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The Adornment of the Spiritual Marriage, by Jan van Ruysbroeck, [1916], at





From this unity, wherein the spirit is united with God without intermediary, grace and all gifts flow forth: and out of this same unity, where the spirit rests above itself in God, Christ the Eternal Truth says: Behold, The Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet Him. Christ, who is the light of Eternal Truth, says: Behold: for through Him we become seeing; for He is the light of the Father, and without Him there were no light, neither in heaven nor on earth. This speaking of Christ within us is nothing else than an inrush of His light and His grace. This grace pours into us in the unity of our higher powers and of our spirit; wherefrom, through the power of the grace received, the higher powers flow out to become active in all virtues, and whereto, because of the bond of love, they ever return again.

In this unity lie the power for, and beginning and end of, every natural and supernatural work of the creature in so far as it is wrought in a creaturely way, through grace and Divine gifts, and by the creature's own strength. And therefore God pours His grace into the unity of the higher powers, that therewith man may always fulfil the virtues, through the power and the richness and the thrust of grace. For God gives us grace, therewith to work; and above all graces He gives Himself, for fruition and for rest. The unity of our spirit is our dwelling-place, in the peace of God and in the riches of charity; and there all the manifold virtues are gathered together, and live in the simplicity of the spirit.

Now the grace of God, pouring forth from God, is an inward thrust and urge of the Holy Ghost, driving forth our spirit from within and exciting it towards all virtues. This grace flows from within, and not from without; for God is more inward to us than we are to ourselves, and His inward thrust or working within us, be it natural or supernatural, is nearer to us and more intimate to us, than our own working is. And therefore God works in us from within outwards; but all creatures work from without inwards. And thus it is that grace, and all the gifts of God, and the Voice of God, come from within, in the unity of our spirit; and not from without, into the imagination, by means of sensible images.

Next: Chapter IV. Showing How We Should Found Our Inward Life on A Freedom from Images