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Aphorism VI.


What is virtue but a medicine, and vice but a wound? Yea, we have so often deeply wounded ourselves with medicine, that God hath been fain to make wounds medicinable; to secure by vice where virtue hath stricken; to suffer the just man to fall, that being raised 145 he may be taught what power it was which upheld him standing. I am not afraid to affirm it boldly with St. Augustine, that men puffed up through a proud opinion of their own sanctity and holiness received a benefit at the hands of God, and are assisted with his grace when with his grace they are not assisted, but permitted (and that grievously) to transgress. Whereby, as they were through over great liking of themselves supplanted (tripped up), so the dislike of that which did supplant them may establish them afterwards the surer. Ask the very soul of Peter, and it shall undoubtedly itself make you this answer: My eager protestations made in the glory of my spiritual strength I am ashamed of. But my shame and die tears, with which my presumption and my weakness were bewailed, recur in the songs of my thanksgiving. My strength had been my ruin, my fall hath proved my stay.

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