Sacred Texts  Christianity  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

The Cloud of Unknowing, ed. by Evelyn Underhill, [1922], at





SENSUALITY is a power of our soul, recking and reigning in the bodily wits, through the which we have bodily knowing and feeling of all bodily creatures, whether they be pleasing or unpleasing. And it hath two parts: one through the which it beholdeth to the needfulness of our body, another through the which it serveth to the lusts of the bodily wits. For this same power is it, that grumbleth when the body lacketh the needful things unto it, and that in the taking of the need stirreth us to take more than needeth in feeding p. 283 and furthering of our lusts: that grumbleth in lacking of pleasing creatures, and lustily is delighted in their presence: that grumbleth in presence of misliking creatures, and is lustily pleased in their absence. Both this power and the thing that it worketh in be contained in the Memory.

Before ere man sinned was the Sensuality so obedient unto the Will, unto the which it is as it were servant, that it ministered never unto it any unordained liking or grumbling in any bodily creature, or any ghostly feigning of liking or misliking made by any ghostly enemy in the bodily wits. But now it is not so: for unless it be ruled by grace in the Will, for to suffer meekly and in measure the pain of the original sin, the which it feeleth in absence of needful comforts and in presence of speedful discomforts, and thereto also for to restrain it from lust in presence of needful comforts, and from lusty plesaunce in the absence p. 284 of speedful discomforts: else will it wretchedly and wantonly welter, as a swine in the mire, in the wealths of this world and the foul flesh so much that all our living shall be more beastly and fleshly, than either manly or ghostly. p. 285

Next: Chapter 67: That whoso knoweth not the powers of a soul and the manner of her working, may lightly be deceived in understanding of ghostly words and of ghostly working; and how a soul is made a God in grace