How a Clene
Spyryte is Nought Peyned
THOUGH HE BE AMONGES PEYNES
Thenne asked I hym this
demaund. `How is it' quod I `That I b
in brennyng and waste nought
of my persone, and how do ye in this fyre? Suffer ye
no peyne, sithe that ye ben contynuelly so nyghe me
euen among these peynes?'
He answerd thenne and said `The Maister that made fyrst this fire, he made it only actif and worchyng in a subiect disposid to suffre. That ben suche as thou that ben corrupt with synne. But in me is no poynt of passibilite, wherfore it dothe me mo disease at all. And soothe hit is, yf ther neuer had be done no synne, this peyne, ne none other, had neuer be formed, for why an innocent maye passe thorugh this fyre and fele no maner peyne. And though it so were that I or an innocent were in deppest place of Helle, neuer so long tyme yet shold the peynes doo vs no dysese, for he that hath nought synned ne may not be peyned in that perillous fire. And sothly I fele nomore of peyne but only that I haue compassion vppon thy greuous torment, that arte committed to my [38r] gouernaunce.
`But I am contynuelly in ioye, wel more than I maye telle the, for I byholde the Blisful Visage of the Souerayne Kyng. And sothe it is that this ioye shal gretely encrece what tyme that I haue brought the to his Blysful Presence.'
`O good God' quod I, `Whether shal I euer see that day or that houre that this shal betyde?'
`Ye soothly' quod myn angel. `But first shalt thou see many thynges whiche thou knewe neuer byfore, ne neuer haste lerned in al thy lyf tyme. For fyrst it byhoueth that Holy Chirche send thylk auterer whiche thou hast sene byfore, that is cleped Prayer, that she for thy nede perce hye Heuene and speke for the to oure Glorious Kynge, and brynge the somwhat thennes of thy Lordes Grace, to whome thy frendys also wylle maken instaunce by massys and by almesse dedes and other good werkes, soo that by theyr besy laboure the soner myght thou haue of these peynes socour and comfort. For soothly suche thynges shal moche abredge thy peyne, bothe in felynge and also shortynge the tyme of endurynge
`Also the charitable dedes and deuocions duely done by mynystres of Hooly Chirche, and other good lyuers, shal stande the in grete stede in slakynge of thy peyne.'
`O dere Aungel' quodc I, `as I haue herd byfore this tyme, some dyuerse folkes telle the werkes that I neuer dyd in myn owne persone mowe stand me in no stede. What maye than the besynesse of my frendes auaylen in this cas?'
`That maner of besines' quodd myn Angel, `must ben clerely vnderstande, or elles it sowneth errour. Thou knowest wel thy self by that thou hast lerned, that though the Holy Sacrament be parted on thre, yet is it but one. Ne thylk sensible diuysion is none real separacion. Ryght so though that Crystes Mystik Body, whiche ben al His Chosen Predestynate to Saluacion, be partid on thre, soo that one part is in Heuen glorious, another in Erthe lyuyng trauaylours. The thirdde is here in Purgatory peynful and anguyshous. Yet al these thre partes ben veryly one body, knette to geders by treble bond: Feyth, Hope and Charite. These that ben in Erthe, Feythe byndeth them pryncipally, and that is theyr lyf, as Holy Writte seyth: Iustus ex fide viuit32. Tho that ben in Purgatorye lyuen al in Hope.
But tho that ben in Heuen glorious, Loue and Charyte is holy their lif, for there nedith neither Feithe ne Hope. Thenne is this bound of Charite that chaungeth neuer, but bothe Feithe and Hope be chaunged in to it. Thus meneth Seynt Poule where he seith:Caritas numquam occidit33; Charite ne may [38v] neuer fayle.
Thenne is it this Bonde of Charyte that knetteth to geders bothe Heuen and Erthe. Thenne sith that euery thynge of nature desireth vnyte, and that naturel desire may not ben in ydel, hit must nedes be that the partes or membres of this body desyren to be conioyned in to one hede with the Souerayne Lord, that Hede is of the Body. And syth that of nature they shal desyren it, hit mote nedes be done. For though it soo be that thou, and suche other that here ben in Purgatory, ben in grete peyne & heuynes, yet be ye lymmes perteynyng to the perfection of the forsaid body.
`Soo thenne it standeth that ye ben for the tyme only passyf and not actyf, for ye mowe nought doo but suffre. The Blysful spirites that ben abouen in Heuene, they ben actif and no thyng passyf, for they no thynge suffren. For why there may no contrariosyte neyhen them by whiche they shold suffre, but doo they may what that them lyketh.
`The thyrdde part, that is lafte in Erthe, that is the lest parte of the other partes. They ben bothe actyf and passif, soo that they maye bothe doo and suffren in helpe of them seluen and of yow also. Ful many there ben, that ful besyly trauaylen with theyr hole entent for to comforte yow, and helpe fro this peyne, so that they senden vp in to Heuen by this forsayd auterer this treble bond or corde that I spak of byfore, that is ful fast wrythen and wounden with almysdede and other good werkes, preyeng al this Blysful Heuenly Spirites for to helpe hale, that it were borne aboue in the Faders Throne. And they casten it ouer the poly of this Grace, and senden that other ende in to Purgatory and fastneth to yow that lyen there in peynes, soo that they bynethe in Erthe drawen that one parte, and they aboue in Heuen halen on that other, that if ye weren actif and myght yow selues hale, it must nedes be that this body sholde soone be brought to geders.
`But thylke that ben discharged and woxen lyght, ascendyth ful smartely by this forseyd corde. But thou art yet so heuy charged with thy vnthrifty fardel of thy synnes, that though thou somwhat ther by fro day to day ascende fro depthe of thy peyne, yett arte thou not fully to be reised in to the time that thou be fully purged of thy sinne.'