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224 pages, Paperback
First published January 1, 1375
(Walsh)In the fullness of nature’s ferny thickets lies in blood bedecked the devil’s due, the sanguine trident by whose three prongs are graceful forms corrupted. Witness, reader, transmutation—the passage, then, with beauty brimmed; the carcass, now, disfigured—sear the image of its ferrous rot into your memory’s deepest ravine so the coarse black mold of sin may escape it never. Begone, Satan, begone, Johnston, defile my text no longer.
And therefore be wary, for surely what beastly heart that presumeth for to touch the high mount of this work, it shall be beaten away with stones. Stones be hard and dry in their kind, and they hurt full sore where they hit. And surely such rude strainings be full hard fastened in fleshliness of bodily feeling, and full dry from any witting of grace; and they hurt full sore the silly soul, and make it fester in fantasy feigned of fiends.
So be careful. Surely anyone who presumes to approach this lofty mountain of contemplative prayer through sheer brute force will be driven off with stones. Stones as you know are hard, dry things that hurt terribly when they strike. Certainly morbid constraint will also hurt your health, for it is lacking the dew of grace and therefore completely dry. Besides it will do great harm to your foolish mind, leading it to flounder in diabolical illusions.
Some of these people are unbelievably deceived by the devil, who will even send them a sort of dew which they suppose to be the heavenly food of angels. It seems to come softly and delicately out of the skies, marvelously finding its way into their mouths. [p.110]