"The Parable of the Five (5) Wise, and Five (5) Foolish Virgins" - A
depiction of Matthew 25:6. The Five (5) Wise Virgins
(both foreground and background), depicted at the Right Hand of Jesus, are Saved. The Five (5) Foolish Virgins
(both foreground and background), depicted at Jesus' Left Hand, are Damned. -
Matthew 25:6 - Behold, the Bridegroom Cometh, go ye out to meet Him
|Blessed John Ruysbroeck was a Flemish Mystical Writer who greatly influenced Mystical Teaching in the late
Middle Ages, and whose name is associated with the Religious Renewal in the Lowlands, that also produced
"The Imitation of Christ".
Blessed Ruysbroeck's Writings are considered Classics of Spirituality, Forshadowing the Writings-of Saint John of the Cross in their Clarity and Doctrine. His solid Theological Background, and his Ability to make-Clear the Sure-Path of Spiritual Progress, gave him a wide Reading, even today, and his Books are Lucid Commentaries on the Augustinian Doctrine of the Life-of Grace.
A Beautiful Tradition tells us that Blessed Ruysbroeck would go out alone into the Woods, when he felt that the Inspiration of God was upon him; and there, sitting under his Favorite Tree, would write as the Holy Ghost dictated. "My words", said Ruysbroeck, "are strange, but those who Love will Understand". The Brethren used to declare that once, having been absent many hours from the Priory, he was at last found in this place, Rapt in Ecstasy and Surrounded-by a Brilliant Aura of Divine Light a Legend which closely resembles many Similar Stories in the Lives-of the Saints.
If a Man does all he can, and cannot do more because of his Feebleness, it Rests-with the Infinite Goodness-of God to Finish the Work. Then, Straight-as a Sunbeam, there comes a Higher Light-of Divine Grace, and it is Shed-into the Soul, according-to its Worth, though neither Merited nor Desired. For in this Light, God gives Himself, out-of Free Goodness and Generosity, the which-never, Creature can Merit, before it has received it. And this is an Inward and Mysterious Working-of God in the Soul, above-Time; and it moves the Soul and all its Powers. Therewith ends Prevenient Grace (Actual Grace) and begins the Other Grace, that is to say, the Supernatural Light.
This Light is the First Point necessary, and from it, there Arises a Second Point, and that on the Part-of the Soul; namely, the Free Conversion-of the Will, in a Single-moment of-Time. And here it is that Charity is Born-of the Union-of God with the Soul. These Two (2) Points hang-together, so that the One cannot be fulfilled without the Other. Where God and the Soul come-together in the Union-of Love, then God, above-Time, gives His Light; and the Soul, in a Single-moment of-Time, gives, by Virtue-of the Grace received, its Free Conversion-to Him. And there Charity is Born-of God, and of the Soul in the Soul, for Charity is a Bond-of Love, Tying God, to the Loving Soul.
Of these Two (2) Things that is to say, the Grace-of God and the Free Conversion-of the Will, Enlightened-by Grace Charity, that is, Divine Love, is Born. And from this Divine Love, the Third Point arises; that is, the Purification-of Conscience. And these Three (3) Points belong together, in such a way, that One cannot exist-long, without the Others; for whosoever has Divine Love, has also Perfect Contrition-for his Sins.
Yet here, we must take-heed to the Order-of Divine and Creaturely Things, as they are here shown. For God Gives His Light, and by this Light, Man gives his Willing and Perfect Conversion; and of these Two (2) is Born a Perfect Love towards-God. And from this Love, there come-forth Perfect Contrition and Purification-of Conscience. And these arise-from the Consideration-of Misdeeds, and all that may Defile the Soul; for when a Man Loves God, he Despises himself, and all his Works. This is the Order-of every Conversion. From it, there comes True Repentance, a Perfect Sorrow for every Evil Thing which one has done, and an Ardent Desire never to-Sin again, and evermore, to Serve God in Humble Obedience. Hence too, an Open Confession, without Reserve, Ambiguity, or Excuse; a Perfect Satisfaction, according-to the Counsel-of a Prudent Priest; and the Beginning-of Virtue and of all Good Works.
These Three (3) Things, as you have heard, are Needful-to a Spiritual or Godly Sight. If you have them, Christ is saying within you: Behold, and you are Beholding in-Truth. And this is the First of the Four (4) Chief Points; namely, that in which Christ, Our Lord says: Behold.
CHAPTER II - Showing How We Shall Consider the Coming of Christ in Three Ways
Now, by saying: The Bridegroom Cometh, He shows us further, what we shall See. Christ, our Bridegroom, spoke this Word, in Latin: Venit. And this Word implies Two (2) Tenses, the Past and the Present; and yet here it denotes the Future too.
And that is why we shall consider Three (3) Comings-of our Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.
And in all these Comings, there are Three (3) Things, to be Considered:
The Reason why God Created the Angels and Man, was His Unfathomable Goodness and Nobleness, whereby He Willed to do it; that the Bliss and the Richness which He is Himself, might be Revealed-to Rational Creatures, so that they might Taste Him in-Time, and Enjoy Him outside-Time, in-Eternity.
The Reason why God became Man, was His Incomprehensible Love, and the Need-of all Men; for Man had been Corrupted-by the Fall, and could not Amend himself.
But the Reason why Christ, according-to His Godhead, and according-to His Manhood, Wrought all His Works on-Earth, this Reason is Fourfold:
These are the Four (4) Reasons for the Coming-of Christ our Bridegroom, and for all His Works, both 'Outward' and 'Inward'.
Now, if we would 'Follow' Christ, our Bridegroom, in Virtue, so far as we are able, we must consider in what Ways He was 'Inwardly', and the Works which He Wrought 'Outwardly'; that is to say, His Virtues, and the Deeds of these Virtues.
In what Ways He was according-to His Godhead, this is Inaccessible and Incomprehensible to us; for it is that according-to which He is Born-of the Father without-Ceasing, and wherein the Father, in-Him and through-Him, Knows, Creates, Orders and Rules all things in-Heaven and on-Earth. For He is the Wisdom-of the Father, and they Breathe-forth One (1) Spirit, that is, One (1) Love, which is a Common-bond between Them and all Saints, and all Good Men in-Heaven and on-Earth. Of this Condition, we shall not speak any more; but we shall speak-of that Condition which He had through Divine Gifts, and according to His Created Manhood. And this Condition was Manifold. For as many 'Inward' Virtues as Christ Possessed, so many were His 'Inward' Conditions; for every Virtue has its Special Condition. The Sum-of the Virtues and Conditions in the Soul-of Christ, this is above the Understanding, and above the Comprehension-of all Creatures. But, we shall take Three (3) of them: namely,
in 'Inward' and 'Outward' Things. These are the Three (3) Chief Roots and Beginnings of all-Virtues, and all-Perfection.
CHAPTER III - Of Humility
Now understand this: we find in Christ, according to His Godhead, Two (2) Kinds-of Humility:
And further, we can say of all the Works-of Humility which Christ ever Wrought, that they were Wrought-by God Himself.
Now let us take the Humility, which was in Christ, according-to His Manhood, and through the Grace and the Gifts-of God. In this Humility, His Soul, with all its Powers, bowed-down in Reverence and Adoration before the most-High Might of the Father; for a Bowed-down Heart, is a Humble Heart. And therefore He Wrought all His Works, for the Praise and for the Honor-of His Father, and Never and in-Nothing, sought His Own Glory, according to His Humanity.
He was Humble and Subject-to the Old Law, and to the Commandments, and also to Custom, whenever such was Right. And that is why He was Circumcised, and taken into the Temple, and Redeemed-in the Customary Way; and He paid His Tribute Money to Caesar, like any other Jew. And He was Humble and Subject-to His Mother, and to the Lord Joseph; and that is why He Served them with True Reverence, according-to all their Needs. He chose Poor and Outcast People for His Comrades, to Live-with, and wherewith to-Convert the World; these were the Apostles. And He was Lowly and Meek among them, and among all other Men. And He was ever ready-for all Men, in whatever 'Inward' or 'Outward' Need they might be: as if He were the Servant-of all the World.
This is the First Point which we find in Christ, our Bridegroom.
CHAPTER IV - Of Charity
The Second Point is Charity, Beginning and Origin-of all Virtues. This Charity upheld the Higher Powers of His Soul in Quietness, and in a Fruition-of that very Bliss which He now Enjoys. And this Charity kept Him constantly Uplifted-to His Father in-Reverence, in-Love, in-Adoration, in-Praise; with Fervent Prayers-for the Needs-of all Men, and with an Offering-up of all His Works, to the Glory-of His Father.
It was also this same Charity that made Christ stoop, with Loving Faithfulness and Kindness, to the Bodily and Ghostly Needs-of all Men. And in this, He gave an Example to all Men, Teaching them by His Life, how to Live. He Fed, in Ghostly Wise, with True and 'Inward' Teachings, all those Men who could Understand them; and others, from 'Without', through the Senses, with Signs and Wonders. And sometimes He Fed them also with Bodily Food, as when they had followed Him into the Desert, and were in Need-of it. He made the Deaf Hear, and the Lame Walk-straight, and the Blind See, and the Dumb Speak, and cast-forth Devils from-Men. He Raised-up the Dead; and this should be Understood, both in a Bodily and a Ghostly Way. Christ, our Lover, has Labored for us, from-'Without' and from-'Within', with True Faithfulness. His Charity, we cannot Fathom and Understand, for it flows-out of the Unfathomable Fountain-of the Holy Ghost, and Transcends all that Creatures have ever experienced of-Charity; for Christ was God and Man, in One (1) Person.
And this is the Second Point: that is to say, Charity.
CHAPTER V - Of Patient Suffering and Endurance
The Third Point is Patient Suffering and Endurance. We should Mark this Point carefully, for it adorned Christ, our Bridegroom, during all His Life. For His Sufferings began very-early, as-soon-as He was Born; they began-with Poverty and Cold. Then, He was Circumcised and shed His Blood; He was driven-to a Strange Country; He served the Lord Joseph, and His Mother; He Suffered Hunger and Thirst, Shame and Contempt, the Vile Words and Works-of the Jews. He Fasted, He Watched, and He was Tempted-by the Devil. He was subject-to all Men; He wandered from Country-to-Country, from Town-to-Town, with much Labor and great Zeal, that He might Preach the Gospel.
At last, He was taken-Prisoner by the Jews, who were His Enemies, though He was their Friend. He was Betrayed, Mocked and Insulted, Scourged and Buffeted, and Condemned-by False Witness. He bore His Cross, with Great Pains, up to the Highest Point of the Land. He was Stripped Stark-Naked. So Fair a Body, neither Man nor Woman ever saw, so Cruelly Ill-used. He Suffered Shame, and Anguish, and Cold, before all the World: for He was Naked, and it was Cold, and a Searching Wind cut-into His Wounds. He was Nailed-to the Wood-of the Cross with Blunt Nails, and so Stretched-out, that His Veins were Torn-asunder. He was Lifted-up, and then Flung-down, and because-of the Blow, His Wounds began to Bleed again. His Head was Crowned-with Thorns; His Ears heard the Jews cry, in their Fury: Crucify Him, Crucify Him, with many other Infamous Words. His Eyes saw the Hardness and Malice-of the Jews, and the Anguish-of His Mother. And His Eyes overflowed-with the Bitterness-of Sorrow and Death; His Nose smelt the Filth which the Jews Spat-out of their Mouths, into His Face; His Mouth and Tongue dripped-with Vinegar mingled-with Gall, and every Sensitive part-of His Body had been Wounded-by the Scourge.
Christ, our Bridegroom, Wounded to the Death, Forsaken of-God, and of all Creatures, Dying-on the Cross, Hanging like a Log, for which no one Cared, save Mary, His Poor Mother, who could not Help Him!
Christ also Suffered Spiritually, in His Soul, because of the Hardened Hearts-of the Jews, and of those who were putting Him to-Death; for whatever Signs and Wonders they saw, they remained-in their Wickedness. And He Suffered because-of their Corruption, and because-of the Vengeance for His Death; for He knew that God would Avenge it on them, Body and Soul. Also He Suffered from the Distress and Anguish of His Mother and His Disciples, who were in great-Affliction. And He Suffered still-more, because His Death would be of no Profit to so many-Men, and because-of the Ingratitude-of Man and because-of the False Oaths which many would Swear, Reviling and Blaspheming Him, Who had Died out-of Love for us all. And also His Bodily Nature and His Lower Reason Suffered, because God had Withdrawn the Inflow-of His Grace, and of His Consolations, and had left them alone, in such Distress. And of this, Christ Complained, exclaiming: My God, My God, why hast Thou Forsaken Me? But as to all His Sufferings, our Lover was Silent; and cried to His Father saying: Father, Forgive them; for they know not what they do. And Christ was heard-of His Father, because of His Reverence; for those who acted-from Ignorance, were soon-afterwards Converted.
These then were Christ's 'Inward' Virtues: Humility, Charity, and Patient Endurance. These Three (3) Virtues, Christ, our Bridegroom, Practiced during all His Life, and He Died with them, and Paid our Debt, according-to Justice. And of His Generosity, He has opened His Side. Thence flow-forth the Rivers of Well-being, and the Sacraments of Bliss. And He has Ascended in-Power, and sits at the Right-Hand-of the Father, and Reigns-in Eternity.
This is the First Coming-of our Bridegroom, and it is Wholly Past.
CHAPTER VI - Of the Second Coming of Christ
The Second Coming-of Christ, our Bridegroom, takes place every-day within Good Men; Often and many-Times, with New Graces and Gifts, in all those who make themselves ready for it, each according-to his Power. We would not speak here of a Man's First Conversion, nor of the First Grace which was given to him, when he turned-from Sin to the Virtues. But we would speak of an Increase-of new-Gifts, and new-Virtues from day-to-day, and of the Present Coming-of Christ, our Bridegroom, which takes place Daily, within our Souls.
Now we must consider the Why and the Wherefore, the Way and the Working, of this Coming. Its Wherefore is Fourfold: God's Mercy, and our Destitution; God's Generosity, and our Desire. These Four (4) Things cause the Growth-of Virtue and of Nobleness.
Now Understand this: when the Sun sends its Beams, and its Radiance into a Deep Valley between Two (2) High Mountains, and, standing-in the Zenith, can yet shine-upon the Bottom and Ground-of the Valley, then Three (3) Things happen: the Valley becomes Full-of Light by Reflection-from the Mountains, and it receives more Heat, and becomes more-Fruitful, than the Plain and Level Country. And so likewise, when a Good Man takes his Stand, upon his own Littleness, in the most Lowly Part of himself, and Confesses and Knows that he has-Nothing, and is-Nothing, and can do-Nothing, of himself, neither Stand-still nor go on, and when he sees how-often he Fails in Virtues and Good Works; then he Confesses his Poverty and his Helplessness, then he makes a Valley-of Humility. And when he is thus Humble, and Needy, and Knows his own Need, he Lays his Distress, and Complains of it, before the Bounty and the Mercy-of God. And so he Marks the Sublimity-of God and his own Lowliness; and thus he becomes a Deep Valley. And Christ is a Sun-of Righteousness and also of-Mercy, Who stands-in the Highest Part-of the Firmament, that is, on the Right-Hand-of the Father, and from thence He Shines-into the bottom-of the Humble Heart; for Christ is always moved-by Helplessness, whenever a Man Complains-of it and Lays it before Him with Humility. Then there arise Two (2) Mountains, that is, Two (2) Desires; One (1) to Serve God and Praise Him with Reverence, the Other to attain Noble Virtues. Those Two (2) Mountains are Higher than the Heavens, for these Longings, Touch God without Intermediary, and Crave His Ungrudging Generosity. And then that Generosity cannot withhold itself, it must Flow-forth; for then the Soul is made-ready to Receive, and to Hold, more Gifts.
These are the Wherefore, and the Way-of the New Coming with New Virtues. Then, this Valley, the Humble Heart, receives Three (3) Things: it becomes more-Radiant and Enlightened-by Grace, it becomes more-Ardent in Charity, and it becomes more-Fruitful in Perfect Virtues and in Good Works. And thus you have the Why, the Way, and the Work-of this Coming.
CHAPTER VII - Of the Blessed Sacrament
There is still another Coming-of Christ, our Bridegroom, taking-place every Day, with Growth-of Grace and Renewal-of Gifts. That is, when a Man receives some Sacrament with a Humble Heart, Void-of anything contrary thereto. In this Way, he Receives new-Gifts and more-Ample Grace, because of his Humility, and through the Mysterious Working-of Christ in the Sacraments. Those things which are Contrary-to the Sacraments, are Unbelief-in Baptism, a Lack-of Repentance in Confession, and approaching the Sacrament-of the Altar in the State-of Mortal Sin or with an Evil Intention; and so-on, as regards the other Sacraments. Those who Act thus, Receive no New Grace; rather, does their Sinfulness increase.
This is the other Coming-of Christ, our Bridegroom, which is present with us every day. We should consider it with a Desiring Heart, lest it should not take place within us; for it is Needful, if we are to Remain Steadfast and to go-Forward in Eternal Life.
CHAPTER VIII - Of the Third Coming of Christ
The Third Coming, which is yet-to-be, will take-place at the Judgment, or in the Hour-of Death. The Wherefore of this Coming, is the 'Fitting Time', the 'Due Cause', and the 'Righteousness-of the Judge'.
The 'Time' which is Fitting-for this Coming, is the Hour-of Death, and the Last Judgment-of all Men. When God Created the Soul out-of Nothing, and United it with the Body, He set a Fixed-Day and a Fixed-Hour, known only of Him, when it should have to give-up Temporal Things, and to appear-in His Presence.
The 'Due Cause': for the Soul must then account-for every Word Spoken, and for every Deed Done, before the Eternal Truth.
The 'Righteousness-of the Judge', for it is to Christ, that this Judgment and this Verdict belong; for He is the Son-of Man and the Wisdom-of the Father, and to this Wisdom, all Judgment is given, since all Hearts, in-Heaven, and on-Earth, and in-Hell, are Clear and Open to It. And therefore, these Three (3) Points are the Occasions-of the General-Coming in the Day-of Doom, and of the Particular-Coming to each Man, in the Hour-of his Death.
CHAPTER IX - Showing What Christ Will Do in the Day of Doom
In this Judgment Christ, our Bridegroom, and our Judge, will Reward and Punish, according-to Justice; for He will give every Man, that which he has Earned. He will give to the Good, for every Good Work done-in God, a Wage without-Measure, that is to say, God's Very Self, Whom no-Creature, of itself, can Earn. But when God Works these Works, with-and-through the Creature, then by His Power, the Creature gains His Very Self, as Wage. And with due Justice, He will give Eternal Woe, and Eternal Sorrow, to the Damned; for these Despised and Rejected the Eternal Good, for a Good that cannot Endure. And of their own Free Will, they have turned-away from God, and have set themselves against His Glory and His Will, and have sought-after Creatures; and so shall they be Justly Condemned.
Those who Bear Witness at the Judgment, are the Angels and the Conscience-of Men. And the Adversary is the Hellish Fiend; and the Judge is Christ, Whom none can Deceive.
CHAPTER X - Of the Five Kinds of Men Who Shall Appear at Judgement
Five (5) kinds-of Men shall appear before this Judge.
The First, and the Worst, are those Christians who have Died-in Mortal Sin, without Repentance, and without Regret; for these have Despised the Death-of Christ and His Sacraments, or else they have Received them Unworthily and in-Vain. And they have not Practiced the Works-of Mercy, Showing Charity toward their Neighbors, as God has Commanded. And for this, they are Doomed-to the Depths-of Hell.
The Second Kind are the Unbelievers, Pagans and Jews. These must all appear before Christ, though they were Damned already during their Lives; for, in their Time, they possessed neither Divine Grace nor Divine Love, and for this Reason, they have always Dwelt-in the Eternal Death-of Damnation. But these shall have Less Pain than the Evil Christians; for, since they received Fewer Gifts of God, they Owed Him less-Loyalty.
The Third Kind are those Good Christians who, from time-to-time, Fell into Sin, and Rose-again through Contrition and Penance; but who have not made Full Satisfaction for their Sins, according-to Justice. These belong to Purgatory.
The Fourth Kind consists of those Men who have kept God's Commandments; or, when they Broke them, they have returned-to God with Contrition and with Penance, and with Works-of Charity and Mercy, and so have made-Satisfaction; so that their Souls, coming-forth from their Mouths, go Straight-to Heaven, without passing-through Purgatory.
The Fifth Kind are all those who, above all 'Outward' Works-of Charity, have their Sojourn-in Heaven, and are Noughted and Lost-in God, and God in them, so that there is no other thing between God and them, but Time and their Mortal Nature. When these Men are made-Free from their Bodies, they Enjoy, in that very Moment, Eternal Bliss; and they are not Judged, but shall themselves Judge other Men, with Christ, in the Day of Doom. And then all Mortal Life, and all Temporal Sorrows, both on Earth and in Purgatory, shall End, and all the Souls of the Damned, together with the Fiend and his Companions, shall Sink and Disappear in the Deeps-of Hell, in a Corruption and Everlasting Horror without End. And in the Twinkling-of an Eye, the Blessed shall be with Christ, their Bridegroom, in Eternal Glory; and they shall See, and Taste, and Enjoy, the Fathomless Riches of the Being-of God, Eternally and For-Ever.
This is the Third Coming, which all of us await, and which is still-to happen. The First coming, when God became Man and Lived-in Humility among us, and Died for the Love-of us; this Coming we should Imitate, 'Outwardly' by Fulfilling the Perfect Moral Virtues; 'Inwardly' by the Practice-of Charity and True Humility. In the Second Coming, which happens in the Present Time, He comes-with Grace within each Loving Heart; and this Coming we should Long-for and Pray-for every Day, that we may remain Steadfast, and Grow-in new Virtues. The Third Coming, at the Judgment, or in the Hour-of Death, we should expect with Longing, with Trust, and with Awe; that we may be set-Free from this Misery and enter-into the House-of Glory.
This Coming, in its Three (3) Ways is the Second Point of the Four (4) Chief Points, wherein Christ says: Sponsus Venit, The Bridegroom Cometh.
CHAPTER XI - Of the Spiritual Going-Out With All Virtues
Now, Understand and Mark this: Christ says, at the Beginning-of this Precept, Behold; and this is done through-Charity and a Pure Conscience, as you have heard before. Then He has shown us what we shall see, that is, the Threefold Coming.
Now, He Commands us what we shall do-Next, and says: Go ye out. If you Possess the First Point, that is, if you are able to See, through-Grace and through-Charity; and if, further, you have Gazed-well upon your Pattern, Christ, and His Going-out; then, there Arises within you, out-of Charity, and out-of the Loving Observation of your Bridegroom, a Righteousness; namely, that thereafter, you Long-to follow Him in the Virtues. Then Christ is saying within you: Go ye out. This Going-out must be done in Three (3) Ways: we must Go-out towards-God, towards-Ourselves, and towards-our-Neighbors, and this we must do by-means-of Charity and Righteousness. For Charity ever strives-towards the Height, towards the Kingdom-of God, which is God Himself; for He is the Source from which Unmediated Charity flows-forth, and wherein it abides-in the Unity. And Righteousness, which is Born-of Charity, Wills the Perfection-of all the Moral and all the other Virtues, which are Honorable and Proper-to the Kingdom-of God, that is the Soul.
Charity and Righteousness: these Two (2) Lay the Foundation of the Kingdom-of the Soul, where God would Dwell. And this Foundation is Humility.
These Three (3) Virtues, Prop and Bear the Whole-Weight, and the Whole-Edifice of all the other Virtues, and of all Transcendence. For Charity always Confronts Man with the Unfathomable Goodness-of God, from which it has flowed-forth, that thereby he may Live Worthily and Remain Steadfast before God, and grow-in True Humility, and all other Virtues. And Righteousness places Man Face-to-face with the Eternal Truth-of God, that he may know Truth, and become Enlightened, and may Fulfill all Virtue without Erring. But Humility brings Man Face-to-face with the most-High Mightiness-of God, that he may always remain Little and Lowly, and may Surrender himself to God, and may not Stand-upon his Self-hood. This is the Way in which a Man should hold himself before God, that thereby he may Grow Continually in New Virtues.
CHAPTER XII - How Humility is the Foundation of All Other Virtues
Now consider this: as we have laid-down Humility as a Foundation, so therefore we shall speak-of Humility, First.
Humility, that is Lowliness or Self-Abasement, is an 'Inward' Bowing-down or Prostrating-of the Heart, and of the Conscience, before God's Transcendent Worth. Righteousness, Demands and Orders this, and through Charity, a Loving Heart cannot leave it Undone. When a Lowly and Loving Man considers, that God has Served him so Humbly, so Lovingly, and so Faithfully; and sees God so-High, and so-Mighty, and so-Noble, and Man so-Poor, and so-Little, and so-Low; then there Springs-up within the Humble Heart a Great Awe and a Great Veneration for God. For to Pay Homage to God, by every 'Outward' and 'Inward' Act, this is the First and Dearest work-of Humility, the most-Savory among-those, of Charity, and most-Meet among-those, of Righteousness. The Loving and Humble Heart cannot Pay Homage enough, either to God, or to His Noble Manhood, nor can it Abase itself as-much-as it Would. And that is why, a Humble Man thinks that his Worship-of God, and his Lowly Service, are always Falling Short. And he is Meek, Reverencing Holy Church, and the Sacraments. And he is Discreet-in Food and Drink, in Speech, in the Answers which he makes-to Everybody; and in his Behavior, Dress, and Lowly Service, he is without-Hypocrisy and without-Pretence. And he is Humble-in his Devotions, both 'Outwardly' and 'Inwardly', before God, and before all Men, so that None are Offended because-of him. And so he Overcomes and Casts-out Pride, which is the Source and Origin-of all other Sins. By Humility, the snares-of the Devil, and of Sin, and of the World, are Broken, and Man is Set-in Order, and Established-in the very Condition-of Virtue. And Heaven is opened-to him, and God stoops to-hear his Prayers, and he is Fulfilled-with Grace. And Christ, that Strong Rock, is his Foundation. Whosoever, therefore, Grounds his Virtues in Humility, he shall never Err.
CHAPTER XIII - Of Obedience
From this Humility, there Springs Obedience, for None can be 'Inwardly' Obedient, save the Humble Man.
Obedience means an Unassuming, Submissive, and Pliable Humor, and a Will in Readiness, for all that is Good. Obedience makes a Man submit-to the Biddings, the Forbiddings, and the Will-of God; it Subjects the Senses, and the Animal Powers, to the Higher Reason, so that a Man may live Decently and Reasonably. And it makes Men Submissive and Obedient-to Holy Church, to the Sacraments, to the Prelates, and their Teaching, to their Commandments,and their Counsels, and to all the Good Customs practiced-by Holy Christendom. It also makes a Man, Ready and Supple in his Intercourse with other Men, in Deed and Counsel, in Ghostly and Bodily Business, with Prudent Discretion, according to the Needs of Each.
And it Casts-out Disobedience, that Daughter-of Pride, more to be Abhorred, than Venom or Poison. To be Obedient, in Will and Deed, Adorns and Enlarges and Reveals the Humility-of a Man. It makes Peace in the Cloister. If it is in the Prelate, as it ought to be, it will Draw-to him, all those whom he Rules. It makes for Peace and Unanimity between Equals; and he who has it, is Loved-by his Superiors, and by those who are Set-over him; whilst by God he is Advanced, and Enriched with His Gifts, which are Eternal.
CHAPTER XIV - Of the Renunciation of Self-Will
From this Obedience, there Springs the Renunciation-of One's own-Will and One's own-Opinion, for None can submit his own-Will in all things to the Will-of Another, save the Obedient Man; though One may Obey in 'Outward' Things, and yet remain self-Willed.
The Forsaking-of One's own-Will, causes a Man to live without Preference, for either this or that, in Doing or Leaving-undone, in those things which are Strange and Special in the Saints, in their Precepts and in their Practice; but it makes him to Live always, according-to the Glory and the Commandments-of God, and the Will-of His Prelates, and in-Peace with all Men in his Neighborhood, so-far-as True Prudence permits.
By Renouncing self-Will in-Doing, in-Leaving Undone, and in Suffering, the Material and Occasion-of Pride are Wholly Cast-out, and Humility is made-Perfect in the Highest Degree. And God becomes the Lord-of the Man's Whole Will; and the Man's Will is so United-with the Will-of God, that he can neither Will nor Desire in any-other Way. This Man has, put-off the Old Man, and has put-on the New Man, who is Renewed and made according-to the Dearest Will-of God. Of all such, Christ says: Blessed are the Poor in Spirit that is to say, those who have Renounced self-Will for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
CHAPTER XV - Of Patience
From the Renunciation-of self-Will springs Patience; for None can be Perfectly Patient in all things, save the Man who has Subjected his own-Will to the Will-of God, and also in all Profitable and Seemly things, to the Will-of all other Men.
Patience is a Peaceful Endurance of all things that may Befall a Man, either from-God or from the Creatures. Nothing can Trouble the Patient Man; neither the Loss-of Earthly Goods, of Friends and Kinsmen, nor Sickness, nor Disgrace, nor Life, nor Death, nor Purgatory, nor Devil, nor Hell. For he has Abandoned himself in Perfect Charity, to the Will-of God, and as he is not Burdened-by Mortal Sin, everything that God imposes-on him, in-Time and in-Eternity, is Light to him. By this Patience, a Man is also Adorned and Armed-against Peevishness and Sudden Wrath, and Impatience-in Suffering; which often Stir a Man from 'Within' and from 'Without', and Lay him open-to many Temptations.
CHAPTER XVI - Of Meekness
From this Patience, there spring Meekness and Kindliness, for None can be Meek in-Adversity, save the Patient Man.
Meekness gives a Man Peace and Rest in all-things. For the Meek Man can bear Provoking Words and Ways, Uncivil Looks and Deeds, and every kind of Injustice towards himself and his Friends, and yet in all things Remain-in Peace, for Meekness is Peaceful Endurance.
By Meekness, the Irascible or Repulsive Power remains Unmoved, in Quietude; the Desirous Power is Uplifted toward Virtue; the Rational Power, perceiving this, Rejoices. And the Conscience, tasting it, Rests in Peace; for the Second Mortal Sin, Anger, Fury, or Wrath, has been Cast-out. For the Spirit-of God dwells-in the Humble and the Meek; and Christ says: Blessed are the Meek, for they shall Inherit the Earth, that is, their own Nature, and all Earthly Things, in Meekness; and after that the Country-of Life in Eternity.
CHAPTER XVII - Of Kindliness
Out of the same-Source, wherein Meekness takes its Rise, springs Kindliness, for none can be Kind, save the Meek Man.
This Kindness makes a Man show a Friendly Face, and give a Cordial Response, and do Compassionate Deeds, to those who are Quarrelsome, when he Hopes that they will come-to Know themselves, and Mend their Ways.
By Gentleness and Kindness, Charity is kept Quick and Fruitful in-Man, for a Heart, full-of Kindness, is like a Lamp full-of Precious Oil; for the Oil-of Mercy Enlightens the Erring Sinner with Good Example, and with Words and Works of Comfort, it Anoints and Heals those whose Hearts are Wounded or Grieved or Perplexed. And it is a Fire and a Light for those who dwell-in the Virtues, in the Fire-of Charity; and neither Jealousy nor Envy can Perturb it.
CHAPTER XVIII - Of Compassion
Out of Kindliness, springs Compassion, which is a Fellow-feeling with all Men; for None can share the Griefs of all, save him who is Kind.
Compassion is an 'Inward' Movement-of the Heart, stirred-by Pity-for the Bodily and Ghostly Griefs of all Men. This Compassion makes a Man Suffer-with Christ in His Passion; for he who is Compassionate, 'Marks' the Wherefore-of His Pains, and the Way-of His Resignation; of His Love, His Wounds, His Tenderness; of His Grief and His Nobleness; of the Disgrace, the Misery, and the Shame He Endured; of the Way in which He was Despised; of His Crown; of the Nails; of His Mercifulness; of His Destruction and Dying-in Patience. These Manifold and Unheard-of Sorrows-of Christ, our Savior, and our Bridegroom, move all Kindly Men to Pity and Compassion with Christ.
Compassion makes a Man look-into himself, and Recognize his Faults, his Feebleness in Virtues and in the Worship-of God, his Lukewarmness, his Laziness, his many Failings, the Time he has Wasted and his Present Imperfection in Moral and other Virtues; all this makes a Man feel True Pity and Compassion for himself. Further, Compassion 'Marks' the Errors and Disorders of our Fellow-Creatures, how little they Care-for their God and their Eternal Blessedness, their Ingratitude for all the Good Things which God has done for them, and the Pains He Suffered for their Sake; how they are Strangers-to Virtue, Unskilled and Unpracticed in it, but Skillful and Cunning in every Wickedness; how Attentive they are to the Loss and Gain-of Earthly Goods, how Careless and Reckless they are of-God, of Eternal Things, and their Eternal Bliss. When he 'Marks' this, a Good Man is moved-to Compassion for the Salvation-of all Men.
Such a Man will also regard-with Pity, the Bodily Needs-of his Neighbors, and the Manifold Sufferings-of Human Nature; seeing Men Hungry, Thirsty, Cold, Naked, Sick, Poor, and Abject; the Manifold Oppressions of the Poor, the Grief caused-by Loss-of Kinsmen, Friends, Goods, Honor, Peace; all the Countless Sorrows which Befall the Nature-of Man. These things Move the Just to Compassion, so that they Share the Sorrows of all. But their Greatest Pain, Springs-from this; that Men are so Impatient-of this Suffering, that they Lose their Reward, and may often Earn Hell for themselves. Such is the Work of-Compassion and of-Pity.
This Work of-Compassion and of-Common Neighborly Love, Overcomes and Casts-out the Third Mortal Sin, that is Hatred or Envy. For Compassion is a Wound in the Heart, whence Flows a Common Love to all Mankind, and which cannot be Healed, so-long-as any Suffering lives-in Man; for God has Ordained Grief and Sorrow-of Heart, before all the Virtues. And this is why Christ says: Blessed are they that Mourn: for they shall be Comforted. And that shall come-to-pass when they Reap-in Joy that which now, through Compassion and Pity, they Sow-in Tears.
CHAPTER XIX - Of Generosity
From this Compassion, springs Generosity; for None can be Generous in a Supernatural Way, with Faithfulness and Goodwill towards all, save him who has a Pitiful Heart though a Man may often show Generosity to a Particular Person without-Charity and without-Supernatural Generosity.
Generosity is a Liberal Flowing-forth of the Heart which has been touched-by Charity and Pity. When a Man considers with-Compassion, the Sufferings and the Sorrows-of Christ, there-from springs Generosity; which makes him Offer-to Christ, for His Pains and for His Love, Praise and Thanks, Worship and Adoration, with a Joyful and Humble Surrender-of Body and Soul, in-Time and in-Eternity. If a Man considers himself with Compassion, and has Pity-on himself, and Thinks-upon the Good, which God has done-to him, and his own-Failings; then he must Pour himself forth, into the Generosity-of God, taking Refuge-in His Faithfulness and His Mercy, turning-to Him with Trust, and with a Perfect and Free Intention-to Serve Him for-ever-more. And the Generous Man, who sees the Errors and Disorders of others, and their Unrighteousness, Beseeches and Prays God, with Ardent Faith, that He will let His Divine Gifts flow-forth, that He will show His Generosity to all Men, and they may know Him and turn-to the Truth. The Generous Man also Marks-with Compassion, the Bodily Needs of all Men, and he Serves, and he Gives, and he Lends, and he Consoles everyone, according-to the Needs of each, in so far as he is able, with Prudent Discretion.
Because of this Generosity, Men are wont to Practice the Seven (7) Works-of Mercy; the Rich do them by their Alms, and because of their Riches, the Poor by their Good-Will and by their Hearty Desire to do as the Rich, if they could. And thus the Virtue-of Generosity is made Perfect.
By Generosity-of Heart, all other Virtues are Increased, and all the Powers-of the Soul are Adorned; for the Generous Man is always Blithe in Spirit, and Untroubled-of Heart, and he Flows-forth with Desire, and in his Works-of Virtue, to all Men in-Common. Whosoever is Generous, and Loves not Earthly Goods, how Poor so-ever he be, he is like God; for all that he has in-himself, and all that he Feels, Flow-forth and are Given-away. And in this Way, he has Cast-out the Fourth Mortal Sin, which is Covetousness or Avarice. Of all such, Christ says: Blessed are the Merciful, for they shall obtain Mercy in that day when they shall Hear these-Words: Come, ye Blessed of My Father, Inherit the Kingdom prepared for you because of your Mercy, from the Foundation of the World.
CHAPTER XX - Of Zeal and Diligence
Out of this Generosity, there Spring a Supernatural Zeal and Diligence in all Virtues, and all that is Seemly. And None can Feel this Zeal, save him who Overflows-with Generosity. It is an 'Inward' Restless Striving, after every Virtue, after the Likeness-of Christ, and of all His Saints. In this Zeal, a Man longs-to Devote his-Heart and his-Senses, his-Soul and his-Body, and all that he-Is, and all that he-Has, and all toward-which he-Aspires, to the Glory and Praise-of God.
This Zeal makes a Man grow-in Reason and Prudence, and Practice the Virtues, both of-Soul and of-Body, in Righteousness. Through this Supernatural Zeal, all the Powers-of the Soul are laid-open to God, and are made Ready-for all Virtues. And the Conscience Rejoices, and the Grace-of God is Increased; the Virtues are Practiced with Joy and Gladness, and the 'Outward' Works are Adorned.
Whosoever has Received this Living Zeal from God, has Cast-out the Fifth Mortal Sin, which is Indolence-of the Mind, or Sloth, as regards the Virtues, which it is Needful, that we should Practice. And sometimes, this Living Zeal also Casts-out the Sloth and Indolence-of the Natural Body. Of all such, Christ says: Blessed are they which do Hunger and Thirst after Righteousness: for they shall be Filled, and this shall Come-to Pass, when the Glory-of God shall be Manifest-to them, and shall Fill them, each according-to his Love and Righteousness.
CHAPTER XXI - Of Temperance and Sobriety
From this Zeal there Spring Temperance and Sobriety, both 'Inward' and 'Outward'; for None can Possess the Right Measure-of Sobriety, save him who is Greatly Zealous and Diligent to keep his Soul and Body in Righteousness. Sobriety divides the Higher Powers from the Animal Powers; it saves a Man from-Intemperance and from-Excess. Sobriety wishes neither to Taste, nor to Know, those Things which are Forbidden.
The Incomprehensible and most High Nature of God, Transcends all Creatures in-Heaven and on-Earth. For all that a Creature can Comprehend, is of the Creature; but God is Above all Creatures, and 'Within' and 'Without' all Creatures, and every Created Comprehension is too-Narrow, to-Comprehend Him. But if a Creature is to-Comprehend and to-Understand God, it must be caught-up beyond itself into God, and Comprehend God, with God. Whosoever then would Know and Understand what God is which is not Permitted he would go-Mad. Behold, all Created-Light is Powerless, to Know what God is. What God is in Himself, Transcends all Creatures, but that God exists, is Testified-by Nature, and by Holy Writ, and by every Creature. We should Believe the Articles-of Faith, and not desire to Understand them, for this is Impossible, as-long-as we are here Below; such is Sobriety. The Mysterious and Subtle Teachings-of Holy Writ, Inspired-by the Holy Ghost, should not be Explained and Understood, in any other Way, than in their Bearing-upon the Lives-of Christ and His Saints. Man should consider Nature and the Scriptures, and all Creatures, and take from these, that which Profits him, and Nothing-more. Such is Sobriety-of Spirit.
A Man should keep his Senses in-Sobriety, and should Restrain the Animal Powers by-means-of the Reason; so that the Lusts-of the Flesh do not enter too-far-into the Savoring of-Food and of-Drink; but he should Eat and Drink, as the Sick take their Physic, because it is Needful to support his Strength, that he may serve God therewith. This is Sobriety-of Body. He should also observe Method and Moderation in-doing and in-leaving undone, in-Words and in-Works, in-Silence and in-Speaking, in-Food and in-Drink, according to the Custom-of Holy Church, and after the Example-of the Saints.
By 'Inward' and 'Ghostly' Temperance and Sobriety, a Man Preserves Firmness and Constancy-of Faith, Purity-of Intelligence, that Tranquility-of Reason, necessary-to the Comprehension-of Truth, an Impulse towards all Virtues, according to the Will-of God, Peace-of Heart, and Serenity-of Conscience. And herewith, he Possesses an Enduring Peace, in-God and in-himself.
And by Temperance and Sobriety of the 'Outward' Bodily Senses, a Man often Preserves the Health and the Soundness-of his Natural Body, the Dignity of his ''Outward' Life, and a Good Reputation. And thus he Lives-in Peace with himself, and with his Neighbors; for by his Temperance and Sobriety, he Draws-to himself and Pleases, all Men of Good-Will. And thus he Casts-out the Sixth Mortal Sin, which is Intemperance, Greed or Gluttony. Of all such Christ says: Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called the Children of God; for they are like unto the Son, Who has made Peace in every Creature, who Desired Peace. And whosoever makes Peace in himself through his Temperance and Sobriety shall Partake with-Him of the Inheritance-of His Father; and shall Possess it, with Him, in Eternity.
CHAPTER XXII - Of Purity
From this Temperance, there 'Springs' Purity, both of-Soul and of-Body, for None can be Perfectly Pure in-Body and in-Soul, save him who is Temperate in-Body and in-Soul.
Purity-of Spirit is this: that a Man should not Cleave-to any Creature with Desirous Affection, but, to-God Alone; for we should 'Use' all Creatures, but 'Enjoy' only God. Purity-of Spirit makes a Man Cleave-to God, Above all-Understanding, and Above all-Feelings, and Above all the Gifts which God may Pour-into his Soul; for all that a Creature receives in-his Understanding and in-his Feeling, Purity will pass-by, to Rest-in God. Go, therefore, to the Sacrament-of the Altar, not for the Sake-of Refreshment, nor because-of Desire, nor for-Pleasure, nor for-Peace, nor for Satisfaction, nor for Sweetness, nor for anything else than the Glory-of God, and your own Growth-in all Virtues. This is Purity-of Spirit.
Purity-of Heart is this: that a Man, in every Bodily Temptation or Natural Inclination, of his own Free Will, and with an ever-Renewed Confidence and without-Hesitation, turns-to God; with an ever-Renewed Faithfulness and with a Firm Will, ever-to Remain with-Him. For Consenting-to those Sins or Satisfactions, which the Bodily Nature seeks like a Beast, is a Departure-from God.
Purity-of Body is this: that a Man Withdraws-from, and Bewares-of, all Unchaste Deeds, in whatsoever Manner they be, which his Conscience, Teaches and Declares to-be Unchaste, and Contrary-to the Commandments, the Honor, and the Will-of God.
By these Three (3) kinds-of Purity, the Seventh Mortal Sin is Overcome and Cast-out; that is, Unchastity. And this is a Consenting and Turning-of the Spirit from-God, to-some Creaturely Thing; it is the Unchaste Work-of the Body, Contrary-to the Dispensation-of Holy Church; it is a Sensual Dwelling-of the Heart, upon the Taste or Enjoyment-of some Creature, whatsoever it be. But, thereby, I do not mean those Sudden Movements-of Appetite and Desire, which no-one can Prevent.
Now you should Know, that Purity-of Spirit, keeps a Man in the Likeness-of God, Untroubled-by any Creature, and Inclined-towards God, and United-with Him.
Purity-of Body is likened to the Whiteness-of Lilies, and to the Cleanness-of the Angels. In Withstanding, it is likened-to the Redness-of Roses, and to the Nobleness-of Martyrs. If it is kept for the Love and the Glory-of God, it is Perfect. And so it is Likened-to the Sunflower, for it is One of the Highest Ornaments of Nature.
Purity-of Heart works a Renewal and Increase-of the Grace of-God. By Purity-of Heart, all the Virtues are Prompted, Practiced and Preserved. It Guards and Keeps the Senses from 'Without'; it Quells and Restrains the Animal Lusts from 'Within'; it is an Adornment of all 'Inwardness'. And it is the Door-of the Heart; Barred-against all Earthly Things and all Deceit, but opened-to all Heavenly Things, and to all Truth. And of all such Christ says: Blessed are the Pure in Heart, for they shall see God; and in this Vision consist our Eternal Joy, our Reward and our Entrance-into Bliss. Therefore, Men should be Sober and Temperate in all things, and Beware-of all Intercourse and Occasion whereby Purity, whether of-Soul or of-Body, may be Defiled.
CHAPTER XXIII - Of Three Enemies to be Overcome by Righteousness
Now, if we Wish to-Possess these Virtues, and to Cast-out their Opposites, we must-Possess Righteousness, and we must-Practice and Preserve it in Purity-of Heart, unto Death; for we have Three (3) Powerful Adversaries, who Tempt us and make-War on us at all Times, in all Places, and in many Ways. If we make Peace with One (1) of these Three (3), and become Subject-to him, we are Vanquished; for the Three (3) of them agree-together in all Iniquity.
These Three (3) Adversaries are:
and this Last is the Nearest to us, and often the Worst and most-Harmful of all Three (3) to us; for our Fleshly Lusts are the Weapons with which our Enemies make-War on us. Idleness and Indifference-to Virtue and the Glory-of God, these are the Causes and the Occasions-of the Struggle. But the Weakness-of our Nature, our Carelessness and Ignorance-of Truth, these are the Swords with-which our Enemies often Wound, and sometimes Conquer us.
And for this Reason, we should Build-up a Wall, and make a Separation-within ourselves. And the Lower Part of ourselves, which is Beastly and Contrary-to the Virtues, and which Wills our Separation from-God, we should Hate and Persecute, and we should Torment it by-means-of Penances and Austerity-of Life; so that it be always Repressed, and Subject-to Reason; that thereby, Righteousness and Purity-of Heart, may always have the Upper-hand in all the Works-of Virtue. And all the Suffering, Grief, and Persecution, which God sends us, through these Enemies-of Virtue, we should gladly bear-for the Glory-of God, and for the Honor-of the Virtues, and that we may Obtain and Possess, Righteousness in Purity-of Heart; for Christ says: Blessed are they which are Persecuted for Righteousness Sake: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. For a Righteousness which is maintained in-Suffering, and in-Virtuous Deeds, is like the Penny which is Counted as-heavy-as the Kingdom-of-God; and with it is bought, Eternal Life.
And with these Virtues, a Man goes-out towards God, towards himself, and towards his Neighbor, in-Good Customs, in-Virtues, and in-Righteousness.
CHAPTER XXIV - Of the Kingdom of the Soul
Whosoever wishes to Obtain and to Keep these Virtues, should Adorn, and Possess, and Rule his Soul like a Kingdom. Free-Will is the King-of the Soul. It is Free by-Nature, and still-more Free by-Grace. It shall be Crowned-with a Crown that is called Charity. The Crown and the Kingdom shall be received-from the Emperor, Who is Lord, and Master, and King-of-kings; and the Kingdom should be Possessed, Ruled, and Maintained in His Name. This King, Free-Will, should dwell-in the Chief City-of the Kingdom; Namely, in the Desirous Power-of the Soul. And he should be Clad and Adorned-with a Garment of Two (2) Parts. The Right Side of his Garment should be a Virtue called Strength, that therewith he may be Strong and Mighty to-overcome all Hindrances, and to Ascend-up to-Heaven, into the Palace-of the most-High Emperor, and to bow-down his Crowned Head before the most-High King, with Love, and with self-Surrendered Desire. This is the Proper Work-of Charity; through-it the Crown is-received; through-it the Crown is Adorned, through-it the Kingdom is Maintained and Possessed, in-Eternity. The Left Side of the Garment should be a Cardinal Virtue called Moral Force. Through it, Free-Will, the King, shall Quell all Immorality, and Fulfill all Virtues, and shall Possess his Kingdom in-Power, even unto-Death.
This King should also choose Councilors in his Kingdom; the Wisest in the Country. These should be Two (2) Divine Virtues: Knowledge and Discretion, Enlightened-by the Light-of Divine Grace. They should dwell-near the King, in a Palace called the Rational Power-of the Soul, and they should be Clad and Adorned with a Moral Virtue called Temperance, so that the King may always Do or Leave-undone, according-to their Counsels. By means of Knowledge, our Conscience shall be Cleansed-of all its Failings, and Adorned-with all Virtues; and by Help-of Discretion, we shall Give and Take, Do and Leave-undone, be Silent and Speak, Fast and Eat, Listen and Reply, and Act in all things according-to Knowledge and Discretion, Clad-in the Moral Virtue called Temperance, or Sobriety.
This King, Free-Will, should also appoint in his Kingdom a Judge; that is, Righteousness. This is a Divine Virtue when it Springs-from Love, and it is one of the Highest-of Moral Virtues. This Judge should dwell-in the Heart, in the midst-of the Kingdom, in the Irascible Power. And he should be adorned-with a Moral Virtue called Prudence; for Righteousness cannot be Perfect, without Prudence. This Judge, Righteousness, should Travel-through the Kingdom with the King's own Power and Majesty, and furnished-with the Wisdom-of the Councilors, and with his own Prudence. And he should Set-up and Cast-down, Judge and Condemn, Kill and Leave-alive, Put-to the Torture, Blind and restore-Sight, Raise and Suppress, Scourge and Chastise, Extirpate all Vices, and Order all things according-to Righteousness.
The Common People of the Kingdom, are all the other-Powers of the Soul, which should be grounded-in Humility and Godly Fear, and should be subject-to God in all Virtues, each Power according-to its own Character.
Whosoever Possesses, Maintains, and has-Ordered, the Kingdom-of his Soul in this Way, has gone out with-Love and with-Virtue towards-God, towards-Himself and towards-his Neighbor.
And this is the Third (3rd) of the Four (4) Principal Points which we would consider.
CHAPTER XXV - Of a Spiritual Meeting of God and Ourselves
When a Man, through the Grace-of God is able to Behold, and his Conscience is Clean, and he has considered the Three (3) Comings-of Christ, our Bridegroom, and when he has Gone out with the Virtues, then there Ensues the Meeting-with the Bridegroom, and that is the Fourth (4) Point, and the Last. In this Meeting, lies all our Bliss, the Beginning and End-of all Virtue; and without this Meeting, no Virtue has ever been Fulfilled.
Whosoever Wishes to-meet Christ as his Beloved Bridegroom, and to Possess in Him, and with Him, Eternal Life; he must Now, in Time, go out to meet Christ at Three (3) Points, or in Three (3) Ways:
Now grasp this well: whosoever 'Means' (Strives for) God, must have God present-in his Mind, under some Godly Attribute; and thereby he should 'Mean' only Him, Who is the Lord of Heaven and Earth, and all Creatures, Who Died for him, and Who can, and will, give him Eternal Bliss. In whatever Way, or under whatever Name, we Represent God to-ourselves, if it be-as the Lord over all Creatures, that is always Right. If we Conceive One-of the Divine Persons, and in Him the Being and the Might of the Divine Nature, that is Right. If we set God before us as Maintainer, Redeemer, Creator, Ruler; as Bliss, Power, Wisdom, Truth, Goodness, and all this as within the Abysmal Properties of the Divine Nature, that is Right.
Though the Names which we give to God are many, the most High Nature of God is a Simplicity, which cannot be Named-by any Creature. But, because of His Incomprehensible Nobility and Sublimity, which we cannot Rightly Name, nor Wholly Express, we give Him all these Names. This is the Way and the Manner-of Apprehension, in which we should have God, present-in our Mind; for, to 'Mean' God, this is to see God in Ghostly Wise. And to this intention, Charity and Love also belong; for to-Know God, and to be without Charity, has no-Savor, neither does it Help or Further us. That is why a Man should always, in all his Works, stretch-towards God with Love; Whom, above all things, he Aims-at and Loves. And this is going out to meet God, by-Intention and by-Love.
If a Sinner would turn-from his Sins, with Full and True Repentance, he must go out to meet God in-Contrition, and of his own Free-Will, and with an Upright Purpose and Intention to-Serve Him thenceforward, and never to-Sin any more. Then, in this Meeting, he shall Receive through the Mercy-of God, a sure Hope-of Eternal Bliss, and the Remission-of his Sins; and he shall further, Receive the Foundation-of all Virtue: namely, Faith, Hope, and Charity, and a Good-Will toward all other Virtues.
If this Man wishes to go-forward in the Light-of Faith, and lay-hold-of all the Works-of Christ, and all His Suffering; all the things He Promised us, and did to us, and will do to us, until the Day-of Doom and in-Eternity; if that Man wishes to lay-hold-of these, that they may Avail-to his Salvation, then he should go out to-meet Christ once-more, and should have Him ever in his Sight, with Praise and Thankfulness, and with a Worthy Acknowledgment of all His Gifts, and all that He has Done, and will Do, in Eternity. Then his Faith will be Strengthened; and he will be more-Often, and more-Ardently impelled-towards all Virtues.
If, then, he wishes to go-forward in the Works-of Virtue, he must also go out to meet Christ with self-Renunciation, neither Seeking himself, nor Pursuing things Alien-from God; but let him be Wise and Discreet in all that he does, having in-Mind in all things, God alone, and God's Praise and Glory, and let him continue therein, even unto Death. Thereby his Reason is Enlightened, and his Charity is Increased, and he grows-in Piety, and in the Aptitude-for all Virtues.
We should have God in Mind, in all our Good Works; in Evil Works, we cannot do this. We should not have in-Mind Two (2) Ends; that is to say, we should 'Mean' God alone, and Nothing else. All other Ends should be Subordinate-to God, not Opposed-to God; they should be, in their order, a Help and a Furtherance, that we may the Better, come-to God. And then we are in the Right Way.
We should also, rather, Seek our Rest upon-Him and in-Him, Whom we Mean and Love, than in any of the Messengers He sends; that is to say, His Gifts. The Soul should also Rest in-God, above all the Jewels and all the Gifts, which it may send-back to-God, by its own Messengers. The Messengers-of the Soul are Intention, Love, and Desire; these carry, all-Good Deeds and all-Virtues, up-to God. But, above all these things, above all Multiplicity, the Soul should Rest-in its Beloved. In this Way and in this Wise, we should go out to meet Christ with an Upright Intention, during all our Lives, and in all our Works, and in all our Virtues; so that we may also meet Him in the Light-of Glory, at the Hour-of Death.
This Method, and this Way, of which you have now heard, is called the Active Life. It is Needful for all Men; and these, at least, should not Live contrary-to Virtue, even though they may not Possess all the Virtues in this Perfection. For, to Live contrary-to Virtue, is to Live-in Sin; for Christ says: He that is not with Me is against Me. Whosoever is not Humble, he is Proud; and whosoever is Proud and not Humble, does not belong-to God. And thus it is, with all the Sins, and all the Virtues; either a Man has the Virtue and Lives-in Grace, or else he has its Opposite, and Lives-in Sin. Let each Man try himself, and Live according-to that, which has here been shown.
CHAPTER XXVI - Of the Desire to Know the Bridegroom in His Nature
A Man who Lives this Life in its Perfection, as it has here been shown, and who is Offering-up his Whole Life, and all his Works, to the Worship and Praise-of God, and who Wills and Loves God above-all-things, is often Stirred-by a Desire to-See, to-Know, and to-Prove what, in Himself, this Bridegroom Christ is; Who, for Man's sake, became Man, and Labored in-Love unto Death, and Delivered us from Sin and the Devil, and has given us Himself and His Grace, and left us His Sacraments, and has Promised us His Kingdom and Himself as an Eternal Wage; Who also gives us all that is Needful for the Body, and 'Inward' Consolation and Sweetness, and Innumerable Gifts of all kinds, according to the Needs-of Each.
When a Man Beholds all this, he Feels an Unmeasured Impulse to See Christ, his Bridegroom, and to Know Him, as He is, in Himself. Though he Knows Him in His Works, this does not seem to him, Enough. Then he must do as the Publican Zaccheus did, who Longed-to see Jesus, Who He was. He must run-before the Crowd, that is the Multiplicity-of Creatures; for these make us so-Little and so-Low, that we cannot See God. And he must Climb-up into the Tree-of Faith, which grows from-above, downwards, for its Roots are in the Godhead. This Tree has Twelve (12) Branches, which are the Twelve (12) Articles-of Faith. The Lower speak-of the Divine Humanity, and of those things which belong-to our Salvation-of Soul and of Body. The Upper-part of the Tree, tells-of the Godhead, of the Trinity-of Persons, and of the Unity (1) of the Nature-of God. And the Man must Cling-to that Unity (1), in the Highest Part of the Tree; for there it is, that Jesus must Pass, with all His Gifts.
Here comes Jesus, and Sees the Man, and Shows to him, in the Light-of Faith, that He is according-to His Godhead, Immeasurable and Incomprehensible and Inaccessible and Abysmal, Transcending every Created Light and every Finite Conception. And this is the Highest Knowledge-of God, which any Man may have, in the Active Life; that he should Confess, in this Light-of Faith, that God is Incomprehensible and Unknowable. And in this Light, Christ says to Man's Desire: Make haste and come down, for Today I must Abide at thy House. This Hasty Descent, to which he is summoned-by God, is Nothing-else than a descent through-Desire and through-Love, into the Abyss-of the Godhead, which no-Intelligence can reach, in the Created Light. But where Intelligence remains 'Without', Desire and Love, go-in. When the Soul is thus stretched-towards God, by-Intention and by-Love, Above everything that it can Understand, then it Rests and Dwells in-God, and God in it. When the Soul climbs-with Desire, Above the Multiplicity-of Creatures, and Above the Works-of the Senses, and Above the Light-of Nature, then it meets Christ, in the Light-of Faith, and becomes Enlightened, and Confesses that God is Unknowable and Incomprehensible. When it stretches itself with-Longing, towards this Incomprehensible God, then it meets Christ, and is Filled-with His Gifts. And when it Loves, and Rests Above all Gifts, and Above itself, and Above all Creatures, then it Dwells-in God, and God Dwells-in it.
This is the Way, in which we shall meet Christ on the Summit-of the Active Life. When you have Laid the Foundation of Righteousness, Charity, and Humility; and have Established-on it a Dwelling-place, that is, those Virtues which have been named heretofore; and have met Christ through Faith, by Intention and by Love; then you dwell-in God, and God dwells-in you, and you possess the True Active Life.
And this was the First of which we would speak.
- The End of the First Book -
THE SECOND BOOK
The Enlightened Man shall also, Mark and Behold, the Attributes of the Father, in the Godhead; how He is Omnipotent Power and Might, Creator, Mover, Preserver, Beginning and End, the Origin and Being of all Creatures. This, the Rill of Grace, Shows-to the Enlightened Reason in its Radiance. It also Shows the Attributes-of the Eternal Word: Abysmal Wisdom and Truth, Pattern-of all Creatures and all Life, Eternal and Unchanging Rule, Seeing all things and Seeing Through all things, none of which is Hidden-from Him; Transillumination and Enlightenment of all Saints in-Heaven and on-Earth, according to the Merits of each. And even as this Rill of Radiance shows the Distinctions between many things, so it also shows to the Enlightened Reason, the Attributes-of the Holy Ghost: Incomprehensible Love and Generosity, Compassion and Mercy, Infinite Faithfulness and Benevolence, Inconceivable Greatness, Out-pouring Richness, a Limitless Goodness, Drenching-through all Heavenly Spirits with Delight, a Flame-of Fire which burns all things together in the Unity, a Flowing Fountain, Rich in all Savors, according to the Desire of each; the Preparation of all Saints for their Eternal Bliss and their Entrance therein, an Embrace and Penetration of the Father, the Son, and all Saints in Fruitive Unity. All this is Observed and Beheld without Differentiation or Division, in the Simple Nature of the Godhead. And according to our Perception, these Attributes abide-as Persons do, in Manifold Distinctions. For between Might and Goodness, between Generosity and Truth, there are, according to our Perception, great Differences. Nevertheless, all these are found in Oneness and Undifferentiation in the most-High Nature of the Godhead. But the Relations, which Make the Personal Attributes, remain-in Eternal Distinction. For the Father Begets Distinction. For the Father, incessantly Begets His Son, and Himself is Unbegotten; and the Son is Begotten, and cannot Beget; and thus throughout Eternity, the Father has a Son, and the Son a Father. And these are the Relations-of the Father to the Son, and of the Son to the Father. And the Father and the Son Breathe-forth (Spirate) One (1) Spirit, Who is Their common Will or Love. And this Spirit Begets not, nor is He Begotten; but must Eternally Pour-forth, being Breathed-forth from both the Father and the Son. And these Three (3) Persons are One (1) God and One (1) Spirit. And all the Attributes, with the Works which Flow-forth from them, are Common-to all the Persons, for They Work, by Virtue-of Their Onefold Nature.
God the Father possesses Two (2) Internal Divine Activities or Processions
|God the Father||
The Son of God,
God the Father
& God the Son (As One Principle)
The Holy Spirit,
The Incomprehensible Richness and Loftiness-of the Divine Nature, its Outpouring Generosity toward all, in-Common, fills a Man with Wonder. And, above all, he Wonders-at the Universality-of God and His Outpouring-upon all things. For he Beholds the Incomprehensible Essence, as a Common Fruition of God and all Saints. And he sees the Divine Persons as a Common-Outpouring and a Common-Activity in-Grace and in-Glory, in-Nature and above-Nature, in all Places and at all Times, in-Saints and in-Men, in-Heaven and on-Earth, in all Creatures, Rational, Irrational, and Material, according-to the Merits, the Need, and the Receptivity of each. And he beholds Heaven and Earth, Sun and Moon, the Four (4) Elements, together with all Creatures, and the Course-of the Heavens, Created-for all, in-Common. God, with all His Gifts, is Common-to all; the Angels are Common; the Soul is Common-to all its Powers, to the Whole Body, to all its Members, yet in each Member is Entire; for the Soul cannot be Divided, save by the Reason. For though, according-to the Reason, the Highest Powers and the Lowest, the Spirit and the Soul, are certainly divided; yet, in Nature, they are One (1). So too, God is Whole and Special to each, and yet Common-to all Creation; for by Him, all things are; within-Him and upon-Him, Heaven and Earth and all Nature, Depend. When a Man thus considers the Wonderful Wealth and Loftiness-of the Divine Nature, and all the Multiplicity-of Gifts which He Gives and Offers-to His Creatures, then there grows-up within him a Wonder, at such Manifold Richness, at such Loftiness, and at the Immeasurable Faithfulness-of God to His Creatures. And thence springs a particular 'Inward' Gladness-of the Spirit, and a High Trust in God, and this 'Inward' Gladness, Envelops and Drenches all the Powers-of the Soul, and the most 'Inward' Part of the Spirit.
From this Gladness, and the Fullness-of Grace, and the Faithfulness-of God, there is Born and Flows-forth the Third Rill, in this same Unity-of the Spirit. This Rill, like a Fire, Enkindles the Will, and Swallows-up and Consumes everything, into-Unity. And it Fills-to the Brim, and Flows-through all the Powers-of the Soul, with Rich Gifts, and with a Singular Nobility; and it Calls-forth in the Will, a Tender Spiritual Love, without Effort.
Now Christ says 'Inwardly', within the Spirit, by-means-of this Burning Brook: Go ye out by Practices in Conformity with these Gifts, and with this Coming.
By the First Rill, which is a Simple Light, the Memory has been lifted-above Sensible Images, and has been Grounded and Established in the Unity-of the Spirit.
By the Second Rill, which is an In-flowing Light, Understanding and Reason have been Enlightened, to know the Diverse Ways of-Virtue and of-Practice, and Discern the Mysteries-of the Scriptures.
By the Third Rill, which is an In-pouring Heat, the Supreme Will has been Enkindled-in Tranquil Love, and has been Endowed-with Great Riches.
Thus has this Man become Spiritually Enlightened; for the Grace-of God dwells like a Fountainhead, in the Unity-of his Spirit; and its Rills, cause-in the Powers, an Out-flowing, with all the Virtues. And the Fountainhead-of Grace, ever-demands a Flowing-back into the same Source, from whence the Flood Proceeds.
Now the Man, who is Established in the Bonds-of Love, shall Dwell-in the Unity-of the Spirit; and he shall go out with-Enlightened Reason and with-Overflowing Love in-Heaven and on-Earth; and he shall Mark all things with Clear Discernment; and he shall Dispense and Distribute all things, out-of True Generosity, and because of his Richness-in God.
In Four (4) Ways, this Enlightened Man, is Invited and Urged to go out:
The First going out shall be towards God and towards all Saints;
the Second going out shall be towards Sinners and towards all Perverted Men;
the Third going out shall be towards Purgatory;
and the Fourth, towards Himself and towards all Good Men.
Now, understand this: this Man shall go out and observe God, in His Glory, with all Saints. And he shall Behold the Rich and Generous Out-flowing of God, with Glory, and with Himself, and with Inconceivable Delights towards all the Saints, according-to the Longing-of all Spirits; and how these Flow-back, with themselves, and with all that they have Received and can Achieve, towards that same Rich Oneness, from which all Bliss Comes-forth.
This Flowing-forth of God, always 'Demands' a Flowing-back; for God is a Sea that Ebbs and Flows, pouring without ceasing, into all His Beloved, according-to the Need and the Merits of each, and Ebbing-back again, with all those who have been thus Endowed, both in-Heaven and on-Earth, with all that they have and all that they can. And of some, He demands more than they are able to bring, for He shows Himself so-Rich and so-Generous, and so-Boundlessly Good; and in showing Himself thus, He Demands Love and Adoration, according-to His Worth. For God wishes to be Loved by us, according-to the Measure-of His Nobility, and in this, all Spirits Fail; and therefore their Love becomes Way-less and without-Manner, for they know not how they may Fulfill it, nor how they may come-to it. For the Love of all Spirits is 'Measured'; and for this Reason, their Love, Perpetually begins Anew, so that God may be Loved according-to His Demand, and to the Spirit's own Desires. And this is why all Blessed Spirits, Perpetually gather themselves together, and Form a Burning Flame of Love, that they may Fulfill this Work, and that God may be Loved, according-to His Nobility. Reason shows Clearly, that to Creatures, this is Impossible; but Love always Wills the Fulfillment-of Love, or else will be Consumed, Burned-up, Annihilated-in its own Failure. Yet God is never Loved, according-to His Worth, by any Creatures. And to the Enlightened Reason, this is a Great Delight and Satisfaction; that its God and its Beloved, is so-High and so-Rich, that He Transcends all Created Powers, and can be Loved according-to His Merits, by None, save Himself.
This Rich and Enlightened Man shall distribute Gifts to all the Angelic Choirs, and all Spirits, each in-particular, according-to its Merits, out-of the Richness of his God, and out-of the Generosity of his own Ground; which is Illuminated and Overflowing with Great and Wonderful Gifts. He passes-through all Choirs, through all Hierarchies and Orders, and beholds how God dwells-in all, according-to the Merit of each. This Enlightened Man goes Swiftly, and in Ghostly-wise, Round and Through all the Heavenly Hosts, Rich and Overflowing with Charity, and Enriching and Inundating the whole Celestial Company, with Fresh Glory out-of the Richness and Abundance of the Trinity, and Unity (1) of the Divine Nature.
This is the First going out, towards God and towards all Saints.
At times, this same Man shall Descend towards Sinners, with-Great Compassion, and with-Generous Mercy, and shall bring them before God with-Fervent Devotion and with-much Prayer; bringing-to God's Remembrance all the Good which He is, and all His Power, and all that He has Done-for us, and has Promised-us, right-as-though He had Forgotten all this; for God Wills that we Beseech Him. And Charity shall obtain all that it Desires; nevertheless it must not be Stubborn and Self-Willed, but must leave all to the Rich Goodness and to the Generosity of God; for God Loves without Measure, and herein, the Lover best-finds his Peace. Now, since this Man bears a Common Love to all, he Prays and Beseeches God that His Love and His Mercy may Flow-forth towards Pagans, and towards Jews and towards all Unbelievers, that He may be Loved and Known and Praised in-Heaven, and that our Glory, our Joy and our Peace may spread-to all the Ends-of the Earth.
This is the Second going out, towards Sinners.
At times, the Man shall Behold his Friends in Purgatory, and shall consider their Misery and their Yearnings and their Heavy Pains. Then, shall he Pray and Beseech the Pity, the Mercy, and the Generosity-of God; and shall Plead their Good-will, and their Great Misery, and their Yearning after the Rich Goodness of God, and he shall bring-to God's Remembrance that they Died in Love, and that their only Refuge, is in His Passion and Mercy.
Now understand this: it may sometimes happen that this Enlightened Man is Specially, urged-of the Spirit-of God, to Pray for a Certain Thing, for some Sinner, or for some Soul, or for some Ghostly Benefit, in such a way that he Feels and Understands it to be the Work-of the Holy Ghost, and not of his own Choice, or Self-Will, or Nature. Then the Man sometimes becomes so-Intense and so-Ardent in his Prayer, that he receives in Ghostly Wise, the answer that his Prayer has been heard. And with the Coming-of this Sign, the thrust-of the Spirit and the Prayer abate.
Now the Man shall go out towards himself and towards all Men of Good-Will, and shall Taste and Behold how that they are Tied and Bound-together in Love; and he shall Beseech and Pray God, that He may let His Customary Gifts Flow-forth, that thereby all may be confirmed-in His Love and His Eternal Worship. This Enlightened Man shall Faithfully and Discreetly, Teach and Instruct, Reprove and Serve, all Men; for he bears in him a Love towards all. And thereby is he, a Mediator between God and all Men. And then he shall turn wholly 'Inwards' upon himself, with-all the Saints and with-all the Just, and possess in-Peace, the Unity-of his Spirit, and therewith the Most High Unity of God, wherein all Spirits Rest. This is a True Ghostly Life; for all the Degrees and all the Virtues, 'Inward' as-well-as 'Outward', and the Highest Powers of the Soul, are Supernaturally Adorned by it, in a Right and Profitable Way.
There are some Men, who are very-Subtle in-Words, and Skillful-in Showing-forth High Things, and yet do not enjoy this Enlightened Condition, neither this Common and Generous Charity. In order that these Men may Learn to-Know themselves, and also may be-Known of Others, I will distinguish them by Three (3) Signs. By the First Sign, they may be-Known of themselves, and by the Two (2) Others, they may be-Recognized of all Men of-Understanding.
The First Sign: Whereas the Enlightened Man, by virtue-of the Divine Light, is Simple and Stable and Free-from Curious Considerations; these others, are Manifold and Restless and Full-of Subtle Reasonings and Reflections, and they do not Taste 'Inward' Unity, nor the Satisfaction which is without Images. And by this, they may Know themselves.
The Second Sign: Whereas the Enlightened Man possesses a Wisdom 'In-poured' by God, wherein he Knows and Distinguishes the Truth, without-Effort, these Men have Shrewd and Sudden Notions, with which they Work in their Imagination, and which they Display and Develop, with much Cunning. But their Ground is 'Barren', and they cannot Bring-forth Fruitful Doctrine. Their Doctrines are Manifold, they are concerned-with 'Outward' Things, and addressed-to the Understanding. And thereby, 'Inward' Men are Troubled, Hindered, and Led-astray. They neither Lead nor Point, to Unity (1); but they Teach Subtle Observations in Multiplicity. Such People hold Obstinately to their own Doctrine and Opinion, even though another Opinion be as-good-as their own. And they are Idle and Careless as regards all Virtues. Spiritual Pride is in all their Being. This is the Second Sign.
The Third Sign: Whereas the Enlightened and Loving Man flows-forth in Love, towards all in-Heaven and on-Earth, as you have heard, this other Man sets himself apart in all things. He thinks himself to be the Wisest and the Best of all; and Desires that others should think-highly of him and his Teaching. All those whom he does not Teach and Advise, all those who do not Follow his Way of Life and do not Cling-to him as their 'Master', these seem to him to be Sunk in Error. He is Large and Spacious in Satisfying his Bodily Needs, and little Faults do not count-Heavily with him. This Man is neither Just, nor Humble, nor Generous, nor a Servant of the Poor, nor 'Inward', nor Fervent, nor does he feel the Love of God. He knows neither God, nor his own-Being, in the Way-of True Virtue. This is the Third Sign.
Mark these, and Study them, and Cast them 'Out' of yourselves, and 'Out' of all Men in whom you Remark them; but Condemn no one for such things, unless it be that they have Proved it by their Deeds, for this would Soil your Heart, and would Hinder it in the Knowledge-of Divine Truth.
In order that we shall Possess and Desire this State-of Being, Common-to All, Above the Other Conditions, of which we have spoken (because this State is the Highest-of all), we shall take as a Model, Christ, Who was, and is, and Eternally shall Remain, Common-to All; for He was sent-down to-Earth for the Common Benefit of all Men, who would turn-to Him.
Yet He Himself says that He is not sent, but unto the 'Lost Sheep', of the House-of Israel. These, however, are not-only the Jews, but All those who shall see God, in Eternity. These belong-to the House-of Israel, and no one else; for the Jews, Despised the Gospel, and the Heathen, Entered and Received it. And so all Israel, that is to say, all the Eternally Chosen, shall be Saved.
Now, Mark how Christ gave Himself to-All, in Perfect Loyalty. His Inward and Sublime Prayer flowed-forth towards His Father, and it was a Prayer for-All, in-Common, who Desired to-be Saved. Christ was Common-to all in-Love, in-Teaching, in-Tender Consolation, in-Generous Gifts, in-Merciful Forgiveness. His Soul and His Body, His Life and His Death and His Ministry were, and are, Common-to all. His Sacraments and His Gifts are Common-to all. Christ never took any Food or Drink, nor anything that His Body needed, without Intending-by it, the Common Good of all those who shall be Saved, even unto the Last Day. Christ had nothing Particular, and of His Own, but everything in-Common, Body and Soul, Mother and Disciples, Cloak and Tunic. He Ate and He Drank, for our-Sake; He Lived and He Died for our-Sake. His Pains and His Sorrows and His Miseries were of His own, and for Him only; but the Fruits and the Profit, which came-forth from Them, are Common-to All. And the Glory-of His Merits, shall be Common-to all, in Eternity.
Seven Sacraments of Christ
Now Christ left His Treasure, and His Revenue, here on-Earth. These are the Seven Sacraments and the 'Outward' Goods of-Holy Church, which He has Gotten-through His Death, and which, therefore, should be in-Common. And His Servants, who Live thereon, should therefore be in-Common. All those who Live on Alms, and are in the Ecclesiastical State, should be in-Common, at-least in their Prayers; and especially, all Religious who live in-Cloisters and in-Cells. In the beginning of-Holy Church, and of-our Faith, Popes, Bishops, and Priests, were all in-Common; for they went-out and Converted the Folk, and established Holy Church and our Faith, and Sealed them with their-Blood, and with their-Death. These Men were Simple and One-fold, and they had Steadfast Peace, in the Unity-of the Spirit. And they were Enlightened-with Godly Wisdom, Rich and Overflowing-with Faith, and with Love towards God, and towards all Men. But now, notwithstanding, it is become Wholly Otherwise; for those who today Possess the Heritage and the Revenue which were given to those Others, out-of Love and because-of their Holiness, are Unstable-of Soul, and Restless, and in-Multiplicity; for they have altogether turned-towards the World, and do not Thoroughly Apprehend, in their Ground, those Things and that Business, which they have in-hand. That is why they Pray with their Lips, but their Heart does not Savor the Meaning, that is to say, it does not Feel the Secret Wonder which is Hidden-in Scripture, and in the Sacraments, and in their Office. And therefore they are Coarse and Dull, and are not Enlightened by the Divine Truth, and they often seek Food and Drink and Ease-of Body, without Moderation; would to God they were at-least Clean-of Fleshly Sins! As-long-as they Live thus, they shall never be-Enlightened; and whereas those Others were Generous, and Overflowing with Charity, and kept Nothing for themselves; these are now Greedy and Avaricious, and Deny themselves Nothing. All this is Contrary and Unlike, to the Saints, and to that Common Way, of which we have spoken. I speak of the General State-of Things; let each Prove himself, and Teach and Reprove himself, if needs be; and, if not, let him Rejoice and Rest in Peace, in his Clean Conscience, and Serve and Praise God, for the Good-of himself, and of all Men, and for the Glory-of God.
As I will specially Praise and Glorify this State-of Being, in-Common, so I find another Special Treasure, which Christ has left in Holy Church to all Good Men; in His Supper, upon the High Feast of the Passover, when Christ knew that He would Pass-from this Exile, to His Father, after He had Eaten-of the 'Paschal Lamb' with His Disciples, and the Ancient Law had been Fulfilled. At the End-of the Meal and of the Feast, He desired to give to them a Dish of Singular Excellence, which He had long-wished to do. And herewith He Willed to make an End-of the Ancient Law, and begin the New. And He took Bread in His Holy and Venerable Hands, and Consecrated His Sacred Body, and after that, His Sacred Blood; and He gave them Both, to all His Disciples, and left Them to all Good Men, in-Common, for their Eternal Profit. This Gift, and this Excellent Dish, Rejoice and Adorn all High Festivals and all Banquets, in-Heaven and on-Earth. In this Gift, Christ gives Himself to us, in Three (3) Ways:
He gives us His Flesh and His Blood and His Bodily Life, Glorified and Full-of Joy and Sweetness;
He gives us His Spirit, with its Highest Powers, Full-of Glory and Gifts, Truth and Righteousness; and
He gives us His Personality, through that Divine Light, which raises His Spirit and all Enlightened Spirits into the most High and Fruitive Unity (1).
Now Christ desires that we shall 'Remember' Him, so-often-as we Consecrate, Offer, and Receive His Body. Consider now, How we shall 'Remember' Him. We shall Mark and Behold how Christ inclines Himself towards us with Loving Affection, with Great Desire, and with Yearning Delight, and with a Warm and Tender Out-pouring of Himself, into our Bodily Nature. For He gives us that which He has in-Common with our Manhood, that is, His Flesh and His Blood, and His Bodily Nature. We shall also Mark and Behold that Precious Body, Martyred, Pierced and Wounded for our sake, because of His Love and His Faithfulness towards us. Herewith we are Adorned and Nourished, in the Lower-Part of our Manhood. In this most-High, Gift of the Sacrament, He also gives us His Spirit, Full-of Glory and Rich Gifts of Virtue, and Unspeakable Marvels of Charity and Nobleness. And herewith we are Nourished and Adorned and Enlightened in the Unity-of our Spirit, and in the Higher Powers, through the in-Dwelling of Christ with all His Riches. Moreover He gives us in the Sacrament-of the Altar, His most-High Personality (which is Divine), in Incomprehensible Splendor. And through this, we are Lifted-up-to and United-with the Father, and the Father receives His Adopted Sons, together-with His Natural Son (Jesus), and thus we enter into our Inheritance-of the Godhead in Eternal Blessedness.
When a Man has Worthily Recollected and Considered these things, then he shall go out to meet Christ, in the same way in which Christ comes to him. He shall Lift himself up to-receive Christ with his Heart, with his Desire, with Sensible Love, with all his Powers, and with a Joyful Craving. For even thus does Christ, receive Himself. And this Craving cannot be too-Great; for then, our Nature receives its own Nature, that is, the Glorified Manhood of Christ, Full-of Joy and Worth. Therefore I would, that a Man in thus Receiving, should Melt and Flow-forth in-Desire, in-Joy, and in-Delight; for he Embraces, and is United-with Him Who is the Fairest, the most-Gracious and most-Lovable of all the Children-of Men. In this Yearning Devotion, and in these Delights, many a Great Benefit has been Bestowed-upon Men, and many a Secret and Hidden Wonder of the Rich Treasures of God, has been Revealed and Disclosed to them. When a Man, in thus Receiving, Bethinks himself of the Martyrdom and the Sufferings of this Precious Body-of Christ, Which he Receives, then he may sometimes Rise-into such Loving Devotion, and such Sensible Compassion, that he Desires to be Nailed-with Christ to the Cross, and Longs-to Shed his Heart's Blood, for the Glory-of Christ. And he Presses into the Wounds, and into the Open Heart-of Christ, his Savior. In this Exercise, many a Revelation, and many a Benefit, have often been Bestowed-upon Men.
This Sensible Love and Compassion, and the Power-of the Imagination, United-with the 'Inward' Contemplation-of the Wounds-of Christ, may be so-Great, that the Man thinks that he Feels the Wounds, and the Bruises of-Christ, in his own Heart and in all his Limbs. And if any Man, could indeed in any way, receive the Stigmata of our Lord, it would be such a Man as this. And herewith we Satisfy Christ, as regards the Lower Part of His Manhood.
We shall also Dwell-in the Unity-of our Spirit, and should Flow-forth with an Ample Love in-Heaven and on-Earth, with Clear Discernment. And by this we bear some Resemblance-to Christ, as regards the Spirit, and give Him Satisfaction.
We shall also, through the Personality of-Christ, with Simplicity-of Intention and with Fruitive Love, Transcend ourselves, and also the Created Being of-Christ, and Rest in our Inheritance, that is, in the Divine Being, in Eternity. This, Christ always Desires to Give us in Ghostly Wise, whenever we so Exercise ourselves, and make ourselves in-Readiness for Him. And He Desires that we shall receive Him, both in a Sacramental and a Spiritual Way, as is Meet and Right, and as Reason demands. Though a Man, may not always have such Feelings and such Desires, if he intend the Praise of God and His Glory, and the Increase of his own Being and Blessedness, he may go-Freely to the Table-of the Lord, if his Conscience be Clean from Mortal Sin.
The Most-High and Super-Essential Unity of the Divine Nature, where the Father and the Son possess Their Nature in the Unity (1) of the Holy Ghost above the Comprehension and Understanding of all our Powers, in the Naked Being of our Spirit is a Supernal Stillness, wherein God broods-above all Creatures, in the Created Light. This most-High Unity of the Divine Nature is Living and Fruitful; for, out of this same Unity, the Eternal Word is Incessantly Born-of the Father. And, through this Birth, the Father 'Knows' the Son; and, in the Son, all things. And the Son Knows the Father; and all things in the Father. For they are One (1) Simple Nature. From this Mutual Contemplation of the Father and the Son, in the Eternal Radiance, there Flow-forth an Eternal Content and a Fathomless Love, and that is the Holy Ghost. And through the Holy Ghost, and through the Eternal Wisdom, God inclines Himself towards each Creature in-Particular, and Lovingly Endows and Enkindles each one, according to its Worth and the State into which it has been put, and to which it has been Destined, by its Virtues and by the Eternal Providence of God. And thereby all Good Spirits, in-Heaven and on-Earth, are moved-to Virtue and Righteousness.
Now Mark well: I will show you an Image of this. God has Created the Highest Heaven, a Pure and Simple Radiance, which En-Rings and En-Closes all the Heavens and all Bodily and Material Things that God has ever Created; for it is an 'Outward' Dwelling-place and a Kingdom of God and His Saints, Full-of Glory and Eternal Joy. Now, since this Heaven is an Unmingled Radiance, there is here neither Time, nor Space, nor Movement, nor any Change; for it is Immovable and Unchangeable above all things. The Sphere which is nearest-to this Glowing Heaven is called the First Movement. For here, all Movement arises-from the Highest Heaven, by the Power of God. From this Movement, the Firmament and all Planets derive their Courses. And, through it, all Creatures Live and Grow, each according-to its kind. Now, Understand this Well; so likewise, the Essence of the Soul is a Ghostly Kingdom of God, Full-of Divine Radiance, Transcending all our Powers, except they be in that Simplified State, of which I will not speak now. Behold, in-regard-to the Essence of the Soul, wherein God Reigns, the Unity of our Spirit is like-to the First Movement; for, in this Unity, the Spirit is moved from above, by the Power-of God, both Naturally and Supernaturally. For we have Nothing of our own, neither in-Nature, nor above-Nature. And this Stirring-of God, when it is Supernatural, is the First and Principle Cause of all Virtues. And through this Stirring-of God, there are given to some Men the Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost, like to the Seven Planets, which Illuminate and make-Fruitful the Whole Life-of Man. This is the way in which God Possesses the Essential Unity of our Spirit as His Kingdom; and in which He Works and Flows-forth with His Gifts into our Potential Unity, and into all our Powers.
Now consider Diligently, how we can Acquire and Possess the most 'Inward' Exercise of our Spirit in the Created Light. The Man who is well-Adorned, with the Moral Virtues of the 'Outward' Life, and has Risen into Nobility and Divine Peace by 'Inward' Practices; he Possesses the Unity-of the Spirit, Enlightened-by Supernatural Wisdom, Flowing-forth in Generous Love toward Heaven and Earth, and Lifting itself up, by its Reverence and its Merits, and Flowing-back into that very Ground, the most-High Unity-of God, from which all things Proceed. For each Creature, according to whether it has Received more-or-less from God, has more-or-less of Ascending Love and 'Inward' Tendency towards its Origin; for God, and all His Gifts, invite us into Him, and through Charity and the Virtues and Resemblance, we Desire to enter-into Him.
According to Saint Bernard, Mary is the Living "Duct", or "Aqueduct" or "Channel" by which God's Grace flows from Heaven's Treasury to Mankind. To block that Duct, is Deadly to the Soul.
Through this Loving Inclination of God, and His 'Inward' Working, in the Unity-of our Spirit, and further, through our Glowing Love and the Pressing-of all our Powers together, into the very Unity in which God Dwells, there arises the Third Coming-of Christ in 'Inward' Working. And this is an 'Inward' Touch or Stirring-of Christ, in His Divine Brightness, in the 'Inmost' part of our Spirit. The Second Coming, of which we have spoken, we have likened to a Fountain, Pouring-forth in Three (3) Rills. But this Coming, we will liken-to the Duct which Feeds the Fountain. For there is no Rill without a Fountain; and no Fountain without a 'Living' Duct. So likewise, the Grace-of God Flows-forth like Rills into the Higher Powers, and Impels and Enkindles a Man in all Virtue. And this Grace, springs-up within the Unity-of our Spirit like a Fountain, and falls-back again into that same Unity, whence it arises; even as a Living and Gushing Spring, which Comes-forth from the Living Ground of the Divine Richness, where neither Faithfulness nor Grace can ever Fail. And this is the Touch which I mean. And the Creature passively-endures this Touch. For here, there is a Union-of the Higher Powers within the Unity-of the Spirit, above the Multiplicity of all the Virtues, and here, no one Works, save God alone, in Untrammeled Goodness; which is the Cause of all our Virtues and of all Blessedness. In the Unity of the Spirit, into which this Duct gushes-forth, one is above-Activity and above-Reason, though not without Reason. For the Enlightened Reason, and especially the Power-of Love, feels this Touch; and Reason cannot Understand, nor can it Comprehend, the Way or the Means of this Touch, 'How' or 'What' it is, for it is a Working-of God, the up-Springing and the in-Rushing of all Graces and Gifts, and the Last Intermediary between God and the Creature. And above this Touch, in the Still-Being of the Spirit, there Broods an Incomprehensible Brightness. And that is the most-High Trinity, Whence this Touch Proceeds. There, God Lives and Reigns in the Spirit, and the Spirit in God.
Now, through this Touch, Christ says 'Inwardly' within the Spirit: Go ye out with Practices in Conformity with this Touch. For this Deep Touch, Draws and Invites our Spirit to the most 'Inward' Practices, which a Creature is able-to Fulfill, in a Creaturely Way, in the Created Light. Here, the Spirit raises itself, through the Power-of Love, above all-Works, into the Unity where this Life-giving Spring or Touch, Gushes-forth. And this Touch invites the Understanding, to Know God in His Brightness, and it Draws and Invites the Power-of Love. to enjoy God, without Intermediary. And this, the Loving Spirit desires to-do, both in a Natural and a Supernatural Way, above all other things. By-means-of the Enlightened Reason, the Spirit lifts itself up, in 'Inward' Observation, and it Beholds and Observes the most-'Inward' Part of itself, where this Touch Lives. Here, Reason and every Created-Light, Fail and can go no-Further. For the Supernal Brightness, Brooding over all, which gives-Rise to this Touch, Blinds in its Coming, every Created Sight; for it is Abysmal. And all Understanding in the Created Light, is here, like the Eyes-of a Bat, in the Light-of the Sun. Yet, the Spirit is continually Invited and Urged Anew by-God and by-Itself, to-Sound and to-Know, that which is Stirring these Deeps, and 'What' God is, and 'What' this Touch is. And the Enlightened Reason ever-Asks anew, whence this comes, and ever-Seeks to Explore further, that it may follow-back this Stream-of Honey to its Source. But in this it is, on the First Day, as-Wise-as it shall ever be. And this is why Reason and all Observation say: "I know not what it is", for the Supernal Brightness, Brooding over all, Strikes-back all Understanding, and Blinds it, whenever they meet.
So, God abides-in His Brightness, above all Spirits who are in-Heaven and on-Earth. And those who have Pierced-through their Ground, by-means-of the Virtues and 'Inward' Practices, to their Source, that is, to the Door-of Eternal Life, may feel this Touch. There the Brightness of God shines so-Mightily, that Reason and all Understanding, Fail and can go no-Further, but must be Overcome and Give-way before the Incomprehensible Brightness of God. But when the Spirit, feels this in its Ground, then, though its Reason and Understanding, Fail before the Divine Brightness, and must remain 'Outside' the Door, the Power of Love desires to go-forward; for it too, like the Understanding, has been Invited and Urged. And it is Blind, and desires Fruition; and Fruition abides more in Tasting and Feeling, than in Understanding. Therefore would Love go-forward, whilst Understanding stays 'Outside'.
Here, there begins an Eternal Hunger, which shall never-more be Satisfied; it is an 'Inward' Craving and Hankering of the Loving Power and the Created Spirit, after an Untreated Good. And since the Spirit longs-for Fruition, and is Invited and Urged thereto by God, it must always Desire its Fulfillment. Behold, here there Begins an Eternal Craving and Continual Yearning, in Eternal Insatiableness. All such, are the Poorest of all Men Living; for they are Avid and Greedy, and their Hunger is Insatiable. Whatever they Eat or Drink, they shall Never be Satisfied, for this Hunger is Eternal. For a Created Vessel, cannot contain an Uncreated Good; and hence there is here, an Eternal, Hungry Craving without Satisfaction, and God, Poured-forth above all, and yet Staying it not. Here are Great Dishes of Food and Drink, of which no-one Knows, save he who Tastes them; but full-Satisfaction in Fruition, is the Dish which is Lacking there, and therefore this Hunger is ever-Renewed. Yet, in the Touch, Rivers of Honey, Full of all Delights, Flow-forth; for the Spirit Tastes these Riches in all the Ways which it can Conceive and Apprehend; but all this is in a Creaturely Way, and below God, and hence there remains an Eternal Hunger and Impatience. Though God, gave to such a Man, all the Gifts which are Possessed by all the Saints, and everything that He is Able-to Give, but withheld Himself, the Gaping Desire of the Spirit would remain Hungry and Unsatisfied. The 'Inward' Stirring and Touching of God makes us Hungry and Yearning; for the Spirit-of God, Hunts our Spirit; and the more it Touches it, the Greater our-Hunger and our-Craving. And this is the Life-of Love in its Highest Working, above-Reason and above-Understanding; for Reason can here, neither Give nor Take-away from Love, for our Love is Touched by the Divine Love. And as I Understand it, here there can never-more be Separation-from God. God's Touch within us, forasmuch as we Feel it, and our own Loving Craving, these are both Created, and Creaturely; and therefore they may Grow and Increase as-long-as we Live.
In this Storm of Love, Two (2) Spirits strive Together; the Spirit-of God, and our own-Spirit. God, through the Holy Ghost, inclines Himself towards us; and, thereby, we are Touched in Love. And our Spirit, by God's Working, and by the Power of Love, Presses and Inclines itself into God; and, thereby, God is Touched. From these Two (2) Contacts, there Arises the Strife-of Love, at the very Deeps-of this Meeting; and in that most 'Inward' and Ardent Encounter, each Spirit is Deeply Wounded-by Love. These Two (2) Spirits, that is, our own-Spirit and the Spirit-of God, Sparkle and Shine, One into the Other, and each shows to the other, its Face. This makes each of the Spirits, Yearn for the other in Love. Each, Demands-of the Other, all that it is; and Each Offers-to the Other, all that it is and Invites it, to All that it is. This makes the Lovers melt-into each other. God's Touch and His Gifts, our Loving Craving, and our Giving-back; these Fulfill Love. This Flux and Reflux causes the Fountain-of Love to brim-over; and thus the Touch of God, and our Loving Craving, become One (1) Simple Love. Here, Man is possessed by Love, so that he must forget himself and God, and Knows and can do Nothing, but Love. Thereby the Spirit is Burned-up in the Fire-of Love, and enters so-deeply into the Touch of God, that it is Overcome in all its Cravings, and turned to Nought, in all its Works, and Empties itself; above all Surrender becoming very Love. And it Possesses, above all Virtues, the 'Inmost' Part of its Created Being, where every Creaturely Work, Begins and Ends. Such is Love in itself, Foundation and Origin of all Virtues.
Now, our Spirit and this Love, are Living and Fruitful in Virtues; and for this Reason, the Powers can no-longer remain idle, in the Unity-of the Spirit. For the Incomprehensible Brightness of God, and His Boundless Love, Brood above the Spirit, and Touch the Loving Power; and the Spirit goes-forth once-more into its Works, but with a more Sublime and 'Inward' Striving, than ever before. And the more Noble and 'Inward' it is, the more Quickly it is Spent, and brought to-Nought in Love, and goes-forth once more into Fresh Works. And this is Heavenly Love. For ever, does the Craving Spirit, Yearn to-Eat and to-Swallow God; but itself is Swallowed-up in the Touch of God, and Fails in all its Works. For the Highest Powers are made One (1), in the Unity of the Spirit. Here, are Grace and Love, in their Essence, above all Works; for here is the Source-of Charity and every Virtue. Here, there is an Eternal Outflow into Charity and the Virtues, and an Eternal Return, with 'Inward' Hunger for the Taste-of God, and an Eternal Dwelling within, in Pure Love. And all this is in a Creaturely Way, and below God; it is the most 'Inward' Exercise which one can perform in the Created Light, in-Heaven and on-Earth; and above it there is nothing but the God-seeing Life in the Divine Light, and in the God-like Way. In this Exercise, one cannot go Astray, nor can one be Deceived; and it begins in-Grace, and shall Forever, Last in-Glory.
Now I have shown you how the Free and Uplifted Man becomes, through the Grace-of God, seeing in his 'Inward' Practices. And we see that this is the First Point which Christ, Demands and Desires of us, where He says: Behold. As to the Second and Third Points, wherein He says: The Bridegroom cometh, and: Go ye out, I have shown you the Three (3) Ways of the 'Inward' Coming of Christ; and further, that the First Coming has Four (4) Degrees, and how we are to Go out with Practices, answering-to each Way in which God 'Inwardly' Enkindles, Teaches, and Moves us. Now we must consider the Fourth Point, which is the Last. This is the Meeting-with Christ, our Bridegroom. For all our 'Inward' and Ghostly Vision, in-Grace or in-Glory, and all our Going out in the Virtues, in whatsoever Practices, this be done, it is all for the Sake-of a Meeting, and a Union with Christ, our Bridegroom; for He is our Eternal Rest, and the End and Wage, of all our Labor.
You know that every Meeting is a Coming-together of Two (2) Persons, who Come-from Different Places, which are Separated-from, and Opposite-to, each other. Now Christ, Comes-from Above as a Lord and Generous Giver, Who can do all things. And we come from Below, as the Poor Servants, who can do Nothing of ourselves, but have Need of Everything. The Coming of Christ to us, is from Within → Outwards, and we go towards Him from Without → 'Inwards'; and this is why a Ghostly Meeting must here take-place. And this Coming, and this Meeting of ourselves and Christ, takes-place in Two (2) Ways, to wit, with-Means and without-Means.
Now Understand, and Mark this Well. The Unity-of our Spirit has Two (2) Conditions: it is Essential, and it is Active. You must know that the Spirit, according to its Essence, Receives the Coming of Christ in the Nakedness of its Nature, without-Means and without-Interruption. For the Being, and the Life, which we are in-God, in-our Eternal Image, and which we have Within ourselves, according to our Essence, this is without-Means, and Indivisible. And this is why the Spirit, in its Inmost and Highest Part, that is, in its Naked Nature, Receives without Interruption, the Impress-of its Eternal Archetype, and the Divine Brightness; and is an Eternal Dwelling-place of God, in which God dwells-as an Eternal Presence, and which He visits Perpetually, with new-Comings and with new-In-Streamings, of the ever-Renewed Brightness, of His Eternal Birth. For where He Comes, there He is; and where He is, there He Comes. And where He has never been, thereto He shall never Come; for neither Chance nor Change are in Him. And everything in which He is, is in Him; for He never goes out of Himself. And this is why the Spirit, in its Essence, possesses God in the Nakedness of its Nature, as God does the Spirit; for it Lives in God, and God in it. And it is able, in its Highest Part, to Receive, without Intermediary, the Brightness of God, and all that God can Fulfill. And by means of the Brightness-of its Eternal Archetype, which Shines in it, Essentially and Personally, the Spirit Plunges-itself and Loses-itself, as regards the Highest Part of its Life, in the Divine Being, and there, abidingly Possesses its Eternal Blessedness; and it Flows-forth again, through the Eternal Birth of the Son, together with all the other Creatures, and is set in its Created Being by the Free-Will of the Holy Trinity. And here it is like-unto the Image of the most-High Trinity in Unity, in Which it has been made. And, in its Created Being, it Incessantly Receives the Impress-of its Eternal Archetype, like a Flawless Mirror, in-which the Image remains Steadfast, and in-which the Reflection is Renewed without Interruption, by its ever-new Reception, in new-Light. This Essential Union of our-Spirit, with God, does not Exist in itself, but it Dwells-in God, and it Flows-forth from God, and it Depends-upon God, and it Returns-to God, as to its Eternal Origin. And in this wise, it has never been, nor ever shall be, Separated-from God; for this Union is Within us, by our Naked Nature, and, were this Nature to be separated-from God, it would Fall-into Pure Nothingness. And this Union is above Time-and-Space, and is Always and Incessantly Active, according-to the Way of God. But our Nature, forasmuch as it is indeed like-unto God, but in itself, is Creature; Receives the Impress-of its Eternal Image, Passively. This is that Nobleness which we Possess by Nature, in the Essential Unity-of our Spirit, where it is United-with God, according to Nature. This neither makes us Holy nor Blessed, for all Men, whether Good or Evil, possess it Within themselves; but it is certainly the First Cause of all-Holiness and all-Blessedness. This is the Meeting and the Union, between God and our-Spirit, in the Nakedness-of our Nature.
Now, consider this Thought Earnestly; for if you Understand Well, that which I will now Tell you, and that which I have Told you, you will have Understood all the Divine Truth, which any Creature can Teach you, and far-more besides. Otherwise, does our Spirit keep itself in that same Unity, when it is Conceived as Acting or Working; for then it Exists in itself, as in its Created and Personal Being. This is the Source of the Higher Powers, and here there are Beginning and End of all the Creaturely Works, which are Worked-in a Creaturely Way, both in-Nature and above-Nature. Yet here, the Unity does not Work, forasmuch as it is Unity; but all the Powers-of the Soul, in what Way soever they Work, Derive their Strength and their Power, from their Proper Source, that is, from the Unity-of the Spirit, where it Dwells-in its Personal Being.
In this Unity, the Spirit must always either be like-unto God, through Grace and Virtue, or unlike-unto God through Mortal Sin. For that, Man has been made-after the Likeness-of God, means that he has been Created-in the Grace-of God; the which Grace is a God-formed Light, which Shines-through us, and makes us Like-to God; and without this Light, which makes us God-like, we cannot be United-with God Supernaturally, even though we cannot Lose the Image-of God nor our Natural Unity with-Him. If we Lose the Likeness, that is, the Grace-of God, we are Damned. And therefore, whenever God finds within us, some Capacity-for the Reception-of His Grace, it is His Pleasure and His Free Goodness, to make us through His Gifts, Full-of Life, and Like-unto Him. This always happens, whenever we turn-to Him, with our Whole Will; for at that very Moment, Christ Comes to us and in us, both with-Means and without- Means, that is, with the Virtues and above the Virtues. And He Impresses, His Image and His Likeness in us, namely Himself and His Gifts; and He Redeems us from Sin, and makes us Free and Like-unto Himself. And in that same-Working, through which God Redeems us from Sins, and makes us Free and Like-unto Him through Charity, the Spirit Immerses Itself in Fruitive Love. And here there take-place a Meeting and a Union, which are without-Means and above-Nature, and wherein our Highest Blessedness consists. Although all that He gives us, from Love and Free Goodness, is Natural to God, for us, according to our Condition, it is Accidental and Supernatural. For 'Before', we were Strangers, and unlike-unto God; and 'Afterwards', becoming like-Him, have received Union-with God.
This Meeting, and this Union, which the Loving Spirit achieves in God, and Possesses without-Means, must take place in the 'Essential Intuition', Deeply-hidden from our Understanding; unless it be an Effective Understanding, according-to the Way-of Simplicity. In the Fruition-of this Unity, we shall Rest Evermore, Above ourselves, and Above all-things. From this Unity, all Gifts, both Natural and Supernatural, Flow-forth, and yet the Loving Spirit, Rests-in this Unity, Above all Gifts; and here there is Nothing but God, and the Spirit United-with God, without-Means. In this Unity, we are Taken Possession-of by the Holy Ghost, and we take Possession-of the Holy Ghost and the Father and the Son, and the whole Divine Nature; for God cannot be Divided. And the Fruitive Tendency of the Spirit, which seeks Rest in God above all Likeness, Receives and Possesses in a Supernatural Way, in its Essential Being, all that the Spirit ever received in a Natural Way. All Good Men experience this; but how it is, this remains Hidden-from them, all their Life-long, if they do not become 'Inward' and Empty-of all Creatures. In that very-Moment, in which Man turns-away from Sin, he is Received by God in the Essential Unity of his own Being, at the Summit of his Spirit, that he may Rest-in God, now and evermore. And he also receives Grace, and Likeness-unto God, in the Proper Source of his Powers, that he may evermore Grow and Increase in new Virtues. And, as-long-as, this Likeness Endures in-Charity and in-Virtues, so-long also Endures, the Union in Rest. And this cannot be Lost, save only by Mortal Sin.
Now, all Holiness, and all Blessedness, lie in this: that the Spirit is led-upwards, through Likeness, and by-means-of Grace or Glory, to Rest-in the Essential Unity. For the Grace-of God, is the Way by-which we must always-go, if we would Enter-into the Naked Essence in which God gives Himself, with all His Riches, without-Means. And this is why the Sinners, and the Damned Spirits, Dwell-in Darkness; for they lack the Grace-of God, which should Enlighten them, and Lead them, and Show them, the Way-to the Fruitive Unity. Yet the Essential Being of the Spirit is so-Noble, that even the Damned cannot Will their own-Annihilation. But Sin builds-up a Barrier, and gives Rise-to such-Darkness and such-Unlikeness between the Powers, and the Essence, in which God Lives, that the Spirit cannot be United-with its Proper Essence; which would be its own and its Eternal Rest, did Sin not Impede it. For whosoever Lives without Sin, he lives in Likeness-unto God, and in Grace, and God is his own. And so we have Need of Grace, which Casts-out Sin, and Prepares the Way, and Makes our Whole Life Fruitful. And this is why Christ always comes-into us through-Means, that is, through Grace and Multifarious Gifts; and we too, go out towards Him through-Means, that is, through Virtues and Diverse Practices. And the more 'Inward' Gifts He gives, and the more Deeply He stirs us, the more 'Inward' and Delightful are the Workings-of our Spirit, as you have already-Heard, in all the Ways which have been shown-forth before. And here, there is a Perpetual Renewal; for God ever-gives New Gifts, and our Spirit ever-turns 'Inward', in such wise as it is Invited, and as is Bestowed-on it by God, and in that Meeting, it always Receives a Higher Renewal. And thus, one Grows Continually, into a Higher Life. And this Active Meeting is altogether through-Means; for the Gifts-of God, and our Virtues and the Activity-of our Spirit, are the Means. And these Means are necessary for all Men and all Spirits; for, without the Mediation of God's Grace, and a Loving-turning to Him in Freedom, no Creature shall ever be Saved.
Now, God sees the Dwelling and the Resting-place, which He has made Within-us, and Through-us; namely, the Unity and the Likeness. And He Wills to visit this Unity, without Interruption, with a new Coming of His most-High Birth, and with a Rich Pouring-forth of his Fathomless Love; for He Wills to Dwell-in Bliss, within the Loving Spirit. And He Wills to Visit the Likeness-of our Spirit with Rich Gifts, so that we become more Like-unto Him, and more Enlightened-in the Virtues. Now it is Christ's Will that we should Dwell and Abide within the Essential Unity of our Spirit, Rich with Him above all Creaturely Works, and above all Virtues; and that we should Dwell Actively in that same Unity, Rich and Fulfilled with Virtues and Heavenly Gifts. And He Wills that we shall Visit that-Unity and that-Likeness, without Interruption, by-means-of every Work which we do: for in every new "Now", God is Born in us, and from this most-High Birth, the Holy Ghost flows-forth with all His Gifts. Therefore we should go out to meet the Gifts-of God through the Likeness; and the most-High Birth, through the Unity.
Now, Mark how in each of our Works, we shall go out to meet God, and shall Increase our Likeness unto Him, and shall more-Nobly Possess the Fruitive Unity. By every Good Work, how small soever it be, which is directed-to God with-Love, and with an Upright and Single Intention, we Earn a greater-Likeness, and Eternal Life in God. A Single (1) Intention, Draws-together the Scattered Powers, into the Unity-of the Spirit, and Joins the Spirit, to God. A Single (1) Intention is End, and Beginning, and Adornment, of all Virtues. A Single (1) Intention, Offers-to God, Praise and Honor and all Virtues; and it Pierces and Passes-through itself, and all the Heavens, and all-things, and finds God within the Simple Ground of its own being. That Intention is Single (1), which aims only-at God, and in all things, only-at their Connection-with God. The Single (1) Intention casts-out Hypocrisy and Duplicity, and a Man must Possess it and Practice it in all his Works, above all other things; for it is this which keeps Man in the Presence-of God, Clear in-Understanding, Diligent in-Virtue, and Free-from 'Outward' Fear, both Now and in the Day-of Doom. Singleness (1) of Intention is the Single (1) Eye of which Christ speaks, giving Light-to the Whole Body that is, to the Man's Works and his Whole Life and Cleansing it of Sin. Singleness of Intention is the 'Inward', Enlightened, and Loving Tendency-of the Spirit; it is the Foundation of all Ghostliness; it includes in itself, Faith, Hope, and Charity, for it Trusts-in God and is Faithful-to Him. It casts Nature underfoot, it establishes Peace, it drives-out Ghostly Discontent, and preserves Fullness-of Life in all the Virtues. And it gives Peace and Hope and Boldness toward God, both Now, and in the Day-of Doom.
Thus we shall Dwell-in the Unity-of the Spirit, in-Grace and in-Likeness; and shall always go out to meet God by-means-of the Virtues, and Offer-up to Him with a Simple Intention, our Whole Life and all our Works; and thus in every Work, and ever more-and-more, we shall Increase our Likeness. And thus we rise-up out of the Ground of our Single (1) Intention, and pass through ourselves and go out to meet God without-Means, and Rest in Him, in the Abyss of Simplicity; there we Possess that Heritage which has been prepared-for us from all Eternity. All Ghostly Life, and all Works-of Virtue, consist-in the Divine Likeness, and in Singleness-of Intention; and all their Supreme Rest, consists in Simplicity above all Likeness. Nevertheless, One Spirit Surpasses another in-Virtue and in-Likeness, and each Possess its own Proper Being in itself, according to the Degree of its Nobleness. And God suffices each one in-particular, and each one, according to the Measure-of his Love, seeks God in the Ground-of his Spirit; both Here and in-Eternity.
Now consider the Order and the Degrees of all the Virtues, and of all Holiness, with which we should go out to meet God through Resemblance; that so we may Rest with Him in the Unity.
When a Man lives-in the Fear-of God, in the Moral Virtues and in 'Outward Works'; and when he is Obedient and Submissive-to Holy Church, and to the Divine Commandments, and when he is Ready and Willing, in Simplicity of Intention, to do all Good Things; then he is like-unto God, through Faithfulness, and through the Gathering-of his Will into the Will-of God, both in-Doing and in-Leaving Undone. And he Rests-in God, above Likeness; for through Faithfulness and Singleness-of Intention, he Fulfills the Will-of God, more-or-less, according-to the Measure of his Likeness; and through Love, he Rests-in his Beloved, above Likeness.
And if he Exerts himself Well, in that which he has Received-from God, then God Bestows upon him, the Spirit of Piety and Mercy. Thus he becomes Gentle-of Heart, Meek and Merciful. And thereby he becomes more Full-of Life and more Like-to God, and feels himself to be Resting more in-God, and to be Broader and Deeper in-Virtue, than before. And he Savors this Likeness and this Rest, so much the better, the more his Resemblance is Increased.
And if he here, Exerts himself Well, with Great Zeal, and with a Single (1) Intention, and Fights all that, which is Opposed-to the Virtues; this Man receives the Third Gift, which is Knowledge and Discretion. Thus he becomes Reasonable and Discerning, and knows what to-Do and what to-Leave Undone, and where he must Give, and where he must Take-away. And through Simplicity-of Intention, and Godly Love, this Man Rests-in God, above himself in the Unity; and he Possesses himself in Likeness, and he Possesses all his Works with a Greater Delight, because he is Obedient and Submissive-to the Father, and has Reason and Discernment through the Son, and is Gentle and Merciful through the Holy Ghost. And thus he bears a Resemblance unto the Holy Trinity, and he Rests-in God, through his Love and the Simplicity of his Intention. And herein the Whole of the Active Life consists. Thus, a Man should Exert himself with Great Zeal, and should follow his Single (1) Intention with Reason and Discernment. And he must Beware-of all, that is Opposed-to the Virtues, and must ever, Bow himself down, in Humility, at the Feet of Christ; and in this Way, he will Grow ever more-and-more in-Virtue and in-Resemblance; and if he keeps himself thus, he cannot Err. Yet according-to this Way, he still remains-in the Active Life. For if a Man, Practices and Clings-to, the Activities-of the Heart, and the Diversity-of Works, more than to the Ground and Reason-of all Works; and if he Busies himself more with the Practice-of the Sacraments, with their Forms and 'Outward' Symbols, than with the Ground and the Truth, which are Signified thereby; so he shall ever remain an 'Outward' Man. But, he shall be Saved, by his Good Works, and his Simplicity-of Intention.
And therefore, if a Man wishes to Come nearer-to God, and to Exalt his Practice and his Life, he must Proceed-from the Works, to their Reason, and from the Forms, to the Truth; thereby he shall become Master of his Works, and shall Know Truth, and shall Come into the 'Inward' Life. And God gives him the Fourth Gift, which is the Spirit-of Strength (Fortitude); and thus he shall be able to Overcome - Joy and Grief, Profit and Loss, Hope and Care, in Earthly Things, together with all kinds-of Hindrances and all Multiplicity. And thus he becomes Free and Detached-from all Creatures. When a Man has become Free, from all Creaturely Images, he is Master of himself, and Easily and without-Labor, becomes 'Inward' and Recollected; and turns Freely and without-Hindrance to-God, with-Fervent Devotion, with-Lofty Desire, with-Thanksgiving and Praise, and with a Single (1) Intention. Thus he enters into Fruition-of all his Deeds, and his Whole Life, 'Inward' and 'Outward'; for he stands-before the Throne-of the Holy Trinity, and often receives 'Inward' Consolation and Sweetness, from God. For he who Serves at such a Table, with Thanksgiving and Praise, and with 'Inward' Reverence, often Drinks-of the Wine, and often Eats-of that which is Left, and of the Crumbs which Fall-from the Lord's Table; and he Continually possesses 'Inward' Peace, through the Singleness of his Intention. And if he will Abide Steadfastly before God, in Thanksgiving and Praise, and with Uplifted Purpose, the Spirit-of Strength is Doubled (x2) within him; for then he no-Longer loses himself in-Bodily Desires, in-Longings after Consolation or Sweetness, nor in any other Gift-of God, nor in-Rest and Peace of the Heart. But he will forego all Gifts and every Consolation, if so be, that he may find Him, Whom he Loves. In this Way, he is Strong, who Abandons and Overcomes the Unrest-of the Heart and Earthly Things; and Doubly (x2) Strong is he, who also Foregoes and Overpasses every Consolation and Heavenly Gift. Thus a Man, Transcends all Creatures, and Possesses himself, Powerful and Free, through the Gift-of Spiritual Strength.
When, therefore, no Creature can either Overcome or Impede a Man, from Persisting-in his Single and Upward-striving Intention, and when through this Strength, he is Steadfast-in Praising God, Seeking and Meaning God above all His Gifts, then God bestows-upon him the Fifth Gift, which is the Gift-of Counsel. In this Gift, the Father Draws the Man 'Inwardly', and calls him to His Right Hand, with the Chosen, in His Unity. And the Son says in Ghostly Wise within him: Follow Me to My Father; One thing is Needful. And the Holy Ghost makes the Heart, Expand and Flame-up, in Fiery Love. And thence comes the Life-of Loving Tumult and 'Inward' Restlessness; for, in him who Listens-to this Counsel, there arises a Storm-of Love, and Nothing can Satisfy him, save God alone. And therefore, he Abandons himself and all-things, that he may find Him, in-Whom he Lives, and in-Whom all things are One (1). Here the Man should have God in-Mind, in a Simple Way, and should Master himself by-means-of the Reason, and should Renounce all self-Will, and should Await in Freedom, the Unity which he Desires, until the Day, when it is God's Pleasure to give it. Thus the Spirit-of Counsel, Works in-him, in Two (2) Ways; for that Man is Great, and Follows the Precept and Counsel-of God, who Abandons himself and all things, and says, with an Insatiable, Impetuous and Burning Love: Thy Kingdom come. But that Man is Greater still, and Follows still-better, the Counsel-of God, who Overcomes his own self-Will, and Renounces it in Love, and says unto God with Reverent Submission: Thy Will be done in all things, and not my Will. When Christ, our Dear Lord, approached His Passion, He said those very Words, unto His Father, in Humble Abnegation of Himself; and they were to Him the most-Happy, and to us the most-Wholesome, and to the Father the most-Lovable, and to the Devil the most-Terrible, Words which Christ ever spoke; for, by His Renunciation of self-Will according-to His Manhood, we are all Saved. In this Way, the Will-of God now becomes-to the Loving and Humble Man, the Highest Joy, and the Greatest Desire of his Ghostly Feelings; even though this Will should lead him to Hell, which is Impossible. And here, Nature is cast-down into the Depths, and God is Exalted most-Highly; and this-Man becomes capable-of Receiving all the Gifts-of God; for he has Denied himself, and has Renounced his own-Self, and has given all-for-all. And he therefore Asks-nothing, and Wills-nothing, but that which God Wishes to give him. That which God Wills, this is his Joy; and he who Surrenders himself to-God in-Love, is the most-Free of all Men Living. He Lives without Care, for God cannot Lose, that which is His.
Now Mark this: although God Knows all Hearts, yet such a Man is often Tempted and Tried of-Him, whether he is able to-Renounce himself in-Freedom; and by this, he may then become-Enlightened, and may Live-for the Glory-of God, and also for his own Salvation. And that is why God sometimes takes him from His Right Hand to His Left, from Heaven into Hell, from all Blessedness into Great Misery; so that it seems to him as though he were Forsaken and Despised-of God and of all Creatures (i.e. Aridity). If then, he has Formerly Renounced himself and his own-Will, in-Love and in-Joy, so that he sought not himself, but the Good Pleasure of God, he will easily Renounce himself also in Pains and Misery, so that in these too, he will seek not himself, but always the Glory-of God. He who is Willing to-Work Great Things, is Willing also to Suffer Great Things; but to-Bear and to-Suffer in-Resignation, is Nobler and more-Pleasing to-God, and more-Satisfying to our Spirit, than to Work Great Things in a 'Like'-Resignation, for it is more Contrary-to our Nature. And this is why our Spirit is more-Exalted, and our Nature more-Cast Down, by Grievous Suffering than by Great Works, done with Equal Love. When a Man maintains himself in this Resignation, without any other Preference, Right-as-One who neither Wills nor Knows anything else, then he Possesses the Spirit-of Counsel in Two (2) Ways; for he Satisfies the Will and the Counsel-of God, in his Working and his Suffering, by self-Surrender, and by Submissive Obedience. And his Nature is Adorned most-Gloriously; and he is capable-of being Enlightened.
And therefore, God gives him the Sixth Gift, which is the Spirit-of Understanding. This Gift, we have already likened-to a Fountain with Three (3) Rills, for it Establishes our Spirit in the Unity, it Reveals Truth and it brings-forth a Wide and General Love. This Gift may also be likened-to Sunshine, for by its Shining, the Sun fills-the-Air with a Simple Brightness, and Lights all Forms, and Shows the Distinctions-of all Colors. And thereby, it shows-forth its own-Power; and its Heat is Common-to the Whole World, bringing-forth Fruits and Useful Things. So likewise, does the First Ray of this Gift, bring-about Simplicity, within the Spirit. And this Simplicity is Penetrated-by a Particular Radiance, even-as the Air-of the Heavens, by the Splendor-of the Sun. For the Grace-of God, which is the Ground of all Gifts, Maintains itself Essentially like-to a Simple Light, in our Potential Understanding; and, by-means-of this Simple Light, our Spirit is made Stable, and One-fold, and Enlightened, and Fulfilled-of Grace and Divine Gifts; and here it is Like-unto God, through Grace and Divine Love. And since the Spirit is now, Like-unto God, and Means and Loves God alone, above all Gifts, it will no-longer be Satisfied-by Likeness, nor by a Created Brightness; for it has both by-Nature and above-Nature, a Primal Tendency towards the Abysmal Being from which it has Flowed-forth. And the Unity-of the Divine Being, Eternally Draws-back all Likeness, into its Unity. And here, the Spirit is Enkindled into-Fruition, and it melts-into God, as into-its-Eternal Rest; for the Grace-of God is to-God, even-as the Sunshine is to-the-Sun, and the Grace-of God is the Means and the Way, which Leads us to-God. And for this Reason, it Shines-within us in-Simplicity, and makes us Deiform, that is, Like-unto God. And this Likeness, Perpetually merges-itself in-God, and Dies in-God, and becomes One (1) with-God, and Remains One (1), for Charity makes us One (1) with-God, and causes us to Remain One (1) and to Dwell-in the One (1). Nevertheless, we keep the Eternal Likeness, in the Light of-Grace or of-Glory; thereby we Possess ourselves Actively in-Charity and in-the-Virtues. And we keep the Union with God, above our Activity, in the Nakedness-of our Spirit, in the Divine Light, where we-Possess God in-Rest, above all Virtues. For Charity, in the Likeness, must Ever be at-Work; and Union-with God in Fruitive Love, must ever be at-Rest. And this is the Working-of Love; for in One (1) "Now", and at the same-Time, Love Works and Rests in its Beloved. And the One is Strengthened-by the Other; for the Higher the Love, the Greater the Rest; and the Greater the Rest, the Deeper the Love; for the One lives-in the Other, and whosoever Loves-not, Rests-not, and Whosoever Rests-not, Loves-not. And yet, some Good Men think that they neither Love nor Rest in-God; and this Thought itself, comes from Love. Because they Desire to-Love more than they can, it seems to them, that their Love, Falls-short. And yet, in this Work, they Taste Love and Rest; for None, save the Resigned, Emptied and Enlightened Man, can Understand how One may Love in-Labor, and Rest in-Fruition. Yet every Lover, is One with-God in-Rest, and Like unto-God in the Works-of Love; for God in His Most High Nature, of which we Bear the Likeness, Dwells in-Fruition, in-Eternal Rest, according-to His Essential Unity, but Works-in Eternal Activity, according-to the Trinity; and the One is the Perfection-of the Other; for Rest Abides-in the Unity, and Work in the Trinity. And thus They dwell-together throughout Eternity. And, therefore, if a Man is to Taste of-God, he must Love, and if he will Love, then he may Taste. But if he lets himself be Satisfied-with other-things, he shall not be able to-Taste what God is. And therefore, we must Possess ourselves in-Simplicity, in-Virtue, and in-Likeness, and God above ourselves, through Love, in Rest and Unity. And this is the First Way, in which the Man, who is common-to all, is made Stable.
When the Air is fulfilled-with the Brightness-of the Sun, the Beauty and the Wealth of the Whole World are Revealed, and the Eyes-of Men become Enlightened, and Rejoice-in the Manifold Diversity-of Colors. And so it is, when we are One-fold, Within ourselves, and our Power-of Understanding is Enlightened and the Spirit-of Understanding, Shines-through it. Then we can become aware-of the High Attributes which are in God, and which are the Causes of all the Works which flow-forth, from Him. Although all Men may Understand the Works, and God, through His Works; yet no one can Truly Understand, neither in their Appearance nor in their Reality, the Attributes-of the Works of-God, as They are in Their Ground, save by-means-of this Gift. For this Teaches us, to-Seek-out and to-Recognize, our own Nobleness, and it gives us the Power-to Discern the Virtues, and all Practices, and the Way in-which we should Live without Error, in-accordance-with Eternal Truth; and he who is Enlightened-by it, can Dwell-in the Spirit, and can, with Enlightened Reason, Rightly Apprehend and Understand all things in-Heaven and on-Earth. And therefore, such-a-one Walks-in Heaven, and Beholds and Apprehends, with all Saints, the Nobility-of his Beloved, His Incomprehensible Height, His Abysmal Depth, Length and Breadth, Wisdom and Truth, His Bounty and His Unspeakable Generosity, and all those Love-worthy Attributes, which are in-God, our Lover, without-Number, and without-Limit, in His Most High Nature; for all this is He Himself. Then that Enlightened Man lowers his Eyes, and Beholds himself and all other Men and all Creatures, and Observes how God, in His Free Generosity, has Created them in Nature, and Endowed them in many-Ways, and how, above Nature, it is His Pleasure to-Endow them and to-Enrich them with Himself, if they will but Seek and Desire Him. All such Reasoning Observation of the Manifold Diversities of the Divine Riches, Rejoices our Spirit, if, through Divine Love, we have Died unto ourselves in God, and if we Live and Walk in the Spirit, and Taste-of the things which are Eternal. This Gift-of Understanding, shows us the Unity which we Possess-in God, through the Fruitive Immersion of Love, and also the Likeness-to God, which we have in ourselves, through Charity and the Works-of Virtue. And it gives to us Light and Brightness, in which we can Walk with Discernment, in the Ways-of the Spirit, and can Seek-out and Recognize God in Ghostly Similitudes, and also ourselves, and all things according-to the Mode and the Measure of that Light, and according-to the Will-of God, and the Greater Nobility of our Understanding. This is the Second Degree in which the Man, who is common to all, may be Enlightened.
According to the Measure in which the Air is Irradiated-by the Brightness-of the Sun, so too the Heat Increases and Brings all things to Fruitfulness. When our Reason and Understanding are so-Enlightened, that they can Recognize and Distinguish Divine Truth, then the Will, that is, the Power-of Love, grows-Hotter and Streams-forth in Abundant Loyalty and Love towards all Men, in common. For this Gift, through the Knowledge of Truth, which is Imparted-to us in its Light, Establishes in us a wide-stretching Love toward all, in common. Now the most-Simple, are also the most-Tranquil, and have the most-Peace in themselves; and are the most-Deeply Immersed in-God; and are most-Enlightened in Understanding, and most-Fruitful in Good Works, and in Out-flowing Love toward all, in-common. And they are Hindered least, for they are most like-unto God; for God is Simplicity in His Being, Clarity in His Understanding, and Out-flowing and Universal Love in His Works. And the more we are Like-unto God in these Three (3) things, so-much the more-closely, are we United-with Him. And for this Reason, we must remain Simple, in our Ground, and must Apprehend all things by-means-of Enlightened Reason, and must flow-forth through all things, in Universal Love. So likewise the Sun in the Heavens, though it Abides-in itself, Simple and Unchanged, sends-forth its Light and Heat to the Whole World, in-common.
Now Understand, how we should Live with Enlightened Reason, in Universal Love. The Father is the Origin of the Whole Godhead, according-to Essence and according-to Personality. We therefore should bow-down in Spirit, in Humble Awe, before the Sublimity-of the Father; and thereby we possess Humility, the Foundation-of all the Virtues. We should Fervently Adore, that is to say, we should Honor and Reverence, the Mightiness-of the Father, because He, in His Might, Creates and Preserves all-things Out-of-Nothing. And thereby we shall be Lifted-up in Ghostly Wise. We should Offer Praise and Thanks and Everlasting Service to the Faithfulness and Love-of God, Who has Freed us from the Fetters-of the Enemy and from Eternal Death; and thereby we shall be made Free. We should Present and Bewail, before the Wisdom-of God, the Blindness and Ignorance of Human Nature; and should Crave that all-Men may become Enlightened, and may Attain-to the Knowledge-of Truth; thus God shall be Known and Honored by them. We should Pray for the Mercy-of God upon Sinners, that thus they may be Converted, and may Grow in Virtue; thus God shall be Loved by them, with a Desirous Love. We should give-Generously to all those who have Need-of it, of the Rich Treasures of God, that therewith, they may all be-Filled, and may Flow-back towards God; and thus God shall be Possessed-by them all. We should Offer-to the Father, with Awe and Reverence, all the Service and all the Works which Christ, according-to His Manhood, Fulfilled in Love; thus all our Prayers shall be-heard. We should also Offer-to the Father, in Christ Jesus, all the Fervent Devotion of the Angels and the Saints and the Just; so we shall be United-with them all in the Glory-of God. We should also Offer-up to the Father, the Whole Service-of Holy Church, and the Holy Sacrifice of all the Priests, and all that we may Achieve and Think, in the Name-of Christ; that thereby we may go out to meet God through Christ, and may become Like-unto Him, in Universal Love, and may Transcend all Likeness in Simplicity, and may be United-with Him within the Essential Unity. We should ever-Abide in Oneness with God, and should Eternally Flow-forth with God and all His Saints in Universal Love, and continually Return with Thankfulness and Praise, and Immerse ourselves in Fruitive Love, in the Essential Rest. This is the Richest Life of which I know; and in it we Possess the Gift-of Understanding.
Now Understand this Well; when we turn-within ourselves, in Contemplation, the Fruitive Unity of God is like to a Darkness, a Somewhat, which is Unconditioned and Incomprehensible. And the Spirit turns 'Inward' through Love, and through Simplicity of Intention, because it is Active, in all Virtues, Offering itself up in Fruition above all Virtues. In this Loving Introversion, there Arises the Seventh Gift, which is the Spirit-of Savoring Wisdom; and it Saturates the Simplicity of our Spirit, Soul and Body, with-Wisdom and with-Ghostly Savors. And it is a Ghostly Touch or Stirring, within the Unity of our Spirit; and it is an in-pouring and a Source-of all-Grace, all-Gifts and all-Virtues. And, in this Touch of God, each Man Savors his Exercise and his Life according-to the Power-of the Touch and the Measure-of his Love. And this Divine Stirring, is the 'Inmost' Mediator between God and Ourselves, between Rest and Activity, between the Conditioned and the Unconditioned, between Eternity and Time. And God Works this Ghostly Touching within us, First of all, Before all Gifts; and yet it is Known and Tasted by us, Last of all. For only when we have Lovingly sought God, in all our Practices, even to the 'Inward' Deeps of our Ground, do we First feel the gushing-in of all the Graces and Gifts-of God; and we feel this Touch in the Unity-of our Highest Powers, above Reason, but not without-Reason, for we Understand in-Truth, that we are Touched. But if we would Know 'What' this is, and 'Whence' it Comes, then Reason and all Creaturely Observation Fail. For though the Air be Illuminated-by the Sunlight, and the Eyes be Sharp and Sound, if one would follow the Rays which bring the Brightness, and look at the Disc-of the Sun, the Eyes would Fail in their Activity, and would only Receive the Luster-of the Rays in a Passive Way. So likewise, the Reflection-of the Incomprehensible Light, in the Unity-of our Highest Power, is so-Intense, that all Creaturely Activity which Works in Distinction, must Fail. And here, our Activity must Passively Endure the Interior Working-of God, which is the Source-of all Divine Gifts. For could we Receive God Himself, into our Comprehension, He would give Himself to us without Intermediary; but this is Impossible to-us, because we are too-Narrow and too-Little to Comprehend God. And therefore, He Pours His Gifts into us, according-to the Measure-of our Comprehension, and the Worthiness-of our Practices. For the Fruitful Unity-of God, ever-Abides above the Unity-of our Powers, and ever-Demands of us, Likeness in-Love and in-Virtues. And that is why we are Touched, again-and-again, that we may, each-Time, be Renewed and become more-Like Him, in the Virtues. And, through these Renewed Touches, the Spirit falls-into Hunger and Thirst, and would Taste through-and-through, and Pass through-and-through, the Whole Abyss in a Storm-of Love, that thereby, it may be Satisfied. Hence, there comes an Eternal, Hungry Craving, and an Eternal Unsatisfied Desire. For all Loving Spirits, Desire and Strive-after God, each according-to its Nobleness, and the Measure in-which it has been Touched by God; yet God remains Eternally Incomprehensible, by-way-of our Active Desires, and therefore, there Abides-in us, together with all Saints, an Eternal Hunger, and an Eternal Desirous Introversion. And in the Meeting-with God, the Radiance and the Heat are so-Great and so-Limitless, that all Spirits must Fail in their Activity, and must Melt and Vanish-away in Sensible Love, in the Unity-of their Spirit. And here, they must Passively Endure, as Sheer Creatures, the Working-of God. And here, our Spirit, and Divine Grace, and all our Virtues, are One (1) Sensible Love without Activity; for our Spirit has Spent itself, and has itself become Love. And here, the Spirit is Simple and Susceptible-of all Gifts, and is Capable-of every Virtue. And, in this Ground-of Sensible Love, there dwells the Gushing Spring, that is, the in-Pouring or Inward Working-of God, which at every-Hour, Moves us, and Urges us, and Draws us Inward, and Causes us to Flow-forth into New Works-of Virtue. Thus I have shown to you the Ground and the Condition-of all the Virtues.
Now Understand this Well; that Measureless Splendor-of God, which together-with the Incomprehensible Brightness, is the Cause-of all-Gifts and of all-Virtues that same Uncomprehended Light, Transfigures the Fruitive Tendency of our Spirit, and Penetrates it in a way that is Wayless; that is, through the Uncomprehended Light. And in this Light, the Spirit Immerses itself in Fruitive Rest; for this Rest is Wayless and Fathomless, and one can Know of it, in no other way, than through itself that is, through Rest. For, could we Know and Comprehend it, it would Fall-into Mode and Measure; then it could not Satisfy us, but Rest would become an Eternal Restlessness. And for this Reason, the Simple, Loving and Immersed Tendency of our Spirit, Works within us a Fruitive Love; and this Fruitive Love is Abysmal. And the Abyss-of God, calls-to the Abyss; that is, of all those who are United-with the Spirit-of God, in Fruitive Love. This 'Inward' Call is an Inundation-of the Essential Brightness, and this Essential Brightness, Enfolding us in an Abysmal Love, Causes us to be Lost-to ourselves, and to flow-forth from ourselves, into the Wild Darkness of the Godhead. And, thus United without Means, and made One (1) with the Spirit-of God, we can meet-God, through-God, and Everlastingly Possess with-Him and in-Him, our Eternal Bliss.
This most 'Inward' Life, is Practiced in Three (3) Ways.
At times, the 'Inward' Man performs his Introspection Simply, according-to the Fruitive Tendency, above all-Activity and above all-Virtues, through a Simple Inward Gazing, in the Fruition-of Love. And here he meets God, without Intermediary. And from out the Divine Unity, there Shines-into him a Simple Light, and this Light shows him Darkness, and Nakedness, and Nothingness. In the Darkness, he is Enwrapped and Falls-into somewhat, which is in no-wise, even as one who has Lost his Way. In the Nakedness, he Loses the Perception and Discernment of all-things, and is Transfigured and Penetrated, by a Simple Light. In the Nothingness, all his Activity, Fails him, for he is Vanquished-by the Working-of God's Abysmal Love, and in the Fruitive Inclination-of his Spirit, he Vanquishes God, and becomes One (1) Spirit with him. And in this Oneness, with the Spirit-of God, he enters-into a Fruitive Tasting, and Possesses the Being-of God. And he is Filled, according-to the Measure, in which he has Sunk himself, in his Essential Being with the Abysmal Delights and Riches-of God. And from these Riches, an Envelopment and a Plenitude-of Sensible Love, flow-forth into the Unity-of the Higher Powers. And from this Plenitude-of Sensible Love, a Savory and Penetrating Satisfaction flows-forth into the Heart and the Bodily Powers. And through this in-flow, the Man becomes Immovable within, and Helpless as regards himself, and all his Works. And in the Deeps-of his Ground, he Knows and Feels nothing, in-Soul or in-Body, but a Singular Radiance, with a Sensible Well-being, and an all-Pervading Savor. This is the First Way, and it is the Way-of Emptiness; for it makes a Man Empty, of all-things, and Lifts him up above-Activity and above-all the Virtues. And it Unites the Man with God, and brings-about a Firm Perseverance, in the most Interior Practices, which he can Cultivate. When, however, any Restlessness, or Working-of the Virtues, puts Intermediaries, or Images, between the ''Inward' Man and the Naked Introversion, which he Desires, then he is Hindered-in this Exercise; for this Way, consists-in a going out, Beyond all things, into the Emptiness. This is the First (1st) Form, of the most 'Inward' Exercise.
At times, such an 'Inward' Man, turns-towards God with Ardent Desire and Activity; that he may Glorify and Honor Him, and Offer-up and Annihilate, in the Love-of God, his Self-hood and all that he is able to do. And here, he meets God, through an Intermediary. This Intermediary is the Gift-of Savoring Wisdom, the Ground and Origin of all Virtues; which Enkindles and Moves all Good Men, according-to the Measure-of their Love, and at times so greatly Stirs and Enkindles the 'Inward' Man through Love, that all the Gifts-of God, and all that God may give, except the Gift-of Himself, seem too-Little to him, and cannot Satisfy him, but rather Increase his Impatience. For he has an 'Inward' Perception or Feeling, in his Ground; where all the Virtues, Begin and End, where Love Dwells, and where, with Ardent Desire, he Offers-up all his Virtues, to God. And here the Hunger and Thirst of Love, become so-Great, that he Perpetually Surrenders himself, and gives-up his own Works, and Empties himself, and is Noughted in Love, for he is Hungry and Thirsty for the Taste-of God; and, at each Irradiation-of God, he is seized-by God, and more than ever before, is newly Touched by Love. Living, he Dies, and Dying, he Lives-again. And in this way, the Desirous Hunger and Thirst-of Love, are Renewed in him, every Hour.
This is the Second (2nd) Way, which is the Way-of Longing, in which Love dwells-in the Divine Likeness, and Longs and Craves to Unite itself with God. This Way is more Profitable and Honorable to us, than the First (1st), for it is the Source-of the First (1st); for none can enter-into the Rest, which is above all-Works, save the Man who has Loved Love, with-Desire and with-Activity. And this is why the Grace-of God, and our Active Love, must both go-Before and follow-After; that is to say, they must be Practiced both, Before and After. For without Acts-of Love, we cannot Merit anything, neither Achieve God, nor Keep the Possession-of that, which we have Acquired-through the Works-of Love. And for this Reason, no one who has Power over himself, and can Practice Love, should be Idle. When, however, a Good Man lingers-in any Gift-of God, or any Creature, he will be Hindered-in this most 'Inward' Exercise; for this Exercise is a Hunger which nothing can Still, save God alone.
From these Two (2) Ways, the Third (3rd) Way arises; and this is an 'Inward' Life according-to Justice. Now Understand this: God comes to us without-Ceasing, both with-Means and without-Means, and Demands-of us both Action and Fruition, in such a Way, that the One never Impedes, but always Strengthens, the Other. And therefore, the most 'Inward' Man, Lives his Life, in these Two (2) Ways: namely, in-Work and in-Rest. And in each, he is Whole and Undivided; for he is Wholly-in God, because he Rests in-Fruition, and he is Wholly in himself, because he Loves in-Activity: and he is Perpetually Called and Urged-by God to Renew both the Rest and the Work. And the Justice of the Spirit desires-to Pay, every Hour, that which is Demanded-of it by God. And therefore, at each Irradiation-of God, the Spirit turns 'Inward', in-Action and in-Fruition; and thus it is Renewed in every Virtue, and is more-Deeply Immersed-in Fruitive Rest. For God gives, in One (1) Gift, Himself and His Gifts; and the Spirit gives, at each-Introversion, itself and all its Works. For by-means-of the Simple Irradiation-of God and the Fruitive Tendency and Melting Away of Love, the Spirit has been United-with God, and is Incessantly Transported into Rest. And through the Gifts-of Understanding and Savoring Wisdom, it is Touched in an Active Way, and Perpetually Enlightened and Enkindled in-Love. And there is Shown and Presented to it, in the Spirit, all that one may Desire. It is Hungry and Thirsty, for it Beholds the Food-of the Angels and the Heavenly Drink. It Works Diligently in-Love, for it Beholds its Rest. It is a Pilgrim; and it sees its Country. In Love, it Strives-for Victory; for it sees its Crown. Consolation, Peace, Joy, Beauty and Riches, and all that can Delight it, are shown without-Measure, in Ghostly Images, to the Reason which is Enlightened-in God. And through this Showing and the Touch-of God, Love remains Active. For this Just Man has established a True Life in-the Spirit, in-Rest and in-Work, which shall Endure Eternally; but, after this Life, it shall be changed-into a Higher State. Thus the Man is Just; and he goes towards God with Fervent Love, in Eternal Activity; and he goes in God with Fruitive Inclination in Eternal Rest. And he Dwells-in God, and yet goes forth towards all Creatures in-Universal Love, in-Virtue, and in-Justice. And this is the Supreme Summit of the 'Inward' Life. All those Men who do not-Possess, both Rest and Work in One and the Same Exercise, have not-yet Attained this Justice. This Just Man cannot be Hindered-in his Introversion, for he turns-'Inward', both in-Fruition and in-Work; but he is like-to a Double Mirror, which Receives Images on both-Sides. For, in his Higher Part, the Man receives God with all His Gifts; and, in his Lower Part, he receives Bodily Images through the Senses. Now he can enter-into himself at-Will, and can Practice Justice without Hindrance. But Man is Unstable in this Life, and that is why he often turns 'Outwards', and Works-in the Senses, without-Need and without-the Command-of the Enlightened Reason; and thus he Falls-into Venial Sins. But in the Loving Introversion, of the Just Man, all Venial Sins are like-to Drops-of Water, in a Glowing Furnace.
And with this, I leave the 'Inward' Life.
Now some Men, who seem to be Righteous, yet Live contrary-to these Three (3) Ways, and to every Virtue. Let every one Observe and Prove himself! Every Man, who is not Drawn, and Enlightened-of God, is not Touched by Love, and has neither the Active Cleaving with-Desire, nor the Simple and Loving Tendency to Fruitive Rest. And therefore, such a One cannot Unite himself with-God; for all those who Live without-Supernatural Love, are Inclined-towards themselves, and Seek their Rest in 'Outward' Things. For all Creatures, by their Nature, tend towards Rest; and therefore, Rest is sought, both by the Good and by the Evil, in Diverse Ways.
Now Mark this: when a Man is Bare and Imageless in his Senses, and Empty and Idle in his Higher Powers, he enters into Rest, through mere-Nature; and this Rest may be Found and Possessed within themselves in mere-Nature, by all Creatures, without the Grace-of God, whenever they can Strip themselves of Images and of all Activity. But in this, the Loving Man cannot find his Rest, for Charity and the 'Inward' Touch of God's Grace, will not be still; and so the 'Inward' Man cannot Long-remain in Natural Rest, within himself.
But now, Mark the Way in which this Natural Rest is Practiced. It is a Sitting Still, without either 'Outward' or 'Inward' Acts, in Vacancy, in order that Rest may be Found, and may Remain Untroubled. But a Rest, which is Practiced in this way, is Unlawful; for it brings with it, in Men, a Blindness and Ignorance, and a Sinking-down into themselves, without Activity. Such a Rest is nought-else than an Idleness, into which the Man has Fallen, and in which he Forgets himself, and God, and All-things, in all that has to do with Activity. This Rest is Wholly Contrary-to the Supernatural Rest, which one Possesses in-God; for that is a Loving Self-mergence, Joined-to a Simple Gazing-into the Incomprehensible Brightness. This Rest, in God, which is Actively sought, with 'Inward' Longing, and is found in Fruitive Inclination, and is Eternally Possessed, in the Self-mergence of Love, and which, when Possessed, is Sought none-the-less; this Rest is Exalted-above the Rest of mere-Nature, as-greatly-as God is Exalted above all Creatures. And that is why all those Men are Deceived, who have Self in-Mind, and Sink-down in the Natural Rest, and neither Seek God in-Desire, nor find Him in Fruitive Love; for the Rest which they find, consists-in their own-Idleness, to which they are Inclined, by-Nature and by-Habit. And in this Natural Rest, One cannot find God, but it certainly Leads a Man into a Bare Vacancy, which may be found by Pagans and Jews and all Men, how Wicked soever they may be, if they can Live-in their Sins without the Reproach-of their Conscience, and can Empty themselves of every-Image, and of all-Activity. In this Bare Vacancy, the Rest is Pleasant and Great. This Rest, is in itself, no Sin; for it Exists-in all Men by Nature, whenever they make themselves Empty. But, when a Man wishes-to Practice and Possess it without Acts of Virtue, he Falls-into Spiritual Pride and a Self-Complacency, from which he seldom Recovers. And he sometimes Fancies himself to-have and to-be, that to which he shall never Attain. When a Man, thus Possesses this Rest in False Quietude, and all Loving Adherence seems a Hindrance to him, he clings-to himself in his Rest, and Lives Contrary-to the First Way in which Man is United with God: and this is the Beginning-of all Ghostly Error.
Now consider a Similitude of this: the Angels who turned 'Inward' towards God, in Love and Fruition, with all that they had Received from Him, found Beatitude and Eternal Rest; but those who turned towards-themselves, and sought Rest in-themselves, with self-Complacency in the Natural Light, their Rest was Short and was Unlawful. And they were Blinded, and there was a Wall-of-Separation between them and the External Light, and they Fell into Darkness and Eternal Restlessness. This is the First (1st) Contrary Way; which One Possesses, by Resting-in False Quietude.
Now Mark this: when a Man wishes to Possess 'Inward' Rest in Idleness, without 'Inward' and Desirous-Cleaving to-God, then he is Ready-for all Errors; for he is Turned away-from God, and Inclined-towards himself, in Natural Love, Seeking and Desiring Consolation, and Sweetness, and everything that Pleases him. And such a Man is Like-to a Merchant, for in all his Activity, he is Turned only towards-himself, and Seeks and Means his own Rest and his own Profit, more-than the Glory-of God. A Man, who thus Lives, in mere-Natural Love, always Possesses himself in Self-Love, without Self-Renunciation. Such Men often lead a Hard Life, with Great Works of Penitence, that they may become Known and Renowned for their Great Sanctity, and also, that they may Merit a Great Reward; for all Natural Love is favorably-disposed to itself, and likes-to Receive Great Honors in-Time, and a Great Reward in-Eternity. And these Men have many Special Desires, and Pray and Beseech God for many Particular Things. And thus they are often Deceived; for sometimes, through the Work-of the Devil, those things which they Desire, happen-to them, and then they Ascribe this to their Sanctity, and hold themselves Worthy-of them all; for such People are Proud, and neither Touched nor Enlightened by God. And therefore they Dwell within themselves, and a small-Consolation may Greatly Rejoice them, for they know not what they Lack. And they are Wholly Attached, in their Desire, to 'Inward' Savors, and the Spiritual Refreshment of their Nature. And this is called Spiritual Lust; for it is an Inordinate Attachment in Natural Love, which is always Directed-towards itself, and Seeks its own-Profit in all-things.
Such Men are always Spiritually Proud and Self-Willed; and this is why their Desires and Lusts are sometimes so-Vehemently set upon the things which they Desire, and Willfully Strive-to Acquire-from God, so that they are often Deceived, and some of them, also become Possessed-by the Devil. All these Men Live contrary-to Charity, and to the Loving Introversion, in which a Man Offers himself up, with all that he can Achieve, for the Honor and Love-of God; and in-which Nothing can give him Rest or Satisfaction, but a Single (1) Incomprehensible Good, which is God alone. For Charity is a Bond-of Love, in which we are Drawn-up to-God, and through-which we Renounce ourselves, and whereby, we are United-with God, and God is United-with us. But, Natural Love turns-back towards itself, and towards its own Profit, and ever Abides-alone. Nevertheless, in its 'Outward' Works, Natural Love is as like-unto Charity, as Two (2) Hairs from the same Head; but the Intentions are different. For the Good Man always Seeks and Means and Desires, with an Aspiring Heart, to Glorify God; but in Natural Love, a Man has always himself, and his own Profit, in Mind. Therefore, when Natural Love Opposes and Conquers True Charity, the Man falls-into Four (4) Sins; namely, Spiritual Pride, Avarice, Gluttony, and Lust. And in this way, Adam Fell in Paradise, and all Human Nature with him, for he Loved himself Inordinately, with Natural Love, and so he Turned-away from God, and Scorned, in his Pride, the Commandment-of God. And he Desired Knowledge and Wisdom in his Avarice; and he sought Pleasant Tastes and Satisfactions in Gluttony; and after that he was moved-by Lust.
But Mary was a Living Paradise. She Found the Grace, which Adam Lost, and much-more besides, for she is the Mother of Love. She Turned, in Active Charity towards God, and conceived Christ in Humility. And she offered Him up to the Father, with all His Sufferings in Generosity; and she never Tasted of Consolation, nor of any Gift, in Gluttony; and her Whole Life was in Purity. Whosoever follows her shall Conquer all that is contrary-to the Virtues, and shall enter into the Kingdom, where she Reigns with her Son in Eternity.
So, when a Man possesses the 'Natural Rest in Bare Vacancy', whilst in all his Works, he has himself in Mind, and he continues, Obstinately Disobedient in his self-Will, he cannot be United-with God; for he Lives without Charity, in Unlikeness to God. And here begins the Third (3rd) Contrary Way, which is the most Noxious of all; and this is an Unrighteous Life, full-of Ghostly Error and of all Perversity.
Now Mark Well what follows, lest you should not Understand it Well. All these Men are, in their own Opinion, God-seeing Men, and Believe themselves the Holiest-of all Men Living. Yet, they Live Contrary and Unlike-to God and all Saints and all Good Men. Observe the following Marks: thus you will be able to Recognize them, both by their Words, and their Works. By-means-of the Natural Rest, which they Feel and Possess in themselves, in Bare Vacancy, they Believe themselves to be Free, and to be United-with God, without-Means, and to be Above-all the Customs-of Holy Church, and Above-the Commandments-of God, and Above-the Law, and Above-every Work-of Virtue, which can in any Way be done. For they think their Idleness to be so-Great a thing, that it may not be Troubled-by any Work, how Good so-ever it be; for this Idleness is Nobler-than any Virtue. And therefore they Maintain themselves in Pure Passivity, without any Activity towards-Above or towards-Below; like a Loom, which does not Work of itself, but awaits its Master, and the Time when he wishes to Work. For they deem that if they Worked themselves, God would be Hindered-in His Work. And therefore they are Empty-of every Virtue; and indeed, so-Empty, that they will neither Praise nor Thank God. They have no-Knowledge and no-Love, no-Will, no-Prayer, no-Desire; for they Believe that all that they could Pray-for, and Desire, is already Possessed-of them. And so they are Poor-of Spirit, for they are without-Will, and have Forsaken everything, and Live without any Personal Preferences: and thus it seems to them that they are Empty, and have Overcome-everything, and have in their Possession, all those things for which the Customs-of Holy Church have been Instituted and Ordained. And so, they say, no-One, not even God, can give them anything, or can take-away anything from them; for they have, in their own Opinion, Transcended all-Customs and all-Virtues, and have entered-into the Pure Emptiness, and are Released-from every Virtue. And this Release-from all Virtues in Emptiness needs, they say, more-Labor than the Acquisition-of the Virtues. And therefore they would be Free, and Obedient to-None; neither Pope, nor Bishop, nor Parson. Even though 'Outwardly', they seem to be so, 'Inwardly' they are Submissive-to None, neither in-Will nor in-Works; for they are in every-respect, Empty-of all that Holy Church Practices. And therefore they say, as-long-as a Man strives-after Virtue, and Desires-to Fulfill the Good Pleasure of God, he is still Imperfect; for he is still Amassing Virtues, and knows not this Spiritual Poverty and Emptiness. But they are themselves, in their own Opinion, Lifted-up above all the Choirs-of Saints and Angels, and above every Reward which one can, in any-way, Merit. And therefore, they say that their Virtues can nevermore Increase, nor can they themselves Deserve a Greater Reward, nor Commit any Sin any more; for, they say, they Live without Will, and have Surrendered their Spirit to-God, in Rest and Bareness, and are One (1) with-God, and in themselves, have become Nothing. And therefore they can do, without Hindrance, all that the Bodily Nature desires, for they have Attained-to the State-of Innocence, and no Law has Sway, over them. When therefore, it happens that their Emptiness-of Spirit is Troubled or Hindered by any Natural Lust, they yield to Nature, that their Emptiness-of Spirit may Remain Untroubled. And that is why they do not keep Lent or Ember-days, or any other Commandment, save when they do it for the Sake-of their Neighbors; for they Live without Conscience, in all things. I Hope that of such Folk, not many are to be Found; but those who are like them, are the most-Wicked and Vile of all Men Living. And they are sometimes Possessed-of the Fiend; and then they are so-Cunning, that one cannot Vanquish them on the Grounds-of Reason. But through Holy Scripture, and the Teaching-of Christ and our Faith, we may Prove that they are Deceived.
Now, we find yet Another Kind of Perverted Men, who are in some-Points, different-from those already described; though they too, Believe themselves to be Exempted-from all Works, and to be Instruments, with which God Works what He Wills. And therefore they say that they are in a Purely Passive State, without Activity; and that the Works which God Works through them, are Noble and Meritorious beyond-anything that Another Man, Working his Works himself, by the Grace-of God, could do. And therefore they say that they are God-Passive Men, and that they do Nothing of-themselves, but that God Works, all their Works. And they say they can do no-Sin: for it is God, Who does all their Works, and in-themselves, they are Empty-of all things. And all that God Wills, is worked-through them, and nothing else. These Men have Surrendered themselves to 'Inward' Passivity, in their Emptiness; and Live without-Preference, for any One thing. And they have a Resigned and Humble Appearance, and can very-well Endure and Suffer with Equanimity, all that Befalls them; for they hold themselves to be the Instruments, with-which God Works, according-to His Will. Such Men, in many of their Ways and Works, are like in their Conduct, to Good Men, but in some things, they differ-from them; for all things to which they are 'Inwardly' Urged, whether these be Virtuous or not, they Believe to Proceed-from the Holy Ghost. And in-this and in-such-like things, they are Deceived; for the Spirit-of God neither Wills, Counsels, nor Works, in any Man, things which are Contrary-to the Teaching-of Christ and Holy Christianity.
Such Folk are hard-to Recognize, save by the Man who is Enlightened, and has Received the Power-of Discerning Spirits and Divine Truth; for many amongst them are Cunning-in 'Outward' Things, and Know-well how to Cloak and make-Fair their Perversity. And they are so self-Willed, and hold so-fast to their own Peculiar Ideas, that they would sooner-Die, than Abandon One Point of the Thing they have Laid-hold on; for they hold-themselves the Holiest and most-Enlightened of all Men Living.
These Men differ-from the First Kind, in this, that they say that they can Grow and Acquire Merit: whereas the Others hold that they cannot Merit, anything-more, for they Possess themselves in-Unity and Emptiness, wherefrom One cannot Rise Higher, because here, there is no-more Activity. These are all Perverted Men, and are the most-Wicked-of the Living; and they are to be Abhorred, as-if they were the Fiend in Hell. But, if you have Well Understood that Teaching which I have given you, heretofore in Various Ways, you will Perceive that these Men are Deceived. For they live Contrary-to God, and Righteousness, and all Saints; and they are all Precursors-of the Antichrist, preparing his Way in every Unbelief. For they would be Free, without the Commandments-of God, and without Virtues; and Empty, and United-with God, without Love and Charity. And they would be God-seeing Men, without Loving and Steadfast Contemplation, and the Holiest-of all Men Living, without the Works-of Holiness. And they say that they Rest in Him, Whom they do not Love; and are Uplifted-into That, which they neither Will nor Desire. And they say that they are Stripped-of every Virtue, and of Diligent Devotion to God, lest they should Hinder God in His Working. They Confess, indeed, that God is the Creator and Lord over all Creatures, and yet they will neither Thank nor Praise Him. They Confess that His Power and His Riches are without-End, and yet they say that He can neither Give nor Take from them anything, neither can they Grow nor Acquire Merit.
And sometimes too, they Uphold the Opposite, and say that they Merit a Greater Wage than other Men; for God does their Works, and they themselves Endure Passively the Workings-of God, without Co-operation, since these are Worked of-Him. And in this, they say, lies the Supreme Merit. But this is altogether Illusion and Impossibility. For the Activity-of God is in itself, Eternal and Unchangeable; for He is His own Activity and Nought else. And in this Working, there can be no Growth, nor Merit of any Creature whatsoever; for here, there is Nothing but God, Who can neither Wax nor Wane. But the Creatures, by Virtue-of God, have their own Activity, in-Nature and in-Grace, and also in-Glory: and if their Works end-in Grace here, they shall Continue-in Glory, Forever. Now were it Possible, which it is not, that a Spiritual Creature could be Annihilated as-regards its Activity, and thereby became even as Empty as it was, when it was not Made that is, that it could become Wholly One (1) with God, as it was then it could Acquire no Merit, no more than it could before Creation. Further, it would be neither Holier nor more-Blessed than a Stone or a Log of Wood; for without our own-Work and the Knowledge and Love-of God, we cannot be Blessed. Though God would indeed be Blessed, as He is Eternally, yet it would not Avail us. And therefore, that which these say of their Emptiness, is all Deceit; for they Wish-to Excuse all Wickedness and Perversity, and give these out as Nobler and more-Sublime, than all the Virtues. And they would Cunningly Disguise the Worst, so that it should seem the Best. All these are contrary-to God and all His Saints; but they have a Likeness-to the Damned Spirits in Hell, for these too are without-Charity and without-Knowledge, and are Empty-of Thanksgivings and Praise, and of all Loving Adherence; and this is the cause, why they remain Damned in Eternity. And that these Folk may be like to them, they lack only this, that they should Fall-from Time, into Eternity, and that the Justice of God be Revealed-in their Works.
But Christ, the Son of God, Who according-to His Manhood is the Pattern and the Head of all Good Men, showing them how-to Live, He Was and Is and Everlastingly shall Abide-with all His Members, that is, with all His Saints, in Love and Longing, Thankfulness and Praise, toward His Heavenly Father. Nevertheless, His Soul was and is United-with the Divine Essence and Blessed therein. But to this Bare Idleness, He never could, nor ever shall, Come; for His Glorified Soul, and all who are Blessed, have an Eternal Loving Striving, even as those who have Tasted-of God, and are Hungry and Thirsty, and can nevermore be Satisfied. Yet that very Soul of Christ, and all Saints, Partake-of God above all Desires, where there is Nothing but the One. This is the Eternal Bliss of God and of all His Chosen. And that is why Fruition and Activity are the Blessedness of Christ and all His Saints; and this is the Life-of all Good Men, each according-to the Measure-of his Love. And this is a Righteousness that shall never Pass-away. And that is why we should Adorn ourselves, from-Without and from-Within, with-Virtues and with-Goodly Behavior, as do the Saints; and should Lovingly and Humbly Exercise ourselves before the Eyes-of God, in all our Works. Then we shall meet God by-means-of all His Gifts. And then we shall be Touched by Sensible Love, and shall be Filled-with Loyalty towards all. And so we shall flow-forth and flow-back again in True Charity, and shall be Firmly Established and Steadfast within ourselves, in Simple Peace and in the Divine Likeness. And by-means-of this Likeness and Fruitive Love and the Divine Brightness, we shall be Melted-into the Unity, and shall meet God, through God, without-Means, in Fruitive Rest. And so we shall Eternally Remain within, and yet Continually flow-forth, and Incessantly flow-back again. And herewith we shall Possess a Veritable 'Inward' Life, in all Perfection, that this may Come-to-Pass in us, so Help us God.
The 'Inward' Lover-of God, who possesses God in Fruitive Love, and himself in Adhering and Active Love, and his Whole Life in Virtues, according-to Righteousness; through these Three (3) things, and by the Mysterious Revelation of God, such an 'Inward' Man enters-into the God-seeing Life. Yea, the Lover who is 'Inward' and Righteous, him will it please God, in His Freedom, to Choose and to Lift-up into a Superessential Contemplation, in the Divine Light and according-to the Divine Way. This Contemplation sets us in Purity and Clearness, above all our Understanding, for it is a Singular Adornment and a Heavenly Crown, and besides the Eternal Reward of all Virtues, and of our Whole Life. And to it, None can Attain-through Knowledge and Subtlety, neither through any Exercise whatsoever. Only he with whom it Pleases God to be United-in His Spirit, and whom it Pleases Him to Enlighten-by Himself, can see God, and no-one else. The Mysterious Divine Nature is Eternally and Actively Beholding and Loving, according-to the Persons, and has Everlasting Fruition in a Mutual Embrace of the Persons in the Unity-of the Essence. In this Embrace, in the Essential Unity of God, all 'Inward' Spirits are One with God, in the Immersion-of Love; and are that same-One which the Essence is in Itself, according to the Mode-of Eternal Bliss. And in this most-High Unity of the Divine Nature, the Heavenly Father is Origin and Beginning of every Work, which is Worked in-Heaven and on-Earth. And He says in the Deep Sunken Hiddenness of the Spirit: Behold, the Bride Groom Cometh; go ye out to meet Him.
These Words, we will now Explain and Set-forth in their Relation-to that SuperEssential Contemplation which is the Source-of all Holiness, and of all Perfection-of Life to which one may attain. Few Men can Attain-to this Divine Seeing, because of their own Incapacity and the Mysteriousness of the Light, in-which one Sees. And therefore, no one will Thoroughly Understand the Meaning-of it, by any Learning or Subtle Consideration-of his own; for all Words, and all that may be Learnt and Understood in a Creaturely Way, are Foreign to, and far-below, the Truth which I mean. But he who is United-with God, and is Enlightened in this Truth, he is able to Understand the Truth by itself. For to-Comprehend and to-Understand God, above all Similitudes, such as He is in Himself, is to be-God with-God, without Intermediary, and without any Otherness, that can become a Hindrance or an Intermediary. And therefore, I beg every one who cannot Understand this, or Feel it in the Fruitive Unity of his Spirit, that he be not Offended at it, and leave it for that which it is; for that which I am going to say, is True, and Christ, the Eternal Truth, has said it Himself in His Teaching in many-places, if we could but Show and Explain it Rightly. And therefore, whosoever Wishes to Understand this, must have Died-to himself, and must Live-in God, and must turn his Gaze to the Eternal Light in the Ground-of his Spirit, where the Hidden Truth reveals Itself without-Means. For our Heavenly Father Wills that we should see; for He is the Father-of Light, and this is why He utters Eternally, without-Intermediary and without-Interruption, in the Hiddenness-of our Spirit, One (1) Unique and Abysmal Word, and no other. And in this Word, He utters Himself and all things. And this Word is none other than: Behold. And this is the Coming-Forth and the Birth of the Son of Eternal Light, in Whom all Blessedness is Known and Seen.
Now if the Spirit would see-God with-God, in this Divine Light, without-Means, there Needs must-be, on the part-of Man, Three (3) things.
The First (1st) is that he must be Perfectly Ordered from-Without, in all the Virtues, and Within must be Unencumbered, and as Empty-of every 'Outward' Work as if he did not-Work at all: for if his Emptiness is Troubled Within, by some Work-of Virtue, he has an Image; and as-long-as this Endures within him, he cannot Contemplate.
Secondly (2nd), he must 'Inwardly' Cleave-to God, with Adhering Intention and Love, even as a Burning and Glowing Fire, which can never-more be Quenched. As-long-as he Feels himself to be in this State, he is able to Contemplate.
Thirdly (3rd), he must have Lost himself in a Waylessness, and in a Darkness, in which all Contemplative Men wander-in Fruition, and wherein they never-again can Find themselves in a Creaturely Way. In the Abyss-of this Darkness, in which the Loving Spirit has Died to-itself, there begin the Manifestation-of God and Eternal Life. For in this Darkness, there Shines and is Born, an Incomprehensible Light, which is the Son-of God, in Whom we behold Eternal Life. And in this Light, One becomes Seeing; and this Divine Light is given-to the Simple Sight of the Spirit, where the Spirit receives the Brightness which is God Himself, above all Gifts and every Creaturely Activity, in the Idle Emptiness in-which the Spirit has Lost itself through Fruitive Love, and where it receives without-Means the Brightness-of God, and is Changed, without-Interruption, into that Brightness which it receives. Behold, this Mysterious Brightness, in which one sees Everything that one can Desire, according-to the Emptiness-of the Spirit: this Brightness is so-Great, that the Loving Contemplative, in his Ground, wherein he Rests, Sees and Feels nothing-but an Incomprehensible Light; and through that Simple Nudity which Enfolds all things, he Finds himself, and Feels himself, to be that same-Light by which he Sees, and Nothing else. And this is the First Condition by which One becomes Seeing, in the Divine Light. Blessed are the Eyes, which are thus Seeing, for they possess Eternal Life.
When we have thus become Seeing, we can Behold in Joy, the Eternal Coming of our Bridegroom; and that is the Second Point of which we would speak. What is this Coming of our Bridegroom, which is Eternal? It is the New Birth, and a New Enlightenment, without Interruption; for the Ground from which the Light shines-forth, and which is the Light itself, is Life-giving and Fruitful, and therefore the Manifestation-of the Eternal Light is Renewed without Ceasing, in the Hiddenness-of the Spirit. Behold, every Creaturely Work, and every Exercise-of Virtue, must here Cease; for here, God Works alone, in the High Nobility-of the Spirit. And here there is nothing, but an Eternal Seeing and Staring at-that Light, by-that Light, and in-that Light. And the Coming of the Bridegroom is so-Swift, that He is Perpetually Coming, and yet Dwelling-within, with Unfathomable Riches; and ever Coming anew, in His Person, without Interruption, with such New Brightness, that it seems as though he had never Come before. For His Coming consists, beyond Time, in an Eternal Now, which is ever-Received, with new-Longings and new-Joy. Behold, the Delight and the Joy, which this Bridegroom brings with Him, in His Coming, are Boundless and without-Measure, for they are Himself. And this is why the Eyes with-which the Spirit, Sees and Gazes-at its Bridegroom, have Opened so-wide, that they can never Close-again. For the Spirit continues Forever, to-See and to-Stare at the Secret Manifestation of God. And the Grasp-of the Spirit is Opened so-Wide, for the Coming in of the Bridegroom, that the Spirit itself becomes that Breadth Which it grasps. And so God is Grasped and Beheld. through-God; wherein Rests all our Blessedness. This is the Second Point: in which we receive, without Interruption, the Eternal Coming of our Bridegroom in our Spirit.
Now the Spirit of God says in the Secret Outpouring-of our Spirit: Go ye out, in an Eternal Contemplation and Fruition, according-to the Way-of God. All the Riches which are in God by Nature, we Possess by-way-of Love-in-God, and God in us, through the Unmeasured Love, which is the Holy Ghost, for in this Love, One Tastes-of all that One can Desire. And therefore, through this Love, we are Dead-to ourselves, and have gone-forth in Loving Immersion into Waylessness and Darkness. There the Spirit is Embraced-by the Holy Trinity, and Dwells Forever within the Superessential Unity, in Rest and Fruition. And in that same Unity, according-to Its Fruitfulness, the Father dwells-in the Son, and the Son, in the Father, and all Creatures dwell-in Both. And this is above the Distinction-of the Persons; for here, by-means-of the Reason, we Understand Fatherhood and Sonhood as the Life-giving Fruitfulness of the Divine Nature.
Here there Arise and Begin an Eternal Going out, and an Eternal Work, which is without Beginning; for here there is a Beginning, with Beginning. For, after the Almighty Father had Perfectly Comprehended Himself in the Ground of His Fruitfulness, so the Son, the Eternal Word of the Father, came-forth as the Second Person in the Godhead. And, through the Eternal Birth, all Creatures have come-forth in Eternity, before they were Created in-Time. So God has Seen and Known them in Himself, according-to Distinction, in Living Ideas, and in an Otherness from Himself; but not as something-other, in all Ways, for all that is in-God, is-God. This Eternal Going out, and this Eternal Life, which we Have and Are, in-God Eternally, without ourselves, is the Cause of our Created Being in-Time. And our Created Being, Abides-in the Eternal Essence, and is One (1) with it in its Essential Existence. And this Eternal Life and Being, which we Have and Are in the Eternal Wisdom of God, is like-unto God. For it has an Eternal Immanence in the Divine Essence, without Distinction; and through the Birth-of the Son, it has an Eternal Outflowing in a Distinction and Otherness, according-to the Eternal Idea. And through these Two (2) Points, it is so like unto God, that He Knows and Reflects Himself in this Likeness without Cessation, according-to the Essence and according-to the Persons. For, though even here, there are Distinction and Otherness, according-to Intellectual Perception, yet this Likeness is One (1) with that same Image of the Holy Trinity, which is the Wisdom-of God, and in which God Beholds Himself, and all things in an Eternal Now, without before-and-after. In a Single Seeing, He Beholds Himself, and all things. And this is the Image and the Likeness-of God, and our Image and our Likeness; for in it, God Reflects Himself and all things. In this Divine Image, all Creatures have an Eternal Life, Outside themselves, as in their Eternal Archetype, and after this Eternal Image, and in this Likeness, we have been made-by the Holy Trinity. And therefore God Wills that we shall Go-forth from ourselves in this Divine Light, and shall Reunite ourselves in a Supernatural Way, with this Image, which is our Proper Life, and shall Possess-it with Him, in-Action and in-Fruition, in-Eternal Bliss.
For we Know-well, that the Bosom-of the Father is our Ground and Origin, in which we begin our-Being and our-Life. And from our proper-Ground, that is from the Father, and from all that Lives-in Him, there Shines-forth an Eternal Brightness, which is the Birth-of the Son. And in this Brightness, that is, in the Son, the Father Knows Himself, and all that Lives-in Him; for all that He has, and all that He is, He gives-to the Son, save only the Property-of Fatherhood, which Abides-in Himself. And this is why all that Lives-in the Father, Unmanifested-in the Unity, is also in the Son, Actively Poured-forth into Manifestation: and the simple Ground of our Eternal Image, ever remains in-Darkness and in-Waylessness, but the Brightness without-Limit, which streams-forth from it, this Reveals and Brings-forth within the Conditioned, the Hiddenness-of God. And all those Men, who are Raised-up above their Created Being, into a God-seeing Life, are One (1) with this Divine Brightness. And they are that Brightness itself, and they See, Feel, and Find, even by-means-of this Divine Light, that, as regards their Uncreated Essence, they are that same Onefold Ground, from which the Brightness without-Limit, Shines-forth in the Divine Way, and which, according-to the Simplicity-of the Essence, Abides Eternally Onefold and Wayless within. And this is why 'Inward' and God-seeing Men, will Go out in the Way-of Contemplation, above-Reason and above-Distinction, and above their Created Being, through an Eternal Intuitive Gazing. By-means-of this Inborn Light they are Transfigured, and made One (1) with that same-Light, through-which they See, and which they See. And thus the God-seeing Men, follow-after their Eternal Image, after-which they have been Made; and they Behold God and all things, without Distinction, in a simple-Seeing, in the Divine Brightness. And this is the most-Noble and the most-Profitable Contemplation to which one can Attain, in this Life; for in this Contemplation, a Man best remains Master-of himself, and Free. And at each Loving Introversion, he may grow-in Nobility-of Life, beyond anything that we are Able-to Understand; for he remains Free and Master-of himself in 'Inwardness' and Virtue. And this Gazing-at the Divine Light, holds him up above all-'Inwardness' and all-Virtue and all-Merit, for it is the Crown and the Reward after which we Strive, and which we Have and Possess now, in this wise; for a God-seeing Life is a Heavenly Life. But were we set-Free from this Misery and this Exile, so we should have, as regards our Created Being, a greater Capacity to-receive this Brightness; and so the Glory-of God would Shine-through us in every-Way, Better and more-Nobly. This is the Way, above all Ways, in which One Goes out through Divine Contemplation, and an Eternal Intuitive Gazing, and in-which One is Transfigured and Transmuted in the Divine Brightness. This Going out of the God-seeing Man is also in Love; for through the Fruition-of Love, he rises-above his Created Being, and Finds and Tastes the Riches and the Delights, which are God Himself, and which He Causes-to pour-forth without-Interruption, in the Hiddenness of the Spirit, where the Spirit is like unto the Nobility of God.
When the 'Inward' and God-seeing Man has thus attained-to his Eternal Image, and in this Clearness, through the Son, has entered into the Bosom-of the Father; then he is Enlightened-by Divine Truth, and he receives Anew, every Moment, the Eternal Birth, and he Goes forth according-to the Way-of the Light, in a Divine Contemplation. And here, there Begins the Fourth and Last Point; namely, a Loving Meeting, in which, above all else, our Highest Blessedness consists.
You should Know, that the Heavenly Father, as a Living Ground, with all that Lives-in Him, is Actively turned-towards His Son, as to His Own Eternal Wisdom. And that same Wisdom, with all that Lives in It, is Actively turned-back towards the Father, that is, towards that very-Ground from which It Comes-forth. And in this Meeting, there Comes-forth the Third Person, between the Father and the Son; that is the Holy Ghost, Their Mutual Love, Who is One (1) with them Both, in the same-Nature. And He Enfolds and Drenches through Both, in Action and Fruition, the Father and the Son, and all that Lives-in Both, with such-Great Riches and such-Joy, that as to this all Creatures must Eternally be-Silent; for the Incomprehensible Wonder of this Love, Eternally Transcends the Understanding-of all Creatures. But where this Wonder is Understood and Tasted without Amazement, there the Spirit dwells above itself, and is One (1) with the Spirit-of God; and Tastes and Sees without-Measure, even as God, the Riches which are the Spirit itself in the Unity of the Living Ground, where it possesses itself according-to the Way-of its Uncreated Essence.
Now this Rapturous Meeting is Incessantly and Actively Renewed in us, according-to the Way-of God; for the Father gives Himself in the Son, and the Son gives Himself in the Father, in an Eternal Content and a Loving Embrace; and this Renews itself every-Moment, Within the Bonds-of Love. For like-as the Father Incessantly Beholds all things in the Birth-of His Son, so all things are Loved Anew by the Father and the Son in the Outpouring-of the Holy Ghost. And this is the Active Meeting of the Father, and of the Son, in which we are Lovingly embraced-by the Holy Ghost, in Eternal Love.
Now this Active-meeting and this Loving-embrace are in their Ground, Fruitive and Wayless; for the Abysmal Waylessness-of God is so-Dark and so-Unconditioned that it Swallows-up in itself every Divine Way and Activity, and all the Attributes-of the Persons, within the Rich Compass of the Essential Unity, and it brings about a Divine Fruition in the Abyss-of the Ineffable. And here there is a Death in Fruition, and a Melting and Dying into the Essential Nudity, where all the Divine Names, and all Conditions, and all the Living Images which are Reflected-in the Mirror-of Divine Truth, lapse-in the One-fold and Ineffable, in Waylessness and without Reason. For in this Unfathomable Abyss of the Simplicity, all things are wrapped-in Fruitive Bliss; and the Abyss itself may not be Comprehended, unless by the Essential Unity. To this the Persons, and all that Lives-in God, must give-place; for here there is Nought else but an Eternal Rest in the Fruitive Embrace of an Outpouring Love. And this is that Wayless Being, which all Interior Spirits have Chosen, above all other things. This is the Dark Silence in which all Lovers, Lose-themselves. But if we would Prepare-ourselves for it by-means-of the Virtues, we should Strip ourselves of all, but our very Bodies, and should Flee-forth into the Wild Sea, whence no Created Thing can Draw us Back-again.
May we Possess in Fruition the Essential Unity, and Clearly-behold Unity-in the Trinity; this may Divine Love, which turns no Beggar away, Bestow upon us.