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CHAPTER I: That the inward State of the Soul should be like the outward

GHOSTLY Sister in Christ Jesus, I pray thee that in the calling to which our Lord hath called thee for His service, thou rest contented, and abide constantly therein, travailing busily with all the powers of thy soul to fulfil in truth of good life (by the grace of Jesus Christ) the state which thou hast taken in exterior likeness and seeming; and as thou hast forsaken the world, as it were a dead man, and turned to our Lord bodily in sight of men, so thou be in thy heart as it were dead to all earthly loves and fears, and turned wholly to our Lord Jesus Christ; for be thou well assured that a bodily turning to God without the heart following is but a figure and likeness of virtues, and not the truth in itself. Wherefore wretched men and women are they who, neglecting the care of their interior, show only exteriorly a form and likeness of holiness, in habit or clothing, in speech and outward carriage and works, casting their eyes upon other men’s deeds, and judging their defects, esteeming themselves to be something, when indeed they are just nothing, and so deceive themselves. Do not thou so; but together with thy body turn principally thy heart to God, and frame thy interior to His likeness, by humility and charity and other spiritual virtues, and then art thou truly turned to Him. I say not that thou mayest early on the first day be turned to Him in thy soul in perfection of virtues as thou mayest with thy body be enclosed in a house; but my meaning is, that thou shouldst know that the end of thy bodily enclosure is that thou mightest thereby the better come to a spiritual enclosure; and even as thy body is enclosed from bodily converse with men, even so thine heart might be enclosed from the inordinate loves and fears of all earthly things. And that thou mayest the better come thereto, I shall in this little treatise yield thee the best instructions and helps that I know or can.

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