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strengthen me to overcome every obstacle to thy favour.
III. He who makes no account of the divine threats, ought much to fear lest the chastisement threatened in the Proverbs should suddenly overtake him: The man that with a stiff neck despiseth him that reproveth him, shall suddenly be destroyed; and health shall not follow him. xxix. 1. A sudden death shall overtake him that despises God's reprehensions, and he shall have no time to avoid eternal destruction. This, O Jesus, has happened to many, and I indeed have deserved that the like should happen to me; but, O my Redeemer, thou hast shown that mercy towards me which thou hast not shown to many others who have offended thee less frequently than I have done, and who are now suffering in hell without the least hope of ever again being able to regain thy favour. I know, O Lord, that thou desirest my salvation, and I also desire it, that I may please thee. I renounce all, and turn myself to thee, who art my God, and my only good. I believe in thee, I hope in thee, I love thee, and thee alone. O infinite goodness, I am exceedingly displeased with myself for having hitherto done evil against thee; and I wish that Ï had suffered every evil, rather than offended thee. Suffer me not any more to depart from thee, rather let me die than offer thee so great an injury. In thee, my crucified Jesus, do I place all my hopes. O Mary, mother of Jesus, recommend me to your Son.
On the patience of God with sinners.
I. THE more we have experienced the patient mercies of God, the more we ought to be afraid of continuing to abuse them, lest the time of God's vengeance overtake us. Revenge is mine, and I will repay in due time. Deut. xxxiii. 35. God will put an end to his forbearance towards those who will not cease to abuse it. I give thee thanks, O Lord, for having patiently borne with me, though I have so often betrayed thee. Make me sensible of the evil which I have done by abusing thy patience for so long a time; make me sorry for all the offences I have committed against thee. No, I will never more abuse thy tender mercy.
II. Commit this sin; you can afterwards confess it. Such is the artifice with which the devil has drawn many souls into hell. Many Christians, now in hell, have been lost by this delusion. The Lord waiteth that he may have mercy on you. Isa. xxx. 18. God waiteth for the sinner, that the sinner may be converted, and obtain mercy; but when God sees that the time which he allows the sinner for doing penance, is employed only in increasing the number of his offences, then he waits no longer, but punishes him as he deserves. Pardon me, O God, for I desire never more to offend thee. And why should I delay? that thou mayest condemn me to hell? I fear indeed that now thou canst no longer have patience with me I have indeed offended thee too grievously. I am sorry for it, I repent of it. I hope for forgiveness through the merits of that blood which thou hast shed for me.
III. The mercies of the Lord that we are not consumed; because his commiserations have not failed.
Lam. iii. 22. Thus should he exclaim who finds to his confusion that he has frequently offended God. He should be most grateful to God for not having suffered him to die in his sins, and be most careful not to offend him again; otherwise the Lord will reproach him, saying: What more could I have done for my vineyard that I have not done? God will say to him: Ungrateful soul! if thou hadst committed the same offences against man, who is viler than the earth, verily he would not have borne with thee. And how great mercies have I exercised towards thee! How many times have I called thee, and enlightened thee, and pardoned thee? The time of punishment is at hand; the time of forgiveness is past. Thus has God spoken to many who are now suffering in hell; where one of their greatest torments is the remembrance of the mercies which they formerly received from God. Jesus, my Redeemer, and my Judge, I also have deserved to hear the same from thy mouth; but I hear thee now again calling me to pardon: Be converted to the Lord thy God. O accursed sin, which has made me lose my God, how much do I abhor and detest thee! I turn my whole self towards thee, my Lord and my God. My sovereign good, I love thee; and because I love thee I repent with my whole soul for having, during the time that is past, so much despised thee. My God, I desire never more to offend thee: give me thy love, grant me perseverance. Mary, my refuge, succour and help me.
On Death, as the passage to Eternity.
I. IT is of faith that my soul is immortal, and that one day, when I least think of it, I must leave this world. I ought therefore to make a provision for myself, which will not fail with this life, but will be eternal, even as I am eternal. Great things were done here, in their life time, by an Alexander, or a Cæsar; but, for how many ages past have their glories ceased! and where are they now? O my God, that I had always loved thee! What now remains for me, after so many years spent in sin, but trouble and remorse of conscience? But since thou dost allow me time to repair the evil which I have done, behold me, Lord, ready to perform whatever thou requirest of me, whatever thou pleasest. I will spend the remainder of my days in bewailing my ungrateful conduct towards thee, and in loving thee with all my power, my God and my all, my only good.
II. What will it avail me to have been happy in this world (if indeed true happiness can be attained without God), if hereafter I should be miserable for all eternity? But what folly it is, to know that I must die, and that an eternity either of happiness or misery awaits me after death, and that upon dying ill or well depends my being miserable or happy for ever, and yet, not to adopt every means in my power to secure a good death! Holy Spirit, enlighten and strengthen me to live always in thy grace, until the hour of my departure. Ŏ infinite goodness, I am sensible of the evil which I have done by offending thee, and I detest it: I know that thou alone art worthy of being loved, and I love thee above all things.
III. In a word, all the good things of this life must end at our burial and be left, while we are mouldering in our graves. The shadow of death will cover and obscure all the grandeur and splendour of this world. He only, then, can be called happy, who serves God in this world, and by loving and serving him acquires eternal happiness. O Jesus, I am truly sorry for having hitherto made so little account of thy love. Now I love thee above all things, and I desire nothing else but to love thee. From henceforth thou only shalt be the sole object of my love, thou only shalt be my all; and this is the only inheritance I ask of thee: to love thee always, both in this life and in the next. For the merits of thy bitter passion, give me perseverance in all virtues. Mary, mother of God, thou
art my hope.
On reforming our lives before death.
I. EVERY one desires to die the death of the saints; but it is scarcely possible for the Christian to make a holy end, who has led a disorderly life until the time of his death; to die united to God, after having always lived at a distance from him. The saints, in order to secure a happy death, renounced all the riches, the delights, and all the hopes which this world held out to them, and embraced poor and mortified lives. They buried themselves alive in this world, to avoid, when dead, being buried for ever in hell. O God, for how many years past have I deserved to be buried in that place of torments, without hope of pardon, or of being able to love thee! But thou hast waited