BOOK 3: THE INWARD SPEAKING OF CHRIST TO A FAITHFUL SOUL
Chapter 20: Of confession of our infirmity and of the miseries of this life.
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.
is altogether known to Thee. Be merciful unto me, and draw me
out of the mire that I sink not, 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.
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. Oh 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.
many bitter things, that it is subjected to so many calamities
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
world, and thinketh it happiness to be under the nettles
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.