Cassian, INSTITUTES, BK. 12
On the SPIRIT of PRIDE
LIBER DVODECIMVS DE SPIRITV SVPERBIAE
 

 Richelieu
 Champagne, 1637


(tr. mod. in part by L.Dysinger, O.S.B: from  E.C.S. Gibson, , NPNF 2nd ser. , vol 11)


 

 

CHAPTER 1. How our eighth combat is against the spirit of pride, and of its character.

CAPUT I. Quod octavum. certamen adversus spiritum superbiae sit, et de natura eius.

 

 

1. OUR eighth and last combat is against the spirit of pride, which evil, although it is the latest in our conflict with our faults and stands last on the list, yet in beginning and in the order of time is the first: an evil beast that is most savage and more dreadful than all the former ones, chiefly trying those who are perfect, and devouring with its dreadful bite those who have almost attained the consummation of virtue.

  I. Octauum, quod extremum, aduersus spiritum superbiae nobis certamen est. Qui morbus licet ultimus sit in conflictu uitiorum atque in ordine ponatur extremus, origine tamen et tempore primus est, saeuissima et superioribus cunctis inmanior bestia, perfectos maxime temptans et propemodum iam positos in consummatione uirtutum morsu diriore depascens.

 

 

CHAPTER 2. How there are two kinds of pride.

CAPUT II. Quod superbiae duo sint genera.

 

 

2. AND of this pride there are two kinds: the one, that by which we said that the best of men and spiritually minded ones were troubled; the other, that which assaults even beginners and carnal persons. And though each kind of pride is excited with regard to both God and man by a dangerous elation, yet that first kind more particularly has to do with God; the second refers especially to men. Of the origin of this last and the remedies for it we will by God’s help treat as far as possible in the latter part of this book. We now propose to say a few things about that former kind, by which, as I mentioned before, those who are perfect are especially tried.

  II. Cuius duo sunt genera, unum hoc, quo diximus spiritales summosque pulsari, aliud, quod etiam incipientes carnalesque conplectitur. Et licet utrumque superbiae genus tam in Deum quam in homines noxia inflet elatio, tamen illud primum specialiter refertur ad Deum, secundum ad homines proprie pertinet. Cuius originem ac remedia in posterioribus libelli huius donante Deo in quantum possumus exsequemur. Nunc de illo priore, quo praefati sumus perfectos praecipue temptari, propositum nobis est pauca disserere.

 

 

CHAPTER 3. How pride is equally destructive of all virtues.

CAPUT III. Quod superbia omnes pariter virtutes auferat.

 

 

3.1. THERE is then no other fault which is so destructive of all virtues, and robs and despoils a man of all righteousness and holiness, as this evil of pride, which like some pestilential disease attacks the whole man, and, not content to damage one part or one limb only, injures the entire body by its deadly influence, and endeavours to cast down by a most fatal fall, and destroy those who were already at the top of the tree of the virtues. For every other fault is satisfied within its own bounds and limits, and though it clouds other virtues as well, yet it is in the main directed against one only, and specially attacks and assaults that.

  III. Nullum est igitur aliud uitium, quod ita omnes uirtutes exhauriat cunctaque iustitia et sanctitate hominem spoliet ac denudet ut superbiae malum, tamquam generalis quidam ac pestifer morbus non unum membrum partemue eius debilitare contentus, sed solidum corpus letali corrumpit exitio et in uirtutum iam fastigio conlocatos grauissima ruina deicere ac trucidare conatur. Omne namque uitium suis est terminis ac fine contentum, et licet contristet alias quoque uirtutes, contra unam tamen principaliter tendit eamque specialiter opprimit et inpugnat.

3.2. And so (to make my meaning clearer) gluttony, i.e., the appetites of the belly and the pleasures of the palate, is destructive of strict temperance: lust stains purity, anger destroys patience: so that sometimes a man who is in bondage to some one sin is not altogether wanting in other virtues: but being simply deprived of that one virtue which in the struggle yields to the vice which is its rival and opposed to it, can to some extent preserve his other virtues: but this one when once it has taken possession of some unfortunate soul, like some most brutal tyrant, when the lofty citadel of the virtues has been taken, utterly destroys and lays waste the whole city; and levelling with the ground of vices the once high walls of saintliness, and confusing them together, it allows no shadow of freedom henceforth to survive in the soul subject to it. And in proportion as it was originally the richer, so now will the yoke of servitude be the severer, through which by its cruel ravages it will strip the soul it has subdued of all its powers of virtue.

 2. Et ut hoc ipsum quod diximus clarius possit intellegi, gastrimargia, id est adpetitus uentris seu concupiscentia gulae temperantiae rigorem corrumpit, castitatem libido contaminat, ira patientiam uastat, ut nonnumquam uni quis deditus uitio aliis uirtutibus non penitus destituatur, sed illa tantum uirtute truncata, quae e diuerso aemulo sibi uitio repugnante subcumbit, reliquas possit uel ex parte retinere. Haec uero cum infelicem possederit mentem, ut quidam saeuissimus tyrannus sublimissima capta arce uirtutum uniuersam funditus ciuitatem diruit atque subuertit, excelsa quondam sanctitatis moenia uitiorum solo coaequans atque permiscens nullam deinceps imaginem libertatis animae sibi subditae superesse concedit, quantoque ceperit ditiorem, tanto grauiori seruitutis iugo subditum uniuersis uirtutum facultatibus crudelissima depraedatione nudabit.

 

 

CHAPTER 4. How by reason of pride Lucifer was turned from an archangel into a devil.

CAPUT IV. Quod ob superbiam Lucifer ille de archangelo factus est diabolus.

 

 

4.1. AND that we may understand the power of its awful tyranny we see that that angel who, for the greatness of his splendour and beauty was termed Lucifer, was cast out of heaven for no other sin but this, and, pierced with the dart of pride, was hurled down from his grand and exalted position as an angel into hell. If then pride of heart alone was enough to cast down from heaven to earth a power that was so great and adorned with the attributes of such might, the very greatness of his fall shows us with what care we who are surrounded by the weakness of the flesh ought to be on our guard.

  IIII. Et ut grauissimae tyrannidis eius potentiam cognoscamus, angelum illum, qui pro nimietate splendoris ac decoris sui Lucifer nuncupatus est, nullo alio quam hoc uitio deiectum caelitus inuenimus et ex illa beata sublimique angelorum statione telo superbiae uulneratum ad inferna fuisse conlapsum. Si igitur tantam uirtutem, tantae potentiae praerogatiua decoratam una elatio cordis potuit de caelestibus ad terrena deuoluere, qua nos obseruantia carnis fragilitate circumdatos cauere oporteat, ipsius ruinae magnitudo demonstrat.

4.2. But we can learn how to avoid the most deadly poison of this evil if we trace out the origin and causes of his fall. For weakness can never be cured, nor the remedies for bad states of health be disclosed unless first their origin and causes are investigated by a wise scrutiny. For as he (viz., Lucifer) was endowed with divine splendour, and shone forth among the other higher powers by the bounty of his Maker, he believed that he had acquired the splendour of that wisdom and the beauty of those powers, with which he was graced by the gift of the Creator, by the might of his own nature, and not by the beneficence of His generosity. And on this account he was puffed up as if he stood in no need of divine assistance in order to continue in this state of purity, and esteemed himself to be like God, as if, like God, he had no need of any one, and trusting in the power of his own will, fancied that through it he could richly supply himself with everything which was necessary for the consummation of virtue or for the perpetuation of perfect bliss.

 2. Quemadmodum uero huius morbi uirus perniciosissimum deuitemus, instrui poterimus, si ruinae ipsius causas atque originem persequamur. Numquam enim curari languores nec remedia poterunt malis ualitudinibus exhiberi, nisi prius inquisitione sagaci origines earum inuestigentur et causae. Hic namque indutus diuina claritate et inter ceteras supernas uirtutes conditoris largitate praefulgens splendorem sapientiae et uirtutum pulchritudinem, qua ornabatur gratia Creatoris, naturae suae potentia, non munificentiae illius beneficio se credidit obtinere, et ob hoc elatus, tamquam qui ad perseuerantiam puritatis huius diuino non egeret auxilio, Deo se similem iudicauit, utpote qui nullius indigeret quemadmodum Deus, liberi scilicet arbitrii facultate confisus, per illam credens adfluenter sibimet omnia subpeditari, quae ad consummationem uirtutum uel perennitatem summae beatitudinis pertinerent.

4.3. This thought alone was the cause of his first fall. On account of which being forsaken by God, whom he fancied he no longer needed, he suddenly became unstable and tottering, and discovered the weakness of his own nature, and lost the blessedness which he had enjoyed by God’s gift. And because he “loved the words of ruin,” with which he had said, “I will ascend into heaven,” and the “deceitful tongue,” with which he had said of himself, “I will be like the Most High,” (Isa. 14:13, 14) and of Adam and Eve, “Ye shall be as gods,” therefore “shall God destroy him forever and pluck him out and remove him from his dwelling place and his root out of the land of the living.” Then “the just,” when they see his ruin, “shall fear, and shall laugh at him and say” (what may also be most justly aimed at those who trust that they can obtain the highest good without the protection and assistance of God): “Behold the man that made not God his helper, but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and prevailed in his vanity.” (Ps. 51 [52]:6-9)

 3. Haec ei sola cogitatio facta prima ruina est, ob quam desertus a Deo, quo se credidit non egere, instabilis repente ac nutabundus effectus et infirmitatem propriae naturae persensit et beatitudinem, qua Dei munere fruebatur, amisit. Et quia dilexit uerba praecipitationis, quibus dixerat: In caelum conscendam, et linguam dolosam, qua uel de se dixit : Ero similis Altissimo, uel de Adam et Eua : Eritis sicut dii, propterea Deus destruet illum in finem, euellet eum, et emigrabit de tabernaculo: et radicem eius de terra uiuentium. Tunc ruinam eius uidentes iusti timebunt, et super eum ridebunt dicentes - quod etiam ad hos, qui se sine protectione auxilioque Dei summum bonum perficere posse confidunt, iustissime dirigetur - : Ecce homo, qui non posuit Deum adiutorem suum: sed sperauit in multitudine diuitiarum suarum: et praeualuit in uanitate sua.

 

 

CHAPTER 5. That incentives to all sins spring from pride.

CAPUT V. Quod fomites vitiorum omnium e superbia pullulent.

 

 

5. THIS is the reason of the first fall, and the starting point of the original malady, which again insinuating itself into the first man, through him who had already been destroyed by it, produced the weaknesses and materials of all faults. For while he believed that by the freedom of his will and by his own efforts he could obtain the glory of Deity, he actually lost that glory which he already possessed through the free gift of the Creator.

  V. Haec est primae ruinae causa et origo principalis morbi, qui rursum per illum, qui fuerat a se deiectus, in protoplastum serpens infirmitates omnium uitiorum et materias germinauit. Dum enim gloriam deitatis arbitrii libertate et industria sua credidit se posse conquirere, etiam illam perdidit, quam adeptus fuerat gratia conditoris.

 

 

CHAPTER 6. That the sin of pride is last in the actual order of the combat, but first in time and origin.

CAPUT VI. Quod superbiae vitium sit in ordine colluctationis extremum, tempore tamen et origine primum.

 

 

6.1. AND so it is most clearly established by instances and testimonies from Scripture that the mischief of pride, although it comes later in the order of the combat, is yet earlier in origin, and is the beginning of all sins and faults: nor is it (like the other vices) simply fatal to the virtue opposite to it (in this case, humility), but it is also at the same time destructive of all virtues: nor does it only tempt ordinary folk and small people, but chiefly those who already stand on the heights of valour. For thus the prophet speaks of this spirit, “His meat is choice.” (Hab. 1:16 [LXX])

  VI. Itaque exemplis ac testimoniis scripturarum manifestissime conprobatur superbiae labem, cum sit posterior in ordine conflictuum, origine tamen anteriorem esse omniumque peccatorum et criminum esse principium, nec sicut cetera uitia solummodo contrariam sibi uirtutem, id est humilitatem tantum extinguere, uerum etiam cunctarum simul interemptricem esse uirtutum, nec mediocres tantum paruosque temptare, sed maxime in fortitudinis culmine consistentes. Ita enim de hoc spiritu propheta commemorat : Et escae eius electae.

6.2. And so the blessed David, although he guarded the recesses of his heart with the utmost care, so that he dared to say to Him from whom the secrets of his conscience were not hid, “Lord, my heart is not exalted, nor are my eyes lofty: neither have I walked in great matters, nor in wonderful things above me. If I was not humbly minded;” (Ps. 130 [131]:1, 2) and again, “He that worketh pride shall not dwell in the midst of my house;” (Ps. 100 [101]:1, 2) yet, as he knew how hard is that watchfulness even for those that are perfect, he did not so presume on his own efforts, but prayed to God and implored His help, that he might escape unwounded by the darts of this foe, saying, “Let not the foot of pride come to me,” (Ps. 35 [36]:1, 2) for he feared and dreaded falling into that which is said of the proud, viz., “God resisteth the proud;” (James 4:6) and again: “Every one that exalteth his heart is unclean before the Lord.” (Prov. 16:5 [LXX])

 2. Ideoque beatus Dauid, licet tanta circumspectione cordis sui custodiret arcana, ut ad eum, quem secreta suae conscientiae non latebant, audenter proclamaret : Domine, non est exaltatum cor meum: neque elati sunt oculi mei. Neque ambulaui in magnis: neque in mirabilibus super me. Nisi humiliter sentiebam, et iterum: Non habitabit in medio domus meae faciens superbiam, sciens tamen quam sit difficilis etiam perfectis ista custodia, non de sua tantum praesumit industria, sed orans Domini inplorat auxilium, ut huius inimici telum possit insauciatus euadere, dicens : Non ueniat mihi pes superbiae, pauens ac metuens, ne illud incidat quod dicitur de superbis : Deus superbis aduersatur, et iterum : Inmundus est apud Deum omnis qui exaltat cor suum.

 

 

CHAPTER 7. That the evil of pride is so great that it rightly has even God Himself as its adversary.

CAPUT VII. Quod tantum sit malum superbiae, ut ipsum Deum adversarium habere mereatur.

 

 

7. HOW great is the evil of pride, that it rightly has no angel, nor other virtues opposed to it, but God Himself as its adversary! Since it should be noted that it is never said of those who are entangled in other sins that they have God resisting them; I mean it is not said that God is opposed “to the gluttonous, fornicators, passionate, or covetous,” but only “to the proud.” For those sins react only on those who commit them, or seem to be committed against those who share in them, i.e., against other men; but this one has more properly to do with God, and therefore it is especially right that it should have Him opposed to it.

  VII. Quantum est malum superbiae, ut non angelum, non alias uirtutes sibi contrarias, sed ipsum Deum aduersarium habere mereatur. Notandum siquidem est quod nequaquam dixerit super his qui ceteris sunt uitiis inuoluti, quod habeant sibi Dominum resistentem, id est `Dominus gastrimargis, fornicariis, iracundis seu filargyris aduersatur`, sed solis superbis. Illa namque uitia uel in unumquemque delinquentium tantummodo retorquentur uel in suos participes, id est in alios homines uidentur admitti : haec uero proprie pertingit ad Deum et idcirco eum specialiter digna est habere contrarium.

 

 

CHAPTER 8. How God has destroyed the pride of the devil by the virtue of humility, and various passages in proof of this.

CAPUT VIII. Quemadmodum Deus superbiam diaboli, virtute humilitatis exstinxerit.

 

 

8.1. AND so God, the Creator and Healer of all, knowing that pride is the cause and fountain head of evils, has been careful to heal opposites with opposites, that those things which were ruined by pride might be restored by humility. For the one says, “I will ascend into heaven;” (Isa. 14:13) the other, “My soul was brought low even to the ground.” (Ps. 43 [44]:25) The one says, “And I will be like the most High;” the other, “Though He was in the form of God, yet He emptied Himself and took the form of a servant, and humbled Himself and became obedient unto death.” (Phil. 2:6-8) The one says, “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;” the other, “Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly of heart.” (Matt. 11:29)

  VIII. Ideoque uniuersitatis creator et medicus Deus causam principiumque morborum superbiam esse cognoscens contrariis sanare contraria procurauit, ut ea scilicet, quae per superbiam conruerant, per humilitatem resurgerent. Ille namque dicit : In caelum conscendam; hic dicit: Humiliata est in terra anima mea. Ille dicit : Ero similis Altissimo; hic: Cum esset in forma dei, exinaniuit semet ipsum formam serui accipiens, humiliauitque se factus oboediens usque ad mortem. Ille dicit : Super astra Dei exaltabo solium meum; iste dicit : Discite a me quia mitis sum et humilis corde.

8.2. The one says, “I know not the Lord and will not let Israel go;” (Exod. 5:2) the other, “If I say that I know Him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know Him, and keep His commandments.” (John 8:55) The one says, “My rivers are mine and I made them:” (Ezek. 29:3 [LXX]) the other: “I can do nothing of myself, but my Father who abideth in me, He doeth the works.” (John 5:30; 14:10) The one says, “All the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them are mine, and to whomsoever I will, I give them;” (Luke 4:6) the other, “Though He were rich yet He became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich.” (2 Cor. 8:9)

 2. Ille dicit : Nescio Dominum, et Israhel non dimitto; iste dicit : Si dixero quia non noui eum, ero similis uobis mendax: sed noui eum et mandata eius seruo. Ille dicit: Mea sunt flumina et ego feci ea; iste dicit: Non possum ego a me ipso facere quicquam, sed pater meus in me manens ipse facit opera. Ille dicit : Mea sunt omnia regna mundi et gloria eorum, et cui uoluero do ea; iste cum diues esset, pauper effectus est, ut eius inopia nos diuites redderemur.

8.3. The one says, “As eggs are gathered together which are left, so have I gathered all the earth: and there was none that moved the wing or opened the mouth, or made the least noise;” (Isa. 10:14) the other, “I am become like a solitary pelican; I watched and became as a sparrow alone upon the roof.” (Ps. 101 [102]:7, 8) The one says, “I have dried up with the sole of my foot all the rivers shut up in banks;” (Isa. 37:25) the other, “Cannot I ask my Father, and He shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matt. 26:53) If we look at the reason of our original fall, and the foundations of our salvation, and consider by whom and in what way the latter were laid and the former originated, we may learn, either through the fall of the devil, or through the example of Christ, how to avoid so terrible a death from pride.

 3. Ille dicit : Sicut colliguntur oua, quae derelicta sunt, sic uniuersam terram ego congregaui: et non fuit qui moueret pennam, et aperiret os, et ganniret; iste dicit : Similis factus sum pellicano solitario: uigilaui, et factus sum sicut passer solitarius in tecto. Ille dicit : Exsiccaui uestigio pedum meorum omnes riuos aggerum; hic dicit : Numquid non possum rogare patrem meum, et exhibebit mihi modo plus quam duodecim milia legiones angelorum? Si principalis ruinae causam et salutis nostrae fundamenta perspeximus, a quo et qualiter uel ista iacta sint uel illa emerserit, quemadmodum deuitare tam atrocem mortem superbiae debeamus, uel illius ruina uel huius doceamur exemplo.

 

 

CHAPTER 9. How we too may overcome pride.

CAPUT IX. Quemadmodum nos quoque superbiam superare possimus.

 

 

9. AND so we can escape the snare of this most evil spirit, if in the case of every virtue in which we feel that we make progress, we say these words of the Apostle: VIIII. Itaque hunc nequissimi spiritus laqueum taliter poterimus euadere, si in singulis quibus senserimus nos uirtutibus profecisse illud apostolicum dixerimus :
   

[1] “Not I, but the grace of God with me,” and

[2] “by the grace of God I am what I am;” (1 Cor. 15:10) and

[3] “it is God that worketh in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:13)

[4] As the author of our salvation Himself also says: “If a man abide in me and I in him, the same beareth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

[5] And “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it. Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”

[6] And “Vain is it for you to rise up before light.” (Ps. 126 [127]:1, 2)

[7] For “it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that hath mercy.” (Rom. 9:16)

 Non ego, sed gratia Dei mecum, et :

Gratia Dei sum quod sum, et

 Deum esse qui operatur in nobis et uelle et perficere pro bona uoluntate,

dicente etiam ipso auctore salutis nostrae : Qui manet in me et ego in illo, hic fert fructum multum, quia sine me nihil potestis facere, et :

 Nisi Dominus aedificauerit domum, in uanum laborauerunt qui aedificant eam, nisi Dominus custodierit ciuitatem, frustra uigilauit qui custodit eam, et:

 In uanum uobis est ante lucem surgere,

quia non est uolentis neque currentis, sed miserentis est Dei.

 

 

CHAPTER 10. How no one can obtain perfect virtue and the promised bliss by his own strength alone.

CAPUT X. Quod nemo possit perfectionem virtutum, vel promissam beatitudinem suis tantum virtutibus obtinere.

 

 

10. FOR the will and course of no one, however eager and anxious, is sufficiently ready for him, while still enclosed in the flesh which warreth against the spirit, to reach so great a prize of perfection, and the palm of uprightness and purity, unless he is protected by the divine compassion, so that he is privileged to attain to that which he greatly desires and to which he runs. For “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights.” (James 1:17) “For what hast thou which thou didst not receive? But if thou hast received it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it?” (1 Cor. 4:7)

  X. Nullius namque quamuis feruentis et cupientis tam idonea potest uoluntas esse uel cursus, ut carne spiritui repugnante circumdatus ualeat tantum perfectionis praemium et palmam integritatis ac puritatis adtingere, nisi fuerit diuina miseratione protectus, ut ad illud, quod magnopere uult et ad quod currit, peruenire mereatur. Omne enim datum bonum et omne donum perfectum de sursum est descendens a patre luminum. Quid enim habes quod non accepisti? Quodsi accepisti, quid gloriaris quasi non acceperis?

 

 

CHAPTER 11. The case of the thief and of David, and of our call in order to illustrate the grace of God.

CAPUT XI. Davidis et beati latronis exemplo hoc ipsum confirmat.

 

 

11.1 FOR if we recall that thief who was by reason of a single confession admitted into paradise, (Cf. Luke 23:40) we shall feel that he did not acquire such bliss by the merits of his life, but obtained it by the gift of a merciful God. Or if we bear in mind those two grievous and heinous sins of King David, blotted out by one word of penitence, (Cf. 2 Sam. 12:13) we shall see that neither here were the merits of his works sufficient to obtain pardon for so great a sin, but that the grace of God superabounded, as, when the opportunity for true penitence was taken,

  XI. Si enim uel illum latronem ob unam confessionem introductum in paradisum recordemur, intellegemus eum non cursus sui merito tantam beatitudinem consecutum, sed dono Dei miserentis indeptum. Vel si reminiscamur Dauid regis duo tam grauia tamque inmania crimina uno paenitudinis sermone deleta, nec hic uidebimus ad indulgentiam tanti criminis obtinendam laboris aequiperasse merita, sed Dei gratiam superabundasse, qui uerae paenitudinis occasione percepta tantam peccatorum materiem sub unius uerbi plena confessione consumpsit.

11.2 He removed the whole weight of sins through the full confession of but one word. If we consider also the beginning of the call and salvation of mankind, in which, as the Apostle says, we are saved not of ourselves, nor of our works, but by the gift and grace of God, we can clearly see how the whole of perfection is “not of him that willeth nor of him that runneth, but of God that hath mercy,” who makes us victorious over our faults, without any merits of works and life on our part to outweigh them, or any effort of our will availing to scale the difficult heights of perfection, or to subdue the flesh which we have to use:

 2. Principium quoque discutientes uocationis ac salutis humanae, qua non ex nobis nec ex operibus nostris secundum Apostolum, sed Dei sumus dono gratiaque saluati, liquido poterimus aduertere, quemadmodum perfectionis summa non uolentis neque currentis, sed miserentis sit Dei, qui nequaquam laborum uel cursus nostri merito conpensante uitiorum nos facit esse uictores nec aequiperante nostrae uoluntatis industria tam arduum integritatis culmen subiugata qua utimur carne conscendere.

11.3 since no tortures of this body, and no contrition of heart, can be sufficient for the acquisition of that true chastity of the inner man so as to be able to gain that great virtue of purity (which is innate in the angels alone and indigenous as it were to heaven) merely by human efforts, i.e., without the aid of God: for the performance of everything good flows from His grace, who by multiplying His bounty has granted such lasting bliss, and vast glory to our feeble will and short and petty course of life.

 3. Nulla siquidem corporis huius adflictio nullaque cordis contritio ad capessendam ueram illam interioris hominis castitatem possit esse condigna, ut tantam puritatis uirtutem angelis solis ingenitam caelique uernaculam nudo humano labore, id est sine adiutorio Dei ualeat obtinere, quia totius boni effectus ab illius profluit gratia, qui tantam perennitatem beatitudinis et inmensitatem gloriae exiguae uoluntati breuique ac paruo cursui nostro multiplicata largitate donauit.

 

 

CHAPTER 12. That no toil is worthy to be compared with the promised bliss.

CAPUT XII. Quod nullus sit labor, qui possit repromissae beatitudini comparari.

 

 

12. FOR all the long years of this present life disappear when you have regard to the eternity of the future glory: and all our sorrows vanish away in the contemplation of that vast bliss, and like smoke melt away, and come to nothing, and like ashes are no more seen.

  XII. Omnis enim longaeuitas uitae praesentis, cum ad illam futurae gloriae perennitatem respexeris, euanescit, et dolores cuncti contemplatione illius inmensae beatitudinis effugantur atque ut fumus ad nihil extenuati liquescunt et nusquam ut fauilla conparent.

 

 

CHAPTER 13. The teaching of the elders on the method of acquiring purity.

CAPUT XIII. Traditio seniorum de consequendae puritatis modo.

 

 

13. WHEREFORE it is now time to produce, in the very words in which they hand it down, the opinion of the Fathers; viz., of those who have not painted the way of perfection and its character in high-sounding words, but rather, possessing it in deed and truth, and in the virtue of their spirit, have passed it on by their own experience and sure example. And so they say that no one can be altogether cleansed from carnal sins, unless he has realized that all his labours and efforts are insufficient for so great and perfect an end; and unless, taught, not by the system handed down to him, but by his feelings and virtues and his own experience, he recognizes that it can only be gained by the mercy and assistance of God. For in order to acquire such splendid and lofty prizes of purity and perfection, however great may be the efforts of fastings and vigils and readings and solitude and retirement applied to it, they will not be sufficient to secure it by the merits of the actual efforts and toil. For a man’s own efforts and human exertions will never make up for the lack of the divine gift, unless it is granted by divine compassion in answer to his prayer.

  XIII. Quapropter iam tempus est ut ipsis quibus tradunt uerbis patrum sententiam proferamus, eorum scilicet qui uiam perfectionis et qualitatem eius non uerborum iactantia depinxerunt, sed potius re et opere ac uirtute spiritus possidentes experimentis eam propriis et exemplis certissimis tradiderunt. Aiunt itaque non posse ad purum quempiam carnalibus uitiis emundari, nisi uniuersum laborem suum atque conatum ad tantum perfectionis finem intellexerit non posse sufficere, nec eam nisi Dei miseratione et adiutorio conprehendi non tam tradentis institutione quam affectu atque uirtute et experimentis propriis cruditus agnoscat. Ad capessenda namque tam magnifica tamque praecelsa puritatis et integritatis praemia quantuslibet ieiuniorum, uigiliarum, lectionis, solitudinis ac remotionis labor fuerit inpensus, condignus esse non poterit qui haec industriae suae merito uel sudoris obtineat. Numquam enim diuinum munus labor proprius humanaue conpensabit industria, nisi desideranti diuina fuerit miseratione concessum.

 

 

CHAPTER 14. That the help of God is given to those who labour.

CAPUT XIV. Quod adjutorium Dei laborantibus tribuatur.

 

 

14.1 NOR do I say this to cast a slight on human efforts, or in the endeavour to discourage any one from his purpose of working and doing his best. But clearly and most earnestly do I lay down, not giving my own opinion, but that of the elders, that perfection cannot possibly be gained without these, but that by these only without the grace of God nobody can ever attain it. For when we say that human efforts cannot of themselves secure it without the aid of God, we thus insist that God’s mercy and grace are bestowed only upon those who labour and exert themselves, and are granted (to use the Apostle’s expression) to them that “will” and “run,” according to that which is sung in the person of God in the eighty-eighth Psalm: “I have laid help upon one that is mighty, and have exalted one chosen out of my people.” (Ps. 88 [89]:20)

  XIIII. Nec hoc dico ut humanos conatus euacuans ab industria et laboris intentione quemquam reuocare contendam, sed plane constantissime non mea, sed seniorum sententia definio perfectionem quidem sine his omnino capi non posse, his autem solis sine gratia Dei posse eam a nemine consummari. Vt enim dicimus conatus humanos adprehendere eam per se ipsos non posse sine adiutorio Dei, ita pronuntiamus laborantibus tantum ac desudantibus misericordiam Dei gratiamque conferri et, ut uerbis Apostoli loquar, uolentibus et currentibus inpertiri secundum illud, quod etiam in psalmo octogensimo octauo ex persona Dei cantatur : Posui adiutorium super potentem: et exaltaui electum de plebe mea.

14.2 For we say, in accordance with our Saviour’s words, that it is given to them that ask, and opened to them that knock and found by them that seek; (Matt. 7:7) but that the asking, the seeking, and the knocking on our part are insufficient unless the mercy of God gives what we ask, and opens that at which we knock, and enables us to find that which we seek. For He is at hand to bestow all these things, if only the opportunity is given to Him by our good will. For He desires and looks for our perfection and salvation far more than we do ourselves.

 2. Dicimus enim secundum Saluatoris sententiam dari quidem petentibus, aperiri pulsantibus et a quaerentibus inueniri, sed petitionem et inquisitionem et pulsationem nostram non esse condignam, nisi misericordia Dei id quod petimus dederit uel aperuerit quod pulsamus uel illud quod quaerimus fecerit inueniri. Praesto est namque, occasione sibi tantummodo a nobis bonae uoluntatis oblata, ad haec omnia conferenda. Amplius enim ille quam nos perfectionem salutemque nostram desiderat et expectat.

14.3 And the blessed David knew so well that by his own efforts he could not secure the increase of his work and labour, that he entreated with renewed prayers that he might obtain the “direction” of his work from the Lord, saying, “Direct thou the work of our hands over us; yea, the work of our hands do thou direct;” (Ps. 89 [90]:17) and again: “Confirm, O God, what thou hast wrought in us.” (Ps. 67 [68]:29)

 3. Et in tantum beatus Dauid prouentum sui operis ac laboris propria tantum industria non posse nouerat obtineri, ut a Domino promereri directionem suorum operum iterata prece deposceret dicens : Et opera manuum nostrarum dirige super nos, et opus manuum nostrarum dirige, et rursum : Confirma Deus hoc, quod operatus es in nobis.

 

 

CHAPTER 15. From whom we can learn the way of perfection.

CAPUT XV. A quibus perfectionis viam discere debeamus.

 

 

15.1 AND so, if we wish in very deed and truth to attain to the crown of virtues, we ought to listen to those teachers and guides who, not dreaming with pompous declamations, but learning by act and experience, are able to teach us as well, and direct us likewise, and show us the road by which we may arrive at it by a most sure pathway; and who also testify that they have themselves reached it by faith rather than by any merits of their efforts. And further, the purity of heart that they have acquired has taught them this above all; viz., to recognize more and more that they are burdened with sin (for their compunction for their faults increases day by day in proportion as their purity of soul advances), and to sigh continually from the bottom of their heart because they see that they cannot possibly avoid the spots and blemishes of those faults which are ingrained in them through the countless triflings of the thoughts.

  XV. Ideoque si ad ueram consummationem uirtutum uolumus effectu et opere peruenire, illis debemus adquiescere magistris ac ducibus, qui hanc non uaniloqua disputatione somniantes, sed re atque experimentis adprehendentes nos quoque docere atque ad eam dirigere similiter possunt et uiam, quemadmodum perueniamus ad eam, certissimo tramite demonstrare, quique ad hanc fide se potius peruenisse quam laborum merito testabantur. Quibus etiam hoc praecipuum sui cordis adquisita puritas conferebat, ut magis magisque se deprimi peccatis agnoscerent - tanta namque in eis delictorum conpunctio per dies singulos augebatur, quanta puritas animi profecisset-traherentque iugiter intimo corde suspiria, eo quod semet ipsos sentirent nequaquam posse delictorum naeuos ac maculas deuitare, quae eis per multiplices cogitationum minutias inurebantur.

15.2 And therefore they declared that they looked for the reward of the future life, not from the merits of their works, but from the mercy of the Lord, taking no credit to themselves for their great circumspection of heart in comparison with others, since they ascribed this not to their own exertions, but to divine grace; and without flattering themselves on account of the carelessness of those who are cold, and worse than they themselves are, they rather aimed at a lasting humility by fixing their gaze on those whom they knew to be really free from sin and already in the enjoyment of eternal bliss in the kingdom of heaven, and so by this consideration they avoided the downfall of pride, and at the same time always saw both what they were aiming at and what they had to grieve over: as they knew that they could not attain that purity of heart for which they yearned while weighed down by the burden of the flesh.

 2. Et idcirco futurae uitae stipendia non operum sperare se merito, sed misericordia Domini proclamabant, nihil sibi de tanta circumspectione cordis aliorum conparatione donantes, quippe qui hanc ipsam non suae industriae, sed diuinae gratiae adscribebant : nec blandientes sibi de inferiorum ac tepidorum neglegentia, sed contemplatione potius illorum, quos uere peccato carere atque in regno caelorum aeterna iam beatitudine perfrui nouerant, humilitatem perpetuam conquirebant. Atque ita consideratione hac et elationis ruinam pariter declinabant et quo contenderent uel quod dolerent semper inueniebant, intellegentes semet ipsos ad illam puritatem cordis quam cupiunt obsistente carnis sarcina peruenire non posse.

 

 

CHAPTER 16. That we cannot even make the effort to obtain perfectionwithout the mercy and inspiration of God.

CAPUT XVI. Non posse nos sine misericordia et inspiratione Dei ad ipsum laborem obtinendae perfectionis accedere.

 

 

16. WE ought therefore, in accordance with their teaching and instruction, so to press towards it, and to be diligent in fastings, vigils, prayers, and contrition of heart and body, for fear lest all these things should be rendered useless by an attack of this malady. For we ought to believe not merely that we cannot secure this actual perfection by our own efforts and exertions, but also that we cannot perform those things which we practise for its sake, viz., our efforts and exertions and desires, without the assistance of the divine protection, and the grace of His inspiration, chastisement, and exhortation, which He ordinarily sheds abroad in our hearts either through the instrumentality of another, or in His own person coming to visit us.

  XVI. Igitur secundum traditiones et institutiones eorum sic ad eam festinare debemus ieiuniis, uigiliis, orationibus, contritioni cordis et corporis operam dantes, ne haec omnia morbo hoc inflante uacuemus. Non solum namque ipsam perfectionem oportet credere industria nos uel labore nostro possidere non posse, sed ne haec ipsa quidem, quae illius exercemus obtentu, id est labores conatusque nostros ac studia sine diuinae protectionis auxilio inspirationisque eius et castigationis atque exhortationis gratia posse perficere, quam scilicet cordibus nostris uel per alium solet uel per semet ipsum, nos uisitans, clementer infundere.

 

 

CHAPTER 17. Various passages which clearly show that we cannot do anything which belongs to our salvation without the aid of God.

CAPUT XVII. Testimonia diversa, quibus evidenter ostenditur, nihil posse nos, quod ad salutem nostram pertinet, sine adjutorio Dei perficere.

 

 

17.1 LASTLY, the Author of our salvation teaches us what we ought not merely to think, but also to acknowledge in everything that we do. “I can,” He says, “of mine own self do nothing, but the Father which abideth in me, He doeth the works.” (John 14:10; 5:30) He says, speaking in the human nature which He had taken, that He could do nothing of Himself; and shall we, who are dust and ashes, think that we have no need of God’s help in what pertains to our salvation? And so let us learn in everything, as we feel our own weakness, and at the same time His help, to declare with the saints, “I was overturned that I might fall, but the Lord supported me. The Lord is my strength and my praise: and He is become my salvation.” (Ps. 117 [118]:13, 14) And “Unless the Lord had helped me, my soul had almost dwelt in hell. If I said, My foot is moved: Thy mercy, O Lord, assisted me. According to the multitude of my sorrows in my heart, Thy comforts have given Joy to my soul.” (Ps. 93 [94]:17-19)

  XVII. Postremo instruat auctor salutis nostrae, quid nos oporteat in singulis quibusque quae gerimus non modo sentire, sed etiam confiteri. Non possum ego, inquit, a me ipso facere quicquam. Pater autem in me manens ipse facit opera. Ille ex persona hominis adsumpti dicit nihil a semet ipso posse se facere, et nos cinis ac terra in his, quae ad nostram salutem pertinent, arbitramur nos adiutorio Domini non egere? Discamus itaque et nos, per singula nostram simul infirmitatem et illius adiutoria sentientes, cotidie proclamare cum sanctis : Inpulsus uersatus sum ut caderem: et Dominus suscepit me. Fortitudo mea, et laudatio mea Dominus: et factus est mihi in salutem, et: Nisi quia dominus adiuuit me: paulo minus habitauerat in inferno anima mea. Si dicebam: motus est pes meus: misericordia tua, Domine, adiuuabat me. Secundum multitudinem dolorum meorum in corde meo: consolationes tuae laetificauerunt animam meam.

17.2 Seeing also that our heart is strengthened in the fear of the Lord, and in patience, let us say: “And the Lord became my protector; and He brought me forth into a large place.” (Ps. 17 [18]:20 sq) And knowing that knowledge is increased by progress in work, let us say: “For thou lightest my lamp, O Lord: O my God, enlighten my darkness, for by Thee I shall be delivered from temptation, and through my God I shall go over a wall.” Then, feeling that we have ourselves sought for courage and endurance, and are being directed with greater ease and without labour in the path of the virtues, let us say, “It is God who girded me with strength, and made my way perfect; who made my feet like hart’s feet, and setteth me up on high: who teacheth my hands to war.”

 2. Videntes etiam cor nostrum in timore Domini et patientia roborari dicamus : Et factus est Dominus firmamentum meum. Et eduxit me in latitudine. Scientiam quoque profectu operum intellegentes nobis augeri dicamus : Quoniam tu inluminas lucernam meam, Domine: Deus meus, inlumina tenebras meas. Quoniam in te eripiar a temptatione, et in Deo meo transgrediar murum. Deinde sentientes nosmet ipsos fortitudinem tolerantiae conquisisse et in semita uirtutum facilius ac sine labore dirigere adiciamus : Deus qui praecinxit me uirtute: et posuit inmaculatam uiam meam. Qui perfecit pedes meos tamquam cerui, et super excelsa statuit me, qui docet manus meas ad proelium.

17.3 And having also secured discretion, strengthened with which we can dash down our enemies, let us cry aloud to God: “Thy discipline hath set me up unto the end, and Thy discipline the same shall teach me. Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, and my feet are not weakened.” And because I am thus strengthened with Thy knowledge and power, I will boldly take up the words which follow, and will say, “I will pursue after my enemies and overtake them: and I will not turn again till they are consumed. I will break them, and they shall not be able to stand: they shall fall under my feet.” (Ps. 17 [18]:33 sq)

 3. Consecuti etiam discretionem, qua roborati possimus aduersarios nostros elidere, proclamemus ad Deum : Disciplina tua erexit me in finem: et disciplina tua ipsa me docebit. Dilatasti gressus meos subtus me: et non sunt infirmata uestigia mea. Et quia taliter sum roboratus scientia tua atque uirtute, inferam confidenter ea quae sequuntur et dicam: Persequar inimicos meos, et conprehendam illos: et non conuertar donec deficiant. Conteram illos, nec poterunt stare: cadent sub pedes meos.

17.4 Again, mindful of our own infirmity, and of the fact that while still burdened with the weak flesh we cannot without His assistance overcome such bitter foes as our sins are, let us say, “Through Thee we will scatter our enemies: and through Thy name we will despise them that rise up against us. For I will not trust in my bow: neither shall my sword save me. For Thou hast saved us from them that afflict us: and hast put them to shame that hate us.” (Ps. 43 [44]:6-8) But further: “Thou hast guided me with strength unto the battle, and hast subdued under me them that rose up against me. And Thou hast made mine enemies turn their backs upon me, and hast destroyed them that hated me.” (Ps. 17 [18]:40, 41)

 4. Rursus infirmitatis nostrae memores nec posse nos tam acerbos uitiorum hostes fragili carne circumdatos sine illius adiutorio superare dicamus : In te inimicos nostros uentilabimus, et in nomine tuo spernemus insurgentes in nos. Non enim in arcu meo sperabo: et gladius meus non saluabit me. Tu enim saluasti nos de adfligentibus nos: et odientes nos confudisti. Sed etiam praecinxisti me uirtute ad bellum: subplantasti omnes insurgentes in me subtus me. Et inimicos meos dedisti mihi dorsum, et odientes nos confudisti.

17.5 And reflecting that with our own arms alone we cannot conquer, let us say, “Take hold of arms and shield: and rise up to help me. Bring out the sword and stop the way against them that persecute me: say to my soul, I am thy salvation.” (Ps. 34 [35]:2-4) “And Thou hast made my arms like a brazen bow. And Thou hast given me the protection of Thy salvation: and Thy right hand hath held me up.” (Ps. 17 [18]:35) “For our fathers got not the possession of the land through their own sword; neither did their own arm save them: but Thy right hand and Thine arm and the light of Thy countenance because Thou wast pleased with them.” (Ps. 43 [44]:4, 5)

 5. Sed nec armis nostris posse nos uincere cogitantes dicamus : Adprehende arma et scutum: et exsurge in adiutorium mihi. Effunde frameam, et conclude aduersus eos, qui persequuntur me: dic animae meae: salus tua ego sum. Et posuisti arcum aereum brachia mea. Et dedisti mihi protectionem salutis meae. Quia nec patres nostri in gladio suo possederunt terram, et brachium eorum non saluauit eos: sed dextera tua, et brachium tuum, et inluminatio uultus tui: quoniam conplacuit tibi in eis.

17.6 Lastly, as with anxious mind we regard all His benefits with thankfulness, let us cry to Him with the inmost feelings of our heart, for all these things, because we have fought, and have obtained from Him the light of knowledge, and self-control and discretion, and because He has furnished us with His own arms, and strengthened us with a girdle of virtue, and because He has made our enemies turn their backs upon us, and has given us the power of scattering them like the dust before the wind: “I will love Thee, O Lord my Strength; the Lord is my stronghold, my refuge and my deliverer. My God is my helper, and in Him will I put my trust. My protector and the horn of my salvation, and my support. Praising I will call upon the name of the Lord; and I shall be saved from mine enemies.” (Ps. 17 [18]:2-4)

 6. Postremo uniuersa beneficia eius cum gratiarum actione mente sollicita perlustrantes super his omnibus, quod uel pugnauimus uel inluminationem scientiae uel disciplinam discretionis ab eo consecuti sumus, uel quod suis nos armis instruxit et uirtutis cingulo communiuit, uel quod inimicorum nostrorum nobis praebuit dorsum et tribuit uirtutem comminuendi eos ut puluerem ante faciem uenti, intimo cordis affectu clamemus ad eum : Diligam te, Domine, uirtus mea: Dominus firmamentum meum, et refugium meum, et liberator meus. Deus meus adiutor meus, et sperabo in eum. Protector meus, et cornu salutis meae, et susceptor meus. Laudans inuocabo Dominum: et ab inimicis meis saluus ero.

 

 

CHAPTER 18. How we are protected by the grace of God not only in our natural condition, but also by His daily Providence.

CAPUT XVIII. Quod non solum in naturali conditione, sed etiam in quotidiana dispensatione, Dei gratia muniamur.

 

 

18. NOT alone giving thanks to Him for that He has created us as reasonable beings, and endowed us with the power of free will, and blessed us with the grace of baptism, and granted to us the knowledge and aid of the law, but for these things as well, which are bestowed upon us by His daily providence; viz., that He delivers us from the craft of our enemies; that He works with us so that we can overcome the sins of the flesh, that, even without our knowing it, He shields us from dangers; that He protects us from falling into sin; that He helps us and enlightens us, so that we can understand and recognize the actual help which He gives us, (which some will have it is what is meant by the law); (1) that, when we are through His influence secretly struck with compunction for our sins and negligences, He visits us with His regard and chastens us to our soul’s health; that even against our will we are sometimes drawn by Him to salvation; lastly that this very free will of ours, which is more readily inclined to sin, is turned by Him to a better purpose, and by His prompting and suggestion, bent towards the way of virtue.

  XVIII. Non solum pro his ei gratias referentes, quod uel rationabiles nos condidit uel liberi arbitrii potestate donauit uel baptismi largitus est gratiam uel scientiam legis adiutoriumque concessit, sed etiam pro his, quae erga nos cotidiana eius prouidentia conferuntur, quod scilicet aduersariorum nos insidiis liberat, quod cooperatur in nobis, ut carnis uitia superare possimus, quod a periculis nos etiam ignorantes protegit, quod a lapsu peccati communit, quod adiuuat nos et inluminat, ut ipsum adiutorium nostrum, quod non aliud quidam interpretari uolunt quam legem, intellegere et agnoscere ualeamus, quod pro neglegentiis delictisque nostris eius inspiratione latenter conpungimur, quod dignatione eius uisitati saluberrime castigamur, quod ab eo nonnumquam etiam inuiti trahimur ad salutem, postremo quia ipsum liberum arbitrium nostrum, quod procliuius fertur ad uitia, ad meliorem dirigit frugem et ad uirtutum uiam instigationis suae uisitatione contorquet.

 

 

CHAPTER 19. How this faith concerning the grace of God was delivered to us by the ancient Fathers.

CAPUT XIX. Quod haec fides ab antiquis Patribus sit tradita de gratia Dei.

 

 

19. THIS then is that humility towards God, this is that genuine faith of the ancient fathers which still remains intact among their successors. And to this faith, the apostolic virtues, which they so often showed, bear an undoubted witness, not only among us but also among infidels and unbelievers: for keeping in simplicity of heart the simple faith of the fishermen they did not receive it in a worldly spirit through dialectical syllogisms or the eloquence of a Cicero, but learnt by the experience of a pure life, and stainless actions, and by correcting their faults, and (to speak more truly) by visible proofs, that the character of perfection is to be found in that faith without which neither piety towards God, nor purification from sin, nor amendment of life, nor perfection of virtue can be secured.

  XVIIII. Haec est proprie humilitas erga Deum, haec est antiquissimorum patrum sincera fides, quae penes successores ipsorum mera nunc usque perdurat. Cui fidei uirtutes apostolicae, quae saepenumero per eos manifestatae sunt, non solum apud nos, sed etiam apud infideles et incredulos indubitatum testimonium reddunt. Qui simplicem piscatorum fidem corde simplici retinentes non eam syllogismis dialecticis et Tulliana facundia spiritu concepere mundano, sed experimento uitae sinceris actuque purissimo, correctione quoque uitiorum, et ut uerius dixerim in ipsa perfectionis inesse naturam oculatis indiciis deprehenderunt, sine qua nec pietas in Deum nec uitiorum purgatio nec emendatio morum nec uirtutum consummatio poterit adprehendi.

 

 

CHAPTER 20. Of one who for his blasphemy was given over to a most unclean spirit.

CAPUT XX. De eo qui propter blasphemiam immundissimo spiritui traditus est.

 

 

20. I KNEW one of the number of the brethren, whom I heartily wish I had never known; since afterwards he allowed himself to be saddled with the responsibilities of my order: who confessed to a most admirable elder that he was attacked by a terrible sin of the flesh: for he was inflamed with an intolerable lust, with the unnatural desire of suffering rather than of committing a shameful act: then the other like a true spiritual physician, at once saw through the inward cause and origin of this evil. And, sighing deeply, said: “Never would the Lord have suffered you to be given over to so foul a spirit unless you had blasphemed against Him.” And he, when this was discovered, at once fell at his feet on the ground, and, struck with the utmost astonishment, as if he saw the secrets of his heart laid bare by God, confessed that he had blasphemed with evil thoughts against the Son of God. Whence it is clear that one who is possessed by the spirit of pride, or who has been guilty of blasphemy against God,--as one who offers a wrong to Him from whom the gift of purity must be looked for--is deprived of his uprightness and perfection, and does not deserve the sanctifying grace of chastity.

  XX. Noui quendam de fratrum numero - quem utinam minime scissem, siquidem post haec ordinis mei gradu se passus est praegrauari -, qui probatissimo cuidam senum uitio carnis semet ipsum grauissimo confessus est inpugnari : nam contra usum naturae desiderio patiendi magis quam inferendi ignominiam intolerabili aestu libidinis urebatur. Tum illum ut spiritalem uerumque medicum interiorem causam morbi huius et originem protinus peruidisse : qui grauiter suspirans, nequaquam, ait, tam nequam spiritui tradi te Dominus permisisset, nisi aliquid blasphemasses in eum. Quo ille conperto confestim procidit ad pedes eius in terram, summaque admiratione perculsus tamquam Deo cernens arcana sui pectoris patefacta confessus est in Dei se filium cogitatione impia blasphemasse. Vnde perspicuum est eum, qui superbiae spiritu possidetur uel qui in Deum blasphemus exsistit, tamquam qui inroget illi iniuriam, a quo puritatis speranda sunt dona, perfectionis integritate priuari et sanctificationem castimoniae non mereri.

 

 

CHAPTER 21. The instance of Joash, King of Judah, showing what was the consequence of his pride.

CAPUT XXI. Exemplum Joas regis Judae, quo ostenditur quid propter superbiam meruerit.

 

 

21.1. SOME such thing we read of in the book of Chronicles. For Joash the king of Judah at the age of seven was summoned by Jehoiada the priest to the kingdom and by the witness of Scripture is commended for all his actions as long as the aforesaid priest lived. But hear what Scripture relates of him after Jehoiada’s death, and how he was puffed up with pride and given over to a most disgraceful state. “But after the death of Jehoiada the princes went in and worshipped the king: and he was soothed by their services and hearkened unto them. And they forsook the temple of the Lord, the God of their fathers, and served groves and idols, and great wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem because of this sin.”

  XXI. Legimus tale aliquid in Paralipomenon libro. Ioas enim rex Iuda septem annorum ab Ioiade pontifice adscitus in regnum atque in omnibus, quoad uixit memoratus pontifex, testimonio scripturae laudatus est. De quo post obitum Ioiade audi quid scriptura commemoret et quemadmodum elatus superbia ignominiosae fuerit traditus passioni : Postquam autem obiit Ioiade, ingressi sunt principes Iuda, et adorauerunt regem, qui delenitus obsequiis eorum adquieuit. Et dereliquerunt templum Domini Dei patrum suorum, seruieruntque lucis et sculptilibus, et facta est ira contra Iudam et Hierusalem propter hoc peccatum.

21.2. And after a little: “When a year was come about, the army of Syria came up against him: and they came to Judah and Jerusalem, and killed all the princes of the people, and they sent all the spoils to the king to Damascus. And whereas there came a very small number of the Syrians, the Lord delivered into their hands an infinite multitude, because they had forsaken the Lord the God of their fathers: and on Joash they executed shameful judgments. And departing they left him in great diseases.” (2 Chron. 24:17, 18; 23-25) You see how the consequence of pride was that he was given over to shocking and filthy passions. For he who is puffed up with pride and has permitted himself to be worshipped as God, is (as the Apostle says) “given over to shameful passions and a reprobate mind to do those things which are not convenient.” (Rom. 1:26, 28)

 2. Et post pauca : Cumque euolutus esset annus, ascendit contra eum exercitus Syriae: uenitque in Iudam et Hierusalem, et interfecit cunctos principes populi, atque uniuersam praedam miserunt regi Damascum. Et certe cum permodicus uenisset numerus Syrorum, tradidit dominus in manus eorum infinitam multitudinem, eo quod reliquissent Dominum Deum patrum suorum: in Ioas quoque ignominiosa exercuere iudicia. Et abeuntes dimiserunt eum in languoribus magnis. Vides quam flagitiosis ac sordidis passionibus tradi mereatur superbia. Qui enim elatus adrogantia ut Deum se passus est adorari, traditur secundum Apostolum in passiones ignominiae et in reprobum sensum, ut patiatur ea quae non conuenit.

21.3. And because, as Scripture says, “every one who exalts his heart is unclean before God,” (Prov. 16:5 [LXX]) he who is puffed up with swelling pride of heart is given over to most shameful confusion to be deluded by it, that when thus humbled he may know that he is unclean through impurity of the flesh and knowledge of impure desires,--a thing which he had refused to recognize in the pride of his heart; and also that the shameful infection of the flesh may disclose the hidden impurity of the heart, which he contracted through the sin of pride, and that through the patent pollution of his body he may be proved to be impure, who did not formerly see that he had become unclean through the pride of his spirit.

 3. Et quia dicente scriptura inmundus est ante Deum omnis qui exaltat cor suum, iste, qui tumida elatione cordis inflatus est, turpissimae confusioni traditur deludendus, ut humiliatus taliter sentiret semet ipsum esse uel inmunditia carnis et conscientia inpurae passionis inmundum, quod animi sui noluerat elatione sentire, et ut carnis ignominiosa contagio patefaceret inmunditiam cordis eius occultam, quam superbiae malo contraxerat, ac manifesta pollutione corporis sui probaretur inpurus, qui per elationem spiritus factum se non sentiebat inmundum.

 

 

CHAPTER 22. That every proud soul is subject to spiritual wickedness to be deceived by it.

CAPUT XXII. Omnem animam superbam subdi spiritualibus nequitiis illudendam.

 

 

22. AND this clearly shows that every soul of which the swellings of pride have taken possession, is given over to the Syrians of the soul, i.e., to spiritual wickedness, and that it is entangled in the lusts of the flesh, that the soul being at last humbled by earthly faults, and carnally polluted, may recognize its uncleanness, though while it stood erect in the coldness of its heart, it could not understand that through pride of heart it was rendered unclean in the sight of God; and by this means being humbled, a man may get rid of his former coldness, and being cast down and confused with the shame of his fleshly lusts, may thenceforward hasten to betake himself the more eagerly towards fervour and warmth of spirit.

  XXII. Quibus manifeste probatur omnem animam, quae superbiae fuerit tumore possessa, intellectualibus Syris, id est nequitiis spiritalibus tradi eamque passionibus carnis inuolui, ut saltim uitiis humiliata terrenis inmundam se carnaliter polluta cognoscat, quae tepore mentis erecta inmundam se in conspectu Dei per elationem cordis effectam intellegere ante non potuit, quo uel sic humiliatus quis a pristino tepore discedat et ignominia carnalium passionum deiectus atque confusus ad spiritalem feruorem deinceps semet ipsum ardentius conferre festinet.

 

 

CHAPTER 23. How perfection can only be attained through the virtue of humility.

CAPUT XXIII. Quod perfectio attingi, nisi humilitatis virtute, non possit.

 

 

23. AND so it is clearly shown that none can attain the end of perfection and purity, except through true humility, which he displays in the first instance to the brethren, and shows also to God in his inmost heart, believing that without His protection and aid extended to him at every instant, he cannot possibly obtain the perfection which he desires and to which he hastens so eagerly.

  XXIII. Euidenter itaque demonstratur non posse quemquam perfectionis finem ac puritatis adtingere nisi per humilitatem ueram, quam primitus fratribus reddens Deo quoque in penetralibus cordis exhibeat, credens sine protectione eius atque auxilio per singula sibi momenta delato perfectionem, quam cupit et ad quam magnopere currit, se penitus obtinere non posse.

 

 

CHAPTER 24. Who are attacked by spiritual and who by carnal pride.

CAPUT XXIV. Quos spiritalis superbia pulset, quosve carnalis.

 

 

24. THUS much let it suffice to have spoken, as far as, by God’s help, our slender ability was able, concerning spiritual pride of which we have said that it attacks advanced Christians. And this kind of pride is not familiar to or experienced by most men, because the majority do not aim at attaining perfect purity of heart, so as to arrive at the stage of these conflicts; nor have they secured any purification from the preceding faults of which we have here explained both the character and the remedies in separate books. But it generally attacks those only who have conquered the former faults and have already almost arrived at the top of the tree in respect of the virtues. And because our most crafty enemy has not been able to destroy them through a carnal fall, he endeavours to cast them down and overthrow them by a spiritual catastrophe, trying by this to rob them of the prizes of their ancient rewards secured as they were with great labour. But as for us, who are still entangled in earthly passions, he never deigns to tempt us in this fashion, but overthrows us by a coarser and what I called a carnal pride. And therefore I think it well, as I promised, to say a few things about this kind of pride by which we and men of our stamp are usually affected, and the minds especially of younger men and beginners are endangered.

  XXIIII. Huc usque de spiritali superbia, qua diximus perfectos quosque pulsari, quantum tenuitas ingenii nostri praeualuit, donante Deo dixisse sufficiet. Quod superbiae genus non multis cognitum nec expertum est, quia nec plures student perfectam cordis adprehendere puritatem, ut ad hos proeliorum gradus ualeant peruenire, nec praecedentium uitiorum, quorum in singulis libellis naturam pariter remediaque praemisimus, procuratur ulla purgatio : sed illos solummodo pulsare solet, qui deuictis superioribus uitiis iam propemodum sunt in uirtutum culmine conlocati. Quos quia lapsu carnali subtilissimus hostis superare non quiuit, spiritali ruina deicere ac subplantare conatur, per hanc illos uniuersis ueterum stipendiorum meritis multo labore quaesitis spoliare contendens. Ceterum nos, qui adhuc terrenis sumus passionibus inuoluti, nequaquam hoc modo temptare dignatur, sed crassiore et ut ita dixerim carnali elatione subplantat. Et idcirco de hac quoque, qua maxime nos seu nostrae mensurae homines ac praecipue iuniorum uel incipientium mentes periclitari solent, necessarium reor secundum promissionem nostram pauca depromere.

 

 

CHAPTER 25. A description of carnal pride, and of the evils which it produces in the soul of a monk.

CAPUT XXV. Descriptio carnalis superbiae.

 

 

25. THIS carnal pride therefore, of which we spoke, when it has gained an entrance into the heart of a monk, which is but lukewarm, and has made a bad start in renouncing the world, does not suffer him to stoop from his former state of worldly haughtiness to the true humility of Christ, but first of all makes him disobedient and rough; then it does not let him be gentle and kindly; nor allows him to be on a level with and like his brethren: nor does it permit him to be stripped and deprived of his worldly goods, as God and our Saviour commands: and, though renunciation of the world is nothing but the mark of mortification and the cross, and cannot begin or rise from any other foundations, but these; viz., that a man should recognize that he is not merely spiritually dead to the deeds of this world, but also should realize daily that he must die in the body--it makes him on the contrary hope for a long life, and sets before him many lengthy infirmities, and covers him with shame and confusion. If when stripped of everything he has begun to be supported by the property of others and not his own, it persuades him that it is much better for food and clothing to be provided for him by his own rather than by another’s means according to that text (which, as was before said, those who are rendered dense through such dulness and coldness of heart, cannot possibly understand.) “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)

  XXV. Haec igitur quam diximus carnalis superbia cum tepido ac male adrepto renuntiationis principio in monachi resederit mente, de pristino ac saeculari eum tumore ad ueram Christi humilitatem descendere non permittens primum inoboedientem eum reddit et asperum, deinde mitem atque adfabilem esse non patitur, aequalem quoque fratribus fieri communemque non sinit nec secundum Dei ac Saluatoris nostri mandatum spoliari terrenis opibus nudarique concedit, et cum renuntiatio nihil aliud sit nisi mortificationis et crucis indicium nec ualeat aliis inchoari uel consurgere fundamentis, quam ut se non solum actibus huius mundi spiritaliter nouerit interemptum, uerum etiam corporaliter cotidie credat esse moriturum, e contrario facit eum uitam sperare longaeuam, infirmitates proponit ei prolixas et multas, confusionem quoque incutit ac pudorem, si nudus effectus alienis et non propriis facultatibus coeperit sustentari, persuadet etiam multo esse melius uictum indumentumque sibi sua potius quam aliena substantia ministrari, secundum illud scilicet, quod quemadmodum dictum sit tali hebitudine ac tepore cordis obtunsi ne intellegere quidem aliquando poterunt : Beatius est magis dare quam accipere.

 

 

CHAPTER 26. That a man whose foundation is bad, sinks daily from bad to worse.

CAPUT XXVI. Quod male fundatus ad deteriorem statum quotidie prolabatur.

 

 

26. THOSE then who are possessed by such distrust of mind, and who through the devil’s own want of faith fall away from that spark of faith, by which they seemed in the early days of their conversion to be enkindled, begin more anxiously to watch over the money which before they had begun to give away, and treasure it up with greater avarice, as men who cannot recover again what they have once wasted: or--what is still worse--take back what they had formerly cast away: or else (which is a third and most disgusting kind of sin), collect what they never before possessed, and thus are convicted of having gone no further in forsaking the world than merely to take the name and style of monk. With this beginning therefore, and on this bad and rotten foundation, it is a matter of course that the whole superstructure of faults must rise, nor can anything be built on such villainous foundations, except what will bring the wretched soul to the ground with a hopeless collapse.

  XXVI. Tali igitur diffidentia mentis obsessi et a scintilla fidei, qua uisi fuerant in primordiis suae conuersionis accensi, diabolica infidelitate reuocati incipiunt pecunias, quas ante dispergere coeperant, diligentius custodire et eas, uelut qui semel profligatas ulterius reparare non possint, auaritia uehementiore conseruant, seu, quod est deterius, ea quae prius abiecerant resumentes uel certe, quod est tertium ac deterrimum nequitiae genus, quae ne ante quidem possederant congregantes nihil amplius egressi de saeculo quam nomen adquisisse tantummodo ac uocabulum monachi conprobantur. Super haec igitur initia male uitioseque fundata necesse est ut uniuersa deinceps uitiosius structura consurgat nec quicquam superponi pessimis ualeat fundamentis, nisi quod miserabilem animam ruina lugubriore prosternat.

 

 

CHAPTER 27. A description of the faults which spring from the evil of pride.

CAPUT XXVII. Expositio vitiorum, quae per morbum superbiae generantur.

 

 

27.1. THE mind then that is hardened by such feelings, and which begins with this miserable coldness is sure to go daily from bad to worse and to conclude its life with a more hideous end: and while it takes delight in its former desires, and is overcome, as the apostle says, by impious avarice (as he says of it “and avarice, which is idolatry, or the worship of idols,” and again “the love of money,” says he, “is the root of all evils” (Col. 3:5; 1 Tim. 6:10)) can never admit into the heart the true and unfeigned humility of Christ, while the man boasts himself of his high birth, or is puffed up by his position in the world (which he has forsaken in body but not in mind) or is proud of his wealth which he retains to his own destruction;

  XXVII. Talibus siquidem mens passionibus obdurata atque a detestabili tepore incipiens necesse est ut in deterius cotidie proficiat et reliquam quoque uitam suam deformiore fine concludat, dumque cupiditatibus pristinis oblectatur ac secundum Apostolum sacrilega filargyria uincitur - ita eodem pronuntiante de illa : Et filargyria, quae est simulacrorum siue idolorum seruitus, et iterum : Radix, inquit, omnium malorum est filargyria-, numquam possit in corde suo humilitatem Christi simplicem ueramque suscipere, cum sibi uel de nobilitate natalium gloriatur uel inflatur de saeculi, quam corpore, non mente deseruit, dignitate uel pecuniis, quas ad ruinam suam retentat, extollitur.

27.2. and because of this he is no longer content to endure the yoke of the monastery, or to be instructed by the teaching of any of the elders, and not only objects to observe any rule of subjection or obedience, but will not even listen to teaching about perfection; and such dislike of spiritual talk grows up in his heart that if such a conversation should happen to arise, he cannot keep his eyes fixed on one spot, but his gaze wanders blankly about here and there, and his eyes shift hither and thither, as the custom is.

 2. Per quae iam non monasterii iugum sustinere contentus est, non senioris ullius institui disciplina, et non solum nullam subiectionis aut oboedientiae regulam custodire dignatur, uerum ne ipsam quidem auribus suis doctrinam perfectionis admittit. Tantumque concrescit in corde eius spiritalis uerbi fastidium, ut, cum forte talis fuerit oborta conlatio, uno in loco stare nesciat eius obtutus, sed huc illucque stupidus circumferatur intuitus, aliorsum et in obliquum quam moris est oculi defigantur.

27.3. Instead of wholesome coughs, he spits from a dry throat: he coughs on purpose without any need, he drums with his fingers, and twiddles them and scribbles like a man writing: and all his limbs fidget so that while the spiritual conversation is proceeding, you would think that he was sitting on thorns, and those very sharp ones, or in the midst of a mass of worms: and if the conversation turns in all simplicity on something which is for the good of the hearers, he thinks that it is brought forward for his especial benefit.

 3. Pro suspiriis enim salutaribus sputa de sicco gutture contrahuntur, excreationes etiam sine ulla interpellatione flegmatis prouocantur, digiti ludunt et in modum quiddam scribentis uolitant atque depingunt, et ita huc atque illuc uniuersa membra corporis commouentur, ut, dum spiritalis agitatur conlatio, totum se uel scatentibus uermibus uel acutissimis sudibus credat insidere, et quidquid simplex conlatio ad aedificationem protulerit audientium, ob suam suggillationem aestimet esse prolatum.

27.4. And all the time that the examination of the spiritual life is proceeding, he is taken up with his own suspicious thoughts, and is not on the watch for something to take home for his good, but is anxiously seeking the reason why anything is said, or is quietly turning over in his mind, how he can raise objections to it, so that he cannot at all take in any of those things which are so admirably brought forward, or be done any good to by them. And so the result is that the spiritual conference is not merely of no use to him, but is positively injurious, and becomes to him an occasion of greater sin.

 4. Totoque tempore, quo uitae spiritalis examinatio uentilatur, suis suspicionibus occupatus non quid exinde ad profectum suum capere debeat aucupatur, sed causas, cur unumquodque sit dictum, sollicita mente perquirit, uel quid eis possit obicere tacita intra se cordis uolutatione coniectat, ut nihil ex his, quae saluberrime sunt digesta, penitus adprehendere aut in aliquo ualeat emendari. Et ita fit ut non solum in nullo ei proficiat conlatio spiritalis, uerum etiam damnosa magis exsistat efficiaturque ei causa maioris peccati.

27.5. For while he is conscience stricken and fancies that everything is being aimed at him he hardens himself more stubbornly in the obstinacy of his heart, and is more keenly affected by the stings of his wrath: then afterwards his voice is loud, his talk harsh, his answers bitter and noisy, his gait lordly and capricious; his tongue too ready, he is forward in conversation and no friend to silence except when he is nursing in his heart some bitterness against a brother, and his silence denotes not compunction or humility, but pride and wrath: so that one can hardly say which is the more objectionable in him, that unrestrained and boisterous merriment, or this dreadful and deadly solemnity.

 5. Dum enim pro conscientia sua totum contra se suspicatur esse prolatum, uehementiore cordis obstinatione duratur iraeque stimulis acrius instigatur : deinde post haec excelsa uox, sermo rigidus, amara turbulentaque responsio, incessus erectus ac mobilis, lingua facilis, procax loquella nec umquam taciturnitatis amica, nisi cum contra fratrem rancorem quendam in suo corde conceperit : fitque silentium eius non conpunctionis nec humilitatis ullius, sed superbiae et indignationis indicium, ita ut quid in eo detestabilius sit haud facile discernatur, utrum diffusa illa petulansque laetitia an dira haec uirulentaque serietas.

27.6. For in the former we see inopportune chattering, light and frivolous laughter, unrestrained and undisciplined mirth. In the latter a silence that is full of wrath and deadly; and which simply arises from the desire to prolong as long as possible the rancorous feelings which are nourished in silence against some brother, and not from the wish to obtain from it the virtues of humility and patience. And as the man who is a victim to passion readily makes everybody else miserable and is ashamed to apologize to the brother whom he has wronged, so when the brother offers to do so to him, he rejects it with scorn. And not only is he not touched or softened by the advances of his brother; but is the rather made more angry because his brother anticipates him in humility. And that wholesome humiliation and apology, which generally puts an end to the devil’s temptation, becomes to him an occasion of a worse outbreak.

 6. In illa namque sermo non oportunus, rusus leuis ac fatuus, effrenata atque indisciplinata cordis elatio : in ista uero ira plenum uirulentumque silentium et quod ob hoc tantum concipitur, ut aduersus fratrem rancor taciturnitate seruatus protelari diutius possit, non ut ex eo uirtus humilitatis ac patientiae praebeatur. Et cum ipse tumore possessus facile cunctis tristitias inferat atque ad satisfactionem laesi fratris semet ipsum submittere dedignetur, etiam ab illo sibimet oblatam respuit atque contemnit et non solum nulla fratris satisfactione conpungitur neque mollitur, uerum etiam cur ab eo sit in humilitate praeuentus grauius indignatur, fitque ei salutaris humilitas ac satisfactio, quae finem diabolicis intentionibus solet inferre, causa uehementioris incendii.

 

 

CHAPTER 28. On the pride of a certain brother.

CAPUT XXVIII. De fratris cujusdam superbia.

 

 

28. I HAVE heard while I have been in this district a thing which I shudder and am ashamed to recall; viz., that one of the juniors--when he was reproved by his Abbot because he had shown signs of throwing off the humility, of which he had made trial for a short time at his renunciation of the world, and of being puffed up with diabolical pride--most impertinently answered “Did I humiliate myself for a time on purpose to be always in subjection?” And at this wanton and wicked reply of his the elder was utterly aghast, and could say nothing, as if he had received this answer from old Lucifer himself and not from a man; so that he could not possibly utter a word against such impudence, but only let fall sighs and groans from his heart; turning over in silence in his mind that which is said of our Saviour: “Who being in the form of God humbled Himself and became obedient”--not, as the man said who was seized with a diabolical spirit of pride, “for a time,” but “even to death.” (Phil. 2:6, 8)

  XXVIII. Audiui in hac dumtaxat regione, quod horret pudetque reuoluere, quendam iuniorum, cum a suo increparetur abbate, cur humilitatem, quam renuntians permodico tempore retentarat, coepisset excedere ac diabolica inflari superbia, summa contumacia respondisse : numquid ob hoc memet ipsum humiliaui pro tempore, ut semper subditus sim? Ad quod eius tam effrenatum scelestumque responsum ita est senior obstupefactus omnisque eius interceptus est sermo, uelut qui ab illo ipso antiquo Lucifero uerba haec prolata, non ab homine percepisset, ut nullam uocem aduersus tantam proteruiam de ore suo prorsus emittere nisi gemitus de corde tantummodo ac suspiria potuerit, illud solum tacitus intra semet ipsum uoluens, quod de Domino nostro dicitur Saluatore : Qui cum in forma Dei esset, humiliauit se factus oboediens, non ut ille ait diabolico spiritu ac tumore possessus `pro tempore', sed usque ad mortem.

 

 

CHAPTER 29. The signs by which you can recognize the presence of carnal pride in a soul.

CAPUT XXIX. Indicia, quibus superbia carnalis animae inesse cognoscitur.

 

 

29.1 AND to draw together briefly what has been said of this kind of pride, by collecting, as well as we can, some of its signs that we may somehow convey to those who are thirsting for instruction in perfection, an idea of its characteristics from the movements of the outward man: I think it well to unfold them in a few words that we may conveniently recognize the signs by which we can discern and detect it, that when the roots of this passion are laid bare and brought to the surface, and seen and traced out with ocular demonstration, they may be the more easily plucked up and avoided.

  XXVIIII. Et ut breuius ea quae dicta sunt de hoc superbiae genere praestringamus, quaedam signa eius in quantum possumus colligentes, ut his, qui de perfectione sitiunt erudiri, quodammodo characteres eius de exterioris hominis motibus exprimamus, necessarium puto paucis eadem replicari, ut conpendiosius agnoscamus quibus eam discernere ac deprehendere ualeamus indiciis, quo nudatae atque in superficiem productae passionis huius radices et oculatim deprehensae atque perspectae uel conuelli facilius ualeant uel uitari.

29.2 For only then will this most pestilent evil be altogether escaped, and if we do not begin too late in the day, when it has already got the mastery over us, to be on our guard against its dangerous heat and noxious influence, but if, recognizing its symptoms (so to speak) beforehand, we take precautions against it with wise and careful forethought. For, as we said before, you can tell a man’s inward condition from his outward gait. By these signs, then, that carnal pride, of which we spoke earlier, is shown. To begin with, in conversation the man’s voice is loud: in his silence there is bitterness: in his mirth his laughter is noisy and excessive: when he is serious he is unreasonably gloomy: in his answers there is rancour: he is too free with his tongue, his words tumbling out at random without being weighed.

 2. Tunc enim poterit pestifer morbus ad integrum declinari, cum contra ipsius perniciosos aestus et inpetus noxios non sera obseruatio, cum iam dominantur, adsumitur, sed cum praecedentes eius ut ita dixerim lineas agnoscentes prouida eum sagacique discretione praecurrimus. De exterioris namque sicut praediximus hominis motu status interioris agnoscitur. His igitur indiciis carnalis ista quam praefati sumus superbia declaratur. Inest primitus in loquella eius clamor, in taciturnitate amaritudo, excelsus et effusus in laetitia risus, inrationabilis in serietate tristitia, in responsione rancor, facilitas in sermone, uerba passim sine ulla cordis grauitate erumpentia.

29.3 He is utterly lacking in patience, and without charity: impudent in offering insults to others, faint-hearted in bearing them himself: troublesome in the matter of obedience except where his own wishes and likings correspond with his duty: unforgiving in receiving admonition: weak in giving up his own wishes: very stubborn about yielding to those of others: always trying to compass his own ends, and never ready to give them up for others: and thus the result is that though he is incapable of giving sound advice, yet in everything he prefers his own opinion to that of the elders.

 3. Expers patientiae est, caritatis aliena, audax ad contumelias inrogandas, ad tolerandas pusillanimis, ad oboediendum difficilis, nisi in quo eam desiderium suum uoluntasque praeuenerit, ad recipiendam exhortationem inplacabilis, ad resecandas uoluntates suas infirma, ad succumbendum alienis durissima, semperque suas definitiones statuere contendens, ipsa uero nequaquam cedere alterius adquiescens : et ita fit ut etiam incapax consilii salutaris effecta in omnibus suo potius credat quam seniorum iudicio.

 

 

CHAPTER 30. How when a man has grown cold through pride he wants to be put to rule other people.

CAPUT XXX. Tepefactus quis per superbiam aliis quoque praeesse desiderat.

 

 

30. AND when a man whom pride has mastered has fallen through these stages of descent, he shudders at the discipline of the coenobium, and--as if the companionship of the brethren hindered his perfection, and the sins of others impeded and interfered with his advance in patience and humility--he longs to take up his abode in a solitary cell; else is eager to build a monastery and gather together some others to teach and instruct, as if he would do good to many more people, and make himself from being a bad disciple a still worse master. For when through this pride of heart a man has fallen into this most dangerous and injurious coldness, he can neither be a real monk nor a man of the world, and what is worse, promises to himself to gain perfection by means of this wretched state and manner of life of his.

  XXX. Quibus decessuum gradibus is quem semel possidet deuolutus iam ipsam disciplinam coenobii perhorrescit, ac ueluti qui fratrum consortio de perfectione retrahatur ac de bono patientiae atque humilitatis aliorum uitio et inpedimento reuocetur, habitationem solitariae cellae desiderat seu certe uelut plures alios lucraturus construere monasterium et quos docere atque instruere debeat congregare festinat, ex discipulo nequam detestabilior magister effectus. Nam cum huiusmodi elatione cordis in perniciosissimum teporem noxiumque conruerit et nec uerus monachus nec saecularis effectus sit, quod est deterius, etiam perfectionem sibi ex hoc ipso miserabili statu et conuersatione promittit.

 

 

CHAPTER 31. How we can overcome pride and attain perfection.

CAPUT XXXI. Quomodo superbiam vincere vel ad perfectionem pervenire possimus.

 

 

31. WHEREFORE if we wish the summit of our building to be perfect and to rise well-pleasing to God, we should endeavour to lay its foundations not in accordance with the desires of our own lust, but according to the rules of evangelical strictness: which can only be the fear of God and humility, proceeding from kindness and simplicity of heart. But humility cannot possibly be acquired without giving up everything: and as long as a man is a stranger to this, he cannot possibly attain the virtue of obedience, or the strength of patience, or the serenity of kindness, or the perfection of love; without which things our hearts cannot possibly be a habitation for the Holy Spirit: as the Lord says through the prophet: “Upon whom shall My spirit rest, but on him that is humble and quiet and fears My words,” or according to those copies which express the Hebrew accurately: “To whom shall I have respect, but to him that is poor and little and of a contrite spirit and that trembleth at My words?” (Isa. 66:2)

  XXXI. Quamobrem si aedificii nostri fastigia perfecta uolumus ac placentia Deo consurgere, fundamenta eius non secundum nostrae libidinis uoluntatem, sed secundum districtionis euangelicae disciplinam iacere festinemus. Quae alia esse non possunt quam timor Dei atque humilitas, quae de mansuetudine et cordis simplicitate descendit. Humilitas uero nullatenus poterit absque nuditate conquiri. Qua peregrinante nec oboedientiae bonum nec patientiae robur nec mansuetudinis tranquillitas nec consummatio caritatis poterit adprehendi, sine quibus cor nostrum habitaculum Spiritus sancti penitus esse non poterit, ita pronuntiante Domino per prophetam : Super quem requiescet Spiritus meus nisi super quietum et humilem et trementem uerba mea? Siue secundum exemplaria quae hebraicam exprimunt ueritatem : Ad quem autem respiciam, nisi ad pauperculum, et contritum spiritu, et trementem uerba mea?

 

 

CHAPTER 32. How pride which is so destructive of all virtues can itself be destroyed by true humility.

CAPUT XXXII. Quomodo depopulatrix omnium virtutum superbia per veram humilitatem possit exstingui.

 

 

32.1 WHEREFORE the Christian athlete who strives lawfully in the spiritual combat and desires to be crowned by the Lord, should endeavour by every means to destroy this most fierce beast, which is destructive of all virtues, knowing that as long as this remains in his breast he not only will never be free from all kinds of evils, but even if he seems to have any good qualities, will lose them by its malign influence. For no structure (so to speak) of virtue can possibly be raised in our soul unless first the foundations of true humility are laid in our heart, which being securely laid may be able to bear the weight of perfection and love upon them in such a way that, as we have said, we may first show to our brethren true humility from the very bottom of our heart, in nothing acquiescing in making them sad or in injuring them:

  XXXII. Quapropter athleta Christi, qui spiritalem agonem legitime certans a Domino desiderat coronari, hanc quoque ferocissimam bestiam ut deuoratricem cunctarum uirtutum omnimodis festinet extinguere, certus quod hac in suo pectore commorante non solum omnigenis uitiis carere non possit, uerum etiam, si quid uirtutis habere uideatur, huius ueneno depereat. Nullo enim modo poterit in anima nostra uirtutum structura consurgere, nisi prius iacta fuerint uerae humilitatis in nostro corde fundamina, quae firmissime conlocata perfectionis et caritatis culmen ualeant sustinere, ita scilicet, ut quemadmodum diximus primum fratribus nostris humilitatem ueram intimo cordis exhibeamus affectu, in nullo scilicet adquiescentes eos contristare uel laedere.

32.2 and this we cannot possibly manage unless true self-denial, which consists in stripping and depriving ourselves of all our possessions, is implanted in us by the love of Christ. Next the yoke of obedience and subjection must be taken up in simplicity of heart without any pretence, so that, except for the commands of the Abbot, no will of our own is alive in us. But this can only be ensured in the case of one who considers himself not only dead to this world, but also unwise and a fool; and performs without any discussion whatever is enjoined him by his seniors, believing it to be divine and enjoined from heaven.

 2. Quod nullatenus poterimus implere, nisi abrenuntiatio uera, quae in expoliatione omnium facultatum ac nuditate consistit, in nobis fuerit Christi amore fundata, deinde oboedientiae iugum et subiectio simplici corde ac sine ulla fuerit simulatione suscepta, ita ut praeter abbatis mandatum nulla penitus uoluntas uiuat in nobis. Quod non aliter poterit obseruari, nisi quis non solum se mortuum huic mundo, uerum etiam insipientem iudicarit ac stultum, uniuersa, quae sibi fuerint a senioribus imperata, sine ulla discussione perficiens, sacrosancta ea credens ac diuinitus promulgata.

 

 

CHAPTER 33. Remedies against the evil of pride.

CAPUT XXXIII. Remedia adversus morbum superbiae.

 

 

33.1. AND when men remain in this condition, there is no doubt that this quiet and secure state of humility will follow, so that considering ourselves inferior to every one else we shall bear everything offered to us, even if it is hurtful, and saddening, and damaging--with the utmost patience, as if it came from those who are our superiors. And these things we shall not only bear with the greatest ease, but we shall consider them trifling and mere nothings, if we constantly bear in mind the passion of our Lord and of all His Saints: considering that the injuries by which we are tried are so much less than theirs, as we are so far behind their merits and their lives: remembering also that we shall shortly depart out of this world, and soon by a speedy end to our life here become sharers of their lot.

  XXXIII. In qua consistentibus qualitate procul dubio status ille humilitatis uere tranquillus atque inmobilis subsequetur, ut nosmet ipsos inferiores omnibus iudicantes uniuersa, quae nobis fuerint inrogata, tametsi iniuriosa sint uel tristia uel damnosa, tamquam a superioribus nostris inlata patientissime toleremus. Quae quidem a nobis non solum facillime tolerabuntur, uerum etiam parua iudicabuntur ac nulla, si mente iugiter recolamus uel Domini nostri uel sanctorum omnium passiones, considerantes tanto leuioribus nos iniuriis adtemptari, quanto longius a meritis eorum et conuersatione distamus, pariter etiam cogitantes in breui nos de hoc saeculo migraturos eorumque nos celeri uitae huius fine mox futuros esse consortes.

33.2. For considerations such as these are a sure end not only to pride but to all kinds of sins. Then, next after this we must keep a firm grasp of this same humility towards God: which we must so secure as not only to acknowledge that we cannot possibly perform anything connected with the attainment of perfect virtue without His assistance and grace, but also truly to believe that this very fact that we can understand this, is His own gift.

 2. Peremptoria namque est haec contemplatio non solum superbiae, uerum etiam generaliter omnium uitiorum. Deinde post haec hanc eandem humilitatem erga Deum firmissime retentemus. Quod a nobis ita conplebitur, ut nihil nosmet ipsos absque illius opitulatione uel gratia, quod ad uirtutum consummationem pertinet, posse perficere cognoscamus, sed et hoc ipsum, quod intellegere meruimus, eius esse muneris in ueritate credamus.

 

 


xcxxcxxc  F ” “ This Webpage was created for a workshop held at Saint Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo, California in 1990....x....   “”.