To read Julian’s Revelations in order, which is far better, begin at the Introduction.
Our Lord will we know four manner of goodnes that He doith to us; and how we neede the lyte of grace to knowen our synne and febilnes, for we arn nothing of ourselfe but writchidnes, and we may not know the horribilnes of synne as it is. And how our enemy would we should never know our synne til the last day, wherfore we arn mekil bowndend to God that shewith it now.
Our Lord in His mercy shows us our sin
and feebleness by His sweet gracious light,
for our sin is so vile and so horrible
that He, in courtesy, will not show it,
except in the light of His grace and mercy.
He wants us to know four things.
First, He is the soil in which our whole life and being grow.
Second, He keeps us strongly and mercifully,
when we are in sin with our enemies
so very evilly upon us;
so much that we are in more peril,
for we gave them that chance, not knowing our danger.
Third, how courteously He keeps us,
showing us when we go astray.
Fourth, how He constantly awaits us,
keeping His loving regard, willing us
to turn and unite with Him in love,
as He does us.
In this gracious knowledge we may see our sin
profitably, and without despair.
For we need to see it, and be shamed,
breaking down our pride and presumption.
For we must see truly that we are nothing
but sin and wretchedness.
So by the lesser sight our Lord shows us,
more is broken down than we see.
In his courtesy He limits the sight,
for it is so vile and so horrible
that we could not endure it in full.
Meekly understanding, through contrition,
and through grace, we shall be broken away
from all things that are not of our Lord.
Our blessed Saviour shall perfectly heal us
and unite us to Himself.
Our Lord intends this breaking and healing
for all mankind. God’s highest and nearest
may see himself sinful and needy as me;
and I, the least and lowest that shall be saved,
may be comforted with him that is highest.
So our Lord united us in charity
when He showed me that I should sin.
but for my joy in beholding Him,
I did not attend readily to that showing,
so then our courteous Lord stopped,
and would teach me no further
until He gave me grace and will to attend.
I learned by this; though our Lord’s special gift
may lift us high in contemplation,
we must know and see our sin and weakness.
Without this we cannot be truly meek,
and without this we cannot be saved.
I also saw we may not know this by ourself,
nor of all our spiritual enemies
who wish us little good.
If they had their way we should not see it
until our dying day.
So we are much in debt to God
that, for love, He will, in time,
show us Himself in mercy and grace.
We are lernyd to our synne, and not to our neighbors, but for their helpe; and God will we know whatsomever stering we have contrary to this shewing, it comith of our enemy. For the gret love of God knowen, we should not ben the more reckles to fallen, and if we fallen, we must hastily risen or ell we are gretly onkind to God.
I also had further understanding in this.
In showing me that I should sin,
I took it nakedly, singularly to myself,
for I was not otherwise stirred at that time.
But by our Lord’s high, gracious comfort,
I saw His meaning was for all mankind,
that is to say, all mankind which is sinful
and shall be until the last day,
of which mankind I hope I am a member,
by God’s mercy.
For the blessed comfort I saw,
is large enough for us all.
Here I learned I should see my own sin,
not other men’s sins, except for the comfort
and help of my fellow Christians.
Also in that same showing,
where I saw that I would sin,
I learned to dread my own uncertainty,
for I knew not how I might fall,
nor the measure nor greatness of that sin.
For that I fearfully wished to have known;
and to that I had no answer.
But our courteous Lord, at that same time,
showed, safely and mightily,
the endless unchangeability of His love.
And, by His great goodness and His grace,
and their keeping within us,
the love between Him and our soul
shall never be parted.
so from this dread I have the meekness
that saves me from presumption.
In this blessed love I have true comfort
and a joy that saves me from despair.
This homely showing of our courteous Lord,
is a lovely lesson, a sweet, gracious teaching,
of Himself comforting our soul.
For He wants us to know by His sweetness,
and homely loving, that all we see or feel,
within or without, which is contrary to this
is of the enemy, not of God.
So if we are stirred to be more reckless
in our living or our desires through knowing
of this plenteous love, then we must greatly beware.
For this stirring, if it comes, is untrue.
We should hate it greatly,
for it has no likeness to God’s will.
And when we fall by frailty or blindness,
then our courteous Lord touches us, stirs us,
keeps us, wants us to see our wretchedness
and meekly acknowledge it.
But He does not want us not to stay this way,
nor spend time greatly accusing ourselves,
nor to think too wretchedly of ourselves.
But He wants us to eagerly attend to Him,
for He stands all apart*, awaiting us
piteously, lamenting ’til we come,
impatient for us, for we are His joy
and His delight, and He, our balm, our life.
Although I say He stands alone,
I do not speak of Heaven’s blessed company,
but His purpose and work here on earth
upon the condition of the showing.
* apart – interestingly the word Julian used was alufe, which although our 21st century equivalent, aloof, seems to fit well it did not truly become this until about the 16th century. At the time Julian wrote it still had its 14th century meaning of a-luff, the position a ship takes to the luff, or windward, standing off from a dangerous shore.