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CHAPTER LVI

“God is nearer to us than our own soul”

“We can never come to full knowing of God till we know first clearly our own Soul”

AND thus I saw full surely that it is readier to us to come to the knowing of God than to know our own Soul. For our Soul is so deep-grounded in God, and so endlessly treasured, that we may not come to the knowing thereof till we have first knowing of God, which is the Maker, to whom it is oned. But, notwithstanding, I saw that we have, for fulness, to desire wisely and truly to know our own Soul: whereby we are learned to seek it where it is, and that is, in God. And thus by gracious leading of the Holy Ghost, we should know them both in one: whether we be stirred to know God or our Soul, both [these stirrings] are good and true.

God is nearer to us than our own Soul: for He is [the] Ground in whom our Soul standeth, and He is [the] Mean that keepeth the Substance and the Sense-nature together so that they shall never dispart. For our soul sitteth in God in very rest, and our soul standeth in God in very strength, and our Soul is kindly rooted in God in endless love: and therefore if we will have knowledge of our Soul, and communing and dalliance therewith, it behoveth to seek unto our Lord God in whom it is enclosed. (And of this enclosement I saw and understood more in the Sixteenth Shewing, as I shall tell.)

And as anent our Substance and our Sense-part, both 134 together may rightly be called our Soul:211211"and anempts our substance and sensualite it may rytely be clepid our soule." and that is because of the oneing that they have in God. The worshipful City that our Lord Jesus sitteth in is our Sense-soul, in which He is enclosed: and our Kindly Substance is enclosed in Jesus with the blessed Soul of Christ sitting in rest in the Godhead.

And I saw full surely that it behoveth needs to be that we should be in longing and in penance unto the time that we be led so deep into God that we verily and truly know our own Soul. And truly I saw that into this high deepness our good Lord Himself leadeth us in the same love that He made us, and in the same love that He bought us by Mercy and Grace through virtue of His blessed Passion. And notwithstanding all this, we may never come to full knowing of God till we know first clearly our own Soul. For until the time that our Soul is in its full powers212212 "the full myts." we cannot be all fully holy: and that is [until the time] that our Sense-soul by the virtue of Christ’s Passion be brought up to the Substance, with all the profits of our tribulation that our Lord shall make us to get by Mercy and Grace.

I213213 "I had in partie touching and it is grounded in kynd: that is to sey, our reson is groundid in God, which is substantial kyndhede." had, in part, [experience of the] Touching [of God in the soul], and it is grounded in Nature. That is to say, our Reason is grounded in God, which is Substantial Naturehood.214214 "I had in partie touching and it is grounded in kynd: that is to sey, our reson is groundid in God, which is substantial kyndhede." [Out] of this Substantial Naturehood Mercy and Grace springeth and spreadeth into us, working all things in fulfilling of our joy: these are 135 our Ground in which we have our Increase and our Fulfilling.

These be three properties in one Goodness: and where one worketh, all work in the things which be now belonging to us. God willeth that we understand [this], desiring with all our heart to have knowing of them more and more unto the time that we be fulfilled: for fully to know them is nought else but endless joy and bliss that we shall have in Heaven, which God willeth should be begun here in knowing of His love.

For only by our Reason we may not profit, but if we have evenly therewith Mind and Love: nor only in our Nature-Ground that we have in God we may not be saved but if we have, coming of the same Ground, Mercy and Grace. For of these three working all together we receive all our Goodness. Of the which the first [gifts] are goods of Nature: for in our First making God gave us as full goods as we might receive in our spirit alone,215215"for in our first makyng God gaf us as ful goods and also greter godes as we myte receivin only in our spirite." In the MS. the word "spirit" is used only here, where it means "the Substance." and also greater goods; but His foreseeing purpose in His endless wisdom willed that we should be double.


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