SINCE our whole power to subdue our enemies arises principally from selfdistrust and trust in God, I will give you some further directions to enable you, by the Divine assistance, to acquire it. Know, then, for a certain truth, that neither all gifts, natural or acquired, nor all graces given gratis, nor the knowledge of all Scripture, nor long habitual exercise in the service of God, will enable us to do His will, unless in every good and acceptable work to be performed, in every temptation to be overcome, in every peril to be avoided, in every cross to be borne in conformity to His will, our heart be sustained and upborne by an especial aid from Him, and His hand be outstretched to help us. We must, then, bear this in mind all our life long, every day, every hour, every moment, that we may never indulge so much as a thought of selfconfidence.
And as to confidence in God, know that it is as easy to Him to conquer many enemies as few; the old and experienced as the weak and young.
Therefore we will suppose a soul to be heavyladen with sins, to have every possible fault and every imaginable defect, and to have tried, by every possible means and every kind of Spiritual exercise, to forsake sin and to practice holiness. We will suppose this soul to have done all this, and yet to have failed in making the smallest advance in holiness, nay, on the contrary, to have been borne the more strongly towards evil.
For all this she must not lose her trust in God, nor give over her spiritual conflict and lay down her arms, but still fight on resolutely, knowing that none is vanquished in this spiritual combat but he who ceases to struggle and loses confidence in God, whose succor never fails His soldiers, though He sometimes permits them to be wounded. Fight on, then, valiantly; for on this depends the whole issue of the strife: for there is a ready and effectual remedy for the wounds of all combatants who look confidently to God and to His aid for help; and when they least expect it they shall see their enemies dead at their feet.
Continue with next chapter xix1-20
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