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8. Do not become introspective about your own humility or any other grace with which God has enriched your soul. For since God often hides from his servants the sight of those excellencies which shine to others so that he may secure the grace of humility, it is good that you do so yourself. And if you behold a grace in yourself, be sure to give Him thanks for it, that you may not boast in that which is not your own. Consider how you have soiled it by handling it with dirty fingers, with your own imperfections. Spiritual pride is very dangerous, not only because it spoils so many graces by which we draw near the Kingdom of God, but also because it so frequently creeps in upon the spirit of holy persons. It is not a wonder for a beggar to call himself poor, or a drunkard to confess that he is not a sober person. But for a holy person to be humble, for one whom all men consider a saint to fear lest he himself become a devil, nesses, and to uncover his bad tendencies, is as hardas for a prince to allow himself to subject to discipline like the lowest of his servants.
9. Often meditate upon the effects of pride and humility. First, that pride is like a cancer, and destroys the beauty of the most excellent gifts and graces, while humility crowns them all. Second, that pride is a great hindrance to the perceiving of the things of God, and humility an excellent instrument of spiritual wisdom. (Cf. Matthew 11:25) Third, that pride hinders the acceptation of our prayers, but humility pierces the clouds. Fourth, that humility is but truth and all pride is a lie. Fifth, that humility is the most certain way to real honor, and pride is ever affronted and despised. Sixth, that pride turned Lucifer into a devil, and humility exalted the Son of God above every name, and placed Him eternally at God’s right hand. Seventh, that God “resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble”: grace and pardon, remedy and relief, contentment in all conditions, tranquility of spirit, patience in afflictions, love abroad, peace at home, and utter freedom from contention and the sin of censuring others and the trouble of being censured themselves. For the humble man will not judge his brother for the splinter in his eye, being more troubled by the beam in his own eye. He is willing to be reproved, because himself has cast the first stone at himself, and is not surprised that others are of the same mind.
10. Remember that the blessed Savior of the world has done more to secure this grace than any other. His whole life was a continued example of humility, a vast descent from the glory of the Father to the womb of a poor maiden, to the form of a servant, to a state of poverty. It would be a good but reasonable design if we would be as humble in the midst of our greatest imperfections and basest sins as was Christ in the midst of His fullness of the Spirit and perfect life.
11. Drive away all flatterers and never endure them. He who allows himself to be so abused by another not only loves to have his own opinion of himself heightened and cherished, but is a fool for entertaining mockery.
12. Never change what you are doing when someone approaches you suddenly. Do not try to seem studious or devout before him, but be the same as you were to God and yourself in privacy.
13. To the same purpose, it is of great use that he who would preserve his humility should choose some spiritual person to whom he shall be accountable to reveal his very thoughts and imaginations, every act of his and all his behavior towards others in which there may be danger. By such an openness of spirit he may expose every blast of vain-glory, every idle thought, to be chastened and lessened by the rod of spiritual discipline. He who finds himself tied to confess every proud thought, every vanity of his spirit, will also perceive they must not dwell with him nor find any kindness from him; and, besides this, the nature of pride is so shameful and ugly that the very revealing of it is a huge mortification and means of suppressing it.
14. Anyone who knows the laws of God, the rewards of virtue, the consequences of sin, and in spite of all this, runs foolishly into his sin and his ruin, merely because he is a fool, is like a madman rushing to his death. He that can think great and good things of such a person may admire a swine for wisdom and go for counsel to the prodigal and trifling grasshopper.