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CHAP. XVIII.

 

Treateth of the Same Point.

 

129. At all times therefore thou oughtest, when thou seest thy self in fault, with out losing time, or making discourses upon the failing, to drive away vain Fear and Cowardise, without disturbing or chiding thy self, but knowing thy fault with Humility, looking on thy misery, rowling thy self with a loving confidence on the Lord, going into his presence, asking him Pardon heartily, and without noise of words; keep thy self reposed in doing this, without discoursing whether he hath or hath not forgiven thee, returning to thy Exercises and Retirements, as if thou has’st not Sinned.

130. Would not he be a meer Fool, which running at Turneament with others, and falling in the best of the Career, should lie weeping on the ground, and afflicting himself with discourses upon his fall? Man (they would tell him) loose no time, get up and take the Course again; for he that rises again quickly, and continues his Race, is as if he had never fallen.

131. If thou hast a desire to get to a high degree of Perfection and inward Peace, thou must use the Weapon of Confidence in the Divine Goodness, night and day, and always when thou fallest. This humble and loving Conversation, and total Confidence in the Mercy Divine, thou must exercise in all faults, imperfections, and failings that thou shalt commit, either by advertence or inadvertency.

132. And although thou often fallest, and seest thy Pusillanimity, and endeavour to get courage, and afflict not thy self; because what God doth not do in forty Years, he sometimes doth in an instant, with a particular Mystery, that we may live low and humble, and know that ‘tis the Work of his powerful Hand, to free us from Sins.

133. God also is willing, of ineffable Wisdom, that, not only by Vertues, but also by Vices and the Passions wherewith the Devil seeks and pretends to strike us down to the bottomless Pit, we make a Ladder to scale Heaven with. Ascendamus etiam per vitia & passiones nostras, says St. Austine (Serm. 3. de Ascens.) That we may not make Poison of Physick, and Vices of Vertues, by becoming vain by ‘em; God would have us make Vertues of Vices, healing us by that very thing which would hurt us: So says St. Gregory, Quia ergo nos de medicamento vulnus facimus, facit ille de vulnere medicamentum; ut qui virtute percutimur, vitio curemur, (Lib. 37.c.9.)

134. By means of small failings, the Lord makes us know that his Majesty is that which frees us from great ones; and herewith he keeps us humbled and vigilant; of which our proud Nature hath most need: And therefore though thou oughtest to walk with great care, not to fall into any fault or imperfection, if thou seest thy self fallen once and a thousand times, thou oughtest to make use of the Remedy which I have given thee, that is, a loving Confidence in the Divine Mercy: These are the Weapons with which thou must fight and conquer Cowardise and vain Thoughts: This is the means thou oughtest to use, not to lose time, not to disturb thy self, and reap good: This is the Treasure wherewith thou must enrich thy Soul: and lastly, hereby must thou get up the high Mountain of Perfection, Tranquility and Internal Peace.

 

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