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The Adornment of the Spiritual Marriage

by Jan van Ruysbroeck

tr. by C. A. Wynschenk Dom

ed. by Evelyn Underhill


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Jan van Ruysbroeck [b. 1293 or 1294, d. 1381] was a Flemish mystic. He led a life of asuterity, eventually founding a congregation in Groenendaal. His writings were widely circulated in his lifetime and he influenced an entire generation of Christian mystics. He was beatified on Decmber 1st, 1908, by Pope St. Pius X.

Title Page

The Adornment of the Spiritual Marriage

First Book

Chapter I. Of the Active Life
Chapter II. Showing How We Shall Consider the Coming of Christ in Three Ways
Chapter III. Of Humility
Chapter VI. Of Charity
Chapter V. Of Patient Endurance
Chapter VI. Of the Second Coming Of Christ
Chapter VII. Of the Blessed Sacraments
Chapter VIII. Of the Third Coming of Christ
Chapter IX. Showing What Christ Will Do in the Day of Doom
Chapter X. Of the Five Kinds of Men Who Shall Appear at the Judgment
Chapter XI. Of a Spiritual Going Out With All Virtues
Chapter XII. How Humility is the Foundation of All Other Virtues
Chapter XIII. Of Obedience
Chapter XIV. Of the Renunciation of Self Will
Chapter XV. Of Patience
Chapter XVI. Of Meekness
Chapter XVII. Of Kindliness
Chapter XVIII. Of Compassion
Chapter XIX. Of Generosity
Chapter XX. Of Zeal and Diligence
Chapter XXI. Of Temperance and Sobriety
Chapter XXII. Of Purity
Chapter XXIII. Of Three Enemies to be Overcome by Righteousness
Chapter XXIV. Of the Kingdom of the Soul
Chapter XXV. Of a Spiritual Meeting of God and Ourselves
Chapter XXVI. Of The Desire to Know the Bridegroom in His Nature

Second Book

Chapter I. How We Achieve Supernatural Sight in Our Inward Workings
Chapter II. Of A Three-Fold Unity Which is in Us By Nature
Chapter III. Of the Inflow of the Grace of God into Our Spirit
Chapter IV. Showing How We Should Found Our Inward Life on A Freedom from Images
Chapter V. Of a Three-Fold Coming of Our Lord in the Inward Man
Chapter VI. Of the Second Coming of Our Lord in the Inward Man
Chapter VII. Of the Third Coming of Our Lord
Chapter VIII. How the First Coming Has Four Degrees
Chapter IX. Of Unity of Heart
Chapter X. Of Inwardness
Chapter XI. Of Sensible Love
Chapter XII. Of Devotion
Chapter XIII. Of Gratitude
Chapter XIV. Of Two Griefs Which Arise From Inward Gratitude
Chapter XV. A Similitude How We Should Perform the First Degree of Our Inward Exercise
Chapter XVI. Another Similitude Concerning the Same Exercise
Chapter XVII. Of The Second Degree of Our Inward Exercise, Which Increases Inwardness by Humility
Chapter XVIII. Of the Pure Delight of the Heart and the Sensible Powers
Chapter XIX. Of Spiritual Inebriation
Chapter XX. What May Hinder a Man in this Inebriation
Chapter XII. A Similitude How A Man Should Act and Bear Himself in this Case
Chapter XXII. Of The Third Degree of the Spiritual Coming of Christ
Chapter XXIII. Of the Pain and Restlessness of Love
Chapter XXIV. Of Ecstacies and Divine Revelations
Chapter XXV. An Example Showing How One is Hindered in this Exercise
Chapter XXVI. Another Example
Chapter XXVII. A Parable of the Ant
Chapter XXVIII. Of the Fourth Degree of the Coming of Christ
Chapter XXIX. Showing What the Forsaken Man Should Do
Chapter XXX. A Parable: How One May Be Hindered in this Fourth Degree
Chapter XXXI. Of Another Hindrance
Chapter XXXII. Of Four Kinds of Fever Wherewith A Man May Be Tormented
Chapter XXXIII. Showing How These Four Degrees in their Perfection are Found in Christ
Chapter XXXIV. Showing How a Man Should Live if He Would be Enlightened
Chapter XXXV. Of The Second Coming of Christ, or, the Fountain with Three Rills
Chapter XXXVI. The First Rill Adorns the Memory
Chapter XXXVII. The Second Rill Enlightens the Understanding
Chapter XXXVIII. The Third Rill Establishes the Will to Every Perfection
Chapter XXXIX. Showing How the Established Man Shall Go Out in Four Ways
Chapter XL. He Shall Go Out Towards God and Towards All Saints
Chapter XLI. He Shall Go Out Towards All Sinners
Chapter XLII. He Shall Go Out Towards His Friends in Purgatory
Chapter XLIII. He Shall Go Out Towards Himself and Towards All Good Men
Chapter XLIV. Showing How We May Recognise Those Men Who Fail in Charity to All
Chapter XLV. How Christ Was, Is, and Ever Will Be the Lover of All
Chapter XLVI. Reproving All Those Who Live on Spiritual Goods in an Inordinate Manner
Chapter XLVII. Showing How Christ Has Given Himself to all in Common in the Sacrament of the Altar
Chapter XLVIII. Of The Unity of the Divine Nature in the Trinity of the Persons
Chapter XLIX. Showing How God Possesses and Moves the Soul Both in a Natural and a Supernatural Way
Chapter L. Howing How A Man Should Be Adorned if He is to Receive the Most Inward Exercise
Chapter LI. Of the Third Coming of Christ
Chapter LII. Showing how the Spirit Goes Out Through the Divine Stirring
Chapter LIII. Of an Eternal Hunger for God
Chapter LIV. Of A Loving Strife Between the Spirit of God and Our Spirit
Chapter LV. Of the Fruitful Works of the Spirit, the Which are Eternal
Chapter LVI. Showing the Way in Which We Shall Meet God in a Ghostly Manner Both with and Without Means
Chapter LVII. Of the Essential Meeting WITH God Without Means in the Nakedness of Our Nature
Chapter LVIII. Showing How One is Like Unto God Through Grace and Unlike Unto God Through Mortal Sin
Chapter LIX. Showing How One Possesses God In Union and Rest, Above All Likeness Through Grace
Chapter LX. Showing How We Have Need of the Grace of God, Which Makes Us Like Unto God and Leads Us to God Without Means
Chapter LIX. of How God and Our Spirit Visit Each Other in the Unity and in the Likeness
Chapter LXII. Showing How We Should Go Out to Meet God
Chapter LXIII. Of the Ordering of All the Virtues Through the Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost
Chapter :LXIV. Of the Highest Degree of the Most Interior Life
Chapter LXV. Of Three Kinds of Most Inward Practices
Chapter LXVI. Showing How Some Men Live Contrary to These Exercises
Chapter LXVII. Of Another Kind of Perverted Men

Third Book

Chapter I. Showing the Three Ways by Which One Enters into the God-Seeing Life
Chapter II. How the Eternal Birth of God is Renewed Without Interruption in the Nobility of the Spirit
Chapter III. How Our Spirit is Called to Go Out in Contemplation and Fruition
Chapter IV. Of A Divine Meeting Which Takes Place in the Hiddenness of Our Spirit

The Sparkling Stone

Chapter I. Through Three Things A Man Becomes Good
Chapter II. Through Three Things A Man Becomes Inward
ChapterIII. Through Three Things A Man Becomes God-Seeing
Chapter IV. Of the Sparkling Stone, and of the New Name Written in the Book of the Secrets of God
Chapter V. Of the Works Which God Works in All in Common and of Five Kinds of Sinners
Chapter VI. Of the Difference Between the Hirelings and the Faithful Servants of God
Chapter VII. Of The Difference Between the Faithful Servants and the Secret Friends of God
Chapter VIII. Of the Difference Between the Secret Friends and the Hidden Sons of God
Chapter IX. How We May Become Hidden Sons of God, and Attain to the God-Seeing Life
Chapter X. How We, Though One With God, Must Eternally Remain Other Than God
Chapter XI. Of the Great Difference Between the Brightness of the Saints and the Highest Brightness to Which We Can Attain in This Life
Chapter XII. Of The Transfiguration of Christ on Mount Thabor
Chapter XIII. How We Ought to Have Fruition Of God
Chapter XIV. Of that Common Life Which Comes from the Contemplation and Fruition of God

The Book of Supreme Truth

Chapter I. Wherefore this Book was Written
Chapter II. A Short Repetition of All the Highest Teachings Written by the Author
Chapter III. Of the Union Through Means
Chapter IV. Of The Men Who Practise A False Vacancy
Chapter V. Of the Union Without Means
Chapter VI. Of Heavenly Weal and Hellish Woe
Chapter VII. Showing Wherefore All Good Men Do Not Attain to the Unmediated Union with God
Chapter VIII. Showing How the Inward Man Should Exercise Himself, That He May be United with God Without Means
Chapter IX. Of The Inward Working of God's Grace
Chapter X. Of the Mutual Contentment of the Divine Persons, and the Mutual Contentment Between God and Good Men
Chapter XI. How Good Men in Their Contemplation Have the Love of God Before Them, and How They are Lifted Up INTO God
Chapter XII. Of the Highest Union, Without Difference or Distinction
Chapter XIII. Of the Threefold Prayer of Christ, That We Might Be One With God
Chapter XIV. Here The Author Declares That He Submits All That He Has Written to the Judgment of Holy Church