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Scale (or Ladder) of Perfection

by Walter Hilton

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Known as the first book of mysticism to be written in the English language, Hilton's Scale of Perfection describes the ascent of the human soul from sin to perfection. Hilton suggests that all humankind should reform from their sinful souls and embrace a life of ascetic practice, firm faith, and godly contemplation. The reforming of the soul takes time and is only possible through the grace of God. Scale of Perfection contains a series of meditations on the seven deadly sins to help Christians recognize the areas of sin in their lives. Hilton hopes that, upon recognition, Christians will reject their immoral ways and repent of them. The metaphor of a disciple journeying to Jerusalem is frequently used to represent the process of the soul reforming in faith. Upon reaching Jerusalem, the disciple is filled with an overwhelming sense of peace; likewise, a soul properly reformed will, at the end of its journey, reach spiritual peace in the contemplation of God's perfect love.

Emmalon Davis
CCEL Staff Writer
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About Walter Hilton
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Died: 1396
Related topics: Criticism, interpretation, etc., Devotional literature, Early works, England, Hilton, Walter,--d. 1396
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Popular works: Scale (or Ladder) of Perfection, Treatise Written to a Devout Man, Song of Angels