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Cloud of Unknowing
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HERE BEGINNETH THE FIFTEENTH CHAPTER

 

A short proof against their error that say, that there is no perfecter cause to be meeked under, than is the knowledge of a man’s own wretchedness.

 

AND trust steadfastly that there is such a perfect meekness as I speak of, and that it may be come to through grace in this life. And this I say in confusion of their error, that say that there is no perfecter cause of meekness than is that which is raised of the remembrance of our wretchedness and our before‑done sins.

I grant well, that to them that have been in accustomed sins, as I am myself and have been, it is the most needful and speedful cause, to be meeked under the remembrance of our wretchedness and our before‑done sins, ever till the time be that the great rust of sin be in great part rubbed away, our conscience and our counsel to witness. But to other that be, as it were, innocents, the which never sinned deadly with an abiding will and avisement, but through frailty and unknowing, and the which set them to be contemplatives—and to us both if our counsel and our conscience witness our lawful amendment in contrition and in confession, and in making satisfaction after the statute and the ordinance of all‑Holy Church, and thereto if we feel us stirred and called by grace to be contemplatives also—there is then another cause to be meeked under as far above this cause as is the living of our Lady Saint Mary above the living of the sinfullest penitent in Holy Church; or the living of Christ above the living of any other man in this life; or else the living of an angel in heaven, the which never felt—nor shall feel—frailty, is above the life of the frailest man that is here in this world.

For if it so were that there were no perfect cause to be meeked under, but in seeing and feeling of wretchedness, then would I wit of them that say so, what cause they be meeked under that never see nor feel—nor never shall be in them—wretchedness nor stirring of sin: as it is of our Lord JESUS CHRIST, our Lady Saint Mary, and all the saints and angels in heaven. To this perfection, and all other, our Lord JESUS CHRIST calleth us Himself in the gospel: where He biddeth that we should be perfect by grace as He Himself is by nature.

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