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CHAPTER VI

How he separated himself from fellowship with worldlings

(1)

LEST the holy seed planted in Gerard’s heart by God should be trodden under foot of them that passed by, or lying uncovered should be devoured by the fowls of the air; lest the light that was kindled in him should be extinguished by an empty wind, in place of being kept beneath a bushel and nourished by the oil of inward devotion; and lest the tender and fragile reed, being blown about by the breeze of vanity, should be soon bent earthward and not strengthened with power from on High, the humble Gerard resolved to go apart for a time, to separate himself carefully from worldly sights and converse, to release his mind from all the cares of the world, and to be at leisure for the things of God only, and for his own soul. By this means he would first learn in his own person that of which he must afterward become a teacher, 14and having tasted the sweetness of the things of God, he would more calmly bear adversity for the truth’s sake, and not fear the assaults of the Devil which might be brought against him.

(2) He departed therefore from his city, and from his father’s house, and came to the country of Gelders to the Carthusian Brothers in Monichuysen whom he loved in the love of Christ. By these he was received with reverence and was given a cell as being a guest worthy to be loved: and entering into it joyfully and eagerly he said in the exultation of his soul with Blessed Peter, “Lord, it is good for us to be here,”

There he called back his heart from its former wanderings, there he wiped away the mildew. of his old life and restored the image of his inner man to purity—there he broke the rising storms of passion by watching and by fast, and overcame the various assaults of Devils by prayer and tears, saying with Holy David, “Lo I have gone far off flying away; and I abode in the wilderness. I waited for him that hath saved me from pusillanimity of spirit and a storm.” I too have seen the place of his habitation, in which this light of God, this friend of the Almighty, was hidden for a season, until he should be placed upon a candlestick, that he might show an example of light to all.

15
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