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CHAPTER VI: How that the Desire of Jesus felt in this lightsome Darkness slayeth all Motions of Sin, and enableth the Soul to perceive spiritual Lightnings from the heavenly Jerusalem, that is, Jesus

SEEING then this darkness and this night consisting only in the desire and longing after the love of Jesus with a blind thinking on Him, is so good and so restful, though it be but short, how good then, and how blessed it is to feel His love, and to be illuminated with His blessed invisible light thereby to see the truth, the which light a soul receiveth when the night passeth, and the day springeth.

This I conceive was the night that the Prophet meant when he said: My soul hath desired Thee in the night, as I have said before. It is much better to be hid in this dark night from beholding of the world,193193    Claude fenestras ut luceat domus. though it were painful, than to be out in false liking of this world, which seemeth so shining, and so comfortable to them that are blind in the knowledge of spiritual light; for when thou art in this darkness, thou art much nearer Jerusalem than when thou art in the midst of the false light. Therefore apply thy heart fully to the stirrings of grace, and use thy self to dwell in this darkness, and by often essaying to be acquainted therewith, and it shall soon be made restful to thee, and the true light of spiritual knowing shall spring up to thee, not all at once, but secretly by little and little, as the Prophet saith: To them that dwell in the country of the shadow of death light is sprung up.194194    Isa. 9. That is, light of grace springeth, and shall spring to all them that can dwell in the shadow of death; that is in this darkness which is like to death; for as death slayeth a living body and all its fleshly senses, right so the desire of the love of Jesus felt in this darkness slayeth all sins, all fleshly affections, and all unclean thoughts for the time, and then dost thou hasten to draw near to Jerusalem. Thou art not there yet, but by some small sudden lightnings that glide out of small caves from that city, shalt thou be able to see it afar off ere thou come to it, for know thou well, though that thy soul be in this restful darkness without the trouble of worldly vanities, it is not yet clothed all in light, nor turned all into the fire of love. But it perceiveth full well that there is somewhat above itself that it knoweth not, nor hath not yet, but would have it, and burningly yearneth after it, and that is nought else but the sight of Jerusalem outwardly, which is like to a city which the Prophet Ezechiel saw in his visions.195195    Ezec. 40. He saith that he saw a city upon a hill towards the south, that to his sight when it was measured was no more in length and breadth than a reed, that is six cubits and a palm of length. But as soon as he was brought into the city, and looked about him, then he saw that it was wondrous great, for he saw many halls, and chambers both open and secret; he saw gates and porches without and within, and many more buildings than I now speak of, and it was in length and breadth many hundred cubits, that it seemed a wonder to him that this city was so long and so large within, that seemed so little to his sight when he was without.

This city betokeneth the perfect love of God set upon the hill of Contemplation, which to the sight of a soul that without the feeling of it travelleth in desire towards it seemeth somewhat, but it seemeth but a little thing, no more than a rood, that is, six cubits and a palm of length. By six cubits are understood the perfection of man’s work; and by the palm, a little touch of Contemplation. He seeth well that there is such a thing that passeth the deservings of all the workings of man, like as a palm is surpassed by six cubits, but he seeth not within what it is, yet if he can come within the city of Contemplation, then seeth he much more than he saw at first.

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