Laudate Dominum

Picture of Christus Rex







January 1. On New Year's Day.
January 2. On Beginning a New Life with a New Year.
January 3. The Rules of a New Life.
January 4. What we must renounce by the Christian's Rule
January 5. On the Lives we are to lead by the Christian's Rule.
January 6. On the Epiphany.
January 7. The Wise Men's journey to Bethlehem.
January 8. On the Faith and Offerings of the Wise Men.
January 9. On the Offerings we must make by the Example of the Wise Men.
January 10. On the Gospel of the Sunday within the octave of the Epiphany.
January 11. On seeking Jesus when he has been lost by Sin.
January 12. What Jesus teaches in his Private Life.
January 13. On our Saviour's Baptism by St. John the Baptist.
January 14. On the sacred Name of Jesus.
January 15. On our Lord's changing water into wine.
January 16. On the necessity of Consideration.
January 17. On the Consideration of God.
January 18. On the Consideration of the Law of God.
January 19. On the consideration of Ourselves.
January 20. On our First Beginning.
January 21. On our Last End.
January 22. On the titles which God has to our service.
January 23. On the happiness of serving God.
January 24. On the vanity of worldly pursuits.
January 25. On the Conversion of St. Paul.
January 26. On Mortal Sin.
January 27. On the complicated guilt of each mortal sin.
January 28. On the folly and presumption of the wilful sinner.
January 29. On the dismal effects of sin.
January 30. On the dreadful effects of sin in the soul of a Christian.
January 31. On the judgments of God upon mortal sin.


On New Year's Day.

CONSIDER, first, that our infant Saviour, being now but eight days old, began already to shed his sacred blood in obedience to his Father's will, and subjected himself on this day to that most painful and most humbling ceremony of circumcision; as if he, like the rest of sinful mortals, had wanted any expiation. No, Christians! He came to discharge the immense debt contracted by our sins to his Father's justice, by shedding the last drop of his blood in expiation for them; and, lo! he has here given us an earnest of the payment, by submitting himself this day to the painful knife of circumcision.

Consider, secondly, Place before your eyes this divine infant, this beloved of your souls, "beautiful beyond the children of men," all imbrued in his own most sacred blood, and suffering for you, in that tender age, the cruel smart of a most sensible wound. Behold he now. gives for us these first-fruits of his blood, and will one day give all his blood, to rescue us from the destroying angel! Blessed be his divine charity forever!

Consider, thirdly, that it is the duty of all Christians to imitate our Lord's circumcision by a spiritual circumcising of the heart. This God often calls for in holy scripture, and always preferred before the carnal circumcision? It consists in cutting off or renouncing all disorderly affections to the world and vanity; to the vice of avarice, and the lusts of the flesh; that is, our sinful passions and depraved inclinations. Do you heartily embrace and "daily put in practice' this circumcision of the heart?

Conclude to give your heart"to your infant Saviour, who began on this day to shed his blood for you: but let it be a heart purified from all such affections as are disagreeable to him.


On Beginning a New Life with a New Year.

CONSIDER, first, how many years of your life are now past and gone; how long it is since you first came to the knowledge of good and evil, and in what manner you have spent all this precious time given you for no other end, hut that you might employ it in the love and service of your God, and in securing the salvation of your immortal soul. Alas! have any of these past years been spent in such manner as to answer this great end? Have they not all, one after another, flowed away unprofitahly into the gulph of eternity, and heen utterly lost to your soul? It is well if they have not.

Consider, secondly, the present state and condition of your conscience. How stand accounts between your soul and God? What if this very day you -were called to the bar of divine justice? Ah! do not deceive yourself, nor suffer yourself to be imposed upon by the enemy. Your time in all appearance will be much shorter than you are willing to imagine. Many thousands who expect death as little as yourself, will close their life with the present year. Set then your house in order: begin this very day to rectify the whole state of your interior; and live, henceforward, as you desire to die. There cannot be too great security, where eternity is at stake.

Consider, thirdly, how long the mercy of God has borne with you, and, notwithstanding your repeated crimes, has brought you to the beginning of this year, out of a sincere desire of your salvation. Planted in his vineyard, like the barren fig-tree, you have hitherto brought forth only leaves; but see, he is willing to try you once more, and to entrust you a little while longer with his word, his graces, and his sacraments. Take care to disappoint him no more, by refusing the fruit of repentance which he expects, lest he should once for all order the barren tree to be cut down, and cast into the fire.

Conclude to begin from this very hour to turn away from sin, to the. love and service of your God. Alas! how few Christians seem to be truly in earnest in this greatest of all their concerns.


The Rules of a New Life.

CONSIDER, first, that in the epistle read on New Year's Day, ( Titus "ii. 11 15,) the apostle has, in few words, declared to us the rules we are to follow in the conduct of our lives: what we are to renounce; what we are to practise; what we are to look for; and to what we are to tend. "The grace of God our Saviour," says he, "hath appeared to all men; instructing us, that denying ungodliness and worldly desires, we should live soberly, and justly, and godly in this world, looking for that blessed hope, and the coming of the glory of that great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and might cleanse to himself a.people acceptable, a pursuer of good works."

Consider, secondly, therefore, the end for which our God and Saviour came down amongst us, by the mystery of his incarnation. It was to redeem us from all iniquity, by freeing us from the slavery of Satan, Sin, and Hell; by breaking in sunder all the chains of our vices and passions; and by purchasing for us mercy, grace, and salvation. 0! let us seriously resolve to lead lives worthy our vocation.

Consider, thirdly, that having been purchased by the Son of God at so great a price, we must esteem ourselves henceforward as his property. This should bo our rule in all -we do; absolutely to renounce whatever we know to be displeasing to him, and to pursue with all our strength what we know to be agreeable to his divine pleasure. "You are not your own," says the apostle, (1 Cor. vi. 19, 20,) "you are bought with a great price. Glorify and bear God in your body."

Conclude to take for the rule, of your life this holy will of your Redeemer: its observance will conduct you to eternal bliss.


What we must renounce by the Christian's Rule.

CONSIDER, first, that we are enjoined by the rule above mentioned, to "deny all ungodliness and worldly desires," and to be clean "from all iniquity.'' We are all obliged to dedicate ourselves to God from our first coming to the use of reason. But the sinner, like the apostate angels, turns himself away from God; he refuses him his heart, and gives it up to vanities. This is ungodliness; this is a kind of idolatry, in preferring "the creature before the Creator, who is blessed for ever and ever."

Consider, secondly, that the tempter, in order to draw us away from God, sets before us the deceitful appearances of some worldly honor, profit, or pleasure; and with these he allures deluded mortals to his service: These are the gilded pills with which he poisons the soul. Hence the Christian's rule requires that, with ungodliness, he should also deny all worldly desires. For when we thus despise and abhor the choicest allurements of Satan, he stands confounded, and can do no more.

Consider, thirdly, what are these worldly lusts and desires. "Love not the world/' says the beloved disciple, (1 John ii. 15, 16,) "not the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the charity of the Father (the love of God) is not in him: for all that is in the world, is the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life." On this account the same apostle tells us, ( v. 19,) that the whole world "is seated in wickedness:" so that, if we desire to belong to Christ, in good earnest, we must declare a perpetual war against sensual pleasures, avarice and pride.

Conclude to be ever zealous lovers of this your rule, by denying ungodliness and worldly pleasures ; and place your felicity in the love and service of Almighty God.


On the Lives we are to lead by the Christian's Rule.

CONSIDER, first, that the Christian's duty has three branches: one of them relates to the regulating of himself; another regards his neighbor; but the third and chief of all relates to his God. All these we fulfill, if we live "soberly, and justly, and godly." By living soberly, we keep ourselves in perfect order: by living justly, we behave towards our neighbours in all things as we ought; and by living godly, we dedicate our whole lives to God.

Consider, secondly, that Christian sobriety excludes not only intemperance in eating and drinking, but also all other excesses and disorders which any way carry us beyond the bounds of strict regularity: it restrains pride by humility, anger by meekness, lust by purity. Christian justice regulates our whole conduct to our neighbors, by that golden rule of doing as we would be done by, and thus excludes every thought, every word, action, or dealing, which may tend to his prejudice or disadvantage. And true godliness makes us seek God, in all things and above all things.

Consider, thirdly, that in endeavoring to comply with these rules, we must not confine our views to the narrow limits of this mortal life: we must be ever looking forward to the great objects of the Christian's hope, the glorious coming of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ; and in the mean time lament the long continuance of our banishment here, and our great distance from him in this foreign land.

Conclude to begin at least with this new year, to enter upon the true paths of life, by a general sobriety, justice and godliness.


On the Epiphany.

CONSIDER, first, that on this day our infant Saviour was first made known to the Gentiles in the persons of the wise men of the east, who were conducted to him hy an apparition of an extraordinary star; and on this account it is called the Epiphany. It is just we should all celebrate with gratitude this day of our first calling to the knowledge and faith of Christ, this christmas day of the Gentiles! How great, Christians, is this benefit of your vocation to the true faith! If this alone had been wanting, all others would have been lost upon you; and you must have been eternally miserable. Bless then your God who has brought you, in preference to millions of others, to his admirable light, and has not suffered you to "sit in darkness and in the shadow of death."

Consider, secondly, the wonderful ways of divine providence, as well as in preparing beforehand both the Jews and the Gentiles to expect about that time the coming of the Messiah, as in giving early notice of his birth, to the Jews by the apparition of angels to the shepherds; and to the Gentiles by the star. But alas! how few either of the one or the other duly corresponded with this great call! and is it not the case of millions to this day, who though many ways called and invited by, and to that "light, which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world," (John 1.) choose rather to remain in the darkness of infidelity, error, or vice, than to follow its unerring conduct!

Consider, thirdly, how the wise men set out without delay under the guidance of this star, in quest of their new-born king, and were thus happily brought to Christ and to his admirable light; while their senseless countrymen neglected their summons, and died in their infidelity. See the difference between a ready compliance with the grace ,of God, and the neglect of his heavenly calls, a difference which produces here the distinction of the saint and the sinner; and will terminate hereafter in a happy eternity for such as faithfully follow the light, and a miserable eternity for such as despise it!

Conclude to be ever attentive to the voice of grace, sweetly inviting you to leave the ways of iniquity, and to follow Christ. Alas! how many of his stars have you hitherto neglected!


The Wise Men's journey to Bethlehem.

CONSIDER, first, that the wise men, immediately vipon the apparition of the star, set out to seek their Saviour whom it denoted, in Judea. For by an ancient tradition, and by the prophecy of Balaam, (Numbers xxiv. 17,) they understood that was the place of his nativity. Wherefore, going to Jerusalem, where it was most likely they should hear news concerning him, they inquire, "Where is he that is born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and we are come to adore him," (Matthew ii. 2. ) But as the kingdom of Christ was not of this world, and was to be established upon the ruins of worldly pride, and of all the pomps of Satan, he chose for his birth the humble stable of Bethlehem, before all the stately palaces of Jerusalem, as more agreeable to his kingdom, the kingdom of humility and of truth. Happy those souls whose eyes are ever open to this heavenly truth, and shut to the vanities of the world. For thus do they become themselves the kingdom of Christ, even that kingdom in which he shall reign for ever!

Consider, secondly, how Herod was troubled on hearing of the birth of this new king; and so was all Jerusalem with him. How much more happy was the dispositions of the wise men, who desired, at all events, to find Christ, and gladly embraced the directions of those, who, by their office, were qualified to point him out. to them? But, alas! how miserable were those priests and scribes, who, directing the wise men to our Saviour, took no pains to seek him themselves! See this never be your case.

Consider, thirdly, that, upon leaving Jerusalem, the star again appeared to the wise men, and conducted them to Bethlehem, and to the place where our Saviour lay. They were filled with exceeding great joy; and, going in, they found him whom their souls desired, and humbly adored their infant Lord. Oh! how precious, how lovely, how consoling is that light, which conducts the soul to Christ, her sovereign good! But then, generally speaking, it gheds its beams upon those only, who resolutely conquer every difficulty and opposition in their search after truth, and are quite in earnest to find Christ.

Conclude to imitate the wise men in their ready obedience to the divine call, in their diligence in seeking Christ, and in their faithful perseverance; and you will undoubtedly arrive at the object of your pious inquiries, your sovereign and eternal good.


On the Faith and Offerings of the Wise Men.

CONSIDER, first, the strong and lively faith of the wise men. Instead of an infant king attended with that state and pomp most suitable to the dignity of one born to be monarch of the universe, they find nothing but poverty and humility. So great, however, is their faith, that neither the manger, the ox, or the ass, nor the extreme meanness of the new-born Saviour's whole equipage, can shake it. Under this poor and humble disguise, they adore their King, their God, and their Redeemer. Happy those who take no scandal at the crib or at the cross of Christ; but rather unite themselves the closer to. their Lord, the mote he has debased himself for the love of them!

Consider, secondly, how the wise men, after their homage of adoration, arose and made their offerings of gold, frankincense, and myrrh; to signify, by the quality of these gifts, their faith in him to whom they gave them. They presented him with their gold, as a tribute due to their King; they offered him incense, used in the divine worship, as to their God; and they gave him their myrrh, which was used in the burial of the dead, as to a mortal man who came to redeem all mankind by his death. Let us also, by their example, daily offer him our best homages, in all these qualities; as our King, as our God, and our Redeemer.

Consider, thirdly, that the wise men, having found Christ, were admonished from heaven not to return any more to Herod and so went back another way to their own country: to teach us, that after finding Christ, we must return no more to his and our enemies, Satan and Sin; but must hasten to our true country by a quite different road from that by which we left it. Our true country is Paradise. We came away from this our country by pride, by disobedience, by the love ofthese visible things, and by gratifying our sensual appetite with the forbidden fruit of intemperance. "We must return by true repentance, by humility, by wholesome self-denials, and the mortification of our disorderly passions.

Conclude, therefore, to quit the broad road of sin and sensual pleasures: choose the narrow way of penance and Christian temperance, and you will arrive safe in your true country, and at your father's house.


On the Offerings we must make by the Example of the Wise Men.

CONSIDER, first, that, like the wise men, we also must present our best offerings to our Lord. We must pay him the tribute of OUR GOLD; that is, we must daily present to him our souls, stamped with his own image, and burnished with divine love. This is the gold which our great king expects from us. When the Jews asked him concerning their paying tribute to Caesar, he called for their coin, which had upon Caesar; and thence concluded, that they were to "render to Caesar the things that were Caesar's," (Matth. xxii,) that is, to give him what was stamped with his image. Our souls are stamped with God's own image, to this very end, that we should give them in tribute to him, by perfect love. Render then to God the things that are God's, by daily acts of fervent charity; and you shall have given him your GOLD.

Consider, secondly, that prayer is the FRANKINCENSE which, in imitation of the wise men, we must present to our Saviour, as to our God. This Ave must daily offer him at the hours of incense, as a morning and evening sacrifice in the temple of God, which is within our souls; with this we ought also to endeavor to perfume, in some measure, all our other daily actions and employments. Thus they will become highly agreeable to our Lord; thus they will "ascend as incense in his sight."

Consider, thirdly, thai -we muat also offer him our MYRRH, which is an emblem of the mortification of our passions and sensual inclinations. It is somewhat bitter indeed, and disagreeable to our nature: but it is sovereignly wholesome, and necessary to keep the soul from the corruption of sin. Hence we are commanded by our Lord to deny ourselves daily in this world, if we would become his disciples. So that this offering of myrrh, like the other two, should be the constant exercise of a Christian.

Conclude to neglect none of these three great duties; and then both your offerings and yourself will become acceptable to the king of heaven: in return yon shall' partake of his immense felicity.


On the Gospel of the Sunday within the octave of the Epiphany.

CONSIDER, first, that Jesus, Mary and Joseph went every year up to Jerusalem to the temple of God upon the solemn festivals, notwithstanding their poverty, and their distance of three days journey from Jerusalem. There they employed the weeks appointed for the solemnities, in assisting at the public worship, praises, and sacrifices, offered to God in the temple at those times. Christians, learn from this great example, the diligence with which you ought to assist at the public worship of God upon festivals. Suffer not every trifling difficulty to, hinder your attendance in God's temple on those days; since neither the length of the journey nor the expense attending their long stay at Jerusalem, diverted this holy family from an exact observance of these religious duties. Let us strive to imitate their pious example, and their great devotion in the temple.

Consider, secondly, that when Jesus was twelve years old, after celebrating at Jerusalem according to custom the solemnity of the Pasch, he withdrew himself from his parents on their return, and staid behind in the city. They, thinking he was in the company, went one day's journey homeward, and then not finding him, were struck with unspeakable grief and concern for their loss. For in proportion to their love, which was far greater than we can conceive, their sorrow also must have been beyond expression great. Learn hence, my soul, how thou oughtest to value the happiness of having Jesus with thee, and how much thou shouldst regret the loss of him.

Consider, thirdly, that although the blessed Virgin and St. Joseph had lost their Jesus as to his sensible presence, they had not lost him as to the presence of his grace and love: they had him still very near them, because they had him in their hearts. A lesson for Christians of good will, not to be discouraged nor to give themselves up to excessive anguish, if sometimes they experience the like substractions of the sensible presence of our Lord, by a dryness in their devotions, and a spiritual desolation: let them but take care to keep their heart and will with him, and they may be assured he is not far from them. He has often dealt thus with the greatest saints; and to their advantage too, by making them more humble.

Conclude not to drive away Jesus by wilful sin ; and be assured, that nothing else can ever separate him from you.


On seeking Jesus when he has been lost by Sin.

CONSIDER, first, how great an evil it is to lose Jesus by wilful sin! Ah! it is a far greater loss than if we should lose the whole world besides; for in loosing him we lose our all. And yet, how common is this loss! How often is Jesus lost in this manner even on our most solemn festivals, by the abuse of these holy times! And how is it possible for a Christian soul to admit of any comfort, joy, or pleasure, under so great a loss.

Consider, secondly, that the blessed Virgin and St. Joseph were no sooner sensible they had lost Jesus, hut they began to seek him with all diligence, and gave themselves no rest till they had found him. Not enduring to remain for ever so short a time at a distance from him, they hastened back to Jerusalem. And they sought him sorrowing, that is, with their souls full of grief and anguish: to teach us that the true way to find Jesus when lost, is by sorrow influenced with love, the properties of a contrite and humble heart. They sought him with perseverance: to teach us not to desist upon meeting with difficulties and oppositions in our search after Jesus, but to go on with diligence, till we recover his gracious company.

Consider, thirdly, that Jesus was not found by the blessed Virgin and St. Joseph amongst their kindred and acquaintance. Alas! he is too often lost in the company and conversation of our worldly friends; but is very seldom to be found there. The common conversation of the world is at the best but empty, dissipating and vain; and it is out of fashion to speak or think of Jesus in the company of worldings. Therefore, the soul that would effectually find him, must withdraw as much as may be from worldly company; she must make the best of her way by pious reading, meditation, and prayer, to the temple of God in Jerusalem; or rather, she must make a temple for her Jesus within her own self, and seek him there by inward recollection. This is the surest place to find him in.

Conclude, if ever you have reason to fear you have lost Jesus, to withdraw immediately from the crowd, and seek him in his temple, viz: your own interior: there he will console your afflicted mind.


What Jesus teaches in his Private Life.

CONSIDER, first, that when our Lord Jesus was found by his parents in the temple, in the midst of the doctors, hearing them and asking them questions, he said to them (Lukeii. ) "Did you not know that I must be about my Father's business? He came down from heaven not to do his own will, but the will of him that sent him," (John vi. 38.) This was his daily food during mortal life: "My meat," says he, "is to do the will of him that sent me,'' (John iv. 34.) This, then, was the exercise of his private life, which he spent in obscurity and retirement, under a poor carpenter's roof. He was all the while about the business of his Father; and all his thoughts and words, all his actions and omissions, were directed to his Father's glory.

Consider, secondly, how "he went down with Joseph and Mary to Nazareth, and was subject to them," (Luke ii. 51.) and stand astonished to see the Lord and Maker of Heaven and Earth, submitting himself to his own creatures, and obedient to them. See how he serves them, even in the meanest offices; how he works with his reputed father at his humble trade. Christians, learn from this example of your Lord, that the highest perfection may be found in the exercise even of the lowest and meanest offices, if in these the soiil do but keep close to her God, and embrace him by love.

Consider, thirdly, that our Lord Jesus, who from the first moment of his conception was full of heavenly wisdom and divine grace, was pleased, in proportion as he advanced in age, to show forth daily more and more, in his woids and actions, the admirable treasures of wisdom and grace, hidden in his soul; to teach us to make continual progress in the way of God, and to advance every day, by large steps, from virtue to virtue, like this our blessed model, who "increased in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men," (Luke ii. 52. )

Conclude to apply yourself, in earnest, particularly to these three lessons of the private life of our dear Redeemer: 1. To be ever about your father's business. 2. Always to be submissive to your superiors. And, 3. To advance continually towards God.


On our Saviour's Baptism by St. John the Baptist.

CONSIDER, first, that when a multitude of publicans and other sinners resorted to St. John, the forerunner of Christ, and were baptised by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins, and receiving from him the rules of a new life, our Lord Jesus also came to be baptized, as if he had been of their number, and stood in need of that baptism of penance for the remission of sins. The Baptist was astonished at it, and refused to baptise him, saying; "I ought to be baptised by thee, and comest thou to me?" But Jesus insisted upon his doing it: "for so it becorneth us," said he, "to fulfill all justice," (Matthew iii. 14,15. ) that is, to exercise and give examples of all virtues ; among which humility is the foundation, and supports all the rest. Grant us, O Lord, thy grace, that we also may fulfil all justice, by the imitation of thy humility.

Consider, secondly, that Jesus, having thus humbled himself to fulfil all justice, was presently exalted by his heavenly Father, when, "being baptised, and praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape as a dove upon him; and a voice came from heaven: Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased," (Luke iii. 21, 22. ) Learn from this instance, that humility opens heaven, and conducts to God, and to all good. Remark also, how upon this occasion the chief mysteries of religion are displayed: how the Blessed Trinity manifests itself; the Father, by his voice from heaven; the Son, in his human nature assumed for us; and the Holy Ghost, by descending in the shape of a dove. Behold, how the mission and the whole gospel of Jesus Christ is here solemnly authorised, with a formal declaration of the dignity of his person, and of his consecration by the Spirit of God!

Consider, thirdly, that our blessed Redeemer, for our instruction was pleased, as a preparation for the exercise of his office among men, to withdraw himself ito a lonesome wilderness, and there to employ forty days in fasting and prayer; at the end of which term he suffered three different assaults of temptation from Satan, and after overcoming this wicked fiend, was visited and served by angels. Christians, let us learn from this great example, in all our spiritual undertakings to seek first the assistance and blessing of heaven; and since Christ himself was tempted even in the desert, we must not despond, but like him courageously overcome all our temptations, and thus deserve the reward of perseverance.

Conclude to keep as close as you can to the Lord Jesus in every step he takes, and to have your eyes always upon the great model of all virtue.


On the sacred Name of Jesus.

[For the first Sunday after the Octave of the Epiphany.]

CONSIDER, first, these words of the apostle, (Phillip, ii.) spoken of the eternal Son of God, made man for us. "He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath exalted him, and hath given him a name which is above every name; that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow," &c. This holy name of Jesus came from heaven: it signifies a Saviour; a Saviour who was to deliver his people from their sins, to reconcile lost man to God, to purchase for him mercy, grace, and salvation, and to make him a son of God and heir of heaven. How adorable is this sweet name of salvation in which alone we are to be saved!

Consider, secondly, that the name of Jesus is a name of virtue and of power. In this name the churches of God were established throughout the world. In this name the apostles wrought all kinds of miracles, and raised the dead to life. By this name have millions of martyrs overcome death in all its shapes. This name has peopled the deserts with holy solitaries, and every nation of the Christian world in every age with saints; who looking upon Jesus the author and finisher of their faith, have through his name overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil, and now sit with Jesus upon his throne, according to the promise made to them that conquer in his name, (Apoc. iii. 21.)

Consider, thirdly, that the name of Jesus exhibits to us all the divine attributes stooping as I may say, to the work of our redemption, in order to raise us from the dunghill, and to bring us to a heavenly kingdom. Jesus is a name of mercy, a name of comfort, a name of grace and salvation: it promises pardon and forgiveness to all penitent sinners: it preaches to them deliverance from their slavery, the discharge of all their debts, the healing of their spiritual disorders, which expose them to eternal death. This holy name is the Christian's refuge in all dangers, the comfort of his pilgrimage, the source of all his good: it encourages him to pray with an assurance that there is nothing but what he may obtain, if he prays in the name of his Saviour. It puts to flight all the powers of hell; they cannot bear that sacred name; and it opens heaven to all its true lovers and followers.

Conclude to have in veneration the divine name of Jesus, as presenting to your soul the principal object of your faith, the strongest grounds of your hope, the chief motive and most powerful attractive to engage your love. Thus may you exercise as often as you hear this sacred name, all the theological virtues of faith, hope, and the most ardent love of God.


On our Lord's changing water into wine.

CONSIDER, first, how we are told in the gospel that there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee, and that the mother of Jesus was there. "And Jesus also was invited, and his disciples." Happy marriage, which our Lord was pleased to honor with his presence, and with his first miracle! He himself was the first author and institutor of marriage; and he gave it a sanction in this instance by his presence. By his incarnation he came to join his divine person with our human nature and with his church, and raised Christian matrimony to the dignity of a sacrament, by imparting to it a spiritual grace. Happy they, who like the contracting parties mentioned on this occasion, are careful to invite Jesus and Mary to their wedding by a virtuous conduct and earnest prayer. But how very unhappy are those, who when they marry, shut out God from themselves and from their mind, to give themselves to their lust, ( Job iv. 17.) "Over these the devil hath power;" because they invite him rather than Jesus to their wedding. And is not the want of the blessing of Jesus the true cause why so many marriages are . unhappy?

Consider, secondly, how in the midst of the marriage feast wine was wanting; to teach us that all the pleasures of the world are deceitful, and often fail us when we expect the most from them. Ah! it is Jesus alone can furnish our immortal souls with the true wine which cheereth the heart of man.

Consider, thirdly, that the miraculous change which our Lord made on this occasion of water into wine, was a prelude to another far 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 honors the wedding feast of his own espousals with our souls, in order to communicate us to himself and unite himself to us in time and eternity.

Conclude to join with the church at this time of the Epiphany, in gratefully commemorating all the miracles of the divine goodness in our favor ; particularly our vocation to the true faith, our regeneration in Christ by baptism, and our admission to his heavenly feast in the blessed Eucharist, the most tender pledge of his infinite love to man.


On the necessity of Consideration.

CONSIDER, first, how Satan and Sin everywhere reign throughout the Christian world. How many thousands in every nation, of all degrees and conditions, pass their lives in deadly sin, with little apprehension either of death, judgment, or hell! How do they prefer every trifle before their immortal souls; before their God and a happy eternity! They are not moved with the dreadful misfortune of numbers of their own description daily cut off in their sins when they least expected it, and thus consigned to eternal torments! The cause is plain; it is want of consideration. "With desolation is all the earth made desolate," saith the prophet, "because there is none that considereth in the heart," (Jeremiah xii. 11.)

Consider, secondly, the great truths which the Christian faith teaches: that there is a God of infinite majesty, whose eye is always upon us; a God infinitely good and infinitely just, who hates wilful sin with an infinite hatred; our Creator and Redeemer, who made us and sent us hither for no other purpose than to love and serve him in this world, and to be eternally happy with him in the next: that there is a future life, compared with which the present is but a moment: in a word, that after the vain and fleeting joys of life are over, judgment will follow; and that there is a heaven and a hell. And these are articles of the Christian faith; all most certainly true and in themselves very moving. This every Christian readily acknowledges. How then is it possible they should live as the generality do? How is it possible they should live unconcerned in sin; and walk in the broad road to eternal damnation? Alas! it is because they will not think.

Consider, thirdly, that the great difference between the good and bad Christian is the one thinks well on the truths he believes, and lets them sink deep into his soul, whereas the other does not think ; and thus the truths of the gospel make small impression upon him: his faith is asleep, or rather dead, for want of consideration. On the contrary, what wonderful effects has consideration often produced even in the most hardened sinners! it has sent numbers of these out of the midst of Babylon to seek their God in solitude, and has rescued thousands from the very jaws of hell.

Conclude to allow yourself daily some time to meditate upon the great truths of eternity. It is the best means to secure the salvation of your soul.


On the Consideration of God.

CONSIDER, first, that we cannot be saved without the knowledge of God, and such a knowledge as may effectually command our love and obedience. But without the help of consideration we can neither know God, nor love him as we ought. Consideration discovers to us his infinite perfections, and the many pressing motives we have to give ourselves wholly to his love and service. It sets before our eyes his eternal love and all his benefits towards us, and convinces us that he is both infinitely amiable in himself, and infinitely good to us.

Consider, secondly, that God is in himself eternal; without begining, without end, without change; self-existent, independent: he is being itself; he alone properly is: "I am who am," says he to Moses, (Exodus iii.) He is the Being of all beings; all things else derive their existence from him. He fills heaven and earth; creating and preserving, moving, ruling, and supporting all things. He is beauty itself, truth itself, and all perfection; immense and incomprehensible to the highest angels, though he discovers himself to them face to face, and fills their souls with heavenly pleasure, to eternity.

Consider, thirdly, what God is in our regard. He is our sovereign good: he alone can satisfy our souls. He is our eternal lover: his thought and heart are always upon us. His love is most faithful and disinterested: he never abandons those who do not first abandon :him. He is our Maker, our Redeemer; the best of Fathers, the best of Friends, the spouse of our souls. And are not these sufficient motives to excite a generous soul to love her God? It is only because he is so little thought of, that he is so little known in this wretched world; and it is only because he is so little known, that he is so little loved.

Conclude daily to cherish by consideration the saving knowledge of God, as the source of divine love and all of your good; and remember, that a deluge of evils will come pouring in upon the soul, if this knowledge of God is wanting, (Osse iv, 1.) &c.


On the Consideration of the Law of God.

CONSIDER, first, that in order to salvation we must also have a right knowledge of the holy law and commandments of God. This must be acquired by serious and frequent meditation, without which we cannot even know as we ought, the duties and obligations of a Christian; much less shall we have a due esteem and love for the divine statutes and ordinances, which our great King has appointed to be for us the way to life. "Blessed is the man whose will is in the law of the Lord: he 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/' (Ps. 1.) On the contrary, how unhappy are they who seldom think, of this divine law, and therefore neither love it nor keep it!

Consider, secondly, that even under the old testament which was not so perfect as the new, God required of his people that they should continually meditate upon his divine commandments, (Deuter. vi. 6,) &c. "These words which I command thee this day shall be in thy heart: arid thou shalt tell them to thy children, and thou shalt meditate upon them sitting in thy house and walking on thy journey; lying down 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." Christians, the law of God is our greatest treasure; our greatest happiness is to keep it: we must have it written in our hearts, and with the ancient saints meditate upon it day and night.

Consider, thirdly, how the royal prophet has expressed his esteem for the holy law of God in the 118th psalm (alias 119th.) There is scarce one verse in which its beauty and excellence, the great happiness of keeping it, and the many advantages of meditating upon it are not strongly enforced. For this reason the church in her canonical hours of prayer appoints this psalm for the daily devotion of her children. 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?

Conclude, then, to turn your thoughts from vain and curious researches into things little or nothing to your purpose, to the daily consideration of what God requires of you by his holy law, and what is his will in your regard. All other science will be of no avail, if this be neglected.


On the consideration of Ourselves.

CONSIDER, first, that another great branch of the Christian's duty is the consideration and knowledge of himself. This self knowledge is the foundation of humility and consequently of all other virtues. In order to obtain it, we must consider attentively our origin; what we have hitherto been; what we are at present, and what we shall be by and by. Such considerations as these will open our eyes, and convince us what poor wretches we are; how little reason we have to be proud; and on the contrary, how many urgent reasons we have to be thoroughly humble.

Consider, secondly, that your body is derived from dust, your soul from nothing; and whatever you have above mere nothing is the property of your Maker. Reflect, that as soon as you received your being, you were defiled with sin; for, as the apostle informs us, we were all born children of wrath: That your whole life has been stained with many grievous sins which doomed you to the flames of hell: and are you not still in this deplorable state of damnation? Reflect, also, how little light there is in you to discern true good from bare appearances; on the strength of your passions and self love; your great relunctancy to take true pains in the service of God, and your violent inclination to evil. Then consider how quickly you must die and be cited to the bar of divine justice, under a dreadful uncertainty what will be your eternal lot. Hence you will learn humbly to mistrust youij self, and to place your whole confidence in God.

Consider, thirdly, the other great advantages of attentive self examination. The soul by an impartial review of herself discovers her spiritual diseases to which before she was a stranger; and by this discovery she is enabled to apply proper remedies to all her evils. She detects the secret ambushes of her enemies, especially those more subtle ones of pride and self love, which continually study to deceive her. Thus she learns to guard against her passions, to watch carefully over her own heart, and to regulate its affections and inclinations, and direct them towards God.

Conclude to make the knowledge of yourself one of your principal studies for the future. Daily pray with St. Augustin and other saints. "Lord give me grace to know thee: Lord give me grace to know myself."


On our First Beginning.

CONSIDER, first, that not very long ago you had no existence: you were not so much as thought of by any creature upon earth. In this low abyss of nothing you must have remained to all eternity, infinitely beneath the condition even of the meanest insect, had not God of his infinite goodness created you -what you are. Place yourself in the centre of your nothing: ascribe nothing to yourself but your miseries and sins: give the whole glory of all the rest to your Maker.

Consider, secondly, who it was that gave you your being; this power of thinking this conscious life this will, this memory, this understanding. "Who made for you this soul and body. No other than HE that made heaven and earth, even the eternal, immense, infinite DEITY! And why? He stood in no need of you; you could do him no manner of service. He only wished to exercise his bounty in your favor. Give, then, in return, this your being to its Author: dedicate your whole self to his love and service, for time and eternity.

Consider, thirdly, that God made you according to his own Image and likeness, the more effectually to engage your love. This image and likeness resides in your soul, which is a spiritual being like himself, and immortal ; and in the spiritual powers of your soul, namely, your free will, and your understanding which is capable of soaring above all things visible and invisible, even to the Divinity itself. Let not then this noble being lie grovelling on the earth; let its whole attention be fixed on the great end for which it was created the love and enjoyment of its God.

Conclude to aspire continually to God, from whom you have received your life and being.


On our Last End.

CONSIDER, first, my soul why thou earnest hither? What is thy business in this mortal life? For what end did God create thee? This should have been the subject for thy meditation from the first instant of reason. Thou wast made for God: to love and serve him in this world, and enjoy him hereafter in a happy eternity. How noble and glorious is this end!

Consider, secondly, that, properly speaking, we have but one thing to do in this mortal life; and that is, to answer the end for which we were created. This is the one thing necessary, (Luke x. 42.) If we apply ourselves seriously to this great business, all is well; if we neglect it, all will be lost, whatever success we may have in anything else. "What will it avail a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul," and, with his soul, his God, and a happy eternity? Let then all other business be referred to this; whatever is contrary to it, avoid with the utmost care.

Consider, thirdly, the great blindness and misery of worldlings, who live in a continual forgetfulness of this their only business; who weary themselves, like little children, in catching at empty shadows vain honors false riches and deceitful pleasures, which last but for one moment; and for these they forfeit God and eternity! And has not this been hitherto your own case? Abhor, then, the errors of your past life, and return with your whole heart to God.

Conclude, since God is both your first beginning and your last end, to seek and serve him in all you do: thus alone shall you find true comfort here, and heaven hereafter.


On the titles which God has to our service.

CONSIDER, first, that we belong to God by every kind of title, and therefore cannot, without great injustice, refuse his service. We are his by creation: our whole being is from him: our whole soul and body, with all our powers, senses, and faculties, and whatever we possess, belong to him. We are also God's property by the title of conservation, by which he preserves and maintains, every moment, the being he has given us; otherwise we should instantly return to dust: consequently we are each moment bound to be his.

Consider, secondly, that we belong to God, in a very particular manner, by our redemption. We had, by sinning, sold ourselves to Satan ; we were become his slaves: Ave had no longer any share in God, or title to his kingdom: But, lo! the Son of God, through pure love and compassion, comes down from heaven to redeem us: He pays himself the price of our ransom; a great price indeed, even the last drop of his sacred blood to deliver us from Satan, sin, and hell, to reconcile us to his Father, and to purchase for us mercy, grace, and salvation.

Consider, thirdly, that we belong to God also by solemn vows and covenants, entered into at our baptism and confirmation, by which we were sanctified to be his temples for ever. "We belong to him likewise in quality of our King, our Father, our Lord, and Master, the great Sovereign of the whole universe, the being of all beings, &c. Upon these and many more titles his Divine Majesty challenges our love and service, as his undoubted right.

Conclude to render faithfully to God what is strictly his upon so many titles; and give your whole self to h


On the happiness of serving God.

CONSIDER, first, those words of the prophet, (Isai. iii.) "Say to the just man, it is well;" and reflect on the many advantages, both for time and eternity, comprised in this short word, well. Honor, riches, and pleasures, the world esteems most valuable: but these are not to be found where the world is apt to seek them, but only in the service of God. It is indeed a greater honor to be a servant of God, than to be the emperor ofthe universe. What then must it be to be his friend, his spouse, his child? Can any worldly honor be compared with this?

Consider, secondly, 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. GOD himself is the just man's treasure, whom the world cannot take from him, as long as he is careful not to lose him by wilful sin. The eye of his tender providence watches over him; his angels encamp around him, to protect and deliver him from evil. In a word, GOD is all things to them that fear him.

Consider, thirdly, the solid pleasures of a virtuous life; the satisfaction, peace, and joy of a good conscience; that sense which the just have of the divine goodness and love for them; the experience of his sweet consolations, in their recollection and prayer; the comfortable prospect of a happy eternity before them; and their tender love of God, and blessed conformity to his will, which sweetens even their greatest crosses. Ah! how pernicious is that error of the children of this world, that there are no pleasures in a virtuous life; whereas, indeed, there is no true pleasure without it!

Conclude then to enter immediately the charming path of virtue, which alone conducts both to future, and even to present felicity.


On the vanity of worldly pursuits.

CONSIDER, first, how vain are all those things which deluded worldlings prefer to God; mere dreams and airy phantoms! "O ye children of men, how long will you be in love with vanity? How long will you run after lies and deceit?"

Reflect upon those who are gone before you; upon those that have enjoyed the most of what this world could afford, of honors, riches, and pleasures; and tell me what judgment they form of them now. Ah! they will certainly cry out with Solomon, (Eccles. ii. 11.) that in all these things they found nothing but vanity and affliction of spirit, and the eternal loss of God and their souls.

Consider, secondly, with what labor these worldly toys are acquired; what a slavery they bring along with them; what fear and solicitude attends their enjoyment; how easily they are lost; how short and inconstant they are; how false and deceitful! Ah! wretched servitude of all the children of Babylon, to things so mean and unworthy the affections of Christians, and so far beneath the dignity of their immortal souls, which were made for nothing less than GOD !

Consider, thirdly, how the word of God describes this folly and misery of worldlings, (Isaiah lix.) It tells them that they put their trust in 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 labor, and bring forth iniquity;" that their "thoughts and devices are unprofitable," their paths "crooked;" and "whosoever treadeth in them knoweth no peace."

Conclude to despise from your heart all the delusive charms of a deceitful world; and turn with your whole soul to the delightful paths of wisdom, virtue, and truth.


On the Conversion of St. Paul.

CONSIDER, first, the wonders of the grace of God in the conversion of St. Paul, suddenly changed from a fiery zealot of the Jewish religion, and a bloody persecutor of the church of Christ, into a fervent Christian, a zealous preacher of the gospel, a vessel of election to publish the name of Christ to nations and kings; a doctor of the Gentiles, an apostle of Jesus, and an eminent saint. Admire in this instance the greatness of God's mercy, and assure yourself his arm is not shortened, and that his power and goodness are as great now as ever; and therefore never cease to pray to him for the conversion of infidels and sinners.

Consider, secondly, that the church proposes to us the conversion of St. Paul as a model of perfect conversion. The prayer he then made was short in words, hut very expressive of the perfect disposition of his soul, and of the entire sacrifice of himself to the holy will of God that called him. "Lord," said he, "what wilt thou have me to do?" as much as to say: Behold me, God, now prostrate at thy feet, desirous only to know and to do thy will. And to show that his conversion was sincere, he continued during three whole days ("neither eating nor drinking" during that term) to prepare himself for baptism by earnest prayer. This was proving himself a convert indeed.

Consider thirdly, how St. Paul had always before his eyes the greatness of his mercy. He never forgot that God in him had changed the greatest of sinners, without any merit on his part, by an evident miracle, into a vessel of election: and therefore he was convinced, as he declared both in words and practice, he could do no less than devote his whole life to the love and service of his Saviour. Labor, stripes, and death, to him were welcome in so glorious a cause; and he braved the most alarming dangers with a great and manly spirit. Such are the effects of a true conversion.

Conclude to learn in practice the lessons which St. Paul teaches you in his conversion; particularly a ready correspondence with the calls of heaven, unreserved obedience to the will of God, and cheerful alacrity in his service.


On Mortal Sin.

CONSIDER, first, the malice of deadly sin: it is infinitely opposite to the infinite goodness of God; and as none but God himself can fully comprehend his own infinite goodness; so none but God himself can perfectly comprehend the enormity of this opposite evil. He cannot therefore cease to hate it with an infinite hatred, any more than he can cease to love his own infinite goodness; any more than he can cease to be God. How ought we then to bless his holy name, for sparing us so long under this dreadful guilt.

Consider, secondly, that mortal sin is the greatest of all evils; more hideous than hell. This dreadful evil which the damned see and feel for all eternity in the midst of their souls, torments them more than the wicked spirits themselves; more than the very flames of hell: it is this that nourishes the never dying worm of their guilty conscience; that keeps God eternally from them and them eternally from God. Ah! that sinners had but a just idea of this dreadful evil; they would choose a thousand deaths rather than commit one mortal sin.

Consider, thirdly, that sin directly strikes at God himself. It is rebellion and high treason against the King of heaven and earth. Sinners, like the arch-rebel Satan, renounce their allegiance to God, and disclaim his authority and sovereignty over them: they contemn his power; they slight his justice; they abuse his mercy and goodness. They seek their own worldly honor, interest, and pleasure instead of him; and to these they sacrifice their soul, their conscience, and immortal bliss.

Conclude to renounce and abhor for the time to come all mortal sin; and do sincere penance all your life for your past offences.


On the complicated guilt of each mortal sin.

CONSIDER, first, the sinner's black ingratitude to God in every mortal sin. God is his Maker and Redeemer, his ancient lover, his dearest friend, his constant benefactor. From him he has received and daily does receive whatever he possesses, even his very being. All this he owes to his pure love without any merit on his part; a love which can suffer no comparison, since it has brought the lover down from Heaven, to die for the very wretch that thus ungratefully ofends him, and even crucifies him, again, in the language of St. Paul, by sin.

Consider, secondly, the manifold injustice found in all moral sin: it violates all the rights and titles which God has to our love and service in quality of our first beginning and last end, the very being of our beings, the great monarch of the universe, the Lord of us and of all things, the Saviour and Redeemer of our souls. The wretched sinner breaks through all these considerations, and moreover treacherously infringes the solemn engagements made with him at baptism.

Consider, thirdly, that by one mortal sin we in some degree violate all the ten commandments, according to that of St. James ii. 10. "He that offends in one point is guilty of all." For whoever wilfully transgresses any part of the divine law, violates the first commandment by turning away from the true and living God and refusing him due worship: he is guilty of idolatry by worshipping the creature which is the object or the occasion of his sin, "rather than the Creator who is blessed for ever more," (Rom. 1.) He profanes his sacred name and blasphemes him, if not in words, at least in fact, by treading his authority under foot. He violates the true and everlasting Sabbath of God's rest by the servile work of sin. He dishonors in a most outrageous mariner the best of Fathers: he is guilty of the murder of his own soul and of the Son of God himself, whom, as much as in him lies, he crucifies again by sin: he is guilty of a spiritual adultery by prostituting to Satan his soul, the spouse of Christ: he is guilty of theft, robbery, and sacrilege, by taking away from God what belongs to him: he bears false witness in fact, against the law of God, in favor of lies and deceit; for all sin is a lie. And to complete his wickedness he is guilty of coveting what is not his, and what the law of God forbids.

Conclude to detect the complicated wickedness of mortal sin, and make it your continual prayer that you may rather die ten thousand deaths than once incur this dreadful guilt.


On the folly and presumption of the wilful sinner.

CONSIDER, first, the desperate presumption of a worm of the earth that dares provoke by wilful sin the Almighty Lord and Maker of all things, who holds the thread of his life in his hand, and can that moment let him drop into hell. "What can he expect from making war with God, that eternal, immense, and infinite Being whose eye is attentive to all his actions, and who has an infinite hatred for mortal sin: a God without whom he can neither live, move, nor be? Alas! the captain whom he follows in this desperate warfare is already damned, his fellow-soldiers are daily crowding into hell, and what has he hope for?

Consider, secondly, how the wilful sinner by his own act and deed freely and deliberately parts with an infinite good, the very source of all his happiness; gives up his title to heaven, and sells his soul to be the slave of Satan here, and a victim of hell hereafter, for mere phantoms, bitter remorse, and black despair! Can any folly be compared with this?

Consider, thridly, how grossly sinners deceive themselves by expecting happiness in the violation of the divine law and commandments. Alas! in vain do they seek felicity where it is not to be found, and in the way which leads to all kind of misery. They seek for honor in that which is in itself most dishonorable; they seek an imaginary gain in that which brings with it the greatest of all losses: they seek pleasure; peace, and joy; but find uneasiness, discontent, and sorrow: they seek a false liberty, and fall into true slavery: in a word, they vainly hope to find life in the region of eternal death. And can there be a more deplorable delusion?

Conclude, for your part, to seek your happiness where alone it is to be found in the love and service of God: if you seek it any where else you will lose your labor, with your immortal soul for eternity.


On the dismal effects of sin.

CONSIDER, first, the dreadful effects of wilful sin in heaven itself. One sin consented to but in thought, instantly changed millions of glorious angels into devils, and doomed them eternally to the flames of hell. O dreadful poison, that canst thus blast in a moment so many legions of heavenly spirits! O dreadful guilt, that canst draw such a dismal curse from a God, whose very nature is goodness, and who loves all his works, upon his favorite creatures!

Consider, secondly, how this monster, now banished from heaven, was entertained by our first parents in the earthly paradise. Alas! in one moment it stripped them and all their posterity, of that original justice, innocence and sanctity, in which they had been created; and of all the gifts of divine grace: it gave them up to the tyranny of Satan, cast them out of paradise, and condemned them both to a temporal and eternal death. In the mean time, it entailed upon them and us, every kind of evils, both of soul and body; an inexpressible weakness in the doing of good, and a violent inclination to wickedness. It has drawn down the most dismal punishments and disasters, as well upon individuals as upon whole nations!

Consider, thirdly, that sin has, in some measure, blasted the whole creation, which is said by the apostle to "groan and be in labor' under "the servitude of corruption," longing as it were, for its deliverance from the sinful abuses of men, and the powers of darkness, "into the liberty of the glory of the children of God." This will be effected 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," (Peter, iii. 13. ) Then shall sin be for ever confined to its proper place.

Conclude to abhor the evil which has wrought such confusion both in heaven and on earth.


On the dreadful effects of sin in the soul of a Christian.

CONSIDER, first, that a soul in grace is a child of God, a spouse of Jesus Christ, a temple of the Holy Ghost. But in the moment she consents to mortal sin, she becomes a slave of hell, a prostitute to 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 loathsome to her Maker and all his heavenly court. A soul in grace is very rich] she is worth an eternal kingdom: but when she falls into mortal sin, she loses at once all her store of virtue and merit, her title to everlasting happiness, and her God.

Consider, secondly, that sin is the death of the soul; it deprives her of the grace of God, and condemns her to the second death, the death of the damned! Ah, sinners! how can you bear to continue one moment in this dreadful condition! Open your eyes to see and deplore your lamentable misfortune, and with the tears of sincere repentance, beg of God to raise you again to life and to salvation.

Consider, thirdly, that "they that commit sin and iniquity are enemies to their own soul," (Tobias xii. 10.) And that "he that loveth iniquity hateth his own soul," (Psalms x. 6.:) since of all the evils we can possibly incur, either here or hereafter, none can be compared to the evil of mortal sin. No other evil can kill the soul: this alone murders and destroys it to eternity.

Conclude never more to join with your mortal enemies, the devil, the world, or the flesh, in fighting against your own soul by wilful sin.


On the judgments of God upon mortal sin.

CONSIDER, first, that, besides the sad effects of mortal sin already mentioned, there still remain other convincing arguments of the hatred God bears it, from the manifold judgments he has of old executed, daily does execute upon the guilty, and will continue to execute, even to eternity. "Witness the universal deluge, which, in punishment of the general corruption, swept off at once all the sinners of the earth, and consigned them to eternal torments. Witness the judgment of fire from heaven upon Sodom and the neighboring cities. Witness the many judgments which overtook the rebellious Israelites in the wilderness; particularly that remarkable one of the earth opening and swallowing up 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 overtaken when they least expected it, by violent or untimely death, in punishment of their crying sins; besides many instances of flourishing states and whole nations destroyed by war, pestilence, famine, earthquakes, &c., all brought upon them by their sins. great God! who shall not dread thy almighty wrath? "Who shall not fear the dreadful evil of mortal sin?

Consider, secondly, that though these visible judgments of God upon impenitent sinners, snatched away before their time by unprovided death, be both very common and very terrible; yet there is another kind of more secret judgments, which he daily exercises upon thousands, far more terrible, since they bring upon them a far more dreadful damnation. This is, when in punishment of their obstinacy in sin, he at length gives them up to a reprobate sense, and to a blindness and hardness of heart, so as to have no longer any fear or thought of God or his judgments, or any concern at all for their salvation. Thus they daily add sin upon sin, without ever thinking of repentance; which proves at long run a far more dreadful judgment, than if upon their first sin hell had opened and swallowed them down alive.

Consider, thirdly, the judgments of God upon mortal sin in the eternal duration of the torments of hell. sinners! go down in thought into that bottomless pit, and take a serious view of the rigor of divine justice; of that fire which never is extinguished; of that everlasting rage and despair: then tell me what you think of mortal sin, when HE who is infinitely good and infinitely just, and cannot punish any one more severely than he deserves, condemns every soul that dies under such guilt, to all this extremity of misery, for eternity? But if any thing be still wanting to a full conviction, turn your eyes upon Jesus Christ, the Son of God: see how he was treated by the justice of his Father, for our sins, which he took upon himself to expiate. Nothing less than the last drop of his precious blood could wash away this dreadful stain of mortal sin. How hateful then must it be in the eyes of the Almighty!

Conclude to give thanks to God for sparing you so long in your sins; and resolve to labor, in earnest, to avert his divine wrath so long provoked against you.