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CHAPTER XIX

OF SPIRITUAL INEBRIATION

From this rapturous delight4444    The word “weelden,” here translated “rapturous delight,” really means a luxury of enjoyment: an overpassing and voluptuous rapture, in which the soul partakes of the rich content of God. springs spiritual inebriation. Spiritual inebriation is this; that a man receives more sensible joy and sweetness than his heart can either contain or desire. Spiritual inebriation brings forth many strange gestures in men. It makes some sing and praise God because of their fulness of joy, and some weep with great tears because of their sweetness of heart. It makes one restless in all his limbs, so that he must run and jump and dance; and so excites another that he must gesticulate and clap his hands. Another cries out with a loud voice, and so shows forth the plenitude he feels within; another must be silent and melt away, because of the rapture which he feels in all his senses. At times he thinks that all the world must feel what he feels: at times he thinks that none can taste what he has attained. Often he thinks that he never could, nor ever shall, lose this well-being; at times he wonders why all men do not become God-desiring. At one time he thinks that God is for him alone, or for none other so much as for him; at another time he asks himself with amazement of what nature these delights can be, and whence they come, and what has happened to him. This is the most rapturous life (as regards our bodily feelings) which man may attain upon earth. Sometimes the excess of joy becomes so great that the man thinks that his heart must break. And for all these manifold gifts and miraculous works, he shall, with a humble heart, thank and praise and honour and reverence the Lord, Who can do all this; and thank Him with fervent devotion because it is His will to do all this. And the man shall always keep in his heart and speak through his mouth with sincere intention: “Lord, I am not worthy of this; yet I have need of Thy boundless goodness and of Thy support.” In such humility he may grow and rise into higher virtues.


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