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CHAPTER LVII

“In Christ our two natures are united”

AND anent our Substance He made us noble, and so rich that evermore we work His will and His worship. (Where I say “we,” it meaneth Man that shall 136 be saved.) For soothly I saw that we are that which He loveth, and do that which Him pleaseth, lastingly without any stinting: and [that by virtue] of the great riches and of the high noble virtues by measure come to our soul what time it is knit to our body: in which knitting we are made Sensual.

And thus in our Substance we are full, and in our Sense-soul we fail: which failing God will restore and fulfil by working of Mercy and Grace plenteously flowing into us out of His own Nature-Goodness.216216"kynde godhede." And thus His Nature-Goodness maketh that Mercy and Grace work in us, and the Nature-goodness that we have of Him enableth us to receive the working of Mercy and Grace.

I saw that our nature is in God whole: in which [whole nature of Manhood] He maketh diversities flowing out of Him to work His will: whom Nature keepeth, and Mercy and Grace restoreth and fulfilleth. And of these none shall perish: for our nature that is the higher part is knit to God, in the making; and God is knit to our nature that is the lower part, in our flesh-taking: and thus in Christ our two natures are oned. For the Trinity is comprehended in Christ, in whom our higher part is grounded and rooted; and our lower part the Second Person hath taken: which nature first to Him was made-ready.217217 "adyte." For I saw full surely that all the works that God hath done, or ever shall, were fully known to Him and aforeseen from without beginning. And for Love He made Mankind, and for the same Love would be Man.

The next218218 or the first. Good that we receive is our Faith, in which our profiting beginneth. And it cometh [out] of 137 the high riches of our nature-Substance into our Sensual soul, and it is grounded in us through the Nature-Goodness of God, by the working of Mercy and Grace. And thereof come all other goods by which we are led and saved. For the Commandments of God come therein: in which we ought to have two manners of understanding: [the one is that we ought to understand and know] which are His biddings, to love and to keep them; the other is that we ought to know His forbiddings, to hate and to refuse them. For in these two is all our working comprehended. Also in our faith come the Seven Sacraments, each following other in order as God hath ordained them to us: and all manner of virtues.

For the same virtues that we have received of our Substance, given to us in Nature by the Goodness of God,—the same virtues by the working of Mercy are given to us in Grace through the Holy Ghost, renewed: which virtues and gifts are treasured to us in Jesus Christ. For in that same219219"ilk" = "same." time that God knitted Himself to our body in the Virgin’s womb, He took our Sensual soul:220220 Here, as above, the MS. term for the "Sensual soul" is the "Sensualite." in which taking He, us all having enclosed in Him, oned it to our Substance: in which oneing He was perfect Man. For Christ having knit in Him each221221 "ilk" = "each." man that shall be saved, is perfect Man. Thus our Lady is our Mother in whom we are all enclosed and of her born,222222 The MS. word is in both cases "borne," which may mean either born or borne. S. de Cressy gives "born" both for the first word and the second. See lx. "He sustaineth us within Himself in love," etc.; and lxiii. "In the taking of our nature He quickened us," etc. in Christ: (for she that is 138 Mother of our Saviour is Mother of all that shall be saved in our Saviour;) and our Saviour is our Very Mother in whom we be endlessly borne,223223See foot-note 4, p. 139. and never shall come out of Him.

Plenteously and fully and sweetly was this shewed, and it is spoken of in the First, where it saith: We are all in Him enclosed and He is enclosed in us. And that [enclosing of Him in us] is spoken of in the Sixteenth Shewing where it saith: He sitteth in our soul.

For it is His good-pleasure to reign in our Understanding blissfully, and sit in our Soul restfully, and to dwell in our Soul endlessly, us all working into Him: in which working He willeth that we be His helpers, giving to Him all our attending, learning His lores, keeping His laws, desiring that all be done that He doeth; truly trusting in Him.

For soothly I saw that our Substance is in God224224 From The Scale [or Ladder] of Perfection, by Walter Hilton (Fourteenth century), edition of 1659, Part III. ch. ii.:-- "The soule of a man is a life consisting of three powers, Memory, Understanding, and Will, after the image and likeness of the blessed Trinity.... Whereby you may see, that man's soule (which may be called a created Trinity) was in its natural state replenished in its three powers, with the remembrance, sight, and love of the most blessed uncreated Trinity, which is God.... But when Adam sinned, choosing love and delight in himselfe, and in the creatures, he lost all his excellency and dignity, and thou also in him." Ch. III. Sec. i. "And though we should prove not to be able to recover it fully here in this life, yet should we desire and endeavour to recover the image and likeness of the dignity we had, so that our soul might be reformed as it were in a shadow by grace to the image of the Trinity which we had by nature, and hereafter shall have fully in bliss..." Sec ii. "Seeke then that which thou hast lost, that thou mayest finde it; for well I wote. whosoever once hath an inward sight, but a little of that dignity and that spirituall fairness which a soul hath by creation, and shall have again by grace, he will loath in his heart all the blisse, the liking, and the fairnesse of this world.... Nevertheless as thou hast not as yet seen what it is fully, for thy spiritual eye is not yet opened, I shall tell thee one word for all, in the which thou shalt seeke, desire, and finde it; for in that one word is all that thou hast lost. This word is Jesus.... If thou feelest in thy heart a great desire to Jesus . . . then seekest thou well thy Lord Jesus. And when thou feelest this desire to God, or to Jesus (for it is all one) holpen and comforted by a ghostly might, insomuch that it is turned into love, affection, and spiritual fervour and sweetnesse, into light and knowing of truth, so that for the time the point of thy thought is set upon no other created thing, nor feeleth any stirring of vain-glory, nor of selfe-love, nor any other evill affection (for they cannot appear at that time) but this thy desire is onely enclosed, rested, softened, suppled, and annoynted in Jesus, then hast thou found somewhat of Jesus; I mean not him as he is, but a shadow of him; for the better that thou findest him, the more shalt thou desire him. Then observe by what manner of Prayer or Meditation or exercise of Devotion thou findest greatest and purest desire stirred up in thee to him, and most feeling of him, by that kind of prayer, exercise, or worke seekest thou him best, and shalt best finde him.... "See then the mercy and courtesie of Jesus. Thou hast lost him, but where? soothly in thy house, that is to say, in thy soul, that if thou hadst lost all thy reason of thy soule, by its first sinne, thou shouldst never have found him again; but he left thee thy reason and so he is still in thy soule, and never is quite lost out of it. "Nevertheless, thou art never the nearer him, till thou hast found him. He is in thee, though he be lost from thee, but thou art not in him, till thou hast found him. This is his mercy also, that he would suffer himself to be lost onely where he may be found, so that thou needest not run to Rome, nor to Jerusalem to seeke him there, but turne thy thoughts into thy owne soule, where he is hid, as the Prophet saith; Truly thou art the hidden God, hid in thy soule, and seek him there Thus saith he himselfe in the Gospel; The kingdome of heaven is likened to a treasure hid in the field, the which when a man findeth, for joy thereof, he goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field "As long as Jesus findeth not his image reformed in thee, he is strange, and the farther from thee: therefore frame and shape thyself to be arrayed in his likenesse, that is in humility and charity, which are his liveries, and then will he know thee, and familiarly come to thee, and acquaint thee with his secrets. Thus saith he to his Disciples; Who so loveth me, he shall be loved of my Father, and I will manifest my selfe unto him. There is not any vertue nor any good work that can make thee like to our Lord, without Humility and Charity, for these two above all other are most acceptable ('most leyf') to him, which appeareth plainly in the Gospel, where our Lord speaketh of humility thus; Learn of me, for I am meeke and humble in heart. He saith not, learn of me to go barefoot, or to go into the desart, and there to fast forty dayes, nor yet to choose to your selves Disciples (as I did) but learne of me meeknesse, for I am meek and lowly in heart. Also of charity he saith thus; This is my Commandment, that ye love one another as I loved you, for by that shall men know you for my Disciples. Not that you worke miracles, or cast out Devills, or preach, or teach, but that each one of you love one another in charity. If therefore thou wilt be like him, have humility and charity. Now thou knowest what charity is, viz. To love thy neighbour as thy selfe." Chap. IV. Sec. i. ... "Now I shall tell thee (according to my feeble ability) how thou mayest enter into thy selfe to see the ground of sin, and destroy it as much as thou canst, and so recover a part of thy souls dignity.... Draw in thy thoughts ... and set thy intent and full purpose, as if thou wouldst not seek nor find any thing but onely the grace and spiritual presence of Jesus." "This will be painful; for vaine thoughts will presse into thy heart very thick, to draw thy minde down to them. And in doing thus, thou shalt find somewhat, but not Jesus whom thou seekest, but onely a naked remembrance of his name. But what then shalt thou finde? Surely this; A darke and ill-favoured image of thy owne soule, which hath neither light of knowledge nor feeling of love of God.... This is not the image of Jesus, but the image of sin, which St Paul calleth a body of sinne and of death.... Peradventure now thou beginnest to thinke with thy selfe what this image is like, and that thou shouldst not study much upon it, I will tell thee. It is like no bodily thing; What is it then saist thou? Verily it is nought, or no reall thing, as thou shalt finde, if thou try by doing as I have spoken, that is, draw in thy thoughts into thy selfe from all bodily things, and then shalt thou find right nought wherein thy soule may rest. "This nothing is nought else but darknesse of conscience, and a lacking of the love of God and of light; as sin is nought but a want of good, if it were so that the ground of sin was much abated and dryed up in thee, and thy soule was reformed right as the image of Jesus; then if thou didst draw into thy selfe thy heart, thou shouldst not find this Nought, but thou shouldst find Jesus; not only the naked remembrance of this name, but Jesus Christ in thy soule readily teaching thee, thou shouldst there find light of understanding, and no darknesse of ignorance, a love and liking of him; and no pain of bitternesse, heavinesse, or tediousenesse of him.... "And here also thou must beware that thou take Jesus Christ into thy thoughts against this darknesse in thy mind, by busie prayer and fervent desire to God, not setting the point of thy thoughts on that foresaid Nought, but on Jesus Christ whom thou desirest. Think stiffly on his passion, and on his Humility, and through his might thou shalt arise. Do as if thou wouldst beate downe this darke image, and go through-stitch with it. Thou shalt hate ('agryse') and loath this darknesse and this Nought, just as the Devill, and thou shalt despise and all to break it ('brest it'). "For within this Nought is Jesus hid in his joy, whom thou shalt not finde with all thy seeking, unlesse thou passe this darknesse of conscience. "This is the ghostly travel I spake of, and the cause of all this writing is to stir thee thereto, if thou have grace. This darknesse of conscience, and this Nought is the image of the first Adam: St Paul knew it well, for he said thus of it; As we have before borne the image of the earthly man, that is the first Adam, right so that we might now beare the image of the heavenly man, which is Jesus, the second Adam. St Paul bare this image oft full heavily, for it was so cumbersome to him, that he cryed out of it, saying thus; O who shall deliver me from this body and this image of death. And then he comforted himselfe and others also thus: The grace of God through Jesus Christ." .

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