Page images
PDF
EPUB

what Jesus Christ has obtained, and which was ac- i nature suggests this; but as now beginning to live, complished at his resurrection.

for so the truth assures us. Do not regard their This sacrifice, therefore, having been perfected souls as perished and annihilated, but as quickened by the death of Jesus Christ, and consummated and united to the sovereign source of life. And in even in his body by the resurrection, in which the this way, correct by the belief of these truths, those likeness of sintui Aesh has been swallowed up in erroneous opinions which are so impressed upon glory, Jesus Christ had done all on his part; it re- our minds, and those feelings of dread which are mained only that the sacrifice be accepted of God; so natural to us. and that, as the smoke arose and carried the odor 3. God created man with two principles of love; to the throne of God, so Jesus Christ should be in the love of God, and the love of self; but governed this state of complete immolation, offered, carried by this law, that the love of God should be infinite, up, and received at the throne of God itself; and having only the infinite God for its end; the love this was accomplished in his ascension, in which, of self finite and subordinate to God. by his own strength, and by the strength of the Holy Man, in that state, not only loved himself withSpirit, supplied to him continually, he ascended up out sinning; but not to have loved himself, would on high. He was borne up as the smoke of those have been criminal. victims who were typical of Jesus Christ, was car- But since sin entered into the world, man has ried up buoyant on the air, which is a type of the lost the former principle of love; and this love of Holy Spirit

. And the Acts of the Apostles state self, having dwelt alone in this noble mind, made expressly, that he was received into heaven, to as- originally capable of an infinite love, has spread sure us ihat this holy sacrifice, offered on the earth, forth inordinately in the void which the love of God was accepted and received into the bosom of God. lest desolate; and hence man now loves himself,

Such is the fact with regard to our Almighty and all other things for his own sake, i. e. in an inLord. Now, let us look at ourselves. When we finite degree. enter into the church, which is the company of all There is the origin of self-love. It was natural faithful people, or to speak more particularly, of to Adam; and in his state of innocence it was quite God's elect, into which Jesus Christ, by a privilege justifiable; but in consequence of sin, it has become peculiar to the only Son of God, entered at the mo- criminal and unbounded. We see then both the ment of his incarnation, we are offered and sanc- source of this love, and the cause of its enormity tified. This sacrifice continues through life, and is and guilt. It is the same with the desire of domiperfected in death, in which the soul, quitting en- nion, with inactivity, and all other vices; and this tirely the vices and the corrupt affections of earth, idea may be easily transferred to the dread which whose contagion still, throughout life, ministered we have of death. This dread was natural and prosome infection, perfects her own immolation, and per in Adam, when innocent; because as his life is received into the bosom of God.

was approved of God, it ought to be so by man; Let us not then sot row for the death of the faith- and death would have been dreadful, as terminating ful, as the heathen who have no hope. We have a life conformed to the will of God. But since not lost them at their death. We lost them, so to man has sinned, his life has become corrupt, his speak, from that moment when they were really body and soul mutually hostile to each other, and given to God. From that time they were the both hostile to God. Lord's. Their life was devoted to him; their ac- But while this change has poisoned a life once so tions to mankind regarded only the glory of God. holy, the love of life has yet remained; and that Then in their death they have become entirely se- dread of death, which has remained the same also, parated from sin, and in that moment they have and which was justifiable in Adam, is not justifiabeen received of God, and their sacrifice received ble in us. its completion and its crown.

We see, then, the origin of the dread of death, They have performed their vows; they have and the cause of its guilt. Let the illumination of done the work which God gave them to do; they faith correct the error of nature. have accomplished the work for which alone they The dread of death is natural to man; but it was were created. The will of God has been done in in his state of innocence, because death could not them, and their will has been absorbed in the will enter paradise, without finishing a life perfectly of God. That then which God has joined together, pure. It was right, then, to hate it, when it went to let not our will put asunder; let us destroy or sub- separate a holy soul from a holy body : but then it due, by a right comprehension of the truth, that is right to love it, when it separates a holy soul from sentiment of our corrupted and fallen nature which an impure body. It was right to shrink from it presents to us only false impressions, and which when it would have broken up the peace between disturbs by its delusions, the holy feelings that the soul and the body; but not when it terminates evangelical truth inspires.

an otherwise irreconcilable dissension. In fact, Let us not then regard death as heathens, but as when it would have afilicted an innocent body; Christians, with hope, as St. Paul ordains; for this when it would have deprived the body of the power is the special privilege of believers. Think not of of knowing God; when it would have separated a corpse as a putrid carcass, as lying nature repre- from the soul a body submissive to its will, and cosents it to us ; but count it, according to the appre-operating with it; when it would have terminated hensions of faith, as the sacred and eternal temple all the blessings of which man knew himself capaof the Spirit of God.

ble, then it was right to abhor it. But, when it terFor we know that the bodies of the saints are minates an impure life; when it takes away from preserved by the Holy Spirit unto the resurrection, the body the liberty of sinning; when it rescues the which will be accomplished by that Spirit dwelling soul from the might of a rebel, who counteracts all in them for that purpose. It was on this account his efforts for salvation, it is very improper to retain that some reverenced relics of the dead; and for towards it the same opinions. this same reason, formerly, the eucharist was placed We must not then give up this love of life which in the mouth of the dead. But the church has was given us by nature; for we have received it given up this custom, because the eucharist being from God. But then, let it be a love for that same the bread of life, and of the living, ought not to be life which God gave, and not for a life directly conadministered to the dead.

trary to it. And whilst we approve the love which Do not consider the faithful, who have died in Adam felt to the life of innocence, and which Jesus the grace of God as baying ceased to live, though Christ also had for his life, let it be one business to

#

9

DISEASE.

hate a life, the reverse of that which Jesus Christ that we build on this principle, that we have good joved, and to attain to that death which Jesus Christ ground to hope for the salvation of those whose experienced, and which happens to a body approv- death we mourn; then it is certain, that if we caned of God; but let us not dread a death, which, as not check the tide of our grief and distress, we may it operates to punish a guilty body, and to cleanse a at least derive from it this benefit, that if the death vitiated body, ought to inspire in us very different of the body is so dreadful, as to give rise to such feelings, if we have but the principles, in however emotions, that of the soul would have caused us small a degree, of faith, hope, and charity.

agonies far less consolable. God has sent the formIt is one of the great principles of Christianity, er to those for whom we weep; but we hope that that all which happened to Jesus Christ, should take the latter he has averted. See then in the magniplace in the soul and body of each Christian: that tude of our woes, the greatness of our blessings; as Jesus Christ has suffered during his mortal life, and let the excess of our grief, be the measure of has died to this mortal life, has risen to a new life, our joy. has ascended to heaven, where he has sat down at 5. Man is evidently too weak to judge accurately the right hand of the Father; sɔ ought both the body of the train of future events. Let our hope, then, and soul to suffer, die, rise again, and ascend to be in God; and do not let us weary ourselves by heaven.

rash and unjustifiable anticipations. Let us comAll these things are accomplished during this life mit ourselves to God for the guidance of our way in the soul, but not in the body. The soul suffers in this life, and let not discontent have dominion and dies to sin; the soul is raised to a new life; and over us. then, at last, the soul quits the earth, and ascends Saint Augustine teaches us that there is in each to heaven in the holy paths of a heavenly life; as man, a Serpent, an Eve, and an Adam. Our senses St. Paul says, Our conversation is in heaven. and natural propensities are the Serpent; the ex

But none of these things take place in the body citable desire is the Eve; and reason is the Adam. during this present life; they will occur hereafter. Our nature tempts us perpetually; criminal desire For, in death, the body dies to its mortal life: at is often excited; but sin is not completed till reason the judgment, it shall rise to new life; and after consents. the judgment, it shall ascend to heaven, and dwell Leave then this Serpent and this Eve to distress there for ever. So that the same train of events us if they will; but let us pray to God so to strengthhappens to the body as to the soul, only at different en our Adam by his grace, that he may abide victimes: and these changes in the body do not take torious—that Jesus Christ may be his conqueror, place till those of the soul are complete—that is, af- and may dwell in us for ever. ter death. So that death is the coronation of the beatification of the soul, and the dawn of blessedness to the body also.

CHAPTER XXIII. These are the wonderful ways of Divine wisdom | PRAYER, FOR THE SANCTIFIED USE OF AFFLICTION BY respecting the salvation of souls! And St. Augustine teaches us here, that God has adopted this ar- O Lord, whose Spirit is in all things so good and rangement to prevent a serious evil; for if the pe- gracious, and who ari so merciful, that not only the riod of the act of the spiritual regeneration of ihe prosperities, but even the humiliations of thy elect soul had been made the period of the death and re- are the results of thy mercy: graciously enable me surrection of the body also, men would only have to act in the state to which thy righteous hand has submitted to the obedience of the gospel from the reduced me, not as a heathen, but as a true Chrislove of life;, but by the present arrangement, the tian; that I may recognize thee as my Father and power of faith is much more manifested, whilst the my God, in whatever state I am; since the change way to immortality is traced through the shades of in my condition, makes no change in thine; since death.

thou art always the same, though I am ever varia: 4. It were not right that we should not feel and ble; and that thou art no less God, when thou mi mourn over the attlictions and mistortunes of life, nisterest atiliction or punishment, than in the gifts like angels who have not the passions of our nature of consolation and peace. It were not right either that we should sorrow 1. 2. Thou has given me health to serve thee, and I without consolation like the heathens, who know have profanely misused it. Thou hast now sent not the hope of grace. But it is right that we should disease to correct me. Suffer me not so to receive be afflicted and comforted as Christians, and that it as to anger thee by my impatience. I have abusthe consolations of grace should rise superior to the ed my health, and thou has rightly punished me feelings of nature; so that grace should not only be let me not abuse thy correction also. And since in us, but victorious in us; so that, in hallowing the corruption of my nature is such, that it renders our heavenly Father's name, his will should be thy favors hurtful to me, let thy Almighty grace, O come ours; so that his grace should reign over our God, make these thy chastenings profitable. If in imperfect nature, and that our atllictions should be, the vigor of health, my heart was filled with the as it were, the matter of a sacrifice which grace love of this world, destroy that vigor for my safety's completes, and consumes to the glory of God: and sake, and unfit me for the enjoyment of this world, that these individual sacrifices should hönor and either by weakness of body, or by overcoming love, anticipate that universal sacrifice, in which our that I may rejoice in thee only. whole nature shall be perfected by the power of Je- 3. O God, io whom at the end of my life, and at sus Christ.

the end of this world, I must give an account of all And hence we derive benefit from our imperfec- that I have done; O God, who permittest this world tions, since they serve as matter for such sacrifi- to exist, only for the trial of thine elect, and the ces.* For it is the object of true Christians to pro- punishment of the wicked; O God, who leavest fit by their own imperfections, in as much as all hardened sinners to the luxurious, but criminal enthings work together for good to the elect.

joyments of this world; O God, who causest this And if we are careful, we shall find great profit body to die, and at the hour of death, separatest our and edification in considering this matter as it is in souls from all that in this world they have loved, truth. For since it is true, that the death of the O God, who at the last moment of my life, breakest body is only the image of the death of the soul, and me off from all those things to which I am attached,

and on which my heart has been fixed; O God, who * 2 Corinthians xii. 9, 10.

wilt consume at the last day the heavens and the

earth, and all the creatures that are therein, to show | world has stolen. Seize this treasure thyself, or 10 all the world that nothing subsists but thyself, rather resume it; for it belongs to thee as a tribute and that nothing but thyself is worthy of love, be that I owe thee, as stamped by thine own image. cause thou only dost endure; O God, who wilt de- Thou hast imprinted it at the moment of my bapstroy all these vain idols, and all these fatal objects tism, which was my second birth; but it is all efof our affections; I praise thee, and I will bless faced. The image of the world is graven there so thee, O my God, all the days of my life, that it hath deeply, that thine is scarcely cognizable. Thou pleased thee to anticipate in my favor, the event of only couldst create my soul; thou only canst create that awful day, by destroying already, as it respects it anew. Thou only couldst impress there thine me, all these things, through the weakness to which image; thou only canst reform it, and refresh the thou hast reduced me. I praise thee, O my God, lineaments of thy obliterated likeness; that is, and I will bless thee all the days of my life, ihat it Jesus Christ my Saviour, who is thine image, and hath pleased thee to reduce me to a state of inabili- the very character of thy subsistence. ty to enjoy the sweets of health, and the pleasures 5. O, my God, how happy is a heart that can love of the world; and that thou hast in a manner de- so lovely an object, with an honorable and a benestroyed for my profit, those deceitful idols which ficial love! I feel that I cannot love the world thou wilt hereafter effectually destroy, to the confu- without displeasing thee, without injuring and dission of the wicked in the day of thine anger. Grant, honoring myself; and yet the world is still the obLord, that I may henceforth judge myself accord-ject of my delight. O, my God, how happy is the ing to this destruction, which thou has wrought in soul who finds his delight in thee, since he may my behalf; that thou mayest not judge me after abandon himself to thy love, not only without scruthal entire destruction which thou wilt make of my ple, but with commendation. How firm and last. natural life and of the whole world. For seeing, ing is his happiness, since his hope cannot be disapO Lord, that at the instant of my death, I shall find pointed, because thou wilt never be destroyed, and myself separated from this world, stripped of all neither life nor death shall separate him from the things, and alone in thy presence, to answer to thy object of his desires; and that the same moment justice for all the thoughts of my heart: grant that which overwhelms the wicked and their idols in I may consider myself in this disease, as in a kind one common ruin, shall unite the just with thee in of death, separated from the world, stripped of all one common glory; and that as the one shall pethe objects of my affection, and alone in thy pre- rish with the perishable objects to which they were sence, to implore from thy compassion the conver- attached; the others, shall subsist eternally in the sion of my heart; and that hence I may have great eternal and self-existent object to which they were comfort from the thought, that thou visitest me now so strictly united. Blessed are they, who, with perwith a species of death, as the result of thy mercy, fect freedom, and an invincible bias of their will, before thou appointest me really and finally to love perfectly and freely, that which they are incesdeath as the result of thy justice. Grant, then, santly constrained to love. my God, that since thou hast anticipated my death, 6. Perfect, O my God, the holy emotions that thou I may anticipate the rigor of thy sentence; and that hast given me. Be their end, as thou art their be1 may examine myself before thy judgment, to find ginning. Crown thine own gifts; for thine I admit mercy in thy presence.

them to be. Yes, O my God, far from assuming 4. Grant, O my God, that I may adore in silence, that my prayers have any merit, which could conhe order of thy providence, in the guidance of my strain thee io answer them, I most humbly confess, ife; that thy rod may comfort me; and that, if I that having given to the creature that heart, which jave lived in the bitterness of my own sins during thou didst form for thyself only, and not for the my prosperity, I may now taste the heavenly sweet- world, nor for myself, I could look for no blessing ness of thy grace, during the salutary evils with but tothy mercy; since I have noihing in me which which thou hast chastened me. But I confess, 0 could deserve it; and that all the natural emotions my God, that my heart is so hardened, and so full of of my heart, inclining towards the creatures or mythe thoughts, and cares, and anxieties, and attach-self, can only anger thee. I thank, thee, then, o ments of the world, that neither sickness, nor health, my God, for the holy emotiors that thou hast given neither sermons, nor books, nor thy holy Scriptures, me, and even for that disposition which thou hast nor thy gospel, nor its holiest mysteries, nor alms, also given me to feel thankful. nor fastings, nor mortifications, nor the sacraments, 7. Touch my heart with repentance for its faults; nor thy death, nor all my efforts, nor those of the for without this inward grief, the outward evils whole world put together, can effect any thing what- with which thou hast smitten my body, will be but ever, even to begin my conversion, if thou dost not a new occasion of sin. Make me to know that the accompany all these things by the extraordinary diseases of my body are only the chastening, and assistance of thy grace. For this, O my God, I ad- the emblem of the diseases of my soul. But grant, dress myself to thee, the Almighty, to ask from thee Lord, also, that they may be the remedy, by making a gift, that all thy creatures together could not be me consider, amidst these pains that I do feel, the stow. I should not have the daring to direct my evil which I did not previously perceive in my soul, cry to thee, if any other being could answer it. though totally diseased and covered with putrifying Bür, O my God, since the conversion of my heart, sores. For, O Lord, the greatest of its evils is that for which I now entreat, is a work which surpasses insensibility, and that extreme weakness which has all the efforts of nature; I can apply to none but to the deprived it of all consciousness of its own miseries. Author and Almighty master of nature, and of my Make me then to feel them deeply; and let the reheart. To whom should I cry, Lord, to whom mainder of my life be a continued penitence, to beshould I have recourse but to thee? Nothing short wail the sins which I have committed. of God can fulfil my desire. It is God himself that 8. O Lord, though my life past has been exempt I need, and that I seek; and to thee only, O my from gross crimes, from the temptations to which Gud, do I address myself, that I may obtain thee. thou hast preserved me; it has been very hateful Open my heart, Lord. Enter this rebel place, in thy sight, from my continual negligence, my where sin has reigned. Sin holds it in subjection misuse of thy holy sacraments, my contempt of thy Enter as into the house of a strong man; but first word, and of thy holy influence, by the listlessness bind the strong and mighty enemy who ruled it, and and uselessness of my actions and thoughts, by the then take possession of the treasures which are total loss of that time which thou hast given me for there. O Lord, regain those affections which the į thy worship, to seek, in all my ways, the means of

pleasing thee, and to repent of the sins, which I viation, for that is the present state of Judaism. But daily commit; sins from which, even the most I ask, Lord, to feel, at ihe same time, both the pangs righteous are not exempt; so that even their life of nature for my sins, and one consolations of thy had need be a continual penitence, or they run the Spirit through grace; for this is true Christianity. risk of falling from their steadfastness. In this way, Let me not experience pain, without consolation ; O my God, I have ever been rebellious against thee. but let me feel pains and consolations at the same

9. Yes, Lord, up to this hour I have been ever time, so that ultimately I may experience consoladeafto thy inspirations; I have despised thy oracles; lation only, free from all suffering. For formerly, I have judged contrary to what thou judgest; I have Lord, before the advent of thy Son, thou didst leave contradicted those holy precepts which thou didst the world to languish without comfort under natubring into the world, from the bosom of thy eternal ral sufferings : now thou dost console and temper Father, and by which thou wilt judge the world. the sufferings of thy saints, by the grace of thine Thou sayest, Blessed are they that mourn, and wo only Son; and hereafter thou wilt crown thy saints to them that are comforted ; and I have said, Wretch- with a beatitude, perfectly pure, in thy Son's etered are those that mourn, and blessed are those who nal glory. These are the marvellous degrees are comforted. I have said, Happy are they who through which thou dost carry thy works. Thou enjoy a fortunate lot, a splendid reputation, and ro- hast withdrawn me from the first; cause me to pass bust health. And why have I thought them happy, through the second; that I may reach the third. except that all these advantages furnished them an This, Lord, is the mercy that I ask. ample facility for enjoying the creature, that is, for 12. Suffer me not to be so far alienated from thee, offending thee. Yes, Lord, I confess that I have as to be able to contemplate thy soul, sorrowful esteemed health a blessing, not because it was a even unto death, and thy body laid low by death ready means of serving thee usefully, by devoting for my sins, without rejoicing to suffer also both in more care and watchfulness to thy service, and by my body and my mind. For there is nothing more the ready assistance of my neighbor; but that

, by disgraceful, and yet nothing more usual among its aid, I could abandon myself, with less restraint Christians, than that while thou didst sweat blood to the abounding delights of life, and taste more for the expiation of our offences, we should be living freely its deadly pleasures. Graciously, O Lord, luxuriously at ease; and that Christians, who make reform my corrupted reason, and conform my prin- a profession of being devoted to thee; that those ciples to thine. Grant that I may count myself who, in their baptism, have renounced the world to happy in atfliction, and that in this inability for ex- follow thee; that those who have vowed solemnly, ternal action, my thoughts may be so purified, as no before the church, to live and die for thee; that longer to be repugnant to thine; and that in this those who profess to believe that the world perseway, I may find thee within me, when from my cuted and crucified thee; that those who believe weakness I cannot go forth to seek thee. For, that thou didst give thyself up to the wrath of God, Lord, thy kingdom is within thy believing people, and to the cruelty of men, to redeem them from all and I shall find it within myself, if I discover there iniquity; that those, I say, who believe all these thy Spirit, and thy precepts.

truths, who consider thy body as the sacrifice offer10. But, Lord, what shall I do to constrain thee to ed for their salvation ; who consider the indul. pour forth thy Spirit upon this wretched earth ? All gences, and the sins of this world, as the only cause ihat I am is hateful in thy sight; and I find nothing of thy sufferings, and the world itself as thy exein me which can please ihee. I see nothing there, cuiioner; that they should seek to indulge their Lord, except my griefs which bear some faint re- own bodies with these same delights, and in this semblance to thine. Consider then the ills that I same world; and that they who could not with. suffer, and those which threaten me. Look with out horror, see a man caress and cherish the an eye of pity on the wounds which thy hand hath murderer of his own father, who had surrendered made. O my Saviour, who didst love thy sutierings himself to secure his life, should live as I have done ; even in death; O my God, who didst become man, should live joyously amidst that world, which I only to suffer more ihan any man, for man's salva- know unquestionably to have been the murderer of tion; O God, who didst become incarnate afier the him whom I recognize as my Father and my God, sin of men, and who didst take a body only to suffer who gave himself up for my salvation, and who has in it all that our sins deserved; O God, who lovest borne in his own body the punishment of my transso much the suffering bodies of men, that thou didst gressions. It is right, O Lord, that thou hast interchoose for thyself the most afflicted body that ever rupted a joyousness so criminal as that in which I was in the world ; graciously accept my body, not have indulged amidst the shadows of death. for its own sake, nor for any thing in it--for all de- 13. Take from me then, O Lord, the grief that serves thine indignation-but for the miseries which self-love may feel on account of my own sufferings, it endures, which only can be worthy of thy love. and on account of those human events which do Kindly regard my sufferings, O Lord, and let my not fall out precisely according to the wishes of my distresses invite thee to visit me. But to complete heart, and which do not make for thy glory. But the sanctification of thy dwelling, grant, O my Sa- awaken within me a sorrow assimilated to thine viour, that if my body is admitted to the common own. Let my sufferings mollify thine anger. Make privilege with thine, that it suffers for my offences, them the means of my safety and my conversion. my soul also may have this in common with thy soul, Let me wish no more for health and life, but to emthat it may be in bitierness for them also; and that ploy and expend them for thee, with thee, and in thee. thus, I may suffer with thee, and like thee, both in I do not ask of thee health or sickness, life or my body and my soul, for the sins which I have death; but merely that thou wouldst dispose of my commitied.

health or sickness, of my life or death, for thy glory, 11. Graciously, O Lord, impart thy consolations for my salvation, and for the benefit of thy church, during my sufferings, that I may suffer as a Chris- and of thy saints, among whom I would hope, by tian. "I ask not exemption from distress; for this is thy grace, to be found. Thou only knowest what the reward of the saints: but I pray not to be given is needful for me: thou art the sovereign Lord; do up to the agonies of suffering nature, without the with me what thou wilt. Give or take; only conconsolations of thy Spirit; for this is the curse of form my will to thine; and grant, that in humble Jews and heathens. 'I ask not a sulness of conso- and entire submission, I may accept the ordinances lation, without any suffering; for that is the life of of thy eternal providence, and that I may regard glory. I ask not a full cup of sorrow, without alle- with equal reverence, whatever comes from thee.

[ocr errors]

14. Grant, O my God, that in uniform equanimity, these two contending parties, it became necessary of mind, I may receive whatever happens; since to abandon the one, in order to enter the other; we know not what we should ask, and since I can- to renounce the maxims of the one, in order to fol not wish for one thing more than another without low those of the other; each one must disencum presumption, and without setting up myself as a ber himself of the sentiments of the one, in order judge, and making myself responsible for those con- to put on the sentiments of the other; and finally, sequences, which thy wisdom has determined pro- must be prepared to quit, to renounce, and to abjure perly to conceal from me. O Lord, I know that I the world where he had his former birth, and to know but one thing; and that is, that it is good to devote himself entirely to the church in which he follow thee, and evil tc offend thee. After that, I receives his second birth. And thus a wide distincknow not what is better or worse in any thing. I tion, was habitually drawn between the one and know not which is more profitable for me, sickness the other. But now, we find ourselves almost at the or health, wealth or poverty, nor any other of the same moment introduced into both; and, at the things of this world. This were a discovery beyond same time, we are horn into the world, and be rn the power of men or angels, and which is veiled in anew into the church.* So that, dawning reason now the secrets of thy providence, which I adore, and no longer perceives the broad line of distinction bewhich I do not desire to fathom.

tween these two opposing worlds, but matures and 15. Grant then, O Lord, that such as I am, I may strengthens, at the same time, under the combined be conformed to thy will; and that, diseased as I infuence of both. The sacraments are partaken am, I may glorify thee in my sufferings. Without of, in conjunction with the pleasures of the world; these, I cannot reach thy glory; and even thou, my and hence, instead of there being an essential disSaviour, wouldst not attain to glory but by this tinction between the one and the other, they are means. It was by the scars of thy sufferings, that now so mingled and confounded, that the distincthy disciples knew thee; and it is by their sufferings tion is almost entirely lost. that thou wilt recognize those who are thy disciples. Hence it arises, that whilst then Christians were Recognize me, O Lord, amidst the evils that I suf- all well instructed; now, there are many in a fearfer, both in body and mind, for the sins that I have ful state of ignorance; then, those who had been committed; and because nothing is acceptable to initiated into Christianity by baptism, and who had God, that is not offered by thee, unite my will to renounced the vices of the world, to embrace the thine, and my agonies to those which thou hast en- piety of the church, rarely declined again to the dured. Let mine become thine. Unite me to thy- world which they had left; whilst now, we comself; and fill me with thyself, and with thy Holy monly see the vices of the world in the hearts of Spirit. Dwell in my heart and soul, to endure within Christians. The church of the saints is all defiled me my sufferings, and to continue to endure in me, with the intermingling of the wicked; and her all that remains yet unsuffered of thy passion, children that she has conceived, and born from which thou completest in all thy members, even to their infancy, at her sides, are they who carry the entire perfection of thy mystical body; that be- into her very heart, that is even to the participation ing thus at length full of thee, it may be no more of her holiest mysteries—her deadliest foes—the I that live and suffer, but that it may be thou who spirit of the world—the spirit of ambition, of relivest and sufferest in me, O my Saviour; and that venge, of impurity, and of lust; and the love which thus, having some little part in thy sufferings, thou she bears for her children, compels ber to admit mayest fill me abundantly with the glory which they , into her very bowels, the bitterest of her persecu have purchased; in which thou livest with the tors. Father, and the Holy Spirit, world without end. But we must not impute to the church the evils Amen.

that have followed so fatal a change; for when she saw that the delay of baptism, left a large propor

tion of infants still under the curse of original sin, CHAPTER XXIV.

she wished to deliver them from this perdition, by COMPARISON OF ANCIENT AND MODERN CHRIstians. hastening the succor which she can give; and this

good mother sees, with biter regret, that the benefft Ix the infancy of the Christian church, we see no which she thus holds out to infants, becomes the Christians but those who were thoroughly instruct- occasion of the ruin of adults. ed in all matters necessary to salvation; but in these The true meaning of the church is, that those days, we see on every side an ignorance so gross, whom she thus withdraws at so tender an age, from that it agonizes all those who have a tender regard the contagion of the world, should subsequently befor the interests of the church. Then, no one enter- come separate from its opinions. She anticipates ed the church, but after serious difficulties, and the agency of reason, to prevent those vices into long cherished wishes; now, we find ourselves as- which corrupted reason might entice them; and sociated with it, without care or difficulty. For that, before their natural mind could act, she might merly, no one was admitted but after a most rigid fill them with her better spirit, so that they might examination; now, every one is admitted before he live in ignorance of the world, and in a state 30 is capable of being examined. Formerly, no one much further removed from vice, in as much as was admitted but after repentance of his former life, they have never known it. This is evident in the and a renunciation of the world, the flesh, and the baptismal service; for she does not confer baptism devil; now, they enter the church before they are in a state to do any of these things. In fact, for- * It is quite evident by the tenor of the whole pasmerly it was necessary to come out from the world, sage, that M. Pascal means here only a formal initiain order to be received into the church; whilst, in tion by baptism, and not a spiritual birth—a real regethese days, we enter the church almost at the same neration. At the same time, the error which his words time that we enter the world. Then there was dis- appear in some degree to countenance, was held by tinctly recognized by those earlier proceedings, an the unenlightened part of the Romish church; and it essential difference between the world and the is still held by some members of the church of Eng church. They were regarded as two things, in land, who do not understand either her doctrines or her direct opposition, as two irreconcilable enemies; services; whilst some men among us, like M. Pascal, of which the one persecutes the other perpetually, give an improper countenance to the error, by the and of which, that which seems the weakest, will adoption of the inexplicable notion of baptismal re De day triumph over the strongest; and between generation.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »