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Treating of the Same.
176. There are two ways which lead to the knowledg of God. The one remote, the other near: The first is called Speculation; the second, Contemplation. The Learned, who follow Scientifical Speculation by the Sweetness of sensible Discourses, get up to God by this means, as well as they can, that by this help they may be able to love him: But none of those who follow that way which they call Scholastical, ever arrives by that only, to the Mystical Way, or to the Excellence of Union, Transformation, Simplicity, Light, Peace, Tranquility and Love, as he doth, who is brought by the Divine Grace by the mystical way of Contemplation.
177. These men of Learning, who are meerly scholastical, don’t know what the Spirit is, nor what it is to be lost in God: nor are they come yet to the taste of the sweet Ambrosia which is in the inmost depth and bottom of the Soul, where it keeps its Throne, and communicates it self with incredible, intimate and delicious affluence: Nay, some there are which do e’en condemn this mystical Science, because they neither do understand nor relish it.
178. The Divine who doth not taste the sweetness of Contemplation, has not other reason to give for it, but because he enters not by the Gate which St. Paul points to, when he says, Si quis inter vos videtur sapiens esse, stultus fiat ut sit sapiens, I Cor. 3.18. If any one among ye seem to himself to be wise, let him become a fool that he may be wise; let him shew his humility by reputing himself ignorant.
179. ‘Tis a general Rule; and also a Maxim in Mystick Theology, That the Practic ought to be gotten before the Theory. That there ought to be some experimental Exercise of supernatural Contemplation, before the search of the knowledge, and an enquiry after the full apprehension of it.
180. Although the mystical Science does commonly belong to the humble and simple, yet notwithstanding that, men of Learning are not uncapable of it, if they do not seek themselves nor set any great value upon their own artificial knowledge; but more, if they can forget it, as if they never had it, and only make use of it, in its own proper place and time, for preaching and disputing when their turn comes, and afterwards give their minds to the simple and naked Contemplation of God, without form, figure or consideration.
181. The Study, which is not ordered for God’s glory only, is but a short way to Hell; not through the Study, but the Wind of Pride, which begets it. Miserable is the greatest part of Men at this time, whose only Study is to satisfie the unsatisfiable curiosity of Nature.
182. Many seek God and find him not; because they are more moved by curiosity than sincere, pure and upright intention: they rather desire Spiritual Comforts than God himself; and as they seek him not with truth, they neither find God nor Spiritual Pleasures.
183. He that does not endeavour the total denying of himself, will not be truly abstracted; and so can never be capable of the truth and the light of the Spirit. To go towards the mystical Science, a man must never meddle with things which are without, but with prudence, and in that which his Office calls him to. Rare are men who set a higher price upon hearing than speaking? But the wise and purely mystical Man never speaks but when he cannot help it; nor doth he concern himself in any thing but what belongs to his Office, and then he carries himself with great Prudence.
184. The spirit of Divine Wisdom fills men with Sweetness, governs them with Courage, and enlightens those with excellence who are subject to its direction. Where the Divine Spirit dwells, there is always simplicity and a holy Liberty. But Craft and Double-mindedness, Fiction, Artifices, Policy and worldly Respects, are Hell it self to wise and sincere men.
185. Know that he who would attain to the Mystical Science, must be denied and taken off from five things: 1. From the Creatures. 2. From Temporal things. 3. From the very Gifts of the Holy Ghost. 4. From himself. 5. He must be lost in God. This last is the compleatest of all; because that Soul only that knows how to be so taken off, is that which attains to being lost in God, and only knows where to be in safety.
186. God is more satisfied with the affection of the Heart, than that of Worldly Science. ‘Tis one thing to cleanse the Heart of all that which captivates and pollutes it, and another to do a thousand things, though good and holy, without minding that purity of Heart which is the main of all for attaining of Divine Wisdom.
187. Never wilt thou get to this Sovereign and Divine Wisdom, if thou hast not strength, when God cleanseth thee in his own time, not only of thy adherency to Temporal and Natural Blessings, but further, to Supernatural and Sublime ones, such as internal Communications, Extasies, Raptures, and other gratuitous Graces, whereon the Soul rests and entertains it self.
188. Many Souls come short of arriving to quiet Contemplation, to divine Wisdom and true Knowledge, notwithstanding that they spend many Hours in Prayer, and receive the Sacrament every day; because they do not subject and submit themselves wholly and entirely to him that hath Light, nor deny and conquer themselves, nor give up themselves totally to God, with a perfect divesting and disinteresting of themselves: In a word, till the Soul be purified in the Fire of Inward Pain, it will never get to a State of Renovation, of Transformation, of perfect Contemplation, of divine Wisdom and affective Union.
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