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CHAPTER XLIX

SHOWING HOW GOD POSSESSES AND MOVES THE SOUL BOTH IN A NATURAL AND A SUPERNATURAL WAY

Now mark well: I will show you an image of this. God has created the highest heaven, a pure and simple Radiance, which enrings and encloses all the heavens and all bodily and material things that God has ever created; for it is an outward dwelling-place and a kingdom of God and His saints, full of glory and eternal joy. Now since this heaven is an unmingled Radiance, there is here neither time, nor space, nor movement, nor any change; for it is immovable and unchangeable above all things. The sphere which is nearest to this glowing heaven is called the First Movement. For here all movement arises from the highest heaven, by the Power of God. From this movement the firmament and all planets derive their courses. And, through it, all creatures live and grow, each according to its kind5454    Here again Ruysbroeck and Dante, both depending upon scholastic conceptions of the Universe, are in close agreement. Ruysbroeck’s “heaven of unmingled radiance” is the Empyrean “ch’ é pura luce” (Par. xxx. 39): from this the Primum Mobile, or first revolving heaven, takes and distributes the power by which all creation is moved. “E questo cielo non ha altro dove che la mente divina, in che s’accende l’amor che il volge e la virt ch’ ei piove.” (Par. xxvii. 109.) . Now understand this well: so likewise the essence of the soul is a ghostly kingdom of God, full of Divine radiance transcending all our powers, except they be in that simplified state of which I will not speak now. Behold, in regard to the essence of the soul, wherein God reigns, the unity of our spirit is like to the First Movement; for, in this unity, the spirit is moved from above by the power of God, both naturally and supernaturally. For we have nothing of our own, neither in nature, nor above nature. And this stirring of God, when it is supernatural, is the first and principle cause of all virtues. And through this stirring of God, there are given to some men the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost, like to the seven planets, which illuminate and make fruitful the whole life of man. This is the way in which God possesses the essential unity of our spirit as His kingdom; and in which He works and flows forth with His gifts into our potential unity and into all our powers.


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