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Scale (or Ladder) of Perfection
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CHAPTER XIV: The Conclusion of this Book, and of the Cause why it was made, and how she for whom it was made was to make use of it

WHOSO thinkest to attain to the working and to the full use of contemplation and not by this way, that is by perfection of virtues, and taking full heed thereto, cometh not in by the door, and therefore as a thief he shall be cast out. I say not but that a man may have by the gift of God, at by times, a tasting and a glimmering of the contemplative life; some I say at the beginning of their conversion. But the solid feeling of it shall he not have, until he have gotten in him some perfection of virtues. For Christ is the door, and is also the porter, and without His leave and His liberty no man may come in; as He Himself saith: No man cometh to the Father but by Me.159159    St John 14. That is to say, no man can come to the contemplation of the Godhead but he that is first reformed by perfection of humility and charity, to the likeness of Jesus in His Humanity.

Lo, then, have I told thee a little, as methinketh, first of Contemplative life, what it is; and then of the ways which, by the grace of God, lead thereunto. Not as if I had it myself in feeling and in working, as I have it in talking. Nevertheless, I would by this writing of mine (such as it is) first stir up my own negligence to do better than I have done; and also my purpose is, to stir thee, or any other man or woman that hath taken the state of life Contemplative, to travail more diligently and more humbly in that manner of life, by such simple words as God hath given me grace for to say. And therefore if there be any word therein that stirreth thee or comforteth thee more to the love of God, thank God, for it is His gift and not of the words written. And if it comforteth thee not, and thou understandest it not readily, study not too long about it, but lay it aside till another time, and go to thy prayers or some other business; take it as it will come, and not all at once.

Also these words which I write, take them not too strictly, but when thou thinkest, upon good consideration, that I write too short, either for lack of English or lack of reason, I pray thee amend it only where need is. Also these words which I write to thee, belong not all of them to one that is of an active life, but to thee or to any other which hath the state of life contemplative.

The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with thee.


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