It happened five days before the day of the passing of Lady Bridget, the often-mentioned bride of Christ, that our Lord Jesus Christ appeared to her in front of the altar that stood in her chamber. He showed himself with a joyful face and said to her: ”I have done to you what a bridegroom usually does, concealing himself from his bride so that he may be more ardently desired by her. Thus I have not visited you with consolations during this time; for it was the time of your testing.
Therefore, now that you have already been tested, go forward and prepare yourself; for now is the time for the fulfillment of that which I promised you: namely, that before my altar you shall be clothed and consecrated as a nun. And henceforth you shall be counted, not only as my bride, but also as a nun and a mother in Vadstena. Nevertheless, know that you will lay down your body here in Rome until it comes to the place prepared for it. For it pleases me to spare you from your labors and to accept your will in place of the completed action.”
And having turned toward Rome, he said as if making a complaint: ”O my Rome, O my Rome, the pope scorns you and does not attend to my words but accepts the doubtful in place of the certain. Therefore he shall hear my pipe no more; for he makes the time of my mercy dependent on his own choice.”
Then he said to the bride: ”As for you, however: tell the prior to hand over all these words of mine, in all the revelations, to the brothers and to my bishop, to whom I shall give the fervor of my Spirit and whom I shall fill with my grace. And know that when it so pleases me, those human beings will come who, with sweetness and joy, will receive those words of the heavenly revelations that up until now have been made to you; and all the things that have been said to you will be accomplished.
And although my grace has been withdrawn from many because of their ingratitude, nevertheless others will come who will arise in lieu of them and who will obtain my grace. But among the very last words of the revelations made to you, put that common and universal revelation that I gave to you in Naples. For my judgment shall be carried out on all the nations who do not humbly return to me, as it has there been shown to you.”
However, after these and many other things not written here had been said, the bride of Christ made mention of and arrangements for some persons living with her and whom, before death, she said she had seen in God's presence.
After those things had been heard, the Lord added these words: ”On the morning of the fifth day, after you have received the sacraments, call together one by one the persons who are present and living with you and whom I have just now named to you and tell them the things that they must do. And thus, amidst these words and their hands, you will come to your monastery, i.e., into my joy; and your body will be placed in Vadstena.”
Then, as the fifth day approached, at the moment of dawn, Christ appeared to her again and consoled her. But when Mass had been said and after she had received the sacraments with very great devotion and reverence, in the hands of the aforesaid persons she sent forth her spirit.
We don’t have all chapters in Book 8 yet.
After our Lady had sent many revelations to a king, at last she sent him one and said that it should be the last letter that should be sent to him. But in this revelation following, our Lady spoke again to the same king and declared her first statement and informed Saint Bridget why the words of God are spoken so darkly that they may have diverse ways of being understood. Here is also shown the blessed Trinity under the likeness of a pulpit; and of three beams of three diverse colors; and of the judgement of three kings, of which one was alive, another was in Hell, and the third in Purgatory.
The Mother of God speaks to the Bride and says: ”Daughter, I told you before that that should be my last letter that should be sent to the king, my friend; that is to be understood of those things which touch his singular person and mine. For if a man heard a useful thing sung about his friend, and he sat and heard it in order to tell it to him, whether it were a song of mirth or a letter of wholesome criticism, both he who wrote it and he who sung it would be worthily rewarded. Right so the Justice of God, judging in justice and justifying in mercy, will sing of justice and mercy. And therefore whoever will hear, let him hear.
For it is no letter of criticism, but a song of justice and charity. Sometimes when a letter was sent to someone, it contained warnings and criticism; for it blamed unkindness of benefits and warned and stirred to conversion and the amending of manners. But now the justice of God sings a fair song, that belongs to those whoever hear it, believe it, and receive it indeed, that he shall find fruit of health and fruit of endless life.
But you might ask why the words of God are said so darkly that they may be diversely understood and sometimes they are otherwise understood of God and other times of men. I answer: God is like to a man who makes burning wine. For this man has many pipes, some going up and some down, by which the wine runs now up and now down through the working of the heat of the fire until it is made perfectly. Right so does God in his words, for sometimes he goes up by justice, and sometimes he comes down by mercy; as it is shown in King Isaac, to whom, I say, the prophet said out of justice that he should die, and yet afterwards mercy gave him many years of life.
Sometimes also God comes down by simple showing of words bodily expressed, but he goes up again by spiritual understanding; as it was in David, to whom many things were said under the name of Solomon which were understood and fulfilled in the Son of God. Sometimes also God speaks of things to come as if they were things past, and touches both things present and things to come; for all things, both present, past, and to come, are in God as one point. And you ought not to marvel though God speaks in diverse ways, for it is done for five reasons.
First, that God should show his great mercy, that no man hearing the justice of God should despair of his mercy. For when a man changes the will of sin, then God changes the strictness of his sentence. The second cause is that they who give faith to the justice and to the promises of God should be crowned and rewarded the more largely for faith and constancy. The third cause is that if the counsel of God were known in a certain time, some should be greatly troubled by that, knowing of contrary cases, and others for weariness should cease in their fervor and desire.
And therefore when I write any words to anyone, it is not expressed to you in the conclusion whether the words shall be received and be believed with the effect of them or not. Nor is it declared to you whether he shall believe and fulfill the words in deed or not, for it is not lawful to you to know it. The fourth cause is that no one should presume bodily to discuss the words of God, because he makes him low who is high, and of one he makes a second. The fifth cause is that he who seeks occasion to depart from God may find it, and those who are foul will be more foul, and the good be made more knowledgeable”.
After this, the Son of God spoke to Saint Bridget and said: ”If a man spoke by a pipe that had three holes and said to the hearer, you shall never hear my voice by this hole, he would not be blamed though he spoke afterwards by the other two holes. So it is now in our speech; for though the Virgin my Mother said that should be the last letter to be sent to the king, that is to be understood of his person. But now I, God, who am in the Mother and the Mother in me, send my messenger to the king, as well as for them who are now at present alive as for them who are not yet born.
For justice and mercy are endless in God, for eternally this justice was in God, that while God was, before Lucifer, full of wisdom of goodness and of power, he would that many should be partners in his goodness. And therefore he made angels; of which some, beholding their fairness, desired to be above God: And therefore they fell and are made under the feet of God wicked fiends. And yet in them God in a manner has mercy; for when the fiend by the justice and permission of God fulfilled the evil that he wanted, he is as it were in a manner comforted by the prosperity of his malice.
Not that the pain of the fiend is lessened thereby; but as a sick man who has a most strong enemy is comforted by hearing of his death, though the pain of his sickness is not lessened by that hearing, so the fiend of envy, wherein he is hotly burning, rejoices and is glad when God does justice against men; for the thrust of his malice is in a manner refreshed and eased. But after the fall of the fiends, God, seeing the lack in his army, made man, that he should obey his precepts and bring forth fruit, until as many men and women were ascended into heaven as angels fell out of heaven.
Therefore man was made perfect; who, when he had taken the commandment of life, paid no heed to God nor to his power. But consenting to the suggestion of the fiend, he trespassed, saying, 'Let us eat of the Tree of Life, and we shall know all things, good and evil'. Thus Adam and Eve would not harm God, as would the fiend; neither would they be above God, but they would be as wise as God. And they fell, but not as did the fiend; for the fiend had envy of God, and his wretchedness shall never end. But man would other than God would that he should will, and therefore he deserved and suffered justice with mercy.
Then felt they justice when they had nakedness for clothing of glory, and hunger for plenty, stirring of the flesh for virginity, dread for security, and labour for rest. But soon they obtained mercy; that is to say, clothing against nakedness, food against hunger, security through coming together for the increasing of mankind. Truly, Adam was of most honest life, in that he had no wife but Eve, nor other woman but her alone. Also, God has showed justice and mercy to the beasts, for God has made three worthy things: first, angels who have spirit but no body, second, man who has a soul and a body; third, beasts which have bodies but no souls as man has.
Therefore an angel, because he is spirit, cleaves continually to God and needs no man's help. But man, because he is flesh, may not cleave continually to God, until the mortal body be separated from the soul. And therefore, that man may live, God has made to his help unreasonable beasts to obey and serve him better. And upon these unreasonable beasts God has great mercy, for they have no shame of their members nor sorrow of death until it comes. And they are content with simple living.
Also after the Flood of Noah was passed, God did justice with mercy. For God might well have brought well the people of Israel into the Land of Promise in a short while. But it was right that the vessels that might hold the best drink should first be proved and purged and afterwards sanctified. To whom also God did great mercy, for by the prayers of one man, who was Moses, their sin was taken away and the grace of God given to them. In the same way, after my Incarnation, justice is never used without mercy nor mercy without justice”.
Then there followed a voice on high, saying; ”O Mother of mercy, Mother of the eternal king, purchase your mercy; for to you are come the prayers and tears of your servant, the king. We know very well that it is rightful that his sins are punished, but be merciful so that he maybe converted and do penance and reverence to God”.
Then answered our Lord Jesus Christ and said: ”There is fourfold justice in God. The first is that he who is made and is without end shall be worshipped above all things; for of him and in him all things live and have their being. The second justice is that to him who always was and is and was born in time, in time before prophesied, to do service to all; and for that he is loved in all cleanness. The third justice is that he who of himself may not suffer but of his manhood was made able to suffer; and in the mortality that he took upon himself has earned for man immortality, to be desired by man above all things that may be desired or are to be desired. The fourth justice is that they who are unstable should seek true stability, and they who are in darkness desire light, that is, the Holy Spirit, asking his help with contrition and true meekness.
But of this king, the servant of my Mother, for whom mercy is now asked, justice says that his time is not sufficient to purge worthily, as justice demands, the sins that he has done against God's mercy, so that his body might not suffer the pain that he has deserved for his sins. Nevertheless the mercy of the Mother of God has deserved and obtained mercy for the same, her servant, that he shall hear what he has done and how he may make amends, if he will in time be concerned and converted”.
”Then after that”, said Saint Bride, ”I see in Heaven a house of marvelous fairness and greatness. And in that house was a pulpit and in the pulpit a Book. And I see two standing before the pulpit; that is to say, an angel and the fiend.
Of which the one, that is, the fiend, spoke and said: 'My name', he said, 'is Wailaway. For this angel and I follow one thing that is desirable to us; for we see the Lord's most mighty plans to build a great thing. And therefore we labour; the angel for the perfection of the thing, and I to the destruction of the same. But it happens that when that desirable thing comes sometimes into my hands, it is so fervent and hot that I may not hold it; and when it comes into the hands of the angel, it is so cold and slippery that soon it slides out of his hands'.
And when I, said Saint Bridget, behold carefully with all consideration of my mind the same pulpit, my understanding is not allowed to conceive it as it was, that my soul might not comprehend the fairness of it, nor my tongue express it. For the appearance of the pulpit was as if it had been the sunbeam, having a red color and a white color and a shining color of gold. The golden color was as the bright sun. The white color was as snow, most white. And the red color was as a rose. And each color was seen in the other. For when I beheld the gold color, I see within it the white and red color. And when I see the white color, I see in it the other two colors. And when I behold the red color, I see in it the white and golden color. So that each color was seen in the other, and yet each was distinct from the others and by itself; and no color was before the other, nor after the other, nor less than the other, nor more than the other; but over all and in all things they seemed even.
And when I looked upwards, I might not comprehend the length and the breadth of the pulpit; and looking downward, I might not see nor comprehend the greatness nor the deepness of it, for all was incomprehensible to the consideration. After this I see a Book in the same pulpit, shining like most bright gold, that had the shape of a book. Which Book, and the Scripture of it, was not written with ink, but each word in the book was alive and spoke itself, as if a man should say, do this or that, and soon it was done with speaking of the Word. No man read the Scripture of that Book, but whatever that Scripture contained, all was seen in the pulpit and in the three colors.
Before this pulpit I see a king who was alive in the world; and on the left side of the pulpit I see another king who was dead and in Hell; and on the right side I see the third king who was in Purgatory. The said king who was alive sat crowned as if it had been a vessel of glass closed about. Above that glass hung a horrible sword with three edges, continually drawing nearer to that glass as does a gnomen in a sun dial draw near to its mark. On the right side of the same king stood an angel who had a vessel of gold and his lap open. And on his left side stood a fiend who had a pair of tongs and a hammer. And both the angel and the fiend strove which of their hands should be nearer the vessel of glass when the three-edged sword should touch and break it.
'Then I heard the horrible voice of the fiend, saying: 'How long shall this be? For we both follow one prayer, and do not know who shall overcome'.
Then soon the Justice of God spoke to me and said: 'These things that are shown to you are not physical but spiritual. For neither angel nor fiend have bodies; but they are shown to you in such a manner, because you may not understand spiritual things but through a physical likeness. This living king appears to you as if in as it were a vessel of glass, for his life is but as it were frail glass and suddenly to be ended; the three-edged sword is death, for when it comes it does three things.
It enfeebles the body, it changes the conscience, and it departs it from all strength, separating as by a sword the soul from the body. That the angel and the fiend seem to strive about the glass means that either of them desires to have the king's soul, which shall be accorded to him to whose counsel he is most obedient. That the angel has a vessel and a lap means that just as a child rests in his mother's lap, so does the angel labour that the soul be presented to God as if it were in a vessel and rest in the lap of endless comfort.
That the fiend has tongs and a hammer means that the fiend draws the soul to him with the tongs of wicked delight and breaks it asunder with the hammer; that is, with the consent and commission of sin. That the vessel of glass is sometimes very hot and sometimes very cold and slippery means the inconstancy and instability of the king; for when he is tempted he thinks thus: 'Though I know well that I offend God, if I fulfill now the conceit of my heart, yet at this time I shall fulfill my conceit in deed'. And so knowingly he sins against his God, for as he sins so knowingly he comes into the hands of the fiend. Afterwards the king makes his confession contritely, and so he escapes the hands of the fiend and comes into the power of the good angel. And therefore, unless the king leave his inconstancy, he stands in great peril, for he has a feeble foundation'.
After this I saw on the left side of the pulpit the dead king who was damned to Hell clad in kingly array and sitting as if on a throne. But he was dead and pale and very fearful to look upon. Before his face was as if it were a wheel that had four lines to the outermost part; and this wheel turned about at the breathing and blowing of the king. And each of the four lines went upward and downward as the king would, for the moving of the wheel was in the king's power.
The three lines had writing but in the fourth line was written nothing. On the right side of this king I saw an angel as if like a most beautiful man, whose hands were empty; but he served the pulpit. On the left side of the king appeared a fiend whose head was like a dog's; his womb might not be filled, his navel was open and boiled out venom, colored with all manner of venomous colors. And on each foot he had three claws, great, strong and sharp.
Then there was one who shone more brightly than the sun, that for brightness was marvelous to see. And he said to me: 'This king whom you see is full of wretchedness, whose conscience is now shown to you as he was in his kingdom, and what state he was in when he died. What his conscience was or how he came to his kingdom you do not need to know. Nevertheless, know that his soul is not before your eyes, but his conscience. And for the soul and the fiend are not physical but spiritual, therefore the fiend's temptations and torments are shown you through physical aspects'.
Then soon that dead king began to speak, not of his mouth, but as if it had been from his brain, and said: 'O you, my counsellors, this is my will, that whatever is subject to the crown of my realm, I will hold it and keep it. I will also labour that the things that I have be increased and not lessened. But in what wise those things were obtained, that I hold, what is it to me to inquire? It is enough to me if I may defend and increase the things that I have'.
Then cried the fiend and said: 'See, it is throughout. What shall my hook do?' Justice answered out of the Book that was in the pulpit, saying to the fiend: 'Put your hook into the hole and draw it towards yourself'. And as soon as the Word of Justice was spoken, the hook was put in. But with it at the same moment a hammer of mercy came before the king with which the king could have smitten away the hook, if he would have inquired into the truth of all things and fruitfully have changed his will. Then spoke the same king again and said: 'O, my counselors and my men, you have me as your lord, and I have taken you as my counselors. Therefore I tell you that there is a man in my realm who is a traitor to my worship and of my life, who lies in wait to hinder my realm and to disturb the peace and the common people of the realm'. In this, said the king, 'there has been given proof from both learned and unlearned, both lords and common people, believing the words that I said to them, in so much that that man whom I defamed of treason took great harm and shame, and sentence of exile was passed against him.
Nevertheless, my conscience knows well what the truth was in all this deed, and I know well that I said many things against that man out of ambitiousness for the kingdom and for dread of losing it, and that my fame should be spread abroad, and that the realm should cleave more surely to me and to my successors. I thought also myself that though I knew the truth as to how the kingdom was obtained, and what wrong was done to him, yet if I receive him again into favor and tell the truth, then all reproach and harm shall fall upon myself. And therefore I firmly set my heart that I would rather die than tell the truth or revoke my wrong words and deeds'.
Then said the fiend: 'O Judge, see how the king gives me his tongue'.
'The Justice of God answered: 'Put down your snare'. And when the fiend had done so, soon there hung before the king's mouth a most sharp blade, with which he might if he would have cut away the snare and entirely broken it. Then spoke the same king and said: 'O my counselors, I have counseled with clerks and learned men of the state of the realm, and they say to me that if I should resign the realm into other men's hands I should do harm to many, and be a traitor to their lives and goods and a breaker of the law of justice; and therefore that I might keep the kingdom and defend it from enemies, we must think of and imagine some new things, for the old rents of the exchequer are not sufficient to govern and to defend this realm.
And thus I thought of new impositions of taxes and of guileful exactions to be imposed upon the realm, both to the harm of them dwelling in it and of innocent people traveling through it and merchants. And in these devices I planned to continue until my death, although my conscience told me that they were against God, against all justice, and against common honesty'.
Then cried the fiend and said: 'O Judge, see how this king has bowed both his hands under my vessel of water. What shall I do?'
Justice answered out of the Book: 'Put your venom on it'. And soon as the venom of the fiend was put on his hands, there came before the king a vessel of ointment with which the king might well have halted that venom.
Then the fiend cried out loudly and said: 'I see a marvelous thing that passes my ability to understand. For my hook is put to the heart of the king, and then there is given a hammer to his bosom. My snare is put into his mouth, and there is offered to him a most sharp blade. My venom is poured on his hands, and there is given to him a vessel of ointment'.
Justice answered out of the Book of the pulpit and said: 'All things have their time; and Mercy and Justice shall meet together'.
After this the Mother of God spoke to me and said: 'Come, daughter, and hear and See what the good Spirit does, and what the evil; for every man has infusions and visitations some time of the good Spirit and sometimes of the evil. For there is not one but that he is visited by God as long as he lives'.
And soon there appeared again the same dead king, whose soul the Holy Spirit inspired while he lived, in this wise: 'O friend, you ought to serve God with all your strength, for he gave life, conscience and understanding, health and power; and yet he suffers you in your sins'. The king's conscience answered, speaking by a resemblance: 'It is true', he said, 'that I am required to serve God, by whose power I am made and bought, and through whose mercy I live and have my being'.
But here the wicked spirit stirred against the king and said: 'Brother, I give you good counsel. Do as he does who pares an apple, for the parings and the core he throws away, and the inside and the best he keeps to himself. So do you. God is meek and merciful and patient and needs nothing. Therefore give him of your goods such as you may easily part with, and other goods that are more profitable and desirable keep to yourself. Do also what you desire according to your flesh, for that may lightly be amended. And what you do not desire to do, though you are bound to do it, leave it; and instead with it give alms. For by this many may be helped'.
The king's conscience answered: 'This', he said, 'is a profitable counsel. For I may give some things that I have without any great harm to me, and yet God sets much store with that. And other things I shall keep to my own use and to obtain friendship with many others'.
After this the good angel who was given to guard the king spoke to him through inspiration, saying: 'O friend, think that you, a mortal, shall die. Think also that this life is short and that God is a rightful and patient Judge who examines all your thoughts, words and deeds from the beginning of your age of understanding unto the end, who also judges all your desires and intentions and leaves none undiscussed. Therefore, use your time and your strength reasonably and govern your members to the profit of your soul. Live soberly, not fulfilling the lust of your flesh in desires, for those who live according to the flesh and after their own will shall not come to the kingdom of God'.
But here again the fiend with his suggestions stirred the king and said: 'O brother, if you will give a reckoning to God of all your times and moments, when shall you then have pleasure? But hear my counsel. God is merciful and may easily be pleased, for he would not have redeemed you if he would have lost you. Therefore the Scripture of God says that all sins are forgiven by contrition. Do you therefore as did he who owed another twenty pounds of gold. And when he lacked the amount of the payment, he went to his friend and asked his counsel.
And he advised him to take twenty pounds of copper and gild it with one pound of gold, and with that false money pay his creditor. And he did after the counsel given him and paid his creditor twenty pounds of copper gilded over; and nineteen pounds of pure gold he kept to himself. Do so likewise. Spend nineteen hours to your delight, lust and joy; and one hour is sufficient for you to be sorry and repent of your sins. Therefore do what delights you both before and after confession; for as copper that is gilded seems gold, so the works of sins that are meant by the copper, when they are gilded over with contrition, shall be removed, and all your works shall shine like gold'. Then the king's conscience answered: 'This counsel seems to me delightful and reasonable. For if I do this I shall have more time for my own delight'.
The good angel spoke again to the king through his inspiration, saying: 'O friend, think first with what skill God brought you out of the narrow womb of your mother. Second, think with what great patience God suffered you to live. Third, think with what great bitterness God has redeemed you from endless death'.
But again the fiend stirred the king, saying: 'O brother, if God has brought you out of the narrow womb of your mother into the breadth of the world, think also how he shall lead you again out of the world through bitter death. And if God lets you live long, think also that you have had in your life many diseases and sorrows against your will. If God has bought you with his harsh death, who compelled him? Did you pray to him?'
Then the king answered as if through speaking within his conscience: 'It is true', he said, 'what you say. For I grieve more that I shall die than that I was born from my mother's womb, It is also more grievous to me to bear the adversities of the world and the things that are contrary to my will than any other thing. For I would, if I could choose, rather live in the world without tribulation and to stay in comfort there, than to depart from the world. And I would rather desire to have endless life in the world with worldly happiness than that Christ had bought me with his blood. And I care not if I never get to Heaven, if I might have the world at my will on earth'.
Then I heard a Word from the pulpit, saying this: 'Now take away from the king the vessel of ointment, because he has sinned against God the Father. For God the Father who is endless in the Son and in the Holy Spirit gave a true and right law by Moses. But this king has made an evil and a contrary law. Nevertheless, because this king has done some good deeds, although he did not do them with good intent, therefore he shall be allowed to have possession of the kingdom while he lives, and so be rewarded in this world'.
A second time the Word spoke out of the pulpit and said this: 'Take away the most sharp blade from this king's eyes. For he has sinned against the Son. For he said in his new law that judgement shall be done without mercy to them who do no mercy. But this king would not do mercy to him who was unrighteously vexed nor amend his error nor change his evil will. Nevertheless, for some good deeds that he has done, be it given to him as a reward that he have words of wisdom in his mouth and that he be held to be wise by many people'.
The third time the Word of Justice spoke from the pulpit and said: 'Let the hammer be taken away from the king, because he has sinned against the Holy Spirit. For the Holy Spirit forgives sins to all those who repent, but this king intends to persevere in his sin to the end.
Nevertheless, because he has done some good deeds, therefore let that thing be given to him that he desires most to the delight of his body, that is, that woman whom he desires to be his wife, the delight of his eye, and that he have a fair and desirable end after that world'.
After this, when the end of his life drew near, the fiend cried and said: 'See, the vessel of ointment is borne away. Therefore shall I now make his hands heave, that he shall do no fruitful goods'. And as soon as the word of the fiend was said, the king was deprived of his strength and health. And then soon the fiend cried and said: 'See, the sharp blade is taken away; therefore I shall increase my snare upon him'.
And then the king was deprived of his speech. And in the moment of his privation, Justice spoke to the good angel who was given to the king to be his keeper, and said: 'Seek in the wheel and see what line of it goes up, and read the writing on it'.
The angel looked and the fourth line went up, in which that nothing was written, for all of it had been erased. Then said Justice: 'Because this soul has loved what is void, therefore he now goes to the delight of his reward'. And soon the soul of the king was separated from the body. And as soon as the soul was gone out, the fiend cried and said: 'Now I shall break and tear apart the heart of this king, because I possess his soul'.
And then I see how the king was all changed from the top of his head to the soul of the foot, and he seemed as horrible as a flayed beast. His eyes were removed and his flesh all clumped together. Then his voice was heard, saying: 'Woe to me, for I am made as blind as a whelp that is born blind, seeking the hind parts of the mother. For, through my unkindness, I cannot see the mother's teats. Woe to me, for I see in my blindness that I shall never see God, for my conscience understands now from where I fell, and what I ought to have done and did not do. Woe to me, for by the providence of God I was born into the world and born again by baptism. And yet I was negligent and forgot God.
And because I would not drink the milk of the sweetness of God, therefore am I now more like a blind dog than to a living and a seeing child. But now against my will, though I were a king, I am compelled to say the truth. For I was bound as if it had been with three ropes to serve God: that is to say, through baptism; through wedlock; and through the crown of the kingdom. But the first I despised when I turned my affection and will to the vanity of the world. Of the second I took no heed when I desired another man's wife. The third I despised when I was proud of earthly power and thought not of the power of heaven. Therefore, though I am now blind, I see in my conscience that for the contempt of my baptism I ought to be bound to the hatefulness of the fiend. And for the inordinate stirring of the flesh I ought to suffer the fiend's lust. And for my pride I ought to be bound to the fiend's feet'.
Then the fiend answered: 'O brother, now it is time that I speak and with my speaking I shall work. Therefore come to me, not with charity but with hate; for I was the fairest of the angels, and you were a mortal man. And God most mighty gave me free choice of will. But because I used it inordinately and would rather hate God and surpass him in praise than love him, therefore I fell as he who has his head downward and his feet upward. But you, as each other man, were made after my fall and given a special privilege above me, in as much as you were bought with the blood of the Son of God. Therefore, because you have despised the charity of God, turn your head to my feet and I shall take your feet into my mouth; and so we can be joined together as they are where the one has a sword in the other's heart, and the other has a knife in his innards.
And because I had a head, that is to say, understanding, to worship God if I would, and you had feet, that is to say, strength to go to God and would not, therefore my fiery head shall consume your cold feet, and you shall be devoured without ceasing, but not consumed, for you shall be revived again to the same punishment. We shall also be joined together with three ropes, of which the first shall be in the middle, with which your navel and mine shall be bound together; so that when I breathe, you shall draw my venom into yourself, and when you breathe, I shall draw your entrails into myself. And worthily, for you love yourself more than your redeemer, as I loved myself more than my maker. Your head shall be bound to my feet with the second rope, and with the third rope my head shall be bound to your feet'.
After this, I see the same fiend having three sharp claws in each foot, saying to the king: 'Because you, brother, had eyes to see the way of life and conscience to discern between good and evil, therefore my two claws shall enter and claw your eyes; and the third claw shall enter your brain, with which you shall be so strangled that you shall be all under my feet. For you were made to have been my lord, and I the sole of your foot. You also had ears to hear the way of life, and a mouth to speak to the profit of your soul. But because you despised to hear and speak to the health of your soul, therefore two claws of my other foot shall enter into your ears, and the third into your mouth, where you shall be so tormented that all things shall be to you the most bitter that seemed to you before most sweet, when you offend God'.
When these things were said, soon the head and the feet and the navel of the king were joined in this manner with the head and feet and navel of the fiend, and so both bound together fell down into Hell. And then I heard a voice crying, saying: 'O, O what has the king got now of all his wealth? Certainly nothing but harm. And what has he now of all his power? Certainly, nothing but shame. And what has he now of his avarice, through which he desired so much from his kingdom? Truly, nothing but pain. Because he was anointed with holy and sacred oil and consecrated with holy words and crowned with a king's crown, that he should worship the words and deeds of God, and defend and govern the people of God, knowing himself under the feet of God, and God his rewarder. But he despised being under the feet of God; therefore he is now under the feet of the fiend. And because he would not redeem his time with fruitful works when he could, therefore from henceforth he shall have no fruitful time'.
After this spoke Justice out of the Book that was in the pulpit, saying to me: 'All the things that are thus seriously shown are done against God in a moment. But because you are bodily, therefore it is necessary that spiritual things be shown to you through a bodily likeness. Because the king and the angel and the fiend seemed to speak together is nothing else but the inspirations of the good and evil spirits made by them to the soul of the king, or by his counselors or friends. That the fiend cried and said: 'It is truth', it is to mean that when the king said that he would hold and keep all that belonged to the crown, however it was obtained, and not to heed justice, then the king's conscience was bored through with the iron of the fiend, that is to say, with the hardness of sin, when he would not speak and discuss which were the things that belonged rightfully to the realm, and which not, and when he cared not to examine what right he had to the crown.
And then was the hook put to the king's soul, when the fiend's temptation prevailed so much in his soul that he would abide in his injustice until death. But because there came a hammer to the king's bosom after the hook, means the time of contrition given to the king; because if the king had had such a thought, saying, 'I have sinned; I will no longer knowingly own ill-gotten goods, but I will amend me from henceforth', then the hook of righteousness would be broken with the hammer of contrition, and the king would have come to the good life and the good way. That the fiend cried, 'See, the king gives me his tongue', and then the snare was put on it, which was when the king would not do grace to the man whom he had defrauded.
This is to understand, that whoever wittingly blames and defames his neighbour to increase his own fame, is governed with the spirit of the fiend, and snared with the snare of a thief. But because there came a sharp iron before the king after the snare means the time of changing and of correction of his will and work. Because when a man corrects his trespass with amendment and with good will, such a will is a most sharp blade, with which the snare of the fiend is cut asunder and remission of sins is obtained. Therefore if this king had changed his will and done grace to the man who had been wronged and slandered, then the snare of the fiend would have been cut away. But because he formed his will for an evil purpose, therefore the justice of God was that he should be more hardened in sin.
And that when the king thought to put new exactions of taxes upon his realm, you saw the venom poured upon his hands, meaning that his works were governed by the spirit of the fiend and by evil suggestions. For as venom makes the body cold and sick, so was the king troubled and restless with wicked suggestions and thoughts, seeking means how he might obtain goods and possession of other men and gold from them who went by the way. For then wayfaring men slept and trusted that their gold would be in their purse, but when they awoke, they found that it was in the king's power.
But because the vessel of ointment came after the venom means the blood of Jesus Christ, by which the sick soul is raised to life. For if the king had weighed his works in consideration of the blood of Christ and prayed God to be his help and said: 'I Lord God, who has made and bought me; I know that by your permission I can come to the kingdom and crown, therefore beware the enemies who war against me, and pay you my debts; for the goods of the realm are not sufficient'. I truly should have made his works and his burden easier to bear. But because he desired other men's goods and would be seen as just when he knew very well that he was wrong, therefore the fiend governed his heart and stirred him against the ordinance of the Church, and to wage war and defraud innocents, until Justice out of the pulpit of God's majesty cried for judgement and justice.
The wheel which was moved at the king's breathing means his conscience, which was stirred in the manner of a wheel, now to mirth, now to sadness. The four lines that were in the wheel mean the fourfold will that each man ought to have; that is to say, a perfect will, a strong will, a right will and a reasonable will. The perfect will is to love God and have him above all things; and this will ought to be in the first line above. The second line is to desire and to do good to his neighbour and to himself for God. This will must be so strong that it be neither broken with hate nor with greed. The third will is to abstain from fleshly desires and to desire eternal things. And this will must be right that it not be done to the pleasure of man, but of God. The fourth will is not to will to have the world, but reasonably and only to your need.
Therefore when the wheel was turned, there appeared in the last line going upward that the king loved the delights of the world, and set at nought the love of God. In the second line was written that he loved the men of the world. In the third line was written the love that he had inordinately for worldly riches and possessions. In the fourth line was written nothing, but all was void in which ought to have been written the love of God. Above all things, therefore, the blankness of the fourth line means the absence of love and fear of God; for by fear God is drawn into the soul, and by love God is fastened in a good soul.
Because if a man had never loved God in all his lifetime, and at his last end might say or think in his heart, 'O God, I think with all my heart that I have sinned against you; give me your love and I shall repent me from this time', a man of such love may not nor shall go to Hell. But because the king loved him not whom he ought to have loved, therefore he has now the reward of his love'.
After this, I see the other king on the right side of Justice, who was in Purgatory, who was like a newborn child that might not move himself about, but only open his eyes. And I see that the fiend stood on the king's left side, whose head was like a pair of bellows with a long pipe, his arms were like two serpents, and his knees like a press, and his feet like a long hook. On the right side of the king stood a most fair angel, ready to help him.
And then I heard a voice saying: 'This king appears now such as his soul was disposed when it departed from the body'. And then the fiend cried to the Book in the pulpit, saying: 'Here is seen a marvelous thing. This angel and I have waited for the birth of this child, he with his cleanliness, and I with my filth. But now the child is born, not in the body, but from the body, uncleanness in him appears which the angel, loathing, might not touch the child. But I torment him, for he is fallen into my hands. But I do not know where to lead him; for my dark eyes do not see him, for the light of a clearness that comes out of his breast. The angel sees him and knows where to lead him, but he may not touch him. Therefore you, who are the rightful Judge, separate us from our strife'.
The Word answered out of the Book which was in the pulpit and said: 'Tell, you who speak, from what cause this soul comes into your hands'. The fiend answered: 'You are righteous, and you said that no one shall enter Heaven who does not first make restitution of things which are unrightfully obtained. But this soul is all befouled with ill-gotten goods. Second, you said that treasures should not be hoarded which rust and moths destroy, but those which last without end. But in this soul that place was empty where heavenly treasure should have been gathered and that place was full where worms and frogs were nourished. Third, you say that a man's neighbour should be loved like God. But this soul loved his body more than God, and of the love of his neighbour he cared not at all; for he, while in the body, rejoiced when his neighbour's goods were taken away. He wounded the hearts of his subjects, not taking heed of the harm to others, as long as he himself had plenty, and he did whatever he desired, and commanded whatever he would, and took little heed of justice. These are the principal causes, after which follow others without number'.
Then answered the Word out of the Book of Justice, saying to the angel: 'O you angel, keeper of the soul, who are in light and see light, what right or power have you to help this soul?'
The angel answered: 'This soul', he said, 'had holy faith, and believed and hoped that all of which he had sinned should be done away by contrition and confession. And he feared you, his God, though less than he ought to have'.
Then Justice spoke again and said: 'O you, my angel, now it is granted to you to touch the soul and to you, you fiend, to see the light of the soul. Inquire therefore both what this soul loved when it lived in the body and had all his members intact'. The angel and the fiend both answered: 'He loved men and wealth'.
Then said Justice again out of the Book: 'What did he love when he was in agony with the pain of death?' Then both answered: 'He loved himself, for he was more agonized with the sickness of his body and of the tribulation of his heart, than he was of the Passion of his Redeemer'. Then spoke Justice again and said: 'Still seek and look for what he loved and thought in the last moment of his life, while he still had a whole conscience and understanding'.
Only the good angel answered: 'The soul thought thus. 'Woe', he said, 'to me, for I have been overbold against my Redeemer. Would God I now had time in which I might thank God for his benefits. Because it grieves me more that I have sinned against God than the pain of my body; and though I should never attain heaven, yet would I serve my God'.
Justice answered out of the Book: 'For as much as you, fiend, may not see the soul for the brightness of his light, and you, my angel, may not touch the soul for his uncleanness, therefore this is the judgement; that you, fiend, purge it; and you, angel, comfort it until it be brought into the brightness of bliss. And to you, you soul, it is granted to look to the good angel and to have comfort from him; and you shall obtain the blood of Christ and the prayers of his Mother and of his Church'.
'Then said the fiend to the soul: 'Because you have come to my hands filled with food and ill-gotten goods, I shall now therefore empty you with my press'.
And then the fiend put the brains of the king between his knees, like a press, and strained it strongly in length and breadth, till all the marrow was as thin as the leaf of a tree. Second, the fiend said to the soul: 'Because the place is empty where virtues should be, I shall therefore fill it'. And then he put the pipe of his bellows in the king's mouth, and blew strongly, and filled him very full of horrible wind; so much so that all the king's being and sinews were wretchedly broken and burst asunder.
The third time, the fiend said again to the king's soul: 'Because you were cruel and without mercy towards your subjects, who ought to have been to you as if your sons, my arms therefore shall bitingly grip you together; that as much as you grieved your subjects, so shall my arms, as if serpents, rend you with the most grievous horror and sorrow'.
After these three pains, that is to say, of the press, of the bellows, and of the serpents, when the fiend would have accumulated these same pains again, beginning at the first, then I saw the angel of God put out his hands upon the fiend's hands, that he should not make the pains so great as they were the first time. And so each time, the angel of God eased the pains; and after each pain, the soul lifted up his eyes to the angel, saying nothing but showing in his bearing that he was comforted by him; and that he should quickly be saved.
Then said the Word out of the pulpit to me: 'All these things which are thus seriously shown to you are done with God in a moment; but because you are bodily, they are shown to you in bodily likeness. But this king, though he were greedy to have the world's praise and to obtain goods that were not his, yet, because he fears God and left for that dread some things that were pleasurable to him, therefore that dread drew him to the love and charity of God. For you know well that many who are involved with many heavy sins become very contrite before their death, whose contrition may be so perfect that not only their sin is forgiven them, but also the pain of Purgatory, if they die in the same contrition.
But the king obtained no charity until the last moment of his life; for then his strength and his conscience were failing, yet he obtained of my grace godly inspiration, by which he sorrowed more of not worshipping God than of his own sorrow and harm. And this sorrow means that light by which the fiend was blinded and knew not where to lead the soul. Yet he said not that he was so blinded for lack of spiritual understanding, but because he marveled how that in that soul should be such clearness of light and so much uncleanness. The angel knew well enough whether to lead the soul, but he could not touch it until it was purged. As it is written, 'No man shall see the face of God but he be first made clean.'
Then the Word out of the pulpit spoke again to me and said: 'That you see the angel put out his hands upon the soul and of the fiend that he should not increase the pains means the power of the angel above the power of the fiend by which he restrains the fiend's malice. For the fiend should have no measure nor order in punishing unless he were restrained by the virtue of God. And therefore God does mercy in Hell; for though there be no redemption, remission nor comfort to them who are damned, yet inasmuch as they are not punished but after their deserts and after justice, therefore in that is shown God's great mercy. Otherwise the fiend should have no temperance nor measure in his malice. That the king was seen as a child just born means that those who will be born out of the vanity of the world to the life of heaven, must be innocent and by the grace of God grow in virtues to perfection.
That the king lifted up his eyes to the angel means that by the angel, his guardian, he had his comfort; and of hope he had joy, inasmuch as he hoped to come to endless life. And these are spiritual things understood by bodily likeness; for neither fiends nor angels have such members nor such speaking together, for they are spirits. But by such likeness their goodness or wickedness are shown to bodily eyes'.
Also the Word spoke out of the pulpit, saying to me: 'The pulpit which you see means the Godhead's self; that is to say, Father and Son and Holy Spirit. That you might not understand the length, breadth, depth, and height of the pulpit means that in God is not found either beginning or end. For God is and was without beginning, and shall be without end. And that each color of the three said colors was seen in the others, and yet each color was discerned from the others, means that God the Father is endless in the Son and in the Holy Spirit, and the Son in the Father and in the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit in them both, which are truly one in nature and distinct in property of persons.
That one of the colors seemed to be sanguine and red means the Son, who without hurt of his Godhead took man's nature into her person. The white color means the Holy Spirit, by whom is washing away of sins. The golden color means the Father, who is the beginning and the perfection of all things. Not that any perfection is more in the Father than in the Son, nor that the Father is before the Son; but that you understand that the Father is not the same in person, that is the Son. For the Father is other in person, and other is the Son in person, and other is the Holy Spirit in person; but one in nature. Therefore three colors are shown to you both separated and joined together; separated for distinction of persons, and joined together for union of nature.
And as in each color you see the other colors, and you might not see one without another, and there was nothing in the colors before nor after, more nor less, right so in the Trinity is nothing before nor after, more nor less, separated nor joined; but one will, one eternity, one power and one glory. And though the Son is of the Father, and the Holy Spirit of both, yet the Father was never without the Son and the Holy Spirit, nor the Son and the Holy Spirit without the Father'.
Also the Word spoke to me and said: 'The Book that you see in the pulpit means that in the Godhead is endless justice and wisdom, to which nothing may be added or lessened. And this is the Book of Life, that is not written as the scripture, that is and was not; but the scripture of this Book is forever. For in the Godhead is endless being and understanding of all things present, past and to come, without any variation or changing. And nothing is invisible to it, for it sees all things.
That the Word spoke itself means that God is the endless Word, from whom are all words, and in whom things have life and being. And this same Word spoke then visibly when the Word was made man and was conversant among men. So, this goodly vision has the Mother of God made to be shown to you; and this is the mercy called to the kingdom of Sweden, that men dwelling there should hear the words that proceed out of the mouth of God. But because few receive and believe these heavenly words given you from God, that is not God's fault, but men's. For they will not leave the cold of their own souls. Nevertheless, the words of the Gospel were not fulfilled with the first kings of our time; but the times shall yet come when they shall be fulfilled' ”.
How the Father of Heaven showed to Saint Bridget a severe judgement upon a king who was unkind and disobedient to the counsels of God. And how they who are in Heaven, on earth, in Purgatory, and in Hell ask wrath upon kings and princes and how our Lady prayed for them.