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CHAP. II.

 

Of the Sequel of the same Matter.

 

8. There is far greater advantage to be had from having a Master in the mystical way, then from the use of Spiritual books; because a practical Master tells us in the nick of time, what ought to be done; but in a Book one may fall upon a thing that is less proper, and by that means the necessary Instruction is wanting: Besides, by mystical Books men raise to themselves many false Notions, the Soul thinking to have that, which in reality is hath not, and to be farther on in the mystical State, than as yet it is; whence spring many prejudices and dangers.

9. It is certain that the frequent Reading of mystical Books, which are not founded in practical, but meer speculative Light, does rather hurt than good, because it confounds, instead of, enlightening Souls, and fills them with discursive Notions that might hinder them; since tho’ they be Notices of Light, yet they enter from without, render the Faculties dull, and fill them with Ideas instead of emptying them, that God may replenish them with Himself. Many do continually Read in these speculative Books, because they will not submit to him who may tell them, that such Reading is not convenient for them; whereas there is no doubt but if they do submit, and the Guide be a man of Experience, he will not allow it them: And then they would profit, and not mind such Studies as the Souls do who are submitted, have Light, and make improvement. Hence it follows, that it contributes much to inward Quiet and Security, to have an experienced Guide, who may govern and instruct with actual Light, that the Soul may not be deluded by the Devil, nor by its own Judgment and Opinion: However, we do not condemn the Reading of spiritual Books in general, seeing here we speak in particular of Souls purely Internal and Mystical, for whom this Book is written.

10. All holy and mystical Masters confess that the security of a mystical Soul, consists in a cordial Submission to its Ghostly Father, communicating to him, whatever passes within it. And therefore he, who lives after his own Opinion, without applying himself to a Spiritual Director (tho he take himself to be, and is reputed spiritual) opposes himself to the Doctrine of the Saints, and of enlightened Souls; because the more a Soul is illuminated and united with God, the more humble, submiss, subjected and obedient to the spiritual Guide it ought to be. For proof of this truth, I’ll relate what the Lord said to Donna Marina d’Escobar: It is reported in her Life, that being Sick, she asked the Lord, If she should be Silent, and omit the acquainting her spiritual Father with the extraordinary things that happened in her Soul, that she might not tire her self, nor trouble the same Father. To whom the Lord answered, That not to give an Account of them to her Ghostly Father, would not be well done for three Reasons: First, Because as Gold is tried in the Furnance, and the value of Stones known by touching them with the Touch-stone; so the Soul is purified, and the worth of it known, when the Minister of God tries it by the Touch-stone. Secondly, Because to avoid Errour, it was convenient that matters should be governed, according to the Order instituted by God in his Church, in the Scriptures and in the Doctrine of the Saints. Thirdly, That the Mercies which his Divine Majesty shews to his Servants and pure Souls, may not be concealed, but made manifest, that so Believers may be encouraged to serve their God, and he be glorified in them.

11. In the same place she hath the following words, conform to the aforesaid truth: My Confessor being Sick, and having enjoyned me that I should not make a full Discovery of all things that happened to me, to him, to whom, in the meantime, I Confessed my self, but only of some with prudence; I bewailed my condition to the Lord, that I had not one to whom I might communicate my affairs; and his Majesty made me answer, Thou hast one already who supplies the want of thy Confessor; tell him all that happens to thee. I presently replied, Not so Lord, Not so Lord. (Why?) said the Lord. Because my Confessor commanded me that I should not give him Account of all; and I ought to obey him. His Majesty said to me, Thou hast pleased me by that answer, and that I might hear thee say so, I said what thou hast heard; do so, yet still thou maist acquaint him with some things, as he himself had thee.

12. What Santa Teresa said of herself, comes in very pat in this place: Whenever (saies she) the Lord commanded me any thing, if my Confessor told me another, I turned to the Lord and told him, that I must obey my Confessor. Afterward his Majesty returned to him, to the end he might enjoyn it me of new. This is sound and true doctrine, which secures Souls, and dissipates the illusions of the Devil.

 

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