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Peter Sterry: Pensamento

sexta-feira 25 de março de 2022


The mystic or evangelical life is, according to Sterry’s teaching, a life in which man ministers unto God  , offering up himself unto God "as a perpetual sacrifice in a flame of love," and receiving from Him divine manifestations and communications according to the divine good pleasure, " and all this with an open contemplation of Him, and an assured complacency in Him."

He describes it thus: " When the soul   is taught by her experience and her God, that the secret delights of the natural   image are for a repast only, not a repose, that in the strength of these as Elijah’s food, brought by angels, she is to travel through a wilderness—the ruins of nature with all its principles and images—till she comes to the Mount of God, then she takes up a resolution to stay no longer in this field of swine with the swine, but to make haste to her Father  ’s House, where every servant hath bread enough—each fleshly form is filled with substantial glory. When God hath secretly instructed the soul thus to resolve, He, as a tender-hearted Father, meets her in the beginning of these resolutions, falls upon her neck and kisseth her. God shows Himself in the soul, gives her sweet testimonies of His love, carries her farther off from the outward image, carries her through the most retired principles of nature beyond and above them, into this spiritual principle and state which is the Spirit   of Christ  , where God and the creature are united, where the spirit is as water  , the flesh   as a flourishing earth standing in that water and out of it—being continually fed, continually made fruitful and beautiful by it."

God, Sterry affirms, is the ground of every natural being, and the treasury of all spiritual beings. He is an infinite sweetness, which is both fountain and sea in one—a fountain sending forth many streams, many sons; a sea drawing all into its bosom again by a natural course. Man has come from that boundless deep, and his most urgent need is to discover the way of returning. Sterry adjures us to allow nothing to keep us at a distance from God; for where, he asks, can we be so well   as in the bosom of Him who loves us ? Thus the mystic’s quest is a right discovery of God in order that he may attain to " the life of glory in which all things lived to God, before they lived to themselves in the flesh." The fleshly state Sterry describes as the true Sodom in which our Lord was crucified—the city of Darkness in which the Eternal Light is put to open shame and torture, till it gives up its Spirit to God. The end of the quest is not reached " till all things be an infiniteness of Divine Appearances, a fulness of Divine Images flowing forth from God, and playing in the Bosom of God," and the soul "see itself again in God." Sterry teaches that the soul with all its capacity is natural, and that whatever we can see, feel, declare in, or from our souls, of the enjoyment of God, is but the shadow of the true enjoyment because it hath nature for its seat, if not for its root  . Our vocation is to retire beyond nature into the spiritual image of things, to enter into the secrets and depths of the spiritual man. The pity of it is that too often " we set the feet of our fleshly affections upon the life and beauty of our spiritual man," which is " the undefiled image of God in ourselves, of ourselves in God."

Except a man be born from above he cannot enter the Divine kingdom—this is the affirmation of all Christian mystics. Sterry says that our Lord gave His disciples " a full description of the Christian Mystery "—of the New Birth—in the following words: " Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven." Thus the mystic, or spiritual man, is born of God, "having the Divine nature, the very root and seed of the Godhead  ," within him. He is without cloud or spot, " because the seed of Divinity, which is an Eternal Generation, is ever growing up" within him. Sterry likens the mystical process in the soul to the action of seminal powers in the ground, and says that " the Godhead, by the Gospel  , opens itself within the natural man, and brings forth into light the spiritual, the immortal man to the natural." Sterry calls our life in nature a sleep, and the raising of the soul into Christ is the awakening   of it. The soul must pass from the natural life, which is either one of darkness or of dreams into the life which is life indeed.