Editorial Notes This electronic edition of 'The Twelve Degrees of Humility and Pride' has been prepared from the 1929 translation by Barton R. V. Mills, M. A


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The heads of the following book. (1)
XII. A permanent attitude of bodily; and spiritual prostration.
XI. The speech of a monk should be short, sensible and in a subdued tone.
X. Abstinence from frequent and light laughter.
IX. Reticence, until asked for his opinion.
VIII. Observance of the general rule of the monastery.
VII. Belief in and declaration of one's inferiority to others.
VI. Admission and acknowledgment of one's own unworthiness and useless- ness.
V. Confession of sins.
IV. Patient endurance of hardship and severity in a spirit of obedience.
III. Obedient submission to superiors.

II. Forbearance to press personal desire.
I. Constant abstinence from sin for fear of God.
These degrees of humility are set out in are in ascending scale. The first two stages must be passed outside the monastic cloister. He who has so risen may thus in the third degree, make his submission to his superior.

1. These twelve degrees of humility are taken from the seventh chapter of the Rule of St. Benedict, the title of which is 'Concerning Humility.' Its second paragraph runs thus: 'Brethren, if we wish to arrive at the highest point of humility and speedily to reach that heavenly exaltation to which we can only ascend by the humility of this present life, we must by our ever-ascending actions erect such a ladder as that which Jacob beheld in his dream by which the Angels appeared to him descending and ascending. This descent and ascent signifieth nothing else than that we descend by self-exaltation and ascend by humility. And the ladder thus erected is our life in the world which if the heart be humbled, is lifted up by the Lord to heaven. The sides of the same ladder we understand to be our body and soul, in which our divine vocation hath placed various degrees of humility or discipline which we must ascend.
This 'scala' or 'ladder' as constructed by St. Bernard, exhibits the plan and purpose of the treatise. The diagram appended is an attempt to show how, in his opinion, the degrees of humility and of pride correspond to and counterbalance each other.

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