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Book Three

by Thomas a Kempis
Translated by Rev. William Benham




Of the inward voice of Christ to the faithful soul

I will hearken what the Lord God shall say within me.(1)  Blessed

is the soul which heareth the Lord speaking within it, and

receiveth the word of consolation from His mouth.  Blessed are

the ears which receive the echoes of the soft whisper of God, and

turn not aside to the whisperings of this world.  Blessed truly

are the ears which listen not to the voice that soundeth without,

but to that which teacheth truth inwardly.  Blessed are the eyes

which are closed to things without, but are fixed upon things

within.  Blessed are they who search inward things and study to

prepare themselves more and more by daily exercises for the

receiving of heavenly mysteries.  Blessed are they who long to

have leisure for God, and free themselves from every hindrance of

the world.  Think on these things, O my soul, and shut the doors

of thy carnal desires, so mayest thou hear what the Lord God will

say within thee.

2. These things saith thy Beloved, "I am thy salvation, I am thy

peace and thy life.  Keep thee unto Me, and thou shalt find

peace."  Put away thee all transitory things, seek those things

that are eternal.  For what are all temporal things but deceits,

and what shall all created things help thee if thou be forsaken

by the Creator.  Therefore put all things else awaym and give

thyself to the Creator, to be well pleasing and faithful to Him,

that thou mayest be able to attain true blessedness.

(1) Psalm lxxxv. 8.


What the truth saith inwardly without noise of words

Speak Lord, for thy servant heareth.(1)  I am Thy servant; O give

me understanding that I may know Thy testimonies.  Incline my

heart unto the words of Thy mouth.(2)  Let thy speech distil as

the dew.  The children of Israel spake in old time to Moses,

Speak thou unto us and we will hear, but let not the Lord speak

unto us lest we die.(3)  Not thus, O Lord, not thus do I pray,

but rather with Samuel the prophet, I beseech Thee humbly and

earnestly, Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth.  Let not Moses

speak to me, nor any prophet, but rather speak Thou, O Lord, who

didst inspire and illuminate all the prophets; for Thou alone

without them canst perfectly fill me with knowledge, whilst they

without Thee shall profit nothing.

2. They can indeed utter words, but they give not the spirit.

They speak with exceeding beauty, but when Thou art silent they

kindle not the heart.  They give us scriptures, but Thou makest

known the sense thereof.  They bring us mysteries, but Thou

revealest the things which are signified.  They utter

commandments, but Thou helpest to the fulfilling of them.  They

show the way, but Thou givest strength for the journey.  They act

only outwardly, but Thou dost instruct and enlighten the heart.

They water, but Thou givest the increase.  They cry with words,

but Thou givest understanding to the hearer.

3. Therefore let not Moses speak to me, but Thou, O Lord my God,

Eternal Truth; lest I die and bring forth no fruit, being

outwardly admonished, but not enkindled within; lest the word

heard but not followed, known but not loved, believed but not

obeyed, rise up against me in the judgment.  Speak, Lord, for Thy

servant heareth; Thou hast the words of eternal life.(4)  Speak

unto me for some consolation unto my soul, for the amendment of

my whole life, and for the praise and glory and eternal honour of

Thy Name.

(1) I Samuel iii. 9.   (2) Psalm cxix. 125.   (3) Exodus xx. 19.

(4) John vi. 68.


How all the words of God are to be heard with humility, and how

many consider them not

"My Son, hear My words, for My words are most sweet, surpassing

all the knowledge of the philosophers and wise men of this world.

My words are spirit, and they are life,(1) and are not to be

weighed by man's understanding.  They are not to be drawn forth

for vain approbation, but to be heard in silence, and to be

received with all humilty and with deep love."

2. And I said, "Blessed is the man whom Thou teachest, O Lord,

and instructest him in Thy law, that Thou mayest give him rest in

time of adversity,(2) and that he be not desolate in the earth."

3. "I," saith the Lord, "taught the prophets from the beginning,

and even now cease I not to speak unto all; but many are deaf and

hardened against My voice; many love to listen to the world

rather than to God, they follow after the desires of the flesh

more readily than after the good pleasure of God.  The world

promiseth things that are temporal and small, and it is served

with great eagerness.  I promise things that are great and

eternal, and the hearts of mortals are slow to stir.  Who serveth

and obeyeth Me in all things, with such carfulness as he serveth

the world and its rulers?

		Be thou ashamed, O Sidon, saith the sea;

		And if thou reason seekest, hear thou me.(3)

For a little reward men make a long journey; for eternal life

many will scarce lift a foot once from the ground.  Mean reward

is sought after; for a single piece of money sometimes there is

shameful striving; for a thing which is vain and for a trifling

promise, men shrink not from toiling day and night."

4. "But, O shame! for an unchangeable good, for an inestimable

reward, for the highest honour and for a glory that fadeth not

away, it is irksome to them to toil even a little.  Be thou

ashamed therefore, slothful and discontented servant, for they

are found readier unto perdition than thou unto life.  They

rejoice more heartily in vanity than thou in the truth.

Sometimes, indeed, they are disappointed of their hope, but my

promise faileth no man, nor sendeth away empty him who trusteth

in Me.  What I have promised I will give; what I have said I will

fulfil; if only a man remain faithful in My love unto the end.

Therefore am I the rewarder of all good men, and a strong

approver of all who are godly.

5. "Write My words in thy heart and consider them diligently, for

they shall be very needful to thee in time of temptation.  What

thou understandest not when thou readest, thou shalt know in the

time of thy visitation.  I am wont to visit Mine elect in twofold

manner, even by temptation and by comfort, and I teach them two

lessons day by day, the one in chiding their faults, the other in

exhorting them to grow in grace.  He who hath my words and

rejecteth them hath one who shall judge him at the last day."


6. O Lord my God, Thou are all my good, and who am I that I

should dare to speak unto Thee?  I am the very poorest of Thy

servants, an abject worm, much poorer and more despicable than I

know or dare to say.  Nevertheless remember, O Lord, that I am

nothing, I have nothing, and can do nothing.  Thou only art good,

just and holy; Thou canst do all things, art over all things,

fillest all things, leaving empty only the sinner.  Call to mind

Thy tender mercies, and fill my heart with Thy grace, Thou who

wilt not that Thy work should return to Thee void.

7. How can I bear this miserable life unless Thy mercy and grace

strengthen me?  Turn not away Thy face from me, delay not Thy

visitation.  Withdraw not Thou Thy comfort from me, lest my soul

"gasp after thee as a thirsty land."  Lord, teach me to do Thy

will, teach me to walk humbly and uprightly before Thee, for Thou

are my wisdom, who knowest me in truth, and knewest me before the

world was made and before I was born into the world.

(1) John vi. 63.   (2) Psalm xciv. 13.   (3) Isaiah xxiii. 4.


How we must walk in truth and humility before God

"My Son! walk before Me in truth, and in the simplicity of thy

heart seek Me continually.  He who walketh before Me in the truth

shall be safe from evil assaults, and the truth shall deliver him

from the wiles and slanders of the wicked.  If the truth shall

make thee free, thou shalt be free indeed, and shalt not care for

the vain words of men."

2. Lord, it is true as Thou sayest let it, I pray Thee, be so

with me; let Thy truth teach me, let it keep me and preserve me

safe unto the end.  Let it free me from all evil and inordinate

affection, and I will walk before Thee in great freedom of heart.

3. "I will teach thee," saith the Truth, "the things which are

right and pleasing before Me.  Think upon thy sins with great

displeasure and sorrow, and never think thyself anything because

of thy good works.  Verily thou art a sinner, liable to many

passions, yea, tied and bound with them.  Of thyself thou always

tendest unto nothing, thou wilt quickly fall, quickly be

conquered, quickly disturbed, quickly undone.  Thou hast nought

whereof to glory, but many reasons why thou shouldest reckon

thyself vile, for thou art far weaker than thou art able to


4. "Let, therefore, nothing which thou doest seem to thee great;

let nothing be grand, nothing of value or beauty, nothing worthy

of honour, nothing lofty, nothing praiseworthy or desirable,

save what is eternal.  Let the eternal truth please thee above

all things, let thine own great vileness displease thee

continually.  Fear, denounce, flee nothing so much as thine own

faults and sins, which ought to be more displeasing to thee than

any loss whatsoever of goods.  There are some who walk not

sincerely before me, but being led by curiosity and pride, they

desire to know my secret things and to understand the deep things

of God, whilst they neglect themselves and their salvation.

These often fall into great temptations and sins because of their

pride and curiosity, for I am against them.

5. "Fear thou the judgments of God, fear greatly the wrath of the

Almighty.  Shrink from debating upon the works of the Most High,

but search narrowly thine own iniquities into what great sins

thou hast fallen, and how many good things thou hast neglected.

There are some who carry their devotion only in books, some in

pictures, some in outward signs and figures; some have Me in

their mouths but little in their hearts.  Others there are who,

being enlightened in their understanding and purged in their

affections, continually long after eternal things, hear of

earthly things with unwillingness, obey the necessities of nature

with sorrow.  And these understand what the Spirit of truth

speaketh in them; for He teacheth them to despise earthly things

and to love heavenly; to neglect the world and to desire heaven

all the day and night."


Of the wonderful power of the Divine Love

I bless Thee, O Heavenly Father, Father of my Lord Jesus Christ,

for that Thou hast vouchsafed to think of me, poor that I am.  O,

Father of Mercies and God of all comfort,(1) I give thanks unto

Thee, who refreshest me sometimes with thine own comfort, when I

am unworthy of any comfort.  I bless and glorify Thee

continually, with thine only begotten Son and the Holy Ghost, the

Paraclete, for ever and ever.  O Lord God, Holy lover of my soul,

when Thou shalt come into my heart, all my inward parts shall

rejoice.  Thou art my glory and the joy of my heart.  Thou art my

hope and my refuge in the day of my trouble.

2. But because I am still weak in love and imperfect in virtue, I

need to be strengthened and comforted by Thee; therefore visit

Thou me often and instruct me with Thy holy ways of discipline.

Deliver me from evil passions, and cleanse my heart from all

inordinate affections, that, being healed and altogether cleansed

within, I may be made ready to love, strong to suffer, steadfast

to endure.

3. Love is a great thing, a good above all others, which alone

maketh every heavy burden light, and equaliseth every inequality.

For it beareth the burden and maketh it no burden, it maketh

every bitter thing to be sweet and of good taste.  The surpassing

love of Jesus impelleth to great works, and exciteth to the

continual desiring of greater perfection.  Love willeth to be

raised up, and not to be held down by any mean thing.  Love

willeth to be free and aloof from all worldly affection, lest its

inward power of vision be hindered, lest it be entangled by any

worldly prosperity or overcome by adversity.  Nothing is sweeter

than love, nothing stronger, nothing loftier, nothing broader,

nothing pleasanter, nothing fuller or better in heaven nor on

earth, for love was born of God and cannot rest save in God above

all created things.

4. He who loveth flyeth, runneth, and is glad; he is free and not

hindered.  He giveth all things for all things, and hath all

things in all things, because he resteth in One who is high above

all, from whom every good floweth and proceedeth.  He looketh not

for gifts, but turneth himself to the Giver above of all good

things.  Love oftentimes knoweth no measure, but breaketh out

above all measure; love feeleth no burden, reckoneth not labours,

striveth after more than it is able to do, pleadeth not

impossibility, because it judgeth all things which are lawful for

it to be possible.  It is strong therefore for all things, and it

fulfilleth many things, and is successful where he who loveth not

faileth and lieth down.

5. Love is watchful, and whilst sleeping still keepeth watch;

though fatigued it is not weary, though pressed it is not forced,

though alarmed it is nor terrified, but like the living flame and

the burning torch, it breaketh forth on high and securely

triumpheth.  If a man loveth, he knoweth what this voice crieth.

For the ardent affection of the soul is a great clamour in the

ears of God, and it saith: My God, my Beloved!  Thou art all

mine, and I am all Thine.

6. Enlarge Thou me in love, that I may learn to taste with the

innermost mouth of my heart how sweet it is to love, to be

dissolved, and to swim in love.  Let me be holden by love,

mounting above myself through exceeding fervour and admiration.

Let me sing the song of love, let me follow Thee my Beloved on

high, let my soul exhaust itself in Thy praise, exulting with

love.  Let me love Thee more than myself, not loving myself

except for Thy sake, and all men in Thee who truly love Thee, as

the law of love commandeth which shineth forth from Thee.

7. Love is swift, sincere, pious, pleasant, gentle, strong,

patient, faithful, prudent, long-suffering, manly, and never

seeking her own; for wheresoever a man seeketh his own, there he

falleth from love.  Love is circumspect, humble, and upright; not

weak, not fickle, nor intent on vain things; sober, chaste,

steadfast, quiet, and guarded in all the senses.  Love is subject

and obedient to all that are in authority, vile and lowly in its

own sight, devout and grateful towards God, faithful and always

trusting in Him even when God hideth His face, for without

sorrows we cannot live in love.

8. He who is not ready to suffer all things, and to conform to

the will of the Beloved, is not worthy to be called a lover of

God.  It behoveth him who loveth to embrace willingly all hard

and bitter things for the Beloved's sake, and not to be drawn

away from Him because of any contrary accidents.

(1) 2 Corinthians i. 3.


Of the proving of the true lover

"My Son, thou art not yet strong and prudent in thy love."

2. Wherefore, O my Lord?

3. "Because for a little opposition thou fallest away from thy

undertakings, and too eagerly seekest after consolation.  The

strong lover standeth fast in temptations, and believeth not the

evil persuasions of the enemy.  As in prosperity I please him, so

in adversity I do not displease.

4. "The prudent lover considereth not the gift of the lover so

much as the love of the giver.  He looketh for the affection more

than the value, and setteth all gifts lower than the Beloved.

The noble lover resteth not in the gift, but in Me above every


5. "All is not lost, though thou sometimes think of Me or of My

saints, less than thou shouldest desire.  That good and sweet

affection which thou sometimes perceivest is the effect of

present grace and some foretaste of the heavenly country; but

hereon thou must not too much depend, for it goeth and cometh.

But to strive against the evil motions of the mind which come to

us, and to resist the suggestions of the devil, is a token of

virtue and great merit.

6. "Therefore let not strange fancies disturb thee, whencesoever

they arise.  Bravely observe thy purpose and thy upright

intentions towards God.  It is not an illusion when thou art

sometimes suddenly carried away into rapture, and then suddenly

art brought back to the wonted vanities of thy heart.  For thou

dost rather unwillingly undergo them than cause them; and so long

as they displease thee and thou strivest against them, it is a

merit and no loss.

7. "Know thou that thine old enemy altogether striveth to hinder

thy pursuit after good, and to deter thee from every godly

exercise, to wit, the contemplation of the Saints, the pious

remembrance of My passion, the profitable recollection of sin,

the keeping of thy own heart, and the steadfast purpose to grow

in virtue.  He suggesteth to thee many evil thoughts, that he may

work in thee weariness and terror, and so draw thee away from

prayer and holy reading.  Humble confession displeaseth him, and

if he were able he would make thee to cease from Communion.

Believe him not, nor heed him, though many a time he hath laid

for thee the snares of deceit.  Account it to be from him, when

he suggesteth evil and unclean thoughts.  Say unto him, 'Depart

unclean spirit; put on shame, miserable one; horribly unclean art

thou, who bringest such things to mine ears.  Depart from me,

detestable deceiver; thou shalt have no part in me; but Jesus

shall be with me, as a strong warrior, and thou shalt stand

confounded.  Rather would I die and bear all suffering, than

consent to thee.  Hold thy peace and be dumb; I will not hear

thee more, though thou plottest more snares against me.  The Lord

is my light and my salvation: whom then shall I fear?  Though a

host of men should rise up against me, yet shall not my heart be

afraid.  The Lord is my strength and my Redeemer.'(1)

8. "Strive thou like a good solider; and if sometimes thou fail

through weakness, put on thy strength more bravely than before,

trusting in My more abundant grace, and take thou much heed of

vain confidence and pride.  Because of it many are led into

error, and sometimes fall into blindness well-nigh irremediable.

Let this ruin of the proud, who foolishly lift themselves up, be

to thee for a warning and a continual exhortation to humility."

(1) Psalm xxvii. 1-3; xix. 14.


Of hiding our grace under the guard of humility

"My Son, it is better and safer for thee to hide the grace of

devotion, and not to lift thyself up on high, nor to speak much

thereof, nor to value it greatly; but rather to despise thyself,

and to fear as though this grace were given to one unworthy

thereof.  Nor must thou depend too much upon this feeling, for it

can very quickly be turned into its opposite.  Think when thou

art in a state of grace how miserable and poor thou art wont to

be without grace.  Nor is there advance in spiritual life in this

alone, that thou hast the grace of consolation, but that thou

humbly and unselfishly and patiently takest the withdrawal

thereof; so that thou cease not from the exercise of prayer, nor

suffer thy other common duties to be in anywise neglected; rather

do thy task more readily, as though thou hadst gained more

strength and knowledge; and do not altogether neglect thyself

because of the dearth and anxiety of spirit which thou feelest.

2. "For there are many who, when things have not gone prosperous

with them, become forthwith impatient or slothful.  For the way

of a man is not in himself,(1) but it is God's to give and to

console, when He will, and as much as He will, and whom He will,

as it shall please Him, and no further.  Some who were

presumptuous because of the grace of devotion within them, have

destroyed themselves, because they would do more than they were

able, not considering the measure of their own littleness, but

rather following the impulse of the heart than the judgment of

reason.  And because they presumed beyond what was well-pleasing

unto God, therefore they quickly lost grace.  They became poor

and were left vile, who had built for themselves their nest

in heaven; so that being humbled and stricken with poverty, they

might learn not to fly with their own wings, but to put their

trust under My feathers.  They who are as yet new and unskilled

in the way of the Lord, unless they rule themselves after the

counsel of the wise, may easily be deceived and led away.

3. "But if they wish to follow their own fancies rather than

trust the experience of others, the result will be very dangerous

to them if they still refuse to be drawn away from their own

notion.  Those who are wise in their own conceits, seldom

patiently endure to be ruled by others.  It is better to have a

small portion of wisdom with humility, and a slender

understanding, than great treasures of sciences with vain

self-esteem.  It is better for thee to have less than much of

what may make thee proud.  He doeth not very discreetly who

giveth up himself entirely to joy, forgetting his former

helplessness and the chaste fear of the Lord, which feareth to

lose the grace offered.  Nor is he very wise, after a manly sort,

who in time of adversity, or any trouble whatsoever, beareth

himself too despairingly, and feeleth concerning Me less

trustfully than he ought.

4. "He who in time of peace willeth to be oversecure shall be

often found in time of war overdispirited and full of fears.  If

thou knewest always how to continue humble and moderate in

thyself, and to guide and rule thine own spirit well, thou

wouldest not so quickly fall into danger and mischief.  It is

good counsel that when fervour of spirit is kindled, thou

shouldest meditate how it will be with thee when the light is

taken away.  Which when it doth happen, remember that still the

light may return again, which I have taken away for a time for a

warning to thee, and also for mine own glory.  Such a trial is

often more useful than if thou hadst always things prosperous

according to thine own will.

5. "For merits are not to be reckoned by this, that a man hath

many visions or consolations, or that he is skilled in the

Scriptures, or that he is placed in a high situation; but that he

is grounded upon true humility and filled with divine charity,

that he always purely and uprightly seeketh the honour of God,

that he setteth not by himself, but unfeignedly despiseth

himself, and even rejoiceth to be despised and humbled by others

more than to be honoured."

(1) Jeremiah x. 23.


Of a low estimation of self in the sight of God

I will speak unto my Lord, who am but dust and ashes.  If I count

myself more, behold Thou standest against me, and my iniquities

bear true testimony, and I cannot gainsay it.  But if I abase

myself, and bring myself to nought, and shrink from all

self-esteem, and grind myself to dust, which I am, Thy grace will

be favourable unto me, and Thy light will be near unto my heart;

and all self-esteem, how little soever it be, shall be swallowed

up in the depths of my nothingness, and shall perish for ever.

There Thou showest to me myself, what I am, what I was, and

whither I have come: so foolish was I and ignorant.(1)  If I am

left to myself, behold I am nothing, I am all weakness; but if

suddenly Thou look upon me, immediately I am made strong, and

filled with new joy.  And it is great marvel that I am so

suddenly lifted up, and so graciously embraced by Thee, since I

am always being carried to the deep by my own weight.

2. This is the doing of Thy love which freely goeth before me and

succoureth me in so many necessities, which guardeth me also in

great dangers and snatcheth me, as I may truly say, from

innumerable evils.  For verily, by loving myself amiss, I lost

myself, and by seeking and sincerely loving Thee alone, I found

both myself and Thee, and through love I have brought myself to

yet deeper nothingness: because Thou, O most sweet Lord, dealest

with me beyond all merit, and above all which I dare ask or


3. Blessed be Thou, O my God, because though I be unworthy of all

Thy benefits, Thy bountiful and infinite goodness never ceaseth

to do good even to ingrates and to those who are turned far from

Thee.  Turn Thou us unto Thyself, that we may be grateful,

humble, and godly, for Thou art our salvation, our courage, and

our strength.

(1) Psalm lxxiii. 22.


That all things are to be referred to God, as the final end

"My Son, I must be thy Supreme and final end, if thou desirest to

be truly happy.  Out of such purpose thy affection shall be

purified, which too often is sinfully bent upon itself and upon

created things.  For if thou seekest thyself in any matter,

straightaway thou wilt fail within thyself and grow barren.

Therefore refer everything to Me first of all, for it is I who

gave thee all.  So look upon each blessing as flowing from the

Supreme Good, and thus all things are to be attributed to Me as

their source.

2. "From Me the humble and great, the poor and the rich, draw

water as from a living fountain, and those who serve Me with a

free and faithful spirit shall receive grace for grace.  But he

who will glory apart from Me, or will be delighted with any good

which lieth in himself, shall not be established in true joy, nor

shall be enlarged in heart, but shall be greatly hindered and

thrown into tribulation.  Therefore thou must not ascribe any

good to thyself, nor look upon any virtue as belonging to any

man, but ascribe it all unto God, without whom man hath nothing.

I gave all, I will receive all again, and with great strictness

require I the giving of thanks.

3. "This is the Truth, and by it the vanity of boasting is put to

flight.  And if heavenly grace and true charity shall enter into

thee, there shall be no envy, nor straitening of the heart, nor

shall any self-love take possession of thee.  For divine charity

conquereth all things, and enlargeth all the powers of the soul.

If thou art truly wise, thou wilt rejoice in Me alone, thou wilt

hope in Me alone; for there is none good but one, that is God,(1)

Who is to be praised above all things, and in all things to

receive blessing."

(1) Luke xviii. 19.


That is it sweet to despise the world and to serve God

Now will I speak again, O my Lord, and hold not my peace; I will

say in the ears of my God, my Lord, and my King, who is exalted

above all, Oh how plentiful is Thy goodness which Thou hast laid

up for them that fear Thee!(1)  But what art Thou to those who

love Thee?  What to those who serve Thee with their whole heart?

Truly unspeakable is the sweetness of the contemplation of Thee,

which Thou bestowest upon those who love Thee.  In this most of

all Thou hast showed me the sweetness of Thy charity, that when I

was not, Thou madest me, and when I wandered far from Thee, Thou

broughtest me back that I might serve Thee, and commandest me to

love Thee.

2. O Fountain of perpetual love, what shall I say concerning

Thee?  How shall I be unmindful of Thee, who didst vouchsafe to

remember me, even after I pined away and perished?  Thou hast had

mercy beyond all hope upon Thy servant, and hast showed Thy grace

and friendship beyond all deserving.  What reward shall I render

Thee for this Thy grace?  For it is not given unto all to

renounce this world and its affairs, and to take up a religious

life.  For is it a great thing that I should serve Thee, whom

every creature ought to serve?  It ought not to seem a great

thing to me to serve Thee; but rather this appeareth to me a

great and wonderful thing, that Thou vouchsafest to receive as

Thy servant one so poor and unworthy, and to join him unto Thy

chosen servants.

3. Behold all things which I have are Thine, and with them I

serve Thee.  And yet verily it is Thou who servest me, rather

than I Thee.  Behold the heaven and the earth which Thou hast

created for the service of men; they are at Thy bidding, and

perform daily whatsoever Thou dost command.  Yea, and this is

little; for Thou hast even ordained the Angels for the service of

man.  But it surpasseth even all these things, that Thou Thyself

didst vouchsafe to minister unto man, and didst promise that Thou

wouldest give Thyself unto him.

4. What shall I render unto Thee for all these Thy manifold

mercies?  Oh that I were able to serve Thee all the days of my

life!  Oh that even for one day I were enabled to do Thee service

worthy of Thyself!  For verily Thou art worthy of all service,

all honour, and praise without end.  Verily Thou art my God, and

I am Thy poor servant, who am bound to serve Thee with all my

strength, nor ought I ever to grow weary of Thy praise.  This is

my wish, this is my exceeding great desire, and whatsoever is

lacking to me, vouchsafe Thou to supply.

5. It is great honour, great glory to serve Thee, and to despise

all for Thy sake.  For they shall have great grace who of their

own will shall submit themselves to Thy most holy service.  They

who for Thy love have cast away every carnal delight shall find

the sweetest consolation of the Holy Ghost.  They who enter the

narrow way of life for Thy Name's sake, and have put away all

worldly cares, shall attain great liberty of spirit.

6. Oh grateful and delightsome service of God, whereby man is

made truly free and holy!  Oh sacred condition of the religious

servant, which maketh man equal to the Angels, well-pleasing unto

God, terrible to evil spirits, and acceptable to all faithful

ones!  Oh service to be embraced and ever desired, in which the

highest good is promised, and joy is gained which shall remain

for evermore!

(1) Psalm xxxi. 21.


That the desires of the heart are to be examined and governed

"My Son, thou hast still many things to learn, which thou hast

not well learned yet."

2. What are they, Lord?

3. "To place thy desire altogether in subjection to My good

pleasure, and not to be a lover of thyself, but an earnest seeker

of My will.  Thy desires often excite and urge thee forward; but

consider with thyself whether thou art not more moved for thine

own objects than for My honour.  If it is Myself that thou

seekest, thou shalt be well content with whatsoever I shall

ordain; but if any pursuit of thine own lieth hidden within thee,

behold it is this which hindereth and weigheth thee down.

4. "Beware, therefore, lest thou strive too earnestly after some

desire which thou hast conceived, without taking counsel of Me;

lest haply it repent thee afterwards, and that displease thee

which before pleased, and for which thou didst long as for a

great good.  For not every affection which seemeth good is to be

forthwith followed; neither is every opposite affection to be

immediately avoided.  Sometimes it is expedient to use restraint

even in good desires and wishes, lest through importunity thou

fall into distraction of mind, lest through want of discipline

thou become a stumbling-block to others, or lest by the

resistance of others thou be suddenly disturbed and brought to


5. "Sometimes, indeed, it is needful to use violence, and

manfully to strive against the sensual appetite, and not to

consider what the flesh may or not will; but rather to strive

after this, that it may become subject, however unwillingly, to

the spirit.  And for so long it ought to be chastised and

compelled to undergo slavery, even until it be ready for all

things, and learn to be contented with little, to be delighted

with things simple, and never to murmur at any inconvenience."


Of the inward growth of patience, and of the struggle against

evil desires

O Lord God, I see that patience is very necessary unto me; for

many things in this life fall out contrary.  For howsoever I may

have contrived for my peace, my life cannot go on without strife

and trouble.

2. "Thou speakest truly, My Son.  For I will not that thou seek

such a peace as is without trials, and knoweth no adversities;

but rather that thou shouldest judge thyself to have found peace,

when thou art tried with manifold tribulations, and proved by

many adversities.  If thou shalt say that thou art not able to

bear much, how then wilt thou sustain the fire hereafter?  Of two

evils we should always choose the less.  Therefore, that thou

mayest escape eternal torments hereafter, strive on God's behalf

to endure present evils bravely.  Thinkest thou that the children

of this world suffer nought, or but little?  Thou wilt not find

it so, even though thou find out the most prosperous.

3. "'But,' thou wilt say, 'they have many delights, and they

follow their own wills, and thus they bear lightly their


4. "Be it so, grant that they have what they list; but how long,

thinkest thou will it last?  Behold, like the smoke those who are

rich in this world will pass away, and no record shall remain of

their past joys.  Yea, even while they yet live, they rest not

without bitterness and weariness and fear.  For from the very

same thing wherein they find delight, thence they oftentimes have

the punishment of sorrow.  Justly it befalleth them, that because

out of measure they seek out and pursue pleasures, they enjoy

them not without confusing and bitterness.  Oh how short, how

false, how inordinate and wicked are all these pleasures!  Yet

because of their sottishness and blindness men do not understand;

but like brute beasts, for the sake of a little pleasure of this

corruptible life, they incur death of the soul.  Thou therefore,

my son, go not after thy lusts, but refrain thyself from thine

appetites.(1)  Delight thou in the Lord, and He shall give thee

thy heart's desire.(2)

5. "For if thou wilt truly find delight, and be abundantly

comforted of Me, behold in the contempt of all worldly things and

in the avoidance of all worthless pleasures shall be thy

blessing, and fulness of consolation shall be given thee.  And

the more thou withdrawest thyself from all solace of creatures,

the more sweet and powerful consolations shalt thou find.  But at

the first thou shalt not attain to them, without some sorrow and

hard striving.  Long-accustomed habit will oppose, but it shall

be overcome by better habit.  The flesh will murmur again and

again, but will be restrained by fervour of spirit.  The old

serpent will urge and embitter thee, but will be put to flight by

prayer; moreover, by useful labour his entrance will be greatly


(1) Ecclesiastes xviii. 30.   (2) Psalm xxxvii. 4.


Of the obedience of one in lowly subjection after the example of Jesus Christ

"My Son, he who striveth to withdraw himself from obedience,

withdraweth himself also from grace, and he who seeketh private

advantages, loseth those which are common unto all.  If a man

submit not freely and willingly to one set over him, it is a sign

that his flesh is not yet perfectly subject to himself, but

often resisteth and murmureth.  Learn therefore quickly to submit

thyself to him who is over thee, if thou seekest to bring thine

own flesh into subjection.  For the outward enemy is very quickly

overcome if the inner man have not been laid low.  There is no

more grievous and deadly enemy to the soul than thou art to

thyself, if thou art not led by the Spirit.  Thou must not

altogether conceive contempt for thyself, if thou wilt prevail

against flesh and blood.  Because as yet thou inordinately lovest

thyself, therefore thou shrinkest from yielding thyself to the

will of others.

2. "But what great thing is it that thou, who art dust and

nothingness, yieldest thyself to man for God's sake, when I, the

Almighty and the Most High, who created all things out of

nothing, subjected Myself to man for thy sake?  I became the most

humble and despised of men, that by My humility thou mightest

overcome thy pride.  Learn to obey, O dust!  Learn to humble

thyself, O earth and clay, and to bow thyself beneath the feet of

all.  Learn to crush thy passions and to yield thyself in all


3. "Be zealous against thyself, nor suffer pride to live within

thee, but so show thyself subject and of no reputation, that all

may be able to walk over thee, and tread thee down as the clay in

the streets.  What hast thou, O foolish man, of which to

complain?  What, O vile sinner, canst thou answer to those who

speak against thee, seeing thou hast so often offended God, and

many a time hast deserved hell?  But Mine eye hath spared thee,

because thy soul was precious in My sight; that thou mightest

know My love, and mightest be thankful for My benefits; and that

thou mightest give thyself altogether to true subjection and

humility, and patiently bear the contempt which thou meritest."


Of meditation upon the hidden judgments of God, that we may not

be lifted up because of our well-doing

Thou sendest forth Thy judgments against me, O Lord, and shakest

all my bones with fear and trembling, and my soul trembleth

exceedingly.  I stand astonished, and remember that the heavens

are not clean in thy sight.(1)  If Thou chargest Thine angels

with folly, and didst spare them not, how shall it be unto me?

Stars have fallen from heaven, and what shall I dare who am

but dust?  They whose works seemed to be praiseworthy, fell into

the lowest depths, and they who did eat Angels' food, them have I 

seen delighted with the husks that the swine do eat.

2. There is therefore no holiness, if Thou O Lord, withdraw Thine

hand.  No wisdom profiteth, if Thou leave off to guide the helm.

No strength availeth, if Thou cease to preserve.  No purity is

secure, if Thou protect it not.  No self-keeping availeth, if Thy

holy watching be not there.  For when we are left alone we are

swallowed up and perish, but when we are visited, we are raised

up, and we live.  For indeed we are unstable, but are made strong

through Thee; we grow cold, but are rekindled by Thee.

3. Oh, how humbly and abjectly must I reckon of myself, how must

I weigh it as nothing, if I seem to have nothing good!  Oh, how

profoundly ought I to submit myself to Thy unfathomable

judgments, O Lord, when I find myself nothing else save nothing,

and again nothing!  Oh weight unmeasurable, oh ocean which cannot

be crossed over, where I find nothing of myself save nothing

altogether!  Where, then, is the hiding-place of glory, where the

confidence begotten of virtue?  All vain-glory is swallowed up in

the depths of Thy judgments against me.

4. What is all flesh in Thy sight?  For how shall the clay boast

against Him that fashioned it?(2)  How can he be lifted up in

vain speech whose heart is subjected in truth to God?  The whole

world shall not lift him up whom Truth hath subdued; nor shall he

be moved by the mouth of all who praise him, who hath placed all

his hope in God.  For they themselved who speak, behold, they

are all nothing; for they shall cease with the sound of their

words, but the truth of the Lord endureth for ever.(3)

(1) Job xv. 15.   (2) Psalm xxix. 16.   (3) Psalm cxvii. 2.


How we must stand and speak, in everything that we desire

"My Son, speak thou this in every matter, 'Lord, if it please

Thee, let this come to pass.  Lord, if this shall be for Thine

honour, let it be done in Thy Name.  Lord, if thou see it good

for me, and approve it as useful, then grant me to use it for Thy

honour.  But if thou knowest that it shall be hurtful unto me,

and not profitable for the health of my soul, take the desire

away from me'!  For not every desire is from the Holy Ghost,

although it appear to a man right and good.  It is difficult to

judge with certainty whether a good or an evil spirit move thee

to desire this or that, or whether thou art moved by thine own

spirit.  Many have been deceived at the last, who seemed at the

beginning to be moved by a good spirit.

2. "Therefore, whatsoever seemeth to thee desirable, thou must

always desire and seek after it with the fear of God and humility

of heart, and most of all, must altogether resign thyself, and

commit all unto Me and say, 'Lord, thou knowest what is best; let

this or that be, according as Thou wilt.  Give what Thou wilt, so

much as Thou wilt, when Thou wilt.  Do with me as Thou knowest

best, and as best shall please Thee, and as shall be most to

Thine honour.  Place me where Thou wilt, and freely work Thy will

with me in all things.  I am in Thine hand, and turn me in my

course.  Behold, I am Thy servant, ready for all things; for I

desire to live not to myself but to Thee.  Oh, that I might live

worthily and perfectly.'"


3. Grant me Thy grace, most merciful Jesus, that it may be with

me, and work in me, and persevere with me, even unto the end.

Grant that I may ever desire and wish whatsoever is most pleasing

and dear unto Thee.  Let Thy will be mine, and let my will alway

follow Thine, and entirely accord with it.  May I choose and

reject whatsoever Thou dost; yea, let it be impossible for me to

choose or reject except according to Thy will.

4. Grant that I may die to all worldly things, and for Thy sake

love to be despised and unknown in this world.  Grant unto me,

above all things that I can desire, to rest in Thee, and that in

Thee my heart may be at peace.  Thou art the true peace of the

heart, Thou alone its rest; apart from Thee all things are hard

and unquiet.  In Thee alone, the supreme and eternal Good, I will

lay me down in peace and take my rest.(1)  Amen.

(1) Psalm iv. 9.


That true solace is to be sought in God alone

Whatsoever I am able to desire or to think of for my solace, I

look for it not here, but hereafter.  For if I alone had all the

solaces of this world, and were able to enjoy all its delights,

it is certain that they could not endure long.  Wherefore, O my

soul, thou canst be fully comforted and perfectly refreshed, only

in God, the Comforter of the poor, and the lifter up of the

humble.  Wait but a little while, my soul, wait for the Divine

promise, and thou shalt have abundance of all good things in

heaven.  If thou longest too inordinately for the things which

are now, thou shalt lose those which are eternal and heavenly.

Let temporal things be in the use, eternal things in the desire.

Thou canst not be satisfied with any temporal good, for thou wast

not created for the enjoyment of these.

2. Although thou hadst all the good things which ever were

created, yet couldst not thou be happy and blessed; all thy

blessedness and thy felicity lieth in God who created all things;

not such felicity as seemeth good to the foolish lover of the

world, but such as Christ's good and faithful servants wait for,

and as the spiritual and pure in heart sometimes taste, whose

conversation is in heaven.(1)  All human solace is empty and

short-lived; blessed and true is that solace which is felt

inwardly, springing from the truth.  The godly man everywhere

beareth about with him his own Comforter, Jesus, and saith unto

Him: "Be with me, Lord Jesus, always and everywhere.  Let it be

my comfort to be able to give up cheerfully all human comfort.

And if Thy consolation fail me, let Thy will and righteous

approval be alway with me for the highest comfort.  For Thou wilt

not always be chiding, neither keepest Thou Thine anger for


(1) Philippians iii. 20.   (2) Psalm cii. 9.


That all care is to be cast upon God

"My Son, suffer me to do with thee what I will; I know what is

expedient for thee.  Thou thinkest as a man, in many things thou

judgest as human affection persuadeth thee."

2. Lord, what Thou sayest is true.  Greater is Thy care for me

than all the care which I am able to take for myself.  For too

insecurely doth he stand who casteth not all his care upon Thee.

Lord, so long as my will standeth right and firm in Thee, do with

me what Thou wilt, for whatsoever Thou shalt do with me cannot be

aught but good.  Blessed be Thou is Thou wilt leave me in

darkness: blessed also be Thou if Thou wilt leave me in light.

Blessed be Thou if Thou vouchsafe to comfort me, and always

blessed be Thou if Thou cause me to be troubled.

3. "My Son! even thus thou must stand if thou desirest to walk

with Me.  Thou must be ready alike for suffering or rejoicing.

Thou must be poor and needy as willingly as full and rich."

4. Lord, I will willingly bear for Thee whatsoever Thou wilt have

to come upon me.  Without choice I will receive from Thy hand

good and evil, sweet and bitter, joy and sadness, and will give

Thee thanks for all things which shall happen to me.  Keep me

from all sin, and I will not fear death nor hell.  Only cast me

not away for ever, nor blot me out of the book of life.  Then no

tribulation which shall come upon me shall do me hurt.


That temporal miseries are to be borne patiently after the

example of Christ

"My Son!  I came down from heaven for thy salvation; I took upon

Me thy miseries not of necessity, but drawn by love that thou

mightest learn patience and mightest bear temporal miseries

without murmuring.  For from the hour of My birth, until My death

upon the Cross, I ceased not from bearing of sorrow; I had much

lack of temporal things; I oftentimes heard many reproaches

against Myself; I gently bore contradictions and hard words; I

received ingratitude for benefits, blasphemies for My miracles,

rebukes for My doctrine."

2. Lord, because Thou wast patient in Thy life, herein most of

all fulfilling the commandment of Thy Father, it is well that I,

miserable sinner, should patiently bear myself according to Thy

will, and as long as Thou wilt have it so, should bear about with

me for my salvation, the burden of this corruptible life.  For

although the present life seemeth burdensome, it is nevertheless

already made very full of merit through Thy grace, and to those

who are weak it becometh easier and brighter through Thy example

and the footsteps of Thy saints; but it is also much more full of

consolation than it was of old, under the old Testament, when the

gate of heaven remained shut; and even the way to heaven seemed

more obscure when so few cared to seek after the heavenly

kingdom.  But not even those who were then just and in the way of

salvation were able, before Thy Passion and the ransom of Thy

holy Death, to enter the kingdom of heaven.

3. Oh what great thanks am I bond to give Thee, who hast

vouchsafed to show me and all faithful people the good and right

way to Thine eternal kingdom, for Thy way is our way, and by holy

patience we walk to Thee who art our Crown.  If Thou hadst not

gone before and taught us, who would care to follow?  Oh, how far

would they have gone backward if they had not behelf Thy glorious

example!  Behold we are still lukewarm, though we have heard of

Thy many signs and discourses; what would become of us if we had

not such a light to help us follow Thee?


Of bearing injuries, and who shall be approved as truly patient

"What sayest thou, My Son?  Cease to complain; consider My

suffering and that of My saints.  Thou hast not yet resisted unto

blood.(1)  It is little which thou sufferest in comparison with

those who have suffered so many things, have been so strongly

tempted, so grievously troubled, so manywise proved and tried.

Thou oughtest therefore to call to mind the more grievous

sufferings of others that thou mightest bear thy lesser ones more

easily, and if they seem not to thee little, see that it is not

thy impatience which is the cause of this.  But whether they be

little or whether they be great, study to bear them all with


2. "So far as thou settest thyself to bear patiently, so far thou

dost wisely and art deserving of the more merit; thou shalt also

bear the more easily if thy mind and habit are carefully trained

hereunto.  And say not 'I cannot bear these things from such a

man, nor are things of this kind to be borne by me, for he hath

done me grievous harm and imputeth to me what I had never

thought: but from another I will suffer patiently, such things as

I see I ought to suffer.'  Foolish  is such a thought as this,

for it considereth not the virtue of patience, nor by whom that

virtue is to be crowned, but it rather weighteth persons and

offences against self.

3. "He is not truly patient who will only suffer as far as

seemeth right to himself and from whom he pleaseth.  But the

truly patient man considereth not by what man he is tried,

whether by one above him, or by an equal or inferior, whether by

a good and holy man, or a perverse and unworthy; but

indifferently from every creature, whatsoever or how often soever

adversity happeneth to him, he gratefully accepteth all from the

hand of God and counteth it great gain; for with God nothing

which is borne for His sake, however small, shall lose its


4. "Be thou therefore ready for the fight if thou wilt have the

victory.  Without striving thou canst not win the crown of

patience; if thou wilt not suffer thou refusest to be crowned.

But if thou desirest to be crowned, strive manfully, endure

patiently.  Without labour thou drawest not near to rest, nor

without fighting comest thou to victory."

5. Make possible to me, O Lord, by grace what seemeth impossible

to me by nature.  Thou knowest how little I am able to bear, and

how quickly I am cast down when a like adversity riseth up

against me.  Whatsoever trial of tribulation may come to me, may

it become unto me pleasing and acceptable, for to suffer and be

vexed for Thy sake is exceeding healthful to the soul.

(1) Hebrews xii. 4.


Of confession of our infirmity and of the miseries of this life

I will acknowledge my sin unto Thee,(1) I will confess to Thee,

Lord, my infirmity.  It is often a small thing which casteth me

down and maketh me sad.  I resolve that I will act bravely, but

when a little temptation cometh, immediately I am in a great

strait.  Wonderfully small sometimes is the matter whence a

grievous temptation cometh, and whilst I imagine myself safe for

a little space; when I am not considering, I find myself often

almost overcome by a little puff of wind.

2. Behold, therefore, O Lord, my humility and my fraility, which

is altogether known to Thee.  Be merciful unto me, and draw me

out of the mire that I sink not,(2) lest I ever remain cast down.

This is what frequently throweth me backward and confoundeth me

before Thee, that I am so liable to fall, so weak to resist my

passions.  And though their assault is not altogether according

to my will, it is violent and grievous, and it altogether

wearieth me to live thus daily in conflict.  Herein is my

infirmity made known to me, that hateful fancies always rush in

far more easily than they depart.

3. Oh that Thou, most mighty God of Israel, Lover of all faithful

souls, wouldst look upon the labour and sorrow of Thy servant,

and give him help in all things whereunto he striveth.

Strengthen me with heavenly fortitude, lest the old man, this

miserable flesh, not being yet fully subdued to the spirit,

prevail to rule over me; against which I ought to strive so long

as I remain in this most miserable life.  Of what a life is this,

where tribulations and miseries cease not, where all things are

full of snares and of enemies, for when one tribulation or

temptation goeth, another cometh, yea, while the former conflict

is yet raging others come more in number and unexpected.

4. And how can the life of man be loved, seeing that it hath so

many bitter things, that it is subjected to so many calamaities

and miseries.  How can it be even called life, when it produces

so many deaths and plagues?  The world is often reproached

because it is deceitful and vain, yet notwithstanding it is not

easily given up, because the lusts of the flesh have too much

rule over it.  Some draw us to love, some to hate.  The lust of

the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, these

draw to love of the world; but the punishments and miseries which

righteously follow these things, bring forth hatred of the world

and weariness.

5. But, alas! an evil desire conquereth a mind given to the

world, and thinketh it happiness to be under the nettles(3)

because it savoureth not nor perceiveth the sweetness of God nor

the inward gracefulness of virtue.  But they who perfectly

despise the world and strive to live unto God in holy discipline,

these are not ignorant of the divine sweetness promised to all

who truly deny themselves and see clearly how grievously the

world erreth, and in how many ways it is deceived.

(1) Psalm xxxii. 5.   (2) Psalm lix. 16.   (3) Job xxx. 7.


That we must rest in God above all goods and gifts

Above all things and in all things thou shalt rest alway in the

Lord, O my soul, for he himself is the eternal rest of the

saints.  Grant me, most sweet and loving Jesus, to rest in Thee

above every creature, above all health and beauty, above all

glory and honour, above all power and dignity, above all

knowledge and skilfulness, above all riches and arts, above all

joy and exultation, above all fame and praise, above all

sweetness and consolation, above all hope and promise, above all

merit and desire, above all gifts and rewards which Thou canst

give and pour forth, above all joy and jubilation which the mind

is able to receive and feel; in a word, above Angels and

Archangels and all the army of heaven, above all things visible

and invisible, and above everything which Thou, O my God, art


2. For Thou, O Lord, my God, art best above all things; Thou only

art the Most High, Thou only the Almighty, Thou only the

All-sufficient, and the Fulness of all things; Thou only the

All-delightsome and the All-comforting; Thou alone the altogether

lovely and altogether loving; Thou alone the Most Exalted and

Most Glorious above all things; in Whom all things are, and were,

and ever shall be, altogether and all-perfect.  And thus it

falleth short and is insufficient whatsoever Thou givest to me

without Thyself or whatsoever Thou revealest or dost promise

concerning Thyself whilst Thou art not seen or fully possessed: 

since verily my heart cannot truly rest nor be entirely content,

except it rest in Thee, and go beyond all gifts and every


3. O my most beloved Spouse, Jesus Christ, most holy lover of my

soul, Ruler of this whole Creation, who shall give me the wings

of true liberty, that I may flee to Thee and find rest?  Oh when

shall it be given to me to be open to receive Thee to the full,

and to see how sweet Thou art, O Lord my God?  When shall I

collect myself altogether in Thee, that because of Thy love I may

not feel myself at all, but may know Thee only above every sense

and measure, in measure not known to others.  But now I ofttimes

groan, and bear my sad estate with sorrow; because many evils

befall me in this vale of miseries which continually disturb and

fill me with sorrow, and encloud me, continually hinder and fill

me with care, allure and entangle me, that I cannot have free

access to Thee, nor enjoy that sweet intercourse which is always

near at hand to the blessed spirits.  Let my deep sighing come

before Thee, and my manifold desolation on the earth.

4. O Jesus, Light of Eternal Glory, solace of the wandering soul,

before Thee my mouth is without speech, and my silence speaketh

to Thee.  How long will my Lord delay to come unto me?  Let Him

come unto me, His poor and humble one, and make me glad.  Let Him

put forth His hand, and deliver His holy one from every snare.

Come, Oh come; for without Thee shall be no joyful day or hour,

for Thou art my joy, and without Thee is my table empty.  I am

miserable, and in a manner imprisoned and loaded with fetters,

until Thou refresh me by the light of Thy presence, and give me

liberty, and show Thy loving countenance.

5. Let others seek some other thing instead of Thee, whatsoever

it shall please them; but for my part nothing else pleaseth or

shall please, save Thou, my God, my hope, my eternal salvation.

I will not hold my peace, nor cease to implore, until Thy grace

return, and until Thou speak to me within.

6. "Behold, here I am!  Behold, I come to thee, for thou didst

call Me.  Thy tears and the longing of thy soul, thy humbleness

and contrition of heart have inclined Me, and brought Me to


7. And I said Lord, I have called upon Thee, and I have longed to

enjoy Thee, being ready to reject everything for Thy sake.  For

Thou didst first move me to seek Thee.  Therefore, blessed be

Thou, O Lord, who has wrought this good work upon Thy servant,

according to the multitude of Thy mercy.  What then hath Thy

servant to say in Thy presence, save to humble himself greatly

before Thee, being alway mindful of his own inquity and vileness.

For there is none like unto Thee in all marvels of heaven and

earth.  Excellent are Thy works, true are Thy judgments, and by

Thy Providence are all things governed.  Therefore praise and

glory unto Thee, O Wisdom of the Father, let my mouth and my soul

and all created things praise and bless Thee together.


Of the recollection of God's manifold benefits

Open, O Lord, my heart in Thy law, and teach me to walk in the

way of Thy commandments.  Grant me to understand Thy will and to

be mindful of Thy benefits, both general and special, with great

reverence and diligent meditation, that thus I may be able

worthily to give Thee thanks.  Yet I know and confess that I

cannot render Thee due praises for the least of Thy mercies.  I

am less than the least of all the good things which Thou gavest

me; and when I consider Thy majesty, my spirit faileth because of

the greatness thereof.

2. All things which we have in the soul and in the body, and

whatsoever things we possess, whether outwardly or inwardly,

naturally or supernaturally, are Thy good gifts, and prove Thee,

from whom we have received them all, to be good, gentle, and

kind.  Although one receiveth many things, and another fewer, yet

all are Thine, and without Thee not even the least thing can be

possessed.  He who hath received greater cannot boast that it is

of his own merit, nor lift himself up above others, not contemn

those beneath him; for he is greater and the better who ascribeth

least to himself, and in giving thanks is the humbler and more

devout; and he who holdeth himself to be viler than all, and

judgeth himself to be the more unworthy, is the apter for

receiving greater things.

3. But he who hath received fewer gifts, ought not to be cast

down, nor to take it amiss, nor to envy him who is richer; but

rather ought he to look unto Thee, and to greatly extol Thy

goodness, for Thou pourest forth Thy gifts so richly, so freely

and largely, without respect of persons.  All things come of

Thee; therefore in all things shalt thou be praised.  Thou

knowest what is best to be given to each; and why this man hath

less, and that more, is not for us but for Thee to understand,

for unto Thee each man's deservings are fully known.

4. Wherefore, O Lord God, I reckon it even a great benefit, not

to have many things, whence praise and glory may appear

outwardly, and after the thought of men.  For so it is that who

considereth his own poverty and vileness, ought not only to draw

therefrom no grief or sorrow, or sadness of spirit, but rather

comfort and cheerfulness; because Thou, Lord, hast chosen the

poor and humble, and those who are poor in this world, to be Thy

friends and acquaintance.  So give all Thine apostles witness

whom Thou hast made princes in all lands.  Yet they had their

conversation in this world blameless, so humble and meek, without

any malice or deceit, that they even rejoiced to suffer rebukes

for Thy Name's sake,(1) and what things the world hateth, they

embraced with great joy.

5. Therefore ought nothing so much to rejoice him who loveth Thee

and knoweth Thy benefits, as Thy will in him, and the good

pleasure of Thine eternal Providence, wherewith he ought to be so

contented and comforted, that he would as willingly be the least

as any other would be the greatest, as peaceable and contented in

the lowest as in the highest place, and as willingly held of

small and low account and of no name or reputation as to be more

honourable and greater in the world than others.  For Thy will

and the love of Thine honour ought to go before all things, and

to please and comfort him more, than all benefits that are given

or may be given to himself.

(1) Act v. 41.


Of four things which bring great peace

"My Son, now will I teach thee the way of peace and of true


2. Do, O my Lord, as Thou sayest, for this is pleasing unto me to


3. "Strive, My Son, to do another's will rather than thine own.

Choose always to have less rather than more.  Seek always after

the lowest place, and to be subject to all.  Wish always and pray

that the will of God be fulfilled in thee.  Behold, such a man as

this entereth into the inheritance of peace and quietness."

4. O my Lord, this Thy short discourse hath in itself much of

perfectness.  It is short in words but full of meaning, and

abundant in fruit.  For if it were possible that I should fully

keep it, disturbance would not so easily arise within me.  For as

often as I feel myself disquieted and weighed down, I find myself

to have gone back from this teaching.  But Thou, Who art

Almighty, and always lovest progress in the soul, vouchsafe more

grace, that I may be enabled to fulfil Thy exhortation, and work

out my salvation.


5. O Lord my God, be not Thou far from me, my God, haste Thee to

help me,(1) for many thought and great fears have risen up

against me, afflicting my soul.  How shall I pass through them

unhurt? how shall I break through them?

6. "I", saith He, "will go before thee, and make the crooked

places straight."(2)  I will open the prison doors, and reveal to

thee the secret places.

7. Do, Lord, as Thou sayest; and let all evil thoughts fly away

before Thy face.  This is my hope and my only comfort, to fly

unto Thee in all tribulation, to hope in Thee, to call upon Thee

from my heart and patiently wait for Thy loving kindness.


8. Enlighten me, Blessed Jesus, with the brightness of Thy inner

light, and cast forth all darkness from the habitation of my

heart.  Restrain my many wandering thoughts, and carry away the

temptations which strive to do me hurt.  Fight Thou mightily for

me, and drive forth the evil beasts, so call I alluring lusts,

that peace may be within Thy walls and plenteousness of praise

within Thy palaces,(3) even in my pure conscience.  Command Thou

the winds and the storms, say unto the sea, "Be still," say unto

the stormy wind, "Hold thy peace," so shall there be a great


9. Oh send forth Thy light and Thy truth,(4) that they may shine

upon the earth; for I am but earth without form and void until

Thou give me light.  Pour forth Thy grace from above; water my

heart with the dew of heaven; give the waters of devotion to

water the face of the earth, and cause it to bring forth good and

perfect fruit.  Lift up my mind which is oppressed with the

weight of sins, and raise my whole desire to heavenly things;

that having tasted the sweetness of the happiness which is from

above, it may take no pleasure in thinking of things of earth.

10. Draw me and deliver me from every unstable comfort of

creatures, for no created thing is able to satisfy my desire and

to give me comfort.  Join me to Thyself by the inseparable bond

of love, for Thou alone art sufficient to him that loveth Thee,

and without Thee all things are vain toys.

(1) Psalm lxxi. 12.   (2) Isaiah xlv. 2.   (3) Psalm cxxii. 7.

(4) Psalm xliii. 3.


Of avoiding of curious inquiry into the life of another

"My Son, be not curious, nor trouble thyself with vain cares.

What is that to thee?  Follow thou Me.(1)  For what is it to thee

whether a man be this or that, or say or do thus or thus?  Thou

hast no need to answer for others, but thou must give an answer

for thyself.  Why therefore dost thou entangle thyself?  Behold,

I know all men, and I behold all things which are done under the

sun; and I know how it standeth with each one, what he thinketh,

what he willeth, and to what end his thoughts reach.  All things

therefore are to be committed to Me; watch thou thyself in godly

peace, and leave him who is unquiet to be unquiet as he will.

Whatsoever he shall do or say, shall come unto him, for he cannot

deceive Me.

2. "Trouble not thyself about the shadow of a great name, nor

about the friendship of many, nor about the love of men towards

thee.  For these things beget distraction and great sorrows of

heart.  My word should speak freely unto thee, and I would reveal

secrets, if only thou didst diligently look for My appearing, and

didst open unto Me the gates of thy heart.  Be sober and watch

unto prayer,(2) and humble thyself in all things."

(1) John xxi. 12.   (2) I Peter iv. 7.


Wherein firm peace of heart and true profit consist

"My Son, I have said, Peace I leave with you, My peace I give

unto you, not as the world giveth give I unto you.(1)  All men

desire peace, but all do not care for the things which belong

unto true peace.  My peace is with the humble and lowly in heart.

Thy peace shall be in much patience.  If thou heardest Me, and

didst follow My voice, thou shouldest enjoy much peace."

2. What then shall I do, Lord?

3. "In everything take heed to thyself what thou doest, and what

thou sayest; and direct all thy purpose to this, that thou please

Me alone, and desire or seek nothing apart from Me.  But,

moreover, judge nothing rashly concerning the words and deeds of

others, nor meddle with matter which are not committed to thee;

and it may be that thou shalt be disturbed little or rarely.  Yet

never to feel any disquiet, nor to suffer any pain of heart or

body, this belongeth not to the present life, but is the state of

eternal rest.  Therefore count not thyself to have found true

peace, if thou hast felt no grief; nor that then all is well if

thou hast no adversary; not that this is perfect if all things

fall out according to thy desire.  Nor then reckon thyself to be

anything great, or think that thou art specially beloved, if thou

art in a state of great fervour and sweetness of spirit; for not

by these things is the true lover of virtue known, nor in them

doth the profit and perfection of man consist."

4. In what then, Lord?

5. "In offering thyself with all thy heart to the Divine Will, in

not seeking the things which are thine own, whether great or

small, whether temporal or eternal; so that thou remain with the

same steady countenance in giving of thanks between prosperity

and adversity, weighing all things in an equal balance.  If thou

be so brave and long-suffering in hope that when inward comfort

is taken from thee, thou even prepare thy heart for more

endurance, and justify not thyself, as though thou oughtest not

to suffer these heavy things, but dost justify Me in all things

that I appoint, and dost bless My Holy Name, then dost thou walk

in the true and right way of peace, and shalt have a sure hope

that thou shalt again behold My face with joy.  For if thou come

to an utter contempt of thyself, know that then thou shalt enjoy

abundance of peace, as much as is possible where thou art but a

wayfaring man."

(1) John xiv. 27.


Of the exaltation of a free spirit, which humble prayer more

deserveth than doth frequent reading

Lord, this is the work of a perfect man, never to slacken his

mind from attention to heavenly things, and among many cares to

pass along as it were without care, not after the manner of one

indifferent, but rather with the privilege of a free man,

cleaving to no creature with inordinate affection.

2. I beseech Thee, my most merciful Lord God, preserve me from

the cares of this life, lest I become too much entangled; from

many necessities of the body, lest I be taken captive by

pleasure; from all obstacles of the spirit, lest I be broken and

cast down with cares.  I say not from those things which the

vanity of the world goeth about after with all eagerness, but

from those miseries, which by the universal curse of mortality

weigh down and hold back the soul of thy servant in punishment,

that it cannot enter into liberty of spirit, so often as it


3. O my God, sweetness unspeakable, turn into bitterness all my

fleshly consolation, which draweth me away from the love of

eternal things, and wickedly allureth toward itself by setting

before me some present delight.  Let not, O my God, let not flesh

and blood prevail over me, let not the world and its short glory

deceive me, let not the devil and his craftiness supplant me.

Give me courage to resist, patience to endure, constancy to

presevere. Grant, in place of all consolations of the world, the

most sweet unction of Thy Spirit, and in place of carnal love,

pour into me the love of Thy Name.

4. Behold, food and drink and clothing, and all the other needs

appertaining to the support of the body, are burdensome to the

devout spirit.  Grant that I may use such things with moderation,

and that I be not entangled with inordinate affection for them.

To cast away all these things is not lawful, because nature must

be sustained, but to require superfluities and things which

merely minister delight, the holy law forbiddeth; for otherwise

the flesh would wax insolent against the spirit.  In all these

things, I beseech Thee, let Thy hand guide and teach me, that I

in no way exceed.


That personal love greatly hindereth from the highest good

"My Son, thou must give all for all, and be nothing of thine own.

Know thou that the love of thyself is more hurtful thee than

anything in the world.  According to the love and inclination

which thou hast, everything more or less cleaveth to thee.  If

thy love be pure, sincere, well-regulated, thou shalt not be in

captivity to anything.  Do not covet what thou mayest not have;

do not have what is able to hinder thee, and to rob thee of

inward liberty.  It is wonderful that thou committest not thyself

to Me from the very bottom of thy heart, with all things which

thou canst desire or have.

2. "Why art thou consumed with vain sorrow?  Why art thou wearied

with superfluous cares?  Stand thou by My good pleasure, and thou

shalt suffer no loss.  If thou seekest after this or that, and

wilt be here or there, according to thine own advantage or the

fulfilling of thine own pleasure, thou shalt never be in quiet,

nor free from care, because in everything somewhat will be found

lacking, and everywhere there will be somebody who opposeth thee.

3. "Therefore it is not gaining or multiplying of this thing or

that which advantageth thee, but rather the despising it and

cutting it by the root out of thy heart; which thou must not only

understand of money and riches, but of the desire after honour

and vain praise, things which all pass away with the world.  The

place availeth little if the spirit of devotion is wanting; nor

shall that peace stand long which is sought abroad, if the state

of thy heart is without the true foundation, that is, if it abide

not in Me.  Thou mayest change, but thou canst not better

thyself; for when occasion ariseth and is accepted thou shalt

find what thou didst fly from, yea more."


4. Strengthen me, O God, by the grace of Thy Holy Spirit.  Give

me virtue to be strengthened with might in the inner man, and to

free my heart from all fruitless care and trouble, and that I be

not drawn away by various desires after any things whatsoever,

whether of little value or great, but that I may look upon all as

passing away, and myself as passing away with them; because there

is no profit under the sun, and all is vanity and vexation of

spirit.(1)  Oh how wise is he that considereth thus!

5. Give me, O Lord, heavenly wisdom, that I may learn to seek

Thee above all things and to find Thee; to relish Thee above all

things and to love Thee; and to understand all other things, even

as they are, according to the order of Thy wisdom.  Grant me

prudently to avoid the flatterer, and patiently to bear with him

that opposeth me; for this is great wisdom, not to be carried

by every wind of words, nor to give ear to the wicked flattering

Siren; for thus do we go safely on in the way we have begun.

(1) Ecclesiastes ii. 11.


Against the tongues of detractors

"My Son, take it not sadly to heart, if any think ill of thee,

and say of thee what thou art unwilling to hear.  Thou oughtest

to think worse of thyself, and to believe no man weaker than

thyself.  If thou walkest inwardly, thou wilt not weigh flying

words above their value.  It is no small prudence to keep silence

in an evil time and to turn inwardly unto Me, and not to be

troubled by human judgment.

2. "Let not thy peace depend upon the word of men; for whether

they judge well or ill of thee, thou art not therefore any other

man than thyself.  Where is true peace or true glory?  Is it not

in Me?  And he who seeketh not to please men, not feareth to

displease, shall enjoy abundant peace.  From inordinate love and

vain fear ariseth all disquietude of heart, and all distraction

of the senses."


How when tribulation cometh we must call upon and bless God

Blessed by thy name, O Lord, for evermore, who hast willed this

temptation and trouble to come upon me.  I cannot escape it, but

have need to flee unto Thee, that Thou mayest succour me and turn

it unto me for good.  Lord, now am I in tribulation, and it is

not well within my heart, but I am sore vexed by the suffering

which lieth upon me.  And now, O dear Father, what shall I say?

I am taken among the snares.  Save me from this hour, but for

this cause came I unto this hour,(1) that Thou mightest be

glorified when I am deeply humbled and am delivered through Thee.

Let it be Thy pleasure to deliver me;(2) for what can I do who am

poor, and without Thee whither shall I go?  Give patience this

time also.  Help me, O Lord my God, and I will not fear how much

soever I be weighed down.

2. And now amid these things what shall I say?  Lord, Thy will be

done.  I have well deserved to be troubled and weighed down.

Therefore I ought to bear, would that it be with patience, until

the tempest be overpast and comfort return.  Yet is Thine

omnipotent arm able also to take this temptation away from me,

and to lessen its power that I fall not utterly under it, even as

many a time past thou has helped me, O God, my merciful God.  And

as much as this deliverance is difficult to me, so much is it

easy to Thee, O right hand of the most Highest.

(1) John xii. 27.   (2) Psalm xl. 16.


Of seeking diving help and the confidence of obtaining grace

"My Son, I the Lord am a stronghold in the day of trouble.(1)

Come unto Me, when it is not well with thee.

"This it is which chiefly hindereth heavenly consolation, that

thou too slowly betakest thyself unto prayer.  For before thou

earnestly seek unto Me, thou dost first seek after many means of

comfort, and refresheth thyself in outward things; so it cometh

to pass that all things profit thee but little until thou learn

that it is I who deliver those who trust in Me; neither beside Me

is there any strong help, nor profitable counsel, nor enduring

remedy.  But now, recovering courage after the tempest, grow thou

strong in the light of My mercies, for I am nigh, saith the Lord,

that I may restore all things not only as they were at the first,

but also abundantly and one upon another.

2. "For is anything too hard for Me, or shall I be like unto one

who saith and doeth not?  Where is thy faith?  Stand fast and

with perseverance.  Be long-suffering and strong.  Consolation

will come unto thee in its due season.  Wait for Me; yea, wait; I

will come and heal thee.  It is temptation which vexeth thee, and

a vain fear which terrifieth thee.  What doth care about future

events bring thee, save sorrow upon sorrow.  Sufficient for the

day is the evil thereof.(2)  It is vain and useless to be

disturbed or lifted up about future things which perhaps will

never come.

3. "But it is the nature of man to be deceived by fancies of this

sort, and it is a sign of a mind which is still weak to be so

easily drawn away at the suggestion of the enemy.  For he careth

not whether he deceive and beguile by true means or false;

whether he throw thee down by the love of the present or fear of

the future.  Therefore let not thy heart be troubled, neither let

it be afraid.  Believe in Me, and put thy trust in My mercy.(3)

When thou thinkest thyself far removed from Me, I am often the

nearer.  When thou reckonest that almost all is lost, then often

is greater opportunity of gain at hand.  All is not lost when

something goeth contrary to thy wishes.  Thou oughtest not to

judge according to present feeling, nor so to take or give way to

any grief which befalleth thee, as if all hope of escape were

taken away.

4. "Think not thyself totally abandoned, although for the time I

have sent to thee some tribulation, or have even withdrawn some

cherished consolation; for this is the way to the Kingdom of

Heaven.  And without doubt it is better for thee and for all My

other servants, that ye should be proved by adversities, than

that ye should have all things as ye would.  I know thy hidden

thoughts: and that it is very needful for thy soul's health that

sometimes thou be left without relish, lest perchance thou be

lifted up by prosperity, and desirous to please thyself in that

which thou art not.  What I have given I am able to take away,

and to restore again at My good pleasure.

5. "When I shall have given, it is Mine; when I shall have taken

away, I have not taken what is thine; for every good gift and

every perfect gift(4) is from me.  If I shall have sent upon thee

grief or any vexation, be not angry, nor let thy heart be sad; I

am able quickly to lift thee up and to change every burden into

joy.  But I am just and greatly to be praised, when I do thus

unto thee.

6. "If thou rightly consider, and look upon it with truth, thou

oughtest never to be so sadly cast down because of adversity, but

rather shouldst rejoice and give thanks; yea, verily to count it

the highest joy that I afflict thee with sorrows and spare thee

not.  As My Father hath loved Me, so love I you;(5) thus have I

spoken unto My beloved disciples: whom I sent forth not unto

worldly joys, but to great strivings; not unto honours, but unto

contempt; not unto ease, but to labours; not unto rest, but to

bring forth much fruit with patience.  My son, remember these


(1) Nahum i. 7.   (2) Matthew vi. 34.

(3) John xiv. 27; Psalm xiii. 5.   (4) James i. 17.

(5) John xv. 9.


Of the neglect of every creature, that the Creator may be found

O Lord, I still need more grace, if I would arrive where neither

man nor any other creature may hinder me.  For so long as

anything keepeth me back, I cannot freely fly unto Thee.  He

desired eagerly thus to fly, who cried, saying, Oh that I had

wings like a dove, for then would I flee away and be at rest.

What is more peaceful than the single eye?  And what more free

than he that desireth nothing upon earth?  Therefore must a man

rise above every creature, and perfectly forsake himself, and

with abstracted mind to stand and behold that Thou, the Creator

of all things, hast among Thy creatures nothing like unto

Thyself.  And except a man be freed from all creatures, he will

not be able to reach freely after Divine things.  Therefore few

are found who give themselves to contemplation, because few know

how to separate themselves entirely from perishing and created


2. For this much grace is necessary, which may lift up the soul

and raise it above itself.  And except a man be lifted up in the

spirit, and freed from all creatures, and altogether united to

God, whatsoever he knoweth, whatsoever even he hath, it mattereth

but little.  He who esteemeth anything great save the one only

incomprehensible, eternal, good, shall long time be little and

lie low.  For whatsoever is not God is nothing, and ought to be

counted for nothing.  Great is the difference between a godly

man, illuminated with wisdom, and a scholar learned in knowledge

and given to books.  Far nobler is that doctrine which floweth

down from the divine fulness above, than that which is acquired

laboriously by human study.

3. Many are found who desire contemplation, but they do not

strive to practice those things which are required thereunto.  It

is also a great impediment, that much is made of symbols and

external signs, and too little of thorough mortification.  I know

not how it is, and by what spirit we are led, and what we who

would be deemed spiritual are aiming at, that we give so great

labour and so eager solicitude for transitory and worthless

things, and scarcely ever gather our senses together to think at

all of our inward condition.

4. Ah, me!  Forthwith after a little recollection we rush out of

doors, and do not subject our actions to a strict examination.

Where our affections are set we take no heed, and we weep not

that all things belonging to us are so defiled.  For because all

flesh had corrupted itself upon the earth, the great deluge came.

Since therefore out inmost affections are very corrupt, it

followeth of necessity that our actions also are corrupt, being

the index of a deficient inward strength.  Out of a pure heart

proceedeth the fruit of good living.

5. We demand, how much a man hath done; but from how much virtue

he acted, is not so narrowly considered.  We ask if he be strong,

rich, handsome, clever, whether he is a good writer, good singer,

good workman; but how poor he may be in spirit, how patient and

gently, how devout and meditative, on these things many are

silent.  Nature looketh upon the outward appearance of a man,

grace turneth its thought to the heart.  The former frequently

judgeth amiss; the latter trusteth in God, that it may not be



Of self-denial and the casting away of all selfishness

"My Son, thou canst not possess perfect liberty unless thou

altogether deny thyself.  All they are enslaved who are

possessors of riches, they who love themselves, the selfish, the

curious, the restless; those who ever seek after soft things, and

not after the thing of Jesus Christ; those who continually plan

and devise that which will not stand.  For whatsoever cometh not

of God shall perish.  Hold fast the short and complete saying,

'Renounce all things, and thou shalt find all things; give up thy

lust, and thou shalt find rest.'  Dwell upon this in thy mind,

and when thou art full of it, thou shalt understand all things."

2. O Lord, this is not the work of a day, nor children's play;

verily in this short saying is enclosed all the perfection of the


3. "My son, thou oughtest not to be turned aside, not immediately

cast down, because thou hast heard the way of the perfect.

Rather oughtest thou to be provoked to higher aims, and at the

least to long after the desire thereof.  Oh that it were so with

thee, and that thou hadst come to this, that thou wert not a love

of thine own self, but wert ready always to My nod, and to his

whom I have placed over thee as thy father.  Then shouldest thou

please Me exceedingly, and all thy life should go on in joy and

peace.  Thou hast still many things to renounce, which if thou

resign not utterly to Me, thou shalt not gain what thou seekest.

I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou

mayest be rich,(1) that is heavenly wisdom, which despiseth all

base things.  Put away from thee earthly wisdom, and all

pleasure, whether common to men, or thine own.

4. "I tell thee that thou must buy vile things with those that

are costly and great in the esteem of men.  For wonderfully vile

and small, and almost given up to forgetfulness, doth true

heavenly wisdom appear, which thinketh not high things of itself,

nor seeketh to be magnified upon the earth; many honour it with

their lips, but in heart are far from it; it is indeed the

precious pearl, which is hidden from many."

(1) Revelation iii. 18.


Of instability of heart, and of directing the aim towards God

"My Son, trust not thy feeling, for that which is now will be

quickly changed into somewhat else.  As long as thou livest thou

art subject to change, howsoever unwilling; so that thou art

found now joyful, now sad; now at peace, now disquieted; now

devout, now indevout; now studious, now careless; now sad, now

cheerful.  But the wise man, and he who is truly learned in

spirit, standeth above these changeable things, attentive not to

what he may feel in himself, or from what quarter the wind may

blow, but that the whole intent of his mind may carry him on to

the due and much-desired end.  For thus will he be able to remain

one and the same and unshaken, the single eye of his desire being

steadfastly fixed, through the manifold changes of the world,

upon Me.

2. "But according as the eye of intention be the more pure, even

so will a man make his way steadfastly through the manifold

storms.  But in many the eye of pure intention waxeth dim; for it

quickly resteth itself upon anything pleasant which occurreth,

and rarely is any many found altogether free from the blemish of

self-seeking.  So the Jews of old came to Bethany, to the house

of Martha and Mary, that they might see not Jesus, but Lazarus,

whom he had raised from the dead.(1)  Therefore must the eye of

the intention be cleansed, that it may be single and right, and

above all things which come in its way, may be directed unto Me."

(1) John xii. 9.


That to him who loveth God is sweet above all things and in all


Behold, God is mine, and all things are mine!  What will I more,

and what more happy thing can I desire?  O delightsome and sweet

world! that is, to him that loveth the Word, not the world,

neither the things that are in the world.(2)  My God, my all! To

him that understandeth, that word sufficeth, and to repeat it

often is pleasing to him that loveth it.  When Thou art present

all things are pleasant; when Thou art absent, all things are

wearisome.  Thou makest the heart to be at rest, givest it deep

peace and festal joy.  Thou makest it to think rightly in every

matter, and in every matter to give Thee praise; neither can

anything please long without Thee but if it would be pleasant and

of sweet savour, Thy grace must be there, and it is Thy wisdom

which must give unto it a sweet savour.

2. To him who tasteth Thee, what can be distasteful?  And to him

who tasteth Thee not, what is there which can make him joyous?

But the worldly wise, and they who enjoy the flesh, these fail in

Thy wisdom; for in the wisdom of the world is found utter vanity,

and to be carnally minded is death.  But they who follow after

Thee through contempt of worldly things, and mortfication of the

flesh, are found to be truly wise because they are carried from

vanity to verity, from the flesh to the spirit.  They taste that

the Lord is good, and whatsoever good they find in creatures,

they count it all unto the praise of the Creator.  Unlike, yea,

very unlike is the enjoyment of the Creator to enjoyment of the

Creature, the enjoyment of eternity and of time, of light

uncreated and of light reflected.

3. O Light everlasting, surpassing all created lights, dart down

Thy ray from on high which shall pierce the inmost depths of my

heart.  Give purity, joy, clearness, life to my spirit that with

all its powers it may cleave unto Thee with rapture passing man's

understanding.  O when shall that blessed and longed-for time

come when Thou shalt satisfy me with Thy presence, and be unto me

All in all?  So long as this is delayed, my joy shall not be

full.  Still, ah me! the old man liveth in me: he is not yet all

crucified, not yet quite dead; still he lusteth fiercely against

the spirit, wageth inward wars, nor suffereth the soul's kingdom

to be in peace.

4. But Thou who rulest the raging of the sea, and stillest the

waves thereof when they arise, rise up and help me.  Scatter the

people that delight in war.(2)  Destroy them by Thy power.  Show

forth, I beseech Thee, Thy might, and let Thy right hand be

glorified, for I have no hope, no refuge, save in Thee, O Lord my


(2) I John ii. 15.   (2) Psalm lxviii. 30.


That there is no security against temptation in this life

"My Son, thou art never secure in this life, but thy spiritual

armour will always be needful for thee as long as thou livest.

Thou dwellest among foes, and art attacked on the right hand and

on the left.  If therefore thou use not on all sides the shield

of patience, thou wilt not remain long unwounded.  Above all, if

thou keep not thy heart fixed upon Me with steadfast purpose to

bear all things for My sake, thou shalt not be able to bear the

fierceness of the attack, nor to attain to the victory of the

blessed.  Therefore must thou struggle bravely all thy life

through, and put forth a strong hand against those things which

oppose thee.  For to him that overcometh is the hidden manna

given,(1) but great misery is reserved for the slothful.

2. "If thou seek rest in this life, how then wilt thou attain

unto the rest which is eternal?  Set not thyself to attain much

rest, but much patience.  Seek the true peace, not in earth but

in heaven, not in man nor in any created thing, but in God alone.

For the love of God thou must willingly undergo all things,

whether labours or sorrows, temptations, vexations, anxieties,

necessities, infirmities, injuries, gainsayings, rebukes,

humiliations, confusions, corrections, despisings; these things

help unto virtue, these things prove the scholar of Christ; these

things fashion the heavenly crown.  I will give thee an eternal

reward for short labour, and infinite glory for transient shame.

3. "Thinkest thou that thou shalt always have spiritual

consolations at thy will?  My Saints had never such, but instead

thereof manifold griefs, and divers temptations, and heavy

desolations.  But patiently they bore themselves in all, and

trusted in God more than in themselves, knowing that the

sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared

with the glory which shall be received in us.(2)  Wouldst thou

have that immediately which many have hardly attained unto after

many tears and hard labours?  Wait for the Lord, quit thyself

like a man and be strong; be not faint-hearted, nor go aside from

Me, but constantly devote thy body and soul to the glory of God.

I will reward thee plenteously, I will be with thee in


(1) Revelation ii. 17.   (2) Romans viii. 17.

(3) Psalm xci. 15.


Against vain judgments of men

"My Son, anchor thy soul firmly upon God, and fear not man's

judgments, when conscience pronounceth thee pious and innocent.

It is good and blessed thus to suffer; nor will it be grievous to

the heart which is humble, and which trusteth in God more than in

itself.  Many men have many opinions, and therefore little trust

is to be placed in them.  But moreover it is impossible to please

all.  Although Paul studied to please all men in the Lord, and to

become all things to all men,(1) yet nevertheless with him it was

a very small thing that he should be judged by man's


2. He laboured abundantly, as much as in him lay, for the

building up and the salvation of others; but he could not avoid

being sometimes judged and despised by others.  Therefore he

committed all to God, who knew all, and by patience and humility

defended himself against evil speakers, or foolish and false

thinkers, and those who accused him according to their pleasure.

Nevertheless, from time to time he replied, lest his silence

should become a stumbling-block to those who were weak.

3. "Who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that

shall die?  To-day he is, and to-morrow his place is not found.

Fear God and thou shalt not quail before the terrors of men.

What can any man do against thee by words or deeds?  He hurteth

himself more than thee, nor shall he escape the judgment of God,

whosoever he may be.  Have thou God before thine eyes, and do not

contend with fretful words.  And if for the present thou seem to

give way, and to suffer confusion which thou hast not deserved,

be not angry at this, nor by impatience diminish thy reward; but

rather look up to Me in heaven, for I am able to deliver thee

from all confusion and hurt, and to render to every man according

to his works."

(1) I Corinthians ix. 22.   (2) I Corinthians iv. 3.


Of pure and entire resignation of self, for obtaining liberty of


"My Son, lose thyself and thou shalt find Me.  Stand still

without all choosing and all thought of self, and thou shalt ever

be a gainer.  For more grace shall be added to thee, as soon as

thou resignest thyself, and so long as thou dost not turn back to

take thyself again."

2. O Lord, how often shall I resign myself, and in what things

shall I lose myself?

3. "Always; every hour: in that which is little, and in that

which is great.  I make no exception, but will that thou be found

naked in all things. Otherwise how canst thou be Mine and I

thine, unless thou be inwardly and outwardly free from every will

of thine own?  The sooner thou dost this, the better shall it be

with thee; and the more fully and sincerely, the more thou shalt

please Me, and the more abundantly shalt thou be rewarded.

4. "Some resign themselves, but with certain reservations, for

they do not fully trust in God, therefore they think that they

have some provision to make for themselves.  Some again at first

offer everything; but afterwards being pressed by temptation they

return to their own devices, and thus make no progress in virtue.

They will not attain to the true liberty of a pure heart, nor to

the grace of My sweet companionship, unless they first entirely

resign themselves and daily offer themselves up as a sacrifice;

without this the union which bringeth forth fruit standeth not

nor will stand.

5. "Many a time I have said unto thee, and now say again, Give

thyself up, resign thyself, and thou shalt have great inward

peace.  Give all for all; demand nothing, ask nothing in return;

stand simply and with no hesitation in Me, and thou shalt possess

Me.  Thou shalt have liberty of heart, and the darkness shall not

overwhelm thee.  For this strive thou, pray for it, long after

it, that thou mayest be delivered from all possession of thyself,

and nakedly follow Jesus who was made naked for thee; mayest die

unto thyself and live eternally to Me.  Then shall all vain

fancies disappear, all evil disturbings, and superfluous cares.

Then also shall immoderate fear depart from thee, and inordinate

love shall die."


Of a good government in external things, and of having recourse

to God in dangers

"My Son, for this thou must diligently make thy endeavour, that

in every place and outward action or occupation thou mayest be

free within, and have power over thyself; and that all things be

under thee, not thou under them; that thou be master and ruler of

thy actions, not a slave or hireling, but rather a free and true

Hebrew, entering into the lot and the liberty of the children of

God, who stand above the present and look upon the eternal, who

with the left eye behold things transitory, and with the right

things heavenly; whom temporal things draw not to cleave unto,

but who rather draw temporal things to do them good service, even

as they were ordained of God to do, and appointed by the Master

Workman, who hath left nought in His creation without aim or


2. "And if in any chance of life thou stand not in outward

appearances, nor judgest things which are seen and heard by the

fleshly sense, but straightway in every cause enterest with Moses

into the tabernacle to ask counsel of God; thou shalt hear a

divine response and come forth instructed concerning many things

that are and shall be.  For always Moses had recourse to the

tabernacle for the solving of all doubts and questionings; and

fled to the help of prayer to be delivered from the dangers and

evil deeds of men.  Thus also oughtest thou to fly to the secret

chamber of thy heart, and earnestly implore the divine succour.

For this cause we read that Joshua and the children of Israel

were deceived by the Gibeonites, that they asked not counsel at

the mouth of the Lord,(1) but being too ready to listen to fair

speeches, were deceived by pretended piety."

(1) Joshua ix. 14.


That man must not be immersed in business

"My Son, always commit thy cause to Me; I will dispose it aright

in due time.  Wait for My arrangement of it, and then thou shalt

find it for thy profit."

2. O Lord, right freely I commit all things to Thee; for my

planning can profit but little.  Oh that I did not dwell so much

on future events, but could offer myself altogether to Thy

pleasures without delay.

3. "My Son, a man often striveth vehemently after somewhat which

he desireth; but when he hath obtained it he beginneth to be of

another mind, because his affections towards it are not lasting,

but rather rush on from one thing to another. Therefore it is not

really a small thing, when in small things we resist self."

4. The true progress of man lieth in self-denial, and a man who

denieth himself is free and safe.  But the old enemy, opposer of

all good things, ceaseth not from temptation; but day and night

setteth his wicked snares, if haply he may be able to entrap the

unwary.  Watch and pray, saith the Lord, lest ye enter into


(1) Matthew xxvi. 41.


That man hath no good in himself, and nothing whereof to glory

Lord, what is man that Thou art mindful of him, or the son of man

that Thou visitest him?(2)  What hath man deserved, that Thou

shouldest bestow thy favour upon him?  Lord, what cause can I

have of complaint, if Thou forsake me?  Or what can I justly

allege, if Thou refuse to hear my petition?  Of a truth, this I

may truly think and say, Lord, I am nothing, I have nothing that

is good of myself, but I fall short in all things, and ever tend

unto nothing.  And unless I am helped by Thee and inwardly

supported, I become altogether lukewarm and reckless.

2. But Thou, O Lord, art always the same, and endurest for ever,

always good, righteous, and holy; doing all things well,

righteously, and holily, and disposing all in Thy wisdom.  But I

who am more ready to go forward than backward, never continue in

one stay, because changes sevenfold pass over me.  Yet it quickly

becometh better when it so pleaseth Thee, and Thou puttest forth

Thy hand to help me; because Thou alone canst aid without help of

man, and canst so stregthen me that my countenance shall be no

more changed, but my heart shall be turned to Thee, and rest in

Thee alone.

3. Wherefore, if I but knew well how to reject all human

consolations, whether for the sake of gaining devotion, or

because of the necessity by which I was compelled to seek Thee,

seeing there is no man who can comfort me; then could I worthily

trust in Thy grace, and rejoice in the gift of new consolation.

4. Thanks be to Thee, from whom all cometh, whensoever it goeth

well with me!  But I am vanity and nothing in Thy sight, a man

inconstant and weak.  What then have I whereof to glory, or why

do I long to be held in honour?  Is it not for nought?  This also

is utterly vain.  Verily vain glory is an evil plague, the

greatest of vanities, because it draweth us away fom the true

glory, and robbeth us of heavenly grace.  For whilst a man

pleaseth himself he displeaseth Thee; whilst he gapeth after the

praises of man, he is deprived of true virtues.

5. But true glory and holy rejoicing lieth in glorying in Thee

and not in self; in rejoicing in Thy Name, not in our own virtue;

in not taking delight in any creature, save only for Thy sake.

Let thy Name, not mine be praised; let Thy work, not mine be

magnified; let Thy holy Name be blessed, but to me let nought be

given of the praises of men.  Thou art my glory, Thou art the joy

of my heart.  In Thee will I make my boast and be glad all the

day long, for myself let me not glory save only in my


6. Let the Jews seek the honour which cometh from one another;

but I will ask for that which cometh from God only.(3)  Truly all

human glory, all temporal honour, all worldly exultation,

compared to Thy eternal glory, is but vanity and folly.  O God my

Truth and my Mercy, Blessed Trinity, to Thee alone be all praise,

honour, power, and glory for ever and for ever.  Amen.

(2) Psalm viii. 4.   (2) 2 Corinthians xii. 5.

(3) John v. 44.


Of contempt of all temporal honour

"My Son, make it no matter of thine, if thou see others honoured

and exalted, and thyself despised and humbled.  Lift up thine

heart to Me in heaven, and then the contempt of men upon earth

will not make thee sad."

2. O Lord, we are in blindness, and are quickly seduced by

vanity.  If I look rightly within myself, never was injury done

unto me by any creature, and therefore I have nought whereof to

complain before Thee.  But because I have many times and

grievously sinned against Thee, all creatures do justly take arms

against me.  Therefore to me confusion and contempt are justly

due, but to Thee praise and honour and glory.  And except I

dispose myself for this, namely, to be willing that every

creature should despise and desert me, and that I should be

esteemed altogether as nothing, I cannot be inwardly filled with

peace and strength, nor spiritually enlightened, nor fully united

to Thee.


That our peace is not to be placed in men

"My Son, if thou set thy peace on any person because thou hast

high opinion of him, and art familiar with him, thou shalt be

unstable and entangled.  But if thou betake thyself to the

ever-living and abiding Truth, the desertion or death of a friend

shall not make thee sad.  In Me ought the love of thy friend to

subsist, and for My sake is every one to be loved, whosoever he

be, who appeareth to thee good, and is very dear to thee in this

life.  Without Me friendship hath no strength or endurance,

neither is that love true and pure, which I unite not.  Thou

oughtest to be so dead to such affections of beloved friends,

that as far as in thee lieth, thou wouldst rather choose to be

without any companionship of men.  The nearer a man approacheth

to God, the further he recedeth from all earthly solace.  The

deeper also he descendeth into himself, and the viler he

appeareth in his own eyes, the higher he ascendeth towards God.

2. "But he who attributeth anything good to himself, hindereth

the grace of God from coming to him, because the grace of the

Holy Ghost ever seeketh the humble heart.  If thou couldst make

thyself utterly nothing, and empty thyself of the love of every

creature, then should it be My part to overflow unto thee with

great grace.  When thou settest thine eyes upon creatures, the

face of the Creator is withdrawn from thee.  Learn in all things

to conquer thyself for thy Creator's sake, then shalt thou be

able to attain unto divine knowledge.  How small soever anything

be, if it be loved and regarded inordinately, it holdeth us back

from the highest good, and corrupteth."


Against vain and worldly knowledge

"My Son, let not the fair and subtle sayings of men move thee.

For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.(1)  Give ear

to My words, for they kindle the heart and enlighten the mind,

they bring contrition, and they supply manifold consolations.

Never read thou the word that thou mayest appear more learned or

wise; but study for the mortification of thy sins, for this will

be far more profitable for thee than the knowledge of many

difficult questions.

2. "When thou hast read and learned many things, thou must always

return to one first principle.  I am He that teacheth man

knowledge,(2) and I give unto babes clearer knowledge than can

be taught by man.  He to whom I speak will be quickly wise and

shall grow much in the spirit.  Woe unto them who inquire into

many curious questions from men, and take little heed concerning

the way of My service.  The time will come when Christ will

appear, the Master of masters, the Lord of the Angels, to hear

the lessons of all, that is to examine the consciences of each

one.  And then will He search Jerusalem with candles,(3) and the

hidden things of darkness(4) shall be made manifest, and the

arguings of tongues shall be silent.

3. "I am He who in an instant list up the humble spirit, to learn

more reasonings of the Eternal Truth, than if a man had studied

ten years in the schools.  I teach without noise of words,

without confusion of opinions, without strivings after honour,

without clash of arguments.  I am He who teach men to despise

earthly things, to loathe things present, to seek things

heavenly, to enjoy things eternal, to flee honours, to endure

offences, to place all hope in Me, to desire nothing apart from

Me, and above all things to love Me ardently.

4. "For there was one, who by loving Me from the bottom of his

heart, learned divine things, and spake things that were

wonderful; he profited more by forsaking all things than by

studying subtleties.  But to some I speak common things, to

others special; to some I appear gently in signs and figures, and

again to some I reveal mysteries in much light.  The voice of

books is one, but it informeth not all alike; because I inwardly

am the Teacher of truth, the Searcher of the heart, the Discerner

of the thoughts, the Mover of actions, distributing to each man,

as I judge meet."

(1) I Corinthians iv. 20.   (2) Psalm xciv. 10.

(3) Zephaniah i. 12.   (4) I Corinthians iv. 5.


Of not troubling ourselves about outward things

"My Son, in many things it behoveth thee to be ignorant, and to

esteem thyself as one dead upon the earth, and as one to whom the

whole world is crucified.  Many things also thou must pass by

with deaf ear, and must rather think upon those things which

belong unto thy peace.  It is more profitable to turn away thine

eyes from those things that displease, and to leave each man to

his own opinion, than to give thyself to discourses of strife.

If thou stand well with God and hast His judgement in thy mind,

thou wilt verily easily bear to be as one conquered."

2. O Lord, to what have we come?  Behold a temporal loss is

mourned over; for a trifling gain we labour and hurry; and

spiritual loss passeth away into forgetfulness, and we rarely

recover it.  That which profiteth little or nothing is looked

after, and that which is altogether necessary is negligently

passed by; because the whole man slideth away to outward things,

and unless he quickly recovereth himself in outward things he

willingly lieth down.


That we must not believe everyone, and that we are prone to fall

in our words

Lord, be thou my help in trouble, for vain is the help of man.(1)

How often have I failed to find faithfulness, where I thought I

possessed it.  How many times I have found it where I least

expected.  Vain therefore is hope in men, but the salvation of

the just, O God, is in Thee.  Blessed be thou, O Lord my God, in

all things which happen unto us.  We are weak and unstable, we

are quickly deceived and quite changed.

2. Who is the man who is able to keep himself so warily and

circumspectly as not sometimes to come into some snare of

perplexity?  But he who trusteth in Thee, O Lord, and seeketh

Thee with an unfeigned heart, doth not so easily slip.  And if he

fall into any tribulation, howsoever he may be entangled, yet

very quickly he shall be delivered through Thee, or by Thee shall

be comforted, because Thou wilt not forsake him that trusteth in

Thee unto the end.  A friend who continueth faithful in all the

distresses of his friend is rare to be found.  Thou, O Lord, Thou

alone art most faithful in all things, and there is none other

like unto Thee.

3. Oh, how truly wise was that holy soul which said, "My mind is

steadfastly fixed, and it is grounded in Christ."(2)  If thus it

were with me, the fear of man should not so easily tempt me, nor

the arrows of words move me.  Who is sufficient to foresee all

things, who to guard beforehand against future ills?  If even

things which are foreseen sometimes hurt us, what can things

which are nor foreseen do, but grievously injure?  But wherefore

have I not better provided for myself, miserable that I am?  Why,

too, have I given such heed to others?  But we are men, nor are

we other than frail men, even though by many we are reckoned and

called angels.  Whom shall I trust, O Lord, whom shall I trust

but Thee?  Thou art the Truth, and deceivest not, nor canst be

deceived.  And on the other hand, Every man is a liar,(3) weak,

unstable and frail, especially in his words, so that one ought

scarcely ever to believe what seemeth to sound right on the face

of it.

4. With what wisdom hast thou warned us beforehand to beware of

men, and that a man's foes are they of his own household,(4) and

that we must not believe if one say unto us Lo here, or Lo

there.(5)  I have been taught by my loss, and O that I may prove

more careful and not foolish hereby.  "Be cautious," saith some

one: "be cautious, keep unto thyself what I tell thee."  And

whilst I am silent and believe that it is hid with me, he himself

cannot keep silence concerning it, but straightway betrayeth me

and himself, and goeth his way.  Protect me, O Lord, from such

mischief-making and reckless men; let me not fall into their

hands, nor ever do such things myself.  Put a true and steadfast

word into my mouth, and remove a deceitful tongue far from me.

What I would not suffer, I ought by all means to beware of doing.

5. Oh, how good and peacemaking a thing it is to be silent

concerning others, and not carelessly to believe all reports, nor

to hand them on further; how good also to lay one's self open to

few, to seek ever to have Thee as the beholder of the heart; not

to be carried about with every wind of words, but to desire that

all things inward and outward be done according to the good

pleasure of Thy will!  How safe for the preserving of heavenly

grace to fly from human approval, and not to long after the

things which seem to win admiration abroad, but to follow with

all earnestness those things which bring amendment of life and

heavenly fervour!  How many have been injured by their virtue

being made known and too hastily praised.  How truly profitable

hath been grace preserved in silence in this frail life, which,

as we are told, is all temptation and warfare.

(1) Psalm lx. 11.   (2) St. Agatha   (3) Psalm cxvi. 11.

(4) Romans iii. 4.   (5) Matthew xxiv. 23.


Of having confidence in God when evil words are cast at us

"My Son, stand fast and believe in Me.  For what are words but

words?  They fly through the air, but they bruise no stone.  If

thou are guilty, think how thou wouldst gladly amend thyself; if

thou knowest nothing against thyself, consider that thou wilt

gladly bear this for God's sake.  It is little enough that thou

sometimes hast to bear hard words, for thou art not yet able to

bear hard blows.  And wherefore do such trivial matters go to

thine heart, except that thou art yet carnal, and regardest men

more than thou oughtest?  For because thou fearest to be

despised, thou art unwillng to be reproved for thy faults, and

seekest paltry shelters of excuses.

2. "But look better into thyself, and thou shalt know that the

world is still alive in thee, and the vain hope of pleasing men.

For when thou fleest away from being abased and confounded for

thy faults, it is plain that thou art neither truly humble nor

truly dead to the world, and that the world is not crucified to

thee.  But hearken to My word, and thou shalt not care for ten

thousand words of men.  Behold, if all things could be said

against thee which the utmost malice could invent, what should it

hurt thee if thou wert altogether to let it go, and make no more

account of it than of a mote?  Could it pluck out a single hair

of thy head?

3. "But he that hath no heart within him, and hath not God before

his eyes, is easily moved by a word of reproach; but he who

trusteth in Me, and seeketh not to abide by his own judgment,

shall be free from the fear of men.  For I am the Judge and the

Discerner of all secrets; I know how the thing hath been done; I

know both the injurer and the bearer.  From Me went forth that

word, by My permission this hath happened, that the thoughts of

many hearts may be revealed.(1)  I shall judge the guilty and the

innocent; but beforehand I have willed to try them both by a

secret judgment.

4. "The testimony of men often deceiveth.  My judgment is true;

it will stand, and it shall not be overturned.  It commonly lieth

hid, and only to few in certain cases is it made known; yet it

never erreth, nor can err, although it seem not right to the eyes

of foolish men.  To Me, therefore, must men have recourse in all

judgment, and must not lean to they opinion.  For there shall no

evil happen to the just,(2) whatsoever may be sent to him by God.

Even though some unjust charge be brought against him, he will

care little; nor, again, will he exult above measure, if through

others he be clearly vindicated.  For he considereth that I am He

who try the hearts and reins,(3) who judge not outwardly and

according to human appearance; for often in Mine eyes that is

found blameworthy which in the judgment of men is held worthy of


5. O Lord God, O Judge, just, strong, and patient, who knowest

the fraility and sinfulness of men, be Thou my strength and my

whole confidence; for my own conscience sufficeth me not.  Thou

knowest what I know not; and therefore ought I under all rebuke

to humble myself, and to bear it meekly.  Therefore mercifully

forgive me as often as I have not done this, and grant me the

next time the grace of greater endurance.  For better unto me is

Thine abundant pity for the attainment of Thy pardon, than the

righteousness which I believe myself to have for defence against

my conscience, which lieth wait against me.  Although I know

nothing against myself, yet I am not hereby justified,(4) because

if Thy mercy were removed away, in Thy sight should not man

living be justified.(5)

(1) Luke ii. 35.   (2) Proverbs xii. 21.   (3) Psalm vii. 9.

(4) Corinthians iv. 4.   (5) Psalm cxliii. 2.


That all troubles are to be endured for the sake of eternal life

"My Son, let not the labours which thou hast undertaken for Me

break thee down, nor let tribulations cast thee down in any wise,

but let my promise strengthen and comfort thee in every event.  I

am sufficient to reward thee above all measure and extent.  Not

long shalt thou labour here, not always be weighed down with

sorrows.  Wait yet a little while, and thou shalt see a speedy

end of thine evils.  An hour shall come when all labour and

confusion shall cease.  Little and short is all that passeth away

with time.

2. "Do earnestly what thou dost; labour faithfully in My

vineyard; I will be thy reward.  Write, read, sing, weep, be

silent, pray, endure adversities manfully; eternal life is worthy

of all these conflicts, yea, and of greater.  Peace shall come in

one day which is known to the Lord; which shall be neither day

nor night,(1) but light eternal, infinite clearness, steadfast

peace, and undisturbed rest.  Thou shalt not say then, Who shall

deliver me from the body of this death?(2) nor cry out, Woe is

me, for my sojourning is prolonged,(3) because death will be

utterly destroyed, and there shall be salvation which can never

fail, no more anxiety, happy delight, sweet and noble society.

3. "Oh, if thou sawest the unfading crowns of the Saints in

heaven, and with what great glory they now rejoice, who aforetime

were reckoned by this world contemptibly and as it were unworthy

of life, truly thou wouldst immediately humble thyself even to

the earth, and wouldst desire rather to be in subjection to all,

than to have authority over one; nor wouldst thou long for

pleasant days of this life, but wouldst more rejoice to be

afflicted for God's sake, and wouldst esteem it gain to be

counted for nought amongst men.

4. "Oh, if these things were sweet to thy taste, and moved thee

to the bottom of thine heart, how shouldst thou dare ever once to

complain?  Are not all laborious things to be endured for the

sake of eternal life?  It is no small thing, the losing or

gaining the Kingdom of God.  Lift up therefore thy face to

heaven.  Behold, I and all My Saints with Me, who in this world

had a hard conflict, now rejoice, are now comforted, are now

secure, are now at peace, and shall remain with Me evermore, in

the Kingdom of My Father."

(1) Zechariah xiv. 7.   (2) Romans vii. 24. (3) Psalm cxx.


Of the day of eternity and of the straitness of this life

Oh most blessed mansion of the City which is above!  Oh most

clear day of eternity which the night obscureth not, but the

Supreme Truth ever enlighteneth!  Day always joyful, always

secure and never changing its state into those which are

contrary.  Oh would that this day might shine forth, and that all

these temporal things would come to an end.  It shineth indeed

upon the Saints, glowing with unending brightness, but only from

afar and through a glass, upon those who are pilgrims on the


2. The citizens of heaven know how glorious that day is; the

exiled sons of Eve groan, because this is bitter and wearisome.

The days of this life are few and evil, full of sorrows and

straits, where man is defiled with many sins, ensnared with many

passions, bound fast with many fears, wearied with many cares,

distracted with many questionings, entangled with many vanities,

compassed about with many errors, worn away with many labours,

weighed down with temptations, enervated by pleasures, tormented

by poverty.

3. Oh when shall there be an end of these evils?  When shall I be

delivered from the wretched slavery of my sins?  When shall I be

mindful, O Lord, of Thee alone?  When shall I rejoice in Thee to

the full?  When shall I be in true liberty without any

impediment, without any burden on mind or body?  When shall there

be solid peace, peace immovable and secure, peace within and

without, peace firm on every side?  Blessed Jesus, when shall I

stand to behold Thee?  When shall I gaze upon the glory of Thy

kingdom?  When shalt Thou be to me all in all?  Oh when shall I

be with Thee in Thy Kingdom which Thou hast prepared from the

foundation of the world for them that love Thee?  I am left

destitute, an exile in a hostile land, where are daily wars and

grievous misfortunes.

4. Console my exile, mitigate my sorrow, for towards Thee all my

desire longeth.  For all is to me a burden, whatsoever this world

offereth for consolation.  I yearn to enjoy Thee intimately, but

I cannot attain unto it.  I long to cleave to heavenly things,

but temporal things and unmortified passions press me down.  In

my mind I would be above all things, but in my flesh I am

unwillingly compelled to be beneath them.  So, wretched man that

I am, I fight with myself, and am made grievous even unto myself,

while the spirit seeketh to be above and the flesh to be beneath.

5. Oh how I suffer inwardly, while with the mind I discourse on

heavenly things, and presently a crowd of carnal things rusheth

upon me whilst I pray.  My God, be not Thou far from me, nor

depart in wrath from Thy servant.  Cast forth Thy lightning and

scatter them; send out Thine arrows,(1) and let all delusions of

my enemy be confounded.  Recall my senses unto Thyself, cause me

to forget all worldly things; grant me quickly to cast away and

despise the imaginations of sin.  Succour me, O Eternal Truth,

that no vanity man move me.  Come unto me, O Heavenly Sweetness,

and let all impurity flee from before Thy face.  Pardon me also,

and of Thy mercy deal gently with me, whensoever in prayer I

think on anything besides Thee; for truly I confess that I am

wont to be continually distracted.  For often and often, where in

the body I stand or sit, there I myself am not; but rather am I

there, whither I am borne by my thoughts.  Where my thought is,

there am I; and there commonly is my thought where that which I

love is.  That readily occurreth to me, which naturally

delighteth, or pleaseth through custom.

6. Wherefore Thou, who art the Truth, hast plainly said, Where

your treasure is, there will your heart be also.(2)  If I love

heaven, I gladly meditate on heavenly things.  If I love the

world, I rejoice in the delights of the world, and am made sorry

by its adversities.  If I love the flesh, I am continually

imagining the things which belong to the flesh; if I love the

spirit, I am delighted by meditating on spiritual things.  For

whatsoever things I love, on these I readily converse and listen,

and carry home with me the images of them.  But blessed is that

man who for Thy sake, O Lord, is willing to part from all

creatures; who doth violence to his fleshly nature and crucifieth

the lusts of the flesh by the fervour of his spirit, so that with

serene conscience he may offer unto Thee a pure prayer, and be

made worthy to enter into the angelic choirs, having shut out

from himself, both outwardly and inwardly, all worldly things.

(1) Psalm lxxi. 12.   (2) Matthew vi. 21.


Of the desire after eternal life, and how great blessings are

promised to those who strive

"My Son, when thou feelest the desire of eternal happiness to be

poured into thee from above, and longest to depart from the

tabernacle of this body, that thou mayest contemplate My glory

without shadow of turning, enlarge thine heart, and take in this

holy inspiration with all thy desire.  Give most hearty thanks to

the Supreme Goodness, who dealeth with thee so graciously,

visiteth thee so lovingly, stirreth thee up so fervently, raiseth

thee so powerfully, lest thou sink down through thine own weight,

to earthly things.  For not by thine own meditating or striving

dost thou receive this gift, but by the sole gracious

condescension of Supreme Grace and Divine regard; to the end that

thou mayest make progress in virtue and in more humility, and

prepare thyself for future conflicts, and cleave unto Me with all

the affection of thy heart, and strive to serve Me with fervent


2. "My Son, often the fire burneth, but the flame ascendeth not

without smoke.  So also the desires of some men burn towards

heavenly things, and yet they are not free from the temptation of

carnal affection.  Thus therefore they are not acting with an

altogether simple desire for God's glory when they pray to Him so

earnestly.  Such, too, is oftentimes thy desire, when thou hast

imagined it to be so earnest.  For that is not pure and perfect

which is tainted with thine own self-seeking.

3. "Seek thou not what is pleasant and advantageous to thyself,

but what is acceptable and honourable unto Me; for if thou

judgest rightly, thou must choose and follow after My appointment

rather than thine own desire; yea, rather than anything that can

be desired.  I know thy desire, and I have heard thy many

groanings.  Already thou longest to be in the glorious liberty of

the children of God; already the eternal home delighteth thee,

and the heavenly country full of joy; but the hour is not yet

come; there remaineth still another season, even a season of

warfare, a season of labour and probation.  Thou desirest to be

filled with the Chief Good, but thou canst not attain it

immediately.  I AM that Good; wait for Me, until the Kingdom of

God shall come.

4. "Thou must still be tried upon earth, and be exercised in many

things.  Consolation shall from time to time be given thee, but

abundant satisfying shall not be granted.  Be strong therefore,

and be thou brave both in working and in suffering things which

are against thy nature.  Thou must put on the new man, and be

changed into another man.  Thou must often do what thou wouldst

not; and thou must leave undone what thou wouldst do.  What

pleaseth others shall have good success, what pleaseth thee shall

have no prosperity.  What others say shall be listened to; what

thou sayest shall receive no heed.  Others shall ask and receive;

thou shalt ask and not obtain.  Others shall be great in the

report of men, but about thee shall nothing be spoken.  To others

this or that shall be entrusted; thou shalt be judged useful for


5. "For this cause nature shall sometimes be filled with sadness;

and it is a great thing if thou bear it silently.  In this and

many like things the faithful servant of the Lord is wont to be

tried, how far he is able to deny himself and bring himself into

subjection in all things.  Scarcely is there anything in which

thou hast need to mortify thyself so much as in seeing things

which are adverse to thy will; especially when things are

commanded thee to be done which seem to thee inexpedient or of

little use to thee.  And because thou darest not resist a higher

power, being under authority, therefore it seemeth hard for thee

to shape thy course according to the nod of another, and to

forego thine own opinion.

6. "But consider, My Son, the fruit of these labours, the swift

end, and the reward exceeding great; and thou shalt find it no

pain to bear them then, but rather the strongest solace of thy

patience.  For even in exchange for this trifling desire which

thou hast readily forsaken, thou shalt always have thy will in

Heaven.  There verily thou shalt find all that thou wouldst, all

that thou canst long for.  There thou shalt have all good within

thy power without fear of losing it.  There thy will, ever at one

with Mine, shall desire nothing outward, nothing for itself.

There no man shall withstand thee, none shall complain of thee,

none shall hinder, nothing shall stand in thy path; but all

things desired by thee shall be present together, and shall

refresh thy whole affection, and fill it up even to the brim.

There I will glory for the scorn suffered here, the garment of

praise for sorrow, and for the lowest place a throne in the

Kingdom, for ever.  There shall appear the fruit of obedience,

the labour of repentance shall rejoice, and humble subjection

shall be crowened gloriously.

7. "Now therefore bow thyself humbly under the hands of all men;

nor let it trouble thee who said this or who ordered that; but

take special heed that whether thy superior, thy inferior, or thy

equal, require anything from thee, or even show a desire for it;

take it all in good part, and study with a good will to fulfil

the desire.  Let one seek this, another that; let this man glory

in this, and that man in that, and be praised a thousand thousand

times, but rejoice thou only in the contempt of thyself, and in

Mine own good pleasure and glory.  This is what thou art to long

for, even that whether by life or by death God may be ever

magnified in thee."(1)

(1) Philippians i. 20.


How a desolate man ought to commit himself into the hands of God

O Lord, Holy Father, be Thou blessed now and evermore; because as

Thou wilt so it is done, and what Thou doest is good.  Let Thy

servant rejoice in Thee, not in himself, nor in any other;

because Thou alone art the true joy, Thou art my hope and my

crown, Thou art my joy and my honour, O Lord.  What hath Thy

servant, which he receiveth not from Thee, even without merit of

his own?  Thine are all things which Thou hast given, and which

Thou hast made.  I am poor and in misery even from my youth

up,(1) and my soul is sorrowful unto tears, sometimes also it is

disquieted within itself, because of the sufferings which are

coming upon it.

2. I long after the joy of peace; for the peace of Thy children

do I beseech, for in the light of Thy comfort they are fed by

Thee.  If Thou give peace, if Thou pour into me holy joy, the

soul of Thy servant shall be full of melody, and devout in Thy

praise.  But if Thou withdraw Thyself as too often Thou art wont,

he will not be able to run in the way of Thy commandments, but

rather he will smite his breast and will bow his knees; because

it is not with him as yesterday and the day before, when Thy

candle shined upon his head,(2) and he walked under the shadow of

Thy wings,(3) from the temptations which beset him.

3. O Father, righteous and ever to be praised, the hour cometh

when Thy servant is to be proved.  O beloved Father, it is well

that in this hour Thy servant suffer somewhat for Thy sake.  O

Father, evermore to be adored, as the hour cometh which Thou

foreknewest from everlasting, when for a little while Thy servant

should outwardly bow down, but always live inwardly with Thee;

when for a little while he should be little regarded, humbled,

and fail in the eyes of men; should be wasted with sufferings and

weaknesses, to rise again with Thee in the dawn of the new light,

and be glorified in the heavenly places.  O Holy Father, thou

hast ordained it so, and so hast willed it; and that is done

which Thou Thyself hast commanded.

4. For this is Thy favour to Thy friend, that he should suffer

and be troubled in the world for Thy love's sake, how often

soever, and by whomsoever and whosoever Thou hast suffered it to

be done.  Without Thy counsel and providence, and without cause,

nothing cometh to pass on the earth.  It is good for me, Lord,

that I have been in trouble, that I may learn Thy statutes,(4)

and may cast away all pride of heart and presumption.  It is

profitable for me that confusion hath covered my face, that I may

seek to Thee for consolation rather than unto men.  By this also

I have learned to dread Thine unsearchable judgment, who

afflictest the just with the wicked, but not without equity and


5. Thanks be unto Thee, because Thou hast not spared my sins, but

hast beaten me with stripes of love, inflicting pains, and

sending troubles upon me without and within.  There is none who

can console me, of all things which are under heaven, but Thou

only, O Lord my God, Thou heavenly Physician of souls, who dost

scourge and hast mercy, who leadest down to hell and bringest up

again.(5)  Thy discipline over me, and Thy rod itself shall teach


6. Behold, O beloved Father, I am in Thy hands, I bow myself

under the rod of Thy correction.  Smite my back and my neck that

I may bend my crookedness to Thy will.  Make me a pious and lowly

disciple, as Thou wert wont to be kind, that I may walk according

to every nod of Thine.  To Thee I commend myself and all that I

have for correction; better is it to be punished here than

hereafter.  Thou knowest all things and each of them; and nothing

remaineth hid from Thee in man's conscience.  Before they are,

thou knowest that they will be, and Thou needest not that any man

teach Thee or admonish Thee concerning the things which are done

upon the earth.  Thou knowest what is expedient for my profit,

and how greatly trouble serveth unto the scrubbing off the rust

of sin.  Do with me according to Thy desired good pleasure, and

despise not my life which is full of sin, known to none so

entirely and fully as to Thee alone.

7. Grant me, O Lord, to know that which ought to be known; to

love that which ought to be loved; to praise that which pleaseth

Thee most, to esteem that which is precious in Thy sight, to

blame that which is vile in Thine eyes.  Suffer me not to judge

according to the sight of bodily eyes, nor to give sentence

according to the hearing of the ears of ignorant men; but to

discern in true judgment between visible and spiritual things,

and above all things to be ever seeking after the will of Thy

good pleasure.

8. Oftentimes the senses of men are deceived in judging; the

lovers of the world also are deceived in that they love only

visible things.  What is a man because by man he is reckoned very

great?  The deceiver deceiveth the deceiver, the vain man the

vain, the blind man the blind, the weak man the weak, when they

exalt one another; and in truth they rather put to shame, while

they foolishly praise.  For as humble St. Francis saith, "What

each one is in Thine eyes, so much he is, and no more."

(1) Psalm lxxxviii. 15.   (2) Job xxix. 3.   (3) Psalm xvii. 8.

(4) Psalm cxix. 71.   (5) Job xiii. 2.


That we must give ourselves to humble works when we are unequal

to those that are lofty

"My Son, thou art not always able to continue in very fervent

desire after virtues, nor to stand fast in the loftier region of

contemplation; but thou must of necessity sometimes descend to

lower things because of thine original corruption, and bear about

the burden of corruptible life, though unwillingly and with

weariness.  So long as thou wearest a mortal body, thou shalt

feel weariness and heaviness of heart.  Therefore thou oughtest

to groan often in the flesh because of the burden of the flesh,

inasmuch as thou canst not give thyself to spiritual studies and

divine contemplation unceasingly.

2. "At such a time it is expedient for thee to flee to humble and

external works, and to renew thyself with good actions; to wait

for My coming and heavenly visitation with sure confidence; to

bear thy exile and drought of mind with patience, until thou be

visited by Me again, and be freed from all anxieties.  For I will

cause thee to forget thy labours, and altogether to enjoy peace.

I will spread open before thee the pleasant pastures of the

Scriptures, that with enlarged heart thou mayest begin to run in

the way of My commandments.  And thou shalt say, 'The sufferings

of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory

which shall be revealed in us.'"(1)

(1) Romans viii. 18.


That a man ought not to reckon himself worthy of consolation, but

more worthy of chastisement

O Lord, I am not worthy of Thy consolation, nor of any spiritual

visitation; and therefore Thou dealest justly with me, when Thou

leavest me poor and desolate.  For if I were able to pour forth

tears like the sea, still should I not be worthy of Thy

consolation.  Therefore am I nothing worthy save to be scourged

and punished, because I have grievously and many a time offended

Thee, and in many things have greatly sinned.  Therefore, true

account being taken, I am not worthy even of the least of Thy

consolations.  But Thou, gracious and merciful God, who willest

not that Thy works should perish, to show forth the riches of Thy

mercy upon the vessels of mercy,(1) vouchsafest even beyond all

his own deserving, to comfort Thy servant above the measure of

mankind.  For Thy consolations are not like unto the discoursings

of men.

2. What have I done, O Lord, that Thou shouldest bestow any

heavenly comfort upon me?  I remember not that I have done any

good, but have been ever prone to sin and slow to amendment.  It

is true and I cannot deny it.  If I should say otherwise, Thou

wouldst rise up against me, and there should be none to defend

me.  What have I deserved for my sins but hell and everlasting

fire?  In very truth I confess that I am worthy of all scorn and

contempt, nor is it fit that I should be remembered among Thy

faithful servants.  And although I be unwilling to hear this,

nevertheless I will for the Truth's sake, accuse myself of my

sins, that the more readily I may prevail to be accounted worthy

of Thy mercy.

3. What shall I say, guilty that I am and filled with confusion?

I have no mouth to utter, unless it be this word alone, "I have

sinned, Lord, I have sinned; have mercy upon me, forgive me."

Let me alone, that I may take comfort a little before I go whence

I shall not return even to the land of darkness and the shadow of

death.(2)  What dost Thou so much require of a guilty and

miserable sinner, as that he be contrite, and humble himself for

his sins?  In true contrition and humiliation of heart is

begotten the hope of pardon, the troubled conscience is

reconciled, lost grace is recovered, a man is preserved from the

wrath to come, and God and the penitent soul hasten to meet each

other with a holy kiss.(3)

4. The humble contrition of sinners is an acceptable sacrifice

unto Thee, O Lord, sending forth a smell sweeter far in Thy sight

than the incense.  This also is that pleasant ointment which Thou

wouldst have poured upon Thy sacred feet, for a broken and

contrite heart Thou hast never despised.(4)  There is the place

of refuge from the wrathful countenance of the enemy.  There is

amended and washed away whatsoever evil hath elsewhere been


(1) Romans ix. 23.   (2) Job x. 20, 21.   (3) Luke xv. 20.

(4) Psalm li. 17.


That the Grace of God doth not join itself to those who mind

earthly things

"My Son, precious is My grace, and it suffereth not itself to be

joined with outward things, nor with earthly consolations.

Therefore thou oughtest to cast away all things which hinder

grace, if thou longest to receive the inpouring thereof.  Seek a

secret place for thyself, love to dwell alone with thyself,

desire the conversation of no one; but rather pour out thy devout

prayer to God, that thou mayest possess a contrite mind and a

pure conscience.  Count the whole world as nought; seek to be

alone with God before all outward things.  For thou canst not be

alone with Me, and at the same time be delighted with transitory

things.  Thou oughtest to be separated from thy acquaintances and

dear friends, and keep thy mind free from all worldly comfort.

So the blessed Apostle Peter beseecheth, that Christ's faithful

ones bear themselves in this world as strangers and pilgrims.(1)

2. "Oh how great a confidence shall there be to the dying man

whom no affection to anything detaineth in the world?  But to

have a heart so separated from all things, a sickly soul doth not

yet comprehend, nor doth the carnal man know the liberty of the

spiritual man.  But if indeed he desire to be spiritually minded,

he must renounce both those who are far off, and those who are

near, and to beware of no man more than himself.  If thou

perfectly conquer thyself, very easily shalt thou subdue all

things besides.  Perfect victory is the triumph over oneself.

For whoso keepeth himself in subjection, in such manner that the

sensual affections obey the reason, and the reason in all things

obeyeth Me, he truly is conqueror of himself, and lord of the


3. "If thou desire to climb to this height, thou oughtest to

start bravely, and to lay the axe to the root, to the end that

thou mayest pull up and destroy the hidden inordinate inclination

towards thyself, and towards all selfish and earthly good.  From

this sin, that a man loveth himself too inordinately, almost

everything hangeth which needeth to be utterly overcome: when

that evil is conquered and put under foot, there shall be great

peace and tranquillity continually.  But because few strive

earnestly to die perfectly to themselves, and do not heartily go

forth from themselves, therefore do they remain entangled in

themselves, and cannot be raised in spirit above themselves.  But

he who desireth to walk at liberty with Me, must of necessity

mortify all his evil and inordinate affections, and must cling to

no creature with selfish love."

(1) 1 Peter ii. 11.


Of the diverse motions of Nature and of Grace

"My Son, pay diligent heed to the motions of Nature and of Grace,

because they move in a very contrary and subtle manner, and are

hardly distinguished save by a spiritual and inwardly enlightened

man.  All men indeed seek good, and make pretence of something

good in all that they say or do; and thus under the appearance of

good many are deceived.

2. "Nature is deceitful and draweth away, ensnareth, and

deceiveth many, and always hath self for her end; but Grace

walketh in simplicity and turneth away from every appearance of

evil, maketh no false pretences, and doeth all entirely for the

sake of God, in whom also she finally resteth.

3. "Nature is very unwilling to die, and to be pressed down, and

to be overcome, and to be in subjection, and to bear the yoke

readily; but Grace suffereth self-mortification, resisteth

sensuality, seeketh to be subdued, longeth to be conquered, and

willeth not to use her own liberty.  She loveth to be held by

discipline, and not to have authority over any, but always to

live, to remain, to have her being under God, and for God's sake

to be humbly subject to every ordinance of man.

4. "Nature laboureth for her own advantage, and considereth what

profit she may gain from another; but Grace considereth more, not

what may be useful and convenient to self, but what may be

profitable to the many.

5. "Nature willingly receiveth honour and reverence; but Grace

faithfully ascribeth all honour and glory to God.

6. "Nature feareth confusion and contempt, but Grace rejoiceth to

suffer shame for the name of Jesus.

7. "Nature loveth ease and bodily quiet; Grace cannot be

unemployed, but gladly embraceth labour.

8. "Nature seeketh to possess things curious and attractive, and

abhorreth those which are rough and cheap; Grace is delighted

with things simple and humble, despiseth not those which are

rough, nor refuseth to be clothed with old garments.

9. "Nature hath regard to things temporal, rejoiceth in earthly

lucre, is made sad by loss, vexed by any little injurious word;

but Grace reacheth after things eternal, cleaveth not to those

which are temporal, is not perturbed by losses, nor embittered by

any hard words, because she hath placed her treasure and joy in

heaven where nought perisheth.

10. "Nature is covetous, and receiveth more willingly than she

giveth, loveth things that are personal and private to herself;

while Grace is kind and generous, avoideth selfishness, is

contented with a little, believeth it is more blessed to give

than to receive.

11. "Nature inclineth thee to created things, to thine own flesh,

to vanities and dissipation; but Grace draweth to God and to

virtues, renounceth creatures, fleeth from the world, hateth the

desires of the flesh, restraineth vagaries, blusheth to be seen

in public.

12. "Nature is glad to receive some outward solace in which the

senses may have delight; but Grace seeketh to be comforted in God

alone, and to have delight in the chief good above all visible


13. "Nature doeth everything for her own gain and profit, can do

nothing as a free favour, but hopeth to attain something as good

or better, or some praise or favour for her benefits; and she

loveth that her own deeds and gifts should be highly valued; but

Grace seeketh nothing temporal, nor requireth any other gift of

reward than God alone; neither longeth she for more of temporal

necessities than such as may suffice for the attaining of eternal


14. "Nature rejoiceth in many friends and kinsfolk, she boasteth

of noble place and noble birth, she smileth on the powerful,

flattereth the rich, applaudeth those who are like herself; but

Grace loveth even her enemies, and is not lifted up by the

multitude of friends, setteth no store upon high place or high

birth, unless there be greater virtue therewith; favoureth the

poor man more than the rich, hath more sympathy with the innocent

than with the powerful; rejoiceth with the truthful, not with the

liar; always exhorteth the good to strive after better gifts of

grace, and to become by holiness like unto the Son of God.

15. "Nature quickly complaineth of poverty and of trouble; Grace

beareth want with constancy.

16. "Nature looketh upon all things in reference to herself;

striveth and argueth for self; but Grace bringeth back all things

to God from whom they came at the beginning; ascribeth no good to

herself nor arrogantly presumeth; is not contentious, nor

preferreth her own opinion to others, but in every sense and

understanding submitteth herself to the Eternal wisdom and the

Divine judgment.

17. "Nature is eager to know secrets and to hear new things; she

loveth to appear abroad, and to make experience of many things

through the senses; she desireth to be acknowledged and to do

those things which win praise and admiration; but Grace careth

not to gather up new or curious things, because all this

springeth from the old corruption, whereas there is nothing new

or lasting upon earth.  So she teacheth to restain the senses, to

shun vain complacency and ostentation, to hide humbly those

things which merit praise and real admiration, and from

everything and in all knowledge to seek after useful fruit, and

the praise and honour of God.  She desireth not to receive praise

for herself or for her own, but longeth that God be blessed in

all His gifts, who out of unmingled love bestoweth all things."

18. This Grace is a supernatural light, and a certain special

gift of God, and the proper mark of the elect, and the pledge of

eternal salvation; it exalteth a man from earthly things to love

those that are heavenly; and it maketh the carnal man spiritual.

So far therefore as Nature is utterly pressed down and overcome,

so far is greater Grace bestowed and the inner man is daily

created anew by fresh visitations, after the image of God.


Of the corruption of Nature and the efficacy of Divine Grace

O Lord my God, who hast created me after thine own image and

similitude, grant me this grace, which Thou hast shown to be so

great and so necessary for salvation, that I may conquer my

wicked nature, which draweth me to sin and to perdition.  For I

feel in my flesh the law of sin, contradicting the law of my

mind, and bringing me into captivity to the obedience of

sensuality in many things; nor can I resist its passions, unless

Thy most holy grace assist me, fervently poured into my heart.

2. There is need of Thy grace, yea, and of a great measure

thereof, that my nature may be conquered, which hath alway been

prone of evil from my youth.  For being fallen through the first

man Adam, and corrupted through sin, the punishment of this

stain descended upon all men; so that Nature itself, which was

framed good and right by Thee, is now used to express the vice

and infirmity of corrupted Nature; because its motion left unto

itself draweth men away to evil and to lower things.  For the

little power which remaineth is as it were one spark lying hid in

the ashes.  This is Natural reason itself, encompassed with thick

clouds, having yet a discernment of good and evil, a distinction

of the true and the false, though it be powerless to fulfil all

that it approveth, and possess not yet the full light of truth,

nor healthfulness of its affections.

3. Hence it is, O my God, that I delight in Thy law after the

inward man,(1) knowing that Thy commandment is holy and just and

good; reproving also all evil, and the sin that is to be avoided:

yet with the flesh I serve the law of sin, whilst I obey

sensuality rather than reason.  Hence it is that to will to do

good is present within me, but how to perform it I find not.(2)

Hence I ofttimes purpose many good things; but because grace is

lacking to help mine infirmities, I fall back before a little

resistance and fail.  Hence it cometh to pass that I recognize

the way of perfectness, and see very clearly what things I ought

to do; but pressed down by the weight of my own corruption, I

rise not to the things which are more perfect.

4. Oh how entirely necessary is Thy grace to me, O Lord, for a

good beginning, for progress, and for bringing to perfection.

For without it I can do nothing, but I can do all things through

Thy grace which strengeneth me.(3)  O truly heavenly grace,

without which our own merits are nought, and no gifts of Nature

at all are to be esteemed.  Arts, riches, beauty, strength, wit,

eloquence, they all avail nothing before Thee, O Lord, without

Thy grace.  For the gifts of Nature belong to good and evil

alike; but the proper gift of the elect is grace--that is, love--

and they who bear the mark thereof are held worthy of everlasting

life.  So mighty is this grace, that without it neither the gift

of prophecy nor the working of miracles, nor any speculation,

howsoever lofty, is of any value at all.  But neither faith, nor

hope, nor any other virtue is accepted with Thee without love and


5. O most blessed grace that makest the poor in spirit rich in

virtues, and renderest him who is rich in many things humble in

spirit, come Thou, descend upon me, fill me early with Thy

consolation, lest my soul fail through weariness and drought of

mind.  I beseech thee, O Lord, that I may find grace in Thy

sight, for Thy grace is sufficient for me,(4) when I obtain not

those things which Nature longeth for.  If I be tempted and vexed

with many tribulations, I will fear no evil, while Thy grace

remaineth with me.  This alone is my strength, this bringeth me

counsel and help.  It is more powerful than all enemies, and

wiser than all the wise men in the world.

6. It is the mistress of truth, the teacher of discipline, the

light of the heart, the solace of anxiety, the banisher of

sorrow, the deliverer from fear, the nurse of devotion, the

drawer forth of tears.  What am I without it, save a dry tree, a

useless branch, worthy to be cast away!  "Let Thy grace,

therefore, O Lord, always prevent and follow me, and make me

continually given to all good works, through Jesus Christ, Thy

Son.  Amen."

(1) Romans vii. 12, 22. 25.   (2) Romans vii. 18.   (3) Phillippians iv. 13.

(4) 2 Corinthians xii. 9.


That we ought to deny ourselves, and to imitate Christ by means

of the Cross

My Son, so far as thou art able to go out of thyself so far shalt

thou be able to enter into Me.  As to desire no outward thing

worketh internal peace, so the forsaking of self inwardly joineth

unto God.  I will that thou learn perfect self-denial, living in

My will without contradiction or complaint.  Follow Me: I am the

way, the truth, and the life.(1)  Without the way thou canst not

go, without the truth thou canst not know, without life thou

canst not live.  I am the Way which thou oughtest to follow; the

Truth which thou oughest to believe; the Life which thou oughtest

to hope for.  I am the Way unchangeable; the Truth infallible;

the Life everlasting.  I am the Way altogether straight, the

Truth supreme, the true Life, the blessed Life, the uncreated

Life.  If thou remain in My way thou shalt know the Truth, and

the truth shall make thee free,(2) and thou shalt lay hold on

eternal life.

2. "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.(3)  If

thou wilt know the truth, believe in Me.  If thou wilt be

perfect, sell all that thou hast.  If thou wilt be My disciple,

deny thyself.  If thou wouldest possess the blessed life, despise

the life which now is.  If thou wilt be exalted in heaven, humble

thyself in the world.  If thou wilt reign with Me, bear the cross

with Me; for only the servants of the cross find the way of

blessedness and of true light."

3. O Lord Jesu, forasmuch as Thy life was straitened and despised

by the world, grant unto me to imitate Thee in despising the

world, for the servant is not greater than his lord, nor the

disciple above his master.(4)  Let Thy servant be exercised in

Thy life, because there is my salvation and true holiness.

Whatsoever I read or hear besides it, it refresheth me not, nor

giveth me delight.

4. "My son, because thou knowest these things and hast read them

all, blessed shalt thou be if thou doest them.  He who hath My

commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me, and I

will love him, and will manifest Myself to him,(5) and I will

make him to sit down with Me in My Father's Kingdom.

5. O Lord Jesu, as Thou hast said and promised, even so let it be

unto me, and grant me to prove worthy.  I have received the cross

at Thy hand; I have carried it, and will carry it even unto

death, as Thou hast laid it upon me.  Truly the life of a truly

devoted servant is a cross, but it leadeth to paradise.  I have

begun; I may not return back nor leave it.

6. Come, my brothers, let us together go forward.  Jesus shall be

with us.  For Jesus' sake have we taken up this cross, for Jesus'

sake let us persevere in the cross.  He will be our helper, who

was our Captain and Forerunner.  Behold our King entereth in

before us, and He will fight for us.  Let us follow bravely, let

no man fear terrors; let us be prepared to die bravely in battle,

and let us not so stain our honour,(6) as to fly from the cross.

(1) John xiv. 6.   (2) John viii. 32.   (3) Matthew xix. 17, 21.

(4) Matthew x. 24.   (5) John xiv. 21.   (6) 1 Mac. ix. 10.


That a man must not be too much cast down when he falleth into

some faults

"My Son, patience and humility in adversities are more pleasing

to Me than much comfort and devotion in prosperity.  Why doth a

little thing spoken against thee make thee sad?  If it had been

more, thou still oughtest not to be moved.  But now suffer it to

go by; it is not the first, it is not new, and it wil not be the

last, if thou live long.  Thou art brave enough, so long as no

adversity meeteth thee.  Thou givest good counsel also, and

knowest how to strengthen others with thy words; but when

tribulations suddenly knocketh at thine own door, thy counsel and

strength fail.  Consider thy great frailty, which thou dost so

often experience in trifling matters nevertheless, for thy soul's

health these things are done when they and such like happen unto


2. "Put them away from thy heart as well as thou canst, and if

tribulation hath touched thee, yet let it not cast thee down nor

entangle thee long.  At the least, bear patiently, if thou canst

not joyfully.  And although thou be very unwilling to hear it,

and feel indignation, yet check thyself, and suffer no unadvised

word to come forth from thy lips, whereby the little ones may be

offended.  Soon the storm which hath been raised shall be

stilled, and inward grief shall be sweetened by returning grace.

I yet live, saith the Lord, ready to help thee, and to give thee

more than wonted consolation if thou put thy trust in Me, and

call devoutly upon Me.

3. "Be thou more calm of spirit, and gird thyself for greater

endurance.  All is not frustrated, though thou find thyself very

often afflicted or grievously tempted.  Thou art man, not God;

thou art flesh, not an angel.  How shouldst thou be able to

remain alway in the same state of virtue, when an angel in heaven

fell, and the first man in paradise?  I am He who lifteth up the

mourners to deliverance, and those who know their own infirmity I

raise up to my own nature."

4. O Lord, blessed be Thy word, sweeter to my mouth than honey

and the honeycomb.  What should I do in my so great tribulations

and anxieties, unless Thou didst comfort me with Thy holy words?

If only I may attain unto the haven of salvation, what matter is

it what things or how many I suffer?  Give me a good end, give me

a happy passage out of this world.  Remember me, O my God, and

lead me by the right way unto Thy Kingdom.  Amen.


Of deeper matters, and God's hidden judgments which are not to be

inquired into

"My Son, beware thou dispute not of high matters and of the

hidden judgments of God; why this man is thus left, and that man

is taken into so great favour; why also this man is so greatly

afflicted, and that so highly exalted.  These things pass all

man's power of judging, neither may any reasoning or disputation

have power to search out the divine judgments.  When therefore

the enemy suggesteth these things to thee, or when any curious

people ask such questions, answer with that word of the Prophet,

Just art Thou, O Lord, and true is Thy judgment,(1) and with

this, The judgments of the Lord are true, and righteous

altogether.(2)  My judgments are to be feared, not to be disputed

on, because they are incomprehensible to human understanding.

2. "And be not given to inquire or dispute about the merits of

the Saints, which is holier than another, or which is the greater

in the Kingdom of Heaven.  Such questions often beget useless

strifes and contentions: they also nourish pride and vain glory,

whence envyings and dissensions arise, while one man arrogantly

endeavoureth to exalt one Saint and another another.  But to wish

to know and search out such things bringeth no fruit, but it

rather displeaseth the Saints; for I am not the God of confusion

but of peace;(3) which peace consisteth more in true humility

than in self-exaltation.

3. "Some are drawn by zeal of love to greater affection to these

Saints or those; but this is human affection rather than divine.

I am He Who made all the Saints: I gave them grace, I brought

them glory; I know the merits of every one; I prevented them with

the blessings of My goodness.(4)  I foreknew my beloved ones from

everlasting, I chose them out of the world;(5) they did not

choose Me.  I called them by My grace, drew them by My mercy, led

them on through sundry temptations.  I poured mighty consolations

upon them, I gave them perseverance, I crowned their patience.

4. "I acknowledge the first and the last; I embrace all with

inestimable love.  I am to be praised in all My Saints; I am to

be blessed above all things, and to be honoured in every one whom

I have so gloriously exalted and predestined, without any

preceding merits of their own.  He therefore that shall despise

one of the least of these My people, honoureth not the great;

because I made both small and great.(6)  And he who speaketh

against any of My Saints speaketh against Me, and against all

others in the Kingdom of Heaven."

   They are all one through the bond of charity; they think the

same thing, will the same thing, and all are united in love to

one another.

5. "But yet (which is far better) they love Me above themselves

and their own merits.  For being caught up above themselves, and

drawn beyond self-love, they go all straightforward to the love

of Me, and they rest in Me in perfect enjoyment.  There is

nothing which can turn them away or press them down; for being

full of Eternal Truth, they burn with the fire of

inextinguishable charity.  Therefore let all carnal and natural

men hold their peace concerning the state of the Saints, for they

know nothing save to love their own personal enjoyment.  They

take away and add according to their own inclination, not as it

pleaseth the Eternal Truth.

6. "In many men this is ignorance, chiefly is it so in those who,

being little enlightened, rarely learn to love any one with

perfect spiritual love.  They are still much drawn by natural

affection and human friendship to these or to those: and as they

reckon of themselves in lower matters, so also do they frame

imaginations of things heavenly.  But there is an immeasurable

difference between those things which they imperfectly imagine,

and these things which enlightened men behold through

supernatural revelation.

7. "Take heed, therefore, My son, that thou treat not curiously

those things which surpass thy knowledge, but rather make this

thy business and give attention to it, namely, that thou seek to

be found, even though it be the least, in the Kingdom of God.

And even if any one should know who were holier than others, or

who were held greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven; what should that

knowledge profit him, unless through this knowledge he should

humble himself before Me, and should rise up to give greater

praise unto My name?  He who considereth how great are his own

sins, how small his virtues, and how far he is removed from the

perfection of the Saints, doeth far more acceptably in the sight

of God, than he who disputeth about their greatness or


8. "They are altogether well content, if men would learn to be

content, and to refrain from vain babbling.  They glory not of

their own merits, seeing they ascribe no good unto themselves,

but all unto Me, seeing that I of my infinite charity have given

them all things.  They are filled with so great love of the

Divinity, and with such overflowing joy, that no glory is lacking

to them, neither can any felicity be lacking.  All the Saints,

the higher they are exalted in glory, the humbler are they in

themselves, and the nearer and dearer are they unto Me.  And so

thou hast it written that they cast their crowns before God and

fell on their faces before the Lamb, and worshipped Him that

liveth for ever and ever.(7)

9. "Many ask who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, who know

not whether they shall be worthy to be counted among the least.

It is a great thing to be even the least in Heaven, where all are

great, because all shall be called, and shall be, the sons of

God.  A little one shall become a thousand, but the sinner being

an hundred years old shall be accursed.  For when the disciples

asked who should be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, they

received no other answer than this, Except ye be converted and

become as little children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of

Heaven.  But whosoever shall humble himself as this little child,

the same shall be greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.(8)

10. Woe unto them who disdain to humble themselves willingly with

the little children; for the low gate of the kingdom of Heaven

will not suffer them to enter in.  Woe also to them who are rich,

who have their consolation here;(9) because whilst the poor

enter into the kingdom of God, they shall stand lamenting

without.  Rejoice ye humble, and exult ye poor, for yours is the

kingdom of God if only ye walk in the truth.

(1) Psalm cxix. 137.  (2) Psalm xix. 9.

(3) Corinthians xiv. 33.   (4) Psalm xxi. 3.   (5) John xv. 19.

(6) Wisd. vi. 8.   (7) Revelation iv. 10; v. 14.

(8) Matthew xviii. 3.   (9) Phillipians ii. 21.


That all hope and trust is to be fixed in God alone

O Lord, what is my trust which I have in this life, or what is my

greatest comfort of all the things which are seen under Heaven?

Is it not Thou, O Lord my God, whose mercies are without number?

Where hath it been well with me without Thee?  Or when could it

be evil whilst Thou wert near?  I had rather be poor for Thy

sake, than rich without Thee.  I choose rather to be a pilgrim

upon the earth with Thee than without Thee to possess heaven.

Where Thou art, there is heaven; and where Thou art not, behold

there death and hell.  Thou art all my desire, and therefore must

I groan and cry and earnestly pray after Thee.  In short I can

confide fully in none to give me ready help in necessities, save

in Thee alone, O my God.  Thou art my hope, Thou art my trust,

Thou art my Comforter, and most faithful in all things.

2. All men seek their own;(10) Thou settest forward only my

salvation and my profit, and turnest all things unto my good.

Even though Thou dost expose me to divers temptations and

adversities, Thou ordainest all this unto my advantage, for Thou

are wont to prove Thy beloved ones in a thousand ways.  In which

proving Thou oughtest no less to be loved and praised, than if

Thou wert filling me full of heavenly consolations.

3. In Thee, therefore, O Lord God, I put all my hope and my

refuge, on Thee I lay all my tribulation and anguish; because I

find all to be weak and unstable whatsoever I behold out of Thee.

For many friends shall not profit, nor strong helpers be able to

succour, nor prudent counsellors to give a useful answer, nor the

books of the learned to console, nor any precious substance to

deliver, nor any secret and beautiful place to give shelter, if

Thou Thyself do not assist, help, comfort, instruct, keep in


4. For all things which seem to belong to the attainment of peace

and felicity are nothing when Thou art absent, and bring no

felicity at all in reality.  Therefore art Thou the end of all

good, and the fulness of Life, and the soul of eloquence; and to

hope in Thee above all things is the strongest solace of Thy

servants.  Mine eyes look unto Thee,(2) in Thee is my trust, O my

God, Father of mercies.

5. Bless and sanctify my soul with heavenly blessing that it may

become Thy holy habitation, and the seat of Thy eternal glory;

and let nothing be found in the Temple of Thy divinity which may

offend the eyes of Thy majesty.  According to the greatness of

Thy goodness and the multitude of Thy mercies look upon me, and

hear the prayer of Thy poor servant, far exiled from Thee in the

land of the shadow of death.  Protect and preserve the soul of

Thy least servant amid so many dangers of corruptible life, and

by Thy grace accompanying me, direct it by the way of peace unto

its home of perpetual life.  Amen.

(10) Luke vi.   (2) Psalm cxli. 8.

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