The fift Chapter, Of the vnion of death and life in the faithfull soule by Christ.
ALas, what is this? For casting mine eies on high, I see thy goodnes, thine vnknowne grace, and thy loue so incomprehensible, that my sight is woonderfull in beholding thee: but looking downeward, I might see what I am, and what I was willing to be. Alas, I do see in it the lewdenesse, darkenesse, and extreme deepe∣nes of mine euils. My death, which by humblenes clo∣seth mine eie: the admirable goodnesse of thee, and the vnspeakable euill, which is in me: thy right highnes, & pure maiestie, my right fragill and mortall nature: thy gifts, goods & beatitude, my malice & great vnkindnes.
O how good art thou vnto me! and how vnking haue I bene vnto thee? this that thou wilt, and this that I pursue? Which things considered, causeth me to mar∣uell, how it pleaseth thee to ioine thy selfe to me, seeing there is no comparison betweene vs both. Thou art my God, and I am thy worke: thou my creator, and I thy creature. Now to speake brieflie, though I cannot define, what it is to be of thee; yet know I my selfe to be the least thing that may be compared vnto thee. O most happie loue! Thou madest this agreement, when thou didst ioine life & death together, but ye vnion hath made aliue death; life dieng, and life without end, haue made our death a life. Death hath giuen vnto life a quickning, yt through death I being dead, may receiue life; and by death, I am rauished with him which is a∣liue. I liue in him, otherwise of my self I am dead. And as concerning bodelie death, to me it is nothing, but a comming out of prison: death is to me life, for through death, I am aliue. And as this mortall life filleth me full of care and sorowe, so death yeeldeth me content.
Page 22 O what a godlie thing is it to die, that the soule may liue! For in deliuering hir from this mortall death, she is deliuered from the death miserable, and matched with hir most mightie louer. Is not then the soule blamelesse, which faine would by to haue life? Yes tru∣lie, and ought to call death hir welbeloued friend. O sweet death, pleasant sorowe, mightie king, deliuering from all wickednes! O Lord, those which trust in thee, and in thy death, are mortified by the hope they haue in thy passion.
Thus with a sweet sleepe dost thou put them out of that death, which causeth manie to lament. O how happie is the same sleepe vnto him, which when he a∣waketh, doth find through thy death, life euerlasting! For death is none other thing to a Christian man, but a libertie or deliuerance from his mortall band: and the death which is fearefull to the wicked, is pleasant and acceptable to them that are good, bicause that death through death is destroied.
Therefore my God, if I were rightlie taught, I should call death life, the end of labour, and beginning of euerlasting ioie. For I knowe that long life doth let me from the sight of thee. O death come and doe thine office on me, that I may see my spouse: or else sweet loue, transforme me in thee, and then shall I the better tarie the comming of death! O sweet Lord, let me die, that I may liue with thee! For there is none other that can deliuer me, but thou onelie. O my Sauiour, through faith I am planted and ioined with thee. O what vnion is this, sith that through faith I am as∣sured to thee, and may call thee father, brother, sonne, and husband!
O my father! what paternitie? O my brother! what fraternitie? O my child! what delectation? O my spouse! what coniunction is this? A father full of hu∣militie, a brother hauing our similitude, a sonne en∣gendred Page 23 through faith and loue, a husband louing and releeuing in all extremitie. But whom dost thou loue? Alas, it is she whom thou hast withdrawne from the snare, wherin through malice she was bound, and hast put hir in place, name, and office of a daughter, sister, mother, and wife. O my Sauiour, it is a great sauour of sweetnesse, right pleasant, and delectable; when a soule after the hearing of thy word, shall cal thee with∣out feare, his father, his brother, child and spouse: such a soule doubtlesse may continuallie burne in loue.
Is there anie loue, vnlesse it be this maner of loue, but it hath some euill condition? Is there anie plea∣sure to be hereto compared? Is there anie honour to this, but may be accounted shame? Yea, is there anie profit equall to this? Moreouer to conclude, is there any thing, that I could more earnestlie loue? Alas no. For he that vnfeinedlie loueth God, reputeth all these things wordlie, of lesse valure than the dunghill. Plea∣sure, profit, and honour of this world, are all but vani∣tie and trifles vnto him which hath found God. Such loue is so profitable, honourable, & abundant in grace, that I dare saie, she onlie sufficeth the hart of a godlie soule, and yeeldeth hir so constant, that she neuer desi∣reth, or would haue other. For whosoeuer hath God, as he ought to be had, accounteth all other things su∣perfluous or vaine.
Now thanked be my Lord, and my father; through faith I haue gotten the same loue: wherfore I ought to be satisfied and content. Now haue I thee my fa∣ther, for defence of my want on foolishnes, and my long youth. Now haue I thee my brother, for to succour my sorowes, wherein I find no end. Now haue I thee my sonne, for my feeble age, as an onlie staie. Now haue I thee a true and faithfull husband, for the satisfieng of my whole hart. And now, sith I haue thee, I will, and doo forsake all them that are in the world, holding thee Page 24 fast, that thou maiest no more escape me. Seeing now that I haue possessed thee, I will look vpon none other thing, that might keepe me backe, from the beholding of thy diuinitie. Seeing that I doo heare thee, I will heare nothing that letteth me from the fruition of thy voice. Seeing that I may freelie talke with thee, I will common with none other. Seeing it pleaseth thee to put me so neere thee, I will rather die, than to touch anie other: and seeing I serue thee, I will serue none other. Seeing that thou hast ioined thy hart with mine, if it depart from thee, let it be punished for euer. For the departing from thy loue is harder than any damnation. I doo not feare the paine of ten thou∣sand hels, as I doo feare the once loosing of thee.
Alas my God, my Father, and Creator, doo not thou suffer that the enimie, inuenter of all sinne, haue anie power to make mee to loose thy presence. For whosoe∣uer shall feele the losse of thy loue, shall saie, he would rather be bound for euer in hell, than to feele the paine thereof one moment of time. O my Sauiour, doo thou not permit, that euer I depart from thee againe; but that it may please thee, to put me in such a place, that my soule, through wantonnesse of sinne, be neuer sepa∣rated from thy loue.