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CHAPTER XI

HOW IT FARED FURTHER WITH THE MASTER

NOW it came to pass that before a year was out, it happened to him as Nicholas had foretold.

He grew to be despised of his familiar friends, and his spiritual children all forsook him, as entirely as if they had never seen him. And this he found very hard to bear, and it caused him such grief that his head was like to turn.

Then he sent for Nicholas, and told him how it fared with him, how he was ill in his whole body, and especially in his head.

Then said the man, “Sir, you must not be dismayed, but you must put your firm trust in God, and commit yourself wholly to Him. Know that this account of yours pleases me well. The same thing happened to me also. Meanwhile, you must take some remedies while you are in this state, and treat your body well with good food which may strengthen it. A box of spices was made for me, and I will have such an one prepared for you, to strengthen your head.”

Then said the Master, “But thou didst tell me before, that I must shun good eating and drinking.” The man answered, “Yes, sir, but when the body is sick, we may come to its help with remedies, else we should tempt God. Dear sir, commit yourself to God, and wait for His grace to show you what He will have you to do, whether it be bitter or sweet. Further, I beseech you, for God’s sake, not to take it amiss of me, but I must go home on account of a very important matter. But if so be that you could not or would not do without me, send into the town for me, and I will gladly come; but if you can bear up without the aid of any creature, that would be best of all for you.”

Then said the Master, “Dear son, say not so, for I cannot and would not do without thee for any length of time — it would be hard indeed if thou didst forsake me, for then I should have no consolation left in the world.”

The man said, “Dear sir, I will show you a better Comforter, that is the Holy Ghost. I have but served Him in the work that I have done for you. It is His work, and not mine.” So the Master answered, “Dear son, may God be your eternal reward! I will commit myself to God, and bear this suffering as best I may.

Then the man advised the Master to take care of his body, and not let it suffer from want of needful things.

“But,” he said, “if you lack money, do not sell your books, for you may need them in time to come.”

Then the man took his leave, and departed from that place, but the Master’s eyes filled with tears, and he began to weep.

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