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FROM now forth beginneth a manner of homeliness for to grow between God and a man's soul; and also on a manner a kindling of love, in so much that oft times he feeleth him not only be visited of God and comforted in His coming, but oft times also he feeleth him filled with an unspeakable joy. This homeliness and this kindling of love first felt Leah, when, after that Levi was born, she cried with a great voice and said: "Now shall my husband be coupled to me."[45] The true spouse of our soul is God, and then are we truly coupled unto Him, when we draw near Him by hope and soothfast love. And right as after hope cometh love, so after Levi was Judah born, the fourth son of Leah. Leah in his birth cried and said: "Now shall I shrive to our Lord."[46] And therefore in the story is Judah cleped "Shrift."[47] Also man's soul in this degree of love offereth it clearly to God, and saith thus: "Now shall I shrive to our Lord." For before this feeling of love in a man's soul, all that he doth is done more for dread than for love; but in this state a man's soul feeleth God so sweet, so merciful, so good, so courteous, so true, and so kind, so faithful, so lovely and so homely, that he leaveth nothing in him--might, wit, conning,[48] or will--that he offereth not it clearly, freely, and homely unto Him. This shrift is not only of sin, but of the goodness of God. Great token of love it is when a man telleth to God that He is good. Of this shrift speaketh David full oft times in the psalter, when he saith: "Make it known to God, for He is good."[49]
     Lo, now have we said of four sons of Leah. And after this she left bearing of children till another time; and so man's soul weeneth that it sufficeth to it when it feeleth that it loveth the true goods.[50] And so it is enough to salvation, but not to perfection. For it falleth to a perfect soul both to be inflamed with the fire of love in the affection, and also to be illumined with the light of knowing in the reason.

[45] Gen. xxix. 34.

[46] Gen. xxix. 35 (Vulgate): Modo confitebor Domino.

[47] Confitens.

[48] Learning.

[49] Ps. cvi. 1, cvii. 1 (cv., cvi., Vulgate).

[50] Pepwell reads: "the true goodness of God."

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