He that is truly fed with the bread that came down from heaven, bows not his love to those things to which the fiend entices. Temptations are overcome by patience and meek suffering. What is patience? — a glad and willing suffering of troubles. He that is patient murmurs not at adversity, but rather, at all times, praises God with the prophet.
Evil men always grudge in adversities and flee them as much as they may. For while they are unmeasurably given to visible things, they are deprived of true hope of everlasting things. They find solace or comfort only in earthly goods, for they have lost the savour of heavenly things. There is no soul of man in this world which cleaves not either to the Creator or the creature. If he loves the creature he loses God and goes to death with that which he loves. Such love, in the beginning, is travail and folly, in the middle it is languor and wretchedness, and in the end it is hate and pain. He that truly loves his Maker, refuses in will and like all things that are in the world. He hath sweetness to speak of him and with him; to think upon his Maker is refreshing to him. He closes his outer senses lest death enters in by the windows, lest he be occupied unprofitably with any vanity. Sometimes there are reared against him despisings, reproofs, scorns, and slanders. Therefore it is needful that he take the shield of patience, and be ready to forget and to forgive all wrongs, and to pray for the turning to the good of them that hate him and hurt him. No man is showed to himself whether he be strong or feeble unless he be tempted when he is at peace. Many men seem to be patient when they are not impugned, but when a light blast, I say not of injustice, but of correction, touches them, their mind presently turns into bitterness and wrath, and if they hear one word against their will, they yield two more sternly again. Into their council come not, O my soul! The darts of the enemy are to be quenched with the meekness and sweetness of the love of Christ. Give not way to temptation, be it ever so grievous. For the greater the battle the more glorious the victory, and the higher the crown. Blessed is the man that suffers temptation, for when he is proved to be true, he shall take a crown of life. Flee as much as thou canst the praising of men. Despise favour, worship, and all vain glory, and gladly sustain or suffer enmities, hates, backbitings, or reproofs. And so by evil fame, and by good praise; by tribulations and gladness, cease thou not to press forward to heavenly kingdoms.
When thou are tempted or troubled, think upon the remedy that our Saviour saith in his gospel, Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation. He saith not, Pray that you are not tempted. For it is good and profitable to good men to be tempted and troubled, as is shown by what the prophet saith, To him that is tempted and troubled, God saith, I am with him in tribulation; I shall deliver him, and shall glorify him. Let no man think himself to be holy because he is not tempted, for the holiest and highest in life have the most temptations. How much the higher a hill is, so much is the wind there greater; so, how much higher the life is, so much stronger is the temptation of the enemy. God plays with his child when he suffers him to be tempted, as a mother rises from her much-beloved child, and hides herself, and leaves him alone and suffers him to cry, Mother, mother, so that he looks about, cries and weeps for a time, and at last when the child is ready to be overset with troubles and weeping, she comes again, clasps him in her arms, and kisses him, and wipes away the tears. So our Lord suffers his loved child to be tempted and troubled for a time, and withdraws some of his solace and full protection, to see what his child will do; and when he is about to be overcome by temptations, then he defends him, and comforts him with his grace. And therefore, when we are tempted, let us cry for the help of our Father, as a child cries alter the comfort of its mother. For whoso prays devoutly, shall have help oft to pray, and profits much to establish the heart in God, and suffers it not to bow about, now into this, and now into that. The fiend is overcome by busy and devout prayer and becomes as feeble and without strength to them that are strong and persevering in devout prayers. Devout prayer of a holy soul is as sweet incense which drives away all evil savours and enters up by odour of sweetness into the presence of God.