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CHAP. VII.

 

Inward Mortification and Perfect Resignation are necessary for obtaining Internal Peace.

 

60. The most subtle Arrow that is shot at us from Nature, is, to induce us to that which is unlawful, with a pretence, that is may be necessary and useful. O how many Souls have suffer’d themselves to be lead away, and have lost the spirit by this guilded Cheat! Thou wilt never tast the delicious Manna [Quod nemo novit, nisi qui accipit, (Apoc. ch. 2.) unless thou dost perfectly overcome thy self even to die in thy self; because he who endeavours not to die to his Passions, is not well disposed to receive the Gift of Understanding, without the infusion whereof it is impossible for him to go in into himself and be changed in his Spirit; and therefore those that keep without having nothing of it.

52. Never disquiet thy self for any accident: for inquietude is the door by which the Enemy gets into the Soul to rob it of its peace.

53. Resign and deny thy self wholly; for though true self-denial is harsh at the beginning, ‘tis easie in the middle and becomes most sweet in the end.

54. Thou wilt find thy self far from Perfection, if thou dost not find God in every thing.

55. Know that pure, perfect and essential Love consists in the Cross, in self-denial and resignation, in perfect humility, in poverty of spirit, and in a mean opinion of thy self.

56. In the time of strong temptation, desertion and desolation, ‘tis necessary for thee to get close into thy center, that thou may’st only look at and contemplate God, who keeps his throne and his abode in the bottom of thy Soul.

57. Thou wilt find impatience and bitterness of heart to grow from the depth of sensible, empty and mortified love.

58. True love is known, with its effects, when the Soul is profoundly humbled, and desires to be truly mortified and despised.

59. Many there be, who, however they have been dedicated to Prayer, yet have no relish of God; because in the end of their Prayers, they are neither mortified nor attend upon God any longer: for obtaining that peaceable and continual attending, ‘tis necessary to get a great purity of mind and heart, great peace of soul, and an universal resignation.

60. To the simple and the mortified, the recreation of the senses is a sort of death: they never go to it, unless compelled by necessity and edification of their neighbours.

61. The bottom of our soul, you will know, is the place of our happiness. There the Lord shews us wonders: there we ingulf and lose our selves in the immense ocean of his infinite goodness, in which we keep fixt and unmoveable. There, there resides the incomparable fruition of our Soul and that eminent and sweet rest of it. An humble and resign’d Soul, which is come to this bottom, seeks no more than meerly to please God, and the holy and loving spirit teaches it every thing with his sweet and enlivening unction.

62. Amongst the Saints there are some gigantick ones, who continually suffer with patience indispositions of body, of which God takes great care. But high and sovereign is their gift, who by the strength of the Holy Ghost, suffer both internal and external crosses with content and resignation. This is that sort of holiness so much the more rare, as it is more precious in the sight of God. The spiritual ones, which walk this way, are rare: because there are few in the world, who do totally deny themselves, to follow Christ crucified, with simpleness and bareness of spirit, through the loansom and thorny ways of the Cross, without making reflexions upon themselves.

63. A Life of Self denial is above all the Miracles of the Saints; and it doth not know whether it be alive or dead; lost or gained; whether it agrees or resists: this is the trne resigned Life. But although it should be a long time before thou comest to this state, and thou should’st think not to have made one step towards it, yet affright not thy self at this, for God uses to bestow upon a Soul that Blessing in one moment, which was denied it for many years before.

64. He that desires to suffer blindfold, without the comfort of God or the creatures, is gotten too far onwards to be able to resist unjust accusations which his enemies make against him, even in the most dreadful and interior desolation.

65. The spiritual man that lives by God, and in him, is inwardly contented in the midst of his adversities; because the Cross and Affliction are his Life and Delight.

66. Tribulation is a great treasure, wherewith God honours those that be his, in this life: therefore evil men are necessary for those that are good; and so are the Devils themselves, which by afflicting us do try to ruine us: but instead of doing us harm, they do us the greatest good imaginable.

67. There must be tribulation to make a man’s life acceptable to God; without it, ‘tis like the Body without the Soul, the Soul without Grace, the Earth without the Sun.

68. With the wind of tribulation God separates, in the floor of the Soul, the Chaff from the Corn.

69. When God crucifies in the inmost part of the Soul, no creature is able to comfort it; nay, comforts are but grievous and bitter crosses to it. And if it be well-instructed in the laws and discipline of the ways of pure love, in the time of great desolation and inward troubles, it ought not to seek abroad among the creatures for comfort, nor lament it self with them, nor will it be able to read Spiritual Books: because this is a secret way of getting at a distance from suffering.

70. Those Souls are to be pitied, who cannot find in their hearts to believe, that Tribulation and Suffering is their greatest Blessing. They who are perfect ought always to be desirous of dying and suffering, being always in a state of death and suffering: vain is the man who doth not suffer: because he is born to toyl and suffering; but much more the Friends and Elect of God.

71. Undeceive thy self, and believe, that in order to thy Soul’s being totally transformed with God, it is necessary for it to be lost and be denied in its life, sense, knowledge, and power; and to die living, and not living; dying, and not dying; suffering, and not suffering; resigning up, and not resigning up it self, without reflecting upon any thing.

72. Perfection, in its followers, receives not its glories but by Fire and Martyrdom, Griefs, Torments, Punishments and Contempt, suffered and endured with gallantry and courage; and he that would have some place to set his feet on and rest himself, and does not go beyond the reason of reason and of sense, will never get into the secret cabinet of knowledge, though by reading he may chance to get a taste and relish the understanding of it.

 

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