A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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of the religion of the New Testament that ' religion is what the individual does with his own solitariness '.
Holiness both in the Old Testament and in Christian history has often been thought of as separateness, as withdrawal from social activity in order to cultivate a lonely concentration on God. There is a real contribution to be made to the rich variety of Christian living by the occasional exercise of solitary contemplation. However, the New Testament clearly lays down the necessity of love of neighbour. Christ ranks love of one's neighbour as a commandment ' like unto ' the commandment to love God, and John has given a masterly exposition of the Master's teaching in his first epistle. To love one another is to abide in God ; he that loves not his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. Christ's own conception of holiness is clearly expressed in John xvii, 19, ' For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.' This is His own practical expression of the deep psychological truth that ' He who has found his life will lose it' (Matt, x, 39).
Mysticism, often regarded as the highest kind of religious individualism, actually provides convincing evidence of this social character of holiness, for it is the common teaching of the mystical writers that in the first stage of the mystic way, ' the way of purgation ', a firm foundation of ordinary social and civic virtue must be laid before the soul can pass to the illuminative and successive stages leading to its intimacy with God.
It cannot be too often emphasized that what we have said above is based on the derivation of the word religion itself (religio, a binding together); and that this implies losing ourselves in an allegiance to something greater than ourselves. Holiness is therefore essentially corporate and social, and the pursuit of this remains a