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CHAPTER III: Of the Contemplative Life, and the Exercises and Works thereof

CONTEMPLATIVE life consisteth in perfect love and charity, felt inwardly by spiritual virtues; and in a true and certain sight and knowledge of God and spiritual matters. This life belongs to them especially who for the love of God forsake all worldly riches, honours, worships and outward businesses, and wholly give themselves soul and body (according to all the knowledge and ability that is in them) to the service of God, by exercises of the soul.

Now then, since it is so (dear sister) that the quality of thy state requireth of thee to be contemplative (for that is the intent of thy enclosing, that thou mightest more freely and entirely apply thyself to spiritual exercises), it behoveth thee to be right busy both night and day in labour of body and spirit, to attain as nigh as thou canst to that life by such means as thou mayest find to be best for the said end. But before I tell thee of the means, I shall tell thee a little more of this contemplative life, that thou mayest somewhat see what it is, and so set it as a mark in the sight of thy soul, whereto thou shalt tend, and direct all thy exercises and doings.

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