The Scale of Perfection, Book II
THE SCALE OF PERFECTION, BOOK II: FOOTNOTES
1 chapitle, chapter; seid, said to be; aftir, according to.
3 coveitest, desire; pur, by.
4 partie, part; discried, described.
5 falle, consent.
6 fulliche, completely.
7 yif, if; wole, will; witen, know; forsothe, in truth.
11 schap, form; myghtes, powers.
13 schoop, formed.
15 schapynge, forming; wondirli, wonderfully; brennynge, burning.
16 goostli, spiritual.
17 forschapen, deformed.
18 myrkenesse, darkness.
19 flemed, driven; han, have.
20 stonden, stood.
24 sam meschief, same misfortune.
25 mykil, much; nedide bi doon, needed to be done.
26 skilful, reasonable.
27 saaff, saved; schoop, created.
31 schulde, could.
33 rightwisenesse, righteousness; but yif, unless.
34 sooth, true; hool, whole.
35 agens, against.
36 biddynge, command; conceile, counsel; feend, i.e., devil (here and throughout).
37 rightwiseli, justly; departid, separated.
37-38 so fer forth, to the extent.
38 stondinge the rightwisenesse of God, were the justice of God to stand.
39 but yif, unless; ful satisfaccioun, the doctrine of the atonement in this chapter is based on Anselm, Cur deus homo, especially 1.20, 2.8-11; see Clark, p. 303n3.
40 kyndeli, natural.
41 skile, reason; unworschipe, dishonor; passide, surpassed.
42 myght, power; skile, reason.
43 hym bihoveth gyve, it is necessary for him to give.
44 over, beyond.
45 sumwhat, something; but oonli, only because.
46 not, nought; ought, owed.
48 oweth, is obliged.
50 ne, nor; yif, if.
51 nedid it, it was necessary.
53 syn, since.
54 kynde, nature.
56 kyndeli, natural.
57 touchid, touched (sexually).
58 gracious, through grace; clene, pure.
61 mannys, man's.
62 oughte, owed; kynde, nature.
65 savacioun, salvation.
66 sooth, truth.
67 ought, owed; paien, pay.
68 o, one.
69 liyf, life; sothfastnesse, truth; ought He nout, owed He not.
70 worschipe, honor.
73 peyne, punishment.
74 oughte, was obliged.
75 oughte, owed; syn, since.
76 manere, kind of.
77 mykil, much.
78 weem, blemish.
80 overmore, moreover; siththe, since.
82 mow be, be able to be.
86 mot, may.
87 wirkynge, working; brennynge suerd, burning sword.
88 droof, drove; ought, out.
89 wole, will.
90 evene, equal.
91 ilke a, each.
92 yif, if; sith, since.
94 sooth, true; profite, benefit.
96 paynymes, pagans.
97 here, their; defaute, fault.
99 troweth, believes; paynemes, pagans.
100 benefeetes, benefits.
104 sclaundre, scandal.
105 fantom, phantom; folie, folly.
109 trowen, believe.
111 untrouthe, unbelief.
112 fro, from; her, their; stondynge there untrouthe, their unbelief continuing.
113 saaf, saved; sooth, true.
114 but yif, unless.
115 comende, coming; comen, having come.
116 Eelde, Old.
117 trouthe, belief.
118 priveli, secretly.
119 imperfight, imperfect.
120 pryvetees, mysteries.
121 han trowed, have believed; felyngeli, in feeling; gosteli, spiritual.
122 han, have; lewed, ignorant.
124 thynketh me, it seems to me; Sarcenys, Saracens.
125 mown be, are able to be.
126 mykil, much.
127 wene, suppose; siker, certain.
128 rightwisenesse, righteousness; peraventure, perhaps.
129 here, theirs.
130 schulde be saaf, the salvation of the heathen was a topic of lively interest in the later Middle Ages; for Langland's more generous view, see Piers Plowman, B.11.62-69; Cindy L. Vitto, The Virtuous Pagan in Middle English Literature; George H. Russell, "The Salvation of the Heathen: The Exploration of a Theme in Piers Plowman," Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 29 (1966), 101-16; and Clark, pp. 303-04 (nns 7 and 8); ynowgh, enough.
131 atwix, between.
133 mowen, can.
136 leven, live.
138 unschapli, misshapen.
139 nought, not.
140 liggen stille, lie constantly.
142 pyne, pain.
145 wite, know.
147 forschapen, deformed.
153 ony, any.
155 brennynge, burning; goostli, spiritual; ai lastandli, everlastingly.
157 agentis, concerning; feer, far.
158 bihaldynge, beholding.
160 umbilapped, surrounded.
162 fleischliheed, state of being fleshly.
163 goostlinesse, state of being spiritual; privei, secret.
167 partie, part.
170 stonde hool, stood whole.
173 resseyven, receive.
174 myghtis, powers; medlere, ming-ling.
175 kynde, nature.
176 ben, be.
178 ai lastande, everlasting; highed, exalted.
179 dowarie, dowry.
180 undeedlinesse, immortality; longeth, belongs.
182 bi cause, because.
184 anoon, at once; lyvande, living.
185 skile, reason.
187 hit nedide, it was necessary.
188 kyndeli, natural; it schulde be fulfilled, the doctrine of the chosen in these paragraphs is based on Anselm, De concordia, q. 3, c. 9; see Clark, p. 304n13.
189 as tite, immediately.
190 abidynge, waiting.
191 resseyved, received.
195 purveyede, provided.
199 skile, reason.
201 chesynge, choosing.
203 fle, flee.
206 anoon, immediately.
209 partie, part.
210 saaf, saved.
213 passande mede, surpassing reward.
220 profitynge, proficient.
221 actif, active; perfight, perfect.
226 alderbest, best of all; toon, one; tothir, other.
227 the thridde, the threefold division of stages of the spiritual life as bigynnynge, profitynge, perfight ("beginning, proficient, perfect") is conventional; see Gregory, Moralia, 24.11.28 (Clark, p. 304n17).
228 baptym, baptism.
231 actuel, actual, i.e., sins actively committed, as opposed to inherited original sin.
233 pyne, pain; or, before.
235 forschapen, deformed; baptym, baptism.
238 brond, firebrand.
241 falleth, happens; or2, before.
242 manciples, stewards; ther, their (see Textual Notes).
244 taryyinge, delay.
245 troweth, believes; as swithe, immediately; ought, out.
246 streite, straightaway; lettynge, hindrance.
247 untrouthe, unbelief.
259 curtesie, graciousness.
260 lightli, easily.
261 geveth, gives; plenté, fullness; abideth, waits for.
262 or, before.
267 dettid, owed; forgeven, forgiven.
268 schewen hym, reveal himself; schryven him, confess himself.
271 skileful, reasonable.
272 veri, true.
273 plener, full.
276 agens, to; inow, enough.
277 sikernesse, security; chartre, charter; that is, the legal document recording an official action or an agreement.
284 skilful, reasonable.
287 rude, rough; boistous, crude; lightli, easily.
288 mowe, be able to.
290 siker, certain.
293 forthenking, repenting; hope, suppose.
294 feelid, felt.
295 ofte sithes, often.
297 schrift, confession.
298 more, greater.
302 aboughte, about.
306 perfighte, perfect; peraventure, perhaps.
308 buxum, obedient.
309 hope, expect.
310 schewe, reveal; nedeful, necessary; bihoveful, obligatory; neither nedeful . . . ne bihoveful, Hilton's sharp rejection of the Wycliffite position on confession is notable; see Clark, p. 305n27.
311 spedful, advantageous.
312 thoo, those.
313 mow, can.
314 standeth, consists.
320 stondeth, consists.
324 privé, secret.
329 clennesse, purity; keep, care.
331 faireheed, fairness.
332 wirkinge, working.
336 agenstondynge, despite.
340 outtaken, except.
342 froward, unruly.
343 unseable, invisible.
344 partener, partner (see Textual Notes).
347 vertu, power; lette, prevent.
349 worschipe, honored status.
352 duelle, dwell; agenstonde, resist.
354 dere, harm; departen, separate.
355 senteth, consents; menede, meant.
364 rightwise, righteous; rightful, just.
367 righted, justified.
368 agenstondynge, withstanding.
372 trouthe, faith.
374 Joon, John.
383 entré, entrance; Ransake, Examine.
385 wityngeli, consciously.
386 mysdoon, misdone; beschreven, confessed.
387 sikirli, certainly.
391 mown, can.
394 evene, fellow.
395 aftir hir kunnynge, according to their knowledge.
396 heved, chief, capital; the reference is to what are commonly called the seven deadly sins; in addition to the four sins mentioned here, the seven capital sins include sloth, gluttony, and avarice.
397 agenstonden, resist; displesynge, displeasure.
399 freelté, frailty; unkunnynge, ignorance; as tite, immediately.
400 pyneth, pains; mown, can; schryven, confessed.
403 saaf, saved.
405 inli, inner.
408 reward, regard.
409 it is not likli, Hilton's stress on the availability of salvation to all, not just the perfect or contemplatives, is notable, as is the emphasis on orthodox belief.
411 purchace, attainment.
412 lowgh, low.
414 mochil, great.
416 wenen, suppose.
420 behight, promised.
426 clennesse, purity.
428 trouthe, belief.
434 witen, know.
436 moun, are able; aftir her connynge, according to their knowledge.
437 longen, belong.
440 profitande, advancing.
442 unperfite, imperfect.
444 fed with mylk, a common image for spiritual beginners derived from 1 Corinthians 3:1-2; used also in Scale Book I, chapter 9, Book II, chapter 31.
448 heele, health; counen, can.
451 traveiled with, troubled by; maad daunger, made difficulty, was reluctant.
452 ceeside, ceased.
453 trouthe, faith.
455 unconnynge, ignorant.
457 brennande, burning.
459 desert, merit.
461 meken, humble.
465 witen, know.
466 geten, obtained; holden, kept.
468 traveile, trouble; bisynesse, activity; hem bihoveth, they must.
469 weikeynesse, weakness.
471 waar, aware.
474 buxum, obedient.
475 unskilfulle, irrational.
477 outetaken, except.
478 werk, deed.
481 so fer forth, to the extent; senten, consent.
482 unskilful, irrational.
483 jangelynge, disruption.
486 feer, far.
497 lymes, limbs.
500 resoun, reason.
506 dispeiren, dispair.
508 seiande, saying.
514 arected, accounted.
518 berthene, burden.
519 unskilful, irrational; bi so, as long as.
520 trouthe, faith; ofte sithis, often.
522 heed, capital; see the list in chapter 10, above; witen, know.
523 sentiden, consented.
524 freel, frail.
526 or thanne, before; dwere, doubt.
528 anemptis, concerning.
531 affeccioun, emotion, feeling.
534 wil paied, well satisfied.
538 sikir, certain.
539 to, too; wenande, supposing.
541 recchelesnesse, carelessness; sikirnesse, security.
542 witte, intelligence.
544 bisi, concerned.
545 schewe, show.
549 aboughte, about.
550 besi, active.
553 unkunnynge, ignorant.
554 moun, are able to.
555 dweris, doubts.
560 unseabli, invisibly.
561 wise, manner.
562-63 yif he doo . . . synnes, to do what is in him to believe, without spiritual feeling, in the forgiveness of his sins.
565 moun, may.
567 gracious, of grace; clennesse, purity.
569 clene, pure; iye, eye.
571 soothfastnesse, truth.
582 medelid, mingled.
583 unskilful, irrational.
589 That is, Hilton's exposition of the Canticle in this chapter is indebted to Bernard, Sermons on the Song of Songs, 25-27; see Clark, p. 306nn57-59.
590 dispice, despise.
593 myrkenesse, darkness.
594 reprevid, condemned.
595 peseble, peaceable.
596 woneth, dwells.
597 quyk, living.
603 swart, dark; defaded, faded.
609 so fer forth, to the extent.
611 twynnynge, separation.
612 doom, judgment.
616 cheseth, chooses.
617 siker, certain.
621 liter, litter; weike, weak.
623 foragenstonde, resist; displesynge, disapproval.
627 eddre, adder.
628 irketh, wearies.
629 ai lastande, everlasting.
633 senteth, consents.
636 lighter, litter; sigh, saw.
637 myschief, misfortune.
646 fairhede, fairness.
648 stilli, constantly.
651 trouth, faith; moun, be able to.
655 aftir, corresponding to; parties, parts.
658 two parties, the definition of the soul that follows is based on Augustine, De trinitate, 12.3-14, as elaborated by medieval theologians; see Clark, p. 307n65.
659 wittes, senses.
660 Up, Of; unskilfulli, irrationally.
662 tothir, other.
663 overe, upper; nethere, lower.
666 buxum1, obedient.
668 iye, eye.
672 freten, eaten.
675 agenstondeth, resists.
679 dere, harm.
680 venyalis, venial sins (in contrast to deadly sins).
683 forschapen, deform; seere, various.
686 outaken, except.
692 ai lastande, everlasting.
698 maken no force, take no care.
699 oither, either; in clergie or in crafte, in learning or in a skill.
701 aver, possession.
706 beestis liknesse, the association of the seven deadly sins with animals is a commonplace in the Middle Ages; compare Spenser, The Faerie Queene, 1.4.18-37.
709 letten, obstruct; fel, fierce.
711 ageen, against.
717 inow, enough.
718 mede, reward.
719 heer, their; irke, wearied.
720 paas, pace.
721 witte, intelligence.
723 rewarde, regard.
726 wolwes, wolves; raveyn, rapine.
727 maistrie, force; overledynge, deceit; wordli, worldly.
731 Yhe, Yea.
733 iyen, eyes.
737 kest, cast.
739 fore to ben, to be.
742 mansleers, murderers.
743 maumetis, idols; see the gloss to Scale, I.2418; dool, sorrow.
749 or, before.
750 seere wise, various ways.
755 witen, know.
756 liggen, lie.
757 moun, can.
758 defaute, fault.
760 froward, contrary.
761 hem bihoveth, they must.
767 ugglen, abhor.
769 ablen, enable.
771 as tite, immediately.
772 hem thenketh, it seems to them.
776 hevy, distressing.
777 so fer forth, to the extent.
780 overmore, moreover; wenen, suppose.
783 siker, certain.
784 noon othir hevene, the ideas in this paragraph were associated in the Middle Ages with the pagan philosophy known as Epicureanism; Sotheli, Truly.
793 weneth, supposes.
796 forgyve, forgive.
798 oure Ladi faste, the regular Saturday fast in honor of the Virgin; orisoun, prayer.
808 witen, know.
809 merthe, happiness.
810 solas, delight.
811 paied, satisfied.
813 moste defaute, greatest faults.
814 frowardenesse, perversity.
817 letted, prevented.
819 merke, dark.
821 umbilappid, surrounded.
825 moste lettynge, greatest obstructions.
826 aknowe, aware of.
827 chargeth, accounts; siker, secure.
830 mowen, are able.
831 upon this wise, in this manner.
834 as tite, immediately.
835 lightliere, more easily.
837 anoon, at once.
840 for2, because.
843 weikenesse, weakness.
845 oughtake, except.
856 lighteli, easily.
861 plenté, plenty.
863 brente, burnt.
868 as tite, immediately.
869 hym bihoveth, he must.
870 dioten, feed; leche, physician.
878 sunnere, sooner.
882 stirte, start.
883 laddre, as Clark notes (p. 308n82), this is the only reference to the ladder metaphor, despite the title Scale (i.e., "Ladder") of Perfection.
884 stele, rung.
888 liggeth, lies; inli, inward.
890 On encheson, One reason; in regarde of, in respect to.
892 curtais, courteous.
893 in reward of, in regard to.
895 daungerous, niggardly; reward, regard.
897 chesoun, reason.
898 profite, advance.
900 inowgh, enough.
901 yinowgh, enough; saaf, saved.
905 profiten, advance.
908 of, because of.
910 religious, members of a religious order.
911 takynge of religioun, entering a religious order.
919 profetynge, advancing; peirynge, growing worse.
923 feer, far.
925 siker, secure.
929 the enemy, i.e., the devil (this is Hilton's regular usage).
936 yhe, yea.
940 stynten, stop.
946 encheson, reason.
952 wenen, suppose.
954 esid, at ease.
955 lettid, prevented.
956 hevy, doleful.
961 ledande, leading.
964 apprentice, an apprentice.
966 sotiel, difficult; profiteth, advances.
968 sotil, intricate, difficult.
970 prentis, apprentice.
972 repreve, blame.
973 spedeful, advantageous.
974 entré, entrance.
975 covenable mene, suitable manner.
977 drawande, drawing.
979 disese, discomfort.
980 lette, hinder.
982 sautier, psalter.
985 seyn, seen.
995 lowgh, low.
998 spedeful, advantageous.
1003 heed, capital.
1004 spices, species.
1006 clennesse, pur-ity.
1008 myldenesse, gentleness.
1010 disposyngis, dispositions.
1018 skile, reason.
1019 sithen, since.
1020 leche, physician.
1022 kenne, teach.
1029 mede, reward.
1041 hope, expect.
1042 yhe, yea; hym thenketh, it seems to him.
1046 stondeth, consists.
1050 bisynesse, activity.
1052 heire, hairshirt, the traditional garment of the penitent.
1055 rewarde, regard.
1060 felabli, in the senses, palpably.
1061 noughten, make nothing.
1062 perfighteli, perfectly.
1067 arette, account.
1068 not, nought.
1072 swynken, work.
1073 orisons, prayers; sautiers, psalters.
1074 biddynge, praying; bedis, prayers.
1077 bisynesse, activity.
1081 umbiden, remain; fleischlihede, fleshliness.
1086 unablith, disables.
1090 herteli, hearty.
1095 disese, discomfort.
1098 rathere neighen, sooner approach.
1100 ensample, example; pilgrine, pilgrim; wise, manner.
1102 coude, knew.
1103 to that cité, Clark suggests (p. 309n102) that Hilton follows a specific source for his exposition of the commonplace of the Christian life as a pilgrimage to the heavenly Jerusalem, namely Bernard, Sermo in quadrigesima 6.
1104 disese, discomfort; for2, because of.
1105 lettyngis, obstacles.
1107 spoiled, despoiled.
1110 lesen, lose; defaughte, fault.
1111 disese, discomfort.
1112 ascape, escape.
1114 bihote, promise.
1116 kenne, teach.
1117 lette, obstruct.
1120 spoilen, despoil; despice, despise.
1123 tarie, trouble; fage, deceive; leesynges, deceptions.
1132 veri, true; to Jerusalemward, toward Jerusalem.
1133 as ferforth, to the extent.
1136 sikirli, certainly.
1138 spede, thrive.
1139 jornés, journeys.
1141 lastanli, lastingly.
1146 craftli, skillfully.
1150 frieltees, frailties.
1152 medicynable, medicinal; boistous, unruly; regard, aspect.
1160 tome, empty.
1165 Keste, Cast.
1169 lettynge, hindrance.
1174 thin, your.
1177 schewen Him, reveal Himself.
1180 Prente, Print.
1185 ascape, escape; myschevys, misfortunes.
1187 highte, is called.
1188 jorné, journey.
1190 upon this wise, in this manner.
1190-91 aftir the degree . . . goostli, such phrases imply that Hilton intended his work for a wider audience than enclosed anchoresses; see Clark, p. 310n113.
1192 esi, comforting.
1196 wordli, worldly.
1201 mowen, can; moun, can.
1209 lette, hinder.
1216 bedes, prayers.
1220 taryynges, troubles.
1225 lette, prevent.
1231 nexte, closest.
1233 trowe, believe.
1248 aferd, afraid.
1249 tariynge, troubling.
1250 manassynge, menacing; toon, one.
1254 frenesies, frenzies.
1255 myschef, misfortune; schal wille, will want to.
1258 mowen, can.
1263 doughtes, doubts.
1268 wrooth, angry.
1269 neer, nearer to.
1270 mowen, can.
1271 ille, evil.
1272 wers, worse; partie, part.
1276 diseses, discomforts.
1277 tarie, trouble.
1278 not1, 2, nought.
1280 occupacion, attention; frielté, frailty.
1281 diseses, discomforts.
1285 forgen thee, scheme against you.
1289 suffren, endure.
1290 charge nothinge with thi, concern yourself about nothing.
1294 beeren upon thee, emphasize to you.
1297 jangelynge, jangling.
1300 lettynges, hindrances.
1309 gladsum, joyous.
1312 restandli, constantly.
1314 spede, hasten.
1325 oonlynes, solitude.
1326 comonynge, community; goynge, walking.
1330 fortherene, advance.
1334 witen, know.
1342 unseabli, invisibly.
1356 tymeful, temporal, durational; atwixe to, between two.
1357 as tite, immediately.
1359 menede, meant.
1364 highte, promised; byhighte, promised.
1368 spered, closed; utterere yyen, outer eyes.
1369 sigh, saw.
1371 wariede, cursed.
1372 mote, may; rennynge, current.
1381 as tite, immediately; him bihoveth, he must.
1383 foreberynge, withholding.
1386 myrke, dark.
1390 ficched, fixed.
1393 ought, out.
1394 merkere, darker.
1396 deene, din.
1398 menede, meant.
1403 esi, easy.
1405 to Godward, toward God.
1408 hoomlynesse, familiarity.
1409 presen, press; in, inward.
1410 maistrie, force.
1411 merkenesse, darkness.
1415 to mochil, too much; slili, cleverly.
1416 charge, be concerned about.
1417 wite, know.
1418 freli, freely; presynge, pressing; swilk, such.
1420 unconnynge, ignorance; unclennesse, impurity.
1421 esi, comfortable.
1423 lesteth, desires.
1424 nought, nothing.
1427 maistrie, force; chesinge, choosing.
1429 clevandeli, in a clinging way.
1430 eese1, comfort.
1441 travailande, laboring.
1450 iye, eye.
1455 to Godward, toward God.
1456 coude, was able to.
1458 proferynges, offerings.
1460 ficchid, fixed.
1461 unaviseli, unprompted.
1465 siche, such.
1469 lightnynges, illuminations.
1471 sithen, since.
1472 stondeth, consists.
1474 unseable, invisible.
1476 menede, meant.
1477 myrke, dark.
1479 schynande, shining.
1481 neer, nearer.
1482 wonen, dwell.
1483 hoomli, familiar.
1491 neigheste, approach.
1492 lightnynges, illuminations.
1493 cranés, crannies.
1495 there, where.
1499 Ezechiel, see Ezekiel 40; the following exposition is from Gregory, Homilia in Ezech. 2.5.1 (Clark, p. 312n147).
1500 heldande, inclining; thought, see Textual Notes for a better reading.
1501 meten, measured; brede, breadth; rodde, rod, i.e., the measuring reed of Ezekiel 40:5.
1502 cubites, the biblical cubit is thought approximately equal to 18 inches; the palm, about four inches.
1503 seigh, saw.
1504 uttirwarde, outside.
1505 biggynge, buildings.
1508 iye, eye.
1510 reed, the unit (six cubits and a palm) measured by the rodde, above.
1513 dissert, merit.
1518 myddai feend, midday devil; see Psalms 90:6. See John Block Friedman, Orpheus in the Middle Ages (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1970), pp. 188-89, for discussions of the midday fiend in the Middle English Sir Orfeo and elsewhere.
1523 of, by; enemye, the devil.
1528 noon, none.
1534 kynde, nature; anemptis, in respect to; bisi, active; hemsilf, themselves.
1538 as tite as, as soon as.
1539 wenen, suppose.
1542 as tite, immediately.
1546 bifore-goynge, preceding.
1554 overe, upper; highinge, exaltation.
1555 doon, down; lowynge, humiliating.
1563 blynt, blinded.
1564 unbuxumnesse to the lawis of Hooli Chirche, disobedience to the laws of Holy Church; possibly a reference to Lollardy; see Clark, p. 313n153.
1565 wenen, suppose.
1567 sounen, tend.
1568 states, conditions.
1572 flitynge, contention.
1576 unbuxumnesse, disobedience.
1590 sutil, rarefied.
1596 noghtynge, rendering as nothing.
1597 lastandli, constantly; perfight, perfect.
1603 entermetynge of, busying oneself with.
1606 siker, certain; sothfast, true.
1608 wissen, guide.
1614 profren hem, offer themselves.
1617 lighti, lightened.
1625 pesibli, peacefully.
1627 frielté, frailty.
1638 folw, follow.
1640 sclaundir, slander; disese, discomfort.
1644 letten, hinder.
1646-47 him behoveth to ablen, he must enable.
1647 lettynges, hindrances.
1650 staat ne degré, condition nor rank; connynge, knowledge.
1652 coveiten, desire.
1657 wenynge, supposing.
1658 lete, esteem.
1660 disese, discomfort; unskilfulli, unreasonably.
1661 matier, matter.
1664 paid, satisfied.
1665 avere, possession.
1677 blent, blinded.
1678 delices, delights; metes, foods; paied, satisfied.
1679 bisynes, activity.
1681 grucchith, complains.
1687 him bihoveth for to, he must.
1692 paied, satisfied.
1693 deed, dead.
1694 rewarde, regard.
1701 seere, various.
1702 disposynges, dispositions.
1709 feer, far.
1725 taried, troubled.
1729 verey, true.
1731 nought, nothing.
1732 eese, comfort; menede, meant.
1738 fulsumli, copiously.
1740 adred, afraid; wone, dwell.
1747 sadli, firmly.
1756 bihighte, promised.
1765 weiken, weaken; leesen, lose.
1766 deren, harm.
1778 forthgoynge, way forward, progress.
1779 of, by.
1785 goven, given.
1789 schapli, conforming.
1790 righted, justified.
1793 mowen ben, can be.
1795 bisynesse, activity; aboughte, about.
1803 rightynge, justification; traveilous, difficult.
1806 lettynge, hindrance.
1807 frowardnesse, perversity.
1809 croked, crooked.
1810 right, straight; beykynge and bowynge, smelting and bonding.
1812 bihofful, necessary; froward, perverse.
1813 taried, troubled.
1814 brent ought, refined (burnt). The use of metallurgic metaphors for the refining of the soul are well suited to a penitenital, purgatorial religion. See II.2278-82, below.
1815 dredis and doughtis, fears and doubts.
1816 neerhande, almost.
1817 outaken, except for.
1820 mortfied, made dead; pyned, tormented.
1821 feleable, palpable.
1822 seli, innocent.
1823 wite, know.
1825 levere, rather; pyne, pain.
1830 departen, separate.
1832 stree, straw.
1833 wormood, wormwood.
1838 assaiande, testing.
1841 evenehede, equality; passiden, surpassed.
1847 dere, harm.
1857-58 comfortable, comforting.
1858 suettenesse, sweetness.
1860 yhis, yes.
1863 stonde, consist.
1864 conpuccion, compunction.
1872 so fer forth, to the extent.
1873 woot, know.
1885 uncouth, unknown.
1887 costret, cask; newe wyne, see the parable of the wineskins, Matthew 9:17.
1888 bolneth, swells; bresten, burst.
1889 spourged, fermented; unclennesse, impurity.
1894 mykilnesse, greatness.
1897 selve, same.
1905 kepid, kept.
1907 hope, suppose.
1908 profitynge, proficiency.
1910 neerhande, nearly.
1913 besines, activity.
1915 defaute, defect; hevynesse, gloom.
1916 grucchynge, complaining.
1918 apaied, satisfied; disese, discomfort.
1920 profitande, proficient.
1924 or they witen, before they know.
1929 neighen, approach.
1937 kynde, nature.
1938 soule, for the commonplace ideas following, see Augustine, De quantitate animae, 13.22 (Clark, p. 315n194).
1945 unseable, invisible.
1946 holdande, maintaining.
1947 quykenande, giving life to.
1949 wittes, senses.
1952 undeedli, immortal.
1960 as tite, immediately.
1966 be, by.
1967 kynde, nature.
1971 travelen, labor.
1974 suettenesse, sweetness.
1975 perfight, perfect.
1980 ilke, each.
1985 for whi, because.
1990 reward, regard.
1991 schapin, shape.
1994 wrooth, angry.
2000 there, where.
2006 whann, when.
2007 to, two.
2008 ooned, united.
2010 manhede, humanity.
2012 deedli, mortal; skile, reason.
2014 medful, worthy of reward.
2016 reward, regard.
2022 unseable, invisible.
2025 strengthed, strengthened.
2030 ooned, united.
2036 bi, be.
2039 departe, separate.
2042 kennede, taught; contemplatif, on Mary Magdalene as a contemplative, see Scale, Book I, chapter 11; the classic expression of the idea is in Gregory, Homiliae in Ezech. 2.2.7-12 (PL 76:952-55).
2044 stied, ascended.
2046 trowed, believed.
2047 suffride, allowed.
2053 stied, ascended.
2054 evene, equal.
2061 kennede, taught.
2064 sotel, refined.
2066 manli, human.
2068 delitable, delightful.
2069 swettenesse, sweetness.
2073 inli, internal.
2074 prived, proved.
2080 lightned, illuminated (ignited).
2082 bihighte, promised.
2088 hope, believe.
2101 hope1, suppose.
2102 wheer, whether.
2117 newehede, newness.
2131 overe partie, upper part.
2138 Spoile, Despoil.
2156 on, one; sperid, closed.
2157 righted, justified.
2160 lightneth, illuminates.
2167 be clergie, by learning.
2178 myrk, dark; reward of, regard to.
2184 this, that this.
2188 spered, closed.
2190 trewe, true.
2192 tothir, other.
2193 letteth, hinder.
2196 kynde, nature.
2197 atwixe, between.
2199 beynge, being.
2201 agenstondynge, withstanding; clene, pure; sotil, subtle.
2212 ilike ferforth, alike advanced.
2217 leef, preferred.
2219 clennere, purer.
2223 wenen, suppose.
2226 hiere, higher; stiyeth, climbs.
2228 suffrable, permissable; kunne, know how to.
2240 stide, place.
2242 sutilté, subtlety.
2244 stide, place.
2246 persen, pierce.
2255 schale, shell; note, nut.
2256 beynge, being.
2263 quykeneth, gives life to.
2271 beest, best.
2272 skile, reason.
2273 soothfastnesse, truth.
2278 selve wise, same manner.
2286 conne not, know nothing.
2288 inowgh, enough.
2292 trowing, belief.
2304 biynge, being.
2321 Holi writeres seyn, Clark (p. 317n235) suggests Augustine, De trinitate, 15.18.32 and 15.19.37, as well as Bernard and William of St. Thierry.
2333 feer, far.
2343 departen, share.
2347 manhede, humanity.
2350 siker, secure.
2352 biynge, buying, i.e., redemption.
2356 autier, altar.
2360 skile, reason.
2361 arrected, accounted.
2362 approprid, appropriated.
2364 oneth it, conjoins it (the soul).
2368 witte, intelligence.
2374 biynge, redemption.
2375 Sarsenes, Saracens.
2377 biynge, redemption.
2378 rightynge, justification.
2379 halewinge, making holy.
2386 agenstonden, resist.
2391 conversacioun, manner of living; wordli loveris, lovers of the world.
2414 fulhede, fullness.
2426 wenen, suppose.
2434 meedful, worthy of reward.
2437 bisi, busy.
2449 neigheth, approaches.
2455 buxum, obedient.
2458 kunne, know how to.
2460 maistrie, force.
2461 medefulli, in a manner worthy of reward.
2465 medful, worthy of reward; yyf, if.
2469 moun, may.
2482 ferli, from a distance.
2483 veryli, truly.
2496 kunnynge, knowledge.
2498 repreved, condemned.
2501 chargen, value.
2503 partenere, partner; see Textual Notes.
2509 schedynge, separation.
2510 oneth, unites.
2513 lightnen, illuminate.
2524 loveli, lovingly.
2534 lightned, illuminated.
2535 fulheed, fullness.
2539 unspecable, unspeakable.
2541 sadnesse, resolve; clennesse, purity; lovereden, love.
2551 highere, upper.
2556 stabeli, steadily.
2559 buxum, obedient.
2560 umbischadueth, overshadows.
2562 disese, discomfort.
2564 sleth, slays.
2579 agenstonde, resist.
2582 connynge, knowledge; preisynge, praising.
2583 yvel paid, ill-satisfied.
2591 leneth, inclines.
2596 unmaad, uncreated.
2598 agens, in comparison with; anemptis, in respect to; reward, regard.
2600 evene, equal; ilike, alike.
2605 acconttid, accounted.
2606 kynde, nature.
2608 beynge, being.
2613 lenynge, inclination.
2618 not, nothing.
2619 liketh, pleases.
2620 kunynge, knowledge; sevene artis of clergie, i.e., the seven liberal arts.
2621 deynté, value.
2622 levere, rather.
2631 hevynesse, gloominess.
2638 maketh no fors, has no concern; lakken, blame; preisen, praise.
2639 despicen, despise; as fore hymsilf, as far as he is concerned.
2640 paied, satisfied.
2641 levere, rather.
2643 sikerere, more certain.
2647 undircasteth, casts beneath; siker, secure; warde, guardianship.
2650 schelde, shield.
2652 umbiclippe, embrace.
2656 despiced, despised; repreved, condemned.
2658 fleynge, flying.
2660 restyngli, continuously.
2662 stabli, steadily.
2663 umbilapped, surrounded.
2664 glenteth, glances.
2670 ilikeful, to the same extent.
2676 perfighte, perfect.
2682 pesiblité, peaceability; lovereden, love.
2683 maistrie, feat of skill.
2685 anemptis, in respect to; disese, disturb; unskilfulli, unreasonably.
2690 weikeli, weakly.
2692 unskilfulle, irrational.
2693 maistrie, feat of skill.
2695 pesible, peaceable; suffrande, tolerant.
2697-98 he chargeth it not, it does not concern him.
2702 lyvere, rather; eese, comfort.
2706 harm, injury.
2707 levere, more desirable.
2709 disese, trouble; falleth, occurs; withouteforth, externally.
2710 neer, nearer.
2719 goven, given; hooli martires, see Pseudo-Augustine, Sermo de nativitate S. Laurentii 206 (PL 39:2127); Clark, p. 321n288.
2721 yeeden, went.
2724 felnesse, fierceness.
2726 heighnesse, exaltation.
2727 demynge, judgment.
2731 autier, altar.
2732 menged, mingled.
2734 wenen, suppose.
2735 myddai feend, midday devil; see also Scale, II.1518, above.
2750 deynté, value.
2753 chargeth, values.
2754 price, value; deynteli, preciously.
2757 pleten, debate.
2764 dispendynge, spending.
2766 coveitise, desire; for whi, for the reason that.
2767 up, upon.
2770 Outetaken, Except.
2771 hym were levere, he would rather.
2776 dispendynge, spending.
2778 stree, straw; defaute, fault.
2791 conpleccioun, constitution.
2794 discrecioun, careful judgment.
2799 besynesse, activity.
2802 leverere, more desirable.
2805 reward, regard.
2806 stabli, steadily.
2810 outetaken, except for; curie, cooking.
2815 accidie, sloth.
2816 lifli, lively; spedi, hastening.
2817 nameli, especially.
2822 pyne, pain.
2823 disese, trouble.
2836 irke, disgusted.
2841 wordeli, worldly.
2848-49 ofte sithes, often.
2856 sotil, subtle.
2858 kyndeli, natural.
2862 hope1, expect.
2863 lighti, light-filled; merkenesse, darkness.
2864 nought, nothing.
2865 oonlynesse, solitude.
2866 liyfli, lively; waker, wakeful.
2876 liyf, life.
2877-78 so fer forth, to the extent.
2882 noie, noise.
2883 tariynge, distress.
2885 sikirnesse, certainty.
2895 spedi, advantageous.
2897 persynge, piercing.
2906 flitynge, contention.
2923 overgooth, overcomes; maistrie, force; sen, see.
2926 yye, eye.
2929 undeynté, disdain; buxum, obedient.
2936 highed, exalted.
2938 straunged, estranged.
2940 sighe, saw.
2942 hoomlynesse, familiarity.
2946 oonlynesse, solitude.
2948 oonli stide, solitary place.
2949 noious, hurtful.
2967 bihotith, promises.
2985 sekely, sickly.
2990 releef, remains; leveth, lives; sadnesse, firmness.
2994 deeded, made dead.
2995 taried, troubled.
2999 sperynge, closing; dooth the soule slepen, causes the soul to sleep.
3000 helid, concealed.
3003 sighen, saw.
3004 heer, their.
3005 dene, din.
3007 spered, closed.
3016 so feer forth, to the extent that.
3019 sighhande, sighing for.
3025 ofte sithes, often.
3026 freelté, frailty.
3028 weike, weak.
3033 merke, dark.
3034 sotil, subtle.
3043 felable, capable of being felt.
3046 wantynge, deficiency.
3047 maketh straunge, remains remote.
3048 siker inough, certain enough.
3054 yoten, poured.
3054-55 Thi name Jhesu, on the association of this verse of the Canticle with devotion to the name of Jesus, see Clark, p. 324n334.
3085-86 comonynge of, communion with.
3094 truthe, faith.
3095 rewarden, esteem.
3103 homlinesse, familiarity.
3106 feelid, felt.
3107 conne, know how to.
3109 yight, yet.
3110 reward, regard.
3112 neighynge, approaching; oonynge, uniting.
3113 unseable, invisible.
3117 confortable2, comforting; oughte, out.
3118 noie, hurt.
3124 fer, far.
3141 ilike, alike.
3146 or, before.
3147 dooth, causes.
3148 sowneth, sounds.
3149 wite, know.
3150 sobirté, soberness.
3151 duelleth, dwells.
3152 reccheleshede, recklessness.
3159 blont, dull, stupid, morally blind; boistous, rough.
3160 can not, knows nothing.
3161 cold and drie, dominated by bile.
3162 sotiel, keen.
3163 buxum, obedient.
3164 iye, eye.
3168 sautier, psalter; lewid, ignorant.
3171 renable, eloquent.
3172 taried, disturbed.
3181 lovynges, praisings.
3183 apeert, open.
3187 irkynge, annoyance.
3189 Dressed, Directed.
3190 reek, smoke.
3191 stiynge, rising; iye, eye.
3192 suete, sweet.
3194 flesch flie, fly (the insect).
3195 lapped, surrounded.
3196 plaiand, playing; lovynges, praisings.
3197 homli, familiar.
3198 felawli, companionable.
3202 plenté, fullness.
3206 besied, occupied.
3215 trompe, trumpet.
3216 lovynges, praises.
3223 queynte, elegant.
3227-28 thee thar, it is necessary for you.
3235 reeve, rob.
3241 siker, certain.
3243 wite, know.
3246 conpuccion, compunction.
3247 boistousli, roughly.
3248 feelid, felt.
3250 selve, same.
3255 mait, might; siker, certain.
3261 mow, be able to be; loned, inclined.
3265 deynté, value.
3271 on, one.
3281 helid, concealed; sendeel, rich cloth.
3285 laynynge, concealment.
3289 not, nothing.
3296 abite, habit.
3307 resonable, rational.
3309 litterali, morali, mistili, and heveneli, literally, morally (or tropologically), mystically (or allegorically), and heavenly (or anagogically); the traditional four senses of scripture; suffre, allow.
3311 kunne departe, know how to separate; toon, one; tother, other.
3312 mystihede, the mystical.
3323 palet, palate.
3327 white teeth, see Augustine, De doctrina christiana, 2.6.7; Clark, p. 326n373.
3328 inli, inner.
3332 kunnen, know how to; kyndeli, natural.
3333 actuel, actual.
3334 Carpe, Speak.
3338 Jhesuis, Jesus'.
3340 connynge, knowledge.
3347 freelté, frailty; ablenesse, capability.
3353 anemptis, concerning.
3355 ablid, empowered.
3356 lightned, illuminated; lettynge, hindrance.
3357 comonynge, community.
3359 ordinatli, regularly.
3360 sadli, seriously.
3364 bi so, because.
3369 suettere, sweeter.
3378 ordinat, well ordered.
3386 clei, clay.
3388 delices, delights.
3390 irkenesse, weariness.
3391 bihetynges, promises.
3399 price, value.
3400 connynges, knowledge.
3405 clene, pure.
3410 Whidirso yeede, Wherever went; wheles, wheels.
3412 frowardnesse, perversity.
3413 aftir that, according to how.
3414 assai, test.
3415 mowen, are able to.
3416 myddai fend, see gloss on II.1518.
3422 leith of hande, puts aside.
3424 herende, hearing; stevene, sound.
3426 Him, Himself; eighful, terrible.
3437 lovende, praising; wondrende, wondering.
3440 tome, leisure.
3445 or, before.
3447 wowere, wooer.
3470 université, totality.
3472 umgo, go about.
3475 ordenaunce, ordered plan.
3488 domes, judgments.
3490 comfortable, comforting.
3493 kende, nature.
3495 clumsid caitif, clumsy wretch.
3496 deren, harm.
3497 upsodoun, upside down; spoileth, despoils.
3503 entre into a swyne, see Mark 5.11-13.
3504 noien, harm.
3510 demed, judged.
3513 wite, know.
3518 schent, injured; faren, dealt; of, by.
3520 deereth, harms.
3521 loovynges, praisings.
3527 sondriheed, diversity.
3534 kenne, teach.
3539 yhis, yes.
3542 teeld, told; lightnynges, illuminations.
3545 not, nothing.
3547 kynde, nature.
3548 highed, exalted.
3553 oonheed, unity.
3555 matier, matter.
3558 trouthe, faith.
3564 for whi, because.
3569 université, totality.
3571 privetees, secrets.
3577 rownynges, whisperings.
3587 greithynge, preparing; hertis, harts; thikke, thicket.
3588 stirten, start.
3589 thikke, thicket; privytees, secrets.
3593 wissynge, guidance.
THE SCALE OF PERFECTION, BOOK II: TEXTUAL NOTES
9 and that a worthi image. B omits.
13-14 of Him. B omits.
14 and schal speken of. B omits.
15 liknesse. B: ymage.
18 myrkenesse. B: derknesse; B consistently uses derk- where MS has myrk- or merk-. beestli. B omits.
27 goodnesse. B adds: ferst.
38 the trespaas. B: hit.
40 of. MS: of of.
44 oweth. B adds: of duyt? or dette.
48 alle. B omits.
49 deede. B: deth.
56 kyndeli. B omits.
59 Crist. B omits.
67 man. B omits. thingis. B: God on thyng.
72 He was bounde to rightfulnesse, but. Inserted from margin. dyen. B: deth.
76 manere deede. B: mannes deth.
86 His. B adds: preciose.
99 troweth. B: leeveth (B regularly uses leeven where MS has trowen).
111 untrouthe. B: unbyleeve (here and elsewhere).
115 other comende or comen. B: comande as in the olde lawe or comen as now.
125 and paynemes. B omits. kepynge. B: knowynge.
126 and as Cristen men doon. B omits.
143 trouthe. B: feyth (here and elsewhere).
149 whiche. B adds: restorynge and.
150 in feith. B omits.
174 medlere. B: medlynge.
184 to alle chosen soulis that were lyvande in tyme of His passioun. Added from margin.
192 maad. B omits.
212 feith. B adds: only.
214 thorugh lengthe. B: by processe.
216 yit he mai. B omits.
217 not withstondynge al. Following withstondynge, MS has synne, which seems to be expunged; B: a3eynstondynge.
222 reformynge. MS: reformyge.
241 whiche. Preceding whiche is a decorative filler.
242 ther. The scribe=s usual usage is the southern forms, her(e), hire.
245 as swithe. B: anoon.
247 untrouthe. B adds: of byleeve.
272 mekenesse. B: mekenesse and obedience.
291 Chirche. B adds: and the feyth.
297 schrift. B: confessioun.
340 oonli. B omits.
343 unseable. B: that is gostly and invisible.
344 partener. Hussey (1992, pp. 103B04) suggests the reading percener (Asharer@); see the same phrase below in chapter 36 with note.
348 man. B: mannes soule.
372 trouthe. B: feyth.
396 ire. B: wreththe.
heved. B: capital.
399 as tite. B omits.
409 likli. B omits.
435 trouthe. B: leve or feyth.
445 merci. B adds: and godnesse.
459 desert. B: desire.
468 hem bihoveth. B: moste they.
470 neer. B omits.
473 fightynge. B: chydynge.
475 he1. MS: he preceded by an expunged thou.
477 outetaken. B: save.
478 werk. B: dede.
486 feer. B: free.
487 feer. B: free.
499 double. B: dedly.
500 resoun. Capitalized in MS here and elsewhere, but not consistently. See also, for example, line 2080.
524 light. B: sight (perhaps correctly).
535 and that he feelith no more of it. B omits.
538 and certayn. B omits.
560 thee. B adds: for (almost required by the sense).
567 yif it be gracious. MS: yif it be gracicious; B omits.
569 God. B adds: that is, they ssal see God.
583 this. B adds: foule.
603 defaded. B: defaced.
620 weike. B: fable.
625 likynges. B: styrenges.
628 irketh. B: weryeth.
632 the. B adds: evele. defoulynge. MS: defoulyge.
641 in the whiche he was born in. B: the wiche bar hym.
645 feelist. B: sechest.
648 trouthe stilli. B: feyth styfly.
651 trouth. B: byleve, that is trewe feyth.
665 God2. B: hym.
673 ymage. B: lyknesse.
682 heveneli. B: gostly.
692 loveth not. not written above line; B: leeveth.
709 proud. B: mysproude.
716 unwillid. B: evele willed.
741 stangno. Perhaps an error, but more likely a possible spelling of Vulgate stagno.
743 worschiperis of maumetis. Inserted from margin. dool. B: here part.
767 ugglen. B: abhorreth.
796 flee. B: leeve.
805 peyne. B adds: he ssal knowen it.
814 stoppe. B: stoppeth.
840 thei han no. B: lakkynge of.
854 That. MS: That crossed out.
863 brente. B: brought.
876 schal langure. B: be feble and syklich.
878 and reformyd. B omits.
884 stele. B: gree.
913 come to mychil grace. B omits.
917 geven. B adds: hym besyly.
920 foule. B omits.
943 yernynge. B: covetynge.
957 dedli. MS: deeli; B: dedly.
960 first. Inserted above the line; B omits.
978 othir wilful custum. B: here customes.
996 to deedli synne. B omits.
1019 and. MS: and and.
1022 kenne. B: teche.
1025 lyvynge. B: lernynge, perhaps correctly.
1033 mykil as. B omits.
1062 God. B omits.
1067 dedes. MS: des; B: dedys.
1074 biddynge. B omits.
1099 the schorteste and the redieste helpe that I knowe in this wirkynge. B omits.
1134 bigynnynge. MS: bigynnnynge (otiose abbr. stroke).
1142 speciali. B omits.
1145 strynges. MS: stirynges.
1147 that1. MS: that that.
1160 tome or voide. B: empty.
1172 lene. B: abyde.
1204 flawme and the hattere is the. B omits.
1230 of the love of Jhesu. B: fro the love of God.
1235 for to love. B: the love of.
1239 first and. B omits.
1260 a good. B: the.
1277 oonly. Inserted above the line; B: thenk oonly (perhaps rightly).
1292 and1. B adds: veyn.
1315 thee. B adds: charge hit noght, jangle naght therwyth, ne angre the naght.
1318 strengthe it. B adds: and meynteyne hit.
1328 wirkynge. MS: wirkyge.
1343 therfore see Hym gostly yif thou myght. Inserted from margin.
1368 spered. B: closed.
1369 knowynge. B: likynge.
1378 thus. B: and therfore he that loveth hym he is in lyght everelastynge, as.
1381 him bihoveth a while abiden. B: he moste abyde a wyle.
1384 the affeccioun and. B omits.
1385 and loven. B omits.
1389 fleschli2. B: bodily.
1390 bounden. B adds: ne peyned.
1395 light. B: day.
1396-97 werldli desires. B omits.
1422 feling of. B omits.
1427 chesinge. B: clefynde.
1437 bryngeth. B adds: hit (perhaps rightly).
1457 merkenesse. MS: altered from mekenesse; ir inserted above the line between e and k.
1474 unseable. B: invisible.
1482 thee. B omits.
1486 To hem that wonen. B: that is, wonynge. the. fals inserted here from margin, but expunged.
1500 thought. Marginal gloss: inere (Ainner@); B: sowth. Despite the gloss, B=s reading is better (see Ezekiel 40:2).
1501 rodde. B: reed.
1505 biggynge. B: beldenges.
1508 liyf. B: hylle. iye. B: syght.
1509-10 semeth sumwhat, but it. B omits.
1523 of the enemye. MS: of enemye. Emendation may be unnecessary; see the heading for I.984 (chapter 38), for feend without the article.
1527 ney. ney inserted above the line preceding an expunged newe; B omits newe.
1533 ben. B adds: byfore.
1534 hemsilf. Corrected from himsilf. thinges. B adds: outward.
1537 wepynge. B: wakynge.
1539 holi and. B: hooly.
1545 knowinge. B: cunnynge.
1553 knowynge. MS: knowyge.
1561 knowynge. MS: knowyge.
1564 and. B: thorugh.
1569 zele. B: love.
1572 flitynge. B: chydynge.
1573 that knowynge. B: such cunnynge.
1574 God. MS: good, with the second o expunged; B: God.
1577 the fendes. B: comynly.
1578 fendes. B: feyned.
1580 blake. B omits.
1591 undirstandynge. B: gostly knowynge.
1598 risen. B: spryngyn.
1599 kyndele. B adds: or tenden.
1612 ne ypocrisies. B omits. into a soule. B: in.
1613 resten. B: rysen.
1639-40 goo where. B: do what.
1656 resten. B: rysen.
1684 mai1. B adds: naght.
1700 dyverse. B: sondry.
1701 seere. B: diverse.
1703 gate. B: way (and elsewhere in this chapter).
1716 lif. B: love.
1733 nought. B: nyght.
1735 brent. B: brought.
1747 sadli. B omits. mekeli. B omits. fareth bi it. B: falleth therby.
1753 and1. MS omits; B: and.
1762 knowynge. MS: knowyge.
1783 forsakynge. MS: forsakyge.
1799 bigynnyng. MS: bigynnyg.
1801 in conpunccion. B: of contemplacioun.
1810 beykynge. B: bethynge.
1811 staaf. B: stykke.
1814 brent. B: brought.
1823 for it schal not wite where ne how. Inserted from margin.
1829 feelynge. B: lyvynge.
1830 luste. B: the love.
a name="1840">1840 receyve up hem. B: rysen up.
1842 knowynge. MS: knowyge.
1847-48 the soule. B: thee.
1888 bolneth. B: swelleth.
1920 falleth. B: faryth.
1948 thought. B: body.
1953 and for to love the sovereyn goodnesse. Inserted from margin.
1962 undirstondyng. MS: undirstondyg.
1977 thenkynge. MS: thenkyge.
2001 worschipen. B omits.
2005 is1. B adds: good and.
2006 lasse. B adds: and (perhaps rightly).
2017 in. MS: in in.
2042 contemplatif. MS: conteplatif.
2068 heeryng. MS: heeryg.
2096 reformynge. MS: reformyge.
2103 schorter. Last two letters illegible; B: schortere.
2149 hool. B: holy.
2152 oolde. B: holy.
2166 blyndli. B adds: and nakedly. savourli. B: unsavourly.
2180 eum. Not in MS; see 1 John 3:2.
2188 spered. B: yclosed.
2197 Jhesu. B adds: God.
2205 thorugh grace. B omits.
2212 ferforth. B: forward.
2221 openynge. MS: openyge.
2240 worthiere. B: worthynesse.
2264 privei. B omits.
2271 sothfastnesse. MS: sostfastnesse.
2286 not. B adds: speken.
2296 aren. B adds: temporal and.
2299-2300 Thus seith oure Lord. B omits.
2302 Jhesu Crist. B omits.
2306 love. A following of Jhesu is expunged.
2313 that. B adds: in knowynge.
2318 symple. B: synful.
2335 mekenesse. B: mochelnesse.
2343 departen. B: share.
2370 forgyvnesse. MS: for3ynesse.
2377 biynge. Corrected from biggynge (i.e., Abuying@).
2406 wrecchid. B: wykkede.
2429 streynen. B: steren.
2439 Jhesu. B: God.
2445 schewynge of. B omits.
2460 fervours. B: by fervours.
2478 bothe. B: god.
2479 of God. B: goode.
2483 for the tyme. B omits.
2503 partenere. B: takere; Hussey (1992, pp. 103B04) suggests percener (Asharer@); compare the same phrase above in chapter 8; and see Clark, p. 319n263.
2509 schedynge. B: disseveraunce.
2515-16 and it schal werken . . . schalt biholden Him. Interpolated from the margin; B: . . .biholden Jhesu.
2518 Ceese yee. B: Taketh heede.
2521 God. B: God and man.
2540 pacience. B: of penaunce.
2549 alle. Inserted above the line.
2564 biholding. MS: biholdig.
2580 disposeth. B: dispyseth.
2584 forgyvnesse. MS: foryynesse.
2605 veyn. Written over erasure.
2607 into. MS: into into.
2611 circumstaunces. MS: circustaunces.
2636 bihaldynge. MS: bihaldyge.
2645 ai upon. B: evere opene to.
2646 snaris. B adds: or greves.
2652 of God. B omits.
2660 passynge. B adds: and weyward.
2694 risynges. B: stirynge.
2698 he wil not ben angrid ne sterid agens hem. Inserted from margin.
2721 yeeden. B: wende or yeeden.
2734 wronge. B omits.
2742 thorugh his. B: of the. dede. B adds: of that other man.
2752 and passen. B omits.
2773 the love of Jhesu. B: Godes love.
2792 Jhesu. B: God.
2815 accidie. B: slouthe.
2840 heren. B: spekyn, huyren.
2865 or deepnesse. B omits.
2895 apostil. B: gospel.
2896 ancipiti. B omits.
2906 flitynge. B: chydynge.
2929 undeynt?. B: dedeyn.
2946 ne peynfulli. B omits. oonlynesse. B: wyldernesse.
2947 an. B: wyldernesse or.
2949 of thought. B: or wyldernesse.
2954 oonlynesse of bodi. B: that.
2965 in. B: thy.
2973 the liyf of his bodi. B: thys bodyly lyf.
2975 bygynynge. MS: bygynnge.
2978 and likynge. B omits.
2981 perfite. B omits. bygynyng. MS: bygynng.
3003 that wakeneden. B: wakynge.
3004 is. B: is understonden.
3005 dene. B: dyynge.
3007 wordli. B: erthly.
3019 sothli. B: softly.
3023 openynge. MS: openyge.
3033 abidynge. B: hydynge.
3040 feelinge. B: fleynge
3043 herte. B: soule.
3045 loves. B: lustys.
3049 to wordli love. B omits.
3058 sodaynly. MS: sosodaynly; so sodaynly makes sense, but the second so begins the verso and is thus more likely to be a repetition error.
3060 merthe. B: myght.
3064 feleabli. B: evere.
3065 brennynge. B omits.
3072 grace. B adds: the lasse ys the grace.
3103 reverence. MS: rereverence.
3120 favour. B: savour.
3124 fer. B: fre.
3139 and of Hooli Chirche. B omits.
3169 lettred men. B: lettred.
3190-91 reek stiynge. B: smoke rysynge.
3191 iye. B: eyre.
3194 flesch flie. B: flesschly.
3196 plaiand. B: reekynge. Jhesu. B adds: hit yeldeth grace to Jhesu.
3219 openynge. MS: openyge.
3229 Jhesu. B: God. Hym. B: God.
3246 special. B omits. of conpuccion. B: in a bygynnere, that is called grace of contemplacion.
3248 and seen. B omits. goostli. B: godly. betere. B adds: ne may no betere.
3261 loned. B: lened.
3265 seen. B adds: and felen.
3267 mekeli, til. B: til thou come to.
3269 love. B: grace.
3272-73 I wole of thise foure. B: of these foure that me lust.
3279 to1. MS: fro added above the line after to, perhaps as an alternative.
3283 a clene. B omits.
3286 trusteth. B: troweth or byleveth.
3289 God. B: Jhesu.
3290 favour. B: fervour.
3305 mysterie. B: ministrynge.
3330 vertues. B: swetnesse.
3388 neverthelees yit. B: noght for than.
3405 aren. B adds: fayre.
3409 feelynge. B: styrynges.
3413 stirynge. B: the stondynge. toucheth. B: techeth.
3414 myghti. B: syker.
3433 favour. B: savoure.
3434 o. B: that is, that.
3437 wondrende. B: worschepande.
3443 spouse. B: perfyght spouse.
3444 highnesse. B adds: and the fulnesse.
3467 Songes. B adds: of the Spouse.
3472 umgo. B: go aboughte.
3480 light. B: love.
3481 grace. B: mercy.
3496 deren. Marginal gloss: or greve.
3505 and troble us. B omits.
3509 is. MS: his; B: is.
3519 Holi Goost. B: myght of the hygheste.
3524 heere. A following in this liyf has been expunged; not in the Table of Contents preceding Book II.
3525 selve. B adds: lyght, perhaps correctly.
3527 sondriheed. B: diversit? of sondry.
3529 of the Hooli Goost. B omits.
3531 maner. B omits.
3532 spirites. Replaces expunged creatures.
3535 soule. B adds: and they illumynen the soule gratiously, they conforten the soule with swete wordes sodeynly sowned in a clene herte and yyf eny disese falle gostly they serven the soule.
3551 bifore. B adds: and therfore.
3565 of1. MS: of in.
3587 greithynge. B: ordeinynge.
3588 stirten fro the herthe of. B: lepen over.
3589 the thikke, that aren. B omits.
3590 bihooldynges. B adds: sothfastliche grounded in grace and mekenesse.
3592 callid. B adds: newe.
This chapitle scheweth that a man is seid the image of God aftir the soule and not aftir
For as moche as thou coveitest greteli and askest it pur charité for to heere more of an
image the whiche y have bifore tymes in partie discried to thee, therfore I wole glaadli
with drede falle to thi desire; and helpynge the grace of oure Lord Jhesu Crist, in whom
I fulliche truste, y schal opene to thee a litil more of this image. And in the bigynnynge,
yif thou wole witen pleynli what I mene bi this image, I telle thee forsothe that y
undirstonde not ellis but thyn owen soule; for thi soule and my soule and everi resonable
soule is an image, and that a worthi image, for it is the ymage of God, as the apostel
seith: Vir est ymago dei (1 Corinthians 11:7). That is, man is the image of God and maad
to the image and to the liknesse of Him, not in bodili schap withoutin, but in the myghtes
of it withinne, as Holi Writ seith: Formavit deus hominem ad similitudinem suam (Gen-
esis 1:27). That is, oure Lord God schoop in soule man to the ymage and the liknesse of
Him. This is the ymage that I have spoke of and schal speken of. This ymage, maad to
the liknesse of God in the first schapynge was wondirli faire and bright, fulle of brennynge
love and goostli light. But thorugh synne of the first man Adam it was disfigured and
forschapen into anothir liknesse, as y have bifore seid. For it fil from that gostli light and
that heveneli foode into that peynful myrkenesse and beestli lust of this wrecchid liyf,
exilid and flemed out fro the heritage of hevene that it schuld han had yif it hadde
stonden, into the wrecchidnesse of this erthe, and aftyrward into the prisoun of helle,
ther to have ben withouten eende. Fro the whiche prisoun to that heveneli heritage it
myght nevere have comen agen, but yif it hadde be reformed to the first schap and to
the first liknesse. But that reformynge myght not ben had by noon ertheli man, for
everiche man was in the sam meschief, and noon myght suffice to helpe hymsilf, and
so mykil lasse ony othir man. Therfore it nedide bi doon by Hym that is more thanne a
man, and that is oonli God; and that was skilful, that He schulde reforme and restoren
man to blisse yif he schulde be saaff, whiche of His eendeles goodnesse schoop him
thereto. Hou thanne hit myght be reformed, and hou it is reformed to the firste likenesse
bi Him that first formed it, bi the grace of God schal I telle thee, for that is the entente
of this writinge.
Hou it nedide to mankynde that oonli thorugh the passioun of oure Lord it schulde be
restorid and reformed that was forsaken bi the first synne.
The rightwisenesse of God asketh that a trespaas doon be not forgyven but yif amendis
be maad for it, yif it mai be doon. Now is it sooth mankynde, that was hool in Adam the
first man, trespaced agens God so wondir grevousli whanne hit forfetide the special
biddynge of God and consentide to the fals conceile of the feend, that it deservide
rightwiseli for to have be departid from Him and dampned to helle withouten ende - so
fer forth, that stondinge the rightwisenesse of God, the trespaas myght not be forgeven
but yif amendis and ful satisfaccioun were first maad therfore. But this amendes myght
no man make that was man oonli and come out of Adam by kyndeli generacion, for this
skile, for the trespas and the unworschipe was endeles gret, and therfore it passide
mannys myght for to make amendis for it. And also for this skile: he that hath trespaced
and schal make amendis, hym bihoveth gyve to hym that he trespacide unto al that he
oweth though that he hadde not trespaced, and also over that, hym bihoveth gyve him
sumwhat that he oweth not, but oonli for that he trespacid. But oonly mankynde hadde
not wherwith he myght paie God for his trespaas, over that he ought Hym. For what
good dede that man myght doon in bodi or in soule, it was but his dette. For everi man
oweth, as the Gospel seith, for to love God with al his herte and al his soule and alle his
myghtes; and betere myght he not doo than this. And neverthelees this deede sufficed
not to the reformynge of mankynde, ne this myght not he doon but yif he hadde first be
reformed. Than nedid it that yif mannys soule schulde be reformed and the trespaas
maad good, that oure Lord God Hymsilf schulde reforme this image and make amendis
for this trespaas, syn that no man myght. But that myght He not doo in His Godhede,
for He myght not, ne ought not, make amendis bi suffrynge of peyne in His owen kynde.
Therfore it nedide that He schulde take the same mankynde that hadd trespaced, and
bicome man; and that myght He not by the comon lawe of kyndeli generacion, for it
was impossibile Goddis sone to be born of a touchid woman. Therfore He moste bicome
man thorugh a gracious generacioun, bi wirkynge of the Holi Goost, of a clene gracious
maiden, oure Ladi Seynt Marie. And so was it doon. For oure Lord Jhesu Crist, Goddis
sone, bicam man, and thorugh His precious deeth that He suffride made amendis to the
Fadir of hevene for mannys gilt. And that myght He wel doon, for He was God, and He
oughte not for Hymsilf, but for as mykil as He was man born of the same kynde that
Adam was that first trespacede. And so, though He ought not for His owen persone, for
Himsilf myght not synne, neverthelees He ought it of His free wille for the trespas of
mankynde, the whiche kynde He took for savacioun of man of His endeles merci. For
sooth it is ther was nevere man that myght yelde to God onythinge of his owene that he
ought not, but oonli this blissid man Jhesu Crist. For He myght paien thingis that He
oughte not as for Himsilf, and that was not but o thynge: and that was for to gyve His
preciouse liyf by wilfull takynge of deeth for love of sothfastnesse. This ought He nout.
As mykil good as He myght doo to the worschipe of God in His liyf, was al but dette.
But for to take deeth for love of ryghtwisenesse, He was not bounden therto.
He was bounde to rightfulnesse, but He was not bounden to dyen. For deeth is oonli
a peyne ordeyned of God to man for his owen synne; but oure Lorde Jhesu synned
nevere, ne He myght not synnen, and therefore He oughte nought for to dien. And yit
wilfulli He diede, than paid He to God more thanne He oughte. And syn that was the
beste manere deede and most worthi that evere was doon, therfore was it resonable that
the synne of mankynde schulde be forgyven, in as mykil as mankynde had founden a
man of the same kynde withoutin weem of synne, that is Jhesu, that myght make
amendis for the trespaas doon and myght paien oure Lord God al that he oughte, and
overmore, that he oughte not. Thanne siththe oure Lord Jhesu, God and man, diede
thus for savacion of mannys soule, it was rightful that synne schulde be forgyven and
mannys soule, that was His image, schulde mow be reformyd and restorid to the first
likenesse and to the blisse of hevene.
This passioun of oure Lord and this precious deeth is the ground of al the reformynge
of mannes soule, withouten whiche myght nevere mannys soule have be reformed to
the liknes of Him, ne come to the blisse of hevene. But blissid mot He be in al His
wirkynge. Now is it so, that thorugh vertu of His passioun the brennynge suerd of
cherubyn that droof Adam ought of paradise is now put awei, and the eendeles gates of
hevene aren opened to ilk man that wole entre in therto. For the persone of Jhesu is
bothe God and kynge, evene in blisse to the Fadir, and as man He is portour at the gate
redi to receyve ilke a soule that wole be reformed heere in this liyf to His liknesse. For
now mai ilke a soule, yif that he wole, be reformed to the liknesse of God, sith that the
trespaas is forgeven and the amendis bee maad thorugh Jhesu for the first gilt.
Neverethelees, though this be sooth, alle soules have not the profite ne the fruit of His
precious passioun, ne aren reformed to the liknes of Hym.
That Jewes and paynymes and also fals Cristene men are not reformed effectuali thorugh
vertu of this passioun for here owen defaute.
Two maner of men aren not reformed bi vertu of His passioun. Oon is of hem that
troweth it not; anothir is of hem that loven it not. Jewes and paynemes han not the
benefeetes of this passioun, for thei trowen it not. Jewes trowen not that Jhesu man,
the sone of the Virgine Marie, is Goddis sone of hevene. Also paynemes trowen not that
the sovereyn wisdom of God wolde bicome sone of man, and in manhede suffre the
peynes of deeth. And therfore the Jewes holden the prechynge of the Croos of the
passioun of Crist not but sclaundre and blasfemye, and the paynemys holden it but
fantom and folie. But trewe Cristen men holden it the sovereyne wisdom of God and His
grete myght. Thus Seynt Poul seide: Predicamus vobis Christum crucifixum, Iudeis
quidem scandalum, gentibus autem stulticiam: ipsis autem vocatis Iudeis, atque Grecis,
Christum dei virtutem (1 Corinthians 1:23-24). That is: We prechen to you that we
trowen, that Jhesu Crist crucified, the sone of Marie, is Goddis sone, sovereyne vertu
and wisdom of God. The whiche Jhesu to Jewes and to paynemys that trowen not in
Hym is but sclaundre and folie. And therfore thise men bi there untrouthe putten hemsilf
fro the reformynge of her owen soule, and stondynge there untrouthe, schullen thei
never be saaf ne come to blisse of hevene. For sooth it is, fro the bigynnynge of the
world unto the laste ende, was there nevere man saaf, ne schal be saaf, but yif he hadde
or have trouth general or special in Jhesu Crist, other comende or comen. For right as
alle chosen soulis that weren bifore the incarnacioun undir the Eelde Testament hadden
trouthe in Crist, that He schulde come and reforme mannys soule, eithir openli, as
patriarkes and prophetes and othire holi men hadden, or elles priveli and generali, as
children and othere simple and imperfight soulis hadden that knowen not speciali the
pryvetees of the incarnacioun, right so alle the chosen soulis undir the Newe Testament
han trowed in Crist that He is comen, oithir openli and felyngeli, as gosteli men and wise
men han, or ellis generali, as children that dien cristened and othere symple and lewed
soulis han that aren norischid in the bosom of Holi Chirche. Syn this is sooth, thanne
thynketh me that thise men gretli and grevousli erren that seyn that Jewis and Sarcenys
and paynemes, bi kepynge of hire owen lawe, mown be maad saaf, though thei trowen
not in Jhesu Crist as Holi Chirche troweth and as Cristen men doon, in as mykil as thei
wene that her owen trouth is good and siker and sufficient to here savacion, and in that
trouthe thei doon, as hit semeth, many good deedes of rightwisenesse, and peraventure
yif thei knewen that Cristen feith were betere than here is, thei wolde take it and leve
here owen, that thei therfore schulde be saaf. Nai, it is not ynowgh so. For Crist, God
and man, is bothe wei and eende, and He is mediatour atwix God and man, and withouten
Him mai no soule be reconsiled ne come to blisse of hevene. And therfore thei that
trowen in Hym that He is not bothe God and man mowen nevere be saaf ne come to
blisse. Othere men also, that loven not Crist ne His passioun, aren not reformed in hire
soule to the liknesse of Hym; and thise men aren fals Cristen men, the whiche are out of
charité and leven and dien in deedli synne. Thise men trowen wel, as it semeth, that
Jhesu is Goddis sone, and that His passioun sufficeth to savacioun of mannys soule,
and thei trowen also alle the articles of the feith, but it is an unschapli trouthe, and a
deed, for thei loven Him nought, ne thei chese not the fruit of His passioun, but thei
liggen stille in here synne, and in here fals love of this world unto here laste eende. And
so be thei not reformed to the liknes of God, but goon to peynes of helle eendelesli, as
Jewes and Sarcenes doon, and into mykil more pyne thanne thei, in as mykil as thei
hadden the trouthe and kepte it not; for that was more trespace than yif thei nevere
hadde had it.
Thanne yif thou wolt wite whiche soules aren reformede heere in this liyf to the image
of God thorugh vertu of His passioun, sothli oonli tho that trowen in Him and loven
Hym. In the whiche soulis the ymage of God, that was thorugh synne forschapen as it
were into a foule beestis liknesse, is restored and reformed unto the first schap, and into
the worthynesse and worschipe that hit hadde in the bigynnynge, withoutin whiche
reformyng in feith schal nevere soule be saaf ne come to blisse.
Of two maner reformynge of this image, oon in fulnesse and othir in partie.
Now, seist thou, "Hou mai this be sooth that the image of God, the whiche is mannys
soule, myghte be reformed here in this liyf to His liknesse in ony creature?" It semeth
nai, it myght not ben. For if it were reformed, thanne schulde hit have stable mynde,
cleer sight, and clene brennynge love in God and in goostli thinges ai lastandli, as it had
in the bigynnynge. But that is in no creature, as thou trowest, lyvynge in this liyf. For as
agentis thisilf, thou canst wel sai thou thenkest thee ful feer therefroo. Thi mynde and
thi resoun, and the love of thy soule aren so mykil sette in bihaldynge and in the love of
ertheli thynges, that of goostli thinges thou felist right litil. Thou feelist no reformynge in
thisilf, but art soo umbilapped with this blak image of synne, for aught that thou maist
doon, that upon what side thou turnest thee thou feelist thisilf defouled and spotted with
fleischli stirynges of this foule ymage. Othir chaungynge feelist thou noon fro fleischliheed
into goostlinesse, neither in the privei myghtis of thi soule withinne, ne in bodili feelynge
withoute. Wherfore thou thenkest that it myght not be that this image myght be re-
formed; or ellis yif it myght be reformed, thanne askest thou hou it myght be reformed.
To this y answere and seie thus. There is two maner of reformynge of the ymage of
God, the whiche is mannys soule. Oon is in fulnesse, anothir is in partie. Reformynge in
fulnes mai not be had in this lif, but it is delaied aftir this lif to the blisse of hevene,
where mannys soule schal fulli be reformed; not to that staat that it hadde atte the firste
bigynnynge bi kynde, or myght have hadde thorugh grace yif it hadde stonde hool, but
it schal be restored to mykil more blisse and mykil more highere joie thorugh the mykil
merci and eendeles goodnesse of God thanne it schulde have had yif it nevere had
fallen. For thanne schal the soule resseyven the hoole and the fulfillyng of God in alle
myghtis of it, withouten medlere of ony othir affeccioun; and it schal seen mankynde in
the persoone of Jhesu above the kynde of angelis ooned to the Godhede. For than schal
Jhesu, bothe God and man, ben al in al, and oonli He and noon othir thanne He, as the
prophete seith: Dominus solus exaltabitur in die illa (Isaiah 2:11). That is, oure Lord
Jhesu in that dai that is the ai lastande dai schal be highed oonli, and noon but He. And
also the bodi of man schal thanne be glorified, for it schal receyve fulli the riche dowarie
of undeedlinesse with al that longeth therto. This schal a soule han with the bodi, and
mykil more thanne I can seyn; but that schal ben in the blisse of hevene, and not in this lif.
For though it be soo that the passioun of oure Lord bi cause of this ful reformynge of
mannys soule, neverthelees it was not His wille for to graunte this ful reformynge
anoon aftir His passioun to alle chosen soulis that were lyvande in tyme of His passioun,
but He delaied it unto the laste day, and for this skile. Sooth it is that oure Lord Jhesu of
His merci hath ordayned a certayn nombre of soulis to savacion, the whiche nombre
was not fulfilled in tyme of His passioun, and therfore hit nedide that bi the lengthe of
tyme thorugh kyndeli generacion of men it schulde be fulfilled. Thanne yif it hadde so
ben that as tite aftir the deeth of oure Lord, everi soule that wolde have trowed in Hym
schulde anoon sodeynli have ben blissid and be ful reformed withoutyn ony othir abidynge,
there wolde noo creature that lyvede thanne that he ne wolde have resseyved the feith,
for to have ben maad blissid. And thanne schulde generacioun have ceesid, and so
schuld wee that been now lyvynge, chosen soules, and othere soulis that comen aftir
us, not have ben born, and so schulde oure Lord have failid of his noumbre.
But that may not ben. And therfore oure Lord purveyede for us mykel betere, in that
that He delaiede the ful reformynge of mannys soule unto the laste eende, as Seynt
Poule seith: Deo pro nobis melius providente, ne sine nobis consummarentur (Hebrews
11:40). That is, oure Lord purveied betere for us in delaiynge of the ful reformynge thanne
yif He hadde grauntid it thanne, for this skile: that the chosen soules heere bifore schulden
not maken an ende withoutin us that comen aftir. And anothir skile is this: for syn that a man
in his first formyng of God was sette in his free wil and hadde free chesynge whethir he
wolde have fulli God or noon, it was therfore resonable that syn that he wolde not chese
God thanne, but wrecchidli fle from Hym, yif he schulde aftirward be reformed, that he
schulde be sette ageyn in the same free cheesynge that he was first inne, wethir he wolde
have the profite of his reformynge or noo. And this mai be a skile why mannys soule was
not fulli reformed anoon aftir the passioun of oure Lord Jhesu Crist.
That the reformyng in partie is on two maneres. Oon in feyth, anothir in feith and in
Anothir reformynge of this image is in partie, and this reformynge mai be had in this lyf;
and but yif it be had in this liyf, it schal nevere be had, ne the soule schal nevere be saaf.
But this reformyng is on two maneres. Oon is in feith oonli, anothir is in feith and in
felynge. The firste, that is the reformyng in feith, sufficeth to savacioun; the secunde is
worthi to have passande mede in the blisse of hevene. The firste mai be had lightli and
in schort tyme. The secunde mai not soo, but thorugh lengthe of tyme and mykil gosteli
traveile. The firste mai be had with the feelynge of the ymage of synne, for though a
man fele nothynge in himsilf but alle stirynges of synne and fleischli desires, yit he mai,
not withstondynge al that felynge, yif he wilfulli assente not therto, ben reformed in
feith to the liknesse of God. But the secunde reformynge putteth out the likynge and the
feelynge of fleischli stirynges and worldly desires, and suffreth noon sich spottis abiden
in this image. The firste reformynge is oonli of bigynnynge and profitynge soulis, and of
actif men. The secunde is of perfight soulis and of contemplatif men. For bi the firste
reformynge the ymage of synne is not distroied, but it is left as it were al hool in felynge.
But the secunde reformynge destroieth olde feelynges of this image of synne, and
bringeth into the soule newe gracious feelynges thorugh wirkynge of the Holi Gost. The
first is good, and the secunde is betere, but the thridde, that is in the blisse of hevene,
that is alderbest. First bigynne we to speken of that toon and siththen of the tothir, and
so schul we comen to the thridde.
That thorugh the sacrament of baptym that is groundid in the passioun of Crist this
image is reformed fro the original synne.
Two maner of synne maken a soule to lese the schap and the liknesse of God. That oon
is callid original, that is the first synne. That othir is callid actuel synne, that is wilfulli
doon. Thise two synnes putten a soule fro the blisse of hevene and dampnen it to the
eendeles pyne of helle, but yif it be thorugh grace of God reformed to His liknesse, or it
passe hens out of this lif. Neveretheles, two remedies there aren agens thise two synnes,
bi the whiche a forschapen soule mai be restored ageyn. Oon is the sacrament of baptym
agens the origynal synne; anothir is the sacrament of penaunce agens the actuel synne. The
soule of a childe that is born and is uncristened, bicause of the origynal synne hath no
liknesse of God; he is not but an image of the feend and a brond of helle. But as soone as it
is cristened, it is reformed to the ymage of God, and thorugh vertu of feith of Holi
Chirche sodeynli is turned fro the liknes of the feend and maad like to an angel of
hevene. Also the same falleth to a Jewe or in a Sarceyn, whiche or thei be cristened
aren not but manciples of helle, but whanne thei forsaken ther errour and fallen mekeli
to the trouthe in Crist, and receyven the baptym of water in the Holi Goost, soothli
withouten ony taryyinge thei aren reformed to the liknesse of God - so fulli, as Hooli
Chirche troweth, that yif thei myghten as swithe aftir baptym passen ought of this
world, thei schulden streite fleen to hevene withoutyn ony more lettynge, hadde thei
doo nevere so moche synne bifore in tyme of here untrouthe, and nevere schulde thei
feele of the peyne of helle ne of purgatorie. And that pryvylege schulen thei have bi the
merite of the passioun of Crist.
That thorugh the sacrament of penaunce that stondeth in contricion and in confessioun
and in satisfaccioun this image is reformed fro actuel synne.
Also what Cristen man or woman that hath loste the liknesse of God thorugh deedli
synne, brekynge Goddis comaundementis, yif he thorugh the touchynge of grace
soothfastli forsake his synne with sorwe and contricioun of herte, and be in ful wil for
to amende hym and turne hym to God and to good lyvynge, and in this wil he receyveth
the sacrament of penaunce, yif that he mai, or ellis yif that he may not, he is in ful wille
therto - sotheli y seie that this mannys soule or womannys, that was forschapen first
to the liknesse of the devel thorugh deedli synne, is now bi the sacrament of penaunce
restored and schapen ageyn to the image of oure Lord God. This is a greet curtesie of
oure Lord, and an endeles merci, that so lightli forgyveth al manere synne, and so
sodeynli geveth plenté of grace to a synful soule that asketh merci of Hym. He abideth
no grete penaunce-doynge ne peynful fleischli suffrynge, or He forgyve it, but He asketh
a lothynge of synne and a ful forsakynge of it in wille of the soule for love of Hym, and
a turnynge of the herte to Hym. This asketh He, for thus gyveth he. And thanne, whanne
He seeth this, withouten ony delaiynge He forgyveth the synne and reformeth the soule
to His liknesse. The synne is forgyven, that the soule schal not be dampned. Neverthelees,
the peyne dettid for the synne is not yit fulli forgeven but yif contricion and love be the
more. And therfore schal he goon and schewen hym and schryven him to his gosteli
fadir, and receyven penaunce enjoyned for his trespace and gladli fulfille it, soo that
bothe the synne and the peyne mai be doon away, or he passe hens. And that is the
skileful ordenaunce of Holi Chirche for gret profite of mannes soule, that though the
synne be forgeven thorugh veri contricioun, neverthelees in fulfillynge of mekenesse
and in makynge hool satisfaccioun, he schal yif he mai schewe to his prest plener
confessioun. For that is his tokene and his warant of forgevenesse agens alle his enemyes,
and that is nedeful for to have.
For yif a man had forfeted his lif agens a kynge of this erthe, it were not inow to hym
as ful sikernesse for to have oonli forgyvenesse of the kynge, but yif he have a chartre,
the whiche mai be his tokene and his warant agens alle othere men. Right so mai it be
seid goostli, yif a man have forfeted agens the kyng of hevene his lif thorugh deedli
synne, it is not ynow to hym to ful sikirnesse for to have forgyvenesse of God oonli bi
contricion atwix God and hym, but yif he have a chartre maad bi Holi Chirche, yif he
may come therto. And that is the sacrament of penaunce, the whiche is his chartre and
his tokene of forgevenesse. For sith he forfeteth bothe agens God and Holi Chirche, it
is skilful that he have forgevenesse for that oon and a warant for that othir. And this is
a skile whi that confession is nedeful.
Anothir skile is this, that syn the reformynge of the soule stondeth in feith oonli, not
in felynge, therfore a fleschli man that is rude and boistous and cannot demen lightli, but
outeward of bodily thinges, schuld not mowe han trowed that his synnes hadden ben
forgeven, but yif he had sum bodili tokene. And that is confessioun, thorugh the whiche
tokene he is maad as siker of forgevenesse, yif he doo that in him is. This is the trouthe
of Hooli Chirche, as I undirstonde.
Also anothir skile is this. Though the ground of forgevenesse stonde not principali in
confessioun, but in contricion of herte and forthenking of synne, neverethelees I hope
that there is many a soule that schulde nevere have feelid veri contricioun, ne had ful
forsakynge of synne, yif confession had not ben. For it falleth ofte sithes that in tyme of
schrifte grace of conpunccioun cometh to a soule that bifore nevere feelid grace, but ai
was coold and drie, and feer from feelynge of grace. And forthi, syn schrift was so
profitable to the more part of Cristene men, Holi Chirche ordeyned it for more sikirnesse
generali to alle Cristene men, that everiche man or woman schulde oones in the yeer atte
the leste be schriven of alle here synnes that comen to ther mynde to ther goostli fadir,
though thei han had never so mykil contricion bifore tyme.
Neverthelees, I hope wel that yif al men had ben as bisi aboughte the kepynge of
hemself in feelynge of al maner synne, and had come to as grete knowynge and felynge
of God as sum man is, that Holi Chirche schulde nevere have ordeynede the tokene of
confessioun as for a needful bond, for hit had not nedid. But for alle men aren not so
perfighte, and peraventure mykil of the more partie of Cristene men is unperfight, therfore
Holi Chirche ordeyned confessioun in wei of general bond to alle Cristene men that wole
knowen Hooli Chirche as her moder and wolen ben buxum to hir biddinge. Yif this be
sooth, as I hope it is, thanne erreth he greteli that generali seith that confessioun of
synne for to schewe to a prest is neither nedeful to a synnere ne bihoveful, and no man
is bounden therto. For bi that that I have seid, it is bothe nedeful and spedful to alle
soulis that in this wrecchid lif aren defouled thorugh synne, and nameli to thoo that aren
thorugh deedli synne forschapen from the liknesse of God; the whiche mow not be
reformed to His liknes, but bi the sacrament of penaunce, that principali standeth in
contricioun and sorwe of herte, and secundarili in schrift of mouth folwande aftir, yif it
mai be had. Upoun this manere, bi the sacrament of penaunce, is a synful soule re-
formed to the ymage of God and to His likenesse.
Hou in the sacrament of baptym and of penaunce thorugh a privei unperceivable wirkynge
of the Hooli Goost this image is reformed though it be not seen ne feelid.
But this reformynge stondeth in feith and not in feelynge; for right as the propirtee of
feith is for to trowen that thou seest not, right soo it is for to trowen that thou feelist
not. But he that is reformed in his soule bi the sacrament of penaunce to the image of
God, he feeleth noo chaungynge in himsilf, neithir in his bodili kynde withoutin, ne in
the privé substaunce of his soule withinne, othir than he dide. For he is as he was unto
his feelynge, and he feelith the same stirynges of synne and the same corrupcioun of his
fleisch in passions and worldli desires risynge in his herte as he dide biforn. And yit
neverthelees schal he trowe that he is thorugh grace reformed to the likenesse of God,
though he neithir feele it ne see it. He mai feele wel sorwe for his synne, and a turnynge
of his wil fro synne to clennesse of lyvynge, yif that he hath grace and take good keep
of himsilf. But he mai neithir seen ne feele the reformynge of his soule, hou it is wondirfulli
and unperceyvabli chaunged from filthe of the feend to the faireheed of an angel thorugh
a privei gracious wirkinge of oure Lord God. That mai he not seen, but he schal trowe
it; and yif he trowe it, thanne is his soule reformed in feith. For right as Holi Chirche
troweth bi the sacrament of baptym soothfastli resseyved, a Jewe or a Sarasyn or a
child born is reformed in soule to the liknesse of God thorugh a privé unperceyvable
wirkynge of the Hooli Goost, not agenstondynge alle the fleschli stirynges of his bodi of
synne, the whiche he schal feelen aftir his baptym as wel as he dide bifore; right so bi
the sacrament of penaunce mekeli and truli resseyved, a fals Cristen man that hath ben
encombrid with deedli synne al his liyftyme is reformed in his soule withinne
unperceyvabli, outtaken oonli a turnynge of his wille thorugh a privé myght and a
gracious wirkynge of the Holi Gost, that sodaynli wirketh and in tyme of a moment or
a twynkelynge of an iye righteth a froward soule, and turneth it from goostli filthe to
fairenesse unseable, and of a servaunt of the feend maketh a sone of joie, and of the
prisoner of helle maketh a partener of heveneli heritage, not agenstondande al the fleisschli
feelynge of this synneful image that is the bodili kynde.
For thou schalt undirstonde that the sacrament of baptym or of penaunce is not of
that vertu for to lette and destroie uttirli alle the stirynges of fleischli lustes and peynful
passiouns, that a man schulde nevere feele no manere risynge ne stirynge of hem no
tyme. For if it were so, thanne were a soule fulli reformed here to the worschipe of the
first makynge; but that mai not be fulli in this lif. But it is of that vertu that it clenseth the
soule from alle the synnes bifor doon; and yif it be departed from the bodi, saveth it
from dampnacioun; and yif it duelle in the bodi, it geveth the soule grace for to agenstonde
the stirynges of synne. And it kepith it in grace also, that no maner stirynge of lust or of
passioun that it felith in the fleisch, be it nevere so grevous, schal dere it, ne departen it
from God, as longe as it wilfulli senteth not therto. Thus Seynt Poul menede whanne he
seide thus: Nichil dampnacionis est hiis qui sunt in Christo, qui non secundum carnem
ambulant, etc. (Romans 8:1). That is: Thise soules that aren reformed to the ymage of
God in feith, thorugh the sacrament of baptym or of penaunce, schal not be dampned
for feelynges of this ymage of synne, yif it so be that thei goo not aftir the stirynges of
the flesch bi fulfillynge of deede.
That we schul trowe stidefasteli reformynge of this image, yif oure conscience wittenesse
us a ful forsakynge of synne and a trewe turnynge of oure wil to good lyvynge.
Of this reformynge in feith speketh Seynt Poul thus: Iustus autem ex fide vivit (He-
brews 10:38). The rightwise man lyveth in feith. That is, he that is maad rightful bi
baptym or penaunce, he lyveth in feith, the whiche sufficeth to savacion and to heveneli
pees, as Seynt Poul seith: Iustificati ex fide, pacem habemus ad deum (Romans 6:1).
This is, we that aren righted and reformed thorugh feith in Crist han pees and acord
maad atwixe God and us, not agenstondynge the vicious feelinges of oure bodi of
For though this reformynge be privei and mai not wel be feelid here in this liyf,
neverthelees whoso troweth it stidefasteli and schape his werkes bisili for to acorde to
his trouthe, and that he turne not ageyn to deedli synne, sothli whanne the houre of
deeth cometh and the soule is departed from this bodili liyf, thanne schal he fynde it
sooth that I seie now. Thus Seynt Joon seide in confort of chosen soulis that lyven here
in feith undir the feelynge of this peynful image: Karissimi, et nunc sumus filii dei; sed
non apparuit quid erimus. Scimus autem quoniam cum apparuerit, tunc apparebimus
cum eo, similes ei in gloria (1 John 3:2). That is: Mi dere frendis, we aren right now
whiles that we lyven here the soones of God, for we aren reformed bi feith in Criste to
His liknesse; but it schewith not yit what we aren, but it is al privei. Neverthelees we
knowen wel that whanne oure Lord schal schewe Him atte the laste dai, thanne schal
we appere with Hym like to Hym in endeles joie.
Yif thou wolt witen thanne yif thi soule be reformed to the image of God or noo, bi
that that I have seid thou maist have an entré. Ransake thyn owen conscience and loke
what thi wille is, for thereinne stondeth al. Yif it be turned from al deedli synne, that
thou woldest for nothynge wityngeli and wilfulli breke the comaundement of God, and
for that thou hast mysdoon here bifore agens his biddynge, thou haste beschreven
mekeli, with ful herte to leve it and with sorwe that thou dedest it, I seie thanne sikirli
that thi soule is reformed in feith to the likenesse of God.
That alle the soules that lyven mekeli in the trouthe of Holi Chirche and han here trouthe
quykened with love and charité aren reformid bi this sacrament, though it so be that thei
mown not fele the special gift of devocion or of goostli feelynge.
In this reformynge that is oonli in feith, the most parte of chosen soules leden heer liyf,
that setten her wil stedefast for to fleen alle manere deedli synnes, and for to kepen
hemsilf in love and charité to here evene Cristen and for to kepe the comaundement of
God aftir hir kunnynge. And whanne it so is, that wikked stirynges and yvel willis risen
in here hertis, of pride or of envie, of ire or of leccherie, or of ony othir heved synne,
thei agenstonden hem and striven agens hem bi displesynge of wille, so that thei folwe
not in deede thise wikkid willis. And neverthelees, yif it so be that thei falle lightli as it
were agens here wille, thorugh freelté of unkunnynge, as tite here conscience greveth
hem and pyneth hem so grevousli that thei mown have noo reeste til thei ben schryven
and may have forgyvenesse. Sothli alle thise soules that thus lyven, as y hope, aren
reformed in feith to the image of God. And yif thei lasten in this reformynge, or be
founden thereinne in the hour of deeth, thei schullen be saaf and come to the ful
reformynge in the blis of hevene, though it be soo that thei nevere myghten have goosteli
felynge ne inli savour ne special grace of devocioun in al her liyftime. For ellis yif thou
sai that no soule schal be saaf but yif it were reformed into goostli felynge, that it myght
feele devocioun and gosteli savour in God, as some soulys doon thorugh special grace,
thanne schulden fewe soulis be saaf in reward of the multitude of othere.
Nai, it is not likli for to trowe that, that for thoo soulis that aren oonli devoute, and bi
grace comen to goosteli feelynge, and for no mo, oure Lord Jhesu schulde have taken
mankynde and suffrid hard passioun of deeth. It had bee but a litil purchace to Hym for
to have come fro so feer to so neer, and fro so high to so lowgh, for so fewe soulis. Nai,
His merci is spreed largere than so. Neverthelees, on the contrarie wise, yif thou trowe
that the passioun of oure Lord is so precious and the merci of God is so mochil that ther
schal no soule be dampned, and nameli of no Cristen man, doo he nevere so ille, as
summe foolis wenen, sotheli thei erren gretli. Therfore goo in the mene and helde thee
in the myddis, and trowe as Holi Chirche troweth. And that is that the moste synful man
that lyveth in erthe, yif he turne his wil thorwgh grace from deedli synne with soothfast
repentaunce to the servyce of God, he is reformed in his soule, and yif he die in that
estate he schal be saaf. Thus behight oure Lord bi His profete, seiande thus: In quacunque
hora conversus fuerit peccator et ingemuerit, vita vivet et non morietur (Ezekiel 18:21).
That is: In what tyme that it be that the synful man is turned from synne to God and he
have sorwe therfore, he schal lyven and he schal not dien endelesli. Also on that othir
side, whoso liggeth in deedli synne, and wole not leve it ne amende hym therof, ne
receyve the sacrament of penaunce, and though he receyve it he taketh it not soothfastli
for the love of God, that is for love of vertu and clennesse, but oonli for drede of
schame of the world, or ellis for drede oonli of the peynes of helle - he is not reformed
to the likenesse of God. And yif he die in that plight he schal not be saaf. His trouthe
schal not save hym, for his trouthe is a deed trouthe and lakketh love, and therfore hit
serveth him of nought.
But thei that han trouthe quykened with love and charité aren reformed to the liknesse
of God, though it be but the leste degré of charité, as aren symple soulis, the whiche
feelen not the gifte of special devocion ne gostli knowynge of God, as some gosteli men
doon, but trowen generali as Holi Chirche troweth, and witen not fulli what that is, for
it nedeth not to hem. And in that trouthe thei kepen hem in love and charité to here even
Cristen as mykil as thei moun, and fleen alle deedli synnes aftir her connynge, and doon
the dedes of merci to here even Cristene. Alle thise longen to the blisse of hevene, for it
is writen in the Apocalipsis thus: Qui timetis deum, pusilli et magni, laudate eum (Rev-
elations 19:5). This is: Ye that dreden God, bothe grete and smale, thanketh Him.
Bi grete aren undirstonde soulis that aren profitande in grace, or ellis in love perfight
of God, the whiche aren reformed in goosteli feelynge. Bi the smale aren undirstanden
soulis unperfite, of worldli men and women and othere, that han but a childisch knowynge
of God and ful litil feelynge of Hym, but aren brought forth in the bosom of Holi
Chirche and norischid with the sacrament as children aren fed with mylk. Alle thise
schullen thanke God and loven Hym for savacioun of here soules bi His endelees merci.
For Holy Chirche, that is moder of alle thise and hath tendir love to alle hir childrin
goostli, praieth and asketh for hem alle tendirli of hir spouse (that is, Jhesu), and geteth
hem heele of soule thorugh vertu of His passioun, and nameli for hem that counen not
speken hemself bi goostli praiere for here owen nede.
Thus I fynde in the Gospel that the woman of Chanane askide of oure Lord heele to
hir doughter that was traveiled with a feend, and oure Lord maad daunger bicause sche
was an aliene. Neverthelees, she ceeside not for to crien til oure Lord hadde grauntid to
hire hire askynge and seide to hire thus: "A, woman, mykil is thi trouthe; be it doon to
thee right as thou wolt." And in the same hour was hir doughter maad hool. This
woman bitokeneth Holi Chirche, that asketh helpe of oure Lord for symple unconnynge
soules, that aren traveilid with temptacioun of the world and kunnen not speken perfightli
to God bi fervour of devocioun ne brennande love in contemplacion; and though it seme
that oure Lorde make daunger first bicause that thei aren as hit were alienes fro Hym,
neverthelees for the grete trouthe and the desert of Holi Chirche he graunteth hire al that
sche wole. And so aren thise simple soulis, that trowen stidefasteli as Holi Chirche
troweth, and putteth hem fulli in the merci of God and meken hem undir the sacraments
and lawes of Holi Chirche, maad saaf thorugh the praier and the trouthe of hir goostli
modir, that is Holi Chirche.
That soules reformed neden ai for to fighten and stryven agen stirynges of synne whiles thei
lyven heer, and hou a soule mai witen whanne he assenteth to ille stirynges and whanne not.
This reformynge in feith mai lighteli be geten, but it mai not so lighteli be holden. And
therfore what man or woman that is reformed to the liknesse of God in trouthe, mykil
traveile and bisynesse hem bihoveth to have, yif thei wolen kepe this image hool and
clene, that it falle not doun ageyn thorugh weikeynesse of wille to the ymage of synne.
He mai not be idel ne rekles, for the ymage of synne is so neer festned to hym, and so
contynueli preseth upon hym bi divers stirynges of synne, that but yif he be right waar
he schal ful lightli thorugh asent falle ageyn therto. And therfore hym nedeth ay be
stryvynge and fightynge ageyn wikked stirynges of this ymage of synne, and that he
make noon acord therwith, ne take noo frendschipe with it, for to be buxum to his
unskilfulle biddynges, for yif he do, he bigileth hymsilf. But sothli yif he stryve with
hem, hym nedeth not mykil to drede of assentynge, for strif breketh pees and fals
acord. It is good that a man have pees with al thynge, outetaken with the feend and with
this image of synne, for ageyns hem it nedeth ai feighten in his thought and in his werk
until he hath geten over hem the maistrie. And that schal nevere ben fulli in this lif, as
longe as he berith and felith this ymage. I sei not but that a soule mai thorugh grace have
the hyghere hand over this ymage, so fer forth that it schal not folwen ne senten to the
unskilful stirynges of it. But for to ben so clene delivered fro this ymage, that hit schulde
feele no suggestioun ne jangelynge of noo fleschli affeccion, ne of veyne thought noo
tyme, may no man have in this lyf.
I hope that a soule that is reformed in feelynge by ravyschynge of love into
contemplacion of God mai be so feer fro the sensualité and fro the veyn imaginacion,
and soo feer drawen oute and departid from the fleischli feelynge for a tyme, that it
schal not feelen but good; but that lasteth not alwai. And therfore seie I that every man
bihoveth strive ageyns this ymage of synne, and nameli he that is onli reformed in feith,
that so lightly mai be disseyved therwith. In the persone of the whiche men Seynt Poul
seith thus: Caro concupiscit adversus spiritum et spiritus adversus carnem (Galatians
5:17). That is, a soule reformed to the liknesse of God fighteth ageyn the fleschli stirynges
of this image of synne, and also this ymage of synne striveth ageyn the wille of the
spirite. This maner of fightynge in this duble ymage Seynt Poul knew weel whanne he
seide thus: Inveni legem in membris meis, repugnantem legi mentis mee, et captivum me
ducentem in legem peccati (Romans 7:23). That is: I have founden two lawes in mysilf,
lawe in my soule withinne, and anothir lawe in my fleschli lymes withoute fightynge
ageyns hit, that often ledeth me as a wrecchid prisoner into the lawe of synne. Bi thise
two lawes in a soule I understond this double image: bi the lawe of the spirit I undirstonde
the resoun of the soule whanne it is reformed to the image of God; bi the lawe of the
flessch I undirstonde the sensualité, whiche I calle the ymage of synne. In thise two
lawes a soule reformed ledeth his lif, as Seynt Poul seith: Mente enim servio legi dei,
carne vero servio legi peccati (Romans 7:25). In my soule, that is, in my wil and in my
resoun, I serve to the lawe of God; but in my flesch, that is, in the feelynge of my
fleschli appetite, I serve to the lawe of synne. Neverthelees, that a soule reformed
schulde not dispeiren, though he serve to the lawe of synne bi feelynge of the vicious
sensualité ageynes the wille of the spirite bicause of corrupcion of his bodili kynde,
Seynt Poul excuseth it, seiande thus of his owen persoone: Non enim quod volo bonum
hoc ago; sed malum quod odi, hoc facio. Si autem malum quod odi facio, iam non ego
operor illud, sed quod habitat in me, peccatum (Romans 7:19-20). I do not that good
that I wolde doon, that is, I wolde feele noon fleschli stiringe, and that do y not; but I
doo the yvel that I hate, that is, the synful stirynges of my flesch. I hate and yit I feele
hem. Neverethelees, syn it is so that y hate wikkid stirynges of my flesch, and yit y fele
hem and ofte delite in hem agens my wille, thei schal not be arected agens me for
dampnacion, as yif y hadde doon hem. And whi? For the corrupcion of this image of
synne dooth hem, and not I.
Loo, here Seynt Poul in his owen persone conforteth alle soulis that aren thorugh
grace reformed in feith, that thei schuld not to mykil drede the berthene of this ymage
with the unskilful stirynges thereof, bi so that thei sente not wilfulli therto. Neverethelees
in this poynt many soulis that aren reformed in trouthe aren ofte sithis mykil tormentid
and trobelid in veyn. As thus: whanne thei han feelid fleschli stirynges of pride, of envie,
of covetise, or of leccherie, or of ony othir heed synne, thei witen not sumtyme whethir
thei sentiden to hem or noo. And that is no grete wondir, for in tyme of temptacion a
freel mannes thought is so trobled and so overleid that he hath no cleer light ne fredom
of himself, but is taken often with likynge unwarli, and goth forth with it a grete while
or thanne he perceyve it. And therfore fallen summe of hem in doute and in dwere
whethir thei synneden or not in the tyme of temptacion.
As anemptis this poynt I seie as me thenketh, that a soule mai have assaiynge on this
manere whethir he assenteth or noo. Yif it so be that a man be stired to ony maner of
synne, and the likynge is so grete in his flesschli felynge that it trobleth his resoun and
as it were thorugh maistrie occupieth the affeccioun of the soule; neverthelees he kepith
hym, that he folweth not in dede, ne he wolde not though he myght, but it is rathere to
hym peyneful for to feelen the likynge of that synne, and fayn he wolde putten hit awai
yif he myght; and thanne whanne the stirynge is overpassid he is glaad and wil paied
that he is delyvered of it and that he feelith no more of it - bi this assai mai he witen that
were the likynge nevere so grete in the fleschli feelynge, that he assentide not, ne synnede
not, nameli deedliche.
Neverthelees, a remedie there is that is sikir and certayn to siche a symple soule that
is marred in itsilf and cannot helpin itsilf: that he be not to bold in himsilf, uttirli wenande
that siche fleschli stirynges with likynges aren no synnes, for he myght so fallen into
recchelesnesse and into a fals sikernesse, ne also that he be not to dredful ne to symple
in witte, for to demen hem alle as deedli synnes, or elles as grete venyal, for neithir is
sooth. But that he holde hem alle as synne and wrecchidnesse of hymsilf, and that he
have sorwe for hem, and that he be not to bisi for to deme them neithir deedli ne venyal.
But yif his conscience be gretli greved, that he hasteli goo and schewe to his confessour
in general or in special siche stirynges, and nameli that ilke stirynge that bigynneth
fastne roote in the herte and most often occupieth it, for to drawen it doun to synne and
wordli vanité. And whanne he is thus schryven of thise in general or in special, trowe
thanne stidefastli that thei aren forgyven, and dispute no more aboughte hem that aren
passid and forgyven, whethir thei weren deedli or venial, but that he be more besi for to
kepen him betere agens hem that aren comynge. And yif he doo thus, thanne mai he
come to reste in conscience.
But thanne are some so fleschli and so unkunnynge that thei wolden feele or seen or
heren the forgifnesse of hire synnes, as openli as thei moun feelen or seen a bodili
thyng; and for as mykil as thei feelyn it not, so thei fallen often in siche dweris and
doutes of hemsilf and nevere moun come to reste. And in that be thei not wise, for feith
goth bifore felynge. Oure Lord seide to a man that was in the palsie whanne He heelid
hym thus: Confide fili, remittuntur tibi peccata tua (Matthew 9:2). That is: Sone, trowe
stidefasteli thy synnes aren forgeven thee. He seide not to him, see or feele how thi
synnes aren forgeve thee, forgifnesse of synne is doon goostli and unseabli thorugh
grace of the Holi Goost, but bileve it. Right upon the same wise, every man that wole
come to reste in conscience, him bihoveth first yif he doo that in him is trowen withouten
goostli feelynge forgifnesse of his synnes; and yyf he first trowe it, he mai aftirward
thorugh grace feele it and undirstonde it, that it is so. Thus seide the apostil: Nisi crederitis,
non intelligetis (compare Isaiah 7:9) But yif ye first trowen, ye moun not undirstonde.
Trouthe goth bifore and undirstondinge come aftir. The whiche undirstondynge, that I
calle the sight of God yif it be gracious, a soule mai not have but thorugh grete clennesse,
as oure Lord seith: Beati mundo corde, quoniam ipsi deum videbunt (Matthew 5:8).
Blissed ben clene of herte, for thei schul see God - not with heer fleschli iye, but with
the innere iye, that is, undirstondynge clensid and illumined thorugh grace of the Holi
Gost for to seen soothfastnesse. The whiche clennesse a soule mai not feele but it have
stable trouthe goynge bifore, as the apostil seith: Fide mundans corda eorum (Acts
15:9). That is, oure Lord clenseth the hertis of His chosen thorwgh feith. Therefore it is
nedeful that a soule trowe first the reformynge of himsilf maad thorugh the sacrament
of penaunce, though he see it not, and that he dispose him fulli for to lyven rightwiseli
and vertuousli as his trouthe asketh, so that he mai aftir that come to the sight and to the
reformynge in feelynge.
That this image is bothe fair and foule whilis it is in this lif, though it be reformed; and
of dyversité of felyng priveli had atwixe thise soulis that aren reformede and othere that
aren nought reformed.
Fair is mannys soule, and foule is a mannys soule. Fair in as mykil as it is reformed in
trouthe to the liknesse of God, but it is foule in as mykil as it is yit medelid with fleschli
felynges and unskilful stirynges of this ymage of synne. Foule withouten as it were a
beest, faire withinne like to an angel. Foule in feelynge of the sensualité, fair in trouthe
of the resoun. Foule for the fleschli appetite, faire for the good wil. Thus fair and thus
foule is a chosen soule, seiynge Holi Writ thus: Nigra sum, sed formosa, filie Ierusalem
sicut tabernacula cedar et sicut pelles Salomonis (Canticle 1:4). I am blak, but I am fair
and schapli, yee doughteris of Jerusalem, as the tabernaculis of cedar and as the skynnes
of Salomoun. That is: Yee angelis of hevene, that aren doughteres of the highe Jerusa-
lem, wondreth not on me, ne dispice me not for my blak schadwe, for though I be blak
withoute bicause of my fleschli kynde, as is a tabernacle of cedar, nevertheles I am ful
fair withinne as is the skyn of Salomon, for y am reformed to the likenesse of God. Bi
cedar is undirstonde myrkenesse, and that is the devyl. Bi tabernacle of cedar is undirstonde
a reprevid soule, the whiche is a tabernacule of the devyl. Bi Salomon, that bitokeneth
peseble, is undirstonden oure Lord, for He is pees and pesible. Bi the skyn of Salomon
is undirstonden a blissid aungel, in whom oure Lord woneth and is hid, as lif is hid
withinne the skyn of a quyk bodi, and therfore is an angel likened to a skyn.
Thanne mai a chosen soule with meke trust in God and gladnesse in herte seie thus:
Though I be blak bicause of my bodi of synne, as is a reprevid soule that is the taber-
nacle of the feend, neverthelees I am withinne wel faire thorugh trouthe and good wille,
like to an angil of hevene. For so seith he in anothir place: Nolite considerare me quia
fusca sum, quoniam decoloravit me sol (Canticle 1:5). That is: Biholdeth me not for y
am swart, for the sunne hath defaded me. The sunne maketh a skyn swart onli withoute
and not withinne, and it bitokeneth this fleschli liyf. Therfore seith a chosen soule thus:
"Repreve me not for y am swart, for the swartenesse that y have is al withouten, of
touchynge and of berynge this ymage of synne. But it is nothinge withinne." And therfore
soothli, though it be so that a chosen soule reformed in feithe dwelle in this bodi of
synne, and feele the same fleischli stirynges and use the same bodili werkes as doth a
tabernacle of cedar, so fer forth that in mannes dome ther schulde no difference be
bitwixe that oon and that tothir - neverthelees withinne in here soules is there ful grete
diversité, and in the sight of God is there ful grete twynnynge. But the knowynge of
this, whiche is oon and which is othir, is oonli kept to God, for it passeth mannys doom
and mannys feelynge. And therfore we schal no man demen as ille for that thinge that
mai be usid bothe yvel and weel. A soule that is not reformed is taken so fulli with the
love of this world, and so mykil overleid with the likynge of his flesche in al his sensualité,
that he cheseth it as a ful reste of his herte; and in his privei menynge hee wolde not ellis
have, but that he myght ay be siker therof. He feleth noo licour of grace stirynge hym
to lothe this fleschli liyf ne for to desiren heveneli blisse.
And therfore I mai seie that he bereth not this ymage of synne, but he is born of it, as
a man that were sike and so weike that he myght not beren hymsilf, and therfore is leid
in a bed and born in a liter. Right so siche a synful soule is so weike and so unmyghti for
lakkynge of grace, that it mai neither stiren hand ne foot for to doon ony good dede, ne
foragenstonde bi displesynge of wille the leeste stirynge of synne whanne it cometh, but
it falleth doun therto as dooth a beest upon a carion. But a soule that is thorugh grace
reformed, though he use his fleischeli wittis and feele fleischli likynges, neverthelees he
lotheth hem in his herte, for he nolde for nothinge fulli resten in hem. But he feelith the
reste in hem as the bityng of an eddre, and he hadde lyvere han his reste and the love of
his herte in God, yif that he coude; and sumtyme desireth therto, and often irketh of the
likynge of this liyf for love of the liyf ai lastande.
This soule is not bore in this image of synne as a sike man, though he feele it; but he
bereth it. For thorugh grace he is maad myghti and stronge for to suffren and beren his
bodi with alle the stirynges of it, withouten hurtynge or defoulynge of himsilf; and that
is in as mykil as he loveth hem not, ne folweth hem not, ne senteth not to hem, the
whiche aren deedli synne, as anothir dooth. This was bodili fulfilled in the Gospel of a
man that was in the palsie and was so feble that he myght not goon, and therfore was he
leid and born in a lighter and brought to oure Lord, and whanne oure Lord sigh hym in
myschief, of His goodnesse He seide to hym thus: Surge et tolle grabatum tuum, et
vade in domum tuam (Mark 2:11). That is: Rise up and take thi bed and goo into thi
hous. And so he dide, and was hool. And sothli right as this man baar upon his bak whanne
he was made hool the bed that bifore baar hym, right so it mai be seide goosteli, that a soule
reformed in feith bereth this image of synne, in the whiche he was born in biforn.
And therfore be not adred to mykil of thi blakkenesse that thou haste of berynge of
this ymage of synne. But agens the schame and the discomfort that thou haste of the
biholdynge of it, and also agens the upbreidynge that thou feelist in thyn herte of thi
goostli enemyes, whanne thei seyn to thee thus: "Where is thi Lord Jhesu? What feelist
thou? Where is the fairhede that thou spekest of? What feelist thou ought but blyndenesse
of synne? Where is the image of God that thou seist is reformed in thee?" Comforte thee
thanne bi trouthe stilli, as I have bifore seid; and yif thou doo soo, thou schalt bi this
trouthe destroien alle temptaciones of thyne enemyes. Thus seith the apostle: Accipe
scutum fidei, in quo tela hostis nequissima poteris extinguere (Ephesians 6:16). That is:
Take to thee a schelde of stidefast trouth, thorugh the whiche thou schalt moun quenche
alle the brennynge daartes of thyn enemye.
Of thre maner of men, of the whiche summe aren not reformed, and summe ben
reformed oonli in feythe, and summe in feithe and in feelynge.
Bi this that I have bifore seid maist thou seen that aftir diverse parties of the soule aren
dyvers staatis of men. Summe aren not reformed to the liknesse of God, and summe
aren reformed oonli in feith, and summe aren reformed in feith and in felynge.
For thou schalt undirstonde that a soule hath two parties. The toon is called the
sensualité; that is the fleschli feelynge bi the fyve outeward wittes, the whiche is comoun
to man and to beest. Up the whiche sensualité, whanne it is unskilfulli and unordynateli
rulid, is maad the image of synne, as I have bifore seid, for than is the sensualité synne,
whanne it is not rulid aftir resoun. That tothir partie is callid reson, and that is departid
on two - the overe partie and the nethere partie. The overe is likned to a man, for it
schulde be maister and sovereyne, and that is propirli the ymage of God, for bi that
oonli the soule knoweth God and loveth God. And the nethere is likned to a woman, for
it schulde be buxum to the overe partie of resoun, as a woman is buxum to man. And
that liyth in knowynge and rulynge of ertheli thinges, for to use hem discreteli aftir nede
and for to refuse hem whanne it is no nede; and for to have ai with it thyn iye upward
to the overe partie of resoun, with drede and with reverence for to folwe it.
Now mai y seie that a soule that lyveth aftir likynges and lustis of the flesch, as it
were an unskilfull beest, and neither hath knowynge of God ne desire to vertues ne
good lyvynge, but is al blynded in pride, freten in envye, overleid with coveitise, and
defoulid with leccherie and othere grete synnes, it is not reformed to the ymage of God.
For it lieth and resteth fulli in the ymage of synne, that is the sensualité. Anothir soule
that dredeth God and agenstondeth deedli stirynges of the sensualité and folweth hem
not, but lyveth resonabli in rulynge and governaunce of wordli thinges, and setteth his
entent and his wille for to plesen God bi his outeward werkes, is reformed to the
liknesse of God in feith, and though he feele the same stirynges of synne as that othir
dide, it schal not dere hym, for he resteth not in hem as that tothir dooth. But anothir
soule that fleeth thorugh grace alle deedli steringes of sensualité and venyalis also, so fer
forth that he felith hem not, it is reformed in feelynge. For he folweth the over partie of
resoun in bihaldynge of God and of heveneli thinges, as I schal telle thee aftir.
Hou men thorugh synne forschapen hemsilf into seere bestis liknesse and thise aren
callid the loveres of this world.
A wrecchid man is he thanne that knoweth not the worthinesse of his soule, ne wole not
knowe it - hou it is the moste worthi creature that evere God made, outaken an angil
whom it is like to, high aboven alle othir bodili kynde, to the whiche nothinge mai
sufficen as ful reste but oonli God. And therfore he schulde noo thinge loven and liken
but oonli God, ne coveiten ne seken but hou he myght be reformed to His liknesse. But
for he knoweth not this, therfore he seketh and coveiteth his reste and his likynge
outeward in bodili creaturis werse thanne himsilf is. Unkyndeli he dooth, and unresonabli
he werketh, that loveth not the sovereyne good and ai lastande liyf that is God unsought
and unloved, unknowen and unworschipid, and cheseth his reste and his blisse in a
passynge delite of an ertheli thinge. Neverthelees thus don alle the loveres of this world,
that han her blisse and her joie in this wrecchid liyf.
Summe han it in pride and veynglorie of hemsilf, that whanne thei have loste the drede
of God thei traveilen and studien nyght and dai hou thei myght come to worschipe and
praisynge of the world, and maken no force hou so be thei myghten comen therto and
overpassen alle othere men oither in clergie or in crafte, in name or in fame, in richesse
or in reverence, in sovereynté and in maistirschipe, in high estate and in lordeschipe.
Sum men han heer delite and here reste in richesse and in outeragious aver of ertheli
godes, and setten her hertis so fulli for to getin it that thei seken not ellis but hou thei
myghten comen therto. Summe han heer likynge in fleschli lustes of glotonye and
leccherie and othir bodili unclennesse, and summe in oo thynge and summe in anothir.
And thus wrecchidli thise that doon thus forschapen hemsilf fro the worthinesse of
man and turnen hem into dyvers beestis liknesse.
The proude man is turned into a lion for pride, for he wolde be dred and worschipid
of alle men, and that noo man ageynstonde the fulfillynge of his fleschli wille, in word
ne deede; and yif ony man wole letten his proud wille, he wexeth fel and wrooth, and
wole be vengid of him as a lion vengeth him on a litil beest. This man that doth thus is
now no man, for he dooth unresonabli ageen the kynde of man, and so he is turned and
transformed into a lioun. Envious and angri men aren turned into houndes thorugh
wraththe and envye, that berken agen hir even Cristene, and biten hem bi wikkid and
malicious wordes, and greven hem that not trespaceden with wrongeful deedis, harmynge
hem in bodi and in soule agens Goddis biddynge. Summe men aren forschapen into
assis, that aren slowe to the service of God, and unwillid for to doon ony good deede to
here evene Cristene. Thei aren redi inow for to renne to Rome for wordli profite or for
ertheli worschipe, or for plesance of an ertheli man, but for goostli mede, for helpe of
heer owen soules, or for worschip of God, thei aren soone irke. Thei wole not therof,
and yif thei ought doon thei goon but a paas and yit with a froward wille. Summe aren
turned into swyne, for thei aren so blynde in witte and so beestli in maneres, that thei
han no drede of God, but folwen oonli the lustes and the likynges of heer flesch, and
han no rewarde to honesté of man, for to rulen hemself aftir the biddynge of resoun, for
to restreyne the unskilful stirynges of the fleschli kynde; but as soone as ony fleschli
styrynge of synne cometh, thei aren redi for to falle therto, and folwe it as a swyn doth.
Summe men are turnyd into wolwes that lyven bi raveyn, as a fals covetous man dooth
that thorugh maistrie and overledynge robbeth his even Cristene of here wordli goodes.
Summe into foxis, as fals men and disceyvable that lyven in treccherie and in gile.
Alle thise and many othere moo, that lyven not in drede of God but breken His
commaundementis, forschapen hemsilf from the liknesse of God and maken hem like
unto beestis. Yhe, and worse than beestis, for thei aren like unto the feend of helle. And
therfore sothli, thise that lyven thus, yif that thei ben not reformed whanne the hour of
deeth cometh and the soules of hem aren departed from the bodies, than schal her iyen
ben openyd that is now stoppid with synne, and thanne schal thei feelen and fynden the
peyne of here wikkidnesse that thei lyveden inne here. And for as mykil as the image of
God was not reformed thorugh the sacrament of penaunce in hem, neithir in feith ne in
feelynge heere in this lif, thei schullen ben acursid, kest oute from the blissid face of
oure Creatour, and thei schal be dampned with the devel into the depnesse of helle, there
fore to ben ai withouten ende. Thus seith Seynt Johan in the Apocalips: Timidis, et
incredulis, execratis, et homicidis, fornicatoribus, veneficis et ydololatris et omnibus
mendacibus, pars illorum erit in stangno ardenti igne et sulphure (Revelations 21:8).
That is, to proude men and mystrowande, to cursid and to mansleers, to lecchouris and
to covetous, to poysoneris, worschiperis of maumetis, and to alle fals lieres, dool schal
ben with the devyl in the pitte of helle brennynge with fier and bremston. Yif the loveris
of this world wolden often thenke on this, hou al this world schal passen and drawen to
an ende, and hou alle wikkid love schal ben hard ponysched, thei schulde withinne
schort tyme lothe worldli lust that thei now moste liken. And thei schulde liften up here
herte for to love God, and besili seken and traveilen hou thei myghten be reformed to
His liknes or thei passiden hens.
Hou loveris of this world unable hemsilf on seere wise to the reformynge of here owen
But now seyn summe of hem thus: "I wolde fayne love God, and ben a good man and
forsake the love of the world yif that I myght; but y have no grace therto. Yif I hadde
the same grace that a good man hath, y schuld doo as he dooth; but for I have not,
therfore y may not, and so it is not me to witen, but I am excusid." Unto thise men y
seie thus: Sooth it is as thei seyn, that they have no grace and therfore thei liggen stille
in here synne and moun not risen oute. But that availeth hem right nought, it excuseth
hem not agens God, for it is heer owene defaute. Thei unablen hemsilf bi dyvers weies
so mykil, that the light of grace mai not schynen to hem ne resten in here hertes. For
summe aren so froward that thei wolen noo grace han, ne thei wolen no good men ben;
for thei witen wel yif thei schulden be good men, hem bihoveth nedes forberen and
leven the grete likynge and the luste of this world that thei han in ertheli thinges. And
that wolen thei not, for thei thenken it so swete that thei wolde not forgoon it. And also
thei moste take werkes of penaunce, as fastynge, wakynge, praiynge, and othere good-
deedes-doynge in chastizynge of here fleisch, and in withdrawynge of her fleischly
wille; and that moun thei not doon, for it is maad so scharpe and so pyneful to hire
thenkynge that thei ugglen and lothen for to thenken therupon, and so cowardeli and
wrecchidli dwellen thei stille in there synne.
Some wolden have grace, as it semeth, and thei bigynnen for to ablen hem therto; but
here wille is wondir weik, for as soone as ony stirynge of synne cometh, though it be
contrarie to the biddynge of God, thei fallen as tite therto, for thei aren so bounden
thorugh custum bi often fallinge and ofte assentynge to synne bifore, that hem thenketh
it impossible for to agenstonde it, and so feyned hardenesse of performynge weiken her
wille and smyten it doon agen. Summe also feelen stirynge of grace, as whanne thei han
bitynge of conscience for here yvele lyvynge, and that thei schulden leve it. But that is
pyneful to hem and so hevy, that thei wole not suffren it ne abide with it, but thei fleen
therefro and forgeten it yif thei moun, so fer forth that thei seken likyng and comfort
outeward in fleschli creaturis, so that thei schuld not feelen this bitynge of conscience
withinne her soule.
And overmore summe men aren so blynde and so beesteli that thei wenen that there
is noon othir liyf but this, ne that there is no soule of man othir than of a beest, but that
the soule of man dieth with the bodi as doth the soule of a beeste. And therfore thei
seyn, "Ete we and drynke we, and make we merie heere, for of this be we siker. We
seen noon othir hevene." Sotheli summe aren siche wrecchis that seyn thus in her
hertis, though thei seyn it not with her mouth. Of the whiche men the prophete seith
thus: Dixit insipiens in corde suo, non est deus (Psalms 13:1). That is, the unwise man
seide in his herte, ther is no God. This unwise man is everi wrecchid man that liketh and
loveth synne and cheseth the love of this worlde as reste of his soule. He seith there is
no God; not with his mouth, for he wole speken of Him sum tyme whanne he fareth wel
fleischli, as it were in reverence, whanne he seith, "Blissid be God," summe in dispite
whanne he is angry agens God or his even Cristene, and swerith bi His blissid bodi or
ony of His membris. But he seith in his thought that there is no God, and that is eithir for
that he weneth that there is noon othir liyf than this or ellis yif he wene that there is
Neverthelees he weneth that God seth not his synne, or that He wole not ponyssche
it so harde as Holi Writ seith, or that He wole forgyve hym his synne though that he flee
it not, or ellis that there schal no Cristen man be dampned doo he nevere so ille, or ellis
yif he faste oure Ladi faste, or seie everi dai a certeyn orisoun, or heere everi dai two
massis or thre, or do a certeyn bodili dede as it were in the worschipe of God, he schal
nevere goo to helle, doo he nevere so mykil synne, though he forsake it not. This man
seith in his herte that there is no God, but he is unwise as the prophete seith. For he
schal feelen and fynden in peyne that He is God whom he forgaat and sette not bi in
welthe of this world, as the prophete seith: Sola vexacio dabit intellectum (Isaiah 28:19).
That is, oonli peyne schal geve undirstondynge; for he that knoweth not this heere,
schal wel knowen it whanne he is in peyne.
A litil conceile hou loveres of this world schullen doon yif thei wolen be reformed in
heer soules bifore that thei passen hennys.
Thise men, though that thei witen weel that thei ben oute of grace and in deedli synne,
thei han no care ne sorwe ne thought therfore. But thei maken fleschli merthe and
wordli solas as mykil as thei mowen, and the ferthere that thei ben from grace, the more
mirthe thei maken. And perchance some hoolden hem wel paied that thei have no grace,
so that thei mowen more fulli and freli folwe the likynge of fleschli lustes, as though
God were on slepe and might not seen hem. And this is oon of the moste defaute. And
so bi her owen frowardenesse thei stoppe the light of grace from her owen soule that it
may not resten thereinne; the whiche grace, in as mykil as in it is, schyneth to alle
gosteli creatures, redi for to entren in there it is resseyved, as the sunne schyneth over
alle bodili creatures there it is not letted. Thus seith Seynt Johan in the Gospel: Lux in
tenebris lucet, et tenebre eam non comprehenderunt (John 1:5). That is, the light of
grace schyneth in merkenesse, that is, to mennys hertis that aren merke thorugh synne,
but the merkenesse taketh it not. That is, thise blynde hertis receyven not that gracious
light ne han not the profite of hit. But right as a blynde man is al umbilappid with light of
the sunne whan he stondeth therinne and yit seeth he it not, ne hath no profite therof for
to goon therbi, right so goostli a soule blyndid with deedli synne is al unbilappid with
this goostli light, and yit is he nevere the betere. For he is blynde and wole not seen ne
knowen his blyndenesse, and that is oon of the moste lettynge of grace, that a wikkid
man wole not be aknowe his owen blyndenesse for pride of himself; or ellis yif he
knowe it, he chargeth it not but maketh myrthe and game as he were over al siker.
Therfore unto alle thise men that aren thus blyndid and bounden with the fals love of
this world and aren so foule forschapen from the fairehede of man, I seie and conceile
that thei thenken on her soule, and that thei able hem to grace as mykil as thei mowen,
and that mowen thei doon upon this wise, yif thei wolen. Whanne that thei feelen hem
oute of grace and overleid with deedli synne, thanne that thei thenke what meschief and
peril is to hem for to ben oute of grace and be departid from God as thei be, for there is
nothynge that holdeth hem from the pitte of helle that thei ne schulden as tite fallen
therinne, but oo baare sengle threed of this bodili lif wherby thei hangen, that lightliere
mai be lost thanne a sengle threed mai be broken on two. For were the breeth stoppid in
the bodi, and that mai lightli falle, her soule schulde passe forth and anoon ben in helle
withouten ende. And yif thei wolden thenken thus, thei schulden quaken and schaken
for drede of the rightwise domes of God and of the harde ponyschynge of synne; and
thei schulden morne and sorwe for here synne and for thei han no grace.
And thanne schulde thei crien and praien that thei myghten have grace, and yif thei
doon thus, thanne schulde grace fallen in hem, and putten oute myrkenesse and
hardenesse of herte and weikenesse of wille, and geven hem myght and strengthe for to
forsake the fals love of this world as mykil as is deedli synne. For ther is noo soule so
feer from God thorugh wikkidnesse of wille in deedli synne, I oughtake noon in this
bodi of synne, that he ne mai thorugh grace be rightted and reformed to clennesse of
good lyvynge, yif he wil bowen his wil to God with mekenesse for to amenden his liyf,
and herteli aske grace and forgyvenesse of Hym, and excusen oure Lord and fulli accusen
himself. For Hooli Writ seith: Nolo mortem peccatoris, sed magis ut convertatur et vivat
(Ezekiel 33:11). That is, oure Lord seith: "I wil not the deeth of a synnere, but I wole
more that he be turned to me and lyve." For oure Lord woleth that the moste froward
man that lyveth forschapen thorugh synne, yif he turne his wille and aske grace, that he
be reformed to His likenesse.
That reformynge in feith and in feelynge mai not sodeynli be geten, but thorugh grace
and mochil traveile bodili and goostli.
This reformynge is in feithe, as I have bifore seid, that lighteli mai be had, but aftir this
cometh reformynge in feith and in feelynge, that mai not lightli be geten, but thorugh
longe traveile and mykil bisynesse. For reformynge in feith is comone to alle chosen
soulis, though thei ben but in the lowest degree of charité, but reformynge in felynge is
speciali of thise soulis that mowen come to the staat of perfeccioun, and that mai not
sodeynli be had. But aftir grete plenté of grace and mykil goostli traveile a soule mai
come therto; and that is whanne it is firste heeled of goostli sikenesse, and whanne alle
bittir passions and fleschli lustis and othere oolde feelynges aren brente oute of the herte
with fier of desire, and newe gracious feelynges aren brought in with brennynge love
and goostli light. Than neigheth a soule to perfeccion and to reformynge in feelynge.
For soth it is, right as a man that is brought neigh to the deeth thorugh bodili sikenesse,
though he resseyve a medicyn bi the whiche he is restorid and sikir of his liyf, he mai
not for it as tite risen up and goon to werke as an hool man mai for the feblenesse of his
bodi holdeth hym doun, that hym bihoveth to abiden a good while, and kepen hym with
medicynes, and dioten hym with mesure aftir the techynge of a leche til he mai fulli
recovere bodili heele. Right so goostli: he that is brought to goostli deeth thorugh deedli
synne, though he thorugh medicyne of the sacrament of penaunce be restorid to lif, that
he schal not be dampned, neverthelees he is not as tite hool of alle his passiouns and of
his flesschli desires, ne able to contemplacion. But him bihoveth abiden a grete while
and taken good kepe of himsilf, and rulen him so that he myght recovere ful heele of
soule. For he schal langure a grete while or thanne he be fulli hool. Neverthelees, yif that
he take medicynes of a good leche and use hem in tyme with mesure and descrecion, he
schal mykil the sunnere be restorid and reformyd to his goostly strengthe and come to
the reformyng in feelynge.
For reformynge in feith is the lowest staat of alle chosen soulis, for binethe that
myght he not wel ben, but reformynge in feelynge is the highest staat in this liyf that the
soule mai come to. But fro the loweste to the higheste mai not a soule sodeynli stirte, ne
more than a man that wole clymbe upon an high laddre and setteth his foot upon the
lowest stele mai atte the nexte fleen up to the higheste; but hym bihoveth bi processe
gon oon aftir anothir, til he mai come to the overeste. Right so it is goostli: no man is
maad sodeynli sovereyne in grace, but thorugh longe exercise and sligh wirkynge a
soule mai come therto, nameli whanne he helpeth and techeth a wrecchid soule in
whom al grace liggeth. For withoute special helpe and inli techynge of hym mai no
soule come therto.
On encheson whi so fewe soulis as in regarde of the multitude of othere comen to this
reformynge in feith and in feelynge.
But now seist thou, syn oure Lord is so curtais of His goodnesse, and of His gracious
giftes so free, wondir it is thanne that so fewe soules, as it semeth in reward of the
multitude of othere, moun come to the reformyng in feelynge. Hit semeth that He were
daungerous, and that is not soth; or that He took no reward of His creaturis, the whiche
bi takynge of feith aren bicomen His servauntis. Unto this I mai ansuere and seyn as me
thenketh, that oon chesoun is this. Many men that aren reformed in feith setten not here
herte for to profite in grace, ne for to seken noon higher staat of good lyvynge thorugh
besi traveile in praiynge and thenkynge and othere bodili and goostli workynge; but hem
thenketh it hem inowgh for to kepe hem from deedli synne, for to stande stille in that
plight as thei aren inne. For thei seyn that it is yinowgh to hem for to ben saaf and have
the leeste degree in hevene; thei wolen coveiten no more.
Thus perchaunce doon summe of the chosen soules that lyven in the world actif liyf,
and that is litil wondir of hem, for thei aren so occupied with wordli besynesse that
neden to be doon, that thei moun not fulli setten here herte to profiten in goosteli wirkynge.
And neverthelees it is perilous to hem, for thei fallen often and al dai, and aren now up
and now doon, and mowe not comen to stablenesse of good lyvynge. Neverthelees they
aren sumwhat excusable, of here staat of lyvynge. But othere men and women that aren
free fro worldli besynes yif thei wolen, and moun han here nedeful sustenaunce withoute
grete bodili bisynesse, as speciali religious men and women moun that bynden hemsilf
to the staat of perfeccioun bi takynge of religioun, and othere men also in seculere staat
that han mochil resoun and grete kyndeli witte, and myghten yif thei wolde disposen
hem therto come to mychil grace - thise men are more for to blamen, for thei stondeth
stille as thei weren idel, and wolen nought profite in grace, ne no ferthere seken for to
comen to the love and to the knowynge of God.
For soothli it is perilous to a soule that is reformed oonli in feith, and wole no more
seken ne profiten ne geven to bodili and goosteli traveile, for he mai so lighteli leese that
he hath and fallen to deedli synne. For a soule mai not stonde stille alwei in oo staat
while that he is in the flesch, for it is eithir profetynge in grace or ellis peirynge in synne.
For it fareth bi hym as it dooth yif a man were drawen oute of a foule pit, and whanne
he were uppe, he wolde no ferther goon thanne the pittis brinke. Soothli he were a mykil
fool, for a litil puff of wynde or an unware styringe of himsilf schulde caste him doun
ageyn werse than he was bifore. Neverthelees yif he flee from the brinke as feer as he
mai, and goo forthe on the erthe, thanne, though there come a grete storm, he is more
siker, for he fallith not agen into the pitte.
Right so goostli: he that is drawen oute of the pitte of synne thorugh reformynge of
feith, and whanne he is oute of deedli synne hym thenketh hym siker inowgh, and
therfore he wole not profiten but wole holden him stille as he is bi the pittis brynke as
neer as he mai. Sothli he is not wise, for at the leeste temptacion of the enemy or of his
flesch he falleth into synne agen. But nevertheles yif he flee fro the pytte, that is, yif he
sette his herte fulli for to come to more grace and for to travaile bisili hou he mai come
therto, and gyve him herteli to praiynge, thenkynge, and othere good-werkes-doynge,
thanne though grete temptacions risen agennys him, he fallith not lightli to deedli synne
And soothli it is wonder to me, that syn grace is so good and so profitable, whi a man
whanne he hath but a litil therof, yhe, so litil that he myght noo lasse have, that he wole
seyn, "Hoo! I wil no more of this, for I have ynowgh." Whanne I see a wordli man,
though he have of wordli good moche more thanne hym nedeth, yit he wole nevere
seyn, "Hoo! y have inowgh, I wole no more of this." But he wole ai coveite more and
more, and travailen alle hise wittes and his myghtes, and nevere wole stynten of his
covetise til he mai have more. Mikil more thanne schulde a chosen soule coveiten
goostli good, for that is ai lastande and maketh a soule blissid, and he nevere schuld
ceese of his yernynge, yif he dide wel, gete what he gete myghte. For he that most
coveiteth, moste schal have; and soothli yif he dide thus, he schulde profiten and wexen
in grace greteli.
Anothir encheson of the same, and hou wilful bodili custum undiscreteli rewarded and
usid, sumtyme hyndren soulis fro felinge of more grace.
Anothir enchesoun is this. Sum men that aren reformed in feith in the bigynnynge of
here turnynge to God setten hemsilf in a certeyn manere of doynge, whethir it be bodili
or goostli, and thenken for to kepen ai that manere of forth werkynge, and not for to
chaungen it for noon othir that cometh thorugh grace, though it were betere. For thei
wenen that that doynge schulde be beste for hem alweie for to holden; and therfore thei
resten hem therinne, and thorugh custum thei bynden hem so therto, that whan thei han
fulfillid it thei thenken hem wondir weel esid, for thei wene that thei han doon a grete
thynge to God. And perchaunce yif it falle that thei ben lettid from here custom, though
it be for a skileful cause, thei ben hevy and angri and han trobelynge of conscience, as
yif thei hadde doon a grete dedli synne. Thise men hyndren hemsilf sumwhat fro feelynge
of more grace, for thei setten here perfeccion in a bodili werk, and so thei maken an
ende in the myddis of the weie, where noon eende is.
For whi, bodili costoms that men usen first in hire bigynnynge are goode, but thei
aren but meenes and weies, ledande a soule to perfeccion; and therfore he that setteth
his perfeccioun in a bodili werke, or in ony goostli werk that he feleth in the bigynnynge
of his turnynge to God, that he wole no ferthere seken, but ai reste therinne, he hyndreth
himsilf greteli. For it is a sympil craft that apprentice is alwei alike wise inne, and that
can on the first dai as mykil of it as he can twenti yeer aftir; or ellis yif the crafte be good
and sotiel, he is of a dul witte or ellis of an yvel wille, that profiteth not therinne. But
thanne is it sooth that of alle craaftis that aren, the service of God is moste sovereyn and
moste sotil, the highest, the hardeste for to come to the perfeccioun of it, and also it is
moste profitable and moste of wynnynge to him that mai soothfasteli performe it. And
therfore it semeth that the prentis of it that is ai like ferforth in the leernynge, othir he is
dul-witted or ellis ille-willid.
I repreve not thise customes that men usen in the staat of bigynnynge, whethir thei
ben bodili or goostli, for y seie that thei aren ful goode and spedeful to hem for to usen.
But y wolde that thei heelden hem not but as a wei and an entré towarde goosteli
feelinge, and that thei usiden them a covenable mene, until a betere come, and that thei
in usynge of it coveitide aftir betere; and thanne yif a betere come that were more
goostli and more drawande in the thought from fleischlinesse and from the sensualité
and veyn ymaginacioun, and that schuld be lettid bicause of othir wilful custum, that
thei leve thanne here custom, whanne it mai be left withoute sclaundre or disese of
othere, and folwe that thei feelen. But yif neither lette othir, thanne that thei use bothe yif
that thei mai. I mene not of costoms nedeful thorugh bond of lawe, or of rule, or of
penaunce, but of othere wilfulli taken. Thus techeth the prophete in the sautier, seiynge
thus: Etenim benediccionem dabit legislator, ibunt de virtute in virtutem, et videbitur
deus deorum in Syon (Psalms 83:8). Sothli the bringere of the lawe schal geve his
blissynge, thei schulen goon fro vertu to vertu, and God of goddis schal be seyn in
Syon. The bringere of the lawe, that is oure Lord Jhesu Crist, schal gyve His blissynge,
that is, schal gyve His giftes of grace to His chosen soules, callende hem from synne
and rightynge hem bi gode werkes to His liknesse; thorugh whiche grace thei schullen
profiten and wexen from vertu to vertu until thei comen to Syon; that is until thei come
to contemplacion, in the whiche thei schullen see God of goddis; that is, thei schullen
see wel that ther is non but oon God, and thei schulen see that there is not but God.
Hou that withouten moche bodili and goostli bisynesse and withoute moche grace of
mekenes of soulis mowen not be reformed in feelinge ne be kept in it whan thei mai
Now, seist thou, syn it so is that reformynge in feith is so lowgh and so perilous for to
reste inne, bicause of drede of fallynge agen to deedli synne, and reformynge in feelynge
is so high and so siker, whoso myghte come therto - thanne coveitest thou for to wite
what manere of traveile were most spedeful for to usen, bi the whiche a man myghte
profiten inne and come therto, or yif there were ony certeyn traveile or special deede bi
the whiche a man myght come to that grace and to that reformynge in feelynge. As unto
this I seie thus: Thou wost weel what man or woman wole dispose him for to come to
clennesse of herte and to feelynge of grace, hem bihoveth have mykil traveile, and grete
fightynge in wille and in werk lastyngeli agens the wikkid stirynges of alle the heed
synnes, not oonli agens pride or envie, but agens alle othere, with alle the spices that
comen oute of hem, as I have seid heer biforn in the firste partie of this writynge. For
whi, passions and fleschli desires letten the clennesse in herte and pees in con-
science. And hem bihoveth also traveile for to geten alle vertues; not oonli chastité
and abstinence, but also pacience and myldenesse, charité and mekenesse, and alle
the othere. And this mai not be doon bi oo maner of werk, but bi diversis werkes and
manye, aftir dyverse disposyngis of men, as now praiynge, now thenkynge, now
wirkynge sum gode deede, now assaiynge hemself in dyverse weies; in hungir and in
thurste, in coolde and suffrynge of schame and dispite yif nede be, and in othere bodili
disesis for love of vertu and soothfastnesse.
This knowest thou wel, for this redist thou in every book that techeth of good lyvynge.
Thus seith also everi man that wole stire mannys soule to the love of God. And so it
semeth that there is no special traveile ne certeyn dede thorugh the whiche oonli a soule
myghte come to that grace, but principali thorugh grace of oure Lord Jhesu Crist, and
bi many deedis and grete in al that he mai doon, and yit al is litil ynowgh. And o skile mai
be this. For sithen oure Lord Jhesu Hymsilf is special maister of this craafte, and also
special leche of goostli sikenesse, for withouten Him al is nought; therefore it is resonable
that aftir He stireth and techeth, so a man folwe and wirke. But he is a sympil maister
that cannot kenne his disciple while he is in leernynge but ai oon lesson, and he is an
unwise leche that bi oon medicyn wole heele alle soris. Therfore oure Lord Jhesu, that
is so wise and so good, for to schewe His wisedom and His godenesse He techeth sundri
lessounes to His disciplis, aftir that they profiten in here lyvynge, and gyveth to sundri
soulis sundri medicynes aftir the felynge of hire sikenesse. And also anothir skille is this:
yif that there were oon certayn deede bi whiche a soule myghte come to perfighte love
of God, thanne schulde a man wene that he myght come therto bi his owen werke and
thorugh his owen traveile, as a marchaunt cometh to his mede bi his owen traveile oonli,
and bi his werke. Nai, it is not soo goostli of the love of God. For he that wole serve
God wiseli and come to perfite love of Hym, he schal coveiten for to han noon othir
mede than Him oonli. But thanne, for to have Hym mai no creature deserve oonli thorugh
his owene travaile, for though a man myghte travelen bodili and gosteli as mykil as alle
creatures that evere were myghten, he myghte not deserven oonli bi his werkes for to
have God for his mede. For He is sovereyn blisse and eendelees goodnesse, and passith
withoute comparisoun alle mennys desertis; and therfore He mai not be getin bi noo
mannys special werk, as bodili meede mai. For He is free and geveth Himsilf where He
wole and whanne He wole, neithir for this werke ne for that, ne this tyme ne aftir this
tyme; for though a soule werke al that he can and mai al his liyftyme, perfighte love of
Jhesu schal he nevere have, til oure Lord Jhesu wole freeli gyven it. Neverethelees oon
that othir side y seie also, that I hope that He geveth it not, but yif a man wirke and
traveile al that he may and can, yhe til hym thenketh that he mai no more, or ellis be in
ful wille therto yif that he myghte.
And soo it semeth that neithir grace oonli withouten ful wirkynge of a soule that in it
is, ne wirkynge aloone withouten grace, bryngeth not a soule to reformynge in feelynge,
the whiche reformynge stondeth in perfite love and charité. But that oon joyned with
that othir - that is, grace joined to werke - bryngeth into a soule the blissid feelynge
of perfite love, the whiche grace may not resten fulli but on a meke soule that is ful of
dreede of God. Therefore I seie that he that hath not mekenesse, ne dooth not his
bisynesse, mai not come to this reformynge in feelynge. He hath not ful mekenesse that
cannot felen of himsilf soothfasteli as he is, as thus: he that dooth al the good deedes
that he can, as in fastynge, wakynge, werynge of the heire and alle othere suffrynge of
bodili penaunce, or dooth alle the outeward werkes of merci to his evene Cristene, or
ellis inward as praiynge, wepynge, sighhynge, and thenkynge: yif he reste ai in hem,
and lene so mykil to hem, and rewarde hem so greteli in his owene sight that he presumeth
in his owen desertes, and thenketh himsilf ai riche and good and holi and vertuous -
sothli as longe as he feelith thus, he is not meke inow. Ne though he seie or thenke that
al that he dooth is of Goddis grace and not of hymsilf, he is not yit meke inow, for he
mai not yit make himsilf nakid from al his good deedes, ne make hymsilf pore soothfastli
in spirit, ne feelen himsilf nought, as he is. And soothli, until a soule can felabli thorugh
grace noughten himsilf, and baaren himsilf from al the good that he doth thorugh
biholdynge of soothfastnesse of Jhesu God, he is not perfighteli meke.
For what is mekenesse but sothfastenesse? Sothli, not ellis. And therfore he that
thorugh grace may see Jhesu, hou He dooth al, and hymsilf dooth right nought but
suffreth Hym werken in hym what Him list, he is meke. But this is ful harde and as it
were impossible and unresonable to a man that wirketh al bi mannys resoun and seeth
no ferthere, for to doon many gode dedes and thanne for to arette hem alle to Jhesu, and
setten hymself at not. Neverthelees whoso myght have a gosteli sight of soothfastenes,
he schulde thenke it ful true and ful resonable to doon so. And soothli he that hath this
sight he schal nevere doo the lasse, but he schal be stired for to traveile bodili and
goostli mykil the more and with mykil the betere wil. And this mai be o cause whi that
summe men peraventure swynken and sweten and pynen here wrecchid bodi with
outeragious penaunce al here liyftyme, and aren ai seiynge orisons and sautiers and
biddynge many othere bedis, and yit mowen thei nout come to that goostli feelynge of
the love of God, as it semeth sum men doon in schortere tyme with lasse peyne, for
thei han not that mekenesse that y speke of.
Also on that othir side I seie, he that dooth not his bisynesse mai not come to the
felynge of grace. He dooth not his bisynesse that thenketh thus: Whereto schulde I
traveile? Wherto schulde I praie or thenken, fasten or waken, or ony bodili penaunce
doon for to come to siche grace, syn it mai not be geten ne had, but oonli of the free gift
of Jhesu? Therfore I wole umbiden in fleischlihede right as I am, and right not doon of
siche werkis bodili ne gosteli until he geve it. For yif he wole gyve it, he asketh no
wirkynge of me. Whatso that I doo, and hou litil that y doo, I schal have it. And yif he
wole not gyve it, traveile I nevere so faste for it, I gete it nevere the more. He that seith
thus mai not come to this reformynge, for he draweth himsilf wilfulli to ydelnesse of
fleschlihede, and unablith hym to the gifte of grace, in as mykil as he putteth from him
bothe inward werkynge that stondeth in lastynge desire and in longynge to Jhesu, and
outeward werkynge bi traveile of his bodi in goode outeward deedes. So mai he not
Therfore I seie that he that hath not trewe mekenesse ne ful herteli bisynes mai not
come to the reformynge in feelynge. For withoute bisynesse - either inward oonli bi
grete fervour and lastinge desire and bisi praiere and thought in God, or ellis bothe
inward and outewarde - mai he not come to this goosteli reformyng of this image.
That a man that wil come to Jerusalem, that is undirstonde to the cité of pees, the which
is contemplacion, muste hoolde him lowe in mekenesse and in feith, and suffir disese
bothe bodili and gosteli.
Neverthelees, for thou coveitest to have sum maner wirkynge bi the whiche thou myghtest
the rathere neighen to that reformynge, I schal seie thee as me thenketh bi the grace of oure
Lord Jhesu, the schorteste and the redieste helpe that I knowe in this wirkynge. And hou
that schal be, I schal telle thee bi ensample of a good pilgrine, upon this wise.
There was a man that wolde goon to Jerusalem, and for that he knewe not the weie,
he come to anothir man that he hopid coude the weie thider, and askid whethir he
myghte not come to that cité. That othir man seide to him that he myght not come thidir
withoute grete disese and grete traveile, for the wei is longe and the perilis aren grete for
theves and robberes, and many othere lettyngis ther ben that fallen to a man in the
goynge. And also there are many sundri weies, as it semeth, ledynge thedirward, but
men al dai are slayn and spoiled and mowen not come to that place that thei coveiten.
Neverthelees, there is o weie, the which weie whoso wolde take it and hoolde it, he
wolde undirtake that he schulde come to the cité of Jerusalem, and he schulde nevere
lesen his liyf ne be slayn, ne dien for defaughte. He schulde ofte be robbid and yvel
beten, and suffre mykil disese in the goynge, but he schulde have his liyf saaf.
Thanne seith the pilgrime: "Bi so y mai ascape and have my liyf saaf and come to that
place that I coveite, I charge not what myschief I suffre in the goynge; and therfore seie
me what thou wolt, and soothli I bihote thee for to doon theraftir." That othir man
ansuerith and seith thus: "Loo, I sette thee in the right weie." This is the weie, and that
thou kepe this lernynge that I kenne thee. Whatsoo thou herest or seest or feelist that
schulde lette thee in thi weie, abide not with it wilfulli, tarie not for it restfulli, biholde it
not, like it not, drede it not; but ai go forth in thi weie, and thenke that thou woldest not
ellis but bee at Jerusalem. For that thou coveitest, that thou desirest, and not ellis but
that. And yif men robben thee and spoilen thee, scorne thee, beten thee, and despice
thee, stryve not ageyn yif thou wolt have thi liyf, but holde thee with the harm that thou
hast and goo forth as nought were, that thou take no more harm. And also yif men
wolen tarie thee with tales and fage thee with leesynges for to drawe thee to myrthis and
to leve thi pilgrimages, make deef eere and ansuere not agen, seie not elles but that thou
woldest ben at Jerusalem. And yif men profre thee giftis and wole make thee riche with
wordli goodes, tende not to hem; thenke ai on Jerusalem. And yif thou wolte holden this
weie and doon as I have seide, I undirtake thi liyf thou schalte not be slayn, but thou
schalt come to that place ther thu coveitest.
Goosteli to oure purpos, Jerusalem is as mykil for to say as sight of pees, and it
bitokeneth contemplacion in perfighte love of God. For contemplacion is not ellis but a
sight of Jhesu, the whiche is veri pees. Than yif thou coveite for to come to this blissid
sight of veri pees and be a trewe pilgrim to Jerusalemward, though it be so that I were
nevere there, neverthelees as ferforth as I can I schal sette thee in the weie thedirward.
The bigynnynge of the high weie in the whiche thou schalt goon is reformynge in feith,
groundid mekeli in the feith and in the lawes of Holi Chirche, as I have seid bifore. For
truste sikirli, though thou have synned here bifore, yif thou be now reformed bi the
sacrament of penaunce aftir the lawe of Holi Chirche, that thou arte in the right weie.
Now thanne, syn thou art in the siker weie, yif thou wilt spede in thy goynge and make
good jornés, thee bihoveth holden thise two thinges often in thi mynde, mekenesse and
love. That is, I am nought, I have nought, I coveite nought, but oon. Thou schalt have
the menynge of thise wordes in thyn entente and in habite of thi soule lastanli, though
thou have not thise wordes speciali formed ai in thi thought, for that nedeth nought.
Mekenesse seith, I am nought, I have nought. Love seith, I coveite nought but oon, and
that is Jhesu.
Thise two strynges, wel festened with mynde of Jhesu, maken good acord in the
harpe of thi soule, whanne thei ben craftli touchid with the fyngir of resoun, for the
lowere thou smytest upon that on, the highere souneth that tothir. The lasse thou felist
that thou art or that thu hast of thisilf thorugh mekenesse, the more thou coveiteste for
to have of Jhesu in desire of love. I mene not oonli of that mekenesse, the whiche a
soule feelith in sight of his owen synne or frieltees or wrecchidnesse of this liyf, or of
the worthinesse of his evene Cristene. For though this mekenes be soothfast and
medicynable, neverthelees it is boistous and fleschli as in regard, not clene ne softe ne
loveli. But I mene also this mekenesse that the soule feeleth thorugh grace, in sight and
biholdinge of the endelees beynge and the wondirful goodnesse of Jhesu; and yif thou
mowe not seen it yit with thi goostili iye that thou trowe it. For thorugh sight of His
beynge, either in ful feith or in feelynge, thou schalt holden thisilf not oonli as the moste
wrecche that is, but also as nought in substance of thi soule, though thou haddest doo
nevere synne. And that is loveli mekenesse, for in reward of Jhesu that is soothfastli al,
thou art right nought. And also that thou thenke that thou haste right nought, but arte as
a vessel that stondeth ai tome or voide as nought were thereinne, as of thisilf. For doo
thou nevere so manye good deedes outeward or inward, until thou have and feele that
thou hast the love of Jhesu, thou hast right nought. For with that precious licour oonli,
mai thi soule be fulfilled, and with noon othir. And for as mykil as that thynge aloone is
so precious and so worthi, therfore what thou haste or what thou doost, holde it as
right nought as for to resten inne, withoute the sight and the love of Jhesu. Keste it al
bihynde thee and forgete it, that thou myghtest have that that is beste of alle.
Right as a trewe pilgrym goynge to Jerusalem leveth bihynde him hous and lond, wif
and childe, and maketh hemsilf pore and bare from al that he hath, that he myght goo
lightli withoute lettynge: right so yif thou wolt ben a goostli pilgrim, thou schalt make
thisilf nakid from al that thou haste, that are bothe gode dedes and badde, and casten alle
bihynde thee, that thou be so pore in thyn owen feelynge that ther be nothing of thyn
owen wirkynge that thou wolt lene upoun restandeli, but ai desirynge more grace of
love and ai sekynge the goosteli presence of Jhesu. And yif thou doo thus, thanne schalt
thou sette in thin herte fully and hooly that thou woldest ben at Jerusalem, and at noon
othir place but there. And that is, thou schalt setten in thyn herte fulli and hooli, that thou
woldeste nothynge have but the love of Jhesu and the goostli sight of Him as He wole
schewen Him; for to that oonli thou art maad and bought, and that is thi bigynnynge and
thyn ende, thi joie and thi blisse. And therfore, whatsoevere that thou have, be thou
nevere so riche in othere dedis bodili and goostli, but yif thou have that, and knowe and
feele that thou haste it, holde that thou hast right nought. Prente wel this resoun in the
menynge of thyn herte, and cleve sadli therto; and hit schal save thee from alle perilis in
thy goynge, that thou schalt not perischen, and it schal save thee fro theves and robbours,
the whiche I calle unclene spiritis, that though thei spoile thee and bete thee thorugh
dyvers temptaciouns thi liyf schal be ai saaf. And schorteli yif thou kepe it as I schal seie
thee, thow schalt ascape alle periles and myschevys and come to the cité of Jerusalem
withinne schort tyme.
Now thou art in the weie and knoweste what the place highte and whidir thou schalt
drawe to. Bigyn than for to goon forth in thy jorné. Thi forthgoynge is not ellis but
goostli werkes, and bodili also whanne that it nedeth, whiche thou schalte usen with
discrecioun upon this wise. What werk that it be that thou schuldest doon, aftir the
degree or staate asketh that thou stondest inne, bodili or goostli, yif it helpe this gracious
desire that thou hast for to love Jhesu, and make it more hool and more esi, and more
myghti to alle vertues and to al goodnesse, that werke holde I best; be it praiynge, be it
thenkynge, be it redynge, be it wirkynge; and as longe as that werk strengtheth moste
thyn herte and thi wille to the love of Jhesu, and ferthest draweth thyn affeccion and thi
thought from wordli vanité, it is good for to use it. And yif it be so, that thorugh use
savour of that lasseth, and thee thenketh anothir werk savoureth thee more, and thou
feelist more grace in anothir, take anothir and leef that. For though the desire and the
yernynge of thyn herte to Jhesu schulde ai be unchaungeable, neverthelees thi goostli
werkes that thou schalt usen in praiynge or in thenkynge for to feeden and norischen
this desire mowen be dyvers, and moun ben wel chaungid aftir that thou feelist thee
disposed thorugh grace and appliynge of thyn owen herte.
For it farith bi werkes and by disire, as it dooth bi stikkes and bi a fier. For the mo
stikkis are leid to the fier, the grettere is the flawme and the hattere is the fier. Right so
the more dyverse goostli werkynge that a man hath in his thought for to kepen hool his
desire, the myghtiere and the more brennande schal be his desire to God. And therfore
loke wisely what werk thou canst best doon, and that moste helpeth thee for to save
hool this desire to Jhesu (yif thou be free, and arte not bounden but undir the comoun
lawe), and that do. Bynde thee not to wilful customs unchaungeabli, that schulde lette
the fredom of thyn herte for to love Jhesu yif grace wole visite thee speciali. For I schal
telle thee whiche customs aren ai goode and nedeful to be kepte. Loo, siche a custom is
ai good for to ben holden that stondeth in getynge of vertu and lettynge of synne, and
that custom schulde nevere be left, for thou schalt ai be meke and pacient, sobre and
chaste, yif thou wel doo, and so of alle othere vertues. But the custom of anothir thynge
that letteth a betere is for to leven whanne tyme is, there a man mai. As thus, yif a man
have in custom for to seyn thus many bedes, or for to thenken oonli this manere
thought and thus longe tyme, or for to waken or knelen thus longe, or ony othir bodili
deede, this custom is for to leeve sum tyme whan resonable cause letteth, or ellis yif
more grace come on othir side.
Of a general remedie agens wikkid stirynges and peynful taryynges that fallen in here
hertis of the fleisch, the world, and the feend, and hou a stidefast desire to Jhesu
mayntened and strenthed with devout praiere and bisi thenkynge on Him is a sovereyn
Now art thou in the weie, and thou wost hou thou schalt goon. Now beware of enemyes
that wolen be bisie for to lette thee yif thei mowen, for al here entente is for to putten
oute of thyn herte that desire and that longynge that thou hast to the love of Jhesu, and
for to dryve thee hoom ageyn to love of worldli vanyté. For ther is nothynge that
greveth hem so mykil. Thise enemyes aren principali fleschli desires and veyne dredes,
that risen oute of thi herte thorugh corrupcioun of thi fleschli kynde, and wolde lette the
desire of the love of Jhesu, that thei myghten fulli and restefulli occupien thyn herte -
these aren thi nexte enemyes. Also othere enemyes there aren, as unclene spirites that
aren bisi with sleightes and wiles for to disseyven thee. But o remedie schal thou have
that I seide bifore - whatso it be that thei seyn, trowe hem not, but holde forth thy
weie, and oonli desire the love of Jhesu. Ansuere ai thus: I am nought, I have nought, I
coveite not, but oonli for to love Jhesu.
Yif thyne enemyes seyn to thee first thus, bi stirynges in thyn herte, that thou arte not
schryven aright, or there is sum olde synne hid in thin herte that thou knowest not, ne
were not schryven of, and therfore thou mostist turne hoom agen and leve thi desire,
and goo first and schryve thee betere: trowe not this seiynge, for it is fals, for thou arte
schryven. Truste sikirli that thou art in the weie, and thee nedeth no more ransakynge of
schrifte for that that is passid. Hold forthe thi wey and thenke on Jerusalem. Also yif
thei seyn that thou arte not worthi for to have the love of God, wherto schalt thou
coveite that thou myght not have, ne arte not worthi therto, trowe hem not, but goo
forth, and seie thus: "Not for I am worthi, but for I am unworthi, therfore wolde I love
God. For yif I hadde it, that schulde make worthi me. And syn I was maad therto,
though I schuld nevere have it, yit wole I coveite it, and therfore wole I praien and
thenken that I myght geten it." And thanne yif thyn enemyes seen that thou bigynnest to
wexen bold and wel willed to thi werk, thei bigynne to wexe aferd of thee.
Neverthelees, thei wolen not ceesen of tariynge whanne thei mowen as longe as thou
art goynge in the weie, what with drede and manassynge on that toon side, what with
flaterynge and fals plesynge on that othir side, for to doo thee breke thi purpos and
turnen hoom agen. Thei wolen seie thus: "Yif thou holde forth this desire to Jhesu so
fulli traveilynge as thou bigynnest, thou schal falle in sikenesse, or in fantasies, or into
frenesies, as thou seest that sum men doon, or thou schalt fallen in poverté and bodily
myschef, and no man schal wille helpe thee; or thou myght falle into privei temptacions
of the feend, that thou schalt not conne helpe thisilf inne. For it is wondir perilous ony
man to gyve him fulli to the love of God, and leve al the world, and nothynge coveiteyng
but oonli Him and the love of Him, for so many periles mowen falle that a man knoweth
not of. And therfore turne hoom agen and leef this desire, for thou schalt never brynge
it to a good ende, and doo as othere wordli men doon." Thus seyn thyn enemyes, but
trowe hem not, but holde ai forth thi desire, and seie not ellis but that thou woldest have
Jhesu, and ben at Jerusalem. And yif thei perceyve thanne thi wille so strenthid that thou
wolt not spare for synne ne for sikenesse, for fantasye, ne frenesie, for doughtes ne for
dredes, ne for gosteli temptacions, for myschef ne for poverté, for liyf ne for deeth; but
ai forth thou wolte with oo thynge, and no thinge but oon, and makest deef eere to hem
whatsoevere thei seyn as though thou herdest hem not, and holdest forth stilli in thyn
praieres and in thi othere goostli werkes withouten stintinge, and thou dost with discrecion
aftir conceil of thi sovereyne or thi goostli fadir; thanne bigynne thei for to be wrooth
and to goon a litil neer thee. Thei bigynne for to robbe thee and bete thee and doo thee
al the schame that thei mowen. And that is, whanne thei make that alle thi deedes that
thou doost, be thei nevere so weel doon, aren demed of othere men as ille and turnyd
into wers partie. And whatsoevere it be that thou woldest have doon in helpe of thi bodi
or of thi soule, it schal be lettid and hyndrid bi othere men, so that thou schalt be put fro
thi wille in alle thinges that thou skilfuli coveitest. And al this thei doon that thou schuldest
be stired to ire or malencolie or yvel wil agens thyn even Cristene.
But agens alle thise diseses and alle othere that mowen fallen, use this remedie. Take
Jhesu in thy mynde, angre thee not with hem, tarie not with hem, but oonly on thi
lesson. That is, thou arte not, thou hast not, thou maist not leesen of ertheli good, thou
coveitest nought but the love of Jhesu, and holde forth thi weie to Jerusalem, with thyn
occupacion. And neverthelees yif thou be taried sum tyme thorugh frielté of thisilf with
sich diseses that fallen to thi bodili liyf thorugh yvel wil of man or malice of the feend,
as soone as thou maist come agen to thisilf, and leve of the thenkynge of that disese and
goo forth to thi werk. Abide not to longe with hem for drede of thyn enemyes.
Hou thou that art thus in this weie and wolt not be put out bi no diseses; thyne enemyes
wolen than forgen thee and sette thee bifore alle thi good deedes and commende thee of
hem and hou than thou schalt putte hem awey.
And aftir this, whanne thyne enemyes seen that thou art so wel-willed, that thou art not
angri ne hevy ne wrooth, ne mykil stired agen no creature for ought that thei mowen
doon or speken agens thee, but settest thyn herte fulli for to suffren al that mai falle,
eese and uneese, praisynge or lackyng, and that thou wolt charge nothinge with thi, that
thou myghtest kepe thi thought and thi desire hool to the love of God, thanne are thei
mykil abasched. But thanne wolen thei assaie thee with flaterie and plesynge, and that is
whanne thei brengen to the sight of thi soule alle thi good deedis and thi vertues, and
beeren upon thee that alle men preisen thee and speken of thyn holinesse and hou alle
men loven thee and worschipen thee for thi hooli lyvynge. This doon thyn enemyes that
thou schuldest thenke here seiynge sooth, and han delite in this veyn joie and reste thee
therinne. But yif thou doo wel, thou schalt holden al siche veyn jangelynge as falsheed
and flaterie of thyn enemye, that profreth thee venym to drynken tempred with hony.
Therfore refuse it and seie thou wolt not therof, but thou woldest ben at Jerusalem.
Siche lettynges thou schalt felen or elles othere like, what of thi flesch, what of the
world, what of the feend, mo than I mai reherce now. For a man as longe as he suffrith
his thought wilfulli rennen al aboughte the world in biholdinge of sundri thynges, he
perceyveth fewe lettynges. But as soone as he draweth al his thought and his yernynge
unto oo thynge oonli, for to have that, for to see that, and for to knowe that, and loven
that, and that is oonli Jhesu, than schal he wel feelyn manye peynful lettynges, for every
thought that he feleth and is not that that he coveiteth is lettynge to him. Therfore I have
tolde thee of summe speciali, as for exsample. And overmore I seie generali, that what
stirynge that thou feelist of thi fleische or of the feend, plesant or peynful, bittir or
swete, likynge or dredeful, gladsum or sorweful, that wolde drawe doun thi thought
and thi desire from the love of Jhesu to wordli vanité and lette uttirli thi goostli covetise
that thou hast to the love of Him, and that thyne herte schuld be occupied with that
stirynge restandli: sette it at nought, receyve it not wilfulli, tarie not therewith to longe.
But yif it bee of a wordli thynge that bihoveth nedes to be doon unto thisilf or to thyn
evene Cristene, spede thee soone of it, and brynge it to an ende that it hange not on thyn
herte. Yif it be anothir thynge that nedeth not, or ellis it toucheth not thee, drede it not,
like it not, but smyte it out of thyn herte redili. And seie thus: "I am nought; I have
nought; nought I seke ne coveite but the love of Jhesu." Knyt thi thought to this desire,
and strengthe it with praier and with othir goostli werk that thou forgete it not, and it
schal leede thee in the right weie and save thee from alle periles, that though thou feele
hem thou schal not perischen; and I hope that it schal brynge thee to the perfight love of
oure Lord Jhesu.
Neverthelees on that othir side I saide also, what werk or what stirynge it be that mai
helpe thi desire, strenthe it and norische it, and make thi thought ferthest from the love
and mynde of the world, more hool and more brennande to the love of Jhesu, whethir
it be praiynge or thenkynge, stillenes or spekynge, reedynge or heerynge, oonlynes or
comonynge, goynge or sittynge - kepe it for the tyme and wirke thereinne as longe as
savour lasteth, bi so that thou take therwith mete and drynke and slepe as a pilgrym
dooth, and kepe discrecion in thi wirkynge aftir conceile or ordenaunce of thi sovereyne.
For have he nevere soo grete haste in his goynge, yit he wole in tyme ete and drynken and
slepen. Do thou so. For though it lette oon tyme, it schal fortherene thee anothir tyme.
Hou a soule whan it is hid thorugh grace fro the vyle noise and besynesse of the world
is a gode nyght and a lighti merkenesse, for thane may it freli praien and thenken on
Yyf thou wilte witen thane what this desire is, sotheli it is Jhesu. For He maketh this
desire in thee and He geveth thee it. He it is that desireth in thee and He it is that is desired.
He is al and He dooth al, yif thou myght seen Hym. Thou doost nought, but suffrist Hym
werken in thi soule and assentest to Hym with grete gladenesse of herte that He voucheth
saaf for to doo so in thee. Thou art not ellis but a resonable instrument whereinne that
He werketh. And therfore whanne thou feelist thi thought bi touchynge of His grace bi
taken up with this desire to Jhesu with a myghti devoute wille for to plesen Him and
loven Him, thynke thanne that thou haste Jhesu; for He it is that desireth. Biholde Him
wel, He goth bifore thee, not in bodili liknesse, but unseabli bi privei hid presence of His
goostli myght; therfore see Hym gostly yif thou myght, or ellis trowe Him and folwe
Him whidirso He goth; for Hee schal leede thee in the righte weie to Jerusalem, that is,
the sight of pees in contemplacioun. Thus praiede the prophete to the Fadir of hevene,
seiynge thus: Emitte lucem tuam et veritatem tuam ipsa me deduxerunt, et adduxerunt
in montem sanctum tuum, et in tabernacula tua (Psalms 42:3). That is: Fader of hevene,
sende oute Thi light and Thi soothfastenesse, that is, Thi sone Jhesu; and He schal lede
me bi desire in me into Thi hooli hille and into Thi tabernaculis, that is, to the feelynge of
perfighte love and heighte in contemplacioun.
Of this desire speketh the prophete thus: Memoriale tuum domine in desiderio anime
mee. Anima mea desideravit te in nocte, sed et spiritus meus in precordiis meis (Isaiah
26:8-9). That is: Lord Jhesu, the mynde of Thee is printed in desire of my soule, for my
soule hath desired Thee in the nyght and my spirite hath coveited Thee in al my thenkynge.
And whi the prophete seith that he desired God al in the nyght, and what he meneth
therbi, schal I telle thee. Thou woste weel that the nyght is a tymeful space atwixe to
daies; for whanne oo dai is ended, anothir cometh not as tite, but first cometh nyght and
departeth the daies, sumtyme longe and sumtyme schort, and thanne aftir that cometh
anothir dai. The prophete menede not oonli of this maner nyght, but he menede of the
goostli nyght. Thou schal undirstande that there ben two daies or two lightes; the first
is fals light, the secunde is a trewe light. The fals light is the love of this worlde, that a
man hath of himsilf of corrupcion of his fleisch; the trewe light is the perfight love of
Jhesu feelid thorugh grace in a mannys soule. The love of the world is a fals light, for it
passeth awei and lesteth not, and so it performeth not that it highte. This light byhighte
the feend to Adam, whanne he stired hym to synne, and seide thus: Aperientur oculi
vestri et eritis sicut dii (Genesis 3:5). That is: Youre iyen schullen ben opened and ye
schullen ben as goddis. And he seide soth there; for whanne Adam hadde synned,
anoon his innere iye was spered and goostli light withdrawen, and the utterere yyen
were opened, and he felte and sigh a newe light of fleschli knowynge and wordli love
that he sigh not bifore. And so sigh he a newe dai, but this was an ille dai; for this dai
was it that Job wariede whanne he seide thus: Pereat dies in qua natus sum (Job 3:3).
That is: Perische mote the dai in whiche I was born. He wariede not the dai rennynge in
the yeere that God maade, but he wariede this dai that man maade, that is, the
concupiscence and the love of the world in the whiche he was born, though he feelte it
not thanne. This dai and this light he askide of God that it schulde perischen and no
But the love of Jhesu is a trewe dai and a blissed light, for God is bothe love and light,
and He is ai lastynge, thus Seynt Johan seith: Qui diligit deum manet in lumine (1 John
2:10). That is: He that loveth God duelleth al in light. Than what man that perceyveth
and seeth the love of this world fals and failande, and forthi he wole forsake it and seke
the love of God; he mai not as tite feele the love of Hym, but him bihoveth a while abiden
in the nyght, for he mai not sodeynli come from that oon light to that othir, that is, fro
the love of the world to the perfite love of God. This nyght is not ellis but a foreberynge
and a withdrawynge of the affeccioun and the thought of the soule from ertheli thynges,
bi gret desire and yernynge for to seen and felen and loven Jhesu and gosteli thinges.
This is the nyght; for right as the nyghte is myrke and an hidynge of alle bodili creatures
and a restynge of alle bodili deedes, right so a man that setteth him fulli for to thenken
on Jhesu, and desiren oonli the love of Him, is besi for to hiden his thought from veyn
biholdynge and his affeccion from fleischli likynge of alle fleschli creatures, so that his
thought be maad free, not ficched, ne his affeccion bounden, ne trobeled in nothinge
lowere ne werse thanne hymsilf. And yif he mai doo soo, thanne is it nyght with him,
for thanne is he in myrkenesse.
But this is a good nyght and a lighti merkenesse, for it is a stoppynge ought of fals
love of the world, and it is a neighynge to the trewe dai. And sotheli the merkere that the
nyght is, the nerrere is the trewe light of the love of Jhesu; for the more that a soule mai
thorugh longynge to God be hid fro noise and deene of fleschli affecciones, werldli
desires, and unclene thoughtes, the nerrere is it for to feelen the light of the love of Hym,
for it is evene at it. Thus semede that the prophete menede whanne he seide thus: Cum
in tenebris sedeo, dominus mea lux est (Micah 7:8). Whanne I sitte in myrkenesse oure
Lorde is my light; that is, whanne my soule is hid from alle stirynges of synne as it were
in sleep, thanne is oure Lord Jhesu my light, for thanne neigheth He of his grace for to
schewe me of His light. Neverthelees this nyght is sumtyme peynful and sumtyme it is
esi and confortable. It is peynful firste whanne a man is mykil foule and is nought
thorugh grace usid for to ben often in this myrkenesse, but wolde fayne have it, and
therfore he setteth his thought and his desire to Godward as mykil as he may, that he
wolde not feelen ne thenken but oonli on Hym.
And bicause that he may not lightli have it, therfore it is peynful. For the custom and
the hoomlynesse that he hath had bifore with synne of the world, and fleschli affecciones
and ertheli thynges, and his fleschli deedes, presen so upon him and ai smyten in bi
maistrie and drawen doun alle the soule to hem, that he mai not wel ben hid from hem
as soone as he wolde ben. And therfore is this merkenesse peyneful to hym, and nameli
whanne grace toucheth him nought abondauntli. Neverthelees, yif it be so with thee, be
not to hevy ne strive not to mykil, as yif thou woldest thorugh maistrie putten hem
ought of thi thought; for thou may not doon soo. But abide grace, suffre esili, and breek
not thisilf to mochil and slili yif thou maist drawe thi desire and thi goostli biholdynge to
Jhesu, as yif thou woldest not charge hem.
For wite thou wel, whanne thou woldest desire Jhesu and oonli thenken on Him, and
thou mai not freli for presynge in of swilk wordli thoughtes, sothli thou art outeward of
the fals dai, and thou art entred into this myrkenesse. But thi merkenesse is not restefulle,
bicause of disuse and unconnynge and unclennesse of thiself. And therfore use it often,
and it schal bi processe thorugh feelynge of grace be more esi and more restful to thee.
And that is whanne thi soule thorugh feling of grace is maad so free and so myghti and
so gadred into hitsilf, that it lesteth to thenke on right nought, and that it mai withoute
lettynge of ony bodili thynge thenke on right nought: than is it in a good myrkenesse.
This nought I mene thus: that a soule mai thorugh grace be gadred into itsilf and
stonde stille in itsilf freli and hooli, and not be dryven agens his wil ne drawen doun bi
maistrie for to thenken or liken or loven with chesinge of affeccioun ony synne, or
veynli or ertheli thynge. Than thenketh the soule nought, for thanne thenketh it on no
ertheli thynge clevandeli. This is a riche nought. This nought and this nyght is a grete
eese for a soule that desireth the love of Jhesu. It is in eese as for thought of ertheli
thynge, but not as for Jhesu; for though the soule thenke not of ony ertheli thynge,
neverethelees it is ful bisi for to thenken on Him.
What thinge thanne maketh this merkenesse? Sothli not ellis but a gracious desire for
to have the love of Jhesu. For that desire and that longynge that it hath that tyme to the
love of Jhesu, for to seen Hym and han Hym, dryveth oute of the herte alle wordli
vanytees and fleschli affecciones, and gadreth the soule into itsilf and occupieth it oonli
for to thenke hou it myght come to the love of Him, and so bryngeth into this riche
nought. And sothli it is not al myrke ne nought whanne it thenketh thus; for though it
bee myrke from fals light, it is not al merke fro the trewe light. For Jhesu that is bothe
love and light is in this merkenesse, whethir it be peynful or resteful. He is in the soule
as travailande in desire and longynge to light; but he is not yit as restande in love, ne as
schewende his light. And therfore it is called nyght and merkenesse, in as mykil as the
soule is hid fro the fals light of this woorld and hath not yit fulli felynge of trewe light,
but is in abidynge of the blissid love of God that it desireth.
Thanne yif thou wolt wite whanne thou arte in this syker merkenesse and whanne
not, thou myght assaie thus, and seke no ferthere but thus. Whanne thou feelist thyn
entente and thi wille fulli sette for to desiren thus God and thenke oonli on Hym, thou
maight as it were first examyne thisilf in thi thought, whethir thou coveite for to have
onythynge of this liyf for love of itsilf, or for to have the use of ony of thi bodili wittes
in ony creature. And thanne yif thyne iye bigynne and ansuere thus, I wolde see right
nought; and aftir that thyn eere, I wolde heere right nought; and thi mouthe, I wolde
savoure right nought, I wold speke right nought of erthli thynge; and thi nose, I wolde
smelle right nought; and thi bodi, y wolde feele right nought; and aftir, yif thyn herte
seith, I wolde thenke right nought that is of ertheli thynge, ne of bodili deede, ne I wolde
have affeccioun fastned fleschli in no creature, but oonli to God and to Godward, yif
that y coude. And whanne thei ansuere alle thus to thee, and that is doon ful redili yif
grace touche thee, thanne art thou entred sumwhat into merkenesse.
For though thou feele and perceyve glyntynges and proferynges of veyn thoughtes
and presynge in of fleschli affeccions, neverthelees thou art in this profitable myrkenesse,
bi so that thi thought be not ficchid on hem. For siche veyn ymaginacions that fallen in
the herte unaviseli troblen this merkenesse and pyne the soule sumwhat, bicause that it
wolde ben hid from hem and mai not. But thei doon not awai the profite of this myrkenesse,
for the soule schal bi that weie come to reestful myrkenesse. And thanne is this
myrkenesse restful, whanne the soule is hid for the tyme fro the pyneful feelynge of alle
siche veyn thoughtes, and oonli is rested in desire and longynge to Jhesu with a goosteli
biholdynge of Hym, as it schal be seid aftir. But it lasteth but a while hool; neverthelees
though it be but a schort tyme, it is ful profitable.
Hou that desire of Jhesu sothfastli feelid in this lightli myrkenesse sleeth alle stirynges of
synne, and ableth the soule for to perceyve goostli lightnynges for the goostli Jerusa-
lem, that is Jhesu.
Thanne sithen this merkenesse and this nyght is so good and so restful, though it be
schorte, that stondeth oonli in desire and longynge to the love of Jhesu with a blynde
thynkynge of Him - hou good thanne and hou blissid is it for to feelen His love and for
to be illumyned of His blissid unseable light for to seen soothfastenesse, the whiche light
a soule resseyveth whanne the nyght passeth and the dai springeth. This I hope was the
nyght that the prophete menede whanne he seide: "My soule hath desired thee in the
nyght" (Isaiah 26:9), as I bifore seide. It is mykil betere for to ben hid in the myrke
nyght fro biholdynge of the world, though it were peyneful, than for to ben oute in the
fals likynge of this world that semeth so schynande and so comfortable to hem that are
blynded in knowynge of gosteli light. For whanne thou art in this merkenesse thou art
mykil neer Jerusalem than whanne thou art in myddis of that fals light.
Therfore applie thyn herte fulli to the stirynge of grace, and use thee for to wonen in
this myrknesse, and bi often assaiynge to be hoomli thereinne, and it schal soone be
maad resteful to thee and the trewe light of goosteli knowynge schal spryngen to thee;
not al at oonys, but pryveli bi litil and litil, as the prophete seith: Habitantibus in regione
umbre mortis, lux orta est eis (Isaiah 9:2). To hem that wonen in the contré of the
schadwe of deeth, light was sprongen. That is, light of grace was sprongen and schal
sprynge to hem that can wonen in the schadwe of deeth, that is, in this merkenesse that
is like to deeth. For as deeth sleeth a lyvynge bodi and al fleschli feelynge of it, right so
desire to love Jhesu felt in this myrkenesse sleeth alle synnes, alle fleschli affeccions
and unclene thoughtes for the tyme, and thanne neigheste thou faste to Jerusalem.
Thou art not yit at it, but bi smale sodeyn lightnynges that gliteren oute thorugh smale
cranés fro the cité schalt thou mowen see it from feer, or thou come therto. For wite
thou wel, though thi soule be in this resteful myrkenesse withoute troblynge of wordli
vanyté, it is not yit there it schulde be; it is not yit clothid al in light, ne turned al into the
fier of love; but it feeleth wel that there is sumwhat aboven itsilf that it knoweth not ne
hath not yit, but it wolde have it, and brennandli yerneth it. And that is not ellis but the
sight of Jerusalem withoutforth, the whiche Jerusalem is like to a cité that the prophete
Ezechiel sawgh in his visions.
He seith that he sawgh a cité sette upon an hil heldande to the thought, that to his sight
was no more whanne it was meten on lengthe and in brede than a rodde that was sixe
cubites and a palme on lengthe; but as soone as he was brought into that cité and lokide
aboughte him, thanne thoughte him that it was wondir moche, for he seigh many halles
and chambris bothe open and privey. He sai bothe gates and porchis, uttirwarde and
innerward, and mychil more biggynge than y seie now, on lengthe and on brede many
hundrid cubitis. Thanne was this wondir to hym, hou this cité withinne was so longe
and so large, that was so litil to his sight whanne he was withoute. This cité bitokeneth
the perfight love of God, set in the liyf of contemplacioun the whiche unto the iye of a
soule that is withoute the feelynge of it, and traveileth in desire toward it, semeth sumwhat,
but it semeth but a litil thinge, no more thanne a reed, that is, sixe cubitis and a palme on
lengthe. Bi sixe cubites is undirstande perfeccioun of mannys werk, bi this palme a litil
touchinge of contemplacioun. He seeth wel there is siche a thinge, that passeth the
dissert of wirkynge of man a litil, as the palme passeth overe the sixe cubites, but he
seeth not withinne what that is. Neveretheles yif he may come withinne the cité of
contemplacioun, thanne seeth he moche more thanne he sawe fyrste.
Hou a soule mai knowe fals illuminacions feyned bi the feend fro the trewe light of
knowing that cometh oute of Jhesu; and bi what tokenes.
But now beware of the myddai feend, that feyneth light as it come oute of Jerusalem
and it is not soo. For the feend seeth that oure Lord Jhesu scheweth to Hise loveris light
of sothfastenesse; therfore in disceyvynge of hem that aren unwise he scheweth a light
that is not trewe undir colour of trewe light, and so disceyveth hem. Neverthelees, hou
a soule mai knowe the light of sothfastnes, whanne it schyneth fro God, and whanne it is
feyned of the enemye, schal I seie thee as me thenketh bi ensaumple of the firmament.
Sumtyme in the firmament scheweth a light from the sunne and semeth the sunne and
is not, and sumtyme scheweth the trewe sunne treuli. A knowynge of that oon from
that othir is this. The feynede sunne schewith him not but atwixe tweyne blake reyny
cloudes: than, bicause that the sunne is ney, there schyneth oute a lite from the cloudes
as it were the sunne, and is noon. But the trewe sonne scheweth hym whanne the
firmament is cleer or mykil clered from blake cloudes. Now to oure purpos. Sum men,
as it semeth, forsaken the love of this world and wolden come to the love of God and to
the light of undirstondynge of Him, but thei wole not come thorugh this myrkenesse
that I have spoken of bifore. Thei wolen not knowe hemsilf truli ne mekeli, what thei
han ben, ne what thei aren yit thorugh synne, ne hou nought thei aren in hire owen
kynde anemptis God. Thei aren not bisi for to entre into hemsilf, alle othere thinges left,
and fleen alle wikked stirynges of synne that risen in here hertis, of pride, of envie, ire,
and othere synnes, thorugh lastende desire to Jhesu, in prayynge and in thenkynge, in
silence and in wepynge, and in othere bodili exercise and goosteli exercise as devoute and
holi men han doon. But as tite as thei han forsaken the world as it were outeward in
liknesse, or ellis soone aftir, thei wenen that thei aren holi and able for to have the goosteli
undirstondynge of the Gospeel and of Holi Writ. And nameli yif thei mowen fulfille
litteralli the commaundementis of God and kepe hem from bodili synnes, thanne thei
wenen that thei loven God perfiteli; and therfore thei wolen as tite prechen and techen
alle othere men, as though thei hadden receyved grace of undirstondynge and perfeccioun
of charité thorugh special grace and gifte of the Holi Gooste. And also thei aren mykil
the more stired therto, for as myche as thei feelen sumtyme moche knowinge, as it
were sodeynli gyven to hem withoute grete studie bifore-goynge, and also mykil fervour
of love, as it semeth, for to preche truthe and rightwisenesse to here evene Cristene.
Therfore thei holden it as a grace of God, that visiteth hem with His blissed light
bifore othere soulis. Neverethelees yif thei wolen loken wel aboute hem, thei schullen wel
seen that this light of knowynge and the heete that thei feelen cometh nought of the trewe
sunne, that is oure Lord Jhesu; but it cometh fro the myddai feend that feyneth light and
likneth him to the sunne. And therfore schal he be knowen bi the ensample bifore seid.
Light of knowynge that is feyned bi the feend to a myrke soule is ai schewed bitwixe
two blake reyny cloudis. The overe cloude is presumpcioun in an highinge of himsilf;
the nethere cloude is doon-puttynge and a lowynge of his evene Cristen. Than what
light of knowynge or feelynge of fervour that it be that schyneth to a soule, with
presumpcion and highynge of itsilf and disdeyn of his evene Cristene the silf tyme felt,
it is not the light of grace geven of the Holi Goste, though the knowynge in itsilf were
sothfast; but it is either of the feend yif it come sodeynli or ellis of a mannys owen witte
yif it come thorugh studie. And so mai it wel be knowen that this feyned light of
knowynge is not the light of the trewe sunne.
For thei that han this knowynge on this manere aren ful of goostli pride and seen it
not. Thei aren so blynt with this feyned light that thei holden the highenesse of here
owen herte and unbuxumnesse to the lawis of Hooli Chirche, as it were perfite mekenesse
to the Gospel and to the lawes of God. And thei wenen that the folwynge of here owen
wille were fredom of spirit, and therfore thei bigynne to reyne as blake cloudis watir of
erroures and heresies, for the wordes that thei reynen bi prechynge sounen al to
backebitynge, to stryvynge, and to discord-makynge, reprevynge of states and of
persones; and yit thei seyn that al this is charité and zele of rightwisenesse. But it is not
sooth, for Seynt Jame the apostil seith thus: Ubi enim zelus et contencio, ibi inconstancia
et omne opus pravum. Non est hec sapiencia desursum descendens a patre luminum, sed
terrena animalis et diabolica (James 3:16, 15). That is: Wherso that envie is and flitynge,
ther is unstabilnesse and al yvel werk. And therfore that knowynge that bryngeth forth
siche synnes cometh not fro the fadir of lightes, that is God, but it is ertheli, beestli and
And so bi thise tokenes, that aren pride, presumpcion, unbuxumnesse, indignacioun,
bac-bitynge, and othere siche synnes (for thise folwen aftir the fendes), thus may the
fendes light be knowen from the trewe. For the trewe sunne scheweth him not bi
spicial visitacioun for to gyve light of undirstondynge or perfite charité to a soule, but
yif the firmament be first maad bright fro blake cloudis; that is, but yif the conscience
be maad clene thorugh fier of brennynge desire to Jhesu in this merkenesse, the whiche
fier wasteth and brenneth alle wikked stirynges of pride, veynglorie, ire, envie, and alle
othere synnes in the soule, as the prophete seith: Ignis ante ipsum precedet, et inflammabit
in circuitu inimicos eius (Psalms 96:3). Fier schal goo bifore him; that is, desire of love
schal goo bifore Jhesu in mannys soule and it schal brennen alle his enemyes, that is, it
schal waste alle synnes. For but yif a soule be first smyten doun fro the heighte of itsilf
bi drede, and be wel examyned and brent in this fier of desire, and as it were purified
from al goostli filthe bi longe tyme in devoute praieres and othere goostli exercises, it is
not able to suffre the schynynges of goostli light, ne for to receyven the precious licour
of the perfite love of Jhesu. But whanne it is thus purified and maad sutil thorugh this
fier, than mai it receyve the gracious light of undirstandynge and the perfeccion of love,
that is the trewe sunne. Thus seith Hooli Writ: Vobis qui timetis domini orietur sol
iusticie (Malachi 4:2). The trewe sunne of rightwisenesse, that is, oure Lord Jhesu,
schal springe to yow that dreden Him; that is, to meke soulis that meke hemself undir
her even Cristene bi knowynge of here owen wrecchidnesse, and casten hemsilf doun
undir God bi noghtynge of hemsilf in here owen substaunce thorugh reverente drede
and goostli biholding of Him lastandli, for that is perfight mekenesse.
Unto thise soulis the trewe sunne schal risen, and illumynen here resoun in knowynge
of soothfastnesse and kyndele here affeccioun in brennynge of love: and than schal thei
bothe brennen and schynen. Thei schullen thorugh vertu of this heveneli sunne brennen
in perfite love, and schynen in knowynge of God and goostli thynges, for than ben thei
reformid in felinge. Therfore he that wole not be desceyved, I hope it is good to hym to
drawe doun himsilf and hiden him in this merkenes, first fro entermetynge of othere
men, as I have before seid, and forgete al the world yif he mai; and folwe Jhesu with
lastyng desire offrid in praiere and thenkynge of Him. And thanne I trowe that the light
that cometh aftir this myrkenesse is siker and sothfast, and that it schyneth out of the
cité of Jerusalem fro the trewe sonne to a soule that traveileth in myrkenesse and crieth
aftir light, for to wissen it the weie and comforten it in traveile. For I hope aftir trewe
myrkenes bifore cometh nevere feyned light. That is, yif a man treuli and fulli sette hym
for to forsake the love of the world, and mai thorugh grace come to feelynge and
knowynge of himsilf and holden mekeli in that feelynge, he schal not be disceyved with
noon erroures, ne heresies, ne ypocrisies, ne fantasies, for alle thise comen into a soule
bi the gate of pride. Thanne yif pride be stopped oute, ther schal noon sich resten in a
soule, and though thei come and profren hem, thei schul not entre. For the grace that
the soule feeleth in this meke merkenesse schal teche the soule soothfastenesse, and
schewe to it that alle siche proferynges aren of the enemye.
Hou grete profite it is to a soule for to be brought thorugh grace into this lighti merkenes,
and hou a man nedeth to dispose him yif he wole come therto and hou it is oonli the gate
and the entré to contemplacioun.
Ther are manye devoute soules that thorugh grace comen into this myrkenesse and
feelen the knowynge of hemself, and yit witen thei not fulli what it is; and that unkunnynge
in partie hyndreth hem. Thei feelen wel often her thought and her affeccioun drawen
oute and departid from the mynde of ertheli thynges, and brought into grete reste of
delitable softenesse withoute peynful trobelyng of veyn thoughtes or of her bodili wittes;
and they feelen that tyme so grete fredom of spirit that thei thenken on Jhesu pesibli and
offren here praiers and here psalmes myghtili savourli and sweteli to Him as longe as
frielté of the bodeli kynde mai suffre it. Thei witen weel that this feelynge is good, but
thei witen not what it is. Therfore to alle siche soules I seie as me thenketh, that this
maner of feelinge, though it be but schort and but seldom, is soothfastli this myrkenesse
that I speke of; for it is a feelynge of hemself first, and a risynge above hemsilf thorugh
brennande desire to the sight of Jhesu; or ellis yif I schal seie more sooth, this gracious
felynge is a gosteli sight of Jhesu. And yif thei mowen kepe hem in that reste, and
brynge thorugh grace into custum so that thei myghten lightli and freli have it whan hem
lust, and holden hem thereinne, thei schulde nevere be overcome bi temptacion of the
feend ne of the flesch, ne bi errour ne heresie; for thei are set in the gate of contemplacion,
able and redi for to receyve the perfighte love of Jhesu. Therfore he that hath it, it is
good that he knowe it mekeli, kepe it tendirli, and pursue it ferventli; that no creature
lette hym uttirli fro it that he ne folw it whan he mai, and that he forgete and sette at
nought al thynge that schuld put him fro this, yif he be free of himsilf and mai goo
where he wole withouten sclaundir or disese of his evene Cristen. For me thenketh he
mai not come to this reste lightli, but yif he have grete plenté of grace and sette himself
for to folwe aftir the stirynge of grace; and that oweth he for to doon, for grace wolde
ai be free, and nameli fro synne and fro wordli bisynesse, and from alle othere thinges
that letten the werkynge of it, though thei be no synne.
Neverthelees, anothere soule that hath not yit receyved this fulnesse of grace, yif he
desire to come to this goostli knowinge of Jhesu, as moche as in him is, him bihoveth
to ablen himsilf to it, and putten awei alle lettynges that stoppen grace as moche as he
mai. Him bihoveth lerne for to dye to the world and forsake the love of it truli. First
pride, bodili and gosteli, that he desire after no worschipe of the world ne praisinge,
name ne fame, staat ne degré, maistrie ne lordeschipe, wordli connynge ne wordli
crafte, benefices ne richesse, precious clothinge ne wordli aray, ne nothinge wherthorugh
he schulde ben worschiped above othere men. He schal coveiten noon of al this, but yif
thei ben put on him; he schal take hem with drede, so that he be bothe pore outewarde
and inwarde, or ellis fulli inwarde in herte; and that he coveite for to be forgeten of the
worlde, that men rewarde him no more, be he nevere so riche or so connynge, than the
porest man that lyveth. Also that he suffre not his herte resten in biholdynge of hise
owen good dedes or of his vertues, wenynge that he dooth betere than anothir for he
forsaketh the world and othere doo not so, and therfore lete wel bi himsilf.
Also him bihoveth leven alle risynges of herte and yvel willes of ire and envie agens
his evene Cristene, and that he disese no man, ne angre hem unskilfulli in worde ne in
dede, ne gyve ony man matier wherthorugh he myghte skilfulli ben angred or stired; so
that he myght be free from every man, that no man have to doone with him ne he with
ony man. Also that he forsake covetise, that he coveite right nought of ertheli good, but
oonli aske his bodili sustenaunce as him nedeth, and holde him paid whan God stireth
othere men for to gyve him. And that he putte no manere truste in avere of ertheli good,
ne in helpe or favour of ony wordli frend, but principali and fulli in God, for yif he doo
otherwise he byndeth hymsilf to the world, and he mai not therfore be free for to
thenken on God. And also glotonye and leccherie, and othere fleschli unclennesse uttirli
him bihoveth to leven, that the affeccion be not bounden to no woman by flesschli love
or fleschli hoomlynesse. For it is no doute that siche blynd love that is sumtyme atwixe
man and woman, and semeth good and honeste for as moche as thei wolden not synnen
in deede, in the sight of God it is ful unclene and grete synne. For it is a gret synne that
a man schal suffre his affeccion, that schuld be festened to Jhesu, and to alle vertues
and to al goostli clennesse, for to be bounden with ony fleschli love of ony creature
wilfulli; nameli yif it be so mykil that it bereth doun his thought and maketh it unrestful,
that he mai no savour have in God. Thus I holde it wilfulli that a man doth it and seith it
is no synne, or ellis it is so blent with it that he wole not seen it. And also coveite no
delices of metes and drynkes oonli for lust of his flesch, but holde him paied with sich
mete as he mai esili have withoute grete bisynes; nameli if he be hool, what mete it be
that wole doon awai the hungir and kepe the bodi in comoun strengthe unto the service
of God; and than he grucchith not, strive not, angre not for his mete, though he be not
served sumtyme as the flesch wolde.
Alle thise synnes and alle othire him bihoveth forsake uttirli in his wille and in his
dedes whanne he mai, and alle othere thynges that letten him, so that he mai dispose him
for to thenken freli on Jhesu. For as longe as thise lettyngis and siche othere hangen
upon hym he mai not dien to the world, ne come into the myrkenesse of knowynge of
himsilf; and therfore that he myght come therto him bihoveth for to doon al this as
Seynt Poul dide, seiynge thus of himsilf: Michi mundus crucifixus est, et ego mundo
(Galatians 6:14). The world is slayn and crucified to me, and I to the world. That is, he
that forsaketh the love of the world in worschipes and richesses, and in alle worldli
thyngis bifore seid for love of God, and loveth it not, ne desireth it not, ne pursueth it
not, but is weel paied that he hath right nought of it, ne wolde have it though he myght
sotheli to him the world is deed, for he hath no savour ne delite therinne. Also yif the
world sette him at nought and hath no rewarde to him, doth him no favour, ne worschip,
setteth no price bi hym, but forgeteth him as a deed man, thanne is he deed to the world.
And in this plight was Seynt Poule sette perfightli, and so bihoveth to anothir man in
partie that wolde folwen and come to the perfite love of God. For he may not lyven to
God fulli, until he die first unto the world.
This dyynge to the world is this myrkenesse, and it is the gate of contemplacioun and
to reformynge in feelynge, and noon othir than this. Ther mowen ben many dyverse
weies and seere werkes ledynge dyvers soules to contemplacion; for aftir sundri
disposynges of men, and aftir sundri statis, as are religious and seculeres, that thei aren
inne, aren divers exercises in wirkynge. Neverthelees, ther is no gate but oon; for what
exercise it be that a soule have, but yif he mai come bi that exercise to this knowynge
and to a meke feeling of himsilf, and that is that he be mortified and deed to the world
as in his love, and that he mai feele himsilf sette sumtyme in this reestful myrkenesse bi
the whiche he mai be hid fro vanitee of the world and seen himsilf what he is, soothli he
is not yit comen to the reformynge in feelynge, ne hath not yit fulli contemplacion. He
is ful feer therfro. And yif he wole come bi ony othir gate, he is but a theef and a brekere
of the wal, and therfore he is unworthi he schal be caste oute. But he that can brynge
himsilf firste to nought thorugh grace of mekenesse and dien on this maner, he is in the
gate, for he is deed to the world and he lyveth to God. Of the whiche Seynt Poul
speketh thus: Mortui enim estis, et vita vestra abscondita est cum Christo in deo
(Colossians 3:3). Ye are deede, that is, ye that for the love of God forsaken al the love
of the world aren dede to the worlde, but youre liyf is hid with Crist in God. That is, ye
that leven goosteli in love of God, but that lif is hid from worldli men as Crist lyveth and
is hid in His Godhede fro the love and the sight of fleschli loveris.
This gate oure Lord Himsilf schewed in the Gospel whanne He seid thus: Omnis qui
reliquerit patrem aut matrem, fratrem aut sororem propter me, centuplum accipiet, et
vitam eternam possidebit (Matthew 19:29). Every man that forsaketh for My love fadir
or modir, suster or brother, or ony ertheli good, he schal have an hondredfoold in this
liyf and afterward the blisse of hevene. This hundredfolde that a soule schal have yif he
forsake the worlde is not ellis but the profight of this lighti merkenesse, that I calle the
gate of contemplacioun. For he that is in this myrkenesse and is hid thorugh grace from
wordli vanité, he coveiteth not of wordli good, he seketh it not, he is not taried withal,
he loketh not thereaftir, he loveth it not, and therfore hath he an hundredfoold more than
the kynge hath or than he hath that most coveiteth of ertheli good. For he that nought
coveiteth but Jhesu hath an hondredfoold, for he hath more reste, more pees in herte,
more verey love and delite in soule in o dai, thanne he hath that most coveiteth of the
world and hath al the welthe of it undir his wille in al his liyftyme.
This is thanne a good myrkenesse and a riche nought, that bringeth a soule to so
mykil goostli eese and so stille softenes. I trowe that the prophete David menede of this
nought whanne he seide thus: Ad nichilum redactus sum, et nescivi (Psalms 72:22).
That is: I was broute to nought, and I wiste nought. That is, the grace of oure Lord
Jhesu sent into myn herte hath slayn in me and brent to nought al the love of the world,
and y wiste not how. For thorugh no wirkynge of mysilf ne bi myn owen witte I have
it not, but of the grace of oure Lord Jhesu Crist. And therfore, me thenketh, he that
wole have the light of grace and fulsumli feele the love of Jhesu in his soule, hym
bihoveth forsaken al the fals light of wordli love, and abiden in this merkenesse. And
neverthelees yif he be adred first for to wone therinne, turne not ageen to love of the
world, but suffre awhile and putte al his hope and his truste in Jhesu, and he schal not
longe be withoute goosteli light. Thus biddeth the prophete: Qui ambulat in tenebris, et
non est lumen ei, speret in domino, et innitatur super deum suum (Isaiah 50:10). Whoso
gooth in myrkenesse and hath no light, that is, whoso wole hiden him fro love of the
world and mai not redili feele the light of goostli love, despeire not, ne turne not ageen to
the world but hope in oure Lord, and lene upon Hym, that is, truste in God and cleve
sadli to Him bi desire and mekeli abide awhile, and he schal have light. For it fareth bi it
as it dooth bi a man that hadde ben in the sunne a gret while, and aftir that come
sodeynli into a merk hous there no sunne schyneth. He schuld first be as he were blynd
and seen right nought; but yif he wole abide awhile he schal mowe soone seen aboute
him, first grete thingis and aftirward smale, and sithen al that is in the hous. Right so
goostli: he that forsaketh the love of the world and cometh to himsilf into his owen
conscience, it is myrk first sumwhat and blynd to his sight. But yif he stande stille and
holde forth with bisi praiere and often thenkenge the same wille to the love of Jhesu, he
schal mowen seen aftirward grete thynges and smale, also that he first knewe not. Thus
semede it that the prophete bihighte, seiynge thus: Orietur in tenebris lux tua, et tenebre
tue erunt sicut meridies. Et requiem dabit tibi dominus deus tuus, et implebit animam
tuam splendoribus (Isaiah 58:10-11). Light schal springen to thee in merkenesse. That
is, thou that forsakest soothfastli the light of al worldeli love and hideste thi thought in
this myrkenesse, light of blissid love and goosteli knowynge of God schal springe to
thee. And thi merkenesse schal be as myddai. That is, thi mirkenesse of travailande
desire and thi blynd trust in God that thou haste firste schal turne into cleer knowynge
and into sikernesse of love. And thi Lord God schal geve reste to thee. That is, thi
fleschli desires and thi peynful dredis and doutis, and wikked spirites that han contynueli
bifore traveiled thee, alle thise schullen weiken and leesen moche of here myght; and
thu schalt be maad soo stronge that thei schal not deren thee, for thou schalt be hid in
reeste from hem. And thanne schal oure Lord Jhesu Crist fulfille thi soule with
schynyngges. That is, whanne thou arte brought into this goostli reste, thanne schalt
thou more esily tende to God, and not ellis doon but love Him. And thanne schal He bi
beemys of goostli light fulfille alle the myghtes of thi soule. Have thou no wonder,
though I calle the forsakynge of wordli love myrkenesse, for the prophete calleth it soo,
seiynge to a soule thus: Intra in tenebras tuas, filia Caldeorum (Isaiah 47:5). Goo into
thi myrkenesse, thou doughter of Caldee. That is, thou soule, thou arte as a doughter of
Caldee for love of the world, forsake it and goo into thi myrkenesse.
That in reformynge of a soule the wirkynge of oure Lord is departed in foure tymes,
that aren callynge, rightynge, magnifyyng, and glorifyynge.
Lo I have seid a litil yif thou coveite for to be reformed in feelynge, how thou schalt
dispose thee toward thi forthgoynge. Neverthelees, I seie not that thou maight doon
thus of thisilf, for I wot wel that oure Lord Jhesu bringeth al this to the ende, whereso
He wole. For He oonli thorugh His grace stireth a soule, and bryngeth it into this
myrkenesse first, and sithen into light, as the prophete seith: Sicut tenebre eius, ita et
lumen eius (Psalms 138:12). That is, right as the light of knowynge and the feelynge of
goosteli love is of God, right so the myrkenesse (that is, the forsakynge of wordli love)
is of Hym. For He dooth al; He formeth and He reformeth. He formeth oonli bi Hymsilf,
but He reformeth us with us; for grace goven, and appliynge of oure wille to grace,
werketh al this. And upon what maner wise He dooth that, Seynt Poul reherseth thus:
Quos deus prescivit fieri conformes ymaginis filii eius, hos vocavit; et quos vocavit,
hos iustificavit; quos iustificavit, hos magnificavit; quos magnificavit, hos glorificavit
(Romans 8:29-30). Thise that God knew bifore, that schulde be maad schapli to the
image of His Sone, thise He callide, and thise He righted, thise He magnified, and thise
Though alle thise wordes mowen be seid of alle chosen soulis in the lowest degree of
charité, that aren oonli reformed in feith, neverthelees thei mowen ben undirstonde
more speciali of these soulis that are reformed in feelynge, unto the whiche oure Lord
Jhesu schewith moche plenté of grace, and dooth moche more bisynesse aboughte
hem. For thei aren His owen soones speciali, that beren the ful schap and the liknesse of
His sone Jhesu. In the whiche wordis Seynt Poul departeth the wirkynge of oure Lord
into foure tymes. First is the tyme of callynge of a soule from wordli vanytee, and that
tyme is often esi and comfortable. For in the bigynnyng of turnynge siche a man that is
disposid to mykil grace is so quykli and so felandeli inspired and feelith ofte so grete
suettenesse in devocion, and he hath so manye teeris in conpunccion, that he thenketh
him sumtyme as he were half in hevene. But this softnesse passeth awei aftir for a
while; and thanne cometh the secunde tyme, that is tyme of rightynge. That is traveilous;
for whanne he bigynneth for to goo forth myghtili in the weie of rightwisenesse and
settith his wille fulli agens alle synnes withouten and withinne, and streccheth out his
desire to vertues and to the love of Jhesu, than feeleth he mykil lettynge and hardenesse,
bothe withinne himsilf, of frowardnesse of his owen wille, and fro withoute, of
temptacions of his enemye, that he is often in ful grete torment.
And that is no wondir, for he hath ben so longe croked to the fals love of the world,
that he mai not be maad right and evene withoute grete beykynge and bowynge, right as
a croked staaf mai not be maad evene, but yif it be cast and beyked in the fier. Therfore
oure Lord Jhesu, seynge weel what thynge is bihofful to a froward soule, suffrith it to
be taried and traveiled with sundri temptacions, and for to be wel examyned thorugh
goostli tribulacions til al the ruste of unclennesse myght be brent ought of it.
And that schal be bothe withinne, of dredis and doughtis and perplexitees, that it schal
neerhande fallen into dispeir; for it schal seemen as it were forsaken of God and left al
in the handis of the feend, outaken a litil privei trust that it schal have in the goodnesse
of God and his merci. For that privei trust oure Lord Jhesu leveth in siche a soule, goo
he nevere so feer fro it, bi the whiche the soule is ai born up from dispeire and saved
from goostli myschief. And also withouten itsilf schal it be mortfied and pyned in
sensualité. Eithir bi dyvers sikenesse or bi feleable turmentis of the feend, or ellis thorugh
a privé myght of God, the seli soule bi feelynge and berynge of the wrecchid bodi schal
so be pyned, for it schal not wite where ne how that it schulde not mowen suffre for to
ben in the bodi, ne were that oure Lord Jhesu kepith it therinne.
And yit neverthelees hadde the soule levere for to ben in al this pyne thanne for to be
blyndid agen with the fals love of this world. For that was helle to siche a soule; but the
suffrynge of this manere pyne is not but purgatorie, and therfore he suffreth it gladli,
and he wolde not putte it awai though he myght, for it is so profitable. Al this dooth oure
Lord in grete profite of the soule, for to dryve it out fro the reste in fleschli feelynge,
and departen it fro luste of the sensualité, that it myght receyve goostli light. For aftir
this, whanne the soule is thus mortified and brought from worldli love into this
myrkenesse, that it hath no more savour ne delite of wordli likynge than of a stree, but
he thenketh it bittir as wormood; than cometh the thridde tyme of magnyfiynge. And
that is whanne the soule is reformed in felynge in partie, and receyveth the gifte of
perfeccioun and the grace of contemplacioun and that is a tyme of grete reste. And aftir
this cometh the ferthe tyme, of glorifiynge; that is whanne the soule schal be fulli
reformed in the blisse of hevene. For thise soulis that aren callid from synne and thus
righted or ellis on othir manere likli, dyversli assaiande bothe thorugh fier and watir, and
aftirward aren thus magnyfied, schullen be glorified. For oure Lord schal gyve hem fulli
that thei coveitide, and more thanne thei coude coveiten. For He schal receyve up hem
above othere chosen soulis to the evenehede of Cherubyn and Seraphyn, syn thei passiden
alle othere in knowynge and love of God heere in this liyf.
Therfore he that wole come to this magnyfyynge drede not the rightynge, for that is
the weie. For oure Lord seide bi His prophete a word of grete comfort to alle siche
soules that aren examyned thorugh fier of tribulacions, thus: Puer meus non timere, si
transieris per ignem, flamma non nocebit te (Isaiah 43:2). That is: Mi childe, yif thou
passe thorugh fier, drede not, for the flamme schal not dere thee. It schal clense the
soule from al fleschli filthe and make it able for to receyve goosteli fier of the love of
God. And that nedeth for to be doon first. For as I have bifor seid, it mai not ellis be
reformed in feelynge.
Hou it falleth sumtyme that soulis bigynnynge and profitynge in grace han more fervour
of love as bi outeward tokenes than sum men han that are perfite and neverthelees yit is
it not so.
But now seiest thou: "Hou mai this be sooth?" For there are many soulis newli turned
that have manye goosteli feelynges. Sum han grete conpuncciouns of here synnes, and
sum men han grete devocions and fervoures in praiere, and han ofte sundri touchynges
of goostli light in undirstondynge; and summe han othere manere feelynges of comfort-
able heete or grete suettenesse. And neverthelees this soule come nevere fulli in this
resteful myrkenesse that y speke of, with fervent desire and lastende thought in God.
Than askist thou whethir thise soules be reformed in feelynge or not? It semeth yhis, in
as mykil as thei han siche grete goosteli feelynges that othere men that stonden oonli in
feith feelen not of.
Unto this I may seien, as me thenketh, that this goostli feelynges, whethir thei stonde
in conpuccion or devocioun, or in goostli imaginacion, aren not the goosteli felynges
whiche a soule schal have and fele in the grace of contemplacioun. I seie not but that
thei aren soothfaste and graciousli goven of God, but thise soulis that feelen sich aren
not yit reformed in feelynge, ne thei han not yit the gifte of perfeccioun ne goosteli the
brennynge love of Jhesu, as thei mai come to. And neverthelees often it semeth othirwise,
that siche soulis felten more of love of God than othere that han the gifte of perfeccion,
in as mykil as the feelynge scheweth more outeward bi fervour of bodili tokenes, in
wepynge and sighhinge, praiynge, knelynge, and spekynge, and othere bodili stirynge,
so fer forth that it semeth to anothir man that thei weren ai raveschid in love. And
though me thenketh it not so, wele y woot that these maner felynges and fervours of
devocion and conpuccioun that thise men feelen aren gracious giftes of God sent into
chosen soulis, for to drawen hem oute of worldeli love and fleschli luste that han be
longe tym rooted in here herte, fro the whiche love thei schulde not ben drawen ought
but bi siche feleable stirynges of grete fervoures.
Neverthelees, that the fervour is so moche in outward schewynge it is not oonli for
mykilnesse of love that thei han, but it is for litilnesse and weikenesse of hire soulis, that
mowen not beeren a litil touchynge of God. For it is yit as it were fleschli, festened to
the flesch, and nevere was yit departed fro it thorugh goostli mortifiynge; and therfore
the leeste touchynge of love and the leeste sparcle of goosteli light sent from hevene
into siche a soule is so moche, so comfortable, so swete and so delitable, over al the
likynge that evere it felte bifore in fleschli love of ertheli thynge, that it is overtaken with
it; and also it is so newe and so sodeyn and so uncouth that it mai not suffren for to
beren it, but bersteth and schewith it out bi wepynge, sobbynge, and othere bodili
stirynge. Right as a costret that is olde, and resseyveth newe wyne that is fresch and
myghti, the costret bolneth out and it is in poynt for to cleven and bresten, until the
wyne hath boiled and spourged out al the unclennesse. But as sone as the wyne is fyned
and clered, than stant it stille, and the costreet hool. Right so a soule that is olde thorugh
synne, whanne it receyveth a litil of the love of God, that is so fresch and so myghti that
the bodi is in poynt for to cleven and bresten, ne were that God kepith it hool. But yit it
bersteth out at the iyen bi wepynge and atte the mouth bi spekynge, and that is more for
weikenesse and feblenesse of soule than for mykilnesse of love. For aftirward, whan
the love hath boiled out al the unclennesse of the soule bi sich grete fervours, than is the
love cleer and stondeth stille and thanne is bothe the bodi and the soule mochil more in
pees, and yit hath the selve soule moche more love thanne it hadde bifore, though it
schewid lasse outeward. For it is now al hol in reste withinne, and not but litil in
outeward schewynge of fervour.
And therfore I seie that thise soulis that feelen sich grete bodili fervours, though thei
ben in mochil grace, aren not yit reformed in feelynge, but thei aren greteli disposyd
toward. For I trowe siche a man, nameli that hath ben greteli defouled in synne, schal
not come to reformynge in feelinge, but yif he be brent first and purified with sich grete
conpuncciouns goyng bifore. Anothir soule that nevere was mykil defoulid with love of
the world, but hath ai be kepid fro grete synnes in innocence, mai lightliere and more
pryveli, withoute grete fervour schewed outeward, come to this reformynge. Thanne is
this sooth, as I hope, that siche confortes and fervours that a soule feeleth in the staat
of biginnynge or of profitynge aren as it were his goostli foode sent fro hevene, for to
strengthen him in his traveile. Right as a pilgrym that traveileth al dai metelees and
drynkeles, and is neerhande overcomen with werynesse, falleth at the laste to a good
inne, and there hath he mete and drynk and is wel refreschyd for that tyme: right so
goosteli a devoute soule that wole forsake the love of the world, and wolde fayn love
God and setteth alle his besines therto, praieth and traveileth al dai gosteli and bodili, and
sumtyme feelith no savour ne comfort in devocion. Thanne oure Lord havynge pité
over al His creatures, that it schulde not perischen for defaute, ne turne into hevynesse
or grucchynge, sendeth it amonge His goostli foode, and comforteth it in devocioun as
He vouchith saaf. And whanne the soule feeleth ony gosteli comfort, thanne he hooldeth
him weel apaied of al his traveile and al his disese that he hadde on the day, whanne he
fareth wel at even bi feelyng of ony grace.
The selve wise falleth it of othere soulis that aren profitande and fer forth in grace.
Thei feelen ofte sithes gracious touchynges of the Holi Goost in here soulis, bothe in
undirstondynge and sightte of goosteli thingis, and in affeccioun of love. But yit ben thei
not reformed in felynge, ne thei are not yit perfight. For whi, alle such feelynges comen
to hem in that staat as it were unwarli, for thei comen or they witen it, and goon from
hem or thei witen it, and thei cannot come thereto agen, ne thei knowen not where thei
schullen seken it ne where they schullen fynde it. For thei han yit noon hoomlynesse
with hem, but sodeynli goon and sodeynli comen. Thei are not yit maad lordes of
hemsilf bi stabilnesse of thought and lastynge desire to Jhesu, ne the iye of here soule is
not yit opened to behooldynge of goostli thynges, but they neighen faste toward. And
therfore thei are not yit reformed in feelynge, ne thei han not yit the ful gifte of
On what manere a man schal have the knowing of his owen soule and hou a man schal
setten his love in Jhesu God and man, oo persone and neverthelees yit is the love that is
caused of biholdynge of Him as God and man worthiere and betere than that that is
causid of Him oonli as man.
Hit nedeth to a soule that wolde have knowynge of goostli thynges, for to have first
knowynge of itsilf. For it mai not have knowynge first of a kynde aboven itsilf but yif
it have a knowynge of itsilf; and that is whanne the soule is so gadred into itsilf, and
departed from biholdynge of alle ertheli thynges and fro the use of the bodili wittes, that
it feelith itsilf as it is in the owen kynde withoute a bodi. Thanne yif thou coveite for to
knowen and seen thi soule what it is, thou schalt not torne thi thought to thi bodi for to
seken and feelen it, as it were hid withinne in thi fleschli herte as thyn herte is hid and
hoolden withinne thi bodi. Yif thou seke so, thou schalt nevere fynde it in itsilf. The
more thou sekest for to fynden and feelen it, as thou woldest feelen a bodili thynge, the
ferthere thou art therfroo. For thi soule is no bodi, but a lyf unseable; not hid ne hoolden
in thi bodi as a lasse thynge is hid and hoolden withinne a more, but it is holdande and
quykenande thi bodi, mykil more thanne the bodi is of myght and vertu.
Than yif thou wolte fynden it, withdrawe thy thought from al bodili thynge outeward
and fro mynde of thyn owen bodi also, and from alle thy fyve wittes as mykil as thou
maist; and thenke on the kynde of a resonable soule goostli, as thou woldest thenken for
to knowen ony vertu, as soothfastnesse or mekenesse or ony vertu. Right so thenke
that a soule is a liyf, undeedli and unseable, that hath myght in itsilf for to seen and
knowen the sovereyn soothfastnesse, and for to love the sovereyn goodnesse that is
God. Whan thou seest this, than thu felist sumwhat of thisilf. Seke thisilf in noon othir
place; but the more fulli and the more cleerli that thou maight thenken on the kynde and
the worthynesse of a resonable soule, what it is, and what is the kyndeli werkynge of it,
the betere thou seest thisilf.
It is ful hard for a soule that is rude and mykil in the flesch for to have sight and
knowynge of itsilf thus, for whanne it wolde thenke on itsilf or of angil, or of God, it
falleth as tite into ymaginacion of a bodili schap, and it weneth bi that for to have the
sight of itsilf, and so of God and othere goostli thinges. And that mai not ben; for alle
goostli thinges are seen and knowen bi undirstondyng of the soule and not bi
ymagynacioun. Right as a soule seeth bi undirstondynge that the vertu of rightwisenesse
is for to yelden to ilke a thynge that it oweth for to han, ryght so on siche a manere bi
undirstondynge mai the soule seen itsilf.
Neverthelees, I seie not that thi soule schal reste stille in this knowynge, but it schal be
this seken highere knowynge aboven itsilf, and that is the kynde of God. For thi soule is
but a myroure, in the whiche thou schalt seen God goostli. And therfore thou schalt
first fynden thi myrour and kepen it bright and clene from fleschli filthe and wordli
vanyté, and holden it wel up from the erthe, that thou mai seen it, and oure Lord
therinne also. For to this ende travelen alle chosen soulis in this liyf, in here menynge
and in here entente, though thei have not speciali the feelynge of this. And for that is it
as I have seid bifore, that many soulis bigynnynge and profitynge han gret fervour and
mykil suettenesse in devocion, and as it semeth brenne al in love, and yit han thei not
perfight love, ne goosteli knowynge of God. For wite thou wel, feele a soule nevere so
mykil fervour, so mykil that him thenketh the bodi mai not bere it, or though he melte al
into wepynge, as longe as his thenkynge and his biholdynge of God is al in imaginacion
and not in undirstondynge, he come not yit to perfight love ne to contemplacion.
For thou schalte undirstonde that the love of God is on three maner wise and al is
good, but ilke is betere than othir. The first cometh oonli with feith, withouten gracious
imaginacioun or goostli knowynge of God. This love is in the leste soule that is re-
formed in feith, in the lowest degree of charité; and it is good, for it sufficeth to savacioun.
The secunde love is that a soule feeleth thorugh feith and by imaginacion of Jhesu in His
manhede. This love is betere than the firste, whan the imaginacioun is stired bi grace,
and for whi, the gostli iye is opened in bihooldynge of oure Lordis manhede. The thridde
love is that a soule feeleth thorugh gosteli sight of the Godhede in the manhede as it may
been sen heere. This is the beste and the moste worthi, and that is perfight love. This
love a soule feeleth not til it be reformed in feelynge. Soules bygynnande and profitande
han not this love, for thei kunne not thenke on Jhesu ne love Him Godli, but as it were
al manli and fleschli aftir the condicions and the liknes of man. And upon that reward
thei schapin al her werkynge, in here thoughtis and in here affeccions. Thei dreden Him
as man, and worschipen Hym and loven Hym principali in manli ymaginacioun, and
goon no ferthere. As thus: yif thei have doon amys and trespaced agens God, thei
thenken thanne that God is wrooth with hem as a man schulde be yif thei hadden
trespaced agens hym, and therfore thei falle doun as it were to the foot of oure Lord
with sorwe of herte and crien merci. And whanne thei han don thus thei han a good
trust that oure Lord of His merci wole forgyve hem here trespas. This manere of
doynge is right good, but it is not goostli as it myght ben.
Also whanne thei wole worschipe God thei presenten hemself in here thought as it
were in bodili liknes bifore the face of oure Lord and ymagynen a wondirful light there
oure Lord Jhesu is, and thanne thei reverencen Hym, worschipen and dreden Hym, and
fulli putten hem in His merci for to don with hem what He wole. And also whanne thei
wolen loven God, thei biholden Him as a man, not yit as God in man, eithir in His
passioun or in sum othir thynge of His manhede. And in that biholdynge thei feelen ther
hertis moche stired to love of God. This maner of werkynge is gracious, but it is moche
lasse lowere than is the wirkynge of undirstondynge; that is whann a soule graciousli
biholdeth God in man. For in oure Lord Jhesu aren to kyndes, the manhede and the
Godhede ooned togidere. For mankynde was taken up in the persoone of Jhesu and is
ooned to the Godhede. Than right as the Godhede is more sovereyne and more worthi
than is the manhede, right so the goostli biholdynge of the Godhede in Jhesu man is
more worthi, more goosteli, and more medful than biholdynge of the manhede aloone,
whethir he biholde the manhede as deedli or as glorified. And right so bi the same skile
the love that the soule felith in thenkynge and bihooldynge of the Godhede in man, whan
it is graciouseli schewid, is worthiere, goostliere, and more medful than the fervour of
devocion that the soule feelith bi imaginacion oonli of the manhede, schewe it nevere so
mykil outeward. For in reward of that, this is but manli; for oure Lord scheweth Him
not in ymaginacion as He is, ne that He is, for the soule myght not that tyme for freelté
of fleschlihede suffren Him so.
Neverthelees unto sich soulis that kunne not thenken on the Godhede goostli, that thei
schulde not erren in here devocion, but that thei schulden ben conforted and strengthed
thorugh sum manere inward bihooldynge of Jhesu, for to forsake synne and the love of
the worlde - therfore oure Lord Jhesu tempereth His unseable light of His Godhede,
and clothid it undir bodili liknesse of His manhede, and scheweth it to the innere iye of
the soule and fedeth it with the love of His precious flesch goostli, the whiche love is of
so greet myght that it sleeth al wikked love in the soule and strengthed it for to suffre
bodili penaunce and othir bodili disese in tyme of neede for love of Jhesu. And this is the
schadwynge of oure Lord Jhesu overe a chosen soule. In the whiche schadwynge the
soule is kept fro brennynge of wordli love, for right as a schadwe is maad of a light and
a bodi, right so this goostli schadwe is maad of the blissid unseable light of the Godhede,
and of the manhede ooned therto, and is schewed to a devoute soule. Of the whiche
schadwe the prophete seith thus: Spiritus ante faciem nostram Christus dominus: sub
umbra eius vivemus inter gentes (Lamentations 4:20). Oure Lord Crist bifore oure face
is a spirit; undir His schadwe we schullen lyve amonge folkes. That is, oure Lord Jhesu
in His Godhede is a spiret, that mai not be seen of us lyvand in flesch as He is in His
blissid light. Therfore we schulle lyven undir the schadwe of His blissid manhede as longe
as we aren heere. But though this be sooth that this love in ymaginacion bi good, neverthelees
a soule schulde desiren for to have goostli love in undirstondynge of the Godhede, for that
is the ende and the ful blisse of the soule, and alle othere bodili biholdynges aren but
meenes ledynge a soule to it. I seie not that we schulden departe God fro man in Jhesu,
but we schullen love Jhesu bothe God and man - God in man, and man in God; goostli,
Thus kennede oure Lord Marie Magdaleyn, that schulde be contemplatif, whanne He
seide to hire thus: Noli me tangere, nondum enim ascendi ad patrem meum (John 20:17).
Touche me not, I am not yit stied up to my Fader. That is for to seie, Marie Magdelene
lovede brennandeli oure Lord Jhesu bifore the tyme of His passioun, but here love was
moche bodili and litil goostli. Sche trowed wel that He was God, but sche lovyd Him litil
as God, for sche coude not thanne, and therfore sche suffride al hire affeccioun and
hire thought fallen in Him as He was in forme of man. And oure Lord blamede here not
thanne, but praiside it moche. But aftir whanne He was risen from deeth and He apperde
to hire, sche wolde have worschipide Him with sich maner of love as sche dide bifore;
and thanne oure Lord forbede hire and seide thus, "Touche me not." That is, sette not
the restynge ne the love of thyn herte in that forme of man that thou seest with thi
fleschli iye oonli, for to resten therinne; for in that forme I am not stied up to My Fadir.
That is, I am not evene to the Fadir, for in forme of man I am lasse than He. Touche me
not so, but sette thi thought and thi love into that forme in the whiche I am evene to the
Fader (that is, the forme of the Godheede), and love Me, and knowe Me, and worschipe
Me as a God and man godli, not as man manli. So schalt thou touche Me, for syn I am
bothe God and man, and al the cause whi y schal be worschiped and loved is for I am
God, and for y took the kynde of man; and therfore make Me a God in thyne herte, and
in thi love, and worschipe Me in thyn undirstondynge as Jhesu God in man, sovereyn
soothfastnesse, and as sovereyne goodenesse and blissid liyf, for that am I. Thus kennede
oure Lord hire as I undirstonde, and also alle othere soulis that aren disposid to
contemplacioun and able therto, that thei schulden doon so.
Neverthelees, othere soulis that aren not sotel in kynde, ne are not yit maad goostli
thorugh grace, it is good to hem that thei kepe forth here owen wirkynge in imaginacion
with manli affeccions, until more grace come freeli to hem. It is not sikir to a man for
to leven a good werk uttirli until he see and feele a betere. Upon the same wise it mai be
seide of othir manere feelynges that aren like to bodili thynges, as heeryng of delitable
songe, or feelynge of comfortable heete in the bodi, or seynge of light, or swettenesse
of bodili savour. Thise aren not goosteli feelynges, for goostli feelynges aren felt in the
myghtis of the soule, principali in undirstondynge and in love and litil in imaginacioun;
but thise feelynges aren in imaginacion, and therfore thei aren not goostli feelynges, but
whan thei are best and moste trewe yit aren thei but outeward tokenes of inli grace that
is feelt in the myghttis of the soule. This mai be openli prived bi Holi Writ seiynge thus:
Apparuerunt apostolis dispertite lingue tanquam ignis, seditque super singulos eorum
spiritus sanctus (Acts 2:3). The Holi Gooste apperide to the apostelis in the dai of Pentacost
in liknesse of brennynge tunges, and enflawmede alle here hertis and satte upon ilke of
hem. Now sooth it is the Holi Gost, that is God Himsilf unseable, was not that fier ne the
tunges that weren seen, ne the brennyng that was feelt bodili, but He was unseabli feelt
in the myghtis of hire soulis, for He lightned here resoun and kyndelide here affeccioun
thorugh His blisside presence so cleerli and so brennandeli, that thei hadden sodeynli the
goostli knowynge of soothfastenesse and the perfeccion of love, as oure Lord bihighte
hem, seyynge thus: Spiritus sanctus docebit vos omnem veritatem (John 16:13). The
Holi Goost schal teche you al soothfastnesse. Thanne was that fier and that brennynge
not ellis but a bodili tokene, outeward schewid in wittenessynge of that grace that was
inwardeli feelt. And as it was in hem, so is it in othere soulis that aren visited and
lightned withinne of the Holi Goste, and han with that siche outward feelynges in com-
fort and wittenessynge of the inward grace. But that grace is not, as I hope, in alle soulis
that aren perfite, but there oure Lord wole. Othere soules unperfite that han siche feelynges
outewarde and han not yit receyved the inward grace, it is not good to hem for to resten
in siche feelynges to mykil, but in as mykil as thei helpen the soule to more stablenesse
of thought in God and to more love. For summe mowen ben trewe and summe mowen
be feyned, as I have seide bifore.
Hou this maner of spekyng reformynge of a soule in feelynge and in what wise it is
reformed is founden in Seynt Poulis wordis.
Now I have seide to thee a litil of reformynge in feith, and also I have touched thee a litil
of the forthgoynge from that reformynge to the highere reformynge that is in feelynge.
Not in that entente as I wolde bi thise wordes setten Goddis werkinge undir a lawe of
my spekynge, as for to seyn, thus wirketh God in a soule and noon othirwise. Nay, I
meene not soo: but y seie aftir my symple feelynge that oure Lord Jhesu werkith thus in
summe creatures as I hope. And I hope wel that He werketh otherewise also, that
passith my witte and my feelynge. Neverthelees, wheer he werke thus or othirwise, bi
sundry menys, in lengere tyme or in schorter tyme, with mykil traveile or litil traveile,
yif al come to oon eende, that is to perfite love of Hym, than is it gode inowgh. For yif
He wole geven a soule on o day the ful grace of contemplacion and withouten ony
travaile, as He weel mai, as good it is to that soule as yif he had ben examyned, pyned
and mortified, and purified twenti wyntir tyme. And therfore upon this manere wise
take thou my seiynge, as I have seid; and namely as I thenke for to seyn. For now bi the
grace of oure Lord Jhesu schal y speke a litil as me thenketh more openli of reformynge
in feelynge - what it is and how it is maad, and whiche aren goostli feelynges that a
Neverthelees first, that thou take not this maner of spekynge of reformynge of a soule
in feelynge as feynynge or fantasie, therfore I schal grounden it in Seynt Poules wordis,
where he seith thus: Nolite conformari huic seculo, sed reformamini in novitate
sensus vestri (Romans 12:2). That is: Ye that aren thorugh grace reformed in feith,
conforme yow not henneforward to maneres of the world, in pride, in covetise, and in
othere synnes; but be ye reformed in newehede of youre feelynge. Loo, heere thou
maist see that Seynt Poul speketh of reformynge in feelynge; and what that newe
feelynge is he expounneth in anothir place thus: Ut impleamini in agnicione voluntatis
eius, in omni intellectu et sapiencia spirituali (Colossians 1:9). That is: We praien God
that ye mowen ben fulfilled in knowynge of Goddis wille, in al undirstondyng and in al
maner goostli wisdom; that is, in reformynge in feelynge. For thou schalt undirstonde
that the soule hath two manere of feelynges: on withoute of the fyve bodili wittes,
anothir withinne of the goostli wittes, the whiche aren propirli the myghtis of the soule,
mynde, reson, and wille. Whanne thorugh grace thise myghtes aren fulfilled in al
undirstondinge of the wille of God and in goostli wisdom, than hath the soule newe
gracious feelynges. That this is sooth, he schewith in anothir place thus: Renovamini
spiritu mentis vestre, et induite novum hominem, qui secundum deum creatus est in
iusticia, sanctitate, et in veritate (Ephesians 4:23-24). Be yee now renued in the spirit
of youre soule; that is, ye schullen ben reformed not in bodili feelynge ne in imaginacion,
but in the overe partie of youre resoun. And clothe yow in a newe man, that is schapen
aftir God in rightwisenesse, holinesse, and soothfastnesse. That is, your reson, that is
propirli the ymage of God thorugh grace of the Holi Goost, schal be clothid in a newe
light of soothfastenesse, holynesse, and rightwisenesse and thanne is it reformed in
feelynge. For whanne the soule hath perfight knowynge of God, than is it reformed.
Thus seith Seynt Poul: Exspoliantes veterem hominem cum actibus suis; induite novum,
qui renovatur in agnicione dei, secundum ymaginem eius qui creavit eum (Colossians
3:9-10). Spoile yousilf of the oolde man with alle his deedis; that is, casteth fro yow the
love of the world with alle wordli maneris. And clothe you in a newe man; that is, ye
schullen be renewed in the knowynge of God aftir the liknesse of Hym that made yow.
Bi thise wordes maist thou undirstonden that Seynt Poul wold have mennys soulis
reformed in partie knowynge of God, for that is the newe feelynge that he speketh of
generali. And therfore upon his word I schal seyn more pleynli of this reformynge, as
God geveth me grace. For ther is two maner of knowynge of God. On is had principali
in imaginacion, and litil in undirstondynge. This knowynge is in chosen soulis bigynnynge
and profitynge in grace, that knowen God and loven Hym al manli not goostli, with
manli affeccions and with bodili liknesse, as I have bifore seid. This knowynge is good,
and it is likned to mylk bi the whiche thei aren tendirli norischid as children, til thei ben
able for to come to the fadris boord and taken of his hande hool breed. And that othir
knowynge is principaly felt in undirstondynge, whanne it is comforted and illumyned bi
the Hooli Goost, and litil in imagynacion. For the undirstondynge is ladi, and ymaginacion
is a maiden, servande to the undirstondynge whanne nede is. This knowynge is oolde
breed, mete for perfite soulis, and it is reformynge in feelynge.
Hou grace openeth the innere iye of a soule into goostli biholdynge of Jhesu, and hou
there is thre maner of knowynge of Jhesu bi example of thre men stondynge in the
sunne, on blynd, anothir hath his iyen sperid, and the thridde forth lokynge.
A soule that is callid fro the love of the world, and aftir that it is righted and assaied,
mortefied and purified, as I have bifore seid, oure Lord Jhesu of His merciful goodnesse
reformeth it in feelynge whanne He vucheth saaf. He openeth the innere iye of the soule
whanne He lightneth the reson thorugh touchynge and schynynge of His blyssid light,
for to seen Hym and knowe Him; not al fulli at oones, but litil and litil bi dyverse tymes,
as the soule mai suffre Hym. He seeth Hym not what He is, for that mai no creature doon
in hevene ne in erthe; ne he seth Him not as He is, for that sight is oonli in the blisse of
hevene. But he seth Him that He is: an unchaungeable beynge, a sovereyn myght, sovereyn
soothfastnesse, and sovereyne goodnesse, a blissid lyf, and an eendelees blisse. This
seeth the soule, and moche more that cometh withal; not blyndli and savourli, as dooth
a clerk that seeth Him be clergie oonli thorugh myght of his naked resoun, but that othir
seeth Hym in undirstondynge that is comforted and lightned by the gifte of the Hooli
Goost with a wondirful reverence and a privei brennande love, with goostli savour and
heveneli delite, more cleerli and more fulli than mai be writen or seid.
This sight, though it be schortli and litil, is so worthi and so myghti that it draweth
and ravescheth al the affeccion of the soule therto from biholdynge and the mynde of al
ertheli thynge, for to reste therinne everemore yif that it myghte. And of this maner
sight and knowynge the soule groundeth al his inward wirkynge in alle the affeccions.
For thanne it dredeth God in man as soothfastnesse, wondreth Him as myght, loveth
Him as goodnesse. This sight and this knowynge of Jhesu, with the blissid love that
cometh oute of it, mai be called the reformynge of a soule in feith and in feelynge that
I speke of. It is in feith, for it is myrk yit as in reward of that ful knowynge that schal
ben in hevene. For than schullen we seen Hym not oonli that He is, but even as He is; as
Seynt Joon seith: Tunc videbimus eum sicuti est (1 John 3:2). That is: Thanne schulle
we seen Him as He is. Neverthelees, it is in feelynge also, as in reward of that blynde
knowynge that a soule hath stondynge oonli in feith. For this soule knoweth sumwhat
of the kynde of Jhesu God thorugh this gracious sight, but that othir knoweth it not, but
oonli troweth it, this is sooth.
Neverthelees, that thou mowe the betere conceyve that I meene, I schal schewe thee
thre manere reformynge of a soule bi ensample of three men stondynge in light of the
sunne. Of the whiche three, oon is blynd, and anothir mai seen but he hath hise iyen
spered, the thridde loketh forth ful sight.
The blynde man hath no maner knowynge that he is in the sunne, but he troweth it yif
a trewe man telle hym; and he bitokeneth a soule that is oonli reformed in feith, that
troweth in God as Holi Chirche techeth, and woot not what. This sufficeth as for
savacion. The tothir seeth a light of the sunne, but he seeth it not cleerli what it is, ne as
it is, for the liddes of his iyen letteth him that he mai not, but he seeth thorugh the liddes
of his iyen a glymerynge of a greet light. And he bitokeneth a soule that is reformed in
feith and in feelynge, and so is contemplatif. For he seeth sumwhat of the Godhede of
Jhesu thorugh grace; not cleerli ne fulli, for the iyen liddes, that is his bodili kynde, is yit
a wal atwixe his kynde and the kynde of Jhesu, and letteth him fro the cleer sight of
Him. But he seeth thorugh this wal, aftir that grace toucheth him more or lasse, that
Jhesu is God and that Jhesu is sovereyne goodnesse, and sovereyne beynge, and a
blissid liyf, and that al othir goodnesse cometh of Him. This seeth the soule bi grace, not
agenstondynge alle the bodili kynde; and the more clene and sotil that the soule ys maad,
the more it is departid from fleschlihede, the scharpere sight it hath and the myghtiere
love of the Godhede of Jhesu. This sight is so myghti that though no man lyvand wolde
trowe in Jhesu, ne love Him, he wolde trowe nevere the lesse ne love Him the lasse; for
he seeth it so soothfastli thorugh grace that he mai not untrowe it.
The thridde man, that hath ful sight of the sunne, he troweth it not for he seeth it fulli;
bitokeneth a ful blissid soule that withouten ony wal of bodi or synne seeth openli the
face of Jhesu in the blisse of hevene. There is no feith, and therfore he is fulli reformed
There is no staat above the secunde reformynge that a soule mai come to heere in this
liyf; for this is the staat of perfeccion, in the weie to heveneward. Nevertheles alle the
soulis that aren in this staat are not alle ilike ferforth. For summe have it litil, and schortli
and seldom; and summe lengere, clerere and oftennere; and summe han it clerest and
lengest, aftir the habundynge of grace; and yit alle thise han the gifte of contemplacioun.
For the soule hath not perfighte sight of Jhesu al at onys, but first a litil, and aftir that it
profiteth and cometh to more feelynge, and as longe as it is in this lyf it mai wexen more
in the knowynge and in this love of Jhesu. And sothli I woot not what were more leef to
siche a soule that hath a litil felt of it, than uttirli alle othire thynges left and sette hem at
nought, and oonli tende therto for to have clerere sight and clennere love of Jhesu, in
whom is al the blissid Trynyté.
This manere of knowynge of Jhesu, as I undirstonde, is the openynge of hevene to
the iye of a clene soule, of the whiche holi men speken of in here writynge. Not as
summe wenen, that the openynge of hevene is yif a soule myght seen bi imaginacion
thorugh the skyes above the firmament, hou oure Lord Jhesu sitteth in His majesté in a
bodili light as mykil as an hundred sunnes. Nai, it is not soo: ne though he see nevere so
highe on that manere, sothli he seeth not the goostly hevene. The hiere he stiyeth above
the sonne bi sich imagynacion for to see Jhesu God, the lowere he falleth bynethe the
sunne. Neverthelees this maner sight is suffrable to symple soulis, that kunne no betere
seke Hym that is unseable.
Hou Jhesu is hevene to the soule; and hou a soule schal seke Jhesu above itself and
withinne itsilf; and whi Jhesu is callid fier and light.
What is hevene to a resonable soule? Sothli, not ellis but Jhesu God. For yif that be
hevene oonli that is above a thynge, than is God oonli hevene to mannys soule. For He
is oonli above the kynde of a soule. Thanne yif a soule mai thorugh grace have knowynge
of that blissid kynde of Jhesu, sothli he seeth hevene, for he seeth God.
Therfore ther are many men that erren in undirstondynge of summe wordes that aren
seid of God, for thei undirstonden hem not goostli. Hooli Writte seith that a soule that
wole fynde God schal liften upward the innere iye and seke God above itsilf. Thanne
summe that wolde doon aftir this seiynge undirstonden this word "aboven hemsilf," as
for higher settynge in stide and for worthiere of place, as oon element or oon planete is
above anothir in settynge and in worthinesse of bodili place; but it is not so goostli. For
a soule is above a bodili thynge not bi settynge of stide, but bi sutilté and worthinesse of
kynde. Right so, in the selve wise, God is above alle bodili and goostli creaturis, not bi
settynge of stide, but thorugh sutilté and worthinesse of His unchaungeable blissid
kynde. And therfore he that wole wisili seke God and fynden Him, he schal not renne
oute with his thought as yif he wolde clymbe above the sunne and persen the firma-
ment, and imagyne the majesté as it were a light of an hundred sonnes. But he schal
rathere drawe doun the sunne and al the firmament, and forgeten it and casten it binethen
hym ther as he is, and setten al this and al bodili thinge also at nought, and thenken
thanne yif he can goostli, bothe of himsilf and of God also. And yif he doo thus, thanne
seeth the soule aboven himsilf and thanne seeth it hevene.
Upon this self manere schal this word "withinne" be undirstonden. It is comonli seid
that a soule schal see oure Lord withynne al thynge and withinne itsilf. Sooth it is that
oure Lord is withinne alle creatures, not on that manere as a kirnel is hid withinne the
schale of a note, or as a litil bodili thinge is hid and holden withinne anothir mykil. But He
is withinne alle creatures as hooldynge and kepynge hem in here beynge, thorugh sutilté
and thorugh myght of His blissid kynde and clennesse unseable. For right as a thyng
that is most precious and moste clene is leid innerest, right so bi that liknesse it is seid
the kynde of God (that is most precious and most clene and most goostli, feerthest
from bodilihede) is hid withinne alle thynges. And therfore he that wole seke God
withinne, he schal forgete first al bodili thynge (for al that is withouten) and his owen
bodi; and he schal forgeten the thenkynge of his owen soule and thenken on that unmaad
kynde that is Jhesu, that made him, quykeneth him, and holdeth him, and gyveth hym
resoun and mynde and love; the whiche is withinne hym thorugh His privei myght and
sovereyne sotilté. Upon this manere schal the soule doo whanne grace touchith hym,
ellis it wole but litil availe to seken Jhesu and fynde Him withinne itsilf and withinne alle
cretures, as me thenketh.
Also it is seide in Holi Writ that God is light. So seith Seynt Joon: Deus lux est (1 John
1:5). That is, God is light. The light schal not ben undirstonden as for bodili light, but it
is undirstonden thus: God is light, that is, God is truthe and soothfastnesse, for
sothfastnesse is gostli light. Than he that most graciousli knoweth soothfastnesse, beest
seeth God. And neverthelees it is likned to bodili light for this skile. Right as the sunne
schewith to the bodili iye itsilf and al bodili thynge bright, right so soothfastnesse, that
is God, scheweth to the reson of the soule itsilf first, and bi itsilf alle othere goostli
thynge that nedeth to be knowen of a soule. Thus seith the prophete: Domine, in lumine
tuo videbimus lumen (Psalms 35:10). Lord, we schullen see light bi Thi light. That is,
we schullen seen Thee, that art soothfastnesse, bi Thisilf.
On the selve wise it is seid that God is fier: Deus noster ignis consumens est (Hebrews
12:29). That is: Oure Lord is fier wastande. That is for to seyn, God is not fier elementarie,
that heteth a bodi and brenneth it, but God is love and charité. For as fier wasteth al
bodili thinge that mai be wasted, right so the love of God wasteth and brenneth al synne
oute of the soule and maketh it clene, as fier maketh clene al manere metal. Thise
wordis, and alle othere that aren spoken of oure Lord in hooli writynge bi bodili liknesse,
moste nedis ben undirstonden goostli, ellis there is no savour in hem. Neverthelees, the
cause whi siche maner wordis aren seid of oure Lord in Holi Writ is this. For we aren so
fleschli that we conne not of God, ne undirstonde of Hym, but yif we bi siche wordes
first ben entred in. Neverthelees, whanne the innere iye is opened thorugh grace for to
han a litil sight of Jhesu, thanne schal the soule turne lightli inowgh alle sich wordes of
bodili thyngis into goostli undirstondynge.
This goostli oopenynge of the innere iye into knowynge of the Godhede y calle
reformynge in feith and in feelynge. For thanne the soule sumwhat feelith in undirstondinge
of that thynge that it hadde bifore oonli in nakyd trowing. And that is bigynnynge of
contemplacion, of the whiche Seynt Poul seith thus: Non contemplantibus nobis que
videntur, sed que non videntur; quia que videntur, temporalia sunt, que autem non
videntur, eterna sunt (2 Corinthians 4:18). That is: Oure contemplacion is not in thinges
that are seen, but it is in thinges unseable. For thynges that are seen aren passynge, but
thinges unseable aren ai lastande. To the whiche sight every soule schulde desire for to
come, bothe heere in partie, and in the blisse of hevene fulli. For in that sight and in that
knowynge of Jhesu is fulli the blisse of a resonable soule, and endelees liyf. Thus seith
oure Lord: Hec est autem vita eterna: ut cognoscant te verum deum, et quem misisti
Jesum Cristum (John 17:3). That is: Fadir, this is endelees liyf; that Thi chosen soulis
knowe Thee and Thi Sone Jhesu Crist whom Thou hast sent, oon soothfast God.
Of two maner of love formed, what it meeneth, and unformed; and hou we aren biholden
for to love Jhesu moche for oure makynge, but moche more for oure biynge, but most
for oure ful savynge whanne He geveth the Holi Goost to us and maketh us saaf thorugh
But now, wondrist thou, syn this knowynge of God is the blisse and the ende of a soule,
whi thanne have I seid heere bifore that the soule schal not ellis coveiten but oonli the
love of God; but I spak nothynge of this sight, that a soule schulde coveite this?
Unto this I mai seyn thus: that the sight of Jhesu is ful blis of a soule, and that is not
oonli for the sight, but it is also for the blissid love that cometh oute of the sight.
Neverthelees, for love cometh oute of knowynge and not knowynge of love, therfore it
is seid that in syght principali of God with love is the blisse of a soule, and the more He
is knowen the betere He is loved. But for as mykil as to this knowynge, or to this love
that cometh of it, mai not the soule come withoute love; therfore seide I that thou
schuldest oonli coveiten love. For love is cause whi a soule cometh to this sight and to
this knowynge; and that love is not the love that a soule hath in itsilf to God, but the love
that God hath to a symple soule that can right nought loven Him is cause whi this soule
cometh to this knowynge and to this love that cometh of it. And on what manere that is,
I schal telle thee more openly.
Holi writeres seyn, and sooth it is, that there is two maneres of goostli love. On is
callid unformed, anothir is called formed. Love unformed is God Himsilf, the thridde
persoone in Trinyté; that is, the Holi Goost. He is love unformed and unmaad, as Seynt
Joon seith thus: Deus dileccio est (1 John 4:8). God is love, that is, the Holi Goost. Love
formed is the affeccion of a soule, maad bi the Holi Goost of the sight and the knowynge
of soothfastenesse (that is God oonli) stired and sette in Hym. This love is callid formed,
for it is maad bi the Hooli Goost. This love is not God in Himsilf, for it is maad, but it is
the love of the soule, felt of the sight of Jhesu and sterid to Hym oonli. Now maist thou
see that love formed is not cause whi a soule cometh to goostli sight of Jhesu, as sum
men wolden thenke, that thei wolde love God so brennandli as it were bi there owen
myght, that thei were worthi for to have the more goostly knowing of Hym. Nai, it is
not so. But love unformed, that is, God Himsilf, is cause of al this knowynge. For a blynde
wrecchid soule is so feer from the cleer knowynge and the blissid feelynge of His love
thorugh synne and freelté of the bodili kynde, that it myght nevere come to it, ne were
the endelees mekenesse of the love of God. But thanne bicause that He loveth us so
moche, therfore He geveth us his love, that is, the Hooli Goost. He is bothe the gifte and
the gyvere, and maketh us thanne bi that gifte for to knowen Him and loven Him. Loo,
this is the love that I spaak of, that thou schuldest oonli coveiten and desiren this
unformed love that is the Hooli Goost. For sothli a lasse thynge or a lasse gift than He is
mai not availe us for to bringen us to the blissid sight of Jhesu. And therefore schullen
we fulli desiren and asken of Jhesu oonli this gift of love, that He wolde for the mykilnesse
of His blissid love touchen oure hertis with His unseable light to the knowynge of Him,
and departen with us of His blissid love, that as He loveth us that we myght love Him
agen. Thus seith Seynt Joon: Nos diligamus deum, quoniam ipse prior dilexit nos (1
John 4:19). That is: Love we now God, for He first loved us. He loved us mykil whanne
He maade us to His liknesse, but He loved us more whanne He boughte us with His
precious blood thorugh wilful takynge of deth in His manhede fro the power of the
feend and from the peyne of helle. But He loveth most us whan He geveth us the gifte
of the Holi Goost, that is love, bi whiche we knowen Him and loven Hym, and are maad
siker that we aren His sones chosen to savacion. For this love aren we more bounden to
Him than for ony othir love that evere He schewed for us, either in oure makynge or in
oure biynge. For though He hadde made us and bought us, but yif He save us withal,
what profite is it ellis to us oure makynge or oure biynge? Sothli right noon.
Therfore the moste tokene of love schewed to us, as me thenketh, is this: that He
geveth Himsilf in His Godhede to oure soulis. He gaf Himsilf in His manhede first to us
for oure raunsom, whanne He offride Himsilf to the Fader of hevene upon the autier of
the Cros. This was a fair gifte, and a grete tokene of love. But whanne He gyveth Himsilf in
His Godhede goostli to oure soulis for oure savacion, and maketh us for to knowen Him
and loven Hym, thanne loveth He us fulli. For thanne gyveth He Himsilf to us, and more
myght He nought gyven us, ne lasse myght not sufficen to us. And for this skile it is
seid that the rightynge of a synful soule thorugh forgifnesse of synnes is arrected and
approprid principali to the wirkynge of the Holi Goost; for the Hooli Goost is love, and
in the rightynge of a soule oure Lord Jhesu scheweth to the soule most of His love, for
He doth awai al synne and oneth it to Hym. And that is the beste thynge that He mai
doon to a soule, and therfore it is approperid to the Hooli Goost.
The makynge of a soule is approprid to the Fadir as for sovereigne myght and powere
that he schewith in makynge of it. The biynge is arectid and approprid to the Sone, as
for the sovereyne witte and wisdom that he schewid in his manhede; for he overcam
the feend principali thorugh wisdom and not thorwgh strenthe. But the rightynge and
the ful savynge of a soule bi forgyvnesse of synnes is approprid to the thridde persone,
that is, the Hooli Goost. For therin schewith Jhesu most love unto a mannys soule, and
for that thynge schal He most sovereynli be loved agen of us. His makynge is comyn to
us and to alle unresonable creaturis. For as He mad us of nought, so He made hem; and
therfore is this werk grettest of myght, but it is not most of love. Also the biynge is
comone to us and to alle resonable soulis, as to Jewes and to Sarsenes and to fals
Cristene men. For He died for alle soulis ilike and boughte hem, yif thei wolen han the
profite therof; and also it sufficeth for the biynge of alle, though it so be that alle han it
not. And this wirkynge was moste of wisdom, and not most of love. But the rightynge
and the halewinge of oure soulis thorugh the gifte of the Holi Goost, that is oonli the
wirkynge of love; and that is not comone, but it is a special gifte oonli to chosen soulis.
And sothli that is the wirkynge of most love to us that aren His chosen children.
This is the love of God that I speke of, which thou schalt coveiten and desiren; for
this love is God Himsilf and the Holi Goost. This love unformed, whan it is geven to us,
it wirketh in oure soulis al that good is, and al that longeth to goodnesse. This love
loveth us er than we loven Him. For it clenseth us first of oure synnes, and maketh us
for to loven Him, and maketh oure wille stronge for to agenstonden alle synnes, and it
stireth us for to assaien ouresilf thorugh diverse exercises bothe bodili and goostli in alle
vertues. It stireth us also for to forsake the love and the likynge of the world; it sleeth in
us alle wikkid stirynges of synnes and flesschli affeccions and wordli dredis; it kepit us
from alle malicious temptacions of the fend; and it dryveth us from bisynesse and from
vanité of the world, and fro conversacioun of wordli loveris. Al this dooth the love of
God unformed, whanne He geveth Himsilf to us. We doon right nought but suffre Him,
and assente to Him, for that is the moste that we doon, that we assente wilfulli to His
gracious werkynge in us. And yit is not that wille of us, but of His makynge, so that me
thenketh He dooth in us al that is wel doon, and yit we seen it nought. And not oonli
dooth He thus, but aftir this love dooth more. For He openeth the iye of the soule and
scheweth to the soule the sight of Jhesu wondirfulli, and the knowynge of Hym, as the
soule mai suffre it thus bi litil and bi litil; and bi that sight He ravescheth al the affeccion
of the soule to Him.
And thanne bigynneth the soule for to knowen Him goostli, and brennandli for to love
Him; than seeth the soule sumwhat of the kynde of the blisside Godhede of Jhesu, hou
He is al and He werketh al and that alle good dedis that aren doon and good thoughtis
aren oonli of Him. For He is al sovereyn myght and al sovereyn soothfastnesse and al
sovereyn goodnesse; and therfore everiche good dede is doon oonli of Him and bi Him,
and He schal oonli have the worschipe and the thanke for alle good deedis, and nothyng
but He. For though wrecchid men stelen His worschipe from Him heere for awhile,
neverthelees atte laste ende schal soothfastnesse schewe wel that Jhesu dede al and that
man dide right nought of himsilf; and thanne schullen theves of Goddis good that aren
nought acordid with Him heere in this lif for here trespace be demed to the deeth, and
Jhesu schal fulli be worschipid and thanked of alle blissid creaturis for His gracious
This love is not ellis but Jhesu Himsilf, that for love wirketh al this in mannys soule
and reformeth it in feelynge to His liknesse, as I have bifore seid, and sumwhat as I
schal seyn. This love bringeth into the soule the fulhede of alle vertues, and maketh hem
alle clene and trewe, softe and esi, and turneth hem alle into love and in likynge; and on
what manere wise he dooth that, I schal telle thee a litil aftirward. This love draweth the
soule from fleschlihede into goostlinesse, from erthli feelyng into heveneli savour, and
from veyn bihooldyng of wordli thinges into contemplacion of goostli creaturis and of
Hou sum soulis loven Jhesu bi bodili fervours, and bi ther owen affeccions that aren
stired bi grace and bi resoun; and sum loven Jhesu more restfulli, bi gostli affeccions
onli, stired inward thorugh grace of the Hooli Gost.
Thanne mai I seyn that he that hath most of this love heere in this lif most pleseth God,
and most cleer sight schal have of Him in the blisse of hevene: for he hath the most gifte
of love here in erthe.
This love mai not be had bi a mannys traveile owen, as sum men wenen. It is freeli
had of the gracious gifte of Jhesu, aftir moche bodili and goostli traveile goynge bifore.
For there aren summe loveres of God that maken hemsilf for to love God as it were bi
here owen myght; for thei streynen hemsilf thorugh grete violence, and panten so strongli
that thei bersten al into bodili fervours as yif thei wolden drawe doun God from hevene
to hem, and thei seien in her hertis and with her mouth, "A, Lord, I love Thee, and I
wole love Thee. I wolde for Thi love suffre deeth." And in this maner wirkynge thei
feelen grete fervour and mykil grace. And sooth it is, as me thenketh, this wirkynge is
good and meedful, yif it be wel temprid with mekenesse and with discrecion. But
neverthelees thise men loven not the gifte of love on that manere as I speke of, ne thei
asken it not so. For a soule that hath the gifte of love thorugh gracious bihooldynge of
Jhesu as I meene, or ellis yif he have it not yit but wolde have it, he is not bisi for to
streyne itsilf over his myght, as it were bodili strenth, for to han it bi bodili fervours and
so for to feelen of the love of Jhesu. But him thenketh that he is right not, and that he
can doo right not of hymsilf, but as it were a deed thynge oonli hangynge and born up
bi the merci of God. He seeth wel that Jhesu is al and doth al, and therfore asketh he not
ellis but the gifte of His love. For syn the soule seeth that his owen love is nought,
therfore it wold have His love, for that is inowgh. Therfore praieth he, and that desireth
he, that the love of God wolde touche him with his blissid light, that he myght seen a litil
of Him bi schewynge of His gracious presence, for thanne schulde he love Him; and so
bi this weie cometh the gifte of love, that is God, into a soule.
The more that the soule noughteth itsilf thorugh grace bi sight of this sothfastnesse
sumtyme withoutin ony fervour schewed outeward - and the lasse it thenketh it
loveth or seeth God, the nerrere neigheth it to perseyve the gifte of the blissid love. For
thanne is love maister, and wirketh in the soule and maketh it for to forgeten himsilf, and
for to seen and biholden oonli hou love dooth. And thanne is the soule more suffrynge
than doynge, and that is clene love. Thus Seynt Poul mened whanne he seide thus:
Quicumque spiritu dei aguntur, hii sunt filii dei (Romans 8:14). Alle thise that aren
wrought with the spirit of God aren Goddis soones. That is, thise soulis that aren maad
so meke and so buxum to God that thei wirke not with hemsilf, but suffren the Holi
Goost ai stiren hem and wirke in hem feelynges of love with a ful swete acord to His
stirynge, thise aren special Goddis sones, most like unto Him.
Othere soulis that kunne not loven thus, but traveilen hemsilf bi here owen affeccions
and stiren hemsilf thorugh thenkynge of God and bodili exercise for to drawen out of
hem bi maistrie the feelynge of love, fervours and othere bodili signes, loven not so
goostli. Thei doon wel and medefulli, bi so that thei wolen knowe mekeli that here
wirkynge is not kindeli the gracious feelynge of love, but it is manli doon bi a soule at
the biddyng of resoun. And neverthelees thorugh the goodenesse of God, bicause that
soule doth that in it is, thise manli affeccions of the soule stired into God bi mannys
wirkynge aren turned into goostli affeccions, and aren maad medful as yyf thei hadde
be doon goostli in the first bigynnynge. And this is a greet curteisie of oure Lord,
schewed unto a meke soule, that turneth alle thise manli affeccions of kyndeli love into
affeccioun and into the mede of his owen love, as yif he hadde wrought hem alle fulli bi
himsilf. And so thise affeccions so turned moun ben called affeccions of goostli love
thorugh purchace, not thorugh kyndeli bryngynge forth of the Holi Goost. I seye not
that a soule mai wirken siche manli affeccions oonli of itsilf withouten grace, for I woot
weel that Seynt Poul seith that we moun right nought doon ne thenken that good is of
ouresilf withouten grace. Non quod sumus sufficientes cogitare aliquid ex nobis, sed
sufficiencia nostra ex deo est (2 Corinthians 3:5). That is: We that loven God wenen not
that we sufficen for to love and thenken good of ouresilf onli, but oure sufficience is of
God. For God wirketh in us al, bothe good wil and good werk, as Seynt Poul seith:
Deus est qui operatur in nobis et velle et perficere pro bona voluntate (Philippians
2:13). That is: God that wirketh in us bothe wil and fillynge of good wille. But I seie that
siche affecciouns aren of God, maad bi the mene of a soule aftir the general grace that
He gyveth to alle Hise chosen soulis; not of special grace maad goostli bi touchinge of
His gracious presence, as He werketh in His perfite loveris, as I have bifore seid. For in
unperfite loveres of God love werketh al ferli, bi the affeccions of man; but in perfite
loveres, love werketh veryli, bi his owen goostli affecciouns, and sleeth for the tyme in
a soule alle othere affecciouns bothe fleschli and kyndeli and manli. And that is propirli
the wirkynge of love bi himsilf. This love mai be had a litil in partie heere in a clene
soule, thorugh goostli sight of Jhesu; but in the blisse of hevene it is fulfillid bi cleer
sight of Jhesu in His Godhede, for there schal noon affeccion be left in a soule, but al
godli and goostli.
That the gifte of love amonge alle the giftes of Jhesu is worthiest and most profitable;
and hou Jhesu doth al that is wel don in His chosen onli for love. And hou love maketh
the usynge of alle vertues and alle good dedis, light and esy.
Aske thou thanne of God nothinge but this gifte of love, that is, the Holi Goost. For
amonge alle the giftes that oure Lord geveth ther is noon so good ne so profitable, so
worthi ne excellent, as this is. For there is no gifte of God that is bothe gifte and the
gyvere, but this gifte of love; and therfore it is the beste and the worthieste. The gift of
profesie, the gifte of myracles-werkynge, the gift of grete kunnynge and conceilynge,
and the gifte of grete fastynge or of grete penaunce-doynge, or ony othir siche, aren
grete giftes of the Holi Goost, but thei aren not the Holi Goost, for a repreved soule and
a dampnable myght have alle thise giftes as fulli as a chosen soule.
And therfore al thise manere of giftis aren not moche to be desired, ne greteli for to
chargen. But the gifte of love is the Hooli Goost, God Himsilf; and Him mai no soule have
and be dampned with Him, for that gifte oonli saveth it fro dampnacion, and maketh it
Goddis sone, partenere of heveneli heritage. And that love, as I have bifore seid, is not
the affeccioun of love that is formed in a soule, but it is the Holi Goost Himsilf, that is
love unformed, that saveth a soule. For He gyveth Himsilf to a soule first, or the soule
loveth Him; and He formeth affeccion in the soule and maketh the soule oonli for to
loven Him oonli for Himsilf. And not oonli that, but also bi this gifte the soule loveth itsilf
and alle his evene Cristene as himsilf, onli for God; and this is the gifte of love that
maketh schedynge atwixe chosen soulis and the repreved. And this maketh ful pees
atwixe God and a soule and oneth alle blissid creatures holli in God; for it maketh Jhesu
to loven us, and us Him also, and eche of us for to loven othir in Him.
Coveite this gifte of love principali, as I have seid. For yif He wole of His grace gyve
it on that manere wise, it schal openen and lightnen the resoun of thi soule for to seen
sothfastnesse, that is, Jhesu and goostli thynges. And it schal stire thyn affeccions holli
and fulli for to loven Him and it schal werken in thi soule oonli as He wole, and thou
schalt biholden Him reverentli with softnesse of love and seen hou He dooth. This biddeth
He bi His prophete that we schulde doo, seiynge thus: Vacate, et videte quoniam ego sum
deus (Psalms 45:11). Ceese yee, and seeth that I am God. That is, ye that aren reformed
in feelynge and han youre innere iye opened into sight of goostli thinges, ceese yee sum
tyme of outeward wirkynge, and seeth that I am God. That is, "Seeth onli hou I, Jhesu,
God doo; bihalde yee Me, for I doo al. I am love, and for love I doo al that I do, and ye
do nought. That this is sooth y schal schewe yow, for there is no good deede doon in
yow ne good thought felt in yow, but yif it be doon thorugh Me, that is, thorwgh myght,
wisdom and love, that is mightili, wittili, and loveli, ellis it is it no good deede. Now is it
sooth that I, Jhesu, am bothe myght, wisdom, and blissid love, and ye nought; for y am
God. Than mowe yee wel seen that y oonli doo alle youre good deedes, and youre good
thoughtes, and good loves in yow, and ye don right nought. And yit neverthelees are
thise good deedis called your, not for yee wirken hem principali, but for I geve hem to
yow for love that y have to you. And therefore, syn I am Jhesu, and for love do al this,
ceese ye thanne of bihaldynge of youresilf and setteth youresilf at nought, and looketh
on Me and seth that I am God, for y doo al this." This is sumwhat of the menynge of
the vers of David bifore seide.
See thanne and bihoolde what love werketh in a chosen soule that He reformeth in
feelynge to His liknesse, whanne the reson is lightned a litil to the goostli knowinge of
Jhesu and to the feelynge of His love. Thanne bringeth love into the soule the fulheed of
vertues, and turneth hem alle into likynge and softenesse as it were withoute wirkynge
of the soule; for the soule striveth not mykil for the getynge of hem as it dide bifore, but
it hath hem esili and felith hem restfulli, oonli thorugh the gifte of love that is the Holi
Goste. And that is a wel greet comfort to the soule and a gladnesse unspecable, whanne
it feeleth sodeynli, and woot nevere hou, that vertu of mekenesse and pacience, sobirnesse
and sadnesse, chastité and clennesse, lovereden to his even Cristene, and alle othir
vertues, the whiche weren sumtyme travelous, pyneful, and hard to him for to kepen,
aren now turned into softenesse and likynge, and into wondirful lightnesse - so fer
forth that hym thenketh it no maistrie ne hardenesse for to kepen ony vertu, but it is
most likynge to him for to kepen it. And al this maketh love.
Othere men that stonden in the comoun weie of charité, and aren not yit so fer forth
in grace, but wirken undir the biddynge of resoun, striven and fighten al dai agens
synnes for the getynge of vertues, and sumtyme ben aboven and sumtyme binethen, as
wrasteleres aren. Thise men don ful wel. Thei han alle vertues oonli in resoun and in
wille, not in savour ne in love, for thei fighten hemsilf as it were bi here owen myghtes
for hem. And therfore mowe they not have ful rest ne fulli the highere hand. Neverthelees
thei schullen han moche meede, but thei aren not yit meke inowgh. Thei han not yit put
hemsilf al fulli in Goddis hand, for thei seen Him not yit.
But a soule that hath goostli sight of Jhesu taketh no grete keep of strivynge for
vertues, it is not bisi abouten hem speciali; but it setteth al her bysynesse for to kepe that
sight and that bihaldynge of Jhesu that it hath, for to halde the mynde stabeli therto, and
bynde the love oonli to it that it falle not fro it, and forgeteth alle othere thynges as mykil
as it mai. And whanne it dooth thus, than is Jhesu soothfastli maister in the soule and the
soule is fulli buxum to Him and thanne fighteth Jhesu for the soule agens alle synnes,
and umbischadueth it with His blissid presence, and geteth it alle vertues; and the soule
is so comforted, and soo born up with the soft feelynge of love that it hath of the sight
of Jhesu, that it feeleth no grete disese outward. And thus sleeth love generali alle
synnes in a soule, and reformeth it in newe feelynge of vertues.
Hou love, thoru a gracious biholding of Jhesu, sleth alle stirynges of pride and maketh
the soule perfiteli meke; for it maketh the soule for to lese savour and delite in al ertheli
Neverthelees, hou love sleeth synnes and reformeth vertues in a soule more speciali
schal y seyn; and firste of pride, and of mekenesse that is contrarie therto. Thou schalte
undirstonden that there is two maner of mekenesse. Oon is had bi wirkynge of resoun.
Anothir is feelt bi special gifte of love. But bothe aren of love. But that oon love wirketh
bi resoun of the soule; that othir wirketh bi himsilf. The firste is imperfight, that othir is
The first mekenesse a man feelith of bihaldynge of his owen synnes and of his owen
wrecchidnesse, thorugh which biholdynge he thenketh himsilf unworthi for to have
ony gifte or grace or ony meede of God; but he thenketh it inowgh that He wolde of His
grete merci graunte hym forgevenesse of hise synnes. And also he thenketh hym bicause
of his owene synnes that he is wers than the moste synnere that lyveth, and that everi
man doth betere than he. And so bi siche biholdynge casteth himsilf doun in his thoughtis
undir alle men; and he is bisie for to agenstonde the stirynges of pride as mykil as he
mai, bothe bodili pride and goostli, and disposeth himsilf, so that he assenteth not to the
feelynges of pride. And yif his herte be taken sumtyme with it, that it be defouled with
veyn joie or worschipe or of connynge or of preisynge or of ony othir thinge, as sone as
he mai perceyve it, he is yvel paid with himsilf, and hath sorwe for it in herte, and
asketh forgyvnesse for it of God and schewith him to his confessour; and he accusith
himsilf mekeli, and receyveth his penaunce. This is good mekenesse, but it is not yit
perfite, for it is of soulis that are bigynnende and profitende in grace, causid of bihooldynge
of synnes. Love werketh this mekenesse bi resoun of the soule.
Parfite mekenesse a soule feeleth of the sight and the goostli knowynge of Jhesu. For
whanne the Holi Goost lightneth the reson into the sight of soothfastenesse, hou Jhesu
is al and that He dooth al, the soule hath so grete love, and so grete joie in that goostli
sight, for it is soothfaste that it forgeteth itsilf and fulli leneth to Jhesu with al the love
that it hath for to biholden Hym. It taketh no kepe of the unworthinesse of itsilf ne of
synnes bifore doon. But setteth at nought itsilf with alle the synnes and alle the good
deedis that evere he dide, as yif there were nothinge but Jhesu. Thus meke was David
whanne he seide thus: Et substancia mea tanquam nichillum ante te (Psalms 38:6).
That is: Lord Jhesu, the sight of Thi blissid unmaad substance and Thyn endelees beynge
scheweth wel unto me that my substance and the beynge of my soule that is chaungeable
is as nought agens Thee. Also anemptis his even Cristene he hath no reward to hem, ne
demyng of hem, whethir thei ben betere or werse thanne himsilf is. For he hooldeth
himsilf and alle othere men as it were evene, ilike nought of hemself anemptis God; and
that is sooth, for al the goodnesse that is doon in himsilf or in hem is onli of God, whom
he biholdeth as al. And therfore setteth he alle othere creatures at nought, as he dooth
himsilf. Thus meke was the prophete whanne he seide thus: Omnes gentes quasi non
sint, sic sunt coram eo, et quasi nichillum et inane ita reputati sunt (Isaiah 40:17). Alle
men aren bifore oure Lord as nought and as veyn and nought thei aren acconttid to Him.
That is, anemptis the eendelees beynge and the unchaungeable kynde of God mankynde
is as nought. For of nought it is maad, and into nought it schulde turnen, but yif he
kepide it in the beynge that made it of nought. This is soothfastnesse, and this schulde
make a soule meke yif it myght see thorugh grace this soothfastenesse. Therefore
whanne love openeth the innere iye of a soule for to seen this soothfastnesse with
othere circumstaunces that cometh withal, thanne bigynneth the soule for to be soothfasteli
meke. For thanne bi the sight of God it feelith and seeth itsilf as it is; and thanne
forsaketh the soule the bihooldynge and the lenynge to itsilf, and fulli fallith to the
biholdynge of Hym. And whanne it dooth so, thanne setteth the soule right nought bi al
the joie and alle the worschipe of this world; for the joie of wordli worschipe is so litil
and so nought in regarde of that joie and that love that it feeleth in the goostli sight of
Jhesu and knowynge of soothfastnesse, that though he myght have it withouten ony
synne, he wolde not of it. Ne though men wolde worschipen him, preisen hym, favoren
hym, and sette hym at greet staat, it liketh hym right nought, ne though he hadde the
kunynge of alle the sevene artis of clergie, and of alle craftes undir sunne, or hadde
powere for to wirke alle maner miraclis, he hath no more deynté of al this, ne more
savoure of hem, thanne for to gnawen upon a drie stikke. He hadde wel levere forgeten
al this and for to ben alone out of the sight of the world, than for to thenken on hem and
be worschiped of alle men. For the herte of a trewe lovere of Jhesu is maad so mykil
and so large thorugh a litil sight of Him and a litil feelynge of His goostli love, that al the
likynge and al the joie of al erthe mai not sufficen for to fillen oon corner of it. And
thanne semeth it wel that thise wrecchid wordli lovers that aren, as it were, ravysched
in love of here owen worschipe, and pursuen aftir it for to han it and with al the myght
and al the witte that thei han, thei have no savoure in this mekenesse, thei aren wondir
fer therfro. But the lovere of Jhesu hath this mekenesse lastandeli, and that not with
hevynesse and stryvynge for it, but with likynge and goostli gladnesse, the whiche
gladnesse it hath, not for it forsaketh al the worschipe of this world, for that were a
proude mekenesse that longeth to an ypocrite, but for he hath a sight and a goostli
knowynge of soothfastnesse and of worthinesse of Jhesu thorugh gifte of the Hooli
That reverent sight and that loveli bihaldynge of Jhesu conforteth the soule so
wondirfulli and berith it up so myghtili and so softli, that it mai not liken ne fulli resten in
noon ertheli joie, ne it wole not. He maketh no fors whethir men lakken him or preisen
hym, worschipen him or despicen hym as fore hymsilf. He setteth it not at herte neithir
for to be wel paied yif men despicen him, as for more mekenesse, ne for to be yvel
paied that men schulde worschipe hym or praise him. He hadde wel levere forgete bothe
that oon and that othir, and oonli thenken on Jhesu, and gete mekenesse bi that weie;
and this is mykil the sikerere weie, whoso myght come therto. Thus dide David whanne
he seide thus: Oculi mei semper ad dominum, quoniam ipse evellet de laqueo pedes
meos (Psalms 24:15). That is, myn iyen aren ai upon Jhesu my Lord, for whi He schal
kepe my feet from the snaris of synne. For whanne he dooth so, thanne forsaketh he
uttirli hymself and undircasteth hym hooli to Jhesu. And thanne is he in a siker warde,
for the schelde of sothfastenesse, that he biholdeth, kepeth hym so wel that He schal
not ben hurte thorugh no stirynge of pride as longe as he holdeth hym withinne the
As the prophete seith: Scuto circumdabit te veritas eius; non timebis a timore nocturno
(Psalms 90:5). Sothfastnesse of God schal umbiclippe thee with a scheeld, and that is
yif thou, alle othere thynges lefte, oonli biholde Hym. For thanne schalt thou not dreden
for the nyghtes drede, that is, thou schalt not drede the spirit of pride, whethir he come
by nyght or bi dai, as the next vers seith thus: A sagitta volante in die (Psalms 90:6).
Pride cometh bi nyght for to assaile a soule, whanne it is despiced and repreved of
othere men, that it schulde bi that falle into hevynesse and into sorwe. It cometh also as
an arwe fleynge in the dai, whanne a man is worschipid and preysed of alle men,
whethir it be for wordli doynge or for goostli, that he schulde have veyne joie in hymsilf
and fals gladdenesse restyngli in a passynge thynge. This is a scharp arwe and a peril-
ous arwe; it fleeth swifteli, it striketh softeli, but it woundeth deedli.
But the lovere of Jhesu, that stabli biholdeth Hym bi devoute praieres and bisili thenkynge
on Hym, is so umbilapped with the siker schelde of soothfastnesse that he dredeth not,
for this arwe mai not entren into the soule; ne though it come, it hurteth not, but glenteth
away and passeth forth. And thus is the soule maad meke, as I undirstonde, bi wirkynge
of the Holi Gost, that is, the gifte of love; for he openeth the iye of the soule for to seen
and to loven Jhesu, and he kepith the soule in that sight restfulli and sikirly, and he sleeth
alle the stirynges of pride wondir priveli and softeli, and the soule woot nevere how, and
he also bringeth in bi that wai soothfasteli and loveli the vertu of mekenesse. Al this
dooth love, but not in alle hise loveres ilikeful. For sum men han this grace but schorteli
and litil, as it were yit in the bygynnynge of it, and a litil assaiynge towarde it, for her
conscience is not yit fulli clensid thorugh grace. And sum men han it more fulli, for thei
han clerere sight of Jhesu, and thei feele more of His love. And sum men han it most
fulli, for thei han the ful gifte of contemplacion. Nevertheles he that leste hath on this
manere as I have seid, sothli he hath the gifte of perfite mekenesse, for he hath the gifte
of perfighte love.
Hou love sleeth alle stirynges of ire and envie softeli, and reformeth in the soule the
vertues of pees and pacience and of perfite charité to his even Cristene, as he deede
speciali in the apostelis and martyres.
Love wirketh wiseli and softeli in a soule there he wole, for he sleeth myghtili ire and
envie and alle passions of angrinesse and malincolie in it, and brengeth into a soule
vertues of pacience and myldenesse, pesiblité and lovereden to his even Cristene. It is
ful gret maistrie and grete hardenesse to a man that stondeth oonli in the wirkynge of his
owen resoun for to kepen pacience, oonli reste and softnesse in herte, and charité
anemptis his even Cristen yif thei disese him unskilfulli and doon hym wrong, that he ne
schal doon sumwhat agens hem thorugh stirynge of ire or of malencolie, either in
spekyng or in wirkynge or in bothe. And neverthelees, though a man be stired or trobeled
in himsilf and be maad unrestful, bi so that it be not to mykil, passende over the boundis
of resoun, and that he kepe his hand and his tunge and be redi for to forgyve trespace
whanne merci is askid, yit this man hath the vertu of pacience, though it be but weikeli
and nakidli; for as mykil as he wolde have it, and travayleth bisili in refreynynge of his
unskilfulle passiouns that he myght have it, and also is sori that he hath it not so as he
schulde. But to a trewe lovere of Jhesu it is no grete maistrie for to suffren al this, for
whi love feighteth for him, and sleeth wondir softeli siche risynges of wraththe and al
malencolie, and maketh his soule so esi, so pesible, so suffrande, and so goodli thorugh
the goostli sight of Jhesu, with the feelynge of His blissid love, that though he be dispiced
or reproved of othere men, or take wronge or harm, or schame or velany, he chargeth
it not. He is not mykil stired agens hem, he wil not ben angrid ne sterid agens hem; for
yif he were mykil stired he schulde forbeeren the confort that he feeleth withinne in his
soule, but that wole he not. He mai lightliere forgeten al the wronge that is doon to hym,
thanne anothir man mai forgeven it, though merci were asked. And so he hadde ful
lyvere forgeten than forgyven it, for him thenketh it so moste eese to hym.
And love dooth al this, for love openeth the iye of the soule to the sight of Jhesu, and
stablith it with the likynge of love that it feelith bi that sight, and conforteth it so myghtili
that it taketh no kepe; whatso men jangelen or don agens him, it hangeth nothynge upon
him. The moste harm that he myght have were a forberynge of the goostli sight of
Jhesu. And therfore it is levere to him to suffren alle othere harmes than that aloone. Al
this mai a soule doo wel and esili, withoute grete trobelynge of the goostli sight, whanne
disese falleth al withouteforth and toucheth not the bodi, as is bakbytynge or scornynge
or spoilynge of siche as he hath. Al this greveth not. But it goth sumwhat neer whanne
the flesch is touchid, and he feele smert; thanne it is hardere. Neverthelees, though hit
be hard and impossible to the frele kynde of man for to suffre bodeli peyne gladli and
pacientli, withouten bittir stirynges of ire, angir, and malencolie, it is not impossible to
love (that is, the Hooli Gooste) for to werke this in a soule there He toucheth with His
blissid gifte of love. But He geveth to a soule that is in that plight myghti feelynges of
love, and wondirfulli fasteneth it to Jhesu, and departeth the soule wondir feer fro the
sensualité thorugh His privei myght, and conforteth it so sweteli bi His blissid presence
that the soule feelith litil peyne or ellis noon of the sensualité; and this is the special grace
goven to the hooli martires. This grace hadden the apostelis, as Holi Writte seith thus of
hem: Ibant apostoli gaudentes a conspectu consilii, quoniam digni habiti sunt pro nom-
ine Jesu contumeliam pati (Acts 5:41). That is, the apostlis yeeden joiande fro the
conceil of the Jewes whanne thei weren beten with scourges, and thei weren glaad that
thei weren worthi for to suffre ony bodili disese for the name of Jhesu. Thei weren not
stired to ire ne to felnesse, for to ben venged of the Jewes that beten hem, as a wordli
man wolde ben whanne he suffreth a litil harm, be hit never so litil, of his even Cristen.
Ne thei were not stired to pride and to heighnesse of hemsilf and to disdeyn and to
demynge of the Jewes, as ipocrites and heretikes aren that wolen suffre mykil bodili
peyne, and aren redi sumtyme for to suffre deeth with grete gladnesse and with myghti
wille as it were in the name of Jhesu, for the love of Hym. Soothli that glaadnesse and
that love that thei han in suffrynge of bodili meschef is not of the Holi Gost. It cometh
not fro the fier that brenneth in the highe autier of hevene, but it is feyned by the feend
enflawmed of helle. For it is menged with the highest of pride and of presumpcioun of
hemsilf, and dispite and demynge and disdeyn of hem that thus ponesche hem. And thei
wenen yit that al is charité and that thei suffre al that wronge for the love of God, but
thei aren bigiled bi the myddai feend. A trewe lovere of Jhesu, whanne he suffreth harm
of his even Cristene, is so strengthed thorugh grace of the Hooli Goost, and is maad so
meke, so pacient, and so peseble, and that sothfastli, that what wronge or harm what it
be that he suffre of his even Cristene, he kepeth ai mekenesse. He dispiceth him not, he
demeth him not, but preyeth for hym in his herte and hath of hym pité and compassioun,
moche more tendirli thanne of anothir man that nevere dide hym harm; and sothli betere
loveth him and more ferventeli desireth the savacion of his soule, bicause that he seeth
that he schal have so mykil goosteli profite thorugh his yvel dede, though it be agens his
wille. But this love and this mekenesse wirketh oonli the Holi Goost, above the kynde of
man, in hem that He maketh trewe loveres of Jhesu.
Hou love sleeth coveitise, leccherie, glotonye, and accidie, and the fleschli savour and
delite in alle the fyve bodili wittes in the perfite love of Jhesu softli and esili thorugh a
gracious biholdynge of Hym.
Coveitise also is slayn in a soule bi the wirkynge of love, for it maketh the soule so
covetous of goostli good and to heveneli richesse so ardant, that it setteth right nought
bi al ertheli richesse. It hath no more deynté in havynge of a precious ston than on a
chalke stoon; ne no more love hath he in an hundred pounde of gold thanne in a pounde
of leed. It setteth al thynge that schal perisschen and passen at oo price; no more
chargeth that oon than that othir as in his love. For it seeth wel that alle thise ertheli
thynges that wordli loveris han in so greet price, and loven so deynteli, schullen passen
awey and turne to nought, bothe the thyng in itsilf and the love of it. And therfore he
bryngeth it in his thought bityme in that plight that it schal ben aftir, and so he accounteth
it at nought. And whan wordli loveres striven and pleten and fighten fore wordli good,
who mai first have it, the lovere of Jhesu stryveth with no man, but kepeth himsilf in
pees and holdeth hym paied with that that he hath, and he wole stryve for no more; for
hym thenketh hym nedeth no more of alle the richessis in erthe thanne a scant bodili
sustenaunce for to save the bodili liyf withal, as longe as God wole, and that mai he
lightli have, and therfore wole he no more han. He is wel at ese whanne he hath no more
than scanteli him nedeth for the tyme, that he mai be freeli discharged from bisynesse
aboute the kepynge and the dispendynge of it, and fulli geven his herte and al his besynesse
aboute the sekynge of Jhesu, for to fynde Hym in clennesse of spirit. For that is al his
coveitise, for whi, oonli clene of herte schullen seen Hym.
Also fleschli love of fadir and of modir and of othere wordli frendis hangeth not up
hym. It is evene kut from his herte with the swerde of goostli love, that he hath no more
affeccioun to fadir ne to modir or to ony wordli frend than he hath to anothir man, but
yif he see and feele in hem more grace and more vertu than in othir men. Outetaken this,
that hym were levere that his fadir and his modir hadden the selve grace that summe
othere men han; but neverethelees yif thei ben not so, thanne loveth he othere betere
than hem, and that is charité. And so sleeth the love of Jhesu coveitise of the world and
bringeth into the soule poverté in spirit.
And that dooth love not oonli in hem that han right nought of wordli good, but also in
some creatures that aren in greet wordli estate and have dispendynge of ertheli richesse.
Love sleeth in summe of hem coveitise, so fer forth that thei han no likynge ne savoure
in havynge of hem more than in a stree. Ne though thei ben loste for defaute of hem that
schulde kepe hem, thei sette not therbi; for whi, the herte of Goddis lovere is thorugh
gifte of the Holi Goost taken so fulli with the sight and the love of anothire thynge, that
is so precious and so worthi, that it wole receyve noon othir love restyngli that is
And not onli dooth love this, but also it sleeth the likynge of leccherie and al othir
bodili unclennesse, and bringeth into the soule veri chastité, and turneth hit into likynge.
For the soule feeleth so grete delite in the sight of Jhesu that it liketh for to be chaste,
and it is no grete hardenesse to it for to kepe chastité, for it is the moste eese and the
And upon the selve wise the gifte of love sleeth fleschli lustis of glotonie, and maketh
the soule sobre and temperat, and berith it up so myghtili that it mai not resten in likynge
of mete and drynke, but it taketh mete and drynke, what it be that leest agreveth the
bodili conpleccioun, yif he mai lightli have it, not for love of itsilf, but for love of God.
And on this maner wise the lovere of Jhesu seeth wel that hym nedeth for to kepen his
bodili liyf with mete and drynk as longe as God wole suffren hem to be togedre. Thanne
schal this be the discrecioun of the lovere of Jhesu, as I undirstonde, that hath feelynge
and wirkynge in love; that upon what manere that he mai most kepen his grace hool,
and lest be letted fro the wirkynge in hit thorugh takynge of bodili sustenaunce, so schal
he doo. That maner of mete that lest letteth and leest troblith the herte and mai kepe the
bodi in strengthe - be it fleisch, be it fisch, be it breed and ale - that I trowe the soule
chesith for to have yif it mai esily come therbi. For al the besynesse of the soule is for
to thenken on Jhesu with reverent love, ay withoute lettynge of onythynge, yif it myght.
And therfore syn that it bihoveth sumwhat be letted and hyndred, the lasse that it is
letted and hyndred bi mete and drynk, or bi ony othir thyng, the leverere it is. It hadde
leverer taken and usen the beste mete and most of price that is undir sunne, yif it lesse
letted the kepynge of his herte, than for to take but breed and watir, yif that letted him
more; for he hath no reward to geten him greet mede for the peyne of fastynge and be
put therbi from softenesse in herte. But al his bisynesse is for to kepen his herte as stabli
as he may in the sight of Jhesu and in the feelynge of His love. And sotheli, as I trowe,
he myght with lasse likynge usen the beste mete that is good in the owen kynde, than
anothir man that wirketh al in resoun withoute the special gifte of love schulde mowe
usen the werste, outetaken mete that thorugh craft of curie is oonli maad for lust: that
manere of mete mai he not weel acorden withal. And also on that othir side, yif litil mete,
as oonli breed and ale, most helpeth and eseth his herte and kepeth it most in pees, it is
thanne most leef to him for to use it so, and nameli yif he feele bodili strengthe oonli of
the gifte of love withal.
And yit dooth love more, for it sleeth accidie and fleischli ydelnesse, and maketh the
soule lifli and spedi to the service of Jhesu, so fer forth that it coveiteth ai to ben
occupied in goodnesse, nameli inward in biholdynge of Him, bi the vertu of whiche
sight the soule hath savour and goostli delite in praiynge and thenkynge, and in al othir
maner wirkynge that nedeth to be doon, aftir the staat and degree that he stondeth inne
asketh (whethir he be religious or seculer), withouten hevynesse or peynful bittirnesse.
Also it sleeth the veyn likynges of the fyve bodili wittes. First the sight of the iye, that
the soule hath no likynge in the sight of ony ertheli thynge, but it feelith rathere pyne and
disese in biholdynge of it, be it nevere so faire, ne so precious, ne so wondirful. And
therfore as wordli loveres rennen oute sumtyme for to seen newe thynges, for to wondren
in hem, and so for to feden her herte with the veyn sight of hem; right so a lovere of
Jhesu is bisi for to rennen awai and withdrawen hym from the sight of sich maner
thynges, that the innere sight be not letted, for he seeth goostli anothir manere thynge
that is fairere and more wondirfulle, and that wolde he not forbere.
Right on the selve wise it is of spekynge and herynge. It is a peyne to the soule of a
lovere of Jhesu for to speke or heere onythynge that myte letten the fredom of his herte
fro thenkynge of Jhesu. What songe or melodie or mynstralsie outeward that it be, yif
it lette the thought that it mai not freli and restfulli prayen or thenken on Jhesu, it liketh
right nought; and the more delitable that it is to othere men, the more unsaveri it is to
him. And also for to heeren ony manere spekynge of othere men but it be sumwhat
touchynge the wirkynge of his soule in the love of Jhesu, it liketh him right nought. He
is ellis right soone irke of it. He hadde wel levere ben in pees and speke right nought, ne
heere right nought, than for to heere the spekynge or the techynge of the grettest clerke
on erthe, with alle the resons that he coude seyn to him thorugh mannys witte onli, but
yif he coude speke felandli and stirendli of the love of Jhesu. For that is his craft
principalli, and therefore wolde he not ellis heren ne seen, but that myght helpen him
and fortheren him into more knowynge and to betere feelynge of Him. Of wordeli
speche it is no doute that he hath no savour in spekynge ne in heerynge of it, ne in
wordli talis, ne in tydynges, ne in noon siche veyn jangelynge that longeth not to him.
And so it is of smellynge and savouryng and touchynge; the more that the thought
schulde be distracte and broken of goostli reste bi the use eithir of smellynge or of
savourynge or of ony of the bodili wittes, the more he fleeth it. And the lasse that he
feeleth of hem, the levere is hym, and yif he myght lyven in the bodi withoute the
feelynge of ony of hem, he wolde nevere feelen hem. For thei troblen the herte ofte
sithes and putten oute fro reste, and thei mowen not ben fulli eschewed. But neverthelees,
the love of Jhesu is sumtyme so myghti in a soule that it overcometh and sleeth al
thynge that is contrarie to it.
What vertues and graces a soule receyveth thorugh openynge of the innere iye into the
gracious biholdynge of Jhesu, and hou it mai not be geten oonli thorugh mannes traveile,
but thorugh special grace and traveile also.
Thus werketh love outeward in a soule, openynge the goostli iye into biholdynge of
Jhesu bi inspiracion of special grace, and maketh it clene, sotil, and able to the werke of
contemplacioun. What this openynge of this goostli iye is the grettest clerk in erthe
coude not ymagene bi his kyndeli wit, ne schewe fulli bi his tunge. For it mai not be
geten thorugh studie ne bi mannys traveile oonli, but principali thorugh grace of the
Hooli Goost and with traveile of man. I drede moche for to speke ought of it, for me
thenketh y can nought; it passeth myn assay, and my lippes aren unclene. Neverthelees,
for I hope love asketh and love biddeth, therfore I schal seyn a litil more of it as y hope
love techeth. This openynge of the goostli iye is that lighti merkenesse and that riche
nought that I spak of bifore, and it mai be callide purité of spirit and gosteli reste, inward
stillenesse and pees in conscience, highnesse or deepnesse of thought and oonlynesse
of soule, a liyfli feelynge of grace and priveté of herte, the waker sleep of the spouse
and a taastynge of heveneli savour, brennynge in love, schynynge in light, entré of
contemplacion and reformynge in feelynge. Alle thise resouns aren seid in holi writynge
bi dyvers men, for eche of hem spak of hem aftir his feelynge in grace, and though thei
aren dyvers in schewynge of wordes, neverethelees thei aren alle oon in sentence of
For a soule that thorugh visitynge of grace hath oon, hath alle; for whi, a sighhende
soule to see the face of Jhesu, whanne it is touched thorugh special grace of the Hooli
Goost, it is sodeynli chaunged and turned from the plight that it was inne to anothir
maner feelynge. It is wondirfulli departed and drawen first into itsilf from love and
likynge of al ertheli thynge, so moche that it hath lost savour of the bodili liyf and of al
thynge that is, save oonli Jhesu. And thanne it is clene from al the filthe of synne, so fer
forth that the mynde of it, and of alle unordinat affeccions to ony creature, is sodeynli
wasschen and wiped awai, that there is no mene lettynge atwixe Jhesu and the soule,
but oonli the bodili liyf. And thanne is it in goostli reste; for whi, alle the peynful doutes
and dredis and othere temptaciouns of goostli enemyes aren dryven oute of the herte,
that thei troble it not ne synke not thereinne for the tyme. It is in reste fro the noie of
wordli besynesse, peyneful tariynge of wikkid stirynges, but it is ful bisi in the free
goostli wirkynge of love, and the more it traveileth so, the more reste it feeleth.
This resteful traveile is ful fer fro fleischli ydilnesse, from blynd sikirnesse. It is ful of
goostli werk, but it is called reste, for grace looseth the hevy yook of fleschli love fro
the soule, and maketh it myghti and free thorugh the gifte of goostli love, for to wirken
gladli, softeli, and delitabli in al thynge that grace stireth it for to wirken inne. And
therfore it is callid an hooli ydelnesse and a reste most bisi, and so it is, in stilnesse fro
the grete cryynge and beestli noise of fleschli desires and unclene thoughtes.
This stilnesse maketh the inspiracioun of the Hooli Goost, in biholdynge of Jhesu. For
whi, His vois is so swete and so myghti that it putteth silence in a soule to jangelynge of
alle othere spekeris; for it is a vois of vertu, softeli sowned in a clene soule, of the
whiche the prophete seith thus: Vox domini in virtute (Psalms 28:4). That is: The vois
of oure Lord Jhesu is in vertu. This vois is a liyfli word and a spedi, as the apostil seith:
Vivus est sermo domini et efficax, penetrabilior omni gladio ancipiti (Hebrews 4:12).
That is: Quyk is the word of Jhesu and spedi, more persynge than ony swerd is. Thorugh
spekynge of this word is fleschli love slayn, and the soule keped in silence from alle
wikkid stirynges. Of this silence it is seid in the Apocalips thus: Factum est silencium in
celo, quasi dimidia hora (Revelations 8:1). Silence was maad in hevene as it were half
an houre. Hevene is a clene soule, thorugh grace lifted up from ertheli love to heveneli
conversacioun, and so it is in silence; but for as moche as that silence mai not lasten
hool contynuelli, for corrupcion of bodili kynde, therfore it is likned but to the tyme of
half an hour. A ful schort tyme the soule thenketh that it is, be it nevere so longe, and
therfore it is but as half an hour. And thanne hath it pees in conscience; for whi, grace
putteth oute gnawynge and prickynge, stryvynge and flitynge of synnes, and bringeth
in pees and acord, and maketh Jhesu and a soule bothe at oon in ful accordaunce of
wille. There is noon upbraidynge of synnes, ne scharp reprevynge of defautes maad
that tyme in a soule, for thei aren kyssed and freendes - al is forgeven that was
Thus feelith the soule thanne with ful meke sikirnesse and greet goostli gladdenesse,
and it conceyveth a ful greet boldenesse of savacioun bi this acord-makynge, for it
heerith a privei wittenessynge in conscience of the Hooli Goost, that he is chosen sone
to heveneli heritage. Thus Seynt Poule seith: Ipse spiritus testimonium perhibet spiritui
nostro, quod sumus filii dei (Romans 8:16). That is: The Hooli Goost bereth wittenesse
to oure spirit, that we aren Goddis sones. This wittenessynge of conscience, sothfastli
feelid thorugh grace, is the verri joie of the soule, as the apostil seith: Gloria mea est
testimonium consciencie mee (2 Corinthians 1:12). That is: My joie is the wittenessynge
of my conscience, and that is whanne it wittenesseth pees and acord, trewe love and
frendeschipe bytwixe Jhesu and a soule. And whanne it is in this pees than is it in
highnesse of thought.
Whanne the soule is bounden bi love of the world, it is thanne binethe alle creatures;
for eche a thynge overgooth it and bereth it doun bi maistrie, that it mai not freeli sen
Jhesu ne loven Him. For right as the love of the world is veyn and fleischli, right so the
biholdynge and the thenkynge and the usynge of creatures is fleschli; and that is the
thraldom of the soule. But thanne thorugh openynge of the goostli yye into Jhesu, the
love is turned and the soule is reised up aftir here owen kynde above alle bodili crea-
tures; and thanne the bihaldynge and thenkynge and usynge of hem is goostli, for the
love is goostli. The soule hath thanne ful grete undeynté for to be buxum to love of
bodili thynges, for it is highe sette aboven hem thorugh grace. It setteth right nought bi
al the world, for whi, al schal passen and perischen. Unto this highnesse of herte, while
the soule is keped thereinne, cometh noon errour ne disceyte of the feend, for Jhesu is
sothfastli in the sight of the soule that tyme and al thynge bynethen Hym. Of this
speketh the prophete thus: Accedat homo ad cor altum; exaltabitur deus (Psalms 63:7-
8). Come man to high herte and God schal be highed. That is, a man thorugh grace
cometh to highnes of thought, schal seen that Jhesu is oonli highed aboven alle crea-
tures and he in Hym.
And thanne is the soule aloone, moche straunged fro felawschipe of wordli loveres,
though here bodi be in myddis amonge hem, ful fer departed from fleschli affeccions of
creatures. It chargeth not though it nevere sighe man, ne speke with him, ne hadde
confort of hym, yif it myght ay be so in that goostli feelynge. It feelith so grete
hoomlynesse bi the blissid presence of oure Lord Jhesu, and so moche savour of Him,
that it mai lightli for His love forgeten the fleschli affeccioun, and the fleschli mynde of
alle creatures. I sei not that it schal not loven ne thenken of othere creatures. But y seie
that it schal thenken on hem in tyme, and seen hem and loven hem goostli and freli, not
fleschli ne peynfulli as it dede bifore. Of this oonlynesse speketh the prophete thus:
Ducam eam in solitudinem, et loquar ad cor eius (Hosea 2:14). I schal leden hire into an
oonli stide, and I schal speken to hire herte. That is, grace of Jhesu ledeth a soule from
noious compaigné of fleschli desires into oonlynesse of thought, and maketh it forgete
the likynge of the world and sounneth bi swettenesse of His inspiracioun wordis of love
in eeres of the herte. Onli is a soule whanne it loveth Jhesu and tendeth fulli to Hym, and
hath lost the savour and the confort of the world; and that it myght the betere kepe this
onlynesse it fleeth companye of alle men yif it mai, and seketh oonlynesse of bodi, for
oonlynesse of bodi moche helpith to onlynesse of soule and to the free wirkynge of
love. The lasse lettynge it hath withouteforth of veyn carpynge, or withinne of veyn
thenkynge, the more free it is in goostli bihooldynge, and so it is in priveté of herte.
Al withoute is a soule while it is overleid and blynded with wordli love; it is as comone
as the highwai. For eche a stirynge that cometh of the flesch or of the feende synketh
in, and gooth thorugh it. But thanne thorugh grace is it withdrawen into privei chambre
into the sight of oure Lord Jhesu, and hereth His pryvy conceiles and is wondirfulli
comforted in the heerynge. Of this speketh the prophete thus: Secretum meum michi;
secretum meum michi (Isaiah 24:16). Mi priveté to me, my privyté to me. That is, the
lovere of Jhesu, thorugh inspiracion of His grace taken up from outeward feelynge of
wordli love and ravyssched into priveté of goostli love, yeeldeth thankynges and seiyinge
to Hym thus: Mi pryveté to me. That is, my Lord Jhesu in priveté is schewed to me and
pryveli hid fro alle the loveres of the world, for it is called hid manna, that mai lightliere
be askid than teeld what it is. And that oure Lord Jhesu bihotith to His lovere thus: Dabo
sibi manna absconditum, quod nemo novit, nisi qui accipit (Revelations 2:17). That is:
I schal geven manna hid that no man knowith but he that taketh it. This manna is
heveneli mete and aungelis foode, as Holi Writ seith. For angelis aren fully feed and filled
with cleer sight and brennynge love of oure Lord Jhesu, and that is manna. For we
moun aske what it is, but not wite what it is. But the lovere of Jhesu is nat filled yit
heere, but he is feed bi a litil taastynge of it whiles he is bounden in the liyf of his bodi.
This tastynge of manna is a liyfli feelynge of grace, had thorugh openynge of the
goostli iye. And this grace is not anothir grace than a chosen soule feelith in the bygynynge
of his conversioun; but it is the same and selve grace, but it is othirwise schewid and
feelid in a soule. For whi, grace wexeth with the soule and the soule wexeth with grace,
and the more clene that the soule is, fer departid fro love and likynge of the world, the
more myghti is the grace, more inward and more goostli schewand the presence of
oure Lord Jhesu. So that the same grace that turneth hem first from synne and makith
him perfite bygynyng and profitynge bi giftes of vertues and exercise of good werkes,
maketh hem also perfite, and that grace also is called a liyfli feelynge of grace, for he
that hath it feeleth it wele and knoweth it weel bi experience that he is in grace. It is ful
lifli to hym, for it quikeneth the soule wondirli and maketh it so hool that he feelith no
peynful disese of the bodi, though it be feble or sekely. For whi, thanne is the bodi
mightiest, most hool, and most resteful, and the soule also.
Withoute this grace the soule cannot lyven but in peyne, for it thenketh that it myght
ai kepe it and nothynge schulde putte it awai. And neverthelees, yit is it not so, for it
passeth awai ful lightli; but neverthelees though the sovereyne feelynge of it passe awai
and withdrawe, the releef leveth stille, and kepeth the soule in sadnesse and maketh it
for to desiren the comynge agen. And this is also the waker sleep of the spouse, of the
which Holi Writ seith thus: Ego dormio, et cor meum vigilat (Canticle 5:2). I slepe and
myn herte waketh. That is, I slepe goostli, whanne thorugh grace the love of the world
is slayn in me, and wikkid stiringe of fleschli desires aren deeded and so moche that
unnethis I feele hem; I am not taried with hem. Myn herte is maad free, and thane it
waketh, for it is scharp and redi for to love Jhesu and seen Hym. The more I slepe from
outeward thynges, the more waker am y in knowynge of Jhesu and of inward thynges.
I mai not waken to Jhesu but yif I slepe to the world. And therfore, the grace of the
Hooli Goost sperynge the fleschli iye dooth the soule slepen from worldli vanyté, and
openynge the goostli iye waken into the sight of Goddis magesté, helid undir cloude of
His precious manhede, as the Gospel seith of apostelis whanne thei were with oure
Lord Jhesu in His transfiguracion; first thei slepiden and thanne: Evigilantes viderunt
maiestatem (Luke 9:32). Thei that wakeneden sighen His majesté. Bi sleep of the apostelis
is diynge of wordli love bi inspiracion of the Hooli Goost; bi heer wakyng, contemplacion
of Jhesu. Thorugh this sleep the soule is brought into reste fro dene of fleschli lust; and
thorugh wakynge it is reysed up into the sight of Jhesu and of goostli thinges. The
more that the iyen aren spered in this maner sleep fro the appetite of wordli thinge, the
scharpere is the innere sight in loveli biholdyng of heveneli fairheed. This slepynge and
this wakynge love werketh thorugh the light of grace in the soule of the lovere of
Hou special grace in biholdynge of Jhesu withdraweth sumtyme from a soule, and hou
a man schal han him in absence and presence of special grace, and hou a soule schal
desiren that in it is ai the gracious presence of Jhesu.
Schewe me thanne a soule that thorugh inspiracioun of grace hath openynge of the
goostli iye into biholdynge of Jhesu; that is departed and drawen oute fro love of the
world, so feer forth that it hath purité and poverté of spirite, goostli reste, inward
silence and pees in conscience, highenesse of thought, oonlynesse and privyté of herte,
waker sleep of the spouse; that hath loste likynge and joie of this world, taken with
delite of heveneli savour, ai thirstande and sothli sighhande the blissid presence of Jhesu;
and I dar hardili pronouncen that this soule brenneth al in love and schyneth in goostli
light, worthi for to come to the name and to the worschipe of the spouse, for it is
reformed in feelinge, maad able and redi to contemplacion. Thise aren the tokenes of
inspiracioun in openynge of the goostli iye. For whi, whan the iye is opened the soule is
in ful feelynge of alle thise vertues bifore seid, for that tyme.
Neverthelees, ofte sithes it falleth that grace withdraweth in partie, for corrupcioun of
mannes freelté, and suffreth the soule falle into itself in fleschlihede, as it was bifore;
and thanne is the soule in sorwe and pyne, for it is blynd and unsaveri and can no good.
It is weike and unmyghti, encombred with the bodi and with alle the bodili wittes; it
seketh and desireth aftir the face of Jhesu agen, and it mai not fynde it. For Holi Writ
seith of oure Lord thus: Postquam vultum suum absconderit, non est qui contempletur
eum (Job 34:29). That is: Aftir whanne oure Lord Jhesu had hid His face, there is noon
that mai biholde Him. Whanne He schewith Him, the soule mai not unsee Him for He is
light; and whanne He hideth Him, it mai not see Him, for the soule is merke. His abidynge
is but a sotil assaiynge of a soule; His schewynge is wondir merciful goodnesse in
comforte of the soule.
Have thou no wondir, though the feelynge of grace withdrawe sumtyme fro a lovere
of Jhesu. For Hooli Writ seith the same of the spouse, that sche fareth thus: Quesivi et
non inveni illum: vocavi et non respondit michi (Canticle 3:1). I sought and I fond not;
I callid Him and He answerid not. That is, whan y falle doun to my freelté, than grace
withdrawith; for my fallynge is cause therof, and not His feelinge. But thanne feele I the
peyne of my wrecchidnesse in His absence, and therfore y soughte Hym bi sotilté of
thought ther I had Hym bifore, and y fond Him nought. I called Him bi greet desirynge
of herte, and He gaf to me no felable ansuerynge. And thanne I cried with al myn herte:
Revertere dilecte mi. (Canticle 2:17). Turne agen, Thou my loved. And yit it semed that
He herde me not. The peyneful feelynge of myself and the assailynge of fleschli loves
and dredis in this tyme, and the wantynge of my goostli strengthe, is a continuel criynge
of my soule to Jhesu; and neverthelees oure Lord maketh straunge awhile and cometh
not, crie I nevere so fast. For He is siker inough of His lovere, that He wil not turne agen
fulli to wordli love; He mai no savour have thereinne. And therfore abideth He the lengere.
But at the laste, whanne He wole, He cometh agen, fulle of grace and sothfastnesse,
and visiteth the soule that langueschith in desire bi sighhinges of love to His presence,
and toucheth it and anoynteth it wel softeli with the oile of gladnesse, and maketh it
sodeynli hool from alle pyne. And than crieth the soule to Jhesu in goostli vois with a
glad herte thus: Oleum effusum nomen tuum (Canticle 1:2). Oile yoten is Thi name
Jhesu. Thi name is Jhesu, that is heele; thanne as longe as I feele my soule soor and sike
for synne, peyned with the hevy birdyne of my bodi, sori and dredande for periles and
wrecchidnesse of this liyf, so longe Lord Jhesu, Thi name is oile spared, not oile yoten
to me. But whanne I feele my soule sodaynly towchid with the light of grace, heelid and
softid from alle filthe of synne, conforted in love and in light with goostli strengthe and
gladnesse unspecable, thanne mai y seyn with lusti lovynge and gostli merthe to Thee:
Oile yoten is Thyn name Jhesu to me. For bi the effect of Thi gracious visitynge y feele
weel of Thi name the trewe expounyng, Thou arte, Jhesu, heele. For onli Thi gracious
presence heeleth me fro sorwe and from synne.
Blissid is the soule that is feleabli feed in feelynge of love in His presence, or is born up
bi brennynge desire to Him in his absence. A wise lovere is he, and wel taught, that sadli
and reverenteli hath him in His presence, and loveli biholdeth Him withoute dissolute
lightnesse, and pacientli and esili beereth him in His absence withouten venemous dispeir
and over peynful bittirnesse.
This chaungeableté of absence and presence of Jhesu that a soule feeleth is not
perfeccioun of the soule, ne it is not agens the grace of perfeccioun or of contemplacioun;
but in so moche, perfeccion is the lasse. For the more lettynge that a soule hath of itself
fro contynuel feelynge of grace, and though neverthelees yit is the grace in itself grace
of contemplacioun. This chaungeableté of absence and presence fallith as wel in staat
of perfeccioun as in the staat of bigynnynge, but in anothir manere. For right as ther is
diversité of feelynge in the presence of grace atwixe thise two statis, right so is there in
the absence of grace. And therfore he that knoweth not the absence of grace is redi to
be disseyved, and he that kepith not the presence of grace is unkynde to the visitynge,
whethir he be in the staat of bigynneres or of perfite. Neverthelees, the more stabilnesse
that there is in grace, unhurt and unbroken, the loveliere is the soule, more like unto Him
in whom is no maner chaungeableté, as the apostil seith. And it is ful semeli that the
soule-spouse be like to Jhesu-spouse in maneres and in vertues, ful accordande to Him
in stabilnesse of perfite love. But it falleth seldom: nowhare but in the special spouse.
For he that perceyveth no chaungeableté in feelynge of his grace, but ay ilike stable
and hool, unbroken and unhurt as him thenketh, he is eithir ful perfight or ellis he is ful
blynd. He is ful perfight that is sequestred from alle fleschli affecciouns and comonynge
of creatures, and alle menes aren broken awai of corrupcion and of synne atwixe Jhesu
and his soule, fulli ooned to Him with softnesse of love. But this is oonli grace above
mannes kynde. He is fulle blynd and feyneth him in grace withoute goostli felinge of
Goddis inspiracion, and setteth himsilf in manere of a stablenesse, as he were ai in
feelynge and in werkynge of special grace, demynge that al is grace that he doth and
feelith, withouten and withinnen, thenkynge that whatsoevere he doo or speke is grace,
holdynge himself unchaungeable in specialté of grace. Yif there be ony siche, as I hope
there is noon, he is ful blynd in feelynge of grace.
But than myght thou seie thus, that we schulde lyven oonli in truthe and not coveiten
goostli feelynges, ne rewarden hem yif thei comen, for the apostil seith: Justus ex fide
vivit (Hebrews 10:38). That is: The rightwise man lyveth in trouthe. Unto this I seie that
bodili feelinges, be thei never so confortable, we schulle not coveiten, ne mykil rewarden
hem if thei comen. But gostli feelynges, siche as I speke of now, yif thei comen in the
manere as I have seid bifore, we schulen ai desiren that aren sleynge al wordli love,
openynge of the goostli iye, purité of spirite, pees in conscience, and alle othere bifore
seid. We schullen coveiten to feele ai the liyfli inspiracioun of grace maad bi the goostli
presence of Jhesu in oure soule, yif that we myghten; and for to have Him ai in oure
sight with reverence, and ai feelen the swettenesse of His love bi a wondirful homlinesse
of His presence. This schulde be oure liyf and oure feelynge in grace, aftir the mesure
of His gifte in whom al grace is, to somme more and to some lasse; for His presence is
feelid in diverse manere wise as He vouchith saaf. And in this we schullen lyven, and
wirken al that longeth to us for to wirken, for withouten this we schuld not conne lyve.
For right as the soule is liyf of the bodi, right so Jhesu is liyf of the soule bi His gracious
presence. And neverthelees this maner of feelynge, be it nevere so moche, it is yight but
trouthe as in reward of the fulnesse that schal ben of the selve Jhesu in the blisse of hevene.
Loo, this feelynge schulde we desire, for eche a soule resonable oweth for to coveiten
with alle the myghtes of it neighynge to Jhesu and oonynge to Hym, thorugh feelynge of
His gracious unseable presence. Hou that presence is feelid, it mai betere be knowen bi
experience than bi ony writynge; for it is the liyf and the love, the myght and the light,
the joie and the reste of a chosen soule. And therfore he that hath ones soothfastli feelid
it, he mai not forbere it withouten pyne; he mai not undesiren it, it is so good in itsilf and
so confortable. What is more confortable to a soule heere thanne to be drawen oughte
thorugh grace fro the vile noie of wordli bisynesse and fro filthe of fleschli desires, and
from veyn affeccioun of alle creatures into reste and softenes of goosteli love, priveli
perceivynge the gracious presence of Jhesu, feleabli feed with favour of His unseable
blissid face? Sotheli nothynge. Me thenketh nothynge mai make the soule of a lovere ful
merie, but the gracious presence of Jhesu as He can schewen Him to a clene soule. He
is nevere more hevy ne sori, but thanne, whanne he is with himsilf in fleschlinesse; he
is nevere ful glad ne merie, but whanne he is out of himsilf fer, as he was with Jhesu in
goostlynesse. And yit is that noo ful myrthe, for ai there hangeth an hevy lompe of
bodili corrupcioun on his soule, and bereth it doun and moche letteth the goostli
gladdenesse, and that mote ai be while it is in this lif.
But nevertheles, for I speke of chaungeableté in grace, hou it cometh and gooth, that
thou mystake it not, therfore y mene not of the comone grace that is had and feelt in
trouthe and in good wille to God, withoute the which havynge, and lastynge therinne,
no man mai be saaf, for it is in the leste chosen soule that lyveth. But I mene of special
grace feelt bi inspiracioun of the Hooli Goost, in manere as it is bifore seid. The comone
grace, that is charité, lasteth hool whatsoevere a man doo, as longe as his wille and his
entente is trewe to God, that he wolde not synne deedli, ne the deede that he dooth
wilfulli is not forbed as for deedli synne, for this grace is not loste but thorugh deedli
synne. And thanne it is deedli synne, whanne his conscience wittenesseth with avisement
that it is deedli synne, and yit neverthelees he dooth it; or elles his conscience is so
blynded that he holdeth it noo deedli synne, though he doo that deede wilfulli, the which
is forboden of God and of Hooli Chirche as deedli synne.
Special grace feelt thorugh the unseable presence of Jhesu, that maketh a soule a
perfite lovere, lasteth not ilike hool in the highnesse of feelynge, but chaungeabli cometh
and gooth, as I have seide. Thus oure Lord seith: Spiritus ubi vult spirat; et vocem eius
audis, sed nescis unde veniat, aut quo vadat (John 3:8). The Holi Goost spireth wheer
He wole, and thou heerest His vois, but thou wost not fro whennes He cometh or
whider He gooth. He cometh priveli sumtyme whanne thou art leest waar of Him, but
thou schalt wel knowen Him or He goo, for wondirfulli He stireth and myghtili He turneth
thyn herte into biholdynge of His goodnesse, and dooth thyn herte meelten delitable as
wex agens the fier into softenesse of His love, and this is His vois that He sowneth. But
thanne He gooth or thou wite it, for He withdraweth Him sumwhat, not al, but from
excesse into sobirté. The highnesse passeth, but the substaunce and the effecte of the
grace duelleth stille, and that is as longe as the soule of a lovere kepeth him clene and
falleth not wilfulli to reccheleshede or dissolucioun in fleschliheed, ne to outewarde
vanyté, as sumtyme it dooth, though it have no delite therinne, for freelté of itself. Of
this chaungeabilité in grace speke I of now.
A commendacioun of praiere offrid to Jhesu in a soule contemplatif, and hou stablenesse
in praiere is a siker werk to stonden in, and hou every feelynge of grace in a chosen
soule mai be seid Jhesu, but the more clene that the soule is, the worthiere is the
The soule of a man, whilis it is not touchid thorugh special grace, is blont and boistous
to goostli werk, and can not thereon. It mai not therof for weikenesse of itself. It is
bothe cold and drie, undevout and unsavori in itself. But thanne cometh the light of
grace, and thorugh touchynge maketh it scharpe and sotiel, redi and able to gosteli
werk, and geveth a greet fredom and an hool redynesse in wille for to be buxum to alle
the stirynge of grace, for bi openynge of the goostli iye it is applied al fulli to grace, redi
to werken aftir that grace stireth. And thanne fallith it so somtyme, that grace stireth the
soule for to praien; and hou the soule praieth thanne schal I telle thee.
The most special praiere that the soule useth and hath most confort in, I hope, is the
Pater Noster, or elles psalmes of the sautier; the Pater Noster for lewid men, and psalmes
and ympnes and othere servyce of Holi Chirche for lettred men. The soule praieth
thanne not in manere as it dide bifore, ne in comone manere of othere men by highnesse
of vois or bi renable spekynge oute; but in ful greet stilnesse of vois and softenesse of
herte. For whi, his mynde is not trobled ne taried with outeward thynges, but hool
gadred togedre in itsilf, and the soule is sette as hit were into goostli presence of Jhesu;
and therfore everiche silable and every word is sowned savourli, sweteli and delitabli,
with ful acord of mouth and of herte. For whi, the soule is turned thanne al to fier of
love, and therfore eche word that it priveli praieth is like unto a sparcle springynge out
of a fierbrond, that clanseth alle the myghtes of the soule and turneth hem into love, and
lightneth hem so confortabli that the soule list ai for to praien and to doo noon othere
thynge. The more it praieth, the betere it mai, the myghtiere it is. For grace helpeth the
soule weel, and maketh al thynge light and esi, that it list right weel for to psalmen and
syngen the lovynges of God with goostli myrthe and heveneli delite.
This goostli werk is the foode of the soule. And this praier is of moche vertu, for it
wasteth and bringeth to nought alle temptacions of the feend, privé and apeert, it sleeth
alle the mynde and likynge of the world and of fleschli synnes, it bereth up the bodi and
the soule from peynful feelynge of wrecchidnesse of liyf, it kepeth the soule in feelynge
of grace and wirkynge of love and norischeth ai ilike hoot and fresch as stikkes norischen
the fier. It putteth awai al irkynge and hevynesse of herte, and hooldeth it in myrthe and
goosteli gladnesse. Of this praier speketh David thus: Dirigatur oratio mea sicut insensum
in conspectu tuo (Psalms 140:2). That is: Dressed be my praier, Lord, as encense in Thi
sight. For right as encense that is caste in the fier maketh swete smeel bi the reek
stiynge up to the iye, right so a psalme savourli and softeli songen or seid in a brennande
herte yeldeth up a suete smeel to the face of oure Lord Jhesu and to al the corte of
There dare no flesch flie resten upon the pottis brynke boiland over the fier; right so
mai ther no flesch flie delite resten on a clene soule that is lapped and warmed al in fire
of love, boilende and plaiand psalmes and lovynges to Jhesu. This is verry praiere. This
praiere is evermore herd of Jhesu, and receyveth grace agen. It maketh a soule homli
and felawli with oure Lord Jhesu, and with alle angeles of hevene. Use it whoso mai, the
werke is good in itsilf and ful gracious.
And this maner praiere, though al it be not ful contemplacioun in itsilf, ne wirkynge of
love bi itsilf, neverthelees it is a partie of contemplacioun. For whi, it mai not be doon on
this manere wise but in plenté of grace thorugh openynge of the goosteli iye, and therfore
a soule that hath this fredom and this gracious feelynge in praier, with goosteli savoure
and heveneli delite, hath the grace of contemplacioun in manere as it is.
This praiere is a riche offrynge filled al in fattenesse of devocion, reseyved bi angelis
and presented to the face of Jhesu. The praiere of othere men that are besied in actif
werkes is maad of two wordes. For thei ofte sithes formen in here hertis o word
thorugh thenkynge of wordli bisynesse, and sownen in here mouth anothir word of the
psalme songen or seid; and neverthelees yif her entent be trewe, yit is here praiere good
and medeful, though it lakke savour and swettenesse. But this manere praiere offred of
a man contemplatif is maad but of o word. For as it is formed in the herte, right so hoolli
it sowneth in the mouth, as it were but o thynge that formeth and sowneth. And soothli
no more it is, for the soule thorugh grace is maad hool in itsilf, so fer forth departid
from fleschliheede that it is maister over the bodi; and than is the bodi not ellis but as an
instrument and a trompe of the soule, in whiche the soule bloweth swete nootes of
goostli lovynges to Jhesu.
This is the trumpe that David speketh of thus: Buccinate in neominea tuba, insigni
die solempnitatis vestre (Psalms 80:4). Blowe yee in a trompe in the newe moone. That
is, ye soulis that aren reformed in goostli liyf thorugh openynge of the innere iye, blowe
yee devouteli, sownynge psalmes with the trumpe of youre bodili tunge. And therefore,
syn this praiere is so plesante to Jhesu and so profitable to the soule, than is hit good to
him that is newe turned to God, what that he be, that wolde plesen Hym and coveiteth
for to have sum queynte feelynge of grace, for to coveite this feelynge, that he myght
thorugh grace come to the liberté of spirit, and offre in his praieres and his psalmes to
Jhesu contynueli, stabli, and devouteli, with hool mynde and brennand affeccioun in
Him, and han it neer hand in custom whanne grace stireth him therto.
This is a siker feelynge and a soothfast. Yif thou may come therto and holden it, thee
thar not neden to renne aboute heer and there and aske questions of ech goostli man
what thou schalt doon, hou thou schalt love Jhesu, and how thou schalt serve Hym, and
speke of goostli materes that passen thi knowynge, as perchaunce some doon. That
manere of doynge is not ful profitable, but yif more neede make it. Kepe thee to thi
praieris stifli, first with travaile that thou mightest come aftirward to this reestful feelynge
of this goostli praiere, and that schal teche thee wisdom inowgh sothfasteli, withoute
feynynge or fantasie. And kepe it forth yif thou have it, and leve it not; but yif grace
come othirwise and wil reeve it fro thee for a tyme and make thee for to werken in
anothir maner, thanne maight thou leve it for a tyme and aftir turne agen therto. And he
that hath this grace in praier asketh not wheereupoun he schal sette the poynt of his
thought in his praiere, whether upon the wordes that he seith, or elles on God or on the
name of Jhesu, as some men asken. For the feelynge of grace techeth hem wel inowgh.
For whi, the soule is turned al to the iye and scharpeli biholdeth the face of Jhesu, and
is maad ful siker that that is Jhesu that he feeleth and seeth. I mene not Jhesu as He is
in Himsilf in fulnesse of His blissid Godhede, but I mene Jhesu as He wole schewe Him to
a clene soule holden in bodi, aftir the clennesse that it hath. For wite thou weel, that ecche
a feelynge of grace is Jhesu and mai be called Jhesu; and aftir that the grace is more or
lasse, so feeleth the soule and seeth Jhesu more or lasse. Yhe, the firste feelynge of
special grace of conpuccion and contricion for synnes is verili Jhesu. For whi, He
maketh that contricion in a soule bi His presence. But Jhesu is thanne ful boistousli and
rudeli feelid and seen, ful fer from His goostli sotilté, for the soule can no betere for
unclennesse of itsilf thanne. Neverthelees aftirward yif the soule profite and encrese in
vertues and in clennesse, the same Jhesu and noon othir is seen and feelid of the selve
soule whanne it is touchid bi grace. But that is more goostli, nerrere to godli kynde of
And soothli that is the most thynge that Jhesu loveth in a soule, that it myght be maad
goostli and godli in sight and in love, like to Hym in grace, to that that He is bi kynde; for
that schal be the ende of alle loveris. Than mait thou be siker that what tyme thou feelest
thi soule stired bi grace, speciali in that manere as it is bifore seid, bi openynge of the
goostli iye, that thou seest and feelest Jhesu. Hoolde Him faste whiles thou maiste, and
kepe thee in grace, and late Him not lightli fro thee. Loke aftir noon nothir Jhesu but the
same, bi feelynge of the selve grace more godli, that it myght wexe more and more in
thee; and drede thee nought, though that Jhesu that thou feeliste be not Jhesu as He is in
His ful Godheed, that thou schuldest therfore mow ben disseyved yif thou loned to thi
feelynge. But truste thou weel, yif thou be a lovere of Jhesu, that thi feelynge is trewe
and that Jhesu is truli feelid and seen of thee thorugh His grace, as thou maist seen him
here. And therefore lene fulli to thi feelynge whanne it is gracious and goostli, and kepe
it tendirli and have grete deynté, not of thi silf, but of it, that thou myghtest seen Jhesu
ai betere and betere. For grace schal evene teche thee bi itself yif thou wolte falle therto
mekeli, til the ende.
But perchance thou bigynnest to wondren whi y seie o tyme that grace wirketh al
this, and anothir tyme I seie that love werketh, or Jhesu werketh, or God wirketh. Unto
this y seie thus, that whanne I seie grace wirketh I meene love, Jhesu, and God: for al
is oon, and not but on. Jhesu is love, Jhesu is grace, Jhesu is God; and for he wirketh
al in us bi His grace for love as God, therfore may I usen what word I wole of thise
foure, aftir my stirynge, in this writynge.
Hou a soule thorugh openynge of the gosteli iye receyveth a gracious ablenesse for to
undirstonden Holi Writ, and hou Jhesu, that is hid in Hooli Writte, scheweth Hym to Hise
Whanne the soule of a lovere feelith Jhesu in praiere in manere bifore seid, and thenketh
that it wolde nevere feelen othirwise, neverthelees it falleth that some tyme grace putteth
silence in a soule to vocal praiynge and stireth the soule for to seen and feelen Jhesu in
othir maner. And that manere is first for to see Jhesu in Hooli Writte; for Jhesu, that is
al sothfastnesse, is hid and helid therinne, wounden in a soft sendeel undir faire wordis,
that he mai not be knowen ne feelid but of a clene herte. For whi, sothfastnes wole not
schewe itself to enemys, but to freendes that loven it and desiren it with a clene meke
herte. For sothfastnesse and mekenesse aren ful trewe sustris, festened togidre in love
and charité; and for thi is ther no laynynge of conceiles atwixe hem two. Mekenesse
presumeth on soothfastnesse, and nothynge of itsilf; and sothfastenesse trusteth wel on
mekenesse, and so thei accorden wondir weel. Thanne for as moche as the soule of a
lovere is maad meke thorugh inspiracion of grace bi openynge of the goostli iye, and
seeth that it is not in itself, but oonli hangeth on the merci and the goodnesse of God,
and lastyngeli is born up bi favour and helpe of Hym oonli and truli desirynge His
presence: therfore seeth it Jhesu, for it seeth sothfastnesse of Holi Writte wondirfulli schewed
and opened, aboven studie and traveile and resoun of mannes kyndeli wit. And that mai
wel be called the feelynge and the perceyvynge of Jhesu, for Jhesu is welle of wisdom,
and bi a litil heldynge of His wisdom into a clene soule He maketh the soule wise ynowgh
for to undirstonde alle Hooli Writte - not alle at ones in special biholdynge, but thorugh
that grace the soule receyveth a newe ablenesse, and a gracious abite for to undirstonde
it speciali whanne it cometh to mynde.
This openynge and cleernesse of wit is maad bi the goostli presence of Jhesu. For
right as the Gospel seith of two disciplis goynge to the castel of Emaus, brennande in
desire and spekynge of Jhesu, oure Lord Jhesu appered to hem presentli as a pilgrime
and taughte hem the prophecies of Himsilf, and as the Gospel seith: Apparuit illis
sensum, ut intelligerent scripturas (Luke 24:45). He opened to hem cleernesse of witte
that thei myten undirstonden holi writynges. Right so the goostli presence of Jhesu
openeth the witte of His lovere that brenneth in desire to Him, and bryngeth to his mynde
bi mysterie of angelis the wordes and the sentence of Holi Writ, unsought and unavised,
oon aftir anothir, and expouneth hem redili, be thei nevere so hard or so privei. The
hardere that thei ben and the ferthere fro mennys resonable undirstondynge, the more
delitable is the trew schewynge of it whan Jhesu is maister. It is expounned, declared
litterali, morali, mistili, and heveneli, yif the mater suffre it. Bi the lettre, that is lightest
and most playn, is the bodili kynde conforted; bi moralté of Hooli Writ, the soule is
enformed of vices and vertues, wiseli to kunne departe the toon from the tother; bi
mystihede it is illumined for to seen the werkes of God in Holi Chirche, redili for to
applien wordes of Holi Writ to Crist oure heved and to Holi Chirche that is His mystik
bodi; and the firthe, that is heveneli, longeth oonli to the werkynge of love, and that
whanne al soothfastenesse in Hooli Writte is applied to love, and for that is most like to
heveneli feelynge, therfore I calle it heveneli.
The lovere of Jhesu is His frende, not for he hath deserved it, but for Jhesu of His
merciful goodnesse maketh him His freend bi trewe acord, and therfore as to a trewe
frend that pleseth Hym with love, not serveth Him bi drede as a thral, He scheweth His
priveté. Thus He seith Himsilf to Hise apostelis: Iam vos dixi amicos, quia quecumque
audivi a patre meo, nota feci vobis (John 15:15). Now y seie that ye aren frendes, for
I make knowen to yow alle thynges that I have herde of My Fader. To a clene soule that
hath the palet purified from filthe of fleschli love, Hooli Writ is liyfli foode and sustenaunce
delitable. It savoreth wondir sweteli whanne it is weel chewid bi goostli undirstondynge.
For whi, the spirit of liyf is hid thereinne, that quykeneth alle the myghtes of the soule
and filleth hem ful of swettenesse of hevenli savour and goosteli delite. But sotheli him
nedeth for to han white teeth and scharpe and wel piked that schulde biten on this
goostli breed, for fleschli loveres and heretikes mowe not touche the inli flour of it. Here
teeth aren blodi and ful of filthe, and therfore aren thei fastynge from feelynge of this
breed. Bi teeth aren undirstonden inli vertues of the soule, the whiche in fleschli loveres
and in heretikes aren blodi, ful of synne and of wordli vanyté; thei wolden, and thei
kunnen not, come bi the curiousté of her kyndeli wit to the sothfast knowynge of Holi
Writ. For here witte is corrupt bi the original synne and actuel also, and is not yit heelid
thorugh grace, and therfore thei don but gnawen upon the bark withoute. Carpe thei
nevere so moche thereof, the inli savoure withinne thei feelen not of. Thei aren not
meke, thei aren not clene for to seen it; thei aren not frendis to Jhesu, and therfore He
scheweth hem not His conceil.
The priveté of Holi Writ is closid undir keie seelid with a signet of Jhesuis fyngir, that
is the Holi Goost; and forthi, withouten His love and His leve mai no man come in. He
hath oonli the keie of connynge in his kepynge, as Hooli Writ seith; and He is keie Himsilf
and He leteth in whom He wole thorugh inspiracioun of His grace, and breketh not the
seel. And that dooth Jhesu to His loveres; not to alle ilike, but to hem that aren speciali
enspired for to seken sothfastnesse in Hooli Writ, with gret devocion in praiynge and
with moche bisynesse in studiynge goynge bifore. Thise moun come to the fyndynge
whan oure Lord Jhesu wole schewe it.
Se now thanne how grace openeth the goostli iye, and clereth the wit of the soule
wondirli above the freelté of corrupt kynde. It geveth the soule a newe ablenesse,
whethir it wole reden Holi Writ or heeren or thenken it, for to undirstonde truli and
savourli the sothfastnesse of it in the manere bifore seid, and for to turnen redili alle
resones and wordes that aren bodili seid into goostely undirstondynge. And that is no
gret mervaile, for the same spirit expouneth it and declareth it in a clene soule in confort
of it, that first made it; and that is the Holi Goost. And this grace mai be, and is, as wel
in lewed as in lettred men, as anemptis the substaunce and the trewe feelynge of
soothfastnesse and of goosteli savour of it in general, though thei se not so manye
resons of it in special, for that nedeth not. And whanne the soule is thus ablid and
lightned thorugh grace, thanne it liste for to ben aloone sumtyme, out of lettynge or
comonynge of alle creaturis, that it myght freeli assaien his instrument, that I calle his
resoun, in bihooldynge of soothfastnesse that is conteyned in hooli writynge. And ther
falleth to mynde wordes and resouns and sentence inowgh to occupien it ful ordinatli
and ful sadli.
And what confort and goostli delite, savour and swettenesse, a soule mai feele thanne
in this goosteli werk thorugh divers illuminacions, inli perceyvynges, privei knowynges,
and sodayn touchynges of the Hooli Goost, bi assai the soule mai witen and elles not.
And I hope that he schal not erren, bi so that his teeth, that aren his inli wittes, be kepid
white and clene from goostli pride and from curiousté of kyndeli witte. I hope that
David feelte ful grete delite in this maner werk whan he seide thus: Quam dulcia faucibus
meis eloquia tua, super mel ori meo (Psalms 118:103). Hou swete aren thi spekynges,
Lord Jhesu, to my chekes, or above hony to mouth. That is: Lord Jhesu, Thyn holi
wordes, endited in Hooli Writ, brought to my mynd thorugh grace, aren suettere to my
chekes (that aren affeccions of my soule) than hony is to my mouth. Sothli this is a
faire werke and an honest withoute pyneful travaile, for to seen Jhesu thus.
This is oo maner sight of Jhesu, as I seide bifore: not as He is, but clothed undir
likenesse of werkes and of wordes, per speculum in enigmate (1 Corinthians 13:12), bi
a myrore and likenesse, as the apostil seith. Jhesu is eendelees myght, wisdom and
goodnesse, rightwysenesse, sothfastnesse, hoolinesse, and merci. And what this Jhesu
is in Himsilf mai no soule seen heere, but bi the effecte of His wirkynge he mai seen
thorugh the light of grace, as thus: His myght is seen bi makynge of alle creatures of
nought, His wisdoom in ordinat disposynge of hem, His goodnesse in savynge of hem,
His merci in forgevynge of synnes, His hoolinesse in giftes of grace, His rightwisnes in
hard ponyschinge of synne, His soothfastnesse in trewe rewardynge of good werkes.
And al this is expressed in Holi Writ, and this seeth a soule in Hooli Writ with alle othere
accidentis that fallen therto. And wite thou wel that siche gracious knowynges, in Hooli
Writ or in ony othir writynge that is maad thorugh grace, aren not ellis but swete lettres,
sendynges maad atwixe a lovend soule and Jhesu loved; or ellis yif y schal seie sothliere,
atwixe Jhesu the trewe lovere and the soulis loved of Him. He hath ful grete tendirnesse
of love to alle His chosen children, that aren heere closid in clei of this bodili liyf; and
therfore, though He be absent from hem, high hid aboven in bosom of the Fadir, fulfilled
in delices of His blissid Godheed, neverthelees yit He thenketh of hem and visiteth hem
ful ofte thorugh His gracious goosteli presence, and conforteth hem bi His lettres of
Hooli Writ, and dryveth out of here hertes hevynesse and irkenesse, doutes and dredis,
and maketh hem glaad and merie in hem, truli trowande to alle His bihetynges and
mekeli abidynge the fulfillynge of His wille.
Seynt Poul seith thus: Quecumque scripta sunt, ad nostram doctrinam scripta sunt, ut
per consolacionem scripturarum, spem habeamus (Romans 15:4). Al that is writen, to
oure techynge it is writen, that bi confort of writynge we mai have hope of savacioun.
And this is anothir werk of contemplacion, for to seen Jhesu in Scripturis, aftir openynge
of the goosteli iye. The clennere that the sight is in biholdynge, the more conforted is the
affeccioun in the taastynge. A ful litil savour, feelt in a clene soule of Holi Writ in this
manere bifore seid, schulde make the soule sette litil price by knowynge of alle sevene
artes or of alle wordli connynges. For the eende of this knowynge is savacion of a soule
in ai lastynge liyf; and the ende of othere as for hemself is but vanité and a passynge
delite, but yif thei be turned thorugh grace to this eende.
Of the privei vois of Jhesu sounned in a soule, wherebi it mai be knowen; and hou alle
the gracious illuminaciouns maad in a soule aren called the spekynges of Jhesu.
Loo, thise aren newe feelynges in a clene soule, and yif a soule were fulfilled in siche, it
myght be seid, and sothli, that it were sumwhat reformed in feelynge, but yit not fulli.
For whi, yit Jhesu scheweth more and ledeth the soule innere, and bigynneth to speke
more homeli and more loveli to a soule, and redi is the soule thanne for to folwe the
feelynge of grace. For the prophete seith: Quocumque ibit spiritus, illuc gradiebantur et
rote sequentes eum (Ezekiel 1:20). Whidirso yeede the spirit, thider yeeden the wheles
folwynge hym. Bi wheles aren undirstonden trewe loveres of Jhesu, for thei aren
round in vertues withouten angil of frowardnesse, and lightli whirland thorugh redynesse
of wille to stirynge of grace. For aftir that grace stireth and toucheth, so thei folwen and
so thei werken, as the prophete seith. But thei han first a ful myghti assai and a trewe
knowynge of the vois of grace, or thei mowen doo so, that thei be not disseyved bi ther
owen feynynge, or bi the myddai fend. Oure Lord Jhesu seith thus: Oves mee vocem
meam audiunt, et cognosco eas, et cognoscunt me mee (John 10:27, 14). Mi scheep
heeren My vois, and I knowe hem and thei knowe Me. The privei vois of Jhesu is ful
trewe, and it maketh a soule trewe. Ther is no feynynge in it, ne fantasie, ne pride, ne
ypocrisie, but softenesse, mekenesse, pees, love, and charité, and it is ful of lif and of
grace. And therfore whanne it sowneth in a soule it is of so greet myght sumtyme, that
the soule sodenly leith of hande al that there is - praiynge, spekynge, redynge, or
thenkynge in manere bifore seid, and al maner bodili werk - and lesteneth therto fulli,
herende, perceyvande in reste and in love the swete stevene of this goostli vois, as it
were ravesched fro the mynde of alle ertheli thynges. And thanne sumtyme in this pees
scheweth Jhesu Him, sumtyme as an eighful maister, and sumtyme as a reverent fadir,
and sumtyme as a loveli spouse. And it kepeth the soule in a wondirful reverence and in
a loveli bihooldyng of Hym, that the soule liketh weel thanne and nevere so weel as
thanne. For it feeleth so moche sikernesse and so grete reste in Jhesu, and so moche
favour of His godnesse, that it wolde ai be so and nevere doon othir werk. It thenketh
that it toucheth Jhesu, and thorugh vertu of that unspekable touchynge it is maad stable
and hool in itsilf, reverentli biholdynge oonli Jhesu as yif there were nothynge but Jhesu
oo thynge, and it anothir, born up bi the favour and the wondirfull goodnesse of Hym;
thynge that it seeth and feeleth.
And this feelynge is ofte tyme withoute special biholdynge of Holi Writte, ne but with
fewe wordes formed in the herte; not but thus among fallen in swete wordes acordynge
to the feelynge, eithir lovende or wondrende, or othirwise sounnende as the herte liketh.
The soule is ful moche departed fro love or likynge of the world thorugh vertu of this
gracious feelynge, and also fro mynde of the world moche in the meene tyme; it taketh
noon heede therof, for it hath no tome therto. But than sumtyme aftir with this fallen
into a soule dyvers illuminacions thorugh grace, the whiche illuminacions I calle the
spekynges of Jhesu and the sight of goostli thynges. For wite thou weel that al the
bisynesse that Jhesu maketh aboute a soule is for to make it a trewe spouse to Him in
the highnesse of love. And for that mai not be doon sodeynli, therfore Jhesu, that is love
and of alle loveres the wisest, assaieth bi many wises and bi wondirful menes or it mai
comen aboute; and therfore that it myght come to effect of trewe spousage, He hath
sich gracious spekynges in likenesse of a wowere to a chosen soule. He scheweth His
privei jewelis, moche thinge He geveth and more biheteth, and curtais daliaunce He
scheweth. Often He visiteth with moche grace and goosteli confort, as I have bifore
seid. But hou He dooth this in special al fulli can y not telle, for it nedeth not. Neverthelees
sumwhat schal I seien, aftir that grace stireth.
The drawynge of a soule fulli to perfite love is first bi the schewynge of goostli
thynges to a clene soule, whanne the gosteli iye is opened: not that a soule schuld reste
thereinne, and make an ende there, but bi that yit seeke Him and loven Him oonli that is
highest of alle, withouten ony bihooldynge of ony othir thynge than Himsilf is. "But
what aren thise goostli thinges?" seist thou; for y speke ofte of goostli thynges. To this
I answere and seie that goostli thynge mai be seid al the sothfastnesse of Holi Writte.
And therfore a soule that thorugh the light of grace mai seen the sothfastnesse of it, it
seeth goostli thynges, as I have bifore seid.
Hou thorugh openynge of the goostli iye a soule is maad wise, mekeli and sothfastli for
to seen Hooli Chirche as travalynge and as blissid, and for to seen angelis kynde repreved
for ther malice.
Neverthelees, othere goosteli thynges ther ben also, the whiche thorugh light of grace
aren schewed to the soule and aren thise: the kynde of alle resonable soules, and the
gracious wirkynge of oure Lord Jhesu in hem; the kynde of aungelis, blissid and repreved,
and hire wirkynge; and the knowynge of the blissid Trinité, aftir that grace techeth.
Holi Writ seith in the Book of Songes thus: Surgam, et circuibo civitatem; et queram
quem diligit anima mea (Canticle 3:2). I schal risen and I schal goon aboute the cité,
and y schal seken him that my soule loveth. That is, I schal risen into highnesse of
thought and goon aboute the cité. Bi this cité is undirstonde the université of alle crea-
tures bodili and goostli, ordeyned and ruled undir God bi lawes of kynde, of resoun, and
of grace. I umgo this cité, whanne I biholde the kyndes and the causis of bodili crea-
tures, the giftes of graces and blissis of goosteli creatures; and in alle I seke him that my
soule loveth. It is fair lokynge with the innere iye on Jhesu in bodili creatures, for to
seen His myght, His wisdoom, and His goodnesse in ordenaunce of here kynde, but it is
moche fairere lokynge on Jhesu in goosteli creatures. Firste in the resonable soules,
bothe of chosen and reproved, for to seen the merciful callyng of Him to Hise chosene;
hou He turneth hem from synne bi light of His grace; hou He helpeth hem, techeth hem,
He chastiseth hem, He conforteth hem; He righteth hem, He clenseth hem, He fedeth
hem; hou He maketh hem brennende in light bi plenté of His grace. And this dooth He
nought to oon soule onli, but to His chosen, aftir mesure of His grace. Also of the
reproved, hou rightfulli He forsaketh hem and leveth hem in here synne and doth hem
noo wronge; hou He rewardeth hem in this world, suffrynge hem for to have fulfillynge
of here wille, and aftir this for to ponysch hem endelesli.
Loo, this is a litil biholdynge of Hooli Chirche whilis it is traveilynge in this liyf; for to
seen hou blak and hou foule it semeth in soulis that aren repreved, hou fair and hou
loveli it is in chosen soules. And al this goostli sight is not ellis but the sight of Jhesu; not
yit in Himsilf, but in merciful pryvey werkes and in His hard rightwise domes, ilke a dai
schewed and renued to resonable soules. Also over this for to seen with the goostli iye
peynes of the repreved and the joie and the blisse of chosen soules, it is ful comfortable.
For sothfastnesse may not be seen in a clene soule withouten greet delite and wondirful
softenesse of brennynge love.
Also the sight of angelis kende; first of the dampned, and aftir that of the blissed. It is
a ful faire contemplacioun of the feend in a clene soule, whanne grace bringeth the fend
to the sight of the soule as a clumsid caitif bounden with the myght of Jhesu, that he mai
not deren. Thanne the soule biholdeth hym, not bodili but goostli, seynge his kynde and
his malice, and turneth him upsodoun, or spoileth him and rendeth him al to nought. It
scorneth him and dispiseth hym and setteth nought bi his malice. Thus biddeth Hooli
Writ whan he seith thus: Verte impium, et non erit (Proverbs 12:7). Turne the wikked,
that is the feend, upsodoun, and he schal be as nought. Moche wondir hath the soule
that the feend hath so moche malice and so litil myght. Ther is no creature so unmighti
as he is, and therfore it is grete cowardise that men dreden him so moche. He mai
nothynge doon withouten leve of oure Lord Jhesu, not so moche as entre into a swyne,
as the Gospel seith. Moche lasse mai he thanne noien ony man.
And thanne yif oure Lord Jhesu geve him leve for to tarie us and troble us, it is ful
worthili and mercifulli doon that oure Lord Jhesu dooth. And therfore welcome be oure
Lord Jhesu, bi Himself and bi alle His messangeres. The soule dredeth no more thanne
the blusterynge of the feend than the stirynge of a mous. Wondir wrooth is the feend yif
he durste seie nai; but his mouth is stopped bi his owen malice, his handes aren bounden
as a theef worthi to ben demed and hanged in helle, and thanne the soule accuseth hym
and rightfulli deemeth him aftir he hath disserved. Wondre not of this seiynge, for Seynt
Poul mened the same whanne he seide thus: Fratres, nescitis quoniam angelos
iudicabimus? (1 Corinthians 6:3). Bretheren, wite ye not weel that we schullen deeme
angelis, that aren wikked spirites thorugh malice, that were maad good aungeles bi
kynde, as who seith. This deemynge is figurid bifore the doom in contemplatif soulis,
for thei feelen a litil tastynge, in likenesse of al that schal be doon and aftirward openli bi
oure Lord Jhesu in soothfastenesse.
Schamed and schent is the feend in himsilf greteli whanne he is thus faren with of a
clene soule. He wolde fayn fleen awey and he mai not, for the Holi Goost hooldeth hym
stille, and that deereth him more thanne al the fier of helle. Wondir mekeli falleth the
soule to Jhesu thanne, with herteli loovynges and thankynges that He so myghtili saveth
a sympil soule fro al the malice of so fel an enemy thorugh His grete merci.
Hou bi the selve light of grace the blissed aungeles kynde mai be seen; and hou Jhesu as
man aboven alle creatures, and as God aftir that the soule mai seen Hym heere.
And thanne aftir this bi the selve mai the soule seen goosteli the fairheed of angelis, the
worthinesse of hem in kende, the sotilté in substaunce, the confermynge of hem in
grace, and the fulnesse of eendeles blisse; the sondriheed of ordres, the distinccion of
persoones, hou thei leven al in light of endelees sothfastnesse and hou thei brennen al in
love of the Hooli Goost aftir the worthynesse of ordres, hou thei seen and loven and
preisen Jhesu in blissed reste withouten ceesynge. There is noo sight of bodi ne figure
in ymaginacion in this maner wirkynge, but al goosteli of goosteli creatures.
Thanne bigynneth the soule for to have grete aqueyntaunce of his blissid spirites, and
grete felawschipe. Thei aren ful tendir and ful bisy aboute sich a soule for to helpen it,
thei aren maistres for to kenne it, and often thorugh hire goostli presence and touchynge
of her light dryven oute fantoms fro the soule and mynistren to it al that it nedeth. This
Seynt Poul seide of hem: Nonne omnes sunt administratorii spiritus, missi propter eos
qui hereditatem capiunt salutis? (Hebrews 1:14). Wite ye not wel that alle holi spirites
aren ministris, sent of Jhesu for hem that taken the heritage of helthe? Thise aren
chosen soulis. As who seith, yhis; for wite thou weel, that al this goosteli wirkynge of
wordes and of resounes broughte to the mynde, and sich fair liknesse, aren maad bi the
ministerie of aungelis, whan the light of grace abundaunteli schyneth in clene soulis. It
mai not be teeld bi tunge the feelynges, the lightnynges, the graces, and the comfortes
in special, that clene soulis perceyven thorugh favourable felawschipe of blissed angeles.
The soule is wel at ese with hem for to bihoolden hou thei doon, that it wolde tende to
But thanne with helpe of aungelis, yit the soule seeth more. For the knowynge riseth
aboven al this in a cleene soule, and that is to bihoolden the blissed kynde of Jhesu. First
of His glorious manheede, hou it is worthili highed above angelis kynde; and than aftir
of His blissed Godheede, for bi knowyng of creatures is knowen the creatour. And
thanne bigynneth the soule for to perceyven a litil of the privetees of the blissid Trinité.
It mai weel inowgh, for light of grace gooth bifore sche schal not erren as longe as sche
hooldeth hire with the light.
Thanne is it opened soothfastli to the iye of the soule the oonheed in substaunce and
distinccioun of persones in the blissed Trinité, as it may be seen here, and moche othir
soothfastnesse of the blissid Trinité pertynent to this matier, the whiche is openli de-
clared and schewed bi writyng of holy doctouris of Hooli Chirche. And wite thou weel
that the same and the self soothfastnesse of the blisside Trinité that thise hooli doctours,
enspired thorugh grace, writen in her bookes in strengthynge of oure trouthe, a clene
soule mai seen and knowen thorugh the self light of grace. I wole not expresse to
moche of this matier here, for it nedeth not.
Wonder grete love feeleth the soule with hevenli delite in bihaldynge of this sothfastnesse,
whan it is maad thorugh special grace, for love and light goon bothe togidre in a clene
soule. There is no love that riseth of knowynge and of special bihooldynge that mai
touchen so neer oure Lord Jhesu, as thes love mai; for whi, this knowyng is worthiest
and highest of itsilf oonli of Jhesu God and man, yif it be speciali schewed bi the light of
grace. And therfore is the fier of love flaumynge of this more brennende, than it is of
knowynge of ony creature bodili or gosteli.
Alle this gracious knowynge feelid in a soule of the université of alle creatures, in
manere bifore seid, and of oure Lord Jhesu, makere and kepere of al this faire université
I calle hem faire wordes in swete spekynges of oure Lord Jhesu to a soule that He
wole make His trewe spouse. He scheweth privetees and profreth riche giftes of tresour,
and arraieth the soule with hem ful honesteli. Sche daar not be aschamed with the
company of hire felawes for to apperen aftirward to the face of Jhesu spouse. Alle thise
loveli daliaunces of privei speche atwixe Jhesu and a soule mai be called an hid word, of
the whiche Holi Writ seith thus: Porro ad me dictum est verbum absconditum, et venas
susurrii eius percepit auris mea (Job 4:12). Sotheli to me is seid an hid word, and the
veynes of his rownynges myn eere hath perceyved. The inspiracioun of Jhesu is an hid
word, for it is hid from alle the loveres of this world, and schewed to Hise loveres,
thorugh the whiche a clene soule perceyveth redili the veynes of His rownynges, that
aren special schewynges of His sothfastnesse. Or eche a gracious knowynge of
soothfastnesse, feelt with inli savour and goostli delite, is a privey rownynge of Jhesu in
the eere of a clene soule.
Him nedeth for to han myche clennesse in soule, in mekenesse and in alle othere
vertues, and to ben haalf deeff to noyse of wordli janggelynge, that schuld wiseli perceyven
thise swete goostli rounynges. This is the vois of Jhesu, of the whiche David seith thus:
Vox domini preparantis cervos, et revelabit condensa (Psalms 28:9). The vois of oure
Lord Jhesu greithynge hertis, and He schal schewe thikke. That is, the inspiracion of
Jhesu maketh soulis light as hertes that stirten fro the herthe of bussches and breres of
alle wordli vanité; and He scheweth to hem the thikke, that aren Hise privytees, that
moun not be perceyved but of a scharp iye. Thise bihooldynges maken a soule wise and
brennynge in desire to the face of Jhesu. Thise aren the goostli thinges that I spak of
bifore, and thei mai be callid gracious feelyngges. And I doo but touche hem a litil, for
wissynge of thy soule. For a soule that is clene, stired bi grace to use of this wirkynge,
mai seen more in an hour of siche goosteli matier than myght be writen in a grete book.