Christ, by Thomas á Kempis: Book 1, Chapter 13
Of Resisting Temptations
As long as we live in this world, we cannot be without temptations and
tribulations. Hence it is written in Job "Man's life on earth is a
temptation." Everyone therefore should be solicitous about his
temptations and watch in prayer lest the devil find an opportunity to
catch him: who never sleeps, but goes about, seeking whom he can
devour. No one is so perfect and holy as sometimes not to have
temptations and we can never be wholly free from them. Nevertheless,
temptations are very profitable to man, troublesome and grievous though
they may be, for in them, a man is humbled, purified and instructed.
All the Saints passed through many tribulations and temptations and
were purified by them. And they that could not support temptations,
became reprobate, and fell away.
Many seek to flee temptations, and fall worse into them. We cannot
conquer by flight alone, but by patience and true humility we become
stronger than all our enemies. He who only declines them outwardly, and
does not pluck out their root, will profit little; nay, temptations
will sooner return and he will find himself in a worse condition. By
degrees and by patience you will, by God's grace, better overcome them
than by harshness and your own importunity. Take council the oftener in
temptation, and do not deal harshly with one who is tempted; but pour
in consolation, as thou wouldst wish to be done unto yourself.
Inconstancy of mind and little confidence in God, is the beginning of
all temptations. For as a ship without a helm is driven to and fro by
the waves, so the man who neglects and gives up his resolutions is
tempted in many ways.
Prayers for the 12-Day