The Cloud of Unknowing, ed. by Evelyn Underhill, , at sacred-texts.com
How God will answer and purvey for them in spirit, that for business about His love list not answer nor purvey for themselves
AND truly an we will lustily conform our love and our living, inasmuch as in us is, by grace and by counsel, unto the love and the living of Mary, no doubt but He shall answer on the same manner now for us ghostly each day, privily in the hearts of all those that either say or think against us. I say not but that evermore some men shall say or think somewhat against us, the whiles we live in the travail of this life, as they did against Mary. But I say, an we will give no more heed to their saying nor to their p. 152 thinking, nor no more cease of our ghostly privy work for their words and their thoughts, than she did—I say, then, that our Lord shall answer them in spirit, if it shall be well with them that so say and so think, that they shall within few days have shame of their words and their thoughts.
And as He will answer for us thus in spirit, so will He stir other men in spirit to give us our needful things that belong to this life, as meat and clothes with all these other; if He see that we will not leave the work of His love for business about them. And this I say in confusion of their error, that say that it is not lawful for men to set them to serve God in contemplative life, but if they be secure before of their bodily necessaries. For they say, that God sendeth the cow, but not by the horn. And truly they say wrong of God, as they well know. For trust steadfastly, thou whatsoever that thou be, that truly turnest thee from the world unto God, that one of these p. 153 two God shall send thee, without business of thyself: and that is either abundance of necessaries, or strength in body and patience in spirit to bear need. What then recketh it, which man have? for all come to one in very contemplatives. And whoso is in doubt of this, either the devil is in his breast and reeveth him of belief, or else he is not yet truly turned to God as he should be; make he it never so quaint, nor never so holy reasons shew there again, whatnot ever that he be.
And therefore thou, that settest thee to be contemplative as Mary was, choose thee rather to be meeked under the wonderful height and the worthiness of God, the which is perfect, than under thine own wretchedness, the which is imperfect: that is to say, look that thy special beholding be more to the worthiness of God than to thy wretchedness. For to them that be perfectly meeked, no thing shall defail; neither bodily thing, nor ghostly. For p. 154 why? They have God, in whom is all plenty; and whoso hath Him—yea, as this book telleth—him needeth nought else in this life. p. 155