To record the woes of authors and to discourse de libris fatalibus seems deliberately to court the displeasure of that fickle mistress who presides over the destinies of writers and their works. Fortune awaits the aspiring scribe with many wiles, and oft treats him sorely. If she enrich any, it is but to make them subject of her sport. If she raise others, it is but to pleasure herself with their ruins.
raise their boldness and mourn their fate.
The first author we record whose works proved fatal to him was Michael Molinos, a Spanish theologian born in 1627, a pious and devout man who resided at Rome and acted as confessor. He published in 1675 The Spiritual Manual, which was translated from Italian into Latin, and together with a treatise on The Daily Communion was printed with this title: A Spiritual Manual, releasing the soul and leading it along the interior way to the acquiring the perfection of contemplation and the rich treasure of internal peace. In the preface Molinos writes: "Mystical theology is not a science of the imagination, but of feelings; we do not understand it by study, but we receive it from heaven. Therefore in this little work I have received far greater assistance from the infinite goodness of God, who has deigned to inspire me, than from the thoughts which the reading of books has suggested to me." The object of the work is to teach that the pious mi