William Langland ‘The Visions of Piers Plowman – Passus 1’

The Lady Holy Church continues her teaching, telling the story about Lucifer’s downfall. His fate is shared by all sinners, but those who love Truth will go to heaven. The narrator asks for more explanation because he has no “kynde knowynge”, which the translator conveys as “natural knowledge”, the kind of knowledge that comes from instinct. “How is faith formed?”, he asks. The lady chides him for being dull and unlearned. The natural knowledge in your heart means that you love God more than yourself and abstain from sin. And the only way of communication between people and God is Love, who is like the mayor, an intermediary between citizens and the king. Christ, forgiving his executioners, is the utmost example of love. Then the lady says her goodbye.


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