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and reason, should rather doubt the truth of Christianity altogether, than question the claims of the church of Rome in particular; now that it has become so general amongst all ranks of men on the Continent, fills the mind of the Romish priesthood with serious and merited alarm. Not that infidelity prefers any other form of superstition to that of Rome; but Popery has so entwined itself with whatever is established, that it is necessarily at open war with every species of innovation, whether political or religious. It is too much indebted to ignorance, ever, in sincerity, to be the friend of true knowledge. Popery, according to the prophecy of Wolsey, must destroy the press, or be destroyed by it. If all things could remain as they are, Popery might yet hope to survive for many ages, though stripped in some degree of its splendour, and curtailed in its power. But all things are changing, and its days are numbered. The Son of Man is approaching with the brightness of his coming. The angels of vengeance are ready for their work. The fuel which will burn for ever is heaped up, the breath of the Lord has but to kindle it, and the modern Babylon shall become, like the ancient a desolation, a hissing, and an astonishment for ever.
I. As Popery proceeds from Polytheism, so Mysti
cism from Pantheism.
II. Mysticism flourishing in the East.
III. Mysticism less prevalent in the West.
IV. Pantheistic Mysticism.
V. Emanative Mysticism.
VI. Devotional Mysticism.
VII. Mysticism now rather practical than speculative.
VIII. Mysticism natural to the Mind.
IX. Its near resemblance to Truth, and its essen
X. Mysticism first favourable to the reformation of Religion, then adverse.
I. As the Polytheism of the ancient popular superstition put on a Christian disguise and became Popery, so it was natural to expect that the Pantheism of the heathen philosophers should equally survive and reappear under a new name, and with a somewhat different aspect. It had so long and so deeply infected the speculative theories of all the ancient nations, that it was impossible it could be at once eradicated. The system of the one universal Being, as the very ground work of Gentile wisdom, met the view of the earlier Christians to whatever sect they might turn, either for arguments or disciples. They who became converts to Christianity, after they had been imbued with Gentile literature, brought these notions along with them, and beheld Christianity in part through the medium of their former creed. The very terms used in religion being common to their present and their previous belief, blended together in their minds Jehovah, the true and selfexisting God, with the universal Pan, the imaginary
deity of the wise and the enlightened in countries destitute of revelation. Thus while the superstition of the vulgar replaced and reconsecrated the statues and the images of Heathenism, the enthusiasm of philosophy, falsely so called, again, and without laying aside the Christian name, dreamt of freeing itself from the chains of matter, of discovering the Deity by an internal sense, and of rejoining the divine essence from which it sprung, by withdrawing itself from whatever was sensible or corporeal. This philosophy, which prevailed first among the Gnostics, and afterwards among the Manicheans, appears more covertly in the writings of several of the earlier fathers and shows itself at last without a veil in the verses of Synesius, and in the writings of Dionysius, the pretended Areopagite.
II. The east has always been the country where devotional Pantheism has most flourished; in the west it has rather been introduced as an exotic, and its growth has been always tamer and less luxuriant. But in the east the whole of philosophy, of religion and life, have received the deep strain of its colour.
A fragment of the Chaldean philosophy, perhaps one of the most ancient remnants of early speculation that exists, contains these doctrines in their germ. These tenets were more clearly developed in the ancient system of the Persians, and in the sect of the ancient Hushangis, who have reappeared in the modern Sufis. But, above all, they have reached