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Scale (or Ladder) of Perfection
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CHAPTER XV: Of a firm and resolute Intent and Purpose necessary hereto

THE third thing needful for thee to have in thy beginning was an entire and firm intention; that is to say an entire will and a desire only to please God, for this is charity, without which all is nought which thou doest, and thou shalt set thine intent always to search and travail how thou mayest please Him, resting no time willingly from some good exercises, either bodily or ghostly. Neither shalt thou set a time in thy heart that thus long thou wilt serve Him, and then suffer thy heart willingly to fall down to vain thoughts and idle exercises, imagining it needful to do so for preserving of thy health, leaving the keeping of thy heart and good exercises, and seeking rest and comfort for a time outwardly from thy bodily senses or inwardly from vain thoughts, as it were for recreation of thy spirit, that thereby it may be more quick and lively for spiritual employments. But I trow thou wilt not find it so. I say not that thou wilt be able fully and continually to perform this thy intent and purpose, for ofttimes thy bodily necessities, such as eating, drinking, sleeping and speaking and the frailty of thy flesh shall let and hinder thee, be thou never so careful. But my meaning and desire is that thy will and intent be always wholly to be exercised bodily and spiritually, and to be no time idle, but always lifting up thy heart by desire to God and to heaven, whether thou be eating or drinking or doing any corporal work as much as thou canst, intermit it not willingly. For if thou have this intent it will make thee quick and ready to thy exercises; and if thou fall through frailty or negligence upon any idle occupation or vain speech, it will smite thy heart as sharply as a prick, and make thee account irksome, and be weary of all such vanities, and turn again speedily to inward thinking of Jesus Christ or to some good exercise.

As to thy body, it is good to use discretion in eating, drinking and sleeping, and in all manner of bodily penance, and in long vocal prayer, and in all bodily and sensible feelings and fervours, or earnestness of devotions, and tears and the like, and in discoursing with the imagination in times of aridities and want of the feeling of grace. In all these works it is good to use discretion, for the mean is the best. But in destroying of sin by keeping thy heart, and in the continual desire of virtues and the joys of heaven, and to have the spiritual knowledge and love of Jesus Christ, hold there no mean, for the greater it is the better it is, for thou must hate sin and all fleshly loves and fears in thy heart without ceasing, and love virtue and purity and desire them without stinting if thou canst. I say not that all this is needful to salvation, but I trow it is speedful and much helping. And if thou keep this full intent, thou shalt profit more in one year in virtues than thou shalt without it in seven.

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