How that if a Man will attain to that which is best, he must forswear his own Will; and he who helpeth a Man to his own Will helpeth him to the worst Thing he can.
Some may say: ’Now since God willeth and desireth and doeth the best that may be to every one, He ought so to help each man and order things for him, that they should fall out according to his will and fulfil his desires, so that one might be a Pope, another a Bishop, and so forth.’ Be assured, he who helpeth a man to his own will, helpeth him to the worst that he can. For the more a man followeth after his own self-will, and self-will groweth in him, the farther off is he from God, the true Good, for nothing burneth in hell but self-will. Therefore it hath been said, ’Put off thine own will, and there will be no hell.’ Now God is very willing to help a man and bring him to that which is best in itself, and is of all things the best for man. But to this end, all self-will must depart, as we have said. And God would fain give man His help and counsel thereunto, for so long as a man is seeking his own good, he doth not seek what is best for him, and will never find it. For a man’s highest good would be and truly is, that he should not seek himself nor his own things, nor be his own end in any respect, either in things spiritual or things natural, but should seek only the praise and glory of God and His holy will. This doth God teach and admonish us. Let him therefore who wisheth that God should help him to what is best, and best for him, give diligent heed to God’s counsels and teachings, and obey His commandments; thus, and not else, will he have, and hath already, God’s help. Now God teacheth and admonisheth man to forsake himself and all things, and to follow Him only. ’For he who loveth his soul,’ that is himself, and will guard it and keep it, ’he shall lose it’; that is, he who seeketh himself and his own advantage in all things, in so doing loseth his soul. ’But he who hateth his soul for My sake shall keep it unto life eternal’; that is, he who forsaketh himself and his own things, and giveth up his own will, and fulfilleth God’s will, his soul will be kept and preserved unto Life Eternal.
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