John of the Cross begins his treatise by comparing spiritual neophytes to children, as a way of showing why the dark night is necessary.
For a clearer understanding… of how truly imperfect beginners are, insofar as they practice virtue readily because of the satisfaction attached to it, we will describe, using the seven capital vices as our basis, some of the numerous imperfections beginners commit. Thus we will see clearly how very similar their deeds are to those of children. The benefits of the dark night will become evident, since it cleanses and purifies the soul of all these imperfections.
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