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CHAPTER XIV

How the Consideration and thinking on the Miseries and Perils of this Life is apt to breed in a soul the Desire of Heaven

ALSO to think upon the miseries, mischiefs and perils, corporal and spiritual, that happen in this life; and after that to think of the joys of Heaven, as how great happiness is there, and what wonderful joy and delight; for there is neither sin, nor sorrow, nor passion nor pain, hunger nor thirst, aches nor sickness, doubt nor fear, shame nor blame, nor want of power, nor strength, nor lack of light, nor coldness in love; but there is most excellent beauty, clearness, strength, health, everlasting delights, perfect wisdom, love, peace, honour, security, rest, joy and bliss in abundance without ever having any end. The consideration of these points ought to cause thee the more fervently to covet and desire those everlasting joys and rest of that same most blessed life. Many men are covetous of worldly goods, honours and earthly riches, and think both in dreaming and waking how and by what means they might come thereto; and then they forget all care of their souls' good, and all thoughts of the pains of Hell, or of the joys of Heaven. Surely these men are not wise; they are like to children that run after butterflies, and, because they look not to their feet, they sometimes easily fall down and break their legs. What is all the pomp, honours, riches and jollity of this world but a butterfly? Surely it is no more, yea, it is much less. Therefore, I pray thee, be covetous of the joys of Heaven, and thou shalt have honour and riches that shall last for ever. For at the latter day, when worldly covetous men bring no good in their hands (because all their honour and riches, which they only made account of, are turned into nothing but sorrow and pain) then the good men of the world, that have truly forsaken all vain honours and riches of this world, or else if they had them they made no account in their hearts of them, nor did set their love or delight in them, but have ever lived in the peace of God and in humility and in hope, and sometimes in sorrows or afflictions, and patiently expected the mercy of God; they (I say) shall then fully attain that which they here coveted, for they shall be crowned as kings, and shall ascend up with our Lord into the bliss of Heaven. Also there be many other good considerations or thoughts (more than I can speak of) that serve to stir and raise a man's mind and affection to loathe the vanities of this world and to desire the joys of Heaven.

These matters I have not mentioned unto thee as if I had withal fully showed the manner how they are exercised in a man's soul; but I have only touched them a little, to the end thou mightest, by so much the better, understand these things for such use as thou canst best make of them.

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