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Chapter XXXI.

How we can overcome pride and attain perfection.

Wherefore if we wish the summit of our building to be perfect and to rise well-pleasing to God, we should endeavour to lay its foundations not in accordance with the desires of our own lust, but according to the rules of evangelical strictness: which can only be the fear of God and humility, proceeding from kindness and simplicity of heart. But humility cannot possibly be acquired without giving up everything: and as long as a man is a stranger to this, he cannot possibly attain the virtue of obedience, or the strength of patience, or the serenity of kindness, or the perfection of love; without which things our hearts cannot possibly be a habitation for the Holy Spirit: as the Lord says through the prophet: “Upon whom shall My spirit rest, but on him that is humble and quiet and hears My words,” or according to those copies which express the Hebrew accurately: “To whom shall I have respect, but to him that is poor and little and of a contrite spirit and that trembleth at My words?”10821082    Is. lxvi. 2. It is noteworthy that Cassian after giving a rendering which differs but slightly from that of the old Latin, as given in Sabbatier’s great work, adds the version of “those copies which express the Hebrew accurately,” and thus shows his acquaintance with Jerome’s new translation which he quotes. He does the same thing again in the Conferences, XXIII. viii.; and On the Incarnation Against Nestorius IV. iii.; V. ii., xv. Compare also Institutes VIII. xxi., and Conf. VIII. x.; where he also betrays a knowledge of the Vulgate. As a general rule, however, his translations are taken from the old Latin, or possibly in some cases are made by him from the LXX.

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