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A Meditation On The Incarnation Of Christ, Sermons On The Life And
Passion Of Our Lord And Of Hearing And Speaking Good Words. -Thomas A Kempis

WHEN you have done all the things that are commanded you: say, “We are unprofitable servants.” The present word of Our Lord Jesus Christ instructs us much to the guarding of humility: and to the shutting out of all vain glory and swelling. It especially warns the desirous of high places, to be mindful of their own weakness and negligence; and not to boast of their deeds, although well done according to the judgement of men; but, fearful of the judgement of God above them, rather humbly to implore His mercy: than presume on their own merits. For thus the holy and humble David, tremblingly calls to God: “Enter not into judgement with Thy servant: for in Thy sight no man living shall be justified.” See how base should be thy esteem of thyself: how seriously thou shouldst fear the judgement of Heaven: who art far from the holiness of David, the great King and prophet. Neither king, nor prophet, nor holy, nor chosen according to God’s heart: hast thou ever merited to be called as was he. He, however, fulfilled the word of Our Lord, acknowledging himself an unprofitable servant: even calling himself an insect, a dog and a worm: having no high thought of himself after his mighty deeds. Bring back to memory the evils thou hast perpetrated: the vices of the present, the dangers of the future: and thou shalt not be by any means high-minded: but shalt rather fear, and declare thyself base and useless. God has no need of thy service, even if thou dost well; nor wilt thou worthily please Him: unless thou know thyself unworthy and unprofitable. “When,” He says, “you have done all the things that are commanded you: say, ‘We are unprofitable servants.’ ” If when thou hast done all the things that are commanded, thou must say this, and hast no right to glory in aught; how vile and unworthy must thou think thyself, when thou failest and fallest short in so many things daily: and scarcely bringest anything to perfection. When hast thou been able for one day or hour, to live so uprightly and guardedly in the sight of God and men: as to overlook nothing of those things that it behoved thee and became thee to do? So great is human weakness: that these things do not escape defilement even that are praised in the judgement of men as just. Put aside therefore all vain complacency and pride: and take heed of the abundance of thy own unprofitableness. Be mindful of the depravity and inconstancy of thy thoughts; and thou shalt find that thou art not only useless unto good: but liable to much evil, and worthy of reproach and punishment. But this is the only remedy and comfort for the troubled spirit: that for such numberless negligences and sinful stains, a man humble himself in truth, and esteem himself inferior to all and useless; carefully redeeming his past sins and daily negligences with the coin of confession and the shield of a good will: and often being instant in devout prayer. Set thyself then manfully against inrushing vice: for so much does a man make progress in virtue: as he the more sternly detests and vanquishes his vices. And although thou oft be tempted and fall: nevertheless thou shouldst endeavour to rise again, and take up thy good resolve with greater watchfulness: and with the prophet say, “I have sworn and determined, to keep the judgements of Thy justice.” As often therefore as thou fallest short of thy conceived purpose, and hast no strength to march forward; by no means lose heart, or be downcast: but trusting in the Lord, with all humility and great insistence cry and pray, “Help me and I shall be saved: and I will meditate always on Thy justifications.”

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