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CHAPTER X: How that Appearings or Shewings to the Corporal Senses or Feelings may be both good and evil

BY this that I have said may you somewhat understand that visions, or revelations, or any manner of spirit in bodily appearing, or in imagining, sleeping or waking, or also any other feeling in the bodily sense, made as it were spiritually, either by sounding in the ear, or savouring in the mouth, or smelling at the nose, or else any sensible heat, as it were fire glowing and warming the breast, or any other part of the body, or any other thing that may be felt by bodily sense, though it be never so comfortable and liking, yet be they not very Contemplation, but simple and secondary (though they be good) in respect of spiritual virtues, and of this spiritual knowing and loving of God accompanying true Contemplation. But all such manner of feeling may be good, wrought by a good angel, and they may be deceivable, wrought by a wicked angel, when he transfigureth himself into an angel of light. Wherefore sith5252    Since. they may be both good and evil, it appeareth they are not the best. For, mark ye well, that the devil may, when he hath leave, counterfeit in bodily feeling the likeness of the same things the which a good angel may work; for just as a good angel cometh with light, so can the devil. And as he can do this in matters of seeing, so can he do it in matters of the other senses. Whoso hath felt both, he can well tell which were good and which were evil. But he that never felt either, or else but one of them, may easily be deceived.

These two be alike in the manner of feeling outwardly, but they are full different within, and therefore they are not to be desired greatly, nor to be entertained lightly, unless a soul can by the spirit of discretion know the good from the evil, that he be not beguiled, as St John saith: Trust not every spirit, but essay first whether it be of God or no.5353    1 St John 4:1. Wherefore by one trial that I shall tell thee, methinketh thou shalt know the good from the evil.

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