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CHAPTER V: Of the Second Sort of Contemplation

THE second part of Contemplation lieth principally in affection, without spiritual light in the understanding or sight of spiritual things; and this is commonly of simple and unlearned men who give themselves wholly to devotion, and is had and felt in this manner: When man or woman being in meditation of God, through the grace of the Holy Ghost, feeleth fervour of love and spiritual sweetness, by occasion of thinking of Christ’s passion, or of some of the works done by Him in His humanity; or he feeleth cause of great trust in the goodness and mercy of God for the forgiveness of his sins, or admires the liberality of His gifts of grace, or else feeleth in his affection a certain reverential fear towards God, and His secret judgements and justice, which yet he seeth not; or being in prayer, he findeth all the powers of his soul to be gathered together, and the thought and love of his heart to be drawn up from all transitory things, aspiring and tending upwards towards God by a fervent desire, and spiritual delight, and yet, nevertheless, during that time he hath no plain sight in the understanding of spiritual things, nor in particular of any of the mysteries or senses of the holy Scriptures; but only that for that time nothing seemeth so pleasing and delightful to him as to pray, or think as he then doth for the savoury delight and comfort that he findeth therein, and yet cannot he tell what it is, but he feeleth it well, for it is a gift of God, for out of it spring many sweet tears, burning desires, and still mournings, or contrition for sin, which scour and cleanse the heart from all filth of sin, and causeth it to melt into a wonderful sweetness in Jesus Christ, and to become obedient and ready to fulfil all God’s will, insomuch that it seems to him he makes no reckoning what becomes of himself, so that God’s will were fulfilled in him, and by him, with many other such good inspirations and desires which cannot be reckoned. Such feelings as these cannot be had without great grace, and whoso hath any of them or other such like, he is at that time in charity and the grace of God; which charity let him know to his comfort, will not be lost or lessened in him (though the fervour thereof may abate) but by a deadly sin. And this may be called the second part of Contemplation, nevertheless, this part hath two degrees.

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