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THEOLOGICA GERMANICA
AUTHOR: Unknown
PUBLISHED ON: March 31, 2003
DOC SOURCE: CCN

THEOLOGIA GERMANICA
by an Anonymous Author

translated by
Susanna Winkworth

scanned from the 1893 Golden Treasury Series edition
by
John H. Richards
(jhr@elidor.demon.co.uk)

and presented as a Public Domain file on the Internet

March 1995

This work was first discovered and published in 1516 by Martin
Luther who said of it that “Next to the Bible and St. Augustine,
no book has ever come into my hands from which I have learnt more
of God and Christ, and man and all things that are.” It has since
appealed to Christians of all persuasions.

================================================================

Theologia Germanica 

CHAPTER I 

Of that which is perfect and that which is in part, and how that
which is in part is done away, when that which is perfect is
come. 

St. Paul saith, “When that which is perfect is come, then that
which is in part shall be done away.” Now mark what is “that
which is perfect,” and “that which is in part.” 

“That which is perfect” is a Being, who hath comprehended and
included all things in Himself and His own Substance, and without
whom, and beside whom, there is no true Substance, and in whom
all things have their Substance. For He is the Substance of all
things, and is in Himself unchangeable and immoveable, and
changeth and moveth all things else. But “that which is in part,”
or the Imperfect, is that which hath its source in, or springeth
from the Perfect; just as a brightness or a visible appearance
floweth out from the sun or a candle, and appeareth to be
somewhat, this or that. And it is called a creature; and of all
these “things which are in part,” none is the Perfect. So also
the Perfect is none of the things which are in part. The things
which are in part can be apprehended, known, and expressed; but
the Perfect cannot be apprehended, known, or expressed by any
creature as creature. Therefore we do not give a name to the
Perfect, for it is none of these. The creature as creature cannot
know nor apprehend it, name nor conceive it. 

“Now when that which is Perfect is come, then that which is in
part shall be done away.” But when doth it come? I say, when as
much as may be, it is known, felt and tasted of the soul. For the
lack lieth altogether in us, and not in it. In like manner the
sun lighteth the whole world, and is as near to one as another,
yet a blind man seeth it not; but the fault thereof lieth in the
blind man, not in the sun. And like as the sun may not hide its
brightness, but must give light unto the earth (for heaven indeed
draweth its light and heat from another fountain), so also God,
who is the highest Good, willeth not to hide Himself from any,
wheresoever He findeth a devout soul, that is thoroughly purified
from all creatures. For in what measure we put off the creature,
in the same measure are we able to put on the Creator; neither
more nor less. For if mine eye is to see anything, it must be
single, or else be purified from all other things; and where heat
and light enter in, cold and darkness must needs depart; it
cannot be otherwise.

But one might say, “Now since the Perfect cannot be known nor
apprehended of any creature, but the soul is a creature, how can
it be known by the soul?” Answer: This is why we say, “by the
soul as a creature.” We mean it is impossible to the creature in
virtue of its creature-nature and qualities, that by which it
saith “I” and ” myself.” For in whatsoever creature the Perfect
shall be known, therein creature-nature, qualities, the I, the
Self and the like, must all be lost and done away. This is the
meaning of that saying of St. Paul: “When that which is perfect
is come” (that is, when it is known), “then that which is in
part” (to wit, creature-nature, qualities, the I, the Self, the
Mine) will be despised and counted for nought. So long as we
think much of these things, cleave to them with love, joy,
pleasure or desire, so long remaineth the Perfect unknown to us.

But it might further be said, “Thou sayest, beside the Perfect
there is no Substance, yet sayest again that somewhat floweth out
from it: now is not that which hath flowed out from it, something
beside it” Answer: This is why we say, beside it, or without it,
there is no true Substance. That which hath flowed forth from it,
is no true Substance, and hath no Substance except in the
Perfect, but is an accident, or a brightness, or a visible
appearance, which is no Substance, and hath no Substance except
in the fire whence the brightness flowed forth, such as the sun
or a candle. 

CHAPTER II 

Of what Sin is, and how we must not take unto ourselves any good
Thing, seeing that it belongeth unto the true Good alone. 

The Scripture and the Faith and the Truth say, Sin is nought
else, but that the creature turneth away from the unchangeable
Good and betaketh itself to the changeable; that is to say, that
it turneth away from the Perfect to “that which is in part” and
imperfect, and most often to itself. Now mark: when the creature
claimeth for its own anything good, such as Substance, Life,
Knowledge, Power, and in short whatever we should call good, as
if it were that, or possessed that, or that were itself, or that
proceeded from it, – as often as this cometh to pass, the
creature goeth astray. What did the devil do else, or what was
his going astray and his fall else, but that he claimed for
himself to be also somewhat, and would have it that somewhat was
his, and somewhat was due to him? This setting up of a claim and
his I and Me and Mine, these were his going astray, and his fall.
And thus it is to this day. 

CHAPTER III 

How Man’s Fall and going astray must be amended as Adam’ Fall
was. 

What else did Adam do but this same thing? It is said, it was
because Adam ate the apple that he was lost, or fell. I say, it
was because of his claiming something for his own, and because
of his I, Mine, Me, and the like. Had he eaten seven apples, and
yet never claimed anything for his own, he would not have fallen:
but as soon as he called something his own, he fell, and would
have fallen if he had never touched an apple. Behold! I have
fallen a hundred times more often and deeply, and gone a hundred
times farther astray than Adam; and not all mankind could mend
his fall, or bring him back from going astray. But how shall my
fall be amended? It must be healed as Adam’s fall was healed, and
on the self-same wise. By whom, and on what wise was that healing
brought to pass? Mark this: man could not without God, and God
should not without man. Wherefore God took human nature or
manhood upon Himself and was made man, and man was made divine.
Thus the healing was brought to pass. So also must my fall be
healed. I cannot do the work without God, and God may not or will
not without me; for if it shall be accomplished, in me, too, God
must be made man; in such sort that God must take to Himself all
that is in me, within and without, so that there may be nothing
in me which striveth against God or hindereth His Work. Now if
God took to Himself all men that are in the world, or ever were,
and were made man in them, and they were made divine in Him, and
this work were not fulfilled in me, my fall and my wandering
would never be amended except it were fulfilled in me also. And
in this bringing back and healing, I can, or may, or shall do
nothing of myself, but just simply yield to God, so that He alone
may do all things in me and work, and I may suffer Him and all
His work and His divine will. And because I will not do so, but
I count myself to be my own, and say “I,” “Mine,” “Me” and the
like, God is hindered, so that He cannot do His work in me alone
and without hindrance; for this cause my fall and my going astray
remain unhealed. Behold! this all cometh of my claiming somewhat
for my own. 

CHAPTER IV 

How Man, when he claimeth any good Thing for his own, falleth,
and toucheth God in His Honour.

God saith, “I will not give My glory to another.” This is as much
as to say, that praise and honour and glory belong to none but
to God only. But now, if I call any good thing my own, as if I
were it, or of myself had power or did or knew anything, or as
if anything were mine or of me, or belonged to me, or were due
to me or the like, I take unto myself somewhat of honour and
glory, and do two evil things: First, I fall and go astray as
aforesaid: Secondly, I touch God in His honour and take unto
myself what belongeth to God only. For all that must be called
good belongeth to none but to the true eternal Goodness which is
God only, and whoso taketh it unto himself, committeth
unrighteousness and is against God.

CHAPTER V

How we are to take that Saying, that we must come to be without
Will Wisdom, Love, Desire, Knowledge, and the like.

Certain men say that we ought to be without will, wisdom, love,
desire, knowledge, and the like. Hereby is not to be understood
that there is to be no knowledge in man, and that God is not to
be loved by him, nor desired and  longed for, nor praised and
honoured; for that were a great loss, and man were like the
beasts and as the brutes that have no reason. But it meaneth that
man’s knowledge should be so clear and perfect that he should
acknowledge of a truth that in himself he neither hath nor can
do any good thing, and that none of his knowledge, wisdom and
art, his will, love and good works do come from himself, nor are
of man, nor of any creature, but that all these are of the
eternal God, from whom they all proceed. As Christ Himself saith,
” Without Me, ye can do nothing.” St. Paul saith also, “What hast
thou that thou hast not received?” As much as to say – nothing.
“Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory as if thou
hadst not received it?” Again he saith, “Not that we are
sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves, but
our sufficiency is of God.” Now when a man duly perceiveth these
things in himself, he and the creature fall behind, and he doth
not call anything his own, and the less he taketh this knowledge
unto himself, the more perfect doth it become. So also is it with
the will, and love and desire, and the like. For the less we call
these things our own, the more perfect and noble and Godlike do
they become, and the more we think them our own, the baser and
less pure and perfect do they become.

Behold on this sort must we cast all things from us, and strip
ourselves of them; we must refrain from claiming anything for our
own. When we do this, we shall have the best, fullest,  clearest
and noblest knowledge that a man can have, and also the noblest
and purest love, will and desire; for then these will be all of
God alone. It is much better that they should be God’s than the
creature’s. Now that I ascribe anything good to myself, as if I
were, or had done, or knew, or could perform any good thing, or
that it were mine, this is all of sin and folly. For if the truth
were rightly known by me, I should also know that I am not that
good thing and that it is not mine, nor of me, and that I do not
know it, and cannot do it, and the like. If this came to pass,
I should needs cease to call anything my own.

It is better that God, or His works, should be known, as far as
it be possible to us, and loved, praised and honoured, and the
like, and even that man should  vainly imagine he loveth or
praiseth God, than that God should be altogether unpraised,
unloved, unhonoured and unknown. For when the vain imagination
and ignorance are turned into an understanding and knowledge of
the truth, the claiming anything for our own will cease of
itself. Then the man says: “Behold! I, poor fool that I was,
imagined it was I, but behold! it is and was, of a truth, God!”

CHAPTER VI

How that which is best and noblest should also be loved above all
Things by us, merely because it is the best.

A Master called Boetius saith,  “It is of sin that we do not love
that which is Best.” He hath spoken the truth. That which is best
should be the dearest of all things to us; and in our love of it,
neither  helpfulness nor unhelpfulness, advantage nor injury,
gain nor loss, honour nor  dishonour, praise nor blame, nor
anything of the kind should be regarded;  but what is in truth
the noblest and best  of all things, should be also the dearest
of all things, and that for no other cause than that it is the
noblest and best. 

Hereby may a man order his life within and without. His outward
life: for among the creatures one is better than another,
according as the Eternal Good manifesteth itself and worketh more
in one than in another. Now that creature in which the Eternal
Good most manifesteth itself, shineth forth, worketh, is most
known and loved, is the best, and that wherein the Eternal Good
is least manifested is the least good of all creatures. Therefore
when we have to do with the creatures and hold converse with
them, and take note of their diverse qualities, the best
creatures must always be the dearest to us, and we must cleave
to them, and unite ourselves to them, above all to those which
we attribute to God as belonging to Him or divine, such as
wisdom, truth, kindness, peace, love, justice, and the like.
Hereby shall we order our outward man, and all that is contrary
to these virtues we must eschew and flee from.

But if our inward man were to make a leap and spring into the
Perfect, we should find and taste how that the Perfect is without
measure, number or end, better and nobler than all which is
imperfect and in part, and the Eternal above the temporal or
perishable, and the fountain and source above all that floweth
or can ever flow from it. Thus that which is imperfect and in
part would become tasteless and be as nothing to us. Be assured
of this: All that we have said must come to pass if we are to
love that which is noblest, highest and best. 

CHAPTER VII

Of the Eyes of the Spirit wherewith Man looketh into Eternity and
into Time, and how the one is hindered of the other in its
Working.

Let us remember how it is written and said that the soul of
Christ had two eyes, a right and a left eye. In the beginning,
when the soul of Christ was created, she fixed her right eye upon
eternity and the Godhead, and remained in the full intuition and
enjoyment of the divine Essence and Eternal Perfection; and
continued thus unmoved and undisturbed by all the accidents and
travail, suffering, torment and pain that ever befell the outward
man. But with the left eye she beheld the creature and perceived
all things therein, and took note of the difference between the
creatures, which were better or worse, nobler or meaner; and
thereafter was the outward man of Christ ordered.

Thus the inner man of Christ, according to the right eye of His
soul, stood in the full exercise of His divine nature, in perfect
blessedness, joy and eternal peace. But the outward man and the
left eye of Christ’s soul, stood with Him in perfect suffering,
in all tribulation, affliction and travail; and this in such sort
that the inward and right eye remained unmoved, unhindered and
untouched by all the travail, suffering, grief and anguish that
ever befell the outward man. It hath been said that when Christ
was bound to the pillar and scourged, and when He hung upon the
cross, according to the outward man, yet His inner man, or soul
according to the right eye, stood in as full possession of divine
joy and blessedness as it did after His ascension, or as it doth
now. In like manner His outward man, or soul with the left eye,
was never hindered, disturbed or troubled by the inward eye in
its contemplation of the outward things that belonged to it. 

Now the created soul of man hath also two eyes. The one is the
power of seeing into eternity, the other of seeing into time and
the creatures, of perceiving how they differ from each other as
afore-said, of giving life and needful things to the body, and
ordering and governing it for the best. But these two eyes of the
soul of man cannot both perform their work at once; but if
the__soul shall see with the right eye into eternity, then the
left eye must close itself and refrain from working, and be as
though it were dead. 

For if the left eye be fulfilling its office toward outward
things; that is, holding converse with time and the creatures;
then must the right eye be hindered in its working; that is, in
its contemplation. Therefore whosoever will have the one must let
the other go; for “no man can serve two masters.”

          CHAPTER VIII 

How the Soul of Man, while it is yet in the Body, may obtain a
Foretaste of eternal Blessedness.

It hath been asked whether it be possible for the soul, while it
is yet in the body, to reach so high as to cast a, glance into
eternity, and receive a foretaste of eternal life and eternal
blessedness. This is commonly denied; and truly so in a sense.
For it indeed cannot be so long as the soul is taking heed to the
body, and the things which minister and appertain thereto, and
to time and the creature, and is disturbed and troubled and
distracted thereby. For if the soul shall rise to such a state,
she must be quite pure, wholly stripped and bare of all images,
and be entirely separate from all creatures, and above all from
herself. Now many think this is not to be done and is impossible
in this present time. But St. Dionysius maintains that it is
possible, as we find from his words in his Epistle to Timothy,
where he saith: “For the beholding of the hidden things of God,
shalt thou forsake sense and the things of the flesh, and all
that the senses can apprehend, and that reason of her own powers
can bring forth, and all things created and uncreated that reason
is able to comprehend and know, and shalt take thy stand upon an
utter abandonment of thyself, and as knowing none of the
aforesaid things, and enter into union with Him who is, and who
is above all existence and all knowledge.” Now if he did not hold
this to be possible in this present time, why should he teach it
and enjoin it on us in this present time But it behoveth you to
know that a master hath said on this passage of St. Dionysius,
that it is possible, and may happen to a man often, till he
become so accustomed to it, as to be able to look into eternity
whenever he will. For when a thing is at first very hard to a man
and strange, and seemingly quite impossible, if he put all his
strength and energy into it, and persevere therein, that will
afterward grow quite light and easy, which he at first thought
quite out of reach, seeing that it is of no use to begin any
work, unless it may be brought to a good end.

And a single one of these excellent glances is better, worthier,
higher and more pleasing to God, than all that the creature can
perform as a creature. And as soon as a man turneth himself in
spirit, and with his whole heart and mind entereth into the mind
of God which is above time, all that ever he hath lost is
restored in a moment. And if a man were to do thus a thousand
times in a day, each time a fresh and real union would take
place; and in this sweet and divine work standeth the truest and
fullest union that may be in this present time. For he who hath
attained thereto, asketh nothing further, for he hath found the
Kingdom of Heaven and Eternal Life on earth.

CHAPTER IX

How it is better and more profitable for a Man that he should
perceive what God will do with him, or to what end He will make
Use of him, than if he knew all that Gad had ever wrought, or
would ever work through all the Creatures; and how  Blessedness
lieth alone in God, and not in the Creatures, or in any Works.

We should mark and know of a very truth that all manner of virtue
and goodness, and even that Eternal Good which is God Himself,
can never make a man virtuous, good, or happy, so long as it is
outside the soul; that is, so long as the man is holding converse
with outward things through his senses and reason, and doth not
withdraw into himself and learn to understand his own life, who
and what he is. The like is true of sin and evil. For all manner
of sin and wickedness can never make us evil, so long as it is
outside of us; that is, so long as we do not commit it, or do not
give consent to it.

Therefore although it be good and profitable that we should ask,
and learn and know, what good and holy men have wrought and
suffered, and how God hath dealt with them, and what He hath
wrought in and through them, yet it were a thousand times better
that we should in ourselves learn and perceive and understand,
who we are, how and what our own life is, what God is and is
doing in us, what He will have from us, and to what ends He will
or will not make use of us. For, of a truth, thoroughly to know
oneself, is above all art, for it is the highest art. If thou
knowest thyself well, thou art better and more praiseworthy
before God, than if thou didst not know thyself, but didst
understand the course of the heavens and of all the planets and
stars, also the dispositions of all mankind, also the nature of
all beasts, and, in such matters, hadst all the skill of all who
are in heaven and on earth. For it is said, there came a voice
from heaven, saying, “Man, know thyself.” Thus that proverb is
still true, “Going out were never so good, but staying at home
were much better.”

Further, ye should learn that eternal blessedness lieth in one
thing alone, and in nought else. And if ever man or the soul is
to be made blessed, that one thing alone must be in the soul. Now
some might ask, “But what is that one thing?” I answer, it is
Goodness, or that which hath been made good; and yet neither this
good nor that, which we can name, or perceive or show; but it is
all and above all good things.

Moreover, it needeth not to enter into the soul, for it is there
already, only it is unperceived. When we say we should come unto
it, we mean that we should seek it, feel it, and taste it. And
now since it is One, unity and singleness is better than
manifoldness. For blessedness lieth not in much and many, but in
One and oneness. In one word, blessedness lieth not in any
creature, or work of the creatures, but it lieth alone in God and
in His works. Therefore I must wait only on God and His work, and
leave on one side all creatures with their works, and first of
all myself. In like manner all the great works and wonders that
God has ever wrought or shall ever  work in or through the
creatures, or even God Himself with all His goodness, so far as
these things exist or are done outside of me, can never make me
blessed, but only in so far as they exist and are done and loved,
known, tasted and felt within me.

CHAPTER X

How the perfect Men have no other Desire than that they may be
to the Eternal Goodness what His Hand is to a Man, and how they
have lost the Fear of Hell, and Hope of Heaven.

Now let us mark: Where men are enlightened with the true light,
they perceive that all which they might desire or choose, is
nothing to that which all creatures, as creatures, ever desired
or chose or knew,

Therefore they renounce all desire and choice, and commit and
commend themselves and all things to the Eternal Goodness.
Nevertheless, there remaineth in them a desire to go forward and
get nearer to the Eternal Goodness; that is, to come to a clearer
knowledge, and warmer love, and more comfortable assurance, and
perfect obedience and subjection; so that every enlightened man
could say: “I would fain be to the Eternal Goodness, what His own
hand is to a man.” And he feareth always that he is not enough
so, and longeth for the salvation of all men. And such men do not
call this longing their own, nor take it unto themselves, for
they know well that this desire is not of man, but of the Eternal
Goodness; for whatsoever is good shall no one take unto himself
as his own, seeing that it belongeth to the Eternal Goodness,
only.

Moreover, these men are in a state of freedom, because they have
lost the fear of pain or hell, and the hope of reward or heaven,
but are living in pure submission to the Eternal Goodness, in the
perfect freedom of fervent love. This mind was in Christ in
perfection, and is also in His followers, in some more, and in
some less. But it is a sorrow and shame to think that the Eternal
Goodness is ever most graciously guiding and drawing us, and we
will not yield to it. What is better and nobler than true
poorness in spirit? Yet when that is held up before us, we will
have none of it, but are always seeking ourselves, and our own
things. We like to have our mouths always filled with good
things, that we may have in ourselves a lively taste of pleasure
and sweetness. When this is so, we are well pleased, and think
it standeth not amiss with us. But we are yet a long way off from
a perfect life. For when God will draw us up to something higher,
that is, to an utter loss and forsaking of our own things,
spiritual and natural, and withdraweth His comfort and sweetness
from us, we faint and are troubled, and can in no wise bring our
minds to it; and we forget God and neglect holy exercises, and
fancy we are lost for ever. This is a great error and a bad sign.
For a true lover of God, loveth Him or the Eternal Goodness
alike, in having and in not having, in sweetness and bitterness,
in good or evil report, and the like, for he seeketh alone the
honour of God, and not his own, either in spiritual or natural
things. And therefore he standeth alike unshaken in all things,
at all seasons. Hereby let every man prove himself, how he
standeth towards God, his Creator and Lord.

CHAPTER XI

How a righteous Man in this present Time is brought into hell,
and there cannot be comforted, and how he is taken out of Hell
and carried into Heaven, and there cannot be troubled.

Christ’s soul must needs descend into hell, before it ascended
into heaven. So must also the soul of man. But mark ye in what
manner this cometh to pass. When a man truly Perceiveth and
considereth himself, who and what he is, and findeth himself
utterly vile and wicked, and unworthy of all the comfort and
kindness that he hath ever received from God, or from the
creatures, he falleth into such a deep abasement and despising
of himself, that he thinketh himself unworthy that the earth
should bear him, and it seemeth to him reasonable that all
creatures in heaven and earth should rise up against him and
avenge their Creator on him, and should punish and torment him;
and that he were unworthy even of that. And it seemeth to him
that he shall be eternally lost and damned, and a footstool to
all the devils in hell, and that this is right and just and all
too little compared to his sins which he so often and in so many
ways hath committed against God his Creator. And therefore also
he will not and dare not desire any consolation or release,
either from God or from any creature that is in heaven or on
earth; but he is willing to be unconsoled and unreleased, and he
doth not grieve over his condemnation and sufferings; for they
are right and just, and not contrary to God, but according to the
will of God. Therefore they are right in his eyes, and he hath
nothing to say against them. Nothing grieveth him but his own
guilt and wickedness; for that is not right and is contrary to
God, and for that cause he is grieved and troubled in spirit.

This is what is meant by true repentance for sin. And he who in
this Present time entereth into this hell, entereth afterward
into the Kingdom of Heaven, and obtaineth a foretaste there of
which excelleth all the delight and joy which he ever hath had
or could have in this present time from temporal things. But
whilst a man is thus in hell, none may console him, neither God
nor the creature, as it is written, “In hell there is no
redemption.” Of this state hath one said, “Let me perish, let me
die! I live without hope; from within and from without I am
condemned, let no one pray that I may be released.”

Now God hath not forsaken a man in this hell, but He is laying
His hand upon him, that the man may not desire nor regard
anything but the Eternal Good only, and may come to know that
that is so noble and passing good, that none can search out or
express its bliss, consolation and joy, peace, rest and
satisfaction. And then, when the man neither careth for, nor
seeketh, nor desireth, anything but the Eternal Good alone, and
seeketh not himself, nor his own things, but the honour of God
only, he is made a partaker of all manner of joy, bliss, peace,
rest and consolation, and so the man is henceforth in the Kingdom
of Heaven.

This hell and this heaven are two good, safe ways for a man in
this present time, and happy is he who truly findeth them.

      For this hell shall pass away,      But Heaven shall
endure for aye.

Also let a man mark, when he is in this hell, nothing may console
him; and he cannot believe that he shall ever be released or
comforted. But when he is in heaven, nothing can trouble him; he
believeth also that none will ever be able to offend or trouble
him, albeit it is indeed true, that after this hell he may be
comforted and released, and after this heaven he may be troubled
and left without consolation.

Again: this hell and this heaven come about a man in such sort,
that he knoweth not whence they come; and whether they come to
him, or depart from him, he can of himself do nothing towards it.
Of these things he can neither give nor take away from himself,
bring them nor banish them, but as it is written, “The wind
bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof,”
that is to say, at this time present, “but thou knowest not
whence it cometh, nor whither it goeth.” And when a man is in one
of these two states, all is right with him, and he is as safe in
hell as in heaven, and so long as a man is on earth, it is
possible for him to pass ofttimes from the one into the other;
nay even within the space of a day and night, and all without his
own doing. But when the man is in neither of these two states he
holdeth converse with the creature, and wavereth hither and
thither, and knoweth not what manner of man he is. Therefore he
shall never forget either of them, but lay up the remembrance of
them in his heart.

CHAPTER XII

Touching that true inward Peace, which Christ left to His
Disciples at the last.

Many say they have no peace nor rest, but so many crosses and
trials, afflictions and sorrows, that they know not how they
shall ever get through them. Now he who in truth will perceive
and take note, perceiveth clearly, that true peace and rest lie
not in outward things; for if it were so, the Evil Spirit also
would have peace when things go according to his will which is
nowise the case; for the prophet declareth, “There is no peace,
saith my God, to the wicked”. And therefore we must consider and
see what is that peace which Christ left to His disciples at the
last, when He said: “My peace I leave with you, My peace I give
unto you.” We may perceive that in these words Christ did not
mean a bodily and outward peace; for His beloved disciples, with
all His friends and followers, have ever suffered, from the
beginning, great affliction, persecution, nay, often martyrdom,
as Christ Himself said: “In this world ye shall have
tribulation.” But Christ meant that true, inward peace of the
heart, which beginneth here, and endureth for ever hereafter.
Therefore He said: “Not as the world giveth,” for the world is
false, and deceiveth in her gifts. She promiseth much, and
performeth little. Moreover there liveth no man on earth who may
always have rest and peace without troubles and crosses, with
whom things always go according to his will; there is always
something to be suffered here, turn which way you will. And as
soon as you are quit of one assault, perhaps two come in its
place. Wherefore yield thyself willingly to them, and seek only
that true peace of the heart, which none can take away from thee,
that thou mayest overcome all assaults.

Thus then, Christ meant that inward peace which can break through
all assaults and crosses of oppression, suffering, misery,
humiliation and what more there may be of the like, so that a man
may be joyful and patient therein, like the beloved disciples and
followers of Christ. Now he who will in love give his whole
diligence and might thereto, will verily come to know that true
eternal peace which is God Himself, as far as it is possible to
a creature; insomuch that what was bitter to him before, shall
become sweet, and his heart shall remain unmoved under all
changes, at all times, and after this life, he shall attain unto
everlasting peace.

CHAPTER XIII

How a Man may cast aside Images too soon.

Tauler saith: ” There be some men at the present time, who take
leave of types and symbols too soon, before they have drawn out
all the truth and instruction contained therein.” Hence they are
scarcely or perhaps never able to understand the truth aright.
For such men will follow no one, and lean unto their own
understandings, and desire to fly before they are fledged. They
would fain mount up to heaven in one flight; albeit Christ did
not so, for after His resurrection, He remained full forty days
with His beloved disciples. No one can be made perfect in a day.
A man must begin by denying himself, and willingly forsaking all
things for God’s sake, and must give up his own will, and all his
natural inclinations, and separate and cleanse himself thoroughly
from all sins and evil ways. After this, let him humbly take up
the cross and follow Christ. Also let him take and receive
example and instruction, reproof, counsel and teaching from
devout and perfect servants of God, and not follow his own
guidance. Thus the work shall be established and come to a good
end. And when a man hath thus broken loose from and outleaped all
temporal things and creatures, he may afterwards become perfect
in a life of contemplation. For he who will have the one must let
the other go. There is no other way.

CHAPTER XIV

Of three Stages by which a Man is led upwards till he attaineth
true Perfection.

Now be assured that no one can be enlightened unless he be first
cleansed or purified and stripped. So also, no one can be united
with God unless he be first enlightened. Thus there are three
stages: first, the purification; secondly, the enlightening;
thirdly, the union. The purification concerneth those who are
beginning or repenting, and is brought to pass in a threefold
wise; by contrition and sorrow for sin, by full confession, by
hearty amendment, The enlightening belongeth to such as are
growing, and also taketh place in three ways: to wit, by the
eschewal of sin, by the practice of virtue and good works, and
by the willing endurance of all manner of temptation and trials.
The union belongeth to such as are perfect, and also is brought
to pass in three ways: to wit, by pureness and singleness of
heart, by love, and by the contemplation of God, the Creator of
all things.

CHAPTER XV

How all Men are dead in Adam and are made alive again in Christ,
and of true Obedience and Disobedience.

All that in Adam fell and died, was raised again and made alive
in Christ, and all that rose up and was made alive in Adam, fell
and died in Christ. But what was that? I answer, true obedience
and disobedience. But what is true obedience? I answer, that a
man should so stand free, being quit of himself, that is, of his
I, and Me, and Self, and Mine, and the like, that in all things,
he should no more seek or regard himself, than if he did not
exist, and should take as little account of himself as if he were
not, and another had done all his works. Likewise he should count
all the creatures for nothing. What is there then, which is, and
which we may count for somewhat? I answer, nothing but that which
we may call God. Behold! this is very obedience in the truth, and
thus it will be in a blessed eternity. There nothing is sought
nor thought of, nor loved, but the one thing only.

Hereby we may mark what disobedience is: to wit, that a man
maketh some account of himself, and thinketh that he is, and
knoweth, and can do somewhat, and seeketh himself and his own
ends in the things around him, and hath regard to and loveth
himself, and the like. Man is created for true obedience, and is
bound of right to render it to God. And this obedience fell and
died in Adam, and rose again and lived in Christ. Yea, Christ’s
human nature was so utterly bereft of Self, and apart from all
creatures, as no man’s ever was, and was nothing else but “a
house and habitation of God.” Neither of that in Him which
belonged to God, nor of that which was a living human nature and
a habitation of God, did He, as man, claim anything for His own.
His human nature did not even take unto itself the Godhead, whose
dwelling it was, nor anything that this same Godhead willed, or
did or left undone in Him, nor yet anything of all that His human
nature did or suffered; but in Christ’s human nature there was
no claiming of anything, nor seeking nor desire, saving that what
was due might be rendered to the Godhead, and He did not call
this very desire His own. Of this matter no more can be said, or
written here, for it is unspeakable, and was never yet and never
will be fully uttered; for it can neither be spoken nor written
but by Him who is and knows its ground; that is, God Himself, who
call do all things well.

CHAPTER XVI

Telleth us what is the old Man, and what is the new Man.

Again, when we read of the old man and the new man we must mark
what that meaneth. The old man is Adam and disobedience, the
Self, the Me, and so forth. But the new man is Christ and true
obedience, a giving up and denying oneself of all temporal
things, and seeking the honour of God alone in all things. And
when dying and perishing and the like are spoken of, it meaneth
that the old man should be destroyed, and not seek its own either
in spiritual or in natural things. For where this is brought
about in a true divine light, there the new man is born again.
In like manner, it hath been said that man should die unto
himself, that is, to earthly pleasures, consolations, joys,
appetites, the I, the Self, and all that is thereof in man, to
which he clingeth and on which he is yet leaning with content,
and thinketh much of. Whether it be the man himself, or any other
creature, whatever it be, it must depart and die, if the man is
to be brought aright to another mind, according to the truth.

Thereunto doth St. Paul exhort us, saying: “Put off concerning
the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according
to the deceitful lusts: … and that ye put on the new man, which
after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Now he
who liveth to himself after the old man, is called and is truly
a child of Adam; and though he may give diligence to the ordering
of his life, he is still the child and brother of the Evil
Spirit. But he who liveth in humble obedience and in the new man
which is Christ, he is, in like manner, the brother of Christ and
the child of God.

Behold! where the old man dieth and the new man is born, there
is that second birth of which Christ saith, “Except a man be born
again, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Likewise St.
Paul saith, “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be
made alive.” That is to say, all who follow Adam in pride, in
lust of the flesh, and in disobedience, are dead in soul, and
never will or can be made alive but in Christ. And for this
cause, so long as a man is an Adam or his child, he is without
God. Christ saith, “He who is not with Me is against Me.” Now he
who is against God, is dead before God. Whence it followeth that
all Adam’s children are dead before God. But he who standeth with
Christ in perfect obedience, he is with God and liveth. As it
hath been said already, sin lieth in the turning away of the
creature from the Creator, which agreeth with what we have now
said.

For he who is in disobedience is in sin, and sin can never be
atoned for or healed but by returning to God, and this is brought
to Pass by humble obedience. For so long as a man continueth in
disobedience, his sin can never be blotted out; let him do what
he will, it availeth him nothing. Let us be assured of this. For
disobedience is itself sin. But when a man entereth into the
obedience of the faith, all is healed, and blotted out and
forgiven, and not else. Insomuch that if the Evil Spirit himself
could come into true obedience, he would become an angel again,
and all his sin and wickedness would be healed and blotted out
and forgiven at once. And could an angel fall into disobedience,
he would straightway become an evil spirit although he did
nothing afresh.

If then it were possible for a man to renounce himself and all
things, and to live as wholly and purely in true obedience, as
Christ did in His human nature, such a man were quite without
sin, and were one thing with Christ, and the same by grace which
Christ was by nature. But it is said this cannot be. So also it
is said: “There is none without sin.” But be that as it may, this
much is certain; that the nearer we are to perfect obedience, the
less we sin, and the farther from it we are, the more we sin. In
brief: whether a man be good, better, or best of all; bad, worse,
or worst of all; sinful or saved before God; it all lieth in this
matter of obedience. Therefore it hath been said: the more of
Self and Me, the more of sin and wickedness. So likewise it hath
been said: the more the Self, the I, the Me, the Mine, that is,
self-seeking and selfishness, abate in a man, the more doth God’s
I, that is, God Himself, increase in him.

Now, if all mankind abode in true obedience, there would be no
grief nor sorrow. For if it were so, all men would be at one, and
none would vex or harm another; so also, none would lead a life
or do any deed contrary to God’s will. Whence then should grief
or sorrow arise? But now alas! all men, nay the whole world lieth
in disobedience! Now were a man simply and wholly obedient as
Christ was, all disobedience were to him a sharp and bitter pain.
But though all men were against him, they could neither shake nor
trouble him, for while in this obedience a man were one with God,
and God Himself were one with the man.

Behold now all disobedience is contrary to God, and nothing else.
In truth, no Thing is contrary to God; no creature nor creature’s
work, nor anything that we can name or think of is contrary to
God or displeasing to Him, but only disobedience and the
disobedient man. In short, all that is, is well-pleasing and good
in God’s eyes, saving only the disobedient man. But he is so
displeasing and hateful to God and grieveth Him so sore, that if
it were possible for human nature to die a hundred deaths, God
would willingly suffer them all for one disobedient man, that He
might slay disobedience in him, and that obedience might be born
again.

Behold! albeit no man may be so single and perfect in this
obedience as Christ was, yet it is possible to every man to
approach so near thereunto as to be rightly called Godlike, and
“a partaker of the divine nature.” And the nearer a man cometh
thereunto, and the more Godlike and divine he becometh, the more
he hateth all disobedience, sin, evil and unrighteousness, and
the worse they grieve him. Disobedience and sin are the same
thing, for there is no sin but disobedience, and what is done of:
disobedience is all sin. Therefore all we have to do is to keep
ourselves from disobedience.

CHAPTER XVII

How we are not to take unto ourselves what we have done well: but
only what we have done amiss.

Behold! now it is reported there be some who vainly think and say
that they are so wholly dead to self and quit of it, as to have
reached and abide in a state where they suffer nothing and are
moved by nothing, just as if all men were living in obedience,
or as if there were no creatures. And thus they profess to
continue always in an even temper of mind, so that nothing cometh
amiss to them, howsoever things fall out, well or ill. Nay
verily! the matter standeth not so, but as we have said. It might
be thus, if all men were brought into obedience; but until then,
it cannot be.

But it may be asked: Are not we to be separate from all things,
and neither to take unto ourselves evil nor good? I answer, no
one shall take goodness unto himself, for that belongeth to God
and His goodness only; but thanks be unto the man, and
everlasting reward and blessings, who is fit and ready to be a
dwelling and tabernacle of the Eternal Goodness and Godhead,
wherein God may exert His power, and will and work without
hindrance. But if any now will excuse himself for sin, by
refusing to take what is evil unto himself, and laying the guilt
thereof upon the Evil Spirit, and thus make himself out to be
quite pure and innocent (as our first Parents Adam and Eve did
while they were yet in paradise; when each laid the guilt upon
the other), he hath no right at all to do this; for it is
written, “There is none without sin.” Therefore I say; reproach,
shame, loss, woe, and eternal damnation be to the man who is fit
and ready and willing that the Evil Spirit and falsehood, lies
and all untruthfulness, wickedness and other evil things should
have their will and pleasure, word and work in him, and make him
their house and habitation.

CHAPTER XVIII

How that the Life of Christ is the noblest and best Life that
ever hath been or can be, and how a careless Life of false
Freedom is the worst Life that can be.

Of a truth we ought to know and believe that there is no life so
noble and good and well pleasing to God, as the life of Christ,
and yet it is to nature and selfishness the bitterest life. A
life of carelessness and freedom is to nature and the Self and
the Me, the sweetest and pleasantest life, but it is not the
best; and in some men may become the worst. But though Christ’s
life be the most bitter of all, yet it is to be preferred above
all. Hereby shall ye mark this: There is an inward sight which
hath power to perceive the One true Good, and that it is neither
this nor that, but that of which St. Paul saith; “When that which
is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done
away.” By this he meaneth, that the Whole and Perfect excelleth
all the fragments, and that all which is in part and imperfect,
is as nought compared to the Perfect. Thus likewise all knowledge
of the parts is swallowed up when the Whole is known; and where
that Good is known, it cannot but be longed for and loved so
greatly, that all other love wherewith the man hath loved himself
and other things, fadeth away. And that inward sight likewise
perceiveth what is best and noblest in all things, and loveth it
in the one true Good, and only for the sake of that true Good.

Behold! where there is this inward sight, the man perceiveth of
a truth, that Christ”s life is the best and noblest life, and
therefore the most to be preferred, and he willingly accepteth
and endureth it, without a question or a complaint, whether it
please or offend nature or other men, whether he like or dislike
it, find it sweet or bitter and the like. And therefore wherever
this Perfect and true Good is known, there also the life of
Christ must be led, until the death of the body. And he who
vainly thinketh otherwise is deceived, and he who saith
otherwise, lieth, and in what man the life of Christ is not, of
him the true Good and eternal Truth will nevermore be known.

CHAPTER XIX

How we cannot come to the true Light and Christ’s Life, by much
Questioning or Reading, or by high natural Skill and Reason, but
by truly renouncing ourselves and all Things.

Let no one suppose, that we may attain to this true light and
perfect knowledge, or life of Christ, by much questioning, or by
hearsay, or by reading and study, nor yet by high skill and great
learning. Yea, so long as a man taketh account of anything which
is this or that, whether it be himself, or any other creature;
or doeth anything, or frameth a purpose, for the sake of his own
likings or desires, or opinions, or ends, he cometh not unto the
life of Christ. This hath Christ Himself declared, for He saith:
“If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take
up his cross, and follow Me.” “He that taketh not his cross, and
followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me.” And if he “hate not his
father and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren and
sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.”
He meaneth it thus: “He who doth not forsake and part with
everything, can never know My eternal truth, nor attain unto My
life.” And though this had never been declared unto us, yet the
truth herself sayeth it, for it is so of a truth. But so long as
a man clingeth unto the elements and fragments of this world (and
above all to himself), and holdeth converse with them, and maketh
great account of them, he is deceived and blinded, and perceiveth
what is good no further than as it is most convenient and
pleasant to himself and profitable to his own ends. These he
holdeth to be the highest good and loveth above all. Thus he
never cometh to the truth.

CHAPTER XX

How, seeing that the Life of Christ is most bitter to Nature and
Self, Nature will have none of it, and chooseth a false careless
Life, as is most convenient to her.

Now, since the life of Christ is every way most bitter to nature
and the Self and the Me (for in the true life of Christ, the Self
and the Me and nature must be forsaken and lost, and die
altogether), therefore, in each of us, nature hath a horror of
it, and thinketh it evil and unjust and a folly, and graspeth
after such a life as shall be most comfortable and pleasant to
herself, and saith, and believeth also in her blindness, that
such a life is the best possible. Now, nothing is so comfortable
and pleasant to nature, as a free, careless way of life,
therefore she clingeth to that, and taketh enjoyment in herself
and her own powers, and looketh only to her own peace and comfort
and the like. And this happeneth most of all, where there are
high natural gifts of reason, for that soareth upwards in its own
light and by its own power, till at last it cometh to think
itself the true Eternal Light, and giveth itself out as such, and
is thus deceived in itself, and deceiveth other people along with
it, who know no better, and also are thereunto inclined.

CHAPTER XXI

How a friend of Christ willingly fulfilleth by his outward Works,
such Things as must be and ought to be, and doth not concern
himself with the rest.

Now, it may be asked, what is the state of a man who followeth
the true Light to the utmost of his power? I answer truly, it
will never be declared aright, for he who is not such a man, can
neither understand nor know it, and he who is, knoweth it indeed;
but he cannot utter it, for it is unspeakable. Therefore let him
who would know it, give his whole diligence that he may enter
therein; then will he see and find what hath never been uttered
by man’s lips. However, I believe that such a man hath liberty
as to his outward walk and conversation, so long as they consist
with what must be or ought to be; but they may not consist with
what he merely willeth to be. But oftentimes a man maketh to
himself many must-be’s and ought-to-be’s which are false. The
which ye may see hereby, that when a man is moved by his pride
or covetousness or other evil dispositions, to do or leave undone
anything, he ofttimes saith, “It must needs be so, and ought to
be so.” Or if he is driven to, or held back from anything by the
desire to find favour in men’s eyes, or by love, friendship,
enmity, or the lusts and appetites of his body, he saith, “It
must needs be so, and ought to be so.” Yet behold, that is
utterly false. Had we no must-be’s, nor ought-to-be’s, but such
as God and the Truth show us, and constrain us to, we should have
less, forsooth, to order and do than now; for we make to
ourselves much disquietude and difficulty which we might well be
spared and raised above.

CHAPTER XXII

How sometimes the Spirit of God, and sometimes also the Evil
Spirit may possess a Man and have the mastery over him.

It is written that sometimes the Devil and his spirit do so enter
into and possess a man, that he knoweth not what he doeth and
leaveth undone, and hath no power over himself, but the Evil
Spirit hath the mastery over him, and doeth and leaveth undone
in, and with, and through, and by the man what he will. It is
true in a sense that all the world is subject to and possessed
with the Evil Spirit, that is, with lies, falsehood, and other
vices and evil ways; this also cometh of the Evil Spirit, but in
a different sense,

Now, a man who should be in like manner possessed by the Spirit
of God, so that he should not know what he doeth or leaveth
undone, and have no power over himself, but the will and Spirit
of God should have the mastery over him, and work, and do, and
leave undone with him and by him, what and as God would; such a
man were one of those of whom St. Paul saith: “For as many as are
led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God,” and they
“are not under the law, but under grace,” and to whom Christ
saith: “For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your
Father which speaketh in you.”

But I fear that for one who is truly possessed with the Spirit
of God, there are a hundred thousand or an innumerable multitude
possessed with the Evil Spirit. This is because men have more
likeness to the Evil Spirit than to God. For the Self, the I, the
Me and the like, all belong to the Evil Spirit, and therefore it
is, that he is an Evil Spirit. Behold one or two words can utter
all that hath been said by these many words: “Be simply and
wholly bereft of Self.” But by these many words, the matter hath
been more fully sifted, proved, and set forth.

Now men say, “I am in no wise prepared for this work, and
therefore it cannot be wrought in me,” and thus they find an
excuse, so that they neither are ready nor in the way to be so.
And truly there is no one to blame for this but themselves. For
if a man were looking and striving after nothing but to find a
preparation in all things, and diligently gave his whole mind to
see how he might become prepared; verily God would well prepare
him, for God giveth as much care and earnestness and love to the
preparing of a man, as to the pouring in of His Spirit when the
man is prepared.

Yet there be certain means thereunto, as the saying is, “To learn
an art which thou knowest not, four things are needful.” The
first and most needful of all is, a great desire and diligence
and constant endeavour to learn the art. And where this is
wanting, the art will never be learned. The second is, a copy or
ensample by which thou mayest learn. The third is to give earnest
heed to the master, and watch how he worketh, and to be obedient
to him in all things, and to trust him and follow him. The fourth
is to put thy own hand to the work, and practise it with all
industry. But where one of these four is wanting, the art will
never be learned and mastered. So likewise is it with this
preparation. For he who hath the first, that is, thorough
diligence and constant, persevering desire towards his end, will
also seek and find all that appertaineth thereunto, or is
serviceable and profitable to it. But he who hath not that
earnestness and diligence, love and desire, seeketh not, and
therefore findeth not, and therefore remaineth ever unprepared.
And therefore he never attaineth unto that end.

CHAPTER XXIlI

He who will submit himself to God and be obedient to Him, must
be ready to bear with all Things; to wit, God, himself, and all
Creatures, and must be obedient to them all whether he have to
suffer or to do.

There be some who talk of other ways and preparations to this
end, and say we must lie still under God’s hand, and be obedient
and resigned and submit to Him. This is true; for all this would
be perfected in a man who should attain to the uttermost that can
be reached in this present time. But if a man ought and is
willing to lie still under God’s hand, he must and ought also to
be still under all things, whether they come from God himself,
or the creatures, nothing excepted. And he who would be obedient,
resigned and submissive to God, must and ought to be also
resigned, obedient and submissive to all things, in a spirit of
yielding, and not of resistance, and take them in silence,
resting on the hidden foundations of his soul, and having a
secret inward patience, that enableth him to take all chances or
crosses willingly, and whatever befalleth, neither to call for
nor desire any redress, or deliverance, or resistance, or
revenge, but always in a loving, sincere humility to cry,
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!”

Behold! this were a good path to that which is Best, and a noble
and blessed preparation for the farthest goal which a man may
reach in this present time. This is the lovely life of Christ,
for He walked in the aforesaid paths perfectly and wholly unto
the end of His bodily life on earth. Therefore there is no other
and better way or preparation to the joyful life of Jesus Christ,
than this same course, and to exercise oneself therein, as much
as may be. And of what belongeth thereunto we have already said
somewhat; nay, all that we have here or elsewhere said and
written, is but a way or means to that end. But what the end is,
knoweth no man to declare. But let him who would know it, follow
my counsel and take the right path thereunto, which is the humble
life of Jesus Christ; let him strive after that with unwearied
perseverance, and so, without doubt, he shall come to that end
which endureth for ever. “For he that endureth to the end shall
be saved.”

CHAPTER XXIV

How that four Things are needful before a Man can receive divine
Truth and be possessed with the Spirit of God.

Moreover there are yet other ways to the lovely life of Christ,
besides those we have spoken of: to wit, that God and man should
be wholly united, so that it can be said of a truth, that God and
man are one. This cometh to Pass on this wise. Where the Truth
always reigneth, so that true perfect God and true perfect man
are at one, and man so giveth place to God, that God Himself is
there and yet the man too, and this same unity worketh
continually, and doeth and leaveth undone without any I, and Me,
and Mine, and the like; behold, there is Christ, and nowhere
else. Now, seeing that here there is true perfect manhood, so
there is a perfect perceiving and feeling of pleasure and pain,
liking and disliking, sweetness and bitterness, joy and sorrow,
and all that can be perceived and felt within and without. And
seeing that God is here made man, He is also able to perceive and
feel love and hatred, evil and good and the like. As a man who
is not God, feeleth and taketh note of all that giveth him
pleasure and pain, and it pierceth him to the heart, especially
what offendeth him; so is it also when God and man are one, and
yet God is the man; there everything is perceived and felt that
is contrary to God and man. And since there man becometh nought,
and God alone is everything, so is it with that which is contrary
to man, and a sorrow to him. And this must hold true of God so
long as a bodily and substantial life endureth.

Furthermore, mark ye, that the one Being in whom God and man are
united, standeth free of himself and of all things, and whatever
is in him is there for God’s sake and not for man’s, or the
creature’s. For it is the property of God to be without this and
that, and without Self and Me, and without equal or fellow; but
it is the nature and property of the creature to seek itself and
its own things, and this and that, here and there; and in all
that it doeth and leaveth undone its desire is to its own
advantage and profit. Now where a creature or a man forsaketh and
cometh out of himself and his own things, there God entereth in
with His own, that is, with Himself

CHAPTER XXV

Of two evil Fruits that do spring up from the Seed of the Evil
Spirit, and are two Sisters who love to dwell together. The one
is called spiritual Pride and Highmindedness, the other is false,
lawless Freedom.

Now, after that a man hath walked in all the ways that lead him
unto the truth, and exercised himself therein, not sparing his
labour; now, as often and as long as he dreameth that his work
is altogether finished, and he is by this time quite dead to the
world, and come out from Self and given up to God alone, behold!
the Devil cometh and soweth his seed in the man’s heart. From
this seed spring two fruits; the one is spiritual fulness or
pride, the other is false, lawless freedom. These are two sisters
who love to be together. Now, it beginneth on this wise : the
Devil puffeth up the man, till he thinketh himself to have
climbed the topmost pinnacle, and to have come so near to heaven,
that he no longer needeth Scripture, nor teaching, nor this nor
that, but is altogether raised above any need. Whereupon there
ariseth a false peace and satisfaction with himself, and then it
followeth that he saith or thinketh: “Yea, now I am above all
other men, and know and understand more than any one in the
world; therefore it is certainly just and reasonable that I
should be the lord and commander of all creatures, and that all
creatures, and especially all men, should serve me and be subject
unto me.” And then he seeketh and desireth the same, and taketh
it gladly from all creatures, especially men, and thinketh
himself well worthy of all this, and that it is his due, and
looketh on men as if they were the beasts of the field, and
thinketh himself worthy of all that ministereth to his body and
life and nature, in profit, or joy, or pleasure, or even pastime
and amusement, and he seeketh and taketh it wherever he findeth
opportunity. And whatever is done or can be done for him, seemeth
him all too little and too poor, for he thinketh himself worthy
of still more and greater honour than can be rendered to him. And
of all the men who serve him and are subject to him, even if they
be downright thieves and murderers, he saith nevertheless, that
they have faithful, noble hearts, and have great love and
faithfulness to the truth and to poor men. And such men are
praised by him, and he seeketh them and followeth after them
wherever they be. But he who doth not order himself according to
the will of these high-minded men, nor is subject unto them, is
not sought after by them, nay, more likely blamed and spoken ill
of, even though he were as holy as St. Peter himself. And seeing
that this proud and puffed-up spirit thinketh that she needeth
neither Scripture, nor instruction, nor anything of the kind,
therefore she giveth no heed to the admonitions, order, laws and
precepts of the holy Christian Church, nor to the Sacraments, but
mocketh at them and at all men who walk according to these
ordinances and hold them in reverence. Hereby we may plainly see
that those two sisters dwell together.

Moreover since this sheer pride thinketh to know and understand
more than all men besides, therefore she chooseth to prate more
than all other men, and would fain have her opinions and speeches
to be alone regarded and listened to, and counteth all that
others think and say to be wrong, and holdeth it in derision as
a folly.

CHAPTER XXVI

Touching Poorness of Spirit and true Humility and whereby we may
discern the true and lawful free Men whom the Truth hath made
free.

But it is quite otherwise where there is poorness of spirit, and
true humility; and it is so because it is found and known of a
truth that a man, of himself and his own power, is nothing, hath
nothing, can do and is capable of nothing but only infirmity and
evil. Hence followeth that the man findeth himself altogether
unworthy of all that hath been or ever will be done for him, by
God or the creatures, and that he is a debtor to God and also to
all the creatures in God’s stead, both to bear with, and to
labour for, and to serve them. And therefore he doth not in any
wise stand up for his own rights, but from the humility of his
heart he saith, “It is just and reasonable that God and all
creatures should be against me, and have a right over me, and to
me, and that I should not be against any one, nor have a right
to anything.” Hence it followeth that the man doth not and will
not crave or beg for anything, either from God or the creatures,
beyond mere needful things, and for those only with
shamefacedness, as a favour and not as a right. And he will not
minister unto or gratify his body or any of his natural desires,
beyond what is needful, nor allow that any should help or serve
him except in case of necessity, and then always in trembling;
for he hath no right to anything and therefore he thinketh
himself unworthy of anything. So likewise all his own discourse,
ways, words and works seem to this man a thing of nought and a
folly. Therefore he speaketh little, and doth not take upon
himself to admonish or rebuke any, unless he be constrained
thereto by love or faithfulness towards God, and even then he
doth it in fear, and so little as may be.

Moreover, when a man hath this poor and humble spirit, he cometh
to see and understand aright, how that all men are bent upon
themselves, and inclined to evil and sin, and that on this
account it is needful and profitable that there be order,
customs, law and precepts, to the end that the blindness and
foolishness of men may be corrected, and that vice and wickedness
may be kept under, and constrained to seemliness. For without
ordinances, men would be much more mischievous and ungovernable
than dogs and cattle. And few have come to the knowledge of the
truth but what have begun with holy practices and ordinances, and
exercised themselves therein so long as they knew nothing more
nor better.

Therefore one who is poor in spirit and of a humble mind doth not
despise or make light of law, order, precepts and holy customs,
nor yet of those who observe and cleave wholly to them, but with
loving pity and gentle sorrow, crieth: “Almighty Father, Thou
Eternal Truth, I make my lament unto Thee, and it grieveth Thy
Spirit too, that through man’s blindness, infirmity, and sin,
that is made needful and must be, which in deed and truth were
neither needful nor right.” For those who are perfect are under
no law.

So order, laws, precepts and the like are merely an admonition
to men who understand nothing better and know and perceive not
wherefore all law and order is ordained. And the perfect accept
the law along with such ignorant men as understand and know
nothing better, and practise it with them, to the intent that
they may be restrained thereby, and kept from evil ways, or if
it be possible, brought to something higher,

Behold! all that we have said of poverty and humility is so of
a truth, and we have the proof and witness thereof in the pure
life of Christ, and in His words. For He both practised and
fulfilled every work of true humility and all other virtues, as
shineth forth in His holy life, and He saith also expressly:
“Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly of heart: and ye shall find
rest unto your souls.” Moreover He did not despise and set at
nought the law and the commandments, nor yet the men who are
under the law. He saith: “I am not come to destroy the law or the
prophets, but to fulfil.” But he saith further, that to keep them
is not enough, we must press forward to what is higher and
better, as is indeed true. He saith: “Except your righteousness
shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye
shall in no case enter into the kingdom of Heaven.” For the law
forbiddeth evil works, but Christ condemneth also evil thoughts;
the law alloweth us to take vengeance on our enemies, but Christ
commandeth us to love them. The law forbiddeth not the good
things of this world, but He counselleth us to despise them. And
He hath set His seal upon all He said, with His own holy life;
for He taught nothing that He did not fulfil in work, and He kept
the law and was subject unto it to the end of His mortal life.
Likewise St. Paul saith: “Christ was made under the law, to
redeem them that were under the law.” That is, that He might
bring them to something higher and nearer to Himself. He said
again, “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to
minister.”

In a word: in Christ’s life and words and works, we find nothing
but true, pure humility and poverty such as we have set forth.
And therefore where God dwelleth in a man, and the man is a true
follower of Christ, it will be, and must be, and ought to be the
same. But where there is pride, and a haughty spirit, and a light
careless mind, Christ is not, nor any true follower of His.

Christ said: “My soul is troubled, even unto death.” He meaneth
His bodily death. That is to say: from the time that He was born
of Mary, until His death on the cross, He had not one joyful day,
but only trouble, sorrow and contradiction. Therefore it is just
and reasonable that His servants should be even as their Master.
Christ saith also: “Blessed are the poor in spirit” (that is,
those who are truly humble), “for theirs is the kingdom of
Heaven.” And thus we find it of a truth, where God is made man.
For in Christ and in all His true followers, there must needs be
thorough humility and poorness of spirit, a lowly retiring
disposition, and a heart laden with a secret sorrow and mourning,
so long as this mortal life lasteth. And he who dreameth
otherwise is deceived, and deceiveth others with him as
aforesaid. Therefore nature and Self always avoid this life, and
cling to a life of false freedom and ease, as we have said.

Behold! now cometh an Adam or an Evil Spirit, wishing to justify
himself and make excuse, and saith: “Thou wilt almost have it
that Christ was bereft of self and the like, yet He spake often
of Himself, and glorified Himself in this and that.” Answer: when
a man in whom the truth worketh, hath and ought to have a will
towards anything, his will and endeavour and works are for no
end, but that the truth may be seen and manifested; and this will
was in Christ, and to this end, words and works were needful. And
what Christ did because it was the most profitable and best means
thereunto, He no more took unto Himself than anything else that
happened. Dost thou say now : “Then there was a Wherefore in
Christ”? I answer, if thou wert to ask the sun, “Why shinest
thou? ” he would say: “I must shine, and cannot do otherwise, for
it is my nature and property; but this my property, and the light
I give, is not of myself, and I do not call it mine.” So likewise
is it with God and Christ and all who are godly and belong unto
God. In them is no willing, nor working nor desiring but has for
its end, goodness as goodness, for the sake of goodness, and they
have no other Wherefore than this.

CHAPTER XXVII

How we are to take Christ’s Words when He bade forsake all
Things; and wherein the Union with the Divine Will standeth.

Now, according to what hath been said, ye must observe that when
we say, as Christ also saith, that we ought to resign and forsake
all things, this is not to be taken in the sense that a man is
neither to do nor to purpose anything; for a man must always have
something to do and to order so long as he liveth. But we are to
understand by it that the union with God standeth not in any
man’s powers, in his working or abstaining, perceiving or
knowing, nor in that of all the creatures taken together.

Now what is this union? It is that we should be of a truth
purely, simply, and wholly at one with the One Eternal Will of
God, or altogether without will, so that the created will should
flow out into the Eternal Will, and be swallowed up and lost
therein, so that the Eternal Will alone should do and leave
undone in us, Now mark what may help or further us towards this
end. Behold, neither exercises, nor words, nor works, nor any
creature nor creature’s work can do this. In this wise therefore
must we renounce and forsake all things, that we must not imagine
or suppose that any words, works, or exercises, any skill or
cunning or any created thing can help or serve us thereto.
Therefore we must suffer these things to be what they are, and
enter into the union with God. Yet outward things must be, and
we must do and refrain so far as is necessary, especially we must
sleep and wake, walk and stand still, speak and be silent and
much more of the like. These must go on so long as we live.

CHAPTER XXVIII

How, after a Union with the Divine Will, the in ward Man standeth
immoveable, the while the outward Man is moved hither and
thither.

Now, when this union truly cometh to pass and becometh
established, the inward man standeth henceforward immoveable in
this union; and God suffereth the outward man to be moved hither
and thither, from this to that, of such things as are necessary
and right. So that the outward man saith in sincerity “I have no
will to be or not to be, to live or die, to know or not to know,
to do or to leave undone and the like; but I am ready for all
that is to be, or ought to be, and obedient thereunto, whether
I have to do or to suffer.” And thus the outward man hath no
Wherefore or purpose, but only to do his part to further the
Eternal Will. For it is perceived of a truth, that the inward man
shall stand immoveable, and that it is needful for the outward
man to be moved. And if the inward man have any Wherefore in the
actions of the outward man, he saith only that such things must
be and ought to be, as are ordained by the Eternal Will. And
where God Himself dwelleth in the man, it is thus; as we plainly
see in Christ. Moreover, where there is this union, which is the
offspring of a Divine light and dwelleth in its beams, there is
no spiritual pride or irreverent spirit, but boundless humility,
and a lowly broken heart; also an honest blameless walk, justice,
peace, content, and all that is of virtue must needs be there.
Where they are not, there is no right union, as we have said. For
just as neither this thing nor that can bring about or further
this union, so there is nothing which hath power to frustrate or
hinder it, save the man himself with his self-will, that doeth
him this great wrong. Of this be well assured.

CHAPTER XXIX

How a Man may not attain so high before Death as not to be moved
or touched by outward Things.

There be some who affirm, that a man, while in this present time,
may and ought to be above being touched by outward things, and
in all respects as Christ was after His resurrection. This they
try to prove and establish by Christ’s words: “I go before you
into Galilee there; shall ye see Me.” And again, “A spirit hath
not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have.” These sayings they
interpret thus: ” As ye have seen Me, and been followers of Me,
in My mortal body and life, so also it behoveth you to see Me and
follow Me, as I go before you into Galilee; that is to say, into
a state in which nothing hath power to move or grieve the soul;
on which state ye shall enter, and live and continue therein,
before that ye have suffered and gone through your bodily death.
And as ye see Me having flesh and bones, and not liable to
suffer, so shall ye likewise, while yet in the body and having
your mortal nature, cease to feel outward things, were it even
the death of the body.”

Now, I answer, in the first place, to this affirmation, that
Christ did not mean that a man should or could attain unto this
state, unless he have first gone through and suffered all that
Christ did. Now, Christ did not attain thereunto, before He had
passed through and suffered His natural death, and what things
appertain thereto. Therefore no man can or ought to come to it
so long as he is mortal and liable to suffer. For if such a state
were the noblest and best, and if it were possible and right to
attain to it, as aforesaid, in this present time, then it would
have been attained by Christ; for the life of Christ is the best
and noblest, the worthiest and loveliest in God’s sight that ever
was or will be. Therefore if it was not and could not be so with
Christ, it will never be so with any man. Therefore though some
may imagine and say that such a life is the best and noblest
life, yet it is not so.

CHAPTER XXX

On what wise we may came to be beyond and above all Custom,
Order, Law, Precepts and the like.

Some say further, that we can and ought to get beyond all virtue,
all custom and order, all law, precepts and seemliness, so that
all these should be laid aside, thrown off and set at nought.
Herein there is some truth, and some falsehood. Behold and mark:
Christ was greater than His own life, and above all virtue,
custom, ordinances and the like, and so also is the Evil Spirit
above them, but with a difference. For Christ was and is above
them on this wise, that His words, and works, and ways, His
doings and refrainings, His speech and silence, His sufferings,
and whatsoever happened to Him, were not forced upon Him, neither
did He need them, neither were they of any profit to Himself. It
was and is the same with all manner of virtue, order, laws,
decency, and the like; for all that may be reached by them is
already in Christ to perfection. In this sense, that saying of
St. Paul is true and receiveth its fulfilment, “As many as are
led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God,” “and are not
under the law, but under grace.” That meaneth, man need not teach
them what they are to do or abstain from; for their Master, that
is, the Spirit of God, shall verily teach them what is needful
for them to know. Likewise they do not need that men should give
them precepts, or command them to do right and not to do wrong,
and the like; for the same admirable Master who teacheth them
what is good or not good, what is higher and lower, and in short
leadeth them into all truth, He reigneth also within them, and
biddeth them to hold fast that which is good, and to let the rest
go, and to Him they give ear. Behold! in this sense they need not
to wait upon any law, either to teach or to command them. In
another sense also they need no law; namely, in order to seek or
win something thereby or get any advantage for themselves. For
whatever help toward eternal life, or furtherance in the way
everlasting, they might obtain from the aid, or counsel, or
words, or works of any creature, they possess already beforehand.
Behold! in this sense also it is true, that we may rise above all
law and virtue, and also above the works and knowledge and powers
of any creature.

CHAPTER XXXI

How we are not to cast off the Life of Christ, but practise it
diligently, and walk in it until Death

But that other thing which they affirm, how that we ought to
throw off and cast aside the life of Christ, and all laws and
commandments, customs and order and the like, and pay no heed to
them, but despise and make light of them, is altogether false and
a lie. Now some may say; “Since neither Christ nor others can
ever gain anything, either by a Christian life, or by all these
exercises and ordinances, and the like, nor turn them to any
account, seeing that they possess already all that can be had
through them, what cause is there why they should not henceforth
eschew them altogether?” Must they still retain and practise
them?”

Behold, ye must look narrowly into this matter. There are two
kinds of Light; the one is true and the other is false. The true
light is that Eternal Light which is God; or else it is a created
light, but yet divine, which is called grace. And these are both
the true Light. So is the false light Nature or of Nature. But
why is the first true, and the second false? This we can better
perceive than say or write. To God, as Godhead, appertain neither
will, nor knowledge, nor manifestation, nor anything that we can
name, or say, or conceive. But to God as God, it belongeth to
express Himself, and know and love Himself, and to reveal Himself
to Himself; and all this without any creature. And all this
resteth in God as a substance but not as a working, so long as
there is no creature. And out of this expressing and revealing
of Himself unto Himself, ariseth the distinction of Persons. But
when God as God is made man, or where God dwelleth in a godly
man, or one who is “made a partaker of the divine nature,” in
such a man somewhat appertaineth unto God which is His own, and
belongeth to Him only and not to the creature. And without the
creature, this would lie in His own Self as a Substance or
well-spring, but would not be manifested or wrought out into
deeds. Now God will have it to be exercised and clothed in a
form, for it is there only to be wrought out and executed. What
else is it for? Shall it lie idle? What then would it profit? As
good were it that it had never been; nay better, for what is of
no use existeth in vain, and that is abhorred by God and Nature.
However God will have it wrought out, and this cannot come to
pass (which it ought to do) without the creature. Nay, if there
ought not to be, and were not this and that – works, and a world
full of real things, and the like, – what were God Himself, and
what had He to do, and whose God would He be? Here we must turn
and stop, or we might follow this matter and grope along until
we knew not where we were, nor how we should find our way out
again.

CHAPTER XXXII

How God is a true, simple, perfect Good, and how He is a Light
and a Reason and all Virtues, and how what is highest and best,
that is, God, ought to be most loved by us.

In short, I would have you to understand, that God (in so far as
He is good) is goodness as goodness, and not this or that good.
But here mark one thing. Behold! what is sometimes here and
sometimes there is not everywhere, and above all things and
places; so also, what is to-day, or to-morrow, is not always, at
all times, and above all time; and what is some thing, this or
that, is not all things and above all things. Now behold, if God
were some thing, this or that, He would not be all in all, and
above all, as He is; and so also, He would not be true
Perfection, Therefore God is, and yet He is neither this nor that
which the creature, as creature, can perceive, name, conceive or
express. Therefore if God (in so far as He is good) were this or
that good, He would not be all good, and therefore He would not
be the One Perfect Good, which He is. Now God is also a Light and
a Reason, the property of which is to give light and shine, and
take knowledge; and inasmuch as God is Light and Reason, He must
give light and perceive. And all this giving and perceiving of
light existeth in God without the creature; not as a work
fulfilled, but as a substance or well-spring. But for it to flow
out into a work, something really done and accomplished, there
must be creatures through whom this can come to pass. Look ye:
where this Reason and Light is at work in a creature, it
perceiveth and knoweth and teacheth what itself is; how that it
is good in itself and neither this thing nor that thing. This
Light and Reason knoweth and teacheth men, that it is a true,
simple, perfect Good, which is neither this nor that special
good, but comprehendeth every kind of good.

Now, having declared that this Light teacheth the One Good, what
doth it teach concerning it? Give heed to this. Behold! even as
God is the one Good and Light and Reason, so is He also Will and
Love and Justice and Truth, and in short all virtues. But all
these are in God one Substance, and none of them can be put in
exercise and wrought out into deeds without the creature, for in
God, without the creature, they are only as a Substance or
well-spring, not as a work. But where the One, who is yet all
these, layeth hold of a creature, and taketh possession of it,
and directeth and maketh use of it, so that He may perceive in
it somewhat of His own, behold, in so far as He is Will and Love,
He is taught of Himself, seeing that He is also Light and Reason,
and He willeth nothing but that One thing which He is.

Behold! in such a creature, there is no longer anything willed
or loved but that which is good, because it is good, and for no
other reason than that it is good, not because it is this or
that, or pleaseth or displeaseth such a one, is pleasant or
painful, bitter or sweet, or what not. All this is not asked
about nor looked at. And such a creature doth nothing for its own
sake, or in its own name, for it hath quitted all Self, and Me,
and Mine, and We and Ours, and the like, and these are departed.
It no longer saith, “I love myself, or this or that, or what
not.” And if you were to ask Love, “What lovest thou?” she would
answer, “I love Goodness.” “Wherefore?” “Because it is good, and
for the sake of Goodness.” So it is good and just and right to
deem that if there were ought better than God, that must be loved
better than God. And thus God loveth not Himself as Himself, but
as Goodness. And if there were, and He knew, ought better than
God, He would love that and not Himself. Thus the Self and the
Me are wholly sundered from God, and belong to Him only in so far
as they are necessary for Him to be a Person.

Behold! all that we have said must indeed come to pass in a
Godlike man, or one who is truly “made a partaker of the divine
nature”; for else he would not be truly such.

CHAPTER XXXIII

How when a Man is made truly Godlike, his Love is pure and
unmixed, and he loveth all Creatures, and doth his best for them.

Hence it followeth, that in a truly Godlike man, his love is pure
and unmixed, and full of kindness, insomuch that he cannot but
love in sincerity all men and things, and wish well, and do good
to them, and rejoice in their welfare. Yea, let them do what they
will to such a man, do him wrong or kindness, bear him love or
hatred or the like, yea, if one could kill such a man a hundred
times over, and he always came to life again, he could not but
love the very man who had so often slain him, although he had
been treated so unjustly, and wickedly, and cruelly by him, and
could not but wish well, and do well to him, and show him the
very greatest kindness in his power, if the other would but only
receive and take it at his hands. The proof and witness whereof
may be seen in Christ; for He said to Judas, when he betrayed
Him: ” Friend, wherefore art thou come?” Just as if He had said:
“Thou hatest Me, and art Mine enemy, yet I love thee and am thy
friend. Thou desirest and rejoicest in My affliction, and dost
the worst thou canst unto Me; yet I desire and wish thee all
good, and would fain give it thee, and do it for thee, if thou
wouldst but take and receive it.” As though God in human nature
were saying: “I am pure, simple Goodness, and therefore I cannot
will, or desire, or rejoice in, or do or give anything but
goodness. If I am to reward thee for thy evil and wickedness, I
must do it with goodness, for I am and have nothing else.” Hence
therefore God, in a man who is “made partaker of His nature,”
desireth and taketh no revenge for all the wrong that is or can
be done unto Him. This we see in Christ, when He said: “Father,
forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Likewise it is God’s property that He doth not constrain any by
force to do or not to do anything, but He alloweth every man to
do and leave undone according to his will, whether it be good or
bad, and resisteth none. This too we see in Christ, who would not
resist or defend Himself when His enemies laid hands on Him. And
when Peter would have defended Him, He said unto Peter: “Put up
thy sword into the sheath: the cup which My Father hath given Me,
shall I not drink it?” Neither may a man who is made a partaker
of the divine nature, oppress or grieve any one. That is, it
never entereth into his thoughts, or intents, or wishes, to cause
pain or distress to any, either by deed or neglect, by speech or
silence.

CHAPTER XXXIV

How that if a Man will attain to that which is best, he must
forswear his own Will; and he who helpeth a Man to his own Will
helpeth him to the worst Thing he can.

Some may say: “Now since God willeth and desireth and doeth the
best that may be to every one, He ought so to help each man and
order things for him, that they should fall out according to his
will and fulfil his desires, so that one might be a Pope, another
a Bishop, and so forth.” Be assured, he who helpeth a man to his
own will, helpeth him to the worst that he can. For the more a
man followeth after his own self-will, and self-will groweth in
him, the farther off is he from God, the true Good, for nothing
burneth in hell but self-will. Therefore it hath been said, “Put
off thine own will, and there will be no hell.” Now God is very
willing to help a man and bring him to that which is best in
itself, and is of all things the best for man. But to this end,
all self-will must depart, as we have said. And God would fain
give man His help and counsel thereunto, for so long as a man is
seeking his own good, he doth not seek what is best for him, and
will never find it. For a man’s highest good would be and truly
is, that he should not seek himself nor his own things, nor be
his own end in any respect, either in things spiritual or things
natural, but should seek only the praise and glory of God and His
holy will. This doth God teach and admonish us. Let him therefore
who wisheth that God should help him to what is best, and best
for him, give diligent heed to God’s counsels and teachings, and
obey His commandments; thus, and not else, will he have, and hath
already, God’s help. Now God teacheth and admonisheth man to
forsake himself and all things, and to follow Him only. ” For he
who loveth his soul,” that is himself, and will guard it and keep
it, “he shall lose it”; that is, he who seeketh himself and his
own advantage in all things, in so doing loseth his soul. “But
he who hateth his soul for My sake shall keep it unto life
eternal”; that is, he who forsaketh himself and his own things,
and giveth up his own will, and fulfilleth God’s will, his soul
will be kept and preserved unto Life Eternal.

CHAPTER XXXV

How there is deep and true Humility and Poorness of Spirit in a
Man who is “made a Partaker of the Divine Nature.”

Moreover, in a man who is “made a partaker of the divine nature,”
there is a thorough and deep humility, and where this is not, the
man hath not been “made a partaker of the divine nature.” So
Christ taught in words and fulfilled in works. And this humility
springeth up in the man, because in the true Light he seeth (as
it also really is) that Substance, Life, Perceiving, Knowledge,
Power, and what is thereof, do all belong to the True Good, and
not to the creature; but that the creature of itself is nothing
and hath nothing, and that when it turneth itself aside from the
True Good in will or in works, nothing is left to it but pure
evil. And therefore it is true to the very letter, that the
creature, as creature, hath no worthiness in itself, and no right
to anything, and no claim over any one, either over God or over
the creature, and that it ought to give itself up to God and
submit to Him because this is just. And this is the chiefest and
most weighty matter.

Now, if we ought to be, and desire to be, obedient and submit
unto God, we must also submit to what we receive at the hands of
any of His creatures, or our submission is all false. From this
latter article floweth true humility, as indeed it doth also from
the former. And unless this verily ought to be, and were wholly
agreeable to God’s justice, Christ would not have taught it in
words, and fulfilled it in His life. And herein there is a
veritable manifestation of God; and it is so of a truth, that of
God’s truth and justice this creature shall be subject to God and
all creatures, and no thing or person shall be subject or
obedient to her. God and all the creatures have a right over her
and to her, but she hath a right to nothing: she is a debtor to
all, and nothing is owing to her, so that she shall be ready to
bear all things from others, and also if needs be to do all
things for others. And out of this groweth that poorness of
spirit of which Christ said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit”
(that is to say, the truly humble), “for theirs is the Kingdom
of Heaven.” All this hath Christ taught in words and fulfilled
with His life.

CHAPTER XXXVI

How nothing is contrary to God but Sin only; and what Sin is in
Kind and Act.

Further ye shall mark: when it is said that such a thing or such
a deed is contrary to God, or that such a thing is hateful to God
and grieveth His Spirit, ye must know that no creature is
contrary to God, or hateful or grievous unto Him, in so far as
it is, liveth, knoweth, hath power to do, or produce ought, and
so forth, for all this is not contrary to God. That an evil
spirit, or a man is, liveth, and the like, is altogether good and
of God; for God is the Being of all that are, and the Life of all
that live, and the Wisdom of all the wise; for all things have
their being more truly in God than in themselves, and also all
their powers, knowledge, life, and the rest; for if it were not
so, God would not be all good; And thus all creatures are good.
Now what is good is agreeable to God, and He will have it.
Therefore it cannot be contrary to Him.

But what then is there which is contrary to God and hateful to
Him? Nothing but Sin. But what is Sin? Mark this: Sin is nothing
else than that the creature willeth otherwise than God willeth,
and contrary to Him. Each of us may see this in himself; for he
who willeth otherwise than I, or whose will is contrary to mine,
is my foe; but he who willeth the same as I, is my friend, and
I love him. It is even so with God: and that is sin, and is
contrary to God, and hateful and grievous to Him. And he who
willeth, speaketh, or is silent, doeth or leaveth undone,
otherwise than as I will, is contrary to me, and an offence unto
me. So it is also with God: when a man willeth otherwise than
God, or contrary to God, whatever he doeth or leaveth undone, in
short all that proceedeth from him, is contrary to God and is
sin. And whatsoever Will willeth otherwise than God, is against
God’s will. As Christ said: ” He who is not with Me is against
me.” Hereby may each man see plainly whether or not he be without
sin, and whether or not he be committing sin, and what sin is,
and how sin ought to be atoned for, and wherewith it may be
healed. And this contradiction to God’s will is what we call, and
is, disobedience. And therefore Adam, the I, the Self, Self-will,
Sin, or the Old Man, the turning aside or departing from God, do
all mean one and the same thing.

CHAPTER XXXVII

How in God, as God, there can neither be Grief, Sorrow,
Displeasure, nor the like, but how it is otherwise in a Man who
is “made a Partaker of the Divine Nature.”

In God, as God, neither sorrow nor grief nor displeasure can have
place, and yet God is grieved on account of men’s sins. Now since
grief cannot befall God without the creature, this cometh to pass
where He is made man, or when He dwelleth in a Godlike man. And
there, behold, sin is so hateful to God, and grieveth Him so
sore, that He would willingly suffer agony and death, if one
man’s sins might be thereby washed out. And if He were asked
whether He would rather live and that sin should remain, or die
and destroy sin by His death, He would answer that He would a
thousand times rather die. For to God one man’s sin is more
hateful, and grieveth Him worse than His own agony and death. Now
if one man’s sin grieveth God so sore, what must the sins of all
men do Hereby ye may consider, how greatly man grieveth God with
his sins.

And therefore where God is made man, or when He dwelleth in a
truly Godlike man, nothing is complained of but sin, and nothing
else is hateful; for all that is, and is done, without sin, is
as God will have it, and is His. But the mourning and sorrow of
a truly Godlike man on account of sin, must and ought to last
until death, should he live till the Day of Judgment, or for
ever. From this cause arose that hidden anguish of Christ, of
which none can tell or knoweth ought save Himself alone, and
therefore is it called a mystery.

Moreover, this is an attribute of God, which He will have, and
is well pleased to see in a man; and it is indeed God’s own, for
it belongeth not unto the man, he cannot make sin to be so
hateful to himself. And where God findeth this grief for sin, He
loveth and esteemeth it more than ought else; because it is, of
all things, the bitterest and saddest that man can endure.

All that is here written touching this divine attribute, which
God will have man to possess, that it may be brought into
exercise in a living soul, is taught us by that true Light, which
also teacheth the man in whom this Godlike sorrow worketh, not
to take it unto himself, any more than if he were not there. For
such a man feeleth in himself that he hath not made it to spring
up in his heart, and that it is none of his, but belongeth to God
alone.

CHAPTER XXXVIII

How we are to put on the Life of Christ from Love, and not for
the sake of Reward, and how we must never grow careless
concerning it, or cast it off.

Now, wherever a man hath been made a partaker of the divine
nature, in him is fulfilled the best and noblest life, and the
worthiest in God’s eyes, that hath been or can be. And of that
eternal love which loveth Goodness as Goodness and for the sake
of Goodness, a true, noble, Christ-like life is so greatly
beloved, that it will never be forsaken or cast off. Where a man
hath tasted this life, it is impossible for him ever to part with
it, were he to live until the Judgment Day. And though he must
die a thousand deaths, and though all the sufferings that ever
befell all creatures could be heaped upon him, he would rather
undergo them all, than fall away from this excellent life; and
if he could exchange it for an angel’s life, he would not.

This is our answer to the question, “If a man, by putting on
Christ’s life, can get nothing more than he hath already, and
serve no end, what good will it do him?” This life is not chosen
in order to serve any end, or to get anything by it, but for love
of its nobleness, and because God loveth and esteemeth it so
greatly. And whoever saith that he hath had enough of it, and may
now lay it aside, hath never tasted nor known it; for he who hath
truly felt or tasted it, can never give it up again. And he who
hath put on the life of Christ with the intent to win or deserve
ought thereby, hath taken it up as an hireling and not for love,
and is altogether without it. For he who doth not take it up for
love, hath none of it at all; he may dream indeed that he hath
put it on, but he is deceived. Christ did not lead such a life
as His for the sake of reward, but out of love; and love maketh
such a life light and taketh away all its hardships, so that it
becometh sweet and is gladly endured. But to him who hath not put
it on from love, but hath done so, as he dreameth, for the sake
of reward, it is utterly bitter and a weariness, and he would
fain be quit of it. And it is a sure token of an hireling that
he wisheth his work were at an end. But he who truly loveth it,
is not offended at its toil or suffering, nor the length of time
it lasteth. Therefore it is written, “To Serve God and live to
Him, is easy to him who doeth it.” Truly is so to him who doth
it for love, but it is hard and wearisome to him who doth it for
hire. It is the same with all virtue and good works, and likewise
with order, laws, obedience to precepts, and the like. But God
rejoiceth more over one man who truly loveth, than over a
thousand hirelings.

CHAPTER XXXIX

How God will have Order, Custom, Measure, and the like in the
Creature, seeing that He cannot have them without the Creature,
and of four sorts of Men who are concerned with this Order, Law,
and Custom.

It is said, and truly, God is above and without custom, measure,
and order, and yet giveth to all things their custom, order,
measure, fitness, and the like. The which is to be thus
understood. God will have all these to be, and they cannot have
a being in Himself without the creature, for in God, apart from
the creature, there is neither order nor disorder, custom nor
chance, and so forth; therefore He will have things so that these
shall be, and shall be put in exercise. For wherever there is
word, work, or change, these must be either according to order,
custom, measure and fitness, or according to unfitness and
disorder. Now fitness and order are better and nobler than their
contraries.

But ye must mark: There are four sorts of men who are concerned
with order, laws, and customs. Some keep them neither for God’s
sake, nor to serve their own ends, but from constraint: these
have as little to do with them as may be, and find them a burden
and heavy yoke. The second sort obey for the sake of reward:
these are men who know nothing beside, or better than, laws and
precepts, and imagine that by keeping them they may obtain the
kingdom of Heaven and Eternal Life, and not otherwise; and him
who practiseth many ordinances they think to be holy, and him who
omitteth any tittle of them they think to be lost. Such men are
very much in earnest and give great diligence to the work, and
yet they find it a weariness. The third sort are wicked,
false-hearted men, who dream and declare that they are perfect
and need no ordinances, and make a mock of them.

The fourth are those who are enlightened with the True Light, who
do not practise these things for reward, for they neither look
nor desire to get anything thereby, but all that they do is from
love alone. And these are not so anxious and eager to accomplish
much and with all speed as the second sort, but rather seek to
do things in peace and good leisure; and if some not weighty
matter be neglected, they do not therefore think themselves lost,
for they know very well that order and fitness are better than
disorder, and therefore they choose to walk orderly, yet know at
the same time that their salvation hangeth not thereon. Therefore
they are not in so great anxiety as the others. These men are
judged and blamed by both the other parties, for the hirelings
say that they neglect their duties and accuse them of being
unrighteous, and the like; and the others (that is, the Free
Spirits) hold them in derision, and say that they cleave unto
weak and beggarly elements, and the like. But these enlightened
men keep the middle path, which is also the best; for a lover of
God is better and dearer to Him than a hundred thousand
hirelings. It is the same with all their doings.

Furthermore, ye must mark, that to receive God’s commands and His
counsel and all His teaching, is the privilege of the inward man,
after that he is united with God. And where there is such a
union, the outward man is surely taught and ordered by the inward
man, so that no outward commandment or teaching is needed. But
the commandments and laws of men belong to the outer man, and are
needful for those men who know nothing better, for else they
would not know what to do and what to refrain from, and would
become like unto the dogs or other beasts.

CHAPTER XL

A good Account of the False Light and its Kind.

Now I have said that there is a False Light; but I must tell you
more particularly what it is, and what belongeth thereunto.
Behold, all that is contrary to the True Light belongeth unto the
False. To the True Light it belongeth of necessity, that it
seeketh not to deceive, nor consenteth that any should be wronged
or deceived, neither can it be deceived. But the false is
deceived and a delusion, and deceiveth others along with itself.
For God deceiveth no man, nor willeth that any should be
deceived, and so it is with His True Light. Now mark, the True
Light is God or divine, but the False Light is Nature or natural.
Now it belongeth to God, that He is neither this nor that,
neither willeth nor desireth, nor seeketh anything in the man
whom He hath made a partaker of the divine nature, save Goodness
as Goodness, and for the sake of Goodness. This is the token of
the True Light. But to the Creature and Nature it belongeth to
be somewhat, this or that, and to intend and seek something, this
or that, and not simply what is good without any Wherefore. And
as God and the True Light are without all self-will, selfishness,
and self-seeking, so do the I, the Me, the Mine, and the like,
belong unto the natural and false Light; for in all things it
seeketh itself and its own ends, rather than Goodness for the
sake of Goodness. This is its property, and the property of
nature or the carnal man in each of us.

Now mark how it first cometh to be deceived. It doth not desire
nor choose Goodness as Goodness, and for the sake of Goodness,
but desireth and chooseth itself and its own ends, rather than
the Highest Good; and this is an error, and is the first
deception.

Secondly, it dreameth itself to be that which it is not, for it
dreameth itself to be God, and is truly nothing but nature. And
because it imagineth itself to be God, it taketh to itself what
belongeth to God; and not that which is God’s, when He is made
man, or dwelleth in a Godlike man, but that which is God’s, and
belongeth unto Him, as He is in eternity, without the creature.
For, as it is said, God needeth nothing, is free, not bound to
work, apart by Himself, above all things, and so forth (which is
all true); and God is unchangeable, not to be moved by anything,
and is without conscience, and what He doeth that is well done;
“So will I be,” saith the False Light, “for the more like God one
is, the better one is, and therefore I will be like God and will
be God, and will sit and go and stand at His right hand”: as
Lucifer the Evil Spirit also said. Now God in Eternity is without
contradiction, suffering and grief, and nothing can hurt or vex
Him of all that is or befalleth. But with God, when He is made
Man, it is otherwise.

In a word: all that can be deceived is deceived by this False
Light. Now since all is deceived by this False Light that can be
deceived, and all that is creature and nature, and all that is
not God nor of God, may be deceived, and since this False Light
itself is nature, it is possible for it to be deceived. And
therefore it becometh and is deceived by itself, in that it
riseth and climbeth to such a height that it dreameth itself to
be above nature, and fancieth it to be impossible for nature or
any creature to get so high, and therefore it cometh to imagine
itself God. And hence it taketh unto itself all that belongeth
unto God, and specially what is His as He is in Eternity, and not
as He is made Man. Therefore it thinketh and declareth itself to
be above all works, words, customs, laws and order, and above
that life which Christ led in the body which He possessed in His
holy human nature. So likewise it professeth to remain unmoved
by any of the creature’s works; whether they be good or evil,
against God or not, is all alike to it; and it keepeth itself
apart from all things, like God in Eternity, and all that
belongeth to God and to no creature it taketh unto itself, and
vainly dreameth that this belongeth unto it; and deemeth itself
well worthy of all this, and that it is just and right that all
creatures should serve it, and do it homage. And thus no
contradiction, suffering or grief is left unto it; indeed nothing
but a mere bodily and carnal perceiving: this must remain until
the death of the body, and what suffering may accrue therefrom.
Furthermore, this False Light imagineth, and saith, that it has
got beyond Christ’s life in the flesh, and that outward things
have lost all power to touch it or give it pain, as it was with
Christ after His resurrection, together with many other strange
and false conceits which arise and grow up from these.

And now since this False Light is nature, it possesseth the
property of nature, which is to intend and seek itself and its
own in all things, and what may be most expedient, easy and
pleasant to nature and itself. And because it is deceived, it
imagineth and proclaimeth it to be best that each should seek and
do what is best for himself. It refuseth also to take knowledge
of any Good but its own, that which it vainly fancieth to be
Good. And if one speak to it of the One, true, everlasting Good,
which is neither this nor that, it knoweth nothing thereof, and
thinketh scorn of it. And this is not unreasonable, for nature
as nature cannot attain thereunto. Now this False Light is merely
nature, and therefore it cannot: attain thereunto.

Further, this False Light saith that it hath got above conscience
and the sense of sin, and that whatever it doeth is right, Yea,
it was said by such a false Free Spirit, who was in this error,
that if he had killed ten men he should have as little sense of
guilt as if he had killed a dog. Briefly: this false and deceived
Light fleeth all that is harsh and contrary to nature, for this
belongeth to it, seeing that it is nature. And seeing also that
it is so utterly deceived as to dream that it is God, it were
ready to swear by all that is holy, that it knoweth truly what
is best, and that both in belief and practice it hath reached the
very summit. For this cause it cannot be converted or guided into
the right path, even as it is with the Evil Spirit.

Mark further: in so far as this Light imagineth itself to be God
and taketh His attributes unto itself, it is Lucifer, the Evil
Spirit; but in so far as it setteth at nought the life of Christ,
and other things belonging to the True Light, which have been
taught and fulfilled by Christ, it is Antichrist, for it teacheth
contrary to Christ. And as this Light is deceived by its own
cunning and discernment, so all that is not God, or of God, is
deceived by it, that is, all men who are not enlightened by the
True Light and its love. For all who are enlightened by the True
Light can never more be deceived, but whoso hath it not and
chooseth to walk by the False Light, he is deceived.

This cometh herefrom, that all men in whom the True Light is not,
are bent upon themselves, and think much of themselves, and seek
and propose their own ends in all things, and whatever is most
pleasant and convenient to themselves they hold to be best. And
whoso declareth the same to be best, and helpeth and teacheth
them to attain it, him they follow after, and maintain to be the
best and wisest of teachers. Now the False Light teacheth them
this very doctrine, and showeth them all the means to come by
their desire; therefore all those follow after it, who know not
the True Light. And thus they are together deceived.

It is said of Antichrist, that when he cometh, he who hath not
the seal of God in his forehead, followeth after him, but as many
as have the seal follow not after him. This agreeth with what
hath been said. It is indeed true, that it is good for a man that
he should desire, or come by his own good. But this cannot come
to pass so long as a man is seeking, or purposing his own good;
for if he is to find and come by his own highest good, he must
lose it that he may find it. As Christ said: “He who loveth his
life shall lose it.” That is; he shall forsake and die to the
desires of the flesh, and shall not obey his own will nor the
lusts of the body, but obey the commands of God and those who are
in authority over him, and not seek his own, either in spiritual
or natural things, but only the praise and glory of God in all
things. For he who thus loseth his life shall find it again in
Eternal Life. That is: all the goodness, help, comfort, and joy
which are in the creature, in heaven or on earth, a true ]over
of God findeth comprehended in God Himself; yea, unspeakably
more, and as much nobler and more perfect as God the Creator is
better, nobler, and more perfect than His creature. But by these
excellences in the creature the False Light is deceived, and
seeketh nothing but itself and its own in all things. Therefore
it cometh never to the right way.

Further, this False Light saith, that we should be without
conscience or sense of sin, and that it is a weakness and folly
to have anything to do with them: and this it will prove by
saying that Christ was without conscience or sense of sin. We may
answer and say: Satan is also without them, and is none the
better for that. Mark what a sense of sin is. It is that we
perceive how man has turned away from God in his will (this is
what we call sin), and that this is man’s fault, not God’s, for
God is guiltless of sin. Now, who is there that knoweth himself
to be free from sin save Christ alone? Scarcely will any other
affirm this. Now he who is without sense of sin is either Christ
or the Evil Spirit

Briefly: where this True Light is, there is a true, just life
such as God loveth and esteemeth. And if the man’s life is not
perfect as Christ’s was, yet it is framed and builded after His,
and his life is loved, together with all that agreeth with
decency, order, and all other virtues, and all Self-will, I,
Mine, Me, and the like, is lost; nothing is purposed or sought
but Goodness, for the sake of Goodness, and as Goodness. But
where that False Light is, there men become heedless of Christ’s
life and all virtue, and seek and intend whatever is convenient
and pleasant to nature. From this ariseth a false, licentious
freedom, so that men grow regardless and careless of everything.
For the True Light is God’s seed, and therefore it bringeth forth
the fruits of God. And so likewise the False Light is the seed
of the Devil; and where that is sown, the fruits of the Devil
spring up – nay, the very Devil himself. This ye may understand
by giving heed to what hath been said.

CHAPTER XLI

Now that he is to be called, and is truly, a Partaker of the
Divine Nature, who is illuminated with the Divine Light, and
inflamed with Eternal Love, and how Light and Knowledge are worth
nothing without Love.

Some may ask, “What is it to be a ‘partaker of the divine
nature,’ or a Godlike man?” Answer: he who is imbued with or
illuminated by the Eternal or divine Light, and inflamed or
consumed with Eternal or divine love, he is a Godlike man and a
partaker of the divine nature; and of the nature of this True
Light we have said somewhat already.

But ye must know that this Light or knowledge is worth nothing
without Love. This ye may see if ye call to mind, that though a
man may know very well what is virtue or wickedness, yet if he
doth not love virtue, he is not virtuous, for he obeyeth vice.
But if he loveth virtue he followeth after it, and his love
maketh him an enemy to wickedness, so that he will not do or
practise it, and hateth it also in other men; and he loveth
virtue so that he would not leave a virtue unpractised even if
he might, and this for no reward, but simply for the love of
virtue. And to him virtue is its own reward, and he is content
therewith, and would take no treasure or riches in exchange for
it. Such an one is already a virtuous man, or he is in the way
to be so. And he who is a truly virtuous man would not cease to
be so, to gain the whole world, yea, he would rather die a
miserable death.

It is the same with justice. Many a man knoweth full well what
is just or unjust, and yet neither is nor ever will become a just
man. For he loveth not justice, and therefore he worketh
wickedness and injustice. If he loved justice, he would not do
an unjust thing; for he would feel such hatred and indignation
towards injustice wherever he saw it, that he would do or suffer
anything that injustice might be put an end to, and men might
become just. And he would rather die than do an injustice, and
all this for nothing but the love of justice. And to him, justice
is her own reward, and rewardeth him with herself; and so there
liveth a just man, and he would rather die a thousand times over
than live as an unjust man. It is the same with truth: a man may
know full well what is true or a lie, but if he loveth not the
truth he is not a true man; but if he loveth, it is with truth
even as with justice. Of justice speaketh Isaiah in the fifth
chapter: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that
put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter
for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

Thus may we perceive that knowledge and light profit nothing
without Love. We see this in the Evil Spirit; he perceiveth and
knoweth good and evil, right and wrong, and the like; but since
he hath no love for the good that he seeth, he becometh not good,
as he would if he had any love for the truth indeed true that
Love must be guided and taught of Knowledge, but if Knowledge be
not followed by love, it will avail nothing. It is the same with
God and divine things. Let a man know much about God and divine
things, nay, dream that he seeth and understandeth what God
Himself is, if he have not Love, he will never become like unto
God, or a “partaker of the divine nature.” But if there be true
Love along with his knowledge, he cannot but cleave to God, and
forsake all that is not God or of Him, and hate it and fight
against it, and find it a cross and a sorrow.

And this Love so maketh a man one with God, that he can nevermore
be separated from Him.

CHAPTER XLII

A Question: whether we can know God and not love Him, and how
there are two kinds of Light and Love – a true and a false.

Here is an honest question; namely, it hath been said that he who
knoweth God and loveth Him not, will never be saved by his
knowledge; the which sounds as if we might know God and not love
Him. Yet we have said elsewhere, that where God is known, He is
also loved, and whosoever knoweth God must love Him. How may
these things agree? Here ye must mark one thing. We have spoken
of two Lights – a True and a False. So also there are two kinds
of Love, a True and a False. And each kind of Love is taught or
guided by its own kind of Light or Reason. Now, the True Light
maketh True Love, and the False Light maketh False Love; for
whatever Light deemeth to be best, she delivereth unto Love as
the best, and biddeth her love it, and Love obeyeth, and
fulfilleth her commands.

Now, as we have said, the False Light is natural, and is Nature
herself. Therefore every property belongeth unto it which
belongeth unto nature, such as the Me, the Mine, the Self, and
the like; and therefore it must needs be deceived in itself and
be false; for no I, Me, or Mine, ever came to the True Light or
Knowledge undeceived, save once only; to wit, in God made Man.
And if we are to come to the knowledge of the simple Truth, all
these must depart and perish. And in particular it belongeth to
the natural Light that it would fain know or learn much, if it
were possible, and hath great pleasure, delight and glorying in
its discernment and knowledge; and therefore it is always longing
to know more and more, and never cometh to rest and satisfaction,
and the more it learneth and knoweth, the more doth it delight
and glory therein. And when it hath come so high, that it
thinketh to know all things and to be above all things, it
standeth on its highest pinnacle of delight and glory, and then
it holdeth Knowledge to be the best and noblest of all things,
and therefore it teacheth Love to love knowledge and discernment
as the best and most excellent of all things. Behold, then
knowledge and discernment come to be more loved than that which
is discerned, for the false natural Light loveth its knowledge
and powers, which are itself, more than that which is known. And
were it possible that this false natural Light should understand
the simple Truth, as it is in God and in truth, it still would
not lose its own property, that is, it would not depart from
itself and its own things. Behold, in this sense there is
knowledge without the love of that which is or may be known.

Also this Light riseth and climbeth so high that it vainly
thinketh that it knoweth God and the pure, simple Truth, and thus
it loveth itself in Him. And it is true that God can be known
only by God. Wherefore as this Light vainly thinketh to
understand God, it imagineth itself to be God, and giveth itself
out to be God, and wisheth to be accounted so, and thinketh
itself to be above all things, and well worthy of all things, and
that it hath a right to all things, and hath got beyond all
things, such as commandments, laws, and virtue, and even beyond
Christ and a Christian life, and setteth all these at nought, for
it doth not set up to be Christ, but the Eternal God. And this
is because Christ’s life is distasteful and burdensome to nature,
therefore she will have nothing to do with it; but to be God in
eternity and not man, or to be Christ as He was after His
resurrection, is all easy, and pleasant, and comfortable to
nature, and so she holdeth it to be best. Behold, with this false
and deluded Love, something may be known without being loved, for
the seeing and knowing is more loved than that which is known.
Further, there is a kind of learning which is called knowledge;
to wit, when, through hearsay, or reading, or great acquaintance
with Scripture, some fancy themselves to know much, and call it
knowledge, and say, “I know this or that.” And if you ask, “How
dost thou know it?” they answer, “I have read it in the
Scriptures,” and the like. Behold, this they call understanding,
and knowing. Yet this is not knowledge, but belief, and many
things are known and loved and seen only with this sort of
perceiving and knowing.

There is also yet another kind of Love, which is especially
false, to wit, when something is loved for the sake of a. reward,
as when justice is loved not for the sake of justice, but to
obtain something thereby, and so on. And where a creature loveth
other creatures for the sake of something that they have, or
loveth God, for the sake of something of her own, it is all false
Love; and this Love belongeth properly to nature, for nature as
nature can feel and know no other love than this; for if ye look
narrowly into it, nature as nature loveth nothing beside herself.
On this wise something may be seen to be good and not loved.

But true Love is taught and guided by the true Light and Reason,
and this true, eternal and divine Light teacheth Love to love
nothing but the One true and Perfect Good, and that simply for
its own sake, and not for the sake of a reward, or in the hope
of obtaining anything, but simply for the Love of Goodness,
because it is good and hath a right to be loved. And all that is
thus seen by the help of the True Light must also be loved of the
True Love. Now that Perfect Good, which we call God, cannot be
perceived but by the True Light; therefore He must be loved
wherever He is seen or made known.

CHAPTER XLIII

Whereby we may know a Man who is made a partaker of the divine
Nature, and what belongeth unto him; and further, what is the
token of a False Light, and a False Free-Thinker.

Further mark ye; that when the True Love and True Light are in
a man, the Perfect Good is known and loved for itself and as
itself; and yet not so that it loveth itself of itself and as
itself, but the one True and Perfect Good can and will love
nothing else, in so far as it is in itself, save the one, true
Goodness. Now if this is itself, it must love itself, yet not as
itself nor as of itself, but in this wise: that the One true Good
loveth the One Perfect Goodness, and the One Perfect Goodness is
loved of the One, true and Perfect Good. And in this sense that
saying is true, that “God loveth not Himself as Himself.” For if
there were ought better than God, God would love that, and not
Himself. For in this True Light and True Love there neither is
nor can remain any I, Me, Mine, Thou, Thine, and the like, but
that Light perceiveth and knoweth that there is a Good which is
all Good and above all Good, and that all good things are of one
substance in the One Good, and that without that One, there is
no good thing. And therefore, where this Light is, the man’s end
and aim is not this or that, Me or Thee, or the like, but only
the One, who is neither I nor Thou, this nor that, but is above
all I and Thou, this and that; and in Him all Goodness is loved
as One Good, according to that saying: “All in One as One, and
One in All as All, and One and all Good, is loved through the One
in One, and for the sake of the One, for the love that man hath
to the One.”

Behold, in such a man must all thought of Self, all self-seeking,
self-will, and what cometh thereof, be utterly lost and
surrendered and given over to God, except in so far as they are
necessary to make up a person. And whatever cometh to pass in a
man who is truly Godlike, whether he do or suffer, all is done
in this Light aud this Love, and from the same, through the same,
unto the same again. And in his heart there is a content and a
quietness, so that he doth not desire to know more or less, to
have, to live, to die, to be, or not to be, or anything of the
kind; these become all one and alike to him, and he complaineth
of nothing but of sin only. And what sin is, we have said
already, namely, to desire or will anything otherwise than the
One Perfect Good and the One Eternal Will, and apart from and
contrary to them, or to wish to have a will of one’s own. And
what is done of sin, such as lies, fraud, injustice, treachery,
and all iniquity, in short, all that we call sin, cometh hence,
that man hath another will than God and the True Good; for were
there no will but the One Will, no sin could ever be committed.
Therefore we may well say that all self-will is sin, and there
is no sin but what springeth therefrom. And this is the only
thing which a truly Godlike man complaineth of; but to him, this
is such a sore pain and grief, that he would die a hundred deaths
in agony and shame, rather than endure it; and this his grief
must last until death, and where it is not, there be sure that
the man is not truly Godlike, or a partaker of the divine nature.

Now, seeing that in this Light and Love, all Good is loved in One
and as One, and the One in all things, and in all things as One
and as All, therefore all those things must be loved that rightly
are of good report; such as virtue, order, seemliness, justice,
truth, and the like; and all that belongeth to God in the true
Good and is His own, is loved and praised; and all that is
without this Good, and contrary to it, is a sorrow and a pain,
and is hated as sin, for it is of a truth sin. And he who liveth
in the true Light and true Love, hath the best, noblest, and
worthiest life that ever was or will be, and therefore it cannot
but be loved and praised above any other life. This life was and
is in Christ to perfection, else He were not the Christ.

And the love wherewith the man loveth this noble life and all
goodness, maketh, that all which he is called upon to do, or
suffer, or pass through, and which must needs be, he doeth or
endureth willingly and worthily, however hard it may be to
nature. Therefore saith Christ: “My yoke is easy, and My burden
is light.” This cometh of the love which loveth this admirable
life. This we may see in the beloved Apostles and Martyrs; they
suffered willingly and gladly all that was done unto them, and
never asked of God that their suffering and tortures might be
made shorter, or lighter or fewer, but only that they might
remain steadfast and endure to the end. Of a truth all that is
the fruit of divine Love in a truly Godlike man is so simple,
plain, and straightforward, that he can never properly give an
account of it by writing or by speech, but only say that so it
is. And he who hath it not doth not even believe in it; how then
can he come to know it

On the other hand, the life of the natural man, where he hath a
lively, subtle, cunning nature, is so manifold and complex, and
seeketh and inventeth so many turnings and windings and
falsehoods for its own ends, and that so continually, that this
also is neither to be uttered nor set forth.

Now, since all falsehood is deceived, and all deception beginneth
in self-deception, so is it also with this false Light and Life,
for he who deceiveth is also deceived, as we have said before.
And in this false Light and Life is found everything that
belongeth to the Evil Spirit and is his, insomuch that they
cannot be discerned apart; for the false Light is the Evil
Spirit, and the Evil Spirit is this false Light. Hereby we may
know this. For even as the Evil Spirit thinketh himself to be
God, or would fain be God, or be thought to be God, and in all
this is so utterly deceived that he doth not think himself to be
deceived, so is it also with this false Light, and the Love and
Life that is thereof. And as the Devil would fain deceive all
men, and draw them to himself and his works, and make them like
himself, and useth much art and cunning to this end, so is it
also with this false Light; and as no one may turn the Evil
Spirit from his own way, so no one can turn this deceived and
deceitful Light from its errors. And the cause thereof is, that
both these two, the Devil and Nature, vainly think that they are
not deceived, and that it standeth quite well with them. And this
is the very worst and most mischievous delusion. Thus the Devil
and Nature are one, and where nature is conquered the Devil is
also conquered, and, in like manner, where nature is not
conquered the Devil is not conquered. Whether as touching the
outward life in the world, or the inward life of the spirit, this
false Light continueth in its state of blindness and falsehood,
so that it is both deceived itself and deceiveth others with it,
wheresoever it may.

From what hath here been said, ye may understand and perceive
more than hath been expressly set forth. For whenever we speak
of the Adam, and disobedience, and of the old man, of
self-seeking, self-will, and self-serving, of the I, the Me, and
the Mine, nature, falsehood, the Devil, sin; it is all one and
the same thing. These are all contrary to God, and remain without
God.

CHAPTER XLIV

How nothing is contrary to God but Self-will and how he who
seeketh his own Good for his own sake, findeth it not; and how
a Man of himself neither knoweth nor can do any good Thing.

Now, it may be asked; is there aught which is contrary to God and
the true Good? I say, No. Likewise, there is nothing without God,
except to will otherwise than is willed by the Eternal Will; that
is, contrary to the Eternal Will. Now the Eternal Will willeth
that nothing be willed or loved but the Eternal Goodness. And
where it is otherwise, there is something contrary to Him, and
in this sense it is true that he who is without God is contrary
to God; but in truth there is no Being contrary to God or the
true Good.

We must understand it as though God said: “He who willeth without
Me, or willeth not what I will, or otherwise than as I will, he
willeth contrary to Me, for My will is that no one should will
otherwise than I, and that there should be no will without Me,
and without My will; even as without Me, there is neither
Substance, nor Life, nor this, nor that, so also there should be
no Will apart from Me, and without My will.” And even as in truth
all beings are one in substance in the Perfect Being, and all
good is one in the One Being, and so forth, and cannot exist
without that One, so shall all wills be one in the One Perfect
Will, and there shall be no will apart from that One. And
whatever is otherwise is wrong, and contrary to God and His will,
and therefore it is sin. Therefore all will apart from God’s will
(that is, all self-will) is sin, and so is all that is done from
self-will. So long as a man seeketh his own will and his own
highest Good, because it is HIS and for his own sake, he will
never find it; for so long as he doeth this, he is not seeking
his own highest Good, and how then should he find it For so long
as he doeth this, he seeketh himself, and dreameth that he is
himself the highest Good; and seeing that he is not the highest
Good, he seeketh not the highest Good, so long as he seeketh
himself. But whosoever seeketh, loveth, and pursueth Goodness as
Goodness and for the sake of Goodness, and maketh that his end,
for nothing but the love of Goodness, not for love of the I, Me,
Mine, Self, and the like, he will find the highest Good, for he
seeketh it aright, and they who seek it otherwise do err. And
truly it is on this wise that the true and Perfect Goodness
seeketh and loveth and pursueth itself, and therefore it findeth
itself.

It is a great folly when a man, or any creature, dreameth that
he knoweth or can accomplish aught of himself, and above all when
he dreameth that he knoweth or can fulfil any good thing, whereby
he may deserve much at God’s hands, and prevail with Him. If he
understood rightly, he would see that this is to put a great
affront upon God. But the True and Perfect Goodness hath
compassion on the foolish simple man who knoweth no better, and
ordereth things for the best for him, and giveth him as much of
the good things of God as he is able to receive. But as we have
said afore, he findeth and receiveth not the True Good so long
as he remaineth unchanged; for unless Self and Me depart, he will
never find or receive it.

CHAPTER XLV

How that where there is a Christian Life, Christ dwelleth, and
how Christ’s Life is the best and most admirable Life that ever
hath been or can be.

He who knoweth and understandeth Christ’s life, knoweth and
understandeth Christ Himself; and in like manner, he who
understandeth not His life, doth not understand Christ Himself.
And he who believeth on Christ, believeth that His life is the
best and noblest life that can be, and if a man believe not this,
neither doth he believe on Christ Himself. And in so far as a
man’s life is according to Christ, Christ Himself dwelleth in
him, and if he hath not the one neither hath he the other. For
where there is the life of Christ, there is Christ Himself, and
where His life is not, Christ is not, and where a man hath His
life, he may say with St. Paul, “I live, yet not I, but Christ
liveth in me.” And this is the noblest and best life; for in him
who hath it, God Himself dwelleth, with all goodness. So how
could there be a better life? When we speak of obedience, of the
new man, of the True Light, the True Love, or the life of Christ,
it is all the same thing, and where one of these is, there are
they all, and where one is wanting, there is none of them, for
they are all one in truth and substance. And whatever may bring
about that new birth which maketh alive in Christ, to that let
us cleave with all our might and to nought else; and let us
forswear and flee all that may hinder it. And he who hath
received this life in the Holy Sacrament, hath verily and indeed
received Christ, and the more of that life he hath received, the
more he hath received of Christ, and the less, the less of
Christ.

        CHAPTER XLVI

How entire Satisfaction and true Rest are to be found in God
alone, and not in any Creature; and how he who Will be obedient
unto God, must also be obedient to the Creatures, with all
Quietness, and he who would love God, must love all Things in
One.

It is said, that he who is content to find all his satisfaction
in God, hath enough; and this is true. And he who findeth
satisfaction in aught which is this and that, findeth it not in
God; and he who findeth it in God, findeth it in nothing else,
but in that which is neither this nor that, but is All. For God
is One and must be One, and God is All and must be All. And now
what is, and is not One, is not God; and what is, and is not All
and above All, is also not God, for God is One and above One, and
All and above All. Now he who findeth full satisfaction in God,
receiveth all his satisfaction from One source, and from One
only, as One. And a man cannot find all satisfaction in God,
unless all things are One to him, and One is All, and something
and nothing are alike. But where it should be thus, there would
be true satisfaction, and not else.

Therefore also, he who will wholly commit himself unto God and
be obedient to Him, must also resign himself to all things, and
be willing to suffer them, without resisting or defending himself
or calling for succour. And he who doth not thus resign or submit
himself to all things in One as One, doth not resign or submit
himself to God. Let us look at Christ. And he who shall and will
lie still under God’s hand, must lie still under all things in
One as One, and in no wise withstand any suffering. Such an one
were a Christ. And he who fighteth against affliction, and
refuseth to endure it, is truly fighting against God. That is to
say, we may not withstand any creature or thing by force of war,
either in will or works. But we may indeed, without sin, prevent
affliction, or avoid it, or flee from it.

Now he who shall or will love God, loveth all things in One as
All, One and All, and One in All as All in One; and he who loveth
somewhat, this or that, otherwise than in the One, and for the
sake of the One, loveth not God; for he loveth somewhat which is
not God. Therefore he loveth it more than God. Now he who loveth
somewhat more than God or along with God, loveth not God, for He
must be and will be alone loved, and verily nothing ought to be
loved but God alone. And when the true divine Light and Love
dwell in a man, he loveth nothing else but God alone, for he
loveth God as Goodness and for the sake of Goodness, and all
Goodness as One, and one as All ; for, in truth, All is One and
One is All in God.

CHAPTER XLVII

A Question: Whether, if we ought to love all Things, we ought to
love Sin also?

Some may put a question here and say: “If we are to love all
things, must we then love sin too?” I answer: No. When I say “all
things,” I mean all Good; and all that is, is good, in so far as
it hath Being. The Devil is good in so far as he hath Being. In
this sense nothing is evil, or not good. But sin is to will,
desire, or love otherwise than as God doth. And Willing is not
Being, therefore it is not good. Nothing is good except in so far
as it is in God and with God. Now all things have their Being in
God, and more truly in God than in themselves, and therefore all
things are good in so far as they have a Being, and if there were
aught that had not its Being in God, it would not be good. Now
behold, the willing or desiring which is contrary to God is not
in God; for God cannot will or desire anything contrary to
Himself, or otherwise than Himself. Therefore it is evil or not
good, and is merely nought.

God loveth also works, but not all works. Which then? Such as are
done from the teaching and guidance of the True Light and the
True Love; and what is done from these and in these, is done in
spirit and in truth, and what is thereof, is God’s, and pleaseth
Him well. But what is done of the false Light and false Love, is
all of the Wicked One; and especially what happeneth, is done or
left undone, wrought or suffered from any other will, or desire,
or love, than God’s will, or desire, or love. This is, and cometh
to pass, without God and contrary to God, and is utterly contrary
to good works, and is altogether sin.

CHAPTER XLVIII

How we must believe certain Things of God’s Truth beforehand, ere
we can come to a true Knowledge and Experience thereof:

Christ said, ” He that believeth not,” or will not or cannot
believe, “shall be damned.” It is so of a truth; for a man, while
he is in this present time, hath not knowledge; and he cannot
attain unto it, unless he first believe. And he who would know
before he believeth, cometh never to true knowledge. We speak not
here of the articles of the Christian faith, for every one
believeth them, and they are common to every Christian man,
whether he be sinful or saved, good or wicked; and they must be
believed in the first place, for without that, one cannot come
to know them. But we are speaking of a certain Truth which it is
possible to know by experience, but which ye must believe in,
before that ye know it by experience, else ye will never come to
know it truly. This is the faith of which Christ speaketh in that
saying of His.

CHAPTER XLIX

Of Self-will, and how Lucifer and Adam fell away from God through
Self-will.

It hath been said, that there is of nothing so much in hell as
of self-will. The which is true, for there is nothing else there
than self-will, and if there were no self-will, there would be
no Devil and no hell. When it is said that Lucifer fell from
Heaven, and turned away from God and the like, it meaneth nothing
else than that he would have his own will, and would not be at
one with the Eternal Will. So was it likewise with Adam in
Paradise. And when we say Self-will, we mean, to will otherwise
than as the One and Eternal Will of God willeth.

CHAPTER L

How this present Time is a Paradise and outer Court of Heaven,
and how therein there is only one Tree forbidden, that is,
Self-will.

What is Paradise? All things that are; for all are goodly and
pleasant, and therefore may fitly be called a Paradise. It is
said also, that Paradise is an outer court of Heaven. Even so
this world is verily an outer court of the Eternal, or of
Eternity, and specially whatever in Time, or any temporal things
or creatures, manifesteth or remindeth us of God or Eternity; for
the creatures are a guide and a path unto God and Eternity. Thus
this world is an outer court of Eternity, and therefore it may
well be called a Paradise, for it is such in truth. And in this
Paradise, all things are lawful, save one tree and the fruits
thereof. That is to say: of all things that are, nothing is
forbidden and nothing is contrary to God but one thing only: that
is, Self-will, or to will otherwise than as the Eternal Will
would have it. Remember this. For God saith to Adam, that is, to
every man, “Whatever thou art, or doest, or leavest undone, or
whatever cometh to pass, is all lawful and not forbidden if it
be not done from or according to thy will, but for the sake of
and according to My will. But all that is done from thine own
Will is contrary to the Eternal Will.”

It is not that every work which is thus wrought is in itself
contrary to the Eternal Will, but in so far as it is wrought from
a different will, or otherwise than from the Eternal and Divine
Will.

CHAPTER LI

Wherefore God hath created Self-will, seeing that it is so
contrary to Him.

Now some may ask: “Since this tree, to wit, Self-will, is so
contrary to God and the Eternal Will, wherefore hath God created
it, and set it in Paradise?”

Answer: whatever man or creature desireth to dive into and
understand the secret counsel and will of God, so that he would
fain know wherefore God doeth this, or doeth not that, and the
like, desireth the same as Adam and the Devil. For this desire
is seldom from aught else than that the man taketh delight in
knowing, and glorieth therein, and this is sheer pride. And so
long as this desire lasteth, the truth will never be known, and
the man is even as Adam or the Devil. A truly humble and
enlightened man doth not desire of God that He should reveal His
secrets unto him, and ask wherefore Cod doeth this or that, or
hindereth or alloweth such a thing, and so forth; but he desireth
only to know how he may please God, and become as nought in
himself, having no will, and that the Eternal Will may live in
him, and have full possession of him, undisturbed by any other
will, and how its due may be rendered to the Eternal Will, by him
and through him.

However, there is yet another answer to this question, for we may
say: the most noble and delightful gift that is bestowed on any
creature is that of perceiving, or Reason, and Will. And these
two are so bound together, that where the one is, there the other
is also. And if it were not for these two gifts, there would be
no reasonable creatures, but only brutes and brutishness; and
that were a great loss, for God would never have His due, and
behold Himself and His attributes manifested in deeds and works;
the which ought to be, and is, necessary to perfection. Now,
behold, Perception and Reason are created and bestowed along with
Will, to the intent that they may instruct the will and also
themselves, that neither perception nor will is of itself, nor
is nor ought to be unto itself, nor ought to seek or obey itself.
Neither shall they turn themselves to their own advantage, nor
make use of themselves to their own ends and purposes; for His
they are from Whom they do proceed, and unto Him shall they
submit, and flow back into Him, and become nought in themselves,
that is, in their selfishness.

But here ye must consider more particularly, somewhat touching
the Will. There is an Eternal Will, which is in God a first
Principle and substance, apart from all works and effects, and
the same will is in Man, or the creature, willing certain things,
and bringing them to pass. For it belongeth unto the Will, and
is its property, that it shall will something. What else is it
for? For it were in vain, unless it had some work to do, and this
it cannot have without the creature. Therefore there must be
creatures, and God will have them, to the end that the Will may
be put in exercise by their means, and work, which in God is and
must be without work. Therefore the will in the creature, which
we call a created will, is as truly God’s as the Eternal Will,
and is not of the creature.

And now, since God cannot bring His will into exercise, working
and causing changes, without the creature, therefore it pleaseth
Him to do so in and with the creature. Therefore the will is not
given to be exerted by the creature, but only by God, who hath
a right to work out His own will by means of the will which is
in man, and yet is God’s. And in whatever man or creature it
should be purely and wholly thus, the will would be exerted not
by the man but by God, and thus it would not be self-will, and
the man would not will otherwise than as God willeth; for God
Himself would move the will and not man. And thus the will would
be one with the Eternal Will, and flow out into it, though the
man would still keep his sense of liking and disliking, pleasure
and pain, and the like. For wherever the will is exerted, there
must be a sense of liking and disliking; for if things go
according to his will, the man liketh it, and if they do not, he
disliketh it, and this liking and disliking are not of the man’s
producing, but of God’s. For whatever is the source of the will,
is the source of these also. Now the will cometh not of man but
of God, therefore liking and disliking come from Him also. But
nothing is complained of, save only what is contrary to God. So
also there is no joy but of God alone, and that which is His and
belongeth unto Him. And as it is with the will, so is it also
with perception, reason, gifts, love, and all the powers of man;
they are all of God, and not of man. And wherever the will should
be altogether surrendered to God, the rest would of a certainty
be surrendered likewise, and God would have His right, and the
man’s will would not be his own. Behold, therefore hath God
created the will, but not that it should be self-will.

Now cometh the Devil or Adam, that is to say, false nature, and
taketh this will unto itself and maketh the same its own, and
useth it for itself and its own ends. And this is the mischief
and wrong, and the bite that Adam made in the apple, which is
forbidden, because it is contrary to God. And therefore, so long
as there is any self-will, there will never be true love, true
peace, true rest. This we see both in man and in the Devil. And
there will never be true blessedness either in time or eternity,
where this self-will is working, that is to say, where man taketh
the will unto himself and maketh it his own. And if it be not
surrendered in this present time, but carried over into eternity,
it may be foreseen that it will never be surrendered, and then
of a truth there will never be content, nor rest, nor
blessedness; as we may see by the Devil. If there were no reason
or will in the creatures, God were, and must remain for ever,
unknown, unloved, unpraised, and unhonoured, and all the
creatures would be worth nothing, and were of no avail to God.
Behold thus the question which was put to us is answered. And if
there were any who, by my much writing (which yet is brief and
profitable in God), might be led to amend their ways, this were
indeed well-pleasing unto God.

That which is free, none may call his own, and he who maketh it
his own, committeth a wrong. Now, in the whole realm of freedom,
nothing is so free as the will, and he who maketh it his own, and
suffereth it not to remain in its excellent freedom, and free
nobility, and in its free exercise, doeth a grievous wrong. This
is what is done by the Devil and Adam and all their followers.
But he who leaveth the will in its noble freedom doeth right, and
this doth Christ with all His followers. And whoso robbeth the
will of its noble freedom and maketh it his own, must of
necessity as his reward, be laden with cares and troubles, with
discontent, disquiet, unrest, and all manner of wretchedness, and
this will remain and endure in time and in eternity. But he who
leaveth the will in its freedom, hath content, peace, rest, and
blessedness in time and in eternity. Wherever there is a man in
whom the will is not enslaved, but continueth noble and free,
there is a true freeman not in bondage to any, one of those to
whom Christ said: “The truth shall make you free”; and
immediately after, he saith : ” If the Son shall make you free,
ye shall be free indeed.”

Furthermore, mark ye that where the will enjoyeth its freedom,
it hath its proper work, that is, willing. And where it chooseth
whatever it will unhindered, it always chooseth in all things
what is noblest and best, and all that is not noble and good it
hateth, and findeth to be a grief and offence unto it. And the
more free and unhindered the will is, the more is it pained by
evil, injustice, iniquity, and in short all manner of wickedness
and sin, and the more do they grieve and afflict it. This we see
in Christ, whose will was the purest and the least fettered or
brought into bondage of any man’s that ever lived. So likewise
was Christ’s human nature the most free and single of all
creatures, and yet felt the deepest grief, pain, and indignation
at sin that any creature ever felt. But when men claim freedom
for their own, so as to feel no sorrow or indignation at sin and
what is contrary to God, but say that we must heed nothing and
care for nothing, but be, in this present time, as Christ was
after His resurrection, and the like; – this is no true and
divine freedom springing from the true divine Light, but a
natural, unrighteous, false, and deceitful freedom, springing
from a natural, false, and deluded light.

Were there no self-will, there would be also no ownership. In
heaven there is no ownership; hence there are found content, true
peace, and all blessedness. If any one there took upon him to
call anything his own, he would straightway be thrust out into
hell, and would become an evil spirit. But in hell everyone will
have self-will, therefore there is all manner of misery and
wretchedness. So is it also here on earth. But if there were one
in hell who should get quit of his self-will and call nothing his
own, he would come out of hell into heaven. Now, in this present
time, man is set between heaven and hell, and may turn himself
towards which he will. For the more he hath of ownership, the
more he hath of hell and misery; and the less of self-will, the
less of hell, and the nearer he is to the Kingdom of Heaven. And
could a man, while on earth, be wholly quit of self-will and
ownership, and stand up free and at large in God’s true light,
and continue therein, he would be sure of the Kingdom of Heaven.
He who hath something, or seeketh or longeth to have something
of his own, is himself a slave; and he who hath nothing of his
own, nor seeketh nor longeth thereafter, is free and at large,
and in bondage to none.

All that hath here been said, Christ taught in words and
fulfilled in works for three-and-thirty years, and He teacheth
it to us very briefly when He saith: “Follow Me.” But he who will
follow Him must forsake all things, for He renounced all things
so utterly as no man else hath ever done. Moreover, he who will
come after Him, must take up the cross, and the cross is nothing
else than Christ’s life, for that is a bitter cross to nature.
Therefore He saith: “And he that taketh not his cross, and
followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me, and cannot be My
disciple.” But nature, in her false freedom, weeneth she hath
forsaken all things, yet she will have none of the cross, and
saith she hath had enough of it already, and needeth it no
longer, and thus she is deceived. For had she ever tasted the
cross she would never part with it again. He that believeth on
Christ must believe all that is here written.

CHAPTER LII

How we must take those two Sayings of Christ: “No Man cometh unto
the Father, but by Me,” and “No Man cometh unto Me, except the
Father which hath sent Me draw him.”

Christ saith: “No man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” Now
mark how we must come unto the Father through Christ. The man
shall set a watch over himself and all that belongeth to him
within and without, and shall so direct, govern, and guard his
heart, as far as in him lieth, that neither will nor desire, love
nor longing, opinion nor thought, shall spring up in his heart,
or have any abiding-place in him, save such as are meet for God
and would beseem him well, if God Himself were made Man. And
whenever he becometh aware of any thought or intent rising up
within him that doth not belong to God and were not meet for Him,
he must resist it and root it out as thoroughly and as Speedily
as he may.

By this rule he must order his outward behaviour, whether he work
or refrain, speak or keep silence, wake or sleep, go or stand
still. In short: in all his ways and walks, whether as touching
his own business, or his dealings with other men, he must keep
his heart with all diligence, lest he do aught, or turn aside to
aught, or suffer aught to spring up or dwell within him or about
him, or lest anything be done in him or through him, otherwise
than were meet for God, and would be possible and seemly if God
Himself were verily made Man.

Behold! he, in whom it should be thus, whatever he had within,
or did without, would be all of God, and the man would be in his
life a follower of Christ more truly than we can understand or
set forth. And he who led such a life would go in and out through
Christ; for he would be a follower of Christ: therefore also he
would come with Christ and through Christ unto the Father. And
he would be also a servant of Christ, for he who cometh after Him
is His servant, as He Himself also saith: “If any man serve Me,
let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall also my servant
be.” And he who is thus a servant and follower of Christ, cometh
to that place where Christ Himself is; that is, unto the Father.
As Christ Himself saith: “Father, I will that they also, whom
Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am.” Behold, he who
walketh in this path, “entereth in by the door into the
sheepfold,” that is, into eternal life; “and to him the porter
openeth”; but he who entereth in by some other way, or vainly
thinketh that he would or can come to the Father or to eternal
blessedness otherwise than through Christ, is deceived; for he
is not in the right Way, nor entereth in by the right Door.
Therefore to him the porter openeth not, for he is a thief and
a murderer, as Christ saith.

Now, behold and mark, whether one can be in the right Way, and
enter in by the right Door, if one be living in lawless freedom
or license, or disregard of ordinances, virtue or vice, order or
disorder, and the like. Such liberty we do not find in Christ,
neither is it in any of His true followers.

CHAPTER LIII

Considereth that other saying of Christ, “No Man can come unto
Me, except the Father, which hath sent Me, draw him.”

Christ hath also said: “No man cometh unto Me, except the Father,
which hath sent Me, draw him.” Now mark: by the Father, I
understand the Perfect, Simple Good, which is All and above All,
and without which and besides which there is no true Substance,
nor true Good, and without which no good work ever was or will
be done. And in that it is All, it must be in All and above All.
And it cannot be any one of those things which the creatures, as
creatures, can comprehend or understand. For whatever the
creature, as creature (that is, in her creature kind), can
conceive of and understand, is something, this or that, and
therefore is some sort of creature. And now if the Simple Perfect
Good were somewhat, this or that, which the creature
understandeth, it would not be the All, nor the Only One, and
therefore not Perfect. Therefore also it cannot be named, seeing
that it is none of all the things which the creature as creature
can comprehend, know, conceive, or name. Now behold, when this
Perfect Good, which is unnameable, floweth into a Person able to
bring forth, and bringeth forth the Only-begotten Son in that
Person, and itself in Him, we call it the Father.

Now mark how the Father draweth men unto Christ. When somewhat
of this Perfect Good is discovered and revealed within the soul
of man, as it were in a glance or flash, the soul conceiveth a
longing to approach unto the Perfect Goodness, and unite herself
with the Father. And the stronger this yearning groweth, the more
is revealed unto her; and the more is revealed unto her, the more
is she drawn toward the Father, and. her desire quickened. Thus
is the soul drawn and quickened into a union with the Eternal
Goodness. And this is the drawing of the Father, and thus the
soul is taught of Him who draweth her unto Himself, that she
cannot enter into a union with Him except she come unto Him by
the life of Christ. Behold, now she putteth on that life of which
I have spoken afore.

Now see the meaning of these two sayings of Christ’s. The one,
“No man cometh unto the Father, but by Me”; that is, through My
life, as hath been set forth. The other saying, “No man cometh
unto Me, except the Father draw him”; that is, he doth not take
My life upon him and come after Me, except he be moved and drawn
of My Father; that is, of the Simple and Perfect Good, of which
St. Paul saith; “when that which is Perfect is come, then that
which is in part shall be done away.” That is to say; in whatever
soul this Perfect Good is known, felt and tasted, so far as may
be in this present time, to that soul all created things are as
nought compared with this Perfect One, as in truth they are; for
beside or without the Perfect One, is neither true Good nor true
Substance. Whosoever then hath, or knoweth, or loveth, the
Perfect One, hath and knoweth all goodness. What more then doth
he want, or what is all that “is in part” to him, seeing that all
the parts are united in the Perfect, in One Substance ?

What hath here been said, concerneth the outward life, and is a
good way or access unto the true inward life; but the inward life
beginneth after this. When a man hath tasted that which is
perfect as far as is possible in this present time, all created
things and even himself become as nought to him. And when he
perceiveth of a truth that the Perfect One is All and above All,
he needs must follow after Him, and ascribe all that is good,
such as Substance, Life, Knowledge, Reason, Power, and the like,
unto Him alone and to no creature. And hence followeth that the
man claimeth for his own neither Substance, Life, Knowledge, nor
Power, Doing nor Refraining, nor anything that we can call good.
And thus the man becometh so poor, that he is nought in himself,
and so are also all things unto him which are somewhat, that is,
all created things. And then there beginneth in him a true inward
life, wherein from henceforward, God Himself dwelleth in the man,
so that nothing is left in him but what is God’s or of God, and
nothing is left which taketh anything unto itself. And thus God
Himself, that is, the One Eternal Perfectness, alone is, liveth,
knoweth, worketh, loveth, willeth, doeth and refraineth in the
man. And thus, of a truth, it should be, and where it is not so,
the man hath yet far to travel, and things are not altogether
right with him.

Furthermore, it is a good way and access unto this life, to feel
always that what is best is dearest, and always to prefer the
best, and cleave to it, and unite oneself to it. First: in the
creatures. But what is best in the creatures? Be assured: that,
in which the Eternal Perfect Goodness and what is thereof, that
is, all which belongeth thereunto, most brightly shineth and
worketh, and is best known and loved. But what is that which is
of God, and belongeth unto Him? I answer : whatever with justice
and truth we do, or might call good.

When therefore among the creatures the man cleaveth to that which
is the best that he can perceive, and keepeth steadfastly to
that, in singleness of heart, he cometh afterward to what is
better and better, until, at last, he findeth and tasteth that
the Eternal Good is a Perfect Good, without measure and number
above all created good. Now if what is best is to be dearest to
us, and we are to follow after it, the One Eternal Good must be
loved above all and alone, and we must cleave to Him alone, and
unite ourselves with Him as closely as we may. And now if we are
to ascribe all goodness to the One Eternal Good, as of right and
truth we ought, so must we also of right and truth ascribe unto
Him the beginning, middle, and end of our course, so that nothing
remain to man or the creature. So it should be of a truth, let
men say what they will.

Now on this wise we should attain unto a true inward life. And
what then further would happen to the soul, or would be revealed
unto her, and what her life would be henceforward, none can
declare or guess. For it is that which hath never been uttered
by man’s lips, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to
conceive.

In this our long discourse, are briefly comprehended those things
which ought of right and truth to be fulfilled: to wit, that man
should claim nothing for his own, nor crave, will, love, or
intend anything but God alone, and what is like unto Him, that
is to say, the One, Eternal, Perfect Goodness.

But if it be not thus with a man, and he take, will, purpose, or
crave, somewhat for himself, this or that, whatever it may be,
beside or other than the Eternal and Perfect Goodness which is
God Himself, this is all too much and a great injury, and
hindereth the man from a perfect life; wherefore he can never
reach the Perfect Good, unless he first forsake all things and
himself first of all. For no man can serve two masters, who are
contrary the one to the other; he who will have the one, must let
the other go. Therefore if the Creator shall enter in, the
creature must depart. Of this be assured.

CHAPTER LIV

How a  Man shall not seek his own, either in Things spiritual or
natural but the Honour of God only; and how he must enter in by
the right Door, to wit, by Christ, into Eternal Life.

If a man may attain thereunto, to be unto God as his hand is to
a man, let him be therewith content, and not seek farther. This
is my faithful counsel, and here I take my stand. That is to say,
let him strive and wrestle with all his might to obey God and His
commandments so thoroughly at all times and in all things, that
in him there be nothing, spiritual or natural, which opposeth
God; and that his whole soul and body with all their members may
stand ready and willing for that to which God hath created them;
as ready and willing as his hand is to a man, which is so wholly
in his power, that in the twinkling of an eye, he moveth and
turneth it whither he will. And when we find it otherwise with
us, we must give our whole diligence to amend our state; and this
from love and not from fear, and in all things whatsoever, seek
and intend the glory and praise of God alone. We must not seek
our own, either in things spiritual or in things natural. It must
needs be thus, if it is to stand well with us. And every creature
oweth this of right and truth unto God, and especially man, to
whom, by the ordinance of God, all creatures are made subject,
and are servants, that he may be subject to and serve God only.

Further, when a man hath come so far, and climbed so high, that
he thinketh and weeneth he standeth sure, let him beware lest the
Devil strew ashes and his own bad seed on his heart, and nature
seek and take her own comfort, rest, peace, and delight in the
prosperity of his soul, and he fall into a foolish, lawless
freedom and licentiousness, which is altogether alien to, and at
war with, a true life in God. And this will happen to that man
who hath not entered, or refuseth to enter in by the right Way
and the right Door (which is Christ, as we have said), and
imagineth that he would or could come by any other way to the
highest truth. He may perhaps dream that he hath attained
thereunto, but verily he is in error.

And our witness is Christ, who declareth: “Verily, verily, I say
unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold,
but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a
robber.” A thief, for he robbeth God of His honour and glory,
which belong to God alone; he taketh them unto himself, and
seeketh and purposeth himself. A murderer, for he slayeth his own
soul, and taketh away her life, which is God. For as the body
liveth by the soul, even so the soul liveth by God. Moreover, he
murdereth all those who follow him, by his doctrine and example.
For Christ saith: “I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own
will, but the will of Him that sent Me.” And again: “Why call ye
Me Lord, Lord?” as if he would say, it will avail you nothing to
Eternal life. And again: “Not every one that saith unto Me Lord,
Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he that doeth
the will of My Father which is in Heaven.” But He saith also: “If
thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” And what are
the commandments? “To love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,
with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy
mind; and to love thy neighbour as thyself.” And in these two
commandments all others are briefly comprehended.

There is nothing more precious to God, or more profitable to man,
than humble obedience. In His eyes, one good work, wrought from
true obedience, is of more value than a hundred thousand, wrought
from self-will, contrary to obedience. Therefore he who hath this
obedience need not dread Him, for such a man is in the right way,
and following after Christ.

That we may thus deny ourselves, and forsake and renounce all
things for God’s sake, and give up our own wills, and die unto
ourselves, and live unto God alone and to His will, may He help
us, who gave up His will to His Heavenly Father, – Jesus Christ
our Lord, to whom be blessing for ever and ever. Amen.

THE END

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