« Prev CHAPTER XIV: Of the secret Voice of Jesus… Next »

CHAPTER XIV: Of the secret Voice of Jesus sounding in a Soul, and how it may be known. And how all the gracious Illuminations made in a Soul be called the Speakings of Jesus

LO, these are fair new feelings in a clean soul; and if a soul were filled with such, it might be said, and that truly, that it were reformed somewhat in feeling, but not yet fully; for why? Yet Jesus showeth more, and leadeth the soul inward, and beginneth to speak more familiarly and more lovely to a soul, and maketh it more ready to follow the stirrings of grace. For the Prophet saith: Quocumque ibat spiritus, illuc gradiebantur et rotae sequentes eum.— Whithersoever the spirit went, thither went the wheels following him.334334    Ezec. 1. By wheels are understood the true lovers of Jesus, for they are round in virtue, without angle of frowardness; and lightly whirling through readiness of will after the stirrings of grace; for according as grace stirreth and teacheth, so they follow and work, as the Prophet saith.

But first, they have a full secure experience, and a true knowing of the voice of grace, ere they do so; that they be not deceived by their own feigning, or by the mid-day fiend. Our Lord Jesus saith thus of His lovers: Oves meae vocem meam audiunt, &c.—My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they know Me.335335    St John 10. The privy voice of Jesus is full true, and it maketh a soul true; there is no feigning in it, nor on fancy, nor pride, nor hyprocrisy; but gentleness, humility, peace, love and charity. And it is full of life, love and grace. And therefore when it soundeth in a soul, it is of so great power sometimes, that the soul suddenly layeth aside all that was in hand, as praying, speaking, reading or thinking; in the manner abovesaid, and all manner of bodily work, and listeneth thereto fully, hearing and perceiving in rest and in love the sweet sound of this spiritual voice, as it were ravished from the mind of all earthly things, and then in this quiet, Jesus sometimes showeth Himself as an awful336336    Haughtful. master, and sometimes as a reverend Father, and sometimes as a lovely Spouse. And it keepeth a soul in a wonderful reverence, and in a lovely beholding of Him, that the soul liketh well then, and never so well as then; for it feeleth so great security, and so great rest in Jesus, and so much savour of His goodness, that it would ever be so, and never do other work. It thinketh that it toucheth Jesus, and through virtue of that unspeakable touching, it is made whole and stable in itself, reverently beholding Jesus only, as if there were nothing but Jesus, one thing, and himself another, borne up only by the savour and the wonderful goodness of Him; that is that thing which he feeleth and seeth. And this feeling is ofttimes without special beholding of holy Writ, and with but few words formed in the mind; only there falls in among sweet words, according to the feeling either of loving, or worshipping, or admiring, or otherwise sounding, as the heart liketh. The soul is very much separated from love or liking of the world, through virtue of this gracious feeling, and also very much from minding of the world in that time. It taketh no heed thereof, for it hath no time thereto. But then sometimes anon, together with this, falleth into a soul divers illuminations through grace, which I call the speakings of Jesus, and the sight of spiritual things; for be thou assured, that all the business that Jesus maketh about a soul, is for to make it a true perfect spouse to Him in the height and the fulness of love, and that cannot be done suddenly. Therefore Jesus, who is love, and of all lovers the wisest, proveth by many ways, and by many wonderful means, ere this can come about. And therefore that it may come to the effect of true espousing, He hath such gracious speakings of a wooer to a chosen soul. He sheweth His privy jewels; many things He giveth, and more He promiseth; and showeth courteous dalliance. He often visiteth her with much grace and spiritual comfort, as I have said before; but how He doth this in particular, I cannot fully tell thee, for it needeth not. Nevertheless somewhat shall I say, according as grace enableth me.

The drawing of a soul fully to perfect love, is, first by the showing of spiritual things to a clean soul, when the spiritual eye is opened; not that a soul should rest therein, and make an end there, but should by that search Him and love Him who is highest of all, without any beholding of any other thing than He.

But thou wilt ask, what are these spiritual things, because I speak so oft of spiritual things?

To this I say that spiritual things may be said all the truth of holy Scripture. And therefore a soul that through light of grace can see the truth of Scripture, seeth spiritual things, as I have said before.

« Prev CHAPTER XIV: Of the secret Voice of Jesus… Next »
VIEWNAME is workSection