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Study, therefore, to withdraw thy heart from the love of visible things, and to turn thyself to things invisible, For they that follow their sensuality, defile their conscience, and lose the grace of God,
CHAP. ii. 9 of having an kumble Sentiment of one's self.
All men naturally desire to know; but what doth knowledge avait without the fear of God ?
Indeed an humble husbandman, that serveth God, is better than a proud philosopher, who, neglecting himself, considers the course of the heavens.
He, who knows himself well, is mean in his own eyes, and is not delighted with being praised by men.
If I should know all things that are in the world, and should not be in charity ; what help would it be to me in the sight of God, who will judge mie by my deeds ?
Leave off that excessive desire of knowing ; because there is found therein much detraction and deceit.
They who are learned, are desirous to appear and to be called wise.
There are many things, the knowledge of which is of little or no profit to the soul.
And he is very unwise who attends to other things than what may serve to his salvation.
Many words do not satisfy the soul; but a good life gives ease to the mind : and a pure conscience affords a great confidence in God.
The more and better thou knowest, the more heavy will be thy judgment, unless thy life be also more holy.
Be not therefore puffed up with any art or science : but rather fear upon account of the knowledge which is given thee.
If it seems to thee that thou knowest many things, and understandesh them well enongh : know at the same time that there are many more things of which thou art ignorant.
Be not high minded, but rather acknowledge thy ignorance.
Why wouldst thou prefer thyself to any one, since there are many more learned and skilful in the law than thyself?
If thou wouldst know and learn any thing to the purpose : love to be unknown, and esteemed as nothing
.. This is the highest, and most profitable lese son, truly to know, and to despise ourselves.
To have no opinion of ourselves, and to think always well and commendably of others, is great wisdom and high perfection.
If thou shouldst see another openly sin, or commit some heinous crime, yet thou oughtest not to esteem thyself better : because thou knowest not how long thou mayest remain in a good state.
We are all frail : but see thou think no one more frail than thyself.
CHAP. iii. 9 Of Prudence in our doings. We must not be easy in giving credit to every word of suggestion : but carefully and leisurely weigh the matter according to God.
Alas! such is our weakness, that we often more readily believe and speak of another that wbich is evil : than that which is good.
But perfect men do not easily give credit to every report: because they know man's weakness, which is very prone to evil, and very subject to fail in words.
It is great wisdom not to be rash in our doings: por lo maintain too obstinately our own opinion.
As also not to believe every man's word: nor presently to tell others the things which we have heard or believed.
Consult with a wise and conscientious man: and seek rather to be instructed by one that is better, than to follow thine own inventions.
A good life makes a man wise according to God, and expert in many things. The more bumble a man is in himself, and more subject to (ind: the more wise will he be in all things, and the. more at peace.
CILAP. iv. 1 of reading the Holy Scriptures. Truth is to be sought for in holy scripture, not eloquence.
All holy scripture ought to be read with that spirit with which it was made.
We must rather seek for profit in the scriptures, than for subtlety of speech.
We ought as willingly to read devout and simple books: as those that are high and profound.
Let not the authority of the writer offend thee, whether he was of little or great learning: but let the love of pure truth lead thee to read.
Enquire not who said this : but attend to what is said.
Men pass away: but the truth of the Lord remains for ever.
God speaks many ways to us : without respect of persous.
Our curiosity often hinders us in reading the seriptures, when we attempt to understand and discuss that which should be simply passed over.
If thou wilt receive profit, read with humility, simplicity and faith: and seek not at any time the fame of being learned.
Willingly enquire after and hear with silence the words of the saints: and be p'eased with the parables of the ancients: for they are not spoken without cause.
Of inordinate Affections. WHENSOEVER a man desires any thing inordinately, he is presently disquieted within hime self.
The proud and covetous are never easy.
The poor and humble of spirit, live in much peace.
The man that is not yet perfectly dead to him. self, is soon tempted and overcome with small and tribing things.
He that is weak in spirit, and in a manner yet carnal and inclined to sensible things, can hardly withdraw himself wholly from earthly desires.
And therefore he is often sad, when he withdraws himself from them : and is easily moved to anger
any one thwarts him. And if he has pursued his inclinations, he is presently tormented with the guilt of his conscience : because he has followed his passion, which helps him not at all towards the peace he sought for
It is then by resisting our passions, that we are to find true peace of heart, and not by being slaves to them.
Therefore there is no peace in the heart of a carnal man, nor in a man that is addicted to outward things; but only in a fervent spiritual man.
CITAP. vi. q Of flying rain Hope and Pride. He is vain who puts his trust in men, or in creatures.
Be not ashamed to serve others, and to appear poor in the world, for the love of Jesus Christ,
Confide not in thyself; but place thy hope in
Do what is in thy power, and God will be with thy good will.
Trust not in thy own knowledge, nor in the cunning of any man living: but rather in the grace of God, who helps the humble, and humbles those who presume of themselves.
Glory not in riches if thou hast them : nor in friends, because they are powerful: but in God, who gives all things, and desires to give himself above all things.
Boast not of thy stature, nor beauty of the body, which is spoiled and disfigured by a little sickness.
Do not take a pride in thy talents or thy wit, lest thou displease God, to whom appertaineth every natural good quality and talent which thou hast.
Esteem not thyself better than others, lest perhaps thou be accounted worse in the sight of God, who knows what is in man.
Be not proud of thy own works: for the judgments of God are different from the judginents of men; and often times, that displeaseth him, which pleaseth men.
If thou hast any thing of good, believe better things of others, that thou mayest preserve humility,
It will do thee no harm to esteem iliyself the worst of all: but it will hurt thyself very much to prefer thyself before any one.
Continual peace is with the humble: but in the heart of the proud, is frequent envy and indig. nation.
CU:P. vii. s of the Adrantage of Adrersity. It is good for us to have sometimes troubles