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CHAPTER VIII.

Of our very own possessions in which the beauty of the soul is seen or its foulness.

WE ought then to take the utmost care that our inner man as well may cast off and make away with all those possessions of its sins, which it acquired in its former life: which as they continually cling to body and soul are our very own, and, unless we reject them and cut them off while we are still in the flesh, will not cease to accompany us after death. For as good qualities, or charity itself which is their source, may be gained in this world, and after the close of this life make the man who loves it lovely and glorious, so our faults transmit to that eternal remembrance a mind darkened and stained with foul colours. For the beauty or ugliness of the soul is the product of its virtues or its vices, the colour it takes from which either makes it so glorious, that it may well hear from the prophet "And the king shall have pleasure in thy beauty,"145145    Ps. 44 (45):12. or so black, and foul, and ugly, that it must surely acknowledge the stench of its shame, and say "My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness,"146146    Ps. 37 (38):6. and the Lord Himself says to it "Why is not the wound of the daughter of my people closed?"147147    Jer. 8:22. And therefore these are our very own possessions, which continually remain with the soul, which no king and no enemy can either give or take away from us. These are our very own possessions which not even death itself can part from the soul, but by renouncing which we can attain to perfection, and by clinging to which we shall suffer the punishment of eternal death.

 


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