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gloomy walls of the Bastile, she went to the old city of Blois, where she died in 1717. Thus lived and passed away one of the most remarkable characters in all history, a woman of extraordinary powers and fervent piety, but subject to heartrending misfortunes. With the prophetical and oracular Madame de Krüdener ends the mysticism of France, noted for its zeal and devotion, but far inferior in thought and originality to that of Germany.
We must not expect to find much mysticism in England; she has had too much else to do. The only prominent name we meet with is George Fox, the father of the Quakers. He was thoughtful and shunned society. In later life he declared that at eleven years of age he knew pureness and righteousness. He carried a Bible in his pocket, and always sought the most sequestered spots to read it. lle professed to have been in rapture, and he describes in his journal his experience while exalted into what we can call nothing more or less than a real Jacob Behmen ecstacy. He spent much of his life in visiting prisons and in the exercise of other charitable deeds. Mr. Vaughan pays no little compliment to him and his followers when he says, “the elements of Quakerism lie all complete in the personal history of Fox.”
George Fox died at the close of the seventeenth century, and nearly fifty years passed by without witnessing any new development of mysticism in any land. But the wandering ignis fatuus was only hid behind a cloud. It was soon to blaze forth with tenfold brilliance in a different quarter. An anomaly in history no less than in the more circumscribed field of theology, is Emanuel Swedenborg, “ the Olympian Jove of Mystics.” We have seen that, hitherto, mysticism, has labored under two mistakes in reference to the Bible. One extreme was an ignoring of its necessity altogether, the other was a symbolizing and spiritualizing of it. But Swedenborg does not seem to labor under either error. He maintains the absolute necessity of a “ book-revelation," and he professes to draw his doctrines from a literal interpretation of it. In another respect, too, he is far ahead of the older Mystics. He has not his ups and downs as they had, now basking in sunlight on a heaven-reaching mountain top, and now groping in a gloomy vale uncheered and unlighted by the smallest star. No, Swedenborg is not like them : “ They have their alterations; their lights and shadows are in keeping; they will topple headlong from a sunny pinnacle into an abysmal misery. But Swedenborg is in the spirit for near twoscore years, and in his easy chair, or at his window, or in his walks, holds converse, as a matter of course, with angels and departed great ones, with patriarchs and devils. The two works
containing his most important views are, The Apocalypse Revealed, and A New Method of finding the Longitude. His opinion on the atonement is sadly defective and dangerous. We cannot but be reminded of Mohammed's picture of Paradise when we read Swedenborg's description of heaven. We cal to mind, too, Gabriel's
, communications to the Arabian prophet in what Swedenborg says of the Church of the New Jerusalem and of his own mission:
“Since the Lord cannot manifest himself in person to the world, which has just been shown to be impossible, and yet he has foretold that he would come and establish a new Church, which is the New Jerusalem, it follows that he will effect this by the instrumentality of a man, who is able not only to receive the doctrines of that Church in his understanding, but also to make them known by the press. That the Lord manifested himself before me his servant, that he sent me on this office, and afterward opened the sight of my spirit, and so let me into the spiritual world, permitting me to see the heavens and the hells, and also to converse with angels and spirits; and this now continually, for many years, I attest in truth; and further, that from the first day of my call to this office, I have never received anything appertaining to the doctrines of that Church from any angel, but from the Lord alone, while I was reading the Word.”
The mysticism of Louis Claude de Saint Martin, le philosophe inconnu, was an oasis in the infidelity of the land and times. His best productions were, Le Ministre de l'Home-esprit, L'Homme de Desir and L'Esprit des Choses. In these works there is much that is evangelical and tangible, though it cannot be denied that in Saint Martin's cosmological and psychological views there is a very perceptible vein of pantheism. He did great service in the cause of truth, however, and deservedly occupies one of the most honorable niches in the temple of modern mysticism.
Here we must take our leave of the mystic magnates, a people with whom there are many points of sympathy, especially when we remember the dark days in which the most of them lived. Their casket of thoughts and fancies glitters with many a gem of truth, and their imagination did far more violence to the intellect than to the heart. As far as our country is concerned we have never had, until recently, any manifestation of mysticism. Spiritualism can justly be termed one of its numerous developments, and nowhere would we go for an apter illustration of a theurgic mystic than to a medium of the Judge Edmonds school. The vagaries of Mrs. Cora Hatch are more disgraceful to our age than were the wildest visions of the Spanish Mystics to the sixteenth century. But she has acquired a lofty position among the spiritualist leaders, and after death has silenced her oracles, she may justly, be canonized the St. Theresa of American mysticism. As for Mormonism, it is too much honor to apply to it the bare name of delusion. It possesses no marks in common with the most extravagant illuminism, save selfdeception; and a stranger to our sphere would hardly be able to believe that Jacob Behmen and Joe Smith had inhabited the same planet. Mormonism is a sewer for the bad passions, blasted reputations, and broken fortunes of the vile. Yet, judging by the fruit, we must call it the twin sister of spiritualism. Heaven hasten the day of their death and burial !
We would have wished that Mr. Vaughan had shown somewhere in his masterly work the amount of truth in the higher forms of mysticism. At this there are hints, and but little more; because, no doubt, he felt his province to be historical rather than doctrinal and didactic. But the Christian student will naturally inquire, after closing this romantic contribution to the history of religious opinion, How much truth is there after all in the quietism of the best Mystics? Can it be that Behmen, Madame Guyon, and George Fox were altogether deluded by their fancy? Is there not a stratum of scriptural truth underlying all this luxuriance of theory. We firmly believe there is, though men are accustomed to consider mysticism and madness synonymous. The Scriptures claim for man a higher attainable state than of being in the paradoxical condition of sin and righteousness at the same time. This elevated state is the focal point of all biblical doctrine, the essence of an intimate union with God. John Wesley termed it perfection, not for the want of a more Scriptural but of a more unexceptionable word. In his own day he witnessed some gross perversions of the term ; and in his writings he expresses forebodings here and there lest it might be still more misapprehended when it was no longer possible for him to define its limits. More than a century has passed by, which time is long enough for the world to test a doctrine, and the Church that dates its organization from his judicious mind and earnest heart has found no reason to expunge that doctrine from its creed. Nay, Methodism as firmly maintains it now as eighty years ago, despite the thrusts of her avowed foes, and the still more dangerous ones of her own household. This truth is what the noblest Mystics sought. Their error lay in part in the way they sought it, for many relied too much upon the untrusty utterances of philosophy, and too little upon the purer teachings of the word of God Others did not fail here, but their professedly intimate union with God exercised the passive to the neglect of the active virtues. The Bible was to them a book rather teaching how to suffer and be calm than to labor zealously and fight courageously in the struggle for salvation; prescribing a state of holy quiet, but not inciting to vigorous action; filling the heart with unutterable joy, but leaving the body in seclusion and lethargy. This we conceive to be the grand mistake of the
Coryphei of mysticism. . Madame Guyon approached nearest the
“But apt the mind or fancy is to rove
Unpracticed, unprepared, and still to seek.”
ART. VII.—THE CHURCH RELATION OF INFANTS.
IN a former article we spoke of the “moral condition of infants;" in the present we propose to speak of their “ Church relation.” The object of the former article was to show what was the state of our common humanity, by virtue of the atonement, prior to any responsible act of the creature; the object of the present article is, to show what is the condition in which our human nature should be placed, according to the prospective designs of redemption, in order that its responsible action may be suitable to the will of God, and that the grace of childhood may be rendered effectual to the early and continued salvation of the child. What we are before responsible action, by the unconditional benefits of grace, is one thing; but what are the possibilities of our nature by the efficacy of that same grace, under appointed instrumentalities, through all the developed grades of moral action, is quite a distinct question,
We propose to discuss the present subject under the following heads : I. The nature and force of the Church relation of children, II. The method by which the spiritual blessings of this relation become available to the child. III. The efficacy of an early and faithful use of the appointed means for the salvation of childhood.
I. 1. A perpetual cause of stumbling to the faith of the Church is, that the nature and force of the Church relation of infants are not clearly comprehended. Children are related to the Church spiritually, really, vitally. It is no figure of speech, but a first truth in the divine economy. When our Lord said that “ of such is the kingdom of heaven," he affirmed a spiritual relation. He did not predicate their membership in his kingdom of the simple fact of their baptism or their circumcision, but of their being redeemed children. Their relation to the “ kingdom” arose from their relation to the King, and it applied to all children as such. Baptism is only the sign and seal of membership; the spiritual relation, which is the real one, precedes the emblematic and the conventional, and is the moral ground of the latter.
So also when our Lord says, “Whoso receiveth one such little child in my name receiveth me,” (Matt. xviii, 5,) he completely identifies little children with himself and his spiritual family, the true Church. In Mark ix, 41, the phrase, “ in my name,” is explained to mean, “because ye belong to me.” This is decisive of the sense. On no other ground could they be “received in Christ's name.” And this he affirms of little children, such as one could hold in his arms, as Christ then held that little one. (Compare Matt. xviii, 2, etc., with Mark ix, 36.) Now, this "receiving" one in Christ's name is an act of Church fellowship, a recognition of true discipleship, and draws after it an acknowledgment of all the duties arising out of that admitted relation. Here is no hyperbole, no exaggeration, no strong language that needs to be pared down and qualified till it suits the sentiments of a remiss or a godless Church; but a literal and glorious declaration of the Head of the Church, a command to now recognize them as legitimate members of the spiritual commonwealth. It is an instruction officially delivered to the apostles, to be transmitted to the Church through all ages; and for the fulfillment of the same both Church members and officers will render an account to the Master. Of the same import is tho