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when I shall be judged? And how should he not tremble who has offended God by many mortal sins, and yet has done no penance for them? At death, the sight of his crimes, the rigour of the divine judgments, the uncertainty of the sentence to be pronounced upon him, what a tempest of horror and confusion will these raise around him! Let us be careful to throw ourselves at the feet of Jesus Christ, and secure our pardon before the arrival of our accounting day. Ah! my Jesus and my Redeemer, who wilt one day be my judge, have pity on me before the day of justice. Behold at thy feet, a deserter, who has often promised to be faithful to thee, and has as often again turned his back upon thee. No, my God, thou hast not deserved the treatment which thou hast hitherto received at my hands. Forgive me, O Lord, for I desire truly to change and amend my life. I am sorry, my sovereign good, for having despised thee: take pity
III. Then will be decided the great affair of our eternal salvation. Upon this decision will depend our being either saved or lost for ever, our being happy or miserable for all eternity. But, O God! each one knows this and says: so it is. But if it is so, why do we not leave all to attend only to our sanctification, and to the securing of our eternal salvation? My God, I give thee thanks for the light which thou hast given me. Remember, O Jesus, that thou didst die for my salvation; grant that when I first behold thee, I may see thee appeased. If hitherto I have despised thy grace, I now esteem it above every other good. I love thee, O infinite goodness, and because I love thee, I am sorry for having offended thee. Hitherto I have forsaken thee, but now I desire thee and seek thee: grant that I may find thee, O God of my soul. Mary, my mother, recommend me to your Son Jesus.
On the fire of hell.
I. IT is certain that hell is a pit of fire, in which the miserable souls of the wicked will be tormented for ever. Even in this life the pain of burning is of all others the most intense and dreadful: but the fire of hell has the power of inflicting much more excruciating torment, because it has been created by God, to be the instrument of his wrath upon his rebellious creatures. Go ye cursed, into everlasting fire, is the sentence of the reprobate. And as in this sentence of condemnation fire is particularly mentioned, we may conclude that, of all the torments with which the senses of the wicked are afflicted, fire is the greatest. Ah! my God, for how many years past have I deserved to burn in this fire! but thou hast waited for me, to behold me burning, not with this dreadful fire, but with the blessed flames of thy holy love. Wherefore do I love thee, my sovereign good, and desire to love thee for ever.
II. In this world fire only burns outwardly, and does not penetrate our interior; but in hell the fire enters into the inmost recesses of its victims. Thou shalt make them as an oven of fire. Ps. xx. 10. Every one shall become as a furnace of fire, so that the heart shall burn within the chest, the bowels within the carcass, the brains within the skull, and even the marrow within the bones. Sinners, what are your feelings with regard to this fire? You, who cannot now bear a spark accidentally fallen from a candle, nor a house too hot, nor a ray of the sun upon your head, how will you endure to be permanently immersed in an ocean of fire, where you will be for ever dying, and yet never
never die? O my Redeemer! let not that blood which thou didst shed for the love of me, be shed for me in vain. Grant me sorrow for my sins, grant me thy holy love.
III. Which of you, saith the prophet, can dwell with devouring fire. Isa. xxxiii. 14. As a wild beast devoureth its prey, so shall the fire of hell continually devour the unhappy soul, but without ever depriving him of life. Hence, St Peter Damian exclaims; Go on, sinner, go on, unchaste one, give thy flesh its desires; a day shall come when thy impurities shall be to thee as pitch within thy bowels, to nourish the fire which shall consume thee in hell for all eternity. Epist. 6. O my God, whom I have despised and lost, forgive me, and suffer me not to lose thee any more. I am sorry above every evil for having offended thee. Receive me into
thy favour, for now do I promise thee that I will love thee, and love no other but thee. Most holy Mary, deliver me by your holy intercession, from ever suffering the torments of hell,
On the vanity of all worldly things.
I. WHAT is life but a vapour, which appears for a short time and then is seen no more? What is
your life? says St. James, It is a vapour which appeareth for a little while, and afterwards shall vanish away. iv. 15. The vapours which arise from the earth, when raised into the air and surrounded by the rays of the sun appear brilliant and beautiful; but the least wind disperses them and they are seen no more. Such is the grandeur of this world. Behold that prince; to-day, he is feared, attended
upon and honoured by thousands; to-morrow, he will be dead, despised and hated by all. In a word, honours, pleasures, and riches, must all end in death. O my God! make me sensible of the immensity of thy goodness, that I may love nothing but thee.
II. Death deprives man of whatever he may possess in this world. What a sad sight, to behold a rich man, after death, carried out of his palace, to return thither no more! how sad, to behold others taking possession of the estates which he has left, of his wealth, and of whatever else he so lately enjoyed! His servants, after having accompanied him to his grave, abandon him, and leave him there, to be devoured by worms; no one esteeming him, no one flattering him. Formerly every one obeyed his nod, but now no one takes the least notice of his orders. How wretched have I been, O Lord, in having, for so many years, gone after the vanities of the world, and left thee, my sovereign good! But from this day forward, I desire to possess thee as my only treasure, as the only love of my soul.
III. Dust and ashes, why are you proud? Man, says the Almighty, seest thou not that in a short time thou wilt become dust and ashes? and on what dost thou fix thy thoughts and affections? Reflect that death will soon rob thee of every thing, and separate thee from the whole world. And if, when thou givest in thy accounts, thou be found wanting, what will become of thee for eternity? I give thee thanks, my Lord and my God. Thou speakest thus to me, because thou desirest to save me. Let thy mercies now prevail. Thou hast promised to pardon such as repent of their offences against thee. From the bottom of my heart do I repent, grant me therefore pardon. Thou hast promised to love those who love thee: above all things
do I now love thee; wherefore do thou love me also, and hate me not any more, as I have deserved. O Mary, my advocate, in your protection is my hope.
On the number of our sins.
I. IT is the opinion of St. Basil, St. Jerome, St. Ambrose, St. Augustin, and others, that as God has determined for each one the number of talents, the goods of fortune, and the number of days to be bestowed upon him, so, he has also determined for each one the number of sins to be pardoned him, which being completed, God will pour out his chastisements upon him and pardon him no more. Each one, says St. Augustin, is patiently borne with by Almighty God for a certain time; but when this is over, there is then no longer any more pardon for him. I am aware, O God, that I have hitherto abused thy patience too much; but I know that thou hast not yet abandoned me, because I am sorry for my sins, and this sorrow is a sign that thou still lovest me. O my God, I desire never more to displease thee; for pity do not abandon
II. The Lord patiently expecteth, that when the day of judgment shall come, he may punish them in the fullness of their sins. 2 Macb. vi. 14. Although God has patience and waits for the sinner, yet, when the day shall arrive for the measure of his sins to be filled up, he will wait for him no longer, but chastise him. O Lord, wait yet for me a little while, do not yet abandon me, I hope, with the assistance of thy grace, never to offend thee more, nor to excite thy anger against me, I am sorry,