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How important and necessary it is, to the interiour Soul, to suffer blindfold this first and Spiritual Martyrdom.
34. To the end that the Soul of Earthly may become Heavenly, and may come to that greatest good of Union with God, it is necessary for it to be purified in the Fire of Tribulation and Temptation: And although it be true, and a known and approved Maxim, That all those that Serve the Lord, must suffer troubles, persecutions and tribulations: yet the happy Souls which are Guided by God, by the secret way of the interiour Walk, and of purgative Contemplation, must suffer above all, strong and horrible Temptations and Torments, more bitter than those wherewith the Martyrs were crowned in the Primitive Church.
35. The Martyrs, besides the shortness of their Torment, which hardly endured days, were comforted, with a clear light and special help, in hope of the near and sure Rewards. But the desolate Soul that must dye in it self, and put off, and make clean its Heart, seeing it self abandoned by God, surrounded by temptations, darkness, anguish, affliction, sorrows and rigid drowths, doth taste of Death every moment in its painful Torment and tremendous Desolation, without feeling the least comfort, with an affliction so great, that the pain of it seems nothing else but a Death prolonged, and a continual Martyrdom: wherein with great reason it may be said, that although there be many Martyrs, yet there are few Souls which follow Christ our Lord with Peace and Resignation in such Torments.
36. Then it was men that Martyr’d ‘em; and God comforted their Souls: but now it is God that afflicts and hides himself; and the Devils, like cruel Executioners, have a thousand ways to torment the Soul and Body, the whole Man being Crucified within and without.
37. Thy sorrows will seem to thee insuperable, and thy afflictions past the power of comfort, and that Heaven rains no more upon thee: thou wilt feel thy self begirt with griefs, and besieged with sorrows Internal, from the darkness of thy powers, from the weakness of discourses: strong Temptations will afflict thee, painful distrusts and troublesome scruples; nay Light and Judgment will forsake thee.
38. All the Creatures will give thee trouble; spiritual Counsels will bring thee pain; the reading of Books, how holy soever, will not comfort thee, as it used to do: If they speak to thee of Patience, they will exceedingly trouble thee: the fear of losing God through thy unthankfulness and want of returns, will torment thee to the Soul; if thou groanest and beggest help of God, thou will find, instead of comfort, inward reproof and dis-favour; like another Canaanitish Woman, to whom he made no answer at first, and then treated her as the Creature he was speaking of [* here Molinos is beside his Text.]
39. And although at this time the Lord will not abandon thee, because it would be impossible to live one moment without his help, yet the succour will be so secret that thy Soul will not know it, nor be capable of hope and consolation; nay, it will seem to be without remedy; suffering, like condemned persons, the pains of Hell, (Circumdederunt me dolores mortis, & pericula inferni invenerunt me, Ps. 114) and it would change ‘em, as such, with a violent Death, which would be a great comfort; but (like those) the end of those afflictions and bitternesses will seem impossible.
40. But if thou, O blessed Soul, should’st know how much thou art beloved and defended by that Divine Lord, in the midst of thy living torments, thou wouldst find ‘em so sweet, that it would be necessary that God should work a Miracle, to let thee live. Be constant, O happy Soul, be constant and of good courage; for however intolerable thou art to thy self, yet thou wilt be protected, inriched, and beloved by that greatest Good, as if he had nothing else to do, than to lead thee to Perfection, by the highest steps of love: and if thou do’st not turn away but preseverest constantly, without leaving off thy undertaking, know, that thou offerest to God the most accepted Sacrifice; so, that if this Lord were capable of pain, he would find no ease till he has completed this loving Union with thy Soul.
41. If from the Chaos of Nothing, his Omnipotence has produced so many wonders, what will he do in thy Soul, created after his own Image and Likeness, if thou keepest constant quiet, and resigned, with a true knowledge of thy Nothing? Happy Soul, which, even when ‘tis disturbed, afflicted and disconsolated, keeps steady there within, without going forth to declare exteriour Comfort.
42. Afflict not thy self too much, and with inquietude, because these sharp Martyrdoms may continue; persevere in Humility, and go not out of thy self to seek aid; for all the good consists in being silent, suffering, and holding patience with rest and resignation: there will thou find the Divine strength to overcome so hard a warfare: he is within thee that fightest for thee: and he is strength it self.
43. When thou shalt come to this painful state of fearful desolation, weeping and lamentation are not forbidden thy Soul, whilest in the upper part of it, it keeps resigned. Who can bear the Lord’s heavy hand without tears and Lamentation? That great Champion Job, even he lamented; so did Christ our Lord, in his forsakings: but their weepings were accompanied with resignation.
44. Afflict not thy self, though God do crucifie thee and make tryal of thy fidelity; imitate the Woman of Canaan, who being rejected and injured, did importune and persevere, humbling her self and following him, though she were treated as she was. It is necessary to drink the cup and not go back: if the scales were taken from thine eyes, as they were from St. Paul’s, thou would’st see the necessity of suffering and glory, as he did; esteeming more the being Crucified, than being an Apostle.
45. Thy good luck consists not in injoying, but in suffering with quiet and resignation. St. Teresa appeared after her death to a certain Soul, and told it, that she had only been rewarded for her pain; but had not received one dram of reward for so many Extasies and Revelations and Comforts that she had here enjoyed in this World.
46. Although this painful martyrdom of horrible desolation and passive purgation be so tremendous, that with reason it hast gotten the name of Hell amongst mystick Divines, (because it seems impossible to be able to live a moment with so grievous a torment; so that with great reason it may be said, that he that suffers it, lives dying, and dying lives a lingring death) yet know, that it is necessary to endure it, to arrive at the sweet, joyous and abundant riches of high contemplation and loving union: and there has been no holy Soul, which has not passed through this spiritual martyrdom and painful torment. St. Gregory the Pope, in the two last Months of his Life; St. Francis of Assize two years and a half; St. Mary Maudlin of Pazzi five years; St. Rose of Peru fifteen years; and after such miracles, as made the world amazed, St. Dominick suffer’d it even till half an hour of his happy exit.
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