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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.



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