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When, and in what things this Obedience doth most concern the interior Soul.
80. That you may know when Obedience is most necessary, I will advise thee, that when thou shalt find the horrible and importunate suggestions of the Enemy, greatest upon thee, when thou shalt suffer most darkness, anguish, drowth, forsakings, when thou shalt see thy self most beset with temptations, wrath, rage, blasphemy, lust, cursing, tediousness, despair, impatience, and desolation; then ‘tis most necessary for thee to believe, and obey an expert Director, resting thy self on his holy Counsel, that thou may’st not suffer thy self to be carried away by the strong perswasion of the Enemy, who would make thee believe in affliction, and heavy desertion, that thou art lost and abhorred by God, that thou art out of his favour, and that Obedience is past doing thee any good.
81. Thou shalt find thy self encompassed with troublesome scruples, griefs, anguish, distress, martyrdoms, distrusts, forsakings of the Creatures, and troubles so bitter, that thy afflictions shall seem past comfort, and thy torments unconquerable. O blessed Soul! how happy wilt thou be, if thou dost but believe thy Guide, and subject thy self to to him and obey him? Then wilt thou walk safe by the secret and interiour way of the dark night, altho thou may’st seem to thy self to live in Errour, and that thou art worse then ever; that thou seest nothing in thy Soul, but abomination and signs of condemnation.
82. Thou wilt think verily, that thou art possessed by an evil Spirit; because the signs of this interior exercise, and horrible tribulation, seem as bad as the invasions of infernal Furies and Devils. Then take care to believe thy Guide firmly, for thy true Happiness consists in thy obedience.
83. You must consider that when the Devil sees a Soul totally denying it self, and submitting to the obedience of its Director, he makes a strange uproar all Hell over to hinder this infinite Good, and this holy Sacrifice: Full of envy and fury as he is, he uses to make strife between the two, inspiring the Soul with wearisomness, anger, aversion, resistance, distrust, and hatred against the Guide, and sometimes he makes use of his Tongue to bespatter him with many Reproaches; But if this Director be an expert one, he laughs at theses subtle Snares and diabolical Craftynesses. And however the Devil may perswade the Souls of such a state, with divers suggestions, not to believe their Director, that they may not obey him, nor profit under him; yet nevertheless they may believe, and they do believe enough to obey, tho’ it be without their own satisfaction.
84. Thou wilt ask of thy Guide some Liberty, or wilt communicate to him some Grace received. If in denying thee that Liberty, or rejecting that Grace, that thou may’st not grow proud, thou withdrawest thy self from his Counsel, and leavest him, it is a sign that the Favour was false, and that thy spirit walks in danger: But if thou doest believe and obey, altho’ he do soundly displease thee, ‘tis a sign that thou art alive and unmortified; nevertheless, thou wilt profit with that violent and working Medicine: because tho’ the inferiour part be troubled and do resent, yet the superiour part of the Soul doth embrace him, and will be humbled and mortified; because it knows that this is the divine Will. And tho’ thou dost not know it, yet satisction goes on emproving in thy Soul, and so doth the confidence that thou hast in thy Guide.
85. The means of denying self love, and of laying down ones own judgment, you must know, is subjecting it altogether with true submission to the Counsel of the spiritual Physitian. If he hinders you your pleasure, or demands what you desire not, thousands of false and idle reasons do presently get about his holy Counsel; where it is presently known that the Spirit is not altogether mortified, nor his own judgment blinded, which are irreconcileable Enemies to a ready and blind obedience, and the peace of the Soul.
86. Then ‘tis necessary to overcome thy self and thy quick sentiments, to despise those false and lying reasons, by obeying, holding thy tongue, and executing his holy Counsel, because that is the way to root up thy appetite and thine own judgment.
87. For this reason the ancient Fathers, as expert and skilful Masters of Spirit, did exercise their Disciples in divers and extraordinary Ways: To some they gave order to plant Lettice with the leaves downward; to others, to Water dry and whithered Trees; to others, to sew and unsew again, many times, their Cloaths; all marvellous and effectual stratagems to make tryal of simple obedience and to cut by their roots the weeds of their own Will and Judgment.
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