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Example of numinous poetry.

From Bhagavad-Glta, Chapter XI (Barnett s translation slightly


IN the Bhagavad-Gitft, Krishna, the embodiment of Vishnu Vishnu himself in human form instructs Aryuna in the deepest mysteries of his religion. Aryuna then desires to behold God himself in his own form, and his petition is granted. And now in Chapter XI there follows a theophany of terrific grandeur, which seeks to give a feeling of the unapproachable essence of the Divine before which the creature trembles and falls, by embodying the human and natural means of terror, majesty, and sublimity. Aryuna stands in his war-chariot, about to enter the carnage of the battle against his brother Yudhishthira s enemies. Krishna is his charioteer. Aryuna tells him his request. Show to me thy changeless Self, Sovran of the Rule. Krishna-Vishnu answers him :

  1. Behold now, O Wearer of the Hair-Knot, the whole universe,

moving and unmoving, solely lodged in this my body, and all else that thou art lain to see.

  1. But for that thou canst not see Me with this thine own eye,

I give thee a divine eye ; behold my sovran Rule.

  1. Thus speaking, Hari (i. e. Vishnu), the great Lord of the Rulo,

then showed to Pritha s son his sovran form supreme,

  1. of many mouths and eyes, of many divine ornaments, with

uplifted weapons many and divine ;

  1. wearing divine flower-chaplets and robes, with anointment of

divine perfumes, compound of all marvels, tha boundless god facing all ways.



  1. If the light of a thousand suns should of a sudden rise in the heavens, it would be like to the light of that mighty being. . . .

  2. Thereupon the Wealth- Winner (i.e. Aryuna), smitten with amazement, with hair standing on end, bowed his head, and with clasped hands spake to the God. . . .

  3. I behold Thee bearing diadem, mace, and disc, massed in radiance, on all sides glistening, hardly discernible, shining round about as gleaming fire and sun, immeasurable. . . .

  1. For this mid-space between heaven and earth and all the

quarters of the sky are filled with Thee alone. Seeing this Thy fearful and wonderful form, O great-hearted one, the threefold world quakes.

  1. These hosts of Suras come unto Thee; some, affrighted, praise

with clasped hands. With cries of " Hail ! " the hosts of Great Saints and Adepts sing to Thee hymns of abounding praise.

  1. All the Spirits and Divine Powers that live in heaven and

earth, in clouds and winds, in air and water, Daemons, Manes, Asuras, Saints, and Adepts, all gaze on Thee in amazement.

  1. Looking upon Thy mighty form of many mouths and eyes,

of many arms and thighs and feet, of many bellies, and grim with many teeth, O mighty-armed one, the worlds and I quake.

  1. For as I behold Thee touching the heavens, glittering, many

hued, with yawning mouths, with wide eyes agleam, my inward soul trembles, and I find not constancy nor peace, O Vishnu.

  1. Seeing Thy mouths grim with teeth, like to the fire of the

last day, I recognize not the quarters of the heavens, and take no joy ; Lord of Gods, home of the universe, be gracious !

  1. These sons of Dhritarashtra all, with the hosts of kings,

Bhishma, Drona, and the Charioteer s son yonder, and likewise the chief of our warriors,

  1. hasting enter into Thy mouths grim with fangs and terrible ;

some, caught between the teeth, appear with crushed heads.

  1. As many currents of rivers flow to meet the sea, so these

warriors of the world of mankind pass into Thy blazing mouths.

  1. As moths with exceeding speed pass into a lighted fire to

perish, so pass the worlds with exceeding speed into Thy mouths to perish.



  1. Thou devourest and lickest up all the worlds around with

flaming mouths ; filling the whole universe with radiance, grim glow Thy splendours, O Vishnu !

  1. Relate to me who Thou art in this grim form. Homage to

Thee, chief of gods ; be gracious ! I would fain know Thee as First Being. . . .

Thereupon Vishnu reassumes his friendly Krishna-form. Aryuna s petition to comprehend the incomprehensible is not granted him. It is forbidden to man, as Luther says, to soar into the height of Majesty : he must confine himself to the Word of gracious Promise. Such a word is imparted. The tremendous chapter closes with the words which expositors take as the sum and epitome of the whole Glta :

    • He who does what he does for Me alone ; who is given over to Me, who is devoted to Me, void of attachment, without hatred to any born being, O son of Pandu, comes to Me.

TJie Numinous in Hymn and Liturgy.

A comparison of two poems may indicate the difference between a merely rational glorification of the Godhead and one that also prompts to a feeling of the non-rational, the numinous, in its aspect of mysterium tremendum . Gellert can sing of The Honour of God from Nature powerfully and finely enough

Die Himmel riihmen des Ewigen Ehre, Ihr Schall pflanzt seinen Namen fort.

Here everything is bright, rational, and intimate up to the last verse :

Ich bin Dein Scho pfer, bin Weisheit und Glite,

Ein Gott der Ordnung und Dein Heil.

Ich bin s ! Mich liebe von ganzem Gemtite,

Und ii i in in an meiner Gnade teil.

But, beautiful as this hymn is, we do not encounter there the 1 honour of God in all its fullness. Some element is missing, and what this is we feel at once when we compare with this hymn that composed at an earlier date by E. Lange, To the Majesty of God :

Vor Dir erbebt der Engel Chor, Sie schlagen Aug und Antlitz nieder, So schrecklich kommst Du ihnen vor Und davon schallen ihre Lieder. . . . O



Denn Dein ist Kraft und Ruhm,

Das Reich und Heiligtum,

Da mich Entsetzen niir entreisset.

Bei Dir ist Majestat

Die iiber alles geht,

Und heilig, heilig, heilig, heisset.

That goes farther than Gellert. And yet even here there is still something lacking, something that we find in the Song of the Seraphim in Isaiah vi. Even Lange, despite his numb amaze ment , sings ten long stanzas ; the angels sing a bare two lines. And he incessantly speaks to God in the second person singular ; whereas the angels speak before Yahweh in the third person. 11   So then, let Thy fear, O Yahweh our God, come over all Thy creatures, and reverent dread (emateka) of Thee upon all that Thou hast made, that all Thy creatures may fear Thee and every being bow before Thee and that they may all become bonded together to do Thy will with all their heart, even as we know, O Yahweh our God, that Thine is the lordship, that might is in Thy hand and power in Thy right hand and Thy name exalted above all that Thou hast created.

A liturgy unusually rich in numinous hymns and prayers is that of Yom Kippur, the great Day of Atonement of the Jews. It is overshadowed by the Holy, Holy, Holy of the Seraphim (Isa. vi), which recurs more than once, and it has prayers in it as wonderful as the ubelcen ten pachdeM :


FEELINGS and emotions, as states of mental tension, find their natural relaxation in uttered sounds. It is evident that the numinous feeling also, in its first outbreak in consciousness, must

11   So then, let Thy fear, O Yahweh our God, come over all Thy creatures, and reverent dread (emateka) of Thee upon all that Thou hast made, that all Thy creatures may fear Thee and every being bow before Thee and that they may all become bonded together to do Thy will with all their heart, even as we know, O Yahweh our God, that Thine is the lordship, that might is in Thy hand and power in Thy right hand and Thy name exalted above all that Thou hast created.: In point of fact one cannot always speak to God as Thou , and sometimes not at all. St. Theresa addresses God as Eternal Majesty , and the French readily use Vous for Tu . And Goethe came very near to the tremendum mysterium -when he said to Eckermann (Dec. 31, 1823) : People treat the name of God as though the inconceivable and wholly incomprehensible supreme Being were not far more than such as they. Else they would not say : " The Lord God," " the dear God," " the good God." Were they penetrated through and through by a sense of His greatness, they would be dumb and unable to name Him for very veneration.



have found sounds for its expression, and at first inarticulate sounds rather than words ; but it is improbable that it devised special and peculiar sounds for itself. Analogous as it is to other feelings, it no doubt adopted the already familiar sounds expressive of the emotions of terror, amazement, joy, and the like. But it could, and sometimes did, put, as it were, a special stamp upon sounds coined for a different use. The German interjection Hu I , for instance, expresses to-day invariably and exclusively, not terror in general, but terror accompanied by shuddering, i.e. numinous terror . So, too, whereas hus in vulgar Arabic is, I am told, a sound expressive of soothing in general, the correspond ing Hebrew sound has is only found in a numinous context. (Cf. Amos vi. 10 : Hold thy tongue (7ms), for we may not make men tion of the name of the Lord. Zeph. i. 7: Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God. Hab. ii. 20; Judges iii. 19; also Amos viii. 3.) Such a specialization of a common interjection has very possibly often come about. When the ecstatic Dervishes of Islam bring their Zikr to an end, they break into ejaculations, such as Allah Akbar , which end finally in a protracted groan ing Hu. This IlQ has indeed been explained on rational grounds as the Arabic personal pronoun of the third person, He , i.e. Allah. But any one who has actually heard these ejaculations finds it hard to think of them simply as pronouns. Rather we have the impression that in this sound the numinous feeling is seeking to discharge itself.

This specialization is perhaps the clue to the understanding of the Sanskrit word atcarya, to which reference has been made more than once. Its derivation has been hitherto an enigma ; but one may conjecture that the explanation is in fact very simple, and that the word is just a compound of the two words as and carya. Carya = agendum , that which is done or is to be done ; while as is a primitive sound to express the stupendum , the long protracted open vowel of wonder (a, oh, ha), combining with the sibilant, which in all languages is used to express or produce a terrified silence (cf. Hist! Sh ! Sst !). An fe-carya l would not then be properly and primarily anything conceptual at all, nor even a marvel , but simply that in the presence

o 2



of which we must exclaim " as ! as! ". If this interpreta tion is correct, we can detect in this word just the original shudder of numinous awe in the first and earliest form in which it expressed itself, before any figure of speech, objective represen tation, or concept had been devised to explicate it ; it bursts forth crudely and vehemently in this primal cry and is unable to name its object otherwise than as a something before which such sounds must involuntarily be uttered. Professor Geldner has kindly sent me a reference to a passage in the Kena-Upanishad (iv. 29) which seems to me to be an excellent confirmation of this and at the same time to illustrate how the primal numinous feel ing did originally emerge as pure feeling, before any concept or concrete representation of it had come into being. The fine, nal ve old Kena-Upanishad aims at making perceptible to the disciple that before which * all words turn back , and proceeds just as we do, by trying to produce in him an appropriate feeling reflex by means of a simile. The lines run :

This is the way It (sc. Brahman) is to be illustrated : When lightnings have been loosened :

aaah ! When that has made the eyes to be closed

aaah ! So far concerning Deity (devata).

What, then, is the devata, the Brahman? It is an a-caryam, i. e. that in whose presence we must exclaim "aaah ! " And one cannot * illustrate the numinous character of this aaah by any better analogy than that of the lightning here given. The unexpectedness and suddenness of the lightning-flash, its dreadful weirdness, its overpoweringness and dazzling splendour, the fright and the delight of it, give it an almost numinous impressiveness, and indeed often do produce an actual numinous impression on the mind.

This reference of Professor Geldner s seems to me all the more significant from the fact that it appears to me to adumbrate quite a new method of solving the old puzzle of the Brahman , and what it means. For this task philosophical speculation is too elevated, mere etymology too insufficient, a method. What is necessary in order really to get at the heart of the matter is to have rediscovered and recaptured the feelings which this word originally connoted and which thrill through it. And for this we have again a very



instructive passage in that which, immediately preceding the one just quoted (Kena, iii. 15). at the same time serves to elucidate it. It is where the Devas catch for the first time an intimation of the Brahman . They ask, in amazement, and yet obviously also in extreme eagerness : Kim idamydksam ? of which Deussen s trans lation What marvellous thing (Wunderding) is this? is too tame a rendering. It is more exactly: What un-thing (Unding) is this? in the sense in which this expression is popularly used for a thing of which no one can say what it is or whence it comes, and in whose presence we have the feeling of the uncanny. Yaks a , like Unding , is sometimes a word for a ghost, and is originally the unyehcucr , monstrous , in the sense of the un canny, e<-rie, apparition , or spectre. And it is just as such that the Brahman* in this passage behaves. It does the things goblins and magical creatures usually do, vanishing suddenly like a true phantom at the climax of the transaction. Such feelings, which we meet at the commencement of the great Mysticism of Brahman, attend its course continually, and he who cannot recognize and detect their presence there cannot do more than reconstruct the meagre skeleton of concepts they have left behind. And the same thing, mutatis mutandis, holds good also for Western Mysticism.

Another original sound in which the numinous feeling is articulated is certainly the holy syllable t om\ It likewise has no sort of conceptual connotation. Like the particle as, it is simply an articulated sound no word, nor even a complete syllable, for the m in which it ends is not an ordinary m , but simply the long protracted nasal continuation of the deep o sound. It is really simply a sort of growl or groan, sounding up from within as the quasi-reflex expression of profound emotion in circumstances of a numinous-magical nature, and serving to relieve consciousness of a felt burden, almost physical in its constraining force. And this constraint and compulsion to expression are still recoverable to our feeling when we recapture this mood of submergence and absorption in the wholly other .

This Om is exactly parallel to the similar sound in Sanskrit, Hum like it, nothing but a numinous ejaculation, with probably no further significance.

It would be a task for the history and psychology of religion alike to examine the innumerable nainea of gods and demons, anJ



perhaps also the various designations for ghost, soul, and spirit, with a view to seeing whether many of them may not simply have arisen from original numinous sounds and thus be parallels to the name d&carya, already considered. 11   K. Miiller suggests that the divine name Yah, Yahu, may have had this origin. Euoios , the secondary name of Bacchus, may also denote simply him in whose presence one ejaculates Euoi . He could cite in his support Jelaleddin, who says in Divan 31. 8: I know no other than Yahu. This is here certainly nothing but one of the most familiar dervish cries (as the translator adds in a note, p. 282), and will then mean, in accordance with the usual rendering, he , or, as we rather suspect, simply hu\ Nicholson puts Yahweh in brackets, without further justification. Cf. R. A. Nicholson, Selected Poems from the Divani Sharnsi Tabriz, Cambridge, 1898.



THE non-rational which we were looking for in the Idea of the divine was found in the numinous, and in our recognition of this we came to see that rationalistic speculation tends to conceal the divine in God, and that before God becomes for us rationality, absolute reason, a personality, a moral will, He is the wholly non-rational and * other , the being of sheer mystery and marvel. We had to turn to the feelings of horror and shudder and spectral haunting in order, by means of these caricatures of the authentic numinous emotions, to break through the hard crust of rationalism and bring into play the feelings buried deep down in our religious consciousness.

Now what is true of our apprehension of the divine is true also of its counterpart in the creature soul and spirit. Gregory of Nyssa well says : Since one of the signs of the Divine Nature is its essential incomprehensibility, in this also must the copy be like the original. For were the nature of the copy comprehended, when the original was above comprehension, the copy would be a mistaken one. But, inasmuch as the nature of our spirit is above our understanding, it has here an exact resemblance to the all-sublime, representing by its own unfathomableness the incom prehensible Being of God. Here, too, we need to break up anew



our hardened and crusted feelings and to withstand the intellectualizing tendency to which we are so prone in our doctrine of the soul and its creation in God s image. For this divine image in man also does not merely consist in the fact that he is reasonable, moral, intelligent, and a person, but primarily in the fact that in its profoundest depths his being is indeed for religious self-con sciousness something numinous that the soul is mystery and marvel. This is ho\v Mysticism apprehends it, and we can understand at once why this is so from our definition of Mysticism as the tendency to stress up to an extreme and exaggerated point the non-rational aspect of religion. And what was already stir ring in crude fashion at the earliest and lowest stage of numinous feeling recurs at the most exalted level of Mysticism with after effects that colour the whole experience. In the mystic s praise of the soul, and in that fundus animae of which he tells the mysteries, there echoes the stupor before the wholly other that characterized the primitive belief in souls and even primitive feeling of the presence of ghosts.

We said above (p. 124) that the most interesting point in the primitive idea of soul is not the form given to it in fantasy, multifarious in its variations, but the element of feeling stupor which it liberates, and the character of mystery and wholly otherness which surrounds it. This fact is obscured in the measure in which the soul becomes later the subject of myth, fairy story, and narrative, speculation and doctrine, and finally of psychological investigation. It then becomes more and more something entirely rational ; its origin in magic and mystery becomes overlaid with concepts, scholastic terms, and classifica tions. The Doctrine of souls or * Atman of the Indian Sankhya system is the best example of this. But even this cannot entirely conceal the fact that Soul or Atman is properly the thing of marvel and stupefaction, quite undefinable, outsoaring all concep tions, wholly alien to our understanding. And this finds wonderful expression in the verses of the Glta, 2. 29, which we transcribe here of intention in the original :

AScaryavat paSyati kaScid enam. AScaryavad vadati tathaiva can yah. AScaryavac cainam an yah Srinoti,

Srutva pyenam veda na caiva kaScit.

The sound of these verses suggests a magic formula, almost a



conjuration, especially when they are heard intoned in the peculiar sacred sing-song in which such lines are commonly recited. The note of magic and mystery is very palpable in them. As for the translation, it is usual to render Ascaryam by strange ,

  • wondrous , * a thing of wonder or marvel ; but we should perhaps catch the emotional accent in the lines more exactly as follows :

As wholly other doth one gaze upon it (sc. Atman).

He speaketh of the * wholly other , who speaketh of the Atman.

Something wholly other hath he learned, who hath learned

the Atman. Yet none, albeit he hath learned it, may come to know it.

But, however they be rendered into another language, there is living in these old phrases a profoundly numinous self-feeling, which still retains a trace of the stupor before an apparition of spirits. And it is continued where the Glta (2. 25) designates the Atman the acintya , i. e. that which is incomprehensible by thought. In this it is exactly like the fundus animae , the

  • spark , i Synderesis , or * Inner Abyss of our own Western mystics. In both cases we have, surviving in an ennobled form, the primal awe and shrinking before the presence of dscaryam and adbhutam , the haunting presence that prompts the earliest numinous feelings. For, as an old mystic tells us, the soul and its bottommost depth lie hidden away, ineffable as God himself so that no human skill ever attains to be able to know what the Soul is in its bottommost depth. For that a supernatural skill is needed. It is what is without a name. And the heights and depths which are disclosed in these Men can be grasped by no human sense or reason, for they surpass in their profundities all understanding - 1

Finally, it may be said that we catch a last reflection of the numinous wonder in the wonder, one might almost say in the eager curiosity, with which Augustine roves through the chambers of the soul, even when he is pursuing * psychological discussion. He feels that he has a story of marvel to tell when he describes the soul. His psychology is half nurninology . Cf. Confessions, x. 6-27.

The clearer insight into the inmost marvel of the soul is not set free as a sort of reflex : it comes in the experience as an uprush,

1 Greith, pp. 70 and 80.



an irruption, a burst of illumination, * like a flash , in the English phrase, as a sudden aper?u , in Goethe s. And so it easily shows the two elements ; on the one hand there is an entry or penetra tion into consciousness of inspiration, sudden, unmeditated, once and for all achieved ; and on the other hand there is a reminis cence (anamnesis), a recollection of something that was a familiar possession in the obscurity of feeling even before the moment of insight. Both of these elements are indicated in the old KenaUpanishad, when (iv. 30), after speaking of the Brahman in the significant verses we have already considered (p. 196), the text goes on at once to speak of the Atman, in words which may be rendered thus :

Now in respect to the Atman:

It is as though something forces its way into consciousness And consciousness suddenly remembers

Such a state of mind illustrates the awakening of knowledge of the Atman.

We may compare the saying of Plato, already quoted (p. 98 n.); and, finally, the words of Meister Eckhart :

Upon this matter a heathen sage hath a fine saying in speech with another sage: " I become aware of something in me which flashes upon my reason. I perceive of it that it is something, but what it is I cannot conceive. Only meseems that, could I conceive it, I should comprehend all truth." (W. Lehmann, Meister Eckhart, Gottingen, 1917, p. 243.)

And the obscure Heracleitus says: Thou canst not discover the bounds of the soul albeit thou pacest its every road: so deep is its foundation.



WE said above that the feeling of the wholly other gives rise in Mysticism to the tendency to follow the via negationis , by which every predicate that can be stated in words becomes excluded from the absolute Numen i. e. from Deity till finally the Godhead LJ designated aa nothingness and nullity , bearing



in mind always that these terms denote in truth immeasurable plenitude of being. Now this is also the origin of that tendency to let the conception of personality and the personal also be sub merged in the same nothingness , a tendency which is in appear ance so irreligious. We need not dispute that the denial of personality to God does often in fact denote a wholly irreligious attitude ; mostly it is simply a disguised form of atheism, or betokens a desperate attempt to equate faith in God with belief in natural law and with naturalism. But it would be a huge error to suppose that anything of this kind is in the minds of the mystics when they set themselves to oppose the idea of personality in God. We shall be in a better position to understand what they are contending for if we take Mysticism following our previous definition as meaning the preponderance in religious conscious ness, even to the point of one-sided exaggeration, of its non rational features. What we have, then, is a sort of antinomy, arising from the inner duality in the idea of the divine and the tension of its more rational and its more non-rational elements. (The non-rational assumes thus an apparently irrational character.) It is the wholly other aspect of the numen, resisting every analogy, every attempted comparison, and every determination ; so that it is here really true that omnis determinatio est negatio .

Now this holds good not only in the case of the most lofty and reverent feelings, in which devotion and worship reach their con summation, but also in the case of that primary and elemental awe of which we spoke on pages 129-132. Let us glance once more at the experience given in the story of Jacob at Bethel, there cited (Gen. xxviii. 16-17). If we use as a clue to it our own power of imagina tive sympathy, introspection will show that even this experience contains a clear antinomy, a conflict of opposites. We said that the pure elemental awe mirrored in Jacob s first words, How dreadful is this place ! , is rendered explicit in the words that fol low. The simple experience of avvefulness is intej-pretcd all but instinctively, and apart from reflection and the interpretation is, in the English phrase, a presence , a real, present, and personal being. Now though we certainly feel that such an interpretation is needed and in some sense right, and that we should in Jacob s place have found no other to explicate our feeling, yet we are no less certainly conscious of a counter-impulse in us which resists



it, suggesting that, when all is said, such expressions as Being , 1 Person , Thou , He , are strangely alien and repugnant to the very import of tho experience. Does this Power that impresses us with such awe admit of being comprised in such a firm outline, admit of question and answer in the second person ? Is not this interpretation at first glance distinctly anthropomorphic? The abstract English expression, a presence , is itself a good indica tion of this for a presence is simply felt, and the English usage of words is chary of saying anything more specific. The Personalism of the later developed mythology and the later developments of ordered worship (mostly practised on a wholly personalist basis) have tended more and more to extrude this authentic and sensitive element of feeling from the religious experience; and the daemon or god , which they both con tributed to shape, is not richer but poorer in content than the object of that primal awe , corresponding only to certain sides and aspects of it. Before the gods were the hard-outlined, clear-featured goda of the myths, they were numina , and, though the numcn certainly gains something from subsequent mythology in definitenoss and fixity of representation, it also certainly loses something of its original wealth of meaning in the process. In drawing more near to earth and to humanity, it comes itself to acquire human traits, and, that this tendency may not be carried too far, it is necessary now and then to melt down, as it were, the human lineaments of God in the more elemental entirety of the original experience. Tho numen has, no doubt, in itself per sonal features, which somehow enable the worshipper to refer to it by a pronoun, as he or she . But, while the limits of the personal are at this stage still fluid, they cannot (any more than in the case of the more definite figure of the God ) quite com prise the full import of the inapprehensible and unnameable, which presses out beyond them.

Thus already, at the cutset, w find in the numen of primitive religious feeling that tension between the personal and the suprapersonal which recurs again in the maturer stages of the developing experience of God. It is to be found next in the comparatively low level of the daemonic , where it is disclosed in an actual difference in the verbid forms employed. The Greek Baip^v is indisputably a single, concrete, personal Being ; the SaifMoviov, that, for example, of Socrates, is certainly none of these neither



concrete, nor personal, and hardly even to be called a being or individual entity. Yet in the impressiveness and devout awe which it suggests Sou/toi/iov is, if anything, the richer of the two terms. In Indian terminology rdksds is the concrete, personal, and masculine Daemon , but a transposition of the accent to the first syllable gives raksas (the neuter), t the daemonic , or rather demonic ; a word, perhaps, more charged with terror than is raksas ; and the fact that the difference is merely one of accent shows very clearly how easily the one meaning passes into the other. But exactly the same thing is seen again at that highest stage, at which the unfolding of the numinous consciousness reaches its climax in India : brahman is the everlasting Lord and God, the personal Brahma ; while brahman is the divine Absolute, the supra-personal Brahma, an It rather than a * He . And the two are bound together in indissoluble union as the two essential poles of the eternal unity of the Numen. And here, again, the closeness of their interconnexion is emphatically shown by the fact that they are denoted by one and the same word and distinguished by a mere change of accent and gender.

Now it is generally supposed that there is something peculiarly and specifically oriental in this characteristic of Indian religion. But this is by no means the case. On the contrary, one may venture to assert that all gods are more than mere (personal) gods, and that all the greater representations of deity show from time to time features which reveal their ancient character as numina and burst the bounds of the personal and theistic. This is obviously the case where the experienced relation of the worshipper to his god does not exclusively take the form of contact with a * beyond and transcendent being, but comes somehow as the experience of seizure and possession by the god, as being filled by him, an experience in which the god wholly or partially enters the believer and dwells in him, or assimilates him to his own divine nature, commingling with his spirit and becoming very part of him ; or, again, where the god becomes the sphere in which we live and move and have our being . And what god has not in some sense had this character ? It is certainly true of the personal Isvara of India, who, besides his personal character, pervades his Bhakta as antaryamin , the immanent Indweller; it is true of Ahura-maeda, who by his spirits does the same ; and it is true of Dionysus, Apollo, and Zeus. No less than the mere



crude daemon can the god become 7rvef/ia and permeate the soul of man. And in so far the notion of a god passes beyond the sphere of social and personal ideas and breaks through the confines of the merely personal. Persons cannot strictly inter penetrate, cannot become one inclusive of another. Such relations experienced between man and deity become altogether irrational, if we judge them by the standard of personality.

The Yahweh of the Old Testament is also more than a god in the merely personal sense, for though it is a sign of his superior value to all tribal gods, that the personal traits are so incompar ably more strongly marked in him, yet other and non-personal features are not lacking. We come up against these in groping fashion in the comparison made between God s dealings with men and the working of an inexplicable force spontaneously released. But the second name of Yahweh, * Elohim , is also a proof of their existence. Elohim is gods , in the plural ; and * in the begin ning created (sing.) " gods" heaven and earth . Our way to-day, when we try to escape from the too narrow confines of the notion of unitary personality applied to God, is to use either an abstract noun, deity (die Gottheit), or an adjectival neuter expression, the divine (das gottliche). In Israel the same groping instinct had recourse to the adoption or adaptation of a plural substantive form, which was yet made to govern a verb in the singular ! There cannot be a more uncompromising expression of what we called the antinomy or conflict of opposites in the experience of the numinous. It is very similar when later Shamayim, l Heaven , becomes a name for God to be used once as such also in the Gospel. It does not in the least signify an abstract way of conceiving God ; but rather the feeling that endeavours to escape from any too anthropomorphic conception. Above all does the God of Job burst the bounds of interpretation by mere persona lity, as we have already seen. Moreover, Yahweh also is the nuinen which, blowing in the form of spirit, enters as ruach and TTveu/za into his chosen, mingling with their spirit, an antaryamin in full completion.

And so, when we turn to the New Testament, we see that the Pneumatology and doctrine of Immanence in Paul and John, which give such unmistakable expression to the supra-personal aspect of the divine as the Light and the Life , do not mean a sudden irruption into religion of a wholly novel and alien



element, but merely the complete realization of what was all the while potential in the character of Yahweh in his essence as a numen.

And what of the loftiest of all Christian claims, God is Love ? Usually we hear this saying without remarking how extraordinary it is. If we think of God in strictly and narrowly personal terms, He can indeed be He that loves , the loving One . But the God who is Love, who pours Himself out as love and becomes the love whereby Christians love, is something more even than this. 11   There is an echo of this antinomy in the dispute of the Scholastics whether the love whereby we love is the Spiritus Sanctus ,i.e. Godllimself, or merely His donum . In fine, even our GOD is more than merely god . And, when Meister Eckhart says that one must stand apart from God in order to find deity, his error is certainly grave, but it is one which we can easily conceive as springing from the very heart of religion. 2

But it is very evident that the religious attitude in face of this supra-personal aspect of the numen must be different from the ordinary attitude in personal intercourse by petition, prayer, colloquy. These have all assuredly pertained to the essence of religion from the earliest times, yet from the beginning they were not the only forms of intercourse. The numen on its side has intercourse with man in attracting him to it, seizing upon him, possessing him, breathing upon him, filling and permeating him. Its function is fvepytio-Oai, and on his side the man, the eve/ryov/x.ei os, is filled, possessed, made one with the numen. And what is true at the lower levels is true also at the highest. The Divine,



experienced as light , fire , and TTVCV/IO, cannot properly accost or be accosted. It is a penetrating glow and illumination, fulfil ment, transfiguration most of all where it is experienced as * Life , or (what is but the intensification of this) as very Being . One can make a petition for life, but not to life. One is simply quickened through and through by it ; one cannot address it as Thou . And so intercourse with the numen comprises a way other than that of personal intercourse, that of the mystic . Each of the two, the personal and the mystical, belongs to the other, and the language of devotion uses very naturally the phrases and expressions of both commingled. They are not different forms of religion, still less different stages in religion, the one higher and better than the other, but the two essentially united poles of a single fundamental mental attitude, the religious atti tude. In Luther s conception of faith they are found in this relation openly manifested, where fides denotes both fiducia or trust a term implying personal intercourse and adhaesio , or intimate contact, a term essentially mystical.

It is in the light of this primal fact of religion that we must seek an answer to the question as to the general place of Personalism and Supra-personalism in religious history, and only so are we likely to avoid confounding this question with the question of Theism and Pantheism, with which it has nothing in common. In my books Vishnu-Narayana (pp. 59, 63) and Siddhanta dc* Ilamanuja (pp. 2, 80) I have referred further to the subject. And I have shown in a paper, Neues Singen (Christliche Welt, 1919, No. 48), its important practical bearings for religious conduct and its expression in prayer and hymn. I reproduce the relevant passage :

Our usual Prayers and Hymns confine themselves to the region which I call the "rational". They lack that element which I call the non-rational or the " numinous ". But this is the other half of religion, its profounder and more mysterious background and basis. Yet only seldom has hymnody hitherto done justice to it. Consequently we are very deficient in the great and impressive "Hymns of Reverence ", the hymns of the (grammatical) third person, and our hymns are almost entirely in the second person, " Thou ", not " He ". Now there is something lacking in this constant, direct, obvious mode of accosting God in the second person singular. The Seraphim in Isaiah vi do not venture on such an address, and many a glorious Ekteny and Litany of the older Liturgies follows their example. The creature



is simply unable to stand face to face with the Eternal without interruption ; his vision cannot bear the perpetual sight of Holi ness without an occasional screen. He needs sometimes the oblique as well as the straight, frontal approach, the indirect relationship with face half averted and covered, as well as the direct ; and consequently his utterance should not be so continu ally in the form of an address to God as to exclude prayerful and thoughtful discourse about Him. The same holds good of prayer in general, not merely of hymns. " Third person " hymns in this sense are not necessarily less, but under certain conditions may even be more genuine and first-hand utterances than those which address God as "Thou ". There is a further consequence. It is often thought that the designations of deity in impersonal, neuter terms (" It "), rather than in terms of person and masculine pronoun ("He", "Thou"), are too poor and too pale to gain a place in our Christian thought of God. But this is not always correct. Frequently such terms indicate the mysterious overplus of the non-rational and numinous, that cannot enter our " concepts " because it is too great and too alien to them ; and in this sense they are quite indispensable, even in hymns and prayers. It is a defect in our devotional poetry that it hardly knows any other image for the eternal mystery of the Godhead than those drawn from social intercourse and personal relationship, and so it tends to lose sight of just the mysterious transcendent aspect of deity. Assuredly God is for us " Thou " and a Person. But this Per sonal character is that side of His nature which is turned man ward it is like a "Cape of Good Hope", jutting out from a mountain range which, as it recedes, is lost to view in the " tene brae aeternae " only to be expressed by the suspension of speech and the inspiration of sacred song.

So far we have spoken of the personal and supra-personal as applied to the supreme, spiritual Being. But what is true here is no less true of that which was created in its image, our own human soul or spirit. In us too all that we call person and per sonal, indeed all that we can know or name in ourselves at all, is but one element in the whole. Beneath it lies, even in us, that wholly other , whose profundities, impenetrable to any concept, can yet be grasped in the numinous self-feeling l by one who has experience of the deeper life.





IN connexion with the discussion of Luther s conception of faith on page 107, I would refer to my book, Die Anschauung vom Heiligen Gciste bei Luther, the chapter Geist und Glaube (pp. 25-46), which includes the inquiry into Luther s conception of Faith and how far Faith for him is not merely confidence and trust (confidere, fiducia), but also a * cleaving to God in feeling and will (adhaerere Deo). And then let the reader study the noble little work of Johann von Kastl, De Adhacrcndo Deo, to recognize the inner connexion of Luther with Mysticism in regard to his conception of faith, especially the 12th chapter, De Amore Dei quod efficax sit. Luther says nothing of the impelling power of Faith to bring to new birth, to justify and to sanctify, that is not also said in this chapter of the * Amor Mysticus .

  • Solus amor est, quo convertimur ad Deum, transformamur in Deum, adhaeremus Deo, unimur Deo, ut simus unus spiritus cum eo, et beatificemur cum eo. *

Here * amor is the potent, active, creative thing that changes us and brings us to new birth . * Love , too, like Faith, is the affect that knows no quiescence.

  • Proinde nihil amore acutius, nihil subtilius, aut penetrabilius. Nee quiescit, donee universaliter totam amabilis penetravit virtutern et profunditatem ac totalitatem, et unum se vult facere cum amato. Vchcmenter tendit in eum et ideo nunquam quiescit, donee omnia transeat et ad ipsuin in ipsum veniat. 2

The effect of this adhaesio is thus exactly that which Luther also frequently describes :

Quippe qui Deo adhaeret, versatur in lumine . . . qua ex re est

  • For nothing is keener, nothing more subtle or more penetrating, than Love. Nor does it rest until it has penetrated the whole power and depth and entirety of its object, and its will is to make itself one with the loved one. It strives towards him with vehemence and so never has rest until it has passed through all things and reached him and entered into him.


hominis in hac vita sublimior perfectio, ita Deo uniri, ut tota anima cum omnibus potentiis suis et viribus in Dominum Deum suum sit collecta, et unus fiat spiritus cum eo. l

Luther calls this, in a still more violent expression, mit Gott ein Kuche werden (to become kneaded into one cake with God).

It should at the same time be noted that in Johann von Kastl this amor is already permeated through and through by Faith, Trust, Comfort, and the longing for certitude, and that for him no less than for Luther the Remission of Sins stands as the first step in the ordo salutis , the order of salvation. Thus :

Sic scilicet in Domino Deo de omni sua necessitate audcat plene totaliter confidere. Hoc ipso facto in tantum Deo complacet, ut suam ei gratiam largiatur et per ipsam grutiam veram sentiat caritatem et dilectionem, omnemque ambiguitatem et timorem expel lentem in Deoque confidenter sperantem 22   So then let (the soul) of its very necessity make the venture to trust wholly and completely in the Lord God. In this very wise is the soul so pleasing to God, that He bestows His own grace upon it, and by that very grace it comes to feel the true love and affection which drives away all doubt and all fear and hopes confidently in God. (op. cit, ch. 5).

And so adhaesio may come about just as well by means of * faith : sed tantum fide et bona voluntate adhaerere Deo 33   but only to cleave to God in faith and good will. (ch. 6).

Here, too, are freedom from care and the assurance of consola tion the things to be prized : et eius consolatione suaviter reficitur [^4] (ch. 7).

And the whole series of religious experiences, so often recurring in Luther, are already displayed in Johann von Kastl in their characteristic order:

. . . peccatorum remissio, amaritudinis expressio, collatio dulcedinis et securitatis, infusio gratiae et misericordiae, attractio et corroboratio familiaritatis atque abundans de ipso consolatio, firmaque adhaesio et unio. 3

  • and by his consolation is (the soul) sweetly restored. B The forgiveness of sins, the expelling of bitterness, the bestowal of sweetness and security, the inpouring of grace and of mercy, the attraction and the strengthening of friendship with Him and abundant comfort in Him, and a firm cleaving to Him and union with Him.


But a complete judgement upon Luther s connexion with Mysti cism will only be possible when all the manuscript remains of the popular mystical preaching of his time become known, which as yet lie undisturbed in our libraries. They will show the back ground and setting of Luther s thought and phraseology, the soil out of which they grew, and how many similarities and analogues there are to the feelings to which Luther gives expression. Were we unaware that the pamphlet Of the Liberty of a Christian was by Luther, we should probably count it among these writings. And in any case there are to be found within the limits of the socalled mystical literature contrasts in mental attitude that go farther than that between this work of Luther s and that of Johann von Kastl from which we have been quoting. And Luther is really far more akin to such a mystic as Meister Eckhart in his attitude than are either Plotinus on the one hand or, on the other, the crowd of God-enamoured monks and nuns, the doctores ecstatici and seraphici , such as Ignatius and John of the Cross, Theresa and Madame Guyon.

But such comparisons as this are illuminating not only upon the question of the historical relation between Lutheranism and mystical religion, which is, after all, not a very important issue, but also upon the question as to the connexion between the two in their essential nature. It has been said that for a Protestant to love Mysticism is mere dilettantism : if he is in earnest, he must become a Catholic. But then Mysticism is an ambiguous term. If we mean by it the melting transport of a transcendent quasinuptial rapture, then the assertion may be justified. But the really typical moments of mysticism creature-feeling and union are not less but more possible upon the basis of Luther s fides ( faith as fiducia and adhaesio ) than upon the basis of the amor mysticus .

Johann Arndt says at the commencement of his Four Books of True Christianity (ch. 5) : By this heart-felt confidence and heart felt trust man gives his heart to God utterly, reposes only in God, surrenders himself and attaches himself to Him, unites himself with God, becomes a sharer in all that is of God and of Christ, becomes one God with God. This is simply Luther s doc trine (his fides as fiducia and adhaesio ), clarified and raised to a higher power. These expressions might well be found in Luther s Of the Liberty of a Christian indeed their meaning is

p 2



to be found there. St. Paul says the same, only more forcibly still, in Gal. ii. 20 and 1 Cor. vi. 17.

But this question of the possibility of the transition from fides to the experience of union is not to be definitely decided by a citation of texts from Luther or from the Bible, but by a consideration of what Faith is in essence. Faith is more than a conviction of the truth of the eternal verities. It is a deeply felt state of tension with regard to them and of absorption in them ; and, as trust , it is the most intimate feeling of nearness. But in all this it contains in itself the core of that which is meant by mysterious terms like union , something that is more than the knowledge or the love of the earlier mystic schools. And this becomes still plainer to any one who has clearly recognized by deeper contemplation the profoundly non-rational elements to be found in the very act of faith.



(I GIVE here a passage from my Leben und Wirken Jesu rele vant to this subject, touched upon on p. 176.)

Jesus begins his work on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, and the Gospels present us with its main features unmistakably. He preaches in the synagogues, in the houses of his friends, on every sort of occasion at table and under the open sky, now sojourning in one spot, now journeying from place to place. His fame is spread abroad especially by means of the mysterious gift of healing which is active in him.

What are we to say of this ? The Jesus who works the miracles in the Synoptic narrative is, as we saw above, not the wonder worker par excellence, of whom we read in St. John s Gospel or whom the traditional view presents to us. But even in those passages which can be least impugned by criticism there is some thing incommensurable with our rational standards in the setting in which we see his figure, and this gift of healing is an example of it. The narratives of these acts of healing stand out with such



an assured and plain simplicity, with a clarity so wellnigh disconcerting, that they cannot be the fabrications of legend. We have only to read the sober account it is almost like an official report of the healing of Peter s wife s mother (Mark i. 29-31), or that of the healing of the man with the palsy (Mark ii. 1-12), with its concreteness of detail. And it is the same with many other cases. The story of the centurion of Capernaum, and Jesus astonished wonder at the faith of this Gentile ; the story of the woman of Canaan, and of how Jesus, at first reluctant, comes to be inwardly won over ; this is not the way of imagination and legend. Moreover, there is the fact that we encounter exactly similar occurrences among the early Christian communities. Even if we are ready to impugn the accounts of Jesus s miracles of healing in the Gospels, we cannot impugn the accounts in the Pauline epistles of the same thing as happening among the Corinthians, Galatians, and Romans, and to Paul himself. Here they stand in the full light of history and with the fullest testi mony of history. It is quite evident that both Paul and the first Christian communities were firmly convinced that they had the charismata , the gifts , among them. St. Paul gives, in 1 Cor. xii. 4-11, a formal catalogue of these, in which the gifts of healing the sick and of the exercise of super-normal physical power and other abnormal psychical gilts take their place alongside the gifts of tongues and prophecy. No doubt he says (1 Cor. xiii) that something is higher and more precious than all gifts , namely, the simple Christian virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love, and Love the greatest among these . But it is implied thereby that those other gifts too are a reality and a present possession. He has them in himself and frequently exercises them, and in every Christian congregation they make their appearance. In fact we have sure historical warrant for holding that gifts of this kind were in evidence for a long time beyond the borders of the early Church just as, for that matter, we have similar warrant for recognizing that analogous phenomena have been since observed in other than Christian surroundings. Will this mysterious region one day be clearly revealed to us ? We can at any rate say this: that our procedure is very uncritical if we propose to rule it out as non-existent simply because it does not square with our current conceptions of agreement with the natural order . Now tho fewer the preconceptions which we bring to our reading



of the narrative-material of the Gospels, as reviewed and guaran teed by a thorough criticism, the stronger becomes the impression that in Jesus these powers were present with a rare potency. We have in a sense a key to the matter in the peculiar predisposition and endowment for their calling which marked the great prophets of the Old Testament. What characterized them really was not omniscience and not the capacity of predicting a future many hundred years distant : it was beyond question in many cases a unique power of forefeeling and foreboding impending super normal occurrences that threatened to break in upon the natural course of events. This gift we have held to be not something * supernatural and miraculous in the old sense of the word, i. e. something that falls altogether outside all analogies of what happens elsewhere ; on the contrary, analogies in plenty for this extraordinary prophetic gift are to be found in the phenomena of clairvoyance, presentiment, second-sight, &c. Now it is possible that the gift of healing of Jesus which appears so puzzling was merely a heightened and intense form of capacities which lie dormant in human nature in general. But for a manifestation of the influence exerted by the psychical upon the physical we need in fact go no farther than the power of our will to move our body the power, that is, of a spiritual cause to bring about a mechani cal effect. There assuredly is an absolutely insoluble riddle, and it is only the fact that we have grown so used to it that prevents it from seeming a miracle to us. But, this granted, who can pronounce beforehand what intenser and heightened manifesta tions of this power may not be possible ? Who can presume to determine what direct results a will may not achieve which, wholly concentrated and at one with itself, rests altogether upon God ? We have had in recent years many indications of parallels and analogies to the miraculous power of Jesus in the newly discovered methods of suggestion and hypnotism, in telepathy, action at a distance , and (in my opinion) animal magnetism. All these suppositions may be accepted without misgiving, only with this addition, that what Jesus did passed gradually far beyond anything known to us in these fields ; and moreover, that Jesus whole power grew out of his consciousness of his mission, and his will, unusually strong as it was, drew its strength only from his religious and moral consciousness, from the fact that he was rooted and grounded in God.



If it be granted that Jesus really had an abnormal power in action, it is evident that this very fact would stimulate rumour and imagination to exaggeration and embellishment and invention of miraculous incident. It is evident that we may quite properly approach the miracle narratives with a certain expectation of finding such features in them ; and that it will not do, in face of some sheer prodigy, to rest content with the mysterious gift as a solution to every difficulty. Thus a raising from the dead, as that of Lazarus, or a changing of water into wine (both stories only in St. John), is excluded from the region of the historically conceivable and admissible. And there is in the Synoptists also matter enough that passes these limits, e. g. the walking on the sea, the feeding of the five thousand, the tale of the Gadarene swine. When such stories have been deducted, then practically all that is left in the Synoptic narrative are cases of healing, though of course some of these are of an astonishing character. There are also two cases of raising from the dead that of Jairus s daughter and that of the young man of Nain. Criticism will be inclined to reject these. It must, however, be granted that there is a real difference between these stories and that in St. John of the raising of Lazarus. Jairus s daughter had not lain three days in the grave, like Lazarus ; she had only lost consciousness a short time before the miracle. Where is the margin that divides complete death from the last faint glow of the spark of life, very likely already passed into unconsciousness? May not he who by his will had power to restore a consciousness confused by madness have had also the power to arrest a con sciousness just vanishing over the borders of life, and even awaken again in the body one that has but just vanished ? Here the account is strikingly concrete. Even the very words Jesus uses to awaken the girl as uttered in Aramaic Talitha Cumi are still given in the Aramaic form by the Greek narrator. There is nothing grandiose or theatrical, as is customarily the case with a miracle designed for display. Jesus only admits the most intimate even of his disciples, and the whole incident closes with the soberly practical injunction to give the newly restored child food, and with the direct prohibition to talk further about the event. We have only to compare with this the raising of Lazarus ; here is the exact opposite, a genuine miracle of display. The wonder-worker designedly delays his arrival, so



that a miracle becomes necessary ; the whole proceeding, with its solemn mise en-scene, takes place in public, and is accompanied by a prayer, which is at the same time a sort of address to the sur rounding spectators. The act is to be performed expressly * because of the people which stand by . This is how a miracle narrative looks when it is the offspring of literary art. The raisings from the dead given in St. Mark are quite other than this, and consequently a circumspect criticism may perhaps in their case suspend judgement.


Still-born Silence, thou that art Flood-gate of the deeper heart.

I TAKE these lines 11   They are quoted from Charles Lamb s essay, A Quakers Meeting , (Trans.) from a little Quaker book on Silent Worship" 22   Silent Worship : The Way of Wonder, by Violet Hodgkin. which, recently translated into German, should give the German public a good impression of the worship of silent waiting upon God which has been a feature of the Quaker community from the days of George Fox up to the present day. It is the most spiritual form of divine service which has ever been practised, and contains an element which no form of worship ought to be without, but which, as has been hinted on a former page, is unduly neglected in our Protestant devotional life. We must learn it once again from the Quakers, and thereby restore to our divine service a spirit of consecration the loss of which has cost it dearly.

Devotional Silence may have a threefold character. There is the numinous silence of Sacrament, the silence of Waiting, and the silence of Union or Fellowship.

  1. The first of these is that silence meant in the verse of the Prophet (Hab. ii. 20), Let all the earth keep silence before him.


Such impressive moments of silence were known not only in the worship of Israel but in that of other peoples. They are the culminating sacramental point in the worship, denoting as they do the instant when God is in the midst , experienced as numen praesens . All the preceding part of the service is but a preparation for this, a preparation for the moment of which the words hold good, Das Unzuliingliche, hier wird s Ereignis, the Insufficient here becomes Event . For what was previously only possessed in insufficiency, only longed for, now comes upon the scene in living actuality, the experience of the transcendent in gracious intimate presence, the * Lord s Visitation of His people . Such a realization is Sacrament, and what occasions it, attends, or prepares for it, must be termed sacramental. Such a silence is therefore a sacramental silence. It was found in the forms of worship of ancient Israel, and it is found to-day in the Roman Mass, in the moment of transubstantiation*.

  1. Next there is the silence of Waiting. The meaning of this is primarily other than sacramental. When the Quakers assemble for a quiet time together, this is first and foremost a time of waiting, and it has in this sense a double value. It means our submergence, i. e. inward concentration and detachment from the manifold outward distractions ; but this again has value as a preparation of the soul to become the pencil of the unearthly writer, the bent bow of the heavenly archer, the tuned lyre of the divine musician. This silence is, then, primarily not so much a dumbness in the presence of Deity, as an awaiting His coming, in expectation of the Spirit and its message. But it passes over naturally into the Sacramental Silence of which we have spoken. And in fact Silent Worship may remain without words from first to last it may exclude all utterance of the Spirit s message in vocal form, and in that case the worshippers part, as they met, without any audible exhortation or thanksgiving. Yet the worship need not have been in any way defective, for the silence may have been a direct numinous experience, as well as a wait ing upon God. Tho Eternal was present in the stillness and His presence was palpable without a word spoken. The solemn observance of silence became a Sacrament.

  2. The consummation of the Sacrament is the achievement of unity, i. e. fellowship and Communion. This third silence is the completion of the waiting and the sacramental silences. The Silent



Worship of the Quakers is in fact a realization of Communion in both senses of the word inward oneness and fellowship of the individual with invisible present Reality and the mystical union of many individuals with one another. In this regard there is the plainest inward kinship between the two forms of worship which, viewed externally, seem to stand at the opposite poles of religious development, viz. the Quaker meeting and the Roman Catholic Mass. Both are solemn religious observances of a numinous and sacramental character, loth are communion, loth exhibit alike an inner straining not only * to realize the presence of God, but to attain to a degree of oneness with Him.


Silent Worship , in the fully-formed character in which the Quakers practise it, is not possible in a Church , as we under stand the word to-day, but only within the narrower limits of a more intimate * Brotherhood of the Spirit . May God grant that such a brotherhood may one day arise among us, not as a sect or a Church alongside our other Churches, but as a circle of self dedicated enthusiasts, who have rediscovered the ancient heritage of the early Church the Spirit and its sevenfold gifts !

But if the Quaker Silence is excluded, still less is any imitation of the Sacramental Silence in the form of the Catholic Mass possible in our Protestant services. All that tends in this direc tion is bound to go astray. The Communion Service does, it is true, celebrate Christ s Passion, that event which in all world history is the numinous event par excellence, the entry of the divine in fullest and loftiest presence upon the human scene. But the Communion Service is emphatically not a Mass, and the Mass has grown to be a distortion of its true form. The Communion Service is, in the original intention of its first celebration or insti tution, not a piece of public ceremonial at all, far less a drama to be performed by one or at most a few participants in the presence of spectators, but a tender mystery, restricted to a fellowship of brothers, pertaining to a special time and hour, and needing particular preparation in short, something that should be pre cious and rare. For Protestants it is to be kept entirely apart from the regular and congregational Divine Service, and should be reserved for particular feasts, for celebration at evening or in the



night stillness. It ought to be withdrawn .altogether from the use and wont of every day and become the most intimate privilege which Christian worship has to offer.

But though these two means are excluded, it is yet possible to find another way to introduce Silent Worship into our ordinary Sunday services, and so to give these a consecration which is as yet lacking to them. We can make the service culminate and find its climax in a short period of silence, which shall be at once the silence of sacrament and the silence of waiting, and which may become, at least for the more practical, also a realization of union. Wo may devise an opportunity of silent dedication which will avoid the ceremonial apparatus and mythology of the doctrine of Traiisubstantiation. , and yet in its simplicity and pure spirituality may be more deeply sacramental than the Mass, for which many are again beginning to crave. We have only to follow the indications afforded by the example of the Silent Worship of the Quakers.

Whore lies the essence of the sacramental ? It is in fact in the expression of the English High Churchmen the real pre sence , the real presence of the transcendent and holy in its very nature in adoration and fellowship, so as to be laid hold of and enjoyed in present possession. No form of devotion which does not offer or achieve this mystery for the worshipper can be per fect or can give lasting contentment to a religious mind. And it is just because our usual Divine Services fall short in this that we see to-day again quite comprehensibly such a ferment and stirring of all sorts of uneasy High Church , * Ritualistic , and [^4] Sacramental movements.

But we may well be asked has it any meaning to ask for the presence of the divine ? Does not that Sacramental idea at once cancel itself, when thought out? Is not God omnipresent and really present always and everywhere ?

Such a view ia often put forward, and with a confident air of assurance which is in sharp conflict with the testimony of genuine religious experience; so much so, indeed, that one is tempted to venture a very blunt reply to it. We say, then, that this doctrine of the omnipresence of God as though by a necessity of His being He must be bound to every time and to every place, like a natural force pervading space is a frigid invention of metaphysical speculation, entirely without religious import. Scripture knows



nothing of it. Scripture knows no * Omnipresence , neither the expression nor the meaning it expresses ; it knows only the God who is where He wills to be, and is not where He wills not to be, the deus mobilis , who is no mere universally extended being, but an august mystery, that comes and goes, approaches and withdraws, has its time and hour, and may be far or near in infinite degrees, closer than breathing to us or miles remote from us. The hours of His visitation and His return are rare and solemn occasions, different essentially not only from the profane life of every day, but also from the calm confiding mood of the believer, whose trust is to live ever before the face of God. They are the topmost summits in the life of the Spirit. They are not only rare occasions, they must needs be so for our sakes, for no creature can bear often or for long the full nearness of God s majesty in its beatitude and in its awefulness. Yet there must still be such times, for they show the bright vision and com pletion of our sonship, they are a bliss in themselves and potent for redemption. They are the real sacrament, in comparison with which all high official ceremonials, Masses, and rituals the world over become the figurings of a child. And a Divine Service would be the truest which led up to such a mystery and the riches of grace that ensue upon the realization of it. And if it be asked whether a Divine Service is able to achieve this, let us answer that, though God indeed comes where and when He chooses, yet He will choose to come when we sincerely call upon Him and prepare ourselves truly for His visitation.




MY attention has been called by Professor Deutschbein to the following passage in Ruskin, in which he recounts experiences of his youth that repeatedly recurred. They are purely numinous in character and wellnigh all the moments which we discovered reappear here quite spontaneously. I give the passage without detailed comment :

Lastly, although there was no definite religious sentiment mingled with it, there was a continual perception of Sanctity in the whole of nature, from the slightest thing to the vastest ; an instinctive awe, mixed with delight ; an indefinable thrill, such as we sometimes imagine to indicate the presence of a disembodied spirit. I could only feel this perfectly when I was alone ; and then it would often make me shiver from head to foot with the joy and fear of it, when after being some time away from hills I first got to the shore of a mountain river, where the brown water circled among the pebbles, or when I first saw the swell of distant land against the sunset, or the first low broken wall, covered with mountain moss. I cannot in the least describe the feeling ; but I do not think this is my fault, nor that of the English language, for I am afraid no feeling is describable. If we had to explain even the sense of bodily hunger to a person who had never felt it, we should be hard put to it for words ; and the joy in nature seemed to me to come of a sort of heart-hunger, satisfied with the presence of a Great and Holy Spirit. . . . These feelings remained in their full intensity till I was eighteen or twenty, and then, as the reflective and practical power increased, and the " cares of this world" gained upon me, faded gradually away, in the manner described by Wordsworth in his "Intimations of Immortality ". {Modern Painters, Popular Edition, vol. iii, p. 309. George Allen.) Schleiermacher calls such an experience intuition and feeling of the infinite ; wo give it the name divination . Schleiermacher was right in saying that even greater than all this divination in the sphere of nature is divination in the sphere of history. Will not a Ruskin arise to divine and reveal the non-rational and numinous character of our own epoch?




ALTHOUGH it could hardly be disputed that the German philo sophical vocabulary is superior to the English both in fullness and in precision, in regard to the subjects discussed in this book our language does not seem to be altogether at a disadvantage. Indeed, the English wealth of synonyms has presented the trans lator with an embarrassment at the very outset. In place of the single German adjective lieilig, with its derivative noun and verb, we have the words sacred and holy, sacredness, holiness and sanctity, hallow and sanctify. G-ottheit again gives us a triad of synonyms, deity, divinity, Godhead. Each of these alternatives is probably the most appropriate rendering in some special context, and in choosing any one of them we are bound to sacrifice subtle differ ences in meaning which would be suggested by the others, and which are perhaps implicit in the single German equivalent. The deciding factor in the choice of holy rather than sacred as the regular rendering of lieilig was the fact that it is the Biblical word, found especially in those great passages (e. g. Isaiah vi) of which this book makes repeated use, and which seem central to its argu ment. Holy will be felt, I believe, to be a distinctly more 1 numinous word than sacred : it retains about it more markedly the numinous atmosphere. And although, as is urged in the text with perhaps still more reason of its German equivalent, it refers mainly to the higher levels of religious experience at which the numinous has been interpreted in rational and moral terms, and therefore means to us mainly goodness, the word holy is found also in contexts where this more exalted meaning is excluded, and where it is simply the numinous at an early and savage stage of development. The well-known lines from Coleridge s Kulla Khan give an example of such a use :

A savage place ! as holy and enchanted

As e er beneath a waning moon was haunted

By woman wailing for her demon-lover !

This is a finely numinous passage, but it is the numinous at the primitive, pre-religious, * daemonic level : it conveys nothing of

1 Added by the translator.



sanctity. For, while the daring use of holy in this context may be just permissible, we reserve sanctity , if I mistake not, for the more restricted and elevated meaning.

Apart from these words it would appear that the English lan guage is in general rich in numinous terms. Dr. Otto has him self noted (p. 14) that the English awe has a numinous suggestion lacking in the German scheu , and (p. 131 n.) that haunt has no precise German equivalent in all its range of significance. And besides uncanny (a more or less exact rendering of unlicimlich) I have made use of words like weird and eerie, which convey the indefinable numinous atmosphere unmistakably. The old word freit (a supernatural intimation or sign) may be another such ; and possibly the obsolete verb-form oug, which gives us ugly, may have conveyed originally a suggestion of unnatural, uncanny, daunting or repulsion. It should be noticed that these numinous words are all (except awe ) concerned primarily with the cruder and more primitive forms of the experience : they are not in the first instance religious words in the higher sense, though, unlike such words as gnte, grisly, and ghastly, they can be used with a loftier and more ennobled, as well as with a lower and more primitive meaning. And it can, finally, be hardly an accident that they all, or nearly all, are northern in origin. A peculiar susceptibility to numinous impressions what Dr. Otto would call a peculiarly sensitive faculty of divination would seem, indeed, to be a characteristic of the North British. Such phenomena as those of Clairvoyance and Second-sight would seem to make for the same conclusion.

Apart from the expressiveness of single English words, it would be easy to amass from English poetry and prose alike passages (like that from Coleridge already quoted) illustrative of the different elements in numinous apprehension which have been discussed in this book. I venture to give three further citations.

On page 193 the contrast between the piety in which the rational moments predominate and that in which a more numinous feeling is to be noted is illustrated from two German hymns of praise.

The same antithesis could hardly be shown more clearly than by the contrast between two poems familiar to every English reader, Addison s hymn based on Psalm xix, and Blake s poem The Tyger . Both poets are hymning the Creator as revealed in



his creation, but the difference of temper is unmistakable. On the one hand there is the mood of tranquil confidence, serene dignity, thankful and understanding praise ; on the other, a mood of trepidation, awed surmise, the hush of mystery, in which rings none the less a strange exultation.

The spacious firmament on high

With all the blue ethereal sky,

And spangled heavens, a shining frame,

Their great Original proclaim.

The unwearied sun, from day to day,

Does his Creator s power display

And publishes to every land

The work of an Almighty hand.

Soon as the evening shades prevail

The moon takes up the wondrous tale

And nightly to the listening earth

Repeats the story of her birth ;

While all the stars that round her burn,

And all the planets in their turn,

Confirm the tidings as they roll

And spread the truth from pole to pole.

What though in solemn silence all

Move round the dark terrestrial ball ;

What though no real voice or sound

Amid their radiant orbs be found ?

In reason s ear they all rejoice,

And utter forth a glorious voice ;

For ever singing as they shine :

The hand that made us is Divine.

This is, confessedly, rational piety ; it is reason that listens to nature s hymn of praise. As such it is characteristic not only of a certain type of mind, but of the particular age in which it was written. And the contrasted numinous note can hardly be missed in Blake s wonderful verses :

Tyger, Tyger, burning bright

In the forests of the night,

What immortal hand or eye

Could frame thy fearful symmetry ?

In what distant deeps or skies

Burnt the fire of thine eyes?

On what wings dare he aspire ?

What the hand dare seize the fire ?

And what shoulder and what art

Could twist the sinews of thy heart ?

And, when thy heart began to beat,

What dread hand and what dread feet?



What the hammer? What the chain? In what furnace was thy brain ? What the anvil ? What dread grasp Dare its deadly terrors clasp ?

When the stars threw down their Bpears, And watered heaven with their tears, Did he smile his work to see? Did he who made the lamb make thee ?

Tyger, Tyger, burning bright In the forests of the night, What immortal hand or eye Dare frame thy fearful symmetry ?

The remark of the author on page 221 suggests my last quota tion. Wordsworth, in the tenth book of The Prelude, recounts the profound impression made upon him by the terrific events in which the French Kevolution culminated. Then, as now, out ward convulsion and catastrophe had their inward counterpart in spiritual tumult and overthrow, in widespread disillusionment and despair. And Wordsworth tells us in effect how the very tremendousness of the time, its portentousness , became to him a revelation of the sustaining presence of the holy and the divine (see The Prelude, x. 437-4G9) :

. . . So, with devout humility be it said,

So, did a portion of that spirit fall

On me uplifted from the vantage-ground

Of pity and sorrow to a state of being

That through the time s exceeding fierceness saw

Glimpses of retribution, terrible,

And in the order of sublime behests :

But, even if that were not, amid the awe

Of unintelligible chastisement,

Not only acquiescences of faith

Survived, but daring sympathies with power,

Motions not treacherous or profane, else why

Within the folds of no ungentle breast

Their dread vibration to this hour prolonged ? . . .

Then was the truth received into my heart,

That, under heaviest sorrow earth can bring,

If from the affliction somewhere do not grow

Honour which could not else have been, a faith,

An elevation, and a sanctity,

If new strength be not given nor old restored,

The blame ia ours, not Nature s.





A profound expression of the Mysterium Tremendum may be found in the sermon of F. W. Robertson on Jacob s Wrestling ; (Ten Sermons ), point 2, The revelation of mystery.

It was revealed by dive. Very significantly are we told that the divine antagonist seemed, as it were, anxious to depart as the day was about to dawn ; and that Jacob held Him more con vulsively fast, as if aware that the daylight was likely to rob him of his anticipated blessing : in which there seems concealed a very deep truth. God is approached more nearly in that which is indefinite than in that which is definite and distinct. He is felt in awe, and wonder and ivorsliip rather than in clear conception. There is a sense in which darkness has more of God than light has. He dwells in the thick darkness. Moments of tender, vague mystery often bring distinctly the feeling of His presence. When day breaks and distinctness comes the Divine has evapo rated from the soul like morning dew. In sorrow, haunted by uncertain presentiments, we feel the infinite around us. The gloom disperses, the world s joy comes again, and it seems as if God were gone the Being who had touched us with a withering hand and wrestled with us, yet whose presence, even when most terrible, was more blessed than His absence. It is true, even literally, that the darkness reveals God: every morning God draws the curtain of the garish light across His eternity, and we lose the Infinite. We look down on earth instead of up to heaven, on a narrower and more contracted spectacle that which is examined by the microscope when the telescope is laid aside smallness, instead of vastness. "Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour till the evening " ; and in the dust and pettiness of life we seem to cease to behold Him : then at night He un draws the curtain again, and we see how much of God and Eternity the bright distinct day has hidden from us. Yes, in solitary, silent, vague darkness, the Awful One is near .

Names have a power, a strange power of hiding God.



Who does not know how we satisfy ourselves with the name of some strange bird or plant, or the name of some new law in nature? It is a mystery perplexing us before. We get the name and fancy we understand something more than we did before ; but in truth we are more hopelessly ignorant : for before we felt there was a something we had not attained, and so we inquired and searched now, we fancy we possess it, because we have got the name by which it is known : and the word covers over the abyss of our ignorance. If Jacob had got a word, that word might have satisfied him. . . . God s plan was not to give names and words, but truths of feeling. That night, in that strange scene, He impressed on Jacob s soul a religious awe, which was hereafter to develop not a set of formal expressions, which would have satisfied with husks the craving of the intellect and shut up the soul: Jacob felt the Infinite, who is more truly felt when least named.

The following hymn of Watts expresses the numinous feeling more adequately than many that are more familiar.

Eternal Power, whose high abode Becomes the grandeur of a God, Infinite length beyond the bounds Where stars revolve their little rounds : Thee while the first Archangel sings, He hides his face beneath his wings ; And ranks of shining ones around Fall worshipping and spread the ground. Lord, what shall earth and ashes do ? We would adore our Maker too : From Sin and dust to Thee we cry, The Great, the Holy, and the High I Earth from afar has heard thy fame And we have learned to lisp Thy name ; But oh the glories of Thy mind Leave all our soaring thoughts behind. God is in Heaven, and men below ; Be short our tunes, our words be few ; A sacred reverence checks our songs, And praise sits silent on our tongues.




I "know that my Redeemer liveth * : I lelieve in Jesus Christ, risen from the dead : such is the Christian s confession.

I know and * I believe or have faith these are not here mutually exclusive expressions. This knowing is not that with which scientific theory is concerned, based upon empirical sense knowledge ; it is rather faith-knowledge, and faith-knowledge does not rely on the evidence of the senses, but is, in the scriptural phrase, the evidence of things not seen , that is, not presented to sense-perception ; and it would lose its essential nature and be transformed into a mere sorry empirical knowledge, if it relied on any other evidence than the witness of the Holy Spirit , which is not that of sense-experience. And so we cannot afford to account Christ s resurrection, and our own, known facts, in this lower scientific sense of knowledge. The simplest understanding feels this. To speak of resurrection is to utter a mystery, and mystery is a subject for faith, not science. And, for Christianity, how this faith itself comes to be is no less a mystery, indeed the greatest of all mysteries. But if faith were knowledge, directly attested by the senses or based upon the tradition of a former occurrence attested by the senses, this mystery would wholly disappear.

And so we hold that in endeavouring to account for our assur ance of the Risen Christ two sorts of interpretation must be excluded, the naively supernaturalistic and the rationalistic. The former is that which has recourse to the * Empty Tomb . It holds that Christ s tomb was proved to be empty by the evidence of the senses, that the Risen Christ was perceived by the senses, and that the truth of the facts so certified in sense-experience was then handed down by human testimony. On this view the con viction of the resurrection was from the first not faith, but a piece of empirical knowledge. This is the most serious objection that can be brought against the naive supernaturalist interpretation, a more serious objection than the uncertain and legendary char



acter of the Empty Tomb narrative or the fact that the earliest and most authentic witness to the resurrection of Christ that of St. Paul in 1 Cor. xv makes no mention of the empty tomb, although there the Apostle is at pains to assemble all possible reasons for assurance in the reality of the Resurrection.

But the ordinary rationalistic interpretation is equally inad missible. A deep impression of the person of Jesus had remained, so it is said, with the disciples and especially with Peter, and from this impression grew their conviction after His death, Such an one cannot have remained dead . And this conviction, thus born in their minds, took imaginative and figurative form in visions, which must therefore be regarded as purely subjective. But this explanation is patently forced and unsatisfactory, and seems to us to miss altogether the uniqueness and coherence of the experience centring in the Resurrection. The two lines of interpretation have this in common, however: they both entirely ignore the fundamental fact about the experience, that it was a mystery ; both agree in disregarding altogether its mystery character.

We can only get beyond the opposition between supernaturalism and rationalism by frankly recognizing that the experiences con cerned with the Resurrection were mystical experiences and their source the Spirit . It is only * of the Spirit that the higher knowledge is born. It is the eye of Spirit, not the eye of sense that beholds the eternal things ; but what it sees is not a mere insecure, half-w r oven fabric of * convictions , but the adamantine certainty of the eternal truth itself!


To understand the matter truly we need to make clear to our selves by examples drawn from occurrences in the Bible record to what more general class of experience those that are concerned with the Resurrection belong, and then to grasp what the essential character of this wider class is. Isaiah tells (ch. vi) how in that mysterious experience in the Temple his inward eye was opened to behold Yahweh in His holiness and majesty, how he received His command and became thereby the messenger of Yahweh to His people. This supreme, mysterious vision becomes thus for Isaiah his summons and his ordination, and his whole subsequent activity as prophet in its wider significance is founded upon this



experience. And the occurrence is not one without a parallel, but rather is typical of all the great men who received God s summons (compare Jer. i, Ezek. i and ii, Amos i, Hosea i).

But what really took place in these mystical experiences ? Has God a body ? Is He really seated upon a throne, or has He any place in a physical sense ? Do beings such as the Cherubim and Seraphim are described surround Him in visible form ? Has He a voice audible to our actual sense of hearing ? Even those who, so far as concerns the Resurrection of Christ, think to base their faith upon an actually perceived Empty Tomb and a Body \vhich, however transfigured , yet remained an object to see and touch even they will answer these questions with a decided negative as regards the vision of Isaiah. Even they will admit that these forms of imagery, in which the experience of Isaiah clothes itself, are nothing more than forms of imagery, born of the ideas of the time and merely a vesture for something seen and apprehended by other means than by stimulation of the senses, with which it indeed has nothing to do.

On the other side, the naturalistic rationalist will set up some sort of plausible psychological * explanation , differing according to the empirical psychology that is at his disposal ; or, resorting to a still simpler mode of explanation, he will be inclined to say that such occurrences never occurred at all. But whoever knows anything of the Spirit and its miraculous nature, whoever feels in himself the Spirit active in those mysterious experiences that build up the Christian s life, will reject such explanations. He alone has the key to the truth of the matter. Just as the Scriptures as a whole, as the Christian believes, require the Spirit if they are to be taught or understood, so too is it with these occurrences. Only a first-hand spiritual experience teaches a man to see and enables him to estimate a spiritual experience of a former day. Possession of the Spirit at first hand becomes here a faculty of retrospective prophecy , which is recognition in the sense of re-cognition or knowing again for oneself. And so only on the basis of a first-hand religious experience, of and from the Spirit, is there any possibility of obtaining a real and genuine historical knowledge of these things, for only such an experience is acquainted with and can estimate the effect of all the factors of the explanation. What the Spirit gives is not a view that tran scends the historical, but the genuine historical view. And the



naturalistic view gives on the other hand a falsification of history, for it has ignored an essential part of the facts it seeks to explain.


Let us now turn to the New Testament. Once we have come to understand aright, that is, in the Spirit, the experiences of the great prophets, we can recognize plainly how similar they are to the narratives of the great visions of Jesus at the outset and at the full height of His ministry the vision at His Baptism and the vision at His Transfiguration . As with the prophets, so with Jesus : these, too, are manifestly spiritual and mystical experi ences ; but these, too, were objectively real occurrences. And they are also to be counted as belonging to the same class of experiences for the reason that they too are manifestly visions of Call and Ordination. As before, we do not doubt that all that is recounted in perceptual terms stands upon just the same footing as the perceptual imagery that invests the mystical experience of Isaiah, the essential and unshakeable truth of which lies not in that vesture, but in the knowledge and assurance born of the Spirit .

And if we pass on to the Resurrection-experience of Paul on the road to Damascus, do we not at once recognize the same charac teristic features ? Have we here sense-perception or spiritual experience ? Paul nowhere describes how and in what form he beheld the Risen Christ. That does not in itself make it the less likely that he did see Him in some form, probably as a royal figure of radiant glory rather than merely as a dazzling light. The material of his vision was no doubt supplied him by the current ideas of his time concerning royal splendour and messianic kinghood, and then his faculty of vision gave this material an individual and special form. That is but to say that the vision would have a vesture of outward form just as that of Isaiah did ; but this does not, for Paul any more than for Isaiah, touch the inmost import of the experience, which is here : He lives ; He lives as the accepted of God, the preserved of God, the exalted of God, the transfigured of God, as the conqueror of Judgement, of the Cross, and of Death. And at the same time that further point of resemblance with the occurrences already mentioned is manifest, which, strangely enough, is here not generally noticed.



For this vision of Paul, like those others, is not merely a vision of the Risen Christ, but again precisely inaugural, a vision of Calling and Ordination.

At the same time this experience of Paul has its place among a second class of experiences, which in turn stand fully illumined in the Pauline writings. For it is but the first link in a whole chain of spiritual happenings which develop in him and in his congregations. These are the charismata or gifts of the Spirit , and among them is included the gift of horasis * or mystic vision which Paul himself possessed. And what took place on the road to Damascus is not only the first link in the chain, but more fundamental and potent than all that followed. There it was that the pneuma * first broke through, the Spirit which man makes not nor can bestow upon himself, which blows whither it lists, and kindles what it wills, and whose * prick was already felt in Paul s heart.

Paul puts his experience on a parity with those of Peter and others, an indication that these also were of the same class as his own. And we could ourselves recognize as much even without Paul s express testimony. According to Paul s statement Peter was the first to receive the new revelation of the Risen Christ, and what we know otherwise of Peter is in accord with this. He has the gift of * vision , as the story in Acts x shows, and it had been manifested more than once while his Master was still on earth, as at the time of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor. And the Synoptic record gives other more general indications of his rare spiritual endowment. Further, for Peter and the others to whom the experience came, the vision of the Risen Christ is once again an inaugural experience of Call and Ordination, as is indicated in the words, Go ye therefore and teach all nations , which we are to take as a spiritual realization of mission just in the same way as the command of Yahweh to Isaiah : * Go and tell this people , and which, no less than the experience of the prophets, attest themselves as having been really * heard in spiritual perception at a definite place and time. And again in the case of these original witnesses to the Resurrection, the vision of the Risen Christ is no more an isolated experience than in the case of Paul. For Paul and his converts are not the first to receive the Spirit and its sevenfold gifts. These gifts are the possession of the earliest Christian community from the first, and



characterize it, as Paul himself avows, when he justifies his position as an apostle in showing that he and his converts also possess the same spiritual gifts which the Christians of Jerusalem had from the first.

And so the consciousness of the Risen Christ loses its isolated character and is already manifested as one of a class of spiritual experiences, a mystical and spiritual apprehension of truth, beyond the opposition of supernaturalism and rationalism.


The apostles proclaim their Lord not only as raised from the dead , but as exalted and ascended* into heaven. That is in harmony with the picture of the universe which they shared with antiquity as a whole. But whoever thinks it necessary to retain the bodily, physical idea in raised from the dead ought to realize that he is bound to do the same with the expression [^4] exalted . For that also conveys in its literal sense a spatial idea ; it presupposes the old notion that Heaven , God s eternal realm, is somewhere high above us in space. This notion was natural enough in antiquity ; but for us heaven and the eternal world of God is no more in space or time than God Himself is : it is in God s eternity, which is apart from space and time. This does not at all mean that the expressions resurrection , raising from the dead , lose their meaning. In contrast to the idea of immortality , which properly is the denial of any state of real death, they affirm the restoration from real death to real life, or rather the admittance for the first time into plenary and genuine life. Nor have they in the Biblical view reference solely to the body. It is not the body merely, but the man that dies ; and it is as soul as well as body that he sinks into the state of death, 11   To die is to lose not being but life. The fleshly body does not cease at first to be but to exercise the function we call living . . . . And so the eoul sinks not into not-being, nonentity, but into death, i.e. the cessation of its living function. Thin state is spoken of in Scripture as passing into Hades (wrongly rendered Hell ) and is compared to sleep, which is essentially life whose potentiality has been suspended. A closer analogy still to the tate of soul-death is that of cataleptic lethargy or impotence. We have to think of the condition of the soul sundered from the organ necessary to its essential nature as that of utter impotence, deprivation of life but not of being. the dread night of death , from which he can only be delivered and



raised up by the power of God. If he is to live, man needs to be thus awakened, brought up out of Hades and from the shadow of death, and raised again from the dead . To be sure, according to Paul s idea, there is combined with this at the same time a bodily restoration. But, as is often noticed, this is for him not a raising up of the old body, a * resurrection of the flesh . Rather he would on his own presuppositions have emphatically rejected such a notion ; for the flesh which is for him the essence of antagonism to God is to pass away like the seed of corn sown in the earth, and the resurrection of the body is for him rather the bestowal of a new and quite other l spiritual body, provided and prepared of God. This is also the direction in which our thought must turn if we are to attempt to represent to ourselves the new life of the resurrection. We too are unable to think of the completed perfected life of the Spirit without ascribing to the Spirit some instrument or organ whereby it realizes itself in practice. Now l body is the instrument of spirit, and the phrase spiritual body affirms in an unambiguous manner that this instrument is not a fleshly body, not even * transfigured flesh a contradiction in itself but is itself spiritual in kind. And that implies that it is not bound up with any one point in space or time, and so is in no sense a physical body, which cannot be severed from material and spatial determination.

But whatever our thought may be upon this matter, one thing at any rate holds good : the meaning of the Christian knowledge that is by Faith lies in this, that Christ Himself who really died was brought again by God to real life and perfected unto the glory of the eternal life of God ; and that we live in expectation of the same with Him. This is a * knowing which, for us to-day no less than for the apostles, can be born of the Spirit, but only of the Spirit. Whether the body belongs to the being of this Christ and to our own completed being is a physiological not a religious question, and one which pertains not at all to our con fession of faith. But to any one who has to meet this issue we would say, the Risen Christ is to be our comfort , not a source of trouble in our conscientious fidelity to truth ; and for a true understanding of the experiences bearing on the Resurrection we would refer him to the nature of spiritual revelation as recounted in Isaiah vi.

As regards the narratives of the Empty Tomb , we shall



judge of these as of the narratives of a later date which gathered about the birth of Jesus, appraising them as a holy legend, in which the supra-rational relation of the eternal to the temporal is mirrored in the medium of contemporary thought. They have an enduring value to us from the incomparable beauty and power with which they symbolize the essence of the mystery . We would not be without them in our Bible, nor yet in the pictorial art of the churches, nor in the hymns that express our devotion. And we can retain them thus without being false to the obligation of the most rigid honesty if we remain fully conscious of that other obligation, without fulfilling which we neither can nor indeed should have either Biblical instruction or Christian doctrine. And that is the obligation we are under to train ourselves and the mind of our time to a sincere and devout understanding of three things. In the first place we need to realize the fringe of legend that surrounds the entire narrative of Holy Scripture and recurs as a constant problem from the first page of the Bible to the last. Secondly, we need to appreciate the signal value and beauty and the profound import which distinguish the Biblical narrative, even where it is of the nature of legend ; and, finally, the fact that even in the holy saga and legend, shaped and fashioned uncon sciously by the spirit of a people or a fellowship, there is present the vt ry same eternal Spirit of God, which Hebrew prophecy and poetry and history also manifest, that Spirit which, in every form of its expression, is the Spirit of revelation and truth.



I. THEOLOGY. i. What is Sin?

ii. The Battle between Flesh and Spirit, in. The Christian Idea of Lostness . iv. The Religious Idea of Original Guilt. v. The Prophets Experience of God. vi. The Lord s Supper as a Numinous Fact.



vii. Towards a Liturgical Keform.

  1. A Form of Divine Service.

  2. A Form for Celebrating the Lord s Supper.


viu. How Schleiermacher Rediscovered the Sensus Numinis.

ix. The Wholly Other* in Religious History and Theology.

x. Parallels and Convergences in the History of Religion,

xi. A Universal Religion (?).

xn. Darwinism and Religion.


xin. The Common Tasks of Protestantism, xiv. An Inter-religious League.

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