True it is that there were not wanting other men in these islands whose common sense refused to accept the metaphorical doctrine and the mystical jargon of the Quinarians, but so strenuously and persistently had the Laster asserted their infallibility, and so vigorously had they assailed any who ventured to doubt it, that most peaceable ornithologists found it best to bend to the furious blast, and in some sort to acquiesce at least in the phraseology of the self-styled interpreters of Creative Will.
For during the year that elapsed before he left Swabia (and whilst he sojourned at Neuburg and Ulm), and amidst his geometrical studies, he would fain have gathered some knowledge of the mystical wisdom attributed to the Rosicrucians; but the Invisibles, as they called themselves, kept their secret.
His favourite reading was poetry and mystical philosophy: Shakespeare, Dante, George Herbert, Goethe, Berkeley, Coleridge, Swedenborg, Jakob Boehme, Plato, the new Platonists, and the religious books of the East (in translation).
As an interpreter of the mystical side of Calvinism and of the psychological conditions which correspond with the doctrines of grace Erskine is unrivalled.
Magic.Among the rites that were celebrated in the temples or before the statues of the dead were many the mystical meaning of which was but imperfectly understood, though their efficacy was never doubted.
In the West, where philosophical efforts of any kind had been very rare since the 2nd century, and where mystical contemplation did not meet with the necessary conditions, Neoplatonism found a congenial soil only in isolated individuals.
All these investigations point clearly to the fact that Gnosticism belongs to the group of mystical religions.
Turning now to the other side, we have evidence, not only from tradition but from his writings, that he was acquainted with Plato and the mystical Platonists; but he had the sagacity to perceive that Aristotle was the great representative of philosophy, and that his writings contained the best results and method which the natural reason had as yet attained to.
The, most eminent preacher of the century was Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), esteemed alike by gentle and simple, and summing up the popular scholastic and mystical types of preaching.
In this philosophy the mystical properties of numbers are a leading feature; absurd and mechanical notions are glossed over with the sheen of sacramental mystery; myths are explained by pious fancies and fine-sounding pietistic reflections; miracles, even the most ridiculous, are believed in, and miracles are wrought.