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CHAP. V.

 

Light, Experience, and a Divine Call, are necessary for guiding Souls in the inward Way.

 

23. Thou’lt think and with great confidence too, that thou art in a condition, to guide Souls in the way of the Spirit, and perhaps, that may be secret Vanity, spiritual Pride, and plain Blindness; seeing besides, that this high employment requires supernatural Light, total abstraction, and other qualities which I shall mention to thee in the following Chapters; the Grace of a Call is also necessary, without which all is but vanity, confidence and self-conceit; because, tho’ it be a holy and good thing to guide Souls, and conduct them to Contemplation; yet how know’st thou that God would have thee so employed? And though thou knowest (which yet is not easie) that thou hast great Light and Experience, yet what evidence hast thou that the Lord would have thee to be of that Profession?

24. This Ministry is of such importance that it is not our parts to take it upon us, until it please God, by means of our Superiours and spiritual Guides, to place us therein; otherwise it would be a heavy prejudice to us, though it might be profitable to our Neighbour. What availeth it us to gain the whole World to God, if our own Soul thereby suffer detriment?

25. Howsoever evident it may be to thee, that thy Soul is endowed with internal light and experience; the best thing still that thou canst do, is to keep quiet and resigned in thine own nothingness, until God call thee for the Good of Souls: That belongs only to him, who knows thy sufficiency and abstraction: It is not thy part to make that judgment, neither to press into that Ministry; because, if thou are governed by thine own opinion and judgment, in an affair of so high concern, self-love will blind, undo, and deceive thee.

26. If then experience, light, and sufficiency are not sufficient, without the grace of a Call to qualifie one for that employment, how must it be without sufficiency? how must it be without internal light? without due experience, which are gifts not communicated to all Souls; but to abstracted and resigned Souls, and to such as have advanced to perfect annihilation, by the way of terrible tribulation, and passive purgation. Be perswaded, O blessed Soul, that all works, which in this profession are not governed by a true zeal, springing from pure love, and a purged Soul, cloath the Soul with vanity, self-love, and spiritual pride.

27. O how many self confident men by their own judgment and opinion, undertake this Ministry; and instead of pleasing God, emptying and abstracting their own Souls, (though they may do some good to their Neighbour) are filled with Earth, Straw, and Self-conceit! Be quiet and Resigned, renounce thy own Judgment and Desire, sink down into the Abyss of thy own Insufficiency and Nothingness; for there only thou’lt find God, the true Light, thy Happiness, and greatest Perfection.

 

 

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