Traduzidos para o inglês por A. J. Wensinck, publicada em 1923
AGAINST THOSE WHO SAY: IF GOD IS GOOD WHEREFORE HAS HE MADE THESE THINGS?
Sin, hell and death do not at all exist with God. For they are facts, not persons. Sin is the fruit of will. There was a time, when it was not. And there will be a time, when it will not be. Hell is the fruit of sin; at some time or other it had beginning; but its end is not known. Death, however, is provided by the wisdom of the creator. It will rule a certain time only over nature; then it will vanish altogether. Satan is the name of the deviation of will from the truth, but it is not the designation of a natural being.
Although thou findest, o my brother , some of these things also in other books, still we may not be reckoned by thee as those who seek their own glory, because we pretend the work of others to be our own, but,, on the contrary, as those who are humble, since we suck from the milk of our fore-fathers those things which we have collected and placed before ourselves as objects of contemplation, with the aim of enriching the intellect with their stores in which we may pasture and be fed.
For we have not forgotten that ,we are not above the rank of disciples so long as we dwell in the flesh . The faculty of discernment is the emotionality of the natural ideas. When these go the natural way in their emotions, they meet with the changing elements and worlds. But when ( they go ) a subsidiary way, another use will be found for the former ones. For when the natural ( faculties ) are twofold in their intellectual use, they will be understood in one of these only, and that the non-psychic state.
When thou catchest the delight of the words of the service, then the mind is eager to remain in it continuously. If thou desirest, however, to fulfill its wish, then haste towards the knowledge of its cause. If thou hast attained this quickly one discerning and not blind, it is not difficult for thee to taste this ( delight ) constantly without impediment. And what then is the influence which is also called cause? By a file, which does not add anything to it, iron is brought to brilliancy and radiance; for these properties belong to its essence. But what happens? The file removes from it the rust, which has come upon it, although no one is responsible for that. The same theory holds true as to the nature of the mind. Bring it into contact with the file; then thou wilt find how it shines at the time of service, imitating the rays of the stars. For a thing is not able to go its way ( without aid ); it delays, if no one cares for it. Therefore have I said that during the recitation of Psalms (not during the prayer of the heart and recitation) the heart can hardly be captivated. It is otherwise with those; with them only small care is needed. They are able to make ( recitation of Psalms ) profitable. But without them, care for recitation will be found to be in vain. The latter will be promoted, even if there be no other increase to it, if the former be a stock already present.
Hunger is able to procure food; but it is not inclined to abstain from eating.
Delicious for the husbandman is the bread won by his sweat. Without previous sweat, the bread of truth does not give saturation. The body which is the husbandman, sweats and feeds the rational mind. And this happens even when the mind is deprived of its customary, non-natural food.
Spiritual excellency is the daughter of excellency of will and this it is necessarily. For freedom is the natural force of reason, and not slavery. But on that side, towards which it inclines and where it abides, it gives birth to a different force, which is not natural. And when this is born, freedom becomes ruled and governed by compulsion. I dare to say: it becomes bound, without self-government. Before, compulsion was voluntary; now compulsion has mastered will.
And I say that this is to be seen on both sides, when a man subdues himself on the right side and when he gives an opportunity to the left one. But the mind that has learnt to see discriminately, is able to observe how compulsion on both sides dominates freedom, when the force which is not from nature, is born from the submission of the will. I do not mean the usual force, which is very difficult; but that which is called secondary.
Custom at any rate is subject to the will; though it strives to resist it. Apart from this we know two forces; one subdues the will; the other dominates nature. It has even power to alter nature. That influence dominates nature, is known to those who have been tested by it.
The varying states of the hearts and the deviating minds which are usually born from them (free and bound, living and dead) are promoted to a large extent by the disparity ) of contemplation which rises in human minds, concerning divine judgements. By the mediation of this disparity the world has been preserved for thousands of years. This disparity is largely helpful towards changing the course of mortal life, and what is greatest of all, towards the contemplation of judgements which engender trust in God.
Many hearts as soon as trust has entered them, resemble a man who has taken deadly poison.
Even to true and veracious sons, with ten parts of love five parts of fear are mixed together.
Nature liable to deviation is not able to receive here the perfection of divine truth, or to know the whole will of God regarding the class of rational beings; even Paul and his equals are not sufficient for this; till the liability to err has been taken away, so that nature no longer errs through being aware of this.
What is parity and disparity? Disparity of contemplation — differences and variations in one soul — is the eternal thought of God being unattainable. Parity is truth being revealed.
If a nature able to err should receive in this world the exact truth, it would die by the power of its liability to err. This is ‘O, depth of the riches’ and ‘How unsearchable are His judgements’ and ‘Who has known the mind of God’ and the like, which in an astonishing way and among sighs rise in the mind from time to time, which by some is called the Cloud. From this, disparity of contemplation and divergence of insight are born concerning the unattainable inquiry into God’s judgements.
When, however, the perfection of nature will have come, in a world without deviation, nature will be no longer afraid to know divine truth, as if it would deviate to the left because of trust. Trust engenders contempt and profusion of spirit . Fear, on the other hand, is wonted to check aberration, so that it becomes bridled. This fear thou findest in thy soul by the contemplation of the different judgements and worlds and the disparity of behaviour and the non-correspondence between the retribution provided to men in this world and the righteousness which shows itself from time to time, and ( God’s ) constant patience, and the righteous and the sinners, and the contrary and incongruous meetings of repugnant persons, as ordered by Providence. When the intellect observes all this, emotion takes hold of the whole soul. And then is born in it examination of deliberations, of words and actions and of the outlines of the domain of divine righteousness.
Now when the intellect withdraws itself from this and is exalted unto the unique Essence, by the contemplation of the properties of that good Nature which possesses eternal knowledge, which is anterior to all existence, and of all His other properties, fear is expelled at once and the mind is supported by confidence.
When the intellect descends again from that place and returns again to the worlds and their distinctions, it will fly and give way to fear, because Providence does not allow it to be always in the presence of this contemplation of truth. Therefore from time to time ( fear ) will take away from the heart the strength of trust which is inspired by true contemplation, and it will let the intellect be tortured by diverse opinions; lest ( the intellect ) should desist from judging constantly the veracity of its deliberations and actions and thus acquire cautiousness, for it does not know how it will meet the judgement of God. To whom be praise for ever and ever Amen .