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For the obtaining of Internal Peace, ‘tis necessary for the Soul to know its misery.


90. If the Soul should not fall into some faults, it would never come to understand its own misery, though it hears men speak and reads spiritual Books; nor can it ever obtain precious peace, if it do not first know its own miserable weakness: because there the remedy is difficult, where there is no clear knowledge of the defect. God will suffer in thee sometimes one fault, sometimes another, that by this knowledge of thy self, seeing thee so often fallen, thou may’st believe that thou art a meer nothing; in which knowledge and belief true peace and perfect humility is founded: and that thou may’st the better search into thy mystery and see what thou art, I will try to undeceive thee in some of thy manifold imperfections.

91. Thou art so quick and nice, that it may be if thou dost but trip as thou walkest or findest thy way molested, thou feelest even Hell it self: if thou are denied thy due or thy pleasure opposed, thou presently briskest up with a warm resentment of it. If though spiest a fault in thy neighbour, instead of pitying him, and thinking that thou they self art liable to the same failing, thou indiscreetly reprovest him; if thou seest a thing convenient for thee and canst not compass it, thou growest sad and full of sorrow; if thou receivest a slight injury from thy neighbour, thou chidest at him and complainest for it: insomuch that for any trifle thou art inwardly and outwardly discomposed and losest thy self.

92. Thou would’st be penitent, but with another’s patience; and if the impatience still continues, thou layest the fault with much pains upon thy companion, without considering, that thou art intolerable to thy self: and when the rancour is over, thou cunningly dost return to make thy self vertuous, giving documents and relating spiritual sayings with artifice of wit, without mending thy past faults. Although thou willingly dost condemn thy self, reproving thy faults before others, yet this thou dost more to justifie thy self with him that sees thy faults, that thou may’st return again afresh to the former esteem of thy self, than through any effect of perfect humility.

93. Other times thou dost subtilly alledge, that is it not through fault but zeal of justice, that thou complainest of thy neighbour. Thou believest for the most part that thou art vertuous, constant and couragious, even to the giving up thy life into the tyrant’s hand, solely for the sake of divine love; yet thou canst scarce hear the least word of anger but presently thou dost afflict and trouble and disquiet thy self. These are all industrious engines of self-love and the secret pride of thy soul. Know therefore that self-love reigns in thee, and that from purchasing this precious peace, that is thy greatest hindrance.



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