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Cloud of Unknowing
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HERE BEGINNETH THE FIFTIETH CHAPTER

 

Which is chaste love; and how in some creatures such sensible comforts be but seldom, and in some right oft.

 

AND hereby mayest thou see that we should direct all our beholding unto this meek stirring of love in our will. And in all other sweetness and comforts, bodily or ghostly, be they never so liking nor so holy, if it be courteous and seemly to say, we should have a manner of recklessness. If they come, welcome them: but lean not too much on them for fear of feebleness, for it will take full much of thy powers to bide any long time in such sweet feelings and weepings. And peradventure thou mayest be stirred for to love God for them, and that shalt thou feel by this: if thou grumble overmuch when they be away. And if it be thus, thy love is not yet neither chaste nor perfect. For a love that is chaste and perfect, though it suffer that the body be fed and comforted in the presence of such sweet feelings and weepings, nevertheless yet it is not grumbling, but full well pleased for to lack them at God’s will. And yet it is not commonly without such comforts in some creatures, and in some other creatures such sweetness and comforts be but seldom.

And all this is after the disposition and the ordinance of God, all after the profit and the needfulness of diverse creatures. For some creatures be so weak and so tender in spirit, that unless they were somewhat comforted by feeling of such sweetness, they might on nowise abide nor bear the diversity of temptations and tribulations that they suffer and be travailed with in this life of their bodily and ghostly enemies. And some there be that they be so weak in body that they may do no great penance to cleanse them with. And these creatures will our Lord cleanse full graciously in spirit by such sweet feelings and weepings. And also on the tother part there be some creatures so strong in spirit, that they can pick them comfort enough within in their souls, in offering up of this reverent and this meek stirring of love and accordance of will, that them needeth not much to be fed with such sweet comforts in bodily feelings. Which of these be holier or more dear with God, one than another, God wots and I not.

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