While we should strive for spiritual perfection of mind, purity
and peace in God, it will be found to be not a little beneficial
to this that we should return quietly into the inner secret place
of the mind in the face of everything said, thought or done to us.
There, withdrawn from everything else and completely recollected
within ourselves, we can place ourselves in the knowledge of the
truth before us and undoubtedly discover and understand that it
does us absolutely no good, and rather the contrary, when we are
praised or honoured by others while we recognise by the knowledge
of the truth about ourselves within that we are blameworthy and
And just as nothing is any help if externally people praise
someone if his conscience internally accuses him, in the same way
on the contrary it does a man no harm to be despised, maligned and
persecuted when he remains internally just as innocent, blameless
and without fault.
On the contrary he has all the more good reason to rejoice in the
Lord with patience, in peace and silence. After all no adversity
can do any harm where evil is not in control, and just as no evil
goes unpunished, so no good goes unrewarded. Nor should we wish a
reward with hypocrites or expect and receive profit from men, but
from the Lord God alone, not in the present, but in the future,
and not in fleeting time, but in eternity.
It is clear therefore that nothing is greater, and nothing better
than to enter into the inner secret place of the mind always and
in every tribulation and occurrence, and there to call upon the
Lord Jesus Christ himself, our helper in temptations and
tribulations, and to humble ourselves there by confession of sin,
and praise God and Father himself, the giver of correction and the
giver of consolation.
Above all one should accept everything, in general and
individually, in oneself or in others, agreeable or disagreeable,
with a prompt and confident spirit, as coming from the hand of his
infallible Providence or the order he has arranged.
This attitude will lead to the forgiveness of our sins, the
deliverance from bitterness, the enjoyment of joy and security,
the outpouring of grace and mercy, introduction and establishment
into a close relationship with God, abundant enjoyment of his
presence, and firm cleaving and union with him.
But let us not copy those who from hypocrisy and Pharisaism want
to appear better and different from what they are, and to make a
better impression and appearance before men of being something
special, than they know in truth inside to be so. For it is
absolute madness to seek, hunger for and aspire to human praise or
renown, from oneself or others, when one is in spite of it all
inwardly full of cravings and serious faults. And certainly the
good things we have talked about above will flee him who chases
such vanities, and he will merely bring disgrace on himself.
So always keep your faults and your own incapacity before your
eyes, and know yourself, so that you can be humbled and not try to
avoid being held as the lowest, vilest and most abject scum by
everyone when you are aware of the grave sins and serious faults
For which reason consider yourself compared to others as dross to
gold, weeds to the wheat, chaff to the grain, a wolf to the sheep,
Satan to the children of God. And do not seek to be respected by
others and given precedence before others, but rather flee with
all your heart and soul the poison of this disease, the venom of
praise, the concern for boasting and vanity, lest, as the prophet
says, The wicked is praised in his own heart's desires, (Psalm
10.4) and Isaiah, They who speak good of you, deceive you and
destroy the way of your feet, (Isaiah 3.12) and the Lord in Luke,
Woe to you when men speak well of you! (Luke 6.26).