"There be in the Holy Church two
kinds of life, by which Christian souls do serve and please God, and
procure their own salvation. The one is corporal, the other spiritual."
So begins Walter Hilton's Treatise Written to a Devout Man.
an English mystic born in the middle of the fourteenth century whose
works were highly influential in fifteenth century England.
Nevertheless, they still counsel Christians today on how to live Godly
lives. His Treatise defines the two kinds of life within the
corporal is the life of a young Christian who "deal[s] with worldly
businesses and affairs." Christians must spend time in the corporal and
work to "mortify" all unholy desires in order to graduate to the
spiritual life, where they spend much time in fasting and prayer. Hilton
goes on to give thoughts on the humanity of Christ, the virtue of the
saints, and ends with three things helpful to every Christian reader:
what to do when prayer meditation bring us no comfort, various warnings
not to become too engrossed in our meditations, and advice to take faith
little by little because no one becomes righteous in a day. Anyone who
desires to strike a balance between worldly and spiritual life will find
Hilton's direct and instructive prose a useful resource.