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PSYCHOLOGY AND SCIENTIFIC METHODS 21
Again, would not a "clear and unambiguous" definition of ex-
perience be both a boon in general and a prerequisite to a clear
and unambiguous answer to the question asked? In neither of the
two senses of experience which Mr. McGilvary expressly sets forth
(on page 595) can I answer his question affirmatively. In the sense
in which he uses the term on his next page (in the passages quoted)
but without defining it, my answer would probably be affirmative.
But in that case I am confused, for Professor McGilvary says that
view is realism. And a reply that made me out both realist and
idealist at the same time might not strike anybody as "clear and
unambiguous." But perhaps if Mr. McGilvary should make ex-
plicit the sense in which he uses the word "experienced" when he
talks, for example, about our experience of the moon as changing
from crescent to full orb, and should contrast that with his use of
"experience" in the instance of the perceived stone, he would dis-
cover a vital and pregnant meaning of experience which would
reveal that he and I as human beings are much alike in what we
mean by experience. And in that case I am quite willing to leave
it to my critic by what names he and I are to be labeled.
REVIEWS AND ABSTRACTS OP LITERATURE
Etudes d'histoire et de psychologie du mysticisme. Henri Delacroix.
Paris : Felix Alcan. 1908. Pp. 470.
This considerable contribution to our psychological knowledge of
religious life is the work of one known heretofore as an historian, the
author of an "Essay on Speculative Mysticism in Germany," who now
reveals himself as also a well-informed and acute psychologist.
His intention has not been to make a study of mysticism in general,
but merely of a well-defined group, namely, the Christian mystics, Ste.
Theresa, Mme. Guyon, Francis of Sales, John of the Cross, and Suzo.
He explains his choice by the remarks that these persons are creators who
have found a new form of life, and that there are extant documents —
autobiographical and others — which make possible the realization of his
purpose. This book deals, then, in essence, with the group of mystics
that is the subject of my two papers in the Revue Philosophique for 1902,
and of my article on the " State of Mystical Death " in the American
Journal of Psychology for 1903. But the reader will find in Delacroix's
volume a much more complete historical study of Christian mysticism
than any psychologist had so far attempted, and also a more detailed and
thorough treatment of its problems. This is too solid and deserving a
piece of work for me to subject it to the shabby treatment, deserved by too
22 THE JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY
many productions on similar subjects, of a critical review limited to the
very small space at my disposal. I shall, therefore, wait for more suitable
opportunities of dealing with those of his views which, to my mind, call
for discussion, and content myself here with such statements as may serve
to give some idea of the content of the book. I may, however, add that
my publications on mysticism show little substantial disagreement with
The first three chapters (pp. 1-117) deal with Ste. Theresa: her life,
the development of her mystical states, her auditions, and her visions.
In the second of them he sets down three great periods, characteristic also,
with minor differences, of the development of every one of the mystics of
this group. They are: (1) A period marked by delightful experiences of
an ecstatic sort. The author describes it (p. 65) as " a discontinuous
possession of God in which moments of contemplation and of activity
alternate, and in which subsist the ordinary distinction between the divine
and the human. (2) A period bearing some analogy to the depression
stage of psychopathic persons; it is characterized by persistent diffused
pain and more or less frequent moments of " painful " or " negative
ecstasy." (3) The preceding experiences bring about, or coincide with,
" a radical and total transformation of the soul and of life by a contin-
uous divine possession, permanent and conscious." It is this stage Ste.
Theresa calls spiritual marriage.
In the same chapter is discussed the external influences which may
have determined the form and the sequence of her states. This problem
is taken up in a broader manner in a later chapter (" Experience, Systems,
and Tradition "), and the conclusion is reached that although one recog-
nizes in the formation and the development of the mystical life the influ-
ence of external directing ideas — church doctrines, for instance — which
keep the " expensive intuition " of our mystics from intolerable extrava-
gances, nevertheless one can bring back their experience neither " to the
suggestion of a personal system of a purely abstract construction formed
before the experience, nor to a tradition" (p. 363).
Mme. Guyon is then taken up in a similar manner: first, her life
(pp. 118-196) ; then the analysis of her mystical states and automatisms,
their several forms, their development, and their final outcome (pp. 197-
234). This chapter includes a careful and penetrating comparative an-
alysis of automatic and of voluntary activity, and an explanation of the
intelligent collaboration of the subconscious with the conscious activity
that leads to the establishment of the final, well-defined state common to
all the mystics of this group. The characteristics upon which the divine
origin of the mystical states rests, according to the mystics themselves,
are noted here as already in the case of Ste. Theresa.
Comparatively little space is devoted to St. Francis of Sales, John of
the Cross, and Suzo.
In chapter VIII. the author returns to Mme. Guyon, relates the great
dispute about Quietism in which Bossuet, Fenelon, and Mme. Guyon were
the chief actors. These interesting historical pages bring into clearness
PSYCHOLOGY AND SCIENTIFIC METHODS 23
the points of difference between the extraordinary Christianity of the
mystics and the common-sense Christianity represented by Bossuet.
The last chapter (pp. 365-426), entitled " The Mystical Experience,"
would provide one who could not read the whole book with a partial sum-
mary of the preceding analyses and generalizations, and with a discussion
of several of the deeper problems of Christian mysticism ; to wit, By what
psychological mechanism can these mystics identify their confused " intui-
tions " with the conception of God set forth by the church ? What is the
nature of the " mystical intuition " ? What is the nature of mystical
passivity, and how does it contribute to the end sought by the mystic?
How are we to account for the systematic progression of the several
mystical states and for their outcome, described by the mystics as "the
permanent and continuous union of God with man " ?
The systematization of the mystical states is the point on which our
author places the greatest emphasis. In the preface he had already
declared that Catholic mysticism is " progressive and systematic." " It is
this idea of a progress that must be placed in the foreground because it is
the one least seen. Most psychologists have thought ecstasy to be the
state characteristic of Christian mysticism, and that when not in ecstasy
they found themselves in the condition common to all Christians. . . . But
that shows a failure to understand the originality of the great Christian
mystics; the intermittent and alternating ecstasy gives place to a contin-
uous and homogeneous condition. The transformation of the personality
achieved by them is accomplished only little by little, and takes them
through a series of states of which the humblest is ecstasy." This con-
tinuous and homogeneous condition of the Christian mystic who has
reached his goal is contrasted with the antecedent stage (pp. 67-68) :
"Whereas ecstasy [the experience characteristic of the earlier period]
momentarily suppresses life . . . and absorbs the whole mind in the con-
templation of the divine, immobilizing the body in catalepsy, paralysis,
and contracture, here [in the final period] the mental and bodily powers
are no longer suspended . . . the divine no longer destroys the conscious-
ness of the self and of the world, but, on the contrary, it gives itself
through them . . . the self is no longer anything else than divine activity."
In agreement with the overwhelming majority of psychologists, Dela-
croix believes that "the most sublime states of mysticism do not exceed
the power of nature; religious genius suffices to explain its grandeur, as
disease accounts for its weaknesses" (preface, p. xix).
James H. Leuba.
Bryn Mawb College.
The Religious Teachers of Greece, being Gifford Lectures on Natural
Beligion delivered at Aberdeen by James Adam. Edinburgh : T. & T.
Clark. 1908. Pp. lv + 467.
Not the least interesting part of this book is the memoir of the author,
from the pen of his learned widow, which is prefixed to the lectures. We
gather there, in faithful detail, how Mr. Adam was the child of High-