Let Thus Much have Been Said with Regard to Charity...
20. Let thus much have been said with regard to charity, without which in us there cannot be true patience, because in good men it is the love of God which endureth all things, as in bad men the lust of the world. But this love is in us by the Holy Spirit which was given us. Whence, of Whom cometh in us love, of Him cometh patience. But the lust of the world, when it patiently bears the burdens of any manner of calamity, boasts of the strength of its own will, like as of the stupor of disease, not robustness of health. This boasting is insane: it is not the language of patience, but of dotage. A will like this in that degree seems more patient of bitter ills, in which it is more greedy of temporal good things, because more empty of eternal. c21. But if it be goaded on and inflamed with deceitful visions and unclean incentives by the devilish spirit, associated and conspiring therewith in malignant agreement, this spirit makes the will of the man either frantic with error, or burning with appetite of some worldly delight; and hence, it seems to show a marvellous endurance of intolerable evils: but yet it does not follow from this that an evil will without instigation of another and unclean spirit, like as a good will without aid of the Holy Spirit, cannot exist. For that there may be an evil will even without any spirit either seducing or inciting, is sufficiently clear in the instance of the devil himself, who is found to have become a devil, not through some other devil, but of his own proper will. An evil will therefore, whether it be hurried on by lust, whether called back by fear, whether expanded by gladness, whether contracted by sadness, and in all these perturbations of mind enduring and making light of whatever are to others, or at another time, more grievous, this evil will may, without another spirit to goad it on, seduce itself, and in lapsing by defection from the higher to the lower, the more pleasant it shall account that thing to be which it seeks to get or fears to lose, or rejoices to have gotten, or grieves to have lost, the more tolerably for its sake bear what is less for it to suffer than that is to be enjoyed. For whatever that thing be, it is of the creature, of which one knows the pleasure. Because in some sort, the creature loved approaches itself to the creature loving in fond contact and connection, to the giving experience of its sweetness. c22. But the pleasure of the Creator, of which is written, "And from the river of Thy pleasure wilt Thou give them to drink," [2687] is of far other kind, for it is not, like us, a creature. Unless then its love be given to us from thence there is no source whence it may be in us. And consequently, a good will, by which we love God, cannot be in man, save in whom God also worketh to will. This good will therefore, that is, a will faithfully subjected to God, [2688] a will set on fire by sanctity of that ardor which is above, a will which loves God and his neighbor for God's sake; whether through love, of which the Apostle Peter makes answer, "Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee;" [2689] whether through fear, of which says the Apostle Paul, "In fear and trembling work out your own salvation;" [2690] whether through joy, of which he says, "In hope rejoicing, in tribulation patient;" [2691] whether through sorrow, with which he says he had great grief for his brethren; [2692] in whatever way it endure what bitterness and hardships soever, it is the love of God which "endureth all things," [2693] and which is not shed abroad in our hearts but by the Holy Spirit given unto us. [2694] Whereof piety makes no manner of doubt, but, as the charity of them which holily love, so the patience of them which piously endure, is the gift of God. For it cannot be that the divine Scripture deceiveth or is deceived, which not only in the Old Books hath testimonies of this thing, when it is said unto God, "My Patience art Thou," and, "From Him is my patience;" [2695] and where another prophet saith, that we receive the spirit of fortitude; [2696] but also in the Apostolic writings we read, "Because unto you is given on behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but to suffer for Him." [2697] Therefore let not that make the mind to be as of its own merit uplifted, wherewith he is told that he is of Another's mercy gifted.


[2687] Ps. xxxvi.9 [2688] Phil. ii.13

[2689] John xxi.15

[2690] Phil. ii.12

[2691] Rom. xii.12

[2692] Rom. ix.2

[2693] 1 Cor. xiii.7

[2694] Rom. v.5

[2695] Ps. lxxi.5; and lxii.5

[2696] Is. xi.2

[2697] Phil. i.29

19 since the case is
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