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“We fail oftentimes of the sight of Him, and anon we fall into our self, and then find we no feeling of right,—nought but contrariness that is in our self”
TWO things belong to our soul as duty: the one is that we reverently marvel, the other that we meekly suffer, ever enjoying in God. For He would have us understand that we shall in short time see clearly in Himself all that we desire.
And notwithstanding all this, I beheld and marvelled greatly: What is the mercy and forgiveness of God? For by the teaching that I had afore, I understood that the mercy of God should be the forgiveness of His wrath after the time that we have sinned. For methought that to a soul whose meaning and desire is to love, the wrath of God was harder than any other pain, and therefore I took150150 understood -- took it. that the forgiveness of His wrath should be one of the principal points of His mercy. But howsoever I might behold and desire, I could in no wise see this point in all the Shewing.151151 "But for nowte that I myte beholden and desyrin I could not se."
But how I understood and saw of the work of mercy, I shall tell somewhat, as God will give me grace. I understood this: Man is changeable in this life, and by frailty and overcoming falleth into sin: he is weak and unwise of himself, and also his will is overlaid. And in this time he is in tempest and in sorrow and woe; and the cause is blindness: for he seeth not God. For if he saw God continually, he should have no mischievous feeling, nor any manner of motion or yearning that serveth to sin 152152 ne no manner steryng ne [or ye = the] yernyng." .
Thus saw I, and felt in the same time; and methought that the sight and the feeling was high and plenteous and gracious in comparison with that which our common feeling is in this life; but yet I thought it was but small and low in comparison with the great desire that the soul hath to see God.
For I felt in me five manner of workings, which be these: Enjoying, mourning, desire, dread, and sure hope. Enjoying: for God gave me understanding and knowing that it was Himself that I saw; mourning: and that was for failing; desire: and that was I might see Him ever more and more, understanding and knowing that we shall never have full rest till we see Him verily and clearly in heaven; dread was: for it seemed to me in all that time that that sight should fail, and I be left to myself; sure hope was in the endless love: that I saw I should be kept by His mercy and brought to His bliss. And the joying in His sight with this sure hope of His merciful keeping made me to have feeling and comfort so that mourning and dread were not greatly painful. And yet in all this I beheld in the Shewing of God that this manner of sight may not be continuant in this life,—and that for His own worship and for increase of our endless joy. And therefore we fail oftentimes of the sight of Him, and anon we fall into our self, and then find we no feeling of right,—naught but contrariness that is in our self; and that of the elder root of our first sin,153153i.e. contrariness, springing from the beginning of sin in the first fall of man with all the sins that follow, of our contrivance. And in this we are in travail and tempest 154154 "traveylid and tempested." with feeling of sins, and of pain in many divers manners, spiritual and bodily, as it is known to us in this life.
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