Wherein distinction is made between all apprehensions and
types of knowledge which can be comprehended by the understanding.
IN order to treat in detail of the profit and the harm which
may come to the soul, with respect to this means to Divine union
which we have described -- namely, faith -- through the ideas and
apprehensions of the understanding, it is necessary here to make a
distinction between all the apprehensions, whether natural or
supernatural, that the soul may receive, so that then, with regard
to each of them in order, we may direct the understanding with
greater clearness into the night and obscurity of faith. This will
be done with all possible brevity.
2. It must be known, then, that the understanding can receive
knowledge and intelligence by two channels: the one natural and
the other supernatural. By the natural channel is meant all that
the understanding can understand, whether by means of the bodily
senses or by its own power. The supernatural channel is all
that is given to the understanding over and above its natural
ability and capacity.
3. Of these kinds of supernatural knowledge, some are
corporeal and some are spiritual. The corporeal are two in number:
some are received by means of the outward bodily senses; others,
by means of the inward bodily senses, wherein is comprehended all
that the imagination can comprehend, form and conceive.
4. The spiritual supernatural knowledge is likewise of two
kinds: that which is distinct and special in its nature, and that
which is confused, general and dark. Of the distinct and special
kind there are four manners of apprehension which are communicated
to the spirit without the aid of any bodily sense: these are
visions, revelations, locutions and spiritual feelings. The
obscure and general type of knowledge is of one kind alone, which
is contemplation that is given in faith. To this we have to lead
the soul by bringing it thereto through all these other means,
beginning with the first and detaching it from them.