HERE BEGINNETH THE TWELFTH CHAPTER
That by Virtue of this word sin is not only destroyed, but also Virtues
AND, therefore, if thou wilt stand and not fall, cease never in thine
intent: but beat evermore on this cloud of unknowing that is betwixt
thee and thy God with a sharp dart of longing love, and loathe for to
think on aught under God, and go not thence for anything that
befalleth. For this is only by itself that work that destroyeth the
ground and the root of sin...
...(Contemplation) destroyeth not
only the ground and the root of sin as it may be here, but thereto it
getteth virtues. For an it be truly conceived, all virtues shall truly
be, and perfectly conceived, and feelingly comprehended, in it, without
any mingling of the intent. And have a man never so many virtues
without it, all they be mingled with some crooked intent, for the which
they be imperfect.
For virtue is nought else but an ordained and a measured affection,
plainly directed unto God for Himself. For why? He in Himself is the
pure cause of all virtues:...(summed up by) meekness and charity.
For whoso might get these two clearly, him needeth no more:
for why, he hath all.
I Corinthians, 13.
Humility and love (mercy) are two of the "three treasures" of Taoist philosophy, the third being restraint.
HERE BEGINNETH THE THIRTEENTH CHAPTER
What meekness is in itself, and when it is perfect and when it is
NOW let see first of the virtue of meekness; how that it is imperfect
when it is caused of any other thing mingled with God although He be
the chief; and how that it is perfect when it is caused of God by
Meekness in itself is nought else, but a true knowing and feeling of a
man's self as he is. For surely whoso might verily see and feel himself
as he is, he should verily be meek. Two things there be, the which be
cause of this meekness; the which be these. One is the... frailty of man,...
and the which always him behoveth to feel in some part the whiles
he liveth in this life, be he never so holy. Another is the
abundant love and the worthiness of God in Himself; in beholding
of the which all nature quaketh....
This second cause is perfect; for why, it shall last without end. And
the other before is imperfect; for why, it shall not only fail at the
end of this life, but full oft it may befall that a soul in this deadly
body for abundance of grace in multiplying of his desire--as oft and as
long as God vouchsafeth for to work it--shall have suddenly and
perfectly lost and forgotten all witting and feeling of his being, not
looking after whether he have been holy or wretched. But whether this
fall oft or seldom to a soul that is thus disposed, I trow that it
lasteth but a full short while: and in this time it is perfectly
meeked, for it knoweth and feeleth no cause but the Chief. And ever
when it knoweth and feeleth the tother cause, communing therewith,
although this be the chief: yet it is imperfect meekness. Nevertheless
yet it is good and notwithstanding must be had; and God forbid that
thou take it in any other manner than I say.
Would it be right to say that i should be humble because i imagine God to be humble?
The sage says be humble, the nutritionist says drink water. Is there a difference?
In modernity we have elevated pride from a deadly sin to a major virtue,
while humble has been humbled to the depths of the adjective check list.
Humility is merged with mortification and humiliation
and we forget that it is, or ever was, a virtue.
But then we mostly don't eat right either.
HERE BEGINNETH THE FOURTEENTH CHAPTER
That without imperfect meekness coming before, it is impossible for a
sinner to come to the perfect Virtue of meekness in this life.
FOR although I call it imperfect meekness, yet I had liefer have a true
knowing and a feeling of myself as I am, and sooner I trow that it
should get me the perfect cause and virtue of meekness by itself, than
it should an all the saints and angels in heaven, and all the men and
women of Holy Church living in earth, religious or seculars in all
degrees, were set at once all together to do nought else but to pray to
God for me to get me perfect meekness. Yea, and yet it is impossible a
sinner to get, or to keep when it is gotten, the perfect virtue of
meekness without it.
And therefore swink and sweat in all that thou canst and mayest, for to
get thee a true knowing and a feeling of thyself as thou art; and then
I trow that soon after that thou shalt have a true knowing and a
feeling of God as He is. Not as He is in Himself, for that may no man
do but Himself; nor yet as thou shalt do in bliss both body and soul
together. But as it is possible, and as He vouchsafeth to be known and
felt of a meek soul living in this deadly body.
And think not because I set two causes of meekness, one perfect and
another imperfect, that I will therefore that thou leavest the travail
about imperfect meekness, and set thee wholly to get thee perfect. Nay,
surely; I trow thou shouldest never bring it so about. But herefore I
do that I do: because I think to tell thee and let thee see the
worthiness of this ghostly exercise before all other exercise bodily or
ghostly that man can or may do by grace. How that a privy love pressed
in cleanness of spirit upon this dark cloud of unknowing betwixt thee
and thy God, truly and perfectly containeth in it the perfect virtue of
meekness without any special or clear beholding of any thing under God.
And because I would that thou knewest which were perfect meekness, and
settest it as a token before the love of thine heart, and didst it for
thee and for me. And because I would by this knowing make thee more
For ofttimes it befalleth that lacking of knowing is cause of much
pride as me thinketh. For peradventure an thou knewest not which were
perfect meekness, thou shouldest ween when thou hadst a little knowing
and a feeling of this that I call imperfect meekness, that thou hadst
almost gotten perfect meekness: and so shouldest thou deceive thyself,
and ween that thou wert full meek when thou wert all belapped in foul
stinking pride. And therefore try for to travail about perfect
meekness; for the condition of it is such, that whoso hath it, and the
whiles he hath it, he shall not sin, nor yet much after.
Imperfect humility prepares me to recieve the gift of perfect humility, sort of.