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Mysticism

A word applied in religious phraseology to any views or tendencies which aspire to more direct communication between God and man by the inward perception of the mind than can be obtained through revelation. "Mysticism," says Vaughan (Hours with the Mystics i, 19), "presents itself in all its phases as more or less the religion of internal as opposed to external revelation--of heated feeling, sickly sentiment, or lawless imagination, as opposed to that reasonable belief in which the intellect and the heart, the inward witness and the outward, are alike engaged." The Pantheism of some of the ancient philosophers and of the modern Spinozaists, the Speeulations of the Neoplatonists, the Anabaptism of Munster, the system of Jacob Behmen, the Quietism of Madame Guyon, the doctrines of the Bavarian Illuminati, and the reveries of Swedenborg, all partake more or less of the spirit of mysticism.

The Germans have two words, mystik and mysticismus-- the former of which they use in a favorable, the latter in an unfavorable sense. Mysticism is with them only another word for Pantheism, between which and Atheism there is but little difference. Hence a belief in mysticism is with the German Freemasons a disqualification for initiation into the Masonic rites. Thus the second article of the Statutes of the Grand Lodge of Hanover prescribes that "ein Freimaurer muss vom Mysticismus und Atheismus gleich weit entfernt stehen," that is, "a Freemason must be equally distant from Mysticism and Atheism." Gadicke, Freimaurer- Lencon, thus expresses the German sentiment: "Etwas mystisch sollte wohl jeder Mensch seyn, aber man hute sich vor grobem Mysticismus," that is, "Every man ought to be somewhat mystical, but should guard against coarse mysticism."

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