Revelations of Divine Love/Introduction Part 3

PART III

The Theme of the Book

" THE phase of thought or feeling which we call Mysticism has its origin in . . . that dim consciousness of the beyond which is part of our nature as human beings. . . . Mysticism arises when we try to bring this higher consciousness into relation with the other contents of our minds. Religious Mysticism may be defined as the attempt to realise the presence of the living God in the soul and in nature, or, more generally, as the attempt to realise in thought and feeling, the immanence of the temporal in the eternal, and of the eternal in the temporal."—W. R. Inge, Christian Mysticism. The Bampton Lectures for 1900, p. 4.

"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 an outer court of the eternal, or of Eternity, and especially whatever in time, or any temporal creature manifesteth or remindeth us of God or Eternity; for the creature is a guide and a path to God and Eternity."[1] "God is althing that is gode, as to my sight," says Julian, "and the godenes that althing hath, it is He" (viii.).

"Truth seeth God," and every man exercising the human gift of Reason may in the sight and in the seeing of truths, attain to some sight of God as Truth. But "Wisdom beholdeth God," and although the enlightenment of the Spirit of Wisdom for the discernment of vital truth is a grace that is granted in needful measure to him that seeks to be guided by it, it is perhaps those receivers of grace that are mystics by nature and habit that are the most ready in reaching forward while still on earth to Wisdom's fullest and most immediate beholding of God as All in all. For theirs in the largest (and it may be the highest) efficiency, and in the fullest accordance with man's first gift of "Reason Natural," is the further gift that Julian calls "Mind": the gift of a certain spiritual sensitiveness whereby they are quick to take impression of eternal things unseen (seeing them either within or beyond the things of time that are seen) with surrender of self to partake of their life. For in this Beholding of Wisdom, response of the heart in purity and insight of the imagination in faith enhance each other, while the vision of the soul through both takes clearness.

The mystic, who sees the wide-ruling oneness of God with all that is good—and thus, as the Mystics say, with all that is,—may begin at any point the beholding of Goodness and therein the beholding of God. "He is in the mydde poynt of all thyng, and all He doeth" (xi.). It is in the way of those thus fully endowed for the reaching to truth in its highest wisdom here, while they walk amongst the many manifestations of earth, to take them as delicate partial signs instinct with a single meaning. Here is mystical perception:—

"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower;
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour";[2]

by a blackbird's sudden song to overhear, "in woodlands within," a joy out of the heart of the Life of life.[3] speaking of the spiritual sight Julian relates: "I saw God in a point,—by which sight I saw that He is in all things." To the mystical soul, quiet to listen to "the music of the spheres," all sweet accordant sounds are singing Holy, Holy, Holy to the mystical soul, "full of eyes within"—like those Creatures of Life seen on the plain by the prophet of the Law of Life as renewed for Hope, and seen in the heights by the herald of the Evangel of life as fulfilled in Love—all symmetrical sights are as doors that are opened in Heaven. But it is most of all in the music and the symmetry made of adverse life and death by the power of love, as this is seen from highest to lowest, from lowest to highest, that the Revelation of God as Love that is All in all is received. And looking thereon in the highest manifestation, the manifestation of Christ, which is made for all men, the mystics meet other beholders, who are not called "mystics," yet who have not merely in greater or less degree, with them, the common gift of Reason, but, after their different manner and in their own share, the gift of the feeling "Mind." For both from the seeing of Truth and from the beholding of Wisdom comes the "holy wondering delight in God" that is simply delight of love in Love. So they of the East and they of the West sit down together to partake of the Bread and the Wine of the Table of God in His Kingdom.

There is no other than one Food of the Divine Life consecrated and made ready and offered to man for his human spirit to feed on; but the Christian mystic finds an offering of that Food, which is the sanctified Life of the Christ of God, not only in its constant presentment to the spirit alone, by the Spirit of God through Christ. To him, as to other Christians, the sight and the offering of the Life in God is given in that memorial, mediate, expectant Sacrament consecrated for the spirit's nurture through those elected Symbols of sense that are the most perfect and sacred symbols because in their earlier, natural use they most immediately minister to the whole human life on earth of the Giver and of the receivers. But along with this chosen Sacrament, and as one with it, there is shewn to the mystic the Life Divine in diverse manners of working: he sees God's Christ from afar, fore-sees the Eucharistic Sacrament of His most sacred Death and Life, now raised in the Bread and the Wine on high,—seeing its promise low in the ground in the earliest, ageless life of the wheat and the vine: seed cast away, bruised corn of wheat, and dying Body, and broken Bread, and daily obedience; a hidden root, crushed fruit of the vine, and Blood poured forth, and uplifted Wine, and joy of Love over Death: one Life.

Sometimes there is for the mystics a partaking of these lesser "wayside sacraments," sometimes a turning aside from their symbols; sometimes the old song of life in the lower creation awakens singing, sometimes it scarcely is heard. But always the spirit of nature's signs as interpreted in Man, above all in Christ, lays its claim on the soul; always as sung by the chorus of human spirits that live on the "Righteousness, Peace, and Joy" of the Will of God, the New Song of Life through Death has in it a summons and receives from one and another here, passing through much tribulation, its fuller concord of human achievement, or at least the desirous Amen. So whether the mystic dwell much or little with the sights and sounds of sense, those things that are seen and heard by the soul bear to him the command of his home, and the merest doorway glimpses, the echoes most distant, making their proffer of more and more within and beyond, say Come.

"I give you the end of a golden string:
Only wind it into a ball,
It will lead you in at Heaven's Gate,
Built in Jerusalem wall."[4]

(Although this "following on to know," this winding of the truth caught hold of into a "perfect round" of thought and will and life, is probably not more easy for the mystics than for other people.

"Amore, amor, tu sei cerchio rotondo!"[5]

God is in all; but "our soul may never have rest in things that are beneath itself" (Ixvii.). "Well I wot," says Julian, "that heaven and earth and all that is made is great and large, fair and good," yet "all that is made" is seen as a little thing, the size of a hazel nut, held in the palm of her hand, when along with it her spiritual sight beholds the Maker. And though we may find the Maker in all things, we find Him, both as Maker and Restorer, first and best, First and Last, in the soul. There He is Alpha, there Omega. "It is readier to us to come to the knowing of God than to know our own Soul" (in its fullest powers). "For our soul is so deep-grounded in God and so endlessly treasured, that we may not come to the knowing thereof till we have first knowing of God, which is the Maker, to whom it is oned." And yet, "we may never come to full knowing of God till we know first clearly our own soul" (lvi.). The knowledge begins with God, but it begins with Him in the lowest place of the soul rescued from sin by mercy and entered by grace. "For Himself is nearest and meekest, highest and lowest, and doeth all" (lxxx.). To the soul that looks on Christ a remembrance rises of its own "fair nature" made in His image; yet "our Lord of His mercy sheweth us our sin and our feebleness by the sweet gracious light of Himself" (lxxviii.). Thus in the working of grace the soul comes to the knowledge both of its higher and lower parts. For in finding in itself both a natural response to the working of grace by its love and its longing after God, and a contrariness to the goodness of grace by its often failing and falling, it experiences both the action of the "Godly Will" (which is within it as a part of, and a gift from, its higher nature, "the Substance") and the action of a "beastly will" (from the simple animal nature) which can will no moral good and which, "failing of love," falls into sin: whereby comes pain, with all the "travail" of good and evil in conflict during the course of restoration. But it is only when the Sense-soul (wherein the higher will must overcome the lower) is at last brought up to heaven, enriched by all the profits of tribulation, and is united to the Substance waiting there, "hid with Christ in God," that we come to the perfect knowledge of God. For that knowledge, perfect in kind though always growing, can only begin when, being in our "full powers" and "all fully holy," we come to know clearly our own united perfected Soul. This seems to be Julian's view (lvi., etc.).

Julian says elsewhere that we have in us here such a "medley" of good and evil that sometimes we hardly know of others or of ourselves wherein we stand, but that each "holy assent" that we make (by the Godly Will) to the grace and will of God, is a witness that we are of God. A witness to our sonship, it might be said; and perhaps, taking Julian's view for the time, we might think that as the Lost Son "came to himself," so the soul comes to the consciousness of the Godly Will; that as he arose and came to his Father and found Him, or rather was found by his Father, so the soul receives the healing of Christ in Mercy and the leading of the Holy Ghost in Grace; and that as at last, the son not only found his father but found his lost sonship—yet a better sonship than ever he had known before—so the soul comes at last to find, more and more fully, that new sonship which is of its nature, yet is more than its nature. For it finds the nature oneness which by creation it had with the Son of God, enhanced and for ever sustained by grace.

Sometimes, truly, the Mystical doctrine leads by tracks that are not easily followed, but it is perhaps only when her views are regarded in single parts, that any harm could be found in Julian's statements—all qualified as they are by her "as to my sight." At first indeed it may startle one to read of her saints that are known in the Church and in Heaven "by their sins," to hear that the wounds left by sin are made "medicines" on earth and turned to "worships" in Heaven; but then we remember the joy that shall be in Heaven over "one sinner that repenteth," the love that loves much because much is forgiven. And yet we remember the little children in their high faith and love and innocent days; and of such is the Kingdom of God. But the Child, with many "fair virtues," albeit imperfect, was likewise Julian's type of the Christian soul: "I understood no higher stature in this life than Childhood."

"To know our own soul"—it behoveth us to know our own soul—our high-nature soul, which is enclosed in God, and also our soul on the earth which Christ-Jesus inhabits, which has in it the "medley": "we have in us our Lord Jesus uprisen, we have in us the wretchedness and the mischief of Adam's falling, dying" (lii.). But elsewhere Julian gives this name "our own soul" to the Church, seeing the Church likewise as the dwelling and working-place of Christ (lxii.). She has been speaking of the Divine Wisdom being as it were the Mother of the soul, and now she seems to lead us to the Church as to the Nursery where He tends His children. "For one single person may oftentimes be broken, but the whole Body of Holy Church was never broken, nor ever shall be, without end. And therefore a sure thing it is, a good and a gracious, to will meekly and mightily to be fastened to our Mother, Holy Church, that is Christ Jesus. For the Food of Mercy that is His dearworthy blood and precious water is plenteous to make us fair and clean; the sweet gracious hands of our Mother be ready and diligently about us. For He in all this working useth the office of a kind nurse that hath not else to do but to entend about the salvation of her child" (lxi.). Each soul is indeed the soul of a person and most intimately knows itself in its personal experience, through which indeed alone it can come to knowledge of others. Yet the single soul knows itself best in the souls of all the saints, in the fellowship of the "Blessed Common," where every virtue is found, not in each, at this time, but in all—not now in the perfect height nor the fairest flowering, but at growth in that ground where each plant holds some likeness to Christ.

With Julian the Christian Faith is not a thing added to the Mystical sight: these are, as again and again she says, seen both as one. It is the inherent Christianity of her system that makes her teaching always, in a large way, practical. For the system came at first to be seen by prayerful searching made out of her practical need of an answer to the problem of sin and sorrow; the Mystical Vision came with "contrition, compassion, and longing after God," those wounds that her contrite, pitiful, longing heart had desired should be made more deep in her life. It is through the work of grace that Julian reaches back to the gift of nature, its ground; and from the depths of this root-ground she rises soon again to the "springing and spreading" grace. So in the First of her Shewings the "higher" truth is seen: "we are all in Him beclosed," but in the Last—the conclusion and confirmation of all—the lower, yet nearer, truth, which all may know: "and He is beclosed in us." And speaking of this dwelling within the soul she speaks of His working us all into Him: "in which working He willeth that we be His helpers, giving to Him all our entending, learning His lores, keeping His laws, desiring that all be done that He doeth; truly trusting in Him" (lvii.).

Julian had prayed to feel Christ's dying pains, if it should be God's will, in order that she might feel compassion, and the visionary sight of His pain in the Face of the Crucifix filled her with pain as it grew upon her. "How might any pain be more to me than to see Him that is all my life, all my bliss, and all my joy suffer?" Yet the Shewing of Pain was but the introduction to, and for a time the accompaniment of, the Revelation; the Revelation, itself, as a whole, was of Love—the Goodness or Active Love of God. So the First Shewing, as the Ground of all the rest, was a large view of this Goodness as the Ground of all Being. Although through these earlier Shewings the Saviour's bodily pain is felt by Julian so fully in "mind" that she feels it indeed as if it were bodily anguish she bore, it is in this very experience that the shewing of Joy is made to her spirit. So when in the opening of the Revelation she tells of beholding the Passion of Christ, her first unexpected word is of sudden joy from the inner sight of the Love that God is: the sight of the Trinity:—"and in the same Shewing suddenly the Trinity fulfilled my heart most of joy. (For where JESUS appeareth, the blessed Trinity is understood, as to my sight.)" And even as Julian finds afterwards that the Last Word of the Revelation is the same as the First: "Thou shalt not be overcome," so the opening Sight already shews her that which shall be revealed all through, for learning of "more in the same," and uplifts her heart to the fulness of joy that is shewn at the close. For she feels that this shock, as it were, of Revelation—this sudden joy of seeing Love in the midst of earth's evil, beyond and beneath and in the pain that is passing, is the entrance into the joy of the Lord. "Suddenly the Trinity fulfilled my heart with utmost joy.—And so I understood it shall be in heaven without end to all that shall come there" (iv.). So at the close, when the vision was not of the Love Divine in that bending Face beneath the Crown of Thorns, but of the human love that shall spring up to meet the Divine out of the lowness of earth,—the vision of how from this body of death, as from an unsightly, shapeless, and stagnant mass of quagmire, there "sprang a full fair creature, a little Child, fully shapen and formed, agile and lively, whiter than lily; which swiftly glided up into heaven"—the spiritual shewing to the soul is this: "Suddenly thou shalt he taken from all thy pain. . . . and thou shalt come up above and thou shalt have me . . . and thou shalt be fulfilled of love and of bliss" (lxiv.). And so in that early experience of Julian's when in her love, abandoned to pity and worship, she wonld not look up to Heaven from the Cross, it was also the inward sight by the higher part of her soul of the higher part of Christ's life, that Heavenly Love that could only rejoice, that overcame her frailty of flesh unwilling to suffer, and made her choose "only Jesus in weal and in woe." "Thou art my Heaven" (xix.–lv.). "All the Trinity wrought in the Passion of Jesus Christ," though only the Son of the Virgin suffered, and in seeing this, Julian saw "the Bliss of Christ's works," "the joy that is in the blissful Trinity [by reason] of the Passion of Christ"; the Father willing all, the Son working all, the Holy Ghost confirming all."

This complexity of the Divine-Human life in the Son of God, this union in Christ Jesus of serene untouched blessedness in the heavenly regions of His spirit with His bearing, in the active joy of a "glad giver," all the sin and sorrow of the world, is revealed as the comfort and confidence of man, whose own deepest experience is love that suffers, whose highest worship therefore must be of Love that is strong to suffer.

It was a double joy that was shewn in Christ besides the bliss of the impassible Godhead, which is the bliss of Love without all time and beyond all deeds. For there was joy in the Passion itself: "If I might suffer more, I would suffer more," and joy in its fruits: "If thou art pleased, I am pleased." Thus, too, we are told of three ways in which our Lord would have us behold His Passion: first, "the hard pains He suffered on earth"; second, "the love that made Him to suffer passeth as far all His pains as Heaven is above earth"; third, "the joy and the bliss that made Him to be well-satisfied in it."—"With a glad countenance He looked unto His wounded Side, rejoicing" (xxii., xxiii., xxiv.).

From the sight of Love that is higher than pain comes the sight of Love that is deeper than sin. Julian had had the mystical shewing that God is all that is good,[6] and is only good, is the life of all that is, and doeth all that is done, and she had reasoned, as others before her had reasoned, that therefore "sin hath no substance" and "sin is no deed." But perhaps it is those that are most concerned with God in creature things, that suffer most shaking from the sight of evil. Those that seek God's Kingdom in this present world, finding "the dark places of the earth" full of the habitations of cruelty, have continually the enemy as with a sword in their bones saying within them: "Where is now thy God?" "I saw," says Julian, "that He is in all things. I beheld and considered, with a soft dread, and thought: What is sin?" (xi.). So also it is immediately after the coming of the mystical Shewing made "yet more highly": "It is I, it is I, it is I that am all," that the memory of her own experience is brought to her and she sees how in her longings after God, who is all the time so close about us, around us and within,—she had always been hindered from seeing and reaching Him fully by the darkening, disturbing power of sin. "And so I looked generally upon us all, and methought: If sin had not been, we should have all been clean, and like to our Lord as He made us" (xxvii.). Thus came again the stirring of that old question over which "afore this time often I wondered," with "mourning and sorrow," "why the beginning of sin was not letted—for then, methought, all should have been well."

To this darkness, crying to God, the light came first as by a soft general dawning of comfort for faith. "Sin is behoveable (it behoved that sin should be suffered to rise) but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well." Yet Julian, unable to take comfort to her heart over that which was still so dark to her intellect, stands "beholding things general, troublously and mourning," saying thus in her thoughts: "Ah good Lord, how might all be well, for the great hurt that is come by sin to the creature?" (xxix.).

The answer to this double question as to sin and pain is the central theme of the Revelation, though much is still hidden and much is but dimly revealed as yet to faith. In brief account, the sight, enough for us now, is this: "Mercy, by love, suffereth us to fail [of love] in measure, and in as much as we fail, in so much we die: for it needs must be that we die in so much as we fail of the sight and feeling of God that is our life. . . . And grace worketh our dreadful failing into plenteous, endless solace, and grace worketh our shameful falling into high, worshipful rising; and grace worketh our sorrowful dying into holy, blissful life" (xlviii.). "By the assay of this falling we shall have an high marvellous knowing of love in God, without end. For strong and marvellous is that love that may not and will not be broken for trespass. And this is one understanding of our profit. Another is the lowness and meekness that we shall get by the sight of our falling" (lxi.). "And by this meek knowing after this manner, through contrition and grace, we shall be broken from all that is not our Lord. And then shall our blessed Saviour perfectly heal us and one us to Him" (lxxviii.)—

Theodidacta, Profunda, Ecstatica—so Julian has been designated; perhaps she might in fuller truth be called Theodidacta, Profunda, Evangelica. She is indeed a mystic, evangelical, practical. With all her fellow-Christians and in the most deeply personal concern she looks with a tender mind on the redeeming work of God by Christ in the "glorious satisfaction" ("Asseth"), and in fervent response of love and thankfulness trusts in the blessed Passion of Christ, and in His sure keeping, and in all the restoring, fulfilling work by the Holy Ghost. But after the Mystical manner she seeks "the beyond": that is, while in no way leaving the works of mercy and grace she seeks to go back to the ground or source of them, the Goodness of God,—yes, to God Himself. "I could not have perceived of the part of Mercy but as it were alone in Love." "The Passion was a noble worshipful deed done in a time, but Love was without beginning, is, and shall be without ending."

The Mystical Vision is that which in outward nature sees the unseen within the seen, but it is also that which in spiritual things sees behind and beyond the temporal means, the eternal causes and ends (vi.). And it is surely here in the spiritual things, in the heart and centre of human existence, in the stress of sin and suffering, rather than amongst the gentle growing things, and flaming lights, and songs, and blameless creatures of Nature that the Beatific Vision on earth is at its highest. For here are found united the Evangel and the Vision and the Life of love. "There the soul is highest, noblest, and worthiest, where it is lowest, meekest, and mildest": it is not in nature's goodness alone that we have our life, "all our life is in three," in nature, in mercy, in grace; "whereof we have meekness, mildness, patience and pity" (lviii., lix.). Man's "spirit," the higher nature that Julian talks of, may indeed be there in the Heavenly places, as an infant's angel lying in the Father's arms, always beholding His Face in love's silence of waiting; but here in earthly places is the Prodigal Son returning, here too is the Father's embrace, and here is His earliest greeting of the son that was lost and is found. And already here in the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth (where all grow pure in the sonship obedience of Jesus Christ), are those that are kept from the first as little children, taken up in His arms and suffered to sing their Hosannahs, which perfect His praise.

The Revelation of Love is all centred in the Passion, and looking on the Passion in time the soul sees, in vision, the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world, the mind conceives how before all time the Divine Love took to itself in the Wisdom of God the mode of Manhood, and in time created Man in the same, and how thus God could be and do all that man could be and do, could exercise Love Divine in human Faith and Courage: could "take our flesh" and live on the earth as "the Man, Christ-Jesus," "in all points tempted like as we are," finding His daily Bread in the will of the Father, drinking with joy of the Wine of Life in the evening cup of Death. "Pain is passing," says Julian, but in passing it leads forth love in man to its deepest living, its fairest height of pureness and strength and fulfilment. Thus it behoved the Captain of man's salvation to have His perfection here through suffering. It is the Lamb in the midst of the Throne, the Almighty Love that was slain, that is Shepherd to the Martyrs, leading them unto living fountains of waters. He that bore the yoke gives rest to the heavy-laden; blessed is He that mourned: for He comforteth with His comfort.

So in the Mediæval story,[7] the highest Mystical Vision, the sight of the Holy Grail, comes only to him that is pure from self, and looks on the bleeding wound that sin has left in man, and is compassionate, and gives himself to service and healing.—Can ye drink of the Cup I drank of?—Love's Cup that is Death and Life.—

Wine of Love's joy I see thy cup
Red to the trembling brim
With Life outpoured, once lifted up,
I drink, remembering Him.—

It is the mourners who are comforted: those that bear griefs of their own, or bear griefs of others fully, do not despair, though the mere onlooker may well despair. Thus the compassionate Julian's vision is of Comfort—comfort not for herself "in special," but for "the general Man"—for all her fellow-Christians. She who had long time mourned for the hurt that is come by sin to the creature, came to the sight of comfort not by turning her eyes away but by deeper compassion that found through the very wounds the healing of Love on earth, the glory of Love in Heaven. She was "filled with compassion for the Passion of Christ," and thus she saw His joy; so afterwards, she tells, "I was fulfilled in part with compassion of all mine even-Christians, for that well, well-beloved people that shall be saved. For God's servants, Holy Church, shall be shaken in sorrow and anguish and tribulation in this world, as men shake a cloth in the wind. And as to this our Lord answered in this manner: A great thing shall I make hereof in Heaven of endless worship and everlasting joys. Yea so far forth as this I saw: that our Lord joyeth of the tribulations of His servants, with truth and compassion." "For He saith: I shall wholly break you of your vain affections and of your vicious pride: and after that I shall together gather you, and make you mild and meek, clean and holy, by oneing to me" (xxviii.). Sin is indeed "the sharpest scourge," "viler and more painful than hell, without comparison," "an horrible thing to see for the loved soul that would be all fair and shining in the sight of God, as Nature and Grace teacheth." And darkness, which overhangs the soul while here it is "meddling with any part of sin," "so that we see not clearly the Blissful Countenance of our Lord," is a lasting, life-long "natural penance" from God, the feeling of which indeed does not depart with actual sinning: "for ever the more clearly that the soul seeth this Blissful Countenance by grace of loving, the more it longeth to see it in fulness" (lxxii.). All this is in man's experience, with many other pains—pains which in individual lives have no proportionate relation to sin, though, in general, "sin is cause of pain" and "pain purgeth."—("For I tell thee, howsoever thou do thou shalt have woe"), (lxxvii., xxvii.). But the Comfort Revealed shews how sin, which "hath no part of being" and "could not be known but by the pain it is cause of," (sin which in this view may be compared to the nails of the Passion—mere dead matter, though with power to wound unto death for a time the blessed Life), sin, which is failure of human love,—leaves, notwithstanding all its horror, an opening for a fuller influx of Divine love and strength.[8] And as to darkness, "seeking is as good as beholding, for the time that God will suffer the soul to be in travail" (x.). And as to tribulation of every kind, "the Passion of our Lord is comfort to us against all this, and so is His blessed will" (xxvii.).

The parts may seem to come by chance and to be "amiss," but the whole, and in the whole each part, is ordered. "And when we be all brought up above, then shall we see clearly in God the secret things which be now hid to us. Then shall none of us be stirred to say: Lord, if it had been thus, then it had been full well: but we shall all say with one voice: Lord, blessed mayst Thou be, for it is thus: it is well; and now we see verily that all things are done as it was then ordained before that anything was made" (xl., lxxxv.). "Moreover He that shall be our bliss when we are there, is our Keeper while we are here"; and the Last Word of the Revelation is the same as the First; "Thou shalt not be overcome." "He said not: Thou shalt not be tempested, thou shalt not be travailed, thou shalt not be distressed; but He said: Thou shalt not be overcome."

This is God's comfort. And that here, meanwhile, we should take His comfort is Julian's chief desire and instruction. For Julian, who speaking so much of sin as a strange and troubling sight, yet gives as examples of sin only a slothful mistrusting despondency,—speaks indeed of faith and hope and charity, compassion and meekness, but scarcely exhorts except to the cheerful enduring of tribulation. So she gives counsel as to "rejoicing more in His whole love than sorrowing in our often fallings"; as to "living gladly and merrily for love's sake" in our penance of darkness (lxxii.–lxxxi.). And in general, for all experiences of life, "It is God's will that we take His promises and His comfortings as largely and as mightily as we may take them, and also He willeth that we take our abiding and our troubles as lightly as we may take them, and set them at nought" (lxiv., lxv., xv.),

"We are all one in comfort," says Julian, "all the gracious comfort was for all mine even-Christians." Sin separates, pain isolates, but salvation and comfort unite.

And lastly, in this mystical vision of the oneness of man with God in Christ, man is seen not only as united in himself in the diverse parts of his nature, and as one with his fellow man, but as joined to that which is below him. How often of one good and another, as of that fair and sacred "service of the Mother"—"nearest, readiest, and surest"—"in the creatures by whom it is done," do we hear Julian's confident word of Sacramental declaration: "It is Christ." "For God is all that is good, as to my sight, and God hath made all that is made: and he that loveth generally all his even-Christians for God, he loveth all that is. For in Mankind that shall be saved is comprehended all: that is to say, all that is made and the Maker of all. For in Man is God, and God is in all. And I hope," adds Julian, in words that are fitting to take for her courteous, her tender, "Good Speed" ere we pass to her book—altogether like her as they are, even to the careful, conditional "if" (for nothing, not even comfort, behoves to be "overdone much"), "I hope by the grace of God he that beholdeth it thus shall be truly taught and mightily comforted, if he needeth comfort" (ix.)—

Deus ubique est, et totus ubique est. All things are gathered up in Man, and Man is gathered up in Christ; and Christ is gathered up in the Bosom of the Father. So the world of the lower creation makes promise: All things are yours; and the Church says over its offering, lifted up: Ye are Christ's; and from the stillness the voice of peace is heard: And Christ is God's. "All the promises of God in Him are Yea and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us." All the promises of God: the blossom that floated to the ground; "the lily of a day" that "fell and died that night"; the "little Child, whiter than lily, that swiftly glided up into Heaven"—all the utterances silenced here—in Him are Yea and in Him Amen: Yea on earth and Amen for ever. "He turneth the shadow of death into the morning."


May 1901.


  1. Theologia Germanica, Chap. 1.
  2. Blake's Poems.
  3. Memorabilia of Jesus, by W. Peyton, p. 33.
  4. Gilchrist's Life and Works of William Blake, vol. ii.
  5. Amor de Caritade by Jacopone da Todi (formerly ascribed to S. Francis of Assisi).
  6. "Quid me interrogas de bono? Unus est bonus, Deus."—S. Matt. xix. 17.
  7. A Key to Wagner's Parsifal, by H. von Wolzogen, tr. by Ashton Ellis.
  8. Goodness is Active Love—love that moves. Drawing back from the finite creature, as a wave from the shore, it "suffers" sin's void to appear. But this lack of itself is allowed for the time, that so returning again in its force, to which evil is nothing, it may cover the desolate nature with deepness and highness and fulness unknown before. (See lvii.).