St. Anselm’s Book of Meditations and Prayers


Title: St. Anselm’s Book of Meditations and Prayers. Translated from
the Latin by M.R. with a Preface by His Grace the Archbishop of
Creator(s): Anselm, Saint, Archbishop of Canterbury (1033-1109)



Book of Meditations and Prayers

Nihil obstat.


Ex Cong. Oblat. S. Caroli,
Censor Deputatus.



Archiep. Westmon.


Book of Meditations and Prayers.


BY M. R.





Portman Street and Paternoster Row.








1. Our creation to the Image and Likeness of God

2. To praise God eternally the end of our creation

3. Wherever we are, we live, move, and are in Him; whilst also we have
Him within us

4. All of us who have been baptized in Christ have put on Christ

5. We are the body of Christ

6. In Christ we are one, and are with Him one Christ

7. A consideration of our sins, for the which our conscience does the
more sting us, and by which we have forfeited all these blessings

8. A review of our Lord’s Incarnation, by means of which we have
recovered all these losses

9. The duty of praying to be drawn out of the pit of misery and the
mire of dregs

10. A consideration of the miseries of the present life

11. Of the body after the soul’s departure

12. Of the soul after her separation from the body

13. A consideration of the day of judgment, when the goats shall be set
on the left hand

14. A consideration of the joy when the sheep shall be set on the right



15. The sinner’s fear

16. The sinner’s hope



17. The sinner’s past

18. The sinner’s future



19. The necessity and the benefit of careful self-examination

20. The goodness of God, and the malignity of the Devil

21. The compassion of Jesus


22. On the life of soul and of flesh

23. And of the glory of the good soul

24. And the misery of the wicked soul, on their departure from the body



25. The condition of the sinner

26. The Divine mercy before the Incarnation

27. The Divine mercy in the Incarnation

28. The sinner’s contemplation of himself

29. The sinner’s prayer to Jesus Christ


30. Of the changefulness of all that is in the world

31. Of the manifold blessings of Almighty God

32. Here the sinner chides himself for his ingratitude

33. An acknowledgment of sin

34. The sinner’s review of himself

35. The sinner’s cry to God



36. A prayer for mercy and help

37. The penitent’s hope in the Divine mercy



38. The glories and the condescension of our Lord Jesus Christ

39. The Nativity of Christ, and its sanctification of poverty

40. The hidden life and ministry of our Lord

41. The meekness and humility of Christ

42. The agony and the betrayal

43. The condemnation and the crucifixion

44. The humiliations of the Passion

45. The glories of the Passion

46. Joseph in Egypt a type of Christ

47. Love our only possible return to Christ for His sufferings

48. The likeness of His Death and of His Resurrection

49. Aspiration and prayer


50. Of the Passion of Christ



51. Cur Deus Homo

52. Thanksgiving for the liberation of mankind

53. Man’s past condition and present privilege

54. The soul’s surrender of itself to God



55. The Mystery of the Incarnation

56. Hope inspired by the thought of the Incarnation

57. Joy inspired by the thought of the Incarnation

58. Love inspired by the thought of the Incarnation

59. Jesus the Salvation of sinners



60. The Son of God, archetypal Beauty

61. The nine Choirs of Angels

62. The desires of the soul aspiring to God

63. The Saints in heaven

64. The joys of Mary, Queen of Heaven, and Mother of God

65. The loving aspirations of the soul to Jesus


66. Of the wonderful Being of God

67. Of the science of God, and the inadequacy of human speech to utter

68. Of the desire of a soul thirsting after God

69. Of the misery of a soul that loves not and that seeks not our Lord
Jesus Christ

70. Of the desire of the soul

71. Of the happiness of the soul set free from her earthly prison

72. Of the joy of Paradise

73. Of the kingdom of heaven

74. God comforts the sorrowing soul after her great griefs



75. On the subjects of meditation

76. The Annunciation

77. The Visitation, Nativity, and Adoration of the Kings

78. The flight into Egypt 202

79. The early life, baptism, fasting, and ministry of our Lord

80. Our Lord’s works of mercy

81. Bethany and the Coenaculum

82. Gethsemane and the high-priest’s palace

83. The Pr?¦torium

84. The Crucifixion

85. The Entombment and Resurrection



86. The writer’s review of his past life, and exhortation to his sister



87. Death and its immediate sequel

88. The Day of Judgment: the right hand and the left

89. The joys of Heaven, and the joy of joys



90. Thanksgiving for past blessings, and prayer for future

91. The same subject



92. Wonder at the unspeakable goodness of God the Creator, and the deep
misery of man the creature

93. The degree to which man may be loved by man, and the reason why God
should be more loved than any human being

94. God made all things good, but He alone is Good essentially

95. The praise of the Creator by the whole creation

96. The resemblance of man to his Creator

97. Man is composed of two parts; by the one of which he is raised to
highest things, and by the other dragged down to lowest

98. Here man prays God not to allow him to make ill use of his free
power of choice


99. Complaint of the soul banished from God

100. The soul’s absence from God

101. Complaint of the soul banished from God

102. The soul’s return to God



103. The mind aroused to the contemplation of God

104. The inapproachable dwelling-place of God

105. The goodness of God, the creative Life

106. The fulness of joy


THE See of Canterbury, in a period of hardly more than one hundred
years, was held by three of the greatest Saints of England–St. Anselm,
St. Thomas, and St. Edmund. These three, wonderful in their perfection,
each distinct from the other, and in the gifts which constituted that
perfection, had all one task, which was to vindicate the liberty and
purity of the Church by suffering, by exile, and, though only one
received the martyr’s crown, by the sacrifice of a martyr’s will. Yet
how variously the Holy Ghost ripened and formed them! St. Anselm’s
chief perfection was the illumination of the speculative intellect by
the gifts of science and understanding: that of St. Thomas the
elevation and grandeur of the will by fortitude and holy fear: that of
St. Edmund the sanctification of the practical intellect by the gifts
of counsel and of wisdom.

The works of St. Anselm exhibit an intellectual light, order, subtilty,
penetration, and precision which give him a high place among the
scholastic theologians of whom he was the forerunner and the guide. But
even in the purest intellectual exercise of the reason, his writings
are pervaded by the gift of piety, which makes its, warmth sensibly
felt. He may be regarded as the type of faith, rendering to God the
reasonable service of the intellect. This rationabile obsequium, which
is the highest perfection of the human intelligence, springs from
faith. Reason precedes faith indeed in judging of the motives of
credibility: and the last act of reason judging of evidence precedes
the first act of faith in believing the revelation of God. But when
revelation has been once received, the grace of faith is unfolded by
the gift of intellect into the faith which is one of the twelve fruits
of the Holy Ghost. Faith as a virtue illuminates the intelligence, but
faith as a fruit of the Holy Ghost understands, so far as God permits,
the intrinsic reason of what it believes. St. Anselm explains his whole
method in these words: As the right order demands that we should first
believe the deep things of the Christian faith before we venture to
discuss them by reasoning, so it appears to me to be negligence, if,
after we are confirmed in faith, we should not endeavour to understand
what we believe.’ [1] Here we have his method in direct contradiction
to the rationalism of these later days, which makes reason the test,
the measure, and the criterion of faith, destroying thereby the essence
of faith, as well as the matter proposed to its belief. As St.
Augustine says, If you ask of me, or of any other Doctor, not
unreasonably, that you may understand what you believe, correct your
definition, not so as to reject faith, but so as to perceive by the
light of reason the things which by the firmness of faith you already
hold. . . . Therefore it was reasonably said by the Prophet, “Unless
you believe, you will not understand,”‘ [2] so St. Anselm begin where
he prefers. And, indeed, it is for this reason that they have been
divided into sections; [3] that the reader may easily choose a place
for beginning or for stopping, and so avoid the weariness and annoyance
which would be produced by too prolonged application to the book, or by
repeated reperusal of one and the same passage; and that he may thus be
the more likely to reap some pious dispositions from them; for this was
the end had in view in their composition.

[1] Cur Deus Homo, lib. i. c. 2.

[2] De peccat. merites, c. xxi. 16, tom. x. p. 16.

[3] [Ad hoc enim ipsum paragraphis sunt distinct?¦;’ divided into
sections by means of marks in the margin; or, divided into sections by
means of inserted headings. Thus in one of his letters (i. 20), writing
of some prayers to the Mother of God composed by him, he says, Denique
idcirco volui eas ipsas orationes per sententias paragraphis
distinguere, ut anticipando longitudinis fastidium, ubi volueris,
possis eas legendo incidere.’ Of the meditations attributed to St.
Anselm, the majority, as we find them in the printed editions, are not
characterised by bracketed headings or by subtitles; nor are their
obvious subdivisions indicated by what we should call unbroken
paragraphs. The translator has therefore ventured to insert into such
of the meditations as do not in the printed editions show where they
are capable of an unforced subdivision, a suitable subtitle, or at
least a numerical indication. He has done this not irreverently, he
trusts, to the saint, nor impertinently, he ventures to hope, to the
reader. To the compassion of the one and to the indulgence of the other
does he commit himself; adding only this, that whatever has been
inserted by him is included within square brackets.]



[§1.] I. Our creation to the Image and Likeness of God. Awake, my soul,
awake; bestir thy energies, arouse thy apprehension; banish the
sluggishness of thy deadly sloth, and take to thee solicitude for thy
salvation. Be the rambling of unprofitable fancies put to flight; let
indolence retire, and diligence be retained. Apply thyself to sacred
studies, and fix thy thoughts on the blessings that are of God. Leave
temporal things be hind, and make for the eternal.

What, then, in so divine an occupation of the mind, canst thou conceive
more useful or more salutary than to recall in delighted musing thy
Creator’s boundless benefits to thee? Consider what grandeur and what
dignity He bestowed on thee in the very beginning of thy creation, and
ponder well what loving and what adoring worship thou shouldest
therefore pay Him.

It was assuredly a noble purpose which He formed for the dignity of thy
state, when, creating and ordering the universal frame of the visible
and the invisible creation, He determined to make man; for He
determined to lavish richer honours on man’s nature than on all other
creations in the universe. Behold thy lofty origin, and bethink thee of
the due of love thou owest thy Creator. Let Us make man,’ said God, to
Our Image and Likeness’ (Gen. i. 26.). If thou awakest not at this
word, O my soul; if thou art not all aflame with love of Him for His so
ineffable graciousness of condescension towards thee; if thine inmost
marrow burns not with longings after Him, what shall I say? Asleep
shall I call thee? Or must I rather think thee dead? Consider
diligently, therefore, what it is to have been created to God’s Image
and God’s Likeness; thou hast in this thought the sweet earnest of a
pious meditation in which thy musings may have full play.

Observe, then, that likeness is one thing; image another. For example,
the horse, the ox, or other dumb animal may have a certain likeness to
man; but the image of man is borne by none but a human being. Man eats,
so does the horse; here is a certain likeness, a certain something
common to creatures of diverse moulds. But the image of man is only
borne by some human being, some being of selfsame nature with that man
whose image he is. Image, therefore, is of a higher order than

God’s Likeness, then, may be attained by us in this way; if, musing on
Him as the Good, we study to be good; if, owning Him the Just, we
strive to be just; if, contemplating Him the Merciful, we make
endeavours after mercy.

But how to His Image? Listen. God ever remembers Himself, understands
Himself, loves Himself. If thou, therefore, after thy poor fashion, art
unweariedly mindful of God, if thou understandest God, if thou lovest
God, thou wilt then be man to His Image;’ for thou wilt be striving to
do that which God does eternally. ‘Tis the duty of man to bend his
whole being to this task; the task of remembering, of understanding,
and of loving the Highest Good. To this idea should every thought and
every turn and folding of thy heart be moulded, chased, and formed; to
be mindful of God, to understand Him, and to love Him; and thus
savingly exhibit and display the dignity of thine origin in that thou
wast created to the Image of God.

But why say that thou wast created to His Image, when, as the Apostle
testifies, thou art in deed His Image? The man,’ he says, ought not to
cover his head, because he is the image and glory of God’ (1 Cor. xii.

[§ 2.] II. To praise God eternally the end of our creation. Are, then,
these so incalculable benefits of thy Creator inducements enough to
thee for continual thanksgiving in return, and for discharging the debt
of an endless love; when thou considerest that out of nothing–rather,
out of clay–thou wast raised by His bounty to so excellent a dignity
in the very beginning of thy state? Test thy life, therefore, by the
master-feeling of the saints, and note well what is said of the saint,
With his whole heart he praised the Lord’ (Ecclus. xlvii. 10). Behold
the end of thy creation, behold the task set thee as God’s servant! Why
should God have graced thee with the privilege of so illustrious a lot,
if He had not willed thee to apply thyself unceasingly to the praise of
Himself? Thou wast created for the glory of thy Creator, that, making
His praises thy employment, thou mightest ever advance towards Him by
the merit of justice in this life, and mightest live happily in the
world to come. For the praise of Him yields the fruit of justice here,
and of beatitude hereafter.

And if thou praise Him, praise Him with all thy heart, praise Him by
loving; for this rule of praising has been laid down for the
saints–With all his heart he praised the Lord, and loved God who made
him’ (ib.).

Praise then, and praise with all thy heart; and whom thou praisest,
love; for, for this wast thou created, to praise Him, and to love Him
also. For that man praises God, but not with all his heart, who is
charmed by prosperity into blessing God, but checked by adversity from
the privilege of blessing; whilst that man praises, but without loving,
who amid his praises of God seeks for some other good in praising than
God Himself. Praise therefore, and praise aright; in such wise that
there be in thee no care, no aim, no thought, no anxious bent of mind,
uninspired by praise of God, grace helping thee. From praise of Him let
no prosperity of this present life seduce thee, nor no adversity
restrain thee; for thus shalt thou praise Him with all thy heart. But
when thou shalt praise Him with all thy heart, and praise with the
homage of thy love as well, then wilt thou desire nothing from Him but
Himself, and thou wilt pray that the object of thy longing may be God;
the reward of thy toil, God; thy solace in this life of shadows, God;
thy possession in that blissful life to come, God.

Yes, indeed, thou wast created for this; to praise Him, and to praise
Him without end; which thou wilt then more fully understand when,
entranced by the blessed vision of Himself, thou shalt see that by His
sole and gratuitous goodness thou, when thou wast not, wast created out
of nothing; so blessed, and to such unspeakable bliss created; created,
called, justified, glorified. Such a contemplation as that will give
thee an untiring love of praising Him without end; from whom, and
through whom, and in whom thou wilt rejoice in being blessed with
blessings so great and so unchangeable.

[§ 3.] III. Wherever we are, we live, move, and are in Him; whilst also
we have Him within us. But, returning from the beatitude that is to be,
do thou with the eye of contemplation consider for a while the
abundance of grace wherewith He hath enriched thee even in this
fleeting life. He, very God, whose dwelling is in heaven, whose throne
among the angels, He to whom heaven and earth, with all that they
contain, do bow down and obey, has offered Himself to thee as thine
abode, and furnished and prepared His presence for thee; for, as the
Apostle teaches, in Him we live, and move, and be’ (Acts xvii. 28). So
to live, how sweet! So to move, how lovable! So to be, how desirable!
For what more sweet than to have life in Him who is the very life of
bliss itself? What more lovable than to rule each movement of will or
act of ours towards Him and in Him, seeing that He will stablish us in
an unending security? What more desirable than in aspiration and in act
evermore in Him to be, in whom alone–or rather who alone–is true
being, and apart from whom none can rightly be? I AM WHO AM,’ He says
(Exod. iii. 14); and beautifully said it is, for He alone truly IS,
whose Being is unchangeable. He, therefore, whose so unapproached Being
is being in so transcendent and unique a sense that He alone truly IS;
in comparison of whom all being is no being; when He would create thee
to so great excellency that thou couldest not even comprehend the
lustre of thy dignity, what did He set as the sphere of thy being, what
place of abode did He furnish for thee? Hear Him Himself speaking to
His own in the Gospel, Abide in Me, and I in you’ (St. John xv. 4). O
inconceivable condescension! O blissful abiding! O glorious
interchange! What condescension of the Creator, to will that His
creature should in Him have dwelling! What inconceivable blessedness of
the creature, to dwell in the Creator! How great glory of a rational
creation to be, by so blessed an interchange, associated with the
Creator, as that He in it and it in Him should have their dwelling!
Yes, He of His mercy has willed that we, so highly ennobled in our
creation, should have the farther dignity of dwelling in Him. He,
governor of all things, without care or solicitude existing over all;
He, source and foundation of all things, without toil sustaining all;
He, superexcellent above all things, without vain-glory transcending
all; He, embracing each and every thing that is, without extension of
Himself enfolding all; He, the plenitude of all things, without
narrowing of Himself, fulfilling all,–yes, indeed, He, though His
Presence is nowhere wanting, has chosen for Himself a kingdom of
delights within us; the Gospel bearing witness where it says, The
Kingdom of God is within you’ (St. Luke xvii. 21). And if the kingdom
of God is within us, and if God dwells in His realm, does not He whose
kingdom is within us abide Himself within us? Clearly so; for, in like
manner, if God is wisdom, and if the soul of the just is the dwelling
of wisdom, he who is truly just has God abiding in him. And the Apostle
says, The temple of God is holy, which temple you are’ (1 Cor. iii.

Do thou, therefore, apply thyself unweariedly to the pursuit of
holiness, lest thou cease to be the temple of God. He Himself says of
His own, I will dwell in them and walk in them’ (2 Cor. vi. 16). Doubt
not, therefore, that wherever there are holy souls, there He is in
them. For if thou art in those limbs of thine which thou quickenest,
wholly and in all their parts, how much more is God, who created thee
and thy body, wholly present in thee through and through? It is thy
duty, then, to think with most intense devotion with what consideration
and what reverence we should control those senses and those members of
our body, over which the very Godhead sits in charge. Let us offer,
therefore, as is meet, the whole empire of our heart to so great an
Indweller, that nothing in us may rebel against Him; but that all our
thoughts, all the movements of our will, all our words, and the whole
course and tenour of our actions may wait upon His beck, stand obedient
to His will, and be conformed to His rule of right. For thus shall we
truly be His kingdom, and He will abide in us; and we, abiding in Him,
shall live aright.

[§ 4.] IV. All of us who have been baptized in Christ have put on
Christ. Rouse thyself, my soul; rouse thyself, and let the fire of a
love from heaven blaze in thy inmost parts, and learn thou carefully
the dignity bestowed on thee by thy Lord God; and learning, love; and
loving, revere with the addresses of a holy practice. Does not He who
has assigned thee a dwelling in Himself, and has deigned to dwell in
thee, does not He clothe thee, deck thee, and adorn thee with Himself?
As many of you,’ says the Apostle, as have been baptized in Christ have
put on Christ’ (Gal. iii. 27). What worthy meed of praise, then, and of
thanks wilt thou pay Him who has invested thee with such grace and
exalted thee to so great dignity, as that with thy heart’s happiest
outburst of joy thou mayest well exclaim, He hath clothed me with the
garments of salvation, and with the robe of justice He hath covered me’
(Is. lxi. 10)? To the angels of God, to gaze on Christ is supremest
joy; and, lo, of His infinite condescension He has bent Himself to thee
so low as to will thee to be clothed with Himself. What sort of
clothing can it be, but that of which the Apostle glories when he says,
Christ . . . is made unto us of God wisdom and justice and
sanctification’ (1 Cor. i. 30)? And with what stately robes could He
have more richly decked thee than with the amice of wisdom, the apparel
of justice, the fair covering of sanctification?

[§ 5.] V. We are the Body of Christ. Yet why should I say that Christ
has clothed thee with Himself, when He has joined thee to Himself so
intimately as to choose that in the unity of the Church thou shouldest
be of His very Flesh? Listen to the Apostle as he sets forth the
witness of Scripture, They two shall be in one flesh; I speak in Christ
and in the Church’ (Eph. v. 32). And then again meditate on the
closeness of union of their espousal. Ye are,’ he says, the Body of
Christ, and members of member.’ Treat, then, thy body and its members
with the respect which be seems them; lest if thou treat them
wrongfully by any heedless management soever, thou be subjected to so
much the severer punishment for thy unworthy usage, as thou wouldest
have been crowned with a nobler prize for treating them as they
deserved. Thine eyes are the eyes of Christ; therefore thou mayest not
turn thine eyes to gaze on any kind of vanity; for Christ is the Truth,
to whom all vanity is entirely opposed. Thy mouth is the mouth of
Christ; therefore thou mayest not–I speak not of detractions, nor of
lies–thou mayest not open for idle speeches that mouth which should be
reserved only for the praises of God and the edification of thy

So, too, must thou think of the other members of Christ intrusted to
thy keeping.

[§ 6.] VI. In Christ we are one, and are with Him one Christ. But look
deeper still, and see in how close fellowship thou art joined with Him.
Hear the Lord Himself entreating the Father for His own: I will,’ He
says, that as I and Thou are One, so they also may be One in Us (St.
John xvii. 21). I am Thy Son by nature; let them by grace be Thy sons
and My brethren.’ How high a privilege is this, that a Christian, mere
man as he is, should in Christ be so advanced as to be in a certain
sense himself called Christ! A truth apprehended by that faithful
dispenser of the ecclesiastical household, who said, All we Christians
are in Christ one Christ.’ And no wonder; since He is the Head, we the
Body; and He Bridegroom at once and Bride; Bridegroom in Himself and
Bride in holy souls whom He has joined to Himself by the bond of a
deathless love. As a Bride groom He hath set a mitre on My Head, and
adorned Me as a Bride with ornaments’ (Is. lxi. 10).

Here, then, my soul, consider well His benefits to thee; burn thou from
devotion to Him; glow with flames of desire for the blessed vision of
Himself; call aloud, touched with the burning ardours of an inmost
love; and, melted into longings after Him, break forth into the cry of
the faithful spouse, Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His Mouth
(Cant. i. 1). Away from my soul, all delight out side of Him; let no
attachment, let no solace of the present life allure me, so long as His
blissful presence is denied me. Let Him embrace me with the arms of His
charity; let Him kiss me with His mouth of heavenly sweetness; let Him
speak to me with that speech ineffable wherewith He displays His secret
wonders to the angels.’ Let this be the interchange of addresses
between the Bridegroom and the bride; I opening my heart to Him, He
unfolding His hidden sweetness to me. O my soul, quickened by musings
such as these, and inspired with the touch of a holy longing, strive
thou to follow the Bridegroom; and say to Him, Draw me; we will run
after Thee to the sweet odour of Thy ointments’ (Cant. i. 3). So say,
and say it faithfully, not with a quickly-fleeting sound of words, but
with desires that can never flag. So speak as to be heard; so desire to
be drawn to Him as to be able to follow on.

Say, therefore, to thy Redeemer and thy Saviour, Draw me after Thee.
Let not the world’s charms entice me, but the sweetness of Thine own
most blessed love allure me. Time was I was drawn by my own vanity; but
now let Thy truth draw me, draw me after Thee. Draw me, for Thou hast
drawn; keep me, for Thou hast laid hold of me. Thou didst draw me to
redeem, draw me to save. Thou didst draw me in Thy pity, draw me to Thy
bliss. Thou didst lay hold of me, appearing among us made Man for us;
keep me, keep me, now that Thou rulest over heaven exalted above the
angels. It is Thy word, Thy promise. Thou hast promised, saying: And I,
if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to Myself’ (St.
John xii. 32). Draw me now, therefore, Thou so mightily exalted, even
as Thou hast allured me, so compassionately humbled. Thou hast ascended
on high, let me see it; Thou reignest over all things, let me know it.
Do I not know, then, that Thou reignest? Yes, yes, I do, and I thank
Thee that I do. But let me know by perfect love what I know by pious
thought of Thee; let me know by sight what I know by faith. Bind to
Thyself the desires of my heart with the links of an indissoluble love,
for with Thee are the spring and source of my life. Let loving unity
associate whom redeeming love has linked together. For Thou hast loved
me, Thou hast given Thyself for me. Let my desires be ever in heaven
with Thee; let Thy protection be ever upon earth with me. Help this
heart, this heart all but breaking with desire of Thy love, as Thou
didst choose it, when it despised Thy love. Give to me now that I ask;
for when I knew Thee not Thou gavest me Thyself. I return, O take me
home; for when I was a runaway Thou didst call me back. Let me give
love, that I may have love; nay, rather, because I am loved, let me
love Thee more and more, that I may all the more be loved by Thee. Let
my heart’s will be one with Thine; let my one sole aim be all with
Thee; for with Thee our nature, assumed by Thee in mercy, now reigns
glorified. Let me cling to Thee inseparably, and adore Thee
unweariedly, and serve Thee perseveringly, and seek Thee faithfully,
and find Thee happily, and possess Thee eternally.’ Plying thy God with
words like these, O my soul, take fire, and burn, and break forth in
flames, and long to be all ablaze with yearnings after Him.

[§ 7.] VII. A consideration of our sins, for the which our conscience
does the more sting us, and by which we have forfeited all these
blessings. But whilst thou considerest to what and how great blessings
thou hast been advanced by His grace, reflect also what and how great
blessings thou hast by thine own fault foregone, and into what evils
thou hast fallen, overburdened by a load of sins. Ponder with sighs
over the ills thou hast wantonly committed; reflect with groans and
tears over the blessings which by those same ills thou hast miserably
lost. For what good has not thy all-bountiful Creator of His goodness
lavished on thee? And what ill hast thou not paid Him in requital,
grown wanton in execrable impiety? Thou hast cast away good, and
merited evil; nay, made shipwreck of good, and freely chosen evil; and,
the grace of thy Creator being thus lost, or rather thrown away, thou
hast miserably incurred His wrath. Thou hast no resource for proving
thyself innocent when a crowd of evils done by thee surrounds thee like
a countless army, here confronting thee with thy unholy deeds, there
marshalling an innumerable host of unuseful and, what is more to be
condemned, of harmful words; and there yet again parading an infinite
array of wicked thoughts. These, then, are the price for which thou
hast foregone inestimable blessings; for these hast thou forfeited the
grace of thy Creator. Conjure them up, and grieve over them; grieve
over them, and renounce them; renounce them, and condemn them; condemn
them, and change thy life to a better course. Wrestle with thyself in
thy heart of hearts, lest even for a moment’s space thou give consent
to any kind of vanity, whether in heart, or tongue, or, worst of all,
in act. Let there be a daily, or rather an unceasing, struggle in thy
heart, lest thou keep any kind of covenant with thy faults. Ever and
unremittingly examine thyself severely; peer into thy secret depths;
and, whatever thou findest wrong in thee, by a vigorous reproof smite
it, lay it low, bruise it, crush it, fling it from thee and annihilate
it. Spare not thyself, flatter not thyself; but in the light of the
morning–that is to say, in the view of the last assize, which, like
the morning beam, is breaking on the night of this present life–slay
all the sinners of the land–that is to say, the sins and delinquencies
of thine earthly life–and so destroy out of the city of God which thou
shouldest build to Him in thyself all those that work iniquity–that
is, all diabolical suggestions, all delights hateful to God, all deadly
consents, all froward acts. From all of them must thou, as the city of
God, be thoroughly cleansed, that thus thy Creator may find, possess,
and keep in thee an abode pleasing to Himself. Be not of those whose
obstinacy very God seems to be wail when He says, There is none that
considereth in his heart, and saith, What have I done?’ (Is. lvii. 1.)
If they are to be cast away who have refused to blush, and to accuse
themselves for the sins they have committed, canst thou neglect to
arraign, to judge, and with strict discipline chastise thyself? Review,
then, in careful thought the innumerable blessings wherewith thy
Creator has ennobled thee, no merits of thine own intervening, and call
to mind thine own unnumbered evils, thy sole response–O, how wicked
and how undeserved! for all those His benefits; and cry out in the
pangs of a great grief, What have I done? Provoked my God, challenged
my Creator’s anger, repaid Him innumerable ills for untold goods. What
have I done?’ And speaking thus, rend, rend thy heart, pour forth
sighs, weep showers of tears. For if thou weepest not here, when wilt
thou weep?

And if the averted Face of God do not excite thee to contrition–a Face
averted from thy sins–at least let the intolerable pains of hell,
which those sins have provoked, break thy hard heart.

Return then, sinful soul, return into thyself. Draw thy foot out of
hell; so mayest thou escape from the evils due to thee, and recover the
lost goods of which thou art so justly bereft; for if thou revert with
pleasure to thine own evils, then all the goods given thee by Him are
lost and thrown away. It behoves thee, therefore, ever to keep a strict
eye upon them, and chiefly those of which thy conscience does the more
bitterly accuse thee, that so He may turn away His eye of anger from
them. For if thou turnest aside thy sins with a due intention of
satisfying for them, He turns aside His glance of retribution. If thou
forgettest, He remembers.

[§ 8.] VIII. A review of our Lord’s Incarnation, by means of which we
have recovered all these losses. And that them mayest be set free from
them, think of the compassions of thy Redeemer towards thee. Of a truth
thou wast blinded by the guilt of original sin, and couldest not scan
thy Creator’s royal heights. Sins like a fog enveloped thee; thou wast
drifting to the realms of darkness, and, swept on by the whirling
current of thy faults, thou wast hurrying to the eternal glooms; when
lo, thy Redeemer applied the eye-salve of His Incarnation to thy
blinded orbs, so that, albeit thou couldest not discern God shining in
the secret chamber of His Majesty, thou mightest at any rate behold Him
made manifest in man; and beholding, own; and owning, love; and loving,
strive with all thy might to arrive at last at His glory. He was
Incarnate to recall thee to a spiritual state; He became partaker of
thy changeful lot to make thee sharer of His immutability; He stooped
to thy lowliness that He might raise thee to His heights.

He was born of virginal integrity in order to heal the corruption of
our wayward nature; circumcised, to teach man the duty of cutting away
all excesses, whether of sin or of frailty; and offered in the temple
and fondled by a holy widow, to teach His faithful to frequent the
house of God, and aim by the pursuit of sanctity to merit to receive
Him to themselves. He was embraced by the aged Simeon, who sang His
praise, that so He might display to us His love of sober life and
ripened character; and baptized, that thus He might sanctify for us the
Sacrament of Baptism. And when in the Jordan, stooping to baptism at
the hand of John, He heard the Voice of the Father, and received the
Holy Spirit’s advent under the figure of a dove, it was to teach us how
to stand in unvarying humility of soul–as is intimated by the Jordan,
which is by interpretation their going down–and so be favoured with
converse with our heavenly Father, of Whom it is said, that His
communication is with the simple’ (Prov. iii. 32), and exalted by the
presence of the Holy Ghost, Who takes His rest with the humble; at the
hand of John withal, a name signifying the grace of God, that, whatever
we receive from God, we ascribe all to His grace, not our merits. And
when He had completed His fast of forty days, and was gloriously tended
by ministrant angels, He taught us how, by turning away from the
enticements of transitory things, all through the course of the present
life to trample the world and the prince of the world under our feet,
and so be guarded by troops of angels. By day He converses with the
people, preaching the Kingdom of God to them, and edifies the surging
crowds by His miracles and His doctrine; by night He frequents the
mountain, and spends the time in prayer: hinting to us how, at one
time, as opportunity offers, to point the way of life, according to our
measure, by word and by example to our neighbours among whom we live;
how at another, to betake ourselves to thoughtful solitude, and climb
the hill of virtues, and yearn after the sweetnesses of high
contemplation, and with unweariable desire direct our soul’s bent to
the things that are above. ‘Tis on the mountain that He is transfigured
before Peter and James and John; thus hinting to us that if like Peter
(which is interpreted acknowledging) we humbly acknowledge our
infirmity, if we endeavour to be made supplanters of vices (for James,
or Jacobus, means supplanter), and strive faithfully to yield ourselves
to the grace of God (for this is signified by the name of John), we
shall climb all happily that heavenly mountain, and be hold the glory
of Jesus; Jesus our King Himself being our Guide. ‘Twas in Bethany that
He woke Lazarus out of sleep (Bethany is interpreted the house of
obedience); showing thus that all who by the effort of a right will die
to this world and rest in the bosom of obedience, shall be wakened up
by Him to everlasting life. Intrusting His Body and Blood to His
disciples in the mystic supper, He humbly washed their feet; teaching
us that the dread ministries of the altar must be celebrated with
purity of deed and pious humility of mind. And then, or ever He was
exalted in the glory of His holy resurrection, He endured the jests and
the rough speeches of perfidious men, the shame of the Cross, the
bitterness of gall, and at last death; in all this admonishing His own,
that they who desire to attain after death to glory should not only
endure with even mind the toils and distresses of the present life, and
the oppressions of the wicked, but should love all hardnesses that this
world can give, for the sake of guerdons through eternity; should love
them, court them, and thankfully embrace them.

These, therefore, so glorious and countless benefits of thy Creator, if
thou endeavour to ponder them worthily, to embrace them devoutly, and
to imitate them with a fervent love, not only shalt thou recover the
good things lost to thee through thy first parent, but by the
unspeakable grace of thy Saviour thou shalt have far higher goods for
thy possession through eternity. For thine own very God being made thy
Brother by the mystery of the Incarnation, what unspeakable joy has He
not insured thee against the day when thou shalt see thy nature exalted
in His Person over all creation!

[§ 9.] IX. The duty of praying to be drawn out of the pit of misery and
the mire of dregs. What then remains but, duly considering all these
things, by all means possible to rouse thy heart’s ardours towards the
attainment of so great blessings, and to implore Him who created thee
for their possession to snatch thee out of the pit of misery and out of
the mire of dregs, and to make thee possessor of so great happiness?
For what is the pit of misery’ but the gulf of worldly desire? And what
is the mire of dregs’ but the filth of carnal pleasure? For these, that
is to say cupidity and pleasure, are two bands or leashes by which the
human race is checked and held back lest it should attain the blessed
liberty of heavenly contemplation. For in truth earthly desire is a pit
of misery, a pit which engulfs the soul it has enthralled by numberless
desires, and drags, as strongly as ever chains could drag, into a deep,
a gulf of vices; and then allows her to have no rest. For the mind of
man, once crushed by the yoke of cupidity, is dissipated from without
by the love of visible things, and distracted from within by
conflicting passions. Toil in acquiring, anxiety in multiplying,
delight in possessing, fear of losing, distress at having lost; these
all make havoc of her, nor do they allow her to see what danger she is
in. This is the pit of misery, and these are the ills with which
worldly cupidity for ever stores it. From this pit it was that the
blessed David rejoiced that he had been rescued, when he broke forth
into thanksgiving, and exclaimed, He hath brought me out of the pit of
misery and the mire of dregs’ (Ps. xxxix. 3).

And the mire of dregs,’ what is that? It is the delight of unchaste
pleasure. Cry aloud, then, with the blessed David, and say to thy
Creator, Draw me out of the mire, that I may not stick fast’ (Ps.
lxviii. 15). Cleanse thy heart from every stain of carnal delight, shut
out impure musings from thy soul, if thou dost really long to get free
out of the filth of this mire. But when by penance, by confession, by
tears, by carefully inviting holy thoughts into the heart, thou hast
clean escaped, then be ware that thou fall not back; but from the deep
of thy heart of hearts sigh thou in the sight of God, and implore His
mercy that He would set thy feet upon the rock; ask Him, that is to
say, to establish thy heart’s affections in the strength of Christ;
that thy mind may root itself on the solid ground of justice, clinging
inseparably to Christ, of whom, it is said that He is made unto us of
God wisdom and justice and sanctification’ (1 Cor. i. 30). Pray Him
also to direct thy steps that they turn not back to sins, but may
advance with unvarying course and inflexible intent in the way of His.
heavenly precepts, and may hasten on with full determination to the
angels’ blissful home.

But, in aspiring to such a goal as this, be not remiss in praising thy
Creator; rather supplicate His mercy that He would put a new song in
thy mouth, and help thee to sing with due devotion a hymn to our God.
For it is meet that a soul united to God in a new life should ever sing
a new song in His praise, despising temporal things and yearning only
for eternal; obeying the Divine law now no more from fear of
punishment, but from love of justice. For the singing of the new song
to God is this, to crush the desires of the old man, and with thy whole
heart’s endeavour, and with a sole desire of eternal life, to walk the
ways of the new man which have been pointed out to the world by the Son
of God. And he sings a hymn to God who treasures in pure mind’s
recollection the joys of that heavenly home, and strives to reach them,
supported by the consciousness of a holy life, and relying on the gift
of supernatural grace.

[§ 10.] X. A consideration of the miseries of the present life. But
withal, weigh well the miseries of the present life, and with watchful
heart reflect how very cautiously thou shouldest live in it. Remember
that thou art partaker of his lot of whom Scripture says, A man whose
way is hidden, and God hath surrounded him with darkness’ (Job iii.
23). For thou art indeed encompassed with a thick cloud of blind
ignorance, since thou knowest not how God forms His estimate of thy
works, and art all ignorant of the end that awaits thee. Man knoweth
not,’ says Solomon, whether he be worthy of love or hatred’ (Eccles.
ix. 1).

Picture to thyself some profound and darksome valley, stored in its
depths with every kind of torments. High above it imagine a bridge, a
solitary bridge, spanning the vast chasm, and measuring no more than a
foot in breadth. This bridge, so narrow, so high, so perilous, if any
one were forced to cross it whose eyes were bandaged so as not to see
where he stepped, and his hands tied behind him so that he could not
even grope with a staff to guide himself; what fear, think you, what
perplexity would he not feel! What! Would there be place left in him
for gaiety, for merriment, for wantonness? No, no, I warrant thee. All
his pride would be taken from him, his vain-glory would be put to
flight, and death, only death, would wave its dark shadow on his soul.
Imagine, farther, hideous ravenous birds careering round the bridge,
bent on dragging the traveller down into the deep; will not his terror
be enhanced? And if, as he crosses, the boards are slipped ever from
his heels, will he not be stricken with fresh alarms the further he

But lay to heart the meaning of a similitude like this, and roused to
solicitude brace thy mind with a godly fear. By that profound and dark
some valley understand hell, hell deep and fathomless, and frightfully
black with dreary gloom. Thither converge all kinds of torment; there
all that soothes is not, all that terrifies, or tortures, or can
distress, is, is everywhere. That perilous bridge, from which the
awkward traveller launches headlong, is the present life, whence he who
lives amiss falls and plunges into hell. The boards withdrawn at the
passenger’s heel are the several days of our life, which so pass away
as never to return; but by the diminution of their number urge us to
our destiny and compel us to hurry to our end. The birds wheeling about
the bridge and waylaying those who cross it are malignant spirits,
whose whole study is to cast men down from the straight way they are
on, and to hurl them into the depths of hell. We, we are the
passengers, blinded by the gloom of uncertainty, and, from the
difficulty of doing right, clogged, as it were, with a heavy chain, so
that we cannot tread the way of a holy life unfettered unto God.
Consider, then, whether in so great danger thou must not cry with
utmost earnestness to thy Creator, that, shielded by His protection,
thou mayest sing with confidence while passing through the troops of
the adversaries, The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I
fear?’ (Ps. xxvi. 1.) Light, I mean, against blindness, salvation
against danger; for these are the two evils in which our first parent
has involved us, ignorance and danger; such ignorance and such danger
that we neither know whither we are going nor what we are to do; and
that, when we have after a sort seen where we are, even then, clogged
and hampered by difficulty, we can not fully do that which we rightly

Dwell on these things, O my soul; muse upon them; let thy mind day by
day practise herself therein. Intent on them, let her recall herself
from anxieties and thoughts about useless objects, and inflame herself
with the fire of a holy fear and a blessed love, that she may avoid
these ills, and se cure eternal goods.

[§ 11.] XI. Of the body after the soul’s departure. And now I return to
Thee, most sweet Creator and most kind Redeemer, who hast made me and
re-made me; and with lowly prayers I supplicate Thy pity, that Thou
wouldest teach my heart to consider with life-giving fear and salutary
alarms, in how loathsome and deplorable plight my flesh must be given
over after death a prey to worms and putrefaction, bereft of the breath
that now inspires it. Where then will be the beauty, if any it have, of
which it boasts now? Where the exquisite delights it revels in? Where
its pampered limbs? Will not the prophet’s word then have its true
fulfilment: All flesh is grass, and all the glory thereof as the flower
of the field’? (Is. xl. 6.) My eyes will be shut, their orbs twisted in
the socket; eyes from whose vain and mischievous wanderings I ofttimes
drew pleasure. So shall they lie, covered over with fearful darkness;
eyes that now love to drink in vanities as they drink in the light. My
ears will lie exposed, soon to be crowded with worms; ears which now
catch with an accursed delight slanderous speeches and the vain
tittle-tattle of the world. My jaws, which gluttony has opened wide,
will be tied up, miser ably locked together. My nostrils, which are now
gratified with divers odours, will waste and rot away. My lips, which
loved ever to be relaxed with silly laughter, will grin with rank
unsightliness. My tongue, which has so often uttered idle stories, will
be clogged with putrid foulness. And, what now are ofttimes gorged with
various kinds of meat, throat and belly, will be choked with worms,
surfeited with worms! But why rehearse in detail? The whole frame and
structure of the body, for the health, the comfort, and the pleasure of
which almost every thought stands minister, will be dissolved into
putrefaction and the worm, and last of all, vile dust. Where then the
proud neck? Where the ornaments, the dress, the varied dainties? They
are vanished, and gone like a dreamy gone all of them, never to return;
and I, their poor, poor votary, left behind.

[§ 12.] XII. Of the soul after her separation from the body. O good
God, what do I behold? Lo, fear meets fear, and grief encounters grief!

After her separation from the body, will not the soul be stormed by a
multitude of demons flying to confront her, and charged to lay against
her accusation upon accusation, indictment on indictment? And will not
the soul be examined on all of these, down to the most trivial
negligence? The prince of this world surrounded by his satellites will
come, furious with rage; that prince so adroit in circumventing, so
unscrupulous in lying, so spiteful in accusing; he will come,
preferring against her, out of all her offences done, as many true
charges as he can, and forging many false besides. O dreadful hour! O
terrible ordeal! Here the rigorous Judge to judge me, there the pert
adversaries to accuse me. My soul shall stand alone without a
comforter, and with no source of solace, unless it be that the memory
of its good works protects it.

But in so strict a reckoning, when all things shall be naked and open,
who shall boast that he hath a chaste heart?’ For if the just man shall
scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?’ (1
St. Pet. iv. 18.) Then shall the lips of the flatterers fail; the
fawning tongue shall wag no more, vain-glory shall be proved a traitor,
false joys shall flee away, dignities and pomp shall take to flight,
and the greed of power shall be seen to have been a hollow cheat. Happy
then the soul which in such peril is protected by the consciousness of
innocence, and shielded by the memory of holiness; happy the soul
which, while as yet in her lodging of flesh, was over and over again
washed with the waters of contrition, dressed and trimmed with careful
confessions, and illuminated with the light of sacred meditations;
happy the soul which had been chastened by humility, tranquillised by
patience, detached from her own will by obedience, and inspired by
charity to the exercise of all virtue. Such a soul will have no dread
of that fearful hour, nor shall it be confounded when it shall speak to
its enemies in the gate’ (Ps. cxxvi. 5). For it will be joined to those
of whom Scripture says, When He shall give sleep to His beloved, behold
the inheritance of the Lord’ (ib. 3).

[§ 13.] XIII. A consideration of the day of judgment, when the goats
shall be set on the left hand. And now who can skill to say anything of
the terrors of that last assize, when the sheep shall be set on the
right hand, and the goats on the left? What will be the trembling when
the powers of heaven shall be moved? What the crash of the elements,
what the wailings, what the cries, when that terrible sentence shall be
passed upon the careless ones, Depart from Me, you cursed, into
everlasting fire’ (St. Matt. xxv. 41). A day of wrath that day will
be–dies ir?¦, dies illa–a day of tribulation and anguish, a day of
clouds and whirlwind, a day of trumpet and the trumpet-blast! The voice
of that day will be a bitter voice, and then the mighty shall be
harrowed up; for they who now in the pride of their heart despise the
will of God, and glory in the pursuit of their own self-will, shall
then be wrapt in perpetual inextinguishable flame, and the undying worm
shall feed on them, and the smoke of their torment shall go up for ever
and ever.

[§ 14.] XIV. A consideration of the joy when the sheep shall be set on
the right hand. But, while these are wailing and roaring out their
heart’s grief for anguish of spirit, what, thinkest thou, will be the
happiness and exultation of those blessed ones, who, set on the right
hand of God, are to hear His that most joyful summons, Come, ye blessed
of My Father: possess you the Kingdom prepared for you from the
foundation of the world’ (St. Matt. xxv. 34). Then indeed shall the
voice of joy and salvation dwell in the tabernacle of the just; then
shall the Lord lift up the heads of the lowly, who now refuse not to be
the vile and the outcast for His sake. He will heal the contrite of
heart, and console with unending joys, according to their desire, those
who now sorrow in their pilgrim age. Then will be seen the ineffable
reward of those who held it joy to have thrown away their own wills
from love of their Creator. In that day He will wreathe the heads of
His obedient ones with a heavenly crown, and the glory of those who
suffered shall shine forth with unutterable brightness. Then shall
charity enrich her vassals with the society of all the angels, and
purity of heart beatify her lovers with the all-happy vision of their
Creator. Then shall God Himself reveal Himself to all who love Him, and
raise them up for ever to enduring resting places and perpetual peace.
Then in its truth shall this song be sung by all the elect: Blessed are
they that dwell in Thy house; they shall praise Thee for ever and ever’
(Ps. lxxxiii. 3). In which praise may He vouchsafe to give us a part,
who with the Father and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth God for ever
and ever. Amen.



[§ 15. The sinner’s fear.] My life affrights me. For when carefully
reviewed, its whole course shows in my sight like one great sin; or at
least it is well-nigh nothing but barrenness. Or, if any fruit is seen
in it, that fruit is so false, or so imperfect, or in some way or other
so tainted with decay and corruption, that it must needs either fail to
satisfy God, or else utterly offend Him.

So then, sinner, thy life, so far from being almost all, is altogether
all steeped in sin, and therefore worthy of condemnation; or else it is
unfruitful, and deserving of disdain. But why distinguish the
unfruitful from the damnable? For surely, if it is unfruitful, it is
damnable by that very fact. For what the Truth hath spoken is as
evident as it is true: Every tree that doth not yield good fruit shall
be cut down and cast into the fire’ (St. Matt. iii. 10). For if I
employ myself in constructing something useful or serviceable, surely I
do not value the result of my labour at the price of the bodily
sustenance which I consume while employed on the work. Who feeds a
flock, pray, which is to bring in less than the value of its pasturage?
And yet Thou, O God, Thou dost all too bountifully feed and foster me;
and dost await me, good-for-nothing worm and foul sinner that I am. O,
how less offensive is a dead dog to the human senses than a sinful soul
is to God; how much more loathsome to God is this than that is to men!
Ah, no; call not the sinner a man, but a reproach, a disgrace to
humanity; viler than a brute, more odious than a carcase. My soul is
aweary of my life; I am ashamed to live; I am afraid to die.

What, then, remains for thee to do, O sinner, but all through thy whole
life to bewail thy whole life, and in such wise to do so as that all
thy whole life may be a bewailing of itself?

But here again my soul is sadly bewildered, and bewilderingly sad as
well; for it grieves not in proportion to its knowledge of itself, but
slumbers on in such security as if it knew not in what plight it is. O
barren soul, what art thou doing? O sinful soul, why dost thou slumber?
The day of judgment is coming, the great day of the Lord is at hand; at
hand, I say, and all too swift. The day of wrath that day shall be; the
day of tribulation and anguish, the day of calamity and misery, the day
of darkness and gloom, the day of cloud and whirlwind, the day of
trumpet and the trumpet-cry. O bitter voice of the day of God! Why dost
thou slumber, thou lukewarm soul? thing neither hot nor cold, and fit
only to be vomited out of the mouth, why dost thou slumber? He that
awakes not, he that trembles not, at such thunders is not asleep but
dead. O barren tree, where are thy fruits? Tree fit only for the axe
and the fire, fit to be cut down and burnt, what are thy fruits? Why,
they are only pricking thorns and bitter sins I Would to God the thorns
pricked thee to repentance and so got broken; would to God those bitter
fruits dropped off and perished!

Perhaps thou thinkest some sin or other a little thing. Would that thy
strict Judge thought any sin a little thing! But, ah me, does not every
sin by its unholiness dishonour God? What then; will the sinner dare to
call a sin a little thing? When is it a little thing to dishonour God?
O dry and useless tree, worthy of eternal flames, what wilt thou answer
in that day when a strict account, down to the twinkling of an eye,
shall be required of thee of all the time dealt out to thee for living
in, as to how it has been spent by thee? Ay, then will be condemned
whatsoever shall be found in thee of labour or of leisure, of speech or
of silence, down to the slightest thought; even the very fact that thou
hast lived; if that life has not been ruled and directed to the will of
God. Alas, how many sins will then start into view, as from an ambush,
which now thou seest not! More, assuredly, and more terrible, it may
be, than those which thou now seest. How many things which thou now
thinkest not at all wicked, how many which thou now believest to be
good, will then stand forth unmasked, sins of the deepest, blackest
die! Then without doubt thou wilt receive according as thou hast done
in the body; then, when there shall be no more time of mercy; then,
when no repentance shall be accepted, when no promise of amendment may
be made.

Here reflect on what thou hast done, and what award thou must receive.
If much good and little evil, rejoice much; if much evil and little
good, grieve much. What! O good-for-nothing sinner, are not thy evil
deeds enough to extort a great and bitter cry? Are they not enough to
distil thy blood and thy marrow into tears? Wo to the strange hardness,
which such heavy hammers are too light to break! O, insensible torpor,
that such sharp goads are not sharp enough to waken! Alas for the
deadly sleep, that thunders so terrific are too dumb to startle! O
worthless sinner, all this should be enough to prolong a ceaseless
grief; and surely it is enough to draw perpetual tears!

But why should I smother in silence aught of the weight or of the
magnitude of the misery that threatens? Why cheat the eyes of my soul?
Shall I do so, that sudden sorrow may rain all unforeseen on the
sinner; or that the intolerable storm may pelt upon him unawares?
Surely this is riot for his interest. But if I should put into words
whatever I might contrive to conjure up in imagination, yet that could
never bear any sort of comparison with the reality.

Therefore let my eyes drop tears all day and all night, and never rest.
Come, sinner, come; add fresh griefs to thy load of griefs; add terror
to terror; add cry to cry; for He the very God will judge thee, in
despite of whom I sin in every act of disobedience, and in every
waywardness; He who has returned me good for evil, whilst I have given
Him evil for good; who is now most long-suffering, but will then be
most severe; who is now most merciful, and will then be most just.

Wo is me! wo is me! Against Whom have I sinned? I have dishonoured God;
provoked the Omnipotent. Sinner that I am, what have I done! Against
Whom have I done it! How wickedly have I done it! Alas, alas! O wrath
of the Omnipotent, fall not on me; wrath of the Omnipotent, where could
I endure thee? There is no place in all of me that could bear thy
weight. O anguish! Here, sins accusing; there, justice terrifying;
beneath, the yawning frightful pit of hell; above, an angry Judge;
within, a burning conscience; around, a flaming universe! The just will
scarcely be saved; and the sinner entangled thus, whither, whither
shall he fly? Tight bound, where shall I crouch and cower; how shall I
show my face? To hide will be impossible, to appear will be
intolerable; I shall long for the one, and it is nowhere; I shall
loathe the other, and it is everywhere! What then? what then? What will
happen then? Who will snatch me from the hands of God? Where shall I
find counsel, where shall I find salvation? Who is He that is called
the Angel of great counsel, that is called the Saviour, that I may
shriek His Name? Why, here He is; here He is; it is Jesus, Jesus the
very Judge Himself, in whose hands I am trembling!

[§ 16. The sinners hope.] Breathe again, sinner, breathe again; do not
despair; trust in Him. thou fearest. Fly home to Him from Whom thou
hast fled away; cry cravingly to Him Whom thou hast so proudly
provoked. Jesus, Jesus; for the sake of this Thy Name, deal with me
according to this Name. Jesus, Jesus; forget Thy proud provoker, and
bend Thine eye upon the poor invoker of Thy Name, the Name so sweet,
the Name so dear, the Name so full of comfort to a sinner, and so full
of blessed hope. For what is Jesus but Saviour? Therefore, Jesus, for
Thine own self’s sake be a Jesus to me; Thou who formedst me r that I
perish not; who redeemedst me, that Thou condemn me not; who createdst
me by Thy goodness, that Thy handiwork perish not by my iniquity.
Recognise and own, Benignest, what is Thine; take away what is
another’s. Jesus, Jesus r mercy on me, while the day of mercy lasts,
that Thou damn me not in the day of judgment. For what profit shalt
Thou have in my blood, if I go down into eternal corruption? For the
dead shall not praise Thee, O Lord, nor any of them that go down to
hell’ (Ps. cxiii. 17). If Thou fold me in the wide, wide Bosom of Thy
mercy, that Bosom will be none the less wide on my account. Therefore
admit me, O most desired Jesus, admit me into the number of Thine
elect; that with them I may praise Thee, and enjoy Thee, and make my
boast in Thee amongst all who love Thy Name; who with the Father and
the Holy Ghost reignest gloriously throughout unending ages. Amen.



[§ 17. The sinner’s past.] O my soul, O woe begone soul, O wretched
soul of an all too wretched mortal, throw aside thy lethargy, throw
away thy sin, throw into thy task all the powers of thy mind; call home
to heart thine outrageous guilt, and from that heart call forth a wild
and woeful cry. Be think thee, wretch, bethink thee of thy horrible
crime; prolong thy horror-stricken terror and thy terror-stricken
grief. For thou, thou that once wast washed white in the celestial
bath, dowered with the Holy Ghost, vowed in Christian profession; thou
wast a virgin betrothed to Christ. O, where does memory lead me! O,
whose is this Name I name! He is now no longer the loving Spouse of my
virginity, but the terrible Judge of my unchastity. Ah, memory of lost
happiness, why dost thou thus aggravate afresh the burden of the woe
that masters me? How sad the plight of a man debauched, to whom good
and ill alike are a torture! For an evil conscience racks me, and those
its threatened torments in which I fear that I shall burn; and the
memory of a good conscience racks me, and the thought of those its
rewards which I know that I have lost, and shall never more recover. O
sad, O grievous loss; the loss of losing irrecoverably that which ought
to be interminably kept; an inconsolable loss, alas! a losing that has
not only foredone my blessings, but has won me fresh racks and

O virginity, now no longer my loved, but my lost; now no more a
delight, but a despair to me; whither art thou gone? What rank salt
mire is this where thou hast left me? And thou, fornication, mind’s
polluter, soul’s destroyer, whence didst thou creep and steal on
wretched me? And O, from how bright and glad a standing-place hast thou
hurled me down! Here thou with thy fever parchest me, O bitter woe, for
I have let go the one; and here thou, O irksome grief, and fear of a
worse yet, dost torture me, for I have let the other come. On the one
hand in consolable loss, on the other intolerable torment. Woe on this
side, and woe again on that! Thus equally, O good and evil, thus with
exactest justice do ye both punish miserable, wicked me, even while I
live. Deservedly, deservedly indeed. For thou, O my soul, faithless to
God, foresworn to God, false spouse of Christ, hast deliberately
dropped from thy virgin height, and miserably plunged into the gulf of
fornication. Thou, that wast erst espoused to the King of heaven, hast
made thyself mistress to the gaoler of hell. Ah, soul, cast away from
God, cast forth to the devil; rather caster away of God and embracer of
the devil. The act was thine, O my miserable soul; for ’twas thine,
’twas thine, become a brazen strumpet and a shameless courtesan, to
give bill of divorce to thy Lover and thy Creator God, and bestow
thyself on thy seducer and destroyer demon. O wretched, wretched

Alas, from what a height hast thou fallen, into what an abyss hast thou
been hurled! Fie upon thee; thou hast scorned One, O how kind; and
linked thee to one, O how malignant! What hast thou done, O madness, O
unchastity all too mad, O wickedness all too unchaste? Thou hast left
thy chaste Lover in heaven, and followed thy hateful seducer into hell,
and prepared thee in hell’s pit a filthy lair in place of thy bridal
chamber. Astounding horror, what perversity of will is this! Miracle of
horror, what wilful perversity is this! Whence, then, O God, am I to
draw for myself the corrective of such deep depravity? whence for Thee,
O God, satisfaction for so black a sin? Fling thyself, miserable
mortal, down into the black abyss of a woe unmedicined, thou that didst
choose to fling thyself into the pit of a horrible iniquity. Wrap thee
about, poor wretch, in guise of terrible grief, thou that didst all
willingly launch into the slime of hellish filth. And thou, steeped in
crime, muffle thyself round with horrid glooms of inconsolable wailing,
thou that didst wanton wilfully in the quagmire of so grovel ling
indulgence. Wallow in the gulf of bitterness, thou that didst dally in
the bed of shame.

O shrinking terror, trembling grief, inconsolable distress, crowd,
crowd upon me; whelm me, overwhelm me, bewilder me, encompass me, and
make me all your own. ‘Tis just, ’tis just. I have flouted you by my
shameless daring; I have provoked you by my filthy wantonness no, no,
God; God, not you and now in woebegone repentance I desire you. Torture
your victim; avenge your God; let the fornicator feel betimes the
hell-torment he has merited; let him have a foretaste of what he has
laid up for himself; let him get accustomed to what he has to suffer.
Prolong and lengthen out thy doleful penance, thou uncontrolled,
unbridled sinner, that didst so long prolong thy impurity and thy
guilt. Roll back, roll back into the same seething gulf of bitterness,
thou that didst so oft roll back into the same slough of lusts. And as
for you, consolation, security, and joy, I forego you, I reject you
till pardon of sin restore you. Away with you, away with you, before I
die; if haply forgiveness may recall you to me, albeit after death. Let
perpetual penance be the sad companion of my time; let perpetual grief
be the unsatisfied torturer of my life; let sadness and harsh
mournfulness be the unfatigued harrowers-up of my early and my latter
age. O be it so! O be it so! I desire, I pray, I long that it may be
so. For though I am unworthy to lift my eyes to heaven in prayers,
surely I am not unworthy to blind them with tears. If my mind from
shame of conscience is too much confounded to pray, ’tis right it
should be confounded by the giddy bewilderment that comes of a
mourner’s distress and grief. If it fears to be displayed in the sight
of God, ’tis just it should have in its own sight the torments that its
guilt has earned.

[§ 18. The sinner’s future.] So, then, let my heart ponder and ponder
again on what it has done and what it has deserved. Let my mind go
down, yes, down to the land of darkness, the land covered with the
shadow of death; and there let her scan the torments that await a
guilty soul; let her gaze on them, and study them; let her see, and be
sore troubled. What is it, O God, what is it that I descry in the land
of misery and darkness? Horror, horror! What is it that I behold here,
where no order, but everlasting horror dwelleth? (Job x. 22.) Ah, the
jarring shrieks, the tears and hurly-burly, the gnashing of teeth, the
disordered advance of multitudinous wailings, wo, and wo; how many
wo’s! how many and how many wo’s, and wo’s on the heels of wo’s! Ah,
the sulphurous fire, the flame from the nether most deep! You volumes
of blackest smoke, with what frightful roaring do I see you wreathe and
roll! You worms, alive in fire; what strange appetite for gnawing thus
inflames you, you that the fire of fires does not burn? And you, ye
demons, glowing through and through, chafing with rage, gnashing your
teeth with frenzy, why are ye so merciless to them that are writhing in
the midst of you? O all and every kind of torments, measured by
justice, but measureless to power of endurance, is it so that no
controlment, no respite, no end is ever to subdue you? Are these the
things, great God, that have been prepared for fornicators and
despisers of Thee, of whom I am one? I, yes I; I am one of them.

Shudder, O my soul; and faint, my mind; and break, my heart. Whither do
you drag me, O punishers of my guilt? Whither dost thou thrust me, O my
sin? Whither dost thou drive me, O my God? If I have contrived to be
Thy culprit, say, could I have contrived not to be Thy creature? If I
have robbed me of my chastity, say, have I bereft Thee of Thy mercy? O
Lord, O Lord, if I have let that come whence Thou canst damn, hast Thou
let that go whence Thou art wont to save? Do not, do not, O Lord, so
look upon my evil as to forget Thy good. Where, where, O God of truth,
is that Thy, I desire not the death of the sinner, but that the sinner
turn from his way and live’? (Ezech. xxxiii. 11.) O Lord, who liest
not, O Lord, what means Thy nolo mortem peccatoris, if Thou bury down
in hell a sinner crying unto Thee? To plunge a sinner into the
bottomless pit, is this Thy volo ut convertatur, Thy volo ut vivat? I
am the sinner, O Lord, I am the sinner. If, then, Thou desirest not the
death of the sinner, what forces Thee to do what Thou desirest not, to
give me over to the death? If Thou desirest that the sinner turn again
and live, what prevents Thee from doing what Thou dost desire, that
Thou convert me, and I live? What! does the enormity of my sin force
Thee to what Thou desirest not, although Thou art Almighty God? Forbid
it, Almighty God; forbid it, O Lord God; let not the wickedness of a
sinner, a confessing, grieving sinner, prevail against the decree of
the Omnipotent.

Remember, O just, O holy, O bountiful God, that Thou art merciful, and
hast made me and re-made me. Therefore remember not, good Lord, Thy
justice against Thy sinner, but be mindful of Thy condescension to Thy
creature; remember not Thy fury against the guilty, but be mindful of
Thy mercy to the miserable. True it is that my conscience and sense of
guilt deserves damnation, and that my penance is not enough for
satisfaction; but yet it is certain that Thy mercy out strips all Thy
resentment. Spare, therefore, Thou good Lord, to whom salvation
belongeth, and who desirest not the death of the sinner, spare my
sinful soul; for it flies, frightened by Thy frightening justice, to
Thy consoling mercy; that so, since the treasure of his marred
virginity is now–O grief!–irrecoverable, yet the punishment due to
fornication may not be inevitable to the penitent; for ’tis neither
impossible to Thy omnipotence, nor ill-becoming to Thy justice, nor
unwonted to Thy mercy; since Thou art good, and since Thy mercy reaches
to eternity, Thou who art blessed for ever more. Amen.



[§ 19. The necessity and the benefit of careful self-examination.] O
soul of mine, so wretched and so soiled, recall to thee and carefully
compose all thy bodily senses; and with more than usual care look and
see how grievously thou art wounded and laid low. For since thy
Creator, in His in finite goodness, grants thee life, since in His
ineffable compassion He so patiently and all so tenderly awaits thy
amendment, and a suitable satisfaction, be not slow and indolent in the
curing of thy wounds, in the correcting of thy sins, in the reconciling
of thy offended Creator, and in the making friends to thee of all His
saints, whom by thy offences against their Creator and thine, their
Lord and thine, thou hast turned into thy foes. If thou hadst always
remained upright and pure, upright and pure as thy Creator made thee,
if thou hadst always–as thou couldest well have done, hadst thou
chosen–conformed thyself to His will without defection, thou wouldest
now be running, happy and joyful, a happy and joyful course through
this present life; the which course run through and finished, thou
wouldest find assured to thee, happy and joyful, by His help, the
possession of that happy and joyful life which has no end. But now,
since, all wretched and unhappy, thou hast set at naught the will of
thy Creator, and clung wretchedly and unhappily to thine own carnal
pleasures; if, carefully refusing to pamper thyself, carefully refusing
to spare thyself in what evils soever and what iniquities soever thou
dost find that thou art entangled; if, seeing them and repenting of
them, thou art setting thyself in earnest to return into the path of
satisfaction and amendment; if so, then, by way of a beginning, throw
away one thing from thine inmost self; I mean this, the willing
inclination to sin; throw it away, and embrace and do what thou so well
knowest will be pleasing to thy Creator.

But it may be that thou sayest to thyself, beholding the enormity of
thy sins, and despairing of indulgence and remission–it may be that
thou sayest, having regard to thy habitual offences and their foulness,
How can I possibly henceforth have strength enough to amend my ways? I
that am acting against the will of God, now well-nigh a lifetime; I
whose whole being is set on the gratification of all kinds of wicked
desires, and the doing of all kinds of wicked deeds; I that lie here
hardened in sins, like some stone which iron cannot cut and fire cannot
melt? For when with more than ordinary care I contemplate the justice
of my Creator, and review the evil deeds which ever and anon I have
committed, I am certain that nothing awaits me but the torments which
evil deeds deserve.’ True, true enough is what thou sayest; for God,
just judge and lover of equity that He is, ordains torments as the
punishment of sins and evil deeds. But nevertheless, according to the
measure of that very justice which makes Him punish those who persist
in wickedness, does He repay with an ever-enduring guerdon those w r ho
repent of their evil deeds, and do what is good.

For this reason did I just now admonish thee to examine thine inmost
parts and all thy doings in His sight with special care; and with no
less care to fix thine eye on the issue to which thy doings tend. If
thou persevere in this, and persevere too in bruising thy hard heart
with hammers of iron, as it were, by these reviews–if so, I verily
believe that thou wilt thus do what, unless thou art mad, will yield
thee as its return happiness and endless joys, and wilt rid thyself of
that whence thou hast been meriting misery and torments.

[§ 20. The goodness of God, and the malignity of the Devil.] For this
reason do I again and yet again admonish thee unintermittingly to
recollect how sweet and how good is thy Creator towards thee; how great
was His goodness in creating thee when thou wast not, and in making
thee, instead of a dumb brute or an insensible creature, a being such
as could understand and love Him, and, joyful and eternal, share His
eternity with Him; how great His goodness in loving thee with such
excess of love as that, though He knew that thou wouldest do many
things against His will, He yet re fused not to create thee, and lo,
thou art; how great His goodness in awaiting thine amendment with such
gentle forbearance, so mercifully and compassionately does He still
bear with thee! Yes, He awaits; thy Creator awaits thy improvement, as
I said;. for He who was pleased to make thee, never, never wishes to
destroy thee; rather would He have thee return to His all-merciful
compassion; rather would He reward thee, cleansed and amended by true
repentance, with that happy and eternal life which thou hadst lost
through sin.

Think, therefore, and think again and again, of thy Creator’s kindness
to thee; and, as is right, raise thyself and all thy powers to the
contemplation of His unspeakable love. For the love of Him brooks no
foulness of vice, and consents to no pleasure bred of carnal desires.
For where love of Him reigns, there utmost peace abides, and deepest
calm, and perfect readiness to do and think all that may tend to the
attainment of eternal happiness. Know well that in all thy actions and
all thy thoughts there are two round about thee, and very close to
thee; one thy friend, the other thy foe. Thy friend is thy Creator, who
rejoices in all thy good works; whilst thy foe, the devil, is mortified
at those same good works of thine. The devil, ever laying snares for
thee as he does, is rejoiced if he see thee do evil deeds, and give
heed to vain and foolish thoughts, whence he may be able to find
accusation against thee before the Great Judge, and drag thee, thus
accused and hence condemned, down with himself into perdition. The
devil, ever eager for the destruction of the faithful, not only accuses
them of the ills they really do, he even tries to set a stain on their
good deeds and their right thoughts by making out of them material for
his false charges. But be thou, on thy side, upon thy guard against his
subtle tricks, and against his wiles so full of all deception; be on
thy guard, be solicitous; and call upon thy Creator and thy dearest
Lord not to let thee be led astray by the wiles and the deceptions of
the foe. O, fly under the shadow of His wings from the face of the
wicked who afflict thee (Ps. xvi. 8, 9), and who make it their aim,
having afflicted and supplanted thee, to drag thee away to death and
eternal ruin. Thy Creator and thy Lord is merciful and compassionate,
far, far beyond the reach of words or even thoughts; so much so, that
never does He destroy any man but through the man’s own great fault and
own great sin.

[§ 21. The compassion of Jesus.] Earthly parents, father and mother, in
our flesh, are wont to feel great compassion and sympathy for their
offspring; and if they find them afflicted with pain of any kind, or
any bodily inconvenience, are ready enough to spend both themselves and
their fortunes, should reason so require, for their children’s recovery
to ease and soundness. Ofttimes, too, many dumb animals even do not
shrink from facing death itself for their young; and only too willingly
go to meet it, that their offspring may escape it, Whence, now, comes
this to man and to the brute? Whence comes this natural sympathy, but
from Him who is the Father of sympathy and compassion; who wills not
that any should perish, and rejoices not in the destruction of them
that die? Our Creator, therefore, the Fountain of compassion, the
Fountain of mercy, when He sees us His children stained with any sinful
contagion, or hurt well nigh to death with the many and deep wounds
that crime has made, displays towards us greater devotion in curing our
sins, in healing our sickness, in cleansing away the leprosy and filth
of our misdeeds, in wiping out the soils of our vain thoughts, than
does earthly father for his children, or reasonless brute for its
young. Nor is it enough for Him simply to cure our sicknesses, and so
dismiss us; when we are healed, He makes us His own close familiars,
and afterwards folds us tenderly in His arms as His own dearest
children; ay, He embraces us and kisses us, and then soothes and
consoles away all our infirmities, and all the sinful leprosy we had
contracted by our folly, and entirely forgets all the injuries we once
did Him by spurning Him in His consolations. He clothes us with honour
in this present life, and crowns us with glory in the next; He makes us
kings; and, as to our soul, her He makes a queen, whence He admonishes
us as kings, already made so in the psalm: And now, O ye kings,
understand; receive instruction, you that judge the earth’ (Ps. ii.
10). For we then are kings indeed, when we rule our inordinate motions,
and reduce them to reason and the will of our Creator; we receive
instruction when we judge the earth, that is to say, when, if we see
that our heart desires earthly things, we compel it to contemn the
earthly and to love the heavenly. Our soul becomes a queen; for arrayed
in varied robes–that is to say, adorned with divers virtuous
gifts–she is wedded in mind’s continuous act and habit to Christ her
Spouse who is in heaven, even whilst she sojourns here on earth. It was
not enough for our Creator to create us, and to govern us when created,
and to send angels, as often as need was, to defend us; but He in His
own Person, taking our form to Him, taking our nature to Him, out of
pity for the work of His hands, came down to us, looked carefully at
our wounds, touched them, felt them; and, moved with pity for the
misery which He saw enthralled us, grieved over us, and sighed in His
inmost soul. He pitied, grieved, and sighed for us; and then of that
very Flesh which He had assumed for our sake, made as it were a healing
ointment, and applied it to our griefs, and restored us from our
sickness back to perfect health. And, that He might in this mystery
show how much He loved us, He gave us that very Flesh which He had
assumed for us, that we might eat It; and onwards to this day fails not
to administer It to us in the sacrifice of His altar.

Thou, then, my soul, consoled and animated by the sweet recollection of
all these mercies, pray to thy Lord, pray to thy Creator; invoke all
His saints to thy assistance, that, aided and consoled by their
intercession, thou mayest gain of Him who made thee grace so to live in
this thy present state, so to purge away thy iniquities by true
repentance and confession, as that, thy transitory passage run, thou
mayest merit to mount up to joys eternal; by His help who liveth and
reigneth God to eternal ages. Amen.



So long as his soul dwells in the body, a man lives according to the
flesh; and on its departure he dies according to the same flesh. And it
is equally true that, just as the soul supplies life to the flesh so
long as it remains in the flesh, so that flesh in turn supplies the
soul with life so long as the flesh does the works of justice. Thus
soul and flesh are seen to act reciprocally; the soul working for the
flesh, and the flesh for the soul; and, pro vided that the soul
cooperates duly with the flesh, they win for each other the life of an.
enduring life. There is a difference, however; inasmuch as the soul is
introduced to that life when it has shaken off the flesh, whereas the
flesh will not enjoy it until reunited to that soul at the resurrection
on the last day. Therefore rejoice, O my soul, and thou, my flesh,
rejoice in the living God (Ps. lxxxiii. 3). Come ye to God your
Creator; come, and be enlightened (Ps. xxxiii. 6); and now no longer do
that of which ye should be ashamed; but always study to do what may
ensure you joy for ever. I implore and I exhort you, that you receive
not the grace of God in vain (2 Cor. vi. 1). For although He now
suffers much to be done by you which much displeases Him, think not
that He will suffer it always. For He is patient, doubtless, but yet a
rewarder; and loving, but yet a searcher of heart and reins. He endures
much now, awaiting our amendment, such is His great gentleness; but if
we do not correct ourselves betimes, He will condemn us, such is His
perfect justice. And He, who is now so kind to us as to call us His
brethren and His friends, will then, at that last scrutiny, reject us
as enemies whom He refuses to know, there being no good works by which
He can know us.

My soul and my flesh, now, now at least, keep watch at all times and
everywhere, thinking on your end. For, it may be, you will not easily
sin if you do this; and, if you do it as I admonish you, you may be
secure; because, in the day when many are sorrowing who now laugh and
rejoice, you will be glad and exult with an unspeakable joy.

Give diligent heed, therefore, to your works. If they are good and
pleasing to God, rejoice; if they are bad and not acceptable to Him,
reform them at once. Let not your eye slumber, nor your eyelids sleep.
The pit of perdition is wide open, .and he who is ever so little off
his guard, slips into it easily enough. Sin, injustice, folly, vanity,
impel him to it scarce resisting, and, once plunged into it, there will
be no escaping for ever. But as the pit of eternal destruction yawns
for the wicked and the evil workers, so the gate of Paradise stands
opened wide to the good and those who persevere in goodness; and the
soul once welcomed there shall always remain and dwell there, full of
joy and gladness for ever and ever.

[§ 23.] And now let us trace, if we can, with careful eye the course by
which good works raise to heaven the soul of him who has lived well,
whilst evil works drag the soul of the sinner into hell. The purged
soul, as soon as she parts from the body, sees all her works; and
seeing that all of them are good, rejoices with an indescribable joy.
Presently an angel takes her into his keeping; yes, the angel who
guarded her eyes from beholding vanity, and closed her ears against
hearing iniquity, he embraces her; who kept watch about her mouth, that
it should not speak lies, he protects her; who shielded her from
sinning by sense of touch or smell, he rejoices in her; and in his
great joy and blithesomeness hovers round about her, and sets her
before the throne of the Divine brightness, there to be happy without
end. And other angels then fly to greet her, and other saints, whose
post is there before the face of the Majesty of God, and recognising
her as their friend and their associate in good works, joyfully embrace
her with the arms of a tenderest love; and, ac costing her as follows,
declare the common joy of one and all of the denizens of bliss: Lo,
thou art our companion; lo, thou art our friend, for thou hast served
God faithfully, and hast laboured with all thy might to do His
commandments; now, now at last rest thee from thy toil, and enjoy
unending happiness, now and onwards through eternity.’

[§ 24.] But, on the other hand, when the soul of the wicked is forced
to go out of the body, angels of Satan presently receive her; and,
binding her roughly with chains of fire, and forcing her still more
roughly on from every side, hurry her off to the torments of that hell
where Satan, plunged in the pit, lies deep and low, where there is
weeping and gnashing of teeth (St. Matt. viii. 12), where fire and
brimstone and storms of wind is the portion of the cup of sinners’ (Ps.
x. 7). Then the infernal king, Satan himself, clutching her in his
grasp, and belching on her a breath of loathsome fire, orders her to be
pinioned by his satellites, and, thus bound, to be cast into the midst
of the tormenting fires, there to be tortured with out end with them,
there without end to die undyingly for very grief. Then the unhappy
soul, racked with pains, hedged round by the infernal fiends, above,
beneath, on every side, returning at last to herself, and seeing all
the evils she has ever done, cries with a woful cry, Ah, poor me, poor
me! why did I ever live? Poor me, racked all over with such strange
torments! poor me! O worms, O worms, why do you gnaw me so cruelly?
Pity me, pity me; pity poor me, that suffer so many and such awful
other torments! Ah, poor me, poor me! And I want to die; but, dying and
dying, still I cannot die. Now do I, poor wretch, receive again all
wherein I sinned, by sight, by taste, by hearing, by smell, by touch.’
And yet it avails not the woe-begone soul so miserably grieving, so
late repenting, so sadly crying out for pain, that so great sorrow now
afflicts it. No; what in her earthly life she merited, that she now
receives in the pains of hell, poor soul, poor sinful soul.

Therefore pay good heed, O my soul, and thou, O my flesh; and paying
heed, judge true judgment, and decide which is the better, which the
more profitable, course to follow; to do well and receive good, or to
do ill and receive evil? Unless you are fools, you will answer, To do
well and get good.’ Therefore do good; do good that you may be able to
have good, that Good from which all good is; I mean the Good of all
good, which cannot but be good. Our Creator has given us many good
things, He has placed many within our reach; but there is no good so
precious, none so worthy of every wise man’s quest, as THE GOOD. to
whom no created good may be compared; and He is our Creator Himself,
who is never other than good. Which Good, if, by His grace, you are
able to have, you will have all other goods in Him. But if, having
others, you have not Him, the Sole Good, you labour in vain, and, like
idiots chasing the wind, you will find at last not truth, but
hollowness and vanity.

No; all present glory, as indeed you see it to be if you rightly
consider the matter, is like a bladder filled with wind; which, so long
as it is held in the hands quite carefully and only looked at, shows
goodly and fair enough; but if by any chance the smallest hole be
pricked in it, emptiness–not goodliness, only emptiness and wind–is
left in your hands.

Therefore reflect; and, as I admonished you at the beginning of this
meditation, think ever on your last end; because thus thinking, and
being always solicitous about your departure hence, you will not easily
sin; and so living on to the last, the temporal joys being ended,
which, whilst you were thus timorous, flitted like a puff of wind
across your cheek, you will find not vanity but truth, which is Christ;
to whom may He bring you who created you. Amen.



[§ 25. The condition of the sinner.] I feel no little fear when I look
back upon the sins I have committed, and bethink me of the pains and
torments which I deserve to suffer for them; and so, in my great
anxiety and my great alarm lest I should be lost, I look about me to
see if haply I may anywhere discover any means of consolation. But,
alas poor me! I find none; for not only my Creator, but my Creator and
the whole creation He has made, are, I know full well, enlisted as my
adversaries. Thus my Creator with His whole creation, grievously
offended at my sins, condemns me; whilst my conscience, too well
assured of its evil deeds, accuses me at every point. So that I find no
consolation, nor do I think that I shall readily procure it from any
source whatever.

What, then, am I to do? Whither shall I turn, desolate as I am,
entangled as I am in the meshes of my sins? If I resolve to turn again
to Him who made me upright, and so supplicate His unspeakable mercy to
have pity on me, I greatly fear lest by my so great rashness I should
move Him to all the greater anger against me, and lest He should all
the more severely on this account avenge Himself on those enormities of
mine by the which I have not feared to provoke His loving-kindness.

What then? Am I to lie still, as though in despair, without counsel,
without help? My Creator even now suffers me to live, even now fails
not to supply me with all that is needful for the sustentation of this
present life; and, for I find it by actual experience, my sins avail
not to conquer His goodness, and induce Him to determine now at last to
cover me with confusion, as I have long ago deserved, and destroy me
altogether. Of all certainties this is most certain, that He is
merciful to me, inasmuch as He lavishes on me such inestimable
blessings, and that even now He does not seek to avenge Himself on my

[§ 26. The Divine mercy before the Incarnation.] I have heard, and what
I have heard is true–for they who have had experience of a fact are in
a position to attest it–that He the Fountain of Mercy, which began to
flow from the very be ginning of the world, flows still. He was
abundantly merciful, as they tell us, and very pitiful to Adam our
first father, in that He did not punish him forthwith with the eternal
perdition he had deserved on committing that sin of eating the
forbidden fruit; but patiently waited for his amendment, and gave him
merciful helps to enable him to return into the grace of Him whom he
had offended. Indeed, He often sent him and those who sprang from him
angels, for this very end; admonishing them to return and do penance
for their iniquities; for He was still willing to receive them, should
they with all their hearts repent of their sins. But they, still
persisting in their sins and despising His admonitions, added fresh
sins to the old; and grown mad, as it were, frantic, and hateful in
their iniquities, began against their nature, although created in
honour by reason of God’s likeness, to imitate the behaviour of brute

Then again He sent patriarchs, He sent prophets; but even then men
chose not to forsake their crooked and perverse ways, but, of those who
gave them counsels of salvation, slew some, and afflicted others with
various and unheard-of tortures. Still, like a merciful father, He
chastened them for a season, not to avenge Himself on their affronts
and scorn, as though goaded to it by their evil deeds, but that they
thus corrected might have recourse to His mercy, who in no wise desires
the perdition of those whom He of His goodness created out of nothing.

[§ 27. The Divine mercy in the Incarnation.] But when, visited and
visited again, first by admonition, then by correction, they still
refused to be converted, the Fountain of Mercy could restrain Himself
no longer, but, descending from the Bosom of the Father, took our true
humanity, took our sinful likeness, and began all sweetly to admonish
them that they should do salutary penance for their sins, and should
own Him to be the very Son of God. For He had come for their salvation,
and they must not lose hope, but must believe most firmly that pardon
was now theirs for all their sins, if only they forsook them and did
penance. For there is no sin so grievous that it cannot be washed out
by penance, and so washed out as that the devil himself can no more
henceforth call it to remembrance. Then, therefore, sinners beholding
the so great sweetness of their Creator, began of their own accord to
run in eager crowds to the Fountain of Mercy, and to wash away their
sins in Him. Nay more; He on His part proceeded, Fountain of Mercy, to
live with sinners, proceeded to throw open to them the sacred doors of
that sacramental confession by means of which every burden of sin is
lightened and removed, for in true confession every stain is cleansed
and washed away.

After this, as the time drew near when He must suffer for the
redemption of sinners, the Jews, of whose stock He was sprung according
to the flesh, moved with envy for that He was merciful and
compassionate, crucified Him. And yet He, even in His very death, not
unmindful of His compassion, prayed to His Father for His murderers,
that He would forgive them this sin, for they know not’–were His
words–for they know not what they do’ (St. Luke xxiii. 34). Thus does
that sweetest compassion of our Lord find excuses for them; our Lord
who desires not the death of the wicked, but that he turn from his way
and live (Ezech. xxxiii. 11). Who, then, has heart so hard, so stony
hard, that the so great loving-kindness of his Creator cannot soften
it; whom, though His creature made by Him out of nothing to His image
and likeness, he treated with dishonour; yet He punished not
revengefully, but, dishonoured as He was and provoked by men’s many
evil deeds, yet endured all with patience, and sweetly admonished them
to return to Him with out doubt and without delay. Ay, indeed; our Lord
Jesus Christ is merciful and sweet; as where He says by His prophet, Is
it my will that a sinner should die, and not that he should be
converted from his ways and live’ (Ezech. xviii. 23), and so, doing
penance, should return to the grace of his Creator? And how merciful He
is to the sinful soul He declares by another prophet, when He implores
it, even after the sin committed, to turn again and find mercy, saying,
Thou hast prostituted thyself to many lovers’ (Jer. iii. 1); that is to
say, thou, who hadst pledged thy faith to Me in baptism, hast stained
and desecrated thy conjugal fidelity with many lovers; yet do penance
and re turn to Me, and I will receive thee. Let no sinner, then, lose
heart when, after having been defiled with many lovers, his soul is
received again; for the Fountain of Mercy, Jesus Christ, is exhausted
by the iniquities of none, polluted by the crimes of none; but, always
pure and always full to over flowing with grace and sweetness, receives
all who return to Him, weak though they be, sinful though they be, and
whatever be the sins that have defiled them. And that all sinners, and
all unjust, may be sure that they receive forgiveness of their sins, if
they do really strive to put away their sins and do penance, He, the
Fountain of Mercy, has suffered the very same Flesh which, as I have
said, He assumed in their behalf, to be crucified; that those who were
dead in sins, and could by no other means return to life again unless
redeemed by the price of His Blood, might not despair at all when they
should see what price has been offered for their sins.

[§ 28. The sinner’s contemplation of himself.] When, then, I
contemplate the so great compassion 06 my Lord Jesus Christ, and see
that, although so many sinners and unjust run to the Fountain of Mercy,
none are shut out, but all are welcomed, am I alone to give up hope? am
I alone to fear that He who washes others clean cannot wash away my
sins? I know, I know assuredly, and I truly believe, that He who
cleanses others is able to cleanse me also, and, if He will, for He is
most mighty, to remit me all my sins. Still, however, there are great
differences between one sinner and another; between, that is to say,
him who sins more grievously, and him who sins less. And I,
contemplating in this respect the greatness of my sins and the deep dye
of the iniquities that my soul has been stained withal, see clearly
that I am not in like case with other sinners, but that I am sinner
more than any other sinner, and far beyond all other sinners. For many
have sinned, and then desisted; some, although they have often sinned,
have yet at some time set a limit to their evil courses; others, again,
even if they have done many evil deeds, have not failed also to do many
good, and have thus merited either that those evil deeds should be
remitted altogether, or else have gained that even the pains of hell
should be more tolerable for them. But I, poor I, sinful and wretched
above all sinful and all wretched mortals, understanding well and
knowing well to what dire perdition my sin and the fascination of sin
was leading me, have never cared to desist from sins and evil deeds,
but have ever aggravated old sins by new, and thus all wittingly and
wilfully have plunged myself, wretch that I am, into the perdition of
sin; and, but that the infinite goodness of my Lord still bore with me,
long, long ago must I have been devoured by hell itself. I then, after
living as I have lived, after committing so great enormities and
involving myself in so great iniquities, how shall I dare to fly to the
Fountain of Mercy in the company of others, sinners, it is true, but
sinners who have not done so great ill , for fear lest by reason of the
foulness of my crimes He who has washed others whose foulness is more
tolerable should refuse to wash me? Help me therefore, O Lord Jesus
Christ, help Thy creature, overwhelmed though I be by a multitude of
sins; but rather, seeing in me Thine own creation, help me lest I
despair; for, as we do believe, no load of sins can be so enormous in
guilt as to conquer Thee, if only the sinner despair not of Thy mercy.

[§ 29. The sinner’s prayer to Jesus Christ.] Suffer me therefore, O
Lord Jesus Christ, to gaze on Thy unspeakable mercy, and to tell abroad
Thy sweetness and goodness towards the sinful and the wretched. I have
said it already, but O, it delights me much, whenever fit occasion
offers, to make remembrance of Thy sweetness and Thy grace to sinners,
and to say how great they are. For, out of love for sinners and for
their redemption–not merely sinners who are sinners more or less, but
sinners who are sinful beyond measure, if only they repent–Thou
earnest down from the Bosom of the Father, Thou didst enter the
Virgin’s womb, didst take true flesh of her, and living in the world
didst call all sinners to penance, at last didst endure the gibbet of
the Cross for them, and dying thus according to the flesh, didst
restore to them the life which by their sin they had justly lost.
Therefore, when I consider the evil deeds that I have done, I am sure
that I shall be lost, if Thou shouldest please to judge me according to
my deserts; but, when I consider that death of Thine which Thou didst
undergo for the redemption of sinners, I do not despair of Thy mercy.
Why; the thief who for his sins was crucified by Thy side lived on in
sin, to the very passing away of his soul in death; and yet, in the
very hour of his dissolution, because he confessed his faults and
proclaimed his guilt, found mercy and was that very day with Thee in
Paradise. And I, beholding Thee, as I do, dead for the redemption of
sinners, Thy Hands and Thy Feet fastened by the nails, Thy Side opened
by the soldier’s lance, the river of Blood and Water flowing from that
dear Side of Thine, am I to despair? One thing, and one thing only,
dost Thou desire; that is, that we re pent of our wickednesses, and
endeavour to amend as best we may. If we do this, we are safe; for if
our last day finds us thus–since we have the instance of the thief who
thus in his last hour merited to be saved–confiding in the unspeakable
mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, we may have little or no fear of the
accusation of the enemy. Having, therefore, before our eyes the price
of our redemption, the Death, that is to say, of our Redeemer, and His
Blood which was shed for us; having, besides, the example of the thief
and of many who, having been entangled in many and great sins, have
been mercifully forgiven by Him, the Fountain of Mercy, Jesus Christ,
let us not despair, but fly, sure of the remission of our sins, to Him
the Fountain of Mercy, in whom we see and know that so many and so
great sinners have been washed clean; and let us be sure that we in
like manner shall be cleansed by the same Fountain of Mercy, if we
abstain from our wickednesses and our sins, and, as far as we can, have
a care to do what is right. But, to abstain from evil and do good, is
what we cannot compass by our own strength and without His help. Let
us, therefore, implore His unspeakable compassion, whose care it was to
create us when we were not, that He would grant us thus in this life,
before we go forth hence, to amend our faults; that, this life ended,
we may have strength to travel home to Him in a straight unfettered
flight, and so may dwell with Him in everlasting glory, joined with the
angelic choirs who now enjoy it, rejoicing in unending bliss.


[§ 30.] I. Of the changefulness of all that is in the world. Nothing is
more certain than death, nothing more uncertain than the hour of death.
Let us then reflect how short our life is, how slippery our path; how
certain our death, how uncertain the hour of our death. Let us consider
what bitternesses are mixed up with whatever of sweet or pleasant
chances to allure us if we come within its reach in the course of our
life’s journey. O, how deceitful and how false, how changeful and how
fugitive, is all the offspring of this world’s love, all the pretence
of transitory grace and beauty, all the promise of carnal pleasure! And
let us also ponder well the sweetness and loveliness, the serenity and
calm, of our own heavenly home; let us think well whence it is that we
have fallen and where we lie, what we have lost and what found, that so
we may learn from either consideration what good need we have to mourn
and lament in this our banishment. It is for this reason that Solomon
declares, He that addeth knowledge addeth also labour’ (Eccles. i. 18);
for the more thoroughly a man understands what are his soul’s maladies,
the more abundant food has he for sighs and grief. Thus, in truth,
meditation engenders knowledge, knowledge invites to compunction,
compunction urges to devotion, and devotion leads to prayer. By habits
of unremitting meditation man is so enlightened as to know himself,
whilst in the practice of compunction his heart is touched with an
intimate sorrow from the contemplation of its ills.

[§ 31.] II. Of the manifold blessings of Almighty God. Poor me, how
ardently ought I to love my Lord for creating me when I was not, and
for redeeming me when I was lost. I was not, and He made me out of
nothing; nor did He make me one amongst His many creatures that are de
void of reason, as a tree, a bird, or one of the brute creation; but He
willed that I should be a man, and endowed me with the gifts of life,
sensation, and discourse of reason. I was lost, and to save me He
stooped to my dying lot; immortal, He assumed mortality, endured
suffering, vanquished death, and thus restored me to my first estate.
Thus, thus have His grace and mercy always prevented me, and from many
dangers He my deliverer has set me free. When I was going astray He led
me back; when I knew nothing He taught me; when I sinned He chastened
me; in my griefs He consoled me; in my despair He comforted; when I was
fallen He raised me up; when I stood He held me; when I moved He guided
me; when I came to Him He welcomed and received me. All this, and very
much besides, has my Lord Jesus Christ done for me; and sweet will be
the task of giving Him in return unceasing thanks for all, so may I for
all His benefits be able to love and praise Him evermore. I have
nothing that I can offer Him for all these things, except only that I
love Him with all my heart; and there is no better and no fitter
offering than what is given out of love.

[§ 32.] III. Here the sinner chides himself for his ingratitude. Alas,
alas, alas, Lord God, is it so that I dare to come, that I dare to
present myself in the presence of Thy saints; I of all men the most
wretched and most sad; I that am so ungrateful for so many and so great
blessings; I that have so shamelessly and so gracelessly abused Thy
gifts; I that have not blushed out of those very gifts to make weapons
wherewith to fight against Thee, and that so often and so long; I that
have not blushed, so often and so long, though the recipient of Thy
bounty, to fight on the devil’s side against Thee, my King; I that have
dared to turn Thy very gifts into arms in the devil’s service; I that
have presumed so infamously to misuse my very self, and dared to hire
myself as a slave to the devil, and make my members his; and in those
very members do battle against Thee, my Creator, against Thee, .Thou
that didst make them and didst give them me.

Am I not he, O Lord my God, that has so often put himself as a sharp
sword in the hands of the graceless fiend for the devouring of souls?
O, how often have I set myself in array against Thee to compass my
neighbour’s death! And as often as I have aimed the arrows of
detraction or of flattery at other men, so often have I turned it into
a bow of falsehood. O most merciful, O sweetest Father, I cannot count
the times that I have infamously misused my bodily members, so giving
arms to the devil, and fighting against Thee, for all that Thou art
utmost gentleness and goodness.

[§ 33.] IV. An acknowledgment of sin. I am the maddest of all madmen,
who, created by Thee out of nothing, chosen out of the mass of sin and
perdition to be a child of Thy. grace, adopted by Thee to be a
joint-heir of Thy dearest and only- begotten Son Jesus Christ our Lord
and God, designed for the honours and the glories of Thy Kingdom, and
filled with abundance of undeserved grace, yet forgot all this Thy
lavish bounty, even though he saw full well that these so great
blessings had been given him by Thee. Yes, indeed, I have spurned the
honours of Thy heavenly kingdom, disdained Thy glory, and reduced
myself to the condition of a bastard and degenerate child, and given
myself over to the devil, to be dragged at his will over the dung hills
of luxury and through the thorny brakes of avarice, and to be beaten on
the rocks by the waves and breakers of pride.

I am the blind trader, who bartered away the priceless riches of the
talents Thou gavest him, bartered them away, poor wretch, for want, for
nakedness, for unending sighs; yes, I have ex changed peace the most
delightsome and most joyous for thorns and a dunghill, that is to say,
for riches and luxury; and pawned everlasting light for everlasting
darkness, endless joys for endless griefs, eternal glory for eternal
shame, and a throne in Thy kingdom for thraldom to devils.

I am that weakest of the sons of men who exposed himself as a butt for
the arrow; for I have set myself to be pierced by the shafts of sin and
torn from head to foot with wounds.

I am the mortal that, cast forth as a corpse to be torn and dragged to
pieces by dogs of hell and all filthy carrion birds, cast forth from
Thy holy city, the city of Thy holy ones, Thy friends, from the holy
gladsome society of the blessed spirits of heaven, have given myself up
to be consumed by vices as if by worms. O, how loathsome do I show in
Thy holy eyes; stained and befouled with hideous noisome filth of
luxury, scorched with fire of anger and avarice, my limbs infested with
worms of hatred and envy, inflated and swollen by pride, from head to
foot a mass of ulcers, scars, and wounds, stamped and scored with so
many and so great sins, the lines and characters of diabolical
foulness. I know, O merciful Lord, that Thou mayest deservedly and very
justly say that I am none of Thine, and refuse to own in such a thing
as I am, I will not say Thy child, but even Thy creation. For this
hideous monstrous spectacle of all sorts of foulness is not Thy
creation and re-creation; this hateful thing is no just image and
similitude of Thee. It was quite an other creation that Thou madest me.
Ah me! This likeness to the devil in all his foulness shows me hitherto
to have been a child of the devil, an heir of the torments that await
the unbelieving. Such, such is the exchange and the barter that I have
made, fool, fool, blind fool that I have been, of pawning the glory and
the dignity of bearing Thy likeness for most hateful and most vile

[§ 34. The sinner’s review of himself.] O holy Father, Thou didst not
therefore intrust those precious talents of Thine to me, as to have me
yield Thee for usury so hateful an offence. Thou didst not therefore
shed so many and so great benefits upon me, that Thou shouldest reap no
better fruit from the seed sown than worthless weeds and thorns and
thistles. Thou didst not therefore fill me and enrich me with so many
and so great benefits, that I should turn them into weapons against
Thee my God. It was not the design of Thy loving-kindness to give me
arms against Thyself, nor to increase the devil’s power by arms of Thy
giving. And now behold me. See, see, I am stricken with all these
wounds, these fearful wounds, yet I do not suffer. Ah, surely, I am
blind; for with all their foulnesses and this utter nakedness, yet I am
not ashamed.

Yes, yes indeed; I am senseless and dull of heart, not to grieve over
the so many and the so sad losses that I have suffered; not even to
have spirit left in me to bewail the death that I am dying. Yes, yes
indeed; my heart must be of stone, that I am so hardened as not even
now and then upon occasion to dread the eternal torments that overhang
me. Yes, yes indeed; this heart is a rock of ice, for all the fires of
my all-pitiful Father’s love and His love’s blessings do not avail to
warm it. Yes, yes indeed; I take shame to myself and chide myself, for
the trumpet-cry of preaching and the thunders of Thy threatenings are
alike in effectual to arouse me.

Where is the piercing grief of which they tell, the grief of
compunction, with which to crush and fling away all this hell-inspired
hardness, and annihilate all the stone, the stubbornness, the
rebellion? Where, my God, is the shame that should cover me with
confusion before Thine eyes and the eyes of all the whole court of
heaven? Where is the dread of Thy vengeance, that should make me
tremble through and through before Thee? Where is the love, and the
desire of recovering Thy peace and love and grace, that ought to burn
within me? Where are the torrents of tears with which I should wash
away my stains and my defilements from before Thee? Where is the
prayerful devotion by which I should strive to appease and propitiate
Thee? Whither shall I turn, O tender and com passionate Father, having,
as I have, nothing worthy of Thy regard that I can offer to Thy
majesty? Whither shall I fly, most merciful Father, I that am empty of
all good; nay, that stand displayed full of all evil; beneath the gaze
of Thy saints and the holy armies of Thy celestial hosts?

[§ 35. The sinner’s cry to God.] I know, O Lord God, Thou Ruler of my
life, that every best gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming
down from the Father and Fountain of lights (St. James i. 16). I know
that I can offer no acceptable pleasing thing to Thee, unless I have
first drawn it from the Fountain of Thy goodness: and this only if Thou
enlighten and if Thou teach me. I know that this earnest of Thy mercy
must go before all effort of mine. I know, dearest Father, that if I
cannot pilfer or filch away Thy good things from Thee, equally
impossible is it for me, by any merits of mine, to procure the means
where by to return to Thee and please Thee. For what due can merits of
mine procure me but the punishment of eternal death? I know that it
rests with Thy good pleasure whether Thou destroy me, ac cording to the
multitude of my evil deeds, my offences, my neglects, and my omissions;
or re make me, and make me acceptable to Thee after the inestimable
riches of Thy mercy; for Thou, the sole maker of Thy creature, canst
alone re make it.

Now do I fly to Thee, O merciful Father, knowing that Thou art my only
refuge from Thyself. Who can deliver me from Thy Hands but Thou only?
Thy mercy can deliver me–the mercy which I have not only demerited but
resisted and rebelled against–can deliver me from Thy all-just anger,
which I have so wretchedly and so gratuitously provoked. Deign,
therefore, to receive me, O Lord, now that I return to Thee. Turn away,
I pray Thee, Thy all-holy eyes from my foulnesses and my ingratitudes;
and bend them on Thyself, from whom none ever asks forgiveness without
hope of winning it. In Thyself wilt Thou find at once the source and
the justification of any mercy Thou mayest show, according to the
abundance of Thy sweetness and the immensity of Thy mercy. Do not, I
pray Thee, look upon me; for in me Thou wilt find nothing but what well
deserves Thy wrath, or is all worthy of eternal death. Then turn away
Thy holy eyes, O Lord, from the sight of all that is so base and vile
in me; the which, if I could see and scan them in Thy clear and blazing
light, for very horror I could not endure it, but should abhor and shun
my very self. Turn, turn away from my noisome foulness, and turn Thee
to Thyself. I know, O Lord of mercy, that Thy holy eyes are pure, and
cannot look upon horrible deformity, unless Thou give me goodness
wherewithal to please Thee. I know that all Thy heavenly court turn
away their eyes and shut their ears, unable to endure my hateful of
fences. But Thou, O merciful Father, turn, turn to that Fountain of
Mercy, whose mercy knows no measure and no end, and so look upon me Thy
creature with merciful and tender regard. I am Thy creature, O Lord,
and the work of Thy hands.

Remake, therefore, I beseech Thee, what Thou, didst make in me, and
destroy what I have done in myself against Thy commandments. Destroy, I
mean, whatever Thou hatest in me, and what ever not Thou hast made, but
I, poor I. Remake and recreate what Thou didst create and make; for
this is Thine, O Lord my God; and to hate what is Thine is an
impossible reach of hatred, for Thou hatest none of the things which
Thou hast made’ (Wisdom xi. 25). Destroy in me that which is mine,
that, in short, which Thou hast not made; that is to say, all my
baseness and vileness; but destroy not me. Destroy it, O merciful, com
passionate Lord, for Thou hatest it; and that I am beginning to hate
it, is Thy good gift.



[36. A prayer for mercy and help.] O heavenly Father, look, I beseech
Thee, upon the everflowing fountain of Thy compassion, which, as a
flood of cleansing, a flood precious beyond all price, and full of
life, gushed from Thy dearest and only-begotten Son for the cleansing
of the world; by the death of Whom Thy goodness has been even pleased
to give us life, and also to wash us with His Blood. Nay more; Thou
hast consigned Thy dearest Son to men as a shield of Thy good-will a
shield wherewith to shelter themselves from Thy wrath; He receiving in
Himself the death they fear, He presented as a shield to Thy justice
and Thy all-just anger. Nor only so; it pleased Thy mercy that not only
should He bear the brunt of Thy wrath, but endure our death as well.
‘Twas so indeed; Thy Son, Thine Only-begotten, has alone borne our

Remember, O Lord, Thy bowels of compassion, and Thy mercies that are
from the beginning of the world’ (Ps. xxiv. 6), and stretch out Thy
hand to Thy creature that stretches forth to Thee. Help the weakness of
him that struggles after Thee. Draw me; for Thou knowest that I cannot
come to Thee, except Thou, the Father, draw me with the cords of love
and desire. Make me a servant acceptable and pleasing unto Thee; for
Thou knowest that I cannot please Thee else. Give me, I pray Thee,
those holy gifts with which alone to please Thee, Thou that givest good
gifts to them that ask Thee. Grant, I pray Thee, that my sole love and
sole desire may be Thyself; my sole love and only fear, Thyself. Take
me wholly for Thine own, Thou who knowest that to Thee I owe all that I
am, all that I have, all that I know, and all my powers. Convert me
wholly to Thy praise and glory, I that owe myself wholly to Thy praise.
Deliver not, I pray Thee, Thy creature to Thy enemies; keep me for
Thyself, whose alone I am entirely; and perfect in every part what Thou
hast begun, and confirm what Thou hast wrought.

Hear my prayer, I beseech Thee, Thou who givest and inspirest it even
ere I thought to call to Thee. Look upon Thy suppliant, Thou Who when I
had a mind to pray didst even then deign to look upon me. Not in vain,
O Lord of mercy, didst Thou deign to inspire that my prayer, not for
nothing didst Thou give it me. Nay, for this very end didst Thou deign
to give it, that Thou mightest listen to me; for this didst Thou grant
it to me, that I might implore Thee to have mercy on me a sinner. So
thus having given me an earnest of Thy mercy, give me the rest. Rescue
me, O Lord my God, and snatch me out of the hands of my enemies; for
they too are Thine, they are the subjects of Thy almighty power; and
they hate no thing of good works in me except what Thou hast given me.
There is nothing in me that they hate, but only that I love Thee. And
they scheme with all their endeavours, with all their might, with all
their craft, to prevent my loving Thee, glorifying Thee, and ever
seeking Thee.

Therefore let not the enemies of Thy glory be too strong for me; but
let them be the more confounded as they see that I, bent on praising
Thee and glorifying Thee, am seeking with all best endeavours that
peace and glory of Thine, which they are intent upon diminishing. O
Lord, let not, I beseech Thee, their so unholy and execrable design
concerning me, nay, against me, be brought to pass; but enlarge Thou my
soul, O Lord, for telling forth Thy praise and heralding Thy glory,
that I may henceforth live altogether according to Thy great glory, and
that my whole life may glorify Thee; and do Thou by my example invite
and incite many of Thy predestined to glorify Thee. Let the presence of
Thy light, and the sweetness of Thy glory, a glory which they can not
bear, drive away from me the vile, unclean, and hateful spirits of
darkness. O break my chains asunder, and take me out of durance, out of
the horrible, black, and gloomy prison, out of the lake of misery and
the mire of dregs, out of the abyss of death and darkness; and lead me
forth into liberty and Thy marvellous light.

Enlighten me with Thy saving faith; gladden and strengthen me with Thy
joyful and never-faltering hope; quicken me with Thy mighty and
all-holy love. Subdue and humble me, and guard me with Thy strongest,
securest, and most invincible fear. Fill me with wholesome shame from
Thy all-lovely and all-glorious Self. And whensoever I present anything
before Thine eyes that may offend them, break me, chastise me with pain
greater than a woman’s, and medicine me, after Thine own sweet fashion,
with most efficacious compunction from Thyself, that I go not out from
Thy mercy’s presence empty and confounded; but obtain whatsoever by Thy
bidding, by Thy gift, by Thy inspiration, I may ask, and whatsoever
Thou hast promised unto them that ask. Let me find, O compassionate and
merciful Lord, that not in vain do men fly for refuge to Thy mercy;
that Thou art very close to all who seek Thee, helping them to find
Thee; and that I can never faint or fail so long as I am with Thee, the
Fountain of Compassion, O Thou who hast snatched me from the pit, and
lavished on me Thou knowest how much, Thou knowest what. Ay, with what
uneffort of omnipotence, of wisdom, and of goodness, wherewith Thou
saidst and all things were made, with a like uneffort of compassion
Thou canst speak, and all my deformities can be corrected and restored
to sightliness.

[§ 37. The penitent’s hope in the Divine mercy.] And now, almighty and
merciful Father, behold I have enumerated so many and so great Thy
benefits which I have received from Thee; I have recounted the ills, so
many and so great, which I have repaid Thee for Thy goodness. O
wretched I, O thankless I, that for all so many and so great ills await
and overhang me, yet appear before Thee with a heart obdurate and
stolid, and dead and cold; and still am not ashamed. Detected in
misdeeds so many and grievous, with no better prospect in the future
than a gibbet in hell, still I am neither palsied with fright, nor
tortured with grief, nor confounded with shame: no, nor set on fire
with love of Thy so gentle and so long-forbearing goodness. What, art
Thou waiting, dearest Father, and delaying to look on me and pity me,
until, according to the measure of Thy mercy, I shall have become fit
to appear in Thy Presence, and present in Thy Presence some thing fit
to ask of Thee, and say something fit for Thee to listen to? See, see,
it is a corpse that I have brought Thee; a corpse swarming with worms,
and three days dead, is what comes to Thee, Thou Giver of life. See,
see; what I present to Thy almighty mercy is one blind, to be
illuminated; one sick, to be made whole; one involved in, O how many
and how great debts, to be set free; stark-naked and poverty-stricken,
to be enriched. For easy it is to Thee to enrich a beggar in a moment.

Nor can I otherwise, most clement God, than offer Thee myself, just as
I am; show Thee my death and wounds, my nakedness and poverty, and my
debts, for which I fear the dungeon of everlasting death. Do Thou,
then, show me Thine Eyes of mercy; if, indeed, Thou canst be turned and
canst forgive, and canst pour upon me of Thy grace and bliss. For turn
myself to Thee I can not; I am wounded with too many and too deep
wounds; I am borne down by sicknesses and even death, and am become
altogether helpless. But do Thou, O merciful Father, convert me, and I
shall be converted to Thee. Convert me to Thee, O Lord (Lam. v. 21),
and bruise and crush my heart, and implant in me the sensibilities of a
quickening grief. For there is no fountain of blessings besides Thee;
there is none from whom to receive love and fear, and grief and shame,
wherewith to appear in Thy sight and be found worthy of Thy mercy,
unless Thou, from the vast reservoir of Thy mercy, pour out grace on
me, so all unworthy of Thy grace. O Lord, if Thou give me this, I shall
be happy. If Thou vouch safe to chastise my offences and my crimes ac
cording to Thy judgment and thy justice, O happy I; not so, if Thou
correct me in Thy fury [Jer. x. 24], the fury which in the end
overtakes and seizes all who rebel against and dare Thy mercy.

And this, O merciful Father, is Thy judgment and Thy justice; even
this, that fear, love, shame, and grief work in the hearts of all who
truly re pent and return to Thy goodness, that they may gain Thy mercy.
Pierce, then, this thief with Thy holy fear, and burn this rebel with
the fire of Thy love and charity; pierce, O Lord, this malefactor with
life-giving and most wholesome sorrow from Thee; confuse this
unblushing sinner with shame from thy glorious Self; nail, nail this
miscreant to his cross of penal anguish, and let that anguish
conciliate Thy mercy. Make me hunger for Thee with all my heart, and
thirst for Thee with all my bowels; make me serve only Thee with all my
inward parts, and with all my energies pursue what is well-pleasing in
Thy sight. And so to Thee, with Jesus Christ, Thine only-begotten Son
and our Lord, and with the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete, Thy most holy
Gift, be all honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.



[§ 38. The glories and the condescension of our Lord Jesus Christ.] Let
Jesus of Nazareth, who, though innocent, was condemned by the Jews and
fastened to the cross by the Gentiles, be worshipped by us Christians
with the honours due to Him as God. Let us who are Christ’s render to
our Saviour’s griefs the homage of trembling adoration, of loving
embrace, and of a courageous following; for this is meet, honourable,
and available to salvation. For they are the potent instruments
wherewith the almighty power and inscrutable wisdom of God wrought out,
and even now works out, the restoration of the world. Christ the Lord
was made a little less than the angels, that we might be made equal
unto the angels; and who would not humble himself for the sake of
Christ? Christ the Lord was crucified for our sins, and has sweetened
to His lovers all the bitters of the Cross. He died, and dying
destroyed death, that we might live through Him; and who would not love
Christ the Lord? who would not suffer for Christ? Christ through the
shame of the Cross has passed into the brightness of supremest glory,
and for His reverence (Heb. v. 7) all power in heaven and in earth has
been given to Him by God the Father, that all the angels of God may
adore Him, and that in His Name every knee may bow of those that are in
heaven, and in earth, and in hell (Phil, ii. 10).

Where then, O Christian, is thy boasting, if it be not in the Name of
thy crucified Lord, Jesus Christ; in the Name which is above every
name, the Name in which He who is blessed on earth shall be blessed in
heaven? O boast in His holy Name, ye children of redemption; pay honour
to your Saviour, who has done great things in us, and magnify His Name
with me, saying, We adore Thee, O Christ, King of Israel, Prince of the
kings of the earth, Light of the Gentiles, Lord of hosts, most mighty
virtue of the omnipotent God. We adore Thee, O priceless price of our
redemption, our peace-offering, who alone, by the wonderful sweetness
of Thy odour, hast inclined Thy Father who dwells in heaven to regard
our lowliness, and hast Thyself alone propitiated Him. O Christ, we
speak abroad Thy mercies, we tell, and tire not in telling, of the
memory of Thy sweetness; to Thee, O Christ, we offer the sacrifice of
praise for the abundance which Thou hast shown us of Thy goodness, us,
wicked seed that we are and ungracious children.’

For when as yet we were Thine enemies, O Lord, and ancient death held
sway over all flesh–a sway to which the whole seed of Adam was subject
by the necessary law and condition of their primal guilt–Thou wast
mindful of Thy all-abounding mercy, and didst look forth from Thy lofty
dwelling on this our valley of misery and tears. Thou didst see, O
Lord, the affliction of Thy people, and, touched to the heart with
charity and sweetness, didst apply Thyself to think thoughts of peace
and redemption for us. And although Thou wast the Son of God, true God
co-eternal and consubstantial with God the Father and the Holy Ghost,
inhabiting the inaccessible light’ (1 Tim. vi. 16), and upholding all
things by the word of Thy power’ (Heb. i. 3), Thou didst not disdain to
lower Thy majesty to this prison of our mortality, there to taste and
swallow up our misery and restore us to glory. It was too little for
Thy charity to destine cherubim or seraphim, or any one of the angelic
choirs, to consummate the work of our salvation. Thou didst condescend
to come to us in Thy own Person by the will of the Father, of whose
abounding charity we have in Thee made proof. Thou earnest, I say, not
by a local change, but by exhibition of Thy Person to us in the flesh.
Thou didst stoop from the royal throne of Thy sublime glory into a
humble maiden and abject in her own sight, a maiden sealed by the early
vow of virginal chastity. In whose sacred womb the unspeakable power of
the Holy Ghost caused Thee to be conceived, and thence to be born in
the true nature of our humanity, in such wise that the majesty of the
Godhead should not be violated in Thyself, nor the virginal integrity
of Thy Mother sullied by the occasion of Thy birth.

[§ 39. The Nativity of Christ, and its sanctification of poverty.] O
loveable, O admirable condescension! God of boundless glory, Thou didst
not disdain to be made a contemptible worm. Lord of all things, Thou
didst appear as a slave among slaves. It seemed too little to Thee to
be our Father; Thou didst deign, O Lord, to be our Brother also. Nay,
more; Thou, Thou the Lord of all things, who hadst need of nothing,
didst not refuse, even at the very outset of Thy human life, to taste
to the full the inconveniences of most abject poverty. For, as the
Scripture says, there was no room for Thee in the inn (St. Luke ii. 7)
when Thou wast about to be brought forth, nor hadst Thou cradle to
receive Thy frail and delicate frame; but Thou, Thou who boldest the
earth in the palm of Thy Hand, wast laid, wrapt in rags, in the vile
manger of a filthy cattle-shed; and Thy Mother shared with brute beasts
a stall for her hospice. Be comforted, be comforted, you that are
nurtured in filth and want, for your God is with you in your poverty.
He does not lie cradled in splendour and luxury; no, nor is He found in
the domains of those whose life is a life of ease. Why, O rich man, do
you boast any longer I why do you boast, O thing of clay, as; you lie
lolling in your couch of luxury and colour, while He, the King of
kings, has preferred to dignify the pauper’s bed of straw by lying on
it? Why do you loathe hard beds, while He, the frail Baby-God, in whose
Hand all things are, has chosen for His pallet the hard straw where
cattle lie, in preference to your cover lets of silk and pillows of

But even this Thy tender infancy, O Christ, was not safe from
persecutors’ swords. Thou wast still hanging a sucking-child at Thy
Mother’s breast when an angel appeared in sleep to Joseph, saying,
Arise, and take the child and his mother, and fly into Egypt, and be
there until I shall tell thee; for it will come to pass that Herod will
seek the child, to destroy him’ (St. Matt. ii. 13). Thus even then,
good Jesus, didst Thou begin to suffer. Nay, not only didst Thou endure
in Thine own Person that persecution of Thine infancy, but even death
in the person of Thy little ones, thousands and thousands of whom were
slaughtered by the ruthless Herod at their mothers’ breasts for Thy

[§ 40. The hidden life and ministry of our Lord.] And on finishing Thy
course of early boy hood Thou didst bequeath us an example how to learn
the truth with humility. For although Thou wast the Lord of all
knowledge (1 Kings ii. 3) and the Very Personal Wisdom of God the
Father, yet didst Thou sit–not with the council of vanity (Ps. xxv.
4)–but in the midst of the doctors, asking them questions and
listening to them. And furthermore, Thou gavest us an instance of
obedience in living humbly subject to the rule of pa rents, for all
that Thou wast the Master of the world.

And when Thou didst attain the strength of riper age, and wast ready to
lay to Thy hand for mighty deeds, then Thou didst issue forth for the
saving of Thy people, like a giant strong to run the race of our sad
estate (Ps. xviii. 6); and first of all, to be made in all things like
Thy brethren, Thou didst–as though Thou wert indeed a sinner
approach–Thy servant who baptized sinners with the baptism of penance,
and didst even implore him to baptize Thee, Thee, innocent Lamb of God,
whom slightest taint of sin had never stained. Thou wast baptized, not
to sanctify Thyself by the waters, but to sanctify the waters by
Thyself, that so through them we might be sanctified by Thee. And then
Thou wentest forth in the Spirit of power, fresh from the baptismal
wave, into the desert, that a pattern of the solitary life also might
not be wanting in Thy Person. Loneliness, forty days’ fast, the sharp
tooth of hunger, temptations from the deceiver-spirit,–all were borne
by Thee with even mind, that thus all might by Thy working be made
bearable to us. This done, Thou then earnest to the sheep that had been
lost of the house of Israel (St. Matt. x. 6), lifting on high the torch
of the Divine word for the illumination of the world; and, preaching
the kingdom of God to all men, didst become the source of eternal
salvation to all that obey, and confirm Thy preaching by signs
following, and show forth the power of Thy Godhead to all that were in
evil case; freely displaying to all all things that made for their
salvation, that so Thou mightest gain all. But their foolish heart, O
Lord, was darkened (Rom. i. 21), and they cast Thy words behind them
(Ps. xlix. 17), and heeded not all the wonders that Thou didst work
among them; except some few great heroic souls, whom Thou didst choose
out from the contemptible and base things of the world, that by them
Thou mightest gloriously bring to naught the strong and lofty (1 Cor.
i. 27, 28). But not alone were men unthankful to Thee for Thy
all-gratuitous benefits; they assailed Thee with insults, O Lord of all
lords, and did unto Thee what soever they had a mind (St. Matt. xvii.
12). For when Thou didst among them works of God none else did, what
said they? This man is not of God’ (St. John ix. 16); He casteth out
devils by Beelzebub the prince of devils’ (St. Luke xi. 15); He hath a
devil’ (St. Matt. xi. 18); He seduces the people;’ He is a glutton and
a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners’ (St. Matt. xi. 19).

[§ 41. The meekness and humility of Christ.] Why, then, weep, O man of
God, why sigh for sorrow when injurious words are heaped upon you? Do
you not hear what insults were levelled, and all for your sake, at your
Lord and God? If they have called the good man of the house Beelzebub,
how much more them of his household?’ (St. Matt. x. 25.) Ah, good
Jesus, they assailed Thee with these and suchlike blasphemies, and
sometimes even hurled stones at Thee; yet Thou didst bear all
patiently, and wast made before them as a man that heareth not, and
that hath no reproofs in his mouth (Ps. xxxvii. 15). At last they
bargained with a disciple of Thine, the son of perdition, for Thy just
blood, for thirty pieces of silver (St. Matt, xxvii. 9), that they
might yield Thy soul to death without a cause. Nor was the villany of
Thy all-foredone betrayer unknown to Thee, even when Thou didst deign
with Thy all holy Hands to touch, to wash, to wipe those cursed feet,
so swift for the shedding of Thy Blood.

And yet you still walk with outstretched neck, O dust and earth;
conceit still lifts you up above your proper self, and impatience of
control still urges you immoderately on! See, see thy Teacher of
humility and lowliness, see thy Lord Jesus Christ, see the Creator of
the universal world, see the dread Judge of living and dead kneeling
upon His knees at the feet of a man, and that man His betrayer; and
learn that He is meek and humble of heart’ (St. Matt. xi. 29), and be
confounded for your pride, and blush for shame at your peevishness.

And it was one sign more of Thy gentleness, Lord Jesus, that refusing
openly to detect and confound the traitor in presence of his brethren,
Thou didst give a kind hint, and bid him hasten what was in
preparation. And yet for all this his madness was not diverted from
Thee; but he went out, and busied himself about his repeated villany.
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer! who didst rise in the
morning’ (Is. xiv. 12) in the delights of paradise; for thou wast
glorious to behold, companion of the citizens of heaven, and guest of
the Word Divine; thou that wast brought up in scarlet (Lam. iv. 5),
hast thou indeed embraced the dung?

Then was Thy household, O Lord, glorified so as to be like the company
of the angels; then, then at last was that happy society satisfied with
the outpoured draughts of the Divine word that is sued from Thy mouth.
For that polluted one had been dismissed whom Thou knewest to be unfit
for the inpouring of that clear limpid stream.

[§ 42. The agony and the betrayal.] When, however, the maundy of a
Saviour’s charity and patience had been given, and the kingdom of Thy
Father consigned to Thy brethren, Thou didst retire with them to the
place known to the traitor, knowing all the things that were about to
come upon Thee, and then and there didst not shrink from pouring into
Thy brethren’s ear that sorrow of soul which at the prospect of Thy
impending Passion, like all those sufferings themselves when present to
Thee, Thou didst undergo with perfect willingness: My soul is sorrowful
even unto death’ (St. Matt. xxvi. 38). And kneeling down Thou didst
fall on Thy face, praying in an agony, and saying, Abba, Father! My
Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from Me’ (ib. 39). And
the anguish of Thy sorrowing Heart was betrayed by that sweat of blood
which, what time Thou prayedst, rolled down in drops to the ground from
Thy all-sacred Flesh. O Lord, and Lord of lords, Christ Jesus, why this
so racking grief of soul, why this torture with such a rain of sweat,
why this tortured supplication? For didst Thou not offer an entirely
willing sacrifice to the Father, enduring nothing whatever without Thy
will’s consent? Yes, Lord; yes indeed. But we believe that Thou didst
take upon Thee this also for the consolation of Thy weak members, lest
any of us should despair if the weak flesh murmur while yet his spirit
is ready for suffering. And doubtless it was that we might have greater
incentives still to love of Thee, and gratitude, that Thou didst set
forth the natural weakness of the flesh by such kind of tokens as might
make us learn that Thou hast verily borne our sicknesses Thyself, and
didst not tread the thorny course of Thy Passion without the sense of
physical pain. For that cry was the cry–as it should seem–of the
flesh, not of the spirit, inasmuch as Thou didst add, The spirit indeed
is willing, but the flesh weak’ (St. Matt. xxvi. 41). And Thy Spirit’s
readiness, good Jesus, for Thy Passion Thou didst evidence clearly
enough, in going forth to meet the men of blood as they drew near with
the traitor, searching through the night for Thy life, with lanterns,
torches, and weapons; and in shewing that it was Thou Thyself by
accepting what they had received as the token from their guide in
guilt. For as the murderous creature came near to Thee for the kiss of
Thy Mouth, Thou didst not recoil, but didst sweetly place upon the
mouth that ran over with wickedness that Mouth in which no deceit was
found (Is. liii. 9).

What, O innocent Lamb of God, what hadst Thou in common with that wolf?
What concord hath Christ with Belial?’ (2 Cor. vi. 15.) But here again
was Thy loving-kindness displayed in showing him all instances that
could have served to soften the obduracy of a wicked heart; for Thou
didst remind him of Thy ancient friendship in the words, Friend,
whereto art thou come?’ (St. Matt, xxvi. 50.) And Thou didst wish to
strike a horror of his sin into that sacrilegious heart when Thou
saidst to him, Judas, dost thou betray the Son of Man with a kiss?’
(St. Luke xxii. 48.) For the Philistines are upon thee, Samson’ (Judges
xvi. 14). But they were not frightened from their intent for all that,
at the very moment of Thy seizure, Thou didst strike them to the earth
with Thy omnipotent arm; not in self-defence, indeed, but that man’s
presumption might be taught that it cannot avail aught against Thee,
except by Thy allowance. And who can hear without a sigh how in that
hour they laid their murderous hands on Thee, and, Thy Hands, Thy
innocent Hands, good Jesus, being bound with cords, dragged Thee like a
thief, Thee the gentlest Lamb, silent and unreproachful, with all
insult to the slaughter? Yet even then, O Christ, the honeycomb of Thy
sweetness ceased not to distil its mercy even on Thy foes; for Thou
didst heal an enemy’s ear, wounded by Thy disciple, and didst restrain
Thy defender’s zeal from striking in Thy behalf. O accursed madness, O
stubborn hate, which neither the grandeur of the miracle nor the
kindness of the cure availed to subdue and crush.

[§ 43. The condemnation and the crucifixion.] Then wast Thou presented
before the chief-priest’s council, who were enraged against Thee, and
for confessing the truth, as it behoved Thee, wast condemned to death
on the charge of blasphemy. Jesus, most loving Lord, what indignities
hast Thou not endured from Thine own nation! Thy adorable Face, which
the angels long to stare at, and all the whole heavens are filled full
with joy in gazing on, and the rich among the people do entreat (Ps.
xliv. 13); they stained it with spittings from polluted lips, they
struck it with sacrilegious hands, and covered it with a veil in
derision; and Thee, the Lord of the universal world, they buffeted like
a contemptible slave. And as though this were not enough, they gave Thy
life over to an uncircumcised dog to be devoured, demanding that Thou
who knewest no sin shouldest be done to death by the punishment of the
cross, and that a murderer should be given them (Acts iii. 3),
preferring thus a wolf to the Lamb, and clay to Gold. O unworthy and O
ill-starred compact! And yet the sacrilegious Pilate knew that this had
been done to Thee for envy; still he withheld not his presumptuous
hands from Thee, but filled Thy soul with bitterness without a cause;
sent Thee off to be mocked, took Thee back again when mocked, made Thee
stand naked before the eyes of Thy tormentors, and shrank not from
tearing and gashing Thy virginal flesh with rods, laying bruises upon
bruises with reiterated cruelty.

What, O Chosen Child of my Lord God, hadst Thou done to deserve such
bitterness, to deserve such shame? Nothing, nothing. Undone mortal that
I am, ’tis I that was the cause of all Thy tribulation and all Thy
shame; ’tis I who ate the sour grapes, and Thy teeth were numbed, for
Thou hast paid what Thou tookest not away (Ps. lxviii. 5).. But the
impiety of the perfidious Jews was even thus unsatisfied; for at last
Thou wast turned over into the hands of uncircumcised soldiers to be
destroyed by a death of all deaths the shamefullest. Nor was it enough
for them to crucify Thee, they first filled Thy soul with insults; for
what says the Scripture? They gathered together unto Him all the whole
band into the pr?¦torium; and stripping Him they put a scar let cloak
about Him; and platting a crown of thorns they put it upon His head,
and a reed in His right hand; and, bowing the knee before Him, they
mocked Him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews;’ and they buffeted Him; and
spitting upon Him they took the reed and struck His head. And after
they had mocked Him, they took off the cloak from Him, and led Him away
to crucify Him,’ bearing His own Cross. And they led Him out to
Golgotha, and they gave Him’ myrrhed wine to drink, mingled with gall;
and when He had tasted He would not drink’ (St. Matt. xxvii. 27-34).
Then they crucified Him, and with Him two others, one on each side, and
Jesus in the midst’ (St. John xix. 18). And Jesus said, Father, forgive
them, for they know not what they do’ (St. Luke xxiii. 33, 34).
Afterward Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that
the scripture might be fulfilled, said, I thirst’ (St. John xix. 28).
And one running and filling a sponge with vinegar, and putting it upon
a reed, gave Him to drink’ (St. Mark xv. 36). Therefore, when He had
taken the vinegar, He said, It is consummated’ (St. John xix. 30). And
crying with a loud voice, He said, Father, into Thy hands I commend My
spirit’ (St. Luke xxiii. 46). And bowing His head, He gave up the
ghost’ (St. John xix. 30). Then one of the soldiers with a spear opened
His side, and immediately there came out blood and water’ (Ib. 34).

[§ 44. The humiliations of the Passion.] Now then, my soul, arouse
thee; shake thee from the dust, and with fixed and earnest look gaze on
this memorable Man, whom thou seest veritably present, as it were, by
the mirror of the gospel story. Look, my soul, and tell me who, who is
He? He walks in majesty and with all the bearing of a king, and yet
laden with contempt like some poor slave, and covered with confusion.
He walks in majesty, and His Head is encircled with a crown; but O,
that crown of His is torture, and pierces at a thousand points that
goodly brow of His. He is clad like a king, in purple, but O, it is all
for despite, not for honour. He carries a sceptre in His Hand, but only
that His sacred Head may be smitten with it. They bend the knee to
earth and worship Him, they all proclaim Him King; and, see, forthwith
they fly upon Him, spit upon His cheeks, beat His jaws with the palms
of their hands, and rain dishonours on His royal neck. Look, look
again, and see how this Man of men is hard bested, is spit upon, is
spurned. He is bid den to bow His back beneath the burden of a heavy
cross, and carry His own instrument of shame. Led out to the place of
death He is given myrrh and gall to drink; He is lifted up upon the
cross, saying as He rises, Father, forgive them, for they know not what
they do’ (St. Luke xxiii. 34). Who, who, and what is This that, for all
He was so oppressed, opened not His mouth even once to utter word of
complaint, of excuse, or threatening, or malediction, against the dogs
that encompassed Him, and at last breathed on His enemies a word of
benediction such as the world had never heard from its foundation. What
hast thou ever seen, O my soul, more gentle, or more kind and tender,
than this Man? But look, look still, pay greater heed to Him; for now
He appears worthy of boundless wonder as of tenderest pity. See Him,
all naked and scarred with stripes, fastened with iron nails to the
cross between two thieves, and even after death wounded in the side
with a lance, and pouring forth bountiful rivers of Blood from the five
wounds of Hands, of Feet, of Side. Weep tears, O eyes of mine; melt,
melt, my heart, with fires of compassion for that Man of love, so
bruised, and crushed, and battered with griefs so dire, for all that
His was a tenderness so sweet.

[§ 45. The glories of the Passion.] Hast thou seen Him in His weakness,
O my soul, and pitied Him? Turn again, and see His majesty, and thou
shalt wonder. For what says the Scripture? It was almost the sixth
hour: and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour,
and the sun was darkened’ (St. Luke xxiii. 44, 45). And, behold, the
veil of the temple was rent in two from the top even to the bottom: and
the earth quaked, and the rocks were rent: and the graves were opened,
and many bodies of the saints that had slept arose’ (St. Matt. xxviii.
51, 52). Who, who is this; for heaven and earth share His grief, and
dying He brings the dead to life? Own Him, own Him, my soul; it is the
Lord Jesus Christ, thy Saviour, the only-begotten Son of God, true God,
true Man, who alone was found without spot beneath the sun. Yet see how
He was reputed with the wicked’ (Is. liii. 12), and we have thought Him
as it were a leper’ (ib. 4), despised and the most abject of men’ (ib.
3); and f as a hidden untimely birth’ (Job iii. 16) which is cast forth
from the womb, so is He cast forth from the womb of His mother, the
unhappy synagogue. He so lovely beyond the sons of men, how unsightly
beyond the sons of men has He become! Ay, indeed; He was wounded for
our iniquities, He was bruised for our sins’ (Is. liii. 5); and is be
come a holocaust of sweetest odour in Thy sight, O Father of eternal
glory, to turn away Thine indignation from us, and make us sit along
with Himself in heavenly places.

[§ 46. Joseph in Egypt a type of Christ.] Look down, O Lord, holy
Father, from Thy sanctuary, and from Thy high and heavenly dwelling,
and behold this all-holy Victim, which our great High-priest, Thy holy
Child Jesus, offers Thee for the sins of His brethren; and have mercy
on the multitude of our iniquities. Lo, the voice of the Blood of Jesus
our Brother cries to Thee from the Cross. For what is it, O Lord, that
hangs on the Cross? Hangs, I say; for past things are as present with
Thee. Own It, O Father. It is the coat of Thy Joseph, Thy Son; an evil
wild beast hath devoured Him, and hath trampled on His Garment in its
fury, spoiling all the beauty of this His remanent Corpse, and lo, five
mournful gaping wounds are left in It. This is the Garment which Thy
innocent holy Child Jesus, for the sins of His brethren, has left in
the hands of the Egyptian harlot, thinking the loss of His robe a
better thing than the loss of purity; and choosing rather to be
despoiled of His coat of flesh and go down to the prison of death than
to yield to the voice of the seductress for all the glory of the world.
All these will I give Thee, if, falling down, Thou wilt adore me’ (St.
Matt. iv. 9); that is to say, if Thou wilt lie with the adultress. And
now, O Lord and Father, we know that Thy Son is living, and He is Ruler
in all the land of Egypt’ (Gen. xlv. 26), even in all places of Thy
dominion. For, led forth to Thy royal Throne from the prison of death
and hell, shorn of mortality and with changed apparel of Flesh, He
lives again in the bloom of immortal beauty, and with glory hast Thou
welcomed Him. Pharaoh has been stricken down, Pharaoh the deadly foe,
and by His own great might He has passed in lordly triumph into heaven.
And now, behold, He appears at the right hand of Thy majesty for us,
crowned with glory and honour, for He is our Brother and our Flesh’
(Gen. xxxvii. 27).

Look, O Lord, on the Face of Thy Christ (Ps. lxxxiii. 10), who became
obedient unto death to Thee. Let not the marks of His Wounds depart
ever from Thine Eyes, but remember rather what satisfaction Thou hast
received for our sins. O Lord, weigh in Thy balance the sins by which
we have merited Thine anger, and the grief which Thy sinless Son has
borne for us. Surely, O Lord, this grief of His will show more grievous
than our sins, and cry louder to Thee to pour forth all Thy mercy on us
than they can cry that Thou shouldest shut up Thy mercies in anger. O
Lord, holy Father, let every tongue give thanks to Thee for the
abundance of Thy mercy, which spared not the only Son of Thy Bosom, but
gave Him up to die for us, that we might have so great and so faithful
an Advocate before Thee in heaven.

[§ 47. Love our only possible return to Christ for His sufferings.] And
as for Thee, O Lord Jesus, Lord of almighty zeal, what due return, what
worthy thanks, can I ever pay Thee, mortal that I am, dust and ashes,
and worthless clay? For what was there that it behoved Thee to do for
my salvation, and Thou hast not done it! From the sole of Thy foot to
the crown of Thy head Thou didst plunge Thy whole Self in the waters of
suffering, that all that is of me might be extricated from them; and so
the waters came in even unto Thy soul (Ps. lxviii. 2). For Thou gavest
up Thy soul to death to give back my lost soul to me; and so Thou hast
bound me in a double debt, in that Thou gavest what Thou didst, and in
that Thou didst freely give it up for my sake. Either way I am Thy

And yet again, since Thou hast twice given me life, once in creating,
and once in redeeming; that life, surely, is the very best return that
I could ever pay thee. But when I think of Thine own precious Soul so
tortured, I know not what due return could be by mortal ever paid to
Thee. For could I pay Thee in return for it all heaven, all earth, and
all the bravery of heaven and earth, yet even so I should not attain to
the measure of my obligation. Nay, the very giving Thee what I have and
what I can, is in itself Thy gift. I must love Thee, I must love Thee,
Lord, with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, all my strength, and
follow as best I can Thy footsteps, who didst deign to die for me. And
how shall all this be done in me, unless Thou do it? O, let my soul
cling to Thee; for all its strength comes from Thee.

[§ 48. The likeness of His Death and of His Resurrection.] And now, O
Lord Jesus, my Redeemer, I adore Thee as very God; I believe in Thee, I
hope in Thee, and I sigh after Thee with all possible desires; O, help
my imperfection. I bow down my whole self before the glorious insignia
of Thy Passion, wherewith Thou didst accomplish my salvation. The royal
standard of Thy victorious Cross; in Thy Name, O Christ, do I adore it.
The thorny diadem; the nails glistening with Thy Blood; the lance
plunged into Thy sacred Side; Thy Wounds; Thy Blood; Thy Death; Thy
Burial; Thy triumphant Resurrection, and Thy Glory,–O Christ, I
suppliantly adore and glorify them. For the balm of life breathes forth
on me from all of them. By their life-giving odour revive and raise my
spirit from the death of sin. Shield me by their virtue from the crafts
of Satan; and comfort me, O Lord, that the yoke of Thy commandments may
be sweet to me, and that the burden of the cross which Thou biddest me
carry after Thee may be light and portable to the shoulders of my soul.
For what courage have I for bearing up according to Thy precepts
against the so many and so manifold oppressions of the world? Are my
feet like hart’s feet, that I should be able to follow after Thee in
Thy fleet passage through the thorns and roughnesses of Thy sufferings?
But hear my voice, I pray Thee, and bend over Thy servant that sweet
Cross of Thine, which is a tree of life to all that lay hold on it; and
then will I run with alacrity, even as I hope to do; then will I carry
after Thee without fainting and unweariedly the Cross Thine enemies
have given Thee. Lay that divinest Cross, I pray Thee, on my shoulders;
whose breadth is charity spreading over all creation; whose length,
eternity; whose height, omnipotence; whose depth, unfathomable wisdom.
And fasten my hands to it, and my feet; and clothe me from head to foot
with the impress and the likeness of Thy Passion. Grant me, I implore
Thee, to abstain from deeds of the flesh, which Thou hatest, and to do
justice, which Thou lovest; and either way to seek Thy glory. So shall
I deem my left hand to have been fastened with the nail of temperance,
and my right hand with the nail of justice, to that lofty Cross of
Thine. Let my mind meditate in Thy law continually, and direct its
every thought to Thee continually; and so by the nail of prudence
fasten Thou my right foot to the same tree of life. Let not the joyless
joy of this fleeting life dissipate the senses, which should only
minister to the spirit, nor yet its jocund joylessness waste and
diminish the rewards of the life eternal laid up in store for me; and
so shall my left foot also be nailed to the Cross by the nail of

But, that some likeness may appear in me even to the thorns on Thy
Head, let the compunction of a saving penance be impressed in my mind,
and compassion for the miseries of others, and a penetrating zeal
urging and pricking me to what is right in Thine eyes; and so shall I
in my griefs be conformed to Thee, so shall the threefold wreath of
thorn be fastened on me (Ps. xxxi. 4).

I would also have Thee put to my lips the sponge upon the reed, and
make me taste the vinegar and its harshness; for I would have Thee,
through Thy Scriptures, make my reason taste and see to see how like a
sponge is all the hollow glory of the world, and how much more sour
than vinegar is all the concupiscence of the world. So, Father, may it
be brought to pass in me that the golden cup of Babylon that makes all
the earth drunk (Jer. li. 7) may not seduce me with its worthless
glitter, nor intoxicate me with its treacherous sweetness, as it does
those who think darkness light, and light darkness, who think bitter
sweet, and sweet bitter (Is. v. 20). And as to the wine mingled with
myrrh, I suspect it, for Thou wouldest not drink of it; because,
perhaps, it indicated the too great bitterness of Thy crucifiers.

And let Thy servant not only share Thy sufferings, let him also be made
conformable to Thy life-giving death, by working this in me, that I may
die after the flesh to sin, and live after the spirit to justice.

But that I may glory in bearing the perfect image of the Crucified, I
pray Thee to express in me what the insatiable malice of sinners
wrought in Thee even after Thou hadst died. Let Thy word wound my
heart, Thy word living and effectual, more penetrating than the
sharpest lance, and reaching even to the inmost parts of the soul; and
let it draw forth from it, as though it were from my right side, in
place of blood and water, love of Thee and love of my brethren.

And last of all, wrap my spirit in the clean linen of the first robe;
[4] and in it let me rest, going in to Thee into the place of Thy
wonderful tabernacle (Ps. xli. 5), and there hide me until Thy
indignation pass away (Is. xxvi. 20).

But on the third day, the day of toil and the day of single glory
overpast, on the first early morning of the week that shall see no end,
do Thou revive me and raise me up, unworthy though I be, that in my
flesh I may see Thy beauty, and be filled to the full with the joy of
Thy countenance (Ps. xv. 11), O my Saviour and my God. Come, come the
day, O my Saviour and my God; speed, speed the time; that what now I
believe in I may then behold at last with unveiled eye; that what now I
hope for and salute from afar, I may apprehend; that what now I desire
with all my powers, I may clasp in my soul’s embrace and rapturously
greet; and be all swallowed up in Thy love’s abyss, O my Saviour and my
God! But now meanwhile, O thou my soul, bless thou thy Saviour; and
magnify His Name, for it is holy and full of holiest delights.

[§ 49. Aspiration and prayer.] O how good and sweet Thou art, Lord
Jesus, to the soul that seeks Thee, Jesus, Redeemer of the captives;
Saviour of the lost; Hope of the exiles; Strength of those that labour;
Repose of the anxious spirit; dear Solace and sweet Refreshment of the
tearful soul that runs toiling after Thee; Crown of them that conquer;
sole Reward and only Joy of the citizens above; full Fountain
overflowing with all graces; glorious Offspring of great God; Thyself
great God. Great God, let all things that are in heaven above and in
earth beneath bless Thee, for Thou art great and great is Thy Name. O
unfading Beauty of the most high God, and purest Brightness of Eternal
Light; O Life enlivening all life, O Light enlightening all light, and
sustaining in eternal splendour the thousand thousand thousands of
lights that blaze before the Throne of Thy Divine Majesty, on from the
distant dawn of their first early shining. O Thou welling Fountain,
hidden from mortal sight in the eternal and exhaustless outgushing of
Thy fresh limpid floods, Whose springs have no beginning, Whose deeps
are deep and infinitely deep, Whose height attains no limit, Whose
breadth broadens onwards marginless for ever, Whose purity is unruffled
through eternity! The Bosom of unfathomable God pours thee forth from
the unsearchable abyss of His own profound, Life begetting Life, Light
begetting Light, God begetting God, eternal God begetting eternal God,
infinite God, God infinite and in all things coequal with Himself. And,
Of Thy fulness we have all received (St. John i. 16).

Thee too, all-plentiful Spring of every good, priceless Light of
sevenfold grace, Thee, O most merciful Spirit, I implore to vouchsafe
to illuminate me by Thy visitation, whereinsoever, by reason of my
frailty, I have too feebly grasped the truth of Thy majesty and
grandeur, and whatsoever of all that I have understood of Thy Divine
precepts I have by carnal wantonness disesteemed; so may I correct what
is amiss, and, helped by Thee, whom, voyaging over this life’s sea of
perils, I have invoked to my assistance, may I be guided without
shipwreck to the harbour of eternal peace.

Thee, too, I entreat, all-pitiful Father, that, as Thou didst first
make me and then re-make by the Passion of Thy only-begotten Son, so
Thou wouldst give me to think and love whatsoever tends to Thy glory. I
am frail and unequal to my undertaking, but do Thou grant me by
diligent confession to attain the grace of redemption and salvation.
And whatever work I undertake henceforth, make it tend altogether, by
Thy grace, through Thy grace, and in Thy grace, to Thine only praise.
Keep me henceforth from sin, teach me to be more constant and
courageous in good works; and so long as I live in this body, let me
show myself some way Thy servant. And so grant me, after my soul’s exit
from the flesh, to obtain pardon of all my sins and reap life ever
lasting. Through Him who with Thee liveth and reigneth for ever and
ever. Amen.

[4] [The clean linen of the first robe:’ Mund? sindone prim?¦ stol?¦
spiritum meum involve.’ The following passage from the first homily of
St. Anselm serves to elucidate the expression: Spiritus enim meus super
mel dulcis, et hereditas mea super mel et favum’ (Ecclus. xxiv. 27),
For My Spirit is sweet above honey, and My inheritance above honey and
the honeycomb.’ Let us then advance and press onwards to the Divine
Wisdom, treading obstacles and difficulties under foot, for that Spirit
of His which He breathes into those who make for Him is sweeter than
honey; and the inheritance of eternal bliss which He has prepared for
them transcends in sweetness honey and the honeycomb. Honey, he says;
indicating the souls of the just, which, detached from their bodies,
are already standing in the presence of the glory of their Creator,
“and white stoles were given to each one of them” (Apoc. vi. 11):
whereas by honeycomb he indicates the elect, who shall be after the
resurrection beatified in body as well as in soul in the kingdom of
God, when at last “they shall receive double in their land” (Is. lxi.
7). For the honeycomb is honey in wax, and represents the soul in the
body; just as honey without wax represents the soul without the body.’
The simplex gloria’ of the next paragraph has the like allusion. The
idea is by no means peculiar to St. Anselm; as, indeed, might be
inferred from the text, for he writes as though the mystical meaning of
the prima stola were not new to his readers. St. Bernard says: There
are three conditions of the holy souls; the first, namely, in a
corruptible body; the second, without the body; the third, in their
body now at last glorified. . . . They have already received each her
one robe, but they will not be clothed with two robes each until we
also are clothed. . . . For the first robe is, as I have said, the
happiness and rest of their souls; the second, the immortality and
glory of their bodies’ (Serm. iii. In Festo omnium Sanctorum). So, too,
in Serm. de Diversis, xli. 12, For the present one robe has been given
to each (Apoc. vi.) . . . pending their coronation with twofold bliss.’
Nor was the idea of medieval origin; for St. Gregory the Great speaks
as follows on Job xlii. 11: And every man gave him one ewe and one
earring of gold.’ For as we said long ago, the saints receive one robe
apiece before the resurrection, for they only enjoy bliss of soul; but
at the end of the world they will receive two robes each, for they will
have not only bliss of mind but also a glorified body.’ The passage to
which he refers is this: Prior to the resurrection they are said to
have received one robe each, for as yet they only enjoy mental bliss;
they will have received their twofold investiture when, together with
perfect joy of soul, they are also decked with incorruptible flesh.’
And, indeed, the following passage from the seventeenth Meditation
gives all that is necessary by way of explanation: Expectant fideles
donec impleatur numerus fratrum suorum ut in die resurrectionis duplici
stol?, scilicet corporis et anim?¦ perpetu? felicitate fruantur.’]



SWEET Jesus! Sweet in the bending of His Head in death; sweet in His
outstretched Arms; sweet in His opened Side; sweet in His Feet fastened
together with a nail!

He is sweet in the bending of His Head; for, inclining His Head on the
Cross, He seems as it were to say to His beloved: O My beloved, how
often hast thou longed to enjoy the Kiss of My Mouth, addressing Me
through My companions: “Let Him kiss me with the Kiss of His Mouth”
(Cant. i. 1); I am ready, I incline My Head to thee, I offer thee My
Mouth; kiss Me, and take thy fill; and say not in thy heart, “I seek
not that Kiss, for there is no beauty and no comeliness in His Mouth,
but I seek that glorious Kiss which the angel-citizens long to enjoy
for ever.” Err not thus, for unless thou first have the Kiss of this
Mouth thou wilt never be able to attain to that other; therefore kiss
this Mouth which I now offer thee, for although it be without
comeliness and beauty, yet it is not without grace.’

Sweet in the stretching of His Arms. For stretching out His Arms He
lets us know that He, ay He, desires our embraces, and seems as it were
to say: O come to Me, you that labour and are burdened, and refresh you
within My Arms, within My embraces; you see that I am ready to fold you
in My Arms; come then, come all of you; let none fear he will be turned
back, “for I desire not the death of the wicked, but that he turn from
his way, and live” (Ezech. xxxiii. 11), and “My delights are to be with
the children of men”‘ (Prov. viii. 31).

Sweet in the opening of His Side; for indeed that opened Side has
revealed to us the treasures of His goodness, His Heart and His Heart’s
love for us.

Sweet in the fastening together of His Feet with a nail; for by this He
speaks thus, as it were, to us: Lo now, if you think I ought to fly
from you, and so are slow to come to Me, knowing that I am swift and
fleet-footed as a hind; you see that My Feet are so fixed together with
a nail that I cannot fly from you at all, because My pity keeps Me
fastened tight. Nor can I flee from you as your sins have merited, for
My Hands, they too are fixed with nails.’

O good Jesus! O Lord all lowliness! O Lord all pity! O sweet in Mouth,
sweet in Heart, sweet in Ear; unsearchably and unutterably pleasant;
all merciful and pitiful, almighty and all- wise, all-bountiful yet not
prodigal; O altogether sweet and kind. Thou alone art sovereign good,
beautiful among the sons of men? (Ps. xliv. 3), fair and lovely, and
chosen out of thousands, and altogether to be desired (Cant. v. 10,
16). All beauty befits the Beautiful.

O my Lord, now my whole soul yearns for Thy embraces and Thy kisses; I
seek nothing but Thyself, even though no reward were promised me. Let
there be no hell, nor yet no paradise, still for Thy sweet goodness’
sake, still for Thine own Self’s sake, would I desire to cleave to
Thee. Be Thou my only ceaseless meditation, Thou my only word, Thou my
only work. Amen.



[§ 51. Cur Deus Homo.] Christian soul, soul raised from sad death, soul
redeemed from miserable slavery and set free by the Blood of God, raise
thy thoughts; bethink thee of thy revival from the dead, and ponder
well the history of thy redemption and thy liberation. Consider where
is the virtue of thy salvation, and what it is. Employ thyself in
musing on it, delight thyself in contemplating it; shake off thy sloth,
do violence to thy heart, bend thy whole mind to. it; taste the
goodness of thy Redeemer, break forth in fires of love to thy Saviour.
Bite the honeycomb of the words that tell of it, suck their savour
pleasant above honey, swallow their health-giving sweetness. Think, and
so bite them; understand, and so suck them; love and rejoice, and so
swallow them. Gladden thyself by biting, exult in sucking, fill thee to
the full with joy by swallowing. Where and what is the virtue and the
strength of thy salvation? Christ, Christ assuredly has raised thee up
again; He, the good Samaritan, has healed thee; He, the good friend,
has redeemed thee with His life, and set thee free. Christ, I say,
Christ is He. And so the virtue of thy salvation is the virtue of
Christ. And where is it; where is this His virtue? Of a truth, horns
are in His Hands, there is His strength hid’ (Hab. iii. 4). Yes, horns
are in His Hands, for those Hands are fastened to the arms of the
Cross. But O, what strength is there in such weakness? What grandeur in
such humility? What of worshipful in such contempt? But because in
weakness, therefore it is a hidden thing; because in humility, it is
veiled; because in contempt, it is concealed and covered up. O hidden
strength! that Man fixed to a Cross should transfix the eternal death
that oppressed the race of man; that Man bound to a tree should unbind
the world which had been fast bound by perpetual death! O veiled
omnipotence! that Man condemned with thieves should save men condemned
with demons. O virtue concealed and covered up! that one Soul given up
to torment should extricate innumerable souls from hell; should as man
undergo the death of the body and destroy the death of souls.

Why, good Lord; why, merciful Redeemer; why, mighty Saviour; why didst
Thou cover such strength with such humility? Was it to deceive the
devil, who by deceiving man drove him out of Paradise? But surely the
Truth, deceives not any one. He that will not know and refuses to
believe the Truth, deceives himself; he that sees the Truth, and hates
or despises it, deceives himself. No; the Truth deceives none.

Was it, then, that the devil might deceive himself? Surely not; for as
the Truth deceives none, so He intends not that any should deceive
himself; albeit in allowing this He may be said to do it. For Thou
didst not assume humanity that being known Thou mightest hide Thyself,
but that not being known Thou mightest reveal Thyself. Thou didst by
words declare Thyself true God, true Man, and Thou didst show it by Thy
works. The fact was by its nature hidden, but it was not studiously
hidden away from view; it was not done in such sort that it might be
hidden from sight, but that in its own order it might be brought to its
consummation; and not that any should be deceived, but that what was
fitting might be done. And if indeed it be called a hidden fact, the
meaning is, that it is a fact not revealed to all. For, true though it
be that the Truth does not manifest Himself to all, yet He denies
Himself to none. Therefore, O Lord, Thou didst do what Thou didst, not
to deceive, nor that any should deceive himself, but that Thou mightest
do what was to be done, and as it was to be done, Thou didst remain
true in all things. Whosoever, therefore, has deceived himself in the
matter of Thy Truth, let him not complain of Thee, but of his own

Was there anything in the devil, as regards God, or as regards man, in
respect of which it might be the more fittingly due that God should by
preference act towards him in behalf of man kind in this manner, rather
than with open and displayed strength; so that, inasmuch as he was bent
on destroying just man unjustly, he should justly lose the power which
he wielded over the unjust? Now, of course, nothing was due to the
devil from God but punishment; nor did man owe any debt but his own
recovery, thus, that as he, man, easily allowed himself to be
conquered, in sinning, by him, the devil, so it was due that he should
conquer the devil, and that by a struggle even to the death, in keeping
justice unimpaired. But this was man’s due, as a debt, to none but God
only; for his sin was sin not in respect of the devil, but in respect
of God; nor was man accountable to the devil, but man and devil alike
were God’s. And as to the fact that the devil harassed man, this he did
not from zeal for justice, but from love of iniquity; by the
permission, not by the command, of God; the justice of God exacting it,
not any justice of the devil’s. There was nothing, therefore, on the
part of the devil to make it due, in respect of him, that God should,
having the salvation of man in view, either conceal or set aside His

Was there, then, any inherent necessity compelling the Most High thus
to humble Himself, and the Almighty to toil as He did for the
attainment of any end of His? Now all necessity and all impossibility
is subject to His will; what He wills must of necessity be, what He
does not will cannot possibly be. He acted, then, from His sole will;
and, since His will is always good, from His sole goodness. For God
needed not to save man in this way, but human nature had need that in
this way it should satisfy to God. God needed not to endure so great
toils and pains, but man had need thus to be reconciled to God; nor did
God need to be thus humbled, but man had need thus to be rescued from
the pit of hell. The Divine Nature needed not to be humbled, or to
labour, nor indeed was it possible that it should; but need was that
human nature should undergo all this, in order that it might be
restored to that for which it had been created. But neither human
nature nor anything that was not God could possibly avail for the
attainment of the end. For man is not restored to that for which he was
created if he be not advanced to a likeness with the angels, in whom is
no sin; which cannot possibly come to pass unless he have received
remission of all his sins; and this is not effected without the
preliminary of a perfect satisfaction, that satisfaction being of
necessity such that the sinner, or some one in the sinner’s behalf,
offer to God something which is not due by way of debt, and which is of
greater value than all that is not God. For if to sin is to dishonour
God–and man ought not to commit sin even though the inevitable
consequence were that all which is not God should perish–immutable
truth and right reason of course require that he who sins should offer
to God, by way of restitution for the honour taken from Him, something
of greater worth than is that for which he ought not to have
dishonoured Him [than all that is outside God]. And, since human nature
had not this to give, nor yet could possibly be reconciled without
payment of the satisfaction due; lest the justice of God should thus
leave sin in God’s kingdom sin, a thing so repugnant to the order of
that kingdom the goodness of God intervened, and the Son of God assumed
it [i.e. human nature] into His own Person, so that, in that Person,
Man might be God, and thus possess what should not only transcend every
existence which is not God, but also the whole sum of the debt which
sinners owe; and, since He owed nothing for Himself, should pay this in
behalf of mankind at large, who had not wherewithal to pay what was due
from them. For God-Man’s [5] life is of higher price than all that is
not God, and transcends in worth all the debt which sinners owe by way
of satisfaction. For if the putting Him to death surpasses all other
sins, no matter what their heinousness or what their number, which can
possibly be imagined outside of and away from the Person of God [i.e.
God Himself], it is clear that His life is greater as a good than all
sins outside of and away from the Person of God can ever be as evils.
This His life God-Man, since death was not a thing He owed by way of
debt, inasmuch as He was not a sinner, offered spontaneously, of His
own treasure, to the honour of the Father; He offered it in permitting
it, for His justice’ sake, to be taken away from Him, that thus He
might offer an example to all mankind that the justice of God is not to
be foregone by them even on account of death, the death which is in
their case a debt that they must needs of necessity pay some day;
whereas He, who owed no such debt, and might have avoided it without
any violation of justice, willingly under went it for justice’ sake
when inflicted on Himself. Thus, then, Human Nature offered to God in
that Man spontaneously and not as of debt that which was its own: so as
to redeem itself in others, in whom it had not wherewith to pay what
was required by way of debt. In all this the Divine Nature suffered no
humiliation, but the Human was exalted; nor was the former in any way
detracted from, but the latter was mercifully aided.

Nor did human nature in God-Man suffer aught by any kind of necessity,
but only by free election. Nor did it succumb unwillingly to any
violence from without, but by spontaneous goodness, endured at once
nobly and mercifully, for the honour of God and the benefit of mankind
generally, the evils by wicked will inflicted on it; and that by no
compulsion of obedience, but by the disposition of an almighty wisdom.
For the Father did not impose death upon God-Man by a compulsory
imposition, but what He knew would be pleasing to His Father and
profitable to mankind, that He voluntarily did. For it was impossible
that the Father should force Him to that which could not be required of
Him as due to Himself; and on the other hand, it was impossible but
that so great an offering, voluntarily offered by the Son with such
utter goodness of will, should be pleasing to the Father. Thus, then,
He exhibited a free obedience to the Father, inasmuch as He
spontaneously willed to do what He knew would be pleasing to the
Father. And hence, since this utter goodness of will was the Father’s
gift to Him, He is not improperly said to have received it as a precept
of His Father’s. In this way, therefore, it is that He was obedient to
the Father even unto death; and that, as the Father gave Him
commandment, so He did; and that He drank the chalice which His Father
gave Him. For the obedience of Human Nature is exhibited at once in
full perfection and in uttermost freedom, when it voluntarily
surrenders its own free will to the will of God, and when, with a
freedom all its own, it perfects the good will which was therefore
accepted because unexacted.

Thus He, Man, redeems mankind, inasmuch as that which He has of His own
will offered to God is reckoned as covering the debt which was owing
from them. By which payment man is not only and merely once redeemed
from his faults, but how often soever he returns to God with worthy
repentance, he is received; a repentance, however, be it well borne in
mind, which is not promised unconditionally and absolutely to the
sinner. And since this payment was effected on the Cross, our Christ
has by the Cross redeemed us. Those, then, who choose to approach with
worthy disposition to this grace are saved; whilst those who despise
it, since they pay not what is due from them, are justly damned.

[§ 52. Thanksgiving for the liberation of mankind.] Lo, then, Christian
soul, here is the strength of thy salvation; here is the cause of thy
freedom; here is the price of thy redemption. Thou wast a captive, but
thus hast thou been redeemed; thou wast a slave, lo, thus thou art made
free. And so, an exile, thou art brought home; lost, thou art
reclaimed; and dead, thou art restored to life. This let thy heart
taste, O man, this let it suck, this let it swallow, whilst thy mouth
receives the Body and Blood of the selfsame thy Redeemer. Make this in
this present life thy daily bread, thy nourishment, thy support in
pilgrimage; for by means of this, this and nothing else, shalt thou
remain in Christ and Christ in thee, and in the life to come thy joy
shall be full.

But how, O Lord, shall I rejoice in a freedom of mine which is none
other than the purchase of Thy bonds; Thine, who didst endure death
that I might live? What sort of gladness in my salvation can mine be,
when that salvation is none other than the fruit of Thy griefs? How
shall I exult in a life of mine, which is mine only by Thy death? Am I
to rejoice in Thy sufferings, and in the cruelty of those who caused
them? For, indeed, Thou hadst not borne them, had not they inflicted
them, and, hadst Thou not endured them, all these my blessings had not
been. And, on the other hand, if I grieve over the sufferings, how
shall I rejoice in the blessings for which the sufferings were
undergone, and which would not have been had the sufferings not been?
Truth is, the wickedness that inflicted them was able to do nothing
save as Thou didst willingly allow; nor didst Thou allow save as Thou
didst mercifully will. I must needs therefore execrate the cruelty of
those who caused Thy pains; I must compassionate and imitate Thy death
and Thy toils; I must render Thee the homage of a thankful love for Thy
merciful free choice in my behalf; and thus exult in safety and
confidence in the benefits bestowed on me.

[§ 53. Man’s past condition and present privilege.] Therefore, poor
mortal, leave their cruelty to the judgment of God, and busy thy
thoughts with the debt of gratitude thou owest to thy Saviour. Consider
what plight thou wast in, and what has been done for thee; think, too,
who it is that has done it, and of what love He is worthy. Review at
once thy need and His goodness; and see what thanks on the one hand
thou renderest, and on the other how much thou owest to His love. Thou
wast in darkness, on slippery ground, and on a slope sheering down to
the chaos of hell whence none may return; an enormous weight, like some
load of lead hanging from thy neck, dragged thee lower and lower; a
burden too heavy to bear pressed upon thee from above; and unseen foes
urged thee on, spite of thy struggles to get free. Thus wast thou, and
without all help; and thou knewest not thy plight, for thus hast thou
been conceived and born. O, what was thy condition then, and whither
did they hurry thee! Shudder at the recollection, tremble at the review
of it. O good Christ, O Lord Jesus; posited thus, neither seeking Thee,
nor thinking of Thee, Thou didst shine upon me like a sun, and didst
show me in what predicament I was. Thou didst throw away the leaden
weight that dragged me down; Thou didst take off the burden that
weighed upon me; Thou didst drive back the pursuing foes, and stand
forth against them in my, defence; Thou calledst me by a new name, a
name which Thou gavest me after Thine own; and, bowed down as I was,
didst raise and set me up so as to behold Thee, saying, Be of good
heart; I have redeemed thee, I have given My life for thee. Do but
cleave to Me, and thou shalt escape the miseries in which thou wast,
and shalt not fall into the deep whither thou wast hurrying; but I will
lead thee on, even to My kingdom, and make thee an heir of God, and a
joint-heir with Myself.’ Thenceforth Thou didst take me into Thy
keeping, that nothing should hurt my soul against Thy allowing. And,
behold, although as yet I have not clung to Thee as Thou didst counsel,
yet Thou hast not let me fall into hell, but art waiting still, that I
may cling to Thee, and Thou do for me as Thou hast promised. In truth,
O Lord, such was my condition, and thus hast Thou dealt with me. I was
in darkness; for I knew nothing, not even myself. I was on slippery
ground; for I was weak and frail, and prone to slip into sin. I was on
the slopes over the pit of hell; for I had lapsed in my first parents
from justice to injustice, a road by which men travel down into hell;
and from beatitude to temporal woe, whence men launch into eternal. The
weight of original sin drew me from below, and the unsupportable burden
of God’s judgment oppressed me from above; and my foes the demons, that
by fresh actual sins they might make me more worthy of damnation,
vehemently assailed me as much as in them it lay to do. Thus destitute,
thus helpless, Thou, Jesus, didst shine upon me, and show me in what
state I was. For even when as yet I could not know or be aware of it,
Thou didst teach it all to others, who were to learn in my behalf, and
afterwards me myself, or ever I sought it of Thee. The dragging lead,
the pressing load, the urging foes–Thou hast rid me of them all; for
Thou hast taken away the sin in which I was conceived and born, both
the sin and its condemnation, and hast warded off the spiteful fiends
from doing violence to my soul. Thou hast caused me to be called after
Thy Name, a Christian; the Name by which I make confession of Thee, and
Thou too dost own me among Thy redeemed; Thou hast lifted me up,
moreover, and raised me to the knowledge and the love of Thee; Thou
hast made me have good hope for the salvation of my soul, my soul for
which Thou gavest Thine, and, only that I follow Thee, hast promised me
Thy glory. And lo, although not yet I follow Thee as Thou hast
counselled nay, rather, have committed many sins which Thou hast
forbidden still Thou dost wait, dost wait that I may follow Thee, dost
wait to give what Thou hast promised.

[§ 54. The soul’s surrender of itself to God.] Consider, O my soul, and
thou, my inmost self, reflect, how much my entire being owes to Him. Of
a truth, O Lord, because Thou hast made me, I owe my whole self to Thy
love; because Thou hast redeemed me, I owe my whole self; because Thou
dost promise so much, I owe my whole self; nay, I owe so much more than
myself to Thy love as Thou art greater than I, for whom Thou didst give
Thyself and dost promise Thyself. Grant, O Lord, I beseech Thee, that I
may taste by love what I taste by speculation, perceive by affection
what I perceive by the understanding. I owe Thee more than my whole
self; but neither have I more, nor even this that I am can I of myself
give up whole to Thee. Draw me, or rather this whole self of mine, O
Lord, into Thy love. All that I am is Thine by creation; make it all
Thine by love. Behold, O Lord, my heart lies open before Thee; it
tries, but of itself it cannot; what self cannot, do Thou. Admit me
within the chamber of Thy love. I ask, I seek, I knock. Thou who
causest me to ask, cause me to receive. Thou givest the seek, give also
the find. Thou teachest how to knock, open to him that knocks. To whom
dost Thou ever give, if Thou sayest no to him that asks? “Who finds at
all, if he that seeks seeks all in vain? To whom dost Thou open, if
Thou shuttest the door to him that knocks? What dost Thou give to him
that does not pray, if Thou refusest Thy love to him that does pray?
The de siring is from Thee; let me have the obtaining too from Thee.
Cling to Him, O my soul; cling, cling with importunity. Good Lord, good
Lord, cast it not away; it faints of hunger for Thy love; revive it;
let Thy sweet election satiate it, and Thy unfailing fondness nourish
it, and Thy divine love fulfil it, and occupy me altogether, and
possess and fill me through and through; for Thou art with the Father
and the Holy Ghost, God only blessed for ever and ever. Amen.

[5] [The phrase GOD-MAN’ is familiar to all, and is used here as a
rendering of ILLE HOMO’ in preference to any such more literal but less
usual forms of expression as The Ideal Man’ The Model Man,’ or The



[§ 55. The Mystery of the Incarnation.] The subject of our Saviour’s
most holy birth and in fancy is brimful of joy, of tenderness, of
edification: of joy in respect of our own exceeding gladness; of
tenderness in regard to His sufferings; and of edification because of
the lessons taught us. For what more joyful than to behold as Man Him
who, as we know, is man’s Creator? What, again, should seem to man more
touching than to see, as he does, with unveiled eye, that in the Person
of this Meditator of God and men, our Lord Jesus Christ, after a
certain wondrous and ineffable manner, eternity begins to be, and
majesty is shrouded in humility? He who IS everlasting in the Bosom of
the Father is conceived in a Mother’s womb. Born from eternity of His
Father without mother, He is born in time of His Mother without father.
He who clothed the earth with trees and verdure, who decked the sky
with its lamps, who peopled the sea with fishes, lies wrapped in rags.
He whom the heaven of heavens cannot hold is confined in a narrow
manger, is fed with a Mother’s milk. The Wisdom, whose wisdom has
neither beginning nor end, who is Himself the very Wisdom of God the
Father, advances from less to greater. He, whose eternity cannot be
contracted even as it cannot be increased, exists by measurement of
days and hours; and the primal Author of grace, its Preserver and its
Rewarder, grows in grace. He who is the object of the adoration of all
created being, and to whom every knee is bowed, is made subject to
human parents. Let us add farther, if we may, the following: He is
baptised; yes in deed; the Lord by His servant, God by a man, the King
by His subject. He whom angels serve is tempted by the devil. Food
hungers, the Fountain thirsts, the Way is weary, Greatness is brought
low, Might is weakened, Power enfeebled, Glory despised and wronged,
Joy mourns, Gladness grieves, Majesty is shrouded in humility, and Life
in death.’

[§ 56. Hope inspired by the thought of the Incarnation.] O good Jesus,
how sweet Thou art in the heart of one that muses on Thee and that
loves Thee! I know not how it is–no, for I can not compass all I
say–yet so it is that Thou art far sweeter, in the heart of one who
loves Thee, in that Thou art Flesh than in that Thou art the Word;
sweeter in Thy lowliness than Thy glory. Yes, indeed, it is far, far
sweeter for loving memory to see Thee born in time of Thy Virgin Mother
than to behold Thee begotten of Thy Father before the day-star; sweeter
to think that Thou hast emptied Thyself, and hast taken the form of a
servant, than that in the form of God Thou art equal to God; sweeter to
see Thee dying on the tree in the sight of the Jews than to descry Thee
lording it in heaven over the angels; sweeter to watch Thee amidst all
things humbled and abased than high advanced and exalted over all; to
know that as Man Thou hast borne a human lot than that as God Thy
dealings have been all Divine; that Thou art the Redeemer of the
perishing than that Thou art the Creator of all men out of nothing. O,
how sweet it is, good Jesus, to go into the secret chamber of one’s
heart and there call Thee to mind, for our sake conceived without stain
in the Virgin’s womb, and born without hurt to her virginity; for our
sake wrapped in rags, and laid in a manger, bearing reproaches with
patience, and insults silently; to think of Thee washing Thy disciples’
feet, and wiping them with a towel; praying on through the long night,
sweating Thy sweat of Blood; sold for thirty pieces of silver, betrayed
with a kiss, captured with swords and staves, bound, judged, condemned
to the scourge, led like an innocent lamb to the slaughter, neither
opening Thy mouth when roughly used, nor answering when accused in many
things; buffeted, smitten, scourged with whips; discoloured and livid
with scars; arrayed in a scarlet cloak; crowned with a crown of thorns;
worshipped in derision; beaten about the head with a reed; scorned and
mocked in a robe of white, and then condemned to death; to see Thee
carrying the cross and fastened to it, praying for Thy murderers; given
vinegar to drink and gall to eat, reviled by the thief, pouring forth
Thy Blood through the five wounds of Thy Body, bowing Thy Head, giving
up the ghost, commending Thy dear Soul into the Hands of Thy Father,
and enduring all this for us. All these thoughts breed in us and
increase greater and yet greater joy, confidence and consolation, love
and desire.

[§ 57. Joy inspired by the thought of the Incarnation.] Who but must
rejoice and be beside himself with joy, who but must be beyond all
measure happy and full of gladness, on seeing that not only is his
Creator made man for his sake, but that, besides this, He has endured
such hardnesses and such indignities? What more delicious to ruminate
upon? What sweeter for the mind to taste? What more joyful subject of
meditation? Who is to rob me of my place in a Kingdom over which He
reigns omnipotent who is my Brother and my Flesh? What possible issue
can ever make me desolate, since so bright a hope confers on me so
certain an assurance? How can any sadness possibly have any sort of
place in one in whom a thought like this is incessantly kept alive? Nor
is the confidence this thought engenders in me one whit the less that
the object of my loving ardours is my own Creator. Assuredly it is in
every way a safe, and in no respect a rash, confidence, which is
created in the mind by the contemplation of our humanity in the very
Person of Christ. Why may I not trust that I shall attain to the
inheritance of the elect, when I behold the very Creator of all things
dead for the sake of me? For me He poured forth Blood from His Side;
why, then, should I not be sure that I have been redeemed, when I know
that so high a price has been paid for me? And for me He poured forth
water also; why should I not feel confident that I have been cleansed
from all my defilements, when it is clear that I have been cleansed by
the Water which gushed from the Heart of Christ? The one welled forth
from Him, and so did the other; and if the one was shed for my
redemption, the other was shed for the washing clean of the redeemed;
one for the redemption of the captive, the other for the cleansing of
the foul. For me, a slave, was the everlasting Son delivered up, that
He might buy me an inheritance by His death; how then shall I not
believe myself an heir; ay, indeed, an heir of God, and a joint-heir of
Christ? (Rom. viii. 17.) Though I was an enemy, I was reconciled to God
by the death of His Son; how, then, justified now by His death, shall I
not be saved from wrath through Him? Who shall lay anything to my
charge, when His charity covereth the multitude of sins? (1 St. Pet.
iv. 8.) His Blood cries from the earth, and speaks better than Abel;
and shall not the voice of such and so loud a cry move His Father’s

[§ 58. Love inspired by the thought of the Incarnation.] Far be it, and
again I say, far be it from me that I should lack bowels of compassion
as I behold Thee, O good Jesus, dying for me. Thou art crucified before
my eyes, and shall no emotion stir my heart? That sword of Thine gleams
unsheathed before me, and shall it not pierce my soul? Sweet Jesus,
what right have I to compassionate Thee? Yet it is none the less well
that I should do so. And why should it not be well, since it is
evident, if he discerns and judges aright in whom Thou spakest, that if
we suffer with Thee we shall also reign with Thee? (Rom. viii. 17.) And
in another place, If we be dead with Him, we shall live also with Him’
(2 Tim. ii. 12). But that this compassion of which we speak may live
and flourish in our mind, need is that it be inspired by an ardent
charity; for whom we embrace with a burning love, those, and those
only, we truly compassionate in their woe, and truly congratulate in
their good estate. O Jesus, neither my mind can comprehend, nor my
tongue suffice to declare, how worthy Thou art to be loved by me, Thou
who hast condescended to love me with such a perfect love. Thou hast
loved me, and washed me from my sins in Thine own Blood. For if I love
Thee much, Thou certainly hast loved me first, and hast loved me more.
For by this,’ says the Apostle, hath appeared the charity of God, not
as if we have loved God, but because He first loved us’ (1 St. John iv.
9, 10). He loved when I loved not; for indeed hadst Thou not loved him
that loved not, Thou hadst not made him love. I love Thee, O sweetest
Jesus, above all things; but all too little, because far less than Thou
deservest, O Thou most dearly loved; and as far less than I ought. And
who could? One may indeed love Thee, by Thy gift, as best he can, but
never as much as he ought. Who shall repay Thee the worth of Thy
innocent Blood, which flowed not in drops but in rivers from five parts
of Thy Body? Thou createdst me when I was not; Thou redeemedst me when
I was lost. But the sole motive for my being and for my salvation was
Thy love. What didst Thou see in me, O Jesus, Sweetness of my life;
what didst Thou see in me, that Thou shouldest pay so great a price for
me? Nothing, nothing; but so it seemed good in Thy sight. As Creator,
Thou bestowedst much on me, but far more as Redeemer. O, how lovely
Thou art, Lord Jesus; and O, how sweet! Lovely, but to those who see
Thee; sweet, but to those who taste Thee. Thou art not known, unless
Thou be seen; nor found sweet, unless Thou be tasted. Make me seek
Thee; and seeking find Thee; and finding keep Thee; that Thou mayest be
the sole sweetness of my taste, the sole pleasantness, the sole
delight. Make me know Thee, fear Thee, love Thee, yearn for Thee. Let
me not fall away into love of perishable things. Alas, my Lord, that I
cannot taste incessantly how delightful and how sweet Thou art!

[§ 59. Jesus the Salvation of sinners.] I am a sinner, O most merciful
Jesus. Have mercy on me, Thou who earnest not to call the just, but
sinners. Thou Fountain opened to the house of David, show Thyself, and
flow forth, and wash me clean. For Thou art an open fountain to all who
thirst after Thee; and of all who truly repent Thou dost wash away the
stains, returning good for ill, a gift for their iniquity, merit for
their fault, justice for their crime, and grace for their sin. King
David had experience of this, who, on repenting, heard from Thy
messenger the words, The Lord also hath taken away thy sin; thou shalt
not die’ (2 Kings xii. 23). For he was washed in Thee with the tears of
penance, and cleansed from the stains of a grievous sin; for Thy purity
washed out the foulness of the adulterer’s crime, and Thy compassion
the murderer’s cruelty. In Thee was purged that prince of the Apostles,
who wept bitter tears for his cowardly denial of Thee. In Thee, Thou
purest and sweetest fountain, the woman who was a sinner was made white
as snow, and merited to be blessed with so intimate a nearness to
Thyself as to witness the new glories of Thy resurrection, even before
Apostles, and to preach the news to them. In Thee too was he made
clean, who, hanging near Thee on his cross, whilst he owned that he had
received the due re ward of his deeds, and prayed to be remembered by
Thee in Thy Kingdom, merited to hear Thee say at once to him, Amen, I
say to thee, This day thou shalt be with Me in paradise’ (St. Luke
xxiii. 43). And day after day, O merciful Jesus, how many are there
enlightened and cleansed in Thee; raised from darkness into light, from
filthiness to purity! O take me, take me home from my long exile to

O good Jesus, Thou living and life-giving sweetness, Thou true
unfailing health, if I have sown in the flesh, what shall I reap from
the flesh but corruption? And if I have loved the world, what fruit
shall I gather from such love? O my Lord God, I was wont to pay a
threefold tribute to the Babylonian king, when employed in his impious
service. His service is sin; the threefold tribute is delight, consent,
and act; and I paid the tribute in thought, in word, and in deed. See
with what fires this boiling cauldron was heated (Jer. i. 14), whose
face was from the face of the north; when the suggestion of the enemy
made the embers burn, and set ablaze the thoughts of my heart. See,
merciful Lord, the threefold cord that bound me tight, in mind, in
tongue, in body. From the sole of my foot unto the top of my head there
was no soundness in me; therefore heal my soul, for I have sinned
against Thee’ (Ps. xl. 5). Do Thine own work, O merciful Jesus, and
save me. For Thou art called Jesus for this only reason, that Thou
shalt save Thy people from their sin (St. Matt. i. 21); who with the
Father and the Holy Ghost livest and reignest world without end. Amen.



[§ 60. The Son of God, archetypal Beauty.] My heart’s voice is to Thee,
my Lord and eternal King, Christ Jesus. The work of Thy hand dares to
address Thee with loving boldness, for it yearns after Thy beauty and
longs to hear Thy voice. O Thou, my heart’s desired One, how long must
I bear Thy absence; how long must I sigh after Thee, and my eyes drop
tears? O Lord, all love, all loveable, where dwellest Thou? Where is
the place of Thy rest, where Thou reposest all joyful among Thy
favourite ones, and satisfiest them with the revelations of Thy glory?
How happy, how bright, how holy, how ardently to be longed for, is that
place of perennial joys! My eye has never reached far enough, nor my
heart soared high enough, to know the multitude of the sweetnesses
which Thou hast stored up in it for Thy children. And yet I am
supported by their fragrance, though I am far away from them. The
breath of Thy sweetness comes to me from afar; a sweetness which to me
exceeds the odour of balsam, and the breath of frankincense and myrrh,
and every kind of sweetest smell. It awakes chaste longings in my
heart; and delightful, yet scarce tolerable are its flames. For what
have I in heaven?’ (Ps. lxxiii. 25.) What is my treasure in that
celestial shrine? What is my heritage in the land of the living? Is it
not Christ, my Lord, my sole salvation, my total good, my fulness of
joy? And how, O Lord, shall I restrain my heart from loving Thee? If I
love not Thee, what shall I love? If I transfer my love from Thee,
where shall I bestow it worthily? O longed-for Lord, where shall my
longings find a rest outside of Thee? If my love stir its wing away
from Thee, outside of Thee, it will be soiled; and my longings will be
all in vain if they glance aside from Thee. For art not Thou loveable
and desirable above all things that can be desired or loved? Whatever
worth and beauty all creation has, it has from Thee; and what marvel,
since Thou alone excellest all things? Thou hast clothed the sun among
the stars with an excellent brightness, and brighter than the sun art
Thou. Nay, what is the sun, or what is all created light, in comparison
of Thee, but darkness? Thou hast peopled the sky with stars, the
empyrean with angels, the air with birds, the waters with fish, the
earth with herbs, and plants with flowers. But there is no beauty nor
no grace in all of them in comparison of Thee, O Fountain of universal
beauty, Lord Jesus. Thou hast stored honey with its sweetness, and
sweeter than honey art Thou. Thou hast infused its pleasantness into
oil, and pleasanter than oil art Thou. Thou hast shed their odours into
all fragrant gums, and sweet and pleasant above all rare spices is Thy
fragrance. Thou hast set gold among minerals in rare preeminence for
worth and beauty; yet what is all of it compared to my priceless Lord,
and His fathom less glory, that the angels long to gaze into? Every
precious stone and desirable to look upon is the work of Thy
hands,–sardius, topaz, jasper, chrysolite, onyx, beryl, amethyst,
sapphire, carbuncle, emerald; and yet what are all of them but toys
compared with Thee, all-loveable and all-beauteous King? And Thine own
handiwork are those precious and immortal jewels with which Thou, O
wise Master-builder, didst in the beginning of the ages beautifully
embellish the superethereal palace to the praise and glory of the

[61. The nine Choirs of Angels.] Through Thee, for the fulfilling of
the behests of the eternal Father, thousands of thousands glide in
swift flight twixt heaven and earth, like industrious bees that flit to
and fro between their hive and the flowers; a busy throng, innocent and
stainless, neither laggard nor disobedient. Through Thee a hundred
times ten thousand stand ministrant in the sanctuary of the temple of
highest heaven, staring on the Face of Majesty with a clear unflinching
gaze, and sounding forth their harmonious ceaseless hymn to the glory
of the triune undivided Godhead.

Through Thee the Seraphim burn, the Cherubim shine, the Thrones give

Thou, O Lord, art a fire that burns and consumes not; and, from their
immediate nearness to the fires of Thy Godhead, all the sacred choir of
the Seraphim are wrapt in coruscating flame, and pour abroad the
overflowing of their blissful ardours on the other armies of Thy
battling hosts; and of these we in our turn have tasted of the fulness.

Thou, our God, art very Light; and the hills catch Thy glory and shed
it on Thy people, when Thou dost largely shower forth Thy hidden
treasures of wisdom and knowledge on the eyes of the Cherubim, who fix
their nearer gaze on Thee. And from them are lighted in their turn the
elect subordinated lamps of Thy marvellous tabernacle, which
inextinguishably shine before Thy Face, O Lord.

Thou, King of kings, great awful Judge of judges, dost sit above the
lofty Thrones, for they have no higher height than Thine above them,
Thrones all life and bliss and uniform profoundest calm; through Thee
scanning the ways of truth, and in Thy truth giving forth just

O Lord, our Lord, the holy sublime Dominions worship Thee, expatiating
freely in the mysteries of the Godhead, and, enthroned among the
princes of Thy palace, sustain, with no loftiness of haughty pride, the
primacy of an exalted rule.

O Lord, my God, through Thee the stately choir of Principalities reign
as mighty noble chiefs over the army of the skies in the princedom of a
sweet pre?«minence, unenvying and unenvied in their excellency, and
fulfil the mysteries of the Divine will as they read the secret purpose
of Thy Heart.

O Lord of the Powers, Thine is their might, as they plunge their
flaming brand into the necks of the princes of hell; and fear Thee
only, lest these should be able according to their will to do mischief
for our hurt.

Thine, O virtue of the Father, are all the blessed wonder-working
Virtues, whose ministry makes all the whole universe wonder and adore
Thee, and, struck dumb awhile at Thy marvellous works, cry out and say,
Whatsoever the Lord pleased He hath done, in heaven, in earth, in the
sea, and in all the deeps’ (Ps. cxxxv. 6).

Thine, O sweet Jesus, are the magnificent Archangels, in whom the
benignity of Thy great condescension chiefly works; for, glorious
satraps of Thy palace, Thou disdainest not to dispatch them down to
this poor world to support and help our lowliness, creatures of clay
that we are, and close allied to dust and ashes. Through them, by Thy
command, the chiefest interests of our salvation are administered, and
the profoundest secrets of Thy supreme purpose are conveyed to us by
them; by them come sicknesses and health to the generations of mankind;
by them the kingdoms and the empires of the world subsist. And, chief
amongst them do we own Thy Michael, the stalwart standard-bearer and
the citizen of heaven, who stands in advance of the army of the living
God, and brandishing his champion’s blade thunders with terrible voice
against the marshalled hosts of the enemy. Who is like God?’

And the blessed Angels, so loveable in their innocence, are they not
the choice work of Thy Fingers, O Wisdom of God? For on the day of
their creation Thou didst deck them with an in corruptible vestiture
for the work of Thy holy service. These are the living stars of the
higher heaven, the lilies of the inner paradise, the rose-trees planted
by the silent-flowing waters of Siloe, with their roots immovably fixed
in Thee. O River of peace, O Breath of the garden of de lights, O only
Wisdom ranging round about the circling bourne of heaven; by Thee they
shine, and burn, and glow in perfect wisdom, in virginal chastity, and
in the ardours of a deathless love. Blooming in endless youth, they
find in our weakness the sphere of their faithful service; for they
lead us by the hand like tender guides, and direct our steps as we
travel through this darksome world, and ward off the assaults of the
enemy, and whisper to us the secrets of Thy will, and brace up our
failing hearts to good, and carry up the incense of our prayers to the
altar of gold, and always supplicate the Face of our merciful Father
for us.

Thus, merciful Father, Thou hast indeed some care for us, though for a
season we are far away from home. And if the tenth drachma which once
slipped from Thy bosom and has now been recovered by Thy toils and
sorrows have any worth, it is all Thy gift, good Jesus. If there be
aught of sweetest sound in this tenth chord strung of yore for the
praise of God, it is the persuasive touch of Thy Sovereign Hand that
evokes it, when on the ten-stringed psaltery Thou singest the glory of
the Father. Sing as Thou singest, O Lord; play Thy sweet music with the
swift and changeful modulations of a manifold thanks giving. Strike
those nine tuneful heavenly strings, which never yet sounded harsh or
sad. And touch that tenth, of lowest note, whose upper part strained
and set in tune to Thee sounds joyfully; whilst its lower part, bound
as yet awhile to the earth, knows only how to yield dull sounds of
sadness and untunefulness.

[§ 62. The desires of the soul aspiring to God.] When, O First-begotten
of God, I muse with intensest thought upon all Thy wonderful works, I
tremble with amazement; for Thou dost shine forth all-glorious in every
way in all of them. And yet, great though they be, and beautiful and
very good, they show as emptiness and nothing compared with Thee. Earth
and sky and all their bravery subsist by Thee their Creator and
Governor, and utter forth Thy power and fulness, Thy wisdom and beauty,
Thy goodness and love; and as light excels darkness, so Thou and Thou
alone transcendest all of them. And Thou, my God, awaitest me in
heaven, the Treasure and the Reward of Thy servant; Giver at once and
Gift, Saviour and Salvation. The expected of my soul, what besides Thee
has it desired upon earth?’ (Ps. lxxiii. 25.)

Why then should I leave heaven for an atom? What is it in all the earth
that I have deemed a greater good than Thee, or -a dearer love than
Thee, that I should steal my heart from Thee and desire anything in all
the universe outside of Thee? Why in all my life have I ever loved any
thing or desired anything but Thee, Jesus my God? Why, Jesus, have I
delayed, why have I ever for a moment stopped entertaining Thee in my
heart, embracing Thee with my whole soul, and delighting all the inward
recesses of my being with Thy sweetness? When I was not with Thee,
where was I? When my desires rested not on Thee only, whither, whither
did they fly?

God of my life, how vainly have my days been spent, how unprofitably
have they slipped by! days which Thou gavest me that I might do Thy
will in them, and I have not done it. How long the years, how many the
hours that I have squandered, living but bringing forth no fruit in Thy
sight! And how then shall I stand? How shall I dare to lift my eyes and
look in Thy Face at that great reckoning, if Thou shalt bid me give an
account of all my sins or of all my opportunities, and shalt demand the
issues of all! O let it not be so, most patient Father; nay, let it not
be so, but rather let my wasted opportunities–alas, how many!–be
buried in forgetfulness. And if, by Thy help, I have husbanded some few
of them–their number is small enough, I know–let these be remembered
to eternity; and, Father of all love, let at least this my residue of
time be fruitful and hallowed by Thy grace, that it may find a place in
the days of eternity and be reckoned in my favour in Thy sight.

Now, then, from this moment do you, all my desires, bestir yourselves
and fly to your Lord Jesus: fly away; why linger ye? Speed ye to your
goal, seek whom ye seek. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified’
(St. Mark xvi. 6). He has gone up into heaven; He is not here’ (ib.).
He is not where He was. He is not where His sacred Head had not where
to rest; He is not where He walked in the midst of trouble, despised
and put to scorn; He is not where He stood before Pilate to be judged;
He is not where He stood derided and mocked in Herod’s presence; He is
not where He hung between malefactors, spit upon, smitten, wounded,
drenched with blood; He is not where He lay, shut in by the stone, and
watched by the gentile guards. Where then, O where, is the Lord’s
Beloved? He rests in confidence, and no plague comes nigh His
tabernacle. Above the height of heaven, above all the excellence of the
angels, He is ascended and gone up in His own great might, and sits on
the Throne of singular glory at the Right-hand of the Father, and
reigns with Him, co?«ternal, consubstantial, clothed with the Divine
Light, crowned with glory and honour as befits the Only-begotten, in
undisturbed serenity, and joy, and uttermost almightiness; Lord in
heaven, and Lord in earth. There all the angels of God adore Him, and
the one vast throng of the citizens of the heavenly Sion. In Him, their
sole centre, all hearts rejoice together, and the eyes of all the good
feast on His Face whom all desire; in Him meet all the desires of all
the saints, and the whole heavenly city, every way glorious in His
Presence, sing their jubilee, their applause, and their magnificat to

[§ 63. The Saints in heaven.] Rejoice, and praise, O thou habitation of
Sion; for great is He that is in the midst of thee, the Holy One of
Israel’ (Is. xii. 6).

Rejoice, ye glorious Patriarchs in your royal Offspring, for all your
expectations are fulfilled in Him and He is highly exalted, and in Him,
your Seed, all nations shall be blessed, as the Divine word promised

Rejoice, ye Prophets, heralds of truth, in Jesus the great Prophet; for
ye now see wonderfully and gloriously fulfilled all that you foretold
of Him in the Holy Ghost, and are found faithful by Him in all your

And you, illustrious Princes of the sky, you blessed Apostles, rejoice
in your Master the Lord Jesus, and again I say, rejoice in a familiar
joy along with Christ; for, He whom ye once saw in hunger, and thirst,
and weariness, and the like infirmities of the flesh, rejected by all,
and reckoned with the wicked; see, how victoriously He conquers, see
how royally He reigns, see how all things lie beneath His Feet, see how
gloriously He shines in the light of His own dominion and the splendour
of His jubilee; and how He has you for partners of His unspeakable
glory, who of old continued with Him in His temptations, and were
partakers of His griefs. Now you adore those dear Knees of His, which
were bent to the earth before you, as you sat at the most holy Supper.
Now you adore those sacred Hands, with which the King of kings deigned
to wash off the dust from your feet, wiping them with a towel.

Rejoice, ye victorious Martyrs, in Jesus the Prince of your host; for
now ye possess Him for whom you gave up your lives to death; you have
the reward of your struggle now, you have Jesus Himself the Son of God

Rejoice, ye venerable Confessors and Doctors, rejoice in Jesus the
Master Teacher of the truth; because whom once you confessed before men
by sacred doctrines and holy lives, He now confesses you before His
Father and His holy angels.

Rejoice, ye Virgins, denizens of paradise and like the angels; for, He
whom you loved and sought and longed for, for love of Him disdaining
earthly bridegrooms and all the world’s bravery–now you behold Him,
the Son of the great King, now you possess Him, now you rest in His
chaste caresses, and no treachery of the enemy can ever tear Him from

[§ 64. The joys of Mary, Queen of Heaven, and Mother of God.] But,
amongst all the dwellers in heaven, be thine, O Mary, the richest and
the fullest joy; thine, Virgin among virgins supereminent, Rose of
celestial sweetness, bright Star above the brightest of all the
primeval lights of Divine illumination. Rejoice with supreme and
singular joy above all others; for the very Child whom thou didst bring
to a human birth and didst nurse at thy breasts, that Child thou
adorest, true and living God, together with angels and all the whole
company of the citizens of heaven. Rejoice, O happy Mother, for Whom
thou sawest hanging on the wood of the cross, thou now seest reigning
in heaven with great glory 3 thou seest all the grandeurs of heaven, of
earth, of hell, bowed down before His royal state, and all the might of
His enemies crushed in the dust. All joy, all joy of joys is thine,
thou plenitude of holiness, thou blessed Jerusalem, our Mother, who art
above. Keep joyful holiday, sweet Mother, joyful and unending in the
peaceful vision of thy Jesus, the Author of thy immunity from sin.

[§ 65. The loving aspirations of the soul to Jesus.] And thou now, my
soul, lift up thyself again with all thy best endeavours, and join the
thousands of saints who are rejoicing in Jesus their Lord. Fly thither
in the chariot of faith and hope, and by the fire of love take there
thy dwelling where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God’ (Col.
iii. 1). Strain thine eye, and see thou in the light of His
countenance. Linger about the marks of His blessed Scars, and kiss them
one by one with thankful devotion; Scars whence gushed those rivers of
the precious Blood with which the only-begotten Son of God paid for thy
salvation, and for thy sanctification to eternal life. O Jesus, he who
loves Thee not, let him be anathema; whoso loves Thee not, let him be
filled with bitterness. Thy love, O Lord, is chaste and admits of no
impurity; the savour of Thy love is pure, and draws aside no soul from
rectitude; Thy love is sweet, and no bitterness is in it, for it
sweetens the world’s bitters, and turns to bitterness its sweets. It is
not cramped by adversities, and no oppression overburdens it; it sinks
not under want, and is embittered by no grief; it is even and
undisturbed in bodily labours, careless of threats, incorruptible in
the midst of blandishments; in tortures it remains invincible, and it
lives for ever more in death. As the miser gloats over his hoard, and
the mother delights in the love of her only child, even so, sweet
Jesus, the soul that loves Thee sips joy and gladness from the
treasures of Thy dear love. The sweetness of honey, the softness of
milk, wine with its freshening taste, and all delight some
things–none, none of them so please the palate of those who taste them
as Thy love charms the souls of them that love Thee.

O sweet Jesus, living and all-desirable Bread; sweet Fruit of the vine;
Oil of mingled rarities; gentle Lamb; strong Lion; lovely Leopard; [6]
guileless Dove; swift Eagle; Star of the morning; Sun of eternity;
Angel of peace; fontal Light of the sempiternal lights; let my every
sense conspire to praise Thee, and love Thee, delight in Thee, and
admire Thee; Thee, the God of my heart and my portion, Christ Jesus.
Let my heart die to its will, and my flesh to its desires; do Thou live
in me, and let the live coal of Thy love glow in the midst of my soul,
and break forth into a consuming fire; let Thy grace foster and nourish
it in me, that it burn continually on my heart’s altar; let it glow in
my inmost marrow, and rage in all the recesses of my soul; and in the
perfect day let it be found perfected in Thee. In the day when Thou
shalt see me stripped of this clothing of mortality, which I now carry
about with me, let Thy Love enfold me, and be for a garment of beauty
to my soul; that it be found not naked, but clothed upon, and have
wherewithal to hide its infirmities from thine Eye. And that strange,
that other fire, the fire that shall burn Thine adversaries; let the
fervour of Thy love keep it far from me, and raise my soul to Thee, her
Creator, and plunge her deep in the ocean of Thy Light Divine. Jesus,
my Lord, let all who love Thee be filled with Thy benedictions; and
coming home to Thee let their names be written in heaven, that they may
have peace under the covert of Thy wings’ (Ps. lxii. 8). To Thee
therefore, only-begotten of God, be with the Eternal Father, and the
Holy Ghost, unceasing praise, inviolable beauty, and Kingdom never to
be moved, enduring for ever and for evermore. Amen.

[6] [Formosa Panthera. The following passage from Hugh of St. Victor,
De Bestiis et Aliis Rebus, lib. ii. cap. xxiii., may interest the
reader; it is entitled De Panther?¦ Natura. There is an animal called
panthera, of various colour, but exceeding beautiful and of great
gentleness. It is said to be the enemy of none but the dragon. When it
has eaten and satisfied itself with all sorts of prey, it betakes
itself to its lair, and lays it down and sleeps for three days. And
then rising from sleep, it forthwith raises a great cry on high, and
sends forth at the same time an odour of exceeding sweetness, so sweet
an odour as to surpass all pigments and all aromatic drugs. When, then,
they hear its voice, all beasts from far and near gather together and
follow its exceeding sweetness. The dragon, however, and only the
dragon, on hearing its voice hides terror-stricken in its earthy caves;
and there, unable to bear the strength of its odour, coils itself
together, and lies dull and stupid, motionless and spiritless, as
though it were dead. But all other animals follow the leopard
whithersoever it goes.’ The passage is too long to quote in full; let
it suffice, therefore, to add that Hugh of St. Victor draws instruction
(1) from the name of the panthera, quasi omnis fera,’ (2) from its
variegated skin, (3) from its beauty, (4) from its gentleness, and that
he quotes Pliny and St. Isidore; the latter of whom (Etym. lib. xii.
cap. viii.) says, Panther dictus, sive quod omnium animalium amicus
sit, excepto dracone; sive quia et sui generis societate gaudet, et ad
eandem similitudinem quicquid accipit reddit. . . . Bestia minutis
orbiculis superpicta, ita ut oculatis ex fulvo circulis nigr? vel alba
distinguatur varietate.’ Pliny’s testimony is as follows: Ferunt odore
earum mire solicitari quadrupedes cunctas, sed capitis torvitate
terreri. Quamobrem occultato eo reliqua dulcedine invitatas corripiunt’
(H. N. lib. viii. cap. xxiii.). And lian gives a like testimony, but
at too great length to be quoted in this place. The reference is De
Natur? Animalium, lib. v. cap. xl.]


[§ 66.] Set as we are in the midst of snares, we all too easily grow
cold and remiss in our longings after heaven. We have need, therefore,
of some constant monitor, whose use shall be that when we have relaxed
our efforts and lost ground, we may presently be roused from sloth, and
may return to God, our true and highest good. It was not, therefore,
from rash presumption, but from a great love for my God that I applied
myself to the compilation of this little work; that I might always have
about me, collected out of the choicest sayings of the holy fathers, a
brief word or two ready to hand about my God; so that whenever I find I
am growing cold, I may read, and reading be inflamed to love of Him.

I. Of the wonderful Being of God. Be present with me now, O God; Thou
whom I seek, whom I love, whom I confess with heart and mouth, and
adore with all my powers. My mind, bound by all vows to Thee, inflamed
with love of Thee, breathing after Thee, yearning after Thee, longing
to see Thee, Thee only, knows no other sweetness than to speak of Thee,
hear of Thee, write of Thee, speculate on Thee, and muse anon on Thy
glory in the heart’s deepest depth, that the sweet thought of Thee may
be some little solace and repose to me in the midst of the whirl and
turmoil of this present state. Thee, therefore, I invoke, O most
desired Lord; to Thee I cry with a mighty cry in my inmost heart. Yes,
indeed; invoking Thee, I invoke Thee in myself; for, but that Thou wert
in me, I should not have been, and but that I was in Thee, Thou hadst
not been in me. Thou art in me, since Thou dwellest in my memory; by it
I know Thee, in it I find Thee, when I call Thee to mind, and when in
Thee I delight concerning Thee, through Whom are all things and in Whom
are all things.

Thou, O Lord, fillest heaven and earth; sustaining all things, but
without effort; filling all things, but without contraction of Thyself;
ever active, yet ever at rest; gathering together, yet needing nothing;
seeking, though Thou lackest nothing; loving, but without distraction;
jealous, yet free from care. Thou repentest, but art never sorry; Thou
art angry, yet undisturbed. Thou changest Thy dealings, but alterest
not Thy purpose. Thou recoverest what Thou findest, and Thou hast never
lost. Never in want, yet Thou rejoicest in gain. Never greedy, yet Thou
exactest usury. Thou payest in excess to whom Thou owest not, and ever
receivest in excess, but only that Thou mayest owe. And who has
anything that is not Thine? Owing nothing, Thou payest debts; paying
what is due from Thee, Thou owest nothing. Thou art everywhere, and
everywhere art entire. Perceived Thou mayest be, but Thou canst never
be seen. In no place art Thou other wise than present, and yet Thou art
far from the thoughts of the unjust. Nor art Thou absent in the place
whence Thou art far removed; for though Thou be not there to bless, yet
Thou art there to punish. Unmoved and unmoving dost Thou stand, and yet
we follow after Thee, and following can not overtake Thee. Thou holdest
all things, fillest all things, enfoldest all things, surpassest all
things, and sustainest all things. Thou teachest the hearts of the
faithful without sound of words. Undisturbed by reach of distance,
unchanged by lapse of tune, tideless and ebbless, Thou makest the
inaccessible light Thy dwelling, which no man hath seen nor can see’ (1
Tim. vi. 16). Quiescent and self-sustained, still Thou evermore
encirclest all. Thou canst not be parted and divided, for Thou art
truly one; nor art Thou here, and there, and there again; but Thou All
enfoldest all, fulfillest all, enlightenest and possessest all.

[§ 67.] II. Of the science of God, and the inadequacy of human speech
to utter it. Though the whole world were filled with books, the
unutterable science of Thy Being cannot have due utterance. For since
Thou art all unspeakable, no writer’s and no limner’s skill could
describe Thee or portray Thee. Thou art the Fountain of Light Divine,
and the Sun of eternal splendour. Great Thou art without quantity, and
therefore infinite; good without quality, and therefore the truly and
supremely good; and none is good but Thou and Thou alone. Thy will is
act; for power and will are one in Thee. By Thy mere will Thou madest
all things out of nothing. Thou dost fulfil all creation without any
lack whatever, and dost control it without toil, and rule it without
fatigue; and there is nothing that can disturb the order of Thy
Kingdom, whether in little things or in great Thou art contained in all
places, independently of place; and enfoldest all things without
distribution of Thyself; and neither moving nor inert art present
everywhere. Thou art not the Author of evil, for Thou canst not make
it. There is no thing that Thou canst not do, nor didst Thou ever
repent of anything that Thou hadst done. As we were made by Thy
goodness, so are we punished by Thy justice, and set free by Thy tender
mercy. Thy omnipotence controls all things, and rules and fills what is
has created. Nor, though we say that Thou fillest all things, do all
things therefore hold Thee, for they are rather held by Thee. Thou dost
neither pervade all things, one by one sever ally; nor must we suppose
that each separate object holds Thee by way of proportion to its size,
the greatest more and the least less, since rather Thou art all Thyself
in all things, and all things are in Thee. Thy omnipotence embraces all
things; nor can any one find a recess wherein to avoid Thy power. For
he who has Thee not at peace with him will never escape Thee in Thine

[§ 68.] III. Of the desire of a soul thirsting after God. Thee,
therefore, O God of tenderest mercy, I invoke into my soul, the soul
which Thou dost furnish for Thy reception by the very desire Thou
breathest into it. Enter into it, I pray Thee, and fit it for Thyself;
that what Thou hast made and remade, Thou mayest hold and keep; that so
I may keep Thee as a signet upon my heart. I implore Thee, O most
merciful, forsake not him that calls upon Thee; because, or ever I
called on Thee, Thou didst call me, and didst seek for me, that Thy
servant might seek Thee; and seeking might find Thee, and finding might
love Thee. I have sought Thee, and I have found Thee, Lord; and now I
desire to love Thee. Increase this my desire, and give what I seek; for
wert Thou to give me all that Thou didst ever make, that all were not
enough without the gift of Thyself. Therefore, O my God, give me
Thyself; restore me Thyself. See how I love Thee; and if it is too
little, let me love Thee more. I am enthralled by love of Thee; I burn
with longings after Thee; I am entranced with the sweet thought of
Thee. When my mind sighs .after Thee, and dwells on Thy unspeakable
mercy, lo, the very burden of the flesh weighs less, the tumult of
distracting thoughts is lulled, mortality with its weary load palsies
me not according to its wont; all is hushed, all is still; my heart
glows, my soul exults; my memory is quickened,. my understanding filled
with light; and my whole spirit, set on fire with desire of the vision
of Thee, finds itself ravished with love of the things unseen. O let my
soul take wings like an eagle’s, let it fly and not faint; let it fly
till it reaches the goodliness of Thy dwelling and Thy glorious throne;
and there, seated at the table of refreshment set for the citizens
above, let it feast on Thine Eyes, and take its full in the place of
pasture hard by the rivers of plenty. Be Thou our exultation, for Thou
art our hope, our salvation, and our redemption. Be Thou our joy, for
Thou wilt be our prize. Ever, ever let my soul seek Thee, and grant
Thou that seeking Thee she miss not her goal.

[§ 69.] IV. Of the misery of a soul that loves not and that seeks not
our Lord Jesus Christ. Ah, wretched soul that seeks not Christ, nor
loves Him; it lies barren and parched and sad. O God, his very life is
loss who loves not Thee. He who cares to live, but not for Thee, is
nothing and nothing worth. He who refuses to live to Thee is dead. He
who is not wise in Thee is all unwise. O most compassionate Jesus, I
commend myself to Thee. I yield and resign myself to Thee; for in Thee
is my wisdom, my life, my all. I confide in Thee, I trust in Thee, I
place all my hope in Thee; for through Thee I shall rise again, and
live, and find my rest. I desire Thee, I love Thee and adore Thee; for
with Thee shall I dwell, and reign, and be happy for ever. The soul
that seeks Thee not, nor loves Thee, loves the world, serves sin, and
is slave to vices; is never at rest and never safe. O most Merciful,
let my mind be ever busied in Thy service; and all through this my
pilgrimage let my heart burn with the fires of Thy love; let my spirit
repose in Thee, O my God; let it in all its fancy flights muse upon
Thee; let it sing Thy praises with jubilant joy, and so find
consolation in its banishment. Let my soul fly and nestle under the
shadow of Thy wings, safe from the billows of this life of cares. Let
my heart, that sea troubled with great waves, rest itself in Thee and
be calm. O Thou, who art rich in all divinest dainties; Thou, God and
most bountiful dispenser of heavenly satisfaction, do Thou give
refreshment to the weary, call the wanderer to his home, unbind the
captive, restore the broken hearted. I pray Thee, by the bowels of that
mercy of Thine, whereby as the Orient from on high Thou hast visited
us, bid the door open to the poor wretch that knocks, and so let him
enter in with unfettered step to Thee, and rest himself in Thee, and
regale himself on Thee, the Bread of heaven; for Thou art the Bread and
the Fountain of life, Thou art the Light of eternal brightness, Thou
art the all and the very source of being of the good who love Thee.

[§ 70.] V. Of the desire of the soul. O God, the Light of all hearts
that see Thee, the Life of all souls that love Thee, the Inspiration of
all thoughts that seek Thee; grant me this, to cling fast to Thy holy
love. Come, I pray Thee, into my heart, and inebriate it with the
fulness of Thy pleasures, that so I may forget these things of time. It
is shame and grief to me to endure the doings of this naughty world.
What I see is sad, and all that I hear of transitory things is grief to
me. Help me, O Lord my God, and put joy in my heart; come to me, that I
may see Thee. But the dwelling of my soul is all too narrow till Thou
come to it, and it be enlarged by Thee. It is all a ruin; build it up
again. It contains very much, as I confess and know, which cannot but
offend Thine eyes; but who shall cleanse it, or to whom else shall I
cry but Thee? Cleanse Thou me from my secret sins, O Lord; and from
those of others spare Thy servant’ (Ps. xviii. 13). Make me, O sweet
Christ, good Jesus, make me, I pray Thee, from love and desire of Thee,
to lay aside the burden of carnal desires and earthly concupiscences.
Let my soul rule the flesh, my reason the soul, Thy grace my reason;
and then subdue me both inwardly and outwardly to Thy will. Grant me
that my heart, and my tongue, and all my bones may praise Thee. Enlarge
my mind, and raise my heart’s vision on high, and so let my soul rise
with swift flight of thought to Thee, Thee the eternal Wisdom that
presidest over all. Loose me, I beseech Thee, from the cords that bind
me, that, rising clear of all things here below, I may hurry home to
Thee, cling to Thee alone, and rest in Thee alone.

[71.] VI. Of the happiness of the soul set free from her earthly
prison. Happy the soul that, loosed from her earthly prison, seeks
heaven with unhampered wing; happy the soul that sees Thee face to
face, O dearest Lord; that is touched by no fear of death, but gathers
gladness from the incorruptible stores of the glory that cannot fail.
Set free from toil and care, she fears no foe now, dreads no death now.
She has Thee for her own; Thee, the merciful Lord, whom she long sought
and ever loved; and, associated with the hymning choirs, sings through
eternity sweet songs of cease less festival to the praise of Thy glory,
O Christ, King of glory, O Lord Jesus. For she is inebriated with the
plenteousness of Thy house, and Thou givest her to drink of the torrent
of Thy pleasures. O happy society of the citizens on high, O happy
concourse of all returners to Thee from the weary toil of this our
pilgrimage to the loveliness of perfect splendour, to the excellency of
perfect grace, where Thy lieges, O Lord, be hold Thee evermore. There
nothing that can distract the mind is given the ear to hear. O, what
chants are chanted there! What instruments of music there are there!
What songs, what melodies without end are sung out there! There
sweet-voiced organs sound ever to the hymns, and angels’ tenderest
melodies, and songs of songs full wonderful, which by the citizens on
high are tuned forth to Thy praise and glory. No bitterness, no gall-
like harshness, finds place in that Thy realm; for there evil and evil
one are not. There is no assailing foe, nor no wantonness of sin there.
There is no want there, no uncomeliness, no strife, no insolence, no
wrangling, no fear, no uneasiness, no pain, no doubt, no violence, no
discord; but peace profound, and perfect love, and jubilation, and
eternal praise of God, and unanxious rest for ever, and joy in the Holy
Ghost for evermore. O, how blessed shall I be if I hear those Thy
people’s jocund melodies, and their sweet hymns pouring forth with due
honour praises to the most high Trinity! Happy, ay, too happy, shall I
be, if I, this very self of mine, shall merit to sing to the Lord Jesus
one of the dear songs of Sion.

[§ 72.] VII. Of the joy of Paradise. O life all life; O eternal and
eternally-blessed life, where is joy without grief, rest without
labour, honour without apprehension, riches without loss, life without
death, perpetuity without decay, happiness without disaster; where are
all good things in perfect charity; where is beauty and the vision face
to face; where is plenitude of science in all and pervading all; where
God’s goodness is beheld, and the Light enlightening all is glorified
by the saints; where the present Majesty of God is discerned, and the
eyes of all who gaze upon it are satisfied with that their food of
life; where they ever see and long to see, and long without anxious
care, and are filled without satiety; where the true Sun of justice
replenishes all with the wonderful vision of His beauty, and so
enlightens all the denizens of the celestial land that they themselves
shine with a light enkindled by God, a light enlightening beyond all
the glory of this our sun, and be yond all the splendours of a universe
of stars, those who, reposing on the immortal Godhead, are thus made
immortal and incorruptible, according to the promise of our Saviour
Lord, Father, I will that where I am, they also whom Thou hast given Me
may be with Me; that they may see My glory’ (St. John xvii. 24); that
they all may be one, as Thou, Father, in Me, and I in Thee, that they
also may be one in Us’ (ib. 21).

[§ 73.] VIII. Of the kingdom of heaven. O kingdom of heaven, O kingdom
most blessed, O kingdom that knows not death, O kingdom without end;
where are no successions of ages all through eternity; where perpetual
nightless day knows no measurement by time; where the conqueror
warrior, after finished toil, is laden with unspeakable gifts–

Where crowns undying wreathe the noble brow.’

O that, my load of sins removed, the Divine compassion would bid me,
the last and least of Christ’s servants, lay down this load of flesh,
that so I might pass away into the endless joys of His Kingdom, and
rest me there, and join the all-holy choirs, and with blissful spirits
pay court to the glory of our Creator, and see the face of God close
present, and be touched by no fear of death, and rejoice untroubledly
in the incorruption of an en during immortality, and united with Him
who knoweth all things, lose all my blindness and ignorance, and count
all that is of earth of little moment, and care not to look back upon
or any more remember this valley of tears, with its toilsome life, its
life subject to corruption, its life full of all bitterness, its life
attended by ills and tyrannised by the powers of hell; this life, with
its swelling humours, its parching fevers, its cankering riches, its
surfeiting meats, its emaciating hunger, relaxing levity, consuming
sorrows, and pinching care; this life, in which security blunts, wealth
puffs up, poverty brings low, youth elates, old age bends double,
weakness breaks, sorrow crushes, the devil plots, and the world
flatters; whilst the flesh is seduced by pleasure, the soul blinded,
and the whole man thrown into disorder. When, lo, amidst these so many
and so great ills death steals on us, steals on us like a thief, and so
effectually puts an end to earthly joys, that when they cease to be,
they are reckoned not even to have had a being.

[§ 74.] IX. God comforts the sorrowing soul after her great griefs. But
what praises or what return of thanks can we find it in our power to
render unto Thee our God, who, in the very midst of the so bitter
griefs that harass our mortality, never ceasest to console us with the
wonderful visitations of Thy grace? Lo, here I am, a poor wretch full
of many sorrows; and while I look forward fearfully to the end of this
my life, while I review my sins, while I dread Thy judgment of me,
while I think of the hour of death, while I shudder at the torments of
hell, while I know not with what sort of strictness and scrutiny Thou
art weighing all my works, and am profoundly ignorant of the sort of
end that is to close it all; while, in short, I revolve all this and
much besides in the depth of my heart; Thou, Thou, O Lord God, art
close at hand to console me with Thy wonted mercy, and amidst these my
complaints, these my excessive moanings and sighs deep drawn from the
bottom of my heart, dost lift up my sad and anxious mind above the tops
of the hills unto the garden of spices, and there settest me in a place
of pasture beside the rivers of sweet waters, and preparest before me a
table of manifold entertainment to refresh my wearied spirit and
gladden my sad heart; and thus at last revived with these dainties and
raised above the heights of the earth, I rest at last in Thee, in Thee,
true Peace.



[§ 75. On the subjects of meditation.] No one should be tired of
listening to what may rouse us to the love of God. Now we read in the
Gospel that there were two sisters who loved their Lord with an ardent
devotion; and although each of the two loved both God and her
neighbour, yet Martha’s special occupation was to attend upon her
neighbours, whilst Mary drank from the very Fount itself of love.

Now to the love of God there appertain two things: devotion in heart,
and devotion in act. And act consists in the practical exercise of
virtues, whilst the heart’s devotion revels in the taste of spiritual
sweetness. The exercise of virtues has its praise in a fixed rule of
life, in fasts, in vigils, in labour, in reading, in prayer, in
silence, in poverty, and the rest; whereas affective devotion is
nourished by salutary meditation.

And that the dearest love of Jesus may grow by affection in your heart,
you have need of a three fold meditation; a meditation, that is to say,
on things past, things present, and things to come; a meditation based
on our remembrance of the past, our experience of the present, and our
contemplation of the future.

[§ 76. The Annunciation.] When, therefore, your mind has been purged
from tumultuous thoughts by that practical exercise of virtues, then
turn your cleansed eyes back to the past, and first of all enter with
blessed Mary into her chamber, and unroll the sacred books in which are
foretold a virgin’s maternity and the birth of Christ. Then wait,
expecting the arrival of the angel, that you may see him enter, and
hear him salute her; that then, trans ported with ecstasy and wonder,
you may with the greeting angel greet Mary, thy dearest Queen, saying
with heart and voice, Hail, Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with
thee!’ (St. Luke i. 27.) Say it over and over again, and ask yourself
what this fulness of grace may be, whence all the whole world has
gathered grace; what may be the meaning of the Word was made Flesh.’ O
muse, and wonder that the Lord who fills earth and heaven is shut up in
that, a maiden’s, womb, whom the Father has sanctified, the Son taken
for His mother, the Holy Ghost overshadowed. O dearest Queen, with what
draughts of sweetness wast thou filled, with what fires of love wast
thou inflamed, when in thy soul and in thy flesh thou didst own the
Presence of so great a Majesty, He of thy flesh taking Flesh to
Himself, and after the model of thy sacred limbs clothing Himself with
limbs, wherein dwelt corporally all the fulness of the Godhead. And all
this, virgin, in your behalf, that you might love the Virgin whom you
have taken as a pattern for imitation, and the Virgin’s Son, to whom
you are espoused.

[§ 77. The Visitation, Nativity, and Adoration of the Kings.] And now,
go up with your dearest Queen into the mountainous country: watch the
embrace of the Virgin and of her that was barren, and note the lowly
salutation by which the servant recognised his Lord, the herald his
Judge, the voice the Word, shut up in the womb of an aged mother,
owned, I say, the Lord, the Judge, the Word, owned Him enshrined in the
Virgin’s womb, owned and greeted Him with an unspeakable joy. O blessed
wombs, in one the Saviour of the world is rising to enlighten it; in
the other, joy that shall know no end speaks with prophetic voice of
clouds of sorrow banished from the sky. Hasten, I pray you, hasten;
take your share in joys such as these; throw yourself at the feet of
each; embrace your Spouse in the holy shrine of the one, and in the
other’s womb venerate the Bridegroom’s friend.

With all devotion follow our Mother after this to Bethlehem, and attend
her as she turns aside into the inn; bow yourself down all reverently
while she brings forth her Child; and when the Babe is placed in the
manger, break forth in cries of exultation, and sing with Isaias, A
Child is born to us: and a Son is given to us’ (Is. ix. 7), and embrace
that dear crib of His. Let love temper bashfulness, and devotion banish
fear, and so press your lips to those holiest Feet, and imprint kisses
on His Knees. And then recall in imagination the watches of the
shepherds, and marvel at the troops of angels, and mingle your prayers
with the heaven-taught melody, singing in your heart and singing with
your lips, Glory to God in the highest!’ (St. Luke ii. 14.)

Nor must you in your meditation pass over the Magi and their offerings;
nor leave Him to fly into Egypt unescorted. Let the eye of your
devotion watch the Baby Jesus sweetly sucking the sweet breasts of the
glorious Virgin-Mother, and after a child’s wont laying His Hand on His
Mother’s bosom, and looking up and smiling at her. What sweeter sight?
what more delightful? See Him Who IS, the Infinite, clinging with tiny
arms to a mother’s neck; and say, O happy, and more than happy, I, to
see Whom kings desired to see, and saw not!’ Worthy indeed to be seen
is He, for He is beautiful above the sons of men’ (Ps. xliv. 3).

[§ 78. The flight into Egypt.] Think, and think again, with what
thoughts and what meditations that dearest Mother was entranced, as,
all joyous and full of rapture, she held Him, her Lord, at once so
great and so little, in her arms; kissed over and over again her little
Infant, as He gambolled in her lap; or consoled Him in His tears with
what lullaby she could, rocking Him on her knees; or, again, soothed
Him with industrious care, as maternal love prompted her, according to
His changeful wants. You may think the story to be true which relates
that in the course of His journey He was seized by bandits, and res
cued by the kindness of a certain youth. This lad, so the legend runs,
was the son of the robber chief; who, on obtaining his share of the
booty, and gazing on the Face of the little Child in His Mother’s lap,
descried in His all-lovely Face so bright a majesty as that, not
doubting Him to be more than human, he was inflamed with love of Him,
and embracing Him exclaimed, O most blessed Babe, should ever time come
to Thee for having pity on me, remember me then, and for get not this
time.’ They say that this lad was in after time the thief, who, hanging
crucified at the right hand of his God, rebuked the blasphemy of his
fellow with the words, Neither dost thou fear God’ (St. Luke xxiii.
40); but turning to the Lord, and discerning in Him the selfsame
majesty that once gleamed on the Baby brow, and mindful of the ancient
compact, said, Lord, remember me when Thou shalt come into Thy Kingdom’
(ib. 42). I think there can be no indiscretion in using this pious
legend as an incentive to love, without rashly affirming it to be true.

[§ 79. The early life, baptism, fasting, and ministry of our Lord.] And
think you that no access of sweetness will be yours if you contemplate
Him a Boy with boys at Nazareth; or watch Him waiting on His Mother,
helping His foster-father? And what will you not feel if, on His going
up to Jerusalem with His parents when twelve years of age, and staying
behind while they returned, not aware that He was in the city, you go
with His Mother on her three days’ search for Him? O, in what showers
your tears will fall when you hear the Mother chiding the Son in words
of, so to say, sweet reproof! Son, why hast Thou done so to us?’ (St.
Luke ii. 48.)

But if it delight you to follow your Virgin Spouse whithersoever He
goeth (Apoc. xiv. 4), pry into His loftier heights and secreter
retirements, and at the wave of Jordon hear the Person of the Father in
the Voice, see the Person of the Son manifest in the Flesh, and the
Holy Ghost under the figure of the Dove.

Passing thence, your dearest Jesus consecrated for you retirement and
solitude, and for you sanctified the endurance of fasts, showing you
how to fight with your crafty foe. What He did here He did for you, and
pay careful heed to His way of doing it. Love Him by whom was done what
was done; and what was done, that imitate.

Now, then, let the woman who was taken in adultery be present to your
recollection, and recall what Jesus did, what He said, when asked to
pass sentence on her. He cast His eyes to the earth, lest haply by
looking at the woman He should too much abash her; and when by writing
on the earth He had declared her accusers to be earthly and not
heavenly, He said, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast
a stone at her’ (St. John viii. 7). O the wonderful, the unquenchable
kindness of Christ! He might justly have condemned her; see how
mercifully, and yet how prudently, He set her free! For when by that
one sentence He had rebuked them, and banished them the temple, think
then what merciful eyes He lifted on her, think with what sweet and
gentle voice He pronounced the sentence of His absolution. Imagine His
sighs, picture to yourself His tears as He said, Hath no man condemned
thee’ (ib. viii. 10.) Happy, let me say it, happy was that adulterous
woman, absolved of the past, and made secure for the future. For, O
good Jesus, when Thou sayest, Neither will I condemn thee’ (ib. 10),
who–who shall do so? God is He who justifieth. Who is he that shall
condemn? (Rom. viii. 33, 34.) Yet, yet again let Thy voice be heard,
Go, and now sin no more’ (St. John viii. 11).

[§ 80. Our Lords works of mercy.] Nor will you pass that house
unvisited where they are letting down the paralytic through the tiles
before the feet of Jesus; and where power and pity are met together:
Son,’ He says, thy sins are forgiven thee’ (St. Mark ii. 5). O
wonderful kindness, O unspeakable mercy! Happy he; he received what he
asked not for, remission of sins; a remission unpreceded by confession,
unmerited by satisfaction, undemanded by contrition. It was the body’s
healing, not the soul’s, that he craved; and, lo, he gained health of
body and of soul! Of a truth, O Lord, in Thy will is life; if Thou
decree to save us, no one can stay Thy hand. If Thou decree otherwise,
there is none that dare say, Why doest Thou this? Why, Pharisee, dost
thou murmur? Is thy eye evil because I am good?’ (St. Matt. xx. 15.)
Certainly He hath mercy on whom He will’ (Rom. ix. 18); let us cry to
Him, and pray to Him, that He may be pleased to will. And more than
this, let our prayer be enriched, and our devotion deepened, and our
love quickened by good works. Let pure hands be lifted up in prayer,
hands which blood of impurity has not stained, nor unlawful touch
defiled, nor avarice hardened; and with the pure hands let a heart
without anger and strife be lifted up, a heart calmed by tranquillity,
composed by peace, and washed by purity of conscience. But the
paralytic is not said in the account to have satisfied any of these
conditions, and yet we do read that he merited remission of all his
sins. Such, however, is the virtue of His unspeakable mercy, on which
it is the height of folly to presume, even as it is blasphemy to
derogate from it. He is able to say efficaciously to whomsoever He will
what He said to the paralytic, Thy sins are forgiven thee.’ But whoever
expects to hear these words spoken to him without labour on his own
part, without contrition, without confession, or even without prayer,
that man’s sins never are remitted.

[§ 81. Bethany and the Coenaculum.] But we must go hence and make our
way to Bethany, where the most sacred bonds of friendship are
consecrated by our Lord’s authority; for Jesus loved Martha, and her
sister Mary, and Lazarus’ (St. John xi. 5); and no one can doubt that
this is told us with a view to the special and sacred law of
friendship, a law which bound them close in a common familiar
attachment. Witness those sweet tears which lie wept with the weeping
sisters, and were interpreted by all the people as the token of His
love: Behold how He loved him’ (ib. 36).

And, lo, now they make Him a supper. Martha served, but Lazarus was one
of them that were at table with him’ (St. John xii. 2, 3). Mary
therefore took an alabaster box of precious ointment. Rejoice, I pray
you, to take part in this feast. And distinguish the parts played by
the several per sons. Martha served; Lazarus reclined at table; Mary
anoints her Lord. Be this last part yours; break in that supper-room
the alabaster of your heart; and whatever you have of devotion, what
ever of love, whatever of desire, whatever of affection, pour all of it
on the head of your Spouse, adoring God in the Person of Man, and Man
in the Personal God. If the traitor chides, if he murmurs, if he is
jealous, if he calls your devotion extravagance and waste, heed it not.
To what purpose is this waste? For this might have been sold for much,’
&c. (St. Matt. xxvi. 8, 9). The Pharisee murmurs, for he is jealous of
the penitent. Judas murmurs, for he begrudges the pouring out of the
ointment; but the Judge receives not the accusation, and acquits the
accused: Why do you trouble this woman? for she hath wrought a good
work upon Me’ (ib. 10). Let Martha toil, let her serve, let her provide
shelter for the wanderer, food for the hungry, drink for the thirsty; I
alone am Mary’s, and she is Mine. She gives Me all she has; let her
expect from Me whatever she desires. What? Do you play Mary’s part in
forsaking the feet she so delightedly kisses, in turning your eyes from
that loveliest of faces that she gazes on, and in shutting your ears to
that sweet voice of His with which she is refreshed? Still, let us rise
and go hence. Whither, do you say? Why, surely let us go, that you may
accompany the Lord of heaven as He advances seated on an ass; and that,
marvelling that such great things should be done for you, you may add
your praises to the praises of the little children, crying out and
saying, Hosanna to the Son of David’ (St. Matt. xxi. 9).

And now go up with Him to the large dining-room furnished (St. Mark
xiv. 15), and find it your joy to be present at the supper of
salvation. Let love conquer bashfulness, and devotion shut out fear,
that at least He may give an alms to the beggar from the crumbs that
fall from the table; or else stand at a distance, and, like a pauper
awaiting a rich man’s pleasure, stretch out your hand to receive
something. When, however, rising from supper He has girded Himself with
a towel and poured water into a basin (St. John xiii. 4, 5), think what
majesty it is, what might it is, that is washing the feet of men and
wiping them; what condescension it is that touches with so sacred hands
the feet of the betrayer. Look, watch, wait, and then offer Him your
feet to wash, for whom He washes not shall not have part with Him (St.
John xiii. 8).

But why in such haste to go? Stay a moment. Pray do you see who it is
that has just reclined himself on His breast and lays his head in His
bosom? Happy he, whoever he may be!

O yes! I see now certainly who it is; John is his name. O John, what
sweetness, what grace and joy, what light and devotion didst thou draw
to thee from that Fountain! In that Fountain, of a truth, are hidden
all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col. ii. 3). There is the
fountain of mercy, there is the very home of compassion, there is the
honeycomb of everlasting sweetness. And why hast thou all this, O John?
Art thou sublimer than Peter, or holier than Andrew, or more highly
graced than all the rest of the apostles? This is the special privilege
of virginity; ’tis because thou art a virgin, elect of the Lord, and of
all more loved than all. Now, then, virgin sister, leap for joy, go
near, and delay not to claim some little portion of this sweetness; and
if you cannot assay a higher part, intrust your heart to John as he
fills himself with the wine of joy in contemplation of the Godhead, and
then hie thee to thy Lord and draw milk from the fountains of His
Humanity; and as He speaks the while, committing His disciples to the
Father in that all-holy prayer, Holy Father, keep them in Thy name’
(St. John xvii. 11), bow down your head to merit to hear the words, I
will that where I am, they also whom Thou hast given Me may be with Me’
(ib. 24).

[§ 82. Gethsemane and the high-priest’s palace.] It is good for you to
be here, but we must go. He will lead the way to Olivet; you must
follow. And albeit He takes Peter and the two sons of Zebidee and
retires to the recesses of the garden, still do you watch from far, and
see how He takes upon Him the necessity of our state; see how He whose
are all things begins to grow sorrowful and very sad, saying, My soul
is sorrowful even unto death’ (St. Matt. xxvi. 38). Why is this, O my
God? Thou dost so feel for and with me, in displaying Thyself Man, as
that Thou seemest in a certain sort to forget that Thou art God. Fallen
prostrate on Thy face Thou prayest, and, lo, Thy Sweat is turned to
Blood trickling down upon the ground (St. Luke xxii. 44). Why, my
sister, do you delay? Run, run to Him, lap up those dearest drops, and
lick the dust of His feet. Do not sleep with Peter, lest you merit to
have it said to you as to the rest, What! would you not watch one hour
with Me?’ (St. Matt. xxvi. 40).

But, lo, the traitor advances with the impious crowd behind him; Judas
offers the kiss; they lay hands on Jesus; they hold their Lord fast
bound; they manacle those dear hands of His. Who could endure it? Pity,
I know, fills all your heart now, and zeal inflames all your inmost
parts. Let Him alone, I pray you; let Him suffer; He is suffering for
you. Why do you want a sword? why does your anger burn? why are you
filled with indignation? For if, like Peter, you cut off an ear of one
of them; if you draw the sword and sever a foot from its limb, He will
restore everything; nay, should you even kill one of them, without
doubt He will raise him to life again.

No; better follow Him to the high-priest’s palace, and that loveliest
face of His, which they besmear with spittings, wash, O wash it with
your tears.

See with what pitiful eyes, with what a merciful and what an
efficacious glance He turned and looked on Peter, now for the third
time denying Him; and Peter turning back to Him, and returning into
himself, wept bitterly. O, good Jesus, would that that dear eye would
look on me, that have so often denied Thee by the worst of actions and
of desires at the voice of a pert serving-maid, my flesh.

[§ 83. The Pr?¦torium.] And now, for it is morning, He is delivered up
to Pilate, before whom He is accused and holds His peace, for He was
led as a sheep to the slaughter (Is. liii. 7, Acts viii. 32). Mark Him,
how He stands before the governor, with Head bent down, with Eyes
turned to the ground, with Face all peace; He speaks little and seldom,
He is ready for insults, and goes all eagerly to be scourged. You
cannot bear more of this, I know; you cannot bear to see there before
your very eyes that dearest Back furrowed by the thongs, that Face
bruised with blows, that sensitive Head crowned with thorns; that Eight
Hand, which rules heaven and earth, dishonoured with a reed. But see,
they are leading Him out; the scourging is over; He wears a crown of
thorns, and a purple garment; and Pilate cries, Behold the Man!’ (St.
John xix. 5.) Man in very truth, who can doubt it? Witness the stripes
the rods have made, the livid wounds, the filthy spittings.

Know now, at last, thou Devil, [8] that He is a man. I grant you,’ you
say, He is a man.’ But yet you say, What is He?’ Ay, what is He? For
amid so many injuries He is not angry, as a man would be; He is not
moved, as a man would be; He is not indignant against His torturers, as
a man would be. Then surely He is more than man. But if so, who owns
more than man? He is owned, I grant, as man in His endurance of the
judgments of the wicked of the earth; He will be owned as God when He
comes to pass judgment. Too late, O Devil; you have found it out too
late. Why have tried to work by Pilate’s wife to procure His discharge?
You spoke not quick enough. The judge is on the bench; the sentence is
pronounced already.

[§ 84. The Crucifixion.] Now He is led forth to death, carrying His
Cross. O what a spectacle is this! Do you see it? Lo, the government is
upon His shoulders (Is. ix. 6). See, here is His rod of equity, His rod
of empire. Wine mingled with gall is given Him to drink. He is stript
of His garments, which are divided among the soldiers; but His tunic is
not rent, but passes by lot to one of them. His dear Hands and Feet are
bored with nails; and He, stretched on the Cross, is hung up between
thieves. Of God and men the Mediator, He hangs in the midst between
heaven and earth; joining lowest things and highest, earthly things and
heavenly; and heaven is bewildered, and earth condoles.

And what of you? No wonder if, while the sun mourns, you mourn also;
if, while the earth shakes, you tremble; if, while rocks rend, your
heart is torn; if, while the women beside the Cross are all in tears,
you cry aloud with them.

And O, amidst it all, think of that sweetest Heart of His, how
pitifully still It kept Itself, recking not contumely, heeding 110
pain, refusing to feel insults and reproaches. Nay, rather, at whose
hands He suffers, He compassionates them; by whom He is wounded, He
heals them; by whom He is slain, He procures them life. O with what
sweetness and self-devotion of heart and soul, with what abundant
overflowing charity He cries, Father, forgive them!’

O Lord, look on me; here I am, worshipping Thy Majesty, not slaying Thy
Flesh; adoring Thy death, not mocking Thy sufferings; musing on Thy
mercy, not contemning Thy weakness. Let, therefore, Thy sweet Humanity
interpose in my behalf, and Thy unspeakable compassion commend me to
Thy Father; and do Thou say, dear Lord, Father, forgive him.’

But you, virgin, who can presume on a more intimate nearness to the Son
of the Virgin than the women that stand far off; come with the
Virgin-Mother and the virgin-disciple, come close to the Cross, come
close and gaze upon that Face, suffused with pallor. What, my dear
sister, will you all-tearless watch your Lady’s tears? Do you stand
with dry eyes whilst the sword of grief goes through her soul? Will you
heave no sigh when you hear Him say to His Mother, Woman, behold thy
Son;’ and to John, Behold thy Mother.’ And just as He gave His disciple
a Mother, so did He give Paradise to a robber.

Then one of the soldiers opened His Side with a spear’ (St. John xix.
34). O hasten, linger not; eat thy honeycomb with thy honey; drink thy
wine with thy milk (Cant. v. 1). The Blood from His Side is made wine
for thee, that thou mayest drink thy fill, and the Water turned into
milk for thy nourishment; and rivers are made thee in the rock, wounds
in His Limbs, and a cavern in the wall of His Body. Hide thee in those
gaps, and nestle in them like a dove; and kiss over and over first one
and then another; and stained with His Blood thy lips shall be as a
scarlet lace, and thy speech shall be sweet’ (Cant. iv. 3).

[§ 85. The Entombment and Resurrection.] But wait, wait awhile for the
coming of the noble counsellor to draw out the nails, and loosen the
Hands and Feet. See how he folds the Corpse in those his happiest arms,
and clasps It to his bosom. Then could that holy man exclaim, A bundle
of myrrh is my beloved to me’ (Cant. i. 12). And as for you; follow you
the dearest Treasure of earth and heaven, and support His Feet, or hold
up the Hands and the Arms; or at least gather up all carefully the
drops of the most precious Blood, as they slowly trickle from him, and
lick the dust that His Feet have touched. And notice besides how
tenderly and lovingly the blessed Nicodemus lays his fingers on the
all-holy Limbs, bathes Them with unguents, and assisted by St. Joseph,
lays Him wound round with linen in the sepulchre (St. John xix. 38-40).

And now that this is over, leave not Mary Magdalene, but court her
society, help her to prepare the spices, and come with her betimes to
the Lord’s sepulchre. O, may you merit to see with the eye of the soul,
as she did by bodily vision, now an angel sitting on the stone which he
had rolled away from the door of the monument; and now again, within
the monument, two, one at the head, and one at the feet, preaching the
Resurrection and its glories; and yet again Jesus Himself, refreshing
the sad and tearful Magdalene with eyes so gentle, and saying with
voice so sweet, Mary.’ At this word all the cataracts of her soul are
broken loose, and tears are distilled from her very marrow, and sighs
and sobs from her heart’s in most recess. Mary.’ O happy thou! What
were thy thoughts, thy heart, thy soul, when, in answer to this word,
flinging thyself at His Feet, and greeting Him in return, thou saidst
Rabboni!’ What were the emotions, what the yearnings, what the ardours
of thy soul, when thou saidst Rabboni’? Tears prevent more, emotion
chokes thy voice, and excess of love absorbs every sense of mind and
body. But why, my dear Jesus, dost Thou drive me, loving Thee as I do,
from Thy sacred and so longed-for Feet? Touch Me not,’ Thou sayest.
Why, O Lord, why? Why may I not touch those all-desired Feet of Thine,
that were burrowed through with nails and drenched with Blood? Why may
I not touch them, and caress them with a thousand kisses? What! is He
less my Friend now that He is more glorious? See, I will not let Thee
go; I will not leave Thee; I will not spare my tears; my heart shall
break with sighs and sobs unless I touch Thee. But He says, Touch Me
not.’ This blessing shall not be refused thee, though it be delayed; go
only, and tell My brethren that I have risen again. She ran quickly,
wishing to return quickly; she returns, but not alone; there are other
women with her. And Jesus goes to meet them, and with gentlest greeting
raises them from their dejection and consoles their sorrow. And see;
what was deferred before is granted now. For they came up, and took
hold of His Feet, and worshipped Him’ (St. Matt. xxviii. 9). Linger
here, virgin, as long as you can, and neither let sleep break in upon
your joys, nor any exterior distraction interrupt it.

But because in this life of sorrows there is no thing stable, nothing
eternal, nor does man ever remain in the same state, need is that our
soul, so long as we live in the flesh, be fed with some variety of
nourishment. Let us, then, pass from our memories in the past to our
experiences in the present, that from these too we may learn how de
serving God is of our love.

[7] [The genuineness of this and the two following meditations has been
questioned. They certainly do constitute twenty-two chapters out of
sixty-eight of a work printed in the appendix to the Benedictine
edition of St. Augustine, under the title De Vit? Eremetic?. But if
internal evidence is to be trusted, they cannot possibly be St.
Augustine’s. On the other hand, there is no internal evidence whatever,
apart from their style, which can justify us in saying that they are
not St. Anselm’s. It is true that their author wrote them for an only
sister, and that that sister was a nun. It is true, also, that St.
Anselm [see Epp. iii. 67] towards the end of his life gave us to
understand that he was the only brother of his married sister Richera;
but it does not follow that she was his only sister; still less does it
follow that he had never had another. On the contrary the probability
is, that as she had had several children (iii. 43), only one of whom
was at that time left to her, so she had had other brothers and
sisters, of whom St. Anselm was the sole survivor. In short, there is
no reason whatever for supposing, on the ground of internal evidence,
as apart from that of style, that St. Anselm is not the author of these
meditations, the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth. And, as to
style and manner, the translator can only say that the more he reads of
St. Anselm, the less disposed is he to say that the sixteenth is not
his, and the more constrained he is to believe that the seventeenth is
his; whilst the fifteenth presents no peculiarities which may not be
accounted for by the fact that it was written for the edification of
one person, a sister in religion.]

[8] [Zabule. Probably for Diabole; either a corrupted form or a corrupt



[§ 86. The writer’s review of his past life, and exhortation to his
sister.] I think it no little blessing that God, turning our parents’
ill to good, created us of their flesh, and breathed into us the breath
of life, distinguishing us from those who fall prematurely from the
womb, or who, choked in their mothers, seem rather to have been
conceived for pain than for life. And that He further gave us sound and
healthy limbs, so as not to be a grief to ourselves or an object of
reproach to others, this assuredly is a great boon. But that He timed
our birth as He did, and willed us to be born among people by whose
intervention we were brought to His faith and sacraments; how shall we
estimate this blessing and the measure of the goodness that prompted
it? For what we rejoice to find has been granted to us we see to have
been denied to men without number, whose lot as men is identical with
ours. They have been left by justice, we have been called by grace.

Let us advance further. Recollecting that we were educated by Christian
parents, that fire hurt us not, that water drowned us not, that we were
not devoured by a demon, or worried by wild beasts, or killed by a
fall, that we were nurtured up to ripe age in His faith and good
pleasure, let us own that all was His gift. Thus far our lot was one
and the same, children as we were of the same father, the same womb had
enclosed us, the same bowels brought us forth.

And now, my sister, see by my case what great things God has done for
your soul. He made a difference between you and me, as if between light
and darkness; keeping you for Him, and leaving me to myself. O my God,
whither did I go? whither did I fly? whither did I banish me? Driven
from Thy Face like Cain, I lived on the earth a fugitive and a
vagabond, and whoever was to find me was to kill me. For what was a
miserable creative to do, abandoned by its Creator? Where was the lost
sheep to go, where was it to hide itself, bereaved of its Shepherd? O
my sister, ’twas a very evil beast that devoured thy brother. See then
in me how great was His goodness in keeping thee unharmed by such a
beast. How wretched am I, that lost my innocence! how happy you, whose
virginity was protected by the Divine compassion! How often was your
purity attempted and assailed, and yet preserved unhurt! whereas I,
plunging wilfully into all sorts of shame, heaped up on my soul the
fuel of a fire that was to burn me through, the elements of a
corruption that was to kill me, the beginnings of the worms that were
to gnaw me. Recall if you will all those my foulnesses over which you
used to grieve, and for which you often chid me, you, girl and woman,
me, boy and man. But the Scripture speaks not amiss which says, No man
can correct whom God hath despised’ (Eccl. vii. 14). O how dearly
should you love the God who, while He cast me off, drew you to Himself;
and, equal as were the states of both of us, yet despised me and loved
you! Recall, as I said, my vile excesses, when the cloud of lust rose
about me, and wanton concupiscence enthralled me, and there was no one
to snatch me out and save me (Ps. vii. 3); for the words of the wicked
prevailed over me,’ who in the pleasant cup of love gave me to drink of
the poison of wantonness. Natural sympathy with its charm and desire
with its uncleanness combined in one, and at an age weak as yet,
dragged me along the rough ways of vice, and then plunged me into a
whirlpool of enormities. Thine anger and Thine indignation came upon
me, O God, and I knew it not. I became the sport of my impurities, they
wrecked and overwhelmed me; and Thou didst keep silence. Ah, my sister,
consider carefully into what vilenesses and what foulness I was flung
by my own free choice; and know that you too had fallen into such, but
that the mercy of Christ preserved you.

I do not mean to say that He conferred no sort of good on me all the
time that I say no thing here of the blessings I just now recounted as
bestowed on both of us alike He with wonderful patience bore with my
iniquities. To whom do I owe it that the earth did not swallow me up,
that the bolts of heaven struck me not, nor the rivers drowned me? How
could creation have endured so great injury against the Creator, but
that He who made it, He who wills not the death of the wicked, but
rather that the wicked turn from his way and live (Ezech. xxxiii. 11),
restrained it? And, O, His grace to follow the fugitive as He did, and
to soothe me in my alarm, and, all-despairing as I was, to restore me
to hope, and, familiarised as I was with impurities, to attract and
charm me with His sweetnesses, and undo the else indissoluble bonds of
an evil habit, and to withdraw me from the world, and kindly receive me
for His own! I pass in silence over His many dealings, many, and of
great mercy, towards me; lest aught of the glory, which is all rightly
His, should seem to be transferred to me. For the goodness of the Giver
and the happiness of the recipient are so linked together by mankind,
even in the estimates they form, as that not only is the Giver praised
who were indeed the only one deserving praise but also the receiver.
For who has anything that he has not received? And if he has received
it by free gift, why praise him as if he had de served it? Praise,
therefore, be to Thee, my God; glory be to Thee, thanksgiving be to
Thee; but to me confusion of face (Dan. ix. 8), for that I have done so
many ills and received so many goods. How can it be, then,’ you will
say, that you have received less than I?’ O my sister, it is for the
same sort of reason as that he is the happier man whose barque is borne
back by the breezes safe to port with its cargo of merchandise and its
lading of treasure; not he who has been wrecked, and escaped death with
loss of everything. You, I mean, have your happiness in the treasure
preserved to you by the Divine grace; whilst the chief labour incumbent
on me is to repair what is broken, recover what is lost, patch up what
is rent. Nay, indeed; I would have you be jealous of me, and think it
just cause for shame if, after my so many enormities in my past life, I
should ever hereafter prove to be your equal; for albeit the lustre of
virginity is oft tarnished by some less and occasional faults, so fine
is its nature, hateful evil courses, long persisted in, and sheer force
of habit, mar the very features of virtues coming after vices.

Now, therefore, see what are the blessings in respect of which you have
the sole experience of the Divine goodness; think with what a winning
face Christ came to meet you when you renounced the world, with what
dainties He has fed you when you were hungry, how great riches of His
Divine compassion He has displayed to you, what affections He has
inspired, and with what a cup of love He has inebriated you. For if He
has not left without experience of spiritual consolations a runaway
slave and rebel recalled by His sole mercy, what sweetness must I not
believe Him to have lavished on a virgin? If you were ever tempted, He
sustained you; if you began to fail, He set you up. How often, when you
were parched for fear, did He not stand by your side, a kind consoler!
How often, when you panted for love of Him, did He not pour Himself
into your very heart! How often, as you were singing or reading, did He
not enlighten with His light the senses of your soul! How often, when
you prayed, did He not ravish you with ineffable longings for Himself!
How often, your mind being withdrawn from earthly things, did He not
transport you into the midst of heavenly delights and the joys of
paradise! Think of all these things, and turn them over in your mind,
that all your heart’s love may be turned over to Him. O, let the world
be worthless to you; let all carnal love be as dross; forget that you
are in this world; for you have turned your heart’s intent and purpose
to those who are in heaven and live in God; and where your treasure is,
there, my sister, let your heart be also (St. Matt. vi. 21). Do not
shut up your heart with the silver coins in your worthless purse; for
you can never fly to heaven with a load of money about you. Think day
by day that you are going to die, and you will not fidget yourself
about to-morrow. Let not the future terrify you with its barren waste,
nor a fear of coming hunger deject your spirits; but let all your trust
rest in Him who feeds the birds and clothes the lilies. Let Him be your
barn, make Him your treasury, make Him your purse, Him your riches, Him
your joy; let Him alone be all in all to you. And meanwhile let this
suffice for the things of the present.



[§ 87. Death and its immediate sequel.] But, He who bestows on His own
such great blessings in the present, what does He reserve for them in
the future? As death is the termination of our present state, so is it
the beginning of the future. Who is there whose nature does not shrink
from it, and whose feelings experience no revulsion at the thought of
it? The very beasts shun death, and cling to life, by flight, by
concealment in hid den corners, and by a thousand other means.

Pay heed, now, to the answer thy conscience makes; and say, what
assurance does thy faith make thee, what promise does thy hope hold
out, what does thy love expect and long for? If thy life is a burden to
thee, the world a weariness, and the flesh a grief, then surely death
is thy desire; death that removes this burdensome yoke, and ends
fatigue, and takes away the body with its pain. This one event, I tell
thee, transcends all the delights, all the honours, and all the riches
of the world; if only, by reason of a cloudless conscience, a faith not
to be shaken, and a certain hope, thou art not afraid to die; as he
will best experience whose soul after having groaned awhile under the
tyranny of this fear of death, has at last escaped into a freer air.
For this is a salutary foretaste of thy future bliss; to find, I mean,
that as death steals slowly on, thou canst overcome this natural horror
by faith, temper it by hope, keep it at arm’s length by a conscience
reconciled and pure; and if so, then death becomes to thee henceforth
the beginning of repose, the goal of labours ended, and the end for
ever of all moral ills. For thus it is written, Blessed are the dead,
who die in the Lord’ (Apoc. xiv. 13). Whence the prophet,
distinguishing between the death of the reprobate and the death of the
just, says, All the kings of the nations have all of them slept in
glory, every one in his own house. But thou art cast out of thy grave,
as an unprofitable branch, defiled and wrapped up’ (Is. xiv. 18, 19).
Yes, all they have slept in glory, whose death has been composed and
sanctified by a good conscience; for precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of His saints’ (Ps. cxv. 15). Yes, indeed; they have
fallen asleep in glory, whose slumber is assisted at by angels, and
thronged round about with saints that have sped to give assistance and
minister solace to their fellow-citizen; for they do battle for him
against his foes, repelling their onslaughts and rebutting their
accusations; and so, escorting the holy soul onwards and away to the
bosom of Abraham, compose it in a place of rest and peace. Not so the
wicked; not so those whom accursed spirits tearing from the body as
though they dragged them out of some loathsome sepulchre with
instruments forged in hell, hurl down into the pit defiled’ with lust,
wrapped up’ in the filth of desire, there to be burnt in fires through
and through, there to be torn by birds, there to be suffocated with
unending stench. Truly, the expectation of the just is joy, but the
hope of the wicked shall perish’ (Prov. x. 28). But what that rest and
that peace shall be, and that joy in the bosom of Abraham which is
assured to those there resting; and what is the happiness that they
expect; no pen has skill to set it forth, for no man living has
experienced what it is. They expect, they wait in happy expectation for
the number of their brethren to be filled up, that so, on the day of
the resurrection, they may all enjoy together their double robe, [9]
that is to say, unending happiness both of body and of soul.

[§ 88. The Day of Judgment: the right hand and the left.] Now scan the
terrors of that day when the virtues of the heavens shall be moved,
when the elements shall be dissolved by fiery heat, when hell shall lie
disclosed, when all hidden things shall be laid bare. The angry Judge
shall descend from above, His fury burning, and His chariots as a
tempest (Jer. iv. 13), to award punishment in His wrath, and
destruction in flames of fire. O, happy he that is prepared to meet
Him! And the wretched souls, what of them? How wretched then all they
who now in this life are defiled by luxury, disordered by avarice,
puffed up by pride. The angels shall go out, and shall separate the
wicked from among the just’ (St. Matt. xiii. 49), setting these on His
right hand, and those on His left.

Now imagine that you are standing before the judgment-seat of Christ,
between this company and that, and not yet assigned to either side.
Cast your eyes to the left side of the Judge, and view that unhappy
crowd. What shivering horror, what shame, what noisomeness, what fear,
what agonies of grief, are there! See how they stand, all misery and
woe, their teeth chattering, their bare breasts throbbing, their visage
full of horror, their features distorted; crouching for very shame, and
full of confusion at their foulness and nakedness. Gladly would they
hide themselves, but that is not allowed them: they try to fly, but
they are stopped. If they lift up their eyes, their angry Judge is
frowning; if they cast them down, the horrible infernal pit flares upon
them. There is no explaining away their crimes; to complain to their
God of too severe a judgment will be impossible; for, whatever His
decision, they know too well–their very consciences tell them so–that
it is just. See now, O see, how worthy of all thy love He is, in that
by His predestination He has severed thee from this accursed company,
by His call has wholly drawn thee away from it, and by His
justification has purified thee to Himself.

Predestinated, called, justified; turn now your eyes to His right hand;
and bethink you, into whose ranks will He place you, that He may
glorify you? O what grace, what dignity, what joy and what security are
theirs! Some of them set aloft on seats of judgment, others resplendent
with crowns of martyrdom, others all white with virginal flowers,
others enriched with largesses of almsgiving, others illustrious with
sacred doctrine and erudition; yet all, all, one and all, of them are
bound together in one holy society of charity. And the Face of Jesus
shines on them; no object of terror, but of love; with no bitterness,
but sweetness all; not alarming them, but soothing.

Now take your stand in the middle, as it were, not knowing to which
company the Judge’s sentence will consign thee. O cruel suspense! Fear
and trembling are come upon me, and darkness hath covered me’ (Ps. liv.
6). If He join me with those on His left hand, I shall have nothing to
complain against His justice; if He enrol me with those on the right,
to His grace must I attribute it, not to any merits of mine. In truth,
O Lord, my life is in Thy will. Right well, then, may your soul
expatiate in His love; for, though He might well have pronounced on you
the sentence launched against the wicked, He has chosen rather to unite
you with the just, that He may save you.

Imagine, therefore, that you are united with that sacred company, and
that you hear the sentence from His Lips, Come, ye blessed of My
Father, possess the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the
world’ (St. Matt. xxv. 34). And then, the wretches listening to it,
that other word of the Lord, full of anger and fury, Depart from Me, ye
cursed, into everlasting fire’ (ib. 41). These shall go,’ He tells us,
into everlasting punishment; but the just into life eternal’ (ib. 46).
O cruel severance! O miserable lot! For, the wicked having been carried
away lest they should see the glory of God, the just shall be taken,
each one in his order, and set in his own place, according to his grade
and merit, among the ranks of the angels; and then shall the glorious
procession start upon its way, Christ our Head leading, and all His
members following; and the kingdom shall be given up to God the Father,
that He may reign in them and they in Him, sharing that kingdom which
was prepared for them even from the very foundation of the world; a
kingdom whose glorious state cannot even be conceived by us, much less
described in writing or by words. This alone I know, that whatever you
may wish to have shall not be wanting.

[§ 89. The joys of Heaven, and the joy of joys.] For there is no
mourning there, no weeping, no sorrow, and no fear. There is no sadness
there, no difference, no envy, no distress, no temptation, no
changefulness and no unhealthiness of clime; no suspicion, no pretence,
no flattery, no detraction, no sickness, no age, no death, no poverty,
no night, no gloom; no need of eating, of drinking, or of sleeping; and
no fatigue. What good, then, is there there? For, surely, where there
is neither mourning, nor weeping, nor sorrow, nor sadness, what can
there be but perfect joy? Where there is neither trial, nor distress,
nor change of seasons, nor unhealthiness of clime; no summer too
fierce, no winter too severe; what, what can there be but a certain
perfect temperature of the elements, and true and uttermost
tranquillity both of body and of mind? Where there is no cause for
fear, what can there be but uttermost security? When neither envy nor
estrangement, what but real and perfect love? Where no unsightliness,
what but real and consummate beauty? Where no poverty, what but perfect
fulness? Where neither labour nor exhaustion, what but uttermost repose
and fullest strength? Where there is nothing to oppress or burden, what
can there be but plenitude of happiness? And where old age and disease
are never expected, never feared, what but truest health? Where no
night is, and no darkness, what but perfect light? Where death and
mortality are altogether swallowed up, what is there but eternal life?

And what more can we require? Yes, indeed; we may ask for more, for
something that transcends all this; I mean, the vision, the knowledge,
and the love of the Creator. He shall be seen in Himself, and seen in
all His creatures; ruling all things, but without solicitude;
sustaining all things, but without exertion; communicating Himself in
some strange way to each, according to his capacity, but without
diminution of Himself, and without division of Himself. That Face shall
be seen inviting all love and every longing, the Face that angels long
to gaze into; and the meaning, the light, the sweetness of that Face,
who, who shall tell them? The Father shall be seen in the Son, and the
Son in the Father, and in each of Them the Holy Ghost. For He shall be
seen as He is, the promise fulfilled in which He says, He that loveth
Me shall be loved by My Father; and I will love him, and will manifest
Myself to him’ (St. John xiv. 21).

And from this vision proceeds the knowledge of God, of which He Himself
says, This is life everlasting, that they may know Thee, the only true
God’ (ib. xvii. 3).

And from these two, the vision and the knowledge of God, there springs
a love so great, an affection so ardent, a charity so sweet, a fruition
so abundant, a longing so vehement, that neither satisfaction can pall
desire, nor desire weary satisfaction. And what is this? What is it
all? Ay, the eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered
into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love
Him’ (1 Cor. ii. 9).

Thus, my sister, from the recollection of past benefits from Christ,
from experience of present, and from expectation of future, I have
tried to sow in you some few seeds for meditations, whence may spring
fruits of Divine love; only let meditation rouse your love, and let
love awake desire, and let desire elicit tears; that so tears be your
bread day and night (Ps. xli. 4), until you appear in His sight, and be
embraced in His arms, and say as it is written in the Canticles, My
Beloved to me, and I to Him, He shall linger between my breasts’ (Cant.
i. 12). Which may He vouchsafe to grant you, Who liveth and reigneth
God for ever and ever. Amen.

[9] [Duplici stol?: for the further explanation of this, see p. 128,



[§ 90. Thanksgiving for past blessings, and prayer for future.]

My Hope, my Light, sweet Lover of mankind;

True God and Christ, the Life, the Health, the Peace,

The Crown of all Thine own; fain would I tell

What for their saving Thou didst undergo,

Flesh of our flesh, bonds, cross, wounds, death, and grave;

Whence issuing in three days victoriously,

Death trodden under foot, Thou didst appear

To Thy disciples, strengthening their frail hearts;

Then, forty days elapsed, didst mount high heaven,

Where now Thou liv’st and reign’st for evermore.’ [11]

Thou art my living God, my holy Christ, my merciful Lord, my great
King, my good Shepherd, my Teacher of truth, my seasonable help, my Be
loved beautiful beyond all men, my living Bread, my Priest for ever, my
Guide and Leader to my fatherland, my true light, my heavenly
sweetness, my straight way, my wisdom full of illumination, my
stainless simplicity, my peace-making reconciliation, my safe
protection, my good portion, my everlasting salvation, my great
compassion, my all-enduring patience, my immaculate Victim, my holy
redemption, my unfailing hope, my perfect charity, my holy
resurrection, my eternal life, my exultation, and my most blessed life,
Who shalt endure for evermore. Thee I beseech, implore, and beg, that
Thou wouldest complete the work Thy mercy has begun in me; for I, the
least of Thy servants, not unmindful of the benefits Thy tender mercy
has bestowed on me, give thanks to Thee for that, notwithstanding my
unworthiness, Thou of Thy sole compassion didst cause me to be born of
Christian parents, and didst loose me from my original bonds by the
waters of holy baptism and the Holy Spirit’s renovation, and didst
enrol me in the company of the sons of Thy adoption; for Thou didst
give me the gift of the right faith, and hast evermore vouchsafed to
increase and confirm it in my heart by the illumination of Thy grace,
and by the teachings of holy mother Church; and, O Lord, I beseech and
suppliantly pray Thee, evermore increase this faith in me, this true
and holy faith, this Catholic and orthodox faith, this most wise,
far-seeing and inconquerable faith, this faith so richly adorned with
all blessings and with every virtue, that so it may by love work in me
what is pleasing to Thee, and may refuse to give way amidst words of
strife in time of persecution, or in the day of necessity and death. O
God, Thou Fount and Origin, Bestower and Preserver of all virtues,
increase in me, I beseech Thee, true faith, unfailing hope, and perfect
charity; profound humility, invincible patience, and perpetual chastity
of body and of mind. Give me prudence, justice, fortitude, and
temperance; discretion in all things, and a watchful sensibility, that
I may wisely make discernment between good and evil, between the right
hand and the left. Therefore make me rich in holy virtues, so as by
them to serve Thee, and by means of them to please Thee in truth; for
by Thy grace I am enamoured of their beauty. Give me them for the
honour and glory of Thy name; make them comrades of my faith, that they
may be its inseparable companions all through the period of my life.
And thus make me, I pray Thee, by Thy grace always stedfast in faith,
and ready to do all good works, that Thy faith, which my tongue
professes and my writings witness to, may be publicly and openly set
forth by the good behaviour of an irreprovable life.

I give Thee thanks, O Lord, that though I was an empty vessel,
worthless and senseless, yet Thou didst endue me with knowledge and
under standing, and didst give me ever and anon some little skill
wherewith to edify. Give me, besides, the gift of wise and very gentle
speech, innocent of all bombast or pretence, and incapable of elation,
by reason of gifts which are all Thine own, above my brethren. Put, I
pray Thee, a word of com fort, of edification, of exhortation, into my
mouth by Thy Holy Spirit, that so I may encourage the good to better
things, and recall to the path of rectitude, both by word and by
example, those who walk amiss. Let the words Thou givest to Thy servant
be like sharpest darts and burning arrows, to penetrate and inflame the
hearts of those who listen to the fear and the love of Thee, Thou
Pastor and Ruler of all, Thou Christ and God, who hast called my
littleness to this pastoral office for no merits of mine, but by the
sole condescension of Thy mercy; do Thou, for Thine own sake and Thy
mercy’s sake, fit me for this ministry, that I may rule Thy house
wisely, and be strengthened in all things to feed Thy flock according
to Thy will. Grant, for Thy mercy and goodness’ sake, that I may be
made a burning and shining light in Thy house; and vouchsafe for the
honour and glory of Thy Name that I may merit to attain Thy glory,
bringing much good fruit with me from this community of brethren, for
to Thee nothing is difficult, nothing is impossible. With Thee to will
is to do; Thy will is act. And so with the heart I believe, and with
the mouth I make confession (Rom. x. 10), that Thou art both able and
willing to perfect to great issues by me, who am so little and so
worthless, this work of Thine; I know and am assured that Thou art able
to bring forth good fruit and abundant from Thy flock by means of me,
me that am so little and so weak. I am indeed a little, frail, and
worthless son of man, having in me nothing that can be of service,
nothing that can be suitable to so high an office; and therefore,
despairing altogether on account of my own littleness and incapacity, I
only find relief and breathe again in Thy mercy, in that and nothing

But great though Thou be in great things, yet dost Thou show more
glorious still in least; and sweeter than ever, more abundant than
ever, will be Thy praise in the mouth of men, when, by means of me, who
am so little, Thou shalt have deigned to do great things by Thy flock.
Send therefore to my help Thy holy angel out of heaven, that he,
helping me in all things, may make this work of Thine prosper in my
hand; so that Thy Name be glorified in me, a miserable sinner. Rich in
mercy, bountiful in gifts, who givest all to all and losest nothing,
grant me heavenly and earthly aid in full sufficiency, that I may have
wherewith to feed and to sustain Thy flock both in body and in soul,
and to welcome without any hesitation those who come in Thy Name, and
also to order and prepare for the repose and well-being of my brethren
all the places intrusted to my management, as is fit ting and as duty
bids. All this I ask of Thee, O Lord our God; for all our blessings are
gifts from Thee, nor can we else serve and please Thee save only by Thy

But if haply it is not in the counsel of Thy eternal will to gain much
fruit from Thy sheep by my means, then, I implore and suppliantly pray
Thee, release me from the bonds of so weighty an office in ways
pleasing to Thyself by the disposition that seems good to Thee. For
Thou knowest all things, and canst do all things. What do I here? Why
do I dwell in these turmoils, if I am not to do by Thy grace some good
for the salvation of my brethren? Two things do I seek from Thee, and
for Thy clemency deny me not one of the two. I pray Thee by all Thy
loving-kindness give me Thy heavenly consolation in my many troubles.
For, as to that exceeding heavy burden which has been laid on my
shoulders, I have not strength to carry it; I am afraid to set it down.
I am straitened either way, and which to choose I know not. O God, the
helper of all that trust in Thee, let not Thy mercy leave me nor Thy
grace forsake me. O God, keep me; for I trust in Thee, and I confide
only in Thy mercy; , since without Thee I cannot please Thee. Did ever
any one hope in Thee, and was confounded? (Ecclus. ii. 11.) From the
beginning of the world it hath not been heard (St. John ix. 32). Thou
art the all-good God, of infinite mercy and boundless goodness, and
wert never wont to forsake them that hope in Thee. O show Thy mercy
upon me, I beseech Thee; for I have fled to Thee; that they who hate me
may see and be confounded, because Thou, O Lord, hast helped me, and
hast comforted me’ (Ps. lxxxv. 17).

[§ 91. Thanksgiving for past blessings, and prayer for future.] I give
Thee thanks, O Lord, that Thou hast separated me from the vain society
of this world, and led me on to this Thy sacred office, for no merits
of mine, but by the sole condescension of Thy mercy. I bless Thee, O
Lord our God, who givest me, undeserving as I am, to enjoy the society
and the love of Thy servants. Give me quiet, give me health of body and
health of soul; and withal suitable leisure to devote to Thee. Deliver
me from the vain entanglements of this world; so that my soul may
profit, for the honour and glory of Thy Name. And since it is written,
No man, being a soldier to God, entangleth himself with worldly
business’ (2 Tim. ii. 4); and since Thou dost for this end withdraw
from all cares and turmoil the souls of them that serve Thee, that they
may be intent on Thee, their only Lord, by night and by day; give those
who renounce the world a fruitful and spiritual disengagement, that
with the palate of their inmost heart they may taste and see that the
Lord is sweet’ (1 St. Pet. ii. 3); that Thou, O Lord, art sweet and
pleasant, as Thy scripture doth instruct us, saying, Be still, and see
that I am God’ (Ps. xlv. 11); and in another place, The wisdom of a
scribe cometh by his time of leisure; and he that is less in action
shall receive wisdom’ (Ecclus. xxxviii. 25). But let the all-holy word
which issued from Thy mouth inform us yet more fully, You cannot serve
God and mammon’ (St. Matt. vi. 24); and again, No man putting his hand
to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God’ (St.
Luke ix. 62); and Thou dost vouchsafe in another place to recall us by
an evident instance, Be you mindful of Lot’s wife’ (St. Luke xvii. 32).

I give Thee thanks, most merciful Lord, that, miserable and most
heedless sinner though I be, and have been from the first, and though,
beginning from my cradle, I have run through well nigh every course of
vice and sin, yet still Thou dost so kindly and forbearingly await me
and invite me to repentance; not willing to destroy me with my sins, my
faults, my failings, and my neglects. For if Thou hadst willed to deal
with me according to my sins, long, long ago had the earth swallowed me
up alive. But, I pray Thee, Lord of pity, let not Thy waiting for me be
in vain; let it not have been unfruitful all. Thou, who desirest not
the death of the wicked (Ezech. xxxiii. 11), give for my past ills
forgiveness, and amendment for the present; and, as to those yet to be,
ever, ever grant me watchfulness and caution. Give me opportunity and
space for fruit worthy of penance (St. Luke iii. 8); open the eyes of
my heart by Thy Holy Spirit, that I may see and bewail all my sins.
Behold, Lord, now is the acceptable time, now is the day of salvation’
(2 Cor. ii. 6). Have mercy on me, O Lord, and destroy me not with my
sins; nor reserve my ills for punishment in that life to come, in those
torments of hell, in that fearful scrutiny of Thine. For Thy tender
mercy’s sake loose the bonds of all my sins before I pass away from
this life. Give me a contrite and humble heart; give me the gift of
tears. Give me light in my heart, strength in my body, that I may see
what is to be done, and, what I see, may have strength and vigour to
accomplish all the days of my life. Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy
on me’ (Ps. lvi. 2). Let not this sinful soul, for which Thou didst
deign to be born of the Virgin and to die on the Cross–bid it not, I
pray Thee, be separated from this mortal body before Thou make me fully
and perfectly repent, and bemoan all sins soever that I have committed
since baptism, sins from my very cradle, whether committed knowingly or
unknowingly, whether committed from self-sufficiency or from
carelessness. So may I in the day of my departure, all my faults
cleansed away, and my whole behaviour chastened and corrected to what
is good, gaze all secure and happy on Thy all-sweet, all-lovely Face,
full of joy and exultation for Thy boundless mercy and goodness.

Again I give Thee thanks, and yet again, O merciful almighty Christ,
that Thou hast hitherto been pleased to deliver me, worthless and
insignificant as I am, for Thine own sake and Thy Holy Name’s sake,
from many straits, many tribulations, calamities, and sicknesses; to
save me from many pits, snares, scandals, and sins; from many
treacheries of foes visible and invisible; from many evils and most
serious perils; marvellously and mercifully guiding my life’s course
between adversity on the one hand, and prosperity on the other, so that
neither should the one deject me nor the other too much elate. For Thou
hast put a bridle on my jaws, and hast not left me altogether at the
disposal of my own will, having care for me in Thy fatherly compassion,
and not suffering me to be tempted beyond my power of endurance (1 Cor.
x. 13). Where there was opportunity for sinning, often there was not
the will; or where there was the will, opportunity was wanting.

Therefore be praise and benediction and thanks giving rendered unto
Thee, O Lord my God, for all Thy gifts and largesses, and for all the
benefits which Thou dost lavish on me both in soul and body, and hast
lavished incessantly even from my cradle, such has been Thy mercy and
Thy goodness, no merits of mine requiring; nay, rather, my sins
notwithstanding. But I pray Thee, Lord, I pray Thee, let me not be
unthankful for such great benefits, nor unworthy of so many mercies. Be
it neither mine, nor the devil’s, nor the world’s, nor anything’s, nor
any man’s whatsoever, to over throw Thy gifts in me; for whatever would
oppose Thee is soon dashed to pieces. Put Thy bridle, I beseech,
tighter and tighter to my jaws, and lead me after Thee like some
tractable and gentle brute; in nothing rebellious to Thy bidding, but
with even and measured step carrying Thee, my Lord, and in all things
submissive to Thy will. Bestir my sluggishness, O Lord, with whips and
goads of Thine, and make me with my whole heart and energies seek Thy
Face all the days of my life. Draw me to Thee, O God, Thou virtue of
our salvation, with the rein of Thy mighty grace, and let me not wander
loose from wilfulness of mine in places of my own choosing. Let not Thy
Image be defaced and blurred in me; for so long as it is protected by
Thy care it remains ever noble, princely, and distinct. Have mercy on
me, O Lord, on me Thy most miserable and unworthy servant; for I am not
like those numberlessly many vassals of Thine, who have served Thee
from their cradle; nor like those who, after notorious sins committed,
have merited by penance to become devout; nor like the Christian
married women, not a few, who do Thee service by works of mercy with
utmost devotion; nor again am I like many of those who, in the eyes of
men, seem wicked and renegade, but show far otherwise in Thy sight; for
Thou only knowest the hearts of the children of men’ (2 Par. vi. 30).
But if, by Thy bountiful grace, I ever do or ever shall do any good, I
know not for what issue it is done, nor with what strict scrutiny it
will be judged by Thee. Wherefore, O God, who art terrible in Thy
counsels over the sons of men (Ps. lxv. 5), I suppliantly and with
exceeding dread implore Thy holy and infinite condescension, forasmuch
as Thou wilt have none perish but that all should be saved, not to
leave me to the disposal of my own designs, not to the sentence of my
own will, nor within the power or temptation of the demons, nor to the
erring judgment or the harmful designs of men; but for Thy goodness and
Thy mercy’s sake, according to that all-bountiful providence which can
never be mistaken in its designs, do Thou here and ever, now and
always, dispose the days of my life in the order of Thy good pleasure,
and by Thy Holy Spirit direct my heart, my tongue, and my actions by
Thy mercy in accordance to Thy will; that Thou being my Ruler, and Thou
my Guide, I may ever truly study by Thy grace to speak and to do what
is pleasing to Thee; so may they conduct me at last to eternal life,
through Thy mercy and Thy gift, who art the bestower of all good
things, and who art with the Father and the Holy Ghost God blessed for
ever and ever. Amen,

[10] [Probably written at Bec.]

[11] [2 The original consists of eight hexameter verses: Spes mea,
Christe Deus, hominum Tu dulcis amator, Lux mea,’ &c.]



[§ 92.] I. Wonder at the unspeakable goodness of God the Creator, and
the deep misery of man the creature. When I consider what God is, how
sweet His Being, how loveable, and how good; when I think how It
baffles all resources of speech and all capacity of wonder, and what
demands It makes on the reverence and the admiration of every creature;
and when, on the other hand, I see and understand what man is, whom
very God made to His own Image and Likeness, and whom, furthermore, He
created such that as he should al ways display in himself the image of
his Creator, so he might always keep in mind the will and the love of
Him who made him such as he is; when I review all this, I am overcome
with wonder and with astonishment at the inestimable goodness of the
Creator God, and the great misery of the creature man.

I wonder at the unspeakable goodness of God, that being, as He is, most
omnipotent and most just, He should allow man to live even for a single
hour; man whom He was pleased to create crowned with honour, in order
that, as he, man, was more noble in himself than other creatures, so he
should ever live, according to the will of his Creator, a more noble
life than other creatures. And yet, most wretched and most miserable
being, he does the very contrary; inasmuch as, whilst all other
creatures ever correspond with the will of their Creator, he always, or
at best only not always, contradicts and resists His will.

And I wonder also at man’s unbounded misery; I wonder to see that he
has so far lost sense, and to such a degree lives like the very beast
which has no sense, as at times to lose sight of his Creator, whereas
he cannot ever lose sight of himself. I suppose that, unless he be mad,
he is never oblivious of himself; never, I mean, so far oblivious as
not to be well aware that he exists, and that he is a living and an
intelligent being. Surely, it is fit matter for wonder and for
unbounded astonishment, that man, so well aware that he possesses all
these endowments, should ever lose sight of Him whose good pleasure it
has been to bestow all these endowments on him.

[§ 93.] II. The degree to which man may be loved by man, and the reason
why God should be more loved than any human being. The man who in this
life receives some benefit or other from a fellow man will not
unfrequently love his benefactor with so fervent an attachment, and
devote himself to his service with such utter self-abandonment, as even
not to shrink from facing death, and that more than once, in his
behalf, should that benefactor’s interest require it. And yet no one is
so devoid of sense as not to be sufficiently well aware that nothing
which a man may possess in this life, nothing which one man may give to
an other, can possibly be retained for ever, but that the owner must
forego it before it comes to an end in the ordinary course of things,
or, if not before, at any rate when it does come to an end.

But what God in this life gives to man is either such that he can never
part with it and that none can ever take it from him, or else it is
such that, even though man should forego it, it had been possible for
him, by means of it, to merit an existence to all eternity with his
Creator in a life of bliss. In this life, however, God frequently
enough gives man the means of living according to reason, of loving his
Creator as He commands and as is just, of paying persistent and
unvarying obedience to His commandments; and no man can deprive him of
this good, unless he of his own sole will forego it. Money, perishable
money, he must forego, will he, nill he; but, so long as he has it, if
he dispenses it as his God has bidden, he will merit by doing so to
attain to eternal life.

O the infinite goodness and the inestimable condescension of our
Creator! Having no need of man in any respect or at any time, yet of
His sole goodness He created man, and creating him, endowed him with
capacity of reason, that so he might be able to share His happiness and
His eternity, and thus possess with Him joy and gladness everlastingly.
And even now, although in many respects man stands opposed to Him, and
does many things, knowingly and willingly, which must displease Him;
yet does God admonish him to return and sue for pity of his Creator,
and never presume to despair, whatever be the sin that he has
committed. For He is the Fountain of mercy and compassion; and He longs
to cleanse all men, with however deep a stain of sin they be defiled,
and having cleansed them, to award them the joy of everlasting life.

[§ 94.] III. God made all things good, but He alone is Good
essentially. O dearest and most sweet Lord Jesus Christ, Who art the
merciful Lover of man kind and most compassionate Redeemer of sinners,
let my soul adore Thee, let all my life be spent in Thy service, let
all my inward parts yearn after Thee. My poor soul desires, O Lord,
desires to think of Thee, to scan Thy wonders, and to know to the full
how good Thou art to sinners, lest, falling into despair on account of
my sins, I should by deliberate choice estrange myself from Thy
goodness; but that, so fixing my mind on Thee, and believing in Thee,
Who art the Truth, I may now at last desist from my evil ways, and
reset for the doing what is right a will that has been warped and bent
by sins and wicked deeds.

I know, O Lord, that Thou hast made out of nothing all things that are;
that they were not, and Thou madest them; but Thou Who madest them hast
ever been, and time was never when Thou wast not. Thou wast ever good,
ever omnipotent; and therefore whatever things Thou hast made, Thou
hast made them good. Thou, therefore, Who hast been, art, and wilt be,
ever; and Who earnest not out of non-existence into being; as Being has
been ever Thine, so have also goodness and omnipotence been ever Thine.
And hence Thou hast no other law of being than goodness and
omnipotence; and what is to Thee the law of being is by that very fact
goodness and omnipotence; and so Thou canst not be other than good and
omnipotent. And so of all that may in like manner be predicated or
believed of Thee.

Yes, Thou truly art, and there is nothing else besides Thee, and Thou
in Thyself simply art. For what Thou art now Thou dost not anon cease
to be, but what Thou art now that Thou art ever. But the creature’s
essence, whose being has not always been, but which has through Thee
and by Thee come from non-existence into existence, is not identically
the same as goodness and omnipotence; but when it is good, and when it
has the capacity of doing good, the character and the capacity are
alike from Thee, Thee Who art essentially good and omnipotent. Thou
madest every creature good; and yet Thou hast not given to every
creature, good though it have been made by Thee, reason by which to
understand Thee. And although every creature praise Thee, and proclaim
Thee its Creator and its Governor, yet every creature doth not
understand Thee, but only the rational creation and that which Thou
hast made to Thine image and likeness.

[§ 95.] IV. The praise of the Creator by the whole creation. And yet
that creation even which Thou hast not gifted with intelligence praises
Thee, when the rational creation beholds that it has been by Thee
created so good, and ordered on so exquisite a plan. And this is being
praised by it; Thy being understood, namely, by the rational creation
to have made it good and ordered it exquisitely. But Thou hast
distinguished between man’s nature and that nature which is not gifted
with intelligence; Thou hast distinguished by ordaining that human
nature [i.e. humanity], on whose account Thou madest that other [i.e.
the irrational] creation, should dispose it according to Thy will, and
should exact and receive from it, by Thy allowance, the means of its
own sustentation.

But man–for he is composed of two parts different in origin from each
other, soul, namely, and body–receives the aliment needful for his
bodily life from the creature, but draws the sup plies of his spiritual
life from the Creator; and yet both one and the other from the Creator.
Man, in short, here in this transitory state lives the life of the
flesh so long as he is nourished with human food, and lives the life of
the soul so long as he observes the will and keeps the commandments of
his Creator. And just as he dies the death of the flesh if he is not
supported by human food, so does he die the death of the soul when he
disobeys the Divine commands. Man therefore, compound that he is of
soul and flesh, lives in his flesh and in his soul by doing what God
bids, for by such a course he merits a blissful life with his Creator
in the life eternal. But if he essay to deviate from the course
enjoined by his Creator, and seek in preference to live according to
the desires of the flesh–which indeed is not truly to live, but rather
a miserable forfeiting of life–it must clearly appear to the attentive
thinker, that in man thus degraded is not the fashion of that perfect
Man who was created to the image of God, but rather a resemblance to
the brute whose behaviour he takes care to copy. And in such an event
may it truly enough be averred that he is dead, doomed, as he is, to
eternal death should he persist in this course to the end.

[§ 96.] V. The resemblance of man to his Creator. Now God the Creator
made man to His Image and Likeness, for He made him a rational being.
And just as God is good in will, so is man, made after His likeness,
good also in will; in this respect like the Creator, the Creator good
in will, man good in will; but in another respect unlike Him, for the
Creator is eternally good by and of Himself, and good by the law of His
Being, whereas man is only good as imitating Him who eternally and
essentially is of and by Himself good. The Creator, as I have just
said, is good in will; man, made to the image of the Creator, is good
in will, but with a difference, thus: The Creator neither wills to be
nor can be other than good, whether in being or in will: for will and
can, will and power are His to be, His essence; whereas in man will and
power are separable and separate from being. If, however, man conforms
with the will of God, and wills what God does, he exhibits in himself
the Image of God; and if he persevere in this even to the end, he
merits, by the operation of the Divine compassion, to be close joined
through eternity to his Creator’s will, and never again to be capable
of detachment from it any more for ever. And just as in the Creator,
Being is not separable from will, or will separable from Being, so too,
after his measure, in man, once entered on that happy state of
existence, shall will be, by his Creator’s gift, as unchangeable in him
as being; the which being shall be as undoubtedly able to do whatever
it may will as from subsisting in an undoubtedly happy state it shall
be an undoubtedly happy being. And then shall man have free power of
choice, truly free because set free entirely from all evil: according
as here in this transitory state he wills, so long as he lives, to do,
God’s grace working in him, what God commands, and to leave undone what
God forbids.

[§ 97.] VI. Man is composed of two parts; by the one of which he is
raised to highest things, and by the other dragged down to lowest. Now
man is composed of two parts; one of them in the order of soul, the
other in the order of flesh. The soul’s natural tendency–for the soul
is a spiritual substance–is by the very law of its being to objects
above itself; but that of the flesh–since the flesh passes forth from
desire into the region of carnal appetites–is by a sort of inherent
law towards things below. Between these two natural components of man
stands the will, occupying as it were a middle place, and gifted with
free power of choice. And should the will, by an exercise of this free
choice, yoke and conjoin itself with the soul, which by an inherent law
tends upwards, then soul and will by their united strength–not,
however, without inspiration from Divine grace–raise the flesh upwards
with themselves to a highest sphere, and lodge it there, to live
without end in eternal happiness–happiness, indeed; for now at last
there is no repugnancy henceforward between flesh and soul, but they
have evermore one only love, one only will; and then shall the will of
God the Creator and man the creature whom He made to His own image and
likeness, be simply, absolutely one; for God shall be all in all (1
Cor. xv. 28). But if, on the contrary, the will, by means of that same
free choice, yokes itself with the desires of the flesh, which by a
certain inherent tendency incline to lowest things, then the will,
making so ill a use of its free choice, and with it the flesh unite in
dragging downwards the soul, bereft of assistance from above; and the
sins of man plunge the whole man, man’s self–his soul, namely, and his
body–into destruction, so as henceforth to possess nothing but ill,
and endure nothing but torment.

[§ 98.] VII. Here man prays God not to allow him to make ill use of his
free power of choice. O my sweetest Lord and most merciful God, my
Creator, my Salvation, my Life, my Hope, my Consolation, and my Refuge,
do Thou govern and uphold my power of free choice by Thy grace and by
Thy all-merciful loving-kindness, that I may not by an ill use of it
offend Thee, my dearest Creator; and whensoever evil charms me, or ever
I carry it out in act, crush and destroy all my evil desire. Rather
would I, O dearest Father, be dragged even against my will by Thee, and
thrown manacled and fettered into some neglected corner of Thy house,
and left lying there, than that I should be severed from Thee; and
there, though I may not, through my sins, be allowed to gaze on Thy
all-merciful Face, yet be it mine at least to listen to the gladness
and the joy of them that wait on Thee.

Who, sweetest Creator of mankind, who can measure that unspeakable
goodness of Thine, where with Thou hast loved our human nature to such
excess of love, as not only to have created it when it was not, but for
love of it to have become Thyself a creature? Who can have heart so
hard, so stony hard, as, knowing and scanning well Thy so great love to
man whom Thou createdst, not to be softened, and melted through and
through into acknowledgment and adoration of Thy sweetness? Yes, yes,
my soul; yes, yes, my heart, and all you inward parts of me; the wonder
is that you ever can forget the so great charity and the so great mercy
of your Creator. See, see, poor man, what thy Creator and what thy Lord
has done. He whose TO BE ever is and ever was, He the Un changeable and
the Invisible, He the Incomprehensible and the Immeasurable, He after a
wondrous and ineffable manner, without setting aside or foregoing His
own TO BE, debased Himself’ (Phil. ii. 7) in thy behalf, when in thy
behalf He willed to be made a creature, that so He might reconcile
thee, who earnest out of non-existence into being, to Himself, who, so
far from coming into being out of non-existence, had Being
everlastingly; reconcile thee by so intimate a fellowship; and
reconciling, remodel and restore thee to thy pristine dignity; and lead
thee thus reformed home to His own TO BE. Lo now, my God and my
Creator, lo now Thou seest where I have landed in my meditations; and
withal Thou seest how thus musing my poor soul is even yet enslaved to
vanities and follies; for if, pitifully regarded by Thy grace, I begin
at any time to meditate as may seem to tend to some little my soul’s
profit, my mind, so unstable is it, so almost void of all good, soon,
soon, too soon glides away into vanity and harm; unstable and empty as
the chaff which the veriest breath of wind blows from the

Therefore, seeing, as Thou dost, that my mind is so inconstant, so
sluggish, and so indolent in meditating on what is serviceable, so
eager and so zealous to what is harmful, bethink Thee not of my
sinfulness. I am a sinner; I confess it, I confess it; I am a graceless
sinner, an unclean sinner; and yet I do not leave Thee, dearest Jesus
Christ. Wilt Thou or wilt Thou not, I will not let Thee go, weak though
the hand be that detains Thee: Thou shalt go from me not except Thou
absolve me from every thought of sin. Strike me, correct me, chide me;
ay, chastise Thy servant; and chastise him, until by Thy unspeakable
goodness Thou lead me to the glory of Thy vision face to face.


[§ 99.] Complaint of the soul banished from God. My sinful soul is not
content, O Lord, is not content with trusting that its sins are removed
out of the abundance of Thy unspeakable mercy; it would fain have the
grief removed which it suffers from the withholding of Thy Countenance,
by at least giving vent to its complaint in Thy Presence. For it is
absent from Thee, its Lord, and that on account of its iniquities.

I begin my meditation, then, by proposing that my sorrow be consoled;
and, lo, the very gaining of the comfort is a fresh aggravation of the
sorrow. For the very quest after consolation awakens in my mind a fresh
consciousness of sorrow. I should not seek for consolation were I not
conscious of my grief; for the search after the soothing repose of
consolation is prompted by the consciousness of grief; and yet that
very search does but quicken and enhance the consciousness. And thus
the oftener the picture of my grief is set before the mind, the more
vividly is it aggravated and increased. What, then, am I doing? Is it
really so that the exhibition of one’s grief ever yields by way of
return some solace, however little?

Let me unfold, O Lord, before the eye of Thy mercy the bitternesses of
my soul, all the bitternesses that spring from its accumulated
iniquities, and hedge it round about; for, but for those iniquities, it
would not have to endure, as it does, its estrangement from Thy
all-lovely Face. ‘Tis hence that comes the utmost of my grief, O Lord;
the know ledge that Thy clemency has been so grievously offended by my
iniquity, and that by that very iniquity my heart’s eye is blinded so
that it cannot see the light of Thy desirable splendours. Thou madest
me to rejoice in Thee; but I have made myself so base that I blush to
appear in Thy Presence. For my iniquities are gone over my head, and as
a heavy burden are become heavy upon me’ (Ps. xxxvii. 5): my mind is
bewildered with the stupefying gall of wickedness; my soul is stained
with vices and uncleanness; my heart is filled with the corruption of
injustice; my soul is ensnared in sinful toils, and all my whole being
burdened with a mountain of crimes. Who, then, will succour me, plunged
as I am in such a deep of miseries? Who will stretch out a hand to help
me? What! have I, and I alone–alas, ’tis too true–exasperated my God
so grievously, that neither He nor any of His creatures needs notice me
any more? Woe is me! Why, why did I stay in the world even for an hour
after I was born, that I should do so great injury against my God? Why
is life so long allowed me that I should only squander it in vicious

And yet why do I deplore the lengthening out of life, when I see that
that very lengthening is God’s invitation to me to repent? Knowest thou
not,’ says the Apostle, that the benignity of God leadeth thee to
penance?’ But according to thy hardness and impenitent heart, thou
treasurest up to thyself wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation
of the just judgment of God’ (Rom. ii. 4, 5). Life, in short, is
allowed me that I may amend it. And why, then, is it not amended? And
if life is prolonged for penance, why is that penance so in sincere? If
God has mercy on my soul, standing aloof for a little space, why, why
has it not mercy on itself by setting aside its sins? O senseless
hardness of this heart of mine! Death is delayed, that life may be
reformed; and yet, as life is lengthened out, a death more dire is laid
up in store for me. Trouble, trouble either way. While I am in the
body, I am absent from the Lord (2 Cor. v. 6); and I dread the while,
lest for my sins it should be worse with me out of the body, to leave
the body. I grieve that I am defrauded of God’s Presence; and I dread
to encounter a removal from this body of corruption, although no
otherwise can I be inducted to that Presence.

What is it, what is it, O Lord, that this poor sinner’s heart beholds,
and yet knows not how to syllable? Indeed, O good Jesus, to be
dissolved and to be with Thee is by far the very best of is sues. Why,
then, is not that desired which is surely known to be the best? To be
dissolved and to be with Christ (Phil. i. 23) is bliss; to be pinioned
with the body and kept away from Christ is misery. Why, then, fear to
be rid of the misery, and not desire to possess the bliss? No; this,
this is the reason why we do not desire to be dissolved from the body,
this is it; that we are doubtful whether, after the dissolution, it
will be granted unto us to be with Christ.

[§ 100. The soul’s absence from God.] And thus it comes about that our
lodging in the flesh is judged a profitable thing; for so long as we
live in it, amendment of life is looked forward to with hope. O the
sins of men! For by their merit human life, misery that it is, is yet
accounted profitable. Is it not so, that all this present life is
misery? And this misery, albeit it is profitable in some instances even
to the just, that they may augment their merit, proves to be the last
of all necessities for the wicked, that they may provide themselves the
medicine of penance. But note the difference; this one and the
self-same misery challenges the grief of good minds, whilst by the
unwise it is all too dangerously loved. For persisting in love of it,
they move from this very misery on to misery everlasting; and their
passage through a course of misery on to misery is effected in
miserable sort: since this present misery is spent in the labour that
their lusts impose, and the misery that is to be immediately after, and
that shall never end, is endured in never-ending sorrow. Nay, indeed,
that same misery will be all the sharper punishment as this life’s
misery shall have been lengthened with a view to repentance. O Father,
Thou who truly ART, since Thou in highest sense art–for Thou art
always the Self-same, and Thy years shall not fail’ (Ps. ci. 28)–come
and succour one oppressed with misery. For if the misery which, by the
disposition of Thy mercy, I endure for the avoiding of a greater
misery–and avoided it may be by the pursuit of penance–be protracted,
why yet is this misery so much loved? Why do I love what I must needs
forego so soon, and not desire what might secure beatitude when the
misery of this present life is ended? If I am not able to love, as it
were well that I should, the bliss which Thou dost promise to those
that love Thee, why do I not at any rate dread the punishments Thou
threatenest to them that despise Thee, one of whom–O grief–I am? For
if I dreaded them, surely I should amend my ways, in some degree at
least; and so would it be brought to pass that, through Thy mercy’s
gift, I should attain sometime to the goal of love by the way of fear
and chastisement.

But why do I not fear Thy judgments, unless it be. that I am so remiss
in meditating on them? And, lest I should be able to think about them
as frequently as I ought, my faults stand ever in my way, flattering
and cajoling me with pleasures and allurements fraught with death. O
Lord, O Lord, behold, I am Thy servant, and the son of Thy handmaid’
(Ps. cxv. 16); for, although a sinner, yet the son of Thy holy Church.
But what have I said! How could I dare to use the words, Thy servant,’
when I know full well that I am the servant of sins? for whosoever
committeth sin is the servant of sin’ (St. John viii. 34); and I fail
not to sin incessantly; I am the servant, then, of sin; how, then,
could I dare to say Thy servant’? No, no; I would not have said the
word, were it not that, presuming on Thy unspeakable compassion, I
could even dare to say it; for servant though I be of sin by the
infirmity I am enduring, yet I am Thy servant by the desire which, I
rejoice to know, has been granted me by Thy adorable goodness. I am,
then, Thy servant, O Lord; if not in act and habit, yet at least in
affection and will. But herein am I in wretched and most deplorable
plight; that, though I own myself Thy servant, yet I do not strive to
render Thee the honour due unto my Lord, as it were well I should. For
if I did, nothing, nothing could ever allure me from the thought of
Thee, and from the desire of understanding Thee, or from the blissful
sweetness of Thy love. O my Lord, O my Lord, why, since Thou art my
Lord, do I not live as servant of Thine ought to live? I own Thee for
my God, and I desire to be Thy servant; why fail I, then, in practice
to lead a life worthy of Thy servant?

[§ 101. Complaint of the soul banished from God.] But why should I not
seek for the cause of this very misery, since I cannot doubt that it
has been merited by my iniquity? Ah me! Why do I live? Why do I live so
long, who live so ill? To live is granted me that death may be avoided;
and that very living is found to be even worse than death. O, all-wise
Maker of mankind and me, Thou givest me opportunity of endeavouring to
prepare for the contemplation of Thy beauty; and I fail not day by day
to show myself vile and viler still. What, O my God, more lovely than
Thy unspeakable glory? and what more vile than my iniquity? O deepest
heart of mine, feast thee upon sighs; so making sorrow thy pursuit
shalt thou be illuminated with fresh beauty, and thine inward eye the
easier lifted to behold the glory of the Light Supreme. O inmost soul
of mine, away now with all thy foolish flights, set thyself to gaze
only on the Divine Effulgence, and for desire of It shed plentiful
showers of tears; so shall thy countless filthy stains be washed out by
their flooding tide, and the pristine beauty lavished on thee by the
bountiful Framer of all things be restored to thee again, by the
providence of His mercy. And you, O my inward parts, strain all your
powers, ply all your best endeavours, in quest of that pure, that
simple, that eternal, that sole blessed Good, Whose light shall banish
all your gloom, Whose limpid flood shall wash out all your stains,
Whose freedom shall loosen all the bonds that bind you down enslaved to
vice, Whose strength shall inform all your weakness, Whose wisdom chase
away your folly, Whose life save you from eternal death, and make you
sharers of His immortality. O Good surpassing all goods–for from Thee
and in Thee all goods are, forasmuch as all goods art Thou–I confess
that my ills are all too great, for too many and grievous are my sins,
and my faults increased past measurement; for hitherto my mind has–O
how miserably!–been intently set upon them. O ills of mine, why have
you so cruelly overridden me, and estranged me from the All-Good? O
sins of mine, why hold you me so mercilessly entangled in your meshes,
and suffer me not to enter into holy freedom? O faults of mine, why do
you make my heart cling to you,–just as the anteater’s tongue [12] is
wont to enthrall insects by its own sheer tenacity,–and allow me not
to escape from you? Be troubled, O my mind; faint, faint, my heart;
shrink with horror, O my soul; and you, my eyes, grow dim with weeping.
For what is to be found more wretched every way than I am? All things
ever keep inviolate their appointed order; but as to mine, I violate it

[§ 102. The soul’s return to God.] But He who bears so long with the
sinner, will He refuse to receive the penitent? I will go therefore to
my Father, though I be a worthless child; I will go to Him, the
innocence He gave me squandered all; I will go, famished with long,
long hunger that I endure unfed with His heavenly converse; I. will go,
and I will say to Him,’ Father, I am not now worthy to be called Thy
SON’ (St. Luke xv. 19); I do not venture to strive with Thy children
for place of dignity; I only ask for mercy among Thy servants; make
me,’ therefore, as one of Thy hired servants.’ Thus, merciful Father,
shall Thy compassion be told abroad; and Thy riches will be none the
less if Thou run to meet me as I desire to return to Thee, and if Thou
fold me in the arms of Thy mercy, and bid me be adorned with the ring
of faith and the robe of justice, and deign to say of me to Thy angels,
This My son was dead, and is come to life again; he was lost, and is
found’ (ib. 24). But who, O all-good and admirable Father, shall give
me to eat with worthy sentiments of faith and holiness of that fatted
calf, given by Thee and immolated for my redemption on the altar of the
Cross? For who is that mystic Calf, so meek in the death of sacrifice,
so health-giving when partaken of as food; who but that Thine own
only-begotten Son, whom Thou didst not spare but didst deliver up for
us all? (Rom. viii. 32.) ‘Tis He, O Lord, ’tis He with whose sweetness
my heart pants to be refreshed; and this is He whom my mind longs to
love before all things. ‘Tis He by whose absence from her my soul
complains with many sighs that she should be so estranged from Him.

But if I desire the Son do I in this neglect the Father? Far be it from
me. Nay, how can it be possible? For the Father who begot is not other
(by nature) than the Son who was begotten; and again, what the Son is
that the Father is, albeit the Father is not the same Person with the’
Son. And how can I desire the Father and the Son, that Love of Father
and of Son removed, who is not other (by nature) than what Father and
Son is, and yet is another Person than Father and than Son? No, it
cannot be.

Say therefore, O my soul, to thy Maker, to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
one God, I have sought Thy Face; Thy Face, O Lord, will I seek out’
(Ps. xxvi. 8). See, O Lord; see, I seek, I ask, I knock; when am I to
find, when am I to have, when is the door to open to me? To Thee, O
Lord, lie open all the secrets of my heart. Thou seest that the
Presence of Thy Face is my sole hope of consolation. Ah me! How far am
I, what a distant outcast am I, from that unspeakable joy that His
Presence gives! How, then, shall I be comforted? How indeed, unless the
beauty of that Thy Face beam upon me, whereon hangs all my hope of
consolation? So then, O my God, let my eyes fail for Thy word, saying,
When wilt Thou comfort me? (Ps. cxviii. 82.) Have regard, then, O my
God, to the one only desire of my soul; have regard to the sigh of my
heart, and set my tears in Thy sight’ (Ps. lv. 9), tears which I shed
for very grief, while my soul faints from the withholding of Thy Face;
for my life is wasted with grief, and my years in sighs’ (Ps. xxx. 11).

Have mercy on me, O Lord, have mercy on me. In season, out of season,
will I cry to Thee, and never let Thee rest until Thou gladden me with
the Presence of Thy Face; and refuse myself all comfort; and punish
myself with simply mourning over the absence of Thy Face. O Face of
God, all glory! O Countenance, all light! So long as I see Thee not, so
long shall my soul re main in gloom. But how long, O cruel bitter
absence of God’s Face, how long wilt thou torture me? O wearisome life
in this vain world, how long wilt thou hold shut up as it were in
prison, bound by the bonds of thy vanities, my soul, so woful by its
dwelling here in thee? O my soul, what is it that charms thee in this
mortal life? Why dost thou not speed thee to the blissful vision of
God, whence thou art held aloof by the merit of thy fault? Why dost
thou not loathe this exile from the Face of God, and thy enthralment in
the chains of this garish life? Why dost thou not yearn with utmost
desire to have share in the joys of that blissful life, and be far away
from the filth of this grovelling existence? Why dost thou not fly from
the one, and hie thee to the other? If this life is given thee as a
breathing time, with peace in possibility, why dost thou dally? Why not
offer God such penance as that He may for give thee thy sins, and in
mercy take thee to Himself? Ay, let my turning be to Thee that Thy
mercy regard me kindly, and Thy compassion confirm me in my longing for
Thy Face, and give me the gift of perseverance; for I believe that I
shall not be severed from Thy bliss if only I grow not weary in my
desires after Thee. Let my soul ever yearn for the glory of Thy Face;
my mind love it; my thoughts be intent upon it; my whole heart’s
affection sigh after it; my tongue speak of it; my whole being be held
in thrall with love of it. Only let Thy mercy, while I carry about this
mortal body, and wear the fardels of my pilgrim age, bid me be
established in Thy fear, enlarged in Thy love, taught in Thy law,
devout in Thy precepts, and filled with fires of longing for Thy
promises; that, treading vices under foot, and practising all virtues,
I may, adorned with these, both please Thee evermore, and soon, soon
attain to reach Thee in Thy heaven of bliss, where is given to Thee
unending praise, unbounded glory, and honour through eternity. Amen.

[12] [The Benedictines read, sicut gliris hastulam suam tenacitate
infectam vincere solet.’ Migne’s bastulam,’ probably a misprint, is
hopeless. I propose, as an emendation, sicut gliris hastula su?
tenacitate insecta vincere solet.’ If this be the right reading, the
corruption is easy to trace. Sicut gliris hastula sua tenacitate
insecta vincere solet;’ thence sicut gliris hastulam suam tenacitate
infectam vincere solet.’ The glires of science are a very varied
collection of animals, and are said to comprise nearly a third part of
the mammalia; but the anteater is the only one of the glires which
seems to correspond with the description in the text. Its tongue could
scarcely be described better than as a hastula tenacitate su? vincens;’
for, it is an offensive weapon covered with a secretion which is simply
irresistible by insects, such is its tenacity. That hastula’ not glis’
is the subject of the clause lends probability to the emendation; for,
since making the correction, I have learnt that, when employed in
catching insects, the natural weapon of the anteater coils and twists
about as if it possessed a separate vitality of its own;’ its shape is
that of a large red earth-worm, hence a certain suitability in the word
hastula.” I am inclined to think that the passage is, after all, an
interpolation; that, inserted by a strange hand in the margin of a MS.,
it was introduced into the text of the work by a copyist, who, not
familiar with the character, read hastula, sua and insecta for hastula,
sua and insecta. The passage thus corrupted, insectam’ would soon
become infectam.’ TR.]



AND now, poor mortal, avoid for a little while earthly employments,
hide thee for a time from thy conflicting thoughts, throw aside thy
burden some cares, and postpone to another time all wearisome
distractions. Retire for a little space in God, and rest thee for a
while in Him. Enter into the closet of thy heart; shut out all except
God, and what may help thee in thy quest of Him, and with closed door
seek Him. And then say, O my whole heart, say at once to God, I seek
Thy Face; Thy Face, O Lord, will I still seek.’

Now, therefore, O Lord my God, teach Thou my heart where and how to
seek Thee; when and how to find Thee. If Thou art not here, O Lord,
whither shall I go to seek Thee? But if Thou art everywhere, why do I
not see Thee here? No; for in truth Thou inhabitest the inapproachable
light. But where is the inapproachable light? Or how shall I approach
the inapproachable? Or who will lead me into it, that I may see Thee in
it? And then, what are the tokens by which I am to seek Thee, what the
aspect by which I am to know Thee? O Lord my God, I have never seen
Thee, and, I know not what Thou art like.

O what, most high God, what is this far-off exile of Thine to do? What
is Thy servant to do, anxious from love of Thee, and far banished from
Thy Presence? He yearns to behold Thee, and Thy Face is too far off
from him; he longs to approach Thee, and Thy dwelling-place is
inapproachable; he desires to find Thee, but knows not the place of Thy
rest; and strives to seek Thee, but cannot tell what Thy Face is like.

O Lord, Thou art my God and my Lord, and I have never seen Thee. Thou
hast made and re-made me, and all the blessings that I have are of Thy
giving; and as yet I do not know Thee. I was created to behold Thee,
and as yet I have not attained to the object of my creation. O sad
estate of man! for man has foregone that for which he was created. O
hard, O cruel lot! What, alas, did he lose, and what did he find? What
went, and what remained? He lost the beatitude for which he was
created, and he found the misery for which he was never made; that went
without which no happiness is, and that remained which of itself is
merest misery. And then he ate the bread of sorrows, and knew it not.

Ah, the general anguish of mankind, the universal wailing of the sons
of Adam! Our first father had bread to the full, and we cry out for
hunger. He abounded, and we are beggars: he so happy in having, so sad
in foregoing; we so unhappy in our need, so miserable in our craving!
And yet we remain empty. Why did he not keep and guard, when he might
have done it so easily, what we lack so grievously? Why, why did he so
block out the light, and cover us up in darkness? Why did he filch away
our life, and bring in death instead? O woe-begone we! whence are we
banished, whither are we driven? Whence hurled headlong, whither fallen
low? From our home, to exile; from God and the vision of God, to self
and its blindness; from the joys of immortality, to the horror and the
bitterness of death. Miserable change! From how great good to how great

Sad loss, sad grief, sad everything! But wo is me, poor me, one of
other the poor sons of Eve banished from their God. What have I
endeavoured, what achieved? Whither did I tend, and what have I
reached? To what did I aspire, and where am I now sighing, I sought for
peace, and there is no good; and for the time of healing, and behold
trouble’? (Jer. xiv. 19.)

I reached forth to God, and I stumbled on self. I sought rest in my
secret place, and I met with trouble and sorrow’ (Ps. civ. 3) in my
inmost parts. I wished to return in the joy of my soul, and lo, I am
forced to roar with the groaning of my heart’ (Ps. xxxvii. 9).
Happiness was the goal of my hope, and lo, sigh is crowded upon sigh.
And Thou, O Lord, how long? How long, O Lord, wilt Thou forget me unto
the end? how long dost Thou turn away Thy Face from me?’ (Ps. xii. 1.)
When wilt Thou look on me and hear me? When wilt Thou lighten mine eyes
and show me Thy Face? When wilt Thou restore Thyself to me?

Look on me, O Lord, and hear me, and en lighten me, and show me
Thyself. Restore Thyself to me, that it may be well with me; Thou,
without whom it goes so ill with me. Direct, O Lord, my labours and my
endeavours unto Thee, for without Thee I am nothing worth. Thou
invitest me; help me, O Lord, I pray Thee, that I sigh not from
despair, but breathe again and hope. Lord, I pray Thee, for it is
soured by its lonesomeness, sweeten my heart with Thy consolations. ()
Lord, I pray Thee, for I have begun to seek Thee hungering, let me not
go away empty; I have drawn near famished with want, let me not depart
unsatisfied. I have come, a beggar to the Rich, a wretch to the
All-merciful; let me not turn back despised and without an alms. And
even if I sigh before I can eat, give me something to eat after I have

O Lord, I am bowed down low, and cannot look up; raise me, that I may
lift mine eyes on high. My iniquities are gone over my head’ (Ps.
xxxvii. 5) and overwhelm me, and as a heavy burden’ they press me sore.
Rescue me, unburden me; let not the pit shut her mouth upon me’ (Ps.
lxviii. 16). Be it mine to see Thy light from afar, even from the
depth. Teach me to seek Thee; and when I seek, show Thyself; for I can
neither seek Thee unless Thou teach me, nor find Thee unless Thou show
Thyself to me. Let me seek Thee by desiring, and desire Thee in
seeking; let me find Thee by loving, and love Thee in finding. I
confess to Thee, O Lord, and I give Thee thanks that Thou hast created
me in Thine image, so as ever mindfully to muse on Thee and love Thee.
But the image is so defaced by the wear and waste of evil habits, and
so befouled with the smoke and stain of sins, that it cannot do that
for which it was created unless Thou remake and readorn it. I do not
essay to sound Thy depths, O Lord, for I no way match my understanding
to such an effort; but I do long in some sort to understand that truth
of Thine which my heart believes and loves; for I seek not to
understand that I may believe, but I believe that I may understand.

[§ 104. The inapproachable dwelling-place of God.] Truly, O Lord, this
light in which Thou dwellest is an inapproachable light. For in truth
there is nothing that can pierce it, so as to see Thee in its midst.
And truly, too, I see it not, for it is too bright to be seen: and yet
whatever I see, I see by it; like the weak eye which, whatever it
beholds, beholds by the sun’s light, a light which it is unable to look
upon in the sun itself. My understanding cannot aspire to reach it, for
it is too bright, therefore it endures it not; nor can the eye of my
soul bear to fix too long a gaze upon it, but is stricken by its
brightness, quelled by its fulness, overwhelmed by its immensity,
bewildered by its grandeur. O supreme and inapproachable Light, holy
and blessed Truth, who art far from me, near though I be to Thee, how
far removed art Thou from my ken, present though I be to Thy sight!
Thou art altogether present every where, and I do not see Thee; I move
in Thee and am in Thee, and I cannot approach Thee; Thou art within me
and round about me, and I feel Thee not.

Thus ever dost Thou in Thy light and Thy bliss hide Thyself from my
soul; and she lingers on in her gloom and sadness. She strains her eye,
and descries not Thy beauty; she listens, but catches not Thy harmony;
she longs for Thee, but Thy fragrance breathes not on her; she feels
for Thee, but nothing of Thee answers to her touch; she tastes, and
discerns not Thy sweetness. For Thou hast all these in Thyself, beauty,
harmony, fragrance, grace, and sweetness, after Thine own ineffable
manner, since Thou hast bestowed them on created things in their own
manner, as we recognise after a sensible manner; but the senses of my
soul are dulled, stupefied, and blunted by the old disease of sin. What
art Thou, O Lord; what art Thou? Truly Thou art Life, and Truth, and
Goodness, and Bliss, and Eternity, and every good!

[§ 105. The goodness of God, the creative Life.] Rouse thyself now, O
my soul; exert all thy powers, and think what that good is; how great
and of what degree it is. For if all good things taken severally are
delectable, think, O think, how delectable must be that good which
includes all goods and the delightsomeness of all; a delightsomeness,
not such as we have by experience known in created things, but as
different from that as the Creator transcends the creature. For if
created life be good, how good is the Life creative! If achieved
salvation be a joyous thing, how joyous must that Salvation be by,
which all salvation was achieved! If wisdom in the observation of
visible things be a worthy object of love, how loveable must that
Wisdom be which created all things out of nothing! In short, if in all
delectable things there are many and great delights, what and how great
must be the delightsomeness of Him who created all delightsome things!

And he who shall enjoy this good, what shall he have I rather, what
shall he not have? What ever he shall wish, he will have; and not wish,
he shall not have. Ay, he shall have blessings of body and of soul such
as ear hath not heard, eye hath not seen, and heart of man hath not

Why, then, dost thou wander wide, poor child of earth, in thy search
after goods for body and soul? Love the One Good, in whom all good
things are, and it is enough. For what, O my flesh, dost thou love?
What dost Thou desire, O my soul? Whatever you love, whatever you
desire, it is there. If beauty delights you, fulgebunt justi sicut sol’
(St. Matt. xiii. 43)–the just shall shine as the sun. Or if fleetness,
or strength, or suppleness of body, such as nothing may resist; erunt
similes angelis Dei’ (St. Luke xx. 36)–they shall be like the angels
of God, for it is sown a natural body, it shall rise a spiritual body;’
spiritual, that is to say, in capacity, though not in essence. If
health and long life have charms for you, healthful eternity and
eternal health are there, for the just shall live for evermore’ (Wisdom
v. 16), and the salvation of the just is from the Lord’ (Ps. xxxvi.
39). If abundance, they shall be satisfied when the glory of God shall
appear’ (Ps. xvi. 15). If melody, there the angels sing together
without end to God. If satisfaction, they shall be inebriated with the
plenty of Thy house’ (Ps. xxxv. 9). If aught and every pure and
stainless pleasure have attraction for you, Thou shalt make them drink
of the torrent of Thy pleasure’ (Ps. xxxv. 9). If wisdom, the Wisdom of
God shall Himself display Himself to them eternally. If friendship,
they shall love God more than themselves, and God will love them more
than they love themselves; for they shall love Him, and in Him, one
another; and He will love Himself, and them in Himself. If concord, all
of them will have one will; for they shall have no will but God’s only.
If power, they shall have perfect mastery of their own will, as God has
of His. For, as God’s will shall be the exact measure of His power, so
in Him shall their power be as their will. For, as they shall will
nothing apart from Him, even so shall He will whatever they shall will,
and what He shall will cannot by any possibility but be. If honour and
riches, God will set His good and faithful servants over many things;
yea, they shall be called the sons of God, and gods; and where the Son
is, there shall they be also, heirs indeed of God, and joint-heirs with
Christ’ (Rom. viii. 17). If true security, they will assuredly be sure
that they shall not lose their treasure by any choice of theirs, and
that their lover Lord will not take it from His lovers; and that there
is nothing stronger than God, that it should sever an unwilling God and
His unwilling creatures from each other.

But what and how great is the joy there, where such and so great is the
good! O heart of man, poor heart; heart worn with woes, ay, over
whelmed with woes; what, what would be thy joy if thou hadst all these
blessings, and hadst them in abundance I Ask thine inmost self if it
can com pass all its own joy that shall spring from its own so great
bliss. Assuredly, if any other soul whom thou didst love even as
thyself enjoyed the very same bliss as thou, thy joy would be doubled;
for thou wouldst rejoice not one whit less for him than for thyself.
And in like manner, if two, or three, or many more had the very same
happiness as thyself, thou wouldst rejoice for each several soul among
them as thou didst for thyself, if thy love for each of them were equal
to thy love of thyself. In that perfect charity, therefore, of
innumerable blessed angels and holy souls, in the home where none loves
any other less than he loves himself it is alike true that each several
soul, each several angel, shall rejoice for the sake of every other one
no less than for his own sake.

If, then, the heart of man can scarce compass its own joy, to be
begotten of its own so great bliss, how shall it be able to compass so
many and so great joys? For ’tis true indeed that as great as is the
love of any to another, so great will be his joy in that other’s good.
But, O, in that perfect bliss, each one will love his God more,
incomparably more, than will be his love for himself, and for all other
beings with himself; and therefore he will rejoice more, more beyond
all power of counting or imagining; he will rejoice more in the
happiness of God than in his own happiness and that of all others
besides. But and if they so love God with all their heart, with all
their mind, with all their soul, that all heart, all mind, all soul
shall not be sufficient for His worthiness to be loved, why, then, the
just will so rejoice in that supreme felicity with all their heart, all
their mind, all their soul, that all heart, all mind, all soul shall
not be sufficient for the fulness of their joy.

[§ 106. The fulness of joy.] My God and my Lord, my hope and the joy of
my heart, speak Thou to my soul, and tell me if this be the joy of
which Thou tellest us by Thy Son, Ask, and you shall receive; that your
joy may be full’ (St. John xvi. 24). For I have found a joy, full and
more than full. For though heart be full, life full, soul full, the
whole being full of it, still, still there will be joy remaining and
overflowing beyond measure. For not the whole of that joy shall enter
into those who enjoy it, but they, wholly rejoicing, shall enter into

Speak, O Lord, speak to Thy servant interiorly in his heart, and tell
me: is this the joy into which Thy servants are to enter, who shall
enter into the joy of their God? Certainly, that joy wherewith Thine
elect are to rejoice eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it
entered into the heart of man’ (1. Cor. ii. 9) in this life. And I, O
Lord have as yet neither said nor thought how great will be the joy of
those Thy blessed ones. Only this can I say or think: they will rejoice
even as they love, and they will love even as they know. O how
perfectly will they know Thee, O Lord, and how entirely will they love
Thee! No, in this life of a truth eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,
neither hath it entered into the heart of man, how in that life Thy
saints shall know Thee, and shall Thee. I pray Thee, O my God, grant me
to know Thee, to love Thee, to rejoice in Thee; and if cannot in this
life do so to the full, at least let me advance day by day more and
more, until at last that to the full’ shall be mine. Here let the
knowledge of Thee increase in me, that maybe full; here let Thy love
grow in me, that there it may be full; that thus my joy here may be
great, great in hope; so as there to be full, full in Thee.

O Lord, Thou by Thy Son commandest, rather, Thou dost counsel us to
seek, and Thou dost promise that we shall receive, that our joy may be
full. Be it so, O Lord; I ask what Thou dost counsel by Thy Wonderful,
Thy Counsellor, so as to receive what Thou dost promise by Thy Truth;
that so my joy may be full. And meanwhile let my mind draw from thence
its musings, and my tongue eloquence; let my heart love it, and my
mouth speak of it; let my soul hunger after it, and my flesh thirst for
it, and my whole being desire it, until at last I enter into the joy of
my Lord, who is Three and One, blessed for ever and ever. Amen.




Index of Scripture References


[1]1:26 [2]37:27 [3]45:26





1 Kings


2 Kings


2 Chronicles



[9]3:16 [10]3:23 [11]10:22 [12]42:11


[13]2:10 [14]7:3 [15]10:7 [16]12:1 [17]15:11 [18]16:8-9
[19]16:15 [20]18:6 [21]18:13 [22]24:6 [23]25:4 [24]26:1
[25]26:8 [26]30:11 [27]31:4 [28]33:6 [29]35:9 [30]35:9
[31]36:39 [32]37:5 [33]37:5 [34]37:9 [35]37:15 [36]39:3
[37]40:5 [38]41:4 [39]41:5 [40]44:3 [41]44:3 [42]44:13
[43]45:11 [44]49:17 [45]54:6 [46]55:9 [47]56:2 [48]61:4
[49]65:5 [50]68:2 [51]68:5 [52]68:15 [53]68:16 [54]73:25
[55]73:25 [56]83:3 [57]83:3 [58]83:10 [59]85:17 [60]101:28
[61]104:3 [62]113:17 [63]115:15 [64]115:16 [65]118:82
[66]126:5 [67]135:6


[68]3:32 [69]8:31 [70]10:28


[71]1:18 [72]7:14 [73]9:1

Song of Solomon

[74]1:1 [75]1:1 [76]1:3 [77]1:12 [78]1:12 [79]4:3 [80]5:1
[81]5:10 [82]5:16


[83]5:20 [84]9:6 [85]9:7 [86]12:6 [87]14:12 [88]14:18-19
[89]26:20 [90]40:6 [91]53:3 [92]53:4 [93]53:5 [94]53:7
[95]53:9 [96]53:12 [97]57:1 [98]61:7 [99]61:10 [100]61:10


[101]1:14 [102]3:1 [103]4:13 [104]10:24 [105]14:19 [106]51:7


[107]4:5 [108]5:21






[111]1:21 [112]2:13 [113]3:10 [114]4:9 [115]6:21 [116]6:24
[117]8:12 [118]10:6 [119]10:25 [120]11:18 [121]11:19
[122]11:29 [123]13:43 [124]13:49 [125]17:12 [126]20:15
[127]21:9 [128]25:34 [129]25:34 [130]25:41 [131]25:41
[132]25:46 [133]26:8-9 [134]26:10 [135]26:38 [136]26:38
[137]26:40 [138]26:41 [139]27:27-34 [140]28:9 [141]28:51-52


[142]2:5 [143]14:15 [144]15:36 [145]16:6 [146]16:6


[147]1:27 [148]2:7 [149]2:14 [150]2:48 [151]3:8 [152]9:62
[153]11:15 [154]15:19 [155]15:24 [156]17:21 [157]17:32
[158]20:36 [159]22:44 [160]22:48 [161]23:33-34 [162]23:34
[163]23:34 [164]23:40 [165]23:42 [166]23:43 [167]23:44-45


[169]1:16 [170]4:9-10 [171]8:7 [172]8:10 [173]8:10
[174]8:11 [175]8:34 [176]9:16 [177]9:32 [178]11:5
[179]11:36 [180]12:2-3 [181]12:32 [182]13:4-5 [183]13:8
[184]14:21 [185]15:4 [186]16:24 [187]17:3 [188]17:11
[189]17:21 [190]17:21 [191]17:24 [192]17:24 [193]19:5
[194]19:18 [195]19:28 [196]19:30 [197]19:30 [198]19:34
[199]19:34 [200]19:38-40


[201]3:3 [202]8:32 [203]17:28


[204]1:21 [205]2:4-5 [206]8:17 [207]8:17 [208]8:17
[209]8:32 [210]8:33-34 [211]9:18 [212]10:10

1 Corinthians

[213]1:27-28 [214]1:30 [215]1:30 [216]2:9 [217]3:17
[218]10:13 [219]12:7 [220]15:28

2 Corinthians

[221]2:6 [222]5:6 [223]6:1 [224]6:15 [225]6:16






[228]1:23 [229]2:7


[230]2:3 [231]3:1

1 Timothy

[232]6:16 [233]6:16

2 Timothy

[234]2:4 [235]2:12


[236]1:3 [237]5:7




[239]6 [240]6:11 [241]14:4 [242]14:13

Wisdom of Solomon

[243]5:16 [244]11:25


[245]2:11 [246]24:27 [247]38:25 [248]47:10

Index of Latin Words and Phrases

* Ad hoc enim ipsum paragraphis sunt distinct?¦: [249]1
* Denique idcirco volui eas ipsas orationes per sententias
paragraphis: [250]1
* Duplici stol?: [251]1
* Expectant fideles donec impleatur numerus fratrum suorum ut in die
resurrectionis duplici stol?, scilicet corporis et anim?¦ perpetu?
felicitate fruantur.: [252]1
* Ferunt odore earum mire solicitari quadrupedes cunctas, sed capitis
torvitate terreri. Quamobrem occultato eo reliqua dulcedine
invitatas corripiunt: [253]1
* Formosa Panthera: [254]1
* ILLE HOMO: [255]1
* Mund? sindone prim?¦ stol?¦ spiritum meum involve.: [256]1
* Panther dictus, sive quod omnium animalium amicus sit, excepto
dracone; sive quia et sui generis societate gaudet, et ad eandem
similitudinem quicquid accipit reddit. . . . Bestia minutis
orbiculis superpicta, ita ut oculatis ex fulvo circulis nigr? vel
alba distinguatur varietate.: [257]1
* Sicut gliris hastula sua tenacitate insecta vincere solet: [258]1
* Spes mea, Christe Deus, hominum Tu dulcis amator, Lux mea: [259]1
* Spiritus enim meus super mel dulcis, et hereditas mea super mel et
favum: [260]1
* bastulam: [261]1
* dies ir?¦, dies illa: [262]1
* erunt similes angelis Dei: [263]1
* fulgebunt justi sicut sol: [264]1
* glires: [265]1 [266]2
* glis: [267]1
* hastula, sua: [268]1
* hastula: [269]1 [270]2
* hastula tenacitate su? vincens: [271]1
* hastula, sua: [272]1
* infectam: [273]1
* insecta: [274]1
* insecta: [275]1
* insectam: [276]1
* magnificat: [277]1
* nolo mortem peccatoris: [278]1
* panthera: [279]1
* panthera, quasi: [280]1
* prima stola: [281]1
* rationabile obsequium: [282]1
* sicut gliris hastula su? tenacitate insecta vincere solet.: [283]1
* sicut gliris hastulam suam tenacitate infectam vincere solet.:
[284]1 [285]2
* simplex gloria: [286]1
* volo ut convertatur: [287]1
* volo ut vivat: [288]1

Index of Pages of the Print Edition

[289]i [290]ii [291]iii [292]iv [293]v [294]vi [295]vii
[296]viii [297]ix [298]x [299]xi [300]xii [301]xiii [302]xvi
[303]1 [304]2 [305]3 [306]4 [307]5 [308]6 [309]7 [310]8 [311]9
[312]10 [313]11 [314]12 [315]13 [316]14 [317]15 [318]16 [319]17
[320]18 [321]19 [322]20 [323]21 [324]22 [325]23 [326]24 [327]25
[328]26 [329]27 [330]28 [331]29 [332]30 [333]31 [334]32 [335]33
[336]34 [337]35 [338]36 [339]37 [340]38 [341]39 [342]40 [343]41
[344]42 [345]43 [346]44 [347]45 [348]46 [349]47 [350]48 [351]49
[352]50 [353]51 [354]52 [355]53 [356]54 [357]55 [358]56 [359]57
[360]58 [361]59 [362]60 [363]61 [364]62 [365]63 [366]64 [367]65
[368]66 [369]67 [370]68 [371]69 [372]70 [373]71 [374]72 [375]73
[376]74 [377]75 [378]76 [379]77 [380]78 [381]79 [382]80 [383]81
[384]82 [385]83 [386]84 [387]85 [388]86 [389]87 [390]88 [391]89
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[414]112 [415]113 [416]114 [417]115 [418]116 [419]117 [420]118
[421]119 [422]120 [423]121 [424]122 [425]123 [426]124 [427]125
[428]126 [429]127 [430]128 [431]129 [432]130 [433]131 [434]132
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[442]140 [443]141 [444]142 [445]143 [446]144 [447]145 [448]146
[449]147 [450]148 [451]149 [452]150 [453]151 [454]152 [455]153
[456]154 [457]155 [458]156 [459]157 [460]158 [461]159 [462]160
[463]161 [464]162 [465]163 [466]164 [467]165 [468]166 [469]167
[470]168 [471]169 [472]170 [473]171 [474]172 [475]173 [476]174
[477]175 [478]176 [479]177 [480]178 [481]179 [482]180 [483]181
[484]182 [485]183 [486]184 [487]185 [488]186 [489]187 [490]188
[491]189 [492]190 [493]191 [494]192 [495]193 [496]194 [497]195
[498]196 [499]197 [500]198 [501]199 [502]200 [503]201 [504]202
[505]203 [506]204 [507]205 [508]206 [509]207 [510]208 [511]209
[512]210 [513]211 [514]212 [515]213 [516]214 [517]215 [518]216
[519]217 [520]218 [521]219 [522]220 [523]217 [524]222 [525]223
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[540]238 [541]239 [542]240 [543]241 [544]242 [545]243 [546]244
[547]245 [548]246 [549]247 [550]248 [551]249 [552]250 [553]251
[554]252 [555]253 [556]254 [557]255 [558]256 [559]257 [560]258
[561]259 [562]260 [563]261 [564]262 [565]263 [566]264 [567]265
[568]266 [569]267 [570]268 [571]269 [572]270 [573]271 [574]272
[575]273 [576]274 [577]275 [578]276 [579]277 [580]278 [581]279
[582]280 [583]281 [584]282 [585]283 [586]284 [587]285 [588]286
[589]287 [590]288 [591]289 [592]290 [593]291 [594]292 [595]293

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