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The Varieties of Religious Experience

by William James

August, 1996  [Etext #621]

Project Gutenberg Etext of The Varieties of Religious Experience
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A Study in Human Nature




Introduction: the course is not anthropological, but deals with
personal documents-- Questions of fact and questions of value--
In point of fact, the religious are often neurotic-- Criticism of
medical materialism, which condemns religion on that account--
Theory that religion has a sexual origin refuted-- All states of
mind are neurally conditioned-- Their significance must be tested
not by their origin but by the value of their fruits-- Three
criteria of value; origin useless as a criterion-- Advantages of
the psychopathic temperament when a superior intellect goes with
it-- especially for the religious life.

Futility of simple definitions of religion-- No one specific
"religious sentiment"-- Institutional and personal religion-- We
confine ourselves to the personal branch-- Definition of religion
for the purpose of these lectures-- Meaning of the term
"divine"-- The divine is what prompts SOLEMN reactions--
Impossible to make our definitions sharp-- We must study the more
extreme cases-- Two ways of accepting the universe-- Religion is
more enthusiastic than philosophy-- Its characteristic is
enthusiasm in solemn emotion-- Its ability to overcome
unhappiness-- Need of such a faculty from the biological point of

Percepts versus abstract concepts-- Influence of the latter on
belief-- Kant's theological Ideas-- We have a sense of reality
other than that given by the special senses-- Examples of "sense
of presence"-- The feeling of unreality-- Sense of a divine
presence: examples-- Mystical experiences: examples-- Other cases
of sense of God's presence-- Convincingness of unreasoned
experience-- Inferiority of rationalism in establishing belief--
Either enthusiasm or solemnity may preponderate in the religious
attitude of individuals.

Happiness is man's chief concern-- "Once-born" and "twice-born"
characters-- Walt Whitman-- Mixed nature of Greek feeling--
Systematic healthy-mindedness-- Its reasonableness-- Liberal
Christianity shows it-- Optimism as encouraged by Popular
Science-- The "Mind-cure" movement-- Its creed-- Cases-- Its
doctrine of evil-- Its analogy to Lutheran theology-- Salvation
by relaxation-- Its methods: suggestion-- meditation--
"recollection"-- verification-- Diversity of possible schemes of
adaptation to the universe-- APPENDIX: TWO mind-cure cases.

Healthy-mindedness and repentance-- Essential pluralism of the
healthy-minded philosophy-- Morbid-mindedness: its two
degrees--The pain-threshold varies in individuals-- Insecurity of
natural goods-- Failure, or vain success of every life--
Pessimism of all pure naturalism-- Hopelessness of Greek and
Roman view-- Pathological unhappiness-- "Anhedonia"-- Querulous
melancholy-- Vital zest is a pure gift-- Loss of it makes
physical world look different-- Tolstoy-- Bunyan-- Alline--
Morbid fear-- Such cases need a supernatural religion for
relief-- Antagonism of healthy-mindedness and morbidness-- The
problem of evil cannot be escaped.

Heterogeneous personality--Character gradually attains
unity--Examples of divided self--The unity attained need not be
religious--"Counter conversion" cases--Other cases--Gradual and
sudden unification--Tolstoy's recovery--Bunyan's.

Case of Stephen Bradley--The psychology of character-changes--
Emotional excitements make new centres of personal energy--
Schematic ways of representing this-- Starbuck likens conversion
to normal moral ripening-- Leuba's ideas-- Seemingly
unconvertible persons-- Two types of conversion-- Subconscious
incubation of motives-- Self-surrender-- Its importance in
religious history-- Cases.

Cases of sudden conversion-- Is suddenness essential?-- No, it
depends on psychological idiosyncrasy-- Proved existence of
transmarginal, or subliminal, consciousness-- "Automatisms"--
Instantaneous conversions seem due to the possession of an active
subconscious self by the subject-- The value of conversion
depends not on the process, but on the fruits-- These are not
superior in sudden conversion-- Professor Coe's views--
Sanctification as a result-- Our psychological account does not
exclude direct presence of the Deity-- Sense of higher control--
Relations of the emotional "faith-state" to intellectual
beliefs-- Leuba quoted-- Characteristics of the faith-state:
sense of truth; the world appears new-- Sensory and motor
automatisms-- Permanency of conversions.

Sainte-Beuve on the State of Grace-- Types of character as due to
the balance of impulses and inhibitions-- Sovereign excitements--
Irascibility-- Effects of higher excitement in general-- The
saintly life is ruled by spiritual excitement-- This may annul
sensual impulses permanently-- Probable subconscious influences
involved-- Mechanical scheme for representing permanent
alteration in character-- Characteristics of saintliness-- Sense
of reality of a higher power-- Peace of mind, charity--
Equanimity, fortitude, etc.-- Connection of this with
relaxation-- Purity of life-- Asceticism-- Obedience-- Poverty--
The sentiments of democracy and of humanity-- General effects of
higher excitements.

It must be tested by the human value of its fruits-- The reality
of the God must, however, also be judged-- "Unfit" religions get
eliminated by "experience"-- Empiricism is not skepticism--
Individual and tribal religion-- Loneliness of religious
originators-- Corruption follows success-- Extravagances--
Excessive devoutness, as fanaticism-- As theopathic absorption--
Excessive purity-- Excessive charity-- The perfect man is adapted
only to the perfect environment-- Saints are leavens-- Excesses
of asceticism---- Asceticism symbolically stands for the heroic
life-- Militarism and voluntary poverty as possible equivalents--
Pros and cons of the saintly character-- Saints versus "strong"
men-- Their social function must be considered-- Abstractly the
saint is the highest type, but in the present environment it may
fail, so we make ourselves saints at our peril-- The question of
theological truth.

Mysticism defined-- Four marks of mystic states-- They form a
distinct region of consciousness-- Examples of their lower
grades-- Mysticism and alcohol-- "The anaesthetic revelation"--
Religious mysticism-- Aspects of Nature-- Consciousness of God--
"Cosmic consciousness"-- Yoga-- Buddhistic mysticism-- Sufism--
Christian mystics-- Their sense of revelation-- Tonic effects of
mystic states-- They describe by negatives-- Sense of union with
the Absolute-- Mysticism and music-- Three conclusions-- (1)
Mystical states carry authority for him who has them-- (2) But
for no one else-- (3) Nevertheless, they break down the exclusive
authority of rationalistic states-- They strengthen monistic and
optimistic hypotheses.

Primacy of feeling in religion, philosophy being a secondary
function-- Intellectualism professes to escape objective
standards in her theological constructions-- "Dogmatic
theology"-- Criticism of its account of God's attributes--
"Pragmatism" as a test of the value of conceptions-- God's
metaphysical attributes have no practical significance-- His
moral attributes are proved by bad arguments; collapse of
systematic theology-- Does transcendental idealism fare better?
Its principles-- Quotations from John Caird-- They are good as
restatements of religious experience, but uncoercive as reasoned
proof-- What philosophy CAN do for religion by transforming
herself into "science of religions."

Aesthetic elements in religion--Contrast of Catholicism and
Protestantism-- Sacrifice and Confession-- Prayer-- Religion
holds that spiritual work is really effected in prayer-- Three
degrees of opinion as to what is effected-- First degree-- 
Second degree--  Third degree--  Automatisms, their frequency
among religious leaders-- Jewish cases-- Mohammed-- Joseph
Smith-- Religion and the subconscious region in general.

Summary of religious characteristics-- Men's religions need not
be identical-- "The science of religions" can only suggest, not
proclaims a religious creed-- Is religion a "survival" of
primitive thought?-- Modern science rules out the concept of
personality-- Anthropomorphism and belief in the personal
characterized pre-scientific thought-- Personal forces are real,
in spite of this-- Scientific objects are abstractions, only
individualized experiences are concrete-- Religion holds by the
concrete-- Primarily religion is a biological reaction-- Its
simplest terms are an uneasiness and a deliverance; description
of the deliverance-- Question of the reality of the higher
power-- The author's hypotheses: 1. The subconscious self as
intermediating between nature and the higher region-- 2. The
higher region, or "God"-- 3. He produces real effects in nature.

Philosophic position of the present work defined as piecemeal
supernaturalism-- Criticism of universalistic supernaturalism--
Different principles must occasion differences in fact-- What
differences in fact can God's existence occasion?-- The question
of immortality-- Question of God's uniqueness and infinity:
religious experience does not settle this question in the
affirmative-- The pluralistic hypothesis is more conformed to
common sense.


This book would never have been written had I not been honored
with an appointment as Gifford Lecturer on Natural Religion at
the University of Edinburgh.  In casting about me for subjects of
the two courses of ten lectures each for which I thus became
responsible, it seemed to me that the first course might well be
a descriptive one on "Man's Religious Appetites," and the second
a metaphysical one on "Their Satisfaction through Philosophy."   
But the unexpected growth of the psychological matter as I came
to write it out has resulted in the second subject being
postponed entirely, and the description of man's religious
constitution now fills the twenty lectures.  In Lecture XX I have
suggested rather than stated my own philosophic conclusions, and
the reader who desires immediately to know them should turn to 
pages 501-509, and to the "Postscript" of the book. I hope to be
able at some later day to express them in more explicit form.

In my belief that a large acquaintance with particulars often
makes us wiser than the possession of abstract formulas, however
deep, I have loaded the lectures with concrete examples, and I
have chosen these among the extremer expressions of the religious
temperament.  To some readers I may consequently seem, before
they get beyond the middle of the book, to offer a caricature of
the subject.  Such convulsions of piety, they will say, are not
sane.  If, however, they will have the patience to read to the
end, I believe that this unfavorable impression will disappear;
for I there combine the religious impulses with other principles
of common sense which serve as correctives of exaggeration, and
allow the individual reader to draw as moderate conclusions as he

My thanks for help in writing these lectures are due to Edwin D.
Starbuck, of Stanford University, who made over to me his large
collection of manuscript material; to Henry W. Rankin, of East
Northfield, a friend unseen but proved, to whom I owe precious
information; to Theodore Flournoy, of Geneva, to Canning Schiller
of Oxford, and to my colleague Benjamin Rand, for documents; to
my colleague Dickinson S. Miller, and to my friends, Thomas Wren
Ward, of New York, and Wincenty Lutoslawski, late of Cracow, for
important suggestions and advice.  Finally, to conversations with
the lamented Thomas Davidson and to the use of his books, at
Glenmore, above Keene Valley, I owe more obligations than I can
well express.      
Harvard University,
March, 1902.


Lecture I


It is with no small amount of trepidation that I take my place
behind this desk, and face this learned audience.  To us
Americans, the experience of receiving instruction from the
living voice, as well as from the books, of European scholars, is
very familiar.  At my own University of Harvard, not a winter
passes without its harvest, large or small, of lectures from
Scottish, English, French, or German representatives of the
science or literature of their respective countries whom we have
either induced to cross the ocean to address us, or captured on
the wing as they were visiting our land.  It seems the natural
thing for us to listen whilst the Europeans talk.  The contrary
habit, of talking whilst the Europeans listen, we have not yet
acquired; and in him who first makes the adventure it begets a
certain sense of apology being due for so presumptuous an act. 
Particularly must this be the case on a soil as sacred to the
American imagination as that of Edinburgh.  The glories of the
philosophic chair of this university were deeply impressed on my
imagination in boyhood.  Professor Fraser's Essays in Philosophy,
then just published, was the first philosophic book I ever looked
into, and I well remember the awestruck feeling I received from
the account of Sir William Hamilton's classroom therein
contained.  Hamilton's own lectures were the first philosophic
writings I ever forced myself to study, and after that I was
immersed in Dugald Stewart and Thomas Brown.  Such juvenile
emotions of reverence never get outgrown; and I confess that to
find my humble self promoted from my native wilderness to be
actually for the time an official here, and transmuted into a
colleague of these illustrious names, carries with it a sense of
dreamland quite as much as of reality.

But since I have received the honor of this appointment I have
felt that it would never do to decline.  The academic career also
has its heroic obligations, so I stand here without further
deprecatory words.  Let me say only this, that now that the
current, here and at Aberdeen, has begun to run from west to
east, I hope it may continue to do so.  As the years go by, I
hope that many of my countrymen may be asked to lecture in the
Scottish universities, changing places with Scotsmen lecturing in
the United States; I hope that our people may become in all these
higher matters even as one people; and that the peculiar
philosophic temperament, as well as the peculiar political
temperament, that goes with our English speech may more and more
pervade and influence the world.

As regards the manner in which I shall have to administer this
lectureship, I am neither a theologian, nor a scholar learned in
the history of religions, nor an anthropologist.  Psychology is
the only branch of learning in which I am particularly versed. 
To the psychologist the religious propensities of man must be at
least as interesting as any other of the facts pertaining to his
mental constitution.  It would seem, therefore, that, as a
psychologist, the natural thing for me would be to invite you to
a descriptive survey of those religious propensities.

If the inquiry be psychological, not religious institutions, but
rather religious feelings and religious impulses must be its
subject, and I must confine myself to those more developed
subjective phenomena recorded in literature produced by
articulate and fully self-conscious men, in works of piety and
autobiography.  Interesting as the origins and early stages of a
subject always are, yet when one seeks earnestly for its full
significance, one must always look to its more completely evolved
and perfect forms.  It follows from this that the documents that
will most concern us will be those of the men who were most
accomplished in the religious life and best able to give an
intelligible account of their ideas and motives.  These men, of
course, are either comparatively modern writers, or else such
earlier ones as have become religious classics.  The documents
humains which we shall find most instructive need not then be
sought for in the haunts of special erudition--they lie along the
beaten highway; and this circumstance, which flows so naturally
from the character of our problem, suits admirably also your
lecturer's lack of special theological learning. I may take
my citations, my sentences and paragraphs of personal confession,
from books that most of you at some time will have had already in
your hands, and yet this will be no detriment to the value of my
conclusions.  It is true that some more adventurous reader and
investigator, lecturing here in future, may unearth from the
shelves of libraries documents that will make a more delectable
and curious entertainment to listen to than mine.  Yet I doubt
whether he will necessarily, by his control of so much more
out-of-the-way material, get much closer to the essence of the
matter in hand.

The question, What are the religious propensities?  and the
question, What is their philosophic significance?  are two
entirely different orders of question from the logical point of
view; and, as a failure to recognize this fact distinctly may
breed confusion, I wish to insist upon the point a little before
we enter into the documents and materials to which I have

In recent books on logic, distinction is made between two orders
of inquiry concerning anything.  First, what is the nature of it?
how did it come about?  what is its constitution, origin, and
history?  And second, What is its importance, meaning, or
significance, now that it is once here? The answer to the one
question is given in an existential judgment or proposition.  The
answer to the other is a proposition of value, what the Germans
call a Werthurtheil, or what we may, if we like, denominate a
spiritual judgment.  Neither judgment can be deduced immediately
from the other.  They proceed from diverse intellectual
preoccupations, and the mind combines them only by making them
first separately, and then adding them together.

In the matter of religions it is particularly easy to distinguish
the two orders of question.  Every religious phenomenon has its
history and its derivation from natural antecedents.  What is
nowadays called the higher criticism of the Bible is only a study
of the Bible from this existential point of view, neglected too
much by the earlier church.  Under just what biographic
conditions did the sacred writers bring forth their various
contributions to the holy volume?  And what had they exactly in
their several individual minds, when they delivered their
utterances?  These are manifestly questions of historical fact,
and one does not see how the answer to them can decide offhand
the still further question: of what use should such a volume,
with its manner of coming into existence so defined, be to us as
a guide to life and a revelation?  To answer this other question
we must have already in our mind some sort of a general theory as
to what the peculiarities in a thing should be which give it
value for purposes of revelation; and this theory itself would be
what I just called a spiritual judgment.  Combining it with our
existential judgment, we might indeed deduce another spiritual
judgment as to the Bible's worth.  Thus if our theory of
revelation-value were to affirm that any book, to possess it,
must have been composed automatically or not by the free caprice
of the writer, or that it must exhibit no scientific and historic
errors and express no local or personal passions, the Bible would
probably fare ill at our hands.  But if, on the other hand, our
theory should allow that a book may well be a revelation in spite
of errors and passions and deliberate human composition, if only
it be a true record of the inner experiences of great-souled
persons wrestling with the crises of their fate, then the verdict
would be much more favorable.  You see that the existential facts
by themselves are insufficient for determining the value; and the
best adepts of the higher criticism accordingly never confound
the existential with the spiritual problem.  With the same
conclusions of fact before them, some take one view, and some
another, of the Bible's value as a revelation, according as their
spiritual judgment as to the foundation of values differs.

I make these general remarks about the two sorts of judgment,
because there are many religious persons--some of you now
present, possibly, are among them--who do not yet make a working
use of the distinction, and who may therefore feel first a little
startled at the purely existential point of view from which in
the following lectures the phenomena of religious experience must
be considered.  When I handle them biologically and
psychologically as if they were mere curious facts of individual
history, some of you may think it a degradation of so sublime a
subject, and may even suspect me, until my purpose gets more
fully expressed, of deliberately seeking to discredit the
religious side of life.

Such a result is of course absolutely alien to my intention; and
since such a prejudice on your part would seriously obstruct the
due effect of much of what I have to relate, I will devote a few
more words to the point.

There can be no doubt that as a matter of fact a religious life,
exclusively pursued, does tend to make the person exceptional and
eccentric.  I speak not now of your ordinary religious believer,
who follows the conventional observances of his country, whether
it be Buddhist, Christian, or Mohammedan.  His religion has been
made for him by others, communicated to him by tradition,
determined to fixed forms by imitation, and retained by habit. 
It would profit us little to study this second-hand religious
life.  We must make search rather for the original experiences
which were the pattern-setters to all this mass of suggested
feeling and imitated conduct.  These experiences we can only find
in individuals for whom religion exists not as a dull habit, but
as an acute fever rather.  But such individuals are "geniuses" in
the religious line; and like many other geniuses who have brought
forth fruits effective enough for commemoration in the pages of
biography, such religious geniuses have often shown symptoms of
nervous instability.  Even more perhaps than other kinds of
genius, religious leaders have been subject to abnormal psychical
visitations.  Invariably they have been creatures of exalted
emotional sensibility.  Often they have led a discordant inner
life, and had melancholy during a part of their career.  They
have known no measure, been liable to obsessions and fixed ideas;
and frequently they have fallen into trances, heard voices, seen
visions, and presented all sorts of peculiarities which are
ordinarily classed as pathological.  Often, moreover, these
pathological features in their career have helped to give them
their religious authority and influence.

If you ask for a concrete example, there can be no better one
than is furnished by the person of George Fox.  The Quaker
religion which he founded is something which it is impossible to
overpraise.  In a day of shams, it was a religion of veracity
rooted in spiritual inwardness, and a return to something more
like the original gospel truth than men had ever known in
England.  So far as our Christian sects today are evolving into
liberality, they are simply reverting in essence to the position
which Fox and the early Quakers so long ago assumed.  No one can
pretend for a moment that in point of spiritual sagacity and
capacity, Fox's mind was unsound.  Everyone who confronted him
personally, from Oliver Cromwell down to county magistrates and
jailers, seems to have acknowledged his superior power.  Yet from
the point of view of his nervous constitution, Fox was a
psychopath or detraque of the deepest dye.  His Journal abounds
in entries of this sort:--

"As I was walking with several friends, I lifted up my head and
saw three steeple-house spires, and they struck at my life.  I
asked them what place that was?  They said, Lichfield. 
Immediately the word of the Lord came to me, that I must go
thither.  Being come to the house we were going to, I wished the
friends to walk into the house, saying nothing to them of whither
I was to go.  As soon as they were gone I stept away, and went by
my eye over hedge and ditch till I came within a mile of
Lichfield where, in a great field, shepherds were keeping their
sheep.  Then was I commanded by the Lord to pull off my shoes.  I
stood still, for it was winter: but the word of the Lord was like
a fire in me.  So I put off my shoes and left them with the
shepherds; and the poor shepherds trembled, and were astonished.
Then I walked on about a mile, and as soon as I was got within
the city, the word of the Lord came to me again, saying: Cry, 'Wo
to the bloody city of Lichfield!' So I went up and down the
streets, crying with a loud voice, Wo to the bloody city of
Lichfield!  It being market day, I went into the market-place,
and to and fro in the several parts of it, and made stands,
crying as before, Wo to the bloody city of Lichfield!  And no one
laid hands on me.  As I went thus crying through the streets,
there seemed to me to be a channel of blood running down the
streets, and the market-place appeared like a pool of blood. When
I had declared what was upon me, and felt myself clear, I went
out of the town in peace; and returning to the shepherds gave
them some money, and took my shoes of them again.  But the fire
of the Lord was so on my feet, and all over me, that I did not
matter to put on my shoes again, and was at a stand whether I
should or no, till I felt freedom from the Lord so to do: then,
after I had washed my feet, I put on my shoes again. After this a
deep consideration came upon me, for what reason I should be sent
to cry against that city, and call it The bloody city!  For
though the parliament had the minister one while, and the king
another, and much blood had been shed in the town during the wars
between them, yet there was no more than had befallen many other
places.  But afterwards I came to understand, that in the Emperor
Diocletian's time a thousand Christians were martyr'd in
Lichfield.  So I was to go, without my shoes, through the
channel of their blood, and into the pool of their blood in the
market-place, that I might raise up the memorial of the blood of
those martyrs, which had been shed above a thousand years before,
and lay cold in their streets.  So the sense of this blood was
upon me, and I obeyed the word of the Lord."

Bent as we are on studying religion's existential conditions, we
cannot possibly ignore these pathological aspects of the subject.

We must describe and name them just as if they occurred in
non-religious men.  It is true that we instinctively recoil from
seeing an object to which our emotions and affections are
committed handled by the intellect as any other object is
handled.  The first thing the intellect does with an object is to
class it along with something else.  But any object that is
infinitely important to us and awakens our devotion feels to us
also as if it must be sui generis and unique.  Probably a crab
would be filled with a sense of personal outrage if it could hear
us class it without ado or apology as a crustacean, and thus
dispose of it.  "I am no such thing, it would say; I am MYSELF,
MYSELF alone.

The next thing the intellect does is to lay bare the causes in
which the thing originates.  Spinoza says: "I will analyze the
actions and appetites of men as if it were a question of lines,
of planes, and of solids."  And elsewhere he remarks that he
will consider our passions and their properties with the same eye
with which he looks on all other natural things, since the
consequences of our affections flow from their nature with the
same necessity as it results from the nature of a triangle that
its three angles should be equal to two right angles.  Similarly
M. Taine, in the introduction to his history of English
literature, has written: "Whether facts be moral or physical, it
makes no matter.  They always have their causes.  There are
causes for ambition, courage, veracity, just as there are for
digestion, muscular movement, animal heat.  Vice and virtue are
products like vitriol and sugar."  When we read such
proclamations of the intellect bent on showing the existential
conditions of absolutely everything, we feel--quite apart from
our legitimate impatience at the somewhat ridiculous swagger of
the program, in view of what the authors are actually able to
perform--menaced and negated in the springs of our innermost
life.  Such cold-blooded assimilations threaten, we think, to
undo our soul's vital secrets, as if the same breath which should
succeed in explaining their origin would simultaneously explain
away their significance, and make them appear of no more
preciousness, either, than the useful groceries of which M. Taine

Perhaps the commonest expression of this assumption that
spiritual value is undone if lowly origin be asserted is seen in
those comments which unsentimental people so often pass on their
more sentimental acquaintances.  Alfred believes in immortality
so strongly because his temperament is so emotional.  Fanny's
extraordinary conscientiousness is merely a matter of
overinstigated nerves.  William's melancholy about the universe
is due to bad digestion--probably his liver is torpid.  Eliza's
delight in her church is a symptom of her hysterical
constitution.  Peter would be less troubled about his soul if he
would take more exercise in the open air, etc.  A more fully
developed example of the same kind of reasoning is the fashion,
quite common nowadays among certain writers, of criticizing the
religious emotions by showing a connection between them and the
sexual life.  Conversion is a crisis of puberty and adolescence. 
The macerations of saints, and the devotion of missionaries, are
only instances of the parental instinct of self-sacrifice gone
astray.  For the hysterical nun, starving for natural life,
Christ is but an imaginary substitute for a more earthly object
of affection. And the like.[1]

[1]  As with many ideas that float in the air of one's time, this
notion shrinks from dogmatic general statement and expresses
itself only partially and by innuendo.  It seems to me that few
conceptions are less instructive than this re-interpretation of
religion as perverted sexuality.  It reminds one, so crudely is
it often employed, of the famous Catholic taunt, that the
Reformation may be best understood by remembering that its fons
et origo was Luther's wish to marry a nun:--the effects are
infinitely wider than the alleged causes, and for the most part
opposite in nature.  It is true that in the vast collection of
religious phenomena, some are undisguisedly amatory--e.g.,
sex-deities and obscene rites in polytheism, and ecstatic
feelings of union with the Savior in a few Christian mystics. 
But then why not equally call religion an aberration of the
digestive function, and prove one's point by the worship of
Bacchus and Ceres, or by the ecstatic feelings of some other
saints about the Eucharist?  Religious language clothes itself in
such poor symbols as our life affords, and the whole organism
gives overtones of comment whenever the mind is strongly stirred
to expression.  Language drawn from eating and drinking is
probably as common in religious literature as is language drawn
from the sexual life.  We "hunger and thirst" after
righteousness; we "find the Lord a sweet savor;" we "taste and
see that he is good."  "Spiritual milk for American babes, drawn
from the breasts of both testaments," is a sub-title of the once
famous New England Primer, and Christian devotional literature
indeed quite floats in milk, thought of from the point of view,
not of the mother, but of the greedy babe.

Saint Francois de Sales, for instance, thus describes the "orison
of quietude":  "In this state the soul is like a little child
still at the breast, whose mother to caress him whilst he is
still in her arms makes her milk distill into his mouth without
his even moving his lips.  So it is here. . . . Our Lord desires
that our will should be satisfied with sucking the milk which His
Majesty pours into our mouth, and that we should relish the
sweetness without even knowing that it cometh from the Lord."   
And again:  "Consider the little infants, united and joined to
the breasts of their nursing mothers you will see that from time
to time they press themselves closer by little starts to which
the pleasure of sucking prompts them.  Even so, during its
orison, the heart united to its God oftentimes makes attempts at
closer union by movements during which it presses closer upon the
divine sweetness."  Chemin de la Perfection, ch. xxxi.; Amour de
Dieu, vii. ch. i.

In fact, one might almost as well interpret religion as a
perversion of the respiratory function.  The Bible is full of the
language of respiratory oppression:  "Hide not thine ear at my
breathing; my groaning is not hid from thee; my heart panteth, my
strength faileth me; my bones are hot with my roaring all the
night long; as the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so my
soul panteth after thee, O my God:"  God's Breath in Man is the
title of the chief work of our best known American mystic (Thomas
Lake Harris), and in certain non-Christian countries the
foundation of all religious discipline consists in regulation of
the inspiration and expiration.

These arguments are as good as much of the reasoning one hears in
favor of the sexual theory.  But the champions of the latter will
then say that their chief argument has no analogue elsewhere. 
The two main phenomena of religion, namely, melancholy and
conversion, they will say, are essentially phenomena of
adolescence, and therefore synchronous with the development of
sexual life.  To which the retort again is easy.  Even were the
asserted synchrony unrestrictedly true as a fact (which it is
not), it is not only the sexual life, but the entire higher
mental life which awakens during adolescence.  One might then as
well set up the thesis that the interest in mechanics, physics,
chemistry, logic, philosophy, and sociology, which springs up
during adolescent years along with that in poetry and religion,
is also a perversion of the sexual instinct:--but that would be
too absurd.  Moreover, if the argument from synchrony is to
decide, what is to be done with the fact that the religious age
par excellence would seem to be old age, when the uproar of the
sexual life is past?

The plain truth is that to interpret religion one must in the end
look at the immediate content of the religious consciousness. 
The moment one does this, one sees how wholly disconnected it is
in the main from the content of the sexual consciousness. 
Everything about the two things differs, objects, moods,
faculties concerned, and acts impelled to.  Any GENERAL
assimilation is simply impossible: what we find most often is
complete hostility and contrast.  If now the defenders of the
sex-theory say that this makes no difference to their thesis;
that without the chemical contributions which the sex-organs make
to the blood, the brain would not be nourished so as to carry on
religious activities, this final proposition may be true or not
true; but at any rate it has become profoundly uninstructive: we
can deduce no consequences from it which help us to interpret
religion's meaning or value.  In this sense the religious life
depends just as much upon the spleen, the pancreas, and the
kidneys as on the sexual apparatus, and the whole theory has lost
its point in evaporating into a vague general assertion of the
dependence, SOMEHOW, of the mind upon the body.

We are surely all familiar in a general way with this method of
discrediting states of mind for which we have an antipathy.  We
all use it to some degree in criticizing persons whose states of
mind we regard as overstrained.  But when other people criticize
our own more exalted soul-flights by calling them 'nothing but'
expressions of our organic disposition, we feel outraged and
hurt, for we know that, whatever be our organism's peculiarities,
our mental states have their substantive value as revelations of
the living truth; and we wish that all this medical materialism
could be made to hold its tongue.

Medical materialism seems indeed a good appellation for the too
simple-minded system of thought which we are considering. 
Medical materialism finishes up Saint Paul by calling his vision
on the road to Damascus a discharging lesion of the occipital
cortex, he being an epileptic.  It snuffs out Saint Teresa as an
hysteric, Saint Francis of Assisi as an hereditary degenerate. 
George Fox's discontent with the shams of his age, and his pining
for spiritual veracity, it treats as a symptom of a disordered
colon.  Carlyle's organ-tones of misery it accounts for by a
gastro-duodenal catarrh.  All such mental overtensions, it says,
are, when you come to the bottom of the matter, mere affairs of
diathesis (auto-intoxications most probably), due to the
perverted action of various glands which physiology will yet
discover.  And medical materialism then thinks that the spiritual
authority of all such personages is successfully undermined.[2]

[2]  For a first-rate example of medical-materialist reasoning,
see an article on "les varietes du Type devot," by Dr. 
Binet-Sangle, in the Revue de l'Hypnotisme, xiv. 161.

Let us ourselves look at the matter in the largest possible way. 
Modern psychology, finding definite psycho-physical connections
to hold good, assumes as a convenient hypothesis that the
dependence of mental states upon bodily conditions must be
thoroughgoing and complete.  If we adopt the assumption, then of
course what medical materialism insists on must be true in a
general way, if not in every detail:  Saint Paul certainly had
once an epileptoid, if not an epileptic seizure; George Fox was
an hereditary degenerate; Carlyle was undoubtedly
auto-intoxicated by some organ or other, no matter which--and the
rest.  But now, I ask you, how can such an existential account of
facts of mental history decide in one way or another upon their
spiritual significance?  According to the general postulate of
psychology just referred to, there is not a single one of our
states of mind, high or low, healthy or morbid, that has not some
organic process as its condition.  Scientific theories are
organically conditioned just as much as religious emotions are;
and if we only knew the facts intimately enough, we should
doubtless see "the liver" determining the dicta of the sturdy
atheist as decisively as it does those of the Methodist under
conviction anxious about his soul.  When it alters in one way the
blood that percolates it, we get the methodist, when in another
way, we get the atheist form of mind.  So of all our raptures and
our drynesses, our longings and pantings, our questions and
beliefs.  They are equally organically founded, be they religious
or of non-religious content.

To plead the organic causation of a religious state of  mind,
then, in refutation of its claim to possess superior spiritual
value, is quite illogical and arbitrary, unless one has
already worked out in advance some psycho-physical theory
connecting spiritual values in general with determinate sorts of
physiological change.  Otherwise none of our thoughts and
feelings, not even our scientific doctrines, not even our
DIS-beliefs, could retain any value as revelations of the truth,
for every one of them without exception flows from the state of
its possessor's body at the time.

It is needless to say that medical materialism draws in point of
fact no such sweeping skeptical conclusion.  It is sure, just as
every simple man is sure, that some states of mind are inwardly
superior to others, and reveal to us more truth, and in this it
simply makes use of an ordinary spiritual judgment.  It has no
physiological theory of the production of these its favorite
states, by which it may accredit them; and its attempt to
discredit the states which it dislikes, by vaguely associating
them with nerves and liver, and connecting them with names
connoting bodily affliction, is altogether illogical and

Let us play fair in this whole matter, and be quite candid with
ourselves and with the facts.  When we think certain states of
mind superior to others, is it ever because of what we know
concerning their organic antecedents?  No! it is always for two
entirely different reasons.  It is either because we take an
immediate delight in them; or else it is because we believe them
to bring us good consequential fruits for life.  When we speak
disparagingly of "feverish fancies," surely the fever-process as
such is not the ground of our disesteem--for aught we know to the
contrary, 103 degrees or 104 degrees Fahrenheit might be a much
more favorable temperature for truths to germinate and sprout in,
than the more ordinary blood-heat of 97 or 98 degrees.  It is
either the disagreeableness itself of the fancies, or their
inability to bear the criticisms of the convalescent hour.  When
we praise the thoughts which health brings, health's peculiar
chemical metabolisms have nothing to do with determining our
judgment.  We know in fact almost nothing about these
metabolisms.  It is the character of inner happiness in the
thoughts which stamps them as good, or else their consistency
with our other opinions and their serviceability for our needs,
which make them pass for true in our esteem.

Now the more intrinsic and the more remote of these criteria do
not always hang together.  Inner happiness and serviceability do
not always agree.  What immediately feels most "good" is not
always most "true," when measured by the verdict of the rest of
experience.  The difference between Philip drunk and Philip sober
is the classic instance in corroboration.  If merely "feeling
good" could decide, drunkenness would be the supremely valid
human experience.  But its revelations, however acutely
satisfying at the moment, are inserted into an environment which
refuses to bear them out for any length of time.  The consequence
of this discrepancy of the two criteria is the uncertainty which
still prevails over so many of our spiritual judgments.  There
are moments of sentimental and mystical experience--we shall
hereafter hear much of them--that carry an enormous sense of
inner authority and illumination with them when they come.  But
they come seldom, and they do not come to everyone; and the rest
of life makes either no connection with them, or tends to
contradict them more than it confirms them.  Some persons follow
more the voice of the moment in these cases, some prefer to be
guided by the average results.  Hence the sad discordancy of so
many of the spiritual judgments of human beings; a discordancy
which will be brought home to us acutely enough before these
lectures end.

It is, however, a discordancy that can never be resolved by any
merely medical test.  A good example of the impossibility of
holding strictly to the medical tests is seen in the theory of
the pathological causation of genius promulgated by recent
authors.  "Genius," said Dr. Moreau, "is but one of the many
branches of the neuropathic tree."  "Genius," says Dr. Lombroso,
"is a symptom of hereditary degeneration of the epileptoid
variety, and is allied to moral insanity."   "Whenever a man's
life," writes Mr. Nisbet, "is at once sufficiently illustrious
and recorded with sufficient fullness to be a subject of
profitable study, he inevitably falls into the morbid category. .
. .  And it is worthy of remark that, as a rule, the greater the
genius, the greater the unsoundness."[3]

[3]  J. F. Nisbet:  The Insanity of Genius, 3d ed., London, 1893,
pp. xvi., xxiv.

Now do these authors, after having succeeded in establishing to
their own satisfaction that the works of genius are fruits of
disease, consistently proceed thereupon to impugn the VALUE of
the fruits?  Do they deduce a new spiritual judgment from their
new doctrine of existential conditions? Do they frankly forbid us
to admire the productions of genius from now onwards?  and say
outright that no neuropath can ever be a revealer of new truth?

No! their immediate spiritual instincts are too strong for them
here, and hold their own against inferences which, in mere love
of logical consistency, medical materialism ought to be only too
glad to draw.  One disciple of the school, indeed, has striven to
impugn the value of works of genius in a wholesale way (such
works of contemporary art, namely, as he himself is unable to
enjoy, and they are many) by using medical arguments.[4]  But for
the most part the masterpieces are left unchallenged; and the
medical line of attack either confines itself to such secular
productions as everyone admits to be intrinsically eccentric, or
else addresses itself exclusively to religious manifestations. 
And then it is because the religious manifestations have been
already condemned because the critic dislikes them on internal or
spiritual grounds.

[4]  Max Nordau, in his bulky book entitled Degeneration.

In the natural sciences and industrial arts it never occurs to
anyone to try to refute opinions by showing up their author's
neurotic constitution.  Opinions here are invariably tested by
logic and by experiment, no matter what may be their author's
neurological type.  It should be no otherwise with religious
opinions.  Their value can only be ascertained by spiritual
judgments directly passed upon them, judgments based on our own
immediate feeling primarily; and secondarily on what we can
ascertain of their experiential relations to our moral needs and
to the rest of what we hold as true.

Immediate luminousness, in short, philosophical reasonableness,
and moral helpfulness are the only available criteria. Saint
Teresa might have had the nervous system of the placidest cow,
and it would not now save her theology, if the trial of the
theology by these other tests should show it to be contemptible. 
And conversely if her theology can stand these other tests, it
will make no difference how hysterical or nervously off her
balance Saint Teresa may have been when she was with us here

You see that at bottom we are thrown back upon the general
principles by which the empirical philosophy has always contended
that we must be guided in our search for truth.  Dogmatic
philosophies have sought for tests for truth which might dispense
us from appealing to the future. Some direct mark, by noting
which we can be protected immediately and absolutely, now and
forever, against all mistake--such has been the darling dream of
philosophic dogmatists.  It is clear that the ORIGIN of the truth
would be an admirable criterion of this sort, if only the various
origins could be discriminated from one another from this 
point of view, and the history of dogmatic opinion shows that
origin has always been a favorite test.  Origin in immediate
intuition; origin in pontifical authority; origin in supernatural
revelation, as by vision, hearing, or unaccountable impression;
origin in direct possession by a higher spirit, expressing itself
in prophecy and warning; origin in automatic utterance
generally--these origins have been stock warrants for the truth
of one opinion after another which we find represented in
religious history.  The medical materialists are therefore only
so many belated dogmatists, neatly turning the tables on their
predecessors by using the criterion of origin in a destructive
instead of an accreditive way.

They are effective with their talk of pathological origin only so
long as supernatural origin is pleaded by the other side, and
nothing but the argument from origin is under discussion.  But
the argument from origin has seldom been used alone, for it is
too obviously insufficient.  Dr. Maudsley is perhaps the
cleverest of the rebutters of supernatural religion on grounds of
origin.  Yet he finds himself forced to write:--

"What right have we to believe Nature under any obligation to do
her work by means of complete minds only?  She may find an
incomplete mind a more suitable instrument for a particular
purpose.  It is the work that is done, and the quality in the
worker by which it was done, that is alone of moment; and it may
be no great matter from a cosmical standpoint, if in other
qualities of character he was singularly defective--if indeed he
were hypocrite, adulterer, eccentric, or lunatic. . . .  Home we
come again, then, to the old and last resort of certitude--namely
the common assent of mankind, or of the competent by instruction
and training among mankind."[5]

[5]  H. Maudsley:  Natural Causes and Supernatural Seemings,
1886, pp. 256, 257.

In other words, not its origin, but THE WAY IN WHICH IT WORKS ON
THE WHOLE, is Dr. Maudsley's final test of a belief.  This is our
own empiricist criterion; and this criterion the stoutest
insisters on supernatural origin have also been forced to use in
the end.  Among the visions and messages some have always been
too patently silly, among the trances and convulsive seizures
some have been too fruitless for conduct and character, to pass
themselves off as significant, still less as divine.  In the
history of Christian mysticism the problem how to discriminate
between such messages and experiences as were really divine
miracles, and such others as the demon in his malice was able to
counterfeit, thus making the religious person twofold more the
child of hell he was before, has always been a difficult one to
solve, needing all the sagacity and experience of the best
directors of conscience.  In the end it had to come to our
empiricist criterion:  By their fruits ye shall know them, not by
their roots.  Jonathan Edwards's Treatise on Religious Affections
is an elaborate working out of this thesis.  The ROOTS of a man's
virtue are inaccessible to us.  No appearances whatever are
infallible proofs of grace.  Our practice is the only sure
evidence, even to ourselves, that we are genuinely Christians.

"In forming a judgment of ourselves now," Edwards writes, we
should certainly adopt that evidence which our supreme Judge will
chiefly make use of when we come to stand before him at the last
day. . . .  There is not one grace of the Spirit of God, of the
existence of which, in any professor of religion, Christian
practice is not the most decisive evidence. . . .  The degree in
which our experience is productive of practice shows the degree
in which our experience is spiritual and divine."

Catholic writers are equally emphatic.  The good dispositions
which a vision, or voice, or other apparent heavenly favor leave
behind them are the only marks by which we <22> may be sure they
are not possible deceptions of the tempter.  Says Saint Teresa:--

"Like imperfect sleep which, instead of giving more strength to
the head, doth but leave it the more exhausted, the result of
mere operations of the imagination is but to weaken the soul.
Instead of nourishment and energy she reaps only lassitude and
disgust:  whereas a genuine heavenly vision yields to her a
harvest of ineffable spiritual riches, and an admirable renewal
of bodily strength.  I alleged these reasons to those who so
often accused my visions of being the work of the enemy of
mankind and the sport of my imagination. . . .  I showed them the
jewels which the divine hand had left with me:--they were my
actual dispositions.  All those who knew me saw that I was
changed; my confessor bore witness to the fact; this improvement,
palpable in all respects, far from being hidden, was brilliantly
evident to all men.  As for myself, it was impossible to believe
that if the demon were its author, he could have used, in order
to lose me and lead me to hell, an expedient so contrary to his
own interests as that of uprooting my vices, and filling me with
masculine courage and other virtues instead, for I saw clearly
that a single one of these visions was enough to enrich me with
all that wealth."[6]

[6]  Autobiography, ch. xxviii.

I fear I may have made a longer excursus than was necessary, and
that fewer words would have dispelled the uneasiness which may
have arisen among some of you as I announced my pathological
programme.  At any rate you must all be ready now to judge the
religious life by its results exclusively, and I shall assume
that the bugaboo of morbid origin will scandalize your piety no

Still, you may ask me, if its results are to be the ground of our
final spiritual estimate of a religious phenomenon, why threaten
us at all with so much existential study of its conditions?  Why
not simply leave pathological questions out?

To this I reply in two ways.  First, I say, irrepressible
curiosity imperiously leads one on; and I say, secondly, that it
always leads to a better understanding of a thing's significance
to consider its exaggerations and perversions its equivalents and
substitutes and nearest relatives elsewhere.  Not that we may
thereby swamp the thing in the wholesale condemnation which we
pass on its inferior congeners, but rather that we may by
contrast ascertain the more precisely in what its merits consist,
by learning at the same time to what particular dangers of
corruption it may also be exposed.

Insane conditions have this advantage, that they isolate special
factors of the mental life, and enable us to inspect them
unmasked by their more usual surroundings.  They play the part in
mental anatomy which the scalpel and the microscope play in the
anatomy of the body.  To understand a thing rightly we need to
see it both out of its environment and in it, and to have
acquaintance with the whole range of its variations.  The study
of hallucinations has in this way been for psychologists the key
to their comprehension of normal sensation, that of illusions has
been the key to the right comprehension of perception.  Morbid
impulses and imperative conceptions, "fixed ideas," so called,
have thrown a flood of light on the psychology of the normal
will; and obsessions and delusions have performed the same
service for that of the normal faculty of belief.

Similarly, the nature of genius has been illuminated by the
attempts, of which I already made mention, to class it with
psychopathical phenomena.  Borderland insanity, crankiness,
insane temperament, loss of mental balance, psychopathic
degeneration (to use a few of the many synonyms by which it has
been called), has certain peculiarities and liabilities which,
when combined with a superior quality of intellect in an
individual, make it more probable that he will make his mark and
affect his age, than if his temperament were less neurotic. 
There is of course no special affinity between crankiness as such
and superior intellect,[7] for most psychopaths have feeble
intellects, and superior intellects more commonly have normal
nervous systems. But the psychopathic temperament, whatever be
the intellect with which it finds itself paired, often brings
with it ardor and excitability of character.  The cranky person
has extraordinary emotional susceptibility.  He
is liable to fixed ideas and obsessions.  His conceptions tend to
pass immediately into belief and action; and when he gets a new
idea, he has no rest till he proclaims it, or in some way "works
it off."  "What shall I think of it?" a common person says to
himself about a vexed question; but in a "cranky" mind "What must
I do about it?" is the form the question tends to take.  In the
autobiography of that high-souled woman, Mrs. Annie Besant, I
read the following passage:  "Plenty of people wish well to any
good cause, but very few care to exert themselves to help it, and
still fewer will risk anything in its support.  'Someone ought to
do it, but why should I?' is the ever reechoed phrase of
weak-kneed amiability. 'Someone ought to do it, so why not I?' is
the cry of some earnest servant of man, eagerly forward springing
to face some perilous duty.  Between these two sentences lie
whole centuries of moral evolution."  True enough! and between
these two sentences lie also the different destinies of the
ordinary sluggard and the psychopathic man.  Thus, when a
superior intellect and a psychopathic temperament coalesce--as in
the endless permutations and combinations of human faculty, they
are bound to coalesce often enough--in the same individual, we
have the best possible condition for the kind of effective genius
that gets into the <25> biographical dictionaries.  Such men do
not remain mere critics and understanders with their intellect. 
Their ideas possess them, they inflict them, for better or worse,
upon their companions or their age.  It is they who get counted
when Messrs. Lombroso, Nisbet, and others invoke statistics to
defend their paradox.

[7]  Superior intellect, as Professor Bain has admirably shown,
seems to consist in nothing so much as in a large development of
the faculty of association by similarity.

To pass now to religious phenomena, take the melancholy which, as
we shall see, constitutes an essential moment in every complete
religious evolution.  Take the happiness which achieved religious
belief confers.  Take the trancelike states of insight into truth
which all religious mystics report.[8]  These are each and all of
them special cases of kinds of human experience of much wider
scope.  Religious melancholy, whatever peculiarities it may have
qua religious, is at any rate melancholy.  Religious happiness is
happiness. Religious trance is trance.  And the moment we
renounce the absurd notion that a thing is exploded away as soon
as it is classed with others, or its origin is shown; the moment
we agree to stand by experimental results and inner quality, in
judging of values--who does not see that we are likely to
ascertain the distinctive significance of religious melancholy
and happiness, or of religious trances, far better by comparing
them as conscientiously as we can with other varieties of
melancholy, happiness, and trance, than by refusing to consider
their place in any more general series, and treating them as if
they were outside of nature's order altogether?

I hope that the course of these lectures will confirm us in this
supposition.  As regards the psychopathic origin of so many
religious phenomena, that would not be in the least surprising or
disconcerting, even were such phenomena certified from on high to
be the most precious of human experiences.  No one organism can
possibly yield to its owner the whole body of truth.  Few of us
are not in some way infirm, or even diseased; and our very
infirmities help us unexpectedly.  In the psychopathic
temperament we have the emotionality which is the sine qua non of
moral perception; we have the intensity and tendency to emphasis
which are the essence of practical moral vigor; and we have the
love of metaphysics and mysticism which carry one's interests
beyond the surface of the sensible world. What, then, is more
natural than that this temperament should introduce one to
regions of religious truth, to corners of the universe, which
your robust Philistine type of nervous system, forever offering
its biceps to be felt, thumping its breast, and thanking Heaven
that it hasn't a single morbid fiber in its composition, would be
sure to hide forever from its self-satisfied possessors?

[8]  I may refer to a criticism of the insanity theory of genius
in the Psychological Review, ii. 287 (1895).

If there were such a thing as inspiration from a higher realm, it
might well be that the neurotic temperament would furnish the
chief condition of the requisite receptivity. And having said
thus much, I think that I may let the matter of religion and
neuroticism drop.

The mass of collateral phenomena, morbid or healthy, with which
the various religious phenomena must be compared in order to
understand them better, forms what in the slang of pedagogics is
termed "the apperceiving mass" by which we comprehend them.  The
only novelty that I can imagine this course of lectures to
possess lies in the breadth of the apperceiving mass.  I may
succeed in discussing religious experiences in a wider context
than has been usual in university courses.

Lecture II


Most books on the philosophy of religion try to begin with a
precise definition of what its essence consists of.  Some of
these would-be definitions may possibly come before us in later
portions of this course, and I shall not be pedantic enough to
enumerate any of them to you now. Meanwhile the very fact that
they are so many and so different from one another is enough to
prove that the word "religion" cannot stand for any single
principle or essence, but is rather a collective name.  The
theorizing mind tends always to the oversimplification of its
materials.  This is the root of all that absolutism and one-sided
dogmatism by which both philosophy and religion have been
infested.  Let us not fall immediately into a one-sided view of
our subject, but let us rather admit freely at the outset that we
may very likely find no one essence, but many characters which
may alternately be equally important to religion.  If we should
inquire for the essence of "government," for example, one man
might tell us it was authority, another submission, an other
police, another an army, another an assembly, an other a system
of laws; yet all the while it would be true that no concrete
government can exist without all these things, one of which is
more important at one moment and others at another.  The man who
knows governments most completely is he who troubles himself
least about a definition which shall give their essence. 
Enjoying an intimate acquaintance with all their particularities
in turn, he would naturally regard an abstract conception in
which these were unified as a thing more misleading than
enlightening.  And why may not religion be a conception equally

[9]  I can do no better here than refer my readers to the
extended and admirable remarks on the futility of all these
definitions of religion, in an article by Professor Leuba,
published in the Monist for January, 1901, after my own text was

Consider also the "religious sentiment" which we see referred to
in so many books, as if it were a single sort of mental entity. 
In the psychologies and in the philosophies of religion, we find
the authors attempting to specify just what entity it is.  One
man allies it to the feeling of dependence; one makes it a
derivative from fear; others connect it with the sexual life;
others still identify it with the feeling of the infinite; and so
on.  Such different ways of conceiving it ought of themselves to
arouse doubt as to whether it possibly can be one specific thing;
and the moment we are willing to treat the term "religious
sentiment" as a collective name for the many sentiments which
religious objects may arouse in alternation, we see that it
probably contains nothing whatever of a psychologically specific
nature. There is religious fear, religious love, religious awe,
religious joy, and so forth.  But religious love is only man's
natural emotion of love directed to a religious object; religious
fear is only the ordinary fear of commerce, so to speak, the
common quaking of the human breast, in so far as the notion of
divine retribution may arouse it; religious awe is the same
organic thrill which we feel in a forest at twilight, or in a
mountain gorge; only this time it comes over us at the thought of
our supernatural relations; and similarly of all the various
sentiments which may be called into play in the lives of
religious persons.  As concrete states of mind, made up of a
feeling PLUS a specific sort of object, religious emotions of
course are psychic entities distinguishable from other concrete
emotions; but there is no ground for assuming a simple abstract
"religious emotion" to exist as a distinct elementary mental
affection by itself, present in every religious experience
without exception.

As there thus seems to be no one elementary religious emotion,
but only a common storehouse of emotions upon which religious
objects may draw, so there might conceivably also prove to he no
one specific and essential kind of religious object, and no one
specific and essential kind of religious act.

The field of religion being as wide as this, it is manifestly
impossible that I should pretend to cover it.  My lectures must
be limited to a fraction of the subject.  And, although it would
indeed be foolish to set up an abstract definition of religion's
essence, and then proceed to defend that definition against all
comers, yet this need not prevent me from taking my own narrow
view of what religion shall consist in FOR THE PURPOSE OF THESE
LECTURES, or, out of the many meanings of the word, from choosing
the one meaning in which I wish to interest you particularly, and
proclaiming arbitrarily that when I say "religion" I mean THAT. 
This, in fact, is what I must do, and I will now preliminarily
seek to mark out the field I choose.

One way to mark it out easily is to say what aspects of the
subject we leave out.  At the outset we are struck by one great
partition which divides the religious field.  On the one side of
it lies institutional, on the other personal religion. As M. P.
Sabatier says, one branch of religion keeps the divinity, another
keeps man most in view.  Worship and sacrifice, procedures for
working on the dispositions of the deity, theology and ceremony
and ecclesiastical organization, are the essentials of religion
in the institutional branch. Were we to limit our view to it, we
should have to define religion as an external art, the art of
winning the favor of the gods.  In the more personal branch of
religion it is on the contrary the inner dispositions of man
himself which form the center of interest, his conscience, his
deserts, his helplessness, his incompleteness.  And although the
favor of the God, as forfeited or gained, is still an essential
feature of the story, and theology plays a vital part therein,
yet the acts to which this sort of religion prompts are personal
not ritual acts, the individual transacts the business by himself
alone, and the ecclesiastical organization, with its priests and
sacraments and other go-betweens, sinks to an altogether
secondary place.  The relation goes direct from heart to heart,
from soul to soul, between man and his maker.

Now in these lectures I propose to ignore the institutional
branch entirely, to say nothing of the ecclesiastical
organization, to consider as little as possible the systematic
theology and the ideas about the gods themselves, and to confine
myself as far as I can to personal religion pure and simple.  To
some of you personal religion, thus nakedly considered, will no
doubt seem too incomplete a thing to wear the general name.  "It
is a part of religion," you will say, "but only its unorganized
rudiment; if we are to name it by itself, we had better call it
man's conscience or morality than his religion.  The name
'religion' should be reserved for the fully organized system of
feeling, thought, and institution, for the Church, in short, of
which this personal religion, so called, is but a fractional

But if you say this, it will only show the more plainly how much
the question of definition tends to become a dispute about names.

Rather than prolong such a dispute, I am willing to accept almost
any name for the personal religion of which I propose to treat. 
Call it conscience or morality, if you yourselves prefer, and not
religion--under either name it will be equally worthy of our
study.  As for myself, I think it will prove to contain some
elements which morality pure and simple does not contain, and
these elements I shall soon seek to point out; so I will myself
continue to apply the word "religion" to it; and in the last
lecture of all, I will bring in the theologies and the
ecclesiasticisms, and say something of its relation to them.

In one sense at least the personal religion will prove itself
more fundamental than either theology or ecclesiasticism.
Churches, when once established, live at second-hand upon
tradition; but the FOUNDERS of every church owed their power
originally to the fact of their direct personal communion with
the divine.  Not only the superhuman founders, the Christ, the
Buddha, Mahomet, but all the originators of Christian sects have
been in this case;--so personal religion should still seem the
primordial thing, even to those who continue to esteem it

There are, it is true, other things in religion chronologically
more primordial than personal devoutness in the moral sense. 
Fetishism and magic seem to have preceded inward piety
historically--at least our records of inward piety do not reach
back so far.  And if fetishism and magic be regarded as stages of
religion, one may say that personal religion in the inward sense
and the genuinely spiritual ecclesiasticisms which it founds are
phenomena of secondary or even tertiary order.  But, quite apart
from the fact that many anthropologists--for instance, Jevons and
Frazer --expressly oppose "religion" and "magic" to each other,
it is certain that the whole system of thought which leads to
magic, fetishism, and the lower superstitions may just as well be
called primitive science as called primitive religion. The
question thus becomes a verbal one again; and our knowledge of
all these early stages of thought and feeling is in any case so
conjectural and imperfect that farther discussion would not be
worth while.

Religion, therefore, as I now ask you arbitrarily to take it,
DIVINE.  Since the relation may be either moral, physical, or
ritual, it is evident that out of religion in the sense in which
we take it, theologies, philosophies, and ecclesiastical
organizations may secondarily grow.  In these lectures, however,
as I have already said, the immediate personal experiences will
amply fill our time, and we shall hardly consider theology or
ecclesiasticism at all.

We escape much controversial matter by this arbitrary definition
of our field.  But, still, a chance of controversy comes up over
the word "divine," if we take the definition in too narrow a
sense.  There are systems of thought which the world usually
calls religious, and yet which do not positively assume a God. 
Buddhism is in this case.  Popularly, of course, the Buddha
himself stands in place of a God; but in strictness the
Buddhistic system is atheistic.  Modern transcendental idealism,
Emersonianism, for instance, also seems to let God evaporate into
abstract Ideality.  Not a deity in concreto, not a superhuman
person, but the immanent divinity in things, the essentially
spiritual structure of the universe, is the object of the
transcendentalist cult.  In that address to the graduating class
at Divinity College in 1838 which made Emerson famous, the frank
expression of this worship of mere abstract laws was what made
the scandal of the performance.

"These laws," said the speaker, "execute themselves.  They are
out of time, out of space, and not subject to circumstance: 
Thus, in the soul of man there is a justice whose retributions
are instant and entire.  He who does a good deed is instantly
ennobled.  He who does a mean deed is by the action itself
contracted.  He who puts off impurity thereby puts on purity.  If
a man is at heart just, then in so far is he God; the safety of
God, the immortality of God, the majesty of God, do enter into
that man with justice.  If a man dissemble, deceive, he deceives
himself, and goes out of acquaintance with his own being. 
Character is always known.  Thefts never enrich; alms never
impoverish; murder will speak out of stone walls.  The least
admixture of a lie--for example, the taint of vanity, any attempt
to make a good impression, a favorable appearance--will instantly
vitiate the effect.  But speak the truth, and all things alive or
brute are vouchers, and the very roots of the grass underground
there do seem to stir and move to bear your witness.  For all
things proceed out of the same spirit, which is differently named
love, justice, temperance, in its different applications, just as
the ocean receives different names on the several shores which it
washes.  In so far as he roves from these ends, a man bereaves
himself of power, of auxiliaries.  His being shrinks .  . . he
becomes less and less, a mote, a point, until absolute badness is
absolute death.  The perception of this law awakens in the mind a
sentiment which we call the religious sentiment, and which makes
our highest happiness.  Wonderful is its power to charm and to
command.  It is a mountain air.  It is the embalmer of the world.

It makes the sky and the hills sublime, and the silent song of
the stars is it.  It is the beatitude of man.  It makes him
illimitable.  When he says 'I ought'; when love warns him; when
he chooses, warned from on high, the good and great deed; then,
deep melodies wander through his soul from supreme wisdom.  Then
he can worship, and be enlarged by his worship; for he can never
go behind this sentiment.  All the expressions of this sentiment
are sacred and permanent in proportion to their purity.  [They]
affect us more than all other compositions. The sentences of the
olden time, which ejaculate this piety, are still fresh and
fragrant.  And the unique impression of Jesus upon mankind, whose
name is not so much written as ploughed into the history of this
world, is proof of the subtle virtue of this infusion."[10]

[10] Miscellanies, 1868, p. 120 (abridged).

Such is the Emersonian religion.  The universe has a divine soul
of order, which soul is moral, being also the soul within the
soul of man.  But whether this soul of the universe be a mere
quality like the eye's brilliancy or the skin's softness, or
whether it be a self-conscious life like the eye's seeing or the
skin's feeling, is a decision that never unmistakably appears in
Emerson's pages.  It quivers on the boundary of these things,
sometimes leaning one way sometimes the other, to suit the
literary rather than the philosophic need.  Whatever it is,
though, it is active.  As much as if it were a God, we can trust
it to protect all ideal interests and keep the world's balance
straight.  The sentences in which Emerson, to the very end, gave
utterance to this faith are as fine as anything in literature: 
"If you love and serve men, you cannot by any hiding or stratagem
escape the remuneration.  Secret retributions are always
restoring the level, when disturbed, of the divine justice.  It
is impossible to tilt the beam.  All the tyrants and proprietors
and monopolists of the world in vain set their shoulders to heave
the bar.  Settles forevermore the ponderous equator to its line,
and man and mote, and star and sun, must range to it, or be
pulverized by the recoil."[11]

[11] Lectures and Biographical Sketches, 1868, p. 186.

Now it would be too absurd to say that the inner experiences that
underlie such expressions of faith as this and impel the writer
to their utterance are quite unworthy to be called religious
experiences.  The sort of appeal that Emersonian optimism, on the
one hand, and Buddhistic pessimism, on the other, make to the
individual and the son of response which he makes to them in his
life are in fact indistinguishable from, and in many respects
identical with, the best Christian appeal and response.  We must
therefore, from the experiential point of view, call these
godless or quasi-godless creeds "religions"; and accordingly when
in our definition of religion we speak of the individual's
relation to "what he considers the divine," we must interpret the
term "divine" very broadly, as denoting any object that is god-
LIKE, whether it be a concrete deity or not.  But the term
"godlike," if thus treated as a floating general quality, becomes
exceedingly vague, for many gods have flourished in religious
history, and their attributes have been discrepant enough.  What
then is that essentially godlike quality--be it embodied in a
concrete deity or not--our relation to which determines our
character as religious men?  It will repay us to seek some answer
to this question before we proceed farther.

For one thing, gods are conceived to be first things in the way
of being and power.  They overarch and envelop, and from them
there is no escape.  What relates to them is the first and last
word in the way of truth.  Whatever then were most primal and
enveloping and deeply true might at this rate be treated as
godlike, and a man's religion might thus be identified with his
attitude, whatever it might be, toward what he felt to be the
primal truth.

Such a definition as this would in a way be defensible. Religion,
whatever it is, is a man's total reaction upon life, so why not
say that any total reaction upon life is a religion? Total
reactions are different from casual reactions, and total
attitudes are different from usual or professional attitudes.  To
get at them you must go behind the foreground of existence and
reach down to that curious sense of the whole residual cosmos as
an everlasting presence, intimate or alien, terrible or amusing,
lovable or odious, which in some degree everyone possesses.  This
sense of the world's presence, appealing as it does to our
peculiar individual temperament, makes us either strenuous or
careless, devout or blasphemous, gloomy or exultant, about life
at large; and our reaction, involuntary and inarticulate and
often half unconscious as it is, is the completest of all our
answers to the question, "What is the character of this universe
in which we dwell?"  It expresses our individual sense of it in
the most definite way.  Why then not call these reactions our
religion, no matter what specific character they may have? 
Non-religious as some of these reactions may be, in one sense of
the word "religious," they yet belong to THE GENERAL SPHERE OF
THE RELIGIOUS LIFE, and so should generically be classed as
religious reactions.  "He believes in No-God, and he worships
him," said a colleague of mine of a student who was manifesting a
fine atheistic ardor; and the more fervent opponents of Christian
doctrine have often enough shown a temper which, psychologically
considered, is indistinguishable from religious zeal.

But so very broad a use of the word "religion" would be
inconvenient, however defensible it might remain on logical
grounds.  There are trifling, sneering attitudes even toward the
whole of life; and in some men these attitudes are final and
systematic.  It would strain the ordinary use of language too
much to call such attitudes religious, even though, from the
point of view of an unbiased critical philosophy, they might
conceivably be perfectly reasonable ways of looking upon life. 
Voltaire, for example, writes thus to a friend, at the age of
seventy-three:  "As for myself," he says, "weak as I am, I carry
on the war to the last moment, I get a hundred pike-thrusts, I
return two hundred, and I laugh.  I see near my door Geneva on
fire with quarrels over nothing, and I laugh again; and, thank
God, I can look upon the world as a farce even when it becomes as
tragic as it sometimes does. All comes out even at the end of the
day, and all comes out still more even when all the days are

Much as we may admire such a robust old gamecock spirit in a
valetudinarian, to call it a religious spirit would be odd.  Yet
it is for the moment Voltaire's reaction on the whole of life. 
Je me'n fiche is the vulgar French equivalent for our English
ejaculation "Who cares?"   And the happy term je me'n fichisme
recently has been invented to designate the systematic
determination not to take anything in <37> life too solemnly. 
"All is vanity" is the relieving word in all difficult crises for
this mode of thought, which that exquisite literary genius Renan
took pleasure, in his later days of sweet decay, in putting into
coquettishly sacrilegious forms which remain to us as excellent
expressions of the "all is vanity" state of mind.  Take the
following passage, for example--we must hold to duty, even
against the evidence, Renan says--but he then goes on:--

"There are many chances that the world may be nothing but a fairy
pantomime of which no God has care.  We must therefore arrange
ourselves so that on neither hypothesis we shall be completely
wrong.  We must listen to the superior voices, but in such a way
that if the second hypothesis were true we should not have been
too completely duped.  If in effect the world be not a serious
thing, it is the dogmatic people who will be the shallow ones,
and the worldly minded whom the theologians now call frivolous
will be those who are really wise.

"In utrumque paratus, then.  Be ready for anything--that perhaps
is wisdom.  Give ourselves up, according to the hour, to
confidence, to skepticism, to optimism, to irony and we may be
sure that at certain moments at least we shall be with the truth.
. . .  Good-humor is a philosophic state of mind; it seems to say
to Nature that we take her no more seriously than she takes us. 
I maintain that one should always talk of philosophy with a
smile.  We owe it to the Eternal to be virtuous but we have the
right to add to this tribute our irony as a sort of personal
reprisal.  In this way we return to the right quarter jest for
jest; we play the trick that has been played on us. Saint
Augustine's phrase:  Lord, if we arc deceived, it is by thee!
remains a fine one, well suited to our modern feeling.  Only we
wish the Eternal to know that if we accept the fraud, we accept
it knowingly and willingly.  We are resigned in advance to losing
the interest on our investments of virtue, but we wish not to
appear ridiculous by having counted on them too securely."[12]

[12] Feuilles detachees, pp. 394-398 (abridged).

Surely all the usual associations of the word "religion" would
have to be stripped away if such a systematic parti pris of irony
were also to be denoted by the name.  For common men "religion,"
whatever more special meanings it may have, signifies always a
SERIOUS state of mind.  If any one phrase could gather its
universal message, that phrase would be, "All is not vanity in
this Universe, whatever the appearances may suggest."  If it can
stop anything, religion as commonly apprehended can stop just
such chaffing talk as Renan's.  It favors gravity, not pertness;
it says "hush" to all vain chatter and smart wit.

But if hostile to light irony, religion is equally hostile to
heavy grumbling and complaint.  The world appears tragic enough
in some religions, but the tragedy is realized as purging, and a
way of deliverance is held to exist. We shall see enough of the
religious melancholy in a future lecture; but melancholy,
according to our ordinary use of language, forfeits all title to
be called religious when, in Marcus Aurelius's racy words, the
sufferer simply lies kicking and screaming after the fashion of a
sacrificed pig.  The mood of a Schopenhauer or a Nietzsche--and
in a less degree one may sometimes say the same of our own sad
Carlyle--though often an ennobling sadness, is almost as often
only peevishness running away with the bit between its teeth. 
The sallies of the two German authors remind one, half the time,
of the sick shriekings of two dying rats.  They lack the
purgatorial note which religious sadness gives forth.

There must be something solemn, serious, and tender about any
attitude which we denominate religious.  If glad, it must not
grin or snicker; if sad, it must not scream or curse.  It is
precisely as being SOLEMN experiences that I wish to interest you
in religious experiences.  So I propose--arbitrarily again, if
you please--to narrow our definition once more by saying that the
word "divine," as employed therein, shall mean for us not merely
the primal and enveloping and real, for that meaning if taken
without restriction might prove too broad.  The divine shall mean
for us only such a primal reality as the individual feels
impelled to respond to solemnly and gravely, and neither by a
curse nor a jest.

But solemnity, and gravity, and all such emotional attributes,
admit of various shades; and, do what we will with our defining,
the truth must at last be confronted that we are dealing with a
field of experience where there is not a single conception that
can be sharply drawn.  The pretension, under such conditions, to
be rigorously "scientific" or "exact" in our terms would only
stamp us as lacking in understanding of our task.  Things are
more or less divine, states of mind are more or less religious,
reactions are more or less total, but the boundaries are always
misty, and it is everywhere a question of amount and degree. 
Nevertheless, at their extreme of development, there can never be
any question as to what experiences are religious.  The divinity
of the object and the solemnity of the reaction are too well
marked for doubt.  Hesitation as to whether a state of mind is
"religious," or "irreligious," or "moral," or "philosophical," is
only likely to arise when the state of mind is weakly
characterized, but in that case it will be hardly worthy of our
study at all.  With states that can only by courtesy be called
religious we need have nothing to do, our only profitable
business being with what nobody can possibly feel tempted to call
anything else.  I said in my former lecture that we learn most
about a thing when we view it under a microscope, as it were, or
in its most exaggerated form.  This is as true of religious
phenomena as of any other kind of fact.  The only cases likely to
be profitable enough to repay our attention will therefore be
cases where the religious spirit is unmistakable and extreme. 
Its fainter manifestations we may tranquilly pass by.  Here, for
example, is the total reaction upon life of Frederick Locker
Lampson, whose autobiography, entitled  "Confidences," proves him
to have been a most amiable man.

"I am so far resigned to my lot that I feel small pain at the
thought of having to part from what has been called the pleasant
habit of existence, the sweet fable of life.  I would not care to
live my wasted life over again, and so to prolong my span. 
Strange to say, I have but little wish to be younger.  I submit
with a chill at my heart.  I humbly submit because it is the
Divine Will, and my appointed destiny.  I dread the increase of
infirmities that will make me a burden to those around me, those
dear to me.  No! let me slip away as quietly and comfortably as I
can.  Let the end come, if peace come with it.

"I do not know that there is a great deal to be said for this
world, or our sojourn here upon it; but it has pleased God so to
place us, and it must please me also.  I ask you, what is human
life?  Is not it a maimed happiness--care and weariness,
weariness and care, with the baseless expectation, the strange
cozenage of a brighter to-morrow?  At best it is but a froward
child, that must be played with and humored, to keep it quiet
till it falls asleep, and then the care is over."[13]

[13] Op. cit., pp. 314, 313.

This is a complex, a tender, a submissive, and a graceful state
of mind.  For myself, I should have no objection to calling it on
the whole a religious state of mind, although I dare say that to
many of you it may seem too listless and half-hearted to merit so
good a name.  But what matters it in the end whether we call such
a state of mind religious or not?  It is too insignificant for
our instruction in any case; and its very possessor wrote it down
in terms which he would not have used unless he had been thinking
of more energetically religious moods in others, with which he
found himself unable to compete.  It is with these more energetic
states that our sole business lies, and we can perfectly well
afford to let the minor notes and the uncertain border go.  It
was the extremer cases that I had in mind a little while ago
when I said that personal religion, even without theology or
ritual, would prove to embody some elements that morality pure
and simple does not contain.  You may remember that I promised
shortly to point out what those elements were.  In a general way
I can now say what I had in mind.

"I accept the universe" is reported to have been a favorite
utterance of our New England transcendentalist, Margaret Fuller;
and when some one repeated this phrase to Thomas Carlyle, his
sardonic comment is said to have been:  "Gad! she'd better!"  At
bottom the whole concern of both morality and religion is with
the manner of our acceptance of the universe.  Do we accept it
only in part and grudgingly, or heartily and altogether?  Shall
our protests against certain things in it be radical and
unforgiving, or shall we think that, even with evil, there are
ways of living that must lead to good?  If we accept the whole,
shall we do so as if stunned into submission--as Carlyle would
have us--"Gad! we'd better!"--or shall we do so with enthusiastic
assent?  Morality pure and simple accepts the law of the whole
which it finds reigning, so far as to acknowledge and obey it,
but it may obey it with the heaviest and coldest heart, and never
cease to feel it as a yoke.  But for religion, in its strong and
fully developed manifestations, the service of the highest never
is felt as a yoke.  Dull submission is left far behind, and a
mood of welcome, which may fill any place on the scale between
cheerful serenity and enthusiastic gladness, has taken its place.

It makes a tremendous emotional and practical difference to one
whether one accept the universe in the drab discolored way of
stoic resignation to necessity, or with the passionate happiness
of Christian saints.  The difference is as great as that between
passivity and activity, as that between the defensive and the
aggressive mood.  Gradual as are the steps by which an individual
may grow from one state into the other, many as are the
intermediate stages which different individuals represent, yet
when you place the typical extremes beside each other for
comparison, you feel that two discontinuous psychological
universes confront you, and that in passing from one to the other
a "critical point" has been overcome.

If we compare stoic with Christian ejaculations we see much more
than a difference of doctrine; rather is it a difference of
emotional mood that parts them.  When Marcus Aurelius reflects on
the eternal reason that has ordered things, there is a frosty
chill about his words which you rarely find in a Jewish, and
never in a Christian piece of religious writing.  The universe is
"accepted" by all these writers; but how devoid of passion or
exultation the spirit of the Roman Emperor is!  Compare his fine
sentence:  "If gods care not for me or my children, here is a
reason for it," with Job's cry:  "Though he slay me, yet will I
trust in him!" and you immediately see the difference I mean. 
The anima mundi, to whose disposal of his own personal destiny
the Stoic consents, is there to be respected and submitted to,
but the Christian God is there to be loved; and the difference of
emotional atmosphere is like that between an arctic climate and
the tropics, though the outcome in the way of accepting actual
conditions uncomplainingly may seem in abstract terms to be much
the same.

"It is a man's duty," says Marcus Aurelius, "to comfort himself
and wait for the natural dissolution, and not to be vexed, but to
find refreshment solely in these thoughts--first that nothing
will happen to me which is not conformable to the nature of the
universe; and secondly that I need do nothing contrary to the God
and deity within me; for there is no man who can compel me to
transgress.  He is an abscess on the universe who withdraws
and separates himself from the reason of our common nature,
through being displeased with the things which happen.  For the
same nature produces these, and has produced thee too.  And so
accept everything which happens, even if it seem disagreeable,
because it leads to this, the health of the universe and to the
prosperity and felicity of Zeus.  For he would not have brought
on any man what he has brought if it were not useful for the
whole.  The integrity of the whole is mutilated if thou cuttest
off anything.  And thou dost cut off, as far as it is in thy
power, when thou art dissatisfied, and in a manner triest to put
anything out of the way."[14]

[14] Book V., ch. ix. (abridged).

Compare now this mood with that of the old Christian author of
the Theologia Germanica:--

"Where men are enlightened with the true light, they renounce all
desire and choice, and commit and commend themselves and all
things to the eternal Goodness, so that every enlightened man
could say:  'I would fain be to the Eternal Goodness what his own
hand is to a man.'  Such men are in a state of freedom, because
they have lost the fear of pain or hell, and the hope of reward
or heaven, and are living in pure submission to the eternal
Goodness, in the perfect freedom of fervent love.  When a man
truly perceiveth and considereth himself, who and what he is, and
findeth himself utterly vile and wicked and unworthy, he falleth
into such a deep abasement that it seemeth to him reasonable that
all creatures in heaven and earth should rise up against him. 
And therefore he will not and dare not desire any consolation and
release; but he is willing to be unconsoled and unreleased; and
he doth not grieve over his sufferings, for they are right in his
eyes, and he hath nothing to say against them.  This is what is
meant by true repentance for sin; and he who in this present time
entereth into this hell, none may console him.  Now God hath not
forsaken a man in this hell, but He is laying his hand upon him,
that the man may not desire nor regard anything but the eternal
Good only.  And then, when the man neither careth for nor
desireth anything but the eternal Good alone, and seeketh not
himself nor his own things, but the honour of God only, he is
made a partaker of all manner of joy, bliss, peace, rest, and
consolation, and so the man is henceforth in the kingdom of
heaven.  This hell and this heaven are two good safe ways for a
man, and happy is he who truly findeth them."[15]

[15] Chaps. x., xi.  (abridged):  Winkworth's translation.

How much more active and positive the impulse of the Christian
writer to accept his place in the universe is! Marcus Aurelius
agrees TO the scheme--the German theologian agrees WITH it.  He
literally ABOUNDS in agreement, he runs out to embrace the divine

Occasionally, it is true, the stoic rises to something like a
Christian warmth of sentiment, as in the often quoted passage of
Marcus Aurelius:--

"Everything harmonizes with me which is harmonious to thee, O
Universe.  Nothing for me is too early nor too late, which is in
due time for thee.  Everything is fruit to me which thy seasons
bring, O Nature:  from thee are all things, in thee are all
things, to thee all things return.  The poet says, Dear City of
Cecrops; and wilt thou not say, Dear City of Zeus?"[16]

[16] Book IV., 523

But compare even as devout a passage as this with a genuine
Christian outpouring, and it seems a little cold. Turn, for
instance, to the Imitation of Christ:--

"Lord, thou knowest what is best; let this or that be according
as thou wilt.  Give what thou wilt, so much as thou wilt, when
thou wilt.  Do with me as thou knowest best, and as shall be most
to thine honour.  Place me where thou wilt, and freely work thy
will with me in all things. . . .  When could it be evil when
thou wert near?  I had rather be poor for thy sake than rich
without thee.  I choose rather to be a pilgrim upon the earth
with thee, than without thee to possess heaven.  Where thou art,
there is heaven; and where thou art not, behold there death and

[17] Benham's translation:  Book III., chaps.  xv., lix.  Compare
Mary Moody Emerson:  "Let me be a blot on this fair world, the
obscurest the loneliest sufferer, with one proviso--that I know
it is His agency.  I will love Him though He shed frost and
darkness on every way of mine."  R. W. Emerson:  Lectures and
Biographical Sketches, p. 188.

It is a good rule in physiology, when we are studying the meaning
of an organ, to ask after its most peculiar and characteristic
sort of performance, and to seek its office in that one of its
functions which no other organ can possibly exert.  Surely the
same maxim holds good in our present quest.  The essence of
religious experiences, the thing by which we finally must judge
them, must be that element or quality in them which we can meet
nowhere else.  And such a quality will be of course most
prominent and easy to notice in those religious experiences which
are most one-sided, exaggerated, and intense.

Now when we compare these intenser experiences with the
experiences of tamer minds, so cool and reasonable that we are
tempted to call them philosophical rather than religious, we find
a character that is perfectly distinct.  That character, it seems
to me, should be regarded as the practically important
differentia of religion for our purpose; and just what it is can
easily be brought out by comparing the mind of an abstractly
conceived Christian with that of a moralist similarly conceived.

A life is manly, stoical, moral, or philosophical, we say, in
proportion as it is less swayed by paltry personal considerations
and more by objective ends that call for energy, even though that
energy bring personal loss and pain.  This is the good side of
war, in so far as it calls for "volunteers."  And for morality
life is a war, and the service of the highest is a sort of cosmic
patriotism which also calls for volunteers.  Even a sick man,
unable to be militant outwardly, can carry on the moral warfare. 
He can willfully turn his attention away from his own future,
whether in this world or the next.  He can train himself to
indifference to his present drawbacks and immerse himself in
whatever objective interests still remain accessible.  He can
follow public news, and sympathize with other people's affairs. 
He can cultivate cheerful manners, and be silent about his
miseries. He can contemplate whatever ideal aspects of existence
his philosophy is able to present to him, and practice whatever
duties, such as patience, resignation, trust, his ethical system
requires.  Such a man lives on his loftiest, largest plane.  He
is a high-hearted freeman and no pining slave.  And yet he lacks
something which the Christian par excellence, the mystic and
ascetic saint, for example, has in abundant measure, and which
makes of him a human being of an altogether different

The Christian also spurns the pinched and mumping sick-room
attitude, and the lives of saints are full of a kind of
callousness to diseased conditions of body which probably no
other human records show.  But whereas the merely moralistic
spurning takes an effort of volition, the Christian spurning is
the result of the excitement of a higher kind of emotion, in the
presence of which no exertion of volition is required.  The
moralist must hold his breath and keep his muscles tense; and so
long as this athletic attitude is possible all goes
well--morality suffices.  But the athletic attitude tends ever to
break down, and it inevitably does break down even in the most
stalwart when the organism begins to decay, or when morbid fears
invade the mind.  To suggest personal will and effort to one all
sicklied o'er with the sense of irremediable impotence is to
suggest the most impossible of things.  What he craves is to be
consoled in his very powerlessness, to feel that the spirit of
the universe <47> recognizes and secures him, all decaying and
failing as he is.  Well, we are all such helpless failures in the
last resort.  The sanest and best of us are of one clay with
lunatics and prison inmates, and death finally runs the robustest
of us down.  And whenever we feel this, such a sense of the
vanity and provisionality of our voluntary career comes over us
that all our morality appears but as a plaster hiding a sore it
can never cure, and all our well-doing as the hollowest
substitute for that well-BEING that our lives ought to be
grounded in, but, alas! are not.

And here religion comes to our rescue and takes our fate into her
hands.  There is a state of mind, known to religious men, but to
no others, in which the will to assert ourselves and hold our own
has been displaced by a willingness to close our mouths and be as
nothing in the floods and waterspouts of God.  In this state of
mind, what we most dreaded has become the habitation of our
safety, and the hour of our moral death has turned into our
spiritual birthday.  The time for tension in our soul is over,
and that of happy relaxation, of calm deep breathing, of an
eternal present, with no discordant future to be anxious about,
has arrived.  Fear is not held in abeyance as it is by mere
morality, it is positively expunged and washed away.

We shall see abundant examples of this happy state of mind in
later lectures of this course.  We shall see how infinitely
passionate a thing religion at its highest flights can be.  Like
love, like wrath, like hope, ambition, jealousy, like every other
instinctive eagerness and impulse, it adds to life an enchantment
which is not rationally or logically deducible from anything
else.  This enchantment, coming as a gift when it does come--a
gift of our organism, the physiologists will tell us, a gift of
God's grace, the theologians say --is either there or not there
for us, and there are persons who can no more become possessed by
it than they can fall in love with a given woman by mere word of
command.  Religious feeling is thus an absolute addition to the
Subject's range of life.  It gives him a new sphere of power.
When the outward battle is lost, and the outer world disowns him,
it redeems and vivifies an interior world which otherwise would
be an empty waste.

If religion is to mean anything definite for us, it seems to me
that we ought to take it as meaning this added dimension of
emotion, this enthusiastic temper of espousal, in regions where
morality strictly so called can at best but bow its head and
acquiesce.  It ought to mean nothing short of this new reach of
freedom for us, with the struggle over, the keynote of the
universe sounding in our ears, and everlasting possession spread
before our eyes.[18]

[18] Once more, there are plenty of men, constitutionally sombre
men, in whose religious life this rapturousness is lacking.  They
are religious in the wider sense, yet in this acutest of all
senses they are not so, and it is religion in the acutest sense
that I wish, without disputing about words, to study first, so as
to get at its typical differentia.

This sort of happiness in the absolute and everlasting is what we
find nowhere but in religion.  It is parted off from all mere
animal happiness, all mere enjoyment of the present, by that
element of solemnity of which I have already made so much
account.  Solemnity is a hard thing to define abstractly, but
certain of its marks are patent enough. A solemn state of mind is
never crude or simple--it seems to contain a certain measure of
its own opposite in solution. A solemn joy preserves a sort of
bitter in its sweetness; a solemn sorrow is one to which we
intimately consent.  But there are writers who, realizing that
happiness of a supreme sort is the prerogative of religion,
forget this complication, and call all happiness, as such,
religious.  Mr. Havelock Ellis, for example, identifies religion
with the entire field of the soul's liberation from oppressive

"The simplest functions of physiological life," he writes may be
its ministers.  Every one who is at all acquainted with the
Persian mystics knows how wine may be regarded as an instrument
of religion.  Indeed, in all countries and in all ages some form
of physical enlargement--singing, dancing, drinking, sexual
excitement--has been intimately associated with worship. Even the
momentary expansion of the soul in laughter is, to however slight
an extent, a religious exercise. . . . Whenever an impulse from
the world strikes against the organism, and the resultant is not
discomfort or pain, not even the muscular contraction of
strenuous manhood, but a joyous expansion or aspiration of the
whole soul--there is religion. It is the infinite for which we
hunger, and we ride gladly on every little wave that promises to
bear us towards it."[19]

[19] The New Spirit, p. 232.

But such a straight identification of religion with any and every
form of happiness leaves the essential peculiarity of religious
happiness out.  The more commonplace happinesses which we get are
"reliefs," occasioned by our momentary escapes from evils either
experienced or threatened. But in its most characteristic
embodiments, religious happiness is no mere feeling of escape. 
It cares no longer to escape.  It consents to the evil outwardly
as a form of sacrifice--inwardly it knows it to be permanently
overcome. If you ask HOW religion thus falls on the thorns and
faces death, and in the very act annuls annihilation, I cannot
explain the matter, for it is religion's secret, and to
understand it you must yourself have been a religious man of the
extremer type.  In our future examples, even of the simplest and
healthiest-minded type of religious consciousness, we shall find
this complex sacrificial constitution, in which a higher
happiness holds a lower unhappiness in check.  In the Louvre
there is a picture, by Guido Reni, of St. Michael with his foot
on Satan's neck.  The richness of the picture is in large part
due to the fiend's figure being there.  The richness of its
allegorical meaning also is due to his being there--that is, the
world is all the richer for having a devil in it, SO LONG AS WE
KEEP OUR FOOT UPON HIS NECK.  In the religious consciousness,
that is just the position in which the fiend, the negative or
tragic principle, is found; and for that very reason the
religious consciousness is so rich from the emotional point of
view.[20]  We shall see how in certain men and women it takes on
a monstrously ascetic form.  There are saints who have literally
fed on the negative principle, on humiliation and privation, and
the thought of suffering and death--their souls growing in
happiness just in proportion as their outward state grew more
intolerable.  No other emotion than religious emotion can bring a
man to this peculiar pass.  And it is for that reason that when
we ask our question about the value of religion for human life, I
think we ought to look for the answer among these violenter
examples rather than among those of a more moderate hue.

[20] I owe this allegorical illustration to my lamented colleague
and Friend, Charles Carroll Everett.

Having the phenomenon of our study in its acutest possible form
to start with, we can shade down as much as we please later.  And
if in these cases, repulsive as they are to our ordinary worldly
way of judging, we find ourselves compelled to acknowledge
religion's value and treat it with respect, it will have proved
in some way its value for life at large.  By subtracting and
toning down extravagances we may thereupon proceed to trace the
boundaries of its legitimate sway.

To be sure, it makes our task difficult to have to deal so muck
with eccentricities and extremes.  "How CAN religion on the whole
be the most important of all human functions," you may ask, "if
every several manifestation of it in turn have to be corrected
and sobered down and pruned away?"  

Such a thesis seems a paradox impossible to sustain
reasonably--yet I believe that something like it will have to be
our final contention.  That personal attitude which the
individual finds himself impelled to take up towards what he
apprehends to be the divine--and you will remember that this was
our definition--will prove to be both a helpless and a
sacrificial attitude.  That is, we shall have to confess to at
least some amount of dependence on sheer mercy, and to practice
some amount of renunciation, great or small, to save our souls
alive.  The constitution of the world we live in requires it:--

          "Entbehren sollst du! sollst entbehren!
           Das ist der ewige Gesang
           Der jedem an die Ohren klingt,
           Den, unser ganzes Leben lang
           Uns heiser jede Stunde singt."

For when all is said and done, we are in the end absolutely
dependent on the universe; and into sacrifices and surrenders of
some sort, deliberately looked at and accepted, we are drawn and
pressed as into our only permanent positions of repose.  Now in
those states of mind which fall short of religion, the surrender
is submitted to as an imposition of necessity, and the sacrifice
is undergone at the very best without complaint.  In the
religious life, on the contrary, surrender and sacrifice are
positively espoused:  even unnecessary givings-up are added in
order that the happiness may increase.  Religion thus makes easy
and felicitous what in any case is necessary; and if it be the
only agency that can accomplish this result, its vital importance
as a human faculty stands vindicated beyond dispute.  It becomes
an essential organ of our life, performing a function which no
other portion of our nature can so successfully fulfill.  From
the merely biological point of view, so to call it, this is a
conclusion to which, so far as I can now see, we shall inevitably
be led, and led moreover by following the purely empirical method
of demonstration which I sketched to you in the first lecture. 
Of the farther office of religion as a metaphysical revelation I
will say nothing now.

But to foreshadow the terminus of one's investigations is one
thing, and to arrive there safely is another.  In the next
lecture, abandoning the extreme generalities which have engrossed
us hitherto, I propose that we begin our actual journey by
addressing ourselves directly to the concrete facts.

Lecture III


Were one asked to characterize the life of religion in the
broadest and most general terms possible, one might say that it
consists of the belief that there is an unseen order, and that
our supreme good lies in harmoniously adjusting ourselves
thereto.  This belief and this adjustment are the religious
attitude in the soul.  I wish during this hour to call your
attention to some of the psychological peculiarities of such an
attitude as this, or belief in an object which we cannot see. 
All our attitudes, moral, practical, or emotional, as well as
religious, are due to the "objects" of our consciousness, the
things which we believe to exist, whether really or ideally,
along with ourselves.  Such objects may be present to our senses,
or they may be present only to our thought.  In either case they
elicit from us a REACTION; and the reaction due to things of
thought is notoriously in many cases as strong as that due to
sensible presences.  It may be even stronger.  The memory of an
insult may make us angrier than the insult did when we received
it.  We are frequently more ashamed of our blunders afterwards
than we were at the moment of making them; and in general our
whole higher prudential and moral life is based on the fact that
material sensations actually present may have a weaker influence
on our action than ideas of remoter facts.

The more concrete objects of most men's religion, the deities
whom they worship, are known to them only in idea.  It has been
vouchsafed, for example, to very few Christian believers to have
had a sensible vision of their Saviour; though enough appearances
of this sort are on record, by way of miraculous exception, to
merit our attention later.  The whole force of the Christian
religion, therefore, so far as belief in the divine personages
determines the prevalent attitude of the believer, is in general
exerted by the instrumentality of pure ideas, of which nothing in
the individual's past experience directly serves as a model.

But in addition to these ideas of the more concrete religious
objects, religion is full of abstract objects which prove to have
an equal power.  God's attributes as such, his holiness, his
justice, his mercy, his absoluteness, his infinity, his
omniscience, his tri-unity, the various mysteries of the
redemptive process, the operation of the sacraments, etc., have
proved fertile wells of inspiring meditation for Christian
believers.[21] We shall see later that the absence of definite
sensible images is positively insisted on by the mystical
authorities in all religions as the sine qua non of a successful
orison, or contemplation of the higher divine truths. Such
contemplations are expected (and abundantly verify the
expectation, as we shall also see) to influence the believer's
subsequent attitude very powerfully for good.

[21] Example:  "I have had much comfort lately in meditating on
the passages which show the personality of the Holy Ghost, and
his distinctness from the Father and the Son.  It is a subject
that requires searching into to find out, but, when realized,
gives one so much more true and lively a sense of the fullness of
the Godhead, and its work in us and to us, than when only
thinking of the Spirit in its effect on us."  Augustus Hare: 
Memorials, i. 244, Maria Hare to Lucy H. Hare.

Immanuel Kant held a curious doctrine about such objects of
belief as God, the design of creation, the soul, its freedom, and
the life hereafter.  These things, he said, are properly not
objects of knowledge at all.  Our conceptions always require a
sense-content to work with, and as the words soul,"  "God,"
"immortality," cover no distinctive sense-content whatever, it
follows that theoretically speaking they are words devoid of any
significance.  Yet strangely enough they have a definite meaning
FOR OUR PRACTICE.  We can act AS IF there were a God; feel AS IF
we were free; consider Nature AS IF she were full of special
designs; lay plans AS IF we were to be immortal; and we find then
that these words do make a genuine difference in our moral life. 
Our faith THAT these unintelligible objects actually exist proves
thus to be a full equivalent in praktischer Hinsicht, as Kant
calls it, or from the point of view of our action, for a
knowledge of WHAT they might be, in case we were permitted
positively to conceive them.  So we have the strange phenomenon,
as Kant assures us, of a mind believing with all its strength in
the real presence of a set of things of no one of which it can
form any notion whatsoever.

My object in thus recalling Kant's doctrine to your mind is not
to express any opinion as to the accuracy of this particularly
uncouth part of his philosophy, but only to illustrate the
characteristic of human nature which we are considering, by an
example so classical in its exaggeration.  The sentiment of
reality can indeed attach itself so strongly to our object of
belief that our whole life is polarized through and through, so
to speak, by its sense of the existence of the thing believed in,
and yet that thing, for purpose of definite description, can
hardly be said to be present to our mind at all.  It is as if a
bar of iron, without touch or sight, with no representative
faculty whatever, might nevertheless be strongly endowed with an
inner capacity for magnetic feeling; and as if, through the
various arousals of its magnetism by magnets coming and going in
its neighborhood, it might be consciously determined to different
attitudes and tendencies. Such a bar of iron could never give you
an outward description of the agencies that had the power of
stirring it so strongly; yet of their presence, and of their
significance for its life, it would be intensely aware through
every fibre of its being.

It is not only the Ideas of pure Reason as Kant styled them, that
have this power of making us vitally feel presences that we are
impotent articulately to describe.  All sorts of higher
abstractions bring with them the same kind of impalpable appeal. 
Remember those passages from Emerson which I read at my last
lecture.  The whole universe of concrete objects, as we know
them, swims, not only for such a transcendentalist writer, but
for all of us, in a wider and higher universe of abstract ideas,
that lend it its significance.  As time, space, and the ether
soak through all things so (we feel) do abstract and essential
goodness, beauty, strength, significance, justice, soak through
all things good, strong, significant, and just.

Such ideas, and others equally abstract, form the background for
all our facts, the fountain-head of all the possibilities we
conceive of.  They give its "nature," as we call it, to every
special thing.  Everything we know is "what" it is by sharing in
the nature of one of these abstractions.  We can never look
directly at them, for they are bodiless and featureless and
footless, but we grasp all other things by their means, and in
handling the real world we should be stricken with helplessness
in just so far forth as we might lose these mental objects, these
adjectives and adverbs and predicates and heads of classification
and conception.

This absolute determinability of our mind by abstractions is one
of the cardinal facts in our human constitution. Polarizing and
magnetizing us as they do, we turn towards them and from them, we
seek them, hold them, hate them, bless them, just as if they were
so many concrete beings. And beings they are, beings as real in
the realm which they inhabit as the changing things of sense are
in the realm of space.

Plato gave so brilliant and impressive a defense of this common
human feeling, that the doctrine of the reality of abstract
objects has been known as the platonic theory of ideas ever
since.  Abstract Beauty, for example, is for Plato a perfectly
definite individual being, of which the intellect is aware as of
something additional to all the perishing beauties of the earth. 
"The true order of going," he says, in the often quoted passage
in his "Banquet," "is to use the beauties of earth as steps along
which one mounts upwards for the sake of that other Beauty, going
from one to two, and from two to all fair forms, and from fair
forms to fair actions, and from fair actions to fair notions,
until from fair notions, he arrives at the notion of absolute
Beauty, and at last knows what the essence of Beauty is."[22]  In
our last lecture we had a glimpse of the way in which a
platonizing writer like Emerson may treat the abstract divineness
of things, the moral structure of the universe, as a fact worthy
of worship.  In those various churches without a God which to-day
are spreading through the world under the name of ethical
societies, we have a similar worship of the abstract divine, the
moral law believed in as an ultimate object.  "Science" in many
minds is genuinely taking the place of a religion.  Where this is
so, the scientist treats the "Laws of Nature" as objective facts
to be revered.  A brilliant school of interpretation of Greek
mythology would have it that in their origin the Greek gods were
only half-metaphoric personifications of those great spheres of
abstract law and order into which the natural world falls
apart--the sky-sphere, the ocean-sphere, the earth-sphere, and
the like; just as even now we may speak of the smile of the
morning, the kiss of the breeze, or the bite of the cold, without
really meaning that these phenomena of nature actually wear a
human face.[23]

[22] Symposium, Jowett, 1871, i.  527.

[23] Example:  "Nature is always so interesting, under whatever
aspect she shows herself, that when it rains, I seem to see a
beautiful woman weeping.  She appears the more beautiful, the
more afflicted she is."   B. de St. Pierre.

As regards the origin of the Greek gods, we need not at present
seek an opinion.  But the whole array of our instances leads to a
conclusion something like this:  It is as if there were in the
human consciousness a sense of reality, a feeling of objective
presence, a perception of what we may call "something there,"
more deep and more general than any of the special and particular
"senses" by which the current psychology supposes existent
realities to be originally revealed.  If this were so, we might
suppose the senses to waken our attitudes and conduct as they so
habitually do, by first exciting this sense of reality; but
anything else, any idea, for example, that might similarly excite
it, would have that same prerogative of appearing real which
objects of sense normally possess.  So far as religious
conceptions were able to touch this reality-feeling, they would
be believed in in spite of criticism, even though they might be
so vague and remote as to be almost unimaginable, even though
they might be such non-entities in point of WHATNESS, as Kant
makes the objects of his moral theology to be.

The most curious proofs of the existence of such an
undifferentiated sense of reality as this are found in
experiences of hallucination.  It often happens that an
hallucination is imperfectly developed:  the person affected will
feel a "presence" in the room, definitely localized, facing in
one particular way, real in the most emphatic sense of the word,
often coming suddenly, and as suddenly gone; and yet neither
seen, heard, touched, nor cognized in any of the usual "sensible"
ways.  Let me give you an example of this, before I pass to the
objects with whose presence religion is more peculiarly

An intimate friend of mine, one of the keenest intellects I know,
has had several experiences of this sort.  He writes as follows
in response to my inquiries:--<59>

"I have several times within the past few years felt the so-
called 'consciousness of a presence.'  The experiences which I
have in mind are clearly distinguishable from another kind of
experience which I have had very frequently, and which I fancy
many persons would also call the 'consciousness of a presence.'
But the difference for me between the two sets of experience is
as great as the difference between feeling a slight warmth
originating I know not where, and standing in the midst of a
conflagration with all the ordinary senses alert.

"It was about September, 1884, when I had the first experience.
On the previous night I had had, after getting into bed at my
rooms in College, a vivid tactile hallucination of being grasped
by the arm, which made me get up and search the room for an
intruder; but the sense of presence properly so called came on
the next night.  After I had got into bed and blown out the
candle, I lay awake awhile thinking on the previous night's
experience, when suddenly I FELT something come into the room and
stay close to my bed.  It remained only a minute or two.  I did
not recognize it by any ordinary sense and yet there was a
horribly unpleasant 'sensation' connected with it.  It stirred
something more at the roots of my being than any ordinary
perception.  The feeling had something of the quality of a very
large tearing vital pain spreading chiefly over the chest, but
within the organism--and yet the feeling was not PAIN so much as
ABHORRENCE.  At all events, something was present with me, and I
knew its presence far more surely than I have ever known the
presence of any fleshly living creature.  I was conscious of its
departure as of its coming:  an almost instantaneously swift
going through the door, and the 'horrible sensation' disappeared.

"On the third night when I retired my mind was absorbed in some
lectures which I was preparing, and I was still absorbed in these
when I became aware of the actual presence (though not of the
COMING) of the thing that was there the night before, and of the
'horrible sensation.' I then mentally concentrated all my effort
to charge this 'thing,' if it was evil to depart, if it was NOT
evil, to tell me who or what it was, and if it could not explain
itself, to go, and that I would compel it <60> to go.  It went
as on the previous night, and my body quickly recovered its
normal state.

"On two other occasions in my life I have had precisely the same
'horrible sensation.'  Once it lasted a full quarter of an hour. 
In all three instances the certainty that there in outward space
there stood SOMETHING was indescribably STRONGER than the
ordinary certainty of companionship when we are in the close
presence of ordinary living people.  The something seemed close
to me, and intensely more real than any ordinary perception.
Although I felt it to be like unto myself so to speak, or finite,
small, and distressful, as it were, I didn't recognize it as any
individual being or person."

Of course such an experience as this does not connect itself with
the religious sphere.  Yet it may upon occasion do so; and the
same correspondent informs me that at more than one other
conjuncture he had the sense of presence developed with equal
intensity and abruptness, only then it was filled with a quality
of joy.

"There was not a mere consciousness of something there, but fused
in the central happiness of it, a startling awareness of some
ineffable good.  Not vague either, not like the emotional effect
of some poem, or scene, or blossom, of music, but the sure
knowledge of the close presence of a sort of mighty person, and
after it went, the memory persisted as the one perception of
reality.  Everything else might be a dream, but not that."

My friend, as it oddly happens, does not interpret these latter
experiences theistically, as signifying the presence of God.  But
it would clearly not have been unnatural to interpret them as a
revelation of the deity's existence.  When we reach the subject
of mysticism, we shall have much more to say upon this head.

Lest the oddity of these phenomena should disconcert you, I will
venture to read you a couple of similar narratives, much shorter,
merely to show that we are dealing with a well-marked natural
kind of fact.  In the first case, which I <61> take from the
Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, the sense of
presence developed in a few moments into a distinctly
visualized hallucination--but I leave that part of the story out.

"I had read," the narrator says, "some twenty minutes or so, was
thoroughly absorbed in the book, my mind was perfectly quiet, and
for the time being my friends were quite forgotten, when suddenly
without a moment's warning my whole being seemed roused to the
highest state of tension or aliveness, and I was aware, with an
intenseness not easily imagined by those who had never
experienced it, that another being or presence was not only in
the room, but quite close to me.  I put my book down, and
although my excitement was great, I felt quite collected, and not
conscious of any sense of fear.  Without changing my position,
and looking straight at the fire, I knew somehow that my friend
A. H. was standing at my left elbow but so far behind me as to be
hidden by the armchair in which I was leaning back.  Moving my
eyes round slightly without otherwise changing my position, the
lower portion of one leg became visible, and I instantly
recognized the gray-blue material of trousers he often wore, but
the stuff appeared semitransparent, reminding me of tobacco smoke
in consistency,"[24]-- and hereupon the visual hallucination

[24] Journal of the S. P. R., February, 1895, p. 26.

Another informant writes:--

"Quite early in the night I was awakened. . . . I felt as if I
had been aroused intentionally, and at first thought some one was
breaking into the house. . . . I then turned on my side to go to
sleep again, and immediately felt a consciousness of a presence
in the room, and singular to state, it was not the consciousness
of a live person, but of a spiritual presence.  This may provoke
a smile, but I can only tell you the facts as they occurred to
me.  I do not know how to better describe my sensations than by
simply stating that I felt a consciousness of a spiritual
presence. . . .  I felt also at the same time a strong feeling of
superstitious dread, as if something strange and fearful were
about to happen."[25]

[25] E. Gurney:  Phantasms of the Living, i. 384.

Professor Flournoy of Geneva gives me the following testimony of
a friend of his, a lady, who has the gift of automatic or
involuntary writing:--

"Whenever I practice automatic writing, what makes me feel that
it is not due to a subconscious self is the feeling I always have
of a foreign presence, external to my body.  It is sometimes so
definitely characterized that I could point to its exact
position.  This impression of presence is impossible to describe.
It varies in intensity and clearness according to the personality
from whom the writing professes to come.  If it is some one whom
I love, I feel it immediately, before any writing has come.  My
heart seems to recognize it."

In an earlier book of mine I have cited at full length a curious
case of presence felt by a blind man.  The presence was that of
the figure of a gray-bearded man dressed in a pepper and salt
suit, squeezing himself under the crack of the door and moving
across the floor of the room towards a sofa.  The blind subject
of this quasi-hallucination is an exceptionally intelligent
reporter.  He is entirely without internal visual imagery and
cannot represent light or colors to himself, and is positive that
his other senses, hearing, etc., were not involved in this false
perception.  It seems to have been an abstract conception rather,
with the feelings of reality and spatial outwardness directly
attached to it--in other words, a fully objectified and
exteriorized IDEA.

Such cases, taken along with others which would be too tedious
for quotation, seem sufficiently to prove the existence in our
mental machinery of a sense of present reality more diffused and
general than that which our special senses yield.  For the
psychologists the tracing of the organic seat of such a feeling
would form a pretty problem--nothing could be more natural than
to connect it with the muscular sense, with the feeling that our
muscles were innervating themselves for action.  Whatsoever thus
innervated our activity, or "made our flesh creep"--our senses
are what do so oftenest--might then appear real and present, even
though it were but an abstract idea.  But with such vague
conjectures we have no concern at present, for our interest lies
with the faculty rather than with its organic seat.

Like all positive affections of consciousness, the sense of
reality has its negative counterpart in the shape of a feeling of
unreality by which persons may be haunted, and of which one
sometimes hears complaint:--

"When I reflect on the fact that I have made my appearance by
accident upon a globe itself whirled through space as the sport
of the catastrophes of the heavens," says Madame Ackermann; "when
I see myself surrounded by beings as ephemeral and
incomprehensible as I am myself, and all excitedly pursuing pure
chimeras, I experience a strange feeling of being in a dream.  It
seems to me as if I have loved and suffered and that erelong I
shall die, in a dream.  My last word will be, 'I have been

[26] Pensees d'un Solitaire, p. 66.

In another lecture we shall see how in morbid melancholy this
sense of the unreality of things may become a carking pain, and
even lead to suicide.

We may now lay it down as certain that in the distinctively
religious sphere of experience, many persons (how many we cannot
tell) possess the objects of their belief, not in the form of
mere conceptions which their intellect accepts as true, but
rather in the form of quasi-sensible realities directly
apprehended.  As his sense of the real presence of these objects
fluctuates, so the believer alternates between warmth and
coldness in his faith.  Other examples will bring this home to
one better than abstract description, so I proceed immediately to
cite some.  The first example is a negative one, deploring the
loss of the sense in question.  I have extracted it from an
account given me by a scientific man of my acquaintance, of his
religious life.  It seems to me to show clearly that the feeling
of reality may be something more like a sensation than an
intellectual operation properly so-called.

"Between twenty and thirty I gradually became more and more
agnostic and irreligious, yet I cannot say that I ever lost that
'indefinite consciousness' which Herbert Spencer describes so
well, of an Absolute Reality behind phenomena.  For me this
Reality was not the pure Unknowable of Spencer's philosophy, for
although I had ceased my childish prayers to God, and never
prayed to IT in a formal manner, yet my more recent experience
shows me to have been in a relation to IT which practically was
the same thing as prayer.  Whenever I had any trouble, especially
when I had conflict with other people, either domestically or in
the way of business, or when I was depressed in spirits or
anxious about affairs, I now recognize that I used to fall back
for support upon this curious relation I felt myself to be in to
this fundamental cosmical IT.  It was on my side, or I was on Its
side, however you please to term it, in the particular trouble,
and it always strengthened me and seemed to give me endless
vitality to feel its underlying and supporting presence.  In
fact, it was an unfailing fountain of living justice, truth, and
strength, to which I instinctively turned at times of weakness,
and it always brought me out.  I know now that it was a personal
relation I was in to it, because of late years the power of
communicating with it has left me, and I am conscious of a
perfectly definite loss.  I used never to fail to find it when I
turned to it.  Then came a set of years when sometimes I found
it, and then again I would be wholly unable to make connection
with it.  I remember many occasions on which at night in bed, I
would be unable to get to sleep on account of worry.  I turned
this way and that in the darkness, and groped mentally for the
familiar sense of that higher mind of my mind which had always
seemed to be close at hand as it were, closing the passage, and
yielding support, but there was no electric current.  A blank was
there instead of IT:  I couldn't find anything.  Now, at the age
of nearly fifty, my power of getting into connection with it has
entirely left me; and I have to confess that a great help has
gone out of my life.  Life has become curiously dead and <65>
indifferent; and I can now see that my old experience was
probably exactly the same thing as the prayers of the orthodox,
only I did not call them by that name.  What I have spoken of as
'It' was practically not Spencer's Unknowable, but just my own
instinctive and individual God, whom I relied upon for higher
sympathy, but whom somehow I have lost."

Nothing is more common in the pages of religious biography than
the way in which seasons of lively and of difficult faith are
described as alternating.  Probably every religious person has
the recollection of particular crisis in which a directer vision
of the truth, a direct perception, perhaps, of a living God's
existence, swept in and overwhelmed the languor of the more
ordinary belief.  In James Russell Lowell's correspondence there
is a brief memorandum of an experience of this kind:--

"I had a revelation last Friday evening.  I was at Mary's, and
happening to say something of the presence of spirits (of whom, I
said, I was often dimly aware), Mr. Putnam entered into an
argument with me on spiritual matters.  As I was speaking, the
whole system rose up before me like a vague destiny looming from
the Abyss.  I never before so clearly felt the Spirit of God in
me and around rue.  The whole room seemed to me full of God.  The
air seemed to waver to and fro with the presence of Something I
knew not what.  I spoke with the calmness and clearness of a
prophet.  I cannot tell you what this revelation was.  I have not
yet studied it enough.  But I shall perfect it one day, and then
you shall hear it and acknowledge its grandeur."[27]

[27] Letters of Lowell, i. 75.

<66> Here is a longer and more developed experience from a
manuscript communication by a clergyman--I take it from
Starbuck's manuscript collection:--

"I remember the night, and almost the very spot on the hill-top,
where my soul opened out, as it were, into the Infinite, and
there was a rushing together of the two worlds, the inner and the
outer.  It was deep calling unto deep--the deep that my own
struggle had opened up within being answered by the unfathomable
deep without, reaching beyond the stars.  I stood alone with Him
who had made me, and all the beauty of the world, and love, and
sorrow, and even temptation.  I did not seek Him, but felt the
perfect unison of my spirit with His.  The ordinary sense of
things around me faded.  For the moment nothing but an ineffable
joy and exultation remained.  It is impossible fully to describe
the experience.  It was like the effect of some great orchestra
when all the separate notes have melted into one swelling harmony
that leaves the listener conscious of nothing save that his soul
is being wafted upwards, and almost bursting with its own
emotion.  The perfect stillness of the night was thrilled by a
more solemn silence.  The darkness held a presence that was all
the more felt because it was not seen.  I could not any more have
doubted that HE was there than that I was.  Indeed, I felt myself
to be, if possible, the less real of the two.

"My highest faith in God and truest idea of him were then born in
me.  I have stood upon the Mount of Vision since, and felt the
Eternal round about me.  But never since has there come quite the
same stirring of the heart.  Then, if ever, I believe, I stood
face to face with God, and was born anew of his spirit. There
was, as I recall it, no sudden change of thought or of belief,
except that my early crude conception, had, as it were burst into
flower.  There was no destruction of the old, but a rapid,
wonderful unfolding.  Since that time no discussion that I have
heard of the proofs of God's existence has been able to shake my
faith.  Having once felt the presence of God's spirit, I have
never lost it again for long.  My most assuring evidence of his
existence is deeply rooted in that hour of vision in the memory
of that supreme experience, and in the conviction, gained from
reading and reflection, that something the same has come to all
who have found God.  I am aware that it may justly be called
mystical.  I am not enough acquainted with philosophy to defend
it from that or any other charge.  I feel that in writing of it I
have overlaid it with words rather than put it clearly to your
thought.  But, such as it is, I have described it as carefully as
I now am able to do."

Here is another document, even more definite in character, which,
the writer being a Swiss, I translate from the French

[28] I borrow it, with Professor Flournoy's permission, from his
rich collection of psychological documents.

"I was in perfect health:  we were on our sixth day of tramping,
and in good training.  We had come the day before from Sixt to
Trient by Buet.  I felt neither fatigue, hunger, nor thirst, and
my state of mind was equally healthy.  I had had at Forlaz good
news from home; I was subject to no anxiety, either near or
remote, for we had a good guide, and there was not a shadow of
uncertainty about the road we should follow.  I can best describe
the condition in which I was by calling it a state of
equilibrium.  When all at once I experienced a feeling of being
raised above myself, I felt the presence of God--I tell of the
thing just as I was conscious of it--as if his goodness and his
power were penetrating me altogether.  The throb of emotion was
so violent that I could barely tell the boys to pass on and not
wait for me.  I then sat down on a stone, unable to stand any
longer, and my eyes overflowed with tears.  I thanked God that in
the course of my life he had taught me to know him, that he
sustained my life and took pity both on the insignificant
creature and on the sinner that I was.  I begged him ardently
that my life might be consecrated to the doing of his will.  I
felt his reply, which was that I should do his will from day to
day in humility and poverty, leaving him, the Almighty God, to be
judge of whether I should some time be called to bear witness
more conspicuously.  Then, slowly, the ecstasy left my heart;
that is, I felt that God had withdrawn the communion which he had
granted, and I was able to walk on, but very slowly, so strongly
was I still possessed by the interior emotion. Besides, I had
wept uninterruptedly for several minutes, my eyes were swollen,
and I did not wish my companions to see me.  The state of ecstasy
may have lasted four or five minutes, although it seemed at the
time to last much longer.  My comrades waited for me ten minutes
at the cross of Barine, but I took about twenty-five or thirty
minutes to join them, for as well as I can remember, they said
that I had kept them back for about half an hour.  The impression
had been so profound that in climbing slowly the slope I asked
myself if it were possible that Moses on Sinai could have had a
more intimate communication with God.  I think it well to add
that in this ecstasy of mine God had neither form, color, odor,
nor taste; moreover, that the feeling of his presence was
accompanied with no determinate localization. It was rather as if
my personality had been transformed by the presence of a
SPIRITUAL SPIRIT.  But the more I seek words to express this
intimate intercourse, the more I feel the impossibility of
describing the thing by any of our usual images.  At bottom the
expression most apt to render what I felt is this:  God was
present, though invisible; he fell under no one of my senses, yet
my consciousness perceived him."

The adjective "mystical" is technically applied, most often. to
states that are of brief duration.  Of course such hours of
rapture as the last two persons describe are mystical
experiences, of which in a later lecture I shall have much to
say.  Meanwhile here is the abridged record of another mystical
or semi-mystical experience, in a mind evidently framed by nature
for ardent piety.  I owe it to Starbuck's collection.  The lady
who gives the account is the daughter of a man well known in his
time as a writer against Christianity.  The suddenness of her
conversion shows well how native the sense of God's presence must
be to certain minds.  She relates that she was brought up in
entire ignorance of Christian doctrine, but, when in Germany,
after being talked to by Christian friends, she read the Bible
and prayed, and finally the plan of salvation flashed upon her
like a stream of light.

<69> "To this day," she writes, "I cannot understand dallying
with religion and the commands of God.  The very instant I heard
my Father's cry calling unto me, my heart bounded in recognition.

I ran, I stretched forth my arms, I cried aloud, 'Here, here I
am, my Father.' Oh, happy child, what should I do?  'Love me,'
answered my God.  'I do, I do,' I cried passionately. 'Come unto
me,' called my Father.  'I will,' my heart panted.  Did I stop to
ask a single question?  Not one.  It never occurred to me to ask
whether I was good enough, or to hesitate over my unfitness, or
to find out what I thought of his church, or . . . to wait until
I should be satisfied.  Satisfied! I was satisfied.  Had I not
found my God and my Father?  Did he not love me?  Had he not
called me?  Was there not a Church into which I might enter?  . .
. Since then I have had direct answers to prayer--so significant
as to be almost like talking with God and hearing his answer. 
The idea of God's reality has never left me for one moment."

Here is still another case, the writer being a man aged
twenty-seven, in which the experience, probably almost as
characteristic, is less vividly described:--

"I have on a number of occasions felt that I had enjoyed a period
of intimate communion with the divine.  These meetings came
unasked and unexpected, and seemed to consist merely in the
temporary obliteration of the conventionalities which usually
surround and cover my life. . . .  Once it was when from the
summit of a high mountain I looked over a gashed and corrugated
landscape extending to a long convex of ocean that ascended to
the horizon, and again from the same point when I could see
nothing beneath me but a boundless expanse of white cloud, on the
blown surface of which a few high peaks, including the one I was
on, seemed plunging about as if they were dragging their anchors.

What I felt on these occasions was a temporary loss of my own
identity, accompanied by an illumination which revealed to me a
deeper significance than I had been wont to attach to life.  It
is in this that I find my justification for saying that I have
enjoyed communication with God.  Of course the absence of such a
being as this would be chaos. I cannot conceive of life without
its presence."

Of the more habitual and so to speak chronic sense of God's
presence the following sample from Professor Starbuck's
manuscript collection may serve to give an idea.  It is from a
man aged forty-nine--probably thousands of unpretending
Christians would write an almost identical account.

"God is more real to me than any thought or thing or person.  I
feel his presence positively, and the more as I live in closer
harmony with his laws as written in my body and mind.  I feel him
in the sunshine or rain; and awe mingled with a delicious
restfulness most nearly describes my feelings.  I talk to him as
to a companion in prayer and praise, and our communion is
delightful.  He answers me again and again, often in words so
clearly spoken that it seems my outer ear must have carried the
tone, but generally in strong mental impressions.  Usually a text
of Scripture, unfolding some new view of him and his love for me,
and care for my safety.  I could give hundreds of instances, in
school matters, social problems, financial difficulties, etc. 
That he is mine and I am his never leaves me, it is an abiding
joy.  Without it life would be a blank, a desert, a shoreless,
trackless waste."

I subjoin some more examples from writers of different ages and
sexes.  They are also from Professor Starbuck's collection, and
their number might be greatly multiplied.  The first is from a
man twenty-seven years old:--

"God is quite real to me.  I talk to him and often get answers.
Thoughts sudden and distinct from any I have been entertaining
come to my mind after asking God for his direction.  Something
over a year ago I was for some weeks in the direst perplexity.
When the trouble first appeared before me I was dazed, but before
long (two or three hours) I could hear distinctly a passage of
Scripture:  'My grace is sufficient for thee.'  Every time my
thoughts turned to the trouble I could hear this quotation.  I
don't think I ever doubted the existence of God, or had him drop
out of my consciousness.  God has frequently stepped into my
affairs very perceptibly, and I feel that he directs many little
details all the time.  But on two or three occasions he has
ordered ways for me very contrary to my ambitions and plans."

Another statement (none the less valuable psychologically for
being so decidedly childish) is that of a boy of seventeen:--

"Sometimes as I go to church, I sit down, join in the service,
and before I go out I feel as if God was with me, right side of
me, singing and reading the Psalms with me. . . . And then again
I feel as if I could sit beside him, and put my arms around him,
kiss him, etc.  When I am taking Holy Communion at the altar, I
try to get with him and generally feel his presence."

I let a few other cases follow at random:--

"God surrounds me like the physical atmosphere.  He is closer to
me than my own breath.  In him literally I live and move and have
my being."--

"There are times when I seem to stand in his very presence, to
talk with him.  Answers to prayer have come, sometimes direct and
overwhelming in their revelation of his presence and powers. 
There are times when God seems far off, but this is always my own

"I have the sense of a presence, strong, and at the same time
soothing, which hovers over me.  Sometimes it seems to enwrap me
with sustaining arms."

Such is the human ontological imagination, and such is the
convincingness of what it brings to birth.  Unpicturable beings
are realized, and realized with an intensity almost like that of
an hallucination.  They determine our vital attitude as
decisively as the vital attitude of lovers is determined by the
habitual sense, by which each is haunted, of the other being in
the world.  A lover has notoriously this sense of the continuous
being of his idol, even when his attention is addressed to other
matters and he no longer represents her features.  He cannot
forget her; she uninterruptedly affects him through and through. 
I spoke of the convincingness of these feelings of reality, and I
must dwell a moment longer on that point.  They are as convincing
to those who have them as any direct sensible experiences can be,
and they are, as a rule, much more convincing than results
established by mere logic ever are.  One may indeed be entirely
without them; probably more than one of you here present is
without them in any marked degree; but if you do have them, and
have them at all strongly, the probability is that you cannot
help regarding them as genuine perceptions of truth, as
revelations of a kind of reality which no adverse argument,
however unanswerable by you in words, can expel from your belief.

The opinion opposed to mysticism in philosophy is sometimes
spoken of as RATIONALISM.  Rationalism insists that all our
beliefs ought ultimately to find for themselves articulate
grounds.  Such grounds, for rationalism, must consist of four
things:  (1) definitely statable abstract principles; (2)
definite facts of sensation; (3) definite hypotheses based on
such facts; and (4) definite inferences logically drawn.  Vague
impressions of something indefinable have no place in the
rationalistic system, which on its positive side is surely a
splendid intellectual tendency, for not only are all our
philosophies fruits of it, but physical science (amongst other
good things) is its result.

Nevertheless, if we look on man's whole mental life as it exists,
on the life of men that lies in them apart from their learning
and science, and that they inwardly and privately follow, we have
to confess that the part of it of which rationalism can give an
account is relatively superficial.  It is the part that has the
prestige undoubtedly, for it has the loquacity, it can challenge
you for proofs, and chop logic, and put you down with words.  But
it will fail to convince or convert you all the same, if your
dumb intuitions are opposed to its conclusions.  If you have
intuitions at all, they come from a deeper level of your nature
than the loquacious level which rationalism inhabits.  Your whole
subconscious life, your impulses, your faiths, your needs, your
divinations, have prepared the premises, of which your
consciousness now feels the weight of the result; and something
in you absolutely KNOWS that that result must be truer than any
logic-chopping rationalistic talk, however clever, that may
contradict it.  This inferiority of the rationalistic level in
founding belief is just as manifest when rationalism argues for
religion as when it argues against it.  That vast literature of
proofs of God's existence drawn from the order of nature, which a
century ago seemed so overwhelmingly convincing, to-day does
little more than gather dust in libraries, for the simple reason
that our generation has ceased to believe in the kind of God it
argued for.  Whatever sort of a being God may be, we KNOW to-day
that he is nevermore that mere external inventor of
"contrivances" intended to make manifest his "glory" in which our
great-grandfathers took such satisfaction, though just how we
know this we cannot possibly make clear by words either to others
or to ourselves.  I defy any of you here fully to account for
your persuasion that if a God exist he must be a more cosmic and
tragic personage than that Being.

The truth is that in the metaphysical and religious sphere,
articulate reasons are cogent for us only when our inarticulate
feelings of reality have already been impressed in favor of the
same conclusion.  Then, indeed, our intuitions and our reason
work together, and great world-ruling systems, like that of the
Buddhist or of the Catholic philosophy, may grow up. Our
impulsive belief is here always what sets up the original body of
truth, and our articulately verbalized philosophy is but its
showy translation into formulas.  The unreasoned and immediate
assurance is the deep thing in us, the reasoned argument is but a
surface exhibition.  Instinct leads, intelligence does but
follow.  If a person feels the presence of a living God after the
fashion shown by my quotations, your critical arguments, be they
never so superior, will vainly set themselves to change his

Please observe, however, that I do not yet say that it is BETTER
that the subconscious and non-rational should thus hold primacy
in the religious realm.  I confine myself to simply pointing out
that they do so hold it as a matter of fact.

So much for our sense of the reality of the religious objects.
Let me now say a brief word more about the attitudes they
characteristically awaken.

We have already agreed that they are SOLEMN; and we have seen
reason to think that the most distinctive of them is the sort of
joy which may result in extreme cases from absolute
self-surrender.  The sense of the kind of object to which the
surrender is made has much to do with determining the precise
complexion of the joy; and the whole phenomenon is more complex
than any simple formula allows.  In the literature of the
subject, sadness and gladness have each been emphasized in turn. 
The ancient saying that the first maker of the Gods was fear
receives voluminous corroboration from every age of religious
history; but none the less does religious history show the part
which joy has evermore tended to play.  Sometimes the joy has
been primary; sometimes secondary, being the gladness of
deliverance from the fear. This latter state of things, being the
more complex, is also the more complete; and as we proceed, I
think we shall have abundant reason for refusing to leave out
either the sadness or the gladness, if we look at religion with
the breadth of view which it demands.  Stated in the completest
possible terms, a man's religion involves both moods of
contraction and moods of expansion of his being.  But the
quantitative mixture and order of these moods vary so much from
one age of the world, from one system of thought, and from one
individual to another, that you may insist either on the dread
and the submission, or on the peace and the freedom as the
essence of the matter, and still remain materially within the
limits of the truth.  The constitutionally sombre and the
constitutionally sanguine onlooker are bound to emphasize
opposite aspects of what lies before their eyes.

The constitutionally sombre religious person makes even of his
religious peace a very sober thing.  Danger still hovers in the
air about it.  Flexion and contraction are not wholly checked. 
It were sparrowlike and childish after our deliverance to explode
into twittering laughter and caper-cutting, and utterly to forget
the imminent hawk on bough.  Lie low, rather, lie low; for you
are in the hands of a living God.  In the Book of Job, for
example, the impotence of man and the omnipotence of God is the
exclusive burden of its author's mind.  "It is as high as heaven;
what canst thou do?--deeper than hell; what canst thou know?"   
There is an astringent relish about the truth of this conviction
which some men can feel, and which for them is as near an
approach as can be made to the feeling of religious joy.

"In Job," says that coldly truthful writer, the author of Mark
Rutherford, "God reminds us that man is not the measure of his
creation.  The world is immense, constructed on no plan or theory
which the intellect of man can grasp. It is TRANSCENDENT
everywhere.  This is the burden of every verse, and is the secret
if there be one, of the poem.  Sufficient or insufficient, there
is nothing more. . . .  God is great, we know not his ways.  He
takes from us all we have, but yet if we possess our souls in
patience, we MAY pass the valley of the shadow, and come out in
sunlight again.  We may or we may not! . . . What more have we to
say now than God said from the whirlwind over two thousand five
hundred years ago?"[29]

[29] Mark Rutherford's Deliverance, London, 1885, pp. 196, 198.

If we turn to the sanguine onlooker, on the other hand, we find
that deliverance is felt as incomplete unless the burden be
altogether overcome and the danger forgotten.  Such onlookers
give us definitions that seem to the sombre minds of whom we have
just been speaking to leave out all the solemnity that makes
religious peace so different from merely animal joys.  In the
opinion of some writers an attitude might be called religious,
though no touch were left in it of sacrifice or submission, no
tendency to flexion, no bowing of the head.  Any "habitual and
regulated admiration," says Professor J. R. Seeley,[30] "is
worthy to be called a religion"; and accordingly he thinks that
our Music, our Science, and our so-called "Civilization," as
these things are now organized and admiringly believed in, form
the more genuine religions of our time.  Certainly the
unhesitating and unreasoning way in which we feel that we must
inflict our civilization upon "lower" races, by means of
Hotchkiss guns, etc., reminds one of nothing so much as of the
early spirit of Islam spreading its religion by the sword.

[30] In his book (too little read, I fear), Natural Religion, 3d
edition, Boston, 1886, pp. 91, 122.

In my last lecture I quoted to you the ultra-radical opinion of
Mr. Havelock Ellis, that laughter of any sort may be considered a
religious exercise, for it bears witness to the soul's
emancipation.  I quoted this opinion in order to deny its
adequacy.  But we must now settle our scores more carefully with
this whole optimistic way of thinking.  It is far too complex to
be decided off-hand.  I propose accordingly that we make of
religious optimism the theme of the next two lectures.

Lectures IV and V


If we were to ask the question:  "What is human life's chief
concern?" one of the answers we should receive would be:  "It is
happiness."  How to gain, how to keep, how to recover happiness,
is in fact for most men at all times the secret motive of all
they do, and of all they are willing to endure.  The hedonistic
school in ethics deduces the moral life wholly from the
experiences of happiness and unhappiness which different kinds of
conduct bring; and, even more in the religious life than in the
moral life, happiness and unhappiness seem to be the poles round
which the interest revolves. We need not go so far as to say with
the author whom I lately quoted that any persistent enthusiasm
is, as such, religion, nor need we call mere laughter a religious
exercise; but we must admit that any persistent enjoyment may
PRODUCE the sort of religion which consists in a grateful
admiration of the gift of so happy an existence; and we must also
acknowledge that the more complex ways of experiencing religion
are new manners of producing happiness, wonderful inner paths to
a supernatural kind of happiness, when the first gift of natural
existence is unhappy, as it so often proves itself to be.

With such relations between religion and happiness, it is perhaps
not surprising that men come to regard the happiness which a
religious belief affords as a proof of its truth.  If a creed
makes a man feel happy, he almost inevitably adopts it.  Such a
belief ought to be true; therefore it is true--such, rightly or
wrongly, is one of the "immediate inferences" of the religious
logic used by ordinary men.

"The near presence of God's spirit," says a German writer,[31]
"may be experienced in its reality--indeed ONLY experienced. And
the mark by which the spirit's existence and nearness are made
irrefutably clear to those who have ever had the experience is
the utterly incomparable FEELING OF HAPPINESS which is connected
with the nearness, and which is therefore not only a possible and
altogether proper feeling for us to have here below, but is the
best and most indispensable proof of God's reality.  No other
proof is equally convincing, and therefore happiness is the point
from which every efficacious new theology should start."

[31] C. Hilty: Gluck, dritter Theil, 1900, p. 18.

In the hour immediately before us, I shall invite you to consider
the simpler kinds of religious happiness, leaving the more
complex sorts to be treated on a later day.

In many persons, happiness is congenital and irreclaimable.
"Cosmic emotion" inevitably takes in them the form of enthusiasm
and freedom.  I speak not only of those who are animally happy. 
I mean those who, when unhappiness is offered or proposed to
them, positively refuse to feel it, as if it were something mean
and wrong.  We find such persons in every age, passionately
flinging themselves upon their sense of the goodness of life, in
spite of the hardships of their own condition, and in spite of
the sinister theologies into which they may he born.  From the
outset their religion is one of union with the divine.  The
heretics who went before the reformation are lavishly accused by
the church writers of antinomian practices, just as the first
Christians were accused of indulgence in orgies by the Romans. 
It is probable that there never has been a century in which the
deliberate refusal to think ill of life has not been idealized by
a sufficient number of persons to form sects, open or secret, who
claimed all natural things to be permitted.  Saint Augustine's
maxim, Dilige et quod vis fac--if you but love [God], you may do
as you incline--is morally one of the profoundest of
observations, yet it is pregnant, for such persons, with
passports beyond the bounds of conventional morality.  According
to their characters they have been refined or gross; but their
belief has been at all times systematic enough to constitute a
definite religious attitude.  God was for them a giver of
freedom, and the sting of evil was overcome.  Saint Francis and
his immediate disciples were, on the whole, of this company of
spirits, of which there are of course infinite varieties. 
Rousseau in the earlier years of his writing, Diderot, B. de
Saint Pierre, and many of the leaders of the eighteenth century
anti-Christian movement were of this optimistic type. They owed
their influence to a certain authoritativeness in their feeling
that Nature, if you will only trust her sufficiently, is
absolutely good.

It is to be hoped that we all have some friend, perhaps more
often feminine than masculine, and young than old, whose soul is
of this sky-blue tint, whose affinities are rather with flowers
and birds and all enchanting innocencies than with dark human
passions, who can think no ill of man or God, and in whom
religious gladness, being in possession from the outset, needs no
deliverance from any antecedent burden.

"God has two families of children on this earth," says Francis W.
Newman,[32] "the once-born and the twice-born," and the once-born
he describes as follows:  "They see God, not as a strict Judge,
not as a Glorious Potentate; but as the animating Spirit of a
beautiful harmonious world, Beneficent and Kind, Merciful as well
as Pure.  The same characters generally have no metaphysical
tendencies:  they do not look back into themselves. Hence they
are not distressed by their own imperfections:  yet it would be
absurd to call them self-righteous; for they hardly think of
themselves AT ALL.  This childlike quality of their nature makes
the opening of religion very happy to them:  for they no more
shrink from God, than a child from an emperor, before whom the
parent trembles:  in fact, they have no vivid conception of ANY
of the qualities in which the severer Majesty of God
consists.[33] He is to them the impersonation of Kindness and
Beauty.  They read his character, not in the disordered world of
man, but in romantic and harmonious nature. Of human sin they
know perhaps little in their own hearts and not very much in the
world; and human suffering does but melt them to tenderness. 
Thus, when they approach God, no inward disturbance ensues; and
without being as yet spiritual, they have a certain complacency
and perhaps romantic sense of excitement in their simple

[32] The Soul; its Sorrows and its Aspirations, 3d edition, 1852,
pp. 89, 91.

[33] I once heard a lady describe the pleasure it gave her to
think that she "could always cuddle up to God."

In the Romish Church such characters find a more congenial soil
to grow in than in Protestantism, whose fashions of feeling have
been set by minds of a decidedly pessimistic order.  But even in
Protestantism they have been abundant enough; and in its recent
"liberal" developments of Unitarianism and latitudinarianism
generally, minds of this order have played and still are playing
leading and constructive parts.  Emerson himself is an admirable
example.  Theodore Parker is another--here are a couple of
characteristic passages from Parker's correspondence.[34]

[34] John Weiss:  Life of Theodore Parker, i. 152, 32.

"Orthodox scholars say:  'In the heathen classics you find no
consciousness of sin.' It is very true--God be thanked for it.
They were conscious of wrath, of cruelty, avarice, drunkenness,
lust, sloth, cowardice, and other actual vices, and struggled and
got rid of the deformities, but they were not conscious of
'enmity against God,' and didn't sit down and whine and groan
against non-existent evil.  I have done wrong things enough in my
life, and do them now; I miss the mark, draw bow, and try again. 
But I am not conscious of hating God, or man, or right, or love,
and I know there is much 'health in me', and in my body, even
now, there dwelleth many a good thing, spite of consumption and
Saint Paul."  In another letter Parker writes:  "I have swum in
clear sweet waters all my days; and if sometimes they were a
little cold, and the stream ran adverse and something rough, it
was never too strong to be breasted and swum through.  From the
days of earliest boyhood, when I went stumbling through the
grass, . . . up to the gray-bearded manhood of this time, there
is none but has left me honey in the hive of memory that I now
feed on for present delight. When I recall the years . . . I am
filled with a sense of sweetness and wonder that such little
things can make a mortal so exceedingly rich.  But I must confess
that the chiefest of all my delights is still the religious."

Another good expression of the "once-born" type of consciousness,
developing straight and natural, with no element of morbid
compunction or crisis, is contained in the answer of Dr. Edward
Everett Hale, the eminent Unitarian preacher and writer, to one
of Dr. Starbuck's circulars.  I quote a part of it:--

"I observe, with profound regret, the religious struggles which
come into many biographies, as if almost essential to the
formation of the hero.  I ought to speak of these, to say that
any man has an advantage, not to be estimated, who is born, as I
was, into a family where the religion is simple and rational; who
is trained in the theory of such a religion, so that he never
knows, for an hour, what these religious or irreligious struggles
are.  I always knew God loved me, and I was always grateful to
him for the world he placed me in.  I always liked to tell him
so, and was always glad to receive his suggestions to me. . . . I
can remember perfectly that when I was coming to manhood, the
half-philosophical novels of the time had a deal to say about the
young men and maidens who were facing the 'problem of life.' I
had no idea whatever what the problem of life was.  To live with
all my might seemed to me easy; to learn where there was so much
to learn seemed pleasant and almost of course; to lend a hand, if
one had a chance, natural; and if one did this, why, he enjoyed
life because he could not help it, and without proving to himself
that he ought to enjoy it. . . . A child who is early taught that
he is God's child, that he may live and move and have his being
in God, and that he has, therefore, infinite strength at hand for
the conquering of any difficulty, will take life more easily, and
probably will make more of it, than one who is told that he is
born the child of wrath and wholly incapable of good."[35]

[35] Starbuck:  Psychology of Religion, pp. 305, 306.

One can but recognize in such writers as these the presence of a
temperament organically weighted on the side of cheer and fatally
forbidden to linger, as those of opposite temperament linger,
over the darker aspects of the universe. In some individuals
optimism may become quasi-pathological. The capacity for even a
transient sadness or a momentary humility seems cut off from them
as by a kind of congenital anaesthesia.[36]

[36] "I know not to what physical laws philosophers will some day
refer the feelings of melancholy.  For myself, I find that they
are the most voluptuous of all sensations," writes Saint Pierre,
and accordingly he devotes a series of sections of his work on
Nature to the Plaisirs de la Ruine, Plaisirs des Tombeaux, Ruines
de la Nature, Plaisirs de la Solitude--each of them more
optimistic than the last.

This finding of a luxury in woe is very common during
adolescence. The truth-telling Marie Bashkirtseff expresses it

"In his depression and dreadful uninterrupted suffering, I don't
condemn life.  On the contrary, I like it and find it good.  Can
you believe it?  I find everything good and pleasant, even my
tears, my grief.  I enjoy weeping, I enjoy my despair.  I enjoy
being exasperated and sad.  I feel as if these were so many
diversions, and I love life in spite of them all.  I want to live
on.  It would be cruel to have me die when I am so accommodating.

I cry, I grieve, and at the same time I am pleased--no, not
exactly that--I know not how to express it.  But everything in
life pleases me.  I find everything agreeable, and in the very
midst of my prayers for happiness, I find myself happy at being
miserable.  It is not I who undergo all this--my body weeps and
cries; but something inside of me which is above me is glad of it
all." [37]   

[37] Journal de Marie Bashkirtseff, i. 67.

The supreme contemporary example of such an inability to feel
evil is of course Walt Whitman.

"His favorite occupation," writes his disciple, Dr. Bucke "seemed
to be strolling or sauntering about outdoors by himself, looking
at the grass, the trees, the flowers, the vistas of light, the
varying aspects of the sky, and listening to the birds, the
crickets, the tree frogs, and all the hundreds of natural sounds.

It was evident that these things gave him a pleasure far beyond
what they give to ordinary people.  Until I knew the man,"
continues Dr. Bucke, "it had not occurred to me that any one
could derive so much absolute happiness from these things as he
did.  He was very fond of flowers, either wild or cultivated;
liked all sorts.  I think he admired lilacs and sunflowers just
as much as roses.  Perhaps, indeed, no man who ever lived liked
so many things and disliked so few as Walt Whitman.  All natural
objects seemed to have a charm for him.  All sights and sounds
seemed to please him.  He appeared to like (and I believe he did
like) all the men, women, and children he saw (though I never
knew him to say that he liked any one), but each who knew him
felt that he liked him or her, and that he liked others also.  I
never knew him to argue or dispute, and he never spoke about
money.  He always justified, sometimes playfully, sometimes quite
seriously, those who spoke harshly of himself or his writings,
and I often thought he even took pleasure in the opposition of
enemies.  When I first knew [him], I used to think that he
watched himself, and would not allow his tongue to give
expression to fretfulness, antipathy, complaint, and
remonstrance.  It did not occur to me as possible that these
mental states could be absent in him.  After long observation,
however, I satisfied myself that such absence or unconsciousness
was entirely real.  He never spoke deprecatingly of any
nationality or class of men, or time in the world's history, or
against any trades or occupations--not even against any animals,
insects, or inanimate things, nor any of the laws of nature, nor
any of the results of those laws, such as illness, deformity, and
death.  He never complained or grumbled either at the weather,
pain, illness, or anything else.  He never swore.  He could not
very well, since he never spoke in anger and apparently never was
angry.  He never exhibited fear, and I do not believe he ever
felt it."[38]

[38] R. M. Bucke:  Cosmic consciousness, pp. 182-186, abridged.

Walt Whitman owes his importance in literature to the systematic
expulsion from his writings of all contractile elements.  The
only sentiments he allowed himself to express were of the
expansive order; and he expressed these in the first person, not
as your mere monstrously conceited individual might so express
them, but vicariously for all men, so that a passionate and
mystic ontological emotion suffuses his words, and ends by
persuading the reader that men and women, life and death, and all
things are divinely good.

Thus it has come about that many persons to-day regard Walt
Whitman as the restorer of the eternal natural religion. He has
infected them with his own love of comrades, with his own
gladness that he and they exist.  Societies are actually formed
for his cult; a periodical organ exists for its propagation, in
which the lines of orthodoxy and heterodoxy are already beginning
to be drawn;[39] hymns are written by others in his peculiar
prosody; and he is even explicitly compared with the founder of
the Christian religion, not altogether to the advantage of the

[39] I refer to The Conservator, edited by Horace Traubel, and
published monthly at Philadelphia.

Whitman is often spoken of as a "pagan."  The word nowadays means
sometimes the mere natural animal man without a sense of sin;
sometimes it means a Greek or Roman with his own peculiar
religious consciousness.  In neither of these senses does it
fitly define this poet.  He is more than your mere animal man who
has not tasted of the tree of good and evil.  He is aware enough
of sin for a swagger to be present in his indifference towards
it, a conscious pride in his freedom from flexions and
contractions, which your genuine pagan in the first sense of the
word would never show.
 "I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and
  I stand and look at them long and long;
  They do not sweat and whine about their condition.
  They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins.
  Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of 

    owning things,
  Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands

     of years ago,
  Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth."[40]

[40] Song of Myself, 32.

No natural pagan could have written these well-known lines.  But
on the other hand Whitman is less than a Greek or Roman; for
their consciousness, even in Homeric times, was full to the brim
of the sad mortality of this sunlit world, and such a
consciousness Walt Whitman resolutely refuses to adopt.  When,
for example, Achilles, about to slay Lycaon, Priam's young son,
hears him sue for mercy, he stops to say:--

"Ah, friend, thou too must die:  why thus lamentest thou?
Patroclos too is dead, who was better far than thou. . . . Over
me too hang death and forceful fate.  There cometh morn or eve or
some noonday when my life too some man shall take in battle,
whether with spear he smite, or arrow from the string."[41]

[41] Iliad, XXI., E. Myers's translation.

Then Achilles savagely severs the poor boy's neck with his sword,
heaves him by the foot into the Scamander, and calls to the
fishes of the river to eat the white fat of Lycaon.  Just as here
the cruelty and the sympathy each ring true, and do not mix or
interfere with one another, so did the Greeks and Romans keep all
their sadnesses and gladnesses unmingled and entire.  Instinctive
good they did not reckon sin; nor had they any such desire to
save the credit of the universe as to make them insist, as so
many of US insist, that what immediately appears as evil must be
"good in the making," or something equally ingenious.  Good was
good, and bad just bad, for the earlier Greeks.  They neither
denied the ills of nature--Walt Whitman's verse, "What is called
good is perfect and what is called bad is just as perfect," would
have been mere silliness to them--nor did they, in order to
escape from those ills, invent "another and a better world" of
the imagination, in which, along with the ills, the innocent
goods of sense would also find no place.  This integrity of the
instinctive reactions, this freedom from all moral sophistry and
strain, gives a pathetic dignity to ancient pagan feeling. And
this quality Whitman's outpourings have not got. His optimism is
too voluntary and defiant; his gospel has a touch of bravado and
an affected twist,[42] and this diminishes its effect on many
readers who yet are well disposed towards optimism, and on the
whole quite willing to admit that in important respects Whitman
is of the genuine lineage of the prophets.

[42] "God is afraid of me!" remarked such a titanic-optimistic
friend in my presence one morning when he was feeling
particularly hearty and cannibalistic.  The defiance of the
phrase showed that a Christian education in humility still
rankled in his breast.

If, then, we give the name of healthy-mindedness to the tendency
which looks on all things and sees that they are good, we find
that we must distinguish between a more involuntary and a more
voluntary or systematic way of being healthy-minded.  In its
involuntary variety, healthy-mindedness is a way of feeling happy
about things immediately.  In its systematical variety, it is an
abstract way of conceiving things as good.  Every abstract way of
conceiving things selects some one aspect of them as their
essence for the time being, and disregards the other aspects. 
Systematic healthy-mindedness, conceiving good as the essential
and universal aspect of being, deliberately excludes evil from
its field of vision; and although, when thus nakedly stated, this
might seem a difficult feat to perform for one who is
intellectually sincere with himself and honest about facts, a
little reflection shows that the situation is too complex to lie
open to so simple a criticism.

In the first place, happiness, like every other emotional state,
has blindness and insensibility to opposing facts given it as its
instinctive weapon for self-protection against disturbance. When
happiness is actually in possession, the thought of evil can no
more acquire the feeling of reality than the thought of good can
gain reality when melancholy rules.  To the man actively happy,
from whatever cause, evil simply cannot then and there be
believed in.  He must ignore it; and to the bystander he may then
seem perversely to shut his eyes to it and hush it up.

But more than this:  the hushing of it up may, in a perfectly
candid and honest mind, grow into a deliberate religious policy,
or parti pris.  Much of what we call evil is due entirely to the
way men take the phenomenon.  It can so often be converted into a
bracing and tonic good by a simple change of the sufferer's inner
attitude from one of fear to one of fight; its sting so often
departs and turns into a relish when, after vainly seeking to
shun it, we agree to face about and bear it cheerfully, that a
man is simply bound in honor, with reference to many of the facts
that seem at first to disconcert his peace, to adopt this way of
escape.  Refuse to admit their badness; despise their power;
ignore their presence; turn your attention the other way; and so
far as you yourself are concerned at any rate, though the facts
may still exist, their evil character exists no longer.  Since
you make them evil or good by your own thoughts about them, it is
the ruling of your thoughts which proves to be your principal

The deliberate adoption of an optimistic turn of mind thus makes
its entrance into philosophy.  And once in, it is hard to trace
its lawful bounds.  Not only does the human instinct for
happiness, bent on self-protection by ignoring, keep working in
its favor, but higher inner ideals have weighty words to say. 
The attitude of unhappiness is not only painful, it is mean and
ugly.  What can be more base and unworthy than the pining,
puling, mumping mood, no matter by what outward ills it may have
been engendered? What is more injurious to others?  What less
helpful as a way out of the difficulty?  It but fastens and
perpetuates the trouble which occasioned it, and increases the
total evil of the situation.  At all costs, then, we ought to
reduce the sway of that mood; we ought to scout it in ourselves
and others, and never show it tolerance.  But it is impossible to
carry on this discipline in the subjective sphere without
zealously emphasizing the brighter and minimizing the darker
aspects of the objective sphere of things at the same time.  And
thus our resolution not to indulge in misery, beginning at a
comparatively small point within ourselves, may not stop until it
has brought the entire frame of reality under a systematic
conception optimistic enough to be congenial with its needs.

In all this I say nothing of any mystical insight or persuasion
that the total frame of things absolutely must be good.  Such
mystical persuasion plays an enormous part in the history of the
religious consciousness, and we must look at it later with some
care.  But we need not go so far at present. More ordinary
non-mystical conditions of rapture suffice for my immediate
contention.  All invasive moral states and passionate enthusiasms
make one feelingless to evil in some direction. The common
penalties cease to deter the patriot, the usual prudences are
flung by the lover to the winds.  When the passion is extreme,
suffering may actually be gloried in, provided it be for the
ideal cause, death may lose its sting, the grave its victory.  In
these states, the ordinary contrast of good and ill seems to be
swallowed up in a higher denomination, an omnipotent excitement
which engulfs the evil, and which the human being welcomes as the
crowning experience of his life.  This, he says, is truly to
live, and I exult in the heroic opportunity and adventure.

The systematic cultivation of healthy-mindedness as a religious
attitude is therefore consonant with important currents in human
nature, and is anything but absurd.  In fact. we all do cultivate
it more or less, even when our professed theology should in
consistency forbid it.  We divert our attention from disease and
death as much as we can; and the slaughter-houses and indecencies
without end on which our life is founded are huddled out of sight
and never mentioned, so that the world we recognize officially in
literature and in society is a poetic fiction far handsomer and
cleaner and better than the world that really is.[43]

[43] "As I go on in this life, day by day, I become more of a
bewildered child; I cannot get used to this world, to
procreation, to heredity, to sight, to hearing, the commonest
things are a burthen. The prim, obliterated, polite surface of
life, and the broad, bawdy and orgiastic--or
maenadic--foundations, form a spectacle to which no habit
reconciles me.  R. L. Stevenson:  Letters, ii. 355.

The advance of liberalism, so-called, in Christianity, during the
past fifty years, may fairly be called a victory of
healthy-mindedness within the church over the morbidness with
which the old hell-fire theology was more harmoniously related. 
We have now whole congregations whose preachers, far from
magnifying our consciousness of sin, seem devoted rather to
making little of it.  They ignore, or even deny, eternal
punishment, and insist on the dignity rather than on the
depravity of man.  They look at the continual preoccupation of
the old-fashioned Christian with the salvation of his soul as
something sickly and reprehensible rather than admirable; and a
sanguine and "muscular" attitude. which to our forefathers would
have seemed purely heathen, has become in their eyes an ideal
element of Christian character. I am not asking whether or not
they are right, I am only pointing out the change.  The persons
to whom I refer have still retained for the most part their
nominal connection with Christianity, in spite of their
discarding of its more pessimistic theological elements.  But in
that "theory of evolution" which, gathering momentum for a
century, has within the past twenty-five years swept so rapidly
over Europe and America, we see the ground laid for a new sort of
religion of Nature, which has entirely displaced Christianity
from the thought of a large part of our generation.  The idea of
a universal evolution lends itself to a doctrine of general
meliorism and progress which fits the religious needs of the
healthy-minded so well that it seems almost as if it might have
been created for their use.  Accordingly we find "evolutionism"
interpreted thus optimistically and embraced as a substitute for
the religion they were born in, by a multitude of our
contemporaries who have either been trained scientifically, or
been fond of reading popular science, and who had already begun
to be inwardly dissatisfied with what seemed to them the
harshness and irrationality of the orthodox Christian scheme.  As
examples are better than descriptions, I will quote a document
received in answer to Professor Starbuck's circular of questions.

The writer's state of mind may by courtesy be called a religion,
for it is his reaction on the whole nature of things, it is
systematic and reflective and it loyally binds him to certain
inner ideals.  I think you will recognize in him, coarse-meated
and incapable of wounded spirit as he is, a sufficiently familiar
contemporary type.

Q.  What does Religion mean to you?

A.  It means nothing; and it seems, so far as I can observe
useless to others.  I am sixty-seven years of age and have
resided in X fifty years, and have been in business forty-five,
consequently I have some little experience of life and men, and
some women too, and I find that the most religious and pious
people are as a rule those most lacking in uprightness and

The men who do not go to church or have any religious convictions
are the best.  Praying, singing of hymns, and sermonizing are
pernicious--they teach us to rely on some supernatural power,
when we ought to rely on ourselves.  I TEEtotally disbelieve in a
God.  The God-idea was begotten in ignorance, fear, and a general
lack of any knowledge of Nature.  If I were to die now, being in
a healthy condition for my age, both mentally and physically, I
would just as lief, yes, rather, die with a hearty enjoyment of
music, sport, or any other rational pastime. As a timepiece
stops, we die--there being no immortality in either case.

Q.  What comes before your mind corresponding to the words God,
Heaven, Angels, etc?

A.  Nothing whatever.  I am a man without a religion.  These
words mean so much mythic bosh.

Q.  Have you had any experiences which appeared providential?

A.  None whatever.  There is no agency of the superintending
kind.  A little judicious observation as well as knowledge of
scientific law will convince any one of this fact.

Q.  What things work most strongly on your emotions?

A.  Lively songs and music; Pinafore instead of an Oratorio. I
like Scott, Burns, Byron, Longfellow, especially Shakespeare,
etc., etc.  Of songs, the Star-Spangled Banner, America,
Marseillaise, and all moral and soul-stirring songs, but
wishy-washy hymns are my detestation.  I greatly enjoy nature,
especially fine weather, and until within a few years used to
walk Sundays into the country, twelve miles often, with no
fatigue, and bicycle forty or fifty.  I have dropped the bicycle.

I never go to church, but attend lectures when there are any good
ones.  All of my thoughts and cogitations have been of a healthy
and cheerful kind, for instead of doubts and fears I see things
as they are, for I endeavor to adjust myself to my environment. 
This I regard as the deepest law.  Mankind is a progressive
animal.  I am satisfied he will have made a great advance over
his present status a thousand years hence.

Q.  What is your notion of sin?

A.  It seems to me that sin is a condition, a disease, incidental
to man's development not being yet advanced enough.  Morbidness  
over it increases the disease.  We should think that a million of
years hence equity, justice, and mental and physical good order
will be so fixed and organized that no one will have any idea of
evil or sin.

Q.  What is your temperament?

A.  Nervous, active, wide-awake, mentally and physically. Sorry
that Nature compels us to sleep at all.

If we are in search of a broken and a contrite heart, clearly we
need not look to this brother.  His contentment with the finite
incases him like a lobster-shell and shields him from all morbid
repining at his distance from the infinite.  We have in him an
excellent example of the optimism which may be encouraged by
popular science.

To my mind a current far more important and interesting
religiously than that which sets in from natural science towards
healthy-mindedness is that which has recently poured over America
and seems to be gathering force every day--I am ignorant what
foothold it may yet have acquired in Great Britain--and to which,
for the sake of having a brief designation, I will give the title
of the "Mind-cure movement."  There are various sects of this
"New Thought," to use another of the names by which it calls
itself; but their agreements are so profound that their
differences may be neglected for my present purpose, and I will
treat the movement, without apology, as if it were a simple

It is a deliberately optimistic scheme of life, with both a
speculative and a practical side.  In its gradual development
during the last quarter of a century, it has taken up into itself
a number of contributory elements, and it must now be reckoned
with as a genuine religious power.  It has reached the stage, for
example, when the demand for its literature is great enough for
insincere stuff, mechanically produced for the market, to be to a
certain extent supplied by publishers--a phenomenon never
observed, I imagine, until a religion has got well past its
earliest insecure beginnings.

One of the doctrinal sources of Mind-cure is the four Gospels;
another is Emersonianism or New England transcendentalism;
another is Berkeleyan idealism; another is spiritism, with its
messages of "law" and "progress" and "development"; another the
optimistic popular science evolutionism of which I have recently
spoken; and, finally, Hinduism has contributed a strain.  But the
most characteristic feature of the mind-cure movement is an
inspiration much more direct.  The leaders in this faith have had
an intuitive belief in the all-saving power of healthy-minded
attitudes as such, in the conquering efficacy of courage, hope,
and trust, and a correlative contempt for doubt, fear, worry, and
all nervously precautionary states of mind.[44] Their belief has
in a general way been corroborated by the practical experience of
their disciples; and this experience forms to-day a mass imposing
in amount.

[44] "Cautionary Verses for Children":  this title of a much used
work, published early in the nineteenth century, shows how far
the muse of evangelical protestantism in England, with her mind
fixed on the idea of danger, had at last drifted away from the
original gospel freedom.  Mind-cure might be briefly called a
reaction against all that religion of chronic anxiety which
marked the earlier part of our century in the evangelical circles
of England and America.

The blind have been made to see, the halt to walk; life-long
invalids have had their health restored.  The moral fruits have
been no less remarkable.  The deliberate adoption of a
healthy-minded attitude has proved possible to many who never
supposed they had it in them; regeneration of character has gone
on on an extensive scale; and cheerfulness has been restored to
countless homes.  The indirect influence of this has been great. 
The mind-cure principles are beginning so to pervade the air that
one catches their spirit at second-hand.  One hears of the
"Gospel of Relaxation," of the "Don't Worry Movement," of people
who repeat to themselves, "Youth, health, vigor!" when dressing
in the morning, as their motto for the day.  

Complaints of the weather are getting to be forbidden in many
households; and more and more people are recognizing it to be bad
form to speak of disagreeable sensations, or to make much of the
ordinary inconveniences and ailments of life.  These general
tonic effects on public opinion would be good even if the more
striking results were non-existent.  But the latter abound so
that we can afford to overlook the innumerable failures and
self-deceptions that are mixed in with them (for in everything
human failure is a matter of course), and we can also overlook
the verbiage of a good deal of the mind-cure literature, some of
which is so moonstruck with optimism and so vaguely expressed
that an academically trained intellect finds it almost impossible
to read it at all.

The plain fact remains that the spread of the movement has been
due to practical fruits, and the extremely practical turn of
character of the American people has never been better shown than
by the fact that this, their only decidedly original contribution
to the systematic philosophy of life, should be so intimately
knit up with concrete therapeutics.  To the importance of
mind-cure the medical and clerical professions in the United
States are beginning, though with much recalcitrancy and
protesting, to open their eyes.  It is evidently bound to develop
still farther, both speculatively and practically, and its latest
writers are far and away the ablest of the group.[45] It matters
nothing that, just as there are hosts of persons who cannot pray,
so there are greater hosts who cannot by any possibility be
influenced by the mind-curers' ideas.  For our immediate purpose,
the important point is that so large a number should exist who 
CAN be so influenced.  They form a psychic type to be studied
with respect.[46]

[45] I refer to Mr. Horatio W. Dresser and Mr. Henry Wood,
especially the former.  Mr. Dresser's works are published by G. 
P. Putnam's Sons, New York and London; Mr. Wood's by Lee &
Shepard Boston.

[46] Lest my own testimony be suspected, I will quote another
reporter, Dr. H. H. Goddard, of Clark University, whose thesis on
"the Effects of Mind on Body as evidenced by Faith Cures" is
published in the American Journal of Psychology for 1899 (vol.
x.).  This critic, after a wide study of the facts, concludes
that the cures by mind-cure exist, but are in no respect
different from those now officially recognized in medicine as
cures by suggestion; and the end of his essay contains an
interesting physiological speculation as to the way in which the
suggestive ideas may work (p. 67 of the reprint).  As regards the
general phenomenon of mental cure itself, Dr. Goddard writes: 
"In spite of the severe criticism we have made of reports of
cure, there still remains a vast amount of material, showing a
powerful influence of the mind in disease.  Many cases are of
diseases that have been diagnosed and treated by the best
physicians of the country, or which prominent hospitals have
tried their hand at curing, but without success.  People of
culture and education have been treated by this method with
satisfactory results.  Diseases of long standing have been
ameliorated, and even cured. . . . We have traced the mental
element through primitive medicine and folk-medicine of to-day,
patent medicine, and witchcraft.  We are convinced that it is
impossible to account for the existence of these practices, if
they did not cure disease, and that if they cured disease, it
must have been the mental element that was effective.  The same
argument applies to those modern schools of mental therapeutics--
Divine Healing and Christian Science.  It is hardly conceivable
that the large body of intelligent people who comprise the body
known distinctively as Mental Scientists should continue to exist
if the whole thing were a delusion.  It is not a thing of a day;
it is not confined to a few; it is not local.  It is true that
many failures are recorded, but that only adds to the argument. 
There must be many and striking successes to counterbalance the
failures, otherwise the failures would have ended the delusion. .
. . Christian Science, Divine Healing, or Mental Science do not,
and never can in the very nature of things, cure all diseases;
nevertheless, the practical applications of the general
principles of the broadest mental science will tend to prevent
disease. . . . We do find sufficient evidence to convince us
that the proper reform in mental attitude would relieve many a
sufferer of ills that the ordinary physician cannot touch; would
even delay the approach of death to many a victim beyond the
power of absolute cure, and the faithful adherence to a truer
philosophy of life will keep many a man well, and give the doctor
time to devote to alleviating ills that are unpreventable" (pp.
33, 34 of reprint).

To come now to a little closer quarters with their creed.  The
fundamental pillar on which it rests is nothing more than the
general basis of all religious experience, the fact that man has
a dual nature, and is connected with two spheres of thought, a
shallower and a profounder sphere, in either of which he may
learn to live more habitually.  The shallower and lower sphere is
that of the fleshly sensations, instincts, and desires, of
egotism, doubt, and the lower personal interests.  But whereas
Christian theology has always considered FROWARDNESS to be the
essential vice of this part of human nature, the mind-curers say
that the mark of the beast in it is FEAR; and this is what gives
such an entirely new religious turn to their persuasion.

"Fear," to quote a writer of the school, "has had its uses in the
evolutionary process, and seems to constitute the whole of
forethought in most animals; but that it should remain any part
of the mental equipment of human civilized life is an absurdity. 
I find that the fear clement of forethought is not stimulating to
those more civilized persons to whom duty and attraction are the
natural motives, but is weakening and deterrent.  As soon as it
becomes unnecessary, fear becomes a positive deterrent, and
should be entirely removed, as dead flesh is removed from living
tissue.  To assist in the analysis of fear and in the
denunciation of its expressions, I have coined the word
fearthought to stand for the unprofitable element of forethought,
and have defined the word 'worry' as fearthought in
contradistinction to forethought.  I have also defined
fearthought as the self-imposed or self-permitted suggestion of
inferiority, in order to place it where it really belongs, in the
category of harmful, unnecessary, and therefore not respectable

[47] Horace Fletcher:  Happiness as found in Forethought Minus
Fearthought, Menticulture Series, ii.  Chicago and New York,
Stone. 1897, pp. 21-25, abridged.

The "misery-habit," the "martyr-habit," engendered by the
prevalent "fearthought," get pungent criticism from the mind-cure

"Consider for a moment the habits of life into which we are born.

There are certain social conventions or customs and alleged
requirements, there is a theological bias, a general view of the
world.  There are conservative ideas in regard to our early
training, our education, marriage, and occupation in life.
Following close upon this, there is a long series of
anticipations, namely, that we shall suffer certain children's
diseases, diseases of middle life, and of old age; the thought
that we shall grow old, lose our faculties, and again become
childlike; while crowning all is the fear of death.  Then there
is a long line of particular tears and trouble-bearing
expectations, such, for example, as ideas associated with certain
articles of food, the dread of the east wind, the terrors of hot
weather, the aches and pains associated with cold weather, the
fear of catching cold if one sits in a draught, the coming of
hay-fever upon the 14th of August in the middle of the day, and
so on through a long list of fears, dreads, worriments,
anxieties, anticipations, expectations, pessimisms, morbidities,
and the whole ghostly train of fateful shapes which our
fellow-men, and especially physicians, are ready to help us
conjure up, an array worthy to rank with Bradley's 'unearthly
ballet of bloodless categories.'

"Yet this is not all.  This vast array is swelled by innumerable
volunteers from daily life--the fear of accident, the possibility
of calamity, the loss of property, the chance of robbery, of
fire, or the outbreak of war.  And it is not deemed sufficient to
fear for ourselves.  When a friend is taken ill, we must forth
with fear the worst and apprehend death.  If one meets with
sorrow . . . sympathy means to enter into and increase the

[48] H. W. Dresser:  Voices of Freedom, New York, 1899, p. 38.

"Man," to quote another writer, "often has fear stamped upon him
before his entrance into the outer world; he is reared in fear;
all his life is passed in bondage to fear of disease and death,
and thus his whole mentality becomes cramped, limited, and
depressed, and his body follows its shrunken pattern and
specification . . . Think of the millions of sensitive and
responsive souls among our ancestors who have been under the
dominion of such a perpetual nightmare! Is it not surprising that
health exists at all?  Nothing but the boundless divine love?
exuberance, and vitality, constantly poured in, even though
unconsciously to us, could in some degree neutralize such an
ocean of morbidity."[49]

[49] Henry Wood:  Ideal Suggestion through Mental Photography.
Boston, 1899, p. 54.

Although the disciples of the mind-cure often use Christian
terminology, one sees from such quotations how widely their
notion of the fall of man diverges from that of ordinary

[50] Whether it differs so much from Christ's own notion is for
the exegetists to decide.  According to Harnack, Jesus felt about
evil and disease much as our mind-curers do.  "What is the answer
which Jesus sends to John the Baptist?" asks Harnack, and says it
is this:  "'The blind see, and the lame walk, the lepers are
cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead rise up, and the gospel is
preached to the poor.'  That is the 'coming of the kingdom,' or
rather in these saving works the kingdom is already there.  By
the overcoming and removal of misery, of need, of sickness, by
these actual effects John is to see that the new time has
arrived.  The casting out of devils is only a part of this work
of redemption, but Jesus points to that as the sense and seal of
his mission.  Thus to the wretched, sick, and poor did he address
himself, but not as a moralist, and without a trace of
sentimentalism.  He never makes groups and departments of the
ills, he never spends time in asking whether the sick one
'deserves' to be cured; and it never occurs to him to sympathize
with the pain or the death.  He nowhere says that sickness is a
beneficent infliction, and that evil has a healthy use.  No, he
calls sickness sickness and health health.  All evil, all
wretchedness, is for him something dreadful; it is of the great
kingdom of Satan; but he feels the power of the saviour within
him.  He knows that advance is possible only when weakness is
overcome, when sickness is made well."  Das Wesen des
Christenthums, 1900, p. 39.

Their notion of man's higher nature is hardly less divergent,
being decidedly pantheistic.  The spiritual in man appears 
in the mind-cure philosophy as partly conscious, but chiefly
subconscious; and through the subconscious part of it we are
already one with the Divine without any miracle of grace, or
abrupt creation of a new inner man.  As this view is variously
expressed by different writers, we find in it traces of Christian
mysticism, of transcendental idealism, of vedantism, and of the
modern psychology of the subliminal self.  A quotation or two
will put us at the central point of view:--

"The great central fact of the universe is that spirit of
infinite life and power that is back of all, that manifests
itself in and through all.  This spirit of infinite life and
power that is back of all is what I call God.  I care not what
term you may use, be it Kindly Light, Providence, the Over-Soul,
Omnipotence, or whatever term may be most convenient, so long as
we are agreed in regard to the great central fact itself.  God
then fills the universe alone, so that all is from Him and in
Him, and there is nothing that is outside.  He is the life of our
life our very life itself.  We are partakers of the life of God;
and though we differ from Him in that we are individualized
spirits, while He is the Infinite Spirit, including us, as well
as all else beside, yet in essence the life of God and the life
of man are identically the same, and so are one.  They differ not
in essence or quality; they differ in degree.

"The great central fact in human life is the coming into a
conscious vital realization of our oneness with this Infinite
Life and the opening of ourselves fully to this divine inflow. 
In just the degree that we come into a conscious realization of
our oneness with the Infinite Life, and open ourselves to this
divine inflow, do we actualize in ourselves the qualities and
powers of the Infinite Life, do we make ourselves channels
through which the Infinite Intelligence and Power can work.  In
just the degree in which you realize your oneness with the
Infinite Spirit, you will exchange dis-ease for ease, inharmony
for harmony, suffering and pain for abounding health and
strength.  To recognize our own divinity, and our intimate
relation to the Universal, is to attach the belts of our
machinery to the powerhouse of the Universe.  One need remain in
hell no longer than one chooses to; we can rise to any heaven we
ourselves choose; and when we choose so to rise, all the higher
powers of the Universe combine to help us heavenward."[51]

[51] R. W. Trine:  In Tune with the Infinite, 26th thousand, N.Y.
1899.  I have strung scattered passages together.

Let me now pass from these abstracter statements to some more
concrete accounts of experience with the mind-cure religion.  I
have many answers from correspondents--the only difficulty is to
choose.  The first two whom I shall quote are my personal
friends.  One of them, a woman, writing as follows, expresses
well the feeling of continuity with the Infinite Power, by which
all mind-cure disciples are inspired.

"The first underlying cause of all sickness, weakness, or
depression is the human sense of separateness from that Divine
Energy which we call God.  The soul which can feel and affirm in
serene but jubilant confidence, as did the Nazarene:  'I and my
Father are one,' has no further need of healer, or of healing.
This is the whole truth in a nutshell, and other foundation for
wholeness can no man lay than this fact of impregnable divine
union.  Disease can no longer attack one whose feet are planted
on this rock, who feels hourly, momently, the influx of the
Deific Breath.  If one with Omnipotence, how can weariness enter
the consciousness, how illness assail that indomitable spark?

"This possibility of annulling forever the law of fatigue has
been abundantly proven in my own case; for my earlier life bears
a record of many, many years of bedridden invalidism, with spine
and lower limbs paralyzed.  My thoughts were no more impure than
they are to-day, although my belief in the necessity of illness
was dense and unenlightened; but since my resurrection in the
flesh, I have worked as a healer unceasingly for fourteen years
without a vacation, and can truthfully assert that I have never
known a moment of fatigue or pain, although coming in touch
constantly with excessive weakness, illness, and disease of all
kinds.  For how can a conscious part of Deity be sick?--since
'Greater is he that is with us than all that can strive against

My second correspondent, also a woman, sends me the following

"Life seemed difficult to me at one time.  I was always breaking
down, and had several attacks of what is called nervous
prostration, with terrible insomnia, being on the verge of
insanity; besides having many other troubles, especially of the
digestive organs.  I had been sent away from home in charge of
doctors, had taken all the narcotics, stopped all work, been fed
up, and in fact knew all the doctors within reach.  But I never
recovered permanently till this New Thought took possession of

"I think that the one thing which impressed me most was learning
the fact that we must be in absolutely constant relation or
mental touch (this word is to me very expressive) with that
essence of life which permeates all and which we call God. This
is almost unrecognizable unless we live it into ourselves
ACTUALLY, that is, by a constant turning to the very innermost,
deepest consciousness of our real selves or of God in us, for
illumination from within, just as we turn to the sun for light,
warmth, and invigoration without.  When you do this consciously,
realizing that to turn inward to the light within you is to live
in the presence of God or your divine self, you soon discover the
unreality of the objects to which you have hitherto been turning
and which have engrossed you without.

"I have come to disregard the meaning of this attitude for bodily
health AS SUCH, because that comes of itself, as an incidental
result, and cannot be found by any special mental act or desire
to have it, beyond that general attitude of mind I have referred
to above.  That which we usually make the object of life, those
outer things we are all so wildly seeking, which we so often live
and die for, but which then do not give us peace and happiness,
they should all come of themselves as accessory, and as the mere
outcome or natural result of a far higher life sunk deep in the
bosom of the spirit.  This life is the real seeking of the
kingdom of God, the desire for his supremacy in our hearts, so
that all else comes as that which shall be 'added unto you'--as
quite incidental and as a surprise to us, perhaps; and yet it is
the proof of the reality of the perfect poise in the very centre
of our being.

"When I say that we commonly make the object of our life that
which we should not work for primarily, I mean many things which
the world considers praiseworthy and excellent, such as success
in business, fame as author or artist, physician or lawyer, or
renown in philanthropic undertakings.  Such things should be
results, not objects.  I would also include pleasures of many
kinds which seem harmless and good at the time, and are pursued
because many accept them--I mean conventionalities,
sociabilities, and fashions in their various development, these
being mostly approved by the masses, although they may be unreal,
and even unhealthy superfluities."

Here is another case, more concrete, also that of a woman. I read
you these cases without comment--they express so many varieties
of the state of mind we are studying.

"I had been a sufferer from my childhood till my fortieth year. 
[Details of ill-health are given which I omit.] I had been in
Vermont several months hoping for good from the change of air,
but steadily growing weaker, when one day during the latter part
of October, while resting in the afternoon, I suddenly heard as
it were these words:  'You will be healed and do a work you never
dreamed of.'  These words were impressed upon my mind with such
power I said at once that only God could have put them there.  I
believed them in spite of myself and of my suffering and
weakness, which continued until Christmas, when I returned to
Boston.  Within two days a young friend offered to take me to a
mental healer (this was January 7, 1881).  The healer said: 
'There is nothing but Mind; we are expressions of the One Mind;
body is only a mortal belief; as a man thinketh so is he.' I
could not accept all she said, but I translated all that was
there for ME in this way:  'There is nothing but God; I am
created by Him, and am absolutely dependent upon Him; mind is
given me to use; and by just so much of it as I will put upon the
thought of right action in body I  shall be lifted out of bondage
to my ignorance and fear and past experience.'  That day I
commenced accordingly to take a little of every food provided for
the family, constantly saying to myself:  'The Power that created
the stomach must take care of what I have eaten.'  By holding
these suggestions through the evening I went to bed and fell
asleep, saying:  'I am soul, spirit, just one with God's Thought
of me,' and slept all night without waking, for the first time in
several years [the distress-turns had usually recurred about two
o'clock in the night].  I felt the next day like an escaped
prisoner, and believed I had found the secret that would in time
give me perfect health.  Within ten days I was able to eat
anything provided for others, and after two weeks I began to have
my own positive mental suggestions of Truth, which were to me
like stepping-stones.  I will note a few of them, they came about
two weeks apart.

"1st.  I am Soul, therefore it is well with me.

"2d.  I am Soul, therefore I am well.

"3d.  A sort of inner vision of myself as a four-footed beast
with a protuberance on every part of my body where I had
suffering, with my own face, begging me to acknowledge it as
myself.  I resolutely fixed my attention on being well, and
refused to even look at my old self in this form.

"4th.  Again the vision of the beast far in the background, with
faint voice.  Again refusal to acknowledge.

"5th.  Once more the vision, but only of my eyes with the longing
look; and again the refusal.  Then came the conviction, the inner
consciousness, that I was perfectly well and always had been, for
I was Soul, an expression of God's Perfect Thought.  That was to
me the perfect and completed separation between what I was and
what I appeared to be.  I succeeded in never losing sight after
this of my real being, by constantly affirming this truth, and by
degrees (though it took me two years of hard work to get there) I
expressed health continuously throughout my whole body.

"In my subsequent nineteen years' experience I have never known
this Truth to fail when I applied it, though in my ignorance I
have often failed to apply it, but through my failures I have
learned the simplicity and trustfulness of the little child."

But I fear that I risk tiring you by so many examples, and I must
lead you back to philosophic generalities again.  You see already
by such records of experience how impossible it is not to class
mind-cure as primarily a religious movement.  Its doctrine of the
oneness of our life with God's life is in fact quite
indistinguishable from an interpretation of Christ's message
which in these very Gifford lectures has been defended by some of
your very ablest Scottish religious philosophers.[52]

[52] The Cairds, for example.  In Edward Caird's Glasgow Lectures
of 1890-92 passages like this abound:--

"The declaration made in the beginning of the ministry of Jesus
that 'the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of heaven is at
hand,' passes with scarce a break into the announcement that 'the
kingdom of God is among you'; and the importance of this
announcement is asserted to be such that it makes, so to speak, a
difference IN KIND between the greatest saints and prophets who
lived under the previous reign of division, and 'the least in the
kingdom of heaven.'  The highest ideal is brought close to men
and declared to be within their reach, they are called on to be
'perfect as their Father in heaven is perfect.'  The sense of
alienation and distance from God which had grown upon the pious
in Israel just in proportion as they had learned to look upon Him
as no mere national divinity, but as a God of justice who would
punish Israel for its sin as certainly as Edom or Moab, is
declared to be no longer in place; and the typical form of
Christian prayer points to the abolition of the contrast between
this world and the next which through all the history of the Jews
had continually been growing wider:  'As in heaven, so on earth.'
The sense of the division of man from God, as a finite being from
the Infinite, as weak and sinful from the Omnipotent Goodness, is
not indeed lost; but it can no longer overpower the consciousness
of oneness.  The terms 'Son' and 'Father' at once state the
opposition and mark its limit.  They show that it is not an
absolute opposition, but one which presupposes an indestructible
principle of unity, that can and must become a principle of
reconciliation." The Evolution of Religion, ii.  pp. 146, 147.

But philosophers usually profess to give a quasi-logical
explanation of the existence of evil, whereas of the general fact
of evil in the world, the existence of the selfish, suffering, 
timorous finite consciousness, the mind-curers, so far as I am
acquainted with them, profess to give no speculative explanation
Evil is empirically there for them as it is for everybody, but
the practical point of view predominates, and it would ill agree
with the spirit of their system to spend time in worrying over it
as a "mystery" or "problem," or in "laying to heart" the lesson
of its experience, after the manner of the Evangelicals.  Don't
reason about it, as Dante says, but give a glance and pass
beyond!  It is Avidhya, ignorance! something merely to be
outgrown and left be hind, transcended and forgotten.  Christian
Science so-called, the sect of Mrs. Eddy, is the most radical
branch of mind-cure in its dealings with evil.  For it evil is
simply a LIE, and any one who mentions it is a liar.  The
optimistic ideal of duty forbids us to pay it the compliment even
of explicit attention.  Of course, as our next lectures will show
us, this is a bad speculative omission, but it is intimately
linked with the practical merits of the system we are examining. 
Why regret a philosophy of evil, a mind-curer would ask us, if I
can put you in possession of a life of good?

After all, it is the life that tells; and mind-cure has developed
a living system of mental hygiene which may well claim to have
thrown all previous literature of the Diatetit der Seele into the
shade.  This system is wholly and exclusively compacted of
optimism:  "Pessimism leads to weakness. Optimism leads to
power."    "Thoughts are things," as one of the most vigorous
mind-cure writers prints in bold type at the bottom of each of
his pages; and if your thoughts are of health, youth, vigor, and
success, before you know it these things will also be your
outward portion.  No one can fail of the regenerative influence
of optimistic thinking, pertinaciously pursued.  Every man owns
indefeasibly this inlet to the divine.  Fear, on the contrary,
and all the contracted and egoistic modes of thought, are inlets
to destruction.  Most mind-curers here bring in a doctrine that
thoughts are "forces," and that, by virtue of a law that like
attracts like, one man's thoughts draw to themselves as allies
all the thoughts of the same character that exist the world over.
Thus one gets, by one's thinking, reinforcements from elsewhere
for the realization of one's desires; and the great point in the
conduct of life is to get the heavenly forces on one's side by
opening one's own mind to their influx.

On the whole, one is struck by a psychological similarity between
the mind-cure movement and the Lutheran and Wesleyan movements. 
To the believer in moralism and works, with his anxious query,
"What shall I do to be saved?"  Luther and Wesley replied:  "You
are saved now, if you would but believe it."  And the mind-curers
come with precisely similar words of emancipation.  They speak,
it is true, to persons for whom the conception of salvation has
lost its ancient theological meaning, but who labor nevertheless
with the same eternal human difficulty.  THINGS ARE WRONG WITH
THEM; and "What shall I do to be clear, right, sound, whole,
well?" is the form of their question.  And the answer is:  "You
ARE well, sound, and clear already, if you did but know it." 
"The whole matter may be summed up in one sentence," says one of
the authors whom I have already quoted, "GOD IS WELL, AND SO ARE
YOU.  You must awaken to the knowledge of your real being."

The adequacy of their message to the mental needs of a large
fraction of mankind is what gave force to those earlier gospels. 
Exactly the same adequacy holds in the case of the mind-cure
message, foolish as it may sound upon its surface; and seeing its
rapid growth in influence, and its therapeutic triumphs, one is
tempted to ask whether it may not be destined (probably by very
reason of the crudity and extravagance of many of its
manifestations[53]) to play a part almost  as great in the
evolution of the popular religion of the future as did those
earlier movements in their day.

[53] It remains to be seen whether the school of Mr. Dresser,
which assumes more and more the form of mind-cure experience and
academic philosophy mutually impregnating each other, will score
the practical triumphs of the less critical and rational sects.

But I here fear that I may begin to "jar upon the nerves" of some
of the members of this academic audience.  Such contemporary
vagaries, you may think, should hardly take so large a place in
dignified Gifford lectures.  I can only beseech you to have
patience.  The whole outcome of these lectures will, I imagine,
be the emphasizing to your mind of the enormous diversities which
the spiritual lives of different men exhibit.  Their wants, their
susceptibilities, and their capacities all vary and must be
classed under different heads.  The result is that we have really
different types of religious experience; and, seeking in these
lectures closer acquaintance with the healthy-minded type, we
must take it where we find it in most radical form.  The
psychology of individual types of character has hardly begun even
to be sketched as yet--our lectures may possibly serve as a
crumb-like contribution to the structure.  The first thing to
bear in mind (especially if we ourselves belong to the
clerico-academic-scientific type, the officially and
conventionally "correct" type, "the deadly respectable" type, for
which to ignore others is a besetting temptation) is that nothing
can be more stupid than to bar out phenomena from our notice,
merely because we are incapable of taking part in anything like
them ourselves.

Now the history of Lutheran salvation by faith, of methodistic
conversions, and of what I call the mind-cure movement seems to
prove the existence of numerous persons in whom--at any rate at a
certain stage in their development--a change of character for the
better, so far from being facilitated by the rules laid down by
official moralists, will take place all the more successfully if
those rules be exactly reversed.  Official moralists advise us
never to relax our strenuousness.  "Be vigilant, day and night,"
they adjure us; "hold your passive tendencies in check; shrink
from no effort; keep your will like a bow always bent."  But the
persons I speak of find that all this conscious effort leads to
nothing but failure and vexation in their hands, and only makes
them twofold more the children of hell they were before.  The
tense and voluntary attitude becomes in them an impossible fever
and torment.  Their machinery refuses to run at all when the
bearings are made so hot and the belts so tight.

Under these circumstances the way to success, as vouched for by
innumerable authentic personal narrations, is by an
anti-moralistic method, by the "surrender" of which I spoke in my
second lecture.  Passivity, not activity; relaxation, not
intentness, should be now the rule.  Give up the feeling of
responsibility, let go your hold, resign the care of your destiny
to higher powers, be genuinely indifferent as to what becomes of
it all, and you will find not only that you gain a perfect inward
relief, but often also, in addition, the particular goods you
sincerely thought you were renouncing. This is the salvation
through self-despair, the dying to be truly born, of Lutheran
theology, the passage into NOTHING of which Jacob Behmen writes. 
To get to it, a critical point must usually be passed, a corner
turned within one.  Something must give way, a native hardness
must break down and liquefy; and this event (as we shall
abundantly see hereafter) is frequently sudden and automatic, and
leaves on the Subject an impression that he has been wrought on
by an external power.

Whatever its ultimate significance may prove to be, this is
certainly one fundamental form of human experience. Some say that
the capacity or incapacity for it is what divides the religious
from the merely moralistic character. With those who undergo it
in its fullness, no criticism avails to cast doubt on its
reality.  They KNOW; for they have actually FELT the higher
powers, in giving up the tension of their personal will.

A story which revivalist preachers often tell is that of a man
who found himself at night slipping down the side of a precipice.

At last he caught a branch which stopped his fall, and remained
clinging to it in misery for hours.  But finally his fingers had
to loose their hold, and with a despairing farewell to life, he
let himself drop.  He fell just six inches.  If he had given up
the struggle earlier, his agony would have been spared.  As the
mother earth received him, so, the preachers tell us, will the
everlasting arms receive us if we confide absolutely in them, and
give up the hereditary habit of relying on our personal strength,
with its precautions that cannot shelter and safeguards that
never save.

The mind-curers have given the widest scope to this sort of
experience.  They have demonstrated that a form of regeneration
by relaxing, by letting go, psychologically indistinguishable
from the Lutheran justification by faith and the Wesleyan
acceptance of free grace, is within the reach of persons who have
no conviction of sin and care nothing for the Lutheran theology. 
It is but giving your little private convulsive self a rest, and
finding that a greater Self is there.  The results, slow or
sudden, or great or small, of the combined optimism and
expectancy, the regenerative phenomena which ensue on the
abandonment of effort, remain firm facts of human nature, no
matter whether we adopt a theistic, a pantheistic-idealistic, or
a medical-materialistic view of their ultimate causal

[54] The theistic explanation is by divine grace, which creates a
new nature within one the moment the old nature is sincerely
given up.  The pantheistic explanation (which is that of most
mind-curers) is by the merging of the narrower private self into
the wider or greater self, the spirit of the universe (which is
your own "subconscious" self), the moment the isolating barriers
of mistrust and anxiety are removed.  The medico-materialistic
explanation is that simpler cerebral processes act more freely
where they are left to act automatically by the shunting-out of
physiologically (though in this instance not spiritually)
"higher" ones which, seeking to regulate, only succeed in
inhibiting results.--Whether this third explanation might, in a
psycho-physical account of the universe, be combined with either
of the others may be left an open question here.

When we take up the phenomena of revivalistic conversion, we
shall learn something more about all this.  Meanwhile I will say
a brief word about the mind-curer's METHODS.

They are of course largely suggestive.  The suggestive influence
of environment plays an enormous part in all spiritual education.

But the word "suggestion," having acquired official status, is
unfortunately already beginning to play in many quarters the part
of a wet blanket upon investigation, being used to fend off all
inquiry into the varying susceptibilities of individual cases. 
"Suggestion" is only another name for the power of ideas, SO FAR
efficacious over some people prove inefficacious over others. 
Ideas efficacious at some times and in some human surroundings
are not so at other times and elsewhere.  The ideas of Christian
churches are not efficacious in the therapeutic direction to-day,
whatever they may have been in earlier centuries; and when the
whole question is as to why the salt has lost its savor here or
gained it there, the mere blank waving of the word "suggestion"
as if it were a banner gives no light.  Dr. Goddard, whose candid
psychological essay on Faith Cures ascribes them to nothing but
ordinary suggestion, concludes by saying that "Religion [and by
this he seems to mean our popular Christianity] has in it all
there is in mental therapeutics, and has it in its best form. 
Living up to [our religious] ideas will do anything for us that
can be done."  And this in spite of the actual fact that the
popular Christianity does absolutely NOTHING, or did nothing
until mind-cure came to the rescue.[55]

[55] Within the churches a disposition has always prevailed to
regard sickness as a visitation; something sent by God for our
good, either as chastisement, as warning, or as opportunity for
exercising virtue, and, in the Catholic Church, of earning
"merit."  "Illness," says a good Catholic writer P. Lejeune: 
(Introd. a la Vie Mystique, 1899, p. 218), "is the most excellent
corporeal mortifications, the mortification which one has not
one's self chosen, which is imposed directly by God, and is the
direct expression of his will.  'If other mortifications are of
silver,'  Mgr. Gay says, 'this one is of gold; since although it
comes of ourselves, coming as it does of original sin, still on
its greater side, as coming (like all that happens) from the
providence of God, it is of divine manufacture.  And how just are
its blows!  And how efficacious it is! . . . I do not hesitate to
say that patience in a long illness is mortification's very
masterpiece, and consequently the triumph of mortified souls.'"
According to this view, disease should in any case be
submissively accepted, and it might under certain circumstances
even be blasphemous to wish it away.

Of course there have been exceptions to this, and cures by
special miracle have at all times been recognized within the
church's pale, almost all the great saints having more or less
performed them.  It was one of the heresies of Edward Irving, to
maintain them still to be possible.  An extremely pure faculty of
healing after confession and conversion on the patient's part,
and prayer on the priest's, was quite spontaneously developed in
the German pastor, Joh. Christoph Blumhardt, in the early forties
and exerted during nearly thirty years.  Blumhardt's Life by
Zundel (5th edition, Zurich, 1887) gives in chapters ix., x.,
xi., and xvii.  a pretty full account of his healing activity,
which he invariably ascribed to direct divine interposition.
Blumhardt was a singularly pure, simple, and non-fanatical
character, and in this part of his work followed no previous
model.  In Chicago to-day we have the case of Dr. J. A. Dowie, a
Scottish Baptist preacher, whose weekly "Leaves of Healing" were
in the year of grace 1900 in their sixth volume, and who,
although he denounces the cures wrought in other sects as
"diabolical counterfeits" of his own exclusively "Divine
Healing," must on the whole be counted into the mind-cure
movement.  In mind-cure circles the fundamental article of faith
is that disease should never be accepted. It is wholly of the
pit.  God wants us to be absolutely healthy, and we should not
tolerate ourselves on any lower terms.

An idea, to be suggestive, must come to the individual with the
force of a revelation.  The mind-cure with its gospel of
healthy-mindedness has come as a revelation to many whose hearts
the church Christianity had left hardened.  It has let loose
their springs of higher life.  In what can the originality of any
religious movement consist, save in finding a channel, until then
sealed up, through which those springs may be set free in some
group of human beings?

The force of personal faith, enthusiasm, and example, and above
all the force of novelty, are always the prime suggestive agency
in this kind of success.  If mind-cure should ever become
official, respectable, and intrenched, these elements of
suggestive efficacy will be lost.  In its acuter stages every
religion must be a homeless Arab of the desert.  The church knows
this well enough, with its everlasting inner struggle of the
acute religion of the few against the chronic religion of the
many, indurated into an obstructiveness worse than that which
irreligion opposes to the movings of the Spirit.  "We may pray,"
says Jonathan Edwards, "concerning all those saints that are not
lively Christians, that they may either be enlivened, or taken
away; if that be true that is often said by some at this day,
that these cold dead saints do more hurt than natural men, and
lead more souls to hell, and that it would be well for mankind if
they were all dead."[56]

[56] Edwards, from whose book on the Revival in New England I
quote these words, dissuades from such a use of prayer, but it is
easy to see that he enjoys making his thrust at the cold dead
church members.

The next condition of success is the apparent existence, in large
numbers, of minds who unite healthy-mindedness with readiness for
regeneration by letting go.  Protestantism has been too
pessimistic as regards the natural man, Catholicism has been too
legalistic and moralistic, for either the one or the other to
appeal in any generous way to the type of character formed of
this peculiar mingling of elements. However few of us here
present may belong to such a type, it is now evident that it
forms a specific moral combination, well represented in the

Finally, mind-cure has made what in our protestant countries is
an unprecedentedly great use of the subconscious life.  To their
reasoned advice and dogmatic assertion, its founders have added
systematic exercise in passive relaxation, concentration, and
meditation, and have even invoked something like hypnotic
practice.  I quote some passages at random:--

"The value, the potency of ideals is the great practical truth on
which the New Thought most strongly insists--the development
namely from within outward, from small to great.[57] Consequently
one's thought should be centred on the ideal outcome, even though
this trust be literally like a step in the dark.[58] To attain
the ability thus effectively to direct the mind, the New Thought
advises the practice of concentration, or in other words, the
attainment of self-control.  One is to learn to marshal the
tendencies of the mind, so that they may be held together as a
unit by the chosen ideal.  To this end, one should set apart
times for silent meditation, by one's self, preferably in a room
where the surroundings are favorable to spiritual thought.  In
New Thought terms, this is called 'entering the silence.'"[59]

[57] H. W. DRESSER:  Voices of Freedom, 46.

[58] Dresser:  Living by the spirit, 58.

[59] Dresser:  Voices of Freedom, 33.

"The time will come when in the busy office or on the noisy
street you can enter into the silence by simply drawing the
mantle of your own thoughts about you and realizing that there
and everywhere the Spirit of Infinite Life, Love, Wisdom, Peace,
Power, and Plenty is guiding, keeping, protecting, leading you.
This is the spirit of continual prayer.[60] One of the most
intuitive men we ever met had a desk at a city office where
several other gentlemen were doing business constantly, and often
talking loudly.  Entirely undisturbed by the many various sounds
about him, this self-centred faithful man would, in any moment of
perplexity, draw the curtains of privacy so completely about him
that he would be as fully inclosed in his own psychic aura, and
thereby as effectually removed from all distractions, as though
he were alone in some primeval wood.  Taking his difficulty with
him into the mystic silence in the form of a direct question, to
which he expected a certain answer, he would remain utterly
passive until the reply came, and never once through many years'
experience did he find himself disappointed or misled."[61]

[60] Trine:  In Tune with the Infinite, p. 214

[61] Trine:  p. 117.

Wherein, I should like to know, does this INTRINSICALLY differ
from the practice of "recollection" which plays so great a part
in Catholic discipline?  Otherwise called the practice of the
presence of God (and so known among ourselves, as for instance in
Jeremy Taylor), it is thus defined by the eminent teacher Alvarez
de Paz in his work on Contemplation.

"It is the recollection of God, the thought of God, which in all
places and circumstances makes us see him present, lets us
commune respectfully and lovingly with him, and fills us with
desire and affection for him. . . .  Would you escape from every
ill?  Never lose this recollection of God, neither in prosperity
nor in adversity, nor on any occasion whichsoever it be. Invoke
not, to excuse yourself from this duty, either the difficulty or
the importance of your business, for you can always remember that
God sees you, that you are under his eye.  If a thousand times an
hour you forget him, reanimate a thousand times the recollection.

If you cannot practice this exercise continuously, at least make
yourself as familiar with it as possible; and, like unto those
who in a rigorous winter draw near the fire as often as they can,
go as often as you can to that ardent fire which will warm your

[62] Quoted by Lejeune:  Introd. a la vie Mystique, 1899, p. 66.

All the external associations of the Catholic discipline are of
course unlike anything in mind-cure thought, but the purely
spiritual part of the exercise is identical in both communions,
and in both communions those who urge it write with authority,
for they have evidently experienced in their own persons that
whereof they tell.  Compare again some mind-cure utterances:--

"High, healthful, pure thinking can be encouraged, promoted, and
strengthened.  Its current can be turned upon grand ideals until
it forms a habit and wears a channel.  By means of such
discipline the mental horizon can be flooded with the sunshine of
beauty, wholeness, and harmony.  To inaugurate pure and lofty
thinking may at first seem difficult, even almost mechanical, but
perseverance will at length render it easy, then pleasant, and
finally delightful.

"The soul's real world is that which it has built of its
thoughts, mental states, and imaginations.  If we WILL, we can
turn our backs upon the lower and sensuous plane, and lift
ourselves into the realm of the spiritual and Real, and there
gain a residence.  The assumption of states of expectancy and
receptivity will attract spiritual sunshine, and it will flow in
as naturally as air inclines to a vacuum. . . .  Whenever the
though; is not occupied with one's daily duty or profession, it
should he sent aloft into the spiritual atmosphere.  There are
quiet leisure moments by day, and wakeful hours at night, when
this wholesome and delightful exercise may be engaged in to great
advantage.  If one who has never made any systematic effort to
lift and control the thought-forces will, for a single month,
earnestly pursue the course here suggested, he will be surprised
and delighted at the result, and nothing will induce him to go
back to careless, aimless, and superficial thinking.  At such
favorable seasons the outside world, with all its current of
daily events, is barred out, and one goes into the silent
sanctuary of the inner temple of soul to commune and aspire.  The
spiritual hearing becomes delicately sensitive, so that the
'still, small voice' is audible, the tumultuous waves of external
sense are hushed, and there is a great calm.  The ego gradually
becomes conscious that it is face to face with the Divine
Presence; that mighty, healing, loving, Fatherly life which is
nearer to us than we are to ourselves.  There is soul contact
with the Parent- Soul, and an influx of life, love, virtue,
health, and happiness from the Inexhaustible Fountain."[63]

[63] HENRY Wood:  Ideal suggestion through Mental Photography,
pp. 51, 70 (abridged).

When we reach the subject of mysticism, you will undergo so deep
an immersion into these exalted states of consciousness as to be
wet all over, if I may so express myself; and the cold shiver of
doubt with which this little sprinkling may affect you will have
long since passed away-- doubt, I mean, as to whether all such
writing be not mere abstract talk and rhetoric set down pour
encourager les autres.  You will then be convinced, I trust, that
these states of consciousness of "union" form a perfectly
definite class of experiences, of which the soul may occasionally
partake, and which certain persons may live by in a deeper sense
than they live by anything else with which they have
acquaintance.  This brings me to a general philosophical
reflection with which I should like to pass from the subject of
healthy-mindedness, and close a topic which I fear is already
only too long drawn out.  It concerns the relation of all this
systematized healthy-mindedness and mind-cure religion to
scientific method and the scientific life.

In a later lecture I shall have to treat explicitly of the
relation of religion to science on the one hand, and to primeval
savage thought on the other.  There are plenty of persons
to-day--"scientists" or "positivists," they are fond of calling
themselves--who will tell you that religious thought is a mere
survival, an atavistic reversion to a type of consciousness which
humanity in its more enlightened examples has long since left
behind and out-grown.  If you ask them to explain themselves more
fully, they will probably say that for primitive thought
everything is conceived of under the form of personality.  The
savage thinks that things operate by personal forces, and for the
sake of individual ends.  For him, even external nature obeys
individual needs and claims, just as if these were so many
elementary powers.  Now science, on the other hand, these
positivists say, has proved that personality, so far from being
an elementary force in nature, is but a passive resultant of the
really elementary forces, physical, chemical, physiological, and
psycho-physical, which are all impersonal and general in
character.  Nothing individual accomplishes anything in the
universe save in so far as it obeys and exemplifies some
universal law.  Should you then inquire of them by what means
science has thus supplanted primitive thought, and discredited
its personal way of looking at things, they would undoubtedly say
it has been by the strict use of the method of experimental
verification.  Follow out science's conceptions practically, they
will say, the conceptions that ignore personality altogether, and
you will always be corroborated.  The world is so made that all
your expectations will be experientially verified so long, and
only so long, as you keep the terms from which you infer them
impersonal and universal.

But here we have mind-cure, with her diametrically opposite
philosophy, setting up an exactly identical claim.  Live as if I
were true, she says, and every day will practically prove you
right.  That the controlling energies of nature are personal,
that your own personal thoughts are forces, that the powers of
the universe will directly respond to your individual appeals and
needs, are propositions which your whole bodily and mental
experience will verify.  And that experience does largely verify
these primeval religious ideas is proved by the fact that the
mind-cure movement spreads as it does, not by proclamation and
assertion simply, but by palpable experiential results.  Here, in
the very heyday of science's authority, it carries on an
aggressive warfare against the scientific philosophy, and
succeeds by using science's own peculiar methods and weapons. 
Believing that a higher power will take care of us in certain
ways better than we can take care of ourselves, if we only
genuinely throw ourselves upon it and consent to use it, it finds
the belief, not only not impugned, but corroborated by its

How conversions are thus made, and converts confirmed, is evident
enough from the narratives which I have quoted. I will quote yet
another couple of shorter ones to give the matter a perfectly
concrete turn.  Here is one:--

"One of my first experiences in applying my teaching was two
months after I first saw the healer.  I fell, spraining my right
ankle, which I had done once four years before, having then had
to use a crutch and elastic anklet for some months, and carefully
guarding it ever since.  As soon as I was on my feet I made the
positive suggestion (and felt it through all my being):  'There
is nothing but God, and all life comes from him perfectly.  I
cannot be sprained or hurt, I will let him take care of it.'
Well, I never had a sensation in it, and I walked two miles that

The next case not only illustrates experiment and verification,
but also the element of passivity and surrender of which awhile
ago I made such account.

"I went into town to do some shopping one morning, and I had not
been gone long before I began to feel ill.  The ill feeling
increased rapidly, until I had pains in all my bones, nausea and
faintness, headache, all the symptoms in short that precede an
attack of influenza.  I thought that I was going to have the
grippe, epidemic then in Boston, or something worse.  The
mind-cure teachings that I had been listening to all the winter 
thereupon came into my mind, and I thought that here was an
opportunity to test myself.  On my way home I met a friend, I
refrained with some effort from telling her how I felt.  That was
the first step gained.  I went to bed immediately, and my husband
wished to send for the doctor.  But I told him that I would
rather wait until morning and see how I felt.  Then followed one
of the most beautiful experiences of my life.

"I cannot express it in any other way than to say that I did 'lie
down in the stream of life and let it flow over me.'  I gave up
all fear of any impending disease; I was perfectly willing and
obedient.  There was no intellectual effort, or train of thought.

My dominant idea was:  'Behold the handmaid of the Lord:  be it
unto me even as thou wilt,' and a perfect confidence that all
would be well, that all WAS well.  The creative life was flowing
into me every instant, and I felt myself allied with the
Infinite, in harmony, and full of the peace that passeth
understanding.  There was no place in my mind for a jarring body.
I had no consciousness of time or space or persons; but only of
love and happiness and faith.

"I do not know how long this state lasted, nor when I fell
asleep; but when I woke up in the morning, I WAS WELL."

These are exceedingly trivial instances,[64] but in them, if we
have anything at all, we have the method of experiment and
verification.  For the point I am driving at now, it makes no
difference whether you consider the patients to be deluded
victims of their imagination or not.  That they seemed to
THEMSELVES to have been cured by the experiments tried was enough
to make them converts to the system.  And although it is evident
that one must be of a certain mental mould to get such results
(for not every one can get thus cured to his own satisfaction any
more than every one can be cured by the first regular
practitioner whom he calls in), yet it would surely be pedantic
and over-scrupulous for those who CAN get their savage and
primitive philosophy of mental healing verified in such
experimental ways as this, to give them up at word of command for
more scientific therapeutics.

What are we to think of all this?  Has science made too wide a

[64] See Appendix to this lecture for two other cases furnished
me by friends.

I believe that the claims of the sectarian scientist are, to say
the least, premature.  The experiences which we have been
studying during this hour (and a great many other kinds of
religious experiences are like them) plainly show the universe to
be a more many-sided affair than any sect, even the scientific
sect, allows for.  What, in the end, are all our verifications
but experiences that agree with more or less isolated systems of
ideas (conceptual systems) that our minds have framed?  But why
in the name of common sense need we assume that only one such
system of ideas can be true?  The obvious outcome of our total
experience is that the world can be handled according to many
systems of ideas, and is so handled by different men, and will
each time give some characteristic kind of profit, for which he
cares, to the handler, while at the same time some other kind of
profit has to be omitted or postponed.  Science gives to all of
us telegraphy, electric lighting, and diagnosis, and succeeds in
preventing and curing a certain amount of disease. Religion in
the shape of mind-cure gives to some of us serenity, moral poise,
and happiness, and prevents certain forms of disease as well as
science does, or even better in a certain class of persons. 
Evidently, then, the science and the religion are both of them
genuine keys for unlocking the world's treasure-house to him who
can use either of them practically.  Just as evidently neither is
exhaustive or exclusive of the other's simultaneous use.  And
why, after all, may not the world be so complex as to consist of
many interpenetrating spheres of reality, which we can thus
approach in alternation by using different conceptions and
assuming different attitudes, just as mathematicians handle the
same numerical and spatial facts by geometry, by analytical 
geometry, by algebra, by the calculus, or by quaternions, and
each time come out right?  On this view religion and science,
each verified in its own way from hour to hour and from life to
life, would be co-eternal.  Primitive thought, with its belief in
individualized personal forces, seems at any rate as far as ever
from being driven by science from the field to-day.  Numbers of
educated people still find it the directest experimental channel
by which to carry on their intercourse with reality.[65]

[65] Whether the various spheres or systems are ever to fuse
integrally into one absolute conception, as most philosophers
assume that they must, and how, if so, that conception may best
be reached, are questions that only the future can answer.  What
is certain now is the fact of lines of disparate conception, each
corresponding to some part of the world's truth, each verified in
some degree, each leaving out some part of real experience.

The case of mind-cure lay so ready to my hand that I could not
resist the temptation of using it to bring these last truths home
to your attention, but I must content myself to-day with this
very brief indication.  In a later lecture the relations of
religion both to science and to primitive thought will have to
receive much more explicit attention.


(See note [64].)

CASE I.  "My own experience is this:  I had long been ill, and
one of the first results of my illness, a dozen years before, had
been a diplopia which deprived me of the use of my eyes for
reading and writing almost entirely, while a later one had been
to shut me out from exercise of any kind under penalty of
immediate and great exhaustion.  I had been under the care of
doctors of the highest standing both in Europe and America, men
in whose power to help me I had had great faith, with no or ill
result.  Then, at a time when I seemed to be rather rapidly
losing ground, I heard some things that gave me interest enough
in mental healing to make me try it; I had no great hope of
getting any good from it--it was a CHANCE I tried, partly
because my thought was interested by the new possibility it
seemed to open, partly because it was the only chance I then
could see. I went to X in Boston, from whom some friends of mine
had got, or thought they had got, great help; the treatment was a
silent one; little was said, and that little carried no
conviction to my mind, whatever influence was exerted was that of
another person's thought or feeling silently projected on to my
unconscious mind, into my nervous system as it were, as we sat
still together.  I believed from the start in the POSSIBILITY of
such action, for I knew the power of the mind to shape, helping
or hindering, the body's nerve-activities, and I thought
telepathy probable, although unproved, but I had no belief in it
as more than a possibility, and no strong conviction nor any
mystic or religious faith connected with my thought of it that
might have brought imagination strongly into play.

"I sat quietly with the healer for half an hour each day, at
first with no result; then, after ten days or so, I became quite
suddenly and swiftly conscious of a tide of new energy rising
within me, a sense of power to pass beyond old halting-places, of
power to break the bounds that, though often tried before, had
long been veritable walls about my life, too high to climb.  I
began to read and walk as I had not done for years, and the
change was sudden, marked, and unmistakable.  This tide seemed to
mount for some weeks, three or four perhaps, when, summer having
come, I came away, taking the treatment up again a few months
later.  The lift I got proved permanent, and left me slowly
gaining ground instead of losing, it but with this lift the
influence seemed in a way to have spent itself, and, though my
confidence in the reality of the power had gained immensely from
this first experience, and should have helped me to make further
gain in health and strength if my belief in it had been the
potent factor there, I never after this got any result at all as
striking or as clearly marked as this which came when I made
trial of it first, with little faith and doubtful expectation. 
It is difficult to put all the evidence in such a matter into
words, to gather up into a distinct statement all that one bases
one's conclusions on, but I have always felt that I had abundant
evidence to justify (to myself, at least) the conclusion that I
came to then, and since have held to, that the physical change
which came at that time was, first, the result of a change
wrought within me by a change of mental state; and secondly, that
that change of mental state was not, save in a very secondary
way, brought about through the influence of an excited
imagination, or a CONSCIOUSLY received suggestion of an hypnotic
sort.  Lastly, I believe that this change was the result of my
receiving telephathically, and upon a mental stratum quite below
the level of immediate consciousness, a healthier and more
energetic attitude, receiving it from another person whose
thought was directed upon me with the intention of impressing the
idea of this attitude upon me.  In my case the disease was
distinctly what would be classed as nervous, not organic; but
from such opportunities as I have had of observing, I have come
to the conclusion that the dividing line that has been drawn is
an arbitrary one, the nerves controlling the internal activities
and the nutrition of the body throughout; and I believe that the
central nervous system, by starting and inhibiting local centres,
can exercise a vast influence upon disease of any kind, if it can
be brought to bear.  In my judgment the question is simply how to
bring it to bear, and I think that the uncertainty and remarkable
differences in the results obtained through mental healing do but
show how ignorant we are as yet of the forces at work and of the
means we should take to make them effective.  That these results
are not due to chance coincidences my observation of myself and
others makes me sure; that the conscious mind, the imagination,
enters into them as a factor in many cases is doubtless true, but
in many others, and sometimes very extraordinary ones, it hardly
seems to enter in at all.  On the whole I am inclined to think
that as the healing action, like the morbid one, springs from the
plane of the normally UNconscious mind, so the strongest and most
effective impressions are those which IT receives, in some as yet
unknown subtle way, DIRECTLY from a healthier mind whose state,
through a hidden law of sympathy, it reproduces."

CASE II.  "At the urgent request of friends, and with no faith
and hardly any hope (possibly owing to a previous unsuccessful
experience with a Christian Scientist), our little daughter was
placed under the care of a healer, and cured of a trouble about
which the physician had been very discouraging in his diagnosis.
This interested me, and I began studying earnestly the method and
philosophy of this method of healing.  Gradually an inner peace
and tranquillity came to me in so positive a way that my manner
changed greatly.  My children and friends noticed the change and
commented upon it.  All feelings of irritability disappeared. 
Even the expression of my face changed noticeably.

"I had been bigoted, aggressive, and intolerant in discussion,
both in public and private.  I grew broadly tolerant and
receptive toward the views of others.  I had been nervous and
irritable, coming home two or three times a week with a sick
headache induced, as I then supposed, by dyspepsia and catarrh. 
I grew serene and gentle, and the physical troubles entirely
disappeared.  I had been in the habit of approaching every
business interview with an almost morbid dread.  I now meet every
one with confidence and inner calm.

"I may say that the growth has all been toward the elimination of
selfishness.  I do not mean simply the grosser, more sensual
forms, but those subtler and generally unrecognized kinds, such
as express themselves in sorrow, grief, regret, envy, etc. It has
been in the direction of a practical, working realization of the
immanence of God and the Divinity of man's true, inner self.

Lectures VI and VII


At our last meeting, we considered the healthy-minded
temperament, the temperament which has a constitutional
incapacity for prolonged suffering, and in which the tendency to
see things optimistically is like a water of crystallization in
which the individual's character is set.  We saw how this
temperament may become the basis for a peculiar type of religion,
a religion in which good, even the good of this world's life, is
regarded as the essential thing for a rational being to attend
to.  This religion directs him to settle his scores with the more
evil aspects of the universe by systematically declining to lay
them to heart or make much of them, by ignoring them in his
reflective calculations, or even, on occasion, by denying
outright that they exist.  Evil is a disease; and worry over
disease is itself an additional form of disease, which only adds
to the original complaint.  Even repentance and remorse,
affections which come in the character of ministers of good, may
be but sickly and relaxing impulses.  The best repentance is to
up and act for righteousness, and forget that you ever had
relations with sin.

Spinoza's philosophy has this sort of healthy-mindedness woven
into the heart of it, and this has been one secret of its
fascination.  He whom Reason leads, according to Spinoza, is led
altogether by the influence over his mind of good.  Knowledge of
evil is an "inadequate" knowledge, fit only for slavish minds. 
So Spinoza categorically condemns repentance.  When men make
mistakes, he says--

"One might perhaps expect gnawings of conscience and repentance
to help to bring them on the right path, and might thereupon
conclude (as every one does conclude) that these affections are
good things.  Yet when we look at the matter closely, we shall
find that not only are they not good, but on the contrary
deleterious and evil passions.  For it is manifest that we can
always get along better by reason and love of truth than by worry
of conscience and remorse.  Harmful are these and evil, inasmuch
as they form a particular kind of sadness; and the disadvantages
of sadness," he continues, "I have already proved, and shown that
we should strive to keep it from our life.  Just so we should
endeavor, since uneasiness of conscience and remorse are of this
kind of complexion, to flee and shun these states of mind."[66]

[66] Tract on God, Man, and Happiness, Book ii. ch. x.

Within the Christian body, for which repentance of sins has from
the beginning been the critical religious act, healthy-mindedness
has always come forward with its milder interpretation. 
Repentance according to such healthy- minded Christians means
GETTING AWAY FROM the sin, not groaning and writhing over its
commission.  The Catholic practice of confession and absolution
is in one of its aspects little more than a systematic method of
keeping healthy- mindedness on top.  By it a man's accounts with
evil are periodically squared and audited, so that he may start
the clean page with no old debts inscribed.  Any Catholic will
tell us how clean and fresh and free he feels after the purging
operation.  Martin Luther by no means belonged to the
healthy-minded type in the radical sense in which we have
discussed it, and he repudiated priestly absolution for sin. Yet
in this matter of repentance he had some very healthy- minded
ideas, due in the main to the largeness of his conception of God.

"When I was a monk," he says "I thought that I was utterly cast
away, if at any time I felt the lust of the flesh:  that is to
say, if I felt any evil motion, fleshly lust, wrath, hatred, or
envy against any brother.  I assayed many ways to help to quiet
my conscience, but It would not be; for the concupiscence and
lust of my flesh did always return, so that I could not rest, but
was continually vexed with these thoughts:  This or that sin thou
hast committed:  thou art infected with envy, with impatiency,
and such other sins:  therefore thou art entered into this holy
order in vain, and all thy good works are unprofitable.  But if
then I had rightly understood these sentences of Paul:  'The
flesh lusteth contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit contrary to
the flesh; and these two are one against another, so that ye
cannot do the things that ye would do,' I should not have so
miserably tormented myself, but should have thought and said to
myself, as now commonly I do, 'Martin, thou shalt not utterly be
without sin, for thou hast flesh; thou shalt therefore feel the
battle thereof.'  I remember that Staupitz was wont to say, 'I
have vowed unto God above a thousand times that I would become a
better man:  but I never performed that which I vowed.  Hereafter
I will make no such vow:  for I have now learned by experience
that I am not able to perform it.  Unless, therefore, God be
favorable and merciful unto me for Christ's sake, I shall not be
able, with all my vows and all my good deeds, to stand before
him.' This (of Staupitz's) was not only a true, but also a godly
and a holy desperation; and this must they all confess, both with
mouth and heart, who will be saved.  For the godly trust not to
their own righteousness.  They look unto Christ their reconciler
who gave his life for their sins.  Moreover, they know that the
remnant of sin which is in their flesh is not laid to their
charge, but freely pardoned.  Notwithstanding, in the mean while
they fight in spirit against the flesh, lest they should FULFILL
the lusts thereof; and although they feel the flesh to rage and
rebel, and themselves also do fall sometimes into sin through
infirmity, yet are they not discouraged, nor think therefore that
their state and kind of life, and the works which are done
according to their calling, displease God; but they raise up
themselves by faith."[67]

[67] Commentary on Galatians, Philadelphia, 1891, pp. 510-514

One of the heresies for which the Jesuits got that spiritual
genius, Molinos, the founder of Quietism, so abominably condemned
was his healthy-minded opinion of repentance:--

"When thou fallest into a fault, in what matter soever it be do
not trouble nor afflict thyself for it.  For they are effects of
our frail Nature, stained by Original Sin.  The common enemy will
make thee believe, as soon as thou fallest into any fault, that
thou walkest in error, and therefore art out of God and his
favor, and herewith would he make thee distrust of the divine
Grace, telling thee of thy misery, and making a giant of it; and
putting it into thy head that every day thy soul grows worse
instead of better, whilst it so often repeats these failings.  O
blessed Soul, open thine eyes; and shut the gate against these
diabolical suggestions, knowing thy misery, and trusting in the
mercy divine.  Would not he be a mere fool who, running at
tournament with others, and falling in the best of the career,
should lie weeping on the ground and afflicting himself with
discourses upon his fall?  Man (they would tell him), lose no
time, get up and take the course again, for he that rises again
quickly and continues his race is as if he had never fallen.  If
thou seest thyself fallen once and a thousand times, thou
oughtest to make use of the remedy which I have given thee, that
is, a loving confidence in the divine mercy.  These are the
weapons with which thou must fight and conquer cowardice and vain
thoughts.  This is the means thou oughtest to use--not to lose
time, not to disturb thyself, and reap no good."[68]

[68] Molinos:  Spiritual Guide, Book II., chaps. xvii., xviii.

Now in contrast with such healthy-minded views as these, if we
treat them as a way of deliberately minimizing evil, stands a
radically opposite view, a way of maximizing evil, if you please
so to call it, based on the persuasion that the evil aspects of
our life are of its very essence, and that the world's meaning
most comes home to us when we lay them most to heart.  We have
now to address ourselves to this <129> more morbid way of
looking at the situation.  But as I closed our last hour with a
general philosophical reflection on the healthy-minded way of
taking life, I should like at this point to make another
philosophical reflection upon it before turning to that heavier
task.  You will excuse the brief delay.

If we admit that evil is an essential part of our being and the
key to the interpretation of our life, we load ourselves down
with a difficulty that has always proved burdensome in
philosophies of religion.  Theism, whenever it has erected itself
into a systematic philosophy of the universe, has shown a
reluctance to let God be anything less than All-in-All.  In other
words, philosophic theism has always shown a tendency to become
pantheistic and monistic, and to consider the world as one unit
of absolute fact; and this has been at variance with popular or
practical theism, which latter has ever been more or less frankly
pluralistic, not to say polytheistic, and shown itself perfectly
well satisfied with a universe composed of many original
principles, provided we be only allowed to believe that the
divine principle remains supreme, and that the others are
subordinate.  In this latter case God is not necessarily
responsible for the existence of evil; he would only be
responsible if it were not finally overcome.  But on the monistic
or pantheistic view, evil, like everything else, must have its
foundation in God; and the difficulty is to see how this can
possibly be the case if God be absolutely good.  This difficulty
faces us in every form of philosophy in which the world appears
as one flawless unit of fact.  Such a unit is an INDIVIDUAL, and
in it the worst parts must be as essential as the best, must be
as necessary to make the individual what he is; since if any part
whatever in an individual were to vanish or alter, it would no
longer be THAT individual at all.  The philosophy of absolute
idealism, so vigorously represented both in Scotland and America
to-day, has to struggle with this difficulty quite as <130>
much as scholastic theism struggled in its time; and although it
would be premature to say that there is no speculative issue
whatever from the puzzle, it is perfectly fair to say that there
is no clear or easy issue, and that the only OBVIOUS escape from
paradox here is to cut loose from the monistic assumption
altogether, and to allow the world to have existed from its
origin in pluralistic form, as an aggregate or collection of
higher and lower things and principles, rather than an absolutely
unitary fact.  For then evil would not need to be essential; it
might be, and may always have been, an independent portion that
had no rational or absolute right to live with the rest, and
which we might conceivably hope to see got rid of at last.

Now the gospel of healthy-mindedness, as we have described it,
casts its vote distinctly for this pluralistic view. Whereas the
monistic philosopher finds himself more or less bound to say, as
Hegel said, that everything actual is rational, and that evil, as
an element dialectically required, must be pinned in and kept and
consecrated and have a function awarded to it in the final system
of truth, healthy-mindedness refuses to say anything of the
sort.[69] Evil, it says, is emphatically irrational, and NOT to
be pinned in, or preserved, or consecrated in any final system of
truth.  It is a pure abomination to the Lord, an alien unreality,
a waste element, to be sloughed off and negated, and the very
memory of it, if possible, wiped out and forgotten.  The ideal,
so far from being co-extensive with the whole actual, is a mere
EXTRACT from the actual, marked by its deliverance from all
contact with this diseased, inferior, and excrementitious stuff.

[69] I say this in spite of the monistic utterances of many
mind-cure writers; for these utterances are really inconsistent
with their attitude towards disease, and can easily be shown not
to be logically involved in the experiences of union with a
higher Presence with which they connect themselves.  The higher
Presence, namely, need not be the absolute whole of things, it is
quite sufficient for the life of religious experience to regard
it as a part, if only it be the most ideal part.

Here we have the interesting notion fairly and squarely presented
to us, of there being elements of the universe which may make no
rational whole in conjunction with the other elements, and which,
from the point of view of any system which those other elements
make up, can only be considered so much irrelevance and
accident--so much "dirt," as it were, and matter out of place.  I
ask you now not to forget this notion; for although most
philosophers seem either to forget it or to disdain it too much
ever to mention it, I believe that we shall have to admit it
ourselves in the end as containing an element of truth.  The
mind-cure gospel thus once more appears to us as having dignity
and importance.  We have seen it to be a genuine religion, and no
mere silly appeal to imagination to cure disease; we have seen
its method of experimental verification to be not unlike the
method of all science; and now here we find mind- cure as the
champion of a perfectly definite conception of the metaphysical
structure of the world.  I hope that, in view of all this, you
will not regret my having pressed it upon your attention at such

Let us now say good-by for a while to all this way of thinking,
and turn towards those persons who cannot so swiftly throw off
the burden of the consciousness of evil, but are congenitally
fated to suffer from its presence.  Just as we saw that in
healthy-mindedness there are shallower and profounder levels,
happiness like that of the mere animal, and more regenerate sorts
of happiness, so also are there different levels of the morbid
mind, and the one is much more formidable than the other.  There
are people for whom evil means only a mal-adjustment with THINGS,
a wrong correspondence of one's life with the environment. Such
evil as this is curable, in principle at least, upon the 
natural plane, for merely by modifying either the self or the
things, or both at once, the two terms may be made to fit, and
all go merry as a marriage bell again.  But there are others for
whom evil is no mere relation of the subject to particular outer
things, but something more radical and general, a wrongness or
vice in his essential nature, which no alteration of the
environment, or any superficial rearrangement of the inner self,
can cure, and which requires a supernatural remedy.  On the
whole, the Latin races have leaned more towards the former way of
looking upon evil, as made up of ills and sins in the plural,
removable in detail; while the Germanic races have tended rather
to think of Sin in the singular, and with a capital S, as of
something ineradicably ingrained in our natural subjectivity, and
never to be removed by any superficial piecemeal operations.[70]
These comparisons of races are always open to exception, but
undoubtedly the northern tone in religion has inclined to the
more intimately pessimistic persuasion, and this way of feeling,
being the more extreme, we shall find by far the more instructive
for our study.

[70] Cf. J. Milsand:  Luther et le Serf-Arbitre, 1884, passim.

Recent psychology has found great use for the word "threshold" as
a symbolic designation for the point at which one state of mind
passes into another.  Thus we speak of the threshold of a man's
consciousness in general, to indicate the amount of noise,
pressure, or other outer stimulus which it takes to arouse his
attention at all.  One with a high threshold will doze through an
amount of racket by which one with a low threshold would be
immediately waked.  Similarly, when one is sensitive to small
differences in any order of sensation, we say he has a low
"difference- threshold"--his mind easily steps over it into the
consciousness of the differences in question.  And just so we
might speak of a "pain-threshold," a "fear-threshold," a
"misery-threshold," and find it quickly overpassed by the
consciousness of some individuals, but lying too high in others
to be often reached by their consciousness.  The sanguine and
healthy-minded live habitually on the sunny side of their
misery-line, the depressed and melancholy live beyond it, in
darkness and apprehension.  There are men who seem to have
started in life with a bottle or two of champagne inscribed to
their credit; whilst others seem to have been born close to the
pain-threshold, which the slightest irritants fatally send them

Does it not appear as if one who lived more habitually on one
side of the pain-threshold might need a different sort of
religion from one who habitually lived on the other?  This
question, of the relativity of different types of religion to
different types of need, arises naturally at this point, and will
became a serious problem ere we have done.  But before we
confront it in general terms, we must address ourselves to the
unpleasant task of hearing what the sick souls, as we may call
them in contrast to the healthy-minded, have to say of the
secrets of their prison-house, their own peculiar form of
consciousness.  Let us then resolutely turn our backs on the
once-born and their sky-blue optimistic gospel; let us not simply
cry out, in spite of all appearances, "Hurrah for the
Universe!--God's in his Heaven, all's right with the world."   
Let us see rather whether pity, pain, and fear, and the sentiment
of human helplessness may not open a profounder view and put into
our hands a more complicated key to the meaning of the situation.

To begin with, how CAN things so insecure as the successful
experiences of this world afford a stable anchorage?  A chain is
no stronger than its weakest link, and life is after all a chain.

In the healthiest and most prosperous existence, how many links
of illness, danger, and disaster are always interposed? 
Unsuspectedly from the bottom of every fountain of pleasure, as
the old poet said, something bitter rises up:  a touch of nausea,
a falling dead of the delight, a whiff of melancholy, things that
sound a knell, for fugitive as they may be, they bring a feeling
of coming from a deeper region and often have an appalling
convincingness.  The buzz of life ceases at their touch as a
piano-string stops sounding when the damper falls upon it.

Of course the music can commence again;--and again and again--at
intervals.  But with this the healthy-minded consciousness is
left with an irremediable sense of precariousness.  It is a bell
with a crack; it draws its breath on sufferance and by an

Even if we suppose a man so packed with healthy-mindedness as
never to have experienced in his own person any of these sobering
intervals, still, if he is a reflecting being, he must generalize
and class his own lot with that of others; and, doing so, he must
see that his escape is just a lucky chance and no essential
difference.  He might just as well have been born to an entirely
different fortune.  And then indeed the hollow security! What
kind of a frame of things is it of which the best you can say is,
"Thank God, it has let me off clear this time!"  Is not its
blessedness a fragile fiction?  Is not your joy in it a very
vulgar glee, not much unlike the snicker of any rogue at his
success?  If indeed it were all success, even on such terms as
that! But take the happiest man, the one most envied by the
world, and in nine cases out of ten his inmost consciousness is
one of failure.  Either his ideals in the line of his
achievements are pitched far higher than the achievements
themselves, or else he has secret ideals of which the world knows
nothing, and in regard to which he inwardly knows himself to be
found wanting.

When such a conquering optimist as Goethe can express himself in
this wise, how must it be with less successful men? <135>

"I will say nothing," writes Goethe in 1824, "against the course
of my existence.  But at bottom it has been nothing but pain and
burden, and I can affirm that during the whole of my 75 years, I
have not had four weeks of genuine well-being.  It is but the
perpetual rolling of a rock that must be raised up again

What single-handed man was ever on the whole as successful as
Luther?  Yet when he had grown old, he looked back on his life as
if it were an absolute failure.

"I am utterly weary of life.  I pray the Lord will come forthwith
and carry me hence.  Let him come, above all, with his last
Judgment:  I will stretch out my neck, the thunder will burst
forth, and I shall be at rest."--And having a necklace of white
agates in his hand at the time he added:  "O God, grant that it
may come without delay.  I would readily eat up this necklace
to-day, for the Judgment to come to-morrow."--The Electress
Dowager, one day when Luther was dining with her, said to him: 
"Doctor, I wish you may live forty years to come." "Madam,"
replied he, "rather than live forty years more, I would give up
my chance of Paradise."

Failure, then, failure! so the world stamps us at every turn.  We
strew it with our blunders, our misdeeds, our lost opportunities,
with all the memorials of our inadequacy to our vocation.  And
with what a damning emphasis does it then blot us out!  No easy
fine, no mere apology or formal expiation, will satisfy the
world's demands, but every pound of flesh exacted is soaked with
all its blood.  The subtlest forms of suffering known to man are
connected with the poisonous humiliations incidental to these

And they are pivotal human experiences.  A process so ubiquitous
and everlasting is evidently an integral part of life.  "There is
indeed one element in human destiny," Robert Louis Stevenson
writes, "that not blindness itself can controvert.  Whatever else
we are intended to do, we are not  intended to succeed; failure
is the fate allotted."[71] And our nature being thus rooted in
failure, is it any wonder that theologians should have held it to
be essential, and thought that only through the personal
experience of humiliation which it engenders the deeper sense of
life's significance is reached?[72]

[71] He adds with characteristic healthy-mindedness:  "Our
business is to continue to fail in good spirits."

[72] The God of many men is little more than their court of
appeal against the damnatory judgment passed on their failures by
the opinion of this world.  To our own consciousness there is
usually a residuum of worth left over after our sins and errors
have been told off--our capacity of acknowledging and regretting
them is the germ of a better self in posse at least.  But the
world deals with us in actu and not in posse:  and of this hidden
germ, not to be guessed at from without, it never takes account. 
Then we turn to the All-knower, who knows our bad, but knows this
good in us also, and who is just.  We cast ourselves with our
repentance on his mercy only by an All-knower can we finally be
judged.  So the need of a God very definitely emerges from this
sort of experience of life.

But this is only the first stage of the world-sickness.  Make the
human being's sensitiveness a little greater, carry him a little
farther over the misery-threshold, and the good quality of the
successful moments themselves when they occur is spoiled and
vitiated.  All natural goods perish.  Riches take wings; fame is
a breath; love is a cheat; youth and health and pleasure vanish. 
Can things whose end is always dust and disappointment be the
real goods which our souls require? Back of everything is the
great spectre of universal death, the all-encompassing

"What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under
the Sun?  I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought,
and behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit.  For that
which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; as the one
dieth, so dieth the other, all are of the dust, and all turn to
dust again. . . .  The dead know not anything, neither have they
any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.  Also
their love and their hatred and their envy is now perished;
neither have they any more a portion for ever in anything that is
done under the Sun. . . . Truly the light is sweet, and a
pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the Sun:  but if a
man live many years and rejoice in them all, yet let him remember
the days of darkness; for they shall be many."

In short, life and its negation are beaten up inextricably
together.  But if the life be good, the negation of it must be
bad.  Yet the two are equally essential facts of existence; and
all natural happiness thus seems infected with a contradiction. 
The breath of the sepulchre surrounds it.

To a mind attentive to this state of things and rightly subject
to the joy-destroying chill which such a contemplation engenders,
the only relief that healthy-mindedness can give is by saying: 
"Stuff and nonsense, get out into the open air!" or "Cheer up,
old fellow, you'll be all right erelong, if you will only drop
your morbidness!"  But in all seriousness, can such bald animal
talk as that be treated as a rational answer?  To ascribe
religious value to mere happy-go-lucky contentment with one's
brief chance at natural good is but the very consecration of
forgetfulness and superficiality.  Our troubles lie indeed too
deep for THAT cure.  The fact that we CAN die, that we CAN be ill
at all, is what perplexes us; the fact that we now for a moment
live and are well is irrelevant to that perplexity.  We need a
life not correlated with death, a health not liable to illness, a
kind of good that will not perish, a good in fact that flies
beyond the Goods of nature.

It all depends on how sensitive the soul may become to discords. 
"The trouble with me is that I believe too much in common
happiness and goodness," said a friend of mine whose
consciousness was of this sort, "and nothing can console me for
their transiency.  I am appalled and disconcerted at its being
possible."    And so with most of us:  a little cooling down of
animal excitability and instinct, a little loss of animal
toughness, a little irritable weakness and descent of the
pain-threshold, will bring the worm at the core of all our usual
springs of delight into full view, and turn us into melancholy
metaphysicians.  The pride of life and glory of the world will
shrivel.  It is after all but the standing quarrel of hot youth
and hoary eld.  Old age has the last word:  the purely
naturalistic look at life, however enthusiastically it may begin,
is sure to end in sadness.

This sadness lies at the heart of every merely positivistic,
agnostic, or naturalistic scheme of philosophy.  Let sanguine
healthy-mindedness do its best with its strange power of living
in the moment and ignoring and forgetting, still the evil
background is really there to be thought of, and the skull will
grin in at the banquet.  In the practical life of the individual,
we know how his whole gloom or glee about any present fact
depends on the remoter schemes and hopes with which it stands
related.  Its significance and framing give it the chief part of
its value.  Let it be known to lead nowhere, and however
agreeable it may be in its immediacy, its glow and gilding
vanish.  The old man, sick with an insidious internal disease,
may laugh and quaff his wine at first as well as ever, but he
knows his fate now, for the doctors have revealed it; and the
knowledge knocks the satisfaction out of all these functions. 
They are partners of death and the worm is their brother, and
they turn to a mere flatness.

The lustre of the present hour is always borrowed from the
background of possibilities it goes with.  Let our common
experiences be enveloped in an eternal moral order; let our
suffering have an immortal significance; let Heaven smile upon
the earth, and deities pay their visits; let faith and hope be
the atmosphere which man breathes in;--and his days pass by with
zest; they stir with prospects, they thrill with remoter values. 
Place round them on the contrary the curdling cold and gloom and
absence of all permanent meaning which for pure naturalism and
the popular science evolutionism of our time are all that is
visible ultimately, and the thrill stops short, or turns rather
to an anxious trembling.

For naturalism, fed on recent cosmological speculations, mankind
is in a position similar to that of a set of people living on a
frozen lake, surrounded by cliffs over which there is no escape,
yet knowing that little by little the ice is melting, and the
inevitable day drawing near when the last film of it will
disappear, and to be drowned ignominiously will be the human
creature's portion.  The merrier the skating, the warmer and more
sparkling the sun by day, and the ruddier the bonfires at night,
the more poignant the sadness with which one must take in the
meaning of the total situation.

The early Greeks are continually held up to us in literary works
as models of the healthy-minded joyousness which the religion of
nature may engender.  There was indeed much joyousness among the
Greeks--Homer's flow of enthusiasm for most things that the sun
shines upon is steady.  But even in Homer the reflective passages
are cheerless,[73] and the moment the Greeks grew systematically
pensive and thought of ultimates, they became unmitigated
pessimists.[74] The jealousy of the gods, the nemesis that
follows  too much happiness, the all-encompassing death, fate's
dark opacity, the ultimate and unintelligible cruelty, were the
fixed background of their imagination.  The beautiful joyousness
of their polytheism is only a poetic modern fiction.  They knew
no joys comparable in quality of preciousness to those which we
shall erelong see that Ilrahmans, Buddhists, Christians,
Mohammedans, twice-born people whose religion is
non-naturalistic, get from their several creeds of mysticism and

[73] E.g., Iliad XVII. 446:  "Nothing then is more wretched
anywhere than man of all that breathes and creeps upon this

[74] E.g., Theognis, 425-428:  "Best of all for all things upon
earth is it not to be born nor to behold the splendors of the
sun; next best to traverse as soon as possible the gates of
Hades."  See also the almost identical passage in Oedipus in
Colonus, 1225.--The Anthology is full of pessimistic utterances: 
"Naked came I upon the earth, naked I go below the ground--why
then do I vainly toil when I see the end naked before me?"--"How
did I come to be? Whence am l?  Wherefore did I come?  To pass
away.  How can I learn aught when naught I know?  Being naught I
came to life:  once more shall I be what I was.  Nothing and
nothingness is the whole race of mortals."--"For death we are all
cherished and fattened like a herd of hogs that is wantonly

The difference between Greek pessimism and the oriental and
modern variety is that the Greeks had not made the discovery that
the pathetic mood may be idealized, and figure as a higher form
of sensibility.  Their spirit was still too essentially masculine
for pessimism to be elaborated or lengthily dwelt on in their
classic literature.  They would have despised a life set wholly
in a minor key, and summoned it to keep within the proper bounds
of lachrymosity. The discovery that the enduring emphasis, so far
as this world goes, may be laid on its pain and failure, was
reserved for races more complex, and (so to speak) more feminine
than the Hellenes had attained to being in the classic period. 
But all the same was the outlook of those Hellenes blackly

Stoic insensibility and Epicurean resignation were the farthest
advance which the Greek mind made in that direction. The
Epicurean said:  "Seek not to be happy, but rather to escape
unhappiness; strong happiness is always linked with pain;
therefore hug the safe shore, and do not tempt the deeper
raptures.  Avoid disappointment by expecting little, and by
aiming low; and above all do not fret."  The Stoic said:  "The
only genuine good that life can yield a man is the free
possession of his own soul; all other goods are lies."  Each of
these philosophies is in its degree a philosophy of despair in
nature's boons.  Trustful self-abandonment to the joys that
freely offer has entirely departed from both Epicurean and Stoic;
and what each proposes is a way of rescue from the resultant
dust-and-ashes state of mind.  The Epicurean still awaits results
from economy of indulgence and damping of desire.  The Stoic
hopes for no results, and gives up natural good altogether. 
There is dignity in both these forms of resignation.  They
represent distinct stages in the sobering process which man's
primitive intoxication with sense-happiness is sure to undergo. 
In the one the hot blood has grown cool, in the other it has
become quite cold; and although I have spoken of them in the past
tense, as if they were merely historic, yet Stoicism and
Epicureanism will probably be to all time typical attitudes,
marking a certain definite stage accomplished in the evolution of
the world-sick soul.[75] They mark the conclusion of what we call
the once-born period, and represent the highest flights of what
twice-born religion would call the purely natural man
--Epicureanism, which can only by great courtesy be called a
religion, showing his refinement, and Stoicism exhibiting his
moral will.  They leave the world in the shape of an unreconciled
contradiction, and seek no higher unity.  Compared with the
complex ecstasies which the supernaturally regenerated Christian
may enjoy, or the oriental pantheist indulge in, their receipts
for equanimity are expedients which seem almost crude in their

[75] For instance, on the very day on which I write this page,
the post brings me some aphorisms from a worldly-wise old friend
in Heidelberg which may serve as a good contemporaneous
expression of Epicureanism:  "By the word 'happiness' every human
being understands something different.  It is a phantom pursued
only by weaker minds.  The wise man is satisfied with the more
modest but much more definite term CONTENTMENT.  What education
should chiefly aim at is to save us from a discontented life. 
Health is one favoring condition, but by no means an
indispensable one, of contentment.  Woman's heart and love are a
shrewd device of Nature, a trap which she sets for the average
man, to force him into working.  But the wise man will always
prefer work chosen by himself."

Please observe, however, that I am not yet pretending finally to
JUDGE any of these attitudes.  I am only describing their
variety.  The securest way to the rapturous sorts of happiness of
which the twice-born make report has as an historic matter of
fact been through a more radical pessimism than anything that we
have yet considered.  We have seen how the lustre and enchantment
may be rubbed off from the goods of nature.  But there is a pitch
of unhappiness so great that the goods of nature may be entirely
forgotten, and all sentiment of their existence vanish from the
mental field.  For this extremity of pessimism to be reached,
something more is needed than observation of life and reflection
upon death.  The individual must in his own person become the
prey of a pathological melancholy.  As the healthy-minded
enthusiast succeeds in ignoring evil's very existence, so the
subject of melancholy is forced in spite of himself to ignore
that of all good whatever:  for him it may no longer have the
least reality.  Such sensitiveness and susceptibility to mental
pain is a rare occurrence where the nervous constitution is
entirely normal; one seldom finds it in a healthy subject even
where he is the victim of the most atrocious cruelties of outward
fortune.  So we note here the neurotic constitution, of which I
said so much in my first lecture, making its active entrance on
our scene, and destined to play a part in much that follows. 
Since these experiences of melancholy are in the first instance
absolutely private and individual, I can now help myself out with
personal documents.  Painful indeed they will be to listen to,
and there is almost an indecency in handling them in public.  Yet
they lie right in the middle of our path; and if we are to touch
the psychology of religion at all seriously, we must be willing
to forget conventionalities, and dive below the smooth and lying
official conversational surface.

One can distinguish many kinds of pathological depression.
Sometimes it is mere passive joylessness and dreariness.
discouragement, dejection, lack of taste and zest and spring.
<143> Professor Ribot has proposed the name anhedonia to
designate this condition.

"The state of anhedonia, if I may coin a new word to pair off
with analgesia," he writes, "has been very little studied, but it
exists.  A young girl was smitten with a liver disease which for
some time altered her constitution.  She felt no longer any
affection for her father and mother.  She would have played with
her doll, but it was impossible to find the least pleasure in the
act. The same things which formerly convulsed her with laughter
entirely failed to interest her now.  Esquirol observed the case
of a very intelligent magistrate who was also a prey to hepatic
disease.  Every emotion appeared dead within him.  He manifested
neither perversion nor violence, but complete absence of
emotional reaction.  If he went to the theatre, which he did out
of habit, he could find no pleasure there.  The thought of his
house of his home, of his wife, and of his absent children moved
him as little, he said, as a theorem of Euclid."[76]

[76] Ribot:  Psychologie des sentiments, p. 54.

Prolonged seasickness will in most persons produce a temporary
condition of anhedonia.  Every good, terrestrial or celestial, is
imagined only to be turned from with disgust. A temporary
condition of this sort, connected with the religious evolution of
a singularly lofty character, both intellectual and moral, is
well described by the Catholic philosopher, Father Gratry, in his
autobiographical recollections. In consequence of mental
isolation and excessive study at the Polytechnic school, young
Gratry fell into a state of nervous exhaustion with symptoms
which he thus describes:--

"I had such a universal terror that I woke at night with a start,
thinking that the Pantheon was tumbling on the Polytechnic
school, or that the school was in flames, or that the Seine was
pouring into the Catacombs, and that Paris was being swallowed  
up.  And when these impressions were past, all day long without
respite I suffered an incurable and intolerable desolation,
verging on despair.  I thought myself, in fact, rejected by God,
lost, damned! I felt something like the suffering of hell. Before
that I had never even thought of hell.  My mind had never turned
in that direction.  Neither discourses nor reflections had
impressed me in that way.  I took no account of hell.  Now, and
all at once, I suffered in a measure what is suffered there.

"But what was perhaps still more dreadful is that every idea of
heaven was taken away from me:  I could no longer conceive of
anything of the sort.  Heaven did not seem to me worth going to. 
It was like a vacuum; a mythological elysium, an abode of shadows
less real than the earth.  I could conceive no joy, no pleasure
in inhabiting it.  Happiness, joy, light, affection, love-- all
these words were now devoid of sense.  Without doubt I could
still have talked of all these things, but I had become incapable
of feeling anything in them, of understanding anything about
them, of hoping anything from them, or of believing them to
exist.  There was my great and inconsolable grief! I neither
perceived nor conceived any longer the existence of happiness or
perfection.  An abstract heaven over a naked rock.  Such was my
present abode for eternity."[77]

[77] A. Gratry:  Souvenirs de ma jeunesse, 1880, pp. 119-121,
abridged.  Some persons are affected with anhedonia permanently,
or at any rate with a loss of the usual appetite for life.  The
annals of suicide supply such examples as the following:--

An uneducated domestic servant, aged nineteen, poisons herself,
and leaves two letters expressing her motive for the act.  To her
parents she writes:--

"Life is sweet perhaps to some, but I prefer what is sweeter than
life, and that is death.  So good-by forever, my dear parents. 
It is nobody's fault, but a strong desire of my own which I have
longed to fulfill for three or four years.  I have always had a
hope that some day I might have an opportunity of fulfilling it,
and now it has come. . . . It is a wonder I have put this off so
long, but I thought perhaps I should cheer up a bit and put all
thought out of my head."  To her brother she writes:  "Good-by
forever, my own dearest brother.  By the time you get this I
shall be gone forever.  I know, dear love, there is no
forgiveness for what I am going to do. . . . I am tired of
living, so am willing to die. . . .  Life may be sweet to some,
but death to me is sweeter."  S. A. K. Strahan:  Suicide and
Insanity, 2d edition, London, 1894, p. 131.

So much for melancholy in the sense of incapacity for joyous
feeling.  A much worse form of it is positive and active anguish,
a sort of psychical neuralgia wholly unknown to healthy life. 
Such anguish may partake of various characters, having sometimes
more the quality of loathing; sometimes that of irritation and
exasperation; or again of self-mistrust and self-despair; or of
suspicion, anxiety, trepidation, fear.  The patient may rebel or
submit; may accuse himself, or accuse outside powers; and he may
or he may not be tormented by the theoretical mystery of why he
should so have to suffer.  Most cases are mixed cases, and we
should not treat our classifications with too much respect.
Moreover, it is only a relatively small proportion of cases that
connect themselves with the religious sphere of experience at
all.  Exasperated cases, for instance, as a rule do not.  I quote
now literally from the first case of melancholy on which I lay my
hand.  It is a letter from a patient in a French asylum.

"I suffer too much in this hospital, both physically and morally.
Besides the burnings and the sleeplessness (for I no longer sleep
since I am shut up here, and the little rest I get is broken by
bad dreams, and I am waked with a jump by night mares dreadful
visions, lightning, thunder, and the rest), fear, atrocious fear,
presses me down, holds me without respite, never lets me go. 
Where is the justice in it all!  What have I done to deserve this
excess of severity?  Under what form will this fear crush me? 
What would I not owe to any one who would rid me of my life! Eat,
drink, lie awake all night, suffer without interruption--such is
the fine legacy I have received from my mother!  What I fail to
understand is this abuse of power.  There are limits to
everything, there is a middle way.  But God knows neither middle
way nor limits.  I say God, but why?  All I have known so far has
been the devil.  After all, I am afraid of God as much as of the
devil, so I drift along, thinking of nothing but suicide, but
with neither courage nor means here to execute the act.  As you
read this, it will easily prove to you my insanity.  The style
and the ideas are incoherent enough--I can see that myself.  But
I cannot keep myself from being either crazy or an idiot; and, as
things are, from whom should I ask pity?  I am defenseless
against the invisible enemy who is tightening his coils around
me.  I should be no better armed against him even if I saw him,
or had seen him.  Oh, if he would but kill me, devil take him! 
Death, death, once for all! But I stop. I have raved to you long
enough.  I say raved, for I can write no otherwise, having
neither brain nor thoughts left.  O God! what a misfortune to be
born!  Born like a mushroom, doubtless between an evening and a
morning; and how true and right I was when in our philosophy-year
in college I chewed the cud of bitterness with the pessimists. 
Yes, indeed, there is more pain in life than gladness--it is one
long agony until the grave.  Think how gay it makes me to
remember that this horrible misery of mine, coupled with this
unspeakable fear, may last fifty, one hundred, who knows how many
more years!"[78]

[78] Roubinovitch et Toulouse:  La Melancolie, 1897, p. 170,

This letter shows two things.  First, you see how the entire
consciousness of the poor man is so choked with the feeling of
evil that the sense of there being any good in the world is lost
for him altogether.  His attention excludes it, cannot admit it: 
the sun has left his heaven.  And secondly you see how the
querulous temper of his misery keeps his mind from taking a
religious direction.  Querulousness of mind tends in fact rather
towards irreligion; and it has played, so far as I know, no part
whatever in the construction of religious systems.

Religious melancholy must be cast in a more melting mood. 
Tolstoy has left us, in his book called My Confession, a
wonderful account of the attack of melancholy which led him to
his own religious conclusions.  The latter in some respects are
peculiar; but the melancholy presents two characters which make
it a typical document for our present purpose.  First it is a
well-marked case of anhedonia, of passive loss of appetite for
all life's values; and second, it shows how the altered and
estranged aspect which the world assumed in consequence of this
stimulated Tolstoy's intellect to a gnawing, carking questioning
and effort for philosophic relief.  I mean to quote Tolstoy at
some length; but before doing so, I will make a general remark on
each of these two points.

First on our spiritual judgments and the sense of value in

It is notorious that facts are compatible with opposite emotional
comments, since the same fact will inspire entirely different
feelings in different persons, and at different times in the same
person; and there is no rationally deducible connection between
any outer fact and the sentiments it may happen to provoke. 
These have their source in another sphere of existence
altogether, in the animal and spiritual region of the subject's
being.  Conceive yourself, if possible, suddenly stripped of all
the emotion with which your world now inspires you, and try to
imagine it AS IT EXISTS, purely by itself, without your favorable
or unfavorable, hopeful or apprehensive comment.  It will be
almost impossible for you to realize such a condition of
negativity and deadness.  No one portion of the universe would
then have importance beyond another; and the whole collection of
its things and series of its events would be without
significance, character, expression, or perspective.  Whatever of
value, interest, or meaning our respective worlds may appear
endued with are thus pure gifts of the spectator's mind.  The
passion of love is the most familiar and extreme example of this
fact.  If it comes, it comes; if it does not <148> come, no
process of reasoning can force it.  Yet it transforms the value
of the creature loved as utterly as the sunrise transforms Mont
Blanc from a corpse-like gray to a rosy enchantment; and it sets
the whole world to a new tune for the lover and gives a new issue
to his life.  So with fear, with indignation, jealousy, ambition,
worship.  If they are there, life changes.  And whether they
shall be there or not depends almost always upon non-logical,
often on organic conditions.  And as the excited interest which
these passions put into the world is our gift to the world, just
so are the passions themselves GIFTS--gifts to us, from sources
sometimes low and sometimes high; but almost always nonlogical
and beyond our control.  How can the moribund old man reason back
to himself the romance, the mystery, the imminence of great
things with which our old earth tingled for him in the days when
he was young and well?  Gifts, either of the flesh or of the
spirit; and the spirit bloweth where it listeth; and the world's
materials lend their surface passively to all the gifts alike, as
the stage-setting receives indifferently whatever alternating
colored lights may be shed upon it from the optical apparatus in
the gallery.

Meanwhile the practically real world for each one of us, the
effective world of the individual, is the compound world, the
physical facts and emotional values in indistinguishable
combination.  Withdraw or pervert either factor of this complex
resultant, and the kind of experience we call pathological

In Tolstoy's case the sense that life had any meaning whatever
was for a time wholly withdrawn.  The result was a transformation
in the whole expression of reality.  When we come to study the
phenomenon of conversion or religious regeneration, we shall see
that a not infrequent consequence of the change operated in the
subject is a transfiguration of the face of nature in his eyes. 
A new heaven seems to shine upon a new earth.  In melancholiacs
there is usually a similar change, only it is in the reverse
direction. The world now looks remote, strange, sinister,
uncanny. Its color is gone, its breath is cold, there is no
speculation in the eyes it glares with.  "It is as if I lived in
another century," says one asylum patient.--"I see everything
through a cloud," says another, "things are not as they were, and
I am changed."--"I see," says a third, "I touch, but the things
do not come near me, a thick veil alters the hue and look of
everything."--"Persons move like shadows, and sounds seem to come
from a distant world."--"There is no longer any past for me;
people appear so strange; it is as if I could not see any
reality, as if I were in a theatre; as if people were actors, and
everything were scenery; I can no longer find myself; I walk, but
why?  Everything floats before my eyes, but leaves no
impression."--"I weep false tears, I have unreal hands:  the
things I see are not real things."--Such are expressions that
naturally rise to the lips of melancholy subjects describing
their changed state.[79]

[79] I cull these examples from the work of G. Dumas:  La
Tristesse et la Joie, 1900.

Now there are some subjects whom all this leaves a prey to the
profoundest astonishment.  The strangeness is wrong.  The
unreality cannot be.  A mystery is concealed, and a metaphysical
solution must exist.  If the natural world is so double-faced and
unhomelike, what world, what thing is real?  An urgent wondering
and questioning is set up, a poring theoretic activity, and in
the desperate effort to get into right relations with the matter,
the sufferer is often led to what becomes for him a satisfying
religious solution.

At about the age of fifty, Tolstoy relates that he began to have
moments of perplexity, of what he calls arrest, as if he knew not
"how to live," or what to do.  It is obvious that these were
moments in which the excitement and interest which our functions
naturally bring had ceased.  Life had been enchanting, it was now
flat sober, more than <150> sober, dead.  Things were
meaningless whose meaning had always been self-evident.  The
questions "Why?" and "What next?" began to beset him more and
more frequently.  At first it seemed as if such questions must be
answerable, and as if he could easily find the answers if he
would take the time; but as they ever became more urgent, he
perceived that it was like those first discomforts of a sick man,
to which he pays but little attention till they run into one
continuous suffering, and then he realizes that what he took for
a passing disorder means the most momentous thing in the world
for him, means his death.

These questions "Why?" "Wherefore?" "What for?" found no

"I felt," says Tolstoy, "that something had broken within me on
which my life had always rested, that I had nothing left to hold
on to, and that morally my life had stopped.  An invincible force
impelled me to get rid of my existence, in one way or another. It
cannot be said exactly that I WISHED to kill myself, for the
force which drew me away from life was fuller, more powerful,
more general than any mere desire.  It was a force like my old
aspiration to live, only it impelled me in the opposite
direction. It was an aspiration of my whole being to get out of

"Behold me then, a man happy and in good health, hiding the rope
in order not to hang myself to the rafters of the room where
every night I went to sleep alone; behold me no longer going
shooting, lest I should yield to the too easy temptation of
putting an end to myself with my gun.

"I did not know what I wanted.  I was afraid of life; I was
driven to leave it; and in spite of that I still hoped something
from it.

"All this took place at a time when so far as all my outer
circumstances went, I ought to have been completely happy.  I had
a good wife who loved me and whom I loved; good children and a
large property which was increasing with no pains taken on my
part.  I was more respected by my kinsfolk and acquaintance than
I had ever been; I was loaded with praise by strangers; and
without exaggeration I could believe my name already famous.
Moreover I was neither insane nor ill.  On the contrary, I
possessed a physical and mental strength which I have rarely met
in persons of my age.  I could mow as well as the peasants, I
could work with my brain eight hours uninterruptedly and feel no
bad effects.

"And yet I could give no reasonable meaning to any actions of my
life.  And I was surprised that I had not understood this from
the very beginning.  My state of mind was as if some wicked and
stupid jest was being played upon me by some one.  One can live
only so long as one is intoxicated, drunk with life; but when one
grows sober one cannot fail to see that it is all a stupid cheat.

What is truest about it is that there is nothing even funny or
silly in it; it is cruel and stupid, purely and simply.

"The oriental fable of the traveler surprised in the desert by a
wild beast is very old.

"Seeking to save himself from the fierce animal, the traveler
jumps into a well with no water in it; but at the bottom of this
well he sees a dragon waiting with open mouth to devour him. And
the unhappy man, not daring to go out lest he should be the prey
of the beast, not daring to jump to the bottom lest he should be
devoured by the dragon, clings to the branches of a wild bush
which grows out of one of the cracks of the well.  His hands
weaken, and he feels that he must soon give way to certain fate;
but still he clings, and see two mice, one white, the other
black, evenly moving round the bush to which he hangs, and
gnawing off its roots

"The traveler sees this and knows that he must inevitably perish;
but while thus hanging he looks about him and finds on the leaves
of the bush some drops of honey.  These he reaches with his
tongue and licks them off with rapture.

"Thus I hang upon the boughs of life, knowing that the inevitable
dragon of death is waiting ready to tear me, and I cannot
comprehend why I am thus made a martyr.  I try to suck the honey
which formerly consoled me; but the honey pleases me no longer,
and day and night the white mouse and the black mouse gnaw the
branch to which I cling.  I can see but one thing:  the
inevitable dragon and the mice--I cannot turn my gaze away from

"This is no fable, but the literal incontestable truth which
every one may understand.  What will be the outcome of what I do
to-day?  Of what I shall do to-morrow?  What will be the outcome
of all my life?  Why should I live?  Why should I do anything? 
Is there in life any purpose which the inevitable death which
awaits me does not undo and destroy?

"These questions are the simplest in the world.  From the stupid
child to the wisest old man, they are in the soul of every human
being.  Without an answer to them, it is impossible, as I
experienced, for life to go on.

"'But perhaps,' I often said to myself, 'there may be something
I have failed to notice or to comprehend.  It is not possible
that this condition of despair should be natural to mankind.' And
I sought for an explanation in all the branches of knowledge
acquired by men.  I questioned painfully and protractedly and
with no idle curiosity.  I sought, not with indolence, but
laboriously and obstinately for days and nights together.  I
sought like a man who is lost and seeks to save himself--and I
found nothing.  I became convinced, moreover, that all those who
before me had sought for an answer in the sciences have also
found nothing.  And not only this, but that they have recognized
that the very thing which was leading me to despair--the
meaningless absurdity of life--is the only incontestable
knowledge accessible to man."

To prove this point, Tolstoy quotes the Buddha, Solomon, and
Schopenhauer.  And he finds only four ways in which men of his
own class and society are accustomed to meet the situation. 
Either mere animal blindness, sucking the honey without seeing
the dragon or the mice--"and from such a way," he says, "I can
learn nothing, after what I now know;" or reflective
epicureanism, snatching what it can while the day lasts--which is
only a more deliberate sort of stupefaction than the first; or
manly suicide; or seeing the mice and dragon and yet weakly and
plaintively clinging to the bush of life.  Suicide was naturally
the consistent course dictated by the logical intellect.

"Yet," says Tolstoy, "whilst my intellect was working, something
else in me was working too, and kept me from the deed--a
consciousness of life, as I may call it, which was like a force
that obliged my mind to fix itself in another direction and draw
me out of my situation of despair. . . . During the whole course
of this year, when I almost unceasingly kept asking myself how to
end the business, whether by the rope or by the bullet, during
all that time, alongside of all those movements of my ideas and
observations, my heart kept languishing with another pining
emotion.  I can call this by no other name than that of a thirst
for God.  This craving for God had nothing to do with the
movement of my ideas--in fact, it was the direct contrary of that
movement--but it came from my heart.  It was like a feeling of
dread that made me seem like an orphan and isolated in the midst
of all these things that were so foreign.  And this feeling of
dread was mitigated by the hope of finding the assistance of some

[80] My extracts are from the French translation by "Zonia."   
In abridging I have taken the liberty of transposing one passage.

Of the process, intellectual as well as emotional, which,
starting from this idea of God, led to Tolstoy's recovery, I will
say nothing in this lecture, reserving it for a later hour. The
only thing that need interest us now is the phenomenon of his
absolute disenchantment with ordinary life, and the fact that the
whole range of habitual values may, to a man as powerful and full
of faculty as he was, come to appear so ghastly a mockery.

When disillusionment has gone as far as this, there is seldom a
restitutio ad integrum.  One has tasted of the fruit of the tree,
and the happiness of Eden never comes again. The happiness that
comes, when any does come--and often enough it fails to return in
an acute form, though its form is sometimes very acute--is not
the simple, ignorance of ill, but something vastly more complex,
including natural evil as one of its elements, but finding
natural evil no such stumbling-block and terror because it now
sees it swallowed up in supernatural good.  The process is one of
redemption, not of mere reversion to natural health, and the
sufferer, when saved, is saved by what seems to him a second
birth, a deeper kind of conscious being than he could enjoy

We find a somewhat different type of religious melancholy
enshrined in literature in John Bunyan's autobiography. Tolstoy's
preoccupations were largely objective, for the purpose and
meaning of life in general was what so troubled him; but poor
Bunyan's troubles were over the condition of his own personal
self.  He was a typical case of the psychopathic temperament,
sensitive of conscience to a diseased degree, beset by doubts,
fears and insistent ideas, and a victim of verbal automatisms,
both motor and sensory. These were usually texts of Scripture
which, sometimes damnatory and sometimes favorable, would come in
a half- hallucinatory form as if they were voices, and fasten on
his mind and buffet it between them like a shuttlecock.  Added to
this were a fearful melancholy self-contempt and despair.

"Nay, thought I, now I grow worse and worse, now I am farther
from conversion than ever I was before.  If now I should have
burned at the stake, I could not believe that Christ had love for
me; alas, I could neither hear him, nor see him, nor feel him,
nor savor any of his things.  Sometimes I would tell my condition
to the people of God, which, when they heard, they would pity me,
and would tell of the Promises.  But they had as good have told
me that I must reach the Sun with my finger as have bidden me
receive or rely upon the Promise. [Yet] all this while as to the
act of sinning, I never was more tender than now; I durst not
take a pin or stick, though but so big as a straw, for my
conscience now was sore, and would smart at every touch; I
could not tell how to speak my words, for fear I should misplace
them.  Oh, how gingerly did I then go, in all I did or said! I
found myself as on a miry bog that shook if I did but stir; and
was as there left both by God and Christ, and the spirit, and all
good things.

"But my original and inward pollution, that was my plague and my
affliction.  By reason of that, I was more loathsome in my own
eyes than was a toad; and I thought I was so in God's eyes too. 
Sin and corruption, I said, would as naturally bubble out of my
heart as water would bubble out of a fountain.  I could have
changed heart with anybody.  I thought none but the Devil himself
could equal me for inward wickedness and pollution of mind. 
Sure, thought I, I am forsaken of God; and thus I continued a
long while, even for some years together.

"And now I was sorry that God had made me a man.  The beasts,
birds, fishes, etc., I blessed their condition, for they had not
a sinful nature; they were not obnoxious to the wrath of God;
they were not to go to hell-fire after death.  I could therefore
have rejoiced, had my condition been as any of theirs.  Now I
blessed the condition of the dog and toad, yea, gladly would I
have been in the condition of the dog or horse, for I knew they
had no soul to perish under the everlasting weight of Hell or
Sin, as mine was like to do.  Nay, and though I saw this, felt
this, and was broken to pieces with it, yet that which added to
my sorrow was, that I could not find with all my soul that I did
desire deliverance.  My heart was at times exceedingly hard.  If
I would have given a thousand pounds for a tear, I could not shed
one; no, nor sometimes scarce desire to shed one.

"I was both a burthen and a terror to myself; nor did I ever so
know, as now, what it was to be weary of my life, and yet afraid
to die.  How gladly would I have been anything but myself!
Anything but a man! and in any condition but my own."[81]

[81] Grace abounding to the Chief of Sinners:  I have printed a
number of detached passages continuously.

Poor patient Bunyan, like Tolstoy, saw the light again, but we
must also postpone that part of his story to another hour.  In a
later lecture I will also give the end of the
experience of Henry Alline, a devoted evangelist who worked in
Nova Scotia a hundred years ago, and who thus vividly describes
the high-water mark of the religious melancholy which formed its
beginning.  The type was not unlike Bunyan's.

"Everything I saw seemed to be a burden to me; the earth seemed
accursed for my sake:  all trees, plants, rocks, hills, and vales
seemed to be dressed in mourning and groaning, under the weight
of the curse, and everything around me seemed to be conspiring my
ruin.  My sins seemed to be laid open; so that I thought that
every one I saw knew them, and sometimes I was almost ready to
acknowledge many things, which I thought they knew:  yea
sometimes it seemed to me as if every one was pointing me out as
the most guilty wretch upon earth.  I had now so great a sense of
the vanity and emptiness of all things here below, that I knew
the whole world could not possibly make me happy, no, nor the
whole system of creation.  When I waked in the morning, the first
thought would be, Oh, my wretched soul, what shall I do, where
shall I go?  And when I laid down, would say, I shall be perhaps
in hell before morning. I would many times look on the beasts
with envy, wishing with all my heart I was in their place, that I
might have no soul to lose; and when I have seen birds flying
over my head, have often thought within myself, Oh, that I could
fly away from my danger and distress! Oh, how happy should I be,
if I were in their place!"[82]

[82] The Life and Journal of the Rev. Mr. Henry Alline, Boston
1806, pp. 25, 26.  I owe my acquaintance with this book to my
colleague, Dr. Benjamin Rand.

Envy of the placid beasts seems to be a very widespread affection
in this type of sadness.

The worst kind of melancholy is that which takes the form of
panic fear.  Here is an excellent example, for permission to
print which I have to thank the sufferer.  The original is in
French, and though the subject was evidently in a bad nervous
condition at the time of which he writes, his case has otherwise
the merit of extreme simplicity.  I translate freely.

"Whilst in this state of philosophic pessimism and general
depression of spirits about my prospects, I went one evening into
a dressing-room in the twilight to procure some article that was
there; when suddenly there fell upon me without any warning, just
as if it came out of the darkness, a horrible fear of my own
existence.  Simultaneously there arose in my mind the image of an
epileptic patient whom I had seen in the asylum, a black-haired
youth with greenish skin, entirely idiotic, who used to sit all
day on one of the benches, or rather shelves against the wall,
with his knees drawn up against his chin, and the coarse gray
undershirt, which was his only garment, drawn over them inclosing
his entire figure.  He sat there like a sort of sculptured
Egyptian cat or Peruvian mummy, moving nothing but his black eyes
and looking absolutely non-human.  This image and my fear entered
into a species of combination with each other THAT SHAPE AM I, I
felt, potentially.  Nothing that I possess can defend me against
that fate, if the hour for it should strike for me as it struck
for him.  There was such a horror of him, and such a perception
of my own merely momentary discrepancy from him, that it was as
if something hitherto solid within my breast gave way entirely,
and I became a mass of quivering fear. After this the universe
was changed for me altogether.  I awoke morning after morning
with a horrible dread at the pit of my stomach, and with a sense
of the insecurity of life that I never knew before, and that I
have never felt since.[83] It was like a revelation; and although
the immediate feelings passed away, the experience has made me
sympathetic with the morbid feelings of others ever since.  It
gradually faded, but for months I was unable to go out into the
dark alone.

[83] Compare Bunyan.  "There was I struck into a very great
trembling, insomuch that at some times I could, for days
together, feel my very body, as well as my mind, to shake and
totter under the sense of the dreadful judgment of God, that
should fall on those that have sinned that most fearful and
unpardonable sin.  I felt also such clogging and heat at my
stomach, by reason of this my terror, that I was, especially at
some times, as if my breast-bone would have split asunder. . . . 
Thus did I wind, and twine, and shrink, under the burden that was
upon me; which burden also did so oppress me that I could neither
stand, nor go, nor lie, either at rest or quiet."

"In general I dreaded to be left alone.  I remember wondering how
other people could live, how I myself had ever lived, so
unconscious of that pit of insecurity beneath the surface of
life.  My mother in particular, a very cheerful person, seemed to
me a perfect paradox in her unconsciousness of danger, which you
may well believe I was very careful not to disturb by revelations
of my own state of mind (I have always thought that this
experience of melancholia of mine had a religious bearing."

On asking this correspondent to explain more fully what he meant
by these last words, the answer he wrote was this:--

"I mean that the fear was so invasive and powerful that if I had
not clung to scripture-texts like 'The eternal God is my refuge,'
etc., 'Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden,'
etc., 'I am the resurrection and the life,' etc., I think I
should have grown really insane."[84]

[84] For another case of fear equally sudden, see Henry James: 
Society the Redeemed Form of Man, Boston, 1879, pp. 43 ff.

There is no need of more examples.  The cases we have looked at
are enough.  One of them gives us the vanity of mortal things;
another the sense of sin; and the remaining one describes the
fear of the universe;--and in one or other of these three ways it
always is that man's original optimism and self-satisfaction get
leveled with the dust.

In none of these cases was there any intellectual insanity or
delusion about matters of fact; but were we disposed to open the
chapter of really insane melancholia, with its <159>
hallucinations and delusions, it would be a worse story
still--desperation absolute and complete, the whole universe
coagulating about the sufferer into a material of overwhelming
horror, surrounding him without opening or end.  Not the
conception or intellectual perception of evil, but the grisly
blood-freezing heart-palsying sensation of it close upon one, and
no other conception or sensation able to live for a moment in its
presence.  How irrelevantly remote seem all our usual refined
optimisms and intellectual and moral consolations in presence of
a need of help like this!  Here is the real core of the religious
problem:  Help! help!  No prophet can claim to bring a final
message unless he says things that will have a sound of reality
in the ears of victims such as these.  But the deliverance must
come in as strong a form as the complaint, if it is to take
effect; and that seems a reason why the coarser religions,
revivalistic, orgiastic, with blood and miracles and supernatural
operations, may possibly never be displaced.  Some constitutions
need them too much.

Arrived at this point, we can see how great an antagonism may
naturally arise between the healthy-minded way of viewing life
and the way that takes all this experience of evil as something
essential.  To this latter way, the morbid-minded way, as we
might call it, healthy-mindedness pure and simple seems
unspeakably blind and shallow.  To the healthy-minded way, on the
other hand, the way of the sick soul seems unmanly and diseased. 
With their grubbing in rat-holes instead of living in the light;
with their manufacture of fears, and preoccupation with every
unwholesome kind of misery, there is something almost obscene
about these children of wrath and cravers of a second birth.  If
religious intolerance and hanging and burning could again become
the order of the day, there is little doubt that, however it may
have been in the past, the healthy-minded would <160> at present
show themselves the less indulgent party of the two.

In our own attitude, not yet abandoned, of impartial onlookers,
what are we to say of this quarrel?  It seems to me that we are
bound to say that morbid-mindedness ranges over the wider scale
of experience, and that its survey is the one that overlaps.  The
method of averting one's attention from evil, and living simply
in the light of good is splendid as long as it will work.  It
will work with many persons; it will work far more generally than
most of us are ready to suppose; and within the sphere of its
successful operation there is nothing to be said against it as a
religious solution. But it breaks down impotently as soon as
melancholy comes; and even though one be quite free from
melancholy one's self, there is no doubt that healthy-mindedness
is inadequate as a philosophical doctrine, because the evil facts
which it refuses positively to account for are a genuine portion
of reality; and they may after all be the best key to life's
significance, and possibly the only openers of our eyes to the
deepest levels of truth.

The normal process of life contains moments as bad as any of
those which insane melancholy is filled with, moments in which
radical evil gets its innings and takes its solid turn.  The
lunatic's visions of horror are all drawn from the material of
daily fact.  Our civilization is founded on the shambles, and
every individual existence goes out in a lonely spasm of helpless
agony.  If you protest, my friend, wait till you arrive there
yourself!  To believe in the carnivorous reptiles of geologic
times is hard for our imagination--they seem too much like mere
museum specimens.  Yet there is no tooth in any one of those
museum-skulls that did not daily through long years of the
foretime hold fast to the body struggling in despair of some
fated living victim.  Forms of horror just as dreadful to the
victims, if on a smaller spatial scale, fill the world about us
to-day.  Here on our very <161> hearths and in our gardens the
infernal cat plays with the panting mouse, or holds the hot bird
fluttering in her jaws. Crocodiles and rattlesnakes and pythons
are at this moment vessels of life as real as we are; their
loathsome existence fills every minute of every day that drags
its length along; and whenever they or other wild beasts clutch
their living prey, the deadly horror which an agitated
melancholiac feels is the literally right reaction on the

[85] Example:  "It was about eleven o'clock at night . . . but I
strolled on still with the people. . . . Suddenly upon the left
side of our road, a crackling was heard among the bushes; all of
us were alarmed, and in an instant a tiger, rushing out of the
jungle, pounced upon the one of the party that was foremost, and
carried him off in the twinkling of an eye.  The rush of the
animal, and the crush of the poor victim's bones in his mouth,
and his last cry of distress, 'Ho hai!' involuntarily reechoed by
all of us, was over in three seconds; and then I know not what
happened till I returned to my senses, when I found myself and
companions lying down on the ground as if prepared to be devoured
by our enemy the sovereign of the forest.  I find my pen
incapable of describing the terror of that dreadful moment.  Our
limbs stiffened, our power of speech ceased, and our hearts beat
violently, and only a whisper of the same 'Ho hai!' was heard
from us.  In this state we crept on all fours for some distance
back, and then ran for life with the speed of an Arab horse for
about half an hour, and fortunately happened to come to a small
village. . . . After this every one of us was attacked with
fever, attended with shivering, in which deplorable state we
remained till morning."--Autobiography of Lutullah a Mohammedan
Gentleman, Leipzig, 1857, p. 112.

It may indeed be that no religious reconciliation with the
absolute totality of things is possible.  Some evils, indeed, are
ministerial to higher forms of good; but it may be that there are
forms of evil so extreme as to enter into no good system
whatsoever, and that, in respect of such evil, dumb submission or
neglect to notice is the only practical resource.  This question
must confront us on a later day.  But provisionally, and as a
mere matter of program and method, since the evil facts are as
genuine parts of nature as the good ones, the philosophic
presumption should be that they have some rational significance,
and that systematic healthy-mindedness, failing as it does to
accord to sorrow, pain, and death any positive and active
attention whatever, is formally less complete than systems
that try at least to include these elements in their scope.

The completest religions would therefore seem to be those in
which the pessimistic elements are best developed.  Buddhism, of
course, and Christianity are the best known to us of these.  They
are essentially religions of deliverance:  the man must die to an
unreal life before he can be born into the real life.  In my next
lecture, I will try to discuss some of the psychological
conditions of this second birth.  Fortunately from now onward we
shall have to deal with more cheerful subjects than those which
we have recently been dwelling on.

Lecture VIII


The last lecture was a painful one, dealing as it did with evil
as a pervasive element of the world we live in.  At the close of
it we were brought into full view of the contrast between the two
ways of looking at life which are characteristic respectively of
what we called the healthy-minded, who need to be born only once,
and of the sick souls, who must be twice-born in order to be
happy.  The result is two different conceptions of the universe
of our experience.  In the religion of the once-born the world is
a sort of rectilinear or one-storied affair, whose accounts are
kept in one denomination, whose parts have just the values which
naturally they appear to have, and of which a simple algebraic
sum of pluses and minuses will give the total worth.  Happiness
and religious peace consist in living on the plus side of the
account. In the religion of the twice-born, on the other hand,
the world is a double-storied mystery.  Peace cannot be reached
by the simple addition of pluses and elimination of minuses from
life.  Natural good is not simply insufficient in amount and
transient, there lurks a falsity in its very being. Cancelled as
it all is by death if not by earlier enemies, it gives no final
balance, and can never be the thing intended for our lasting
worship. It keeps us from our real good, rather; and renunciation
and despair of it are our first step in the direction of the
truth.  There are two lives, the natural and the spiritual, and
we must lose the one before we can participate in the other.
In their extreme forms, of pure naturalism and pure salvationism,
the two types are violently contrasted; though here as in most
other current classifications, the radical extremes are somewhat
ideal abstractions, and the concrete human beings whom we
oftenest meet are intermediate varieties and mixtures. 
Practically, however, you all recognize the difference:  you
understand, for example, the disdain of the methodist convert for
the mere sky-blue healthy-minded moralist; and you likewise enter
into the aversion of the latter to what seems to him the diseased
subjectivism of the Methodist, dying to live, as he calls it, and
making of paradox and the inversion of natural appearances the
essence of God's truth.[86]

[86] E.g., "Our young people are diseased with the theological
problems of original sin, origin of evil, predestination, and the
like. These never presented a practical difficulty to any
man--never darkened across any man's road, who did not go out of
his way to seek them.  These are the soul's mumps, and measles,
and whooping-coughs, etc.  Emerson:  Spiritual Laws.

The psychological basis of the twice-born character seems to be a
certain discordancy or heterogeneity in the native temperament of
the subject, an incompletely unified moral and intellectual

"Homo duplex, homo duplex!" writes Alphonse Daudet. "The first
time that I perceived that I was two was at the death of my
brother Henri, when my father cried out so dramatically, 'He is
dead, he is dead!'  While my first self wept, my second self
thought, 'How truly given was that cry, how fine it would be at
the theatre.'  I was then fourteen years old.

"This horrible duality has often given me matter for reflection.
Oh, this terrible second me, always seated whilst the other is on
foot, acting, living, suffering, bestirring itself.  This second
me that I have never been able to intoxicate, to make shed tears,
or put to sleep. And how it sees into things, and how it

[87] Notes sur la Vie, p. 1.

Recent works on the psychology of character have had much to say
upon this point.[88] Some persons are born with an inner
constitution which is harmonious and well balanced from the
outset.  Their impulses are consistent with one another, their
will follows without trouble the guidance of their intellect,
their passions are not excessive, and their lives are little
haunted by regrets.  Others are oppositely constituted; and are
so in degrees which may vary from something so slight as to
result in a merely odd or whimsical inconsistency, to a
discordancy of which the consequences may be inconvenient in the
extreme.  Of the more innocent kinds of heterogeneity I find a
good example in Mrs. Annie Besant's autobiography.

[88] See, for example, F. Paulhan, in his book Les Caracteres,
1894, who contrasts les Equilibres, les Unifies, with les
Inquiets, les Contrariants, les Incoherents, les Emiettes, as so
many diverse psychic types.

"I have ever been the queerest mixture of weakness and strength,
and have paid heavily for the weakness.  As a child I used to
suffer tortures of shyness, and if my shoe-lace was untied would
feel shamefacedly that every eye was fixed on the unlucky string;
as a girl I would shrink away from strangers and think myself
unwanted and unliked, so that I was full of eager gratitude to
any one who noticed me kindly, as the young mistress of a house I
was afraid of my servants, and would let careless work pass
rather than bear the pain of reproving the ill-doer; when I have
been lecturing and debating with no lack of spirit on the
platform, I have preferred to go without what I wanted at the
hotel rather than to ring and make the waiter fetch it. 
Combative on the platform in defense of any cause I cared for, I
shrink from quarrel or disapproval in the house, and am a coward
at heart in private while a good fighter in public.  How often
have I passed unhappy quarters of an hour screwing up my courage
to find fault with some subordinate whom my duty compelled me to
reprove, and how often have I jeered myself for a fraud as the
doughty platform combatant, when shrinking from blaming some lad
or lass for doing their work badly.  An unkind look or word has
availed to make me shrink into myself as a snail into its shell,
while, on the platform, opposition makes me speak my best."[89]

[89] Annie Besant:  an Autobiography, p. 82.

This amount of inconsistency will only count as amiable weakness;
but a stronger degree of heterogeneity may make havoc of the
subject's life.  There are persons whose existence is little more
than a series of zig-zags, as now one tendency and now another
gets the upper hand.  Their spirit wars with their flesh, they
wish for incompatibles, wayward impulses interrupt their most
deliberate plans, and their lives are one long drama of
repentance and of effort to repair misdemeanors and mistakes.

Heterogeneous personality has been explained as the result of
inheritance--the traits of character of incompatible and
antagonistic ancestors are supposed to be preserved alongside of
each other.[90] This explanation may pass for what it is
worth--it certainly needs corroboration.  But whatever the cause
of heterogeneous personality may be, we find the extreme examples
of it in the psychopathic temperament, of which I spoke in my
first lecture.  All writers about that temperament make the inner
heterogeneity prominent in their descriptions.  Frequently,
indeed, it is only this trait that leads us to ascribe that
temperament to a man at all.  A "degenere superieur" is simply a
man of sensibility in many directions, who finds more difficulty
than is common in keeping <167> his spiritual house in order and
running his furrow straight, because his feelings and impulses
are too keen and too discrepant mutually.  In the haunting and
insistent ideas, in the irrational impulses, the morbid scruples,
dreads, and inhibitions which beset the psychopathic temperament
when it is thoroughly pronounced, we have exquisite examples of
heterogeneous personality.  Bunyan had an obsession of the words,
"Sell Christ for this, sell him for that, sell him, sell him!"
which would run through his mind a hundred times together, until
one day out of breath with retorting, "I will not, I will not,"
he impulsively said, "Let him go if he will," and this loss of
the battle kept him in despair for over a year.  The lives of the
saints are full of such blasphemous obsessions, ascribed
invariably to the direct agency of Satan.  The phenomenon
connects itself with the life of the subconscious self,
so-called, of which we must erelong speak more directly.

[90] Smith Baker, in Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases,
September, 1893.

Now in all of us, however constituted, but to a degree the
greater in proportion as we are intense and sensitive and subject
to diversified temptations, and to the greatest possible degree
if we are decidedly psychopathic, does the normal evolution of
character chiefly consist in the straightening out and unifying
of the inner self.  The higher and the lower feelings, the useful
and the erring impulses, begin by being a comparative chaos
within us--they must end by forming a stable system of functions
in right subordination.  Unhappiness is apt to characterize the
period of order-making and struggle.  If the individual be of
tender conscience and religiously quickened, the unhappiness will
take the form of moral remorse and compunction, of feeling
inwardly vile and wrong, and of standing in false relations to
the author of one's being and appointer of one's spiritual fate. 
This is the religious melancholy and "conviction of sin" that
have played so large a part in the history of Protestant
Christianity.  The man's interior is a battle-ground for what he
feels to be two deadly hostile selves, one actual, the other
ideal.  As Victor Hugo makes his Mahomet say:--

     "Je suis le champ vil des sublimes combats:
     Tantot l'homme d'en haut, et tantot l'homme d'en bas;
     Et le mal dans ma bouche avec le bien alterne,
     Comme dans le desert le sable et la citerne."

Wrong living, impotent aspirations; "What I would, that do I not;
but what I hate, that do I," as Saint Paul says; self-loathing,
self-despair; an unintelligible and intolerable burden to which
one is mysteriously the heir.

Let me quote from some typical cases of discordant personality,
with melancholy in the form of self-condemnation and sense of
sin.  Saint Augustine's case is a classic example.  You all
remember his half-pagan, half-Christian bringing up at Carthage,
his emigration to Rome and Milan, his adoption of Manicheism and
subsequent skepticism, and his restless search for truth and
purity of life; and finally how, distracted by the struggle
between the two souls in his breast and ashamed of his own
weakness of will, when so many others whom he knew and knew of
had thrown off the shackles of sensuality and dedicated
themselves to chastity and the higher life, he heard a voice in
the garden say, "Sume, lege" (take and read), and opening the
Bible at random, saw the text, "not in chambering and
wantonness," etc., which seemed directly sent to his address, and
laid the inner storm to rest forever.[91] Augustine's
psychological genius has given an account of the trouble of
having a divided self which has never been surpassed.

[91] Louis Gourdon (Essai sur la Conversion de Saint Augustine,
Paris, Fischbacher, 1900) has shown by an analysis of Augustine's
writings immediately after the date of his conversion (A. D. 386)
that the account he gives in the Confessions is premature.  The
crisis in the garden marked a definitive conversion from his
former life, but it was to the neo-platonic spiritualism and only
a halfway stage toward Christianity.  The latter he appears not
fully and radically to have embraced until four years more had

"The new will which I began to have was not yet strong enough to
overcome that other will, strengthened by long indulgence. So
these two wills, one old, one new, one carnal, the other
spiritual, contended with each other and disturbed my soul.  I
understood by my own experience what I had read, 'flesh lusteth
against spirit, and spirit against flesh.' It was myself indeed
in both the wills, yet more myself in that which I approved in
myself than in that which I disapproved in myself.  Yet it was
through myself that habit had attained so fierce a mastery over
me, because I had willingly come whither I willed not.  Still
bound to earth, I refused, O God, to fight on thy side, as much
afraid to be freed from all bonds, as I ought to have feared
being trammeled by them.

"Thus the thoughts by which I meditated upon thee were like the
efforts of one who would awake, but being overpowered with
sleepiness is soon asleep again.  Often does a man when heavy
sleepiness is on his limbs defer to shake it off, and though not
approving it, encourage it; even so I was sure it was better to
surrender to thy love than to yield to my own lusts, yet though
the former course convinced me, the latter pleased and held me
bound.  There was naught in me to answer thy call 'Awake, thou
sleeper,' but only drawling, drowsy words, 'Presently; yes,
presently; wait a little while.'  But the 'presently' had no
'present,' and the 'little while' grew long. . . .  For I was
afraid thou wouldst hear me too soon, and heal me at once of my
disease of lust, which I wished to satiate rather than to see
extinguished.  With what lashes of words did I not scourge my own
soul.  Yet it shrank back; it refused, though it had no excuse to
offer. . . . I said within myself:  'Come, let it be done now,'
and as I said it, I was on the point of the resolve.  I all but
did it, yet I did not do it.  And I made another effort, and
almost succeeded, yet I did not reach it, and did not grasp it,
hesitating to die to death, and live to life, and the evil to
which I was so wonted held me more than the better life I had not

[92] Confessions, Book VIII., Chaps. v., vii., xi., abridged.

There could be no more perfect description of the divided will,
when the higher wishes lack just that last acuteness, that touch
of explosive intensity, of dynamogenic quality (to use the slang
of the psychologists), that enables them to burst their shell,
and make irruption efficaciously into life and quell the lower
tendencies forever.  In a later lecture we shall have much to say
about this higher excitability.

I find another good description of the divided will in the
autobiography of Henry Alline, the Nova Scotian evangelist, of
whose melancholy I read a brief account in my last lecture.  The
poor youth's sins were, as you will see, of the most harmless
order, yet they interfered with what proved to be his truest
vocation, so they gave him great distress.

"I was now very moral in my life, but found no rest of
conscience.  I now began to be esteemed in young company, who
knew nothing of my mind all this while, and their esteem began to
be a snare to my soul, for I soon began to be fond of carnal
mirth, though I still flattered myself that if I did not get
drunk, nor curse, nor swear, there would be no sin in frolicking
and carnal mirth, and I thought God would indulge young people
with some (what I called simple or civil) recreation.  I still
kept a round of duties, and would not suffer myself to run into
any open vices, and so got along very well in time of health and
prosperity, but when I was distressed or threatened by sickness,
death, or heavy storms of thunder, my religion would not do, and
I found there was something wanting, and would begin to repent my
going so much to frolics, but when the distress was over, the
devil and my own wicked heart, with the solicitations of my
associates, and my fondness for young company, were such strong
allurements, I would again give way, and thus I got to be very
wild and rude, at the same time kept up my rounds of secret
prayer and reading; but God, not willing I should destroy myself,
still followed me with his calls, and moved with such power upon
my conscience, that I could not satisfy myself with my
diversions, and in the midst of my mirth sometimes would have
such a sense of my lost and undone condition, that I would wish
myself from the company, and after it was over, when I went home,
would make many promises that I would attend no more on these
frolics, and would beg forgiveness for hours and hours; but when
I came to have the temptation again, I would give way:  no
sooner would I hear the music and drink a glass of wine, but I
would find my mind elevated and soon proceed to any sort of
merriment or diversion, that I thought was not debauched or
openly vicious; but when I returned from my carnal mirth I felt
as guilty as ever, and could sometimes not close my eyes for some
hours after I had gone to my bed.  I was one of the most unhappy
creatures on earth.

"Sometimes I would leave the company (often speaking to the
fiddler to cease from playing, as if I was tired), and go out and
walk about crying and praying, as if my very heart would break,
and beseeching God that he would not cut me off, nor give me up
to hardness of heart.  Oh, what unhappy hours and nights I thus
wore away!  When I met sometimes with merry companions, and my
heart was ready to sink, I would labor to put on as cheerful a
countenance as possible, that they might not distrust anything,
and sometimes would begin some discourse with young men or young
women on purpose, or propose a merry song, lest the distress of
my soul would be discovered, or mistrusted, when at the same time
I would then rather have been in a wilderness in exile, than with
them or any of their pleasures or enjoyments.  Thus for many
months when I was in company?  I would act the hypocrite and
feign a merry heart but at the same time would endeavor as much
as I could to shun their company, oh wretched and unhappy mortal
that I was!  Everything I did, and wherever I went, I was still
in a storm and yet I continued to be the chief contriver and
ringleader of the frolics for many months after; though it was a
toil and torment to attend them; but the devil and my own wicked
heart drove me about like a slave, telling me that I must do this
and do that, and bear this and bear that, and turn here and turn
there, to keep my credit up, and retain the esteem of my
associates:  and all this while I continued as strict as possible
in my duties, and left no stone unturned to pacify my conscience,
watching even against my thoughts, and praying continually
wherever I went:  for I did not think there was any sin in my
conduct, when I was among carnal company, because I did not take
any satisfaction there, but only followed it, I thought, for
sufficient reasons.

"But still, all that I did or could do, conscience would roar
night and day."

Saint Augustine and Alline both emerged into the smooth waters of
inner unity and peace, and I shall next ask you to consider more
closely some of the peculiarities of the process of unification,
when it occurs.  It may come gradually, or it may occur abruptly;
it may come through altered feelings, or through altered powers
of action; or it may come through new intellectual insights, or
through experiences which we shall later have to designate as
'mystical.'  However it come, it brings a characteristic sort of
relief; and never such extreme relief as when it is cast into the
religious mould.  Happiness! happiness! religion is only one of
the ways in which men gain that gift.  Easily, permanently, and
successfully, it often transforms the most intolerable misery
into the profoundest and most enduring happiness.

But to find religion is only one out of many ways of reaching
unity; and the process of remedying inner incompleteness and
reducing inner discord is a general psychological process, which
may take place with any sort of mental material, and need not
necessarily assume the religious form.  In judging of the
religious types of regeneration which we are about to study, it
is important to recognize that they are only one species of a
genus that contains other types as well.  For example, the new
birth may be away from religion into incredulity; or it may be
from moral scrupulosity into freedom and license; or it may be
produced by the irruption into the individual's life of some new
stimulus or passion, such as love, ambition, cupidity, revenge,
or patriotic devotion.  In all these instances we have precisely
the same psychological form of event,--a firmness, stability, and
equilibrium <173> succeeding a period of storm and stress and
inconsistency.  In these non-religious cases the new man may also
be born either gradually or suddenly.

The French philosopher Jouffroy has left an eloquent memorial of
his own "counter-conversion," as the transition from orthodoxy to
infidelity has been well styled by Mr. Starbuck.  Jouffroy's
doubts had long harassed him; but he dates his final crisis from
a certain night when his disbelief grew fixed and stable, and
where the immediate result was sadness at the illusions he had

"I shall never forget that night of December," writes Jouffroy,
"in which the veil that concealed from me my own incredulity was
torn.  I hear again my steps in that narrow naked chamber where
long after the hour of sleep had come I had the habit of walking
up and down.  I see again that moon, half-veiled by clouds,
which now and again illuminated the frigid window-panes.  The
hours of the night flowed on and I did not note their passage. 
Anxiously I followed my thoughts, as from layer to layer they
descended towards the foundation of my consciousness, and,
scattering one by one all the illusions which until then had
screened its windings from my view, made them every moment more
clearly visible.

"Vainly I clung to these last beliefs as a shipwrecked sailor
clings to the fragments of his vessel; vainly, frightened at the
unknown void in which I was about to float, I turned with them
towards my childhood, my family, my country, all that was dear
and sacred to me:  the inflexible current of my thought was too
strong--parents, family, memory, beliefs, it forced me to let go
of everything.  The investigation went on more obstinate and more
severe as it drew near its term, and did not stop until the end
was reached.  I knew then that in the depth of my mind nothing
was left that stood erect.

"This moment was a frightful one; and when towards morning I
threw myself exhausted on my bed, I seemed to feel my earlier
life, so smiling and so full, go out like a fire, and before me
another life opened, sombre and unpeopled, where in future I must
live alone, alone with my fatal thought which had exiled me
thither, and which I was tempted to curse.  The days which
followed this discovery were the saddest of my life."[93]

[93] Th. Jouffroy:  Nouveaux Melanges philosophiques, 2me
edition, p. 83.  I add two other cases of counter-conversion
dating from a certain moment.  The first is from Professor
Starbuck's manuscript collection, and the narrator is a woman.

"Away down in the bottom of my heart, I believe I was always more
or less skeptical about 'God;' skepticism grew as an
undercurrent, all through my early youth, but it was controlled
and covered by the emotional elements in my religious growth. 
When I was sixteen I joined the church and was asked if I loved
God.  I replied 'Yes,' as was customary and expected.  But
instantly with a flash something spoke within me, 'No, you do
not.'  I was haunted for a long time with shame and remorse for
my falsehood and for my wickedness in not loving God, mingled
with fear that there might be an avenging God who would punish me
in some terrible way. . . . At nineteen, I had an attack of
tonsilitis.  Before I had quite recovered, I heard told a story
of a brute who had kicked his wife down-stairs, and then
continued the operation until she became insensible.  I felt the
horror of the thing keenly.  Instantly this thought flashed
through my mind:  'I have no use for a God who permits such
things.'  This experience was followed by months of stoical
indifference to the God of my previous life, mingled with
feelings of positive dislike and a somewhat proud defiance of
him.  I still thought there might be a God.  If so he would
probably damn me, but I should have to stand it.  I felt very
little fear and no desire to propitiate him.  I have never had
any personal relations with him since this painful experience."

The second case exemplifies how small an additional stimulus will
overthrow the mind into a new state of equilibrium when the
process of preparation and incubation has proceeded far enough. 
It is like the proverbial last straw added to the camel's burden,
or that touch of a needle which makes the salt in a
supersaturated fluid suddenly begin to crystallize out.

Tolstoy writes:  "S., a frank and intelligent man, told me as
follows how he ceased to believe:--

"He was twenty-six years old when one day on a hunting
expedition, the time for sleep having come, he set himself to
pray according to the custom he had held from childhood.

"His brother, who was hunting with him, lay upon the hay and
looked at him.  When S. had finished his prayer and was turning
to sleep, the brother said, 'Do you still keep up that thing?'
Nothing more was said.  But since that day, now more than thirty
years ago, S.  has never prayed again; he never takes communion,
and does not go to church.  All this, not because he became
acquainted with convictions of his brother which he then and
there adopted; not because he made any new resolution in his
soul, but merely because the words spoken by his brother were
like the light push of a finger against a leaning wall already
about to tumble by its own weight.  These words but showed him
that the place wherein he supposed religion dwelt in him had long
been empty, and that the sentences he uttered, the crosses and
bows which he made during his prayer, were actions with no inner
sense.  Having once seized their absurdity, he could no longer
keep them up."    Ma Confession, p. 8.

I subjoin an additional document which has come into my
possession, and which represents in a vivid way what is probably
a very frequent sort of conversion, if the opposite of 'falling
in love,' falling out of love, may be so termed.  Falling in love
also conforms frequently to this type, a latent process of
unconscious preparation often preceding a sudden awakening to the
fact that the mischief is irretrievably done.  The free and easy
tone in this narrative gives it a sincerity that speaks for

"For two years of this time I went through a very bad experience,
which almost drove me mad.  I had fallen violently in love with a
girl who, young as she was, had a spirit of coquetry like a cat.
As I look back on her now, I hate her, and wonder how I could
ever have fallen so low as to be worked upon to such an extent by
her attractions.  Nevertheless, I fell into a regular fever,
could think of nothing else; whenever I was alone, I pictured her
attractions, and spent most of the time when I should have been
working, in recalling our previous interviews, and imagining
future conversations.  She was very pretty, good humored, and
jolly to the last degree, and intensely pleased with my
admiration.  Would give me no decided answer yes or no and the
queer thing about it was that whilst pursuing her for her hand, I
secretly knew all along that she was unfit to be a wife for me,
and that she never would say yes.  Although for a year we took
our meals at the same boarding-house, so that I saw her
continually and familiarly, our closer relations had to be
largely on the sly, and this fact, together with my jealousy of
another one of her male admirers and my own conscience despising
me for my uncontrollable weakness, made me so nervous and
sleepless that I really thought I should become insane.  I
understand well those young men murdering their sweethearts,
which appear so often in the papers.  Nevertheless I did love her
passionately, and in some ways she did deserve it.

"The queer thing was the sudden and unexpected way in which it
all stopped.  I was going to my work after breakfast one morning,
thinking as usual of her and of my misery, when, just as if some
outside power laid hold of me, I found myself turning round and
almost running to my room, where I immediately got out all the
relics of her which I possessed, including some hair, all her
notes and letters and ambrotypes on glass.  The former I made a
fire of, the latter I actually crushed beneath my heel, in a sort
of fierce joy of revenge and punishment.  I now loathed and
despised her altogether, and as for myself I felt as if a load of
disease had suddenly been removed from me.  That was the end.  I
never spoke to her or wrote to her again in all the subsequent
years, and I have never had a single moment of loving thought
towards one for so many months entirely filled my heart.  In
fact, I have always rather hated her memory, though now I can see
that I had gone unnecessarily far in that direction.  At any
rate, from that happy morning onward I regained possession of my
own proper soul, and have never since fallen into any similar

This seems to me an unusually clear example of two different
levels of personality, inconsistent in their dictates, yet so
well balanced against each other as for a long time to fill the
life with discord and dissatisfaction.  At last, not gradually,
but in a sudden crisis, the unstable equilibrium is resolved, and
this happens so unexpectedly that it is as if, to use the
writer's words, "some outside power laid hold."

Professor Starbuck gives an analogous case, and a converse case
of hatred suddenly turning into love, in his Psychology of
Religion, p. 141.  Compare the other highly curious instances
which he gives on pp. 137-144, of sudden non-religious
alterations of habit or character. He seems right in conceiving
all such sudden changes as results of special cerebral functions
unconsciously developing until they are ready to play a
controlling part when they make irruption into the conscious
life.  When we treat of sudden 'conversion,' I shall make as much
use as I can of this hypothesis of subconscious incubation. 

<175> In John Foster's Essay on Decision of Character, there is
an account of a case of sudden conversion to avarice, which is
illustrative enough to quote:--

A young man, it appears, "wasted, in two or three years, a large
patrimony in profligate revels with a number of worthless
associates who called themselves his friends, and who, when his
last means were exhausted, treated him of course with neglect or
contempt.  Reduced to absolute want, he one day went out of the
house with an intention to put an end to his life, but wandering
awhile almost unconsciously, he came to the brow of an eminence
which overlooked what were lately his estates.  Here he sat down,
and remained fixed in thought a number of hours, at the end of
which he sprang from the ground with a vehement, exulting
emotion.  He had formed his resolution, which was, that all these
estates should be his again; he had formed his plan, too, which
he instantly began to execute.  He walked hastily forward,
determined to seize the first opportunity, of however humble a
kind, to gain any money, though it were ever so despicable a
trifle, and resolved absolutely not to spend, if he could help
it, a farthing of whatever he might obtain.  The first thing that
drew his attention was a heap of coals shot out of carts on the
pavement before a house.  He offered himself to shovel or wheel
them into the place where they were to be laid, and was employed.

He received a few pence for the labor; and then, in pursuance of
the saving part of his plan requested some small gratuity of meat
and drink, which was given <176> him.  He then looked out for
the next thing that might chance; and went, with indefatigable
industry, through a succession of servile employments in
different places, of longer and shorter duration, still
scrupulous in avoiding, as far as possible, the expense of a
penny.  He promptly seized every opportunity which could advance
his design, without regarding the meanness of occupation or
appearance.  By this method he had gained, after a considerable
time, money enough to purchase in order to sell again a few
cattle, of which he had taken pains to understand the value.  He
speedily but cautiously turned his first gains into second
advantages; retained without a single deviation his extreme
parsimony; and thus advanced by degrees into larger transactions
and incipient wealth.  I did not hear, or have forgotten, the
continued course of his life, but the final result was, that he
more than recovered his lost possessions, and died an inveterate
miser, worth L60,000."[94]

[94] Op. cit., Letter III., abridged.

Let me turn now to the kind of case, the religious case, namely,
that immediately concerns us.  Here is one of the simplest
possible type, an account of the conversion to the systematic
religion of healthy-mindedness of a man who must already have
been naturally of the healthy-minded type.  It shows how, when
the fruit is ripe, a touch will make it fall.

Mr. Horace Fletcher, in his little book called Menticulture,
relates that a friend with whom he was talking of the
self-control attained by the Japanese through their practice of
the Buddhist discipline said:--

"'You must first get rid of anger and worry.'  'But,' said I,
'is that possible?'  'Yes,' replied he; 'it is possible to the
Japanese, and ought to be possible to us.'

"On my way back I could think of nothing else but the words get
rid, get rid'; and the idea must have continued to possess me
during my sleeping hours, for the first consciousness in the
morning brought back the same thought, with the revelation of a
discovery, which framed itself into the reasoning, 'If it is
possible to get rid of anger and worry, why is it necessary to
have them at all?'  I felt the strength of the argument, and at
once accepted the reasoning.  The baby had discovered that it
could walk.  It would scorn to creep any longer.

"From the instant I realized that these cancer spots of worry and
anger were removable, they left me.  With the discovery of their
weakness they were exorcised.  From that time life has had an
entirely different aspect.

"Although from that moment the possibility and desirability of
freedom from the depressing passions has been a reality to me, it
took me some months to feel absolute security in my new position;
but, as the usual occasions for worry and anger have presented
themselves over and over again, and I have been unable to feel
them in the slightest degree, I no longer dread or guard against
them, and I am amazed at my increased energy and vigor of mind,
at my strength to meet situations of all kinds and at my
disposition to love and appreciate everything.

"I have had occasion to travel more than ten thousand miles by
rail since that morning.  The same Pullman porter, conductor,
hotel-waiter, peddler, book-agent, cabman, and others who were
formerly a source of annoyance and irritation have been met, but
I am not conscious of a single incivility.  All at once the whole
world has turned good to me.  I have become, as it were,
sensitive only to the rays of good.

"I could recount many experiences which prove a brand-new
condition of mind, but one will be sufficient.  Without the
slightest feeling of annoyance or impatience, I have seen a train
that I had planned to take with a good deal of interested and
pleasurable anticipation move out of the station without me,
because my baggage did not arrive.  The porter from the hotel
came running and panting into the station just as the train
pulled out of sight.  When he saw me, he looked as if he feared a
scolding. and began to tell of being blocked in a crowded street
and unable to get out.  When he had finished, I said to him:  'It
doesn't matter at all, you couldn't help it, so we will try again
to-morrow.  Here is your fee, I am sorry you had all this trouble
in earning it.'  The look of surprise that came over his face was
so filled with pleasure that I was repaid on the spot for the
delay in my departure.  Next day he would not accept a cent for
the service, and he and I are friends for life.

"During the first weeks of my experience I was on guard only
against worry and anger; but, in the mean time, having noticed
the absence of the other depressing and dwarfing passions, I
began to trace a relationship, until I was convinced that they
are all growths from the two roots I have specified.  I have felt
the freedom now for so long a time that I am sure of my relation
toward it; and I could no more harbor any of the thieving and
depressing influences that once I nursed as a heritage of
humanity than a fop would voluntarily wallow in a filthy gutter.

"There is no doubt in my mind that pure Christianity and pure
Buddhism, and the Mental Sciences and all Religions fundamentally
teach what has been a discovery to me; but none of them have
presented it in the light of a simple and easy process of
elimination.  At one time I wondered if the elimination would not
yield to indifference and sloth.  In my experience, the contrary
is the result.  I feel such an increased desire to do something
useful that it seems as if I were a boy again and the energy for
play had returned.  I could fight as readily as (and better than)
ever, if there were occasion for it.  It does not make one a
coward.  It can't, since fear is one of the things eliminated.  I
notice the absence of timidity in the presence of any audience. 
When a boy, I was standing under a tree which was struck by
lightning, and received a shock from the effects of which I never
knew exemption until I had dissolved partnership with worry. 
Since then, lightning and thunder have been encountered under
conditions which would formerly have caused great depression and
discomfort, without [my] experiencing a trace of either. 
Surprise is also greatly modified, and one is less liable to
become startled by unexpected sights or noises.

"As far as I am individually concerned, I am not bothering myself
at present as to what the results of this emancipated condition
may be.  I have no doubt that the perfect health aimed at by
Christian Science may be one of the possibilities, for I note a
marked improvement in the way my stomach does its duty in
assimilating the food I give it to handle, and I am sure it works
better to the sound of a song than under the friction of a frown.
Neither am I wasting any of this precious time formulating an
idea of a future existence or a future Heaven.  The Heaven that I
have within myself is as attractive as any that has been promised
or that I can imagine; and I am willing to let the growth lead
where it will, as long as the anger and their brood have no part
in misguiding it."[95]

[95] H. Fletcher:  Menticulture, or the A-B-C of True Living, New
York and Chicago, 1899, pp. 26, 36, abridged.

The older medicine used to speak of two ways, lysis and crisis,
one gradual, the other abrupt, in which one might recover from a
bodily disease.  In the spiritual realm there are also two ways,
one gradual, the other sudden, in which inner unification may
occur.  Tolstoy and Bunyan may again serve us as examples,
examples, as it happens, of the gradual way, though it must be
confessed at the outset that it is hard to follow these windings
of the hearts of others, and one feels that their words do not
reveal their total secret.

Howe'er this be, Tolstoy, pursuing his unending questioning,
<181> seemed to come to one insight after another.  First he
perceived that his conviction that life was meaningless took only
this finite life into account.  He was looking for the value of
one finite term in that of another, and the whole result could
only be one of those indeterminate equations in mathematics which
end with infinity.  Yet this is as far as the reasoning intellect
by itself can go, unless irrational sentiment or faith brings in
the infinite.  Believe in the infinite as common people do, and
life grows possible again.

"Since mankind has existed, wherever life has been, there also
has been the faith that gave the possibility of living.  Faith is
the sense of life, that sense by virtue of which man does not
destroy himself, but continues to live on.  It is the force
whereby we live. If Man did not believe that he must live for
something, he would not live at all.  The idea of an infinite
God, of the divinity of the soul, of the union of men's actions
with God--these are ideas elaborated in the infinite secret
depths of human thought.  They are ideas without which there
would be no life, without which I myself," said Tolstoy, "would
not exist.  I began to see that I had no right to rely on my
individual reasoning and neglect these answers given by faith,
for they are the only answers to the question."

Yet how believe as the common people believe, steeped as they are
in grossest superstition?  It is impossible--but yet their life!
their life! It is normal.  It is happy!  It is an answer to the

Little by little, Tolstoy came to the settled conviction--he says
it took him two years to arrive there--that his trouble had not
been with life in general, not with the common life of common
men, but with the life of the upper, intellectual, artistic
classes, the life which he had personally always led, the
cerebral life, the life of conventionality, artificiality, and
personal ambition.  He had been living wrongly and must change. 
To work for animal needs, to abjure lies and vanities, to relieve
common wants, to be simple, to believe in God, therein lay
happiness again.

"I remember," he says, "one day in early spring, I was alone in
the forest, lending my ear to its mysterious noises.  I listened,
and my thought went back to what for these three years it always
was busy with--the quest of God.  But the idea of him, I said,
how did I ever come by the idea?

"And again there arose in me, with this thought, glad aspirations
towards life.  Everything in me awoke and received a meaning.  . 
. .Why do I look farther?  a voice within me asked.  He is there:

he, without whom one cannot live.  To acknowledge God and to live
are one and the same thing.  God is what life is.  Well, then!
live, seek God, and there will be no life without him. . . .

"After this, things cleared up within me and about me better than
ever, and the light has never wholly died away.  I was saved from
suicide.  Just how or when the change took place I cannot tell. 
But as insensibly and gradually as the force of life had been
annulled within me, and I had reached my moral death-bed, just as
gradually and imperceptibly did the energy of life come back. 
And what was strange was that this energy that came back was
nothing new.  It was my ancient juvenile force of faith, the
belief that the sole purpose of my life was to be BETTER.   I
gave up the life of the conventional world, recognizing it to be
no life, but a parody on life, which its superfluities simply
keep us from comprehending,"--and Tolstoy thereupon embraced the
life of the peasants, and has felt right and happy, or at least
relatively so, ever since.[96]

[96] I have considerably abridged Tolstoy's words in my

As I interpret his melancholy, then, it was not merely an
accidental vitiation of his humors, though it was doubtless also
that.  It was logically called for by the clash between his inner
character and his outer activities and aims.  Although a literary
artist, Tolstoy was one of those primitive oaks of men to whom
the superfluities and insincerities, the cupidities,
complications, and cruelties of our polite civilization are
profoundly unsatisfying, and for whom the eternal veracities lie
with more natural and animal things.  His crisis was the getting
of his soul in order, the discovery of its genuine habitat and
vocation, the escape from falsehoods into what for him were ways
of truth.  It was a case of heterogeneous personality tardily and
slowly finding its unity and level. And though not many of us can
imitate Tolstoy, not having enough, perhaps, of the aboriginal
human marrow in our bones, most of us may at least feel as if it
might be better for us if we could.

Bunyan's recovery seems to have been even slower.  For years
together he was alternately haunted with texts of Scripture, now
up and now down, but at last with an ever growing relief in his
salvation through the blood of Christ.

"My peace would be in and out twenty times a day; comfort now and
trouble presently; peace now and before I could go a furlong as
full of guilt and fear as ever heart could hold."  When a good
text comes home to him, "This," he writes, "gave me good
encouragement for the space of two or three hours"; or "This was
a good day to me, I hope I shall not forget it", or "The glory of
these words was then so weighty on me that I was ready to swoon
as I sat; yet, not with grief and trouble, but with solid joy and
peace"; or "This made a strange seizure on my spirit; it brought
light with it, and commanded a silence in my heart of all those
tumultuous thoughts that before did use, like masterless
hell-hounds, to roar and bellow and make a hideous noise within
me.  It showed me that Jesus Christ had not quite forsaken and
cast off my Soul."

Such periods accumulate until he can write:  "And now remained
only the hinder part of the tempest, for the thunder was gone
beyond me, only some drops would still remain, that now and then
would fall upon me";--and at last:  "Now did my chains fall off
my legs indeed; I was loosed from my afflictions and irons; my
temptations also fled away; so that from that time, those
dreadful Scriptures of God left off to trouble me; now went I
also home rejoicing, for the grace and love of God. . . . Now
could I see myself in Heaven and Earth at once; in Heaven by my
Christ, by my Head, by my Righteousness and Life, though on
Earth by my body or person. . . .  Christ was a precious Christ
to my soul that night; I could scarce lie in my bed for joy and
peace and triumph through Christ."

Bunyan became a minister of the gospel, and in spite of his
neurotic constitution, and of the twelve years he lay in prison
for his non-conformity, his life was turned to active use.  He
was a peacemaker and doer of good, and the immortal Allegory
which he wrote has brought the very spirit of religious patience
home to English hearts.

But neither Bunyan nor Tolstoy could become what we have called
healthy-minded.  They had drunk too deeply of the cup of
bitterness ever to forget its taste, and their redemption is into
a universe two stories deep.  Each of them realized a good which
broke the effective edge of his sadness; yet the sadness was
preserved as a minor ingredient in the heart of the faith by
which it was overcome.  The fact of interest for us is that as a
matter of fact they could and did find SOMETHING welling up in
the inner reaches of their consciousness, by which such extreme
sadness could be overcome.  Tolstoy does well to talk of it as
THAT BY WHICH MEN LIVE; for that is exactly what it is, a
stimulus, an excitement, a faith, a force that re-infuses the
positive willingness to live, even in full presence of the evil
perceptions that erewhile made life seem unbearable.  For
Tolstoy's perceptions of evil appear within their sphere to have
remained unmodified.  His later works show him implacable to the
whole system of official values:  the ignobility of fashionable
life; the infamies of empire; the spuriousness of the church, the
vain conceit of the professions; the meannesses and cruelties
that go with great success; and every other pompous crime and
lying institution of this world.  To all patience with such
things his experience has been for him a perroanent ministry of

Bunyan also leaves this world to the enemy.

"I must first pass a sentence of death," he says, "upon
everything that can properly be called a thing of this life, even
to reckon myself, my wife, my children, my health, my enjoyments,
and all, as dead to me, and myself as dead to them; to trust in
God through Christ, as touching the world to come, and as
touching this world, to count the grave my house, to make my bed
in darkness, and to say to corruption, Thou art my father and to
the worm, Thou art my mother and sister. . . .  The parting with
my wife and my poor children hath often been to me as the pulling
of my flesh from my bones, especially my poor blind child who lay
nearer my heart than all I had besides.  Poor child, thought I,
what sorrow art thou like to have for thy portion in this world!
Thou must be beaten, must beg, suffer hunger, cold, nakedness,
and a thousand calamities, though I cannot now endure that the
wind should blow upon thee.  But yet I must venture you all with
God, though it goeth to the quick to leave you."[97]

[97] In my quotations from Bunyan I have omitted certain
intervening portions of the text.

The "hue of resolution" is there, but the full flood of ecstatic
liberation seems never to have poured over poor John Bunyan's

These examples may suffice to acquaint us in a general way with
the phenomenon technically called "Conversion."  In the next
lecture I shall invite you to study its peculiarities and
concomitants in some detail.

Lecture IX


To be converted, to be regenerated, to receive grace, to
experience religion, to gain an assurance, are so many phrases
which denote the process, gradual or sudden, by which a self
hitherto divided, and consciously wrong inferior and unhappy,
becomes unified and consciously right superior and happy, in
consequence of its firmer hold upon religious realities.  This at
least is what conversion signifies in general terms, whether or
not we believe that a direct divine operation is needed to bring
such a moral change about.

Before entering upon a minuter study of the process, let me
enliven our understanding of the definition by a concrete
example.  I choose the quaint case of an unlettered man, Stephen
H. Bradley, whose experience is related in a scarce American

[98] A sketch of the life of Stephen H. Bradley, from the age of
five to twenty four years, including his remarkable experience of
the power of the Holy Spirit on the second evening of November,
1829. Madison, Connecticut, 1830.

I select this case because it shows how in these inner
alterations one may find one unsuspected depth below another, as
if the possibilities of character lay disposed in a series of
layers or shells, of whose existence we have no premonitory

Bradley thought that he had been already fully converted at the
age of fourteen.

"I thought I saw the Saviour, by faith, in human shape, for about
one second in the room, with arms extended, appearing to say to
me, Come.  The next day I rejoiced with trembling; soon after, my
happiness was so great that I said that I wanted to die; this
world had no place in my affections, as I knew of, and every day
appeared as solemn to me as the Sabbath.  I had an ardent desire
that all mankind might feel as I did; I wanted to have them all
love God supremely.  Previous to this time I was very selfish and
self-righteous; but now I desired the welfare of all mankind, and
could with a feeling heart forgive my worst enemies, and I felt
as if I should be willing to bear the scoffs and sneers of any
person, and suffer anything for His sake, if I could be the means
in the hands of God, of the conversion of one soul."

Nine years later, in 1829, Mr. Bradley heard of a revival of
religion that had begun in his neighborhood.  "Many of the young
converts," he says, "would come to me when in meeting and ask me
if I had religion, and my reply generally was, I hope I have. 
This did not appear to satisfy them; they said they KNEW THEY had
it.  I requested them to pray for me, thinking with myself, that
if I had not got religion now, after so long a time professing to
be a Christian, that it was time I had, and hoped their prayers
would be answered in my behalf.

"One Sabbath, I went to hear the Methodist at the Academy. He
spoke of the ushering in of the day of general judgment; and he
set it forth in such a solemn and terrible manner as I never
heard before.  The scene of that day appeared to be taking place,
and so awakened were all the powers of my mind that, like Felix,
I trembled involuntarily on the bench where I was sitting, though
I felt nothing at heart.  The next day evening I went to hear him
again.  He took his text from Revelation:  'And I saw the dead,
small and great, stand before God.'  And he represented the
terrors of that day in such a manner that it appeared as if it
would melt the heart of stone.  When he finished his discourse,
an old gentleman turned to me and said 'This is what I call
preaching.'  I thought the same, but my feelings were still
unmoved by what he said, and I did not enjoy religion, but I
believe he did.

"I will now relate my experience of the power of the Holy Spirit
which took place on the same night.  Had any person told 
me previous to this that I could have experienced the power of
the Holy Spirit in the manner which I did, I could not have
believed it, and should have thought the person deluded that told
me so.  I went directly home after the meeting, and when I got
home I wondered what made me feel so stupid.  I retired to rest
soon after I got home, and felt indifferent to the things of
religion until I began to be exercised by the Holy Spirit, which
began in about five minutes after, in the following manner:--

"At first, I began to feel my heart beat very quick all on a
sudden, which made me at first think that perhaps something is
going to ail me, though I was not alarmed, for I felt no pain. 
My heart increased in its beating, which soon convinced me that
it was the Holy Spirit from the effect it had on me.  I began to
feel exceedingly happy and humble, and such a sense of
unworthiness as I never felt before.  I could not very well help
speaking out, which I did, and said, Lord, I do not deserve this
happiness, or words to that effect, while there was a stream
(resembling air in feeling) came into my mouth and heart in a
more sensible manner than that of drinking anything, which
continued, as near as I could judge, five minutes or more, which
appeared to be the cause of such a palpitation of my heart.  It
took complete possession of my soul, and I am certain that I
desired the Lord, while in the midst of it, not to give me any
more happiness, for it seemed as if I could not contain what I
had got.  My heart seemed as if it would burst, but it did not
stop until I felt as if I was unutterably full of the love and
grace of God.  In the mean time while thus exercised, a thought
arose in my mind, what can it mean?  and all at once, as if to
answer it, my memory became exceedingly clear, and it appeared to
me just as if the New Testament was placed open before me, eighth
chapter of Romans, and as light as if some candle lighted was
held for me to read the 26th and 27th verses of that chapter, and
I read these words:  'The Spirit helpeth our infirmities with
groanings which cannot be uttered.'  And all the time that my
heart was a-beating, it made me groan like a person in distress,
which was not very easy to stop, though I was in no pain at all,
and my brother being in bed in another room came and opened the
door, and asked me if I had got the toothache.  I told him no, 
and that he might get to sleep. I tried to stop.  I felt
unwilling to go to sleep myself, I was so happy, fearing I should
lose it-- thinking within myself

          'My willing soul would stay
           In such a frame as this.'

And while I lay reflecting, after my heart stopped beating,
feeling as if my soul was full of the Holy Spirit, I thought that
perhaps there might be angels hovering round my bed.  I felt just
as if I wanted to converse with them, and finally I spoke, saying
'O ye affectionate angels! how is it that ye can take so much
interest in our welfare, and we take so little interest in our
own.'  After this, with difficulty I got to sleep; and when I
awoke in the morning my first thoughts were:  What has become of
my happiness?  and, feeling a degree of it in my heart, I asked
for more, which was given to me as quick as thought.  I then got
up to dress myself, and found to my surprise that I could but
just stand.  It appeared to me as if it was a little heaven upon
earth.  My soul felt as completely raised above the fears of
death as of going to sleep; and like a bird in a cage, I had a
desire, if it was the will of God, to get released from my body
and to dwell with Christ, though willing to live to do good to
others, and to warn sinners to repent.  I went downstairs feeling
as solemn as if I had lost all my friends, and thinking with
myself, that I would not let my parents know it until I had first
looked into the Testament.  I went directly to the shelf and
looked into it, at the eighth of Romans, and every verse seemed
to almost speak and to confirm it to be truly the Word of God,
and as if my feelings corresponded with the meaning of the word. 
I then told my parents of it, and told them that I thought that
they must see that when I spoke, that it was not my own voice,
for it appeared so to me.  My speech seemed entirely under the
control of the Spirit within me; I do not mean that the words
which I spoke were not my own, for they were.  I thought that I
was influenced similar to the Apostles on the day of Pentecost
(with the exception of having power to give it to others, and
doing what they did).  After breakfast I went round to converse
with my neighbors on religion, which I could not have been 
hired to have done before this, and at their request I prayed
with them, though I had never prayed in public before.

"I now feel as if I had discharged my duty by telling the truth,
and hope by the blessing of God, it may do some good to all who
shall read it.  He has fulfilled his promise in sending the Holy
Spirit down into our hearts, or mine at least, and I now defy all
the Deists and Atheists in the world to shake my faith in

So much for Mr. Bradley and his conversion, of the effect of
which upon his later life we gain no information.  Now for a
minuter survey of the constituent elements of the conversion

If you open the chapter on Association, of any treatise on
Psychology, you will read that a man's ideas, aims, and objects
form diverse internal groups and systems, relatively independent
of one another.  Each 'aim' which he follows awakens a certain
specific kind of interested excitement, and gathers a certain
group of ideas together in subordination to it as its associates;
and if the aims and excitements are distinct in kind, their
groups of ideas may have little in common.  When one group is
present and engrosses the interest, all the ideas connected with
other groups may be excluded from the mental field.  The
President of the United States when, with paddle, gun, and
fishing-rod, he goes camping in the wilderness for a vacation,
changes his system of ideas from top to bottom.  The presidential
anxieties have lapsed into the background entirely; the official
habits are replaced by the habits of a son of nature, and those
who knew the man only as the strenuous magistrate would not "know
him for the same person" if they saw him as the camper.

If now he should never go back, and never again suffer political
interests to gain dominion over him, he would be for practical
intents and purposes a permanently transformed being.  Our
ordinary alterations of character, as we pass from one of our
aims to another, are not commonly called transformations, because
each of them is so rapidly succeeded by another in the reverse
direction; but whenever one aim grows so stable as to expel
definitively its previous rivals from the individual's life, we
tend to speak of the phenomenon, and perhaps to wonder at it, as
a "transformation."

These alternations are the completest of the ways in which a self
may be divided.  A less complete way is the simultaneous
coexistence of two or more different groups of aims, of which one
practically holds the right of way and instigates activity,
whilst the others are only pious wishes, and never practically
come to anything.  Saint Augustine's aspirations to a purer life,
in our last lecture, were for a while an example.  Another would
be the President in his full pride of office, wondering whether
it were not all vanity, and whether the life of a wood-chopper
were not the wholesomer destiny.  Such fleeting aspirations are
mere velleitates, whimsies.  They exist on the remoter outskirts
of the mind, and the real self of the man, the centre of his
energies, is occupied with an entirely different system.  As life
goes on, there is a constant change of our interests, and a
consequent change of place in our systems of ideas, from more
central to more peripheral, and from more peripheral to more
central parts of consciousness.  I remember, for instance, that
one evening when I was a youth, my father read aloud from a
Boston newspaper that part of Lord Gifford's will which founded
these four lectureships.  At that time I did not think of being a
teacher of philosophy, and what I listened to was as remote from
my own life as if it related to the planet Mars.  Yet here I am,
with the Gifford system part and parcel of my very self, and all
my energies, for the time being, devoted to successfully
identifying myself with it.  My soul stands now planted in what
once was for it a practically unreal object, and speaks from it
as from its proper habitat and centre.

When I say "Soul," you need not take me in the ontological sense
unless you prefer to; for although ontological language is
instinctive in such matters, yet Buddhists or Humians can
perfectly well describe the facts in the phenomenal terms which
are their favorites.  For them the soul is only a succession of
fields of consciousness:  yet there is found in each field a
part, or sub-field, which figures as focal and contains the
excitement, and from which, as from a centre, the aim seems to be
taken.  Talking of this part, we involuntarily apply words of
perspective to distinguish it from the rest, words like "here,"
"this," "now," "mine," or "me"; and we ascribe to the other parts
the positions "there," "then," "that," "his" or "thine," "it,"
"not me."  But a "here" can change to a "there," and a "there"
become a "here," and what was "mine" and what was "not mine"
change their places.

What brings such changes about is the way in which emotional
excitement alters.  Things hot and vital to us to-day are cold
to-morrow.  It is as if seen from the hot parts of the field that
the other parts appear to us, and from these hot parts personal
desire and volition make their sallies.  They are in short the
centres of our dynamic energy, whereas the cold parts leave us
indifferent and passive in proportion to their coldness.

Whether such language be rigorously exact is for the present of
no importance.  It is exact enough, if you recognize from your
own experience the facts which I seek to designate by it.

Now there may be great oscillation in the emotional interest, and
the hot places may shift before one almost as rapidly as the
sparks that run through burnt-up paper.  Then we have the
wavering and divided self we heard so much of in the previous
lecture.  Or the focus of excitement and heat, the point of view
from which the aim is taken, may come to lie permanently within a
certain system; and then, if the change be a religious one, we
call it a CONVERSION, especially if it be by crisis, or sudden.

Let us hereafter, in speaking of the hot place in a man's
consciousness, the group of ideas to which he devotes himself,
and from which he works, call it THE HABITUAL CENTRE OF HIS
PERSONAL ENERGY.  It makes a great difference to a man whether
one set of his ideas, or another, be the centre of his energy;
and it makes a great difference, as regards any set of ideas
which he may possess, whether they become central or remain
peripheral in him.  To say that a man is "converted" means, in
these terms, that religious ideas, previously peripheral in his
consciousness, now take a central place, and that religious aims
form the habitual centre of his energy.

Now if you ask of psychology just HOW the excitement shifts in a
man's mental system, and WHY aims that were peripheral become at
a certain moment central, psychology has to reply that although
she can give a general description of what happens, she is unable
in a given case to account accurately for all the single forces
at work.  Neither an outside observer nor the Subject who
undergoes the process can explain fully how particular
experiences are able to change one's centre of energy so
decisively, or why they so often have to bide their hour to do
so.  We have a thought, or we perform an act, repeatedly, but on
a certain day the real meaning of the thought peals through us
for the first time, or the act has suddenly turned into a moral
impossibility.  All we know is that there are dead feelings, dead
ideas, and cold beliefs, and there are hot and live ones; and
when one grows hot and alive within us, everything has to
re-crystallize about it.  We may say that the heat and liveliness
mean only the "motor efficacy," long deferred but now operative,
of the idea; but such talk itself is only circumlocution, for
whence the sudden motor efficacy?  And our explanations then get
so vague and general that one realizes all the more the intense
individuality of the whole phenomenon.

In the end we fall back on the hackneyed symbolism of a
mechanical equilibrium.  A mind is a system of ideas, each with
the excitement it arouses, and with tendencies impulsive and
inhibitive, which mutually check or reinforce one another.  The
collection of ideas alters by subtraction or by addition in the
course of experience, and the tendencies alter as the organism
gets more aged.  A mental system may be undermined or weakened by
this interstitial alteration just as a building is, and yet for a
time keep upright by dead habit.  But a new perception, a sudden
emotional shock, or an occasion which lays bare the organic
alteration, will make the whole fabric fall together; and then
the centre of gravity sinks into an attitude more stable, for the
new ideas that reach the centre in the rearrangement seem now to
be locked there, and the new structure remains permanent.

Formed associations of ideas and habits are usually factors of
retardation in such changes of equilibrium.  New information,
however acquired, plays an accelerating part in the changes; and
the slow mutation of our instincts and propensities, under the
"unimaginable touch of time" has an enormous influence. 
Moreover, all these influences may work subconsciously or half
unconsciously.[99] And when you get a Subject in whom the
subconscious life--of which I must speak more fully soon--is
largely developed, and in whom motives habitually ripen in
silence, you get a case of which you can never give a full
account, and in which, both to the Subject and the onlookers,
there may appear an element of marvel.  Emotional occasions,
especially violent ones, are extremely potent in precipitating
mental rearrangements.  The sudden and explosive ways in which
love, jealousy, guilt, fear, remorse, or anger can seize upon one
are known to everybody.[100]  Hope, happiness, security, resolve,
emotions characteristic of conversion, can be equally explosive. 
And emotions that come in this explosive way seldom leave things
as they found them.

[99] Jouffroy is an example:  "Down this slope it was that my
intelligence had glided, and little by little it had got far from
its first faith.  But this melancholy revolution had not taken
place in the broad daylight of my consciousness; too many
scruples, too many guides and sacred affections had made it
dreadful to me, so that I was far from avowing to myself the
progress it had made.  It had gone on in silence, by an
involuntary elaboration of which I was not the accomplice; and
although I had in reality long ceased to be a Christian, yet, in
the innocence of my intention, I should have shuddered to suspect
it, and thought it calumny had I been accused of such a falling
away."  Then follows Jouffroy's account of his
counter-conversion, quoted above on p. 173.

[100] One hardly needs examples; but for love, see p. 176, note,
for fear, p. 161 ; for remorse, see Othello after the murder;
for anger see Lear after Cordelia's first speech to him; for
resolve, see p. 175 (J. Foster case).  Here is a pathological
case in which GUILT was the feeling that suddenly exploded:  "One
night I was seized on entering bed with a rigor, such as
Swedenborg describes as coming over him with a sense of holiness,
but over me with a sense of GUILT. During that whole night I lay
under the influence of the rigor, and from its inception I felt
that I was under the curse of God.  I have never done one act of
duty in my life--sins against God and man beginning as far as my
memory goes back--a wildcat in human shape."

In his recent work on the Psychology of Religion, Professor
Starbuck of California has shown by a statistical inquiry how
closely parallel in its manifestations the ordinary "conversion"
which occurs in young people brought up in evangelical circles is
to that growth into a larger spiritual life which is a normal
phase of adolescence in every class of human beings.  The age is
the same, falling usually between fourteen and seventeen.  The
symptoms are the same,--sense of incompleteness and imperfection;
brooding, depression, morbid introspection, and sense of sin;
anxiety about the hereafter; distress over doubts, and the like. 
And the result is the same--a happy relief and objectivity, as
the confidence in self gets greater through the adjustment of the
faculties to the wider outlook.  In spontaneous religious
awakening, apart from revivalistic examples, and in the ordinary
storm and stress and moulting-time of adolescence, we also may
meet with mystical experiences, astonishing the subjects by their
suddenness, just as in revivalistic conversion.  The analogy, in
fact, is complete; and Starbuck's conclusion as to these ordinary
youthful conversions would seem to be the only sound one: 
Conversion is in its essence a normal adolescent phenomenon,
incidental to the passage from the child's small universe to the
wider intellectual and spiritual life of maturity.

"Theology," says Dr. Starbuck, "takes the adolescent tendencies
and builds upon them; it sees that the essential thing in
adolescent growth is bringing the person out of childhood into
the new life of maturity and personal insight.  It accordingly
brings those means to bear which will intensify the normal
tendencies.  It shortens up the period of duration of storm and
stress."  The conversion phenomena of "conviction of sin" last,
by this investigator's statistics, about one fifth as long as the
periods of adolescent storm and stress phenomena of which he also
got statistics, but they are very much more intense.  Bodily
accompaniments, loss of sleep and appetite, for example, are much
more frequent in them.  "The essential distinction appears to be
that conversion intensifies but shortens the period by bringing
the person to a definite crisis."[101]

[101] E. D. Starbuck:  The Psychology of Religion, pp. 224, 262.

The conversions which Dr. Starbuck here has in mind are of course
mainly those of very commonplace persons, kept true to a
pre-appointed type by instruction, appeal, and example. The
particular form which they affect is the result of suggestion and
imitation.[102] If they went through their growth-crisis in other
faiths and other countries, although the essence of the change
would be the same (since it is one in the main so inevitable),
its accidents would be different. In Catholic lands, for example,
and in our own Episcopalian sects, no such anxiety and conviction
of sin is usual as in sects that encourage revivals.  The
sacraments being more relied on in these more strictly
ecclesiastical bodies, the individual's personal acceptance of
salvation needs less to be accentuated and led up to.

[102] No one understands this better than Jonathan Edwards
understood it already.  Conversion narratives of the more
commonplace sort must always be taken with the allowances which
he suggests:

"A rule received and established by common consent has a very
great, though to many persons an insensible influence in forming
their notions of the process of their own experience.  I know
very well how they proceed as to this matter, for I have had
frequent opportunities of observing their conduct.  Very often
their experience at first appears like a confused chaos, but then
those parts are selected which bear the nearest resemblance to
such particular steps as are insisted on; and these are dwelt
upon in their thoughts, and spoken of from time to time, till
they grow more and more conspicuous in their view, and other
parts which are neglected grow more and more obscure.  Thus what
they have experienced is insensibly strained, so as to bring it
to an exact conformity to the scheme already established in their
minds.  And it becomes natural also for ministers, who have to
deal with those who insist upon distinctness and clearness of
method, to do so too."  Treatise on Religious Affections.

But every imitative phenomenon must once have had its original,
and I propose that for the future we keep as close as may be to
the more first-hand and original forms of experience.  These are
more likely to be found in sporadic adult cases.

Professor Leuba, in a valuable article on the psychology of
conversion,[103] subordinates the theological aspect of the
religious life almost entirely to its moral aspect.  The
religious sense he defines as "the feeling of unwholeness, of
moral imperfection, of sin, to use the technical word,
accompanied by the yearning after the peace of unity."  "The word
'religion,'" he says, "is getting more and more to signify the
conglomerate of desires and emotions springing from the sense of
sin and its release"; and he gives a large number of examples, in
which the sin ranges from drunkenness to spiritual pride, to show
that the sense of it may beset one and crave relief as urgently
as does the anguish of the sickened flesh or any form of physical

[103] Studies in the Psychology of Religious Phenomena, American
Journal of Psychology, vii. 309 (1896).

Undoubtedly this conception covers an immense number of cases.  A
good one to use as an example is that of Mr. S. H. Hadley, who
after his conversion became an active and useful rescuer of
drunkards in New York.  His experience runs as follows:--

"One Tuesday evening I sat in a saloon in Harlem, a homeless,
friendless, dying drunkard.  I had pawned or sold everything that
would bring a drink.  I could not sleep unless I was dead drunk. 
I had not eaten for days, and for four nights preceding I had
suffered with delirium tremens, or the horrors, from midnight
till morning.  I had often said, 'I will never be a tramp.  I
will never be cornered, for when that time comes, if ever it
comes, I will find a home in the bottom of the river.'  But the
Lord so ordered it that when that time did come I was not able to
walk one quarter of the way to the river.  As I sat there
thinking, I seemed to feel some great and mighty presence.  I did
not know then what it was.  I did learn afterwards that it was
Jesus, the sinner's friend.  I walked up to the bar and pounded
it with my fist till I made the glasses rattle.  Those who stood
by drinking looked on with scornful curiosity.  I said I would
never take another drink, if I died on the street, and really I
felt as though that would happen before morning.  Something said,
'If you want to keep this promise, go and have yourself locked
up.'  I went to the nearest station-house and had myself locked

"I was placed in a narrow cell, and it seemed as though all the
demons that could find room came in that place with me.  This was
not all the company I had, either.  No, praise the Lord:  that
dear Spirit that came to me in the saloon was present, and
said, Pray.  I did pray, and though I did not feel any great
help, I kept on praying.  As soon as I was able to leave my cell
I was taken to the police court and remanded back to the cell.  I
was finally released, and found my way to my brother's house,
where every care was given me.  While lying in bed the
admonishing Spirit never left me, and when I arose the following
Sabbath morning I felt that day would decide my fate, and toward
evening it came into my head to go to Jerry M'Auley's Mission.  I
went.  The house was packed, and with great difficulty I made my
way to the space near the platform.  There I saw the apostle to
the drunkard and the outcast--that man of God, Jerry M'Auley.  He
rose, and amid deep silence told his experience.  There was a
sincerity about this man that carried conviction with it, and I
found myself saying, 'I wonder if God can save me?'  I listened
to the testimony of twenty-five or thirty persons, every one of
whom had been saved from rum, and I made up my mind that I would
be saved or die right there.  When the invitation was given, I
knelt down with a crowd of drunkards.  Jerry made the first
prayer.  Then Mrs. M'Auley prayed fervently for us.  Oh, what a
conflict was going on for my poor soul!  A blessed whisper said,
'Come'; the devil said, 'Be careful.'  I halted but a moment, and
then, with a breaking heart, I said, 'Dear Jesus, can you help
me?'  Never with mortal tongue can I describe that moment. 
Although up to that moment my soul had been filled with
indescribable gloom, I felt the glorious brightness of the
noonday sun shine into my heart.  I felt I was a free man.  Oh,
the precious feeling of safety, of freedom, of resting on Jesus!
I felt that Christ with all his brightness and power had come
into my life; that, indeed, old things had passed away and all
things had become new.

"From that moment till now I have never wanted a drink of
whiskey, and I have never seen money enough to make me take one. 
I promised God that night that if he would take away the appetite
for strong drink, I would work for him all my life.  He has done
his part, and I have been trying to do mine."[104]

[104] I have abridged Mr. Hadley's account.  For other
conversions of drunkards, see his pamphlet, Rescue Mission Work,
published at the Old Jerry M'Auley Water Street Mission, New York
City.  A striking collection of cases also appears in the
appendix to Professor Leuba's article.

<200> Dr. Leuba rightly remarks that there is little doctrinal
theology in such an experience, which starts with the absolute
need of a higher helper, and ends with the sense that he has
helped us.  He gives other cases of drunkards' conversions which
are purely ethical, containing, as recorded, no theological
beliefs whatever.  John B. Gough's case, for instance, is
practically, says Dr. Leuba, the conversion of an
atheist--neither God nor Jesus being mentioned.[105] But in spite
of the importance of this type of regeneration, with little or no
intellectual readjustment, this writer surely makes it too
exclusive.  It corresponds to the subjectively centered form of
morbid melancholy, of which Bunyan and Alline were examples.  But
we saw in our seventh lecture that there are objective forms of
melancholy also, in which the lack of rational meaning of the
universe, and of life anyhow, is the burden that weighs upon
one--you remember Tolstoy's case.[106] So there are distinct
elements in conversion, and their relations to individual lives
deserve to be discriminated.[107]

[105] A restaurant waiter served provisionally as Gough's
'Saviour.'  General Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army,
considers that the first vital step in saving outcasts consists
in making them feel that some decent human being cares enough for
them to take an interest in the question whether they are to rise
or sink.

[106] The crisis of apathetic melancholy--no use in life--into
which J. S. Mill records that he fell, from which he emerged by
the reading of Marmontel's Memoirs (Heaven save the mark!) and
Wordsworth's poetry, is another intellectual and general
metaphysical case. See Mill's Autobiography, New York, 1873, pp.
141, 148.

[107] Starbuck, in addition to "escape from sin," discriminates
"spiritual illumination" as a distinct type of conversion
experience. Psychology of Religion, p. 85.

Some persons, for instance, never are, and possibly never under
any circumstances could be, converted.  Religious ideas cannot
become the centre of their spiritual energy.  They may be
excellent persons, servants of God in practical ways, but they
are not children of his kingdom.  They are either incapable of
imagining the invisible; or else, in the language of devotion,
they are life-long subjects of "barrenness" and "dryness."   
Such inaptitude for religious faith may in some cases be
intellectual in its origin.  Their religious faculties may be
checked in their natural tendency to expand, by beliefs about the
world that are inhibitive, the pessimistic and materialistic
beliefs, for example, within which so many good souls, who in
former times would have freely indulged their religious
propensities, find themselves nowadays, as it were, frozen; or
the agnostic vetoes upon faith as something weak and shameful,
under which so many of us today lie cowering, afraid to use our
instincts.  In many persons such inhibitions are never overcome. 
To the end of their days they refuse to believe, their personal
energy never gets to its religious centre, and the latter remains
inactive in perpetuity.

In other persons the trouble is profounder.  There are men
anaesthetic on the religious side, deficient in that category of
sensibility.  Just as a bloodless organism can never, in spite of
all its goodwill, attain to the reckless "animal spirits" enjoyed
by those of sanguine temperament; so the nature which is
spiritually barren may admire and envy faith in others, but can
never compass the enthusiasm and peace which those who are
temperamentally qualified for faith enjoy.  All this may,
however, turn out eventually to have been a matter of temporary
inhibition.  Even late in life some thaw, some release may take
place, some bolt be shot back in the barrenest breast, and the
man's hard heart may soften and break into religious feeling. 
Such cases more than any others suggest the idea that sudden
conversion is by miracle.  So long as they exist, we must not
imagine ourselves to deal with irretrievably fixed classes. 
Now there are two forms of mental occurrence in human beings,
which lead to a striking difference in the conversion process, a
difference to which Professor Starbuck has called attention.  You
know how it is when you try to recollect a forgotten name. 
Usually you help the recall by working for it, by mentally
running over the places, persons, and things with which the word
was connected.  But sometimes this effort fails:  you feel then
as if the harder you tried the less hope there would be, as
though the name were JAMMED, and pressure in its direction only
kept it all the more from rising. And then the opposite expedient
often succeeds.  Give up the effort entirely; think of something
altogether different, and in half an hour the lost name comes
sauntering into your mind, as Emerson says, as carelessly as if
it had never been invited.  Some hidden process was started in
you by the effort, which went on after the effort ceased, and
made the result come as if it came spontaneously.  A certain
music teacher, says Dr. Starbuck, says to her pupils after the
thing to be done has been clearly pointed out, and unsuccessfully
attempted:  "Stop trying and it will do itself!"[108]

[108] Psychology of Religion, p. 117.

There is thus a conscious and voluntary way and an involuntary
and unconscious way in which mental results may get accomplished;
and we find both ways exemplified in the history of conversion,
giving us two types, which Starbuck calls the volitional type and
the type by self-surrender respectively.

In the volitional type the regenerative change is usually
gradual, and consists in the building up, piece by piece, of a
new set of moral and spiritual habits.  But there are always
critical points here at which the movement forward seems much
more rapid.  This psychological fact is abundantly illustrated by
Dr. Starbuck.  Our education in any practical accomplishment
proceeds apparently by jerks and starts just as the growth of our
physical bodies does.

"An athlete . . . sometimes awakens suddenly to an understanding
of the fine points of the game and to a real enjoyment of it,
just as the convert awakens to an appreciation of religion. If he
keeps on engaging in the sport, there may come a day when all at
once the game plays itself through him--when he loses himself in
some great contest.  In the same way, a musician may suddenly
reach a point at which pleasure in the technique of the art
entirely falls away, and in some moment of inspiration he becomes
the instrument through which music flows. The writer has chanced
to hear two different married persons, both of whose wedded lives
had been beautiful from the beginning, relate that not until a
year or more after marriage did they awake to the full
blessedness of married life.  So it is with the religious
experience of these persons we are studying."[109]

[109] Psychology of Religion, p. 385.  Compare, also, pp. 137-144
and 262.

We shall erelong hear still more remarkable illustrations of
subconsciously maturing processes eventuating in results of which
we suddenly grow conscious.  Sir William Hamilton and Professor
Laycock of Edinburgh were among the first to call attention to
this class of effects; but Dr. Carpenter first, unless I am
mistaken, introduced the term "unconscious cerebration," which
has since then been a popular phrase of explanation.  The facts
are now known to us far more extensively than he could know them,
and the adjective "unconscious," being for many of them almost
certainly a misnomer, is better replaced by the vaguer term
"subconscious" or "subliminal."

Of the volitional type of conversion it would be easy to give
examples,[110] but they are as a rule less interesting than 
those of the self-surrender type, in which the subconscious
effects are more abundant and often startling.  I will therefore
hurry to the latter, the more so because the difference between
the two types is after all not radical.  Even in the most
voluntarily built-up sort of regeneration there are passages of
partial self-surrender interposed; and in the great majority of
all cases, when the will had done its uttermost towards bringing
one close to the complete unification aspired after, it seems
that the very last step must be left to other forces and
performed without the help of its activity.  In other words,
self-surrender becomes then indispensable.  "The personal will,"
says Dr. Starbuck, "must be given up.  In many cases relief
persistently refuses to come until the person ceases to resist,
or to make an effort in the direction he desires to go."

[110] For instance, C. G. Finney italicizes the volitional
element:  "Just at this point the whole question of Gospel
salvation opened to my mind in a manner most marvelous to me at
the time.  I think I then saw, as clearly as I ever have in my
life, the reality and fullness of the atonement of Christ. 
Gospel salvation seemed to me to be an offer of something to be
accepted, and all that was necessary on my part to get my own
consent to give up my sins and accept Christ.  After this
distinct revelation had stood for some little time before my
mind, the question seemed to be put, 'will you accept it now,
to-day?' I replied, 'Yes; I will accept it to-day, or I will die
in the attempt!'"  He then went into the woods, where he
describes his struggles.  He could not pray, his heart was
hardened in its pride.  "I then reproached myself for having
promised to give my heart to God before I left the woods.  When I
came to try, I found I could not. . . .  My inward soul hung
back, and there was no going out of my heart to God.  The thought
was pressing me, of the rashness of my promise that I would give
my heart to God that day, or die in the attempt.  It seemed to me
as if that was binding on my soul; and yet I was going to break
my vow.  A great sinking and discouragement came over me, and I
felt almost too weak to stand upon my knees.  Just at this moment
I again thought I heard some one approach me, and I opened my
eyes to see whether it were so.  But right there the revelation
of my pride of heart, as the great difficulty that stood in the
way, was distinctly shown to me.  An overwhelming sense of my
wickedness in being ashamed to have a human being see me on my
knees before God took such powerful possession of me, that I
cried at the top of my voice, and exclaimed that I would not
leave that place if all the men on earth and all the devils in
hell surrounded me.  'What!' I said, 'such a degraded sinner as I
am, on my knees confessing my sins to the great and holy God; and
ashamed to have any human being, and a sinner like myself, find
me on my knees endeavoring to make my peace with my offended
God!'  The sin appeared awful, infinite.  It broke me down before
the Lord."  Memoirs, pp. 14-16, abridged.

"I had said I would not give up; but when my will was broken, it
was all over," writes one of Starbuck's correspondents.-- Another
says:  "I simply said:  'Lord, I have done all I can; I leave the
whole matter with Thee,' and immediately there came to me a great
peace."--Another:  "All at once it occurred to me that I might be
saved, too, if I would stop trying to do it all myself, and
follow Jesus:  somehow I lost my load."--Another:  "I finally
ceased to resist, and gave myself up, though it was a hard
struggle.  Gradually the feeling came over me that I had done my
part, and God was willing to do his."[111]--"Lord Thy will be
done; damn or save!" cries John Nelson,[112] exhausted with the
anxious struggle to escape damnation; and at that moment his soul
was filled with peace.

[111] Starbuck:  Op. cit., pp. 91, 114.

[112] Extracts from the Journal of Mr. John Nelson, London, no
date, p. 24.

Dr. Starbuck gives an interesting, and it seems to me a true,
account--so far as conceptions so schematic can claim truth at
all--of the reasons why self-surrender at the last moment should
be so indispensable.  To begin with, there are two things in the
mind of the candidate for conversion:  first, the present
incompleteness or wrongness, the "sin" which he is eager to
escape from; and, second, the positive ideal which he longs to
compass.  Now with most of us the sense of our present wrongness
is a far more distinct piece of our consciousness than is the
imagination of any positive ideal we can aim at.  In a majority
of cases, indeed, the "sin" almost exclusively engrosses the
attention, so that conversion is "a process of struggling away
from sin rather than of striving towards righteousness."[113] A
man's conscious wit and will, so far as they strain towards the
ideal, are aiming at something only dimly and inaccurately
imagined. Yet all the while the forces of mere organic ripening
within him are going on towards their own prefigured result, and
his conscious strainings are letting loose subconscious allies
behind the scenes, which in their way work towards rearrangement;
and the rearrangement towards which all these deeper forces tend
is pretty surely definite, and definitely different from what he
consciously conceives and determines.  It may consequently be
actually interfered with (JAMMED, as it were, like the lost word
when we seek too energetically to recall it), by his voluntary
efforts slanting from the true direction.

[113] Starbuck, p. 64.

Starbuck seems to put his finger on the root of the matter when
he says that to exercise the personal will is still to live in
the region where the imperfect self is the thing most emphasized.
Where, on the contrary, the subconscious forces take the lead, it
is more probably the better self in posse which directs the
operation.  Instead of being clumsily and vaguely aimed at from
without, it is then itself the organizing centre.  What then must
the person do?  "He must relax," says Dr. Starbuck--"that is, he
must fall back on the larger Power that makes for righteousness,
which has been welling up in his own being, and let it finish in
its own way the work it has begun. . . .  The act of yielding, in
this point of view, is giving one's self over to the new life,
making it the centre of a new personality, and living, from
within, the truth of it which had before been viewed

[114] Starbuck, p. 115.

"Man's extremity is God's opportunity" is the theological way of
putting this fact of the need of self-surrender; whilst the
physiological way of stating it would be, "Let one do all in
one's power, and one's nervous system will do the rest."  Both
statements acknowledge the same fact.[115]

[115] Starbuck, p. 113.

To state it in terms of our own symbolism:  When the new centre
of personal energy has been subconsciously incubated so long as
to be just ready to open into flower, "hands off" is the only
word for us, it must burst forth unaided!

We have used the vague and abstract language of psychology. But
since, in any terms, the crisis described is the throwing of our
conscious selves upon the mercy of powers which, whatever they
may be, are more ideal than we are actually, and make for our
redemption, you see why self-surrender has been and always must
be regarded as the vital turning-point of the religious life, so
far as the religious life is spiritual and no affair of outer
works and ritual and sacraments.  One may say that the whole
development of Christianity in inwardness has consisted in little
more than the greater and greater emphasis attached to this
crisis of self-surrender.  From Catholicism to Lutheranism, and
then to Calvinism; from that to Wesleyanism; and from this,
outside of technical Christianity altogether, to pure
"liberalism" or transcendental idealism, whether or not of the
mind-cure type, taking in the mediaeval mystics, the quietists,
the pietists, and quakers by the way, we can trace the stages of
progress towards the idea of an immediate spiritual help,
experienced by the individual in his forlornness and standing in
no essential need of doctrinal apparatus or propitiatory

Psychology and religion are thus in perfect harmony up to this
point, since both admit that there are forces seemingly outside
of the conscious individual that bring redemption to his life. 
Nevertheless psychology, defining these forces as "subconscious,"
and speaking of their effects, as due to "incubation," or
"cerebration," implies that they do not transcend the
individual's personality; and herein she diverges from Christian
theology, which insists that they are direct supernatural
operations of the Deity.  I propose to you that we do not yet
consider this divergence final, but leave the question for a
while in abeyance--continued inquiry may enable us to get rid of
some of the apparent discord.

Revert, then, for a moment more to the psychology of

When you find a man living on the ragged edge of his
consciousness, pent in to his sin and want and incompleteness,
and consequently inconsolable, and then simply tell him that all
is well with him, that he must stop his worry, break with his
discontent, and give up his anxiety, you seem to him to come with
pure absurdities.  The only positive consciousness he has tells
him that all is NOT well, and the better way you offer sounds
simply as if you proposed to him to assert cold-blooded
falsehoods.  "The will to believe" cannot be stretched as far as
that.  We can make ourselves more faithful to a belief of which
we have the rudiments, but we cannot create a belief out of whole
cloth when our perception actively assures us of its opposite. 
The better mind proposed to us comes in that case in the form of
a pure negation of the only mind we have, and we cannot actively
will a pure negation.

There are only two ways in which it is possible to get rid of
anger, worry, fear, despair, or other undesirable affections. 
One is that an opposite affection should overpoweringly break
over us, and the other is by getting so exhausted with the
struggle that we have to stop--so we drop down, give up, and
DON'T CARE any longer.  Our emotional brain-centres strike work,
and we lapse into a temporary apathy. Now there is documentary
proof that this state of temporary exhaustion not infrequently
forms part of the conversion crisis.  So long as the egoistic
worry of the sick soul guards the door, the expansive confidence
of the soul of faith gains no presence.  But let the former faint
away, even but for a moment, and the latter can profit by the
opportunity, and, having once acquired possession, may retain it.

Carlyle's Teufelsdrockh passes from the everlasting No to the
everlasting Yes through a "Centre of Indifference."

Let me give you a good illustration of this feature in the
conversion process.  That genuine saint, David Brainerd,
describes his own crisis in the following words:--

"One morning, while I was walking in a solitary place as usual, I
at once saw that all my contrivances and projects to effect or
procure deliverance and salvation for myself were utterly in
vain; I was brought quite to a stand, as finding myself totally
lost.  I saw that it was forever impossible for me to do anything
towards helping or delivering myself, that I had made all the
pleas I ever could have made to all eternity; and that all my
pleas were vain, for I saw that self-interest had led me to pray,
and that I had never once prayed from any respect to the glory of
God.  I saw that there was no necessary connection between my
prayers and the bestowment of divine mercy, that they laid not
the least obligation upon God to bestow his grace upon me; and
that there was no more virtue or goodness in them than there
would be in my paddling with my hand in the water.  I saw that I
had been heaping up my devotions before God, fasting, praying,
etc., pretending, and indeed really thinking sometimes that I was
aiming at the glory of God; whereas I never once truly intended
it, but only my own happiness.  I saw that as I had never done
anything for God, I had no claim on anything from him but
perdition, on account of my hypocrisy and mockery.  When I saw
evidently that I had regard to nothing but self-interest, then my
duties appeared a vile mockery and a continual course of lies,
for the whole was nothing but self-worship, and an horrid abuse
of God.

"I continued, as I remember, in this state of mind, from Friday
morning till the Sabbath evening following (July 12, 1739), when
I was walking again in the same solitary place.  Here, in a
mournful melancholy state I was attempting to pray; but found no
heart to engage in that or any other duty; my former concern,
exercise, and religious affections were now gone. I thought that
the Spirit of God had quite left me; but still was NOT
DISTRESSED; yet disconsolate, as if there was nothing in heaven
or earth could make me happy.  Having been thus endeavoring to
pray--though, as I thought, very stupid and senseless--for near
half an hour; then, as I was walking in a thick grove,
unspeakable glory seemed to open to the apprehension of my soul. 
I do not mean any external brightness, nor any imagination of a
body of light, but it was a new inward apprehension or view that
I had of God, such as I never had before, nor anything which had
the least resemblance to it.  I had no particular apprehension of
any one person in the Trinity, either the Father, the Son, or the
Holy Ghost; but it appeared to be Divine glory.  My soul rejoiced
with joy unspeakable, to see such a God, such a glorious Divine
Being; and I was inwardly pleased and satisfied that he should be
God over all for ever and ever.  My soul was so captivated and
delighted with the excellency of God that I was even swallowed up
in him, at least to that degree that I had no thought about my
own salvation, and scarce reflected that there was such a
creature as myself.  I continued in this state of inward joy,
peace, and astonishing, till near dark without any sensible
abatement; and then began to think and examine what I had seen;
and felt sweetly composed in my mind all the evening following. 
I felt myself in a new world, and everything about me appeared
with a different aspect from what it was wont to do.  At this
time, the way of salvation opened to me with such infinite
wisdom, suitableness, and excellency, that I wondered I should
ever think of any other way of salvation; was amazed that I had
not dropped my own contrivances, and complied with this lovely,
blessed, and excellent way before.  If I could have been saved by
my own duties or any other way that I had formerly contrived, my
whole soul would now have refused it.  I wondered that all the
world did not see and comply with this way of salvation, entirely
by the righteousness of Christ."[116]

[116] Edward's and Dwight's Life of Brainerd, New Haven, 1822,
pp. 45-47, abridged.

I have italicized the passage which records the exhaustion of the
anxious emotion hitherto habitual.  In a large proportion, 
perhaps the majority, of reports, the writers speak as if the
exhaustion of the lower and the entrance of the higher emotion
were simultaneous,[117] yet often again they speak as if the
higher actively drove the lower out.  This is undoubtedly true in
a great many instances, as we shall presently see.  But often
there seems little doubt that both conditions--subconscious
ripening of the one affection and exhaustion of the other--must
simultaneously have conspired, in order to produce the result.

[117] Describing the whole phenomenon as a change of equilibrium,
we might say that the movement of new psychic energies towards
the personal centre and the recession of old ones towards the
margin (or the rising of some objects above, and the sinking of
others below the conscious threshold) were only two ways of
describing an indivisible event.  Doubtless this is often
absolutely true, and Starbuck is right when he says that
"self-surrender" and "new determination," though seeming at first
sight to be such different experiences, are "really the same
thing.  Self-surrender sees the change in terms of the old self,
determination sees it in terms of the new."  Op. cit., p. 160.

T. W. B., a convert of Nettleton's, being brought to an acute
paroxysm of conviction of sin, ate nothing all day, locked
himself in his room in the evening in complete despair, crying
aloud, "How long, O Lord, how long?"  "After repeating this and
similar language," he says, "several times, I seemed to sink away
into a state of insensibility.  When I came to myself again I was
on my knees, praying not for myself but for others.  I felt
submission to the will of God, willing that he should do with me
as should seem good in his sight.  My concern seemed all lost in
concern for others."[118]

[118] A. A. Bonar:  Nettleton and his Labors, Edinburgh, 1854, p.

Our great American revivalist Finney writes:  "I said to myself: 
'What is this?  I must have grieved the Holy Ghost entirely away.

I have lost all my conviction.  I have not a particle of concern
about my soul; and it must be that the Spirit has left me.'
'Why!' thought I, 'I never was so far from being concerned about
my own salvation in my life.' . . . I tried to recall my
convictions, to get back again the load of sin under which I had
been laboring.  I tried in vain to make myself anxious.  I was so
quiet and peaceful that I tried to feel concerned about that,
lest it should be the result of my having grieved the Spirit

[119] Charles G. Finney:  Memoirs written by Himself, 1876, pp.
17, 18.

But beyond all question there are persons in whom, quite
independently of any exhaustion in the Subject's capacity for
feeling, or even in the absence of any acute previous feeling,
the higher condition, having reached the due degree of energy,
bursts through all barriers and sweeps in like a sudden flood. 
These are the most striking and memorable cases, the cases of
instantaneous conversion to which the conception of divine grace
has been most peculiarly attached. I have given one of them at
length--the case of Mr. Bradley.  But I had better reserve the
other cases and my comments on the rest of the subject for the
following lecture.

Lecture X


In this lecture we have to finish the subject of Conversion,
considering at first those striking instantaneous instances of
which Saint Paul's is the most eminent, and in which, often amid
tremendous emotional excitement or perturbation of the senses, a
complete division is established in the twinkling of an eye
between the old life and the new.  Conversion of this type is an
important phase of religious experience, owing to the part which
it has played in Protestant theology, and it behooves us to study
it conscientiously on that account.

I think I had better cite two or three of these cases before
proceeding to a more generalized account.  One must know concrete
instances first; for, as Professor Agassiz used to say, one can
see no farther into a generalization than just so far as one's
previous acquaintance with particulars enables one to take it in.

I will go back, then, to the case of our friend Henry Alline, and
quote his report of the 26th of March, 1775, on which his poor
divided mind became unified for good.

"As I was about sunset wandering in the fields lamenting my
miserable lost and undone condition, and almost ready to sink
under my burden, I thought I was in such a miserable case as
never any man was before.  I returned to the house, and when I
got to the door, just as I was stepping off the threshold, the
following impressions came into my mind like a powerful but small
still voice.  You have been seeking, praying, reforming,
laboring, reading, hearing, and meditating, and what have you
done by it towards your salvation?  Are you any nearer to
conversion now than when you first began?  Are you any more
prepared for heaven, or fitter to appear before the impartial bar
of God, than when you first began to seek?

"It brought such conviction on me that I was obliged to say that
I did not think I was one step nearer than at first, but as much
condemned, as much exposed, and as miserable as before. I cried
out within myself, O Lord God, I am lost, and if thou, O Lord,
dost not find out some new way, I know nothing of, I shall never
be saved, for the ways and methods I have prescribed to myself
have all failed me, and I am willing they should fail. O Lord,
have mercy! O Lord, have mercy!

"These discoveries continued until I went into the house and sat
down.  After I sat down, being all in confusion, like a drowning
man that was just giving up to sink, and almost in an agony, I
turned very suddenly round in my chair, and seeing part of an old
Bible lying in one of the chairs, I caught hold of it in great
haste; and opening it without any premeditation, cast my eyes on
the 38th Psalm, which was the first time I ever saw the word of
God:  it took hold of me with such power that it seemed to go
through my whole soul, so that it seemed as if God was praying
in, with, and for me.  About this time my father called the
family to attend prayers; I attended, but paid no regard to what
he said in his prayer, but continued praying in those words of
the Psalm.  Oh, help me, help me! cried I, thou Redeemer of
souls, and save me, or I am gone forever; thou canst this night,
if thou pleasest, with one drop of thy blood atone for my sins,
and appease the wrath of an angry God.  At that instant of time
when I gave all up to him to do with me as he pleased, and was
willing that God should rule over me at his pleasure, redeeming
love broke into my soul with repeated scriptures, with such power
that my whole soul seemed to be melted down with love, the burden
of guilt and condemnation was gone, darkness was expelled, my
heart humbled and filled with gratitude, and my whole soul, that
was a few minutes ago groaning under mountains of death, and
crying to an unknown God for help, was now filled with immortal
love, soaring on the wings of faith,<215> freed from the chains
of death and darkness, and crying out, My Lord and my God; thou
art my rock and my fortress, my shield and my high tower, my
life, my joy, my present and my everlasting portion.  Looking up,
I thought I saw that same light [he had on more than one previous
occasion seen subjectively a bright blaze of light], though it
appeared different; and as soon as I saw it, the design was
opened to me, according to his promise, and I was obliged to cry
out:  Enough, enough, O blessed God! The work of conversion, the
change, and the manifestations of it are no more disputable than
that light which I see, or anything that ever I saw.

"In the midst of all my joys, in less than half an hour after my
soul was set at liberty, the Lord discovered to me my labor in
the ministry and call to preach the gospel.  I cried out, Amen,
Lord, I'll go; send me, send me.  I spent the greatest part of
the night in ecstasies of joy, praising and adoring the Ancient
of Days for his free and unbounded grace.  After I had been so
long in this transport and heavenly frame that my nature seemed
to require sleep, I thought to close my eyes for a few moments;
then the devil stepped in, and told me that if I went to sleep, I
should lose it all, and when I should awake in the morning I
would find it to be nothing but a fancy and delusion. I
immediately cried out, O Lord God, if I am deceived, undeceive

"I then closed my eyes for a few minutes, and seemed to be
refreshed with sleep; and when I awoke, the first inquiry was,
Where is my God?  And in an instant of time, my soul seemed awake
in and with God, and surrounded by the arms of everlasting love. 
About sunrise I arose with joy to relate to my parents what God
had done for my soul, and declared to them the miracle of God's
unbounded grace.  I took a Bible to show them the words that were
impressed by God on my soul the evening before; but when I came
to open the Bible, it appeared all new to me.

"I so longed to be useful in the cause of Christ, in preaching
the gospel, that it seemed as if I could not rest any longer, but
go I must and tell the wonders of redeeming love.  I lost all 
taste for carnal pleasures, and carnal company, and was enabled
to forsake them."[120]

[120] Life and Journals, Boston, 1806, pp. 31-40, abridged.

Young Mr. Alline, after the briefest of delays, and with no
book-learning but his Bible, and no teaching save that of his own
experience, became a Christian minister, and thenceforward his
life was fit to rank, for its austerity and single-mindedness,
with that of the most devoted saints.  But happy as he became in
his strenuous way, he never got his taste for even the most
innocent carnal pleasures back.  We must class him, like Bunyan
and Tolstoy, amongst those upon whose soul the iron of melancholy
left a permanent imprint.  His redemption was into another
universe than this mere natural world, and life remained for him
a sad and patient trial.  Years later we can find him making such
an entry as this in his diary:  "On Wednesday the 12th I preached
at a wedding, and had the happiness thereby to be the means of
excluding carnal mirth."

The next case I will give is that of a correspondent of Professor
Leuba, printed in the latter's article, already cited, in vol. 
vi.  of the American Journal of Psychology.  This subject was an
Oxford graduate, the son of a clergyman, and the story resembles
in many points the classic case of Colonel Gardiner, which
everybody may be supposed to know. Here it is, somewhat

"Between the period of leaving Oxford and my conversion I never
darkened the door of my father's church, although I lived with
him for eight years, making what money I wanted by journalism,
and spending it in high carousal with any one who would sit with
me and drink it away.  So I lived, sometimes drunk for a week
together, and then a terrible repentance, and would not touch a
drop for a whole month.

"In all this period, that is, up to thirty-three years of age, I
never had a desire to reform on religious grounds.  But all my 
pangs were due to some terrible remorse I used to feel after a
heavy carousal, the remorse taking the shape of regret after my
folly in wasting my life in such a way--a man of superior talents
and education.  This terrible remorse turned me gray in one
night, and whenever it came upon me I was perceptibly grayer the
next morning.  What I suffered in this way is beyond the
expression of words.  It was hell-fire in all its most dreadful
tortures.  Often did I vow that if I got over 'this time' I would
reform.  Alas, in about three days I fully recovered, and was as
happy as ever.  So it went on for years, but, with a physique
like a rhinoceros, I always recovered, and as long as I let drink
alone, no man was as capable of enjoying life as I was.

"I was converted in my own bedroom in my father's rectory house
at precisely three o'clock in the afternoon of a hot July day
(July 13, 1886).  I was in perfect health, having been off from
the drink for nearly a month.  I was in no way troubled about my
soul.  In fact, God was not in my thoughts that day.  A young
lady friend sent me a copy of Professor Drummond's Natural Law in
the Spiritual World, asking me my opinion of it as a literary
work only.  Being proud of my critical talents and wishing to
enhance myself in my new friend's esteem, I took the book to my
bedroom for quiet, intending to give it a thorough study, and
then write her what I thought of it.  It was here that God met me
face to face, and I shall never forget the meeting.  'He that
hath the Son hath life eternal, he that hath not the Son hath not
life.'  I had read this scores of times before, but this made all
the difference.  I was now in God's presence and my attention was
absolutely 'soldered' on to this verse, and I was not allowed to
proceed with the book till I had fairly considered what these
words really involved.  Only then was I allowed to proceed,
feeling all the while that there was another being in my bedroom,
though not seen by me.  The stillness was very marvelous, and I
felt supremely happy.  It was most unquestionably shown me, in
one second of time, that I had never touched the Eternal:  and
that if I died then, I must inevitably be lost. I was undone.  I
knew it as well as I now know I am saved.  The Spirit of God
showed it me in ineffable love; there was no terror in it; I felt
God's love so powerfully upon me that only a mighty sorrow crept
over me that I had lost all through my own folly; and what was I
to do?  What could I do?  I did not repent even; God never asked
me to repent.  All I felt was 'I am undone,' and God cannot help
it, although he loves me.  No fault on the part of the Almighty. 
All the time I was supremely happy:  I felt like a little child
before his father.  I had done wrong, but my Father did not scold
me, but loved me most wondrously.  Still my doom was sealed.  I
was lost to a certainty, and being naturally of a brave
disposition I did not quail under it, but deep sorrow
for the past, mixed with regret for what I had lost, took hold
upon me, and my soul thrilled within me to think it was all over.
Then there crept in upon me so gently, so lovingly, so
unmistakably, a way of escape, and what was it after all?  The
old, old story over again, told in the simplest way:  'There is
no name under heaven whereby ye can be saved except that of the
Lord Jesus Christ.' No words were spoken to me; my soul seemed to
see my Saviour in the spirit, and from that hour to this, nearly
nine years now, there has never been in my life one doubt that
the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father both worked upon me that
afternoon in July, both differently, and both in the most perfect
love conceivable, and I rejoiced there and then in a conversion
so astounding that the whole village heard of it in less than
twenty-four hours.

"But a time of trouble was yet to come.  The day after my
conversion I went into the hay-field to lend a hand with the
harvest, and not having made any promise to God to abstain or
drink in moderation only, I took too much and came home drunk. 
My poor sister was heart-broken; and I felt ashamed of myself and
got to my bedroom at once, where she followed me weeping
copiously.  She said I had been converted and fallen away
instantly.  But although I was quite full of drink (not muddled,
however), I knew that God's work begun in me was not going to be
wasted.  About midday I made on my knees the first prayer before
God for twenty years.  I did not ask to be forgiven; I felt that
was no good, for I would be sure to fall again.  Well, what did I
do?  I committed myself to him in the profoundest belief that my
individuality was going to be destroyed, that he would take all
from me, and I was willing.  In such a <219> surrender lies the
secret of a holy life.  From that hour drink has had no terrors
for me:  I never touch it, never want it.  The same thing
occurred with my pipe:  after being a regular smoker from my
twelfth year the desire for it went at once, and has never
returned.  So with every known sin, the deliverance in each case
being permanent and complete.  I have had no temptation since
conversion, God seemingly having shut out Satan from that course
with me.  He gets a free hand in other ways, but never on sins of
the flesh.  Since I gave up to God all ownership in my own life,
he has guided me in a thousand ways, and has opened my path in a
way almost incredible to those who do not enjoy the blessing of a
truly surrendered life."

So much for our graduate of Oxford, in whom you notice the
complete abolition of an ancient appetite as one of the
conversion's fruits.

The most curious record of sudden conversion with which I am
acquainted is that of M. Alphonse Ratisbonne, a free-thinking
French Jew, to Catholicism, at Rome in 1842.  In a letter to a
clerical friend, written a few months later, the convert gives a
palpitating account of the circumstances.[121] The predisposing
conditions appear to have been slight.  He had an elder brother
who had been converted and was a Catholic priest.  He was himself
irreligious, and nourished an antipathy to the apostate brother
and generally to his "cloth."  Finding himself at Rome in his
twenty-ninth year, he fell in with a French gentleman who tried
to make a proselyte of him, but who succeeded no farther after
two or three conversations than to get him to hang (half
jocosely) a religious medal round his neck, and to accept and
read a copy of a short prayer to the Virgin.  M. Ratisbonne
represents his own part in the conversations as having been of a
light and chaffing order; but he notes the fact that for some
days he was unable to banish the words of the prayer from his
mind, and that the night before the crisis he had a sort of
nightmare, in the imagery of which a black cross with no Christ
upon it figured.  Nevertheless, until noon of the next day he was
free in mind and spent the time in trivial conversations.  I now
give his own words.

[121] My quotations are made from an Italian translation of this
letter in the Biografia del sig. M. A. Ratisbonne, Ferrara, 1843,
which I have to thank Monsignore D. O'Connell of Rome for
bringing to my notice.  I abridge the original.

"If at this time any one had accosted me, saying:  'Alphonse, in
a quarter of an hour you shall be adoring Jesus Christ as your
God and Saviour; you shall lie prostrate with your face upon the
ground in a humble church; you shall be smiting your breast at
the foot of a priest; you shall pass the carnival in a college of
Jesuits to prepare yourself to receive baptism, ready to give
your life for the Catholic faith; you shall renounce the world
and its pomps and pleasures; renounce your fortune, your hopes,
and if need be, your betrothed; the affections of your family,
the esteem of your friends, and your attachment to the Jewish
people; you shall have no other aspiration than to follow Christ
and bear his cross till death;'--if, I say, a prophet had come to
me with such a prediction, I should have judged that only one
person could be more mad than he--whosoever, namely, might
believe in the possibility of such senseless folly becoming true.

And yet that folly is at present my only wisdom, my sole

"Coming out of the cafe I met the carriage of Monsieur B. [the
proselyting friend].  He stopped and invited me in for a drive,
but first asked me to wait for a few minutes whilst he attended
to some duty at the church of San Andrea delle Fratte.  Instead
of waiting in the carriage, I entered the church myself to look
at it.  The church of San Andrea was poor, small, and empty; I
believe that I found myself there almost alone.  No work of art
attracted my attention; and I passed my eyes mechanically over
its interior without being arrested by any particular thought.  I
can only remember an entirely black dog which went trotting and
turning before me as I mused.  In an instant the dog had
disappeared, the whole church had vanished, I no longer saw
anything, . . . or more truly I saw, O my God, one thing alone. 
"Heavens, how can I speak of it?  Oh no! human words cannot
attain to expressing the inexpressible.  Any description, however
sublime it might be, could be but a profanation of the
unspeakable truth.

"I was there prostrate on the ground, bathed in my tears, with my
heart beside itself, when M. B. called me back to life.  I could
not reply to the questions which followed from him one upon the
other.  But finally I took the medal which I had on my breast,
and with all the effusion of my soul I kissed the image of the
Virgin, radiant with grace, which it bore.  Oh, indeed, it was
She! It was indeed She! [What he had seen had been a vision of
the Virgin.]

"I did not know where I was:  I did not know whether I was
Alphonse or another.  I only felt myself changed and believed
myself another me; I looked for myself in myself and did not find
myself.  In the bottom of my soul I felt an explosion of the most
ardent joy; I could not speak; I had no wish to reveal what had
happened.  But I felt something solemn and sacred within me which
made me ask for a priest.  I was led to one; and there alone,
after he had given me the positive order, I spoke as best I
could, kneeling, and with my heart still trembling.  I could give
no account to myself of the truth of which I had acquired a
knowledge and a faith.  All that I can say is that in an instant
the bandage had fallen from my eyes, and not one bandage only,
but the whole manifold of bandages in which I had been brought
up.  One after another they rapidly disappeared, even as the mud
and ice disappear under the rays of the burning sun.

"I came out as from a sepulchre, from an abyss of darkness; and I
was living, perfectly living.  But I wept, for at the bottom of
that gulf I saw the extreme of misery from which I had been saved
by an infinite mercy; and I shuddered at the sight of my
iniquities, stupefied, melted, overwhelmed with wonder and with
gratitude.  You may ask me how I came to this new insight, for
truly I had never opened a book of religion nor even read a
single page of the Bible, and the dogma of original sin is either
entirely denied or forgotten by the Hebrews of to-day, so that I
had thought so little about it that I doubt whether I ever knew
its name.  But how came I, then, to this perception of it?  I can
<222> answer nothing save this, that on entering that church I
was in darkness altogether, and on coming out of it I saw the
fullness of the light.  I can explain the change no better than
by the simile of a profound sleep or the analogy of one born
blind who should suddenly open his eyes to the day.  He sees, but
cannot define the light which bathes him and by means of which he
sees the objects which excite his wonder.  If we cannot explain
physical light, how can we explain the light which is the truth
itself?  And I think I remain within the limits of veracity when
I say that without having any knowledge of the letter of
religious doctrine, I now intuitively perceived its sense and
spirit. Better than if I saw them, I FELT those hidden things; I
felt them by the inexplicable effects they produced in me.  It
all happened in my interior mind, and those impressions, more
rapid than thought shook my soul, revolved and turned it, as it
were, in another direction, towards other aims, by other paths. 
I express myself badly.  But do you wish, Lord, that I should
inclose in poor and barren words sentiments which the heart alone
can understand?"

I might multiply cases almost indefinitely, but these will
suffice to show you how real, definite, and memorable an event a
sudden conversion may be to him who has the experience.
Throughout the height of it he undoubtedly seems to himself a
passive spectator or undergoer of an astounding process performed
upon him from above.  There is too much evidence of this for any
doubt of it to be possible.  Theology, combining this fact with
the doctrines of election and grace, has concluded that the
spirit of God is with us at these dramatic moments in a
peculiarly miraculous way, unlike what happens at any other
juncture of our lives.  At that moment, it believes, an
absolutely new nature is breathed into us, and we become
partakers of the very substance of the Deity.

That the conversion should be instantaneous seems called for on
this view, and the Moravian Protestants appear to have been the
first to see this logical consequence.  The Methodists soon
followed suit, practically if not dogmatically, and a short time
ere his death, John Wesley wrote:--

"In London alone I found 652 members of our Society who were
exceeding clear in their experience, and whose testimony I could
see no reason to doubt.  And every one of these (without a single
exception) has declared that his deliverance from sin was
instantaneous; that the change was wrought in a moment.  Had half
of these, or one third, or one in twenty, declared it was
GRADUALLY wrought in THEM, I should have believed this, with
regard to THEM, and thought that SOME were gradually sanctified
and some instantaneously.  But as I have not found, in so long a
space of time, a single person speaking thus, I cannot but
believe that sanctification is commonly, if not always, an
instantaneous work."[122]

[122] Tyerman's Life of Wesley, i. 463.

All this while the more usual sects of Protestantism have set no
such store by instantaneous conversion.  For them as for the
Catholic Church, Christ's blood, the sacraments, and the
individual's ordinary religious duties are practically supposed
to suffice to his salvation, even though no acute crisis of
self-despair and surrender followed by relief should be
experienced.  For Methodism, on the contrary, unless there have
been a crisis of this sort, salvation is only offered, not
effectively received, and Christ's sacrifice in so far forth is
incomplete.  Methodism surely here follows, if not the healthier-
minded, yet on the whole the profounder spiritual instinct. The
individual models which it has set up as typical and worthy of
imitation are not only the more interesting dramatically, but
psychologically they have been the more complete.

In the fully evolved Revivalism of Great Britain and America we
have, so to speak, the codified and stereotyped procedure to
which this way of thinking has led.  In spite of the
unquestionable fact that saints of the once-born type exist, that
there may be a gradual growth in holiness without a cataclysm; in
spite of the obvious leakage (as one may say) of much mere
natural goodness into the scheme of salvation; revivalism has
always assumed that only its own type of religious experience can
be perfect; you must first be nailed on the cross of natural
despair and agony, and then in the twinkling of an eye be
miraculously released.

It is natural that those who personally have traversed such an
experience should carry away a feeling of its being a miracle
rather than a natural process.  Voices are often heard, lights
seen, or visions witnessed; automatic motor phenomena occur; and
it always seems, after the surrender of the personal will, as if
an extraneous higher power had flooded in and taken possession. 
Moreover the sense of renovation, safety, cleanness, rightness,
can be so marvelous and jubilant as well to warrant one's belief
in a radically new substantial nature.

"Conversion," writes the New England Puritan, Joseph Alleine, "is
not the putting in a patch of holiness; but with the true convert
holiness is woven into all his powers, principles, and practice. 
The sincere Christian is quite a new fabric, from the foundation
to the top-stone.  He is a new man, a new creature."

And Jonathan Edwards says in the same strain:  "Those gracious
influences which are the effects of the Spirit of God are
altogether supernatural--are quite different from anything that
unregenerate men experience.  They are what no improvement, or
composition of natural qualifications or principles will ever
produce; because they not only differ from what is natural, and
from everything that natural men experience in degree and
circumstances, but also in kind, and are of a nature far more
excellent. From hence it follows that in gracious affections
there are [also] new perceptions and sensations entirely
different in their nature and kind from anything experienced by
the [same] saints before they were sanctified. . . .  The
conceptions which the saints have of the loveliness of God, and
that kind of delight which they experience in it, are quite
peculiar, and entirely different from anything which a natural
man can possess, or of which he can form any proper notion."

And that such a glorious transformation as this ought of
necessity to be preceded by despair is shown by Edwards in
another passage.

"Surely it cannot be unreasonable," he says, "that before God
delivers us from a state of sin and liability to everlasting woe,
he should give us some considerable sense of the evil from which
he delivers us, in order that we may know and feel the importance
of salvation, and be enabled to appreciate the value of what God
is pleased to do for us.  As those who are saved are successively
in two extremely different states--first in a state of
condemnation and then in a state of justification and
blessedness--and as God, in the salvation of men, deals with them
as rational and intelligent creatures, it appears agreeable to
this wisdom, that those who are saved should be made sensible of
their Being, in those two different states.  In the first place,
that they should be made sensible of their state of condemnation;
and afterwards, of their state of deliverance and happiness."

Such quotations express sufficiently well for our purpose the
doctrinal interpretation of these changes.  Whatever part
suggestion and imitation may have played in producing them in men
and women in excited assemblies, they have at any rate been in
countless individual instances an original and unborrowed
experience.  Were we writing the story of the mind from the
purely natural-history point of view, with no religious interest
whatever, we should still have to write down man's liability to
sudden and complete conversion as one of his most curious

What, now, must we ourselves think of this question?  Is an
instantaneous conversion a miracle in which God is present as he
is present in no change of heart less strikingly abrupt? Are
there two classes of human beings, even among the apparently
regenerate, of which the one class really partakes of Christ's
nature while the other merely seems to do so?  Or, on the
contrary, may the whole phenomenon of regeneration, even in these
startling instantaneous examples, possibly be a strictly natural
process, divine in its fruits, of course, but in one case more
and in another less so, and neither more nor less divine in its
mere causation and mechanism than any other process, high or low,
of man's interior life?

Before proceeding to answer this question, I must ask you to
listen to some more psychological remarks.  At our last lecture,
I explained the shifting of men's centres of personal energy
within them and the lighting up of new crises of emotion.  I
explained the phenomena as partly due to explicitly conscious
processes of thought and will, but as due largely also to the
subconscious incubation and maturing of motives deposited by the
experiences of life.  When ripe, the results hatch out, or burst
into flower.  I have now to speak of the subconscious region, in
which such processes of flowering may occur, in a somewhat less
vague way.  I only regret that my limits of time here force me to
be so short.

The expression "field of consciousness" has but recently come
into vogue in the psychology books.  Until quite lately the unit
of mental life which figured most was the single "idea," supposed
to be a definitely outlined thing.  But at present psychologists
are tending, first, to admit that the actual unit is more
probably the total mental state, the entire wave of consciousness
or field of objects present to the thought at any time; and,
second, to see that it is impossible to outline this wave, this
field, with any definiteness.

As our mental fields succeed one another, each has its centre of
interest, around which the objects of which we are less and less
attentively conscious fade to a margin so faint that its limits
are unassignable.  Some fields are narrow fields and some are
wide fields.  Usually when we have a wide field we rejoice, for
we then see masses of truth together, and often get glimpses of
relations which we divine rather than see, for they shoot beyond
the field into still remoter regions of objectivity, regions
which we seem rather to be about to perceive than to perceive
actually.  At other times, of drowsiness, illness, or fatigue,
our fields may narrow almost to a point, and we find ourselves
correspondingly oppressed and contracted.

Different individuals present constitutional differences in this
matter of width of field.  Your great organizing geniuses are men
with habitually vast fields of mental vision, in which a whole
programme of future operations will appear dotted out at once,
the rays shooting far ahead into definite directions of advance. 
In common people there is never this magnificent inclusive view
of a topic.  They stumble along, feeling their way, as it were,
from point to point, and often stop entirely.  In certain
diseased conditions consciousness is a mere spark, without memory
of the past or thought of the future, and with the present
narrowed down to some one simple emotion or sensation of the

The important fact which this "field" formula commemorates is the
indetermination of the margin.  Inattentively realized as is the
matter which the margin contains, it is nevertheless there, and
helps both to guide our behavior and to determine the next
movement of our attention.  It lies around us like a "magnetic
field," inside of which our centre of energy turns like a
compass-needle, as the present phase of consciousness alters into
its successor.  Our whole past store of memories floats beyond
this margin, ready at a touch to come in; and the entire mass of
residual powers, impulses, and knowledges that constitute our
empirical self stretches continuously beyond it.  So vaguely
drawn are the outlines between what is actual and what is only
potential at any moment of our conscious life, that it is always
hard to say of certain mental elements whether we are conscious
of them or not.

The ordinary psychology, admitting fully the difficulty of
tracing the marginal outline, has nevertheless taken for <228>
granted, first, that all the consciousness the person now has, be
the same focal or marginal, inattentive or attentive, is there in
the "field" of the moment, all dim and impossible to assign as
the latter's outline may be; and, second, that what is absolutely
extra-marginal is absolutely non-existent. and cannot be a fact
of consciousness at all.

And having reached this point, I must now ask you to recall what
I said in my last lecture about the subconscious life.  I said,
as you may recollect, that those who first laid stress upon these
phenomena could not know the facts as we now know them.  My first
duty now is to tell you what I meant by such a statement.

I cannot but think that the most important step forward that has
occurred in psychology since I have been a student of that
science is the discovery, first made in 1886, that, in certain
subjects at least, there is not only the consciousness of the
ordinary field, with its usual centre and margin, but an addition
thereto in the shape of a set of memories, thoughts, and feelings
which are extra-marginal and outside of the primary consciousness
altogether, but yet must be classed as conscious facts of some
sort, able to reveal their presence by unmistakable signs.  I
call this the most important step forward because, unlike the
other advances which psychology has made, this discovery has
revealed to us an entirely unsuspected peculiarity in the
constitution of human nature.  No other step forward which
psychology has made can proffer any such claim as this.

In particular this discovery of a consciousness existing beyond
the field, or subliminally as Mr. Myers terms it, casts light on
many phenomena of religious biography.  That is why I have to
advert to it now, although it is naturally impossible for me in
this place to give you any account of the evidence on which the
admission of such a consciousness is based.  You will find it set
forth in many recent books, Binet's Alterations of
Personality[123] being perhaps as good a one as any to recommend.

[123] Published in the International Scientific Series.

The human material on which the demonstration has been made has
so far been rather limited and, in part at least, eccentric,
consisting of unusually suggestible hypnotic subjects, and of
hysteric patients.  Yet the elementary mechanisms of our life are
presumably so uniform that what is shown to be true in a marked
degree of some persons is probably true in some degree of all,
and may in a few be true in an extraordinarily high degree.

The most important consequence of having a strongly developed
ultra-marginal life of this sort is that one's ordinary fields of
consciousness are liable to incursions from it of which the
subject does not guess the source, and which, therefore, take for
him the form of unaccountable impulses to act, or inhibitions of
action, of obsessive ideas, or even of hallucinations of sight or
hearing.  The impulses may take the direction of automatic speech
or writing, the meaning of which the subject himself may not
understand even while he utters it; and generalizing this
phenomenon, Mr. Myers has given the name of automatism, sensory
or motor, emotional or intellectual, to this whole sphere of
effects, due to "up-rushes" into the ordinary consciousness of
energies originating in the subliminal parts of the mind.

The simplest instance of an automatism is the phenomenon of
post-hypnotic suggestion, so-called.  You give to a hypnotized
subject, adequately susceptible, an order to perform some
designated act--usual or eccentric, it makes no difference--
after he wakes from his hypnotic sleep. Punctually, when the
signal comes or the time elapses upon which you have told him
that the act must ensue, he performs it;--but in so doing he has
no recollection of your suggestion, and he always trumps up an
improvised pretext for his behavior if the act be of an eccentric
kind.  It may even be suggested to a subject to have a vision or
to hear a voice at a certain interval after waking, and when the
time comes the vision is seen or the voice heard, with no inkling
on the subject's part of its source.

In the wonderful explorations by Binet, Janet, Breuer, Freud,
Mason, Prince, and others, of the subliminal consciousness of
patients with hysteria, we have revealed to us whole systems of
underground life, in the shape of memories of a painful sort
which lead a parasitic existence, buried outside of the primary
fields of consciousness, and making irruptions thereinto with
hallucinations, pains, convulsions, paralyses of feeling and of
motion, and the whole procession of symptoms of hysteric disease
of body and of mind.  Alter or abolish by suggestion these
subconscious memories, and the patient immediately gets well. 
His symptoms were automatisms, in Mr. Myers's sense of the word. 
These clinical records sound like fairy-tales when one first
reads them, yet it is impossible to doubt their accuracy; and,
the path having been once opened by these first observers,
similar observations have been made elsewhere.  They throw, as I
said, a wholly new light upon our natural constitution.

And it seems to me that they make a farther step inevitable.
Interpreting the unknown after the analogy of the known, it seems
to me that hereafter, wherever we meet with a phenomenon of
automatism, be it motor impulses, or obsessive idea, or
unaccountable caprice, or delusion, or hallucination, we are
bound first of all to make search whether it be not an explosion,
into the fields of ordinary consciousness, of ideas elaborated
outside of those fields in subliminal regions of the mind.  We
should look, therefore, for its source in the Subject's
subconscious life.  In the hypnotic cases, we ourselves create
the source by our suggestion, so we know it directly.  In the
hysteric cases, the lost memories which are the source have to be
extracted from the patient's Subliminal by a number of ingenious
methods, for an account of which you must consult the books.  In
other pathological cases, insane delusions, for example, or
psychopathic obsessions, the source is yet to seek, but by
analogy it also should be in subliminal regions which
improvements in our methods may yet conceivably put on tap. There
lies the mechanism logically to be assumed--but the assumption
involves a vast program of work to be done in the way of
verification, in which the religious experiences of man must play
their part.[124]

[124] The reader will here please notice that in my exclusive
reliance in the last lecture on the subconscious "incubation" of
motives deposited by a growing experience, I followed the method
of employing accepted principles of explanation as far as one
can.  The subliminal region, whatever else it may be, is at any
rate a place now admitted by psychologists to exist for the
accumulation of vestiges of sensible experience (whether
inattentively or attentively registered), and for their
elaboration according to ordinary psychological or logical laws
into results that end by attaining such a "tension"that they may
at times enter consciousness with something like a burst.  It
thus is "scientific" to interpret all otherwise unaccountable
invasive alterations of consciousness as results of the tension
of subliminal memories reaching the bursting-point.  But candor
obliges me to confess that there are occasional bursts into
consciousness of results of which it is not easy to demonstrate
any prolonged subconscious incubation.  Some of the cases I used
to illustrate the sense of presence of the unseen in Lecture III
were of this order (compare pages 59, 60, 61, 66); and we
shall see other experiences of the kind when we come to the
subject of mysticism.  The case of Mr. Bradley, that of M.
Ratisbonne, possibly that of Colonel Gardiner, possibly that of
saint Paul, might not be so easily explained in this simple way. 
The result, then, would have to be ascribed either to a merely
physiological nerve storm, a "discharging lesion" like that of
epilepsy; or, in case it were useful and rational, as in the two
latter cases named, to some more mystical or theological
hypothesis. I make this remark in order that the reader may
realize that the subject is really complex.  But I shall keep
myself as far as possible at present to the more "scientific"
view; and only as the plot thickens in subsequent lectures shall
I consider the question of its absolute sufficiency as an
explanation of all the facts.  That subconscious incubation
explains a great number of them, there can be no doubt.

And thus I return to our own specific subject of instantaneous
conversions.  You remember the cases of Alline, Bradley,
Brainerd, and the graduate of Oxford converted at three in the
afternoon.  Similar occurrences abound, some with and some
without luminous visions, all with a sense of astonished
happiness, and of being wrought on by a higher control.  If,
abstracting altogether from the question of their value for the
future spiritual life of the individual, we take them on their
psychological side exclusively, so many peculiarities in them
remind us of what we find outside of conversion that we are
tempted to class them along with other automatisms, and to
suspect that what makes the difference between a sudden and a
gradual convert is not necessarily the presence of divine miracle
in the case of one and of something less divine in that of the
other, but rather a simple psychological peculiarity, the fact,
namely, that in the recipient of the more instantaneous grace we
have one of those Subjects who are in possession of a large
region in which mental work can go on subliminally, and from
which invasive experiences, abruptly upsetting the equilibrium of
the primary consciousness, may come.

I do not see why Methodists need object to such a view. Pray go
back and recollect one of the conclusions to which I sought to
lead you in my very first lecture.  You may remember how I there
argued against the notion that the worth of a thing can be
decided by its origin.  Our spiritual judgment, I said, our
opinion of the significance and value of a human event or
condition, must be decided on empirical grounds exclusively.  If
the fruits for life of the state of conversion are good, we ought
to idealize and venerate it, even though it be a piece of natural
psychology; if not, we ought to make short work with it, no
matter what supernatural being may have infused it.

Well, how is it with these fruits?  If we except the class of
preeminent saints of whom the names illumine history, and 
consider only the usual run of "saints," the shopkeeping
church-members and ordinary youthful or middle-aged recipients of
instantaneous conversion, whether at revivals or in the
spontaneous course of methodistic growth, you will probably agree
that no splendor worthy of a wholly supernatural creature
fulgurates from them, or sets them apart from the mortals who
have never experienced that favor. Were it true that a suddenly
converted man as such is, as Edwards says,[125] of an entirely
different kind from a natural man, partaking as he does directly
of Christ's substance, there surely ought to be some exquisite
class-mark, some distinctive radiance attaching even to the
lowliest specimen of this genus, to which no one of us could
remain insensible, and which, so far as it went, would prove him
more excellent than ever the most highly gifted among mere
natural men.  But notoriously there is no such radiance. 
Converted men as a class are indistinguishable from natural men;
some natural men even excel some converted men in their fruits;
and no one ignorant of doctrinal theology could guess by mere
every-day inspection of the "accidents" of the two groups of
persons before him, that their substance differed as much as
divine differs from human substance.

[125] Edwards says elsewhere:  "I am bold to say that the work of
God in the conversion of one soul, considered together with the
source foundation, and purchase of it, and also the benefit, end,
and eternal issue of it, is a more glorious work of God than the
creation of the whole material universe."

The believers in the non-natural character of sudden conversion
have had practically to admit that there is no unmistakable
class-mark distinctive of all true converts.  The super-normal
incidents, such as voices and visions and overpowering
impressions of the meaning of suddenly presented scripture texts,
the melting emotions and tumultuous affections connected with the
crisis of change, may all come by way of nature, or worse still,
be counterfeited by Satan.  The real witness of the spirit to the
second birth is to be found only in the disposition of the
genuine child of God, the permanently patient heart, the love of
self eradicated.  And this, it has to be admitted, is also found
in those who pass no crisis, and may even be found outside of
Christianity altogether.

Throughout Jonathan Edwards's admirably rich and delicate
description of the supernaturally infused condition, in his
Treatise on Religious Affections, there is not one decisive
trait, not one mark, that unmistakably parts it off from what may
possibly be only an exceptionally high degree of natural
goodness.  In fact, one could hardly read a clearer argument than
this book unwittingly offers in favor of the thesis that no chasm
exists between the orders of human excellence, but that here as
elsewhere, nature shows continuous differences, and generation
and regeneration are matters of degree.

All which denial of two objective classes of human beings
separated by a chasm must not leave us blind to the extraordinary
momentousness of the fact of his conversion to the individual
himself who gets converted.  There are higher and lower limits of
possibility set to each personal life.  If a flood but goes above
one's head, its absolute elevation becomes a matter of small
importance; and when we touch our own upper limit and live in our
own highest centre of energy, we may call ourselves saved, no
matter how much higher some one else's centre may be.  A small
man's salvation will always be a great salvation and the greatest
of all facts FOR HIM, and we should remember this when the fruits
of our ordinary evangelicism look discouraging.  Who knows how
much less ideal still the lives of these spiritual grubs and
earthworms, these Crumps and Stigginses, might have been, if such
poor grace as they have received had never touched them at

[126] Emerson writes:  "When we see a soul whose acts are regal, 
graceful and pleasant as roses, we must thank God that such
things can be and are, and not turn sourly on the angel and say: 
Crump is a better man, with his grunting resistance to all his
native devils."  True enough.  Yet Crump may really be the better
CRUMP, for his inner discords and second birth; and your
once-born "regal" character though indeed always better than poor
Crump, may fall far short of what he individually might be had he
only some Crump-like capacity for compunction over his own
peculiar diabolisms, graceful and pleasant and invariably
gentlemanly as these may be.

<235> If we roughly arrange human beings in classes, each class
standing for a grade of spiritual excellence, I believe we shall
find natural men and converts both sudden and gradual in all the
classes.  The forms which regenerative change effects have, then,
no general spiritual significance, but only a psychological
significance.  We have seen how Starbuck's laborious statistical
studies tend to assimilate conversion to ordinary spiritual
growth.  Another American psychologist, Prof. George A. Coe,[127]
has analyzed the cases of seventy-seven converts or ex-candidates
for conversion, known to him, and the results strikingly confirm
the view that sudden conversion is connected with the possession
of an active subliminal self.  Examining his subjects with
reference to their hypnotic sensibility and to such automatisms
as hypnagogic hallucinations, odd impulses, religious dreams
about the time of their conversion, etc., he found these
relatively much more frequent in the group of converts whose
transformation had been "striking," "striking" transformation
being defined as a change which, though not necessarily
instantaneous, seems to the subject of it to be distinctly
different from a process of growth, however rapid."[128]
Candidates for conversion at revivals are, as you know, often
disappointed:  they experience nothing striking.  Professor Coe
had a number of persons of this class among his seventy-seven
subjects, and they almost all, when tested by hypnotism, proved
to belong to a subclass which he calls "spontaneous," that is,
fertile in self-suggestions, as distinguished from a "passive"
subclass, to which most of the subjects of striking
transformation belonged.  His inference is that self-suggestion
of impossibility had prevented the influence upon these persons
of an environment which, on the more "passive" subjects, had
easily brought forth the effects they looked for.  Sharp
distinctions are difficult in these regions, and Professor Coe's
numbers are small.  But his methods were careful, and the results
tally with what one might expect; and they seem, on the whole, to
justify his practical conclusion, which is that if you should
expose to a converting influence a subject in whom three factors
unite:  first, pronounced emotional sensibility; second, tendency
to automatisms; and third, suggestibility of the passive type;
you might then safely predict the result:  there would be a
sudden conversion, a transformation of the striking kind.

[127] In his book, The Spiritual Life, New York, 1900.

[128] Op. cit., p. 112.

Does this temperamental origin diminish the significance of the
sudden conversion when it has occurred?  Not in the least, as
Professor Coe well says; for "the ultimate test of religious
values is nothing psychological, nothing definable in terms of
HOW IT HAPPENS, but something ethical, definable only in terms of

[129] Op. cit., p. 144

As we proceed farther in our inquiry we shall see that what is
attained is often an altogether new level of spiritual vitality,
a relatively heroic level, in which impossible things have become
possible, and new energies and endurances are shown.  The
personality is changed, the man is born anew, whether or not his
psychological idiosyncrasies are what give the particular shape
to his metamorphosis.  "Sanctification" is the technical name of
this result; and erelong examples of it shall be brought before
you.  In this lecture I have still only to add a few remarks on
the assurance and peace which fill the hour of change itself.

One word more, though, before proceeding to that point, lest the
final purpose of my explanation of suddenness by subliminal
activity be misunderstood.  I do indeed believe that if the
Subject have no liability to such subconscious activity, or if
his conscious fields have a hard rind of a margin that resists
incursions from beyond it, his conversion must he gradual if it
occur, and must resemble any simple growth into new habits.  His
possession of a developed subliminal self, and of a leaky or
pervious margin, is thus a conditio sine qua non of the Subject's
becoming converted in the instantaneous way.  But if you, being
orthodox Christians, ask me as a psychologist whether the
reference of a phenomenon to a subliminal self does not exclude
the notion of the direct presence of the Deity altogether, I have
to say frankly that as a psychologist I do not see why it
necessarily should.  The lower manifestations of the Subliminal,
indeed, fall within the resources of the personal subject:  his
ordinary sense-material, inattentively taken in and
subconsciously remembered and combined, will account for all his
usual automatisms.  But just as our primary wide-awake
consciousness throws open our senses to the touch of things
material so it is logically conceivable that IF THERE BE higher
spiritual agencies that can directly touch us, the psychological
condition of their doing so MIGHT BE our possession of a
subconscious region which alone should yield access to them.  The
hubbub of the waking life might close a door which in the dreamy
Subliminal might remain ajar or open.

Thus that perception of external control which is so essential a
feature in conversion might, in some cases at any rate, be
interpreted as the orthodox interpret it:  forces transcending
the finite individual might impress him, on condition of his
being what we may call a subliminal human specimen.  But in any
case the VALUE of these forces would have to be determined by
their effects, and the mere fact of their transcendency would of
itself establish no presumption that they were more divine than

I confess that this is the way in which I should rather see the
topic left lying in your minds until I come to a much later
lecture, when I hope once more to gather these dropped threads
together into more definitive conclusions.  The notion of a
subconscious self certainly ought not at this point of our
inquiry to be held to EXCLUDE all notion of a higher penetration.

If there be higher powers able to impress us, they may get access
to us only through the subliminal door. (See below, p. 506 ff.)

Let us turn now to the feelings which immediately fill the hour
of the conversion experience.  The first one to be noted is just
this sense of higher control.  It is not always, but it is very
often present.  We saw examples of it in Alline, Bradley,
Brainerd, and elsewhere.  The need of such a higher controlling
agency is well expressed in the short reference which the eminent
French Protestant Adolphe Monod makes to the crisis of his own
conversion.  It was at Naples in his early manhood, in the summer
of 1827.

"My sadness," he says, "was without limit, and having got entire
possession of me, it filled my life from the most indifferent
external acts to the most secret thoughts, and corrupted at their
source my feelings, my judgment, and my happiness.  It was then
that I saw that to expect to put a stop to this disorder by my
reason and my will, which were themselves diseased, would be to
act like a blind man who should pretend to correct one of his
eyes by the aid of the other equally blind one.  I had then no
resource save in some INFLUENCE FROM WITHOUT.  I remembered the
promise of the Holy Ghost; and what the positive declarations of
the Gospel had never succeeded in bringing home to me, I learned
at last from necessity, and believed, for the first time in my
life, in this promise, in the only sense in which it answered the
needs of my soul, in that, namely, of a real external
supernatural action, capable of giving me thoughts, and taking
them away from me, and exerted on me by a God as truly master of
my heart as he is of the rest of nature. Renouncing then all
merit, all strength, abandoning all my personal resources, and
acknowledging no other title to his mercy than my own utter
misery, I went home and threw myself on my knees and prayed as I
never yet prayed in my life.  From this day onwards a new
interior life began for me:  not that my melancholy had
disappeared, but it had lost its sting.  Hope had entered into my
heart, and once entered on the path, the God of Jesus Christ, to
whom I then had learned to give myself up, little by little did
the rest."[130]

[130] I piece together a quotation made by W. Monod, in his book
la Vie, and a letter printed in the work:  Adolphe Monod:  I,.
Souvenirs de sa Vie, 1885, p. 433.

It is needless to remind you once more of the admirable congruity
of Protestant theology with the structure of the mind as shown in
such experiences.  In the extreme of melancholy the self that
consciously is can do absolutely nothing. It is completely
bankrupt and without resource, and no works it can accomplish
will avail.  Redemption from such subjective conditions must be a
free gift or nothing, and grace through Christ's accomplished
sacrifice is such a gift.

"God," says Luther, "is the God of the humble, the miserable, the
oppressed, and the desperate, and of those that are brought even
to nothing; and his nature is to give sight to the blind, to
comfort the broken-hearted, to justify sinners, to save the very
desperate and damned.  Now that pernicious and pestilent opinion
of man's own righteousness, which will not be a sinner, unclean,
miserable, and damnable, but righteous and holy, suffereth not
God to come to his own natural and proper work.  Therefore God
must take this maul in hand (the law, I mean) to beat in pieces
and bring to nothing this beast with her vain confidence, that
she may so learn at length by her own misery that she is utterly
forlorn and damned.  But here lieth the difficulty, that when a
man is terrified and cast down, he is so little able to raise
himself up again and say, 'Now I am bruised and afflicted enough;
now is the time of grace; now is the time to hear Christ.'  The
foolishness of man's heart is so great that then he rather
seeketh to himself more laws to satisfy his conscience.  'If I
live,' saith he, 'I will amend my life:  I will do this, I will
do that.'  But here, except thou do the quite contrary, except
thou send Moses away with his law, and in these terrors and this
anguish lay hold upon Christ who died for thy sins, look for no
salvation.  Thy cowl, thy shaven crown, thy chastity, thy
obedience, thy poverty, thy works, thy merits?  what shall all
these do?  what shall the law of Moses avail?  If I, wretched and
damnable sinner, through works or merits could have loved the Son
of God, and so come to him, what needed he to deliver himself for
me?  If I, being a wretch and damned sinner, could be redeemed by
any other price, what needed the Son of God to be given?  But
because there was no other price, therefore he delivered neither
sheep, ox, gold, nor silver, but even God himself, entirely and
wholly 'for me,' even 'for me,' I say, a miserable, wretched
sinner.  Now, therefore, I take comfort and apply this to MYSELF.

And this manner of applying is the very true force and power of
faith.  For he died NOT to justify the righteous, but the
UN-righteous, and to make THEM the children of God."[131]

[131] Commentary on Galatians, ch. iii. verse 19, and ch. ii.
verse 20, abridged.

That is, the more literally lost you are, the more literally you
are the very being whom Christ's sacrifice has already saved. 
Nothing in Catholic theology, I imagine, has ever spoken to sick
souls as straight as this message from Luther's personal
experience.  As Protestants are not all sick souls, of course
reliance on what Luther exults in calling the dung of one's
merits, the filthy puddle of one's own righteousness, has come to
the front again in their religion; but the adequacy of his view
of Christianity to the deeper parts of our human mental structure
is shown by its wildfire contagiousness when it was a new and
quickening thing.

Faith that Christ has genuinely done his work was part of 
what Luther meant by faith, which so far is faith in a fact
intellectually conceived of.  But this is only one part of
Luther's faith, the other part being far more vital.  This other
part is something not intellectual but immediate and intuitive,
the assurance, namely, that I, this individual I, just as I
stand, without one plea, etc., am saved now and forever. [132]
Professor Leuba is undoubtedly right in contending that the
conceptual belief about Christ's work, although so often
efficacious and antecedent, is really accessory and
non-essential, and that the "joyous conviction" can also come by
far other channels than this conception.  It is to the joyous
conviction itself, the assurance that all is well with one, that
he would give the name of faith par excellence.  "When the sense
of estrangement," he writes, "fencing man about in a narrowly
limited ego, breaks down, the individual finds himself 'at one
with all creation.' He lives in the universal life; he and man,
he and nature, he and God, are one.  That state of confidence,
trust, union with all things, following upon the achievement of
moral unity, is the Faith-state.  Various dogmatic beliefs
suddenly, on the advent of the faith-state, acquire a character
of certainty, assume a new reality, become an object of faith. 
As the ground of assurance here is not rational, argumentation is
irrelevant.  But such conviction being a mere casual offshoot of
the faith-state, it is a gross error to imagine that the chief
practical value of the faith-state is its power to stamp with the
seal of reality certain particular theological conceptions.[133]
On the contrary, its value lies solely in the fact that it is the
psychic correlate of a biological growth reducing contending
desires to one direction; a growth which expresses itself in new
affective states and new reactions; in larger, nobler, more
Christ-like activities.  The ground of the specific assurance in
religious dogmas is then an affective experience.  The objects of
faith may even be preposterous; the affective stream will float
them along, and invest them with unshakable certitude.  The more
startling the affective experience, the less explicable it seems,
the easier it is to make it the carrier of unsubstantiated

[132] In some conversions, both steps are distinct; in this one,
for example:--

"Whilst I was reading the evangelical treatise, I was soon struck
by an expression:  'the finished work of Christ.' 'Why,' I asked
of myself, 'does the author use these terms?  Why does he not say
"the atoning work"?' Then these words, 'It is finished,'
presented themselves to my mind.  'What is it that is finished?'
I asked, and in an instant my mind replied:  'A perfect expiation
for sin; entire satisfaction has been given; the debt has been
paid by the Substitute. Christ has died for our sins; not for
ours only, but for those of all men.  If, then, the entire work
is finished, all the debt paid, what remains for me to do?' In
another instant the light was shed through my mind by the Holy
Ghost, and the joyous conviction was given me that nothing more
was to be done, save to fall on my knees, to accept this Saviour
and his love, to praise God forever."  Autobiography of Hudson
Taylor.  I translate back into English from the French
translation of Challand (Geneva, no date), the original not being

[133] Tolstoy's case was a good comment on those words.  There
was almost no theology in his conversion.  His faith-state was
the sense come back that life was infinite in its moral

[134] American Journal of Psychology, vii. 345-347, abridged.

The characteristics of the affective experience which, to avoid
ambiguity, should, I think, be called the state of assurance
rather than the faith-state, can be easily enumerated, though it
is probably difficult to realize their intensity, unless one has
been through the experience one's self.

The central one is the loss of all the worry, the sense that all
is ultimately well with one, the peace, the harmony, the
WILLINGNESS TO BE, even though the outer conditions should remain
the same.  The certainty of God's "grace," of "justification,"
"salvation," is an objective belief that usually accompanies the
change in Christians; but this may be entirely lacking and yet
the affective peace remain the same--you will recollect the case
of the Oxford graduate:  and many might be given where the
assurance of personal salvation <243> was only a later result. 
A passion of willingness, of acquiescence, of admiration, is the
glowing centre of this state of mind.

The second feature is the sense of perceiving truths not known
before.  The mysteries of life become lucid, as Professor Leuba
says; and often, nay usually, the solution is more or less
unutterable in words.  But these more intellectual phenomena may
be postponed until we treat of mysticism.

A third peculiarity of the assurance state is the objective
change which the world often appears to undergo.  "An appearance
of newness beautifies every object," the precise opposite of that
other sort of newness, that dreadful unreality and strangeness in
the appearance of the world, which is experienced by melancholy
patients, and of which you may recall my relating some
examples.[135] This sense of clean and beautiful newness within
and without is one of the commonest entries in conversion
records. Jonathan Edwards thus describes it in himself:--

[135] Above, p. 150.

"After this my sense of divine things gradually increased, and
became more and more lively, and had more of that inward
sweetness.  The appearance of everything was altered; there
seemed to be, as it were, a calm, sweet cast, or appearance of
divine glory, in almost everything.  God's excellency, his
wisdom, his purity and love, seemed to appear in everything; in
the sun, moon, and stars; in the clouds and blue sky; in the
grass, flowers, and trees; in the water and all nature; which
used greatly to fix my mind.  And scarce anything, among all the
works of nature, was so sweet to me as thunder and lightning;
formerly nothing had been so terrible to me.  Before, I used to
be uncommonly terrified with thunder, and to be struck with
terror when I saw a thunderstorm rising; but now, on the
contrary, it rejoices me."[136]

[136] Dwight:  Life of Edwards, New York, 1830, p. 61, abridged.

<244> Billy Bray, an excellent little illiterate English
evangelist, records his sense of newness thus:--

"I said to the Lord:  'Thou hast said, they that ask shall
receive, they that seek shall find, and to them that knock the
door shall be opened, and I have faith to believe it.' In an
instant the Lord made me so happy that I cannot express what I
felt.  I shouted for joy.  I praised God with my whole heart. . .
. I think this was in November, 1823, but what day of the month
I do not know.  I remember this, that everything looked new to
me, the people, the fields, the cattle, the trees.  I was like a
new man in a new world.  I spent the greater part of my time in
praising the Lord."[137]

[137] W. F. Bourne:  The King's Son, a Memoir of Billy Bray,
London, Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1887, p. 9.

Starbuck and Leuba both illustrate this sense of newness by
quotations.  I take the two following from Starbuck's manuscript
collection.  One, a woman, says:--

"I was taken to a camp-meeting, mother and religious friends
seeking and praying for my conversion.  My emotional nature was
stirred to its depths; confessions of depravity and pleading with
God for salvation from sin made me oblivious of all surroundings.
I plead for mercy, and had a vivid realization of forgiveness and
renewal of my nature.  When rising from my knees I exclaimed,
'Old things have passed away, all things have become new.' It was
like entering another world, a new state of existence.  Natural
objects were glorified, my spiritual vision was so clarified that
I saw beauty in every material object in the universe, the woods
were vocal with heavenly music; my soul exulted in the love of
God, and I wanted everybody to share in my joy."

The next case is that of a man:--

"I know not how I got back into the encampment, but found myself
staggering up to Rev. ----'s Holiness tent--and as it was full of
seekers and a terrible noise inside, some groaning, some
laughing, and some shouting, and by a large oak, ten feet from
the tent, I fell on my face by a bench, and tried to pray, and
every time I would call on God, something like a man's hand would
strangle me by choking.  I don't know whether there were any one
around or near me or not.  I thought I should surely die if I did
not get help, but just as often as I would pray, that unseen hand
was felt on my throat and my breath squeezed off. Finally
something said:  'Venture on the atonement, for you will die
anyway if you don't.'  So I made one final struggle to call on
God for mercy, with the same choking and strangling, determined
to finish the sentence of prayer for Mercy, if I did strangle and
die, and the last I remember that time was falling back on the
ground with the same unseen hand on my throat.  I don't know how
long I lay there or what was going on.  None of my folks were
present.  When I came to myself, there were a crowd around me
praising God.  The very heavens seemed to open and pour down rays
of light and glory.  Not for a moment only, but all day and
night, floods of light and glory seemed to pour through my soul,
and oh, how I was changed, and everything became new.  My horses
and hogs and even everybody seemed changed."

This man's case introduces the feature of automatisms, which in
suggestible subjects have been so startling a feature at revivals
since, in Edwards's, Wesley's and Whitfield's time, these became
a regular means of gospel-propagation.  They were at first
supposed to be semi-miraculous proofs of "power" on the part of
the Holy Ghost; but great divergence of opinion quickly arose
concerning them.  Edwards, in his Thoughts on the Revival of
Religion in New England, has to defend them against their
critics; and their value has long been matter of debate even
within the revivalistic denominations.[138] They undoubtedly have
no essential spiritual significance, and although their presence
makes his conversion more memorable to the convert, it has never
been proved that converts who show them are more persevering or
fertile in good fruits than those whose change of heart has had
less violent accompaniments.  On the whole, unconsciousness,
convulsions, visions, involuntary vocal utterances, and
suffocation, must be simply ascribed to the subject's having a
large subliminal region, involving nervous instability. This is
often the subject's own view of the matter afterwards.  One of
Starbuck's correspondents writes, for instance:--

[138] Consult William B. Sprague:  Lectures on Revivals of
Religion, New York, 1832, in the long Appendix to which the
opinions of a large number of ministers are given.

"I have been through the experience which is known as conversion.
My explanation of it is this:  the subject works his emotions up
to the breaking point, at the same time resisting their physical
manifestations, such as quickened pulse, etc., and then suddenly
lets them have their full sway over his body.  The relief is
something wonderful, and the pleasurable effects of the emotions
are experienced to the highest degree."

There is one form of sensory automatism which possibly deserves
special notice on account of its frequency.  I refer to
hallucinatory or pseudo-hallucinatory luminous phenomena,
photisms, to use the term of the psychologists.  Saint Paul's
blinding heavenly vision seems to have been a phenomenon of this
sort; so does Constantine's cross in the sky.  The last case but
one which I quoted mentions floods of light and glory.  Henry
Alline mentions a light, about whose externality he seems
uncertain.  Colonel Gardiner sees a blazing light.  President
Finney writes:--

"All at once the glory of God shone upon and round about me in a
manner almost marvelous. . . . A light perfectly ineffable shone
in my soul, that almost prostrated me on the ground. . . . This
light seemed like the brightness of the sun in every direction. 
It was too intense for the eyes. . . . I think I knew something
then, by actual experience, of that light that prostrated Paul on
the way to Damascus.  It was surely a light such as I could not
have endured long."[139]

[139] Memoirs, p. 34

Such reports of photisms are indeed far from uncommon. Here is
another from Starbuck's collection, where the light appeared
evidently external:--

"I had attended a series of revival services for about two weeks
off and on.  Had been invited to the altar several times, all the
time becoming more deeply impressed, when finally I decided I
must do this, or I should be lost.  Realization of conversion was
very vivid, like a ton's weight being lifted from my heart; a
strange light which seemed to light up the whole room (for it was
dark); a conscious supreme bliss which caused me to repeat 'Glory
to God' for a long time.  Decided to be God's child for life, and
to give up my pet ambition, wealth and social position.  My
former habits of life hindered my growth somewhat, but I set
about overcoming these systematically, and in one year my whole
nature was changed, i. e., my ambitions were of a different

Here is another one of Starbuck's cases, involving a luminous

"I had been clearly converted twenty-three years before, or
rather reclaimed.  My experience in regeneration was then clear
and spiritual, and I had not backslidden.  But I experienced
entire sanctification on the 15th day of March, 1893, about
eleven o'clock in the morning.  The particular accompaniments of
the experience were entirely unexpected.  I was quietly sitting
at home singing selections out of Pentecostal Hymns.  Suddenly
there seemed to be a something sweeping into me and inflating my
entire being--such a sensation as I had never experienced before.

When this experience came, I seemed to be conducted around a
large, capacious, well-lighted room.  As I walked with my
invisible conductor and looked around, a clear thought was coined
in my mind, 'They are not here, they are gone.'  As soon as the
thought was definitely formed in my mind, though no word was
spoken, the Holy Spirit impressed me that I was surveying my
own soul.  Then, for the first time in all my life, did I know
that I was cleansed from all sin, and filled with the fullness of

Leuba quotes the case of a Mr. Peek, where the luminous affection
reminds one of the chromatic hallucinations produced by the
intoxicant cactus buds called mescal by the Mexicans:--

"When I went in the morning into the fields to work, the glory of
God appeared in all his visible creation.  I well remember we
reaped oats, and how every straw and head of the oats seemed, as
it were, arrayed in a kind of rainbow glory, or to glow, if I may
so express it, in the glory of God."[140]

[140] These reports of sensorial photism shade off into what are
evidently only metaphorical accounts of the sense of new
spiritual illumination, as, for instance, in Brainerd's
statement:  "As I was walking in a thick grove, unspeakable glory
seemed to open to the apprehension of my soul.  I do not mean any
external brightness, for I saw no such thing, nor any imagination
of a body of light in the third heavens, or anything of that
nature, but it was a new inward apprehension or view that I had
of God."

In a case like this next one from Starbuck's manuscript
collection the lighting up of the darkness is probably also

"One Sunday night, I resolved that when I got home to the ranch
where I was working, I would offer myself with my faculties and
all to God to be used only by and for him. . . .  It was raining
and the roads were muddy; but this desire grew so strong that I
kneeled down by the side of the road and told God all about it,
intending then to get up and go on.  Such a thing as any special
answer to my prayer never entered my mind, having been converted
by faith, but still being most undoubtedly saved.  Well, while I
was praying, I remember holding out my hands to God and telling
him they should work for him, my feet walk for him, my tongue
speak for him, etc., etc., if he would only use me as his
instrument and give me a satisfying experience--when suddenly the
darkness of the night seemed lit up--I felt, realized, knew, that
God heard and answered my prayer. Deep happiness came over me; I
felt I was accepted into the inner circle of God's loved ones."

In the following case also the flash of light is metaphorical:--

"A prayer meeting had been called for at close of evening
service. The minister supposed me impressed by his discourse (a
mistake--he was dull).  He came and, placing his hand upon my
shoulder, said:  'Do you not want to give your heart to God?'  I
replied in the affirmative.  Then said he, 'Come to the front
seat.'  They sang and prayed and talked with me.  I experienced
nothing but unaccountable wretchedness. They declared that the
reason why I did not 'obtain peace' was because I was not willing
to give up all to God.  After about two hours the minister said
we would go home.  As usual, on retiring, I prayed.  In great
distress, I at this time simply said, 'Lord, I have done all I
can, I leave the whole matter with thee.'  Immediately, like a
flash of light, there came to me a great peace, and I arose and
went into my parents' bedroom and said, 'I do feel so wonderfully
happy.'  This I regard as the hour of conversion.  It was the
hour in which I became assured of divine acceptance and favor. 
So far as my life was concerned, it made little immediate

The most characteristic of all the elements of the conversion
crisis, and the last one of which I shall speak, is the ecstasy
of happiness produced.  We have already heard several accounts of
it, but I will add a couple more.  President Finney's is so vivid
that I give it at length:--

"All my feelings seemed to rise and flow out; and the utterance
of my heart was, 'I want to pour my whole soul out to God.' The
rising of my soul was so great that I rushed into the back room
of the front office, to pray.  There was no fire and no light in
the room; nevertheless it appeared to me as if it were perfectly
light.  As I went in and shut the door after me, it seemed as if
I met the Lord Jesus Christ face to face.  It did not occur to me
then, nor did it for some time afterwards, that it was wholly a
mental state.  On the contrary, it seemed to me that I saw him as
I would see any other man.  He said nothing but looked at me in
such a manner as to break me right down at his feet.  I have
always since regarded this as a most remarkable state of mind;
for it seemed to me a reality that he stood before me, and I fell
down at his feet and poured out my soul to him.  I wept aloud
like a child, and made such confessions as I could with my choked
utterance.  It seemed to me that I bathed his feet with my tears;
and yet I had no distinct impression that I touched him, that I
recollect.  I must have continued in this state for a good while,
but my mind was too absorbed with the interview to recollect
anything that I said.  But I know, as soon as my mind became calm
enough to break off from the interview, I returned to the front
office, and found that the fire that I had made of large wood was
nearly burned out.  But as I turned and was about to take a seat
by the fire, I received a mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost. 
Without any expectation of it, without ever having the thought in
my mind that there was any such thing for me, without any
recollection that I had ever heard the thing mentioned by any
person in the world, the Holy Spirit descended upon me in a
manner that seemed to go through me, body and soul.  I could feel
the impression, like a wave of electricity, going through and
through me.  Indeed, it seemed to come in waves and waves of
liquid love; for I could not express it in any other way.  It
seemed like the very breath of God.  I can recollect distinctly
that it seemed to fan me, like immense wings.

"No words can express the wonderful love that was shed abroad in
my heart.  I wept aloud with joy and love; and I do not know but
I should say I literally bellowed out the unutterable gushings of
my heart.  These waves came over me, and over me, and over me,
one after the other, until I recollect I cried out, 'I shall die
if these waves continue to pass over me.'  I said, 'Lord, I
cannot bear any more;' yet I had no fear of death.

"How long I continued in this state, with this baptism continuing
to roll over me and go through me, I do not know.  But I know it
was late in the evening when a member of my choir --for I was the
leader of the choir--came into the office to see me.  He was a
member of the church.  He found me in this state of loud weeping,
and said to me, 'Mr. Finney, what ails you?'  I could make him no
answer for some time.  He then said, 'Are you in pain?' I
gathered myself up as best I could, and replied, 'No, but so
happy that I cannot live.'"

I just now quoted Billy Bray; I cannot do better than give his
own brief account of his post-conversion feelings:--

"I can't help praising the Lord.  As I go along the street, I
lift up one foot, and it seems to say 'Glory'; and I lift up the
other, and it seems to say 'Amen'; and so they keep up like that
all the time I am walking."[141]

[141] I add in a note a few more records:--

"One morning, being in deep distress, fearing every moment I
should drop into hell, I was constrained to cry in earnest for
mercy, and the Lord came to my relief, and delivered my soul from
the burden and guilt of sin.  My whole frame was in a tremor from
head to foot, and my soul enjoyed sweet peace.  The pleasure I
then felt was indescribable.  The happiness lasted about three
days, during which time I never spoke to any person about my
feelings."  Autobiography of Dan Young, edited by W. P.
Strickland, New York, 1860.

"In an instant there rose up in me such a sense of God's taking
care of those who put their trust in him that for an hour all the
world was crystalline, the heavens were lucid, and I sprang to my
feet and began to cry and laugh."  H. W. Beecher, quoted by

"My tears of sorrow changed to joy, and I lay there praising God
in such ecstasy of joy as only the soul who experiences it can
realize." --"I cannot express how I felt.  It was as if I had
been in a dark dungeon and lifted into the light of the sun.  I
shouted and I sang praise unto him who loved me and washed me
from my sins.  I was forced to retire into a secret place, for
the tears did flow, and I did not wish my shopmates to see me,
and yet I could not keep it a secret."--"I experienced joy almost
to weeping."--"I felt my face must have shone like that of Moses.

I had a general feeling of buoyancy.  It was the greatest joy it
was ever my lot to experience."--"I wept and laughed alternately.

I was as light as if walking on air.  I felt as if I had gained
greater peace and happiness than I had ever expected to
experience." Starbuck's correspondents.

One word, before I close this lecture, on the question of the
transiency or permanence of these abrupt conversions. Some of
you, I feel sure, knowing that numerous backslidings and relapses
take place, make of these their apperceiving mass for
interpreting the whole subject, and dismiss it with a pitying
smile at so much "hysterics."  Psychologically, as well as
religiously, however, this is shallow.  It misses the point of
serious interest, which is not so much the duration as the nature
and quality of these shiftings of character to higher levels. 
Men lapse from every level--we need no statistics to tell us
that.  Love is, for instance, well known not to be irrevocable,
yet, constant or inconstant, it reveals new flights and reaches
of ideality while it lasts.  These revelations form its
significance to men and women, whatever be its duration.  So
with the conversion experience:  that it should for even a short
time show a human being what the high- water mark of his
spiritual capacity is, this is what constitutes its
importance--an importance which backsliding cannot diminish,
although persistence might increase it.  As a matter of fact, all
the more striking instances of conversion, all those, for
instance, which I have quoted, HAVE been permanent.  The case of
which there might be most doubt, on account of its suggesting so
strongly an epileptoid seizure, was the case of M. Ratisbonne. 
Yet I am informed that Ratisbonne's whole future was shaped by
those few minutes. He gave up his project of marriage, became a
priest, founded at Jerusalem, where he went to dwell, a mission
of nuns for the conversion of the Jews, showed no tendency to use
for egotistic purposes the notoriety given him by the peculiar
circumstances of his conversion--which, for the rest, he could
seldom refer to without tears--and in short remained an exemplary
son of the Church until he died, late in the 80's, if I remember

The only statistics I know of, on the subject of the duration of
conversions, are those collected for Professor Starbuck by Miss
Johnston.  They embrace only a hundred persons, evangelical
church-members, more than half being Methodists.  According to
the statement of the subjects themselves, there had been
backsliding of some sort in nearly all the cases, 93 per cent. of
the women, 77 per cent. of the men.  Discussing the returns more
minutely, Starbuck finds that only 6 per cent. are relapses from
the religious faith which the conversion confirmed, and that the
backsliding complained of is in most only a fluctuation in the
ardor of sentiment.  Only six of the hundred cases report a
change of faith.  Starbuck's conclusion is that the effect of
conversion is to bring with it "a changed attitude towards life,
which is fairly constant and permanent, although the feelings
fluctuate. . . . In other words, the persons who have passed
through conversion, having once taken a stand for the religious
life, tend to feel themselves identified with it, no matter how
much their religious enthusiasm declines."[142]

[142] Psychology of Religion, pp. 360, 357.

Lectures XI, XII, and XIII


The last lecture left us in a state of expectancy.  What may the
practical fruits for life have been, of such movingly happy
conversions as those we heard of?  With this question the really
important part of our task opens, for you remember that we began
all this empirical inquiry not merely to open a curious chapter
in the natural history of human consciousness, but rather to
attain a spiritual judgment as to the total value and positive
meaning of all the religious trouble and happiness which we have
seen.  We must, therefore, first describe the fruits of the
religious life, and then we must judge them.  This divides our
inquiry into two distinct parts.  Let us without further preamble
proceed to the descriptive task.

It ought to be the pleasantest portion of our business in these
lectures.  Some small pieces of it, it is true, may be painful,
or may show human nature in a pathetic light, but it will be
mainly pleasant, because the best fruits of religious experience
are the best things that history has to show.  They have always
been esteemed so; here if anywhere is the genuinely strenuous
life; and to call to mind a succession of such examples as I have
lately had to wander through, though it has been only in the
reading of them, is to feel encouraged and uplifted and washed in
better moral air.

The highest flights of charity, devotion, trust, patience,
bravery to which the wings of human nature have spread themselves
have been flown for religious ideals.  I can do no better than
quote, as to this, some remarks which Sainte-Beuve in his History
of Port-Royal makes on the results of conversion or the state of

"Even from the purely human point of view," Sainte-Beuve says,
"the phenomenon of grace must still appear sufficiently
extraordinary, eminent, and rare, both in its nature and in its
effects, to deserve a closer study.  For the soul arrives thereby
at a certain fixed and invincible state, a state which is
genuinely heroic, and from out of which the greatest deeds which
it ever performs are executed.  Through all the different forms
of communion, and all the diversity of the means which help to
produce this state, whether it be reached by a jubilee, by a
general confession, by a solitary prayer and effusion, whatever
in short to be the place and the occasion, it is easy to
recognize that it is fundamentally one state in spirit and
fruits.  Penetrate a little beneath the diversity of
circumstances, and it becomes evident that in Christians of
different epochs it is always one and the same modification by
which they are affected:  there is veritably a single fundamental
and identical spirit of piety and charity, common to those who
have received grace; an inner state which before all things is
one of love and humility, of infinite confidence in God, and of
severity for one's self, accompanied with tenderness for others. 
The fruits peculiar to this condition of the soul have the same
savor in all, under distant suns and in different surroundings,
in Saint Teresa of Avila just as in any Moravian brother of

[143] Sainte-Beuve:  Port-Royal, vol. i. pp. 95 and 106,

Sainte-Beuve has here only the more eminent instances of
regeneration in mind, and these are of course the instructive
ones for us also to consider.  These devotees have often laid
their course so differently from other men that, judging them by
worldly law, we might be tempted to call them monstrous
aberrations from the path of nature.  I begin therefore by asking
a general psychological question as to what the inner conditions
are which may make one human character differ so extremely from

I reply at once that where the character, as something
distinguished from the intellect, is concerned, the causes of
human diversity lie chiefly in our differing susceptibilities of
emotional excitement, and in the different impulses and
inhibitions which these bring in their train.  Let me make this
more clear.

Speaking generally, our moral and practical attitude, at any
given time, is always a resultant of two sets of forces within
us, impulses pushing us one way and obstructions and inhibitions
holding us back.  "Yes! yes!" say the impulses; "No! no!" say the
inhibitions.  Few people who have not expressly reflected on the
matter realize how constantly this factor of inhibition is upon
us, how it contains and moulds us by its restrictive pressure
almost as if we were fluids pent within the cavity of a jar.  The
influence is so incessant that it becomes subconscious.  All of
you, for example, sit here with a certain constraint at this
moment, and entirely without express consciousness of the fact,
because of the influence of the occasion.  If left alone in the
room, each of you would probably involuntarily rearrange himself,
and make his attitude more "free and easy."  But proprieties and
their inhibitions snap like cobwebs if any great emotional
excitement supervenes.  I have seen a dandy appear in the street
with his face covered with shaving-lather because a house across
the way was on fire; and a woman will run among strangers in her
nightgown if it be a question of saving her baby's life or her
own.  Take a self-indulgent woman's life in general.  She will
yield to every inhibition set by her disagreeable sensations, lie
late in bed, live upon tea or bromides, keep indoors from the
cold.  Every difficulty finds her obedient to its "no."  But make
a mother of her, and what have you?  Possessed by maternal
excitement, she now confronts wakefulness, weariness, and toil 
without an instant of hesitation or a word of complaint. The
inhibitive power of pain over her is extinguished wherever the
baby's interests are at stake.  The inconveniences which this
creature occasions have become, as James Hinton says, the glowing
heart of a great joy, and indeed are now the very conditions
whereby the joy becomes most deep.

This is an example of what you have already heard of as the
"expulsive power of a higher affection."  But be the affection
high or low, it makes no difference, so long as the excitement it
brings be strong enough.  In one of Henry Drummond's discourses
he tells of an inundation in India where an eminence with a
bungalow upon it remained unsubmerged, and became the refuge of a
number of wild animals and reptiles in addition to the human
beings who were there.  At a certain moment a royal Bengal tiger
appeared swimming towards it, reached it, and lay panting like a
dog upon the ground in the midst of the people, still possessed
by such an agony of terror that one of the Englishmen could
calmly step up with a rifle and blow out its brains.  The tiger's
habitual ferocity was temporarily quelled by the emotion of fear,
which became sovereign, and formed a new centre for his

Sometimes no emotional state is sovereign, but many contrary ones
are mixed together.  In that case one hears both "yeses" and
"noes," and the "will" is called on then to solve the conflict. 
Take a soldier, for example, with his dread of cowardice
impelling him to advance, his fears impelling him to run, and his
propensities to imitation pushing him towards various courses if
his comrades offer various examples.  His person becomes the seat
of a mass of interferences; and he may for a time simply waver,
because no one emotion prevails.  There is a pitch of intensity,
though, which, if any emotion reach it, enthrones that one as
alone effective and sweeps its antagonists and all their
inhibitions away.  The fury of his comrades' charge, once entered
on, will give this pitch of courage to the soldier; the panic of
their rout will give this pitch of fear.  In these sovereign
excitements, things ordinarily impossible grow natural because
the inhibitions are annulled.  Their "no! no!" not only is not
heard, it does not exist.  Obstacles are then like tissue-paper
hoops to the circus rider--no impediment; the flood is higher
than the dam they make.

"Lass sie betteln gehn wenn sie hungrig sind!" cries the
grenadier, frantic over his Emperor's capture, when his wife and
babes are suggested; and men pent into a burning theatre have
been known to cut their way through the crowd with knives.[144]

[144] "'Love would not be love,' says Bourget, 'unless it could
carry one to crime.'  And so one may say that no passion would be
a veritable passion unless it could carry one to crime."   
(Sighele:  Psychollogie des sectes, p. 136.) In other words,
great passions annul the ordinary inhibitions set by
"conscience."  And conversely, of all the criminal human beings,
the false, cowardly, sensual, or cruel persons who actually live,
there is perhaps not one whose criminal impulse may not be at
some moment overpowered by the presence of some other emotion to
which his character is also potentially liable, provided that
other emotion be only made intense enough.  Fear is usually the
most available emotion for this result in this particular class
of persons.  It stands for conscience, and may here be classed
appropriately as a "higher affection."  If we are soon to die, or
if we believe a day of judgment to be near at hand, how quickly
do we put our moral house in order--we do not see how sin can
evermore exert temptation over us! Old-fashioned hell-fire
Christianity well knew how to extract from fear its full
equivalent in the way of fruits for repentance, and its full
conversion value.

One mode of emotional excitability is exceedingly important in
the composition of the energetic character, from its peculiarly
destructive power over inhibitions.  I mean what in its lower
form is mere irascibility, susceptibility to wrath, the fighting
temper; and what in subtler ways manifests itself as impatience,
grimness, earnestness, severity of character. Earnestness means
willingness to live with energy, though energy bring pain.  The
pain may be pain to other people or pain to one's self--it makes
little difference; for when the strenuous mood is on one, the aim
is to break something, no matter whose or what.  Nothing
annihilates an inhibition as irresistibly as anger does it; for,
as Moltke says of war, destruction pure and simple is its
essence.  This is what makes it so invaluable an ally of every
other passion.  The sweetest delights are trampled on with a
ferocious pleasure the moment they offer themselves as checks to
a cause by which our higher indignations are elicited.  It costs
then nothing to drop friendships, to renounce long-rooted
privileges and possessions, to break with social ties.  Rather do
we take a stern joy in the astringency and desolation; and what
is called weakness of character seems in most cases to consist in
the inaptitude for these sacrificial moods, of which one's own
inferior self and its pet softnesses must often be the targets
and the victims.[145]

[145] Example:  Benjamin Constant was often marveled at as an
extraordinary instance of superior intelligence with inferior
character.  He writes (Journal, Paris, 1895, p. 56), "I am tossed
and dragged about by my miserable weakness.  Never was anything
so ridiculous as my indecision.  Now marriage, now solitude; now
Germany, now France hesitation upon hesitation, and all because
at bottom I am UNABLE TO GIVE UP ANYTHING."  He can't "get mad"
at any of his alternatives; and the career of a man beset by such
an all-round amiability is hopeless.

So far I have spoken of temporary alterations produced by
shifting excitements in the same person.  But the relatively
fixed differences of character of different persons are explained
in a precisely similar way.  In a man with a liability to a
special sort of emotion, whole ranges of inhibition habitually
vanish, which in other men remain effective, and other sorts of
inhibition take their place.  When a person has an inborn genius
for certain emotions, his life differs strangely from that of
ordinary people, for none of their usual deterrents check him. 
Your mere aspirant to a type of character, on the contrary, only
shows, when your natural lover, fighter, or reformer, with whom
the passion is a gift of nature, comes along, the hopeless
inferiority of voluntary to instinctive action.  He has
deliberately to overcome his inhibitions; the genius with the
inborn passion seems not to feel them at all; he is free of all
that inner friction and nervous waste.  To a Fox, a Garibaldi, a
General Booth, a John Brown, a Louise Michel, a Bradlaugh, the
obstacles omnipotent over those around them are as if
non-existent.  Should the rest of us so disregard them, there
might be many such heroes, for many have the wish to live for
similar ideals, and only the adequate degree of
inhibition-quenching fury is lacking.[146]

[146] The great thing which the higher excitabilities give is
COURAGE; and the addition or subtraction of a certain amount of
this quality makes a different man, a different life.  Various
excitements let the courage loose.  Trustful hope will do it;
inspiring example will do it; love will do it, wrath will do it. 
In some people it is natively so high that the mere touch of
danger does it, though danger is for most men the great inhibitor
of action.  "Love of adventure" becomes in such persons a ruling
passion.  "I believe," says General Skobeleff, "that my bravery
is simply the passion and at the same time the contempt of
danger.  The risk of life fills me with an exaggerated rapture.
The fewer there are to share it, the more I like it.  The
participation of my body in the event is required to furnish me
an adequate excitement.  Everything intellectual appears to me to
be reflex; but a meeting of man to man, a duel, a danger into
which I can throw myself headforemost, attracts me, moves me,
intoxicates me.  I am crazy for it, I love it, I adore it.  I run
after danger as one runs after women; I wish it never to stop.
Were it always the same, it would always bring me a new pleasure.

When I throw myself into an adventure in which I hope to find it,
my heart palpitates with the uncertainty; I could wish at once to
have it appear and yet to delay.  A sort of painful and delicious
shiver shakes me; my entire nature runs to meet the peril with an
impetus that my will would in vain try to resist. (Juliette Adam: 
Le General Skobeleff, Nouvelle Revue, 1886, abridged.) Skobeleff
seems to have been a cruel egoist; but the disinterested
Garibaldi, if one may judge by his "Memorie," lived in an
unflagging emotion of similar danger-seeking excitement.

The difference between willing and merely wishing, between having
ideals that are creative and ideals that are but pinings and
regrets, thus depends solely either on the amount of
steam-pressure chronically driving the character in the ideal
direction, or on the amount of ideal excitement transiently
acquired.  Given a certain amount of love, indignation,
generosity, magnanimity, admiration, loyalty, or enthusiasm of
self-surrender, the result is always the same.  That whole raft
of cowardly obstructions, which in tame persons and dull moods
are sovereign impediments to action, sinks away at once.  Our
conventionality,[147] our shyness, laziness, and stinginess, our
demands for precedent and permission, for guarantee and surety,
our small suspicions, timidities, despairs, where are they now? 
Severed like cobwebs, broken like bubbles in the sun--

     "Wo sind die Sorge nun und Noth
      Die mich noch gestern wollt' erschlaffen?
      Ich scham' mich dess' im Morgenroth."

The flood we are borne on rolls them so lightly under that their
very contact is unfelt.  Set free of them, we float and soar and
sing.  This auroral openness and uplift gives to all creative
ideal levels a bright and caroling quality, which is nowhere more
marked than where the controlling emotion is religious.  "The
true monk," writes an Italian mystic, "takes nothing with him but
his lyre."

[147] See the case on p. 69, above, where the writer describes
his experiences of communion with the Divine as consisting
which usually cover my life."

We may now turn from these psychological generalities to those
fruits of the religious state which form the special subject of
our present lecture.  The man who lives in his religious centre
of personal energy, and is actuated by spiritual enthusiasms,
differs from his previous carnal self in perfectly definite ways.

The new ardor which burns in his breast consumes in its glow the
lower "noes" which formerly beset him, and keeps him immune
against infection from the entire groveling portion of his
nature.  Magnanimities once impossible are now easy; paltry
conventionalities and mean incentives once tyrannical hold no
sway.  The stone wall inside of him has fallen, the hardness in
his heart has broken down.  The rest of us can, I think, imagine
this by recalling our state of feeling in those temporary
"melting moods" into which either the trials of real life, or the
theatre, or a novel sometimes throws us.  Especially if we weep! 
For it is then as if our tears broke through an inveterate inner
dam, and let all sorts of ancient peccancies and moral
stagnancies drain away, leaving us now washed and soft of heart
and open to every nobler leading.  With most of us the customary
hardness quickly returns, but not so with saintly persons.  Many
saints, even as energetic ones as Teresa and Loyola, have
possessed what the church traditionally reveres as a special
grace, the so-called gift of tears.  In these persons the melting
mood seems to have held almost uninterrupted control.  And as it
is with tears and melting moods, so it is with other exalted
affections.  Their reign may come by gradual growth or by a
crisis; but in either case it may have "come to stay."

At the end of the last lecture we saw this permanence to be true
of the general paramountcy of the higher insight, even though in
the ebbs of emotional excitement meaner motives might temporarily
prevail and backsliding might occur.  But that lower temptations
may remain completely annulled, apart from transient emotion and
as if by alteration of the man's habitual nature, is also proved
by documentary evidence in certain cases.  Before embarking on
the general natural history of the regenerate character, let me
convince you of this curious fact by one or two examples. The
most numerous are those of reformed drunkards.  You recollect the
case of Mr. Hadley in the last lecture; the Jerry McAuley Water
Street Mission abounds in similar instances.[148]  You also
remember the graduate of Oxford, converted at three in the
afternoon, and getting drunk in the hay-field the next day,
but after that permanently cured of his appetite.  "From that
hour drink has had no terrors for me:  I never touch it, never
want it.  The same thing occurred with my pipe. . . . the desire
for it went at once and has never returned.  So with every known
sin, the deliverance in each case being permanent and complete. 
I have had no temptations since conversion."

[148] Above, p. 200.  "The only radical remedy I know for
dipsomania is religiomania," is a saying I have heard quoted from
some medical man.

Here is an analogous case from Starbuck's manuscript

"I went into the old Adelphi Theatre, where there was a Holiness
meeting, . . . and I began saying, 'Lord, Lord, I must have this
blessing.'  Then what was to me an audible voice said:  'Are you
willing to give up everything to the Lord?' and question after
question kept coming up, to all of which I said:  'Yes, Lord;
yes, Lord!' until this came:  'Why do you not accept it NOW?' and
I said:  'I do, Lord.'--I felt no particular joy, only a trust. 
Just then the meeting closed, and, as I went out on the street, I
met a gentleman smoking a fine cigar, and a cloud of smoke came
into my face, and I took a long, deep breath of it, and praise
the Lord, all my appetite for it was gone.  Then as I walked
along the street, passing saloons where the fumes of liquor came
out, I found that all my taste and longing for that accursed
stuff was gone.  Glory to God! . . . [But] for ten or eleven long
years [after that] I was in the wilderness with its ups and
downs.  My appetite for liquor never came back."

The classic case of Colonel Gardiner is that of a man cured of
sexual temptation in a single hour.  To Mr. Spears the colonel
said, "I was effectually cured of all inclination to that sin I
was so strongly addicted to that I thought nothing but shooting
me through the head could have cured me of it; and all desire and
inclination to it was removed, as entirely as if I had been a
sucking child; nor did the temptation return to this day."  Mr.
Webster's words on the same subject are these:  "One thing I have
heard the colonel frequently say, that he was much addicted to
impurity before his acquaintance with religion; but that, so soon
as he was enlightened from above, he felt the power of the Holy
Ghost changing his nature so wonderfully that his sanctification
in this respect seemed more remarkable than in any other."[149]

[149] Doddridge's Life of Colonel James Gardiner, London
Religious Tract Society, pp. 23-32.

Such rapid abolition of ancient impulses and propensities reminds
us so strongly of what has been observed as the result of
hypnotic suggestion that it is difficult not to believe that
subliminal influences play the decisive part in these abrupt
changes of heart, just as they do in hypnotism.[150] Suggestive
therapeutics abound in records of cure, after a few sittings, of
inveterate bad habits with which the patient, left to ordinary
moral and physical influences, had struggled in vain.  Both
drunkenness and sexual vice have been cured in this way, action
through the subliminal seeming thus in many individuals to have
the prerogative of inducing relatively stable change.  If the
grace of God miraculously operates, it probably operates through
the subliminal door, then.  But just HOW anything operates in
this region is still unexplained, and we shall do well now to say
good-by to the PROCESS of transformation altogether--leaving it,
if you like, a good deal of a psychological or theological
mystery--and to turn our attention to the fruits of the religious
condition, no matter in what way they may have been

[150] Here, for example, is a case, from Starbuck's book, in
which a "sensory automatism" brought about quickly what prayers
and resolves had been unable to effect.  The subject is a woman. 
She writes:--

"When I was about forty I tried to quit smoking, but the desire
was on me, and had me in its power.  I cried and prayed and
promised God to quit, but could not.  I had smoked for fifteen
years.  When I was fifty-three, as I sat by the fire one day
smoking, a voice came to me.  I did not hear it with my ears, but
more as a dream or sort of double think.  It said, 'Louisa, lay
down smoking.'  At once I replied. 'Will you take the desire
away?' But it only kept saying:  'Louisa, lay down smoking.' 
Then I got up, laid my pipe on the mantel-shelf, and never smoked
again or had any desire to.  The desire was gone as though I had
never known it or touched tobacco.  The sight of others smoking
and the smell of smoke never gave me the least wish to touch it
again."    The Psychology of Religion, p. 142.

[151] Professor Starbuck expresses the radical destruction of old
influences physiologically, as a cutting off of the connection
between higher and lower cerebral centres.  "This condition," he
says, "in which the association-centres connected with the
spiritual life are cut off from the lower, is often reflected in
the way correspondents describe their experiences. . . .  For
example:  'Temptations from without still assail me, but there is
nothing WITHIN to respond to them.' The ego [here] is wholly
identified with the higher centres whose quality of feeling is
that of withinness.  Another of the respondents says:  'Since
then, although Satan tempts me, there is as it were a wall of
brass around me, so that his darts cannot touch me.'"
--Unquestionably, functional exclusions of this sort must occur
in the cerebral organ.  But on the side accessible to
introspection, their causal condition is nothing but the degree
of spiritual excitement, getting at last so high and strong as to
be sovereign, and it must be frankly confessed that we do not
know just why or how such sovereignty comes about in one person
and not in another.  We can only give our imagination a certain
delusive help by mechanical analogies.

If we should conceive, for example, that the human mind, with its
different possibilities of equilibrium, might be like a
many-sided solid with different surfaces on which it could lie
flat, we might liken mental revolutions to the spatial
revolutions of such a body.  As it is pried up, say by a lever,
from a position in which it lies on surface A, for instance, it
will linger for a time unstably halfway up, and if the lever
cease to urge it, it will tumble back or "relapse" under the
continued pull of gravity.  But if at last it rotate far enough
for its centre of gravity to pass beyond surface A altogether,
the body will fall over, on surface B, say, and abide there
permanently.  The pulls of gravity towards A have vanished, and
may now be disregarded. The polyhedron has become immune against
farther attraction from their direction.

In this figure of speech the lever may correspond to the
emotional influences making for a new life, and the initial pull
of gravity to the ancient drawbacks and inhibitions.  So long as
the emotional influence fails to reach a certain pitch of
efficacy, the changes it produces are unstable, and the man
relapses into his original attitude. But when a certain intensity
is attained by the new emotion, a critical point is passed, and
there then ensues an irreversible revolution, equivalent to the
production of a new nature.

The collective name for the ripe fruits of religion in a
character is Saintliness.[152] The saintly character is the
character for which spiritual emotions are the habitual centre of
the personal energy; and there is a certain composite photograph
of universal saintliness, the same in all religions, of which the
features can easily be traced.[153]

[152] I use this word in spite of a certain flavor of
"sanctimoniousness" which sometimes clings to it, because no
other word suggests as well the exact combination of affections
which the text goes on to describe.

[153] "It will be found," says Dr. W. R. Inge (in his lectures on
Christian Mysticism, London, 1899, p. 326), "that men of
preeminent saintliness agree very closely in what they tell us. 
They tell us that they have arrived at an unshakable conviction,
not based on inference but on immediate experience, that God is a
spirit with whom the human spirit can hold intercourse; that in
him meet all that they can imagine of goodness, truth, and
beauty; that they can see his footprints everywhere in nature,
and feel his presence within them as the very life of their life,
so that in proportion as they come to themselves they come to
him.  They tell us what separates us from him and from happiness
is, first, self-seeking in all its forms; and secondly,
sensuality in all its forms; that these are the ways of darkness
and death, which hide from us the face of God; while the path of
the just is like a shining light, which shineth more and more
unto the perfect day."

They are these:--

1.  A feeling of being in a wider life than that of this world's
selfish little interests; and a conviction, not merely
intellectual, but as it were sensible, of the existence of an
Ideal Power.  In Christian saintliness this power is always
personified as God; but abstract moral ideals, civic or patriotic
utopias, or inner versions of holiness or right may also be felt
as the true lords and enlargers of our life, in ways which I
described in the lecture on the Reality of the Unseen.[154]

[154] The "enthusiasm of humanity" may lead to a life which
coalesces in many respects with that of Christian saintliness. 
Take the following rules proposed to members of the Union pour
l'Action morale, in the Bulletin de l'Union, April 1-15, 1894. 
See, also, Revue Bleue, August 13, 1892.

"We would make known in our own persons the usefulness of rule,
of discipline, of resignation and renunciation; we would teach
the necessary perpetuity of suffering, and explain the creative
part which it plays.  We would wage war upon false optimism; on
the base hope of happiness coming to us ready made; on the notion
of a salvation by knowledge alone, or by material civilization
alone, vain symbol as this is of civilization, precarious
external arrangement ill-fitted to replace the intimate union and
consent of souls.  We would wage war also on bad morals, whether
in public or in private life; on luxury, fastidiousness, and
over-refinement, on all that tends to increase the painful,
immoral, and anti-social multiplications of our wants; on all
that excites envy and dislike in the soul of the common people,
and confirms the notion that the chief end of life is freedom to
enjoy.  We would preach by our example the respect of superiors
and equals, the respect of all men; affectionate simplicity in
our relations with inferiors and insignificant persons;
indulgence where our own claims only are concerned, but firmness
in our demands where they relate to duties towards others or
towards the public.

"For the common people are what we help them to become; their
vices are our vices, gazed upon, envied, and imitated; and if
they come back with all their weight upon us, it is but just.

2.  A sense of the friendly continuity of the ideal power with
our own life, and a willing self-surrender to its control.

3.  An immense elation and freedom, as the outlines of the
confining selfhood melt down.

4.  A shifting of the emotional centre towards loving and
harmonious affections, towards "yes, yes," and away from "no,"
where the claims of the non-ego are concerned. These fundamental
inner conditions have characteristic practical consequences, as

a.  Asceticism.--The self-surrender may become so passionate as
to turn into self-immolation.  It may then so over-rule the
ordinary inhibitions of the flesh that the saint finds positive
pleasure in sacrifice and asceticism, measuring and expressing as
they do the degree of his loyalty to the higher power.

b.  Strength of Soul.--The sense of enlargement of life may be so
uplifting that personal motives and inhibitions, commonly
omnipotent, become too insignificant for notice, and new reaches
of patience and fortitude open out.  Fears and anxieties go, and
blissful equanimity takes their place. Come heaven, come hell, it
makes no difference now!

"We forbid ourselves all seeking after popularity, all ambition
to appear important.  We pledge ourselves to abstain from
falsehood, in all its degrees.  We promise not to create or
encourage illusions as to what is possible, by what we say or
write. We promise to one another active sincerity, which strives
to see truth clearly, and which never fears to declare what it

"We promise deliberate resistance to the tidal waves of fashion,
to the 'booms' and panics of the public mind, to all the forms of
weakness and of fear.

"We forbid ourselves the use of sarcasm.  Of serious things we
will speak seriously and unsmilingly, without banter and without
the appearance of banter;--and even so of all things, for there
are serious ways of being light of heart.

"We will put ourselves forward always for what we are, simply and
without false humility, as well as without pedantry, affectation,
or pride."

c.  Purity.--The shifting of the emotional centre brings with it,
first, increase of purity.  The sensitiveness to spiritual
discords is enhanced, and the cleansing of existence from brutal
and sensual elements becomes imperative.  Occasions of contact
with such elements are avoided:  the saintly life must deepen its
spiritual consistency and keep unspotted from the world.  In some
temperaments this need of purity of spirit takes an ascetic turn,
and weaknesses of the flesh are treated with relentless severity.

d.  Charity.--The shifting of the emotional centre brings,
secondly, increase of charity, tenderness for fellow-creatures.
The ordinary motives to antipathy, which usually set such close
bounds to tenderness among human beings, are inhibited. The saint
loves his enemies, and treats loathsome beggars as his brothers.

I now have to give some concrete illustrations of these fruits of
the spiritual tree.  The only difficulty is to choose, for they
are so abundant.

Since the sense of Presence of a higher and friendly power seems
to be the fundamental feature in the spiritual life, I will begin
with that.

In our narratives of conversion we saw how the world might look
shining and transfigured to the convert,[155] and, apart from
anything acutely religious, we all have moments when the
universal life seems to wrap us round with friendliness. In youth
and health, in summer, in the woods or on the mountains, there
come days when the weather seems all whispering with peace, hours
when the goodness and beauty of existence enfold us like a dry
warm climate, or chime through us as if our inner ears were
subtly ringing with the world's security.  Thoreau writes:--

[155] Above, pp. 243 ff.

"Once, a few weeks after I came to the woods, for an hour I
doubted whether the near neighborhood of man was not essential to
a serene and healthy life.  To be alone was somewhat unpleasant.
But, in the midst of a gentle rain, while these thoughts
prevailed, I was suddenly sensible of such sweet and beneficent
society in Nature, in the very pattering of the drops, and in
<270> every sight and sound around my house, an infinite and
unaccountable friendliness all at once, like an atmosphere,
sustaining me, as made the fancied advantages of human
neighborhood insignificant, and I have never thought of them
since.  Every little pine-needle expanded and swelled with
sympathy and befriended me.  I was so distinctly made aware of
the presence of something kindred to me, that I thought no place
could ever be strange to me again."[156]

[156] H. Thoreau:  Walden, Riverside edition, p. 206, abridged.

In the Christian consciousness this sense of the enveloping
friendliness becomes most personal and definite.  "The
compensation," writes a German author,--"for the loss of that
sense of personal independence which man so unwillingly gives up,
is the disappearance of all FEAR from one's life, the quite
indescribable and inexplicable feeling of an inner SECURITY,
which one can only experience, but which, once it has been
experienced, one can never forget."[157]

[157] C. H. Hilty:  Gluck, vol. i. p. 85.

I find an excellent description of this state of mind in a sermon
by Mr. Voysey:--

"It is the experience of myriads of trustful souls, that this
sense of God's unfailing presence with them in their going out
and in their coming in, and by night and day, is a source of
absolute repose and confident calmness.  It drives away all fear
of what may befall them.  That nearness of God is a constant
security against terror and anxiety.  It is not that they are at
all assured of physical safety, or deem themselves protected by a
love which is denied to others, but that they are in a state of
mind equally ready to be safe or to meet with injury.  If injury
befall them, they will be content to bear it because the Lord is
their keeper, and nothing can befall them without his will.  If
it be his will, then injury is for them a blessing and no
calamity at all.  Thus and thus only is the trustful man
protected and shielded from harm.  And I for one--by no means a
thick-skinned or hard-nerved man-am absolutely satisfied with
this arrangement, and do not wish for any other kind of immunity
from danger and catastrophe.  Quite as sensitive to pain as the
most highly strung organism, I yet feel that the worst of it is
conquered, and the sting taken out of it altogether, by the
thought that God is our loving and sleepless keeper, and that
nothing can hurt us without his will."[158]

[158] The Mystery of Pain and Death, London, 1892, p. 258.

More excited expressions of this condition are abundant in
religious literature.  I could easily weary you with their
monotony. Here is an account from Mrs. Jonathan Edwards:--

"Last night," Mrs. Edwards writes, "was the sweetest night I
ever had in my life.  I never before, for so long a time
together, enjoyed so much of the light and rest and sweetness of
heaven in my soul, but without the least agitation of body during
the whole time.  Part of the night I lay awake, sometimes asleep,
and sometimes between sleeping and waking.  But all night I
continued in a constant, clear, and lively sense of the heavenly
sweetness of Christ's excellent love, of his nearness to me, and
of my dearness to him; with an inexpressibly sweet calmness of
soul in an entire rest in him.  I seemed to myself to perceive a
glow of divine love come down from the heart of Christ in heaven
into my heart in a constant stream, like a stream or pencil of
sweet light.  At the same time my heart and soul all flowed out
in love to Christ, so that there seemed to be a constant flowing
and reflowing of heavenly love, and I appeared to myself to float
or swim, in these bright, sweet beams, like the motes swimming in
the beams of the sun, or the streams of his light which come in
at the window.  I think that what I felt each minute was worth
more than all the outward comfort and pleasure which I had
enjoyed in my whole life put together.  It was pleasure, without
the least sting, or any interruption.  It was a sweetness, which
my soul was lost in; it seemed to be all that my feeble frame
could sustain.  There was but little difference, whether I was
asleep or awake, but if there was any difference, the sweetness
was greatest while I was asleep.[159]  As I awoke early the next
morning, it seemed to me that I had entirely done with myself.  I
felt that the opinions of the world concerning me were nothing,
and that I had no more to do with any outward interest of my own
than with that of a person whom I never saw. The glory of God
seemed to swallow up every wish and desire of my heart. . . .
After retiring to rest and sleeping a little while, I awoke, and
was led to reflect on God's mercy to me, in giving me, for many
years, a willingness to die; and after that, in making me willing
to live, that I might do and suffer whatever he called me to
here.  I also thought how God had graciously given me an entire
resignation to his will, with respect to the kind and manner of
death that I should die; having been made willing to die on the
rack, or at the stake, and if it were God's will, to die in
darkness.  But now it occurred to me, I used to think of living
no longer than to the ordinary age of man.  Upon this I was led
to ask myself, whether I was not willing to be kept out of heaven
even longer; and my whole heart seemed immediately to reply: 
Yes, a thousand years, and a thousand in horror, if it be most
for the honor of God, the torment of my body being so great,
awful, and overwhelming that none could bear to live in the
country where the spectacle was seen, and the torment of my mind
being vastly greater.  And it seemed to me that I found a perfect
willingness, quietness, and alacrity of soul in consenting that
it should be so, if it were most for the glory of God, so that
there was no hesitation, doubt, or darkness in my mind.  The
glory of God seemed to overcome me and swallow me up, and every
conceivable suffering, and everything that was terrible to my
nature, seemed to shrink to nothing before it.  This resignation
continued in its clearness and brightness the rest of the night,
and all the next day, and the night following, and on Monday in
the forenoon, without interruption or abatement."[160]

[159] Compare Madame Guyon:  "It was my practice to arise at
midnight for purposes of devotion. . . . It seemed to me that
God came at the precise time and woke me from sleep in order that
I might enjoy him.  When I was out of health or greatly fatigued,
he did not awake me, but at such times I felt, even in my sleep,
a singular possession of God.  He loved me so much that he seemed
to pervade my being, at a time when I could be only imperfectly
conscious of his presence.  My sleep is sometimes broken--a sort
of half sleep; but my soul seems to be awake enough to know God,
when it is hardly capable of knowing anything else."  T. C.
Upham:  The Life and Religious Experiences of Madame de la Mothe
Guyon, New York, 1877, vol. i. p. 260.

[160] I have considerably abridged the words of the original,
which is given in Edwards's Narrative of the Revival in New

The annals of Catholic saintship abound in records as ecstatic or
more ecstatic than this.  "Often the assaults of the divine
love," it is said of the Sister Seraphique de la Martiniere,
"reduced her almost to the point of death.  She used tenderly to
complain of this to God.  'I cannot support it,' she used to say.

'Bear gently with my weakness, or I shall expire under the
violence of your love.'"[161]

[161] Bougaud:  Hist. de la Bienheureuse Marguerite Marie, 1894,
p. 125.

Let me pass next to the Charity and Brotherly Love which are a
usual fruit of saintliness, and have always been reckoned
essential theological virtues, however limited may have been the
kinds of service which the particular theology enjoined.
Brotherly love would follow logically from the assurance of God's
friendly presence, the notion of our brotherhood as men being an
immediate inference from that of God's fatherhood of us all. 
When Christ utters the precepts:  "Love your enemies, bless them
that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them
which despitefully use you, and persecute you," he gives for a
reason:  "That ye may be the children of your Father which is in
heaven:  for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the
good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust."  One
might therefore be tempted to explain both the humility as to
one's self and the charity towards others which characterize
spiritual excitement, as results of the all-leveling character of
theistic belief.  But these affections are certainly not mere
derivatives of theism.  We find them in Stoicism, in Hinduism,
and in Buddhism in the highest possible degree. They HARMONIZE
with paternal theism beautifully; but they harmonize with all
reflection whatever upon the dependence of mankind on general
causes; and we must, I think, consider them not subordinate but
coordinate parts of that great complex excitement in the study of
which we are engaged. Religious rapture, moral enthusiasm,
ontological wonder, cosmic emotion, are all unifying states of
mind, in which the sand and grit of the selfhood incline to
disappear, and tenderness to rule.  The best thing is to describe
the condition integrally as a characteristic affection to which
our nature is liable, a region in which we find ourselves at
home, a sea in which we swim; but not to pretend to explain its
parts by deriving them too cleverly from one another.  Like love
or fear, the faith-state is a natural psychic complex, and
carries charity with it by organic consequence.  Jubilation is an
expansive affection, and all expansive affections are
self-forgetful and kindly so long as they endure.

We find this the case even when they are pathological in origin. 
In his instructive work, la Tristesse et la Joie,[162] M. Georges
Dumas compares together the melancholy and the joyous phase of
circular insanity, and shows that, while selfishness
characterizes the one, the other is marked by altruistic
impulses.  No human being so stingy and useless as was Marie in
her melancholy period!  But the moment the happy period begins,
"sympathy and kindness become her characteristic sentiments.  She
displays a universal goodwill, not only of intention, but in act.
. . .  She becomes solicitous of the health of other patients,
interested in getting them out, desirous to procure wool to knit
socks for some of them. Never since she has been under my
observation have I heard her in her joyous period utter any but
charitable opinions."[163]  And later, Dr. Dumas says of all such
joyous conditions that "unselfish sentiments and tender emotions
are the only affective states to be found in them.  The subject's
mind is closed against envy, hatred, and vindictiveness, and
wholly transformed into benevolence, indulgence, and mercy."[164]

[162] Paris, 1900.

[163] Page 130.

[164] Page 167.

There is thus an organic affinity between joyousness and
tenderness, and their companionship in the saintly life need in
no way occasion surprise.  Along with the happiness, this
increase of tenderness is often noted in narratives of
conversion. "I began to work for others";--"I had more tender
feeling for my family and friends";--"I spoke at once to a person
with whom I had been angry";--"I felt for every one, and loved my
friends better";--"I felt every one to be my friend";--these are
so many expressions from the records collected by Professor

[165] Op. cit., p. 127.

"When," says Mrs. Edwards, continuing the narrative from which I
made quotation a moment ago, "I arose on the morning of the
Sabbath, I felt a love to all mankind, wholly peculiar in its
strength and sweetness, far beyond all that I had ever felt
before.  The power of that love seemed inexpressible.  I thought,
if I were surrounded by enemies, who were venting their malice
and cruelty upon me, in tormenting me, it would still be
impossible that I should cherish any feelings towards them but
those of love, and pity, and ardent desires for their happiness. 
I never before felt so far from a disposition to judge and
censure others, as I did that morning.  I realized also, in an
unusual and very lively manner, how great a part of Christianity
lies in the performance of our social and relative duties to one
another.  The same joyful sense continued throughout the day--a
sweet love to God and all mankind."

Whatever be the explanation of the charity, it may efface all
usual human barriers.[166]

[166] The barrier between men and animals also.  We read of
Towianski, an eminent Polish patriot and mystic, that "one day
one of his friends met him in the rain, caressing a big dog which
was jumping upon him and covering him horribly with mud.  On
being asked why he permitted the animal thus to dirty his
clothes, Towianski replied:  'This dog, whom I am now meeting for
the first time, has shown a great fellow-feeling for me, and a
great joy in my recognition and acceptance of his greetings. 
Were I to drive him off, I should wound his feelings and do him a
moral injury.  It would be an offense not only to him, but to all
the spirits of the other world who are on the same level with
him.  The damage which he does to my coat is as nothing in
comparison with the wrong which I should inflict upon him, in
case I were to remain indifferent to the manifestations of his
friendship.  We ought,' he added, 'both to lighten the condition
of animals, whenever we can, and at the same time to facilitate
in ourselves that union of the world of all spirits, which the
sacrifice of Christ has made possible.'" Andre Towianski,
Traduction de l'Italien, Turin, 1897 (privately printed).  I owe
my knowledge of this book and of Towianski to my friend Professor
W. Lutoslawski, author of "Plato's Logic."

Here, for instance, is an example of Christian non-resistance
from Richard Weaver's autobiography.  Weaver was a collier, a
semi-professional pugilist in his younger days, who became a much
beloved evangelist.  Fighting, after drinking, seems to have been
the sin to which he originally felt his flesh most perversely
inclined.  After his first conversion he had a backsliding, which
consisted in pounding a man who had insulted a girl.  Feeling
that, having once fallen, he might as well be hanged for a sheep
as for a lamb, he got drunk and went and broke the jaw of another
man who had lately challenged him to fight and taunted him with
cowardice for refusing as a Christian man;--I mention these
incidents to show how genuine a change of heart is implied in the
later conduct which he describes as follows:--

"I went down the drift and found the boy crying because a
fellow-workman was trying to take the wagon from him by force.  I
said to him:--

"'Tom, you mustn't take that wagon.'

"He swore at me, and called me a Methodist devil.  I told him
that God did not tell me to let him rob me.  He cursed again, and
said he would push the wagon over me.

"'Well,' I said, 'let us see whether the devil and thee are
stronger than the Lord and me.'

"And the Lord and I proving stronger than the devil and he, he
had to get out of the way, or the wagon would have gone over him.

So I gave the wagon to the boy.  Then said Tom:--

"'I've a good mind to smack thee on the face.'

"'Well,' I said, 'if that will do thee any good, thou canst do
it.' So he struck me on the face.

"I turned the other cheek to him, and said, 'Strike again.'

"He struck again and again, till he had struck me five times. I
turned my cheek for the sixth stroke; but he turned away cursing.

I shouted after him:  'The Lord forgive thee, for I do, and the
Lord save thee.'

"This was on a Saturday; and when I went home from the coal-pit
my wife saw my face was swollen, and asked what was the matter
with it.  I said:  'I've been fighting, and I've given a man a
good thrashing.'

"She burst out weeping, and said, 'O Richard, what made you
fight?' Then I told her all about it; and she thanked the Lord I
had not struck back.

"But the Lord had struck, and his blows have more effect than
man's.  Monday came.  The devil began to tempt me, saying:  'The
other men will laugh at thee for allowing Tom to treat thee as he
did on Saturday.' I cried, 'Get thee behind me, Satan;'--and went
on my way to the coal-pit.

"Tom was the first man I saw.  I said 'Good-morning,' but got no

"He went down first.  When I got down, I was surprised to see him
sitting on the wagon-road waiting for me.  When I came to him he
burst into tears and said:  'Richard, will you forgive me for
striking you?'

"'I have forgiven thee,' said I; 'ask God to forgive thee.  The
Lord bless thee.' I gave him my hand, and we went each to his

[167] J. Patterson's Life of Richard Weaver, pp. 66-68, abridged.

"Love your enemies!"  Mark you, not simply those who happen not
to be your friends, but your ENEMIES, your positive and active
enemies.  Either this is a mere Oriental hyperbole, a bit of
verbal extravagance, meaning only that we should, as far as we
can, abate our animosities, or else it is sincere and literal. 
Outside of certain cases of intimate individual relation, it
seldom has been taken literally.  Yet it makes one ask the
question:  Can there in general be a level of emotion so
unifying, so obliterative of differences between man and man,
that even enmity may come to be an irrelevant circumstance and
fail to inhibit the friendlier interests aroused?  If positive
well-wishing could attain so supreme a degree of excitement,
those who were swayed by it might well seem superhuman beings. 
Their life would be morally discrete from the life of other men,
and there is no saying, in the absence of positive experience of
an authentic kind--for there are few active examples in our
scriptures, and the Buddhistic examples are legendary,[168]--what
the effects might be:  they might conceivably transform the

[168] As where the future Buddha, incarnated as a hare, jumps
into the fire to cook himself for a meal for a beggar--having
previously shaken himself three times, so that none of the
insects in his fur should perish with him.

Psychologically and in principle, the precept "Love your enemies"
is not self-contradictory.  It is merely the extreme limit of a
kind of magnanimity with which, in the shape of pitying tolerance
of our oppressors, we are fairly familiar. Yet if radically
followed, it would involve such a breach with our instinctive
springs of action as a whole, and with the present world's
arrangements, that a critical point would practically be passed,
and we should be born into another kingdom of being.  Religious
emotion makes us feel that other kingdom to be close at hand,
within our reach.

The inhibition of instinctive repugnance is proved not only by
the showing of love to enemies, but by the showing of it to any
one who is personally loathsome.  In the annals of saintliness we
find a curious mixture of motives impelling in this direction. 
Asceticism plays its part; and along with charity pure and
simple, we find humility or the desire to disclaim distinction
and to grovel on the common level before God.  Certainly all
three principles were at work when Francis of Assisi and Ignatius
Loyola exchanged their garments with those of filthy beggars. 
All three are at work when religious persons consecrate their
lives to the care of leprosy or other peculiarly unpleasant
diseases.  The nursing of the sick is a function to which the
religious seem strongly drawn, even apart from the fact that
church traditions set that way.  But in the annals of this sort
of charity we find fantastic excesses of devotion recorded which
are only explicable by the frenzy of self-immolation
simultaneously aroused.  Francis of Assisi kisses his lepers;
Margaret Mary Alacoque, Francis Xavier, St.  John of God, and
others are said to have cleansed the sores and ulcers of their
patients with their respective tongues; and the lives of such
saints as Elizabeth of Hungary and Madame de Chantal are full of
a sort of reveling in hospital purulence, disagreeable to read
of, and which makes us admire and shudder at the same time.

So much for the human love aroused by the faith-state. Let me
next speak of the Equanimity, Resignation, Fortitude, and
Patience which it brings.

"A paradise of inward tranquillity" seems to be faith's usual
result; and it is easy, even without being religious one's self,
to understand this.  A moment back, in treating of the sense of
God's presence, I spoke of the unaccountable feeling of safety
which one may then have.  And, indeed, how can it possibly fail
to steady the nerves, to cool the fever, and appease the fret, if
one be sensibly conscious that, no matter what one's difficulties
for the moment may appear to be, one's life as a whole is in the
keeping of a power whom one can absolutely trust?  In deeply
religious men the abandonment of self to this power is
passionate.  Whoever not only says, but FEELS, "God's will be
done," is mailed against every weakness; and the whole historic
array of martyrs, missionaries, and religious reformers is there
to prove the tranquil-mindedness, under naturally agitating or
distressing circumstances, which self-surrender brings.

The temper of the tranquil-mindedness differs, of course,
according as the person is of a constitutionally sombre or of a
constitutionally cheerful cast of mind.  In the sombre it
partakes more of resignation and submission; in the cheerful it
is a joyous consent.  As an example of the former temper, I quote
part of a letter from Professor Lagneau, a venerated teacher of
philosophy who lately died, a great invalid, at Paris:--

"My life, for the success of which you send good wishes, will be
what it is able to be.  I ask nothing from it, I expect nothing
from it.  For long years now I exist, think, and act, and am
worth what I am worth, only through the despair which is my sole
strength and my sole foundation.  May it preserve for me, even in
these last trials to which I am coming, the courage to do without
the desire of deliverance.  I ask nothing more from the Source
whence all strength cometh, and if that is granted, your wishes
will have been accomplished."[169]

[169] Bulletin de l'Union pour l'Action Morale, September, 1894.

There is something pathetic and fatalistic about this, but the
power of such a tone as a protection against outward shocks is
manifest.  Pascal is another Frenchman of pessimistic  <281>
natural temperament.  He expresses still more amply the temper of
self-surrendering submissiveness:--

"Deliver me, Lord," he writes in his prayers, "from the sadness
at my proper suffering which self-love might give, but put into
me a sadness like your own.  Let my sufferings appease your
choler.  Make them an occasion for my conversion and salvation. I
ask you neither for health nor for sickness, for life nor for
death; but that you may dispose of my health and my sickness, my
life and my death, for your glory, for my salvation, and for the
use of the Church and of your saints, of whom I would by your
grace be one.  You alone know what is expedient for me; you are
the sovereign master; do with me according to your will.  Give to
me, or take away from me, only conform my will to yours.  I know
but one thing, Lord, that it is good to follow you, and bad to
offend you.  Apart from that, I know not what is good or bad in
anything.  I know not which is most profitable to me, health or
sickness, wealth or poverty, nor anything else in the world. 
That discernment is beyond the power of men or angels, and is
hidden among the secrets of your Providence, which I adore, but
do not seek to fathom."[170]

[170] B. Pascal:  Prieres pour les Maladies, Sections xiii.,
xiv., abridged.

When we reach more optimistic temperaments, the resignation grows
less passive.  Examples are sown so broadcast throughout history
that I might well pass on without citation.  As it is, I snatch
at the first that occurs to my mind.  Madame Guyon, a frail
creature physically, was yet of a happy native disposition.  She
went through many perils with admirable serenity of soul.  After
being sent to prison for heresy--

"Some of my friends," she writes, "wept bitterly at the hearing
of it, but such was my state of acquiescence and resignation that
it failed to draw any tears from me. . . . There appeared to be
in me then, as I find it to be in me now, such an entire loss of
what regards myself, that any of my own interests gave me little
pain or pleasure; ever wanting to will or wish for myself only
the very thing which God does."  In another place she writes: 
"We all of us came near perishing in a river which we found it
necessary to pass.  The carriage sank in the quicksand. Others
who were with us threw themselves out in excessive fright.  But I
found my thoughts so much taken up with God that I had no
distinct sense of danger.  It is true that the thought of being
drowned passed across my mind, but it cost no other sensation or
reflection in me than this--that I felt quite contented and
willing it were so, if it were my heavenly Father's choice." 
Sailing from Nice to Genoa, a storm keeps her eleven days at sea.

"As the irritated waves dashed round us," she writes, "I could
not help experiencing a certain degree of satisfaction in my
mind.  I pleased myself with thinking that those mutinous
billows, under the command of Him who does all things rightly,
might probably furnish me with a watery grave.  Perhaps I carried
the point too far, in the pleasure which I took in thus seeing
myself beaten and bandied by the swelling waters. Those who were
with me took notice of my intrepidity."[171]

[171] From Thomas C. Upham's Life and Religious Opinions and
Experiences of Madame de la Mothe Guyon, New York, 1877, ii. 48,
i. 141, 413, abridged.

The contempt of danger which religious enthusiasm produces may be
even more buoyant still.  I take an example from that charming
recent autobiography, "With Christ at Sea," by Frank Bullen.  A
couple of days after he went through the conversion on shipboard
of which he there gives an account--

"It was blowing stiffly," he writes, "and we were carrying a
press of canvas to get north out of the bad weather.  Shortly
after four bells we hauled down the flying-jib, and I sprang out
astride the boom to furl it.  I was sitting astride the boom when
suddenly it gave way with me.  The sail slipped through my
fingers, and I fell backwards, hanging head downwards over the
seething tumult of shining foam under the ship's bows, suspended
by one foot.  But I felt only high exultation in my certainty 
of eternal life.  Although death was divided from me by a hair's
breadth, and I was acutely conscious of the fact, it gave me no
sensation but joy.  I suppose I could have hung there no longer
than five seconds, but in that time I lived a whole age of
delight.  But my body asserted itself, and with a desperate
gymnastic effort I regained the boom.  How I furled the sail I
don't know, but I sang at the utmost pitch of my voice praises to
God that went pealing out over the dark waste of waters."[172]

[172] Op. cit., London, 1901, p. 230.

The annals of martyrdom are of course the signal field of triumph
for religious imperturbability.  Let me cite as an example the
statement of a humble sufferer, persecuted as a Huguenot under
Louis XIV:--

"They shut all the doors," Blanche Gamond writes, "and I saw six
women, each with a bunch of willow rods as thick as the hand
could hold, and a yard long.  He gave me the order, 'Undress
yourself,' which I did.  He said, 'You are leaving on your shift;
you must take it off.'  They had so little patience that they
took it off themselves, and I was naked from the waist up. They
brought a cord with which they tied me to a beam in the kitchen. 
They drew the cord tight with all their strength and asked me,
'Does it hurt you?' and then they discharged their fury upon me,
exclaiming as they struck me, 'Pray now to your God.'  It was the
Roulette woman who held this language.  But at this moment I
received the greatest consolation that I can ever receive in my
life, since I had the honor of being whipped for the name of
Christ, and in addition of being crowned with his mercy and his
consolations.  Why can I not write down the inconceivable
influences, consolations, and peace which I felt interiorly?  To
understand them one must have passed by the same trial; they were
so great that I was ravished, for there where afflictions abound
grace is given superabundantly.  In vain the women cried, 'We
must double our blows; she does not feel them, for she neither
speaks nor cries.'  And how should I have cried, since I was
swooning with happiness within?"[173]

[173] Claparede et Goty:  Deux Heroines de la Foi, Paris, 1880,
p. 112.

The transition from tenseness, self-responsibility, and worry, to
equanimity, receptivity, and peace, is the most wonderful of all
those shiftings of inner equilibrium, those changes of the
personal centre of energy, which I have analyzed so often; and
the chief wonder of it is that it so often comes about, not by
doing, but by simply relaxing and throwing the burden down.  This
abandonment of self-responsibility seems to be the fundamental
act in specifically religious, as distinguished from moral
practice.  It antedates theologies and is independent of
philosophies.  Mind-cure, theosophy, stoicism, ordinary
neurological hygiene, insist on it as emphatically as
Christianity does, and it is capable of entering into closest
marriage with every speculative creed.[174]  Christians who have
it strongly live in what is called "recollection," and are never
anxious about the future, nor worry over the outcome of the day. 
Of Saint Catharine of Genoa it is said that "she took cognizance
of things, only as they were presented to her in succession,
MOMENT BY MOMENT."  To her holy soul, "the divine moment was the
present moment, . . . and when the present moment was estimated
in itself and in its relations, and when the duty that was
involved in it was accomplished, it was permitted to pass away as
if it had never been, and to give way to the facts and duties of
the moment which came after."[175]  Hinduism, mind-cure, and
theosophy all lay great emphasis upon this concentration of the
consciousness upon the moment at hand.

[174] Compare these three different statements of it:  A. P.
Call:  As a Matter of Course, Boston, 1894; H. W. Dresser: 
Living by the Spirit, New York and London, 1900; H. W. Smith: 
The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life, published by the Willard
Tract Repository, and now in thousands of hands.

[175] T. C. Upham:  Life of Madame Catharine Adorna, 3d ed.,
New York, 1864, pp. 158, 172-74.

The next religious symptom which I will note is what have called
Purity of Life.  The saintly person becomes exceedingly sensitive
to inner inconsistency or discord, and mixture and confusion grow
intolerable.  All the mind's objects and occupations must be
ordered with reference to the special spiritual excitement which
is now its keynote.  Whatever is unspiritual taints the pure
water of the soul and is repugnant.  Mixed with this exaltation
of the moral sensibilities there is also an ardor of sacrifice,
for the beloved deity's sake, of everything unworthy of him. 
Sometimes the spiritual ardor is so sovereign that purity is
achieved at a stroke --we have seen examples.  Usually it is a
more gradual conquest.  Billy Bray's account of his abandonment
of tobacco is a good example of the latter form of achievement.

"I had been a smoker as well as a drunkard, and I used to love my
tobacco as much as I loved my meat, and I would rather go down
into the mine without my dinner than without my pipe.  In the
days of old, the Lord spoke by the mouths of his servants, the
prophets; now he speaks to us by the spirit of his Son.  I had
not only the feeling part of religion, but I could hear the
small, still voice within speaking to me.  When I took the pipe
to smoke, it would be applied within, 'It is an idol, a lust;
worship the Lord with clean lips.'  So, I felt it was not right
to smoke.  The Lord also sent a woman to convince me.  I was one
day in a house, and I took out my pipe to light it at the fire,
and Mary Hawke--for that was the woman's name--said, 'Do you not
feel it is wrong to smoke?'  I said that I felt something inside
telling me that it was an idol, a lust, and she said that was the
Lord.  Then I said, 'Now, I must give it up, for the Lord is
telling me of it inside, and the woman outside, so the tobacco
must go, love it as I may.'  There and then I took the tobacco
out of my pocket, and threw it into the fire, and put the pipe
under my foot, 'ashes to ashes, dust to dust.'  And I have not
smoked since.  I found it hard to break off old habits, but I
cried to the Lord for help, and he gave me strength, for he has
said, 'Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver
thee.'  The day after I gave up smoking I had the toothache so
bad that I did not know what to do.  I thought this was owing to
giving up the pipe, but I said I would never smoke again, if I
lost every tooth in my head.  I said, 'Lord, thou hast told us My
yoke is easy and my burden is light,' and when I said that, all
the pain left me.  Sometimes the thought of the pipe would come
back to me very strong; but the Lord strengthened me against the
habit, and, bless his name, I have not smoked since."

Bray's biographer writes that after he had given up smoking, he
thought that he would chew a little, but he conquered this dirty
habit, too.  "On one occasion," Bray said, "when at a prayer-
meeting at Hicks Mill, I heard the Lord say to me, 'Worship me
with clean lips.'  So, when we got up from our knees, I took the
quid out of my mouth and 'whipped 'en' [threw it] under the form.

But, when we got on our knees again, I put another quid into my
mouth.  Then the Lord said to me again, 'Worship me with clean
lips.'  So I took the quid out of my mouth, and whipped 'en under
the form again, and said, 'Yes, Lord, I will.'  From that time I
gave up chewing as well as smoking, and have been a free man."

The ascetic forms which the impulse for veracity and purity of
life may take are often pathetic enough.  The early Quakers, for
example, had hard battles to wage against the worldliness and
insincerity of the ecclesiastical Christianity of their time. 
Yet the battle that cost them most wounds was probably that which
they fought in defense of their own right to social veracity and
sincerity in their thee-ing and thou-ing, in not doffing the hat
or giving titles of respect. It was laid on George Fox that these
conventional customs were a lie and a sham, and the whole body of
his followers thereupon renounced them, as a sacrifice to truth,
and so that their acts and the spirit they professed might be
more in accord.

"When the Lord sent me into the world," says Fox in his Journal,
"he forbade me to put off my hat to any, high or low: and I was
required to 'thee' and 'thou' all men and women, without any
respect to rich or poor, great or small.  And as I traveled up
and down, I was not to bid people Good-morning or Good-evening,
neither might I bow or scrape with my leg to any one.  This made
the sects and professions rage.  Oh! the rage that was in the
priests, magistrates, professors, and people of all sorts:  and
especially in priests and professors:  for though 'thou' to a
single person was according to their accidence and grammar rules,
and according to the Bible, yet they could not bear to hear it: 
and because I could not put off my hat to them, it set them all
into a rage. . . . Oh! the scorn, heat, and fury that arose!  Oh!
the blows, punchings, beatings, and imprisonments that we
underwent for not putting off our hats to men!  Some had their
hats violently plucked off and thrown away, so that they quite
lost them.  The bad language and evil usage we received on this
account is hard to be expressed, besides the danger we were
sometimes in of losing our lives for this matter, and that by the
great professors of Christianity, who thereby discovered they
were not true believers.  And though it was but a small thing in
the eye of man, yet a wonderful confusion it brought among all
professors and priests:  but, blessed be the Lord, many came to
see the vanity of that custom of putting off hats to men, and
felt the weight of Truth's testimony against it."

In the autobiography of Thomas Elwood, an early Quaker, who at
one time was secretary to John Milton, we find an exquisitely
quaint and candid account of the trials he underwent both at home
and abroad, in following Fox's canons of sincerity.  The
anecdotes are too lengthy for citation; but Elwood sets down his
manner of feeling about these things in a shorter passage, which
I will quote as a characteristic utterance of spiritual

"By this divine light, then," says Elwood, "I saw that though I
had not the evil of the common uncleanliness, debauchery,
profaneness, and pollutions of the world to put away, because I
had, through the great goodness of God and a civil education,
been preserved out of those grosser evils, yet I had many other
evils to put away and to cease from; some of which were not by
the world, which lies in wickedness (I John v. 19), accounted
evils, but by the light of Christ were made manifest to me to be
evils, and as such condemned in me.

"As particularly those fruits and effects of pride that discover
themselves in the vanity and superfluity of apparel; which I took
too much delight in.  This evil of my doings I was required to
put away and cease from; and judgment lay upon me till I did so.

"I took off from my apparel those unnecessary trimmings of lace,
ribbons, and useless buttons, which had no real service, but were
set on only for that which was by mistake called ornament; and I
ceased to wear rings.

"Again, the giving of flattering titles to men between whom and
me there was not any relation to which such titles could be
pretended to belong.  This was an evil I had been much addicted
to, and was accounted a ready artist in; therefore this evil also
was I required to put away and cease from.  So that thenceforward
I durst not say, Sir, Master, My Lord, Madam (or My Dame); or say
Your Servant to any one to whom I did not stand in the real
relation of a servant, which I had never done to any.

"Again, respect of persons, in uncovering the head and bowing the
knee or body in salutation, was a practice I had been much in the
use of; and this, being one of the vain customs of the world,
introduced by the spirit of the world, instead of the true honor
which this is a false representation of, and used in deceit as a
token of respect by persons one to another, who bear no real
respect one to another; and besides this, being a type and a
proper emblem of that divine honor which all ought to pay to
Almighty God, and which all of all sorts, who take upon them the
Christian name, appear in when they offer their prayers to him,
and therefore should not be given to men;--I found this to be one
of those evils which I had been too long doing; therefore I was
now required to put it away and cease from it.

"Again, the corrupt and unsound form of speaking in the plural
number to a single person, YOU to one, instead of THOU, contrary
to the pure, plain, and single language of truth, THOU to one,
and YOU to more than one, which had always been used by God to
men, and men to God, as well as one to another, from the oldest
record of time till corrupt men, for corrupt ends, in later and
corrupt times, to flatter, fawn, and work upon the corrupt nature
in men, brought in that false and senseless way of speaking you
to one, which has since corrupted the modern languages, and hath
greatly debased the spirits and depraved the manners of
men;--this evil custom I had been as forward in as others, and
this I was now called out of and required to cease from.

"These and many more evil customs which had sprung up in the
night of darkness and general apostasy from the truth and true
religion were now, by the inshining of this pure ray of divine
light in my conscience, gradually discovered to me to be what I
ought to cease from, shun, and stand a witness against."[176]

[176] The History of Thomas Elwood, written by Himself, London,
1885, pp. 32-34

These early Quakers were Puritans indeed.  The slightest
inconsistency between profession and deed jarred some of them to
active protest.  John Woolman writes in his diary:--

"In these journeys I have been where much cloth hath been dyed;
and have at sundry times walked over ground where much of their
dyestuffs has drained away.  This hath produced a longing in my
mind that people might come into cleanness of spirit, cleanness
of person, and cleanness about their houses and garments.  Dyes
being invented partly to please the eye, and partly to hide dirt,
I have felt in this weak state, when traveling in dirtiness, and
affected with unwholesome scents, a strong desire that the nature
of dyeing cloth to hide dirt may be more fully considered.

"Washing our garments to keep them sweet is cleanly, but it is
the opposite to real cleanliness to hide dirt in them.  Through
giving way to hiding dirt in our garments a spirit which would
conceal that which is disagreeable is strengthened.  Real
cleanliness becometh a holy people; but hiding that which is not
clean by coloring our garments seems contrary to the sweetness of
sincerity.  Through some sorts of dyes cloth is rendered less
useful. And if the value of dyestuffs, and expense of dyeing, and
the damage done to cloth, were all added together, and that cost
applied to keeping all sweet and clean, how much more would real
cleanliness prevail.

"Thinking often on these things, the use of hats and garments
dyed with a dye hurtful to them, and wearing more clothes in
summer than are useful, grew more uneasy to me; believing them to
be customs which have not their foundation in pure wisdom.  The
apprehension of being singular from my beloved friends was a
strait upon me; and thus I continued in the use of some things,
contrary to my judgment, about nine months.  Then I thought of
getting a hat the natural color of the fur, but the apprehension
of being looked upon as one affecting singularity felt uneasy to
me.  On this account I was under close exercise of mind in the
time of our general spring meeting in 1762, greatly desiring to
be rightly directed; when, being deeply bowed in spirit before
the Lord, I was made willing to submit to what I apprehended was
required of me; and when I returned home, got a hat of the
natural color of the fur.

"In attending meetings, this singularity was a trial to me, and
more especially at this time, as white hats were used by some who
were fond of following the changeable modes of dress, and as some
friends, who knew not from what motives I wore it, grew shy of
me, I felt my way for a time shut up in the exercise of the
ministry.  Some friends were apprehensive that my wearing such a
hat savored of an affected singularity:  those who spoke with me
in a friendly way, I generally informed in a few words, that I
believed my wearing it was not in my own will."

When the craving for moral consistency and purity is developed to
this degree, the subject may well find the outer world too full
of shocks to dwell in, and can unify his life and keep his soul
unspotted only by withdrawing from it. That law which impels the
artist to achieve harmony in his composition by simply dropping
out whatever jars, or suggests a discord, rules also in the
spiritual life.  To omit, says Stevenson, is the one art in
literature:  "If I knew how to omit, I should ask no other
knowledge."  And life, when full of disorder and slackness and
vague superfluity, can no more have what we call character than
literature can have it under similar conditions.  So monasteries
and communities of sympathetic devotees open their doors, and in
their changeless order, characterized by omissions quite as much
as constituted of actions, the holy-minded person finds that
inner smoothness and cleanness which it is torture to him to feel
violated at every turn by the discordancy and brutality of
secular existence.

That the scrupulosity of purity may be carried to a fantastic
extreme must be admitted.  In this it resembles Asceticism, to
which further symptom of saintliness we had better turn next. 
The adjective "ascetic" is applied to conduct originating on
diverse psychological levels, which I might as well begin by
distinguishing from one another.

1.  Asceticism may be a mere expression of organic hardihood,
disgusted with too much ease.

2.  Temperance in meat and drink, simplicity of apparel,
chastity, and non-pampering of the body generally, may be fruits
of the love of purity, shocked by whatever savors of the sensual.

3.  They may also be fruits of love, that is, they may appeal to
the subject in the light of sacrifices which he is happy in
making to the Deity whom he acknowledges.

4.  Again, ascetic mortifications and torments may be due to
pessimistic feelings about the self, combined with theological
beliefs concerning expiation.  The devotee may feel that he is
buying himself free, or escaping worse sufferings hereafter, by
doing penance now.

5.  In psychopathic persons, mortifications may be entered on
irrationally, by a sort of obsession or fixed idea which comes as
a challenge and must be worked off, because only thus does the
subject get his interior consciousness feeling right again.

6.  Finally, ascetic exercises may in rarer instances be prompted
by genuine perversions of the bodily sensibility, in consequence
of which normally pain-giving stimuli are actually felt as

I will try to give an instance under each of these heads in turn;
but it is not easy to get them pure, for in cases pronounced
enough to be immediately classed as ascetic, several of the
assigned motives usually work together.  Moreover, before citing
any examples at all, I must invite you to some general
psychological considerations which apply to all of them alike.

A strange moral transformation has within the past century swept
over our Western world.  We no longer think that we are called on
to face physical pain with equanimity. It is not expected of a
man that he should either endure it or inflict much of it, and to
listen to the recital of cases of it makes our flesh creep
morally as well as physically.  The way in which our ancestors
looked upon pain as an eternal ingredient of the world's order,
and both caused and suffered it as a matter-of-course portion of
their day's work, fills us with amazement.  We wonder that any
human beings could have been so callous.  The result of this
historic alteration is that even in the Mother Church herself,
where ascetic discipline has such a fixed traditional prestige as
a factor of merit, it has largely come into desuetude, if not
discredit.  A believer who flagellates or "macerates" himself
today arouses more wonder and fear than emulation.  Many Catholic
writers who admit that the times have changed in this respect do
so resignedly; and even add that perhaps it is as well not to
waste feelings in regretting the matter, for to return to the
heroic corporeal discipline of ancient days might be an

Where to seek the easy and the pleasant seems instinctive
--and instinctive it appears to be in man; any deliberate
tendency to pursue the hard and painful as such and for their own
sakes might well strike one as purely abnormal.  Nevertheless, in
moderate degrees it is natural and even usual to human nature to
court the arduous.  It is only the extreme manifestations of the
tendency that can be regarded as a paradox.

The psychological reasons for this lie near the surface. When we
drop abstractions and take what we call our will in the act, we
see that it is a very complex function.  It involves both
stimulations and inhibitions; it follows generalized habits; it
is escorted by reflective criticisms; and it leaves a good or a
bad taste of itself behind, according to the manner of the
performance.  The result is that, quite apart from the immediate
pleasure which any sensible experience may give us, our own
general moral attitude in procuring or undergoing the experience
brings with it a secondary satisfaction or distaste.  Some men
and women, indeed, there are who can live on smiles and the word
"yes" forever.  But for others (indeed for most), this is too
tepid and relaxed a moral climate.  Passive happiness is slack
and insipid, and soon grows mawkish and intolerable.  Some
austerity and wintry negativity, some roughness, danger,
stringency, and effort, some "no! no!" must be mixed in, to
produce the sense of an existence with character and texture and
power.  The range of individual differences in this respect is
enormous; but whatever the mixture of yeses and noes may be, the
person is infallibly aware when he has struck it in the right
proportion FOR HIM.  This, he feels, is  my proper vocation, this
is the OPTIMUM, the law, the life for me to live.  Here I find
the degree of equilibrium, safety, calm, and leisure which I
need, or here I find the challenge, passion, fight, and hardship
without which my soul's energy expires.

Every individual soul, in short, like every individual machine 
or organism, has its own best conditions of efficiency. A given
machine will run best under a certain steam-pressure, a certain
amperage; an organism under a certain diet, weight, or exercise. 
You seem to do best, I heard a doctor say to a patient, at about
140 millimeters of arterial tension.  And it is just so with our
sundry souls:  some are happiest in calm weather; some need the
sense of tension, of strong volition, to make them feel alive and
well.  For these latter souls, whatever is gained from day to day
must be paid for by sacrifice and inhibition, or else it comes
too cheap and has no zest.

Now when characters of this latter sort become religious, they
are apt to turn the edge of their need of effort and negativity
against their natural self; and the ascetic life gets evolved as
a consequence.

When Professor Tyndall in one of his lectures tells us that
Thomas Carlyle put him into his bath-tub every morning of a
freezing Berlin winter, he proclaimed one of the lowest grades of
asceticism.  Even without Carlyle, most of us find it necessary
to our soul's health to start the day with a rather cool
immersion.  A little farther along the scale we get such
statements as this, from one of my correspondents, an agnostic:--

"Often at night in my warm bed I would feel ashamed to depend so
on the warmth, and whenever the thought would come over me I
would have to get up, no matter what time of night it was, and
stand for a minute in the cold, just so as to prove my manhood."

Such cases as these belong simply to our head 1.  In the next
case we probably have a mixture of heads 2 and 3-- the asceticism
becomes far more systematic and pronounced.  The writer is a
Protestant, whose sense of moral energy could doubtless be
gratified on no lower terms, and I take his case from Starbuck's
manuscript collection.

"I practiced fasting and mortification of the flesh.  I secretly
made burlap shirts, and put the burrs next the skin, and wore
pebbles in my shoes.  I would spend nights flat on my back on the
floor without any covering."

The Roman Church has organized and codified all this sort of
thing, and given it a market-value in the shape of "merit."   
But we see the cultivation of hardship cropping out under every
sky and in every faith, as a spontaneous need of character.  Thus
we read of Channing, when first settled as a Unitarian minister,

"He was now more simple than ever, and seemed to have become
incapable of any form of self-indulgence.  He took the smallest
room in the house for his study, though he might easily have
commanded one more light, airy, and in every way more suitable;
and chose for his sleeping chamber an attic which he shared with
a younger brother.  The furniture of the latter might have
answered for the cell of an anchorite, and consisted of a hard
mattress on a cot-bedstead, plain wooden chairs and table, with
matting on the floor.  It was without fire, and to cold he was
throughout life extremely sensitive; but he never complained or
appeared in any way to be conscious of inconvenience.  'I
recollect,' says his brother, 'after one most severe night, that
in the morning he sportively thus alluded to his suffering:  "If
my bed were my country, I should be somewhat like Bonaparte:  I
have no control except over the part which I occupy, the instant
I move, frost takes possession."'  In sickness only would he
change for the time his apartment and accept a few comforts. The
dress too that he habitually adopted was of most inferior
quality; and garments were constantly worn which the world would
call mean, though an almost feminine neatness preserved him from
the least appearance of neglect."[177]

[177] Memoirs of W. E. Channing, Boston, 1840, i. 196.

Channing's asceticism, such as it was, was evidently a compound
of hardihood and love of purity.  The democracy which is an
offshoot of the enthusiasm of humanity, and of which I will speak
later under the head of the cult of poverty, doubtless bore also
a share.  Certainly there was no pessimistic element in his case.

In the next case we have a strongly pessimistic element, so that
it belongs under head 4.  John Cennick was Methodism's first lay
preacher.  In 1735 he was convicted of sin, while walking in

"And at once left off sing-singing, card-playing, and attending
theatres.  Sometimes he wished to go to a popish monastery, to
spend his life in devout retirement.  At other times he longed to
live in a cave, sleeping on fallen leaves, and feeding on forest
fruits.  He fasted long and often, and prayed nine times a day. .
. . Fancying dry bread too great an indulgence for so great a
sinner as himself, he began to feed on potatoes, acorns, crabs,
and grass; and often wished that he could live on roots and
herbs.  At length, in 1737, he found peace with God, and went on
his way rejoicing."[178]

[178] L. Tyerman:  The Life and Times of the Rev. John Wesley, i.

In this poor man we have morbid melancholy and fear, and the
sacrifices made are to purge out sin, and to buy safety.  The
hopelessness of Christian theology in respect of the flesh and
the natural man generally has, in systematizing fear, made of it
one tremendous incentive to self-mortification.  It would be
quite unfair, however, in spite of the fact that this incentive
has often been worked in a mercenary way for hortatory purposes,
to call it a mercenary incentive.  The impulse to expiate and do
penance is, in its first intention, far too immediate and
spontaneous an expression of self-despair and anxiety to be
obnoxious to any such reproach.  In the form of loving sacrifice,
of spending all we have to show our devotion, ascetic discipline
of the severest sort may be the fruit of highly optimistic
religious feeling.

M. Vianney, the cure of Ars, was a French country priest, whose
holiness was exemplary.  We read in his life the following
account of his inner need of sacrifice:--

"'On this path,' M. Vianney said, "it is only the first step
that costs.  There is in mortification a balm and a savor without
which one cannot live when once one has made their acquaintance.
There is but one way in which to give one's self to God-- that
is, to give one's self entirely, and to keep nothing for one's
self.  The little that one keeps is only good to trouble one and
make one suffer.'  Accordingly he imposed it on himself that he
should never smell a flower, never drink when parched with
thirst, never drive away a fly, never show disgust before a
repugnant object, never complain of anything that had to do with
his personal comfort, never sit down, never lean upon his elbows
when he was kneeling.  The Cure of Ars was very sensitive to
cold, but he would never take means to protect himself against
it.  During a very severe winter, one of his missionaries
contrived a false floor to his confessional and placed a metal
case of hot water beneath.  The trick succeeded, and the Saint
was deceived:  'God is very good,' he said with emotion.  'This
year, through all the cold, my feet have always been warm.'

[179] A. Mounin:  Le Cure d'Ars, vie de M. J. B. M. Vianney,
1864, p. 545, abridged.

In this case the spontaneous impulse to make sacrifices for the
pure love of God was probably the uppermost conscious motive.  We
may class it, then, under our head 3.  Some authors think that
the impulse to sacrifice is the main religious phenomenon.  It is
a prominent, a universal phenomenon certainly, and lies deeper
than any special creed.  Here, for instance, is what seems to be
a spontaneous example of it, simply expressing what seemed right
at the time between the individual and his Maker.  Cotton Mather,
the New England Puritan divine, is generally reputed a rather
grotesque pedant; yet what is more touchingly simple than his
relation of what happened when his wife came to die?

"When I saw to what a point of resignation I was now called of
the Lord," he says, "I resolved, with his help, therein to
glorify him.  So, two hours before my lovely consort expired, I
kneeled by her bedside, and I took into my two hands a dear hand,
the dearest in the world.  With her thus in my hands, I solemnly
and sincerely gave her up unto the Lord:  and in token of my real
RESIGNATION, I gently put her out of my hands, and laid away a
most lovely hand, resolving that I would never touch it more. 
This was the hardest, and perhaps the bravest action that ever I
did.  She . . . told me that she signed and sealed my act of
resignation.  And though before that she called for me
continually, she after this never asked for me any more."[180]

[180] B. Wendell:  Cotton Mather, New York, no date, p. 198.

Father Vianney's asceticism taken in its totality was simply the
result of a permanent flood of high spiritual enthusiasm, longing
to make proof of itself.  The Roman Church has, in its
incomparable fashion, collected all the motives towards
asceticism together, and so codified them that any one wishing to
pursue Christian perfection may find a practical system mapped
out for him in any one of a number of ready-made manuals.[181]
The dominant Church notion of perfection is of course the
negative one of avoidance of sin.  Sin proceeds from
concupiscence, and concupiscence from our carnal passions and
temptations, chief of which are pride, sensuality in all its
forms, and the loves of worldly excitement and possession.  All
these sources of sin must be resisted; and discipline and
austerities are a most efficacious mode of meeting them.  Hence
there are always in these books chapters on self-mortification. 
But whenever a procedure is codified, the more delicate spirit of
it evaporates, and if we wish the undiluted ascetic spirit--the
passion of self-contempt wreaking itself on the poor flesh, the
divine irrationality of devotion making a sacrificial gift of all
it has (its sensibilities, namely) to the object of its
adoration--we must go to autobiographies, or other individual

[181] That of the earlier Jesuit, Rodriguez, which has been
translated into all languages, is one of the best known.  A
convenient modern manual, very well put together, is L'Ascetique
Chretienne, by M. J. Ribet, Paris, Poussielgue, nouvelle edition,

Saint John of the Cross, a Spanish mystic who flourished--or
rather who existed, for there was little that suggested
flourishing about him--in the sixteenth century, will supply a
passage suitable for our purpose.

"First of all, carefully excite in yourself an habitual
affectionate will in all things to imitate Jesus Christ.  If
anything agreeable offers itself to your senses, yet does not at
the same time tend purely to the honor and glory of God, renounce
it and separate yourself from it for the love of Christ, who all
his life long had no other taste or wish than to do the will of
his Father whom he called his meat and nourishment.  For example,
you take satisfaction in HEARING of things in which the glory of
God bears no part.  Deny yourself this satisfaction, mortify your
wish to listen.  You take pleasure in SEEING objects which do not
raise your mind to God:  refuse yourself this pleasure, and turn
away your eyes.  The same with conversations and all other
things. Act similarly, so far as you are able, with all the
operations of the senses, striving to make yourself free from
their yokes.

"The radical remedy lies in the mortification of the four great
natural passions, joy, hope, fear, and grief.  You must seek to
deprive these of every satisfaction and leave them as it were in
darkness and the void.  Let your soul therefore turn always:

"Not to what is most easy, but to what is hardest;

"Not to what tastes best, but to what is most distasteful;

"Not to what most pleases, but to what disgusts;

"Not to matter of consolation, but to matter for desolation

"Not to rest, but to labor;

"Not to desire the more, but the less;

"Not to aspire to what is highest and most precious, but to what
is lowest and most contemptible;

"Not to will anything, but to will nothing;

"Not to seek the best in everything, but to seek the worst, so 
that you may enter for the love of Christ into a complete
destitution, a perfect poverty of spirit, and an absolute
renunciation of everything in this world.

"Embrace these practices with all the energy of your soul and you
will find in a short time great delights and unspeakable

"Despise yourself, and wish that others should despise you;

"Speak to your own disadvantage, and desire others to do the

"Conceive a low opinion of yourself, and find it good when others
hold the same;

"To enjoy the taste of all things, have no taste for anything.

"To know all things, learn to know nothing.

"To possess all things, resolve to possess nothing.

"To be all things, be willing to be nothing.

"To get to where you have no taste for anything, go through
whatever experiences you have no taste for.

"To learn to know nothing, go whither you are ignorant.

"To reach what you possess not, go whithersoever you own nothing.

"To be what you are not, experience what you are not."

These later verses play with that vertigo of self-contradiction
which is so dear to mysticism.  Those that come next are
completely mystical, for in them Saint John passes from God to
the more metaphysical notion of the All.

"When you stop at one thing, you cease to open yourself to the

"For to come to the All you must give up the All.

"And if you should attain to owning the All, you must own it,
desiring Nothing.

"In this spoliation, the soul finds its tranquillity and rest.
Profoundly established in the centre of its own nothingness, it
can be assailed by naught that comes from below; and since it no
longer desires anything, what comes from above cannot depress it;
for its desires alone are the causes of its woes."[182]

[182] Saint Jean de la Croix, vie et Oeuvres, Paris, 1893, ii.
94, 99, abridged.

And now, as a more concrete example of heads 4 and 5, in fact of
all our heads together, and of the irrational extreme to which a
psychopathic individual may go in the line of bodily austerity, I
will quote the sincere Suso's account of his own self-tortures. 
Suso, you will remember, was one of the fourteenth century German
mystics; his autobiography, written in the third person, is a
classic religious document.

"He was in his youth of a temperament full of fire and life; and
when this began to make itself felt, it was very grievous to him;
and he sought by many devices how he might bring his body into
subjection.  He wore for a long time a hair shirt and an iron
chain, until the blood ran from him, so that he was obliged to
leave them off.  He secretly caused an undergarment to be made
for him; and in the undergarment he had strips of leather fixed,
into which a hundred and fifty brass nails, pointed and filed
sharp, were driven, and the points of the nails were always
turned towards the flesh.  He had this garment made very tight,
and so arranged as to go round him and fasten in front in order
that it might fit the closer to his body, and the pointed nails
might be driven into his flesh; and it was high enough to reach
upwards to his navel.  In this he used to sleep at night. Now in
summer, when it was hot, and he was very tired and ill from his
journeyings, or when he held the office of lecturer, he would
sometimes, as he lay thus in bonds, and oppressed with toil, and
tormented also by noxious insects, cry aloud and give way to
fretfulness, and twist round and round in agony, as a worm does
when run through with a pointed needle.  It often seemed to him
as if he were lying upon an ant-hill, from the torture caused by
the insects; for if he wished to sleep, or when he had fallen
asleep, they vied with one another.[183] Sometimes he cried to
Almighty God in the fullness of his heart:  Alas! Gentle God,
what a dying is this!  When a man is killed by murderers or
strong beasts of prey it is soon over; but I lie dying here under
the cruel insects, and yet cannot die.  The nights in winter were
never so long, nor was the summer so hot, as to make him leave
off this exercise.  On the contrary, he devised something farther
--two leathern loops into which he put his hands, and fastened
one on each side his throat, and made the fastenings so secure
that even if his cell had been on fire about him, he could not
have helped himself.  This he continued until his hands and arms
had become almost tremulous with the strain, and then he devised
something else:  two leather gloves; and he caused a brazier to
fit them all over with sharp-pointed brass tacks, and he used to
put them on at night, in order that if he should try while asleep
to throw off the hair undergarment, or relieve himself from the
gnawings of the vile insects, the tacks might then stick into his
body.  And so it came to pass.  If ever he sought to help himself
with his hands in his sleep, he drove the sharp tacks into his
breast, and tore himself, so that his flesh festered. When after
many weeks the wounds had healed, he tore himself again and made
fresh wounds.

[183] "Insects," i.e. lice, were an unfailing token of mediaeval
sainthood. We read of Francis of Assisi's sheepskin that "often a
companion of the saint would take it to the fire to clean and
dispediculate it, doing so, as he said, because the seraphic
father himself was no enemy of pedocchi, but on the contrary kept
them on him (le portava adosso) and held it for an honor and a
glory to wear these celestial pearls in his habit.  Quoted by P.
Sabatier:  Speculum Perfectionis, etc., Paris, 1898, p. 231,

"He continued this tormenting exercise for about sixteen years. 
At the end of this time, when his blood was now chilled, and the
fire of his temperament destroyed, there appeared to him in a
vision on Whitsunday, a messenger from heaven, who told him that
God required this of him no longer.  Whereupon he discontinued
it, and threw all these things away into a running stream."

Suso then tells how, to emulate the sorrows of his crucified
Lord, he made himself a cross with thirty protruding iron needles
and nails.  This he bore on his bare back between his shoulders
day and night.  "The first time that he stretched out this cross
upon his back his tender frame was struck with terror at it, and
blunted the sharp nails slightly against a stone.  But soon,
repenting of this womanly cowardice, he pointed them all again
with a file, and placed once more the cross upon him.  It made
his back, where the bones are, bloody and seared.  Whenever he
sat down or stood up, it was as if a hedgehog-skin were on him. 
If any one touched him unawares, or pushed against his clothes,
it tore him."

Suso next tells of his penitences by means of striking this cross
and forcing the nails deeper into the flesh, and likewise of his
self-scourgings--a dreadful story--and then goes on as follows: 
"At this same period the Servitor procured an old castaway door,
and he used to lie upon it at night without any bedclothes to
make him comfortable, except that he took off his shoes and
wrapped a thick cloak round him.  He thus secured for himself a
most miserable bed; for hard pea-stalks lay in humps under his
head, the cross with the sharp nails stuck into his back, his
arms were locked fast in bonds, the horsehair undergarment was
round his loins, and the cloak too was heavy and the door hard.
Thus he lay in wretchedness, afraid to stir, just like a log, and
he would send up many a sigh to God.

"In winter he suffered very much from the frost.  If he stretched
out his feet they lay bare on the floor and froze, if he gathered
them up the blood became all on fire in his legs, and this was
great pain.  His feet were full of sores, his legs dropsical, his
knees bloody and seared, his loins covered with scars from the
horsehair, his body wasted, his mouth parched with intense
thirst, and his hands tremulous from weakness.  Amid these
torments he spent his nights and days; and he endured them all
out of the greatness of the love which he bore in his heart to
the Divine and Eternal Wisdom, our Lord Jesus Christ, whose
agonizing sufferings he sought to imitate.  After a time he gave
up this penitential exercise of the door, and instead of it he
took up his abode in a very small cell, and used the bench, which
was so narrow and short that he could not stretch himself upon
it, as his bed.  In this hole, or upon the door, he lay at night
in his usual bonds, for about eight years.  It was also his
custom, during the space of twenty-five years, provided he was
staying in the convent, never to go after compline in winter into
any warm room, or to the convent stove to warm himself, no matter
how cold it might be, unless he was obliged to do so for other
reasons.  Throughout all these years he never took a bath, either
a water or a sweating bath; and this he did in order to mortify
his comfort-seeking body.  He practiced during a long time such
rigid poverty that he would neither receive nor touch a penny,
either with leave or without it.  For a considerable time he
strove to attain such a high degree of purity that he would
neither scratch nor touch any part of his body, save only his
hands and feet."[184]

[184] The Life of the Blessed Henry Suso, by Himself, translated
by T. F. Knox, London, 1865, pp. 56-80, abridged.

I spare you the recital of poor Suso's self-inflicted tortures
from thirst.  It is pleasant to know that after his fortieth
year, God showed him by a series of visions that he had
sufficiently broken down the natural man, and that he might leave
these exercises off.  His case is distinctly pathological, but he
does not seem to have had the alleviation, which some ascetics
have enjoyed, of an alteration of sensibility capable of actually
turning torment into a perverse kind of pleasure.  Of the founder
of the Sacred Heart order, for example, we read that

"Her love of pain and suffering was insatiable. . . .  She said
that she could cheerfully live till the day of judgment, provided
she might always have matter for suffering for God; but that to
live a single day without suffering would be intolerable. She
said again that she was devoured with two unassuageable fevers,
one for the holy communion, the other for suffering, humiliation,
and annihilation.  'Nothing but pain,' she continually said in
her letters, 'makes my life supportable.'"[185]

[185] Bougaud:  Hist de la bienheureuse Marguerite Marie, Paris,
1894, pp. 265, 171.  Compare, also, pp. 386, 387.

So much for the phenomena to which the ascetic impulse will in
certain persons give rise.  In the ecclesiastically consecrated
character three minor branches of self-mortification have been
recognized as indispensable pathways to perfection. I refer to
the chastity, obedience, and poverty which the monk vows to
observe; and upon the heads of obedience and poverty I will make
a few remarks.

First, of Obedience.  The secular life of our twentieth century
opens with this virtue held in no high esteem.  The duty of the
individual to determine his own conduct and profit or suffer by
the consequences seems, on the contrary, to be one of our best
rooted contemporary Protestant social ideals. So much so that it
is difficult even imaginatively to comprehend how men possessed
of an inner life of their own could ever have come to think the
subjection of its will to that of other finite creatures
recommendable.  I confess that to myself it seems something of a
mystery.  Yet it evidently corresponds to a profound interior
need of many persons, and we must do our best to understand it.

On the lowest possible plane, one sees how the expediency of
obedience in a firm ecclesiastical organization must have led to
its being viewed as meritorious.  Next, experience shows that
there are times in every one's life when one can be better
counseled by others than by one's self.  Inability to decide is
one of the commonest symptoms of fatigued nerves; friends who see
our troubles more broadly, often see them more wisely than we do;
so it is frequently an act of excellent virtue to consult and
obey a doctor, a partner, or a wife.  But, leaving these lower
prudential regions, we find, in the nature of some of the
spiritual excitements which we have been studying, good reasons
for idealizing obedience. Obedience may spring from the general
religious phenomenon of inner softening and self-surrender and
throwing one's self on higher powers.  So saving are these
attitudes felt to be that in themselves, apart from utility, they
become ideally consecrated; and in obeying a man whose
fallibility we see through thoroughly, we, nevertheless, may feel
much as we do when we resign our will to that of infinite wisdom.
Add self-despair and the passion of self-crucifixion to this, and
obedience becomes an ascetic sacrifice, agreeable quite
irrespective of whatever prudential uses it might have.

It is as a sacrifice, a mode of "mortification," that obedience
is primarily conceived by Catholic writers, a "sacrifice which
man offers to God, and of which he is himself both the priest and
the victim.  By poverty he immolates his exterior possessions; by
chastity he immolates his body; by obedience he completes the
sacrifice, and gives to God all that he yet holds as his own, his
two most precious goods, his intellect and his will.  The
sacrifice is then complete and unreserved, a genuine holocaust,
for the entire victim is now consumed for the honor of God."[186]
Accordingly, in Catholic discipline, we obey our superior not as
mere man, but as the representative of Christ.  Obeying God in
him by our intention, obedience is easy.  But when the text-book
theologians marshal collectively all their reasons for
recommending it, the mixture sounds to our ears rather odd.

[186] Lejuene:  Introduction a la Vie Mystique, 1899, p. 277. 
The holocaust simile goes back at least as far as Ignatius

"One of the great consolations of the monastic life," says a
Jesuit authority, "is the assurance we have that in obeying we
can commit no fault.  The Superior may commit a fault in
commanding you to do this thing or that, but you are certain that
you commit no fault so long as you obey, because God will only
ask you if you have duly performed what orders you received, and
if you can furnish a clear account in that respect, you are
absolved entirely.  Whether the things you did were opportune, or
whether there were not something better that might have been
done, these are questions not asked of you, but rather of your
Superior.  The moment what you did was done obediently, God wipes
it out of your account, and charges it to the Superior. So that
Saint Jerome well exclaimed, in celebrating the advantages of
obedience, 'Oh, sovereign liberty! Oh, holy and blessed security
by which one become almost impeccable!'

"Saint John Climachus is of the same sentiment when he calls
obedience an excuse before God.  In fact, when God asks why you
have done this or that, and you reply, it is because I was so
ordered by my Superiors, God will ask for no other excuse.  As a
passenger in a good vessel with a good pilot need give himself 
no farther concern, but may go to sleep in peace, because the
pilot has charge over all, and 'watches for him'; so a religious
person who lives under the yoke of obedience goes to heaven as if
while sleeping, that is, while leaning entirely on the conduct of
his Superiors, who are the pilots of his vessel, and keep watch
for him continually.  It is no small thing, of a truth, to be
able to cross the stormy sea of life on the shoulders and in the
arms of another, yet that is just the grace which God accords to
those who live under the yoke of obedience.  Their Superior bears
all their burdens. . . . A certain grave doctor said that he
would rather spend his life in picking up straws by obedience,
than by his own responsible choice busy himself with the loftiest
works of charity, because one is certain of following the will of
God in whatever one may do from obedience, but never certain in
the same degree of anything which we may do of our own proper

[187] Alfonso Rodriguez, S. J.:  Pratique de la Perfection
Chretienne, Part iii., Treatise v., ch. x.

One should read the letters in which Ignatius Loyola recommends
obedience as the backbone of his order, if one would gain insight
into the full spirit of its cult.[188] They are too long to
quote; but Ignatius's belief is so vividly expressed in a couple
of sayings reported by companions that, though they have been so
often cited, I will ask your permission to copy them once more:--

[188] Letters li. and cxx.  of the collection translated into
French by Bouix, Paris, 1870.

"I ought," an early biographer reports him as saying, "on
entering religion, and thereafter, to place myself entirely in
the hands of God, and of him who takes His place by His
authority. I ought to desire that my Superior should oblige me to
give up my own judgment, and conquer my own mind.  I ought to set
up no difference between one Superior and another, . . . but
recognize them all as equal before God, whose place they fill.
For if I distinguish persons, I weaken the spirit of obedience.
In the hands of my Superior, I must be a soft wax, a thing, from
which he is to require whatever pleases him, be it to write or
receive letters, to speak or not to speak to such a person, or
the like; and I must put all my fervor in executing zealously and
exactly what I am ordered.  I must consider myself as a corpse
which has neither intelligence nor will; be like a mass of matter
which without resistance lets itself be placed wherever it may
please any one; like a stick in the hand of an old man, who uses
it according to his needs and places it where it suits him.  So
must I be under the hands of the Order, to serve it in the way it
judges most useful.

"I must never ask of the Superior to be sent to a particular
place, to be employed in a particular duty. . . . I must
consider nothing as belonging to me personally, and as regards
the things I use, be like a statue which lets itself be stripped
and never opposes resistance."[189]

[189] Bartoli-Michel, ii. 13

The other saying is reported by Rodriguez in the chapter from
which I a moment ago made quotations.  When speaking of the
Pope's authority, Rodriguez writes:--

"Saint Ignatius said, when general of his company, that if the
Holy Father were to order him to set sail in the first bark which
he might find in the port of Ostia, near Rome, and to abandon
himself to the sea, without a mast, without sails, without oars
or rudder or any of the things that are needful for navigation or
subsistence, he would obey not only with alacrity, but without
anxiety or repugnance, and even with a great internal

[190] Rodriguez:  Op. cit., Part iii., Treatise v., ch. vi.

With a solitary concrete example of the extravagance to which the
virtue we are considering has been carried, I will pass to the
topic next in order.

"Sister Marie Claire [of Port Royal] had been greatly imbued with
the holiness and excellence of M.  de Langres.  This prelate,
soon after he came to Port Royal, said to her one day, seeing her
so tenderly attached to Mother Angelique, that it would perhaps
be better not to speak to her again.  Marie Claire, greedy of
obedience, took this inconsiderate word for an oracle of God, and
from that day forward remained for several years without once
speaking to her sister."[191]

[191] Sainte-Beuve:  Histoire de Port Royal, i. 346.

Our next topic shall be Poverty, felt at all times and under all
creeds as one adornment of a saintly life.  Since the instinct of
ownership is fundamental in man's nature, this is one more
example of the ascetic paradox.  Yet it appears no paradox at
all, but perfectly reasonable, the moment one recollects how
easily higher excitements hold lower cupidities in check.  Having
just quoted the Jesuit Rodriguez on the subject of obedience, I
will, to give immediately a concrete turn to our discussion of
poverty, also read you a page from his chapter on this latter
virtue.  You must remember that he is writing instructions for
monks of his own order, and bases them all on the text, "Blessed
are the poor in spirit."

"If any one of you," he says, "will know whether or not he is
really poor in spirit, let him consider whether he loves the
ordinary consequences and effects of poverty, which are hunger,
thirst, cold, fatigue, and the denudation of all conveniences.
See if you are glad to wear a worn-out habit full of patches. 
See if you are glad when something is lacking to your meal, when
you are passed by in serving it, when what you receive is
distasteful to you, when your cell is out of repair.  If you are
not glad of these things, if instead of loving them you avoid
them, then there is proof that you have not attained the
perfection of poverty of spirit."  Rodriguez then goes on to
describe the practice of poverty in more detail.  "The first
point is that which Saint Ignatius proposes in his constitutions,
when he says, 'Let no one use anything as if it were his private
possession.' 'A religious person,' he says, 'ought in respect to
all the things that he uses, to be like a statue which one may
drape with clothing, but which feels no grief and makes no
resistance when one strips it again.  It is in this way that you
should feel towards your clothes, your books, your cell, and
everything else that you make use of; if ordered to quit them, or
to exchange them for others, have no more sorrow than if you were
a statue being uncovered. In this way you will avoid using them
as if they were your private possession.  But if, when you give
up your cell, or yield possession of this or that object or
exchange it for another, you feel repugnance and are not like a
statue, that shows that you view these things as if they were
your private property.'

"And this is why our holy founder wished the superiors to test
their monks somewhat as God tested Abraham, and to put their
poverty and their obedience to trial, that by this means they may
become acquainted with the degree of their virtue, and gain a
chance to make ever farther progress in perfection, . . . making
the one move out of his room when he finds it comfortable and is
attached to it; taking away from another a book of which he is
fond; or obliging a third to exchange his garment for a worse
one.  Otherwise we should end by acquiring a species of property
in all these several objects, and little by little the wall of
poverty that surrounds us and constitutes our principal defense
would be thrown down.  The ancient fathers of the desert used
often thus to treat their companions. . . . Saint Dositheus,
being sick-nurse, desired a certain knife, and asked Saint
Dorotheus for it, not for his private use, but for employment in
the infirmary of which he had charge. Whereupon Saint Dorotheus
answered him:  'Ha! Dositheus, so that knife pleases you so much!
Will you be the slave of a knife or the slave of Jesus Christ! Do
you not blush with shame at wishing that a knife should be your
master?  I will not let you touch it.' Which reproach and refusal
had such an effect upon the holy disciple that since that time he
never touched the knife again.' .  .  .

"Therefore, in our rooms," Father Rodriguez continues, "there
must be no other furniture than a bed, a table, a bench, and a
candlestick, things purely necessary, and nothing more.  It is
not allowed among us that our cells should be ornamented with
pictures or aught else, neither armchairs, carpets, curtains, nor
any sort of cabinet or bureau of any elegance.  Neither is it
allowed us to keep anything to eat, either for ourselves or for 
those who may come to visit us.  We must ask permission to go to
the refectory even for a glass of water; and finally we may not
keep a book in which we can write a line, or which we may take
away with us.  One cannot deny that thus we are in great poverty.

But this poverty is at the same time a great repose and a great
perfection.  For it would be inevitable, in case a religious
person were allowed to own supernuous possessions, that these
things would greatly occupy his mind, be it to acquire them, to
preserve them, or to increase them; so that in not permitting us
at all to own them, all these inconveniences are remedied. Among
the various good reasons why the company forbids secular persons
to enter our cells, the principal one is that thus we may the
easier be kept in poverty.  After all, we are all men, and if we
were to receive people of the world into our rooms, we should not
have the strength to remain within the bounds prescribed, but
should at least wish to adorn them with some books to give the
visitors a better opinion of our scholarship."[192]

[192] Rodriguez:  Op. cit., Part iii, Treatise iii., chaps. vi.,

Since Hindu fakirs, Buddhist monks, and Mohammedan dervishes
unite with Jesuits and Franciscans in idealizing poverty as the
loftiest individual state, it is worth while to examine into the
spiritual grounds for such a seemingly unnatural opinion.  And
first, of those which lie closest to common human nature.

The opposition between the men who HAVE and the men who ARE is
immemorial.  Though the gentleman, in the old- fashioned sense of
the man who is well born, has usually in point of fact been
predaceous and reveled in lands and goods, yet he has never
identified his essence with these possessions, but rather with
the personal superiorities, the courage, generosity, and pride
supposed to be his birthright.  To certain huckstering kinds of
consideration he thanked God he was forever inaccessible, and if
in life's vicissitudes he should become destitute through their
lack, he was glad to think that with his sheer valor he was all
the freer to work out his salvation.  "Wer nur selbst was hatte,"
says Lessing's Tempelherr, in Nathan the Wise, "mein Gott, mein
Gott, ich habe nichts!"  This ideal of the well-born man without
possessions was embodied in knight-errantry and templardom; and,
hideously corrupted as it has always been, it still dominates
sentimentally, if not practically, the military and aristocratic
view of life.  We glorify the soldier as the man absolutely
unincumbered.  Owning nothing but his bare life, and willing to
toss that up at any moment when the cause commands him, he is the
representative of unhampered freedom in ideal directions.  The
laborer who pays with his person day by day, and has no rights
invested in the future, offers also much of this ideal
detachment.  Like the savage, he may make his bed wherever his
right arm can support him, and from his simple and athletic
attitude of observation, the property-owner seems buried and
smothered in ignoble externalities and trammels, "wading in straw
and rubbish to his knees."  The claims which THINGS make are
corrupters of manhood, mortgages on the soul, and a drag anchor
on our progress towards the empyrean.

"Everything I meet with," writes Whitefield, "seems to carry this
voice with it--'Go thou and preach the Gospel; be a pilgrim on
earth; have no party or certain dwelling place.' My heart echoes
back, 'Lord Jesus, help me to do or suffer thy will. When thou
seest me in danger of NESTLING--in pity--in tender pity--put a
THORN in my nest to prevent me from it.'"[193]

[193] R. Philip:  The Life and Times of George Whitefield,
London, 1842, p. 366.

The loathing of "capital" with which our laboring classes today
are growing more and more infected seems largely composed of this
sound sentiment of antipathy for lives based on mere having.  As
an anarchist poet writes:--

"Not by accumulating riches, but by giving away that which you

"Shall you become beautiful;

"You must undo the wrappings, not case yourself in fresh ones;

"Not by multiplying clothes shall you make your body sound and
healthy, but rather by discarding them .  .  .

"For a soldier who is going on a campaign does not seek what
fresh furniture he can carry on his back, but rather what he can
leave behind;

"Knowing well that every additional thing which he cannot freely
use and handle is an impediment."[194]

[194] Edward Carpenter:  Towards Democracy, p. 362, abridged.

In short, lives based on having are less free than lives based
either on doing or on being, and in the interest of action people
subject to spiritual excitement throw away possessions as so many
clogs.  Only those who have no private interests can follow an
ideal straight away.  Sloth and cowardice creep in with every
dollar or guinea we have to guard.  When a brother novice came to
Saint Francis, saying:  "Father, it would be a great consolation
to me to own a psalter, but even supposing that our general
should concede to me this indulgence, still I should like also to
have your consent," Francis put him off with the examples of
Charlemagne, Roland, and Oliver, pursuing the infidels in sweat
and labor, and finally dying on the field of battle.  "So care
not," he said, "for owning books and knowledge, but care rather
for works of goodness."  And when some weeks later the novice
came again to talk of his craving for the psalter, Francis said: 
"After you have got your psalter you will crave a breviary; and
after you have got your breviary you will sit in your stall like
a grand prelate, and will say to your brother:  "Hand me my
breviary.".  .  . And thenceforward he denied all such requests,
saying:  A man possesses of learning only so much as comes out of
him in action, and a monk is a good preacher only so far as his
deeds proclaim him such, for every tree is known by its

[195] Speculum Perfectionis, ed.  P. Sabatier, Paris, 1898, pp.
10, 13.

But beyond this more worthily athletic attitude involved in doing
and being, there is, in the desire of not having, something
profounder still, something related to that fundamental mystery
of religious experience, the satisfaction found in absolute
surrender to the larger power.  So long as any secular safeguard
is retained, so long as any residual prudential guarantee is
clung to, so long the surrender is incomplete, the vital crisis
is not passed, fear still stands sentinel, and mistrust of the
divine obtains:  we hold by two anchors, looking to God, it is
true, after a fashion, but also holding by our proper
machinations.  In certain medical experiences we have the same
critical point to overcome.  A drunkard, or a morphine or cocaine
maniac, offers himself to be cured.  He appeals to the doctor to
wean him from his enemy, but he dares not face blank abstinence. 
The tyrannical drug is still an anchor to windward:  he hides
supplies of it among his clothing; arranges secretly to have it
smuggled in in case of need.  Even so an incompletely regenerate
man still trusts in his own expedients.  His money is like the
sleeping potion which the chronically wakeful patient keeps
beside his bed; he throws himself on God, but IF he should need
the other help, there it will be also.  Every one knows cases of
this incomplete and ineffective desire for reform-drunkards whom,
with all their self-reproaches and resolves, one perceives to be
quite unwilling seriously to contemplate NEVER being drunk again!
Really to give up anything on which we have relied, to give it up
definitely, "for good and all" and forever, signifies one of
those radical alterations of character which came under our
notice in the lectures on conversion. In it the inner man rolls
over into an entirely different position of equilibrium, lives in
a new centre of energy from this time on, and the turning-point
and hinge of all such operations seems usually to involve the
sincere acceptance of certain nakednesses and destitutions.

Accordingly, throughout the annals of the saintly life, we find
this ever-recurring note:  Fling yourself upon God's providence
without making any reserve whatever--take no thought for the
morrow--sell all you have and give it to the poor--only when the
sacrifice is ruthless and reckless will the higher safety really
arrive.  As a concrete example let me read a page from the
biography of Antoinette Bourignon, a good woman, much persecuted
in her day by both Protestants and Catholics, because she would
not take her religion at second hand.  When a young girl, in her
father's house--

"She spent whole nights in prayer, oft repeating:  Lord, what
wilt thou have me to do?  And being one night in a most profound
penitence, she said from the bottom of her heart:  'O my Lord!
What must I do to please thee?  For I have nobody to teach me. 
Speak to my soul and it will hear thee.' At that instant she
heard, as if another had spoke within her:  Forsake all earthly
things.  Separate thyself from the love of the creatures. Deny
thyself.  She was quite astonished, not understanding this
language, and mused long on these three points, thinking how she
could fulfill them.  She thought she could not live without
earthly things, nor without loving the creatures, nor without
loving herself.  Yet she said, 'By thy Grace I will do it, Lord!'
But when she would perform her promise, she knew not where to
begin.  Having thought on the religious in monasteries, that they
forsook all earthly things by being shut up in a cloister, and
the love of themselves by subjecting of their wills, she asked
leave of her father to enter into a cloister of the barefoot
Carmelites, but he would not permit it, saying he would rather
see her laid in her grave.  This seemed to her a great cruelty,
for she thought to find in the cloister the true Christians she
had been seeking, but she found afterwards that he knew the
cloisters better than she, for after he had forbidden her, and
told her he would never permit her to be a religious, nor give
her any money to enter there, yet she went to Father Laurens, the
Director, and offered to serve in the monastery and work hard for
her bread, and be content with little, if he would receive her.
At which he smiled and said:  That cannot be.  We must have money
to build; we take no maids without money; you must find the way
to get it, else there is no entry here.

"This astonished her greatly, and she was thereby undeceived as
to the cloisters, resolving to forsake all company and live alone
till it should please God to show her what she ought to do and
whither to go.  She asked always earnestly, 'When shall I be
perfectly thine, O my God?' And she thought he still answered
her, When thou shalt no longer possess anything, and shalt die to
thyself.  'And where shall I do that, Lord?' He answered her, In
the desert.  This made so strong an impression on her soul that
she aspired after this; but being a maid of eighteen years only,
she was afraid of unlucky chances, and was never used to travel,
and knew no way.  She laid aside all these doubts and said,
'Lord, thou wilt guide me how and where it shall please thee.  It
is for thee that I do it.  I will lay aside my habit of a maid,
and will take that of a hermit that I may pass unknown.' Having
then secretly made ready this habit, while her parents thought to
have married her, her father having promised her to a rich French
merchant, she prevented the time, and on Easter evening, having
cut her hair, put on the habit, and slept a little, she went out
of her chamber about four in the morning, taking nothing but one
penny to buy bread for that day.  And it being said to her in
going out, Where is thy faith?  in a penny?  she threw it away,
begging pardon of God for her fault, and saying, 'No, Lord, my
faith is not in a penny, but in thee alone.'  Thus she went away
wholly delivered from the heavy burthen of the cares and good
things of this world, and found her soul so satisfied that she no
longer wished for anything upon earth, resting entirely upon God,
with this only fear lest she should be discovered and be obliged
to return home; for she felt already more content in this poverty
than she had done for all her life in all the delights of the

[196] An Apology for M. Antonia Bourignon, London, 1699, pp. 269,
270, abridged.

Another example from Starbuck's MS. collection:--

"At a meeting held at six the next morning, I heard a man relate
his experience.  He said:  The Lord asked him if he would
confess Christ among the quarrymen with whom he worked, and he
said he would.  Then he asked him if he would give up to be used
of the Lord the four hundred dollars he had laid up, and he said
he would and thus the Lord saved him.  The thought came to me at
once that I had never made a real consecration either of myself
or of my property to the Lord, but had always tried to serve the
Lord in my way.  Now the Lord asked me if I would serve him in
HIS way, and go out alone and penniless if he so ordered.  The
question was pressed home, and I must decide:  To forsake all and
have him, or have all and lose him!  I soon decided to take him;
and the blessed assurance came, that he had taken me for his own,
and my joy was full.  I returned home from the meeting with
feelings as simple as a child.  I thought all would be glad to
hear of the joy of the Lord that possessed me, and so I began to
tell the simple story.  But to my great surprise, the pastors
(for I attended meetings in three churches) opposed the
experience and said it was fanaticism, and one told the members
of his church to shun those that professed it, and I soon found
that my foes were those of my own household."

The penny was a small financial safeguard, but an effective
spiritual obstacle.  Not till it was thrown away could the
character settle into the new equilibrium completely.

Over and above the mystery of self-surrender, there are in the
cult of poverty other religious mysteries.  There is the mystery
of veracity:  "Naked came I into the world," etc.-- whoever first
said that, possessed this mystery.  My own bare entity must fight
the battle--shams cannot save me.  There is also the mystery of
democracy, or sentiment of the equality before God of all his
creatures.  This sentiment (which seems in general to have been
more widespread in Mohammedan than in Christian lands) tends to
nullify man's usual acquisitiveness.  Those who have it spurn
dignities and honors, privileges and advantages, preferring, as I
said in a former lecture, to grovel on the common level before
the face of God.  It is not exactly the sentiment of humility,
though it comes so close to it in practice.  It is HUMANITY,
rather, refusing to enjoy anything that others do not share. A
profound moralist, writing of Christ's saying, "Sell all thou
hast and follow me," proceeds as follows:--

"Christ may have meant:  If you love mankind absolutely you will
as a result not care for any possessions whatever, and this seems
a very likely proposition.  But it is one thing to believe that a
proposition is probably true; it is another thing to see it as a
fact.  If you loved mankind as Christ loved them, you would see
his conclusion as a fact.  It would be obvious.  You would sell
your goods, and they would be no loss to you.  These truths,
while literal to Christ, and to any mind that has Christ's love
for mankind, become parables to lesser natures.  There are in
every generation people who, beginning innocently, with no
predetermined intention of becoming saints, find themselves drawn
into the vortex by their interest in helping mankind, and by the
understanding that comes from actually doing it.  The abandonment
of their old mode of life is like dust in the balance.  It is
done gradually, incidentally, imperceptibly.  Thus the whole
question of the abandonment of luxury is no question at all, but
a mere incident to another question, namely, the degree to which
we abandon ourselves to the remorseless logic of our love for

[197] J. J. Chapman, in the Political Nursery, vol. iv. p. 4,
April, 1900, abridged.

But in all these matters of sentiment one must have "been there"
one's self in order to understand them.  No American can ever
attain to understanding the loyalty of a Briton towards his king,
of a German towards his emperor; nor can a Briton or German ever
understand the peace of heart of an American in having no king,
no Kaiser, no spurious nonsense, between him and the common God
of all.  If sentiments as simple as these are mysteries which one
must receive as gifts of birth, how much more is this the case
with those subtler religious sentiments which we have been
considering!  One can never fathom an emotion or divine its
dictates by standing outside of it.  In the glowing hour of
excitement, however, all incomprehensibilities are solved, and
what was so enigmatical from without becomes transparently
obvious.  Each emotion obeys a logic of its own, and makes
deductions which no other logic can draw.  Piety and charity live
in a different universe from worldly lusts and fears, and form
another centre of energy altogether.  As in a supreme sorrow
lesser vexations may become a consolation; as a supreme love may
turn minor sacrifices into gain; so a supreme trust may render
common safeguards odious, and in certain glows of generous
excitement it may appear unspeakably mean to retain one's hold of
personal possessions.  The only sound plan, if we are ourselves
outside the pale of such emotions, is to observe as well as we
are able those who feel them, and to record faithfully what we
observe; and this, I need hardly say, is what I have striven to
do in these last two descriptive lectures, which I now hope will
have covered the ground sufficiently for our present needs.

Lectures XIV and XV


We have now passed in review the more important of the phenomena
which are regarded as fruits of genuine religion and
characteristics of men who are devout.  Today we have to change
our attitude from that of description to that of appreciation; we
have to ask whether the fruits in question can help us to judge
the absolute value of what religion adds to human life.  Were I
to parody Kant, I should say that a "Critique of pure
Saintliness" must be our theme.

If, in turning to this theme, we could descend upon our subject
from above like Catholic theologians, with our fixed definitions
of man and man's perfection and our positive dogmas about God, we
should have an easy time of it.  Man's perfection would be the
fulfillment of his end; and his end would be union with his
Maker.  That union could be pursued by him along three paths,
active, purgative, and contemplative, respectively; and progress
along either path would be a simple matter to measure by the
application of a limited number of theological and moral
conceptions and definitions.  The absolute significance and value
of any bit of religious experience we might hear of would thus be
given almost mathematically into our hands.

If convenience were everything, we ought now to grieve at finding
ourselves cut off from so admirably convenient a method as this. 
But we did cut ourselves off from it deliberately in those
remarks which you remember we made, in our first lecture, about
the empirical method; and it must be <321> confessed that after
that act of renunciation we can never hope for clean-cut and
scholastic results.  WE cannot divide man sharply into an animal
and a rational part.  WE cannot distinguish natural from
supernatural effects; nor among the latter know which are favors
of God, and which are counterfeit operations of the demon.  WE
have merely to collect things together without any special a
priori theological system, and out of an aggregate of piecemeal
judgments as to the value of this and that experience--judgments
in which our general philosophic prejudices, our instincts, and
our common sense are our only guides--decide that ON THE WHOLE
one type of religion is approved by its fruits, and another type
condemned.  "On the whole"--I fear we shall never escape
complicity with that qualification, so dear to your practical
man, so repugnant to your systematizer!

I also fear that as I make this frank confession, I may seem to
some of you to throw our compass overboard, and to adopt caprice
as our pilot.  Skepticism or wayward choice, you may think, can
be the only results of such a formless method as I have taken up.
A few remarks in deprecation of such an opinion, and in farther
explanation of the empiricist principles which I profess, may
therefore appear at this point to be in place.

Abstractly, it would seem illogical to try to measure the worth
of a religion's fruits in merely human terms of value. How CAN
you measure their worth without considering whether the God
really exists who is supposed to inspire them?  If he really
exists, then all the conduct instituted by men to meet his wants
must necessarily be a reasonable fruit of his religion--it would
be unreasonable only in case he did not exist.  If, for instance,
you were to condemn a religion of human or animal sacrifices by
virtue of your subjective sentiments, and if all the while a
deity were really there demanding such sacrifices, you would be
making a theoretical mistake by tacitly assuming that the deity
must be non-existent; you would be setting up a theology of your
own as much as if you were a scholastic philosopher.

To this extent, to the extent of disbelieving peremptorily in
certain types of deity, I frankly confess that we must be
theologians.  If disbeliefs can be said to constitute a theology,
then the prejudices, instincts, and common sense which I chose as
our guides make theological partisans of us whenever they make
certain beliefs abhorrent.

But such common-sense prejudices and instincts are themselves the
fruit of an empirical evolution.  Nothing is more striking than
the secular alteration that goes on in the moral and religious
tone of men, as their insight into nature and their social
arrangements progressively develop.  After an interval of a few
generations the mental climate proves unfavorable to notions of
the deity which at an earlier date were perfectly satisfactory: 
the older gods have fallen below the common secular level, and
can no longer be believed in.  Today a deity who should require
bleeding sacrifices to placate him would be too sanguinary to be
taken seriously.  Even if powerful historical credentials were
put forward in his favor, we would not look at them.  Once, on
the contrary, his cruel appetites were of themselves credentials.

They positively recommended him to men's imaginations in ages
when such coarse signs of power were respected and no others
could be understood.  Such deities then were worshiped because
such fruits were relished.

Doubtless historic accidents always played some later part, but
the original factor in fixing the figure of the gods must always
have been psychological.  The deity to whom the prophets, seers,
and devotees who founded the particular cult bore witness was
worth something to them personally. They could use him.  He
guided their imagination, warranted their hopes, and controlled
their will--or else they required him as a safeguard against the
demon and a curber of other people's crimes.  In any case, they
chose him for the value of the fruits he seemed to them to yield.

So soon as the fruits began to seem quite worthless; so soon as
they conflicted with indispensable human ideals, or thwarted too
extensively other values; so soon as they appeared childish,
contemptible, or immoral when reflected on, the deity grew
discredited, and was erelong neglected and forgotten.  It was in
this way that the Greek and Roman gods ceased to be believed in
by educated pagans; it is thus that we ourselves judge of the
Hindu, Buddhist, and Mohammedan theologies; Protestants have so
dealt with the Catholic notions of deity, and liberal Protestants
with older Protestant notions; it is thus that Chinamen judge of
us, and that all of us now living will be judged by our
descendants.  When we cease to admire or approve what the
definition of a deity implies, we end by deeming that deity

Few historic changes are more curious than these mutations of
theological opinion.  The monarchical type of sovereignty was,
for example, so ineradicably planted in the mind of our own
forefathers that a dose of cruelty and arbitrariness in their
deity seems positively to have been required by their
imagination.  They called the cruelty "retributive justice," and
a God without it would certainly have struck them as not
"sovereign" enough.  But today we abhor the very notion of
eternal suffering inflicted; and that arbitrary dealing-out of
salvation and damnation to selected individuals, of which
Jonathan Edwards could persuade himself that he had not only a
conviction, but a "delightful conviction," as of a doctrine
"exceeding pleasant, bright, and sweet," appears to us, if
sovereignly anything, sovereignly irrational and mean.  Not only
the cruelty, but the paltriness of character of the gods believed
in by earlier centuries also strikes later centuries with
surprise.  We shall see examples of it from the annals of
Catholic saintship which makes us rub our Protestant eyes. 
Ritual worship in general appears to the modern
transcendentalist, as well as to the ultra-puritanic type of
mind, as if addressed to a deity of an almost absurdly childish
character, taking delight in toy-shop furniture, tapers and
tinsel, costume and mumbling and mummery, and finding his "glory"
incomprehensibly enhanced thereby:--just as on the other hand the
formless spaciousness of pantheism appears quite empty to
ritualistic natures, and the gaunt theism of evangelical sects
seems intolerably bald and chalky and bleak.

Luther, says Emerson, would have cut off his right hand rather
than nail his theses to the door at Wittenberg, if he had
supposed that they were destined to lead to the pale negations of
Boston Unitarianism.

So far, then, although we are compelled, whatever may be our
pretensions to empiricism, to employ some sort of a standard of
theological probability of our own whenever we assume to estimate
the fruits of other men's religion, yet this very standard has
been begotten out of the drift of common life.  It is the voice
of human experience within us, judging and condemning all gods
that stand athwart the pathway along which it feels itself to be
advancing.  Experience, if we take it in the largest sense, is
thus the parent of those disbeliefs which, it was charged, were
inconsistent with the experiential method.  The inconsistency,
you see, is immaterial, and the charge may be neglected.

If we pass from disbeliefs to positive beliefs, it seems to me
that there is not even a formal inconsistency to be laid against
our method.  The gods we stand by are the gods we need and can
use, the gods whose demands on us are reinforcements of our
demands on ourselves and on one another. What I then propose to
do is, briefly stated, to test saintliness by common sense, to
use human standards to help us decide how far the religious life
commends itself as an ideal kind of human activity.  If it
commends itself, then any theological beliefs that may inspire
it, in so far forth will stand accredited.  If not, then they
will be discredited, and all without reference to anything but
human working principles.  It is but the elimination of the
humanly unfit, and the survival of the humanly fittest, applied
to religious beliefs; and if we look at history candidly and
without prejudice, we have to admit that no religion has ever in
the long run established or proved itself in any other way. 
Religions have APPROVED themselves; they have ministered to
sundry vital needs which they found reigning.  When they violated
other needs too strongly, or when other faiths came which served
the same needs better, the first religions were supplanted.

The needs were always many, and the tests were never sharp.  So
the reproach of vagueness and subjectivity and "on the
whole"-ness, which can with perfect legitimacy be addressed to
the empirical method as we are forced to use it, is after all a
reproach to which the entire life of man in dealing with these
matters is obnoxious.  No religion has ever yet owed its
prevalence to "apodictic certainty."    In a later lecture I will
ask whether objective certainty can ever be added by theological
reasoning to a religion that already empirically prevails.

One word, also, about the reproach that in following this sort of
an empirical method we are handing ourselves over to systematic

Since it is impossible to deny secular alterations in our
sentiments and needs, it would be absurd to affirm that one's own
age of the world can be beyond correction by the next age. 
Skepticism cannot, therefore, be ruled out by any set of thinkers
as a possibility against which their conclusions are secure; and
no empiricist ought to claim exemption from this universal
liability.  But to admit one's liability to correction is one
thing, and to embark upon a sea of wanton doubt is another.  Of
willfully playing into the hands of skepticism we cannot be
accused.  He who acknowledges the imperfectness of his
instrument, and makes allowance <326> for it in discussing his
observations, is in a much better position for gaining truth than
if he claimed his instrument to be infallible.  Or is dogmatic or
scholastic theology less doubted in point of fact for claiming,
as it does, to be in point of right undoubtable?  And if not,
what command over truth would this kind of theology really lose
if, instead of absolute certainty, she only claimed reasonable
probability for her conclusions?  If WE claim only reasonable
probability, it will be as much as men who love the truth can
ever at any given moment hope to have within their grasp. Pretty
surely it will be more than we could have had, if we were
unconscious of our liability to err.

Nevertheless, dogmatism will doubtless continue to condemn us for
this confession.  The mere outward form of inalterable certainty
is so precious to some minds that to renounce it explicitly is
for them out of the question.  They will claim it even where the
facts most patently pronounce its folly.  But the safe thing is
surely to recognize that all the insights of creatures of a day
like ourselves must be provisional. The wisest of critics is an
altering being, subject to the better insight of the morrow, and
right at any moment, only "up to date" and "on the whole."   
When larger ranges of truth open, it is surely best to be able to
open ourselves to their reception, unfettered by our previous
pretensions. "Heartily know, when half-gods go, the gods arrive."

The fact of diverse judgments about religious phenomena is
therefore entirely unescapable, whatever may be one's own desire
to attain the irreversible.  But apart from that fact, a more
fundamental question awaits us, the question whether men's
opinions ought to be expected to be absolutely uniform in this
field.  Ought all men to have the same religion? Ought they to
approve the same fruits and follow the same leadings?  Are they
so like in their inner needs that, for hard and soft, for proud
and humble, for strenuous and lazy, for healthy-minded and
despairing, exactly the same religious incentives are required? 
Or are different functions in the organism of humanity allotted
to different types of man, so that some may really be the better
for a religion of consolation and reassurance, whilst others are
better for one of terror and reproof?  It might conceivably be
so; and we shall, I think, more and more suspect it to be so as
we go on. And if it be so, how can any possible judge or critic
help being biased in favor of the religion by which his own needs
are best met?  He aspires to impartiality; but he is too close to
the struggle not to be to some degree a participant, and he is
sure to approve most warmly those fruits of piety in others which
taste most good and prove most nourishing to HIM.

I am well aware of how anarchic much of what I say may sound. 
Expressing myself thus abstractly and briefly, I may seem to
despair of the very notion of truth.  But I beseech you to
reserve your judgment until we see it applied to the details
which lie before us.  I do indeed disbelieve that we or any other
mortal men can attain on a given day to absolutely incorrigible
and unimprovable truth about such matters of fact as those with
which religions deal.  But I reject this dogmatic ideal not out
of a perverse delight in intellectual instability.  I am no lover
of disorder and doubt as such.  Rather do I fear to lose truth by
this pretension to possess it already wholly.  That we can gain
more and more of it by moving always in the right direction, I
believe as much as any one, and I hope to bring you all to my way
of thinking before the termination of these lectures.  Till then,
do not, I pray you, harden your minds irrevocably against the
empiricism which I profess.

I will waste no more words, then, in abstract justification of my
method, but seek immediately to use it upon the facts.

In critically judging of the value of religious phenomena, it is
very important to insist on the distinction between religion as
an individual personal function, and religion as an
institutional, corporate, or tribal product.  I drew this
distinction, you may remember, in my second lecture.  The word
"religion," as ordinarily used, is equivocal.  A survey of
history shows us that, as a rule, religious geniuses attract
disciples, and produce groups of sympathizers.  When these groups
get strong enough to "organize" themselves, they become
ecclesiastical institutions with corporate ambitions of their
own.  The spirit of politics and the lust of dogmatic rule are
then apt to enter and to contaminate the originally innocent
thing; so that when we hear the word "religion" nowadays, we
think inevitably of some "church" or other; and to some persons
the word "church" suggests so much hypocrisy and tyranny and
meanness and tenacity of superstition that in a wholesale
undiscerning way they glory in saying that they are "down" on
religion altogether.  Even we who belong to churches do not
exempt other churches than our own from the general condemnation.

But in this course of lectures ecclesiastical institutions hardly
concern us at all.  The religious experience which we are
studying is that which lives itself out within the private
breast.  First-hand individual experience of this kind has always
appeared as a heretical sort of innovation to those who witnessed
its birth.  Naked comes it into the world and lonely; and it has
always, for a time at least, driven him who had it into the
wilderness, often into the literal wilderness out of doors, where
the Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, St. Francis, George Fox, and so many
others had to go.  George Fox expresses well this isolation; and
I can do no better at this point than read to you a page from his
Journal, referring to the period of his youth when religion began
to ferment within him seriously.

"I fasted much," Fox says, "walked abroad in solitary places many
days, and often took my Bible, and sat in hollow trees and
lonesome places until night came on; and frequently in the night
walked mournfully about by myself; for I was a man of sorrows in
the time of the first workings of the Lord in me.

"During all this time I was never joined in profession of
religion with any, but gave up myself to the Lord, having
forsaken all evil company, taking leave of father and mother, and
all other relations, and traveled up and down as a stranger on
the earth, which way the Lord inclined my heart; taking a chamber
to myself in the town where I came, and tarrying sometimes more,
sometimes less in a place:  for I durst not stay long in a place,
being afraid both of professor and profane, lest, being a tender
young man, I should be hurt by conversing much with either.  For
which reason I kept much as a stranger, seeking heavenly wisdom
and getting knowledge from the Lord; and was brought off from
outward things, to rely on the Lord alone.  As I had forsaken the
priests, so I left the separate preachers also, and those called
the most experienced people; for I saw there was none among them
all that could speak to my condition.  And when all my hopes in
them and in all men were gone so that I had nothing outwardly to
help me, nor could tell what to do; then, oh then, I heard a
voice which said, 'There is one, even Jesus Christ, that can
speak to thy condition.'  When I heard it, my heart did leap for
joy.  Then the Lord let me see why there was none upon the earth
that could speak to my condition. I had not fellowship with any
people, priests, nor professors, nor any sort of separated
people.  I was afraid of all carnal talk and talkers, for I could
see nothing but corruptions.  When I was in the deep, under all
shut up, I could not believe that I should ever overcome; my
troubles, my sorrows, and my temptations were so great that I
often thought I should have despaired, I was so tempted.  But
when Christ opened to me how he was tempted by the same devil,
and had overcome him, and had bruised his head; and that through
him and his power, life, grace, and spirit, I should overcome
also, I had confidence in him.  If I had had a king's diet,
palace, and attendance, all would have been as nothing, for
nothing gave me comfort but the Lord by his power.  I saw
professors, priests, and people were whole and at ease in that
condition which was my misery, and they loved that which I would
have been rid of.  But the Lord did stay my desires upon himself,
and my care was cast upon him alone."[198]

[198] George Fox:  Journal, Philadelphia, 1800, pp. 59-61,

A genuine first-hand religious experience like this is bound to
be a heterodoxy to its witnesses, the prophet appearing as a mere
lonely madman.  If his doctrine prove contagious enough to spread
to any others, it becomes a definite and labeled heresy.  But if
it then still prove contagious enough to triumph over
persecution, it becomes itself an orthodoxy; and when a religion
has become an orthodoxy, its day of inwardness is over:  the
spring is dry; the faithful live at second hand exclusively and
stone the prophets in their turn.  The new church, in spite of
whatever human goodness it may foster, can be henceforth counted
on as a staunch ally in every attempt to stifle the spontaneous
religious spirit, and to stop all later bubblings of the fountain
from which in purer days it drew its own supply of inspiration.
Unless, indeed, by adopting new movements of the spirit it can
make capital out of them and use them for its selfish corporate
designs! Of protective action of this politic sort, promptly or
tardily decided on, the dealings of the Roman ecclesiasticism
with many individual saints and prophets yield examples enough
for our instruction.

The plain fact is that men's minds are built, as has been often
said, in water-tight compartments.  Religious after a fashion,
they yet have many other things in them beside their religion,
and unholy entanglements and associations inevitably obtain.  The
basenesses so commonly charged to religion's account are thus,
almost all of them, not chargeable at all to religion proper, but
rather to religion's wicked practical partner, the spirit of
corporate dominion.  And the bigotries are most of them in their
turn chargeable to religion's wicked intellectual partner, the
spirit of dogmatic dominion, the passion for laying down the law
in the form of an absolutely closed-in theoretic system.  The
ecclesiastical spirit in general is the sum of these two spirits
of dominion; and I beseech you never to confound the phenomena of
mere tribal or corporate psychology which it presents with those
manifestations of the purely interior life which are the
exclusive object of our study.  The baiting of Jews, the hunting
of Albigenses and Waldenses, the stoning of Quakers and ducking
of Methodists, the murdering of Mormons and the massacring of
Armenians, express much rather that aboriginal human neophobia,
that pugnacity of which we all share the vestiges, and that
inborn hatred of the alien and of eccentric and non-conforming
men as aliens, than they express the positive piety of the
various perpetrators.  Piety is the mask, the inner force is
tribal instinct.  You believe as little as I do, in spite of the
Christian unction with which the German emperor addressed his
troops upon their way to China, that the conduct which he
suggested, and in which other Christian armies went beyond them,
had anything whatever to do with the interior religious life of
those concerned in the performance.

Well, no more for past atrocities than for this atrocity should
we make piety responsible.  At most we may blame piety for not
availing to check our natural passions, and sometimes for
supplying them with hypocritical pretexts. But hypocrisy also
imposes obligations, and with the pretext usually couples some
restriction; and when the passion gust is over, the piety may
bring a reaction of repentance which the irreligious natural man
would not have shown.

For many of the historic aberrations which have been laid to her
charge, religion as such, then, is not to blame.  Yet of the
charge that over-zealousness or fanaticism is one of her
liabilities we cannot wholly acquit her, so I will next make a
remark upon that point.  But I will preface it by a preliminary
remark which connects itself with much that follows.
Our survey of the phenomena of saintliness has unquestionably
produced in your minds an impression of extravagance. Is it
necessary, some of you have asked, as one example after another
came before us, to be quite so fantastically good as that?  We
who have no vocation for the extremer ranges of sanctity will
surely be let off at the last day if our humility, asceticism,
and devoutness prove of a less convulsive sort.  This practically
amounts to saying that much that it is legitimate to admire in
this field need nevertheless not be imitated, and that religious
phenomena, like all other human phenomena, are subject to the law
of the golden mean.  Political reformers accomplish their
successive tasks in the history of nations by being blind for the
time to other causes.  Great schools of art work out the effects
which it is their mission to reveal, at the cost of a
one-sidedness for which other schools must make amends.  We
accept a John Howard, a Mazzini, a Botticelli, a Michael Angelo,
with a kind of indulgence.  We are glad they existed to show us
that way, but we are glad there are also other ways of seeing and
taking life.  So of many of the saints whom we have looked at. 
We are proud of a human nature that could be so passionately
extreme, but we shrink from advising others to follow the
example.  The conduct we blame ourselves for not following lies
nearer to the middle line of human effort. It is less dependent
on particular beliefs and doctrines.  It is such as wears well in
different ages, such as under different skies all judges are able
to commend.

The fruits of religion, in other words, are, like all human
products, liable to corruption by excess.  Common sense must
judge them.  It need not blame the votary; but it may be able to
praise him only conditionally, as one who acts faithfully
according to his lights.  He shows us heroism in one way, but the
unconditionally good way is that for which no indulgence need be
We find that error by excess is exemplified by every saintly
virtue.  Excess, in human faculties, means usually one-sidedness
or want of balance; for it is hard to imagine an essential
faculty too strong, if only other faculties equally strong be
there to cooperate with it in action.  Strong affections need a
strong will; strong active powers need a strong intellect; strong
intellect needs strong sympathies, to keep life steady.  If the
balance exist, no one faculty can possibly be too strong--we only
get the stronger all-round character.  In the life of saints,
technically so called, the spiritual faculties are strong, but
what gives the impression of extravagance proves usually on
examination to be a relative deficiency of intellect.  Spiritual
excitement takes pathological forms whenever other interests are
too few and the intellect too narrow.  We find this exemplified
by all the saintly attributes in turn--devout love of God,
purity, charity, asceticism, all may lead astray.  I will run
over these virtues in succession.

First of all let us take Devoutness.  When unbalanced, one of its
vices is called Fanaticism.  Fanaticism (when not a mere
expression of ecclesiastical ambition) is only loyalty carried to
a convulsive extreme.  When an intensely loyal and narrow mind is
once grasped by the feeling that a certain superhuman person is
worthy of its exclusive devotion, one of the first things that
happens is that it idealizes the devotion itself.  To adequately
realize the merits of the idol gets to be considered the one
great merit of the worshiper; and the sacrifices and servilities
by which savage tribesmen have from time immemorial exhibited
their faithfulness to chieftains are now outbid in favor of the
deity.  Vocabularies are exhausted and languages altered in the
attempt to praise him enough; death is looked on as gain if it
attract his grateful notice; and the personal attitude of being
his devotee becomes what one might almost call a new and exalted
kind of professional specialty within the tribe.[199] The legends
that gather round the lives of holy persons are fruits of this
impulse to celebrate and glorify.  The Buddha[200] and
Mohammed[201] and their companions and many Christian saints are
incrusted with a heavy jewelry of anecdotes which are meant to be
honorific, but are simply abgeschmackt and silly, and form a
touching expression of man's misguided propensity to praise.

[199] Christian saints have had their specialties of devotion,
Saint Francis to Christ's wounds; Saint Anthony of Padua to
Christ's childhood; Saint Bernard to his humanity; Saint Teresa
to Saint Joseph, etc.  The Shi-ite Mohammedans venerate Ali, the
Prophet's son-in-law, instead of Abu-bekr, his brother-in-law. 
Vambery describes a dervish whom he met in Persia, "who had
solemnly vowed, thirty years before, that he would never employ
his organs of speech otherwise but in uttering, everlastingly,
the name of his favorite, Ali, Ali.  He thus wished to signify to
the world that he was the most devoted partisan of that Ali who
had been dead a thousand years.  In his own home, speaking with
his wife, children, and friends, no other word but 'Ali!' ever
passed his lips.  If he wanted food or drink or anything else, he
expressed his wants still by repeating 'Ali!'  Begging or buying
at the bazaar, it was always 'Ali!'  Treated ill or generously,
he would still harp on his monotonous 'Ali!'  Latterly his zeal
assumed such tremendous proportions that, like a madman, he would
race, the whole day, up and down the streets of the town,
throwing his stick high up into the air, and shriek our, all the
while, at the top of his voice, 'Ali!'  This dervish was
venerated by everybody as a saint, and received everywhere with
the greatest distinction."  Arminius Vambery, his Life and
Adventures, written by Himself, London, 1889, p. 69.  On the
anniversary of the death of Hussein, Ali's son, the Shi-ite
Moslems still make the air resound with cries of his name and

[200] Compare H. C. Warren:  Buddhism in Translation, Cambridge,
U.S., 1898, passim.

[201] Compare J. L. Merrick:  The Life and Religion of Mohammed,
as contained in the Sheeah traditions of the Hyat-ul-Kuloob,
Boston. 1850, passim.

An immediate consequence of this condition of mind is jealousy
for the deity's honor.  How can the devotee show his loyalty
better than by sensitiveness in this regard?  The slightest
affront or neglect must be resented, the deity's enemies must be
put to shame.  In exceedingly narrow minds and active wills, such
a care may become an engrossing preoccupation; and crusades have
been preached and massacres instigated for no other reason than
to remove a fancied slight upon the God.  Theologies representing
the gods as mindful of their glory, and churches with
imperialistic policies, have conspired to fan this temper to a
glow, so that intolerance and persecution have come to be vices
associated by some of us inseparably with the saintly mind. They
are unquestionably its besetting sins.  The saintly temper is a
moral temper, and a moral temper has often to be cruel.  It is a
partisan temper, and that is cruel.  Between his own and
Jehovah's enemies a David knows no difference; a Catherine of
Siena, panting to stop the warfare among Christians which was the
scandal of her epoch, can think of no better method of union
among them than a crusade to massacre the Turks; Luther finds no
word of protest or regret over the atrocious tortures with which
the Anabaptist leaders were put to death; and a Cromwell praises
the Lord for delivering his enemies into his hands for
"execution."  Politics come in in all such cases; but piety finds
the partnership not quite unnatural.  So, when "freethinkers"
tell us that religion and fanaticism are twins, we cannot make an
unqualified denial of the charge.

Fanaticism must then be inscribed on the wrong side of religion's
account, so long as the religious person's intellect is on the
stage which the despotic kind of God satisfies.  But as soon as
the God is represented as less intent on his own honor and glory,
it ceases to be a danger.

Fanaticism is found only where the character is masterful and
aggressive.  In gentle characters, where devoutness is intense
and the intellect feeble, we have an imaginative absorption in
the love of God to the exclusion of all practical human
interests, which, though innocent enough, is too one-sided to be
admirable.  A mind too narrow has room but for one kind of
affection.  When the love of God takes possession of such a mind,
it expels all human loves and human uses.  There is no English
name for such a sweet excess of devotion, so I will refer to it
as a theopathic condition.

The blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque may serve as an example.

"To be loved here upon the earth," her recent biographer
exclaims:  "to be loved by a noble, elevated, distinguished
being; to be loved with fidelity, with devotion--what
enchantment! But to be loved by God! and loved by him to
distraction [aime jusqu'a la folie]!--Margaret melted away with
love at the thought of such a thing.  Like Saint Philip of Neri
in former times, or like Saint Francis Xavier, she said to God: 
'Hold back, O my God, these torrents which overwhelm me, or else
enlarge my capacity for their reception."[202]

[202] Bougaud:  Hist. de la bienheureuse Marguerite Marie, Paris,
1894, p. 145.

The most signal proofs of God's love which Margaret Mary received
were her hallucinations of sight, touch, and hearing, and the
most signal in turn of these were the revelations of Christ's
sacred heart, "surrounded with rays more brilliant than the Sun,
and transparent like a crystal.  The wound which he received on
the cross visibly appeared upon it.  There was a crown of thorns
round about this divine Heart, and a cross above it."  At the
same time Christ's voice told her that, unable longer to contain
the flames of his love for mankind, he had chosen her by a
miracle to spread the knowledge of them.  He thereupon took out
her mortal heart, placed it inside of his own and inflamed it,
and then replaced it in her breast, adding:  "Hitherto thou hast
taken the name of my slave, hereafter thou shalt be called the
well-beloved disciple of my Sacred Heart."

In a later vision the Saviour revealed to her in detail the
"great design" which he wished to establish through her
instrumentality.  "I ask of thee to bring it about that every
first Friday after the week of holy Sacrament shall be made into
a special holy day for honoring my Heart by a general communion
and by services intended to make honorable amends for the
indignities which it has received.  And I promise thee that my
Heart will dilate to shed with abundance the influences of its
love upon all those who pay to it these honors, or who bring it
about that others do the same."

"This revelation," says Mgr. Bougaud, "is unquestionably the most
important of all the revelations which have illumined the Church
since that of the Incarnation and of the Lord's Supper. . . . 
After the Eucharist, the supreme effort of the Sacred
Heart."[203]  Well, what were its good fruits for Margaret Mary's
life?  Apparently little else but sufferings and prayers and
absences of mind and swoons and ecstasies.  She became
increasingly useless about the convent, her absorption in
Christ's love--

"which grew upon her daily, rendering her more and more incapable
of attending to external duties.  They tried her in the
infirmary, but without much success, although her kindness, zeal,
and devotion were without bounds, and her charity rose to acts of
such a heroism that our readers would not bear the recital of
them.  They tried her in the kitchen, but were forced to give it
up as hopeless--everything dropped out of her hands.  The
admirable humility with which she made amends for her clumsiness
could not prevent this from being prejudicial to the order and
regularity which must always reign in a community. They put her
in the school, where the little girls cherished her, and cut
pieces out of her clothes [for relics] as if she were already a
saint, but where she was too absorbed inwardly to pay the
necessary attention.  Poor dear sister, even less after her
visions than before them was she a denizen of earth, and they had
to leave her in her heaven."[204]

[203] Bougaud:  Hist. de la bienheureuse Marguerite Marie,
Paris, 1894, pp. 365, 241.

[204] Bougaud:  Op. cit., p. 267.

Poor dear sister, indeed! Amiable and good, but so feeble of
intellectual outlook that it would be too much to ask of us, with
our Protestant and modern education, to feel anything but
indulgent pity for the kind of saintship which she embodies.  A
lower example still of theopathic saintliness is that of Saint
Gertrude, a Benedictine nun of the thirteenth century, whose
"Revelations," a well-known mystical authority, consist mainly of
proofs of Christ's partiality for her undeserving person. 
Assurances of his love, intimacies and caresses and compliments
of the most absurd and puerile sort, addressed by Christ to
Gertrude as an individual, form the tissue of this paltry-minded
recital.[205] In reading such a narrative, we realize the gap
between the thirteenth and the twentieth century, and we feel
that saintliness of character may yield almost absolutely
worthless fruits if it be associated with such inferior
intellectual sympathies.  What with science, idealism, and
democracy, our own imagination has grown to need a God of an
entirely different temperament from that Being interested
exclusively in dealing out personal favors, with whom our
ancestors were so contented.  Smitten as we are with the vision
of social righteousness, a God indifferent to everything but
adulation, and full of partiality for his individual favorites,
lacks an essential element of largeness; and even the best
professional sainthood of former centuries, pent in as it is to
such a conception, seems to us curiously shallow and unedifying.

[205] Examples:  "Suffering from a headache, she sought, for the
glory of God, to relieve herself by holding certain odoriferous
substances in her mouth, when the Lord appeared to her to lean
over towards her lovingly, and to find comfort Himself in these
odors.  After having gently breathed them in, He arose, and said
with a gratified air to the Saints, as if contented with what He
had done: 'see the new present which my betrothed has given Me!'

"One day, at chapel, she heard supernaturally sung the words
'Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus.' The son of God leaning towards her
like a sweet lover, and giving to her soul the softest kiss, said
to her at the second Sanctus:  'In this Sanctus addressed to my
person, receive with this kiss all the sanctity of my divinity
and of my humanity, and let it be to thee a sufficient
preparation for approaching the communion table.' And the next
following Sunday, while she was thanking God for this favor,
behold the Son of God, more beauteous than thousands of angels,
takes her in His arms as if He were proud of her and presents her
to God the Father, in that perfection of sanctity with which He
had dowered her.  And the Father took such delight in this soul
thus presented by His only son, that, as if unable longer to
restrain Himself, He gave her, and the Holy Ghost gave her also,
the sanctity attributed to each by His own Sanctus--and thus she
remained endowed with the plenary fullness of the blessing of
Sanctity, bestowed on her by Omnipotence, by Wisdom, and by
Love."  Revelations de Sainte Gertrude, Paris, 1898, i. 44, 186.

Take Saint Teresa, for example, one of the ablest women, in many
respects, of whose life we have the record.  She had a powerful
intellect of the practical order.  She wrote admirable
descriptive psychology, possessed a will equal to any emergency,
great talent for politics and business, a buoyant disposition,
and a first-rate literary style.  She was tenaciously aspiring,
and put her whole life at the service of her religious ideals. 
Yet so paltry were these, according to our present way of
thinking, that (although I know that others have been moved
differently) I confess that my only feeling in reading her has
been pity that so much vitality of soul should have found such
poor employment.

In spite of the sufferings which she endured, there is a curious
flavor of superficiality about her genius.  A Birmingham
anthropologist, Dr. Jordan, has divided the human race into two
types, whom he calls "shrews" and "nonshrews" respectively.[206]
The shrew-type is defined as possessing an "active unimpassioned
temperament."  In other words, shrews are the "motors," rather
than the "sensories,"[207] and their expressions are as a rule
more energetic than the feelings which appear to prompt them. 
Saint Teresa, paradoxical as such a judgment may sound, was a
typical shrew, in this sense of the term.  The bustle of her
style, as well as of her life, proves it.  Not only must she
receive unheard-of personal favors and spiritual graces from her
Saviour, but she must immediately write about them and exploiter
them professionally, and use her expertness to give instruction
to those less privileged.  Her voluble egotism; her sense, not of
radical bad being, as the really contrite have it, but of her
"faults" and "imperfections" in the plural; her stereotyped
humility and return upon herself, as covered with "confusion" at
each new manifestation of God's singular partiality for a person
so unworthy, are typical of shrewdom:  a paramountly feeling
nature would be objectively lost in gratitude, and silent.  She
had some public instincts, it is true; she hated the Lutherans,
and longed for the church's triumph over them; but in the main
her idea of religion seems to have been that of an endless
amatory flirtation--if one may say so without irreverence--
between the devotee and the deity; and apart from helping younger
nuns to go in this direction by the inspiration of her example
and instruction, there is absolutely no human use in her, or sign
of any general human interest.  Yet the spirit of her age, far
from rebuking her, exalted her as superhuman.

[206]  Furneaux Jordan:  Character in Birth and Parentage, first
edition. Later editions change the nomenclature.

[207] As to this distinction, see the admirably practical account
in J. M. Baldwin's little book, The Story of the Mind, 1898.

We have to pass a similar judgment on the whole notion of
saintship based on merits.  Any God who, on the one hand, can
care to keep a pedantically minute account of individual
shortcomings, and on the other can feel such partialities, and
load particular creatures with such insipid marks of favor, is
too small-minded a God for our credence.  When Luther, in his
immense manly way, swept off by a stroke of his hand the very
notion of a debit and credit account kept with individuals by the
Almighty, he stretched the soul's imagination and saved theology
from puerility.
So much for mere devotion, divorced from the intellectual
conceptions which might guide it towards bearing useful human

The next saintly virtue in which we find excess is Purity.  In
theopathic characters, like those whom we have just considered,
the love of God must not be mixed with any other love.  Father
and mother, sisters, brothers, and friends are felt as
interfering distractions; for sensitiveness and narrowness, when
they occur together, as they often do, require above all things a
simplified world to dwell in.  Variety and confusion are too much
for their powers of comfortable adaptation.  But whereas your
aggressive pietist reaches his unity objectively, by forcibly
stamping disorder and divergence out, your retiring pietist
reaches his subjectively, leaving disorder in the world at large,
but making a smaller world in which he dwells himself and from
which he eliminates it altogether.  Thus, alongside of the church
militant with its prisons, dragonnades, and inquisition methods,
we have the church fugient, as one might call it, with its
hermitages, monasteries, and sectarian organizations, both
churches pursuing the same object--to unify the life,[208] and
simplify the spectacle presented to the soul.  A mind extremely
sensitive to inner discords will drop one external relation after
another, as interfering with the absorption of consciousness in
spiritual things.  Amusements must go first, then conventional
"society," then business, then family duties, until at last
seclusion, with a subdivision of the day into hours for stated
religious acts, is the only thing that can be borne.  The lives
of saints are a history of successive renunciations of
complication, one form of contact with the outer life being
dropped after another, to save the purity of inner tone.[209] 
"Is it not better," a young sister asks her Superior, "that I
should not speak at all during the hour of recreation, so as not
to run the risk, by speaking, of falling into some sin of which I
might not be conscious?"[210]  If the life remains a social one
at all, those who take part in it must follow one identical rule.

Embosomed in this monotony, the zealot for purity feels clean and
free once more.  The minuteness of uniformity maintained in
certain sectarian communities, whether monastic or not, is
something almost inconceivable to a man of the world.  Costume,
phraseology, hours, and habits are absolutely stereotyped, and
there is no doubt that some persons are so made as to find in
this stability an incomparable kind of mental rest.

[208] On this subject I refer to the work of M. Murisier (Les
Maladies du sentiment Religieux, Paris, 1901), who makes inner
unification the mainspring of the whole religious life.  But ALL
strongly ideal interests, religious or irreligious, unify the
mind and tend to subordinate everything to themselves.  One would
infer from M. Murisier's pages that this formal condition was
peculiarly characteristic of religion, and that one might in
comparison almost neglect material content, in studying the
latter.  I trust that the present work will convince the reader
that religion has plenty of material content which is
characteristic and which is more important by far than any
general psychological form.  In spite of this criticism, I find
M. Murisier's book highly instructive.

[209] Example:  "At the first beginning of the Servitor's
[Suso's] interior life, after he had purified his soul properly
by confession, he marked out for himself, in thought, three
circles, within which he shut himself up, as in a spiritual
intrenchment.  The first circle was his cell, his chapel, and the
choir.  When he was within this circle, he seemed to himself in
complete security.  The second circle was the whole monastery as
far as the outer gate.  The third and outermost circle was the
gate itself, and here it was necessary for him to stand well upon
his guard.  When he went outside these circles, it seemed to him
that he was in the plight of some wild animal which is outside
its hole, and surrounded by the hunt, and therefore in need of
all its cunning and watchfulness."  The Life of the Blessed Henry
Suso, by Himself, translated by Knox, London, 1865, p. 168.

[210] Vie des premieres Religieuses Dominicaines de la
Congregation de St. Dominique, a Nancy; Nancy, 1896, p. 129.

We have no time to multiply examples, so I will let the case of
Saint Louis of Gonzaga serve as a type of excess in purification.

I think you will agree that this youth carried the elimination of
the external and discordant to a point which we cannot
unreservedly admire.  At the age of ten, his biographer says:--

"The inspiration came to him to consecrate to the Mother of God
his own virginity--that being to her the most agreeable of
possible presents.  Without delay, then, and with all the fervor
there was in him, joyous of heart, and burning with love, he made
his vow of perpetual chastity.  Mary accepted the offering of his
innocent heart, and obtained for him from God, as a recompense,
the extraordinary grace of never feeling during his entire life
the slightest touch of temptation against the virtue of purity. 
This was an altogether exceptional favor, rarely accorded even to
Saints themselves, and all the more marvelous in that Louis dwelt
always in courts and among great folks, where danger and
opportunity are so unusually frequent.  It is true that Louis
from his earliest childhood had shown a natural repugnance for
whatever might be impure or unvirginal, and even for relations of
any sort whatever between persons of opposite sex.  But this made
it all the more surprising that he should, especially since this
vow, feel it necessary to have recourse to such a number of
expedients for protecting against even the shadow of danger the
virginity which he had thus consecrated.  One might suppose that
if any one could have contented himself with the ordinary
precautions, prescribed for all Christians, it would assuredly
have been he.  But no! In the use of preservatives and means of
defense, in flight from the most insignificant occasions, from
every possibility of peril, just as in the mortification of his
flesh, he went farther than the majority of saints.  He, who by
an extraordinary protection of God's grace was never tempted,
measured all his steps as if he were threatened on every side by
particular dangers.  Thenceforward he never raised his eyes,
either when walking in the streets, or when in society.  Not only
did he avoid all business with females even more scrupulously
than before, but he renounced all conversation and every kind of
social recreation with them, although his father tried to make
him take part; and he commenced only too early to deliver his
innocent body to austerities of every kind."[211]

[211] Meschler's Life of Saint Louis of Gonzaga, French
translation by Lebrequier, 1891, p. 40.

At the age of twelve, we read of this young man that "if by
chance his mother sent one of her maids of honor to him with a
message, he never allowed her to come in, but listened to her
through the barely opened door, and dismissed her immediately. 
He did not like to be alone with his own mother, whether at table
or in conversation; and when the rest of the company withdrew, he
sought also a pretext for retiring. . . .  Several great ladies,
relatives of his, he avoided learning to know even by sight; and
he made a sort of treaty with his father, engaging promptly and
readily to accede to all his wishes, if he might only be excused
from all visits to ladies." [212]

[212] Ibid., p. 71.

When he was seventeen years old Louis joined the Jesuit
order,[213] against his father's passionate entreaties, for he
was heir of a princely house; and when a year later the father
died, he took the loss as a "particular attention" to himself on
God's part, and wrote letters of stilted good advice, as from a
spiritual superior, to his grieving mother.  He soon became so
good a monk that if any one asked him the number of his brothers
and sisters, he had to reflect and count them over before
replying.  A Father asked him one day if he were never troubled
by the thought of his family, to which, "I never think of them
except when praying for them," was his only answer.  Never was he
seen to hold in his hand a flower or anything perfumed, that he
might take pleasure in it.  On the contrary, in the hospital, he
used to seek for whatever was most disgusting, and eagerly snatch
the bandages of ulcers, etc., from the hands of his companions. 
He avoided worldly talk, and immediately tried to turn every
conversation on to pious subjects, or else he remained silent. 
He systematically refused to notice his surroundings.  Being
ordered one day to bring a book from the rector's seat in the
refectory, he had to ask where the rector sat, for in the three
months he had eaten bread there, so carefully did he guard his
eyes that he had not noticed the place.  One day, during recess,
having looked by chance on one of his companions, he reproached
himself as for a grave sin against modesty.  He cultivated
silence, as preserving from sins of the tongue; and his greatest
penance was the limit which his superiors set to his bodily
penances.  He sought after false accusations and unjust
reprimands as opportunities of humility; and such was his
obedience that, when a room-mate, having no more paper, asked him
for a sheet, he did not feel free to give it to him without first
obtaining the permission of the superior, who, as such, stood in
the place of God, and transmitted his orders.

[213] In his boyish note-book he praises the monastic life for
its freedom from sin, and for the imperishable treasures, which
it enables us to store up, "of merit in God's eyes which makes of
Him our debtor for all Eternity."  Loc. cit., p. 62.

I can find no other sorts of fruit than these of Louis's
saintship.  He died in 1591, in his twenty-ninth year, and is
known in the Church as the patron of all young people.  On his
festival, the altar in the chapel devoted to him in a certain
church in Rome "is embosomed in flowers, arranged with exquisite
taste; and a pile of letters may be seen at its foot, written to
the Saint by young men and women, and directed to 'Paradiso.'
They are supposed to be burnt unread except by San Luigi, who
must find singular petitions in these pretty little missives,
tied up now with a green ribbon, expressive of hope, now with a
red one, emblematic of love," etc.[214]

[214] Mademoiselle Mori, a novel quoted in Hare's Walks in Rome,
1900, i. 55.

I cannot resist the temptation to quote from Starbuck's book, p.
388, another case of purification by elimination.  It runs as

"The signs of abnormality which sanctified persons show are of
frequent occurrence.  They get out of tune with other people;
often they will have nothing to do with churches, which they
regard as worldly; they become hypercritical towards others; they
grow careless of their social, political, and financial
obligations.  As an instance of this type may be mentioned a
woman of sixty-eight of whom the writer made a special study. 
She had been a member of one of the most active and progressive
churches in a busy part of a large city.  Her pastor described
her as having reached the censorious stage.  She had grown more
and more out of sympathy with the church; her connection with it
finally consisted simply in attendance at prayer-meeting, at
which her only message was that of reproof and condemnation of
the others for living on a low plane.  At last she withdrew from
fellowship with any church.  The writer found her living alone in
a little room on the top story of a cheap boarding-house quite
out of touch with all human relations, but apparently happy in
the enjoyment of her own spiritual blessings.  Her time was
occupied in writing booklets on sanctification--page after page
of dreamy rhapsody.  She proved to be one of a small group of
persons who claim that entire salvation involves three steps
instead of two; not only must there be conversion and
sanctification, but a third, which they call 'crucifixion' or
'perfect redemption,' and which seems to bear the same relation
to sanctification that this bears to conversion.  She related how
the Spirit had said to her, 'Stop going to church.  Stop going to
holiness meetings.  Go to your own room and I will teach you.'
She professes to care nothing for colleges, or preachers, or
churches, but only cares to listen to what God says to her.  Her
description of her experience seemed entirely consistent; she is
happy and contented, and her life is entirely satisfactory to
herself.  While listening to her own story, one was tempted to
forget that it was from the life of a person who could not live
by it in conjunction with her fellows."

Our final judgment of the worth of such a life as this will
depend largely on our conception of God, and of the sort of
conduct he is best pleased with in his creatures.  The
Catholicism of the sixteenth century paid little heed to social
righteousness; and to leave the world to the devil whilst saving
one's own soul was then accounted no discreditable scheme. 
To-day, rightly or wrongly, helpfulness in general human affairs
is, in consequence of one of those secular mutations in moral
sentiment of which I spoke, deemed an essential element of worth
in character; and to be of some public or private use is also
reckoned as a species of divine service.  Other early Jesuits,
especially the missionaries among them, the Xaviers, Brebeufs,
Jogues, were objective minds, and fought in their way for the
world's welfare; so their lives to-day inspire us.  But when the
intellect, as in this Louis, is originally no larger than a pin's
head, and cherishes ideas of God of corresponding smallness, the
result, notwithstanding the heroism put forth, is on the whole
repulsive.  Purity, we see in the object-lesson, is NOT the one
thing needful; and it is better that a life should contract many
a dirt-mark, than forfeit usefulness in its efforts to remain

Proceeding onwards in our search of religious extravagance, we
next come upon excesses of Tenderness and Charity.  Here
saintliness has to face the charge of preserving the unfit, and
breeding parasites and beggars.  "Resist not evil," "Love your
enemies," these are saintly maxims of which men of this world
find it hard to speak without impatience. Are the men of this
world right, or are the saints in possession of the deeper range
of truth?

No simple answer is possible.  Here, if anywhere, one feels the
complexity of the moral life, and the mysteriousness of the way
in which facts and ideals are interwoven.

Perfect conduct is a relation between three terms:  the actor,
the objects for which he acts, and the recipients of the action. 
In order that conduct should be abstractly perfect, all three
terms, intention, execution, and reception, should be suited to
one another.  The best intention will fail if it either work by
false means or address itself to the wrong recipient.  Thus no
critic or estimator of the value of conduct can confine himself
to the actor's animus alone, apart from the other elements of the
performance.  As there is no worse lie than a truth misunderstood
by those who hear it, so reasonable arguments, challenges to
magnanimity, and appeals to sympathy or justice, are folly when
we are dealing with human crocodiles and boa-constrictors.  The
saint may simply give the universe into the hands of the enemy by
his trustfulness.  He may by non-resistance cut off his own

Herbert Spencer tells us that the perfect man's conduct will
appear perfect only when the environment is perfect:  to no
inferior environment is it suitably adapted.  We may paraphrase
this by cordially admitting that saintly conduct would be the
most perfect conduct conceivable in an environment where all were
saints already; but by adding that in an environment where few
are saints, and many the exact reverse of saints, it must be ill
adapted.  We must frankly confess, then, using our empirical
common sense and ordinary practical prejudices, that in the world
that actually is, the virtues of sympathy, charity, and
non-resistance may be, and often have been, manifested in excess.

The powers of darkness have systematically taken advantage of
them.  The whole modern scientific organization of charity is a
consequence of the failure of simply giving alms.  The whole
history of constitutional government is a commentary on the
excellence of resisting evil, and when one cheek is smitten, of
smiting back and not turning the other cheek also.

You will agree to this in general, for in spite of the Gospel, in
spite of Quakerism, in spite of Tolstoi, you believe in fighting
fire with fire, in shooting down usurpers, locking up thieves,
and freezing out vagabonds and swindlers.

And yet you are sure, as I am sure, that were the world confined
to these hard-headed, hard-hearted, and hard-fisted methods
exclusively, were there no one prompt to help a brother first,
and find out afterwards whether he were worthy; no one willing to
drown his private wrongs in pity for the wronger's person; no one
ready to be duped many a time rather than live always on
suspicion; no one glad to treat individuals passionately and
impulsively rather than by general rules of prudence; the world
would be an infinitely worse place than it is now to live in. 
The tender grace, not of a day that is dead, but of a day yet to
be born somehow, with the golden rule grown natural, would be cut
out from the perspective of our imaginations.

The saints, existing in this way, may, with their extravagances
of human tenderness, be prophetic.  Nay, innumerable times they
have proved themselves prophetic.  Treating those whom they met,
in spite of the past, in spite of all appearances, as worthy,
they have stimulated them to BE worthy, miraculously transformed
them by their radiant example and by the challenge of their

From this point of view we may admit the human charity which we
find in all saints, and the great excess of it which we find in
some saints, to be a genuinely creative social force, tending to
make real a degree of virtue which it alone is ready to assume as
possible.  The saints are authors, auctores, increasers, of
goodness.  The potentialities of development in human souls are
unfathomable.  So many who seemed irretrievably hardened have in
point of fact been softened, converted, regenerated, in ways that
amazed the subjects even more than they surprised the spectators,
that we never can be sure in advance of any man that his
salvation by the way of love is hopeless.  We have no right to
speak of human crocodiles and boa-constrictors as of fixedly
incurable beings.  We know not the complexities of personality,
the smouldering emotional fires, the other facets of the
character-polyhedron, the resources of the subliminal region. 
St. Paul long ago made our ancestors familiar with the idea that
every soul is virtually sacred.  Since Christ died for us all
without exception, St. Paul said, we must despair of no one. 
This belief in the essential sacredness of every one expresses
itself to-day in all sorts of humane customs and reformatory
institutions, and in a growing aversion to the death penalty and
to brutality in punishment.  The saints, with their extravagance
of human tenderness, are the great torch-bearers of this belief,
the tip of the wedge, the clearers of the darkness.  Like the
single drops which sparkle in the sun as they are flung far ahead
of the advancing edge of a wave-crest or of a flood, they show
the way and are forerunners.  The world is not yet with them, so
they often seem in the midst of the world's affairs to be
preposterous.  Yet they are impregnators of the world, vivifiers
and animaters of potentialities of goodness which but for them
would lie forever dormant.  It is not possible to be quite as
mean as we naturally are, when they have passed before us.  One
fire kindles another; and without that over-trust in human worth
which they show, the rest of us would lie in spiritual stagnancy.

Momentarily considered, then, the saint may waste his tenderness
and be the dupe and victim of his charitable fever, but the
general function of his charity in social evolution is vital and
essential.  If things are ever to move upward, some one must be
ready to take the first step, and assume the risk of it.  No one
who is not willing to try charity, to try non-resistance as the
saint is always willing, can tell whether these methods will or
will not succeed.  When they do succeed, they are far more
powerfully successful than force or worldly prudence.  Force
destroys enemies; and the best that can be said of prudence is
that it keeps what we already have in safety.  But
non-resistance, when successful, turns enemies into friends; and
charity regenerates its objects.  These saintly methods are, as I
said, creative energies; and genuine saints find in the elevated
excitement with which their faith endows them an authority and
impressiveness which makes them irresistible in situations where
men of shallower nature cannot get on at all without the use of
worldly prudence.  This practical proof that worldly wisdom may
be safely transcended is the saint's magic gift to mankind.[215]
Not only does his vision of a better world console us for the
generally prevailing prose and barrenness; but even when on the
whole we have to confess him ill adapted, he makes some converts,
and the environment gets better for his ministry.  He is an
effective ferment of goodness, a slow transmuter of the earthly
into a more heavenly order.

[215]  The best missionary lives abound in the victorious
combination of non-resistance with personal authority.  John G. 
Paton, for example, in the New Hebrides, among brutish Melanesian
cannibals, preserves a charmed life by dint of it.  When it comes
to the point, no one ever dares actually to strike him.  Native
converts, inspired by him, showed analogous virtue.  "One of our
chiefs, full of the Christ-kindled desire to seek and to save,
sent a message to an inland chief, that he and four attendants
would come on Sabbath and tell them the gospel of Jehovah God. 
The reply came back sternly forbidding their visit, and
threatening with death any Christian that approached their
village.  Our chief sent in response a loving message, telling
them that Jehovah had taught the Christians to return good for
evil, and that they would come unarmed to tell them the story of
how the Son of God came into the world and died in order to bless
and save his enemies.  The heathen chief sent back a stern and
prompt reply once more:  'If you come, you will be killed.' On
Sabbath morn the Christian chief and his four companions were met
outside the village by the heathen chief, who implored and
threatened them once more. But the former said:--

"'We come to you without weapons of war! We come only to tell
you about Jesus.  We believe that He will protect us to-day.'

"As they pressed steadily forward towards the village, spears
began to be thrown at them.  Some they evaded, being all except
one dexterous warriors; and others they literally received with
their bare hands, and turned them aside in an incredible manner. 
The heathen, apparently thunderstruck at these men thus
approaching them without weapons of war, and not even flinging
back their own spears which they had caught, after having thrown
what the old chief called 'a shower of spears,' desisted from
mere surprise.  Our Christian chief called out, as he and his
companions drew up in the midst of them on the village public

"'Jehovah thus protects us.  He has given us all your spears!
Once we would have thrown them back at you and killed you.  But
now we come, not to fight but to tell you about Jesus.  He has
changed our dark hearts.  He asks you now to lay down all these
your other weapons of war, and to hear what we can tell you about
the love of God, our great Father, the only living God.'

"The heathen were perfectly overawed.  They manifestly looked on
these Christians as protected by some Invisible One.  They
listened for the first time to the story of the Gospel and of the
Cross.  We lived to see that chief and all his tribe sitting in
the school of Christ.  And there is perhaps not an island in
these southern seas, amongst all those won for Christ, where
similar acts of heroism on the part of converts cannot be
recited."   John G. Paton, Missionary to the New Hebrides, An
Autobiography, second part, London, 1890, p. 243.

In this respect the Utopian dreams of social justice in which
many contemporary socialists and anarchists indulge are, in spite
of their impracticability and non-adaptation to present
environmental conditions, analogous to the saint's belief in an
existent kingdom of heaven.  They help to break the edge of the
general reign of hardness and are slow leavens of a better order.

The next topic in order is Asceticism, which I fancy you are all
ready to consider without argument a virtue liable to
extravagance and excess.  The optimism and refinement of the
modern imagination has, as I have already said elsewhere, changed
the attitude of the church towards corporeal mortification, and a
Suso or a Saint Peter of Alcantara[216] appear to us to-day
rather in the light of tragic mountebanks than of sane men
inspiring us with respect.  If the inner dispositions are right,
we ask, what need of all this torment, this violation of the
outer nature?  It keeps the outer nature too important.  Any one
who is genuinely emancipated from the flesh will look on
pleasures and pains, abundance and privation, as alike irrelevant
and indifferent.  He can engage in actions and experience
enjoyments without fear of corruption or enslavement.  As the
Bhagavad-Gita says, only those need renounce worldly actions who
are still inwardly attached thereto.  If one be really unattached
to the fruits of action, one may mix in the world with
equanimity.  I quoted in a former lecture Saint Augustine's
antinomian saying:  If you only love God enough, you may safely
follow all your inclinations.  "He needs no devotional
practices," is one of Ramakrishna's maxims, "whose heart is moved
to tears at the mere mention of the name of <354> Hari."[217] 
And the Buddha, in pointing out what he called "the middle way"
to his disciples, told them to abstain from both extremes,
excessive mortification being as unreal and unworthy as mere
desire and pleasure.  The only perfect life, he said, is that of
inner wisdom, which makes one thing as indifferent to us as
another, and thus leads to rest, to peace, and to Nirvana.[218]

[216] Saint Peter, Saint Teresa tells us in her autobiography
(French translation, p. 333), "had passed forty years without
ever sleeping more than an hour and a half a day.  Of all his
mortifications, this was the one that had cost him the most.  To
compass it, he kept always on his knees or on his feet.  The
little sleep he allowed nature to take was snatched in a sitting
posture, his head leaning against a piece of wood fixed in the
wall.  Even had he wished to lie down, it would have been
impossible, because his cell was only four feet and a half long. 
In the course of all these years he never raised his hood, no
matter what the ardor of the sun or the rain's strength.  He
never put on a shoe.  He wore a garment of coarse sackcloth, with
nothing else upon his skin.  This garment was as scant as
possible, and over it a little cloak of the same stuff.  When the
cold was great he took off the cloak and opened for a while the
door and little window of his cell.  Then he closed them and
resumed the mantle--his way, as he told us, of warming himself,
and making his body feel a better temperature.  It was a frequent
thing with him to eat once only in three days; and when I
expressed my surprise, he said that it was very easy if one once
had acquired the habit.  One of his companions has assured me
that he has gone sometimes eight days without food. . . . His
poverty was extreme; and his mortification, even in his youth,
was such that he told me he had passed three years in a house of
his order without knowing any of the monks otherwise than by the
sound of their voice, for he never raised his eyes, and only
found his way about by following the others.  He showed this same
modesty on public highways.  He spent many years without ever
laying eyes upon a woman; but he confessed to me that at the age
he had reached it was indifferent to him whether he laid eyes on
them or not.  He was very old when I first came to know him, and
his body so attenuated that it seemed formed of nothing so much
as of so many roots of trees. With all this sanctity he was very
affable.  He never spoke unless he was questioned, but his
intellectual right-mindedness and grace gave to all his words an
irresistible charm."

[217] F. Max Muller:  Ramakrishna, his Life and sayings, 1899, p.

[218] Oldenberg:  Buddha; translated by W. Hoey, London, 1882, p.

We find accordingly that as ascetic saints have grown older, and
directors of conscience more experienced, they usually have shown
a tendency to lay less stress on special bodily mortifications. 
Catholic teachers have always professed the rule that, since
health is needed for efficiency in God's service, health must not
be sacrificed to mortification.  The general optimism and
healthy-mindedness of liberal Protestant circles to-day makes
mortification for mortification's sake repugnant to us.  We can
no longer sympathize with cruel deities, and the notion that God
can take delight in the spectacle of sufferings self-inflicted in
his honor is abhorrent.  In consequence of all these motives you
probably are disposed, unless some special utility can be shown
in some individual's discipline, to treat the general tendency to
asceticism as pathological.

Yet I believe that a more careful consideration of the whole
matter, distinguishing between the general good intention of
asceticism and the uselessness of some of the particular acts of
which it may be guilty, ought to rehabilitate it in our esteem. 
For in its spiritual meaning asceticism stands for nothing less
than for the essence of the twice-born philosophy.  It
symbolizes, lamely enough no doubt, but sincerely, the belief
that there is an element of real wrongness in this world, which
is neither to be ignored nor evaded, but which must be squarely
met and overcome by an appeal to the soul's heroic resources, and
neutralized and cleansed away by suffering.  As against this
view, the ultra-optimistic form of the once-born philosophy
thinks we may treat evil by the method of ignoring.  Let a man
who, by fortunate health and circumstances, escapes the suffering
of any great amount of evil in his own person, also close his
eyes to it as it exists in the wider universe outside his private
experience, and he will be quit of it altogether, and can sail
through life happily on a healthy-minded basis.  But we saw in
our lectures on melancholy how precarious this attempt
necessarily is.  Moreover it is but for the individual; and
leaves the evil outside of him, unredeemed and unprovided for in
his philosophy.

No such attempt can be a GENERAL solution of the problem; and to
minds of sombre tinge, who naturally feel life as a tragic
mystery, such optimism is a shallow dodge or mean evasion.  It
accepts, in lieu of a real deliverance, what is a lucky personal
accident merely, a cranny to escape by. It leaves the general
world unhelped and still in the clutch of Satan.  The real
deliverance, the twice-born folk insist, must be of universal
application.  Pain and wrong and death must be fairly met and
overcome in higher excitement, or else their sting remains
essentially unbroken.  If one has ever taken the fact of the
prevalence of tragic death in this world's history fairly into
his mind--freezing, drowning entombment alive, wild beasts, worse
men, and hideous diseases--he can with difficulty, it seems to
me, continue his own career of worldly prosperity without
suspecting that he may all the while not be really inside the
game, that he may lack the great initiation.

Well, this is exactly what asceticism thinks; and it voluntarily
takes the initiation.  Life is neither farce nor genteel comedy,
it says, but something we must sit at in mourning garments,
hoping its bitter taste will purge us of our folly. The wild and
the heroic are indeed such rooted parts of it that
healthy-mindedness pure and simple, with its sentimental
optimism, can hardly be regarded by any thinking man as a serious
solution.  Phrases of neatness, cosiness, and comfort can never
be an answer to the sphinx's riddle.

In these remarks I am leaning only upon mankind's common instinct
for reality, which in point of fact has always held the world to
be essentially a theatre for heroism.  In heroism, we feel,
life's supreme mystery is hidden.  We tolerate no one who has no
capacity whatever for it in any direction.  On the other hand, no
matter what a man's frailties otherwise may be, if he be willing
to risk death, and still more if he suffer it heroically, in the
service he has chosen, the fact consecrates him forever. 
Inferior to ourselves in this or that way, if yet we cling to
life, and he is able "to fling it away like a flower" as caring
nothing for it, we account him in the deepest way our born
superior.  Each of us in his own person feels that a high-hearted
indifference to life would expiate all his shortcomings.

The metaphysical mystery, thus recognized by common sense, that
he who feeds on death that feeds on men possesses life
supereminently and excellently, and meets best the secret demands
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.

Representatively, then, and symbolically, and apart from the
vagaries into which the unenlightened intellect of former times
may have let it wander, asceticism must, I believe, be
acknowledged to go with the profounder way of handling the gift
of existence.  Naturalistic optimism is mere syllabub and
flattery and sponge-cake in comparison. The practical course of
action for us, as religious men, would therefore, it seems to me,
not be simply to turn our backs upon the ascetic impulse, as most
of us to-day turn them, but rather to discover some outlet for it
of which the fruits in the way of privation and hardship might be
objectively useful.  The older monastic asceticism occupied
itself with pathetic futilities, or terminated in the mere
egotism of the individual, increasing his own perfection.[219] 
But is it not possible for us to discard most of these older
forms of mortification, and yet find saner channels for the
heroism which inspired them?

[219] "The vanities of all others may die out, but the vanity of
a saint as regards his sainthood is hard indeed to wear away."
Ramakrishna his Life and Sayings, 1899, p. 172.

Does not, for example, the worship of material luxury and wealth,
which constitutes so large a portion of the "spirit" of our age,
make somewhat for effeminacy and unmanliness?  Is not the
exclusively sympathetic and facetious way in which most children
are brought up to-day--so different from the education of a
hundred years ago, especially in evangelical circles--in danger,
in spite of its many advantages, of developing a certain
trashiness of fibre?  Are there not hereabouts some points of
application for a renovated and revised ascetic discipline?

Many of you would recognize such dangers, but would point to
athletics, militarism, and individual and national enterprise and
adventure as the remedies.  These contemporary ideals are quite
as remarkable for the energy with which they make for heroic
standards of life, as contemporary religion is remarkable for the
way in which it neglects them.[220]  War and adventure assuredly
keep all who engage in them from treating themselves too
tenderly.  They demand such incredible efforts, depth beyond
depth of exertion, both in degree and in duration, that the whole
scale of motivation alters.  Discomfort and annoyance, hunger and
wet, pain and cold, squalor and filth, cease to have any
deterrent operation whatever.  Death turns into a commonplace
matter, and its usual power to check our action vanishes. With
the annulling of these customary inhibitions, ranges of new
energy are set free, and life seems cast upon a higher plane of

[220] "When a church has to be run by oysters, ice-cream, and
fun," I read in an American religious paper, "you may be sure
that it is running away from Christ."  Such, if one may judge
by appearances, is the present plight of many of our churches.

The beauty of war in this respect is that it is so congruous with
ordinary human nature.  Ancestral evolution has made us all
potential warriors; so the most insignificant individual, when
thrown into an army in the field, is weaned from whatever excess
of tenderness toward his precious person he may bring with him,
and may easily develop into a monster of insensibility.

But when we compare the military type of self-severity with that
of the ascetic saint, we find a world-wide difference in all
their spiritual concomitants.

"'Live and let live,'" writes a clear-headed Austrian officer,
"is no device for an army.  Contempt for one's own comrades, for
the troops of the enemy, and, above all, fierce contempt for
one's own person, are what war demands of every one.  Far better
is it for an army to be too savage, too cruel, too barbarous,
than to possess too much sentimentality and human reasonableness.

If the soldier is to be good for anything as a soldier, he must
be exactly the opposite of a reasoning and thinking man.  The
measure of goodness in him is his possible use in war.  War, and
even peace, require of the soldier absolutely peculiar standards
of morality.  The recruit brings with him common moral notions,
of which he must seek immediately to get rid.  For him victory,
success, must be EVERYTHING.  The most barbaric tendencies in men
come to life again in war, and for war's uses they are
incommensurably good."[221]

[221] C. V. B. K.:  Friedens-und Kriegs-moral der Heere.  Quoted
by Hamon:  Psychologie du Militaire professional, 1895, p. xli.

These words are of course literally true.  The immediate aim of
the soldier's life is, as Moltke said, destruction, and nothing
but destruction; and whatever constructions wars result in are
remote and non-military.  Consequently the soldier cannot
train himself to be too feelingless to all those usual sympathies
and respects, whether for persons or for things, that make for
conservation.  Yet the fact remains that war is a school of
strenuous life and heroism; and, being in the line of aboriginal
instinct, is the only school that as yet is universally
available.  But when we gravely ask ourselves whether this
wholesale organization of irrationality and crime be our only
bulwark against effeminacy, we stand aghast at the thought, and
think more kindly of ascetic religion.  One hears of the
mechanical equivalent of heat.  What we now need to discover in
the social realm is the moral equivalent of war:  something
heroic that will speak to men as universally as war does, and yet
will be as compatible with their spiritual selves as war has
proved itself to be incompatible.  I have often thought that in
the old monkish poverty-worship, in spite of the pedantry which
infested it, there might be something like that moral equivalent
of war which we are seeking.  May not voluntarily accepted
poverty be "the strenuous life," without the need of crushing
weaker peoples?

Poverty indeed IS the strenuous life--without brass bands or
uniforms or hysteric popular applause or lies or circumlocutions;
and when one sees the way in which wealth- getting enters as an
ideal into the very bone and marrow of our generation, one
wonders whether a revival of the belief that poverty is a worthy
religious vocation may not be "the transformation of military
courage," and the spiritual reform which our time stands most in
need of.

Among us English-speaking peoples especially do the praises of
poverty need once more to be boldly sung.  We have grown
literally afraid to be poor.  We despise any one who elects to be
poor in order to simplify and save his inner life.  If he does
not join the general scramble and pant with the money-making
street, we deem him spiritless and lacking in ambition.  We have
lost the power even of imagining what the ancient idealization of
poverty could have meant:  the liberation from material
attachments, the unbribed soul, the manlier indifference, the
paying our way by what we are or do and not by what we have, the
right to fling away our life at any moment irresponsibly--the
more athletic trim, in short, the moral fighting shape.  When we
of the so-called better classes are scared as men were never
scared in history at material ugliness and hardship; when we put
off marriage until our house can be artistic, and quake at the
thought of having a child without a bank-account and doomed to
manual labor, it is time for thinking men to protest against so
unmanly and irreligious a state of opinion.

It is true that so far as wealth gives time for ideal ends and
exercise to ideal energies, wealth is better than poverty and
ought to be chosen.  But wealth does this in only a portion of
the actual cases.  Elsewhere the desire to gain wealth and the
fear to lose it are our chief breeders of cowardice and
propagators of corruption.  There are thousands of conjunctures
in which a wealth-bound man must be a slave, whilst a man for
whom poverty has no terrors becomes a freeman.  Think of the
strength which personal indifference to poverty would give us if
we were devoted to unpopular causes.  We need no longer hold our
tongues or fear to vote the revolutionary or reformatory ticket. 
Our stocks might fall, our hopes of promotion vanish, our
salaries stop, our club doors close in our faces; yet, while we
lived, we would imperturbably bear witness to the spirit, and our
example would help to set free our generation.  The cause would
need its funds, but we its servants would be potent in proportion
as we personally were contented with our poverty.

I recommend this matter to your serious pondering, for it is
certain that the prevalent fear of poverty among the educated
classes is the worst moral disease from which our civilization

I have now said all that I can usefully say about the several
fruits of religion as they are manifested in saintly lives, so I
will make a brief review and pass to my more general conclusions.

Our question, you will remember, is as to whether religion stands
approved by its fruits, as these are exhibited in the saintly
type of character.  Single attributes of saintliness may, it is
true, be temperamental endowments, found in non-religious
individuals.  But the whole group of them forms a combination
which, as such, is religious, for it seems to flow from the sense
of the divine as from its psychological centre.  Whoever
possesses strongly this sense comes naturally to think that the
smallest details of this world derive infinite significance from
their relation to an unseen divine order.  The thought of this
order yields him a superior denomination of happiness, and a
steadfastness of soul with which no other can compare.  In social
relations his serviceability is exemplary; he abounds in impulses
to help. His help is inward as well as outward, for his sympathy
reaches souls as well as bodies, and kindles unsuspected
faculties therein.  Instead of placing happiness where common men
place it, in comfort, he places it in a higher kind of inner
excitement, which converts discomforts into sources of cheer and
annuls unhappiness.  So he turns his back upon no duty, however
thankless; and when we are in need of assistance, we can count
upon the saint lending his hand with more certainty than we can
count upon any other person.  Finally, his humble-mindedness and
his ascetic tendencies save him from the petty personal
pretensions which so obstruct our ordinary social intercourse,
and his purity gives us in him a clean man for a companion. 
Felicity, purity, charity, patience, self-severity--these are
splendid excellencies, and the saint of all men shows them in the
completest possible measure.

But, as we saw, all these things together do not make saints
infallible.  When their intellectual outlook is narrow, they fall
into all sorts of holy excesses, fanaticism or theopathic
absorption, self-torment, prudery, scrupulosity, gullibility, and
morbid inability to meet the world.  By the very intensity of his
fidelity to the paltry ideals with which an inferior intellect
may inspire him, a saint can be even more objectionable and
damnable than a superficial carnal man would be in the same
situation.  We must judge him not sentimentally only, and not in
isolation, but using our own intellectual standards, placing him
in his environment, and estimating his total function.

Now in the matter of intellectual standards, we must bear in mind
that it is unfair, where we find narrowness of mind, always to
impute it as a vice to the individual, for in religious and
theological matters he probably absorbs his narrowness from his
generation.  Moreover, we must not confound the essentials of
saintliness, which are those general passions of which I have
spoken, with its accidents, which are the special determinations
of these passions at any historical moment.  In these
determinations the saints will usually be loyal to the temporary
idols of their tribe.  Taking refuge in monasteries was as much
an idol of the tribe in the middle ages, as bearing a hand in the
world's work is to-day.  Saint Francis or Saint Bernard, were
they living to-day, would undoubtedly be leading consecrated
lives of some sort, but quite as undoubtedly they would not lead
them in retirement.  Our animosity to special historic
manifestations must not lead us to give away the saintly impulses
in their essential nature to the tender mercies of inimical

The most inimical critic of the saintly impulses whom I know is
Nietzsche.  He contrasts them with the worldly passions as we
find these embodied in the predaceous military character,
altogether to the advantage of the latter.  Your born saint, it
must be confessed, has something about him which often makes the
gorge of a carnal man rise, so it will be worth while to consider
the contrast in question more fully.

Dislike of the saintly nature seems to be a negative result of
the biologically useful instinct of welcoming leadership, and
glorifying the chief of the tribe.  The chief is the potential,
if not the actual tyrant, the masterful, overpowering man of
prey.  We confess our inferiority and grovel before him.  We
quail under his glance, and are at the same time proud of owning
so dangerous a lord.  Such instinctive and submissive
hero-worship must have been indispensable in primeval tribal
life.  In the endless wars of those times, leaders were
absolutely needed for the tribe's survival.  If there were any
tribes who owned no leaders, they can have left no issue to
narrate their doom.  The leaders always had good consciences, for
conscience in them coalesced with will, and those who looked on
their face were as much smitten with wonder at their freedom from
inner restraint as with awe at the energy of their outward

Compared with these beaked and taloned graspers of the world,
saints are herbivorous animals, tame and harmless barn-yard
poultry.  There are saints whose beard you may, if you ever care
to, pull with impunity.  Such a man excites no thrills of wonder
veiled in terror; his conscience is full of scruples and returns;
he stuns us neither by his inward freedom nor his outward power;
and unless he found within us an altogether different faculty of
admiration to appeal to, we should pass him by with contempt.

In point of fact, he does appeal to a different faculty.
Reenacted in human nature is the fable of the wind, the sun, and
the traveler.  The sexes embody the discrepancy.  The woman loves
the man the more admiringly the stormier he shows himself, and
the world deifies its rulers the more for being willful and
unaccountable.  But the woman in turn subjugates the man by the
mystery of gentleness in beauty, and the saint has always charmed
the world by something similar.  Mankind is susceptible and
suggestible in opposite directions, and the rivalry of influences
is unsleeping.  The saintly and the worldly ideal pursue their
feud in literature as much as in real life.

For Nietzsche the saint represents little but sneakingness and
slavishness.  He is the sophisticated invalid, the degenerate par
excellence, the man of insufficient vitality.  His prevalence
would put the human type in danger.

"The sick are the greatest danger for the well.  The weaker, not
the stronger, are the strong's undoing.  It is not FEAR of our
fellow-man, which we should wish to see diminished; for fear
rouses those who are strong to become terrible in turn
themselves, and preserves the hard-earned and successful type of
humanity. What is to be dreaded by us more than any other doom is
not fear, but rather the great disgust, not fear, but rather the
great pity--disgust and pity for our human fellows. . . .  The
MORBID are our greatest peril--not the 'bad' men, not the
predatory beings.  Those born wrong, the miscarried, the broken--
they it is, the WEAKEST who are undermining the vitality of the
race, poisoning our trust in life, and putting humanity in
question. Every look of them is a sigh--'Would I were something
other!  I am sick and tired of what I am.'  In this swamp-soil of
self-contempt, every poisonous weed flourishes, and all so small,
so secret, so dishonest, and so sweetly rotten.  Here swarm the
worms of sensitiveness and resentment, here the air smells odious
with secrecy, with what is not to be acknowledged; here is woven
endlessly the net of the meanest of conspiracies, the conspiracy
of those who suffer against those who succeed and are victorious;
here the very aspect of the victorious is hated--as if health,
success, strength, pride, and the sense of power were in
themselves things vicious, for which one ought eventually to make
bitter expiation.  Oh, how these people would themselves like to
inflict the expiation, how they thirst to be the hangmen!  And
all the while their duplicity never confesses their hatred to
be hatred."[222]

[222] Zur Genealogie der Moral, Dritte Abhandlung, Section 14.  I
have abridged, and in one place transposed, a sentence.

Poor Nietzsche's antipathy is itself sickly enough, but we all
know what he means, and he expresses well the clash between the
two Ideals.  The carnivorous-minded "strong man," the adult male
and cannibal, can see nothing but mouldiness and morbidness in
the saint's gentleness and self-severity, and regards him with
pure loathing.  The whole feud revolves essentially upon two
pivots:  Shall the seen world or the unseen world be our chief
sphere of adaptation?  and must our means of adaptation in this
seen world be aggressiveness or non-resistance?

The debate is serious.  In some sense and to some degree both
worlds must be acknowledged and taken account of; and in the seen
world both aggressiveness and non-resistance are needful.  It is
a question of emphasis, of more or less.  Is the saint's type or
the strong-man's type the more ideal?

It has often been supposed, and even now, I think, it is supposed
by most persons, that there can be one intrinsically ideal type
of human character.  A certain kind of man, it is imagined, must
be the best man absolutely and apart from the utility of his
function, apart from economical considerations.  The saint's
type, and the knight's or gentleman's type, have always been
rival claimants of this absolute ideality; and in the ideal of
military religious orders both types were in a manner blended. 
According to the empirical philosophy, however, all ideals are
matters of relation.  It would be absurd, for example, to ask for
a definition of "the ideal horse," so long as dragging drays and
running races, bearing children, and jogging about with
tradesmen's packages all remain as indispensable differentiations
of equine function.  You may take what you call a general
all-round animal as a compromise, but he will be inferior to any
horse of a more specialized type, in some one particular
direction. We must not forget this now when, in discussing
saintliness, we ask if it be an ideal type of manhood.  We must
test it by its economical relations.

I think that the method which Mr. Spencer uses in his Data of
Ethics will help to fix our opinion.  Ideality in conduct is
altogether a matter of adaptation.  A society where all were
invariably aggressive would destroy itself by inner friction, and
in a society where some are aggressive, others must be
non-resistant, if there is to be any kind of order. This is the
present constitution of society, and to the mixture we owe many
of our blessings.  But the aggressive members of society are
always tending to become bullies, robbers, and swindlers; and no
one believes that such a state of things as we now live in is the
millennium.  It is meanwhile quite possible to conceive an
imaginary society in which there should be no aggressiveness, but
only sympathy and fairness--any small community of true friends
now realizes such a society.  Abstractly considered, such a
society on a large scale would be the millennium, for every good
thing might be realized there with no expense of friction.  To
such a millennial society the saint would be entirely adapted. 
His peaceful modes of appeal would be efficacious over his
companions, and there would be no one extant to take advantage of
his non-resistance.  The saint is therefore abstractly a higher
type of man than the "strong man," because he is adapted to the
highest society conceivable, whether that society ever be
concretely possible or not.  The strong man would immediately
tend by his presence to make that society deteriorate.  It would
become inferior in everything save in a certain kind of bellicose
excitement, dear to men as they now are.

But if we turn from the abstract question to the actual
situation, we find that the individual saint may be well or ill
adapted, according to particular circumstances.  There is, in
short, no absoluteness in the excellence of sainthood.  It must
be confessed that as far as this world goes, anyone who makes an
out-and-out saint of himself does so at his peril.  If he is not
a large enough man, he may appear more insignificant and
contemptible, for all his saintship, than if he had remained a
worldling.[223]  Accordingly religion has seldom been so
radically taken in our Western world that the devotee could not
mix it with some worldly temper. It has always found good men who
could follow most of its impulses, but who stopped short when it
came to non-resistance.  Christ himself was fierce upon occasion. 
Cromwells, Stonewall Jacksons, Gordons, show that Christians can
be strong men also.

[223] We all know DAFT saints, and they inspire a queer kind of
aversion. But in comparing saints with strong men we must choose
individuals on the same intellectual level.  The under-witted
strong man homologous in his sphere with the under-witted saint,
is the bully of the slums, the hooligan or rowdy.  Surely on this
level also the saint preserves a certain superiority.

How is success to be absolutely measured when there are so many
environments and so many ways of looking at the adaptation?  It
cannot be measured absolutely; the verdict will vary according to
the point of view adopted.  From the biological point of view
Saint Paul was a failure, because he was beheaded.  Yet he was
magnificently adapted to the larger environment of history; and
so far as any saint's example is a leaven of righteousness in the
world, and draws it in the direction of more prevalent habits of
saintliness, he is a success, no matter what his immediate bad
fortune may be.  The greatest saints, the spiritual heroes whom
every one acknowledges, the Francises, Bernards, Luthers,
Loyolas, Wesleys, Channings, Moodys, Gratrys, the Phillips
Brookses, the Agnes Joneses, Margaret Hallahans, and Dora
Pattisons, are successes from the outset.  They show themselves,
and there is no question; every one perceives their strength and
stature.  Their sense of mystery in things, their passion, their
goodness, irradiate about them and enlarge their outlines while
they soften them.  They are like pictures with an atmosphere and
background; and, placed alongside of them, the strong men of this
world and no other seem as dry as sticks, as hard and crude as
blocks of stone or brick-bats.

In a general way, then, and "on the whole,"[224] our abandonment
of theological criteria, and our testing of religion by practical
common sense and the empirical method, leave it in possession of
its towering place in history.  Economically, the saintly group
of qualities is indispensable to the world's welfare.  The great
saints are immediate successes; the smaller ones are at least
heralds and harbingers, and they may be leavens also, of a better
mundane order.  Let us be saints, then, if we can, whether or not
we succeed visibly and temporally.  But in our Father's house are
many mansions, and each of us must discover for himself the kind
of religion and the amount of saintship which best comports with
what he believes to be his powers and feels to be his truest
mission and vocation.  There are no successes to be guaranteed
and no set orders to be given to individuals, so long as we
follow the methods of empirical philosophy.

[224] See above, p. 321.

This is my conclusion so far.  I know that on some of your minds
it leaves a feeling of wonder that such a method should have been
applied to such a subject, and this in spite of all those remarks
about empiricism which I made at the beginning of Lecture
XIII.[225] How, you say, can religion, which believes in two
worlds and an invisible order, be estimated by the adaptation of
its fruits to this world's order alone?  It is its truth, not its
utility, you insist, upon which our verdict ought to depend.  If
religion is true, its fruits are good fruits, even though in this
world they should prove uniformly ill adapted and full of naught
but pathos.  It goes back, then, after all, to the question of
the truth of theology. The plot inevitably thickens upon us; we
cannot escape theoretical considerations.  I propose, then, that
to some degree we face the responsibility.  Religious persons
have often, though not uniformly, professed to see truth in a
special manner.  That manner is known as mysticism.  I will
consequently now proceed to treat at some length of mystical
phenomena, and after that, though more briefly, I will consider
religious philosophy.

[225] Above, pp. 321-327

Lectures XVI and XVII


Over and over again in these lectures I have raised points and
left them open and unfinished until we should have come to the
subject of Mysticism.  Some of you, I fear, may have smiled as
you noted my reiterated postponements.  But now the hour has come
when mysticism must be faced in good earnest, and those broken
threads wound up together.  One may say truly, I think, that
personal religious experience has its root and centre in mystical
states of consciousness; so for us, who in these lectures are
treating personal experience as the exclusive subject of our
study, such states of consciousness ought to form the vital
chapter from which the other chapters get their light.  Whether
my treatment of mystical states will shed more light or darkness,
I do not know, for my own constitution shuts me out from their
enjoyment almost entirely, and I can speak of them only at second
hand.  But though forced to look upon the subject so externally,
I will be as objective and receptive as I can; and I think I
shall at least succeed in convincing you of the reality of the
states in question, and of the paramount importance of their

First of all, then, I ask, What does the expression "mystical
states of consciousness" mean?  How do we part off mystical
states from other states?

The words "mysticism" and "mystical" are often used as terms of
mere reproach, to throw at any opinion which we regard as vague
and vast and sentimental, and without a base in either facts or
logic.  For some writers a "mystic" is any person who believes in
thought-transference, or spirit-return.  Employed in this way the
word has little value:  there are too many less ambiguous
synonyms.  So, to keep it useful by restricting it, I will do
what I did in the case of the word "religion," and simply propose
to you four marks which, when an experience has them, may justify
us in calling it mystical for the purpose of the present
lectures. In this way we shall save verbal disputation, and the
recriminations that generally go therewith.

1.  Ineffability.--The handiest of the marks by which I classify
a state of mind as mystical is negative.  The subject of it
immediately says that it defies expression, that no adequate
report of its contents can be given in words.  It follows from
this that its quality must be directly experienced; it cannot be
imparted or transferred to others.  In this peculiarity mystical
states are more like states of feeling than like states of
intellect.  No one can make clear to another who has never had a
certain feeling, in what the quality or worth of it consists. 
One must have musical ears to know the value of a symphony; one
must have been in love one's self to understand a lover's state
of mind.  Lacking the heart or ear, we cannot interpret the
musician or the lover justly, and are even likely to consider him
weak-minded or absurd. The mystic finds that most of us accord to
his experiences an equally incompetent treatment.

2.  Noetic quality.--Although so similar to states of feeling,
mystical states seem to those who experience them to be also
states of knowledge.  They are states of insight into depths of
truth unplumbed by the discursive intellect.  They are
illuminations, revelations, full of significance and importance,
all inarticulate though they remain; and as a rule they carry
with them a curious sense of authority for after-time.

These two characters will entitle any state to be called
mystical, in the sense in which I use the word.  Two other
qualities are less sharply marked, but are usually found. These

3.  Transiency.--Mystical states cannot be sustained for long. 
Except in rare instances, half an hour, or at most an hour or
two, seems to be the limit beyond which they fade into the light
of common day.  Often, when faded, their quality can but
imperfectly be reproduced in memory; but when they recur it is
recognized; and from one recurrence to another it is susceptible
of continuous development in what is felt as inner richness and

4.  Passivity.--Although the oncoming of mystical states may be
facilitated by preliminary voluntary operations, as by fixing the
attention, or going through certain bodily performances, or in
other ways which manuals of mysticism prescribe; yet when the
characteristic sort of consciousness once has set in, the mystic
feels as if his own will were in abeyance, and indeed sometimes
as if he were grasped and held by a superior power.  This latter
peculiarity connects mystical states with certain definite
phenomena of secondary or alternative personality, such as
prophetic speech, automatic writing, or the mediumistic trance. 
When these latter conditions are well pronounced, however, there
may be no recollection whatever of the phenomenon, and it may
have no significance for the subject's usual inner life, to
which, as it were, it makes a mere interruption.  Mystical
states, strictly so-called, are never merely interruptive.  Some
memory of their content always remains, and a profound sense of
their importance.  They modify the inner life of the subject
between the times of their recurrence.  Sharp divisions in this
region are, however, difficult to make, and we find all sorts of
gradations and mixtures.

These four characteristics are sufficient to mark out a group of
states of consciousness peculiar enough to deserve a special name
and to call for careful study.  Let it then be called the
mystical group.
Our next step should be to gain acquaintance with some typical
examples.  Professional mystics at the height of their
development have often elaborately organized experiences and a
philosophy based thereupon.  But you remember what I said in my
first lecture:  phenomena are best understood when placed within
their series, studied in their germ and in their over-ripe decay,
and compared with their exaggerated and degenerated kindred.  The
range of mystical experience is very wide, much too wide for us
to cover in the time at our disposal.  Yet the method of serial
study is so essential for interpretation that if we really wish
to reach conclusions we must use it.  I will begin, therefore,
with phenomena which claim no special religious significance, and
end with those of which the religious pretensions are extreme.

The simplest rudiment of mystical experience would seem to be
that deepened sense of the significance of a maxim or formula
which occasionally sweeps over one. "I've heard that said all my
life," we exclaim, "but I never realized its full meaning until
now."  "When a fellow-monk," said Luther, "one day repeated
the words of the Creed:  'I believe in the forgiveness of sins,'
I saw the Scripture in an entirely new light; and straightway I
felt as if I were born anew.  It was as if I had found the door
of paradise thrown wide open."[226] This sense of deeper
significance is not confined to rational propositions.  Single
words,[227] and conjunctions of words, effects of light on land
and sea, odors and musical sounds, all bring it when the mind is
tuned aright.  Most of us can remember the strangely moving power
of passages in certain poems read when we were young, irrational
doorways as they were through which the mystery of fact, the
wildness and the pang of life, stole into our hearts and thrilled
them.  The words have now perhaps become mere polished surfaces
for us; but lyric poetry and music are alive and significant only
in proportion as they fetch these vague vistas of a life
continuous with our own, beckoning and inviting, yet ever eluding
our pursuit.  We are alive or dead to the eternal inner message
of the arts according as we have kept or lost this mystical

[226] Newman's Securus judicat orbis terrarum is another

[227] "Mesopotamia" is the stock comic instance.--An excellent
Old German lady, who had done some traveling in her day, used to
describe to me her Sehnsucht that she might yet visit
"Philadelphia," whose wondrous name had always haunted her
imagination.  Of John Foster it is said that "single words (as
chalcedony), or the names of ancient heroes, had a mighty
fascination over him.  'At any time the word hermit was enough to
transport him.' The words woods and forests would produce the
most powerful emotion."  Foster's Life, by Ryland, New York,
1846, p. 3.

A more pronounced step forward on the mystical ladder is found in
an extremely frequent phenomenon, that sudden feeling, namely,
which sometimes sweeps over us, of having "been here before," as
if at some indefinite past time, in just this place, with just
these people, we were already saying just these things.  As
Tennyson writes:

     "Moreover, something is or seems
      That touches me with mystic gleams,
      Like glimpses of forgotten dreams--

     "Of something felt, like something here;
      Of something done, I know not where;
      Such as no language may declare."[228]

[228] The Two Voices.  In a letter to Mr. B. P. Blood, Tennyson
reports of himself as follows:--

"I have never had any revelations through anaesthetics, but a
kind of waking trance--this for lack of a better word--I have
frequently had, quite up from boyhood, when I have been all
alone.  This has come upon me through repeating my own name to
myself silently, till all at once, as it were out of the
intensity of the consciousness of individuality, individuality
itself seemed to dissolve and fade away into boundless being, and
this not a confused state but the clearest, the surest of the
surest, utterly beyond words--where death was an almost laughable
impossibility--the loss of personality (if so it were) seeming no
extinction, but the only true life.  I am ashamed of my feeble
description.  Have I not said the state is utterly beyond words?"

Professor Tyndall, in a letter, recalls Tennyson saying of this
condition:  "By God Almighty! there is no delusion in the matter!
It is no nebulous ecstasy, but a state of transcendent wonder,
associated with absolute clearness of mind."  Memoirs of Alfred
Tennyson, ii. 473.

Sir James Crichton-Browne has given the technical name of "dreamy
states" to these sudden invasions of vaguely reminiscent
consciousness.[229] They bring a sense of mystery and of the
metaphysical duality of things, and the feeling of an enlargement
of perception which seems imminent but which never completes
itself.  In Dr. Crichton-Browne's opinion they connect themselves
with the perplexed and scared disturbances of self-consciousness
which occasionally precede epileptic attacks.  I think that this
learned alienist takes a rather absurdly alarmist view of an
intrinsically insignificant phenomenon.  He follows it along the
downward ladder, to insanity; our path pursues the upward ladder
chiefly.  The divergence shows how important it is to neglect no
part of a phenomenon's connections, for we make it appear
admirable or dreadful according to the context by which we set it

[229] The Lancet, July 6 and 13, 1895, reprinted as the Cavendish
Lecture, on Dreamy Mental States, London, Bailliere, 1895.  They
have been a good deal discussed of late by psychologists.  See,
for example, Bernard-Leroy:  L'Illusion de Fausse Reconnaissance,
Paris, 1898.

Somewhat deeper plunges into mystical consciousness are met with
in yet other dreamy states.  Such feelings as these which Charles
Kingsley describes are surely far from being uncommon, especially
in youth:--

"When I walk the fields, I am oppressed now and then with an
innate feeling that everything I see has a meaning, if I could
but understand it.  And this feeling of being surrounded with
truths which I cannot grasp amounts to indescribable awe
sometimes. . . .  Have you not felt that your real soul was
imperceptible to your mental vision, except in a few hallowed

[230] Charles Kingsley's Life, i. 55, quoted by Inge:  Christian
Mysticism, London, 1899, p. 341.

A much more extreme state of mystical consciousness is described
by J. A. Symonds; and probably more persons than we suspect could
give parallels to it from their own experience.

"Suddenly," writes Symonds, "at church, or in company, or when I
was reading, and always, I think, when my muscles were at rest, I
felt the approach of the mood.  Irresistibly it took possession
of my mind and will, lasted what seemed an eternity, and
disappeared in a series of rapid sensations which resembled the
awakening from anaesthetic influence.  One reason why I disliked
this kind of trance was that I could not describe it to myself. I
cannot even now find words to render it intelligible.  It
consisted in a gradual but swiftly progressive obliteration of
space, time, sensation, and the multitudinous factors of
experience which seem to qualify what we are pleased to call our
Self. In proportion as these conditions of ordinary consciousness
were subtracted, the sense of an underlying or essential
consciousness acquired intensity.  At last nothing remained but a
pure, absolute, abstract Self.  The universe became without form
and void of content.  But Self persisted, formidable in its vivid
keenness, feeling the most poignant doubt about reality, ready,
as it seemed, to find existence break as breaks a bubble round
about it.  And what then?  The apprehension of a coming
dissolution, the grim conviction that this state was the last
state of the conscious Self, the sense that I had followed the
last thread of being to the verge of the abyss, and had arrived
at demonstration of eternal Maya or illusion, stirred or seemed
to stir me up again.  The return to ordinary conditions of
sentient existence began by my first recovering the power of
touch, and then by the gradual though rapid influx of familiar
impressions and diurnal interests.  At last I felt myself once
more a human being; and though the riddle of what is meant by
life remained unsolved I was thankful for this return from the
abyss--this deliverance from so awful an initiation into the
mysteries of skepticism.

"This trance recurred with diminishing frequency until I reached
the age of twenty-eight.  It served to impress upon my growing
nature the phantasmal unreality of all the circumstances which
contribute to a merely phenomenal consciousness. Often have I
asked myself with anguish, on waking from that formless state of
denuded, keenly sentient being, Which is the unreality--the
trance of fiery, vacant, apprehensive, skeptical Self from which
I issue, or these surrounding phenomena and habits which veil
that inner Self and build a self of flesh-and- blood
conventionality?  Again, are men the factors of some dream, the
dream-like unsubstantiality of which they comprehend at such
eventful moments?  What would happen if the final stage of the
trance were reached?"[231]

[231] H. F. Brown:  J. A. Symonds. a Biography, London, 1895, pp.
29-31, abridged.

In a recital like this there is certainly something suggestive of
pathology.[232]  The next step into mystical states carries us
into a realm that public opinion and ethical philosophy have long
since branded as pathological, though private practice and
certain lyric strains of poetry seem still to bear witness to its
ideality.  I refer to the consciousness produced by intoxicants
and anaesthetics, especially by alcohol.  The sway of alcohol
over mankind is unquestionably due to its power to stimulate the
mystical faculties of human nature, usually crushed to earth by
the cold facts and dry criticisms of the sober hour.  Sobriety
diminishes, discriminates, and says no; drunkenness expands,
unites, and says yes.  It is in fact the great exciter of the YES
function in man.  It brings its votary from the chill periphery
of things to the radiant core.  It makes him for the moment one
with truth.  Not through mere perversity do men run after it.  To
the poor and the unlettered it stands in the place of symphony
concerts and of literature; and it is part of the deeper mystery
and tragedy of life that whiffs and gleams of something that we
immediately recognize as excellent should be vouchsafed to so
many of us only in the fleeting earlier phases of what in its
totality is so degrading a poisoning.  The drunken consciousness
is one bit of the mystic consciousness, and our total opinion of
it must find its place in our opinion of that larger whole.

[232] Crichton-Browne expressly says that Symonds's "highest
nerve centres were in some degree enfeebled or damaged by these
dreamy mental states which afflicted him so grievously."   
Symonds was, however, a perfect monster of many-sided cerebral
efficiency, and his critic gives no objective grounds whatever
for his strange opinion, save that Symonds complained
occasionally, as all susceptible and ambitious men complain, of
lassitude and uncertainty as to his life's mission.

Nitrous oxide and ether, especially nitrous oxide, when
sufficiently diluted with air, stimulate the mystical
consciousness in an extraordinary degree.  Depth beyond depth of
truth seems revealed to the inhaler.  This truth fades out,
however, or escapes, at the moment of coming to; and if any words
remain over in which it seemed to clothe itself, they prove to be
the veriest nonsense.  Nevertheless, the sense of a profound
meaning having been there persists; and I know more than one
person who is persuaded that in the nitrous oxide trance we have
a genuine metaphysical revelation.

Some years ago I myself made some observations on this aspect of
nitrous oxide intoxication, and reported them in print.  One
conclusion was forced upon my mind at that time, and my
impression of its truth has ever since remained unshaken.  It is
that our normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness as
we call it, is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all
about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie
potential forms of consciousness entirely different.  We may go
through life without suspecting their existence; but apply the
requisite stimulus, and at a touch they are there in all their
completeness, definite types of mentality which probably
somewhere have their field of application and adaptation.  No
account of the universe in its totality can be final which leaves
these other forms of consciousness quite disregarded.  How to
regard them is the question--for they are so discontinuous with
ordinary consciousness.  Yet they may determine attitudes though
they cannot furnish formulas, and open a region though they fail
to give a map. At any rate, they forbid a premature closing of
accounts with reality.  Looking back on my own experiences, they
all converge towards a kind of insight to which I cannot help
ascribing some metaphysical significance.  The keynote of it is
invariably a reconciliation.  It is as if the opposites of the
world, whose contradictoriness and conflict make all our
difficulties and troubles, were melted into unity.  Not only do
they, as contrasted species, belong to one and the same genus,
but one of the species, the nobler and better one, is itself the
genus, and so soaks up and absorbs its opposite into itself. 
This is a dark saying, I know, when thus expressed in terms of
common logic, but I cannot wholly escape from its authority. I
feel as if it must mean something, something like what the
hegelian philosophy means, if one could only lay hold of it more
clearly.  Those who have ears to hear, let them hear; to me the
living sense of its reality only comes in the artificial mystic
state of mind.[233]

[233] What reader of Hegel can doubt that that sense of a
perfected Being with all its otherness soaked up into itself,
which dominates his whole philosophy, must have come from the
prominence in his consciousness of mystical moods like this, in
most persons kept subliminal?  The notion is thoroughly
characteristic of the mystical level and the Aufgabe of making it
articulate was surely set to Hegel's intellect by mystical

I just now spoke of friends who believe in the anaesthetic
revelation.  For them too it is a monistic insight, in which the
OTHER in its various forms appears absorbed into the One.

"Into this pervading genius," writes one of them, "we pass,
forgetting and forgotten, and thenceforth each is all, in God.
There is no higher, no deeper, no other, than the life in which
we are founded.  'The One remains, the many change and pass;' and
each and every one of us IS the One that remains. . . . This is
the ultimatum. . . .  As sure as being--whence is all our
care--so sure is content, beyond duplexity, antithesis, or
trouble, where I have triumphed in a solitude that God is not

[234] Benjamin Paul Blood:  The Anaesthetic Revelation and the
Gist of Philosophy, Amsterdam, N. Y., 1874, pp. 35, 36.  Mr.
Blood has made several attempts to adumbrate the anaesthetic
revelation, in pamphlets of rare literary distinction, privately
printed and distributed by himself at Amsterdam.  Xenos Clark, a
philosopher, who died young at Amherst in the '80's, much
lamented by those who knew him, was also impressed by the
revelation.  "In the first place," he once wrote to me, "Mr.
Blood and I agree that the revelation is, if anything
non-emotional.  It is utterly flat.  It is, as Mr. Blood says,
'the one sole and sufficient insight why, or not why, but how,
the present is pushed on by the past, and sucked forward by the
vacuity of the future.  Its inevitableness defeats all attempts
at stopping or accounting for it.  It is all precedence and
presupposition, and questioning is in regard to it forever too
late.  It is an initiation of the past.' The real secret would be
the formula by which the 'now' keeps exfoliating out of itself,
yet never escapes.  What is it, indeed, that keeps existence
exfoliating?  The formal being of anything, the logical
definition of it, is static.  For mere logic every question
contains its own answer--we simply fill the hole with the dirt we
dug out.  Why are twice two four?  Because, in fact, four is
twice two.  Thus logic finds in life no propulsion, only a
momentum.  It goes because it is a-going. But the revelation
adds:  it goes because it is and WAS a-going.  You walk, as it
were, round yourself in the revelation.  Ordinary philosophy is
like a hound hunting his own tail.  The more he hunts the farther
he has to go, and his nose never catches up with his heels,
because it is forever ahead of them.  So the present is already a
foregone conclusion, and I am ever too late to understand it. 
But at the moment of recovery from anaesthesis, just then, BEFORE
STARTING ON LIFE, I catch, so to speak, a glimpse of my heels, a
glimpse of the eternal process just in the act of starting.  The
truth is that we travel on a journey that was accomplished before
we set out; and the real end of philosophy is accomplished, not
when we arrive at, but when we remain in, our destination (being
already there)--which may occur vicariously in this life when we
cease our intellectual questioning. That is why there is a smile
upon the face of the revelation, as we view it.  It tells us that
we are forever half a second too late-- that's all.  'You could
kiss your own lips, and have all the fun to yourself,' it says,
if you only knew the trick.  It would be perfectly easy if they
would just stay there till you got round to them. Why don't you
manage it somehow?"

Dialectically minded readers of this farrago will at least
recognize the region of thought of which Mr. Clark writes, as
familiar.  In his latest pamphlet, "Tennyson's Trances and the
Anaesthetic Revelation," Mr. Blood describes its value for life
as follows:--

"The Anaesthetic Revelation is the Initiation of Man into the
Immemorial Mystery of the Open Secret of Being, revealed as the
Inevitable Vortex of Continuity.  Inevitable is the word.  Its
motive is inherent--it is what has to be.  It is not for any love
or hate, nor for joy nor sorrow, nor good nor ill.  End,
beginning, or purpose, it knows not of.

"It affords no particular of the multiplicity and variety of
things but it fills appreciation of the historical and the sacred
with a secular and intimately personal illumination of the nature
and motive of existence, which then seems reminiscent--as if it
should have appeared, or shall yet appear, to every participant

"Although it is at first startling in its solemnity, it becomes
directly such a matter of course--so old-fashioned, and so akin
to proverbs that it inspires exultation rather than fear, and a
sense of safety, as identified with the aboriginal and the
universal.  But no words may express the imposing certainty of
the patient that he is realizing the primordial, Adamic surprise
of Life.

"Repetition of the experience finds it ever the same, and as if
it could not possibly be otherwise.  The subject resumes his
normal consciousness only to partially and fitfully remember its
occurrence, and to try to formulate its baffling import--with
only this consolatory afterthought:  that he has known the oldest
truth, and that he has done with human theories as to the origin,
meaning, or destiny of the race.  He is beyond instruction in
'spiritual things.'

"The lesson is one of central safety:  the Kingdom is within. 
All days are judgment days:  but there can be no climacteric
purpose of eternity, nor any scheme of the whole.  The astronomer
abridges the row of bewildering figures by increasing his unit of
measurement: so may we reduce the distracting multiplicity of
things to the unity for which each of us stands.

"This has been my moral sustenance since I have known of it.  In
my first printed mention of it I declared:  'The world is no more
the alien terror that was taught me.  Spurning the cloud-grimed
and still sultry battlements whence so lately Jehovan thunders
boomed, my gray gull lifts her wing against the nightfall, and
takes the dim leagues with a fearless eye.' And now, after
twenty-seven years of this experience, the wing is grayer, but
the eye is fearless still, while I renew and doubly emphasize
that declaration.  I know--as having known--the meaning of
Existence:  the sane centre of the universe-- at once the wonder
and the assurance of the soul--for which the speech of reason has
as yet no name but the Anaesthetic Revelation." --I have
considerably abridged the quotation.

This has the genuine religious mystic ring! I just now quoted J.
A. Symonds.  He also records a mystical experience with
chloroform, as follows:--

'After the choking and stifling had passed away, I seemed at
first in a state of utter blankness; then came flashes of intense
light, alternating with blackness, and with a keen vision of what
was going on in the room around me, but no sensation of touch. I
thought that I was near death; when, suddenly, my soul became
aware of God, who was manifestly dealing with me, handling me, so
to speak, in an intense personal present reality.  I felt him
streaming in like light upon me. . . .  I cannot describe the
ecstasy I felt.  Then, as I gradually awoke from the influence of
the anaesthetics, the old sense of my relation to the world began
to return, the new sense of my relation to God began to fade.  I
suddenly leapt to my feet on the chair where I was sitting, and
shrieked out, 'It is too horrible, it is too horrible, it is too
horrible,' meaning that I could not bear this disillusionment.
Then I flung myself on the ground, and at last awoke covered with
blood, calling to the two surgeons (who were frightened), 'Why
did you not kill me?  Why would you not let me die?' Only think
of it.  To have felt for that long dateless ecstasy of vision the
very God, in all purity and tenderness and truth and absolute
love, and then to find that I had after all had no revelation,
but that I had been tricked by the abnormal excitement of my

"Yet, this question remains, Is it possible that the inner sense
of reality which succeeded, when my flesh was dead to impressions
from without, to the ordinary sense of physical relations, was
not a delusion but an actual experience?  Is it possible that I,
in that moment, felt what some of the saints have said they
always felt, the undemonstrable but irrefragable certainty of

[235] Op. cit., pp. 78-80, abridged.  I subjoin, also abridging
it, another interesting anaesthetic revelation communicated to me
in manuscript by a friend in England.  The subject, a gifted
woman, was taking ether for a surgical operation.

"I wondered if I was in a prison being tortured, and why I
remembered having heard it said that people 'learn through
suffering,' and in view of what I was seeing, the inadequacy of
this saying struck me so much that I said, aloud, 'to suffer IS
to learn.'

"With that I became unconscious again, and my last dream
immediately preceded my real coming to.  It only lasted a few
seconds, and was most vivid and real to me, though it may not be
clear in words.

"A great Being or Power was traveling through the sky, his foot
was on a kind of lightning as a wheel is on a rail, it was his
pathway.  The lightning was made entirely of the spirits of
innumerable people close to one another, and I was one of them. 
He moved in a straight line, and each part of the streak or flash
came into its short conscious existence only that he might
travel.  I seemed to be directly under the foot of God, and I
thought he was grinding his own life up out of my pain.  Then I
saw that what he had been trying with all his might to do was to
CHANGE HIS COURSE, to BEND the line of lightning to which he was
tied, in the direction in which he wanted to go.  I felt my
flexibility and helplessness, and knew that he would succeed. He
bended me, turning his corner by means of my hurt, hurting me
more than I had ever been hurt in my life, and at the acutest
point of this, as he passed, I SAW.  I understood for a moment
things that I have now forgotten, things that no one could
remember while retaining sanity.  The angle was an obtuse angle,
and I remember thinking as I woke that had he made it a right or
acute angle, I should have both suffered and 'seen' still more,
and should probably have died.

"He went on and I came to.  In that moment the whole of my life
passed before me, including each little meaningless piece of
distress, and I UNDERSTOOD them.  THIS was what it had all meant,
THIS was the piece of work it had all been contributing to do.  I
did not see God's purpose, I only saw his intentness and his
entire relentlessness towards his means.  He thought no more of
me than a man thinks of hurting a cork when he is opening wine,
or hurting a cartridge when he is firing.  And yet, on waking, my
first feeling was, and it came with tears, 'Domine non sum
digna,' for I had been lifted into a position for which I was too
small.  I realized that in that half hour under ether I had
served God more distinctly and purely than I had ever done in my
life before, or than I am capable of desiring to do.  I was the
means of his achieving and revealing something, I know not what
or to whom, and that, to the exact extent of my capacity for

"While regaining consciousness, I wondered why, since I had gone
so deep, I had seen nothing of what the saints call the LOVE of
God, nothing but his relentlessness.  And then I heard an answer,
which I could only just catch, saying, 'Knowledge and Love are
One, and the MEASURE is suffering'--I give the words as they came
to me. With that I came finally to (into what seemed a dream
world compared with the reality of what I was leaving), and I saw
that what would be called the 'cause' of my experience was a
slight operation under insufficient ether, in a bed pushed up
against a window, a common city window in a common city street. 
If I had to formulate a few of the things I then caught a glimpse
of, they would run somewhat as follows:--

"The eternal necessity of suffering and its eternal
vicariousness. The veiled and incommunicable nature of the worst
sufferings;--the passivity of genius, how it is essentially
instrumental and defenseless, moved, not moving, it must do what
it does;--the impossibility of discovery without its
price;--finally, the excess of what the suffering 'seer' or
genius pays over what his generation gains.  (He seems like one
who sweats his life out to earn enough to save a district from
famine, and just as he staggers back, dying and satisfied,
bringing a lac of rupees to buy grain with, God lifts the lac
away, dropping ONE rupee, and says, 'That you may give them. 
That you have earned for them.  The rest is for ME.') I perceived
also in a way never to be forgotten, the excess of what we see
over what we can demonstrate.

"And so on!--these things may seem to you delusions, or truisms;
but for me they are dark truths, and the power to put them into
even such words as these has been given me by an ether dream."

With this we make connection with religious mysticism pure and
simple.  Symonds's question takes us back to those examples which
you will remember my quoting in the lecture on the Reality of the
Unseen, of sudden realization of the immediate presence of God. 
The phenomenon in one shape or another is not uncommon.

"I know," writes Mr. Trine, "an officer on our police force who
has told me that many times when off duty, and on his way home in
the evening, there comes to him such a vivid and vital
realization of his oneness with this Infinite Power, and this
Spirit of Infinite Peace so takes hold of and so fills him, that
it seems as if his feet could hardly keep to the pavement, so
buoyant and so exhilarated does he become by reason of this
inflowing tide."[236]

[236] In Tune with the Infinite, p. 137.

Certain aspects of nature seem to have a peculiar power of
awakening such mystical moods.[237] Most of the striking cases
which I have collected have occurred out of doors.  Literature
has commemorated this fact in many passages of great beauty--this
extract, for example, from Amiel's Journal Intime:--

[237] The larger God may then swallow up the smaller one.  I take
this from Starbuck's manuscript collection:--

"I never lost the consciousness of the presence of God until I
stood at the foot of the Horseshoe Falls, Niagara.  Then I lost
him in the immensity of what I saw.  I also lost myself, feeling
that I was an atom too small for the notice of Almighty God."

I subjoin another similar case from Starbuck's collection:--

"In that time the consciousness of God's nearness came to me
sometimes.  I say God, to describe what is indescribable.  A
presence, I might say, yet that is too suggestive of personality,
and the moments of which I speak did not hold the consciousness
of a personality, but something in myself made me feel myself a
part of something bigger than I, that was controlling.  I felt
myself one with the grass, the trees, birds, insects, everything
in Nature.  I exulted in the mere fact of existence, of being a
part of it all--the drizzling rain, the shadows of the clouds,
the tree-trunks, and so on.  In the years following, such moments
continued to come, but I wanted them constantly.  I knew so well
the satisfaction of losing self in a perception of supreme power
and love, that I was unhappy because that perception was not
constant." The cases quoted in my third lecture, pp. 65, 66, 69,
are still better ones of this type.  In her essay, The Loss of
Personality, in The Atlantic Monthly (vol. lxxxv. p. 195), Miss
Ethel D. Puffer explains that the vanishing of the sense of self,
and the feeling of immediate unity with the object, is due to the
disappearance, in these rapturous experiences, of the motor
adjustments which habitually intermediate between the constant
background of consciousness (which is the Self) and the object in
the foreground, whatever it may be.  I must refer the reader to
the highly instructive article, which seems to me to throw light
upon the psychological conditions, though it fails to account for
the rapture or the revelation-value of the experience in the
Subject's eyes.

"Shall I ever again have any of those prodigious reveries which
sometimes came to me in former days?  One day, in youth, at
sunrise, sitting in the ruins of the castle of Faucigny; and
again in the mountains, under the noonday sun, above Lavey, lying
at the foot of a tree and visited by three butterflies; once more
at night upon the shingly shore of the Northern Ocean, my back
upon the sand and my vision ranging through the Milky Way;--such
grand and spacious, immortal, cosmogonic reveries, when one
reaches to the stars, when one owns the infinite!  Moments
divine, ecstatic hours; in which our thought flies from world to
world, pierces the great enigma, breathes with a respiration
broad, tranquil, and deep as the respiration of the ocean, serene
and limitless as the blue firmament; . . . instants of
irresistible intuition in which one feels one's self great as the
universe, and calm as a god. . . .  What hours, what memories!
The vestiges they leave behind are enough to fill us with belief
and enthusiasm, as if they were visits of the Holy Ghost."[238]

[238] Op cit., i. 43-44

Here is a similar record from the memoirs of that interesting
German idealist, Malwida von Meysenbug:--

"I was alone upon the seashore as all these thoughts flowed over
me, liberating and reconciling; and now again, as once before in
distant days in the Alps of Dauphine, I was impelled to kneel
down, this time before the illimitable ocean, symbol of the
Infinite.  I felt that I prayed as I had never prayed before, and
knew now what prayer really is:  to return from the solitude of
individuation into the consciousness of unity with all that is,
to kneel down as one that passes away, and to rise up as one 
imperishable.  Earth, heaven, and sea resounded as in one vast
world-encircling harmony.  It was as if the chorus of all the
great who had ever lived were about me.  I felt myself one with
them, and it appeared as if I heard their greeting:  'Thou too
belongest to the company of those who overcome.'"[239]

[239] Memoiren einer Idealistin, Ste Auflage, 1900, iii. 166. 
For years she had been unable to pray, owing to materialistic

The well known passage from Walt Whitman is a classical
expression of this sporadic type of mystical experience.

 "I believe in you, my Soul . . .  
Loaf with me on the grass, loose the stop from your throat;. . . 
Only the lull I like, the hum of your valved voice.  
I mind how once we lay, such a transparent summer morning.  
Swiftly arose and spread around me the peace and knowledge      
     that pass all the argument of the earth,  
And I know that the hand of God is the promise of my own,  
And I know that the spirit of God is the brother of my own,  
And that all the men ever born are also my brothers and the     
      women my sisters and lovers,  
And that a kelson of the creation is love."[240]

[240] Whitman in another place expresses in a quieter way what
was probably with him a chronic mystical perception:  "There is,"
he writes, "apart from mere intellect, in the make-up of every
superior human identity, a wondrous something that realizes
without argument, frequently without what is called education
(though I think it the goal and apex of all education deserving
the name), an intuition of the absolute balance, in time and
space, of the whole of this multifariousness this revel of fools,
and incredible make-believe and general unsettiedness, we call
THE WORLD; a soul-sight of that divine clue and unseen thread
which holds the whole congeries of things, all history and time,
and all events, however trivial, however momentous, like a
leashed dog in the hand of the hunter.  [Of] such soul-sight and
root-centre for the mind mere optimism explains only the
surface."  Whitman charges it against Carlyle that he lacked this
perception.  Specimen Days and Collect, Philadelphia, 1882, p.

I could easily give more instances, but one will suffice.  I take
it from the Autobiography of J. Trevor.[241]

[241] My Quest for God, London, 1897, pp. 268, 269, abridged.

"One brilliant Sunday morning, my wife and boys went to the
Unitarian Chapel in Macclesfield.  I felt it impossible to
accompany them--as though to leave the sunshine on the hills, and
go down there to the chapel, would be for the time an act of
spiritual suicide.  And I felt such need for new inspiration and
expansion in my life.  So, very reluctantly and sadly, I left my
wife and boys to go down into the town, while I went further up
into the hills with my stick and my dog.  In the loveliness of
the morning, and the beauty of the hills and valleys, I soon lost
my sense of sadness and regret.  For nearly an hour I walked
along the road to the 'Cat and Fiddle,' and then returned.  On
the way back, suddenly, without warning, I felt that I was in
Heaven--an inward state of peace and joy and assurance
indescribably intense, accompanied with a sense of being bathed
in a warm glow of light, as though the external condition had
brought about the internal effect--a feeling of having passed
beyond the body, though the scene around me stood out more
clearly and as if nearer to me than before, by reason of the
illumination in the midst of which I seemed to be placed.  This
deep emotion lasted, though with decreasing strength, until I
reached home, and for some time after, only gradually passing

The writer adds that having had further experiences of a similar
sort, he now knows them well.

"The spiritual life," he writes, "justifies itself to those who
live it; but what can we say to those who do not understand? 
This, at least, we can say, that it is a life whose experiences
are proved real to their possessor, because they remain with him
when brought closest into contact with the objective realities of
life. Dreams cannot stand this test.  We wake from them to find
that they are but dreams.  Wanderings of an overwrought brain do
not stand this test.  These highest experiences that I have had
of God's presence have been rare and brief--flashes of
consciousness which have compelled me to exclaim with
surprise--God is HERE!--or conditions of exaltation and insight,
less intense, and only gradually passing away.  I have severely
questioned the worth of these moments.  To no soul have I named
them, lest I should be building my life and work on mere
phantasies of the brain.  But I find that, after every
questioning and test, they stand out to-day as the most real
experiences of my life, and experiences which have explained and
justified and unified all past experiences and all past growth. 
Indeed, their reality and their far-reaching significance are
ever becoming more clear and evident.  When they came, I was
living the fullest, strongest, sanest, deepest life.  I was not
seeking them.  What I was seeking, with resolute determination,
was to live more intensely my own life, as against what I knew
would be the adverse judgment of the world.  It was in the most
real seasons that the Real Presence came, and I was aware that I
was immersed in the infinite ocean of God."[242]

[242] Op. cit., pp. 256, 257, abridged.

Even the least mystical of you must by this time be convinced of
the existence of mystical moments as states of consciousness of
an entirely specific quality, and of the deep impression which
they make on those who have them.  A Canadian psychiatrist, Dr.
R. M. Bucke, gives to the more distinctly characterized of these
phenomena the name of cosmic consciousness.  "Cosmic
consciousness in its more striking instances is not," Dr. Bucke
says, "simply an expansion or extension of the self-conscious
mind with which we are all familiar, but the superaddition of a
function as distinct from any possessed by the average man as
SELF-consciousness is distinct from any function possessed by one
of the higher animals."

"The prime characteristic of cosmic consciousness is a
consciousness of the cosmos, that is, of the life and order of
the universe.  Along with the consciousness of the cosmos there
occurs an intellectual enlightenment which alone would place the
individual on a new plane of existence--would make him almost a
member of a new species.  To this is added a state of moral
exaltation, an indescribable feeling of elevation, elation, and
joyousness, and a quickening of the moral sense, which is fully
as striking, and more important than is the enhanced intellectual
power.  With these come what may be called a sense of
immortality, a consciousness of eternal life, not a conviction
that he shall have this, but the consciousness that he has it

[243] Cosmic Consciousness:  a study in the evolution of the
human Mind, Philadelphia, 1901, p. 2.

It was Dr. Bucke's own experience of a typical onset of cosmic
consciousness in his own person which led him to investigate it
in others.  He has printed his conclusions In a highly
interesting volume, from which I take the following account of
what occurred to him:--

"I had spent the evening in a great city, with two friends,
reading and discussing poetry and philosophy.  We parted at
midnight.  I had a long drive in a hansom to my lodging.  My
mind, deeply under the influence of the ideas, images, and
emotions called up by the reading and talk, was calm and
peaceful.  I was in a state of quiet, almost passive enjoyment,
not actually thinking, but letting ideas, images, and emotions
flow of themselves, as it were, through my mind.  All at once,
without warning of any kind, I found myself wrapped in a
flame-colored cloud.  For an instant I thought of fire, an
immense conflagration somewhere close by in that great city; the
next, I knew that the fire was within myself.  Directly afterward
there came upon me a sense of exultation, of immense joyousness
accompanied or immediately followed by an intellectual
illumination impossible to describe.  Among other things, I did
not merely come to believe, but I saw that the universe is not
composed of dead matter, but is, on the contrary, a living
Presence; I became conscious in myself of eternal life.  It was
not a conviction that I would have eternal life, but a
consciousness that I possessed eternal life then; I saw that all
men are immortal; that the cosmic order is such that without any
peradventure all things work together for the good of each and
all; that the foundation principle of the world, of all the
worlds, is what we call love, and that the happiness of each and
all is in the long run <391> absolutely certain.  The vision
lasted a few seconds and was gone; but the memory of it and the
sense of the reality of what it taught has remained during the
quarter of a century which has since elapsed.  I knew that what
the vision showed was true.  I had attained to a point of view
from which I saw that it must be true.  That view, that
conviction, I may say that consciousness, has never, even during
periods of the deepest depression, been lost."[244]

[244] Loc. cit., pp. 7, 8.  My quotation follows the privately
printed pamphlet which preceded Dr. Bucke's larger work, and
differs verbally a little from the text of the latter.

We have now seen enough of this cosmic or mystic consciousness,
as it comes sporadically.  We must next pass to its methodical
cultivation as an element of the religious life.  Hindus,
Buddhists, Mohammedans, and Christians all have cultivated it

In India, training in mystical insight has been known from time
immemorial under the name of yoga.  Yoga means the experimental
union of the individual with the divine.  It is based on
persevering exercise; and the diet, posture, breathing,
intellectual concentration, and moral discipline vary slightly in
the different systems which teach it.  The yogi, or disciple, who
has by these means overcome the obscurations of his lower nature
sufficiently, enters into the condition termed samadhi, "and
comes face to face with facts which no instinct or reason can
ever know."  He learns--

"That the mind itself has a higher state of existence, beyond
reason, a superconscious state, and that when the mind gets to
that higher state, then this knowledge beyond reasoning comes. .
. . All the different steps in yoga are intended to bring us
scientifically to the superconscious state or Samadhi. . . . 
Just as unconscious work is beneath consciousness, so there is
another work which is above consciousness, and which, also, is
not accompanied with the feeling of egoism . . . . There is no
feeling of I, and yet the mind works, desireless, free from
restlessness, objectless, bodiless.  Then the Truth shines in its
full effulgence, and we know ourselves--for Samadhi lies
potential in us all--for what we truly are, free, immortal,
omnipotent, loosed from the finite, and its contrasts of good and
evil altogether, and identical with the Atman or Universal

[245] My quotations are from Vivekananda, Raja Yoga, London,
1896.  The completest source of information on Yoga is the work
translated by Vihari Lala Mtra:  Yoga Vasishta Maha Ramayana. 4
vols.  Calcutta, 1891-99.

The Vedantists say that one may stumble into superconsciousness
sporadically, without the previous discipline, but it is then
impure.  Their test of its purity, like our test of religion's
value, is empirical:  its fruits must be good for life. When a
man comes out of Samadhi, they assure us that he remains
"enlightened, a sage, a prophet, a saint, his whole character
changed, his life changed, illumined."[246]

[246] A European witness, after carefully comparing the results
of Yoga with those of the hypnotic or dreamy states artificially
producible by us, says:  "It makes of its true disciples good,
healthy, and happy men. . . . Through the mastery which the yogi
attains over his thoughts and his body, he grows into a
'character.' By the subjection of his impulses and propensities
to his will, and the fixing of the latter upon the ideal of
goodness, he becomes a 'personality' hard to influence by others,
and thus almost the opposite of what we usually imagine a medium
so-called, or psychic subject to be.  Karl Kellner:  Yoga:  Eine
Skizze, Munchen, 1896, p. 21.

The Buddhists used the word "samadhi" as well as the Hindus; but
"dhyana" is their special word for higher states of
contemplation.  There seem to be four stages recognized in
dhyana.  The first stage comes through concentration of the mind
upon one point.  It excludes desire, but not discernment or
judgment:  it is still intellectual.  In the second stage the
intellectual functions drop off, and the satisfied sense of unity
remains.  In the third stage the satisfaction departs, and
indifference begins, along with memory a self-consciousness.  In
the fourth stage the indifference, memory, and self-consciousness
are perfected.  [Just what "memory" and "self-consciousness" mean
in this connection is doubtful.  They cannot be the faculties
familiar to us in the lower life.] Higher stages still of
contemplation are mentioned--a region where there exists nothing,
and where the mediator says:  "There exists absolutely nothing,"
and stops. Then he reaches another region where he says:  "There
are neither ideas nor absence of ideas," and stops again.  Then
another region where, "having reached the end of both idea and
perception, he stops finally."  This would seem to be, not yet
Nirvana, but as close an approach to it as this life

[247] I follow the account in C. F. Koeppen:  Die Religion des
Buddha, Berlin, 1857, i. 585 ff.

In the Mohammedan world the Sufi sect and various dervish bodies
are the possessors of the mystical tradition.  The Sufis have
existed in Persia from the earliest times, and as their pantheism
is so at variance with the hot and rigid monotheism of the Arab
mind, it has been suggested that Sufism must have been inoculated
into Islam by Hindu influences. We Christians know little of
Sufism, for its secrets are disclosed only to those initiated. 
To give its existence a certain liveliness in your minds, I will
quote a Moslem document, and pass away from the subject.

Al-Ghazzali, a Persian philosopher and theologian, who flourished
in the eleventh century, and ranks as one of the greatest doctors
of the Moslem church, has left us one of the few autobiographies
to be found outside of Christian literature.  Strange that a
species of book so abundant among ourselves should be so little
represented elsewhere--the absence of strictly personal
confessions is the chief difficulty to the purely literary
student who would like to become acquainted with the inwardness
of religions other than the Christian. M. Schmolders has
translated a part of Al-Ghazzali's autobiography into

[248] For a full account of him, see D. B. Macdonald:  The Life
Of Al-Ghazzali, in the Journal of the American Oriental Society,
1899, vol. xx., p. 71.

"The Science of the Sufis," says the Moslem author, "aims at
detaching the heart from all that is not God, and at giving to it
for sole occupation the meditation of the divine being.  Theory
being more easy for me than practice, I read [certain books]
until I understood all that can be learned by study and hearsay.
Then I recognized that what pertains most exclusively to their
method is just what no study can grasp, but only transport,
ecstasy, and the transformation of the soul.  How great, for
example, is the difference between knowing the definitions of
health, of satiety, with their causes and conditions, and being
really healthy or filled.  How different to know in what
drunkenness consists--as being a state occasioned by a vapor that
rises from the stomach--and BEING drunk effectively.  Without
doubt, the drunken man knows neither the definition of
drunkenness nor what makes it interesting for science.  Being
drunk, he knows nothing; whilst the physician, although not drunk
knows well in what drunkenness consists, and what are its
predisposing conditions.  Similarly there is a difference between
knowing the nature of abstinence, and BEING abstinent or having
one's soul detached from the world.--Thus I had learned what
words could teach of Sufism, but what was left could be learned
neither by study nor through the ears, but solely by giving one's
self up to ecstasy and leading a pious life.

"Reflecting on my situation, I found myself tied down by a
multitude of bonds--temptations on every side.  Considering my
teaching, I found it was impure before God.  I saw myself
struggling with all my might to achieve glory and to spread my
name.  [Here follows an account of his six months' hesitation to
break away from the conditions of his life at Bagdad, at the end
of which he fell ill with a paralysis of the tongue.] Then,
feeling my own weakness, and having entirely given up my own
will, I repaired to God like a man in distress who has no more
resources.  He answered, as he answers the wretch who invokes
him.  My heart no longer felt any difficulty in renouncing glory,
wealth, and my children.  So I quitted Bagdad, and reserving from
my fortune only what was indispensable for my subsistence, I
distributed the rest.  I went to Syria, where I remained about
two years, with no other occupation than living in retreat and
solitude, conquering my desires, combating my passions, training
myself to purify my soul, to make my character perfect, to
prepare my heart for meditating on God--all according to the
methods of the Sufis, as I had read of them.

"This retreat only increased my desire to live in solitude, and
to complete the purification of my heart and fit it for
meditation.  But the vicissitudes of the times, the affairs of
the family, the need of subsistence, changed in some respects my
primitive resolve, and interfered with my plans for a purely
solitary life.  I had never yet found myself completely in
ecstasy, save in a few single hours; nevertheless, I kept the
hope of attaining this state.  Every time that the accidents led
me astray, I sought to return; and in this situation I spent ten
years.  During this solitary state things were revealed to me
which it is impossible either to describe or to point out.  I
recognized for certain that the Sufis are assuredly walking in
the path of God.  Both in their acts and in their inaction,
whether internal or external, they are illumined by the light
which proceeds from the prophetic source.  The first condition
for a Sufi is to purge his heart entirely of all that is not God.
The next key of the contemplative life consists in the humble
prayers which escape from the fervent soul, and in the
meditations on God in which the heart is swallowed up entirely.
But in reality this is only the beginning of the Sufi life, the
end of Sufism being total absorption in God.  The intuitions and
all that precede are, so to speak, only the threshold for those
who enter.  From the beginning revelations take place in so
flagrant a shape that the Sufis see before them, whilst wide
awake, the angels and the souls of the prophets.  They hear their
voices and obtain their favors.  Then the transport rises from
the perception of forms and figures to a degree which escapes all
expression, and which no man may seek to give an account of
without his words involving sin.
"Whosoever has had no experience of the transport knows of the
true nature of prophetism nothing but the name.  He may meanwhile
be sure of its existence, both by experience and by what he hears
the Sufis say.  As there are men endowed only with the sensitive
faculty who reject what is offered them in the way of objects of
the pure understanding, so there are intellectual men who reject
and avoid the things perceived by the prophetic faculty.  A blind
man can understand nothing of colors save what he has learned by
narration and hearsay.  Yet God has brought prophetism near to
men in giving them all a state analogous to it in its principal
characters.  This state is sleep. If you were to tell a man who
was himself without experience of such a phenomenon that there
are people who at times swoon away so as to resemble dead men,
and who [in dreams] yet perceive things that are hidden, he would
deny it [and give his reasons].  Nevertheless, his arguments
would be refuted by actual experience.  Wherefore, just as the
understanding is a stage of human life in which an eye opens to
discern various intellectual objects uncomprehended by sensation;
just so in the prophetic the sight is illumined by a light which
uncovers hidden things and objects which the intellect fails to
reach.  The chief properties of prophetism are perceptible only
during the transport, by those who embrace the Sufi life.  The
prophet is endowed with qualities to which you possess nothing
analogous, and which consequently you cannot possibly understand.

How should you know their true nature, since one knows only what
one can comprehend?  But the transport which one attains by the
method of the Sufis is like an immediate perception, as if one
touched the objects with one's hand."[249]

[249] A. Schmolders:  Essai sur les ecoles philosophiques chez
les Arabes, Paris, 1842, pp. 54-68, abridged.

This incommunicableness of the transport is the keynote of all
mysticism.  Mystical truth exists for the individual who has the
transport, but for no one else.  In this, as I have said, it
resembles the knowledge given to us in sensations more than that
given by conceptual thought.  Thought, with its remoteness and
abstractness, has often enough in the history of philosophy been
contrasted unfavorably with sensation.

It is a commonplace of metaphysics that God's knowledge cannot be
discursive but must be intuitive, that is, must be constructed
more after the pattern of what in ourselves is called immediate
feeling, than after that of proposition and judgment.  But our
immediate feelings have no content but what the five senses
supply; and we have seen and shall see again that mystics may
emphatically deny that the senses play any part in the very
highest type of knowledge which their transports yield.

In the Christian church there have always been mystics. Although
many of them have been viewed with suspicion, some have gained
favor in the eyes of the authorities.  The experiences of these
have been treated as precedents, and a codified system of
mystical theology has been based upon them, in which everything
legitimate finds its place.[250] The basis of the system is
"orison" or meditation, the methodical elevation of the soul
towards God.  Through the practice of orison the higher levels of
mystical experience may be attained.  It is odd that
Protestantism, especially evangelical Protestantism, should
seemingly have abandoned everything methodical in this line. 
Apart from what prayer may lead to, Protestant mystical
experience appears to have been almost exclusively sporadic.  It
has been left to our mind- curers to reintroduce methodical
meditation into our religious life.

[250] Gorres's Christliche Mystik gives a full account of the
facts.  So does Ribet's Mystique Divine, 2 vols., Paris, 1890.  A
still more methodical modern work is the Mystica Theologia of
Vallgornera, 2 vols., Turin, 1890.

The first thing to be aimed at in orison is the mind's detachment
from outer sensations, for these interfere with its concentration
upon ideal things.  Such manuals as Saint Ignatius's Spiritual
Exercises recommend the disciple to <398> expel sensation by a
graduated series of efforts to imagine holy scenes.  The acme of
this kind of discipline would be a semi-hallucinatory
mono-ideism--an imaginary figure of Christ, for example, coming
fully to occupy the mind.  Sensorial images of this sort, whether
literal or symbolic, play an enormous part in mysticism.[251] 
But in certain cases imagery may fall away entirely, and in the
very highest raptures it tends to do so.  The state of
consciousness becomes then insusceptible of any verbal
description.  Mystical teachers are unanimous as to this. Saint
John of the Cross, for instance, one of the best of them,
thus describes the condition called the "union of love," which,
he says, is reached by "dark contemplation."  In this the Deity
compenetrates the soul, but in such a hidden way that the soul--

"finds no terms, no means, no comparison whereby to render the
sublimity of the wisdom and the delicacy of the spiritual feeling
with which she is filled. . . . We receive this mystical
knowledge of God clothed in none of the kinds of images, in none
of the sensible representations, which our mind makes use of in
other circumstances.  Accordingly in this knowledge, since the
senses and the imagination are not employed, we get neither form
nor impression, nor can we give any account or furnish any
likeness, although the mysterious and sweet-tasting wisdom comes
home so clearly to the inmost parts of our soul.  Fancy a man
seeing a certain kind of thing for the first time in his life. He
can understand it, use and enjoy it, but he cannot apply a name
to it, nor communicate any idea of it, even though all the while
it be a mere thing of sense.  How much greater will be his
powerlessness when it goes beyond the senses! This is the
peculiarity of the divine language.  The more infused, intimate,
spiritual, and supersensible it is, the more does it exceed the
senses, both inner and outer, and impose silence upon them. . . .

The soul then feels as if placed in a vast and profound solitude,
to which no created thing has access, in an immense and boundless
desert, desert the more delicious the more solitary it is. There,
in this abyss of wisdom, the soul grows by what it drinks in from
the well-springs of the comprehension of love, . . . and
recognizes, however sublime and learned may be the terms we
employ, how utterly vile, insignificant, and improper they are,
when we seek to discourse of divine things by their means."[252]

[251] M. ReCeJac, in a recent volume, makes them essential.
Mysticism he defines as "the tendency to draw near to the
Absolute morally AND BY THE AID OF SYMBOLS."  See his Fondements
de la Connaissance mystique, Paris, 1897, p. 66.  But there are
unquestionably mystical conditions in which sensible symbols play
no part.

[252] Saint John of the Cross:  The Dark Night of the Soul, book
ii. ch. xvii., in Vie et Oeuvres, 3me edition, Paris, 1893, iii.
428-432. Chapter xi. of book ii. of Saint John's Ascent of Carmel
is devoted to showing the harmfulness for the mystical life of
the use of sensible imagery.

I cannot pretend to detail to you the sundry stages of the
Christian mystical life.[253] Our time would not suffice, for one
thing; and moreover, I confess that the subdivisions and names
which we find in the Catholic books seem to me to represent
nothing objectively distinct.  So many men, so many minds:  I
imagine that these experiences can be as infinitely varied as are
the idiosyncrasies of individuals.

[253] In particular I omit mention of visual and auditory
hallucinations, verbal and graphic automatisms, and such marvels
as "levitation," stigmatization, and the healing of disease. 
These phenomena, which mystics have often presented (or are
believed to have presented), have no essential mystical
significance, for they occur with no consciousness of
illumination whatever, when they occur, as they often do, in
persons of non-mystical mind.  Consciousness of illumination is
for us the essential mark of "mystical" states.

The cognitive aspects of them, their value in the way of
revelation, is what we are directly concerned with, and it is
easy to show by citation how strong an impression they leave of
being revelations of new depths of truth.  Saint Teresa is the
expert of experts in describing such conditions, so I will turn
immediately to what she says of one of the highest of them, the
"orison of union."

"In the orison of union," says Saint Teresa, "the soul is fully
awake as regards God, but wholly asleep as regards things of this
world and in respect of herself.  During the short time the union
lasts, she is as it were deprived of every feeling, and even if
she would, she could not think of any single thing.  Thus she
needs to employ no artifice in order to arrest the use of her
understanding:  it remains so stricken with inactivity that she
neither knows what she loves, nor in what manner she loves, nor
what she wills.  In short, she is utterly dead to the things of
the world and lives solely in God. . . .  I do not even know
whether in this state she has enough life left to breathe.  It
seems to me she has not; or at least that if she does breathe,
she is unaware of it.  Her intellect would fain understand
something of what is going on within her, but it has so little
force now that it can act in no way whatsoever.  So a person who
falls into a deep faint appears as if dead. . . .

"Thus does God, when he raises a soul to union with himself,
suspend the natural action of all her faculties.  She neither
sees, hears, nor understands, so long as she is united with God.
But this time is always short, and it seems even shorter than it
is.  God establishes himself in the interior of this soul in such
a way, that when she returns to herself, it is wholly impossible
for her to doubt that she has been in God, and God in her.  This
truth remains so strongly impressed on her that, even though many
years should pass without the condition returning, she can
neither forget the favor she received, nor doubt of its reality.
If you, nevertheless, ask how it is possible that the soul can
see and understand that she has been in God, since during the
union she has neither sight nor understanding, I reply that she
does not see it then, but that she sees it clearly later, after
she has returned to herself, not by any vision, but by a
certitude which abides with her and which God alone can give her.

I knew a person who was ignorant of the truth that God's mode of
being in everything must be either by presence, by power, or by
essence, but who, after having received the grace of which I am
speaking, believed this truth in the most unshakable manner. So
much so that, having consulted a half-learned man who was as
ignorant on this point as she had been before she was
enlightened, when he replied that God is in us only by 'grace,'
she disbelieved his reply, so sure she was of the true answer;
and when she came to ask wiser doctors, they confirmed her in her
belief, which much consoled her. . . .

"But how, you will repeat, CAN one have such certainty in respect
to what one does not see?  This question, I am powerless to
answer.  These are secrets of God's omnipotence which it does not
appertain to me to penetrate.  All that I know is that I tell the
truth; and I shall never believe that any soul who does not
possess this certainty has ever been really united to God."[254]

[254] The Interior Castle, Fifth Abode, Ch. i., in Oeuvres,
translated by BOUIX, iii. 421-424.

The kinds of truth communicable in mystical ways, whether these
be sensible or supersensible, are various.  Some of them relate
to this world--visions of the future, the reading of hearts, the
sudden understanding of texts, the knowledge of distant events,
for example; but the most important revelations are theological
or metaphysical.

"Saint Ignatius confessed one day to Father Laynez that a single
hour of meditation at Manresa had taught him more truths about
heavenly things than all the teachings of all the doctors put
together could have taught him. . . .  One day in orison, on the
steps of the choir of the Dominican church, he saw in a distinct
manner the plan of divine wisdom in the creation of the world. 
On another occasion, during a procession, his spirit was ravished
in God, and it was given him to contemplate, in a form and images
fitted to the weak understanding of a dweller on the earth, the
deep mystery of the holy Trinity.  This last vision flooded his
heart with such sweetness, that the mere memory of it in after
times made him shed abundant tears."[255]

[255] Bartoli-Michel:  vie de Saint Ignace de Loyola, i. 34-36.
Others have had illuminations about the created world, Jacob
Boehme for instance.  At the age of twenty-five he was
"surrounded by the divine light, and replenished with the
heavenly knowledge, insomuch as going abroad into the fields to a
green, at Gorlitz, he there sat down and viewing the herbs and
grass of the field, in his inward light he saw into their
essences, use, and properties, which was discovered to him by
their lineaments, figures, and signatures."  Of a later
period of experience he writes:  "In one quarter of an hour I saw
and knew more than if I had been many years together at an
university.  For I saw and knew the being of all things, the Byss
and the Abyss, and the eternal generation of the holy Trinity,
the descent and original of the world and of all creatures
through the divine wisdom.  I knew and saw in myself all the
three worlds, the external and visible world being of a
procreation or extern birth from both the internal and spiritual
worlds; and I saw and knew the whole working essence, in the evil
and in the good, and the mutual original and existence, and
likewise how the fruitful bearing womb of eternity brought forth.
So that I did not only greatly wonder at it, but did also
exceedingly rejoice, albeit I could very hardly apprehend the
same in my external man and set it down with the pen.  For I had
a thorough view of the universe as in a chaos, wherein all things
are couched and wrapt up, but it was impossible for me to
explicate the same."  Jacob Behmen's Theosophic Philosophy, etc.,
by Edward Taylor, London, 1691, pp. 425, 427, abridged.  

So George Fox:  "I was come up to the state of Adam in which he
was before he fell.  The creation was opened to me; and it was
showed me, how all things had their names given to them,
according to their nature and virtue.  I was at a stand in my
mind, whether I should practice physic for the good of mankind,
seeing the nature and virtues of the creatures were so opened to
me by the Lord."   Journal, Philadelphia, no date, p. 69. 
Contemporary "Clairvoyance" abounds in similar revelations. 
Andrew Jackson Davis's cosmogonies, for example, or certain
experiences related in the delectable "Reminiscences and Memories
of Henry Thomas Butterworth," Lebanon, Ohio, 1886.

Similarly with Saint Teresa.  "One day, being in orison," she
writes, "it was granted me to perceive in one instant how all
things are seen and contained in God.  I did not perceive them in
their proper form, and nevertheless the view I had of them was of
a sovereign clearness, and has remained vividly impressed upon my
soul.  It is one of the most signal of all the graces which the
Lord has granted me. . . .  The view was so subtile and delicate
that the understanding cannot grasp it."[256]

[256] Vie, pp. 581, 582.

She goes on to tell how it was as if the Deity were an enormous
and sovereignly limpid diamond, in which all our actions were
contained in such a way that their full sinfulness appeared
evident as never before.  On another day, she relates, while she
was reciting the Athanasian Creed--

"Our Lord made me comprehend in what way it is that one God can
be in three persons.  He made me see it so clearly that I
remained as extremely surprised as I was comforted, . . . and
now, when I think of the holy Trinity, or hear It spoken of, I
understand how the three adorable Persons form only one God and I
experience an unspeakable happiness."

On still another occasion, it was given to Saint Teresa to see
and understand in what wise the Mother of God had been assumed
into her place in Heaven.[257]

[257] Loc. cit., p. 574

The deliciousness of some of these states seems to be beyond
anything known in ordinary consciousness.  It evidently involves
organic sensibilities, for it is spoken of as something too
extreme to be borne, and as verging on bodily pain.[258]  But it
is too subtle and piercing a delight for ordinary words to
denote.  God's touches, the wounds of his spear, references to
ebriety and to nuptial union have to figure in the phraseology by
which it is shadowed forth.  Intellect and senses both swoon away
in these highest states of ecstasy.  "If our understanding
comprehends," says Saint Teresa, "it is in a mode which remains
unknown to it, and it can understand nothing of what it
comprehends.  For my own part, I do not believe that it does
comprehend, because, as I said, it does not understand itself to
do so.  I confess that it is all a mystery in which I am
lost."[259] In the condition called raptus or ravishment by
theologians, breathing and circulation are so depressed that it
is a question among the doctors whether the soul be or be not
temporarily dissevered from the body.  One must read Saint
Teresa's descriptions and the very exact distinctions which she
makes, to persuade one's self that one is dealing, not with
imaginary experiences, but with phenomena which, however rare,
follow perfectly definite psychological types.

[258] Saint Teresa discriminates between pain in which the body
has a part and pure spiritual pain (Interior Castle, 6th Abode,
ch. xi.).  As for the bodily part in these celestial joys, she
speaks of it as "penetrating to the marrow of the bones, whilst
earthly pleasures affect only the surface of the senses.  I
think," she adds, "that this is a just description, and I cannot
make it better."   Ibid., 5th Abode, ch. i.

[259] Vie, p. 198.

To the medical mind these ecstasies signify nothing but suggested
and imitated hypnoid states, on an intellectual basis of
superstition, and a corporeal one of degeneration and hysteria. 
Undoubtedly these pathological conditions have existed in many
and possibly in all the cases, but that fact tells us nothing
about the value for knowledge of the consciousness which they
induce.  To pass a spiritual judgment upon these states, we must
not content ourselves with superficial medical talk, but inquire
into their fruits for life.

Their fruits appear to have been various.  Stupefaction, for one
thing, seems not to have been altogether absent as a result. You
may remember the helplessness in the kitchen and schoolroom of
poor Margaret Mary Alacoque.  Many other ecstatics would have
perished but for the care taken of them by admiring followers. 
The "other-worldliness" encouraged by the mystical consciousness
makes this over-abstraction from practical life peculiarly liable
to befall mystics in whom the character is naturally passive and
the intellect feeble; but in natively strong minds and characters
we find quite opposite results.  The great Spanish mystics, who
carried the habit of ecstasy as far as it has often been carried,
appear for the most part to have shown indomitable spirit and
energy, and all the more so for the trances in which they

Saint Ignatius was a mystic, but his mysticism made him assuredly
one of the most powerfully practical human engines that ever
lived.  Saint John of the Cross, writing of the intuitions and
"touches" by which God reaches the substance of the soul, tells
us that--

"They enrich it marvelously.  A single one of them may be
sufficient to abolish at a stroke certain imperfections of which
the soul during its whole life had vainly tried to rid itself,
and to leave it adorned with virtues and loaded with supernatural
gifts.  A single one of these intoxicating consolations may
reward it for all the labors undergone in its life--even were
they numberless.  Invested with an invincible courage, filled
with an impassioned desire to suffer for its God, the soul then
is seized with a strange torment--that of not being allowed to
suffer enough."[260]

[260] Oeuvres, ii. 320.

Saint Teresa is as emphatic, and much more detailed. You may
perhaps remember a passage I quoted from her in my first
lecture.[261] There are many similar pages in her autobiography. 
Where in literature is a more evidently veracious account of the
formation of a new centre of spiritual energy, than is given in
her description of the effects of certain ecstasies which in
departing leave the soul upon a higher level of emotional

[261] Above, p. 22.

"Often, infirm and wrought upon with dreadful pains before the
ecstasy, the soul emerges from it full of health and admirably
disposed for action . . . as if God had willed that the body
itself, already obedient to the soul's desires, should share in
the soul's happiness. . . . The soul after such a favor is
animated with a degree of courage so great that if at that moment
its body should be torn to pieces for the cause of God, it would
feel nothing but the liveliest comfort.  Then it is that promises
and heroic resolutions spring up in profusion in us, soaring
desires, horror of the world, and the clear perception of our
proper nothingness. . . .  What empire is comparable to that of a
soul who, from this sublime summit to which God has raised her,
sees all the things of earth beneath her feet, and is captivated
by no one of them?  How ashamed she is of her former attachments!
How amazed at her blindness! What lively pity she feels for those
whom she recognizes still shrouded in the darkness! . . . She
groans at having ever been sensitive to points of honor, at the
illusion that made her ever see as honor what the world calls by
that name.  Now she sees in this name nothing more than an
immense lie of which the world remains a victim.  She discovers,
in the new light from above, that in genuine honor there is
nothing spurious, that to be faithful to this honor is to give
our respect to what deserves to be respected really, and to
consider as nothing, or as less than nothing, whatsoever perishes
and is not agreeable to God. . . . She laughs when she sees
grave persons, persons of orison, caring for points of honor for
which she now feels profoundest contempt.  It is suitable to the
dignity of their rank to act thus, they pretend, and it makes
them more useful to others.  But she knows that in despising the
dignity of their rank for the pure love of God they would do more
good in a single day than they would effect in ten years by
preserving it. . . . She laughs at herself that there should
ever have been a time in her life when she made any case of
money, when she ever desired it. . . .  Oh! if human beings might
only agree together to regard it as so much useless mud, what
harmony would then reign in the world! With what friendship we
would all treat each other if our interest in honor and in money
could but disappear from earth!  For my own part, I feel as if it
would be a remedy for all our ills."[262]

[262] Vie, pp. 229, 230, 231-233, 243.

Mystical conditions may, therefore, render the soul more
energetic in the lines which their inspiration favors.  But this
could be reckoned an advantage only in case the inspiration were
a true one.  If the inspiration were erroneous, the energy would
be all the more mistaken and misbegotten. So we stand once more
before that problem of truth which confronted us at the end of
the lectures on saintliness.  You will remember that we turned to
mysticism precisely to get some light on truth.  Do mystical
states establish the truth of those theological affections in
which the saintly life has its root?

In spite of their repudiation of articulate self-description,
mystical states in general assert a pretty distinct theoretic
drift.  It is possible to give the outcome of the majority of
them in terms that point in definite philosophical directions.
One of these directions is optimism, and the other is monism. We
pass into mystical states from out of ordinary consciousness as
from a less into a more, as from a smallness into a vastness, and
at the same time as from an unrest to a rest.  We feel them as
reconciling, unifying states.  They appeal to the yes-function
more than to the no-function in us. In them the unlimited absorbs
the limits and peacefully closes the account.  Their very denial
of every adjective you may propose as applicable to the ultimate
truth--He, the Self, the Atman, is to be described by "No! no!"
only, say the Upanishads[263]--though it seems on the surface to
be a no-function, is a denial made on behalf of a deeper yes.
Whoso calls the Absolute anything in particular, or says that it
is THIS, seems implicitly to shut it off from being THAT --it is
as if he lessened it.  So we deny the "this," negating the
negation which it seems to us to imply, in the interests of the
higher affirmative attitude by which we are possessed. The
fountain-head of Christian mysticism is Dionysius the Areopagite.

He describes the absolute truth by negatives exclusively.

[263] Muller's translation, part ii. p. 180.

"The cause of all things is neither soul nor intellect; nor has
it imagination, opinion, or reason, or intelligence; nor is it
reason or intelligence; nor is it spoken or thought.  It is
neither number, nor order, nor magnitude, nor littleness, nor
equality, nor inequality, nor similarity, nor dissimilarity.  It
neither stands, nor moves, nor rests. . . . It is neither
essence, nor eternity, nor time.  Even intellectual contact does
not belong to it.  It is neither science nor truth.  It is not
even royalty or wisdom; not one; not unity; not divinity or
goodness; nor even spirit as we know it," etc., ad libitum.[264]

[264] T. Davidson's translation, in Journal of Speculative
Philosophy, 1893, vol. xxii., p. 399.

But these qualifications are denied by Dionysius, not because the
truth falls short of them, but because it so infinitely excels
them.  It is above them.  It is SUPER-lucent, SUPER-splendent,
SUPER-essential, SUPER-sublime, SUPER EVERYTHING that can be
named.  Like Hegel in his logic, mystics journey towards the
positive pole of truth only by the "Methode der Absoluten

[265] "Deus propter excellentiam non immerito Nihil vocatur."
Scotus Erigena, quoted by Andrew Seth:  Two Lectures on Theism,
New York, 1897, p. 55.

Thus come the paradoxical expressions that so abound in mystical
writings.  As when Eckhart tells of the still desert of the
Godhead, "where never was seen difference, neither Father, Son,
nor Holy Ghost, where there is no one at home, yet where the
spark of the soul is more at peace than in itself."[266] As when
Boehme writes of the Primal Love, that "it may fitly be compared
to Nothing, for it is deeper than any Thing, and is as nothing
with respect to all things, forasmuch as it is not comprehensible
by any of them.  And because it is nothing respectively, it is
therefore free from all things, and is that only good, which a
man cannot express or utter what it is, there being nothing to
which it may be compared, to express it by."[267]  Or as when
Angelus Silesius sings:--

 "Gott ist ein lauter Nichts, ihn ruhrt kein Nun noch Hier;
  Je mehr du nach ihm greiffst, je mehr entwind er dir."[268]

[266] J. Royce:  Studies in Good and Evil, p. 282.

[267] Jacob Bellmen's Dialogues on the Supersensual Life,
translated by Bernard Holland, London, 1901, p. 48.

[268] Cherubinischer Wandersmann, Strophe 25.

To this dialectical use, by the intellect, of negation as a mode
of passage towards a higher kind of affirmation, there is
correlated the subtlest of moral counterparts in the sphere of
the personal will.  Since denial of the finite self and its
wants, since asceticism of some sort, is found in religious
experience to be the only doorway to the larger and more blessed
life, this moral mystery intertwines and combines with the
intellectual mystery in all mystical writings.

"Love," continues Behmen, is Nothing, for "when thou art gone
forth wholly from the Creature and from that which is visible,
and art become Nothing to all that is Nature and Creature, then
thou art in that eternal One, which is God himself, and then thou
shalt feel within thee the highest virtue of Love. . . . The
treasure of treasures for the soul is where she goeth out of the
Somewhat into that Nothing out of which all things may be made. 
The soul here saith, I HAVE NOTHING, for I am utterly stripped
and naked; I CAN DO NOTHING, for I have no manner of power, but
am as water poured out; I AM NOTHING, for all that I am is no
more than an image of Being, and only God is to me I AM; and so,
sitting down in my own Nothingness, I give glory to the eternal
Being, and WILL NOTHING of myself, that so God may will all in
me, being unto me my God and all things."[269]

[269] Op. cit., pp. 42, 74, abridged.

In Paul's language, I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. 
Only when I become as nothing can God enter in and no difference
between his life and mine remain outstanding.[270]

[270] From a French book I take this mystical expression of
happiness in God's indwelling presence:--

"Jesus has come to take up his abode in my heart.  It is not so
much a habitation, an association, as a sort of fusion.  Oh, new
and blessed life! life which becomes each day more luminous. . .
. The wall before me, dark a few moments since, is splendid at
this hour because the sun shines on it.  Wherever its rays fall
they light up a conflagration of glory; the smallest speck of
glass sparkles, each grain of sand emits fire; even so there is a
royal song of triumph in my heart <410> because the Lord is
there.  My days succeed each other; yesterday a blue sky; to day
a clouded sun; a night filled with strange dreams; but as soon as
the eyes open, and I regain consciousness and seem to begin life
again, it is always the same figure before me, always the same
presence filling my heart. . . .  Formerly the day was dulled by
the absence of the Lord.  I used to wake invaded by all sorts of
sad impressions, and I did not find him on my path.  To-day he is
with me; and the light cloudiness which covers things is not an
obstacle to my communion with him.  I feel the pressure of his
hand, I feel something else which fills me with a serene joy;
shall I dare to speak it out?  Yes, for it is the true expression
of what I experience.  The Holy Spirit is not merely making me a
visit; it is no mere dazzling apparition which may from one
moment to another spread its wings and leave me in my night, it
is a permanent habitation.  He can depart only if he takes me
with him.  More than that; he is not other than myself:  he is
one with me.  It is not a juxtaposition, it is a penetration, a
profound modification of my nature, a new manner of my being."   
Quoted from the MS. of an old man by Wilfred Monod: II Vit: 
six meditations sur le mystere chretien, pp. 280-283.

This overcoming of all the usual barriers between the individual
and the Absolute is the great mystic achievement.  In mystic
states we both become one with the Absolute and we become aware
of our oneness.  This is the everlasting and triumphant mystical
tradition, hardly altered by differences of clime or creed.  In
Hinduism, in Neoplatonism, in Sufism, in Christian mysticism, in
Whitmanism, we find the same recurring note, so that there is
about mystical utterances an eternal unanimity which ought to
make a critic stop and think, and which brings it about that the
mystical classics have, as has been said, neither birthday nor
native land.  Perpetually telling of the unity of man with God,
their speech antedates languages, and they do not grow old.[271]

[271] Compare M. Maeterlinck:  L'Ornement des Noces spirituelles
de Ruysbroeck, Bruxelles, 1891, Introduction, p. xix.

"That art Thou!" say the Upanishads, and the Vedantists add: 
"Not a part, not a mode of That, but identically That, that
absolute Spirit of the World."  "As pure water poured into pure
water remains the same, thus, O Gautama, is the Self of
a thinker who knows.  Water in water, fire in fire, ether in
ether, no one can distinguish them:  likewise a man whose mind
has entered into the Self."[272]  "'Every man,' says the Sufi
Gulshan-Raz, whose heart is no longer shaken by any doubt, knows
with certainty that there is no being save only One. . . .  In
his divine majesty the ME, and WE, the THOU, are not found, for
in the One there can be no distinction. Every being who is
annulled and entirely separated from himself, hears resound
outside of him this voice and this echo:  I AM GOD:  he has an
eternal way of existing, and is no longer subject to
death.'"[273]  In the vision of God, says Plotinus, "what sees is
not our reason, but something prior and superior to our reason. .
. .  He who thus sees does not properly see, does not distinguish
or imagine two things.  He changes, he ceases to be himself,
preserves nothing of himself.  Absorbed in God, he makes but one
with him, like a centre of a circle coinciding with another
centre."[274]  "Here," writes Suso, "the spirit dies, and yet is
all alive in the marvels of the Godhead . . . and is lost in the
stillness of the glorious dazzling obscurity and of the naked
simple unity. It is in this modeless WHERE that the highest bliss
is to be found."[275]  "Ich bin so gross als Gott," sings Angelus
Silesius again, "Er ist als ich so klein; Er kann nicht uber
mich, ich unter ihm nicht sein."[276]

[272] Upanishads, M. Muller's translation, ii. 17, 334.

[273] Schmolders: Op. cit., p. 210.

[274] Enneads, Bouillier's translation. Paris, 1861, iii.  561.
Compare pp. 473-477, and vol. i. p. 27.

[275] Autobiography, pp. 309, 310.

[276] Op. cit., Strophe 10.

In mystical literature such self-contradictory phrases as
"dazzling obscurity," "whispering silence," "teeming desert," are
continually met with.  They prove that not conceptual speech, but
music rather, is the element through which we are best spoken to
by mystical truth.  Many mystical scriptures are indeed little
more than musical compositions.

"He who would hear the voice of Nada, 'the Soundless Sound,' and
comprehend it, he has to learn the nature of Dharana. . . .  When
to himself his form appears unreal, as do on waking all the forms
he sees in dreams, when he has ceased to hear the many, he may
discern the ONE--the inner sound which kills the outer. . . . 
For then the soul will hear, and will remember.  And then to the
inner ear will speak THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE. . . .  And now thy
SELF is lost in SELF, THYSELF unto THYSELF, merged in that SELF
from which thou first didst radiate. .  .  . Behold! thou hast
become the Light, thou hast become the Sound, thou art thy Master
and thy God.  Thou art THYSELF the object of thy search:  the
VOICE unbroken, that resounds throughout eternities, exempt from
change, from sin exempt, the seven sounds in one, the VOICE OF
THE SILENCE.  Om tat Sat."[277]

[277] H. P. Blavatsky:  The voice of the Silence.

These words, if they do not awaken laughter as you receive them,
probably stir chords within you which music and language touch in
common.  Music gives us ontological messages which non-musical
criticism is unable to contradict, though it may laugh at our
foolishness in minding them.  There is a verge of the mind which
these things haunt; and whispers therefrom mingle with the
operations of our understanding, even as the waters of the
infinite ocean send their waves to break among the pebbles that
lie upon our shores.

 "Here begins the sea that ends not till the world's end.  Where 
     we stand,  
Could we know the next high sea-mark set beyond these waves     
     that gleam,
 We should know what never man hath known, nor eye of man     
     hath scanned. . . .  
Ah, but here man's heart leaps, yearning towards the gloom     
   with venturous glee, 
From the shore that hath no shore beyond it, set in all the     

[278] Swinburne:  On the Verge, in "A Midsummer vacation."

That doctrine, for example, that eternity is timeless, that our
"immortality," if we live in the eternal, is not so much future
as already now and here, which we find so often expressed to-day
in certain philosophic circles, finds its support in a "hear,
hear!" or an "amen," which floats up from that mysteriously
deeper level.[279]  We recognize the passwords to the mystical
region as we hear them, but we cannot use them ourselves; it
alone has the keeping of "the password primeval."[280]

[279] Compare the extracts from Dr. Bucke, quoted on pp. 398,

[280] As serious an attempt as I know to mediate between the
mystical region and the discursive life is contained in an
article on Aristotle's Unmoved Mover, by F. C. S. Schiller, in
Mind, vol. ix., 1900.

I have now sketched with extreme brevity and insufficiency, but
as fairly as I am able in the time allowed, the general traits of
the mystic range of consciousness.  It is on the whole
pantheistic and optimistic, or at least the opposite of
pessimistic.  It is anti-naturalistic, and harmonizes best with
twice-bornness and so-called other-worldly states mind.

My next task is to inquire whether we can invoke it as
authoritative.  Does it furnish any WARRANT FOR THE TRUTH of the
twice-bornness and supernaturality and pantheism which it favors?

I must give my answer to this question as concisely as I can.  In
brief my answer is this--and I will divide it into three parts:--

(1) Mystical states, when well developed, usually are, and have
the right to be, absolutely authoritative over the individuals to
whom they come.

(2) No authority emanates from them which should make it a duty
for those who stand outside of them to accept their revelations

(3) They break down the authority of the non-mystical or
rationalistic consciousness, based upon the understanding and the
senses alone.  They show it to be only one kind of consciousness.

They open out the possibility of other orders of truth, in which,
so far as anything in us vitally responds to them, we may freely
continue to have faith.

I will take up these points one by one.

As a matter of psychological fact, mystical states of a
well-pronounced and emphatic sort ARE usually authoritative over
those who have them.[281] They have been "there," and know.  It
is vain for rationalism to grumble about this. If the mystical
truth that comes to a man proves to be a force that he can live
by, what mandate have we of the majority to order him to live in
another way?  We can throw him into a prison or a madhouse, but
we cannot change his mind--we commonly attach it only the more
stubbornly to its beliefs.[282] It mocks our utmost efforts, as a
matter of fact, and in point of logic it absolutely escapes our
jurisdiction.  Our own more "rational" beliefs are based on
evidence exactly similar in nature to that which mystics quote
for theirs.  Our senses, namely, have assured us of certain
states of fact; but mystical experiences are as direct
perceptions of fact for those who have them as any sensations
ever were for us.  The records show that even though the five
senses be in abeyance in them, they are absolutely sensational in
their epistemological quality, if I may be pardoned the barbarous
expression--that is, they are face to face presentations of what
seems immediately to exist. [281] I abstract from weaker states,
and from those cases of which the books are full, where the
director (but usually not the subject) remains in doubt whether
the experience may not have proceeded from the demon.

[282] Example:  Mr. John Nelson writes of his imprisonment for
preaching Methodism:  "My soul was as a watered garden, and I
could sing praises to God all day long; for he turned my
captivity into joy, and gave me to rest as well on the boards, as
if I had been on a bed of down.  Now could I say, 'God's service
is perfect freedom,' and I was carried out much in prayer that my
enemies might drink of the same river of peace which my God gave
so largely to me."  Journal, London, no date, p. 172.

The mystic is, in short, INVULNERABLE, and must be left, whether
we relish it or not, in undisturbed enjoyment of his creed. 
Faith, says Tolstoy, is that by which men live. And faith-state
and mystic state are practically convertible terms.

But I now proceed to add that mystics have no right to claim that
we ought to accept the deliverance of their peculiar experiences,
if we are ourselves outsiders and feel no private call thereto. 
The utmost they can ever ask of us in this life is to admit that
they establish a presumption.  They form a consensus and have an
unequivocal outcome; and it would be odd, mystics might say, if
such a unanimous type of experience should prove to be altogether
wrong.  At bottom, however, this would only be an appeal to
numbers, like the appeal of rationalism the other way; and the
appeal to numbers has no logical force.  If we acknowledge it, it
is for "suggestive," not for logical reasons:  we follow the
majority because to do so suits our life.

But even this presumption from the unanimity of mystics is far
from being strong.  In characterizing mystic states an
pantheistic, optimistic, etc., I am afraid I over-simplified the
truth.  I did so for expository reasons, and to keep the closer
to the classic mystical tradition.  The classic religious
mysticism, it now must be confessed, is only a "privileged case."

It is an EXTRACT, kept true to type by the selection of the
fittest specimens and their preservation in "schools." It is
carved out from a much larger mass; and if we take the larger
mass as seriously as religious mysticism has historically taken
itself, we find that the supposed unanimity largely disappears. 
To begin with, even religious mysticism itself, the kind that
accumulates traditions and makes schools, is much less unanimous
than I have allowed.  It has been both ascetic and antinomianly
self-indulgent within the Christian church.[283] It is dualistic
in Sankhya, and monistic in Vedanta philosophy.  I called it
pantheistic; but the great Spanish mystics are anything but
pantheists.  They are with few exceptions non-metaphysical minds,
for whom "the category of personality" is absolute.  The "union"
of man with God is for them much more like an occasional miracle
than like an original identity.[284]  How different again, apart
from the happiness common to all, is the mysticism of Walt
Whitman, Edward Carpenter, Richard Jefferies, and other
naturalistic pantheists, from the more distinctively Christian
sort.[285]  The fact is that the mystical feeling of enlargement,
union, and emancipation has no specific intellectual content
whatever of its own.  It is capable of forming matrimonial
alliances with material furnished by the most diverse
philosophies and theologies, provided only they can find a place
in their framework for its peculiar emotional mood.  We have no
right, therefore, to invoke its prestige as distinctively in
favor of any special belief, such as that in absolute idealism,
or in the absolute monistic identity, or in the absolute
goodness, of the world.  It is only relatively in favor of all
these things--it passes out of common human consciousness in the
direction in which they lie.

[283] Ruysbroeck, in the work which Maeterlinck has translated,
has a chapter against the antinomianism of disciples.  H.
Delacroix's book (Essai sur le mysticisme speculatif en Allemagne
au XIVme Siecle, Paris, 1900) is full of antinomian material.
compare also A. Jundt:  Les Amis de Dieu au XIV Siecle, These de
Strasbourg, 1879.

[284] Compare Paul Rousselot:  Les Mystiques Espagnols, Paris,
1869, ch. xii.

[285] see Carpenter's Towards Democracy, especially the latter
parts, and Jefferies's wonderful and splendid mystic rhapsody,
The Story of my Heart.

So much for religious mysticism proper.  But more remains to be
told, for religious mysticism is only one half of mysticism.  The
other half has no accumulated traditions except those which the
text-books on insanity supply.  Open any one of these, and you
will find abundant cases in which "mystical ideas" are cited as
characteristic symptoms of enfeebled or deluded states of mind. 
In delusional insanity, paranoia, as they sometimes call it, we
may have a DIABOLICAL mysticism, a sort of religious mysticism
turned upside down. The same sense of ineffable importance in the
smallest events, the same texts and words coming with new
meanings, the same voices and visions and leadings and missions,
the same controlling by extraneous powers; only this time the
emotion is pessimistic:  instead of consolations we have
desolations; the meanings are dreadful; and the powers are
enemies to life.  It is evident that from the point of view of
their psychological mechanism, the classic mysticism and these
lower mysticisms spring from the same mental level, from that
great subliminal or transmarginal region of which science is
beginning to admit the existence, but of which so little is
really known.  That region contains every kind of matter: 
"seraph and snake" abide there side by side.  To come from thence
is no infallible credential.  What comes must be sifted and
tested, and run the gauntlet of confrontation with the total
context of experience, just like what comes from the outer world
of sense.  Its value must be ascertained by empirical methods, so
long as we are not mystics ourselves.

Once more, then, I repeat that non-mystics are under no
obligation to acknowledge in mystical states a superior authority
conferred on them by their intrinsic nature.[286]

[286] In chapter i. of book ii. of his work Degeneration, "Max
Nordau" seeks to undermine all mysticism by exposing the weakness
of the lower kinds.  Mysticism for him means any sudden
perception of hidden significance in things.  He explains such
perception by the abundant uncompleted associations which
experiences may arouse in a degenerate brain.  These give to him
who has the experience a vague and vast sense of its leading
further, yet they awaken no definite or useful consequent in his
thought.  The explanation is a plausible one for certain sorts of
feeling of significance, and other alienists (Wernicke, for
example, in his Grundriss der Psychiatrie, Theil ii., Leipzig,
1896) have explained "paranoiac" conditions by a laming of the
association-organ.  But the higher mystical flights, with their
positiveness and abruptness, are surely products of no such
merely negative condition.  It seems far more reasonable to
ascribe them to inroads from the subconscious life, of the
cerebral activity correlative to which we as yet know nothing.

Yet, I repeat once more, the existence of mystical states
absolutely overthrows the pretension of non-mystical states to be
the sole and ultimate dictators of what we may believe. As a
rule, mystical states merely add a supersensuous meaning to the
ordinary outward data of consciousness.  They are excitements
like the emotions of love or ambition, gifts to our spirit by
means of which facts already objectively before us fall into a
new expressiveness and make a new connection with our active
life.  They do not contradict these facts as such, or deny
anything that our senses have immediately seized.[287] It is the
rationalistic critic rather who plays the part of denier in the
controversy, and his denials have no strength, for there never
can be a state of facts to which new meaning may not truthfully
be added, provided the mind ascend to a more enveloping point of
view.  It must always remain an open question whether mystical
states may not possibly be such superior points of view, windows
through which the mind looks out upon a more extensive and
inclusive world.  The difference of the views seen from the
different mystical windows need not prevent us from entertaining
this supposition.  The wider world would in that case prove to
have a mixed constitution like that of this world, that is all. 
It would have its celestial and its infernal regions, its
tempting and its saving moments, its valid experiences and its
counterfeit ones, just as our world has them; but it would be a
wider world all the same.  We should have to use its experiences
by selecting and subordinating and substituting just as is our
custom in this ordinary naturalistic world; we should be liable
to error just as we are now; yet the counting in of that wider
world of meanings, and the serious dealing with it, might, in
spite of all the perplexity, be indispensable stages in our
approach to the final fullness of the truth. 

[287] They sometimes add subjective audita et visa to the facts,
but as these are usually interpreted as transmundane, they oblige
no alteration in the facts of sense.

In this shape, I think, we have to leave the subject.  Mystical
states indeed wield no authority due simply to their being
mystical states.  But the higher ones among them point in
directions to which the religious sentiments even of non-
mystical men incline.  They tell of the supremacy of the ideal,
of vastness, of union, of safety, and of rest.  They offer us
HYPOTHESES, hypotheses which we may voluntarily ignore, but which
as thinkers we cannot possibly upset.  The supernaturalism and
optimism to which they would persuade us may, interpreted in one
way or another, be after all the truest of insights into the
meaning of this life.

"Oh, the little more, and how much it is; and the little less,
and what worlds away!"  It may be that possibility and permission
of this sort are all that are religious consciousness requires to
live on.  In my last lecture I shall have to try to persuade you
that this is the case.  Meanwhile, however, I am sure that for
many of my readers this diet is too slender. If supernaturalism
and inner union with the divine are true, you think, then not so
much permission, as compulsion to believe, ought to be found. 
Philosophy has always professed to prove religious truth by
coercive argument; and the construction of philosophies of this
kind has always been one favorite function of the religious life,
if we use this term in the large historic sense.  But religious
philosophy is an enormous subject, and in my next lecture I can
only give that brief glance at it which my limits will allow.

Lecture XVIII


The subject of Saintliness left us face to face with the
question, Is the sense of divine presence a sense of anything
objectively true?  We turned first to mysticism for an answer,
and found that although mysticism is entirely willing to
corroborate religion, it is too private (and also too various) in
its utterances to be able to claim a universal authority.  But
philosophy publishes results which claim to be universally valid
if they are valid at all, so we now turn with our question to
philosophy.  Can philosophy stamp a warrant of veracity upon the
religious man's sense of the divine?

I imagine that many of you at this point begin to indulge in
guesses at the goal to which I am tending.  I have undermined the
authority of mysticism, you say, and the next thing I shall
probably do is to seek to discredit that of philosophy. 
Religion, you expect to hear me conclude, is nothing but an
affair of faith, based either on vague sentiment, or on that
vivid sense of the reality of things unseen of which in my second
lecture and in the lecture on Mysticism I gave so many examples. 
It is essentially private and individualistic; it always exceeds
our powers of formulation; and although attempts to pour its
contents into a philosophic mould will probably always go on, men
being what they are, yet these attempts are always secondary
processes which in no way add to the authority, or warrant the
veracity, of the sentiments from which they derive their own
stimulus and borrow whatever glow of conviction they may
themselves possess.  

In short, you suspect that I am planning to defend feeling at the
expense of reason, to rehabilitate the primitive and
unreflective, and to dissuade you from the hope of any Theology
worthy of the name.

To a certain extent I have to admit that you guess rightly. I do
believe that feeling is the deeper source of religion, and that
philosophic and theological formulas are secondary products, like
translations of a text into another tongue.  But all such
statements are misleading from their brevity, and it will take
the whole hour for me to explain to you exactly what I mean.

When I call theological formulas secondary products, I mean that
in a world in which no religious feeling had ever existed, I
doubt whether any philosophic theology could ever have been
framed.  I doubt if dispassionate intellectual contemplation of
the universe, apart from inner unhappiness and need of
deliverance on the one hand and mystical emotion on the other,
would ever have resulted in religious philosophies such as we now
possess.  Men would have begun with animistic explanations of
natural fact, and criticised these away into scientific ones, as
they actually have done. In the science they would have left a
certain amount of "psychical research," even as they now will
probably have to re-admit a certain amount.  But high-flying
speculations like those of either dogmatic or idealistic
theology, these they would have had no motive to venture on,
feeling no need of commerce with such deities.  These
speculations must, it seems to me, be classed as over-beliefs,
buildings-out performed by the intellect into directions of which
feeling originally supplied the hint.

But even if religious philosophy had to have its first hint
supplied by feeling, may it not have dealt in a superior way with
the matter which feeling suggested?  Feeling is private and dumb,
and unable to give an account of itself.  It allows that its
results are mysteries and enigmas, declines to justify them
rationally, and on occasion is willing that they should even
pass for paradoxical and absurd.  Philosophy takes just the
opposite attitude.  Her aspiration is to reclaim from mystery and
paradox whatever territory she touches.  To find an escape from
obscure and wayward personal persuasion to truth objectively
valid for all thinking men has ever been the intellect's most
cherished ideal.  To redeem religion from unwholesome privacy,
and to give public status and universal right of way to its
deliverances, has been reason's task.

I believe that philosophy will always have opportunity to labor
at this task.[288] We are thinking beings, and we cannot exclude
the intellect from participating in any of our functions.  Even
in soliloquizing with ourselves, we construe our feelings
intellectually.  Both our personal ideals and our religious and
mystical experiences must be interpreted congruously with the
kind of scenery which our thinking mind inhabits.  The
philosophic climate of our time inevitably forces its own
clothing on us.  Moreover, we must exchange our feelings with one
another, and in doing so we have to speak, and to use general and
abstract verbal formulas. Conceptions and constructions are thus
a necessary part of our religion; and as moderator amid the clash
of hypotheses, and mediator among the criticisms of one man's
constructions by another, philosophy will always have much to do.

It would be strange if I disputed this, when these very lectures
which I am giving are (as you will see more clearly from now
onwards) a laborious attempt to extract from the privacies of
religious experience some general facts which can be defined in
formulas upon which everybody may agree.

[288] Compare Professor W. Wallace's Gifford Lectures, in
Lectures and Essays, Oxford, 1898, pp. 17 ff.

Religious experience, in other words, spontaneously and
inevitably engenders myths, superstitions, dogmas, creeds, and
metaphysical theologies, and criticisms of one set of these by
the adherents of another.  Of late, impartial classifications and
comparisons have become possible, alongside of the denunciations
and anathemas by which the commerce between creeds used
exclusively to be carried on.  We have the beginnings of a
"Science of Religions," so-called; and if these lectures could
ever be accounted a crumb-like contribution to such a science, I
should be made very happy.

But all these intellectual operations, whether they be
constructive or comparative and critical, presuppose immediate
experiences as their subject-matter.  They are interpretative and
inductive operations, operations after the fact, consequent upon
religious feeling, not coordinate with it, not independent of
what it ascertains.

The intellectualism in religion which I wish to discredit
pretends to be something altogether different from this.  It
assumes to construct religious objects out of the resources of
logical reason alone, or of logical reason drawing rigorous
inference from non-subjective facts.  It calls its conclusions
dogmatic theology, or philosophy of the absolute, as the case may
be; it does not call them science of religions.  It reaches them
in an a priori way, and warrants their veracity.

Warranted systems have ever been the idols of aspiring souls. 
All-inclusive, yet simple; noble, clean, luminous, stable,
rigorous, true;--what more ideal refuge could there be than such
a system would offer to spirits vexed by the muddiness and
accidentality of the world of sensible things? Accordingly, we
find inculcated in the theological schools of to-day, almost as
much as in those of the fore-time, a disdain for merely possible
or probable truth, and of results that only private assurance can
grasp. Scholastics and idealists both express this disdain. 
Principal John Caird, for example, writes as follows in his
Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion:--

"Religion must indeed be a thing of the heart, but in order to
elevate it from the region of subjective caprice and waywardness,
and to distinguish between that which is true and false in
religion, we must appeal to an objective standard.  That which
enters the heart must first be discerned by the intelligence to
be TRUE.  It must be seen as having in its own nature a RIGHT to
dominate feeling, and as constituting the principle by which
feeling must be judged.[289] In estimating the religious
character of individuals, nations, or races, the first question
is, not how they feel, but what they think and believe--not
whether their religion is one which manifests itself in emotions,
more or less vehement and enthusiastic, but what are the
CONCEPTIONS of God and divine things by which these emotions are
called forth.  Feeling is necessary in religion, but it is by the
CONTENT or intelligent basis of a religion, and not by feeling,
that its character and worth are to be determined."[290]

[289] Op. cit., p. 174, abridged.

[290] Ibid., p. 186, abridged and italicized.

Cardinal Newman, in his work, The Idea of a University, gives
more emphatic expression still to this disdain for
sentiment.[291] Theology, he says, is a science in the strictest
sense of the word.  I will tell you, he says, what it is not--
not "physical evidences" for God, not "natural religion," for
these are but vague subjective interpretations:--

[291] Discourse II.  Section 7.

"If," he continues, "the Supreme Being is powerful or skillful,
just so far as the telescope shows power, or the microscope shows
skill, if his moral law is to be ascertained simply by the
physical processes of the animal frame, or his will gathered from
the immediate issues of human affairs, if his Essence is just as
high and deep and broad as the universe and no more if this be
the fact, then will I confess that there is no specific science
about God, that theology is but a name, and a protest in its
behalf an hypocrisy.  Then, pious as it is to think of Him while
the pageant of experiment or abstract reasoning passes by, still
such piety is nothing more than a poetry of thought, or an
ornament of language, a certain view taken of Nature which one
man has and another has not, which gifted minds strike out, which
others see to be admirable and ingenious, and which all would be
the better for adopting.  It is but the theology of Nature, just
as we talk of the PHILOSOPHY or the ROMANCE of history, or the
POETRY of childhood, or the picturesque or the sentimental or the
humorous, or any other abstract quality which the genius or the
caprice of the individual, or the fashion of the day, or the
consent of the world, recognizes in any set of objects which are
subjected to its contemplation.  I do not see much difference
between avowing that there is no God, and implying that nothing
definite can be known for certain about Him."

What I mean by Theology, continues Newman, is none of these
things:  "I simply mean the SCIENCE OF GOD, or the truths we know
about God, put into a system, just as we have a science of the
stars and call it astronomy, or of the crust of the earth and
call it geology."

In both these extracts we have the issue clearly set before us: 
Feeling valid only for the individual is pitted against reason
valid universally.  The test is a perfectly plain one of fact. 
Theology based on pure reason must in point of fact convince men
universally.  If it did not, wherein would its superiority
consist?  If it only formed sects and schools, even as sentiment
and mysticism form them, how would it fulfill its programme of
freeing us from personal caprice and waywardness?  This perfectly
definite practical test of the pretensions of philosophy to found
religion on universal reason simplifies my procedure to-day.  I
need not discredit philosophy by laborious criticism of its
arguments. It will suffice if I show that as a matter of history
it fails to prove its pretension to be "objectively" convincing. 
In fact, philosophy does so fail.  It does not banish
differences; it founds schools and sects just as feeling does.  I
believe, in fact, that the logical reason of man operates in this
field of divinity exactly as it has always operated in love, or
in patriotism, or in politics, or in any other of the wider
affairs of life, in which our passions or our mystical intuitions
fix our beliefs beforehand.  It finds arguments for our
conviction, for indeed it HAS to find them.  It amplifies and
defines our faith, and dignifies it and lends it words and
plausibility.  It hardly ever engenders it; it cannot now secure

[292] As regards the secondary character of intellectual
constructions, and the primacy of feeling and instinct in
founding religious beliefs see the striking work of H. Fielding,
The Hearts of Men, London, 1902, which came into my hands after
my text was written.  "Creeds," says the author, "are the grammar
of religion, they are to religion what grammar is to speech. 
Words are the expression of our wants grammar is the theory
formed afterwards.  Speech never proceeded from grammar, but the
reverse.  As speech progresses and changes from unknown causes,
grammar must follow" (p. 313).  The whole book, which keeps
unusually close to concrete facts, is little more than an
amplification of this text.

Lend me your attention while I run through some of the points of
the older systematic theology.  You find them in both Protestant
and Catholic manuals, best of all in the innumerable text-books
published since Pope Leo's Encyclical recommending the study of
Saint Thomas.  I glance first at the arguments by which dogmatic
theology establishes God's existence, after that at those by
which it establishes his nature.[293]

[293] For convenience' sake, I follow the order of A. Stockl's
Lehrbuch der Philosophie, 5te Autlage, Mainz, 1881, Band ii.  B. 
Boedder's Natural Theology, London, 1891, is a handy English
Catholic Manual; but an almost identical doctrine is given by
such Protestant theologians as C. Hodge:  Systematic Theology,
New York, 1873, or A. H. Strong:  Systematic Theology, 5th
edition, New York, 1896.

The arguments for God's existence have stood for hundreds of
years with the waves of unbelieving criticism breaking against
them, never totally discrediting them in the ears of the
faithful, but on the whole slowly and surely washing out the
mortar from between their joints.  If you have a God already whom
you believe in, these arguments confirm you. If you are
atheistic, they fail to set you right.  The proofs are various. 
The "cosmological" one, so-called, reasons from the contingence
of the world to a First Cause which must contain whatever
perfections the world itself contains.  The "argument
from design" reasons, from the fact that Nature's laws are
mathematical, and her parts benevolently adapted to each other,
that this cause is both intellectual and benevolent. The "moral
argument" is that the moral law presupposes a lawgiver.  The
"argument ex consensu gentium" is that the belief in God is so
widespread as to be grounded in the rational nature of man, and
should therefore carry authority with it.

As I just said, I will not discuss these arguments technically.
The bare fact that all idealists since Kant have felt entitled
either to scout or to neglect them shows that they are not solid
enough to serve as religion's all-sufficient foundation. 
Absolutely impersonal reasons would be in duty bound to show more
general convincingness.  Causation is indeed too obscure a
principle to bear the weight of the whole structure of theology. 
As for the argument from design, see how Darwinian ideas have
revolutionized it.  Conceived as we now conceive them, as so many
fortunate escapes from almost limitless processes of destruction,
the benevolent adaptations which we find in Nature suggest a
deity very different from the one who figured in the earlier
versions of the argument.[294] The fact is that these arguments 
do but follow the combined suggestions of the facts and of our
feeling.  They prove nothing rigorously.  They only corroborate
our preexistent partialities.

[294] It must not be forgotten that any form of DISorder in the
world might, by the design argument, suggest a God for just that
kind of disorder.  The truth is that any state of things whatever
that can be named is logically susceptible of teleological
interpretation. The ruins of the earthquake at Lisbon, for
example:  the whole of past history had to be planned exactly as
it was to bring about in the fullness of time just that
particular arrangement of debris of masonry, furniture, and once
living bodies.  No other train of causes would have been
sufficient.  And so of any other arrangement, bad or good, which
might as a matter of fact be found resulting anywhere from
previous conditions.  To avoid such pessimistic consequences and
save its beneficent designer, the design argument accordingly
invokes two other principles, restrictive in their operation. 
The first is physical:  Nature's forces tend of their own accord
only to disorder and destruction, to heaps of ruins, not to

This principle, though plausible at first sight, seems, in the
light of recent biology, to be more and more improbable.  The
second principle is one of anthropomorphic interpretation.  No
arrangement that for us is "disorderly" can possibly have been an
object of design at all.  This principle is of course a mere
assumption in the interests of anthropomorphic Theism.

When one views the world with no definite theological bias one
way or the other, one sees that order and disorder, as we now
recognize them, are purely human inventions.  We are interested
in certain types of arrangement, useful, aesthetic, or moral--so
interested that whenever we find them realized, the fact
emphatically rivets our attention.  The result is that we work
over the contents of the world selectively.  It is overflowing
with disorderly arrangements from our point of view, but order is
the only thing we care for and look at, and by choosing, one can
always find some sort of orderly arrangement in the midst of any
chaos.  If I should throw down a thousand beans at random upon a
table, I could doubtless, by eliminating a sufficient number of
them, leave the rest in almost any geometrical pattern you might
propose to me, and you might then say that that pattern was the
thing prefigured beforehand, and that the other beans were mere
irrelevance and packing material.  Our dealings with Nature are
just like this.  She is a vast plenum in which our attention
draws capricious lines in innumerable directions.  We count and
name whatever lies upon the special lines we trace, whilst the
other things and the untraced lines are neither named nor
counted. There are in reality infinitely more things "unadapted"
to each other in this world than there are things "adapted";
infinitely more things with irregular relations than with regular
relations between them.  But we look for the regular kind of
thing exclusively, and ingeniously discover and preserve it in
our memory.  It accumulates with other regular kinds, until the
collection of them fills our encyclopaedias.  Yet all the while
between and around them lies an infinite anonymous chaos of
objects that no one ever thought of together, of relations that
never yet attracted our attention.

The facts of order from which the physico-theological argument
starts are thus easily susceptible of interpretation as arbitrary
human products.  So long as this is the case, although of course
no argument against God follows, it follows that the argument for
him will fail to constitute a knockdown proof of his existence. 
It will be convincing only to those who on other grounds believe
in him already.

If philosophy can do so little to establish God's existence, how
stands it with her efforts to define his attributes?  It is worth
while to look at the attempts of systematic theology in this

Since God is First Cause, this science of sciences says, he
differs from all his creatures in possessing existence a se. 
From this "a-se-ity" on God's part, theology deduces by mere
logic most of his other perfections.  For instance, he must be
both NECESSARY and ABSOLUTE, cannot not be, and cannot in any way
be determined by anything else.  This makes Him absolutely
unlimited from without, and unlimited also from within; for
limitation is non-being; and God is being itself.  This
unlimitedness makes God infinitely perfect.  Moreover, God is
ONE, and ONLY, for the infinitely perfect can admit no peer.  He
is SPIRITUAL, for were He composed of physical parts, some other
power would have to combine them into the total, and his aseity
would thus be contradicted.  He is therefore both simple and
non-physical in nature.  He is SIMPLE METAPHYSICALLY also, that
is to say, his nature and his existence cannot be distinct, as
they are in finite substances which share their formal natures
with one another, and are individual only in their material
aspect.  Since God is one and only, his essentia and his esse
must be given at one stroke.  This excludes from his being all
those distinctions, so familiar in the world of finite things,
between potentiality and actuality, substance and accidents,
being and activity, existence and attributes.  We can talk, it is
true, of God's powers, acts, and attributes, but these
discriminations are only "virtual," and made from the human point
of view.  In God all these points of view fall into an absolute
identity of being.

This absence of all potentiality in God obliges Him to be
IMMUTABLE.  He is actuality, through and through.  Were there
anything potential about Him, He would either lose or gain by its
actualization, and either loss or gain would contradict his
perfection.  He cannot, therefore, change.  Furthermore, He is
IMMENSE, BOUNDLESS; for could He be outlined in space, He would
be composite, and this would contradict his indivisibility. He is
therefore OMNIPRESENT, indivisibly there, at every point of
space.  He is similarly wholly present at every point of time--in
other words ETERNAL.  For if He began in time, He would need a
prior cause, and that would contradict his aseity.  If He ended
it would contradict his necessity.  If He went through any
succession, it would contradict his immutability.

He has INTELLIGENCE and WILL and every other creature-
perfection, for we have them, and effectus nequit superare
causam.  In Him, however, they are absolutely and eternally in
act, and their OBJECT, since God can be bounded by naught that is
external, can primarily be nothing else than God himself.  He
knows himself, then, in one eternal indivisible act, and wills
himself with an infinite self-pleasure.[295] Since He must of
logical necessity thus love and will himself, He cannot be called
"free" ad intra, with the freedom of contrarieties that
characterizes finite creatures.  Ad extra, however, or with
respect to his creation, God is free.  He cannot NEED to create,
being perfect in being and in happiness already.  He WILLS to
create, then, by an absolute freedom.

[295] For the scholastics the facultas appetendi embraces
feeling, desire, and will.

Being thus a substance endowed with intellect and will and
freedom, God is a PERSON; and a LIVING person also, for He is
both object and subject of his own activity, and to be this
distinguishes the living from the lifeless.  He is thus
both of them infinite and adequate, and need no extraneous
conditions to perfect them.

He is OMNISCIENT, for in knowing himself as Cause He knows all
creature things and events by implication.  His knowledge is
previsive, for He is present to all time.  Even our free acts are
known beforehand to Him, for otherwise his wisdom would admit of
successive moments of enrichment, and this would contradict his
immutability.  He is OMNIPOTENT for everything that does not
involve logical contradiction.  He can make BEING --in other
words his power includes CREATION.  If what He creates were made
of his own substance, it would have to be infinite in essence, as
that substance is; but it is finite; so it must be non-divine in
substance.  If it were made of a substance, an eternally existing
matter, for example, which God found there to his hand, and to
which He simply gave its form, that would contradict God's
definition as First Cause, and make Him a mere mover of something
caused already.  The things he creates, then, He creates ex
nihilo, and gives them absolute being as so many finite
substances additional to himself.  The forms which he imprints
upon them have their prototypes in his ideas.  But as in God
there is no such thing as multiplicity, and as these ideas for us
are manifold, we must distinguish the ideas as they are in God
and the way in which our minds externally imitate them.  We must
attribute them to Him only in a TERMINATIVE sense, as differing
aspects, from the finite point of view, of his unique essence.

God of course is holy, good, and just.  He can do no evil, for He
is positive being's fullness, and evil is negation.  It is true
that He has created physical evil in places, but only as a means
of wider good, for bonum totius praeeminet bonum partis. Moral
evil He cannot will, either as end or means, for that would
contradict his holiness.  By creating free beings He PERMITS it
only, neither his justice nor his goodness obliging Him to
prevent the recipients of freedom from misusing the gift.

As regards God's purpose in creating, primarily it can only have
been to exercise his absolute freedom by the manifestation to
others of his glory.  From this it follows that the others must
be rational beings, capable in the first place of knowledge,
love, and honor, and in the second place of happiness, for the
knowledge and love of God is the mainspring of felicity.  In so
far forth one may say that God's secondary purpose in creating is

I will not weary you by pursuing these metaphysical
determinations farther, into the mysteries of God's Trinity, for
example.  What I have given will serve as a specimen of the
orthodox philosophical theology of both Catholics and
Protestants.  Newman, filled with enthusiasm at God's list of
perfections, continues the passage which I began to quote to you
by a couple of pages of a rhetoric so magnificent that I can
hardly refrain from adding them, in spite of the inroad they
would make upon our time.[296]  He first enumerates God's
attributes sonorously, then celebrates his ownership of
everything in earth and Heaven, and the dependence of all that
happens upon his permissive will.  He gives us scholastic
philosophy "touched with emotion," and every philosophy should be
touched with emotion to be rightly understood.  Emotionally,
then, dogmatic theology is worth something to minds of the type
of Newman's.  It will aid us to estimate what it is worth
intellectually, if at this point I make a short digression.

[296] Op. cit., Discourse III. Section 7.

What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder. The
Continental schools of philosophy have too often overlooked the
fact that man's thinking is organically connected with his
conduct.  It seems to me to be the chief glory of English and
Scottish thinkers to have kept the organic connection in view. 
The guiding principle of British philosophy has in fact been that
every difference must MAKE a difference, every theoretical
difference somewhere issue in a practical difference, and that
the best method of discussing points of theory is to begin by
ascertaining what practical difference would result from one
alternative or the other being true.  What is the particular
truth in question KNOWN AS?  In what facts does it result?  What
is its cash-value in terms of particular experience?  This is the
characteristic English way of taking up a question.  In this way,
you remember, Locke takes up the question of personal identity.
What you mean by it is just your chain of particular memories,
says he.  That is the only concretely verifiable part of its
significance.  All further ideas about it, such as the oneness or
manyness of the spiritual substance on which it is based, are
therefore void of intelligible meaning; and propositions touching
such ideas may be indifferently affirmed or denied.  So Berkeley
with his "matter."

The cash-value of matter is our physical sensations.  That is
what it is known as, all that we concretely verify of its
conception.  That, therefore, is the whole meaning of the term
"matter"--any other pretended meaning is mere wind of words. 
Hume does the same thing with causation.  It is known as habitual
antecedence, and as tendency on our part to look for something
definite to come.  Apart from this practical meaning it has no
significance whatever, and books about it may be committed to the
flames, says Hume.  Dugald Stewart and Thomas Brown, James Mill,
John Mill, and Professor Bain, have followed more or less
consistently the same method; and Shadworth Hodgson has used the
principle with full explicitness.  When all is said and done, it
was English and Scotch writers, and not Kant, who introduced "the
critical method" into philosophy, the one method fitted to make
philosophy a study worthy of serious men.  For what seriousness
can possibly remain in debating philosophic propositions that
will never make an appreciable difference to us in action?  And
what could it matter, if all propositions were practically
indifferent, which of them we should agree to call true or which

An American philosopher of eminent originality, Mr. Charles
Sanders Peirce, has rendered thought a service by disentangling
from the particulars of its application the principle by which
these men were instinctively guided, and by singling it out as
fundamental and giving to it a Greek name.  He calls it the
principle of PRAGMATISM, and he defends it somewhat as

[297] In an article, How to make our Ideas Clear, in the Popular
Science Monthly for January, 1878, vol. xii. p. 286.

Thought in movement has for its only conceivable motive the
attainment of belief, or thought at rest.  Only when our thought
about a subject has found its rest in belief can our action on
the subject firmly and safely begin.  Beliefs, in short, are
rules for action; and the whole function of thinking is but one
step in the production of active habits.  If there were any part
of a thought that made no difference in the thought's practical
consequences, then that part would be no proper element of the
thought's significance.  To develop a thought's meaning we need
therefore only determine what conduct it is fitted to produce;
that conduct is for us its sole significance; and the tangible
fact at the root of all our thought-distinctions is that there is
no one of them so fine as to consist in anything but a possible
difference of practice.  To attain perfect clearness in our
thoughts of an object, we need then only consider what
sensations, immediate or remote, we are conceivably to expect
from it, and what conduct we must prepare in case the object
should be true.  Our conception of these practical consequences
is for us the whole of our conception of the object, so far as
that conception has positive significance at all.

This is the principle of Peirce, the principle of pragmatism.
Such a principle will help us on this occasion to decide, among
the various attributes set down in the scholastic inventory of
God's perfections, whether some be not far less significant than

If, namely, we apply the principle of pragmatism to God's
metaphysical attributes, strictly so called, as distinguished
from his moral attributes, I think that, even were we forced by a
coercive logic to believe them, we still should have to confess
them to be destitute of all intelligible significance. Take God's
aseity, for example; or his necessariness; his immateriality; his
"simplicity" or superiority to the kind of inner variety and
succession which we find in finite beings, his indivisibility,
and lack of the inner distinctions of being and activity,
substance and accident, potentiality and actuality, and the rest;
his repudiation of inclusion in a genus; his actualized infinity;
his "personality," apart from the moral qualities which it may
comport; his relations to evil being permissive and not positive;
his self-sufficiency, self-love, and absolute felicity in
himself:--candidly speaking, how do such qualities as these
make any definite connection with our life?  And if they
severally call for no distinctive adaptations of our conduct,
what vital difference can it possibly make to a man's religion
whether they be true or false?

For my own part, although I dislike to say aught that may grate
upon tender associations, I must frankly confess that even though
these attributes were faultlessly deduced, I cannot conceive of
its being of the smallest consequence to us religiously that any
one of them should be true.  Pray, what specific act can I
perform in order to adapt myself the better to God's simplicity? 
Or how does it assist me to plan my behavior, to know that his
happiness is anyhow absolutely complete?  In the middle of the
century just past, Mayne Reid was the great writer of books of
out-of-door adventure. He was forever extolling the hunters and
field-observers of living animals' habits, and keeping up a fire
of invective against the "closet-naturalists," as he called them,
the collectors and classifiers, and handlers of skeletons and
skins.  When I was a boy, I used to think that a closet-
naturalist must be the vilest type of wretch under the sun. But
surely the systematic theologians are the closet-naturalists of
the deity, even in Captain Mayne Reid's sense.  What is their
deduction of metaphysical attributes but a shuffling and matching
of pedantic dictionary-adjectives, aloof from morals, aloof from
human needs, something that might be worked out from the mere
word "God" by one of those logical machines of wood and brass
which recent ingenuity has contrived as well as by a man of flesh
and blood.  They have the trail of the serpent over them.  One
feels that in the theologians' hands, they are only a set of
titles obtained by a mechanical manipulation of synonyms;
verbality has stepped into the place of vision, professionalism
into that of life.  Instead of bread we have a stone; instead of
a fish, a serpent.  Did such a conglomeration of abstract terms
give really the gist of our knowledge of the deity, schools of
theology might indeed continue to flourish, but religion, vital
religion, would have taken its flight from this world. What keeps
religion going is something else than abstract definitions and
systems of concatenated adjectives, and something different from
faculties of theology and their professors.  All these things are
after-effects, secondary accretions upon those phenomena of vital
conversation with the unseen divine, of which I have shown you so
many instances, renewing themselves in saecula saeculorum in the
lives of humble private men.

So much for the metaphysical attributes of God!  From the point
of view of practical religion, the metaphysical monster which
they offer to our worship is an absolutely worthless invention of
the scholarly mind.

What shall we now say of the attributes called moral?
Pragmatically, they stand on an entirely different footing. They
positively determine fear and hope and expectation, and are
foundations for the saintly life.  It needs but a glance at them
to show how great is their significance.

God's holiness, for example:  being holy, God can will nothing
but the good.  Being omnipotent, he can secure its triumph. 
Being omniscient, he can see us in the dark.  Being just, he can
punish us for what he sees.  Being loving, he can pardon too. 
Being unalterable, we can count on him securely.  These qualities
enter into connection with our life, it is highly important that
we should be informed concerning them.  That God's purpose in
creation should be the manifestation of his glory is also an
attribute which has definite relations to our practical life. 
Among other things it has given a definite character to worship
in all Christian countries.  If dogmatic theology really does
prove beyond dispute that a God with characters like these
exists, she may well claim to give a solid basis to religious
sentiment.  But verily, how stands it with her arguments?

It stands with them as ill as with the arguments for his
existence.  Not only do post-Kantian idealists reject them root
and branch, but it is a plain historic fact that they never have
converted any one who has found in the moral complexion of the
world, as he experienced it, reasons for doubting that a good God
can have framed it.  To prove God's goodness by the scholastic
argument that there is no non-being in his essence would sound
to such a witness simply silly.

No! the book of Job went over this whole matter once for all and
definitively.  Ratiocination is a relatively superficial and
unreal path to the deity:  "I will lay mine hand upon my mouth; I
have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye
seeth Thee."  An intellect perplexed and baffled, yet a
trustful sense of presence--such is the situation of the man who
is sincere with himself and with the facts, but who remains
religious still.[298]

[298] Pragmatically, the most important attribute of God is his
punitive justice.  But who, in the present state of theological
opinion on that point, will dare maintain that hell fire or its
equivalent in some shape is rendered certain by pure logic? 
Theology herself has largely based this doctrine upon revelation,
and, in discussing it, has tended more and more to substitute
conventional ideas of criminal law for a priori principles of
reason.  But the very notion that this glorious universe, with
planets and winds, and laughing sky and ocean, should have been
conceived and had its beams and rafters laid in technicalities of
criminality, is incredible to our modern imagination.  It weakens
a religion to hear it argued upon such a basis.

We must therefore, I think, bid a definitive good-by to dogmatic
theology.  In all sincerity our faith must do without that
warrant.  Modern idealism, I repeat, has said goodby to this
theology forever.  Can modern idealism give faith a better
warrant, or must she still rely on her poor self for witness?

The basis of modern idealism is Kant's doctrine of the
Transcendental Ego of Apperception.  By this formidable term Kant
merely meant the fact that the consciousness "I think them" must
(potentially or actually) accompany all our objects.  Former
skeptics had said as much, but the "I" in question had remained
for them identified with the personal individual.  Kant
abstracted and depersonalized it, and made it the most universal
of all his categories, although for Kant himself the
Transcendental Ego had no theological implications.

It was reserved for his successors to convert Kant's notion of
Bewusstsein uberhaupt, or abstract consciousness, into an
infinite concrete self-consciousness which is the soul of the
world, and in which our sundry personal self-consciousnesses
have their being.  It would lead me into technicalities to show
you even briefly how this transformation was in point of fact
effected.  Suffice it to say that in the Hegelian school, which
to-day so deeply influences both British and American thinking,
two principles have borne the brunt of the operation.

The first of these principles is that the old logic of identity
never gives us more than a post-mortem dissection of disjecta
membra, and that the fullness of life can be construed to thought
only by recognizing that every object which our thought may
propose to itself involves the notion of some other object which
seems at first to negate the first one.

The second principle is that to be conscious of a negation is
already virtually to be beyond it.  The mere asking of a question
or expression of a dissatisfaction proves that the answer or the
satisfaction is already imminent; the finite, realized as such,
is already the infinite in posse.

Applying these principles, we seem to get a propulsive force into
our logic which the ordinary logic of a bare, stark self-identity
in each thing never attains to.  The objects of our thought now
ACT within our thought, act as objects act when given in
experience.  They change and develop. They introduce something
other than themselves along with them; and this other, at first
only ideal or potential, presently proves itself also to be
actual.  It supersedes the thing at first supposed, and both
verifies and corrects it, in developing the fullness of its

The program is excellent; the universe IS a place where things
are followed by other things that both correct and fulfill them;
and a logic which gave us something like this movement of fact
would express truth far better than the traditional school-logic,
which never gets of its own accord from anything to anything
else, and registers only predictions and subsumptions, or static
resemblances and differences. Nothing could be more unlike the
methods of dogmatic theology than those of this new logic.  Let
me quote in illustration some passages from the Scottish
transcendentalist whom I have already named.

"How are we to conceive," Principal Caird writes, "of the reality
in which all intelligence rests?"  He replies:  "Two things may
without difficulty be proved, viz., that this reality is an
absolute Spirit, and conversely that it is only in communion with
this absolute Spirit or Intelligence that the finite Spirit can
realize itself.  It is absolute; for the faintest movement of
human intelligence would be arrested, if it did not presuppose
the absolute reality of intelligence, of thought itself.  Doubt
or denial themselves presuppose and indirectly affirm it.  When I
pronounce anything to be true, I pronounce it, indeed, to be
relative to thought, but not to be relative to my thought, or to
the thought of any other individual mind.  From the existence of
all individual minds as such I can abstract; I can think them
away.  But that which I cannot think away is thought or
self-consciousness itself, in its independence and absoluteness,
or, in other words, an Absolute Thought or Self-Consciousness."

Here, you see, Principal Caird makes the transition which Kant
did not make:  he converts the omnipresence of consciousness in
general as a condition of "truth" being anywhere possible, into
an omnipresent universal consciousness, which he identifies with
God in his concreteness.  He next proceeds to use the principle
that to acknowledge your limits is in essence to be beyond them;
and makes the transition to the religious experience of
individuals in the following words:--

"If [Man] were only a creature of transient sensations and
impulses, of an ever coming and going succession of intuitions,
fancies, feelings, then nothing could ever have for him the
character of objective truth or reality.  But it is the
prerogative of man's spiritual nature that he can yield himself
up to a thought and will that are infinitely larger than his own. 
As a thinking self-conscious being, indeed, he may be said, by
his very nature, to live in the atmosphere of the Universal Life.

As a thinking being, it is possible for me to suppress and quell
in my consciousness every movement of self-assertion, every
notion and opinion that is merely mine, every desire that belongs
to me as this particular Self, and to become the pure medium of a
thought that is universal--in one word, to live no more my own
life, but let my consciousness be possessed and suffused by the
Infinite and Eternal life of spirit.  And yet it is just in this
renunciation of self that I truly gain myself, or realize the
highest possibilities of my own nature.  For whilst in one sense
we give up self to live the universal and absolute life of
reason, yet that to which we thus surrender ourselves is in
reality our truer self.  The life of absolute reason is not a
life that is foreign to us."

Nevertheless, Principal Caird goes on to say, so far as we are
able outwardly to realize this doctrine, the balm it offers
remains incomplete.  Whatever we may be in posse, the very best
of us in actu falls very short of being absolutely divine. Social
morality, love, and self-sacrifice even, merge our Self only in
some other finite self or selves.  They do not quite identify it
with the Infinite.  Man's ideal destiny, infinite in abstract
logic, might thus seem in practice forever unrealizable.

"Is there, then," our author continues, "no solution of the
contradiction between the ideal and the actual?  We answer, There
is such a solution, but in order to reach it we are carried
beyond the sphere of morality into that of religion.  It may be
said to be the essential characteristic of religion as contrasted
with morality, that it changes aspiration into fruition,
anticipation into realization; that instead of leaving man in the
interminable pursuit of a vanishing ideal, it makes him the
actual partaker of a divine or infinite life.  Whether we view
religion from the human side or the divine--as the surrender of
the soul to God, or as the life of God in the soul--in either
aspect it is of its very essence that the Infinite has ceased to
be a far-off vision, and has become a present reality.  The very
first pulsation of the spiritual life, when we rightly apprehend
its significance, is the indication that the division between the
Spirit and its object has vanished, that the ideal has become
real, that the finite has reached its goal and become suffused
with the presence and life of the Infinite.

"Oneness of mind and will with the divine mind and will is not
the future hope and aim of religion, but its very beginning and
birth in the soul.  To enter on the religious life is to
terminate the struggle.  In that act which constitutes the
beginning of the religious life--call it faith, or trust, or
self-surrender, or by whatever name you will--there is involved
the identification of the finite with a life which is eternally
realized.  It is true indeed that the religious life is
progressive; but understood in the light of the foregoing idea,
religious progress is not progress TOWARDS, but WITHIN the sphere
of the Infinite.  It is not the vain attempt by endless finite
additions or increments to become possessed of infinite wealth,
but it is the endeavor, by the constant exercise of spiritual
activity, to appropriate that infinite inheritance of which we
are already in possession.  The whole future of the religious
life is given in its beginning, but it is given implicitly.  The
position of the man who has entered on the religious life is that
evil, error, imperfection, do not really belong to him:  they are
excrescences which have no organic relation to his true nature: 
they are already virtually, as they will be actually, suppressed
and annulled, and in the very process of being annulled they
become the means of spiritual progress.  Though he is not exempt
from temptation and conflict, [yet] in that inner sphere in which
his true life lies, the struggle is over, the victory already
achieved.  It is not a finite but an infinite life which the
spirit lives.  Every pulse-beat of its [existence] is the
expression and realization of the life of God."[299]

[299] John Caird:  An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion
London and New York, 1880, pp. 243-250, and 291-299, much

You will readily admit that no description of the phenomena of
the religious consciousness could be better than these words of
your lamented preacher and philosopher. They reproduce the very
rapture of those crises of conversion of which we have been
hearing; they utter what the mystic felt but was unable to
communicate; and the saint, in hearing them, recognizes his own
experience.  It is indeed gratifying to find the content of
religion reported so unanimously.  But when all is said and done,
has Principal Caird--and I only use him as an example of that
whole mode of thinking--transcended the sphere of feeling and of
the direct experience of the individual, and laid the foundations
of religion in impartial reason?  Has he made religion universal
by coercive reasoning, transformed it from a private faith into a
public certainty?  Has he rescued its affirmations from obscurity
and mystery?

I believe that he has done nothing of the kind, but that he has
simply reaffirmed the individual's experiences in a more
generalized vocabulary.  And again, I can be excused from proving
technically that the transcendentalist reasonings fail to make
religion universal, for I can point to the plain fact that a
majority of scholars, even religiously disposed ones, stubbornly
refuse to treat them as convincing.  The whole of Germany, one
may say, has positively rejected the Hegelian argumentation.  As
for Scotland, I need only mention Professor Fraser's and
Professor Pringle-Pattison's memorable criticisms, with which so
many of you are familiar.[300]  Once more, I ask, if
transcendental idealism were <445> as objectively and absolutely
rational as it pretends to be, could it possibly fail so
egregiously to be persuasive?

[300] A. C. Fraser:  Philosophy of Theism, second edition,
Edinburgh and London, 1899, especially part ii, chaps. vii. and
viii.  A. Seth [Pringle-Pattison]:  Hegelianism and Personality,
Ibid., 1890, passim.

The most persuasive arguments in favor of a concrete individual
Soul of the world, with which I am acquainted, are those of my
colleague, Josiah Royce, in his Religious Aspect of Philosophy,
Boston, 1885; in his Conception of God, New York and London,
1897; and lately in his Aberdeen Gifford Lectures, The World and
the Individual, 2 vols., New York and London, 1901-02.  I
doubtless seem to some of my readers to evade the philosophic
duty which my thesis in this lecture imposes on me, by not even
attempting to meet Professor Royce's arguments articulately.  I
admit the momentary evasion.  In the present lectures, which are
cast throughout in a popular mould, there seemed no room for
subtle metaphysical discussion, and for tactical purposes it was
sufficient the contention of philosophy being what it is (namely,
that religion can be transformed into a universally convincing
science), to point to the fact that no religious philosophy has
actually convinced the mass of thinkers.  Meanwhile let me say
that I hope that the present volume may be followed by another,
if I am spared to write it, in which not only Professor Royce's
arguments, but others for monistic absolutism shall be considered
with all the technical fullness which their great importance
calls for.  At present I resign myself to lying passive under the
reproach of superficiality.

What religion reports, you must remember, always purports to be a
fact of experience:  the divine is actually present, religion
says, and between it and ourselves relations of give and take are
actual.  If definite perceptions of fact like this cannot stand
upon their own feet, surely abstract reasoning cannot give them
the support they are in need of.  Conceptual processes can class
facts, define them, interpret them; but they do not produce them,
nor can they reproduce their individuality.  There is always a
PLUS, a THISNESS, which feeling alone can answer for.  Philosophy
in this sphere is thus a secondary function, unable to warrant
faith's veracity, and so I revert to the thesis which I announced
at the beginning of this lecture.

In all sad sincerity I think we must conclude that the attempt to
demonstrate by purely intellectual processes the truth of the
deliverances of direct religious experience is absolutely

It would be unfair to philosophy, however, to leave her under
this negative sentence.  Let me close, then, by briefly
enumerating what she CAN do for religion.  If she will abandon
metaphysics and deduction for criticism and induction, and
frankly transform herself from theology into science of
religions, she can make herself enormously useful.

The spontaneous intellect of man always defines the divine which
it feels in ways that harmonize with its temporary intellectual
prepossessions.  Philosophy can by comparison eliminate the local
and the accidental from these definitions.  Both from dogma and
from worship she can remove historic incrustations.  By
confronting the spontaneous religious constructions with the
results of natural science, philosophy can also eliminate
doctrines that are now known to be scientifically absurd or
Sifting out in this way unworthy formulations, she can leave a
residuum of conceptions that at least are possible. With these
she can deal as HYPOTHESES, testing them in all the manners,
whether negative or positive, by which hypotheses are ever
tested.  She can reduce their number, as some are found more open
to objection.  She can perhaps become the champion of one which
she picks out as being the most closely verified or verifiable. 
She can refine upon the definition of this hypothesis,
distinguishing between what is innocent over-belief and symbolism
in the expression of it, and what is to be literally taken.  As a
result, she can offer mediation between different believers, and
help to bring about consensus of opinion.  She can do this the
more successfully, the better she discriminates the common and
essential from the individual and local elements of the religious
beliefs which she compares.

I do not see why a critical Science of Religions of this sort
might not eventually command as general a public adhesion as is
commanded by a physical science.  Even the personally
non-religious might accept its conclusions on trust, much as
blind persons now accept the facts of optics--it might appear as
foolish to refuse them.  Yet as the science of optics has to be
fed in the first instance, and continually verified later, by
facts experienced by seeing persons; so the science of religions
would depend for its original material on facts of personal
experience, and would have to square itself with personal
experience through all its critical reconstructions.  It could
never get away from concrete life, or work in a conceptual
vacuum.  It would forever have to confess, as every science
confesses, that the subtlety of nature flies beyond it, and that
its formulas are but approximations. Philosophy lives in words,
but truth and fact well up into our lives in ways that exceed
verbal formulation.  There is in the living act of perception
always something that glimmers and twinkles and will not be
caught, and for which reflection comes too late.  No one knows
this as well as the philosopher.  He must fire his volley of new
vocables out of his conceptual shotgun, for his profession
condemns him to this industry, but he secretly knows the
hollowness and irrelevancy. His formulas are like stereoscopic or
kinetoscopic photographs seen outside the instrument; they lack
the depth, the motion, the vitality.  In the religious sphere, in
particular, belief that formulas are true can never wholly take
the place of personal experience.

In my next lecture I will try to complete my rough description of
religious experience; and in the lecture after that, which is the
last one, I will try my hand at formulating conceptually the
truth to which it is a witness.

Lecture XIX


We have wound our way back, after our excursion through mysticism
and philosophy, to where we were before:  the uses of religion,
its uses to the individual who has it, and the uses of the
individual himself to the world, are the best arguments that
truth is in it.  We return to the empirical philosophy:  the true
is what works well, even though the qualification "on the whole"
may always have to be added.  In this lecture we must revert to
description again, and finish our picture of the religious
consciousness by a word about some of its other characteristic
elements.  Then, in a final lecture, we shall be free to make a
general review and draw our independent conclusions.

The first point I will speak of is the part which the aesthetic
life plays in determining one's choice of a religion.  Men, I
said awhile ago, involuntarily intellectualize their religious
experience.  They need formulas, just as they need fellowship in
worship.  I spoke, therefore, too contemptuously of the pragmatic
uselessness of the famous scholastic list of attributes of the
deity, for they have one use which I neglected to consider.  The
eloquent passage in which Newman enumerates them[301] puts us on
the track of it.  Intoning them as he would intone a cathedral
service, he shows how high is their aesthetic value.  It enriches
our bare piety to carry these exalted and mysterious verbal
additions just as it enriches a church to have an organ and old
brasses, marbles and frescoes and stained windows.  Epithets lend
an atmosphere and overtones to our devotion.  They are like a
hymn of praise and service of glory, and may sound the more
sublime for being incomprehensible.  Minds like Newman's[302]
grow as jealous of their credit as heathen priests are of that of
the jewelry and ornaments that blaze upon their idols.

[301] Idea of a University, Discourse III.  Section 7.

[302] Newman's imagination so innately craved an ecclesiastical
system that he can write:  "From the age of fifteen, dogma has
been the fundamental principle of my religion:  I know no other
religion; I cannot enter into the idea of any other sort of
religion."  And again speaking of himself about the age of
thirty, he writes:  "I loved to act as feeling myself in my
Bishop's sight, as if it were the sight of God."  Apologia, 1897,
pp. 48, 50.

Among the buildings-out of religion which the mind spontaneously
indulges in, the aesthetic motive must never be forgotten.  I
promised to say nothing of ecclesiastical systems in these
lectures.  I may be allowed, however, to put in a word at this
point on the way in which their satisfaction of certain aesthetic
needs contributes to their hold on human nature.  Although some
persons aim most at intellectual purity and simplification, for
others RICHNESS is the supreme imaginative requirement.[303] When
one's mind is strongly of this type, an individual religion will
hardly serve the purpose. The inner need is rather of something
institutional and complex, majestic in the hierarchic
interrelatedness of its parts, with authority descending from
stage to stage, and at every stage objects for adjectives of
mystery and splendor, derived in the last resort from the Godhead
who is the fountain and culmination of the system.  One feels
then as if in presence of some vast incrusted work of jewelry or
architecture; one hears the multitudinous liturgical appeal; one
gets the honorific vibration coming from every quarter.  Compared
with such a noble complexity, in which ascending and descending
movements seem in no way to jar upon stability, in which no
single item, however humble, is insignificant, because so many
august institutions hold it in its place, how flat does
evangelical Protestantism appear, how bare the atmosphere of
those isolated religious lives whose boast it is that "man in the
bush with God may meet."[304] What a pulverization and leveling
of what a gloriously piled-up structure!  To an imagination used
to the perspectives of dignity and glory, the naked gospel scheme
seems to offer an almshouse for a palace.

[303] The intellectual difference is quite on a par in practical
importance with the analogous difference in character.  We saw,
under the head of Saintliness, how some characters resent
confusion and must live in purity, consistency, simplicity
(above, p. 275 ff.).  For others, on the contrary,
superabundance, over-pressure, stimulation, lots of superficial
relations, are indispensable.  There are men who would suffer a
very syncope if you should pay all their debts, bring it about
that their engagements had been kept, their letters answered
their perplexities relieved, and their duties fulfilled, down to
one which lay on a clean table under their eyes with nothing to
interfere with its immediate performance.  A day stripped so
staringly bare would be for them appalling.  So with ease,
elegance, tributes of affection, social recognitions--some of us
require amounts of these things which to others would appear a
mass of lying and sophistication.

[304] In Newman's Lectures on Justification Lecture VIII. 
Section 6, there is a splendid passage expressive of this
aesthetic way of feeling the Christian scheme.  It is
unfortunately too long to quote.

It is much like the patriotic sentiment of those brought up in
ancient empires.  How many emotions must be frustrated of their
object, when one gives up the titles of dignity, the crimson
lights and blare of brass, the gold embroidery, the plumed
troops, the fear and trembling, and puts up with a president in a
black coat who shakes hands with you, and comes, it may be, from
a "home" upon a veldt or prairie with one sitting-room and a
Bible on its centre-table.  It pauperizes the monarchical

The strength of these aesthetic sentiments makes it rigorously
impossible, it seems to me, that Protestantism, however superior
in spiritual profundity it may be to Catholicism, should at the
present day succeed in making many converts from the more
venerable ecclesiasticism.  The latter offers a so much richer
pasturage and shade to the fancy, has so many cells with so many
different kinds of honey, is so indulgent in its multiform
appeals to human nature, that Protestantism will always show to
Catholic eyes the almshouse physiognomy.  The bitter negativity
of it is to the Catholic mind incomprehensible.  To intellectual
Catholics many of the antiquated beliefs and practices to which
the Church gives countenance are, if taken literally, as childish
as they are to Protestants.  But they are childish in the
pleasing sense of "childlike"--innocent and amiable, and worthy
to be smiled on in consideration of the undeveloped condition of
the dear people's intellects.  To the Protestant, on the
contrary, they are childish in the sense of being idiotic
falsehoods.  He must stamp out their delicate and lovable
redundancy, leaving the Catholic to shudder at his literalness. 
He appears to the latter as morose as if he were some hard-eyed,
numb, monotonous kind of reptile.  The two will never understand
each other--their centres of emotional energy are too different. 
Rigorous truth and human nature's intricacies are always in need
of a mutual interpreter.[305] So much for the aesthetic
diversities in the religious consciousness.

[305] Compare the informality of Protestantism, where the "meek
lover of the good," alone with his God, visits the sick, etc.,
for their own sakes, with the elaborate "business" that goes on
in Catholic devotion, and carries with it the social excitement
of all more complex businesses.  An essentially worldly-minded
Catholic woman can become a visitor of the sick on purely
coquettish principles, with her confessor and director, her
"merit" storing up, her patron saints, her privileged relation to
the Almighty, drawing his attention as a professional devote, her
definite "exercises," and her definitely recognized social pose
in the organization.

In most books on religion, three things are represented as its
most essential elements.  These are Sacrifice, Confession, and
Prayer.  I must say a word in turn of each of these elements,
though briefly.  First of Sacrifice.

Sacrifices to gods are omnipresent in primeval worship; but, as
cults have grown refined, burnt offerings and the blood of
he-goats have been superseded by sacrifices more spiritual in
their nature.  Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism get along without
ritual sacrifice; so does Christianity, save in so far as the
notion is preserved in transfigured form in the mystery of
Christ's atonement.  These religions substitute offerings of the
heart, renunciations of the inner self, for all those vain
oblations.  In the ascetic practices which Islam, Buddhism, and
the older Christianity encourage we see how indestructible is the
idea that sacrifice of some sort is a religious exercise.  In
lecturing on asceticism I spoke of its significance as symbolic
of the sacrifices which life, whenever it is taken strenuously,
calls for.[306]  But, as I said my say about those, and as these
lectures expressly avoid earlier religious usages and questions
of derivation, I will pass from the subject of Sacrifice
altogether and turn to that of Confession.

[306] Above, p. 354 ff.

In regard to Confession I will also be most brief, saying my word
about it psychologically, not historically.  Not nearly as
widespread as sacrifice, it corresponds to a more inward and
moral stage of sentiment.  It is part of the general system of
purgation and cleansing which one feels one's self in need of, in
order to be in right relations to one's deity.  For him who
confesses, shams are over and realities have begun; he has
exteriorized his rottenness.  If he has not actually got rid of
it, he at least no longer smears it over with a hypocritical show
of virtue--he lives at least upon a basis of veracity.  The
complete decay of the practice of confession in Anglo-Saxon
communities is a little hard to account for.  Reaction against
popery is of course the historic explanation, for in popery
confession went with penances and absolution, and other
inadmissible practices.  But on the <453> side of the sinner
himself it seems as if the need ought to have been too great to
accept so summary a refusal of its satisfaction.  One would think
that in more men the shell of secrecy would have had to open, the
pent-in abscess to burst and gain relief, even though the ear
that heard the confession were unworthy.  The Catholic church,
for obvious utilitarian reasons, has substituted auricular
confession to one priest for the more radical act of public
confession.  We English-speaking Protestants, in the general
self-reliance and unsociability of our nature, seem to find it
enough if we take God alone into our confidence.[307]

[307] A fuller discussion of confession is contained in the
excellent work by Frank Granger:  The Soul of a Christian,
London, 1900, ch. xii.

The next topic on which I must comment is Prayer--and this time
it must be less briefly.  We have heard much talk of late against
prayer, especially against prayers for better weather and for the
recovery of sick people.  As regards prayers for the sick, if any
medical fact can be considered to stand firm, it is that in
certain environments prayer may contribute to recovery, and
should be encouraged as a therapeutic measure.  Being a normal
factor of moral health in the person, its omission would be
deleterious.  The case of the weather is different. 
Notwithstanding the recency of the opposite belief,[308] every
one now knows that droughts and storms follow from physical
antecedents, and that moral appeals cannot avert them.  But
petitional prayer is only one department of prayer; and if we
take the word in the wider sense as meaning every kind of inward
communion or conversation with the power recognized as divine, we
can easily see that scientific criticism leaves it untouched.

[308] Example:  "The minister at Sudbury, being at the Thursday
lecture in Boston, heard the officiating clergyman praying for
rain.  As soon as the service was over, he went to the petitioner
and said 'You Boston ministers, as soon as a tulip wilts under
your windows, go to church and pray for rain, until all Concord
and Sudbury are under water.'"  R. W. Emerson:  Lectures and
Biographical Sketches, p. 363.

Prayer in this wide sense is the very soul and essence of
religion.  "Religion," says a liberal French theologian, "is an
intercourse, a conscious and voluntary relation, entered into by
a soul in distress with the mysterious power upon which it feels
itself to depend, and upon which its fate is contingent.  This
intercourse with God is realized by prayer.  Prayer is religion
in act; that is, prayer is real religion.  It is prayer that
distinguishes the religious phenomenon from such similar or
neighboring phenomena as purely moral or aesthetic sentiment. 
Religion is nothing if it be not the vital act by which the
entire mind seeks to save itself by clinging to the principle
from which it draws its life.  This act is prayer, by which term
I understand no vain exercise of words, no mere repetition of
certain sacred formula, but the very movement itself of the soul,
putting itself in a personal relation of contact with the
mysterious power of which it feels the presence--it may be even
before it has a name by which to call it.  Wherever this interior
prayer is lacking, there is no religion; wherever, on the other
hand, this prayer rises and stirs the soul, even in the absence
of forms or of doctrines, we have living religion.  One sees from
this why "natural religion, so-called, is not properly a
religion.  It cuts man off from prayer.  It leaves him and God in
mutual remoteness, with no intimate commerce, no interior
dialogue, no interchange, no action of God in man, no return of
man to God.  At bottom this pretended religion is only a
philosophy.  Born at epochs of rationalism, of critical
investigations, it never was anything but an abstraction.  An
artificial and dead creation, it reveals to its examiner hardly
one of the characters proper to religion."[309]

[309] Auguste Sabatier:  Esquisse d'une Philosophie de la
Religion. 2me ed., 1897, pp. 24-26, abridged.

It seems to me that the entire series of our lectures proves the
truth of M. Sabatier's contention.  The religious phenomenon,
studied as in Inner fact, and apart from ecclesiastical or
theological complications, has shown itself to consist
everywhere, and at all its stages, in the consciousness which
individuals have of an intercourse between themselves and higher
powers with which they feel themselves to be related. This
intercourse is realized at the time as being both active and
mutual.  If it be not effective; if it be not a give and take
relation; if nothing be really transacted while it lasts; if the
world is in no whit different for its having taken place; then
prayer, taken in this wide meaning of a sense that SOMETHING IS
TRANSACTING, is of course a feeling of what is illusory, and
religion must on the whole be classed, not simply as containing
elements of delusion--these undoubtedly everywhere exist--but as
being rooted in delusion altogether, just as materialists and
atheists have always said it was.  At most there might remain,
when the direct experiences of prayer were ruled out as false
witnesses, some inferential belief that the whole order of
existence must have a divine cause.  But this way of
contemplating nature, pleasing as it would doubtless be to
persons of a pious taste, would leave to them but the spectators'
part at a play, whereas in experimental religion and the
prayerful life, we seem ourselves to be actors, and not in a
play, but in a very serious reality.

The genuineness of religion is thus indissolubly bound up with
the question whether the prayerful consciousness be or be not
deceitful.  The conviction that something is genuinely transacted
in this consciousness is the very core of living religion.  As to
what is transacted, great differences of opinion have prevailed. 
The unseen powers have been supposed, and are yet supposed, to do
things which no enlightened man can nowadays believe in.  It may
well prove that the sphere of influence in prayer is subjective
exclusively, and that what is immediately changed is only the
mind of the praying person.  But however our opinion of prayer's
effects may come to be limited by criticism, religion, in the
vital sense in which these lectures study it, must stand or fall
by the persuasion that effects of some sort genuinely do occur. 
Through prayer, religion insists, things which cannot be realized
in any other manner come about:  energy which but for prayer
would be bound is by prayer set free and operates in some part,
be it objective or subjective, of the world of facts.

This postulate is strikingly expressed in a letter written by the
late Frederic W. H. Myers to a friend, who allows me to quote
from it.  It shows how independent the prayer-instinct is of
usual doctrinal complications.  Mr. Myers writes:--

"I am glad that you have asked me about prayer, because I have
rather strong ideas on the subject.  First consider what are the
facts.  There exists around us a spiritual universe, and that
universe is in actual relation with the material.  From the
spiritual universe comes the energy which maintains the material;
the energy which makes the life of each individual spirit.  Our
spirits are supported by a perpetual indrawal of this energy, and
the vigor of that indrawal is perpetually changing, much as the
vigor of our absorption of material nutriment changes from hour
to hour.

"I call these 'facts' because I think that some scheme of this
kind is the only one consistent with our actual evidence; too
complex to summarize here.  How, then, should we ACT on these
facts?  Plainly we must endeavor to draw in as much spiritual
life as possible, and we must place our minds in any attitude
which experience shows to be favorable to such indrawal.  PRAYER
is the general name for that attitude of open and earnest
expectancy.  If we then ask to whom to pray, the answer
(strangely enough) must be that THAT does not much matter.  The
prayer is not indeed a purely subjective thing;--it means a real
increase in intensity of absorption of spiritual power or
grace;--but we do not know enough of what takes place in the
spiritual world to know how the prayer operates;--WHO is
cognizant of it, or through what channel the grace is given. 
Better let children pray to Christ, who is at any rate the
highest individual spirit of whom we have any knowledge.  But it
would be rash to say that Christ himself HEARS US; while to say
that GOD hears us is merely to restate the first principle--that
grace flows in from the infinite spiritual world."

Let us reserve the question of the truth or falsehood of the
belief that power is absorbed until the next lecture, when our
dogmatic conclusions, if we have any, must be reached. Let this
lecture still confine itself to the description of phenomena; and
as a concrete example of an extreme sort, of the way in which the
prayerful life may still be led, let me take a case with which
most of you must be acquainted, that of George Muller of Bristol,
who died in 1898.  Muller's prayers were of the crassest
petitional order.  Early in life he resolved on taking certain
Bible promises in literal sincerity, and on letting himself be
fed, not by his own worldly foresight, but by the Lord's hand. 
He had an extraordinarily active and successful career, among the
fruits of which were the distribution of over two million copies
of the Scripture text, in different languages; the equipment of
several hundred missionaries; the circulation of more than a
hundred and eleven million of scriptural books, pamphlets, and
tracts; the building of five large orphanages, and the keeping
and educating of thousands of orphans; finally, the establishment
of schools in which over a hundred and twenty-one thousand
youthful and adult pupils were taught. In the course of this work
Mr. Muller received and administered nearly a million and a half
of pounds sterling, and traveled over two hundred thousand miles
of sea and land.[310]  During the sixty-eight years of his
ministry, he never owned any property except his clothes and
furniture, and cash in hand; and he left, at the age of
eighty-six, an estate worth only a hundred and sixty pounds.

[310] My authority for these statistics is the little work on
Muller, by Frederic G. Warne, New York, 1898.

His method was to let his general wants be publicly known, but
not to acquaint other people with the details of his temporary
necessities.  For the relief of the latter, he prayed directly to
the Lord, believing that sooner or later prayers are always
answered if one have trust enough.  "When I lose such a thing as
a key," he writes, "I ask the Lord to direct me to it, and I look
for an answer to my prayer; when a person with whom I have made
an appointment does not come, according to the fixed time, and I
begin to be inconvenienced by it, I ask the Lord to be pleased to
hasten him to me, and I look for an answer; when I do not
understand a passage of the word of God, I lift up my heart to
the Lord that he would be pleased by his Holy Spirit to instruct
me, and I expect to be taught, though I do not fix the time when,
and the manner how it should be; when I am going to minister in
the Word, I seek help from the Lord, and . . . am not cast down,
but of good cheer because I look for his assistance."

Muller's custom was to never run up bills, not even for a week. 
"As the Lord deals out to us by the day, . . . the week's payment
might become due and we have no money to meet it; and thus those
with whom we deal might be inconvenienced by us, and we be found
acting against the commandment of the Lord:  'Owe no man
anything.' From this day and henceforward whilst the Lord gives
to us our supplies by the day, we purpose to pay at once for
every article as it is purchased, and never to buy anything
except we can pay for it at once, however much it may seem to be
needed, and however much those with whom we deal may wish to be
paid only by the week."

The articles needed of which Muller speaks were the food, fuel,
etc., of his orphanages.  Somehow, near as they often come to
going without a meal, they hardly ever seem actually to have done
so.  "Greater and more manifest nearness of the Lord's presence I
have never had than when after breakfast there were no means for
dinner for more than a hundred persons; or when after dinner
there were no means for the tea, and yet the Lord provided the
tea; and all this without one single human being having been
informed about our need. . . .  Through Grace my mind is so fully
assured of the faithfulness of the Lord, that in the midst of the
greatest need, I am enabled in peace to go about my other work. 
Indeed, did not the Lord give me this, which is the result of
trusting in him, I should scarcely be able to work at all; for it
is now comparatively a rare thing that a day comes when I am not
in need for one or another part of the work."[311]

[311] The Life of Trust; Being a Narrative of the Lord's Dealings
with George Muller, New American edition, N. Y., Crowell, pp.
228, 194, 219.

In building his orphanages simply by prayer and faith, Muller
affirms that his prime motive was "to have something to point to
as a visible proof that our God and Father is the same faithful
God that he ever was--as willing as ever to prove himself the
living God, in our day as formerly, to all that put their trust
in him."[312]  For this reason he refused to borrow money for any
of his enterprises.  "How does it work when we thus anticipate
God by going our own way?  We certainly weaken faith instead of
increasing it; and each time we work thus a deliverance of our
own we find it more and more difficult to trust in God, till at
last we give way entirely to our natural fallen reason and
unbelief prevails.  How different if one is enabled to wait God's
own time, and to look alone to him for help and deliverance! When
at last help comes, after many seasons of prayer it may be, how
sweet it is, and what a present recompense!  Dear Christian
reader, if you have never walked in this path of obedience
before, do so now, and you will then know experimentally the
sweetness of the joy which results from it."[313]

[312] Ibid., p. 126.

[313] Op. cit., p. 383, abridged.

When the supplies came in but slowly, Muller always considered
that this was for the trial of his faith and patience When his
faith and patience had been sufficiently tried, the Lord would
send more means.  "And thus it has proved,"--I quote from his
diary--"for to-day was given me the sum of 2050 pounds, of which
2000 are for the building fund [of a certain house], and 50 for
present necessities.  It is impossible to describe my joy in God
when I received this donation.  I was neither excited nor
surprised; for I LOOK out for answers to my prayers.  I BELIEVE
THAT GOD HEARS ME.  Yet my heart was so full of joy that I could
only SIT before God, and admire him, like David in 2 Samuel vii. 
At last I cast myself flat down upon my face and burst forth in
thanksgiving to God and in surrendering my heart afresh to him
for his blessed service."[314]

[314] Ibid., p. 323

George Muller's is a case extreme in every respect, and in no
respect more so than in the extraordinary narrowness of the man's
intellectual horizon.  His God was, as he often said, his
business partner.  He seems to have been for Muller little more
than a sort of supernatural clergyman interested in the
congregation of tradesmen and others in Bristol who were his
saints, and in the orphanages and other enterprises, but
unpossessed of any of those vaster and wilder and more ideal
attributes with which the human imagination elsewhere has
invested him.  Muller, in short, was absolutely unphilosophical. 
His intensely private and practical conception of his relations
with the Deity continued the traditions of the most primitive
human thought.[315]  When we compare a mind like his with such a
mind as, for example, Emerson's or Phillips Brooks's, we see the
range which the religious consciousness covers.

[315] I cannot resist the temptation of quoting an expression of
an even more primitive style of religious thought, which I find
in Arber's English Garland, vol. vii. p. 440.  Robert Lyde, an
English sailor, along with an English boy, being prisoners on a
French ship in 1689, set upon the crew, of seven Frenchmen,
killed two, made the other five prisoners, and brought home the
ship.  Lyde thus describes how in this feat he found his God a
very present help in time of trouble:--

"With the assistance of God I kept my feet when they three and
one more did strive to throw me down.  Feeling the Frenchman
which hung about my middle hang very heavy, I said to the boy,
'Go round the binnacle, and knock down that man that hangeth on
my back.'  So the boy did strike him one blow on the head which
made him fall. . . . Then I looked about for a marlin spike or
anything else to strike them withal.  But seeing nothing, I said,
'LORD! what shall I do?'  Then casting up my eye upon my left
side, and seeing a marlin spike hanging, I jerked my right arm
and took hold, and struck the point four times about a quarter of
an inch deep into the skull of that man that had hold of my left
arm.  [One of the Frenchmen then hauled the marlin spike away
from him.]  But through GOD'S wonderful providence! it either
fell out of his hand, or else he threw it down, and at this time
the Almighty GOD gave me strength enough to take one man in one
hand, and throw at the other's head:  and looking about again to
see anything to strike them withal, but seeing nothing, I said,
'LORD! what shall I do now?'  And then it pleased GOD to put me
in mind of my knife in my pocket.  And although two of the men
had hold of my right arm, yet GOD Almighty strengthened me so
that I put my right hand into my right pocket, drew out the knife
and sheath, . . . put it between my legs and drew it out, and
then cut the man's throat with it that had his back to my breast: 
and he immediately dropt down, and scarce ever stirred after."--I
have slightly abridged Lyde's narrative.

There is an immense literature relating to answers to petitional
prayer.  The evangelical journals are filled with such answers,
and books are devoted to the subject,[316] but for us Muller's
case will suffice.

[316] As, for instance, In Answer to Prayer, by the Bishop of
Ripon and others, London, 1898; Touching Incidents and Remarkable
Answers to Prayer, Harrisburg, Pa., 1898 (?); H. L. Hastings: 
The Guiding Hand, or Providential Direction, illustrated by
Authentic Instances, Boston, 1898(?).

A less sturdy beggar-like fashion of leading the prayerful life
is followed by innumerable other Christians.  Persistence in
leaning on the Almighty for support and guidance will, such
persons say, bring with it proofs, palpable but much more subtle,
of his presence and active influence.  The following description
of a "led" life, by a German writer whom I have already quoted,
would no doubt appear to countless Christians in every country as
if transcribed from their own personal experience.  One finds in
this guided sort of life, says Dr. Hilty--

"That books and words (and sometimes people) come to one's
cognizance just at the very moment in which one needs them; that
one glides over great dangers as if with shut eyes, remaining
ignorant of what would have terrified one or led one astray,
until the peril is past--this being especially the case with
temptations to vanity and sensuality; that paths on which one
ought not to wander are, as it were, hedged off with thorns; but
that on the other side great obstacles are suddenly removed; that
when the time has come for something, one suddenly receives a
courage that formerly failed, or perceives the root of a matter
that until then was concealed, or discovers thoughts, talents,
yea, even pieces of knowledge and insight, in one's self, of
which it is impossible to say whence they come; finally, that
persons help us or decline to help us, favor us or refuse us, as
if they had to do so against their will, so that often those
indifferent or even unfriendly to us yield us the greatest
service and furtherance.  (God takes often their worldly goods,
from those whom he leads, at just the right moment, when they
threaten to impede the effort after higher interests.)

"Besides all this, other noteworthy things come to pass, of which
it is not easy to give account.  There is no doubt whatever that
now one walks continually through 'open doors' and on the easiest
roads, with as little care and trouble as it is possible to

"Furthermore one finds one's self settling one's affairs neither
too early nor too late, whereas they were wont to be spoiled by
untimeliness, even when the preparations had been well laid. In
addition to this, one does them with perfect tranquillity of
mind, almost as if they were matters of no consequence, like
errands done by us for another person, in which case we usually
act more calmly than when we act in our own concerns.  Again, one
finds that one can WAIT for everything patiently, and that is one
of life's great arts.  One finds also that each thing comes duly,
one thing after the other, so that one gains time to make one's
footing sure before advancing farther.  And then every thing
occurs to us at the right moment, just what we ought to do, etc.,
and often in a very striking way, just as if a third person were
keeping watch over those things which we are in easy danger of

"Often, too, persons are sent to us at the right time, to offer
or ask for what is needed, and what we should never have had the
courage or resolution to undertake of our own accord.

"Through all these experiences one finds that one is kindly and
tolerant of other people, even of such as are repulsive,
negligent, or ill-willed, for they also are instruments of good
in God's hand, and often most efficient ones.  Without these
thoughts it would be hard for even the best of us always to keep
our equanimity.  But with the consciousness of divine guidance,
one sees many a thing in life quite differently from what would
otherwise be possible.

"All these are things that every human being KNOWS, who has had
experience of them; and of which the most speaking examples could
be brought forward.  The highest resources of worldly wisdom are
unable to attain that which, under divine leading, comes to us of
its own accord."[317]

[317] C. Hilty:  Gluck, Dritter Theil, 1900, pp. 92 ff.

Such accounts as this shade away into others where the belief is,
not that particular events are tempered more towardly to us by a
superintending providence, as a reward for our reliance, but that
by cultivating the continuous sense of our connection with the
power that made things as they are, we are tempered more towardly
for their reception.  The outward face of nature need not alter,
but the expressions of meaning in it alter.  It was dead and is
alive again. It is like the difference between looking on a
person without love, or upon the same person with love.  In the
latter case intercourse springs into new vitality.  So when one's
affections keep in touch with the divinity of the world's
authorship, fear and egotism fall away; and in the equanimity
that follows, one finds in the hours, as they succeed each other,
a series of purely benignant opportunities.  It is as if all
doors were opened, and all paths freshly smoothed.  We meet a new
world when we meet the old world in the spirit which this kind of
prayer infuses.

Such a spirit was that of Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus.[318]  It
is that of mind-curers, of the transcendentalists, and of the
so-called "liberal" Christians.  As an expression of it, I will
quote a page from one of Martineau's sermons:--

[318] "Good Heaven!" says Epictetus, "any one thing in the
creation is sufficient to demonstrate a Providence, to a humble
and grateful mind.  The mere possibility of producing milk from
grass, cheese from milk, and wool from skins; who formed and
planned it?  Ought we not, whether we dig or plough or eat, to
sing this hymn to God?  Great is God, who has supplied us with
these instruments to till the ground; great is God, who has given
us hands and instruments of digestion, who has given us to grow
insensibly and to breathe in sleep.  These things we ought
forever to celebrate. . . . But because the most of you are
blind and insensible, there must be some one to fill this
station, and lead, in behalf of all men, the hymn to God; for
what else can I do, a lame old man, but sing hymns to God?  Were
I a nightingale, I would act the part of a nightingale; were I a
swan, the part of a swan.  But since I am a reasonable creature,
it is my duty to praise God . . . and I call on you to join the
same song." Works, book i. ch. xvi., Carter-Higginson
(translation) abridged.

"The universe, open to the eye to-day, looks as it did a thousand
years ago:  and the morning hymn of Milton does but tell the
beauty with which our own familiar sun dressed the earliest
fields and gardens of the world.  We see what all our fathers
saw.  And if we cannot find God in your house or in mine, upon
the roadside or the margin of the sea; in the bursting seed or
opening flower; in the day duty or the night musing; in the
general laugh and the secret grief; in the procession of life,
ever entering afresh, and solemnly passing by and dropping off; I
do not think we should discern him any more on the grass of Eden,
or beneath the moonlight of Gethsemane.  Depend upon it, it is
not the want of greater miracles, but of the soul to perceive
such as are allowed us still, that makes us push all the
sanctities into the far spaces we cannot reach.  The devout feel
that wherever God's hand is, THERE is miracle:  and it is simply
an indevoutness which imagines that only where miracle is, can
there be the real hand of God.  The customs of Heaven ought
surely to be more sacred in our eyes than its anomalies; the dear
old ways, of which the Most High is never tired, than the strange
things which he does not love well enough ever to repeat.  And he
who will but discern beneath the sun, as he rises any morning,
the supporting finger of the Almighty, may recover the sweet and
reverent surprise with which Adam gazed on the first dawn in
Paradise.  It is no outward change, no shifting in time or place;
but only the loving meditation of the pure in heart, that can
reawaken the Eternal from the sleep within our souls:  that can
render him a reality again, and reassert for him once more his
ancient name of 'the Living God.'"[319]

[319] James Martineau:  end of the sermon "Help Thou Mine
Unbelief," in Endeavours after a Christian Life, 2d series. 
Compare with this page the extract from Voysey on p. 270, above,
and those from Pascal and Madame Guyon on p. 281.

When we see all things in God, and refer all things to him, we
read in common matters superior expressions of meaning.  The
deadness with which custom invests the familiar vanishes, and
existence as a whole appears transfigured. The state of a mind
thus awakened from torpor is well expressed in these words, which
I take from a friend's letter:--

"If we occupy ourselves in summing up all the mercies and
bounties we are privileged to have, we are overwhelmed by their
number (so great that we can imagine ourselves unable to give
ourselves time even to begin to review the things we may imagine
WE HAVE NOT).  We sum them and realize that WE ARE ACTUALLY
KILLED WITH GOD'S KINDNESS; that we are surrounded by bounties
upon bounties, without which all would fall.  Should we not love
it; should we not feel buoyed up by the Eternal Arms?"

Sometimes this realization that facts are of divine sending,
instead of being habitual, is casual, like a mystical experience. 
Father Gratry gives this instance from his youthful melancholy

"One day I had a moment of consolation, because I met with
something which seemed to me ideally perfect.  It was a poor
drummer beating the tattoo in the streets of Paris.  I walked
behind him in returning to the school on the evening of a
holiday. His drum gave out the tattoo in such a way that, at that
moment at least, however peevish I were, I could find no pretext
for fault-finding.  It was impossible to conceive more nerve or
spirit, better time or measure, more clearness or richness, than
were in this drumming.  Ideal desire could go no farther in that
direction.  I was enchanted and consoled; the perfection of this
wretched act did me good.  Good is at least possible, I said.
since the ideal can thus sometimes get embodied."[320]

[320] Souvenirs de ma Jeunesse, 1897, p. 122.

In Senancour's novel of Obermann a similar transient lifting of
the veil is recorded.  In Paris streets, on a March day, he comes
across a flower in bloom, a jonquil:

"It was the strongest expression of desire:  it was the first
perfume of the year.  I felt all the happiness destined for man.
This unutterable harmony of souls, the phantom of the ideal
world, arose in me complete.  I never felt anything so great or
so instantaneous.  I know not what shape, what analogy, what
secret of relation it was that made me see in this flower a
limitless beauty. . . .  I shall never inclose in a conception
this power, this immensity that nothing will express; this form
that nothing will contain; this ideal of a better world which one
feels, but which, it seems, nature has not made actual."[321]

[321] Op. cit., Letter XXX.

We heard in previous lectures of the vivified face of the world
as it may appear to converts after their awakening.[322] As a
rule, religious persons generally assume that whatever natural
facts connect themselves in any way with their destiny are
significant of the divine purposes with them. Through prayer
the purpose, often far from obvious, comes home to them, and if
it be "trial," strength to endure the trial is given.  Thus at
all stages of the prayerful life we find the persuasion that in
the process of communion energy from on high flows in to meet
demand, and becomes operative within the phenomenal world.  So
long as this operativeness is admitted to be real, it makes no
essential difference whether its immediate effects be subjective
or objective. The fundamental religious point is that in prayer,
spiritual energy, which otherwise would slumber, does become
active, and spiritual work of some kind is effected really.

[322] Above, p. 243 ff.  Compare the withdrawal of expression
from the world, in Melancholiacs, p. 148.

So much for Prayer, taken in the wide sense of any kind of
communion.  As the core of religion, we must return to it in the
next lecture.

The last aspect of the religious life which remains for me to
touch upon is the fact that its manifestations so frequently
connect themselves with the subconscious part of our existence.
You may remember what I said in my opening lecture[323] about the
prevalence of the psychopathic temperament in religious
biography.  You will in point of fact hardly find a religious
leader of any kind in whose life there is no record of
automatisms.  I speak not merely of savage priests and prophets,
whose followers regard automatic utterance and action as by
itself tantamount to inspiration, I speak of leaders of thought
and subjects of intellectualized experience.  Saint Paul had his
visions, his ecstasies, his gift of tongues, small as was the
importance he attached to the latter. The whole array of
Christian saints and heresiarchs, including the greatest, the
Barnards, the Loyolas, the Luthers, the Foxes, the Wesleys, had
their visions, voices, rapt conditions, guiding impressions, and
"openings."    They had these things, because they had exalted
sensibility, and to such things persons of exalted sensibility
are liable.  In such liability there lie, however, consequences
for theology.  Beliefs are strengthened wherever automatisms
corroborate them.  Incursions from beyond the transmarginal
region have a peculiar power to increase conviction.  The
inchoate sense of presence is infinitely stronger than
conception, but strong as it may be, it is seldom equal to the
evidence of hallucination.  Saints who actually see or hear their
Saviour reach the acme of assurance.  Motor automatisms, though
rarer, are, if possible, even more convincing than sensations. 
The subjects here actually feel themselves played upon by powers
beyond their will.  The evidence is dynamic; the God or spirit
moves the very organs of their body.[324]

[323] Above, pp. 25, 26.

[324] A friend of mine, a first-rate psychologist, who is a
subject of graphic automatism, tells me that the appearance of
independent actuation in the movements of his arm, when he writes
automatically, is so distinct that it obliges him to abandon a
psychophysical theory which he had previously believed in, the
theory, namely, that we have no feeling of the discharge
downwards of our voluntary motor-centres.  We must normally have
such a feeling, he thinks, or the SENSE OF AN ABSENCE would not
be so striking as it is in these experiences.  Graphic automatism
of a fully developed kind is rare in religious history, so far as
my knowledge goes.  Such statements as Antonia Bourignon's, that
"I do nothing but lend my hand and spirit to another power than
mine," is shown by the context to indicate inspiration rather
than directly automatic writing.  In some eccentric sects this
latter occurs.  The most striking instance of it is probably the
bulky volume called, "Oahspe, a new Bible in the Words of Jehovah
and his angel ambassadors," Boston and London, 1891, written and
illustrated automatically by Dr. Newbrough of New York, whom I
understand to be now, or to have been lately, at the head of the
spiritistic community of Shalam in New Mexico.  The latest
automatically written book which has come under my notice is