27 JUNE 1896, Page 38


Thoughts on the Spiritual Life. By Jacob Bebmen. Translated from the German by Charlotte Ada Rainy. (Oliphant, Anderson, and Ferrier.)—This is a very interesting little compilation, and though we have not had the opportunity of comparing it with the German, we may say with some confidence that it is an effective and lively introduction to Jacob Behmen's mystical theology and spiritual teaching. The English is certainly good, and no one would know from reading it that it had not been

written in English by the powerful thinker who composed the works from which it is taken. The most useful and effective part of the book is, we think, the first, containing the most impressive of Jacob Behmen's single apophthegms, with headings suppliedy. and very well supplied, by the translator, Miss Rainy. For instance, take this on " The New Birth," " The soul needeth no other birth than a turning towards God, and an entering into Him," or this on " The Will," "Everything dependeth on the will, not on the understanding," or again, " What is the life of man? Nothing less than a spark of the Will of God," or again,, this, "So long as the smallest spark in a human soul longeth for God, and would be saved, so long is God's door of mercy open." The longer passages extracted towards the end of the book are somewhat too monotonous and contain too many repetitions. The mystics are always great in repetition, but the repetition of great truths, potent as it is to affect the soul, needs a little more variety of phrase and drift than the great mystics usually give it.