Chapter 42



THE TWO-FOLD LIGHT OF TRUE CHRISTIANS. The world and those who grope in it are guided almost exclusively by mere suspicion; in their actions one follows the example of another, in everything directing themselves by touch like blind men, now and then catching themselves or colliding. But Christians have a twofold brilliant inner light; the light of reason and the light of faith; which are guided by the Holy Spirit.

2 THE LIGHT OF REASON. For although upon entering the chamber they must lay aside and surrender their reason, it is restored to them by the Holy Spirit purified and sharpened; so that they are as if full of eyes; wherever they sojourn in the world, whatever they see, hear, smell, or taste, either above, beneath, or about them, they discern everywhere the footprint of God and know well how to turn all to the fear of God. For that reason they are wiser than all the philosophers of the world, who are blinded by God in His righteous judgement so that they do not realize that even though they profess to know everything, they know nothing; neither what they possess or do not possess; neither what they do, nor what they should do and do not do; neither what goal they strive to reach or are reaching. Their knowledge contents itself with the husk, that is, the futile scanning of the exterior; but does not penetrate the inner kernel which the all-pervading glory of God. But a Christian in everything he sees, hears, touches, smells, or tastes, he sees, hears, touches, smells, and tastes God, having assurance within himself that his experience is not a mere supposition but a real truth.

3 THE LIGHT OF FAITH. Of course, the light of faith likewise illumines him brightly, so that he may see and know not only what he looks at, hears, or touches but even the intangible and the unseen. For God has revealed in His Word what is above the heavens in the highest as well as what is beneath the earth in the abyss below, and what had been before the world and shall be after. The Christian, believing this, has all plainly before his eyes, while the world cannot grasp it. For the world will accept nothing but tangible proof, so that it believes only what it grasps in its hand: while the Christian relies so boldly upon the invisible, absent and future things that he abhors those present. The world demands proofs; the Christian rests content with the bare words of God. The world demands sureties, pledges, hostages, and seals; the Christian regards faith as sufficient for all assurance. The world suspects, probes, tests, and spies: the Christian relies entirely upon God's truthfulness. Thus, where the world always has a reason for stopping and doubting, questioning, hesitating, the Christian always has a reason to believe implicitly, to obey, to submit; for the light of faith illumines him that he may see and know that all these things are immutable and cannot be otherwise, notwithstanding his inability to grasp them by the light of reason.

4 THE WONDERS OF GOD SEEN BY THIS LIGHT, THE COURSE OF THE WORLD. Looking about me by this light, I saw an astounding and most wonderful spectacle, beyond my powers of description. I shall but adumbrate it partlky. I saw this world before me as an enormous and immense clock, composed of various visible and invisible part, but made entirely of glass, transparent and brittle; it exhibited a thousand, nay a thousand thousand larger and smaller rods, wheels, hooks, teeth, and notches, all in motion and oscillation, one within another; some moved noiselessly, others with some friction or grating. In the center was placed the principal, although invisible wheel, from which motion was transmitted in an incomprehensible way to all the rest of the machinery. For the spirit of the wheel was imparted to all the others and dominated them; and although it seemed to me impossible fully to comprehend it, nevertheless I saw plainly and distinctly that it really occurred. I was greatly astonished as well as pleased to find that although many of those wheels sometimes slipped off and fell out, for the teeth and notches and even the wheels and rods themselves were occasionally loosened and dropped out, the general movement never ceased; this was done by some mysterious contrivance of its secret diretion that restored and replaced the lost parts.

5 HOW EVERYTHING IS RULED BY THE SECRET ORDINANCE OF GOD. Let me speak more clearly: I saw the glory of God, how the heavens, the earth, and the abyss, as well as everything that could be imagined beyond the earth to the infinite reaches of eternity were filled with His powe and His Godhead. I saw, I say, that His omnipotence penetrated all things and provided the foundation for all things; everything that happens throughout the breadth of the world, in all things from the vastest to the minutest, occurs only by His will. All this I myself have seen.

6 PARTICULARLY AMONG MEN. And speaking particularly of men, I saw that all men, whether good or bad, live, move, and have their being only in God and by the power of God. For every motion and breadth of their proceed from Him and occur by His power. I beheld how His seven eyes, each a thousand times brighter than the sun, range throughout the world and note everything that happens, whether in light or in darkness, in the open or in secret, even to the profoundest depths, and penetrate into the hearts of all men. Likewise I saw His mercy which floods all His deeds, particularly in His dealings with men. For I saw how He loves them all and seeks their good, shows forbearance to sinners, forgives transgressors, recalls the straying, receives the returning, awaits the procrastinating, patiently bears with the recalcitrant, is long-suffering wiht those who provoke Him, pardons the penitent, and embraces the obedient. He instructs the simple, comforts the sorrowing, forewarns the falling, raises the fallen, responds to those who ask and grants freely to those who ask not, opens to those who knock and of those who knock not He Himself asks admittance, permits Himself to be found by those who seek Him amd and manifests Himself to those who seek Him not.

7 FURIOUS AGAINST THE WICKED. On the other hand, I also observed His fearful and terrible fury against the rebellious and the ungrateful whom He pursues angrily in His furious wrath and overtakes them no matter where they turn: for to escape from His hand is impossible and to fall into His hand is terrible. In short, all those who surrender themselves to God see how the terror and the majesty of God reign supreme above all, so that everything from the greatest to the most insignificant takes placed by his will.