John of Ruysbroeck, hermetic and mystical writer, was born in 1293 at Ruysbroeck, near Brussels; he died at Groenendael, where he had founded a community, in 1381. He wrote as the spirit moved him, and loved to wander and mediate in the solitude of the forest. As a mystical writer, he stands unrivalled in what may be termed his grasp of the metaphysics of mysticism, and in the combined beauty, simplicity, and loftiness of his language and style. Late in life he declared that he had never committed anything to writing except under divine inspiration.
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