Thomas à Kempis

For five hundred years, this gentle book, filled with the spirit of the love of God, has brought understanding and comfort to millions of readers in over fifty languages, and provided them with a source of heart-felt personal prayer. These meditations on the life and teachings of Jesus, written in times even more troubled and dangerous than our own, have become second only to the Bible as a guide and inspiration.

He that follows Me, walks not in darkness, says the Lord. These are the words of Christ, by which we can be admonished, how we ought to imitate His life and manners, if we would truly be enlightened and delivered from all blindness of heart. . . .

Thus the monk Thomas Haemerken, known as Thomas a Kempis, began his work of meditation and devotion. Drawing on his knowledge of the Bible and his vision of Christ in man, he created a beacon of spiritual insight and inspiration which has cast its warm light down half a thousand years.


In 1392, when Thomas Haemerken was twelve years old, the Church was wracked by dissension and corruption. Popes and anti-Popes wrangled about the papal chair. Entire nations squabbled about who was the rightful spiritual leader. The faithful were confused if not thoroughly disillusioned.

The Hundred Years War was still being waged. The horror of the Black Death was recent history and would never be forgotten. Peasant revolts against rising taxes were spreading in terrifying proportions.

But then, as now, a few rays of hope glimmered through the darkness of unrest, rebellion, disillusion and corruption. A few years earlier, a Dutch street preacher named Gerhard Groote called the people in Deventer, Holland, back to God and the Bible. He was not a priest, but as he trudged through the streets and preached, the townspeople let their meals get cold to run out and listen. "Turn away from sin, live like Jesus, read God's Word," he told them.

Some of his followers joined together to study the Bible and to copy it for others. Soon they became known as the Brothers of the Common Life. Humble people, they patterned their lives after the early Christians and especially after Jesus Himself.

In despair with the state of the world, the parents of Thomas Haemerken decided to send their boy to live with the Brothers in Deventer. The blacksmith father and schoolteacher mother had raised Thomas to be a pious boy, to struggle with sin, and they were concerned for his future.

At first, Thomas à Kempis (so called because he came from Kempen), thought that the new life style of the Brotherhood would bring him salvation, but soon he learned that it was of no help to copy a pattern of good works. He must trust in Christ alone for his salvation.

He seemed to hear Jesus say to him, "Let the worthless one draw near to Me, that he may be made worthy, the wicked one that he may be converted, the imperfect one that he may be made perfect, let all draw near to Me, and taste the living waters of salvation .... "

When a monastery was begun at Zwolle by those associated with the Brotherhood, Thomas à Kempis went there to live as a monk. It is not know exactly when Of the Imitation of Christ was written. Some scholars even question whether Thomas à Kempis wrote it, since the earliest copies are unsigned. But most believe that he did write it, in the 1420's, during some of the most agonizing experiences of his life.

Angry citizenry had evicted the monks from the monastery after the Pope had forbidden the sacraments to the people. In the wake of the violence, Thomas à Kempis had to stand by and watch, as his brother, also a monk, slowly wasted away and died.

Of the Imitation of Christ has been described as "the most influential book in Christian literature." It has been translated into more than fifty languages. Few books have found such universal acceptance among both Protestants and Catholics. Perhaps because its language is very simple and forcefully direct. Or because Scripture is woven so intricately into every page. One scholar claims that more than a thousand Bible passages are alluded to in the text.

Or it may be so popular because of such quotations as "God takes into account not so much the thing we do as the love that went to the doing of it." At any rate, this powerful little book has become part of the lives of millions who refer to it constantly for guidance, consolation, spiritual strength and inspiration.


The First Book

Admonitions, Useful for a Spiritual Life

Of the Imitation of Christ, and Contempt of all the vanities of the World

'HE that follows Me, walks not in darkness,'[1] says the Lord. These are the words of Christ, by which we are admonished how we ought to imitate His life and manners, if we will be truly enlightened, and be delivered from all blindness of heart. Let therefore our chief endeavor be, to meditate upon the life of Jesus Christ.

The doctrine of Christ exceeds all the doctrines of holy men; and he that has the Spirit, will find therein a hidden manna. But it happens that many who often hear the Gospel of Christ, are yet but little affected, because they are void of the Spirit of Christ. But whoever would fully and feelingly understand the words of Christ, must endeavor to conform his life wholly to the life of Christ.

What will it avail you to dispute profoundly of the Trinity, if you are void of humility, and are thereby displeasing to the Trinity? Surely high words do not make a man holy and just; but a virtuous life makes him dear to God. I would rather feel contrition, than understand the definition thereof. If you knew the whole Bible by heart, and the sayings of all the philosophers, what would all that profit you without the love of God[2] and without grace? Vanity of vanities, and all is vanity,[3] except to love God, and to serve Him only. This is the highest wisdom, by contempt of the world to tend towards the kingdom of Heaven.

Vanity therefore it is to seek after perishing riches, and to trust in them. It is also vanity to hunt after honors, and to climb to high degree. It is vanity to follow the desires of the flesh, and to labor for that for which you must afterwards suffer grievous punishment. Vanity it is, to wish to live long, and to be careless to live well. It is vanity to mind only this present life, and not to foresee those things which are to come. It is vanity to set your love on that which speedily passes away, and not to hasten to where everlasting joy abides.

Call often to mind that proverb, 'The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.'[4] Endeavor therefore to withdraw your heart from the love of visible things, and to turn yourself to the invisible. For they that follow their sensuality, stain their own consciences, and lose the favor of God.


Of the Humble Conceit of Ourselves

ALL men naturally desire to know;[5] but what avails knowledge without the fear of God? Surely, a humble laborer that serves God is better than a proud philosopher who neglecting himself labors to understand the course of the heavens. Whoever knows himself well, grows more mean in his own conceit, and delights not in the praises of men. If I understood all things in the world, and were not in charity, what would that help me in the sight of God, who will judge me according to my deeds?

Cease from an inordinate desire of knowing, for therein is much distraction and deceit. The learned are well-pleased to seem so to others, and to be accounted wise.[6] There be many things, which to know does little or nothing profit the soul: And he is very unwise, that is intent upon other things than those that may avail him for his salvation. Many words do not satisfy the soul; but a good life comforts the mind, and a pure conscience gives great assurance in the sight of God.

How much the more you know, and how much the better you understand, so much the more grievously shall you therefore be judged, unless your life is also more holy. Be not therefore extolled in your own mind for any art or science, but rather let the knowledge given you, make you more humble and cautious. If you think that you understand and know much; know also that there be many things more which you know not. Affect not to be overwise, but rather acknowledge your own ignorance.[7] Why will you prefer yourself before others, sith there be many more learned, and more skillful in the Scripture than you are? If you will know or learn anything profitably, desire to be unknown, and to be little esteemed.

The highest and most profitable reading, is the true knowledge and consideration of ourselves. It is great wisdom and perfection to esteem nothing of ourselves, and to think always well and highly of others. If you should see another openly sin, or commit some heinous offense, yet ought you not to esteem the better of yourself; for you know not how long you shall he able to remain in good estate. We are all frail,[8] but you ought to esteem none more frail than yourself.


Of the Doctrine of Truth

HAPPY is he whom truth by itself does teach,[9] not by figures and words that pass away; but as it is in itself. Our own opinion and our own sense often deceive us, and they discern but little. What avails it to cavil and dispute much about dark and hidden things,[10] whereas for being ignorant of them we shall not be so much as reproved at the day of judgment? It is a great folly to neglect the things that are profitable and necessary, and give our minds to that which is curious and hurtful: we have eyes and see not.[11]

And what have we to do with genus and species, the dry notions of logicians? He to whom the Eternal Word speaks, is delivered from a world of unnecessary conceptions. From that one Word are all things, and all speak that one; and this is the Beginning, which also speaks unto us. No man without that Word understands or judges rightly. He to whom all things are one, he who reduces all things to one, and sees all things in one; may enjoy a quiet mind, and remain peaceable in God. O God, who are the truth, make me one with You in everlasting charity. It is tedious to me often to read and hear many things: In You is all that I would have and can desire. Let all doctors hold their peace; let all creatures be silent in Your sight; speak You alone unto me.

The more a man is united within himself, and becomes inwardly simple and pure, so much the more and higher things does he understand without labor; because he receives intellectual light from above.[12] A pure, sincere, and stable spirit is not distracted, though it be employed in many works; because it works all to the honor of God, and inwardly being still and quiet, seeks not itself in anything it does. Who hinders and troubles you more than the unmortified affections of your own heart? A good and godly man disposes within himself beforehand those things which he is outwardly to act; Neither do they draw him according to the desires of an inordinate inclination, but he orders them according to the prescript of right reason. Who has a greater combat than he that labors to overcome himself? This ought to be our endeavor, to conquer ourselves, and daily to wax stronger, and to make a further growth in holiness.

All perfection in this life has some imperfection mixed with it; and no knowledge of ours is without some darkness. A humble knowledge of yourself is a surer way to God than a deep search after learning; Yet learning is not to be blamed, nor the mere knowledge of any thing whatsoever to be disliked, it being good in itself, and ordained by God; but a good conscience and a virtuous life is always to be preferred before it. But because many endeavor rather to get knowledge than to live well; therefore they are often deceived, and reap either none, or but little fruit.

O, if men bestowed as much labor in the rooting out of vices, and planting of virtues, as they do in moving of questions, neither would there so much hurt be done, nor so great scandal be given in the world, nor so much looseness be practiced in Religious Houses. Truly, at the day of judgment we shall not be examined what we have read, but what we have done,[13] not how well we have spoken, but how religiously we have lived. Tell me now, where are all those Doctors and Masters, with whom you were well acquainted, whilst they lived and flourished in learning? Now others possess their livings and perhaps do scarce ever think of them. In their lifetime they seemed something, but now they are not spoken of.

O, how quickly does the glory of the world pass away![14] O that their life had been answerable to their learning! then would their study and reading have been to good purpose. How many perish by reason of vain learning[15] in this world, who take little care of the serving of God: And because they rather choose to be great than humble, therefore they become vain in their imaginations.[16] He is truly great, who is great in charity. He is truly great, who is little in himself, and who makes no account of any height of honor.[17] He is truly wise, who accounts all earthly things as dung, that he may gain Christ.[18] And he is truly learned, who does the will of God, and forsakes his own will.


Of Wisdom and Forethought in our Actions

WE must not give ear to every saying or suggestion,[19] but ought warily and leisurely to ponder things according to the will of God. But alas; such is our weakness, that we often rather believe and speak evil of others than good. Those that are perfect men do not easily give credit to every thing one tells them; for they know that human frailty is prone to evil,[20] and very subject to fail in words.[21]

It is great wisdom not to be rash in your proceedings,[22] nor to stand stiffly in your own conceits; As also not to believe every thing which you hear, nor presently to relate again to others[23] what you have heard or do believe. Consult with him that is wise and conscientious, and seek to be instructed by a better than yourself, rather than to follow your own inventions.[24] A good life makes a man wise according to God,[25] and gives him experience in many things.[26] The more humble a man is in himself, and the more subject unto God; so much the more prudent shall he be in all his affairs, and enjoy greater peace and quiet of heart.


Of the Reading of Holy Scriptures

TRUTH, not eloquence, is to be sought for in Holy Scripture. Each part of the Scripture is to be read with the same Spirit wherewith it was written.[27] We should rather search after our spiritual profit in the Scriptures, than subtlety of speech. We ought to read plain and devout books as willingly as high and profound. Let not the authority of the writer offend you, whether he be of great or small learning; but let the love of pure truth draw you to read.[28] Search not who spoke this or that, but mark what is spoken.

Men pass away, but the truth of the Lord remains for ever.[29] God speaks unto us sundry ways without respect of persons.[30] Our own curiosity often hinders us in reading of the Scriptures, when as we will examine and discuss that which we should rather pass over without more ado. If you desire to reap profit, read with humility, simplicity, and faithfulness; nor ever desire the estimation of learning. Inquire willingly, and hear with silence the words of holy men; dislike not the parables of the Elders, for they are not recounted without cause.[31]


Of Inordinate Affections

WHENEVER a man desires any thing inordinately, he is presently disquieted in himself. The proud and covetous can never rest. The poor and humble in spirit live together in all peace. The man that is not perfectly dead to himself, is quickly tempted and overcome in small and trifling things. The weak in spirit, and he that is yet in a manner carnal and prone to sensible things, can hardly withdraw himself altogether from earthly desires: And therefore he is often afflicted, when he goes about to withdraw himself from them; and easily falls into indignation, when any opposition is made against him.

And if he has followed therein his appetite, he is presently disquieted with remorse of conscience; for that he yielded to his passion, which profits him nothing to the obtaining of the peace he sought for. True quietness of heart therefore is gotten by resisting our passions, not by obeying them. There is then no peace in the heart of a carnal man, nor in him that is addicted to outward things, but in the spiritual and fervent man.


Of flying Vain Hope and Pride

HE is vain that puts his trust in man,[32] or creatures. Be not ashamed to serve others for the love of Jesus Christ; nor to be esteemed poor in this world. Presume not upon yourself, but place your hope in God.[33] Do what lies in your power and God will assist your good affection. Trust not in your own knowledge,[34] nor in the subtlety of any living creature; but rather in the grace of God, who helps the humble, and humbles those that are proud.

Glory not in wealth if you have it, nor in friends because potent; but in God who gives all things, and above all desires to give you Himself. Extol not yourself for the height of your stature or beauty of your person, which may be disfigured and destroyed with a little sickness. Take not pleasure in your natural gifts, or wit, lest thereby you displease God, to whom appertains all the good whatsoever you have by nature.

Esteem not yourself better than others,[35] lest perhaps in the sight of God, who knows what is in man, you be accounted worse than they. Be not proud of well-doing,[36] for the judgment of God is far different from the judgment of men, and that often offends Him which pleases them. If there be any good in you, believe that there is much more in others, that so you may conserve humility within you. It is no prejudice unto you to debase yourself under all men: but it is very prejudicial to you to prefer yourself before any one man. The humble enjoy continued peace, but in the hear of the proud is envy, and frequent indignation.


That too much Familiarity is to be shunned

LAY not your heart open to every one; but treat of your affairs with the wise, and such as fear God.[37] Converse not much with young people and strangers.[38] Flatter not the rich: neither do you appear willingly before great personages. Keep company with the humble and plain ones, with the devout and virtuous; and confer with them of those things that may edify. Be not familiar with any woman; but in general commend all good women to God. Desire to be familiar with God alone and His Angels, and avoid the acquaintance of men.

We must have charity towards all, but familiarity with all is not expedient. Sometimes it falls out, that a person unknown to us, is much esteemed of, from the good report given by others; whose presence notwithstanding is not grateful to the eyes of the beholders. We think sometimes to please others by our company, and we rather distaste them with those bad qualities which they discover in us.


Of Obedience and Subjection

IT is a great matter to live in obedience, to be under a superior, and not to be at our own disposing. It is much safer to obey, than to govern. Many live under obedience, rather for necessity than for charity; such are discontented, and do easily repine. Neither can they attain to freedom of mind, unless they willingly and heartily put themselves under obedience for the love of God. Go whither you will, you shall find no rest, but in humble subjection under the government of a superior. The imagination and change of places have deceived many.

True it is, that every one willingly does that which agrees with his own sense, and is apt to affect those most that are of his own mind; But if God be amongst us, we must sometimes cease to adhere to our own opinion for the sake of peace. Who is so wise that he can fully know all things; Be not therefore too confident in your own opinion; but be willing to hear the judgment of others. If that which you think be not amiss, and yet you part with it for God, and follow the opinion of another, it shall be better for you.

I have often heard, that it is safer to hear and take counsel, than to give it. It may also fall out, that each one's opinion may be good; but to refuse to yield to others when reason or a special cause requires it, is a sign of pride and stiffness.


Of avoiding Superfluity in Words

FLY the tumultuousness of the world as much as you can;[39] for the talk of worldly affairs is a great hindrance, although they be discoursed of with sincere intention; For we are quickly defiled, and enthralled with vanity. Oftentimes I could wish that I had held my peace when I have spoken; and that I had not been in company. Why do we so willingly speak and talk one with another, when notwithstanding we seldom return to silence without hurt of conscience?[40] The cause why we so willingly talk, is for that by discoursing one with another, we seek to receive comfort one of another, and desire to ease our mind overwearied with sundry thoughts: And we very willingly talk and think of those things which we most love or desire; or of those which we feel most contrary unto us.

But alas, oftentimes in vain, and to no end; for this outward comfort is the cause of no small loss of inward and divine consolation. Therefore we must watch and pray, lest our time pass away idly. If it be lawful and expedient for you to speak, speak those things that may edify. An evil custom and neglect of our own good does give too much liberty to inconsiderate speech. Yet religious discourses of spiritual things do greatly further our spiritual growth, especially when persons of one mind and spirit be gathered together in God.[41]


Of the obtaining of Peace, and Zealous Desire of Progress in Grace

WE might enjoy much peace, if we would not busy ourselves with the words and deeds of other men, with things which appertain nothing to our charge. How can he abide long in peace, who thrusts himself into the cares of others, who seeks occasions abroad, who little or seldom recollects himself within his own breast? Blessed are the single-hearted; for they shall enjoy much peace.

What is the reason, why some of the Saints were so perfect and contemplative? Because they labored to mortify themselves wholly to all earthly desires; and therefore they could with their whole heart fix themselves upon God, and be free for holy retirement. We are too much led by our passions, and too solicitous for transitory things. We also seldom overcome any one vice perfectly, and are not inflamed with a fervent desire to grow better every day; and therefore we remain cold and lukewarm.

If we were perfectly dead unto ourselves, and not entangled within our own breasts; then should we be able to taste divine things, and to have some experience of heavenly contemplation. The greatest and indeed the whole impediment is for that we are not disentangled from our passions and lusts, neither do we endeavor to enter into that path of perfection, which the Saints have walked before us; and when any small adversity befalls us, we are too quickly dejected, and turn ourselves to human comforts.

If we would endeavor like men of courage to stand in the battle, surely we should feel the favorable assistance of God from Heaven. For He who gives us occasion to fight, to the end we may get the victory, is ready to succor those that fight manfully, and do trust in His grace. If we esteem our progress in religious life to consist only in some exterior observances, our devotion will quickly be at an end. But let us lay the ax to the root, that being freed from passions, we may find rest to our souls.

If every year we would root out one vice, we should sooner become perfect men. But now oftentimes we perceive it goes contrary, and that we were better and purer at the beginning of our conversion, than after many years of our profession. Our fervor and profiting should increase daily; but now it is accounted a great matter, if a man can retain but some part of his first zeal. If we would but a little force ourselves at the beginning, then should we be able to perform all things afterwards with ease and delight.

It is a hard matter to leave off that to which we are accustomed, but it is harder to go against our own wills. But if you do not overcome little and easy things, how will you overcome harder things? Resist your inclination in the very beginning, and unlearn evil customs, lest perhaps by little and little they draw you to greater difficulty. O if you did but consider how much inward peace unto yourself, and joy unto others, you should procure by demeaning yourself well, I suppose you would be more careful of your spiritual progress.


Of the Profit of Adversity

IT is good that we have sometimes some troubles and crosses; for they often make a man enter into himself, and consider that he is here in banishment, and ought not to place his trust in any worldly thing. It is good that we be sometimes contradicted, and that there be an evil or a lessening conceit had of us; and this, although we do and intend well. These things help often to the attaining of humility, and defend us from vain glory: for then we chiefly seek God for our inward witness, when outwardly we be contemned by men, and when there is no credit given unto us.

And therefore a man should settle himself so fully in God, that he need not to seek many comforts of men. When a good man is afflicted, tempted, or troubled with evil thoughts; then he understands better the great need he has of God, without whom he perceives he can do nothing that is good. Then also he sorrows, laments, and prays, by reason of the miseries he suffers. Then he is weary of living longer, and wishes that death would come, that he might be dissolved and be with Christ. Then also he well perceives, that perfect security and full peace cannot be had in this world.


Of resisting Temptation

SO long as we live in this world we cannot be without tribulation and temptation. According as it is written in Job, 'The life of man upon earth is a life of temptation.'[42] Every one therefore ought to be careful about his temptations, and to watch in prayer, lest the devil find an advantage to deceive him; who never sleeps, but goes about seeking whom he may devour. No man is so perfect and holy, but he has sometimes temptations; and altogether without them we cannot be.

Nevertheless temptations are often very profitable to us, though they be troublesome and grievous; for in them a man is humbled, purified, and instructed. All the Saints passed through many tribulations and temptations, and profited thereby. And they that could not bear temptations, became reprobate, and fell away. There is no order so holy, nor place so secret, where there be not temptations, or adversities.

There is no man that is altogether free from temptations whilst he lives on earth: for in ourselves is the root thereof, being born with inclination to evil. When one temptation or tribulation goes away, another comes; and we shall ever have something to suffer, because we are fallen from the state of our felicity. Many seek to fly temptations, and do fall more grievously into them. By flight alone we cannot overcome, but by patience and true humility we become stronger than all out enemies.

He that only avoids them outwardly, and does not pluck them up by the roots, shall profit little; yea temptations will the sooner return unto him, and he shah feel himself in a worse case than before. By little and little, and by patience with longsuffering, through God's help, you shall more easily overcome, than with violence and your own importunity. Often take counsel in temptations, and deal not roughly with him that is tempted; but give him comfort, as you would wish to be done to yourself.

The beginning of all evil temptations is inconstancy of mind, and small confidence in God. For as a ship without a helm is tossed to and fro with the waves; so the man who is remiss, and apt to leave his purpose, is many ways tempted. Fire tries iron, and temptation a just man. We know not oftentimes what we are able to do, but temptations do show us what we are. Yet we must be watchful, especially in the beginning of the temptation; for the enemy is then more easily overcome, if he be not suffered to enter the door of out hearts, but be resisted without the gate at his first knock. Wherefore one said, 'Withstand the beginnings for an after remedy comes often too late.'[43] For first there comes to the mind a bare thought of evil, then a strong imagination thereof, afterwards delight, and an evil motion, and then consent. And so by little and little our wicked enemy gets complete entrance, whilst he is not resisted in the beginning. And the longer a man is negligent in resisting, so much the weaker does he become daily in himself, and the enemy stronger against him.

Some suffer great temptations in the beginning of their conversion; others in the latter end. Others again are much troubled almost through the whole time of their life. Some are but easily tempted, according to the wisdom and equity of the Divine appointment, which weighs the states and deserts of men, and ordains all things for the welfare of His own chosen ones.

We ought not therefore to despair when we are tempted, but so much the more fervently to pray unto God, that He will vouchsafe to help us in all tribulations; who surely, according to the words of St. Paul, will give with the temptation such issue, that we may be able to bear it.[44] Let us therefore humble our souls under the hand of God in all temptations and tribulations, for He will save and exalt the humble spirit.

In temptations and afflictions, a man is proved how much he has profited; and his reward is thereby the greater, and his graces do more eminently shine forth. Neither is it any such great thing if a man be devout and fervent, when he feels no affliction; but if in time of adversity he bear himself patiently, there is hope then of great proficiency in grace. Some are kept from great temptations, and in small ones which do daily occur are often overcome; to the end that being humbled, they may never presume on themselves in great matters, who are baffled in so small things.


Of avoiding Rash Judgment

TURN your eyes unto yourself, and beware you judge not the deeds of other men.[45] In judging of others a man labors in vain, often errs, and easily sins;[46] but in judging and discussing of himself, he always labors fruitfully. We often judge of things according as we fancy them; for private affection bereaves us easily of true judgment. If God were always the pure intention of our desire, we should not be so easily troubled, through the repugnance of our carnal mind.

But oftentimes something lurks within, or else occurs from without, which draws us after it. Many secretly seek themselves in what they do, and know it not. They seem also to live in good peace of mind, when things are done according to their will and opinion; but if things happen otherwise than they desire, they are straightaway moved and much vexed. The diversities of judgments and opinions, cause oftentimes dissensions between friends and countrymen, between religious and devout persons.[47]

An old custom is hardly broken,[48] and no man is willing to be led farther than himself can see. If you do more rely upon your own reason or industry, than upon that power which brings you under the obedience of Jesus Christ, it will be long before you become illuminated; for God will have us perfectly subject unto Him, that, being inflamed with His love, we may transcend the narrow limits of human reason.


Of Works done in Charity

FOR no worldly thing, nor for the love of any man, is any evil to be done;[49] but yet, for the profit of one that stands in need, a good work is sometimes to be intermitted without any scruple, or changed also for a better. For by doing this, a good work is not lost, but changed into a better. Without charity the exterior work profits nothing;[50] but whatsoever is done of charity, be it never so little and contemptible in the sight of the world, it becomes wholly fruitful. For God weighs more with how much love a man works, than how much he does. He does much that loves much.

He does much, that does a thing well. He does well that rather serves the community, than his own will.[51] Oftentimes it seems to be charity, and it is rather carnality; because natural inclination, self-will, hope of reward, and desire of our own interest, will seldom be away.

He that has true and perfect charity, seeks himself in nothing;[52] but only desires in all things that the glory of God should be exalted. He also envies none; because he affects no private good; neither will he rejoice in himself; but wishes above all things to be made happy in the enjoyment of God.[53] He attributes nothing that is good to any man, but wholly refers it unto God, from whom as from the fountain all things proceed; in whom finally all the saints do rest as in their highest fruition. O he that has but one spark of true charity, would certainly discern that all earthly things be full of vanity.


Of bearing with the Defects of Others

THOSE things that a man cannot amend in himself or in others, he ought to suffer patiently, until God order things otherwise. Think that perhaps it is better so for your trial and patience, without which all our good deeds are not much to be esteemed. You ought to pray notwithstanding when you have such impediments, that God would vouchsafe to help you, and that you may bear them kindly.[54]

If one that is once or twice warned will not give over, contend not with him: but commit all to God, that His will may be fulfilled,[55] and His name honored in all His servants, who well knows how to turn evil into good. Endeavor to be patient in bearing with the defects and infirmities of others, of what sort soever they be; for that yourself also have many failings which must be borne with by others.[56] If you can not make yourself such an one as you would, how can you expect to have another in all things to your liking? We would willingly have others perfect, and yet we amend not our own faults.

We will have others severely corrected, and will not be corrected ourselves. The large liberty of others displeases us; and yet we will not have our own desires denied us. We will have others kept under by strict laws; but in no sort will ourselves be restrained. And thus it appears, how seldom we weigh our neighbor in the same balance with ourselves. If all men were perfect, what should we have to suffer of our neighbor for God?

But now God has thus ordered it, that we may learn to bear one another's burdens;[57] for no man is without fault; no man but has his burden; no man sufficient of himself; no man wise enough of himself; but we ought to bear with one another, comfort one another, help, instruct, and admonish one another.[58] Occasions of adversity best discover how great virtue or strength each one has. For occasions do not make a man frail, but they show what he is.


Of a Retired Life

YOU must learn to break your own will in many things if you will have peace and concord with others.[59] It is no small matter to dwell in a religious community, or congregation, to converse therein without complaint, and to persevere therein faithfully unto death.[60] Blessed is he that has there lived well, and ended happily. If you will persevere in grace as you ought, and grow therein, esteem yourself as a banished man, and a pilgrim upon earth.[61] You must be contented for Christ's sake to be esteemed as a fool in this world, if you desire to lead a religious life.

The wearing of a religious habit, and shaving of the crown, do little profit; but change of manners, and perfect mortification of passions, make a true religious man. He that seeks anything else but merely God, and the salvation of his 'soul, shall find nothing but tribulation and sorrow.[62] Neither can he remain long in peace, that labors not to be the least, and subject unto all.

You came to serve, not to rule.[63] Know that you were called to suffer and to labor, not to be idle, or to spend your time in talk. Here therefore men are proved as gold in the furnace. Here no man can stand, unless he humble himself with his whole heart for the love of God.


Of the Examples of the Holy Fathers

CONSIDER the lively examples of the holy Fathers, in whom true perfection and religion shined;[64] and you shall see how little it is, and almost nothing, which we do now in these days. Alas! what is our life, if it be compared to them! The Saints and friends of Christ served the Lord in hunger and thirst, in cold and nakedness, in labor and weariness, in watchings and fastings, in prayer and holy meditations, in many persecutions and reproaches.

O how many and grievous tribulations suffered the Apostles, Martyrs, Confessors, Virgins, and all the rest that endeavored to follow the steps of Christ! For they hated their lives in this world, that they might keep them unto life eternal.[65] O how strict and self-renouncing a life, led those holy Fathers in the wilderness![66] How long and grievous temptations suffered they! How often were they assaulted by the enemy! What frequent and fervent prayers offered they to God! What rigorous abstinences did they use! How great zeal and care had they of their spiritual proficiency! How strong a combat had they for the overcoming of their lusts! How pure and upright intentions kept they towards God! In the day they labored, and in the night they attended to continual prayer: although when they labored also, they ceased not from mental prayer.

They spent all their time with profit; every hour seemed short for the service of God. And by reason of the great sweetness they felt in contemplation, they forgot the necessity of corporal refreshments. They renounced all riches, dignities, honors, friends, and kinsfolk;[67] they desired to have nothing which appertained to the world; they scarce took things necessary for the sustenance of life; they grieved to serve their bodies even in necessity. Therefore they were poor in earthly things, but very rich in grace and virtues. Outwardly they were destitute, but inwardly they were refreshed with grace and divine consolation.

They were strangers to the world, but near and familiar friends to God.[68] They seemed to themselves as nothing, and to this present world despicable; but they were precious and beloved in the eyes of God. They were grounded in true humility, lived in simple obedience, walked in love and patience: and therefore they profited daily in the Spirit, and obtained great grace in God's sight. They were given for an example to all religious men; and they should more provoke us to endeavor after spiritual proficiencies, than the number of the lukewarm livers should prevail to make us remiss.

O how great was the fervor of all religious persons in the beginning of their holy institution! How great was their devotion to prayer! What ambition to excel others in virtue! How exact discipline then flourished! How great reverence and obedience, under the rule of their superiors, observed they in all things! Their footsteps yet remaining, do testify that they were indeed holy and perfect men; who fighting so valiantly trod the world under their feet. Now, he is greatly accounted of, who is not a transgressor, and who can with patience endure that which he has undertaken.

O the lukewarmness and negligence of our times! that we so quickly decline from the ancient fervor, and are come to that pass, that very sloth and lukewarmness of spirit makes our own life tedious unto us. Would to God the desire to grow in virtues did not wholly sleep in you, who have often seen the many examples of devout and religious persons!


Of the Exercises of a good Religious Person

THE life of a good religious person ought to be adorned with all virtues;[69] that he may inwardly be such as outwardly he seems to men. And with reason there ought. to be much more within, than is perceived without. For God beholds us;[70] whom we are bound most highly to reverence wherever we are, and to walk in purity[71] like Angels in His sight. Daily ought we to renew our purposes, and to stir up ourselves to greater fervor, as though this were the first day of our conversion; and to say, 'Help me, my God! in this my good purpose, and in Your holy service; and grant that I may now this day begin perfectly; for that which I have done hitherto is as nothing.

According to our purpose shall be the success of our spiritual profiting; and much diligence is necessary to him that will profit much. And if he that firmly purposes often fails, what shall he do that seldom purposes any thing, or with little resolvedness; It may fall out sundry ways that we leave off our purpose; yet the light omission of our spiritual exercises seldom passes without some loss to our souls. The purpose of just men depends not upon their own wisdom, but upon God's grace; on whom they always rely for whatsoever they take in hand. For man purposes, but God disposes;[72] neither is the way of man in himself.

If an accustomed exercise be sometimes omitted, either for some act of piety, or profit to my brother; it may easily afterwards be recovered again. But if out of a slothful mind, or out of carelessness, we lightly forsake the same, it is a great offense against God, and will be found to be prejudicial to ourselves. Let us do the best we can, we shall still too easily fail in many things.[73] Yet must we always purpose some certain course, and especially against those failings which do most of all molest us. We must diligently search into, and set in order both the outward and the inward man, because both of them are of importance to our progress in godliness.

If you can not continually recollect yourself, yet do it sometimes, at the least once a day, namely, in the morning or at night. In the morning fix your good purpose; and at night examine yourself what you have done, how you have behaved yourself in word, deed, and thought;[74] for in these perhaps you have oftentimes offended both God and your neighbor. Gird up your loins like a man against the vile assaults of the devil; bridle your riotous appetite, and you shall be the better able to keep under all the unruly motions of the flesh. Never be entirely idle; but either be reading, or writing, or praying, or meditating, or endeavoring something for the public good. As for bodily exercises they must be used with discretion, neither are they to be practiced of all men alike.

Those devotions which belong not to the community are not to be exposed to public view; for things private are practiced more safely at home. Nevertheless you must beware-you neglect not those which are common, being more ready for what is private. But having fully and faithfully accomplished all which you are bound and enjoined to do, if you have any spare time, betake you to yourself, as your devotion shall desire. All cannot use one kind of spiritual exercise, but one is more useful for this person, another for that. According to the seasonableness of times also, divers exercises are fitting; some suit better with us on working days, others on holy days. In the time of temptation, we have need of some, and of others in time of peace and quietness. Some we mind when we are pensive, and other some when we rejoice in the Lord.

About the time of the chief festivals, good exercises are to be renewed, and the prayers of holy men more fervently to be implored. From festival to festival we should make some good purposes, as though we were then to depart out of this world, and to come to the everlasting feast. Therefore ought we carefully to prepare ourselves at holy times, and to live more devoutly, and to keep more exactly all things that we are to observe, as though we were shortly at God's hands to receive the reward of our labors.

But if it be deferred, let us think with ourselves that we are not sufficiently prepared, and unworthy yet of so great glory which shall be revealed in us[75] in due time; and let us endeavor to prepare ourselves better for our departure. 'Blessed is that servant (says the Evangelist St. Luke) whom his Lord when He comes shall find watching: Verily, I say unto you, He shall make him ruler over all His goods.'[76]


Of the Love of Solitude and Silence

SEEK a convenient time[77] to retire into yourself, and meditate often upon God's lovingkindness. Meddle not with curiosities; but read such things as may rather yield compunction to your heart, than occupation to your head. If you will withdraw yourself from speaking vainly, and from gadding idly, as also from hearkening after novelties and rumors, you shall find leisure enough and suitable for meditation on good things. The greatest Saints avoided the society of men,[78] when they could conveniently, and did rather choose to live to God, in secret.

One said, 'As oft as I have been among men, I returned home less a man than I was before.'[79] And this we find true, when we talk long together. It is easier not to speak a word at all, than not to speak more words than we should. It is easier for a man to keep at home, than to keep himself well when he is abroad. He therefore that intends to attain to the more inward and spiritual things of religion, must with Jesus depart from the multitude and press of people.[80] No man does safely appear abroad, but he who gladly can abide at home, out of sight. No man speaks securely, but he that holds his peace willingly.[81] No man rules safely, but he that is willingly ruled. No man securely does command but he that has learned readily to obey.

No man rejoices securely, unless he has within him the testimony of a good conscience. And yet always the security of the Saints was full of the fear of God. Neither were they the less anxious and humble in themselves, for that they shined outwardly with grace and great virtues. But the security of bad men arises from pride and presumption, and in the end it deceives them. Although you seem to be a good religious man, or a devout solitary, yet never promise yourself security in this life.

Oftentimes those who have been in the greatest esteem and account amongst men, have fallen into the greatest danger, by overmuch self-confidence. Wherefore to many it is more profitable not to be altogether free from temptations, but to be often assaulted, lest they should be too secure, and so perhaps be puffed up with pride; or else too freely give themselves to worldly comforts. O how good a conscience should he keep, that would never seek after transitory joy, nor ever entangle himself with the things of this world! O how great peace and quietness should he possess, that would cut off all vain anxiety, and think only upon divine things, and such as are profitable for his soul, and would place all his confidence in God.

No man is worthy of heavenly comfort, unless he have diligently exercised himself in holy compunction. If you desire true contrition of heart, enter into your secret chamber, and shut out the tumults of the world, as it is written, 'In your chambers be you grieved.'[82] In your chamber you shall find what abroad you shall too often lose. The more you visit your chamber, the more you will like it; the less you come thereunto, the more you will loath it. If in the beginning of your conversion you are content to remain in it, and keep to it well, it will afterwards be to you a dear friend, and a most pleasant comfort.

In silence and in stillness a religious soul advantages herself, and learns the mysteries of Holy Scripture. There she finds rivers of tears, wherein she may every night[83] wash and cleanse herself; that she may be so much the more familiar with her Creator, by how much the farther off she lives from all worldly disquiet. Whoso therefore withdraws himself from his acquaintance and friends, God will draw near unto him with His holy Angels. It is better for a man to live privately, and to take care of himself, than to neglect his soul, though he could work wonders in the world. It is commendable in a religious person, seldom to go abroad, to be unwilling to see or to be seen.

Why are you desirous to see that which it is unlawful for you to have? The world passes away and the lust thereof. Our sensual desires draw us to rove abroad; but when the time is past, what carry you home with you but a burdened conscience and distracted heart? A merry going out brings often a mournful return home; and a joyful evening makes often a sad morning.[84] So all carnal joy enters gently, but in the end it bites and stings to death. What can you see elsewhere, which you can not see here?[85] Behold the heaven and the earth and all the elements; for of these are all things created.

What can you see any where that can long continue under the sun? You think perchance to satisfy yourself, but you can never attain it. Should you see all things present before your eyes, what were it but a vain sight?[86] Lift up your eyes[87] to God in the highest, and pray Him to pardon your sins and negligences. Leave vain things to the vain; but be you intent upon those things which God has commanded you. Shut your door upon you,[88] and call unto you Jesus, your Beloved. Stay with Him in your closet; for you shall not find so great peace any where else. If you had not gone abroad and hearkened to idle rumors, you would the better have preserved a happy peace of mind. But since you delight sometimes to hear novelties, it is but fit you suffer for it some disquietude of heart.


Of Compunction of Heart

IF you will make any progress in godliness, keep yourself in the fear of God,[89] and affect not too much liberty. Restrain all your senses under discipline, and give not yourself over to foolish mirth. Give yourself to compunction of heart, and you shall gain much devotion thereby. Compunction lays open-much good, which dissoluteness is wont quickly. to destroy. It is a wonder that any man can ever perfectly rejoice in this life, if he duly consider, and thoroughly weigh his state of banishment, and the many perils wherewith his soul is environed.

Through levity of heart, and small care for our failings, we become insensible of the real sorrows of our souls; and so oftentimes we vainly laugh, when we have just cause to weep. There is no true liberty nor right joy but in the fear of God accompanied with a good conscience. Happy is he, who can cast off all distracting impediments, and bring himself to the one single purpose of holy compunction. Happy is he, who can abandon all that may defile his conscience or burden it. Resist manfully; one custom overcomes another. If you can let others alone in their matters, they likewise shall not hinder you in your.

Busy not yourself in matters which appertain to others; neither do you entangle yourself with the affairs of your betters. Still have an eye to yourself first, and be sure more especially to admonish yourself before all your beloved friends. If you have not the favor of men, be not grieved at it,[90] but take this to heart, that you do not behave yourself so warily and circumspectly as it becomes the servant of God, and a devout religious man. It is better oftentimes and safer that a man should not have many consolations in this life,[91] especially such as are according to the flesh. But that we have not divine consolations at all, or do very seldom taste them, the fault is ours, because we seek not after compunction of heart, nor do altogether forsake the vain and outward comforts of this world.

Know that you are unworthy of divine consolation, and that you have rather deserved much tribulation. When a man has perfect contrition, then is the whole world grievous and bitter unto him.[92] A good man finds always sufficient cause for mourning and weeping. For whether he consider his own or his neighbor's estate, he knows that none lives here without tribulation. And the more narrowly a-man looks into himself, so much the more he sorrows. Our sins and wickednesses wherein we lie so enwrapt, that we can seldom apply ourselves to Heavenly contemplations, do minister unto us matter of just sorrow and inward compunction.

Did you oftener think of your death,[93] than of your living long, there is no question but you would be more zealous to amend. If also you did but consider within yourself the infernal pains in the other world,[94] I believe you would willingly undergo any labor or sorrow in this world, and not be afraid of the greatest austerity. But because these things enter not to the heart, and we still love those things only that delight us, therefore it is we remain cold and very dull in religion.

It is often our want of spirit which makes our miserable body so easily complain. Pray therefore unto the Lord with all humility, that He will vouchsafe to give you the spirit of compunction. And say with the Prophet, 'Feed me, O Lord, with the bread of tears, and give me plenteousness of tears to drink.'[95]


Of the Consideration of Human Misery

MISERABLE you are, wherever you be, or whithersoever you turn, unless you turn yourself unto God. Why are you troubled when things succeed not as you would or desire? For who is he that has all things according to his mind?[96] neither I nor you, nor any man upon earth. There is none in this world, even though he be King or Bishop, without some tribulation or perplexity. Who is then in the best case? even he who is able to suffer something for God.

Many weak and infirm persons say, Behold! what a happy life such an one leads:[97] how wealthy, how great he is, in what power and dignity! But lift up your eyes to the riches of Heaven, and you shall see that all the goods of this life are nothing to be accounted of. They are very uncertain, and rather burdensome than otherwise, because they are never possessed without anxiety and fear. Man's happiness consists not in having abundance of temporal goods,[98] but a moderate portion is sufficient for him. Truly it is misery even to live upon the earth.[99] The more spiritual a man desires to be, the more bitter does this present life become to him; because he sees more clearly and perceives more sensibly the defects of human corruption. For to eat and to drink, to sleep and to watch, to labor and to rest, and to be subject to other necessities of nature, is doubtless a great misery and affliction to a religious man, who would gladly be set loose, and Free From all sin.

For the inward man is much weighed down with these outward and corporal necessities whilst we live in this world. Therefore the Prophet prays with great devotion to be enabled to be Free From them, saying, 'Bring me, O Lord, out of my necessities.[100] But woe be to them that know not their own misery; and a greater woe to them that, love this miserable and corruptible life![101] For some there be who so much dote upon it, that although by labor or by begging they can scarce get mere necessaries, yet if they might be able to live here always, they would care nothing at all for the Kingdom of God.

O how senseless are these men and unbelieving in heart, who lie so deeply sunk in the earth, that they can relish nothing but carnal things![102] But miserable as they are, they shall in the end feel to their cost how vile and how nothing that was which they loved. Whereas the Saints of God and all the devout friends of Christ regarded not those things which pleased the flesh, nor those which flourished in this life, but longed after the everlasting riches[103] with their whole hope and earnest intention. Their whole desire was carried upward to things durable and invisible, that the desire of things visible might not draw them to things below.

O my brother, lose not your confidence of making progress in godliness; there is yet time, the hour is not yet past.[104] Why will you defer your good purpose from day to day? Arise and begin in this very instant, and say, Now is the time to be doing, now is the time to be striving, now is the fit time to amend myself. When you are ill at ease and much troubled, then is the time of deserving best. You must pass through fire and water[105] before you come to the place of refreshing. Unless you do earnestly force yourself, you shall never get the victory over sin. So long as we carry about us this frail body of ours, we can never be without sin, or live without weariness and pain. We would gladly be quiet and freed from all misery, but seeing by sin we have lost our innocence, we have together with that lost also the true felicity.[106] Therefore it becomes us to have patience, and to wait for the mercy of God, till this iniquity pass away, and mortality be swallowed up of life.[107]

O how great is human frailty, which is always prone to evil.[108] To-day you confess your sins, and to-morrow you commit the very same you have confessed. Now, you are purposed to look well unto your ways, and within a while you so behave yourself, as though you had never any such purpose at all. Good cause have we therefore to humble ourselves,[109] and never to have any great conceit of ourselves: since we are so frail and so inconstant. Besides, that may quickly be lost by our own negligence, which, by the grace of God, with much labor we have scarce at length obtained.

What will become of us in the end, who begin so early to wax lukewarm! Woe be unto us, if we will so give ourselves unto ease, as if all were in peace and safety, when as yet there appears no sign of true holiness in our conversation! We have much need like young beginners to be newly instructed again to good life, if haply there be some hope of future amendment, and greater proficiency in things spiritual.


Of Meditation on Death

VERY quickly there will be an end of you here;[110] look what will become of you in another world. To-day the man is here; to-morrow he is gone. And when he is out of sight, quickly also is he out of mind. O the stupidity and hardness of man's heart, which thinks only upon the present, and does not rather care for what is to come! You ought so to order yourself in all your thoughts and actions, as if to-day you were about to die.[111] If you had a good conscience, you would not greatly fear death.[112] It were better to avoid sin than to fly death.[113] If to-day you are not prepared, how will you be so tomorrow.[114] To-morrow is uncertain, and how know you that you shall live till to-morrow!

What avails it to live long, when there is so small amendment in our practice! Alas! length of days does more often make our sins the greater, than our lives the better! O that we had spent but one day in this world thoroughly well! Many there are who count how long it is since their conversion; and yet full slender oftentimes is the fruit of amendment of life. If to die be accounted dreadful, to live long may perhaps prove more dangerous. Happy is he that always has the hour of his death before his eyes,[115] and daily prepares himself to die. If at any time you have seen another man die, make account you must also pass the same way.[116]

When it is morning, think you may die before night; And when evening comes, dare not to promise yourself the next morning. Be you therefore always in a readiness, and so lead your life that death may never take you unprepared.[117] Many die suddenly and when they look not for it; for the Son of man will come at an hour when we think not.[118] When that last hour shall come, you will begin to have a far different opinion of your whole life that is past, and be exceeding sorry you have been so careless and remiss.

O how wise and happy is he that now labors to be such an one in his life, as he wishes to be found at the hour of death! A perfect contempt of the world,[119] a fervent desire to go forward in all virtue, the love of discipline, the painfulness of repentance, the readiness of obedience, the denying of ourselves, and the bearing any affliction whatever for the love of Christ, will give us great confidence we shall die happily. Whilst you are in health you may do much good; but when you are sick, I see not what you will be able to do. Few by sickness grow better and more reformed; as also they who wander much abroad, seldom thereby become holy.

Trust not to friends and kindred, neither do you put off the care of your soul's welfare till hereafter; for men will forget you, sooner than you are aware of. It is better to look to it betime, and do some good beforehand, than to trust to other men's help.[120] If you be not careful for yourself now, who will be careful for you hereafter? The time that is now present is very precious: now are the days of salvation; now is the acceptable time. But alas! that you should spend your time so idly here, when you might purchase to live eternally hereafter. The time will come, when you shall desire one day or hour to amend in, and I cannot say that it will be granted you.

O beloved, from how great danger might you deliver yourself, from how great fear free yourself, if you would be ever fearful and mindful of death! Labor now so to live, that at the hour of death you may rather rejoice than fear. Learn now to die to the world, that you may then begin to live with Christ.[121] Learn now to contemn all things,[122] that though may then freely go to Christ. Chastise your body now by repentance,[123] that you may then have assured confidence.

Ah! fool, why do you think to live long, when you can not promise to yourself one day.[124] How many have been deceived and suddenly snatched away! How often do you hear these reports, Such a man is slain, another man is drowned, a third breaks his neck with a fall from some high place, this man died eating, and that man playing! One perished by fire, another by the sword, another of the plague, another was slain by thieves. Thus death is the end of all, and man's life suddenly passes away like a shadow.[125]

Who shall remember you when you are dead? and who shall pray for you? Do, do now, my beloved, whatsoever you are able to do; for you know not when you shall die, nor yet what shall befall you after your death. Now whilst you have time, heap unto yourself everlasting riches.[126] Think on nothing but the salvation of your soul, care for nothing but the things of God. Make now friends to yourself by honoring the Saints of God, and imitating their actions, that when you fail in this life, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.[127]

Keep yourself as a stranger and pilgrim upon the earth,[128] and as one to whom the affairs of this world do nothing to appertain. Keep your heart free, and lifted up to God, because you have here no abiding city.[129] Send thither your daily prayers and sighs together with your tears, that after death your spirit may be found worthy with much happiness to pass to the Lord. Amen.


Of Judgment, and the Punishment of Sinners

IN all things have a special aim to your end, and how you will be able to stand before that severe Judge4[130] to whom nothing is hid, who is not pacified with gifts, nor admits any excuses, but will judge according to right and equity. O wretched and foolish sinner, who sometimes fear the countenance of an angry man, what answer will you make to God who knows all your wickedness![131] Why do you not provide for yourself[132] against that great day of judgment, when no man can excuse or answer for another, but every one shall have enough to answer for himself! Now are your pains profitable, your tears acceptable,[133] your groans audible, your grief pacifies God, and purges your soul.

The patient man has a great and wholesome purgatory,[134] who though he receive injuries, yet grieves more for the malice of another, than for his own wrong; who prays willingly for his adversaries,[135] and from his heart forgives their offenses; he delays not to ask forgiveness of whomsoever he has offended; he is sooner moved to compassion than to anger; he often offers [an holy] violence to himself, and labors to bring the body wholly into subjection to the spirit. It is better to purge out our sins, and cut off our vices here, than to keep them to be punished hereafter. Verily we do but deceive ourselves through an inordinate love of the flesh.

What is there that the infernal fire shall feed upon, but your sins? The more you sparest yourself now and follow the flesh, the more severe hereafter shall be your punishment, and you store up greater fuel for that flame. In what things a man has sinned, in the same shall he be the more grievously punished. There shall the slothful be pricked forward with burning goads, and the glutton be tormented with extreme hunger and thirst. There shall the luxurious and lovers of pleasures be bathed in burning pitch and stinking brimstone, and the envious, like mad dogs, shall howl for very grief.

There is no sin but shall have its own proper torment. There the proud shall be filled with all confusion; the covetous shall be pinched with miserable penury; One hour of pain there shall be more bitter than a thousand years of the sharpest penance here! There is no quiet, no comfort for the damned there;[136] yet here we have some intermission of our labors, and enjoy the comfort of our friends. Be now solicitous and sorrowful because of your sins, that at the day of judgment you may be secure with the company of blessed souls. For then shall the righteous with great boldness stand against such as have vexed and oppressed them.[137] Then shall he stand to judge them, who does now humbly submit himself to the censures of men. Then shall the poor and humble have great confidence, but the proud man shall be compassed with fear on every side.

Then will it appear that he was wise in this world, who had learned to be a fool and despised for Christ's sake. Then shall every affliction patiently undergone delight us, when the mouth of all iniquity shall be stopped.[138] Then shall all the devout rejoice, and all the profane mourn: Then shall he more rejoice that has beat down his own flesh, than he that has abounded in all pleasure and delight.[139] Then shall the poor attire shine gloriously, and the precious robes seem vile and contemptible. Then the poor cottage shall be more commended, than the gilded palace. Then will constant patience more avail us, than all earthly power. Then simple obedience shall be exalted above all worldly wisdom.[140]

Then shall a good and clear conscience more rejoice a man, than all the learning of philosophy. Then shall the contempt of riches weigh more than all the worldling's treasure. Then will you be more comforted that you have prayed devoutly, than that you have fared daintily. Then will you be more glad you have kept silence, than that you have talked much. Then will good works avail more than many goodly words. Then a strict life and severe repentance will be more pleasing than all earthly delights. Accustom yourself now to suffer a little, that you may then be delivered from more grievous pains. Prove first here what you can endure hereafter. If now you can endure so little, how will you then be able to support eternal torments? If now a little suffering make you so impatient, what will hell fire do hereafter? Assure yourself you can not have two paradises; it is impossible to enjoy delights in this world, and after that to reign with Christ.

Suppose you have hitherto lived always in honors and delights, what would all this avail you if you were to die at this instant![141] All therefore is vanity,[142] except to love God and serve Him only. For he that loves God with all his heart, is neither afraid of death, nor of punishment, nor of judgment, nor of hell; for perfect love gives secure access to God.[143] But he that takes delight in sin, what marvel is it if he be afraid, both of death and judgment? Yet it is good, although love be not yet of force, to withhold you from sin, that at least the fear of hell should restrain you. But he that lays aside the fear of God, can never continue long in good estate, but falls quickly into the snares of the devil.


Of the Zealous Amendment of our whole Life

BE watchful and diligent in the service of God,[144] and often bethink yourself wherefore you came hither, and why you have left the world. Was it not that you might live to God, and become a spiritual man? Be fervent then in going forward,[145] for shortly you shall receive the reward of your labors; there shall not be then any more fear or sorrow in your coasts.[146] Labor but now a little, and you shall find great rest, yea, perpetual joy.[147] If you continue faithful and fervent in your work, no doubt God will be faithful and liberal in rewarding you.[148] You ought to have a good hope[149] of getting the victory; but you must not be secure, lest you wax either negligent or proud.

When one that was in anxiety of mind, often wavering between fear and hope, did once, being oppressed with grief, humbly prostrate himself in a church before the altar in prayer, and said within himself, O if I knew that I should yet persevere! he presently heard within him an answer from God, which said, What if you did know it, what would you do? Do now what you would do then, and you shale be secure. And being herewith comforted and strengthened, he committed himself wholly to the will of God, and that noisome anxiety ceased: Neither had he the mind to search curiously any farther, to know what should befall him; but rather labored to understand what was the perfect and acceptable will of God.[150] for the beginning and accomplishing of every good work.

'Hope in the Lord, and do good,' says the Prophet, 'and inhabit the land, and you shale be fed in the riches thereof.[151] One thing there is that draws many back from a spiritual progress, and the diligent amendment of their lives; viz. Extreme fear of the difficulty, or the labor of the combat. However, they above others improve most in all virtue, who endeavor most to overcome those things which are most grievous and contrary unto them. For there a man improves most and obtains greater grace, where he most overcomes himself and mortifies himself in spirit.

But all men have not equally much to overcome and mortify. Yet he that is zealous and diligent, though he have more passions, shall profit more than another that is of a more temperate disposition, if he be less fervent in the pursuit of all virtue. Two things especially much further our amendment, to wit. To withdraw ourselves violently from that to which nature is viciously inclined, and to labor earnestly for that good which we most want. Be careful also to avoid with great diligence those things in yourself, which do commonly displease you in others.

Gather some profit to your soul whereever you are; so as if you see or hear of any good examples, stir up yourself to the imitation thereof. But if you observe any thing worthy of reproof, beware you do not the same. And if at any time you have done it, labor quickly to amend yourself. As your eye observes others,[152] so are you also noted again by others. O how sweet and pleasant a thing it is, to see brethren fervent and devout, well-mannered and well-disciplined![153] And on the contrary, how sad and grievous a thing it is, to see them live in a dissolute and disordered sort, not applying themselves to that for which they are called! How hurtful a thing is it, when they neglect the good purposes of their vocation, and busy themselves in that which is not committed to their care!

Be mindful of the profession you have made, and have always before the eyes of your soul the remembrance of your Savior crucified. You have good cause to be ashamed in looking upon the life of Jesus Christ, seeing you have not as yet endeavored to conform yourself more unto Him though you have been a long time in the way of God. A religious person that exercises himself seriously and devoutly in the most holy life and passion of our Lord, shall there abundantly find whatsoever is necessary and profitable for him; neither shall he need to seek any better thing, out of Jesus. O if Jesus crucified would come into our hearts,[154] how quickly and fully should we be taught!

A fervent religious person takes and bears all well that is commanded him. But he that is negligent and lukewarm, has tribulation upon tribulation, and on all sides is afflicted; for he is void of inward consolation, and is forbidden to seek external comforts. A religious person that lives not according to discipline, lies open to great mischief to the ruin of his soul. He that seeks liberty and ease, shall ever live in disquiet; for one thing or other will displease him.

O that we had nothing else to do, but always with our mouth and whole heart to praise our Lord God! O that you might never have need to eat, or drink, or sleep; but might always praise God, and only employ yourself in spiritual exercises; you should then be much more happy than now you are, when for so many necessities you are constrained to serve your body! Would God there were not these necessities, but only the spiritual refreshments of the soul, which, alas, we taste of too seldom!

When a man comes to that estate, that he seeks not his comfort from any creature, then does he begin perfectly to relish God. Then shall he be contented with whatsoever does befall him in this world. Then shall he neither rejoice in great matters, nor be sorrowful for small; but entirely and confidently commit himself to God, who shall be unto him all in all;[155] to whom nothing does perish nor die, but all things do live unto Him, and serve him at a beck without delay.

Remember always your end,[156] and how that time lost never returns. Without care and diligence you shall never get virtue. If you begin to wax lukewarm,[157] it will begin to be evil with you. But if you give yourself to fervor of spirit, you shall find much peace, and feel less labor, through the assistance of God's grace, and the love of virtue. The fervent and diligent man is prepared for all things. It is harder work to resist vices and passions, than to toil in bodily labors. He that avoids not small faults, by little and little falls into greater.[158] You will always rejoice in the evening, if you spend the day profitably. Be watchful over yourself, stir up yourself, admonish yourself, and whatever becomes of others neglect not yourself. The more violence you use against yourself, the greater shall be your profiting. Amen.




Of the Inward Life

'THE Kingdom of God is within you,'[159] says the Lord. Turn you with your whole heart[160] unto the Lord, and forsake this wretched world, and your soul shall find rest.

Learn to despise outward things, and to give yourself to things inward, and you shall perceive the Kingdom of God to come in you.

'For the Kingdom of God is peace and joy in the Holy Ghost,'[161] which is not given to the unholy.

Christ will come unto you, and show you His own consolation, if you prepare for Him a worthy mansion within you.

All His glory and beauty is from within,[162] and there He delights Himself.

The inward man He often visits; and has with him sweet discourses, pleasant solace, much peace, familiarity exceeding wonderful.

O faithful soul, make ready your heart for this Bridegroom, that He may vouchsafe to come unto you, and to dwell within you.

For thus says He, 'If any love Me, he will keep My words, and We will come unto him, and will make our abode with him.'[163]

Give therefore admittance unto Christ, and deny entrance to all others.

When you have Christ, you are rich, and have enough. He will be your faithful and provident helper in all things, so as you shall not need to trust in men.

For men soon change, and quickly fail; but Christ remains for ever,[164] and stands by us firmly unto the end.

There is no great trust to be put in a frail and mortal man,[165] even though he be profitable and dear unto us: neither ought we to be much grieved, if sometimes he cross and contradict us.

They that to-day take your part, to-morrow may be against you; and often do they turn right round like the wind.

Put all your trust in God,[166] let Him be your fear, and your love: He shall answer for you, and will do in all things what is best for you.

You have not here an abiding city;[167] and whereever you may be, you are a stranger and pilgrim: neither shall you ever have rest, unless you be most inwardly united unto Christ.

Why do you here gaze about, since this is not the place of your rest? In Heaven ought to be your home,[168] and all earthly things are to be looked upon as it were by the way. All things pass away,[169] and you together with them.

Beware you cleave not unto them, lest you be caught, and so perish. Let your thought be on the Highest, and your prayer for mercy directed unto Christ without ceasing.

If you can not contemplate high and heavenly things, rest yourself in the passion of Christ, and dwell willingly in His sacred wounds.

For if you fly devoutly unto the wounds and precious marks of the Lord Jesus, you shall feel great comfort in tribulation: neither will you much care for the slights of men, and will easily bear words of detraction.

Christ was also in the world, despised of men, and in greatest necessity, forsaken by His acquaintance and friends, in the midst of slanders.[170]

Christ was willing to suffer and be despised; and dare you complain of any man?

Christ had adversaries and backbiters; and do you wish to have all men your friends and benefactors?

Whence shall your patience attain her crown[171] if no adversity befall you?

If you are willing to suffer no opposition, how will you be the friend of Christ?

Suffer with Christ, and for Christ, if you desire to reign with Christ.

If you had but once perfectly entered into the secrets of the Lord Jesus, and tasted a little of His ardent love, then would you not regard your own convenience or inconvenience, but rather would rejoice at slanders, if they should be cast upon you; for the love of Jesus makes a man despise himself.

A lover of Jesus and of the truth, and a true inward Christian, and one free from inordinate affections, can freely turn himself unto God, and lift himself above himself in spirit, and with joy remain at rest.

He that judges of all things as they are, and not as they are said or esteemed to be, is truly wise, and taught rather of God than men.[172]

He that can live inwardly, and make small reckoning of things without, neither requires places, nor expects times, for performing of religious exercises.

A spiritual man quickly recollects himself, because he never pours out himself wholly to outward things.

He is not hindered by outward labor, or business, which may be necessary for the time: but as things fall out, so he accommodates himself to them.

He that is well ordered and disposed within himself, cares not for the strange and perverse behavior of men.

A man is hindered and distracted, in proportion as he draws external matters unto himself.

If it were well with you, and you were well purified from sin, all things would fall out to you for good,[173] and to your advancement.

But many things displease and often trouble you; because you are not yet perfectly dead unto yourself, nor separated from all earthly things.

Nothing so defiles and entangles the heart of man, as the impure love to creatures.

If you refuse outward comfort, you will be able to contemplate the things of Heaven, and often to receive internal joy.


Of Humble Submission

REGARD not much who is for you, or against you;[174] but mind what you are about, and take care that God may be with you in every thing you do.

Have a good conscience, and God will well defend you.[175]

For whom God will help, no man's perverseness shall be able to hurt.

If you can Be silent and suffer, without doubt you shall see that the Lord will help you.

He knows the time and manner how to deliver you, and therefore you ought to resign yourself unto Him.

It belongs to God to help, and to deliver from all confusion.

It is often very profitable, to keep us more humble, that others know and rebuke our faults.

When a man humbles himself for his failings, then he easily pacifies others, and quickly satisfies those that are offended with him.

God protects the humble and delivers him;[176] the humble He loves and comforts; unto the humble man He inclines Himself; unto the humble He gives great grace; and after his humiliation He raises him to glory.

Unto the humble He reveals His secrets,[177] and sweetly draws and invites him unto Himself.

The humble person, though he suffer confusion, is yet tolerably well in peace; for that he rests on God, and not on the world.

Do not think that you have made any progress, unless you esteem yourself inferior to all.


Of a Good Peaceable Man

FIRST, keep yourself in peace, and then shall you be able to pacify others,

A peaceable man does more good than he that is well learned,

A passionate man draws even good into evil, and easily believes the worst.

A good peaceable man turns all things to good.

He that is well in peace, is not suspicious of any.[178] But he that is discontented and troubled, is tossed with divers suspicions: he is neither quiet himself, nor suffers others to be quiet.

He often speaks that which he ought not to speak; and omits that which were more expedient for him to do.

He considers what others are bound to do,[179] and neglects that which he is bound to himself.

First therefore have a careful zeal over yourself,[180] and then you may justly show yourself zealous also of your neighbor's good.

You know well how to excuse and color your own deeds, but you are not willing to receive the excuses of others.

If it were more just that you should accuse yourself, and excuse your brother.

If you will be borne withal, bear also with another.[181]

Behold, how far off you are yet from true charity and humility; for that knows not how to be angry with any, or to be moved with indignation, but only against one's self.

It is no great matter to associate with the good, and gentle; for this is naturally pleasing to all, and every one willingly enjoys peace, and loves those best that agree with him.

But to be able to live peaceably with hard, and perverse persons, or with the disorderly, or with such as go contrary to us, is a great grace, and a most commendable and manly thing.

Some there are that keep themselves in peace, and are in peace also with others.

And there are some that neither are in peace themselves, nor suffer others to be in peace: they are troublesome to others, but always more troublesome to themselves.

And others there are that keep themselves in peace, and study to bring others unto peace.

Nevertheless, our whole peace in this miserable life consists rather in humble sufferance, than in not feeling adversities.

He that can best tell how to suffer, will best keep himself-in peace. That man is conqueror of himself, and lord of the world, the friend of Christ, and heir of Heaven.


Of a Pure Mind, and Simple Intention

BY two wings, a man is lifted up from things earthly, namely, by Simplicity and Purity.

Simplicity ought to be in our intention; Purity in our affections. Simplicity does tend towards God; Purity does apprehend and taste Him.

No good action will hinder you, if you be inwardly free from inordinate affection.

If you intend and seek nothing else but the will of God and the good of your neighbor, you shall thoroughly enjoy internal liberty.

If your heart were sincere and upright, then every creature would be unto you a looking-glass of life, and a book of holy doctrine.

There is no creature so small and abject, that it represents not the goodness of God.[182]

If you welt inwardly good and pure,[183] then would you be able to see and understand all things well without impediment.

A pure heart penetrates Heaven and hell.

Such as every one is inwardly, so he judges outwardly.

If there be joy in the world, surely a man of a pure heart possesses it.

And if there be any where tribulation and affliction, an evil conscience best knows it.

As iron put into the fire loses its rust, and becomes clearly red hot, so he that wholly turns himself unto God, puts off all slothfulness, and is transformed into a new man.

When a man begins to grow lukewarm, then he is afraid of a little labor, and willingly receives external comfort.

But when he once begins to overcome himself perfectly, and to walk manfully in the way of God; then he esteems those things to be light which before seemed grievous unto him.


Of the Consideration of One's Self

WE cannot trust much to ourselves,[184] because grace oftentimes is wanting to us, and understanding also.

There is but little light in us, and that which we have we quickly lose by our negligence.

Oftentimes too we do not perceive our own inward blindness how great it is.

We often do evil, and excuse it worse.[185]

We are sometimes moved with passion, and we think it to be zeal.

We reprehend small things in others, and pass over greater matters in ourselves.[186]

We quickly enough feel and weigh what we suffer at the hands of others; but we mind not what others suffer from us.

He that well and rightly considers his own works, will find little cause to judge hardly of another.

The inward Christian prefers the care of himself before all other cares.[187] And he that diligently attends unto himself, can easily keep silence concerning others.

You will never be thus inwardly religious, unless you pass over other men's matters with silence, and look especially to yourself.

If you attend wholly unto God and yourself, you will be but little moved with whatsoever you see abroad.[188]

Where are you, when you are not with yourself? And when you have run over all, what have you then profited, if you have neglected yourself.

If you desire peace of mind and true unity of purpose, you must still put all things behind you, and look only upon yourself.

You shall then make great progress, if you keep yourself free from all temporal care. You shall greatly fall back, if you esteem temporal any


Let nothing be great unto you, nothing high, nothing pleasing, nothing acceptable, but only God Himself, or that which is of God.

Esteem all comfort vain,[189] which you receive from any creature.

A soul that loves God, despises all things that are inferior unto God.

God alone is everlasting, and of infinite greatness, filling all creatures; the soul's solace, and the true joy of the heart.


Of the Joy of a Good Conscience

THE glory of a good man, is the testimony of a good conscience.[190]

Have a good conscience, and you shall ever have joy.

A good conscience is able to bear very much, and is very cheerful in adversities.

An evil conscience is always fearful and unquiet.[191]

You shall rest sweetly, if your heart do not reprehend you.

Never rejoice, but when you have done well.

Sinners have never true joy, nor feel inward peace, because 'There is no peace to the wicked,' says the Lord.[192]

And if they should say, 'We are in peace, no evil shall fall upon us,[193] and who shall dare to hurt us? believe them not; for upon a sudden will arise the wrath of God, and their deeds shall be brought to nought, and their thoughts shall perish.

To glory in tribulation, is no hard thing for him that loves; for so to glory, is to glory in the Cross of the Lord.[194]

That glory is short, which is given and received from men.[195]

Sorrow always accompanies the world's glory.

The glory of the good is in their consciences, and not in the tongues of men. The gladness of the just is of God,[196] and in God; and their joy is of the Truth.

He that desires true and everlasting glory, cares not for that which is temporal.

And he that seeks temporal glory, or despises it not from his soul, shows himself to have but little esteem of the glory of Heaven.

He enjoys great tranquillity of heart, that cares neither for the praises, nor dispraises of men.

He will easily be content and pacified, whose conscience is pure.

You are not the more holy, though you be commended; nor the more worthless, though you be found fault with.

What you are, that you are; neither by words can you be made greater, than what you are in the sight of God.

If you consider what you are within you, you will not care what men talk of you.

Man looks on the countenance, but God on the heart.[197] Man considers the deeds, but God weighs the intentions.

To be always doing well, and to esteem little of one's self, is the sign of an humble soul.

To refuse to be comforted by any creature, is a sign of great purity, and inward confidence.

He that seeks no witness for himself from without, does show that he has wholly committed himself unto God.

'For not he that commends himself, the same is approved, (says Saint Paul), but whom God commends.'[198]

To walk inwardly with God, and not to be kept abroad by any outward affection, is the state of a spiritual man.


Of the Love of Jesus above All Things

BLESSED is he that understands[199] what it is to love Jesus, and to despise himself for Jesus' sake.

You ought to leave [your] beloved, for [your] Beloved,[200] for that Jesus will be loved alone above all things.

The love of things created is deceitful and inconstant; the love of Jesus is faithful and persevering.

He that cleaves unto creatures, shall fall with that which is subject to fall; he that embraces Jesus shall. stand firmly for ever.

Love Him, and keep Him for your friend, who when all go away, will not forsake you, nor suffer you to perish in the end,

Some time or other you must be separated from all, whether you will or no.

Keep close to Jesus both in life and in death, and commit yourself unto His trust, who, when all fail, can alone help you.

Your Beloved is of that nature, that He will admit of no rival; but will have your heart alone, and sit on His own throne as King.

If you could empty yourself perfectly from all creatures, Jesus would willingly dwell with you.

Whatsoever you repose in men, out of Jesus, is all little better than lost.

Trust not nor lean upon a reed full of wind; for that all flesh is grass, and all the glory thereof shall wither away as the flower of the field.[201]

You shall quickly be deceived, if you only look to the outward appearance of men. For if in others you seek your comfort and profit, you - shall too often feel loss.

If you seek Jesus in all things, you shall surely find


But if you seek yourself, you shall also find yourself, but to your own destruction.

For man does more hurt himself if he seek not Jesus, than the whole world and all his adversaries [could injure him].


Of Familiar Converse with Jesus

WHEN Jesus is present, all is well, and nothing seems difficult; but when Jesus is absent, every thing is hard.

When Jesus speaks not inwardly to us, all other comfort is nothing worth; but if Jesus speak but one. word, we feel great consolation.

Did not Mary Magdalene rise immediately from the place where she wept, when Martha said to her, 'The Master is come,' and calls for you?'[202]

Happy hour! when Jesus calls from tears to spiritual joy.

How dry and hard are you without Jesus! How foolish and vain, if you desire any thing out of Jesus!

Is not this a greater loss, than if you should lose the whole world?[203]

What can the world profit you without Jesus?

To be without Jesus is a grievous hell; and to be with Jesus, a sweet paradise.

If Jesus be with you, no enemy shall be able to hurt you.[204]

He that finds Jesus, finds a good treasure,[205] yea, a Good above all good.

And he that loses Jesus, loses much indeed, yea, more than the whole world!

Most poor is he who lives without Jesus;[206] and he most rich who is well with Jesus.

It is a matter of great skill to know how to hold converse with Jesus; and to know how to keep Jesus, a point of great wisdom.

Be you humble and peaceable, and Jesus will be with you.[207]

Be devout and quiet, and Jesus will stay with you.

You may soon drive away Jesus, and lose His favor, if you will turn aside to outward things.

And if you should drive Him from you, and lose Him, unto whom will you flee, and whom will you then' seek for your friend?

Without a friend you can not well live; and if Jesus be not above all a friend to you, you shall be indeed sad and desolate.

You act therefore like an idiot, if you trust or rejoice in any other.[208]

It is preferable to have all the world against us, rather than to have Jesus offended with us.

Amongst all therefore that be dear unto us, let Jesus alone be specially beloved.

Love all for Jesus, but Jesus for Himself.

Jesus Christ alone is singularly to be beloved; who alone is found Good and Faithful above all friends.

For Him, and in Him, let as well friends as foes be dear unto you; and all these are to be prayed for, that He would make them all to know and love Him.[209]

Never desire to be singularly commended or beloved, for that appertains only unto God, who has none like unto Himself.

Neither do you desire that the heart of any should be set on you, nor do you set your heart on the love of any; but let Jesus be in you, and in every good man.

Be pure and free within, and entangle not your heart with any creature.

You ought to be naked and open before God, ever carrying your heart pure towards Him, if you would be free to consider and see how sweet the Lord is.

And truly, unless you be prevented and drawn by His grace, you shall never attain to that happiness to forsake and take leave of all, that you alone may be united to Him alone.

For when the grace of God comes unto a man, then he is made able for all things. And when It goes away, then is he poor and weak, and as it were left only for the lash and scourge.

In this case you ought not to be dejected, nor to despair; but at God's will to stand steadily, and whatever comes upon you, to endure it for the glory of Jesus Christ; for after winter follows summer, after night the day returns, and after a tempest a great calm.


Of the Want of all Comfort

IT is no hard matter to despise human comfort, when we have divine.

It is much and very much, to be able to want both human and divine comfort;[210] and, for God's honor, to be willing cheerfully to endure banishment of heart; and to seek himself in nothing, nor to regard his own merit.

What great matter is it, if at the coming of Grace you be cheerful and devout? this hour is wished for of all men. He rides easily enough whom the grace of God carries. And what marvel if he feel not his burden, who is borne up by the Almighty, and led by the Sovereign Guide?

We are always willing to have something for our comfort; and a man does not without difficulty strip himself of self.

The holy martyr Laurence with his priest, overcame the world, because whatsoever seemed delightsome in the world he despised; and for the love of Christ he patiently suffered God's chief Priest Sixtus, whom he most dearly loved, to be even taken away from him.

He therefore overcame the love of man by the love of the Creator; and he rather chose what pleased God, than human comfort.

So also do you learn to part even with a near and dear friend, for the love of God.

Nor do you take it hard, when you are deserted by a friend, as knowing that we all at last must be separated one from another.

A man must strive long and mightily within himself, before he can learn fully to master himself, and to draw his whole heart into God.

When a man trusts in himself, he easily slides unto human comforts.

But a true lover of Christ, and a diligent follower of all virtue, does not fall back on comforts, nor seek such sensible sweetnesses; but rather prefers hard exercises, and to sustain severe labors for Christ.

When therefore spiritual comfort is given you from God, receive it with thankfulness; but understand that it is the gift of God, nor any desert of your.

Be not puffed up, be not too joyful nor vainly presumptuous; but rather be the more humble for that gift, more wary too and fearful in all your actions; for that hour will pass away, and temptation will follow.

When consolation is taken from you, do not immediately despair; but with humility and patience wait for the heavenly visitation; for God is able to give you back again more ample consolation.

This is nothing new nor strange unto them that have experience in the way of God; for the great Saints and ancient Prophets had oftentimes experience of such kind of vicissitudes.

For which cause, one under the enjoyment of divine Grace, said, 'I said in my prosperity, I shall never be moved.'[211]

But in the want of this Grace, what he found in himself he goes on thus to speak of, 'You did turn Your face from me, and I was troubled.'

Yet in the midst of all this he does not by any means despair, but more earnestly beseeches the Lord, and says, 'Unto You, O Lord, will I cry, and I will pray unto my God.'

At length, he receives the fruit of his prayer, and testifies that he was heard, saying, 'The Lord has heard me, and taken pity on me; the Lord is become my helper.'

But wherein? 'You have turned,' says he, 'my sorrow into joy, and You have compassed me about with gladness.'

If great Saints were so dealt with, we that are weak and poor ought not to despair, if we be sometimes fervent and sometimes cold; for the Spirit comes and goes, according to the good pleasure of His own will.[212] For which cause blessed Job says, 'You visit him early in the morning, and suddenly You prove him.'[213]

Whereupon then can I hope, or wherein ought I to trust, save in the great mercy of God alone, and in the only hope of heavenly grace?

For whether I have with me good men, either religious brethren, or faithful friends; whether holy books, or beautiful treatises, or sweet psalms and hymns; all these help but little, and have but little savor, when God forsakes me, and I am left in mine own poverty.

At such time there is no better remedy than patience, and the denying of myself according to the will of God.[214]

I never found any so religious and devout, that he had not sometimes a withdrawing of grace, or felt not some decrease of zeal.

There was never Saint so highly rapt and illuminated, who first or last was not tempted.

For he is not worthy of the high contemplation of God, who has not been exercised with some tribulation for God's sake.

For temptation going before, is wont to be a sign of ensuing comfort.

For unto those that are proved by temptations, heavenly comfort is promised. 'He that shall overcome,' says He, 'I will give him to eat of the Tree of life.'[215]

But divine consolation is given, that a man may be bolder to bear adversities.

There follows also temptation, lest he should wax proud of any good.

The devil sleeps not,[216] neither is the flesh as yet dead; therefore cease not to prepare yourself to the battle; for on your right hand and on your left are enemies who never rest.


Of Gratitude for the Grace of God

WHY seek you rest, since you are born to labor?[217]

Dispose yourself to patience rather than to comfort, and to the bearing of the Cross, rather than to gladness.[218]

What secular person is there that would not willingly receive spiritual joy and comfort, if he could always have it?

For spiritual comforts exceed all the delights of the world, and pleasures of the flesh.

For all worldly delights are either vain or unclean; but spiritual delights are only pleasant and honest, sprung from virtue, and infused by God into pure minds.

But no man can always enjoy these divine comforts according to his desire; for the time of temptation is not long away.

But false freedom of mind and great confidence of ourselves is very contrary to heavenly visitations.

God does well for us in giving the grace of comfort; but man does evil in not returning all again unto God with thanksgiving.

And therefore the gifts of Grace cannot flow in us, because we are unthankful to the Giver, and return them not wholly to the Head fountain.[219]

For Grace ever attends him that is duly thankful; and from the proud shall be taken that which is wont to be given to the humble.

I desire not that consolation that takes from me compunction; nor do I affect that contemplation which leads to haughtiness of mind.

For all that is high, is not holy; nor all that is sweet, good; nor every desire, pure; nor is everything that is dear unto us, pleasing to God.

Willingly do I accept of that grace, whereby I may ever be found more humble, and more affected with fear, and may become more ready to renounce myself.

He that is taught by the gift of Grace, and schooled by the scourge of the withdrawing thereof, will not dare to attribute any good to himself, but will rather acknowledge himself poor and naked.

Give unto God that which is God's,[220] and ascribe unto yourself that which is your own; that is, give thanks to God for His grace; and acknowledge that to yourself alone is to be attributed sin, and the punishment due to sin.

Set yourself always in the lowest place[221] and the highest shall be given you; for the highest cannot stand without the lowest.

The chief Saints before God, are the least in their own judgments; and the more glorious they are, so much the humbler within themselves.

Those that are full of truth and heavenly glory, are not desirous of vain-glory.

Those that are firmly settled and grounded in God, can no way be proud.

And they that ascribe all unto God, what good soever they have received, seek not glory one of another, but wish for that glory which is from God alone; and desire above all things that God may be praised in Himself, and in all His Saints; and are always tending to this very thing.

Be therefore thankful for the least gift, so shall you be meet to receive greater.

Let the least be unto you even as the greatest, yea the most contemptible gift as of especial value.

If you consider the worth of the Giver, no gift will seem little, or of too mean esteem. For that cannot be little which is given by the Most High God.

Yea, if He should give punishment and stripes, it ought to be matter of thankfulness; because He does it always for our welfare, whatsoever He permits to happen unto us.

He that desires to keep the grace of God, let him be thankful for grace given, and patient for the taking away thereof: let him pray that it may return: let him be cautious and humble, lest he lose it.


How Few are the Lovers of the Cross of Jesus

Jesus has now many lovers of His heavenly kingdom, but few bearers of His Cross.

He has many desirous of consolation, but few of tribulation.

He finds many companions of His table, but few of His abstinence.

All desire to rejoice with Him, few are willing to endure any thing for Him, or with Him.

Many follow Jesus unto the breaking of bread; but few to the drinking of the cup of His Passion.[222]

Many reverence His miracles, few follow the ignominy of His Cross.

Many love Jesus so long as no adversities befall them.

Many praise and bless Him, so long as they receive any consolations from Him.

But if Jesus hide Himself, and leave them but a little while; they fall either into complaining, or into too much dejection of mind.

But they who love Jesus for the sake of Jesus, and not for some special comfort of their own, bless Him in all tribulation and anguish of heart, as well as in the state of highest comfort.

Yea although He should never be willing to give them comfort, they notwithstanding would ever praise Him, and wish to be always giving thanks.

O how powerful is the pure love of Jesus, which is mixed with no self-interest, or self-love!

Are not all those to be called mercenary, who are ever seeking consolations?

Do they not show themselves to be rather lovers of themselves than of Christ, who are always thinking of their own profit and advantage?[223]

Where shall one be found who is willing to serve God for nought?

Rarely is any one found so spiritual as to be stripe of all things.

For where is any man to be found that is indeed poor in spirit, and thoroughly void of all affection of creatures? 'From afar, yea from the ends of the earth, is his value.'[224]

If a man should give all his substance, yet is it nothing. And if he should practice great repentance, still it is little.

And if he should attain to all knowledge, he is still afar off.

And if he should be of great virtue, and of very fervent devotion, yet there is. much wanting: especially, one thing, which is most necessary for him.

What is that? That leaving all, he forsake himself, and go wholly from himself,[225] and retain nothing out of self-love.

And when he has done all that is to be done, so far as he knows, lee him think that he has done nothing.

Let him not weigh that much, which might be much esteemed; but let him pronounce himself to be in truth an unprofitable servant, as the Truth Himself says, 'When you shall have done all things that are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants.'[226]

Then may he be truly poor and naked in spirit, and say with the Prophet, 'I am alone and poor.'[227]

Yet no man richer than he, no man more powerful, no man more free; for he is able to leave himself and all things, and to set himself in the lowest place.


Of the King's High Way of the Holy Cross

UNTO many this seems an hard speech, 'Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Jesus.'[228]

But much harder will it be to hear that last word. 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire.'[229]

For they who now willingly hear and follow the word of the Cross, shall not then fear[230] to hear the sentence of everlasting damnation.

This sign of the Cross shall be in the Heaven, when the Lord shall come to judgment.

Then all the servants of the Cross, who in their lifetime conformed themselves unto Christ crucified, shall draw near unto Christ the Judge with great confidence.

Why therefore fear you to take up the Cross which leads you to a kingdom?

In the Cross is salvation, in the Cross is life, in the Cross is protection against our enemies, in the Cross is infusion of heavenly sweetness, in the Cross is strength of mind, in the Cross joy of spirit, in the Cross the height of virtue, in the Cross the perfection of sanctity.

There is no salvation of the soul, nor hope of everlasting life, but in the Cross.

Take up therefore your Cross and follow Jesus,[231] and you shall go into life everlasting. He went before, bearing His Cross,[232] and died for you on the Cross; that you may also bear your Cross and desire to die on the Cross with Him.

For if you be dead with Him, you shall also live with Him. And if you be His companion in punishment, you shall be partaker with Him also in glory.[233]

Behold! in the Cross all does consist, and all lies in our dying thereon; for there is no other way unto life, and unto true inward peace, but the way of the holy Cross, and of daily mortification.

Go where you will, seek whatsoever you will, you shall not find a higher way above, nor a safer way below, than the way of the holy Cross.

Dispose and order all things according to your will and judgment; yet you shall ever find, that of necessity you must suffer somewhat, either willing or against your will, and so you shall ever find the Cross.

For either you shall feel pain in your body, or in your soul you shall suffer tribulation of spirit.

Sometimes you shall be forsaken of God, sometimes you shall be troubled by your neighbors; and, what is more, oftentimes you shall be wearisome to yourself.

Neither can you be delivered or eased by any remedy or comfort; but so long as it pleases God, you ought to bear it.

For God will have you learn to suffer tribulation without comfort; and that you subject yourself wholly to Him, and by tribulation become more humble.

No man has so cordial a feeling of the Passion of Christ, as he who has suffered the like himself.

The Cross therefore is always ready, and every where waits for you.

You can not escape it wherever you run; for whereever you go, you carry yourself with you, and shall ever find yourself.

Both above and below, without and within, which way soever you do turn you, every where you shall find the Cross; and every where of necessity you must hold fast patience, if you will have inward peace, and enjoy an everlasting crown.

If you bear the Cross cheerfully, it will bear you, and lead you to the desired. end, namely, where there shall be an end of suffering, though here there shall not be.

If you bear it unwillingly, you make for yourself a burden, and increase your load, and yet notwithstanding you must bear it.

If you cast away one cross, without doubt you shall find another, and that perhaps a more heavy one.

Think you to escape that which no mortal man could ever avoid? Which of the Saints in the world was without crosses, and tribulation?

For not even our Lord Jesus Christ was ever one hour without the anguish of His Passion, so long as He lived. 'Christ' (says He) 'must needs suffer, and rise again from the dead, and so enter into His glory.'[234] And how do you seek any other way than this royal way, which is the way of the holy Cross?

Christ's whole life was a Cross and Martyrdom: and do you seek rest and joy for yourself?

You are deceived, you are deceived if you seek any other thing than to suffer tribulations; for this whole mortal life is full of miseries,[235] and signed on every side with crosses.

And the higher a person has advanced in the Spirit, so much the heavier crosses he oftentimes finds; because the brief of his banishment increases with his love to God.

Nevertheless this man, though so many ways afflicted, is not without refreshing comfort, for that he perceives very much benefit to accrue unto him by the enduring of his own cross.

For whilst he willingly puts himself under it, all the burden of tribulation is turned into the confidence of Divine comfort.

And the more the flesh is wasted by affliction, so much the more is the spirit strengthened by inward grace.

And sometimes he is so comforted with the desire of tribulation and adversity, for the love of conformity to the Cross of Christ, that he would not wish to be without grief and tribulation;[236] because he believes that he shall be unto God so much the more acceptable, the more, and the more grievous things he can suffer for Him.

This is not the power of man, but it is the grace of Christ, which can and does so much in frail flesh; so that what naturally it always abhors and flees from, that by fervor of spirit it encounters and loves.

It is not according to man's inclination to bear the Cross, to love the Cross, to chastise the body, and bring it into subjection, to flee honors, willingly to suffer contumelies, to despise himself and to wish to be despised, to endure all adversities and damages, and to desire no I prosperity in this world.

If you look to yourself, you shall be-able of yourself to accomplish nothing of this kind.[237]

But if you trust in the Lord, fortitude shall be given you from Heaven, and the world and the flesh shall be made subject to your command.

Neither shale you fear your enemy the devil, if you be armed with faith, and signed with the Cross of Christ.

Set yourself therefore, like a good and faithful servant of Christ, to bear manfully the Cross of your Lord, who out of love was crucified for you.'

Prepare yourself to bear many adversities and divers kinds of troubles in this miserable life; for so it will be with you, whereever you are, and so surely you shall find it, whereever you hide yourself.

So it must be; nor is there any remedy or means to escape from tribulation and sorrow, but only to endure yourself.

Drink of the Lord's cup[238] with hearty affection, if you desire to be His friend, and to have part with Him.

As for comforts, leave them to God; let Him do therein as shall best please Him.

But do you set yourself to suffer tribulations, and account

them the greatest comforts; for the sufferings of this present time, although you alone could suffer them all, cannot worthily deserve the glory which is to come.

11. When you shall come to this estate, that tribulation[239] shall seem sweet, and you shall relish it for Christ's sake; then think it to be well with you, for you have found a Paradise upon earth.

As long as it is grievous to you to suffer, and that you desire to flee it, so long shall you be ill at ease, and the desire of escaping tribulation will follow you every where.

1If you do set yourself to that you ought, namely, to suffering, and to death, it will quickly be better with you, and you shall find peace.

Although you should have been rapt even unto the third heaven with Paul,[240] you are not for this secured that you shall suffer no adversity. 'I will show him' (says Jesus) 'how great things he must suffer for My Name.'[241]

It remains therefore, that you suffer, if it please you to love Jesus, and to serve Him perpetually.

1O that you wen worthy to suffer something for the Name of Jesus![242] How great glory would remain unto yourself; what joy would arise to all God's Saints; how great edification also to your neighbor!

For all men recommend patience; few, however, they are who are willing to suffer.

With great reason ought you cheerfully to suffer some little for Christ's sake; since many suffer more grievous things for the world.

1Know for certain, that you ought to lead a dying life.[243] And the more any man dies to himself, so much the more does he begin to live unto God.

No man is fit to comprehend things Heavenly, unless he submit himself to the bearing of adversities for Christ's sake.

Nothing is more acceptable to God, nothing more wholesome to you in this world, than to suffer cheerfully for Christ.

And if you could choose, you ought rather to wish to suffer adversities for Christ, than to be refreshed with many consolations; because you would thus be more like unto Christ, and more conformable to all the Saints.

For our worthiness, and the proficiency of our spiritual estate consists not in many sweetnesses and comforts; but rather in thoroughly enduring great afflictions and tribulations.

1Indeed if there had been any better thing, and more profitable to man's salvation, than suffering, surely Christ would have showed it by word and example.

For both the disciples that followed Him, and also all who desire to follow Him, He plainly exhorts to the bearing of the Cross, and says, 'If any will come after Me, let him to deny himself, and take up his Cross, and follow me.'[244]

So that when we have thoroughly read and searched all, let this be the final conclusion, 'That through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God.'[245]


Of Christ's speaking inwardly to the Faithful Soul

'I WILL hearken what the Lord God will speak in me.'[246] Blessed is the soul which hears the Lord speaking within her,[247] and receives from His mouth the word of consolation.

Blessed are the ears that gladly receive the pulses of the Divine whisper,[248] and give no heed to the many whisperings of this world.

Blessed indeed are those ears which listen not after the voice which is sounding without, but for the Truth teaching inwardly.

Blessed are the eyes which are shut to outward things, but intent on things eternal.

Blessed are they that enter far into inward things, and endeavor to prepare themselves more and more, by daily exercises, for the receiving of Heavenly secrets.

Blessed are they who are glad to have time to spare for God, and shake off all worldly impediments.

Consider these things, O my soul, and shut up the door of your sensual desires, that you may hear what the Lord your God shall speak in you.[249]

Thus says your Beloved, I am your Salvation,[250] your Peace, and your Life: keep yourself with Me, and you shall find peace.

Let go all transitory things, and seek those that be everlasting.

What are all temporal things but seducing snares? and what can all creatures avail you, if you be forsaken by the Creator?

Bid farewell therefore to all things else, and labor to please your Creator, and to be faithful unto Him, that so you may be able to attain unto true blessedness.


That the Truth speaks inwardly without Noise of Words

SPEAK, O Lord, for Your servant hears.[251]

I am Your servant, grant me understanding, that I may know Your testimonies.[252]

Incline my heart to the words of Your mouth: let Your speech distill as the dew.

The children of Israel in times past said unto Moses, 'Speak you unto us, and we will hear: let not the Lord speak unto us, lest we die.'[253]

Not so, Lord, not so, I beseech You: but rather with the prophet Samuel, I humbly and earnestly entreat, 'Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears.'

Let not Moses speak unto me, nor any of the prophets, but rather do You speak, O Lord God, Inspirer and Enlightener of all the Prophets; for You alone without them can perfectly instruct me, but they without You can profit nothing.

They indeed may sound forth words, but they cannot give the Spirit.

Most beautifully do they speak, but if You be silent, they inflame not the heart.

They teach the letter, but You open the sense: they bring forth mysteries, but You unlock the meaning of sealed things.

They declare Your commandments, but You help us to fulfill them.

They point out the way, but You give strength to walk in it.

What they can do is only without, but You instruct and enlighten the heart.

They water outwardly, but You give fruitfulness.

They cry aloud in words, but You impart understanding to the hearing.

Let not Moses therefore speak unto me, but You, O Lord my God, the Everlasting Truth; lest I die, and prove unfruitful, if I be only warned outwardly, and not inflamed within.

Lest it turn to my condemnation,--the word heard and not fulfilled, known and not loved, believed and not observed.

Speak therefore, Lord, for Your servant hears: for You have the words of eternal life.[254]

Speak You unto me, to the comfort, however imperfect, of my soul, and to the amendment of my whole life, and to Your praise and glory and honor everlasting.


That the Words of God are to be heard with Humility, and that many weigh them not

MY son, hear My words, words of greatest sweetness, surpassing all the knowledge of the philosophers and wise men of this world. 'My words are Spirit and Life,'[255] and not to be weighed by the understanding of man.

They are not to be drawn forth for vain approbation, but to be heard in silence, and to be received with all humility and great affection.

And I said, Blessed is the man whom You shall instruct, O Lord, and shall teach out of Your Law, that you may give him rest from the evil days,[256] and he be not desolate upon earth.

I TAUGHT the Prophets from the beginning,[257] (says the Lord,) and cease not, even to this day, to speak to all; but many are hardened, and deaf to My voice.

The generality of persons do more willingly listen to the world than to God; they sooner follow the desires of their own flesh, than God's good pleasure.

The world promises things temporal and mean, and is served with great eagerness: I promise things most high and eternal, and yet the hearts of men remain torpid and insensible.

Who is there that in all things serves and obeys Me with so great care as the world and its lords are served withal? 'Be ashamed, O Sidon, says the sea.'[258] And if you ask the came, hear wherefore.

For a small income, a long journey is undertaken; for everlasting life, many will scarce once lift a foot from the ground.

The most pitiful reward is sought after; for a single. bit of money sometimes there is shameful contention; for a vain matter and slight promise, men fear not to toil day and night.

But, alas! for an unchangeable good, for an inestimable reward, for the highest honor, and glory without end, they grudge even the least fatigue.

Be ashamed, therefore, you slothful and complaining servant, that they are found to be more ready to destruction than you to life.

They rejoice more in vanity than you do in the truth.

Sometimes, indeed, they are frustrated of their hope; but My promise deceives none,[259] nor sends him away empty that trusts in Me.

What I have promised, I will give; what I have said, I will fulfill; if only any man remain faithful in My love even to the end.

I am the Rewarder of all good men,[260] and the strong Approver of all who are devoted to Me.

Write you My words in your heart, and meditate diligently on them; for in time of temptation they will be very needful for you.

What you understand not when you read, you shall know in the day of visitation.

In two several ways, I am wont to visit Mine elect, namely with temptation and with consolation.

And I daily read two lessons to them, one in reproving their vices, another in exhorting them to the increase of all virtues.

He that has My words and despises them, has One that shall judge him in the last day.

A Prayer to implore the grace of Devotion.

O Lord my God! You are to me whatsoever is good. And who am I, that l. should dare speak to You?[261] I am Your poorest meanest servant, and a most vile worm, much more poor and contemptible than I can or dare express.

Yet do You remember me, O Lord, because I am nothing, I have nothing, and I can do nothing.

You alone are Good, Just, and Holy; You can do all things, You accomplish all things, You fill all things, only the sinner You leave empty.

Remember Your mercies, and fill my heart with Your grace, You who will not that Your works should be void and in vain.

How can I bear up myself in this miserable life, unless You strengthen me with Your mercy and grace?

Turn not Your face away from me;[262] delay not Your visitation; withdraw not Your consolation, lest my soul become as a thirsty land unto You.

Teach me, O Lord, to do Your will;[263] teach me to live worthily and humbly in Your sight; for You are my Wisdom, You do truly know me, and did know me before the world was made, and before I was horn in the world.


That we ought to live in Truth and Humility before God

MY son, walk you before Me in truth, and ever seek Me in simplicity of your heart.[264]

He that walks before Me in truth, shall be defended from evil incursions, and the Truth shall set him free[265] from seducers, and from the slanders of unjust men.

If the Truth shall have made you free, you shall be free indeed, and shall not care for the vain words of men.

O Lord, it is true. According as You say, so, I beseech You, let it be with me; let Your Truth teach me, guard me, and preserve me safe to the end.

Let it 'set me free from all evil affection and inordinate love; and I shall walk with You in great liberty of heart.

I WILL teach you (says the Truth) those things which are right and pleasing in My sight.

Reflect on your sins with great displeasure and grief; and never esteem yourself to be any thing, because of any good works.

In truth you are a sinner; you are subject to and encumbered with many passions. Of yourself you always tend to nothing; speedily are you cast down, speedily overcome, speedily disordered, speedily dissolved.

You have nothing whereof you can glory,[266] but many things for which you ought to account yourself vile; for you are much weaker than you are able to comprehend.

And therefore let nothing seem much unto you, whatsoever you do.

Let nothing seem great, nothing precious and wonderful, nothing worthy of estimation, nothing high, nothing truly commendable and to be desired, but that alone which is eternal.

Let the eternal Truth be above all things pleasing to you. Let your own extreme unworthiness be always displeasing to you.

Fear nothing, blame nothing, flee nothing, so much as your vices and sins; which ought to be more unpleasing to you than any losses whatsoever of things earthly.

Some walk not sincerely in My sight,[267] but led by a certain curiosity and pride wish to know My secrets, and to understand the high things of God, neglecting themselves and their own salvation.

These oftentimes, when I resist them, for their pride and curiosity do fall into great temptations and fins.

Fear you the judgments of God, and dread the wrath of the Almighty. Do not however discuss the works of the Most High, but search diligently your own iniquities, in how great things you have offended, and how many good things you have neglected.

Some carry their devotion only in books, some in pictures, some in outward signs and figures. Some have Me in their mouths, but little in their hearts.[268] Others there are who, being illuminated in their understandings, and purged in their affection, do always breathe after things eternal, are unwilling to hear of the things of this world, and do serve the necessities of nature with grid; and these perceive what the Spirit of Truth speaks in them.[269]

For He teaches them to despise earthly, and to love heavenly things, to neglect the world, and to desire Heaven all the day and night.[270]


Of the Wonderful Effect of Divine Love

I BLESS You, O Heavenly Father, Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, for that You have vouchsafed to remember me a pour creature.

O Father of mercies and God of all comfort,[271] thanks be unto You, who sometimes with Your comfort refresh me, unworthy as I am of all comfort.

I will always bless and glorify You, with Your only-begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, for ever and ever.

Ah, Lord God, You Holy Lover of my soul, when You come into my heart, all that is within me shall rejoice.

You are my Glory and the exultation of my heart: You are my Hope and Refuge in the day of my trouble.[272]

But because I am as yet weak in love, and imperfect in virtue, I have need to be strengthened and comforted by You; visit me therefore often, and instruct me with all holy discipline.

Set me free from evil passions, and heal my heart of all inordinate affections; that being inwardly cured and thoroughly cleansed, I may be made fit to love, courageous to suffer, steady to persevere.

Love is a great thing, yea, a great and thorough good; by itself it makes every thing that is heavy, light; and it bears evenly all that is uneven.

For it carries a burden which is no burden,[273] and makes every thing that is bitter, sweet and tasteful.

The noble love of Jesus impels a man to do great things, and stirs him up to be always longing for what is more perfect.

Love desires to be aloft, and will not be kept back by any thing low and mean.

Love desires to be free, and estranged from all worldly affections, that so its inward sight may not be hindered; that it may not be entangled by any temporal prosperity, or by any adversity subdued.

Nothing is sweeter than Love, nothing more courageous, nothing higher, nothing wider, nothing more pleasant, nothing fuller nor better in Heaven and earth; because Love is born of God, and cannot rest but in God, above all created things. . . .

He that loves, flies, runs, and rejoices; he is free, and cannot be held in.

He gives all for all, and has all in all; because he rests in One Highest above all things, from whom all that is good flows and proceeds.

He respects not the gifts, but turns himself above all goods unto the Giver.

Love oftentimes knows no measure, but is fervent beyond all measure.

Love feels no burden, thinks nothing of trouble, attempts what is above its strength, pleads no excuse of impossibility; for it thinks all things lawful for itself and all things possible.

It is therefore able to undertake all things, and it completes many things, and warrants them to take effect, where he who does not love, would faint and lie down.

Love is watchful, and sleeping slumbers not.[274] Though weary, it is not tired; though pressed, it is not straitened; though alarmed, it is not confounded; but as a lively flame and burning torch, it forces its way upwards, and securely passes through all.

If any man love, he knows what is the cry of this voice. For it is a loud cry in the ears of God, the mere ardent affection of the soul, when it says, 'My God, my Love, You are all mine, and I am all Your.'

Enlarge You me in love, that with the inward palate of my heart I may taste how sweet it is to love, and to be dissolved, and as it were to bathe myself in Your Love.

Let me be possessed by Love, mounting above myself, through excessive fervor and admiration.

Let me sing the song of love, let me follow You, my Beloved, on high; let my soul spend itself in Your praise, rejoicing through love.

Let me love You more than myself, nor love myself but for You: and in You all that truly love You, as the law of Love commands, shining out from Yourself.

Love is active, sincere, affectionate, pleasant and amiable; courageous, patient, faithful, prudent, long-suffering, manly, and never seeking itself.[275]

For in whatever instance a person seeks himself, there he falls from Love.[276]

Love is circumspect, humble, and upright: not yielding to softness, or to levity, nor attending to vain things; it is sober, chaste, steady, quiet, and guarded in all the senses.

Love is subject, and obedient to its superiors, to itself mean and despised, unto God devout and thankful, trusting and hoping always in Him, even then when God imparts no relish of sweetness unto it: for without sorrow none lives in love.

He that is not prepared to suffer all things, and to stand to the will of his Beloved, is not worthy to be called a lover [of God].[277]

A lover ought to embrace willingly all that is hard and distasteful, for the sake of his Beloved; and not to turn away from Him for any contrary accidents.


Of the Proof of a True Lover [of Christ]

MY son, you are not yet a courageous and considerate lover.

WHEREFORE say You this, O Lord?

BECAUSE for a slight opposition you give over your undertakings, and too eagerly seek consolation.

A courageous lover stands firm in temptations, and gives no credit to the crafty persuasions of the Enemy. As I please him in prosperity, so in adversity I am not unpleasant to him.[278]

A considerate lover regards not so much the gift of Him who loves him, as the love of the Giver.

He esteems the good will rather than the value [of the gift], and sets all gifts below Him whom he loves.

A noble-minded lover rests not in the gift, but in Me above every gift.

All therefore is not lost, if sometimes you have less feeling for Me or My saints than you would.

That good and sweet affection which you sometimes feel, is the effect of grace present, and a sort of foretaste of your Heavenly home: but hereon you must not lean too much, for it comes and goes.

But to strive against all evil motions of the mind which may befall you, and to reject[279] with scorn the suggestions of the devil, is a notable sign of virtue, and shall have great reward.

Let no strange fancies therefore trouble you, which on any subject whatever may crowd into your mind. Keep to your purpose, with courage, and an upright intention towards God.

Neither is it an illusion that sometimes you are suddenly rapt on high, and presently return again unto the accustomed vanities of your heart.

For these you do rather unwillingly suffer, than commit: and so long as they displease you, and you strive against them, it is a matter of reward, and no loss.

Know that the ancient Enemy does strive by all means to hinder your desire to good, and to keep you dear of all religious exercises; particularly from the reverend estimation of God's saints, from the devout commemoration of My Passion, from the profitable remembrance of sins, from the guard of your own heart, and from the firm purpose of advancing in virtue.

Many evil thoughts does he suggest to you, that so he may cause a wearisomeness and horror in you, to call you back from prayer and holy reading.

Humble confession is displeasing unto him; and if he could, he would cause you to cease from Holy Communion.

Trust him not, nor care for him, although he should often set snares of deceit to entrap you.

Charge him with it, when he suggests evil and unclean thoughts unto you; say unto him,

'Away you unclean Spirit![280] blush, you miserable wretch! most unclean are you that bring such things unto mine ears.

'Begone from me, you wicked Seducer! you shall have no part in me: but Jesus shall be with me as a strong Warrior, and you shall stand confounded.

'I had rather die, and undergo any torment, than consent unto you.

'Hold your peace and be silent; I will hear you no more. though you should work me many troubles. "The Lord is my Light and my Salvation, whom shall I fear?"[281]

'If whole armies should stand together against me, my heart shall not fear. The Lord is my Helper and my Redeemer'.

Fight like a good soldier:[282] and if you sometimes fall through frailty, take again greater strength than before, trusting in My more abundant Grace: and take great heed of vain pleasing of yourself, and of pride.

This brings many into error, and makes them sometimes fall into blindness almost incurable.

Let the fall of the proud, thus foolishly presuming of themselves, serve you for a warning and keep you ever humble.


Of concealing Grace under the guard of Humility

MY son, it is more profitable for you and more safe, to conceal the grace of devotion; not to lift yourself on high, nor to speak much thereof, or to dwell much thereon; but rather to despise yourself, and to fear it, as given to one unworthy of it.

This affection must not be too earnestly cleaved unto, for it may be quickly changed to the contrary. Think when you are in Grace, how miserable and needy you are wont to be without Grace.

'Nor is it in this only that your progress in spiritual life consists, when you have the grace of comfort; but rather when with humility, self-denial, and patience, you endure the withdrawing thereof; provided you do not then become listless in the exercise of prayer, nor suffer the rest of your accustomed duties to be at all neglected.

Rather do you cheerfully perform what lies in you, cording to the best of your power and understanding; and do not wholly neglect yourself because of the dryness or anxiety of mind which you feel.

For there are many who when things succeed not well with them, presently become impatient or slothful.

For the way of man is not always in his power,[283] but it belongs unto God to give, and to comfort, when He will, and how much He will, and whom He will; as it shall please Him, and no more.

Some unadvised persons, in their over-earnest desire of the grace of a devoted life, have overthrown themselves; because they attempted more than they were able to perform, not weighing the measure of their own weakness, but rather following the desire of their heart, than the judgment of their reason.

And because they presumed on greater matters than was pleasing to God, they therefore quickly lost His grace.

They who had built themselves nests[284] in Heaven were made helpless and vile outcasts; to the end that being humbled and impoverished, they might learn not to fly with their own wings, but to trust under My feathers.

They that are yet but novices and inexperienced in the way of the Lord, unless they govern themselves by the counsel of discreet persons, may easily be deceived and broken to pieces.

And if they will rather follow their own notions than trust to others who are more experienced, their end will be dangerous, at least if they are unwilling to be drawn away from their own fond conceit.

It is seldom the case that they who are self-wise endure humbly to be governed by others.

Better it is to have a small portion of good sense with humility,[285] and a slender understanding, than great treasures of science with vain self-complacency.

Better it is for you to have little than much of that which may make you proud.

He acts not very discreetly, who wholly gives himself over to joy, forgetting his former helplessness, and that chastened fear of the Lord, which is afraid of losing the grace which has been offered.

Nor again is he very valiantly wise who in time of adversity or any heaviness, at once yields too much to despairing thoughts, and reflects, and thinks of Me less confidingly than he ought.

He who in time of peace is willing to be over secure,[286] shall be often found in time of war too much dejected and full of fears.

If you had the wit always to continue humble and moderate within yourself, and also thoroughly to moderate and govern your spirit, you would not so quickly fall into danger and offense.

It is good counsel, that when fervor of spirit is kindled within you, you should consider how it will be, when that light shall leave you.

And when this does happen, then remember that the light may return again, which as a warning to yourself and for Mine own glory, I have withdrawn for a time.[287]

Such trials are oftentimes more profitable, than if you should always have things prosper according to your will.

For a man's worthiness is not to be estimated by the number of visions and comforts which he may have, or by his skill in the Scriptures, or by his being placed in a higher station [than others].

But [the proof is] if he be grounded in true humility, and full of divine charity; if he be always purely and sincerely seeking God's honor; if he think nothing of and unfeignedly despise himself,[288] and even rejoice more to be despised and put low by others, than to be honored by them.


Of a Mean Conceit of Ourselves in the Sight of God

SHALL I speak unto my Lord, since I am but dust and ashes?[289] If I esteem myself to be any thing more, behold, You stand against me, and my iniquities bear true witness, and I cannot contradict it.

But if I abase myself, and reduce myself to nothing, and shrink from self-esteem, and grind myself to (what I am) dust, Your grace will be favorable to me, and Your light near unto my heart; and all self-esteem, how little soever, shall be swallowed up in the valley of my nothingness, and perish for ever.

There You show Yourself unto me, what I am, what I have been, and whither I am come; for I am nothing, and I knew it not.

If I be left to myself, behold! I become nothing but mere weakness; but if You for an instant look upon me, I am forthwith made strong, and am filled with new joy.

And a great marvel it is, that I am so suddenly lifted up, and so graciously embraced by You, who of mine own weight am always sinking downward.

Your love is the cause hereof, freely preventing me, and relieving me in so many necessities, guarding me also from pressing dangers, and snatching me (as I may truly say) from evils out of number.

For indeed by loving myself amiss, I lost myself;[290] and by seeking You alone, and purely loving You, I have found both myself and You, and by that love have more deeply reduced myself to nothing.

Because You, O sweetest Lord, deal with me above all desert, and above all that I dare hope for or ask.

Blessed be You, my God: for although I be unworthy of any benefits, yet Your noble bounty and infinite goodness never ceases to do good even to the ungrateful,[291] and to those who are turned away far from You.

Turn You us unto You, that we may be thankful, humble, and devout; for You are our salvation, our courage, and our strength.


That all things are to be referred unto God, as their Last End

MY son, I ought to be your supreme and ultimate end, if you desire to be truly blessed.

With this intention your affections will be purified, which are too often inordinately inclined to selfishness and unto creatures.

For if in any thing you seek yourself, immediately you faintest and driest up.

I would therefore you should refer all things principally unto Me, for I am He who have given all.

Consider every thing as flowing from the Highest Good;[292] and therefore unto Me as their Original all must be reduced.

From Me, as from a living fountain, the small and the great, the poor and the rich, do draw the water of life;[293] and they that willingly and freely serve Me, shall receive grace for grace.

But he who desires to glory in things out of Me,[294] or to take pleasure in some private good, shall not be grounded in true joy, nor be enlarged in his heart, but shall many ways be encumbered and straitened.

You ought therefore to ascribe nothing of good to yourself, nor do you attribute goodness unto any man; but give all unto God, without whom man has nothing.

I have bestowed all,[295] and My will is to have you all again; and with great strictness do I require a return of thanks.

This is the truth whereby vain-glory is put to flight. And if Heavenly grace enter in and true charity, there will be no envy nor narrowness of heart, neither will self-love busy itself.

For Divine charity overcomes all things, and enlarges all the powers of the soul.

If you rightly judge, you will rejoice in Me alone, in Me alone you will hope; for none is good save God alone,[296] who is to be praised above all things, and in all to be blessed.


That to despise the World and serve God is a Sweet Life

NOW I will speak again, O Lord, and will not be silent; I will say in the ears of my God, my Lord, and my King, who is on high: 'O how great is the abundance of Your goodness, O Lord, which You have laid up for them that fear You.'[297]

But what are You to those who love You? what to those who serve You with their whole heart?

Truly unspeakable is the sweetness of contemplating You, which You bestow on them that love You.

In this especially You has showed me the sweetness of Your charity; that when I was not, You made me, when I went far astray from You, You brought me hack again, that I might serve You, and have commanded me to love You.[298]

O Fountain of love unceasing, what shall I say concerning You?

How can I forget You, who have vouchsafed to remember me, even after I had wasted away and perished?

You has showed mercy to Your servant beyond all expectation; and has exhibited favor and lovingkindness beyond all desert.

What return shall I make to You for this grace?[299]

For it is not granted to all to forsake all, to renounce the world, and to undertake a life of religious retiredness.

Is it any great thing that I should serve You,[300] whom the whole creation is bound to serve?

It ought not to seem much to me, to serve You; but rather this does appear much to me, and wonderful, that You vouchsafest to receive into Your service, one so poor and unworthy, and to make him one with Your beloved servants.

Behold! all things are Your which I have, and whereby I serve You.[301] And yet contrariwise, You rather serve me than I You. Behold! heaven and earth, which You have created for the service of man, are ready at hand, and do daily perform whatever You has commanded.

And this is little; You have moreover also appointed Angels to minister to man.[302]

But that which excels all this is, that You Yourself have vouchsafed to serve man, and have promised that You would give Yourself unto him.

What shall I give You for all these thousands of benefits? I would I could serve You all the days of my life.

I would I were able, at least for one day, to do You some worthy service.

Truly You are worthy of all service, of all honor and everlasting praise.

Truly You are my Lord, and I Your poor servant, who am bound to serve You with all my might, neither ought I ever to be weary of praising You.

And this I wish to do, this I desire; and whatsoever is wanting unto me, do You, I beseech You, vouchsafe to supply.

It is a great honor, and a great glory, to serve You, and despise all things for You.

For great grace shall be given to those who shall have willingly subjected themselves to Your most holy service.

They who for Your love shall have renounced all carnal delights, shall find the sweetest consolations of the Holy Ghost.[303]

They shall attain great freedom of mind, who for Your Name's sake enter into the narrow way,[304] and have left off all worldly care.

O sweet and delightful service of God,[305] by which a man is made truly free and holy!

O sacred state of religious servitude, which makes a man equal to the Angels, pleasing to God, terrible to devils, and worthy to be commended of all the faithful.

O welcome service and ever to be desired, in which we are rewarded with the Greatest Good and attain to joy which shall endlessly remain with m!


That the Longings and Desires of our Hearts are to be examined and moderated

MY son, it is needful for you still to learn many things more, which you have not even yet well learned.

WHAT are these, O Lord?

THAT you frame your desires[306] wholly according to My good pleasure; and that you be not a lover of yourself, but an earnest follower of My will.

Various longings and desires oftentimes inflame you, and drive you forwards with vehemence; but do you consider whether you be not moved rather for your own advantage, than for My honor.

If I Myself be the cause, you will be well content with whatsoever I shall ordain; but if there lurk in you any self-seeking,[307] behold, this it is that hinders you and weighs you down.

Beware therefore you lean not too much upon any preconceived desire, without asking My counsel, lest perhaps afterwards it repent you, or you be displeased with that which at first pleased you, and which you were earnestly zealous for, as being the best.

For not every affection which seems good is immediately to be followed; nor again is every contrary affection at the first to be avoided.

It is sometimes expedient to use a restraint even in good desires and endeavors, lest through importunity you incur distraction of mind; lest by your want of self-government you beget a scandal unto others; or again being by others thwarted and resisted you become suddenly confounded, and so fall.

Sometimes however you must use violence,[308] and resist manfully your sensual appetite, not regarding what the flesh would, or would not;[309] but rather taking pains that even perforce it may be made subject to the Spirit.[310]

And so long ought it to be chastised and to be forced to remain under servitude, until it be prepared for every thing, and learn to be content with a little, and to be pleased with plain and simple things, nor to murmur against any inconvenience.


Of the Growth of Patience in the Soul, and of striving against Concupiscence

O LORD my God, patience is very necessary for me,[311] as I see that many things in this life do happen as we would not.

For whatever plans I shall devise for my own peace, my life cannot be without war and affliction.[312]

IT is so, My son. But My will is, that you seek not that peace which is void of temptation, or which feels nothing contrary; but rather think that you have then found peace, when you are exercised with sundry tribulations,[313] and tried in many adversities.

If you say, that you are not able to suffer much, how then will you endure the fire hereafter?

Of two evils the less is always to be chosen.

That you may therefore avoid the future everlasting punishment, endeavor to endure present evils patiently for God's sake.

Do you think that the men of this world suffer nothing or but a little? Ask even of those who enjoy the greatest delicacies, and you shall find it otherwise.

But you will say, they have many delights, and follow their own wills, and therefore they do not much weigh their own afflictions.

Be it so, that they do have whatsoever they will; but how long do you think it will last?

Behold, the wealthy of this world shall consume away like smoke,[314] and there shall be no memory of their past joys!

Yea, even while they are yet alive, they do not rest in them without bitterness, weariness, and fear.

For from the self-same thing in which they imagine their delight to be, oftentimes they receive the penalty of sorrow.

Nor is it any thing but just, that having inordinately sought and followed after pleasures, they should enjoy them not without shame and bitterness.

O how brief, how false, how inordinate and filthy, are all those pleasures.

Yet so drunken and blind are men that they understand it not; but like dumb beasts, for the poor enjoyment of this corruptible life, they incur the death of the soul.

You therefore, My son, 'go not after your lusts, but refrain yourself from your appetites.'[315] 'Delight yourself in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.'[316]

For if you desire true delight, and to be more plentifully comforted by Me; behold, in the contempt of all worldly things, and in the cutting off all base delights, shall be your blessing, and abundant consolation shall be rendered to you.

And the more you withdraw yourself from all solace of creatures, so much the sweeter and more powerful consolations shall you find in Me.

But at the first, you shall not without some sadness, nor without a laborious conflict, attain unto these consolations.

Old inbred habits will make resistance, but by better habits they shall be entirely overcome.

The flesh will murmur against you; but with fervency of spirit you shall bridle it.

The Old Serpent will instigate and trouble you, but by prayer he shall be put to flight moreover also, by any useful employment you shall greatly stop the way against him.


Of the Obedience of one in Humble Subjection, after the Example of Jesus Christ

MY son, he that endeavours to withdraw himself from obedience, withdraws himself from Grace: and he who seeks for himself private benefits[317] loses those which are common.

He that does not cheerfully and freely submit himself to his superior, it is a sign that his flesh is not as yet perfectly obedient unto him, but oftentimes kicks and murmurs against him.

Learn you therefore quickly to submit yourself to your superior, if you desire to keep your own flesh under the yoke.

For more speedily is the outward enemy overcome, if the inward man be not laid waste.

There is no worse enemy, nor one more troublesome to the soul, than you are unto yourself, if you be not well in harmony with the Spirit.

It is altogether necessary that you take up a true contempt for yourself, if you desire to prevail against flesh and blood.

Because as yet you love yourself too inordinately, therefore you are afraid to resign yourself wholly to the will of others.

And yet, what great matter is it, if you, who are but dust and nothing, subject yourself to a man for God's sake, when I, the Almighty and the Most Highest, who created all things of nothing, humbly subjected Myself to man for your sake?

I became of all men the most humble and the most abject,[318] that you might overcome your pride with My humility.

O dust, learn to be obedient. Learn to humble yourself, you earth and clay, and to bow yourself down under the feet of all men.

Learn to break your own wishes, and to yield yourself to all subjection.

Be fiercely hot against yourself, and suffer no pride to dwell in you: but show yourself so humble and so very small, that all may be able to walk over you, and to tread you down as the mire of the streets. Vain man, what have you to complain of?

What can you answer, foul sinner, to them that upbraid you, you who have so often offended God; and so many times deserved hell?

But Mine eye spared you, because your soul was precious in My sight; that you might know My love, and ever be thankful for My benefits;

Also that you might continually give yourself to true subjection and humility, and endure patiently the contempt which belongs to you.


Of the Duty of considering the Secret Judgments of God, that so we be not lifted up for any thing good in us

YOU, O Lord, thunder forth Your judgments over me, You shake all my bones with fear and trembling, and my soul is very sore afraid.

I stand astonished; and I consider 'That the Heavens are not pure in Your sight.'[319]

If in Angels You did find wickedness,[320] and did not spare even them, what shall become of me?

Even stars fell from Heaven,[321] what then can I presume who am but dust?

They whose works seemed commendable, have fallen into the lowest misery; and those who did eat the bread of Angels,[322] I have seen delighting themselves with the husks of swine.

There is therefore no sanctity, if You, O Lord, withdraw Your hand.

No wisdom avails, if You cease to guide.

No courage helps, if You leave off to defend. No chastity is secure, if You do not protect it.

No custody of our own avails, if Your sacred watchfulness be not present with us.

For, if we be left to ourselves, we sink and perish; but being visited of You, we are raised up and live.

Truly we are unstable, but through You we are strengthened: we wax lukewarm, but by You we are inflamed.

O how humbly and meanly ought I to think of myself! how ought I to esteem it as nothing, if I should seem to have any good quality!

With what profound humility ought I to submit myself to Your unfathomable judgments, O Lord; where I find myself to be nothing else than Nothing, and [still] Nothing!

O unmeasurable weight! O sea that can never be passed over, where I [can] discover nothing of myself, save only and wholly Nothing!

Where then is the lurking-place of glory? where the confidence conceived of virtue?

All vain-glorying is swallowed up in the deep of Your judgments over me.

What is all flesh in Your sight?

Shall the clay glory against Him that forms it?

How can he be lifted up with vain words whose heart is truly subject to God?[323]

Not all the world can lift up him, whom the Truth has subjected unto itself: neither shall he, who has firmly settled his whole hope in God, be moved with the tongues of any who praise him.

For even they themselves who speak, behold they all are nothing, for they will pass away with the sound of their own words; but the Truth of the Lord remains for ever.[324]


In every thing which we desire, how we ought to stand affected, and what we ought to say

MY son, say you thus in every thing: 'Lord, if this be pleasing unto You, so let it be.[325]

'Lord, if it be to Your honor, in Your Name let this be done.

'Lord if You see it expedient, and allow it to be profitable for me, then grant unto me that I may use this to Your honor.

'But if You know it will be hurtful unto me, and no profit to the health of my soul, take away any such desire from me.'

For every desire proceeds not from the Holy Spirit, even though it seem unto a man right and good.

It is difficult to judge truly whether a good Spirit or the contrary drive you to desire this or that; or whether by your own spirit you be moved thereunto.

Many have been deceived in the end, who at the first seemed to be led on by a good Spirit.

Therefore whatever occurs to the mind as desirable, must always be desired and prayed for in the fear of God and with humility of heart; and chiefly you must commit the whole matter to Me with special resignation of yourself, and you must say,

'O Lord, You know what is best for us, let this or that be done, as You shall please.

'Give what You will, and how much You will, and when You will.

'Deal with me as You think good, and as best pleases You, and is most for Your honor.

'Set me where You will, and deal with me in all things just as You will.

'I am in Your hand: turn me around, and turn me back again, as You shall please.

'Behold, I am Your servant, prepared for all things; for I desire not to live unto myself, but unto You; and O that I could do it worthily and perfectly 1'

A Prayer that the will of God may be fulfilled

O MOST merciful Jesus, grant to me Your Grace, that it may be with me, and labor with me,[326] and persevere with me even to the end.

Grant that I may always desire and will that which is to You most acceptable, and most dear.

Let Your will be mine, and let my will ever follow Your, and agree perfectly with it.

Let my will and nill be all one with Your, and let me not be able to will or nill any thing else, but what You will or nill.

Grant that I may die to all things that are in the world, and for Your sake love to be contemned, and not known in this generation.

Grant to me above all things that can be desired, to rest in You, and in You to have my heart at peace.

You are the true peace of the heart, You its only rest; out of You all things are hard and restless. In this very peace, that is, in You, the one Chief Eternal Good, I will sleep and rest.[327] Amen.


That True Comfort is to be sought in God alone

WHATSOEVER I can desire or imagine for my comfort, I look for it not here but hereafter.

For if I might alone have all the comforts of the world, and were able to enjoy all the delights thereof,[328] it is certain that they could not long endure.

Wherefore, O my soul, you can not be fully comforted,[329] nor have perfect refreshment, except in God, the Comforter of the poor, and Patron of the humble.

Wait a little while, O my soul, wait for the Divine promise, and you shall have abundance of all good things in Heaven.

If you desire inordinately the things that are present, you shall lose those which are heavenly and eternal. Use temporal things, and desire eternal.

You can not be satisfied with any temporal goods, because you are not created to enjoy them.

Although, you should possess all created good, yet could you not be happy thereby nor blessed; but in God, Who created all things, consists your whole blessedness and felicity;[330] not such as is seen and commended by the foolish lovers of the world, but such as the good and faithful servants of Christ wait for, and of which the spiritual and pure in heart, whose conversation is in Heaven,[331] sometimes have a foretaste.

Vain and brief is all human consolation.

Blessed and true is the consolation which is received inwardly from the Truth.

A devout man bears every where about with him his own Comforter Jesus, and says unto Him, 'Be You present with me, O Lord Jesu, in every time and place.

'Let this be my consolation, to be cheerfully willing to do without all human comfort.

'And if Your consolation be wanting, let Your will and just trial of me be unto me as the greatest comfort; for You will not always be angry, neither will You threaten for ever.'[332]


That all our Anxieties are to be placed on God

MY son, suffer me to do with you what I please, I know what is expedient for you.

You think as man; you judge in many things as human feelings persuade you.

O LORD, what You say is true. Your anxiety for me is greater[333] than all the care that I can take for myself.

For he stands but very totteringly, who cast not all his anxiety upon You.

O Lord, if only my will may remain right and firm towards You, do with me whatsoever it shall please You.

For it cannot be any thing but good, whatsoever You shall do with me.

If it be Your will I should be in darkness, be You blessed; and if it be Your will I should be in light, be you again blessed. If You vouchsafe to comfort me, be You blessed; and if You will have me afflicted, be You ever equally blessed.

My son, such as this ought to be your state, if you desire to walk with Me.

You ought to be as ready to suffer as to rejoice.

You ought as cheerfully to be destitute and poor, as full and rich.

O LORD, for Your sake, I will cheerfully suffer[334] whatever shall come on me with Your permission.

From Your hand I am willing to receive indifferently good and evil, sweet and bitter, joy and sorrow, and for all that befalls me I will be thankful.

Keep me safe from all sin, and I shall fear neither death[335] nor hell.

So as You do not cast me from You for ever, nor blot me out of the book of life, whatever tribulation may befall me shall not hurt me.


That Temporal Miseries must be borne patiently, after the Example of Christ

MY son, I descended from Heaven[336] for your salvation; I took upon Me your miseries,[337] not necessity but charity drawing Me thereto; that you yourself might learn patience, and bear temporal miseries without grudging.

For from the hour of My birth,[338] even until My death on the cross, I was not without suffering of grief.

I suffered great want of things temporal; I often heard many complaints against Me; I endured with benignity disgraces and revilings; in return for benefits I received ingratitude; for miracles, blasphemies; for heavenly doctrine, reproofs.

O LORD, for that You were patient in Your lifetime, herein especially fulfilling the commandment of Your Father;[339] it is reason that I, a most miserable sinner, should bear myself patiently according to Your will, and for my soul's welfare endure the burden of this corruptible life as long as You Yourself shall choose.

For although this present life be burdensome to our feelings, yet notwithstanding it is now by Your grace made very gainful; and by Your example and the footsteps of Your Saints, more bright and endurable to the weak.

It is, too, much more full of consolation than it was formerly in the old Law, when the gate of Heaven remained shut; and the way also to Heaven seemed more obscure, when so few took care to seek after the kingdom of Heaven.[340]

Moreover also they who then were just and such as should be saved, could not enter into the Heavenly kingdom, before Your Passion, and the due satisfaction of Your holy death.

3.O how great thanks am I bound to render unto You, that You have vouchsafed to show unto me and to all faithful people the good and the right way to Your eternal kingdom.

For Your life is our way, and by holy patience we walk toward You, who are our Crown.

If You had not gone before us and taught us, who would have cared to follow?

Alas, how many would remain behind and afar off, if they considered not Your most noble example!

Behold, we are even yet lukewarm, though we have heard of so many of Your miracles and doctrines; what would become of us, if we had not so great Light[341] whereby to follow You!


Of the Endurance of Injuries, and of the Proof of True Patience

WHAT is it you say, My son? Cease to complain when you consider My Passion, and the sufferings of other holy persons.

You have not yet made resistance unto blood.[342]

It is but little which you suffer, in comparison of those who suffered so much, who were so strongly tempted, so grievously afflicted, so many ways tried and exercised.[343]

You ought therefore to call to mind the more heavy sufferings of others, that so you may the easier bear your own very small troubles.

And if they seem unto you not very small, then beware lest your impatience be the cause thereof.

However, whether they be small or whether they be great, endeavor patiently to undergo them all.

The better you dispose yourself to suffering, so much the more wisely you do, and so much the greater reward shall you receive; you shale also more easily endure it, if both in mind and by habit you are diligently prepared thereunto.

Do not say, '1 cannot endure to suffer these things at the hands of such an one, nor ought I to endure things of this sort; for he has done me great wrong, and reproaches me with things which I never thought of; but of another I will willingly suffer, that is, if they are also things which I shall see I ought to suffer.'

Such a thought is foolish; it considers not the virtue of patience, nor by whom it will be to be crowned, but rather weighs too exactly the persons, and the injuries offered to itself.

He is not truly patient, who is willing to suffer only so much as he thinks good, and from whom he pleases.

But the truly patient man minds not by whom he is exercised, whether by his superiors, by one of his equals, or by an inferior; whether by a good and holy man, or by one that is perverse and unworthy.

But indifferently from every creature, how much soever, or how often soever any thing adverse befalls him, he takes it all thankfully as from the hands of God, and esteems it a great gain:

For with God it is impossible that any thing, how small soever, if only it be suffered for God's sake, should pass without its reward.

Be you therefore prepared for the fight, if you will have the victory.

Without a combat you can not attain unto the crown of patience.[344]

If you are unwilling to suffer, you refuse to be crowned. But if you desire to be crowned, fight manfully, endure patiently.

Without labor there is no arriving at rest, nor without fighting can the victory be reached.

O LORD, let that become possible to me by Your grace, which by nature seems impossible to me.

You know that I am able to suffer but little, and that I am quickly cast down, when a slight adversity arises.

For Your Name's sake, let every exercise of tribulation be made amiable and desirable to me; for to suffer and to be disquieted for Your sake, is very wholesome for my soul.


Of the Acknowledging of our own Infirmities; and of the Miseries of this Life

I WILL confess against myself mine own unrighteousness;[345] I will confess my weakness unto You, O Lord.

Oftentimes a small matter it is that makes me sad and dejected.

I resolve that I will act with courage, but when even a small temptation comes, I am at once in a great strait.

It is sometimes a very trifle, whence a great temptation arises.

And whilst I am thinking myself tolerably safe, and when I least expect it, I sometimes find myself almost entirely overcome by a slight breath.

Behold therefore, O Lord, my low state,[346] and my frailty every way known unto You.

Have mercy on me, and deliver me out of the mire, that I may not stick fast therein,[347] may not remain utterly cast down for ever.

This is that which oftentimes strikes me backwards, and confounds me in Your sight, that I am so subject to fall, and weak in resisting my passions.

And although I do not altogether consent, yet their continued assaults are troublesome and grievous unto me; and it is very exceedingly irksome to live thus daily in conflict.

From hence my weakness becomes known unto me, in that hateful fancies do always much more easily invade than forsake me.

Most mighty God of Israel, You zealous Lover of faithful souls! O that You would consider the labor and sorrow of Your servant, and assist him in all things whatsoever he undertakes.

Strengthen me with heavenly courage, lest the old man, the miserable flesh, not as yet fully subject to the Spirit, prevail and get the upper hand; against which, it will be needful for me to fight, as long as I breathe in this miserable life.

Alas, what a kind of life is this, where tribulation and miseries are never wanting; where all is full of snares, and enemies!

For when one tribulation or temptation retreates, another comes on; yea and while the first conflict is yet lasting, many others come unexpected one after another.

And how can a life be loved that has so many embitterments, and is subject to so many calamities and miseries?

How too can it be called a life, that begets so many deaths and plagues?

And yet it is the object of men's love, and many seek to delight themselves therein.

The world is oftentimes blamed for being deceitful and vain, and yet men do not easily part with it, because the desires of the flesh bear so great a sway.

But some things draw us to love the world, others to contemn it.

The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,[348] do draw us to the love of the world; but the pains and miseries that do justly follow them cause a hatred of the world and a loathsomeness thereof.

But alas, the fondness for vicious pleasures overcomes the mind of him who is addicted to the world; and he esteems it a delight to be under thorns,[349] because he has neither seen nor tasted the sweetness of God, and the inward pleasantness of virtue.

But they who perfectly contemn the world, and study to live to God under holy discipline, these are not ignorant of the Divine sweetness promised to those who truly forsake the world; they also very dearly see how grievously the world errs, and how it is in many ways deceived.


That we are to rest in God above all Things which are Good, and above all His own Gifts

ABOVE all things, and in all things, O my soul, you shall rest in the Lord always, for He Himself is the everlasting Rest of the Saints.

Grant me, O most sweet and loving Jesus, to rest in You above all creatures,[350] above all health and beauty, above all glory and honor, above all power and dignity, above all knowledge and subtlety, above all riches and arts, above all joy and gladness, above all fame and praise, above all sweetness and comfort, above all hope and promise, above all desert and desire:

Above all gifts and favors that You can give and impart unto us, above all mirth and jubilee that the mind of man can receive and feel:

Finally above Angels and Archangels, and above all the Heavenly host, above all things visible and invisible, and above all that You are not, O my God.

Because You, O Lord my God, are supremely good above all; You alone are most high, You alone most powerful, You alone most full and sufficient, You alone most sweet and most full of consolation:

You alone are most lovely and loving, You alone most noble and glorious above all things, in whom all good things together both perfectly are, and ever have been, and shall be.

And therefore it is too small, and unsatisfying, whatsoever You bestow on me besides Yourself, or reveal unto me of Yourself, or promise, whilst You are not seen, and not fully obtained.

For surely my heart cannot truly rest, nor be entirely contented, unless it rest in You, and surmount all gifts and all creatures whatsoever.

O You most beloved spouse of my soul, Jesus Christ, You most pure Lover, You Lord of all creation: O that I had the wings of true liberty, that I might flee away and rest in You![351]

O when shall it be fully granted me, to consider in quietness of mind and see how sweet You are, my Lord God?

When shall I fully gather up myself into You, that by reason of my love to You I may not feel myself, but You alone, above all sense and measure, in a manner not known unto every one![352]

But now I oftentimes sigh, and bear my infelicity with grief.

Because many evils occur in this vale of miseries, which do often trouble, grieve, and overcloud me; often hinder and distract me, allure and entangle me, so that I can have no free access unto You, nor enjoy the sweet welcomings which are ever ready with the blessed spirits.

O let my sighs move You, and my manifold desolation here on earth.

O Jesu, You brightness of eternal glory, You comfort of the pilgrim soul, with You is my tongue without

voice, and my very silence speaks unto You. How long does my Lord delay to come?

Let Him come unto me His poor despised servant, and let Him make me glad. Let him put forth His hand, and deliver a poor wretch from all anguish.

Come, O come; for without You I shall have no joyful day nor hour; for You are my joy, and without You my table is empty.

A wretched creature am I, and in a manner imprisoned and loaded with fetters, until You refresh me with the light of Your presence, and grant me liberty, and show a friendly countenance toward me.

Let others seek what they please instead of You; but for me, nothing else does nor shall delight me, but You only, my God, my hope, my everlasting salvation.

I will not hold my peace, nor cease to pray, until Your grace return again, and You speak inwardly unto me.

BEHOLD, here I am. Behold, I come unto you, because you have called upon Me. Your tears and the desire of your soul, your humiliation and your contrition of heart, have inclined and brought Me unto you.

And I said, LORD, I have called upon You, and have desired to enjoy You, being ready to refuse all things for Your sake.

For You first have stirred me up that I might seek You. Blessed be You therefore, O Lord, that have showed this goodness to Your servant, according to the multitude of Your mercies.

What has Your servant more to say before You? he can only greatly humble himself in Your sight, ever mindful of his own iniquity and vileness.

For there is none like unto You[353] in all the wonderful things of Heaven and earth.

Your works are very good, Your judgments true, and by Your providence the universe is governed.

Praise therefore and glory be unto You, O Wisdom of the Father: let my mouth, my soul, and all creatures together, praise and bless you.


Of the Remembrance of God's Manifold Benefits

OPEN, O Lord, my heart in Your law, and teach me to walk in Your commandments.[354]

Grant me to understand Your will, and with great reverence and diligent consideration to remember Your benefits, as well in general as in particular, that henceforward I may be able worthily to give You thanks.

But I know, and confess, that I am not able, even in the least point, to give You due thanks for the favors which You bestow upon me.

I am less than the least of all Your benefits: and when I consider Your excellency, the greatness thereof makes my spirit to faint.

All that we have in soul and in body, and whatsoever we possess outwardly or inwardly, naturally or supernaturally, are Your benefits, and do proclaim You bountiful, merciful, and good, from whom we have received all good things.

Although one have received more, another less, all notwithstanding are Your, and without You even the least blessing cannot be had.

He that has received the greatest cannot glory of his own desert, nor extol himself above others, nor insult over the lesser; for he is the greatest and the best, who ascribes least unto himself, and who in rendering thanks is the most humble and the most devout.

And he that esteems himself viler than all men, and judges himself most unworthy, is fittest to receive the greater blessings.

But he that has received fewer, ought not to be out of heart, nor to take it grievously, nor envy them that are enriched with greater store; but rather he should turn his mind to You, and exceedingly praise Your goodness, for that You bestow Your gifts so bountifully, so freely, and $O willingly, without respect of persons.

All things proceed from You, and therefore in all You are to be praised.

You know what is fit to be given to every one: and why this man should have less and that more, it is not for us to judge, but for You who do exactly mark every one's deserts.

Wherefore, O Lord God, I even esteem it a great mercy, not to have much of that which outwardly and in the opinion of men seems worthy of glory and applause. For so it is, that he who considers the poverty and unworthiness of his own person, should be so far from conceiving grief or sadness, or from being cast down thereat, that he rather should take great comfort, and be glad; because You, O God, have chosen the poor and humble and the despised of this world for Yourself,[355] for Your familiar and domestic attendants.

Witnesses are Your Apostles themselves, whom You have made princes over all the earth.[356]

And yet they lived in the world without complaint,[357] so humble and simple, without all malice and deceit, that they even rejoiced to suffer reproach for Your Name;[358] and what the world abhors, they embraced with great affection.

When therefore a man loves You and acknowledges Your benefits, nothing ought so to rejoice him as Your will toward him, and the good pleasure of Your eternal appointment.

And herewith he ought to be so contented and comforted, that he would as willingly be the least, as another would wish to be the greatest.

He would too be as peaceable and contented in the last place as in the first, as willing to be a despised cast-away, of no name or character, as to be preferred in honor before others, and to be greater in the world than they.

For Your will and the love of Your glory ought to be preferred before all things, and to comfort him more, and please him better, than all the benefits which he either has received, or may receive.


Of Four Things that bring much Inward Peace

MY son, now will I teach you the way of peace and true liberty.

O Lord, I beseech You, do as You say, for this is delightful to me to hear.





Behold, such a man enters within the borders of peace and rest.

O Lord, this short discourse of Your contains within itself much perfection.[363]

It is little to be spoken, but full of meaning, and abundant in fruit.

For if it could faithfully be kept by me, I ought not to be so easily disturbed.

For as often as I feel myself unquiet and weighed down, I find that I have gone back from this doctrine.

But You who can do all things, and ever love the profiting of my soul, increase in me Your grace, that I may be able to fulfill Your words, and to work out mine own salvation.

A Prayer against evil thoughts

O LORD my God, be not You far from me; my God, have regard to help me:[364] for there have risen up against me sundry thoughts, and great fears, afflicting my soul.

How shall I pass through unhurt? how shall I break them to pieces?

'I will go before you (says He), and will humble the great ones of the earth; I will open the doors of the prison, and reveal unto you hidden secrets.'[365]

Do, O Lord, as You say, and let all my evil thoughts fly from before Your face.

This is my hope, my one only consolation, to flee unto You in every tribulation, to trust in You, to call upon You from my inmost heart, and to wait patiently for Your consolation.

A Prayer for mental illumination

O merciful Jesus, enlighten You me with a clear shining inward light, and remove away all darkness from the habitation of my heart.

Repress You my many wandering thoughts, and break in pieces those temptations which violently assault me.

Fight You strongly for me, and vanquish the evil beasts, I mean the alluring desires of the flesh; that so peace may be obtained by Your power, and that Your abundant praise may resound in Your holy court, that is, in a pure conscience.

Command the winds and tempests; say unto the sea, Be still;[366] say to the north wind, Blow not; and there shall be a great calm.

Send out Your light and Your truth,[367] that they may shine upon the earth; for until You enlighten me, I am but as earth without form and void.

Pour forth Your grace from above, imbue my hear with heavenly dew, supply fresh streams of devotion, to water the face of the earth, that it may bring forth fruit good and excellent.

Lift You up my mind which is pressed down by a load of sins, and draw up my whole desire to things heavenly; that having tasted the sweetness of supernal happiness, it may be irksome to me even to think about earthly things.

Do You pluck me away, and deliver me from all transitory consolation of creatures; for no created thing can give full comfort and rest to my desires.

Join You me to Yourself with an inseparable band of love; for You even alone do satisfy him that loves You, and without You all things are vain and frivolous.


Of avoiding Curious Inquiry into other Men's Lives

MY son, be not curious, nor trouble yourself with idle anxieties.[368]

What is this or that to you? follow you Me.[369]

For what is it to you, whether that man be such or such, or whether this man do or speak this or that?

You shall not need to answer for others, but shall give account for yourself;[370] why therefore do you entangle yourself?

Behold, I know every one, and do see all things that are done under the sun; also I understand how it is with every one, what he thinks, what he wishes, and at what his intentions aim.

Unto Me therefore all things are to be committed; but do you keep yourself gently at peace, and let go the unquiet, to be as unquiet as they will.

Whatsoever they shall have done or said, shall come upon themselves, for Me they cannot deceive.

Be not careful for the shadow of a great name, or for the familiar friendship of many, or for the private affection of men.

For these things both distract the heart, and greatly darken it.

Willingly would I speak my word, and reveal My secrets unto you, if you would diligently observe My coming, and open unto Me the door of your heart.

Be you circumspect, and watchful in prayer, and in all things humble yourself.


Wherein firm Peace of Heart and true Spiritual Progress consists

MY son, I have spoken; 'Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you.'[371]

Peace is what all desire, but all do not care for the things that pertain unto true peace.

My peace is with the humble and gentle of heart; in much patience shall your peace be.

If you will hear Me and follow My voice, you shall be able to enjoy much peace.

WHAT then shall I do, Lord?

IN every matter look to yourself, what you do and. what you say; and direct your whole attention unto this, that you may please Me alone, and neither desire or seek any thing besides Me.

But of the words or deeds of others judge nothing rashly; neither do you entangle yourself with things not committed unto you; and doing thus you may be little or seldom disturbed.

But never to feel any disturbance at all, nor to suffer any trouble of mind or body, belongs not to this life, but to the state of eternal Rest.

Think not therefore that you have found true peace, if you feel no heaviness; nor that then all is well, if you are vexed with no adversary; nor that 'to be perfect,' is to have all things done according to your desire.

Neither do you then esteem at all highly of yourself, or account yourself to be specially beloved, if you be in a state of great devotion and sweetness; for it is not by these things that a true lover of virtue is known nor does the [spiritual] progress and perfection of a man consist in these things.

WHEREIN then, O Lord, does it consist?

IN giving yourself over with all your heart to the Divine Will, not seeking your own interest, either in great matters or in small, either in time or in eternity.

So shall you keep one and the same countenance, always with thanksgiving, both in prosperity and adversity, weighing all things with an equal balance.

Be you of such courage, and so patient in hope, that when inward comfort is withdrawn, you may prepare your heart to suffer even greater things; and do not justify yourself, as though you ought not to suffer these afflictions or any so great, but justify Me in whatsoever I appoint, and still praise My Holy Name.

Then shall you walk in the true and right way of peace, and you shall have undoubted hope to see My face again with great delight.

For if you attain to the full contempt of yourself, know that you shall then enjoy abundance of peace, as great as this your state of sojourning is capable of.


Of the Excellency of a Free Mind, which is sooner gained by Humble Prayer than by Reading

O LORD, it is the business of a perfect man, never to relax his mind from attentive thought of heavenly things, and thus to pass amidst many cares (as it were) without care; not as one destitute of all feeling, but by the privilege of a free mind, cleaving to no creature with inordinate affection.

I beseech You, my most gracious God, preserve me from the cares of this life, lest I should be too much entangled therein; also from the many necessities of the body, lest I should be ensnared by pleasure; and from whatsoever is an obstacle to the soul, lest being broken with troubles I should be overthrown.

I speak not of those things which worldly vanity so earnestly desires, but of those miseries, which as punishments and as the common curse of mortality,[372] do weigh down and hinder the soul of Your servant, that it cannot enter into the freedom of the Spirit, so often as it would.

O my God, You sweetness ineffable, make bitter for me all carnal comfort, which draws me away from the love of things eternal, and in evil manner allures me to itself by the view of some present delightsome good.

Let me not' be overcome, O Lord, let me not be overcome by flesh and blood;[373] let not the world and the brief glory thereof deceive me; let not the devil and his subtle fraud supplant me.

Give me strength to resist, patience to endure, and constancy to persevere.

Give me instead of all the comforts of the world, the most sweet unction of Your Spirit, and in place of carnal love, pour in the love of Your name.

Behold! meat, drink, clothes, and other necessaries for the maintenance of the body, are burdensome unto a fervent spirit.

Grant me to use such refreshments moderately, and not to be entangled with an over-great desire of them.

It is not lawful to cast away all things, because nature is to be sustained; but to require superfluities, and those things that are merely pleasurable, the holy law forbids us; for then the flesh would rebel against the Spirit. Herein, I beseech You, let Your hand govern me and teach me, that I may not exceed in anything.


That it is Private Love which most hinders from the Chief Good

MY son, you ought to give all for all, and to be nothing of yourself.

Know you, that the love of yourself does you more hurt than anything in the world.

According to the love and affection which you bear towards any thing, so does it more or less cleave to you.

If your love be pure,[374] simple and well-ordered, you shall be free from the bondage of things.

Do not covet that which it is not lawful for you to have. Do not have that which may entangle you, and deprive you of inward liberty.

Strange it is that you commit not yourself wholly unto Me, from the bottom of your heart, with all things you can have or desire.

Why do you consume yourself with vain grief?[375] why weary yourself with superfluous cares?

Stand to My good will, and you shall suffer no detriment at all.

If you seek this or that, and would be in such or such a place, the better to enjoy your own profit and pleasure, you shall never be at quiet, nor free from trouble of mind; for in every instance somewhat will be wanting, and in every place there will be some one to cross you.

Man's welfare then lies not in obtaining and multiplying any external things, but rather in despising them, and utterly rooting them out from the heart.

And this you must understand not of income and wealth only, but of seeking after honor also, and the desire of vain praise, all which must pass away with this world.

The place avails little if the spirit of fervor be wanting, neither shall that peace long continue, which is sought from without;[376] if the state of your heart be destitute of a true foundation, that is, unless you stand steadfast in Me, you may change but not better yourself.

For when occasion arises, and is laid hold of, you shall find what you did flee from, and more too.

A Prayer for a clean heart, and Heavenly Wisdom

STRENGTHEN me, O God, by the grace of Your Holy Spirit.[377]

Grant me to be strengthened with might in the inner man,[378] and to empty my heart of all useless care and anguish;[379] not to be drawn away with sundry desires of any thing whatever, whether mean or precious, but to look on all things as passing away, and on myself also no less as about to pass away with them.

For nothing is permanent under the sun, where all things are vanity and vexation of spirit.[380] O how wise is he that so considers them!

O Lord, grant me Heavenly wisdom,[381] that I may learn above all things to seek and to find You, above all things to relish and to love You, and to think of all other things as being, what indeed they are, at the disposal of Your wisdom.

Grant me prudently to avoid him that flatters me, and to endure patiently him that contradicts me.

Because it is a great part of wisdom not to be moved with every wind of words,[382] nor to give ear to an ill flattering siren; for thus we shall go on securely in the way which we have begun.


Against the Tongues of Slanderers

MY son, take it not grievously if some think ill of you,[383] and speak that which you would not willingly hear.

You ought to judge the worst of yourself, and to think no man weaker than yourself.

If you do walk inwardly, you will not much weigh fleeting words outwardly.

It is no small prudence to keep silence in an evil time, and inwardly to turn yourself to Me, and not to be troubled by the judgment of men.

Let not your peace be in the tongues of men; for whether they interpret well or ill of you you are not therefore another man. Where are true peace and true glory? are they not in Me?[384]

And he that neither covets to please men, nor fears to displease them, shall enjoy much peace.

From inordinate love and vain fear arises all disquietness of heart and distraction of the mind.


How we ought to call upon God, and to bless Him, when Tribulation is upon us

BLESSED be Your Name, O Lord, for ever,[385] for that it is Your will that this temptation and tribulation should come upon me.

I cannot escape it, but must needs flee to You, that You may help me, and turn it to my good.

Lord, I am now in affliction, and my heart is ill at ease, for I am much troubled with the present suffering.

And now, O Beloved Father, what shall I say?[386] I am caught amidst straits; save You me from this hour.

Yet therefore came I unto this hour, that You may be glorified, when I shall have been greatly humbled, and by You delivered.

Let it please You, Lord, to deliver me,[387] for, poor wretch that I am, what can I do, and whither shall I go without You?

Grant me patience, O Lord, even now in this emergency. Help me, my God, and then I will not fear, how grievously soever I be afflicted.

And now amidst these my troubles what shall I say? Lord, Your will be done;[388] I have well deserved to be afflicted and weighed down.

Therefore I ought to bear it; and O that I may bear it with patience, until the tempest pass over, and all be well again, or even better!

Howbeit Your Omnipotent hand is able to take even this temptation from me, and to assuage the violence thereof, that I utterly sink not under it; as oftentimes heretofore You have dealt with me, O my God, my Mercy!

And the more difficult it is to me, so much the more easy to You is this change of the right hand of the Most High.


Of craving the Divine Aid, and Confidence of recovering Grace

MY son, I am the Lord, that gives strength in the day of tribulation.[389]

Come you unto Me, when it is not well with you.[390]

This is that which most of all hinders Heavenly consolation, that you are too slow in turning yourself unto prayer.

For before you do earnestly supplicate Me, you seek in the meanwhile many comforts, and refresh yourself in outward things.

And hence it comes to pass that all does little profit you, until you well consider that I am He who do rescue them that trust in Me; and that out of Me, there is neither powerful help, nor profitable counsel, nor lasting remedy.

But do you, having now recovered breath after the tempest, gather strength again in the light of My mercies; for I am at hand (says the Lord) to repair all, not only entirely, but also abundantly and in most plentiful measure.

Is there any thing hard to Me? or shall I be like one that says and does not?[391]

Where is your faith? stand firmly and with perseverance; take courage and be patient; comfort will come to you in due time.

Wait, wait I say, for Me: I will come and take care of you.

It is a temptation that vexes you, and a vain fear that frightens you.

What else does anxiety about future contingencies bring you, but sorrow upon sorrow? 'Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.'[392]

It is a vain thing and unprofitable, to be either disturbed or pleased about future things, which perhaps will never come to pass.

But it is incident to man, to be deluded with such imaginations; and a sign of a mind as yet weak, to be so easily drawn away by the suggestions of the Enemy.

For so he may delude and deceive you, he cares not whether it be by true or by false propositions; nor whether he overthrows you with the love of present, or the fear of future things.

Let not therefore your heart be troubled, neither let it fear.

Trust in Me, and put your confidence in My mercy.[393]

When you think yourself farthest off from Me, oftentimes I am nearest unto you.

When you count almost all to be lost, then oftentimes the greatest gain of reward is dose at hand.

All is not lost, when any thing falls out contrary. You ought not to judge according to present feeling; nor so to take any grief, or give yourself over to it, from wherever it comes, as though all hopes of escape were quite taken away.

Think not yourself wholly left, although for a time I have sent you some tribulation, or even have withdrawn your desired comfort; for this is the way to the Kingdom of Heaven.

And without doubt it is more expedient for you and the rest of My servants, that you be exercised with adversities, than that you should have all things according to your desires.

I know the secret thoughts of your heart, and that it is very expedient for your welfare, that you be left sometimes without taste [of spiritual sweetness, and in a dry condition], lest perhaps you should be puffed up with your prosperous estate, and should be willing to please yourself in that which you are not.

That which I have given, I can take away; and I can restore it again when I please.

When I give it, it is Mine; when I withdraw it, I take not any thing that is your; for Mine is every good gift and every perfect gift.[394]

If I send upon you affliction, or any cross whatever, repine not, nor let your heart fail you; I can quickly succor you, and turn all your heaviness into joy.

Howbeit I am righteous, and greatly to be praised when I deal thus with you.

If you are wise, and consider what the truth is, you never ought to mourn dejectedly for any adversity that befalls you, but rather to rejoice and give thanks'.

Yea, you will account this time especial joy, that I afflict you with sorrows, and do not spare you.

'As the Father has loved Me, I also love you,'[395] said I unto My beloved disciples; whom certainly I sent not out to temporal joys, but to great conflicts; not to honors, but to contempts; not to idleness, but to labors; not to rest, but to bring forth much fruit with patience. Remember you these words, O my son!


Of the Contempt of All Creatures to find out the Creator

O LORD, I stand much in need of yet greater grace, if I ought to reach that pitch, where neither man nor any creature shall be a hindrance unto me.

For as long as any thing holds me back, I cannot freely take my flight to You.

He was longing to fly freely who said, 'O that I had wings like a dove, and I will flee away and be at rest!'[396]

What is more at rest than the single eye?[397] and what is more free than he that desires nothing upon earth?

A man ought therefore to mount over all creatures, and perfectly to go out of himself and stand in a sort of ecstasy of mind, and to see that You, the Creator of all things, have nothing amongst creatures like unto Yourself.

Unless too a man be set free from all creatures, he cannot with freedom of mind attend unto divine things.

For that is the reason why there are few contemplative men to be found, because few have the knowledge to withdraw themselves fully from perishing creatures.

To obtain this there is need of much grace, which may elevate the soul, and carry it away above itself.

And unless a man be elevated in spirit, and freed from all creatures, and wholly united unto God, whatsoever he knows, and whatsoever he has, is of no great weight.

For a long while shall he be small, and lie groveling below, whoever he be that esteems any thing great, but the One only Infinite Eternal Good.

And whatsoever is not God, is nothing, and ought to be accounted as nothing.

There is great difference between the wisdom of an illuminated and devout man, and the knowledge of a learned and studious clerk.

Far more noble is that learning which flows from above, from the Divine influence, than that which is painfully acquired by the wit of man.

There are many that desire contemplation, but they have no mind to practice the things that are required thereunto.

It is also a great hindrance, that men rest in signs and sensible things, and take little care about the 'perfect mortification of themselves.

I know not what it is, or by what 'spirit we are led, or what we pretend, we that seem to be called spiritual, that we take so much pains, and are so full of anxiety about transitory and mean things, while we scarcely at all, or but seldom, think of our own inward concernments, with full recollection of mind.

Alas, presently after a slight recollection we break out again, and weigh not our works with diligent and strict examination.

We mind not where our affections lie, nor bewail the impurity that is in all our actions.

For 'all flesh had corrupted his way,' and therefore did the great deluge ensue.[398]

Since then our inward affection is much corrupted, our actions thence proceeding must needs be corrupted, also, giving proof of the want of internal vigor.

From a pure heart proceeds the fruit of a good life.

We ask how much a man has done, but from what degree of virtuous principle he acts, is not so carefully weighed.

We inquire whether he has been courageous, rich, handsome, skillful, a good writer, a good singer, or a good laborer; but how poor he is in spirit, how patient and meek, how devout and spiritual, is seldom spoken of.

Nature respects the outward things of a man. Grace turns itself to the inward.

The one is often disappointed; the other has her trust in God, and so is not deceived.


Of Self-denial, and Renouncing every Evil Appetite

MY son, you can not possess perfect liberty unless you wholly renounce yourself.[399]

They are but in fetters, all who merely seek their own interest, and are lovers of themselves; covetous are they, inquisitive, gossiping, always seeking what is soft and delicate, not' the things of Jesus Christ, but oftentimes devising

and framing that which will not continue. For all that is not of God shall perish.

Keep this short and complete saying: 'Forsake all and you shall find all.' Leave concupiscence and you shall find rest.

Weigh this thoroughly in your mind, and when you have fulfilled it, you shall understand all things.

O LORD, this is not the work of one day, nor children's sport; yea rather in this short word is included all the perfection of religious persons.

MY son, you ought not to turn away, nor at once to be cast down, when you hear of the way of the perfect; but should rather be stirred up to higher things, at least in desire to sigh after them.

I would it were so with you, and you were arrived at this, to be no longer a lover of yourself, but did stand merely at My beck, and at his whom I have appointed a father over you; then should you exceedingly please Me, and all your life would pass away in joy and peace.

You have yet many things to part with, which unless you wholly resign up unto Me, you shall not attain to that which you desire.

'I counsel you to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that you may become rich;'[400] that is, Heavenly Wisdom, which treads under foot all that is mean and low.

Set little by earthly wisdom, and care not fondly to please others or yourself.

I said, that mean things must be bought with things which, among men, are precious and of great esteem.

For true Heavenly Wisdom does seem very mean, of small account, and almost forgotten among men, as having no high thoughts of itself, nor seeking to be magnified upon earth. Many indeed praise it with their mouth, but in their life they are far from it; yet is it the precious pearl,[401] which is hidden from many.


Of Inconstancy of Heart, and of having our Final Intentions directed unto God

MY son, trust to your feeling, for whatever it be now, it will quickly be changed into another thing.

As long as you live, you are subject to mutability,[402] even against your will; so as you are found one while merry, another while sad; one while quiet, another while troubled; now devout, then indevout; now diligent, then listless; now grave, and then light.

But he that is wise and well instructed in the Spirit stands fast upon these mutable things; not heeding what he feels in himself, or which way the wind of instability blows; but so that the whole intention of his mind tends 'to the right and best end.

For thus he will be able to continue throughout one and the self-same, and unshaken; in the midst of so many various events the single eye of his intention being directed unceasingly towards Me.

And the purer the eye of the intention is,[403] with so much the more constancy does a man pass through the several kinds of storms which assail him.

But in many the eye of a pure intention waxes dim, for their regard is quickly drawn aside to some pleasurable object which meets them.

For it is rare to find one who is wholly free from all blemish of self-seeking.

So of old the Jews came to Bethany to Martha and Mary, not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also.[404]

The eye of our intention therefore is to be purified, that it may be single and right,[405] and is to be directed towards Me, beyond all the various objects which may come between.


That God is Sweet above All Things, and in All Things, to him that loves Him

'BEHOLD! My God, and all things [to me].' What can I wish more, and what happier thing can I long for?

O sweet and Savory word! to him, that is, who loves the word, not the world nor the things that are in the world.

'My God, and all things.' To him that understands, enough is said; and to repeat it often, is delightful to him that loves.

Forasmuch as when You are present, all things are delightful, but when You are absent, every thing becomes irksome.

You give quietness of heart, and great peace, and festive joy.

You make us to think well of all circumstances, and in all to praise You; neither can any thing please long without You; but if it must needs be pleasant and tasteful, Your Grace must be present, and it must be seasoned with the seasoning of Your Wisdom.

What will not be tasteful unto him that has a true relish for You?

And him that has no relish for You, what shall have power to please?

But the wise men of the world, and they also who relish the things of the flesh, are destitute of Your wisdom;[406] for in the former is found the utmost vanity, and in the latter death.

But they that follow You by the contempt of worldly things, and mortification of the flesh, are known to be truly wise; for they are brought over from vanity to truth, from the flesh to the spirit.

These relish God; and what good soever is found in creatures, they wholly refer unto the praise of their Maker.

Great, however, yea, very great is the difference between the sweetness of the Creator and of the creature, of Eternity and of time, of Light uncreated and of light enlightened.

O Everlasting Light, surpassing all created luminaries, dare you the beams of Your brightness from above, which may penetrate all the most inward parts of my heart.

Purify, rejoice, enlighten and enliven my spirit, with all the powers thereof, that I may cleave unto You with most exceeding joy and triumph.

O when will that blessed and desired hour come, that You may satisfy me with Your Presence, and be unto me All in all.

So long as this is not granted me, I shall not have full joy.

Still, alas! the old Man does live in me,[407] he is not wholly crucified, is not perfectly dead.

Still lusts he mightily against the Spirit, and stirs up inward wars, nor suffers the kingdom of the soul to be in peace.

But You that rule the power of the sea, and stillest the violent motion of its waves,[408] arise and help me!

Scatter the nations that desire war;[409] crush You them in 'Your might.

Display your wonderful works, I beseech You and let Your right hand be glorified; for there is no other hope or refuge for me, save in You, O Lord my God.[410]


That there is no Security from Temptation in this Life

MY son, you are never secure in this life, but, as long as you live,[411] you shall always need spiritual armor.

You dwell among enemies, and are assaulted on the right hand and on the left.[412]

If therefore you defend not yourself on every side with the shield of patience, you will not be long without a wound.

Moreover, if you set not your heart fixedly on Me, with a sincere wish to suffer all things for Me, You will not be able to bear the heat of this combat, nor to attain to the palm of the blessed.

You ought therefore manfully to go through all, and to use a strong hand against whatsoever withstands you.

For to him that overcomes is Manna given, and for the indolent there remains much misery.

If you seek rest in this life, how will you then attain to the everlasting Rest? Dispose not yourself for much rest, but for great patience.

Seek true peace, not in earth, but in Heaven; not in men, nor in any other creature, but in God alone.

For the love of God you ought cheerfully to undergo all things, that is to say, all labor and pain, temptation, vexation, anxiety, necessity, infirmity, injury, obloquy, reproof, humiliation, confusion, correction, and scorn.

These help to virtue; these are the trial of a novice in Christ; these frame the Heavenly Crown.

I will give an everlasting reward for a short labor, and infinite glory for transitory confusion.

Think you that you shall always have spiritual consolations at your own will?

My saints had not such always, but they had many afflictions, and sundry temptations, and feelings of great desolateness.

Nevertheless in all these they bore themselves up patiently, and trusted rather in God than in themselves; knowing that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the future glory.[413]

Wilt you have that at once, which many after many tears and great labors have hardly obtained?

Wait for the Lord, behave yourself manfully, and be of good courage;[414] do not distrust [Him], do not leave your place, but steadily expose both body and soul for the glory of God.

I will reward you in most plentiful manner; I will be with you in every tribulation.


Against the Vain Judgments of Men

MY son, cast your heart firmly on the Lord, and fear not the judgment of men, when conscience testifies of your dutifulness and innocence.

It is a good and happy thing to suffer in such a way; nor will this be grievous to a heart which is humble, and which trusts rather in God than in itself.

The most part of men are given to talk much, and therefore little confidence is to be placed in them.

Moreover also, to satisfy all is not possible.

Although Paul endeavored to please all in the Lord, and was made all things to all men[415] yet with him it was a very small thing that he should be judged of man's judgment.[416]

He did abundantly for the edification and salvation of others as much as lay in his power to do,[417] yet could he not hinder but that he was by others sometimes judged, sometimes despised.

Therefore he committed all to God, who knew all; and when men spoke unjust things, or thought vanities and lies, and boasted themselves as they listed, he defended himself, even to their face, with humility and patience.

Sometimes however he made answer, lest the weak should be offended by his silence.[418]

Who are you that you should fear a mortal man? to-day he is, and to-morrow he is not seen.[419]

Fear God, and you shall not shrink from the terrors of men.

What harm can the words or injuries of any man do you? he hurts himself rather than you, nor shall he be able to avoid the judgment of God[420] whosoever he be.

Do you have God before your eyes, and contend not with peevish words.

And though for the present you seem to be worsted, and to suffer shame undeservedly, do not therefore repine, neither do you lessen your crown by impatience.[421]

But rather lift you up your eyes unto Me in Heaven, who am able to deliver you from all shame and wrong, and to render to every man according to his works.


Of Pure and Entire Resignation of Ourselves, for the obtaining Freedom of Heart

MY son, forsake yourself, and you shall find Me.[422]

Stay where you are, making no choice, nor appropriating any thing whatever to yourself; and you shall always be a gainer.

For even greater grace shall be added to you, the moment you do resign yourself, provided you do not turn back to take yourself again.

LORD, how often shall I resign myself? and wherein shall I forsake myself?

ALWAYS, yea, every hour; as well in small things as in great. I except nothing, but do desire that you be found stripped of all things.

Otherwise, how can you be Mine, and I your, unless you be stripped of all self-will, both within and without?

The sooner you do this, the better it will be with you; and the more fully and sincerely you do it, so much the more shall you please Me, and so much the greater shall be

your gain.

Some there are who resign themselves, but with certain exceptions: for they put not their full trust in God, and therefore they study how to provide for themselves.

Some also at first do offer all, but afterwards being assailed with temptation, they return again to their own ways, and therefore make no progress in the path of virtue.

These shall not attain to the true liberty of a pure heart, nor to the favor of My sweetest familiarity, unless they first make an entire resignation and a daily oblation of themselves. Without this, there neither is nor can be any lasting fruitful union.

I have very often said unto you, and now again I say the same, Forsake yourself,[423] resign yourself, and-you shall enjoy much inward peace.

Give all for all; ask for nothing, require back nothing; abide purely and unhesitatingly in Me, and you shall possess Me; you shall be free in heart, and darkness shall not tread you down.

Let this be your whole endeavor, this your prayer, this your desire; that you may be stripped of all selfishness, and with entire simplicity follow Jesus only; may die to yourself, and live eternally to Me.

Then you shall be rid of all vain fancies, causeless perturbations, and superfluous cares.

Then also immoderate fear shall leave you, and inordinate love shall die.


Of Good Government in Things External, and of having Recourse to God in Dangers

MY son, you ought with all diligence to endeavor, that in every place, and in every external action or occupation, you may be inwardly free, and thoroughly master of yourself; and that all things be under you, and not you under them.

You must be lord and master of your own actions, and not be a slave or a hireling.

Rather you should be as a freed man and a true Hebrew, passing over into the lot and freedom of the sons of God.

For they standing upon things present, contemplate things eternal.

With the left eye they look on transitory things, and with the right on the things of heaven.

They are not drawn by temporal things to cleave unto them; rather they draw temporal things to serve them well, in such ways as they are ordained by God, and appointed by the Great Work-master, who has left nothing in His creation without due order.

If too in all circumstances you stand steadfast, and do not estimate the things which you see and hear by the outward appearance, nor with a carnal eye; but presently in every affair do enter with Moses into the Tabernacle[424] to ask counsel of the Lord; you shall sometimes hear the Divine Oracle, and shall return instructed concerning many things, both present and to come.

For Moses always had recourse to the Tabernacle for the deciding of doubts and questions, and fled to the help of prayer, for support under dangers and the iniquity of men.

So ought you in like manner to take refuge within the closet of your heart,[425] very earnestly craving the Divine favor.

For we read, that for this cause Joshua and the children of Israel were deceived by the Gibeonites, because they asked not counsel beforehand at the mouth of the Lord,[426] but trusting too easily to fair words, were deluded by counterfeit pity.


That a Man should not be Fretful in Matters of Business

MY son, always commit your cause to Me, I will dispose well of it in due time.

Wait for My ordering of it, and you shall find it will be for your good.

O LORD, I do most cheerfully commit all unto You, for my care can little avail.

Would that I did not so much dwell on future events, but gave myself up without reluctance to Your good pleasure.

MY son, oftentimes a man vehemently struggles for somewhat he desires, but when he has arrived at it, he begins to be of another mind; for the affections do not long remain on one object, but rather urge us from one thing to another.

It is therefore no small benefit for a man to forsake himself even in the smallest things.

The true profiting of a man consists in the denying of himself; and he that is thus self-denied, lives in great freedom and security.

But the old Enemy,[427] who always sets himself against all that are good, ceases at no time from tempting, but day and night lies grievously in wait, to cast the unwary, if he can, headlong into the snare of deceit.

'Watch you, and pray,' says the Lord, 'that you enter not into temptation.'[428]


That Man has no Good of Himself, nor Any Thing whereof he can glory

"LORD, what is man, that You are mindful of him, or the son of man, that You visit him?'[429]

What has man deserved, that You should grant him Your favor?

O Lord, what cause can I have to complain, if You forsake me? or if You do not that which I desire, what can I justly say against it?

Surely this I may truly think and say; Lord, I am nothing, I can do nothing, I have nothing that is good of myself, but in all things I am full of decay, and am ever tending to nothing.

And unless You help me, and inwardly inform me, I become altogether lukewarm and ready to fall to pieces.

But You, Lord, are yourself always The Same, and endure for ever;[430] always Good, Just, and Holy; doing all things well, justly, and holily, and ordering them in wisdom.

Whereas I that am more ready to go backward than forward, do not ever continue in one estate, for 'seven times are passed over me.'[431]

Nevertheless it soon becomes better, when it so pleases You, and when You vouchsafest to stretch forth Your helping hand; for You can help me alone without human aid, and so strengthen me, that my countenance shall be no more changed, but my heart shall be turned to You alone, and be at rest.

Wherefore, if I could once perfectly cast off all human consolation, either for the attainment of devotion, or because of mine own necessities, which enforce me to seek after You, (for no mortal man can comfort me,) then might I well hope in Your grace, and rejoice in the gift of new consolation.

Thanks be unto You, from whom all proceeds, whenever it goes well with me.

But I am in Your sight mere vanity and nothing, an unconstant and weak person.

Whereof then can I glory; or for what do I desire to be respected? is it for being nothing? this too is most vain.

Mere empty glory is in truth an evil pest, the greatest of vanities, because it draws a man from true glory, and robs him of Heavenly Grace.

For whilst he pleases himself, he displeases You; whilst he gapes after the praise of men, he is deprived of true virtues.

But the true glory and holy exultation is for a man to glory in You,[432] and not in himself; to rejoice in Your name, not in his own virtue, nor to take delight in any creature.

Praised be Your Name, not mine; magnified be Your work, except it be for Your sake, not mine: let Your Holy Name be blessed, but to me let no part of men's praises be given.[433]

You are my glory, You are the joy of my heart.

In You will I glory and rejoice all the day, but as for myself, I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.

Let the Jews seek honor one of another,[434] I will ask for that which comes from God alone.

Truly all human glory, all temporal honor, all worldly highness, compared to Your eternal glory, is vanity and folly.

O my God,-my Truth, and my Mercy, O Blessed Trinity, to You alone be praise, honor, power and glory, for ever and ever.


Of the Contempt of all Temporal Honor

MY son, make it no matter of your, if you see others honored and advanced, but yourself contemned and debased.

Lift up your heart into Heaven to Me, and the contempt of men on earth will not grieve you.

LORD, we are in blindness, and are quickly misled by vanity.

If I look rightly into myself, I cannot say that any creature has ever done me wrong; and therefore I cannot justly complain before You.

But because I have often and grievously sinned against You, all creatures do justly take arms against me.

Unto me, therefore, shame and contempt are justly due, but unto You praise, honor, and glory.

And unless I prepare myself with cheerful willingness to be despised and forsaken of all creatures, and to be esteemed quite entirely nothing, I cannot obtain inward peace and stability nor be spiritually enlightened, nor be fully united unto You.


That our Peace is not to be set on Men

MY son, if you rest your peace on any person, because you have formed a high opinion of him, and because you are in daily familiar intercourse with each other, you will become entangled and unstable.

But if you have recourse unto the ever-living and abiding Truth, the desertion or death of a friend will not grieve you.

Your regard for your friend ought to be grounded in Me; and for My sake is he to be beloved, whosoever he be that you think well of, and who is very dear unto you in this life.

Without Me friendship has no strength, no continuance; neither is that love true and pure, which is not knit by Me.

You ought to be so dead to such affections of beloved friends, that (so far as you are concerned) you would choose to be without all human sympathy.

Man approaches so much the nearer unto God, the farther he retires from all earthly comfort.

In proportion, too, as he descends lower into himself, and is meaner in his own sight, so much the higher he ascends unto God.

But he that attributes any good unto himself, hinders God's grace from coming unto him; because the Grace of the HOLY SPIRIT ever seeks an humble heart.[435]

If you could but perfectly annihilate yourself, and empty yourself of all created love, then might I even hold Myself bound to overflow into you with great Grace.

When you look to the creatures, the countenance of the Creator is withdrawn from you. 'Learn in all things to overcome yourself, for the sake of your Creator; then shall you be able to attain unto divine knowledge.

How mean soever any thing be, if it is inordinately loved and regarded, it keeps back [the soul] from the Chief Good, and corrupts


Against Vain and Secular Knowledge

MY son, let not the sayings of men move you, however fair and ingenious they may be. 'For the Kingdom of God consists not in word, but in power.[436]

Give attention to My words, for they inflame the heart, and enlighten the mind; they produce compunction, and they supply abundant variety of consolation.

Never read you the word of God in order to appear more learned or more wise.

Be studious for the mortification of your sins; for this will profit you more than the knowledge of many difficult questions.

When you shall have read and known many things, you must needs ever return to one Beginning and Principle.

I am He that teaches man knowledge; and I bestow on little children a dearer understanding than can be taught by man.

He to whom I speak, shall quickly be wise, and shall profit much in the Spirit.

Woe be to them that inquire many curious things of men, and take small care about the way of serving Me!

The time will come, when the Master of masters, Christ the Lord of Angels, shall appear, to hear the lessons of all, that is, to examine the consciences of every one.

And then will He search Jerusalem with candles, and the hidden things of darkness shall be laid open,[437] and the arguings of men's tongues shall be silent.

I am He who in one instant do lift up the humble mind, to comprehend more reasonings of eternal Truth, than if one had studied ten years in the schools.

I teach without noise of words, without confusion of opinions, without ambition of honor, without the scuffling of arguments.

I am He who instruct men to despise earthly things, to loath things present, to seek things eternal, to relish things eternal; to flee honors, to endure offenses, to place all hope in Me, 'out of Me to desire nothing, and above all things ardently to love Me.

For a certain person, by loving Me from the bottom of his heart, became instructed in things divine, and was wont to speak admirable truths.

He made greater progress by forsaking all things, than by studying subtle niceties.

Nevertheless, to some men I speak common things, to others things special; to some I gently show Myself in signs and figures, whilst to some I reveal mysteries in much light.

The voice of books is indeed one, but it informs not all alike; for inwardly I am the teacher of the Truth, the searcher of the heart, the discerner of the thoughts, the promoter of the actions, distributing to every man as I shall judge meet.


Of not fetching Trouble to Ourselves from Outward Things

MY son, in many things it is your duty to be ignorant, and to esteem yourself as one dead upon the earth, and to whom the whole world is crucified.[438]

Many things too there are which it is your duty to pass by with a deaf ear, that so you may be more mindful of those which belong unto your peace.

It is more profitable to turn away one's eyes from unpleasing subjects, and to leave each person to his own opinion, than to give attendance to contentious discourses.

If all stand well betwixt God and you, and you have His judgment in your mind, you shall very easily endure to be as one defeated.

O Lord, to what a pass are we come! Behold; we bewail a temporal loss, for a pitiful gain we toil and run; while the spiritual harm we incur is forgotten, and hardly at last do we return to a sense of it.

That which little or nothing profits, is minded, and that which is especially necessary, is negligently passed over; because the whole man does slide off to external things, and unless he speedily recover himself, he settles down in them, and that willingly.


That Credit is not to be given to All, and that Man is prone to offend in Words

GRANT me help, O Lord, in tribulation, for vain is the help of man![439]

How often have I not met with faithfulness there, where I thought myself sure of it!

How often too have I found it there, where beforehand I least expected it!

It is vain therefore to have hope in men; but the salvation of the righteous is in You, O God!

Blessed be You, O Lord my God, in all things that befall us.

We are weak and unstable; quickly are we deceived and quite changed.

Who is he, that is able in all things so warily and circumspectly to keep himself, as never to come into any deception or perplexity?

But he that trusts in You, O Lord, and seeks You with a single heart, does not so easily slip.[440]

And if he fall into any tribulation, be he never so much entangled, yet shall he quickly either through You be delivered, or by You be comforted; for You will not forsake him that hopes in You even to the end.

A friend is rare to be found, that continues faithful in all his friend's distresses.

You, O Lord, even You alone are most faithful at all times, and there is none other like unto You.

O how wise was that holy soul which said, 'My mind is firmly settled, and is grounded in Christ.'

If thus it were with me, the fear of man would not so easily vex me, nor darts of words move me.

Who has the power to foresee, who to guard against, all future evils? If even when we do foresee things, they oftentimes hurt us, how can unforeseen evils otherwise than grievously wound us?

But wretch as I am, why have I not. foreseen better for myself? why too have I so easily given credit to others? -

But we are men, nothing else but frail men, even though by many we were to be reputed and called Angels.

Whom shall I trust, O Lord? whom shall I trust but You? You are the Truth, which neither does deceive, nor can be deceived.

And on the other side, 'every man is a liar,'[441] weak, unconstant, and subject to fall, especially in words; and therefore we must scarce ever immediately give credit to that which on the face of it seems to sound right.

O with what wisdom have you warned us to beware of men; and, that a man's foes are they of his own household;[442] and not to give credit, if one should say, Lo here, or Lo there.

My hurt has been my instructor, and I wish it may make me more cautious, and not more unwise.

'Be wary,' says one, 'be wary, keep to yourself what I say to you;' and whilst I hold my peace, and think it is secret, he cannot himself keep that which he desired me to keep, but presently betrays both me and himself, and is gone.

From such mischief-making, reckless persons protect You me, O Lord, that I neither fall into their hands, nor ever commit such things myself.

Grant me to observe truth and constancy in my words, and to remove far from me a crafty tongue.

What I am not willing to suffer I ought by all means to beware of doing.

O how good is it and tending to peace, to be silent about other men, and not to believe indifferently all that is said, nor too easily to hand on reports.[443]

[How good it is] to lay one's self open to few; and ever to be seeking after You as the beholder of the heart:[444]

And not to be carried about with every wind of words, but to desire that all things both within and without, be accomplished according to the pleasure of Your will.

How safe is it, for the keeping of heavenly Grace, to avoid appearances, and not to seek those things which seem to cause admiration abroad; but to pursue with all diligence the things which bring amendment of life and godly zeal.

How many have been the worse for having their virtue known and over-hastily commended!

How truly profitable has grace been when preserved in silence, in this frail life, which we are told is all temptation, and warfare!


Of putting Our Trust in God when Evil Words arise

MY son, stand steadily, and put your trust in Me;[445] for what are words, but words?

They fly through the air, but a stone they cannot hurt.

If you are guilty, think that you would gladly amend yourself; if conscience reproach you not, consider that you would gladly suffer this for God's sake.

Little enough it is, to suffer sometimes from words, since you have not yet the courage to endure hard stripes.

And why do such small matters go to your heart, but became you are yet carnal, and regard men more than you ought?

For it is because you are afraid of being despised, that you are unwilling to be reproved for your faults, and seek the shelter of excuses.

But look better into yourself, and you shall acknowledge that the world is yet alive in you, and a vain desire to please men.

For when you shrink from being abased and confounded for your faults, it is evident you are neither truly humble, nor truly dead to the world, nor the world crucified to you.

But do you give diligent ear to My word, and you shall not care for ten thousand words spoken by men.

Behold, if all should be spoken against you that could be most maliciously invented, what would it hurt you, if you would suffer it to pass entirely away, and make no more reckoning of it than of a mote? could it pluck so much as one hair from your head?[446]

But he that has no heart within him, nor has God before his eyes, is easily moved with a word of dispraise.

Whereas he that trusts in Me, and has no wish to confide in his own judgment, shall be free from the fear of men.

For I am the Judge[447] and the discerner of all secrets: I well understand how the matter passed; I know him that offers the injury, and him that suffers it.

From Me proceeds that word; by My permission this has happened; that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.[448]

I shall judge the guilty, and the innocent; but by a secret judgment I have thought fit beforehand to prove them both.

The testimony of men oftentimes deceives: My judgment is true; it shall stand, and shall not be overthrown:

It commonly lies hid, and is manifest but to few, and that in special cases: yet it never errs, nor can err, although to the eyes of the foolish it may seem not right.

To Me therefore men ought to have recourse in every judgment, and not to lean on their own opinion.

For the just man will not be disturbed,[449] whatsoever befalls him from God. Even if an unjust charge be brought against him, he will not much care.

Nor again will he vainly exult, if through others he be justly vindicated.

For he considers that I am He that searches the heart and reins,[450] and do judge not according to the outward face, and human appearance.

For oftentimes that in My sight is found worthy of blame, which in the judgment of men is thought to be commendable.

5.O Lord God, the just judge, strong and patient, You who know the frailty and wickedness of men, be You my strength, and all my confidence, for mine own conscience suffices me not.

You know what I know not; and therefore under all blame I ought to humble myself, and to bear it meekly.

Of Your mercy then forgive me whenever I have acted otherwise, and when the next trial comes, grant me the grace of more thorough endurance. Because better to me is Your overflowing pity for the obtaining of pardon, than any fancied righteousness of my own to ward off the latent misgivings of conscience.

Although I know nothing by myself,[451] yet I cannot hereby justify myself; for without Your mercy, in Your sight shall no man living be justified.[452]


That all Grievous Things are to be endured for the sake of Eternal Life

MY son, be not wearied out by the labors which you have undertaken for My sake, nor let tribulations cast you down ever at all; but let My promise strengthen and comfort you under every circumstance.

I am well able to reward you, above all measure and degree.

You shall not long toil here, nor always be oppressed with griefs.

Wait a little while, and you shall see a speedy end of your evils.

There will come an hour when all labor and trouble shall cease.

Poor and brief is all that which passes away with time.

Do in earnest what you do; labor faithfully in My vineyard;[453] I will be your recompense.

Write, read, chant, mourn, keep silence, pray, endure crosses manfully; life everlasting is worth all these conflicts, and greater than these.

Peace shall come in one day which is known unto the Lord, and it shall be not day nor night,[454] (that is, of this present time,) but unceasing light, infinite brightness, steadfast peace, and secure rest.

Then you shale not say, 'Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?'[455] nor cry, 'Woe is me, that my sojourning is prolonged!'[456] for death shall be cast down headlong, and there shall be salvation which can never fail, no more anxiety, blessed joy, society sweet and noble.

O if you had seen the everlasting crowns of the Saints in heaven,[457] and with how great glory they now rejoice, who once were esteemed by the world as contemptible, and in a manner unworthy of life itself; truly you would forthwith. humble yourself even to the earth, and would rather seek to be under all, than to have command so much as over one.

Neither would you long for this life's pleasant days, but rather would rejoice to suffer affliction for God, and esteem it your greatest gain to be reputed as nothing amongst men.

O if you had a relishing of these things, and did suffer them to sink into the bottom of your heart, how could you dare so much as once to complain?

Are not all plainful labors to be endured for the sake of life eternal?

It is no small matter, to lose or to gain the Kingdom of God.

Life up your face therefore unto Heaven; behold, I and all My saints with Me, who in this world had great conflicts, do now rejoice, are now comforted, now secure, now at rest, and shall remain with Me everlastingly in the Kingdom of My Father.


Of the Day of Eternity, and this Life's Straitnesses

O MOST blessed mansion of the City which is above![458] O most clear day of eternity, which night obscures not, but the highest Truth ever enlightens! O day ever joyful, ever secure, and never changing into a contrary state!

O that that day might once appear, and that all these temporal things were at an end!

To the Saints indeed it shines glowing with uninterrupted brightness, but to those who are pilgrims on the earth, it appears only afar off and as through a glass.

The Citizens of Heaven do know how joyful that day is, but the banished children of Eve bewail the bitterness and tediousness of this.

The days of this life are few and evil,[459] full of sorrows and straitnesses.

Here a man is defiled with many sins, ensnared with many passions, held fast by many fears, racked with many cares, distracted with many curiosities, entangled with many vanities, compassed about with many errors, worn away with many labors, burdened with temptations, enervated by pleasures, tormented with want.

O when shall these evils be at an end? when shall I be delivered from the miserable bondage of my sins?[460] when shall I be mindful, O Lord, of You alone?[461] when shall I fully rejoice in You?

When shall I enjoy true liberty without all impediments whatsoever, without all trouble of mind and body?

When shall I have solid peace, peace secure and undisturbed, peace within and peace without, peace every way assured?

O merciful Jesu, when shall I stand to behold You? when shall I contemplate the glory of Your Kingdom? when will You be unto me all in all?

O when shall I be with You in Your Kingdom, which You have prepared for Your beloved ones from all eternity?

I am left, a poor and banished man, in the land of mine enemies, where there are daily wars and very great calamities.

Comfort my banishment, assuage my sorrow; for my whole desire sighs after You.

For all is a burden to me, whatsoever this world offers for consolation..

I long to enjoy You most inwardly, but I cannot attain unto it.

My desire is, that I may be wholly given up to things heavenly, but temporal things and unmortified passions weigh me down.

With the mind I wish to be above all things, but with the flesh I am enforced against my will to be beneath them.

Thus, unhappy man that I am,[462] I fight against myself, and 'am become grievous to myself, whilst my spirit seeks to be above, and my flesh to be below.

O what do I inwardly suffer, whilst in my mind I dwell on things Heavenly, and presently whilst I pray, a multitude of carnal temptations and thoughts occur to me! O my God, be not You far from me, nor turn away in wrath from Your servant.[463]

Cast forth Your lightning, and disperse them; shoot out Your arrows, and let all the imaginations of the Enemy be confounded.

Gather in, and call home my senses unto You; make me to forget all worldly things; enable me to cast away speedily, and with scorn, all vicious imaginations.

Succor me, O You the everlasting Truth, that no vanity may move me.

Come to me, You heavenly sweetness, and let all impurity flee from before Your face.

Pardon me also, and in mercy deal gently with me, as often as in prayer I think on aught beside You.

For truly I must confess, that I am wont to yield to many distractions.

Thus often and often it happens, that I am not where I am bodily standing or sitting, but rather there I am, whither my thoughts do carry me.

Where my thoughts are, there am I; and commonly there are my thoughts, where my affection is.

That readily occurs to me, which naturally brings delight, or by custom is pleasing.

And for this. cause, You that are Truth itself have plainly said, 'For where your treasure is, there your heart is also.'[464]

If I love Heaven, I willingly muse on Heavenly things. If I love the world, I rejoice with the felicity of the world, and grieve for the adversity thereof.

If I love the flesh, I shall be constantly imagining those things that are pleasing to the flesh.

If I 'love the Spirit, I shall delight to think on things spiritual.

For whatsoever I love, thereof do I willingly speak and hear, and carry home with me the forms thereof.

But blessed is the man,[465] who for Your sake, O Lord, is willing to part with all creatures, who does violence to his nature, and through fervor of the Spirit crucifies the lust of the flesh; that so with a serene conscience he may offer pure prayers unto You, and all earthly things both outwardly and inwardly being excluded, he may be meet to be admitted into the Angelic choirs.


Of the Desire of Everlasting Life, and how great Rewards are promised to those that strive resolutely

MY son, when you perceive the desire of eternal bliss to be poured on you from above, and longest to depart out of the tabernacle of the body, that you may be able to contemplate My brightness, without shadow of turning,' open your heart wide, and receive this holy inspiration with your whole desire.

Give greatest thanks to the Heavenly Goodness, which treats you with such condescension, visiting you mercifully, stirring you up fervently, sustaining you powerfully, lest through your own weight you sink down to earthly things.

For you do not obtain this by your own thought or endeavor, but by the mere condescension of Heavenly grace and Divine regard; to the end that you may make further progress in all virtue, and in greater humility, and prepare yourself for future conflicts, earnestly striving to cleave unto Me with the whole affection of your heart, and to serve Me with fervent willingness.

My son, oftentimes the fire burns, but the flame ascends not up without smoke.

So likewise the desires of some men burn towards Heavenly things, and yet they are not free from temptation of carnal affection.

And therefore it is not altogether purely for the honor of God, that they make such earnest requests to Him.

Such also oftentimes are your desires, which you have pretended to be so serious and earnest.

For those desires are not pure and perfect, which are tinctured with the love of your own special interest and advantage.

Ask not for that which is delightful and profitable to you, but for that which is acceptable to Me, and tends to My honor; for if you judge aright, you ought to prefer and follow My appointment, rather than your own desire, or any thing whatever that is to be desired.

I know your desire, and have oftentimes heard your groanings.

Already you longest to be in the glorious liberty. of the sons of God; already do you delight in the everlasting habitation, your Heavenly home full of joy; but that hour is not yet come; still there remains another time, and that a time of war,[466] a time of labor and of trial.

You desire to be filled with the Chief Good, but you can not attain it just yet.

I AM He; wait you for Me (says the Lord) until the Kingdom of God shall come.

You are still to be tried upon earth, and to be exercised in many things.

Comfort shall be sometimes given you, but the abundant fullness thereof shall not be granted.

Take courage therefore, and be valiant[467] as well in doing as in suffering things contrary to nature.

It is your duty to put on the new Man,[468] and to be changed into another man.

It is your duty oftentimes to do what you would not; your duty too to leave undone what you would do.

That which pleases others, shall go well forward; that which pleases you, shall not speed.

That which others say, shall be heard; what you say, shall be accounted nothing: Others shall ask and shall receive; you shall ask but shall not obtain.

Others 'shall be great in the praise of men, but about you there shall be nothing said.

To others this or that shall be committed, but you shall be accounted of no use.

At this nature will sometimes be troubled, and it is a great thing if you bear it with silence.

In these and many such like [things], the faithful servant of the Lord is wont to be tried, how far he can deny and break himself in all things.

There is scarcely any thing wherein you have such need to die to yourself, as in seeing and suffering those things that are adverse to your will; especially when that is commanded to be done, which seems unto you inconvenient, or useless.

And because you being under authority dare not resist the higher power, therefore it seems hard to you to walk at another's beck, and to give up all your own opinion.

But consider, My son, the fruit of these labors, the end near at hand, and the reward exceeding great; and you will not grudge to bear them, rather you will have the strongest comfort of your patience.

For instead of that little of your will, which now you so readily forsake, you shall always have your will in Heaven.

There surely you shall find all that you may wish, all that you shall be able to desire.

There you shall have within your reach all good, without fear of losing it.

There shall your will be ever one with Me; it shall not covet any outward or private thing.

There none shall withstand you, no man shall complain of you, no man hinder you, nothing come in your way; but all things you can desire shall be there together present, and refresh your whole affection, and fill it up to the brim.

There I will give you glory for the reproach which here you suffered, the garment of praise for heaviness, for the lowest place a kingly throne for ever.

There shall the fruit of obedience appear, the labor of repentance shall rejoice, and humble subjection shall be gloriously crowned.

At present then bend yourself humbly under all, and care not who said this or commanded it.

But take especial care, that whether your superior, or your inferior, or your equal, require any thing of you, or even insinuate their desire, you take it all in good part, and with a sincere will endeavor to fulfill it.

Let one seek this, another that; let this man glory in this, the other in that, and be praised a thousand thousand times; but do you rejoice neither in this, nor in that, but in the contempt of yourself, and in the good pleasure and honor of Me alone.

This is what you are to wish, that whether it be by life or death God may be always glorified in you.


How a Desolate Person ought to offer Himself into the Hands of God

O LORD God, Holy Father, be You blessed both now and for evermore, because as You will, so is it done, and what You do is good.

Let Your servant rejoice in You, not in himself nor in any thing else; for You alone are the true gladness, You are my hope and my crown, You are my joy and my honor, O Lord.

What has Your servant, but what he has received from You,[469] even without any merit of his?

Your are all things, both what You have given, and what You have made.

I am poor, and in troubles, from my youth,[470] and my soul is sorrowful sometimes even unto tears; sometimes also my spirit is of itself disquieted, by reason of impending sufferings.

I long after the joy of Peace, the peace of Your children I earnestly crave, who are fed by You in the light of Your comfort.

If You give peace, if You pour into me holy joy, the soul of Your servant shall be full of melody, and shall become devout in Your praise.

But if You withdraw Yourself, (as too many times You do,) he will not be able to run the way of Your commandments; but rather he will bow his knees, and smite his breast, because it is not now with him as it was in times past, when Your candle shined upon his head, and under the shadow of Your wings he was protected from the temptations which assaulted him.

O Righteous Father, and ever to 'be praised, the hour is come that Your servant is to be proved.

O beloved Father, meet and right it is that in this hour Your servant should suffer something for Your sake.

O Father, evermore to be honored, the hour is come, which from all eternity You did foreknow should come; that for a short time Your servant should outwardly be oppressed, but inwardly should ever live with You.

That he should be for a little while held despised, and humbled, and in the sight of men should fail, and be wasted with sufferings and languors; that he may rise again with You in the morning dawn of the new Light, and be glorified in Heaven.

Holy Father, You have so appointed it, and so will have it; and that is fulfilled which Yourself have commanded.

For this is a favor to Your friend, for Your love to suffer and be afflicted in the world; how often soever, and by whom soever, and in what way soever You permit it to befall him.

Without Your counsel and providence, and without cause, nothing comes to pass in the earth.

It is good for me, Lord, that You have humbled me,[471] that I may learn Your righteous judgments and may cast away all haughtiness of heart, and all presumptuousness.

It is profitable for me, that shame has covered my face, that I may seek to You for consolation rather than to men.

I have learned also hereby to dread Your unsearchable judgments, who afflict the just with the wicked, though not without equity and justice.

I give You thanks, for that You have not spared my sins, but have worn me down with bitter stripes, inflicting sorrows and sending anxieties upon me within and without.

There is none else under Heaven who can comfort me, but You only, O Lord my God, the Heavenly Physician of souls, who strike and heal, who bring down to hell and bring back again.[472]

Your discipline over me, and Your very rod itself shall instruct me.

Behold, O beloved Father, I am in Your hands, I bow myself under the rod of Your correction.

Smite my back and my neck, that. so I may bend my crookedness to Your will.

Make me a dutiful and humble disciple, (as You are wont to be kind), that I may be ever ready to go, if You do but beckon to me.

Unto You I commend myself and all that is mine, to be corrected: better it is to be punished here, than hereafter.

You know all things generally, and also each separately, and there is nothing in man's conscience which can be hidden from You.

Before things are done, You know that they will come to pass; and You have no need that any should teach or admonish You of what is going on here on the earth.

You know what is expedient for my spiritual progress, and how greatly tribulation serves to scour off the rust of sins.

Do with me according to Your desired good pleasure, and disdain me not for my sinful life, known to none so thoroughly and clearly as to You alone.

Grant me, O Lord, to know that which is worth knowing, to love that which is worth loving, to praise that which pleases You most, to esteem that highly which to You is precious, to abhor that which in Your sight is filthy and unclean.

Suffer me not to judge according to the sight of the outward eyes, nor to give sentence according to the hearing of the ears of ignorant men; but with a true judgment to discern between things visible and spiritual, and above all to be ever searching after the good pleasure of Your will.

The minds of men are often deceived in their judgments; the lovers of the world too are deceived in loving only things visible.

What is a man ever the better, for being by man esteemed great?

The deceitful in flattering the deceitful, the vain man in extolling the vain, the blind in commending the blind, the weak in magnifying the weak, deceives him; and in truth does rather put him to shame, while he so vainly praises him.

'For what every one is in Your sight, that is he, and no more,' says humble St. Francis.


That a Man ought to employ himself in Works of Humility, when strength is wanting for Higher Employments

MY son, you are not able always to continue in the more fervent desire of all that is virtuous, nor to persist in the higher pitch of contemplation; but you must needs sometimes by reason of original corruption descend to inferior things, and bear the burden of this corruptible life, though against your will, and with wearisomeness.

As long as you carry a mortal body, 'you shall feel weariness and heaviness of heart.

You ought therefore in the flesh oftentimes to bewail the burden of the flesh; for that you can not employ yourself unceasingly in spiritual studies and divine contemplation.

Then it is expedient for you to flee to humble and exterior works, and to refresh yourself with good actions; to expect with a firm confidence My coming and Heavenly visitation; to bear patiently your banishment and the dryness of your mind, till I shall again visit you, and set you free from all anxieties.

For I will cause you to forget your painful toils, and to enjoy thorough inward quietness.

I will spread open before you the pleasant fields of the Scriptures, that with an enlarged heart-you may begin to run the way of My commandments.

And you shall say, 'The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the future glory, that shall be revealed in us.'[473]


That a Man ought not to account himself as worthy of Comfort, but rather as deserving of Chastisement

O LORD, I am not worthy of Your consolation, nor of any spiritual visitations; and therefore You deal justly with me, when You leave me poor and desolate.

For though I could shed a sea of tears, still I should not be worthy of Your consolation.

I am not then worthy of any thing but to be scourged and punished; because grievously and often I have offended You, and in many things have greatly sinned.

Wherefore, in the judgment of truth and reason, I am not worthy even of the least comfort.

But You, O gracious and merciful God, who wiliest not that Your works should perish, to show the riches of Your goodness upon the vessels of mercy, vouchsafest even beyond all his desert to comfort Your servant above the manner of men.

For Your consolations are not like to the discourses of men.

What have I done, O Lord, that you should bestow any heavenly comfort upon me?

I remember not that I have done any good, but that I have been always prone to sin, and slow to amendment. This is true, and I cannot deny it. If I should say otherwise, You would stand against me;[474] and there would be none to defend me.

What have I deserved for my sins, but hell and everlasting fire?

I confess in very truth that I am worthy of all scorn and contempt, nor is it fit that I should be remembered amongst Your devout servants.

And although I be unwilling to hear this, yet notwithstanding, I will for the Truth's sake lay open my sins, even against myself, that so the more readily I may be accounted worthy to obtain Your mercy.

What shall I say, in that I am guilty, and full of all confusion?

My mouth can utter nothing but this word only, 'I have sinned, O Lord! I have sinned;[475] have mercy on me, pardon me!'

Suffer me a little, that I may bewail my griefs, before I go into the land of darkness, a land covered with the shadow of death.[476]

What do You so much 'require of a guilty and miserable sinner, as that he be contrite, and that he humble himself for his offenses?

Of true contrition and humbling of the heart, arises hope of forgiveness; the troubled conscience is reconciled; the grace which was lost, is recovered; man is preserved from the wrath to come; and God and the penitent soul meet together with a holy kiss.

Humble contrition for sins is an acceptable sacrifice unto You, O Lord,[477] giving forth a savor far sweeter in Your sight than the perfume of frankincense.

This is also the pleasant ointment,[478] which You would should be poured upon Your sacred feet; for a contrite and humble heare you never have despised.[479]

Here is the place of refuge from the angry face of the Enemy; here is amended and washed away whatever defilement and pollution has been any where else contracted.


That the Grace of God does not join itself with those who relish Earthly Things

MY son, My grace is precious, it suffers not itself to be mingled with external things, nor with earthly consolations.

You ought therefore to cast away the hindrances of Grace, if you desire to receive the infusion thereof.

Look out for a secret place for yourself, love to dwell alone with yourself, desire the conversation of none; but rather pour out devout prayer unto God, that you may keep your mind in compunction, and your conscience pure.

Esteem you the whole world as nothing; prefer attendance upon God before all outward things.

For you will not be able to attend upon Me, and at the same time to take delight in things transitory.

It is meet that you remove yourself far away from acquaintance and dear friends,[480] and keep your mind void of all temporal comfort.

So the blessed Apostle Peter beseeches, that the faithful of Christ would keep themselves in this world as strangers and pilgrims.[481]

O how great a confidence shall we have at the hour of death, whom no affection to any thing detains in the world.

But what it is to have a heart so alienated from all things, the sickly mind does not as yet comprehend; nor does the carnal man know the liberty of the spiritual man.

Notwithstanding if he would be truly spiritual, he 'ought to renounce as well those who are far off, as those who are near unto him, and to beware of no man more than himself.

If you perfectly overcome yourself, you shall very easily bring all else under the yoke.

The perfect victory is, to triumph over ourselves.

For he that keeps himself subject, in such sort that his sensual affections be obedient to reason, and his reason in all things obedient to Me; that person is truly conqueror of himself, and lord of the world.

If you desire to mount unto this height, you must set out courageously, and lay the ax to the root, that you may pluck up and destroy the hidden inordinate inclination to self, and all love of private and earthly good.

By this vicious propensity (namely, man's too inordinate love of self) every thing almost is upheld, which ought thoroughly to be overcome. If this evil be once vanquished and subdued, there will presently ensue great peace and tranquillity.

But because few labor to be perfectly dead to themselves, or fully go forth from themselves, therefore in themselves they remain entangled, nor can be lifted up in spirit above themselves.

But he that desires to walk freely with Me, it is necessary that he mortify all his corrupt and inordinate affections, and that he should not earnestly cleave to any creature with particular love.


Of the Different Motions of Nature and Grace

MY son, mark diligently the motions of Nature and of Grace; for in a very contrary and subtle manner do they move, and can hardly be distinguished but by him that is spiritually and inwardly enlightened.

All men indeed desire that which is good, and pretend somewhat good in their words and deeds; and therefore under the show of good, many are deceived.

Nature is crafty, and seduces many, ensnares and deceives them, and has always self for her end and object:

But Grace walks in simplicity, abstains from all show of evil, shelters not herself under deceits, does all things purely for God's sake, in whom also she finally rests.

Nature is reluctant and loth to die, or to be kept down, or to be overcome, or to be in subjection, or readily to be subdued.

But Grace studies self-mortification, resists sensuality, seeks to be in subjection, longs to be defeated, has no wish to use her own liberty; she loves to be kept under discipline, and desires not to rule over any, but always to live, remain, and be under God, and for God's sake is ready humbly to bow down to every ordinance of man.

Nature strives for her own advantage, and considers what profit she may reap by another:

Grace considers not what is profitable and commodious

unto herself, but rather what may be for the good of many. Nature willingly receives honor and reverence:

But Grace faithfully attributes all honor and glory unto God.

Nature fears shame and contempt:

But Grace rejoices to suffer reproach for the Name of Jesus.

Nature loves leisure and bodily rest:

Grace cannot be unemployed, but cheerfully embraces labor.

Nature seeks to have things that are curious and beautiful, and abhors those which are cheap and coarse:

But Grace delights in what is plain and humble, despises not rough things, nor refuses to wear that which is old and patched.

Nature respects temporal things, rejoices at earthly gains, sorrows for loss, is irritated by every little injurious word:

But Grace looks to things eternal, cleaves not to things temporal, is not disturbed at losses, nor soured with hard words; because she has placed her treasure and joy in Heaven, where nothing perishes.

Nature is covetous, does more willingly receive than give, and loves to have things private and her own:

But Grace is kind-hearted and communicative, shuns private interest, is content with a little, judges that it is more blessed to give than to receive.

Nature inclines a man to the creatures, to his own flesh, to vanities, and to vagaries hither and thither:

But Grace draws unto God and to every virtue, renounces creatures, avoids the world, hates the desires of the flesh, restrains wanderings abroad, blushes to be seen in public.

Nature is willing to have some outward solace, wherein she may be sensibly delighted:

But Grace seeks consolation in God alone, and to have delight in the highest Good above all visible things.

Nature manages every thing for her own gain and profit, she cannot bear to do any thing gratis, but for every kindness she hopes to obtain either what is equal, or what is better, or at least praise or favor; and is very earnest to have her works and gifts and words much valued:

But Grace seeks no temporal thing, nor desires any other reward than God alone, nor asks more of temporal necessaries, than what may serve her for the obtaining of things eternal.

6, Nature rejoices to have many friends and kinsfolk, she glories of noble place and noble birth, smiles on the powerful, fawns upon the rich, applauds those who are like herself:

But Grace loves even her enemies, and is not puffed up with multitude of friends; nor thinks anything of high birth, unless it be joined with more exalted virtue:

She favors the poor rather than the rich, sympathizes more with the innocent than with the powerful, rejoices with the true man, not with the deceitful:

She is ever exhorting good men to strive for the best gifts; and by all virtue to become like to the Son of God.

Nature quickly complains of want and of trouble:

Grace endures need with firmness and constancy.

Nature refers all things to herself, strives and argues for herself:

But Grace brings back all to God, from whence originally they proceed; she ascribes no good to herself, nor does she arrogantly presume; she contends not, nor prefers her own opinion before others; but in every matter of sense and understanding submits herself unto the Eternal wisdom and the Divine judgment.

Nature is eager to know secrets, and to hear news; she likes to appear abroad, and to make proof of many things by her own senses; she desires to be acknowledged, and do things for which she may be praised and admired:

But Grace cares not to hear news, nor to understand curious matters, (because all this takes its rise from the old corruption of man,) seeing that upon earth there is nothing new, nothing durable.

Grace teaches therefore to restrain the senses, to shun vain complacency and ostentation, humbly to hide those things that are worthy of admiration and praise, and from every matter and in every knowledge to seek profitable fruit, and the praise and honor of God.

She will not have herself nor hers publicly praised, but desires that God should be blessed in His gifts, who of mere love bestows all things.

This Grace is a supernatural light, and a certain special gift of God, and the proper mark of the Elect, and pledge of everlasting salvation; it raises up a man from earthly things to love the things of Heaven, and from being carnal makes him a spiritual man.

The more therefore Nature is depressed and subdued, so much the greater Grace is infused, and every day by new visitations the inward man becomes reformed according to the image of God.


Of the Corruption of Nature, and Efficacy of Divine Grace

O LORD my God, who have created me after Your own image and likeness,[482] grant me this Grace, which You have showed to be so great and so necessary to salvation; that I may overcome my most evil nature, which draws me to sin and to perdition.

For I feel in my flesh the law of sin contradicting the law of my mind,[483] and leading me captive to the obeying of sensuality in 'many things; neither can I resist the passions thereof, 'unless Your most holy Grace fervently infused into my heart do assist me.

There is need of Your Grace, O Lord, and of great degrees thereof, that Nature may be overcome, which is ever prone to evil from her youth.[484]

For through Adam the first man, Nature being fallen and corrupted by sin, the penalty of this stain has descended upon all mankind, in such sort, that 'Nature' itself, which by You was created good and upright, is now taken for the sin and infirmity of corrupted nature; because the inclination thereof left unto itself draws to evil and to inferior things.

For the small power which remains is as it were a spark lying hid in the ashes.

This is Natural Reason itself, encompassed about with great darkness, yet still retaining power to discern the difference between good and evil, true and false, although it be unable to fulfill all that it approves, and enjoys no longer the full light of the Truth, nor soundness of its own affections.

Hence it is, O my God, that I delight in Your law after the inward man,[485] knowing Your commandment to be good, just and holy, reproving also all evil and sin, as things to be avoided.

But with the flesh I serve the law of sin, whilst I obey sensuality rather than reason.

Hence it is, that to will what is good is present with me, but how to perform it I find not.

Hence it is that I often purpose many good things, but because Grace is wanting to help my infirmity, upon a light resistance I start back and faint.

Hence it comes to pass that I know the way of perfection, and see clearly enough how I ought to act; but being pressed down with the weight of mine own corruption, I rise not to what is more perfect.

O Lord, how entirely needful is Your Grace for me, to begin any thing good, to proceed with it, and to accomplish it.

For without it I can do nothing,[486] but in You I can do all things, when Your Grace does strengthen me.

O Grace truly celestial! without which our most worthy actions are nothing, nor are any gifts of nature to be esteemed.

Neither arts or riches, beauty or strength, wit or eloquence, are of any value before You, without Your Grace, O Lord.

For gifts of nature are common to good and bad, but the peculiar gift of the elect is Grace and Love; and they that bear this honorable mark, are accounted worthy of everlasting life.

So eminent is this Grace that neither the gift of prophecy, nor the working of miracles, nor any speculation (how high soever) is of any esteem without it.

No, not even faith or hope, or any other virtues, are unto You acceptable without Charity and Grace.[487]

O most blessed grace, that make the poor in spirit rich in virtues, and render him who is rich in many goods humble in heart!

Come You down unto me, come and replenish me early with Your comfort, lest my soul faint for weariness and dryness of mind.

I beseech You, O Lord, that I may find Grace in Your sight; for Your Grace is sufficient for me, though other things that Nature longs for be not obtained.

Although I be tempted and vexed with many tribulations, yet I will fear no evils,[488] as long as Your Grace is with me.

This alone and by itself is my strength; this alone gives advice and help.

This is stronger than all enemies, and wiser than all the wise.

Your Grace is the mistress of truth, the teacher of discipline, the light of the heart, the solace in affliction, the driver away of sorrow, the expeller of fear, the nurse of devotion, the source and fountain of tears.

Without this, what am I but a withered piece of wood, and an unprofitable branch only meet to be cast away.

Let Your grace therefore, O Lord, always prevent and follow me, and make me to be continually given to good works, through Your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.


That we ought to Deny Ourselves and Imitate Christ by the Cross

MY son, the more you can go out of yourself, so much the more will you be able to enter into Me.

As to be void of all desire of external things, produces inward peace, so the forsaking of yourself inwardly, joins you unto God.

I wish you to 'learn perfect resignation of yourself to My will, without contradiction or complaint.

Follow you me: I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life.'[489] Without the Way, there is no going; without the Truth, there is no knowing; without the Life, there is no living. I AM the Way, which you ought to follow; the Truth, which you ought to trust; the Life, which you ought to hope for.

I AM the inviolable Way, the infallible Truth, the endless Life.

I AM the straightest Way, the supreme Truth, the true, the blessed, the uncreated Life.

If you remain in My way, you shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free, and you shall lay hold on eternal Life.

If you will enter into life, keep the commandments.[490] If you will know the truth, believe Me. If you will be perfect, sell all.[491]

If you will be My disciple, deny yourself utterly.[492]

If you will possess a blessed life, despise this life present.

If you will be exalted in Heaven, humble yourself in this world.[493]

If you will reign with Me, bear the Cross with Me.[494]

For only the servants of the Cross do find the way of blessedness and of true light.

O LORD Jesus, forasmuch as Your life was strict and despised by the world, grant me grace to imitate You, though with the world's contempt.

For the servant is not greater than his Lord,[495] nor the disciple above his Master.

Let Your servant be exercised in Your life, for therein my salvation and true holiness does consist.

Whatsoever I read or hear besides it, does not give me full refreshment or delight.

My son, inasmuch as you know and have read all these things, happy shall you be, if you do them.

'He that has My commandments and keeps them, he it is that loves Me; and I will love him, and will manifest Myself unto him,'[496] and will make him sit together with Me in My Father's kingdom.

O LORD Jesu, as You have said and promised, so truly let it come to pass, and grant that I may not be wholly undeserving of this favor.

I have received the Cross, I have received it from Your hand; I will bear it, and bear it even unto death, as You have laid it upon me.

Truly the life of a good Christian is a Cross, yet it is also a guide to Paradise.

We have now begun, it is not lawful to go back, neither is it fit to leave that which we have undertaken.

Let us then take courage, brethren, let us go forward together, Jesus will be with us.

For the sake of Jesus we have undertaken this Cross; for the sake of Jesus let us persevere in the Cross.

He will be our Helper, who is also our Guide and Forerunner.

Behold, our King enters in before us, and He will fight for us.

Let us follow manfully, let no man fear any terrors; let us be prepared to die valiantly in battle, nor bring such a disgrace on our glory as to flee from the Cross.


That a Man should not be too much Dejected, even when he falls into some Defects

MY son, patience and humility in adversities are more pleasing to Me, than much comfort and devotion when things go well.

Why are you so grieved for every little matter spoken against you?

Although it had been much more, you ought not to have been moved.

But now let it pass; it is not the first that has nor is it any thing new; neither shall it be the last, if you live long.

You are courageous enough, so long as nothing adverse befalls you.

You can give good counsel also, and can strengthen others with your words; but when any tribulation suddenly comes to your door, you fail in counsel and in strength.

Observe then your great frailty, of which you too often have experience in small occurrences.

It is nothwithstanding intended for your good, when these and such like trials happen to you.

Put it out of your heart the best you can, and if tribulation have touched you, yet let it not cast you down, nor long perplex you.

Bear it at least patiently, if you can not joyfully. Although you be unwilling to hear it, and conceive indignation thereat, yet restrain yourself, and suffer no inordinate word to pass out of your mouth, whereby Christ's little ones may be offended.

The storm which is now raised shall quickly be appeased, and inward grief shall be sweetened by the return of Grace.

I yet live, says the Lord, and am ready to help you,[497] and to give you more than ordinary consolation, if you put your trust in Me, and call devoutly upon Me.

Be more patient of soul, and gird yourself to greater endurance.

All is not lost, although you do feel yourself very often afflicted or grievously tempted.

You are a man, and not God; you are flesh, not an Angel.

How can you look to continue always in the same state of virtue, when an Angel in Heaven has fallen, as also the first man in Paradise?[498]

I am He who lift up the mourners to safety and soundness, and those that know their own weakness I advance to My own Divine [Nature].

O LORD, blessed be Your Word, more sweet unto my mouth than honey and the honeycomb.[499]

What should I do in these so great tribulations and straits, unless You did comfort me with Your holy discourses?

What matter is it, how much or what I suffer, so as I may at length attain to the port of salvation?

Grant me a good end, grant me a happy passage out of this world.

Be mindful of me, O my God, and direct me in the right way of Your kingdom. Amen.


That High Matters and God's Secret Judgments are not to be narrowly inquired into

MY son, beware you dispute not of high matters, nor of the secret judgments of God, why this man is so left, and that man taken into such great favor; why also one is so grievously afflicted, and another so eminently exalted.

These things are beyond all reach of man's faculties, neither is it in the power of any reason or disputation to search out the judgments of God.

When therefore the Enemy suggests these things unto you, or some curious people raise the question, let your answer be that of the Prophet, 'You are just, O Lord, and Your judgment is right.'[500]

And again, 'The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.'[501]

My judgments are to be feared, not to be discussed; for they are such as cannot be comprehended by the understanding of man.

In like manner I advise you not to inquire, nor dispute of the merits of holy men as to which of them is holier than the other, or which shall be the greater in the kingdom of Heaven.

Such matters oftentimes breed unprofitable strifes and contentions,[502] they also nourish pride and vainglory; whence arise envies and dissensions, whilst one proudly endeavors to put forward one saint, and the other another.

To wish to know and search out such things answers no good end, rather is displeasing to the righteous Souls; for I am not the God of dissension, but of peace; which peace consists rather in true humility, than in self-exaltation.

Some are carried with zeal of affection towards these Saints or those; nevertheless this is rather human love than divine.

I am He who made all the Saints; I gave them Grace; I obtain for them Glory.

I know what every one has deserved; I have prevented them with the blessings of My goodness.

I foreknew My beloved ones before the beginning of the world.

I chose them out of the world, they chose not Me first.[503] I called them by grace, I drew them by mercy, I led them safe through sundry temptations.

I poured into them glorious consolations, I gave them perseverance, I crowned their patience.

I acknowledge both the first and the last; I embrace all with love inestimable.

I am to be praised in all My Saints; I am to be blessed above all things, and to be honored in every one, whom I have thus gloriously exalted and predestined, without any precedent merits of their own.

He therefore that contemns one of the least of Mine,[504] honors not the greatest; for that I made both the small and the great.[505]

And he that disparages any of the Saints, disparages Me also, and all other in the Kingdom of Heaven.

These all are one through the bond of charity; their thought is the same, their will is the same, and in love they are all united one to another.

But still, (which is a far higher consideration,) they love Me more than they do themselves or any merits of their own.

For being ravished above self and self-love, they are wholly carried out to love Me, in whom also they rest with entire fruition.

Nothing can turn them back, nothing can press them down; for being full of the eternal Truth, they burn with the fire of unquenchable charity.

Let therefore carnal and natural men who can love nothing but their own selfish joys, forbear to dispute of the state of God's Saints. Such men add and take away according to their own fancies, not as it pleases the eternal Truth..

Many are ignorant, especially those who being but slenderly enlightened, can seldom love any with a perfect spiritual love.'

They are as yet 'much drawn by natural affection and human friendship to this man or to that; and according to the experience they have of themselves in their earthly affections, so do they frame imaginations of things heavenly.

But there is an incomparable distance between the things which the imperfect imagine in their conceits, and those which the illuminated are enabled to behold, through revelation from above.

Beware, therefore, My son, that you handle not with vain curiosity things which exceed your knowledge,[506] but rather let this be your great business and endeavor, to attain if it be the meanest place in the kingdom of God.

Even if any man should know who exceeds another in sanctity, or who is accounted the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven; what would this wisdom profit him, unless he should humble himself the more in My sight, and then should rise up to give the greater praise to My Name, in proportion to this his knowledge?

Far more acceptable to God is he that thinks of the greatness of his own sins, and the smallness of his virtues, and how far he is from the perfection of Saints, than he who disputes of their greatness or littleness.

They are well yea right well contented, if men would but content themselves, and refrain from their vain discourses.

They glory not of their own merits, inasmuch as they ascribe no goodness to themselves, but attribute all to Me, who of My infinite love have given them all things.

They are filled with so great love of the Divinity, and with such an overflowing joy, that there is no glory nor happiness that is or can be wanting unto them.

All the Saints, the higher they are in glory, so much the more humble are they in themselves, and the nearer and dearer unto Me.

And therefore you have it written, 'That they did cast their crowns before God, and fell down on their faces before the Lamb, and adored Him that lives for ever and ever.'[507]

Many inquire, who is the greatest in the kingdom of God, who know not whether they shall ever be numbered among the least.

It is a great thing to be even the least in Heaven, where all are great; for they all shall be called, and shall be, the Sons of God.

'The least shall become a thousand,'[508] and 'the sinner of an hundred years shall die.'[509]

For when the disciples asked who should be greatest in the kingdom of Heaven, they received such an answer as this:

'Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven; whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of Heaven.'[510]

Woe be unto them who disdain to humble themselves willingly with little children; because the low gate of the kingdom of Heaven will not give them entrance.[511]

Woe also to the rich, who have here their consolation; for whilst the poor enter into the kingdom of God, they shall stand lamenting without.

Rejoice you that be humble,[512] and you poor be you filled with' joy, for yours is the kingdom of God, if at least you walk according to the Truth.


That all our Hope and Trust is to be fixed in God alone

LORD, what is my confidence which I have in this life? or what is the greatest comfort I can derive from any thing under Heaven?

Is it not You, O Lord my God, whose mercies are without number?

Where has it ever been well with me without You? or when could it be ill with me, when You were present? I had rather be poor for You, than rich without You.

I rather choose to be a pilgrim on earth with You than without You to possess Heaven. Where You are, there is Heaven: and where You are not, there is death and hell.

You are all my desire, and therefore I must needs. sigh and call and earnestly pray unto You,

In short there is none whom I can fully trust to, none that can seasonably help me in my necessities, but only You, my God.

You are my hope, You my confidence; You are my Comforter, and in all things most faithful unto Me.

All men seek their own gain;[513] You set forward my salvation and my profit only, and turn all things to my good.

Although You expose me to divers temptations and adversities, yet You order all this to my advantage, who are wont to try Your beloved ones a thousand ways.

In which trial of me You ought no less to be loved and praised, than if You did fill me full of heavenly consolations.

In You therefore, O Lord God, I place my whole hope and refuge; on You I rest all my tribulation and anguish; for I find all to be weak and inconstant, whatsoever I behold out of You.

For many friends cannot profit, nor strong helpers assist, nor prudent counselors give a profitable answer, nor the books of the learned afford comfort, nor any precious substance deliver, nor any place, however retired and lovely, give shelter, unless You Yourself do assist, help, strengthen, console, instruct, and guard us.

For all things that seem to belong to the attainment of peace and felicity, without You, are nothing, and do bring in truth no felicity at all.

You therefore are the Fountain of all that is good, the Height of life, the Depth of all that can be spoken; and hope in You above all things, is the strongest comfort of Your servants.

To You therefore do I lift up mine eyes; in You my God, the Father of mercies, do I put my trust.

Bless and sanctify my soul with Your heavenly blessings, that it may become Your holy habitation, and the seat of Your eternal glory; and let nothing be found in this temple of Your Divinity, which shall offend the eyes of Your Majesty.

According to the greatness of Your goodness and multitude of Your mercies look upon me, and hear the prayer of Your poor servant, who is far exiled from You in the land of the shadow of death.

Protect and keep the soul of me the meanest of Your servants, amidst so many dangers of this corruptible life, and by Your grace accompanying me direct it along the way of peace to its home of everlasting brightness. Amen.

A Devout Exhortation to the Holy Communion

The Voice of Christ.

'COME unto Me all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you,'[514] says the Lord.

'The bread which I will give is My Flesh, for the life of the world.'[515]

'Take you and eat; this is My Body which is given for you:[516] Do this in remembrance of Me.'[517]

'He that eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood, dwells in Me, and I in him.

'The Words which I have spoken unto you are Spirit and Life.'[518]


With how Great Reverence Christ ought to be received

The Voice of the Disciple.

THESE are Your words, O Christ the everlasting Truth, though not uttered all at one time, nor written in one and the self-same place.

Because, therefore they are Your and true, they are all thankfully and faithfully to be received by me.

They are Your, and You have pronounced them; and they are mine also, because You have spoken them for my salvation.'

I cheerfully receive them from Your mouth, that they may be the more deeply implanted in my heart.

They arouse me, those most gracious words so full of sweetness and of love; but mine own offenses do dishearten me, and an impure conscience drives me back from the receiving of so great Mysteries.

The sweetness of Your words does encourage me, but the multitude of my sins weighs me down.

You command me to come confidently unto You, if I would have part with You; and to receive the food of immortality, if I desire to obtain everlasting life and glory.

'Come unto Me, (say You,) all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you.'[519]

O sweet and loving word in the ear of a sinner, that You, my Lord God, should invite the poor and needy to the participation of Your most holy Body and Blood!

But who am I, Lord, that I should presume to approach unto You?

Behold the Heaven of Heavens cannot contain You, and You say, 'Come you all unto Me.'

What means this so gracious a condescension, and this so loving invitation?

How shall I dare to come, who know not any good in myself, whereupon I may presume!

How shall I bring You into my house, I that have so often offended Your most benign countenance?

Angels and Archangels stand in awe of You, holy and righteous men do fear You, and say You, 'Come you all unto Me?'

Unless You, O Lord, did say this, who would believe it to be true?

And unless You did command it, who could attempt to draw near?

Behold, Noah that just man labored a hundred years in the making of the Ark,[520] that he might be saved with a few; and how can I in one hour's space prepare myself to receive with reverence the Maker of the world?

Moses, Your great servant, and Your especial friend, made an ark of incorruptible wood, which also he covered over with the finest gold, wherein to lay up the tables of the law;[521] and I a corrupted creature, how shall I dare so unconcernedly to receive the Maker of the Law, and the Giver of life?

Solomon the wisest of the kings of Israel bestowed seven years in building a magnificent Temple to the praise of Your Name.[522]

He also celebrated the feast of dedication thereof for eight days together; he offered a thousand peace-offerings, and he solemnly set the Ark of the Covenant in the place prepared for it, with the sound of trumpets, and great joy.[523]

And I the most miserable and poorest of men, how shall I bring You into my house, I that can scarce spend one half-hour in true devotion? and would that I could even once spend something like one half-hour in worthy and due manner!

Oh my God, how earnestly did they study and endeavor to please You!

Alas, how little is that which I do! how short a time do I spend, when I am disposing myself to receive the Communion!

Seldom am I wholly collected; very seldom indeed am I cleansed from all distraction.

And yet surely in the life-giving Presence of Your Godhead no unbecoming thought ought to intrude itself, nor should any creature occupy my heart; for it is not an Angel, but the Lord of the Angels, whom I am about to receive as my Guest.

However, very great is the difference between the ark of the covenant with its relics, and Your most pure Body with Its unspeakable virtues; between those legal sacrifices, figures of things to come, and the True Sacrifice of Your

Body, the fulfillment of all ancient sacrifices.

Wherefore then am I not more ardent and zealous in seeking Your adorable Presence?

Why do I not prepare myself with greater solicitude to receive Your holy things? whereas those ancient holy patriarchs and prophets, yea kings also and princes, with the whole people, showed such an affectionateness of devotion to Your divine service.

The most devout King David[524] danced before the ark of God with all his might, calling to mind the benefits bestowed in time past upon his forefathers. He made instruments of sundry kinds, he published psalms, and appointed them to be chanted with joy; he also oftentimes himself played on the harp, being inspired with the grace of the Holy Ghost. He taught the people of Israel to praise God with their whole hearts, and with voices full of melody to bless and praise Him every day.

If so great devotion was then used, and such celebrating of divine praise was kept up before the ark of the testament; what reverence and devotion ought now to be preserved by me and all Christian people during the ministration of the Sacrament, in receiving the most precious Body and Blood of Christ.

Many run to divers places to visit the memorials of Saints departed, are full of admiration at hearing of their deeds, behold with awe the spacious buildings of their temples, and find their affections moved by whatever is connected with their memory.

But behold,. You are Yourself here present with me on Your altar, my God, Saint of saints, Creator of men, and Lord of the Angels.

Often in looking after such memorials people are moved by curiosity, and the novelty of fresh sights, whilst little or no fruit of amendment is carried home; particularly when they go from place to place with' such levity, without true contrition of heart.

But here, in the Sacrament of the Altar, You are wholly present, my God, The Man Christ Jesus; here, to all worthy and devout receivers, is granted an abundant fruit of eternal salvation.

There is here to attract men nothing that savors of levity, of curiosity, or of sensuality; nothing but firm faith, devout hope, and sincere charity.

O God, the invisible Creator of the world, how wonderfully do You deal with us; how sweetly and graciously do You dispose of all things with Your elect, to whom You offeer Yourself to be received in this Sacrament!

For this verily exceeds all understanding; this specially draws the hearts of the devout, and inflames their affections.

For even Your true faithful ones, who dispose their whole life to amendment, from this most precious Sacrament oftentimes gain much grace of devotion, and love of virtue.

O the admirable and hidden grace of this Sacrament, which only the faithful ones of Christ do know! but the unbelieving and such as are slaves unto sin, cannot have experience thereof.

In this Sacrament spiritual grace is conferred and virtue which was lost is restored in the soul, and the beauty which by sin had been disfigured again returns.

This grace is sometimes so great, that out of the fullness of devotion here given, not the mind only, but the weak body also, feels great increase of strength bestowed on it.

11. Nevertheless our lukewarmness and negligence is exceedingly to be lamented and pitied, that we are not drawn with greater affection to receive Christ; in whom does consist all the hope of those that are to be saved, and all their merit.

For He Himself is our sanctification and redemption; He Himself is the consolation of pilgrims, and the everlasting fruition of Saints.

It is therefore exceedingly to be lamented that many do so little consider this salutary Mystery, which causes joy in Heaven, and preserves the whole world.

Alas for the blindness and hardness of the human heart, that it does not more tenderly cherish so unspeakable a Gift; but rather through the daily use thereof sinks into listless disregard of it!

1For if this most holy Sacrament were celebrated in one place only, and were consecrated by one only priest in the world; with how great desires do you think would men be affected to that place, and towards such a priest of God, that they might be witness of the celebration of these divine Mysteries?

But now many are made priests, and in many places Christ is offered; that the grace and love of God to man may appear so much the greater, the more widely this sacred Communion is spread over the world.

Thanks be unto You, O merciful Jesu, You eternal Shepherd, for that You have vouchsafed to refresh us, who are poor and in a state of banishment, with Your precious Body and Blood; and to invite us to the receiving of these Mysteries by a message even from Your own mouth, saying, 'Come unto Me all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you.'


That the great Goodness and Love of God is exhibited to Man in this Sacrament

The Voice of the Disciple.

IN confidence of Your goodness and great mercy, O Lord, I draw near, as a sick person to the Healer, as one hungry and thirsty to the Fountain of Life, a needy wretch to the King of Heaven, a servant to his Lord, a creature to the Creator, a desolate soul to my own tender Comforter.

But whence is this to me, that You vouchsafest to come unto me?[525] what am I, that You should grant Your own self unto me?

How dare a sinner appear before You? and how is it that You do vouchsafe to come unto a sinner?

You know Your servant, and are well aware that he has in him no good thing, for which You should grant him this favor.

I confess therefore mine own vileness, I acknowledge Your goodness, I praise Your tender mercy, and give You thanks for this Your transcendent love.

For You do this for Your own sake, not for any merits of mine; to the end that Your goodness may be the better known unto me, Your love more abundantly poured down, and Your gracious humility the more eminently set 'forth.

Since therefore it is Your pleasure, and You have commanded that it should be so, this Your condescension is also dearly pleasing unto me, and O that my iniquity may be no hindrance herein!

O most sweet and most benign Jesu, how great reverence and thanksgiving, together with perpetual praise, is due unto You for the receiving 'of Your sacred Body and Blood, whose preciousness no mortal man is able to express!

But on what shall my thoughts dwell at this Communion, in thus approaching unto my Lord, whom I am not able duly to honor, and yet whom I cannot but desire devoutly to receive?

What can I think on better and more profitable, than utterly to humble myself before You, and to exalt Your infinite goodness above me?

I praise You, my God, and will exalt You for ever: I do despise myself and cast myself down before You, into the deep of mine own vileness.

Behold, You are the Holy of holies, and I the scum of sinners!

Behold, You incline Yourself unto me, who am not worthy so much as to look unto You!

Behold, You come unto me; it is Your will to be with me, You invite me to Your banquet.

You are willing to give me heavenly food and bread of Angels to eat,[526] which is indeed no other than Yourself the Living Bread, which came down from Heaven, and give life unto the world.

Behold, from whence does this love proceed! what a gracious condescension of Your Shines forth herein! how great thanks and praises are due unto You for these benefits!

O how salutary and profitable was Your counsel, when You did ordain It! how sweet and pleasant the banquet, when You gave Yourself to be our food!

O how admirable is this Your working, O Lord, how mighty is Your power, how unspeakable Your truth!

For You did speak the word and all things were made;[527] and this was done which You Yourself command.

A matter of great admiration, worthy of all faith, and surpassing man's understanding, that You my Lord God, True God and man, should offer Yourself wholly to us in a little Bread and Wine, and therein become our inexhaustible support.

You who are the Lord of the universe, and stand in need of none,[528] are pleased to dwell in us by means of this Your Sacrament.

Do You preserve my heart and body undefiled, that with a cheerful and pure conscience I may be able very frequently * to celebrate, and * to receive to my everlasting health, those Mysteries, which You did specially ordain and institute for Your own honor, and for a never-ceasing memorial of Yourself.

Rejoice, O my soul, and give thanks unto God, for so noble a gift, and so precious a consolation, left unto you in this vale of tears.

For as often as you call to mind this Mystery, and receive the Body of Christ, so often do you go over the work of your redemption, and are made partaker of all the merits of Christ.

For the love of Christ is never diminished, and the greatness of His propitiation is never exhausted.

Therefore you ought to dispose yourself hereunto by a constant fresh renewing of your mind, and to weigh with attentive consideration the great Mystery of salvation.

So great, so new, and so joyful ought it to seem unto you, when you * celebrate or * partake in these holy Mysteries, as if on this same day Christ first descending into the womb of the Virgin were become man, or hanging on the Cross did suffer and die for the salvation of mankind.


That it is profitable to Communicate often

The Voice of the Disciple.

BEHOLD, O Lord, I come unto You, that it may be well with me through Your gift, and that I may rejoice in Your holy feast, which You, O God, have in Your goodness prepared for the poor.[529]

Behold in You is all whatsoever I can or ought to desire; You are my Salvation and my Redemption, my Hope and Strength, my Honor and Glory.

Rejoice therefore this day the soul of Your servant;[530] for unto You, O Lord Jesu, have I lifted up my soul.

I do long to receive You now with devotion and reverence; I desire to bring You into my house, that with Zaccheus I may be counted worthy to be blessed by You, and to be numbered amongst the sons of Abraham.

My soul thirsts to receive Your Body and Blood; my heart longs to be united with You.

Give Yourself to me, and it suffices; for besides You no comfort is available.

Without You I cannot be, and without Your visitation I have no power to live.

And therefore I must needs often draw near unto You, and receive You for the medicine of my salvation; lest haply I faint in the way, if I be deprived of the heavenly Food.

For so, most merciful Jesus, You once did say, preaching to the people, and curing divers diseases, 'I will not send them home fasting, lest they faint in the way.'[531]

Deal You therefore in like manner now with me, who have vouchsafed to leave Yourself in the Sacrament for the comfort of the faithful.

For You are the sweet refection of the soul: and he that eats You worthily, shall be partaker and heir of everlasting glory.

It is indeed necessary for me, who so often fall into error and sin, so quickly wax dull and faint, that by frequent prayer and confession, and receiving of Your Holy Body and Blood, I renew, cleanse and inflame myself, lest haply, by too long abstaining, I fall away from my holy purposes.

For the imaginations of man are prone unto evil from his youth;[532] and unless some divine remedy help him, he by-and-by falls away to worse things.

This Holy Communion therefore draws us back from evil and strengthens us in good.

For if I be now so often negligent and lukewarm when I communicate * or celebrate *; what would become of me if I received not this remedy, and sought not after so great a help?

* And although I may not be fit, nor well prepared to celebrate every day; I will endeavor notwithstanding at due times to receive the divine Mysteries, and to be partaker of so great a Grace.*

For this is the one chief consolation of faithful souls, so long as they are absent from You in this mortal body; that being mindful of their God, they often receive their Beloved, with devout mind.

O the wonderful condescension of Your tender mercy towards us, that You O Lord God, the Creator and Giver of life to all Spirits, do vouchsafe to come unto a poor soul, and with Your whole Deity and Humanity abundantly to satisfy its famishing hunger!

O happy minds and blessed souls, who have the privilege of receiving You, their Lord God, with devout affection, and in so receiving You are permitted to be full of spiritual joy!

O how great a Lord do they entertain! how beloved a Guest do they harbor! how delightful a Companion do they receive! how faithful a Friend do they welcome! how lovely and noble a Spouse do they embrace! even Him who is to be loved before all that are beloved, and above all things that can be desired.

O You my most sweet, most beloved! let heaven and earth and all their ornaments be silent in Your presence; for what praise and beauty soever they have, it is received from Your bounteous condescension, and shall never equal the grace and beauty of Your Name, whose wisdom is beyond all numbers.[533]


That many Benefits are bestowed upon them that Communicate Devoutly

The Voice of the Disciple.

O LORD my God, do You prevent Your servant with the blessings of Your sweetness,[534] that I may be enabled to approach worthily and devoutly to Your glorious Sacrament.

Stir up my heart toward You, and set me free from heavy listlessness: visit with me Your salvation,[535] that I may taste in spirit Your sweetness, which plentifully lies hid in this Sacrament as in a fountain.

Enlighten also mine eyes to behold so great a Mystery, and strengthen me with undoubting faith to believe it.

For it is Your work, and no human power; Your sacred institution, not man's invention.

For of himself no man is able to comprehend and understand these things, which transcend even the exquisite skill of Angels.

What portion then of so high and sacred a Mystery shall I, unworthy sinner, dust and ashes, be able to search out and comprehend?

O Lord, in the simplicity of my heart, with a good and firm faith, and at Your commandment, I draw near unto

You with hope and reverence; and I do truly believe that You are here present in this Sacrament, both God and Man.

Your will therefore is, that I should receive You, and that I should unite myself unto You in charity.

Whereupon I implore Your mercy, and do crave Your special Grace, to this end; that I may wholly be dissolved and overflow with love towards You, and never hereafter suffer any consolation to enter in, which comes not from You.

For this most high and precious Sacrament is the health both of soul and body, the medicine for all spiritual languor; hereby my vices are cured, my passions bridled, my temptations overcome or at least weakened; greater grace is infused, virtue begun is increased, faith is confirmed, hope strengthened, and love inflamed and enlarged.

For You have bestowed, and still oftentimes do bestow many benefits in this Sacrament upon Your beloved ones that communicate devoutly, O my God, the Protector of my soul, the Restorer of human weakness, and the Giver of all inward consolation.

For You impart unto them much comfort against every variety of tribulation, and lift them up from the depth of their own dejected state, to hope in Your protection, and do inwardly recreate and enlighten them with new Grace; so that they who at first and before Communion felt themselves full of anxiety and heartlessness, afterwards, being refreshed with heavenly Meat and Drink, do find in themselves a change for the better.

And in such a way of dispensation as this deal You with Your elect, in order that they may truly acknowledge, and clearly prove, how great their own infirmity is, and what goodness and grace they obtain from You.

For they of themselves are cold, hard and undevout; but by You they are enabled to become fervent, cheerful, and devout.

For who is there, that approaching humbly unto the fountain of sweetness, does not carry away from thence at least some little sweetness?

Or who standing near a large fire, receives not some small heat therefrom?

And You are a fountain always full and overflowing; a fire ever burning and never going out.[536]

Wherefore if I am not permitted to draw out of the full fountain itself, nor to drink my fill, I will notwithstanding set my lips to the mouth of this Heavenly conduit, that I may receive from thence at least some small drop to refresh my thirst, and may not quite wither away.

And although I cannot as yet be altogether Heavenly, nor so inflamed as the Cherubim and Seraphim, yet notwithstanding I will endeavor to apply myself earnestly to devotion, and to prepare my heart to obtain if it be but some small flame of divine fire, by the humble receiving of this life-giving Sacrament.

But whatsoever is hereunto wanting in me, O Merciful Jesu, most Holy Savior, do You in my behalf bountifully and graciously supply, You who have vouchsafed to call us all unto You, saying, 'Come unto Me all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you.'[537]

I indeed labor in the sweat of my brows.[538] I am racked with grief of heart, I am burdened with sins, I am troubled with temptations, I am entangled and oppressed with many evil passions; and there is none to help me, none to deliver and save me, but You O Lord God my Savior, to whom I commit myself and all that is mine, that You may keep watch over me, and bring me safe to life everlasting.

Receive me for the honor and glory of Your Name, You who have prepared Your Body and Blood to be my meat and drink.

Grant, O Lord God, my Savior, that by frequenting Your Mysteries, the zeal of my devotion may grow and increase.


Of the Dignity of this Sacrament, and of the Ministerial Function

The Voice of the Beloved.

IF you had the purity of Angels,[539] and the sanctity of Saint John Baptist, you would not be worthy either to receive this Sacrament yourself or to administer It to others.

For it is not within the compass of the deserts of men, that man should consecrate and administer the Sacrament of Christ, and receive for food the bread of Angels.[540]

Grand is this Mystery; great too is the dignity of the Priests, to whom has been granted that which is not permitted to Angels.

For none but Priests duly ordained in the Church, have power to celebrate this Sacrament, and to consecrate the Body of Christ.

The Priest is indeed the minister of God, using the word of God, by God's command and appointment: nevertheless God is there the principal Author, and invisible Worker; to whom all that He wills is subject, and all that He commands is obedient.[541]

* You ought then to trust God Almighty in this most excellent Sacrament, more than your own sense, or any visible sign.

And therefore you must approach to this holy work with fear and reverence.

Take diligent heed unto yourself,[542] and see what That is, whereof the ministry is delivered unto you by the laying on of the Bishop's hand.

Behold, you have been made a priest, and consecrated to celebrate the Lord's Sacraments; see now that you offer [the Christian] Sacrifice to God faithfully and devoutly, and at fit opportunities, and conduct yourself so, as that you may be without reproof.

You have not lightened your burden, but are now bound with a straighter band of discipline, and are obliged to a more perfect degree of sanctity.

A Priest ought to be adorned with all graces, and to give example of good life to others.

His life and conversation[543] should not be in the popular and common ways of mankind, but with the Angels in Heaven, or with perfect men on earth.

A Priest dad in sacred garments is Christ's Deputy, that with all supplication and humility he may beseech God for himself and for the whole people.[544]

He has both before and behind him the sign of the Lord's Cross, that he may continually be reminded of the Passion of Christ. He wears the Cross on the Chasuble before him, that he may diligently look on Christ's footsteps, and earnestly study to follow them. Behind also, he is signed with the Cross, that he may cheerfully endure, for God's sake, any evils inflicted on him by others. He bears the Cross before him, that he may mourn for his own sins and behind him, that he may with sympathy and tears lament for the faults of others also, and know that he has been placed in the midst between God and the sinner.

Neither ought he to cease from prayer and holy oblation, till he prevail to obtain grace and mercy.

When a Priest does celebrate [the Holy Eucharist], he honors God, he rejoices the Angels, he edifies the Church, he helps the living, [he commemorates the departed], and makes himself partaker of all good things. *


An Inquiry concerning Spiritual Exercise before Communion

The Voice of the Disciple.

WHEN I weigh Your worthiness, O Lord, and mine own vileness, I exceedingly tremble, and am confounded within myself.

For if I come not unto You, I fly from life; and if I unworthily intrude myself, I incur Your displeasure.

What therefore shall I do, O my God, my Helper and' my Counselor in all necessity?

Teach You me the right way: appoint me some brief exercise, suitable to this Holy Communion.

For it is good for me to know how with devotion and reverence I should prepare my heart for You, for the receiving of Your Sacrament to my soul's health, * or it may be also for the celebrating of so great and divine a Sacrifice. *


Of thoroughly searching our own Conscience, and of Holy Purposes of Amendment

The Voice of the Beloved.

* ABOVE all things, with exceeding humility of heart, and with suppliant reverence, with a full faith, and dutiful anxiety for God's honor, ought God's Priest to come to celebrate, and to receive this Sacrament.

Examine diligently your conscience, and to the utmost of your power purify and make it clear, with true contrition and humble confession; so as there may be nothing in you, may weigh heavy upon you, or that may breed in you remorse of conscience, and hinder your free access to the throne of Grace,

Think with displeasure of all your sins in general, and more particularly bewail and lament your daily transgressions,

And if you have time, confess unto God in the secret of your heart all the wretchedness of your disordered passions.

Lament with pain and sighing that you are yet so carnal and worldly, so unmortified in your passions, so full of the motions of concupiscence.

So unwatchful over your outward senses, so often entangled with many vain fancies:

So much inclined to outward things, so negligent in things inward and spiritual:

So prone to laughter and unbridled mirth, so hard and indisposed to tears and compunction:

So prompt to ease and pleasures of the flesh, so dull to zeal and strictness of life:

So curious to hear what is new, and to see what is beautiful; so slack to embrace what is humble and mean:

So covetous of abundance, so niggardly in giving, so close in keeping:

So inconsiderate in speech, so reluctant to keep silence: So unhandsome in manners, so fretful in conduct: So eager about food, so deaf to the Word of God: In such a hurry to rest, so slow to labor:

So wakeful after gossiping tales, so drowsy at the sacred Services:

So hasty to arrive at the end thereof, so inclined to be wandering and inattentive:

So negligent in the prayers, so lukewarm in celebrating, so dry and heartless in receiving the Holy Eucharist.

So quickly distracted, so seldom thoroughly self-collected:

So suddenly moved to anger, so apt to take displeasure against another.

So ready to judge, so severe to reprove:

So joyful at prosperity, so weak in adversity:

So often making many good resolutions, and yet bringing them at last to so poor effect.

These and other your defects being confessed and bewailed with sorrow and great displeasure at your own infirmity, make you a firm resolution to be always amending your life, and making progress in all that is good.

Then with full resignation and with your entire will, offer up yourself to the honor of My Name, on the altar of your heart a perpetual whole burnt offering, even your body and soul, faithfully committing them unto Me.

And thus may you be accounted worthy to draw near to celebrate this Eucharistic Sacrifice unto God, and to receive the Sacrament of My Body and Blood to your soul's health. *

For man has no oblation more worthy, nor any greater for the destroying of sin, than to offer himself unto God purely and wholly, in and with the Holy Communion of Christ's Body and Blood.

And when a man shall have done what lies in him, and shall be truly penitent, how often soever he shall come to Me for pardon and grace, 'as I live,' says the Lord, 'who will not the death of a sinner, but rather that he be converted and live,[545] I will not remember his sins any more, but they shall all be forgiven him.'


Of the Oblation of Christ on the Cross, and of Resignation of Ourselves

The Voice of the Beloved.

AS I of Mine own will did offer up Myself unto God the

Father for your sins,[546] My hands stretched out on the cross, and My body stripped and laid bare, so that nothing remained in Me that was not wholly turned into a sacrifice for the appeasing of the divine Majesty:

In like manner ought you also to offer yourself willingly unto Me every day in the Holy Communion, as a pure and sacred oblation, with all your strength and affections, and to the utmost reach of your inward faculties.

What do I require of you more, than that you study to resign yourself entirely unto Me?

Whatever you give besides yourself, is of no value in My sight, for I seek not your gifts, but you.[547]

As it would not suffice you to have all things whatsoever, besides Me; so neither can it please Me, whatsoever you give, if you offer not yourself.

Offer up yourself unto Me, and give yourself wholly for God, and your offering shall be acceptable.

Behold, I offered up Myself wholly unto My Father for you; I gave also My whole Body and Blood for your food, that I might be wholly your, and that you might continue Mine to the end.

But if you stand upon yourself, and do not offer yourself up freely unto My will, the oblation is not complete, neither will there be entire union between us.

Therefore a free offering up of yourself into the hands of God Ought to go before all your actions, if you desire to obtain liberty and grace.

For this is the cause why so few become illuminated and inwardly free, because they cannot endure wholly to deny themselves.

My sentence stands sure, 'Unless a man forsake all, he cannot be My disciple.'[548] If you therefore desire to be My disciple, offer up yourself unto Me with your whole affections.


That we ought to Offer up Ourselves and all that is Ours unto God, and to pray for All

The Voice of the Disciple.

YOUR, O Lord, are all things that are in heaven, and that are in earth.[549]

I desire to offer up myself unto You, as a free oblation, and to continue Your for ever.

O Lord, in the simplicity of my heart I offer myself unto You this day to be Your servant for ever, in humble submission, and for a sacrifice of perpetual praise.

Receive You me, with this holy Oblation of Your precious Body; which Offering I make to You this day in the presence of Angels invisibly attending; and may this further the salvation of myself and of all Your people.

Lord, I offer unto You, on Your propitiatory altar, all my sins and offenses, which I have committed before You and Your holy Angels, from the day wherein I first could sin even to this hour; that You may consume and burn them, one and all, with the fire of Your love, and do away all the stains of my sins, and cleanse my conscience from all offenses, and restore to me Your grace which I lost by sin, fully forgiving me all, and admitting me mercifully to the kiss of peace.

What can I do in regard of my sins, but humbly confess and bewail them,[550] and unceasingly entreat Your propitiation?

I entreat You, hear me propitiously, when I stand before You my God.

All my sins are exceedingly displeasing to me; I will never more commit them; but for them I do grieve, and will grieve as long as I live, being resolved to practice penitence, and to the utmost of my power to make restitution.

Forgive me, O God, forgive me my sins for the sake of Your holy Name; save You my soul, which You have redeemed with Your precious Blood.

Behold I commit myself unto Your mercy, I resign myself into Your hands.

Deal with me according to Your goodness, not according to my wickedness and inquiry.

I offer up also unto You all that is good in me, though it be very small and imperfect, in order that You may amend and sanctify it, that You may make it grateful and acceptable unto You, and always be perfecting it more and more; and bring me also, slothful and unprofitable poor creature as I am, to a good and blessed end.

Moreover I offer up unto You all the pious desires of devout persons, the necessities of parents, friends, brethren, sisters, and all of those who are dear unto me, or who have done good either to myself or others for Your love.

Also I commend unto You, all that have desired and begged of me to pray for them and all theirs. . . .

That all may feel the present help of Your grace, the aid of Your consolation, protection from dangers, deliverance from pain; and that being rescued from all evils, they may with Joy return abundant thanksgivings unto You.

I offer up also unto You my Sacramental prayers and intercessions, for those especially who have in any matter hurt, grieved, or found fault with me, or who have done me any damage or displeasure.

For all those also, whom at any time I may have vexed, troubled, burdened, and scandalized, by words or deeds, knowingly or in ignorance; that You would grant us all equally pardon for our sins, and for our offenses against each other.

Take away from our hearts, O Lord, all suspiciousness, indignation, wrath, and contention, and whatsoever may hurt charity, and lessen brotherly love.

Have mercy, O Lord, have mercy on those that crave Your mercy, give Grace unto them that stand in need thereof, and make us such as that we may be worthy to enjoy Your Grace, and go forward to life eternal. Amen.


That the Holy Communion is not lightly to be forborne

The Voice of the Beloved.

YOU ought often to have recourse to the Fountain of grace and of divine mercy, to the Fountain of goodness and of all purity; that you may be healed of your sins and passions, and obtain to be made more strong and vigilant against all the temptations and deceits of the devil.

The Enemy knowing what exceeding great profit and restorative aid comes by the Holy Communion, endeavours by all means and occasions to withdraw and hinder faithful and devout persons from partaking therein.

Thus it is that some persons, when they are preparing to fit themselves for Holy Communion, suffer from the insinuations of Satan worse than before.

That wicked spirit himself (as it is written in Job) comes amongst the sons of God,[551] to trouble them according to his accustomed malice, or to render them over-fearful and perplexed, that so he may diminish their affections, or by direct assaults take away their faith; to the end he may prevail on them if possible either altogether to forbear communicating, or at least to come with lukewarmness.

But there is no heed at all to be taken of these his crafty and fanciful suggestions, be they never so filthy and hideous, but all such vain imaginations are to be turned back upon his own head.

They must despise and laugh to scorn the miserable wretch, nor dare to omit the Holy Communion on account of his assaults, or for the troubles which he raises within them.

Oftentimes also an over-great solicitude for the obtaining a certain degree of devotion, and some anxiety or other about the confession of sins, perplexes and hinders them.

Follow you herein the counsel of the wise,[552] and lay aside anxiety and scrupulousness; for it hinders the Grace of God, and overthrows the devotion of the mind.

Do not omit the Holy Communion for every small vexation and trouble, but rather proceed at once to confess your sins, and cheerfully forgive others whatever offenses they have done against you.[553]

And if you have offended any, humbly crave pardon, and God will readily forgive you.'

What avails it to delay long the confession of your sins, or to defer the Holy Communion?

Make yourself thoroughly dean as soon as possible, spit out the poison with all speed, make haste to apply this sovereign Remedy, and you shale find it to be better with you, than if you long defer it.

If you omit it to-day for one cause, perhaps to-morrow another of greater force may occur to you; and so you may be hindered a long time from Communion, and grow more and more unfit.

As quickly as ever you can, shake off from yourself your present heaviness and sloth, for it is of no use to continue long in disquietness, or to be going on long with a disturbed [conscience], and for every-day impediments to sequester yourself from Divine service.

Yea, it is most exceedingly hurtful to defer the Communion long, for it usually brings on a heavy spiritual drowsiness.

Alas, some persons, lukewarm and undisciplined, do willingly delay confession, and defer the Holy Communion, lest they should be obliged. to keep a stricter watch over themselves.

O how poor and mean is their love, how weak their devotion, who so easily put off the Holy Communion!

How happy is he and how acceptable to God, who so orders his life, and in such purity guards his conscience, that he is prepared and well-disposed to communicate even every day, if it were in his power, and might be done without others taking notice.

If a person do sometimes abstain out of humility, or by reason of some lawful cause preventing him, he is to be commended so far as it arises from a feeling of reverence.

But if a spiritual drowsiness have crept over him, he must stir himself up, and do what lies in him, and the Lord will assist his desire, for the good will he has thereto, which is what God does chiefly respect.

But when any lawful hindrance does happen, he will yet always have a good will, and a pious intention to communicate, and so shall he not lose the fruit of the Sacrament.

For it is in the power of any devout person every day and every hour profitably and without let to draw near to Christ in spiritual Communion.

And yet on certain days, and at a time appointed, he ought to receive Sacramentally, with affectionate reverence, the Body and Blood of his Redeemer, and rather seek the honor and glory of God, than his own comfort.[554]

For he communicates mystically, and is invisibly refreshed, as often as he devoutly calls to mind the Passion of Christ, and is inflamed with the love of Him.

He that prepares not himself, except only when a festival draws near, or when custom compels him thereunto, shall too often be unprepared.

Blessed is he that offers up himself as a whole burnt' offering to the Lord, as often as he does either administer or receive the Holy Communion.

* Be not too slow nor yet hurried in celebrating, but keep the good accustomed manner of those with whom you live.

You ought not to be tedious, and so troublesome to others, but to observe the received custom, according to the appointment of our fathers; and rather to yield yourself up to the edification of others, than to your own devotion or feelings. *


That the Body and Blood of Christ and the Holy Scriptures are most necessary unto a Faithful Soul

The Voice of the Disciple.

O BLESSED, Lord Jesus, how great is the blessedness of the devout soul that feasts with You in Your banquet; where there is set no other food to be eaten but Yourself, the only Beloved, and most to be desired above all the desires of the heart!

To me also it would be indeed a blessed thing, in Your presence to pour forth tears from the very bottom of my heart, and with the grateful Magdalene to wash Your feet with tears.[555]

But where now is that devotion? where that plentiful effusion of holy tears?

Surely in the sight of You and Your holy Angels, my whole heart ought to be inflamed, and even to weep for joy.

For in this Sacrament I have You truly present, though hidden under another representation.

For to look upon You in Your own Divine brightness, mine eyes would not be able to endure: nor could even the whole world stand in the splendor of the glory of Your Majesty.

Herein then You have regard to my weakness, that You do veil yourself under this Sacramental sign.

Him 'do I really possess and adore, whom the Angels adore in Heaven: I however, for the present and for a while, by faith; but they by sight, and without a veil.

As to me, I ought to be content with the light of true faith, and therein to walk, till the day of everlasting brightness shall dawn, and the shadows of figures pass away.

But when that which is perfect is come, the use of Sacraments shall cease;[556] because the Blessed, in their Heavenly Glory, need not any Sacramental remedy:

For they rejoice without end in the presence of God, beholding His glory face to face; and being transformed from brightness to brightness, even that of the incomprehensible Deity, they taste the Word of God made flesh, as He was from the beginning, and as He abides for ever.

Whilst I think on these wonderful things, it becomes heavy and wearisome unto me, even all spiritual comfort whatever; because as long as I behold not my Lord openly in His own glory, I account as nothing all that I see or hear in this world.

You are my witness, O God, that nothing can comfort me, no creature can give me rest, but only You my God, whom I earnestly desire to contemplate everlastingly.

But this is not possible, so long as I linger in this mortality.

Therefore I must frame myself to much patience; and submit myself to You in every desire,

For even Your Saints, O Lord, who now rejoice with You in the kingdom of Heaven, whilst they lived, waited in faith and in great patience for the coming of Your glory.[557]

What they believed, I believe; what they hoped, I hope; whither they are arrived by Your grace, I trust I shall come.

In the meantime I will walk in faith, strengthened by the examples of the Saints.

I have also holy books for my comfort and for the glass of my life; and above all these, I have Your most Holy Body and Blood for a singular remedy and refuge.

For I perceive two things to be very particularly necessary for me in this life, without which this miserable life would be insupportable unto me.

Whilst I am detained in the prison of this body, I acknowledge myself to stand in need of two things, namely food and light.

Unto me then thus weak and helpless You have given Your sacred Body, for the refreshment both of my soul and body;[558] and Your word You have set as a lamp unto my feet.[559]

Without these two I should not well be able to live; for the word of God is the light of my soul, and Your Sacrament the Bread of life.

These also may be called the two tables, set on the one side and on the other, in the treasury and jewel-house of the Holy Church.[560]

One table is that of the Sacred Altar, having the holy bread, that is, the precious Body of Christ; the other is that of the Divine Law, containing holy doctrine, teaching men the right faith, and steadfastly leading them onward even to that within the veil, where is the Holy of Holies.

Thanks be unto You, O Lord Jesu, You Light of everlasting Light, for that table of sacred doctrine, which You have prepared for us by Your servants the Prophets and Apostles and other teachers.

Thanks be unto You, O You Creator and Redeemer of mankind, who to manifest Your love to the whole world, have prepared a great supper,[561] wherein You have set before us to be eaten, not the typical lamb, but Your own most sacred Body and Blood;[562] rejoicing all the faithful with this sacred banquet, and replenishing them to the full with the Cup of Salvation,[563] in which are all the delights of Paradise; and the holy Angels do feast with us, but yet with a more happy sweetness.

O how great and honorable is the office of God's Priests! to whom it is given with sacred words to consecrate [the Sacrament of] the LORD of Glory; with their lips to bless, with their hands to hold, with their own mouth to receive, and also to administer to others.

O how clean ought those hands to be, how pure that mouth, how holy that body, how unspotted that heart, where the Author of purity so often enters!

Nothing but what is holy, no word but what is good and profitable, ought to proceed from the mouth of the Priest, of him who so often receives the Sacrament of Christ.

Simple and chaste ought to be the eyes that are wont to behold the Body of Christ; the hands should be pure and lifted up to Heaven, that use to touch the Creator of Heaven and earth.

Unto the Priest more especially it is said in the Law, 'Be you holy, for that I the LORD your God am holy.'[564]

* O Almighty God, do You assist us with Your grace, that we who have undertaken the office of the Priesthood, may we be able to wait on You worthily and devoutly, in all purity, and with a good conscience.

And if we live not in so great innocence as we ought to do, grant to us at the least worthily to lament the sins which we have committed; and in the spirit of humility, and with the full purpose of a good will, to serve You more earnestly for the time to come. *


That He who is about to Communicate with Christ ought to Prepare Himself with great Diligence

The Voice of the Beloved.

I AM the Lover of purity and the Giver of all sanctity. I seek a pure heart, and there is the place of my rest.[565]

'Make ready for Me a large upper room furnished,[566] and I will keep the Passover at your house with My Disciples.'

If you will have Me come unto you, and remain with you; purge out the old leaven,[567] and make clean the habitation of your heart.

Shut out the whole world,[568] and all the throng of sins: sit you as it were a sparrow alone upon the house-top, and think over your transgressions in the bitterness of your soul.

For every one that loves will prepare the best and fairest place for his beloved; for herein is known the affection of him that entertains his beloved.

Know you notwithstanding, that no merit of any action of your is able to make this preparation sufficient, although if you should prepare yourself a whole year together, and have nothing else in your mind.

But it is out of My mere grace and favor that you are permitted to approach My table; as if a beggar were invited to a rich man's dinner, and he has no other return to make to him for his benefits, but to humble himself and give him thanks.

Do what lies in you, and do it diligently; not for custom, not for necessity, but with fear and reverence and' affection, receive the Body and Blood of your beloved Lord God, when He vouchsafes to come unto you.

I am He that have called you, I have commanded it to be done, I will supply what is wanting in you; come you and receive Me.

When I bestow on you the grace of Devotion, give thanks to your God: [for it is given you] not because you are worthy, but because I have had mercy on you.

If you have it not, but rather do feel yourself dry, be instant in prayer, sigh and knock, and give not over until

you are meet to receive some crumb or drop of saving Grace. You have need of Me, I have no need of you.

Neither come you to sanctify Me, but I come to sanctify you, and make you better.

You come that you may be sanctified by Me, and united unto Me; that you may receive new grace, and be stirred up anew to amendment of life.

See you neglect not this Grace, but prepare your heart with all diligence, and receive your Beloved into your soul.

You ought however not only to prepare yourself to devotion before Communion, but carefully also to preserve yourself therein, after you have received the Sacrament.

Nor is the careful guard of yourself afterwards less required, than devout preparation before.

For a good guard afterwards is the best preparation again for the obtaining of greater grace.

For if a person gives himself up at once too much to outward consolations, he is rendered thereby exceedingly indisposed to devotion.

Beware of much talk,[569] remain in some secret place, and enjoy your God: for you have Him, whom all the world cannot take from you.

I am He, to whom you ought wholly to give up yourself, that so you may now live no longer in yourself, but in me, free from all anguish of mind.


That the Devout Soul ought with the whole Heart to seek Union with Christ in the Sacrament

The Voice of the Disciple.

WOULD that I might obtain this favor, Lord, to find You alone and by Yourself, to open unto You my whole heart, and enjoy You even as my soul desires; and that henceforth none may look upon me, nor any creature move me, nor have regard to me; but that You alone may speak unto me, and I to You, as the beloved is wont to speak to his beloved, and friend to feast with friend.[570]

This I beg, this I long for, that I may be wholly united unto You, and may withdraw my heart from all created things, and by means of sacred Communion, and the frequent celebrating thereof, may learn more and more to relish things heavenly and eternal.

Ah, Lord God, when shall I be wholly united to You, and absorbed by You, and become altogether forgetful of myself?

'You in me, and I in you;'[571] so also grant that we may both continue together in one.

Verily, You are my Beloved, the Choicest amongst thousands,[572] in whom my soul is well pleased to dwell all the days of her life.

Verily, You are my Peacemaker, in whom is highest peace and true rest, out of whom is labor and sorrow and infinite misery.

Verily, You are a God that hide Yourself,[573] and Your counsel is not with the wicked, but Your speech is with the humble and simple of heart.[574]

O how sweet is Your Spirit,[575] O Lord, who to the end You might show forth Your sweetness toward Your children, do vouchsafe to refresh them with the Bread which is full of all sweetness, even That which comes down from Heaven.

Surely there is no other nation so great,[576] that has gods so nigh unto them, as You our God are present to all Your faithful ones, unto whom for their daily comfort, and for the raising up of their hearts to Heaven, You bestow Yourself to be eaten and enjoyed.

For what other nation is there of such high renown, as the Christian people?

Or what creature under Heaven is there so beloved, as the devout soul, into which God Himself enters, to nourish it with His glorious Flesh?

O unspeakable grace! O admirable condescension! O unmeasurable love specially bestowed on man!

But what return shall I make to the Lord for this grace,[577] for charity so unparalleled?

There is nothing else that I am able to present more acceptable, than to offer my heart wholly to my God, and to unite it most inwardly unto Him.

Then shall all my inward parts rejoice, when my soul shall be perfectly united unto God.

Then will He say unto me, 'If you are willing to be with Me, I am willing to be with you.'

And I will answer Him, 'Vouchsafe, O Lord, to remain with me, I will gladly be with You.

'This is my whole desire, that my heart be united unto You.'


Of the Fervent Desire of some Devout Persons to receive the Body and Blood of Christ

The Voice of the Disciple.

O HOW great is the abundance of Your sweetness, O Lord, which You have laid up for them that fear You![578]

When I call to mind some devout persons, who approach to Your Sacrament, O Lord, with the greatest devotion and affection, I am oftentimes confounded and blush within myself, that I am come with such lukewarmness, yea coldness, to Your Altar and the Table of sacred Communion.

I grieve to think that I remain so dry, and without affection of heart; that I am not wholly inflamed in Your presence, O my God, nor so earnestly drawn and affected, as many devout persons have been, who out of a vehement desire of the Communion, and a feeling affection of heart, were unable to restrain themselves from weeping; but with the mouth of their hearts and bodies alike, they from their inmost vitals panted after You, O God, the Fountain of life, not being otherwise able to allay or satisfy their hunger, but only by receiving Your Body with all delight and spiritual eagerness.

O the truly ardent faith of those persons! amounting to a probable evidence of Your sacred Presence.

For they truly know their Lord in the breaking of bread,[579] whose heart within them so vehemently burns, whilst You, O blessed Jesu, do walk and converse with them.

Such affectionateness and devotion as this, love and fervency so vehement, are too often far from me.

Be You favorable unto me, O Jesu, merciful, sweet and gracious Lord, and grant to me Your poor needy creature, sometimes at least in this Holy Communion to feel if it be but a small portion of Your hearty affectionate love; that my Faith may become more strong, my Hope in Your goodness may be increased, and that Charity once perfectly kindled within me, after the tasting of this Heavenly Manna, may never decay.

Your mercy however is well able to grant me even the Grace which I long for, and, in the day when it shall please You, to visit me most benignantly with the Spirit of fervor.

For although I burn not with desire vehement as theirs who are so especially devoted unto You, yet notwithstanding, by Your Grace, I have a desire for this great inflamed desire, praying and longing that I may participate with all such Your fervent lovers, and be numbered among them in their holy company.


That the Grace of Devotion is obtained by Humility and Denial of Ourselves

The Voice of the Beloved.

YOU ought to seek the grace of Devotion earnestly, to ask it fervently, to wait for it with patience and confidence, to receive it with gracefulness, to keep it humbly, to work with it diligently, and to commit the term. and manner of this heavenly visitation to God, until it shall please Him to come unto you.

You ought especially to humble yourself, when you feel inwardly little or no devotion; but yet not to be too much dejected, nor to grieve inordinately.

God often gives in one short moment, that which He for a long time denied; He gives sometimes in the end, that which in the beginning of your prayer He deferred to give.

If Grace should be always presently given, and should be at hand ever with a wish, weak man could not well bear it.

Therefore the grace of Devotion. is to be waited for, with good hope and humble patience.

Nevertheless, do you impute it to yourself, and to your own sins, when this grace is not given you, or when it is secretly taken away.

It is sometimes but a small matter that hinders and hides Grace from us; at least if any thing can be called small, and not rather a weighty matter, which obstructs so great a good.

And if you remove this, be it great or small, and perfectly overcome it, you will have your desire.

For immediately, as soon as you give yourself to God from your whole heart, and seek neither this nor that, according to your own pleasure or will, but settle yourself wholly in Him, you shall find yourself united and at peace; for nothing can afford so sweet a relish, nothing be so delightful, as the good pleasure of the Divine will.

Whosoever therefore, with a single heart lifts up his intention to God, and keeps himself clear of all inordinate liking or disliking of any created thing, he shall be the most fit to receive Grace, and meet for the gift of true Devotion.

For the Lord bestows His blessings there, where He finds the vessels empty.

And the more perfectly a person forsakes these low things, and the more he by contempt of himself dies to himself, so much the more speedily Grace comes, the more plentifully does it enter in, and the higher does it lift up the free heart.

Then shall he see, and flow together, and wonder, and his heart shall be enlarged[580] within him, because the hand of the Lord is with him, and he has put himself wholly into His hand, even for ever and ever.

Behold, thus shall the man be blessed, who seeks God with his whole heart, and receives not his soul in vain.

This man in receiving the Holy Eucharist, obtains the great Grace of Divine Union; because it is not to his own devotion and comfort that he has regard, but above all devotion and comfort to the honor and glory of God.


That we ought to lay open our Necessities to Christ and to crave His Grace

The Voice of the Disciple.

O YOU most sweet and loving Lord, whom I now desire to receive with all devotion, You know mine infirmities, and the necessities which I endure; in how great evils and sins I am involved; how often I am weighed down, tempted, disturbed, and defiled by them.

Unto You I come for remedy, I entreat of You consolation and support.

I speak to You, who know all things, to whom all my inward thoughts are open, and who alone can perfectly comfort and help me.

You know what good things I stand in most need of, and how poor I am in all virtue.

Behold, I stand before You poor and naked, calling for grace, and imploring mercy.

Refresh Your hungry supplicant, inflame my coldness with the fire of Your Love, enlighten my blindness with the brightness of Your presence.

Do You for me turn all earthly things into bitterness, all things grievous and contrary into patience, all low and created things into contempt and oblivion.

Lift up my heart to You in Heaven, and send me not away to wander over the earth.

Be You alone sweet unto me, from henceforth for evermore; for You alone are my meat and drink, my love and my joy, my sweetness and all my good.

O that with Your Presence You would wholly inflame, consume, and transform me into Yourself; that I might be made one Spirit with You,[581] by the grace of inward Union, and by the meltings of ardent love!

Suffer me not to go away from You hungry and dry, but deal mercifully with me, as oftentimes You has dealt wonderfully with Your saints.

What marvel is it if I should be wholly inflamed by You, and of myself decay and come to nothing; since You are Fire always burning and never decaying, Love purifying the heart, and enlightening the understanding.


Of Fervent Love, and Vehement Desire to receive Christ

The Voice of the Disciple.

WITH deep devotion and ardent love, with all affection and fervor of heart, I desire to receive You, O Lord, as many Saints and devout persons have desired You, when they were partakers of Your Holy Communion; who in holiness of life were to You most pleasing, and who in devotion also were most fervent.

O my God, everlasting Love, my whole Good, Happiness which can have no limit, I do desire to receive You with the most earnest affection, and the most suitable awe and reverence, that any of the Saints ever had, or could feel toward You.

And although I be unworthy to entertain all those feelings of devotion, nevertheless I offer unto You the whole affection of my heart, as if I were the only person who had all those most grateful, most ardent longings after You.

Yea, and all that a dutiful mind can conceive and desire, I do, with the deepest reverence and most inward affection, offer and present unto You.

I desire to reserve nothing to myself, but freely and most cheerfully to sacrifice unto You myself and all that is mine.

O Lord my God, my Creator and my Redeemer, I do desire to receive You this day, with such affection, reverence, praise and honor, with such gratitude, worthiness and love, with such faith, hope and purity, as Your most holy Mother, the glorious Virgin Mary, received and desired You, when to the Angel who declared unto her glad tidings of the mystery of the Incarnation, she humbly and devoutly answered, 'Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to Your word.'[582]

And as Your blessed forerunner, the most excellent among the Saints, John Baptist, rejoicing. in Your presence, leaped for joy of the Holy Ghost, whilst he was yet shut up in his mother's womb,[583] and afterwards seeing Jesus walking among men, humbled himself very greatly, and said with devout affection, 'The friend of the bridegroom that stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice;'[584] in like manner do I also wish to be inflamed with great and holy desires, and to offer myself up to You from my whole heart.

Wherefore also for myself, and for all such as are commended to me in prayer, I offer and present unto You the triumphant joys, the ardent affections, the mental ecstasies, the supernatural illuminations and celestial visions of all devout hearts, with all the virtues and praises celebrated and to be celebrated by all creatures in Heaven, and in earth; that by all You may worthily be praised and glorified for ever.

Receive, O Lord my God, my wishes and desires of giving You infinite praise, and blessing that has 'no bounds, which according to the measure of Your ineffable greatness, are most just due unto You.

These praises I render unto You, and long to render them every day and every moment. And with all entreaty and affectionateness I do invite and beseech all Heavenly spirits, and all Your faithful servants, to render with me thanks and praises unto You.

Let all people, nations, and languages praise You,[585] and magnify Your holy and most delicious Name with highest exultation and ardent devotion.

And let all who reverently and devoutly celebrate Your most high Sacrament, and receive It with full faith, be accounted worthy to find grace and mercy at Your hands, and pray with humble supplication in behalf of me a sinner.

And when they shall have attained to their desired devotion, and joyful Union with You, and shall have departed from Your Holy Heavenly Table, well comforted and marvelously refreshed, may they vouchsafe to remember poor me.


That a Man should not be a Curious Searcher into the Holy Sacrament, but an Humble Follower of Christ, submitting his Sense to Divine Faith

The Voice of the Beloved.

YOU ought to beware of curious and unprofitable searching into this most profound Sacrament, if you will not be plunged into the depths of doubt.

'He that is a searcher of My Majesty, shall be overpowered by the glory of it;[586] God is able to work more than man can understand.

A dutiful and humble inquiry after the Truth, is allowable, provided we be always ready to be taught, and that we study to walk according to the sound opinions of the Fathers.

It is a blessed simplicity when a man leaves the difficult ways of questions and disputings, and goes on forward in the plain and firm path of God's commandments.

Many have lost devotion, whilst they sought to search into things too high.

Faith is required at your hands, and a sincere life; not height of understanding, nor the depth of the mysteries of God.

If you do not understand, nor conceive the things that are beneath you, how shall you comprehend those which are above you?

Submit yourself unto God, and humble your sense to faith, and the light of knowledge shall be given you, in such degree as shall be profitable and necessary for you.

Some are grievously tempted about faith and the Holy Sacrament; but this is not to be imputed to themselves, but rather to the enemy.

Be not you anxious herein; do not dispute with your own thoughts, nor give any answer to doubts suggested by the devil; but trust the words of God, trust His Saints and Prophets, and the wicked enemy will flee from you.

It oftentimes is very profitable to the servant of God to endure such things.

For the devil tempts not unbelievers and sinners, whom he has already secure possession of; but faithful and religious devout persons he in various ways tempts and disquiets.

Go forward therefore with simple and undoubting faith, and with the reverence of a supplicant draw you near to the Holy Sacrament; and whatsoever you are not able to understand, commit securely to Almighty God.

God deceives you not; he is deceived that trusted too much to himself.

God walks with the simple,[587] reveals Himself to the humble, gives understanding to the little ones, opens the sense to pure minds, and hides Grace from the curious and proud.

Human reason is feeble and may be deceived, but true Faith cannot be deceived.

All reason and natural search ought to follow Faith, not to go before it, nor to break in upon it.

For Faith and Love do here specially take the lead, and work in hidden ways, in this most holy, most supremely excellent Sacrament.

God, who is eternal, and incomprehensible, and of infinite power, does things great and unsearchable in Heaven and in earth, and there is no tracing out of His marvelous works.

If the works of God were such, as that they might be easily comprehended by human reason, they could not be justly called marvelous or unspeakable.


[1]John 8:12.

[2]1 Cor 13:2.

[3]Eccles. 1:2.

[4]Eccles. 1:8.

[5]Eccles. 1:13; Arist. Met. I. 1.

[6]1 Cor. 8:1.

[7]Rom. 12:16.

[8]Gen. 8:21.

[9]Ps. 94:12.

[10]Eccles. 3:9-11.

[11]Ps. 115:5.

[12]Matt. 11:25; Luke 10:21.

[13]Matt. 25.

[14]Eccles. 2:11.

[15]Tit. 1:10.

[16]Rom. 1:21.

[17]Matt. 18:4; 23:11.

[18]Phil. 3:8.

[19]John 4:1.

[20]Gen. 8:21.

[21]James 3:2.

[22]Prov. 19:2.

[23]Prov. 17:9.

[24]Prov. 12:15.

[25]Prov. 15:33.

[26]Eccles. 1:16.

[27]Rom. 15:4.

[28]1 Cor. 2:4.

[29]Ps. 117:2; Luke 21:33.

[30]Rom. 2:11; 10:12; Co. 3:11.

[31]Prov. 1:6; Eccles. 12:9.

[32]Jer. 17:5.

[33]Ps. 31:1.

[34]Jer. 9:23.

[35]Exod. 3:11.

[36]Job 9:20.

[37]Eccles. 8:12.

[38]Prov. 5:10.

[39]Matt. 4:1; 14:23; John 6:15.

[40]Matt. 7:1; Rom. 2:1.

[41]Acts 1:14; Rom. 15:5, 6.

[42]Job 7:1 [Latin Version].

[43]Ovid. Lib. xiii. de Remed. Am.

[44]1 Cor. 10:13.

[45]Matt. 7:1; Rom. 15:1.

[46]Eccles. 3:16.

[47]Matt. 12:25; Luke 12:51.

[48]Jer. 13:23.

[49]Matt. 18:8.

[50]1 Cor. 13:3; Luke 7:47.

[51]Phil. 2:17.

[52]Phil. 2:21; 1 Cor. 13:5.

[53]Ps. 17:15; 24:6.

[54]Matt. 6:13; Luke 11:4.

[55]Matt. 6:10.

[56]1 Thess. 5:14; Gal 6:1.

[57]Gal. 6:2.

[58]1 Thess. 5:14; 1 Cor. 12:25.

[59]Gal. 6:1.

[60]Luke 16:10.

[61]1 Pet. 2:11.

[62]Eccles. 1:17, 18; Ecclus. 1:18.

[63]Matt. 20:26.

[64]Heb. 11.

[65]John 12:25.

[66]Matt. 7:14.

[67]Matt. 19:29.

[68]James 4:4.

[69]Matt. 5:48.

[70]Ps. 33:13; Heb. 4:12, 13.

[71]Ps. 15:2.

[72]Prov. 16:9.

[73]Eccles. 7:20.

[74]Deut. 4.

[75]Rom. 8:18.

[76]Luke 12:43, 44; Matt. 24:46, 47.

[77]Eccles. 3:1.

[78]He b. 11:38.

[79]Seneca, Ep. 7.

[80]Matt. 5:1.

[81]Eccles. 2:7.

[82]Psalm 4:4 [Latin Version].

[83]Ps. 6:6.

[84]Prov. 14:13.

[85]Eccles. 1:10.

[86]Eccles 3:11.

[87]Ps. 121:1.

[88]Matt. 6:6.

[89]Prov. 19:23.

[90]Gal. 1:10.

[91]Ps. 76:5.

[92]Judges 2:4; 20:26; 2 Kings 13; perhaps 2 Sam. 12:17.

[93]Eccles. 7:1, 2.

[94]Matt. 25:41.

[95]Ps. 80:5.

[96]Eccles. 6:2.

[97]Luke 12:19.

[98]Prov. 19:1.

[99]Job 14:1; Eccles. 2:17.

[100]Ps. 25:17.

[101]Rom. 8:22.

[102]Rom. 8:5.

[103]1 Pet. 1:4; Heb. 11:26.

[104]Rom. 8:11; Heb. 10:35.

[105]Ps. 46:12.

[106]Rom. 7:24; Gen 3:17.

[107]2 Cor. 5:4.

[108]Gen. 6:5; 8:21.

[109]Mac. 9:11.

[110]Job 9:25, 26; 14:1, 2; Luke 12:20; Heb. 9:27.

[111]Matt. 25:13.

[112]Luke 12:37.

[113]Wisd. 4:16.

[114]Matt. 24:44; 25:10.

[115]Eccles. 7:1.

[116]Heb. 9:27.

[117]Luke 21:36.

[118]Matt. 24:44; Luke 12:40.

[119]Ecclus. 41:1.

[120]Is. 30:5; 31:1; Jer. 17:5; 48:7; Matt. 6:20.

[121]Rom. 6:1.

[122]Luke 14:33.

[123]1 Cor. 9:27.

[124]Luke 12:20.

[125]Job 14:2.

[126]Matt. 6:20; Luke 12:33; Gal. 6:8.

[127]Luke 16:9; Heb. 11.

[128]1 Pet. 2:11.

[129]Heb. 13:14.

[130]Heb. 10:31.

[131]Job. 9:2.

[132]Luke 16:9.

[133]2 Cor. 6:4.

[134]James 1:4.

[135]Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60.

[136]Job 40:12; 41.

[137]Wisd. 5:1.

[138]Ps. 107:42.

[139]2 Cor. 4:17.

[140]Is. 29:19.

[141]Luke 12:20.

[142]Eccles 1:2.

[143]Rom. 8:39.

[144]2 Tim. 4:5.

[145]Matt. 5:48.

[146]Rev. 21:4; 22:3.

[147]Ecclus. 41:27; Rev. 21:4; 22:3.

[148]Matt. 25:23.

[149]Rom. 5:5.

[150]Rom. 12:2.

[151]Ps. 37:3.

[152]Matt. 7:3.

[153]Eph. 5 [perhaps 6:10-17]; 1 Cor. 12:18; Eccles. 3:1.

[154]Gal. 2:20; 6:14.

[155]Rom. 11:36; 1 Cor. 8:6; 12:6; 15:28.

[156]Eccles. 7:36.

[157]Rev. 3:16.

[158]Ecclus. 19:1.

[159]Luke 17:21.

[160]Joel 2:12.

[161]Rom. 14:17.

[162]Ps. 14:13.

[163]John 14:25.

[164]John 7:34.

[165]Jer. 17:5.

[166]Pet. 5:7.

[167]Heb. 13:14.

[168]Phil. 3:20.

[169]Wisd. 5:9.

[170]Matt. 12:24; 16:21; John 15:20.

[171]2 Tim. 2:5.

[172]Is. 54:13.

[173]Rom. 8:28.

[174]Rom. 8:31; 1 Cor. 4:3.

[175]Ps. 28:7.

[176]James 3 [perhaps 4:6]; Job 5:11.

[177]Matt. 11:25.

[178]Cor. 13:5.

[179]Matt. 7:3.

[180]Acts 1 [perhaps 22:3].

[181]Gal. 6:2; 1 Cor. 13:7.

[182]Rom. 1:20.

[183]Prov. 3:3, 4; Ps.119:100.

[184]Jer. 17:5.

[185]Ps. 141:4.

[186]Matt. 7:5.

[187]Matt. 16:26.

[188]1 Cor. 4:3; Gal. 1:10.

[189]Eccles. 1:14.

[190]1 Cor. 1:31.

[191]Wisd. 17:11.

[192]Is. 57:21.

[193]Luke 12:19.

[194]Rom. 8 [perhaps 5:3]; Gal. 6:14.

[195]John 5:44.

[196]2 Cor. 3:5.

[197]Sam. 16:7.

[198]2 Cor. 10:18.

[199]Ps. 119:1, 2.

[200]Deut. 6:5; Matt. 22:37.

[201]Is. 40:6.

[202]John 11:28.

[203]Matt. 16:26.

[204]Rom. 8:35.

[205]Matt, 13.

[206]Luke 12:21.

[207]Prov. 3:17.

[208]Gal. 6:14.

[209]Matt. 5:44; Luke 6:27, 28.

[210]Phil. 2:12.

[211]Ps. 30:6-11.

[212]John 3:8.

[213]Job 7:18.

[214]Luke 9:23.

[215]Rev. 2:7.

[216]1 Pet. 5:8.

[217]Job. 5:7.

[218]Luke 14:27.

[219]Ecclus. 1:5.

[220]Matt. 22:21.

[221]Luke 14:10.

[222]Luke 9:14; 22:41, 42.

[223]Phil. 2:21.

[224]Prov. 31:10 [Latin version].

[225]Matt. 16:24.

[226]Luke 17:10.

[227]Ps. 25:16.

[228]Matt. 16:24.

[229]Matt. 25:41.

[230]Ps. 112:7.

[231]Luke 14:27.

[232]John 19:17.

[233]2 Cor. 1:5.

[234]Luke 24:26.

[235]Job 7:1.

[236]1 Cor. 4:16; 11:23-30.

[237]2 Cor. 3:5.

[238]Matt. 20:23; John 18:11.

[239]Rom. 5:3; Gal. 6:14.

[240]2 Cor. 12:4.

[241]Acts 9:16.

[242]Acts 5:41.

[243]Ps. 44:22.

[244]Luke 9:23.

[245]Acts 14:22.

[246]Ps. 85:5.

[247]1 Sam. 2:9.

[248]Matt. 13:16, 17.

[249]Ps. 85:8.

[250]Ps. 35:3.

[251]1 Sam. 3:9.

[252]Ps. 119:125.

[253]Ex. 20:19.

[254]John 6:68.

[255]John 6:63.

[256]Ps. 94:12, 13.

[257]Heb. 1:1.

[258]Is. 23:4.

[259]Rom. 1:16; Matt. 24:35.

[260]Rev. 2:23; Matt. 5:6; 25:21.

[261]Gen. 18:27; 1 Sam. 18:18, 23.

[262]Ps. 119:17.

[263]Ps. 143:10.

[264]Gen. 17:1; Wisd. 1:1.

[265]John 8:32.

[266]1 Cor. 4:7.

[267]Ecclus. 3:21-23;

[268]Is. 29:13.

[269]Ps. 25:5.

[270]Ps. 1:2.

[271]2 Cor. 1:3.

[272]Ps. 32:7; 59:16.

[273]Matt. 11:30.

[274]Rom. 8:19.

[275]1 Cor. 13:5.

[276]1 Cor. 10:33; Phil. 2:21.

[277]Rom. 8:35.

[278]Phil. 4:11-13.

[279]Matt. 4:10.

[280]Matt. 4:10; 16:23.

[281]Ps. 27:1.

[282]Ps. 27:14; 1 Tim. 6:12.

[283]Jer. 10:23; Rom. 9:16.

[284]Is. 14:13.

[285]Ps. 16:2; 17:10.

[286]1 Thess. 5:6.

[287]Job. 7.

[288]Ps. 84:10.

[289]Gen. 18:27.

[290]John 12:25.

[291]Matt. 5:45.

[292]Ecclus. 1:5.

[293]John 4:14.

[294]1 Cor. 1:29.

[295]1 Cor. 4:7.

[296]Matt. 19:17; Luke 18:19.

[297]Ps. 31:19.

[298]Gen. 1:27; Ps. 119:73; Matt. 15 [perhaps 10:37].

[299]Ps. 116:12.

[300]Judges 16:15.

[301]1 Cor. 4:7.

[302]Ps. 91:11; Heb. 1:14.

[303]Matt. 19:29.

[304]Matt. 7:14.

[305]Matt. 11:30; 1 John v:3.

[306]Ps. 108:1; Matt. 6:10.

[307]Phil. 2:21.

[308]Phil. 2:12.

[309]Rom. 8:1-13.

[310]2 Cor. 4:10; 10:3.

[311]Heb. 10:36.

[312]Job 8:1.

[313]James 1:2.

[314]Ps. 68:2.

[315]Ecclus. 18:30.

[316]Ps. 37:4.

[317]Matt. 16:24.

[318]Luke 2:7; John 13:14.

[319]Job 15:15.

[320]Job 4:18.

[321]Rev. 8:10.

[322]Ps. 78:25.

[323]Is. 29:16; Ecclus. 23:4, 5.

[324]Ps. 117:2.

[325]James 3 [perhaps 4:13].

[326]Wisd. 9:10.

[327]Ps. 4:8.

[328]Matt. 16:26.

[329]Ps. 77:1, 2.

[330]Wisd. 2:23.

[331]Phil. 3:20.

[332]Ps. 103:9.

[333]Matt. 6:30; John 6:20.

[334]Job 2:10.

[335]Ps. 23:4.

[336]John 3:13.

[337]Is. 53:4.

[338]Luke 2:7.

[339]John 5:30.

[340]Matt. 7:14.

[341]John 12:6.

[342]Heb. 12:4.

[343]He b. 11:37.

[344]2 Tim. 2:3-5.

[345]Ps. 32:5.

[346]Ps. 25:18.

[347]Ps. 69:14.

[348]1 John 2:16.

[349]Job 30:7.

[350]Rom. 8:19-22.

[351]Ps. 55:6.

[352]Dan. 10:11.

[353]Ps. 86:8.

[354]Ps. 119.

[355]1 Cor. 1:27, 28.

[356]Ps. 45:16.

[357]Thess. 2:10.

[358]Acts 5:41.

[359]Matt. 26:39; John 5:30; 6:38.

[360]1 Cor. 10:24.

[361]Luke 14:10.

[362]Matt. 6:10.

[363]Matt. 5:48.

[364]Ps. 71:12.

[365]Is. 45:2, 3.

[366]Ps. 43:3.

[367]Matt. 8:26.

[368]Ecclus. 3:23; 1 Tim. 5:13.

[369]John 21:22.

[370]Gal. 6:4, 5.

[371]John 14:27.

[372]Gen. 3:17; Rom. 7:23, 24.

[373]Rom. 12:21.

[374]Matt. 6:22.

[375]Ex. 18:18; Mic. 4:9.

[376]Is. 41:13.

[377]Ps. 51:12.

[378]Eph. 3:16.

[379]Matt. 6:34.

[380]Eccles. 1:14; 2:17, 26.

[381]Wisd. 9:4.

[382]Eph. 4:14.

[383]1 Cor. 4:13.

[384]John 16:33.

[385]Job 1:21; Ps. 113:2.

[386]Matt. 26 [or John 12:27].

[387]Ps. 11:13.

[388]Matt. 6:10.

[389]Nahum 1:7.

[390]Matt. 11:28.

[391]Matt. 23:3.

[392]Matt. 6:34.

[393]Ps. 91:2.

[394]James 1:17.

[395]John 15:9.

[396]Ps. 55:6.

[397]Matt. 6:22.

[398]Gen. 6:12; 7:21.

[399]Matt. 16:24; 19:21.

[400]Rev. 3:18.

[401]Matt. 13:46.

[402]Job 14:2.

[403]Matt. 6:22.

[404]John 12:9.

[405]Matt. 6:22.

[406]1 Cor. 1:26; Rom. 8:5; 1 John 2:16.

[407]Rom. 7.

[408]Ps. 89:9.

[409]Ps. 68:30.

[410]Ps. Ps. 31:14.

[411]Job 7:1.

[412]2 Cor. 6:7.

[413]Rom. 8:18.

[414]Ps. 27:14.

[415]1 Cor. 9:22.

[416]1 Cor. 4:3.

[417]Col. 1:29.

[418]Acts 26; Phil. 1:14.

[419]1 Mac. 2:62, 63.

[420]Rom. 2:3; 1 Cor. 11:32.

[421]Heb. 12:1, 2.

[422]Matt. 16:24.

[423]Matt. 16:24.

[424]Ex. 33:9.

[425]Matt. 6:6.

[426]Josh. 9:14.

[427]Pet. 5:18.

[428]Matt. 26:41.

[429]Ps. 8:4.

[430]Ps. 102:12.

[431]Dan. 4:16, 23, 32.

[432]Hab. 3:18.

[433]Ps. 113; 115:1.

[434]John 5:44.

[435]1 Pet. 5:5.

[436]1 Cor. 4:20.

[437]Zeph. 112; 1 Cor. 4:5.

[438]Gal. 6:14.

[439]Ps. 55:11.

[440]Prov. 10:29.

[441]Rom. 3:4.

[442]Mic. 7:6.

[443]Prov. 25:9.

[444]Is. 26:3.

[445]Ps. 37:3.

[446]Matt. 10:30; Luke12:7.

[447]Ps. 7:8.

[448]Luke 2:35.

[449]Prov. 12:13.

[450]Ps. 7:9; Rev. 2:23.

[451]1 Cor. 4:4.

[452]Ps. 143:2.

[453]Matt. 20:7.

[454]Zech. 14:7.

[455]Rom. 7:24.

[456]Ps. 120:5.

[457]Wisd. 3:1-9; 5:16.

[458]Rev. 21:2.

[459]Job 7.

[460]Rom. 7:24.

[461]Ps. 71:16.

[462]Rom. 7:24; 8:23.

[463]Ps. 71:12.

[464]Matt. 6:21.

[465]Matt. 19:12.

[466]Job 7:1.

[467]Josh. 1:7.

[468]Eph. 4:24.

[469]1 Cor. 4:7.

[470]Ps. 88:15.


[472]Tob. 13:2; Ps. 18:16.

[473]Rom. 8:18.

[474]Job 9:2, 3.

[475]Ps. 51.

[476]Job 10:21.

[477]Ps. 51:17.

[478]Luke 7:38.

[479]Ps. 51:17.

[480]Matt. 19:29.

[481]1 Pet. 2:11.

[482]Gen. 1:26.

[483]Rom. 7:23.

[484]Gen. 8:21.

[485]Rom. 7:22.

[486]John 15:5.

[487]1 Cor. 13:3.

[488]Ps. 23:4.

[489]John 14:6.

[490]Matt. 19:17.

[491]Matt. 19:21.

[492]Luke 9:23.

[493]John 12:25.

[494]Luke 14:27.

[495]Matt. 10:24.

[496]John 14:21.

[497]Is. 49.

[498]Gen. 3.

[499]Ps. 119:103.

[500]Ps. 119:137.

[501]Ps. 19:9.

[502]2 Tim. 2:14.

[503]John 15:16.

[504]James 2:1-5.

[505]Wisd. 6:7.

[506]Ecclus. 3:21.

[507]Rev. 4:10.

[508]Is. 60:22.

[509]Is. 65:20.

[510]Matt. 18:3.

[511]Matt. 7:14.

[512]Matt. 5:3.

[513]Phil. 2:21.

[514]Matt. 11:28.

[515]John 6:51.

[516]Matt. 26:26.

[517]1 Cor. 11:24.

[518]John 6:56, 63.

[519]Matt. 11:28.

[520]Gen. 6:3.

[521]Wxod. 25:10-16.

[522]1 Kings 6:38.

[523]1 Kings 8.

[524]1 Sam. 6:14; Ecclus. 47:8, 9.

[525]Luke 1:43.

[526]Ps. 78:25; John 6:33.

[527]Gen. 1; Ps. 148:5.

[528]Ps. 16:2.

[*] The parts between asterisks not to be used save by a Priest.

[529]Ps. 68:10.

[530]Ps. 86:41.

[531]Matt. 15:32; Mark 8:8.

[532]Gen. 8:21.

[533]Ps. 147:5.

[534]Ps. 21:3.

[535]Ps. 106:4.

[536]Is. 12:3; Lev. 6:13.

[537]Matt. 11:28.

[538]Gen. 3:19.

[539]Matt. 18:10.

[540]Ps. 78:25.

[541]Gen. 1; Ps. 49:7; Rom. 9:20.

[542]1 Tim. 4:16.

[543]Phil. 3:20.

[544]Heb. 5:3.

[545]Ezek. 18:22, 23.

[546]Is. 53:5; Heb. 9:28.

[547]Prov. 23:26.

[548]Luke 14:33.

[549]Ps. 24:1.

[550]Ps. 32:5.

[551]Job 1:6.

[552]Prov. 13:1.

[553]Matt. 5:24.

[554]1 Cor. 11:23-26.

[555]Luke 7:38.

[556]1 Cor. 13:10.

[557]Heb. 10:35, 36; 11:39, 40.

[558]John 6:51.

[559]Ps. 119:105.

[560]Ps. 23:5; Heb. 9:2-4; 13:10.

[561]Luke 14:16.

[562]John 6:53-56.

[563]Ps. 23:5; Wisd. 16:20, 21.

[564]Lev. 19:2; 20:26.

[565]Ps. 24:4; Matt. 5:8.

[566]Mark 14:14, 15; Luke 22:11, 12.

[567]1 Cor. 5:7.

[568]Ex. 24:18.

[569]Prov. 10:19.

[570]Ex. 33:11; Cant. 8:1, 2.

[571]John 15:4.

[572]Cant. 5:10.

[573]Is. 45:15.

[574]Prov. 3:34.

[575]Wisd. 12:1.

[576]Deut. 4:7.

[577]Ps. 116:12.

[578]Ps. 31:19.

[579]Luke 24:32, 35.

[580]Is. 50:5.

[581]1 Cor. 6:17.

[582]Luke 1:38.

[583]Luke 1:44.

[584]John 3:29.

[585]Prov. 25:27 [Latin vers.].

[586]Ps. 117.

[587]Ps. 19:7; 119:130; Matt. 11:25.