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HOMILY 5: Concerning those things that happen to Christians in the time of prayer, and concerning the degrees of perfection.

1. A MAN goes in to bow the knee, and his heart is filled with a Divine power, and his soul rejoiceth with the Lord, as the bride with her bridegroom. The inward man is snatched away to yet farther devotion, into the unfathomable depth of that world in much sweetness, insomuch that his hole mind is estranged, being raised and carried off thither; so that, for that time, there is a cloud of oblivion upon the thoughts of the earthly wisdom; for his thoughts are filled with Divine and heavenly things, things infinite and incomprehensible, certain wonderful things, which are impossible to be uttered.

2. Sometimes the love flames out and kindles with greater strength; but at other times more slow and gentle. As the same fire at certain seasons burns with a stronger heat and flame, but at others abates and burns dim, so this lamp (of grace) sometimes burns and shines out, when, it is more strongly enkindled by an extraordinary infusion of the love of GOD; but again it is imparted in measure, and then the light is comparatively dull.

3. At another season the light which was shining in the heart, has disclosed a yet more inward, profound, and concealed light, insomuch that the whole man being absorbed in that sweetness and contemplation, was master of himself no longer, but was to this world as a mere fool and barbarian, by reason of the superabundant love and sweetness of the hidden mysteries: so that the person being for that time set at liberty, arrives to such degrees of perfection, as to become pure and free from sin. But after all this, grace has withdrawn itself, and the veil of the adverse power has come upon him; it appears in past however, and he stands in one of the lower rounds of perfection. And one that is rich in grace, at all times, by night and by day, continues in a perfect state, free and pure, ever captivated with love, and elevated to God.

4. But if a man should have these things always present before him, he would not be able to undertake-the dispensation of the word. Neither could he bear to hear, or have any concern for himself or the morrow; but purely to sit in a corner in a state of elevation: so that the perfect degree of all has not been given, that a man may be in a capacity to attend the care of the brethren, and the ministration of the word. Nevertheless, " the middle -tall of partition is broken down, and death is overcome." 5. Grace, even in this present life, operates thus: it calms all the members and the heart, so that the soul, out of the abundance of joy, seems like a little child, conscious of no ill; and the roan no longer condemns the Gentile, or the Jew, or the man of the world. But the inward man looks upon all with an eye of purity, and rejoices over the whole world, and desires to respect and love all, the Gentiles as the Jews. At another time, as the son of a king, he confides in the Son of GOD as his own father, and the doors are opened to him, and he goes into many mansions.

And the farther he goes in, they are again opened to him in proportion, from one hundred mansions to an hundred others, and he is rich: and the more he is enriched, there are again others, and those newer wonders, discovered to him. And he is entrusted, as the son and heir, with things that cannot be spoken by human nature, nor pronounced by the mouth and tongue. Glory be to GOD! Amen.

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