The Mystic Way: A Psychological Study in Christian Origins

The Mystic Way: A Psychological Study in Christian Origins

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The Mystic Way: A Psychological Study in Christian Origins

The Mystic Way: A Psychological Study in Christian Origins

Read FREE!

Excerpt

It is the object of this book to trace out that type of life, that peculiar quality of consciousness, which is called "mystical," from its earliest appearance within Christianity; to estimate, so far as is possible, the true character and origin of the Christian mystic, and define the qualities which differentiate him from those other mystics who have been evolved along other lines of spiritual development, Oriental, Neoplatonic, or Mahomedan. It is now acknowledged by many psychologists--amongst whom Leuba and Delacroix are of special importance, since their conclusions are entirely free from theological bias--that the Christian mystic does possess such differentiating characters; and represents, so far as the psychical nature of man is concerned, a genuine species apart. Leuba, indeed, does not hesitate to call him "one of the most amazing and profound variations of which the human race has yet been witness." This being so, his origin and real significance have surely a special importance for those interested in the spiritual evolution of humanity.

We are still too often told that Christian mysticism is no integral part of Christianity: sometimes, even, that it represents an opposition to the primitive Christian ideal. Sometimes we are asked to believe that it originated from Neoplatonic influence; that Pagan blood runs in its veins, and that its genealogy goes back to Plotinus. Far from this being the case, all the doctrines and all the experiences characteristic of genuine Christian mysticism can be found in the New Testament; and I believe that its emergence as a definite type of spiritual life coincides with the emergence of Christianity itself, in the person of its Founder.

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