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After my vow of perfection I spake not ill of any creature, how little soever it might be.  I scrupulously avoided all approaches to detraction.  I had this rule ever present with me, that I was not to wish, nor assent to, nor say such things of any person whatsoever, that I would not have them say of me.  And as time went on, I succeeded in persuading those who were about me to adopt the same habit, till it came to be understood that where I was absent persons were safe.  So they were also with all those whom I so instructed.  Still, for all that, I have a sufficiently strict account to give to God for the bad example I am to all about me in some other respects.  May it please His Majesty to forgive me, for I have been the cause of much evil.  For one thing, the devil sometimes fills me with such a harsh and cruel temper: such a spirit of anger and hostility at some people, that I could eat them up and annihilate them.  At the same time, concerning things said of myself in detraction, and they are many, and are very prejudicial to me, I find myself much improved.  These things make little impression upon me.  I am under them as a deaf man that hears not, and as a man in whose mouth there is no retaliation.  Nay, I almost always see that my greatest detractors have only too good reason for what they say.  In this way my soul actually gains peace and strength under detraction, till it becomes a great favour done me, and a great advantage.  Upon betaking myself to prayer, I find in my heart neither repugnance at my detractors nor enmity.  For, although, when I first hear the detraction, it causes me a little disconcert, yet not any long-lasting disquiet or alteration.  Nay, sometimes when I see people take pity on me because of my detractors, I laugh at them, so little do all my detractors now hurt me.

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