Because God is a Pure Being and a Waste of calm seclusion, as Moses said: "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is One Lord," yea One God, even One God Only, still, some of the special Attributes and divers Names that we assign to Him may serve as an example to us, while we compare our nothingness with Him. For, as I have often said, man is apt to think of all things in an earthly way, of our dear Lord's Birth, His Life, His Works and Ways. Therefore we must lift up our minds, and learn to soar far above time, in the Eternal Works of the Divine Being. Now man may reflect on these attributes in his mind in a very real way, so that he will be able to see that God is a Pure Being, that all beings are one, and yet that He is none of all these things. In all things that exist, in all that is and has any being, there is God. St Augustine says: "If thou seest a good man, a good Angel, a good Heaven, take away the man, take away the Angel, and take away the Heaven, and then that which remains is the Essence of Goodness, that is God; for He is in all things and yet far above all things." All creatures, indeed, have some goodness and love; but they are neither goodness nor love, but God only is the Essence of Goodness, of Love and of all that can be named. Man must compare himself with God, and then sink down with all his powers, with an intense and earnest gaze, that he may receive and renew his own nothingness, and be united with the Divine Being, Who only is the Life, the Soul and the Essence of all things.
Man must consider the attributes of this Oneness of being; for God is the End of all unity, and in Him all diversities are united, and become one in the One Only Being. His Being is His work, His knowledge, His love, His reward, His mercy and His righteousness, all are one; therefore go, and carry thereto all thy diversities which are so great and so incomprehensible, that all may be made one in the Oneness of His Being.
Man should also consider God as one who hides Himself; for He is known in all things, as Isaiah saith: "Verily, thou art a hidden God." He is much nearer than anything is to itself in the depths of the heart, hidden from all our senses and unknown in that heart, into which He forces all thy outward thoughts, which are as far from themselves and from thy inner life, as a beast which lives according to its nature, neither knowing, tasting or experiencing anything. Hide thyself in this secret place from all creatures, and from all that is strange to and unlike that Being. This must not be done in a figurative or imaginary way, but in very deed, with all our strength and desire, in a way which we cannot understand with our natural senses.
Then man must look upon the desire of the Divine attributes in a quiet solitude, where no word is really spoken. All there is so still and mysterious and so desolate; for there is nothing there but God only, and nothing strange. Neither creature, nor image, nor fancy has ever entered there. This Wilderness was referred to by our Lord, when He spake by the prophet Joel (Hosea): "I will allure her and lead her into the Wilderness, and I will speak to her heart." This Wilderness is the quiet Desert of the Godhead, into which He leads all who are to receive this inspiration of God, now or in eternity. Bear thy foolish and barren heart into the Wilderness of the calm and living Godhead, thy heart which is so full of overgrown weeds, bare of all things good, and full of the wild beasts of thy animal nature. Then look upon the Divine Darkness, which is dark from its surpassing brightness to the comprehension of men and of Angels, as the shining of the sun on his course is as darkness to weak eyes. For all created minds compared with the brightness of nature are like the eyes of nightingales or swallows, in the bright sunlight. Men must cast down their eyes in their ignorance and blindness, because they are created beings. Bear thereto thine own deep darkness, robbed of all true light, and let the Abyss of the Divine Darkness only be acknowledged, while all other things remain unknown. The Abyss, which is unknown and has no name, is Salvation; and it is more beloved and entices more souls than all that they can know of Eternal Salvation in the Divine Being. May God bring us all to this Salvation! Amen.
TURNBULL AND SPEARS, PRINTERS, EDINBURGH