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You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. Jean Hite's Blog. Skip to content. What is suffering; what is sin; what is goodness? Tensions and ambiguity Throughout the Revelations Julian is shown and experiences the tensions of ambiguity and opposing forces. What was revealed? And I saw very certainly in this and in everything that before God made us he loved us, which love was never abated and never will be.

Reconciling the Revelations to the teaching of Holy Church From the outset Julian shows concern and intention that her understanding of the Revelations should be in agreement with the teaching of the church. In a literal reading, the bible frequently points to the wrath of God. Jantzen, Grace, Julian of Norwich. Williams, Rowan, The Wound of Knowledge. Share this: Twitter Facebook. Like this: Like Loading This entry was posted in Academic paper. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:.

Notes on Manuscripts and Editions of this Book. Note as to two Julians. Part I. The Lady Julian. Part II. The Manner of the Book. Part III. The Theme of the Book. Chapter I. The Seventh Revelation : It is of God's Will, for our learning, that on earth we change between joy of light and pain of darkness. All compassion in men is Christ in men. The Thirteenth Revelation : Man's finite love was suffered by Infinite Love to fail, that falling thus through sin into pain and death of darkness, the creature therein might more deeply know his need and more highly know, in its succouring strength, the Creator's Love, as the Saviour's; that so being raised, and for ever held clinging to that through the grace of the Holy Ghost, he might rise to fuller and higher and endless oneness with God.

Regarding these Revelations and the Christian Life of Love's travail on earth against sin. Autobiographical: The fall through frailty of nature, by self-regarding, into doubt of the Shewing of Love; the rescue by mercy; the assaying of faith and the overcoming by grace. Autobiographical: The second assaying of faith, through the horror of spiritual darkness; the overcoming by virtue of the Passion of Christ, with help from the Common Belief of the Christian Fellowship. The Paris Manuscript is of the Sixteenth Century, the Sloane is in a Seventeenth Century handwriting; the English of the Fourteenth Century seems to be on the whole well preserved in both, especially perhaps in the later Manuscript, which must have been copied from one of mixed East Anglian and northern dialects.

This manuscript has no title-page, and nothing is known as to its history. Delisle's catalogue of the Biblioth. The two versions may be compared in these sentences:—. Sloane : "These Revelations were shewed to a simple creature that cowde no letter the yeere of our Lord the xiij day of may. And the lovely lokyng that he lokyd on his servant contynually. The Sloane MS.

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Blomefield, in his History of Norfolk iv. Julian's, Norwich, and quotes the title written by a contemporary: "Here es a Vision shewed by the godenes of God to a devoute Woman: and her name is Julian, that is recluse at Noryche, and yett is on life, Anno Domini mccccxlii. In the whilke Vision er fulle many comfortabyll words, and greatly styrrande to alle they that desyres to be Crystes Looverse"—greatly stirring to all that desire to be lovers of Christ. This Manuscript, possibly containing the writing of Julian herself, was in the possession of the Rev.

Francis Peck The original MSS. Tersteegen, who, in his Auserlesene Beschreibungen Heiliger Seelen , gives a long extract from Julian's book vol. Pierre Poiret, author of several works on mystical theology, died in near Leyden, but the Manuscript has not found its way to the University there. Poiret himself refers thus to Julian and her book in his Catalogus Auctorum Mysticorum , giving to her name the asterisk denoting greatness: " Julianae Matris Anachoretae, Revelationes de Amore Dei. Theodidactae, profundae, ecstaticae.

Amsterdam, The earliest printed edition of Julian's book was prepared by the Benedictine Serenus de Cressy, and published in by permission of his ecclesiastical Superior, the Abbot of Lambspring, under the title of Sixteen Revelations of Divine Love. It agrees with the Manuscript now in Paris, but the readings that differ from the Sloane Manuscript are very few and are quite unimportant. This version of de Cressy's is in Seventeenth Century English with some archaic words, which are explained on the side margins; it was re-printed in A modernised version taken from the Sloane MS.

For the following version, the editor having transcribed the Sloane MS. As the book is designed for general use, modern spelling has been adopted, and most words entirely obsolete in speech have been rendered in modern English, though a few that seemed of special significance or [Pg xiv] charm have been retained. Archaic forms of construction have been almost invariably left as they are, without regard to modern grammatical usage. Occasionally a word has been underlined for the sake of clearness or as a help in preserving the measure of the original language, which in a modern version must lose a little in rhythm, by altered pronunciation and by the dropping of the termination "en" from verbs in the infinitive.

Here and there a clause has been put within parentheses. The very few changes made in words that might have any bearing on theological or philosophical questions, any historical or personal significance in the presentment of Julian's view, are noted on the margin and in the Glossary. Where prepositions are used in a sense now obscure they have generally been left as they are e.

The editor has desired to follow the rule of never omitting a word from the Manuscript, and of enclosing within square brackets the very few words added.

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It may be seen that these words do not alter the sense of the passage, but are interpolated with a view to bringing it out more clearly, in insignificant references e. Nichol's Literary Anecdotes , vol. Comparing the Will of Hallys with that of Margaret Purdance, which was made in but not proved till , and from which the name of Lady Julian Lampet as a legatee is stroked out, no doubt because of her death, we find evidence that this anchoress died between and As even the earlier of these dates was a hundred and thirty-six years after the birth of the writer of the "Revelations," who in May was over thirty years of age, the identity of the "Lady Julian, recluse at Norwich," with the Lady Julian Lampet, though it has naturally been suggested, is surely an impossibility.

There were anchorages in the churchyards both of St Julian's, Conisford which belonged to the nuns of Carrow in the sense of its revenues having been made over to them by King Stephen for the support of that Priory or "Abbey" , and of St Mary's, the Convent Church of the nuns. See the Will of Robert Pert—proved —which left "to the anchoress of Carhowe 1s. This Agnes may have been the immediate successor of Julian the writer of the "Revelations," [Pg xvi] who is spoken of as "yet in life"—as if in great age—in , when she would be a hundred years old.

Perhaps the almost invariable use of the surname of the Carrow Dame Julian who was, no doubt, of the family of Sir Ralph Lampet—frequently mentioned by Blomefield and in the Paston Letters may go to establish proof that there had been before her and in her earlier years of recluse life another anchoress Julian, who most likely had been educated at Carrow, but who lived as an anchoress at St Julian's, and was known simply as Dame or "the Lady" Julian.

From Blomefield's History of Norfolk , vol. Here was an ancient Hospital or Nunnery, dedicated to Saint Mary and Saint John, to which King Stephen having given lands and meadows without the South-gate, Seyna and Lescelina, two of the sisters, in began the foundations of a new monastery called Kairo, Carrow, Car-hou, and sometimes Car-Dieu, which was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and Saint John, and consisted of a prioress and nine afterwards twelve Benedictine black nuns Their church was founded by King Stephen and was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, and had a chapel of St John Baptist joined to its south side, and another of St Catherine to its north; there was also an anchorage by it, and in Lady Julian Lampet was anchoress there.

Beati pauperes spiritu: quoniam ipsorum est regnum coelorum S. Very little is known of the outer life of the woman that nearly five hundred years ago left us this book.

Page:Revelations of divine love (Warrack 1907).djvu/170

In Lady Julian, the ankeress here was a strict recluse, and had two servants to attend her in her old age. This woman was in these days esteemed one of the greatest holiness. The little Church of St Julian in use at this day still keeps from Norman times its dark round tower of flint rubble, and still there are traces about its foundation of the anchorage built against its south-eastern wall.

There was an image of St Julian in a niche of the wall of the Church, in the Churchyard. The only knowledge that we have directly from Julian as to any part of her history is given in her account of the time and manner in which the Revelation came, and of her condition before and during and after this special experience.

She tells how on the 13th day of May, , [1] the Revelation of Love was shewed to her, "a simple creature, unlettered," who had before this time made certain special prayers from out of her longing [Pg xix] after more love to God and her trouble over the sight of man's sin and sorrow. She had come now, she mentions, to the age of thirty, for which she had in one of these prayers, desired to receive a greater consecration,—thinking, perhaps, of the year when the Carpenter's workshop was left by the Lord for wider ministry,—she was "thirty years old and an half.

Julian relates that the Fifteen consecutive "Shewings" lasted from about four o'clock till after nine of that same morning, that they were followed by only one other Shewing given on the night of the next day , but that through later years the teaching of these Sixteen Shewings had been renewed and explained and enlarged by the more ordinary enlightenment and influences of "the same Spirit that shewed them. Of the circumstances in which the Revelations came, and of all matters connected with them, Julian gives a careful account, suggestive of great calmness and power of observation and reflection at the time, as well as of discriminating judgment and certitude afterwards.

She describes the preliminary seven days' sickness, the cessation of all its pain during the earlier visions, in [Pg xx] which she had spiritual sight of the Passion of Christ, and indeed during all the five hours' "special Shewing"; the return of her physical pain and mental distress and "dryness" of feeling when the vision closed; her falling into doubt as to whether she had not simply been delirious, her terrifying dream on the Friday night,—noting carefully that "this horrible Shewing" came in her sleep, "and so did none other"—none of the Sixteen Revelations of Love came thus.

Then she tells how she was helped to overcome the dream-temptation to despair, and how on the following night another Revelation, conclusion and confirmation of all, was granted to strengthen her faith. Again her faith was assayed by a similar dream-appearance of fiends that seemed as it were to be mocking at all religion, and again she was delivered, overcoming by setting her eyes on the Cross and fastening her heart on God, and comforting her soul with speech of Christ's Passion as she would have comforted another in like distress and rehearsing the Faith of all the Church.

It may be noted here that Julian when telling how she was given grace to awaken from the former of these troubled dreams, says, "anon all vanished away and I was brought to great rest and peace, without sickness of body or dread of conscience," and that nothing in the book gives any ground for supposing that she had less than ordinary health during the long and peaceful life wherein God "lengthened her patience.

Julian mentions neither her name not her state in life; she is "the soul," the "poor" or "simple" soul that the Revelation was shewed to—"a simple creature," in herself, a mere "wretch," frail and of no account. Of her parentage and early home we know nothing: but perhaps her own exquisite picture of Motherhood—of its natural its "kind" love and wisdom and knowledge—is taken partly from memory, with that of the kindly nurse, and the child, which by nature loveth the [Pg xxii] Mother and each of the other children, and of the training by Mother and Teacher until the child is brought up to "the Father's bliss" lxi.

The title "Lady," "Dame" or "Madame" was commonly accorded to anchoresses, nuns, and others that had had education in a Convent. Julian, no doubt, was of gentle birth, and she would probably be sent to the Convent of Carrow for her education. There she would receive from the Benedictine nuns the usual instruction in reading, writing, Latin, French, and fine needlework, and especially in that Common Christian Belief to which she was always in her faithful heart and steadfast will so loyal,—"the Common Teaching of Holy Church in which I was afore informed and grounded, and with all my will having in use and understanding" xlvi.

It is most likely that Julian received at Carrow the consecration of a Benedictine nun; for it was usual, though not necessary, for anchoresses to belong to one or other of the Religious Orders. The more or less solitary life of the anchorite or hermit, the anchoress or recluse, had at this time, as earlier, many followers in the country parts and large towns of England. Few of the "reclusoria" or women's [Pg xxiii] anchorholds were in the open country or forest-lands like those that we come upon in Medieval romances, but many churches of the villages and towns had attached to them a timber or stone "cell"—a little house of two or three rooms inhabited by a recluse who never left it, and one servant, or two, for errands and protection.

Occasionally a little group of recluses lived together like those three young sisters of the Thirteenth Century for whom the Ancren Riwle , a Rule or Counsel for "Ancres," was at their own request composed. The recluse's chamber seems to have generally had three windows: one looking into the adjoining Church, so that she could take part in the Services there; another communicating with one of those rooms under the keeping of her "maidens," in which occasionally a guest might be entertained; and a third—the "parlour" window—opening to the outside, to which all might come that desired to speak with her.

According to the Ancren Riwle the covering-screen for this audience-window was a curtain of double cloth, black with a cross of white through which the sunshine would penetrate—sign of the Dayspring from on high. This screen could of course be drawn back when the recluse 'held a parliament' with any that came to her. Before Julian passed from the sunny lawns and meadows of Carrow, along the road by the river and up the lane to the left by the gardens and orchards of the Coniston of that day, to the little Churchyard house that would hide so much from her eyes of outward beauty, and yet leave so much in its changeful perpetual quietude around her great skies overhead like the ample heavenly garments of her vision "blue as azure most deep and fair"; little Speedwell's blue by the crannied wall of the Churchyard— Veronika , true Image, like the Saint's "Holy Vernacle at Rome" her vow [6] might be: "I offering yield myself to the divine Goodness [7] for service, in the order of anchorites: and I promise to continue in the service of God after the rule of that order, by divine grace and the counsel of the Church: and to shew canonical obedience to my ghostly fathers.

The only reference that Julian makes to the life dedicated more especially to Contemplation is where she is speaking, as if from experience, of the temptation to despair because of falling oftentimes into the same sins, "especially into sloth and losing of time. For that is the beginning of sin, as to my sight,—and especially to the creatures that have given themselves to serve our Lord with inward beholding of His blessed Goodness. That was her calling. She had heard the Voice that comes to the soul in Spring-time and calls to the Garden of lilies, and calls to the Garden of Olive-trees where all the spices offered are in one Cup of Heavenly Wine : "Surge, propera amica mea: jam enim Hyems transiit, imber ambiit et recessit.

Surge, propera amica mea, speciosa mea, et veni. For she had urgent questionings and "stirrings" in her mind over "the great hurt that is come by sin to the creature"—"afore this time often I wondered why by the great foreseeing wisdom of God the beginning of sin was not letted" "mourning and sorrow I made over it without reason and discretion" ; and also she was filled with desire for God: "the longing that I had to Him afore" xxvii. Moreover, this life to which Julian gave herself was to be a life of "meek continuant prayers" "for enabling" of herself in her weakness, and for help to others in all their needs.

For thought and worship could only be held together by active prayer: the pitiful beholding of evil and pain and the joyful beholding of Goodness and Love would be at war, as it were, with each other, unless they were set at peace for the time by the prayer of intercession. And that is the call of the loving soul, strong in its infant feebleness to wake the answering Revelation of Love to faith that "all shall be well," and that "all is well" and that when all are come up above and the whole is known, all shall be seen to be well, and to have been well through the time of tribulation and travail.

Return, O Lord, how long, and be intreated in favour of Thy servants: Let us pray. From sin, except as a general conception, Julian's natural instinct was to turn her eyes; but with this Christly compassion in her heart in looking on the sorrows of the world she could not but take account of its sin. As she came to be convinced that "though we be highly lifted up into contemplation, it is needful for us to see our own [Pg xxviii] sin,"—albeit we should not accuse ourselves "overdone much" or "be heavy or sorrowful indiscreetly"—so when sins of others were brought before her she would seek with compassion to take the sinner's part of contrition and prayer.

And notwithstanding all the stir and eager revival of the Fourteenth Century in religion, politics, literature and general life, there was much both of sin and of sorrow then to exercise the pitiful soul—troubles enough in Norwich itself, of oppression and riot and desolating pestilence—troubles enough in Europe, West and East,—wars and enslaving and many cruelties in distant lands, and harried Armenian Christians coming to the Court of Edward to plead for succour in their long-enduring patience.

There was trouble wherever one looked; but to prayer, and to that compassion which is in itself a prayer, the answer came. Indeed the compassion was its own first immediate answer: for "then I saw that each kind compassion that man hath on his even-Cristen his fellow-Christians with charity, it is Christ in him.

And such "charity" of social service was not beyond the scope [Pg xxix] of the life "enclosed,"—whether it might be by deed or, as more often, by speech. It is in her seeking for truth and her beholding of Love that we best know Julian. Of the opening of the Revelation she says: "In all this I was greatly stirred in charity to mine even-Christians, that they might see and know the same that I saw: for I would it were comfort to them," and again and again throughout the book she declares that the "special Shewing" is given not for her in special, but for all—for all are meant to be one in comfort as all are one in need.

For we are all one in comfort. For truly it was not shewed me that God loved me better than the least soul that is in grace; for I am certain that there be many that never had any Shewing nor sight but of the common teaching of Holy Church that love God better than I. For if I look singularly to myself I am right nought; but in general [manner of regarding] I am, I hope, in oneness of charity with all mine even-Christians.

For in this oneness standeth the life of all mankind that shall be saved, and that which I say of me, I say in the person of all mine even-Christians: for I am taught in the Spiritual Shewing of our Lord God that He meaneth it so. And therefore I pray you for God's sake, and counsel you for your own profit that ye leave the beholding of a worthless creature [a "wretch"] it was shewed to and mightily, wisely and meekly behold God that of His special goodness would shew it generally, in comfort of us all" ix.

Thus Julian turns our eyes from looking on her to looking with her on the Revelation of Divine Love. Yet surely in her we have also "a shewing"—a shewing of the same. She tells us little of her own story, and little is told us of her by any one else, but all through her recording of the Revelation the simple creature to whom it was made unconsciously shews herself, so that soon we come to know her with a [Pg xxxi] pleasure that surely she would not think too "special" in its regard.

For she herself in speaking of Love makes note that the general does not exclude the special. Perhaps we are helped in this friendly acquaintanceship by those endearingly characteristic little formulas of speech disavowing any claim to dogmatic authority in the statements of her views of truth: those modest parentheses "as to my sight," "as to mine understanding. And fifteen years afterwards and more, I was answered in ghostly understanding, saying thus: Wouldst thou learn thy Lord's meaning in this thing?

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Learn it well: Love was His meaning. Who shewed it thee? What shewed He thee? Wherefore shewed it He? For Love. Hold thee therein and thou shalt learn and know more in the same. But thou shalt never know nor learn other thing without end. And if we, with no special shewing, might ask and, in trust of "spiritual understanding," might answer more—asking to whom , and for whom was the Revelation shewed, we might answer: To one that loved ; for all that would learn in love. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. So when the Revelation finally closed and Julian was left to "keep it in the Faith"—the Common Christian Faith—it was Sunday morning, and the words and voices she would hear through her window opening into the Church would be from the early worship of "the Blessed Common" assembled there. Of Domestic Matters , for counsels to anchoresses as to judicious care of the body: diet, washing, needful rest, avoidance of idleness and gloom, reading, sewing for Church and Poor, making and mending and washing of clothes by the anchoress or her servant.

Let your shoes be thick and warm. Robert Browning, Rabbi Ben Ezra , xii. Servitium includendorum. See Ancren Riwle p. The remedy for indolence is spiritual joy, and the consolation of joyful hope from reading and from holy meditation, or when spoken by the mouth of man. Often, dear sisters, ye ought to pray less, that ye may read more. Reading is good prayer. Reading teacheth how, and for what ye ought to pray. In reading, when the heart feels delight, devotion ariseth, and that is worth many prayers. Everything, however, may be overdone. Moderation is always best. St John xiv.

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And though thou be at prayer, or at thy devotions, that thou thinkest loth to break off, for that thou thinkest that thou oughtest not leave God for to speake with any one, I think not so in this case, for if thou be wise, thou shalt not leave God, but thou shalt find him, and have him, and see him in thy Neighbour as well as in prayer, onely in another manner. If thou canst love thy Neighbour well, to speake with thy Neighbour with discretion shall be no hindrance to thee If he come to tell thee his disease [distress] or trouble, and to be comforted by thy speech, heare him gladly, and suffer him to say what he will for ease of his own heart; And when he hath done, comfort him if thou canst, gladly, gently, and charitably, and soon break off.

And then, after that, if he will fall into idle tales, or vanities of the World, or of other men's actions, answer him but little, and feed not his speech, and he will soon be weary, and quickly take his leave," etc. As an hert desirith to the wellis of watris: so thou God, my soule desirith to thee The Lord sent his merci in the day: and his song in the nyght. Without any special study of the literature of Mysticism for purposes of comparison, in reading Julian's book one is struck by a few characteristics wherein it differs from many other Mystical writings as well as by qualities that belong to most or all of that general designation.

The silence of this book both as to preliminary ascetic exercises and as to ultimate visions of the Absolute, might be attributed to Julian's being wholly concerned with giving, for comfort to all, that special sight of truth that came to her as the answer to her own need. She sets out not to teach methods of any kind for the gradual drawing near of man to God, but to record and shew forth a Revelation, granted once, of God's actual nearness to the soul, and for this Revelation she herself had been prepared by the "stirring" of her conscience, her love and her understanding, in a word of her faith , even as she was in short time to be left "neither sign nor token," but only the Revelation to hold "in faith.

The natural and common heritage of love and faith is a theme that is dear to Julian: in her view, longing toward God is grounded in the love to Him that is native to the human heart, and this longing painful through sin as it is stirred by the Holy Spirit, who comes with Christ, is, in each naturally developed Christian, spontaneous and increasing;—"for the nearer we be to our bliss, the more we long after it" xlvi.

Certainly on the way—the way of these three, by falling, by succour, by upraising—to the more perfect knowing of God that is the soul's Fulfilment in Heaven, there is a less immediate knowledge to be gained through experience: " And if I aske anything that is lesse, ever me wantith ," for "It needyth us to have knoweing of the littlehede of creatures and to nowtyn all thing that is [Pg xxxv] made, for to love and have God that is onmade. For that which was seen by the soul as so little that it seemed to be about to fall to nothing for littleness, is seen by the understanding to have "three properties":—God made it, God loveth it, God keepeth it.

Thus it is known as "great and large, fair and good"; "it lasteth, and ever shall, for God loveth it. This "fastening" is all that in Julian's book represents that needful process wherein the truth of asceticism has a part. It is not essentially a process of detaching the thought from created things of time—still less one of detaching the heart from created beings of eternity—but a process of more and more allowing and presenting [Pg xxxvi] the man to be fastened closely to God by means of the original longing of the soul, the influence of the Holy Ghost, and the discipline of life with its natural tribulations, which by their purifying serve to strengthen the affections that remaining pass through them.

And Julian, notwithstanding her enclosure as a recluse, is one of those that, happy in nature and not too much hindered by conditions of life, possess for large use by the way the mystical peace of fulfilled possession through virtue of freedom from bondage to self. For it is by means of the tyranny of the "self," regarding chiefly itself in its claims and enjoyments, that creature things can be intruded between the soul and God; and always, in some way, the meek inherit the earth. The life of a recluse demanded, no doubt, as other lives do, a daily self-denial as well as an initiatory self-devotion, and from Julian's silence as to "bodily exercises" it cannot of course be assumed that she did not give them, even beyond the incumbent rule of the Church, though not in excess of her usual moderation, some part in her Christian striving for mastery over self.

Nor could this silence in itself be taken as a proof that ascetic practices had not in her view a preparatory [Pg xxxvii] function such as has by many of the Mystics been assigned to them during a process of self-training in the earlier stages of the soul's ascent to aptitude for mystical vision. It is, however, to be noted that neither in regard to herself nor others do we hear from Julian anything about an undertaking of this kind. To her the "special Shewing" came as a gift, unearned, and unexpected: it came in an abundant answer to a prayer for other things needed by every soul.

According to Julian the "special Shewing" is a gift of comfort for all, sent by God in a time to some soul that is chosen in order that it may have, and so may minister, the comfort needed by itself and by others ix. In her experience this Revelation, soon closed, is renewed by influence and enlightenment in the more ordinary grace of its giver, the Holy Ghost.

But a still fuller sight of God shall be given, she rejoices to think, in Heaven, to all that shall reach that Fulfilment of blessed life—the only mount of the soul set forth in this book. Thither, by the high-road of Christ, all souls may go, making the steep ascent [Pg xxxix] through "longing and desire,"—longing that embodies itself in desire towards God, that is, in Prayer. Nothing is said by Julian as to successive stages of Prayer, though she speaks of different kinds of prayer as the natural action of the soul under different experiences or in different states of feeling or "dryness.

And in all these ways "Prayer oneth the soul to God. To Julian's understanding the only Shewing of God that could ever be, the highest and lowest, the first and the last, was the Vision of Him as Love. But thou shalt never knowen ne witten other thing without end. Thus was I lerid that Love was our Lord's menyng" lxxxvi. Alien to the "simple creature" was that desert region where some of the lovers of God have endeavoured to find Him,—desiring an extreme penetration of thought human thought, after all, since for men there is none beyond it or an utmost reach of worship worship from fire and ice in proclaiming the Absolute One not only as All that is , but as All that is not.

Therefore she follows only the upward way of the light attempered by grace, not turning back to the Via Negativa , that downward road that starting from a conception of the Infinite "as the antithesis of the finite," [2] rather than as including and transcending the finite, leads man to deny to his words of God all qualities known or had by human, finite beings. Julian keeps on the way that is natural to her spirit and to all her habits of thought as these may have been directed by reading and conversation: it does not take her towards that Divine Darkness of which some seers have brought report.

Hers was not one of those souls that would, and must, go silent and alone and strenuous through strange places: "homely and courteous" she ever found Almighty God in Jesus Christ our Lord. Julian's mystical sight was not a negation of human modes of thought: neither was it a torture to human powers of speech nor a death-sentence to human activities of feeling.

This seer of the littleness of all that is made saw the Divine as containing, not as engulfing, all things that truly are, so that in some way "all things that are made" because of His love last ever. Certainly she passes sometimes beyond the language of earth, seeing a love and a Goodness "more than tongue can tell," but she is never inarticulate in any painful, [Pg xli] struggling way—when words are not to be found that can tell all the truth revealed, she leaves her Lord's "meaning" to be taken directly from Him by the understanding of each desirous soul.

Certainly Julian looks both downward and upward, sees Love in the lowest depth, far below sin, below even Mercy; sees Love as the highest that can be, rising higher and higher far above sight, in skies that as yet she is not called to enter: "abysses" there are, below and above, like Angela di Foligno's "double abyss"; but here is no desert region like that where Angela seems as "an eagle descending" [3] from heights of unbreathable air, baffled and blinded in its assault on the Sun, proclaiming the Light Unspeakable in anguished, hoarse, inarticulate cries; here is a mountain-path between the abysses and the sound as of a chorus from pilgrims singing:.

Moreover, Julian while guided by Reason is led by the "Mind" of her soul—pioneer of the path through the wood of darkness though Reason is ready to disentangle the lower hindrances of the way; and where her instructed soul "finds rest," those things that are hid from [Pg xlii] the wisdom and prudence of Reason only are to its simplicity of obedience revealed.

Even as her Way is Christ-Jesus, and her walk by "longing and desire" is of faith and effort, so the End and the Rest that she seeks is the fulness of God, in measure as the soul can enter upon His fulness here and in that heavenly "oneing" with Him which shall be by grace the "fulfilling" and "overpassing" of "Mankind.

Words of the Spirit-nature fail to describe to man, as he is, this fulness of personal life, and Julian falls back in one effort, daring in its infantine concreteness of language, on acts of all the five senses to symbolise the perfection of spiritual life that is in oneness with God xliii. It may be noted that in these "Revelations" there is absolutely no regarding of Christ as the "Bridegroom" of the individual soul: once or twice Julian in passing uses the symbol of "the Spouse," "the Fair Maiden," "His loved Wife," but this she applies only to the Church.

In her usual speech Christ when unnamed is our "Good" or our "Courteous" Lord, or sometimes simply [Pg xliii] "God," and when she seeks to express pictorially His union with men and His work for men, then the soul is the Child and Christ is the Mother.


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In this symbolic language the love of the Christian soul is the love of the Child to its Mother and to each of the other children. Julian's Mystical views seem in parts to be cognate with those of earlier and later systems based on Plato's philosophy, and especially perhaps on his doctrine of Love as reaching through the beauties of created things higher and higher to union with the Absolute Beauty above, Which is God—schemes of thought developed before her and in her time by Plotinus, Clement, Augustine, Dionysius "the Areopagite," John the Scot, Eckhart, the Victorines, [5] Ruysbroeck, and others.

One does not know what her reading may have been, or with what people she may have conversed. Possibly the learned Austin Friars that were settled close to St Julian's in Conisford may have lent her books by some of these writers, or she may have been influenced through talks with a Confessor, or with some of the Flemish weavers of Norwich, with whom Mystical views were not uncommon. Yet the Mysticism of the "Revelations" is peculiarly of the English type. Less exuberant in language than Richard Rolle, the Hermit of Hampole, Julian resembles him a little in her blending of practical sense with devotional fervour; but the writer to whom [Pg xliv] she seems, at any rate in some of her phrases, most akin is Walter Hilton, her contemporary.

And indeed these three are a fit embodiment of the Christian Faith as seen in her "Revelations.

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Lacking their literary method of procedure, she has a high and tender beauty of thought and a delicate bloom of expression that are her own rare gifts—the beauty of the hills against skies in summer evenings, of an orchard in mornings of April. Again and again she stirs in the reader a kind of surprised gladness of the simple perfection wherewith she utters, by few and adequate words, a thought that in its quietness convinces of truth, or an emotion deep in life.

Of a little child it has been said: "He thought great thoughts simply," and Julian's deepness of insight and simplicity of speech are like the Child's. For then was rightfully ended" Generally, perhaps, the style in its movement [Pg xlvii] recalls the rippling yet even flow of a brook, cheerfully, sweetly monotonous: "If any such lover be in earth which is continually kept from falling, I know it not: for it was not shewed me. But this was shewed: that in falling and in rising we are ever preciously kept in one love" lxxxii.