There are two winters, one external, the other internal, and these two are reciprocally opposed. When it is winter without, it is summer within, by which the soul is induced to enter more deeply into itself, by an effect of grace operating a profound state of recollection. When it is winter within, it is summer without, thus obliging the soul to come forth from self by the enlargement produced by a more abundant grace of abandonment. The winter of which the Bridegroom here speaks, declaring that it is past, is the outward winter, during which the soul might have been frozen by the excessive cold, wet through by the rains, and overwhelmed by the tempests and snows of sins and imperfections, so easily contracted in commerce with the creature. The soul that has found its centre becomes so strong that it has nothing further to fear from without, the rains are dried up, and it would be impossible for it, without being guilty of the blackest infidelity, to take pleasure in anything external.
This expression, the winter is past, signifies, too, that as winter brings death to everything, so in this soul death has passed upon all outward things, so that there is none among them that could now satisfy it. If anything should appear to give it pleasure, it is only a return to its state of innocence in which there is no venom as there was before.
The winter rains are over and gone, also, she may go out without fear of the weather, and with this additional advantage, that the cold has destroyed what, to her, was formerly alive and would have destroyed her, as the rigor of winter delivers the earth from vermin.