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The Difference between the Outward and Inward Man.
1. THERE are two sorts of Spiritual Persons, Internal and External: these seek God by without, by Discourse, by Imagination and Consideration: they endeavour mainly to get Vertues, many Abstinences, Maceration of Body, and Mortification of the Senses: they give themselves to rigorous Penance; they put on Sack-cloth, chastise the flesh by Discipline, endeavour silence, bear the presence of God, forming him present to themselves in their Idea of him, or their Imagination, sometimes as a Pastor, sometimes as a Physician, and sometimes as a Father and Lord: they delight to be continually speaking of God, very often making fervent Acts of Love; and all this is Art and Meditation: by this way they desire to be great, and by the power of voluntary and exteriour Mortifications, they go in quest of sensible Affections and warm Sentiments, thinking that God resides only in them, when they have ‘em. This is the External Way, and the Way of Beginners, and though it be good, yet there is no arriving at Perfection by it; nay, there is not so much as one step towards it, as Experience shews in many, that after fifty years of this external exercise, are void of God, and full of themselves, having nothing of spiritual Men, but just the name of such.
2. There are others truly Spiritual, which have passed by the beginnings of the Interiour Way which leads to Perfection and Union with God; and to which the Lord called ‘em by his infinite Mercy, from that outward Way, in which before they exercised themselves. These men retired in the inward part of their Souls, with true Resignation into the Hands of God, with a total putting off and forgetting even of themselves; do always go with a rais’d Spirit to the Presence of the Lord, by the means of pure Faith, without Image, Form or Figure, but with great assurance founded in tranquility and rest Internal: in whose infused meeting and entertainment, the spirit draws with so much force, that it makes the Soul contract inwardly, the Heart, the Body and all the Powers of it.
3. These Souls, as they are already passed by the interiour Mortification, and have been cleansed by God with the Fire of Tribulation, with infinite and horrible Torments, all of them ordained by his hand, and after his way, are Masters of themselves, because they are intirely subdued and denied; which makes them live with great Repose and internal Peace: and although in many occasions they feel Resistance and Temptations, yet they become presently Victorious, because being already Souls of Proof, and indued with Divine Strength, the motions of Passions cannot last long upon them; and although vehement Temptations and troublesome Suggestions of the Enemy may persevere a long time about them, yet they are all conquer’d with infinite gain; God being he that Fights within them.
4. These Souls have already procured themselves a great Light, and a true Knowledge of Christ our Lord, both of his Divinity and his Humanity: They exercise this infused Knowledge with a quiet Silence in the inward entertainment, and the superiour part of their Souls, with a Spirit free from Images and external Representations, with a love that is pure and stripped of all Creatures; they are raised also from outward Actions to the love of Humanity and Divinity; so much as they enjoy, they forget, and in all of it they find that they love their God with all their Heart and Spirit.
5. These blessed and sublimated Souls take no pleasure in any thing of the World, but contempt and in being alone, and in being forsaken and forgotten by every body: They live so disinterested and taken off, that though they continually receive many supernatural Graces, yet they are not changed, no not at those inclinations, being just as if they had not received ‘em, keeping always in the in-most of their Hearts a great lowliness and contempt of themselves; always humbled in the depth of their own unworthiness and vileness: In the same manner they are always quiet, serene, and possessed with evenness of mind in Graces and Favours extraordinary, as also in the most rigorous and bitter Torments. There is no News that chears ‘em; no Success that makes them sad; Tribulation never disturb them; nor the interiour, continual and divine Communication make ‘em vain and conceited; they remain always full of holy and filial Fear, in a wonderful Peace, Constancy and Serenity.
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