Off mercy and grace and their propertyes; and how we shall enjoy that ever we suffrid wo patiently. Forty-eighth chapter.
BUT our good Lord the Holy Ghost,
endless life dwelling in our soul,
keeping us fully secure,
working peace there,
bringing it to ease by grace,
making it pliant, in harmony with God,
This is mercy,
the way our Lord continually leads us
as long as we are in this changeable life.
For I saw no wrath except on our part,
and He forgives that in us.
Wrath is no more than forwardness,
contrariness to peace and love;
coming of failing strength
or failing wisdom,
or failing goodness.
This is not failing in God,
but in our part.
We by sin and wretchedness
have a wretched, continuing contrariness to peace and love.
He shewed this fully, often,
in His lovely regard of ruth and pity.
For the ground of mercy is love,
the working of mercy is our keeping in love.
This was shown in such manner
that I could not, as far as I could see,
have understood mercy’s part
in any way but love.
Mercy is sweet, gracious working in love
mingled with plenteous pity.
Mercy works in keeping us,
mercy works turning all things for us to good.
Mercy, by love, allows us to fail in measure
and in as much as we fail, so much we fall;
and in as much as we fall, so much we die:
for we die in so much as we fail
of the sight and feeling of God
who is our life.
Our failing is dreadful,
our falling is shameful,
and our dying is sorrowful:
but in all this the sweet eye of pity and love is never lifted off us,
nor does the working of mercy cease .
For I saw the property of mercy,
and I saw the property of grace:
with two manners of working in one love.
Mercy is a pitying property
belonging to the Motherhood in tender love.
Grace is a worshipful property
belonging to the royal Lordship in the same love.
keeping, suffering, quickening, and healing;
all is tenderness of love.
raising, rewarding, endlessly surpassing that
which our longing and our travail deserve,
shewing high plenteous largess:
God’s royal Lordship in His marvellous courtesy;
the abundance of love.
Grace works our dreadful failing
into plenteous, endless solace;
grace works our shameful falling
into high, worshipful rising;
grace works our sorrowful dying
into holy, blissful life.
For I saw, full and sure,
as our contrariness brings us pain,
shame, and sorrow in earth,
so rightly, contrary-wise,
grace works to us surpassing solace,
worship, and bliss in heaven.
To such extent, that when we come
and receive the sweet reward
which grace hath wrought for us,
then we shall thank and bless our Lord,
endlessly rejoicing that we ever suffered woe.
That shall be a property of blessed love,
that we shall know in God
which we could never have known
without woe going before.
And when I saw all this I had to grant
God’s mercy and forgiveness
is to soften and waste our wrath.
FOR this was an high marvel to the soul
continually shown in all the Revelations,
and was beheld with great diligence,
that our Lord God, in Himself may not forgive,
for He may not be wroth:
it were impossible.
For this was shown:
our life is grounded and rooted in love,
without love we may not live;
and so withthe soul that by His special grace
sees so far into the high, marvellous Goodness of God,
that we are endlessly united to Him in love,
it is most impossible that God should be wroth.
For wrath and friendship are contraries.
He, that wastes and destroys our wrath
and makes us meek and mild,
must be ever one in love,
meek and mild:
which is contrary to wrath.
I saw fully, surely, that where our Lord appears,
peace is taken and wrath has no place.
I saw no manner of wrath in God,
neither for short time nor for long.
Truly, to my sight,
if God might be wroth for an instant,
we should never have life, nor place, nor being.
As we have our being
by God’s endless Might, Wisdom and Goodness,
we have our keeping also
by His same endless Might, Wisdom and Goodness.
Though we feel ourselves wretches, quarrels and strifes,
we are fully enclosed in the mildness of God,
in His meekness, His benignity, His graciousness.
I saw fully and surely,
all our endless friendship,
our place, our life, and our being,
is in God.
For that same endless Goodness
that keeps us when we sin,
so we perish not,
continually treats in us a peace
against our wrath,
against our contrary falling.
He makes us see our need with true dread,
to mightily seek unto God to have forgiveness,
‘Forgiveness’ had two meanings: ‘full-given-ness’, a complete and bountiful gift; and ‘full-remittance’ of a debt or pardon of an offence (interestingly, in aramaic the same word means both ‘debt’ and ‘sin’). From this it is possible to find that God has no need to forgive where He does not accuse yet we can still ask for His merciful, loving bounty.
with a gracious desire of our salvation.
Though we by the wrath and contrariness in us,
are in tribulation, distress, and woe,
false to our blindness and frailty,
yet we are securely safe by God’s merciful keeping,
so we perish not.
But we are not blissfully safe and in endless joy,
till we are in aomplete peace and in love:
that is to say, fully delighting in God,
with all His works and all His judgments,
loving and peaceable,
with our self and our fellow-Christians
and all that God loves,
as is seemly in love.
And this works God’s Goodness in us.
So I saw God is our very Peace,
our sure Keeper when we are ourselves in unpeace,
He continually works to bring us into endless peace.
Thus when by mercy and grace,
we are made meek and mild,
we are fully safe.
Suddenly the soul is united to God,
truly peaceful in itself:
for in Him is found no wrath.
And so I saw, when we are all in peace and in love,
we find no contrariness, or way of letting in
that contrariness which is now in us.
Our Lord by His Goodness makes it profit us fully.
Because contrariness causes our tribulations
and all our woe,
and our Lord Jesus taketh them
and sendeth them up to Heaven,
and there are they made more sweet and delectable
than heart may think or tongue may tell.
When we come there we shall find them ready,
all turned into very fair and endless worships.
Thus is God our steadfast Ground:
and He shall be our full bliss
and make us unchangeable,
as He is, when we are there.