The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart (1901)/Chapter 42



(The Twofold Light of the True Christians.)

The world and he who struggles in it is ever guided by public opinion; the one clings to the other with regard to their conduct, and they pick their way fumbling as blind men, stopping short and stumbling now here, now there. Yet there dawns on these a twofold clear inward light—the light of reason and the light of faith—and both these are guided by the Holy Ghost.

(The Light of Reason.)

2. For although those who enter must put away and renounce their reason, yet the Holy Ghost returns it to them, purified and refined, so that they are, as it were, full of eyes; wherever they go in the world, whatever they see, hear, smell, taste above them, under them, around them, everywhere they see the footsteps of God, and they know how to turn everything to piety. Therein are they wiser than the wisest philosophers of the world, whom by just judgment God blinds, so that though vainly imagining that they know everything, they know nothing; neither what they have nor what they have not; neither what they do, nor what—though it were their duty—they do not, nor to what purpose they go hither and thither, can they conceive. Their learning is but on the surface, mere gaping from outside; to the innermost kernel, which is God's glory poured forth everywhere, they do not penetrate. But the Christian in everything that he sees, hears, touches, smells, tastes—sees, hears, touches, smells, tastes God; for he is certain in his mind that all this is clear truth, not vain fancy.

(The Light of Faith.)

3. Then the light of faith gleams on him so brightly that he can already see and know, not only that which is before him, but also everything that is absent and invisible. In His work, God has truly revealed that which is on high, above the heavens, and in the abyss beneath the earth, as well as what was before the world, and what will be after it. The Christian, believing in this, has all this clearly before his eyes, though the world does not conceive it. The world will believe but in that which it sees, touches, holds in its hand. The Christian, on the other hand, is so wholly absorbed in invisible, absent, future things that those that are before him disgust him. The world ever demands proof; the Christian thinks the Word of God alone sufficient. The world seeks bonds, pledges, pawns, seals; the Christian sets up faith alone as a security for all things. The world examines things for her own purpose in divers fashions, distrusts, tests, suspects. The Christian relies fully on the truthfulness of God. And whereas the world will ever cavil, doubt, question, feel uncertain, the Christian hath ever Him in whom he can place his entire confidence, whom he can obey, and before whom he can humble himself; therefore the light of faith gleams on him, and he can see and know what things are unchangeable, and must be so, even though he cannot grasp them by the light of reason.

(The Wonders of God seen in this Light.The Course of the World.)

4. And looking at this light, I behold wondrous, most wondrous, things—more than I dare tell. Yet I will say somewhat. I beheld the world before me as a vast clock-work, fashioned out of divers visible and invisible materials; and it was wholly glassy, transparent and fragile. It had thousands, nay, thousands of thousands, of larger and smaller columns, wheels, hooks, teeth, dents; and all these moved and worked together, some silently, some with much rustling and rattling of divers fashions. In the middle of all stood the largest, principal, yet invisible wheel; from it the various motions of the others proceeded in some unfathomable manner. For the power of the wheel penetrated through all things, and directed everything. How this was done, I was not, indeed, able fully to fathom; but that it was truly done, I saw very clearly and evidently. Now, this appeared to me both wondrous and most delightful: though all these wheels shook continually, and sometimes vanished for a time—for the teeth and dents, and even the wheels and little columns, were sometimes displaced and fell to pieces—yet the general movement never stopped; for by some wondrous contrivance of this secret direction all that was wanting was ever replaced, filled up, renewed.

(How Everything is ruled by the Secret Ordinance of God.)

5. I will speak more clearly: I saw the glory of God, and how heaven and earth, and the abyss, and all that can be imagined beyond the world as far as the endless limits of eternity, were full of His power and divinity. I saw, say I, how His omnipotence penetrated everything, and was the foundation of all things; that all that befell in the whole wide world was according to His will, the smallest things and the greatest; that also I saw.

(Particularly among Men.[1])

6. And, that I may speak of men generally, I saw how all, both good and bad, live only in God and with God, thus only move and remain in existence, and how all their every movements and breath comes from God and by means of His power. I saw also how His seven eyes—each one a thousand times brighter than the sun—penetrate the whole earth, see everything that befalls in the light or in darkness, openly or secretly, and even in the deepest depths, watching thus over the hearts of men. I saw also how His mercy was poured out on all His creation, and, of all, most wondrously on men. For I saw how He loved all, sought their welfare, suffered the sinners, pardoned the transgressors, called to Him those who went astray, received those who returned to Him, waited for those who tarried, spared the stubborn ones, overlooked those who offended Him, pardoned the contrite, embraced those who humbled themselves, taught the ignorant, comforted the sorrowful, warned men from falling, raised up those who had fallen, gave to those who implored Him, granted gifts even to those who implored Him not, opened to those who knocked, went Himself to visit those who did not knock, allowed those who sought Him to find Him, appeared Himself to those who sought Him not.

(He is the Terror of the Evil.)

7. But I saw also His awful and terrible rage against the stubborn and ungrateful, and how His wrath pursued and overtook them whitherward they might go; thus was it impossible to escape from His hands, and terrible to fall into them. All God's subjects, indeed, saw how the awfulness and majesty of God rules everything, and how, according to His will only, all great and small things befall.

  1. This refers to the heading of the previous paragraph.