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CHAPTER VII.

WE ARE TO FIGHT AGAINST VICES BY IMITATION OF THE HUMILITY AND THE OTHER VIRTUES OF CHRIST.

THOU shalt allow thyself to make neither peace nor truce with the devil and with sin; but fight against the devil with untiring and indomitable courage, and ever pursue thy vices with unceasing hatred. For although, during the exile of this pilgrimage, thou canst not so entirely avoid faults and the allurements of vices as not often to slip and be entangled by them; yet thou must always detest and carefully avoid offences, be they grave or trifling. Therefore, 18thou must always hate whatever is displeasing to God.

Do thou abominate the pest of pride and vainglory. Repress with care the turbulent motions of anger and impatience, and the sharp darts of indignation. that thou mayest not only repress, but, by the grace of God, utterly extinguish them! It is, perhaps, in human nature to be sometimes angry; but it is diabolical to continue in anger and hatred. There is no mode by which thou wilt be able more easily to restrain and overcome the impulse of auger than by recalling to mind the patience and meekness of Christ the Lord thy God. In the same way thou canst apply no more efficacious remedy to the ulcers of pride, than to place before the eyes of thy mind the humility of thy Saviour. For not without cause He said, “Learn of me, because I am meek and humble of heart” (St. Matt. xi. 29). Let the disciple be ashamed of swelling and being lifted up with pride, when he sees that his Master is humble. Let man be ashamed of being fierce and burning with anger, when he sees that God is meek. Let the creature be ashamed of his repugnance and want of submission, when he contemplates the obedience of the Creator.

This is the sum of all Christian philosophy: that we strive to follow Jesus our leader in true humility. For “unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven ” (St. Matt. xviii. 3).

The more humble a man is, the nearer he is to God, and the more he excels in evangelical perfection. 19Blessed are they who deserve to be of the number of those who are esteemed by the world as fools, but by God as wise,

Listen willingly to every one: suffer any one to teach and admonish thee, though he may he thy junior and inferior. Despise none: but put all men above thee, and submit thyself in thy heart to all. For though sonic may now be wicked, they may yet by the mercy of God become in a moment good and even holy. And it sometimes happens that those who seem imperfect possess some hidden virtues which render them most pleasing to God. Be fully persuaded that there is no sinner, however impious and however wicked, who would not lead a much more holy life than thou dost, if he had received as much grace from God as thou hast. In this way thou wilt think humbly of thyself and wilt easily prefer others to thyself. that thou mightest attain to such lowliness of mind that thou wouldst submit thyself not only to any man, but to any creature; judging thyself unworthy to see the light and to walk the earth, but meriting that all should revenge upon thee the injuries done to their Creator!

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