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





And so you may perceive that the Divine Nature eternally works according to the Persons, and is eternally idle and wayless according to the simplicity of Its Essence. All therefore that God has chosen and laid hold of with eternal personal love, has already been essentially and fruitively possessed of Him in unity with essential love. For the Divine Persons are enfolded within the Unity in a mutual embrace in an eternal contentment, in abysmal active love. And this is perpetually renewed in the lifegiving life of the Trinity; for here there takes place a perpetual new birth in new knowledge new contentment and new outbreathing; in a new embrace with new torrents of Eternal Love. In this contentment all the chosen are enfolded: angels and men, from the first even to the last. Upon this contentment depend heaven and earth, and life and being and the activity and preservation of all creatures, save only the tendency to turn from God in sin: this comes from the wilful and blind wickedness of the creatures. From the Divine contentment grace and glory and all gifts pour forth in heaven and on earth, and into each creature separately, according to its needs and its receptivity. For God's grace is made ready for all men, and awaits the conversion of every sinner, and whenever a sinner, urged by grace, renounces himself and will call upon God with faith, he finds pardon. And likewise, whosoever through grace with loving contentment turns towards the Eternal Contentment of God, he is enwrapped and embraced in the abysmal love which is God Himself. And thereby he is perpetually renewed in love and in the virtues; for, between our contentment in God and God's contentment in us there abides an activity of love and of eternal life. But God has eternally loved us and established us within His contentment, and if we rightly observe this, our love and our contentment shall be wakened anew. For, in the mutual relations of the Persons in the Godhead, this contentment perpetually renews itself, in a new gushing forth of love, in an ever new embrace within the Unity. And this takes place beyond Time; that is, without before and after, in an eternal NOW. For, in this embrace in the Unity, all things are consummated; and in the gushing forth of love, all things are wrought; and in the life-giving and fruitful Nature lie the power and possibilities of all things. For in the life-giving and fruitful Nature, the Son is in the Father, and the Father in the Son, and the Holy Ghost in Both. For It is a life-giving and fruitful Unity, which is the home and the beginning of all life and of all becoming. And so all creatures are therein, beyond themselves, one Being and one Life with God, as in their Eternal Origin. But in the precession of the different Persons, the Son proceeds from the Father, and the Holy Ghost from Both: and it is there that God has made and ordained all creatures according to their proper being, and has re-made man, through His grace and His death, inasmuch as he cleaves to Him. And He has adorned His own with love and with the virtues; and has turned back with them, towards His Origin.

There the Father and the Son and all the beloved are enfolded and embraced in the bonds of love; that is, in the unity of the Holy Ghost. And this is that same unity which is fruitful in the outgoing activity of the Persons, and forms in Their return an eternal bond of love which shall never be untied: and all who know themselves to be bound up in it shall be blessed throughout eternity, and they are rich in virtue, and clear in contemplation, and simple in fruitive rest. For in their introversion, the Love of God is revealed to them, pouring forth with all good, and drawing back again into the Unity, and above all being and beyond all conditions abiding in eternal rest. And so they are all united with God, through means, and without means, and also without distinction.

Next: Chapter XI. How Good Men in Their Contemplation Have the Love of God Before Them, and How They are Lifted Up INTO God