HOMILY 8: That spiritual men are liable to temptations and a fictions.
1. As the experienced husbandmen, in a year of plenty, expect a time of dearth; and on the other hand, when dearth and difficulties overtake them, they are not dejected; as knowing there will come a change. So in the spiritual state, when the soul falls into divers temptations, it is not surprised as at a strange or unusual thing, neither does it despond, because it knows that they conic by permission, that it may be tried and disciplined by the evil that befalls it. Neither again, when it abounds in wealth and ease, is it free from apprehension, but expects a change.
2. For when a man is rich in grace, there is yet a remnant of corruption with him: he has one however that takes his part, and that comes to his assistance. Whenever therefore any one is in afflictions, and the storm of corrupt affections thickens upon him, yet ought he not to quit his hope. For then sin gains ground. But when a man retains his hope in GOD, sin crumbles as it were, arid dries away.
3. As a well that runs, and has all about it nothing but moist grounds, when the heat comes on, both itself and its adjacent bogs are dried up; thus it is with the servants of GOD, in whom grace abounds; that dries up the concupisence, not only that which is from the wicked one, but that also which is natural; because that now the men of GOD are greater than the first Adam.
4. Christians therefore belong to another world, are the sons of the heavenly Adam, a new generation, the children of the Holy Spirit, the bright and glorious brethren of CHRIST, perfectly like their Father, the spiritual and glorified Adam, of that very, city, of the same kind, and of the self-same power. He himself says, " Ye are not of this world, even as I am not of this world." 5. Yet a fear they still have upon them, not indeed that of novices, that live in a dread of wicked spirits; but a fear and concern how they may best employ the spiritual gifts they are entrusted with. And such a one as this looks upon himself to be despicable beyond all sinners. This reflection is as deeply rooted in him, as if it were his very nature.
The more he advances in the knowledge of GOD, so much the less is he in his own eyes. And though he learns never so much; he is still as one that knows nothing. But these things are wrought in the soul by the ministration of grace. The case is not unlike that of an infant in the arms of a young man; the bearer carries it about whithersoever he pleases: so does grace also carry the mind about, and bear it upwards into the very heatens, to the perfect world, and eternal rest.