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Chapter XVI.

Take heed that ye love not human glory in any respect, lest your portion also be reckoned among those to whom it was said, “How218218    John v. 44. can ye believe, who seek glory, one from another?” 66and of whom it is said through the prophet, “Increase219219    Isa. xxvi. 15, after the LXX. evils to them; increase evils to the boastful of the earth”; and elsewhere, “Ye are confounded220220    Jer. xii. 13, after the LXX. from your boasting, from your reproaching in the sight of the Lord.” For I do not wish you to have regard to those, who are virgins of the world, and not of Christ; who unmindful of their purpose and profession, rejoice in delicacies, are delighted with riches, and boast of their descent from a merely carnal nobility; who, if they assuredly believed themselves to be the daughters of God, would never, after their divine ancestry, admire mere human nobility, nor glory in any honored earthly father: if they felt that they had God as their Father, they would not love any nobility connected with the flesh. Why, thou foolish woman, dost thou flatter thyself about the nobleness of thy descent, and take delight in it? God, at the beginning, created two human beings, from whom the whole multitude of the human race has descended; and thus it is not the equity of nature, but the ambition of evil desire, which has given rise to worldly nobility. Unquestionably, we are all rendered equal by the grace of the divine221221    “divini lavacri”: referring to baptism. bath, and there can be no difference among those, whom the second birth has generated, by means of which alike the rich man and the poor man, the free man and the slave, the nobly born and the lowly born, is rendered a son of God. Thus mere earthly rank is overshadowed by the brilliance of heavenly glory, and henceforth is taken no account of, while those who formerly had been unequal in worldly honors are now equally arrayed in the glory of a heavenly and divine nobility. There is now among such no place for lowness of birth; nor is any one inferior to another whom the majesty of the divine birth adorns; except in the estimation of those who do not think that the things of heaven are to be preferred to those of earth. There can be no worldly boasting among them, if they reflect how vain a thing it is that they should, in smaller matters, prefer themselves to those whom they know to be equal to themselves in greater matters, and should regard, as placed below themselves on earth, those whom they believe to be equal to themselves in what relates to heaven. But do thou, who art a virgin of Christ, and not of the world, flee from all the glory of this present life, that thou mayest attain to the glory which is promised in the world to come.


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