Which begins to treat of the second part or cause of this
night, which is faith. Proves by two arguments how it is darker
than the first and than the third.
WE now go on to treat of the second part of this night, which
is faith; this is the wondrous means which, as we said, leads to
the goal, which is God, Who, as we said, is also to the soul,
naturally, the third cause or part of this night. For faith, which
is the means, is compared with midnight. And thus we may say
that it is darker for the soul either than the first part or, in a
way, than the third; for the first part, which is that of sense,
is compared to the beginning of night, or the time when sensible
objects can no longer be seen, and thus it is not so far removed
from light as is midnight. The third part, which is the period
preceding the dawn, is quite close to the light of day, and it,
too, therefore, is not so dark as midnight; for it is now close to
the enlightenment and illumination of the light of day, which is
compared with God. For, although it is true, if we speak after a
natural manner, that God is as dark a night to the soul as is
faith, still, when these three parts of the night are over, which
are naturally night to the soul, God begins to illumine the soul
by supernatural means with the ray of His Divine light; which is
the beginning of the perfect union that follows, when the third
night is past, and it can thus be said to be less dark.
2. It is likewise darker than the first night, for this
belongs to the lower part of man, which is the sensual part, and,
consequently, the more exterior; and this second part, which is of
faith, belongs to the higher part of man, which is the rational
part, and, in consequence, more interior and more obscure, since
it deprives it of the light of reason, or, to speak more clearly,
blinds it; and thus it is aptly compared to midnight, which is
the depth of night and the darkest part thereof.
3. We have now to prove how this second part, which is faith,
is night to the spirit, even as the first part is night to sense.
And we shall then also describe the things that are contrary to
it, and how the soul must prepare itself actively to enter it.
For, concerning the passive part, which is that which God works in
it, when He brings it into that night, we shall speak in its
place, which I intend shall be the third book.