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Though the Soul perceive it self deprived of Discourse, or Ratiocination, yet it ought to presevere in Prayer, and not be afflicted, because that is its greater Felicity.
6. Thoul’t find thy self, as all other Souls that are called by the Lord to the inward way, full of confusion and doubts, because in Prayer thou hast failed in Discourse: It will seem to thee that God does no more assist thee as formerly, that the exercise of Prayer is not in thy power; that thou losest time, whilst hardly and with great trouble thou canst make one single Ejaculation as thou wast wont to do.
7. How much confusion, and what perplexities will that want of enlarging thy self in mental Discourse raise in thee? And if in such a juncture thou hast not a ghostly Father, expert in the Mystical Way, thoul’t certainly conclude that thy Soul is out of order, and that for the security of thy Conscience, thou standest in need of a general confession; and all that will be got by that care, will be the shame and confusion of both. O how many Souls are called to the inward way, and the spiritual Fathers for want of Understanding their case, instead of guiding and helping them forwards, stop them in their Course, and ruin them.
8. Thou ought then to be perswaded, that thou may not draw back, when thou wantest expansion and discourse in Prayer; that it is thy greatest happiness, because it is a clear sign, that the Lord will have thee to walk by Faith and Silence in his Divine Presence, which is the most profitable and easiest Path; in respect, that with a simple view, or amorous attention to God, the Soul appears like a humble Supplicant before its Lord, or as an innocent Child, that casts it self into the sweet and safe Bosom of its dear Mother. Thus did Gerson express it, Though I have spent Fourty Years in Reading and Prayer, yet I could never find any thing more efficacious, nor compendious, for attaining to Mystical Theology, than that our Spirit should become like a young Child and Beggar in the presence of God.
9. That kind of Prayer is not only the easiest, but the most secure; because it is abstracted from the operations of the Imagination, that is always exposed to the Tricks of the Devil, and the extravagancies of Melancholy, and Ratiocination, wherein the Soul is easily Distracted, and being wrapt up in speculation, reflects on it self.
10. When God had a mind to instruct his own Captain Moses, and give him the two Tablets of the Law (Exod. 24.), written in Stone, he called him up to the Mountain, at what time God being there with him, the Mount was Darkened and environed with thick Clouds, Moses standing idle, not knowing what to think or say. Seven days after God commanded Moses, to come up to the top of the Mountain, where he show’d him his Glory, and filled him with great Consolation.
11. So in the Beginning, when God intends after an extraordinary manner, to guide the Soul into the School of the divine and loving Notices of the internal Law, he makes it go with Darkness, and Dryness, that he may bring it near to himself, because the Divine Majesty knows very well, that it is not by the means of ones one Ratiocination, or Industry, that a Soul draws near to him, and understands the Divine Documents; but rather by silent and humble Resignation.
12. The Patriarch Noah gave a great instance of this; who after he had been by all men reckoned a Fool, floating in the middle of a raging Sea, wherewith the whole World was overflowed, without Sails and Oars; and environed with wild Beasts, that were shut up in the Ark, walked by Faith alone, not knowing nor understanding what God had a mind to do with him.
13. What most concerns thee, O redeemed Soul, is Patience, not to desist from the Prayer thou art about, though thou can’st not enlarge in Discourse. Walk with firm Faith, and a holy Silence, dying in thy self, with all thy natural Industry, trusting that God who is he who is, and changes not; neither can err, intends nothing by thy good. It is clear that he who is at dying, must needs feel it, but how well is time employed, when the Soul is dead, dumb, and resigned in the presence of God, there without any clutter or distraction, to receive the Divine Influences.
14. The Senses are not capable of divine Blessings; hence if thou would be Happy and Wise; be Silent and Believe; Suffer and have Patience; be Confident and Walk on; it concerns thee far more to hold thy Peace, and to let thy self be guided by the hand of God, than to enjoy all the Goods of this World. And though it seem to thee, that thou does nothing at all, and art idle being so Dumb and Resigned; yet it is of infinite fruit.
15. Consider the blinded Beast that turns the Wheel of the Mill, which though it see not, neither know what it does, yet does a great Work in grinding the Corn, and although it taste not of it; yet its Master receives the fruit, and tastes of the same. Who would not think, during so long a time that the Seed lies in the Earth, but that it were lost? Yet afterwards it is seen to spring up, grow and multiply. God does the same with the Soul, when he deprives it of Consideration and Ratiocination: Whil’st it thinks it does nothing, and is, in a manner undone, in time it comes to itself again, improved, disengaged, and perfect, having never hoped for so much favour.
16. Take care then that thou afflict not thy self, nor draw back, though thou can’st not enlarge thy self, and discourse in Prayer; suffer, hold thy peace, and appear in the presence of God; persevere constantly, and trust to his infinite Bounty, who can give unto thee constant Faith, true light, and divine Grace. Walk as if thou were blindfolded, without thinking or reasoning; put thy self into his kind and paternal hands, resolving to do nothing but what his divine Will and Pleasure is.
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