Book II Footnotes 

[1][Lit., 'all the steps and articles that it has.']

[2][Lit., 'climbs': the verb (escala) is identical with the noun 'ladder' (escala).]

[3][Lit., 'to the depths.']

[4][The literal translation is shorter, viz. 'taking faith for a blind man's guide.']

[5][Lit., 'negation.'] This is the reading of Alc. 'Affirmation' is found in A, B, C, D, e.p. Though the two words are antithetical, they express the same underlying concept. [The affirmation, or establishment, of all the powers and desires of the spirit upon pure faith, so that they may be ruled by pure faith alone, is equivalent to the denial, or negation, of those powers and desires in so far as they are not ruled by pure faith.]

[6][Lit., 'to true spirit.']

[7][I, ii, above.]

[8][Cf. I, ii, above.]

[9]This was another of the propositions which were cited by those who denounced the writings of St. John of the Cross to the Holy Office. It is interpretable, nevertheless, in a sense that is perfectly true and completely in conformity with Catholic doctrine. The Saint does not, in these words, affirm that faith destroys nature or quenches the light of human reason (St. Thomas, Summa, Pt. 1, q. 1, a. 8, et alibi); what he endeavors to show is that the coming of knowledge through faith excludes a simultaneous coming of natural knowledge through reason. It is only in this way that, in the act of faith, the soul is deprived of the light of reason, and left, as it were, in blindness, so that it may be raised to another nobler and sublimer kind of knowledge, which, far from destroying reason, gives it dignity and perfection. Philosophy teaches that the proper and connatural object of the understanding, in this life, is things visible, material and corporeal. By his nature, man inclines to knowledge of this kind, but cannot lay claim to such knowledge as regards the things which belong to faith. For, to quote a famous verse of Scripture: Fides est sperandarum substantia rerum, argumentum non apparientium (Hebrews xi, 1 ). This line of thought is not confined to St. John of the Cross, but is followed by all the mystics and is completely in agreement with theological doctrine. Cf. Respuesta [Reply] of P. Basilio Ponce de León and Dilucidatio, Pt. II, Chap. ii, and also the following chapter in this present book.

[10]E .p.: 'an obediential faculty' [potencia obediencial]: this phrase is borrowed from the Schoolmen. Among the various divisions of the faculty are two, natural and obediential. The first is that which is directed towards an act within the sphere of nature, such as the cooling action of water and the heating action of fire; the second is directed towards an act which exceeds these powers, brought about by God, Who is outside the laws of nature and can therefore work outside the natural domain. This obediential faculty (called also 'receptive' or 'passive') frequently figures in mystical theology, since it is this that disposes the faculties of the soul for the supernatural reception of the gifts of grace, all of which exceed natural capacity.

[11]E.p.: 'a natural manner which has its beginning in the senses.' Here the Saint expounds a principle of scholastic philosophy summarized in the axiom: Nihil est in intellectu quin prius non fuerit in sensu. This principle, like many other great philosophical questions, has continually been debated. St. John of the Cross will be found as a rule to follow the philosophy most favored by the Church and is always rigidly orthodox.

[12][Lit., 'subjecting and blinding our natural light.']

[13]Romans x, 17.

[14]Isaias vii, 9. So Alc. The passage seems to be taken from the Septuagint. [The Vulgate has non permanebitis.]

[15][Lit., 'If ye believe not, that is, ye shall not have light.']

[16]Exodus xiv, 20.

[17]Psalm xviii, 3 [A.V., xix, 2].

[18]Psalm cxxxviii, 11 [A.V., cxxxix, 11].

[19]Hebrews xi, 6.

[20]Isaias lxiv, 4; 1 Corinthians ii, 9.

[21][The word translated 'way' is modo, which, in the language of scholastic philosophy, would rather be translated 'mode.']

[22][2 Corinthians vi, 10.]

[23][Lit., 'either spiritually or sensually, in its soul.']

[24]St. John ix, 39.

[25]As the Saint has explained above, this is a parenthetical chapter necessary to an understanding of the following chapters on the active purification of the three faculties of the soul; for, in order to make an intelligent use of the means to an end, it is important to know what that end is. St. John of the Cross begins by setting aside the numerous divisions under which the mystics speak of union with God and deals only with that which most usually concerns the soul, namely union which is active, and acquired by our own efforts, together with the habitual aid of grace. This is the kind of union which is most suitably described in this treatise, which deals with the intense activity of the soul as regards the purgation of the senses and faculties as a necessary means for the loving transformation of the soul in God -- the end and goal of all the Saint's writings. In order to forestall any grossly erroneous pantheistic interpretations, we point out, with the author of the Médula Mística (Trat. V, Chap. i, No. 2), that by union the Saint understands 'a linking and conjoining of two things which, though united, are still different, each, as St. Thomas teaches (Pt. III, q. 2, a. 1), keeping its own nature, for otherwise there would not be union but identity. Union of the soul with God, therefore, will be a linking and conjoining of the soul with God and of God with the soul, for the one cannot be united with the other if the other be not united with the one, so that the soul is still the soul and God is still God. But just as, when two things are united, the one which has the most power, virtue and activity communicates its properties to the other, just so, since God has greater strength, virtue and activity than the soul, He communicates His properties to it and makes it, as it were, deific, and leaves it, as it were, divinized, to a greater or a lesser degree, corresponding to the greater or the lesser degree of union between the two.' This conception, which is a basic one in Christian mysticism, is that of St. John of the Cross. Had all his commentators understood that fact, some of them would have been saved from making ridiculous comparisons of him with Gnostics, Illuminists or even the Eastern seekers after Nirvana. Actually, this Saint and Doctor of the Church applies the tenets of Catholic theology to the union of the soul with God, presenting them in a condensed and vigorous form and keeping also to strict psychological truth, as in general do the other Spanish mystics. This is one of his greatest merits. In this chapter he is speaking, not of essential union, which has nothing to do with his subject, but (presupposing the union worked through sanctifying grace received in the substance of the soul, which is the source of the infused virtues, such as faith, hope and charity, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit) of active actual union, after which we can and should strive, so that we may will what God wills and abhor what He abhors. Though not the only kind of union, it is this which chiefly concerns the soul; and, when once this is attained, God readily grants all other mystical gifts. Cf. St. Teresa's Interior Castle, V, iii [C.W.S.T.J., II, 259-60].

[26][Lit., 'is clothed with.']

[27]St. John i, 13.

[28]St. John iii, 5.

[29][Lit., 'wholly perfect and...']

[30][Lit., 'to lead... into,' as at the beginning of § 6, below.]

[31]Hebrews xi, 1.

[32]Romans viii, 24.

[33]St. Luke xiv, 33.

[34]Luke xi, 5.

[35]Isaias vi, 2.

[36][Or 'middle.' Cf. Bk. I, chap. ii, above.]

[37]St. Matthew vii, 14.

[38][The Spanish verb, used also at the end of the preceding paragraph, is derived from the adjective.]

[39]St. Mark viii, 34-5.

[40][Lit., 'the denial of ourselves to our very selves.']

[41][enagenación, a word which to-day means 'alienation,' 'rapture,' 'derangement (of mind),' but in Covarrubias' dictionary (1611) is also defined as 'giving to another what is one's own.']

[42]St. John xii, 25.

[43]St. Matthew xx, 22.

[44]John xiv, 6.

[45]St. John x, 9.

[46]St. Matthew xxvii, 46.

[47]Psalm lxxii, 22 [A.V., lxxiii, 22].

[48][The reference seems to be to Acts xiii, 46, the point of it being in the second part of that verse. The Spanish will also bear the interpretation: 'for them it behoved first (i.e., before others) to speak this word of God, as (being) those whom God set up as guides, etc.']

[49][By this vivid phrase the author seems to mean: 'whom God held to be suitable recipients of it.']

[50][Lit., 'unite.']

[51]Psalm lxxxv, 8 [A.V., lxxxvi, 8].

[52]Psalm lxxvi, 14 [A.V., lxxvii, 13] [lit., 'in that which is holy'].

[53]Psalm cxxxvii, 6 [A.V., cxxxviii, 6].

[54]Exodus xxxiii, 20.

[55]St. John i, 18.

[56]1 Corinthians ii, 9; Isaias lxiv, 4.

[57]Acts vii, 32.

[58]3 Kings [A.V. 1 Kings] xix, 13.

[59][Lit., 'feign Him.']

[60]Isaias xl, 18-19.

[61][All authorities read 'form' (or 'figure') here. Cf. n. 7, above.]

[62][This is the word (fingir, 'feign'), translated above as 'imitate.' Cf. n. 7, above.]

[63]Baruch iii, 23.

[64][Possibly a further reference to 1 Corinthians ii, 9-10, quoted above.]

[65]Hebrews xi, 6.

[66]Psalm xvii, 10-12 [A.V., xviii, 9-11].

[67]3 Kings [A.V., 1 Kings] viii, 12.

[68]Job xxxviii, 1; xl, 1.

[69]1 Corinthians xiii, 10.

[70]Judges viii, 16.

[71][Lit., Ďby itself.í]

[72][Lit., 'and blossom.']

[73][Lit., 'from the affection and devotion of the sensible spirit.']

[74][P. Silverio remarks here that] we must understand [as frequently elsewhere] 'sensibility' and not sensuality in the grosser sense.

[75][Lit., 'and sweetnesses in the mouth.']

[76]E.p.: 'for those of the devil stop at the first movements and cannot move the will.' This, no doubt, was the Saint's meaning, for the Church teaches that the devil cannot influence the will directly, though he may do so indirectly, principally through the senses and the imagination.

[77]St. John of the Cross means that the soul should not rely upon its own judgment in such matters but upon some discreet and learned director.

[78]2 Corinthians xi, 14.

[79][Lit., 'making it over.'] E.p. has: 'setting it and placing it over.'

[80][St. Matthew xxv, 21.]

[81][Lit., 'and retired.']

[82][The phrase is suggestive of St. Teresa, though the Spanish word is not moradas, but mansiones.]

[83][Apocalypse xiii, 1.]

[84][Apocalypse xiii, 7.]

[85][St. Luke xi, 26.]

[86][Lit., 'the intimate'; but the superlative idea is clearly present.]

[87][Lit., 'by fancying.']

[88][Lit., 'the level' -- i.e., by contrast with the steep stairs.]

[89]Acts xvii, 29.

[90][The verb, recoger, of which the derived noun is translated 'recollection,' has more accurately the meaning of 'gather,' 'take inwards.']

[91][Lit., 'to see that there are many who.']

[92]E.p. omits: 'and quietness.' The Saint's description of this first sign at which a soul should pass from meditation to contemplation was denounced as disagreeing with Catholic doctrine, particularly the phrase: 'that he can no longer meditate or reason with his imagination, neither can take pleasure therein as he was wont to do aforetime.' This language, however, is common to mystics and theologians, not excluding St. Thomas (2a 2ae, q. 180, a. 6) and Suárez (De Oratione, Bk. II, Chap. x), as is proved, with eloquence and erudition, by P. Basilio Ponce de León and the Elucidatio, in their refutations of the Saint's critics. All agree that, in the act of contemplation of which St. John of the Cross here speaks, the understanding must be stripped of forms and species of the imagination and that the reasonings and reflections of meditation must be set aside. This is to be understood, both of the contemplation that transcends all human methods, and also of that which is practised according to these human methods with the ordinary aid of grace. But there is this important difference, that those who enjoy the first kind of contemplation set aside all intellectual reasoning as well as processes of the fancy and the imagination, whereas, for the second kind, reasoning prior to the act of contemplation is normally necessary, though it ceases at the act of contemplation, and there is then substituted for it simple and loving intuition of eternal truth. It should be clearly understood that this is not of habitual occurrence in the contemplative soul, but occurs only during the act of contemplation, which is commonly of short duration. St. Teresa makes this clear in Chap. xxvii of her Life, and treats this same doctrinal question in many other parts of her works--e.g., Life, Chaps. x, xii; Way of Perfection, Chap. xxvi; Interior Castle, IV, Chap. iii, etc.

[93][Lit., 'much.']

[94]E.p. omits: 'and sense.' Since sense plays so great a part in meditation, St. John of the Cross places it in contradistinction to contemplation, which, the more nearly it attains perfection, becomes the more sublime and spiritual and the more completely freed from the bonds of nature. Cf. Elucidatio, Pt. II, Chap. iii, p. 180.

[95][embelesamiento, a word denoting a pleasurable condition somewhere between a reverie and a swoon.]

[96][Lit., 'appear to be necessary in order to journey to spirit.']

[97]Job vi, 6.

[98][Cf. the simile of the Waters in St. Teresa, Life, Chap. xi, and Interior Castle, IV, ii, iii.]

[99][Lit., íbooty,' 'prey.']

[100][Lit., Ďthe soul keeps in act its spiritual facilities.í]

[101][The verb is tropezar en, which may mean either 'stumble upon' -- i.e., 'come across (and make use of),' or 'stumble over' -- i.e., the forms may be a stumbling-block, or a snare. I think there is at least a suggestion of the latter meaning.]

[102][Lit., Ďto the sight of sense.í]

[103][Or: 'when it was dependent on time.' Lit., 'acted in time.']

[104][Or: 'and independent of time.' Lit., 'without time.']

[105]E.p. modifies these lines thus: '. . . it has been in pure intelligence, which is the brief prayer that is said to pierce the heavens. Because it is brief and because the soul is not conscious or observant of time.' P. José de Jesús María comments thus upon this passage: ĎIn contemplation the soul withdraws itself from the seashore, and entirely loses sight of land, in order to whelm itself in that vast sea and impenetrable abyss of the Divine Essence; hiding itself in the region of time, it enters within the most extensive limits of eternity. For the pure and simple intelligence whereinto the soul is brought in this contemplation, as was pointed out by the ancient Dionysius (Myst. Theol., Chap. ii), and by our own Father, is not subject to time. For, as St. Thomas says (Pt. I, q. 118, a. 3, et alibi), the soul is a spiritual substance, which is above time and superior to the movements of the heavens, to which it is subject only because of the body. And therefore it seems that, when the soul withdraws from the body, and from all created things, and by means of pure intelligence whelms itself in eternal things, it recovers its natural dominion and rises above time, if not according to substance, at least according to its most perfect being; for the noblest and most perfect being of the soul resides rather in its acts than in its faculties. Wherefore St. Gregory said (Morals, Bk. VIII): "The Saints enter eternity even in this life, beholding the eternity of God."'

[106]Psalm ci, 8 [A.V. cii, 7].

[107][The Spanish pájaro, 'bird,' is derived from passer, 'sparrow.']

[108]Canticles vi, 11.

[109]Canticles v, 2.

[110]The words which conclude this paragraph in the edition of 1630 ('The sign by which we may know if the soul is occupied in this secret intelligence is if it is seen to have no pleasure in thinking of aught, whether high or low') are not found either in the Codices or in e.p. When St. John of the Cross uses the words 'cessation,' 'idleness' [ocio, Lat. otium], 'quiet,' 'annihilation,' 'sleep' (of the faculties), etc., he does not mean, as the Illuminists did, that the understanding and will in the act of contemplation are so passive as to have lost all their force and vitality, and that the contemplative is therefore impeccable, although he commit the grossest sins. The soul's vital powers, according to St. John of the Cross, are involved even in the highest contemplation; the understanding is attentive to God and the will is loving Him. They are not working, it is true, in the way which is usual and natural with them -- that is, by reason and imagination -- but supernaturally, through the unction of the Holy Spirit, which they receive passively, without any effort of their own. It is in this sense that such words as those quoted above ('cessation,' 'idleness,' etc.) are both expressively and appropriately used by the Saint, for what is done without labour and effort may better be described by images of passivity than by those of activity. Further, the soul is unaware that its faculties are working in this sublime contemplation, though they undoubtedly do work.

            St. John of the Cross, philosopher as well as mystic, would not deny the vital and intrinsic activity of the understanding and the will in contemplation. His reasoning is supported by P. José de Jesús María (Apologia Mistica de la Contemplación Divina, Chap. ix) [quoted at length by P. Silverio, Obras, etc., Vol. II, p. 130, note].

[111]In spite of this promise, the Saint does not return to this subject at such length as his language here would suggest.

[112][Lit., 'in this loving or peaceful presence,' the original of 'presence' having also the sense of 'attendance.']

[113]Psalm xlv, 11 [A.V., xlvi, 10].

[114]Isaias vi, 4.

[115]Jeremias i, 11.

[116]Daniel viii, 10.

[117]Kings xxii, 11 [A.V., 1 Kings xxii, 11].

[118][St. Matthew xxvii, 19.]

[119]E.p. omits: 'now natural, now supernatural.' The Saint employs this last word, in this passage, with the sense of 'preternatural.' Only God can transcend the bounds of nature, but the devil can act in such a way that he appears to be doing so, counterfeiting miracles, and so forth.

[120][Lit., 'to come within God.'] E.p.: 'to be united with God.'

[121]Deuteronomy iv, 12.

[122]Deuteronomy iv, 15.

[123]Numbers xii, 6-8, [D.V. has 'Mary' for 'Miriam'.]

[124][The progressive form is used in the Spanish: 'not to go (or 'be') leaning upon.']

[125][Lit., 'impede the brightness.']

[126]St. Peter i, 19.

[127]Romans xiii, 1.

[128]Wisdom viii, 1.

[129][The verb is progressive ('goes (on) instructing').]

[130][This verb also is progressive: 'may go (on) making.']

[131][Lit., 'mouthfuls of spiritual communication.']

[132][All the verbs in the last two clauses are in the progressive form.]

[133]1 Corinthians xiii, 11.

[134][Lit., 'I emptied.']

[135]In reality, this instruction is given in Chap. xiii.

[136]Psalm cxlvii, 17.

[137]1 Corinthians iii, 1-2.

[138]St. Matthew xv, 14.

[139][Lit., 'if it were of God.']

[140]Genesis xv, 7.

[141]Genesis xlvi, 3-4.

[142]Judges xx, 12 ff.

[143][Lit., 'according to the rind.' Cf. bk. II ch. viii, above.]

[144]2 Corinthians iii, 6.

[145]Isaias xxviii, 9-11.

[146] [For 'wait,' we may also read 'hope,' the Spanish word (esperar) here used expressing both these ideas.]

[147]Jeremias iv, 10.

[148]Jeremias viii, 15.

[149]Psalm lxxi, 8 [A.V., lxxii, 8].

[150]Psalm lxxi, 12 [A.V., lxxii, 12.]

[151][Lit., 'seeing Him later to be born.']

[152][Lit., 'of Christ and of His followers.' The addition is necessary to the sense.]

[153]Acts xiii, 27.

[154]St. Luke xxiv, 21.

[155]St. Luke xxiv, 25.

[156]Acts i, 6.

[157]St. John xi, 50.

[158]1 Corinthians ii, 14.

[159][Lit., 'free and victorious.']

[160]Psalm ii, 9.

[161]Psalm ix, 17 [A.V., x, 18].

[162]Proverbs x, 24.

[163]Jonas iii, 4.

[164][Lit., 'to promise.']

[165]3 Kings [A.V., 1 Kings] xxi, 21.

[166]3 Kings [A.V., 1 Kings] xxi, 27-9.

[167]St. John xii, 16.

[168]1 Kings [A.V., 1 Samuel] ii, 30.

[169]Jonas iii, 4.

[170]3 Kings [A.V., 1 Kings] xi, 38. [Actually it was to Jeroboam that this was said.]

[171][Lit., 'on the road of eternity.']

[172]Ecclestiastes v, 1 [A.V. v, 2].

[173]Jeremias xx, 7-9.

[174]Lamentations iii, 47.

[175]Jonas iv, 2.

[176]Isaias vii, 12. [The Spanish has 'Achab' for 'Achaz.']

[177]1 Kings [A.V., 1 Samuel] viii, 7.

[178]2 Paralipomenon [A.V., 2 Chronicles] xx, 12.

[179]1 Kings [A.V., 1 Samuel] xxviii, 15.

[180]Psalm lxxvii, 30-1 [A.V., lxxviii, 30-1].

[181]Numbers xxii, 32.

[182][Lit., 'that come out true.']

[183]The exact reading in Boetius is: 'Tu quoque si vis lumine claro cernere vernum -- Tramite recto carpere callem -- Gaudia pelle -- Pelle timorem -- Spemque fugato -- Nec dolor adsit' (Migne, Vol. LXXV, p. 122).

[184]Judith xi, 12.

[185]Wisdom xi, 17 [A.V., xi, 16].

[186]Tobias xiv, 13.

[187][i.e., any individual.]

[188]Isaias xix, 14.

[189]3 Kings [A.V., 1 Kings] xxii, 22.

[190]Ezechiel xiv, 7-9.

[191][Ezechiel xiv, 7.]

[192][Lit., 'they serve nevertheless for the greater doctrine and clearness of our intention.']

[193]Isaias xxx, 2.

[194]Josue ix, 14.

[195]Hebrews i, 1.

[196]St. Matthew xvii, 5.

[197]Colossians ii, 3.

[198]1 Corinthians ii, 2.

[199]Colossians ii, 9.

[200]St. John xix, 30.

[201]Galatians i, 8.

[202][It was to Abiathar that this was said.] 1 Kings [A.V., 1 Samuel] xxiii, 9.

[203]Judges vii, 11.

[204][Lit., 'and so dark.']

[205]Exodus iv, 14-15.

[206]St. Matthew xviii, 20.

[207][Lit., 'the things which he has to be of God.']

[208][Lit., '... with them, without the Church or...']

[209]Ecclesiasties iv, 10-12.

[210][i.e., the penitent and the confessor or director.]

[211]Galatians ii, 2.

[212]Exodus xviii, 21-2.

[213]Galatians ii, 14.

[214]St. Matthew vii, 22.

[215]St. Matthew vii, 23.

[216][The Spanish phrase equally admits the reading: 'even though the soul make.']

[217][i.e., into the night of faith: cf. Chap. xxiii, § 4, below.]

[218]It is in Chapter x (and not in viii, as is said in A, B and e.p.) that the author treats of these spiritual apprehensions.

[219]St. Gregory: Dial., Bk. 11, Chap. xxxv. 'Omnis etiam mundus velut sub uno solis radio collectus, ante oculos eius adductus est.'

[220]Exodus xxxiii, 20.

[221]Exodus xx, 19.

[222]Judges xiii, 22.

[223]E.p. abbreviates this paragraph thus: 'The other visions, which are of incorporeal substances, demand another and a higher illumination; and thus these visions of incorporeal substances, such as angels and souls, do not occur habitually, nor are they proper to this life; still less is that of the Divine Essence, which is proper to the Blessed in Heaven, save that it may be communicated to a soul fleetingly and as in passing.' The next two paragraphs are omitted from e.p. P. Jerónimo de San José, in the edition of 1630, copies from e.p. the lines given in this note above, and then continues: '[save when] God so allows, in spite of the condition of our natural life, withdrawing the spirit from it occasionally, as happened to the apostle Saint Paul, when he says that he saw unspeakable secrets in the third heaven.' The adjustments made by P. Salablanca and amplified by P. Jerónimo in the rest of the paragraph [cf. notes below] follow the most usual scholastic doctrine. Among the Discalced Carmelite writers who deal most fully and competently with this doctrine of spiritual visions are the authors of the Cursas Theologiae Mysticae, Vol. IV, Disp. xx, xxi; Felipe de la Santísima Trinidad: Summa Theologiae Mysticae, Pt. II, Tract. III, Disc. iv; Médula Mística, Trat. VI. St. Thomas (I p., q. 88, a. 1) says that we cannot quidditative know separated substances.

[224]2 Corinthians xii, 2.

[225]Exodus xxxiii, 22.

[226]This description the Saint probably accomplished, or intended to accomplish, in his commentaries on the last five stanzas of the Dark Night, which have not come down to us.

[227]St. Matthew iv, 8.

[228]E.p.: '. . . by intelligible suggestion.' On this passage, cf. Cornelius a Lapide (Commentaria in Matthaeum, Cap. IV) and St. Thomas (III p., q. 41, ad. 3).

[229][Psalm xxxix, 6: cf. A.V., xl, 5.]

[230]Psalm xviii, 10-11 [A.V., xix, 9-10].

[231]Exodus xxxiv, 6-7.

[232][Lit., 'Emperor.']

[233]St. John xiv, 21.

[234]1 Corinthians xii, 10.

[235]Wisdom vii, 17-21.

[236][Lit., 'of the roundness of the lands.']

[237][Lit., 'exposition of words'; the reference is clearly to 1 Corinthians xii, 8-10.]

[238][The original has gratis datas.]

[239]Proverbs xxvii, 19.

[240]1 Corinthians ii, 15.

[241]1 Corinthians ii, 10.

[242][Lit., 'in the interior.']

[243]4 Kings [A.V., 2 Kings] v, 26.

[244]4 Kings [A.V., 2 Kings] vi, 12.

[245]Jeremias xlv, 3.

[246]Galatians i, 8.

[247]Romans x, 17.

[248]2 St. Peter i, 19.

[249]Ecclesiastes vii, 1.

[250][Lit., 'certain distinct and formal words.']

[251]Genesis xxvii, 22.

[252][Lit., 'with four maravedís' worth of experience.' The maravedí was a small coin, worth 1/375 of a gold ducat, the unit of coinage at this time in Castile.]

[253][Lit., 'and thus it.']

[254]This profound and important principle, which has often been developed in mystical theology, is well expounded by P. José de Jesús María in a treatise called Reply to a question [Respuesta a una duda]. Here, among other things, he says: 'As St. Thomas proves (De Veritate, q. 12, a. 6), Divine illumination, like every other spiritual form, is communicated to the soul after the manner of the receiver of it, whether according to sense or according to spirit, to the particular or to the universal. And thus, he that receives it must prepare himself for it to be communicated to him further, whether in small measure (as we say) or according to sense, or in large measure or intellectually.'

[255][Canticles vi, 4.]

[256][Lit., 'and then throwing it down.']

[257][Lit., 'He grants them wrapped up in this.']

[258][The verbs used in the Spanish for 'is fitting' and behoves' are the same.]

[259]Romans xii, 3.

[260]Daniel ix, 22.

[261]Exodus iii, iv.

[262][Lit., 'greater worth.']

[263]This chapter is notable for the hardly surpassable clarity and precisions with which the Saint defines substantial locutions. Some critics, however, have found fault with him for saying that the soul should not fear these locutions, but accept them humbly and passively, since they depend wholly on God. The reply is that, when God favours the soul with these locutions, its own restless effort can only impede His work in it, as has already been said. The soul is truly co-operating with God by preparing itself with resignation and humble affection to receive His favours: it should not, as some critics have asserted, remain completely inactive. As to the fear of being deceived by these locutions, both St. Thomas and all the principal commentators are in conformity with the Saint's teaching. St. Teresa, too, took the same attitude as St. John of the Cross. Cf. her Life, Chap. xxv, and Interior Castle, VI, iii.

[264]Ecclesiastes viii, 4.

[265]Psalm lxvii, 34 [A.V., lxviii, 33].

[266]Genesis xvii, 1.

[267]Jeremias xxiii, 28-9.

[268]1 Kings [A.V., 1 Samuel] iii, 10.

[269]A, B: 'and how He wills.' Note that the Saint does not deprecate good works, as did the Illuminists [alumbrados], who bade the perfect soul set them aside for contemplation, even though they were works of obligation. On the contrary, he asserts that good works have a definite, though a preparatory, part to play in the life of a contemplative.

[270]Alc. alone has: 'which follows this.' The Saint does not, in fact, return to this matter, either in the third book or elsewhere.

[271][Lit., 'or apprehend by doing, but by receiving.']

[272]Some editions here add a long paragraph, which, however, is the work of P. Jerónimo de San José, who was responsible for the edition of 1630. It appears neither in the MSS. nor in e.p. It runs as follows:

            All the instruction which has been given in this book on total abstraction and passive contemplation, wherein, oblivious to all created things and detached from images and figures, we allow ourselves to be guided by God, dwelling with simple regard upon supreme truth, is applicable not only to that act of most perfect contemplation, the lofty and wholly supernatural repose of which is still prevented by the daughters of Jerusalem (namely, good reflections and meditations), if at that time the soul desires them, but also to the whole of the time during which Our Lord communicates the simple, general and loving attentiveness aforementioned, or during which the soul, aided by grace, places itself in that state. For at that time the soul must always strive to keep its understanding in repose, without the interference of other forms, figures or particular kinds of knowledge, save very fleetingly and quite superficially; and it must have a loving sweetness which will enkindle it ever more. But, except at this time, in all its exercises, acts and works, the soul must make use of good meditations and remembrances, so as to experience the greater devotion and profit, most of all with respect to the life, passion and death of Our Lord Jesus Christ, so that its actions, practices and life may be made like to His.

[273]Thus Alc. A, B, e.p. read: 'This suffices to conclude (our treatment of) the supernatural apprehensions of the understanding, so far as concerns the guidance of the understanding, by their means, in faith, to Divine union. And I think that what has been said with regard to this suffices, for, no matter what happens to the soul with respect to the understanding, instructions and cautions concerning it will be found in the sections already mentioned. And, if something should happen, apparently so different that none of them deals with it (although I think there will be nothing relating to the understanding which cannot be referred to one of the four kinds of distinct knowledge), instructions and cautions concerning it can be deduced from what has been said of others similar to it. And with this we will pass to the third book, where, with the Divine favour, we shall treat of the interior spiritual purgation of the will with regard to its interior affections which we here call active night.'

            C, D have: 'From what has been said may be deduced instructions and cautions for guidance in whatever may happen to the soul with regard to the understanding, even if it seem so different that it includes none of the four distinct kinds, although I think there will be nothing relating to the understanding which cannot be referred to one of them. And so we will pass to the third book.'

            The edition of 1630 follows A, B and e.p., and adds further: 'I therefore beg the discreet reader to read these things in a benevolent and simple spirit; for, when this spirit is not present, however sublime and perfect be the instruction, it will not yield the profit that it contains, nor will it earn the esteem that it merits. How much truer is this in the present case, since my style is in so many ways deficient!'

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