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AS soon as ever thou feelest that any tribulation or adversity is coming upon thee, turn thy mind to the Lord, and commit thyself utterly to Him, without murmuring or seeking a reason for the injury. If thou wilt lament, instead of laying thy complaints before men, lay them humbly before the Lord, treating with Him of whatever grieves thee, as with a most pitiful Father and most present Helper. For His sake bear all things with equanimity. Though the devils lie in wait, and spread the snares of temptations; though thou fmdest the path of virtue and justice difficult; though one slanders and another oppresses thee; though the cold pinches and the heat burns thee; though thy stomach is weak and thy head aches; though rottenness enter into thy bones, and swarm under thee (Habac. iii. 16); though thy mind is overclouded and covered with darkness, and tormented by uncertainty; though thy weary spirit slumbers and is chilled by interior coldness; do thou ever remember to preserve thy patience.

Receive all adverse; things lovingly, as most precious gifts sent to thee from God; whether they arise from the heavens, or the elements, or from the devil, or from adversaries, or from a minister of satanic art, or from wild beasts. Think not that anything happens to thee except by the dispensation of divine Providence; 23for, unless the Lord permitted it, thou wouldst suffer no adversity.

When our common enemy inflicted on the blessed Job the loss of his goods and of his children, the holy man said not, the Lord gave, and the devil hath taken away; but what saith he? “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; as it hath pleased the Lord, so is it done: blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job i. 21).

In the misfortunes which befall thee, look for relief not from fortune-tellers or soothsayers, but from thy Creator and Redeemer. For those who apply to fortune-tellers, and professors of magic, and seek wicked counsel from them, abandon God, and turn to the devil. If God knows that health of body will be for thy good, He will doubtless grant it to thy prayers; but if He grant it not, thou must believe that the want of it is expedient to thy soul. It is want of faith, yea rather the greatest madness, that drives Christians to seek such pestiferous remedies.

And, lest those who have recourse to him should perceive that they are grievously sinning, the crafty serpent cunningly takes care that in his very spells the names of Christ and of saints are often mingled, and that other divine things are made use of. For, if he did not dilute the poison of superstition with this honey of piety, no Christian would so readily drink of it. And what says the Scripture? “Go not aside after wizards, neither ask anything of soothsayers” (Levit. xix. 31). And again, “Neither let there be found among you any wizard, any one that consulteth 24soothsayers, or observeth dreams and omens; neither let there be any wizard or charmer, nor anyone that consulteth pythonic spirits, or fortune-tellers, or that seeketh truth from the dead (Deut. xviii. 10, 11). These things therefore do thou abominate, and place all thy hope in thy God.

Be not angry with men who injure thee; but, recognising in them the instruments of the Divine dispensations, love them, and give thanks to God. Regard with the eyes of thy heart Him who allows thee to be tried by troubles, rather than those who trouble thee. And if, while thou aimest at this, thy infirmity begins to strive against thee, and to suggest hatred of thy persecutors, cease not, but persevere, and pray to the Most High that thou mayest prevail.

Even if the Lord should, as it were, cast thee from Him, and give thee over to Satan, so that, abandoned within and without, thou art on all sides encompassed with extreme calamities, driven to horrid thoughts, and oppressed with unspeakable sorrows: yet thou must never suspect any failure in the love of thy most pitiful Maker for thee; thou must not on that account withdraw from Him, nor evade the present tribulation, nor seek for useless or forbidden remedies, nor turn to any impure consolation: but in simple faith and simple love keeping to Him, allow thyself to be chastised and scourged as He wills and as long as He wills. Await in silence the end that He has ordained. Say in thy heart, “The will of God be done, for it cannot be evil.” Waver not, I say, at all in thy holy resolution, though He may not speedily put an end to thy 25temptations; but, full of good hope and unflinching courage, remain steadfast.

Although God may purge, purify, and prove thee, He deserts thee not. For “the Lord is nigh unto them that are of a contrite heart, and He will save the humble of spirit” (Psalm xxxiii. 19). Perhaps thou knowest not now why He thus bruises and chastises thee; but, when thou art come to Him, thou wilt recognise that those scourges with which He now tries thee, came only from His love of thee. He permits no misfortune, however trilling, to happen without its being for the exceeding advantage of him who suffers it, if he is patient. The humble endurance of interior dereliction is more pleasing to Him than great sweetness of devotion. He will not suffer thee to be tempted beyond thy strength (1 Cor. x. 13), provided thou trustest not in thyself, but in Him; provided thou art patient, and waitest in holy confidence for His help.

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