Blind madness, blind pitfallhuman will, that hide what you receive and do not restore your gifts! In vain are you appeased, for you batten in unthankfulness and devour in vain, you so clamourously demand the expense of your devouring. Insatiable and rabid leech, cruel when sated, fawning when hungry, devouring, shameless, gluttonous, what mark have you of right or honour? None. While you seek what is denied, repeat what is condemned, and gild what is foul, why do you not take notice of yourself, wretched mankind, inwardly rotten, full of bile, rheum, fluid, blood, and phlegm, but outwardly a skin washed yet never clean? For you are always stained and defiled from the inner filth of your uncleanness; though you be daily washed, you are polluted daily. Defiled skin, in vain are you washed that are unclean by nature. Perverse blindness, what you wash and gild is by nature corruption; but what you pollute and defile is by nature splendour. Why do you stain the clean and wash the unclean, when you corrupt the soul and gild the body? Do you love yourself enough, or show yourself enough disdain? For if you know yourself, why do you love the loathsome and unclean abodes of phlegm and filth? If you see some uncleanness on your clothing, if you loathe the phlegm and turn your gaze away, do you not flee and abominate yourself also, an unclean dung-heap in your clothing and a foul-smelling and corrupt slough? Do you not see what your ulcered skin discharges through its pores? It is shameful to relate what it is no shame to love. Why do we not loathe the loathsome? Why do we not abominate the shameful? Why do we not flee the foul? Surely because we are senseless and because we are not clean? Thus the unclean seeks uncleanness, the infamous infamy, the dishonourable dishonour; and because we are blind and dishonourable, therefore we avoid naught that is immodest. For if we are not blind, why do we not first despise ourselves for our uncleanness? Why do we not spurn ourselves for our immodesty or for our infamy? Surely infamous things do not seem honourable to you? Things that need frequent washings and various embellishments, and in their unthankfulness are not satisfied by what is spent on them, and when sated give no assistance for the future; and the performance of our will neither satisfies it for the present nor forestalls its future claims.
Thus he toils in vain who nourishes such passions, and sows into the wind who serves this empty will, where the payment of service does not profit. Then let those passions hunger, which are so unthankful, so burdensome, that they seem ever hungry. Those who nourish them deceive themselves. Disgraceful servitude that takes pleasure in the flesh! Harsh and irresistible, fierce though domestic usurpation, that is daily paid and daily demanded, each day goes and comes, having left sated, returns hungry! Alas for those who batten where famine reigns and is not overcome by-riches, and while these dues are paid others are demanded. For render the first and you will be forced to payout the second; nourish your appetite, and you will be dunned for lust. Thus we must cry with Susannah, Straits surround me on all sides,
Dan. 13. 22and with Paul we must exclaim and say, Wretched man that I am, who will free me from the body of this death?
Rom. 7. 24If you pay the essentials, you will be forced to render non-essentials. Then if, unhappy man, you fear to render the second, refuse the first if you are able; if not, render sparingly, payout miserly, pay nothing except against your will, give nothing freely. But you cannot, I see; this is worse and graver, that you love your usurers, and your enemy is your own friend. I know not what to say, and have no inkling of what to urge. One thing which I know I shall say: the man who here battens, here sates himself, here makes merry, here smiles, here is drunken, and here plays, shall hereafter hunger, thirst, mourn, wail, and lament, as the Lord has said, Woe to those who smile, for they shall mourn, [and,] Woe to you who are sated, for you shall hunger.
Luc. 6. 25For two ages and two lives succeed each other, and there are two worlds; one life is brief, the other long, and he who hungers in the one shall batten in the other; indeed he who here in the one devours, is sated and comforted, in the other shall hunger and thirst, according to that saying of Isaiah, For this reason saith the Lord, Lo, those who serve Me shall eat and drink, but you shall hunger and thirst,
Isa. 65. 13and a little later, Lo, those who serve Me shall leap for joy, but you shall cry for grief of heart and lament for remorse of spirit.
Isa. 65. 14Since then these things are so, we should spare our riches, and pay the least service to our short-lived will, lest our battening result in hunger, our satiety perhaps in famine, and our drinking in thirst; for we see that either here or hereafter one of the two must needs be undergone. Wherefore if we are sated, if we drink, wretched men that we are, let us eat here in part and not entirely, let us eat what is needful, not what panders; let us eat with the poor, drink with the poor, share with the poor, that even so we may deserve to share with the poor in that place where they shall be satisfied who here for Christ's sake hunger and thirst after righteousness.
Matt. 5. 6For to whom belongs the kingdom of heaven [save to the] poor
Matt. 5. 3who are lowly in mind and poor in riches for Christ's sake, to Whom is the glory unto ages of ages?