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


Devout Reader,

According to promises made in several passages of the foregoing Instructions (especially in the second and third chapters of the third section of the Third Treatise), I here have provided for thee a sufficient number of exercises of holy Affections and Acts of the Will, &c.; in the first place beginning with devout exercises upon the Life and Sufferings, &c., of our Saviour, consisting of almost all sorts of Acts and Affections, to wit, of Contrition, Humiliation, Resignation, Love, &c.

2. Now though the said exercises be more sublime and perfect than some others that follow, to wit, those of Fear, Hatred of Sin, Remorse, Reflections upon the Quatuor Novissima, &c., yet have I placed them first, because they are a kind of exercise of Meditation (the lowest degree of internal Prayer), and may be proper enough for such well-disposed souls as by means of some unknown natural indisposition are incapable of practising Meditation, according to the common laborious method and rules. They may likewise be useful and proper for souls also that are advanced to the second degree of internal Prayer, viz. that of immediate Acts of the Will.

3. It was not needful to divide these into several distinct exercises, as those that follow. Therefore the devout soul that shall practise them may in each recollection make use of as many good affections or acts in them as will suffice; and in the following recollection begin where she last ended (observing the directions prescribed in the precedent instructions touching internal Prayer of immediate Acts of the Will).

4. Now it is not to be supposed that, in annexing these exercises, we have any intention to confine the readers and practisers of these directions unto them; for in practice each one is to make use of such acts as are most relishing to his spirit, whether composed by the exerciser himself, or found in this or any other book. And particularly the books most proper to be made use of for the Prayer of immediate Acts or Affections of the Will are, St. Augustine's Confessions, Soliloquies, &c.; the Imitation of Christ (especially the third book); the Divine Exercises of Eschius, in Latin, and likewise long since translated into English and enlarged by Doctor Peryn; the Actus Virtutum of Blasius Palma; Paradisus Animæ; the Igniarium Divini Amoris of Blosius, &c.

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