Imagens das páginas

called the Land's Crown, where the natural situation of the rock had made a seeming enclosure of some part of the mountain, finding an entrance, he went in, and saw there a large wooden vessel full of money; at which sight, being in a sudden astonished, he in haste retired, not moving his hand to it, and came and related his fortune to the rest of the boys, who coming with him, sought often, and with much diligence, an entrance, but could not find any. But some years after, a foreign artist, as Jacob Behmen himself related, skilled in finding out magical treasures, took it away, and thereby much enriched himself, yet perished by an infamous death, that treasure being lodged there, and covered with a curse to him that should find it, and take it away.”—“In the twenty-fifth year of his age, he was surrounded by the divine light, and replenished with the heavenly knowledge; inasmuch as going abroad into the fields to a green before Neysgate at Gorlitz, he there sat down, and viewing the herbs and grass of the field, in his inward light he saw into their essences, uses, and properties, which were discovered to him by their lineaments, figures, and signatures. In like manner he beheld the whole creation, and from that fountain of revelation he afterwards wrote his book De Signatura rerum.” The senate of Gorlitz took the alarm at having one who saw so deep into the nature of things in their immediate neighbourhood, and commanded him to give over his visions, upon which he refrained from writing seven years, when, in despite of the Senatus Consultum of Gorlitz, “a new motion from on high” seizing on him, “in one quarter of an hour, I saw and knew more than if I had been many years together at the university.” And this he proves very clearly, “for he adds, I saw and knew the Being of all beings, 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, namely, the divine, then the dark world, then the eternal visible world: and I saw and knew the whole working essence in the evil and the good, and the original and existence of each of them; so that I did not only wonder greatly at it, but did also exceedingly rejoice, and presently it came powerfully into my mind to set the same down in writing for a memorial for myself, though I could very hardly apprehend the same in my external man, and express it with the pen.” But though all secret things were revealed to him, it was very evident that the mystery of spelling was an exception. It would be doing injustice to the tenets of Behmen to endeavour to present them in any intelligible form; still the principle which pervades his writings is that of the emanative system. In transcending all modifications of being, we arrive at last at absolute unity and infinity, at existence every way illimitable, in short, at infinite nothing, whose essence consists in the negation of every actual attribute, and yet, which has the possibility of becoming all being. This possibility of existence impresses upon itself a trinity of being in the following manner. First, in desire, by which the Unity seeksitself—and this is the Father. Secondly, in delight, in which the Unity reflects upon itself, —and this is the Son. Thirdly, in the outgoing, by which the Unity proceeds from itself—and this is the Spirit. Trinity in unity is the impress of all existence; desire, delight, and outflowing being the three ways in which every being modifies itself. In our world universal magnetism stands in the place of the divine unity. When it desires to modify itself intomatter, it becomes firstentity, or substance; then, compressing “desire into delight,” it becomes (subjectively) feeling, or (objectively) working; and, lastly, in the efflux of that working, is the power or virtue residing in all things. The doctrines of Behmen have met with two able supporters, Law in England, and St. Martin in France; and the philosophers in Germany seem many of them more inclined to believe in the inspiration of Behmen than in that of the Bible. It was fortunate for him that he was born in Germany. In countries less enlightened, instead of being venerated as a philosopher, he might have been confined as a lunatic. VI. The third and lowest species of mysticism may be termed the devotional, which, neglecting to explain the theory of the universe, follows that only which is practical in mysticism, and is wholly intent upon reuniting the soul to God by quietism and devout contemplation. Most of those who are mystics of this class deny that they have any connection with the theories of the ancient philosophers; still they may be traced in a direct line to the pantheistic sages of Greece and of the east. At times, even in those writings which have least pretensions to theory, the emanative system, with all its consequences, clearly breaks forth. “Il est aisé,” says Madame Guion, “de comprendre que tous les esprits, étants Émanés de Dieu, auroient un égal instinct de réunion a leur principe, s'ils étoient entièrement dégagés des obstacles qui empêchent cette union.” “Lorsqu'ils sont dégagés selon leur dégré, ils tendent ensemble selon le même dégré * leur réunion: mais lorsqu'ils sont parfaitement purifiés, ils se perdent dans l’Unité, et deviennent un dans cette perte, avec un rapport et une unité qu'on auroit peine a comprendre.” Another mystic writer, “le divin Jean de la Croix,” has asserted in the most explicit terms the deification of human souls by their union with the divine Being, “ Ce sont des grâces par lesquelles les âmes qui les possédent deviennent véritablement des Dieux, par la participation qui leur a été faite de la nature divine."

The great aim of devotional mysticism is selfannihilation. * O Gloire de mon Dieu !'' exclaims Madame Guion, " je ne désire que vous, mais pour lui seul ! O Néant, que tu es heureux, et infiniment heureux ! tu ne lui dérobes point cette gloire. Tous les hommes qui tâchent d'en usurper quelque chose, sont des voleurs. Il n'y a que le néant qui ne dérobe et n'usurpe rien." It is thus they strive to honour the Creator by endeavouring to uncreate themselves. As the Hindoo sages ascribe all misery and deception to the notion of self, so the Christian mystics make all perfection consist in the loss of individuality. o Ce moi est haïssable." The new life or regeneration consists, according to the mystics, in self-annihilation. The work of the Holy Spirit consists in absorbing the finite soul into his own essence. * Le Saint Esprit sépare notre Esprit du grossier de ce que nous avons de propre,—il l'attire, le perd, et le mélange avec son Tout." The loss of personality is the only way to die to the flesh and to the world. * Nous sortons de la circonférence de la chair et du monde par la désappropriation." Thus what the mystics speak or think is no longer their own thought or expression, but a true inspiration from on high. " On ne peut rien faire par soi-même ; mais un autre esprit se

« AnteriorContinuar »