In many of my links you will see the word "mysticism" and mystic. I don't like the use of the term myself as it applies to those outside of Christianity as well as those within. It's meaning is the contact with the supernatural and spiritual and there are two sides to the spiritual realm. Please click on the banner above before you go any further and read my disclaimer. It is there you'll further discover the reason I have included this web page.
The other reason is because this is the most important side of balance. It is not only the original wineskin that has been lost but the wine poured out as well. There are many house church web sites online today that concentrate on restoring the wineskin without taking a look at the lost wine. How can we get back into the experience of the lost wine? I do thank God there are a few sites that are dedicated to both subjects: Seedsowers being one example of this. To see my thoughts on where I see imbalance today and what that imbalance basically consists of see my two side by side articles on the subject in Addendum 3 and Addendum 4.
|Authors||Books on the Deeper Life|
|Evelyn Underhill||There's much information concerning Evelyn Underhill online. She is considered by many the foremost authority on mysticism within the 20th century and her works are full of information. Her online book: "Mysticism: The Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness." For another work of hers online see the preface to the "The Cloud of Unknowing" A link to other works can be found at: http://www.evelynunderhill.org/her_work/list_writings.shtml.||
There is something that needs to be said about these brave hearts and
pioneers into the spiritual realms that sets them apart from today's mostly shallow Christians. For the most part they were not "into" the "get out there and do a work for God" mindset that most
young believers are introduced to from the start. A prime example among those I have referred to on this page is Catherine of Sienna. She spent 3 years shutting the world out so to speak and shut in
with God. During this time she experienced both the purgative and illuminitive stages of the deeper life at the same time. After these three years in the presence of God there was so much of the love
of God poured out into her heart that SHE WENT OUT TO THE WORLD!!! SHE SPENT HER TIME WITH THE POOR AND NEEDY, just as someone we all know from India did in the 20th century. Also, she CHANGED THE
FACE OF THE HISTORY OF HER COUNTRY ...
The next time you hear someone quote the saying from hell: "he or she is so heavenly minded he's no earthly good" do yourself and that person both a favor by rebuking that person!! We should be saying "he's becoming more heavenly minded so maybe there's some hope he'll be some earthly good." We forget about Jesus parable of Himself as the vine and we as the branches and what followed: "without Me you can do nothing"!
Why are most of these hidden ones Catholics? And what does this fact have to do with the house church movement?
This is not a very mysterious subject. The answer to this question is relatively simple. There is one big practical advantage the Catholic tradition has maintained (whether they have recognized the value of it or not) maybe because they are the direct descendants of the early ecclesia though they have changed so much. There is such a thing as community among them which on the other hand for the most part does not exist among Protestants. Of course I'm referring to their monasteries and convents, which though be contrary to the scripture that we must be IN the world and at the same time not of the world, at least there was the kind of togetherness where a mutual encouragement in seeking God above all existed just as it did in the 1st century. What's my point? For the most part, most of us "divine nature partaker born again species" are MADE by innate nature of our new creation DNA to be closely associated and WITH one another in community! And its a rare bird folks among Christians (though there have been a few) who get into the deeps alone. Now you see why I recommend brother Gene Edwards ministry and house church groups who also live close in the same neighborhood! These fortunate believers know first hand that they cannot receive what they've received otherwise than in a close knit fellowship. THAT is our natural habitat just as the ocean houses the fish! "But seeing the boldness of Peter and John, and perceiving that they were unlettered and uninstructed men, they wondered; and they recognised them that they were with Jesus." Acts 4:13.
Of course there are tons of articles but I consider the following a must read for you to understand where you are and where we are: The Mystic Way. This article tells it like it is about the stages of the deeper life from babyhood all the way to union and you may just discover where you really are! I consider it #1!!!
#2! Same guy: Eric Rose: Informal History of the Christian Contemplative Tradition. A great time line for the basic events fo the gains and losses of contemplative life through the ages. #3. The "geneedwards.com" page About Cloud of Witnesses used to be online but not lately. It explained misconceptions of the term "mysticism." The following pages contain other information and many links about mystics of the past and the present 20th century also. Please see CLOUD or The cloud of Witnesses. NOTE: These pages were put together and written by - again- Eric Rose. However, I've not been able to contact him for YEARS and am not sure if he is even alive.
|St. John of the Cross||
So why do I copy the title "ST" and not give it to everybody on this page? This is what John of the Cross has been called so I follow suit. he has also been called "the greatest of all mystical theologians" and this time I agree. I do not agree with the Catholic church that some are saints and some are not, however, people like this particular brother seem waaaaay beyond almost anyone alive today. For my article concerning what the Lord did in me just as a small boy concerning this man of God see my article entitledCharge Forward! ... To many, John of the Cross seems too austere, hard and wrongly ascetic in his writings. but in these same writings he admits that God has given us lawful enjoyments and there is nothing wrong with enjoying them in their place. He goes on however to lead his readers to void their senses and sense life for the darkness of trusting faith and the realms of the spirit. This is because he was at the summit of union with God at the top of the mountain looking downward at the realities and values of all things in their proper place with a proper perspective, having entered into the way surpassing joys of the summit of oneness with God (wow!!!!!) and did not want his readers to be held up by anything and waste their time but to take the quickest path to the summit as possible!! Thank you, brother John! Yes! This is why he is rightly so called "the greatest of all mystical theologians."
It is thankful that some (whooops!! THAT just changed again!) of his books can be found free online: such a one is theAscent of Mount Carmel, which should proceed the "Dark Night" (this book is found at my favorite web site by the way). Almost everything can be found there!). Many works about him can be found at the ICS Publications. For most of his other major works click here. Click the next link for his COMPLETE WORKS.
|St. Teresa of Avila||Teresa of Avila also lived in Spain before John of the Cross and of course she was a major influence on his life having proceeded him into the unfathomable depths of Christ! Her "Life" story, like Jeanne Guyon's autobiography is one of the best books ever written, not to mention the fact that it is so encouraging! (She was a worse sinner than me!) In all the history of Spain, her autobiography, "Life" is considered the 2nd greatest book ever written in that country, the first being "Don Quixote" by Cervantes. Her only online book (unless you read Spanish - there's more) is THE WAY OF PERFECTION. The Interior Castle which is well worth buying any way you can get it, was for awhile removed from being online but just recently made available once again.|
|Jeanne Marie Bouvier de la Motte- Guyon||Or Jeanne Guyon as she is usually called these days in English America! Perhaps one of the most influential persons who ever lived in the past 500 years as far as inspiring some rather prevailing groups of Christians to dive in! She is most famous in this generation (as in hers) for the book: "Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ" which is available at Seedsowers (who, by the way sell many more of her works, having found an expert translator!). To see the archaic older translation entitled A Short and Easy Method of Prayer which is free online go to the CCEL version. Another book you can find at Seedsowers is her Autobiography, which has helped many in their walk with Christ! Real good! This is also free online. There are also many of her poems available in Cowpers book online and there is a depth of wealth there.|
|Michael Molinos||Michael Molinos is hard to talk about. His life is these days for the most part shrouded in mystery. He came closer to changing the Roman Catholic church than anyone in history and in fact DID have a revival going with in her walls! His book The Spiritual Guide caused quite a stir in Rome, inciting the envy of the Jesuits causing him to be unfairly put away by the Inquisition. The online old English translation of his book, written in 1675 and translated to English in 1685 can be found at CCEL. For the best biography I have found of him you'll have to buy the SEEDSOWERS translation. See the section on Fenelon for another resource online. It is interesting, but the book on the 400 year misunderstanding deals with the omissions of Molinos to reference to John of the Cross and how this played into things. No matter what, his book remains ...my favorite!!|
Gene Edwards is still alive today. It's hard to assess the living ... you haven't seen everything till a hundred years later. Now here is another fact about Gene Edwards: There are some hurts that modern day people have found through practical ministry errors. My DISCLAIMER concerning him can be found on my article NOTHouseChurch.html. However, his writings and ministry hit deep. Some of his books are actually good starters for entering the deeper life. I highly recommend three:
The Highest Life
The Secret to the Christian Life and ...
The Inward Journey.
|Francois de Salignac de la Mothe Fenelon||
Or François Fenelon, as he is called by us Americans! Can you tell this guy is a French friend of Madam Guyon's? I wonder what Gene Edwards French name is?!!! Anyhow, Fenelon would not have become the fountain of such endless rivers of blessing through his writings if he had not been a friend of Jeanne Guyon. It was her influence that led Fenelon into a deep relation with Christ and her books can do the same for you! There are seven works of both of them that are online all in one place called: Spiritual Progress! For a better translation you can purchase from Seedsowers book: The Seeking Heart.
DIALOGUES FROM THE PAST has more links by many of these mystics and many more - but of note is the one written by Fenelon.
|Catherine of Sienna||See the column on the right for more on this dear sister in Christ whose life shaped history. Her online work which was penned by someone else while she was caught up in an ecstasy hits the conscience deep. I guess that's why its called a Dialogue of St. Catherine of Sienna.|
|Jacob Bhoeme||One of the few Protestant "mystics" who have ever lived. See the column at the right and the article: "Why Catholics?" To learn why. This guy, Jacob Bhoeme cannot be measured! It's almost impossible to understand because there is such a lack of experience in this so called "enlightened age" ... yeah, right! We're so in the dark we think we're the best! There are 2 good online places where his writings bless the public: 1. Way to Christ and 2. Dialogues from the past which contains writings from some other authors also worthy of mention.|
|Brother Lawarnce||Again, I would refer you to the holy cow for some biography at least but the link is gone. There is little known about this brother. Seedsowers has his writings available along with Frank Laubach. The online version of the same is y the original title: Practicing the Presence of God. This is a classic!|
|Therese of Lisieux||This dear sister and ardent lover of Christ was introduced into my awareness through Eric Rose' former web-site. Thèrése of Lisieux only lived to be 23 due to the health conditions of 100 years ago, yet what a life! Despite being steeped in many of the traditions of Rome, what a heart towards our dear Lord! Much like the heart of Mary Magdalene. There have been many who have influenced others to love the Lord and realize His preciousness but this sister will actually put the fire in you! Sorry, her "Story of a Soul" which she wrote is something you'll have to find. There is much on the web concerning her, however as she is known for being the proponent of "The Little Way," I will link to that site as there is some real value to the heart there.|
|Witness Lee||Last but not least ("the last shall be first!"), Witness Lee is perhaps the greatest man who has ever lived in the past 1700 years! Perhaps NO ONE during that period has ever had such a revelation of the scriptures as this brother has. Since God has used him in the 20th century to restore so much concerning the New Testament truth and practice concerning the new wineskin, he did not have much time to speak or write and super deep things but he WAS deep and that's the main point of who he was. I met this brother and I'll tell I have never been so UNIMPRESSED!!!! He was so small!!! He was nothing and he knew it!!!!!! He was the littlest guy I have ever known! And this is what he shares as far as greatness with Thèrése of Lisieux, who was impressed to stay a little child before our Father! There is no book by him online concerning the deep things of God, however, you really should get a hold of a copy of The Economy of God and The Knowledge of Life if you want to be not only enlightened but enlivened by rivers of living waters flowing from deep within!!! Life indeed!! I'll say no more, since I probably have said more about this dear brother on this web-site than anyone else besides Christ.|
Although I refer the reader here to many writings and various links on this page, that does not mean I would endorse everything that all of them teach. I am NOT a Catholic as some have already charged me with. I do not endorse their formalism, idolatrous practices, beliefs in the mediation of Mary and the saints or beliefs that there are grace through their sacraments. On the other hand I am not an Arminianist who condemns them to hell by basing salvation on works instead of faith in Christ! If you reject these dear brethren you miss some very deep experience and wisdom! THIS is how the Protestant church became so poor: Martin Luther and John Calvin decided, based on the common opinion that was developing in that day (note: these series of articles were written by Eric Rose - I do not know where he is or his former web site these days), that contemplation was a special grace reserved for only a special few so they eliminated the teaching of it from the Protestant pulpits 400 years back! Because the neo platonic teaching that it took long years and many stages to reach union and some elements of philosophy had gotten into the truth THEY JUST THREW OUT THE BABY WITH THE BATHWATER! Let us not do the same by ignoring the depths that are there. For a good insight into this problem see Eric Rose' articles, especially the article on the history of contemplation.
So how did the deeper things get pretty much lost (except for some hidden orders) among the Catholics? I think the answer has been brought out recently in some of the historical studies that have come out recently. It is true Eric Rose has lots to say about the endings of the depths among the Catholics, citing the envy of the religious leaders of that time (just as what happened to Christ) in his great article concerning Jeanne Guyon but I think there is another basic reason that's been brought out recently as well: there was a misunderstanding over the last 400 years concerning the writings of John of the Cross and this has caused many of the other problems and in fact may be at the root of all the other problems. The very educational and enlightening book on this subject is now free online and recommended although again as in everything you must compare everything with the truth of the Word of God for yourself.
ALSO NEW!! Christian Mysticism Links: This site has pretty accurate links to most of the authors and their FREE online books, just like this page does!!
Christian Classics Ethereal Library: My favorite site. Wheaton College helps to host this site. Would I even be alive without that college? I don't know. Both my parents went there! But even if that were not true this site is the best! I don't think I'm the only one who feels this way. There are so many tons of books and Bible study helps online here it is truly amazing! As you can see, half of my links above refer to books found on the deeper life from CCEL and they are downloadable into many formats!
Who's Who in the History of Mysticism: If you haven't been warned already, Greek philosophy got mixed with the teaching of the way to union in Medieval times. The best way to decipher this bad element is Gene Edwards books on the deeper life as cited above. BUT .. lets not make the mistake of John Calvin and Martin Luther by throwing out the baby with the bath water! This site tells everything about Greek philosophy and how it got mingled with the teaching of the deeper experience of Christ. Another page called Mysticism Resources is by the same guy and boyyyyyy! ... does it have RESOURCES! If you want to see the elements for yourself - this is the place to go. Plus it contains a vast history.
Sites Devoted to Christian Spirituality site: Lots of links here! But like always, be careful!
Hildegard of Bingen
ST BIRGITTA OF SWEDEN AND HER REVELACIONES
Internet Theology Resources: Spirituality
Theology Resources, Spirituality: 93 links. Lots of links are here. Many are books already noted and many more.
Index Julian of Norwich Texts and Contexts Websites
James Kiefer's Hagiographies
BACK: ADDENDUM 4 Charge Forward!
|The Revelation of the Lost Keys|