John, Ascent of Carmel 2 31


Which treats of the apprehensions received by the understanding from interiorfeelings which come supernaturally to the soul. Describes their cause, andthe manner wherein the soul must conduct itself so that they may not obstructits road to union with God.

1 IT is now time to treat of the fourth and last kind of intellectual apprehensionwhich we said might come to the understanding through the spiritual feelingswhich are frequently produced supernaturally in the souls of spiritual personsand which we count amongst the distinct apprehensions of the understanding.

2. These distinct spiritual feelings may be of two kinds. The first kindis in the affection of the will. The second, in the substance of the soul.Each of these may be of many kinds. Those of the will, when they are of God,are most sublime; but those that are of the substance of the soul are veryhigh and of great good and profit. As to these, neither the soul nor he thattreats with it can know or understand the cause whence they proceed, or whatare the acts whereby God may grant it these favours; for they depend notupon any works performed by the soul, nor upon its meditations, althoughboth these things are a good preparation for them: God grants these favoursto whom He wills and for what reason He wills.(475) For it may come to passthat a person will have performed many good works, yet that He will not givehim these touches of His favour; and another will have done far fewer goodworks, yet He will give him them to a most sublime degree and in great abundance.And thus it is not needful that the soul should be actually employed andoccupied in spiritual things (although it is much better that it should beso employed if it is to have these favours) for God to give it these touchesin which the soul experiences the said feelings; for in the majority of casesthe soul is completely heedless of them. Of these touches, some are distinctand pass quickly away; others are less distinct and last longer.

3. These feelings, inasmuch as they are feelings only, belong not to the understandingbut to the will; and thus I refrain, of set purpose, from treating of themhere, nor shall I do so until we treat of the night and purgation of thewill in its affections: this will be in the third book, which follows this.(476)But since frequently, and even in the majority of cases, apprehensions andknowledge and intelligence overflow from them into the understanding, itwould be well to make mention of them here, for that reason only. It mustbe known, then, that from these feelings, both from those of the will andfrom those which are in the substance of the soul, whether they are causedsuddenly by the touches of God, or are durable and successive, an apprehensionof knowledge or intelligence frequently overflows, as I say, into theunderstanding; and this is normally a most sublime perception of God, mostdelectable to the understanding, to which no name can be given, any morethan to the feeling whence it overflows. And these manifestations of knowledgeare sometimes of one kind and sometimes of another; sometimes they are clearerand more sublime, according to the nature of the touches which come fromGod and which produce the feelings whence they proceed, and according alsoto their individual characteristics.

4. It is unnecessary here to spend a great store of words in cautioning and directing the understanding, throughthese manifestations of knowledge, in faith, to union with God. For albeitthe feelings which we have described are produced passively in the soul,without any effective assistance to that end on its own part, even so likewiseis the knowledge of them received passively in the understanding, in a waycalled by the philosophers 'passible,' wherein the understanding plays nopart. Wherefore, in order not to go astray on their account nor to impedethe profit which comes from them, the understanding must do nothing in connectionwith these feelings, but must conduct itself passively, and not interfereby applying to them its natural capacity. For, as we have said is the casewith successive locutions, the understanding, with its activity, would veryeasily disturb and ruin the effect of these delicate manifestations of knowledge,which are a delectable supernatural intelligence that human nature cannotattain or apprehend by its own efforts, but only by remaining in a stateof receptivity.(477) And thus the soul must not strive to attain them ordesire to receive them, lest the understanding should form other manifestationsof its own, or the devil should make his entry with still more that are differentfrom them and false. This he may very well do by means of the feelingsaforementioned, or of those which he can himself infuse into the soul thatdevotes itself to these kinds of knowledge. Let the soul be resigned, humbleand passive herein, for, since it receives this knowledge passively fromGod, He will communicate it whensoever He is pleased, if He sees the soulto be humble and detached. And in this way the soul will do nothing to counteractthe help which these kinds of knowledge give it in its progress toward Divineunion, which help is great; for these touches are all touches of union, whichis wrought passively in the soul.(478)

5. What has been said concerning thissuffices, for no matter what may happen to the soul with respect to theunderstanding, cautions and instructions have been given it in the sectionsalready mentioned. And although a case may appear to be different and tobe in no way included herein, there is none that cannot be referred to oneof these, and thus may be deduced the instruction necessary for it.(479)


(207) (Lit., 'all the steps and articles that it has.')(208) (Lit., 'climbs': the verb (escala) is identical with the noun 'ladder'(escala).) (209) (Lit., 'to the depths.') (210) (The literal translationis shorter, viz. 'taking faith for a blind man's guide.') (211) (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 sameunderlying concept. (The affirmation, or establishment, of all the powersand desires of the spirit upon pure faith, so that they may be ruled by purefaith alone, is equivalent to the denial, or negation, of those powers anddesires in so far as they are not ruled by pure faith.) (212) (Lit., 'totrue spirit.') (213) (I, ii, above.) (214) (Cf. I, ii, above.) (215) Thiswas another of the propositions which were cited by those who denounced thewritings of St. John of the Cross to the Holy Office. It is interpretable,nevertheless, in a sense that is perfectly true and completely in conformitywith Catholic doctrine. The Saint does not, in these words, affirm that faithdestroys 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 comingof knowledge through faith excludes a simultaneous coming of natural knowledgethrough reason. It is only in this way that, in the act of faith, the soulis deprived of the light of reason, and left, as it were, in blindness, sothat it may be raised to another nobler and sublimer kind of knowledge, which,far from destroying reason, gives it dignity and perfection. Philosophy teachesthat the proper and connatural object of the understanding, in this life,is things visible, material and corporeal. By his nature, man inclines toknowledge of this kind, but cannot lay claim to such knowledge as regardsthe things which belong to faith. For, to quote a famous verse of Scripture:Fides est sperandarum substantia rerum, argumentum non apparientium (He 1,1). This line of thought is not confined to St. John of the Cross, butis followed by all the mystics and is completely in agreement with theologicaldoctrine. Cf. Respuesta (Reply) of P. Basilio Ponce de Leon and Dilucidatio,Pt. II, Chap. ii, and also the following chapter in this present book. (216)E .p.: 'an obediential faculty' (potencia obediencial): this phrase is borrowedfrom the Schoolmen. Among the various divisions of the faculty are two, naturaland obediential. The first is that which is directed towards an act withinthe sphere of nature, such as the cooling action of water and the heatingaction of fire; the second is directed towards an act which exceeds thesepowers, brought about by God, Who is outside the laws of nature and can thereforework outside the natural domain. This obediential faculty (called also'receptive' or 'passive') frequently figures in mystical theology, sinceit is this that disposes the faculties of the soul for the supernatural receptionof the gifts of grace, all of which exceed natural capacity. (217) E.p.:'a natural manner which has its beginning in the senses.' Here the Saintexpounds a principle of scholastic philosophy summarized in the axiom: Nihilest in intellectu quin prius non fuerit in sensu. This principle, like manyother great philosophical questions, has continually been debated. St. Johnof the Cross will be found as a rule to follow the philosophy most favoredby the Church and is always rigidly orthodox. (218) (Lit., 'subjecting andblinding our natural light.') (219) Rm 10,17. (220} Is 7,9. SoAlc. The passage seems to be taken from the Septuagint. (The Vulgate hasnon permanebitis.) (221) (Lit., 'If ye believe not, that is, ye shall nothave light.') (222) Ex 14,20. (223) Ps 18,3 (A.V., xix, 2).(224) Ps 133,11 (A.V., cxxxix, 11). (225) He 11,6. (226) Is 51,4 1Co 2,9. (227) (The word translated 'way' is modo, which,in the language of scholastic philosophy, would rather be translated 'mode.')(228) (2Co 6,10) (229) (Lit., 'either spiritually or sensually,in its soul.') (230) Jn 9,39. (231) As the Saint has explained above,this is a parenthetical chapter necessary to an understanding of the followingchapters 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 importantto know what that end is. St. John of the Cross begins by setting aside thenumerous divisions under which the mystics speak of union with God and dealsonly with that which most usually concerns the soul, namely union which isactive, and acquired by our own efforts, together with the habitual aid ofgrace. This is the kind of union which is most suitably described in thistreatise, which deals with the intense activity of the soul as regards thepurgation of the senses and faculties as a necessary means for the lovingtransformation of the soul in God -- the end and goal of all the Saint'swritings. In order to forestall any grossly erroneous pantheisticinterpretations, we point out, with the author of the Medula Mistica (Trat.V, Chap. i, No. 2), that by union the Saint understands 'a linking and conjoiningof two things which, though united, are still different, each, as St. Thomasteaches (Pt. III, q. 2, a. 1), keeping its own nature, for otherwise therewould not be union but identity. Union of the soul with God, therefore, willbe 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 withthe one, so that the soul is still the soul and God is still God. But justas, when two things are united, the one which has the most power, virtueand activity communicates its properties to the other, just so, since Godhas greater strength, virtue and activity than the soul, He communicatesHis properties to it and makes it, as it were, deific, and leaves it, asit were, divinized, to a greater or a lesser degree, corresponding to thegreater 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 beensaved from making ridiculous comparisons of him with Gnostics, Illuministsor even the Eastern seekers after Nirvana. Actually, this Saint and Doctorof the Church applies the tenets of Catholic theology to the union of thesoul with God, presenting them in a condensed and vigorous form and keepingalso 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 ofessential union, which has nothing to do with his subject, but (presupposingthe union worked through sanctifying grace received in the substance of thesoul, which is the source of the infused virtues, such as faith, hope andcharity, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit) of active actual union, afterwhich we can and should strive, so that we may will what God wills and abhorwhat He abhors. Though not the only kind of union, it is this which chieflyconcerns the soul; and, when once this is attained, God readily grants allother mystical gifts. Cf. St. Teresa's Interior Castle, V, iii (C.W.S.T.J.,II, 259-60). (232) (Lit., 'is clothed with.') (233) Jn 1,13. (234)Jn 3,5. (235) (Lit., 'wholly perfect and...') (236) (Lit., 'to lead...into,' as at the beginning of Sect. 6, below.) (237) He 11,1. (238)Rm 8,24. (239) Lc 14,33. (240) Lc 11,5. (241) Is 6,2. (242) (Or 'middle.' Cf. Bk. I, chap. ii, above.) (243) St. Matthew vii,14. (244) (The Spanish verb, used also at the end of the preceding paragraph,is derived from the adjective.) (245) Mc 8,34-5. (246) (Lit., 'thedenial of ourselves to our very selves.') (247) (enagenacion, a word whichto-day means 'alienation,' 'rapture,' 'derangement (of mind),' but inCovarrubias' dictionary (1611) is also defined as 'giving to another whatis one's own.') (248) Jn 12,25. (249) Mt 20,22. (250) Jn 14,6. (251) Jn 10,9. (252) Mt 28,46. (253) Ps 77,22 (A.V., lxxiii, 22). (254) (The reference seems to be to Acts xiii, 46,the point of it being in the second part of that verse. The Spanish willalso 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.')(255) (By this vivid phrase the author seems to mean: 'whom God held to besuitable recipients of it.') (256) (Lit., 'unite.') (257) Ps 85,8(A.V., lxxxvi, 8). (258) Ps 77,14 (A.V., lxxvii, 13) (lit., 'in thatwhich is holy'). (259) Ps 137,6 (A.V., cxxxviii, 6). (260) Ex 33,20. (261) Jn 1,18. (262) 1Co 2,9 Is 54,4. (263) Ac 7,32. (264) (A.V. 1 Kings) xix, 13. (265) (Lit.,'feign Him.') (266) Isaias xl, 18-19. (267) (All authorities read 'form'(or 'figure') here. Cf. n. 7, above.) (268) (This is the word (fingir, 'feign'),translated above as 'imitate.' Cf. n. 7, above.) (269) Baruch iii, 23. (270)(Possibly a further reference to 1Co 2,9-10 quoted above.) (271)He 11,6. (272) Ps 17,10-12 (A.V., xviii, 9-11). (273) 3 Kings(A.V., 1 Kings) viii, 12. (274) Jb 37,1 Jb 40,1. (275) 1Co 13,10. (276) Jg 8,16. (277) (Lit., +by itself.+) (278) (Lit.,'and blossom.') (279) (Lit., 'from the affection and devotion of the sensiblespirit.') (280) (P. Silverio remarks here that) we must understand (as frequentlyelsewhere) 'sensibility' and not sensuality in the grosser sense. (281) (Lit.,'and sweetnesses in the mouth.') (282) E.p.: 'for those of the devil stopat the first movements and cannot move the will.' This, no doubt, was theSaint's meaning, for the Church teaches that the devil cannot influence thewill directly, though he may do so indirectly, principally through the sensesand the imagination. (283) St. John of the Cross means that the soul shouldnot rely upon its own judgment in such matters but upon some discreet andlearned director. (284) 2Co 12,14. (285) (Lit., 'making it over.')E.p. has: 'setting it and placing it over.' (286) (Mt 25,21)(287) (Lit., 'and retired.') (288) (The phrase is suggestive of St. Teresa,though the Spanish word is not moradas, but mansiones.) (289) (Ap 13,1) (290) (Ap 13,7) (291) (Lc 11,26) (292) (Lit.,'the intimate'; but the superlative idea is clearly present.) (293) (Lit.,'by fancying.') (294) (Lit., 'the level' -- i.e., by contrast with the steepstairs.) (295) Ac 17,29. (296) (The verb, recoger, of which the derivednoun is translated 'recollection,' has more accurately the meaning of 'gather,''take inwards.') (297) (Lit., 'to see that there are many who.') (298) E.p.omits: 'and quietness.' The Saint's description of this first sign at whicha soul should pass from meditation to contemplation was denounced as disagreeingwith Catholic doctrine, particularly the phrase: 'that he can no longer meditateor reason with his imagination, neither can take pleasure therein as he waswont to do aforetime.' This language, however, is common to mystics andtheologians, not excluding St. Thomas (2a 2ae, q. 180, a. 6) and Suarez (DeOratione, Bk. II, Chap. x), as is proved, with eloquence and erudition, byP. Basilio Ponce de Leon and the Elucidatio, in their refutations of theSaint'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 formsand species of the imagination and that the reasonings and reflections ofmeditation must be set aside. This is to be understood, both of the contemplationthat transcends all human methods, and also of that which is practised accordingto these human methods with the ordinary aid of grace. But there is thisimportant difference, that those who enjoy the first kind of contemplationset aside all intellectual reasoning as well as processes of the fancy andthe imagination, whereas, for the second kind, reasoning prior to the actof contemplation is normally necessary, though it ceases at the act ofcontemplation, and there is then substituted for it simple and loving intuitionof eternal truth. It should be clearly understood that this is not of habitualoccurrence in the contemplative soul, but occurs only during the act ofcontemplation, which is commonly of short duration. St. Teresa makes thisclear in Chap. xxvii of her Life, and treats this same doctrinal questionin many other parts of her works--e.g., Life, Chaps. x, xii; Way of Perfection,Chap. xxvi; Interior Castle, IV, Chap. iii, etc. (299) (Lit., 'much.')

(300) 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 spiritualand the more completely freed from the bonds of nature. Cf. Elucidatio, Pt.II, Chap. iii, p. 180. (301) (embelesamiento, a word denoting a pleasurablecondition somewhere between a reverie and a swoon.) (302) (Lit., 'appearto be necessary in order to journey to spirit.') (303) Jb 6,6. (304) (Cf.the simile of the Waters in St. Teresa, Life, Chap. xi, and Interior Castle,IV, ii, iii.) (305) (Lit., +booty,' 'prey.') (306) (Lit., +the soul keepsin act its spiritual facilities.+) (307) (The verb is tropezar en, whichmay 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.) (308) (Lit.,+to the sight of sense.+) (309) (Or: 'when it was dependent on time.' Lit.,'acted in time.') (310) (Or: 'and independent of time.' Lit., 'without time.')(311) 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 itis brief and because the soul is not conscious or observant of time.' P.Jose de Jesus Maria comments thus upon this passage: +In contemplation thesoul 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 DivineEsse nce; hiding itself in the region of time, it enters within the mostextensive limits of eternity. For the pure and simple intelligence whereintothe soul is brought in this contemplation, as was pointed out by the ancientDionysius (Myst. Theol., Chap. ii), and by our own Father, is not subjectto time. For, as St. Thomas says (Pt. I, q. 118, a. 3, et alibi), the soulis a spiritual substance, which is above time and superior to the movementsof the heavens, to which it is subject only because of the body. And thereforeit seems that, when the soul withdraws from the body, and from all createdthings, and by means of pure intelligence whelms itself in eternal things,it recovers its natural dominion and rises above time, if not according tosubstance, at least according to its most perfect being; for the noblestand most perfect being of the soul resides rather in its acts than in itsfaculties. Wherefore St. Gregory said (Morals, Bk. VIII): "The Saints entereternity even in this life, beholding the eternity of God."' (312) Ps 101,8 (A.V. cii, 7). (313) (The Spanish pajaro, 'bird,' is derived from passer,'sparrow.') (314) Ct 6,11. (315) Ct 5,2. (316) The wordswhich conclude this paragraph in the edition of 1630 ('The sign by whichwe may know if the soul is occupied in this secret intelligence is if itis seen to have no pleasure in thinking of aught, whether high or low') arenot found either in the Codices or in e.p. When St. John of the Cross usesthe 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 passiveas to have lost all their force and vitality, and that the contemplativeis therefore impeccable, although he commit the grossest sins. The soul'svital powers, according to St. John of the Cross, are involved even in thehighest contemplation; the understanding is attentive to God and the willis loving Him. They are not working, it is true, in the way which is usualand natural with them -- that is, by reason and imagination -- butsupernaturally, through the unction of the Holy Spirit, which they receivepassively, without any effort of their own. It is in this sense that suchwords as those quoted above ('cessation,' 'idleness,' etc.) are both expressivelyand appropriately used by the Saint, for what is done without labour andeffort 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 sublimecontemplation, though they undoubtedly do work. St. John of the Cross,philosopher as well as mystic, would not deny the vital and intrinsic activityof the understanding and the will in contemplation. His reasoning is supportedby P. Jose de Jesus Maria (Apologia Mistica de la Contemplacion Divina, Chap.ix) (quoted at length by P. Silverio, Obras, etc., Vol. II, p. 130, note).(317) In spite of this promise, the Saint does not return to this subjectat such length as his language here would suggest. (318) (Lit., 'in thisloving or peaceful presence,' the original of 'presence' having also thesense of 'attendance.') (319) Ps 45,11 (A.V., xlvi, 10). (320) Is 6,4. (321) Jr 1,11. (322) Da 8,10 (323) Kings xxii, 11(A.V., 1 Kings xxii, 11). (324) (Mt 28,19) (325) E.p. omits:'now natural, now supernatural.' The Saint employs this last word, in thispassage, with the sense of 'preternatural.' Only God can transcend the boundsof nature, but the devil can act in such a way that he appears to be doingso, counterfeiting miracles, and so forth. (326) (Lit., 'to come within God.')E.p.: 'to be united with God.' (327) Dt 4,12. (328) Dt 4,15. (329) Nb 12,6-8 (D.V. has 'Mary' for 'Miriam'.) (330) (Theprogressive form is used in the Spanish: 'not to go (or 'be') leaning upon.')(331) (Lit., 'impede the brightness.') (332) 1P 1,19. (333) Rm 13,1. (334) Sg 8,1 (335) (The verb is progressive ('goes (on)instructing').) (336) (This verb also is progressive: 'may go (on) making.')(337) (Lit., 'mouthfuls of spiritual communication.') (338) (All the verbsin the last two clauses are in the progressive form.) (339) 1 Corinthiansxiii, 11. (340) (Lit., 'I emptied.') (341) In reality, this instruction isgiven in Chap. xiii. (342) Ps 143,17. (343) 1Co 3,1-2.(344) Mt 15,14. (345) (Lit., 'if it were of God.') (346) Gn 15,7. (347) Gn 46,3-4. (348) Jg 20,12. (349) (Lit., 'accordingto the rind.' Cf. bk. II ch. viii, above.) (350) 2Co 3,6. (351)Is 27,9-11. (352) (For 'wait,' we may also read 'hope,' the Spanishword (esperar) here used expressing both these ideas.) (353) Jr 4,10.(354) Jr 8,15. (355) Ps 71,8 (A.V., lxxii, 8). (356)Ps 71,12 (A.V., lxxii, 12.) (357) (Lit., 'seeing Him later to be born.')(358) (Lit., 'of Christ and of His followers.' The addition is necessaryto the sense.) (359) Ac 13,27. (360) Lc 24,21. (361) Lc 24,25.(362) Ac 1,6. (363) Jn 11,50. (364) 1Co 2,14.(365) (Lit., 'free and victorious.') (366) Ps 2,9. (367) Ps 9,17 (A.V., x, 18).(368) Pr 10,24. (369) Jon 3,4 (370) (Lit.,'to promise.') (371) 3 Kings (A.V., 1 Kings) xxi, 21. (372) 3 Kings (A.V.,1 Kings) xxi, 27-9. (373) Jn 12,16. (374) 1 Kings (A.V., 1 Samuel)ii, 30. (375) Jon 3,4. (376) 3 Kings (A.V., 1 Kings) xi, 38. (Actuallyit was to Jeroboam that this was said.) (377) (Lit., 'on the road of eternity.')(378) Qo 5,1 (A.V. v, 2). (379) Jr 20,7-9. (380) Lm 3,47. (381) Jon 4,2.(382) Is 8,12. (The Spanish has 'Achab'for 'Achaz.') (383) 1 Kings (A.V., 1 Samuel) viii, 7. (384) 2 Paralipomenon(A.V., 2 Chronicles) xx, 12. (385) 1 Kings (A.V., 1 Samuel) xxviii, 15. (386)Ps 63,30-1 (A.V., lxxviii, 30-1). (387) Nb 22,32. (388) (Lit.,'that come out true.') (389) The exact reading in Boetius is: 'Tu quoquesi vis lumine claro cernere vernum -- Tramite recto carpere callem -- Gaudiapelle -- Pelle timorem -- Spemque fugato -- Nec dolor adsit' (Migne, Vol.LXXV, p. 122). (390) Judith xi, 12. (391) Wisdom xi, 17 (A.V., xi, 16). (392)Tobias xiv, 13. (393) (i.e., any individual.) (394) Isaias xix, 14. (395)3 Kings (A.V., 1 Kings) xxii, 22. (396) Ez 14,7-9. (397) (Ezechielxiv, 7.) (398) (Lit., 'they serve nevertheless for the greater doctrine andclearness of our intention.') (399) Is 30,2.

(400) Jos 9,14. (401) He 1,1. (402) Mt 17,5. (403)Col 2,3. (404) 1Co 2,2 (405) Col 2,9. (406)Jn 19,30. (407) . (408) (It was to Abiathar that thiswas said.) 1 Kings (A.V., 1 Samuel) xxiii, 9. (409) Jg 7,11. (410)(Lit., 'and so dark.') (411) Ex 4,14-15. (412) Mt 18,20.(413) (Lit., 'the things which he has to be of God.') (414) (Lit., '... withthem, without the Church or...') (415) Qo 4,10-12. (416) (i.e.,the penitent and the confessor or director.) (417) . (418)Ex 18,21. (419) . (420) Mt 7,22. (421)Mt 7,23. (422) (The Spanish phrase equally admits the reading:'even though the soul make.') (423) (i.e., into the night of faith: cf. Chap.xxiii, Sect. 4, below.) (424) It is in Chapter x (and not in viii, as issaid in A, B and e.p.) that the author treats of these spiritual apprehensions.(425) St. Gregory: Dial., Bk. 11, Chap. xxxv. 'Omnis etiam mundus velut subuno solis radio collectus, ante oculos eius adductus est.' (426) Ex 33,20.(427) Ex 20,19. (428) Judges xiii, 22. (429) E.p. abbreviates thisparagraph thus: 'The other visions, which are of incorporeal substances,demand another and a higher illumination; and thus these visions of incorporealsubstances, such as angels and souls, do not occur habitually, nor are theyproper to this life; still less is that of the Divine Essence, which is properto the Blessed in Heaven, save that it may be communicated to a soul fleetinglyand as in passing.' The next two paragraphs are omitted from e.p. P. Jeronimode San Jose, in the edition of 1630, copies from e.p. the lines given inthis note above, and then continues: '(save when) God so allows, in spiteof the condition of our natural life, withdrawing the spirit from itoccasionally, as happened to the apostle Saint Paul, when he says that hesaw unspeakable secrets in the third heaven.' The adjustments made by P.Salablanca and amplified by P. Jeronimo in the rest of the paragraph (cf.notes below) follow the most usual scholastic doctrine. Among the DiscalcedCarmelite writers who deal most fully and competently with this doctrineof spiritual visions are the authors of the Cursas Theologiae Mysticae, Vol.IV, Disp. xx, xxi; Felipe de la Santisima Trinidad: Summa Theologiae Mysticae,Pt. II, Tract. III, Disc. iv; Medula Mistica, Trat. VI. St. Thomas (I p.,q. 88, a. 1) says that we cannot quidditative know separated substances.(430) 2Co 12,2. (431) Ex 33,22. (432) This descriptionthe Saint probably accomplished, or intended to accomplish, in his commentarieson the last five stanzas of the Dark Night, which have not come down to us.(433) Mt 4,8. (434) 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). (435) (Psalm xxxix, 6: cf. A.V., xl,5.) (436) Ps 18,10-11 (A.V., xix, 9-10). (437) Ex 34,6-7.(438) (Lit., 'Emperor.') (439) Jn 14,21. (440) 1Co 12,10.(441) Sg 7,17-21. (442) (Lit., 'of the roundness of the lands.')(443) (Lit., 'exposition of words'; the reference is clearly to 1Co 12,8-10) (444) (The original has gratis datas.) (445) Pr 26,19.(446) 1Co 2,15. (447) 1Co 2,10. (448) (Lit.,'in the interior.') (449) 4 Kings (A.V., 2 Kings) v, 26. (450) 4 Kings (A.V.,2 Kings) vi, 12. (451) Jr 45,3 (452) . (453) Rm 10,17. (454) 2P 1,19. (455) Qo 8,1. (456) (Lit., 'certaindistinct and formal words.') (457) Gn 27,22. (458) (Lit., 'withfour maravedis' worth of experience.' The maravedi was a small coin, worth1/375 of a gold ducat, the unit of coinage at this time in Castile.) (459)(Lit., 'and thus it.') (460) This profound and important principle, whichhas often been developed in mystical theology, is well expounded by P. Josede Jesus Maria in a treatise called Reply to a question (Respuesta a unaduda). Here, among other things, he says: 'As St. Thomas proves (De Veritate,q. 12, a. 6), Divine illumination, like every other spiritual form, iscommunicated to the soul after the manner of the receiver of it, whetheraccording 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 communicatedto him further, whether in small measure (as we say) or according to sense,or in large measure or intellectually.' (461) (Ct 6,4) (462) (Lit.,'and then throwing it down.') (463) (Lit., 'He grants them wrapped up inthis.') (464) (The verbs used in the Spanish for 'is fitting' and behoves'are the same.) (465) Rm 12,3. (466) Da 9,22. (467) Ex 3,4(468) (Lit., 'greater worth.') (469) This chapter is notable for thehardly surpassable clarity and precisions with which the Saint definessubstantial locutions. Some critics, however, have found fault with him forsaying that the soul should not fear these locutions, but accept them humblyand passively, since they depend wholly on God. The reply is that, when Godfavours the soul with these locutions, its own restless effort can only impedeHis work in it, as has already been said. The soul is truly co-operatingwith God by preparing itself with resignation and humble affection to receiveHis favours: it should not, as some critics have asserted, remain completelyinactive. As to the fear of being deceived by these locutions, both St. Thomasand 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. herLife, Chap. xxv, and Interior Castle, VI, iii. (470) Qo 8,4(471) Ps 66,34 (A.V., lxviii, 33). (472) Gn 17,1. (473) Jr 24,28-9. (474) 1 Kings (A.V., 1 Samuel) iii, 10. (475) A, B: 'and howHe wills.' Note that the Saint does not deprecate good works, as did theIlluminists (alumbrados), who bade the perfect soul set them aside forcontemplation, even though they were works of obligation. On the contrary,he asserts that good works have a definite, though a preparatory, part toplay in the life of a contemplative. (476) Alc. alone has: 'which followsthis.' The Saint does not, in fact, return to this matter, either in thethird book or elsewhere. (477) (Lit., 'or apprehend by doing, but by receiving.')(478) Some editions here add a long paragraph, which, however, is the workof P. Jeronimo de San Jose, who was responsible for the edition of 1630.It appears neither in the MSS. nor in e.p. It runs as follows: All theinstruction which has been given in this book on total abstraction and passivecontemplation, wherein, oblivious to all created things and detached fromimages and figures, we allow ourselves to be guided by God, dwelling withsimple regard upon supreme truth, is applicable not only to that act of mostperfect contemplation, the lofty and wholly supernatural repose of whichis still prevented by the daughters of Jerusalem (namely, good reflectionsand meditations), if at that time the soul desires them, but also to thewhole of the time during which Our Lord communicates the simple, generaland loving attentiveness aforementioned, or during which the soul, aidedby grace, places itself in that state. For at that time the soul must alwaysstrive to keep its understanding in repose, without the interference of otherforms, figures or particular kinds of knowledge, save very fleetingly andquite superficially; and it must have a loving sweetness which will enkindleit 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 experiencethe greater devotion and profit, most of all with respect to the life, passionand death of Our Lord Jesus Christ, so that its actions, practices and lifemay be made like to His. (479) Thus Alc. A, B, e.p. read: 'This sufficesto conclude (our treatment of) the supernatural apprehensions of theunderstanding, so far as concerns the guidance of the understanding, by theirmeans, in faith, to Divine union. And I think that what has been said withregard to this suffices, for, no matter what happens to the soul with respectto the understanding, instructions and cautions concerning it will be foundin the sections already mentioned. And, if something should happen, apparentlyso different that none of them deals with it (although I think there willbe nothing relating to the understanding which cannot be referred to oneof the four kinds of distinct knowledge), instructions and cautions concerningit can be deduced from what has been said of others similar to it. And withthis we will pass to the third book, where, with the Divine favour, we shalltreat of the interior spiritual purgation of the will with regard to itsinterior affections which we here call active night.' C, D have: 'From whathas been said may be deduced instructions and cautions for guidance in whatevermay happen to the soul with regard to the understanding, even if it seemso different that it includes none of the four distinct kinds, although Ithink there will be nothing relating to the understanding which cannot bereferred to one of them. And so we will pass to the third book.' The editionof 1630 follows A, B and e.p., and adds further: 'I therefore beg the discreetreader to read these things in a benevolent and simple spirit; for, whenthis 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 esteemthat it merits. How much truer is this in the present case, since my styleis in so many ways deficient!'

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