inferior by a looking back and up to the superior 
ones." 1 
Dionysius here everywhere follows Proclus. Yet the 
noblest Neo-Platonist sayings are again furnished by Plotinus: 
H \Ve are not cut off or severed from the Light, but we breathe 
and consist in It, since It ever enlightens and bears us, as long 
as It is what It is." In the moments of Union, (t we are able 
to see both Him and ourself,-ourself in dazzling splendouf, 
full of spiritual light, or rather one with the pure Light 
Itself . . . our life's flame is then enkindled." U There the 
soul rests, after it has fled up, away from evil, to the place 
which is free from evils . . . and the true life is there." 
U Arrived there, the soul becomes that which she was at firsL" 2 
And if Plotinus has thus already got the symbolism of place, 
he is as fully aware as Catherine herself that, for purposes of 
vivid presentation, he is spatializing spiritual, that is, un- 
extended, qualitative states and realities. (t Things incor- 
poreal do not get excluded by bodies; they are severed only 
by otherness and difference: hence, when such otherness 
is absent, they, not differing, are near each other." And 
already, as with Catherine, there is the apparent finality, and 
yet also the renewed search for more. U The seer and the seen 
have become one, as though it were a case not of vision but 
of union." U When he shall have crossed over as the image to 
its Archetype, then he will have reached his journey's end." 
And yet this U ecstasy, simplification, and donation of one's 
self," this" quiet," is still also (t a striving after contact," (t a 
musing to achieve union." 3 
4. Ter11zillology of the soul's reaction. 
(I) Certain terms and conceptions in connection with the 
soul's return to God, which are specially dear to Catherine, 
already appear, fully developed, in Dionysius, Proclus, and 
Plotinus; in part, even in Plato. Her U suddenly II (sub21o) 
appears but rarely in Dionysius, e. g. in H eavellly Hierarchy 
xv, 2; but it is carefully eXplained by him in his Third 
Epistle, specially devoted to the subject. 4 It is common in 
Plotinus: "Suddenly the soul saw, without seeing how it saw" ; 
Usuddenly thou shalt receive light," (t suddenly shining." 5 And 


1 Divine Names, iv. 13: Parker. p. 48. Z Enneads. vi, ch. ix. 9. 
8 Ibid. vi, ch. ix, 8; ch. vi, I I. ( Parker. p. 142. 
i Enneads, vi. ch. vii. 36; v. ch. iii. 17; v. ch. v. 7. 



SOURGES OF CATHERINE'S CONGEPTIONS 97 


in Plato we find: U He who has learnt to see the Beautiful in 
due order and succession, when he comes towards the end, will 
suddenly perceive aN ature of wondrous beauty-Beauty alone, 
absolute, separate, simple and everlasting" : a passage which 
derives its imagery from the Epopteia of the Eleusynian 
Mysteries,-the sudden appearance, the curtain being with- 
drawn, upon the stage whereon the Heathen Mystery-play 
was being performed, under a peculiar fairy-illumination, of 
the figures of Demeter, Kore, and Iacchus, as the culmination 
of a long succession of purifications and initiations.! 
Catherine's U wound," or U wounding stroke," ([erita), is, in 
part, the necessary consequence of the U arrow" conception 
already considered; in part, the echo of that group of terms 
which, in Dionysius and Proclus even more than in Plotinus, 
express the painfully sudden and overwhelming, free-grace 
character of God's action upon the soul,-especially of È7TtßO^
, 
(( immissio," a U coming-upon," a U hitting," a very common 
word in the Areopagite; jlE'roX1} , U communication," and 
7rapaðOX1], (( reception," being the corresponding terms for God's 
and the soul's share in this encounter respectively. Thus: 
(( Unions, whether we call them immissions or receptions from 
God." 2 
uPresence," upresenza," 7rapavG'tá, is another favourite term, 
as with Catherine so also with Dionysius and Proclus. Thus 
the Areopagite: (( The presence of the spiritual light causes 
recollection and unity in those that are being enlightened with 
it," U His wholly inconceivable presence." 3 And Proclus: 
U Every perfect spiritual contact and communion is owing to 
the presence of God." 4 And the conception of a sudden 
presence goes back, among the Neo-Platonists, to Plato and 
the Greek Mysteries, in which the God was held suddenly to 
arrive and to take part in the sacred dance. Such rings of 
sacred dancers, (( choirs," are still characteristic of Dion ysius- 
e.g. Heavenly Hierarchy, vii, 4-but they are quite wanting 
in Catherine.-But U contact," (( touch" È7racþ
,-said of God's 
direct action upon the soul,-a conception so intensely active 
in Catherine's mind and life, is again a favourite term with 
Dionysius and Proclus. The former declares this (( touch" to 


1 Symposium. 210 E. See the admirable elucidations in Rhode.s Psyche. 
ed. 1898. Vol. I, p. 298; Vol. II. pp. 279; 283. 284. 
I Divine Names. i, 5: Parker. p. 8. 
a Divine Names. iv. 6; Mystic Theology. i J ill; Parker. pp. 39, 132. 
, In Alcibiadem. ii. 302. 
VOL. II. H 



98 THE MYSTIGAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


be neither U sensible II nor U intelligible," and that U we are 
brought into contact with things unutterable"; the latter talks 
of U perfect spiritual contact." 1 
The symbols of uN akedness" and U Garments," as indicative 
respectively of the soul's purity and impurity or self-delusion, 
are, though most prominent in Catherine, rare in Dionysius. 
But his declaration: (( The nakedness of the (Angels') feet 
indicates purification from the addition of all things external, 
and assimilation to the divine simplicity" exactly expresses 
her idea. 2 And Proclus has it more fully: The soul, on 
descending into the body, forsakes unity, U and around her, 
from all sides, there grow multiform kinds of existence 
and manifold garments"; (( love of honour is the last garment 
of souls"; and" when," in mounting up, U we lay aside our 
passions and garments which, in coming down, we had put 
on, we must also strip off that last garment, in order that, 
having becolne (entirely) naked, we may establish ourselves 
before God, having made ourselves like to the divine life." 3 
(2) Again, as to Triads, it is interesting to note that Catherine 
has nothing about the three stages or ways of the inner life, 
-purgative, illuminative, unitive,-of which Dionysius is full, 
and which are already indicated in Proclus; for we can find 
but two in her life, the purgative and unitive, and in her teaching 
these two alone appear, mostly in close combination, some- 
times in strong contrast. Nor has she anything about the 
three degrees or kinds of prayer,-Meditation, Contemplation, 
Union,-as indicated in Dionysius: (( It behoves us, by our 
prayers, to be lifted into proximity with the Divine Trinity; 
and then, by still further approaching it, to be initiated . . .; 
and (lastly) to make ourselves one with it"; and as taught by 
Proclus: U Knowledge leads, then follows proximity, and then 
union." 4 With her we only get Contemplation and Union.- 
Nor do we get in her anything about thrice three choirs of 
Angels, or three orders of Christian Ministrants, or three 
classes of Christian people, or thrice three groups of Sacra- 
ments and Sacramental acts. For she is too intensely bent 
upon immediate intercourse with God, and too much absorbed 
in the sense of profound unity and again of innunlerable 


1 Mystic Theology, iv, v; Divine Names. i. I: Parker. pp. 13 6 . 137; 
I; In Alcibiadem, ii, 302. 
2 Heavenly Hierarchy, ch. xv. s. 3: Parker. p. 60. 
S In Alcibiadem, iii, 75. 
t Divine Names. iii. I: Parker, pp. 27. 28. In Parmen'l'dem. iv. 68. 



SOURGES OF CATHERINE'S CONCEPTIONS 99 


multiplicity, to be attracted by Dionysius's Neo-Platonist 
ladder of carefully graduated intermediaries, or by his con- 
tinuous interest in triads of every kind. Catherine thus 
follows the current in Dionysius which insists upon dir
ct 
contact between the soul and the transcendent God, and 
ignores the other, which bridges over the abyss between the 
two by carefully graduated intermediaries: these inter- 
mediaries having become, with her, successive stages of 
purification and of ever more penetrating union of the one 
soul with the one God. 
5. Deification, especially through the Eucharist. 
As to the end of the whole process, we find that 
Deification, so frequently implied or suggested by Catherine, 
is formally taught by Dionysius: "A union of the deified 
minds" (l./(()Eov}livwv); the heavenly and the earthly Hierachy 
have the power and task" to communicate to their subjects, 
according to the dignity of each, the sacred deification" 
(È./(OÉW(J'lt:;); "we are led up, by means of the multiform of 
sensible symbols, to the uniform Deification." 1 "The One 
is the very God," says Proclus, " but the Mind (the Noûs) is 
the divinest of beings, and the soul is divine, and the body is 
godlike. . . . And every body that is God-like is so through 
the soul having become divine; and every soul that is divine, 
is so through the Mind being very divine; and every Mind 
that is thus very divine, is so through participation in the 
Divine One." 2 There are preformations of this doctrine in 
Plotinus and echoes of it throughout Catherine's sayings. 
And the Areopagite's teaching that the chief means and 
the culmination of this deification are found and reached in 
the reception of the Holy Eucharist will no doubt also have 
stimulated Catherine's mind: "The Communicant is led to 
the summit of deiformation, as far as this is possible for him." 3 
And her soul responds completely to the beautiful Dionysian- 
Proclian teaching concerning God's presence in all things, as 
the cause of the profound sympathy which binds them all 
together. "'fhey say," declares Dionysius, "that He is in 
minds . . . and in bodies, and in heaven and in earth; (indeed 
that He is) sun, fire, water, spirit . . . all things exist- 
ing, and yet again not one of all things existing." " The 


1 Divine Names. i, 5; Ecclesiastical Hierarchy. i. 2; Divine Names. 
ix, 5; Parker, pp. 8, 69. 104. 
I Institutio Theologica. c. 1 2 9. 
8 Ecclesiastical Hierarchy. ill. 3. 7; Parker. p. 97. 



100 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


distribution of boundless power passes from Almighty God to 
all things, and no single being but has intellectual, or rational, 
or sensible, or vital, or essential power." "The gifts of the 
unfailing Power pass on to men and (lesser) living creatures, 
to plants, and to the entire nature of the Universe." 1 This 
latter passage was suggested by Proclus: "One would say 
that, through participation in the One, all things are deified, 
each according to its rank, inclusive of the very lowest of 
beings." "The image of the One and the inter-communion 
existing through it,-this it is that produces the extant 
sympathy" which permeates all things. 2 -But Catherine has 
nowhere the term" echo," which is so dear to Dionysius: "His 
all-surpassing power holds together and preserves even the 
remotest of its echoes"; "the sun and plants are or hold most 
distant echoes of the Good and of Life"; indeed even the 
licentious man still possesses, in his very passion, "as it were a 
faint echo of Union and of Friendship." 3 
6. Dionysius and Catherine
. three agreements and differ- 
ences. 
I conclude with three important points of difference and 
similarity between Catherine and Dionysius. 
(1) Catherine abstains from the use of those repulsive, 
impossibly hyperbolic epithets such as "the Super-Good," " the 
Above-Mind," which Dionysius is never weary of applying to 
God, and is content with ever feeling and declaring how high 
above the very best conception which she can form of mind 
and of goodness He undoubtedly is; thus wisely moderated, 
I take it, by her constant experience and faith as to God's 
immediate presence \vithin the human soul, which soul 
cannot, consequently, be presented as entirely remote from 
the nature of God. 
(2) Catherine transforms over-intense and impoverishing 
insistence upon the pure Oneness of God, such as we find it 
even in Dionysius and still more in Proclus, into a, some- 
times equally over-intense, conception as to the oneness of 
our union with Him, leaving Him to be still conceived as an 
overflowing richness of all kinds. 
(3) And Catherine keeps, in an interesting manner, the 
Hellenic, and specifically Platonic, formulation for the deepest 
of her experiences and teachings, since her standing designation 
1 Divine Names. i. 6; viii. 3; 5: Parker. pp. 10. 95. 96. 
· In Parmenidem. iv. 34; v. 
I Divine Names, viii, 2; iv. 4; iv. 20; Parker. pp. 95. 84. 57. 



SOURCES OF GATHERINE'S CONCEPTIONS IOI 


of God and of Our Lord is never personal, "My Lover" or" My 
Friend"; but, as it were, elemental, " Love" or" 
iy Love." 
Her keen self-purifying instinct and reverence for God will 
have spontaneously inclined her thus to consider Him first 
as an Ocean of Being in which to quench and drown her small, 
clamorous individuality, and this as a necessary step towards 
reconstituting that true personality, which.. itself spirit, 
would be penetrated and sustained by the Spirit, Christ, 
God. And then the Pauline-J ohannine picturings of God as a 
quasi-place and extended substance (" from Him and in Him 
and to Him," "in the Spirit," "in Christ," "God is Charity and 
he that abideth in Charity, abideth in Him") will have 
strongly confirmed this trend. Yet Dionysius too must 
have greatly helped on this movement of her mind. For in 
Dionysius the standing appellations for God are, in true Neo- 
Platonist fashion, derived from extended or diffusive material 
substances or conditions, Light, Fire, Fountain, Ocean; 
and from that pervasive emotion, Love, strictly speaking 
Desire, Eros. 
Now this, for our modem and Christian feeling, curiously 
impersonal, general and abstract method goes back, through 
Proclus and Plotinus, to Plato, who, above all in his 
Symposiu1n, is dominated by the two tendencies and 
requirements, of identifying the First and Perfect with the 
most General and the most Abstract; and of making the very 
pre-requisites and instruments of the search for It,-even the 
earthly Eros, still so far from the Heavenly Eros and from 
the Christian Agapë,-into occasions, effects or instalments of 
and for the great Reality sought by them. And since it is 
thus the love, the desire, the eros, of things beautiful, and 
true, and good,-a love first sensible, then intellectual, and 
at last spiritual, which makes us seek and find It, the Beauty, 
Truth, and Goodness \vhich is First Cause and Final End of 
the whole series, this Cause and End will be considered not 
as a Lover but as Love Itself. It is plain, I think, that it is 
specially this second motive, this requirement of a pervading 
organization and circle of and wi thin the life of spirits and of 
the Spirit, which has also determined Catherine to retain 
PIa to's terminology. 



102 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


IV. ]ACOPONE DA TODI'S "LODE." 
In the case of ]acopone, the suddenly wife-bereft and 
converted lawyer, an ardent poet doubled by a soaring, daring 
mystic, with an astonishing richness of simultaneous symbols 
and conceptions and rapidity of successive complements and 
contrasts, it will really be simplest if I take the chief touches 
which have characteristically stimulated Catherine or have left 
her unaffected, in the order and grouping in which they appear 
in his chief" Lode," as these latter are given in the first printed 
edition, probably the very one used by Catherine.! 
I. Lode XIII, XXIII, XXXV, XLV. 
In Loda XIII "the vicious soul is likened unto Hell," 
vv. 1-7; and " the soul that yesterda y was Hell, to-day has 
turned into Heaven," v. 8. \Ve thus get here, precisely as 
in Catherine, the spaceless conditions of the soul and their 
modifications treated under the symbols of places and of the 
spatial change from one place to the other. 
In Loda XXIII we first have five successive purifications 
and purities of Love, " carnal, counterfeit, self-seeking, natural, 
spiritual, transformed," vv. 1-6; and then the symbols of 
spatial location and movement reappear, " if height does not 
abase itself, it cannot participate with, nor communicate itself 
to, the lowest grade"; all which is frequent with Catherine
 
But she nowhere echoes the teaching reproduced here, v. 10, 
as to the Divine Trinity being figured in man's three faculties 
of soul. 
Loda XXXV gives us a sort of Christian Stoicism very 
dear to Catherine: "Thou, my soul, hast been created In great 
elevation; thy nature is grounded in great nobility (gentilezza)," 
v. 7; H thou hast not thy life in created things; it is necessary 
for thee to breathe in other countries, to mount up to God, 
thine inheritance, 'Vho (alone) can satisfy thy poverty," 
v. 10; "great is the honour which thou doest to God, when 
thou abidest (stare) in Him, in thy (true) nobility," v. II. 


1 Laude de 10 contemPlativo et extatico B. F. J acopone de 10 Ordine 
de 10 SeraPhico S. Francesco.... In Firenze, per Ser Francesco 
Bonaccorsi. MCCCCLXXXX. Only the sheets are numbered; and two 
Lode have, by mistake. been both numbered LVIII: I have indicated 
them by LVIlla and LVIIlb respectively. I have much felt the 
absence of any monograph on the sources and characters of ]acopone's 
doctrine. 



SOURCES OF CATHERINE'S CONCEPTIONS 10 3 


Loda XLV gives" the Five Modes in which God appears 
in the Soul "-" the state of fear" ; curative, "healing-love" ; 
" the way of love"; "the paternal mode"; "the mode of 
espousals." Catherine leaves the last two, anthropomorphic 
and familial, conceptions quite unused, and passes in her life, 
at one bound, from the first to the third mode. 
2. Lode L VIlla, L Vlllb. 
The fine Loda L VIlla, " Of Holy Poverty, Mistress of all 
Things," has evidently suggested much to Catherine. 
" Waters, rivers, Jakes, and ocean, fish within them and their 
swimming; airs, winds, birds, and all their flying: all these 
turn to jewels for me," v. 10. How readily the sense of water, 
and of rapid movement within it, passes here into that of 
air, and of swift locomotion within it! And both these 
movements are felt to represent, in vivid fashion, certain 
very different experiences of the soul.-" Moon, Sun, Sky, and 
Stars,-even these are not amongst my treasures: above the 
very sky those things abide, which are the object of my song," 
v. II. The positive, "analogic" method has here turned 
suddenly into the negative, " apophatic " one; and yet, even 
here, we still have the spatial symbolism, for the best is the 
highest up,-indeed it is this very symbolism which is made 
to add point to the negative declaration, a declaration which 
nevertheless clearly implies the mere symbolism of that 
spatialization. All this is fully absorbed by Catherine.- 
" Since God has my will, . . . my wings have such feathers 
that from earth to heaven there is no distance for me," v. 12. 
Here we see how Plato filters through, complete, to J acopone ; 
but only in his central idea to Catherine. For the Phaedrus, 
246b, c, teaches: "The perfect soul then, having become 
winged, soars upwards, and is the ruler of the universe; whilst 
the imperfect soul sheds her feathers and is borne downwards, 
till it settles on the solid ground." Catherine never mentions 
wings nor feathers, but often dwells upon flying. 
The great Loda LVIIIb, " Of Holy Poverty and its Treble 
Heaven," (one passage of which is formally quoted and care- 
fully expounded by Catherine), is a combination of Platonism, 
Paulinism, and Franciscanism, and has specially influenced 
her through its Platonist element. Verses 1-9 contain a 
fine apostrophe to Poverty. "0 Love of Poverty, Reign of 
tranquillity! Poverty, high Wisdom! to be subject to 
nothing; through despising to possess all things created ! " 
v. 1: all this is echoed by Catherine. But the ex-lawyer's 


. 



I04 THE :rvIYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 
declaration that such a soul" has neither judge nor notary," 
v. 3, did certainly not determine her literally, for we have 
had before us some fifteen cases in which she had recourse to 
lawyers. "God makes not His abode in a narrow heart; 
thou art, oh man, precisely as great as thine affection may be. 
The spirit of poverty possesses so ample a bosonl, that Deity 
Itself takes up its dwelling there," v. 8. Catherine's deepest 
self seenlS to breathe from out of this profound saying. 
Verses 10 to 30 describe the three heavens of successive 
self-despoilments. The firmamental heaven, which typifies 
the four-fold renouncement,-of honour, riches, science, repu- 
tation of sanctity, has left no echo in Catherine. The stellar 
heaven is" composed of solidified clear waters (aquc solidate) " ; 
here" the four winds" cease" that move the sea,-that per- 
turb the mind: fear and hope, grief and joy," II-I4. Here 
Plato again touches Catherine through ]acopone. For the 
Symposium, I97a, declares: "Love it is that produces peace 
among men and calm on the sea, a cessation of the winds, 
and repose and sleep even in trouble"; and ]acopone identi- 
fies the nliddle " crystalline " heaven, (" the waters above" of 
Genesis, chap. i,) with Plato's" sea" ; takes Plato's (four) winds 
as the soul's chief passions; and considers Plato's" peace" 
and "windlessness" as equivalent to the" much silence," 
which, says the Apocalypse, " arose in heaven," viü, I, inter- 
preted here as " in n1id-heaven." "Not to fear Hell, nor to 
hope for Heaven, to rejoice in no good, to grieve over no 
adversity," v. 16, is a formulation unlike Catherine, although 
single sayings of hers stand for sentiments analogous to the 
first and last.-" If the virtues are naked, and the vices are 
not garmented,-mortal wounds get given to the soul," v. 19, 
has a symbolisnl exactly opposite to Catherine's, who, we 
know, loves to glorify" nakedness" as the soul's purity.- 
" The highest heaven " is " beyond even the imagings of the 
mortihed fancy"; "of every good it has despoiled thee, and 
has expropriated thee from all virtue: lay up as a treasure 
this thy gain,-the sense of thine own vileness." "0 purified 
Love! it alone lives in the tnlth!" These verses, 20-22, have 
left a deep impress upon Catherine, although she wisely does 
not press that" expropriation from virtue," which goes back 
at least to Plotinus, for whom the true Ecstatic is " beyond the 
choir of the virtues. J J 1 
1. Enneads, vi, ch. ix" I I... 



SOURCES OF CATHERINE'S CONCEPTIONS IOS 
"That which appears to thee (as extant), is not truly 
existent: so high (above) is that which truly is. True ele- 
vation of soul (la superbia) dwells in heaven above, and 
baseness of mind (hutnilitade) leads to damnation," v. 24, is a 
saying to which we still have Catherine's detailed commentary. 
In its markedly Platonic distinction between an upper true 
and a lower seeming world, and in its characteristically 
mystical love of paradox and a play upon words, it is more 
curious than abidingly important; but in its deeply Christian 
consciousness of " pride" and" humility," in their ordinary 
ethical sense, being respectively the subtlest vice and the 
noblest virtue, it rises sheer above aU Platonist and Neo- 
Platonist apprehension. 
" Love abides in prison, in that darksome light! All light 
there is darkness, and all darkness there is as the day," vv. 
26, 27. Here Catherine no doubt found aids towards her 
prison-conception,-of the loving soul imprisoned in the 
earthly body, and of the imperfect, yet loving, disembodied 
souls imprisoned in Purgatory; and towards articulating her 
strong sense of the change in the meaning and value of the 
same symbols, as the soul grows in depth and experience. But 
her symbolization of God, and of our apprehension of Him as 
Light and Fire, is too solidly established in her mind, to allow 
her to emphasize the darkness-symbol with any reference to 
Hin1. 
" There where Christ is enclosed (in the soul), all the old 
is changed by Him,-the one is transformed into the Other, 
in a Inarvellous union. 'fo live as I and yet not I; and my 
very being to be not mine: this is so great a cross-purpose 
(traversio), that I know not how to define it," vv. 28-30. This 
vivid description, based of course upon St. Paul, of the 
apparent shifting of the very centre of the soul's personality, 
has left clear echoes in Catherine's sayings; but the explicit 
reference to Christ is here as characteristically Franciscan as 
it is unlike Catherine's special habits.-And the great poem 
ends with a refrain of its opening apostrophe. 
3. Lode LXXIV, LXXIX, LXXXI, LXXXIII. 
In the dramatically vivid Dialogue between the Old and 
the Young Friar" Concerning the divers manners of contem- 
plating the Cross," Loda LXXIV, the elder says to the 
younger man: "And I find the Cross full of arrows, which 
issue from its side: they get fixed in my heart. The Archer 



106 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


has aimed them at me; He causes me to be pierced," v. 6. 
The Cross is here a bow; and yet the arrows evidently issue 
not from it, but, as so many rays, from the Sun, the Light- 
Christ, Who is laid upon it,-from the heart of the Crucified. 
Catherine maintains the rays and arrows, and the Sun and 
Fire from which they issue; but the Cross and the Crucified, 
presupposed here throughout, appear not, even to this extent, 
in her post-conversion picturings.-" You abide by the 
warmth, but I abide within the fire; to you it is delight, but 
I am burning through and through, I cannot find a place of 
refuge in this furnace," v. 13. All this has been echoed 
throughout by Catherine. 
Loda LXXIX, " Of the Divine Love and its Praises," has 
evidently much influenced her. "0 joyous wound, delightful 
wound, gladsome wound, for him who is wounded by Thee, 
o Love!" "0 Love, divine Fire! Love full of laughter and 
playfulness!" "0 Love, sweet and suave; 0 Love, Thou 
art the key of heaven! Ship that Thou art, bring me to port 
and calm the tempest," vv. 3, 6, 16. All this we have found 
reproduced in her similes and experiences. " Love, bounteous 
in spending Thyself ; Love with wide-spread tables!" "Love, 
Thou art the One that loves, and the Means wherewith the 
heart loves Thee! " vv. 24, 26. These verses give us the 
wide, wide world outlook, the connection between Love and 
the Holy Eucharist, and the identity of the Subject, Means, 
and Object of Love, which are all so much dwelt upon by 
Catherine. 
Loda LXXXI is interesting by the way in which, although 
treating of" the love of Christ upon the Cross," it everywhere 
apostrophizes Love and not the Lover, and treats the former, 
again like Catherine, as a kind of boundless living substance; 
indeed v. 17 must have helped to suggest one of her favourite 
conceptions: "0 great Love, greater than the great sea! Oh ! 
the man who is drowned within it, under it, and with it all 
around him, \vhilst he knows not where he is ! " 
Loda LXXXIII has two touches dear to Catherine. "0 
Love, whose name is ' I love '-the plural is never found," v. 5, 
-a saying which evidently is directed, not against a social 
conception of religion, but against a denial of the Divine Love 
being Source as well as Obj ect of our love; and " I did not 
love Thee with any gain to myself, until I loved Thee for 
Thine own sake," v. 15,-a declaration of wondrous depth 
and simplicity. 



SOURCES OF CATHERINE'S CONCEPTIONS I07 
4. Lode LXXXVIII, LXXXIX, LXXXX, LXXXXVIII, 
LXXXXIX. 
The great Loda LXXXVIII, " How the soul complains to 
God concerning the excessive ardours of the love infused into 
it," contains numerous touches which have been interestingly 
responded to or ignored by Catherine. "All my will is on 
fire with Love, is united, transformed (into It); who can bear 
such Love ? Nor fire nor sword can part the loving soul and 
her Love; a thing so united cannot be divided; neither 
suffering nor death can henceforth mount up to that height 
where the soul abides in ecstasy," vv. 5, 6: a conlbination 
of St. Paul and Plotinus, quite after Catherine's heart. But 
" the light of the sun appears to me obscure, now that I 
see that resplendent Countenance," v. 7, has an anthropomor- 
phic touch to which she does not respond; and" I have 
given all my heart, that it may possess that Lover who 
renews me so,-O Beauty ancient and ever new! " v. la, has 
the personal designation H Lover," which, again, is alien to her 
vocabulary . 
" Seeing such Beauty, I have been drawn out of myself . . . 
and the heart now gets undone, melted as though it were wax, 
and finds itself again, with the likeness of Christ upon it," 
v. II, must have stimulated, by its first part, some of her own 
experiences, and will, by its second part, taken literally, have 
helped on the fantastic expectations of her attendants. " Love 
rises to such ardour, that the heart seems to be transfixed as 
with a knife," v. 14, no doubt both expressed an experience of 
]acopone and helped to constitute the form of a similar 
experience on the part of Catherine. "As iron, which is all 
on fire, as dawn, made resplendent by the sun, lose their own 
form (nature) and exist in another, so is it with the pure 
mind, when clothed by Thee, 0 Love," v. 21, contains ideas, 
(all but the symbol of clothing), very dear to Catherine. But 
the astonishingly daring words: "Since my soul has been 
transfonned into Truth, into Thee, 0 Christ alone, into Thee 
'Vho art tender Loving,-not to myself but to Thee can be 
imputed \vhat I do. Hence, if I please Thee not, Thou dost 
not please Thine Own Self, 0 Love! " v. 22, remain unechoed 
by her, no doubt because her states shift from one to another, 
and she wisely abstains from pushing the articulation of any 
one of them to its own separate logical limit. 
" Thou wast born into the world by love and not by flesh, 
o Love become Man (hul1lanato Amore)," v. 27, is like her in 



IoB THE MYSTIGAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


its interesting persistence in the" Love" (not" Lover ") desig- 
nation, but is unlike her in its definite reference to the historic 
Incarnation. "Love, 0 Love, Jesus, I have reached the 
haven," v. 32, is closely like her, all but the explicit mention 
of the historic name; and" Love, 0 Love, Thou art the full- 
orbed circle," " Thou art both warp and woof," beginning and 
end, material and transforming agency, v. 33, is Catherine's 
central idea, expressed in a form much calculated to impress 
it upon her. 
The daring and profound Loda LXXXIX, " How the soul, 
by holy self-annihilation and love, reaches an unknowable 
and indescribable state," contains again numerous touches 
which have been assimilated by Catherine. So with: "Drawn 
forth, out of her natural state, into that unmeasurable condition 
whither love goes to drown itself, the soul, having plunged 
into the abyss of this ocean, henceforth cannot find, on any 
side, any means of issuing forth from it," vv. 12, 13. So also 
with: "Since thou dost no longer love thyself, but alone that 
Goodness . . . it has become necessary for thee again to love 
thyself, but with His Love,-into so great an unity hast thou 
been drawn by Him," vv. 52-54. So too with: "All Faith 
ceases for the soul to whom it has been given to see; and all 
Hope, since it now actually holds what it used to seek," v. 70, 
although this is more absolute than are her similar utterances. 
-But especially are the startling words interesting: "In 
this transformation, thou drinkest Another, and that Other 
drinketh thee (tll bevi e sei bevuto, in transformazione}," v. 98, 
which, in their second part, are identical with R. Browning's 
" My end, to slake Thy thirst" : 1 for they will have helped to 
support or to encourage Catherine's corresponding inversion- 
the teaching of an eating, an assin1ilation, not of God by man, 
but of man by God. Both sets of images go back, of course, 
to the Eucharistic reception by the soul of the God-man Christ, 
under the forms of Bread eaten and of Wine drunk. 
The striking Loda LXXXX, " How the soul arrives at a 
treble state of annihilation," has doubtless suggested much to 
Catherine. "He who has become the very Cause of all 
things" (chi è cosa d' ogni cosa) " can never more desire any- 
thing," v. 4, is, it is true, more daring, because more quietly 
explicit, than any saying of hers. But v. 13 has been echoed 
by her throughout: "The heavens have grown stagnant; their 


1 Rabbi Ben Ezra. XXX!. 



SOURGES OF GATHERINE'S CONCEPTIONS 109 


silence constrains me to cry aloud: t 0 profound Ocean, the 
very depth of Thine Abyss has constrained me to attempt and 
drown myself within it,' "-where note the interestingly antique 
presupposition of the music of the spheres, which has now 
stopped, and of the watery constitution of the crystalline 
heaven, which allows of stagnation; and the rapidity of the 
change in the impressions,-from immobility to silence, and 
from air to water. Indeed that Ocean is one as much of air 
as of water, and as little the one as the other; and its attractive 
force is still that innate affinity between the river-soul and its 
living Source and Home, the Ocean God, which we have so 
constantly found in Plotinus, Proclus, and Dionysius. II The 
land of promise is, for such a soul, no longer one of promise 
only: for the perfect soul already reigns within that land. 
Men can thus transform themselves, in any and every place," 
v. 18, has, in its touching and lofty Stoic-Christian teaching, 
found the noblest response and re-utterance in and by 
Catherine's words and life. 
Loda LXXXXVIII, II Of the Incarnation of the Divine 
Word," full though it is of beautiful Franciscanism, has left 
her uninfluenced. But the fine Loda LXXXXIX, II How true 
Love is not idle," contains touches which have sunk deep 
into her mind. II Splendour that givest to all the world its 
light, 0 Love Jesus. . . heaven and earth are by Thee; 
Thine action resplends in all things and all things turn to 
Thee. Only the sinner despises Thy Love and severs himself 
from Thee, his Creator," v. 6, is, in its substance, taken over 
by her. "0 ye cold sinners! " v. 12, is her favourite epithet. 
And vv. 13, 14, with their rapid ringing of the changes on the 
different sense-perceptions, will, by their shifting vividness, 
have helped on a similar iridescence in her own imagery: "0 
Odour, that transcendest every sweetness! 0 living river of 
Delight. . . that causest the very dead to return to their 
vigour! In heaven Thy lovers possess Thine immense Sweet- 
ness, tasting there those savoury morsels." 
And finally Loda LXXXVII, tI Of true and false discretion," 
which, in vv. 12-20, consists of a dialogue between II the Flesh" 
and II the Reason," will have helped to suggest the slight 
beginnings of this form of apprehension to Catherine which 
we have found amongst her authentic sayings and experiences, 
and which were, later on, developed on so large a scale, by 
Battista V ernazza, throughout her long Dialogo delta Beata 
Caterina. 



11(' TI-IE 'I\YSTICAL ELE
IENT OF RELIGION 


-. Jacoponc it is, then, \vho furnished Catherine with much 
ht'lp to\\ ..lrds that rare combination of deep feeling with 
severelv abstrJ.ct thinking- \vhich, if at times it somewhat 
str.1Ìns.;.md \Vèarics us modems \vho \yould ever end with the 
conc.ft"\te, giyes a nobly virile, bracing note to even the most 

ffccti\-e of her sa)ings. 


,... POIXTS CO)nIO
 TO ALL FIVE MINDS; AND CATHE- 
RIXE'S 
L-\IX DIFFEREKCE FROM HER FOUR PRE- 
DECESSORS. 
If ,,-e no\y consider for a moment the general points 
common to the four \\TIters just considered and to Catherine, 
\\'"e readily note that all fi ve are profoundly reflective and 
in terpreta ti ye in their a tti tude to\vards the given contingencies 
of traditional religion; that they all tend to find the Then 
and There of History still at \vork, in various degrees, Here 
and XO\V, throughout Time and Space, and in the last resort, 
aboye and behind both these categories, in a spaceless, time- 
less Present. And if only three, Paul! ]acopone, and Cathe- 
rille, bear marks, throughout all they think and feel and do 
and are, of the cataclysmic conversion-crisis through ,"-hich 
they had passed,-the temporally intermediate two, John and 
Dionysius, have also got, but in a more indirect form, much 
of a similar Dualism. All five are, in these and other respects, 
indefinitely closer to each other than anyone of them is to 
the still richer, more complete, and more entirely balanced 
though less articulated, Synoptic teaching, which enfolds all 
that is abiding in those other five, whilst they, even if united, 
do not approximately exhaust the substance of that teaching. 
And if \ve \vould briefly define the main point on \vhich 
Catherine holds views additional to, or other than, those other 
four, \ve must point to her Purgatorial teaching, which has 
received but little or no direct suggestion from anyone of 
them, and \vhich, \vhatever may have been its literary pre- 
cur:,ors and occasions, gives, perhaps more than anything else, 
a peculiarly human and personal, original and yet still modern, 
touch to \vhat would otherwise be, to our feeling, too abstract 
do d antique a spiritual physiognomy. 



CH.A.PTER XI 


CATHERINE'S LESS ULTIMATE THIS-\VORLD DOCTRI
ES 


INTRODUCTORY: CATHERINE'S LESS ULTIMATE POSITIONS, 
CONCERNING OUR LIFE HERE, ARE FOUR. 
'VE have no\v attempted, (by means of a doubtless more or 
less artificial distinction betv;een things that, in real life, con- 
stitute parts of one \vhole in a state of hardly separable inter- 
penetration,) a presentation of Catherine's special, mental and 
psycho-physical, character and temperament, and of the princi- 
pal literary stinltIlations and Dlaterials \vhich acted upon, and 
in return \vere refashioned by , that character; and \ve have also 
given, in sufficient detail, the resultant doctrines and \vorld- 
vie\v acquired and developed by that deep soul and noble mind. 
The most important and difficult part of our task renlains, 
however, still to be accomplished,-the attempt to get an (at 
least approximate) estimate of the abiding meaning, place, 
and \vorth of this \vhole, highly synthesized position, for and 
\vithin the religious life generally and our present-day re- 
quirenlents in particular. For the general outline of the 
Introduction, (intended there more as an instrument of research 
and classification for the literature and history then about to 
be examined, than as this history's final religious appraise- 
ment,) cannot dispense us from now attempting something 
more precise and ultinlate.-I propose, then, to gi'ge the next 
four chapters to an examination of Catherine's principal posi- 
tions and practices, the first t\VO, respectively, to U the less 
ultimate This-\Vorld Doctrines"; and U the Other-\Yorld 
Doctrines," or U the Eschatology"; and the last t\VO to 
U the Ultimate Implications and Problems" underlying both. 
The last chapter shall then sum up the ,,,hole book, and 
consider the abiding place and function of l\Iysticism, in its 
contrast to, and supplementation of, Asceticism, Institution- 
alism, and the Scientific Habit and Activity of the l\Iind. 
III 


. 



112 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


N ow I think the less ultimate spiritual positions, as far 
as they concern our life here below, which are specially 
represented, or at least forcibly suggested by, Catherine, can 
reasonably be accounted as four: Interpretative Religion; 
a strongly Dualistic attitude towards the body; Quietude and 
Passi vity; and Pure Love. I shall devote a section to each 
position. 


I. INTERPRETATIVE RELIGION. 
I. Difficulties of the Subjective element of Religion. 
Now, by Interpretative Religion, I do not mean to imply 
that there is anywhere, in rerum natura, such a thing as a 
religion which is not interpretative, which does not consist as 
trul y of a reaction on the part of the believing soul to certain 
stimulations of and within it, as of these latter stimulations 
and actions. As every (even but serni-conscious) act and 
state of the human mind, ever embraces both such action of 
the object and such reaction of the subject,-a relatively 
crude fact of sensation or of feeling borne in upon it, and an 
interpretation, an incorporation of this fact by, and into, the 
Ii ving tissue and organism of this mind: so is it also, neces- 
sarily and above all, with the deepest and most richly 
complex of all human acts and states,-the specifically 
religious ones. But if this interpretative activity of the mind 
was present from the very dawn of human reason, and exists 
in each individual in the precise proportion as mind can be 
predicated as operative within him at all: this mental activity 
is yet the last element in the compound process and result 
which is, or can be, perceived as such by the mind itself. The 
process is too near to the observer, even when he is once 
awake to its existence; he is too much occupied with the 
materials brought before his mind and with moulding and 
sorting them out; and this moulding and sorting activity is 
itself too rapid and too deeply independent of those materials 
as to its form, and too closely dependent upon them as to its 
content, for the observation by the mind of this same mind's 
contributions towards its own affirmations of reality and of 
the nature of this reality, not ever to appear late in the history 
of the human race or in the life of any human individual, or 
not to be, even when it appears difficult, a fitful and an 
imperfect mental exercise. 



LESS ULTIMATE THIS-WORLD DOCTRINES 113 


And when the discovery of this constant contribution of 
the mind to its own affirmations of reality is first made, it can 
hardly fail, for the time being, to occasion misgivings and 
anxieties of a more or less sceptical kind. Is not the whole 
of what I have hitherto taken to be a solid world of sense 
outside me, and the whole of the world of necessary truth and 
of obligatory goodness within me,-is it not, perhaps, all a 
merely individual creation of my single mind-a mind cut off 
from all effective intercourse with reality,-my neighbour's 
mind included? For all having, so far, been held to be 
objective, the mind readily flies to the other extreme, and 
suspects all to be subjective. Or if all my apprehensions 
and certainties are the resultants from the interaction between 
impressions received by my senses and mind and reactions 
and elaborations on the part of this mind with regard to those 
impressions, how can I be sure of apprehending rightly, 
unless I can divide each constituent off from the other? And 
yet, how can I effect such a continuous discounting of my 
mind's action by means of my own mind itself? 
And this objection is felt most keenly in religion, when the 
religious soul first wakes up to the fact that itself, of necessity 
and continuously, contributes, by its own action, to the consti- 
tution of those affirmations and certainties, which, until then, 
seemed, without a doubt, to be directly borne in upon a purely 
receptive, automatically registering mind, from that extra-, 
super-human world which it thus affirmed. Here also, all 
having for so long been assumed to be purely objective, the 
temptation now arises to consider it all as purely subjective. 
Or again, if we insist upon holding that, here too, there are 
both objective and subjective elements, we readily experi- 
ence keen distress at our inability clearly to divide off the 
objective, which is surely the reality, from the subjective, 
which can hardly fail to be its travesty. 
And finally, this doubt and trouble would seem to find 
specially ready material in the mystical element and form of 
religion. For here, as we have already seen, psycho-physical 
and auto-suggestive phenomena and mechanisms abound; 
here especially does the mind cling to an immediate access 
to Reality; and here the ordinary checks and complements 
afforded by the Historical and Institutional, the Analytically 
Rational, and the Volitional, Practical elements of Religion 
are at a minimum. Little but the Emotional and the Specu- 
latively Rational elements seems to remain; and these, more 
VOL. II. I 



114 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 
than any others, appear incapable of admitting that they 
are anything other than the pure and direct effects and 
expressions of spiritual Reality. 
What, then, shall we think of all this? 
2. Answers to the above difficulties. 
We evidently must, in the first instance, guard against any 
attempt at doing a doctrinaire violence to the undeniable facts 
of our consciousness or of its docile analysis, by eXplaining 
all our knowledge, ør only even all our knowledge of any 
single thing, as either of purely subjective or of purely 
objective provenance; for everywhere and always these two 
elements co-exist in all human apprehension, reason, feeling, 
will, and faith. We find, throughout, an organization, an 
indissoluble organism, of subjective and objective, hence a 
unity in diversity, which is indeed so great that (for our o\vn 
experience and with respect to our own minds at all events), 
the Subjective does not and cannot exist without the Objec- 
tive, nor the Objective without the Subjective. 
In the next place, we must beware against exalting the 
Objective against the Subjective, or the Subjective against 
the Objective, as if Life, Reality, and Truth consisted in the 
one rather than the other. Because the subjective element is, 
on the first showing, a work of our own minds, it does not 
follow (as we shall see more clearly when studying the ultimate 
problems) that its operations are bereft of correspondence 
with reality, or, at least, that they are further from reality 
than are our sense-perceptions. For just as the degree of 
worth represented by these sense-perceptions can range from 
the crudest delusion to a stimulation of primary importance 
and exquisite precision, so also our mental and emotional 
reaction and penetration represent almost any and every 
degree of accuracy and value. . 
And, above all, as already implied, the true priority and 
superiority lies, not with one of these constituents against the 
other, but with the total subjective-objective interaction and 
resultant, which is superior, and indeed gives their place and 
worth to, those ever interdependent parts. 
Now, in the general human experience, the Objective ele- 
ment is constituted, in the first instance and for clear and ready 
analysis, by the sense-stimulations; and, after some mental 
response to and elaboration of these, by the larger psychic 
moods; and later still, by the examples of great spiritual 
attitudes and of great personalities offered by other souls to 



LESS ULTIMATE THIS-WORLD DOCTRINES 115 


the soul that keeps itself open to such impressions. And 
though the sense of Reality (as contrasted with Appearance), 
of the Abiding and Infinite (as different from the Passing and 
the Finite), are doubtless awakened, however faintly and 
inarticulately, in the human soul from the first, as the back- 
ground and presupposition of the foreground and the middle- 
distances of its total world of perceptions and aspirations: 
yet all these middle-distances, as well as that great background 
and groundwork, would remain unawakened but for those 
humble little sense-perceptions on the one hand, and inter- 
course with human fellow-creatures on the other. And in 
such intercourse with the minds and souls, or with the literary 
remains and other monuments of souls, either still living here 
or gone hence some two thousand years or more, a mass of 
mental and moral impressions and stimulations, which, in 
those souls, were largely their own elaborations, offer them- 
selves to anyone human mind, or to the minds of a whole 
generation or country, with the apparent homogeneity of a 
purely objective, as it were a sense-impression. 
Especially in Religion the Historical and Institutional (as 
Religion's manifestation in space and time), come down to us 
thus from the past and surround us in the present, and either 
press in upon us with a painful weight, or support us with a 
comforting solidity, thus giving them many of the qualities 
of things physically seen and touched, say, a mystery play or 
a vast cathedral. And, on the other hand, the Rational, 
(whether Analytic or Synthetic,) and the Emotional and 
Volitional Elements, whenever they are at all preponderant 
or relatively independent of the other, more objective ones, 
are liable, in Religion, to look quite exceptionally subjective, 
-and this in the unfavourable sense of the word, as though 
either superfluous and fantastic, or as dangerous and destruc- 
tive.-And yet both that look of the objective elements being, 
in Religion, more self-sufficing than they appear to be in the 
ordinary psychic, or the artistic, or social, or scientific life; 
and that impression conveyed by the subjective elements in 
Religion, as being there less necessary or more dangerous 
than elsewhere, are doubtless deceptive. These impressions 
are simply caused by two very certain facts. Religion is the 
deepest and most inclusive of all the soul's energizings 
and experiences, and hence all its constituents reveal a 
difference, at least in amount and degree, when compared 
with the corresponding constituents of the more superficial 


" 



116 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


and more partial activities of the soul; and Religion, just 
because of this, requires the fullest action and co-operation, the 
most perfect unity, in and through diversity, of all the soul's 
powers, and all mere non-use of any of these forces, even any 
restriction to the use of but one or two, is here, more readily 
and extensively than elsewhere, detrimental both to the non- 
exercised and to the exercised forces, and, above all, is 
impoverishing to the soul itself and to its religion. 
Hence, here as elsewhere, but more than anywhere, our 
ideal standard will be the greatest possible development of, and 
inter-stimulation between, each and all of the religious elements, 
with the greatest possible unity in the resulting organism. 
And yet,-in view of the very greatness of the result aimed at, 
and of the fact that its even approximate attainment can, 
even for anyone age of the world, be reasonably expected 
only from the co-operation of the differently endowed and 
attracted races and nations, social and moral grades, sexes, 
ages and individuals that make up mankind,-we shall not 
only be very tolerant of, we shall positively encourage, largely 
one-sided developments, provided that each keeps some touch 
with the elements which itself knows not how to develop in 
abundance, and that it considers its own self, and works out 
its own special gift and attrait, as but one out of many vari- 
ously gifted and apportioned fellow-servants in the Kingdom, 
-as only one of the countless, mutually complementary, 
individually ever imperfect, part-expressions of the manifold 
greatness, of the rich unity of spiritual humanity as willed by 
God, and of God Himself. 
3. Partial developments of the full Gospel Ideal. 
Now in the New Testament \ve have a most instructive, at 
first sight puzzling phenomenon, illustrative of the positions 
just taken up. For here it is clear that, with regard to the 
distinction between richly many-sided but as yet unarticu- 
lated religion, and comparatively one-sided and limited but 
profoundly developed religion, we have two considerably 
contrasted types of spiritual tone and teaching. We get 
the predominantly" Objective" strand of life and doctrine, 
in the pre-Pauline parts and in their non-Pauline echoes, 
i. e. in the substance of the Synoptic tradition, and in 
the Epistles of St. James and of St. Peter; and we find the 
predominantly II Subjective" strain in the (( Pauline" parts, 
S1. Paul's Epistles and the Johannine Gospeland Letters.-And 
it has become more and more clear that it is the pre-Pauline 



LESS ULTIMATE THIS-WORLD DOCTRINES 117 
parts which give us the most immediately and literally 
faithful, and especially the most complete and many-sided, 
picture of Our Lord's precise words and actions; whereas the 
Pauline parts give us rather what some of these great creative 
forces were and became for the first generations of Christians 
and for the most penetrating of Christ's early disciples and 
lovers. And yet it is the latter documents which, at first 
sight, appear to be the deeper, the wider, and the more pro- 
foundly spiritual; whereas the former look more superficial, 
more temporal and local, and more simply popular and 
material. 
And yet,-though this first impression has been held to be 
finally true by large masses of Christians; although the Greek 
Fathers predominantly, and, in the West, the great soul of an 
Augustine, and the powerful but one-sided personalities of a 
Luther and a Calvin have, in various degrees and ways, helped 
to articulate and all but finally fix it for the general Christian 
consciousness: this view is yielding, somewhat slowly but 
none the less surely, to the sense that it is the Synoptic, the 
pre-Pauline tradition which contains the fuller arsenal of the 
spiritual forces which have transfigured and which still inspire 
the world of souls. This, of course, does not mean that the 
Pauline-Johannine developments were not necessary, or are 
not abiding elements towards the understanding of the 
Christian spirit. 
And, to come to the true answer to our objection, such a 
judgment does not mean that the reflective penetration and 
reapplication of the original more spontaneous message was, 
from the very nature of the case, inferior to the first less 
articulated announcement of the Good Tidings. But it merely 
signifies that this necessary process of reflection could only 
be applied to parts of the origina1, immensely rich and varied, 
because utterly living, divinely spiritual, whole; and that, 
thus, the special balance and tension which characterized the 
original, complete spirit and temper, could, however pro- 
foundly, be reproduced only in part. For the time being 
this later penetration and resetting of some elements from 
among the whole of Our Lord's divinely rich and simple life 
and teaching, necessarily and rightly, yet none the less most 
really, ignored, or put for the time into some other context, 
certain other sides and aspects of that primitive treasure of 
inexhaustible experience. Only the full, equable, and simul- 
taneous unfolding of all the petals could have realized the 



rr8 THE MYSTICAL ELE
fENT OF RELIGION 


promise and content of the bud; whereas the bud, holding 
enfolded within itself such various elements and combina- 
tions of truth, could not expand its petals otherwise than 
successively, hence, at anyone moment only somewhat one- 
sidedly and partially. Each and all of these unfoldings bring 
some further insight into, and articulation of, the original 
spiritual organism; and that they are not more, but less, than 
the totality of that primitive experience and revelation, does 
not prove that such reflective work is wrong or even simply 
dispensable,-for, on the contrary, in some degree or form 
it was and ever is necessary to the soul's apprehension of 
that life and truth,-but simply implies the immensity of 
the spiritual light and impulsion given by Our Lord, and the 
relative smallness of even the greatest of His followers. 
Thus only if it could be shown that those parts of the New 
Testament which doubtless give us the nearest approach to 
the actual words and deeds of Our Lord require us to con- 
ceive them as having been without the reflective and emo- 
tional element; or again that, in the case of the more 
derivative parts of the New Testament, it is their reflective- 
ness, and not their relative incompleteness and onesidedness, 
that cause them to be more readily englobed in the former 
world, than that former world in the latter: could the facts 
here found be used as an argument against the importance 
and strict necessity for religion of the reflective and emotional, 
the (( Subjective" elements, alongside of the It Objective," 
the Historical and Institutional ones. 
I t is a most legitimate ground for consolation to a Catholic 
when he finds the necessities of life and those of learned 
research both driving us more and more to this conclusion; 
for it is not deniable that Catholicism has ever refused to 
do more than include the Pauline and J ohannine theologies 
amongst its earliest and most normative stimulations and 
expressions; and that it has ever retained, far more than 
Protestantism, the sense, which (upon the whole) is most 
unbrokenly preserved by the Synoptists, of, if I may so 
phrase it, the Christianity of certain true elements in the pre- 
and extra-Christian religions. For it is in the Synoptists 
that we get the clear presentation of Our Lord's attitude 
towards the Jewish Church of His time, as one, even at its 
keenest, analogous to that of Savonarola, and not to that 
of a Luther, still less of a Calvin, towards the Christian 
Church of their day.-Indeed in these documents all idea 



LESS ULTI
fATE THIS-WORLD DOCTRINES 119 


of limiting Christianity to what He brQught of new, appears 
as foreign to His mind as it ever has been to that of the 
Catholic Church. Here we get the most spontaneous and 
many-sided expression of that divinely human, widely tradi- 
tional and social, all-welcoming and all-transforming spirit, 
which embraces both grace and nature, eternity and time, 
soul and body, attachment and detachment. The Pauline 
strain stands for the stress necessary to the full spiritualiza- 
tion of all those occasions and materials, as against all, mere 
unregenerate or static, retention of the simple rudiments or 
empty names of those things; and predominantly insists 
upon grace, not nature; eternity, not thne; soul, not body: 
the cross and death here, the Crown and Life hereafter. No 
wonder it is this latter strain that gets repeated, with varying 
truth and success, in times of acute transition, and by char- 
acters more antithetic than synthetic, more great at develop- 
ing a part of the truth than the whole. 
Thinkers, of such wide historical outlook and unim- 
peachable detachment from immediate controversial interest 
as Prof. Wilhelm Dilthey and Dr. Edward Caird, have 
brought out, with admirable force, this greater fulness of 
content offered by the Synoptists, and how the Pauline- 
Johannine writings give us the first and most important of 
those concentrations upon, and in part philosophic and 
mystical reinterpretations of, certain constituents of the 
original happenings, actions and message, as apprehended 
and transmitted by the first eye-witnesses and believers. 1 - 
Here I would but try and drive home the apparently vague, 
but in reality ever pressing and concrete, lesson afforded by 
the clear and dominant fact of these two groups within the 
New Testament itself :-of how no mere accumulation of 
external happenings, or of external testimony as to their 
having happened,-no amount of history or of institu- 
tionalism, taken as sheer, purely positive givennesses,-can 
anywhere be found, or can anywhere suffice for the human 
mind and conscience, in the apprehension and embodiment 
of the truth. For although, in Our Lord's most literally 
transmitted sayings and doings, this continuous and inalien- 
able element of the apprehending, organizing, vitalizing mind 
1 E. Caird. II St. Paul and the Idea of Evolution." Hibbert Journal, 
Vol. II. 1904. pp. 1-19. W. Dilthey has shown this by implication. in 
his studies of Erasmus. Luther. and Zwingli: Archiv tür Geschichte der 
PhilosoPkie. Vol. V, 1892. especially. pp. 381-385. 



120 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


and heart,-on His part above all, but also on the part of His 
several hearers and chroniclers ,-can mostly still be traced 
and must everywhere be assumed: yet it is in the Pauline- 
Johannine literature that the ever important, the rightly and 
fruitfully U subjective," the speculative and emotional, the 
mystical and the volitional strain can best be studied, both 
as to its necessity and as to its special character and dangers, 
because here it is developed to the relative exclusion of the 
other factors of complete religion. 
4. The exclusive emotionalism of Dionysius and] acopone. 
N ow if even in St. Paul and St. John there is a strong 
predominance of these reflective-emotional elements, in 
Dionysius and Jacopone they threaten to become exclusive 
of everything else. Especially is this the case with the 
Pseudo-Areopagite, steeped as he is in reflection upon 
reflections and in emotion upon emotions, often of the 
most subtle kind: a Christian echo, with curiously slight 
modifications, of Neo-Platonism in its last stage,-hence, 
unfortunately, of the over-systematic and largely artificial 
Proclus, instead of the predominantly experimental and often 
truly sublime Plotinus. And even Jacopone, although he 
has distinctly more of the historic element, is still predomi- 
nantly reflective-emotional, and presents us with many a 
hardly modified Platonic or Stoic doctrine, derived no doubt 
from late Graeco- Roman writers and their mediaeval Christian 
echoes. 
5. Catherine's interpretation of the Gospel Ideal. 
Catherine herself, although delightfully free from the long 
scale of mediations between the soul and God which forms 
one of the predominant doctrines of the Areopagite, con- 
tinues and emphasizes most of what is common, and much 
of what is special to, all and each of these four writers; she 
is a reflective saint, if ever there was one. And of her too 
we shall have to say that she is great by what she possesses, 
and not by what she is without: great because of her noble 
embodiment of the reflective and emotional, the mystical and 
volitional elements of Christianity and Religion generally. 
Religion is here, at first sight at least, all but entirely a 
thought and an emotion; yet all this thought and emotion 
is directed to, and occasioned by, an abiding Reality which 
originates, sustains,regulates,and fulfils it. And although this 
Reality is in large part conceived, in Greek and specially in 
Neo-Platonist fashion, rather under its timeless and spaceless, 



LESS ULTIMATE THIS-WORLD DOGTRINES .I2I 


or at least under its cosmic aspect, rather as Law and Sub- 
stance, than as Personality and Spirit: yet, already because 
of the strong influence upon her of the noblest Platonic 
doctrine, it is loved as overflowing Love and Goodness, as 
cause and end of all lesser love and goodness; and the real, 
though but rarely articulated, acceptance and influence of 
History and Institutions, above all the enthusiastic devotion 
to the Holy Eucharist with all its great implications, gives to 
the whole a profoundly Christian tone and temper. 
True, the Church at large, indeed the single soul (if we 
would take such a soul as our standard of completeness) 
requires a larger proportion of those crisp, definite outlines, 
of those factual, historical, and institutional elements; a 
very little less than what remains in Catherine of these 
elements, and her religion would be a simple, even though 
deep religiosity, a general aspiration, not a definite finding, 
an explicit religion. Yet it remains certain, although ever 
readily forgotten by religious souls, especially by theologi- 
cal apologists, that without some degree and kind of those 
outgoing, apprehending, interpreting activities, no religion is 
possible. Only the question as to what these activities should 
be, and what is their true place and function within the whole 
religious life, remains an open one. And this question we 
can study with profit in connection with such a life and 
teaching as Catherine's, which brings out, with a spontane- 
ous, childlike profundity and daring, the elemental religious 
passion, the spiritual hunger and thirst of man when he is 
once fully awake; the depths within him anticipating the 
heights above him; the affinity to and contact with the 
Infinite implied and required by that nobly incurable rest- 
lessness of his heart, which finds its rest in Him alone Who 
made it. 


II. DUALISTIC ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE BODY. 
And if Catherine is profoundly reflective, that reflection is, 
in its general drift, deeply dualistic,-at least in the matter 
of body and spirit. Their difference and incompatibility; 
the spirit's fleeing of the body; the spirit's getting outside 
of it,-by ecstasy, for a little while, even in this earthly 
life, and by this earthly body's death, for good and all; the 
body a prison-house, a true purgatory to the soul: all this 



122 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


hangs well together, and is largely, in its very form, of 
ultimately N eo- Platonist or Platonic origin. 
I. New Testantent valuations of the body. 
Now here is one of the promised instances of a double 
type-if not of doctrine, yet at least of emotional valuation 
in the New Testament. 
(I) In the Synoptist documents, (with the but apparent, or 
at least solitary, exceptions, of Jesus' Fasting in the Desert 
and of His commendation of those who have made themselves 
eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven,) 1 we find no direct or 
acute antagonism to the body, even to the average earthly 
human body, in the teaching and practice of Our Lord. The 
Second Coming and its proximity do indeed, here also, dwarf 
all earthly concerns, in so far as earthly.2 This background 
to the teaching and its tradition was, in course of time, in 
part abstracted from, in part restated.- The entrance into 
life is through the narrow gate and the steep way; only if 
a man turn, can he enter into the Kingdom of God; only if 
he lose his soul, can he find it : 3 this great teaching and 
example, as to life and joy being ever reached through death 
to self and by the whole-hearted turning of the soul from its 
false self to its true source, God: remains, in the very form of 
its promulgation as given by the Synoptists, the fundamental 
test and standard of all truly spiritual life and progress. But 
as to the body in particular, Jesus here knows indeed that (, the 
flesh is weak," and that we musy pray for strength against its 
weakness: 4 but He nowhere declares it evil-an inevitable 
prison-house or a natural antagonist to the spirit. The 
beautiful balance of an unbroken, unstrained nature, and a 
corresponding doctrine as full of sober earnestness as it is 
free from all concentrated or systematic dualism, are here 
everywhere apparent. 
(2) It is St. Paul, the man of the strongest bodily passions 
and temptations, he who became suddenly free from them by 
the all-transforming lightning-flash of his conversion, who, on 
and on, remained vividly conscious of what he had been and, 
but for that grace, still would be, and of what, through that 
grace, he had become. The deepest shadows are thus ever 


1 Mark i. 13, and parallels; Matt. xix, 10-12. 
! l\Iark vi. 8; Matt. x. 26-38; viii. 19- 22 ; xiii. 30-32; xxvi. 42, and 
parallels. 
3 Matt. vii, 13. 14; xviii, 1-5; xvi. 24-28. 
( Mark xiv. 38. and parallels. 



LESS ULTIMATE THIS-WORLD DOCTRINES 123 


kept in closest contrast to the highest lights; and the line 
of demarcation between them runs here along the division 
between body and soul. H 0 wretched man that I am! who 
shall deliver me out of the body of this death?" H In my 
flesh dwelleth no good thing" : 1 are sayings which are both 
keener in their tone and more limited in their range than are 
Our Lord's. And we have seen how, in one of his most 
depressed moods, he transiently adopts and carries on a speci- 
fically Platonist attitude towards the body's relation to the 
soul, as he finds it in that beautiful, profoundly Hellenistic 
treatise, the Book of Wisdom. 2 This attitude evidently repre- 
sents, in his strenuous and deeply Christian character, only a 
passing feeling; for, if we pressed it home, we could hardly 
reconcile it with his doctrine as to the reality and nature of 
the body's resurrection. It is indeed clear how the Platonist, 
and especially the Neo-Platonist, nlode of conceiving that 
relation excludes any and every kind of body from the soul's 
final stage of purification and happiness; and how the 
Synoptic, and indeed the generally Christian conception of 
it, necessarily eliminates that keen and abiding dualism 
characteristic of the late Greek attitude. 
.2. Platonic, Synoptic, and Pauline elements in Catherine's 
V'lew. 
Now in Catherine we generally find a.n interesting com- 
bination of the Platonic form with the Synoptic substance 
and spirit: and this can, of course, be achieved only because 
that abiding form itself is made to signify a changed set and 
connection of ideas. 
(I) We have seen how she dwells much, Plotinus-like, upon 
the soul's stripping itself of all its numerous garments, and 
exposing itself naked to the rays of God's healing light. Yet 
in the original Platonic scheme these gannents are put on 
by the soul in its descent from spirit into matter, and are 
stripped off again in its ascent back out of matter into spirit; 
in both cases, they stand for the body and its effects. In 
Catherine, even more than in Plotinus, the garments stand 
for various evil self-attachments and self-delusions of the 
soul; and against these evils and dangers the Synoptists 
furnish endless warnings. And yet she insists upon purity, 
clear separation, complete abstraction of the soul, in such 
terms as still to show plainly enough the originally N eo- 
1 Rom. vü. 24. 18. 
I 2 Cor. V. 1-4 = Wisd. of Sol. ix. 15. 



124 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


Platonist provenance of much of her form; for in the N eo- 
Platonists we get, even more markedly than here, a like 
insistence upon the natural dissimilarity of the body and the 
soul, and a cognate longing to get away from it in ecstasy 
and death. But whilst in the Neo-Platonists there is, at the 
bottom of all this, a predominant belief that the senses are 
the primary source and occasion of all sin, so that sin is 
essen tiall y the con tamina tion of spirit by matter: in Ca the- 
rine, (although she shares to the full Plotinus's thirst for 
ecstasy, as the escape from division and trouble into unity 
and peace,) impurity stands primarily for self-complacency,- 
belief in, and love of, our imaginary independence of even 
God Himself; and purity means, in the first instance, the 
Ioving Him and His whole system of souls and of life, and 
one's own self only in and as part of that system. 
I t is very instructive to note, in this connection, how, after 
her four years of directly penitential and ascetical practice, 
(an activity which, even then, extended quite as much to 
matters of decentralization of the self as of bodily mortifica- 
tion,) her warfare is, in the first instance, all but exclusively 
directed against the successive refuges and am bushes of self- 
complacency and self-centredness. Thus there is significance 
in the secondary place occupied, (even in the Vita, and 
doubtless still more in her own mind,) by the question of 
continence; indeed her great declaration to the Friar indi- 
cates plainly her profound concentration upon the continuous 
practice of, and growth in, Love Divine, and her comparative 
indifference to the question of the systematic renunciation of 
anything but sin and selfish attachmen ts and self -centrednesses 
of any kind. Her conception of sinners as " cold," even more 
than as dark or stained; of God as Fire, even more than as 
Light; and of purity as indefinitely increasable, since Love 
can grow on and on: all similarly point to this finely 
positive, flame-, not snow-conception, in which purity has 
ceased to be primarily, as with the Greeks, a simple absence 
of soiledness, even if it be moral soiledness, and has become, 
as with the Synoptic teaching, something primarily positive, 
love itself. 
In her occasionally intense insistence upon herself as being 
all evil, a very Devil, and in some of her picturings of her 
interior combat, we get, on the other hand, echoes, not of 
Plato, nor again of the Synoptist teaching, but of St. Paul's 
II in my flesh there dwelleth no good thing," and of his 



LESS ULTIMATE THIS-WORLD DOCTRINES 125 


combat between flesh and spirit.- Y et the evil which she is 
thus conscious of, is not sensual nor even sensible evil and 
temptation, but consists in her unbounded natural claimful- 
ness and intense inclination to sensitive self-absorption.-And 
this gives, indeed, to these feminine echoes of St. Paul a 
certain thin shrillness which the original tones have not got, 
standing there for the massive experiences of a man violently 
solicitated by both sense and spirit. But it leaves her free 
to note, as regards the flesh, the whole bodily organism, 
(and this in beautiful sympathy with Our Lord's own geni- 
ally fervent, homely heroic spirit,) not its wickedness, but 
its weakness, its short-livedness, and its appeal for merciful 
allowance to God, H Who knows that we are dust." Instead 
of a direct and pointed dualism of two distinct substances 
informed by all but incurably antagonistic principles, we 
thus get a direct conflict between two dispositions of the 
soul, and a but imperfect correspondence between the body 
and that soul. 
(2) There is, indeed, no doubt that the very ancient asso- 
ciation of the ideas of Fire and of spiritual Purification goes 
back, in the first instance, to the conception of the soul being 
necessarily stained by the very fact of its connection with tne 
body, and of those stains being finally removed by the body's 
death and cremation. We find this severely self-consistent 
view scattered up and down Hellenic religion and literature. l 
And even in Catherine the fire, a sense of fever-heat, still seizes 
the body, and this body wastes away, and leaves the soul more 
and more pure, during those last years of illness.- Y et the 
striking identity, between that old cluster of ideas and her 
own forms of thought, brings out, all the more clearly, the 
immense road traversed by spirituality between the substance 
of those ideas and the essence of this thought . For in her 
teaching, which is but symbolized or at most occasioned by 
those physico-psychical fever-heats, the Fire is, at bottom, so 
spiritual and so directly busy with the soul alone, that it is 
ever identical with itself in Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, and on 
earth, and stands for God Himself; and that its effects are 
not the destruction of a foreign substance, but the bringing 
back, wherever and as far as possible, of the fire-like soul's 
disposition and equality to full harmony with its Fire-source 
and Parent, God Himself. 


1 See Erwin Rohde's Psyche. ed. 1898. Vol. II. p. 101, n. 2. 


.. 



126 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


(3) Only the Prison -house simile for the body, as essen tiall y 
an earthly purgatory for the soul, must be admitted, I think, 
to remain a primarily Platonic, not fully Christianizable con- 
ception; just as the absence of all reference by her to the 
resurrection of the body will have been, in part, occasioned 
by the strong element of Platonism in her general selection 
and combination of ideas. Yet it would obviously be unfair 
to press these two points too much, since, as to the resurrec- 
tion, her long illness and evidently constant physical discom- 
fort must, even of themselves, have disinclined her to all 
picturing of an abiding, even though highly spiritualized, 
bodily organization; and as to the likeness of her body to a 
prison and purgatory of the soul, we are expressly told that 
it began only with the specially suffering last part of her 
life. 
3. Dualism þragnzatic, not final. lis li1nits. 
Now, for this whole matter of the right conception as to the 
relations of body and soul, it is clear that any more than 
partial and increasingly superable antagonism between body 
and spirit cannot be accepted. 
(I) A final Dualism is unsound in Psychology, since all the 
first materials, stimulations, and instruments for even our most 
abstract thinking are supplied to us by our sense-perceptions, 
hence also through the body. It is narrow in Cosmology, for 
we do not want to isolate man in this great universe of visible 
things; and his link with animal- and plant-life, and even 
with the mineral creation is, increasingly as we descend in 
the scale of beings, his body. It is ruinous for Ethics, because 
purity, in such a physical-spiritual being as is man, consists 
precisely in spiritual standards and laws extending to and 
transforming his merely physical inclinations. It is directly 
contradictory of the central truth and temper of Christianity, 
since these require a full acceptance of the substantial good- 
nessand the thorough sanctifiableness of man's body; of God's 
condescension to man's whole physico-spiritual organism; and 
of the persistence or reanimation of all that is essential to 
man's true personality across and after death. And it is, 
at bottom, profoundly un-Catholic; the whole Sacramental 
system, the entire deep and noble conception of the normal 
relations between the Invisible and the Visible being through- 
out of the Incamational type,-an action of the one in the 
other, which develops the agent and subject at the same time 
that it spiritualizes the patient, the object, is in direct conflict 



LESS ULTIMATE THIS-WORLD DOCTRINES I27 


with it. Neo-Platonismcamemore and more to treat the body 
and the entire visible creation as an intrinsic obstacle to spirit, 
to be eliminated by the latter as completely as possible; at 
least this very prominent strain within it was undoubtedly 
pushed on to this extreme by the Gnostic sects. But Ghris- 
tianity has ever to come back to its central pre-supposition 
-the substantial goodness and spiritual utility and trans- 
figurableness of body and matter; and to its final end,-the 
actual transformation of them by the spirit into ever more 
adequate instruments, materials, and expressions of abiding 
ethical and religious values and realities. 
(2) The fact is that here, as practically at every chief turn- 
ing-point in ethical and religious philosophy, the movement 
of the specifically Christian life and conviction is not a circle 
round a single centre,-detachment; but an ellipse round 
two centres,-detachment and attachment. And precisely in 
this difficult, but inlmensely fruitful, oscillation and rhythm 
between, as it were, the two poles of the spiritual life ; in this 
fleeing and seeking, in the recollection back and away from 
the visible (so as to allay the dust and fever of growing dis- 
traction, and to reharmonize the soul and its new gains 
according to the intrinsic requirements and ideals of the 
spirit), and in the subsequent, renewed immersion in the 
visible (in view both of gaining fresh concrete stimulation and 
content for the spiritual life, and of gradually shaping and 
permeating the visible according to and with spiritual ends 
and forces): in this combination, and not in either of these 
two movements taken alone, consists the completeness and 
culmination of Christi ani ty. 1 
(3) It no doubt looks, at first sight, as though the Church, 
by her canonization of the Monastic Ideal, gave us, for the 
ultimate pattern and measure of all Christian perfection, as 
pure and simple a flight of the soul from the body and the 
world, as (short of insanity or suicide) can be made in this 
life. But here we have to remember three things. 
In the first place, the Church not only forbids all attacks 
upon the legitimacy, indeed sanctity, of marriage, or upon its 
necessity, indeed duty, for mankind at large; butSt.Augustine 
and St. Thomas only articulate her ordinary, strenuously anti- 


1 I owe much help towards acquiring this very important conception, 
and all the above similes, to Prof. Ernst Troeltsch's admirable exposition 
in his II Grundprobleme der Ethik:' Zeitschrift I. Theologie "nil Kit'che. 
19 0 2. pp. 16 3- 1 7 8 . 



128 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


Manichean teaching, in declaring that man was originally 
created by God, in body and in soul, not for celibacy but for 
marriage; and that only owing to the accidental event of the 
Fall and of its effects,-the introduction of disorder and excess 
into human nature, but not any corruption of its substance 
and foundations,-does any inferiority,-the dispositions, 
motives, and circumstances being equal,-attach to marriage 
as compared with virginity.1 Hence, still, the absolute ideal 
would be that man could and did use marriage as all other 
legi timate functions and things of sense, as a necessary, and 
ever more and more perfected, means and expression of truly 
human spirituality, a spirituality which ever requires some 
non-spiritual material in which to work, and by working in 
which the soul itself, not only spiritualizes it, but increasingly 
develops its own self. 
And secondly, detachment, unification, spiritual recollection 
is the more difficult, and the less obviously necessary, of the 
two movements, and yet is precisely the one which (by 
coming upon the extant or inchoate attachments, and by sup- 
pressing or purifying them according as they are bad or good) 
first stamps any and every life as definitely religious at all. 
No wonder, then, that it is this sacred detachment and love 
of the Cross that we notice, first of all, in the life and doctrine 
of Our Lord and of all His followers, indeed in all truly 
religious souls throughout the world; and that the Church 
should by her teaching and selection of striking examples, 
ever preach and uphold this most necessary test and ingredi- 
ent, this very salt of all virile and fruitful spirituality. 
But, in the third place, a man need only directly attack the 
family, society, the state; or art, literature, science,-as 
intrinsically evil or even as, in practice, true hindrances to 
moral and religious perfection,-and the Church,-both the 
learning and experimenting, and the official and formulating 
Church,-will at once disavow him: so strong is, at bottom, 
the instinct that attachment and variety of interests,-variety 
both in kind and in degree-that materials, occasions, and 
objects for spirituality to leaven and to raise, and to work 
on in order to be itself deepened and developed,-are as 
truly essential to the spiritual life as are detachment, and 
unity, and transcendence of ultimate motive and aim; these 
latter furnishing to the soul the power gradually to penetrate 
1 St. Augustine, ed. Ben., Vol. X. 590b, 613a. 1973c. etc. St. Thomas. 
Summa Theal.. suppl., quo 62. art. 2. 



LESS ULTIl\iATE THIS-WORLD DOCTRINES I29 


all that material, and, in and through this labour, more and 
more to articulate its own spiritual character. 
(4) No man can become, or is proclaimed to have become, 
a Christian saint, \vho has not thus achieved a profound 
spiritualization and unification of a more or less recalcitrant 
material and multiplicity. In some cases, it is the unity and 
detachment that greatly predominate over the multipJicity and 
attachll1ent,-as, say, in the Fathers of the Desert. In other 
cases, it is the variety and attachment that strikes us first 
of all,-as, for instance, in Sir Thomas More and Edmund 
Campion. And, in a third set of cases, it is the depth of the 
unity and detachment, in the breadth of the variety and attach- 
ment, which is the dominant characteristic, so with St. Paul 
and St. Augustine. Catherine herself belongs, for her great 
middle period, rather to the third group than to either of the 
other two; only during her penitential period and her last 
long illness does she clearly belong to the group of intensely 
detached and unified saints.-It is evidently impossible in 
such a matter to do more than insist upon the necessity of 
both movements; upon the immensely fruitful friction and 
tension which their well-ordered alternation introduces into 
the soul's inner life; and upon the full ideal and ultimate 
measure for the complete and perfected man, humanity at 
large, being a maximum of multiplicity and attachment per- 
meated and purified by a maximum of unity and detachment. 
The life which can englobe and organize both these move- 
ments, with their manifold interaction, will have a multitude 
of warn} attachll1ents, without fever or distraction, and a great 
unity of pure detachment, without coldness or emptiness: it 
will have the, winning because rich, simplicity and wondrous 
combination of apparent inevitableness and of seeming para- 
dox furnished by all true life, hence exhibited in its greatest 
fulness by the religious life which, at its deepest, is deeper 
than any other kind of life. 


III. QUIETUDE AND PASSIVITY. POINTS IN THIS 
TENDENCY TO BE CONSIDERED HERE. 
We have inevitably somewhat anticipated another matter, 
in which Catherine shows aU the true Mystic's affinities: the 
craving for simplification and permanence of the soul's states, 
-her practice and teaching as to Quietude and Passivity. 
VOL. II. K 


. 



130 THE MYSTICAL ELE
iENT OF RELIGION 


Pushed fully home, this tendency involves four closely related, 
increasingly profound, convictions and experiences. Utter 
unification of the soul's functions, indeed utter unity of its 
substance: i. e. the soul does one single thing, and seeI11S to 
do it by one single act; itself is sÏ111ply one, and expresses 
itself by one sole act. Passivity of the soul: i. e. the soul 
does not apparently act at all, it simply is and receives-it is 
now nothing but one pure Ï111I11ense recipiency. ImI11ediacy 
of contact between the soul and God: i. e. there seeI11S to be 
nothing separating, or indeed in any way between, the soul 
and God. And, finally, an apparent coalescence of the soul 
and God: i. e. the soul is God, and God is the sou1.-0nly the 
first two points, and then the closely related question of Pure 
Love, shall occupy us here; the last two points must stand 
over for our penultimate chapter. 
I. Distinction between experiences, their expression, and their 
analysis. 
We have already studied the psycho-physical occasions, 
concomitants, and el11bodiments of Catherine's keen desire for, 
and profound experience of, spiritual unification and passivity; 
and we can have no kind of doubt as to the factual reality 
and the practical fruitfulness of the state so vividly de
cribed 
by her. Here we have only to inquire into the accuracy of 
the analysis and terminology effected and employed by her, in 
so far as they seeI11 to claim more than simply to describe 
the soul's own feeling and Ï111pression as to these states thus 
experienced by itself. \Ve have then to consider the nature and 
truth of what can roughly be styled Quietism and Passivity. 
N ow here especially will it be necessary for us carefull y 
to distinguish between the direct experiences, impressions, and 
instinctive requirements of the soul,-here all souls, in precise 
proportion to their depth and delicacy of holiness and of 
self-knowledge are our masters, and furnish us with our only 
I11aterials and tests; and, on the other hand, the Ï111plications 
and analysis of these states, as, in the first instance, psycho- 
logical, and then as requiring elucidation with regard to their 
ontological cause and reality by means of a religious philo- 
sophy,-here, psychology, and religious philosophy, especially 
also the discriminations and decisions of theologians and 
Church authorities as expressive of these ultimate questions, 
will be our guides. 1 
1 My chief authorities throughout this section have been Bossuet's 
Instruction sur les Etats d'Oraison of 1687. with the important documents 



LESS ULTIMATE THIS-WORLD DOCTRINES 131 


(1) If we start from the history of the nomenclature \vhich, 
(though present only partially in Catherine's sayings, for she 
nowhere uses the term" passivity"), runs, with however vary- 
ing a cOll1pleteness, right through the Christian 1\1 ystics 
more or less from the first, we shall find that it consists, 
roughly, of three stages, and, throughout, of two currents. 
There is the Pre-Pauline and Pre-Philonian stage; the stage 
of Paul, Philo, and John, through Clement and Origen, on to 
Gregory of Nyssa and S1. Augustine; and the stage from the 
Pseudo-Dionysius onward, down to Nicolas of Coes inclusive, 
and which, to this hour, still largely influences us all.-And 
there are the two currents. The one tends so to emphasize 
the sense and reality of the soul's simple receptivity, and 
of what the soul receives at such, apparently, purely receptive 
times, as to ignore, or even practically deny, the undeniable 
fact that this very receptivity is, inevitably, an act of its own. 
I ts decisive terms are Passivity, Fixedness, Oneness. The 
other current realizes that Grace does not destroy, violate, or 
supplant Nature, either entirely or in part, but that it awakens, 
purifies, and cOll1pletes it, so that every divine influx is also 
ever a stimulation of all the good and true energy already, 
even though latently, present in the soul. And its character- 
istic tenns are" Action" (as distinguished from" Activity"), 
Growth, Harmony. 
(2) And \ve should note with care that these two currents 
are not simply Heathen and Christian respectively. For if 
that great, indeed all but central, term and conception of 
" Action" has been wisely generalized by most Christian 
1\lystics, as the truly Christian substitute for the strongly 
Neo-Platonist term" Passivity": that term and conception 
of " Action" was first fixed and elucidated by Aristotle, who, 
as Mr. Schiller well puts it, " has packed into his technical 
term ' Energeia,' and especially into the combination ' Un- 
moving Energy,' all that was most distinctive, most original, 


prefixed and appended to it (fEuvres de Bossuet. ed. Versailles. 1817. 
Vol. XXVII); Fénelon's chief apologetic works. especially his Instruc- 
tion Pastorale. his Lettres en RéPonse à Divers Ecrits ou Ménzoires, his 
Lettre sur l' Etat Passil. and his two Latin Letters to Pope Clement XI 
(CEuvres de Fénelon, ed. Versailles. 1820, Vols. IV, VI, VIII, and IX) ; and 
Abbé Gosselin's admirably clear. impartial. cautious, and authoritative 
Analyse de la Controverse du Quiétisme. I have studied these works, and 
the condemned propositions of the Beghards, of Molinos, and of Fénelon, 
very carefully, and believe myself to have. in my text. taken up a position 
identical with M. Gosselin's. 


.. 



I32 THE MYSTIGAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


most fundamental, and most profound in his philosophy" ; 1 
whilst the second term, " Passivity," goes on figuring in Chris- 
tian 
lystics and Mystical Theologies-(in spite of its demon- 
strably dangerous suggestions and frequently scandalous 
history)-because the religious, especially the Christian, con- 
sciousness requires a term for the expression of one element 
of all its deepest experiences, that character of " givenness " 
and of grace, of merciful anticipation by God, which marks all 
such states, in exact proportion to their depth and to the soul's 
awakeness. 
(3) Now Aristotle's conception of God's Unmoving Energy, 
is taken over by St. Thomas in the form of God being One 
Actus Purus,-sheer Energy, His very peace and stillness 
coming from the brimming fulness of His infinite life. And 
even finite spirit, whilst fully retaining, indeed deepening, its 
own character, can and does penetrate finite spirit through 
and through,-the law of Physics, which does not admit 
more than one body in anyone place, having here no kind 
of application,-so that the Infinite Spirit is at once con- 
ceived unspiritually, if He is conceived as supplanting, and 
not as penetrating, stimulating, and transforming the finite 
spirits whom He made into an increasing likeness to Him, 
their Maker. And hence according to the unanimous teach- 
ing of the most experienced and explicit of the specifically 
Theistic and Christian Mystics, the appearance, the soul's 
own impression, of a cessation of life and energy of the soul 
in periods of special union with God or of great advance in 
spirituality, is an appearance only. Indeed this, at such 
times strong, impression of rest springs most certainly from 
an unusually large amount of actualized energy, an energy 
which is now penetrating, and finding expression by, every 
pore and fibre of the soul. The \vhole moral and spiritual 
creature expands and rests, yes; but this very rest is produced 
by Action "unperceived because so fleet," so near, so all 
fulfilling; or rather by a tissue of single acts, mental, emo- 
tional, volitional, so finely interwoven, so exceptionally 
stimulative and expressive of the soul's deepest aspirations, 
that these acts are not perceived as so many single acts, 
indeed tha t their very collective presence is a pt to remain 
unnoticed by the soul itself. 
(4) Close parallels to such a state are abundant in all 
1 F. C. S. Schiller, Essay" Activity and Substance," pp. 204-227,-an 
admirably thorough piece of work, in Humanism, 1903. See his p. 208. 



LESS ULTIMATE THIS-WORLD DOCTRINES I33 


phases and directions of the soul's life. The happiest and 
most fruitful moments for our aesthetic sense, those in which our 
mind expands most and grows most, hence is most active in 
aesthetic" action" (though not" activity") are those in which 
we are unforcedly and massively absorbed in drinking in, with 
quiet intentness, the contrasts and harmonies, the grand unity 
in variety, the very presence and spirit of an alpine upland, or 
of a river's flowing, or of the ocean's outspread, or of the Par- 
thenon sculptures or of Rafael's madonnas. At such moments 
we altogether cease to be directly conscious of ourselves, of 
time or of the body's whereabouts; and \vhen we return to our 
ordinary psychical and mental condition, we do so with an 
undeniable sense of added strength and youthfulness,-some- 
what as though our face, old and haggard, were, after gazing 
in utter self-oblivion upon some resplendent youthfulness, to 
feel, beyond all doubt, all its many wrinkles to have gone. 
And so too with the n1ind's absorption in some great poem 
or philosophy or character.-In all these cases, the mind or 
soul energizes and develops, in precise proportion as it is so 
absorbed in the contemplation of these various over-against- 
nesses, these" countries" of the spiri
, as to cease to notice 
its own overflowing action. It is only when the mind but 
partially attends that a part of it remains at leisure to note 
the attention of the other part; when the mind is fully 
engrossed, and hence most keenly active, there is no part of 
it sufficiently disengaged to note the fact of the engrossment 
and action of, now, the whole mind. And, with the direct 
consciousness of our mind's action, we lose, for the time being, 
all clear consciousness of the mind's very existence. And let 
it be carefully noted, this absence of the direct consciousness 
of the self is as truly characteristic of the deepest, most 
creative, moments of full external action: the degree of mind 
and will-force operating in Nelson at Trafalgar and in Napoleon 
at Waterloo, or again in St. Ignatius of Antioch in the 
Amphitheatre, and in Savonarola at the stake, was evidently 
in the precisely contrary ratio to their direct consciousness of 
it or of themselves at all. 
(5) Now if such " Passivity," or Action, is in reality the 
condition in which the soul attains to its fullest energizing, we 
can argue back, from this universal principle, to the nature of 
the various stages and kinds of the Prayer and States of 
Quiet. In each case, that is, we shall combat the still very 
common conception that,-though orthodoxy, it is admitted, 



134 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


requires sonle human action to remain throughout,-such 
Prayer and States consist (not only as to the immediate 
feeling of their subjects, but in reality and in their ultul1ate 
analysis) in an ever-increasing preponderance of divine action 
within the soul, and an ever-decreasing remnant of acts of 
the soul itself. For such a view assumes that God supplants 
man, and that, so to speak, His Hand appears unclothed 
alongside of the tissue woven by man's own mind; whereas 
God everywhere but stimulates and supports man whom He 
has made, and His Hand moves ever underneath and behind the 
tissue,-a tissue which, at best, can become as it were a glove, 
and suggest the latent hand. The Divine Action will thus 
stimulate and inform the human action some\vhat like the 
force that drives the blood within the stag's young antlers, or 
like the energy that pushes the tender sap-full fern-buds up 
through the hard, heavy ground. 
Thus a special intensity of divine help and presence, and 
an unusual degree of holiness and of union, have nothing to 
do with the fewness of the soul's own acts at such times, 
but with their quality,-with the preponderance amongst 
them of divinely informed acts as against merely natural, or 
wrongly self-seeking, or downrightly sinful acts. And since 
it is certain that living simplicity is but the harmony and 
unification, the synthesis, of an organism, and hence is great in 
precise proportion to the greater perfection of that synthesis, 
it follows that the living, utterly one-seeming Action or State 
will, at such times, contain a maximum number of inter- 
penetrating acts and energies, all worked up into this 
harmonious whole. 
2. Four causes of inadequate analysis. 
I t is plain, I think, that one thoroughly normal, one acci- 
dental, and two mischievous, causes have all conspired to 
arrest or to deflect the analysis of most of the Mystics them- 
selves concerning Simplicity. 
For one thing, the soul, as has just been shown, at such 
moments of harmonious concentration and of willing and 
thinking in union with God's Light and Will, necessarily 
ceases, more or less, to be conscious of its own operations, 
and, in looking back, braced and rested as it now is, it cannot 
but think that it either did not act at all, or that its action was 
reduced to a minimull1. For how otherwise could it now fee] 
so rested, when, after its ordinary activity, it feels so tired 
and dis
atisfied? and how otherwise could it be so unable to 



LESS ULTIThfATE THIS-WORLD DOCTRINES 135 


give any clear account of what happened in those minutes of 
union? Yet it is, on the contrary, the very fulness of the 
action which has rested, by expanding, the soul; and which 
has made the soul, returned to its ordinary distractedness, 
incapable of clearly explaining that, now past, concentration. 
The accidental cause has been the fairly frequent, though 
not necessary, connection of the more pronounced instances 
of such habits of mind with more or less of the psycho- 
physical phenomena of ecstasy, in the technical sense of the 
word. For, in such trances, the breathing and circulation are 
retarded, and the operation of the senses is in part suspended. 
And it was easy to reason, from such visible, literal simplifica- 
tion of the physical life, to a similar modification of the soul's 
action at such times; and, from the assumed desirableness of 
that psycho-physical condition, to the advantage of the sup- 
posed corresponding state of the soul itself. Any tendency to 
an extreme dualism, as to the relations between body and soul, 
would thus directly help on an inclination to downright 
Quietism.-Here it is, on the contrary, certain that only in 
so far as those psycho-physical sin1plifications are the results 
of, or conditions for, a deepening multiplicity in unity, a fuller 
synthetic action of the soul, or, at least, of a fuller penetration 
by the soul of even one lin1Ïted experience or idea-an 
operation which entails not less, but more, energizing of the 
soul,-are such psycho-physical simplifications of any spiritual 
advantage or significance. And in such cases they could not 
be indications of the cessation or diminution of the deepest 
and most docile energizing of the soul. 
And the mischievous causes were a mistake in Psychology 
and a mistake in Theology. For, as to Psychology, not only 
was simplicity assumed, (through a mistaken acceptance of 
the soul's own feeling, as furnishing the ultimate analysis of 
its state,) to consist, at anyone moment, of an act materially 
and literally one, instead of a great organism of various 
simultaneous energizings; but this one act was often held 
to require no kind of repetition. Since the act was one as 
against any simultaneous multiplicity, so was it one as against 
any successive multiplicity, even if this latter were taken as 
a repetition differentiated by number alone. And yet here 
again energizing is energizing; and though the soul's acts 
overlap and interpenetrate each other, and though when, by 
their number and harmony, they completely fill and pacify 
the soul, many of them are simultaneously or successively 


.. 



136 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


present to the soul in their effects alone: it is nevertheless 
the renewal, however peaceful and unperceived, of these acts, 
which keeps the state of soul in existence. For these acts 
are not simply unowned acts that happen to be present within 
the soul; they are the soul's own acts, whether, in addition, 
the soul is directly conscious of them or not. 
And, theologically, the idea was often at \vork that it was 
more worthy of God to operate alone and, as it were, in 
vacuo; and more creaturely of man to make, or try to make, 
such a void for Him. Yet this is in direct conflict with the 
fundamental Christian doctrine, of the Condescension, the 
Incarnation of God to and in human nature, and of the 
persistence, and elevation of this hUl11anity, even in the case 
of Christ Himself. God's action does not keep outside of, 
nor does it replace, man's action; but it is,-Our Lord Him- 
self has told us,-that of yeast working in l11eal, which 
manifests its hidden power in proportion to the mass of 
meal which it penetrates and transforms. 
3. Four Quietistic aberrations. 
Now it is certain that the error of Quietism has, in no 
doubt many cases, not remained confined to such mistakes in 
psychological analysis and theological doctrine, but that 
these have joined hands with, and have furnished a defence 
to, sloth and love of dreamy ease, or to some impatience 
of the necessary details of life, or to fanatical attachment 
to some one mood and fornl of experience; and that they 
ha ve, thus reinforced, ravaged not a few wills and souls. 
Four chief Quietistic aberrations can be studied in history. 
(1) The neglect or even contempt of vocal prayer, and of 
the historical and institutional elements of religion, at least 
in the case of more advanced souls, is one of these abuses.- 
Now it is true, and Catherine has been a striking instance, 
that the proportion of all these different elements towards 
one another vary, and should vary, considerably between soul 
and soul, according to the attrait and degree of advance of 
each; that the soul's most solid advance is in the direction of 
an ever-deepened spiritual devotedness, and not in that of a 
multiplication of particular devotions; that the use of even 
the more central of those elements and means may, for souls 
called to the prayer of Quiet, become remarkably elastic and 
largely unmethodized; and that, for such souls (and, in various 
degrees and ways, sooner or later, for perhaps most other 
souls), a prayer of peacefully humble expectation and of all 



LESS ULTIMATE THIS-WORLD DOCTRINES 137 
but inarticulate, practically indescribable, brooding of love, 
and of dÜl1, expansive trust and conformity is possible, some- 
times alone possible, and is proved right and useful, if it 
leaves them strengthened to act and to suffer, to help and to 
devote themselves to their fellows, to Christ, and to God. 
But it remains equally true, even for these as for all other 
souls, that the historical and institutional elements must ever 
remain represented, and sufficiently represented; indeed the 
persistence in these elements of religion will be one of the 
chief means for avoiding delusion. \Ve have St. Teresa's 
experience and teaching here, as a truly classical instance. 
And if the prayer of Quiet will give a special colour, depth, 
and unity to those l110re contingent-seeming practices, these 
practices will, in return, give a particular definiteness, content, 
and creaturely quality to that prayer. And thus too the uni- 
versally and profoundly important union and interchange with 
souls of other, equally legitimate, kinds and degrees of spiritu- 
ality will be kept up. Only the SUl11-total of all these souls, 
only the complete invisible Church, is the full Bride of Christ; 
and though the souls composing her may and should each 
contribute a varying predominance of different elements, no 
soul should be entirely without a certain amount of each of 
these constituents. 
(2) Another abuse is the neglect, contempt, or misapplied fear 
of not directly religious occupations and labours which, how- 
ever otherwise appropriate or even necessary to this soul's 
gro\vth and destination, tend to disturb its quiet and to 
absorb a part of its time and attention. Here it is doubtless 
true that the other elements of religion are also all more or 
less apprehensive and jealous with regard to actual, or even 
only possible, non-religious rival interests. And it is certain 
that they are all right in so far as that a certain interior 
leisureliness and recollection, a certain ultimate preference for 
the spiritualizing religious force of the soul as against the 
materials, non-religious and other, which that force is to 
penetrate, are necessary to the soul that would advance. 
But the fear that characterizes the Historical and Institu- 
tional elements is rather a fear, respectively, of error and of 
disobedience and singularity, whereas on the part of the 
Mystical element it is a fear of distraction and absorption 
away from the Unu11
 Necessariul1t of the soul. Perhaps even 
among the Canonized Mystics there is none that has more 
impressively warned us, both by word and example, against 



138 THE 1\IYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


this insidious danger, than the distinguished Platonist scholar 
and deep spiritual writer, Père Jean Nicolas Grou, who, 
right through the long mystical period of his life, alter- 
nated his prayer of Quiet with extensive and vigorous critical 
\vork on the Graeco-Latin classics, and whose practice only 
wants further expansion and application, (according to the 
largely increased or changed conditions of such not directly 
religious work,) in order to bear much fruit, not only for criti- 
cism and science, but, (by the return-effect of such occupations 
upon the soul's general temper and particular devotional 
habits,) for spirituality itself. But we must return to this 
point more fully in our last chapter. 
(3) The third abuse is the neglect or contempt of morality, 
especially on its social, visible, and physical sides. Particular 
Mystics, and even whole 1\Iystical schools and movements, 
have undoubtedly in some instances, and have, possibly, in 
many more cases, been maligned on this point, since even such 
a spotless life as Fénelon's, and that of such a profoundly well- 
intentioned woman as Madan1e Guyon, did not, for a time, 
escape the most unjust suspicions. It is also true that, as a 
man advances in spirituality, he lays increasing stress upon 
the intention and general attitude of the agent, and increas- 
ingly requires to be judged by the same interior standard, if 
he is to be rightly understood at all. God may and does, to 
humble and purify him, allow painful temptations and trials 
from within to combine, apparently, against him, with perse- 
cutions and much isolation from without. And the difference 
rather than the similarity, between Religion and Morality,- 
the sense of pure grace, of free pardon, of the strange profound 
" gi venness" of even our fullest willings and of our most 
emphatically personal achievements,-can and should grow in 
him more and more. 
And yet it is clear that there must have been some fire to 
account for all that smoke of accusation; that the material 
and the effect outwards, the body of an action, do matter, as 
well as does that action's sPirit,. that this body does not only 
act thus outwards, but also inwards, back upon the spirit of 
the act and of the agent; and that temptations and trials are 
purifying, not by their simple presence but in proportion as 
they are resisted, or, if they have been yielded to, in propor- 
tion as such defeats are sincerely deplored and renounced. 
Thus everywhere the full development of anyone part of life, 
and the true unity of the whole, have to be achieved through 



LESS ULTIMATE THIS-WORLD DOCTRINES 139 


the gradual assimilation of at first largely recalcitrant other 
elements, and \vithinan ever-abiding multiplicity-a maximum 
number of parts and functions interacting \vithin one great 
organism. And hence not the outrage, neglect, or supersession 
of morality, but, on the contrary, its deeper development, by 
more precise differentiation from, and more organic integration 
into, religion proper, must, here again and here above an, be 
the final aim. Once more again it is the Incarnational type 
\vhich is the only fully true, the only genuinely Christian 
one. 
(4) And, finally, there are certain hardly classifiable fanati- 
cisms, \vhich are nevertheless a strictly logical consequence 
from a \vrongly understood Quiet and Passivity,-from 
Quietism in its unfavourable, condemned sense. I am think- 
ing of such a case as that of l\iargarethe Peters, a young 
Quietist, \vho caused herself to be crucified by her girl- 
companions, at \Vildenspuch, near Schaffhausen, in 1823,- 
in order to carry out, in full literalness and separateness, the 
utmost and most painful passivity and dependence and resist- 
less self-donation, in direct imitation of the culminating act of 
Christ's life on earth and of His truest followers.! Here, in the 
deliberate suicide of this undoubtedly noble Lutheran girl, \ve 
get an act which but brings out the strength and \veakness 
of Quietism \vherever found. For the greatest constituents of 
the Christian spirit are undoubtedly there: free self-sacrifice, 
impelled by love of God, of Christ, and of all men, and by 
hatred of self.- Yet, because they here suppress other, equally 
necessary, constituents, and are out of their proper context 
and bereft of their proper checks, they but render possible and 
actual a deed of piteous self-delusion. Ho\v terrible is false 
simplification, the short cut taken by pure logic, operating 
\vithout a sufficient induction from facts, and within an ardent 
self-iInmolating temperament! 
4. ROlne's conde11uzaÜon of Quietism. 
All this is abundantly sufficient to explain and justify 
Rome's condemnation of Quietism. The tenn (( Quietists JJ 
appears, I think, for the first time,-at least in an invidious 
sense,-in the Letter \vhich Cardinal Caraccioli, Archbishop 


1 See Heinrich Heppe. Geschichte der Quietistischen Myst'ik. Berlin, 1875, 
p. 52I. The obviously strong partisan bias of the author against Rome, 
-of which more lower down,-does not destroy the great value of the 
large collection of now, in many cases, most rare and inaccessible docu- 
ments given, often in extenso. in this interesting book. 



14 0 THE 
1:YSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGIO
 
of Naples, addressed to Pope Innocent XI (Odescalchi) on 
June 30, 1682, and in which he graphically describes the 
abuses which, (under pretext or through the misapplication 
of spiritual Quiet and Passivity,) had now appeared in his 
Diocese: souls apparently incapable of using their beads 
or making the sign of the Cross; or which will neither say 
a vocal prayer nor go to Confession; or which, when in 
this prayer of Quiet, even when at Holy Communion, will 
strive to drive away any image, even of Our Lord Himself, 
that may present itself to their imagination; or which tear 
do\vn a Crucifix, as a hindrance to union \vith God; or which 
look upon all the thoughts that come to them in the quietude 
of prayer, as so many rays and effluences from God Himself, 
exempting them henceforth from every law.! 
Yet it is important to bear \vell in mind, the special circum- 
stances, the admitted limits, and the probable signification of 
Rome's condemnations. 
(1) As to the circumstances of the time , it appears certain that 
it \vas the ready circulation of the doctrines of the Spanish 
priest, l\figuel de Molinos in the Guida Spirituale, 1675, and 
the abuses of the kind \ve have just no\v detailed, and that 
sprang from this circulation, \vhich formed the primary reason 
and motive for the othenvise excessively severe treatment of 
a man and a book, \vhich had both received the very highest 
and the most deliberate ecclesiastical approbations. That 
these two circumstances were the determining causes of at 
least the severity of his condemnation is \vell brought out 
by the circumstance that, during his two years' trial (1685- 
1687), not only the short Guida but his \vhole obtainable 
correspondence (some twenty thousand letters) were ex- 
amined, and that it is at least as much on such occasional 
manuscript material, and on Molinos's own oral admissions, 
-in prison and doubtless, in part at least, under torture,- 
that the condemnation was based, containing, as it does, 
certain revoltingly immoral propositions and confessions, 
admittedly absent from his published \vritings. 
But if at least some shadow of doubt rests upon the moral 
character of Molinos, not a shadow of such suspicion or of 
doubt concerning his perfectly Catholic intentions can, in 
justice, be allowed to rest upon his chief follo\ver and the most 
distinguished apologist for his doctrine, the saintly Oratorian 


1 Heppe, op. cit. pp. 130-133. 



LESS ULTIMATE THIS-WORLD DOCTRINES I41 
and Bishop, the much-tried Cardinal Petrucci; any more than 
Fénelon's moral and spiritual character, or deeply Catholic 
spirit and intentions, can, (in spite of the painfully fierce and 
unjust attack upon both by Bossuet in his formally classic 
invective, Relation sur le Quiétis1ne,) for one moment be 
called in question.! Other admittedly deeply spiritual and 
entirely well-intentioned Catholics, whose \vritings were also 
condemned during this time when devotional expressions 
having an at all quietistic tinge or drift were very severely 
judged, are lVlère Marie de l'Incarnation (Marie Guyard), a 
French Ursuline Religious, who died in Canada in r672, and 
the process of ,vhose Beatification has been introduced; the 
saintly French layman, Jean de Bernières-Louvigny, much 
admired by Fénelon, who died in r659; the very interior, 
though at times some,vhat fantastic, Secular Priest, Henri 
Marie Boudon, who died in 1702; and the very austere but 
highly experienced ascetical writer, the Jesuit Père Joseph 
Surin, whom Bossuet had formally approved, and ,vho died in 
r668. 2 But Madame Guyon herself, that much-tried and 
vehemently opposed ,voman, was held, by many an undoubtedly 
Catholic-minded, experienced and close observer, to be (in 
spite of the largely misleading and indeed incorrect character 
of many of her analyses and expressions) a truly saintly, 
entirely filial Catholic. 3 
(2) As to the limits of these condemnations, we must remem- 
ber that only two of them,-those of Molinos and of Fénelon,- 
claim to be directly doctrinal at all; and that Fénelon ,vas 
never really compromised in the question of Quietism proper, 
but was condemned on questions of Pure Love alone. Bossuet 
himself ,vas far less sound as against the central Quietist 
doctrine of the One Act, which, unless formally revoked, lasts 
on throughout life, and hence need never be repeated; 
Fénelon's early criticism of the Molinos propositions remains 
one of the clearest extant refutations of that error. Again in 
the matter of the Passivity of advanced souls, Bossuet was 
distinctly less normal and sober than Fénelon: for whilst 


1 There is a good article on Petrucci in the Catholic Freiburg Kirchen- 
lexikon, 2nd ed., 1895; and Heppe. in his Geschichte. pp. 135-144, gives 
extracts from his chief book. Bossuet's attack, æuvres, ed. 1817, Vol. 
XXIX. 
2 Reusch, Der Index der verbotenen Bücher. 1885, Vol. II, pp. 611; 622. 
623; 62 5. 
a Gosselin's Analyse, æ'Uvres de Fine/on. ed. cit. Vol. IV. pp. xci-xcv. 



 



I42 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


Fénelon taught that in no state does the soul lose all capacity, 
although the facility may greatly vary, to produce distinct acts 
of the virtues or vocal prayers and other partially external 
exercises, Bossuet taught that, in some cases, all capacity of 
this kind is abolished. 1 U I take," says Fénelon, U the tern1S 
( Passive' and ( Passivity' as they actually appear every- 
where in the language of the (sound) .Nlystics, as something 
opposed to the terms ( active' and' activity._': 'Passivity,' 
taken in the sense of an entire inaction of the will, would be 
a heresy." And he then opposes U Passivity," not to 
" Action," but to that" Activity," which is a merely natural, 
restless, and hurried excitation. 2 
(3) And as to the abiding significance of the whole anti- 
quietist decisions and measures, we shall do well to consider the 
following large facts. From St. Paul and St. John to Clement 
of Alexandria and Origen; from these to Dionysius the 
Areopagite; from the Areopagite to St. Bernard of Clairvaux 
and then the Franciscan and Dominican Mystics; from these, 
again, on to the great Renaissance and Counter-Reformation 
saints and writers of this type,-the German Cardinal Nicolas 
of Coes and the Italian St. Catherine of Genoa, the Spaniards 
St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross, and the French Saint 
Francis de Sales and Saint Jane Frances de Chantal, we 
get a particular type of religious experience and doctrine, 
which but unfolds and concentrates, with an unusual articu- 
lation, breadth, and depth, what is to be found, on some 
sides of their spiritual character and teaching, among Saints 
and religious souls of the more mixed type, such as St. 
Augustine, St. Anselm, St. Thomas of Aquin, and St. Ignatius 
Loyola. And this mixed type, bearing \vithin it a considerable 
amount of that mystical quiet and emotional-speculative 
element, is again but a deepening, a purification and a 
realization of one of the profoundest affinities and constituents 
of every human heart and will. 
Hence, even in the thickest of the quietist controversy, 
when that mystical element must have seemed, to many, to be 
discredited once for all, those best acquainted \vith the rich 
history of the Church, and \vith the manifold requirements 
of the abiding religious consciousness, could not and did not 
doubt that all that was good, deep, and true in that element 


1 Fénelon, Explication . . . des Proþositions de Molinos (æuvres. Vol. 
IV, pp. 25-86). Gosselin, Analyse (ibid. pp. ccxvi-ccxxiii). 
2 æuvres de Fénelon. Vol. VIII, pp. 6, 7. 



LESS ULTIMATE THIS-WORLD DOCTRINES 143 


\vould continue to be upheld by, and represented in, the 
Church.-And it is not difficult to point to the more or less 
Mystical souls furnished by the Monks, the Friars; the Clerks- 
Regular, specially the Jesuits; the Secular Clergy; and the 
Laity, down to the present day. Such writers and Saints as 
the Père de Caussade (d. about r770) on the one hand, and 
Père Jean N. Grou (d. r803) and the Curé d'Ars (d. 1859) 
on the other hand, carryon the t\VO streams of the predomi- 
nantly mystical and of the mixed type,-streams so cleady 
observable before r687 and r699. Quietism, the doctrine of 
the One Act; Passivity in a literal sense, as the absence or 
imperfection of the power and use of initiative on the soul's 
part in any and every state: these doctrines \vere finally 
condemned, and most rightly and necessarily condemned; 
the Prayer of Quiet, and various states and degrees of an 
ever-increasing predominance of Action over Activity,- 
an Action which is all the more the soul's very own, because 
the more occasioned, directed, and informed by God's action 
and stimulation,-these, and the other chief lines of the 
ancient experience and practice, remain as true, correct, and 
necessary as ever. 
5. Rome's alleged change of front. 
And yet it is undeniable that the Roman events between 
r675 and r688 do seem, at first sight, to justify the strongly 
Protestant Dr. Heppe's contention that those twelve years,- 
not to speak of the later troubles of Madame Guyon and of 
Fénelon,-\vitnessed a complete volte face, a formal self-stulti- 
fication, of the Roman teaching and authority, on these 
difficult but immediately important matters. 
(r) Let us put aside the many passages in Molinos's Guida 
which were but (more or less) literal reproductions of the 
teachings of such solemnly approved authorities as Saints 
Teresa, Peter of Alcantara, John of the Cross, Francis de 
Sales and Jane Frances de Chantal,-passages which, of 
course, remained uncondemned even in Molinos's pages, but 
which it would often be difficult to distinguish fron1 the parts 
of his book that were censured. Yet there still remain such 
facts as the follo\ving. 
Juan Falconi's Alfabeto and Lettera were at their Fifth 
Italian edition, 1680, and all five editions had been approved 
by the J\;laster of the Apostolic Palace; but only in 1688 
were these \vritings forbidden. Yet the Lettera contains, \vith 
unsurpassed directness and clearness, the central doctrine of 



144 THE MYSTIGAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 
Quietism: an exhortation to the production of one single 
lively Act of Faith, which will then continue uninterruptedly 
through the whole earthly life into eternity, and which, conse- 
quently, is not to be repeated.! 
1\10linos's Guida and Breve Trattato appeared in RODle, 
respectively in 1675 and r681, with the approbations of five 
theologians, four of whom were Consultors of the Holy 
Office,-the Archbishop of Reggio; the Minister-General 
of the Franciscans; the late General of the Carmelites; Father 
l\lartin Esparza, the same Jesuit Theologian-Professor of 
the Roman College who, some years before, had been one of 
those who had examined and approved S1. Catherine's VÜa 
ed Opere
. and the actual General of the Carmelites. 2 
Even after these two writings of l\Iolinos had been criticised 
by the Jesuits Bell Huomo and Segneri and the Clerk Regular 
Regio, (Segneri enjoying a deservedly immense reputation, 
and showing in this affair much moderation and a strong 
sense of the legitimate claims of Mysticism,) the Inquisition 
examined these criticisnls, and forbade, not the incriminated 
writings of Molinos and Petrucci, but the critique of Bell 
Huomo donee eorrl'gatur, and those of Regio and of Segneri 
(in his Lettera of 1681) absolutely. Segneri's subsequent 
C oneordia almost cost him his life, so strong was the popular 
veneration of Molinos. 
Molinos indeed was the guest of Pope Innocent XI hiIn- 
self, and the friend and confidant, amongst countless other 
spiritually-minded souls, of various Cardinals, especially of 
the deeply devout Petrucci, Bishop of J esi, who was raised 
to the Cardinalate eighteen months after the beginning of 
Molinos's trial. The imprisonment of l'vIolinos began in May 
r685, but the trial did not end till August 1687, when (after 
nineteen (( Principal Errors of the New Contemplation" had 
been censured by the Holy Office in February r687) sixty- 
eight propositions, out of the two hundred and sixty-three 
which had been urged against him, were solemnly condemned: 
of these the clearly and directly immoral ones being admit- 
tedly not derived from any printed book, or indeed any ever 
published letter of lVlolinos. 3 


1 Heppe, oþ. cit. p. 62, Reusch, oþ. cit. Vol. II, pp. 619, 620. 
: I write with these approbations before me, as reprinted in the Recueil 
de Diverses Pièces concernant le Quiétisme, Amsterdam, 1688. 
3 æuvres de Bossuet, ed. 1817, Vol. XXVII, pp. 497-502. Heppe, op. 
cit. pp. 27g n.; 273-281. Denzinger, Encheiridion. ed. 1888. pp. 266-274. 



LESS ULTI1\lATE THIS-WORLD DOCTRINES 145 


(2) To estimate Rome's attitude (as far as it concerns the 
ultimate truth and completeness of these doctrines, taken in 
their most characteristic and explicit forms) fairly, we shall 
have to put aside all questions as to the motives that impelled, 
and the methods that were employed, by either side against 
the other. Molinos may have been even worse than the 
condemned propositions represent, and yet Petrucci would 
remain a saintly soul; and we certainly are driven to ask with 
Leibniz: U Si Molinos a caché du venin so us ce miel, est-il 
juste que Petrucci et autres personnes de mérite en soient 
responsables? "1 But neither the wickedness of the one nor 
the sanctity of the other would make the doctrines propounded 
by them, objectively, any less solid or more spiritual than 
they are in themselves. The acutely anti-Roman Anglican 
Bishop Burnet may not have invented or exaggerated \vhen 
he wrote from Rome, during those critical years, that one 
of the chief motives which actuated the opponents of the 
Quietists was the fact that, though the latter U were observed to 
become more strict in their lives, more retired and serious in 
their mental devotions, yet . . . they were not so assiduous 
at Mass, nor so earnest to procure 
lasses to be said for their 
friends: nor . . . so frequently either at Confession or in 
processions": and so U the trade of those that live by these 
things "vas sensibly sunk." 2 And the cruel injustice of many 
details and processes of the movement against the Quietists,- 
a movement which soon had much of the character of a 
popular scare and panic, in reaction against a previous, in 
part, heedless enthusiasm,-are beyond dispute or justification. 
Yet mercenary and ruthless as part of the motives and much 
of the action of the anti-quietists doubtlessly were, the 
question as to the worth and wisdom of Quietism, (taken 
objectively, and not as an excusable counter-excess but as 
a true synthesis of the spiritual life,) remains precisely where 
it \vas before. 
(3) Now I think that two peculiarities, most difficult to notice 
at the time, seriously differentiate the Molinist movement 
from the great current of fully Catholic Mysticism, even in 
those points and elements where the two are materially alike 
or even identical; and yet that thesp, peculiarities are but the 
caricature (through further emphasis and systematization) of 
certain elements present, in a more latent and sporadic 


1 Reusch. op. cit. Vol. II, p. 618 n. I. 
VOL. II. 


I See Heppe. p. 264. n. 
L 



146 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


manner, in the formulae and philosophic assumptions or 
explanations of the older l\iysticism,-elements which had 
been borrowed too largely from an, at bottom, profoundly 
anti-Incarnational philosophy, not to be of far less value and 
of much greater danger than the profoundly true experiences, 
nobly spiritual maxims, and exquisite psychological descrip- 
tions which that predominantly Neo-Platonist framework 
handed on. 
The first peculiarity is that the older Mystics, especially 
those of the type of St. Catherine of Genoa and St. John of 
the Cross, but even also those of the more U mixed" type of 
Mysticism, such as St. Teresa, had indeed quite freely used 
terms which are vividly true as descriptions of the prima facie 
aspect and emotional impression of certain states and ex- 
periences of the soul: U empty," U fixed," U motionless," U the 
reason and the will have ceased to act," U doing nothing," 
U incapable of doing anything," H moved by irresistible grace," 
U but one act," U one single desire" : these and equivalent 
expressions occur again and again. But these sayings do not 
here lead up to such a deliberate and exclusive rule as is 
that given by Falconi, and repeated by Molinos in his Guida, 
Nos. 103-106.1 
This doctrine of the One Act, in this its negative form,- 
for it is not to be repeated,-and in its application to the whole 
waking and sleeping life, is first an exclusive concentration 
upon, and then a wholesale extension of, one out of the several 
trends of the older teaching, a doctrine which, compared with 
that teaching in its completeness, is thin and doctrinaire, and 
as untrue to the full psychological explanation and working 
requirements of the soul as it is readily abusable in practice 
and contrary to the Incarnational type of religion. It is 
impossible not to feel that the manifold great ocean-waters 
of life, that the diversely blowing winds of God's Spirit are 
here, somehow, expected to flow and breathe in a little short- 
cut, single channel, through a tiny pipe; one more infallible 
recipe or prescription is here offered to us, hardly' more 
adequate than the many similar U sure" roads to salvation, 
declared by this or that body of devout religionists to attach 
to the practice or possession of this or that particular prayer 
or particular religious object. 
And the second difference is that the older Catholic Mystics 


i Recueil de Diverses P'z"èces. pp. 61. 62. 



LESS ULTIMATE THIS-WORLD DOCTRINES 147 


leave less the impression that the external side of religion. its 
body, is of little or no importance, and indeed very readily 
an obstacle to its interior side, its soul. And this, again, for 
the simple reason that their teaching is, in general, less 
systematic and pointed, more incidental, and careless of much 
self-consistency. 
(4) Yet these two differences have largely sprung from the 
simple pressing and further extension of precisely the least 
satisfactory, the explanatory and systematic side,-the form 
as against the content,-of the older Mystics. For once the 
more specifically Neo-Platonist constituent, in those Mystics' 
explanation and systematization, was isolated from the elements 
of other provenance which there had kept it in check, and now 
became, as it were, hypostasized and self-sufficient, this con- 
stituent could not but reveal, more clearly than before, its 
inadequacy as a form for the intensely organic and U incar- 
national" spiritual realities and processes which it attempted 
to show forth. That N eo- Platonist consti tuen t , always present 
in those ancient Mystics, had ever tended to conceive the soul's 
unity, at anyone moment, as a something outside of all multi- 
plicity \vhatsoever. Hence this character of the simultaneous 
unity had only to be extended to the successive unity,-and 
the literally One Act, as in the present so throughout the 
future, became a necessary postulate. 
And that same constituent had, even in those great teachers 
of profound maxims, exquisite religious psychology, and 
noblest living, tended, (however efficaciously checked by all 
this their Christian experience and by certain specifically 
Platonist and Aristotelian elements of their philosophy,) to- 
wards depreciating the necessity, importance, indeed even the 
preponderant utility, of the External, Contingent, Historical 
and Institutional, and of the interchange, the inter-stimulation 
between these sides and expressions of religion and its 
internal centre and spirit. 
Perhaps, amongst all the great ecclesiastically authorized 
Mystics of that past, the then most recent of them all, St. 
John of the Cross, comes, by his (theoretically continuous 
though in his practice by no means exclusive) insistence upon 
the abstractive and universal, the obscure and invisible, the 
self-despoiling and simplifying element and movement, nearest 
to an exclusion of the other element and movement. Indeed 
the Quietists' generaHy strong insistence upon the necessity 
of a Director and upon Frequent Communion gives their 



148 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


teaching, when taken in its completeness, a prima facie 
greater Institutionalisnl than is offered by the spiritual theory 
of the great Spaniard. Yet if, even in him, one misses, in 
his theoretical system, a sufficiently organic necessity for the 
outgoing movement, a movement begun by God Himself, and 
which cannot but be of fundamental importance and influence 
for believers in the Incarnation, there is as complete an absence 
of the doctrinaire One-Act recipe for perfection as in the 
most Historical and Institutional of Christian teachers. But 
n10re about this hereafter. 
6. Four needs recognized by Quietisl1z. 
Quietism, then, has undoubtedly isolated and further ex- 
aggerated certain explanatory elements of the older l\1ysticism 
\vhich, even there, were largely a weakness and not a strength; 
has thus underrated and starved the Particular, Visible, 
Historical, Institutional constituents of Religion; and has, 
indeed, misunderstood the nature of true Unity everywhere. 
Yet the very eagerness \vith which it \vas welcomed at the 
time,-in France and Italy especially,-and this, not only 
as a fashion by the Quidnuncs, but as so much spiritual 
food and life by many a deeply religious soul; and the 
difficulty, and not infrequent ruthlessness of its suppression, 
indicate plainly enough that, with all its faults and dangers, 
it was divining and attempting to supply certain profound 
and abiding needs of the soul. I take these needs to be the 
following four. 
(r) Man has an ineradicable, and, when rightly assuaged, 
profoundly fruitful thirst for Unity,-for Unification, Synthesis, 
Hannonization; for a living System, an Organization both 
within and without himself, in which each constituent gains 
its full expansion and significance through being, and more 
and more becoming, just that part and function of a great, 
dynamic whole; a sense of the essential and ultimate organic 
connection of all things, in so far as, in any degree or form, 
they are fair and true and good. And this sense and in- 
evitable requirement alone explain the surprise and pain 
caused, at first, to us all, by the actual condition of mutual 
aloofness and hostility, characteristic of most of the con- 
stituents of the world within us, as of the world around us, 
towards their fellow-constituents. A truly atomistic world, 
-even an atomistic conception of the world,-of life, as a 
collection of things one alongside of another, on and on, is 
utterly reptùsive to any deeply religious spirit whose self- 



LESS ULTI
IATE THIS-WORLD DOCTRINES 149 


knowledge is at all equal to its aspirations.-No wonder, 
then, if the Quietists, haunted by the false alternative of 
one such impenetrable atom-act or of an indefinite number 
of them, chose the One Act, and not a multitude of them. 
(2) Man has a deep-seated necessity to purify himself by 
detachment, not only from things that are illicit but even 
from those that are essential and towards which he is bound 
to practise a deep and warm attachment. There is no 
shadow of theoretical or ultimate contradiction here: to love 
one's country deeply, yet not to be a Chauvinist; to love one's 
wife tenderly, yet not to be uxorious; to care profoundly 
for one's children, yet to train, rebuke, and ever brace then1, 
when necessary, up to suffering and even death itself: these 
things so little exclude each the other, that each attachment can 
only rightly grow in and through the corresponding detach- 
ment. The imperfection in all these cases, and in all the 
analogous, specifically religious ones, lies not in the objects 
to be loved, nor in these objects being many and of various 
degrees and kinds of lovableness, nor in the right (both 
effective and affective, appropriately varied) love of them: 
but simply in our actual manner of loving them.-No wonder 
then that Quietism, face to face with the false alternative of 
either Attachment or Detachment, chose Detachment, (the 
salt and the leaven of life) and not attachment (life's meat 
and meal). 
(3) Man has a profound, though ever largely latent, capacity 
and need for admiration, trust, faith; and does not by any 
means improve solely by direct efforts at self-improvement, 
and by explicit examinations of his efforts and failures; 
but, (a little from the first, and very soon as much, and later 
on far more,) he progresses by means of a happy absorption 
in anything clean and fruitful that can and does lift him out 
of and above his smaller self altogether.-And such an absorp- 
tion will necessarily be unaccompanied, at the time, by any 
direct consciousness on the part of the mind as to this its 
absorption. And, religiously, such quiet concentrations win, in 
so far as they are at all analyzable after the event, consist in 
a quite inarticulate, and yet profound and spiritually renovat- 
ing, sense of God; and they will have to be tested, not by theIr 
describable content, but by their ethical and religious effects. 
H Psychology and religion," says that great psychological 
authority, Prof. William James, H both admit that there are 
forces, seemingly outside of the conscious individual, that bring 



150 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


redemption to his life." II A man's conscious wit and will, so 
far as they strain after the ideal, are aiming at something only 
dimly and inaccurately imagined, whilst the deeper forces of 
organic ripening wi thin him tend towards a rearrangement 
that is pretty surely definite, and definitely different fron1 
\vhat he consciously conceives and determines. It may conse- 
quently be actually interfered with by efforts of too direct 
and energetic a kind on our part. II I-No wonder then that 
Quietism, finding this element of quiet incubation much 
ignored and starved in the lives of most religious souls, fle\v 
to the other extreme, of making this inarticulateness and wise 
indirectness of striving into the one test and measure of the 
rerfection of all the constituents of the religious life, instead 
of insisting upon various degrees and combination of full and 
direct consciousness and articulation, and of much dimness 
and indirect alertness, as each requiring the other, and as 
both required by the complete and normal life of the soul. 
(4) And Man has a deep-seated sense of. shame, in precise 
proportion as he becomes spiritually awake, about appro- 
priating to himself his virtues and spiritual insight, even 
in so much as he perceives and admits his possession of them. 
Not all his consciousness and conviction of the reality of his 
own efforts and initiative, can or does prevent a growing sense 
that this very giving of his is (in a true sense) God's gift,- 
that his very seeking of God ever implies that he had, in some 
degree, already found God,-that God had already sought him 
out, in order that he might seek and find God.-No wonder 
then that, once more shrinking from a Unity constituted in 
a lVlultiplicity, Quietism should, (with the apparently sole 
choice before it, of God Himself operating literally all, or of 
man subtracting something from that exclusive action and 
honour of God,) have chosen God alone and entire, rather 
than, as it were, a fragmentary, limited, baffled influence 
and efficiency of the Almighty within His Own creature. 
Yet here again the greater does not supplant, but informs, the 
lesser; and the lncamational action of God is, in this supreme 
question also, the central truth and secret of Christianity. 
7. Multiplicity and unity, in different proportions, needful 
for all sPiritual life. 
We find, then, that it is essential for even the most advanced 
souls, that they should keep and increase the sense and the 


1 Var'Ìeties 01 Religious Experience. 1902. pp. 209. 211. 



LESS ULTIMATE THIS-WORLD DOCTRINES 151 


practice of a right multipJicity, as ever a constituent and 
essential condition of every concrete, living unity; of a right 
attachment, as ever the necessary material and content for a 
fruitful and enriching detachment; of a right consciousness 
and articulation of images, thoughts, feelings, volitions, and 
external acts, as ever stimulations, restful alternations, and 
food for a wise and strengthening prayer or states of Quiet 
and inarticulation; and of a right personal initiative and 
responsibility, as the most precious means and element 
for the operations of God. 
We find, too, that it is equally important, for even the most 
imperfect souls, to be helped towards some, (though but ever 
semi-conscious and intermittent,) sense of the unity which 
alone can give much worth or meaning to their multiplicity; 
of the detachment which alone can purify and spiritualize 
their attachments; of the self-oblivion, in rapt and peaceful 
admiration, which alone can save even their right self-watch- 
ings and self-improvements from still further centring them in 
themselves; and of the true self-abandonment to pure grace 
and the breathing of God's Spirit, which alone can give a 
touch of winning freedom and of joyful spaciousness to all 
the prudence and right fear and conscious responsibility 
\vhich, left alone, will hip, darken and weigh down the 
religious soul. 
And thus \ve shall find that there is no degree of per- 
fection for anyone set of souls which is not, in some form and 
amount, prefigured and required by all other souls of good- 
will; and é 1 gain, that there is no one constituent, to which 
anyone SOla i3 specially drawn, which does not require the 
supplementation and corrective of some other constituents, 
more fully represented in other souls of possibly lower 
sanctity. 
Thus each soul and grade requires all the others; and 
thus the measure of a soul's greatness is not its possessing 
things which cannot, in any degree or way, be found in, or 
expected of, all human souls, in proportion as they are fully 
and characteristically human, but, on the contrary, its being 
full of a spirit and a force which, in different degrees and 
forms, are the very salt and yeast, the very light and life, of 
all men in every place and time. 
The following weighty declaration, long ascribed to St. 
Thomas Aquinas, fully covers, I think, the doctrine and 
ideal aimed at throughout this section: "Already in this life 



152 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 
we ought continuously to enjoy God, as a thing most fully 
our own, in all our works. . . . Great is the blindness and 
exceeding the folly of many souls that are ever seeking God, 
continuously sighing after God, and frequently desiring God: 
whilst, all the time, they are themselves the tabernacles of the 
living God . . . since their soul is the seat of God, in which 
He continuously reposes. Now who but a fool deliberately 
seeks a tool which he possesses under lock and key? or who 
can use and profit by an instrument which he is seeking? or 
who can draw comfort from food for which he hungers, but 
which he does not relish at leisure? Like unto all this is the 
life of many a just soul, which ever seeks God and never 
tarries to enjoy Him; and all the works of such an one are, 
on this account, less perfect." 1 


IV. PURE LOVE, OR DISINTERESTED RELIGIO
: ITS 
DISTINCTION FROM QUIETISM. 
The problem of Pure Love, of Disinterested Religion, can 
hardly, in practice, be distinguished from that of Quiet and 
Passivity, if only because Quietists, (those who have con- 
sidered perfection to diminish more and more the number of 
the soul's acts, or at least to eliminate more and more the 
need of distinctness or difference between them,) have, quite 
inevitably, ever given a special prominence to the question as 
to what should be the character of those few acts, of that 
one unbroken act. For once allow this their main question 
we should all have to answer in the Quietist's way,-viz. that 
this single act must, for a perfect soul, be the most perfect 
of the acts possible to man, and hence must be an act of 
Pure Love.- Yet it is well to realize clearly that, if Quietism 
necessitates an even excessive and unreal doctrine of Pure 
Love, a moderate and solid Pure-Love teaching has no kind 
of necessary connection with Quietism. For even though 
my interior life be necessarily one continuous stream and 
tissue of acts, countless in their number, variety, and degrees 
of interpenetration, it in nowise follows that acts of Pure 
Love are not the best, or are impossible; nor that, in pro- 
portion as Pure Love infonns the soul's multiform acts, such 
acts must lose in depth and delicacy of variety and articu- 


1 De Beatitudine. c. 3. 3. 



LESS ULTIMATE THIS-WORLD DOCTRINES 153 


lation. Indeed here, with regard to the very culmination 
of the interior life, we shall again find and must again test 
the two conceptions: the finally abstractive and materially 
simplifying one, which must ever have anyone real thing 
outside of another; and the incarnational and synthetic one, 
which finds spiritual realities and forces working the one 
inside and through the other. And the latter view will 
appear the true one. 
I. New Testanzent teaching as to Pure Love. 
N ow we must first try and get some clear ideas as to how 
this difficult matter stands in the New Testament,-in the 
Synoptic tradition and in the Pauline- ] ohannine teaching re- 
spectively. Here again it is the former which, (though on its 
surface it appears as the more ordinary and the more locally 
coloured teaching,) is the richer, in its grandly elastic and 
manifold simplicity; and it is the latter which has most 
profoundly penetrated and articulated the ultimate meaning 
and genius of a part of Our Lord's doctrine, yet at the cost 
of a certain narrowing of the variety and breadth of that 
outlook. In both. cases I shall move, from the easier and 
more popular teaching, to the deepest and most original 
enunciations and explanations.! 
(I) The Synoptic teaching starts throughout from the 
ordinary post-exilic Jewish feeling and teaching, which indeed 
recognizes the ceremonial obligations and the more tangible 
amongst the ethical demands as standing under the cate- 
gorical inperative of the Legal H Thou Shalt," but places the 
large territory of the finer moral precepts outside of the La\v. 
So with the H Zedakah," the " Justice" of almsdeeds, and with 
the H Gemiluth Chasadim," the H works of lnercy," such as 
visiting the sick, burying the dead, and rejoicing with the 
joyful and sorrowing \vith the sorrowful. Thus Rabbi Simon 
the Just tells us: "The world rests on three things: on the 
Law (Thorah), on Worship (A bodah) , and on Works of 
Mercy (Gemiluth Chasad'inz) "; and Rabbi Eleazar declared 
the" Gemiluth Chasadim " to be above the" Zedakah." 2 And 
it is especially in view of these works of supererogation that 
rewards, and indeed a strict scale of rewards, are conceived. 


1 I have been much helped in my own direct studies of the sources by 
W. Bousset's D'ie Religz"on des judenthums im NeutestamentUchen Zeitalter. 
19 0 3; by H. J. HoItzmann's Neutestamentliche Theologie. 1897; and A. 
Jülicher's Gleichnissreden jesu. Theil 2. 1899. 
I Bousset. pp. 395. 396. 



154 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 
Thus already in the Book of Tobit, (written somewhere 
between 175 and 25 B.C.,) we have Tobit instructing his son 
Tobias that " Prayer is good with Fasting and Alms, more 
than to buy up treasures of gold. For Alms delivereth 
from death. . . they that practise Mercy and Justice 
shall live long." 1 And one of the sayings of the Jewish 
Fathers declares: U So much trouble, so much reward." 2 
Now this whole scheme and its spirit seems, at first sight, 
to be taken over quite unchanged by Our Lord. The very 
Beatitudes end with: U Rejoice. . . because your reward is 
great in heaven." And, in the following Sermon,his hearers are 
bidden to beware of doing their It Zedakah," -the It Justice " 
of Prayer, Fasting, Almsdeeds in order to be seen by men; 
since, in that case, It ye shall not ha ve reward from your 
Father \Vho is in heaven." And this is driven home in 
detail: these three kinds of Justice are to be done It in 
secret," and It thy Father will repay thee." Even Prayer itself 
thus appears as a meritorious good work, one of the means 
to U treasure up treasures in heaven." Similarly, the rich man 
is bid U Go sell whatsoever thou hast and give to the poor; 
and thou shalt have a treasure in heaven." Even U he that 
shall give you a cup of cold water in l\Iy name, shall not lose 
his reward." Indeed we have the general principle, "the 
labourer is worthy of his hire." 3 
And yet we can follow the delicate indications of the 
presence, and the transitions to the expression, of the deeper 
apprehension and truth. For, on the part of God, the reward 
appears, in the first instance, as in intrinsic relation to the 
deed. The reward is thedeed'scongenitalequivalent: 'c Blessed 
are the merciful, for they shan obtain mercy"; "if ye forgive 
men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also for- 
give you"; and U everyone who shall confess Me before 
men, him will I also confess before l\1y Father Who is 
in heaven." 4. Ox the reward appears as a just inversion of 
the ordinary results of the action thus rewarded: "Blessed are 
the meek: for they shall inherit the earth"; take the highest 
seat at a banquet, and you will be forced down to the lowest, 
take the lowest, and you win be moved up to the highest; 
and, generally, "he that findeth his life, shall lose it; and 


1 Ch. xii, 8, 9; see too ch. ii, 2. 7. 
21 Pirke Aboth, v, 23. 
3 Matt. v; 12; vi. 4, 6, 18. 20; l\Iark x, 21; ix, 41; Luke x, 7. 
.. Matt. v. 7; vi, 14; x. 32. 



LESS ULTIl\iATE THIS-WORLD DOCTRINES 155 
he that loseth his life for My sake shall find it." 1 Or the 
reward appears as an effect organicaIly connected with the 
deed, as its cause or condition: "Blessed are the pure of 
heart: for they shall see God." 2 And then the reward comes 
to vary, although the deed remains quantitatively identIcal, 
solely because of that deed's qualitative difference, i.e. 
according to the variation in its motive: "He that receiveth a 
prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's 
reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name 
of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward." 3 
And then the reward moves up and up and becomes a grace, 
through being so far in excess of the work done: II Everyone 
who hath left houses. . . or father. . . or children, or lands for 
My name's sake, shall receive" manifold, indeed" a hundred- 
fold "-" a full. . . and overflowing measure shall they pour 
into your lap"; and " whosoever shan humble himself, shall 
be exalted,"-not simply back to his original level, but into 
the Kingdom of Heaven. So, too, " Thou hast been faithful 
over a few things, I will set thee over many things" ; indeed 
this faithful servant's master " shall place him over all his 
possessions; " or rather, " blessed are those servants whom the 
Lord, when He cometh, shall find watching: verily I say 
unto you, that he shall gird himself . . . and shall come and 
serve them." 4 
This immense disproportion between the work and its 
reward, and the consequent grace-character of the latter, is 
driven home with a purposely paradoxical, provocative 
pointedness, in the two Parables of the \Vedding Garment 
and of the Equal Payment of the Unequal Labourers, both of 
which are in St. Matthew alone. The former concerns the 
soul's call to the kingdom, and that soul's response. The 
King here, after having formally invited a certain select 
number of previously \-varned relatives and nobles, who all, as 
such, had a claim upon him (
Iatt. xxii, 3), sends out invita- 
tions with absolute indiscrimination,-to men with no claims 
or with less than none; to " bad" as well as "good." And 
it is the l{ing, again, who gratuitously suppJies them each 
with the appropriate white wedding-feast garment. He has 
thus a double right to expect all his guests to be thus clothed, 


1 Matt. v, 5; Luke xiv, 8-11; Matt. x. 39. 
2 l\1att. v, 8. 3 Matt. x. 41. 
, Matt. xix. 29; Mark x. 23; Luke vi. 38; Matt. xxiii, 12; xxv. 21; 
xxiv. 47; Luke xii, 37. 


-- 



15 6 THE MYSTICAL ELElVIENT OF RELIGION 
and to punish instantly, not the mere negligence, but the 
active rejection implied on the part of the man clothed in 
his ordinary clothing (vv. II, 12). Both call and investiture 
have been here throughout pure graces, which rendered 
possible, and which invited but did not force, an acceptance.! 
The second Parable describes the" Householder" who hired 
labourers for his vineyard at the first, third, sixth, ninth, and 
even eleventh hour,-each and all of them for a penny a day; 
\vho actually pays out to them, at the end of the day, this one 
identical pay; and who, to the labourer of the first shift who 
complains, It These last have spent but one hour, and thou 
hast n1ade them equal unto us, which have borne the burden 
and heat of the day," declares, " Friend, I do thee no wrong: 
didst thou not agree with me for a penny? Take up that 
\vhich is thine, and go thy way: it is my will to give unto this 
last even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will 
with mine own? or is thine eye evil (art thou envious) because I 
am good" (because I choose to be bountiful) ? (Matt. xx, I-IS). 
Here again the overflowing generosity of God's grace is brought 
home to us, as operating according to other standards than 
those of ordinary daily life: nor is this operation unjust, for 
the Householder paid their due to the first set of workers, 
whilst rewarding, far above their worth, those poor labourers 
of the last hour. But, as Jülicher well points out, " we should 
not pedantically insist upon finding here a doctrine of the 
strict equality of souls in the Beyond-a doctrine contra- 
dicted by other declarations of Jesus. Only the claÙn of 
single groups of souls to preferential treatment is combated 
here . . .: a certain fundamental religious disposition is to 
be awakened." And, as Bugge rightly notes, "the great 
supreme conception which lies at the bottom of the parable 
has, parablewise, remained here unnamed: Paul has found 
the expressive term for it,-' Grace.' "2 
And we get corresponding, increasingly spiritual interpre- 
tations with regard to man's action and man's merit. First, 
all ostentation in the doing of the deed cancels all reward in 
the Beyond; so, in the case of each of the three branches of 
" Justice." 3 And then the worker is to be satisfied, day by 


1 Interesting reasons and parallels for holding the Wedding Garment 
to have been the gift of the King, in Bugge's Die Haupt-Parabeln ]esu, 
19 00 , pp. 3 16 , 3 1 7. 
2 ]ülicher, Ope cit. p. 467. Bugge, Ope cit. p. 277. 
I Matt. vi, I. 2. 5. 16. 



LESS ULTIMATE THIS-WORLD DOCTRINES 157 


day, with that day's pay and sustenance: It Give us this day 
our daily bread," every soul is to pray; the divine House- 
holder will say, " Didst thou not agree with me for a penny? 
Take up that which is thine and go thy \vay." And even 
"when ye shall have done all the things that are commanded 
you, say, 'We are unprofitable servants, we have done that 
which it was our duty to do.'" They are invited to look away 
from self, to H seek ye first His Kingdom and His righteous- 
ness," and then II all these things," their very necessaries for 
earthly life, "shall be added unto you." Indeed it is the 
boundlessly generous self-communicativeness of God Himself 
which is to be His disciples' deliberate ideal, "be ye perfect, as 
your heavenly Father is perfect"; and the production of this 
likeness within themselves is to be the ultimate end and crown 
of their most heroic, most costly acts: H love your enemies, and 
pray for them that persecute you: that you may be sons of 
your Father which is in Heaven: for He maketh His sun to 
rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain upon the just 
and the unjust." And the more there is of such self-oblivious 
love, the more \vill even the gravest sins be entirely blotted 
out, and the more rapid will be the full sanctification of the 
soul, as Our Lord solemnly declares concerning the sinful 
woman in St. Luke, "her sins, which are many, are forgiven; 
because she loved much." 1 
In all this matter it is St. Luke's Gospel which is specially 
interesting as showing, so to speak, side by side, an increased 
Rabbinical-like preciseness of balance between work and 
reward, and yet the adoption, doubtlessly under Pauline 
influence, of 51. Paul's central term in lieu of the old Jewish 
terminology. For, in one of its curious so-called H Ebionite " 
passages, this Gospel works up the Parable of the Talents, 
\vith its only approximate relation between the deeds and 
their rewards (Matt. xxv, 14-30), into the Parable of the 
Pounds (Luke xix, 12-27), with its mathematically sym- 
metrical interdependence between the quantities of the merit 
and those of this merit's reward: the man who makes ten 


1 Matt. vi, I I; xx, 14; Luke xvii, 10; Matt. vi. 33; v, 4 8 . 44. 45; Luke 
vii. 47. It seems plain that the Parable of the Two Debtors, which 
appears in this last passage. declares how pardon awakens love; and 
that the sinful woman's act and Our Lord's direct comment on it, which 
are now made to serve as that Parable's frame. demonstrate how love 
pIoduces pardon. In my text I have been busy only with the second of 
these twin truths. 


... 



158 THE MYSTICAL ELEl\IENT OF RELIGION 


pounds is placed over ten cities, and he who makes five, 
over five. And, on the other hand, in a Lukan equivalent 
for part of the Sermon on the Mount, St. Matthew's (( reward" 
is replaced by" grace": "If ye do good to them that do good 
to you, what thank (xáetç) have you? . . . and if ye lend to 
them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have you?" 1 
(2) St. Paul indeed it is who, in the specially characteristic 
portions of his teaching, unfolds, by means of a partly original 
terminology, the deepest motives and implications of Our 
Lord's own divinely deep sayings and doings, and never 
wearies of insisting upon the Grace-character of the soul's 
call and salvation,-the Free Mercy, the Pure Love which 
God shows to us, and the sheer dependence and complete 
self-donation, the pure love which we owe to Him, and which, 
at the soul's best, it can and does give Him. 
It is true that in the contrasting, the traditional layer of his 
teaching, we find the old ] ewish terminology still intact: 
" God will render unto every man according to his works"; 
"we must all be made manifest before the Judgment-seat of 
Christ; that each one may receive. . . according to what he 
hath done, \vhether it be good or bad." 2 Indeed it is precisely 
in St. Paul's pages that we find the two most difficult and, at 
first sight, least spiritual sayings concerning this matter to be 
discovered in the whole New Testament: "If in this life only 
we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most pitiable." 
And: "If the dead are not raised . . . let us eat and drink, for 
to-morrow we die." 3 But these two passages must doubtless 
be taken partly as arguments adapted to the dispositions of 
his hearers,-the " Let us eat and drink" conclusion is given 
in the words of a current Heathen Greek proverb,-and, still 
more, as expressions not so much of a formal doctrine as of 
a mood, of one out of the many intense, mutually supple- 
mentary and corrective moods of that rich nature. 
According to his own deepest, most deliberate, and most 
systematic teaching, it is the life of Christ, the living Christ, 
energizing even now within the faithful soul, that constitutes 
both the primary source and the ultimate motive of Christian 
sanctity. " I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live; and 
yet no longer I, but Christ liveth in me." And through this 
divine-human life within us (( we faint not; but though our out- 
\vard man is decaying, yet our inward man is renewed day by 


1 Luke vi, 33. 34. 2 Rom. ii, 6; 2 Cor. v. 10. 
a I Cor. xv, 19, 32. 



LESS ULTIThIATE THIS-WORLD DOCTRINES 159 


day." Indeed the Lord Himself said to him: "M Y grace is 
sufficient for thee; for My power is made perfect in weakness" ; 
and hence he, Paul, could declare: "Gladly therefore will I 
glory in my weaknesses, that the strength of Christ may rest 
upon me." And thus, with Christ living within him, he can 
exclaim: " If God is for us , who is against us? . . . \ Vho shall 
separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or 
anguish, . . . or the sword? . . . In an these things we are 
more than conquerors, through Him that loved us. For I am 
persuaded that neither death, nor life . . . nor things present 
nor things to come . . . shall be able to separate us from the 
love of God." "Whether we live therefore, or die, we are the 
Lord's." 1 We thus get here a reinsistence upon, and a further 
deepening of, perhaps the profoundest utterance of the whole 
Old Testament: "What have I in Heaven besides Thee? and 
besides Thee I seek nothing upon earth. Even though my 
flesh and my heart faint, Thou art my rock and my portion 
for ever." 2 
And then that deathless hymn to Pure Love, the thirteenth 
chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, not only 
culminates with the proclamation that, of all man can hope 
and wish and will and do, of all his doings and his graces, 
" but now abideth Faith, Hope, Love, (Charity) these three: 
and the greatest of these is Love (Charity)." But the Love that 
has this primacy is Pure Love, for" it seeketh not its own." 
And though of this Love alone it is said that" it never 
passeth away," ever persists in the Beyond: yet even here 
already it can and does get exercised,-and this, not only 
without any suppression of parallel acts of the other virtues, 
but with these other virtues and their specific motives now 
taken over and deepened, each in its special characteristic, 
by the supreme virtue and motive of Pure Love: "Love 
beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things." 3 
Thus Faith, Hope, Patience, and all the other virtues, they all 
remain, but it is Love that is now the ultimate motive of all 
their specific motives. These, his culminating teachings, 
indicate clearly enough that virtue's rewards are regarded by 
him, ultimately and substantially, as " the wages of going on 
and not to die"; or rather that they are, in their essence, 
manifestations of that Eternal Life which is already energizing 
within souls that earnestly seek God, even here and now. 
1 Gal. ii, 20; 2 Cor. iv, 16; xii, 9; Rom. viii, 31, 35, 37-39; xiv, 8. 
a Ps. Ix xiii (lxxii), v, 25. I follow Duhm's restoration of the text. 
3 I Cor. xiii, 13; 8, 7. 


.. 



160 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT O:F RELIGION 


This Life, then, however great may be its further expansion 
and the soul's consciousness of possessing it, already holds 
within itself sufficient, indeed abundant motives, (in the fulfil- 
ment of its own deepest nature and of its now awakened 
requirements of hannony, strength, and peace through self- 
donation,) for giving itself ever more and more to God. 
(3) And with regard to the ] ohannine teaching, it will be 
enough for us to refer back to the texts discussed in the 
preceding chapter, and to note how large and specially 
characteristic is here the current which insists upon the 
reward being already, at least inchoatively, enclosed in the 
deed itself, and upon this deed being the result and expression 
of Eternal Life operating within the faithful soul, even already, 
Here and Now. Only the declaration that" perfect love 
casteth out fear," that it does not tolerate fear alongside of 
itself, I John iv, I8, appears to be contrary to the Pauline 
doctrine that Perfect Love, " Love" itself" beareth all things, 
believeth, hopeth, endureth all things," I Cor. xiii. 7. Love 
then can animate other virtues: why not then a holy fear? 
But this J ohannine saying seems in fact modelled upon St. 
Paul's quotation and use of a passage from the Septuagint: 
" Cast out the bondwoman (the slave-servant) and her son, for 
the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir together with 
the son of the free," Gal. iv, 30; and hence this saying will 
not exclude" children of the free-woman,"-a holy fear as 
well as faith, hope, patience,-but only "children of the 
slave-woman," superstition, presumption, weakmindedness, 
and slavish fear. 
2. The" Pure Love" controversy. 
In turning now to the controversy as to Pure Love 
(r694-1699) and its assured results, we shall have again to 
distinguish carefully between the lives and intentions of the 
writers who were censured, and the doctrines, analytic or 
systematic, taught or implied by them, which were condemned. 
I'his distinction is easier in this case than in that of Quietisnl, 
for the chief writer concerned here is Fénelon, as to whose 
pure and spiritual character and deeply Catholic intentions 
there never has been any serious doubt. 
But in this instance we have to make a further distinction 
-viz. between the objective drift of at least part of his 
ExPlication des M axÙnes des Saints sur la Vie lntérieure, 
published in r697,and especially the twenty-three propositions 
extracted from it which were condemned by Pope Innocent 



LESS ULTI1vIATE THIS-WORLD DOCTRINES 161 


XII in 1699; and the teaching which he increasingly clarified 
and improved in his numerous apologetic writings against 
Bossuet and other opponents in this memorable controversy- 
especially in his Latin writings, intended for transmission to 
the Pope, and written as late as 1710 and 1712.1 It is certain 
that Bishops and theologians who opposed his Maximes 
were found warmly endorsing such pieces as his wonderfully 
clear and sober Prenlière RéPonse aux Ditficultés de M.l'Evêque 
de Chartres. It is these pieces, comprising also his remarkably 
rich Instruction Pastorale, his admirably penetrating Lettre 
sur [' Oraison Passive and Lettre sur la C harité, and his 
extraordinarily compact and balanced Second Epistle to 
Pope Clement XI, 1712 (where all the censured ambiguities 
and expressions are carefully avoided), which alone among 
Fénelon's writings shall be accepted in what follows. 2 
Indeed even the earlier of these writings fail in but one 
thing-in justifying the actual text of the condemned book, 
as distinguished from the intentions of its writer. Bishop 
Hedley sums up the real position with the treble authority 
of a spiritually trained Monk, of a practised theological writer, 
and of a Catholic Bishop of long experience: "The doctrine 
intended by Fénelon, in his Maximes des Saints, and as 
explained by him during his controversy with Bossuet, has 
never been censured, although the opposite party laboured 
hard for its condemnation. Fifteen .years after the con- 
demna tion of his book, we find him re-sta ting to Pope 
Clement XI (who, as Cardinal, had drawn up the Brief of his 
condemnations), in careful scholastic language the doctrine 
intended by himself, but which he himself had mis-stated 
in his popular treatise. As there were errors, the other side, 
whatever the crudity or novelty of some of its contentions, 
whatever its motives or methods-and some of them were 
far from creditable-was sure in the end to succeed. And it 
is well that it should have succeeded as far as it did succeed." 3 
In any case, we shall have to beware of considering Bossuet's 
contentions as to the specific character of Charity, Love, and 
as to the possibility, for man here below, of single acts of pure 
love, to be representative of the ordinary Catholic teaching 


1 æuvres, ed. Versailles, 1820, Vols. IV to IX. 
2 RéPonse: æuvres, Vol. IV, pp. 119-132; Instruction: ibid. pp. 18r- 
308; Lettre sur l'Oraison, Vol. VIII, pp. 3-82; Lettre SUI' la Charité. 
Vol. IX, pp. 3-36; EPistola II, ibid. pp. 617-677. 
I The SPiritual Letters of Fénelon, London, 1892. Vol. I, pp. xi, xii. 
VOL. II. M 



162 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


either before or since the condemnation. On both these 
fundamental points Fénelon's positions are demonstrably, 
and indeed have been generally admitted to be, a mere 
re-statement of that teaching, as is shown, for instance, in the 
Jesuit Father Deharbe'ssolid and sober, thoroughly traditional 
and highly authorized essay: Die vollkommeneLiebe Gottes . . . 
dargestellt nach der Lehre des h. Thomas von A quin, Regens- 
burg, 1856. It is this most useful treatise and the admirable 
Analyse Raisonnée de la Controverse d'll Quiétisme of the Abbé 
Gosselin,l (which has already much helped me in the preceding 
section,) that have been my chief aids in my careful study, 
back through Bossuet and Fénelon, to St. Thomas and his 
chief commentators, Sylvius, who died in 1649, and Cardinal 
Cajetan, who died in 1534, and to the other chief authorities 
beyond them.-I group the main points, which alone need 
concern us here, under three heads: the specific Nature of 
Pure Love; single Acts of Pure Love; a State of Pure Love. 
(I) Now as to the specific Nature of Charity, or Pure, Perfect 
Love, St. Thomas tells us: "One Kind of Love is perfect, 
the other kind is imperfect. Perfect Love is that wherewith 
a man is loved for his own sake: as, for instance, when 
some one wishes well to another person, for that other person's 
sake, in the manner in which a man loves his friend. 
Imperfect love is the love wherewith a man loves something, 
not for its own sake, but in order that this good thing may 
accrue to himself,-in the manner in which a man loves a 
thing that he covets. Now the forDler kind of love pertains 
to Charity, which clings to God for His own sake, whereas it 
is Hope that pertains to the second kind of love, since he 
who hopes aims at obtaining something for himself." 2 And 
Cardinal Cajetan explains that this wishing well to God} 
" this good that we can will God to have, is double. The 
good that is in Him, that (strictly speaking) is God Himself,- 
we can, by Love, will Him to have it, when we find our 
delight in God being what He is. And the good that is but 
referred to God,-His honour and Kingdom and the Obedience 
we owe him,-this we can will, not only by finding our 
pleasure in it, but by labouring at its maintenance and 
increase with all our n1Ïght." 3 
And, says St. Thomas, such Perfect Love alone is Love in 
1 ffiuvres de Fénelon, ed. 1820, Vol. IV, pp. lxxix-ccxxxiv. 
:& Summa Theologica, II, ii, quo 17, art. 8. in corp. 
· Comment in II, ii, quo 23, art. I. 



LESS ULTIMATE THIS-WORLD DOCTRINES r63 


its strict sense and" the most excellent of all the virtues" : for 
" ever that which exists for its own sake is greater than that 
which exists in view of something else. Now Faith and Hope 
attain indeed to God, yet as the source from which there 
accrue to us the knowledge of the Truth and the acquisition 
of the Good; whilst Love attains to God Himself, with a view 
to abide in Him, and not that some advantage may accrue 
to us from Him." And perhaps still more clearly: "When a 
man loves something so as to covet it, he apprehends it as 
something pertaining to his own well-being. The lover here 
stands towards the object beloved, as towards something 
which is his property." 1 And note how, although he teaches 
that whereas" the beatitude of man, as regards its cause and 
its object, is something increate," i. e. God Himself, "the 
essence of the beatitude itself is something created," for" men 
are rendered blessed by participation, and this participation 
in beatitude is something created" : yet he is careful to explain 
some of his more incidental passages, in which he speaks 
of this essence of beatitude as itself man's end, by the ex 
professo declaration: "God" alone" is man's ultimate end, 
and beatitude is only as it were an end before the very end, an 
end in immediate proximity to the ultimate end." 2 
(2) And next, as to the possibility, actual occurrence and 
desirableness of single Acts of such Pure Love, even here 
below: all this is assumed as a matter of course throughout 
St. Thomas's ex professo teaching on the matter. For through- 
out the passages concerning the Nature of Pure Love he is 
not exclusively, indeed not even primarily, busy with man's 
acts in the future life, but with the respective characteristics 
of man's various acts as executed and as analyzable, more 
or less perfectly, already here belo\v. And nowhere does he 
warn us against concluding, from his reiterated insistence 
upon the essential characteristics of Pure Love, that such 
love cannot, as a matter of fact, be practised, at least in 
single acts, here below at all. Hence it is clear that, accord- 
ing to him, the soul as it advances in perfection will-along- 
side of acts of supernatural Faith, Hope, Fear, etc. (and the 
production of such acts will never cease), produce more and 
more acts of Pure Love: not necessarily more, as compared 


1 Summa, II, ii, quo 23, art. 6, cone!., et in corp.; I, ii, quo 28, art. I, in 
corp., et ad 2. See also II, ii. quo 17. art. 6. in corp.; quo 28, art. I ad 3; 
I, ii, quo 28, art. I, in corp., et ad 2. 
I In Libr. sent. IV, dist. 49, art. 2. 



164 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


with the other kinds of contemporary acts, but certainly more 
as compared with its former acts of the same character. 
But there is a further, profoundly and delicately experienced 
doctrine. Not only can Pure Love be exercised in single and 
simple acts, alongside of single and simple acts of other kinds 
of virtues, supernatural or otherwise: but Pure Love can itself 
come to command or to inform acts which in themselves bear, 
and will now bear in increased degree, the characteristics of 
the other kinds of acts. St. Thomas tells us, with admirable 
clearness: "An act can be derived from Charity in one of two 
ways. In the first way, the act is elicited by Charity itself, and 
such a virtuous act requires no other virtue beside Charity,- 
as in the case of loving the Good, rejoicing in it, and mourning 
over its opposite. In the second way, an act proceeds from 
Charity in the sense of being commanded by it: and in this 
manner,-since Charity" has the full range of and" commands 
all the virtues, as ordering them (each and all) to their (ulti- 
mate) end,-an act can proceed from Charity whilst neverthe- 
less belonging to any other special virtue." And he assures us 
that: "The merit of eternallife," " the fountain-head of merit- 
ing," " pertains primarily to, consists in Charity, and pertains 
to and consists in other kinds of supernatural acts in only a 
secondary manner,-that is, only in so far as these acts are 
commanded or informed by Charity" or Pure Love.! 
Let us take some instances of such two-fold manifestations 
of identical motives and virtues, according as these motives 
and virtues operate in simple co-ordination, or within a com- 
pound and organic system. In the scholar's life, Greek and 
Latin and Hebrew may be acquired, each simply for its own 
sake and each alongside of the other; or they can be acquired, 
from the immediate motive indeed of knowing each in its own 
specific nature as thoroughly as possible, yet with the ultimate, 
ever more and more conscious and all-penetrating, motive of 
thus acquiring means and materials for the science of lan- 
guage, or for the study of philosophy, or for research into 
early phases of the Jewish-Christian religion. In the family 
life, a man, woman, or child can live for himself or herself, 
and then for his or her other immediate relatives, each 
taken as separate alongside of the other, or he or she may 
get more and more dominated by the conception and claims 
of the family as an organic whole, and may end by working 
1 Summa Theol.. III. quo 85, art. 2 ad I; I, ii, quo 114, art. 4, in corp. 
In Libr. sent. III, dist. 30. art. 5. 



LESS UJ..TII\IATE THIS-WORLD DOCTRINES 165 


largely, even with respect to himself, as but for so many con- 
stituents of that larger organism in which alone each part 
can attain its fullest significance. And especially a young 
mother can live for her own health and joys, and then, along- 
side of these, for those of her child, or she can get to the 
point of sustaining her own physical health and her mental 
hopes and will to live as so many means and conditions for 
feeding and fostering the claimful body and soul of her child. 
So again, in the creatively artistic life, we can have a Dante 
writing prose and poetry and painting a picture, and a Rafae] 
painting pictures and writing sonnets; or we can have 
Wagner bringing all his activities of scholar, poet, painter, 
musician, stage-manager,-each retaining, and indeed in- 
definitely increasing, its specific character and capabilities,- 
to contribute, by endless mutual stimulation and interaction, 
to something other and greater than anyone of them 
individually or even than the simple addition of then1 aU,- 
to a great rvlusic-Drama and multiform yet intensely unified 
image of life itself. And an organist can draw out, as he 
plays, the Vox Humana stop, and then another and another 
limitedly efficacious organ-stop, whilst each new-comer takes 
the place of its predecessor or a place beside it; or he can 
draw out the Grand J eu stop, which sets all the other stops to 
work in endless interaction, with itself permeating and organiz- 
ing the whole. We thus, in these and countless other cases, 
and in every variety of degree within each case, get two kinds 
of variety, what we may call the simple and the compound 
diversification. And everywhere we can find that the richest 
variety not only can coexist with, but that it requires and is 
required by, indeed that it is a necessary constituent and 
occasion of, the deepest and most delicate unity.1 
(3) And finally, as to a State of Pure Love. Only here do 
we reach the class of questions to which the condemnations 
of Fénelon really apply. 
'-tVe shall do well to begin by bearing in mind the very 
ancient, practically unbroken, very orthodox Christian dis- 
crimination of faithful souls,-sometimes into the two classes 
of Mercenaries (or Slaves) and Friends or Children, the latter 


1 Some of the finest descriptions of these profoundly organized states 
common. in some degrees and forms. to all mankind. are to be found in 
the tenth and eleventh books of St. Augustine's Confessions. A.D. 397. and 
in Henri Bergson's Essai sur les Données I mmédiates de la Conscience. 
1 8 98. 



 



166 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


of whom the great Clement of Alexandria, who died about 
A.D. 215, called" Gnostics," " Gnosis " being his term for per- 
fection (this scheme is the one to which Catherine's life and 
teaching conform); or into the three classes of Servants 
(Slaves); l'tlercenaries; and Friends (or Children), as is 
already worked out with full explicitness by Saints Basil, 
Gregory of Nazianzum, and Gregory of Nyssa, ,vho died in the 
years 379, 3 8 9, and 395 ( ?) respectively. Now Clement places 
the Mercenary on the left of the Sanctuary, but the" Gnostic" 
on the right; and, whilst declaring that the former" are those 
who, by means of renouncing things perishable, hope to 
receive the goods of incorruption in exchange," he demands of 
the "Gnostic" that "he approach the saving word neither from 
the fear of punishment, nor from the motive of reward, but 
simply because He is good." 1 And St. Basil, echoed in this by 
his two contemporaries, teaches that, "We obey God and avoid 
vices, from the fear of punishment, and in that case we take 
on the resemblance of Slaves. Or we keep the precepts, 
because of the utility that we derive from the recompense, 
thus resembling Mercenaries. Or finally, from love of Him 
who has given us the law, we obey with joy at having been 
judged worthy of serving so great and good a God, and thus 
we imitate the affection of Children to\vards their parents." 2 
And, in the case of all these Fathers, it is clear that, not only 
single acts, but whole states of soul and life are meant. 
But the increased fineness in the analy
is of interior experi- 
ences and dispositions has since then required, and the Church 
formulations have most wisely demanded, that these three 
classes be not so sharply distinguished as to make anyone 
soul seem exclusively and unchangeably to pertain to anyone 
of them; and, still more, that these three divisions be taken to 
represent, even \vhere and whilst they are most completely 
realized, only the predominant character of the majority of 
the acts constituting the respective state of soul. For it is 
clear that not only is there, and can there be, no such thing, 
on earth at least, as a state composed of one unrepeated act; 
but there is no such thing as a condition of soul made up 
solely of acts of" simple" Pure Love, or even of supernatural 
acts of all sorts commanded throughout by Charity, or indeed 
solely of supernatural acts, both simple and commanded. 
The" One-act" state is a chimera; the state of" simple" acts 
1 Stromata, Book IV. ch. vi. 30, I; ch. iv. 15. 6. 
I Proemium in Reg. Fus. Tract. n. 3. Vol. II. pp. 329. 33 0 . 



LESS ULTIMATE THIS-WORLD DOCTRINES 167 


of Pure Love alone would, if possible, involve the neglect of 
numberless other virtues and duties; and the last two states 
are indeed higWy desirable, but it would be fanaticism to 
think \ve could completely attain to them here below. 
Yet there is nothing in any Church-censure to prevent, 
and there is much in the teaching and life of countless saints 
to invite, our holding the possibility, hence the working ideal 
and standard, for even here below, of a state in which two 
kinds of acts, which are still good in their degree, would be in 
a considerable minority: acts of merely natural, unspiritualized 
hope, fear, desire, etc.; and acts of supernatural hope, fear, 
desire, etc., in so far as not commanded by Charity. For even 
in this state not fully deliberate venial sins would occasionally 
be committed, far more would a certain number of acts of an 
unspiritualized, unsuperna tural kind occur. And the necessary 
variety among the supernatural acts would in nowise be 
impaired,-it would indeed be greatly stimulated, by Pure 
Love being now, for the most part, the ultimate motive of 
their exercise. 
Sylvius, in his highly authoritative commentary on St. 
Thomas, puts the matter admirably: "We may not love God 
in view of reward in suchwise as to make eternal life the 
true and ultimate end of our love, or to love God because 
of it, so that without the reward we would not love Him 
. . . We must love God with reference to the eternal reward 
in suchwise that we put forth indeed both love and good 
works in view of such beatitude,-in so far as the latter is the 
end proposed to these works by God Himself; yet that 
we subordinate this our beatitude to the love of God as the 
true and ultimate end," so that U if we had no beatitude to 
expect at all, we should nevertheless still love Him and 
execute good works for His own sake alone. In this manner 
we shall first love God above all things and for His own sake; 
and we shall next keep the eternal reward before us, for the 
sake of God and of His honour." 1 A man in these dispositions 
would still hope, and desire, and fear, and regret, and strive 
for, and aspire to conditions, things, persons both of earth 
and of the beyond, both for himself and for others, both for 
time and for eternity: but all this, for the most part, from the 
ultimate motive, penetrating, deepening, unifying all the other 
motives,-of the love of Love, Christ, Spirit, God. 


1 Summa Theol., II. ii. quo 27, art. 3. 



168 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


Any hesitation to accept the reality or possibility of such a 
state cannot, then, be based upon such acceptance involving 
any kind of Quietism, but simply on the admittedly great 
elevation of such a condition. Yet this latter objection seems 
to be sufficiently met if we continuously insist that even such 
a state neither exempts souls from the commission of (more 
or less deliberate) venial sin; nor is ever entirely equable; nor 
is incapable of being completely lost; nor, as we have just 
contended, is ever without more or less numerous acts of an 
unsupernaturalized kind, and still less without acts of the 
supernatural virtues other than Love and unprompted by 
Love. 
And all fear of fanaticism will be finally removed by a further 
most necessary and grandly enlarging insistence upon the 
Mercenaries and even the Servants having passing moments, 
and producing varyingly numerous single acts, of Pure Love 
and of the other supernatural virtues prompted by Pure Love. 
All souls in a state of Grace throughout God's wide wide 
world,-every constituent, however slight and recent, of the 
great soul of the Church throughout every sex, age, race, 
clime, and external organization, would thus have some 
touches, some at least incidental beginnings of Pure Love, and 
of the other supernatural virtues prompted by Pure Love. 
All souls would thus, in proportion to their degree of grace 
and of fidelity, have some of those touches; and the progress 
of all would consist in the degree to which that variety of acts 
would become informed and commanded by the supreme 
motive of all motives, Pure and Perfect Love. 1 
And with such an Ideal, required by fundamental Catholic 
positions, ever increasingly actuating the soul and binding it 
to all souls beneath, around, above it, what there is of truth in 
the savage attacks of Spinoza and of Kant and of such recent 


1 The obligation for all of acts of Pure Love is clearly taught by the 
condemnations, passed by Popes Alexander VII and Innocent XI, upon 
the opposite contention, in 1665 and 16 79: II Homo nullo unquam vitae 
suae tempore tenetur elicere actum Fidei, Spei et Charitatis, ex vi prae- 
ceptorum divinorum ad eas virtutes pertinentium:' Note here how 
.. Charitas .; necessarily means Pure Love, since Imperfect Love has already 
been mentioned in II Spes."-" Probabile est, ne singulis quidem rigorose 
quinquennüs per se obligare praeceptum charitatis erga Deum. Tunc 
solum obligat, quando tenemur justificari et non habemus aliam viam 
qua justificari possumus." Here Pure Love is undoubtedly meant by 
II Charitas," since. outside of the use of the sacraments, Pure Love alone 
justifies. 



LESS ULTIMATE THIS-WORLD DOCTRINES 169 


writers as A. E. Taylor,l upon the supposed hypocritical 
self-seeking in the practice and temper of average Christians, 
would lose all its force. 
3. Cognate Problems. 
Three much-discussed cognate matters require some 
elucidation here. They answer to the questions: Does 
reference to the self, as for instance in acts of gratitude and 
thanksgiving, prevent an act from being one of Pure Love? 
Is the pleasurableness, normally ever attached and subsequent 
to all virtuous acts, to be regarded as part of the reward from 
\vhich Pure Love abstracts? And finally are, I will not say 
any technically ecstatic or other in part psycho-physical 
peculiarities and manifestations, but even active Contempla- 
tion or the simple Prayer of Quiet, necessary conditions or 
expressions of a state of Pure Love,-understood in the sense 
explained above? 
(I) As to reference to the self, it is highly important to dis- 
tinguish between acts of Pure Love, and attempts, by means 
of the maximum possible degree of abstraction, to apprehend 
the absolute character and being of God. For these two 
things have no necessary connection, and yet they have been 
frequently confounded. St. Teresa's noble confession of past 
error, and consequent doubly valuable, amended teaching is 
perhaps the most classical pronouncement extant upon this 
profoundly important point. 2 The contingent, spatial and 
tenlporal, manifestations and communications of God, above 
all as we have them in the life of Our Lord and in those who 
have come nearest to Him, but also, in their several degrees 
and forms, in the lives of each one of us: all these, in their 
sacred, awakening and healing, particularity and closeness of 
contact, can and should be occasions and materials for the 
most perfect, for the purest Love. 
Indeed it is well never to forget that nothing, and least of 
all God, the deepest of all the realities, is known to us at all, 
except in and by means of its relation to our o\vn self or to 
our fellow-creatures. Hence if Love were Pure only in pro- 
portion as it could be based upon our apprehension of God as 
independent of all relation to ourselves, Pure Love would be 
simply impossible for us.-But, in truth, such a conception 
would, in addition, be false in itself: it would imply that the 
1 The Problem of Conduct, 1901, p. 329, n. 
I Life, written by Herself. ch. XXII. tr. by David Lewis, ed. 1888, pp. 
162- 1 74. 


. 



170 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 
whole great Incarnation-fact and -doctrine,-the whole of 
that great root of all religion, the certainty that it is because 
God has first loved us that we can love Him, that He is a 
self-revealing God, and One whom we can know and reach 
because (( in Him we live and move and have our being "-was 
taking us, not towards, but a\vay from, our true goal. There 
are, surely, few sadder and, at bottom, more deeply un- 
creaturely, unchristian attitudes, than that which would seek 
or measure perfection in and by the greatest possible abstrac- 
tion from all those touching contingencies which God Himself 
has vouchsafed to our nature,-a nature formed by Himself 
to require such plentiful contact with the historical and visible. 
-And if God's pure love for us can and does manifest itself 
in such contingent acts, then our love can and should become 
and manifest itself purer and purer by means, not only of the 
prayer of formless abstraction and expectation, but also by 
the contemplation of these contingencies and by the pro- 
duction of analogously contingent acts. And if so, then 
certainly gratitude, in so far as it truly deserves the name, 
can and does belong to Pure Love, for the very characteristic 
of such gratitude consists in a desire to give and not to 
receive.! 
Not, then, the degree of disoccupation with the Contingent, 
even of the contingent of our own life, but the degree of 
freedom from self-seeking, and of the harmonization and 
subordination of all these contingencies in and under the 
supreme motive of the Pure Love and service of God in man 
and of man in God, is the standard and test of Christian 
perfection. 
(2) As to the pleasureableness which, in normal psychic 
conditions, more or less immediately accompanies or follows 
the virtuous acts of the soul, the realizations of its own deeper 
and deepest ideals, we should note that, in its earthly degree 
and form, it is not included in what theologians mean by the 
(( rewards" of virtuous action. And in this they are thorough- 
ly self-consistent, for they adhere, I think with practical 
unanimity, to Catherine's doctrine that these immediate 
consequences of virtuous acts are not to be considered a 
matter of positive and, as it were, separate divine institution, 
-as something which, given the fundamental character of 
1 Deharbe. op. cit. pp. 139-179. has an admirable exposition and proof 
of this point. backed up by conclusive experiences and analyses of Saints 
and Schoolmen. 



LESS ULTIMATE THIS-WORLD DOCTRINES 171 


man's spiritual nature, might have been otherwise; but as 
\vhat,-given the immutable nature of God and of the image 
of that nature in His creature,man,-follows from an intrinsic, 
quite spontaneous necessity.-Hence, at this point especially, 
would it be foolish and fanatical, because contrary to the 
immanental nature of things, and to the right interplay of 
the elemental forces of all life, to attempt the suppression 
even of the several actual irruptions of such pleasure, and 
still more of the source and recurrence of this delectation. 
Fortunately success is here as impossibJe as it would be 
undesirable,-as much so as, on a lower plane, would be the 
suppression of the pleasure concomitant with the necessary 
kinds and degrees of eating. Indeed, it is clear, upon reflec- 
tion, that unless a man (at least implicitly) accepts and 
(indirectly) wills that spiritual or physical pleasure, he cannot 
profitably eat his food or love his God. 
But from this in nowise fol]ows what Bossuet tried so hard 
to prove,-that what is thus necessarily present in man, as a 
psychical or physical prompting and satisfaction, must also of 
necessity be willed by him, directly and as his determining 
reason and justification. In turning to eat, man cannot help 
feeling a psychic pleasure of an all but purely physical kind; 
and, if he is wise, he will make no attempt to meddle with 
this feeling. But he can either deliberately will, as his action's 
object, that pleasure which is thus inevitably incident to the 
act, and the more he does so, the more simply greedy and 
sensual he will become; or he can directly will, as his 
determining end, that sustenance of life and strength for his 
work and spiritual growth, which is the justification and 
ultimate reason of eating (the rationale of that very pleasure 
so wisely attached by nature, as a stimulus, to a process so 
necessary to the very highest 0 bj ects), and the more he does 
so, the more manly and spiritual he will grow. 
And so with everyone of man's wondrously manifold and 
different physical, psychical, spiritual requirements and actions, 
within the wide range of his right nature and ideals. There 
is not one of them,-not the most purely physical-seeming of 
these acts,-which he cannot ennoble and spiritualize by, as it 
were, meeting it,-by willing it, more and more, because of its 
rational end and justification. And there is not one of them, 
-not an act which, judged simply by its direct subject-matter 
and by the soul's faculties immediately engaged, would be 
the most purely mental and religious of acts,-which man 



I72 THE I\IYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


cannot degrade and de-spiritualize, by, as it \vere, following 
it, by willing it more and more because of its psychical 
attraction and pleasurable concomitance alone. For, in the 
former case, the act, however gross may seem its material, is 
made the occasion and instrument of spiritual character- 
building and of the constitution of liberty; in the latter case, 
the act, however ethereal its body, is but the occasion and 
means of the soul's dispersion in the mere phenomenal flux of 
the surface of existence, and ofitssubj ection to the determinism 
which obtains here. l 
Catherine's whole convert life is one long series of the 
most striking examples of an heroic delicacy in self-know- 
ledge and self-fighting in this matter: a delicacy which, as to 
the degree of its possibility and desirableness in any particular 
soul, is, however, peculiarly dependent upon that soul's special 
circumstances, temperament, attrait, and degree of perfection 
reached and to be reached. 
(3) And, finally, as to the relations between the Contempla- 
tive forms of Prayer, and Acts and variously complete States 
of Pure Love; and, again, of such Prayer and Love, and 
Abnonnal or Miraculous conditions: it is clear that, if there 
is no true Contenlplation without much Pure Love, there can 
be much Pure Love without Contemplation. 
Abbé Gosselin well sunlS up the ordinary Catholic teaching. 
ct l\Ieditation consists of discursive acts which are easily 
distinguished from each other, both because of the kind of 
strain and shock with which they are produced, and because 
of the diversity of their objects. It is the ordinary foundation 
of the interior life and the ordinary prayer of beginners, 
whose imperfect love requires to be thus excited and sus- 
tained by distinct and reflective acts. Contemplation consists, 
strictly speaking, in direct C non-reflex' acts,-acts so simple 
and peaceful as to have nothing salient by which the soul 
could distinguish one from the other. I t is caned by the 
Mystical Saints C a simple and loving look,' as discriminating 
it from meditation and the latter's many methodic and 
discursive acts, and as limiting it to a simple and loving 
considera tion and view of God and of divine things, certified 
and rendered present to the soul by faith. I t is the ordinary 
prayer of perfect souls, or at least of those that have already 
made much progress in the divine love. For the more purely 


1 See Deharbe's excellent remarks. Ope cit. pp. 109, 110, n. 



LESS ULTII\IATE THIS-WORLD DOCTRINES 173 


a soul loves God, the less it requires to be sustained by 
distinct, reflective acts; reasoning becomes a fatigue and an 
embarrassment to it in its prayer-it longs but to love and to 
contemplate the object of its love." 
Or as Fénelon puts it: H' Passivity,' , Action,' is not pre- 
cisely itself Pure Love, but is the mode in which Pure Love 
operates. . . . 'Passivity," Action,' is not precisely the purity 
of Love, but is the effect of that purity." 1 Y et,as M. Gosselin 
adds, " It must be admitted that ,vithout Contemplation the 
soul can arrive at a very high perfection; and that the most 
discursive meditation, and hence stiU more all prayer as it 
becomes effective, often includes certain direct acts which 
form an admixture and beginning of contemplation." 2 
And as to any supposed necessary relations between the 
very highest contemplation and the most complete state 
of Pure Love on the one hand, and anything abnormal 
or miraculous on the other hand, Fénelon, in this point 
remarkably more sober than Bossuet, \vell sums up the 
most authoritative and classical Church-teaching on the 
matter: '" Passive' Contemplation is but Pure Contempla- 
tion: 'Active' Contemplation being one which is still mixed 
with hurried and discursive acts. \tVhen Contemplation has 
ceased to have any remnant of this hurry, of this' activity,' 
it is entirely' Passive,' that is, peaceful, in its acts." "This 
free and loving look of the soul means acts of the under- 
standing,-for it is a look; and acts of the will, for the look 
is a loving one; and acts produced by free-will, without any 
strict necessity, for the look is a free look." "We should 
not compare Passive Contemplation," as did Bossuet, "to 
prophecy, or to the gift of tongues or of miracles; nor may 
we say that this mystical state consists principally in some- 
thing wrought by God within us without our co-operation, 
and where, consequently, there neither is nor can be any 
merit. We must, on the contrary, to speak correctly, say 
that the substance of such Passive Prayer, taken in its specific 
acts, is free, meritorious, and operated within us by a grace 
that acts together \vith us" "It is the attraction to the acts 
which the soul now produces which, as by a secondary and 
counter-effect, occasions a quasi-incapacity for those acts 
which it does not produce. Now this attraction is not of a 
1 Analyse, loe. cit. pp. cxxii, cxxiii, Lettre SUI' l'Oraison Passive. ffiuvres. 
Vol. VIII, p. 47. 
· Analyse, p. cxxiii. 



I74 THE MYSTICAL ELE1IENT OF RELIGION 


kind to deprive the soul of the use of its free-will: we see 
this from the nature of the acts which this attraction causes 
the soul to produce. Whence I conclude that this same 
attraction does not, again, deprive it of its liberty with regard 
to the acts which it prevents. The attraction but prevents 
the latter in the way it produces the other,-by an efficacious 
influence that involves no sheer necessity." '" Passivity,' if it 
comes from God, ever leaves the soul fully free for the exercise 
of the distinct virtues demanded by God in the Gospel; the 
attrait is truly divine only in so far as it draws the soul on 
to the perfect fulfilment of the evangelical counsels and 
promises concerning all the virtues." " 'fhe inspiration of the 
Passive state is blft an habitual inspiration for the interior 
acts of evangelical piety. It renders the Passive soul neither 
infallible nor impeccable, nor independent of the Church even 
for its interior direction, nor exempt from the obligation of 
meriting and growing in virtue. . . . The inspiration of the 
passive soul differs from that of actively just souls only in 
being purer; that is, more exemptfrom allnaturalself-seeking, 
more full, more simple, more continuous, and more developed 
at each moment. We have, throughout, ever one and the 
same inspiration, which but grows in perfection and purity in 
proportion as the soul renounces itself more, and becomes 
more sensitive to the divine impressions." 1 
Thus we get an impressive, simple and yet varied, concep- 
tion of spirituality, in which a real continuity, and a power and 
obligation of mutual understanding and aid underlies all the 
changes of degree and form, from first to last. For from first 
to last there are different degrees, but of the same supernatural 
grace acting in and upon the same human nature responsive 
in different degrees and ways. From first to last there is, 
necessarily and at every step, the Supernatural: at no point 
is there any necessary presence of, or essential connection with, 
the Miraculous or the Abnormal. 
4. Spinoza, Leibniz, Kant. 
Theology and Philosophy have not ceased to occupy them- 
selves, at least indirectly, with the substance of these great 
questions, since they furnished the subject-matter to Bossuet 
and Fénelon in their memorable controversy; somewhat over- 
subtle although some of it \vas in its earlier phases, owing to 
Fénelon's chivalrous anxiety tó defend, as far as possible, the 
1 Lettre sur l'Oraison Passive. (Euvres. Vol. VIII, pp. 10; 18. II. 12; 
14. 15; 74. 



LESS ULTIMATE THIS-WORLD DOCTRINES 175 


very expressions, often so nebulous and shifting, of his cousin, 
Madame Guyon. 
(I) Indeed about twenty years before that controversy, 
Spinoza had, in his Theologico-Political Treatise, and then, 
more impressively still, in his Ethics, made a brilliant assault 
upon all, especially all religious, self-seeking. Also on this point 
these writings showed that strange, pathetic combination of 
grandly religious intuitions and instincts with a Naturalistic 
system which, logically, leaves no room for those deepest 
requirements of that great soul; and here they revealed, in 
addition, considerable injustice towards the, doubtless very 
mixed and imperfect, motives of average humanity. 
True intuition speaks in his Treatise (published in I670) 
in the words: "Since the love of God is man's supreme 
beatitude and the final end and scope of all human actions: 
it foHows that only that man confonns to the divine law, who 
strives to love God, not from fear of punishment, nor from the 
love of some other thing, such as delights, fame, and so forth, 
but from this motive alone, that he knows God, or that he 
knows the knowledge and love of God, to be his supreme end." 
But a little further back we learn that " the more we know 
the things of Nature, the greater and the more perfect know- 
ledge of God do we acquire"; a frank application of the pure 
Pantheism of his reasoned system. 
In his Ethics, again, a noble intuition finds voice where he 
says: "Even if we did not know our l\Iind," our individual 
soul, "to be eternal, we should still put Piety and Religion 
and, in a word, all those virtues that are to be referred to 
magnanimity and generosity, first in our esteem." But he is 
doubtless excessive in his picturing of the downright, system- 
atic immorality of attitude of ordinary men-the" slaves " 
and" mercenaries." "Unless this hope of laying aside the 
burdens of Piety and Religion after death and of receiving the 
price of their service, and this fear of being punished by dire 
punishments after death wereinn1en, and if they,contrariwise, 
believed that their minds would perish with their bodies: 
they would let themselves go to their natural inclination and 
would decide to rule all their actions according to their lust." 
And he is doubtlessly, though nobly, excessive in his 
contrary ideal: H He who loves God cannot strive that God 
shall love him inreturn,"-anideal which is,however,certainly 
in part determined by his philosophy, which knows no ultimate 
abiding personality or consciousness either in God or man. 


. 



176 THE l\IYSTICAL ELEl\fENT OF RELIGION 


Yet, once again, we have him at his inspiring best when, 
Catherine-like, he tells us: "The supreme Good of those who 
pursue virtue is common to them all, and all are equally able 
to rejoice in it "; and" this love towards God is incapable of 
being stained by the passions of envy and bitterness, but is 
increased in proportion as we figure to ourselves a larger 
number of men joined to God by the same bonds of love"; 
when he declares: "we do not enjoy beatitude because we 
master our passions; rather, contrariwise, do we master our 
passions because we enjoy beatitude"; and when he insists, 
with no doubt too indiscriminating, too ] acopone-like, a 
simplification, upon what, initssubstance, is a profound truth: 
" the intellectual," the pure" love of the soul for God is the 
very love of God, where\vith God loves Himself." 1 
(2) It was, however, the astonishingly circumspect and many- 
sided Leibniz who, indefinitely smaller soul though he was, 
succeeded, perhaps better than any other modern philosopher, 
in successfully combining the divers constitutive elements of 
the act and state of Pure Love, when he wrote in 1714: "Since 
true Pure Love consists in a state of soul which makes me 
find pleasure in the perfections and the felicity of the object 
loved by me, this love cannot but give us the greatest pleasure 
of which \ve are capable, when God is that object. And, 
though this love be disinterested, it already constitutes, even 
thus simply by itself, our greatest good and deepest interest." 
Or, as he wrote in 16g8: "Our love of others cannot be 
separated from our true good, nor our love of God from our 
felicity. But it is equally certain that the consideration of 
our own particular good, as distinguished from the pleasure 
which we taste in seeing the felicity of another, does not enter 
into Pure Love." And earlier still he had defined the act of 
loving as" the finding one's pleasure in the felicity of another" ; 
and had concluded thence that Love is for man essentially an 
enjoyment, although the specific motive of love is not the 
pleasure or the particular good of him who loves, but the good 
or the felicity of the beloved object. 2 
1 Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, c. iv, opening of par. 4, ed. Van 
Vloten et Land, 1895, Vol. II, p. 4; ibid. middle of par. 3, p. 3; Ethica, 
p. v, prop. xli, ibid. Vol. I, p. 264; ibid. Scholion, p. 265; ibid. prop. 
xix, p. 251; ibid. prop. xx, p. 251; ibid. prop. xlii, p. 265; ibid. prop. 
xxxvi, p. 261. 
2 Die PhilosoPhischen Schriften von Leibniz, ed. Gebhardt, Vol. VI. 
1885, pp. 605, 606; and quotation in Gosselin's Analyse, (Euvres de 
F
nelon, 1820. Vol. IV, pp. clxxvìii. clxxvii. 



LESS ULTIMATE THIS-WORLD DOCTRINES 177 
(3) Yet it is especially Kant who, with his predominant 
hostility to all Eudaemonism in Morality and Religion, has, 
more than all others, renewed the controversy as to the rela- 
tions between virtue and piety on the one hand, and self-seek- 
ing motives on the other, and who is popularly credited with 
an entirely self-consistent antagonism to even such a wise and 
necessary attitude as are the amended positions of Fénelon 
and those of Leibniz. And yet I sincerely doubt whether (if 
we put asidethe question as to the strictly logical consequences 
of his Critical Idealism, such as that Idealism appears in its 
greatest purity in the Critique of Pure Reason, 1781 ; and if we 
neglect the numerous, often grossly unjust, Spinoza-like sallies 
against the su pposed undiluted mercenariness of ordinary piety, 
which abound in his Religion within the Limits of Pure Reason, 
1793) we could readily find any explicit pronouncement 
hopelessly antagonistic to the Catholic Pure-Love doctrine. 
Certainly the position taken up towards this point in that 
very pregnant and curious, largely-overlooked little treatise, 
The Canon of Pure Reason, which (evidently an earlier and 
complete sketch), has been inserted by him into his later, 
larger, but materially altered scheme of the Critique of 1781, 
(where it now forms the Zweite H a'Uptstück of the Transcend- 
entale M ethodenlehre, ed. Kehrbach, Reclam, pp. 603-628), 
appears to be substantially acceptable. 1 "Happiness consists 
in the satisfaction of all our inclinations, according to their 
various character, intensity, and duration. The law of prac- 
tical action, in so far as it is derived from the motive of happi- 
ness, I call Pragmatic, a Rule of Good Sense; the same law, in 
so far as it has for its motive only the becoming worthy of 
such happiness, I call Moral, the Moral Law. Now Morality 
already by itself constitutes a system, but Happiness does not 
do so, except in so far as Happiness is distributed in exact 
accordance with Morality. But such a distribution is only 
possible in the intelligible world," -the world beyond pheno- 
mena which can be reached by our reason alone-" and under 
a wise Originator and Ruler. Such an One, together with life 
in such a world-a world which we are obliged to consider as 
a future one-reason finds itself forced to assume, or else to 
look upon the moral laws as empty phantoms, since the 
necessary result of these laws,-aresult which that same reason 
1 It is to Schweizer's admirable monograph, Die Religions-Philosoph
e 
Kant's. 1899, pp. 4-70, that I owe my clear apprehension of this very 
interesting doubleness in Kant's outlook. 
VOL. II. N 



 



178 THE l\IYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 
connects with their very idea,-would have to fall away, if 
that assumption were to go. Hence everyone looks upon 
the moral laws as coml1zandments, a thing which they could 
not be, if they did not conjoin with their rule consequences 
of a priori appropriateness, and hence if they did not carry 
with them promises and threats. But this too they can do 
only if they lie within the compass of a Single Necessary 
Being, Itself the Supreme Good, Which alone can render 
possible such a unity embracing both means and end.-Happi- 
ness alone is, for our reason, far from being the Complete 
Good, for reason does not approve of Happiness unless it 
be united with the being worthy of Happiness, i. e. Moral 
Rectitude. But Morality alone, and with it the simple being 
worthy of happiness, is also far from the Complete Good. 
Even if reason, free from any consideration of any interest of 
its own, were to put itself in the position of a being that had 
to distribute all happiness to others alone, it could not judge 
otherwise: for, in the complete idea of practical action, both 
points are in essential conjunction, yet in suchwise that it is 
the moral disposition which, as condition, first renders possible 
a sharing in happiness, and not the prospect of happiness 
which first gives an opening to the moral disposition. For, 
in this latter case, the disposition would not be moral, and, 
consequently, would not deserve that complete happiness to 
which reason can assign no other limi ta tion than such as 
springs from our own immoral attitude of will." 1 
In his Foundation of the MetaPhysic of Morals, 1785, the 
noble apostrophe to the Good \Vill no doubt appears fonnally 
to proclaim as possible and desirable a complete human 
disposition, in which no considerations of Happiness play any 
part: "The good will is good, not through what it effects or 
produces, not through its utility for the attainment of any 
intention or end, but it is good through the quality of the 
volition alone; that is, it is good in itself. . .." U If, with its 
greatest efforts, nothing were to be effected by it, and only 
the good will itself were to remain, this bare will would yet 
shine in lonely splendour as a jewel,-as something which has 
its full value in itself." But further on he shows us how, 
after all, "this good will cannot, then, be the only and the 
whole good, but still it is the highest good and the condition 
for all the rest, even for our desire of happiness." 2 Certain 
1 Loc. cit. pp. 611, 614, 615, 616. 
I Kant's Werke, ed. Berlin Academy. Vol. IV. 19 0 3. pp. 393. 394; 396. 



LESS ULTIMATE THIS-WORLD DOCTRINES 179 


exaggerations, which are next developed by him here, shall 
be considered in a later chapter. 
5. Four i1nportant points. 
Here I will but put together, in conclusion, four positions 
which I have rejoiced to find in two such utterly, indeed at 
times recklessly, independent writers as Professor Georg 
Simmel of Berlin and Professor A. E. Taylor. 
(I) Dr. Simmel declares, with admirable cogency: It The 
concept of religion completely loses in Kant, owing to his 
rationalistic manner of discovering in it a mere compound 
of the moral interest and the striving after happiness, its most 
specific and deepest character. No doubt these two appre- 
hensions are also essential to religion, but precisely the 
direction in which Kant conjoins them,-that duty issues in 
happiness, is the least characteristic of religion, and is only 
determined. by his Moralism, which refuses to recognize 
the striving after happiness as a valuable motive. The 
opposite direction appears to me as far more decisively a 
part of religion and of its incomparable force: for we thus 
find in religion precisely that ideal power, which makes it 
the duty of man to win his own salvation. According to 
the Kantian Moralism, it is every man's private affair how 
he shall meet his requirement of happiness; and to turn such 
a private aspiration into an objective, ideal claim, would be for 
Kant a contradiction and abomination. In reality, however, 
religion itself requires that. man should have a care for his 
own welfare and beatitude, and in this consists its incompar- 
able force of attraction." 1 Let the reader note how entirely 
this agrees with, whilst properly safeguarding, the doctrine 
of Pure Love: it is the precise position of the best critics of 
the unamended Fénelon. 
(2) Professor Taylor insists that" it is possible to desire 
directly and immediately pleasant experiences which are not my 
own. . . . Because it is I who in every case have the pleasure 
of the anticipation, it is assumed that it must be I who am to 
experience the realization of the anticipation. " Yet" it is 
really no more paradoxical that I should anticipate with 
pleasure some event which is not to form part of my own direct 
sensible experience, than it is that I should find pleasure in the 
anticipation at twenty of myself at eighty." "The austerest 
saints will and can mortify themselves as a thing well-pleasing 


1 Kant, 1904, p. 131. 


. 



180 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


to God." 1 In this way the joy of each constituent of the 
Kingdom of God in the joys of all the rest, and in the all- 
pervading joy of God, is seen to be as possible as it is 
undoubtedly actual: the problem of the relation between 
pleasure and egoism is solved. 
(3) And Professor Taylor again insists upon how pleasant 
experiences, which do not owe their pleasantness to their 
relation to a previous anticipation, are not, properly speaking, 
good or worthy. It is by " satisfactions" and not by mere 
" pleasures" that" even the most confirmed I-Iedonist must 
compute the goodness of a life. . . . Only when the pleasant 
experience includes in itself the realization of an idea is it 
truly good." 2 But, if so, then the experience will be good, 
not in proportion as it is unpleasant, as Kant was so prone 
to imply; nor directly in proportion as it is pleasant, although 
pleasantness will accompany or succeed it, of a finer quality 
if not of a greater intensity, according as the idea which it 
embodies is good: but directly in proportion to the goodness 
of that idea. Thus all things licit, from sense to spirit, will 
find their place and function in such acts, and in a life com- 
posed of such acts, spirit expressing itself in terms of sense. 
And the purification, continuously necessary for the ever more 
adequate expression of the one in and by the other, will be 
something different from any attempt at suppressing this 
means of expression. Thus here again the great Christian 
Incarnation- Doctrine appears as the deepest truth, and as 
the solution of the problem as to the relations of pleasure and 
duty.s 
(4) And finally, as to the ever-present need and importance 
of a theory concerning these matters, Professor Taylor points 
out, not only that some such theory is necessary to the ful] 
human life, but that it must place an infinite ideal before us : 
paradox though it may sound, nothing less is truly practical, 
for" any end that is to be permanently felt as worth striving 
for, must be infinite," and therefore" in a sense infinitely 
remote ..; and hence " if indifference to the demand for a 


1 Ihe P"oblem of Conduct, pp. 336, 337; 329. 
t Ibid. p. 3 2 7. 
3 See James Seth, A Study of Ethical PrinciPles, 1894, pp. 193-236 
where this position, denominated there II Eudaemonism," is contrasted 
with II Hedonism," uniquely or at least predominantly occupied with the 
act's sensational materials or concomitances, and .. Rigorism," with its 
one-sided insistence upon the rational form and end of action. 



LESS ULTIMATE THIS-WORLD DOCTRINES 181 


practicable ideal be the mark of a dreamer or a fanatic, 
contentment with a finite and practicable ideal is no less 
undeniably the mark of an esprit borné." 1 
Here Fénelon has adequately interpreted the permanent and 
complete requirements of the religious life and spirit. It You 
tell me," he says to his adversaries, (C that ( Christianity is not 
a school of Metaphysicians.' All Christians cannot, it is true, 
be l\1etaphysicians; but the principal Theologians have great 
need to be such. It was by a sublime Metaphysic that St. 
Augustine soared above the majority of the other Fathers, 
who were, for the rest, as fully versed in Scripture and Tradi- 
tion. It was by his lofty I\letaphysic that St. Gregory of 
Nazianzum has merited the distinguishing title of Theologian. 
It is by Metaphysic that St. Anselm and St. Thomas 
have been such great luminaries of the Church. True, the 
Church is not ( a school of Metaphysicians,' who dispute with- 
out docility, as did the ancient sects of philosophers. Yet 
she is a school in which St. Paul teaches that Charity is more 
perfect than Hope, and in \vhich the holiest Doctors declare, 
in accordance with the principles of the Fathers, that Love 
is more perfect, precisely because it ( abides in God, not in 
view of any benefit that may accrue to us from so doing.' " 
U I know well," Fénelon writes to a friend, U that men misuse 
the doctrines of Pure Love and Resignation; I know that 
there are hypocrites who, under cover of such noble terms, 
overthrow the Gospel. Yet it is the worst of all procedures 
to attempt the destruction of perfect things, from a fear that 
men will make a wrong use of them." Notwithstanding all 
misuse of the doctrine- (( the very perfection of Christianity 
is Pure Love." 2 


1 Taylor, op. C'l-t. p. 901. 
2 Seconde Lettre à Monsieur de Paris, CEuvres, Vol. V, pp. 268. 269_ 
Lettres de l'vI. de Cambrai à un de ses Amis, ibid.. Vol. IV. p. 168. 


. 



CHAPTER XII 


THE AFTER-LIFE PROBLEMS AND DOCTRINES 



iOVING on now to the questions concerning the After-Life, 
it will be convenient to consider them under five heads: the 
chief present-day positions and perplexities with regard to 
belief in the After-Life in General; the main implications 
and convictions inherent to an Eschatology such as Cathe- 
rine's; and then the principal characteristics, difficulties, 
and helps of her tendencies and teachings concerning Hell, 
Purgatory, and Heaven. And throughout the Chapter we 
shall busy ourselves directly only with the After-Life in the 
sense of a heightened, or at least an equal, consciousness after 
death, as compared to that which existed before death: the 
belief in a shrunken state of survival, in non-annihilation, 
appearing to be as certainly the universal minimum of belief 
as such a minimum is not Immortality. 


I. THE CHIEF PRESENT-DAY PROBLEMS, PERPLEXITIES, 
AND REQUIREMENTS \VITH REGARD TO THE AFTER- 
LIFE IN GENERAL. 
No\v I take our chief present-day problems, perplexities, 
and resultant requirements with regard to the After-Life in 
general, to fall into three groups, according as those problems 
are predominantly Historical, or Philosophical, or directly 
Practical and Ethical. 
I. Three Historical Difficulties. 
The Historical group now brings very clearly and certainly 
before us the striking non-universality, the startling lateness, 
and the generally strange fitfulness and apparent unreason- 
ableness characterizing the earliest stage of belief in the soul's 
heightened, or at least equivalent, consciousness after death. 
(r) Now with respect to the Non-Universality of the doctrine, 
it is true that, in China, Confucianism is full of care for the 
dead. UThroughout the Empire, the authorities are obliged to 
182 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEl\tIS AND DOCTRINES 183 


hold three annual sacrifices for the refreshment and rest of the 
souls of the dead in general." U It is hardly doubtful that 
the cult us of Ancestors formed the chief institution in 
classical Confucianism, and constituted the very centre of 
religion for the people. Even now ancestor-worship is the 
only form of religion for which rules, applicable to the various 
classes among the Emperor's su bj ects, are laid down in the 
Dynastic Statutes." And Professor De Groot, from whom I 
am quoting, gives an interesting conspectus of the numberless 
ways in which the religious service of the dead penetrates 
Chinese life. I-Yet we hear of Kong-Tse (Confucius) him- 
self (551-478 B.C.), that, though he insisted upon the most 
scrupulous execution of the three hundred rules of the 
then extant temple-ceremonial, which were no doubt 
largely busy with the dead, and though he said that one 
should sacrifice to the spirits as if they were present, he 
designated, in several of his sayings, occupation with 
theological problems as useless: U as long as we do not knO\V 
men, ho\v shall we know spirits? As long as we do not 
understand life, how should we fathom death?" And to 
questions relative to the spirits and the dead, he would give 
evasi ve answers. 2 Thus the founder of the most characteristic 
of the Chinese religions was without any clear and consistent 
conviction on the point in question. 
In India \ve find, for Brahmanic religion, certain unmis- 
takable Immortality-Doctrines (in the sense of the survival 
of the soul's self-consciousness), expressed in the hymns of the 
Rig-Veda.-But already, in the philosophizings of the Upani- 
shads, we get a world-soul, and this soul's exclusive perma- 
nence : H to attain to true unity, the very duality of subject 
and object is to disappear. The terms Atman and Brahman 
here express the true Being which vivifies all beings and 
appearances, and with which cognizing man reunites himself 
whilst losing his individual existence." 3 
And if we move on to Buddhism, with its hundreds of 
millions of adherents in Burmah, Tibet, China, and Japan, we 
can learn, from the classical work of Oldenberg, how interest- 
ingly deep down lies the reason for the long conflict between 


1 Chantepie de la Saussaye, Lehrbuch der Religions-Geschichte. ed. 1905, 
Vol. I, pp. 69, 73-83. 
2 Chantepie de la Saussaye, Lekrbuch del' Religions-Geschichte, ed. 1887, 
V 01. I, pp. 24 8 , 249. 
S Ibid. pp. 358, 373. 



r84 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


scholars as to whether Nirvana is or is not to be taken for 
the complete extinction of the individual soul. "Everything, 
in the Buddhist dogmatic system, is part and parcel of a 
circle of Becoming and of Dissolution: all things are but a 
Dhamma, a Sankhara; and all Dhamma, all Sankhara are but 
temporary. . . . The I\lutable, Conditioned is here thinkable 
only as conditioned by another Mutable and Conditioned. 
If we follow the dialectic consequence alone, there is no seeing 
how, according to this system, there can remain over, when a 
succession and mutual destruction of things conditioning and 
of things conditioned has run its course, anything but a 
pure vacuum." And we ha ve also such a sa ying of the 
Buddha as the following. U Now if, 0 disciples, the Ego 
(atta) and anything appertaining to the Ego (attaniya) cannot 
be comprehended with accuracy and certainty, is not then the 
faith which declares: (This is the world, and this is the Ego; 
this shall I become at death,-firm, constant, eternal, un- 
changeable,-thus shall I be there, throughout eternity,'-is 
not this sheer empty folly?" U How should it not, 0 Lord, 
be sheer empty folly? " answer the disciples. U One who 
spoke thus," is Olden berg's weighty comment, If cannot have 
been far from the conviction that Nirvana is annihilation. 
Yet it is understandable how the very thinkers, who were 
capable of bearing this consequence, should have hesitated to 
raise it to the rank of an official dogma of the community. . . . 
Hence the official doctrine of the Buddhist Church attained 
the fonn, that, on the question of the real existence of the 
Ego, of whether or not the perfected saint lives on after death, 
the exalted Buddha has taught nothing. Indeed the legally 
obligatory doctrine of the old community required of its 
votaries an explicit renunciation of all knowledge concerning 
the existence or non-existence of completely redeemed souls." 
U Buddhism," so Oldenberg sums up the matter, with, I 
think, the substantial adhesion of all present-day competent 
authorities, U teaches that there is a way out of the world of 
created things, out into the dark Infinite. Does this way 
lead to new being? or does it lead to nothingness? Buddhist 
belief maintains itself on the knife's edge of these alternatives. 
The desire of the heart, as it longs for the Eternal, is not left 
without something, and yet the thinking mind is not given a 
something that it could grasp and retain. The thought of 
the Infinite, the Eternal, could not be present at all, and yet 
vanish further away than here, where, a mere breath and on 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEMS AND DOCTRINES 185 


the point of sinking into sheer nothingness, it threatens to 
disappear altogether." 1 This vast Buddhist community, 
numbering, perhaps, a third of the human race, should not, 
then, be forgotten, when we urge the contrary instances of 
the religions of Assyria and Babylonia; of Egypt; of Greece 
and Rome; and, above all, of the Jews and Christianity. 
Yet it is well to remember that such non-universality of 
belief is at least as real, to this very hour, for such a funda- 
mental religious truth and practice as l\fonotheism and Mono- 
latry; such purely Ethical convictions as l\Ionogamy and the 
Illicitness of Slavery; such a plain dictate of the universal 
humanitarian ideal as the illegitimacy of the application of 
physical compulsion in matters of religious conviction; and 
such directly demonstrable psychical and natural facts as 
subconsciousness in the human soul, the sexual character of 
plants, and the earth's rotundity and rotation around the sun. 
In none of these cases can we claim more than that the 
higher, truer doctrine,-that is, the one which explains and 
transcends the element of truth contained in its predecessor 
and opposite,-is explicitly reached bya part only of humanity, 
and is but implied and required by other men, at their best. 
Yet this is clearly enough for leaving us free to decide,- 
reasonably conclusive evidence for their truth being forth- 
coming,-in favour of the views of the minority: since the 
assumption of an equality of spiritual and moral insight 
and advance throughout mankind is as little based upon fact, 
as would be the supposition of men's equal physical strength 
or height, or of any other quality or circumstance of their 
nature and environment. 
(2) The lateness of the doctrine's appearance, precisely in 
the cases where there can be no doubt of its standing for a 
conviction of an endless persistence of a heightened conscious- 
ness after death,-that is, amongst the Greeks (and Romans) 
and the Jews (and Christians},-has now been well established 
by critical historical research. 
With regard to the Greeks,2 the matter is particularly plain, 
1 Oldenberg, Buddha, ed. 1897. pp. 310-328; especially 3 1 3, 314; 316. 
3 1 7; 3 2 7, 3 28 . 
:& My chief authority here has been that astonishingly living and many- 
sided book, Erwin Rohde's Psyche, ed. 1898, especially Vol. II, pp. 263- 
295 (Plato); Vol. I, pp. 14-90 (Homer); 91-110 (Hesiod); pp. 146-199 
(the Heroes); pp. 279-319, and Vol. II, pp. 1-136 (Eleusinian Mysteries, 
Dionysian Religion, the Orphics). The culminating interest of this great 
work lies in this last treble section and in the Plato part. 



186 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


since we can still trace even in Plato, (427 to 347 B.C.), who, 
next to Our Lord Himself and to St. Paul, is doubtless the 
greatest and most influential teacher of full individual 
Immortality that the world has seen, two periods of thought 
in this matter, and can show that the first was without any 
such certain conviction. In his Aþology of Socrates, written 
soon after the execution in 399 B.C., he makes his great 
master, close to his end, declare that death would bring to 
man either a complete unconsciousness, like to a dreamless 
sleep, or a transition into another life,-a life here pictured 
like to the Homeric Hades. Both possibilities Socrates 
made to accept resignedly, in full reliance on the justice of 
the Gods, and to look no further; how should he know what 
is known to no man ?-And this is Plato's own earlier teaching. 
For in the very Reþublic which, in its chronologically later 
constituents, (especially in Book V, 47IC, to the end of Book 
VIII, Book IX, 560d to 588a, and Book X up to 608b), so 
insists upon and develops the truth and importance of 
Immortality in the strictest, indeed the sublimest sense: we 
get, in its earlier portions, (especially in Book II, IOC, to Book 
V, 460c), no trace of any such conviction. For, in these 
earlier passages, the Guardians in the Ideal State are not to 
consider what may come after death: the central theme is 
the manner in which Justice carries with it its own recom- 
pense; and the rewards, that are popularly wont to be placed 
before the soul, are referred to ironically,-Socrates is de- 
termined to do without such hopes. In those later portions, 
on the contrary, there is the greatest insistence upon the 
importance of caring, not for this short life alone, but for the 
soul's" whole time" and for what awaits it after death. And 
in the still later parts, (as in Books VI and VII,) the sublimest 
form of Immortality is presupposed as true and actual 
throughout. Thus in Greece it is not till about 390-380 B.C., 
and in Plato himself not till his middle life, that we get a 
quite definite and final doctrine of the Immortality of all 
souls, and of a blessed after-existence for every just and .holy 
, life here below. 
For the survival after the body's death, indubitably 
attributed to the Psyche in the Homeric Poems, is conceived 
there, throughout, as a miserably shrunken consciousness, and 
one which is dependent for its continuance upon the good 
offices bestowed by the survivors upon the corpse and grave. 
And the translation of the still living Menelaus to Elysium 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEMS AND DOCTRINES 187 
(Od. IV, 560-568) is probably a later insertion; belongs to a 
small class of exceptional cases; implies the writer's inability 
to conceive a heightened consciousness for the soul, after the 
soul's separation from the body; and is based, not upon any 
virtue or reward, but upon Menelaus's family-relationship to 
Zeus. Ganymede gets similarly translated because of his 
physical beauty (Il. XX, 232 seq.). 
Hesiod, though later than Homer as a writer, gives us, in 
his account of the Five Ages of the World (Works and Days, 
11. 109-20r), some traces of an Animistic conception of a 
heightened life of the bodiless soul beyond the grave,-a con- 
ception which had been neglected or suppressed by Homer, 
but which had evidently been preserved alive in the popular 
religion of, at least, Central Greece. Yet Hesiod knows of 
such a life only for the Golden and for the Silver Ages, and 
for some miraculous, exceptional cases of the fourth, the 
Heroic Age: already in the third, the Bronze Age, and still 
more emphatically in his O\VTI fifth, the Iron Age, there are no 
such consolations: nothing but the shrunken consciousness of 
the Homeric after-death Psyche is, quite evidently, felt by 
him to be the lot of all souls in the hard, iron present. 
The CuUus of the Heroes is already registered in Draco's 
Athenian Laws, in about 620 B.C., as a traditional custom. 
And these Heroes have certainly lived at one time as men 
upon earth, and have become heroes only after death; their 
souls, though severed from the body, live a heightened 
imperishable life, indeed one that can mightily help men 
here below and now,-so at Delphi and at Salamis against 
the Persians. Yet here again each case of such an elevation 
was felt to be a miracle, an exception incapable of becoming 
a universal law : not even the germ of a belief in the Immor- 
tality of the soul as such seems to be here. 
The CuUus of the Nether-World Deities, of the Departed 
generally, and, as the culmination of all this movement, the 
Eleusinian Mysteries, must not be conceived as involving or 
as leading to, any belief in the ecstatic elevation of the soul, 
or consciousness of its God-likeness; and such unending bliss 
as is secured, is gained by men, not because they are virtuous 
and devout, but through their initiation into the Mysteries. 
Rohde assures us, rightly I think, that U it remains unproved 
that, during the classical period of Greek culture, the belief in 
Judges and a Judgment to be held in Hades over the deeds 
done by men on earth, had struck root among the people" ; 



188 THE MYSTICAL ELEl\IENT OF RELIGION 


Professor Percy Gardner adds his great authority to the same 
conclusion. 1 Here again it is Plato who is the first to take 
up a clearly and consistently spiritual and universalistic 
position. 
Indeed it is only in the predominantly neuropathic, indeed 
largely immoral and repulsive, forms of the Dionysiac sect 
and movement, (at work, perhaps, already in the eighth 
century B.C. and which leads on to the formation of the more 
aristocratic and priestly Orphic communities) that a demon- 
strable and direct belief arose in the soul's intrinsic God- 
likeness, or even divinity, and in its immortality, or even 
eternity; and that stimulations, materials, and conceptions 
were furnished to Greek thought, which are traceable where- 
soever it henceforth inclines to belief in the soul's intrinsic 
Immortality. 
Yet the leaven spread but slowly into philosophy. For 
the Ionian philosophers, and among them Heraclitus, the 
impressive teacher of the flux of all things, flourish from 
about 600 to 430 B.C.; but, naive Materialists and Pantheists 
as they are, they frankly exclude all survival of individual 
consciousness after death. The Eleatic philosophers live 
between 550 and 450 B.C., and are all busy with a priori 
logical constructions of the physical world, conceived as sole 
and self -explanatory; and amongst them is Parmenides, the 
powerful propounder of the complete identity and immu- 
tability of all reality. Those transcendent spiritual beliefs 
appear first as part, indeed as the very foundation, although 
still rather of a mode of life than of a formal philosophy, in 
the teaching and community of Pythagoras, who seems to 
have lived about 580 to 490 B.C., and who certainly emigrated 
from Asia I\linor to Croton in Southern Italy. The soul 
appears here as intrinsically immortal, indeed without 
beginning and without end. And then Immortality forms one 
(the mystical) of the two thoroughly heterogeneous elements 
of the, otherwise predominantly Ionic and Materialistic, 
philosophy of Empedocles of Agrigentum in Sicily, about 
490 to 435 B.C. In both these cases the Dionysiac-Orphic 
provenance of the" Immortali ty" -doctrines is clearly a pparen t. 
And then, among the poets who bridge over the period up 
to Plato, we find Pindar, who, alongside of reproductions of 
the ordinary, popular conceptions, gives us at times lofty, 
1 Psyche. Vol. I. pp. 308. 312. New Chapters in Greek History. 1892, 
pp. 333. 334. 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEMS AND DOC1'RINES 189 


Orphic-like teachings as to the eternity, the migration, and 
the eventual persistent rest and happiness of the just Soul, 
and as to the suffering of the unjust one; Aeschylus, who 
primarily dwells upon the Gods' judgment in this life, and 
who makes occasional allusions to the after-life which are 
partly still of the Homeric type; Sophocles, who indeed refers 
to the special privileges which, in the after-life, attend upon 
the souls that have here been initiated into the Eleusinian 
l'rlysteries, and who causes Oedipus to be translated, whilst 
still alive, to Other-World happiness, but who knows nothing 
of an unceasing heightened consciousness for all men after 
death; and Euripides, who, showing plainly the influence of 
the Sophists, gives expression, alongside of Pantheistic identi- 
fica tions of the soul and of the aether, to every kind of 
misgiving and doubt as to any survival after death. 
And as to the appearance of the doctrine among the Jews, 
we again find a surprising lateness. I follow here, with but 
minor contributions and modifications from other writers 
and myself, the main conclusions of Dr. Charles's standard 
Critical History of the Doctrine of a Future L1fe, London, 
1899, whose close knowledge of the subject is unsurpassed, 
and who finds as many and as early attestations as are well- 
nigh find able by serious workers. l 
" The primitive beliefs of the individual Israelite regarding 
the future life, being derived from Ancestor-worship, were 
implicitly antagonistic to Yahwism, from its first proclama- 
tion by Moses. . . . This antagonism becomes explicit and 
results in the final triumph of Y ahwism." And to the early 
Israelite, even under Y ahwism, H the religious unit was" not 
the individual but H the family or tribe." Thus, even fully 
six centuries after Moses, H the message of the prophets of 
the eighth century," Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Micah, II is still 
directed to the nation, and the judgments they proclaim are 
collective punishment for collective guilt. It is not till late 
in the seventh century B.C. that the problem of individual 
retribution really emerged, and received its first solution in the 
teaching of Jeremiah." And H the further development of 
these ideas," by the teaching of Ezekiel and of some of the 
Psalms and Proverbs, as regards individual responsibility and 
retribution in this life, and by the deep misgivings and keen 
questionings of Job and Ecclesiastes, as to the adequacy of 
1 See also the important study of the Abbé Touzard, Le D
veloppemenl 
de la Doctrine de l'Immortaliti. Revue Biblique. 1898. pp. 207-241. 



I90 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 
this teaching, (l led inevitably to the conception of a blessed 
life beyond the grave." 
Yet throughout the Hebrew Old Testament the Eschatology 
of the Nation greatly predominates over that of the Individual. 
Indeed in pre-Exilic times (l the day of Yahwe," with its 
national judgments, constitutes the an but exclusive subject 
of the prophetic teaching as to the future. Only from the 
Exile, (597 to 538 B.C.), onwards, does the eschatologicaJ 
development begin to grow in complexity, for now the 
individualism first preached by Jeremiah begins to maintain 
its claim a]so. But not till the close of the fourth century, or 
the beginning of the third century B.C., do the separate 
eschatologies of the individual and of the nation issue finally in 
their synthesis: the righteous individual will participate in the 
l\lessianic Kingdom, the righteous dead of Israel will arise to 
share therein,-thus in Isaiah xxvi, 1-19, a passage which it is 
difficult to place earlier than about 334 B.C. The resurrection 
is here limited to the just. In Daniel xii, 2, which is probably 
not earlier than 165 B.C., the resurrection is extended, not 
indeed to all members of Israel, but, with respective good and 
evil effects, to its martyrs and apostates. 
And the slowness and incompleteness of the develop- 
ment throughout the Hebrew Old Testament is strikingly 
illustrated by the great paucity of texts which yield, without 
the application of undue pressure, any clear conviction or 
hope of a heightened, or even a sheer, maintenance of the 
soul's this-life consciousness and force after death. Besides 
the passages just indicated, Dr. Charles can only find Psalms 
xlix and lxxiii, and Job xix, 25-27, all three, according to 
him, later than Ezekiel, who died in 571 B.C. l The textually 
uncertain and obscure Job-passage (xix, 25, 26) must be dis- 
counted, since it evidently demands interpretation according to 
the plain presupposition and point of the great poem as a 
whole.-And the same result is reached by the numerous, 
entirely unambiguous, passages which maintain the negative 
persuasion. In the hymn put into the mouth of the sick king 
Hezekiah, for about 713 B.C., (a composition which seems to 
be very late, perhaps only of the second century B.C.), we hear: 
(l The grave cannot praise Thee. . . they that go down into 
the pit cannot hope for truth. The living, the living, he shall 
praise Thee, as I do this day." And the Psalter contains 


1 Charles. Ope cit. pp. 52. 53; 58; 61; 84; 12 4, 12 5; 126- 1 3 2 ; 68-77. 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEMS AND DOCTRINES 19 1 


numerous similar declarations. Thus vi, 5 : "In death there is 
no remembrance of Thee: in the grave who shall give Thee 
thanks? " and cxv, 17: "The dead praise not the Lord, 
neither any that go do\vn into silence; but we praise the 
Lord." See also Psalms xxx, 19; lxxxviii, II. 
Indeed the name for the Departed is Rephaim, H the limp, 
the powerless ones." Stade well says: II According to the 
ancient Israelitish conception the entire human being, body 
and soul, outlasts death, whilst losing all that makes life worth 
living. That which persists in Sheol for all eternity is the 
form of man, emptied of all content. Antique thought 
ignores as yet that there exists no such thing as a form with- 
out substance. The conception has as little in comnlon with 
the conviction of the Imn10rtality of the Soul, which found 
its chief support in Greek ideas, as with the expectation of the 
Resurrection, which grew out of the Jewish Messianic hope, 
or with the Christian anticipation of Eternal Life, which is 
also based upon religious motives." 1 
Yet, with respect to this objection from the lateness of the 
doctrine, we must not forget that fully consistent Monotheism 
and Monogamy are also late, but not, on that account, less 
true or less precious; and indeed that, as a universal rule, the 
human mind has acquired at all adequate convictions as to 
most certain and precious truths but slowly and haltingly. 
This process is manifest even in Astronomy, Geology, Botany, 
Human Anatomy. It could not fail to be, not less but more 
the case in a matter like this which, if it concerns us most 
deeply, is yet both too close to us to be readily appreciated in 
its tnle proportions, and too little a matter of mathematical 
demonstration or of direct experience not to take much time 
to develop, and not to demand an ever-renewed acquisition 
and purification, being, as it is, the postulate and completion 
of man's ethical and spiritual faiths, at their deepest and 
fullest. 
(3) And with regard to the unsatisfactory character of some 
of the earliest manifestations of the belief, this point is brought 
home to us, with startling vividness, in the beginnings of the 
doctrine in ancient Greece. For Rohde's very careful and 
competent examination of precisely this side of the whole 
question shows conclusively (even though I think, with Crusius, 
that he has overlooked certain rudiments of analogous but 
1 B. Stade. Biblische Theologie des Alten Testaments. Vol. I. 1905. 
p. 18... 



I92 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


healthy experiences and beliefs in pre-Dionysiac Greece) how 
new and permanently effective a contribution to the full 
doctrine was made, for the Hellenic world and hence indirectly 
for all Western humanity, by the self-knowledge gained in 
that wildly orgiastic upheaval, those dervish-like dances and 
ecstatic fits during the Dionysian night-celebrations on the 
Thracian mountain-sides. Indeed Rohde traces how from 
these experiences, partly from the continuation of them, 
partly from the reaction against them, on the part of the 
intensely dualistic and ascetic teaching and training of the 
Orphic sect, there arose, and filtered through to Pythagoras, 
to Plato, and to the whole Neo-Platonist school, the clear 
conception and precise terminology concerning ecstatic, enthu- 
siastic states, the divinity and eternity of the human soul, its 
punitive lapse into and imprisonment within the body, and its 
need of purification throughout the earthly Jife and of liberation 
through death from this its incurably accidental and impeding 
companion.-Thus we get here, concerning one of the chief 
sources of at least the formulation of our belief in Immor- 
tality, what looks a very nest of suspicious, repulsive circum- 
stances :-psycho-physical phenomena, which, quite explicabJe 
to, and indeed explained by, us now as in nowise supernatural, 
could not fail to appear portentous to those men who first 
experienced them; unmoral or immoral attitudes and activi- 
ties of mind and will; and demonstrable excesses of feeling 
and conception as regards both the static goodness, the down- 
right divinity, eternity, and increateness of the soul, and the 
unmixed evil of the body with its entirely disconnected along- 
sideness to the soul. Does not all this spell a mass of wild 
hallucination, impurity, fanaticism, and superstition? 
Yet here again it behoves us, if not to accept, yet also not 
to rej ect, in wholesale fashion and in haste. For the profound! y 
experienced Professor Pierre Janet shows 1 us, what is now 
assumed as an axiom, and as the ultimate justification of the 
present widespread interest in the study of Hysteria, that H we 
must admit for the moral world the great principle universally 
admitted for the physical world since Claude Bernard,-viz. 
that the laws of illness are, at bottom, the same as those of 
health, and that, in the former, there is but the exaggeration 
or the diminution of phenomena which existed already in the 
latter. " 
And if thus our recent studies of morbid mentalities have 
1 L.Automatisme Psychotogique, ed. 19 0 3, p. 5. 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEMS AND DOCTRINES 193 
been able to throw a flood of light upon the mechanism 
and character of the healthy mind, a mind more difficult 
to analyze precisely because of the harmonious interaction of 
its forces, there is nothing very surprising if man, in the past, 
learnt to know his own fundamental nature better in and 
through periods of abnormal excitation than in those of 
normal balance. And the resultant doctrines in the case in 
question only required, and demand again and again, a careful 
pruning and harmonizing to show forth an extraordinary 
volume of abiding truth. The insuppressible difference be- 
tween mind and matter, and the distinction between the fully 
recollected soul (intuitive reason), and explicit reasoning; the 
immeasurable superiority of mind over matter, and the superi- 
ority of that full reason over this H thin" reasoning; the 
certainty, involved in all our inevitable mental categories and 
assumptions and in all our motives for action, of this mind 
and intuition being more like the cause of all things than 
are those other inferior realities and activities; the inde- 
structibleness of the postulates and standards of objective 
and infinite Beauty, Truth, Goodness, of our consciousness of 
being intrinsically bound to them, and of our inmost humanity 
and its relative greatness being measurable by just this our 
consciousness of this our obligation, and hence by the keen- 
ness of our sense of failure, and by our striving after puri- 
fication and the realization of our immanental possibilities: 
all this remains deeply fruitful and true. 
And those crude early experiences and analyses certainly 
point to what, even now, are our most solid reasons for belief 
in Immortality: for if man's mind and soul can thus keenly 
suffer from the sense of the contingency and mutability of all 
things directly observed by it without and within, it must 
itself be, at least in part or potentially, outside of this flux 
which it so vividly apprehends as not Permanence, not Rest, 
not true Life. Let us overlook, then, and forgive the first 
tumultuous, childishly rude and clumsy, mentally and emotion- 
ally hyper-aesthetic forms of apprehension of these great 
spiritual facts and laws, forms which are not, after all, more 
misleading than is the ordinary anaesthetic condition of our 
apprehending faculties towards these fundamental forces and 
testimonies of our lot and nature. Not the wholesale rejection, 
then, of even those crude Dionysian witnessings, still less of 
the already more clarified Orphic teaching, and least of all of 
Plato's great utilizations and spiritualizations can be required 
VOL. II. 0 


. 


.. 



194 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


of us, but only a reinterpretation of those first impressions 
and of mankind's analogous experiences, and a sifting and 
testing of the latter by the light of all that has been deeply 
lived through, and seriously thought out, by spiritually awake 
humanity ever since.-And we should remember that the 
history of the doctrine among the Jews is, as has already been 
intimated, grandly free from any such suspicious occasions 
and concomitances. 
2. Two PhilosoPhical Difficulties. 
Yet it is precisely this latter, social, body-and-soul-survival 
doctrine which brings the second group of objections, the 
philosophical difficulties, to clear articulation. For thus we 
are unavoidably driven to one or other of the equally difficult 
alternatives, of a bodiless life of the soul, and of a survival or 
resurrection of the body. 
(I) Christianity, by its explicit teachings, and even more 
by its whole drift and interior affinities, requires the survival 
of all that is essential to the whole man, and conceives this 
whole as constituted, not by thought alone but also by feeling 
and will and the power of effectuation; so that the body, 
or some unpicturable equivalent to it, seems necessary to this 
physico-spiritual, ultimately organic conception of what man 
is and must continue to be, if he is to remain man at all.- 
And Psychology, on its part, is showing us, more and more, 
how astonishingly wide and deep is the dependence, at least 
for their actuation, of the various functions and expressions of 
man's character and spirit upon his bodily frame. For not 
only is the reasoning faculty seen, ever since Aristotle, to 
depend, for its material and stimulation, upon the impressions 
of the senses, nor can we represent it to ourselves other- 
wise than as seated in the brain or in some such physical 
organism, but the interesting Lange-James observations and 
theory make it likely that also the emotions,-the feelings as 
distinct from sensations,-ever result, as a matter of fact, from 
certain foregoing, ph ysico- neural impressions and modifications, 
which latter follow upon this or that perception of the mind, 
a perception which would otherwise, as is the case in certain 
neural lesions and anaesthesias, remain entirely dry and un- 
emotiona1.
And the sense of the Infinite, which we have had 
such reason to take as the very centre of religion, arises ever, 
within man's life here below, in contrast to, and as a con
 


1 w. James. The PrinciPles of Psychology, 1891, Vol. II, pp. 442-467- 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEMS AND DOCTRINES 195 


comitant and supplenlentation of, his perception of the Finite 
and Contingent, and hence not \vithout his senses being alive 
and active. 
Now all this fits in admirably with the whole J ewish- 
Christian respect for, high claims upon, and constant training 
of the body, the senses, the emotions, and with the importance 
attached to the Visible and Audible,-History, Institutions, 
Society.- Yet our difficulties are clear. For however spiritually 
we may conceive a bodily survival or resurrection; however 
completely we may place the identity of the various stages 
of the body in this life, and the sameness between the body 
before death and after the resurrection, in the identity of its 
quasi-creator, the body-weaving soul, we can in nowise picture 
to ourselves such a new, indefinitely more spiritual, incorpora- 
tion, and we bring upon ourselves acute difficulties, for both 
before and after this unpicturable event. Before the resur- 
rection there would have to be unconsciousness between death 
and that event; but thus the future life is broken up, and for 
no spiritual reason. Or there would be consciousness; but 
then the substitute for the body, that occasions this conscious- 
ness, would, apparently, render all further revivification of the 
body unnecessary. And if we take the resurrection as effected, 
\ve promptly feel ho\v mixed and clumsy, how inadequate, 
how less, and not more, than the best and noblest elements of 
our experience and aspirations even here and now, is such a, 
still essentially temporal and spatial, mode of existence. 
I take it that, against all this, we can but continue to main- 
tain two points. The soul's life after bodily death is not a 
matter of experience oroflogicaldemonstration, but a postulate 
of faith and a consequence from our realization of the human 
spirit's worth; and hence is as little capable of being satis- 
factorily pictured, as are all the other great spiritual realities 
which can nevertheless be shown to be presupposed and im- 
plicitly affirmed by every act of faith in the final truth and 
abiding importance of anything whatsoever.-And again, it is 
not worth while to attempt to rescue, Aristotle-wise, just 
that single, and doubtless not the highest, function of man's 
spirit and character, his dialectic faculty, or even his intellect- 
ual intuitive power, for the purpose of thus escaping, or at 
least minimizing, the difficulties attendant upon the belief in 
Immortality. If we postulate, as we do, man's survival, we 
must postulate, without being able to fill in or to justify any 
details of the scheme, the survival of all that may and does 


, 
\ 


. 



196 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


constitute man's true and ultimate personality. How much 
or how little this may precisely mean, we evidently know 
but very imperfectly: but we know enough to be confident 
that it means more than the abstractive, increasingly dualistic 
school of Plato, Philo, Plotinus, Proclus would allow. 
(2) But speculative reason seems also to raise a quite 
general objection, based upon man's littleness within the 
immense Universe, and upon the arbitrariness of excepting 
those tiny points, those centres of human consciousness, men's 
souls, from the flux, the ceaseless becoming and undoing, of 
all the other parts of that mighty whole, imlnortal, surely, only 
as a whole. 
Here we can safely say that, at least in this precise form, 
the difficulty springs predominantly not from reason or ex- 
perience, but from an untutored imagination. For all our 
knowledge of that great external world, which this objection 
supposes to englobe our small internal world, as a part 
inferior, or at most but equal, to the other parts of that whole, 
is dependent upon this interior world of ours; and however 
truly inherent in that external world we may hold that world's 
laws to be, those laws can, after all, be shown to be as truly the 
result of our own mind's spontaneous work,-an architectonic 
building up by this mind of the sense-impressions conveyed 
to it from without. And that whole Universe, in so far as it 
is material, cannot be compared, either in kind or in dignity, 
to Mind: only the indications there, parallel in this to our 
experiences within our own mind, of a Mind and Spirit 
infinitely greater and nobler than, yet with a certain affinity 
to, our own,-only these constitute that outer world as great 
as this our inner world. Indeed it is plain that l\laterialism 
is so far from constituting the solution to the problem of 
existence, that even Psycho-Physical Parallelism, even the 
attribution of any ultimate reality to Matter, are on their 
trial. I t is anyhow already clear that, of the two, it is easier 
and nearer to the truth to maintain that Matter and its 
categories are simply modes in the manifestation of Mind to 
minds and in the apprehension of Mind by minds, than to 
declare Mind to be but a function or resultant of l\latter. 1 
But if all this is so, then no simply sensible predominance 
of the sensible U ni verse, nor even any ascertainment of the 
1 See Prof. James Ward's closely knit proof in his Naturalism and 
Agnosticism, 2nd ed., 1905, and his striking address. "Mechanism and 
Morals," Hibbef't Journal, October. 1905. 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEl\IS AND DOCTRINES I97 
mere flux and interchange of and between all things material 
and their elements, can reasonably affect the question as to 
the superiority and permanence of Mind. But we shaH 
return, in the next chapter, to the difficulties special to the 
Immortality of individual human spirits or personalities,-for 
this is, I think, the point at which the problem is still acute. 
-- 3. Three Ethico-Practical Difficulties. 
The last group of objections is directly practica
 and 
ethical, and raises three points : the small space and influence 
occupied and exercised, apparently, by such a belief, in the 
spiritual life of even serious persons; the seemingly selfish, 
ungenerous type of religion and of moral tone fostered by 
definite belief in, or at least occupation with, the thought of 
an individual future life, as contrasted \vith the nobility of 
tone engendered by such denials or abstractions from all such 
beliefs as we find in Spinoza and Schleiermacher ; and, finally, 
the plausibility of the teaching, on the part of some dis- 
tinguished thinkers and poets, that a positive conviction of 
this our short earthly life being the sole span of our individual 
consciousness is directly productive of a certain deep tender- 
ness, an heroic concentration of attention, and a virile truth- 
fulness, which are unattainable, which indeed are weakened or 
rendered impossible by, the necessarily vague anticipation of 
an unending future life; a hope which, where operative at all, 
can but d\varf and deaden all earthly aspiration and endeavour. 
(I) As to the first point, which has perhaps never been 
more brilliant I y affirmed than by Mr. Schiller, 1 I altogether 
doubt whether the numerous appearances, which admittedly 
seem to point that way, are rightly interpreted by such a 
conclusion. For it is, for one thing, most certainly possible 
to be deeply convinced of the reality and importance of the 
soul's heightened after-life, and to have no kind of belief or 
interest in Psychical Research, at least in such Research as 
an intrinsically valuable aid to any specifically religious con- 
victions. No aloofness from such attempts to find spiritual 
realities at the phenomenal level can, (unless it is clear that 
the majority of educated Western Europeans share the naïve 
assumptions of this position), indicate negation of, or indiffer- 
ence to, the belief in Immortality.-And next, it is equally 
certain that precisely the most fruitful form of the belief is 
that which conceives the After-life as already involved in this 


I If The Desire for Immortality:. in Humanism. 1903. pp. 228- 2 49. 


, 


-- 



Ig8 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 
one, and which, therefore, dwel1s specially, not upon the 
posteriority in time, but upon the difference in kind of that 
spiritual life of the soul which, even hic et nunc, can be sought 
after and experienced, in ever imperfect degrees no doubt, yet 
really and more and more. Here we ever get an approach to 
Simultaneity and Eternity, instead of sheer succession and 
clock-time: and here the fundamental attitude of the believer 
would appear only if pressed to deny or exclude the death- 
lessness of the spirit and its life,-the usual latency and 
simple implication of the positive conviction, in no\vise 
diminishing this conviction's reality.-And, finally, it \vould 
have to be seen whether those who are indifferent or sceptical 
as to Immortal or Eternal Life, are appreciably fewer and 
largely other than those who are careless as to the other deep 
implications and requirements of spiritual experience. \Ve 
may well doubt whether they would turn out to be so. 
(2) As to the second point, we have already found how 
utterly insuppressible is the pleasure, norrnaHy concomitant 
upon every act of noble self-conquest; and how, though 
we can and should perform such and all other acts, as 
far as possible, from the ultimate, detennining motive of 
thereby furthering the realization of the Kingdom of God, 
there can be no solid truthfulness or sane nobility in insisting 
upon attempts at thinking away and denying the fact and 
utility of that concomitant pleasure. But if so, then a further, 
other-world extension of that realization and of this con- 
comitant happiness, and a belief here below in such an eventual 
extension, cannot of themselves be ignoble or debasing. 
Occasions for every degree and kind of purely selfish and 
faultily natural acts, of acts inchoatively supernatural but still 
predominantly slavish, reappear here, in close parallel to the 
variety of disposition displayed by men towards every kind 
of reality and ideal, towards the Family, Science, the State, 
Humanity, where the same concomitances and the same high 
uses and mean abuses are ever possible and actual. Neither 
here nor there should \ve attempt to impoverish truth and 
life, in order to exclude the possibility of their abuse.-And it 
would, of course, be profoundly unfair to contrast such a 
rarely noble spirit as Spinoza among the deniers with the 
a verage mind from among the affirmers. The average or the 
majority of the deniers would not, I think, appear as more 
generous and devoted than the corresponding average or 
majority on the other side. 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEMS AND DOCTRINES 199 
(3) And as to the supposed directly beneficial effects of a 
positive denial of Immortality, such as have been sung for us 
by George Eliot and Giovanni Pascoli, we can safeJy affirm 
that the special tendernesses and quiet heroisms, deduced by 
them from such a negation, are too obviously dependent upon 
spiritual implications and instincts, for us to be able to put 
them directly to the credit of that denial. Only in so far as 
Immortality were not a postulate intrinsically connected with 
belief in objective and obligatory Beauty, Truth, and Good- 
ness,-in God as our origin and end,-could its persistent and 
deliberate denial not be injurious to these fundamental con- 
victions and to the ultimate health of the soul's life: and of 
this intrinsic non-connection there is no sufficient evidence.- 
Certainly, in such a case as Spinoza's, the same strain of 
reasoning which makes him abandon individual Immortality 
ought, in logic, to prevent him, a mere hopelessly determined 
link in the Natura Naturata, from ever attaining to the free 
self-dedication of himself, as now a fully responsible member 
of the Natura Naturans. And if not all the grand depth of 
his spiritual instinct and moral nobility, and its persistence 
in spite of its having no logical room in the fixedly 
naturalistic element of his teaching, can be urged as an 
argument in favour of the ultimate truth and ethical helpful- 
ness of that whole element, neither can it be urged with 
respect to what is presumably one part of that element, his 
denial of personal Immortality. 


II. CATHERINE'S GENERAL AFTER-LIFE CONCEPTIONS. 
Now Catherine's general After-Life Conceptions in part 
bring into interesting prominence, in part really meet and 
overcome, the perplexities and mutually destructive alter- 
natives which we have just considered. I shall here again 
leave over to the next chapter the simply ultimate questions, 
such as that of the pure Eternity versus the Unendingness of 
the soul; but shall allow myself, as to one set of her general 
ideas, a little digression as to the probability of their ultimate 
literary suggestion by Plato.-These Platonic passages prob- 
ably reached her too indirectly, and by means and in forms 
which I have too entirely failed to discover, for me to be able 
to discuss them in my chapter devoted to her assured and 
demonstrably direct literary sources. But these sayings of 



 



200 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


Plato greatly help to illustrate the meaning of her doctrine. 
-I shall group these, her general, positions and implications 
under four heads, and shall consider three of these as, in 
substance, profoundly satisfactory, but one of them, the 
second, as acceptable only with many limitations, although 
this second has obviously much influenced the form given by 
her to several of those other conceptions. 
I. Forecasts of the Hereafter, based upon present experience. 
First, then, we get, as the fundamental presupposition of the 
whole Eschatology, a grandly sane, simple, and profound 
doctrine fonnulated over and over again and applied through- 
out, with a splendid consistency, as the key and limit to all 
her anticipations and picturings. Only because of the fact, 
and of our conviction of the fact, of the unbroken continuity 
and identity of God with Himself, of the human soul with 
itself, and of the deepest of the relations subsisting between 
that God and the soul, across the chasm formed by our 
body's death, and only in proportion as we can and do 
experience and achieve, during this our earthly Hfe, certain 
spiritual laws and realities of a sufficiently elemental, universal, 
and fruitful, more or less time- and space-less character, can 
we (whilst ever remembering the analogical nature of such 
picturings even as to the soul's life here) safely and profitably 
forecast certain general features of the future which is thus 
already so largely a present. But, given these conditions in 
the present, we can and should forecast the future, to the 
extent implied. And as Plato's great imaginative projection, 
his life-work, the Republic, achieves its original end, (of 
making more readily understandable, by objectivizing, on a 
large scale, the life of the inner city of our own soul,) in so 
far as he has rightly understood the human soul and has 
found appropriate representations of its powers, laws, and 
ideals in his future commonwealth, even if we cannot accept 
this picture for political purposes and in all its details: so is 
it also with Catherine's projection, which, if bolder in its 
subject-matter, is, most rightly, indefinitely more general in 
its indications than is Plato's great diagram of the soul. 
Man's spiritual personality, being held by her to survive 
death,-to retain its identity and an at least equivalent con- 
sciousness, of that identity,-the deepest experiences of that 
personality before the body's death are conceived as re- 
experienced by it, in a heightened degree and form, after 
death itself. Hence these great pictures, of what the soul will 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEMS AND DOCTRINES 201 


experience then, would remain profoundly true of what the 
soul seeks and requires now, even if there were no then at all. 
And note particularly how only with regard to one stage 
and condition of the spirit's future life,-that of the purifi- 
cation of the imperfect soul,-does she indulge in any at all 
direct doctrine or detailed picturing; and this, doubtless, not 
only because she has experienced much concerning this 
matter in her own life here, but also because the proj ection 
of these experiences would still give us, not the ultimate state, 
but more or less only a prolongation of our mixed, joy-in- 
suffering life upon earth. As to the two ultimate states, we 
get only quite incidental glimpses, although even these are 
strongly marked by her general position and method. 
2. Catherine's forecasts and present experience correspond- 
ingly limited. 
And next, coming to the projection itseU, we naturally find 
it to present all the strength and limitations of her own 
spiritual experiences which are thus projected: her attitude 
towards the body and towards human fellowship, (two subj ects 
which are shown to be closely inter-related by the continuous 
manner in which they stand and fall together throughout the 
history of philosophy and religion,) thus constitute the second 
general peculiarity of her Eschatology. We have already 
noted, in her life, her strongly ecstatic, body-ignoring, body- 
escaping type of religion; and how, even in her case, it tended 
to starve the corporate, institutional conceptions and affections. 
Here, in the proj ection, we find both the cause and the effect 
again, and on a larger scale. Her continuous psycho-physical 
discomforts and keen thirst for a unity and simplicity as rapid 
and complete as possible, the joy and strength derived from 
ecstatic habits and affinities, would all make her, without even 
herself being aware of it, drop all further thought as to the 
future fate of that oppressive" prison-house" from which her 
spirit had at last got free. 
Now such non-occupation with the fate of the body and of 
her fellow-souls may appear quite appropriate in her Purga- 
torial Eschatology, yet we cannot but find that, even here, it 
already possesses grave disadvantages, and that it persists 
throughout all her After-life conceptions. For in all the states 
and stages of the soul we get a markedly unsocial, a sola cum 
solo picture. And yet there is, perhaps, no more striking 
difference, amongst their many affinities, between Platonism 
and Christianity than the intense Individualism which marks 



 



202 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


the great Greek's doctrine, and the profoundly social concep- 
tion which pervades Our Lord's own teaching,-in each case 
as regards the next life as well as this one. Plotinus's great 
culminating commendation of " the flight of the alone to the 
Alone" continues Plato's tradition; whereas, if even St. Paul 
and the Joannine writings speak at times as though the indi- 
vidual soul attained to its full personality in and by direct 
intercourse with God alone, the Synoptic Gospels, and at 
bottom also those two great lovers of Our Lord's spirit, never 
cease to emphasize the social constituent of the soul's life 
both here and hereafter. The Kingdom of Heaven, the Soul 
of the Church, as truly constitutes the different personalities, 
their spirituality and their joy, as they constitute it,-that 
great Organism which, as such, is both first and last in the 
Divine thought and love. 
Here, in the at least partial ignoring of these great social 
facts, we touch the n1ain defect of most mystical outlooks; 
yet this defect does not arise from what they possess, but 
from what they lack. For solitude, and the abstractive, 
unifying, intuitive, emotional, mystical element is also wanted, 
and this element and movement Catherine exemplifies in rare 
perfection. Indeed, in the great classical, central period of 
her life she had, as \ve know, combined all this with much of 
the outward movement, society, detailed observation, attach- 
ment, the morally en-static, the immanental type. Unfortun- 
ately the same ill-health and ever-increasing predominance 
of the former element, which turned her, quite naturally, to 
these eschatological contemplations, and \vhich indeed helped 
to give them their touching tone of first-hand experience, also 
tended, of necessity, to make her drop even such slight and 
lingering social elements as had formerly coloured her 
thought. It is, then, only towards the understanding and 
deepening of the former of these two necessary movements 
of religion, that these, her latter-day enlargements of some of 
her deepest experiences and convictions will be found true 
helps. 
Yet if the usual ad extra disadvantages of such an abstrac- 
tive position towards the body are thus exemplified by her, 
in this her unsocial, individualistic attitude, it is most inter- 
esting to note how entirely she avoids the usual ad intra 
drawbacks of this same position. For if her \vhole attention, 
and, increasingly, even her consciousness are, in true ecstatic 
guise, absorbed away from her feHows and concentrated 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEMS AND DOCTRINES 203 


exclusively upon God in herself and herself in God, yet this 
consciousness consists not only of N oûs, that dry theoretic 
reason which, already by Plato, but still more by Aristotle, is 
alone conceived as surviving the body, but contains also the 
upper range of Thzl1nos,-all those passions of the noblest 
kind,-love, admiration, gratitude, utter self-donation, joy in 
purifying suffering and in an ever-growing self-realization as 
part of the great plan of God,-all the highest notes in that 
wondrous scale of deep feeling and of emotionally coloured 
willing which Plato made dependent, not for its character but 
for the possibility of its operation, upon the body's union with 
the sou1.-And thus we see how, in her conception of the 
soul's own self within itself and of its relation to God, the 
Christian idea of Personality, as of a many-sided organism in 
which Love and Will are the very flower of the whole, has 
triumphed over the Platonic presentation of the Spirit, in so 
far as this is taken to require and achieve an ultimate sublima- 
tion free from all emotive elements. Thus in her doctrine 
the whole Personality survives death, although this PersonaJity 
energizes only, as it \vere upwards, to God alone, and not also 
sideways and downwards, towards its fellows and the lesser 
children of God. 
3. Catherine's forecast influenced by Plato. 
Catherine's third peculiarity consists in a rich and profound 
organization of two doctrines, the one libertarian, the other 
determinist; and requires considerable quotation from Plato, 
whose teachings, bereft of all transmigration-fancies, seem 
clearly to reappear here, (however complex may have been 
the mediation,) in Catherine's great conception. 
The determinist doctrine maintains that virtue and vice, 
in proportion as they are allowed their full development, 
spontaneously and necessarily attain to their own congenital 
consummation, a consummation which consists, respectively, 
in the bJiss inseparable from the final and complete identity 
between the inevitable results upon itself of the soul's deliber- 
ate endeavours, and the indestructible requirements of this 
same soul's fundamental nature; and in the misery of the, now 
fully felt but only gradually superable, or even, in other cases, 
insuperable, antagonism between the inevitable consequences 
\vithin its own self of the soul's more or less deliberate 
choosings, and those same, here also ineradicable, demands of 
its own truest nature. 
As Marsilio Ficino says, in his Theologia Platonica, 



 



20 4 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


published in Florence in 1482 : " Virtue is reward in its first 
budding, reward is virtue full-grown. Vice is punishment at 
the moment of its birth; punishment is vice at its consumma- 
tion. For, in each of these cases, one and the same thing is 
first the simple seed and then the full ear of corn; and one 
and the same thing is the full ear of corn and then the food 
of man. Precisely the very things then that we sow in this 
our (earthly) autumn, shall we reap in that (other-world) 
summer-day." 1 I t is true that forensic terms and images are 
also not wanting in Catherine's sayings; but these, in part, 
run simply parallel to the immanental conception without 
modifying it; in part, they are in its service; and, in part, they 
are the work of the theologians' arrangements and glosses 
discussed in my Appendix 
And the libertarian doctrine declares that it is the soul 
itself which, in the beyond and immediately after death, 
chooses the least painful, because the most expressive of her 
then actual desires, from among the states which the natural 
effects upon her own self of her own earthly choosings have 
left her interiorly free to choose. 
Now it is in this second doctrine especially that we find so 
detailed an anticipation by Plato of a whole number of highly 
original and characteristic points and combinations of points, 
as to render a fortuitous concurrence between Catherine and 
Plato practically impossible. Yet I have sought in vain, 
among Catherine's authentic sayings, actions, possessions, or 
friends, for any trace of direct acquaintance with any of 
Plato's writings. But Ficino's Latin translation of Plato, 
published, with immense applause, in Florence in 14 8 3, 14 8 4, 
must have been known, in those intensely Platonizingtimes, to 
even non-professed Humanists in Genoa, long before Catherine's 
death in 1510, so that one or other of her intimates may have 
communicated the substance of these Platonic doctrines to 
her. 2 Plotinus, of whom Ficino published a Latin translation 
in 1492, contains but a feeble echo of Plato on this point. 
Proclus, directly known only very little till much after 


1 Gp. cit. Lib. XVIII, c. x, ed. 1559. fol. 3413. 
2 Neither she nor her friends can have derived these doctrines from 
Ficino's Theologia Platonica. Florence. 1482, since precisely the points 
in question are quite curiously absent from, or barely recognizable in. that 
book. See its cc. x and xi, Book XVIII. on II the State of the Impure 
Soul U and II the State of the Imperfect Soul" respectively: ed. 1559. 
fol. 340. v. seq. See also foIl. 318r. 3 1 9 V . 



. 


AFTER-LIFE PROBLEl'rIS AND DOCTRINES 205 


Catherine's time, is in even \vorse case. The Areopagite, 
who has so continuously taken over whole passages from all 
three writers, although directly almost exclusively from 
Proclus, contains nothing more immediately to the purpose 
than his impressive sayings concerning Providence's con- 
tinuous non-forcing of the human personality in its funda- 
mental constitution and its free elections \vith their inevitable 
consequences; hence Catherine cannot have derived her ideas, 
in the crisp definiteness which they retain in her sayings, from 
her cousin the Dominican nun and the Areopagite. And it 
is certain, as we have seen, how scattered and inchoate are 
the hints which she may have found in St. Paul, the Joannine 
writings, and J acopone da Todi. St. Augustine contains 
nothing that would be directly available,-an otherwise likely 
source considering Catherine's close connection with the 
Augustinian Canonesses of S. Maria delle Grazie. 
In Plato, then, we get five conceptions and symbolic 
pictures that are practically identical with those of Catherine. 
(r) First we get the conception of souls having each, in exact 
accordance with the respective differences of their moral and 
spiritual disposition and character, as these have been con- 
stituted by them here below, a " place" or environment, 
expressive of that character, ready for their occupation after 
the body's death. "The soul that is pure departs at death, 
herself invisible, to the invisible wo rld ,-to the divine, immortal 
and rational: thither arriving, she lives in bliss. But the soul 
that is impure at the time of her departure and is . . . 
engrossed by the corporeal . . . , is weighed down and drawn 
back again into the visible place (world)." 
And this scheme, of like disposition seeking a like place, 
is then carried out, by the help of the theory of transmigration, 
as a re-incarnation of these various characters into environ- 
ments, bodies, exactly corresponding to them: gluttonous 
souls are assigned to asses' bodies, tyrannous souls to those 
of wolves, and so on : in a word, "there is no difficulty in 
assigning to all 'a whither' (a place) answering to their general 
natures and propensities." 1 For this corresponds to a law 
which runs throughout all things,-a determinism of conse- 
quences which does not prevent the liberty of causes. "The 
King of the uníverse contrived a general plan, by which a 
thing of a certain nature found a seat and place of a certain 


I Phaedo, 8Ia-82a. 



206 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


kind. But the formation of this nature, he left to the wills of 
individuals." 
Or, with the further spatial imagery of movements up, 
level, or down, we get: " All things that have a soul change 
. . . and, in changing, move according to law and the order of 
destiny. Lesser changes of nature move on level ground, but 
great crimes sink . . . into the so-called lower places . . .; 
and, when the soul becomes greatly different and divine, she 
also greatly changes her place, \vhich is now altogether holy." 1 
The original, divinely intended " places" of souls are all high 
and good, and similar to each other though not identical, 
each soul ha ving its own special "place"; and for this 
congenital" place" each soul has a resistible yet ineradicable 
home-sickness. " The first incarnation" of human souls which 
" distributes each soul to a star," is ordained to be similar 
for all. . . . "And when they have been of necessity implanted 
in bodily forms, should they master their passions . . . they 
live in righteousness; if otherwise, in unrighteousness. And 
he who lived well through his allotted time shall be conveyed 
once more to a habitation in his kindred star, and there shall 
enjoy a blissful and congenial life ; but failing this he shall 
pass into . . . such a form of (further) incarnation as fits his 
disposition . . . until he shall overcome, by reason, all that 
burthen that afterwards clung around him." 2 
If from all this we exclude the soul's existence before any 
beginning of its body, its transmigration into other bodies, 
and the self-sufficiency of reason; and if we make it all to be 
penetrated by God's presence, grace, and love, and by our 
corresponding or conflicting emotional and volitional as well 
as intellectual attitude: we shall get Catherine's position 
exact! y. 
(2) But again, in at least one phase of his thinking, Plato 
pictures the purification of the imperfect soul as effected, or 
at least as begun, not in a succession of "places" of an 
extensionally small but organic kind, bodies, but in a " place" 
of an extensionally larger but inorganic sort,-the shore of a 
lake, where the soul has to wait. "The Acherusian lake is 


1 Laws, X, 904 a - e . 
2 Timaeus, 4 1d , e; 4 2b , d. I have, for clearness' sake, turned Plato's 
indirect sentences into direct ones; and have taken the Timaeus after 
the Laws. although it is chronologically prior to them, because the full 
balance of his system, (which requires the originally lofty .. place" of 
each individual soul).-is, I think. abandoned in the Laws: see g04a. 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEMS AND DOCTRINES 207 
the lake to the shores of which the many go when they are 
dead; and, after waiting an appointed time, which to some is 
longer and to others shorter, they are sent back to be born as 
animals." Here we evidently get a survival of the conception, 
predominant in Homer, of a pain-and-joyless Hades, but 
limited here to the middle, the imperfect class of souls, and 
followed, in their case, by transmigration, to which alone, 
apparently, purification is directly attached. 
In the same Dialogue we read later on: "Those who 
appear to have lived neither well nor ill . . . go to the river 
Acheron, and are carried to the lake; and there they dwell 
and are purified of their evil deeds. . . and are absolved and 
recei ve the rewards of their good deeds according to their 
deserts." Here we have, evidently, still the same" many" 
and the same place, the shores of the Acherusian lake, but 
also an explicit affirmation of purification effected there, for 
this purification is now followed directly, not by reincarnation, 
but by the ultimate happiness in the soul's original and 
fundamentally congenial" place." And this scheme is far 
more conformable to Plato's fundamental position: for how 
can bodies, even lower than the human, help to purify the 
soul which has become impure precisely on occasion of its 
human body?-We can see how the Christian Purgatorial 
doctrine derives some of its pictures from the second of these 
parallel passages; yet that the" longer or shorter waiting" 
of the first passage also enters into that teaching,-especially 
in its more ordinary modern form, according to which there 
is, in this state, no intrinsic purification. 
And lower down we find: "Those who have committed 
crimes which, although great, are not unpardonable,-for these 
it is necessary to plunge (èJL7TfUE'izl) into Tartarus, the pains of 
which they are compelled to undergo for a year; but at the 
end of the year they are borne to the Acherusian lake. But 
those who appear incurable by reason of the greatness of their 
crimes . . . such their appropriate destiny hurls (þí7TTEt) into 
Tartarus, whence they never come forth." Here we get a 
Purgatory, pictured as a watery substance in which the more 
gravely impure of the curable souls are immersed before 
arriving at the easier purification, the waiting on the dry land 
alongside the lake; this Purgatory is, as a " place" and, in 
intensity, identical with Hell; and into this place the 
curable souls" plunge " and the incurable ones are" hurled." 
Of this third passage Gatherine retains the identification of 



208 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


the pains of Purgatory and those of Hell; the H plunge," or 
"hurling," of two distinct classes of souls into these pains; 
and the mitigation, after a time, previous to complete cessa- 
tion, of the suffering in the case of the curable class. But the 
H plunge," with her, is common to all degrees of imperfectly 
pure souls; there is, for all these souls, no change of " place" 
during their purgation, but only a mitigation of suffering; 
and this mitigation is at work gradually and from the first. 
And the ordinary modern Purgatorial teaching is like this 
passage, in that it keeps the curable souls in Tartarus, say, 
for one year, and lets them suffer there, apparently without 
lnitigation, throughout that time: and that, in the case of 
both classes of souls, it conceives the punishment as extrinsic, 
vindictive, and inoperative. 
And a fourth Phaedo passage tells us: H Those who are 
remarkable for having led holy lives are released from this 
earthly prison, and go to their pure home, which is above, and 
dwell in the purer earth," the Isles of the Just, in Oceanus. 
" And those, again, amongst these who have duly purified 
themselves with philosophy, live henceforth altogether without 
the body, in mansions fairer far than these." Here we get, 
alongside of the two Purgatories and the one Hell, two 
Heavens, of which the first is but taken over from Homer and 
Pindar, but of which the second is Plato's own conception. 
Catherine, in entire accord with the ordinary teaching, has 
got but one "place" of each kind; and her Heaven 
corresponds, apart from his formal and final exclusion of 
every sort of body, to the second of these Platonic Heavens; 
whilst, here again, the all-encompassing presence of God's 
love for souls as of the soul's love for God, which, in her 
teaching, is the beginning, means, and end of the whole 
movement, effects an indefinite difference between the two 
positions. 1 
(3) Yet Plato, in his most characteristic moods, explicitly 
anticipates Catherine as to the intrinsic, ameliorative nature 
and work of Purgatory: " The proper office of punishment is 
twofold: he who is rightly punished ought either to become 
better. . . by it, or he ought to be made an example to his 
fellows, that they may see what he suffers and. . . become 
better. Those who are punished by Gods and men and 
improved, are those whose sins are curable. . . by pain and 


1 These four passages are all within pp. IIOb-II4d of the Phaedo. 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEMS AND DOCTRINES 209 


suffering :-for there is no other way in which they can be 
delivered from evil, as in this world so also in the other. But 
the others are incurable-the time has passed at which they 
can receive any benefit themselves. . . . Rhadamanthus," the 
chief of the three nether-world judges, II looks with admiration 
on the soul of some just one, who has lived in holiness and 
truth. . . and sends him" without any intervening suffering 
II to the Isles of the Blessed. . . . I consider how I shall 
present my soul whole and undefiled before the Judge, in that 
day." 1 Here the last sentence is strikingly like in fonn as 
well as in spirit to many a saying of St. Paul and Catherine. 
(4) But the following most original passages give us a senti- 
ment and an image which, in their special drift, are as opposed 
to St. Paul, and indeed to the ordinary Christian consciousness, 
as they are dear to Catherine, in this matter so strongly, 
although probably unconsciously, Platonist, indeed Neo- 
Platonist, in her affinities. II In the time of Kronos, indeed 
down to that of Zeus, the Judgment was given on the day on 
which men were to die," i. e. immediately before their death; 
" and the consequence was, that the judgments were not well 
given,-the souls found their way to the wrong places. Zeus 
said: I The reason is, that the judged have their clothes on, 
for they are alive. . . . There are many, having evil sows, who 
are apparelled in fair bodies or wrapt round in wealth and 
rank. . . . The Judges are a wed by them; and they them- 
selves too have their clothes on when judging: their eyes 
and ears and their whole bodies are interposed, as a veil, 
before their own sows. What is to be done? . . . Men shall 
be entirely stript before they are judged, for they shall be 
judged when dead; the Judge too shall be naked, that is, 
dead: he, with his naked soul, shall pierce into the other 
naked soul immediately after each man dies . . . and is 
bereft of all his kith and kin, and has left behind him all his 
brave attire upon earth, and thus the Judgment will be just.'''2 
-If we compare this with St. Paul's precisely contrary instinct 
and desire to be II clothed upon" at death, II lest we be found 
naked," i. e. without the protection of any kind of body; and 
then realize Catherine's intense longing for "nudità,"-to strip 
herself here, as far as possible, from all imperfection and self- 
delusion before the final stripping off of the body in death, 
and to appear, utterly naked, before the utterly naked eye of 


1 Gorgias. pp. 5 2 5 b . c; 526c, d. 
VOL. II. 


I Ibid. p. 5 2 3b-e. 
p 



210 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


God, so that no U clothes" should remain requiring to be 
burnt away by the purifying fires, 1 the profound affinity of 
sentiment and imagery between Catherine and Plato--and 
this on a point essentially Platonic,-is very striking. 
(5) But, above all, in his deep doctrine as to the soul's 
spontaneous choice after death of that condition, Ie place," 
which, owing to the natural effects within her of her earthly 
willings and self-formation, she cannot but now find the most 
congenial to herself, Plato appears as the ultimate source of 
a Jiterary kind for Catherine's most original view, which 
otherwise is, I think, without predecessors. Ie The souls," 
he tells us iu the Republic, U immediately on their arrival in 
the other world, were required to go to Lachesis," one of the 
three Fates. And Ie an interpreter, having taken from her 
lap a number of lots and plans of life, spoke as follows: 
I Thus saith Lachesis, the daughter of Necessity. . . . Ie Your 
destiny shall not be allotted to you, but you shall choose it 
for yourselves. Let him who draws the first lot, be the first 
to choose a life which shall be his irrevocably. . . . The 
responsibility lies \vith the chooser, Heaven is guiltless." , " 
Ie No settled character of soul was included in the plans of 
life, because, with the change of life, the soul inevitably became 
changed itself." U It was a truly wonderful sight, to watch 
how each soul selected its life. . . . When all the souls had 
chosen their lives, Lachesis dispatched with each of them the 
Destiny he had selected, to guard his life and satisfy his 
choice." 2 And in the Phaedrus Plato tells us that Ie at the 
end of the first thousand years" (of the first incarnation) 
Ie the good souls and also the evil souls both come to cast 
lots and to choose their second life; and they may take any 
that they like." 3 
In both the dialogues the lots are evidently taken over from 
popular mythology, but are here made merely to introduce a 
certain orderly succession among the spontaneous choosings 
of the souls themselves, whilst the lap of the daughter of 
Necessity, spread out before all the choosers previous to their 
choice, and the separate, specially appropriate Destiny that 
accompanies each soul after its choice, indicate plainly that, 
although the choice itself is the free act and pure self-expres- 
sion of each soul's then present disposition, yet that this 
disposition is the necessary result of its earthly volitions and 
1 2 Cor. v, 2, 3.-Vila, pp. 10gb, 66a, 171a. 
:& Republic, X, pp. 617e. 61ge, g20e. I Phaedrus, p. 249b. 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEMS AND DOGTRINES 2II 


self-development oc self-deformation, and that the choice now 
made becomes, in its turn, the cause of certain inevitable 
consequences,-of a special environment which itself is then 
productive of special effects upon, and of special occa- 
sions for, the final working out of this soul's character.- 
Plotinus retains the doctrine: II the soul chooses there" in 
the Other world,-" its Daen10n and its kind of life." 1 But 
neither Proclus nor Dionysius has the doctrine, whilst 
Catherine, on the contrary, reproduces it with a penetrating 
completeness. 
4. SimPlifications characteristic of Catherine's Eschatology. 
And under our last, fourth head, we can group the simpli- 
fications characteristic of Catherine's Eschatology. 
(1) One simplification has, of course, for now some fifteen 
hundred years, been the ordinary Christian conception: I 
mean the elimination of the time-element between the 
moment of death and the beginning of the three states. Yet 
it is interesting to note how by far the greatest of the Latin 
Fathers, St. Augustine, who died in 430 A.D., still clings pre- 
dominantly to the older Christian and Jewish conception of 
the soul abiding in a state of shrunken, joy-and-painless con- 
sciousness from the moment of the body's death up to that 
of the general resurrection and j udgmen t. II After this short 
life, thou wilt not yet be where the saints will be," i. e. in 
Hea ven. "Thou wilt not yet be there: who is ignorant of 
this? But thou canst straightway be where the rich man 
descried the ulcerous beggar to be a-resting, far away," i. e. in 
Limbo. II Placed in that rest, thou canst await the day of 
judgment \vith security, when thou shalt receive thy body 
also, when thou shalt be changed so as to be equal to an 
Angel." 2 Only with regard to Purgatory, a state held by 
him, in writings of his last years, 410-430 A.D., to be possible, 
indeed probable, does he make an exception to his general 
rule: for such purification would have to take place II in 
the interval of time between the death of the body and the 
last day of condemnation and reward." 3 
It is doubtless the still further fading away of the expecta- 
tion, so vivid and universal in early Christian times, of 
the proximity of Our Lord's Second Advent, and the tacit 
1 Enneads, III, 4, 5. 
Z Enarr. in Ps. xxxvi, 
 I, n. 10, ed. Ben., co!. 375b. See also Enchit'i- 
dion, CIX, ibid. col. 402d. 
3 So in the De Civitate Dei. Lib. XXI, c. xxvi, n. 4, ibid. col. 1037d. 


, 



212 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


prevalence of Greek affinities and conceptions concerning 
the bodiless soul, that helped to eliminate, at last universally, 
this interval of waiting, in the case of souls too good or too 
bad for purgation, from the general consciousness of at least 
Western Christendom. The gain in this was the great sim- 
plification and concentration of the immediate outlook and 
interest; the loss was the diminished apprehension of the 
essentially complex, concrete, synthetic character of man's 
nature, and of the necessity for our assuming that this 
characteristic \vill be somehow preserved in this nature's 
ultimate perfection. 
(2) There is a second simplification in Catherine which, 
though here St. Augustine leads the way, is less common 
among Christians: her three other-world" places" are not, 
according to her ultimate thought, three distinct spatial ex- 
tensions and localities, filled, respectively, with ceaselessly 
suffering, temporarily suffering, and ceaselessly blessed souls; 
but they are, (notwithstanding all the terms necessitated by 
such spatial picturings as " entering," " coming out," " plung- 
ing into,") so many distinct states and conditions of the soul, 
of a painful, mixed, or joyful character. We shall have these 
her ultimate ideas very fully before us presently. But here I 
would only remark that this her union of a picturing faculty, 
as vivid as the keenest sense-perception, and of a complete 
non-enslavement to, a vigorous utilization of, these life-like 
spatial projections, by a religious instinct and experience 
which never forgets that God and souls are spirits, to whom 
our ordinary categories of space and extension, time and 
motion, do not and cannot in strictness apply, is as rare as it 
is admirable; and that, though her intensely anti-corporeal 
and non-social attitude made such a position more imme- 
diately easy for her than it can be for those who remain keenly 
a ware of the grea t truths in vol ved in the doctrines of the 
Resurrection of the Body and the Communion of Saints, this 
her trend of thought brings into full articulation precisely the 
deepest of our spiritual apprehensions and requirements, 
whilst it is not her fault if it but further accentuates some of 
our intellectual perplexities. 
We get much in St. Augustine, which he himself declares 
to have derived, in the first instance, from" the writings of the 
Platonists," which doubtless means above all Plotinus, (that 
keen spiritual thinker who can so readily be traced through- 
out this part of the great Convert's teaching,) as to this 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEl\fS AND DOCTRINES 213 


profound incommensurableness between spiritual presence, 
energizing, and affectedness on the one hand, and spatial 
position, extension, and movement on the other. II What 
place is there within me, to which my God can come? . . . I 
would not exist at all, unless Thou already wert within me." 
II Thou wast never a place, and yet we have receded from 
Thee; and we have drawn near to Thee, yet Thou art never 
a place." "Are we submerged and do we emerge? Yet it 
is not places into which we are plunged and out of which we 
rise. What can be more like to places and yet more unlike? 
For here the affections are in case,-the impurity of our spirit, 
which flows downwards, oppressed by the love of earthly 
cares; and the holiness of Thy Spirit, which lifts us upwards 
with the love of security." 1 For, as he teaches II the spiritual 
creature can only be changed by times,"-a succession within 
a duration: II by remembering what it had forgotten, or by 
learning what it did not know, or by willing what it did not 
will. The bodily creature can be changed by times and places, 
by spatial motion, "from earth to heaven, from heaven to 
earth, from east to west." II That thing is not moved through 
space which is not extended in space. . . the soul is not 
considered to move in space, unless it be held to be a body." 2 
In applying the doctrine just expressed to eschatological 
n1atters, St. Augustine concludes: II If it be asked whether 
the soul, when it goes forth from the body, is borne to some 
corporeal places, or to such as, though incorporeal, are like 
to bodies, or to what is more exceHent than either: I readily 
answer that, unless it have some kind of body, it is not borne 
to bodily places at all, or, at least, that it is not borne to them 
by bodily motion. . . . But I myself do not think that it 
possesses any body, when it goes forth from this earthly body. 
. . . It gets borne, according to its deserts, to spiritual con- 
ditions, or to penal places having a similitude to bodies." 3 
The reader will readily note a curiously uncertain frame of 
n1Ïnd in this last utterance. I take it that Plotinian influences 
are here being checked by the Jewish conception of certain, 
definitely located, provision-chambers (Promptuaria), in which 


1 Confess., Lib. I. c. 2. n. I; X, c. 26; XIII, c. 7. 
:& De Genesi ad lilt.. Lib. VIII. n. 39. ed. Ben. col. 387b; n. 43, col. 
3 8 9 a . 
8 Ibid. Lib. XII, n. 32, col. 507c. He soon after attempts to decide in 
favour of .. incorporeal places:' as the other-world destinatjoq of all 
classes of human souls. · 


. 



214 THE l\fYSTICAL ELEl\fENT OF RELIGION 
all souls are placed for safe keeping, between the time of the 
body's death and its resurrection. So in the Fourth Book of 
Esra (of about go A.D.), H the souls of the just in their 
chambers said: I How long are we to remain here? ' "; and in 
the Apocalypse of Baruch (of about I50-250 A.D.), H at the 
coming of the Messiah, the provision-chambers will open, in 
which the" whole, precise" number of the souls of the just 
have been kept, and they will come forth." 1 
But it is St. Tholnas Aquinas who, by the explicit and 
consistent adoption and classification of these pr011lPtuaria 
receptacula, reveals to us more clearly the perplexities and 
fancifulnesses involved in the strictly spatial conception. 
H Although bodies are not assigned to souls (immediately) 
after death, yet certain bodily places are congruously assigned 
to these souls in accordance with the degree of their dignity, 
in which places they are, as it were, locally, in the manner in 
which bodiless things can be in space: each soul having a 
higher place assigned to it, according as it approaches more or 
less to the first substance, God, whose seat, according to 
Scripture, is Heaven." H In the Scriptures God is called the 
Sun, since He is the principle of spiritual life, as the physical 
sun is of bodily life; and, according to this convention, . . . 
souls spiritually inuminated have a greater fitness for lumin- 
ous bodies, and sin-darkened souls for dark places." H It is 
probable that, as to local position, Hell and the Limbo of the 
Fathers constitute one and the same place, or are more or less 
continuous." H The place of Purgatory adjoins (that of) Hell." 
H There are altogether five places ready to receive (receptanda) 
souls bereft of their bodies: Paradise, the Limbo of the 
Fathers, Purgatory, Hell, and the Limbo of Infants." 2 
No doubt all these positions became the common scholastic 
teaching. But then, as Cardinal Bellarmine cogently points 
out: H no ancient, as far as I know, has written that the 
Earthly Paradise was destroyed . . . and I have read a large 
number who affinn its existence. This is the doctrine of all 
the Scholastics, beginning with St. Thomas, and of the Fathers 
. . . St. Augustine indeed appears to rank this truth amongst 
the dogmas of faith." 3 We shall do well, then, not to press 


1 Esra IV. iv, 35. See also iv. 41; vn, 3 2 . 80, 95, 101. Apocalypse of 
Baruch, xxx, 2. 
:I Summa Theol., supp1., quo 69, art. I, in corp. et ad 3; art. 6, in corp.; 
Appendix de Purgat., art. 2, in corp.; supp1., quo 69. art. 7 condo 
I De gratia primi homÍ1lis XIV. 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEMS AND DOCTRINES 215 


these literal localization-schemes, especially since, according to 
St. Augustine's penetrating analysis, our spiritual experiences, 
already in this our earthly existence, have a distinctly non- 
spatial character. Catherine's position, if applied to the 
central life of man here, and hence presumptively hereafter, 
remains as true and fresh and unassailable as ever. 
(3) And her last simplification consists in taking the Fire 
of Hell, the Fire of Purgatory, and the Fire and Ijght of 
Heaven as profoundly appropriate symbols or descriptions of 
the variously painful or joyous impressions produced, through 
the differing volitional attitudes of souls towards Him, by the 
one God's intrinsically identical presence in each and all. In 
all three cases, throughout their several grades, there are ever 
but two realities, the Spirit-God and the spirit-soul, in various 
states of inter-relation. 
Here again it is Catherine's complete abstraction from the 
body which renders such a view easy and, in a manner, neces- 
sary for her mind. But here I would only emphasize the 
impressive simplicity and spirituality of view which thus, as 
in the material world it finds the one sun-light and the one 
fire-heat, which, in themselves everywhere the same, vary 
indefinitely in their effects, owing to the varying condition of 
the different bodies which meet the rays and flames; so, in 
the Spiritual World it discovers One supreme spiritual Energy 
and Influence which, whilst ever self-identical, is assimilated, 
deflected, or resisted by the lesser spirits, with inevitably 
joyous, mixed, or painful states of soul, since they can each 
and all resist, but cannot eradicate that Energy's impression 
within their deepest selves. And though, even with her, the 
Sun-light imdge remains quasi-Hellenic and Intellectual, and 
the Fire-heat picture is more immediately Christian and 
Moral: yet she also frequently takes the sunlight as the 
symbol of the achieved Harmony and Peace, and the Fire- 
heat as that of more or less persisting Conflict and Pain. She 
is doubtless right in keeping both symbols, and in ever think- 
ing of each as ultimately implying the other, for God is Beauty 
and Truth, as well as Goodness and Love, and man is made 
with the indestructible aspiration after Him in His living 
completeness. 
And here again Catherine has a complicated doctrinal 
history behind her. 
We have already considered the numerous Scriptural 
passages wh<!re God and His effects upon the soul are 



216 THE 
fYSTICAL ELE
IENT OF RELIGION 


symbolized as light and fire; and those again where joy or, 
contrariwise, trial and suffering are respectively pictured by 
the same physical properties. And Catherine takes the latter 
passages as directly explanatory of the first, in so far as these 
joys and sufferings are spiritual in their causes or effects. 
Among the Greek Fathers, Clement of Alexandria tells 
us that "the Fire" of Purgatory,-for he has no Eternal 
Damnation,-H is a rational," spiritual, U fire that penetrates 
the soul "; and Origen teaches that " each sinner himself 
lights the flame of his own fire, and is not thrown into a fire 
that has been lit before that moment and that exists in front 
of him. . . . His conscience is agitated and pierced by its own 
pricks." Saints Gregory of Nyssa and Gregory of Nazianzum 
are more or less influenced by Origen on this point. And 
St. John Damascene, who died in about 750 A.D., says ex- 
plicitly that the fire of Hell is not a material fire, that it is 
very different from our ordinary fire, and that men hardly 
know what it is.! 
Among the Latins, St. Ambrose declares: II neither is the 
gnashing, a gnashing of bodily teeth; nor is the everlasting 
fire, a fire of bodily flames; nor is the worm, a bodily one."- 
St. Jerome, in one passage, counts the theory of the non- 
physical fire as one of Origen's errors; but elsewhere he 
mentions it without any unfavourable note, and even enumer- 
ates several Scripture-texts which favour it, and admits that 
II 'the worm which dieth not and the fire which is not 
quenched,' is understood, by the majority of interpreters (a 
plerisque), of the conscience of sinners which tortures them." 2 
-St. Augustine, in 413 A.D., declares: " In the matter of the 
pains of the wicked, both the unquenchable fire and the in- 
tensely living worm are interpreted differently by different 
commentators. Some interpreters refer both to the body, 
others refer both to the soul; and some take the fire liter- 
ally, in application to the body, and the worm figuratively, in 
application to the soul, which latter opinion appears the more 
credible." Yet when, during the last years of his life, he came, 
some\vhat tentatively, to hold an other-world Purgatory as 
welJ, he throughout assimilated this Purgatory's fire to the 


1 Clemens, Stromata, VII, 6. Origen, De Princ.. II, 10. 4. St. Greg. 
Nyss., Orat.. XL. 36. St. Greg. Nazianz.. Poema de SeiPso. I, 546. St. 
Joann. Damase.. De Fide Orthod.. cap. ult. 
I St. Ambros.. In Lucam. VII. 205. St. ::LÏeron.. Ep. 124, 7; A pol. 

on.tra Ruf.. II; in Isa. lxv, 24. 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEMS AND DOCTRINES 217 
fire of this-world sufferings. Thus in 422 A.D. : " Souls \vhich 
renounce the wood, hay, straw, built upon that foundation 
(I Cor. iü, II-IS), not without pain indeed (since they loved 
these things with a carnal affection), but with faith in the 
foundation, a faith operative through love. . . arrive at salva- 
tion, through a certain fire of pain. . . . Whether men suffer 
these things in this life only, or such-like judgments follow even 
after this life-in either case, this interpretation of that text 
is not discordant with the truth." II I He shall be saved yet 
so as by fire,' because the pain, over the loss of the things he 
loved, burns him. It is not incredible that some such thing 
takes place even after this Hfe . . . that some of the faithful 
are saved by a certain purgatorial fire, more quickly or more 
slowly, according as they have less or more loved perishable 
things." 1 
St. Thomas, voicing and leading Scholastic opinion, teaches 
that the fire of Purgatory is the same as that of Hell; and 
Cardinal Bellarmine, who died in 1621, tells us : " The com- 
mon opinion of theologians is that the fire of Purgatory is a 
real and true fire, of the same kind as an earthly fire. This 
opinion, it is true, is not of faith, but it is very probable,"- 
because of the II consent of the scholastics, who cannot be 
despised without temerity," and also because of " the erup- 
tions of Mount Etna." 2 Yet the Council of Florence had, in 
1439, restricted itself to the quite general proposition that 
" if men die truly penitent, in the love of God, before they 
have satisfied . . . for their sins . . . their souls are purified 
by purgatorial pains after death"; thus very deliberately 
avoiding all commitment as to the nature of these pains. 3 
Cardinal Gousset, who died in 1866, tells us: II The more 
common opinion amongst theologians makes the sufferings 
of Purgatory to consist in the pain of fire, or at least in a pain 
analogous to that of fire." 4 This latter position is practically 
identical with Catherine's. 
As to the fire of Hell, although here especially the Scho- 
lastics, old and new, are unanimous, it is certain that there is 
no definition or solemn judgment of the Church declaring it 


1 Libe" de Fide (A.D. 413), 27, 29; ed. Ben., coIl. 313b, 314c. De octo 
Dulcit. quaest. (A.D. 422) 12, 13: ibid. call. 219d, 220a. Repeated in 
Enchiridion (? A.D. 423), LXIX; ibid. co!. 382b, c. 
:I De Purgatorio, II, II. 
8 Denzinger, Enchi"idion. ed. 1888. No. LXXIII. 

 Theol. Dogm.. VoL II, num. 206. 



2I8 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


to be materia1. On this point again we find St. Thomas and 
those who follow him involved in practically endless diffi- 
culties and in, for us now, increasingly intolerable subtleties, 
where they try to show how a material fire can affect an 
immaterial spirit. Bossuet, so severely orthodox in all such 
matters, preaching, before the Court, about sin becoming in 
Hell the chastisement of the sinner, does not hesitate to 
finish thus: " We bear within our hearts the instrument of our 
punishment. 'Therefore have I brought forth a fire from the 
nlidst of thee, it hath devoured thee' (Ezek. xxviii, I8). I 
shall not send it against thee from afar, it \vill ignite in thy 
conscience, its flames will arise from thy lnidst, and it will be 
thy sins which will produce it." I-And the Abbé F. Dubois, in 
a careful article in the Ecclesiastical Revue du Clergé Français 
of Paris, has recently expressed the conviction that U the best 
minds of our time, which are above being suspected of yielding 
to mere passing fashions, feel the necessity of abandoning the 
literal interpretation, judged to be insufficient, of the ancient 
symbols; and of returning to a freer exegesis, of which some 
of the Ancients have given us the example." 2 Among these 
helpful" Ancients" we cannot but count Catherine, with her 
One God \Vho is the Fire of Pain and the Light of Joy to 
souls, according as they resist Him or will Him, either here or 
hereafter. 


III. GATHERINE AND ETERNAL PUNISHMENT 
Introductory: four doctrines and difficulties to be considered. 
Taking now the three great after-life conditions separately, 
in the order of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven, I wou]d first of 
all note that some readers may be disappointed that Catherine 
did not, like our own English Mystic, the entirely orthodox 
optimist, Mother Juliana of Norwich-her Revelations belong 
to the year I373 A.D.-simply proclaim that, whilst the teach- 
ing and meaning of Christ and His Church would come true, 
all, in ways known to God alone, would yet be well. 3 In this 
manner, without any weakening of traditional teaching, the 


1 æuvres. ed. Versailles, 1816, Vol. XI, p: 376. 
I Le feu du Purgatoire est-il un feu, corporel? op
 cit.. 1902, pp. 263-284; 
270. I owe most of my references on this point to this paper. 
3 Sixteen Revelations of Alother Juliana of Nmwich. 1373, ed. 1902. 
pp. 73. 74, 7 8 . 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEMS AND DOCTRINES 219 
whole dread secret as to the future of evil-doers is left in the 
hands of God, and a beautifully boundless trust and hope 
glows throughout those contemplations. 
Yet, as I hope to show as we go along, certain assumptions 
and conceptions, involved in the doctrine of Eternal Punish- 
ment, cannot be systematically excluded, or even simply 
ignored, without a grave weakening of the specifically Chris- 
tian earnestness; and that, grand as is, in certain respects, the 
idea of the Apocatastasis, the Final Restitution of all Things 
and Souls-as taught by Clement and Origen-it is not, at 
bottom, compatible with the whole drift, philosophy, and tone, 
(even apart from specific sayings) of Our Lord. And this latter 
teaching-of the simply abiding significance and effect of our 
deliberate elections during this our one testing-time,-and not 
that of an indefinite series of chances and purifications with 
an ultimate disappearance of all difference between the results 
of the \vorst life and the best, answers to the deepest postu- 
lates and aspirations of the most complete and delicate ethical 
and spiritual sense. For minds that can discriminate between 
shifting fashions and solid grovvth in abiding truth, that will 
patiently seek out the deepest instinct and simplest implica- 
tions underlying the popular presentations of the Doctrine of 
Abiding Consequences, and that take these implications as 
but part of a larger whole: this doctrine still, and now 
again, presents itseJf as a penn anent element of the full 
religious consciousness. 
It would certainly be unfair to press Catherine's rare and 
incidental sayings on Hell into a formal system. Yet those 
remarks are deep and suggestive, and help too much to 
interpret, supplement, and balance her central, Purgatorial 
teaching, and indeed to elucidate her general religious prin- 
ciples, for us to be able to pass them over. We have already 
sufficiently considered the question as to the nature of the 
Fire; and that as to Evil Spirits is reserved for the next 
Chapter. Here I shall consider four doctrines and difficulties, 
together with Catherine's attitude towards them: the soul's 
final fate, dependent upon the character of the will's act or 
active disposition at the moment of the body's death; the 
total moral perversion of the lost; the mitigation of their 
pains; and the eternity of their punishment. 
I. Eternity dependent on the earthly llfe's last moment. 
Now as to the soul's final fate being made dependent upon 
the character of that soul's particular act or disposition at the 



220 THE 
iYSTICAl, ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


last moment previous to death, this teaching, prominent in 
parts of the Trattato and V ita, goes back ultimately to Ezekiel, 
who, as Prof. Charles interestingly shows, introduces a double 
individualism into the older, Social and Organic, Eschatology 
of the Hebrew Prophets. For l\lan is seen, by him, as respons- 
ible for his own acts alone, and as himself working out 
separately his own salvation or his own doom; and this indi- 
vidual man again is looked at, not in his organic unity, but as 
repeating himself in a succession of separate religious acts. 
The individual act is taken to be a true expression of the 
whole man at the moment of its occurrence: and hence, if 
this act is ,vicked at the moment of the advent of the King- 
dom, the agent will rightfully be destroyed; but if it be 
righteous, he will be preserved. :L-Now the profound truth and 
genuine advance thus proclaimed, who can doubt them? And 
yet it is clear that the doctrine here is solidly true, only if 
taken as the explicitation and supplement, and even in part 
as the corrective, of the previously predominant teaching. 
Take the Ezekielian doctrine as complete, even for its own 
time, or as final over against the later, the Gospel depth of 
teaching, (with its union of the social body and of individual 
souls, and of the soul's single acts and of the general dis- 
position produced by and reacting upon these acts), and 
you get an all but solipsistic Individualism and an atomistic 
Psychology, and you offend Christianity and Science equally. 
I t is evident that Catherine, if she can fairly be taxed with 
what, if pressed, would, in her doctrine rather than in her life, 
be an excessive Individualism, is, in her general teaching and 
practice, admirably free from Psychological Atomism; indeed 
did any soul ever understand better the profound reality of 
habits, general dispositions, tones of mind and feeling and 
will, as distinct from the single acts that gradually build them 
up and that, in return, are encircled and coloured by them 
all? Her whole Purgatorial doctrine stands and falls by this 
distinction, and this although, with a profound self-know- 
ledge, she does not hesitate to make the soul express, in one 
particular act after death,-that of the Plunge,-an even 
deeper level of its true attitude of will and of its moral 
character than is constituted by those imperfect habits of 
the will, habits which it will take so much suffering and 
acceptance of suffering gradually to rectify. 


1 Ct'itical Histot'y oj the Doctt'ine oj a Future Life. 1 8 99. pp. 63. 64. 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEMS AND DOGTRINES 221 


Thus the passages in which Catherine seems to teach that 
God can and does, as it were, catch souls unawares, calling 
them away, and finally deciding their fate on occasion of any 
and every de facto volitional condition at the instant of 
death, however little expressive of the radical determination 
of that soul such an act or surface-state may be, will have, 
(even if they be genuine, and most of them have doubtlessly 
grown, perhaps have completely sprung up, under the pen of 
sermonizing scribes,) to be taken as hortatory, hence as partly 
hyperbolical. And such an admission will in nowise deny 
the possibility for the soul to express i ts deliberate and full 
disposition and determination in a single act or combination 
of acts; nor that the other-world effects will follow according 
to such deep, deliberate orientations of the character: it will 
only deny that, at any and every moment, any and every act 
of the soul sufficiently expresses its deliberate disposition. 
Certainly it is comparatively rarely that the soul exerts its 
full liberty, in an act of true, spiritual self-realization; and an 
analogous rarity cannot but be postulated by religious philo- 
sophy for contrary acts, of an approximately equal fulness of 
deliberation and accuracy of representation, with regard to 
the soul's volitional state. And yet the operative influence 
towards such rare, fully self-expressive acts of the right kind, 
and the aid towards similar, massive, and truly representative 
volitions of the wrong kind, afforded by even quite ordinary 
half-awake acts and habits of respectively good or evil quality 
are so undeniable, and it is so impossible to draw a general 
line as to where such wishes pass into full willings and 
deliberate states: that the prevalence of a hortatory attitude 
towards the whole subject is right and indeed inevitable. 
2. The reprobate will of the lost. 
As to Moral Perversion, the reprobate will of the lost, 
we find that Catherine approaches the question from two 
different, and at bottom, on this point, incompatible, systems; 
but some incidental and short sayings of hers give us sug- 
gesti ve hin ts towards a consistent position in this difficult 
matter. 
Catherine has a double approach. For, consistently with 
the strong Neo-Platonist, Dionysian strain in her mind, she 
frequently teaches and implies that Evil is the absence of 
Good, of Love, and nothing positive at all. In this case Evil 
would not only be less strong than good-only Manichaeans 
would maintain that they were equal-but, as against the 



222 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


constructive force of good, it would have no kind even of 
destructive strength. Varying amounts, degrees, and kinds of 
good, but good and only good, everywhere, would render all, 
even transitory, pollution of the soul, and all, even passing, 
purification of it, so much actual impossibility and theoretical 
superstition. All that survived at all, could but be good; 
and at most some good might be added, but no evil could be 
removed, since none \vould exist.- Y et all this is, of course, 
strongly denied and supplanted by the, at first sight, less 
beautiful, but far deeper and alone fully Christian, position of 
her specifically Purgatorial teaching. Here Evil is something 
positive, an active disposition, orientation, and attachment of 
the will; it is not without destructive force; and its cure is a 
positive change in that will and its habits, and not a mere 
addition of good. Yet it is plain that, even exclusively within 
the implications of this deeper conviction, there is no neces- 
sity to postulate unmixed evil in the disposition of any soul. 
In some the evil would be triumphing over the good; in 
others good would be triumphing over evil,-each over the 
other, in every degree of good or of evil, up to the all but 
complete extinction of all inclinations to evil or to good 
respecti vely. 
And Catherine has suggestive sayings. For one or two of 
them go, at least in their implications, beyond a declaration 
as to the presence of God's extrinsic mercy in Hell, a pres- 
ence indicated by a mitigation of the souls' sufferings to 
below what these souls deserve; and even beyond the 
Areopagite's insistence upon the presence of some real good 
in these souls, since he hardly gets beyond their continuous 
possession of those non-moral goods, existence, intelligence, 
and will-power.! For when she says, (( The ray of God's 
mercy shines even in Hell," she need not, indeed, mean more 
than that extrinsic mercy, and its effect, that mitigation. But 
when she declares: (( if a creature could be found that did not 
participate in the divine Goodness,-that creature would, as 
it were, be as malignant as God is good," we cannot, I think, 
a void applying this to the moral dispositions of such souls. 2 
Now I know that St. Thomas had already taught, in at 
first sight identical terms: (( Evil cannot exist (quite) pure 
without the admixture of good, as the Supreme Good exists 
free from all admixture of evil. . . . Those who are detained 


1 Divine Names, eh. iv. sees. xxiii, xxiv: Parker, pp. 61- 6 4. 
:I Vita, pp. 173b; 33 b . 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEl\fS AND DOCTRINES 223 


in Hell, are not bereft of all good" ; 1 and yet he undoubtedly 
maintained the complete depravation of the will's dispositions 
in these souls. And, again, after Catherine's first declaration 
there follo\v, (at least in the text handed do\vn in the Vita,) 
words which explain that extrinsic mercy, not as mitigating 
the finite amount of suffering due to the sinner, but as 
turning the infinite suffering due to the sinner's infinite 
malice, into a finite, though indefinite amount; and hence, 
in the second declaration, a corresponding interior mercy 
may be signified-God's grace preventing the sinner from 
being infinitely wicked. 
But Catherine, unlike St. Thomas, expressly speaks not 
only of Good and Evil, but of Good and Malignancy; and 
l\tlalignancy undoubtedly refers to dispositions of the will. 
And even if the words, now found as the sequel to the first 
saying, be authentic, they belong to a different occasion, and 
cannot be allowed to force the meaning of words spoken at 
another time. In this latter saying the words (( as it were" 
show plainly that she is not thinking of a possible infiniteness 
of human wickedness which has been changed, through God's 
mercy, to an actual finitude of evil; but is simply asking 
herself whether a man could be, not infinitely but wholly, 
malignant. For she answers that, were this possible, a man 
would (( as it were" be as malignant as God is good, and thus 
shows that the malignancy, which she denies, would only in a 
sense form a counterpart to God's benevolence: since, though 
the man would be as entirely malignant as God is entirely 
good, God would still remain infinite in His goodness as 
against the finitude of Man's wickedness. 
The difficulties of such a combination of convictions are, of 
course, numerous and great. Psychologically it seems hard 
to understand why this remnant of good disposition should 
be unable to germinate further and further good, so that, at 
last, good would leaven the whole soul. From the point of 
view of any Theodicy, it appears difficult to justify the un- 
ending exclusion of such a soul from growth in, and the 
acquirement of, a predominantly good will and the happiness 
that accompanies such a will. And the testimony of Our 
Lord Himself and of the general doctrine of the Church 
appear definitely opposed: for does not His solemn declara- 
tion : U Hell, where their worm dieth not" (Mark ix, 48), find 


1 Summa Theol., suppl.. quo 69, art. 7 ad 9. 



 



224 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


its authoritative interpretation in the common Church teach- 
ing as to the utterly reprobate will of the lost? And indeed 
Catherine herself, in her great saying that if but one little 
drop of Love could fall into Hell (that is, surely, if but the 
least beginning of a right disposition towards God could 
enter those souls) Hell would be turned into Heaven, seems 
clearly to endorse this position. 
And yet, we have full experience in this life of genuinely 
good dispositions being present, and yet not triumphing or 
even spreading within the soul; of such conditions being, in 
various degrees, our own fault; and of such defeat bringing 
necessarily with it more or less of keen suffering.-There 
would be no injustice if, after a full, good chance and sufficient 
aid had been given to the soul to actualize its capabilities of 
spiritual self-constitution, such a soul's deliberately sporadic, 
culpably non-predominant, good did not, even eventually, lead 
to the full satisfaction of that soul's essential cravings.-The 
saying attributed to Our Lord, which appears in St. Mark 
alone, is a pure quotation from Isaiah lxvi, 24 and Ecclesiasti- 
cus vii, 17, and does not seem to require more than an abiding 
distress of conscience, an eternal keenness of remorse. 
Again, the common Church-teaching is undoubtedly voiced 
by St. Thomas in the words, {( Since these souls are completely 
averse to the final end of right reason, they must be declared 
to be without any good will." Yet St. Thomas himself 
(partly in explanation of the Areopagite's words, {( the evil 
spirits desire the good and the best, namely, to be, to live, and 
to understand "), is obliged to distinguish between such souls' 
deliberate will and their (( natural will and inclination," and to 
proclaim that this latter, (( which is not from themselves but 
from the Author of nature, who put this inclination into 
nature. . . can indeed be good." 1 And, if we would not con- 
struct a scheme flatly contradictory of all earthly experience, 
we can hardly restrict the soul, even in the beyond, to entirely 
indeliberate, good inclinations, and to fully deliberate, bad 
volitions, but cannot help interposing an indefinite variety 
of inchoative energizings, half-wishes, and the like, and think- 
ing of these as mixed with good and evil. Indeed this con- 
clusion seems also required by the common teaching that the 
suffering there differs from soul to soul, and this because of 
the different degrees of the guilt: for such degrees depend 
1 Dionysius. Divine Names. ch. iv. sec. xxiü: Parker. p. 63. St. 
Thomas. Summa Theol.. suppl.. quo 98. art. I. in corp. 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEl\iS AND DOCTRINES 225 


undoubtedly even more upon the degree of deliberation and 
massiveness of the will than upon the degree of objective bad- 
ness in the deed, and hence can hardly fail to leave variously 
small or large fragments of more or less good and imperfectly 
deliberate wishings and energizings present in the soul. 
And finally Catherine's U little drop of Love" would, she 
says, U at once" turn Hell into Heaven, and hence cannot 
mean some ordinary good moral disposition or even such 
supernatural virtues as theological Faith and Hope, but Pure 
Love alone, which latter queen of all the virtues she is 
explicitly discussing there. Thus she in nowise requires the 
absence from these souls of a certain remnant of semi-deliberate 
virtue of a less exalted, and not necessarily regenerative kind. 
3. Mitigation of the sufferings of the lost. 
As to the l\iitigation of the Suffering, it is remarkable that 
Catherine, who has been so bold concerning the source of the 
pains, and the dispositions, of the lost souls, does not more 
explicitly teach such an alleviation. I say ({ remarkable," 
because important Fathers and Churches, that were quite un- 
infected by Origenism, have held and have acted upon such a 
doctrine. St. Augustine, in his Enchiridion (423 A.D. (?)) 
tells us that U in so far as " the Offering of the Sacrifice of the 
Altar and Alms U profit" souls in the beyond, (( they profit 
them by procuring a full remission (of the punishment), or at 
least that their damnation may become more tolerable." And 
after warning men against believing in an end to the suffer- 
ings of the lost, he adds: (( But let them consider, if they like, 
that the sufferings of the damned are somewhat mitigated 
during certain intervals of time." :L-Saints John Chrysostom 
and John Damascene, thoroughly orthodox Greek Fathers, 
and the deeply devout hymn-writer Prudentius among the 
Latins, teach similar doctrine; and in many ancient Latin 
missals, ranging from the eleventh to the fourteenth century, 
prayers for the Mitigation of the Sufferings of the Damned 
are to be found. 2 
Hence the great Jesuit Theologian Petau, though not him- 
self sharing this view, can declare: {{ Concerning such a 
breathing-time (respiratio) of lost souls, nothing certain has as 


1 Enchiridion, ex, ed. Ben., col. 403c; eXII, col. 404c. 
2 The passages here referred to will be found carefully quoted and dis- 
cussed in Petavius's great Dogmata Theologica, De Angelis, III, vili. 
16, 17. with Zaccaria's important note (ed. Fournials. 1866. Vol. IV. 
pp. 119- 121 ). 
VOL. II. g 



226 THE MYSTIGAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


yet been decreed by the Catholic Church, so that this opinion 
of most holy Fathers should not temerariously be rejected as 
absurd, even though it be foreign to the common opinion of 
Catholics in our time." 1 And the Abbé Emery, that great 
Catholic Christian, the second founder of St. Sulpice, who died 
in 1811, showed, in a treatise On the Mitigation of the Pains of 
the Dan'lned, that this view had also been held by certain 
Scholastic Theologians, and had been defended, without any 
opposition, by Mark of Ephesus, in the Sessions of the 
Council of Florence (1439 A.D.); and concluded that this 
doctrine was not contrary to the Catholic Faith and did not 
deserve any censure. The most learned Theologians in Rome 
found nothing reprehensible in this treatise, and Pope Pius 
VII caused his Theologian, the Barnabite General, Padre 
Fontana, to thank M. Emery for the copy sent by him to the 
Holy Father. 2 
Catherine herself cannot well have been thinking of any- 
thing but some such Mitigation when she so emphatically 
teaches that God's mercy extends even into Hell. Indeed, 
even the continuation of this great saying in the present 
V ita-text fonnally teaches such l\fitigation, yet practically 
withdraws it, by making it consist in a rebate and change, 
from an infinitude in degree and duration into a finitude in 
degree though not in duration. 3 But, as we have already 
found, this highly schematic statement is doubtless one of 
the later glosses, in which case her true meaning must 
have been substantially that of the Fathers referred to, viz. 
that the suffering, taken as anyhow finite in its degree, gets 
mercifully mitigated for these souls.-And, if she was here 
also faithful to her general principles, she will have con- 
ceived the mitigation, not as simply sporadic and arbitrary, 
but as more or less progressive, and connected with the 
presence in these souls of those various degrees of semi- 
voluntary good inclinations and wishes, required by her other 
saying. Even if these wishings could slowly and slightly 
increase, and the sufferings could similarly decrease, this 
would in nowise imply or require a final full rectification of 
the deliberate will itself, and hence not a complete extinction 
of the resultant suffering. Hell would still remain essentially 
1 Dogmata Theologica, Vol. IV. p. 120b. See also the interesting note 
in the Benedictine Edition of St. Augustine, Vol. VI, col. 403. 
I Vie de M. Emery, by M. Gosselin, Paris, 1862. Vol. II, pp. 322-324. 
· Vita (Trattato). p. 173b. 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEMS AND DOCTRINES 227 


distinct from Purgatory; for in Purgatory the deliberate, 
acti ve will is good from the first, and only the various semi- 
volitions and old habits are imperfect, but are being gradually 
brought into full harmony with that will, by the now com- 
plete willing of the soul; and hence this state has an end; 
whereas in Hell the deliberate, active will is bad from the 
first, and only various partially deliberate wishes and ten- 
dencies are good, but cannot be brought to fruition in a full 
virtuous determination of the dominant character of the soul, 
and hence this state has no end. 
4. The Endlessness of Hell. 
And lastly, as to the Endlessness of this condition of the 
Lost, it is, of course, plain that Catherine held this defined 
doctrine; and again, that (( the chief weight, in the Church- 
teaching as to Hell, rests upon Hell's Eternity." 1 
Here I would suggest five groups of considerations: 
(I) Precisely this Eternity appears to be the feature of all 
others which is ever increasingly decried by contemporary 
philosophy and liberal theology as impossible and revolting. 
Thus it is frequently argued as though, not the indiscriminate- 
ness nor the materiality nor the forensic externality nor the 
complete fixity of the sufferings, nor again the complete 
malignity of the lost were incredible, and hence the unending- 
ness of such conditions were impossible of acceptance; but, 
on the contrary, as though,-be the degree and nature of those 
sufferings conceived as ever so discriminated, spiritual, interior 
and relatively mobile, and as occasioned and accompanied by 
a disposition in which semi-voluntary good is present,-the 
simple assumption of anything unending or final about them, 
at once renders the whole doctrine impossible to believe. It 
is true that Tennyson and Browning take the doctrine simply 
in its popular Calvinistic form, and then reject it; and even 
John Stuart Mill and Frederick Denison l\faurice hardly con- 
sider the eternity separately. But certainly that thoughtful 
and religious-minded writer, Mr. W. R. Greg, brings forward 
the eternity-doctrine as, already in itself, (( a curiosa infelicitas 
which is almost stupidity on the part of the Church." 2 
(2) Yet it is plain how strongly, even in Mr. Greg's case, 
the supposed (local, physical, indiscrin1Ïnate, etc.) nature of 
the state affects the writer's judgment as to the possibility of 
its unendingness,-as indeed is inevitable. And it is even 
1 So Atzberger, in Scheeben's Dogmatik, Vol. IV (1903), p. 826. 
I Enigmas of Life. ed. 1892. p. 255. 



228 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


clearer, I think, that precisely this eternity-doctrine stands for 
a truth which is but an ever-present mysterious corollary to 
every deeply ethical or spiritual, and, above all, every speci- 
ficallyChristian view of life. For every such view comes, surely, 
into hopeless collision with its own inalienable requirements if 
it will hold that the deepest ethical and spiritual acts and con- 
di tions are, -a vowed] y performed though they be in time and 
space-simply temporary in their inmost nature and effects; 
whereas every vigorously ethical religion, in so far as it has 
reached a definite personal-immortality doctrine at all, cannot 
admit that the soul's deliberate character remains without any 
strictly final and permanent results. The fact is that we get 
here to a profound ethical and spiritual postulate, which 
cannot be adequately set aside on the ground that it is the 
product of barbarous ages and vindictive minds, since this 
objection applies only to the physical picturings, the indis- 
criminateness, non-mitigation, and utter reprobation; or on 
the ground that a long, keen purification, hence a temporally 
finite suffering, would do as well, since, when all this has com 
pletely passed away, there would be an entire obliteration 
of all difference in the consequences of right and wrong; or 
that acts and dispositions built up in time cannot have other 
than finite consequences, since this is to naturalize radically 
the deepest things of life; or finally that (( Evil," as the Areo- 
pagite would have it, (( is not,"! since thus the very existence 
of the conviction as to free-will and sin becomes more in- 
explicable than the theoretical difficulties against Libertarian- 
ism are insoluble.-Against this deep requirement of the most 
alert and complete ethical and spiritual life the wave of any 
Apocatastasis-doctrine or -emotion will, in the long run, ever 
break itself in vain. 
(3) The doctrine of Conditional Immortality has, I think, 
many undeniable advantages over every kind of Origenism. 
This view does not, as is often imputed to it, believe in the 
annihilation by Omnipotence of the naturally immortal souls 
of impenitent grave sinners; but simply holds that human 
souls begin with the capacity of acquiring, with the help 
of God's Spirit, a spiritual personality, built up out of the 
mere possibilities and partial tendencies of their highly mixed 
natures, which, if left uncultivated and untranscended, become 
definitely fixed at the first, phenomenal, merely individual 


1 Divine Nctm.es. ch. iv. sees. 23, 24: Parker, pp. 70. 71. 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEMS AND DOCTRINES 229 


level,-so that spiritual personality alone deserves to live on 
and does so, whilst this animal individuality does not deserve 
and does not do so. The soul is thus not simply born as, but 
can become more and more, that "inner man JJ who alone 
persists, indeed who" is renewed day by day, even though our 
outward man perish. JJ 1 
This conception thus fully retains, indeed increases, the 
profound ultimate difference between the results of spiritual 
and personal, and of animal and simply individual life re- 
spectively,-standing,as it does, at the antipodes to Origenism; 
it eliminates all unmoralized, unspiritualized elements from 
the ultimate world, without keeping souls in an apparently 
fruitless suffering; and it gives full emphasis to a supremely 
important, though continually forgotten fact,-the profoundly 
expensive, creative, positive process and nature of spiritual 
character. No wonder, then, that great thinkers and scholars, 
such as Goethe, Richard Rothe, Heinrich Holtzmann, and 
some Frenchmen and Englishmen have held this view. 2 
Yet the objections against this view, taken in its strictness, 
are surely conclusive. For how can an originally simply 
mortal substance, force, or entity become immortal, and a 
phenomenal nature be leavened by a spiritual principle 
which, ex hypothesi, is not present within it? And how 
misleadingly hyperbolical, according to this, would be the 
greatest spiritual exhortations, beginning with those of Our 
Lord Himself ! 
(4) And yet the conception of Conditional Immortality 
cannot be far from the truth, since everything, surely, points 
to a lowered consciousness in the souls in question, or at 
least to one lower than that in the ultimate state of the saved. 
This conception of the shrunken condition of these souls was 
certainly held by Catherine, even if the other, the view of a 
heightened, consciousness, appears in hortatory passages which 
just tnay be authentic; and indeed only that conception is 
conformable with her fundamental position that love alone is 
fully positive and alone gives vital strength, and that all fully 
deliberate love is absent from the lost souls. And if we 


1 2 Cor. iv, 16. 
2 See H. J. Holtzmann, Richard Rothe's Sþeculatives System, 1899, 
pp. 110. III; 123. 124;-Georg Class. Phãnomenologie und 011tologie des 
Menschlichen Geistes, 1896, pp. 220, 221 ;-and that strange mixture of 
stimulating thought, deep earnestness, and fantastic prejudice. Edward 
White's Life of Christ, ed. ):876. 



230 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


consider how predominantly hortatory in tone and object the 
ordinary teaching on this point cannot fail to be; and, on the 
other hand, how close to Manichaeism, any serious equating 
of the force and intensity of life and consciousness between 
the Saved and the Lost would be, we can hardly fail to find 
ourselves free, indeed compelled, to hold a lesser consciousness 
for the Lost than for the Saved. Whilst the joyful life of the 
Saved would range, in harmonious intensity, beyond all that 
we can experience here, the painful consciousness of the Lost 
would be, in various degrees, indefinitely less. The Saved 
would thus not be only other than the Lost, they would 
actually be 'Inore: for God is Life supreme, and, where there 
is m
re affinity with God, there is more life, and more 
conSCIousness. 
(5) But, if the view just stated is the more likely one, then 
we cannot soften the sufferings of those souls, by giving them 
a sense of Eternity, of one unending momentary Now, instead 
of our earthly sense of Succession, as Cardinal Newman and 
Father Tyrrell have attempted to do, in a very instructive 
and obviously orthodox manner. 1 I shall presently argue 
strongly in favour of some consciousness of Eternity being 
traceable in our best moments here, and of this consciousness 
being doubtless more extended in the future blessed life. 
But here I have only to consider whether for one who, like 
Catherine, follows the analogy of earthly experience, the Lost 
should be considered nearer to, or further from, such a T otum- 
Simul consciousness than we possess now, here below, at our 
best? And to this the answer must, surely, be that they are 
further away from it. Yet God in His Mercy may allow this 
greater successiveness, if unaccompanied by any keen memory 
or prevision, to help in effecting that mitigation of the 
suffering which we have already allowed. 


IV. CATHERINE AND PURGATORY. 
I. Introductory. 
(1) Changed feeling concerning Purgatory. 
In the matter of a Purgatory, a very striking return of 
religious feeling towards its normal equilibrium has been 
occurring in the most unexpected, entirely unprejudiced 
I Grammar of Assent. 187c p. 417- Hard Sayings, 18g8. p. 113. 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEMS AND DOCTRINES 23I 
quarters, within the last century and a half. In Germany 
we have Lessing, who, in the wake of Leibniz, encourages the 
acceptance of " that middle state which the greater part of 
our fellow-Christians have adopted": Schleiermacher, who 
calls the overpassing of a middle state by a violent leap at 
death" amagicalproceeding"; DavidF. Strauss, who entirely 
agrees; Carl von Hase, who, in his very Manual of Anti- 
Roman Polemics admits that" most men when they die are 
probably too good for Hell, but they are certainly too bad 
for Heaven"; the delicately thoughtful philosopher Fechner 
who, in the most sober-minded of his religious works, insists 
upon our" conceiving the life beyond according to the analogy 
of this-life conditions," and refers wistfully to It the belief 
which is found amongst all peoples and is quite shrunken 
only among Protestants-that the living can still do some- 
thing to aid the dead"; and Prof. Anrich, probably the 
greatest contemporary authority on the Hellenic elements 
incorporated in Christian doctrine, declares, all definite 
Protestant though he is, that" legitimate religious postulates 
underlie the doctrine of Purgatory." 1 And in England that 
sensitively religious Unitarian, W. R. Greg, tells us" Purgatory, 
ranging from a single day to a century of ages, offers that 
borderland of discriminating retribution for which justice and 
humanity cry out"; and the Positivist, John Stuart Mill, 
declares at the end of his life: It All the probabilities in case 
of a future life are that such as we have been made or have 
made ourselves before the change, such we shall enter into 
the life hereafter. . . . To imagine that a miracle will be 
wrought at death. . . making perfect everyone whom it is 
His will to include among His elect . . . is utterly opposed 
to every presumption that can be adduced from the light of 
nature. JJ 2 
(2) Causes of the previous prefudice. 
Indeed the general principle of ameliorative suffering is so 


1 G. E. Lessing, "Leibniz von den Ewigen Strafen," in Lessing'& 
Såmmtliche We"ke, ed. Lachmann-Muncker, 1895, Vol. XI. p. 486. D. F. 
Strauss, Die ch"istliche Glaubenslehre, 1841. Vol. II, pp. 684, 685. Carl 
von Hase, Ha11dbuch de" protesta11tischen Polemik, ed. 1864, p. 422. 
G. T. Fechner. Die d"ei G"ünde und Motive des Glaubens, 186 3, pp. 146. 
147, 177. G. Anrich, II Clemens und Origenes. als Begründer der Lehre 
vom Fegfeuer/. in Theologische Abhandlungen fü" H. J. Holtzmann. 1902. 
p. 120. 
2 W. R. Greg, Enigmas of LiJe, ed. 1892. pp. 256. 257, 259. J. S. Mill. 
Three Essays on Religion. ed. 1874, p. 211. 


. 



 



232 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


obviously true and inexhaustibly profound that only many, 
long-lived abuses in the practice, and a frequent obscura- 
tion in the teaching, of the doctrine, can explain and excuse 
the sad neglect, indeed discredit, inte> which the very principle 
and root-doctrine has fallen among well-nigh one-half of 
Western Christendom. As to the deplorably widespread 
existence, at the time of the Protestant Reformation, of both 
these causes, which largely occasioned or strengthened each 
other, we have the unimpeachable authority of the Council 
of Trent itself: for it orders the Bishops It not to permit 
that uncertain doctrines, or such as labour under the pre- 
sumption of falsity, be propagated and taught," and It to 
prohibit, as so many scandals and stones of stumbling for the 
faithful, whatever belongs to a certain curiosity or superstition 
or savours of filthy lucre." 1 The cautious admissions of the 
strictly Catholic scholar-theologian, Dr. N. Paulus, and the 
precise documentary additions and corrections to Paulus 
furnished, directly from the contemporary documents, by the 
fair-minded Protestant worker at Reformation History, Prof. 
T. Brieger, now furnish us, conjointly, with the most vivid 
and detailed picture of the sad subtleties and abuses which 
gave occasion to that Decree. 2 
(3) Catherine's þurgatorial conceptions avoid those causes. 
Her conceptions harbour two currents of thought. 
It is surely not a small recommendation of Catherine's 
mode of conceiving Purgatory, that it cuts, as we shall see, at 
the very root of those abuses. Yet we must first face certain 
opposite dangers and ambiguities which are closely intertwined 
with the group of terms and images taken over, for the 
purpose of describing an immanental Purgation, by her and 
her great Alexandrian Christian predecessors, from the Greek 
Heathen world. And only after the delimitation of the 
defect in the suggestions which still so readily operate from 
out of these originally Hellenic ideas, can we consider the 
difficulties and imperfections peculiar to the other, in modem 
times the predominant, element in the complete teaching as 
to the Middle State, an element mostly of Jewish and Roman 
provenance, and aiming at an extrinsically punitive concep- 
tion. Both currents can be properly elucidated only if we 
first take them historically. 


1 Sess. XXV, Decret. de Purgatorio. med. 
I N. Paulus. Johann Tetzel. 1899. Brieger's review. Theologische 
Literatur-Zeitung. 1900, colI. 117. 118. 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEMS AND DOCTRINES 233 
I. Jewish prayers for the dead. 
It is admitted on all hands that, in the practical form 
of Prayers for the Dead, the general doctrine of a Middle 
State can be traced back, in Judaism, up to the important 
passage in the Second Book of Maccabees, c. xii, vv. 43-45, 
where Judas Maccabaeus sends about two thousand drachms 
of silver to Jerusalem, in order that a Sin-Offering may be 
offered up for the Jews fallen in battle against Gorgias, upon 
whose bodies heathen amulets had been found. U He did 
excellently in this . . . it is a holy and devout thought. 
Hence he instituted the Sin-Offering for the dead, that they 
might be loosed from their sins." That battle occurred in 
166 B.C., and this book appears to have been written in 
124 B.C., in Egypt, by a Jew of the school of the Pharisees. 
Now it is difficult not to recognize, in the doctrinal com- 
ment upon the facts here given, rather as yet the opinions of 
a J udaeo-Alexandrian circle, which was small even at the time 
of the composition of the comment, than the general opinion 
of Judaism at the date of Judas's act. For if this act had 
been prompted by a clear and generally accepted conviction 
as to the resurrection, and the efficacy of prayers for the dead, 
the writer would have had no occasion or inclination to make 
an induction of his own as to the meaning and worth of that 
act; and we should find some indications of such a doctrine 
and practice in the voluminous works of Philo and Josephus, 
some century and a half later on. But all such indications 
are wanting in these writers. 
And in the New Testament there is, with regard to helping 
the dead, only that curious passage: U If the dead are not 
raised at all, why then are they baptized for them? " 1 
where St. Paul refers, without either acceptance or blame, to 
a contemporary custom among Christian Proselytes from 
Paganism, who offered up that bath of initiation for the 
benefit of the souls of deceased relatives who had died without 
any such purification. Perhaps not till Rabbi Akiba's time, 
about 130 A.D., had prayers for the dead become part of the 
regular Synagogue ritual. By 200 A.D. Tertullian speaks of 
the practice as of an established usage among the Christian 
communities: U we make oblations for the Dead, on their 
anniversary, every year"; although U if you ask where is the 
law concerning this custom in Scripture, you cannot read of 


I I Cor. xv. 29. 



234 THE MYSTICAL ELE
fENT OF RELIGION 


any such there. Tradition will appear before you as its 
initiator, custom as its confirmer, and faith as its observer." 1 
It is interesting to note how considerably subsequent to the 
practice is, in this instance also, its clear doctrinal justification. 
Indeed the Jews are, to this hour, extraordinarily deficient 
in explicit, harmonious conceptions on the matter. Certainly 
throughout Prof. W. Bacher's five volumes of Sayings of the 
Jewish Rabbis from 30 B.C. to 400 A.D., I can only find the 
following saying, by Jochanan the Amoraean, who died 
279 A.D.: It There are three books before God, in which men are 
inscribed according to their merit and their guilt: that of the 
perfectly devout, that of the perfect evil-doers, and that of the 
middle, the uncertain souls. The devout and the evil-doers 
receive their sentence on New Year's day. . . the first, unto 
life; the second, unto death. As to middle souls, their 
sentence remains in suspense till the day of Atonement: if 
by then they have done penance, they get written down 
alongside of the devout; if not, they are written down along- 
side of the evil-doers." 2 
2. Alexandrine Fathers on Purgatory. 
Yet it is the Platonizing Alexandrian Fathers Clement and 
Origen (they died, respectively, in about 215 A.D. and in 254 
A.D.), who are the first, and to this hour the most important, 
Christian spokesmen for a state of true intrinsic purgation. 
\Ve have already deliberately rejected their Universalism; 
but this error in no way weakens the profound truth of their 
teaching as to the immanental, necessary interconnection 
between suffering and morally imperfect habits, and as to the 
ameliorative effects of suffering where, as in Purgatory, it is 
willed by a right moral determination. Thus Clement: It As 
children at the hands of their teacher or father, so also are we 
punished by Providence. God does not avenge Himself, for 
vengeance is to repay evil by evil, but His punishment aims 
at our good." It Although a punishment, it is an emendation 
of the soul." It The training which men call punishments." 3 
And Origen: It The fury of God's vengeance profits unto the 
purification of souls; the punishment is unto purgation." 
1 De Corona. III. IV. See M. Salomon Reinach's interesting paper. 
u l'Origine des Prières pour les Morts," in Cultes, Mythes. et Religions. 
19 0 5, pp. 3 1 6-331. 
2 W. Bacher. Die Agada det' palästinenischen Amorãet'. Vol. I, 1892. 
p. 33 1 . 
3 Strom.. VII, 26 (Migne, Set'. Gt'aec, Vol. IX, col. 541); I. 26 (ibid. 
Vol. VIII. col. 916); VII. 26 (ibid. Vol. IX. col. 540). 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEMS AND DOCTRINES 235 


" These souls receive, in the prison, not the retribution of 
their folly, bu t a benefaction in the purification from the 
evils contracted in that folly,-a purification effected by 
means of salutary troubles." 1 
Now Clement is fully aware of the chief source for his 
formulation of these deeply spiritual and Christian instincts 
and convictions. "Plato speaks well when he teaches that 
( men who are punished, experience in truth a benefit: for 
those who get justly punished, profit through their souls 
becoming better.' "2 But Plato, in contradistinction from 
Clement, holds that this applies only to such imperfect souls 
as " have sinned curable sins "; he has a Hell as well as a 
Purgatory: yet his Purgatory, as Clement's, truly purges: the 
souls are there because they are partially impure, and they 
cease to be there when they are completely purified. 
And Plato, in his turn, makes no secret as to whence he got 
his suggestions and raw materials, viz. the Orphic priesthood 
and its literature, which, ever since the sixth century B.C., had 
been succeeding to and supplanting the previous Orgiastic 
Dionysianism. 3 Plato gives us vivid pictures of their doings 
in Athens, at the time of his writing, in about 380 B.C. 
" Mendicant prophets go to rich men's doors, and persuade 
these men that they have a power committed to them of 
making an atonement for their sins, or for those of their 
fathers, by sacrifices and incantations. . . and they persuade 
whole cities that expiations and purifications of sin may be 
made by sacrifices and amusements which fill a vacant hour, 
and are equally at the service of the living and the dead." '- 
Yet from these men, thus scorned as well-nigh sheer impostors, 
Plato takes over certain conceptions and formulations which 
contribute one of the profoundest, still unexhausted elements 
to his teaching,-although this element is, at bottom, in 
conflict with that beautiful but inadequate, quite anti-Orphic, 
conception of his-the purely negative character of Evil. 
For the Orphic literary remains, fragmentary and late though 
they be, plainly teach that moral or ritual transgressions are 
a defilement of the soul, an infliction of positive stains upon 
it; that these single offences and II spots" produce a generally 


1 De Princ.. II, 10. 6. De Orat., XXIX, p. 263. 
I Paedag., I, 8, p. 51; and Plato. Gorgias. p. 477a. 
a I owe here almost everything to the truly classical account in Rohde.s 
Psyche. ed. 1898, Vol. II, pp. 1-136. 
& Republic, II. p. 364b. c, I. 


. 


.. 



236 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


sinful and It spotted" condition; and that this condition is 
amenable to and requires purification by suffering,-water, or 
more frequently fire, which wash or burn out these stains of 
sin. So Plutarch (who died about 120 A.D.) still declares that 
the souls in" Hades have stains of different colours according 
to the different passions; and the object of the purificatory 
punishment is " that, these stains having been worn away, 
the soul may become altogether resplendent." And Virgil, 
when he declares" the guilt which infects the soul is washed 
out or burnt out. . . until a long time-span has effaced the 
clotted stain, and leaves the heavenly conscience pure" : is 
utilizing an Orphic-Pythagorean Hades-book. 1 
This conception of positive stains is carefully taken over 
by the Alexandrian Fathers: Clement speaks of " removing, 
by continuous prayer, the stains ("'TJÀíôaç) contracted through 
former sins," and declares that "the Gnostic," the perfect 
Christian, " fears not death, having purified himself from all 
the spots (U7ríÀovç) on his soul." And Origen describes It the 
pure soul that is not weighed down by leaden weights of 
wickedness," where the spots have turned to leaden pellets 
such as were fastened to fishing-nets. Hence, says Clement, 
" post-baptismal sins have to be purified out" of the soul; 
and, says Origen, " these rivers of fire are declared to be of 
God, who causes the evil that is mixed up with the whole 
soul to disappear from out of it." 2 
In Pseudo-Dionysius the non-Orphic, purely negative, view 
prevails: "Evi] is neither in demons nor in us as an existent 
evil, but as a failure and dearth in the perfection of our own 
proper goods." And St. Thomas similarly declares that 
" different souls have correspondingly different stains, like 
shadows differ in accordance with the difference of the bodies 
which interpose themselves between the light." 3 
But Catherine, in this inconsistent with her own general 
Privation-doctrine, again conceives the stain, the It macchia 
del peccato," as Cardinal Manning has acutely observed, not 
simply as a deprivation of the light of glory, but" as the cause, 
not the effect, of God's not shining into the soul" : it includes 


1 I take these passages from Anrich's Clemens und Origenes. Ope cit. 
p. 102, n. 5. 
2 Clemens, Strom., V, 3, p. 236. Origen, Contra Cels.. VII. 13. Clemens. 
Strom., IV, 24. Origen, Contra Cels.. IV. 13. 
I Dionysius, Divine Names, ch. iv. sec. 24: Parker. p. 64. St. Thomas. 
$umma Theol.. I, ü. quo 86. art. 1 ad 3 et conc!. 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEMS AND DOCTRINES 237 


in it the idea of an imperfection, weakness with regard to 
virtue, bad (secondary) dispositions, and unheavenly tastes. l 
3. The true and the false in the OrPhic conception. 
Now precisely in this profoundly true conception of Positive 
Stain there lurk certain dangers, which all proceed from the 
original Orphic diagnosis concerning the source of these 
stains, and these dangers will have to be carefully guarded 
against. 
(I) The conviction as to the purificatory power of fire 
was no doubt, originally, the direct consequence from the 
Orphic belief as to the intrinsically staining and imprisoning 
effect of the body upon the soul. It The soul, as the Orphics 
say, is enclosed in the body, in punishment for the punishable 
acts"; II liberations" from the body, and II purifications" of 
the living and the dead, ever, with them, proceed together. 
And hence to burn the dead body was considered to purify 
the soul that had been stained by that prison-house: the slain 
Clytemnestra, says Euripides, II is purified, as to her body, by 
fire," for, as the Scholiast explains, II fire purifies all things, 
and burnt bodies are considered holy." 2 And such an 
intensely anti-body attitude we find, not only fully developed 
later on into a deliberate anti- Incarnational doctrine, among 
the Gnostics, but, as we have already seen, slighter traces of 
this same tone may be found in the (doubtless Alexandrian) 
Book of Wisdom, and in one, not formally doctrinal passage, 
a momentary echo of it, in St. Paul himself. And Catherine's 
attitude is generally, and often strongly, in this direction. 
(2) A careful distinction is evidently necessary here. The 
doctrine that sin defiles,-affects the quality of the soul's 
moral and spiritual dispositions, and that this defilement and 
perversion, ever occasioned by the search after facile pleasure 
or the flight from fruitful pain, can normally be removed, and 
corrected only by a long discipline of fully accepted, gradually 
restorative pain, either here, or hereafter, or both: are pro- 
found anticipations, and have been most rightly made integral 
parts, of the Christian life and conception. The doctrine that 
the body is essentially a mere accident or superaddition or 
necessary defilement to the soul, is profoundly untrue, in its 
exaggeration and one-sidedness: for if the body is the occasion 
of the least spiritual of our sins, it can and should become the 
1 Treatise on PUf'gatory, by St. Catherine of Genoa, ed. 1880, p. 31. 
I Plato. Cratylus, p. 400c. Republic, II, p. 364e. Euripides. Of'estes, 
XXX. seg., with Schol. Rohde. Ope cit.. Vol. II. p. 101. n. 2. 


, 



238 11-IE 
f'{STICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


chief servant of the spirit; the slow and difficult training of 
this servant is one of the most important means of develop- 
ment for the soul itself; and many faults and vices are not 
occasioned by the body at all, whilst none are directly and 
necessarily caused by it. Without the body, we should not have 
impurity, but neither should we have specifically human purity 
of soul; and without it, given the persistence and activity of 
the soul, there could be as great, perhaps greater, pride and 
soliPsisnl, the most anti-Christian of all the vices. Hence if, 
in Our Lord's teaching, we find no trace of a Gnostic desire 
for purification from all things bodily as essentially soul- 
staining, we do find a profound insistence upon purity of 
heart, and upon the soul's real, active" turning," conversion, 
(an interior change from an un- or anti-moral attitude to an 
ethical and spiritual dependence upon God), as a sine qua non 
condition for entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven. And 
the Joannine teachings re-affirm this great truth for us as a 
Metabasis, a moving from Death over to Life. 
4. Catherine's conceptions as to the character of the stains and 
of their þurgation. 
And this idea, as to intrinsic purgation through suffering 
of impurities contracted by the soul, can be kept thoroughly 
Christian, if we ever insist, with Catherine in her most 
emphatic and deepest teachings, that Purgation can and 
should be effected in this life, hence in the body,-in and 
through all the right uses of the body, as well as in and 
through all the legitimate and will-strengthening abstentions 
from such uses; that the subject-matter of such purgation are 
the habits and inclinations contrary to our best spiritual Jights, 
and which we have largely ourselves built up by our variously 
perverse or slothful acts, but which in no case are directly 
caused by the body, and in many cases are not even occa- 
sioned by it; and, finally, that holiness consists primarily, 
not in the absence of faults, but in the presence of spiritual 
force, in Love creative, Love triumphant,-the soul becoming 
flame rather than snow, and dwelling upon what to do, 
give and be, rather than upon what to shun.-Catherine's 
predominant, ultimate tone possesses this profound positive- 
ness, and corrects all but entirely whatever, if taken alone, 
would appear to render the soul's substantial purity impossible 
in this life; to constitute the body a direct and necessary 
cause of impurity to the soul; and to find the ideal of per- 
fection in the negative condition of being free from stain. 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEMS AND DOCTRINES 239 
In her greatest sayings, and in her actual life, Purity is found 
to be Love, and this Love is exercised, not only in the inward, 
home-coming, recollective movement,-in the purifying of the 
soul's dispositions, but also in the outgoing, world-visiting, 
dispersive movement,-in action towards fellow-souls. 
5. ] udaeo-Roman conception of Purgatory. 
And this social side and movement brings us to the second 
element and current in the complete doctrine of a Middle 
State,-aconstituentwhich possesses affinities and advantages, 
and produces excesses and abuses, directly contrary to those 
proper to the element of an intrinsic purgation. 
(I) Here we get early Christian utilizations, for purposes of 
a doctrine concerning the Intermediate State, of sayings and 
images which dwell directly only upon certain extrinsic 
consequences of evil-doing, or which, again, describe a future 
historical and social event,-the Last Day. For already 
Origen interprets, in his beautiful Treatise on Prayer, XXIX, 
16, Our Lord's words as to the debtor: H And thou be cast 
into prison . . . thou shalt by no means come out thence, till 
thou hast paid the last farthing," Matt. v, 25, 26, as 
applying to Purgatory. And in his Contra Celsu1n, VII, 13, 
he already takes, as the Biblical locus classicus for a Purgatory, 
St. Paul's words as to how men build, upon the one foundation 
Christ, either gold, silver, gems, or wood, hay, stubble; and 
how fire will test each man's work; and, if the work remain, 
he shall receive a reward, but if it be burnt, he shall suffer 
loss and yet he himself shall be saved yet so as by fire, I Cor. 
iii, 10-15. It appears certain, however, that St. Paul is, in this 
passage, thinking directly of the Last Day, the End of the 
World, with its accompaniment of physical fire, and as to 
how far the various human beings, then on earth, will be able 
to endure the dread stress and testing of that crisis; and he 
holds that some will be fit to bear it and some will not. 
Such a destruction of the world by fire appears elsewhere in 
Palestinian Jewish literature,-in the Book of Enoch and the 
Testament of Levi; and in the New Testament, in 2 Peter 
iii, 12: H The heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the 
elements shall melt with fervent heat." Josephus, Antiquities, 
XI, ii, 3, teaches a destruction by fire and another by water. 
And the Stoics, to whom also Clement and Origen appeal, 
had gradually modified their first doctrine of a simply cos- 
mological Ekpyräsis, a renovation of the physical universe by 
fire, into a moral purification of the earth, occasioned by, and 



240 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


applied to, the sinfulness of man. Thus Seneca has the 
double, water-and-fire, instrument: U At that time the tide I} of 
the sea U will be borne along free from all measure, for the 
same reason which will cause the future conflagration. Both 
occur when it seems fit to God to initiate a better order of 
things and to have done with the old. . . . The judgment of 
mankind being concluded, the primitive order of things will 
be recalled, and to the earth will be re-given man innocent 
of crimes." 1 
(2) It is interesting to note how-largely under the influence 
of the forensic temper and growth of the Canonical Penitential 
system, and of its successive relaxations in the fonn of sub- 
stituted lighter good works, Indulgences,-the Latin half of 
Christendom, ever more social and immediately practical than 
the Greek portion, came, in general, more and more to dwell 
upon two ideas suggested to their minds by those two, Gospel 
and Pauline, passages. The one idea was that souls which, 
whilst fundamentally well-disposed, are not fit for Heaven at 
the body's death, can receive instant purification by the 
momentary fire of the Particular Judgment; and the other 
held that, thus already entirely purified and interiorly fit for 
Heaven, they are but detained (in what we ought, properly, to 
tenn a Satisfactoriu11t), to suffer the now completely non- 
ameliorative, simply vindictive, infliction of punishment,-a 
punishment still, in strict justice, due to them for past sins, of 
which the guilt and the deteriorating effects upon their own 
souls have been fully remitted and cured. 
In this way it was felt that the complete unchangeableness 
of the çondition of every kind of soul after death, or at least 
after the Particular Judgment (a Judgment held practically 
to synchronize with death), was assured. And indeed how 
could there be any interior growth in Purgatory, seeing that 
there is no meriting there? Again it was thought that thus 
the vision of God at the moment of Judgment was given an 
operative value for the spiritual amelioration of souls which, 
already in substantially good dispositions, could hardly be 
held to pass through so profound an experience without 
intrinsic improvement, as the other view seemed to hold.- 
And, above all, this form of the doctrine was found greatly to 
favour the multiplication among the people of prayers, Masses 
and good-works for the dead; since the 1nodus operandi of 


1 N atur. quaest. III. 28. 7; 30. 7. 8. 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEMS AND DOCTRINES 24 1 


such acts seemed thus to become entirely clear, simple, 
immediate, and, as it were, measurable and mechanical. For 
these souls in their" Satisfactorium," being, from its very 
beginning, already completely purged and fit for Heaven,- 
God is, as it were, free to relax at any instant, in favour of 
sufficiently fervent or numerous intercessions, the exigencies 
of his entirely extrinsic justice. 
(3) The position of a purely extrinsic punishment is 
emphasized, with even unusual vehemence, in the theological 
glosses inserted, in about 1512 to 1529, in Catherine's 
Dicchiaraz'Z.one. Yet it is probably the very influential Jesuit 
theologian Francesco Suarez, who died in 1617, who has done 
most towards formulating and theologically popularizing this 
view. All the guilt of sin, he teaches, is remitted (in these 
Middle souls) at the first moment of the soul's separation 
from the body, by means of a single act of contrition, whereby 
the will is wholly converted to God, and turned away from 
every venial sin. "And in this way sin may be remitted, as 
to its guilt, in Purgatory, because the soul's purification dates 
from this moment" ;-in strictness, from before the first 
moment of what should be here termed the H Satisfactorium." 
As to bad habits and vicious inclinations, H we ought not to 
imagine that the soul is detained for these" : but " they are 
either taken away at the moment of death, or expelled by an 
infusion of the contrary virtues when the soul enters into 
glory." 1 This highly artificial, inorganic view is adopted, 
amongst other of our contemporary theologians, by Atzberger, 
the continuator of Scheeben. 2 
6. The ]udaeo-Ro1nan conception must be taken in synthesis 
w'ith the Alexandrine. 
Now it is plain that the long-enduring Penitential system 
of the Latin Church, and the doctrine and practice of Indul- 
gences stand for certain important truths liable to being 
insufficiently emphasized by the Greek teachings concerning 
an intrinsically ameliorative Purgatorium, and that there can 
be no question of simply eliminating these truths. But 
neither are they capable of simple co-ordination with, still 
less of super-ordination to, those most profound and spiritually 
central immanental positions. As between the primarily 
forensic and governmental, and the directly ethical and 
spiritual, it will be the former that will have to be conceived 
1 Disp. XI, Sec. iv, art. 2, 

 13, 10; Disp. XLVII. Sec. i, art. 6. 
I Scheeben's Dogmatik. Vol. IV, 1903, pp. 856 (No. 93). 723. 
VOL. II. R 


, 



242 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


and practised as, somehow, an expression and amplification 
of, and a practical corrective and means to, the latter. 1 
(I) The ordinary, indeed the strictly obligatory, Church teach- 
ing clearly marks the suggested relation as the right one, at 
three, simply cardinal points. We are bound, by the Confes- 
sion of Faith of Michael Palaeologus, I267 A.D., and by the 
Decree of the Council of Florence, I429 A.D., to hold that 
these Middle souls (( are purged after death by purgatorial or 
cathartic pains"; and by that of Trent U that there is a 
Purgatory." 2 Yet we have here a true lucus a non lucendo, if 
this place or state does not involve purgation: for no theologian 
dares explicitly to transfer and restrict the name U Purgatory" 
to the instant of the soul's Particular Judgment; even 
Suarez, as we have seen, has to extend the name somehow. 
Next we are bound, by the same three great Decrees, to 
hold indeed that (( the Masses, Prayers, Alms, and other pious 
offices of the Faithful Living are profitable towards the relief 
of these pains," yet this by mode of U suffrage," since, as the 
severely orthodox Jesuit, Father H. Hurter, explains in his 
standard Theologiae Dog111aticae C o1npendiu1n, U the fruit of 
this impetration and satisfaction is not infallible, for it depends 
upon the merciful acceptance of God." 3 Hence in no case 
can we, short of superstition, conceive such good works as 
operating automatically: so that the a priori simplest view 
concerning the mode of operation of these prayers is declared 
to be mistaken. We can and ought, then, to choose among 
the conceptions, not in proportion to their mechanical sim- 
plicity, but according to their spiritual richness and to their 
analogy with our deepest this-life experiences. 
And we are all bound, by the Decree of Trent and the 
Condemnation of Baius, I567 A.D., to hold that Contrition 
springing from Perfect Love reconciles man with God, even 
before Confession, and this also outside of cases of necessity or 
of martyrdom:' Indeed, it is the common doctrine that one 
single act of Pure Love abolishes, not only Hell, but Purgatory, 
so that, if the soul were to die whilst that act was in operation, 


1 See Abbé Boudhinon's careful article, .. Sur l'Histoire des Indul- 
gences," Revue d' Histoire et de Littérature Religieuses, 1 8 9 8 , pp. 435-455, 
for a vivid illustration of the necessity of explaining the details of this 
doctrine and practice by history of the most patient kind. 
,. Denzinger, Enchiridion, ed. 1888, Nos. 3 8 7, 5 88 , 859. 
a Denzinger, ibid., Hurter, op. cit. ed. 1893, Vol. III, p. 591. 
· Denzinger, ibid.. ed. 1888, Nos. 77 8 , 951. 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEMS AND DOCTRINES 243 
it would forthwith be in Heaven. If then, in case of perfect 
purity, the soul is at once in heaven, the soul cannot be quite 
pure and yet continue in Purgatory. 
(2) It is thus plain that, as regards Sin in its relation to the 
Sinner, there are, in strictness, ever three points to consider: 
the guilty act, the reflex effect of the act upon the disposition 
of the agent, and the punishment; for all theologians admit 
that the more or less bad disposition, contracted through the 
sinful act, remains in the soul, except in the case of Perfect 
Contrition, after the guilt of the act has been remitted. But 
whilst the holders of an Extrinsic, Vindictive Purgatory, work 
for a punishment as independent as possible of these moral 
effects of sin still present in the pardoned soul, the advocates 
of an Intrinsic, Ameliorative Purgatory find the punishment 
to centre in the pain and difficulty attendant upon U getting 
slowly back to fully virtuous dispositions, through retracing 
the steps we have taken in departing from it." 1 And the 
system of Indulgences appears, in this latter view, to find its 
chief justification in that it keeps up a link with the past 
Penitential system of the Church; that it vividly recalls 
and applies the profound truth of the interaction, for good 
even more than for evil, between all human souls, alive and 
dead; and that it insists upon the readily forgotten truth of 
even the forgiven sinner, the man with the good determination, 
having ordinarily still much to do and to suffer before he is 
quit of the effects of his sin. 
(3) And the difficulties and motives special to those who 
supplant the Intrinsic, Ameliorating Purgatory by an Extrinsic, 
Vindicative Satísfactoríu1n, can indeed be met by those who 
would preserve that beautifully dynamic, ethical, and spiritual 
conception. For we can hold that the fundamental condi- 
tion,-the particular determination of theactivewill,-remains 
quite unchanged, from Death to Heaven, in these souls; that 
this determination of the active will requires more or less of 
time and suffering fully to permeate and assimilate to itself 
all the semi-voluntary wishes and habits of the soul; and 
that this permeation takes place among conditions in which 
the soul's acts are too little resisted and too certain of suc- 
cess to be constituted meritorious. We can take Catherine's 
beautiful Plunge-conception as indicating the kind of opera- 
tion effected in and by the soul, at and through the momentary 
vision of God. And we can feel convinced that it is ever, in 
1 Cardinal Manning in Treatise. ed. cit. p. 31. 


.. 



244 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 
the long run, profoundly dangerous to try to clarify and simplify 
doctrines beyond or against the scope and direction of the 
analogies of Nature and of Grace, which are ever so dynamic 
and organic in type: for the poor and simple, as truly as the 
rich and learned, ever require, not to be merely taken and left 
as they are, but to be raised and trained to the most adequate 
conceptions possible to each.-It is, in any case, very certain 
that the marked and widespread movement of return to belief 
in a Middle State is distinctly towards a truly Purgative Pur- 
gatory, although few of these sincere truth-seekers are aware, 
as is Dr. Anrich, that they are groping after a doctrine all 
but quite explained away by a large body of late Scholastic 
and Neo-Scholastic theologians. 1 
(4) Yet it is very satisfactory to note how numerous, and 
especially how important are, after all is said, the theologians 
who have continued to walk, in this matter, in the footsteps 
of the great Alexandrines. St. Gregory of Nyssa teaches a 
healing of the soul in the beyond and a purification by fire. 2 
St. Augustine says that (( fire bums up the work of him who 
thinketh of the things of this world, since possessions, that 
are loved, do not perish without pain on the part of their 
possessor. It is not incredible that something of this sort 
takes place after this Hfe." 3 
St. Thomas declares most plainly: II Venial guilt, in a soul 
which dies in a state of grace, is remitted after this life by 
the purging fire, because that pain, which is in some manner 
accepted by the will, has, in virtue of grace, the power of 
expiating all such guilt as can co-exist with a state of grace." 
(( After this life . . . there can be merit with respect to some 
accident a] reward, so long as a man remains in some manner 
in a state of probation: and hence there can be meritorious 
acts in Purgatory, with respect to the remission of venial 
sin." '-Dante (d. I32I) also appears, as Father Faber finely 
notes, to hold such a voluntary, immanental Purgatory, where 
the poet sees an Angel impelling, across the sea at dawn, 
a bark filled with souls bent for Purgatory: for the boat is 
described as driving towards the shore so lightly as to draw 
no wake upon the water. 5 
1 Gp. cit. pp. 119, 120: "The Purgatory of the Catholic Church, in 
strictness, bears its name without warrant," 
t Cat.. cc. viii, 35. I De octo Dulcitii quaest. 12. 13. 
" Summa Theol.. app., quo 2, art. 4. in corp. et ad 4. 
6 Divina Commedia, Purg. II. 40-42. See Faber. All for J
sus. ed. 
1 88 9, p. 361. 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEMS AND DOCTRINES 245 


Cardinal Bellarmine, perhaps the greatest of all anti- 
Protestant theologians (d. 1621) teaches that II venial sin is 
remitted in Purgatory quoad culþal1t," and that II this guilt, 
as St. Thomas rightly insists, is remitted in Purgatory by 
an act of love and patient endurance." 1 St. Francis of 
Sales, that high ascetical authority (d. 1622), declares: U By 
Purgatory we understand a place where souls undergo pur- 
gation, for a while, from the stains and imperfections which 
they have carried away with them from this mortal life." 2 
And recently and in England we have had Father Faber, 
Cardinal Manning, and Cardinal Newman, although differing 
from each other on many other points, fully united in holding 
and propagating this finely life-like, purgative conception of 
Purgatory.3 
7. A final difficulty. 
One final point concerning a Middle State. In the Synoptic 
tradition there is a recurrent insistence upon the forgiveness 
of particular sins, at particular moments, by particular human 
and divine acts of contrition and pardon. In the Purgatorial 
teaching the stress lies upon entire states and habits, stains 
and perversities of soul, and upon God's general grace work- 
ing, in and through immanently necessary, freely accepted 
sufferings, on to a slow purification of the complete personality. 
As Origen says: U The soul's single acts, good or bad, go by; 
but, according to their quality, they give form and tìgure to 
the mind of the agent, and leave it either good or bad, and 
destined for pains or for rewards." 4 
The antagonism here is but apparent. For the fact that 
a certain condition of soul precedes, and that another con- 
dition succeeds, each act of the same soul, in proportion as 
this act is full and deliberate, does not prevent the correspond- 
ing, complementary fact that such acts take the preceding 
condition as their occasion, and make the succeeding con- 
dition into a further expression of themselves. Single acts 
which fully express the character, whether good or bad, are 
doubtless rarer than is mostly thought. Yet Catherine, in 
union with the Gospels and the Church, is deeply convinced 
1 De Purgatorio, Lib. I, c. iv, 6; c. xiv, 22. 
2 Les Controverses, Pt. III, ch. ii, art. 1 (end); CEuvres, Annccy, 1892 
seq., Vol. I, p. 365. 
3 Faber's All for Jesus, 1853, ch. ix, sec. 4: Cardinal Manning's 
Appendix (B) to Engl. tr. of St. Catherine's Treatise on Pur8atory. 18 5 8 ; 
Cardinal Newman's Dream of Gerontius, 1865. . 
" In Rom.. Tom. i, p. 477. 



24 6 THE l\fYSTICAL ELEMENT O:F' RELIGION 
of the power of one single act of Pure Love to abolish, not of 
course the effects outward, but the reflex spiritual consequences 
upon the soul itself, of sinful acts or states. 
Catherine's picture again, of the deliberate Plunge into 
Purgatory, gives us a similar heroic act which, summing up 
the whole soul's active volitions, initiates and encloses the 
whole subsequent purification, but which itself involves a 
prevenient act of Divine Love and mercy, to which this act 
of human love is but the return and response. Indeed, as \ve 
know, this plunge-conception was but the direct projection, on 
to the other-world-picture, of her own personal experience at 
her conversion, when a short span of clock-time held acts 
of love received and acts of love returned, which transformed 
all her previous condition, and initiated a whole series of states 
ever more expressive of her truest self.-Act and state and 
state and act, each presupposes and requires the other: 
and both are present in the Synoptic pictures, and both are 
opera ti ve in the Purgatorial teaching; although in the former 
the accounts are so brief as to make states and acts alike look 
as though one single act; and, in the latter, the descriptions 
are so large as to make the single acts almost disappear behind 
the states. 


v. CATHERINE AND HEAVEN-THREE PERPLEXITIES TO 
BE CONSIDERED. 
We have found a truly Purgational Middle state, with its 
sense of succession, its mixture of joy and suffering, and 
its growth and fruitfulness, to be profoundly consonant with 
all our deepest spiritual experiences and requirements. But 
what about Heaven, which we must, apparently, hold to 
consist of a sense of simultaneity, a condition of mere repro- 
ductiveness and utterly uneventful finality, and a state of 
unmixed, unchanging joy?-Here again, even if in a lesser 
degree, certain experiences of the human soul can help us 
to a few general positions of great spiritual fruitfulness, 
which can reasonably claim an analogical applicability to 
the Beyond, and which, thus taken as our ultimate ideals, 
cannot fail to stimulate the growth of our personality, and, 
with it, of further insight into these great realities. I shall 
here consider three main questions, which will roughly 
correspond to the three perplexities just indicated; 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEMS AND DOCTRINES 247 


I. Time and Heaven. 
Our first question, then, is as to the probable character of 
man's happiest ultimate consciousness,-whether it is one 
of succession or of simultaneity: in other words, whether, 
besides the disappearance of the category of space (a point 
already discussed), there is likely to be the lapse of the 
category of time also.-And let it be noted that the reten- 
tion of the latter sense for Hell, and even for Purgatory, does 
not prejudge the question as to its presence or absence in 
Heaven, since those two states are admittedly non-normative, 
whereas the latter represents the very ideal and measure of 
man's full destination and perfection. 
(I) Now it is still usual, amongst those who abandon the 
ultimacy of the space-category, simultaneously to drop, as 
necessarily concomitant, the time-category also. Tennyson, 
among the poets, does so, in his beautiful U Crossing the Bar" : 
U From out our bourne of Time and Place, the flood may 
bear me far"; and Prof. H. J. Holtzmann, among speculative 
theologians, in criticising Rothe's conception of man as a 
quite ultimately spatial-temporal being, treats these two 
questions as standing and falling together .1_ Y et a careful 
study of Kant's critique of the two categories of Space and 
Time suffices to convince us of the indefinitely richer con- 
tent, and more ultimate reality, of the latter. Indeed, I shall 
attempt to show more fully in the next chapter, with the 
aid of M. Henri Bergson, that mathematical, uniform clock- 
time is indeed an artificial compound, which is made up of 
our profound experience of a duration in which the con- 
stituents (sensations, imaginations, thoughts, feelings, willings) 
of the succession ever, in varying degrees, overlap, inter- 
penetrate, and modify each other, and the quite automatic 
and necessary simplification and misrepresentation of this 
experience by its imaginary projection on to space,-its 
restatement, by our picturing faculty, as a perfectly equable 
succession of mutally exclusive moments. It is in that 
interpenetrative duration, not in this atomistic clock-time, 
that our deeper human experiences take place. 
(2) But that sense of duration, is it indeed our deepest 
apprehension? Dr. Holtzmann points out finely how that 
we are well aware, in our profoundest experiences, of U that 
permanently incomprehensible fact,-the existence of, as it 


1 Richard Rothe's Spekulatives System, 1899, pp. 123, 124. 


. 



24 8 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 
were, a prism, through which the unitary ray of light, which 
fills our consciousness with a real content, is spread out into 
a colour-spectrum, so that what, in itself, exists in pure 
unitedness" and simultaneity, U becomes intelligible to us 
only as a juxtaposition in space and a succession in time. 
Beyond the prism, there are no such two things." And he 
shows how keenly conscious we are, at times, of that deepest 
mode of apprehension and of being which is a Simultaneity, 
an eternal Here and Now; and how ruinous to our spiritual 
life would be a full triumph of the category of time. 1 
But it is St. Augustine who has, so far, found the noblest 
expression for the deepest human experiences in this whole 
matter of Duration and Simultaneity, as against mere Clock- 
Time, although, here as with regard to Space, he is deeply 
indebted to Plotinus. U In thee, 0 my soul, I measure time,- 
I measure the impression which passing events make upon 
thee, who remain est when those events have passed: this 
present impression then, and not those events which had to 
pass in order to produce it, do I measure, when I measure time." 
U The three times," tenses, U past, present, and future. . . are 
certain three affections in the soul, I find them there and 
nowhere else. There is the present memory of past events, 
the present perception of present ones, and the present 
expectation of future ones." God possesses U the splendour 
of ever-tarrying Eternity," which is " incomparable with never- 
tarrying times," since in it U nothing passes, but the content 
of everything abides simply present." And in the next life 
U perhaps our own thoughts also will not be flowing, going 
from one thing to another, but we shan see all we know 
simultaneously, in one intuition." St. Thomas indeed is more 
positive: "All things will," in Heaven, U be seen simultaneously 
and not successively." 2 
(3) If then, even here below, we can so clearly demonstrate 
the conventionality of mere Clock-Time, and can even conceive 
a perfect Simultaneity as the sole form of the consciousness 
of God, we cannot well avoid holding that, in the other life, 
the clock-time convention will completely cease, and that, 
though the sense of Duration is not likely completely to dis- 
appear (since, in this life at least, this sense is certainly not 
1 Richard Rothe's Spekulatives System, 1899, pp. 69; 74, 75. 
2 St. Augustine, Confessions. Lib. XI, ch. xxvii, 3; ch. xx; ch. xi. Dø 
T,.init., Lib. XV. ch. 16, ed. Ben., co!. 1492 D.-5t. Thomas. Summa 
Theol., I, quo 12. art. 10. in corp. 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEMS AND DOCTRINES 249 


merely phenomenal for man, and its entire absence would 
apparently make man into God), the category of Simultaneity 
win, as a sort of strong background-consciousness, englobe 
and profoundly unify the sense of Duration. And, the more 
God-like the soul, the more would this sense of Simultaneity 
predon1inate over the sense of Duration. 
2. The Ultitnate Good, concrete, not abstract. 
Our second question concerns the kind and degree of 
variety in unity which we should conceive to characterize 
the life of God, and of the soul in its God-likeness. Is this 
type and measure of all life to be conceived as a maximum 
of abstraction or as a maximum of concretion; as pure 
thought alone, or as also emotion and will; as solitary and 
self-centred, or as social and outgoing; and as simply 
reproductive, or also as operative? 
(r) Now it is certain that nothing is easier, and nothing 
has been more common, than to take the limitations of our 
earthly conditions, and especially those attendant upon the 
strictly contemplative, and, still more, those connected with 
the technically ecstatic states, as so many advantages, or even 
as furnishing a complete scheme of the soul's ultimate life. 
As we have already repeatedly seen in less final matters, so 
here once more, at the end, we can trace the sad impoverish- 
ment to the spiritual outlook produced by the esteem in which 
the antique world generally held the psycho-physical peculi- 
arities of trances, as directly valuable or even as prophetic 
of the soul's ultimate condition; the contraposition and 
exaltation, already on the part of Plato and Aristotle, of a 
supposed non-actively contemplative, above a supposed non- 
contemplatively active life; the largely excessive, not fully 
Christianizable, doctrines of the N eo- Platonists as to the 
Negative, Abstractive way, when taken as self-sufficient, and 
as to Quiet, Passivity, and Emptiness of Soul, when under- 
stood literally; and the conception, rarely far away from the 
ancient thinkers, of the soul as a substance which, full-grown, 
fixed and stainless at the first, requires but to be kept free 
from stain up to the end. 
And yet the diminution of vitality in the trance, and even 
the inattention to more than one thing at a time in Con- 
templation, are, in themselves, defects, at best the price paid 
for certain gains; the active and the contemplative life are, 
ultimately, but two mutually complementary sides of life. so 
that no life ever quite succeeds in eliminating either element, 



25 0 THE 
IYSTIGAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


and life, caeteris paribus, is complete and perfect, in proportion 
as it embraces both elements, each at its fullest, and the two 
in a perfect interaction; the Negative, Abstractive way 
peremptorily requires also the other, the Affirmative, Concrete 
way; the Quiet, Passivity, Emptiness are really, when whole- 
some, an incubation for, or a rest from, Action, indeed they 
are themselves a profound action and peace, and the soul is 
primarily a Force and an Energy, and Holiness is a growth 
of that Energy in Love, in ful] Being, and in creative, spiritual 
Personality. 
(2) Now on this whole matter the European Christian 
1\1 ystics, strongly influenced by, yet also largely developing, 
certain doctrines of the Greeks, have, I think, made two most 
profound contributions to the truths of the spirit, and have 
seriously fallen short of reality in three respects. 
The first contribution can, indeed, be credited to Aristotle, 
whose luminous formulations concerning Energeia, Action (as 
excluding 1\iotion, or Activity), we have already referred to. 
Here to be is to act, and Energeia, a being's perfect function- 
ing and fullest self-expression in action, is not some kind of 
movement or process; but, on the contrary, all movement and 
process is only an imperfect kind of Energeia. Man, in his life 
here, only catches brief glimpses of such an Action; but God 
is not so hampered,-He is ever completely all that He can 
be, His Action is kept up inexhaustibly and ever generates 
supreme bliss; it is an unchanging, unmoving Energeia. 1 
-And St. Thomas echoes this great doctrine, for all the 
Christian schoolmen: (( A thing is declared to be perfect, 
in proportion as it is in act," -as all its potentialities are 
expressed in action; and hence (( the First Principle must 
be supremely in act," (( God's Actuality is identical with His 
Potentiality," (( God is Pure Action (Actus Purus)." 2_ Y et it 
is doubtless the Christian Mystics who have most fully 
experienced, and emotionally vivified, this great truth, and 
who cease not, in all their more characteristic teachings, from 
insisting upon the ever-increasing acquisition of (( Action," 
the fully fruitful, peaceful functioning of the whole soul, at 
the expense of (( activity," the restless, sterile distraction and 


1 I am here but giving an abstract of Mr. F. C. S. Schiller's admirable 
essay, .. Activity and Substance," pp. 204-227 of his Humanism, 1903. 
where all the Aristotelian passages are carefully quoted and discussed. 
He is surely right in translating -1]PEP.(a. by "constancy:' not by "rest." 
J Summa Theol., I, quo 4, art. I. cone!. quo 25, art. I ad 2 et cone!. 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEMS AND DOCTRINES 25I 


internecine conflict of its powers. And Heaven, for them, ever 
consists in an unbroken Action, devoid of all H activity," ren- 
dering the soul, in its degree, like to that Purest Action, God, 
who, Himself l( Life," is, as our Lord declared, (( not the God 
of the dead, but of the living." 1 
And the second contribution can, in part, be traced back to 
Plato, who does not weary, in the great middle period of his 
writings, from insisting upon the greatness of the nobler 
passions, and who already apprehends a Heavenly Eros 
which in part conflicts with, in part transcends, the Earthly 
one. But here especially it is Christianity, and in particular 
Christian Mysticism, which have fully experienced and pro- 
claimed that H God" is (( Love," and that the greatest of all 
the soul's acts and virtues is Charity, Pure Love. And hence 
the Pure Act of God, and the Action of the God-like soul, are 
conceived not, Aristotle-like, as acts of pure intelligence alone, 
but as tinged through and through with a noble emotion. 
(3) But in three matters the Mystics, as such and as a 
whole, have, here especially under the predominant influence 
of Greek thought, remained inadequate to the great spiritual 
realities, as most fully revealed to us by Christianity. The 
three points are so closely interconnected that it will be best 
first to illustrate, and then to criticise them, together. 
(i) Aristotle here introduces the mischief. For it is he who 
in his great, simply immeasurably influential, theological 
tractate, Chapters VI to X of the Twelfth Book of his M eta- 
Physic, has presented to us God as U the one first unmoved 
Mover" of the Universe, but Who moves it as desired by it, 
not as desiring it, as outside of it, not as also inside it. God 
here is sheer Pure Thought, N oësis, for (( contemplation is the 
most joyful and the best" of actions. And (( Thought" here 
(( thinks the divinest and worthiest, without change," hence 
tt It thinks Itself, and the Thinking is a Thinking of 
Thought." 2 We have here, as Dr. Caird strikingly puts 
it, a God necessarily shut up within Himself, (( of purer eyes 
than to behold, not only iniquity but even contingency and 
finitude, and His whole activity is one act of pure self- 
contemplation." (t The ideal activity which connects God with 
the world, appears thus as in the world and not in God." 3 


1 Matt. xxii. 32. 2 MetaPhysic. xii. 1072b. I074 b . 
a E. Caird. Evolution of Theology in the Greek PhilosoPhers. 19 0 4. 
Vol. II. pp. 12. 16. See here. too. the fine discussion of the other. rightly 
immanental as well as transcendental. teaching of Aristotle. pp. 15. 21. 



252 THE MYSTIOAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 
(ii) Now we have already allowed that the l\lystics avoid 
Aristotle's elimination of emotion from man's deepest action, 
and of emotion's equivalent from the life of God. But they 
are, for the most part, much influenced in their speculations 
by this intensely Greek, aristocratic, intellectualist conception, 
in the three points of a disdain of the Contingent and His- 
torical; of a superiority to volitional, productive energizing; 
and of a presentation of God as unsocial, and as occupied 
directly with Himself alone. We have already studied 
numerous examples of the first two, deeply un-Christian, errors 
as they ha ve more or less influenced Christian 
I ysticism ; 
the third mistake, of a purely Transcendental, Deistic God, is 
indeed never consistently maintained by any Christian, and 
Catherine, in particular, is ever dominated by the contrary 
great doctrine, adumbrated by Plato and fully revealed by 
Our Lord, of the impulse to give Itself intrinsic to Goodness, 
so that God, as Supreme Goodness, becomes the Supreme 
Self-giver, and thus the direct example and motive for our 
own self-donation to Him. Yet even so deeply religious a 
non-Christian as Plotinus, and such speculative thinkers as 
Eriugena and Eckhart (who certainly intended to remain 
Christians) continue all three mistakes, and especially insist 
upon a Supreme Being, Whose true centre, His Godhead, is 
out of all relation to anything but Himself. And even the 
orthodox Scholastics, and St. Thomas himself, attempt at 
times to combine, with the noblest Platonic and the deepest 
Christian teachings, certain elements, which, in strictness, 
have no place in an Incamational Religion. 
(iii) For, at times, the fullest, deepest Action is still not 
conceived, even by St. Thomas, as a Harmony, an Organiza- 
tion of all Man's essential powers, the more the better. (( In 
the active life, which is occupied with many things, there is 
less of beatitude than in the contemplative life, which is busy 
with one thing alone,-the contemplation of Truth"; (( beati- 
tude must consist essentially in the action of the intellect; 
and only accidentally in the action of the will." 1 God is still 
primarily intelligence: (( God's intelligence is His substance" ; 
whereas (t volition must be in God, since there is intelligence 
in Him," and (( Love must of necessity be declared to be in God, 
since there is volition in Him." 2 God is still, in a certain sense, 
shut up in Himself: (( As He understands things other than 
1 Summa Theol., I, ii, quo 3, art. 2 ad 4; art. 4, conc!. 
2 Ibid.. I, quo 14. art. 4, in corp.; quo 19, art. I. cond.; quo 20. art. I. condo 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEMS AND DOCTRINES 253 
Himself, by understanding His own essence, so He wills things 
other than Himself, by willing His own goodness." (( God en- 
joys not anything beside Himself, but enjoys Himself alone." 1 
-And we get, in correspondence to this absorption of God in 
Himself, an absorption of man in God, of so direct and 
exclusive a kind, as, if pressed, to eliminate all serious, perma- 
nent value, for our soul, in God's actual creation of our fellow- 
creatures. (( He who knoweth Thee and creatures, is not, on 
this account, happier than if he knows them not; but he is 
happy because of Thee alone." And (( the perfection of Love 
is essential to beatitude, with respect to the Love of God, not 
with respect to the Love of one's neighbour. If there were but 
one soul alone to enjoy God, it would be blessèd, even though 
it were without a single fellow-creature whom it could love." 2 
(iv) And yet St. Thomas's own deeply Christian sense, 
explicit sayings of Our Lord or of St. Paul, and even, in part, 
certain of the fuller apprehensions of the Greeks, can make 
the great Dominican again uncertain, or can bring him to 
entirely satisfactory declarations, on each of these points. 
For we get the declaration that direct knowledge of individual 
things, and quasi-creative operativeness are essential to all 
true perfection. (( To understand something merely in general 
and not in particular, is to know it imperfectly"; Our Lord 
Himself has taught us that II the very hairs of your head are 
all numbered"; hence God must (( know all other individual 
things with a distinct and proper knowledge."-And II a thing 
is most perfect, when it can make another like unto itself. 
But by tending to its own perfection, each thing tends to 
become more and more like God. Hence everything tends 
to be like God, in so far as it tends to be the cause of other 
things." 3-We get a full insistence, with St. Paul (in I Cor. xiii), 
upon our love of God, an act of the will, as nobler than our 
cognition of Him; and with Plato and St. John, upon God's 
forthgoing Love for His creatures, as the very crown and meas- 
ure of His perfection. I I Everything in nature has, as regards its 
own good, a certain inclination to diffuse itself amongst others, 
as far as possible. And this applies, in a supreme degree, to 
the Divine Goodness, from which all perfection is derived." 


1 Summa Theol.. I. quo 9, art. 2. 3; quo 14, art. 2 ad 2; I. ii. quo 3. 
art. 2 ad 4. 
I Ibid.. I, quo 12, art. 8 ad 4; I, ii, quo 4, art. 8 ad 3. 
8 Ibid.. I. quo 14, art. 8. in corp.; art. 1 I. contra et conc!.; art 8. concl.- 
Contra Gent.. Lib. III. c. xxi. in fine. 



254 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 
" Love, Joy, Delight can be predicated of God"; Love which, 
of its very essence, (( causes the lover to bear himself to the 
beloved as to his own self": so that we must say with 
Dionysius that (( He, the very Cause of all things, becomes 
ecstatic, moves out of Himself, by the abundance of His 
loving goodness, in the providence exercised by Him to\vards 
all things extant." 1 
(v) And we get in St. Thomas, when he is too much domin- 
ated by the abstractive trend, a most interesting, because 
logically necessitated and quite unconscious, collision with 
certain sayings of Our Lord. For he then explains Matt. 
xviii, 10, " their," the children's, (( Angels see without ceasing 
the face of their Father who is in Heaven" as teaching that 
(( the action (operatio), by which Angels are conjoined to the 
increate Good, is, in them, unique and sempitemal "; whereas 
his commentators are driven to admit that the text, contrari- 
wise, implies that these Angels have two simultaneous 
(( operations," and that their succouring action in nowise 
disturbs their intellectual contemplation. Hence, even if we 
press Matt. xxii, 30, that we " shall be as the Angels of God," 
we still have an organism of peaceful Action, composed of 
intellectual, affective, volitional, productive acts operating 
between the soul and God, and the soul and other souls, 
each constituent and object working and attained in and 
through all the others. 
(vi) Indeed all Our Lord's Synoptic teachings, as to man's 
ultimate standard and destiny, belong to this God-in -man 
and man-in-God type of doctrine: for there the two great 
commandments are strictly inseparable; God's interest in 
the world is direct and detailed,-it is part of His supreme 
greatness that He cares for every sparrow that falls to the 
ground; and man, in the Kingdom of God, will sit down at a 
banquet, the unmistakable type of social joys.-And even 
the Apocalypse, which has, upon the whole, helped on so 
much the conception of an exclusive, unproductive entrance- 
ment of each soul singly in God alone, shows the deepest 
emotion when picturing all the souls, from countless tribes 
and nations, standing before the throne,-an emotion which 
can, surely, not be taken as foreign to those souls themselves. 2 


1 Su.mma Theol., II, ii, quo 3, art. 4, 4; I, quo 19, art. 2. in corp.; quo 
20, art. I ad I; ad 3; art. 2 ad I. 
2 Mark xii, 28-34 and parallels; Matt. x. 29; Luke xii, 6; Matt. xxv. 
10; Mark xiv. 25 and parallels. and elsewhere; Apoc. vii, 9. 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEMS AND DOCTRINES 255 


But, indeed, Our Lord's whole life and message become 
unintelligible, and the Church loses its deepest roots, unless 
the Kingdom of God is, for us human souls, as truly a part 
of our ultimate destiny as is God Himself, that God who fully 
reveals to us His own deepest nature as the Good Shepherd, 
the lover of each single sheep and of the flock as a whole. 1 
(4) We shall, then, do well to hold that the soul's ultimate 
beatitude will consist in its own greatest possible self- 
realization in its God-likeness,-an Action free from all 
Activity, but full of a knowing, feeling, willing, receiving, 
giving, effectuating, all which will energize between God and 
the soul, and the soul and other souls, -each force and 
element functioning in its proper place, but each stimulated 
to its fullest expansion, and hence to its deepest delight, by 
the corresponding vitalization of the other powers and ends, 
and of other similar centres of rich action. 
3. The þain-ele1nent of Bliss. 
And our third, last question is whether our deepest this-life 
apprehensions and experiences give us any reason for hold- 
ing that a certain equivalent for what is noblest in devoted 
suffering, heroic self-oblivion, patient persistence in lonely 
willing, will be present in the life of the Blessed. It would 
certainly be a gain could we discover such an equivalent, for 
a pure glut of happiness, an unbroken state of sheer enjoy- 
ment, can as little be made attractive to our most spiritual 
requirements, as the ideal of an action containing an element 
of, or equivalent for, devoted and fruitful effort and renuncia- 
tion can lose its perennial fascination for what is most Christian 
within us. 
(r) It is not difficult, I take it, to find suchan element, which 
we cannot think away from any future condition of the soul 
without making that soul into God Himself. The ultimate 
cause of this element shall be considered, as Personality, in 
our next chapter: here I can but indicate this element at 
work in our relations to our fellow-men and to God.-Already 
St. Thomas, throughout one current of his teaching, is full 
of the dignity of right individuality. U The l\rlultitude and 
Di versity of natures in the U ni verse proceed directly from 
the intention of God, who brought them into being, in order to 
communicate His goodness to them, and to have It represented 
by them. And since It could not be sufficiently represented 
1 Matt. xviü. 12-14; Luke xv. 1-10; John x. 11-16 (Ezekiel xxxiv. 
12- 1 9). 



256 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


by one creature alone, He produced many and diverse ones, 
so that what is wanting to the one towards this office, should 
be supplied by the other." 1 Hence the multiplication of the 
Angels, who differ specifically each from all the rest, adds 
more of nobility and perfection to the Universe, than does 
the multiplication of men, who differ only individually. 2 And 
Cardinal Nicolas of Coes writes, in 1457 A.D., (( Every man is, 
as it were, a separate species, because of his perfectibility." 3 
As Prof. Josiah Royce tells us in 1901, (( What is real, is 
not only a content of experience and the embodiment of a 
type; but an individual content of experience, and the unique 
embodiment of a type." 4. 
(2) Now in the future beatitude, where the full develop- 
ment of this uniqueness in personality cannot, as so often 
here, be stunted or misapplied, all this will evidently reach its 
zenith. But, if so, then it fonows that, aahough one of the two 
greatest of the joys of those souls will be their love and under- 
standing of each other,-this love and trust, given as it will be 
to the other sollis, in their full, unique personality, will, of neces- 
sity, exceed the comprehension of the giving personalities. 
Hence there will still be an equivalent for that trust and ven- 
ture, that creative faith in the love and devotion given by us 
to our fellows, and found by us in them, which are, here below, 
the noblest concomitants and conditions of the pain and the 
cost and the joy in every virile love and self-dedication.- 
There is then an element of truth in Lessing's words of 1773 : 
(( The human soul is incapable of even one unmixed emotion,- 
one that, down to its minutest constituent, would be nothing 
but pleasurable or nothing but painful: let alone of a con- 
dition in which it would experience nothing but such 
unmixed emotions."-For, as Prof. Troeltsch says finely in 
19 0 3, (( Everything historical retains, in spite of all its relation to 
absolute values, something of irrationality," -of impenetrable- 
ness to finite minds, (( and of individuality. Indeed just this 
mixture is the special characteristic of the lot and dignity of 
man; nor is a Beyond for him conceivable in which it would 
altogether cease. Doubt and unrest can indeed give way to 
clear sight and certitude: yet this very clarity and assurance 


1 Summa Theol.. I. quo 47. art. I. in corp. 
· Ibid.. I. quo 50. art. 4 ad 3; ad 2; in corp. Contra Gent.. Lib. II, 
c. xciii. 
I Excitationum, Lib. VIII. 60 4. 
, The JVorld and the Individual, Vol. II, p. 430. 



AFTER-LIFE PROBLEMS AND DOCTRINES 257 


will, in each human soul, still bear a certain individual 
character," fully conlprehensible to the other souls by love 
and trust alone.! 
(3) And this same element we find, of course, in a still 
greater degree,-although, as I shall argue later on, our ex- 
perimental knowledge of God is greater than is our knowledge 
of our fellow-creatures,-in the relations between our love of 
God and our knowledge of Him. St. Thomas tells us most 
solidly: "Individual Being applies to God, in so far as it 
implies Incommunicableness." Indeed," Person signifies the 
most perfect thing in nature,"-" the subsistence of an indi- 
vidual in a rational nature." It And since the dignity of the 
divine nature exceeds every other dignity, this name of Per- 
son is applicable, in a supreme degree, to God." And again: 
(( God, as infinite, cannot be held infinitely by anything finite II ; 
and hence (( only in thesensein which comprehension is opposed 
to a seeking after Him, is God comprehended, i.e. possessed, by 
the Blessed. II And hence the texts: (( I press on, if so be 
that I may apprehend that for which also I was apprehended II 
(Phil. iii, 12) ; (( then shall I know even as also I have been 
known II (I Cor. xiii, 12) ; and (( we shall see Him as He is " (I 
John iii, 2) : all refer to such a possession of God. In the last 
text (( the adverb ( as ' only signifies ( we shall see His essence' 
and not ( we shall have as perfect a mode of vision as God has 
a mode of being.' "2-Here again, then, we find that souls 
loving God in His Infinite Individuality, will necessarily love 
Him beyond their intellectual comprehension of Him; the 
element of devoted trust, of free self-donation to One fully 
known only through and in such an act, will thus remain to man 
for ever. St. John of the Cross proclaimed this great truth: 
(( One of the greatest favours of God, bestowed transiently 
upon the soul in this life, is its ability to see so distinctly, and 
to feel so profoundly, that . . . it cannot comprehend Him 
at all. These souls are herein, in some degree, like to the 
souls in heaven, where they who know Him most perfectly 
perceive most clearly that He is infinitely incomprehensible; 
for those that have the less clear vision, do not perceive so 
distinctly as the others how greatly He transcends their 


1 G. E. Lessing: Leibniz von den Ewigen Strafen, Werke, ed. Lach- 
mann-Muncker, Vol. XI. 1895, p. 482. E. Troeltsch, Theologische RUl1d- 
schau. 18 93. p. 72. 
2 Summa Theol., I, art. 7, in corp.; art. 6 ad I. 
VOL. II. S 


.. 



258 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


vision." 1 With this teaching, so consonant with Catherine's 
experimental method, and her continuous trust in the per- 
sistence of the deepest relations of the soul to God, of the 
self-identical soul to the unchanging God, we can conclude 
this study of her Eschatology. 


1 " A Spiritual Canticle." stanza vii. 10. in W Qrks. trans!. by D. Lewis. 
ed. 1891. pp. 206. 207. 



GHAPTER XIII 


THE FIRST THREE ULTIMATE QUESTIONS. THE RELATIONS 
BETWEEN MORALITY, MYSTICISM, PHILOSOPHY, AND 
RELIGION. MYSTICISM AND THE LIMITS OF HUMAN 
EXPERIENCE AND KNOWLEDGE. MYSTICISM AND THE 
NATURE OF EVIL. 


I TAKE the ultimate questions involved in the religious 
positions which are taken up by Catherine, and indeed by the 
Christian Mystics generally, and which we have studied in the 
preceding two chapters, to be four. In the order of their 
increasing difficulty they are: the question as to the relations 
between Morality, Mysticism, Philosophy, and Religion; that 
as to the Lin1its of Human Knowledge, and as to the special 
character and worth of the Mystics' claim to Trans-subjective 
Cognition; that as to the Nature of Evil and the Goodness or 
Badness of Human Nature; and that as to Personality,-the 
character of, and the relations between, the human spirit and 
the Divine Spirit. The consideration of these deepest matters 
in the next two chapters will, I hope, in spite of its inevitable 
element of dimness and of repetition, do much towards binding 
together and clarifying the convictions which we have been 
slowly acquiring,-ever, in part, with a reference to these 
coming ultimate alternatives and choices. 


I. THE RELATIONS BETWEEN MORALITY -AND MYSTICISM, 
PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGION. 
Now the first of these questions has not, for most of the 
more strenuous of our educated contemporaries, become, so 
far again, a living question at all. A morally good and pure, 
a socially useful and active life,-all this in the sense and with 
the range attributed to these terms by ordinary parlance: this 
and this alone is, for doubtless the predominant public present- 
day consciousness, the true object, end, and measure of all 
259 



260 THE MYSTICAL ELE
lENT OF RELIGION 


healthy religion; whatever is alongside of, or beyond, or other 
than, or anything but a direct and exclusive incentive to this, 
is so much superstition and fanaticism. According to this 
view, at least one-half of Catherine's activity at all times, and 
well-nigh the whole of it during her last period, would be 
practically worthless. Thus only certain elements of such a 
life would be retained even for and in religion, and even these 
would be bereft of all that has hitherto been held to be their 
specifically religious sense and setting. 
I. Kant's non-1nystical religion. 
It is doubtless Kant who, among the philosophers, has 
been the most consistent and influential in inculcating such 
non-Mystical Religion. H Religion," he says in I793, H is, on 
its subjective side, the cognition of all our duties as so many 
Divine Commandments." "The delusion that we can effect 
something, in view of our justification before God, by means 
of acts of religious worship, is religious superstition; and the 
delusion that we can effect something by attempts at a sup- 
posed intercourse with God, is religious fanaticism. . . . Such 
a feeling of the immediate presence of the Supreme Being, 
and such a discrimination between this feeling and every 
other, even moral, feeling, would imply a capacity for an 
intuition, which i
 without any corresponding organ in human 
nature. . . . If then a Church doctrine is to abolish or to 
prevent all religious delusion, it must,-over and above its 
statutory teachings, with which it cannot, for the present, 
entirelydispense,-contain within itself a principle which shall 
enable it to bring about the religion of a pure life, as the true 
end of the whole movement, and then to dispense with those 
temporary doctrines." 1 
It is deeply instructive to note how thoroughly this, at first 
sight, solid and triumphant view, has not only continued to 
be refuted by the actual practice and experience of specifically 
religious souls, but how explicitly it is being discredited by 
precisely the more delicately perceptive, the more truly 
detached and comprehensive, students and philosophers of 
religion of the present day ,-heirs, let us not forget in justice 
to Kant, of the intervening profound development of the 
historical sense, and of the history and psychology of re- 
ligion.-Thus that most vigorous, independent thinker, Prof. 
Simmel of Berlin, writes in I9 0 4 : Ie Kant has, I think, simply 
1 Religion innerhalb der Grenzen der blossþJJ Vernunft. Werke, ed. 
Hartenstein. 1868, Vol. VI, pp. 252. 274. 



MORALITY, MYSTICISM, AND RELIGION 261 


passed by the essentials of religion,-that is to say, of that 
reality which historically bears the name of religion. Only 
the reflection, that the harmony of complete happiness with 
complete morality is producible by a Divine Being alone, is 
here supposed to lead us to believe in such a Being. There 
is here a complete absence of that direct laying hold of the 
Divine by our souls, because of our intrinsic needs, which 
characterizes all genuine piety. And the religious sense is 
not recognized as an organism with a unity of its own, as a 
growth springing from its own root. The entirely specific 
character of religion, which is resolvable neither into morality 
nor into a thirst after happiness: the direct self-surrender of the 
soul to a higher reality, the giving and taking, the unification 
and differentiation,-that quite organic unity of the religious 
experience, which we can but most imperfectly indicate by a 
multiplicity of some such, simultaneously valid, antitheses: this, 
there is no evidence to show, was ever really known to Kant. 
What was religion for Augustine and Francis of Assisi, he 
was unable to reproduce in himself; indeed religion, of this 
type, he readily rejects as fanaticism. Here lay the limit both 
of his own nature and of his own times." 1 
The rich mind of Prof. Troeltsch is, perhaps, more en- 
tirely just: cc As Kant's theory of knowledge is throughout 
dependent upon the state of contemporary psychology, so 
also is his theory of religious knowledge dependent upon 
the psychology of religion predominant in his day. Locke, 
Leibniz, Pascal had already recognized the essentially prac- 
tical character of all religion; and since their psychology 
was unable to conceive the' practical' otherwise than as the 
moral, it had looked upon Religion as l\1:orality furnished 
forth with its metaphysical concomitants. And as soon as 
this psychology had become the very backbone of his con- 
ception of Religion, Morality gained an entirely one-sided pre- 
dominance over Kant's mind,-considerably, indeed, beyond 
his own personal feelings and perceptions." For he remains 
deeply penetrated by " the conceptions of Regeneration and 
Redemption; the idea of divine Grace and Wisdom, which 
accepts the totality of a soul's good disposition in lieu of that 
soul's ever defective single good works; the belief in a 
Providence which strengthens the Good throughout the world 
against Evil; adoring awe in face of the majesty of the 


1 j<.ant, 1904, pp. 129- 1 3 2 . 



262 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


Supersensible " ; and" all these" conceptions" are no more 
simply moral, they are specifically religious thoughts." 1 
Such a fuller conception of religion is admirably insisted on 
by that penetrating philosopher and historian of philosophy, 
Prof. Windelband : " Actual Religion, in its complete reality, 
belongs to all the spheres of life, and yet transcends 
them all, as something new and sui generis. I t is first an 
interior life-an apprehending, cognizing, feeling, willing, 
accomplishing. But this accomplishing leads it on to being 
also an exterior life; an acting out, according to their various 
standards, of such feeling and willing; and an outward 
expression of that inner life in general, in ritual acts and 
divine worship. Yet this worship takes it beyond the little 
circle of the individual, and constitutes the corporate acts of 
a community, a social, external organization with visible 
institutions. And yet Religion ever claims to be more than 
the whole series of such empirical facts and doings, it ever 
transcends mere earthly experience, and is an intercourse 
with the inmost nature and foundation of all reality; it is a 
life in and with God, a metaphysical life. All these elements 
belong to the complete concept of actual religion." 2 I would 
add, that they each stimulate the other, the external, e. g. being 
not only the expression of the awakened internal, but also 
the occasion of that awakening. 
And the great Dutch scholar, Prof. O. P. Tiele, unex- 
celled in the knowledge of the actual course taken by the 
great religions of the world, declares: " All progress, not on]y 
in Morality, but also in Science, Philosophy, Art, necessarily 
exerts an influence upon that of Religion. But. . . Religion 
is not, on that account, identical with Ethics any more than 
with Philosophy or Art. All these manifestations of the 
human spirit respond to certain needs of man; but none 
of them, not even l\Iorality, is capable of supplying the 
want which Religion alone can satisfy.... Religion 
differs from the other manifestations of the human 
mind" in this, that whereas "in the domain of Art, 
the feelings and the imagination predominate; in that of 
Philosophy, abstract thought is paramount"; and" the main 
object of Science is to know accurately, whilst Ethics are 
chiefly concerned with the emotions and with the fruit they 
1 Das Historische in Kant's Religions-PhilosoPhie, Kant-Studien. 1904. 
pp. 43, 44. 
:& II Das Heilige," in Pt'äludien, 1903, pp. 356, 357. 




IORALITY, MYSTICISM, AND RELIGION 263 


yield: in Religion all these factors operate alike, and if their 
equilibrium be disturbed, a morbid religious condition is the 
result." 1 
2. Ritschlian modification of Kant's view. 
I t is deeply interesting to note the particular manner in 
which Kant's impoverishment of the concept of religion has 
been in part retained, in part modified, by the Ritschlian 
school,-I am thinking especially of that vigorous writer, 
Prof. Wilhelm Hermann. 
(I) If in Kant we get the belief in God derived from reflec- 
tion upon Goodness and Happiness, and as the only possible 
means of their ultimate coalescence: in Hermann we still get 
the Categorical Imperative, but the thirst for Happiness has 
been replaced by the historic figure of Jesus Christ. (( Two 
forces of different kinds," he says, " ever produce the certainty 
of Faith: the impression of an Historic Figure which 
approaches us in Time; and the 
Ioral Law which, when 
we have heard it, we can understand in its Eternal Truth. 
Faith arises, when a man recognizes, in the appearance of 
Jesus, that symbol of his own existence which gives him the 
courage to recognize in the Eternal, which claims him in 
the Moral Imperative, the source of true life for his own 
self." 2-And these two sole co-efficients of all entirely living 
religion are made to exclude, as we have already seen, 
especially all Mysticism from the life of Faith. "True, 
outside of Christianity, Mysticism will everywhere arise, as 
the very flower of the religious development. But a Christian 
is bound to declare the mystical experience of God to be a 
delusion. Once he has experienced his elevation, by Christ 
alone, above his own previous nature, he cannot believe that 
another man can attain the same result, simply by means 
of recoHection within his own self. . . . Vole are Christians 
precisely because \ve have struck, in the person of Jesus, upon 
a fact which is incomparably richer in content than the feel- 
ings that arise within ourselves." U Only because Christ is 
present for us can we possess God with complete clearness 
and certainty." And, with Luther,-who remained, however, 
thoroughly faithful to the Primitive and 
lediæval high 
esteem for the Mystical element of religion ;_u right prayer 
is a work of faith, and only a Christian can perform it." 
1 Elements of the Science of Religion. 1897, Vol. I, pp. 274. 275; Vol. 
II, p. 23. 
2 Der Verkehr des Cht'isten mit Gott. ed. 1892. p. 281. 



264 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


And, more moderately: II We have no desire to penetrate 
through Christ on to God: for we consider that in God 
Himself we still find nothing but Christ." 1 
(2) Now it is surely plain that we have here a most under- 
standable, indeed respectable, reaction against all en1pty, 
sentimental Subjectivism, and a virile affirmation of the 
essential importance of the Concrete and Historical. And, in 
particular, the insistence upon the supreme value and irre- 
placeable character and function of Christ is profoundly true. 
-Yet three counter-considerations have ever to be borne 
in mind. (i) It remains certain that we do not know, or 
experience anything, to which we can attribute any fuller 
reality, which is either purely objective or purely subjective; 
and that there exists no process of knowing or experiencing 
such a reality which would exclude either the objective or 
the subjective factor. U Whatever claims to be fully real," 
either as apprehending subject or as apprehended object, 
U must be an individual . . . an organic whole, which has 
its principle of unity in itself." The truly real, then, is a 
thing that has an inside; and the sharp antithesis drawn, 
although in contrary directions, by Aristotle and by Kant, 
between the PhenomE;nal and the InteIligible worlds, does not 
exist in the reality either of our apprehending selves, or of 
our apprehended fellow-men, or God. 2 -But Hermann is so 
haunted by the bogey-fear of the subjective resonance within 
us being necessarily useless towards, indeed obstructive of, the 
right apprehension of the object thus responded to, that he 
is driven to follow the will-o'-the-wisp ideal of a pure, entirely 
exclusive objectivity. 
(ii) Bent on this will-o'-the-wisp quest of an exclusive 
objectivity, he has to define all Mysticism in terms of 
Exclusive Mysticism, and then to reject such an aberration. 
U Wherever the influence of God upon the soul is sought and 
found solely in an interior experience of the individual soul, 
in an excitation of the feelings which is supposed directly to 
reveal the true nature of this experience, 'lJiz. in a state of 
possession by God, and this without anything exterior being 
apprehended and held fast with a clear consciousness, without 
the positive content of some mental contemplation setting 
1 Der Verkehr des Christen mit Cott. ed. 1892. pp. 27. 28; 230. 231; 262; 23. 
2 E. Caird. Development of Theology in the G"eek PhilosoPhers. Vol. I. 
pp. 367. 362. The whole chapter. (f Does the Primacy belong to Reason 
or to 'Vill? II pp. 350-382. is admirable in its richness and balance. 



MORALITY, MYSTICISM, AND RELIGION 265 


thoughts in motion and raising the spiritual level of the sours 
life; there is Mystical Piety." 1 
Now it is, of course, true that false Mysticism does attempt 
such an impossible feat as the thing at which Hermann is thus 
aiming. But, even here, the facts and problems are again 
misstated. Just now the object presented was everything, 
and the apprehending subject was nothing. Here, on the 
contrary, the apprehension by the subject is pressed to the 
degree of requiring the soul to remain throughout reflexly 
aware of its own processes. 
Already in 179B Kant had, in full acceptance of the 
great distinction worked out by Leibniz in the years 1701- 
1709, but not published till 1765, declared: (( \Ve can be 
mediately conscious of an apprehension as to which we have 
no direct consciousness"; and "the field of our obscure 
apprehensions,-that is, apprehensions and impressions of 
which we are not directly conscious, although we can conclude 
without doubt that we have them,-is immeasurable, whereas 
clear apprehensions constitute but a very few points within 
the complete extent of our mental life." 2 This great fact 
psychologists can now describe with greater knowledge and 
precision: yet the observations and analyses of Pierre Janet, 
William James, James Ward and others, concerning Subcon- 
sciousness, have but confirmed and deepened the Leibnizian- 
Kantian apprehensions. Without much dim apprehension, 
no clear perception; nothing is more certain than this. 
And it is certain, also, that this absence of reflex conscious- 
ness, of perceiving that we are apprehending, applies not only 
to impressions of sensible objects, or to apprehensions of 
realities inferior in richness, in interiority, to our own nature, 
but also, indeed especially, to apprehensions of realities 
superior, in dignity and profundity of organization, to our 
own constitution. When engrossed in a great landscape of 
Turner, the Parthenon sculptures, a sonata of Beethoven, 
Dante's Paradiso; or when lost in the contemplation of the 
seen1ingly endless spaces of the heavens, or of the apparently 
boundless times of geology; or when absorbed in the 
mysterious greatness of Mind, so incommensurable with 


1 Verkehr des Christen mit Gott, pp. IS, 16. 
2 I. Kant, " Anthropologie," in Werke, ed. Berlin Academy, Vol. VII. 
19 0 7, pp. 135, 13 6 . G. W. Leibniz, "Nouveaux Essais sur l'Entende- 
ment," in Die philosoPhischen Schriften von G. W. L.," ed. Gerhardt, 
Vol. V. 1882, pp. 8, 10; 45, 69. 100. 121, 122. 


. 


... 



266 THE MYSTICAL ELE
IENT OF RELIGION 


matter, and of Personality, so truly presupposed in all these 
appreciations yet so transcendent of even their collecti vity- 
\ve are as little occupied with the facts of our engrossment, 
our self-oblivion, our absorption, or with the aim and use of 
such immensely beneficial self-oblivion, as we are, in our 
ordinary, loosely-knit states, occupied with the impression 
which, nevertheless, is being produced upon our senses and 
mind by some small insect or slight ray of light to which we 
are not giving our attention, or which may be incapable of 
impressing us sufficiently to be thus attended to and clearly 
perceived.! And, as in the case of these under-impressions, so 
in that of those over-impressions, we can often judge, as to 
their actual occurrence and fruitfulness, only from their after- 
effects, although this indirect proof will, in each case, be of 
quite peculiar cogency.-All this leaves ample room for that 
prayer of simple quiet, so largely practised by the Saints, and 
indeed for all such states of recollection which, though the 
soul, on coming from them, cannot discover definite ideas or 
picturings to have been contained in them, leave the soul 
braced to love, work, and suffer for God and man, beyond 
its previous level. Prof. William James is too deeply versed 
a Psychologist not fully to understand the complete normality 
of such conditions, and the entire satisfactoriness of such 
tests 2 
(iii) And finally, it is indeed true that God reveals Himself to 
us, at all fully, in Human History alone, and within this history, 
more fully still, in the lives and experiences of the Saints of all 
. the stages of religion, and, in a supreme and normative manner, 
in the life and teaching of Jesus Christ; that we have thus a 
true immanence of the Divine in the Human; and that it is 
folly to attempt the finding or the making of any shorter way 
to God than that of the closest contact with His o,VD con- 
descensions. Yet such a wisely Historical and fully Christian 
attitude would be imperilled, not secured, by such an excessive 
Christocentrism, indeed such Panchristisl1Z, as that of Prof. 
Hermann. 
We shall indeed beware of all indifferentist levelling- 
down of the various religions of the world. For, as Prof. 
Robertson Smith, who knew so well the chief great religions, 
most wisely said, cc To say that God speaks to all men alike, 
1 All this first clearly formulated by Leibniz. oþ. cit. pp. 121, 122. 
2 See his Varieties of Religious Experience, 1902, pp. 209-21 I; 242. 243; 
and elsewhere. 



MORALITY, MYSTICISM, AND RELIGION 26 7 


aRd gives the same communication directly to all without the 
use of a revealing agency, reduces religion to Pure Mysticism. 
In point of fact it is not true of any man that what he believes 
and knows of God, has come to him directly through the voice 
of nature and conscience." And he adds : (( History has not 
taught us anything in true religion to add to the New Testa- 
ment. Jesus Christ still stands as high above us as He did 
above His disciples, the perfect Master, the supreme head of 
the fellowship of all true religion." 1 
Yet we must equally guard against making even Our Lord 
into so exclusive a centre and home of all that is divine, as to 
cause Him to come into an entirely God-forsaken, completely 
God-forgetting world, a world which did not and could not, 
in any degree or manner whatsoever, rightly know, love, or 
serve God at all; and against so conceiving the religion, 
taught and practised by Him, as to deprive it of all affinity 
\vith, or room for, such admittedly universal forces and 
resultants of the human soul and the religious sense as are 
dim apprehension, formless recollection, pictureless emotion, 
and the sense of the Hiddenness and Transcendence of the 
very God, Who is also Immanent and Self-Revealing, in various 
degrees and ways, in every place and time. Indeed, these two 
forces: the diffused Religiosity and more or less inchoate 
religion, readily discoverable, by a generous docility, more or 
less throughout the world of human souls, and the concentrated 
spirituality and concrete, thoroughly characteristic Religion, 
which has its culmination, after its ample preludings in the 
Hebrew Prophets, in the Divine-Human figure and spirit of 
Jesus Christ: are interdependent, in somewhat the way in 
which vague, widely spread Subconsciousness requires, and is 
required by, definite, narrowly localized Consciousness in each 
human mind. Precisely because there have been and are 
previous and simultaneous lesser communications of, and 
correspondences with, the one (( Light that enlighteneth every 
man that cometh into the world"; because men can and do 
believe according to various, relatively preliminary, degrees 
and ways, in God and a Providence, in Sin and Contrition, 
\vithout a knowledge of the Historic Christ (although never 
\vithout the stimulation of some, often world-forgotten, historic 
personality, and ever with some real, though unconscious 
approximation to His type of life and teaching), therefore can 


1 The Pt'oPhets of Israel. 1882, pp. II. 12; 10, II. 



268 TI-IE 1\fYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


Christ be the very centre, and sole supreme manifestation 
and llleasure of all this light. Not only can Christ remain 
supreme, even though Moses and Elijah, Amos and Isaiah, 
Jeremiah and Ezekiel; and indeed, in their own other degrees 
and ways, Plato and Plotinus, Epictetus and Marcus 
AureJius, Gautama Buddha and Rabbi Akiba be all revered 
as God-loved and God-loving, as, in various amounts, truly, 
spiritually great: but only thus can His central importance be 
fully realized. 
There is certainly much in Our Lord's own attitude, as we 
have already found, to demand such a view; and Clement of 
Alexandria, Origen and St. Justin Martyr have emphasized it 
continually. And there is no necessary Naturalism here-- 
for the position is entirely compatible with the profoundest 
belief in the great truth that it is Grace which everywhere 
produces the various degrees of God-pleasing reJigion to be 
found scattered throughout the world. Father Tyrrell has 
admirably said: " God's salutary workings in man's heart have 
always been directed, however remotely, to the life of Grace 
and Glory; of 'the Order of mere nature,' and its exigencies, 
we have no experimental knowledge. . . . In the present 
order, Theism is but embryonic Christianity, and Christianity 
is but developed Theism: ' purely natural' religion is what 
might have been, but never was." 1 
(3) Now this must suffice as a sketch of the relations between 
(Historical) Religion and Mysticism, and will have shown 
why I cannot but regret that so accomplished a scholar as 
Prof. 
iorris J astrow should class all and every 11 ysticism, 
whether Pure or Mixed, as so far forth a religious malady; 
why I rejoice that so adn1irably circumspect an investigator 
as Prof. C. P. Tiele should, (in the form of a strenuous 
insistence upon the apprehension, indeed the ontological 
action of, the Infinite, by and within the human spirit, as 
the very soul and mainspring of Religion), so admirably 
reinforce the fundamental importance of the Mystical appre- 
hensions; why I most warmly endorse Prof. Rauwenhoff's 
presentment of Mysticism as, with Intellectualism and 

foralism, one of the three psychological forms of religion, 
which are earh legitimate and necessary, and which each 
require the check of the other two, if they are not to degenerate 
each into some corruption special to the exclusive develop- 


1 Lez Orandi. 1903. pp. xxix, xxxi. 



MORALITY, MYSTICISM, AND RELIGION 269 
ment of that particular form; and why I cordially applaud 
the unequalled analysis and description by Prof. Eucken 
of the manner in which" Universal Religion" is at work, as 
an often obscure yet (in the long run) most powerful leaven, 
throughout all specifically human life,-Sciences, Art, Philo- 
sophy, and Ethics, calling for, and alone satisfied with, the 
answering force and articulation of H Characteristic Religion," 
each requiring and required by the other, each already con- 
taining the other in embryo, and both ever operating together, 
in proportion as Man and Religion attain to their fullness.! 
3. H erma1tn' s impossiblesÙnþlification concerning philosophy. 
But what shall we say as to the relations between Religion 
and Philosophy? Here again Hermann is the vigorous 
champion of a very prevalent and plausible simplification. 
" There exists no Theory of Knowledge for such things as we 
hold to be real in the strength of faith. In such religious 
affirmations, the believer demolishes every bridge between 
his conviction and that which Science can recognize as real." 
Indeed Hermann's attitude is here throughout identical with 
that of his master, Albrecht Ritschl : Metaphysics of any and 
every kind appear everywhere, to both writers, as essentially 
unnecessary, unreal, misleading, as so much inflation and 
delusion of soul.- Yet this again is quite demonstrably exces- 
sive, and can indeed be explained only as an all but inevitable 
recoil from the contrary metaphysical excesses of the Hegelian 
school. 
(I) Since the culmination of that reaction, "it has," as 
Prof. H. J. Holtzmann, himself so profoundly historical and 
so free from all extreme metaphysical bent, tells us, " become 
quite impossible any further to deny the metaphysical factors 
which had a share in constituting such types of New Testa- 
ment doctrine as the Pauline and J ohannine. Indeed, not even 
if we were to reduce the New Testament to the Synoptic 
Gospels and the Acts on the one hand, and to the Pastoral 
Epistles, the Epistle of James and the Apocalypse on the 
other hand, would the elements which spring from speculative 
sources be entirely eliminated. And since, again, the Old 
Testament religion, in its last stage, assimilated similarly 


j, M. Jastrow, The Study of Religion, 1901, pp. 279-286. C. P. Tiele, 
Elements of the Science of Religion. 18 97, Vol. II, pp. 227-234; L. W. 
E. Rauwenhoff, Religions-philosophie, Germ. tr.. ed. 1894, pp. 109-124. 
R. Eucken, Del' Wahf'heitsgehalt del' Religion, 1901, pp. 59-- 2 3 8 ; 303-399. 
There are important points in pp. 425-438. which I do not accept. 


. 



270 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 
metaphysical materials from the East and from the West; 
since Mohammedanism, in its Persian and Indian branches, did 
the same with regard to the older civilized religions of Middle 
and Eastern Asia; since also these latter religions received 
a speculative articulation in even the most ancient times, so 
that they are both Philosophy and Religion simultaneously : 
we are forced to ask ourselves, whether so frequent a con- 
con1Ítant of religion is satisfactorily explicable as a mere 
symptom of falsification or decay." And whilst answering 
that the primary organ for religion is Feeling and Conscience, 
he points out how large an amount of Speculation was, never- 
theless, required and exercised by a St. Augustine, even after 
his unforgettable experiences of the sufferings attendant upon 
Sin, and of their cure by Grace alone.! 
(2) The fact is that, if man cannot apprehend the objects,- 
the historic and other facts,-of Religion, without certain sub- 
jective organs, dispositions, and effects, any more than can all 
these subjective capacities, without those objects, produce 
religious convictions and acts, or be waked up into becoming 
efficient forces: neither can man thus experience and effect 
the deepest foundations and developments of his own true 
personality in and through contact with the divine Spirit, 
without being more or less stimulated into some kind of, at 
least rudimentary, Philosophy as to these his profoundest 
experiences of reality, and as to their rights and duties 
towards the rest of what he is and knows. 
(3) Indeed his very Religion is already, in itself, the pro- 
foundest 1\ietaphysical Affirmation. As the deeply historical- 
minded Prof. Tiele admits_: " Every man in his sound senses, 
who does not lead the life of a half-dormant animal, philoso- 
phizes in his own way" ; and "religious doctrine rests on a 
metaphysical foundation; unless convinced of the reality of 
a supersensual world, it builds upon sand. JJ 2 Or as Prof. 
Eucken, the most eloquent champion of this central character- 
istic of all vital religion, exclaims: " If we never, as a matter 
of fact, get beyond merely subjective psychological processes, 
and we can nowhere trace within us the action of cosmic 
forces; if we in no case experience through them an enlarge- 
ment, elevation, and transformation of our nature: then not 
all the endeavours of its well-meaning friends can preserve 
religion from sinking to tke level of a mere illusion. Without a 
1 Rothe.s Spekulatives System, 1899, pp. 25, 26. 
:& Elements of the Science of Religion. 1897, Vol. II, pp. 61, 62. 



MORALITY, MYSTICISM, AND RELIGION 27I 


universal and real principle, without hyper-empirical processes, 
there can be no permanence for religion." 1 
(4) Some kind of philosophy, then, will inevitably accom- 
pany, follow, and stimulate religion, were it only as the, 
necessarily ever inadequate, attempt at giving a fitting ex- 
pression to the essentially metaphysical character of belief 
in a supersensible world, in God, in man's spiritual capacities 
and in God's redemption of man. Not because the patient 
analysis of the completer human personalities, (as these are 
to be found throughout the length and breadth of history,) 
requires the elimination of a wholesome Mysticism and a sober 
Metaphysic from among the elements and effects of the fullest 
Manhood and Religion; but because of the ever serious diffi- 
culties and the liability to grave abuses attendant upon both 
these forces, the inevitably excessive reactions against these 
abuses, and the recurrent necessity of remodelling much of 
the theory and practice of both, in accordance with the growth 
of our knowledge of the human mind, (a necessity which, at 
first sight, seems to stultify all the hyper-empirical claims of 
both these forces) : only because of this have many men of 
sense and goodness come to speak as though religion, even 
at its fullest, could and should get on without either, con- 
tenting itself to be a somewhat sentimental, Immanental 
Ethics. 
(5) Yet, against such misgivings, perhaps the most immedi- 
ately impressive counter-argument is the procession, so largely 
made up of men and of movements not usually reckoned as 
exclusively or directly religious, whose very greatness,-one 
which humanity will not let die,-is closely interwoven with 
1\-iystical and Metaphysical affirmations. There are, among 
philosophers, a Spinoza and a Leibniz, a Fichte, Hegel, 
Schopenhauer, a Trendelenburg and a Lotze, with the later 
stages of a John Mill, a Littré, and a Herbert Spencer; among 
poets, a Pindar and Aeschylus, a Lucretius and Vergil, a 
Lessing and a Goethe, a Wordsworth and a Browning; among 
historians, a Thucydides and a Tacitus, a St. Simon and de 
Tocqueville, a Carlyle, a Jacob Grimm, a Droysen and a 
Ranke; among scientists, a Gopernicus and a Kepler, a 
Newton, a Lyell, indeed, largely still, also a Darwin; and 
among men of action, a Moltke and a Gordon, a Burke and 
a von Stein. Shear any of these men of their Mystical and 


1 Der Kamp! um einen geistigen Lebensinhalt. 1896. p. 309. 



27 2 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 
Metaphysical elements, and you will have shorn Samson of 
his locks. 
And if we can frame aeon trary list of men of force and 
distinction, who have represented an un- or even an anti- 
Mystical and anti-Metaphysical type: Caesar and Hannibal, 
Napoleon and Bismarck, Voltaire and Laplace, Hume and 
Bentham, Huxley and Mommsen, we must ever remember 
the complex truth as to the Polarity of Life,-the strict neces- 
sity of the movement towards an intensely close contact with 
empirical reality, as well as of the movement back to recollec- 
tion; the frequent sickliness of the recollective movement, as 
found in the average practice of life, which cannot but produce 
a reaction and contrary excess; and hence the legitimacy of 
what this second type has got of positiveness and of corrective 
criticism. Yet here too the greatness will consist directly in 
what these men are and have, not in what they are not; and 
wherever this their brutal-seeming sense of the apparent 
brutalities of life is combined with an apprehension of a higher 
world and of a deeper reality, there something fuller and more 
true has been attained than is reached by such strong but 
incomplete humanity alone. 
4. Religion and Morality, their kinshiP and difference. 
And, finally, as to Religion and Morality, we should note 
how that the men, who deny all essential connection between 
Religion and Mysticism and Religion and Philosophy, ever, 
when they do retain Religion at all, tend to identify it with 
l\lorality, if not as to the motives, yet as to the contents of 
the two forces. And yet it is not difficult to show that, if 
the relation between Religion and Morality is closer than that 
between Religion and Philosophy, though not as intimate as is 
that between Historical-Institutional Religion and Mysticism: 
Religion and :1\Iorality are nevertheless not identical. 
(I) This non-identity is indicated by the broad historical fact 
that, though the development of Religion tells upon that of 
Morality, and vice versa: yet that the rate of development of 
these two forces is practically never the same, even in one 
and the same soul, still less in anyone country or race. In 
each case we get various inequalities between the two develop- 
ments, which would be impossible" were the two forces different 
only in name. 
We reach again the same conclusion, if we note, what Dr. 
Edward Caird has so well pointed out, " the imperfection of 
the subjective religion of the prophets and psalmists of 



l\10RALITY, MYSTICIS1\I, AND RELIGION 273 


Israel,"-who nevertheless already possessed a very advanced 
type of profoundly ethical religion,-" shown by its inability 
to overcome the legal and ceremonial system of worship to 
which it was opposed"; as, " in like manner, Protestantism 
. . . has never been able decisively to conquer the system of 
Rome." 1 For this, as indeed the failure of Buddhism to 
absorb and supersede Hindooism, evidently implies that 
Religion cannot find its full development and equilibrium in 
an exclusive concentration upon Morality Proper, as alone 
essential; and hence that complete Religion embraces other 
things besides Morality.. 
Once more we find non-identity between the very Ethics 
directly postulated by Religion at its deepest, and the Ethics 
immediately required by the Family, Society, the State, Art, 
Science, and Philosophy. As Prof. Troeltsch admirably puts 
it, "the special characteristic of our modem consciousness 
resides in the insistence both upon the Religious, the That- 
world Ends, and upon the Cultural, This-world Ends, 
which latter are taken as Ends-in-themselves: it is pre- 
cisely in this combination that this consciousness finds its 
richness, power, and freedom, but also its painful interior 
tension and its difficult problems." "As in Christian Ethics 
we must recognize the predominance of an Objective Religious 
End,-for here certain relations of the soul to God are the 
chief commandments and the supreme good,-so in the 
Cultural Ends we should frankly recognize objective Moral 
Ends of an Immanental kind." And in seeking after the 
right relations-'between the two, we shall have to conclude 
that" Ethics, for us, are not, at first, a unity but a multiplicity: 
man grows up amongst a number of moral ends, the unifica- 
tion of vlhich is his life's task and problenl, and not its starting- 
point." And this multiplicity" is " more precisely" a polarity 
in human nature, for it contains two poles-that of Religious 
and that of Humane Ethics, neither of which can be ignored 
without moral damage, but which, nevertheless, cannot be 
brought under a common formula." "We can but keep a 
sufficient space open for the action of both forms, so that from 
their interaction there may ever result, with the least possible 
difficulty, the deepening of the Humane Ends by the Christian 
Ethics, and tJ:le humanizing of the Christian End by the 
Humane Ethics, so that life may become a service of God 


1 The Evolution of Religion, 1893. Vol. II, p. 3 1 3. 
VOL. II. T 



274 THE MYSTIGAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 
within the Cultural Ends, and that the service of God may 
transfigure the world." 1 
We can perceive the difference between the two forces most 
clearly in Our Lord's life and teaching-say, the Sermon on 
the Mount; in the intolerableness of every exegesis which 
attempts to reduce the ultimate meaning and worth of this 
world-renewing religious document to what it has of literal 
applicability in the field of morality proper. Schopenhauer 
expressed a profound in tui tion in the words : " It would be 
a most unworthy manner of speech to declare the sublime 
Founder of the Christian Religion, whose life is proposed to 
us as the model of all virtue, to have been the most reasonable 
of men, and that his maxims contained but the best instruction 
towards an entirely reasonable life." 2 
(2) The fact is that Religion ever insists, even where it but 
seems to be teaching certain moral rules and moti ves as 
appropriate to this visible world of ours, upon presenting 
them in the setting of a fuller, deeper world than that immedi- 
ately required as the field of action and as the justification 
of ordinary morality. Thus whilst, in Morality Proper, the 
concepts of Responsibility, Prudence, Merit, Reward, Irre- 
trievableness, are necessarily primary; in Religious Ethics the 
ideas of Trust, Grace, Heroism, Love, Free Pardon, Spiritual 
Renovation are, as necessarily, supreme. And hence it is not 
accidental, although of course not necessary, that we often 
find men with a keen religious sense but with a defective 
moral practice or even conception, and men with a strong 
moral sense and a want of religious perception; that Mystics, 
with their keen sense for one element of religion, so often 
seem, and sometimes are, careless of morality proper; and 
that, in such recent cases (deeply instructive in their very 
aberrations) as that of Nietzsche, we get a fierce anti-Moralism 
combined with a thirst for a higher and deeper world than 
this visible one, which not all its fantastic form, nor even all 
Nietzsche's later rant against concrete religion, can prevent 
from being essentially religious. 3 
(3) \y e have then, here, the deepest instance of the la \v and 
1 " Grund-probleme der Ethik." in Zeitschrift für Theologie und l{irche, 
19 0 2, pp. 164; 166, 167; 172. 
2 Die Welt als TVille und Vorstellung, I, Anhang, p. 653. 
3 A. E. Taylor's The Problem of Conduct, 1901, contains, pp. 469-487. 
a very vigorous and suggestive study of the similarities and differences 
between Morality and Religion, marred though it is by paradox and 
impatience. 



l\1YSTIGISM AND LIMITS OF KNOWLEDGE 275 


necessity which we have, so often, found at the shallo\\'er 
levels of the spirit's life. For here, once more, there is one 
apprehension, force, life,- This-world Morality,-which re- 
quires penetration and developluent, in nowise destruction, by 
another, a deeper power, That-world Ethics and Religion. 
Let the one weaken or blunt the edge and impact of the 
other, and it has, at the same time, weakened itself. For here 
again we have, not a Thing which simply exists, by persistence 
in its dull unpenetratingness and dead impenetrability, but a 
Life, growing by the incorporation and organization, within 
its ampler range, of lesser lives, each with its own legitimate 
autononlY. 


II. MYSTICISM AND THE LIMITS OF HUMAN KNOWLEDGE 
AND EXPERIENCE. 
But have not even the most sober-minded of the Partial 
Mystics greatly exceeded the limits oÍ human knowledge, 
more or less continuously, throughout their conclusions? Is 
Kant completely in the wrong? And are not the Positivists 
right in restricting all certain cognition to the experiences of 
the senses and to the Mathematico-Physical Sciences built 
upon those experiences? And, again, is there such a thing 
at all as specifically Mystical Experience or Knowledge? 
And, if so, what is its worth ?-I must keep the elaboration 
of the (ultimately connected) question, as to the nature of 
the realities experienced or known-as to the human spirit 
and the Divine Spirit, and their inter-relations, hence as to 
Pantheism and Personality-for the next chapter, and can 
here but prepare the ground for it, by the elucidation of certain 
important points in general Epistemology, and of the more 
obvious characteristics of Mystical apprehension. 
I. Positivist Episte1nology an error. 
As regards general Epistemology, we may well take up the 
following positions. 
(I) We cannot but reject, with Prof. Volkelt, as a mere 
vulgar error, the Positivist limitation of trans-subjectively 
valid knowledge to direct sense-perception and to the laws of 
the so-called Empirical Sciences. For, as he shows con- 
clusively, the only fact which is absolutely indubitable, is that 
of the bare occurrence of our (possibly utterly misleading) 
sensations and impressions. Some of these are, it is true, 


,. 



276 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


accompanied by a certain pressure upon our minds to credit 
them with trans-subjective validity; and the fact oÍ this (pos- 
sibly quite misleading) pressure is itself part of our undeniable 
experience. Yet we can, if we will, treat this pressure also as 
no more than a meani

;less occurrence, and not as evidencing 
the trans-subjective reality which it seems to indicate. No 
man, it is true, has ever succeeded in consistently carrying 
out such a refusal of assent,-sinceno scepticism is so thorough 
but that it derives its very power, against the trans-subjective 
validity of some of the impressions furnished with trans- 
subjective pressure, from an utterly inconsistent acceptance, as 
trans-subjectively valid, of other impressions furnished with a 
precisely similar trans-subjective intimation. Yet the fact 
remains that, in all such cases of trans-subjective pressure, the 
mind has H an immediate experience of which the content is 
precisely this, that we are justified in proceeding with these 
concepts into what is absolutely beyond the possibility of being 
experienced by us." H Positivistic Cognition," to which no 
man, Positivist included, can systematically restrict himself, 
"abides absolutely within the immediately experienced. 
Logical Cognition," which every man practises surreptitiously 
if not avowedly, H exceeds experience at every step, and 
conceptually determines what is absolutely incapable of being 
experienced, yet the justification for this kind of cognition is, 
here also, an immediately experienced certitude." 1 
We have, "then, immediately experienced presentations 
which of themselves already constitute a knowledge,-our first 
knowledge, and the only one possessed of absolute indubitable- 
ness." And some of these presentations II are accompanied by 
a kind of immediate certainty or revelation that, in some way, 
they reach right into the Thing-in-Itself, that they directly 
express something objectively valid, present in that Thing- 
in-I tself "; and {{ this pressure ever involves, should the 
contradictory of what it enunciates be admitted as objectively 
existent, the self-destruction of objective reality."-{{ And this 
pressure can, in anyone case, be resisted by the mind; an 
act of endorsement, of a kind of faith, is necessary on the 
part of the mind: for these presentations, furnished with such 
pressure, do not transform themselves into the Things-in- 
Themselves directly,-we do not come to see objective reality 
simply face to face." 2 And we find thus that H in princiPle the 
1 J. Volkelt, Immanuel Kant's Et'kenntnisstheorie, 1879, pp. 258. 259. 
2 Ibid. pp. 206. 208. 2 0 9. 



l\fYSTICISl\i AND LIMITS OF KNO\VLEDGE 277 


entire range of reality, right down to its last depths, lies open 
to cognition, proceeding according to the principle oÍ the 
necessities of thought. For he who recognizes this principle, 
thereby admits that the necessities of thought have trans- 
subjective significance, so that, if any affirmation concerning 
the ultimate reasons and depths of Reality can be shown to 
be necessary in thought, this affirmation possesses as rightful 
a claim to trans-subjective validity, as any determination, 
necessary in thought, which concern only such parts of the 
Thing-in-Itself as are the nearest neighbours to our sense- 
impressions concerning it. Everywhere our principle leaves 
us only the question whether thought, as a matter of fact, does 
or does not react, under the given problems, with the said 
logical constraint and pressure." 1 
(2) We can next insist upon how we have thus already 
found that the acquisition of even so rudimentary an outline 
of Reality, as to be ever in part presupposed in the attacks 
of the most radical sceptics, necessarily involves a certain 
elTIotive disposition and volitional action. And, over and 
above this partially withhold able assent, such quite elemen- 
tary thinking will also ever require the concomitant energizing 
of the picturing faculty. And again, the more interior and 
spiritual are this thinking's subject-matters, the more will it 
be permeated by, and be inseparable from, deep feeling. It 
is then all man's faculties conjoined, it is the whole man, who 
normally thus gives, without reflecting on it, his all, to gain 
even this elementary nucleus of certainty as to Reality. 
"Even receptivity," as Prof. Ward well says, "is activity" ; for 
even where non-voluntary, it is never indifferent. "Not mere 
receptivity, but conative or selective activity, is the essence 
of subjective reality." Or, with Prof. V olkelt: "Purely 
isolated thought,"-which, in actual life ever more or less oÍ 
a fiction, is not rarely set up by individuals as an ideal,-u is, 
however intensified and interiorized, something ever only 
forn1al, something, in the final resort, insignificant and 
shadowy."-And, concurrently with the recognition of this 
fact, man will come to find that U the ultimate Substance or 
Power of and in the world,"-that objective reality which 
is the essential counterpart to his own subjective reality,-U is 
something possessed of a true, deep content and of a positive 
aim, and alive according to the analogy of a willing individual 


1 J. Volkelt, Immanuel Kant's Erkenntllisstheorie. 1879, p. 244. 


.. 



27 8 THE MYSTICAL ELEJ\lENT OF RELIGION 
The world would thus be a Logical Process only in the sense 
that this concrete fundamental Power is bound by the ideal 
necessity of its own nature." 1 
(3) And again, I would note with V olkelt how Kant, owing 
to his notoriously intense natural tendency to universal 
Dualism, never admits, even as a point for preliminary 
settlement, the possibility that our subjective conceptions 
of Objective Reality may have some true relation to that 
Reality. His professed ignorance as to the nature of that 
Reality changes instantaneously, quite unbeknown to himself, 
into an absolute unvarying, negative knowledge concerning 
that Reality,-he simply knows that it is utterly heterogeneous 
to our conception of it. Thus he finds the view that ({ God 
has implanted into the human mind certain categories and 
concepts of a kind spontaneously to harmonize with things," 
to be H the most preposterous solution that we could possibly 
choose." 2 Thus the epistemological difference between Pre- 
sentation and Thing-in-Itself becomes a metaf>hysical ex- 
clusion of each by the other. And yet we know of no fact, 
whether of experience or of thought, to prevent something 
which is my presentation existing also, in so far as it is the 
content of that presentation, outside of this presentment. 
Indeed Psychology and Epistemology have, driven by every 
reason and stopped by none, more and more denied and 
refuted this excessive, indeed gratuitous, Dualism. 
As Prof. Henry Jones well puts it: H The hypothesis 
that knowledge consists of two elements which are so 
radically different as to be capable of description only by 
defining each negatively in terms of the other, the pure 
manifold or differences of sense, and a purely universal or 
relative thought," breaks down under the fact that H pure 
thought and the manifold of sense pass into each other, the 
one proving meaningless and the other helpless in its 
isolation." These elements " are only aspects of one fact, 
co-relates mutually penetrating each other, distinguishable 
in thought, but not separable as existences." Hence we must 
not H make logical remnants do the work of an intelligence 
which is never purely formal, upon a material which is 


1 James Ward, Ie Present Problems of Psychology," in (American) 
PhilosoPhical Review, 1904, p. 607. J. Volkclt, Kant's Erkenntnisstheorie. 
p. 241. 
t In a letter of 1772, BrieJe. ed. Berlin Academy. Vol. I, 1900, 
p. 126. 




iYSTICIS]\i AND LINIITS OF KNOWLEDGE 279 


nowhere a pure manifold": for U the difference between 
the primary data of thought on the one hand, and the 
highest kinds of systematized knowledge on the other, is 
no difference . . . between a mere particular and a mere 
universal, or a mere content and a mere form; but it is a 
difference in comprehensiveness of articulation." However 
primary may be the distinction of subjective and objective, 
" we are not entitled to forget the unity of the reality in which 
the distinction takes place." If we begin with the purely 
subjective, we must doubtless end there; but then, in spite 
of certain, never self-consistent, philosophical hypotheses, 
U the purely subjective is as completely beyond our reach as 
the purely objective." 1 
Prof. Ward indeed pushes the matter, I think rightly, 
even a step further. He points out how readily, owing to 
the ambiguous term (( consciousness," (( we confound experience 
with knowledge" ; but holds that experience is the wider term. 
(( Knowledge must fall within experience, and experience 
extend beyond knowledge. Thus I am not left to infer my 
own being from my knowing. . . . Objective reality is imme- 
diately ( given,' or immediately ( there,' not inferred." But 
the subjective reality is not immediately given, immediately 
there. (( There is no such parallelism between the two. . . . 
The subjective factor in experience is not datum but reci- 
Piens: it is not ( there' but ( here'; a ( here' relative to that 
( there.' "2 Nothing of this, I think, really conflicts with the 
positions we have adopted from Volkelt, since (( experience" 
is evidently used here in a sense inclusive of the presentations, 
the trans-subjective pressure and the endorsement of the 
latter's estimations,-the three elements which, according also 
to Volkelt, form an organism which even the most daring 
subjectivism can never consistently reject. At most, the 
term (( experience" is more extended in Prof. Ward, since it 
includes all three elements, than in Prof. V olkelt, who restricts 
it to the two first. 
(4) And further, we must take care to find room for 
the only unforced explanation of the wondrous fact that 
U although," as Dr. Volkelt strikingly says, (( the various 
schools of philosophy "-this is largely true of those of theology 
also,-are (( in part essentially determined by historical 
1 H. Jones. A Critical Account oJ the Philosophy oJ Lotze. 1895. pp. 102- 
104; 106, 107; 108, I I I. 
2 The Present Problems, pp. 606. 607. 


. 



280 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


currents, forces which follow other standards than those of 
logical necessity": yet (t these points of view and modes of 
thought, thus determined by" apparently non-logical "history, 
subserve nevertheless logical necessity, indeed represent its" 
slow, intermittent, yet real" progressive realization." The 
explanation is that" the forces of history are, unbeknown to 
themselves, planned, in their depths, for agreement \vith the 
necessities and ends of thought and of truth." U And thus 
the different spheres" and levels" of spiritual life and endeavour 
appear as originally intended for each other, so that each 
sphere, whilst consciously striving only after its own particular 
laws and standards, in reality furthers the objects of the rest." 
For" only the operative presence of such an original, teleo- 
logical inter-relation can explain how historic forces, by their 
influence upon, and determination of, philosophical thinking, 
can, instead of staining and spoiling it by the introduction of 
religious, artistic, political, and other motives, actually advance 
it most essentially." I-Here then we get a still further en- 
largement of the already wide range of interaction, within the 
human mind, between forces which, at first sight, appear 
simply external to, indeed destructive of, each other; and a 
corresponding increase in the indications of the immense 
breadth, depth,andcloseness of inter-pen etration characterizing 
the operative ground-plan, the pre-existing Harmony and 
Teleology of the fundamental forces of Reality. Thus once 
more man's spirit appears as possessed of a large interiority; 
and as met, supported and penetrated, by a Spirit stupend- 
ously rich in spiritual energy. 
(5) And finally, let us never forget that (t the only experi- 
ence immediately accessible to us " men, " is our own; this, 
in spite of its complexity, is the first we know." 2 And this 
means that we have direct experience and anything like 
adequate knowledge, (because knowledge from within,) not 
of things, but of mind and will, of spiritual life struggling 
within an animal life ; and that in face, say, of plant-life, and 
still more of a pebble or of a star, we have a difficulty as to 
an at all appropriate and penetrative apprehension, which, if 
opposite to, is also in a sense greater than, the difficulty 
inherent to our apprehension of God Himself. For towards 
this latter apprehension we have got the convergent testimony 
1 J. Volkelt, ErJahrung und Denke1l, 1886, p. 4 8 5. 
:2 James Ward, .. On the Definition of Psychology," in Journal oj 
Psychology, Vol. I, 1904, p. 25. 



MYSTICISl\! AND LIMITS OF KNOWLEDGE 281 


of certain great, never quite obliterable facts without us and 
within ourselves. 
There is the upward trend, the ever-increased complexity 
of organization, the growing depth and interiority in the 
animate world,-Plant-Life itself being already, very prob- 
ably, possessed of a vague consciousness, and l\ian, at the 
other end of the scale, summing up the tendency of the whole 
series in a deep self-consciousness which, at the same time, 
makes him alone keenly aware of the great difference, in the 
midst of the true kinship, between himself and the humbler 
members of that one world. For Natural Selection can but 
describe the results and explain part of the method of this 
upward trend, but cannot penetrate to its ultimate cause 
and end. 
There is, again, the great, deep fact of the mutuany neces- 
sary, mutually stimulating presence and interaction, within 
our own mental and spiritual life, of sense-impressions, 
imaginative picturings, rational categories, emotional activi- 
ties, and volitional acts; and, again, of subject and object; 
and, once more, of general, philosophic Thought and the 
contingencies of History. For the immanental inter-adapta- 
tion and Teleology, that mysteriously link together all these, 
profoundly disparate-seeming, realms and forces is far too 
deep-down, it too much surprises, and exacts too much of us, 
it too much reveals itself, precisely at the end of much labour 
of our own and in our truest and most balanced moods, as 
the mostly unarticulated presupposition and explanation of 
both the great cost and the rich fruitfulness of every approxi- 
mately complete actuation of all our faculties, each with and 
in the others, and in and with their appropriate objects, to be 
permanently ruled out of court as mere sentimentalism or 
baseless apologetic. 
And there is' the deepest fact of all, the one which precisely 
constitutes the specific characteristic of all true humanity, the 
sense of mental oppression, of intolerable imprisonment in- 
flicted by the very idea of the merely contingent, the simply 
phenomenal and Finite, and the accompanying noble rest- 
lessness and ready dwarfing of all man's best achievements 
by the agent's own Ideal of Perfection. For this latter sense 
is, precisely in the greater souls, so spontaneous and so keen, 
so immensely operative in never leaving our, otherwise 
indolent and readily self-delusive, self-complacent race fully 
and long satisfied with anything that passes entirely away, or 


, 



282 THE MYSTICAL ELEl\IENT OF RELIGION 


that is admittedly merely a subjective fancy, even though 
this fancy be shared by every member of the human race: 
and this sense operates so explosively within Sceptics as wen 
as Dogmatists, within would-be Agnostic Scientists as well 
as in the most Intellectualist Theologians; it so humbles, 
startles, and alone so braces, sweetens, widens, indeed consti- 
tutes our humanity: as to be unforcedly explicable only by 
admitting that man's spirit's experience is not shut up within 
man's own clear analysis or picturing of it; that it is indefi- 
nitely wider, and somehow, in its deepest reaches, is directly 
touched, affected, in part determined, by the Infinite Spirit 
Itself. U Man never knows how anthropomorphic he is," says 
Goethe. Yes, but it was a man, Goethe, it is at bottom all 
men, in proportion as they are fully, sensitively such, who 
have somehow discovered this truth; \vho suffer from 
its continuous evidences, as spontaneously as from the 
toothache or from insomnia; and whose deepest moments 
give them a vivid sense of how immensely the Spirit, thus 
directly experienced by their spirit, transcends, and yet also 
is required by and is immanent in, their keen sense of the 
Finitude and Contingency present throughout the world of 
sense-perception and of clear intellectual formulation. 
(6) With Plato and Plotinus, Clement of Alexandria and 
St. Augustine, St. Bernard, Cardinal Nicolas of Coes and 
Leibniz in the past; with Cardinal Newman, Professors 
Maurice Blondel and Henri Bergson, Siegwart, Eucken, 
Troeltsch and Tiel
, Igino Petrone and Edward Caird, in 
the present; with the explicit assent of practically all the 
great 11 ystics of all ages and countries, and the implicit 
instinct, and at least partial, practical admission, of all sane 
and developed human souls; we will then have to postulate 
here, not merely an intellectual reasoning upon finite data, 
which would somehow result in so operative a sense of the 
Infinite; nor even simply a mental category of Infinitude 
which, evoked in man by and together with the apprehension 
of things finite, would, somehow, have so massive, so explosive 
an effect against our finding satisfaction in the other categories, 
categories which, after all, would not be more subjective, than 
itself: but the ontological presence of, and the operative pene- 
tration by the Infinite Spirit, within the human spirit. This 
Spirit's presence would produce, on occasion of man's appre- 
hension or volition of things contingent and finite, the keen 
sense of disappointment, of contrast with the Simultaneous, 



MYSTICISM AND LIl\lITS OF KNOWLEDGE 283 


Abiding, and Infinite.-And let the reader note that this is 
not Ontologism, for we here neither deduce our other ideas 
from the idea of God, nor do we argue from ideas and their 
clarity, but from living forces and their operativeness. 
We thus get man's spirit placed within a world of varying 
degrees of depth and interiority, the different levels and kinds 
of which are necessary, as so many materials, stimulants, 
obstacles, and objects, for the development of that spirit's 
various capacities, which themselves again interact the one 
upon the other, and react upon and within that world. For if 
man's experience of God is not a mere discursively reasoned 
conclusion from the data of sen
e, yet man's spirit experiences 
the Divine Spirit and the spirits of his fellow-men on occasion 
of, and as a kind of contrast, background, and support to, the 
actuation of hi. senses, imagination, reason, feeling, and 
volition, and, at least at first and in the long run, not 
otherwise. 
2. No dis#nct faculty of Myst'l'cal apprehension. 
Is there, then, strictly speaking, such a thing as a speci- 
fically distinct, self-sufficing, purely Mystical mode of appre- 
hending Reality? I take it, distinctly not,. and that all the 
errors of the Exclusive Mystic proceed precisely from the 
contention that Mysticism does constitute such an entirely 
separate, completely self-supported kind of human experience. 
-This denial does not, of course, mean that soul does not 
differ quite indefinitely from soul, in the amount and kind of 
the recollective, intuitive, deeply emotive element possessed 
and exercised by it concurrently or alternately with other 
elements,-the sense of the Infinite within and without the 
Finite springing up in the soul on occasion of its contact 
with the Contingent; nor, again, that these more or less con- 
genital differences and vocations amongst souls cannot and 
are not still further developed by grace and heroism in to 
types of religious apprehension and life, so strikingly diver- 
gent, as, at first sight, to seem hardly even supplementary the 
one to the other. But it means that, in even the most purely 
contingent-seeming soul, and in its apparently but Institu- 
tional and Historical assents and acts, there ever is, there 
never can fail to be, some, however implicit, however slight, 
however intermittent, sense and experience of the Infinite, 
evidenced by at least some dissatisfaction with the Finite, 
except as this Finitude is an occasion for growth in, and a 
part-expression of, that Infinite, our true home. And, again, 


. 



284 THE MYSTICAL ELEl\IENT OF RELIGION 


it means, that even the most exclusively mystical-seeming 
soul ever depends, for the fulness and healthiness of even the 
most purely mystical of its acts and states, as really upon 
its past and present contacts with the Contingent, Temporal, 
and Spatial, and with social facts and elements, as upon its 
movement of concentration, and the sense and experience, 
evoked on occasion of those contacts or of their l11emories, of 
the Infinite within and around those finitudes and itself. 
Only thus does Mysticism attain to its true, full dignity, 
which consists precisely in being, not everything in anyone 
soul, but something in every soul of man; and in pre- 
senting, at its fullest, the amplest development, among certain 
special natures with the help of certain special graces and 
heroisms, of what, in some degree and form, is present in 
every truly human soul, and in such a soul's every, at all genuine 
and complete, grace-stimulated religious act and state. And 
only thus does it, as Partial Mysticism, retain all the strength 
and escape the weaknesses and dangers of would-be Pure 
1\Iysticism, as regards the mode and character of Religious 
Experience, Kno\vledge, and l.ife. 
3. The first four pairs of weaknesses and strengths special to 
the Mystics. 
I take the Mystic's weaknesses and strengths to go together 
in pairs, and that there ar
 seven such pairs. Only the first 
four shall be considered here; the fifth and the last two 
couples are reserved respectively for the following, and for the 
last section, of this chapter. 
(I) The l\iystic finds his joy in the recollective movement 
and movements of the soul; and hence ever tends, qua Mystic, 
to ignore and neglect, or to over-minimize, the absolutely 
necessary contact of the mind and will with the things of 
sense. He will often write as though, could he but completely 
shut off his mind from all sense-perceptions,-even of grand 
scenery, or noble works of art, or scenes of human devoted- 
ness, suffering, and peace,-it would be proportionately fuller 
of God.- Y et this drift is ever more or less contradicted by 
his practice, often at the very moment of such argument: for 
no religious writers are more prolific in vivid imagery derived 
from noble sensible objects and scenes than are the Mystics, 
-whose characteristic mood is an intuition, a resting in a 
kind of vision of things invisible.-And this contradiction is 
satisfactory, since it is quite certain that if the mind, heart, 
and will could be completely absorbed, (from the first or for 



MYSTICIS
I AND LIMITS OF KNOWLEDGE 2 8 5 
any length of time,) in the flight from the sensible, it would 
become as dangerously empty and languid concerning things 
invisible themselves as, with nothing but an outgoing 
occupation with the sensible, it would become distracted 
and feverish. I t is this aversion from Outgoing and from 
the world of sense, of the contemporaneous contingencies 
environing the soul, that gives to Mysticism, as such, its 
shadowy character, its floating above, rather than penetrating 
into, reality,-in contradiction, where this tendency becomes 
too exclusive, to the Incarnational philosophy and practice 
of Christianity, and indeed of every cOll1plete and sound 
psychology. 
And yet the Incoming, what the deep religious thinker 
l(ierkegaard has so profoundly analyzed in his doctrine of 
u Repetition," 1-recollection and peaceful browsing among 
the materials brought in by the soul's Outgoing,-is most 
essential. Indeed it is the more difficult, and, though never 
alone sufficient, yet ever the more centrally religious, of the 
two movements necessary for the q.cquisition of spiritual 
experience and life. 
(2) Again, the Mystic finds his full delight in all that 
approximates most nearly to Simultaneity, and Eternity; and 
consequently turns away, qua Mystic, from the Successive and 
Temporal presented by History.- Y et here also there are two 
movements, both necessary for man. He will, by the one, 
once more in fullest sympathy with the grand Christian love 
of lowliness, strive hard to get into close, and ever closer, 
touch with the successivenesses of History, especially those of 
Our Lord's earthly life and of His closest followers. With- 
out this touch he will become empty, inflated, as St. Teresa 
found to be the case with herself, when following the false 
principle of deliberate and systematic abstraction from 
Christ's temporal words and acts: for man's soul, though it 
does not energize in mere Clock-Time, cannot grow if we 
attempt to eliminate Duration, that interpenetrative, over- 
lapping kind of Succession, which is already, as it were, 
halfwa y to the Simultaneity of God. I t is this aversion from 
Clock-Time Succession and even from Duration which gives to 
Mysticism, as such, its remarkable preference for Spatial 
images, and its strong bent towards concepts of a Static and 
Determinist type, profoundly antagonistic though these are 
1 There is a good description of this doctrine in H. Höffding's Sõren 
Kierkegaard. Stuttgart. 1896. pp. 100-104. 



286 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


to the Dynamic and Libertarian character which ever marks 
the o
casions and conditions for the acquiring of religious 
experIence. 
And yet, here again, the Mystic is clinging, even one- 
sidedly, to the more central, more specifically religious, of 
the t\VO movements. For it is certain that God is indeed 
Simultaneous and Eternal; that it is right thus to try and 
apprehend, what appears to us stretched out successively in 
time, as simultaneously present in the one great Now of God; 
and that our deepest experiences testify to History itself 
being ever more than mere process, and to have within it 
a certain contribution from, a certain approximation to and 
expression of, E terni ty. 
(3) And again, the lVlystic finds his joy in the sense of a Pure 
Reception of the Purely Objective; that God should do all 
and should receive the credit of an, is here a primary 
requirement.-And yet all penetrating Psychology, Epistem- 
ology, and Ethics find this very receptivity, however seemingly 
only such, to be, where healthy and fruitful, ever an action, a 
conation of the soul,-an energizing and volition which, as we 
have seen, are present in its very cognition of anything 
affirmed by it as trans-subjective, from a grain of sand up to 
the great God Himself. This antipathy to even a relative, 
God-willed independence and power of self-excitation, gives 
Mysticism, as such, its constant bent towards Quietism; and 
hence, with regard to the means and nature of knowledge, its 
tendency to speak of such a purely spiritual effect as Grace, 
and such purely spiritual beings as the Soul and God, as 
though they were literally sensible objects sensibly impressing 
themselves upon the Mystic's purely passive senses. This 
tendency reinforces the Mystic's thirst for pictorial, simul- 
taneous presentation and intuition of the verities apprehended 
by him, but is in curious contradiction to his even excessive 
conceptions concerning the utter separateness and difference 
from all things material of all such spiritual realities.-And 
yet, here too, it is doubtless deeply important ever to re- 
member, and to act in accordance with, the great truth that 
God Himself is apprehended by us only if there be action 
of our own, and that, from elementary moral dispositions 
right up to consummate sanctity, the whole man has ever to 
act and will more and more manysidedly, fully, and 
persistently. 
But the corresponding, indeed the anterior and more 



MYSTICIS:\i AND LI1iITS OF KNOWLEDGE 2 8 7 


centrally religious, truth here is, that all this range of our 
activity could never begin, and, if it could, would lose itself in 
vacuo, unless there already were Reality around it and within 
it, as the stimulus and object for all this energizing,-a Reality 
which, as Prof. Ward has told us with respect to Epistem- 
ology, must, for a certain dim but most true experience 
of ours, be simply given, not sought and found. And indeed 
the operations of Grace are ever more or less penetrating and 
soliciting, though nowhere forcing, the free assent of the 
natural soul: we should be unable to seek God unless He 
had already found us and had thus, deep down within our- 
selves, caused us to seek and find Him. And hence thus again 
the most indispensable, the truest form of experience underlies 
reasoning, and is a kind of not directly analyzable, but 
indirectly most operative, intuition or instinct of the soul. 
(4) And yet the Mystic, in one of his moods (the correspond- 
ing, contradictory mood of a Pantheistic identification of his 
true self with God shall be considered in our next chapter), finds 
his joy in so exalting the difference of nature between himself 
and God, and the incomprehensibility of God for every finite 
intelligence, as,-were we to press his words,-to cut away 
all ground for any experience or knowledge sufficient to 
justify him in even a guess as to what God is like or is not 
like, and for any attempt at intercourse with, and at becoming 
like unto, One who is so utterly unlike himself. 
4. Criticism of the fourth pair, rnystical " Agnosticis1Jz." 
Now this acutely paradoxical position, of an entire certainty 
as to God's complete difference from ourselves, has been 
maintained and articulated, with a consistency and vividness 
beyond that of any l\Jlystic known to me, by that most 
stimulating, profound, tragically non-mystical, religious ascetic 
and thinker, the Lutheran Dane, Sören Kierkegaard (1813- 
1855). His early friend, but philosophical opponent, Prof. 
Höffding, describes him as insisting that "the suffering 
incident to the religious life is necessarily involved in the 
very nature of the religious relation. For the relation of 
the soul to God is a relation to a Being utterly different 
from man, a Being which cannot confront man as his Super- 
lative and Ideal, and which nevertheless is to rule within him." 
(( What wonder, then," as Kierkegaard says, " if the Jew held 
that the vision of God meant death, and if the Heathen 
believed that to enter upon relations with God was the 
beginning of insanity?" For the man who lives for God 



288 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


" is a fish out of water." I-We have here what, if an error, is 
yet possible only to profoundly religious souls; indeed it 
would be easy to point out very similar passages in St. 
Catherine and St. John of the Cross. Yet Höffding is clearly 
in the right in maintaining that U Qualitative or Absolute 
difference abolishes all possibility of any positive relation. . . . 
If religious zeal, in its eagerness to push the Obj ect of religion 
to the highest height, establishes a yawning abyss between 
this Object and the Hfe whose ideal It is still to remain,-such 
zeal contradicts itself. For a God who is not Ideal and 
Exemplar, is no God." 2 
Berkeley raised similar objections against analogous 
positions of the Pseudo- Dionysius, in his Alciphron in 1732.3 
Indeed the Belgian Jesuit, Balthazar Corderius, has a very 
satisfactory note on this matter in his edition, in 1634, of 
the Areopagite,
 in which he shows how all the negative 
propositions of Mystical Theology, e. g. (( God is not Being, 
not Life," presuppose a certain affirmative position, e. g. U God 
is Being and Life, in a manner infinitely more sublime and 
perfect than we are able to comprehend"; and gives reasons 
and authorities, from St. Jerome to St. Thomas inclusive, for 
holding that some kind and degree of direct confused know- 
ledge (I should prefer, with modern writers, to call it 
experience) of God's existence and nature is possessed by 
the human soul, independently of its reasoning from the data 
of sense. 
St. Thomas's admissions are especially striking, as he 
usually elaborates a position which ignores, and would 
logically exclude, such (( confused knowledge." In his 
Exposition and Questions on the Book of Boetius on the Trinity, 
after arguments to show that we know indeed that God is, 
but not what He is,-at most only what He is not, he says: 
U We should recognize, however, that it is impossible, with 
regard to anything, to know whether it exists, unless, in some 
way or other, we know what it is, either with a perfect or with 
a confused knowledge. . . . Hence also with regard to God,-we 
could not know whether He exists, unless we somehow knew 
what He is, even though in a confused manner." And this 


1 Höffding's Kierkegaard, pp. 119. 120. 
2 Ibid. p. 12 3. 
3 See Works, ed. London. 1898, Vol. II, pp. 299-306. 
4 Quaestio Mystica, at the end of the notes to Chapter V of Dionysius's 
l\Jystical Theology, ed. J\ligne, 1889. Vol. I, pp. 1050-1058. 



MYSTICISM AND LI
IITS OF KNOWLEDGE 289 


knowledge of what Heis, is interestingly, because unconsciously, 
admitted in one of the passages directed to proving that we 
can but know that He is. U In our earthly state we cannot 
attain to a knowledge of Himself beyond the fact that He 
exists. And yet, among those who know that He is, the one 
knows this more perfectly than the other." 1 For it is plain 
that, even if the knowledge of the existence of something were 
possible without any knowledge of that thing's nature, no 
difference or increase in such knowledge of the thing's bare 
existence would be possible. The different degrees in the 
knowledge, which is here declared to be one concerning the 
bare existence of God, can, as a matter of fact, exist only 
in knowledge concerning His nature. I shall have to return 
to this great question further on. 
Here I would only point out how well Battista Vernazza 
has, in her Dialogo, realized the importance of a modification in 
such acutely dualistic statements as those occasionally met 
with in the Vita. For, in the Dialogo, the utter qualitative 
difference between God and the Soul, and the Soul and the 
Body, which find so striking an utterance in one of Catherine's 
moods, is ever carefully limited to the soul's sinful acts and 
habits, and to the body's unspiritualized condition; so that 
the soul, when generous and faithful to God's grace, can and 
does grow less and less unlike God, and the body can, in its 
turn, become more and more an instrument and expression of 
the soul. A pity only that Battista has continued Catherine's 
occasional over-emphasis in the parallel matter of the know- 
ledge of God: since, even in the Dialogo, we get statements 
which, if pressed, would imply that even the crudest, indeed 
the most immoral conception of God is, objectively, no farther 
removed from the reality than is the most spiritual idea that 
man can attain of Him. 
I t would indeed be well if the Christian Mystics who, since 
about 500 A.D., are more and more dependent for their 
formulations upon the Areopagite, had followed, in this 
matter, not his more usual and more paradoxical, but his 
exceptional, thoroughly sober vein of teaching,-that con- 
tained in the third chapter of his Mystical Theology, where 
he finds degrees of worth and a pproximation among the 
affirmative attributions, and degrees of unfitness and distance 
among the negative ones. U Are not life and goodness more 
1 In Librum Boetii de Trinitate, in D. Thomae Aquinatis Opera. ed. 
altera Veneta. Vol. VIII. 1776. pp. 341b. 342a; 2g1a. 
VOL. II. U 



290 THE MYSTICAL ELEl\fENT OF RELIGION 
cognate to Him than air and stone? And is He not further 
removed from debauchery and wrath, than from ineffableness 
and incomprehensibility"? 1 But such a scale of approxima- 
tions would be utterly impossible did we not somehow, at. 
least dimly, experience or know what He is. 
We shall then have to amend the Mystic's apparent 
Agnosticism on three points. We shall ha ve to drop any 
hard and fast distinction between knowledge of God's 
Existence and knowledge of His Nature, since both 
necessarily more or less stand and fall together. We shall 
have to replace the terms as to our utter ignorance as to what 
He is, by terms expressive of an experience which, if not 
directly and independently clear and analyzable to the reflex, 
critical reason, can yet be shown to be profoundly real and 
indefinitely potent in the life of man's whole rational and 
volitional being. I t is this dim, deep experience which ever 
causes our reflex knowledge of God to appear no knowledge 
at all. And we shall reject any absolute qualitative difference 
between the soul's deepest possibilities and ideals, and God; 
and shall, in its stead, maintain an absolute difference between 
God, and all our downward inclinations, acts, and habits, and 
an indefinite difference, in worth and dignity, between God 
and the very best that, with His help, we can aim at and 
become. With regard to every truly existent subject-matter, 
we can trace the indefinitely wider range and the more delicate 
penetration possessed by our dim yet true direct contact and 
experience, as contrasted with our reflex analysis concerning 
all such contacts and experiences; and this surplusage is at 
its highest in connection with God, Who is not simply a 
Thing alongside of other things, but the Spirit, our spirit's 
Origin, Sustainer, and End, U in whom we live and move and 
have our being." 


III. MYSTICISM AND THE QUESTION OF EVIL. 
Introductory: Exclusive and I nclusive Mysticism 'ln 
Relation to Opt'l'mism. 
The four couples of weaknesses and corresponding strong 
points characteristic of Mysticism that we have just considered, 
and the fact that, in each case, they ever spring respectively 
1 Mystical Theology, Dr. Parker. pp. 135, 136. I have somewhat 
modified Parker's rendering. 



MYSTICISM AND THE QUESTION OF EVIL 29I 


from an attempt to make Mysticism be the all of religion, and 
from a readiness to keep it as but one of the elements more 
or less present in, and necessary for, every degree and form of 
the full life of the human soul: make one wish for two 
English terms, as useful as are the German names (( M ystik J, 
and "
Iystizismus," for briefly indicating respectively "the legi- 
timate share of Feeling in the constitution of the religious life, 
and the one-sidedness of a religion in which the Understand- 
ing and the Will," and indeed also the Memory and the Senses, 
with their respective variously external occasions, vehicles, and 
objects, (( do not come to their rights," as Prof. Rauwenhoff 
well defines the matter. l I somehow shrink from the term 
" Mysticality " for his" Mystizismus " ; and must rest content 
with the three terms-of" Mysticism," as covering both the 
right and the wrong use of feeling in religion; and of " True" 
or (( Inclusive Mysticism," and of (( Pseudo-" or " Exclusive 
Mysticism," as denoting respectively the legitimate, and the 
(quantitatively or qualitatively) mistaken, share of emotion in 
the religious life. 
Now the four matters, which we have just considered, have 
allowed us to reach an answer not all unlike that of Nicolas 
of Coes, Leibniz, and Hegel,-one which, if it remained alone 
or quite final, would, in face of the fulness of real life, strike 
us all, nowadays, as somewhat superficial, because too 
Optimistic and Panlogistic in its trend. The fifth set of 
difficulties and problems now to be faced will seem almost to 
justify Schopenhauer at his gloomiest. Yet we must bear in 
mind that our direct business here is not with the problem of 
Evil in general, but only with the special helps and hindrances, 
afforded by inclusive and by Exclusive Mysticism re- 
spectively, towards apprehending the true nature of Evil and 
turning even it into an occasion for a deeper good. In this 
case the special helps and hindrances fall under three heads. 
I. MysticiSl1t too opti1nistic. Evil positive, but not suprel1ze. 
(1) First of all, I would strongly insist upon the following 
great fact to which human life and history bear witness, if 
we but take and test these latter on a large scale and with a 
patient persistency. It is, that not the smoother, easier times 
and circumstances in the lives of individuals and of peoples, 
but, on the contrary, the harder and hardest trials of every 
1 Religions-philosophie, German tr. ed. 1894, p. 116. His scheme finds 
three psychological forms and constituents in all religion, Intellectualism. 
Mysticism, Moralism, each with its own advantages and dangers. 



292 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


conceivable kind, and the unshrinking, full acceptance of 
these, as part of the price of conscience and of its growing 
light, have ever been the occasions of the deepest trust in and 
love of God to which man has attained. In Jewish History, 
the Exile called forth a Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and the 
profound ideal of the Suffering Servant; the persecution of 
Antiochus Epiphanes raised up a Judas Maccabaeus; and the 
troubles under the Emperor Hadrian, a Rabbi Akiba. And 
in Christian History, the persecutions from Nero to Ro bespierre 
have each occasioned the formation of heroic lovers of Love 
Crucified. And such great figures do not simply manage to 
live, apart from all the turmoil, in some Mystic upper region 
of their own; but they face and plunge into the very heart of 
the strife, and get and give spiritual strength on occasion of 
this closest contact with loneliness, outrage, pain, and death. 
And this fact can be traced throughout history. 
Not as though suffering automatically deepens and widens 
man into a true spiritual personality,-of itself it does not 
even tend to this; nor as though there were not souls grown 
hard or low, or frivolous or bitter, under suffering,-to leave 
madness and suicide unconsidered,-souls in which it would 
be difficult to find any avoidable grave fault. But that, 
wherever there is the fullest, deepest, interiority of human 
character and influence, there can ever be found profound 
trials and sufferings which have been thus utilized and trans- 
figured. It is doubtless Our Lord's uniquely full and clear 
proclamation of this mysterious efficacity of all suffering 
nobly borne; above all it is the supreme exemplification and 
fecundity of this deepest law of life, afforded and imparted 
by His own self-immolation, that has given its special power 
to Christianity, and, in so doing, has, more profoundly than 
ever before or elsewhere, brought home to us a certain 
Teleology here also,-the deepest ever discovered to man. 
For though we fail in our attempts at explaining how or why, 
with an All-knowing, All-powerful, and All-loving God, there 
can be Evil at all, we can but recognize the law, which is ever 
being brought home to us, of a mysterious capacity for puri- 
fication and development of man's spiritual character, on 
occasion and with the help of trouble, pain, and death itself. 
(2) Now all this, we must admit, is practised and noted 
directly and in detail, only by the Ascetical and the Outward- 
going elements in Religion; whereas Mysticism, as such, is 
optimistic, not only as is Christianity, with respect to the end, 



MYSTICISM AND THE QUESTION OF EVIL 293 
but, in practice, with regard to the actual state of things already 
encircling it as well. For so careful a selection and so rigorous 
an abstraction is practised by Mysticism, as such, towards the 
"velter of contingencies around it, that the rough shocks, the 
bitter tonics, the expansive birth-pangs of the spirit's deeper 
life, in and by means of the flux of time and sense, of the 
conflict with hostile fellow-creatures, and of the claimfulness 
of the lower self, are known by it only in their result, not 
in their process, or rather only as this process ebbs and fades 
away, in such recollective moments, into the distance. 
No wonder, then, that Mysticism, as such, has ever tended 
to deny all positive character to Evil. We have already 
found how strongly this is the case with the prince of Mystic 
philosophers, Plotinus. But even St. Augustine, with his 
massive experience, and (in his other mood) even excessive 
realization, of the destructive force of Evil and of the corrupt 
inclinations of man's heart, has one whole large current of 
teaching expressive of the purely negative character of Evil. 
The two currents, the hot and concrete, and the cold and 
abstract one, appear alternately in the very Confessions, of 
397 A.D. There, ten years after his conversion, he can write: 
" All things that are corrupted, are deprived of good. But, if 
they are deprived of all good, they will cease to exist. . . . 
In so far, then, as they exist, they are good. . . . Evil is no 
substance." Notwithstanding such Neo-Platonist interpreta- 
tions, he had found Evil a terribly powerful force; the directly 
autobiographical chapters of this same great book proclaim 
this truth \vith unsurpassable vividness,-he is here fully Chris- 
tian.! And in his unfinished work against the Pelagianizing 
Monk ]ulianus, in 429 A.D., he even declares-characteristic- 
ally, whilst discussing the Origin of Sin: It Such and so great 
was Adam's sin, that it was able to turn (human) nature 
itself into this evil." Indeed, already in 4I8, he had main- 
tained that" this wound" (of Original Sin) " forces all that is 
born of that human race to be under the Devil, so that the 
latter, so to speak, plucks the fruit from the fruit-tree of his 
own planting." 2 
1 Confessions: .. Evil. Negative,., VII. 12. etc. "Evil. Positive," VI. 
15; VIII. 5, II. etc. 
2 Opus lmperfectum. III. 56. ed. Ben.. Vol. X. col. 1750b. De Nuptiis 
et Concupiscentia, I. 23. ibid. col. 625a.-M. L. Grandgeorge. in his memoir 
St. Augustin et Ie Neo-Platonisme. 1896. gives an interesting collection of 
such Negative and Positive declarations. and traces the former to their 
precise sources in. Plotinus. pp. 126. 127; 130. 131. 


. 



294 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 
Pseudo-Dionysius, writing about 500 A.D., has evidently 
no such massive personal experience to oppose to the Neo- 
Platonic influence, an influence which, in the writings of Proclus 
(who died 485 A.D.), is now at its height. It Evil," he says, It is 
neither in Demons nor in us, as an existent (positive) evil, 
but (only) as a failure and dearth of the perfection of our own 
proper goods." 1 He says this and more of the same kind, 
but nothing as to the dread power of Evil. St. Thomas 
Aquinas (who died in 1271 A.D.) is, as we know, largely under 
the influence of the Negative conception: thus It the stain of 
sin is not something positive, existent in the soul. . . . It is 
like a shadow, which is the privation of light." 2 
Catherine, though otherwise much influenced by the 
Negative conception, as e. g. in her definition of a soul 
possessed by the Evil Spirit as one suffering from a U priva- 
tion of love," finds the stain of sin, doubtless from her own 
experience, to be something distinctly positive, with consider- 
able power of resistance and propagation. 3 -Mother Juliana 
of Norwich had, in 1373, also formulated both conceptions. 
U I saw not Sin, for I believe it hath no manner of substance, 
nor no part of being" : N eo- Platonist theory. U Sin is so 
vile and so mickle for to hate, that it may be likened to no 
pain. . . . All is good but Sin, and naught is evil but Sin" : 
Christian experience. 4 
Eckhart had, still further back (he died in 1327 A.D.), in- 
sisted much that U Evil is nothing but privation, or falling 
away from Being; not an effect, but a defect" : 5 yet he also 
finds much work to do in combating this somehow very 
powerful It defect."-Not till we get to Spinoza (who died in 
1677) do we get the Negative conception pushed home to its 
only logical conclusion: H By Reality and Perfection, I mean 
the same thing. . . . All knowledge of Evil is inadequate 
knowledge. . . . If the human mind had nothing but adequa te 
ideas, it would not form any notion of Evil." 6 
(3) As regards the Christian Mystics, their negative concep- 
tion of evil, all but completely restricted as it was to cosmolo- 
1 Divine Names. ch. iv, sec. xxiv. 
2 Summa Theol.. I. ii. quo 86. art. I ad 3. 
a Vita, pp. 39b. 116b. 
· Sixteen Revelations, ed. 19 0 2, pp. 69, 70. 
Ii Meister Ekhart's .. Lateinische Schriften." published by Denifle. 
At'chiv f. LitteratuJ' u. Kirchengeschichte des A-I. A., 1886, p. 662. 
6 Ethica, II. def. vi; IV. prop. lxiv et coroll.; ed. Van Vloten et Land. 
18 95. Vol. I. pp. 73. 225. 




1:YSTICISM AND THE QUESTION OF EVIL 295 
gical theory, did those Mystics themselves little or no harm; 
since their tone of feeling and their volitional life, indeed a large 
part of their very speculation, were determined, not by such 
Neo-Platonist theories, but by the concrete experiences of Sin, 
Conscience, and Grace, and by the great Ghristian historical 
manifestation of the powers of all three.-It is clear too that 
our modem alternative: U positive-negative," is not simply 
identical with the scholastic alternative: U substantial-acci- 
dental," which latter alternative is sometimes predominant in 
the minds of these ancient theorizers; and that, once the 
question was formulated in the latter way, they were pro- 
foundly right in refusing to hypostatize Evil, in denying that 
there exists any distinct thing or being wholly bad.- Yet it 
is equally clear how very Greek and how little Christian is 
such a preoccupation (in face of the question of the nature 
of Evil) with the concepts of Substance and Accident, rather 
than with that of Will; and how strangely insufficient, 
in view of the tragic conflicts and ruins of real life, is all 
even sporadic, denial, of a certain obstructive and destruc- 
tive efficacy in the bad will, and of a mysterious, direct 
perversity and formal, intentional malignity in that will at its 
worst. 
(4) On these two points it is undeniable that Kant (with all 
his self-contradictions, insufficiencies, and positive errors on 
other important matters) has adequately formulated the prac- 
tical dispositions and teachings of the fully awakened Ghristian 
consciousness, and hence, pre-eminently, of the great Saints in 
the past, although, in the matter of the perverse wiIJ, the 
Partial Mystics have, even in their theory, (though usually 
only as part of the doctrine of Original Sin,) largely fore- 
stalled his analysis. U Nowhere in this our world, nowhere 
even outside it, is anything thinkable as good without any 
reservation, but the good will alone." U That a corrupt in- 
clination to evil is rooted in man, does not require any 
formal proof, in view of the clamorous examples furnished 
to all men by the experience of human behaviour. If you 
would have such cases from the so-called state of nature, 
where some philosophers have looked for the chief home 
of man's natural goodness, you need only compare, with 
such an hypothesis, the unprovoked cruelties enacted in 
Tofoa, New Zealand . . . and the ceaseless scenes of murder 
in the North-Western American deserts, where no human 
being derives the slightest advantage from them,-and you 



 



296 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


will quickly have more than sufficient evidence before you 
to induce the abandonment of such a view. But if you 
consider that human nature is better studied in a state of 
civilization, since there its gifts have a better chance of de- 
velopment,-you will have to listen to a long melancholy 
string of accusations: of secret falseness, even among friends; 
of an inclination to hate him to whom we owe much; of a 
cordiality which yet leaves the observation true that t there 
is something in the misfortune of even our best friend which 
does not altogether displease us': so that you will quickly have 
enough of the vices of culture, the most offensive of all, and 
will prefer to turn away your look from human nature 
altogether, lest you fall yourself into another vice,-that of 
hatred of mankind." 1 
It is sad to think how completely this virile, poignant 
sense of the dread realities of human life again disappeared 
from the teachings of such post-Kantians as Hegel and 
Schleiermacher,-in other important respects so much more 
satisfactory than Kant. As Mr. Tennant has well said, in 
a stimulating book which, on this point at least, voices the 
unsophisticated, fully awakened conscience and Christian 
sense with refreshing directness, H for Jesus Christ and for the 
Christian consciousness, sin means something infinitely deeper 
and more real than what it can have meant for Spinoza or 
the followers of Hegel." 2 Here again we have now in 
Prof. Eucken, a philosopher who, free from ultimate Pes- 
simism, lets us hear once more those tones which are alone 
adequate to the painful reality. H In great things and in 
small, there exists an evil disposition beyond all simple 
selfishness: hatred and envy, even where the hater's self- 
interest is not touched; an antipathy to things great and 
divine; a pleasure found in the disfigurement or destruction 
of the Good. . . . Indeed the mysterious fact of Evil, as a 
positive opposition to Good, has never ceased to occupy the 
deepest minds. . . . The concept of moral guilt cannot be got 
rid of, try as we may." 3 
(5) And yet even with regard to this matter, Mysticism re- 


1 Gf'undlegung ZUr MetaPhysik der Sitten. 1785. Werke. ed. Berlin 
Academy. Vol. IV. 1903. p. 393. Religion innerhalb der Grenzen der 
reinen Vernunft. 1793. Werke. ed. Hartenstein. Vol. VI. 1868. pp. 127. 
128. 
Z The Origin and Propagation of Sin. 1902. p. 125. 
I Wahrheits-gehalt der Religion. 1901. pp. 271. 27 2 . 



MYSTICISM AND THE QUESTION OF EVIL 297 


presents a profound compensating truth and movement, which 
we cannot, without grave detriment, lose out of the complete 
religious life. For in life at large, and in human life and 
history in particular, it would be sheer perversity to deny that 
there is much immediate, delightful, noble Beauty, Truth, and 
Goodness; and these also have a right to the soul's careful, 
ruminating attention. And it is the Mystical element that 
furnishes this rumination.-Again, U it is part of the essential 
character of human consciousness, as a Synthesis and an 
organizing Unity, that, as long as the life of that consciousness 
lasts at all, not only contrast and tension, but also concentra- 
tion and equilibrium must manifest themselves. Taking life's 
standard from life itself, we cannot admit its decisive con- 
stituent to lie in tension alone." 1 And it is the Mystical mood 
that helps to establish this equilibrium.-And finally, deep 
peace, an overflowing possession and attainment, and a noble 
joy, are immensely, irreplaceably powerful towards growth in 
personality and spiritual fruitfulness. Nothing, then, would be 
more shortsighted than to try and keep the soul from a deep, 
ample, recollective movement, from feeding upon and relishing, 
from as it were stretching itself out and bathing in, spiritual air 
and sunshine, in a rapt admiration, in a deep experience of 
the greatness, the beauty, the truth, and the goodness of the 
World, of Life, of God. 
2. Mysticism and the Origin of Evil. 
The second hindrance and help, afforded respectively by 
Exclusive and by Inclusive 
1: ysticism in the matter of Evil, 
concerns the question of its Origin. 
(I) Now it appears strange at first sight that, instead of first 
directly realizing and picturing the undeniable, profoundly 
important facts of man's interior conflict, his continuous lapses 
from his own deepest standard, and his need of a help not his 
own to become what he cannot but wish to be, and of leaving 
the theory as to how man came by this condition to the second 
place; the Mystics should so largely-witness Catherine- 
directly express only this theory, and should face what is 
happening hic et nunc all but exclusively under the picture 
of the prehistoric beginnings of these happenings, in the state 
of innocence and the lapse of the first man. For men of other 
religious modalities have held this doctrine as firmly as the 
Mystics, yet have mostly dwelt directly upon the central core 


1 Prof. HöfIding. in his Sõren Kierkegaard, pp. 130. 131. 


. 



2g8 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


of goodness and the weakness and sinfulness to be found 
in man; whilst the 1\1 ystics had even less scruple than 
other kinds of devout souls in embodying experimental 
truths in concepts and symbols other than the common ones. 
(2) I think that, here again, it was the Neo-Platonist literary 
influence, so strong also on other points with the Mystics 
of the past, and a psychological trend characteristic of the 
1\iystical habit of mind, which conjoined thus to concentrate 
the 1\iystic's attention upon the doctrines of Original Justice 
and of a First Lapse, and to give to these doctrines the pe- 
culiar form and tone taken on by them here. We have noted, 
for instance, in the case of Catherine herself, how powerfully 
her thought and feeling, as to the first human soul's first lapse 
into sin, is influenced by the idea of each human soul's lapse 
into a body; and we have found this latter idea to be, not- 
withstanding its echoes in the Deutero-Canonical Book of 
Wisdom and in one non-doctrinal passage in St. Paul, not 
Christian but Neo-Platonist. Yet it is this strongly anti- 
body idea that could not fail to attract Mysticism, as such.- 
And the conception as to the plenary righteousness of that 
first soul before its lapse, which she gets from Christian 
theology, is similarly influenced, in her theorized emotion 
and thought, by the Neo-Platonist idea of every soul having 
already existed, perfectly spotless, previous to its incarnation: 
a view which could not but immensely attract such a high- 
strung temperament, with its imlnense requirement of some- 
thing fixed and picturable on \vhich to rest. Thus here the 
ideal for each soul's future would have been already real in 
each soul's past. In this past the soul would have been, as it 
were, a mirror of a particular fixed size and fixed intensity 
of lustre; its business here below consists in removing the 
impurities adhering to this mirror's surface, and in guarding 
it against fresh stains. 
(3) Now it is ,veIl known how it was St. Augustine, that 
mighty and daring, yet at times ponderous, intellect, who, (so 
long a mental captive of the Manichees and then so profoundly 
influenced by Plotinus,) was impelled, by the experiences of his 
own disordered earlier life and by his ardent African nature, to 
formulate by far the most explicit and influential of the 
doctrines upon these difficult matters. And if, with the aid of 
the Abbé Turmel's admirable articles on the subject, we can, 
with a fairly open mind, study his successive, profoundly vary- 
ing, speculations and conclusions concerning the Nature and 



MYSTICISM AND THE QUESTION OF EVIL 299 
Origin of Sin,! we shall not fail to be deeply impressed with 
the largely impassable maze of opposite extremes, contradic- 
tions and difficulties of every kind, in which that adventurous 
mind involved itself.-And to these difficulties immanent to 
the doctrine,-at least, in the form it takes in St. Augustine's 
hands,-has, of course, to be added the serious moral danger 
that would at once result, were we, by too emphatic or literal 
an insistence upon the true guiltiness of Original sin, to 
weaken the chief axiom of all true morality-that the con- 
currence of the personality, in a freely-willed assent, is 
necessarily involved in the idea of sin and guilt.-And now 
the ever-accumulating number and weight of even the most 
certain facts and most moderate inductions of Anthropology 
and Ethnology are abolishing all evidential grounds for holding 
a primitive high level of human knowledge and innocence, 
and a single sudden plunge into a fallen estate, as above, 
apparently against, all our physiological, psychological, 
historical evidences and analogies, (which all point to a 
gradual rise from lowly beginnings,) and are reducing such 
a conception to a pure postulate of Theology. 
Yet Anthropology and Ethnology leave'in undisturbed 
possession the great truths of Faith that It man's condition 
denotes a fall from the Divine intention, a parody of God's 
purpose in human history," and that It sin is exceedingly sinful 
for us in whom it is a deliberate grieving of the Holy Spirit" ; 
and they actually reinforce the profound verities that It the 
realization of our better self is a stupendously difficult task," 
and as to It l\lan's crying need of grace, and his capacity for a 
gospel of Redemption." 2 But they point, with a force great 
in proportion to the highly various, cumulatively operative, 
immensely interpretative character of the evidcnce,-to the 
conclusion that It Sin," as the Anglican Archdeacon \Vilson 
strikingly puts it, It is . . . the survival or misuse of habits 
and tendencies that were incidental to an earlier stage of 
development. . . . Their sinfulness would thus lie in their 
anachronism, in their resistance to the. . . Divine force that 
makes for moral development and righteousness." Certainly 


1 II Le Dogme du Pðché Originc1 dans S. Augustin," Revue d'Histoire 
et de Littérature ReligiJuses, 1901, 1902. See too F. R. Tennant, The 
Sources of the Doctrine of the Fall and Original Sin, 1903, which, how- 
ever, descends only to St. Ambrose inclusively. 
2 So F. R. Tennant, The Origin and Propagation of Sin, 1902. pp. 131. 
110. 



300 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


(( the human infant" appears.to careful observers, as Mr. Tennant 
notes, U as simply a non-moral animal," with corresponding 
impulses and propensities. According to this view U morality 
consists in the formation of the non-moral material of nature 
into character . . ."; so that U if goodness consists essentially 
in man's steady moralization of the raw material of morality, its 
opposite, sin, cannot consist in the material awaiting moraliza- 
tion, but in the will's failure to completely moralize it:' 
U Evil" would thus be U not the result of a transition from the 
good, but good and evil would" both alike U bë voluntary 
developments from what is ethically neutral." 1 Dr. Wilson 
finds, accordingly, that U this conflict of freedom and conscience 
is precisely what is related as ( the Fall' sub specie historiae." 
Scripture U tells of the fall of a creature from unconscious 
innocence to conscious guilt. But this fall from innocence" 
would thus be, U in another sense, a rise to a higher grade of 
being." 2 
(4) It is, in any case, highly satisfactory for a Catholic 
to remember that the acute form, given to the doctrine of 
Original Sin by St. Augustine, has never been finally accepted 
by the Catholic Roman Church; indeed, that the Tridentine 
Definition expressly declares that Concupiscence does not, in 
strictness, possess the nature of Sin, but arises naturally, on 
the withdrawal of the donum superadditu11z,-SO that Mr. 
Tennant can admit, in strictest accuracy, that U in this respect, 
the Roman theology is more philosophical than that of the 
Symbols of Protestant Christendom:. 3 It is true that the 
insistence upon U Original Sin" possessing somehow U the true 
and proper nature of Sin " remains a grave difficulty, even 
in thi8 Tridentin
 formulation of the doctrine; whilst the 
objections, already referred to as accumulating against the 
theory in general, retain some of their cogency against other 
parts of this decree.- Y et we have here an impressive pro- 
clamation of the profound est truths: the spiritual greatness 
of God's plan for us, the substantial goodness of the material 
still ready to our hand for the execution of that plan, and 
His necessary help ever ready from the first; the reality 
of our lapse, away from all these, into sin, and of the effects of 
such lapse upon the soul; the abiding conflict between sense 
and spirit, the old man and the new, within each one of us ; 
1 F. R. Tennant. The Origin and Propagation of Sin. 1902, pp. 82, 95; 
107,108; 115. 
:& Ibid. p. 83. · Ibid. p. 153. 



lVIYSTIGISM AND THE QUESTION OF EVIL 30t 


and the close solidarity of our poor, upward-aspiring, down- 
ward-plunging race, in evil as well as in good. 
(5) And as to the Christian Mystics, their one particular 
danger here,-that of a Static Conception of man's spirit as 
somehow constituted, from the first, a substance of a definite, 
final size and dignity, which but demands the removal of 
disfiguring impurities, is largely eliminated, even in theory, 
and all but completely overcome in practice, by the doctrine 
and the practice of Pure Love. For in U Charity" we get 
a directly dynamic, expansive conception and experience: 
man's spirit is, at first, potential rather than actual, and has to 
be conquered and brought, as it were, to such and such a size 
and close-knitness of organization, by much fight with, and 
by the slow transformation of, the animal and selfish nature. 
Thus Pure Love, Charity, Agape, has to fight it out, inch by 
inch, with another, still positive force, impure love, concu- 
piscence, Eros, in all the latter's multiform disguises. Here 
Purity has become something intensely positive and of bound- 
less capacities for growth; as St. Thomas says, U Pure Love 
has no limit to its increase, for it is a certain participation in 
the Infinite Love, which is the Holy Spirit." L-In this utterly 
real, deeply Christian way do these Mystics overcome Neo- 
Platonist static abstractions, and simultaneously regain, in 
their practical theory and emotional perception, the great 
truth of the deep, subtle force of Evil, against which Pure 
Love has to stand, in virile guard, as long as earth's vigil lasts. 
And the longest and most difficult of these conflicts is found, 
-here again in utterly Christian fashion,-not in the sensual 
tendencies proceeding from the body, but in the self-adoration, 
the solipsism of the spirit. We have found this in Catherine: 
at her best she ever has something of the large Stoic joy at 
being but a citizen in a divine Cosmopolis; yet but Love and 
Humility, those profoundest of the Christian affections, have 
indefinitely deepened the truth of the outlook, and the range 
of the work to be done, in and for herself and others. 
(6) Yet even apart from Pure Love, Mysticism can accurately 
be said to apprehend an important truth when, along its static 
line of thought and feeling, it sees each soul as, from the first, 
a substance of a particular, final size. For each soul is 
doubtless intended, from the first, to express a particular 
thought and wish of God, to form one, never simply replaceable 


I. Summa Theol., II, n. quo 24. art. 7. in corp. 


, 


-- 



302 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


member in His Kingdom, to attain to a unique kind and 
degree of personality: and though it can refuse to endorse 
and carry out this plan, the plan remains within it, in the form 
of never entirely suppressible longings. The Mystic, then, 
sees much here also. 
3. The warfare against Evil. Pseudo-Mysticism. 
The third of the relations between Mysticism and the 
conception and experience of Evil requires a further eluci- 
dation of an important distinction, which we have already 
found at work all along, more or less consciously, between 
the higher and the lo\ver Mysticism, and their respective, 
profoundly divergent, tempers, objects, and range. 
(r) Prof. Münsterberg discriminates between these two 
Mysticisms with a brilliant excessiveness, and ends by 
reserving the word U Mysticism " for the rej ected kind alone. 
U As soon as we speak of psychical objects,-of ideas, feelings, 
and volitions,-as subject-matters of our direct consciousness 
and experience, we have put before ourselves an artificial 
product, a transformation, to which the categories of real life 
no longer apply." In this artificial product causal connections 
have taken the place of final ends. But U History, Practical 
Life, . . . Morality, Religion have nothing to do with these 
psychological constructions; the categories of Psychology," 
treated by Münsterberg himself as a Natural, Determinist 
Science, " must not intrude into their teleological domains. 
But if," on the other hand, U the categories belonging to 
Reality," which is Spiritual and Libertarian, U are forced on 
to the psychological system, a system which was framed ., by 
our mind U in the interest of causal explanation, we get a 
cheap mixture, which satisfies neither the one aim nor the 
other. Just this is the effec t of Mysticism. I t is the personal, 
emotional view applied, not to the world of Reality, where it 
fits, but to the Physical and Psychological worlds, which are 
constructed by the human logical will, with a view to gaining 
an impersonal, unemotional causal system. . . . The ideals of 
Ethics and Religion. . . have now been projected into the 
atomistic structure" (of the Causal System), U and have thus 
become dependent upon this system's nature; they find their 
fight of existence limited to the regions where ignorance of 
Nature leaves blanks in the Causal System, and have to tremble 
at every advance which Science makes:' It is to this projection 
alone that Münsterberg would apply the term U Mysticism," 
which thus becomes exclusively U the doctrine that the pro- 



MYSTICISM AND THE QUESTION OF EVIL 303 


cesses in the world of physical and psychical objects are not 
always subject to natural laws, but are influenced, at times, in 
a manner fundamentally inexplicable from the standpoint of 
the causal conception of Nature. . . . Yet, the special interest 
of the Mystic stands and falls here with his conviction that, 
in these extra-causal combinations," thus operative right 
within and at the level of this causal system, (( we have a " 
direct, demonstrable (( manifestation of a positive system of 
quite another kind, a System of Values, a system dominated, 
not by Mechanism, but by Significance." 1 
(2) Now we have been given here a doubtless excessively 
antithetic and dualistic picture of what, in actual life, is a 
close-knit variety in unity,-that interaction bet\veen, and 
anticipation of the whole in, the parts, and that indication of 
the later stages in the earlier,-which is so strikingly operative 
in the order and organization of the various constituents 
and stages of the processes and growth of the human mind 
,and character, and which appears again in the Reality 
apprehended, reproduced, and enriched by man's powers. 
Even in the humblest of our Sense-perceptions, there is 
already a mind perceiving and a Mind perceived; and, in the 
most abstract and artificial of our intellectual constructions, 
there is not only a logical requirement, but also, underlying 
this requirement as this cause's deepest cause, an ever-growing 
if un articulated experience and sense that only by the closest 
contact with the most impersonal-seeming, impersonally con- 
ceived forces of life and nature, and by the deepest recollection 
within its own interior world of mind and will, can man's soul 
adequately develop and keep alive, within itself, a solid degree 
and consciousness of Spirit, Free-will, Personality, Eternity, 
and God. Thus, in proportion as he comes more deeply to 
advance in the true occasions of his spirit's growth, does man 
still further emphasize and differentiate these two levels: the 
shallower, spatial-temporal, mathematico-physical, quantita- 
tiveand determinist aspect of reality and level of apprehension; 
and the deeper, alone at all adequate, experience of all the 
fuller degrees of Reality and effectuations of the spirit's life, 
with their overlapping, interpenetrating Succession, (their 
Duration), and their Libertarianism, Interiority, and Sense 
of the Infinite. He thus emphasizes both levels, because the 
determinist level is found to be, though never the source or 
1 Psychology and Life. 1899. pp. 267. 268. Grundzüge der Psychologie. 
Vol. I. 19 00 . pp. 170. 171. 



304 THE MYSTIGAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


direct cause, yet ever a necessary awakener and purifier of 
the Libertarian level. 
Strictly within the temporal-spatial, quantitative method 
and level, indeed, we can nowhere find Teleology; but if we 
look back upon these quantitative superficialities from the 
qualitative, durational and personal, spiritual level and stand- 
point, (which alone constitute our direct experience,) we find 
that the quantitative, causal level and method is everywhere 
inadequate to exhaust or rightly to picture Reality, in exact 
proportion to this reality's degree of fulness and of worth. 
From the simplest Vegetable-Cell up to Orchids and Insecti- 
vorous Plants; from these on to Protozoans and up, through 
Insects, Reptiles, and Birds, to the most intelligent of Domestic 
Animals; from these on to Man, the Savage, and up to the 
most cultured or saintly of human personalities: we have 
everywhere, and increasingly, an inside, an organism, a subject 
as well as an object,-a series which is, probably from the first, 
endowed with some kind of dim consciousness, and which 
increasingly possessed of a more and more definite conscious- 
ness, culnlinates in the full self-consciousness of the most fully 
human man. And everywhere here, though in indefinitely 
increasing measure, it is the individualizing and historical, 
the organic and soul-conceptions and experiences which con- 
stitute the most characteristic and important truths and 
reality about and in these beings. For the higher up we 
get in this scale of Reality, the more does the Interior 
determine and express itself in the Exterior, and the more 
does not only kind differ from kind of being, but even the 
single individual from the other individuals within each 
several kind. And yet nowhere, not even in free-willing, 
most individualized, personal Man do we find the quanti- 
tative, determinist envelope simply torn asunder and reveal- 
ing the qualitative, libertarian spirit perfectly naked and 
directly testable by chronometer, measuring-rod, or crucible. 
The spirit is thus ever like unto a gloved hand, which, let it 
move ever so spontaneously, will ever, in the first instance, 
present the five senses with a glove which, to their exclusive 
tests, appears as but dead and motionless leather. 
(3) Now we have already in Chapter IX studied the con- 
trasting attitudes of Catherine and her attendants towards one 
class of such effects,-those attributed to the Divine Spirit,- 
and hence, in principle, towards this whole question. Yet it 
is in the matter of phenomena, taken to be directly Diabolic 



MYSTICISM AND THE QUESTION OF EVIL 305 


or Preternatural, that a Pseudo-Mysticism has been specially 
fruitful in strangely materialistic fantasies. As late as r774 
the Institutiones Theologiae Mysticae of Dam Schram, O.S.B., 
a book which even yet enjoys considerable authority, 
still solemnly described, as so many facts, cases of 
Diabolical Incubi and Succubae. Even in r836-r842 the 
layman Joseph Görres could still devote a full half of his 
widely influential Mystik to It Diabolical Mysticism,"- 
\vitchcraft, etc.; a large space to (( Natural Mysticism,"-divin- 
ation, lycanthropy, vampires, etc.; and a considerable part 
of the (( Divine Mysticism," to various directly miraculous 
phenomenalisms. The Abbé Ribet could stiH, in his La 
Afystique Divine, distinguée de ses Contrefaçons Diaboliques, 
of r895, give us a similarly uncritical mixture and transposi- 
tion of tests and levels. But the terrible ravages of the belief 
in witchcraft in the later Middle Ages, and, only a few years 
back, the humiliating fraud and craze concerning U Diana 
Vaughan," are alone abundantly sufficient to warn believers 
in the positive character of Evil away from all, solidly 
avoiJable, approaches to such dangerous forms of this 
belief. 1 
(4) Yet the higher and highest Mystical attitude has never 
ceased to find its fullest, most penetrating expression in the 
life and teaching of devoted children of the Roman Church,- 
several of whom have been proclaimed Doctors and Models 
by that Church herself. And by a conjunction of four 
characteristics these great normative lives and teachers still 
point the way, out of and beyond all false or sickly Mysticism, 
on to the wholesome and the true. 
(i) Thereis, first, the grand trust in and love of God.s beautiful, 
wide world, and in and of the manifold truth and goodness 
present throughout life,-realities which we have already 
found rightly to be dwelt on, in certain recollective movements 
and moments, to the momentary exclusion of their positively 
operative, yet ever weaker, opposites. U Well I wote," says 
Mother Juliana, (( that heaven and earth, and all that is made, 
is great, large, fair and good"; H the full-head of joy is to 
behold God in all," and U truly to enjoy in Our Lord, is a full 


1 Mr. W. R. Inge, in his useful Christian Mysticism, 1899, has some 
sharp expressions of disgust against these long-lived survivals within the 
Catholic Church. And though his own tone towards Rome in general 
belongs also. surely, to a more or less barbaric past. he has done good 
service in drawing forcible attention to the matter. 
VOL. II. X 



3 06 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


lovely thanking in His sight." 1 This completely un- Manichaean 
attitude,-so Christian when held as the ultimate among the 
divers, sad and joyful, strenuous and contemplative moods of 
the soul,-is as strongly present in Clement of Alexandria, in 
the Sts. Catherine of Siena and of Genoa, in St. John of the Cross, 
and indeed in the recollective moments of all the great Mystics. 
(ii) There is, next, a strong insistence upon the soul having 
to transcend all particular lights and impressions, in precise 
proportion to their apparently extraordinary character, if it 
would become strong and truly spiritual. U He that will rely 
on the letter of the divine locution, or on the intellectual form 
of the vision, will necessarily fall into delusion. (The letter 
killeth, the spirit quickeneth '; we must therefore reject the 
literal sense, and abide in the obscurity of faith." HOne 
desire only doth God allow in His presence, that of perfectly 
observing His law and carrying the Cross of Christ. . . . That 
soul, which has no other aim, will be a true ark containing the 
true l\lanna, which is God." U One act of the will, wrought 
in charity, is more precious in the eyes of God, than that 
which all the visions and revelations of heaven might effect." 
U Let men cease to regard these supernatural apprehensions. . . 
that they may be free..' 2 Here the essence of the doctrine lies 
in the importance attached to this transcendence, and not in 
the particular views of the Saint concerning the character 
of this or that miraculous-seeming phenomenon to be 
transcended. 
(iii) And this essential doctrine retains all its cogency, even 
though we hold the strict necessity of a contrary, alternating 
movement of definite occupation with the Concrete, Contin- 
gent, Historical, Institutional, in thought and action. For this 
occupation will be with the normal, typical means, duties, and 
facts of human and religious life; and, whilst fully conscious 
of the Supernatural working in and with these seemingly but 
natural materials, will, with St. Augustine, pray God to 
U grant men to perceive in little things the common-seeming 
indications of things both small and great," and, with him, will 
see a greater miracle in the yearly transformation of the vine's 
watery sap into wine, and in the germination of any single 
seed, than even in that of Cana. 3 


1 Sixteen Revelations. ed. 1902. pp. 23. 84, 101. 
2 Ascent of Mount Carmel, tr. Lewis, 1891. pp. 159; 26, 27; 195, 26 5. 
I Confessions. Bk. XI. ch. xxiii. I. Tract in Johann. Ev., VIII. I; XXIV. 
I: ed. Ben.. Vol. III. 2. colI. 1770 b. 1958 d. 



MYSTICISM AND THE QUESTION OF EVIL 307 
(iv) And then there is, upon the whole, a tendency to con- 
centrate, at these recollective stages, the sours attention upon 
Christ and God alone. "I believe I understand," says l\lother 
Juliana, " the ministration of holy Angels, as Clerks tell; but 
it was not shewed to me. For Himself is nearest and meekest, 
highest and lowest, and doeth all. God alone took our nature, 
and none but He; Christ alone worked our salvation, and 
none but He." 1 And thus we get a wholesome check upon 
the Neo-Platonist countless mediations, of which the reflex is 
still to be found in the Areopagite. God indeed is alone 
held, with all Catholic theologians, to be capable of penetrating 
to the sours centre, and the fight against Evil is simplified to 
a watch and war against Self, in the form of an ever-increas- 
ing engrossment in the thought of God, and in the interests 
of His Kingdom. "Only a soul in union with God," says 
St. John of the Cross, "is capable of this profound loving 
knowledge: for this knowledge is itself that union. . . . 
The Devil has no power to simulate anything so great." 
" Self-love," says Père Grou, "is the sole source of all the 
illusions of the spiritual life. . . . Jesus Christ on one occasion 
said to St. Catherine of Siena: 'My daughter, think of Me, 
and I will think of thee': a short epitome of all perfection. 
, Wheresoever thou findest self,' says the Imitation, 'drop 
that self' : the soul's degree of fidelity to this precept is the 
true measure of its advancement." 2 The highly authorized 
Manuel de Théologie Mystique of the Abbé Lejeune, r897, 
gives but one-sixth of its three-hundred pages to the discus.. 
sion of all quasi-miraculous phenomena, puts them all apart 
from the substance of Contemplation and of the Mystical 
Life, and dwells much upon the manifold dangers of such, 
never essential, things. The French Oratorian, Abbé L. 
Laberthonnière, represents, in the A nnales de PhilosoPhie 
Chrétienne, a spirituality as full of a delicate Mysticism as 
it is free from any attachment to extraordinary phenomena. 
The same can be said of the Rev. George Tyrrell's Hard 
Sayings and External Religion. And the Abbé Sandreau 
has furnished us with two books of the most solid tradition 
and discrimination in all these matters. 3 
1 Sixteen Revelations, ed. cit. p. 210. 
:& J. N. Grou. Méditations sur 1.Amour de Dieu, Nouvelle ed. Perisse. 
pp. 268, 271. 
a L. Laberthonnière. A nnales de Philosophie Chrétienne. 1905, 1906. 
G. Tyrrell, Hard Sayings. 18g8; External Religion. 1902. A. Sandreau. 
La Vie d' Union à Dieu. 1900; L' Etat Mystique. 1903. 



308 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


(5) And we should, in justice, remember that the Phenomenal- 
ist Mysticism, objected to by Prof. Münsterberg and so sternly 
transcended by St. John of the Cross, is precisely what is still 
hankered after, and treated as of spiritual worth, by present- 
day Spiritualism. Indeed, even Prof. James's in many re- 
spects valuable Varieties of Religious Experience is seriously 
damaged by a cognate tendency to treat Religion, or at least 
Mysticism, as an abnormal faculty for perceiving phenomena 
inexplicable by physical and psychical science. 
(6) And finally, with respect to the personality of Evil, we 
must not forget that U there are drawings to evil as to good, 
which are not mere self-temptations, . . . but which derive 
from other wills than our own; strictly, it is only persons that 
can tempt us:' 1 
1 M. D. Petre. The Soul's Orbit, 1904. p. 113. 



GHAPTER XIV 


THE TWO FINAL PROBLEMS: MYSTICISM AND PANTHEISM, 
THE IMMANENCE OF GOD, AND SPIRITUAL PERSONALITY, 
HUMAN AND DIVINE 


INTRODUCTORY. 
I mpossibili:y of comPletely abstracting fr011l the theoretical 
form in the study of the experimental11
attcr. 
We now come to the last two of our final difficulties and 
problems-the supposed or real relations between Inclusive or 
Exclusive Mysticism and Pantheism; and the question con. 
ceming the Immanence of God and Spiritual PersonaJity, 
Human and Divine. 
(r) A preliminary difficulty in this, our deepest, task arises 
from the fact that, whereas the evidences of a predominantly 
individual, personal, directly experimental kind, furnished by 
every at all deeply religious soul, have hitherto been all but 
completely overlooked by trained historical investigators, in 
favour of the study of the theological concepts and formu- 
lations accepted and transmitted by such souls, now the 
opposite extreme is tending to predominate, as in Prof. 
William James's Varieties of Religious Experience, r902, or 
in Prof. Weinel's interesting study, The Effects of the Spirit 
and of the Spirits in the Sub-Apostolic Age, r899. For 
here, as Prof. Bousset points out in connection with the 
latter book, we get an all but complete overlooking of the 
fact that, even in the most individual experience, there is 
always some intelIectual framework or conception, some more 
or less traditional form, which had previously found lodgment 
in, and had been more or less accepted by, that soul; so that, 
though the experience itself, where at all deep, is never the 
mere precipitate of a conventionally accepted traditional in- 
tellectual form, it is nevertheless, even when more or less 
in conflict with this form, never completely independ
nt of it.! 
I Göttinger Gelehrte Anzeigen, 1901. p. 757. 
309 


, 



3IO THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


- Y et though we cannot discriminate in full detail, we can 
show certain peculiarities in the traditional Jewish, Moham- 
medan, Christian Mysticism to be not intrinsic to the 
Mystical apprehensions as such, but to come from the then 
prevalent philosophies which deflected those apprehensions 
in those particular ways. 
(2) In view then of this inevitable interrelation between the 
experimental, personal matter and the theoretical, traditional 
form, I shall first consider the Aristotelian and N eo-Platonist 
conceptions concerning the relations between the General and 
the Particular, between God and Individual Things, as being 
the two, partly rival yet largely similar, systems that, between 
them, have most profoundly influenced the intellectual starting- 
point, analysis, and formulation of those experiences; and 
shall try to show the special attraction and danger of these 
conceptions for the mystically religious temperament. I shall 
next discuss the conceptions as to the reI a tions bet\veen God 
and the individual personality,-the Noûs, the Spirit, and the 
Soul,-which, still largely Aristotelian and Neo-Platonist, 
have even more profoundly commended themselves to those 
Mystics, since these conceptions so largely met some of those 
Mystics-' requirements, and indeed remain still, in part, the 
best analysis procurable. I shall, thirdly, face the question as 
to any intrinsic tendency to Pantheism in Mysticism as such, 
and as to the significance and the possible utility of any such 
tendency, keeping all fuller description of the right check 
upon it for my last chapter. And finally, I shall consider 
what degree and form of the Divine Immanence in the human 
soul, of direct Experience or Knowledge of God on the part 
of man, and of U Personality" in God, appear to result from 
the most careful analysis of the deepest religious conscious- 
ness, and from the requirements of the Sciences and of Life. 


I. RELATIONS BETWEEN THE GENERAL AND THE PAR- 
TICULAR, GOD AND INDIVIDUAL THINGS, ACCORDING 
TO ARISTOTLE, THE NEO-PLATONISTS, AND THE 
MEDIEVAL STRICT REALISTS. 
I. Aristotle, Plato, Plotinus, Proclus. 
(r) With regard to the relations between the General and 
Particular, we should note Aristotle's final perplexities and 
contradictions, arising from his failure to harmonize or to 



MYSTICISM, PANTHEISM, PERSONALITY 311 


transcend, by means of a new and self-consistent conception, 
the two currents, the Platonic and the specifically Aristotelian, 
which make up his thought. For, with him as with Plato, all 
Knowledge has to do with Reality: hence Reality alone, in 
the highest, primary sense of the word, can form the highest, 
primary object of Knowledge; Knowledge will be busy, 
primarily, with the Essence, the Substance of things. But 
with him, as against Plato, every substance is unique, whence 
it would follow that all knowledge refers, at bottom, to the 
Individual,-individual beings would form, not only the 
starting-point, but also the content and object of knowledge. 
- Y et this is what Aristotle, once more at one with Plato, 
stoutly denies: Science, even where it penetrates most 
deeply into the Particular, is never directed to individual 
things as such, but always to General Concepts; and this, not 
because of our human incapacity completely to know the 
Individual, as such, but because the General, in spite of the 
Particular being better known to us, is more primitive and 
more knowable, as alone possessing that Immutability which 
must characterize all objects of true knowledge. 1 The true 
Essence of things consists only in what is thought in their 
Concept, which concept is always some Universal; yet this 
Universal exists only in Individual Beings, which are thus 
declared true Substances: here are two contentions, the 
possibility of whose co-existence he fails to explain. Indeed 
at one time it is the Form, at another it is the Individual 
Being, composed of Form and Matter, which appears as real; 
and Matter, again, appears both as the Indefinite General and 
as the Cause of Individual Particularity.2 
(2) Now Plato had indeed insisted upon ascending to even 
greater abstraction, unity, and generality, as the sure process 
for attaining to the truth of things; and had retained what is, 
for us, a strangely unpersonal, abstract element, precisely in 
his highest concept, since God here is hardly personal, but the 
Idea of Good, a Substance distinct from all other things, yet 
not, on this account, an Individual. Yet Plato's profoundly 
aesthetic, social, ethical, above all religious, consciousness 
forced him to the inconsistency of proclaiming that, as the 
Sun is higher than the light and the eye, so the Good is higher 
than (mere) Being and Knowledge; and this Supreme Idea 
of the Good gives to things their Being, and to the under- 
1 Zeller, PhilosoPhie der Griechen, II. 2, ed. 1879. pp. 309, 312. 
:I Ibid. p. 34 8 . 


.. 



312 THE MYSTIGAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


standing its power of Cognition, and is the Cause of all Right- 
ness and Beauty, the Source of all Reality and Reason, and 
hence, not only a final, but also an efficient Cause,-indeed 
the Cause, pure and simple. 1 In the Philebus he tells us 
explicitly that the Good and the Divine Reason are identical; 
and in the Timaeus the Demiurge, the World-Former, looks 
indeed to the Image of the World, in order to copy it: yet 
the Demiurge is also himself this image which he copies. 2 
We thus still have a supreme 
Iultiplicity in Unity as the 
characteristic of the deepest Reality; and its chief attribute, 
Goodness, is not the most abstract and aloof, but the most 
rich in qualities and the most boundlessly self -communicative: 
" He was good, so he desired that all things should be as like 
unto himself as possible." 3 And Aristotle, (although he places 
God altogether outside the visible world, and attributes to 
Him there one sole action, the thinking of his own thought, 
and one quasi-emotion, intellectual joy at this thinking,) still 
maintains, in this shrunken form, the identity of the Good 
and of the Supreme Reason, Noûs, and a certain Multiplicity 
in Unity, and a true self-consciousness, within Him. 
(3) It is Plotinus who is the first expressly to put the God- 
head,-in strict obedience to the Abstractive scheme,-beyond 
all Multiplicity, hence above the highest Reason itself, for 
reason ever contains at least the duality of Subject thinking 
and of Object thought; above Being, for all being has ever a 
multitude of determinations; and above every part and the 
totality of All Things, for it is the cause of them all. The 
Cause is here ever outside the effect, the Unity outside the 
Multiplicity, what is thought outside of what thinks. The 
First is thus purely transcendent,-with one characteristic 
exception: although above Being, Energy, Thought, and 
Thinking, Beauty, Virtue, Life, It is still the Good; and because 
of this, though utterly self-sufficing and without action of any 
kind, It, " as it were," overflows, and this overflow produces a 
Second. 4 And only this Second is here the Noûs, possessed 
of what Aristotle attributes to the First: it is no sheer 


1 Republic, VI, 508e; VII, 517b; and Zeller. ibid. II, I. ed. 1889, 
pp. 7 0 7-7 10 . 
:I Philebus, 22C; Timaeus, 28a, c; 92C (with the reading Õ
E Ò "ÓffP.OS 
. . . E:"
JI TOU 7rOt7]TOU). 
:I Timaeus, 2ge. 
, Enneads, I. vii. I, 61d; I. viii, 2, 72e; VI, viii, 16, end. See, for all 
this, Zeller. Philosophie d(3r Griechen. III, ii, ed. 1881. pp. 476-4 80 ; 4 8 3; 
5 1 0-4 1 1- 



MYSTIGISl\I, PANTHEISM, PERSONALITY 313 


Unity, U all things are together there, yet are they there 
discriminated " : it is contemplative Thinking of itself; it is 
pure and perfect Action. 1 
(4) And Proclus who, through the Pseudo-Dionysius, is the 
chief mediator between Plato and Plotinus on the one hand, 
and the Medieval Mystics and Scholastics on the other, is, 
with his immense thirst for Unity, necessarily absorbed by 
the question as to the Law according to which all things 
are conjoined to a whole. And this Law is for him the 
process of the Many out of the One, and their inclination 
back to the One; for this process and inclination determine 
the connection of all things, and the precise place occupied by 
each thing in that connection. All things move in the circle 
of procession from their cause, and of return to it; the 
simplest beings are the most perfect; the most complex are 
the most imperfect. 2 
2. The Anti-Proclian current, in the Areopagite's view. 
Now in the Pseudo-Dionysius we find an interesting oscilla- 
tion between genuine Neo-Platonism, which finds Beings 
perfect in proportion to the fewness and universality of their 
attributes, although, with it, he inconsistently holds Goodness, 
-the deepest but not the most general attribute,-to be the 
most perfect of all; and Aristotelianism at its richest, when it 
finds Beings perfect according to the multiplicity and depth 
of their attributes. Dionysius himself becomes aware of the 
dead-lock thence ensuing. "The Divine name of the Good is 
extended to things being and to things not being,"-a state- 
ment forced upon him by his keeping, with Plato and 
Plotinus, Goodness as the supreme attribute, and yet driving 
home, more completely than they, their first principle that 
Generality and Perfection rise and sink together. "The Name 
of Being is extended to all things being" and stretches further 
than Life. U The name of Life is extended to all things 
living" and stretches further than Wisdom. "The Name of 
Wisdom is extended," only, "to all the intellectual, and 
rational, and sensible." 
But if so, U for what reason do we affirm" (as he has been 
doing in the previous sections), " that Life," the less extended, 
"is superior to (mere) Being," the more extended? "and 
that Wisdom," though less extended, "is superior to mere 
Life," the more extended? And he answers in fa vour of 
1 Enneads, VIII, ix. 350b; VI, 2317, 6IOd; III. ix. 3. 358a. b. 
J Zeller. Ope cit. III. ii. pp. 787-789. 



 



3 1 4 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 
depth and richness of attributes. "If anyone assumed the 
intellectual to be without being or life, the objection might 
hold good. But if the Divine Minds," the Angels, (I both are 
above all other beings, and live above all other living creatures, 
and think and know above sensible perception and reasoning, 
and aspire beyond all other existent and aspiring beings, 
to . . . the Beautiful and Good: then they encircle the Good 
more closely." For (I the things that participate more in the 
one and boundless-giving God, are more. . . divine, than those 
that come behind them in gifts." 1 And with abiding truth he 
says: "Those who place attributes on That which is above 
every attribute, should derive the affirmation from what is 
more cognate to It; but those who abstract, with regard to 
That which is above every abstraction, should derive the 
negation from what is further removed from It. Are not, e. g. 
Life and Goodness more cognate to It than air and stone? 
And is It not further removed from debauch and anger than 
from ineffableness and incomprehensibility? " 2 
But more usually Dionysius shows little or no preference for 
any particular attribution or denegation; all are taken to fall 
short so infinitely as to eliminate any question as to degrees 
of failure. U The Deity-Above-All . . . is neither Soul nor 
Mind, neither One nor Oneness, neither Deity nor Good- 
ness." 3 God is thus purely transcendent. 
3. Continuators of the Proclian current. 
The influence of the Areopagite was notoriously immense 
throughout the Middle Ages,-indeed unchecked,-along its 
Proclian, Emanational, Ultra-Unitive current,-among the 
Pantheists from the Christian, Mohammedan and Jewish 
camps. 
(I) Thus Scotus Eriugena (who died in about 877 A.D.) 
insists: (I In strict parlance, the Divine Nature Itself exists 
alone in all things, and nothing exists which is not that Nature. 
The Lord and the Creature are one and the same thing." (I It 
is its own Self that the Holy Trinity loves, sees, moves within 
us." One of his fundamental ideas is the equivalence of the 
degrees of abstraction and those of existence; he simply 
hypostatizes the logical table. 4 Eriugena was condemned. 


1 Divine Names, ch. v, sec. I: tr. Parker, pp. 73-75. 
2 Mystical Theology. ch. iii: Parker, pp. 135, 136. 
3 Ibid., ch. iv, sec. 2: Parker, pp. 13 6 , 137. 
4 De Divisione Naturae, III, 17; I, 78. Ueberwcg-Heinze. Grundriss 
der Geschichte der PhiZosophie, Vol. II. ed. 18 9 8 , p. 159. 



MYSTICISM, PANTHEISM, PERSO
ALITY 315 


(2) But the Pseudo-Aristotelian, really Proclian, Liber de 
Causis, written by a Mohammedan in about 850 A.D., became, 
from its translation into Latin in about 1180 A.D. onwards, 
an authority among the orthodox Scholastics. I t takes, as " an 
example of the (true) doctrine as to Causes, Being, Living- 
Being, and Man. Here it is necessary that the thing Being 
should exist first of all, and next Living-Being, and last l\Ian. 
Living-Being is the proximate, Being is the remote cause of 
Man; hence Being is in a higher degree the cause of Man 
than is Living-Being, since Being is the cause of Living- 
Being, which latter again is the cause of lVlan." . . . Ie Being, 
(of the kind) which is before Eternity, is the first cause. . . . 
Being is more general than Eternity. . . . Being of the kind 
which is with and after Eternity, is the first of created things 
. . . It is above Sense, and Soul, and Intelligence." 1 
(3) The Mohammedan A vicenna, who died in 1037 A.D., is 
mostly Aristotelian in philosophy and Orthodox in religious 
intention, and, translated into Latin, was much used by St. 
Thomas. Yet he has lapses into pure Pantheism, such as : 
" The true Being that belongs to God, is not His only, but is 
the Being of all things, and comes forth abundantly from His 
Being. That which all things desire is Being: Being is 
Goodness; the perfection of Being is the perfection of 
Goodness." 2 
(4) And the Spanish Jew, Ibn Gebirol (Avicebron), who died 
about 1070 A.D., is predominantly Proclian, but with a form 
of Pantheism which, in parts, strikingly foreshadows Spinoza. 
His masterly Fons Vitae, as translated into Latin, exercised 
a profound influence upon Duns Scotus. Ie Below the first 
Maker there is nothing but \vhat is both matter and form." 
" All things are resolvable into Matter and Form. If all 
things were resolvable into a single root," (that is, into 
Form alone,) there would be no difference between that one 
root and the one Maker." There exists a universal Matter 
and a universal Form. The first, or universal Matter, is a 
substance existing by itself, which sustains diversity, and is 
one in number: it is capable of receiving all the different 
kinds of forms. The universal Form is a substance which 
constitutes the essence of all the different kinds of forms. . . . 
By means of the knowledge of this universal Form, the 
1 Sees. 2. 4, ed. Bardenhewer, 1882, pp. 163-166. 
2 Commentarius, in Aristolelis MetaPhysica, Tract. VIII, cap. 6, quoted 
by Denifle. Archiv f. Litteratur-u-Kirchengeschichte. 1886. p. 520. 


. 



316 THE l\iYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


knowledge of every (less general) form is acquired,-is 
deduced from it and resolved into it." U Being falls under four 
categories, answering to: whether it is, what it is, what is its 
quality, and why it is: but, of these, the first in order of 
dignity is the category which inquires whether it is at all." 1 We 
thus get again the degree of worth strictly identical with the 
degree of generality. 
4. Inconsistencies of Aquinas and Scotus. 
(r) St. Thomas, the chief of the orthodox Scholastics, has 
embodied the entire Dionysian writings in his own works, but 
labours assiduously-and successfully, as far as his own 
statements are concerned-to guard against the Pantheistic 
tendencies special to strict Realism. Yet it is clear, fron1 his 
frequent warnings and difficult distinctions regarding the 
double sense of the proposition, " God is sheer Being," and 
from the ease with which we find Eckhart, an entirely con- 
sistent Realist, lapse into the Pantheistic sense, how 
immanent is the danger to any severe form of the system. 2 
And he fails to give us a thoroughly understandable and 
consistent account as to the relations between the General 
and the Particular, between Form and Matter, and between 
these two pairs of conceptions. Thus U Materia signata," 
matter, as bearing certain dimensions, U is the principle of 
individuation" : 3 yet this quantum is already an individually 
determined quantity, and this determination remains unex- 
plained. And certain forms exist separately, without matter, 
in which case each single form is a separate species; as with 
the Angels and, pre-eminently, with God.-Yet, as already 
Duns Scotus insisted, Aquinas' general principle seems to 
require the non-existence of pure forms as distinct beings, 
and the partial materiality of all individual beings. 4 
(2) And Duns Scotus teaches, in explicit return to A vicebron, 
that every created substance consists of matter as well as of 
form, and that there is but one, First Matter, which is identical 
in every particular and derivative kind of matter. The world 
appears to him as a gigantic tree, whose root is this indeter- 
minate matter; whose branches are the transitory substances; 


1 Ibn Gebirol, Fons Vitae, ed. Bäumker, 1895: IV. 6, pp. 225, 224; 
V, 22, p. 298; II, 20, pp. 60-61; V, 24, p. 301. 
3 De Ente et Essentia. c. vi. Summa Theol.. I. quo 3. art. 4 ad I; and 
elsewhere. 
3 De Ente et Essentia, C. ii. 
· See Ueberweg-Heinze. op. cit. pp. 280. 281. 



MYSTICISM, PANTHEISM, PERSONALITY 3 1 7 


whose leaves the changeable accidents; whose flowers, the 
rational souls; whose fruit are the Angels: and which God 
has planted and which He tends. Here again the order of 
Efficacity,-with the tell-tale exception of God,-is identical 
with that of Generality.1 
5. Eckhart's Pantheistic trend. 
But it is Eckhart who consistently develops the Pantheistic 
trend of a rigorous Intellectualism. The very competent 
and strongly Thomistic Father Denifle shows how Eckhart 
strictly followed the general scholastic doctrine, as enunciated 
by A vicenna: U In every creature its Being is one thing, and 
is from another, its Essence is another thing, and is not 
from another"; whereas in God, Being and Essence are 
identical. And Denifle adds: U Eckhart will ha ve been 
unable to answer for himself the question as to what, in 
strictness, the I Esse' is, in distinction from the I Essentia ' ; 
indeed no one could have told him, with precision. . . . 
Eckhart lea ves intact the distinction between the Essence 
of God and that of the creature; but, doubtless in part 
because of this, he feels himself free,-in starting from an 
ambiguous text of Boetius,-to break down the careful dis- 
criminations established by St. Thomas, in view of this same 
text, between Universal Being, Common to all things extant, 
and Divine Being, reserved by Aquinas for God alone." 2 
U What things are nearer to each other, than anything that 
is and Being? There is nothing between them." U Very 
Being," the Being of God, U is the actualizing Form of every 
form, everywhere." U In one word," adds Denifle, U the Being 
of God constitutes the formal Being of all things." 3 The 
degrees of Generality and Abstract Thinkableness are again 
also the degrees of Reality and Worth: U the Eternal Word 
assumed to Itself, not this or that human being, but a human 
nature which existed bare, unparticularized." U Being and 
Knowableness are identical." 
When speaking systematically Eckhart is strictly Plotinian: 
U God and Godhead are as distinct as earth is from heaven." 
II The Godhead has left all things to God: It owns nought, 
wills nought, requires nought, effects nought, produces nought." 
U Thou shalt love the Godhead as It truly is: a non-God, 


1 De ,.erum PrinciPio, quo viii. Ueberweg-Heinze, Ope cit. pp. 295, 296. 
:I H. S. Denifle, Meister Eckhart's Lateinische Schriften. loco cit. pp. 489. 
490; 540. n. 6. 
I Ibid. p. 519. 



318 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


non-Spirit, non-Person . . . a sheer, pure, clear One, severed 
from all duality: let us sink down into that One, throughout 
eternity, from Nothing unto Nothing, so help us God." "The 
Godhead Itself remains unknown to Itself." "It is God who 
energizes and speaks one single thing,-His Son, the Holy 
Ghost, and all creatures. . . . Where God speaks it, there it 
is all God; here, where man understands it, it is God and 
creature." 1 No wonder that the following are among the 
propositions condemned by Pope John XXII in 1329: "God 
produces me as His own Being, a Being identical, not merely 
similar"; and, " I speak as falsely when I call God (the God- 
head) good, as if I call white, black." 2 
6. l'he logical goal of strict Realis1n. 
This series of facts, which could be indefinitely extended, 
well illustrates the persistence of " the fundamental doctrine 
common to all forms of Realism,-of the species as an entity 
in the individuals, common to all and identical in each, an 
entity to which individual differences adhere as accidents," as 
Prof. Pringle Pattison accurately defines thema tter. II Yet when 
existence is in question, it is the individual, not the universal, 
that is real; and the real individual is not a compound of 
species and accidents, but is individual to the inmost fibre 
of his being." Not as though Nominalism were in the right. 
For" each finite individual has its" special" place in the one 
real universe, with all the parts of which it is inseparably 
connected. But the universe is itself an individual or real 
whole, containing all its parts within itself, and not a universal 
of the logical order, containing its exemplifications under it." 3 
And, above all, minds, spirits, persons,-however truly they 
may approximate more and more to certain great types of 
rationality, virtue, and religion, which types are thus increas- 
ingly expressive of God's self-revealing purpose and nature,- 
are ever, not merely numerically different, as between one 
individual and the other, but, both in its potentialities and 
especially in its spiritual actualization, no one soul can or 
does take the place of any other. 
And if we ask what there is in any strict Realism to attract 
the Mystical sense, we shall find it, I think, in the insist- 
ence of such Realism upon Unity, Universality, and Stability. 


1 Meister Eckhart, ed. Pfeiffer, 1857, pp. 158, I; 99, 8; 180, 15; 532, 
3 0 ; 3 20 ,27; 288, 26; 20 7. 27. 
:I Denzinger, Enchiridion Symbolorum, ed. 1888, Nos. 437, 455. 
I Hegelianism and Personality. ed. 1893. pp. 230. 231. and note. 



MYSTICISM, PANTHEIS
I, PERSONALITY 319 


Yet in so far as Mysticism, in such a case Exclusive 
Mysticism, tends to oust the Outgoing movement of the 
soul, it empties these forms of their Multiple, Individual, 
and Energizing content. Inclusive Mysticism may be truly 
said alone to attain to the true Mystic's desires; for only by 
the interaction of both movements, and of all the powers of 
the soul, will the said soul escape the ever-increasing poverty 
of content characteristic of the strict Realist's pyramid of 
conceptions; a poverty undoubtedly antagonistic tothe secret 
aspiration of Mysticism, which is essentially an apprehension, 
admiration, and love of the infinite depths and riches of 
Reality-of this Reality no doubt present everywhere, yet in 
indefinitely various, and mutually complementary and stimu- 
lative forms and degrees. And the readiness with which 
Mysticism expressed itself in the Nominalist Categories,- 
distinctly less adequate to a healthy, Partial Mysticism than 
the more moderate forms of Realism,-shows how little 
inti!llsic was the link which seemed to bind it to a Realism 
of the most rigorous kind. 


II. RELATIONS BETWEEN GOD AND THE HUMAN SOUL. 
In taking next the question as to the relations between 
God and the Human Soul, we shall find our difficulties 
increased, because, here especially, the Philosophers and even 
the Biblical \Vriters have, with regard to religious experience, 
used expressions and furnished stimulations of a generally 
complex and unclarified, intermittent, and unharmonized kind; 
and especially because certain specifically religious experiences 
and requirements have operated here with a unique intensity, 
at one time in a Pantheistic, at another in a more or less 
Deistic, direction. The reader will specially note the points 
in the following doctrines which helped on the conception 
that a certain centre or highest part of the soul is God, or a 
part of God, Himself. 
I. Plato and Aristotle. "The Noûs." 
(I) Plato teaches the pre-existence and the post-existence 
(immortality) of the soul, as two interdependent truths. In 
his earlier stage, e. g. the Phaedrus, he so little discriminates, 
in his argument for immortality, between the individual soul 
and the World-Soul, as to argue that "the Self-Moving" 
Soul generally" is the beginning of motion, and this motion," 



320 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


(specially here in connection with the human soul,) C( can neither 
be destroyed nor begotten, since, in that case, the heavens and 
all generation would collapse." Yet individual souls are not, 
according to him, emanations of the World-Soul; but, as the 
particular ideas stand beside the Supreme Idea, so do the 
particular souls stand beside the Soul of the Whole, in a 
distinct peculiarity of their own. I-And again, since the soul 
has lapsed from a purer, its appropriate, life into the body, 
and has thus no original, intrinsic relation to this body, the 
activity of the senses, indeed in strictness even that of the 
emotions, cannot form part of its essential nature. Only the 
highest part of the soul, the Reason, N oûs, which, as " sun-like, 
God-like," can apprehend the sun, God, is one and simple, as 
are all the ideas, immortal; whereas the soul's lower part 
consists of t\VO elements,-the nobler, the irascible, and the 
ignobler, the concupiscible passions. But how the unity of 
the soul's life can co-exist with this psychical tritomy, is a 
question no doubt never formulated even to himself by Plato: 
we certainly ha ve only three beings bound together, not one 
being active in different directions. 2 
(2) Aristotle, if more sober in his general doctrine, brings 
some special obscurities and contradictions. For whilst the 
pre-existence of the soul, taken as a whole, is formally denied, 
and indeed its very origin is linked to that of the body, its 
rational part, the N oûs, comes into the physical organism 
from outside of the matter altogether, and an impersonal 
pre-existence is distinctly predicated of it,-in strict con- 
formity with his doctrine that the Supreme Noûs does not 
directly act upon, or produce things in, the world. 3 
2. St. Paul. The" Spirit." 
But it is St. Paul who, in his Mystical outbursts and in the 
systematic parts of his doctrine, as against the simply hortatory 
level of his teaching, gives us the earliest, one of the deepest, 
and to this hour by far the most influential, among the at all 
detailed experiences and schemes, accepted by and operative 
among Christians, as to the relations of the human soul to 
God. And here again, and with characteristic intensity, 
1 Phaedrus. 245d; Zeller. op. cit. II. I. ed. 1889. p. 830. 
I Ibid. pp. 843. 844; 849. 85 0 . 
3 Pre-existence of the Noûs: Gen. Anim.. II. 3. 736b; de Anima. III. 
5. 43 0a ; Zeller. op. cit. II. 2. ed. 1879. pp. 593. 595. The Supreme Noûs. 
purely transcendent: M etaPh.. XII. 7-10. But see Dr. Edward Caird's 
admirable pp. 1-30. VoL II. of his Evolution of Theology in the Greek 
Philosophers. 1904. 



MYSTICISM, PANTHEISM, PERSONALITY 321 


certain overlapping double meanings and conceptions, and 
some vivid descriptions of experiences readily suggestive of 
the divinity of the soul's highest part, repeatedly appear. 
(I) In the systematic passages we not only find the terms 
Psyche, " Soul," for the vital force of the body; and N oîts, 
(" Mind,") " Heart," and" Conscience," for various aspects 
and functions of man's rational and volitional nature: but 
a special insistence upon Pneu11za, " Spirit," mostly in a quite 
special sense of the word. Thus in I Cor. ii, 14, IS, we get 
an absolute contrast between the psychic or sarkic, the simply 
natural man, and the Pneumatic, the Spiritual one, all capacity 
for understanding the Spirit of God being denied to the for- 
mer. The Spiritual thus appears as itself already the Divine, 
and the Spirit as the exclusive, characteristic property of God, 
something which is foreign to man, apart from his Christian 
renovation and elevation to a higher form of existence. Only 
with the entrance of faith and its consequences into the mind 
and will of man, does this transcendent Spirit become an im- 
manent principle: "through His Spirit that dwelleth in you." 1 
-Hence, in the more systematic Pauline Anthropology, Pneu- 
ma cannot be taken as belonging to man's original endowment. 
Certainly in I Gor. ii, II, the tenn " the spirit of a man" 
appears simply because the whole passage is dominated by 
a comparison between the Divine and the human conscious- 
ness, which allows simultaneously of the use of the conversely 
incorrect term, " the mind of God,"-here, v. 16, and in Rom. 
xi, 34. And the term" the spirit of the world," I Cor. ii. 12, 
is used in contrast with" the Spirit of God," and as loosely 
as the term " the God of this world," is applied, in 2 Cor. 
iv, 4, to Satan.-Only some four passages are difficult to 
interpret thus: e.g. "All defilement of flesh and spirit" 
(2 Cor. vii, I); for how can God, Spirit, be defiled ? Yet 
we can" forget that our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit," 
I Gor. vi, 19; and its defilement can" grieve the Holy Spirit" 
(Eph. iv, 30).2 
And note how parallel to his conception of this imman- 
ence of the transcendent Spirit is St. Paul's conception, based 
upon his personal, mystical experience, of the indwelling of 
Christ in the regenerate human soul. Saul had indeed been 


1 Rom. vill. II. See too Rom. viii. 9. 14; 1 Cor. iii. 16; vi, II; vii, 
4 0 ; xii, 3. 
I H. J. Holt
mann. Lehrbuch der N. T. Theology. 1897. Vol. II. pp. 
 
12; 15-18. 
VOL. II. Y 



322 THE 
IYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


won to Jesus Christ, not by the history of Jesus' earthly life, 
but by the direct manifestation of the heavenly Spirit-Christ, 
on the way to Damascus: whence he teaches that only those 
who know Him as Spirit, can truly" be in Christ, "-an ex- 
pression formed on the model of U to be in the Spirit," as in 
Mark xii, 36, and Apoc. i, 10. 
(2) And then these tenns take on, in specifically Pauline 
Mystical passages, a suggestion of a local extension and 
environment, and express, like the corresponding formulae 
"in God," "in the Spirit," the conception of an abiding within 
as it were an element,-that of the exalted Christ and His 
Divine glory. Or Christ is within us, as the Spirit also is 
said to be, so that the regenerate personality, by its closeness 
of intercourse with the personality of Christ, can become one 
single Spirit with Him, I Cor. vi, 17. "As the air is the 
element in which man moves, and yet again the element of 
life which is present within the man: so the Pneuma- 
Christ is for St. Paul both the Ocean of the Divine Being, 
into which the Christian, since his reception of the Spirit, is 
plunged," and in which he disports himself, " and a strean1 
which, derived from that Ocean, is specially introduced within 
his individual life." 1 Catherine's profound indebtedness to this 
Mystical Pauline doctrine has already been studied; here we 
are but considering this doctrine in so far as suggestive, to the 
Mystics, of the identity between the true self and God,-an 
identity readily reached, if we press such passages as 
" Christ, our life"; " to live is Christ" ; U I live, not I, but 
Christ liveth in me." 2 
3. Plotinus. 
Some two centuries later, Plotinus brings his profound 
influence to bear in the direction of such identification. For 
as the First, the One, which, as we saw, possesses, for him, no 
Self-consciousness, Life, or Being, produces the Second, the 
Noûs, which, possessed of all these attributes, exercises them 
directly in self-contemplation alone; and yet this Second is 
so closely like that First as to be " light from light": so does 
the Second produce the Third, the Human Psyche, which, 
though" a thing by itself," is a " god-like (divine) thing," 
since it possesses" a more divine part, the part which is 
neighbour to what is above, the Noûs, with which and from 
1 H. J. Holtzmann, Ope cit. Vol. II, pp. 79. 80. Johannes Weiss. Die 
Nachfolge Christi, 18 95, p. 95. 
I Co!. üi. 4; Phil. i. 2 I; Gal. ii. 20. 



MYSTICISM, PANTHEISM, PERSONALITY 323 


which Noûs the Psyche exists."-The Psyche is" an image of 
the Noûs" : " as outward speech expresses inward thought, 
so is the Psyche a concept of the N oûs,-a certain energy of 
the Noûs, as the Noûs itself is an energy of the First Cause." 
" As with fire, where we distinguish the heat that abides within 
the fire and the heat that is emitted by it . . . so must we 
conceive the Psyche not as wholly flowing forth from, but as 
in part abiding in, in part proceeding from the Noûs." 1 
And towards the end of the great Ninth Book of the Sixth 
Ennead, he tells how in Ecstasy " the soul sees the Source of 
Life . . . the Ground of Goodness, the Root of the Soul. . . . 
For we are not cut off from or outside of It. . . but we 
breathe and consist in It : since It does not give and then 
retire, but ever lifts and bears us, so long as It is what It is." 
" We must stand alone in It and must become It alone, after 
stripping off all the rest that hangs about us. . . . There we 
can behold both Him and our own selves, -oursel ves, full of 
Intellectual light, or rather as Pure Light Itself, having become 
God, or rather as being simply He . . . abiding altogether 
unmoved, having become as it were Stability Itself." U When 
man has moved out of himself away to God, like the image 
to its Prototype, he has reached his journey's end." "And 
this is the life of the Gods and of divine and blessed man . . . 
a flight of the alone to the Alone." 2 
4. Eckhart's position. Ruysbroek. 
(I) Eckhart gives us both Plotinian positions-the God- 
likeness and the downright Divinity of the soul. "The Spark 
(das Fünkelein) of the Soul. . . is a light impressed upon its 
uppermost part, and an image of the Divine Nature, which is 
ever at war with all that is not divine. It is not one of the 
several powers of the soul. . . . Its name is Synteresis,"-i.e. 
conscience. "The nine powers of the soul are all servants of 
that man of the soul, and help him on to the soul's Source." 3_ 
But in one of the condemned propositions he says: " There is 
something in the soul which is Increate and Uncreatable; if 
the whole soul were such, it would be (entirely) Increate and 
Uncreatable. And this is the Intellect,"-standing here 
exactly for Plotinus's Noûs. 4 
(2) Ruysbroek (who died in 1381) combines a considerable 
1 Enneads, V, book I, CC. 3 and 6. 
I Ibid. VI, book 9, 9 and I I. 
a Eckhart, ed. Pfeiffer, pp. 113, 33; 469, 4 0 , 36. 
· Denzinger. op. cit. No. 454- 



324 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 
fundamental sobriety with much of St. Paul's daring and 
many echoes of Plotinus. If The unity of our spirit with God 
is of two kinds,-essential and actual. According to its 
essence, our spirit receives, in its innermost highest part, the 
visit of Christ, without means and without intermission; for 
the life which we are in God, in our Eternal Image, and that 
which we have and are in ourselves, according to the essence 
of our being. . . are without distinction.-But this essential 
unity of our spirit with God has no consistency in itself, but 
abides in God and flows out from and depends on Him." The 
actual unity of our spirit with God, caused by Grace, confers 
upon us not His Image, but His Likeness, If and though we 
cannot lose the Image of God, nor our natural unity with 
Him,-if we lose His Likeness, His Grace, Christ, who, in 
this case, comes to us with mediations and intermissions, we 
shall be damned." 1 
5. St. Teresa's mediating view. 
St. Teresa's teachings contain interesting faint echoes of the 
old perplexities and daring doctrines concerning the nature of 
the Spirit; but articulate a strikingly persistent conviction 
that the soul holds God Himself as distinct from His graces, 
possessing thus some direct experience of this His presence. 
It I cannot understand what the mind is, nor how it differs 
from the soul or the spirit either: all three seem to me to be but 
one, though the soul sometimes leaps forth out of itself, like a 
fire which has become a flame: the flame ascends high above 
the fire, but it is still the same flame of the same fire." 
H Something subtle and swift seems to issue from the soul, to 
ascend to its highest part and to go whither Our Lord will 
. . . it seems a flight. This little bird of the spirit seems to 
have escaped out of the prison of the body." Indeed CI the 
soul is then not in itself . . . it seems to me to have its dwelling 
higher than even the highest part of itself." 2_" In the begin- 
ning I did not know that God is present in all things. . . . 
Unlearned men used to tell me that He was present only by 
His grace. I could not believe that . . . A most learned 
Dominican told me He was present Himself. . . this was a 
great comfort to me." "To look upon Our Lord as being in 
the innermost parts of the soul. . . is a much more profit- 
able method, than that of looking upon Him as external to 
1 Vier Schriften von Johannes Ruysbroek. ed. Ullmann, 1848. pp. 106, 
10 7. 
I Life, written by Herself, tr. D. Lewis. ed. 1888, pp. 124. 421. 146. 



MYSTICISM, PANTHEISM, PERSONALITY 325 


us." "ThelivingGodwasinmysouI." And even, "hitherto" 
up to 1555, " my life was my own; my life, since then, is the 
life which God lived in me." 1 
6. I mmanence, not Pantheism. 
St. Teresa's teaching as to God's own presence in the soul 
points plainly, I think, to the truth insisted on by the Catholic 
theologian Schwab, in his admirable monograph on Gerson. 
" Neither speculation nor feeling are satisfied with a Pure 
Transcendence of God; and hence the whole effort of true 
Mysticism is directed, whilst not abolishing His Transcend... 
ence, to embrace and experience God, His living presence, 
in the innermost soul,-that is, to insist, in some way or other, 
upon the Immanence of God. Reject all such endeavours as 
Pantheistic, insist sharply upon the specific eternal difference 
between God and the Greature : and the Speculative, Mystical 
depths fade away, with all their fascination." 2 Not in finding 
Pantheism already here, with the imminent risk of falling into 
a cold Deism, but in a rigorous insistence, with all the great 
Inclusive Mystics, upon the spiritual and moral effects, as the 
tests of the reality and worth of such experiences, and, with 
the Ascetical and Historical souls, upon also the other move... 
ment-an outgoing in some kind of contact with, and labour 
at, the contingencies and particularities of life and mind-wil] 
the true safeguard for this element of the soul's life be found. 3 


III. MYSTICISM AND PANTHEISM: THEIR DIFFERENCES 
AND POINTS OF LIKENESS. 
But does not Mysticism, not only find God in the soul, but 
the soul to be God? Is it not, as such, already Pantheism? 
Or, if not, what is their difference? 
I. Plotinus and Spinoza compared. 
Now Dr. Edward Caird, in his fine book, The Evoluti01J 
of Theology in the Greek PhilosoPhers, 1904, tells us that 
" 
I ysticism is religion in its most concentrated and exclusive 
form; it is that attitude of mind in which all other relations 


1 Life, written by Herself, tr. D. Lewis, ed. 1888, pp. 355, 130. 43 0 ; 114. 
I J. B. Schwab, Johannes Gerson, 1858, pp. 361. 362. 
8 I can find but one, secondary Ecclesiastical Censure of the doctrine of 
God's substantial presence in the soul.-the censure passed by the Paris 
Sorbonne on Peter Lombard. The same Socbonne repeatedly censured 
St. Thomas on other points. 



326 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


are swallowed up in the relation of the soul to God"; and 
that" Plotinus is the Mystic par excellence." 1 And he then 
proceeds to contrast Plotinus, the typical 1\1 ystic, with Spinoza, 
the true Pantheist. 
" Whether" or not" Spinoza, in his negation of the limits 
of the finite, still leaves it open to himself to admit a reality 
in finite things which is not negated," and" to conceive of the 
absolute substance as manifesting itself in attributes and 
modes" : "it is very clear that he does so conceive it, and 
that, for all those finite things which he treats as negative 
and illusory in themselves, he finds in God a ground of reality 
. . . which can be as little destroyed as the divine substance 
itself." "God, Deus sive N atufa, is conceived as the im- 
manent principle of the universe, or perhaps rather the 
universe is conceived as immanent in God."-Thus to him 
" the movement by which he dissolves the finite in the infinite, 
and the movement by which he finds the finite again in the 
infinite, are equally essential. If for him the world is nothing 
apart from God, God is nothing apart from His realization in 
the world." This is true Pantheism. 2 
But in Plotinus the via negativa involves a negation of the 
finite and determinate in all its forms; hence here it is im- 
possible to find the finite again in the infinite. The Absolute 
One is here not immanent but transcendent. 3 "While the 
lower always has need of the higher, the higher is regarded as 
having no need " for any purpose " of the lower " ; and " the 
Highest has no need of anything but Itself." "Such a pro- 
cess cannot be reversed": "in ascending, Plotinus has drawn 
the ladder after him, and left himself no possibility of descend- 
ing again. The movement, in which he is guided by definite 
and explicit thought, is always upwards; while, in describing 
the movement downwards, he has to take refuge in metaphors 
and analogies," for the purpose of indicating a purely self- 
occupied activity which only accidentally produces an external 
effect, e.g. "the One as it were overflows, and produces another 
than itself." 4 "Thus we have the strange paradox that the 
Being who is absolute, is yet conceived as in a sense external to 
the relative and finite, and that He leaves the relative and finite 
in a kind of unreal independence." "On the one side, we have a 
1 Vol. II, pp. 210, 211. 
I Ibid. pp. 230, 23 1 . 
a Ibid. p. 231. 
· Ibid. pp. 253-257. Enneads. V. book ii, I. 



MYSTICISl\1, PANTHEISM, PERSONALITY 327 
life which is nothing apart from God, and which, nevertheless, 
can never be united to him, except as it loses .itself alto- 
gether; and, on the other side, an Absolute, which yet is not 
immanent in the life it originates, but abides in transcendent 
isolation from it. . . . It is this contradiction which . . . 
makes the writings of Plotinus the supreme expression of 
l\Iysticism." 1 
Now I think, with this admirable critic, that we cannot but 
take Spinoza as the classical representative of that parallel- 
istic Pantheism to which most of our contemporary systems of 
psycho-physical parallelism belong. As Prof. Troeltsch well 
puts it, " we have here a complete parallelism between every 
single event in the physical world, which event is already en- 
tirely explicable from its own antecedents within that physical 
world, and every event of a psychical kind, which, neverthe- 
less, is itself also entirely explicable from its own psychical 
antecedents alone." And" this parallelism again is but two 
sides of the one World-Substance, Which is neither Nature 
nor Spirit, and Whose law is neither natural nor spiritual law, 
bu t Which is Being in general and Law in general." In this 
one World-Substance, with its parallel self-manifestations as 
extension and as thought, Spinoza finds the ultimate truth 
of Religion, as against the Indeterminist, Anthropomorphic 
elements of all the popular religions,-errors which have 
sprung, the Anthropomorphic from man's natural inclination 
to interpret Ultimate Reality, with its complete neutrality 
towards the distinctions of Psychical and Physical, by the 
Psychic side, as the one nearest to our own selves; and the 
Indeterminist from the attribution of that indetermination to 
the World-Substance which, even in Psychology, is already 
a simple illusion and analytical blunder. 
" It is in the combination," concludes Professor Troeltsch, 
"of such a recognition of the strict determination of all 
natural causation, and of such a rejection of materialism 
(with its denial of the independence of the psychic world), that 
rests the immense power of Pantheism at the present time." 2 
On the other hand, the supposed Pantheistic positions of the 
later Lessing, of Herder, Goethe and many another pre- 
dominantly aesthetic thinker, must, although far richer and 
more nearly adequate conceptions of full reality, be assigned, 
1 Vol. II. pp. 232, 233. 
I .. Religions-philosophie," in Die Philosoþhie im Beginn des zwan- 
zigsten ]ahrhunderts. 1904, Vol. I. pp. 115. 117. 



328 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


qua Pantheism, a secondary place, as inconsistent, because 
already largely Teleological, indeed Theistic Philosophies. 
2. ComPlete Pantheism non-religious; why approached by 
Mysticism. 
Now the former, the full Pantheism, must, I think, be 
declared, with Rauwenhoff, to be only in name a religious 
position at all. "In its essence it is simply a complete 
Monism, a recognition of the Pan in its unity and indivisibility, 
and hence a simple view of the world, not a religious concep- 
tion." L- Y et deeply religious souls can be more or less, indeed 
profoundly, influenced by such a Monism, so that we can get 
Mystics with an outlook considerably more Spinozist than 
Plotinian. There can, e.g., be no doubt as to both the deeply 
religious temper and the strongly Pantheistic conceptions of 
Eckhart in the Middle Ages, and of Schleiermacher in modem 
times; and indeed Spinoza himself is, apart from all questions 
as to the logical implications and results of his intellectual 
system, and as to the justice of his attacks upon the historical 
religions, a soul of massive religious intuition and aspiration. 
But further: Mystically tempered souls,-and the typical 
and complete religious soul win ever possess a mystical 
element in its composition,-have three special attraits which 
necessarily bring them into an at least apparent proximity to 
Pantheism. 
(r) For one thing Mysticism, like Pantheism, has a great, 
indeed (if left unchecked by the out-going-movernent) an 
excessive, thirst for Unity, for a Unity less and less possessed 
of Mu tiplicity; and the transition from holding the Pure 
Transcendence of this Unity to a conviction of its Ex- 
clusive Immanence becomes easy and insignificant, in pro- 
portion to the emptiness of con ten t increasingly characterizing 
this Oneness. 
(2) Then again, like Pantheists, Mystics dwell much upon 
the strict call to abandon all self-centredness, upon the death 
to self, the loss of self; and in proportion as they dwell upon 
this self to be thus rejected, and as they enlarge the range of 
this petty self, do they approach each other more and more. 
(3) And lastly, there is a peculiarity about the Mystical habit 
of mind, which inevitably approximates it to the Pantheistic 
mode of thought, and which, if not continuously taken by the 
Mystic soul itself as an inevitable, but most demonstrable, in- 


1 Religions-philosophie. Germ. tr.. ed. 18941 p. 140. 



MYSTICIS
I, PANTHEIS
I, PERSONALITY 329 
adequacy, will react upon the substance of this soul's thought 
in a truly Pantheistic sense. This peculiarity results from the 
Mystic's ever-present double tendency of absorbing himself, 
away from the Successive and Temporal, in the Simultaneity 
and Eternity of God, conceiving thus all reality as partaking, 
in proportion to its depth and greater likeness to Him, in 
this Totunt Simul character of its ultimate Author and End; 
and of clinging to such vivid picturings of this reality as are 
within his, this 
Iystic's reach. Now such a Simultaneity 
can be pictorially represented to the mind only by the Spatial 
imagery of co-existent Extensions,-say of air, water, light, 
or fire: and these representations, if dwelt on as at all 
adequate, will necessarily suggest a Determinism of a 
Mathematico-Physical, Extensional type, i. e. one, and the 
dominant, side of Spinozistic Pantheism.-It is here, I think, 
that we get the double cause for the Pantheistic-seeming 
trend of almost all the 
1 ystical imagery. For even the 
marked Emanationism of much in Plotinus, and of still more 
in Proclus,-the latter still showing through many a phrase 
in Dionysius,-appears in their images as operating upon a 
fixed Extensional foundation: and indeed these very over- 
flowings, owing to the self-centredness and emptiness of 
content of their Source, the One, and to their accidental yet 
automatic character, help still further to give to the whole 
outlook a strikingly materialistic, mechanical, in so far 
Pantheistic, character. 
3. Points on which Mysticism has usefully approxi11lated to 
Pantheism. 
And yet we must not overlook the profound, irreplaceable 
services that are rendered by Mysticism,-provided always it 
remains but one of two great movements of the living soul,- 
even on the points in which it thus approximates to Pantheism. 
These services, I think, are three. 
(1) The first of these services has been interestingly illus- 
trated by Prof. A. S. Pringle Pattison, from the case of Dr. 
J ames 
lartineau's writings, and the largely unmediated co- 
existence there of two different modes of conceiving God. 
It The first mode represents God simply as another, higher 
Person; the second represents Him as the soul of souls. 
The former, Deistic and Hebraic, rests upon an inferential 
knowledge of God, derived either from the experience of His 
resistance to our will through the forces of Nature, or from 
that of His restraint upon us in the voice of Conscience,- 



330 THE 
IYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 
God, in both cases, being regarded as completely separated 
from the human soul, and His existence and character appre... 
hended and demonstrated by a process of reasoning.-The 
second mode is distinctly and intensely Christian, and con- 
sists in the apprehension of God as the Infipite including all 
finite existences, as the immanent Absolute who progressively 
manifests His character in the Ideals of Truth, Beauty, 
Righteousness, and Love." And Professor Pattison points 
out, with Professor Upton, that it was Dr. 
lartineau's almost 
morbid dread of Pantheism which was responsible for the 
inadequate expression given to this Mystical, or {{ Speculative" 
element in his religious philosophy. For only if we do not 
resist such Mysticism, do we gain and retain a vivid experience 
of how {{ Consciousness of imperfection and the pursuit of 
perfection are alike possible to man only through the 
universal life of thought and goodness in which he shares, 
and which, at once an indwelling presence and an unattain- 
able ideal, draws him on and always on." {{ Personality is " 
thus {{ not { unitary' in 
lartineau's sense, as occupying one 
side of a relation, and unable to be also on the other. The 
very capacity of knowledge and morality implies that the 
person . . . is capable of regarding himself and all other beings 
from what Martineau well names { the station of the Father 
of Spirits.' " 1 
. I would, however, guard here against any exclusion of a 
seeking or finding of God in Nature and in Conscience: only 
the contrary exclusion of the finding of God within the soul, 
and the insistence upon a complete separation of Him from 
that soul, are inacceptable in the {{ Hebraic" mood. For a 
coming and a going, a movement inwards and outwards, 
checks and counter-checks, friction, contrast, battle and storm, 
are necessary conditions and ingredients of the soul's growth 
in its sense of appurtenance to Spirit and to Peace. 
(2) A further service rendered by this Pan theistic-seeming 
Mysticism,-though always only so long as it remains not 
the only or last word of Religion,-is that it alone discovers 
the truly spiritual function and fruitfulness of Deterministic 
Science. For only if 
lan deeply requires a profound de- 
subjectivizing, a great shifting of the centre of his interest, 
away from the petty, claimful, animal self, with its {{ I against 
all the world," to a great kingdom of souls, in which Man 


1 " Martineau.s Philosophy:. Hibbert Journal, Vol. I, 1902. pp. 45 8 , 457. 



MYSTICISM, PANTHEISM, PERSONALITY 33I 


gains his larger, spiritual, unique personality, with its U I as 
part of, and for all the world," by accepting to be but one 
amongst thousands of similar constituents in a system 
expressive of the thoughts of God; and only if Mathematico- 
Physical Science is specially fitted to provide such a bath, 
and hence is so taken, with all its apparently ruinous 
Determinism and seeming Godlessness: is such Science 
really safe from apologetic emasculation; or from running, a 
mere unrelated dilettantism, alongside of the deepest interests 
of the soul; or from, in its turn, crushing or at least 
hampering the deepest, the spiritual life of man. Hence all the 
greater Partial 
lystics have got a something about them 
which indicates that they have indeed passed through fire 
and water, that their poor selfishness has been purified in a 
bath of painfully-bracing spiritual air and light, through which 
they have emerged into a larger, fuller life. And Nicolas of 
Coes, Pascal, Malebranche are but three men out of many 
whose Mysticism and whose Mathematico-Physical Science 
thus interstimulated each other and jointly deepened their 
souls. 
We shall find, further on, that this purificatory power of 
such Science has been distinctly heightened for us now. Yet, 
both then and now, there could and can be such purification 
only for those who realize and practise religion as sufficiently 
ultimate and wide and deep to englobe, (as one of religion's 
necessary stimulants), an unweakened, utterly alien-seeming 
Determinism in the middle regions of the soul's experience 
and outlook. Such an englobement can most justly be 
declared to be Christianity driven fully home. For thus is 
Man purified and saved,-if he already possesses the domi- 
nant religious motive and conviction,-by a close contact 
\vith Matter; and the Cross is plunged into the very centre 
of his soul's life, operating there a sure division between 
the perishing animal Individual and the abiding spiritual 
Personality: the deathless Incarnational and Redemptive 
religion becomes thus truly operative there. 
(3) And the last service, rendered by such Mysticism, is to 
keep alive in the soul the profoundly important consciousness 
of the prerequisites, elements and affinities of a Universally 
Human kind, which are necessary to, and present in, all 
Religion, however definitely Concrete, Historical and Institu- 
tional it may have become. Such special, characteristic 
Revelations, Doctrines and Institutions, as we find them in 


. 



332 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


all the great Historical Religions, and in their full normative 
substance and form in Christianity and Catholicism, can 
indeed alone completely develop, preserve and spread 
Religion in its depth and truth; yet they ever presuppose 
a general, usually dim but most real, religious sense and 
experience, indeed a real presence and operation of the 
Infinite and of God in all men. 
It is, then, not an indifferentist blindness to the profound 
differences, in their degree of truth, between the religions of 
the world, nor an insufficient realization of man's strict need of 
historical and institutional lights and aids for the development 
and direction of that general religious sense and experience, 
which make the mind revolt from sayings such as those we 
have already quoted from the strongly Protestant Prof. 
Wilhelm Hermann, and to which we can add the following. 
U Everywhere, outside of Christianity, Mysticism will arise, 
as the very flower of the religious development. But the 
Christian must declare such Mystical experience of God to be 
a delusion." For U what is truly Christian is iPso facto not 
Mystical." cc We are Christians because, in the Humanity of 
Jesus, we have struck upon a fact which is of incomparably 
richer content, than are the feelings that arise within our own 
selves." Indeed, U I should have failed to recognize the hand 
of God even in what my o\vn dead father did for me, had not, 
by means of my Christian education, God appeared to me, in 
the Historic Christ." L-As if it were possible to consider 
Plato and Plotinus, in those religious intuitions and feelings 
of theirs which helped to win an Augustine from crass 
Manichaeism to a deep Spiritualism, and which continue to 
breathe and bum as part-elements in countless sayings of 
Christian philosophers and saints, to ha ve been simply 
deluded, or mere idle subjectivists! As if we could apprehend 
even Christ, without some most real, however dim and 
general, sense of religion and presence of God within us to 
which He could appeal! And as if Jeremiah, Ezekiel and 
the Maccabaean Martyrs, and many a devoted soul within 
Mohammedanism or in Brahmanic India, could not and did 
not apprehend something of God's providence in their earthly 
father's love towards them! 
No wonder that, after all this, Hermann can,-as against 
Richard Rothe who, in spite of more than one fantastic if not 


1 Der Verkehr des Christen mit Gott. ed. 1892. pp. 27, 15. 28. 231. 



MYSTIGISM, PANTHEISM, PERSONALITY 333 


fanatical aberration, had, on some of the deepest religious 
matters, a rarely penetrating perception,-writeina thoroughly 
patronizing manner concerning Catholic Mysticism. For this 
Mysticism necessarily appears to him not as, at its best, the 
most massive and profound development of one type of the 
ultimate religion,-a type in which one necessary element of 
all balanced religious life is at the fullest expansion compatible 
with a still sufficient amount and healthiness of the other 
necessary elements of such a life,-but only as Ie a form of 
religion which has brought out and rendered visible such a 
content of interior life as is capable of being produced within 
the limits of Catholic piety." 1 The true, pure Protestant 
possesses, according to Hermann, apparently much less, in 
reality much more,-the Gategorical Imperative of Conscience 
and the Jesus of History, as the double one-and-all of his, the 
only spiritual religion.- Y et if Christianity is indeed the 
religion of the Divine Founder, Who declared that he that is 
not against Him is for Him; or of Paul, who could appeal to 
the heathen Athenians and to all men for the truth and 
experience that in God Ie we live and move and have our 
being"; or of the great Fourth Gospel, which tells us that 
Christ, the True Light, enlighteneth every man that cometh 
into the world, a light which to this hour cannot, for the great 
majority, be through historic knowledge of the Historic Christ 
at all; or of Clement of Alexandria and of Justin Martyr, 
who loved to find deep apprehensions and operations of God 
scattered about among the Heathen; or of Aquinas, who, in 
the wake of the Areopagite and others, so warmly dwells 
upon how Grace does not destroy, but presupposes and 
perfects Nature: then such an exclusive amalgam of 
Moralism and History, though doubtless a most honest and 
intelligible reaction against opposite excesses, is a sad 
impoverishment of Christianity, in its essential, world-wide, 
Catholic character. . 
Indeed, to be fair, there have never been wanting richer and 
more balanced Protestant thinkers strongly to emphasize 
this profound many-sidedness and universality of Christian- 
ity: so, at present, in Germany, Profs. Eucken, Troeltsch, 
Glass, Siebeck and others; and, in England, Prof. A. S. P. 
Pattison and Mr. J. R. Illingworth. In all these cases there is 
ever a strong sympathy with Mysticism properly understood 


1 Del' Verkehr des Christen mit Gott. cd. 1892. pp. 20; 19-25. 


, 



334 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


as the surest safeguard against such distressing contractions 
as is this of Herniann, and that of Albrecht Ritschl before 
him. 
4. Christianity excludes comPlete and final Pantheis1n. 
And yet, as we have repeatedly found, Christianity has, in 
its fundamental Revelation and Experience, ever implied and 
affirmed such a conception of Unity, of Self-Surrender, and of 
the Divine Action, as to render any Pantheistic interpretation 
of these things ever incomplete and transitional. 
(1) The Unity here is nowhere, even ultimately, the sheer 
Oneness of a simply identical Substance, but a Unity deriving 
its very close-knitness from its perfect organization of not 
simply identical elements or relations. 
The Self-Surrender here is not a simply final resolution, of 
laboriously constituted centres of human spiritual consciousness 
and personality, back into a morally indifferent All, but a 
means and passage, for the soul, from a spiritually worthless 
self-entrenchment within a merely psycho-physical apartness 
and lust to live, on to a spiritual devotedness, an incorporation.. 
as one necessary subject, into the Kingdom of souls,-the 
abiding, living expression of the abiding, living God. 
And, above all, God's Action is not a mechanico-physical, 
detenninist, simultaneous Extension, nor even an automatic, 
accidental, unconscious Emanation, but, as already Plato 
divined,-an intuition lost again by Aristotle, and, in his logic, 
denied by Plotinus,-a voluntary outgoing and self-communi- 
cation of the supreme self-conscious Spirit, God. For Plato 
tells us that " the reason why Nature and this Universe of 
things was framed by Him Who framed it, is that God is 
good . . . and desired that all things should be as like 
Himself as it was possible for them to be." 1 Yet this 
pregnant apprehension never attains here to its full signifi- 
cance, because the Divine Intelligence is conceived only as 
manifesting itself in relation to something given from without, 
-the pre-existing, chaotic Matter. And for Aristotle God 
does not love this Gi venness; for (( the first Mover moves" (all 
things) only "as desired" by them: He Himself desires, 
loves, wills nothing whatsoever, and thinks and knows 
nothing but His own self alone. 2 And in Plotinus this same 
transcendence is still further emphasized, for the Absolute 
One here transcends even an thought and self-consciousness. 
1 Timaeus, 2ge, seq. 
I IVletaþh., VII, 1072b; IX, 1074 b . 



l\fYSTICISM, PANTHEISM, PERSONALITY 335 
(2) It is in Christianity, after noble preludings in Judaism, 
that we get the full deliberate proclamation, in the great Life 
and Teaching, of the profound fact,-the Self-Manifestation 
of the Loving God, the Spirit-God moving out to the spirit- 
man, and spirit-man only thus capable of a return movement 
to the Spirit-God. As Schelling said, II God can only give 
Himself to His creatures as He gives a self to them," and, 
with it, the capacity of participating in His life. We thus get 
a relation begun and rendered possible by God's utterly 
prevenient, pure, ecstatic love of Man, a relation which, in its 
essence spiritual, personal and libertarian, leaves behind it, as 
but vain travesties of such ultimate Realities, all Emanational 
or Parallelistic Pantheism, useful though these latter systems 
are as symbols of the 1\1:athematico-Physicallevel and kind of 
reality and apprehension. Yet this spiritual relation is here, 
unlike Plotinus's more or less Emanational conception of it, 
not indeed simply invertible, as Spinoza would have it, (for 
Man is ontologically dependent upon God, whereas God is 
not thus dependent upon Man), but nevertheless largely one 
of true mutuality. And this mutuality of the relation is not 
simply a positive enactment of God, but is expressive, in its 
degree and mode, of God's intrinsic moral nature. For God 
is here the Source as well as the Obj ect of all love; hence 
He Himself possesses the supreme equivalent for this our 
noblest emotion, and is moved to free acts of outgoing, in 
the creation and preservation, the revelation to, and the 
redemption of finite spirits, as so many sucessive, mutually 
supplementary, and increasingly fuller expressions and objects 
of this His nature. U God is Love"; {( God so loved the 
world, that He gave His only-begotten Son"; It Let us love 
God, for God hath first loved us " ; {( if any man will do the 
will of God, he shall know of the doctrine if it be from God " : 
God's Infinity is here, not the negation of the relatively inde- 
pendent life of His creatures, but the very reason and source 
of their freedom. 1 
In the concluding chapter I hope to give a sketch of the 
actual operation of the true correctives to any excessive, 
Plotinian or Spinozistic, tendencies in the 
1 ystical trend, 
especially when utilizing Mathematico-Physical Science at 
the soul's middle level; and of History at the ultimate 
reaches of the soul's life. 


1 See Caird. Ope cit. II, p. 337. 


. 


- 



336 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


IV. THE DIVINE IMMANENCE; SPIRITUAL PERSONALITY 
I. Pantheis1n. 
As to our fourth question, the Divine Immanence and 
Personality, our last quotations from St. Teresa give us, I 
think, our true starting-point. For it is evident that, between 
affirming the simple Divinity of the innermost centre of the 
soul, and declaring that the soul ever experiences only the 
Grace of God, i. e. certain created effects, sent by Him from 
the far-away seat of His own full presence, there is room for 
a middle position which, whilst ever holding the definite 
creatureliness of the soul, in all its reaches, puts God Himself 
into the soul and the soul into God, in degrees and with 
results which vary indeed indefinitely according to its good- 
will and its call, yet which all involve and constitute a presence 
ever profoundly real, ever operative before and beyond aU 
the soul's own operations. These latter operations are, indeed, 
even possible only through all this Divine anticipation, origin- 
ation, preservation, stimulation, and, at bottom,-in so far as 
man is enabled and required by God to reach a certain real 
self-constitution,-through a mysterious Self-Limitation of 
God's own Action,-a Divine Self-Restraint. 
There can be little doubt that such a Panentheism is all 
that many a daring, in strictness Pantheistic, saying of the 
Christian, perhaps also of the Jewish and Mohammedan, 
Mystics aimed at. Only the soul's ineradicable capacity, 
need and desire for its Divine Lodger and Sustainer would 
constitute, in this conception, the intrinsic characteristic of 
human nature; and it is rather the too close identification, 
in feeling and emotional expression, of the desire and the 
Desired, of the hunger and the Food, and the too exclusive 
realization of the deep truth that this desire and hunger do 
not cause, but are themselves preceded and caused by, their 
Object,-it is the over-vivid perception of this real dynamism, 
rather than any a priori theory of static substances and 
identities-which, certainly in many cases, has produced the 
appearance of Pantheism. 
And again it is certain that we have to beware of taking 
the apparent irruption or ingrafting,-in the case of the 
operations of Grace,-of an entirely heterogeneous Force 
and Reality into what seems the already completely closed 
circle of our natural functions and aspirations, as the complete 
and ultimate truth of the situation. However utterly different 



MYSTICISM, PANTHEISM, PERSONALITY 337 


that Force may feel to all else that we are aware of within 
ourselves, however entirely unmeditated may seem its mani- 
festations: it is clear that we should be unable to recognize 
even this Its difference, to welcome or resist It, above all to 
find It a response to our deepest cravings, unless we had 
some natural true affinity to It, and some dim but most real 
experience of It from the first. Only with such a general 
religiosity and vague sense, from a certain contact, of the 
Infinite, is the recognition of definite, historical Religious 
Facts and Figures as true, significant, binding upon my will 
and conscience, explicable at all. 
z. Aquinas on our direct sen'lÏ-consciousness of God's in- 
dwelling. 
St. Thomas, along one line of doctrine, has some excellent 
teachings about all this group of questions. For though he 
tens us that H the names which we give to God and creatures, 
are predicated of God" only U according to a certain relation 
of the creature to God, as its Principle and Cause, in which 
latter the perfections of aU things pre-exist in an excellent 
manner" : 1 yet he explicitly admits, in one place, that we 
necessarily have some real, immediate experience of the 
Nature of God, for that U it is impossible, with regard to 
anything, to know whether it exists, "-and he has admitted 
that natural reason can attain to a knowledge of God's bare 
existence,-u unless we somehow know what is its nature," 
at least U with a confused knowledge"; whence II also with 
regard to God, we could not know whether He exists" unless 
we somehow know, even though confusedly, what He is."- 
God, though transcendent, is also truly immanent in the 
human soul: "God is in all things, as the agent is pres en t 
in that wherein it acts. Created Being is as true an effect of 
God's Being, as to burn is the true effect of fire. God is 
above all things,-by the excellence of His nature, and yet 
He is intimately present within all things, as the cause of the 
Being of all."-And man has a natural exigency of the face- 
to-face Vision of God, hence of the Order of Grace, however 
entirely its attainment may be beyond his natural powers: 
II There is in man a natural longing to know the cause, when 
he sees an effect: whence if the intellect of the rational 


1 Summa Theol.. I, quo 13. art. 5. condo et in corp. (See the inter- 
esting note. "The Meaning of Analogy," in Fr. Tyrrell's Le
 Orandi. 
1903, pp. 80-83.) In Librum Boetii de Trinitate: D. Thomae Aquinatis 
Opera, ed. Veneta Altera. 1776. p. 34Ib, 342a. 
VOL. II. Z 


. 



33 8 THE IVIYSTICAL ELE
IENT OF RELIGION 
creature could not attain to the First Cause of things," -here 
in the highest form, that of the Beatific vision of God- U the 
longing of its nature would remain void and vain." 1 
But it is the great Mystical Saints and writers who con- 
tinuously have, in the very forefront of their consciousness 
and assumptions, not a simply moral and aspirational, but 
an Ontological and Pre-established relation between the soul 
and God; and not a simply discursive apprehension, but a 
direct though dim Experience of the Infinite and of God. 
And these positions really underlie even their most complete- 
seeming negations, as we have already seen in the case of the 
Areopagite. 
3. Gradual recognition of the function of subconsciousness. 
Indeed, we can safely affirm that the last four centuries, and 
even the last four decades, have more and more confirmed the 
reality and indirect demonstrableness of such a presence and 
sense of the Infinite; ever more or less obscurely, but none 
the less profoundly, operative in the innermost normal con- 
sciousness of mankind: a presence and sense which, though 
they can be starved and verbally denied, cannot be com- 
pletely suppressed; and which, though they do not, if un- 
endorsed, constitute even the most elementary faith, far less 
a developed Historical or 1\Iystical Religion, are simply 
necessary prerequisites to all these latter stimulations and 
consolida tions. 
(I) As we have already found, it is only since Leibniz that 
we know, systematically, how great is the range of everyman's 
Obscure Presentations, his dim Experience as against his 
Clear or distinct Presentations, his explicit Knowledge; and 
how the Clear depends even more upon the Dim, than the 
Dim upon the Clear. And further discoveries and proofs in 
this direction are no older than 1888. 2 
(2) Again, it is the growing experience of the difficulties 
and complexities of Psychology, History, Epistemology, and 
of the apparent unescapableness and yet pain of man's mere 
anthropomorphisms, that makes the persistence of his search 
for, and sense of, Objective Truth and Reality, and the keen- 


1 Summa Theol., I, quo 12, art. I, in corp. 
2 For Leibniz, see especially his Nouveaux Essais, written in 1701-1709, 
but not published till 1765: Die Philosoþhischen Schriften von G. IV. 
Leibniz, ed. Gebhardt, Vol. V, 1882, especially pp. 45; 67; 69; 121,122. 
For the date 1888, see W. James's Varieties of Religious Experience, 1902. 
p. 233. 



MYSTICISM, PANTHEISM, PERSONALITY 339 


ness of his suffering when he appears to himself as imprisoned 
in mere subjectivity, deeply impressive. For the more man 
feels, and suffers from feeling himself purely subjective, the 
more is it clear that he is not merely subjective: he could 
never be conscious of the fact, if he were. U Suppose that all 
your objects in life were realized . . . would this be a great 
joy and happiness to you? " John Stuart Mill asked himself; 
and U an irrepressible self-consciousness distinctly answered 
( No.' "1 Whether in bad health just then or not, Mill was 
here touching the very depths of the characteristically human 
sense. In an such cases only a certain profound apprehension 
of Abiding Reality, the Infinite, adequately explains the keen, 
operative sense of contrast and disappointment. 
(3) And further, we have before us, with a fulness and 
delicate discrimination undreamed of in other ages, the 
immense variety, within a certain general psychological 
unity, of the great and small Historical Religions, past and 
present, of the world. Facing all this mass of evidence, 
Prof. Troeltsch can ask, more confidently than ever: U Are 
not our religious requirements, requirements of Something 
that one must have somehow first experienced in order 
to require It? Are they not founded upon some kind of 
Experience as to the Object, Which Itself first awakens the 
thought of an ultimate infinite meaning attaching to exist- 
ence, and Which, in the conflict with selfishness, sensu- 
ality and self-will, draws the nobler part of the human will, 
with ever new force, to Itself?" U All deep and energetic 
religion is in a certain state of tension to\vards Culture, for 
the simple reason that it is seeking something else and some- 
thing higher." 2 And Prof. G. P. Tiele, so massively learned in 
all the great religions, concludes: U ( Religion,' says Feuerbach, 
( proceeds from man's wishes' . . . ; according to others, it is 
the outcome of man's dissatisfaction with the external world. 
. . . But why should man torment himself \vith wishes 
which he never sees fulfilled around him, and which the 
rationalistic philosopher declares to be illusions? Why? 
surely, because he cannot help it. . . . The Infinite, very 
Being as opposed to continual. becominþ" 
nd per
shin
,- 
or call It what you will,-that IS the Prl1
cII?le 
ThI

 gIves 
him constant unrest because It dwells wIthIn hun. And 
, 


1 Autobiography, ed. 1875, pp. 133. 134. 
I II Die Selbständigkeit der Religion"; Zeitschrift /. Theologie u. Kit"che, 
18 95, pp. 4 0 4. 4 0 5. 



34 0 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


against Prof. Max Müller,-who had, however, on this point, 
arrived at a position very like Tiele's own,-he impressively 
insists that U the origin of religion consists," not in a II per- 
ception of the Infinite," but " in the fact that Man has the 
Infinite within him."-I would only contend further that the 
instinct of the Infinite awakens simultaneously with our 
sense-perceptions and categories of thinking, and passes, 
together with them and with the deeper, more volitional 
experiences, through every degree and stage of obscurity 
and relative clearness. II Whatevername we give it,-instinct ; 
innate, original, or unconscious form of thought; or form of 
conception,-it is the specifically human element in man." 1 
But if all this be true, then the Mystics are amongst the 
great benefactors of our race: for it is especially this presence 
of the Infinite in Man, and man's universal subjection to an 
operative consciousness of it, which are the deepest cause 
and the constant object of the adoring awe of all truly 
spiritual Mystics, in all times and places. 
1 Elements of the Science of Religion, 1897, Vol. II, pp. 221- 2 3 1 . 



CHAPTER XV 


SUMMING UP OF THE WHOLE BOOK. BACK THROUGH 
ASCETICISM, SOCIAL RELIGION, AND THE SCIENTIFIC 
HABIT OF MIND, TO THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF 
RELIGION. 


I NOW propose to conclude, by getting, through three 
successively easier matters, back to the starting-point of this 
whole book, and, in doing so, to sum up and delimitate, more 
and more clearly, the practical lessons learnt during its long 
course. These three last matters and points of observation 
shall be Asceticism, Institutionalism, and Mental Activity 
and Discipline, or the Scientific Habit-all three in their 
relation to the Mystical Element of Religion. 


I. ASCETICISM AND MYSTICISl\:f. 
Now in the matter of Asceticism, we can agaIn con- 
veniently consider three points. 
I. Ordinary Ascet2"cism practised by Mystics. 
There is, first, the (generally severe) Asceticism which is 
ever connected with at least some one phase, an early one, 
of every genuine Mystic's history, yet which does not differ 
essentially from the direct training in self-conquest to which 
practically all pre-Protestant, and most of the old Protest- 
ant earnest Christians considered themselves obliged. 
(I) Now it is deeply interesting to note how marked has been, 
off and on throughout the last century and now again quite 
recently, the renewal of comprehension and respect for the 
general principle of Asceticism, in quarters certainly free from 
all preliminary bias in favour of Medieval Christianity 
Schopenhauer wrote in 1843: cc Not only the religions of 
the East but also genuine Christianity shows, throughout its 
systems, that fundamental characteristic of Asceticism which 
my philosophy elucidates. . . . Precisely in its doctrines of 
34 1 


... 



342 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


renunciation, self-denial, complete chastity, in a word, of 
general mortification of the will, lie the deepest truth, the high 
value, the sublime character of Christianity. It thus belongs to 
the old, true, and lofty ideal of mankind, in opposition to the 
false, shallow, and ruinous optimism of Greek Paganism, 
Judaism and Islam." "Protestan tism, by eliminating Asceti- 
cism and its central point, the meritoriousness of celibacy, 
has, by this alone, already abandoned the innermost kernel 
of Christianity. . . . For Christianity is the doctrine of the 
deep guilt of the human race . . . and of the heart's thirst 
after redemption from it, a redemption which can be acquired 
only through the abnegation of self,-that is, through a com- 
plete conversion of human nature." I-And the optimistically 
tempered American Unitarian, the deeply versed Psycholo- 
gist, Prof. William James, tells us in 1902: "In its spiritual 
meaning, Asceticisn1 stands for nothing less than for the 
essence of the twice-born philosophy." "The l\Ietaphysical 
mystery, that he who feeds on death, that feeds on men, 
possesses life supereminently, and meets best the secret de- 
mands of the Universe, is the truth of which Asceticism has 
been the faithful champion. The folly of the cross, so 
inexplicable by the intellect, has, yet, its indestructible, vital 
meaning. . . . Naturalistic optimism is mere syllabub and 
sponge-cake in comparison." 2 
(2) Indeed, the only thing at all special to Mysticism, in its 
attitude towards this general principle and practice of 
Asceticism, is that it ever practises Asceticism as a means 
towards, or at least as the make-weight and safeguard of, 
Contemplation, which latter is as essentially Synthetic, and, 
in so far, peaceful and delightful, as the former is Analytic, 
polemical and painful; whereas non - Mystical souls "rill practise 
Asceticism directly with a view to greater aloofness from 
sin, and greater readiness and strength to perform the various 
calls of duty. And hence, if we but grant the legitimacy 
of the general principle of ordinary Asceticism, we shall find 
the Mystical form of this Asceticism to be the more easily 
comprehensible variety of that principle. For the Mystic's 
practice, as concerns this point, is more varied and inclusive 
than that of others, since he does not even tend to make the 
whole of his inner life into a system of checks and of tension. 
1 Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung. ed. Griesbach. Vol. II. pp. 725. 
734, 73 6 . 
I The Varieties of R,zigious Experience. 1902. pp. 362. 364. 



ASCETICISM AND MYSTICISI\1 


343 


The expansive, reconciling movement operates in him most 
strongly also, and, where of the right kind, this expansive 
movement helps, even more than the restrictive one, to purify 
humble, and deepen his heart and soul. 
2. God's Transcendence a source of suffering. 
There is, however, a second, essentially different source 
and kind of suffering in some sorts and degrees of Mysticism, 
and indeed in other attraits of the spiritual life, which is 
deeply interesting, because based upon a profound Meta- 
physical apprehension. Although, at bottom, the opposite 
extreme to Pantheism, it readily expresses itself, for reasons 
that will presently appear, in terms that have a curiously 
Pantheistic colour. 
(I) St. John of the Cross writes in 1578: U It is a principle 
of philosophy, that all means must. . . have a certain resem- 
blance to the end, such as shall be sufficient for the object in 
view. If therefore the understanding is to be united to 
God, . . . it must make use of those means which can effect 
that union, that is, means which are most like unto God. . . . 
But there is no essential likeness or communion between 
creatures and Him, the distance between His divine nature 
and their nature is infinite. No creature therefore . . . 
nothing that the imagination may conceive or the under- 
standing comprehend . . . in this life . . . can be a proxi- 
mate means of union with God," for U it is all most unlike 
God, and most disproportionate to Him." II The understand- 
ing . . . must be pure and empty of all sensible objects, all 
clear intellectual perceptions, resting on faith: for faith is the 
sole proximate and proportionate means of the soul's union 
with God." 1 
Now it is certain, as we have already found, that the 
awakened human soul ever possesses a dim but real experience 
of the Infinite, and that, in proportion as it is called to the 
Mystical way, this sense will be deepened into various de- 
grees of the Prayer of Quiet and of Union, and that here, 
more plainly than elsewhere, will appear the universal 
necessity of the soul's own response, by acts and the habit of 
Faith, to all and every experience which otherwise remains 
but so much unused material for the soul's advance. And it 
is equally certain that St. John of the Cross is one of the 
greatest of such contemplatives, and that neither his intuition 


1 Ascent of Mount Carmel, tr. David Lewis, ed. 1 88 9, pp. 94. 95. 97. 



344 THE IVIYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


and actual practice, nor even his sayings, (so long as anyone 
saying belonging to one trend is set off against another 
belonging to the other trend,) contravenes the Christian and 
Catholic positions.- Yet it cannot be denied that, were we to 
press his U negative way" into becoming the only one; and 
especially were we to take, without discount, such a virtual 
repudiation, as is furnished by any insistence upon the above 
words, of any essential, objective difference in value between 
our various apprehensions of Him and approaches to Him: 
the whole system and rationale of External, Sacramental and 
Historical Religion, indeed of the Incarnation, in any degree 
and form, would have to go, as so many stumbling-blocks to 
the soul's advance. For the whole principle of all such 
Religion implies the profound importance of the Here and 
the Now, the Contingent and the Finite, and of the Immanence 
of God, in various degrees and ways, within them. 
Indications of this incompatibility, as little systematically 
realized here as in the Areopagite, are afforded by various 
remarks of his, belonging in reality to another trend. Thus, 
immediately before his denial of any essential likeness or 
communion between any creature and God, he says: U It is 
true that all creatures bear a certain relation to God and are 
tokens of His Being, some more, some less, according to the 
greater perfection of their nature." And of Our Lord's sacred 
Humanity he says: U What a perfect living image was Our 
Saviour upon earth: yet those who had no faith, though they 
were constantly about Him, and saw His wonderful works, 
were not benefited by His presence." 1 But even here the 
immense importance, indeed downright necessity for Faith, of 
such external and historical stimuli, objects and materials,- 
in the latter instance all this at its very deepest,-remains 
unemphasized, through his engrossment in the necessity of 
Faith for the fructification of all these things. 
In other places this Faith appears as though working so 
outside of all things imageable, as to have to turn rapidly 
away from all picturings, as, at best, only momentary starting- 
points for the advanced soul. U Let the faithful soul take 
care that, whilst contemplating an image, the senses be not 
absorbed in it, whether it be material or in the imagination, 
and whether the devotion it excites be spiritual or sensible. 
Let him " , . venerate the image as the Church commands 


.1 Ascent, pp. 94; 350. 



ASCETICISM AND MYSTICISI\1 345 


and lift up his mind at once from the material image to those 
whom it represents. He who shall do this, will never be de- 
luded." 1 Here, again, along the line of argument absorbing 
the saint in this book, there is no funy logical ground left for 
the Incarnational, Historical, Sacramental scheme of the Infi- 
nite immanent in the finite, and of spirit stimulated in 
contact with matter, with everywhere the need of the conde- 
scensions of God and of our ascensions by means of careful 
attention to them. 
Sören Kierkegaard, that deep solitary Dane, with so much 
about him like to Pascal the Frenchman, and Hurrell Froude 
the Englishman, and who, though Lutheran in all his bringing 
up, was so deeply attracted by Catholic Asceticism, has, in 
recent times (he died in 1855), pushed the doctrine of the 
qualitative, absolute difference between God and all that we 
ourselves can think, feel, will or be, to lengths beyond even 
the transcendental element,-we must admit this to be the 
greatly preponderant one,-in the great Spaniard's formal 
teaching. And it is especially in this non-
1 ystical Ascetic 
that we get an impressive picture of the peculiar kind of 
suffering and asceticism, which results from such a conviction 
to a profoundly sensitive, absorbedly religious soul; and here 
too we can, I think, discover the precise excess and onesided- 
ness involved in this whole tendency. Professor Höffding, 
in his most interesting monograph on his friend, tells us how 
lC for Kierkegaard, . . . the will gets monopolized by religious 
Eihics from the very first; there is no time for Contemplation 
or Mysticism." II To tear the will away," Kierkegaard him- 
self says, II from all finite aims and conditions . . . requires a 
painful effort and this effort's ceaseless repetition. And if, in 
addition to this, the soul has, in spite of all its striving, to be 
as though it simply were not, it becomes clear that the reli- 
gious life signifies a dedication to suffering and to self- 
destruction. What wonder, then, that, for the Jew, death was 
the price of seeing God; or that, for the Gentile, the soul's 
entering into closer relations with the Deity meant the begin- 
ning of madness?" For II the soul's relation to God is a 
relation to a Being absolutely different from l\1an, who cannot 
confront him as his Superlative or Ideal, and who, neverthe- 
less, is to rule in his inmost soul. Hence a necessary division, 

ver productive of new pains, is operative within man, as long 


1- Ascent. p. 353. 



346 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


as he perseveres in this spiritual endeavour. . . . A finite 
being, he is to live in the Infinite and Absolute: he is there 
like a fish upon dry land." 1 
Now Prof. Höffding applies a double, most cogent criticism 
to this position.-The one is religious, and has already been 
quoted. "A God Who is not Ideal and Pattern is no God. 
Hence the contention that the Nature of the Godhead is, of 
necessity, qualitatively different from that of Man, has ever 
occasioned ethical and religious misgivings."-And the other 
is psychological. " Tension can indeed be necessary for the 
truth and the force of life. But tension, taken by itself, 
cannot furnish the true measure of life. For the general 
nature of consciousness is a synthesis, a comprehensive unity: 
not only contrast, but also concentration, must make itself 
felt, as long as the life of consciousness endures." 2 
It is deeply interesting to note how Catherine, and at 
bottom St. John of the Cross and the Exclusive Mystics 
generally, escape, through their practice and in some of their 
most emphatic teachings, from Kierkegaard's excess, no doubt 
in part precisely because they are 1\1 ystics, since the exclusive 
l\iystic's contemplative habit is, at bottom, a Synthetic one. 
Yet we should realize the deep truth which underlies the very 
exaggerations of this onesidedly Analytic and Ascetical view. 
For if God is the deepest ideal, the ultimate driving force and 
the true congenital element and environment of Man, such 
as Man cannot but secretly wish to will deliberately, and 
which, at his best, Man truly wills to hold and serve: yet 
God remains ever simply incompatible with that part of each 
man's condition and volition which does not correspond to 
the best and deepest which that Man himself sees or could 
see to be the better, hie et nunc; and, again, He is ever, 
even as compared with any man's potential best, infinitely 
more and nobler, and, though here not in simple contradic- 
tion, yet at a degree of perfection which enables Him, the 
Supreme Spirit, to penetrate, as Immanent Sustainer or 
Stimulator, and to confront, as Transcendent Ideal and End, 
the little human spirit, so great in precisely this its keen 
sense of experienced contrast. 
Catherine exhibits well this double relation, of true contra- 
diction, and of contrast, both based upon a certain genuine 
1 Sõren Kierkegaard, von Harald Höffding. Germ. tr. 1896. pp. 116, 118. 
120. 
I Ibid. pp. 122; 130. 13 1 . 



ASCETICISM AND MYSTICISM 347 
affinity between the human soul and God. On one side of 
herself she is indeed a veritable fish out of water; but, on the 
other side of her, she is a fish happily disporting itself in its 
very element, in the boundless ocean of God. On the one 
side, snapping after air, in that seemingly over-rarified atmo- 
sphere in which the animal man, the mere selfish individual, 
cannot live; on the other side, expanding her soul's lungs 
and drinking in light, life, and love, in that same truly rich 
atmosphere, which, Itself Spirit, feeds and sustains her grow- 
ing spiritual personality. And the Dialogo, in spite of its 
frequently painful abstractness and empty unity, has, upon 
the whole, a profound hold upon this great doctrine. 
Yet it is in Catherine's own culminating intuition,-of the 
soul's free choice of Purgatory, as a joyful relief from the 
piercing pain of what otherwise would last for ever,-the 
vividly perceived contrast between God's purity and her 
soul's impurity, that we get, in the closest combination, in- 
deed mutual causation, this double sense of lVlan's nearness to 
and distance from, of his likeness and unlikeness to God. For 
only if man is, in the deepest instincts of his soul, truly related 
to God, and is capable of feeling, (indeed he ever actually, 
though mostly dimly, experiences,) God's presence and this, 
man's own, in great part but potential, affinity to Him: can 
suffering be conceived to arise from the keen realization of 
the contrast between God and man's own actual condition at 
anyone moment; and can any expectation, indeed a swift 
vivid instinct, arise within man's soul that the painful, directly 
contradictory, discrepancy can and will, gradually though 
never simply automatically, be removed. And though, even 
eventually, the creature cannot, doubtless, ever become simply 
God, yet it can attain, in an indefinitely higher degree, to 
that affinity and union of will with God, which, in its highest 
reaches and moments, it already now substantially possesses; 
and hence to that full creaturely self-constitution and joy in 
which, utterly trusting, giving itself to, and willing God, it 
will, through and in Him, form an abidingly specific, unique 
constituent and link of His invisible kingdom of souls, on 
and on. 
3. DisciPline of fleeing and of facing the M uUiple and 
Contingent. 
But there is a third attitude, peculiar (because of its pre- 
ponderance) to the Mystics as such, an attitude in a manner 
intermediate between that of ordinary Asceticism, and that of 



348 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


the Suffering just described. The implications and effects 
of, and the correctives for, this third attitude will occupy us 
up to the end of this book. I refer to the careful turning- 
away from all Multiplicity and Contingency, from the Visible 
and Successive, from all that does or can distract and dissi- 
pate, which is so essential and prevailing a feature in all 
Mysticism, which indeed, in Exclusive Mysticism, is frankly 
made into the one sole movement towards, and measure of, 
the soul's perfection. 
(I) It is true that to this tendency, when and in so far as it has 
come so deeply to permeate the habits of a soul as to form a 
kind of second nature, the name Asceticism cannot, in strict- 
ness, be any more applied; since now the pain will lie, not in 
this turning away from all that dust and friction, but, on the 
contrary, in any forcing of the soul back into that turmoil. 
And doubtless many, perhaps most, souls with a pronouncedly 
mystical attrait, are particularly sensitive to all, even partial 
and momentary, conflict. Yet we can nevertheless appropri- 
ately discuss the matter under the general heading of Asceti- 
cism, since, as a rule, much practice and sacrifice go to build 
up this habit; since, in every case, this Abstractive Habit 
shares with Ordinary Asceticism a pronounced hostility to 
many influences and forces ever actually operative within 
and around the undisciplined natural man; and since, above 
all, the very complements and correctives for this Abstractive- 
ness will ha ve to come from a further, deeper and wider 
Asceticism, to be described presently. 
(2) As to Ordinary Asceticism and this Abstractiveness, the 
former fights the world and the self directly, and then only in 
so far as they are discovered to be positively evil or definitely 
to hinder positive good; it is directly attracted by the clash 
and friction involved in such fighting; and it has no special 
desire for even a transitory intense unification of the soul's 
life: whereas the Abstractiveness turns away from, and rises 
above, the world and the phenomenal self; their very exist- 
ence, their contingency, the struggles alive within them, and 
their (as it seems) inevitably disturbing effect upon the soul, 
-are all felt as purely dissatisfying; and an innermost long- 
ing for a perfect and continuous unification and overflowing 
harmony of its inner life here possess the spirit. 
(3) Now we have just seen how a movement of integration, of 
synthesizing all the soul's piecemeal, inter-jostling acquisitions, 
of restful healing of its wounds and rents, of sinking back, 



ASCETICISM AND MYSTICISM 349 
(from the glare and glitter of clear, and then ever fragmentary 
perception, and from the hurry, strain and rapidly ensuing 
distraction involved in all lengthy external action), into a 
peaceful, dim rumination and unification, is absolutely neces- 
sary, though in very various degrees and forms, for all in any 
way complete and mature souls.-And we have, further back, 
realized that a certain, obscure but profoundly powerful, direct 
instinct and impression of God in the soul is doubtless at 
work here, and, indeed, throughout all the deeper and nobler 
movements of our wondrously various inner life. But what 
concerns us here, is the question whether the con'lþlete action of 
the soul, (if man would grow in accordance with his ineradic- 
able nature, environment, and specific grace and call,) does 
not as truly involve a corresponding counter-movement to this 
intensely unitive and intuitive movement which, with most 
men, and in most moments of even the minority of men, 
forms but an indirectly willed condition and spontaneous 
background of the soul. 
(4) We have been finding, further, that all the Con- 
tingencies, Multiplicities and Mediations which, one and all, 
tend to appear to the Mystic as so many resistances and 
distractions, can roughly be grouped under two ultimate 
heads. These intruders are fellow-souls, or groups of fellow- 
souls,-some social organism, the Family, Society, the State, 
the Church, who provoke, in numberless degrees and ways, 
individual affection, devotion, distraction, jealousy, as from 
person towards person. Or else the intruders are Things 
and Mechanical Laws, and these usually leave the Mystic 
indifferent or irritate or distract him; but they can become 
for him great opportunities of rest, and occasions for self- 
discipline. 
Yet this distinction between Persons and Things, (although 
vital for the true apprehension of all deeper, above all of 
the deepest Reality, and for the delicate discrimination 
between what are but the means and what are the ends in 
a truly spiritual life,) does not prevent various gradations 
within, and continuous interaction between, each of these two 
great groups. For in proportion as, in the Personal group, 
the Individual appears as but parcel and expression of one of 
the social organisms, does the impression of determinist Law, 
of an impersonal Thing or blind Force, begin to mix with, 
and gradually to prevail over, that of Personality. And in 
proportion as, in the Impersonal group, Science comes to 



350 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 
include all careful and methodical study, according to the 
most appropriate methods, of any and every kind of truth 
and reality; and as it moves away from the conceptions of 
purely quantitative matter, and of the merely numerically 
different, entirely interchangeable, physical happenings, (all 
so many mere automatic illustrations of mechanical La\v,) 
011, through the lowly organisms of plant-life, and the ever 
higher interiority and richer consciousness of animal life, up 
to Man, with his ever qualitative Mind, and his ever non- 
interchangeable, ever H effortful," achievements and elabora- 
tions of types of beauty, truth and goodness in Human 
History,-does Science itself come back, in its very method 
and subject-matter, ever more nearly, to the great personal 
starting-point, standard and ultimate motive of all our 
specifically human activity and worth. 
(5) Indeed, the two great continuous facts of man's life, first 
that he thinks, feels, wills, and acts, in and with the he1p or 
hindrance of that profoundly material Thing, his physical 
body, and on occasion of, with regard to, the materials 
furnished by the stimulations and impressions of his senses; 
and again, that these latter awaken within him those, in them- 
selves, highly abstract and Thing-like categories of his mind 
which penetrate and give form to these materials; are enough 
to show how close is the pressure, and how continuous the 
effect, of Things upon the slow upbuilding of Personality. 
(6) Fair approximations to these two kinds of Things, with 
their quite irreplaceable specific functions within the economy 
of the human mental life ,-the intensely concrete and parti- 
cular Sense-Impressions, and the intensely abstract and 
general Mental Categories,-reappear within the economy of 
Characteristic Religion, in its Sacraments and its Doctrine. 
And conversely, there exists, in rerU11l natura, no Science 
worth having which is not, ultimately, the resultant of, and 
which does not require and call forth, on and on, certain 
special qualities, and combinations of qualities, of the truly 
ethical, spiritual Personality. Courage, patience, perseverance, 
candour, simplicity, self-oblivion, continuous generosity to- 
wards others and willing correction of even one's own most 
cherished views,-these things and their like are not the 
quantitative determinations of Matter, but the qualitative 
characteristics of Mind. 
(7) I shall now, therefore, successively take Mysticism in its 
attitude towards these two great groups of claimants upon 



SOCIAL RELIGION AND MYSTICISM 35 1 


its attention, the Personal and the Impersonal, even though 
any strictly separate discussion of elements which, in practice, 
ever appear together, cannot but have some artificiality. And 
an apparent further complication will be caused by our having, 
in each case, to contrast what Mysticism would do, if it 
became Exclusive, with what it must be restricted to doing, if 
it is to remain Inclusive, i. e. if it is to be but one element in 
the constitution of that multiplicity in unity, the deep spiritual 
Personality. The larger Asceticism will thus turn out to be 
a wider and deeper means towards perfection than even 
genuine Mysticism itself, since this Asceticism will have to 
include both this Mysticism and the counter movement 
within the one single, disciplined and purified life of the soul. 


II. SOCIAL RELIGION AND MYSTICISM. 
Introductory: the ruinousness of Exclusive ]vI ys#cism. 
Prof. Harnack says in his Dogmengeschichte: U An old 
fairy tale tells of a man who lived in ignorance, dirt and 
wretchedness; and whom God invited, on a certain day, to 
wish whatsoever he might fancy, and it should be given him. 
And the man began to wish things, and ever more things, and 
ever higher things, and all these things were given him. At 
last he became presumptuous, and desired to become as the 
great God Himself: when 10, instantly he was sitting there 
again, in his dirt and misery. Now the history of Religion,- 
especially amongst the Greeks and Orientals,-closely re- 
sembles this fairy tale. For they began by wishing for them- 
selves certain sensible goods, and then political, aesthetic, 
moral and intellectual goods: and they were given them all. 
And then they became Christians and desired perfect know- 
ledge and a super-moral life : they even wished to become, 
already here belo\v, as God Himself, in insight, beatitude and 
life. And behold, they fell, not at once indeed, but with a 
fall that could not be arrested, down to the lowest level, back 
into ignorance, dirt and barbarism. . . . Like unto their 
near spiritual relations, the Neo-Platonists, they were at first 
over-stimulated, and soon became jaded, and hence required 
ever stronger stimulants. And in the end, all these exquisite 
aspirations and enjoyments turned into their opposite 
extreme. " 1 
1 Lehrbuch der Dogmengeschichte, cd. 1888. Vol. II. pp. 4 1 3, 414; 417. 



352 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


However much may want discounting or supplementing 
here, there is, surely, a formidable amount of truth in this 
picture. And, if so, is Mysticism, at least in its Dionysian 
type, not deeply to blame? And where is the safeguard 
against such terrible abuses? 
Now Prof. Harnack has himself shown us elsewhere 
that there is a sense in which Monasticism should be con- 
sidered eternal, even among and for Protestants. U Monasti- 
cism," he says plaintively, in his account of the first three 
centuries of Protestantism, U even as it is conceivable and 
necessary among Evangelical Christians, disappeared alto- 
gether. And yet every community requires persons, who live 
exclusively for its purposes; hence the Church too requires 
volunteers who shall renounce I the world' and shall dedicate 
themselves entirely to the service of their neighbour." I-And 
again, scholars of such breadth of knowledge and independ- 
ence of judgement as Professor Tiele and his school, insist 
strongly upon the necessity of Ecclesiastical Institutions and 
Doctrines. The day of belief in the normality, indeed in the 
possibility for mankind in general, of a would-be quite indi- 
vidual, entirely spiritual, quite U pure" religion, is certainly 
over and gone, presumably for good and all, amongst all 
competent workers.-Nor, once more, can the general Mystical 
sense of the unsatisfying character of all things finite, and of 
the Immanence of the Infinite in our poor lives, be, in itself, 
to blame: for we have found these experiences to mingle 
with, and to characterize, all the noblest, most fully human 
acts and personalities.-But, if so, what are the peculiarities 
in the religion of those times and races, which helped to 
produce the result pictured in the Dognzengeschichte ? 
Now here, to get a fairly final answer, we must throw to- 
gether the question of the ordinary Christian Asceticism and 
that of the Abstraction peculiar to the Mystics; and we must 
ask whether the general emotive-volitional attitude towards 
Man and Life,-the theory and practice as to Transcendence 
and Immanence, Detachment and Attachment, which, from 
about 500 A.D. to, say, I450 A.D., predominantly preceded, 
accompanied, and both expanded and deflected the specific- 
ally Christian and normally human experience in Eastern 
Christendom, were not (however natural, indeed inevitable, 
and in part useful for those times and races), the chief of the 


1 Das Wesen des Christenthums. ed. 1902. pp. 180. 18I. 



SOCIAL RELIGION AND 
IYSTICISM 353 


causes which turned so much of the good of Mysticism into 
downright harm. At bottom this is once more the question 
as to the one-sided character of Neo-Platonism,-its incapacity 
to find any descending movement of the Divine into Human 
life. 
I. True relation of the soul to its fellows. God's U jealousy." 
Let us take first the relation of the single human soul to its 
feHow-sows. 
(I) Now Kierkegaard tells us: H the Absolute is cruel, for it 
demands all, whilst the Relative ever continues to demand 
some attention from us." 1 And the Reverend George Tyrrell, 
in his stimulating paper, Poet and Mystic, shows us that, as 
regards the relations between man's love for man and man's 
love for God, there are two conceptions and answers in reply 
to the question as to the precise sense in which God is 
H a jealous God," and demands to be loved alone. In the 
first, easier, more popular conception, He is practicaHy 
thought of as the First of Creatures, competing with the rest 
for l\lan's love, and is here placed alongside of them. Hence 
the inference that whatever love they win from us by reason 
of their inherent goodness, is taken from Him: He is not 
loved perfectly, till He is loved alone. But in the second, 
more difficult and rarer conception, God is placed, not along- 
side of creatures but behind them, as the light which shines 
through a crystal and lends it whatever lustre it may have. 
He is loved here, not apart from, but through and in them. 
Hence if only the affection be of the right kind as to mode 
and object, the more the better. The love of Him is the 
U form," the principle of order and harmony; our natural 
affections are the (( matter" harmonized and set in order; it is 
the soul, they are the body, of that one Divine Love whose 
adequate object is God in, and not apart from, His creatures. 2 
Thus we have already found that even the immensely abstrac- 
tive and austere St. John of the Cross tells us: uNo one 
desires to be loved except for his goodness; and when we 
love in this way, our love is pleasing unto God and in great 
liberty; and if there be attachment in it, there is greater 
attachment to God." And this doctrine he continuously, 
deliberately practises, half-a-century after his Profession, for 
he writes to his penitent, Donna Juana de Pedrazas in 1589 : 
U All that is wanting now, is that I should forget you; but 
1 Hôfiding's Kierkegaard, p. 119. 
11 The Faith of the Million. 1901. Vol. II. pp. 49. 50; 52. 53. 
VOL. II. A A 



354 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


consider how that is to be forgotten which is ever present to 
the soul." 1 
But Father Tyrrell rightly observes: H To square this view 
with the general ascetic tradition of the faithful at large is 
exceedingly difficult." 2 Yet I cannot help thinking that a 
somewhat different reconciliation, than the one attempted by 
him,3 really meets all the substantial requirements of the 
case. 
(2) I take it, then, that an all-important double law or twin 
fact, or rather a single law and fact whose unity is composed 
of two elements, is, to some extent, present throughout all 
characteristically human life, although its full and balanced 
realization, even in theory and still more in practice, is ever, 
necessarily, a more or less unfulfilled ideal: viz. that not 
only there exist cer:tain objects, acts, and affections that are 
simply wrong, and others that are simply right or perfect, 
either for all men or for some men: but that there exist 
simply no acts and affections which, however right, however 
obligatory, however essential to the perfection of us all or of 
some of us, do not require, on our own part, a certain alter- 
nation of interior reserve and detachment away from, and 
of familiarity and attachment to, them and their objects. 
This general law applies as truly to Contemplation as it does 
to Marriage. 
And next, the element of detachment which has to pene- 
trate and purify simply all attachments,-even the attachment 
to detachment itself,-is the more difficult, the less obvious, 
the more profoundly spiritual and human element and move- 
ment, although only on condition that ever some amount of 
the other, of the outgoing element and movement, and of 
attachment, remains. For here, as everywhere, there is no 
good and operative yeast except with and in flour; there can 
be no purification and unity without a material and a multi- 
plicity to purify and to unite. 
And again, given the very limited power of attention and 
articulation possessed by individual man, and the importance 
to the human community of having impressive embodiments 
and examples of this, in various degrees and ways, univers- 
ally ever an-but-forgotten, universally difficult, universally 
necessary, universally ennobling renunciation: we get the 
1 Works. tr. David Lewis. ed. 1889. 1891, Vol. I. p. 308; Vol. II. 
p. 54 1 . 
lOp. cit. p. 53. I Ibid. pp. 55. 56. 



SOCIAL RELIGION AND MYSTICISM 355 


reason and justification for the setting apart of men specially 
drawn and devoted to a maximum, or to the most difficult 
kinds, of this renunciation. As the practically universal 
instinct, or rudimentary capacity, for Art, Science, and 
Philanthropy finds its full expression in artists, scientists, 
philanthropists, whose specific glory and ever necessary 
corrective it is that they but articulate clearly, embody mas- 
sively and, as it were, precipitate what is dimly and intermit- 
tingly present, as it were in solution, throughout the 
consciousness and requirements of Mankind; and neither the 
inarticulate instinct, diffused among all, would completely 
suffice for anyone of the majority, without the full articulation 
by a few, nor the full articulation by this minority could 
thrive, even for this minority itself, were it not environed by, 
and did it not voice, that dumb yearning of the race at large: 
so, and far more, does the general religiosity and sense of the 
Infinite, and even its ever-present element and requirement of 
Transcendence and Detachmen t, seek and call forth some 
typical, wholesomely provocative incorporation ,-yet , here, 
with an even subtler and stronger interdependence, between 
the general demand and the particular supply. 
And note that, if the minority will thus represent a 
maximum of U form," with a minimum of U matter," and the 
majority a maximum of U matter," with a minimum of U fonn": 
yet some form as well as some matter must be held by each; 
and the ideal to which, by their mutual supplementations, 
antagonisms, and corrections, they will have more and more 
to approximate our corporate humanity will be a maximum 
of U matter," permeated and spiritualized by a maximum of 
U fonn." If it is easy for the soul to let itself be invaded and 
choked by the wrong kind of U matter," or even sImply by an 
excess of the right kind, so that it will be unable to stamp the 
U matter" with spiritual U form"; the opposite extreme also, 
where the spiritual forces have not left to them a sufficiency 
of material to penetrate or of life-giving friction to overcome, 
is ever a most real abuse. 
2. Ordinary Ascesis corrected by Socz'al Ch1'istianity. 
Now it is very certain that Ordinary Asceticism and Social 
Christianity are, in their conjunction, far less open to this 
latter danger than is the Mystical and Contemplative Detach- 
ment. For the former combination possesses the priceless 
conception of the soul's personaJity being constituted in and 
through the organism of the religious society,-the visible and 



356 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


invisible Ohurch. This Society is no mere congeries of 
severally self-sufficing units, each exclusively and directly 
dependent upon God alone; but, as in St. Paul's grand figure 
of the body, an organism, giving their place and dignity to 
each several organ, each different, each necessary, and each 
influencing and influenced by all the others. We have here, 
as it were, a great living Cloth of Gold, with, not only the 
woof going from God to Man and from Man to God, but also 
the warp going from Man to Man,-the greatest to the least, 
and the least back to the greatest. And thus here the primary 
and full Bride of Christ never is, nor can be, any individual 
soul, but only this complete organism of all faithful souls 
throughout time and space; and the single soul is such a 
Bride only in so far as it forms an operative constituent of this 
larger whole.-And hence the soul of a Mystical habit will 
escape the danger of emptiness and inflation if it keeps up 
some,-as much indeed as it can, without permanent distrac- 
tion or real violation of its special helps and call,-of that 
outgoing, social, co-operative action and spirit, which, in the 
more ordinary Christian Hfe, has to form the all but exclusive 
occupation of the soul, and which here, indeed, runs the risk 
of degenerating into mere feverish, distracted U activity." 
I take the right scheme for this complex matter to have 
been all but completely outJined by Plato, in the first plan of 
his Republic, and indeed to have been largely derived by 
Christian thinkers from this source; and the excessi ve and 
one-sided conception to have been largeìy determined by his 
later additions and changes in that great book, especially as 
these have been all but exclusively enforced, and still further 
exaggerated, by Plotinus and Proclus. As Erwin Rohde 
finely says of this later teaching of Plato: II It was at the 
zenith of his life and thinking that Plato completed his ideal 
picture of the State, according to the requirements of his 
wisdom. Over the broad foundation of a population dis- 
criminated according to classes, (a foundation which, in its 
totality and organization, was to embody the virtue of justice 
in a form visible even from afar, and which formerly had 
seemed to him to fulfil the whole function of the perfect 
State,) there now soars, pointing up into the super-mundane 
ether, a highest crown and pinnacle, to which all the lower 
serves but as a substructure to render possible this life in the 
highest air. A small handful of citizens, the Philosophers, 
form this final point of the pyramid of the State. In this 



SOCIAL RELIGION AND MYSTICISM 357 
State, ordered throughout according to the ends of ethics, 
these Philosophers will, it is true, take part in the Government, 
not joyously, but for duty's sake; as soon, however, as duty 
permits, they will eagerly return to that super-mundane con- 
templation, which is the end and true content of their life's 
activity. Indeed, in reality, the Ideal State is now built up, 
step by step, for the' one ultimate' purpose of preparing an 
abode for these Contemplatives, of training them in their 
vocation, the highest extant, and of providing a means for the 
insertion of Dialectic, as a special form of life and the highest 
aim of human endeavour, into the general organism of the 
earthly, civilized life. 'The so-called virtues' all here sink 
into the shade before the highest force of the soul, the mystic 
Contemplation of the Eternal. . . . To bring his own life to 
ripeness for its own redemption, that is now the perfect sage's 
true, his immediate duty. If, nevertheless, he has still to 
bethink himself of acting upon and of moulding the world 
the virtues will spontaneously present themselves to him: for 
he now possesses Virtue itself; it has become his essential 
condition." 1 
I t is truly impressive to find here, in its most perfect and 
most influential form, that ruinously untrue doctrine of the 
separa tion of anyone set of men from the mass of their 
fellows, and of Contemplation from interest in other souls, 
taking the place, (in the same great mind, in the same great 
book,) of the beautifully humble, rich, and true view of a 
constant, necessary interchange of gifts and duties between 
the various constituents of a highly articulated organism, a 
whole which is indefinitely greater than, and is alone the fun 
means, end and measure of, all its several, even its noblest, 
parts.- Y et the Christian, indeed every at all specifically 
religious, reader, will have strongly felt that the second scheme 
possesses, nevertheless, at least one point of advantage over 
the earlier one. For it alone brings out clearly that element 
of Transcendence, that sense and thirst of the Infinite, which 
we have agreed upon as the deepest characteristic of man. 
And if this point be thus true and important, then another,- 
the making of Contemplation into a special vocation,-can 
hardly be altogether incorrect. 
But if this is our judgment, how are we to harmonize 
these two points of PIa to's later scheme with the generai 


I Psyche. ed. 1898. Vol. II. pp. 292. 293. 



358 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


positions of the earlier one? Or, rather, how are we to actuate 
and to synthesize our complex present-day requirements and 
duties, Christian and yet also Modern, Transcendental and 
yet Immanental too? For if we have any delicately vivid 
sense of,and sympathy with, the original, very simple,intensely 
transcendental, form and emphasis of the Christian teaching, 
and any substantial share in the present complex sense of 
obligation to various laws and conceptions immanent in 
different this-world organizations and systems: we shall 
readily feel how indefinitely more difficult and deep the ques- 
tion has become since Plato's, and indeed since the School- 
men's time. 
3. Preliminary Pessimis1n and ulti1nate Optinzism of 
Christianity. 
Now I think it is Prof. Ernst Troeltsch who has most 
fully explicitated the precise centre of this difficulty, which, 
in its acuteness, is a distinctly modern one, and the direction 
in which alone the problem's true solution should be sought. 
(r) H The chief problem of Christian Ethics," he says, H is 
busy," not with the relation between certain subjective means 
and dispositions, but H with the relation between certain 
objective ends, which have, in some way, to be thought 
together by the same mind as so many several objects, and 
to be brought by it and within it to the greatest possible 
unity. And the difficulty here lies in the fact, that the 
sub-lunar among these ends are none the less moral ends, 
bearing the full specific character of moral values,-that they 
are ends-in-themselves, and necessary for their own sakes, 
even at the cost of man's natural happiness; and yet that 
they operate in the visible world, and adhere to historical 
formations which proceed from man's natural constitution, 
and dominate his earthly horizon; whilst the Super-worldly 
End cannot share its rule with any other end. Yet the 
special characteristic of modem ci viliza tion resides precisely 
in such a simultaneous insistence upon the Inner-worldly 
Ends, as possessing the nature of ends-in-themselves, and 
upon the Religious, Super-worldly End: it is indeed from 
just this combination that this civilization derives its peculiar 
richness, power, and freedom, but also its painful, interior 
tension and its difficult problems." 
(2) The true solution of the difficulty surely is that II Ethical 
life is not, in its beginnings, a unity but a multiplicity: man 
grows up amidst a number of moral ends, whose unification is 



SOCIAL RELIGION AND l\iYSTICISl\1 359 
not his starting-point but his problem. And this multiplicity 
can be still further defined as the polarity of two poles, 
inherent in man's nature, of which the two chief types proceed 
respectively from the religious and from the inner-worldly 
self-determination of the soul,-the polarity of Religious, and 
that of Humane Ethics, neither of which can be dispensed 
with without moral damage, yet which cannot be brought 
completely under a common formula. On this polarity 
depends the richness, but also the difficulty, of our life, since 
the sub-lunar ends remain, to a large extent, conditioned by 
the necessities and pre-requisites of their own special subject- 
matters, and since only on condition of being thus recognized 
as ends in themselves, can they attain to their morally 
educative power." 1 
(3) Or, to put the same matter from the point of view of 
definitely Christian experience and conviction: U The formula, 
for the specific nature of Christianity, can only be a complex 
conception,-the special Christian form," articulation and 
correction, U of the fundamental thoughts concerning God, 
World, Man and Redemption which," with indefinite varia- 
tions of fulness and worth, " are found existing together in all 
the religions. And the tension present in this multiplicity of 
elements thus brought together is of an importance equal to 
that of the multiplicity itself; indeed in this tension resides 
the main driving-force of Religion. Christianity" in particular 
U embraces a polarity within itself, and its formula must be 
dualistic; it resembles, not a circle with one centre, but an 
ellipse with two focuses. For Christianity is," unchangeably, 
U an Ethics of Redemption, with a conception of the world 
both optimistic and pessimistic, both transcendental and 
immanent ai, and an apprehension both of a severe antagonism 
and of a close interior union between the world and God. It 
is, in principle, a Dualism, and yet a Dualism which is ever in 
process of abolition by Faith and Action. I t is a purely 
Religious Ethic, which concentrates man's soul, with abrupt 
exclusiveness, upon the values of the interior life; and yet, 
again, it is a Humane Ethic, busy with the moulding and 
transforming of nature, and through love bringing about an 
eventual reconciliation with it. At one time the one, at 
another time the other, of these poles is prominent: but 
neither of them may be completely absent, if the Christian 
1 II Grundprobleme der Ethik H: Zeitsch"ift für Theologie und Kirche. 
19\)2. pp. 16 4. 16 7. 



3 60 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


outlook is to be maintained.-And yet the original germ of 
the whole vast growth and movement ever remains an in tensely, 
abruptly Transcendent Ethic, and can never simply pass over 
into a purely Immanental Ethic. The Gospel ever remains, 
with all possible clearness and keenness, a Promise of Re- 
demption, leading us, away from the world, from nature and 
from sin, from earthly sorrow and earthly error, on and on to 
God; and which cannot allow the last word to be spoken in 
this life. Great as are its incentives to ReconciliatiDn, it is 
never entirely resolvable into them. And the importance of 
that classical beginning ever consists in continuously calling 
back the human heart, away from all Culture and Immanence, 
to that which lies above both." 1 
(4) We thus get at last a conception which really covers, I 
think, all the chief elements of this complex matter. But the 
reader will have noted that it does so by treating the whole 
problem as one of Spiritual Dynamics, and not of Intellectual 
Statics. For the conception holds and requires the existence 
and cultivation of three kinds of action and movement in the 
soul. There are, first, the various centres of human energy 
and duty of a primarily This-world character, each of which 
possesses its own kind and degree of autonomy, laws, and 
obligations. There is, next, the attempt at organizing an 
increasing interaction between, and at harmonizing, (whilst 
never emasculating or eliminating,) these various, severally 
characteristic, systems of life and production into an ever 
larger ultimate unity. And, lastly, there is as strong a turn- 
ing away from all this occupation with the Contingent and 
Finite, to the sense. and apprehension of the Infinite and 
Abiding. And this dynamic system is so rich, even in the 
amount of it which can claim the practice of the majority of 
souls, as to require definite alternations in the occupations of 
such souls, ranging thus, in more or less rhythmic succession, 
from earth to Rea ven and from Rea ven back again to earth. 
(5) And so great and so inexhaustible is this living system, 
even by mankind at large , that it has to be more or less 
parcelled out amongst various groups of men, each group 
possessing its own predominant attrait,-either to work out 
one of those immanental interests, say Art, Natural Science, 
Politics; or to fructify one or more of these relatively inde- 
1 II Was heisst Wesen des Christenthums? U Christliche Welt, 1903, I, 
coIl. 583, 584. The Abbé Loisy has also dwelt, with rare impressiveness. 
upon the intensely Other-Worldly character of the first Christian teaching. 



SOCIAL RELIGION AND MYSTICISM 361 


pendent interests, by crossing it with one or more of the others; 
or to attempt to embrace the whole of these intra-mundane 
interests in one preliminary final system; or to turn away from 
this whole system and its contents to the Transcendent and 
Infinite; or finally to strive to combine, as far as possible, 
this latter Fleeing to the Infinite with all that former Seeking 
of the Finite.-We shall thus get specialists within one single 
domain; and more many-sided workers who fertilize one 
Science by another; and philosophers of Science or of History, 
or of both, who strive to reach the rationale of all knowledge 
of the Finite and Contingent; and Ascetics and Contempla- 
tives who, respectively, call forth and dwell upon the sense and 
presence of the Infinite and Abiding, underlying and accom- 
panying all the definite apprehensions of things contingent; 
and finally, the minds and wills that feel called to attempt as 
complete a development and organization as possible of all 
these movements. 
4. Subdivision of sPiritual labour: its necessity and its 
dangers. 
And yet all the subdivision of labour we have just required 
can avoid doing harm, directly or indirectly, (by leading to 
Materialism, Rationalism, or Fanaticism, to one or other of 
the frequent but ever mischievous Ie Atomisms,") only on con- 
dition that it is felt and worked as such a subdivision. In 
other \-vords, every soul must retain and cultivate some sense 
of, and respect for, the other chief human activities not 
primarily its own. For, as a matter of fact, even the least 
rich or developed individual requires and practises a certain 
amount, in an inchoate form, of each and all of these energiz- 
ings; and he can, fruitfully for himself and others, exercise 
a maximum amount of anyone of them, only if he does not 
altogether and deliberately neglect and exclude the others; 
and, above all, if, in imagination and in actual practice, he 
habitually turns to his fellow-men, of the other types and 
centres, to supplement, and to be supplemented by, them. 
I t will be found, I think, that the quite undeniable abuses 
that have been special to the Ascetic and Contemplative 
methods and states, have all primarily sprung from that most 
plausible error that, if these energizings are, in a sense, the 
highest in and for man, then they can, at least in man's ideal 
action and condition, dispense with other and lower energizings 
and objects altogether. Yet both for man's practice here and 
even for his ideal state in the hereafter, this is not so. There 



362 THE MYSTICAl, ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


is no such thing,-either in human experience or in the 
human ideal, when both are adequately analyzed and formu- 
lated,-as discursive reasoning, without intuitive reason; or 
clear analysis and sense of contrast, without dim synthesis and 
a deep consciousness of similarity or continuity; or detach- 
ment of the will from evil, without attachment of the higher 
feelings to things good; or the apprehension and require- 
ments of Multiplicity, without those of Unity; or the vivid 
experience of Contingency, Mutation, and the Worthlessly 
Subjective, without the, if obscure yet most powerful, instinct 
of the Infinite and Abiding, of the true Objective and Valu- 
able Subjective. Thus, for humanity at large entirely, and 
for each human individual more or less, each member of 
t
ese couples requires, and is occasioned by, the other, and 
V'lce versa. 
The maxims that follow from this great fact are as plain 
in reason, and as immensely fruitful in practice, as they are 
difficult, though ever freshly interesting, to carry out, at all 
consistently, even in theory and still more in act. For the 
object of a wise living will now consist in introducing an ever 
greater unity into the multiplicity of our lives,-up to the 
point where this unity's constituents would, like the opposing 
metals in an electric battery, become too much alike still to 
produce a fruitful interaction, and where the unity would, 
thus and otherwise, become empty and mechanical; and an 
ever greater multiplicity into the unity,-up to the point 
where that multiplicity would, seriously and permanently, 
break up or weaken true recollection; and in more and more 
expanding this \vhole individual organism, by its insertion, as 
a constituent part, into larger groups and systems of interests. 
The Family, the Nation, Human Society, the Church,-these 
are the chief of the larger organizations into which the 
inchoate, largely only potential, organism of the individual 
man is at first simply passively born, yet which, if he would 
grow, (not in spite of them, a hopeless task, but by them,) 
he will have deliberately to endorse and will, as though they 
were his own creations. 
5. Mystics and SPiritual Direction. 
It is interesting to note the special characteristics attaching 
to the one social relation emphasized by the medieval and 
modern varieties of Western Catholic Mysticism; and the 
effect which a larger development of the other chief forces 
and modalities of the Catholic spiritual life necessarily has 



SOCIAL RELIGION AND MYSTICISM 363 
upon this relation. I am thinking of the part played by the 
Director, the soul's leader and adviser, in the lives of these 
Mystics,-a part which differs, in three respects, from that of 
the ordinary Confessor in the life of the more active or 
II mixed" type of Catholic. 
(r) For one thing, there is here a striking variety and 
range, in the ecclesiastical and social position of the persons 
thus providentially given and deliberately chosen. The early 
German Franciscan Preacher, Berthold of Regensburg, owes 
his initiation into the Interior Life to his Franciscan Novice- 
Master, the Partial Mystic, David of Augsburg, whose 
writings still give forth for us their steady light and genial' 
warmth; the French widowed noblewoman and Religious 
Foundress, St. Jane Frances de Chantal, is helped on her 
course to high contemplation by the Secular Priest and 
Bishop, St. Francis de Sales; the French Jesuit, Jean 
Nicolas Grou, is initiated, after twenty-four years' life and 
training in his Order, by the Visitation Nun, Sæur Pélagie, 
into that more Mystical spirituality, which constitutes the 
special characteristic of his chief spiritual books; the great 
Spaniard, St. Teresa herself, tells us how " a saintly noble- 
man. . . a married layman, who had spent nearly forty years 
in prayer, seems to me to have been, by the pains he took, 
the beginning of salvation to my soul" - (( his power was great" ; 
and the English Anchorite, Mother Juliana of Norwich, " a 
simple, unlettered creature," seems to have found no special 
leader on to her rarely deep, wide, and tender teachings, 
but to have been led and stimulated, beyond and after her 
first general Benedictine training, by God's Providence alone, 
working through the few and quite ordinary surroundings 
and influences of her Anchorage at Norwich. 1 It would be 
difficult to find anything to improve in this noble liberty of 
these great children of God; nor would a larger influence of 
the other modalities necessarily restrict this ample range. 
(2) Again, the souls of this type seem, for the most part, to 
rea1ize more fully and continuously than those of the ordinary, 
simply active and ascetical kind, that the" blind obedience" 
towards such leaders, so often praised in their disciples and 


1 Deutsche Mystiker des Mittelalters. ed. Pfeiffer. Vol. I. 1845. pp. xli, 
xlii. Any Life of St. Jane F. de Chantal. A. Cadrès. Le P. Jean N. 
Grou. 1866. pp. 13. 14. St. Teresa's Life. written by Herself. tr. David 
Lewis. ed. 1888. pp. 176. 177; 186. Revelations of Divine Love. showed 
to Mother Juliana of Norwich, ed. 1902. p. 4. 



3 6 4 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


penitents, is, where wholesome and strengthening, essentially 
a simple, tenacious adherence, during the inevitable times of 
darkness and perplexity, to the encouragements given by the 
guide to persevere along the course and towards the truths 
which this soul itself saw clearly, often through the instrument- 
ality of this leader, when it was in light and capable of a 
peaceful, deliberate decision. For however much the light 
may have been given it through this human mediation, (and 
the most numerous, and generally the most important, of our 
lights, have been acquired thus through the spoken, \vritten, 
or acted instrumentality of fellow-souls,)-yet the light was 
seen, and had (in the first instance) to be seen, by the 
disciple's own spiritual eye; and it is but to help it in 
keeping faithful to this light (which, in the first and last 
instance, is God's light and its own) that the leader stands 
by and helps. But, given this important condition, there 
remains the simple, experimental fact that, not only can 
and do others often see our spiritual whereabouts and God's 
attraz"t for us more clearly than we do ourselves, but such 
unselfseeking transmission and such humbly simple reception 
of light between man and man adds a moral and spiritual 
security and beauty to the illumination, (all other conditions 
being equal and appropriate,) not to be found otherwise. 
It is interesting to note the courageous, balanced, and 
certainly quite unprejudiced, testimony borne to these im- 
portant points, by so widely read, and yet upon the whole 
strongly Protestant, a pair of scholars, as Miss Alice Gardner 
and her very distinguished brother, Professor Percy Gardner. 1 
(3) And final1y, the souls of this type have, (at least for 
the two purposes of the suscitation of actual insight, and for 
bearing witness to this, now past, experience during the soul's 
perio
s of gloom), often tended,-in \Vestern Christendom 
and during Medieval and still more in Modern times,-to 
exalt the office and power of the Director, in the life of the 
soul of the Mystical type, very markedly beyond the functions, 
rights and duties of the ordinary Confessor in the spiritual 
Jife of the ordinary Catholic. 
Indeed they and their interpreters have, in those times 
and places, often insisted upon the guarantee of safety thus 
afforded, and upon the necessity of such fonnal and sys- 
tematic mediation, with an absoluteness and vehemence 
1 A. Gardner, II Confession and Direction." in The Conflict of Duties, 
19 0 3, pp. 223- 22 9. P. Gardner, in The Liberal Chu,.c
man. 1905. p. 266. 



SOCIAL RELIGION AND MYSTICISM 3 6 5 


impossible to conciliate with any full and balanced, especially 
with any at all orthodox, reading of Church History. For 
this feature is as marked in the condemned book of Molinos 
and of most of the other Quietists, as it is in such thoroughly 
approved Partial Mysticism as that of Père Lallemant and 
Père Grou: hence it alone cannot, surely, render a soul com- 
pletely safe against excesses and delusions. And this feature 
was markedly in abeyance, often indeed, for aught we know, 
completely wanting, at least in any frequent and methodic 
form, in the numerous cases of the Egyptian and other 
Fathers of the Desert: hence it cannot be strictly essential 
to all genuine Contemplation in all times and places. 
(4) The dominant and quite certain fact here seems to be 
that, in proportion as the Abstractive movement of the soul is 
taken as self-sufficient, and a Contemplative life is attempted 
as something substantially independent of any concrete, social, 
and devotional helps and duties, the soul gets into a state 
of danger, which no amount of predominance of the Director 
can really render safe; whereas, in proportion as the soul 
takes care to practise, in its own special degree and manner, 
the outgoing movement towards Multiplicity and Contin- 
gency, (particular attention to particular religious facts and 
particular service of particular persons), does such right, quite 
ordinary-seeming, active subordination to, and incorporation 
within, the great sacred organisms of the Family, Society, 
and the Church, or of any wise and helpful subdivision of 
these, furnish material, purgation and check for the other 
movement, and render superfluous any great or universal 
predominance of Direction. St. Teresa is, here also, 
wonderfully many-sided and balanced. Just as she comes 
to regret ha ving ever turned aside from Ghrist's Sacred 
Humanity, so too she possesses, indeed she never loses, the 
sense of the profoundly social character of Christianity: she 
dies as she had lived, full of an explicit and deep love for the 
Kingdom of God and the Church. 
6. Mysticism predominantly lndividualisi'ic. 
Yet it is clear that the strong point of the l\Iystics, as such, 
does not lie in the direction of the great social spirituality 
which finds God in our neighbour and in the great human 
organizations, through and in which, after all, man in great 
part becomes and is truly man. They are, as such, Individu- 
alistic; the relation between God and the individual soul 
here ever tends to appear as constituted by these two forces 



366 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


alone. A fresh proof, if one were still wanting, that Mys- 
ticism is but one of the elements of Religion,-for Religion 
requires both the Social and the Individual, the Corporate 
and the Lonely movement and life. 
It is truly inspiring to note how emphatic is the concur- 
rence of all the deepest and most circumspect contemporary 
Psychology, Epistemology, Ethics, and History and Philo- 
sophy of the Sciences and of Religion, in these general 
conclusions, which find, within the slow and many-sided 
growth and upbuilding of the spiritual personality, a true and 
necessary place and function for all the great and permanent 
capabilities, aspirations and energizings of the human soul. 
Thus no system of religion can be complete and deeply 
fruitful which does not embrace, (in every possible kind of 
healthy development, proportion and combination), the several 
souls and the several types of sollis who, between them, 
will afford a maximum of clear a pprehension and precise 
reasoning, and of dim experience and intuitive reason; of 
particlliar attention to the Contingent (Historical Events and 
Persons, and Institutional Acts and Means) and of General 
Recollection and Contemplation and Hungering after the 
Infinite; and of reproductive Admiration and Loving 
Intellection, and of quasi-creative, truly productive Action 
upon and within Nature and other souls, attaining, by such 
Action, most nearly to the supreme attribute, the Pure 
Energizing of God. 
Thus Pseudo-Dionysius and St. John of the Cross will, 
even in their most Negative doctrines, remain right and 
necessary in all stages of the Church's life,-on condition, 
however, of being taken as but one of two great movements, 
of which the other, the Positive movement, must also ever 
receive careful attention: since only between them is attained 
that all-important oscillation of the religious pendulum, that 
interaction between the soul's meal and the soul's yeast, that 
furnishing of friction for force to overcome, and of force to 
overcome the friction, that material for the soul to mould, and 
in moulding which to develop itself, that alternate expiration 
and inspiration, upon which the solli's mysterious death-in- 
life and life-in-death so continuously depends. 



THE SCIENTIFIC HABrf AND l\iYSTICIS1\I 367 


III. THE SCIENTIFIC HABIT AN D 1\1 YSTICISl\I. 
Introductory. Difficulty yet Necessity of finding a True 
Place and Function for Science in the SPiritual Life. 
Now it is certain that such an oscillatory movement, such 
a give-and-take, such a larger Asceticism, built up out of the 
alternate engrossment in and abstraction from variously, yet 
in each case really, attractive levels, functions and objects of 
human life and experience, is still comparatively easy, as long 
as we restrict it to two out of the three great groups of ener- 
gizings which are ever, at least potentially, present in the soul, 
and which ever inevitably help to make or mar, to develop or 
to stunt, the totality of the soul's life, and hence also of the 
strictly spiritual life. The Historical-Institutional, and the 
Mystical-Volitional groups and forces, the High-Church and 
the Low-Church trend, the Memory- and the Will-energies, 
do indeed coalesce, in times of peace, with the Reason- 
energy, though, even then, with some difficulty. But in times 
of war,-on occasion of any special or excessive action on the 
part of this third group, the Critical-Speculative, the Broad- 
Church trend, and the energizing of the Understanding,-they 
readily combine against every degree of the latter. It is as 
though the fundamental vowels A and U could not but 
combine to oust the fundamental vowel I; or as if the 
primary colours Red and Blue 11lUst join to crush out the 
primary colour Yellow. 
Indeed, it is undoubtedly just this matter of the full and 
continuous recognition of, and allocation of a special function 
to, this third element within the same great spiritual 
organism which englobes the other two, which is now the 
great central difficulty and pressing problem of more or less 
every degree and kind of religious life. For the admission 
of this third element appears frequently to be ruinous to the 
other two; yet the other two, when kept away from it, seem 
to lose their vigour and persuasive power.-And yet it is, I 
think, exactly at this crucial point that the conception of the 
spiritual life as essential1y a Dynamism, a slow constitution 
of an ever fuller, deeper, more close-knit unity in, and by 
means of, the soul's ineradicable trinity of forces, shows all 
its fruitfulness, if we but work down to a sufficiently large 
apprehension of the capacities and requirements of human 
nature, moved and aided by divine grace, and to a very 



368 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


precise delimitation of the special object and function of 
Mysticism. 
I. Science and Religion: each autonomous at its own level; 
and, thus, each helPful to the other. 
Erwin Rohde has well described Plato's attitude towards 
Science and Mysticism respectively, and towards the question 
of their inter-relation. ,. The flight from the things of this 
World is, for Plato, already in itself an acquisition of those of 
the Beyond, and an assimilation to the Divine. For this 
poor world, that solicits our senses, the philosopher has, at 
bottom, nothing but negation. Incapable as it is of furnishing 
a material that can be truly known, the whole domain of the 
Transitory and Becoming has no intrinsic significance for 
Science as understood by him. The perception of things 
which are ever merely relative, and which simultaneously 
manifest contradictory qualities, has its sole use in stimu- 
lating and inviting the soul to press on to the Absolute." 1 
Here we should frankly admit that the soul's hunger for 
the Infinite is, as the great Athenian so deeply realized, the 
very mainspring of Religion; and yet we must maintain that 
it is precisely this single bound away, instead of the ever- 
repeated double movement of a coming and a going, which 
not only helped to suppress, or at least gravely to stunt, the 
growth of the sciences of external observation and experiment, 
but (and this is the special point,-the demonstrable other 
side of the medal,) also, in its degree, prevented religion from 
attaining to its true depth, by thus cutting off, as far as 
Plato's conviction prevailed, the very material, stimulation, 
and in part the instruments, for the soul's outgoing, spiritu- 
alizing work, together with this work's profound reflex effect 
upon the worker, as a unique occasion for the growth and 
self-detachment of the soul. 
Now the necessity for such a first stage and movement, 
which, as far as possible both immanen tal and phenomenalist, 
shall be applied and restricted to the special methods, direct 
objects, and precise range of each particular Science, and 
the importance of the safeguarding of this scientific liberty, 
are now clearly perceived, by the leading men of Religion, 
Philosophy, Psychology and Physics, in connection with the 
maintenance and acquisition of sincere and fruitful Science.- 
It is also increasingly seen that, even short of Religion, a 


1 Psyche, ed. 1898. Vol. II, p. 289. 



THE SCIENTIFIC HABIT AND MYSTICISM 369 


second, an interpretative, an at least Philosophical stage and 
movement is necessary for the full explicit at ion of Science's 
own assumptions and affinities. And the keeping of these 
two movements clearly distinct or even strongly contrasted, 
is felt, by some far-sighted Theologians, to be a help towards 
securing, not only a candid attitude of Science towards 
its own subject-matters, but also a right independence of 
Philosophy and Theology towards the other Sciences. Thus 
Cardinal Newman has brought out, with startling force, the 
necessarily non-moral, non-religious character of Physico- 
l\ia thema tical Sci ence, taken simply within its direct su bj ect- 
matter and method. II Physical science never travels beyond 
the examination of cause and effect. Its object is to resolve 
the complexity of phenomena into simple elements and 
principles; but when it has reached those first elements, 
principles and laws, its mission is at an end; it keeps within 
that material system with which it began, and never ventures 
beyond the' flammantia moenia mundi.' The physicist as 
such will never ask himself by what influence, external to the 
universe, the universe is sustained; simply because he is a 
physicist. If, indeed, he be a religious man, he will, of course, 
have a very different view of the subject; . . . and this, not 
because physical science says anything different, but simply 
because it says nothing at all on the subject, nor can do by 
the very undertaking with which it set out." Or, as he else- 
where sympathetically sums up Bacon's method of pro- 
ceeding: II The inquiry into physical causes passes over for 
the moment the existence of God. In other words, physical 
science is, in a certain sense, atheistic, for the very reason 
that it is not theology." 1 
2. Science builds up a preli1ninary world that has to be 
corrected by Phzlosophy and ReZz'gz.on, at and for thez'r deeper 
levels. 
The additional experience and analysis of the last half- 
century apparently forces us, however, to maintain not only 
that Physico-Mathematical Science, and all knowledge 
brought strictly to the type of that Science, does not itself 
pronounce on the Ultimate Questions; but that this Science, 
as such, actually presents us with a picture of reality which, 
1 II Christianity and Physical Science" (1855). in Idea of a University, 
ed. 1873, pp. 432, 433. II University Teaching" (1852). ibid. p. 222. See 
Mr. R. E. Froude's interesting paper. II Scientific Speculation and the 
Unity of Truth;. Dublin Review. Oct. 1900. pp. 353-368. 
VOL. II. B B 



370 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 
at the deeper level even of Epistemology and of the more 
ultimate Psychology, and still more at that of Religion, 
requires to be taken as more or less artificial, and as 
demanding, not simply completion, but, except for its own 
special purposes, correction as well. Thus we have seen how 
M. Bergson finds Clock-Time to be an artificial, compound 
concept, which seriously travesties Duration, the reality 
actually experienced by us; and Space appears as in even a 
worse predicament. 1\'1. Emil Boutroux in France, Dottore 
19ino Petrone in Italy, Profs. Eucken and Troeltsch in 
Germany, Profs. James Ward and Pringle Pattison in 
Great Britain, and Profs. William James, Hugo Münsterberg 
and Josiah Royce in America are, in spite of differences 
on other points, united in insistence upon, or have even 
worked out in much detail, such a distinction between the 
first stage and level of Determinist, Atomistic, Inorganic 
Nature and our concepts of it, and the second stage and level 
of Libertarian, Synthetic, and Organic Spiritual Reality, 
and our experience of it. And the penetrating labours of 
Profs. Windelband, Rickert, and others, towards building up a 
veritable Organon of the Historical Sciences, are bringing into 
the clearest relief these two several degrees of Reality and 
types of Knowledge, the Historical being the indefinitely 
deeper and more adequate, and the one which ultimately 
englobes the other. 1 
A profoundly significant current in modern philosophy 
will thus be brought, in part at least, to articulate expression 
and application. This current is well described by Prof. 
Volkelt. II German philosophy since Kant reveals, in mani- 
fold forms and under various disguises, the attempt to 
recognize, in Epistemology, Metaphysics, and Ethics, such 
kinds of Certainty, such domains of Being, such human 
V olitions and Values, as lie beyond reason, constitute a some- 
thing that it cannot grasp, and are rooted in some other kind 
of foundation. In variously struggling, indeed stammering 
utterances, expression is given to the assurance that not 
everything in the world is resolvable into Logic and Thought, 
but that mighty resisting remainders are extant, which 
perhaps even constitute the most important thing in the 
world. . . . Such a longing after such a Reality can be 
1 w. Windelband, Geschichte und Naturwissenschaft, 1894. H. Rickert. 
Kultut'wissenschaft und Naturwissenschaft. 1899. And, above all. H. 
Rickert. Die Grenzen der N aturwissenschaftlichen BegriOsbildung. 1902. 



THE SCIENTIFIC HABIT AND MYSTICISM 371 


traced in Hamann, Jacobi, Herder, in Novalis, Friedrich 
Schlegel, the you thful Schleiermacher, and Jean Paul. Indeed, 
even in Hegel, the adorer of Reason, the movement of 
Negation, which is the very soul of his philosophy, is, at 
bottom, nothing but the Irrational," the Super-Rational, 
II element violently pressed into the form of Reason; and 
again the single Thing, the This, the Here and the Now, are 
felt by him as . . . a something beyond Reason. And has 
not the Irrational found expression in Kant, in his doctrines 
of the unconditional Liberty of the Will and of Radical Evil? 
In the later Schelling and his spiritual relatives the Irrational 
has found far more explicit recognition; whilst Schopenhauer 
brings the point to its fullest expression. Yet even Nietzsche 
still possesses such an element, in his doctrine of the ( Over- 
Man.' "1 And in England we find this same element, in 
various degrees and in t\VO chief divergent forms, in the 
Cambridge Platonists, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Thomas 
Hill Green on the one hand; and in Bishop Butler and 
Cardinal Newman on the other hand. 
We can thus point to much clear recognition, or at least 
to a considerable influence, of the profound truth that Science 
and Wisdom can each prosper and help and supplement the 
other, only if each possesses a certain real autonomy, a power 
fully to become and to remain itself, and, in various degrees 
and ways, to stimulate, check and thwart the other. And 
this truth ever presupposes, what human experience, in the 
long run, proves to be a fact,-that the different kinds, spheres, 
and levels of man's apprehension, and of the total reality 
thus apprehended by him, are already immanently planned 
each for the other, within a great, largely dormant system of 
the world. Thus l\ian can and should can this congenital 
inter-relatedness into ever more vigorous and more fruitful 
play; whereas, if it were not already present deep within 
the very nature of things, no amount of human effort or 
ingenuity could ever evoke or insert it. Prof. V oIkelt has, 
as we have seen, illustrated this great fact very strikingly, 
with regard to the relation extant between the apparently 
sheer contingencies of human History and the requirements 
of Philosophy, of normative thought and ideal truth. Yet 
a similar interconnection can be traced elsewhere, between 
any other two or more levels and spheres of wholesome and 
permanent human apprehension and action, in their relation 
1 Schopenhauer. 19 00 . pp. 344. 345. 



372 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


to various degrees and kinds of reality, as this environs man 
or inheres in him. 
3. lv T ecessity of the It Thing-element" in Religion. 
But let us note that the recognition, of an at all emphatic, 
systematic kind, of such inter-relatedness is, so far, almost 
limited to the moods and persons preoccupied with the right 
claims of Science or of Philosophy upon each other or upon 
the remainder of Life; and is, as yet, all but wanting, when 
Life is approached from the side of the specifically Religious 
requirements and of the Spiritual consolidation of man's soul. 
Yet here especially, at by far the most important point of 
the whole matter, the unique place and significance of Science 
can now be very clearly grasped. 
Indeed it is deeply interesting to note how largely the 
fundamental characteristics of Gatholicism really meet, or 
rather how they strictly require, some such vivid conception 
and vigorous use of the Determinist Thing and of its level for 
the full constitution of our true depth, our Spiritual Person- 
ality itself. If we take, e. g., the criticisms addressed, by so 
earnest and acute a mind as the intensely Protestant Emile 
Sulze, to the whole Thing-Element and -Concept, as these 
are at work in the Catholic practice and position, we shall 
find his sense of the difference between Thing and Spirit to 
be as enviably keen, and his idea of the end and ultimate 
measure of Religion to be as sound and deep, as his con- 
ception of the means towards developing Religion and the 
Spirit is curiously inadequate. 
(r) II Personality," says Sulze, It is, for Religion and Morality, 
the supreme Good, of which the source is in God, and the 
end, the fruit, and the manifestation is in Man." 1 This I 
take to be profoundly true, especially if we insist upon 
Perfect Personality being Supreme and Perfect Spirit; and, 
again, upon our imperfect personality and spirit as possessed 
of certain profound affinities to, and as penetrable and 
actually moved by, that Perfect Spirit. 
(2) II The value of Personality nowhere finds a full recogni- 
tion in Gatholicism; Gatholicism indeed is Pantheism." Now 
this harsh judgment is based upon two sets of allegations, 
which, though treated by Sulze as of the same nature, are, I 
would submit, essentially different, and this because of their 
definitely different places and functions in the Gatholic system. 
1 Wi, ist der KamPf um die Bedeutung. . . Jesu zu beendigen? 1901. 
p. g. 



THE SCIENTIFIC HABIT AND MYSTICISl\1: 373 
It The Impersonal Godhead, the bond which unites the 
three Persons, stands above the Persons. Hence those who 
took religion seriously had to lose themselves, pantheistically, 
in the abyss of the Divinity. And in Christ the Person was 
even looked upon as the product of two Natures, the Divine 
and the Human, hence of two Impersonal Forces." 1 Here 
two peculiarities in the early Conciliar Definitions are 
emphasized, which were doubtless as helpful, indeed necessary, 
for the apprehension of the great abiding truths thus conveyed 
to the Greco-Roman mind, as they are now in need of 
reinterpretation in the light of our greater sensitiveness to the 
difference, in character and in value, which obtains between 
the concept of Spirit and Personality and that of Substances 
and Things. 
But Sulze continues, \vithout any change in the kind or 
degree of his criticism: II Impersonal miraculous means, 
created by the Hierarchy, are put by it in the place of the 
sanctifying mutual intercourse of the children of God." 
" Christianity, torn away from the religious and moral life, 
became thus a special, technical apparatus, \vithout any 
religious or spiritual worth. Ecclesiastical Christianity has 
become a Pantheism, Materialism, indeed Atheism." 2 We 
have so continuously ourselves insisted upon the profound 
danger, and frequently operative abuse, of any and all com- 
plete apartness between anyone means, function, or attrait of 
the spiritual life and the others, that we can, without any 
unfairness, restrict ourselves here to the attack upon the 
general acceptation of Impersonal means as helps towards 
the constitution of Personality. Now Sulze's principle here, 
-that only directly personal means can help to achieve the 
end of Personality,-is most undoubtedly false, unless Mathe- 
matico- Physical Science is also to be ruled out of life, as 
necessarily destructive of, or at least as necessarily non- 
conductive to, P
rsonality. 
(3) Indeed Sulze himself tells us, most truly, that, "for 
Religion also, Science is a bath of purification"; and that 
" Doctrine and the Sacraments are aids, in the hands of Christ 
and of the Community, towards represen ting the riches of their 
interior life and offering these to believing hearts." 3 This 
latter pronouncement is, however, still clearly insufficient. 
1 Wie ist det' KamPf um die Bedeutung. . . Jesu zu beelldzgen? 1901, 
p.IO. 
a Ibid. pp. 10. II. 3 Ibid. pp. 26, 27. 



374 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 
For if there is a double truth which, at the end of well-nigh 
five centuries, ought to have burnt itself indelibly into the 
mind and conscience of us all, it is, surely, the following. 
On the one hand, Man, unless he develops a vigorous a]ter- 
nating counter-movement, ever grows like to the instruments 
of his labour and self-development, and hence, whilst busy 
with Things, (whether these be Natural Happenings and their 
Sciences, or Religious Institutions and Doctrines,) he inclines 
to become, quite unawares, limited and assimilated to them,- 
himself thus a Thing among Things, instead of, through 
such various Things, winning an ever fuller apprehension of 
and growth in Spiritual Personality. Yet, on the other hand, 
without such a movement of close contact with the Thing, 
(both the intensely concrete, the Here and Now Contingency, 
and the profoundly Abstract, the stringent Universal Law,) 
and without the pleasure and pain derived from the accom- 
panying sense of contraction and of expansion, of contrast, 
conflict, supplementation and renovation,-there is no fullest 
discipline or most solid growth of the true spiritual Personality. 
(4) Thus Science, as Sulze himself clearly sees, not merely 
aids us to represent and to communicate our personality 
acquired elsewhere, but the shock, friction, contrast, the slow, 
continuous discipline, far more, beyond doubt, than any 
positive content furnished by such science, can and should 
constitute an essential part of the soul's spiritual fertilization. 
And similarly, if we move on into the directly religious life, 
the Sacramental contacts and Doctrinal systems (the former 
so intensely concrete, the latter often so abstract,) are not 
simply means towards representing and transmitting spiritu- 
ality acquired elsewhere: but they are amongst the means, 
and, in some form and degree, the necessary, indeed actually 
universal means, towards the awakening and developing and 
fulfilling of this our spiritual personality. 
4. Three possible relations between Thing and Thought, 
Determinisnz and Spirit. 
It remains no doubt profoundly true that, with the awaken- 
ing of the Mystical sense, will come a more or less acute 
consciousness of an at least superficial and preliminary, 
difference between this sense, with its specific habits and 
informations, and those means and forms, in part so con- 
tingent and external, in part so intensely abstract and yet so 
precise. But it is equally certain that such a soul, and at such 
a stage, even as it continues to require, in some respects more 



THE SCIENTIFIC HABIT AND MYSTICISM 375 


than ever, for its general balanced development, some of the 
irreplaceable discipline and manly, bracing humiliation of the 
close external observation and severe abstract generalization 
of Science: so also does it continue to require, for the deepen- 
ing of the spirit and for the growth of creatureliness, the 
contact with religious Things,-the profoundly concrete 
Sacraments and the intensely abstract Doctrines of the 
religious community. 
(r) In one of Trendelenburg's most penetrating essays, he 
shows us how, between blind Force and conscious Thought,- 
if we presuppose any tendency towards unity to exist between 
them,-there can be but three possible relations. II Either 
Force stands before Thought, so that Thought is not the 
primitive reality, but the result and accident of blind Force; 
or Thought stands before Force, so that blind Force is not 
itself the primitive reality, but the effluence of Thought; 
or finally, Thought and Force are, at bottom, only one and 
the same thing, and differ only in our mind's conception of 
them." And only one of these three positions can, by any 
possibiJity, be the true one: hence their internecine conflict.! 
(2) Now Religion, in its normal, central stream, stands most 
undoubtedly for Thought before Force, the second, the Theistic 
view. And yet it would be profoundly impoverishing for our 
outlook and practice, and would but prepare a dangerous 
reaction in ourselves or others, were we ever to ignore the 
immense influence, in the history, not only of philosophical 
speculation, but even of religious feeling and aspiration, not 
indeed of the first, the l\Iaterialist, view, (which owes all its 
strength to non-religious causes or to a rebound against 
religious excesses,) but of the third, the Pantheistic, Monistic} 
vie\v, whose classical exponent Spinoza will probably rernain 
un to all time. 
(3) If we examine into what constitutes the religious 
plausibility and power of this view, we shall find, I think, that 
it proceeds, above all, from the fact that, only too often, the 
second, the Theistic view and practice, leaves almost or quite 
out of sight the purification and slow constitution of the 
Individual into a Person, by means of the Thing-element, the 
apparently blind Determinism of Natural Law and Natural 
Happenings. Yet nothing can be more certain than that we 
must admit and place this undeniable, increasingly obtrusive 
I 
1 II Ueber den letzten Unterschied der philosophischen Systeme:. 18 47, 
in Beitrå"ge zuy Philosophie. 1855, Vol. II. p. 10. 



37 6 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


element and power somewhere in our lives: if we will not own 
it as a means, it will grip us as our end. The unpurified, all 
but merely natural, animal, lustful and selfish individual man, 
is far too like to the brutes and plants, indeed even to the 
inorganic substances that so palpably surround him, for it not 
to be a fantastic thought to such thinkers as Spinoza, (and 
indeed it would be an excessive effort to himself,) to believe 
that he is likely, taken simply in this condition, to outlast, and 
is capable of dominating, the huge framework of the visible 
world, into which his whole bodily and psychical mechanism 
is placed, and to which it is bound by a thousand ties and 
closest similarities: his little selfish thinkings cannot but 
seem mere bubbles on a boundless expanse of mere matter; 
all creation cannot, surely, originate in, depend from, and 
move up to, a Mind and Spirit in any way like unto this 
trivial ingenuity. 
(4) It is true, of course, that Spinoza ended,-as far as the 
logic of his system went,-by" purifying" away not only this 
animal Individualism, but Spiritual Personality as well, and 
this because he takes Mathematico-Physical concepts to be 
as directly appJicable and as adequate to Ultimate Reality 
as are the Ethico-Spiritual categories. We have then to 
admit that even so rich and rare, so deeply religious a spirit 
as Spinoza could insist upon purification by the" preliminary 
Pantheism," and ye t could remain, in theory, the eager exponent 
of an ultimate Pantheism. Like the Greeks, he not only 
passes through a middle distance, a range of experience which 
appears dominated by austere Fate and blind Fortune, but 
finds Fate even in ultimate Reality. Whilst, however, the 
Greeks often thought of Fate as superior even to the Gods, 
Spinoza finds Ultimate Reality to be neither Nature nor 
Spirit, but simply Being in General, with a Law which is 
neither Natural nor Spiritual Law, but Law in general. This 
General Being and General Law then bifurcate, with the 
most rigorous determinism and complete impartiality, step 
by step, into parallel and ever co-present manifestations 
of Nature and of Spirit, and of their respective laws, which, 
though different, are also each strictly determined within 
their own series. 1 
(5) But Spinoza's error here undoubtedly lies in his de facto 
1 See the admirably lucid analysis in Prof. Troeltsch's II Religions-philo- 
sophie," in Die PhilosoPhie im Beginn des zwanzigsten J ahrhunderts. 19 0 4. 
Vol. I. p. 116, already referred to further back. 



THE SCIENTIFIC HABIT AND MYSTICISM 377 


violent bending (in spite of this theoretical Parallelism) of 
all Knowledge, Reality, and Life, under the sole Mathematico- 
Physical categories and method; and in the insistence upon 
attaining to ultimate Truth by one single bound and with com- 
plete adequacy and clearness. And the greatness here consists 
in the keen and massive sense of three profound truths. He 
never forgets that l\fathematico-Physical Science is rigidly 
determinist, and that it stands for a certain important truth 
and penetrates to a certain depth of reality. He never ceases 
to feel how impure, selfish, petty is the natural man, and how 
pure, disinterested, noble, can and should be the spiritual 
personality. And he never lets go the sense that, someho\v, 
that science must be able to help towards this purification. 
(6) Now these three truths must be preserved, whi1st the 
Mathematico-Physical one-sidedness and the II one-step" error 
must be carefully eliminated. And indeed it is plain that 
only by such elimination can those truths operate within a 
fully congenial system. For only thus, with a dissimilarity 
between the Ultimate, Libertarian, Spiritual Reality, and the 
Intermediate, Determinist, Physico-Mathematical Range, can 
we explain and maintain the pain, not only of the selfish but 
also of the true self, in face the l\iere Thing; and only thus 
is all such pain and trouble worth having, since only thus it 
leads to the fuller development and the solid constitution of 
an abiding, interior, mental and volitional Personality. 
5. Purification of the Personality by the i1nþersonal. 
Prof. H. J. Holtzmann has got an eloquent page con- 
cerning the kind of Dualism which is more than ever 
desirable for souls, if they would achieve a full and virile 
personality in this our day. "It would appear to be the wiser 
course for us to recognize the incompatibility between merely 
natural existence and truly personal life, just as it is, in its 
whole acute non-reconciliation; to insert this conflict into our 
complete outlook on to Life in its full breadth and depth, and 
to find the harmonization in God the Infinite, in whom alone 
such parallels can meet, and not deliberately to blind our right 
eye or our left, in order to force that outlook into one single 
aspect,-a degree of unification which, when achieved in this 
violent manner, would mean for us, at the same time, a point 
of absolute inertia, of eternal stagnation." And he then shows 
how it is precisely the interaction within our minds, feelings, 
and volitions, of, on the one hand, the boundless world of 
nature, with its majestic impersonality, and on the other hand, 



378 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 
the inexhaustible, indefinitely deeper realm of personal life, 
as it appears within the stream of human history, which is 
best adapted to give us some fuller glimpses of the greatness 
of God and of the specific character of religion. 1 
The religious imagination, mind, heart, and will,-that is to 
say, the complete, fully normal human being at his deepest,- 
has thus been more and more forced, by an increasingly 
articulated experience of the forces and requirements of actual 
life, to hold and to practise, with ever-renewed attempts at their 
most perfect interstimulation and mutual supplementation, a 
profoundly costing, yet immensely fruitful, trinity in unity of 
convictions on this point. 
In every time, place, and race, man will continue to be or 
to become religious, in proportion to his efficacious faith in, 
and love of, the overflowing reality and worth of the great 
direct objects of religion,-God and the soul, and their inter- 
relation in and through the Kingdom of God, the Church, 
and its Divine-Human Head,-the whole constituting God's 
condescension towards and immanence in man, and man's 
response and orientation towards the transcendent God. 
And again, in every age, place, and race, man will be or 
will become deeply religious, in proportion to the keenness 
with which he realizes the immense need of spiritual growth 
and purification for his, at best, but inchoate personality. 
But,-and this third point we must admit, in the precise 
extension and application given to it here, to be character- 
istically modern,-man will, (if he belongs to our time and 
to our Western races, and is determined fully to utilize our 
special circumstances, lights and trials, as so many means 
towards his own spiritualization,) have carefuIJy to keep in 
living touch with that secondary and preliminary reality, 
the Thing-world, the Impersonal Element, Physical Science 
and Determinist Law. He will have to pass and repass 
beneath these Caudine forks; to plunge and to replunge into 
and through this fiery torrent; and, almost a merely animal 
individual at the beginning and on this side of such docile 
bendings and such courageous plungings, he will, (if he com- 
bines them with, and effects them through, those two other, 
abiding and ultimate, directly religious convictions,) straighten 
himself up again to greater heights, and will come forth from 
the torrent each time a somewhat purer and more developed 


1 Richard Rothe's Spekulatives System. 1899. pp. 205. 206. 



THE SCIENTIFIC HABIT AND MYSTICISM 379 


spiritual person than he was before such contraction and 
purgation. 
6. This position new for Science, not for Religion. 
Yet even this third point has, if we ",ill but look to its 
substantial significance and religious function, been equiva- 
lently held and practised ever since the Twice-Born life, the 
deeper religion, has been lived at all. 
(r) The Ascetic's self-thwarting, and the Mystic's self- 
oblivion and seeking after Pure Love, what are they but the 
expressions of the very same necessities and motives which 
we would wish to see fully operative here? For we are not, 
of course, here thinking of anything simply intellectual, and 
fit only for the educated few. Any poor laundry-girl, who 
carefully studies and carries out the laws of successful 
washing, who moves, in alternation, away from this concen- 
tration on the Thing, to recollection and increasingly affective 
prayer and rudimentary contemplation, and who seeks the 
fuller growth of her spirit and of its union with God, in this 
coming and going, to and from the Visible and Contingent, to 
and from the Spiritual and Infinite, and in what these several 
levels have of contrast and of conflict; or any lowly farm- 
labourer or blacksmith or miner, who would proceed simiJarly 
with his external determinist mechanical work, and with his 
deeply internal requirements and spiritual growth and con- 
solidation: would all be carrying out precisely what is here 
intended. 
(2) As a matter of fact, the source of such novelty, as may 
be found here, is not on the side of religion, but on that of 
science. For the conception of Nature of the ancient Greek 
Physicists, and indeed that of Aristotle, required to be pro- 
foundlyde-humanized, de-sentimentalized: a rigorous mathe- 
matical Determinism and soulless l\iechanism became the 
right and necessary ideal of Physical Science. But, long 
before the elaboration of this concept of the ruthless Thing 
and of its blind Force, Our Lord had, by His Life and 
Teaching, brought to man, with abidingly unforgettable, 
divine depth and vividness, the sense of Spirit and Personality, 
with its liberty and interiority, its far-looking wisdom and 
its regenerating, creative power of love. And for some 
thirteen centuries after this supreme spiritual revelation and 
discovery, that old anthropomorphic and anthropocentric 
conception of the Physical Universe continued, well-nigh 
unchanged, even among the earlier and middle schoolmen, 



380 THE MYSTIGAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 
and was readily harmonized with that Spiritual world. Yet 
they were harmonized, upon the whole, by a juxtaposition 
which, in proportion as the conception of Nature became 
Determinist and Mechanical, has turned out more and more 
untenable; and which, like all simple juxtapositions, could 
not, as such, have any spiritually educative force. But Spiritual 
Reality has now,-for those who have become thoroughly 
awake to the great changes operated, for good and all, in 
man's conception of the Physical Universe during now three 
centuries,-to be found under, behind, across these Physical 
Phenomena and Laws, which both check and beckon on the 
mind and soul of man, in quest of their ultimate mainstay 
and motivation. 
(3) And let us note how much some such discipline and 
asceticism is required by the whole Christian temper and 
tradition, and the weakening of some older forms of it. 
During the first three generations Christians were pro- 
foundly sobered by the keen expectation of Our Lord's 
proximate Second Coming, and of the end of the entire 
earthly order of things, to which all their natural affections 
spontaneously clung; and again and again, up to well- 
nigh the Crusading Age, this poignant and yet exultant 
expectation seized upon the hearts of Christians. And then, 
especially from St. Augustine's teaching onwards, an all- 
pervading, frequently very severe, conviction as to the 
profound effects of Original Sin, a pessimistic turning away 
from the future of this sub-lunar world, as leading up to the 
great Apostacy, and a concentration upon Man's pre-historic 
beginnings, as incomparably eclipsing all that mankind would 
ever achieve here below, came and largely took the place, as 
the sobering, detaching element in Christianity, of the vivid 
expectation of the Parousia which had characterized the 
earlier Christian times. 
Clearly, the Parousia and the Original Sin conception have 
ceased to exercise their old, poignantly detaching power upon 
us. Yet we much require some such special channel and 
instrument for the preservation and acquisition of the abso- 
lutely essential temper of Detachment and Other-Worldliness. 
I think that this instrument and channel of purification and 
detachment-if we have that thirst for the More and the 
Other than al] things visible can give to our souls, (a thirst 
which the religious sense alone can supply and without 
which we are religiously but half-awake,)-is offered to us 



THE SCIENTIFIC HABIT AND MYSTICISM 38r 


now by Science, in the sense and for the reasons already 
described. 
7. Three kinds of occupation with Science. 
Let the reader note that thus, and, I submit, thus only, we 
can and do enlist the religious passion itself on the side of 
disinterested, rightly autonomous science. For thus the 
harmony between the different aspects and levels of life is 
not, (except for our general faith in its already present 
latent reality, and in its capacity for ultimate full realization 
and manifestation,) the static starting-point or automatically 
persisting fact in man's life; but it is, on the contrary, his 
ever difficult, never completely realized goal,-a goal which 
can be reached only by an even greater transformation within 
the worker than within the materials worked upon by him,- 
a transformation in great part effected by the enlargement 
and purification, incidental to the inclusion of that large 
range of Determinist Thing-laws and experiences within the 
Spirit's Libertarian, Personal life. 
It is plain that there are three kinds and degrees of occu- 
pation with Things and Science, and with their special level 
of tnIth and reality; and that in proportion as their practice 
within, and in aid of, the spiritual life is difficult, in the 
same proportion, (given the soul's adequacy to this particular 
amount of differentiation and pressure,)-is this practice 
purifying. And though but fe\v souls will be called to any 
appreciable amount of activity within the third degree, all 
souls can be proved, I think, to require a considerable amount 
of the first two kinds, whilst mankind at large most un- 
doubtedly demands careful, thorough work of all three 
sorts. 
The first kind is that of the man with a hobby. His 
directly religious acts and his toilsome bread -winning will 
thus get relieved and alternated by, say, a little Botany or a 
little Numismatics, or by any other U safe" science, taken 
in a II safe" dose, in an easy, dilettante fashion, for purposes 
of such recreation. This kind is already in fairly general 
operation, and is clearly useful in its degree and way, but 
it has, of course, no purificatory force at all. 
The second kind is that of the man whose profession is 
some kind of science which has, by now, achieved a more 
or less secure place alongside of, or even within, religious 
doctrines and feelings, -such as Astronomy or Greek Archae- 
ology. Here the purification will be in proportion to the 



382 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT O:F RELIGION 


loyal thoroughness with which he fully maintains, indeed 
develops, the special characteristics and autonomy both of these 
Sciences, as the foreground, part-material and stimulation, 
and of Religion, as the groundwork, background and ultimate 
interpreter and moulder of his complete and organized life; 
and with \vhich he makes each contribute to the development 
of the other and of the entire personality, its apprehensions 
and its work. This second kind is still comparatively rare, 
doubtless, in great part, because of the considerable cost and 
the lifelong practice and training involved in what readily 
looks like a deliberate complicating and endangering of 
things, otherwise, each severally, simple and safe. 
And the third kind is that of him whose systematic mental 
activity is devoted to some science or research, which is still 
in process of winning full and peaceful recognition by official 
Theology,-say, Biological Evolution or Biblical Criticism. 
Here the purificatioJ1 will, for a soul capable of such a strain, 
be at its fullest, provided such a soul is deeply moved by, and 
keeps devotedly faithful to, the love of God, and of man, of 
humble labour and of self-renouncing purification, and, within 
this great ideal and determination, maintains and ameliorates 
with care the methods, categories and tests special both to 
these sciences and investigations, and to their ultimate 
interpretation and utilization in the philosophy and life of 
religion. For here there will, as yet, be no possibility of so 
shunting the scientific activity on to one side, or of limiting 
it to a carefully pegged-out region, as to let Religion and 
Science energize as forces of the same kind and same level, 
the same clearness and same finality; but the Science will 
here have to be passed through, as the surface-level, on the 
way to Religion as underlying all. What would otherwise 
readily tend to become, as it were, a mental Geography, 
would thus here give way to what might be pictured as a 
spiritual Geology. 
8. Historical Science, Religion's present, but not ultÍ1nate, 
probleln. 
The reader will have noted that, for each of these three 
stages, I have taken an Historico-Cultural as well as a 
Mathematico-Physical Science, though I am well aware of 
the profound difference between them, both as to their 
pre-requisites and method, and their aim and depth. And, 
again, I know well that, for the present, the chief intellectual 
difficulty of Religion, or at least the main conflict or friction 



THE SCIENTIFIC HABIT AND MYSTICISM 383 


between the Sciences and Theology, seems to proceed, not 
from Physical Science but from Historical Criticism, especially 
as applied to the New Testament, so that, on this ground 
also, I ought, apparently, to keep these two types of Science 
separate.- Y et it is clear, I think, that, however distinct, 
indeed different, should be the methods of these two sorts 
of Science, they are in so far alike, if taken as a means of 
purification for the soul bent upon its own deepening, that 
both require a slow, orderly, disinterested procedure, capable 
of fruitfulness only by the recurring sacrifice of endless petty 
self-seekings and obstinate fancies, and this in face of that 
natural eagerness and absoluteness of mind which strong 
religious emotions will, unless they too .be disciplined and 
purified, only tend to increase and stereotype. 
The matters brought up by Historical Criticism for the 
study and readjustment of Theology, and for utilization by 
Religion, are indeed numerous and in part difficult. Yet the 
still more general and fundamental alternatives lie not here, 
but with the questions as to the nature and range of Science 
taken in its narrower sense,-as concerned with Quantity, 
Mechanism, and Determinism alone. 
If Science of this Thing-type be all that, in any manner 
or degree, we can apprehend in conformity with reality or 
can live by fruitfully: then History and Religion of every 
kind must be capable of a strict assimilation to it, or they 
lnust go. But if such Science constitute only one kind, and, 
though the clearest and most easily transferable, yet the least 
deep, and the least adequate to the ultimate and spiritual 
reality, among the chief levels of apprehension and of life 
which can be truly experienced and fruitfully lived by man; 
and if the Historical and Spiritual level can be shown to find 
room for, indeed to require, the Natural and Mechanical level, 
whilst this latter, taken as ultimate, cannot accommodate, but 
is forced to crush or to deny, the former: then a refusal to 
accept more than can be expressed and analyzed by such 
Physico-Mathematical Science would be an uprooting and a 
discrown ing of the fuller life, and would ignore the complete 
human personality, from one of whose wants the entire 
impulse to such Science took its rise. 
As a matter of fact, we find the following three alternatives. 
Level an down to Mathematico-Physical Science, and you 
deny the specific constituents of Spirituality, and you render 
impossible the growth of the Person out of, and at the eÀpense 



384 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


of, the Individual. Proclaim the Person and its Religion, as 
though they were static substances adequately present from 
the first, and ignore, evade or thwart that Thing-level and 
method as far as ever you can, and you will, in so far, keep 
back the all but simply animal Individual from attaining to 
his full spiritual Personality. But let grace wake up, in such 
an Individual, the sense of the specific characteristics of 
Spirituality and the thirst to become a full and ever fuller 
Person, and this in contact and conflict with, as well as in 
recollective abstraction from, the apparently chance contin- 
gencies of History and Criticism, and the seemingly fatalistic 
mechanisms of Physics and Mathematics: and you will be 
able, by humility, generosity, and an ever-renewed alternation 
of such outgoing, dispersive efforts and of such incoming re- 
collection and affective prayer, gradually to push out and to 
fill in the outlines of your better nature, and to reorganize it 
all according to the Spirit and to Grace, becoming thus a 
deep man, a true personality. 
Once again: take the intermediate, the Thing-level as final, 
and you yourself sink down more and more into a casual 
Thing, a soulless Law; Materialism, or, at best, some kind of 
Pantheism, must become your practice and your creed.-Take 
the anterior, the Individual-level as final, and you will remain 
something all but stationary, and if not merely a Thing yet 
not fully a Person; and if brought .face to face with many an 
Agnostic or Pantheist of the nobler sort, who is in process of 
purification from such childish se]f-centredness by means of 
the persistently frank and vivid apprehension of the Mechani- 
cal, Determinist, Thing-and-Fate level of experience and 
degree of truth, you will, even if you have acquired certain 
fragmentary convictions and practices of religion, appear 
strangely less, instead of more, than your adversary, to any 
one capable of equitably comparing that Agnostic and your- 
self-you who, if Faith be right, ought surely to be not less 
but more of a personality than that non-believing soul. 
But take the last, the Spiritual, Personal level as alone ulti- 
mate, and yet as necessarily requiring, to be truly reached and 
maintained, that the little, selfish, predominantly animal- 
minded, human being should ever pass and repass from this, 
his Individualistic plane and attitude, through the Thing-and- 
Fate region, out and on to the U shining table-land, whereof 
our God Himself is sun and moon": and YOlJ will, in time, 
gain a depth and an expansion, a persuasive force, an har- 



THE SCIENTIFIC HABIT AND MYSTICISM 385 


moniousness and intelligibleness with which, everything else 
being equal, the Pantheistic or Agnostic self-renunciation 
cannot truly compare. For, in these circumstances, the latter 
type will, at best, but prophesy and prepare the consummation 
actually reached by the integrational, dynamic religiousness, 
the Individual transformed more and more into Spirit and 
Person, by the help of the Thing and of Determinist Law. 
Freedom, Interiority, Intelligence, Will, Grace, and Love, the 
profoundest Personality, a reality out of all proportion more 
worthy and more ultimate than the most utterly unbounded 
universe of a simply material kind could ever be, thus appear 
here, in full contradiction of Pantheism, as ultimate and 
abiding; and yet all that is great and legitimate in Pantheism 
has been retained, as an intermediate element and stage, of a 
deeply purifying kind. 
9. Return to Saints John of the Cross and Catherin.e of 
Genoa. 
And thus we come back to the old, sublime wisdom of St. 
John of the Cross, in all that it has of continuous thirst after 
the soul's purification and expansion, and of a longing to lose 
itself, its every pettiness and egoistic separateness, in an 
abstract, universal, quasi-impersonal disposition and reality, 
such as God here seems to require and to offer as the means 
to Himself. Only that now we have been furnished, by 
the ever-clearer self-differentiation of Mathematico-Physical 
Science, with a zone of pure, sheer Thing, mere soulless Law, 
a zone capable of absorbing all those elements from out of 
our thought and feeling which, if left freely to mingle with 
the deeper level of the growing Spiritual Personality, would 
give to this an unmistakably Pantheistic tinge and trend. 
Hence, now the soul will have, in one of its two latter 
movements, to give a close attention to contingent facts and 
happenings and to abstract laws, possessed of no direct 
religious significance or interpretableness which, precisely 
because of this, will, if practised as part of the larger whole 
of the purificatory, spiritual upbuilding of the soul, in no 
way weaken, but stimulate and furnish materials for the 
other movement, the one specially propounded by the great 
Spaniard, in which the soul turns away, from all this 
particularity, to a general recollection and contemplati"\Ve 
prayer. 
And we are thus, perhaps, in even closer touch with 
Catherine's central idea,-the soul's voluntary plunge into 
VOL. II. C C 



386 THE MYSTIOAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


a painful yet joyous purgation, into a state, and as it were 
an element, which purges away, (since the soul itself freely 
accepts the process,) all that deflects, stunts, or weakens the 
realization of the soul's deepest longings,-the hard self- 
centredness, petty self-mirrorings, and jealous claimfulness, 
above all. For though, in Gatherine's conception, this at first 
both painful and joyfw, and then more and more, and at last 
entirely, joyful, ocean of light and fire is directly God and 
His effects upon the increasingly responsive and unresisting 
soul: yet the apparent Thing-quality here, the seemingly 
ruthless Determinism of Law, in which the little individual is 
lost for good and all, and which only the spiritual personality 
can survive, are impressively prominent throughout this great 
scheme. And though we cannot, of course, take the element 
and zone of the sheer Thing and of Determinist Law as God, 
or as directly expressive of His nature, yet we can and must 
hold it, (in what it is in itself, in what it is as a construction 
of our minds, and in its purificatory function and influence 
upon our unpurified but purifiable souls,) to come from God 
and to lead to Him. And thus here also we escape any touch 
of ultimate Pantheism, without falling into any cold Deism 
or shallow Optimism. For just because we retain, at the 
shallower level, the ruthlessly impersonal element, can we, by 
freely willed, repeated passing through such fatalistic-seeming 
law, become, from individuals, persons; from semi-things, 
spirits,-spirits more and more penetrated by and a pprehensi ve 
of the Spirit, God, the source and sustainer of all this growth 
and reality. 
And yet, let us remember once more, the foreground and 
preliminary stage to even the sublimest of suchlives will never, 
here below at least, be abidingly transcended, or completely 
harmonized with the groundwork and ultimate stage, by the 
human personality. Indeed our whole contention has been 
that, with every conceivable variation of degree, of kind, and 
of mutual relation, these two stages, and some sort of friction 
between them, are necessary, throughout this life, for the full 
development, the self-discipline, and the adequate consolida- 
tion, at the expense of the childish, sophistic individual, of 
the true spiritual Personality. 



THE THREE ELEMENTS OF RELIGION 387 


IV. FINAL SUMMARY AND RETURN TO THE STARTING- 
POINT OF THE WHOLE INQUIRY: THE NECESSITY, 
AND YET THE ALMOST INEVITABLE MUTUAL Hos- 
TILITY, OF THE THREE GREAT FORCES OF THE SOUL 
AND OF THE THREE GORRESPONDING ELEMENTS OF 
RELIGION. 
Our introductory position as to the three great forces of 
the soul, with the corresponding three great elements of 
religion, appears, then, to have stood the test of our detailed 
investigation. For each of these forces and corresponding 
elements has turned out to be necessary to religion, and yet 
to become destructive of itself and of religion in general 
where this soul-force and religious element is allowed gravely 
to cripple, or all but to exclude, the other forces and elements, 
and their vigorous and normal action and influence. 
I. Each of these three forces and elements is indeed necessary. 
but ruinously destructive where it more or less ousts the other 
two. 
(I) The psychic force or faculty by which we remember 
and picture things and scenes; the law of our being which 
requires that sense-impressions should stimulate our thinking 
and feeling into action, and that symbols, woven by the 
picturing faculty out of these impressions, should then express 
these our thoughts and feelings; and the need we have, for 
the due awakening, discipline and supplementation of every 
kind and degree of experience and action, that social tradition, 
social environment, social succession should ever be before 
and around and after our sing1e lives: correspond to and 
demand the Institutional and Historical Element of Religion. 
This element is as strictly necessary as are that force and 
that law. 
Yet if this force and need of the soul, and this religious 
element are allowed to emasculate the other two primary 
soul-forces and needs and the religious elements corresponding 
to them, it win inevitably degenerate into more or less of a 
Superstition,-an oppressive materialization and dangerous 
would-be absolute fixation of even quite secondary and tem- 
porary expressions and analyses of religion; a ruinous belief 
in the direct transferableness of religious conviction; and a 
predominance of political, legal, physically coercive concepts 
and practices with regard to those most interior, strong yet 



388 THE MYSTIGAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


delicate, readily thwarted or weakened, springs of all moral 
and religious character,-spiritual sincerity and spontaneity 
and the liberty of the children of God. We thus get too 
great a preponderance of the U Objective," of Law and Thing, 
as against Conviction and Person; of Priest as against Pro- 
phet; of the movement from without inwards, as against the 
movements from within outwards. 
The Spanish Inquisition we found to be probably the most 
stliking example and warning here. Yet the Eastern Christian 
Churches have doubtless exhibited these symptoms, if less 
acutely, yet more extensively and persistently. And the 
Protestant Reformation-Movement, (even in the later lives 
of its protagonists, Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin,) much of 
orthodox Lutheranism and Calvinism, and some forms and 
phases of Anglican Highchurchism and of Scotch Presby- 
terianism, show various degrees and forms of a similar one- 
sidedness. In Judaism the excesses in the Priestly type of 
Old Testament religion, especially as traceable after the Exile, 
and their partial continuation in Rabbinism, furnish other, 
instructive instances of such more or less partial growth,- 
the Pharisees and the Jerusalem Sanhedrin being here the 
funest representatives of the spirit in question. The classical 
Heathen Roman religion was, throughout, too Naturalistic 
for its, all but exclusive, externalism and legalism to be felt 
as seriously oppressive of any other, considerable element 
of that religion. And much the same could doubtless be 
said of Indian Brahmanism to this day. But in orthodox 
110hammedanism we get the truly classical instance of such 
a predominanc
, in an its imposing strength and terrible, 
because all but irremediable, weakness-with its utterly 
unanalytic, unspeculative, unmystical, thing-like, rock-solid 
faith; its detailed rigidity and exhaustive fixity; its stringent 
unity of organization and military spirit of entirely blind 
obedience; its direct, quite unambiguous intolerance, and 
ever ready appeal to the sword, as the normal and chief 
instrument for the propagation of the spirit; and its entirely 
inadequate apprehension of man's need of purification and 
regeneration in all his untutored loves, fears, hopes and 
hates. 
(2) Then there is the soul-force by which we analyze and 
synthesize, and the law of our being which requires us to 
weigh, compare, combine, transfer, or ignore the details and 
the evidential worth of what has been brought home to us 



THE THREE ELEMENTS OF RELIGION 389 


through the stimulation of our senses, by our picturing 
faculty and memory, and by means of our Social, Histori- 
cal, and Institutional environment, and which orders us to 
harmonize all these findings into as much as may be of an 
intelligible whole of religion, and to integrate this religious 
whole within some kind of, at least rough, general conception 
as to our entire life's experience. And this force and law 
are answered by the Critical-Historical and Synthetic- 
Philosophical element of religion. We thus get Positive 
and Dogmatic Theology. And this element is as humanly 
inevitable and religiously necessary as is that soul-force and 
law. 
Yet here again, if this force, law, and element are allowed 
superciliously to ignore, or violently to explain away, the 
other kinds of approaches and contributions to religious 
truth and experience, special to the other two soul-forces and 
religious elements, we shall get another destructive one- 
sidedness, a Rationalistic Fanaticism, only too often followed 
by a lengthy Agnosticism and Indifference. Whilst the 
Rationalist Fanaticism lasts, everything will doubtless appear 
clear and simple to the soul, but then this U everything" will 
but represent the merest skimmings upon the face of the 
mighty deep of living, complete religion,-a petty, artificial 
arrangement by the human mind of the little which, there 
and then, it can easily harmonize into a whole, or even 
simply a direct hypostatizing of the mind's own bare 
categories. 
The worship of the Goddess of Reason at Notre-Dame of 
Paris we found to be here, perhaps, the n10st striking instance. 
Yet Rationalist excesses, varying from a cold Deism down to 
an ever short-lived formal Atheism, and the lassitude of a 
worldly-wise Indifferentism, are traceable within all the great 
religions. Thus a large proportion of the educated members 
of the ancient Greco-Roman world were, from the Sophists 
and the Second Punic War onward, stricken \vith such a 
blight. The Sadducees are typical of this tendency among 
the Jews for some two centuries. The tough persistence of 
a mostly obscure current of destructive free-thought through- 
out Western Europe in the Middle Ages shows well the 
difficulty and importance of a mental and spiritual victory 
over these forces of radical negation, and of not simply 
driving them beneath the surface of society. And the ready 
lapse of the most daring and intense of the Medieval, Jewish 



390 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 
and Christian, Scholastics into a thoroughly Pantheistic 
Panlogism, points to the prevalence, among these circles, of 
a certain tyranny of the abstractive and logical faculty over 
the other powers and intimations of the soul.-Unitarianism 
again is, in its origins and older form, notwithstanding its 
even excessive anti-Pantheism, strongly Scholastic in its 
whole temper and method, and this without the important 
correctives and supplementations brought to that method by 
the largely Mystical and Immanental Angel of the Schools. 
The greater part of the It Aufklärung" -Movement was vitiated 
by an often even severer, impoverishment of the whole 
conception of religion. And, in our day, the I...iberal move- 
ments within the various Christian bodies, and again among 
Brahmanic religionists in India, rarely escape altogether from 
ignoring or explaining away the dark and toilsome aspects of 
life, and the inevitable excess of all deep reality, and indeed 
of our very experience of it, above our clear, methodical, 
intellectual analysis and synthesis of it. Too often and for 
too long all such groups have inclined to assimilate all 
Experience to clear Knowledge, all clear Knowledge to 
Physico-Mathematical Science, all Religion to Ethics, and 
all Ethics to a simple belief in the ultimacy of Determinist, 
Atomistic Science. The situation is decidedly improving 
now; History and Culture are being found to have other, 
more ultimate categories, than are those of 
lathematics and 
Physics, and to bring us a larger amount of reality, and 
Ethics and Religion are discovered to be as truly distinct as 
they are closely allied and necessary, each to the deepest 
development of the other. 
(3) The faculty and action of the soul, finally, by which we 
have an however dim yet direct and (in its general effects) 
immensely potent, sense and feeling, an immediate experience 
of Objective Reality, of the Infinite and Abiding, of a Spirit 
not all unlike yet distinct from our own, Which penetrates 
and works \vithin these our finite spirits and in the world 
at large, especially in human history; and by which we 
will, and give a definite result and expression to, our various 
memories, thinkings, feelings, and intuitions, as \vaked up 
by their various special stimulants and by the influence of 
each upon all the others; is met by the Mystical and the 
directly Operative element of Religion. And here again we 
ha ve a force and law of the human spirit, and a corresponding 
element t)f religion, which can indeed be starved or driven 



THE THREE ELEMENTS OF RELIGION 391 


into a most dangerous isolation and revolt, but which are 
simply indestructible. . 
The Apocalyptic Orgies of the Münster Anabaptists we 
found to be perhaps the most striking illustration of the dire 
mischief that can spring from this third group of elemental 
soul-forces, when they ignore or dominate the other two. 
Yet some such Emotional Fanaticism can be traced, in 
various degrees and forms, throughout all such religious 
groups, schools, and individuals as seriously attempt to 
practise Pure Mysticism,-that is, religious Intuition and 
Emotion unchecked by the other two soul-forces and religious 
elements, or by the alternation of external action and careful 
contact with human Society and its needs and helps, Art and 
Science, and the rest. 
Thus we find that, after the immense, luxuriant prevalence 
of an intensely intuitive, emotional, tumultuously various 
apprehension and manifestation of religion during the first 
two generations of Christians, and even after the deep, wise 
supplementation and spiritualization of this element by 
St. Paul, who in his own person so strikingly combined the 
Institutional, Rational and Intuitive-Emotional forces and 
elements, this whole force and element rapidly all but dis- 
appeared for long from Western Christian orthodoxy. And 
Montanism in stil1 early times, and, during the very height 
of the Middle Ages, the Walden sian and Albigensian move- 
ments-all predominantly intuitive, enthusiastic, individualist 
-appear as so many revolutionary explosions, threatening 
the whole fabric of Christendom with dissolution. The 
U Eternal Gospel" movement of Abbot Joachim, on the 
other hand, gives us the intuitional-emotive element in a 
more purified, institutionally and rationally supplemented 
form. 
Again we find that, for a while, in reaction from an an 
but hopelessly corrupt civilization, the Fathers of the Desert 
attained in many cases, by means of an all but Exclusive 
Mysticism, to a type of sanctity and to the inculcation of 
a lesson which the Church has gratefully recognized. We 
have to admit that many of the Italian, French and Spanish 
Quietists of the seventeenth century were no doubt exces- 
sively, or even quite unjustly, suspected or pursued, as far at 
least as their own personal motives and the effect of their 
doctrines upon their own characters were concerned: and that 
the general reaction against even the proved, grave excesses 



392 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


of some of these men and women, went often dangerously far 
in the contrary direction. Indeed even the fierce fanaticism 
of the Dutch-Westphalian Apocalyptic Intuitionists can but 
excuse, not justify, the policy of quite indiscriminately ruthless 
extern1Ínation pursued by Luther, Zwingli and Calvin, and by 
their official churches after their deaths, towards any and all 
Illuminism, however ethically pure and socially operative. 
The U Society of Friends" which, measured by the smallness 
of its numbers, has given to the world an astonishingly large 
band of devoted lovers of humankind, is a living witness to 
the possibility of such an Illuminism. 
And we can note how the sane and solid, deep and delicate 
constituents, which had existed, mixed up with all kinds of 
fantastic, often hysterical and anti-moral exaltations, within 
most of those all but purely Intuitionist circles, gradually 
found their escape away into all sorts of unlikely quarters, 
helping to give much of their interiority and religious warmth, 
not only to various, now fairly sober-minded, Nonconformist 
Protestant bodies on the Continent, in EngJand and America, 
but also to the more religious-tempered and more spiritually 
perceptive among modern philosophers-such as Spinoza, 
Kant, Fichte, Schleiermacher, Schelling and Fechner. 
Within the Jewish world, we get much of this element at 
its noblest and at its worst, in the true and false Prophets 
respectively; then among the Essenes, for the times between 
the 
iaccabean resistance and the revolt of Bar Cochba; and 
later on in the Kabbala. The Mohammedans still furnish the 
example of the Sufi-movement. The Classical Heathen worJd 
produced the Neo-Platonist and the Mithraic movements; 
and we can still study, as a living thing, the Buddhist 
Mysticism of Thibet. 
We have then, here too, something thoroughly elementaJ, 
which requires both persistent operative recognition and a 
continuous and profound purification and supplementation 
by becoming incorporated within a large living system of 
all the fundamental forces of the soul, each operating and 
operated upon according to the intrinsic nature and legitimate 
range of each. 
2. Each element double; endless cOl1zbinations and conflicts. 
We have also found that these three forces and elements 
are each double, and that collisions, but also most fruitful 
interactions, can and do obtain between even these yoke- 
fellows: between Institutionalism and History,-the Present 



THE THREE ELE1\iENTS OF RELIGION 393 


and the Past, a direct Sense-Impression and Picture and a 
Memory; between Criticism and Construction,-Analysis 
and acuteness of mind, and Synthesis and richness and balance 
of imagination, head, heart, and will; and between Mysticism 
and Action, as respectively Intuitive and quiescent and 
Volitional and effortful. 
And both the three forces and elements as a whole, and the 
single members of each pair, can and do appear in every 
possibJe variety of combination with, and of opposition against, 
the others, although there is a special affinity between the 
Critical-Speculative- and the Intuitive-Volitional pairs (in 
combination against the Sense-and-1\iemory pair); between 
the Sense-and-Memory pair and the single member of Action; 
and between the single members of Speculation and of 
Intuition. Yet, ultimately, not anyone pair or member can 
bear its fullest fruit, without the aid of all the others; and 
there is not one that, in actual human nature, does not tend 
to emasculate, or to oust as much as possible from the soul, 
the other pairs or single members. 
3. Our entire religious activity but one element of our comPlete 
sPirit-l1fe. 
And we have noted further, how even the fullest develop- 
ment in anyone soul of all these three couples of specifically 
religious activities-even supposing that they could be 
developed to their fullest, without any participation in and 
conflict with other degrees and kinds of life and reality--do 
not, by any means, exhaust the range of even the simplest 
soul's actual energizings. 
(I) For over and beyond the specifically religious life-though 
this, where genuine, is ever the deepest, the centrallife-every 
soul lives, and has to live, various other lives. And indeed- 
and this is the point which specially concerns religion-the 
soul cannot attain to its fullest possible spiritual development, 
without the vigorous specific action and differentiation of 
forces and functions of anot directly religious character, which 
will have to energize, each according to its own intrinsic 
nature, within the ever ampler, and ever more closely-knit, 
organization of the complete life of the soul. 
(2) And within this complete life, the three pairs of religious 
forces and elements each possess their own special affinities 
and antipathies for certain of the forces and elements which 
constitute the other, less central organizations of man's 
marvellously rich acti vi ty. The Historical- Institu tional 



394 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


element of Religion has necessarily a special affinity for, 
and borrows much of its form from, social, legal, political 
history and institutions of a general kind. The Critical- 
Speculative element of religion is necessarily cognate to, and 
in a state of interchange with, the general historical criticism 
and philosophical insight attained during the ages and 
amongst the races in which any particular religion is intel- 
lectually systematized. And the Mystical-Operative e]ement 
is necessarily influenced by, and largely utilizes the general 
emotive and volitional gifts and habits, peculiar to the various 
ages and peoples within which this double religious element 
is in operation. 
(3) It is thus abundantly clear how greatly a work so 
manifold in its means, and so harmonious in its end, requires, 
if it is to come to a considerable degree of realization, that 
single souls, and single classes and types of souls, should 
ha ve around them a large and varied Historical and 
Institutional, a Social life both of a specifically religious and 
of a general kind, and that, within this large ambit of the 
actualized religion of others and of the still largely potential 
religion of their own souls, they shall develop and be helped 
to realize their own deepest spiritual capacities and attrait. 
They will have to develop these special capabilities to the 
utmost degree compatible with some practice of the other 
chief elements of religion, with a continuous respect for and 
belief in the necessity of the other types of soul, and with a 
profound belief in, and love of, the full, organized community 
of all devoted souls, which builds up, and is built up by, all 
this variety in unity. The Kingdom of God, the Church, will 
thus be more and more found and made to be the means of 
an ever more distinct articulation, within an ever more fruitful 
interaction, of the various attraits, gifts, vocations, and types 
of souls which constitute its society. And these souls in 
return will, precisely by this their articulation within this 
ampler system, bring to this society an ever richer con ten t of 
variety in harmony, of action and warfare within an ever 
deeper fruitfulness and peace. 
4. Two conditions of the fruitfulness of the entire process. 
Yet even the simplest effort, within this innumerable 
sequence and simultaneity of activities, will lack the fullest 
truth and religious depth and fruitfulness, unless two expe- 
riences, convictions and motives are in operation throughout 
the whole, and penetrate its every part, as salt and yeast, 



THE THREE ELEThfENTS OF RELIGION 395 
atmosphere and light penetrate, and purify and preserve our 
physical food and bodily senses. 
The vivid, continuous sense that God, the Spirit upholding 
our poor little spirits, is the true originator and the true end 
of the whole movement, in all it may have of spiritual beauty, 
truth, goodness and vitality; that all the various levels and 
kinds of reality and action are, in whatever they have of 
worth, already immanently fitted to stimulate, supplement 
and purify each other by Him Who, an Infinite Spiritual 
Interiority Himself, gives thus to each one of us indefinite 
opportunities for actualizing our own degree and kind of 
spiritual possibility and ideal; and that He it is Who, however 
dimly yet directly, touches our souls and awakens them, in 
and through an those minor stimulations and apprehensions, 
to that noblest, incurable discontent with our own petty self 
and to that sense of and thirst for the Infinite and Abiding, 
whicharticula tesman' s deepest requirement and characteristic: 
this is the first experience and conviction, without which all 
life, and life's centre, religion, are flat and dreary, vain and 
philistine. 
And the second conviction is the continuous sense of the 
ever necessary, ever fruitful, ever bliss-producing Cross of 
Ghrist-the great law and fact that only through self- 
renunciation and suffering can the soul win its true self, its 
ê..biding joy in union with the Source of Life, with God Who 
has left to us, human souls, the choice between two things 
alone: the noble pangs of spiritual child-birth, of painful- 
joyous expansion and growth; and the shameful ache of 
spiritual death, of dreary contraction and decay. 
Now it is especially these two, ever primary and supreme, 
ever deepest and simplest yet most easily forgotten, bracing 
yet costing, supremely virile truths and experiences-facts 
which increasingly can and ever should waken up, and 
themselves be vivified by, all the other activities and gifts 
of God which we have studied-these two eyes of religion 
and twin pulse-beats of its very heart, that have been realized, 
with magnificent persistence and intensity, by the greatest 
of the Inclusive Mystics. 
And amongst these Mystics, Caterinetta Fiesca Adorna, 
the Saint of Genoa, has appeared to us as one who, in spite 
of not a little obscurity and uncertainty and vagueness in the 
historical evidences for her life and teaching, of not a few 
limitations of natural character and of opportunity, and of 



396 THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT OF RELIGION 


several peculiarities which, wonderful to her entourage, can but 
perplex or repel us now, shines forth, in precisely these two 
central matters, with a penetrating attractiveness, rarely 
matched, hardly surpassed, by Saints and Heroes of far more 
varied, humorous, readily understandable, massive gifts and 
actions. And these very limits and defects of her natural 
character and opportunities, of her contemporary disciples 
and later panegyrists, and of our means for studying and 
ascertaining the facts and precise value of the life she lived, 
and of the legend which it occasioned, may, we can hope, but 
help to give a richer articulation and wider applicability to 
our study of the character and necessity, the limits, dangers 
and helpfulness of the Mystic Element of Religion. 



INDEX 


(Some corrections of mistakes in names and references, as given in the foregoing work, 
have been silently eDected In the following Index) 


I. OF SUBJECT-MATTERS 


ABELARD, I. 61 
Absorptions of St. Catherine. I. 226-229 
Acarie, Madame, I. 89 
Acquasola, Genoa, I. 144, 1...5 n. I, 168 
Action (reflex), its three elements, I. 57-58 
Adomi Family, I. 96, 101, 102 
- various, I. 102. 145 n. I, 151. 153-155, 
173, 300, 3 2 7, 377 
Adorno, Giuliano, I. 101, 102, 103, 138, 145 n. 
I, 149, 153, 173, 187, 225, 296, 297 n. I, 
300, 3 0 7, 3 08 . 3 0 9, 311, 313, 325 n. I, 377, 
378, 379, 3 8 2, 3 86 . 3 88 . 394, 454, 455; II. 
29. 74 
- he becomes a Tertiary of the Order of 
St. Francis, I. 130 
- his bankruptcy, I. 128-129 
- character, I. 102 
- conversion, I. 129 
- his death, I. 149-156, 379 
- his illness, I. 149 n. I 
- his life in the little house within the 
Hospital, I. 129-131 
- his monument, I. 297 n. I 
- his natural daughter, I. 129 
- his will, 1.151-152,378-379 
- moves into the Hospital, I. 141, 142 
- sells his palace, I. 148 n. I 
Adorno Palazzo. I. 108. 128. 148.327,377.379. 
4 0 3 
Aeschylus, II. 189. 271 
Afer, Victorinus, I. 266 n. 3 
Affinities, burnan, furthered by Mysticism, II. 
33 1 -335 
After-life beliefs. in Asiatic countries, II. 183- 
185 
- in Greece, II. 185-189 
- of the Jews, II. 189-191 
- problems, ethico-practical difficulties of, 
II. 197-199 
- - historical difficulties of, II. 182-194 
- - philosophical difficulties of, II. 194- 
197 
After-life. its forecasts in St. Catherine, II. 
200-2 0 3 
- Plato's influence on them, II. 203-211 
Agnosticism (Mystical), criticism of, II. 287- 
29 6 
Agrigentum, II. 188 
Aix, Cathedral of, and triptyche, 1.96 
Akiba, Rabbi, II. 233, 268, 292 
Alacoque, St. Marie Marguerite. II. 42. 56. S8 
Albigensian movement, 11.391 
Alcantara, St. Peter of, II. 143 
Alexander VI. Pope (Borgia), I. 95 
- VII, Pope (Chigi). II. 168 n. I 
Alexandrian School. I. 61 
Alfred. King, II. 44 


Aloysius. St. Gonzaga, I. 88 
Alvarez, Venerable Balthazar, S.J., I. 6... 
Ambrosian Library, Milan. I. 411 n. I. 466 
America, II. 370, 392 
Amos, II. 189, 268 
Anabaptists, I. 9, 63; II. 391 
- their orgies. I. 10, 340; II. 391 
Anaxagoras, I. 12 
Andrew, Monastery of St., Genoa, I. 325 n 2 
Andrewes, Anglican Bp. Lancelot, I. 63 
Angelica Library, Rome, I. 411 n. I 
Angelo, Castel 5.. Rome, I. 327 
- of Chiavasso, Blessed, O.S.F., I. 116 
Anglican Highchurchism, II. 63, 388 
Anglicanism, its three elements, I. 8, 9, 63 
Anguisola, Donna Andronica, I. 359, 361. 363. 
3 6 4, 4 0 3, 4 1 3, 4 1 6 
Animal-life, St. Catherine's sympathy with, I. 
163, 16 4 
Anjou, Charles I. of, I. 96 
- Margaret of, I. 96 
- René of, King of Naples, I. 96 
Annunciation, Church of the, Sturla, I. 451 
Annunziata in Portorio, Church of Sma., 
Genoa, I. 9 8 n. I (!o)'J!, 130. 201 n. 3, 297 n. I 
313, 325 n. I 
- Monastery of, 1.319,325 
Annunziata, Piazza della Sma.. Genoa. I. 102 
Anselm, St., Archbishop. I. 78; II. 142, 181 
Anthony, St., I. 373 
Antiochene School, I. 61 
Antiochus Epiphanes. II. 292 
Antonietta (servant). I. 149, 153, 226 
Apocalypse, II. 269 
Apollo Katharsios, 11.93 
Apostles, I. 27, 389 
Apprehension, Mystical, no distinct faculty of. 
11.283-284 
Arc, Jeanne d', St., 11.47 
Archives, Archiepiscopal, of Genoa, I. 411 n. I 
- of the Cathedral Chapter, Genoa, I. 38... 
Archivio di Sta10 in Genoa, I. 153 n. I, 172, 
176 n. I, 2, 378 n. I, 379 n. I. 381 n. I, 
203 n. I, 213; II. 10 n. I 
Argentina, del Sale (de Ripalta), I. I.4,9, 151, 
162 n. 2 ( 16 3), 169-171, 173, 175, 197 n. 4 
(198), 210 n. I, 213 n. I, 215-219, 223, 226, 
297 n. I, 29 8 , 299, 367, 310-312, 313, 314, 
3 8 7-3 8 9, 402, 452, 453, 464; II. 4, 26 
- adopted by St. Catherine, I. 170, 171 
- her fate, I. 3 1 3, 314 
- much alone with St. Catherine in 1510, 
she helps on growth of legends, I. 203; II. 
26, 197 n. 4 (19 8 ), 203, 209, 210 n. I. 219. 
"'5 2 , 453; II. 4 
- wills of, I. 313 381 
Arias, Francisco. sl. I. 89 
397 



39 8 


Aristotle, I. 7, 19. 20. 21, 22, 23, 41, 42; II. 
13 1 , 13 2 , 194. 203, 249, 250. 252. 264, 310. 
3 I1 , 3 12 , 3 20 , 3 2 4, 379 
- his conception of .. Unmoving Energy." 
II. 131, 132, 250 
- - of the Noûs, II. 32 
- - of God as sheer abstract Thought. 
II. 251 
- his general doctrine, I. 19-23 
Arnold, Dr. Thomas, of Rugby, 1.63 
AI'S, Cure d', St. }. B. Vianney, II. 143 
Arvenza, on the Riviera, I. 318 
Asceticism and Mystical abstractiveness, II. 
34 8 -349 
- ordinary and social Christianity, 11.355- 
358 
- ordinary. as practised by Mystics, II. 
34 1 -343 
Asia Minor, II. 188 
Assyria, II. 185 
Atman, II. 183 
Augsburg, David of, O.S.F., II. 363 
Augustine, St.. I. 61, 100; II. II7. 129, 131, 
142, 205, 211, 212, 213. 214, 215, 261. 266 
n 3, 270, 282, 298, 380 
- on Evil as negative, II. 293 
- on fire of Hell. II. 216 
- on mitigation of sufferings of the Lost. 
II. 225 
- on Purgatory, II. 216, 217 
- on soul's Rest between death and resur- 
rection, II. 211, 212 
- on Original Sin, 11.298-301 
- on God and the soul as out of Space. II. 
212,213 
- on Time and Eternity, II. 165 n., 248 
Augustinian Canonesses, I. 103 n. I; II. 62 
- Canons, I. 103 n. I 
Augustinianesses. Chapel of the, Genoa, I. 
109, 170 
A vicebron, see Gebirol Ibn 
Avicenna, II. 317 
A vignon exile, I. 94 
Azzolini, Cardinal, I. 305 
- dei Manfredi. cavaliere, I. 99 n. 
BABYLONIA, II. 185 
Bacon, Francis, 11.369 
Baius. condemnation of, II. 242 
Balilla, via, Genoa, I. 129 
Ballerini, Father Antonio, S.}., I. 121 
Bar Cochba, revolt of. 11.392 
Barnabites, I. 340 
Baronius, Cardinal, I. 318 
Basil, St., II. 166 
Beethoven, L. von, II. 27, 42. 265 
Beguards, II. 131 n. I 
Bellannine, Blessed Cardinal R., S.}., I. 88 
Bell Huomo, G., S.J., II. 144 
Benedetta Lombarda, servant, I. 13 0 , 149, 153, 
172, 176, 226, 311, 312, 3 1 7, 379 
Benedict XIV, Pope (Lambertini). I. 136, 253 
- St., I. 104, 127, 240, 460 
Benedictines. I. 63. 64. 103 n. I. 373; II. 161. 
3 6 3 
Bentham, Jeremy, II. 272 
Bergson, Henri, Professor. II. 247, 282, 370 
Bernard, St., of Clairvaux, 1. 7, 61, 69; II. 
142, 182 
- Claude, II. 192 
Bernières-Louvigny, Jean de. II. 141 
Bernouilli, Dr. C. A., I. 373 
BeruBe, Venerable Cardinal de l 1.88, 317 
Bible, Catherine's love of the. .258 


INDEX 


Biographies, religious, the three attitudes 
possible concerning, I. 374-375 
Biography, religious. laws regulating its 
growth, I. 371 
Bismarck, Otto von, 11.272 
Bliss, its" pain "-element, II. 255 
Blondel, Prof. Maurice, II. 282 
Body, Catherine's view concerning it, and the 
elements of this view, II. 123-126 
- dualistic view concerning it. ever only 
pragmatic, II. 126-129 
- dualistic view, un-Catholic, II. 126, 127 
- its valuation in the N. T., II. 122-123 
Boerio, Maestro G. B., I. 200, 201 n.