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“He is the Head, and we be His members.” “Therefore our Father nor may nor will more blame assign to us than to His own Son, precious and worthy Christ”
AND then our Courteous Lord answered in shewing full mistily a wonderful example of a Lord that hath a Servant: and He gave me sight to my understanding of both. Which sight was shewed doubly in the Lord and doubly in the Servant: the one part was shewed spiritually in bodily likeness, and the other part was shewed more spiritually, without bodily likeness.
For the first [sight], thus, I saw two persons in bodily likeness: that is to say, a Lord and a Servant; and therewith God gave me spiritual understanding. The Lord sitteth stately in rest and in peace; the Servant standeth by afore his Lord reverently, ready to do his Lord’s will. The Lord looketh upon his Servant full lovingly and sweetly, and meekly he sendeth him to a certain place to do his will. The Servant not only he goeth, but suddenly he starteth, and runneth in great haste, for love to do his Lord’s will. And anon he falleth into a slade,169169i.e. a steep hollow place; a ravine. and taketh full great hurt. And 106 then he groaneth and moaneth and waileth and struggleth, but he neither may rise nor help himself by no manner of way.
And of all this the most mischief170170i.e. injury, harm. that I saw him in, was failing of comfort: for he could not turn his face to look upon his loving Lord, which was to him full near,—in Whom is full comfort;—but as a man that was feeble and unwise for the time, he turned his mind171171 "entended." to his feeling and endured in woe.
In which woe he suffered seven great pains. The first was the sore bruising that he took in his falling, which was to him feelable pain; the second was the heaviness of his body; the third was feebleness following from these two; the fourth, that he was blinded in his reason and stunned in his mind, so far forth that almost he had forgotten his own love; the fifth was that he might not rise; the sixth was most marvellous to me, and that was that he lay all alone: I looked all about and beheld, and far nor near, high nor low, I saw to him no help; the seventh was that the place which he lay on was a long, hard, and grievous [place].
I marvelled how this Servant might meekly suffer there all this woe, and I beheld with carefulness to learn if I could perceive in him any fault, or if the Lord should assign to him any blame. And in sooth there was none seen: for only his goodwill and his great desire was cause of his falling; and he was unlothful, and as good inwardly as when he stood afore his Lord, ready to do his will. And right thus continually his loving Lord full tenderly beholdeth him. But now with a double manner of Regard: one outward, full meekly 107 and mildly, with great ruth and pity,—and this was of the first [sight], another inward, more spiritually,—and this was shewed with a leading of mine understanding into the Lord, [in the] which I saw Him highly rejoicing for the worshipful restoring that He will and shall bring His Servant to by His plenteous grace; and this was of that other shewing.
And now [was] my understanding led again into the first [sight]; both keeping in mind. Then saith this courteous Lord in his meaning: Lo, lo, my loved Servant, what harm and distress he hath taken in my service for my love,—yea, and for his goodwill. Is it not fitting that I award him [for] his affright and his dread, his hurt and his maim and all his woe? And not only this, but falleth it not to me to give a gift that [shall] be better to him, and more worshipful, than his own wholeness should have been?—or else methinketh I should do him no grace.
And in this an inward spiritual Shewing of the Lord’s meaning descended into my soul: in which I saw that it behoveth needs to be, by virtue of His great [Goodness] and His own worship, that His dearworthy Servant, which He loved so much, should be verily and blissfully rewarded, above that he should have been if he had not fallen. Yea, and so far forth, that his falling and his woe, that he hath taken thereby, shall be turned into high and overpassing worship and endless bliss.
And at this point the shewing of the example vanished, and our good Lord led forth mine understanding in sight and in shewing of the Revelation to the end. But notwithstanding all this forth-leading, the marvelling over the example went never from me: for methought it was given me for an answer to my desire, and yet could I not 108 take therein full understanding to mine ease at that time. For in the Servant that was shewed for Adam, as I shall tell, I saw many diverse properties that might in no manner of way be assigned172172"aret"=reckoned. to single Adam. And thus in that time I stood for much part in unknowing: for the full understanding of this marvellous example was not given me in that time. In which mighty example three properties of the Revelation be yet greatly hid; and notwithstanding this [further forthleading], I saw and understood that every Shewing is full of secret things [left hid].
And therefore me behoveth now to tell three properties in which I am somewhat eased. The first is the beginning of teaching that I understood therein, in the same time; the second is the inward teaching that I have understood therein afterward; the third, all the whole Revelation from the beginning to the end (that is to say of this Book) which our Lord God of His goodness bringeth oftentimes freely to the sight of mine understanding. And these three are so oned, as to my understanding, that I cannot, nor may, dispart them. And by these three, as one, I have teaching whereby I ought to believe and trust in our Lord God, that of the same goodness of which He shewed it, and for the same end, right so, of the same goodness and for the same end He shall declare it to us when it is His will.
For, twenty years after the time of the Shewing, save three months, I had teaching inwardly, as I shall tell: It belongeth to thee to take heed to all the properties and conditions that were shewed in the example, though thou think that they be misty and indifferent173173 i.e. not of definite purport, indistinct. to thy sight. I assented willingly, with great desire, and inwardly [beheld] with 109 heedfulness174174"avisement." all the points and properties that were shewed in the same time, as far forth as my wits and understanding would serve: beginning my beholding at the Lord and at the Servant, and the manner of sitting of the Lord, and the place that he sat on, and the colour of his clothing and the manner of shape, and his countenance without, and his nobleness and his goodness within; at the manner of standing of the Servant, and the place where, and how; at his manner of clothing, the colour and the shape; at his outward having and at his inward goodness and his unloathfulness.
The Lord that sat stately in rest and in peace, I understood that He is God. The Servant that stood afore the Lord, I understood that it was shewed for Adam: that is to say, one man was shewed, that time, and his falling, to make it thereby understood how God beholdeth All-Man and his falling. For in the sight of God all man is one man, and one man is all man. This man was hurt in his might and made full feeble; and he was stunned in his understanding so that he [was] turned from the beholding of his Lord. But his will was kept whole in God’s sight;—for his will I saw our Lord commend and approve. But himself was letted and blinded from the knowing of this will; and this is to him great sorrow and grievous distress: for neither doth he see clearly his loving Lord, which is to him full meek and mild, nor doth he see truly what himself is in the sight of his loving Lord. And well I wot when these two are wisely and truly seen, we shall get rest and peace here in part, and the fulness of the bliss of Heaven, by His plenteous grace.110
And this was a beginning of teaching which I saw in the same time, whereby I might come to know in what manner He beholdeth us in our sin. And then I saw that only Pain blameth and punisheth, and our courteous Lord comforteth and sorroweth; and ever He is to the soul in glad Cheer, loving, and longing to bring us to His bliss.
The place that the Lord sat on was simple, on the earth, barren and desert, alone in wilderness; his clothing was ample and full seemly, as falleth to a Lord; the colour of his cloth was blue as azure, most sad and fair. his cheer was merciful; the colour of his face was fair-brown,—with full seemly features; his eyes were black, most fair and seemly, shewing [outward] full of lovely pity, and [shewing], within him, an high Regard,175175MS. "within him an heyward long and brode, all full of endless hevyns." Cressy and Collins transcribe this word without explanation, but give "heavenliness" for "heavens " It seems most likely that "hey" has been written as if affixed to "ward" (i.e. "regard," "deeming," or "reward"), or else to "reward" meaning, as usual, regard ("Beholding"). See pp. 108 and 113. Cf. note at the end of this chapter. long and broad, all full of endless heavens. And the lovely looking wherewith He looked upon His Servant continually,—and especially in his falling,—methought it might melt our hearts for love and burst them in two for joy. The fair looking shewed [itself] of a seemly mingledness which was marvellous to behold: the one [part] was Ruth and Pity, the other was Joy and Bliss. The Joy and Bliss passeth as far Ruth and Pity as Heaven is above earth: the Pity was earthly and the Bliss was heavenly: the Ruth and Pity of the Father was [in regard] of the falling of Adam, which is His most loved creature; the Joy and Bliss was [in regard] of His dearworthy 111 Son, which is even with the Father. The Merciful Beholding of His Countenance176176"lofly cher." of love fulfilled all earth and descended down with Adam into hell, with which continuant pity Adam was kept from endless death. And thus Mercy and Pity dwelleth with mankind unto the time we come up into Heaven.
But man is blinded in this life and therefore we may not see our Father, God, as He is. And what time that He of His goodness willeth to shew Himself to man, He sheweth Himself homely, as man. Notwithstanding, I reason, in verity177177 "I reson sothly we owen." we ought to know and believe that the Father is not man.
But his sitting on the earth barren and desert, is to signify this:—He made man’s soul to be His own City and His dwelling-place: which is most pleasing to Him of all His works. And what time that man was fallen into sorrow and pain, he was not all seemly to serve in that noble office; and therefore our Lord Father would prepare Himself no other place, but would sit upon the earth abiding mankind, which is mingled with earth, till what time by His grace His dearworthy Son had brought again His City into the noble fairness with His hard travail. The blueness of the clothing betokeneth His steadfastness; the brownness of his fair face, with the seemly blackness of the eyes, was most accordant to shew His holy soberness. The length and breadth of his garments, which were fair, flaming about, betokeneth that He hath, beclosed in Him, all Heavens, and all Joy and Bliss:178178 See p. 112, the "high reward" and this was shewed in a touch [of time], where I have said: Mine understanding was led into the 112 Lord; in which [inward shewing] I saw Him highly rejoice for the worshipful restoring that He will and shall bring His servant to by His plenteous grace.
And yet I marvelled, beholding the Lord and the Servant aforesaid. I saw the Lord sit stately, and the Servant standing reverently afore his Lord. In which Servant there is double understanding, one without, another within. Outwardly:—he was clad simply, as a labourer which were got ready for his toil;179179"which wer disposed to travel." and he stood full near the Lord—not evenly in front180180 "even fornempts" = straight opposite. of him, but in part to one side, on the left. His clothing was a white kirtle, single, old, and all defaced, dyed with sweat of his body, strait-fitting to him, and short—as it were an handful beneath the knee; [thread]bare, seeming as it should soon be worn out, ready to be ragged and rent. And of this I marvelled greatly, thinking: this is now an unseemly clothing for the Servant that is so greatly loved to stand in afore so worshipful a Lord. And inwardly in him was shewed a ground of love: which love that he had to the Lord was even-like181181 i.e. equal (MS "even like"). to the love that the Lord had to him.
The wisdom of the Servant saw inwardly that there was one thing to do which should be to the worship of the Lord. And the Servant, for love, having no regard to himself nor to nothing that might befall him, hastily he started and ran at the sending of his Lord, to do that thing which was his will and his worship. For it seemed by his outward clothing as he had been a continuant labourer of long time, and by the inward sight 113 that I had both of the Lord and the Servant it seemed that he was a182182S. de Cressy: "anaved"; MS. "anew." new [one], that is to say, new beginning to travail: which Servant was never sent out afore.
There was a treasure in the earth which the Lord loved. I marvelled and thought what it might be, and I was answered in mine understanding: It is a food which is delectable and pleasant to the Lord. For I saw the Lord sit as a man, and I saw neither meat nor drink wherewith to serve him. This was one marvel. Another marvel was that this majestic Lord had no servant but one, and him he sent out. I beheld, thinking what manner of labour it might be that the Servant should do. And then I understood that he should do the greatest labour and hardest travail: that is, he should be a gardener, delve and dyke, toil and sweat, and turn the earth upside-down, and seek the deepness, and water the plants in time. And in this he should continue his travail and make sweet floods to run, and noble and plenteous fruits to spring, which he should bring afore the Lord to serve him therewith to his desire. And he should never turn again till he had prepared this food all ready as he knew that it pleased the Lord. And then he should take this food, with the drink in the food, and bear it full worshipfully afore the Lord. And all this time the Lord should sit in the same place, abiding his Servant whom he sent out.
And yet I marvelled from whence the Servant came. For I saw in the Lord that HE hath within Himself endless life, and all manner of goodness, save that treasure that was in the earth. And [also] that [treasure] was grounded in the Lord in marvellous deepness of endless 114 love, but it was not all to His worship till the Servant had thus nobly prepared it, and brought it before Him in himself present. And without the Lord was nothing but wilderness. And I understood not all what this example meant, and therefore I marvelled whence the Servant came.
In the Servant is comprehended the Second Person in the Trinity; and in the Servant is comprehended Adam: that is to say, All-Man. And therefore when I say the Son, it meaneth the Godhead which is even with the Father; and when I say the Servant, it meaneth Christ’s Manhood, which is rightful Adam. By the nearness of the Servant is understood the Son, and by the standing on the left side is understood Adam. The Lord is the Father, God; the Servant is the Son, Christ Jesus; the Holy Ghost is Even183183i.e. equal -- see p. 114. "All of the Charity of God," the mutual love that also embraces created souls, p. 118. Love which is in them both.
When Adam fell, God’s Son fell: because of the rightful oneing which had been made in heaven, God’s Son might not [be disparted] from Adam. (For by Adam I understand All-Man.) Adam fell from life to death, into the deep184184 "the slade." of this wretched world, and after that into hell: God’s Son fell with Adam, into the deep of the Maiden’s womb, who was the fairest daughter of Adam; and for this end: to excuse Adam from blame in heaven and in earth; and mightily He fetched him out of hell.
By the wisdom and goodness that was in the Servant is understood God’s Son; by the poor clothing as a 115 labourer standing near the left side, is understood the Manhood and Adam, with all the scathe185185"mischief." and feebleness that followeth. For in all this our good Lord shewed His own Son and Adam but one Man. The virtue and the goodness that we have is of Jesus Christ, the feebleness and the blindness that we have is of Adam: which two were shewed in the Servant.
And thus hath our good Lord Jesus taken upon Him all our blame, and therefore our Father nor may nor will more blame assign to us than to His own Son, dearworthy Christ. Thus was He, the Servant, afore His coming into earth standing ready afore the Father in purpose, till what time He would send Him to do that worshipful deed by which mankind was brought again into heaven;—that is to say, notwithstanding that He is God, even with the Father as anent the Godhead. But in His foreseeing purpose that He would be Man, to save man in fulfilling of His Father’s will, so He stood afore His Father as a Servant, willingly186186 "wilfully"= voluntarily, of His own Will as God. taking upon Him all our charge. And then He started full readily at the Father’s will, and anon He fell full low, into the Maiden’s womb, having no regard to Himself nor to His hard pains.
The white kirtle is the flesh; the singleness is that there was right nought atwix the Godhead and Manhood; the straitness is poverty; the eld is of Adam’s wearing: the defacing, of sweat of Adam’s travail; the shortness sheweth the Servant’s labour.
And thus I saw the Son saying in His meaning187187 purpose, intent, thought or speech. : Lo! my dear Father, I stand before Thee in Adam’ kirtle, all 116 ready to start and to run: I would be in the earth to do Thy worship when it is Thy will to send me. How long shall I desire? Full soothfastly wist the Son when it would be the Father’s will and how long He should desire: that is to say, [He wist it] anent the Godhead: for He is the Wisdom of the Father; wherefore this question was shewed with understanding of the Manhood of Christ. For all mankind that shall be saved by the sweet Incarnation and blissful Passion of Christ, all is the Manhood of Christ: for He is the Head and we be His members. To which members the day and the time is unknown when every passing woe and sorrow shall have an end, and the everlasting joy and bliss shall be fulfilled; which day and time for to see, all the Company of Heaven longeth. And all that shall be under heaven that shall come thither, their way is by longing and desire. Which desire and longing was shewed in the Servant’s standing afore the Lord,—or else thus in the Son’s standing afore the Father in Adam’s kirtle. For the longing188188"langor." and desire of all Mankind that shall be saved appeared in Jesus: for Jesus is All that shall be saved, and All that shall be saved is Jesus. And all of the Charity of God; with obedience, meekness, and patience, and virtues that belong to us.
Also in this marvellous example I have teaching with me as it were the beginning of an A.B.C., whereby I have some understanding of our Lord’s meaning. For the secret things of the Revelation be hid therein;—notwithstanding that all the Shewings are full of secret things. The sitting of the Father betokeneth His Godhead: that is to say, by shewing of rest and peace: for 117 in the Godhead may be no travail.189189 i.e. painful toil. "He sitteth... in peace and rest. And the Godhead ruleth and careth for heaven and earth and all that is" (lxvii.). And that He shewed Himself as Lord, betokeneth His [governance] to our manhood. The standing of the Servant betokeneth travail; on one side, and on the left, betokeneth that he was not all worthy to stand even-right afore the Lord; his starting was the Godhead, and the running was the Manhood: for the Godhead started from the Father into the Maiden’s womb, falling into the taking of our Kind. And in this falling he took great sore: the sore that He took was our flesh, in which He had also swiftly feeling of deadly pains. That he stood adread before the Lord and not even-right, betokeneth that His clothing was not seemly190190 "honest." to stand in even-right afore the Lord, nor that might not, nor should not, be His office while He was a labourer; nor also He might not sit in rest and peace with the Lord till He had won His peace rightfully with His hard travail; and that he stood by the left side [betokeneth] that the Father left His own Son, willingly,191191 "wilfully." in the Manhood to suffer all man’s pains, without sparing of Him. By that his kirtle was in point to be ragged and rent, is understood the blows, the scourgings, the thorns and the nails, the drawing and the dragging, His tender flesh rending. (As I saw in some part [before] how the flesh was rent from the skull, falling in pieces until the time when the bleeding ceased, and then it began to dry again, cleaving to the bone.) And by the struggling and writhing, groaning and moaning, is understood that He might never rise almightily from the time that He was fallen into the Maiden’s womb, till his 118 body was slain and dead, He yielding the soul into the Father’s hands with all Mankind for whom He was sent.
And at this point He began first to shew His might: for He went into Hell, and when He was there He raised up the great Root out of the deep deepness which rightfully was knit to Him in high Heaven. The body was in the grave till Easter-morrow, and from that time He lay nevermore. For then was rightfully ended the struggling and the writhing, the groaning and the moaning. And our foul deadly flesh that God’s Son took on Him, which was Adam’s old kirtle, strait, [worn]-bare, and short, was then by our Saviour made fair, new white and bright and of endless cleanness; loose and long192192"wyde and syde" = wide and long. ; fairer and richer than was then the clothing which [before] I saw on the Father: for that clothing was blue, but Christ’s clothing is [coloured] now of a fair seemly medlour, which is so marvellous that I can it not describe: for it is all of very worships.
Now sitteth not the Son on earth in wilderness, but He sitteth in His noblest Seat, which He made in Heaven most to His pleasing. Now standeth not the Son afore the Father as a Servant afore the Lord dreadingly, meanly clad, in part naked; but He standeth afore the Father even-right, richly clad in blissful largeness, with a Crown upon His head of precious richness. For it was shewed that we be His Crown: which Crown is the Joy of the Father, the Worship of the Son, the Satisfying of the Holy Ghost, and endless marvellous Bliss to all that be in Heaven. Now standeth not the Son afore the Father on the left side, as a labourer, but He sitteth on His Father’s right hand, in endless 119 rest and peace.193193But see also xxxix. p. 81, lxxx. p. 194. Note: -- If "an heyward" -- "long and brode all full of endless hevyns," p. 112, -- were to be rendered as "an high reward," revealed for the future along with, though less clearly than, the divine pity for the pains of the present, reference might be made to Revelation ix. pp. 47, 50: "It is a joy, a bliss, an endless satisfying to me that ever suffered I Passion for thee." ... "In this feeling mine understanding was lifted up into Heaven: and there I saw three heavens"; and to Rev. x. p. 51: "then with a glad Cheer our Lord looked into His Side and beheld, rejoicing. With His sweet looking He led forth the understanding of His creature by the same wound into His Side within. And then He shewed a fair delectable place, and large enough for all mankind that shall be saved to rest in peace and in love." But "Regard " (scope of true, continuing, divine Sight, Insight, All-comprehending sight) seems more likely to be the true rendering. "Long and broad" go strangely with the word, but on p. 113 the length and breadth of the garments is interpreted immediately after the colour of the eyes, and is said to betoken that "He hath in Him, all Heavens, and all Joy and Bliss," and indeed these words but fill out the idea of the more frequently used "high" to signify the "enclosing" of "endless heavens:" that Sphere of "fulness" which is infinite. With this passage may be compared one below, on p. 113: "The Merciful Beholding of His loving Cheer fulfilled all earth and descended down with Adam into hell, ... and thus Mercy and Pity dwelleth with mankind unto the time we come up into Heaven." The other, the Inward, the high Beholding or Regard is not said to "fill" Heaven, but to be "full of" endless Heavens. So elsewhere it is said that in our Sense-soul, the lower part of human nature, God dwells, but that our Substance, the higher part, dwells in God. The regard of Mercy and Pity is with the Sense-soul; the high Regard of Joy and Bliss is with the Substance.) P. 132, chap. lv.: "I saw that our Substance is in God, and also I saw that in our Sense-soul God is." lvi. p. 135: "The worshipful City that our Lord Jesus sitteth in, it is our Sense-part, in which He is enclosed; and our Nature-Substance is beclosed in Jesus, with the blessed Soul of Christ sitting in rest in the Godhead." (But it is not meant that the Son sitteth on the right hand, side by side, as one man sitteth by another in this life,—for there is no such sitting, as to my sight, in the Trinity,—but He sitteth on His Father’s right hand,—that is to say: in the highest nobleness of the Father’s joys.) Now is the Spouse, God’s Son, in peace with His loved Wife, which is the Fair Maiden of endless Joy. Now sitteth the Son, Very God and Man, in His City in rest and peace: which [City] His Father hath adight to Him of His endless purpose; and the Father in the Son; and the Holy Ghost in the Father and in the Son.120
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