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The Scale (or Ladder) of Perfection [NOOK Book]

Overview

Known as the first book of mysticism to be written in the English language, Hilton's Scale of Perfection describes the ascent of the human soul from sin to perfection. Hilton suggests that all humankind should reform from their sinful souls and embrace a life of ascetic practice, firm faith, and godly contemplation. The reforming of the soul takes time and is only possible through the grace of God. Scale of Perfection contains a series of meditations on the seven deadly sins to help Christians recognize the areas...
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The Scale (or Ladder) of Perfection

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Overview

Known as the first book of mysticism to be written in the English language, Hilton's Scale of Perfection describes the ascent of the human soul from sin to perfection. Hilton suggests that all humankind should reform from their sinful souls and embrace a life of ascetic practice, firm faith, and godly contemplation. The reforming of the soul takes time and is only possible through the grace of God. Scale of Perfection contains a series of meditations on the seven deadly sins to help Christians recognize the areas of sin in their lives. Hilton hopes that, upon recognition, Christians will reject their immoral ways and repent of them. The metaphor of a disciple journeying to Jerusalem is frequently used to represent the process of the soul reforming in faith. Upon reaching Jerusalem, the disciple is filled with an overwhelming sense of peace; likewise, a soul properly reformed will, at the end of its journey, reach spiritual peace in the contemplation of God's perfect love.

Emmalon Davis
CCEL Staff Writer

This edition features an artistic cover, a new promotional introduction, an index of scripture references, links for scripture references to the appropriate passages, and a hierarchical table of contents which makes it possible to navigate to any part of the book with a minimum of page turns.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940013051485
  • Publisher: Christian Classics Ethereal Library
  • Publication date: 8/25/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Walter Hilton - (d. 1396), English mystic
Walter Hilton was an innovator. He was the first man to write a book of mysticism in the English language. At that time, Latin was the language of the church--although Wycliffe and his Lollards had worked hard to circulate manuscripts of an English Bible.

Hilton urged holiness. Every Christian is called to overcome sin, he said. As he saw it, this would come through ascetic practice and contemplation of God. His Ladder of Perfection sets out to describe the steps by which a soul attains the new Jerusalem. According to Hilton, the soul is formed in the image of God, first by faith, then in both faith and feeling. After passing through a dark night (in which humility and love stand it in good stead) the soul learns a longing "to love and see and feel Jesus and spiritual things." When true love comes, vice is destroyed and Jesus becomes the life of the soul. A man is now able to see Christ working in all things.

Curiously enough, this man who set himself up as a guide for others admitted that he had never experienced the familiarity with the Divine that he described in his writings. This has not kept mystics from embracing his system. It was a fairly common outline of spirituality in Medieval Europe.

Little is known about Hilton, although there is evidence that he trained as a canon lawyer and spent years as a hermit before joining the Augustinian friars around 1386. He was well educated as his many quotes show. He translated Latin works into English and quoted Latin scripture in his book, with his own English translations.

Walter Hilton died March 24, 1396. His books, printed about a hundred years later, influenced 15th and sixteenth century mysticism.
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