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whether he shall give or refuse his consent to sin, he takes the balance into his hands to decide which is of most value-the favour of God, or some passion, some worldly interest or pleasure. When he yields to temptation, what does he do? He decides that some wretched gratification is more desirable than the favour of God. Thus it is that he dishonours God, declaring, by his consent, that a miserable pleasure is preferable to the divine friendship. Thus, then, O God, have I so many times dishonoured thee, by esteeming thee less than my miserable passions!
II. Of this the Almighty complains by the prophet Ezekiel, when he says: They violated me among my people, for a handful of barley and a piece of xiii. 19. If the sinner should exchange God for a treasure of jewels, or for a kingdom, it would indeed be doing a great evil, because God is of infinitely more value than all the treasures and kingdoms of the earth. But for what do so many exchange him? for a vapour, for a little dirt, for a poisoned pleasure, which is no sooner tasted than fled. O God, how could I have had the heart for such vile things, so often to despise thee, who hast shown so much love for me? But, behold my Redeemer, how I now love thee above all things; and because I love thee, I feel more regret for having lost thee, my God, than if I had lost all other goods, and even my life. Have pity on me, and forgive me. I will never more incur thy displeasure. Grant that I inay rather die than offend thee any more.
III. Lord, who is like to thee? Ps. xxxiv. 10. And what good things, O God, can be comparable to thee, O infinite goodness? But how could I have turned my back upon thee, to give myself to those vile things which sin held out to me? O Jesus, thy precious blood is my hope. Thou hast promised to hear him who prays to thee. I ask
thee not for the goods of this world; I ask thee for the pardon of those sins which I have committed against thee, and for which I am sorry above every other evil. I ask thee for perseverance in thy grace until the end of my life. I ask thee for the gift of thy holy love; my soul is enamoured of thy goodness; hear me, O Lord. Only grant that I may love thee both here and hereafter, and as to all things else, do with me as thou pleasest. My Lord, and my only good, suffer me not to be any more separated from thee! Mary, mother of God, do thou also listen to me, and obtain for me, that I may ever belong to God, and that God may be my inheritance for ever.
On the patience of God in waiting for sinners.
I. WHO in this world has so much patience with his equals, as God with us his creatures, in bearing with us, and waiting for our repentance, after the many offences we have committed against him? Ah! my God, had I thus offended my brother, or my father, long ago would they have driven me from their face! O father of mercies, cast me not away from thy face; but have pity on me.
II. Thou hast mercy, says the Wise man, upon all, because thou canst do all things, and overlookest the sins of men for the sake of repentance. Wis. xi. 24. Men conceal their sense of the injuries which they receive, either because they are good, and know that it belongs not to themselves to punish those who offend them; or because they are unable, and have not the power to revenge themselves. But to thee, my God, it does belong to take revenge of
the offences which are committed against thy infinite majesty; and thou indeed art able to avenge thyself, whenever thou pleasest; and dost thou dissemble? Men despise thee; they make promises to thee and afterwards betray thee: and dost thou seem not to behold them, or as if thou hadst little concern for thy honour? Thus, O Jesus, hast thou done towards me. Ah! my God, my infinite good, I will no longer despise thee, I will no longer provoke thee to chastise me. And why should I delay until thou abandonest me in reality and condemnest me to hell? I am truly sorry for all my offences against thee. Would that I had died rather than offended thee! Thou art my Lord, thou hast created me, and thou hast redeemed me by thy death; thou alone hast loved me, thou alone deservest to be loved, and thou alone shalt be the sole object of my love.
III. My soul, how couldst thou be so ungrateful and so daring against thy God? When thou didst offend him, could he not have suddenly called thee out of life and punished thee with hell? And yet he waited for thee; instead of chastising thee, he preserved thy life and gave thee good things. But thou, instead of being grateful to him and loving him for such excessive goodness, thou didst continue to offend him! O my Lord, since thou hast waited for me with so great mercy, I give thee thanks. I am sorry for having offended thee-I love thee. I might at this hour have dwelt in hell, where I could not have repented, nor have loved thee. But now that I can repent, I grieve with my whole heart for having offended thy infinite goodness; and I love thee above all things, more than I love myself. Forgive me, and grant that from this day I may love no other but thee, who hast so loved me. May I live for thee alone, my Redeemer, who for me didst die upon the cross. All my hopes are in thy bit
ter passion. O Mary, mother of God, assist me by your holy intercession.
On the Certainty of Death.
I. WE must die: how awful is the decree! We must die. The sentence is passed: It is appointed for all men once to die. Heb. ix. 27. Thou art a man, and thou must die. It would be madness for any one to attempt to delude himself with the idea that he shall not die. A poor man may flatter himself that he may become rich, or a vassal that he may be a king; but who can ever hope to escape death? One dies old, another young, but all at last must come to the grave. I therefore must one day die and enter eternity. But what will be my lot for eternity? happy or miserable? My Saviour Jesus, be thou a Saviour to me!
II. Of all those who were living upon the earth at the beginning of the last century, not one is now alive. The greatest and most renowned princes of this world have exchanged their country: scarcely does there remain any remembrance of them, and their bare bones are hardly preserved in stone monuments. Make me, O God, more and more sensible of the folly of loving the goods of this world, and for the sake of them renouncing thee, my sovereign and infinite good. What folly have I not been guilty of; and how much it grieves me! I give thee thanks for having made me sensible of it.
III. A hundred years hence, at most, and neither you nor I will be any longer in this world; both will have gone into the house of eternity. A day, an hour, a moment is approaching which will
be the last both for you and me; and this hour, this moment is already fixed by Almighty God; how then can we think of any thing else but of loving God, who will then be our judge? Alas! what will my death be? O my Jesus and my judge, what will become of me, when I shall have to appear before thee to give an account of my whole life? Pardon me, I beseech thee, before that moment arrive which will decide my happiness or misery for eternity. I am sorry, for having offended thee, my sovereign good. Hitherto I have not loved thee; but now I will love thee with my whole soul. Grant me the grace of perseverance. O Mary, refuge of sinners, have pity on me.
On the loss of all things in Death.
I. THE day of destruction is at hand. Deut. xxxii. 35. The day of death is called the day of destruction, because then is destroyed all that man has acquired, honours, friends, riches, possessions, kingdoms, all are then no more. What then doth it profit us to gain the whole world, if in death we must leave all? All is at an end at the bed side of the dying man. Is there any king, think you,— said St. Ignatius to Xavier when he sought to bring him to God,-who has taken with him into the other world even a thread of purple to mark his Sovereignty? Has any rich man taken with him a single coin, or even one servant to attend him? In death all is left behind. The soul enters eternity, alone and unattended, except by her works. Woe to me! where are my works to accompany me to a blessed eternity? I can discover none but such as render me deserving of eternal torments.