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CHAPTER X: Of another Hole or Window that is to be stopped as well as the Windows of the Senses, namely, the Imagination

BUT thou wilt say that thou hast done all this, namely, stopped the windows of thy five senses, so that thou seest no worldly things, nor hearest them, nor hast any use of thy senses, more than need requireth; and for that end thou art enclosed. And to this I answer: If thou do thus, as I hope thou dost, then hast thou stopped a great window of this image, but yet art thou not secure; for that thou hast not stopped the privy holes of the imaginations of thy heart. For though thou seest me not with thy bodily eye, yet mayest thou see me at the same time in thy soul by imagination; and so mayest thou do of all bodily things. If, then, thou feedest thy soul willingly and wittingly by imaginations of vanities of the world, and desiring of worldly things; as a comfort or pleasure and ease; verily though thy soul be kept within as to thy bodily senses, it is notwithstanding far without by such vain imaginations.

But now thou wilt ask me whether it be any great sin for a soul to busy itself in such vanities, either by the outward senses or by the inward imaginations and thoughts. As unto this I say; that I would never have thee ask any man this question; for he that will truly love God, he asketh not commonly, whether this or that be the greater sin? For he will think that whatsoever letteth him from the love of God is a great sin, and will think nothing sin but that thing which is not good, and letteth him from the love of God. What is sin but a wanting or a forbearing of good? I say not that it will or ought to grieve him so much as a mortal sin would, or a venial sin should, neither say I but that he knoweth and distinguisheth a mortal sin from a venial, and fleeth it more than the other.

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