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No. VII.

To Erigena belongs the merit of reviving the theosophic element in the Western Church, where it had been declining since the time of Augustine, until the theocratic element had nearly, so to speak, trampled it out. And before we proceed further, a few words of definition may be desirable. By the theocratic element in religion, we mean those more outward views which regard God chiefly as a Power and Authority to be conciliated by obedience, the imperfections of which admit a remedial system of a vicarious and substitutional character. But the theosophic element consists of more elevated and interior views, which regard God rather as an infinitely perfect Being, to be enjoyed and possessed by contemplation and love,-admitting also of a remedial system, whose essential nature is Atonement or At-one-ment, supplying a medium of union and conjunction with this most blessed Being, which, according to its degree of perfection, approximates the summit of happiness. These views, at once so rational and cheering, made their way but slowly during this and the succeeding centuries,-i.e., the ninth and tenth, the darkest periods of ecclesiastical history. But in the next century—the eleventh the watchman might exclaim from his tower-"The morning cometh!" and it first lightened the shadows of night in Italy and France. Anselm or Anselem (1033—1109), a native of Piedmont, successively Abbot of Bec, in Normandy, and Archbishop of Canterbury, anticipating Descartes in his ideal proof of the existence of God, derives all complex being from the Absolute, through the medium of the Archetypal idea of God to which the universal corresponds, which he identifies with the Divine Word or Logos of St. John.

In the same century we find Guillaume Des Champeaux in France maintaining the doctrine of Universals, or, to use the scholastic phraseology, universalia a parte rei or ante rem, which was warmly opposed by many of his cotemporaries, and has been characterised in modern times as 66 an absurd realising of abstractions." And such indeed it would be if the universals were regarded (as there is reason to think they were by some of the schoolmen) as independent entities; but viewed in connection with the theory of the Logos as held by the lastmentioned writer and all theosophic divines, the case is different. General terms or notions derived from the consideration of several individual objects appertain to the class of natural ideas, but universals, in the proper sense of the term, are germane to the sphere of spiritual ideas, many of which are within each of our natural ideas, leading us



ever onward and upward, and increasing in number, comprehensiveness, universality, and unity, as we ascend, until we arrive at the Universal, the Divine Idea or Logos, "the circle where they move," the centre where they stand.

In the same century, St. Bernard, the celebrated Abbot of Clairvaux, in France, preserved the theosophic element in the church, though with feebler lustre and blended with mysticism, which professes to attain Divine union solely by an interior way; hence, says this writer, “in order to ascend upwards, we must retire inwards," expressing a great truth, but not the whole truth, as we will shew in another place. Bernard's great maxim was "Invisibilia non decipiunt," (unseen things do not deceive.) having probably in view the texts 2 Cor. iv. 18, and Heb. xi. 1. Knowledge," he defines to be "an illumination depending on the state of the heart, and resulting from an essential relationship to the Divine Source of ideas," words pregnant with much important truth.


In the thirteenth century, the great witnesses for theosophy are, first, the Tuscan Cardinal, John of Fidenza, canonized as St. Buonaventura, and known in the schools as "the seraphic doctor." (1221—74.) With him are supposed to have originated the mystic degrees, to be hereafter noticed. He compares the Divine Word or Logos, in His preëxistent state, to thought or idea in the mind anterior to speech, silent speech; and the Word becoming incarnate, he compares to thought manifesting itself in language,-a favourite illustration among modern philosophers, and seemingly supposed to be original. Secondly, Thomas Aquinas, a Neopolitan of princely lineage, but who reverenced all for "the weeds of Dominic," termed the "angelic doctor," and not only the greatest metaphysician of his age, but not unworthy to take a place among the great masters of mind in modern times,—indeed the germs of many of their views are to be found in his writings. He speaks of the Logos as the Divine Form, which, like a seal, is impressed in various degrees on all creation. But in the succeeding century (the fourteenth), we have

"To think is to speak low; to speak is to think aloud. The Word is the thought incarnate."-Science of Language, by Professor Max. Müller.

+ We find this view in St. Augustine, and still earlier in Philo Judæus. In No. 5, speaking of St. Augustine, we should have mentioned that he seems to have had a glimpse of the distinction between genuine and apparent truths. Thus in his great work "De Civitate Dei," he speaks of God as essentially good, from whom nothing but good can come; and when the contrary is spoken of in Scripture as coming from Him, as anger and punishment, it is spoken in reference to the apprehensions of the wicked, just as those whose vision is unsound, ascribe its qualities to the sun.

the views of this great doctor presented in a new garb, and not only so, but we see for the first time a perfect conjunction of theology, philosophy, and literature, in the wonderful Paradise of Dante. Reserving a full analysis of this work for a supplementary paper, we shall only at present say that Dante embodies in his immortal poem the teaching of the preceding century both in theology and philosophy. Reiterating in poetry the statement of St. Thomas, just recorded, concerning the Logos, he describes Him as the Living Light emanating from Eternal Love, yet undivided, whose splendour, as the archetypal seal, is variously reflected by all creation, according to the influences of the heavens. The highest impress or reflection of this "light sovran and authentical," is the empyrean or heaven of pure light,-light intellectual, replete with love, love of true happiness, full of joy,-joy transcending all delectation. He gets a transient glimpse of this light (which constitutes the beatific vision), and says he saw in its depth, love uniting, as it were, in one volume all that the universe contains,―all properties of substance and of attribute, distinct and yet one individual light. And he thought he saw the universal form of such union. Such is the power of this light that in it is comprehended all the happiness that is the object of the will, and what is defective elsewhere is here complete.

The fifteenth century ushered in the most important event in the history of the church and of the world,—the restoration of learning. The dark ages were marked by the neglect not only of philosophy, but of all classical literature. But as the Byzantine empire began to recede before the Ottoman power, learned Greeks began to flock into Italy, bringing with them the treasures of their ancient poets and sages. Philosophy, that since the ninth century had been gradually awaking from sleep, now stood forth in renewed youth, and

"Knit with the Graces and the Hours in dance,

Led on eternal Spring."

Under the auspices of Cosmo and Lorenzo de Medici an academy was established at Florence for the translation and exposition of the writings of Plato, which was presided over by the learned Marsilio Fecini, who does not appear to have been carried away by the reaction in favour of Paganism which took place at this period, for we find him thus writing of the Logos:—

"Every life first generates its own offspring within itself before it does abroad without itself, and by how much the more excellent the life is by so much the more inwardly to itself does it generate its offspring."

And consequently so much more is what he terms the offspring more identical with itself until it becomes only ideally and logically distinct.



Citing the examples of the vegetative life generating the seed before the tree, the sensitive generating by the fancy the image before the external motion, the rational life, still more excellent, generating the reason of things and of itself before it, brings it to light either by speech or action,the angelical life, more excellent than the rational, bringing forth in itself, by a kind of divine instinct, the notion or idea of itself and of things before it discharges, them upon the matter of the world ;

"Wherefore (he continues) the Divine life being the most eminent and fruitful of all, must needs generate an offspring more like itself than any of the rest. And this it generates in itself by understanding before it brings forth anything without. God, therefore, perfectly understanding Himself, and in Himself all things, conceives in Himself a perfect notion or idea of Himself, and in Himself all things, which is the equal and full image of God, and the more than full examplar or pattern of the world."

The expositors of Theosophy have hitherto appeared among nations of Hellenic, Latin, and Celtic origin. We have now to hear what the Teutonic nations have to say on the subject, and conspicuous among these stands the name of Thomas-à-Kempis, so called from his native place, Kempen, a village in the diocese of Cologne. His life from his 19th to his 90th year was passed in the Convent of Mount St. Agnes, near Zwoll, in the Netherlands, chiefly employed in transcribing the Scriptures and writing books for the instruction of novices. From his wonderful little book, "The Imitation of Christ," we subjoin the following quotations in reference to the Logos. They are numbered for the convenience of reference :



'Happy is the man whom Truth teacheth by the immediate communication of itself, and not by figures and words which pass away.


"He to whom the Eternal Word speaketh, is delivered speedily from a multitude of vain opinions.


"From the One Word are all things, and all speak that one: this is the Beginning or Principle (of all things), and this is He who also speaketh unto us.


"He to whom all things are one, who reduceth all things to one (i.e. the Eternal Word), and seeth all things in one, may be stable in heart and remain peaceful in God.

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"O God the Truth! make me one with Thee in love. Let all the doctors hold their peace; let all creatures be silent in Thy presence. Speak Thou alone to me.


"The kingdom of God is within you, saith the Lord. things and give thyself to the interior, and thou shalt God come unto thee.

Learn to despise external perceive the kingdom of




"If thy heart were right, then every creature would be a looking-glass of life and a book of holy doctrine.


"Blessed is the soul that heareth the Lord speaking in her. Blessed are the ears that hear the whispers of the Divine voice. Blessed are the eyes that are shut to external things, but open to those that are internal. He shall learn heavenly secrets."

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In this last quotation there is a recognition of the union of the Word with the soul, though from a mystic point of view; whereas true Theosophy carefully balances between the influence of the Word within and the teaching of the Word without; and it is but fair to this excellent man to observe that he always highly extols the Scriptures, in which he says we will find truth and a hidden wisdom. In the quotation No. 3 is something like the circle of the Logos as described in the third of these papers. In No. 4 we perceive a brief but not obscure enunciation of a great truth which shall be more fully entered into in our next, i.e. the vision of all things in God, or, what is the same, in the Logos, which Xenophanes taught in Lesser Asia 600 years before the Christian era; and perhaps still earlier some bronzed and white-robed sage on the banks of the "fabulous Hydaspes," beholding the outward shew of things, and passing from the circumference to the centre, "reduced all things to one," exclaiming

"Hills, woods, and plains, and streams, I see no more ;—
God only I perceive; God only I adore!"

J. B. W.


THE task proposed to himself by Mr. Howitt in this work was the accumulation from the history and literature of all ages, of a vast mass of evidence as to the existence of a belief, universally prevalent among mankind, in supernatural agencies. At a period when the Divine inspiration of the Bible is so widely assailed, on the ground (among others) of the incredibility of the miracles or supernatural events it records, he justly considers that it may be of no small importance to demonstrate, that it is not in Bible history alone such facts are recorded, nor on Bible authority alone that they have been, and ever will be believed. We need scarcely say how fully we concur in the premiss he lays down, that miracles, or apparent interruptions of the ordinary course of nature, * The History of the Supernatural. By William Howitt. London: Longman. 1863.

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