The essays and addresses collected in this book cover a period of about twelve years, and were first composed for many different purposes.
Thus it is that they deal with various and even contrasting aspects of Christian spirituality, and also represent different moments in the development of their writer's's thought. The earliest are the three papers on Christian social action; the latest is the study of the spiritual significance of the Oxford Movement. Yet I hope that any superficial appearance of contradiction between the pages which deal respectively with the most interior and with the most practical expressions of the life of the spirit, will be successfully resolved by those readers who know how to browse with discrimination but without fastidiousness; going both in and out to find pasture.
Such herbage as I have to offer seems to belong to three main types
and has been arranged accordingly. The three essays which are placed first are intended to present from three angles the general principles on which the rest are based. 'The Philosophy of Contemplation' is an attempt to describe in elementary terms the intellectual sanctions of mystical religion. It contains—with some additions—the Counsell Memorial Lecture, which I had the honour to deliver at
Cheltenham Ladies' College in 1930; and which was afterwards privately printed. 'A Study of Sanctity', which appears in its present shape for the first time, embodies a short article which was printed in the Spectator. It presents the same essential truths; as they are manifested in action in the life of spiritual genius. 'Spiritual Life', which is based on an address given to a group of Harrow masters, considers them again; in relation to our average human experience.
The three following addresses were delivered respectively at Swanwick, Birmingham and Oxford, during that period of awakening interest in the social implications of Christianity which had its chief expression in the 'Copec' movement. These are printed exactly as they were delivered. Their reappearance at the present time may perhaps serve as a reminder of how much which was then promised and hoped for still waits to be performed; and how shamefully Christian corporate action lags behind Christian ideals. 'Some Implicits of Christian Social Reform', and 'The Will of the Voice'—which was intended to introduce the Copec report on 'The Nature of God'—were afterwards printed in the Pilgrim: a magazine which no longer exists. Ten years separates the earliest paper of this group from the two last essays in the section which I have named 'Practices': those on the spiritual significance and accomplishment of the Tractarian revival, and on the inward dispositions which alone can make the present movement towards extending the sphere of women's religious work sane and fruitful. The first of these was delivered as a lecture before the Newcastle Theological Society and after-
wards printed in the Hibbert Journal. It is an attempt to estimate the extent in which the Oxford Movement brought back to Anglican Church life the undying fundamentals of Christian spirituality. The paper on the Ministry ofWomen was read as the closing address at a Conference, called by the Central Council For Women's Church Work, to consider this subject. It is intende3d as a reminder that these same fundamentals must or should govern all experiments made in this field, if they are to contribute to the genuine enrichment of the Church's life. This paper, which is printed as delivered, has already appeared in "Theology".
Finally, four essays deal with great and varying expressions of the spiritual life in terms of human personality; three belonging to the mediaeval, one to the modern world. The lecture on "StFrancis of Assisis and Franciscan Spirituality" was delivered, under the auspices of the British Society for Franciscan Studies, at University College, London, in January 1933; as the second Walter Seton Memorial Lecture. I am grateful for this opportunity of expressing my deep sense of obligation for the honour accorded to me in being chosen for this office. The two following papers deal with the two most widely known of our English fourteenth-century mystics. 'Richard the Hermit' was first printed in the Dublin Review as a study of recent work on Richard Rolle. The address on Walter Hilton was read at a meeting held in his honour on the site of the Priory of Thurgarton, in Nottinghamshire; where much of his life was spent. The essay upon 'Baron von Hugel first appeared in the Criterion in 1932. The additional note, on his work as a spiritual
teacher, was printed anonymously in the Guardian in the week following his death in 1925. I have to thank the editors of the Hibberd Journal, the Criterion and the Dublin Review for kind permission to reprint articles which had already appeared in their pages; and the editors of Theology and the Guardian for friendly hospitality received.