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Cloud of Unknowing
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HERE BEGINNETH THE SEVEN AND SIXTIETH CHAPTER

 

That whoso knoweth not the powers of a soul and the manner of her working, may lightly be deceived in understanding of ghostly words and of ghostly working; and how a soul is made a God in grace.

 

LO, ghostly friend! to such wretchedness as thou here mayest see be we fallen for sin: and therefore what wonder is it, though we be blindly and lightly deceived in understanding of ghostly words and of ghostly working, and specially those the which know not yet the powers of their souls and the manners of their working?

For ever when the Memory is occupied with any bodily thing be it taken to never so good an end, yet thou art beneath thyself in this working, and without any soul. And ever when thou feelest thy Memory occupied with the subtle conditions of the powers of thy soul and their workings in ghostly things, as be vices or virtues, of thyself, or of any creature that is ghostly and even with thee in nature, to that end that thou mightest by this work learn to know thyself in furthering of perfection: then thou art within thyself, and even with thyself. But ever when thou feelest thy Memory occupied with no manner of thing that is bodily or ghostly, but only with the self substance of God, as it is and may be, in the proof of the work of this book: then thou art above thyself and beneath thy God.

Above thyself thou art: for why, thou attainest to come thither by grace, whither thou mayest not come by nature. That is to say, to be oned to God, in spirit, and in love, and in accordance of will. Beneath thy God thou art: for why, although it may be said in manner, that in this time God and thou be not two but one in spirit—insomuch that thou or another, for such onehead that feeleth the perfection of this work, may soothfastly by witness of Scripture be called a God—nevertheless yet thou art beneath Him. For why, He is God by nature without beginning; and thou, that sometime wert nought in substance, and thereto after when thou wert by His might and His love made ought, wilfully with sin madest thyself worse than nought, only by His mercy without thy desert are made a God in grace, oned with Him in spirit without departing, both here and in bliss of heaven without any end. So that, although thou be all one with Him in grace, yet thou art full far beneath Him in nature.

Lo, ghostly friend! hereby mayest thou see somewhat in part, that whoso knoweth not the powers of their own soul, and the manner of their working, may full lightly be deceived in understanding of words that be written to ghostly intent. And therefore mayest thou see somewhat the cause why that I durst not plainly bid thee shew thy desire unto God, but I bade thee childishly do that in thee is to hide it and cover it. And this I do for fear lest thou shouldest conceive bodily that that is meant ghostly.

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