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Holy Wisdom Or Directions For The Prayer Of Contemplation by Ven. F. Augustine Baker

CHAPTER I. Mortification properly is not of the senses or cognoscitive facultiesà

§ 1. Mortification properly is not of the senses or cognoscitive faculties, but of the affections.

§§ 2, 3. The special mortifications treated of are: 1. of the principal cardinal passions; 2. of the affections of the superior will.

§ 4. The first passion is love.

1. Intending now consequently to treat of the special kinds of mortifications, those especially which are most proper for a religious contemplative life, I take this as a ground that, though mortifications do regard the whole soul with all the faculties of it (and consequently the whole person) universally depraved, yet, precisely and exactly speaking, it is only the affective part of the soul that is immediately mortified, and only in consequence thereto the knowing faculties or organs. For though ignorance be a defect in tho soul, yet we do not say that knowledge or faith is properly a mortification, though it be a cure of that defect. But an inordinate love to knowledge unnecessarily, which is curiosity, deserves and is a deordination proper and fit to be mortified. The like we may say of the outward senses; for it is not seeing or tasting, &c., that are to be mortified, but the inordinate affections to those objects which delight the eyes or taste, &c. Therefore, my intention is to distinguish the several sorts of mortification according to the several passions or affections of the soul, both as to the sensitive and rational portion of it, and to refer thereto the respective mortifications of the several senses (without speaking distinctly and separately of them, which would force me to repeat over again the same advices, when I came to treat of the mortification of affections).

2. This, therefore, shall be the order according to which I will treat of the mortification of affections, viz.: In the first place, I will begin with the sensitive portion of the soul, in which there are four principal passions, comprehending all the rest, which are to be mortified, viz.: 1. Love, to which desire and joy have relation, being only a progress of love. Now the object of love being either persons or things, and those either material or spiritual, there are many virtues required to the mortifying (that is, the rectifying) of it, as against the love of riches, poverty; against impure delectations, chastity; against the pleasures of taste, temperance; against excessive (although not unclean) love to persons, friends, &c., the love of God and spiritual things, &c. But my purpose here is only to treat of that universal virtue which is the cure of all inordinate loves, to wit, the love of God, and in Him, and for His sake only, of our brethren; and of purity of intention (which in substance are the same); and because the temptations about taste are such as adhere to the most spiritual persons, daily and unavoidably assaulting them, I will add some instructions about our behaviour in refection; 2. the next passion is Anger. (Some instead hereof do put in Hope; but howsoever, for our present purpose, the passion of anger deserves more to be considered by us, for hope may be referred to desire or love.) Now the remedy or mortification proper against anger is the virtue of patience; 3. the third passion in sensitive nature is Fear; 4. and the fourth is Sorrow. And because it is not needful (as to our present purpose) to divide these two, since among internal livers it is fear that is the most tormenting passion, and that which causes excess of sorrow; therefore the same remedies will serve to cure both; for which purpose I will discourse largely concerning scrupulosity, the causes and remedies of it, &c.

3. In the next place, as to the superior portion of the rational soul (besides the same affections of love, anger, fear, and sorrow, which in the inferior soul are called passions, and having the same objects, &c. are to be comprised in them), there are more particularly two distempers in the will, to wit, pride or self-esteem, the remedy whereof is humility; and next, obstinacy and a violent retaining of liberty, to which the proper remedy opposed is obedience. As for a love of superfluous knowledge or curiosity, enough hath been said touching the mortifying of it, where we treated of the regulating of the studies of religious persons.

4. In this order, therefore, I will now treat of the passions or affections to be mortified, and the manner how to do it by the virtues opposed, beginning with the sensitive passions and so proceeding to the special inordinate affections in the will. First, therefore, of inordinate love either to persons or things, and the remedy of it, which is Divine charity.

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