Although God is unnameable in and of Himself, nevertheless we name Him in terms of His works. And on the basis of these works we praise His magnificence.

We praise Him first in accordance with the fact that He is the Origin and Beginning of every creature, both physical and spiritual.

Secondly, somewhat more sublimely, we praise Him according as He stands in relation to those contemplating Him in His glory, viz., angelic and human minds, whom He beatifies by means of their contemplation of His ineffable beauty, which they behold as it is, and from whom He eliminates, in this way, all neediness.

Thirdly, still more sublimely, we praise Him according as He stands in relation to all creatures, whom, as Most High, He commands; and all creatures, both rational and non-rational, obey Him as their Majesty.

Fourthly, we praise Him in regard to His most noble creature, viz., man. We praise Him principally in regard to men who serve their Creator in love.

We praise Him with respect to the following: that the Father foreshows to His sons, still dwelling in this life that is subject to misery, many gifts of inner consolation.

These gifts are certain indicators of a future happiness, or bliss – indicators for men who, barely existing, are as sons of the Most High.

Fifthly, and lastly, we praise Him in regard to those sinners who have for a long time existed in sins, however great, and have protracted their wicked deeds.

Notwithstanding, when they beat upon the door of divine graciousness, the divine mercy gathers them into the bosom of its love.

And God mercifully forgives them for the sins committed – forgives them in such a way that from Him, against whom they have so abominably offended, they will one day obtain, more than do the innocent, quite abundant and quite precious benefits flowing down from Heaven.

For in these men the divine goodness is shown – shown from the initial manifestation of divinely diffused grace all the way down to the dregs of those existing in sins.

And these five praises are succinctly included in the following five words: “good,” “beautiful,” “lord,” “sweet,” “merciful.”

And after God has been praised with these words, one will be able, without fear, to ask for that which he intended to, viz., the full remission of the wicked acts that he has done.

Hugh of Balma (13th-14th Century): Mystical Theology, Via Purgativa, 12 (translated by Jasper Hopkins).