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CHAPTER LXXI

“Three manners of looking seen in our Lord’s Countenance”

GLAD and joyous and sweet is the Blissful lovely Cheer292292"Cher," in earlier chapters rendered by manner of Countenance or Regard. of our Lord to our souls. For He [be]holdeth293293 The word of the MS. might be: "he havith " (possibly "draweth''), or "behadith" or "behavith." There is a verb "bi-hawen" to behold -- in other forms bihabben, bi-halden --; and "behave" had the meaning of to manage, govern. Elsewhere in the MS. to regard, if not to fix the eyes upon, is expressed (e.g. in xxxix.) simply by to "holden" without the prefix. S. de Cressy has here "he beheld." us ever, living in love-longing: and He willeth that our soul be in glad cheer to Him, to give Him His meed. And thus, I hope, with His grace He hath [drawn], and more shall draw, the Outer Cheer to the Inner Cheer, and make us all one with Him, and each of us with other, in true lasting joy that is Jesus.

I have signifying of Three manners of Cheer of our Lord. The first is Cheer of Passion, as He shewed while He was here in this life, dying. Though this [manner of] Beholding be mournful and troubled, yet it is glad and joyous: for He is God.—The second manner of Cheer is [of] Ruth and Compassion: and this sheweth He, with sureness of Keeping, to all His lovers that betake them294294 "that have to"; S de C., "have need to." to His mercy. The third is the Blissful Cheer, as it shall be without end: and this was [shewed] oftenest and longest-continued.

And thus in the time of our pain and our woe He 173 sheweth us Cheer of His Passion and His Cross, helping us to bear it by His own blessed virtue. And in the time of our sinning He sheweth to us Cheer of Ruth and Pity, mightily keeping us and defending us against all our enemies. And these be the common Cheer which He sheweth to us in this life; therewith mingling the third: and that is His Blissful Cheer, like, in part, as it shall be in Heaven. And that [shewing is] by gracious touching and sweet lighting of the spiritual life, whereby that we are kept in sure faith, hope, and charity, with contrition and devotion, and also with contemplation and all manner of true solace and sweet comforts.


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