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  • Print publication year: 2013
  • Online publication date: July 2013

Walter Hilton on the Gift of Interpretation of Scripture


In the latter chapters of the second book of The Scale of Perfection, Walter Hilton enumerates the special graces that accompany the gift of reformation in faith and feeling, which he describes as the union of knowledge and love in their object, Christ, the perfection of meekness, and the clear sight of the ghostly eye. Among these graces, in chapter 43, he discusses the gift of interpretation of Scriptures:

Meknes presumiþ of soþrfastnes and noþinge of itself, and soþrfastnes troweþ wel on meknes, and so þei acorden wundre wel. Þan for as mikel as a soule of a lufere is made meke þur3 inspiracioun of grace bi openynge of þe gostly ei3e, and seep þat it is no3t of itself bot only hangiþ on be mercy and þe godenes of Ihesu, and lastendly is borun vp bi fauour and help of him only and trewly desirende þe presence of him, þerfore seeþ it Ihesu. For it seeþ soþfastnes of Holy Wryt wundirly schewde and opend, abofen study and trauail and resoun of mannus kyndly wit. And þat may wel be called þe felynge and þe perceifynge of Ihesu, for Ihesu is welle of wisdam, and by a litil heldynge of his wisdam into a clene soule he makip pe soule wis inow3 for to vndirstonden al Holy Writ. Not al at ones, in special biholdynge, but þur3 þat grace þe soule resceyuyþ a new abelnes and a gracious habite for to vndirstonden it specially whan it comiþ to mynde.