Dr. Miguel de Molinos

Counsel on the WAY of Self-Denial toward Perfection


17. It is the common opinion of all the holy Men who have treated of the Spirit, and of all the Mystical Matters:   That the Soul cannot attain to perfection and an union with God, by means of Meditation, and Ratiocination:  Because that is only good for beginning the spiritual Way, to the end one may acquire a habit of Knowledge, of the beauty of Vertue, and ugliness of Vice:   which habit in the opinion of Saint Teresa, may be attained to in Six Months time and according to S. Bonaventure in Two.

18. O how are, in a manner infinite numbers of Souls to be pitied, who from the beginning of their Life to the end, employ themselves in meer Meditation, constraining themselves to Reason, although God Almighty deprive them of Ratiocination, that he may promote them to another State, and carry them on a more perfect kind of Prayer, and so for many years they continue imperfect, and in the beginning, without any progress or having as yet made one step in the way of the Spirit; beating their Brains about the frame of the Place, the choice of the Minutes, Imaginations, and strained Reasonings, seeking God without, when in the mean time, they have him within themselves.


24. Manifest it is, that it is a great Martyrdom, and no small Gift of God, for the Soul, finding it self deprived of the sensible Pleasures it had, to walk by holy Faith only, through the dark, and desert Paths of Perfection, to which, notwithstanding, it can never attain but by this painful, though secure means.    Wherefore endeavour to be constant, and not draw back, though Discourse be wanting to thee in Prayer, believe at that time firmly, be quietly silent, and patiently persevere if thou wouldest be happy, and attain to the Divine Union, eminent rest, and to the Supream Internal Peace.


37. Think not that when thou art dry and darksom in the presence of God, with faith and silence, that thou do'st nothing, that thou losest time, and that thou are idle, because not to wait on God, according to the saying of St. Bernard . . . is the greatest idleness.

38. It is not to be said, that the Soul is idle;   because though it operate not Actively, yet the Holy Ghost operates in it.    Besides that, it is not without all activity, because it operates, though spiritually, simply, and intimately.   For to be attentive to God, draw near to him, to follow his internal Inspirations, receive his divine Influences, adore him in his own intimate center, reverence him with the pious Affections of the Will, to cast away so many and so fantastical imaginations, and with softness and contempt to overcome so many temptations:  all these, I say, are true acts though simple, wholly spiritual, & in a manner imperceptible, through the great tranquility, wherewith the Soul exerts them.

39. There are two sorts of Darkness: some unhappy, and others happy:  the first are such as arise from sin, and are unhappy, because they lead the Christian to an eternal precipice.   The second are those which the Lord suffers to be in the Soul, to ground and settle it in vertue;  and these are happy, because they enlighten it, fortifie it, and cause greater light therein, so that thou oughtest not to grieve and disturb thy self, nor be disconsolate in seeing thy self obscure and darksom, judging that God hath failed thee, and the light also that thou formerly had the experience of; thou oughtest rather at that time persevere constantly in Prayer, it being a manifest sign, that God of his infinite mercy intends to bring thee into the inward path, and happy way of Paradise.   O how happy wilt thou be, if thou embrace it with Peace and Resignation, as the instrument of perfect Quiet, true Light, & of all thy spiritual Good.

40. Know then that the streightest, most perfect and secure way of proficients, is the way of darkness:  because in them the Lord placed his own Throne;  And (Psalm 18.) He made darkness his secret place.   By them the supernatural Light which God infuses into the Soul, grows and increases.    Amidst them Wisdom and strong Love are begotten, by darkness the soul is annihilated, and the species {mental images}, which hinder the right view of the divine Truth, are consumed.   By this means God introduces the Soul by the Inward Way into the Prayer of Rest, and of perfect Contemplation, which so few have the experience of.    Finally; by darkness the Lord purgest the senses and sensibility, which hinder the mystical progress.

41. See now if darkness be not to be esteemed and embraced.   What thou oughtest to do amidst them, is to believe, that thou art before the Lord, and in his Presence;  but thou oughtest to do so, with a sweet and quiet Attention; not desire to know any thing, nor search after delicacies, tenderness or sensible devotions, nor do any thing but what is the good Will and Pleasure of God;   Because otherwise thou wilt only make circles, all thy life time, and not advance one step toward Perfection.

42. So soon as thou shalt firmly resolve to mortifie thy external senses, that thou may'st advance towards the high mountain of Perfection, and Union with God;  His divine Majesty will set his hand to the purging of thy evil inclinations, inordinate desires, vain complacency, self-love and pride, and other hidden vices, which thou knowest not, and yet reign in the inner parts of thy Soul, and hinder the Divine Union.

43. Thou'lt never attain to this happy state, though thou tire thy self out with the external acts of Mortifications and Resignation, until this Lord purge thee inwardly, and discipline thee, after his own way, because he alone knows how secret faults are to be purged out.   If thou persevere constantly, he'll not only purge thee from affections and engagements to natural and temporal goods, but in his own time also he will purifie thee with the supernatural and sublime, such as are internal Communications;  inward Raptures and Extasies, and other infused Graces, on which the Soul rests and enjoys it self.

44. God will do all this in thy Soul by means of the cross, and dryness, if thou freely giveth thy consent to it by resignation, and walking through those darksom and desert ways.   All thou hast to do, is to do nothing by thy own choice alone.   The subjection of thy liberty, is that which thou oughtest to do, quietly resigning thy self up in every thing whereby the Lord shall think fit internally and externally to mortifie thee:  because that is the only means, by which thy Soul can become capable of the divine influences, whil'st thou sufferest internal and external Tribulation, with Humility, Patience, and Quiet;  not the Penances, Disciplines and Mortifications, which thou couldest impose upon thy self.

45. The Husbandman sets a greater esteem upon the plants which he sows in the Ground, than those that spring up of themselves, because these never come to seasonable maturity.   In the same manner God esteems and is better pleased with the vertue, which he sows and infuses into the Soul (as being sunk into its own nothingness, calm and quiet, retreated within its own center, and without any election) than all the other vertues which the Soul pretends to acquire by its own election and endeavours.

46. It concerns thee only then, to prepare thine heart, like clean paper, wherein the Divine Wisdom may imprint characters to his own liking. O how great a work will it be for thy Soul to be whole hours together in Prayer, dumb, resigned, and humble, without acting, knowing, or desiring to understand any thing.

47. With new efforts thoul't exercise thy self, but in another manner than hitherto, giving thy consent to receive the secret and divine Operations, and to be polished, and purified by this Lord, which is the only means whereby thou will become clean & purged from thine ignorance and dissolutions.    Know, however, that thou art to be plunged in a bitter sea of sorrows, and of internal and external pains, which torment will pierce into the most inward part of thy Soul and Body.

48. Thoul't experience, that the creatures will forsake thee, nay, those too from which thou hoped'st for most Favour and Compassion in thy streights;  the brooks of thy faculties will be so dried up, that thou shalt' not be able to form any ratiocination, nay, nor so much as to conceive a good thought of God.    Heaven will seem to thee to be of brass, and thou shalt receive no light from it.   Nor will the thought comfort thee, that in times past so much light and devout consolation have rained into thy Soul.

49. The invisible enemies will pursue thee with scruples, lascivious suggestions, and unclean thoughts, with incentives to impatience, pride, rage, cursing and blaspheming the Name of God, his Sacraments, and holy Mysteries.    Thou'lt find a great lukewarmness, loathing, and wearisomness for the things of God;  and obscurity and darkness in thy understanding;  a faintness, confusion and narrowness of heart;  such a coldness and feebleness of the will to resist, that a straw will appear to thee a beam.   Thy desertion will be so great, that thou'lt think there is no more a God for thee, and that thou are rendered incapable of entertaining a good desire:  so that thou'lt continue shut up betwixt two walls, in constant streights and anguish, without any hopes of ever getting out of so dreadful an oppression.

50. But fear not:  all this is necessary for purging thy Soul, and making it know its own misery, and sensibly perceive the annihilation of all the passions, and disordinate appetites, wherewith it rejoyced it self.   Finally, to the end the Lord may refine and purifie thee after his own manner with those inward torments, wilt thou not cast the Jonas of sense into the sea, that thereby thou mayest procure it?   With all thy outward disciplines and mortifications, thou'lt never have true light, nor make one step towards perfection:   so that thou wilt stop in the beginning, and thy Soul will not attain to the amiable rest, and supream internal peace.

51. Our own nature is so base, proud and ambitious, and so full of its own appetites, its own judgements and opinions, that if temptations restrained it not, it would be undone without remedy.   The Lord then seeing our Misery and perverse inclination, and thereby moved to compassion, suffers us to be assaulted by divers thoughts against the Faith, horrible temptations, and by violent and painful suggestions of impatience, pride, gluttony, luxury, rage, blasphemy, cursing, despair, and an infinite number of others, to the end we may know our selves and be humble.   With these horrible temptations, that infinite goodness humbles our pride, giving us in them the most wholesome medicine.

52. All our righteousness (as Isaiah saith) are as filthy rags, (Chap. 64. 6.) through the stains of vanity, conceitedness, and self-love.   It is necessary they be purified with the fire of tribulation and temptation, that so they may be clean, pure, perfect and agreeable to the eyes of God.

53. Therefore the Lord purifies the Soul which he calls, and will have for himself, with the rough file of temptation, with which he polishes it from the rust of pride, avarice, vanity, ambition, presumption, and self-conceitedness.   With the same, he humbles, pacifies and exercises it, making it to know its own misery.   By means thereof he purifies and strips the heart to the end all its operations may be pure, and of inestimable value.

54. Many Souls when they suffer these painful torments, are troubled, afflicted, and disquieted, it seeming to them, that they begin already in this life to suffer eternal punishments;  and if by misfortune they go to an unexperienced Confessor, instead of comforting them, he leaves them in greater confusion and perplexities.

55. That thou mayest not lose internal peace, it is necessary thou believe, that it is the goodness of divine mercy, when thus it humbles, afflicts and trys thee;  since by that means thy Soul comes to have a deep knowledge of itself, reckoning it self the worst, most impious and abominable of all Souls living, and hence with humility and lowliness it abhors it self.   O how happy would Souls be, if they would be quiet and believe, that all these temptations are caused by the Devil, and received from the hand of God, for their gain and spiritual profit.

56. But thou'lt say, that it is not the work of the Devil, when he molests thee by means of creatures, but the effect of thy neighbours fault and malice, in having wronged and injured thee.   Know that that is another cunning and hidden temptation, because though God wills not the sin of another, yet he wills his own effect in thee, and the trouble which accrues to thee from another's fault, that he may see thee emproved by the benefit of patience.

57. Doest thou receive an injury from any man? there are two things in it, the sin of him that does it, and the punishment that thou sufferest;   the sin is against the will of God, and displeases him, though he permit it;   the punishment is conformed to his will, and he wills it for thy good, wherefore thou oughtest to receive it, as from his hand.   The Passion and Death of our Lord Christ, were the effects of the wickedness and sins of Pilate, and yet it is certain, that God willed the death of his own Son for our redemption.

58. Consider how the Lord makes use of another's fault for the good of thy Soul.   O the greatness of the Divine Wisdom, who can pry into the depth of the secret and extraordinary means, and the hidden paths whereby he guides the Soul, which he would have purged, transformed and deified.

EXCERPTS taken from:



1. There are two sorts of Spiritual Persons, Internal and External:  these seek God Without, by Discourse, by Imagination and Consideration:  they endeavour mainly to get Vertues, many Abstinences, Maceration of Body, and Mortification of the Senses:  they give themselves to rigorous Penance;   they put on Sack-cloth, chastise the flesh by Discipline, endeavour silence, bear the presence of God, forming him present to themselves in their Idea of him, or their Imagination, sometimes as a Pastor, sometimes as a Physician, and sometimes as a Father and Lord:  they delight to be continually speaking of God, very often making fervent Acts of Love;  and all this is Art and Meditation:  by this way they desire to be great, and by the power of voluntary and exteriour Mortifications, they go in quest of sensible Affections and warm Sentiments, thinking that God resides only in them, when they have 'em.   This is the External Way, and the Way of Beginners, and though it be good, yet there is no arriving at Perfection by it;  nay, there is not so much as one step towards it, as Experience shews in many, that after fifty years of this external exercise, are void of God, and full of themselves, having nothing of spiritual Men, but just the name of such.

2. There are others truly Spiritual, which have passed by the beginnings of the Interiour Way which leads to Perfection and Union with God;  and to which the Lord called 'em by his infinite Mercy, from that outward Way, in which before they exercised themselves.   These men retired in the inward part of their Souls, with true Resignation into the Hands of God, with a total putting off and forgetting even of themselves;  do always go with a rais'd Spirit to the Presence of the Lord, by the means of pure Faith, without Image, Form or Figure, but with great assurance founded in tranquility and rest Internal:  in whose infused meeting and entertainment, the spirit draws with so much force, that it makes the Soul contract inwardly, the Heart, the Body and all the Powers of it.

3. These Souls, as they are already passed by the interiour Mortification, and have been cleansed by God with the Fire of Tribulation, with infinite and horrible Torments, all of them ordained by his hand, and after his way, are Masters of themselves, because they are intirely subdued and denied;  which makes them live with great Repose and internal Peace:  and although in many occasions they feel Resistance and Temptations, yet they become presently Victorious, because being already Souls of Proof, and indued with Divine Strength, the motions of Passions cannot last long upon them;  and although vehement Temptations and troublesome Suggestions of the Enemy may persevere a long time about them, yet they are all conquer'd with infinite gain;  God being he that Fights within them.

4. These Souls have already procured themselves a great Light, and a true Knowledge of Christ our Lord, both of his Divinity and his Humanity:  They exercise this infused Knowledge with a quiet Silence in the inward entertainment, and the superiour part of their Souls, with a Spirit free from Images and external Representations, with a love that is pure and stripped of all Creatures;   they are raised also from outward Actions to the love of Humanity and Divinity;   so much as they enjoy, they forget, and in all of it they find that they love their God with all their Heart and Spirit.

5. These blessed and sublimated Souls take no pleasure in any thing of the World, but contempt and in being alone, and in being forsaken and forgotten by every body:  They live so disinterested and taken off, that though they continually receive many supernatural Graces, yet they are not changed, no not at those inclinations, being just as if they had not received 'em, keeping always in the in-most of their Hearts a great lowliness and contempt of themselves;  always humbled in the depth of their own unworthiness and vileness:  In the same manner they are always quiet, serene, and possessed with evenness of mind in Graces and Favours extraordinary, as also in the most rigorous and bitter Torments.   There is no News that chears 'em;  no Success that makes them sad;  Tribulation never disturbs them;  nor does the interiour, continual and divine Communication make 'em vain and conceited;  they remain always full of holy and filial Fear, in a wonderful Peace, Constancy and Serenity.

6. In the external Way they take care to do continual Acts of all the Vertues, one after another, to get to the attainment of 'em:  They pretend to purge Imperfections with Industries, proportionable to Destruction;  they take care to root up Interests, one after another, with a different and contrary Exercise.    But though they endeavour never so much, they arrive at nothing:   because we cannot do any thing which is not Imperfection and Misery.

7. But in the Inward Way and loving Entertainment in the Presence Divine, as the Lord is he that works, Vertue is established, Interests are rooted up, Imperfections are destroy'd and Passions removed;  which makes the Soul free unexpectedly, and taken off, when occasions are represented, without so much as thinking of the good which God of his infinite Mercy prepared for 'em.

8. It must be known that these Souls, though thus Perfect, as they have the true Light of God, yet by it they know profoundly, their own miseries, weakness and imperfections, and what they yet want to arrive at Perfection, towards which they are walking;  they are afflicted and abhor themselves;  they exercise themselves in a loving fear of God, and contempt of themselves, but with a true Hope in God, and Dis-confidence in themselves.   The more they are humbled with true contempt and knowledge of themselves, the more they please God, and arrive at a singular respect and veneration in his Presence.   Of all the good Works that they do, and of all that they continually suffer, as well within as without, they make no manner of account before that Divine Presence.

9. Their continual Exercise is, to enter into themselves, in God, with quiet and silence;  because there is his Center, Habitation and Delight.   They make a greater account of this interiour Retirement, than of speaking of God;  they retire into that interiour and secret Center of the Soul, to know God and receive his Divine Influence, with fear and loving reverence;  if they go out, they go out only to know and despise themselves.

10. But know that few are the Souls which arrive at this happy State;  because few there are that are willing to embrace contempt, and suffer themselves to be Refined and Purified;  upon which account, although there are many that enter into this interiour Way, yet 'tis a rare thing for a Soul to go on, and not stick upon the entrance.   The Lord said to a Soul, "This Inward Way is tread by few;  'tis so high a Grace, that none deserves it;  few walk in it, because 'tis no other than a Death of the senses;  and few there be that are willing so to Die and be Annihilated;  in which disposition this so soveraign a Gift is founded."

11. Herewith thou wilt undeceive thy self, and perfectly know the great difference which there is between the external and internal Way, and how different that Presence of God is which arise from Meditation, from that which is Infused and Supernatural, arising from the interior and infused Intertainment, and from passive Contemplation;  and lastly, you will know the great difference which is between the outward and inward Man.


24. Know that this Lord hath his repose no where but in quiet Souls, and in those in which the Fire of Tribulation and Temptation hath burnt up the dregs of Passion, and the bitter Water of Afflictions hath washed off the filthy spots of inordinate Appetites;  in a word, this Lord reposes not himself any where, but where Quietness reigns, and Self-love is banished.

25. But thou wilt never arrive at this happy State, nor find in thy Soul the precious Pledge of Peace Internal, although thou hast gotten the better of the External Senses by the Grace of God, till it become purified from the disordered Passions of Concupiscence, Self-esteem,  Desire and Thoughts, how spiritual soever, and many other Interests and secret Vices, which lye within the very Soul of thee, miserably hindering the peaceable entrance of that great Lord into it, who would be united and transformed with thee.

26. The very Vertues acquired, and not purified, are a hindrance to this great Gift of the Peace of the Soul:  and more, the Soul is clogged by an inordinate desire of sublime Gifts, by the Appetite of feeling spiritual Consolation, by sticking to Infused and Divine Graces, intertaining it self in 'em, and desiring more of 'em, to enjoy 'em, and finally, by a desire of being great.

27. O how much is there to be purified in a Soul that must arrive at the holy Mountain of Perfection, and of Transformation with God!    O how disposed, naked, denied, annihilated ought the Soul to be, which would not hinder the entrance of this Divine Lord into it, nor his continual Communication.

28. This disposition of preparing the Soul, in its bottom, for Divine Entrance, must of necessity be made by the Divine Wisdom.    If a Seraphim is not sufficient to purifie the Soul, how shall a Soul that is frail, miserable and without experience, ever be able to purifie it self?

29. Therefore the Lord himself will dispose thee and prepare thee passively by a way thou understandest not, with the Fire of Tribulation and inward Torment, without any other disposition on thy side, than a consent to the internal and external Cross.


34. To the end that the Soul of Earthly may become Heavenly, and may come to that greatest good of Union with God, it is necessary for it to be purified in the Fire of Tribulation and Temptation:  And although it be true, and a known and approved Maxim, That all those that Serve the Lord, must suffer troubles, persecutions and tribulations:  yet the happy Souls which are Guided by God, by the secret way of the interiour Walk, and of purgative Contemplation, must suffer above all, strong and horrible Temptations and Torments, more bitter than those wherewith the Martyrs were crowned in the Primitive Church.

35. The Martyrs, besides the shortness of their Torment, which hardly endured days, were comforted, with a clear light and special help, in hope of the near and sure Rewards.   But the desolate Soul that must dye in it self, and put off, and make clean its Heart, seeing it self abandoned by God, surrounded by temptations, darkness, anguish, affliction, sorrows and rigid drowths, doth taste of Death every moment in its painful Torment and tremendous Desolation, without feeling the least comfort, with an affliction so great, that the pain of it seems nothing else but a Death prolonged, and a continual Martyrdom:  wherein with great reason it may be said, that although there be many Martyrs, yet there are few Souls which follow Christ our Lord with Peace and Resignation in such Torments.

36. Then it was men that Martyr'd 'em;  and God comforted their Souls:  but now it is God that afflicts and hides himself;  and the Devils, like cruel Executioners, have a thousand ways to torment the Soul and Body, the whole Man being Crucified within and without.


51. The most subtle Arrow that is shot at us from Nature, is, to induce us to that which is unlawful, with a pretence, that it may be necessary and useful.   O how many Souls have suffer'd themselves to be lead away, and have lost the spirit by this guilded Cheat!   Thou wilt never taste the delicious Manna [Quod nemo novit, nisi qui accipit, (Apoc. ch. 2.)] unless thou dost perfectly overcome thy self even to die in thy self;  because he who endeavours not to die to his Passions, is not well disposed to receive the Gift of Understanding, without the infusion whereof it is impossible for him to go in into himself and be changed in his Spirit;  and therefore those that keep without having nothing of it.

52. Never disquiet thy self for any accident:   for inquietude is the door by which the Enemy gets into the Soul to rob it of its peace.

53. Resign and deny thy self wholly;  for though true self-denial is harsh at the beginning, 'tis easie in the middle and becomes most sweet in the end.

54. Thou wilt find thy self far from Perfection, if thou dost not find God in every thing.

55. Know that pure, perfect and essential Love co align="justify"nsists in the Cross, in self-denial and resignation, in perfect humility, in poverty of spirit, and in a mean opinion of thy self.

56. In the time of strong temptation, desertion and desolation, 'tis necessary for thee to get close into thy center, that thou may'st only look at and contemplate God, who keeps his throne and his abode in the bottom of thy Soul.

57. Thou wilt find impatience and bitterness of heart to grow from the depth of sensible, empty and mortified love.

58. True love is known, with its effects, when the Soul is profoundly humbled, and desires to be truly mortified and despised.

59. Many there be, who, however they have been dedicated to Prayer, yet have no relish of God;  because in the end of their Prayers, they are neither mortified nor attend upon God any longer:  for obtaining that peaceable and continual attending, 'tis necessary to get a great purity of mind and heart, great peace of soul, and an universal resignation.

60. To the simple and the mortified, the recreation of the senses is a sort of death:  they never go to it, unless compelled by necessity and edification of their neighbours.


73. You must know, that the Lord will not manifest himself in thy Soul, till it be denied in it self, and dead in its senses and powers:   nor will it ever come to this state, till being perfectly resigned, it resolves to be with God all alone;  making an equal account of Gifts and Contempts, Light and Darkness, Peace and War.   In summ, that the Soul may arrive at perfect quietness and supreme internal peace, it ought first to die in it self, and live only in God and for him:   and the more dead it shall be in it self, the more shall it know God:  but if it doth not mind this continual denying of it self and internal mortification, it will never arrive at this state, nor preserve God within it;  and then it will be continually subject to accidents and passions of the mind, such as are judging, murmuring, resenting, excusing, defending, to keep its honour and reputation, which are enemies to Perfection, Peace, and the Spirit.


76. How happy wilt thou be, if thou hast no other thought, but to die in thy self!   Thou wilt then become not only victorious over thine enemies, but also over thy self:  in which victory thou wilt certainly find pure love, perfect peace, and divine wisdom.

77. It is impossible for a man to be able to think and live mystically in a simple understanding of the divine and infused wisdom, if he does not first die in himself by the total denying of sense, and the reasonable appetite.

78. The true lesson of the spiritual man, and that which thou oughtest to learn, is, to leave all things in their place, and not meddle with any, but what thy office may bind thee to:  because the Soul which leaves every thing to find God, doth then begin to have all in the eternity it seeks.


123. If thou would'st enter into this Heaven of Earth, forget every care and every thought;  get out of thy self, that the love of God may live in thy Soul.

124. Live as much as ever thou canst, abstracted from the Creatures;  dedicate thy self wholly to thy Creator, and offer thy self in Sacrifice with Peace and Quietness of Spirit:  Know, that the more the Soul disrobes it self, the more way it makes into this interiour Solitude, and becomes cloathed with God, and the more lonesome and empty of it self the Soul gets to be, the more the divine Spirit fills it.

125. There is not a more blessed Life than a solitary one;  because in this happy Life, God gives himself all to the Creature, and the Creature all to God by an intimate and sweet union of Love.   O how few are there that come to relish this true Solitude!

126. To make the Soul truly Solitary, it ought to forget all the Creatures, and even it self;  otherwise it will never be able to make any near approach to God.   Many men leave and forsake all things, but they do not leave their own liking, their own will, and themselves;  and therefore these truly solitary ones are so few;  wherefore if the Soul does not get off from its own Appetite and Desire, from its own will, from spiritual Gifts, and from repose even in the Spirit it self, it never can arrive at this high felicity of internal Solitude.

127. Go on, blessed Soul! go on, without stop, towards this blessedness of internal Solitude:  See how God calls thee to enter into thy inward Center, where he will renew thee, change thee, fill thee, cloathe thee, and shew thee a new and Heavenly Kingdom, full of joy, peace, content and serenity.


173. Holiness does not consist in forming deep and subtle conceits of the Knowledge and attributes of God, but in the Love of God, and in self-denial.   Therefore 'tis frequentlier observed, that Holiness is more amongst the simple, and humble, than among the learned.   How many poor old Women are there in the World, which have little or nothing of human science, but are rich in the love of God!   How many Divines do we see that are over head and ears in their vain Wisdom, and yet very bare in things of true Light and Charity!


194. The Soul that would be perfect, begins to mortifie its Passions; and when 'tis advanced in that Exercise, it denies it self;   then with the Divine Aid, it passes to the State of Nothing, where it despises, abhors and plunges it self upon the knowledge that it is nothing, that it can do nothing, and that it is worth nothing.   From hence springs the dying in it self, and in its senses, in many ways, and at all hours;  and finally, from this spiritual Death the true and perfect Annihilation derives its original;  insomuch, that when the Soul is once dead to its will and understanding, 'tis properly said to be arrived at the perfect and happy state of Annihilation, which is the last disposition for Transformation and Union, which the Soul it self doth not understand, because 'twould not be annihilated if it should come to know it.   And although it do get to this happy state of Annihilation, yet it must know that it must walk still on, and must be further and further purified and annihilated.

195. You must know, that this Annihilation, to make it perfect in the Soul, must be in a man's own Judgment, in his Will, in his Works, Inclinations, Desires, Thoughts, and in it Self:  so that the Soul must find it self dead to its Will, Desire, Endeavour, Understanding and Thought; willing, as if it did not will;  desiring, as if it did not desire;  understanding, as if it did not understand;  thinking, as if it did not think, without inclining to any thing, embracing equally Contempts and Honours, Benefits and Corrections.   O what a happy Soul is that which is thus dead and annihilated!   It lives no longer in it self, because God lives in it:  And now it may most truly be said of it, that it is a renewed Phoenix; because 'tis changed, spiritualized, transformed and deified.

196. The way to attain that high state of a Mind reformed, whereby a man immediately gets to the greatest Good, to our first Original, and to the highest Peace, is his Nothingness:  Endeavour, O Soul, to be always buried in that misery.   This Nothing, and this acknowledged Misery, is the means by which the Lord works wonders in thy Soul.   Cloathe thy self with this Nothing, and with this Misery, and see that this Misery and this Nothing be thy continual Food and Habitation, even to the casting down thy self low therein;  and then I assure thee, that thou being in that manner the Nothing, the Lord will be the Whole in thy Soul.

197. Why, thinkest thou, do infinite Souls hinder the abundant Current of the divine gifts?   'Tis only because they would be doing something, and have a desire to be great:  all this is to come away from internal Humility, and from their own Nothing;  and therefore they prevent those wonders which that infinite goodness would work in 'em.   They betake themselves to the very gifts of the Spirit, and there they stick, that they may come out from the Center of Nothing, and so the whole Work is spoil'd.   They seek not God with truth, and therefore they find him not:  For know thou must, that there is no finding of Him, but in the undervaluing of our own selves, and in Nothing.

198. We seek our selves every time we get out of our Nothing;  and therefore we never get to quiet and perfect Contemplation.    Creep in as far as ever thou canst into the truth of thy Nothing, and then no thing will disquiet thee:  Nay, thou wilt be humble and ashamed, losing openly thy own reputation and esteem.

199. O what a strong Bulwark wilt thou find of that Nothing!   Who can ever afflict thee, if once thou dost retire into that Fortress?   Because the Soul which is despised by it self, and in its own knowledge is Nothing, is not capable of receiving Grievance or Injury from any Body.    The Soul which keeps within its Nothing, is internally silent, lives resign'd in any torment whatsoever, by thinking it less than what it doth deserve:  It shuns the suspition of a Neighbour, never looks at other folks faults but its own, is free from abundance of Imperfections, and becomes Commander of great Virtue.   Whilst the Soul keeps still and quiet in its nothing, it perfects it, it enriches it, the Lord draws his own Image and Likeness in it, without any thing to hinder it.

200. By the way of Nothing thou must come to lose thy self in God (which is the last degree of perfection) and happy wilt thou be, if thou canst so lose thy self;  then thou wilt get thy self again, and find thy self most certainly.   In this same Shop of Nothing, Simplicity is made;   interior and infused Recollection is possessed, Quiet is obtained, and the Heart is cleansed from all manner of Imperfections.   O what a Treasure wilt thou find, if thou shalt once fix thy habitation in Nothing and if thou once gettest but snugg into the Center of Nothing, thou will never concern thy self with any thing that is without (the great ugly large step that so many thousand Souls do stumble at) unless it be as thy Office may call thee to it.

201. If thou dost but get shut up in Nothing, (where the blows of adversity can never come) nothing will vex thee or break thy peace.    This is the way of getting to the command of thy self, because perfect and true dominion doth only govern in Nothing:   with the Helmet of Nothing thou will be too hard for strong temptations and the terrible suggestions of the envious enemy.

202. Knowing that thou art nothing, that thou canst do nothing, and art worth just nothing, thou wilt quietly embrace passive drynesses, thou wilt endure horrible desolations;  thou wilt undergo spiritual martyrdoms and inward torments.   By means of this Nothing thou must die in thy self, many ways, at all times, and all hours.

203. Who must awaken the Soul out of that sweet and pleasant Sleep, if once it comes to take a Nap in Nothing?   This is the way that David got a perfect annihilation, without so much as knowing it.   Ad nihilum redactus sum de nescivi, Psal.17.    Keeping thy self in Nothing, thou wilt bar the door against every thing that is not God;  thou wilt retire also from thine own self, and walk toward that internal solitude, where the Divine Spouse speaks in the Heart of his Bride, teaching her high and divine Wisdom.   Drown thy self in this Nothing, and there shalt thou find a holy Sanctuary against any Tempest whatsoever.

204. By this way must thou return to the happy state of Innocence forfeited by our first Parents.   By this Gate thou must enter into the happy land of the living, where thou wilt find the greatest Good, the breath of Charity, the beauty of Righteousness, the straight Line of Equity and Justice, and, in sum, every jot and tittle of Perfection.   Lastly, do not look at nothing, desire nothing, will nothing, nor endeavour nothing, and then in every thing thy Soul will live repos'd, with quiet and enjoyment.

205. This is the way to get purity of Soul, perfect contemplation and peace internal;  walk therefore in this safe path, and endeavour to overwhelm thy self in this Nothing, endeavour to lose thy self, to sink deep into it, if thou hast a mind to be annihilated, united and transformed.

206. The Soul being once annihilated and renewed with perfect nakedness, finds in its superiour part a profound peace, and a sweet rest, which brings it to such a perfect Union of Love, that it is joyful all over.   And such a Soul as this is already arrived to such a happiness, that it neither wills nor desires any thing but what its Beloved wills;  it conforms it self to this Will in all emergencies, as well of comfort as anguish, and rejoyces also in every thing to do the Divine Good Pleasure.

207. There is nothing but what comforts it;  nor doth it want any thing, but what it can well want:  To die, is enjoyment to it;   and to live, is its joy.   It is as contented here upon Earth, as it can be in Paradise;  it is as glad under privation, as it can be in possession;  in sickness as it can be in health;  because it knows that this is the Will of its Lord.    This is its life, this is its glory, its paradise, its peace, its repose, its rest, its consolation and highest happiness.

208. If it were necessary to such a Soul as this, which is gotten up by the steps of annihilation to the region of peace, to make its choice, it would choose desolation before comfort, contempt before honour;  because the loving Jesus made great esteem of reproach and pain:  if it first endured the hunger of the blessings of Heaven, if it thirsted for God, if it had the fear of losing him, the lamentation of heart, and the fighting of the Devil;  now things are altered, and hunger is turned into satisfying, the thirst into satiety, the fear into assurance, the sadness into joy, the weeping into merriment, and the fierce fighting into the greatest peace.   O happy Soul, that enjoys here on earth so great a felicity!   Thou must know, that these kinds of Souls (though few they are) be the strong Pillars which support the Church, and such as abate the divine indignation.

209. And now this Soul that is entered into the heaven of peace, acknowledges it self full of God and his supernatural gifts, because it lives grounded in a pure Love, receiving equal Pleasure in light and darkness, in night and day, in affliction and consolation.   Through this holy and heavenly indifference, it never loses its peace in adversity, nor its tranquility in tribulations, but sees it self full of unspeakable enjoyments.

210. And although the Prince of Darkness makes all the assaults of Hell against it, with horrible temptations, yet it makes head against 'em, and stands like a strong Pillar;  no more happening to it by 'em, than happens to a high mountain and a deep valley in the time of storm and tempest.

211. The valley is darkened with thick clouds, fierce tempests of hail, thunder, lightning and hail-stones, which looks like the picture of Hell:  at the same time the lofty Mountain glitters by the bright beams of the Sun, in quietness and serenity, continuing clear, like Heaven, immovable and full of Light.

212. The same happens to this blessed Soul;  the valley of the part below is suffering tribulations, combats, darkness, desolations, torments, martyrdoms and suggestions;  and at the same time, on the lofty mountain of the higher part of the Soul, the true Sun casts its beams;  it enflames and enlightens it;  and so it becomes clear, peaceable, resplendent, quiet, serene, being a meer ocean of Joy.

213. So great therefore is the quiet of this pure Soul, which is gotten up the mountain of tranquility, so great is the peace of its spirit, so great the serenity and chearfulness that is within, that a remnant and glimmering of God do rebound even to the outside of it.

214. Because in the throne of quiet are manifest the perfections of spiritual beauty;  here the true light of the secret and divine Mysteries of our holy faith, here perfect humility, even to the Annihilation of it self, the amplest resignation, chastity, poverty of spirit, the sincerity and innocence of the Dove, external modesty, silence and internal fortitude, liberty and purity of heart;   here the forgetfulness of every created thing, even of it self, joyful simplicity, heavenly indifference, continual Prayer, a total nakedness, perfect disinterestedness, a most wise contemplation, a conversation of Heaven;  and lastly, the most perfect and serene peace within, of which this happy Soul may say what the wise man said of Wisdom, that all other Graces came along in the company with her. Venerunt mihi omnia bona pariter cum illa. (Wisd. 7. 11.)

215. This is the rich and hidden treasure, this is the lost groat of the Gospel; this is the blessed life, the happy life, the true life, and the blessedness here below.   O thou lovely greatness that passest the knowledge of the sons of men!   O excellent supernatural life, how admirable and unspeakable art thou, for thou art the very draught of blessedness!   O how much dost thou raise a soul from earth, which loses in its view all things of the vileness of earth! thou art poor to look upon;  but inwardly thou are full of wealth:  thou seemest low, but art exceeding high;  in a word, thou art that which makest men live a life divine here below.   Give me, O Lord, thou greatest goodness, give me a good portion of this heavenly happiness and true peace, that the World, sensual as it is, is neither capable of understanding nor receiving. Quem mundus non potest accipere. 

216. O Divine Majesty, in whose presence the Pillars of Heaven do quake and tremble!   O thou Goodness, more than infinite, in whose love the Seraphins burn! give me leave, O Lord, to lament our blindness and ingratitude.    We all live in Mistakes, seeking the foolish world, and forsaking thee, who art our God.   We all forsake thee, the Fountain of Living Waters, for the stinking Dirt of the World.

217. O we children of men, how long shall we follow after lying and vanity?   Who is it that hath thus deceived us, that we should forsake God our greatest good?   Who is it that speaks the most truth to us?    Who is it that loves us most?   Who defends us most?    Who is it that doth more to shew himself a Friend, who more tender to shew himself a Spouse, and more good to be a Father? that our blindness should be so great, that we should all forsake this greatest and infinite goodness?

218. O Divine Lord! what a few Souls are there in the World, which do serve thee with perfection! how small is the number of those, who are willing to suffer, that they may follow Christ crucified, that they may embrace the Cross, that they may deny and contemn themselves!   O what a scarcity of Souls is there, which are disinterested and totally naked! how few are those Souls which are dead to themselves and alive to God, which are totally resigned to his divine good pleasure!    How few those, who are adorn'd with simple obedience, profound knowledge of themselves;  and true humility!  how few those, which with an entire indifference give up themselves into the hands of God, to do what he pleases with 'em!  how few are there of those pure Souls which be of a simple and disinterested heart, and which, putting off their own understanding, knowledge, desire and will, do long for self-denial and spiritual death!   O what a scarcity of Souls is there which are willing to let the Divine Creator work in 'em a mind to suffer, that they may not suffer, and to die, that they may not die!   How few are the Souls which are willing to forget themselves, to free their hearts from their own affections, their own desires, their own satisfactions, their own love and judgments!  that are willing to be led by the highway of self-denial and the internal way!  that are willing to be annihilated, dying to themselves and their senses!  that are willing to let themselves be emptied, purified and uncloathed, that God may fill and cloathe and perfect 'em!   In a word, how small, O Lord, is the number of those Souls which are blind, deaf and dumb and perfectly contemplative!

219. O the shame of us the Children of Adam! who, for a thing of meer vileness, do despise true felicity, and hinder our greatest good, the rich treasure and infinite goodness!   Great reason has Heaven to lament, that there are so few Souls to follow its precious path-way.  Vi Sion lugent, eo quod non sint qui veniant ad solennitatem. (Lam.1.4)


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