WILLIAM RALPH INGE

Christian Mysticism

 Bampton Lectures on Christian Mysticism (delivered at Oxford in 1899)

Originally published by Methuen & Company, Ltd. (November 1899)

Living Age Books edition (Meridian Books, 1956 July 1956, second printing, January 1960.

Original edition published seven times.)

[W.R. Inge (1860 – 1954) was the dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral from 1911 to 1934.]  Pp. 4-5.

 

 

[4] The phase of thought or feeling which we call [5] Mysticism has its origin in that which is the raw material of all religion, and perhaps of all philosophy and art as well, namely, that dim consciousness of the beyond, which is part of our nature as human beings.  Men have given different names to these “obstinate questionings of sense and outward things.”  We may call them, if we will, a sort of higher instinct, perhaps an anticipation of the evolutionary process; or an extension of the frontier of consciousness; or, in religious language, the voice of God speaking to us.   Mysticism arises when we try to bring this higher consciousness into relation with the other contents of our minds.  Religious Mysticism may be defined as the attempt to realise the presence of the living God in the soul and in nature, or, more generally, as the attempt to realise, in thought and feeling, the immanence of the temporal in the eternal, and of the eternal in the temporal. Our consciousness of the beyond is, I say, the raw material of all religion.  But, being itself formless, it cannot be brought directly into relation with the forms of our thought.

[Submitted by James A. Santucci]