The majority of God’s elect lead their lives in this state, reformed only in faith.  They set their wills firmly against every sort of mortal sin.  They keep themselves in love and charity towards their neighbors and observe the commandments of God in so far as they know them.  When evil inclinations arise in their hearts to pride or envy or anger or lust or any other capital sin, they resist them and strive not to give way to them.  And if it should happen that they sin venially – as it were, against their wills through frailty or lack of knowledge – the consciences prick them so grievously that they cannot rest until they have been to confession and received forgiveness.  All who live in this manner are reformed in faith to the image of God.  And, if they live their lives in this state and are found in it at the hour of their deaths, they will be saved and will be fully reformed in the happiness of heaven even though they may never have felt any spiritual consolation or received any special grace of devotion all their lives.  If no soul were to be saved that had not been reformed in feeling and granted the devotion and spiritual consolation that are the lot of some, there would be few saved in comparison with the multitude lost.

From: The Scale of Perfection by Walter Hilton; translated from the Middle English, and with an introduction and notes, by Gerard Sitwell (London: Burns Oates, 1953), pp. 163-164.  The quoted passage is Book 2, Chapter 10.


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