What the Rich Man Lacked
No man has faith who does not believe that he has received his being from God; neither has he faith, who thinks that any other than the Almighty can give him strength to become good, for holiness is a higher gift than mere existence. Those who imagine they can attain to holiness by any wisdom or strength of their own, will find themselves after many labors, and struggles, and weary efforts, only the farther from possessing it, and this in proportion to their certainty that they of themselves have gained it.
Humility and self-contempt will obtain our wish far sooner than will stubborn pride. Though God is so exalted, his eyes regard the lowly, both in heaven and on earth, and we shall strive in vain to please him in any other way than by abasing ourselves. The Son of God came down from heaven and taught us by his life and words the way to heaven, and that way is humility, as he said: “he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Luke 18:14). Therefore, if you wish God to give you a new heart, you must first of all amend your deeds, and then lament your faults and accuse yourself of your sins. Do not extenuate your defects, but judge yourself justly; let not your self-love blind you, but when conscience accuses you of wrong, do not forget it, but keep it before your eyes and manifest it to Jesus Christ, your Savior and Physician. Weep for it before him, and he will comfort you without fail. No force can prevail with a Father like the tears of his child, nor is there anything which so moves God to grant us, not justice, but mercy, as our sorrow and self-accusation.