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CHAPTER XIV: Of the Means that bring a Soul to Contemplation

Now seeing virtues dispose us to Contemplation, it behoveth us to use the means that may bring us to virtues. And they be three means which men most commonly use that give themselves to Contemplation: As reading of holy Scripture and good books, secondly, spiritual meditation; thirdly, diligent prayer with devotion. By meditation shalt thou come to see thy wretchedness, thy sins and thy wickedness; as pride, covetousness, gluttony, sloth and lechery, wicked stirrings of envy, anger, hatred, melancholy, wrath, bitterness and imprudent heaviness. Thou shalt also see thy heart to be full of vain flames and fears of the flesh and of the world. All these stirrings will always boil out of thy heart, as water runneth out of the spring of a stinking well, and do hinder the sight of thy soul, that thou mayest never see nor feel clearly the love of Jesus Christ, for know thou well that until the heart be much cleansed from such sins, through firm verity 5858    Stable truth. and diligent meditating on Christ’s humanity, thou canst not have any perfect knowledge of God, Himself witnessing the same in His Gospel thus: Blessed are the clean in heart, for they shall see God.5959    St Matt. 5. In meditation, likewise, shalt thou see those virtues which be needful for thee to have, as humility, mildness, patience, righteousness, spiritual strength, temperance, cleanness, peace and soberness, faith, hope and charity. These virtues thou shalt see in meditation, how good, how fair, how profitable they be; and by prayer thou shalt thereupon desire and get them. Without which third means of prayer thou canst not be contemplative, for Job saith thus: In abundantia ingredieris sepulchrum—In plenty shalt thou enter thy grave; that is in plenty of bodily works and spiritual virtues shalt thou enter thy grave, that is thy rect6060    Right rule. in Contemplation.

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