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On Cleaving To God
Chapter 14

That we should seek the verdict of our conscience in every decision

   While we should strive for spiritual perfection of mind, purity and
   peace in God, it will be found to be not a little beneficial to this
   that we should return quietly into the inner secret place of the mind
   in the face of everything said, thought or done to us. There, withdrawn
   from everything else and completely recollected within ourselves, we
   can place ourselves in the knowledge of the truth before us and
   undoubtedly discover and understand that it does us absolutely no good,
   and rather the contrary, when we are praised or honoured by others
   while we recognise by the knowledge of the truth about ourselves within
   that we are blameworthy and guilty. And just as nothing is any help if
   externally people praise someone if his conscience internally accuses
   him, in the same way on the contrary it does a man no harm to be
   despised, maligned and persecuted when he remains internally just as
   innocent, blameless and without fault. On the contrary he has all the
   more good reason to rejoice in the Lord with patience, in peace and
   silence. After all no adversity can do any harm where evil is not in
   control, and just as no evil goes unpunished, so no good goes
   unrewarded. Nor should we wish a reward with hypocrites or expect and
   receive profit from men, but from the Lord God alone, not in the
   present, but in the future, and not in fleeting time, but in eternity.
   It is clear therefore that nothing is greater, and nothing better than
   to enter into the inner secret place of the mind always and in every
   tribulation and occurrence, and there to call upon the Lord Jesus
   Christ himself, our helper in temptations and tribulations, and to
   humble ourselves there by confession of sin, and praise God and Father
   himself, the giver of correction and the giver of consolation. Above
   all one should accept everything, in general and individually, in
   oneself or in others, agreeable or disagreeable, with a prompt and
   confident spirit, as coming from the hand of his infallible Providence
   or the order he has arranged. This attitude will lead to the
   forgiveness of our sins, the deliverance from bitterness, the enjoyment
   of joy and security, the outpouring of grace and mercy, introduction
   and establishment into a close relationship with God, abundant
   enjoyment of his presence, and firm cleaving and union with him. But
   let us not copy those who from hypocrisy and Pharisaism want to appear
   better and different from what they are, and to make a better
   impression and appearance before men of being something special, than
   they know in truth inside to be so. For it is absolute madness to seek,
   hunger for and aspire to human praise or renown, from oneself or
   others, when one is in spite of it all inwardly full of cravings and
   serious faults. And certainly the good things we have talked about
   above will flee him who chases such vanities, and he will merely bring
   disgrace on himself. So always keep your faults and your own incapacity
   before your eyes, and know yourself, so that you can be humbled and not
   try to avoid being held as the lowest, vilest and most abject scum by
   everyone when you are aware of the grave sins and serious faults in
   yourself. For which reason consider yourself compared to others as
   dross to gold, weeds to the wheat, chaff to the grain, a wolf to the
   sheep, Satan to the children of God. And do not seek to be respected by
   others and given precedence before others, but rather flee with all
   your heart and soul the poison of this disease, the venom of praise,
   the concern for boasting and vanity, lest, as the prophet says, The
   wicked is praised in his own heart's desires, (Psalm 10.4) and Isaiah,
   They who speak good of you, deceive you and destroy the way of your
   feet, (Isaiah 3.12) and the Lord in Luke, Woe to you when men speak
   well of you! (Luke 6.26).
     







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