February 4th, 2015

The Cloud Of Unknowing (71) - Chapter Nine And Sixty


How that a man’s affection is marvelously changed in ghostly feeling of this nought, when it is nowhere wrought.

WONDERFULLY is a man’s affection varied in ghostly feeling of this nought when it is nowhere wrought.....

... he that abideth feeleth sometime some comfort, and hath some hope of perfection; for he feeleth and seeth that many of his fordone special sins be in great part by help of grace rubbed away. Nevertheless yet ever among he feeleth pain, but he thinketh that it shall have an end, for it waxeth ever less and less. And therefore he calleth it nought else but purgatory. Sometime he can find no special sin written thereupon, but yet him think that sin is a lump, he wot never what, none other thing than himself; and then it may be called the base and the pain of the original sin. Sometime him think that it is paradise or heaven, for diverse wonderful sweetness and comforts, joys and blessed virtues that he findeth therein. Sometime him think it God, for peace and rest that he findeth therein.

Yea! think what he think will; for evermore he shall find it a cloud of unknowing, that is betwixt him and his God.
Cloud of Unknowing - Christian Classics Ethereal Library

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The Cloud Of Unknowing (72) - Chapter Seventy


That right as by the defailing of our bodily wits we begin more readily to come to knowing of ghostly things, so by the defailing of our ghostly wits we begin most readily to come to the knowledge of God, such as is possible by grace to be had here.

AND therefore travail fast in this nought, and this nowhere, and leave thine outward bodily wits and all that they work in: for I tell thee truly, that this work may not be conceived by them...

"...neither hath God nor ghostly things none of these (physical) qualities nor quantities. And therefore leave thine outward wits, and work not with them, neither within nor without: for all those that set them to be ghostly workers within, and ween that they should either hear, smell, or see, taste or feel, ghostly things, either within them or without, surely they be deceived, and work wrong against the course of nature.

For by nature they be ordained, that with them men should have knowing of all outward bodily things, and on nowise by them come to the knowing of ghostly things. I mean by their works. By their failings we may, as thus: when we read or hear speak of some certain things, and thereto conceive that our outward wits cannot tell us by no quality what those things be, then we may be verily certified that those things be ghostly things, and not bodily things.
On this same manner ghostly it fareth within our ghostly wits, when we travail about the knowing of God Himself. For have a man never so much ghostly understanding in knowing of all made ghostly things, yet may he never by the work of his understanding come to the knowing of an unmade ghostly thing: the which is nought but God. But by the failing it may: for why, that thing that it faileth in is nothing else but only God. And therefore it was that Saint Denis said, the most goodly knowing of God is that, the which is known by unknowing..."
...For whoso hath ears, let him hear, and whoso is stirred for to trow, let him trow: for else, shall they not.
Cloud of Unknowing - Christian Classics Ethereal Library

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