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CHAP. XVII.

 

Of Divine Wisdom.

 

160. Divine Wisdom is an intellectual and infused knowledge of the divine perfections and things Eternal; which ought rather to be called Contemplation than Speculation. Science is acquired and begets the knowledge of Nature. Wisdom is infused and begets the Knowledge of the Divine Goodness. That desires to know what is not to be attained unto without pains and sweat: This desires not to know what it doth know, although it understands it all. In a word, the Men who are scientifical entertain themselves in the knowledge of the things of the World; and the wise live swallowed up in God himself.

161. Reason enlightened in the Wise is a high and simple elevation of Spirit, whereby he sees, with a clear and sharp sight all that is inferiour to him, and what concerns his Life and Estate. This is that which renders the Soul simple, illustrated, uniform, spiritual, and altogether introverted, and abstracted from every created thing. This moves and draws away with a sweet Violence, the hearts of the humble and teachable, filling them with abundance of sweetness, peace, and pleasantness. Finally, the wise Man says of it, that it brought him all good things at once. Venerunt mihi omnia bona pariter cum illa, Wisd. 7. II.

162. You must know, that the greatest part of Men lives by Opinion, and judges according to the deceivableness of imagination and Sence: but the Man that’s wise judges of every thing according to the real verity, which is in it; whose business is to understand, conceive, penetrate into, and transcend every created being, even to himself.

163. ‘Tis a great property of a wise Man to do much and say little.

164. Wisdom is discovered in the works and words of the wise; because he being absolute master of all his passions, motions, and affections is know in all his doings, like a quiet and still water, in which wisdom shines with clearness.

165. The understanding of mystical truths is secret and shut up from Men who are purely Scholastical, unless they be humble; because it is the Science of Saints, and none know it but those which heartily love and seek their own Contempt: Therefore the Souls, who by imbracing this means, get to be purely mystical and truly humble, dive even to the profoundest apprehensions of the Divinity: and the more sensually men do live according to flesh and blood, the greater distance are they at from this mystical Science.

166. Ordinarily it is seen that in the man which hath much scholastical and speculative Knowledge, divine Wisdom doth not predominate; yet they make an admirable composition, when they both meet together. The men of Learning, who by God’s Mercy have attained to this mystick Science, are worthy of Veneration and Praise in Religion.

167. The external actions of the mystical and wise, which they do rather passively than actively, though, they are a great torment to ‘em, yet are ordered prudently by ‘em, by number, weight, and measure,

168. The Sermons of Men of Learning, who want the Spirit, though they are made up of divers stories, elegant descriptions, acute discourses, and exquisite Proofs, yet are by no means the word of God; but the word of Men, plated over with false Gold: These Preachers spoil Christians, feeding ‘em with wind and vanity, and so they are, both of ‘em, void of God.

169. These Teachers feed their Hearers with the wind of hurtful subtilties, giving ‘em stones instead of Bread, leaves instead of Fruit, and unsavoury Earth mixt with poisoned Honey instead of true Food. These are they that hunt after honour, raising up an idol of reputation and applause, instead of seeking God’s Glory, and the spiritual Edification of Men.

170. Those that preach with Zeal and sincerity, preach for God. Those that preach without ‘em, preach for themselves. Those that preach the word of God with spirit, makes it take impression in the Heart; but those that Preach it without spirit, carry it no farther than to the ear.

171. Perfection doth not consist in teaching it, but in doing it; because he is neither the greatest Saint, nor the wisest Man, that knows the Truth most, but he that practices it.

172. ‘Tis a constant Maxim, That Divine Wisdom begets Humility; and that which is acquired by the Learned, begets Pride.

173. Holiness does not consist in forming deep and subtle conceits of the Knowledge and attributes of God, but in the Love of God, and in self-denial. Therefore ’tis frequentlier observed, that Holiness is more amongst the simple, and humble, than among the learned. How many poor old Women are there in the World, which have little or nothing of humane science, but are rich in the love of God! How many Divines do we see that are over head and ears in their vain Wisdom, and yet very bare in things of true light and Charity!

174. Remember that ‘tis always good to speak like one that learns, and not like one that knows: Count it a greater Honour to be reputed a meer Ignoramus, than a man of Wisdom and Prudence.

175. However, the Learned, who are purely speculative, have some little Sparks of Spirit, yet these do not fly out from the simple bottom of eminent and divine Wisdom, which hath a mortal hatred to Forms and Species’s: the mixing of a little Science is always a hindrance to the eternal, profound, pure, simple, and true Wisdom.

 

 

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