The Doctrine of Truth
Happy is the person who is taught by truth alone, not by figure and words that pass away, but as truth is in itself. We are often deceived by our own opinions and sense, and so we discern little by them. What good is it to dispute greatly about secret things that are hard to understand, when we will not be reproved on the day of judgement for things that we are ignorant about. It is foolish to neglect the things that are beneficial and necessary to us, and give our minds to things that arouse our interest and damage us —-we have eyes but cannot see.
And what have we to do with genus and species? He to whom the Eternal Word speaks is delivered from a world of unnecessary thoughts. From that Word are all things, and all speak of Him—-and He is the beginning, Who also to us. Without that Word no one understands or judges rightly. The person to whom all things are Him, who reduces all things to Him, and who sees all things in Him, enjoys a quiet mind and remains at peace in God.
O God, who art the truth, make me one with Thee in everlasting love. It is often tedious to me to read and hear many things: in Thee is all that I would have and can desire. Let all theologians hold their peace, let all creatures be silent in Thy sight, speak Thou alone unto me.
The more you are in harmony within yourself and become inwardly simple, the more you will understand higher things without effort, for you will receive intellectual light from above. A pure, sincere, and calm spirit is not distracted by doing many things, because it works all things to the honor of God—-and since it is inwardly still and quiet, it does not seek to satisfy itself in anything it does. What, indeed hinders and troubles you more than the undisciplined desires of your own heart? God and godly people arrange within themselves ahead of time things that they must do;
Not being moved in keeping with desires of an evil disposition, but in keeping with the guidance of right reason. Who struggles more than those who strive to overcome them selves? This should be our endeavor: to conquer ourselves, and daily to grow stronger and to make a further growth in holiness.
Every perfection in this life has some imperfection mixed with it, and none of our knowledge is without some darkness. A humble knowledge of yourself is a surer way to God than an involved intellectual search after learning;
Yet learning is not to be condemned, and the mere knowledge of something is not to be disliked. Learning is good in itself and ordained by God, but a good conscience and a virtuous life should always be preferred before it. However, because many endeavor to get knowledge rather than live well, they are often deceived and get no or very little benefits.
If we put as much effort into rooting out our vices and implanting virtues as we do in trying to solve questions, there would not be much hurt caused, or such disgraceful incidences in the world, or so much moral looseness practiced in religious organizations.
Truly, at the day of judgement we will not be examined for what we have read, but for what we have done; not for how well we spoken, but for how virtuously we have lived.
Tell me now, where are all those theologians and teachers that you knew so well when they were alive and famous for their knowledge?
Others have now taken their places and perhaps scarcely ever think about them. While they were alive they seemed to be important people, but now they are seldom mentioned.
Oh, how quickly the glory of the world passes away! Oh, that their life had been in keeping with their knowledge! —- then their study and reading would have been worthwhile.
There are many who perish because they care more about fruitless knowledge in this world then they do about serving God. And because they choose to be great rather than humble, they therefore become futile in their thoughts. Those who are great in love are truly great.
Those who are little in themselves and do not care about being given honor are truly great.
Those who count all earthly things as dung so that they may gain Christ are truly wise. Those who do will of God and forsake their own wills are truly learned.