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


Dear Christian Reader,

There was intended (and accordingly promises were made in two or three passages of the precedent Treatises) that hereto should be adjoined an Appendix consisting of a few chapters of several subjects; as: 1. A brief description of the nature, faculties, and operations of an intellectual soul (the knowledge of which may be conceived very expedient for the unlearned, to enable them the better to comprehend many passages in this book, both touching temptations and prayer, &c.).2. A discourse to prove that it is no prejudice or disparagement to divine charity to love God for a reward, so that such a reward be the blessed enjoying of Himself, and not any inferior ends, pleasing to sense, &c.3. A protestation (which in one word is here made) against the least intention of reflecting with censure or disparagement upon the ways or doings of others (whether directors or disciples) in the matter of Prayer, or any other good practices taught or used by them, as considered in themselves, and much more against all thought of decrying any ceremonious or solemn observances practised in or by any Communities, &c. The venerable Author of these instructions being of a spirit too full of charity and spiritual prudence, and too adverse from so mean an ambition, as to seek the procuring an esteem to himself or his own writings by the depressing of others. So that whensoever he gives any advices or cautions touching such matters, his intention only is, that the purifying of the soul and the exalting of Prayer should not be prejudiced by the foresaid practices: the which, whether indeed they be prejudicial hereto or no, only superiors are to be judges.4. An answer to certain objections made by some, since the venerable Author's death, against the publishing of these instructions, especially touching Divine Inspirations.

These are the principal points that the author of this Abridgment purposed to annex here at the end of the Third Treatise. But certain pressing occasions obliging us to hasten the publishing of this present work, and likewise an unwillingness that it should at first swell to too great a proportion and bulk, for these reasons it was judged expedient to omit the said discourses, which to a charitable reader will not be necessary; or, however, to remit them to another impression, if we shall be encouraged thereto. Only notice may be taken, that for as much as concerns the last of these particular points, viz. the answer to such objections as have been made against the exposing indifferently to the world instructions intended only for a few solitary devout religious souls, and especially those that concern the duty of attending to and executing Divine Inspirations and calls, it was judged very expedient and almost necessary that it should not be omitted, but rather premised (as it is) in the beginning of the book.

I will detain thee no longer (devout Reader) but only to tell thee, that if by God's Grace these instructions prove instrumental to the teaching or promoting thee in pure Prayer, my hope is thou wilt not in thy prayers be unmindful of the poor unworthy author of this Abridgment.

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