Hilton, Walter

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Image courtesy of Western Mystics blog

Walter Hilton (b.1340–45 – d.1396) was an English Augustinian monk whose writing became influential only after his death. To my mind, his Ladder of Perfection remains the greatest work in the late Middle Ages Christian mystical tradition; and is certainly of equal calibre to “The Imitation of Christ” by Thomas á Kempis. Some passages arguably even exceed the warmth and depth of the Imitation, especially Book 1 of Hilton’s work, where the chapters are generally shorter and pithy.

Hilton has been far less widely read that á Kempis, and bound copies are hard to come by, as it appears to be out of print other than very costly print on demand reprints. On the other hand, our online version here is bookmarked chapter by chapter, making for easy on-line reading. So rather than purchase, why not just read our version here a far more sensible proposition, especially as it is free to read or download.

Our online version here is bookmarked chapter by chapter, making for much easier on-line reading.

“But you should ever seek with great diligence in prayer that you might gain a spiritual feeling or sight of God. And that is, that you may know the wisdom of God, His endless might, His great goodness in Himself and through His creatures…so that you may know and feel with all saints what is the length of the endless being of God, the breadth of the wonderful charity and the goodness of God, the height of His almighty majesty and the bottomless depths of His wisdom. In knowing and spiritual feeling of these should be the exercise of a contemplative man. For in these may be understood the full knowing of all spiritual things.”

Walter Hilton


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