Today's contemplation

Admin

Administrator
15th Jan

1638


On Our Lord's Changing water into wine at the marriage-feast of Cana. St. John ii

Consider first, these words of the Gospel: 'there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. And Jesus also was invited, and his disciples.' Happy marriage, which our Lord was pleased to honour with his presence, and with his first miracle! He himself was the author and first institutor of marriage; and, therefore, was pleased to give it a sanction and a blessing by assisting at it. He came to marry, as it were, by his incarnation, our human nature with his divine person; he came to marry himself to his Church, and by imparting to it a spiritual grace, to raise Christian matrimony to the dignity of a sacrament - which should be a sacred and mysterious sign of his perpetual union with his Church: he came to espouse our souls to himself; and, therefore, was pleased to favour this marriage (in which the contracting parties were, in all appearance, allied both in blood and virtue, to his Blessed Mother) with his first miracle. O how happy were they in inviting Jesus and Mary to their wedding! O how unhappy are they, who when they marry 'shut out God from themselves and from their mind, to give themselves to their lust.' Tob. vi. 17. 'Over these the devil hath power,' because they invite him, rather than Jesus, to their wedding. and is not this the true cause why so many marriages are unhappy for want of the blessing of Jesus?

Consider 2ndly, how, in the midst of the marriage-feast, wine was wanting, to teach us how deceitful are all the pleasures of the world, and how often they fail us, when we expect the most from them. O 'tis Jesus alone can furnish our immortal souls with the true 'wine that cheereth the hearts of man.' 'Tis his love alone can present us with pure delights, which ring with them joy and peace, and a certain foretaste of heaven. he often changes, in favour of his friends, even the waters of 'the torrent in the way' into delicious wine, by the consolation he gives them in their labours and afflictions, and the spiritual blessings of his grace, for the advancing their souls in divine love, and bringing them nearer to himself, the source of all sweetness; whilst the world, the flesh, and the devil, do but delude us, by flattering our senses at first with a false sweetness, which quickly comes to an end, and leaves nothing behind it but bitterness, discontent, and remorse.

Consider 3rdly, that this miraculous change made by our Lord, of water into wine, (which was his first miracle,) was a prelude to another more miraculous change which he made at his last supper, and will continue to make by his ministers, even to the end of the world, of bread and wine into his own body and blood. With this wonderful miracle, he daily honours the wedding feast of his own espousals with our souls, in order to communicate himself to his spouses, and to unite them to himself. And by the means of this communication of himself to us he operates another no less wonderful change in us, by which he changes us in a manner into himself. The corporeal food we take, is by the means of our natural heat daily changed into our flesh and blood; but this spiritual food, like the fire which changes all things into itself is not changed into our substance, but changes and transforms our souls, as it were, into its own nature, to make them one with this bread of life; here by grace, hereafter by glory. O miraculous change! O blessed conversion!

Conclude to be ever thankful for all the wonders which the Son of God has wrought, and continues daily to work for thee; but particularly join with the Church at this time of Epiphany, in celebrating with love and gratitude, those three miracles, which were the forerunners of, and introductions to all thy good: thy vocation to the true faith, thy being regenerate in Christ by baptism, and admitted to his heavenly feast in the blessed Eucharist, in which thou art incorporated with him. O who can ever sufficiently love him and praise him for these great wonders of his love to us!

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Admin

Administrator
16th Jan

1641


On the necessity of consideration

Consider first, and take a view of the whole Christian world, and see how much Satan and sin everywhere reign. See how many thousands in every nation, of all degree and conditions, pass their lives in mortal sin, with little or no concern, or apprehension either of death, judgment, or hell: see how they indulge their passions, and prefer every empty toy, mere bubbles, before their immortal souls, before their God, and a happy eternity: see how numbers of them even live without God, and in a total forgetfulness of him: then see how hell opens wide its jaws, and daily swallows down thousands of them; cut off, alas in the midst of their sins, when they least expected it, and hurried away in a moment from their short-lived, empty, and deceitful satisfactions, to dreadful and everlasting torments. And whence proceeds all this dismal scene of evils, but from the want of consideration. 'With desolation is all the earth made desolate,' saith the prophet, 'because there is none that considereth in the heart,' Jerem. xii. 11.

Consider 2ndly, the great truths which the Christian faith teaches. That there is a God infinitely good, whose eye is always upon us; a God infinitely good and infinitely just, and who hates wilful sin with an infinite hatred; a God who is our first beginning and our last end, our Creator and Redeemer, to whom we belong by all kind of titles; who made us for himself, and sent us hither upon no other errand, and for no other business, but to love and serve him in this world, and to be eternally happy with him in the next: that there is another life hereafter, in comparison with which the present is but a moment; that death will quickly separate us from all these visible things, and send us into another region, where all that worldlings have set a judgment to come; and that there is a heaven and a hell. all these are articles of the Christian faith, and all most certainly true, and in themselves very moving. and do all Christians believe these truths? They must believe them, or they are no Christians. But how, then, is it possible they should live as the generality do? How is it possible that such as believe all these things should live on in sin and walk in the broad road that leads to hell? O! tis for want of consideration? 'Tis because they don't think.

Consider 3rdly, that the great difference between the good and bad Christian is, that the one thinks well on the truths he believes, and by that means lets them sink deep into his soul, and take root there, so that they bring forth in him the fruits of all virtues: whereas the other does not think, and therefore is little or nothing affected with the truths of the gospel; they make no impression upon him, because his faith is asleep, or rather dead, for want of consideration. O what wonderful effects have we often seen produced in the world by consideration? How many, even of the greatest sinners, have been reclaimed by it, and drawn back from the very jaws of hell? How many has it sent out of the midst of Babylon, to seek their God in solitude, and to consecrate their lives to him? O! that men would but think! What a reformation should we see in the world! O 'tis thinking is the true way to heaven; and not thinking, the high road to hell!

Conclude to allow thyself daily some time to meditate upon some or other of the great truths that relate to God and eternity. 'Tis one of the best means thou hast to secure thy soul. They that will not think of these things now, will infallibly think on them hereafter, when their thinking will only serve to increase their eternal misery.

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Admin

Administrator
17th Jan
1650


On the consideration of God

Consider first, that we cannot be saved without the knowledge of God, and such a knowledge as may effectually influence our lives, and command both our love and obedience. Now we can neither know God, nor love him as we ought, without the help of consideration. 'Tis consideration that discovers to us his infinite beauty and perfection, and the many pressing motives we have to dedicate ourselves wholly to his love and service. 'Tis consideration that discovers to us his infinite beauty and perfection, and the many pressing motives we have to dedicate ourselves wholly to his love and service. 'Tis consideration sets before our eyes his eternal love, and all his benefits to us, and convinces us that he is both infinitely charming and lovely in himself, and infinitely good to us. Without consideration, we know these things, as if we knew them not; we have eyes and see not. But when these truths are duly weighed and considered by the soul, 'tis then the light of the knowledge of God begins to dispel our darkness: and in our meditation the fire of his love breaks forth into flames, which sweetly carry up the soul towards their heavenly element, which is with God, and hinders her from ever forgetting him.

Consider 2ndly, how large a field we have in God for our meditation, whether we consider him as he is in himself, and in his own divine attributes, or with relation to what he is to us, and the titles he has been pleased to assume in our regard. He is in himself eternal, that is, without beginning, without end, without change, self-existent, independent; he is Being itself; he alone properly is; 'I am who am,' says he, Exod. iii., all other things are just nothing at all; they have no being but from him and in him: he is the being of all beings. He is immense and incomprehensible, and every way infinite; he fills heaven and earth, creating, preserving, moving, ruling, supporting all things. He is infinitely wise, infinitely powerful, infinitely good, infinitely just, infinitely merciful; he is beauty itself, truth itself, and all perfection. See, my soul, what an immense field we have here for our consideration! It has no end. Here is more than enough to employ us for all eternity; in this vast ocean of the infinite perfections of the deity, the blessed themselves can find no bottom. Here they are happily lost in the contemplation of him, who, though he discovers himself to them face to face, and fills their soul with heavenly pleasure, remains nevertheless incomprehensible even to the highest Angels, because he is every way infinite.

Consider 3rdly, that there still remains an ample field for meditation to help us to acquire the knowledge and love of God, in the manifold considerations of what God is in our regard, and how good he is to us. He is our sovereign good; he alone can satisfy our souls. He has loved us first; he is our ancient lover; he is our eternal lover; his thought and heart are always upon us. He is a disinterested lover, a most faithful and most constant lover, whose love never forsakes them that do not first forsake his love. He is our Maker and our Redeemer; the best of fathers, the best of friends, the spouse of our souls. He ever desires to come and dwell with us and in us, and to impart all his heavenly treasures to us; in a word, to give himself to us, and to take us to himself. And are not here sufficient motives to oblige us to love this great and good God, infinitely good in himself, and infinitely good to us? Is it possible that a generous heart, made through love and for love, should hold out against such pressing considerations as these, so far as to refuse a return of love? O divine love! 'tis only because thou art so little known, that thou art so little loved. O 'tis consideration, then, is both the true way to know thee, and the true way to love thee!

Conclude ever to seek by daily considerations, and to cherish in thy soul, this saving and savoury knowledge of God, as the source of divine love and of all thy good. and remember that a deluge of all evils will come pouring upon the soul, where this knowledge of God is wanting. Osee iv. 1, 2.

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Admin

Administrator
Jan. 18th
1647


On the consideration of the Law of God

Consider first, that in order to our salvation, we must also have a right knowledge of the holy law and commandments of God: we must know all the precepts and maxims of the gospel of Jesus Christ; and we must know them in such a manner as to be practically convinced of the beauty of this divine law, of the equity of these commandments, of the excellence of these heavenly precepts, of the truth of these gospel maxims; that so we may heartily embrace them, love them, and keep them. Now this infers a necessity of a serious and frequent meditation on God's holy law, without which we shall not even know, as we ought, the duties and obligations of a Christian life; much less shall we have a due esteem and love for these divine statutes and ordinances which our great King has made to be for us the way to true life. O! 'blessed is the man, whose will is in the law of the Lord, and who shall meditate on it day and night. And he shall be like a tree which is planted near the running waters, which shall bring forth its fruit in due season: and his leaf shall not fall off: and all whatsoever he shall do shall prosper.' Psa. i. O happy meditation, which is the source of so much good! Unhappy they who seldom think of this divine law, and therefore neither love it, nor keep it.

Consider 2ndly, that even under the Old Testament, God requires of his people, that they should continually meditate on his divine commandments, Deut. vi. 6, &c. 'These words which I command thee this day shall be in thy heart: and thou shalt tell them to thy children, and thou shalt meditate upon them, sitting in thy house, and walking upon thy journey, lying down to bed, and rising up. and thou shalt bind them as a sign on thy hand, and they shall be, and shall move, between thy eyes. And thou shalt write them in the entry, and on the doors of thy house.' Now if under the old law (when so great perfection was not expected of the faithful as now) God was pleased to require this close application of the soul to the meditating on his divine precepts, how much more does he now expect it from us, under the new covenant of grace and love, in which he delivers his commandments to us, not graven on tables of stone, but on the tables of the heart; not to be laid up in the ark, or deposited in an earthly sanctuary, but to be laid up within us in the true sanctuary of God in our souls? Christians, this is our glory and our wisdom; this is our happiness above all other people, to have the divine law written in our hearts; to keep it there by love and affection, and to read it there by attention and meditation, lest otherwise we lose so great a treasure.

Consider 3rdly, what were the sentiments of the Royal Prophet with regard to the law and commandments of God, and the duty of meditating continually upon them. he has abundantly declared them in the 118th Psalm, (alias 119th,) where there is scarce one verse in which the beauty and excellence of the divine law, the love and observance of it, the great happiness of keeping it, and the many advantages of meditating upon it, are not strongly inculcated. For which reason the Church, in her canonical hours of prayer, appoints this Psalm for the daily devotion of her children, in order to inspire into them the like sentiments, with relation to the holy law and commandments of God, and to oblige them daily to meditate upon these divine ordinances. Christians, can any thing else be of so great importance to you as to study well the true way to a happy eternity? Can any other science deserve your attention in comparison with this? Is not your all here at stake? And what other way is there to secure to your souls a happy eternity, but the knowing and keeping the law and commandments of God? 'Tis this then calls for your study and attention by daily considerations and meditations.

Conclude to turn henceforward your thoughts from vain and curious searches into things little or nothing to your purpose, to the daily considering on what God requires of you by his holy law; what your duty is to him; and what his will is in your regard. The studying this is our great business. O how little will all other sciences avail, if this be neglected.

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Admin

Administrator
19th Jan
1654


On the consideration of ourselves

Consider first, that besides the obligation we are under of daily consideration, in order to know God and our duty to him, there is another branch of necessary knowledge, which also calls for our serious attention and meditation; and this is the knowledge of ourselves. 'This is the highest and most profitable lesson,' says the devout a Kempis, 'truly to know, and to despise ourselves.' The knowledge of ourselves is the foundation of true humility, which is the virtue that teaches us to despise ourselves; and humility is the foundation of all other virtues; they have all a necessary dependence upon it. So that the knowledge of ourselves is, in effect, the foundation of all virtues. Now this knowledge of ourselves is not to be acquired without frequent and serious consideration. For to know ourselves aright, we must consider attentively our origin and extraction; what we have hitherto been; what we are now at present; and what we shall be by-and-by: and such considerations as these will open our eyes and will convince us, what poor wretches we are, and how little reason we have to be proud; and, on the contrary, how many urgent reasons we have to despise ourselves, and to be thoroughly humble.

Consider therefore, 2ndly, your extraction; as to your body, out of dirt and corruption; as to your soul, out of nothing; and that whatsoever you have, either as to body or soul, above mere nothing, is not of your own growth, but the property of your Maker. Reflect that you no sooner came into being but you were defiled with sin, and were children of wrath; that your whole life has hitherto been one continued course of sin and ingratitude. And ah! how often have you fallen into the worst of evils, that bottomless pit of mortal sin? And what a dreadful figure did you then make in the sight of God and his holy Angels? What confusion, what horror, what an eternal damnation was then your due! And is not this still your case at this day? And what title have you then to any regard, either from God or man? What claim to any benefit or service from any of God's creatures? or what just complaint can you make, if all the world should abhor you as a traitor to God, a slave to the devil, and a victim of hell; and all creatures should join together against you, to revenge upon you the cause of their Creator? Reflect also on the many miseries you daily lie under; the small light there is in you for the discerning true good from that which is only so in appearance; the strength of your passions and self-love; your perpetual repugnance to the taking true pains for acquiring real goods, and the violent bent of your inclinations to evil. And then consider how soon death will be with you, and send your bodies to the worms, and your souls to the bar of divine justice, under a dreadful uncertainty as to your eternal lot. And see if, in the consideration of these things, you will not find matter enough to cure your pride, and to bring you to a true sense of your manifold misery and corruption; that so you may learn entirely to distrust yourselves, to be ever humble, and to place your whole confidence in God.

Consider 3rdly, the other great advantages which the soul acquires by often entering into herself, by the means of serious consideration, and taking an impartial view of the whole state of her own interior. Here she discovers her spiritual maladies, (to which before she was a stranger,) and she is enabled by this discovery to seek and to apply proper remedies to all her evils. Here she finds out the secret ambushes of her enemies, especially those more subtle ones of pride and self-love, which are continually seeking to impose upon her and deceive her. Here she learns to discern between the different motions of nature and grace, to watch over her own heart, to regulate its affections and inclinations, to guard against her passions, and to order her whole interior in such a manner, as to be agreeable to him who desires to make it his everlasting temple. O how happy is it for the soul thus to know herself! Ah! what will it avail a man to know all things else, if he be a stranger to himself!

Conclude to make the knowledge of thyself one of thy principal studies for the future. The Saints have always considered the knowledge of God, and the knowledge of themselves, as the most necessary of all the sciences. O study well, by means of daily meditation, this science of the Saints in both its parts. Daily pray with St Augustine, noverim te, noverim me. Lord, give me grace to know thee. Lord, give me grace to know myself.

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Admin

Administrator
20th January

1656


On our first beginning

Consider first, my soul, that not very long ago thou hadst no being at all, nor any share in the transactions of the world; thou was not even so much as thought of by any creature upon earth. In this low abyss of nothing thou hadst been ingulphed from all eternity; and there of thyself thou must have remained to all eternity, infinitely beneath the condition even of the meanest insect, or the most inconsiderable of all God's creatures; so that whatsoever thou hast at present above this mere nothing is no acquisition of thy own, nor any property of thine, but the pure gift of thy Maker. Down, then, with all self-conceit and presumption; down with all vain-glory; acknowledge thy true original, thy original nothing; sit always down in the lowest place; ascribe nothing to thyself as of thy own growth, but thy manifold sins; give the whole glory of all the rest to thy Maker.

Consider 2ndly, who it was that drew thee out of the deep abyss of nothing into this being which thou now enjoyest; who gave thee this power of thinking, this conscious life, this will, this memory, this understanding; who made for thee this soul and body. No other but he that made heaven and earth - even the eternal, immense, infinite Deity. and how came this great God to think of making thee? What did he see in thee that could move him to love thee, and to bestow this being upon thee? O! it was nothing but his own infinite goodness, for there could be nothing in thee worthy of his love: he stood in no need of thee; thou couldest do him no service. O! embrace, then with all the powers of thy soul, this infinite goodness of thy God. Give thy whole being to him who has given it all to thee. Dedicate thy whole self to his love and service, for time and eternity.

Consider 3rdly, that God made thee after his own image and likeness, that he might engage thee the more to love him. This image and likeness is in thy soul, which is a spiritual being; and in the spiritual powers of thy soul; in thy free will, which nothing controls, and which can be satisfied with nothing less than God; and in thy understanding which is capable of soaring above all things, visible and invisible, and reaching to the contemplation of God himself. O! let not, then, this noble spirit lie any longer groveling in the mire of the earth! Let not this will, that was made to be a queen, be a slave to flesh and blood. Let not this understanding, this mind, this thought, that should contemplate heavenly truths, be bowed down to empty earthy toys.

Conclude to be ever mindful of thy own nothingness, and that thou hast received all thou hast from the pure bounty of God. The sense and remembrance of this truth will teach thee always to despise thyself, and to love thy Maker with all thy strength.

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Admin

Administrator
21st Jan
1658



On our last end


Consider first, my soul, why thou camest hither - what is thy business in this mortal life - for what end has God made thee - upon what errand has he sent thee hither. This should have been the subject of thy meditation from thy first coming to the use of reason: and hast thou ever yet seriously thought of it? Thou canst not here plead ignorance, for one of the first things thou wast taught was, that thou wast made for God, and that the business for which thou camest into the world was to know him, love him, and serve him here, and so to come to enjoy him hereafter in a happy eternity. O how noble, how glorious, how blessed is this end for which thou wast made! O how good is thy God, who has made thee for himself, and for heaven; and even from all eternity has designed this happiness for thee!

Consider 2ndly, that, properly speaking, thou hast but one thing to do in this mortal life; and that is no other than to answer this end for which thou wast made, by dedicating thyself, in a good earnest, to the love and service of thy Maker. This is that 'one thing necessary,' Luke x 42. If thou apply thyself seriously to this great business, all is well; if thou neglect this, all will be lost, whatever success thou mayest meet with in any thing else. O! 'what will it avail a man to gain the whole world if he lose his own soul;' and with his soul lose his God and a happy eternity? O let all other business, then, be subordinate to this; let all that no way conduces to this be despised as vain and unprofitable; let all that is opposite to this be avoided, rejected, and abhorred, as hurtful and pernicious. O how true is it, 'vanity of vanities, and all is vanity,' besides the loving God, and serving him alone. Kempis.

Consider 3rdly, the great blindness and misery of worldlings who live in a continual neglect and forgetfulness of this their only business; whose pursuits are after mere vanities; who weary themselves like children, in running after butterflies; in catching at bubbles and empty shadows, such as vain honours, false riches, and deceitful pleasures that last but one moment; and for these they forfeit God and eternity. And has not this, O my soul, been hitherto thy own case? O be confounded at the thought of thy having been so strangely senseless and so very wretched. Detest the errors of thy past life; and now at least resolve to mind thy true and only business, and to turn to thy God with all thy heart.

Conclude, since God is both thy first beginning and thy last end - since thou art made by him and for him, and all thy powers, senses, and faculties are designed to bring thee to him - to employ them all henceforward in serving and glorifying him: thus only shalt thou find true comfort here, and heaven hereafter.

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Admin

Administrator
22nd Jan



1660


On the titles God has to our service


Consider first, that we belong to God by all manner of titles and therefore cannot, without the most crying injustice, alienate any part of our being from him, or refuse to employ our whole lives in his divine service. We are his by creation, because he made us, and made us for himself; and therefore has given us a soul, capable of knowing, loving and enjoying him, and not able to find any true rest or satisfaction but in him. Our whole being is from him; our whole soul and body, with all our powers, senses, and faculties, belong to him; all whatsoever we possess, interiorly or exteriorly, is all his. And as the fund is his, so the whole produce ought to be his. All we are absolutely and entirely his property, and all our time, and all our talents, are but lent us by him; so we are indispensably obliged to dedicate all our hours, all our thoughts, words, and actions to him. and have we ever rightly considered this obligation? We belong to God in like manner, by the title of conservation, by which he preserves and maintains every moment the being he has given us, otherwise we should presently return again to our ancient nothing. So that as in every moment we have an obligation to him for our continuance in being what we are, so every moment we are obliged to be his.

Consider 2ndly, that we belong also to God, and that in a very particular manner, by our redemption; by which the Son of God has purchased us for himself and for his Father, with his own most precious blood. For we had sold ourselves to Satan; we were become his slaves; we had no longer any share in God, or title to him; we were rebels and traitors to him by sin; and as such we stood condemned to death and to hell. But, behold, the Son of God, out of pure love and compassion, comes down form heaven to redeem us; he pays himself the price of our ransom - a great price indeed, even the last drop of his most sacred blood - to deliver us from Satan, sin, and hell; to reconcile us to his father; and to purchase mercy, grace, and salvation for us. So that now by virtue of this redemption he claims us as his own property, and it would be a sacrilegious robbery to pretend to alienate again from him these souls of ours, which he has purchased for himself with his own blood: it would be even, in the language of the apostle, 'treading under foot the Son of God, and esteeming the blood of the covenant unclean, with which we are sanctified.' Heb x. 29.

Consider 3rdly, that we belong also to God, by solemn vows and covenants, and by the dedication by which we were happily and holily dedicated and consecrated to him in our baptism and confirmation, and sanctified to be his temples for ever. Now all those things that are once solemnly consecrated to God; and more especially such as are made the temples of the living God, must be always his; and it would be a most grievous sacrilege to pervert them from his service to profane uses; and therefore it would be highly criminal in us to pervert those souls of ours from the love and service of their God, to whom they have been thus solemnly dedicated, and to profane and defile them by wilful sin. We belong to him also in quality of our King, our Father, our Lord and Master, the great sovereign of the whole universe, the being of all beings, &c.; and upon all those, and many more titles, his Divine Majesty challenges our love and service as his undoubted right. O let us never be so miserable as to refuse him what he so justly claims; let us look upon it as our greatest happiness, that we belong entirely to him.

Conclude to render faithfully to God, what upon so many titles belongs to him, by giving your whole selves to him, and employing henceforward both your soul and body in executing all his will.

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Admin

Administrator
23rd Jan
1661


On the happiness of serving God

Consider first, those words of the prophet, Isaias iii.10, 'Say to the just man, it is well,' and reflect on the many advantages which this short word well comprises, and ensures to the just both for time and eternity. Honours, riches, and pleasures, are the things on which the world sets the greatest value; but they are not to be found where the world seeks them, but only in the service of God. It is indeed a greater honour to be a servant of God, than to be the emperor of all the earth. What then must it be to be his friend and favourite, to be his spouse, to be his child, to be his temple? Can any worldly honours be compared with these? O how glorious a dignity it is to be heir apparent to a heavenly and eternal kingdom! O how happy, in the mean time, during our mortal pilgrimage, to walk and converse with God; to be as familiar as one pleases with this great King; to have an admittance into his closet whenever we will; to have an assurance from him of a favourable audience, and of obtaining all our requests. how truly honourable is it to have one's name enrolled in the book of Life; one's character established, not in the mean village of this world, (which nevertheless cannot help admiring and esteeming true virtue,) but in the great city of God, the heavenly Jerusalem. O my soul, let such honours as these be the only objects of thy ambition.

Consider 2ndly, how rich the just man is; not always indeed in those worldly possessions, which every accident may take away, and which can never satisfy the heart; but in treasures infinitely more valuable, of virtue, grace, and merit, which all the money in the world is not sufficient to purchase, and which make the soul rich for eternity. But the servants of God have still a greater treasure than this, viz., God himself; whom the whole world cannot take from them, as long as they take care not to drive him away by wilful sin. 'He is their protector; and their reward exceeding great.' Gen xv. He is always with them; he is a tender father to them; the eye of his special providence is ever upon them; his Angels encamp about them, to defend them and deliver them from evil. In a word, God is all things to them that fear and love him; so that even as to the goods of the world he never forsakes those that do not first forsake him. O my soul, see thou seek no other treasure but him; he will make thee rich indeed: fear no loss but the losing of him. If thou hast him nothing can make thee miserable; but without him nothing can make thee happy.

Consider 3rdly, the solid pleasures that attend a virtuous life; such as the satisfaction, peace, and joy of a good conscience; the sense that holy souls have of God's goodness and love for them; the experience they have of his sweetness, in their recollection and prayer; the consolations of the Holy Ghost, and the ravishing delights they often find in God, as a certain foretaste of the joys of heaven; the comfortable prospect of a happy eternity, after their short mortal pilgrimage; and above all, their love of God, and a blessed conformity to his will in all things, which sweeten even the greatest crosses. Such pleasures as these are far beyond all that worldlings can pretend to - pleasures pure and spiritual, which have supported, and even given an inexpressible joy to the martyrs, under the worst of their torments; which, for other saints, have sweetened all their labours and penitential austerities; and made them think whole nights too short, when spent with God in prayer. O! how great then is that error, how pernicious is that deceit, by which Satan persuades the children of this world, that there are no pleasures in a virtuous life; whereas indeed there is no true pleasure anywhere else.

Conclude, since the whole happiness, in time as well as eternity, depends entirely upon loving and serving God, to set out from this hour in quest of this happiness, by entering upon the beautiful path of virtue, which alone can bring thee to it.

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Admin

Administrator
24th Jan
1663


On the vanity of all those things, that keep worldlings from the service of God.

Consider first, how truly vain all those things are which poor deluded worldlings prefer before their God - empty bubbles, mere toys and trifles, false appearances, deceitful baits, laid by the enemy to catch their souls; gilded pills, that conceal a deadly poison; deluding dreams and airy phantoms, that will all vanish away in a moment, and leave both their hands, and their hearts empty; and then, the scene will change, and their fool's paradise of an imaginary happiness, shall turn to real, dreadful, and everlasting evils. 'O ye children of men, how long will ye be in love with vanity?' how long will you run after mere lies, and deceit? Reflect upon those that have gone before you; upon those that have enjoyed the most of what this world could afford of honours, riches, and pleasures; and tell me what judgment you think they make of them now. O they will certainly cry out with Solomon, (Eccles. ii. 11,) that in all these things they found nothing but 'vanity and vexation of spirit.' They will loudly condemn their own past folly and madness, in having set their hearts upon such toys, to the loss of God, and their souls.

Consider 2ndly, and take a nearer view of these worldly idols, these phantoms of honours, riches and pleasures; and see with what toil they are acquired, with what care and fears they are possessed, and how easily they are lost; what great evils they are exposed to; what a slavery they bring along with them; how short and how inconstant they are; how false and deceitful; how often embittered with gall; how mean, and unworthy the affections of a Christian; how far beneath the dignity of an immortal soul, made for nothing less than God; and how incapable of giving any solid content or satisfaction to a heart that can never rest but in its Maker. O how truly miserable then are all these children of Babylon, who are enslaved to things so base, so vile, so filthy! How wretched is that life that is all spent in this manner, in weaving cobwebs, in running after butterflies, in catching at shadows; in squandering away those precious hours that were given to secure to the soul a happy eternity; in impertinent amusements, in idle, foolish, and often sinful conversation; in dressing out, or pampering a carcass, that must quickly be the food of worms; in public haunts, in hanging over a pack of cards, in reading love tales and romances, and such like empty fooleries. Surely such a life as this must be most irksome and tedious, void of all true content, joy, peace, or comfort here, and of all prospect of happiness hereafter.

Consider 3rdly, how this folly and misery of worldlings is described by the prophet Isaia, ch. lix., where he tells them that they put their trust in that which is a mere nothing, that they speak vanities; that is, that their whole discourse and conversation is empty, foolish, and nothing to the purpose; that they conceive labour, and bring forth iniquity; that they are sitting day and night upon the eggs of asps, (most poisonous serpents,) which if they eat, will bring present death, and if they hatch, will turn out serpents, and destroy them; that all their works are but spending their bowels in weaving spiders' webs, which can never clothe them - unprofitable works, fit for nothing but to catch flies; that their thoughts and devices are all vain and unprofitable, and that their ways lead to destruction; that their paths are crooked, and that there is no judgment in their steps; and that whosoever treaded in them, knoweth no peace. O see how pathetically the Holy Spirit has here described the pains and labours poor worldling take in their pursuit of lying madnesses, which bring all kind of evils and death to their souls, without any manner of real profit or pleasure, and learn thou to be more wise than to walk in their footsteps.

Conclude never to imitate this wretched choice of blind mortals, who turn away from God to follow cheating vanities; but to despise from thy heart all those childish toys, and to turn to the charming paths of wisdom, virtue, and truth.

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Admin

Administrator
25th Jan

1664


On the conversion of St. Paul

Consider first, and admire the wonders of the grace of God in the conversion of St. Paul, suddenly changed from a fiery zealot for the Jewish religion, and bloody persecutor of the Church of Christ, to be a fervent Christian, a zealous preacher of the gospel, a vessel of election, to carry the name of Christ to nations and kings; a doctor of the Gentiles, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, and a most eminent Saint. Learn from hence the greatness of God's mercy, and the power of his grace; learn never to despair of the conversion of any one, how remote soever he may seem from the faith or grace of God. Who could be more remote than the convert of this day? Assure thyself that the hand of God is not shortened, and that his power, mercy, and goodness, is as great now as ever; and therefore never cease to pray to God for the conversion of infidels and sinners. 'Tis likely the conversion of St. Paul is in a great measure owing to the prayers of St. Stephen. Join with the church on this day, in glorifying God and returning him thanks, through Jesus Christ, for the wonders of his mercy and grace in St. Paul, and the many thousands that were brought, through his preaching, to the ways of truth and life.

Consider 2ndly, that the conversion of St. Paul is, by the Church, set before our eyes this day as a model of a perfect conversion, from which sinners may learn, 1. How readily they ought to correspond with the calls and grace of God, inviting them home; 2. How they ought to yield themselves up entirely to him; and 3. What their lives ought afterwards to be, in consequence of that distinguishing mercy which God has shown them in their conversion. Paul was no sooner called by the voice of Jesus Christ, but he presently obeyed the call and yielded himself up to be his for ever. The prayer he then made was short in words, but very expressive of the perfect disposition of the soul in this regard, and of the sacrifice he desired to make of himself without the least reserve, to the holy will of him who called him. 'Lord,' said he, 'what wilt thou have me to do?' As much as to say 'My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready; here I am prostrate at thy feet, desirous only to know, and to do thy will; send me where thou pleasest, ordain concerning me what thou pleasest: I desire to be thine in life and death; I desire to have no exceptions at all to thy blessed will.' See also how, being sent into the city, where he was to learn of Ananias the will of God, and to receive from him the sacrament of regeneration, for the washing away his sins, he there continues for three whole days, neither eating nor drinking, but wholly employed in prayer. O this was showing himself to be a convert indeed; this was being quite in earnest in preparing himself for his baptism; this was laying a solid foundation for a new life. O that all penitents would set this great example before their eyes, when they pretend to make their peace with God; and would, like Paul, prepare themselves by fervent and long continued prayers joined with the exercises of mortification and penance! Thus we should see other sort of conversions than we commonly meet with now-a-days.

Consider 3rdly,
the sentiments of St. Paul, with regard to the life he looked upon himself as obliged to lead, in consequence of the mercy God had showed to him in his conversion. He had ever before his eyes the greatness of his mercy; he considered himself as having been, to his thinking, the greatest of all sinners, and how God had spared him all the while he went on in his sins, and without any merit on his part, had by an evident miracle, wrought, in an instant, the total change in him; and therefore he was convinced, as he both declared in his words, and showed forth in his practice, that he could do no less than devote his whole life to the love and service of his Saviour, to testify his gratitude for the love he had showed to him. This consideration carried him through all his labours and afflictions, and animated him to meet death in all its shapes; (for he was dying daily as he tells us,) because Christ had loved him, and died for him, and therefore the love of Christ pressed him that he might live no longer to himself, but to him who had showed him mercy. O that all converts would have the like sentiments.

Conclude to learn to practice the lessons which St. Paul teaches you in his conversion, and in particular to have a great esteem of the grace of reconciliation, and of that unspeakable mercy and love which God has shown you in receiving you again, after you had fallen from him by sin. Learn also from him to testify your gratitude, by dedicating yourself henceforward in good earnest, to the love and service of him who has done such great things for you.

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Admin

Administrator
26th Jan

1669


On the evil of mortal sin

Consider first, the enormous malice of mortal sin, inasmuch as it is infinitely opposite to the infinite goodness of God, and thou wilt find it to be a bottomless pit, which no created understanding can fathom. As none but God himself can fully comprehend his own infinite goodness, so none but God himself can perfectly comprehend the infinity enormity that is found in this opposite evil. And as God essentially loves his own goodness with an infinite love, and cannot cease to love it, no more than he can cease to be God - so he essentially hates mortal sin with an infinite hatred, and cannot cease to hate it, wherever he sees it. And didst thou think, my soul, that thou wast committing so wicked, so dreadful, so abominable an evil, when first thou rebelled against thy God by mortal sin? O how couldst thou dare so often to repeat this enormous treason? or how couldst thou endure to carry about with thee, for so long a time, so odious, so hideous a monster? O how much art thou indebted to the boundless mercies of thy God, and to the precious blood of his Son, that he has tolerated thee so long, and not cast thee long ago into hell!!

Consider 2ndly, that there is not upon earth, no nor in hell itself, a greater evil than mortal sin: 'tis without any comparison, the greatest of all evils; it is the parent both of the devil and of hell, for hell was only made for mortal sin, and the devil was an angel, till he was transformed into a devil by mortal sin. So that in truth, mortal sin is a monster more hideous than hell; more filthy and abominable than the devil himself. This dreadful evil, which the damned see and feel for all eternity in the midst of their souls, torments them more than all the devils; 'tis this that oppresses them with its everlasting weight; 'tis this that feeds the ever-gnawing worm of their guilty conscience; this is the fuel of that fire that never is extinguished; 'tis this that eternally possesses their souls, and both keeps God eternally from them, and them eternally from God. O that sinners had but a just notion of this dreadful evil here! It would effectually keep them from feeling its enormous weight hereafter. If they did but sufficiently apprehend what they are going to do when they offer to commit a mortal sin, they would choose a thousand deaths before so great an evil.

Consider 3rdly, that what makes sin the greatest of all evils, is because it strikes at God himself. It is a rebellion, 'tis high treason against him. Satan, the first sinner, proudly sought to place himself on the throne of God; and all who unhappily follow the example of that arch-rebel, by consenting to mortal sin, are in some measure guilty of the like perversity, inasmuch as they turn away form God, as he did, affecting in the like manner, an independence of God, and impiously prefer their own will, and the gratifying their own inclinations and passions, before his holy will and his divine ordinances. Thus they renounce their allegiance to him, and disclaim his authority and sovereignty over them, and refuse to be subject to his laws; they condemn his wisdom, they slight his justice, they refuse his mercy and goodness, and instead of seeking in the first place (as upon all accounts they are bound to do) the glory of their Maker's name, the propagation of his kingdom, and the fulfilling of his will, they set up that idol self in place of the living God! They seek their own worldly honour, interest, and pleasure, more than his; and to this unhappy idol of their own self-love, they sacrifice their soul and conscience, their God and all. And can there be any other evil comparable to this?

Conclude utterly to renounce, detest, and abhor, for the time to come, all mortal sin, and to fly it more than hell itself. And as to all thy past guilt in this kind, bewail it from thy heart as the greatest of all evils, and do penance for it all thy lifetime.

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Admin

Administrator
27th Jan
1675

On the manifold aggravations that are found in mortal sin

Consider first, that besides the bottomless depth of the malice of mortal sin, from its opposition to the infinite goodness of God, and the high treason it contains against his Divine Majesty, there are divers other enormities and most heinous aggravations in every mortal sin, that beyond measure extend and multiply its guilt. The first of these is the sinner's black ingratitude to God, which is a circumstance that violently aggravates the guilt of every sin he commits against his Maker and Redeemer, his ancient lover, his dearest friend, and perpetual benefactor; from whom he has received, and daily received, all that he has, and all that he is - and this out of pure love, without any desert on his part, and such a love as can suffer no comparison, since it has brought the lover down from heaven, to die for this very wretch that dares thus ungratefully to offend him, and to crucify him again by sin. I know not whether any of the devils in hell, if God had done so much for them, would ever have been so ungrateful as to offend him any more.

Consider 2ndly, the manifold injustice that is found in every mortal sin, in the violation of all the rights and titles that God has to us, and to our love and service; as he is our first beginning, and our last end, who made us, and made us for himself; as he is the very being of our beings, the great monarch of the whole creation, the Lord of us and of all things; as he has purchased us for himself, and marked us out for his own; and we, on our part, have been solemnly dedicated and consecrated to him, that we might be his both for time and eternity. The wretched sinner breaks through all these considerations; withdraws himself from his Maker, his Lord, and his Redeemer; villanously and sacrilegiously alienates from him, what upon all these titles, is strictly his, and makes all over to his mortal enemy and in exchange for some petty trifle, he sells to him both is soul and his God. and does not such an enormous injustice cry to heaven for vengeance? More especially in Christians, in whom it is joined with the aggravating circumstances of a profanation of the temple of God; and a notorious perfidiousness, by the violation of their solemn vows and engagements made to him.

Consider 3rdly, that in every mortal sin there is found in some measure the guilt of the breach of all the ten commandments according to that of St. James ii. 10, 'He that offends in one point is guilty of all.' Because, whosoever wilfully breaks through any part of the divine law by mortal sin, violates the first commandment by turning away from the true and living God, and refusing him the worship that is due to him; he is guilty of idolatry, by worshipping the creature, which is the object, or occasion of his sin, 'rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever.' Rom. i.25. He profanes the sacred name of God, and blasphemes him, if not in words, at least in facts, by treading his authority under foot. He violates the true and everlasting Sabbath of God's rest, by the servile work of sin, by which he makes himself a slave of Satan. He dishonours, in a most outrageous manner, the best of Fathers, is guilty of the murder of his own soul, and of the Son of God himself, whom he crucifies by sin. He is guilty of a spiritual adultery, by prostituting to Satan his soul, which has been espoused to Christ. He is guilty of theft, robbery, and sacrilege, as we have seen above, by taking away from God what belongs to him. He bears false witness in fact against the law of God, in favour of lies and deceit, for all sin is a lie. And, that nothing may be wanting to complete his wickedness, he is guilty of coveting what is not his, and what he has no right to and what the law of God restrains him from. So manifold is the guilt that is found in any one wilful sin.

Conclude to detest the ingratitude, injustice, perfidiousness, and all the other aggravations, that are found in mortal sin; and to make it thy continual prayer, that thou mayest rather die ten thousand deaths, than once incur this dreadful complication of all evils.

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Admin

Administrator
28th Jan

1677


On the presumption, folly, and madness of the wilful sinner


Consider first
, the desperate presumption of a worm of the earth, that dares to attack, by wilful sin, the Almighty Lord and Maker of heaven and earth, who holds the thread of his life in his hand, and can in that moment let him drop into hell. and what can the wretch expect from making war with God? with a God who is eternal, immense, and every way infinite; a God whose eye is ever upon all his ways, and who has an infinite hatred of mortal sin; a God without whom he can neither live, move, nor be! What then can he expect from making this God his enemy, but the loss of all manner of good, and the incurring of all misery both temporal and eternal. Alas! from the moment he engaged in this desperate war, the sword of God is drawn against him, and continually hangs over his guilty head, and the perils of death, judgment, and hell, encompass him on all sides. The captain himself, whom he follows in the warfare, is already damned, his fellow-soldiers are daily falling down the precipice, and crowding into hell; and what has he to hope for?

Consider 2ndly, the folly and madness that is found in every wilful sin; forasmuch as the wilful sinner, by his own act and deed, freely and deliberately parts with his God, an infinite good, and the source of all his good; gives up his title to heaven, together with all his treasures of virtue, grace, and merit, and sells his soul into the bargain, to be a slave to Satan here, and a victim of hell hereafter; and in exchange for all this, he purchases nothing but bubbles and shadows, that are unable to afford him one moment of solid content, that leave nothing behind them but uneasiness and remorse; and continually expose him to all kind of misery both for time and eternity. Is it possible to conceive a greater madness than this? Alas! it is exchanging heaven for hell, God for the devil, the supreme and infinite good for the very abyss of endless and infinite evils.

Consider 3rdly, the folly and madness of sinners in looking for any success in their ways, or blessing on their undertakings, whilst they oppose, by wilful sin, the holy will of God, and violate his divine law and commandments. All men have an inbred desire of their own well-being; this the sinner pretends to seek in the unhappy choice he makes, whenever he indulges himself in sin: but, alas! in vain does he seek it where 'tis not to be found. He seeks for happiness in the way that leads to all kind of misery; he seeks for honour in that, which is in itself most disgraceful, and which strips him of all true honour; he seeks an imaginary gain in that which brings with it the greater of all losses; he seeks for pleasure and meets with pain, discontent and uneasiness; he seeks for peace and joy, and finds nothing but disturbance and sorrow; he seeks for a false liberty, and falls into true slavery; he seeks for life, but all in vain, because he seeks it in the region of death. and can any thing be more extravagant and mad, than to seek for any good, whilst one wilfully turns one's back upon the source of all good? Alas! the soul here experiences to her cost, in the opposition and disappointments she meets with, in all her projects and all her pursuits, the truth of those menaces of God by the prophet Osee, ch. ii. 6, &c., 'I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and I will stop it up with a wall, and she shall not find her paths. And she shall follow after her lovers, and shall not overtake them, and she shall seek them, and shall not find them.' For 'tis even thus the poor sinner, in all he turns to, when he turns away from God, meets with a hedge of thorns in his way, which he cannot pass over, and runs after a shadow that flies away from him.

Conclude to be more wise, and to seek thy happiness where it is to be found, that is, in the love and service of God; if thou seek it any where else, thou shalt lose thy labour, and be in danger of losing thyself too, and of condemning thy folly and madness for a long eternity.

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Admin

Administrator
29th Jan

1680


On the dismal havoc sin has made in the world

Consider first, the havoc this monstrous evil of wilful sin, made in its first conception, in heaven itself, when one sin, consented to but in thought, changed in an instant millions of most beautiful Angels into ugly devils, cast them out of heaven, and condemned them eternally to hell. O dreadful poison, that can thus blast in a moment so many legions of heavenly spirits! O dreadful guilt, that can draw such dismal and irrevocable judgment from a God, (whose very nature is goodness, and who loves all his works,) upon his favourite creatures! and thou, my soul, that knowest this, how didst thou ever dare to sin, and how hath thy God been able to endure thee, under the guilt of so many treasons?

Consider 2ndly, the havoc sin has made upon earth, when this monster, banished from heaven, was entertained by our first parents, in the earthly paradise. Alas! in one moment it strips them and all their race of that original justice, innocence, and sanctity in which they were created, and of all the gifts of divine grace; it wounded them in all the powers of the soul; it gave them up to the tyranny of Satan; it cast them out of paradise, and condemned them both to a temporal and eternal death. In the meantime it let loose upon them a whole army of all manner of evils, both of soul and body, which are all of them the dismal consequences of sin, and has entailed upon all mankind an inexpressible weakness with regard to the doing of good, and a violent inclination to evil; which has filled the world with innumerable sins, and with innumerable most dreadful judgments, both upon individuals and upon whole nations, in punishment of sins.

Consider 3rdly, that sin, by infecting and corrupting so many of the principal creatures of God, has in some measure blasted the whole creation, and subjected the whole to many evils, which the apostle (Rom. viii. 20, 21,) calls 'the servitude of corruption;' as also vanity, inasmuch as by occasion of sin, they are also liable to a perpetual instability, and a variety of defects. Hence the whole creation, by a figure of speech, is said by the apostle to groan and be in labour, longing as it were for its deliverance, from its unhappy subjection to sin - 'into the liberty of the glory of the children of God;' which shall then be accomplished, when the reign of sin shall be utterly abolished; and the world being purged by the last fire, God shall make for his children 'new heavens, and a new earth, in which justice shall dwell,' 2 Pet. iii. 13. O when shall that happy hour come? When shall this hellish monster, sin, be for ever excluded from all other parts of the creation, and shut up in its proper place, never to come out to blast the world any more?

Conclude to abhor the evil that has made such dreadful havoc both in heaven and earth, and to spare no pains for the abolishing of it, both in thyself and in all others.

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Admin

Administrator
30th Jan

1684


On the dismal havoc sin makes in the soul of a Christian

Consider first, how strangely the soul is changed, that falls from the state of grace into mortal sin. The metamorphosis is not unlike to that of an Angel into a devil. A soul in grace is a child of God, a spouse of Jesus Christ, a temple of the holy Spirit. But in the moment she consents to a mortal sin, she forfeits all her honour and dignity, she becomes a slave of hell, a prostitute of Satan, a den of unclean spirits. A soul in grace is beautiful, like an Angel, and agreeable to the eyes of God and his Saints; but a soul in mortal sin is ugly like the devil, and most odious, filthy, and loathsome to her Maker, and all his heavenly court. A soul in grace is very rich, she is worth an eternal kingdom, she always carries her God with her, and is entitled to the eternal possession of him; but when she falls into mortal sin, she loses at once all her store of virtue and merit, she becomes wretchedly poor and miserable, and instead of possessing God, she is possessed by the devil.

Consider 2ndly, that sin gives a mortal wound to the soul - it is the death of the soul. For as it is the soul of man that gives life to the body, which when the soul is departed, is dead and becomes a lump of clay, without either sense or motion; so 'tis the grace of God that gives life to the soul; and that soul is dead, which by mortal sin has lost her God and drove away his grace from her. O dismal separation! O dreadful death indeed, which wants nothing but eternity to make it hell! Sinners, how can you endure yourselves under this wretched condition? If a dead carcass, from which the soul is gone, be so very loathsome and frightful, that few would endure to pass one night in the same bed with it, how can you bear to carry continually about with you, night and day, a filthy carcass of a soul dead in mortal sin, and quite putrified and corrupted by her sinful habits? Ah! open your eyes, now at least, to see your deplorable case, and to detest the monster, sin, the cause of all your misery. O run to him without any further delay, by humble prayer and repentance, who alone can raise the dead to life!

Consider 3rdly, how true that is in the Scripture, 'They that commit sin and iniquity are enemies to their own soul.' Tob. xii. 10. 'and he that loveth iniquity hateth his own soul.' Ps. x. 6. Since of all the evils that we can possibly incur, either here or hereafter, there is none comparable to the evil we bring upon ourselves by mortal sin; so, if all men upon earth, and all the devils in hell should conspire together, with a general license form God, to do all the mischief, and to inflict upon us all the torments they could invent, they would never do us half so much hurt as we do ourselves by one mortal sin. Because all that they can do, as long as we do not consent to sin, cannot hurt the soul; whereas we ourselves, by consenting to any one mortal sin, bring upon our own souls a dreadful death, both for time and eternity. Good God! never suffer us to be so wretchedly blind, as to become thus the wilful murderers of our own souls.

Conclude never more to join thyself with thy mortal enemies, the world, the flesh, or the devil, in waging war against thy own soul by wilful sin. But make it thy continual prayer to God, that he will never suffer thee at any rate to consent to so great an evil, though thou wert even to endure a thousand deaths for the refusal.

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Admin

Administrator
31st Jan

1686


On the judgments of God upon mortal sin


Consider first, that besides all the sad effects of mortal sin already mentioned, which are more than sufficient to demonstrate how heinous this worst of evils is in the sight of God, there still remains divers other convincing arguments of the hatred God bears to it, from the manifold judgments he has of old, and daily executes upon them who are guilty of it; and will continue to execute to the end of the world, and even to all eternity. Witness, of old, the judgment of the deluge, which in punishment of the general corruption of all flesh, swept off at once all the sinners of the earth, and hurried them down to hell. Witness the judgment of fire from heaven, on Sodom and the neighbouring cities; witness the many judgments on the rebel Israelites in the wilderness, particularly that remarkable one of the earth opening and swallowing up alive Kore, and his companions; and the fire from the Lord destroying in an instant fourteen thousand seven hundred of their abettors, Num. xvi. Witness, in every age of the world, millions that have been hurried away when they least expected it, by violent or untimely death in punishment of their crying sins; besides many instances of flourishing cities yea, and of whole nations too, destroyed by wars, pestilences, famines, earthquakes, &c., all brought upon them by their sins. O great God! who shall not fear thy almighty wrath, which always looks towards wilful sinners? Who shall not fear the dreadful evil of mortal sin, which thus provokes thy avenging justice.

Consider 2ndly, that though these visible judgments of God upon impenitent sinners, by which they are snatched away before their time by unprovided death, in the midst of their sins, be both very common, and very terrible; yet there is another kind of more secret judgments, which he daily executes upon thousands which is far more dreadful damnation. And that is, when in punishment of their abuse of grace and obstinacy in sin, he gives them up at length to a reprobate sense, and to a blindness and hardness of heart; so that they have now no more fear or thought of God or his judgments, or any concern at all for their souls, or for eternity. Now this is indeed the broad road to final impenitence, and is, in its consequences, the very worst of all God's judgments. It was thus he did by the Jews, according to the prediction of the royal prophet, Ps lxviii, 'Letting their eyes be darkened, that they should not see, and bowing down their back always - adding iniquity upon their iniquity,' &c., viz., by withdrawing his lights and his graces from them, and so giving them up to their own wicked inclinations; and thus he daily does with thousands of habitual sinners, in punishment of their slighting and resisting his repeated calls, Proverbs i. 24, &c., suffering them to go on in their wretched ways, and to add daily sin upon sin (without ever thinking of repentance), and consequently hell upon hell; which proves in the long run a far more dreadful judgment upon them than if, upon their first sin, the earth had opened and swallowed them down alive into hell.

Consider 3rdly, the judgments of God upon mortal sin, in the eternal duration of the torments of hell. O, sinners, go down, now whilst you are alive, into that bottomless pit and take a serious view of the rigour of God's justice there, of that worm that never dies, of that fire that never is extinguished, of that everlasting rage and despair, and of all that complication of the worst of evils that is to be found in that woeful dungeon, and then tell me what you think of the hatred God must bear to every mortal sin, when he, who is infinitely good and infinitely just, and cannot punish any one beyond what he richly deserves, condemns every soul that dies under any such guilt, to all this extremity of misery for all eternity. Surely the dismal prospect of this scene of woe must suffice to convince you of the enormity of mortal sin. But if anything be here wanting to full conviction, turn your eyes upon Jesus Christ the Son of God, and see how he was treated by the justice of his Father for our sins, which he had taken upon himself to expiate; see him agonizing in the garden, and sweating blood, under their enormous weight; see the multitude and variety of torments he endures for them, till his expiring upon a cruel and disgraceful cross; and how, notwithstanding the infinite dignity of his person, the divine justice would admit of nothing less than all these sufferings of his own Son for the expiation of any one mortal sin; and I am persuaded that the sight of a God, crucified for sin, must more effectually demonstrate to you the hatred God bears to this monstrous evil than the sight of hell itself, with all its dreadful and everlasting torments.

Conclude by giving thanks to God for having spared thee so long in thy sins, and resolving now to labour in earnest to avert, by a serious and speedy conversion, those judgments, which thou mayest have reason to apprehend are actually hanging over thy head for thy sins.

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Admin

Administrator
1st Feb


1688


On not making light of venial sins

Consider first, that although there be no manner of comparison between the guilt of a mortal sin and that of a venial sin, as there is no manner of comparison between a mote and a beam, Matt. vii. 3, yet the guilt even of the venial sin, considering that it is an offence to a God infinitely great and infinitely good, is so displeasing in his sight that no soul that is stained with it can ever be admitted into his presence till this guilt is purged away, and no man living can be allowed, by any power in heaven or on earth, to commit any one venial sin, no, not to save a kingdom, or even to save the whole world; because the offence to God is a greater evil than the loss of the whole world; and we are not to do anything that is evil to save the whole world. Christians, do you think of this when, upon every trifling apprehension of incurring the displeasure of man, you take refuge in a lie, which is sure to displease your God? Do you think of this when you go on with so little concern, indulging yourselves in vanity, curiosity, sensuality, loss of your precious time, anger, impatience, and other sinful habits, upon the notion that these are but venial sins, and therefore need not be regarded? Oh! you will find one day to your cost how much you have been deceived if you do not correct in time this dangerous and pernicious error.

Consider 2ndly, the danger to which the soul exposes herself when she makes light of venial sins; even the danger of the very worst of evils, that is, of mortals in, and of all its dreadful consequences, both for time and eternity: according to that of the wise man, Ecclus. xix., 'He that contemneth small things shall fall by little and little.' It is true, venial sin does not of itself immediately destroy, or drive away from the soul, the grace and love of God, and therefore does not of itself bring present death to the soul, as mortal sin does; but then it weakens and cools the fervour of divine love; it lessens devotion; it hinders the inspirations of the Holy Ghost from working effectually in the soul; it leaves the soul feeble and drowsy, sick and languishing; so that upon the coming of a greater temptation she easily yields, and quickly falls into mortal sin. and how can we expect it should be otherwise when we have so little regard for God, or his friendship and love, as not to care how much we displease him, provided we can but escape his avenging justice? Or how can the fire of the love of God be kept alive for any long time in the soul when, instead of being nourished with its proper fuel, it is continually losing ground by a diminution of its heat and strength?

Consider 3rdly, that this danger of falling quickly into mortals sin, by making little or no account of venial sins, is the greater because of the difficulty there often is in distinguishing between what is mortal sin and what is only venial; since even the best divines are often at a loss to find the limits between the one and the other. So that all such as are in the unhappy disposition of venturing, without scruple, as far as the utmost limit of venial sin can be extended, are daily exposed to an evident danger of slipping beyond the bounds, and falling into the pit of mortal sin; the more because of the manifold subtleties and deceits of self-love, which is ever ready to favour and to excuse the inclinations of corrupt nature, and in all such cases to make that appear slight which is really grievous; and the more so when persons give themselves up to a tepid, negligent life, as they generally do who make light of venial sins; for this negligence takes the soul off her guard, disarms her, and lays her interior open to the spiritual sins of pride, envy, and such like disorders, which are mortal sins, and which easily prevail over careless souls, and are seldom thoroughly cured.

Conclude with a sincere resolution of never wilfully, and with full deliberation, consenting to anyone known sin, how venial soever it may seem to be, and much more, of never indulging any habit or custom of any such sin. 'Tis hard to reconcile the indulging such habits as these with the great commandment of the love of God above all things; at least it cannot be expected that divine love should abide to dwell for any long time in a heart where God is so often slighted.

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2nd Feb.

1690


On Candlemas Day

O admirabile commercium: Creator generis humani, animatum corpus sumens, de Virgine nasci dignatus est.

Consider first, that on this day the blessed Virgin Mary, according to the rites prescribed by the ancient law, came to the temple of God to be purified after her child-bearing, and to make her offering according to what her poverty allowed, of a pair of turtle doves, or two young pigeon, the one for a whole burnt offering, the other as a sacrifice for sin - Lev. xii. Admire her ready obedience to a law in which in reality she was not concerned, being exempted by that singular privilege of hers of bringing forth her son without any detriment to her virginal purity. Admire her humility in being willing to pass for a person unclean, she that was more pure than the angels, and to be excluded for forty days from touching anything that was holy, or coming near the house of God, and to be cleansed by a sin-offering, as if she needed any such expiation. Admire her love of purity, which brought her on this day to the temple of God, to be there purified with these legal sacrifices, because she was desirous of omitting nothing, that could any ways contribute to increase or maintain purity. And learn to imitate these great virtues, viz., her ready obedience, her profound humility, and her great zeal and love of purity.

Consider 2ndly, that on this day, the blessed virgin made a rich present to God in his temple, infinitely surpassing all the offerings that had ever been made there before; when, according to the law of the first-born, Exod.xiii., she presented her Son, the first-born of the whole creation, by whom all things were made, both visible and invisible, to his eternal Father. Parents, learn to imitate this presentation, by making an offering of your children to God, by the hands of Mary, to be dedicated for ever to his love and service. Christians, learn to present him with your hearts, together with all their offspring, your thoughts, words, and deeds; learn to make an offering to him of your whole being, every day, and every hour of your life. But then you must not stop here, you must also present to him his Son Jesus Christ, and yourselves with him and through him, daily in the sacred mysteries, and hourly in the spiritual temple of your souls. The temple of God in Jerusalem was highly honoured on this day, by the presence of the Son of God, according to that prophecy of Aggeus ii., 'The desired of all nations shall come, and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of Hosts. great shall be the glory of this last house more than of the first, saith the Lord of Hosts, and in this place I will give peace, saith the Lord of Hosts.' My soul, art not thou ambitious of a share in this glory, peace, and happiness? Invite then this same Son of God, the desire of all nations, into thy inward house, and he will come and make thee the temple of his glory, and bring thee his true peace, which will make thee happy indeed.

Consider 3rdly, that on this day the venerable Simeon, who had received a promise from the Holy Ghost that he should see the Saviour of the world before he died, coming by divine instinct into the temple, whilst our Lord was present there, took him into his arms, and declared him to be the promised Messiah, the glory of Israel, and the light of all nations. At the same time that holy widow, Anna the prophetess, who for a great number of years had attended on the Lord in his temple by continual prayer and fasting, was also favoured with the like grace, and made the like public profession of her faith in our infant Saviour. This sacred meeting of so many persons of such eminent sanctity in the temple of God, in company with the Son of God and his blessed Mother, the Church celebrates in the procession of this day, which we make with lighted candles in our hands, which are solemnly blessed in the name of Christ, and received from the hand of God's priest as emblems of the light of Christ. See then, Christian souls, with what affection of devotion you ought to receive, and to bear in your hands, those hallowed candles, as figures of Christ. O learn, on this occasion, of holy Simeon, to seek Christ alone, to sigh after him alone, to aspire with your whole souls after his embraces, despising all things else, that you may find him. O remember that he is the true light of the world, in his life and doctrine; and determine from this time forward ever to follow him.

Conclude to study well all the lessons which are to be learned from the presentation of the Son of God and the purification of his blessed Mother, and to conform yourselves to them in the practice of your lives; that so being purified from all your sins, you may also be worthy to be one day presented to God, in the eternal temple of his glory.

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