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Mystic Treatises

Isaac of Nineveh: Mystic Treatises (XII)

Trad. A. J. Wensinck

segunda-feira 18 de outubro de 2021

XII THAT IT IS NOT BEAUTIFUL FOR THE SERVANT OF GOD WHO HAS RENUNCIATED THE WORLD AND HAS GONE FORTH TO SEEK EVEN THE TRUTH, OUT OF FEAR THAT HE SHALL NOT FIND THE TRUTH TO DESIST FROM SEEKING IT OR FROM THE FERVOUR WHICH IS BORN FROM THE DESIRE OF DIVINE THINGS, OR FROM THE INQUIRY AFTER THEIR MYSTIC SECRETS WHICH ARE DESCRIBED MYSTERIOUSLY. THAT, BY THIS SEEKING, THE MIND MAY DESIST FROM EVIL DISTRACTION AND RECOLLECTIONS OF THE AFFECTIONS

There? are three degrees which constitute the whole course of man. The degree of novitiate, the middle one, and that of perfection?. And although the mind? of the first? degree looks with all its occupations? and recollections towards excellence, yet it is connected with the affections?.

The second degree, the middle one, lies between the affectable and the spiritual state. Righthand and lefthand deliberations are stirred equally in it. And neither the fountain of light? nor that of darkness ever cease to flow on its side, as it has been said. If the (solitary?) cease for even a short time from meditating restlessly on spiritual writings, or from thinking of divine? things?, such as enflame him as fire? by their tending towards the truth?, in union? with outward heedfulness as strict as possible which includes inward cautiousness and sufficient works - then he is swept away towards the side of the affections.

But if he heighten his natural? warmth in the way? mentioned, without desisting from seeking and inquiring, and if he follow these things from afar without seeing? them, except their designation in the scriptures, and if he multiply his deliberations and dominate them by those which do not decline unto the left side, and receive? not any seed of phantasies? coming from the demons? instead of from truth, but be desirous on the contrary, long and guard himself and beseech God? in passionate, enduring prayer - then, as soon as it will please God to give it, He will open His gate before him. Especially on account of his humility, for to the humble the mysteries? are revealed.

If he dies, however, in that expectation, without having seen that country at a short distance?, I think? that his heritage? will be with the ancient righteous, who have expected perfection, according to the word? of the Apostle, but have not seen it, yet have worked in expectation of it all their lifetime? and have departed. But what shall we say, if any one does not reach (the degree which enables him) to enter the promised land which is the stage of the perfect and to find truth eye? to eye in so far as nature is capable of this? Shall he then resign this (and remain) on that low stage which is wholly connected with that of the left side? And because he has not found the whole truth, shall he remain in this low state which does not even know to desire these things, or shall he elevate himself unto the middle stage mentioned, even though he does not look as it were in a mirror, but expects it from afar, and in that expectation will be gathered unto his fathers?

Even though he is not deemed worthy of the fullness of that grace here, yet he shall occupy his mind through intercourse with it at a distance and by its stimulating influence? during his lifetime he shall eliminate and fly from bad? deliberations. And in this hope, his heart being? full of God, he shall depart this world?.

All that takes place? in humility, is beautiful. The uncorporeal thoughts? of the mind inclining towards the love? of God (engendered) by the understanding? of the scriptures, are a fence for the gates of the soul against foreign deliberations. They guard the spirit by ardent recollections of future things, against its being distracted through idleness? to the recollection of (worldly) things; this would quench the ardour of its emotion and it would fall into desires.


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