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Mystiek > Over mystiek > Geschiedenis > Christelijk

Appendix (29)

Einde van de quiëtistische beweging

With the close of the seventeenth century, the Quietist movement faded away. The beginning of the eighteenth sees the triumph of that other stream of spiritual vitality which arose outside the Catholic Church and flowed from the great personality of Jacob Boehme. If the idea of surrender be the mainspring of Quietism, the complementary idea of rebirth is the mainspring of this school. In Germany, Boehme's works had been collected and published by an obscure mystic, John Gichtel (1638-1710); whose life and letters constantly betray his influence. In England, where that influence had been a living force from the middle of the seventeenth century, when Boehme's writings first became known, the Anglo-German Dionysius Andreas Freher was writing between 1699 and 1720; In the early years of the eighteenth century, Freher was followed by William Law (1686-1761), the Nonjuror: a brilliant stylist, and one of the most profound of English religious writers. Law, who was converted by the reading of Boehme's works from the narrow Christianity to which he gave classic expression in the "Serious Call" to a wide and philosophic mysticism, gave, in a series of writings which burn with mystic passion, a new interpretation and an abiding place in English literature to the "inspired shoemaker's" mighty vision of Man and the Universe.

The latter part of a century which clearly represents the steep downward trend of the mystic curve gives us three strange personalities; all of whom have passed through Boehme's school, and have placed themselves in opposition to the ecclesiasticism of their day. In Germany, Echartshausen (1752-1803), in "The Cloud upon the Sanctuary" and other works, continued upon individual lines that tradition of esoteric and mystical Christianity, and of rebirth as the price of man's entrance into Reality, which found its best and sanest interpreter in William Law. In France the troubled spirit of the transcendentalist Saint-Martin (1743-1803), the "Unknown Philosopher," was deeply affected in his passage from a merely occult to a mystical philosophy by the reading of Boehme and Eckartshausen; and also by the works of the English "Philadelphians," Dr. Pordage and Jane Lead, who had long sunk to oblivion in their native land.

Ik was een vreemde - Gij hebt mij de Deur gewezen.
- Carla Pols -

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