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CHAPTER I


OF VICES AND VIRTUES


The grace of God and the virtues which flow therefrom are a way and a ladder that leadeth to heaven; but vices and sins are a ladder and a way that leadeth to the depths of hell. Vices and sins are a venomous and a mortal poison, but virtues and good works are a salutary medicine. One grace leadeth on to another; and one vice leadeth on to another. Grace asketh not to be praised, and vice cannot endure to be despised. The mind reposeth tranquilly in humility, of whom patience is daughter. Holy purity of heart seeth God, and true devotion enjoyeth him.

If thou lovest, thou shalt be loved.

If thou servest, thou shalt be served.

If thou fearest, thou shalt be feared.

If thou doest good to others, fitting it is that others should do good unto thee.

But blessed is he who truly loves, and desireth not to be loved again.

Blessed is he who serves, and desireth not to be served.

Blessed is he who doeth good to others, and desireth not that others should do good to him.

But because these things are most sublime and high perfection, therefore they that are foolish cannot understand them nor attain thereto. Three things there are that are very sublime and very profitable, which he who has once acquired shall never fail.

The first is, that thou bear willingly and gladly, for the love of Jesus Christ, every affliction that shall befall thee.

The second is, that thou humble thyself daily in every thing thou doest, and in every thing thou seest.

The third is, that thou love faithfully with all thy heart that invisible and supreme Good which thou canst not behold with thy bodily eyes.

Those things which are most despised and decried by worldly men are most truly pleasing and acceptable to God and to his saints; and those things which are most loved and esteemed, and are most pleasing in the eyes of worldly men, are most despised, condemned, and hated by God and by his saints.

This foul disorder proceedeth from human ignorance and malice; for wretched man loveth most those things which he ought to hate, and hateth those which he ought to love.

Said Brother Giles one day to another friar, “Tell me, dearest brother, is thine a good soul?” and the brother answered: “I know not.” Then said Brother Giles: “My brother, I would have thee to know that the things which make a soul good and blessed are holy contrition, holy humility, holy charity, holy devotion, and holy joy.”


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