The Espousals is the masterpiece of the fourteenth-century Flemish mystic Jan van Ruusbroec, who described one's spiritual development as involving the active life, the inner or yearning life, and the contemplative life, which he explains in the Espousals in three books. The overall theme of the three books is the message of Matthew 25:6, "See, / the Bridgegroom cometh, / go out / to meet him," which involves a four-step experience in each of the three "lives." The reader travels past the same guideposts three times, each time at a higher plane. Three times the reader sees the same thing occur - the meeting of the person with God - in the same sequence, but under a new light. Ruusbroec supports his mystical treatise with a solid anthropological and theological thought. He sketches the psychological structure of the person, as well as the natural and supernatural relationship between God and the person. In short, Ruusbroec endeavors to verbally express the inner condition of a person being united with God.