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CHAP. XVI.

 

Signs to know the Inner Man, and the Mind that’s Purged.

 

152. The Signs to know the Inner Man by, are four. The first, If the understanding produce not other Thoughts than those which stir up to the light of Faith; and the Will is so habituated, that it begets no other Acts of Love than of God, and in order to him. The second, If, when he ceases from an External Work, in which he was employed, the Understanding and the Will are presently and easily turned to God. The third, if in entring, upon Prayer, he forgets all outward things, as if he had not seen nor used ‘em. The fourth, If he carries himself orderly towards outward things, as if he were entring into the World again, fearing to embroil himself in Business, and naturally abhorring it, unless when Charity requires it of him.

153. Such a Soul as this is free from the outward Man, and easily enters into the interiour solitude, where it sees none but God and it self in him: loving him with quiet and peace and true Love. There in that secret Center God is kindly speaking to it, teaching it a new Kingdom, and true Peace and Joy.

154. This Spiritual, abstracted and retired Soul hath its Peace no more broken, though outwardly it may meet with Combats; because through the infinite distance, tempests do never reach to that serenest Heaven within, where pure and perfect Love resides; and though sometimes it may be naked, forsaken, fought against and desolate, this is only the fury of the storm, which threatens and rages no where but without.

155. This secret Love within, hath four effects: The first is called Illumination, which is a savoury and experimental Knowledge of the greatness of God, and of its own nothing. The second is Inflammation, which is an ardent desire of being burnt, like the Salamander, in this kind and divine fire. The third is Sweetness, which is a peaceable, joyful, sweet and intimate fruition. The fourth, is a swallowing up of the Powers in God; by which immersion the Soul is so much drencht and filled with God, that it can’t any longer seek, or will any thing, but its greatest and infinite good.

156. From this fullest satiety, two effects arise. The first is, a great Courage to suffer for God. The second is, a certain hope or assurance that it can never lose him, nor be separated from him.

157. Here in this internal retirement, the beloved Jesus hath his Paradise, to whom we may go up, standing and conversing on the Earth. And if thou desirest to know who he is, who is altogether drawn to this inward retirement, with enlightened Exemplification in God, I tell thee, it is he that in adversity, in discomfort of Spirit, and in the want of necessities stands firm and unshaken. These constant and inward Souls are outwardly naked and wholly diffused in God, whom they continually do Contemplate: they have no spot; they live in God and of himself; they shine brighter than a thousand Suns; they are beloved by the Son of God; they are the darlings of God the Father, and elect Spouses of the Holy Ghost.

158. By three signs is a mind that is purged, to be known, as St. Thomas says in a Treatise of his. The first sign is diligence, which is a strength of Mind, which banishes all neglect and sloth, that it may be disposed with earnestness and confidence to the pursuit of vertue. The second is severity; which likewise is a strength of Mind against Concupiscence, accompanied with an ardent love of roughness, vileness and holy Poverty. The third is benignity and sweetness of Mind, which drives away all rancour, envy, aversion and hatred against ones neighbour.

159. Till the mind be purged, the affection purified, the memory naked, the understanding brightened, the will denied and set a fire, the Soul can never arrive at the intimate and affective union with God, and therefore because the Spirit of God is purity it self, and light and rest, the Soul, where he intends to make his abode, must have great Purity, Peace, attention and quiet. Finally the precious Gift of a purged Mind, those only have, who with continual diligence do seek Love and retain it, and desire to be reputed the most vile in the World.

 

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