The Cloud of Unknowing
The Cloud of Unknowing
Anonymous

Table of Contents


Title Page

INTRODUCTION

Glossary

Here beginneth a book of contemplation, the which is called the CLOUD OF UNKNOWING, in the which a soul is oned with GOD.

Here Beginneth the Prologue

Here Beginneth a Table of the Chapters

HERE BEGINNETH THE FIRST CHAPTER Of four degrees of Christian men's living; and of the course of his calling that this book was made unto.

HERE BEGINNETH THE SECOND CHAPTER A short stirring to meekness, and to the work of this book.

HERE BEGINNETH THE THIRD CHAPTER How the work of this book shall be wrought, and of the worthiness of it before all other works.

HERE BEGINNETH THE FOURTH CHAPTER Of the shortness of this word, and how it may not be come to by curiosity of wit, nor by imagination.

HERE BEGINNETH THE FIFTH CHAPTER That in the time of this word all the creatures that ever have been, be now, or ever shall be, and all the works of those same creatures, should be hid under the cloud of forgetting.

HERE BEGINNETH THE SIXTH CHAPTER A short conceit of the work of this book, treated by question.

HERE BEGINNETH THE SEVENTH CHAPTER How a man shall have him in this work against all thoughts, and specially against all those that arise of his own curiosity, of cunning, and of natural wit.

HERE BEGINNETH THE EIGHTH CHAPTER A good declaring of certain doubts that may fall in this word treated by question, in destroying of a man's own curiosity, of cunning, and of natural wit, and in distinguishing of the degrees and the parts of active living and contemplative.

HERE BEGINNETH THE NINTH CHAPTER That in the time of this work the remembrance of the holiest Creature that ever God made letteth more than it profiteth.

HERE BEGINNETH THE TENTH CHAPTER How a man shall know when his thought is no sin; and if it be sin, when it is deadly and when it is venial.

HERE BEGINNETH THE ELEVENTH CHAPTER That a man should weigh each thought and each stirring after that it is, and always eschew recklessness in venial sin.

HERE BEGINNETH THE TWELFTH CHAPTER That by Virtue of this word sin is not only destroyed, but also Virtues begotten.

HERE BEGINNETH THE THIRTEENTH CHAPTER What meekness is in itself, and when it is perfect and when it is imperfect.

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.

HERE BEGINNETH THE FIFTEENTH CHAPTER A short proof against their error that say, that there is no perfecter cause to be meeked under, than is the knowledge of a man's own wretchedness.

HERE BEGINNETH THE SIXTEENTH CHAPTER That by Virtue of this work a sinner truly turned and called to contemplation cometh sooner to perfection than by any other work; and by it soonest may get of God forgiveness of sins.

HERE BEGINNETH THE SEVENTEENTH CHAPTER That a Very contemplative list not meddle him with active life, nor of anything that is done or spoken about him, nor yet to answer to his blamers in excusing of himself.

HERE BEGINNETH THE EIGHTEENTH CHAPTER How that yet unto this day all actives complain of contemplatives as Martha did of Mary. Of the which complaining ignorance is the cause.

HERE BEGINNETH THE NINETEENTH CHAPTER A short excusation of him that made this book teaching how all contemplatives should have all actives fully excused of their complaining words and deeds.

HERE BEGINNETH THE TWENTIETH CHAPTER How Almighty God will goodly answer for all those that for the excusing of themselves list not leave their business about the love of Him.

HERE BEGINNETH THE ONE AND TWENTIETH CHAPTER The true exposition of this gospel word, "Mary hath chosen the best part."

HERE BEGINNETH THE TWO AND TWENTIETH CHAPTER Of the wonderful love that Christ had to man in person of all sinners truly turned and called to the grace of contemplation.

HERE BEGINNETH THE THREE AND TWENTIETH CHAPTER How God will answer and purvey for them in spirit, that for business about His love list not answer nor purvey for themselves

HERE BEGINNETH THE FOUR AND TWENTIETH CHAPTER What charity is in itself, and how it is truly and perfectly contained in the work of this book.

HERE BEGINNETH THE FIVE AND TWENTIETH CHAPTER That in the time of this work a perfect soul hath no special beholding to any one man in this life.

HERE BEGINNETH THE SIX AND TWENTIETH CHAPTER That without full special grace, or long use in common grace, the work of this book is right travailous; and in this work, which is the work of the soul helped by grace, and which is the work of only God.

HERE BEGINNETH THE SEVEN AND TWENTIETH CHAPTER Who should work in the gracious work of this book.

HERE BEGINNETH THE EIGHT AND TWENTIETH CHAPTER That a man should not presume to work in this work before the time that he be lawfully cleansed in conscience of all his special deeds of sin.

HERE BEGINNETH THE NINE AND TWENTIETH CHAPTER That a man should bidingly travail in this work, and suffer the pain thereof, and judge no man.

HERE BEGINNETH THE THIRTIETH CHAPTER Who should blame and condemn other men's defaults.

HERE BEGINNETH THE ONE AND THIRTIETH CHAPTER How a man should have him in beginning of this work against all thoughts and stirrings of sin.

HERE BEGINNETH THE TWO AND THIRTIETH CHAPTER Of two ghostly devices that be helpful to a ghostly beginner in the work of this book.

HERE BEGINNETH THE THREE AND THIRTIETH CHAPTER That in this work a soul is cleansed both of his special sins and of the pain of them, and yet how there is no perfect rest in this life.

HERE BEGINNETH THE FOUR AND THIRTIETH CHAPTER That God giveth this grace freely without any means, and that it may not be come to with means.

HERE BEGINNETH THE FIVE AND THIRTIETH CHAPTER Of three means in the which a contemplative Prentice should be occupied, in reading, thinking, and praying.

HERE BEGINNETH THE SIX AND THIRTIETH CHAPTER Of the meditations of them that continually travail in the work of this book.

HERE BEGINNETH THE SEVEN AND THIRTIETH CHAPTER Of the special prayers of them that be continual workers in the word of this book

HERE BEGINNETH THE EIGHT AND THIRTIETH CHAPTER How and why that short prayer pierceth heaven

HERE BEGINNETH THE NINE AND THIRTIETH CHAPTER How a perfect worker shall pray, and what prayer is in itself; and if a man shall pray in words, which words accord them most to the property of prayer.

HERE BEGINNETH THE FORTIETH CHAPTER That in the time of this work a soul hath no special beholding to any vice in itself nor to any virtue in itself.

HERE BEGINNETH THE ONE AND FORTIETH CHAPTER That in all other works beneath this, men should keep discretion; but in this none.

HERE BEGINNETH THE TWO AND FORTIETH CHAPTER That by indiscretion in this, men shall keep discretion in all other things; and surely else never

HERE BEGINNETH THE THREE AND FORTIETH CHAPTER That all witting and feeling of a man's own being must needs be lost if the perfection of this word shall verily be felt in any soul in this life.

HERE BEGINNETH THE FOUR AND FORTIETH CHAPTER How a soul shall dispose it on its own part, for to destroy all witting and feeling of its own being.

HERE BEGINNETH THE FIVE AND FORTIETH CHAPTER A good declaring of some certain deceits that may befall in this work.

HERE BEGINNETH THE SIX AND FORTIETH CHAPTER A good teaching how a man shall flee these deceits, and work more with a listiness of spirit, than with any boisterousness of body

HERE BEGINNETH THE SEVEN AND FORTIETH CHAPTER A slight teaching of this work in purity of spirit; declaring how that on one manner a soul should shew his desire unto God, and on ye contrary unto man.

HERE BEGINNETH THE EIGHT AND FORTIETH CHAPTER How God will be served both with body and with soul, and reward men in both; and how men shall know when all those sounds and sweetness that fall into the body in time of prayer be both good and evil.

HERE BEGINNETH THE NINE AND FORTIETH CHAPTER The substance of all perfection is nought else but a good will; and how that all sounds and comfort and sweetness that may befall in this life be to it but as it were accidents.

HERE BEGINNETH THE FIFTIETH CHAPTER Which is chaste love; and how in some creatures such sensible comforts be but seldom, and in some right oft.

HERE BEGINNETH THE ONE AND FIFTIETH CHAPTER That men should have great wariness so that they understand not bodily a thing that is meant ghostly; and specially it is good to be wary in understanding of this word "in," and of this word "up."

HERE BEGINNETH THE TWO AND FIFTIETH CHAPTER How these young presumptuous disciples misunderstand this word "in," and of the deceits that follow thereon.

HERE BEGINNETH THE THREE AND FIFTIETH CHAPTER Of divers unseemly practices that follow them that lack the work of this book.

HERE BEGINNETH THE FOUR AND FIFTIETH CHAPTER How that by Virtue of this word a man is governed full wisely, and made full seemly as well in body as in soul.

HERE BEGINNETH THE FIVE AND FIFTIETH CHAPTER How they be deceived that follow the fervour of spirit in condemning of some without discretion.

HERE BEGINNETH THE SIX AND FIFTIETH CHAPTER SOME there be, that although they be not deceived with this error

HERE BEGINNETH THE SEVEN AND FIFTIETH CHAPTER How these young presumptuous disciples misunderstand this other word "up"; and of the deceits that follow thereon.

HERE BEGINNETH THE EIGHT AND FIFTIETH CHAPTER That a man shall not take ensample of Saint Martin and of Saint Stephen, for to strain his imagination bodily upwards in the time of his prayer.

HERE BEGINNETH THE NINE AND FIFTIETH CHAPTER That a man shall not take ensample at the bodily ascension of Christ, for to strain his imagination upwards bodily in the time of prayer: and that time, place, and body, these three should be forgotten in all ghostly working.

HERE BEGINNETH THE SIXTIETH CHAPTER That the high and the next way to heaven is run by desires, and not by paces of feet.

HERE BEGINNETH THE ONE AND SIXTIETH CHAPTER That all bodily thing is subject unto ghostly thing, and is ruled thereafter by the course of nature and not contrariwise.

HERE BEGINNETH THE TWO AND SIXTIETH CHAPTER How a man may wit when his ghostly work is beneath him or without him, and when it is even with him or within him, and when it is above him and under his God.

HERE BEGINNETH THE THREE AND SIXTIETH CHAPTER Of the powers of a soul in general, and how Memory in special is a principal power, comprehending in it all the other powers and all those things in the which they work.

HERE BEGINNETH THE FOUR AND SIXTIETH CHAPTER Of the other two principal powers Reason and Will; and of the work of them before sin and after.

HERE BEGINNETH THE FIVE AND SIXTIETH CHAPTER Of the first secondary power, Imagination by name; and of the works and the obedience of it unto Reason, before Sin and after.

HERE BEGINNETH THE SIX AND SIXTIETH CHAPTER SENSUALITY is a power of our soul

HERE BEGINNETH THE SEVEN AND SIXTIETH CHAPTER That whoso knoweth not the powers of a soul and the manner of her working, may lightly be deceived in understanding of ghostly words and of ghostly working; and how a soul is made a God in grace.

HERE BEGINNETH THE EIGHT AND SIXTIETH CHAPTER That nowhere bodily, is everywhere ghostly; and how our outer man calleth the word of this book nought.

HERE BEGINNETH THE NINE AND SIXTIETH CHAPTER How that a man's affection is marvelously changed in ghostly feeling of this nought, when it is nowhere wrought.

HERE BEGINNETH THE SEVENTIETH CHAPTER 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.

HERE BEGINNETH THE ONE AND SEVENTIETH CHAPTER That some may not come to feel the perfection of this work but in time of ravishing, and some may have it when they will, in the common state of man's soul.

HERE BEGINNETH THE TWO AND SEVENTIETH CHAPTER That a worker in this work should not deem nor think of another worker as he feeleth in himself.

HERE BEGINNETH THE THREE AND SEVENTIETH CHAPTER How that after the likeness of Moses, of Bezaleel, and of Aaron meddling them about the Ark of the Testament, we profit on three manners in this grace of contemplation, for this grace is figured in that Ark.

HERE BEGINNETH THE FOUR AND SEVENTIETH CHAPTER How that the matter of this book is never more read or spoken, nor heard read or spoken, of a soul disposed thereto without feeling of a very accordance to the effect of the same work: and of rehearsing of the same charge that is written in the prologue.

HERE BEGINNETH THE FIVE AND SEVENTIETH CHAPTER Of some certain tokens by the which a man may prove whether he be called of God to work in this work




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The Cloud of Unknowing
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