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Of true and perfect Annihilation.
189. Thou must know that all this Fabriek of Annihilation hath its foundation but in two Principles. The first is, to keep ones self and all worldly things in a low esteem and value; from whence the putting in practice of this Self-divesting, and of Self-renunciation and forsaking all created things, must have its rise, and that with the affection, and in deed.
190. The second Principle must be a great esteem of God, to love, adore and follow him without the least interest of ones own, let it be never so holy. From these two Principles will arise a full conformity to the Divine Will. This powerful and practical conformity to the Divine Will in all things, leads the Soul to Annihilation and Transformation with God, without the mixture of Raptures, or external Extasies, or vehement Affections: This way being liable to many illusions, with the danger of weakness and anguish of the understanding, by which path there is seldom any that gets up to the top of perfection, which is acquired by t’other safe, firm and real way, though not without a weighty Cross; because therein the Highway of Annihilation and Perfection is founded; which is seconded by many gifts of Light and divine Effects, and infinite other Graces, gratis datæ, yet the Soul that is annihilated must be uncloathed of it all, if it would not have ‘em be a hindrance to it in its way to Deification.
191. As the Soul makes continual progress from its meanness, it ought to walk on to the practice of Annihilation, which consists in the abhorring of Honour, Dignity and Praise; there being no reason that Dignity and Honour should be given to Vileness and a meer Nothing.
192. To the Soul that is sensible of its own Vileness, it appear an impossible thing to deserve any thing; ‘tis rather confounded and knows it self unworthy of Vertue and Praise: it embraces with equal courage all occasions of Contempt, Persecution, Infamy, Shame and Affront; and as truly deserving of such reproaches, it renders the Lord thanks, when it lights upon such occasions, to be treated as it deserves; and knows it self also unworthy, that he should use his Justice upon it; but above all, ‘tis glad of contempt and affront, because its God gets great glory by it.
193. Such a Soul as this always chooses the lowest, the vilest, and the most despised degree, as well of place, as of cloathing, and of all other things, without the least affectation of singularity; being of the opinion, that the greatest Vileness is beyond its deserts, and acknowledging it self also unworthy even of this. This is the practice that brings the Soul to a true Annihilation of it self.
114. The Soul that would be perfect, begins to mortifie its Passions; and when ‘tis advanced in that Exercise, it denies it self; then with the Divine Aid, it passes to the State of Nothing, where it despises, abhors and plunges it self upon the knowledge that it is nothing, that it can do nothing, and that it is worth nothing. From hence springs the dying in it self, and in its senses, in many ways, and at all hours; and finally, from this spiritual Death the true and perfect Annihilation derives its original; insomuch, that when the Soul is once dead to its will and understanding, ‘tis properly said to be arrived at the perfect and happy state of Annihilation, which is the last disposition for Transformation and Union, which the Soul it self doth not understand, because ‘twould not be annihilated if it should come to know it. And although it do get to this happy state of Annihilation, yet it must know that it must walk still on, and must be further and further purified and annihilated. [Here is most delicious Nonsence, and a very curious Bull.]
195. You must know, that this Annihilation to make it perfect in the Soul, must be in a man’s own Judgment, in his Will, in his Works, Inclinations, Desires, Thoughts, and in it Self: so that the Soul must find it self dead to its Will, Desire, Endeavour, Understanding and Thought; willing, as if it did not will; desiring, as if it did not desire; understanding, as if it did not understand; thinking, as if it did not think, without inclining to any thing, embracing equally Contempts and Honours, Benefits and Corrections. O what a happy Soul is that which is thus dead and annihilated! It lives no longer in it self, because God lives in it: And now it may most truly be said of it, that it is a renewed Phenix; because ‘tis changed, spiritualized, transformed and deified.
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