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





Even though the eye be clear and the sight keen, if there were no loveworthy and desirable object, clearness of sight would neither please nor profit a man. And this is why Christ shows to the enlightened eyes of the understanding what they shall see, to wit, the inward coming of Christ their Bridegroom.

Three ways of this special inward coming of God are found in those men who exercise themselves with devotion in the inward life; and each of these three comings raises a man to a higher degree and to a more inward exercise.

The first coming of Christ in inward working drives and urges a man in his inward feeling; it draws him with all his powers upwards to heaven, and it calls him to unite himself with God. This driving and drawing we feel in the heart, and in the unity of all the bodily powers, and especially in the desirous power. For this coming stirs, and works in, the lower part of man; for this must be wholly purged and adorned, and inflamed and drawn inwards. This inward urge of God gives and takes, makes rich and poor, brings weal and woe upon a man; it causes hope and despair; it burns and it freezes. But no tongue can tell of those gifts and works and contraries that here come to pass.

This coming with its working is parted into four degrees, each one higher than the other, as we will show afterwards. And with it the lower part of man is adorned in the inward life.

Next: Chapter VI. Of the Second Coming of Our Lord in the Inward Man