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Chapter 1 Of Four Degrees Of Christian Men'S LIving, And Of The Course Of His Calling That This Book Was Made Unto, The CLoud Of Unknowing

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The Cloud of Unknowing, ed. by Evelyn Underhill, [1922]   Of four degrees of Christian men’s living; and of the course of his calling that this book was made unto.   GHOSTLY friend in God, thou shalt well understand that I find, in my boisterous beholding, four degrees and forms of Christian men’s living: and they be these, Common, Special, Singular, and Perfect. Three of these may be begun and ended in this life; and the fourth may by grace be begun here, but it shall ever last without end in the bliss of Heaven. And right as thou seest how they be set here in order each one after other; first Common, then Special, after Singular, and last Perfect, right so me thinketh that in the same order and in the same course our Lord hath of His great mercy called thee and led thee unto Him by the desire of thine heart. For first thou wottest well that when thou wert living in the common degree of Christian men’s living in company of thy worldly friends, it seemeth to me that the everlasting love of His Godhead, through the which He made thee and wrought thee when thou wert nought, and sithen bought thee with the price of His precious blood when thou wert lost in Adam, might not suffer thee to be so far from Him in form and degree of living. And therefore He kindled thy desire full graciously, and fastened by it a leash of longing, and led thee by it into a more special state and form of living, to be a servant among the special servants of His; where thou mightest learn to live more specially and more ghostly in His service than thou didst, or mightest do, in the common degree of living before. And what more? Yet it seemeth that He would not leave thee thus lightly, for love of His heart, the which He hath evermore had unto thee since thou wert aught: but what did He? Seest thou nought how Mistily and how graciously He hath privily pulled thee to the third degree and manner of living, the which is called Singular? In the which solitary form and manner of living, thou mayest learn to lift up the foot of thy love; and step towards that state and degree of living that is perfect, and the last state of all.

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Of Four Degrees Of Christian Men'S Living, And Of The Course Of His Calling That This Book Was Made Unto

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1 Ben N = ""The Cloud of Unknowing" is a book written in the Middle Ages by an unknown author, probably a priest. It deals with the practice of communing with God in contemplative prayer."
2 Ben N = "Evelyn Underhill is an English mystic who lived from 1875 - 1941. She is the author of several books on prayer and spiritual practice. She is NOT the author of this work, "The Cloud of Unknowing," only the editor of this version."
3 Cary W = "We have by the gifts of faith and grace in Christ to lay hold of all His glorious characteristics and insight, with perfection being a goal that begun here, shall ever remain and increase forever."
4 Ben N = "God has placed in each of us a deep longing of the soul to be re-united with Him, our source and Creator. "
5 Ben N = "We cannot for long be contented with the pleasures and distractions of the world, for we are continuously called to seek the deep spiritual peace and contentment that can only come from God."
6 Ben N = "The author indicates four ascending stages of spiritual life, the last and highest of which is a Christ-like state of perfection only reached by the Grace of God."