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TRINITYCOLLEGETORDNTO

OTHER VOLUMES IN THIS SERIES

STUDIES EDITED IN BY MYSTICAL RUFUS M. JONES. RELIGION*

(1908.)

By RUFUS M. JONES.

THE QUAKERS IN THE AMERICAN

COLONIES. (1911.) By RUFUS M. JONES,

assisted

by

GUMMERE.

ISAAC SHARPLESS and AMELIA M.

THE BEGINNINGS OF QUAKERISM.

(1912.) By WILLIAM CHARLES BRAITHWAITE. ISM* By WILLIAM CHARLES BRAITHWAITE.

THE SECOND PERIOD OF QUAKER

[In.preparation.

THE LATER PERIODS OF QUAKER

ISM.

By RUFUS M. JONES.

[In preparation.

SPIRITUAL REFORMERS IN THE

16TH & 17TH CENTURIES

MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED THE MACMILLAN THE MACMILLAN CO. OF COMPANY CANADA, LTD.

LONDON

BOMBAY CALCUTTA

MELBOURNE

NEW YORK BOSTON CHICAGO

DALLAS

SAN FRANCISCO

TORONTO

SPIRITUAL REFORMERS

IN THE

16TH & 17TH CENTURIES

BY

RUFUS M. JONES, M.A., D.Lrrr.

PROFESSOR OF PHILOSOPHY, HAVERHORU COLLEGE, U.S.A.

MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED

ST. MARTIN S STREET, LONDON

1914

8V

-r/

COPYRIGHT

PREFACE

IN my Quakers in the American Colonies I announced

the preparation of a volume to be devoted mainly to

Jacob Boehme and his influence.

I soon found, however,

isolated as my work prophet of research who discovered proceeded, in solitude that Boehme a fresh was way no of

approach to the supreme problems of the soul. I came

movement upon very clear which evidence consciously that aimed, he was throughout an organic its part long of

period a far-reaching of travail, and to carry significant the Reformation historical to movement its legitimate a

The

terminus, the restoration of apostolic Christianity. scornfully called " Spirituals " by their opponents, while

they thought of themselves as divinely commissioned

and Spirit-guided " Reformers," so that I have with good

right named them " Spiritual Reformers."

men who originated the movement, so far as anything

historical can be said to be

" originated," were often

I have had two purposes in view in these studies.

One purpose was the tracing of a religious movement, sources of the Quaker movement. This volume, together

that I have here found at least one of the great historical

century Quakerism. There can be little doubt, I think,

with my Studies in Mystical Religion, will at any rate

covery of the background and environment of seventeenth

profoundly interesting in itself, as a great side current

of the Reformation.

The other purpose was the dis

vi

SPIRITUAL REFORMERS

furnish convincing evidence that the ideas, aims, experi

ences, practices, and aspirations of the early Quakers

were the fruit of long spiritual preparation. This move

ment, as a whole, has never been studied before, and my

work has been beset with difficulties.

I have been aided Theodor Sippell of Schweinsberg, Germany. I am glad

to announce that he is preparing a critical historical study of his extensive knowledge of this historical field.

I

wish to express my appreciation of the courtesy and

kindness waite University of Banbury, which Library I have England, at Marburg. received has from given William the me Charles officials valuable Braith- of help. the

throughout my period of research, given me the benefit

by helpful monographs on individual

" Reformers,"

written mainly by German and French scholars, who

have been duly credited at the proper places, but for the

most part my material has been drawn from original

sources.

I

am under much obligation to my friend,

on John Everard and the Ranters, which will throw

important light on the religious ideas of the English

Commonwealth.

He

has

read

my proofs,

and has,

My wife has assisted me in all my work of research.

She

has read and re-read the proofs, made the Index, and

given me an immense amount of patient help. I cannot

close this Preface without again referring to theinspiration HAVERFORD, PENNSYLVANIA,

memory this series was undertaken.

of my invisible friend, John Wilhelm Rowntree, in whose

January 1914.

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

WHAT is " SPIRITUAL RELIGION " .

CHAPTER I

.

THE MAIN CURRENT OF THE REFORMATION

CHAPTER II

HANS DENCK AND THE INWARD WORD .

CHAPTER III

Two PROPHETS OF THE INWARD WORD : BUNDERLIN AND

.

.

ENTFELDER

CHAPTER IV

SEBASTIAN FRANCK : AN APOSTLE OF INWARD RELIGION

CHAPTER V

PAGE

xi

i

17

31

46

CASPAR SCHWENCKFELD AND THE REFORMATION OF THE

" MIDDLE WAY "

.

.

.

.

.

.

64

CHAPTER VI

 

SEBASTIAN CASTELLIO : A FORGOTTEN PROPHET

.

.

88

vii

viii

SPIRITUAL REFORMERS

CHAPTER VII

COORNHERT AND THE COLLEGIANTS A MOVEMENT FOR

SPIRITUAL RELIGION IN HOLLAND

PAGE

104

CHAPTER VIII

VALENTINE WEIGEL AND NATURE MYSTICISM .

CHAPTER IX

JACOB BOEHME : His LIFE AND SPIRIT .

BOEHME S UNIVERSE

CHAPTER X

.

.

.

.

CHAPTER CHAPTER XII XI CHAPTER XIV

.

.

.

.

133

.

.151

 

.

.172

 

190

 

.

.

208-

JACOB BOEHME S " WAY OF SALVATION "

JACOB BOEHME S INFLUENCE IN ENGLAND

CHAPTER XIII

.

EARLY ENGLISH INTERPRETERS OF SPIRITUAL RELIGION :

.

JOHN EVERARD, GILES RANDALL, AND OTHERS

235

266

SPIRITUAL RELIGION IN HIGH PLACES Rous, VANE, AND

STERRY .

.

.

CONTENTS

ix

CHAPTER XV CHAPTER XVII

CHAPTER XVI

"

AN

BENJAMINWHICHCOTE, THE FIRST OFTHE " LATITUDE-MEN"

JOHN SMITH, PLATONIST

SPIRIT "

INTERPRETER OF THE

THOMAS TRAHERNE AND THE SPIRITUAL POETS OF THE

SEVENTEENTH CENTURY

CHAPTER XVIII

CONCLUSION

INDEX

.

PAGE

288

305

320

336

351

WITHIN thy sheltering darkness spin the spheres ;

Within the shaded hollow of thy wings.

The life of things,

The Restless changeless we seek pivot thy of being the ; passing years

These in thy bosom lie.

to and fro

Upon our little twisting earth we go :

We cry, " Lo, there ! " And in his tracks we run

Like an enchanted child, that hastes to catch the sun. Of Within perilous the thought, sheltering thy dimness hidden of Face thy wings to find,

When some new avatar thy glory does declare,

When some new prophet of thy friendship sings,

And shall the soul thereby

Unto the All draw nigh ?

Shall it avail to plumb the mystic deeps

Of flowery beauty, scale the icy steeps

Or tread the starry paths to the utmost verge of the sky ?

Nay, groping dull and blind

Shade that their splendour flings

Athwart Eternity

We, out of age-long wandering, but come

Back to our Father s heart, where now we are at home.

EVELYN UNDERBILL in Immanence, p. 82.

INTRODUCTION

WHAT IS " SPIRITUAL RELIGION

THERE is nomagic in words, though, it must be confessed,

they the suggestive often exercise spell a of psychological certain words, influence and it so sometimes profound

and far-reaching that they seem to possess a miracle-

working efficacy.

Some persons live all their lives under

happens that an entire epoch is more or less dominated

by the mysterious fascination of a sacred word, which

needs only to be spoken on the house-top to set hearts

beating and legs marching.

" Spiritual " has always been one of these wonder

St. Paul, in Christian circles, was the are of the earth earthy ; they are, as we should say to-day,

working words.

first to give the word its unique value.

For him it

named a new order of life and a new level of being.

In

his thought, a deep cleavage runs through the human

race and divides it into two sharply-sundered classes,

"psychical men" and " pneumatical men"

men who

live according to nature, and men who live by the life

of the Spirit.

The former class, that is psychical men,

empirical, eventually parts to irretrievable of a vast nature-system, wreck and ruin doomed, ; the natural, as is

the entire system, to constant flux and mutability and

psychical, corruptible man cannot inherit

incorruption. 1

On the other hand, the pneumatical or spiritual man

1 i Cor. xv. 50.

xi

xii

SPIRITUAL REFORMERS

" puts on " incorruption

member of a new order ;

" not made with hands,"

and immortality.

He is a

he is " heavenly," a creation

but wrought out of the sub

stance of the spiritual world, and furnished with the the bearer in the Johannine writings of a no less exalted

of it to designate the new race of the saved, was made comes through the reception of the Spirit,

thing, " life "

in a birth from above.

inherent capacity of eternal duration, so that " mortality

is swallowed up of life." 1

This word, thus made sacred by St. Paul s great use

message, which has become a living and indissoluble part

of the religious consciousness of the Christian world.

" Eternal life "

or, what in these writings is the same

"

That

which is born

of the flesh

Spirit." 2 because He hath given us of His Spirit," and it becomes

possible for the Spirit-led person to be guided " into all

life, then we " know that we abide in Him and He in us,

When the Spirit comes as the initiator of this abundant

is flesh, and that which is born

of the Spirit is

the truth," to " love even as He loved,"

come the world." 3 Here, again, the human race is divided over

and to

"

into those who have " received of the Spirit," and those

who have not so received ;

twice-born and the once-born those ; who those are who are " of

"

born

from

above " and those who have and had those only who a natural are birth ;

the

the Spirit,"

i.e. spiritual,

"

of

this

world," i.e. empirical.

The Gnostic Sects of the second century had one

common link and badge ;

they all proposed a

" way,"

often bizarre and strange-sounding to modern ears, by

in which matter, the might soul, astray, attain its lost, freedom encumbered, and become or imprisoned spiritual.

Most of the Gnostic teachers, who in their flourishing

time were as thick as thistle-downs in summer, conceived

of man as consisting of two " halves " which corresponded

with two totally different world-orders. There was in

man, or there belonged to man (i) a visible body, which

1 2 Cor. v. 1-4.

2 John iii. 6.

INTRODUCTION

xiii

was again dichotomized, and believed to be composed,

according to many of the Gnostics, of a subtle element

like that of which they supposed Adam in his unfallen

state was made, which they named the hylic body, and

a sheath of gross earthly matter which they called the

choical body. 1

There was also (2)

another, invisible,

" half," generally divided into lower and higher stories.

The lower story, the psychical, was created or furnished

by the Demiurge, or sub-divine creator of the natural who possessed this spiritual seed were " the elect," " the

saved," who eventually, stripped of their sheath of matter

and their psychical dwelling, would be able to pass all

" the keepers of the way," and rise to the pure spiritual

life.

The Montanists launched in the second century a

movement,bornealongon amountain-wave of enthusiasm,

the Divine Pleroma, the Fulness of the Godhead. Those

spiritual seed derived from the supreme spiritual Origin,

system, while the top-story, or pneumatical self, was a

for a " spiritual " Church composed only of " spiritual

"

persons.

They called themselves " the Spirituals," and

they insisted that the age or dispensation of the Spirit

had now come. The Church, rigidly organized with its

ordained officials, its external machinery, and its accumu

lated traditions, was to them part of an old and outworn

system to be left behind.

In the place of it was to come

a new order of " spiritual people " of whom the Montanist

a new and peculiar to be a participator in the Life of God, and to be a living

member of a group that was led and guided by a con

prophets were the " first

fruits,"

people, born from above, recipients of a divine energizing

power, partakers in the life of the Spirit and capable of

being guided on by progressive revelations into all the

truth.

To be " spiritual " in their vocabulary meant

This Spirit was conceived,

tinuously however, self-revealing not as immanent Spirit. and resident, not as the in-

says 1 They : " The found LordGodmade their authority for Adam for this and outer for his sheath wife of coats body of skins, in the andclothed text which

XIV

SPIRITUAL REFORMERS

dwelling and permeative Life of the human spirit, but as

foreign and remote, and Hewas thought of as " coming "

in sporadic visitations to whom He would, His coming

being indicated in extraordinary and charismatic mani

festations.

This type of " spiritual religion," though eventually

stamped out in the particular form of Montanism, re

appeared again and again, with peculiar local andtemporal

variations, in the history of Christianity. 1 To the bearers

of it, the historic Church, with its crystallized system

and its vast machinery, always seemed " unspiritual

"

They believed, each time the move inspirational insights, of charismatic bestowals, and of

their religion of direct experience, of invading energy, of and all other forms seemed to them cold, formal, or dead.

that their religion was characteristically " spiritual,"

leadership of the Spirit. They were always very certain

as they believed, lacked the continuous and progressive

indeed a divine origin and divine " deposits," but which,

as contrasted with the historic Church which claimed

profound emotional fervour was distinctly " spiritual,"

higher order of Christianity, and they always felt that

special manner, and was through them inaugurating a

abundant life, that the Spirit had come upon them in a

ment appeared, that they had found the way to more

and traditional.

In their estimates, men were still divided into spiritual

persons and psychical persons current those of who the lived Protestant by the

"

"

heart

and those who lived by the " head."

Parallel with the main

Reformation, a new type of " spiritual religion " appeared to spiritual

bewildering variety of roads was tried

was a time of profound transition and ferment, and a

life of the modern world. The period of this new birth

with a wealth of results which are still operative in the

developments, throughout the entire Reformation era,

and continued to manifest itself with mutations and

Canaans and new Jerusalems, then fondly believed to

1 Many of these historical reappearances are considered in my Studies in

Mystical Religion.

INTRODUCTION

xv

be that near the at right hand. wing It is of a a long-standing revolutionary tragedy or transforming of history The nobler leaders and the saner spirits were taken in

the mass with those of an opposite character, and were

radical, wing of the movement. So it happened here.

grouped under comprehensive labels of reproach and

scorn, such as " Antinomians," " Enthusiasts," or " Ana

baptists," and in consequence still remain largely neglected

and forgotten.

lack of balance of those who constitute the left, or extreme

movement must always suffer for the unwisdom and

The men who initiated and guided this significant

undertaking the exhibition in the world of what they

persistently called " spiritual religion " together in this type of so-called spiritual Religion.

harmoniously united in their type of Christianity.

were influenced

by three great historic tendencies, all three of which were

They

were the Mystical tendency, the Humanistic or Rational

tendency, and the distinctive Faith-tendency of the

Reformation. These three strands are indissolubly woven

It

was an impressive attempt, whether completely successful

or not, to widen the sphere and scope of religion, to carry

it into the whole of life, to ground it in the very nature of

the human spirit, and to demonstrate that to be a man,

possessed of full life and complete health, is to be religious,

to be spiritual. I propose, as a preliminary preparation

for differentiating this special type of " spiritual religion,"

to undertake a study, as brief as possible, of these three

of underlying the inherent and nature fundamental of religion strands itself. or tendencies in

religion which will, of course, involve some consideration

For my present purpose it is not necessary to study

the twilight history of religion in primitive races nor to though and they so have far only hit tentative upon some ones, very to the suggestive psychological clues,

experiences and attitudes which set man s feet on the

to explore the baffling region of primitive man s mind,

pologists are rendering a valuable service in their attempts

trace its origins in the cradle-stage of human life.

Anthro

xvi

SPIRITUAL REFORMERS

momentous religious trail.

At every stage of its long

and devious history, religion has been some sort of life-

becomes adjustment thus to possible realities for which the were scientific felt to observer be of supreme to note

importance either to the individual or to the race, and it

a developmental process and to discover a principle there can be no doubt whatever that there are genetic

and biological factors to be considered. Nor, again, can

religion be adequately and exhaustively dealt with by

in terms of racial origins or of biological history, though

But religion can never be adequately treated either

which links it in with a universal scheme of evolution.

the psychological method of investigation.

The psycho

logical studies of religion in recent years have greatly

enriched our knowledge of the range and scope and

power of man s psychic nature and functions,

of his

instincts, desires, valuations, needs, yearnings, beliefs,

and modes of activity and behaviour, and particularly

of the important influence which the social group has

exercised and still exercises in the furtherance of religious

attitudes and ideals. But the psychological method has

obvious and inherent limitations. Like any other natural

science, psychology is limited to description and causal what appears in finite and describable forms. space world.

It is nakedly subjective and works, not

because there is Something or Some One beyond, which

answers it, and corresponds with its up-reach, but only

reactions in the presence of the facts of his time and

severely clipped. It is only one of man s multitudinous

explanation of the phenomena of its special field, which

in

this case

is states

of consciousness.

It does not

pretend, or even aspire, to pronounce upon the ultimate

nature of consciousness, nor upon the moral significance

of personality.

science.

It modestly Psychology confines is as its empirical scope of as research any other to

no ladder

by which it

It possesses

can transcend the empirical

order, the fact-level.

The religion which the psycho

logist reports upon is necessarily stripped of all tran

scendental and objective reference.

Its wings

are

INTRODUCTION

xvii

because undivided faith-attitudes always liberate within

the field of consciousness energy for life-activity. is to bring religion over into the purview of the scientific

field, he can do nothing else but reduce it. Science can The " man " whom science studies is complicated almost

able parts, each of which has well-defined functions. consciousness " and exhibit a drama more intricate than

have their entries and exits before " the foot-lights of

We need not blame the psychologist for this radical

reduction of the age-long pretensions of religion. If he

admit into its world nothing that successfully defies

descriptive treatment.

The poet may know of flowers

which " can give thoughts that do often lie too deep for

tears," but science discovers no such flowers in its field.

Its flowers are amazingly complex, but they call for no

handkerchief. They are merely aggregations of describ-

beyond belief. He is an aggregation of trillions of cells.

He is such a centre of vibrations that a cyclone is almost

a calm compared to the constant cyclic storms within the

area of man s corporeal system.

His

" mental

states "

any which human genius has conceived.

"

But each

state

is a definite, more or less describable, fact or

phenomenon.

For science, " man s " inner life, as well

as his corporeal bulk, is an aggregate of empirical items.

No loophole is left for freedom

that is for any novel

undetermined event.

No shekinah remains within for

a mysterious " conscience " to inject into this fact-world

insights drawn from a higher world of noumenal, or

in absolute, which reality. science catches " Man and " is merely holds a part of the natural aspect

it ignores or eliminates every

istic order, and has no way of getting out of the vast net

"

all

that

is."

There is, I repeat, no ground for blaming the psycho

logist for making these reductions.

His science can deal

only with an order of facts which will conform to the

scientific method, for wherever science invades a field,

of novelty

or

mystery or wonder, every aspect of reality which cannot

be brought under scientific categories, i.e. every aspect

which cannot be treated quantitatively and causally and

xviii

SPIRITUAL REFORMERS

arranged in a congeries of interrelated facts occurring

according to natural laws. The only cogent criticism

is that any psychologist should suppose that his scientific

account is the " last word " to be spoken, that his reports

contain all the returns that can be expected, or that this

method is the only way of approach to truth and reality.

Such claims to the rights of eminent domain and such

dogmatic assertions of exclusive finality always reveal with a reduced and simplified

the blind spot in the scientist s vision.

but he does not see wholes.

He sees steadily

He is of necessity dealing

which he con

of reality that boils over and inundates nature " the fragment

"

stantly tends to substitute for the vastly richer whole

which submits to his categories.

We do well to gather

in every available fact which biology or anthropology or

psychology can give us that throws light on human

behaviour, or on primitive cults, or on the richer sub

jective and social religious functions of full-grown men.

But the interior insight got from religion itself, the rich

wholeness of religious experience, the discovery within In

us of an inner nature which defies description and baffles

all plumb-lines, and which can draw out ofitselfmore than

it contains, indicate that we here have dealings with a

type of reality which demands for adequate treatment

other methods of comprehension than those available

to science.

the old Norse stories,

Thor tried to empty the

he animal, famous could drinking-horn but, not labour empty as it, in he for the might, it games turned he of could out Utgard, that not but lift the it, to horn for his

surprise he found that, though the horn looked small,