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MDCCCXXXVI.

157.

BIBL

PREFACE.

NO subtilty of thought, nor loftiness of words, will be found in the following pages; but the greatest simplicity and the plainest forms of expression. Nothing here will perplex the understanding, but all will powerfully appeal to the heart: for while the following "Meditations" are remarkable for the beautiful simplicity of style so peculiar to their Beatified Author, they are not less characterized by profound piety, ardent love of God, and tender devotion to the Blessed Virgin, Mother of God. They are each divided into three points; each point generally includes acts of the love of God, of contrition for sin, and of supplication for final perseverance; and every last point concludes with a short prayer to the ever Blessed Mary.

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In a preface to a work similar to the present by the same Blessed Liguori, he says: "I entreat my readers not to be "wearied with the frequent repetition of prayers for the graces "of the love of God and of perseverance: since these two graces are the most necessary for the attainment of eternal 66 salvation." 'The grace of divine love,' says St. Francis of Sales, contains in itself all other graces, because the virtue "of charity towards God brings with it all other virtues:' All good things came to me together with her. Wisd. vii. 11. He "who loves God is humble, chaste, obedient, mortified, in a 26 word, he is possessed of all virtues. 'Love and do what 66 you will,' says St. Augustin, 'because he who loves God "carefully avoids every thing that can offend him, and seeks "for nothing but to please him in all things.'

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"The other grace, that of perseverance, is that which enables us to gain the eternal crown. St. Bernard says: 'Heaven "is promised indeed to those who begin a new life, but is given

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to those only who persevere in it. 'But perseverance,' as "the Holy Fathers teach, is given to those only who pray for "it.' Our Blessed Saviour had before said: That we ought always to pray and not to faint. St. Luke, xviii. 1. The cause "why so many miserable sinners, although they may have been "pardoned, continue not in the state of grace, is, because they 'do not pray always, but faint: they receive pardon, but, because they neglect to implore of God the gift of perseverance, "particularly in the time of temptation, relapse into their for66 mer sins. On the other hand, although the grace of perseverance is entirely gratuitous, and cannot be merited by our own exertions, 'yet,' says Father Suarez, it is infallibly to "be obtained by means of prayer;' St. Augustin having said "before him: The gift of perseverance is to be gained by "prayer."

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Blessed Liguori concludes his preface with the following devout offering to Almighty God and pious request to his readers, in which his unworthy translator begs humbly to join : May all tend to the glory of God! I beg of my readers, when they shall read this book, to recommend me whether alive or "dead to Jesus Christ; and I promise to do the same for all "who shall do me this charity,"

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