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ch. XI

And after this I saw God in a tiny point,
that is to say, in my understanding
I saw that He is in all things.

I saw and considered,
seeing and understanding the sight with a soft awe,
and thought: What is sin?

Those things in God’s foreseeing wisdom
from without beginning fall suddenly,
unsuspectedly to us;
by our blindness, by our lack of forsight,
we see them as happenchance.
But to our Lord God they are not so.

For I saw truly that God does everything,
however little.

Nothing comes by chance without His foresight.
If it seems so, our blindness,
our poor foresight, is the cause.

I must grant that everything that is done is well done,
for our Lord God does all.
I was shown our Lord God working in the creature,
not the working of creatures.
He is the centre-point of everything;
and I was sure He does no sin.

God does no sin.
We must not be blinded by our sin
into thinking God has erred.

And Julian saw sin was nothing of itself,
that all that was done is well done,
for our Lord God does all.
He is the midpoint of everything.
He does no sin.

Then what is sin if it is nothing?

C. S. Lewis once wrote that there is no truly original sin.
All sin is a distortion of what God made good.
The worst we do does not create new vile acts;
it distorts the good.
Lust is distorted love;
greed, distorted enjoyment;
jealousy, hate, lies,
are all distortions of good longings and good pleasures.

Julian wrote,
‘It is easy to understand…
the best deed [of God] is well done…
so is the least deed…
the Lord has ordained it from without beginning.
…He changes never…nor ever shall, without end.
…there is nothing unknown to Him…
from without beginning
without end.’

Strange words:

without beginning, without end.’

This is ‘without’ in its Mediaeval sense.
The nearest we have today is the Scottish ‘outwith’,
meaning that which is outside, other than, beyond.
It points to something other than mere unending time:
something outside time,
to the eternal for which we have no true words.
Even ‘eternal’,
coming from words meaning ‘lasting for an age’
tries inadequately to express, in temporal words, something outwith time.

And I saw here truly that sin is no deed,
for in all this sin was not shown.
And I would no longer wonder at this,
but saw what our Lord would show.

And thus as it might be for the time,
the rightfulness of Gods working was shown to the soul.
Rightfulness has two fair properties:
it is right and it is full,
so are all the works of our Lord God.

And thereto needs neither the working of mercy nor grace,
for it is all rightfull, wherein nothing fails.
And another time He showed the beholding of sin nakedly,
as I shall say later,where He uses the working of mercy and grace.

This vision was shown to my understanding.
For our Lord will have the soul turned truly
to see Him, and generally of all His works,
for they are fully good, and all His doings are easy and sweet,
and to great ease, bringing the soul that is turned
from seeing the blind consideration of man
to the fair, sweet consideration of our Lord God.
For a man sees some deeds well done and some evil.
But our Lord beholds them not so.
For as all that has being in kind
is of God’s making,
so all that is done is a property of God’s doing.

For it is easy to understand that the best deed is well done.
And as well as the best deed is done and the highest,
so well is the least deed done,
and all in the property and order that our Lord has ordained it
from without beginning,
for there is no doer but He.

I saw fully secure, He never changes His purpose in any way,
nor ever shall, without end.
For there was nothing unknown to Him
in His rightful ordinance from without beginning.

Everything was set in order and made, to stand without end,
and nothing shall fail in that point.
For He made everything in full goodness;
the blessed Trinity is forever fully pleased in all His works.

And all this He showed blisfully, meaning thus:

See, I am God;
see, I am in everything;
see, I do everything;
see, I never left my hands off my works,
nor ever shall without end;
see I lead everything to the end I ordained
from without beginning
by the same might, wisdom and love that I made it.
How should anything be amiss?

Thus mightily, wisely, and lovingly
the soul was examined in this vision.
Then I saw truly,
I had to assent with great reverence,
delighting in God.

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