OF ADORATION IN SPIRIT AND TRVTH.

Written in IV. Bookes by IOHN EV­SEBIVS NIEREMBERG Native of Madrid. S. I.

And Translated into English. by R. S. S. [...]

I H S

In which is disclosed the pith & marrow of a spiritual life, of Christs imitation & mystical Theology; extracted out of the HH. FF. & greatest masters of spirit Diadochus, Dorotheus, Clymachus, Rusbrochius Suso, Thaulerus, a Kempis, Ger­son: & not a little both pious & effectual is superadded.

Printed Anno M.DC.LXXIII.

The Translatour to the Reader.

Courteous Reader,

I Present thee here with a stranger whom I have put in an English vest; and if thou deem him not worthy to be naturalizd, at least, I pray entertain him civilly. When thou art throughly acquainted with him, & hast dived into a discovery of his perfections, thou wilt find rich pearles shrowded under a course shel; & I am confident it wil never re­pent thee, no more then me, of his ac­quaintance. One that knowes how to distinguish fruit from leaves, & pith from bark, a solid substance from a superfi­cial show, one that delights in truths, & seeks rather his own spiritual advance, then a frothy feeding of his fancy, wil here find entertainment right for his purpose, that is, both substantial and delightful. He wil teach thee how to ser­ve God in spirit & truth, not by an em­pty sound or canting use of these two words, as do our sectaries, who when they have named them think all done, but by a real practise of Christian ver­tues [Page] in the discharge of our incum­bent duty to God, our selves, and our neighbour.

To speak without metaphor, I offer thee a plain Translation of a Latin treatise, a piece in high esteem with me and many; and I re­quire only thy perusal therof to make thee esteem it so too. That which moved the Au­thor to compile it, moved me also to translate it, yet with this difference, that he sought only his own behoof, I my own, & chiefly others. He a Parent of many such issues, having la­bourd long with his pen for the advance of his neighbour in the way of vertue, judgd it but meet to a make some provision for himself as a store house of spiritual truths & maximes, which he might have ready at every turn both for his meditation and practise. And I think he was much in the right, since charity begins at home, & it availes very little to perfect others if we be stil truants our selves: self-interest ought to be the first concern; nor are we to let our fa­mily starve at home while our endeavours are labouring to feed others abroad. This prudent ceconomy and sage care of his own good is the common case of us all who have a soul to save; it being also our task to provide in the first place for its indemnity, that being the grand affair of our whole life, which if not done all is ut­terly undone. And how can we provide better [Page] then by making use of his provisions where the common exigence is the same? For by the di­ctamen of charity it seldom happens, that one is so treacherous to himself as not to provide him­self of the best: & if what was best for him can­not be but good for us, what he communi­cates without envy let us make use off with much freedom, little cost, & a harty welcome. There is not so much applause in translating as writing, but the common benefit no whit the less, yea more; because no man of judgment wil translate what he deems not more then or­dinarily good & taking; but who can promise so much of his own conceptions amidst so many miscarriages & abortions as daily happen?

This our age & kingdome is a little unfortu­nate in this respect, that our best wits are forcd so to employ their pens for the defence of Ca­tholick religion against the common adversa­ries and their assaults, as that they cannot fully attend to what is as necessary in its kind, the writing of spiritual treatises for the preservation & encrease of piety in the harts of the faithful. The former indeed is necessary, but is a mis­fortune it is so, upon such a score, or that among the children of the same Mother some should be found so rebelliously bent; espe­cially with such prejudice to the latter; this being the nursery of devotion & consequently promoter of vertue and piety. Spiritual bookes [Page] are the ordinary tongue by which God speakes to our soules, & the conveyancers of his holy inspirations when he is pleased to knock at the dore of our hart for entrance, yea the key which unlocks it. How many by reading them receive both light in their understanding & love in their wil, not only to acknowledg but per­form what conduces to a vertuous life? How many have quit the filth of sin in which they wallowed by wonderful conversions; & how many more of better principles found therby effectual incentives to Christian perfection. Certainly the benefits redounding thence are unspeakable, & great pitty it is that we are not better stored with such books: for as our appe­tite cannot feed long upon the same meat with­out being cloyed, though otherwise both whol­some & savory; no more can our understanding without a nauseousnes employ it self in matter of reading, unles there be variety to season it: I have heard even spiritual persons bemoan their own & the common scarcity in this kind. Besides the excellency of the treatise it self, this was a motive to me to contribute my mite to­wards some smal redress of the aggrievance.

This premisd, I must speak a word or two of the Title it carryes, which is, Of Adoration in Spirit and Truth: the which he borrowes from the words of our B. Saviour to the Samaritan, & is the subject of the whole work. In that confe­rence, [Page] Io. 4. the great master Of Spirit & Truth told her, the time would come when true ado­rers should not be confined to Ierusalem or the mountain in Samaria, but were to adore God in spirit & Truth: for God being a spirit covets to be adord in spirit. Now what it is to adore him in Spirit & Truth he explaines through the whole treatise, & chiefly in the 4. first Chapters of the first Book, where he explicates what he un­derstands both by the one & other, & so clearly, that nothing needs to be superadded. Only it wil not perchance be amiss to forewarn some les skilful Reader, that he be not frighted into a prejudice of the Book by the title, it seeming to sound somwhat of the Sectarist, who hath nothing so frequent in is mouth, as I said above, as Spirit & Truth, & nothing les in substance. The words indeed are easily named, and may serve for canting, among the ignorant; but if one go to the pith & substance of spirit & truth, as the Authour uses them, to a true denial of our selves & more then a lipp-love of God, here the sectary wil be found as void of spirit as truth, & in both a nut without a kernel. When the reader sees the Authour to aym at nothing more then mortification, pennance, fasting, prayer, carrying our cross, & this through the course of our whole life, he wil soon discover him no sectarist, who dares scarse so much as talk of these things, much les teach or pra­ctise [Page] them, but a Roman Catholique, who alone owns them both in doctrin & practise, as the chief meanes to Christian perfection. Nor wil any body, think I, be so inconsiderately over-byassd, as to take any prejudice by these expressions, o infirm spirit, pusillanimous spi­rit, which here and there he'l meet with. Tis true, by the abuse of this our age; they sound not so wel with us; through the default of those who have renderd both them and themselves ri­diculous; yet the words, like wine, are good enough, nor any more then that, for the so­phistication or abuse of some, to be mislikd: consider also that the Authour is a forraigner, with whom they carry no such note; nor did I deem it necessary to change them.

His industry in the compilement of this work seems by his own confession to have been very extraordinary; he not sticking to aver that it was the fruit of all his labours & the hony-comb of al his studious endeavours while bee-like he suckd from each H. Father & Master of Spirit; as from so many delicious flowers, what he found in them rare and exquisite? with these truths & maximes as with so many pretious sto­nes he has paved the way to perfection, digesting them into that triple path, which according to its great masters leads therto, to wit purgative, il­luminative, unitive, in the first, after he has told us what it is to adore God in spirit & truth [Page] without eyther fanaticisme or duplicity, he gi­ves us the lively resentments of a penitent hart, while it rock-like, struck with the rod of the cross, dissolves into the waters of a profound compunction. Amidst its sighs and teares he conducts us on towards the second by true fruits of pennance, love of God, contempt of the world, through all the oppositions of self love worldly concerns & contrary temptations. By degrees he leads us out of the desert of sin into the land of promise and the darknes of Aegypt into the fair sun shine of divine grace, and here that light offers himself for guid which illumi­nates every man coming into this world, & we know that who ever followes him walks not in darknes. For what doth this path aym at but a perfect imitation of his life by a constant tread­ing of those sacred footsteps of vertu which he left deeply imprinted by self-abnegation, hu­mility, patience, meeknes, poverty, persecution & all those which compleat a totall fulfilling of Christian justice & perfection.

That this may be the better accomplishd, he spends no les then a whole book (to wit the 3.) in teaching us how to discharg our duty in or­der to the aforesaid imitation by a most perfect practical performance of our daily actions. And not without good reason since the whole is but the result of all particulars, which if perfect, the other can scarse suffer any allay: he that per­formes [Page] his daily actions perfectly, treads a sure path to perfection; & whosoever aymes at it without this medium shoots at random like a blind archer. All these are works of light, & this according to the Philosopher, being productive of heat, they dispose wonderfully to the 3. path which leads a soul thus affected to a strait union, the true lovers knot, with almighty God. And whether should such a bird of Paradise, so disdaigning earth, so enamoured on heaven, so wingd with charity & fitted for the flight soare, but up to the bosome of God himself where nestling as in its center, it may say with H. Iob, in nidulo meo moriar. This is the last complement of a vertu­ous soul in this life, the purchase of its labours and fruition of desires; where its activity becomes passive, and its task with little Samuel is only to say Loquere Domine quia audit servus tuus; nor yet can it be said to be idle. For he teaches not a lazy love but operative and mascu­lin, a love that loves to be in the sun and dust, bearing the heat and weight of the day in carrying its cross, and yet wel [Page] knowing even in these how still to en­joy its beloved.

And in this spiritual journey which certainly tends to a Vade in pace and arri­ves to that peace of God which passes all understanding, directs the traveller not through any extraordinary paths, or by new and uncouth lights, but teaches him to take the roadway of the cross in the broad daylight therof, following him who said, I am the way; and this by a profound contempt of himself as wel as all the things of this world, by an entyre mortification of his passions, subduement of his wil to the wil of God, by a curbing of his appetites, mastry over self love, command over sense and much more over sensuality; and by such steps (the truest steps of love, and to it,) assisted by a daily recognition of the di­vine benefits towards man, so unparal­lelld and inestimable, he leads him up the mount of perfection. Which jour­ney though it be not performd without great extente of time, labour, and con­tradiction, yet having once surmounted the difficulty and its top, raysd now [Page] above all wind and weather, in what a peaceful calme doth he find himself! few believe this besides those that experience it, and therfore it is but lost labour to insist upon it; yet I dare say its joyful contentivenes exceeds the gust of the most affecting pleasures the world affords. But these are onely the entertainments of choyse soules, the perfect; I can say to the comfort of all, that the work it self affords both effectual helps to perfe­ction, and a certaine redress for spiritual maladies in what kind soever they be. For the peruser will discover in it a rich mine of heavenly treasures, a new dis­pensatory of celestial recepts, antidotes against all the poysons of sin, and an Armory of defence to shield him from the assaulting enemy. Which though it was writ for himself, a Religious man, and by its sublimity may seeme proper for that state; yet it is of that latitude & capacity, that even seculars, if they be but vertuously disposd to the service of God, may plentifully reap benefit by it, nor would I wish any body upon this score to harbour a prejudice against it.

Thus much being sayd of the matter & weightynes of his discourse, I must now in a word touch also the manner. His way of arguing is solid and witty but he has no regard at all to evennes of stile or quaintnes of expression, speaking as we say a la negligence as to both like one that study's more what to say then how: and this it seems he doth on set purpose. For in his Epistle Dedicatory (which I omit as needles) he gives ac­count of it: ‘I write this memorial sayth he, in a plain stile and without any ornament of speech, since the word of God (not unlike a sword) the more naked it is the more deeply it pierceth, much deeper then if it were sheathd in the richest phrases of hu­mane eloquence: and it is the sincerity of the speaker, not the gorgeous at­tire of Rhetorique which makes it majestical. I aymd, sayth he, at the self same in this Treatise which the zea­lous Bishop Salvianus mentions in his Epistle to Salonius:’ We who love deeds better then words, saith this holy Prelate seek rather after profit then applause; ney­ther [Page] do we labour so much that the vayn pomp of the world be praysed in us, as whol­some and substantial matter; in our writings we covet not to set forth a fine dress but to give redress. ‘This was the reason, (sayth my Authour) why I was not curious at all about the stile, which I thought was not to be uniforme, but attemperd to the nature of the subject it treated of, for a pious and sincere matter is to be handled without all pompousnes and Oratorical figures; and I preparing it for my self, slender ornament would serve the turn.’ Thus much he: and all this I have inserted, as pertinent to teach my Reader how little regardable these things are, where spi­rit and truth sway the ballance, the hart being not touched but the fancy onely tickled with such vanities. What no ju­dicious reader will condemne in him, will not I hope be mislikd in the Tran­slatour, so far, as wauing all matter of stile, he attends to the englishing of the Authours sense, yea words, in as pro­per phrase and expression as he can, he being a Translatour not a Paraphrast. [Page] Which how farr he hath attaind, must be left to the readers verdict; and that, be what it will, he stands not much upon, if the fruit he aymes at be produ­ced in his soule, following, in such a fair view of truth as it expresseth, her footsteps to a sincere Adoration in Spirit and Truth, misled, no more by the world and its impostures.

The Division of this Work.

In the I. Book are containd those things which concern the Purging of our soules.

In the II. what appertains to its illumi­nation, and the Imitation of Christ our Lord.

In the III. what belongs to a most per­fect practical performance, of our actions.

In the IV. what helps to enflame us with a most ardent love of God, and elevat our soules to the divin Vnion.

OF ADORATION IN SPIRIT AND TRVTH

THE I. BOOK.

THE FIRST CHAPTER

The Deceitfulnes of a secular life.

THe proceedings of men in this life [...] intercours are a continual piece of forgery, as voyd of credit as ful of imposture. Be not too zealous of death in a mistake of life; for the H. Ghost hates dissimulation in matter of di­scipline. An imposture is so much more per­nicious, by how much the affair in which it is used, is of greater concern and conse­quence. Men deem nothing dearer then life; how then can they endure to be deluded in it: how can they brook forgery in matters of Spirit and worship of God, which are in­finitly to be prizd above life it self. An im­posture concerning life is the worst of evils. It is too dangerous and formidable to be sedu­ced in a thing of all others the most important and pretious. Men suffer not willingly their eyes to be cheated; and how ill do they man­nage their busines, if they suffer their minds? They fret and chafe if they be cozend in pre­tious [Page 2] stones, and how much more ought they concerning themselves? How careful and vi­gilant are those that traffique in gems least a counterfeyt be put into their hands insteed of a true one: no man will buy a jewel, unles the seller give both oath and suerty, that it is not adulterous. This is the madnes of men; they are content to set a false rate upon their life though not upon a stone; they love not to be deceived in their eye-sight, but can disgest a greater fallacy in their mind, in their life, yea and in their heaven.

We take it very ill to be cheated by another though but in smal trifles, and we willingly cheat our selves even in the price of our selves. We love neither to hear nor tel a lye; and yet we make both our selves and our life a conti­nual lye. O miserable! who are both the de­ceived and deceivers of our selves; and we bear this two fold misery, which men so much ab­hor, with patience, and we tolerate this dou­ble infamy in a busines of such consequence, whereas we should brook neither in a trivial one. If thou judge it a heynous crime to de­ceive thy friend, and holds it the greatest of wrongs to be deceived by thy friend; what ground or pretense in the world canst thou have to cozen thy self or be cozend by thy self who shouldst be dearer and faithfuller to thy self then any friend whatsoever. But we willingly entitle our losses through our own default (which nevertheles are the heavyest and in a double kind) with the fair name of pa­tience: [Page 3] and animate our selves to our own de­struction, by not only holding our selves un­worthy of blame, but worthy of Congratulati­on. The covetous man would take it ill if one should cozen him in the fading goods of for­tune: he would deem it an intolerable injury if one should stuf his Coffers and bags with dirt or rubbage in lieu of gold or silver; and why doe we not onely endure but even affect to be cozend by our selves in the goods of vertue and grace; nor grieve that our life is soyld with the staines of vices and defects; or that our ver­tue is hypocritical, our charity but forged, our mortification superficial, our humility co­unterfeyt.

A main reason of this endammagement is, because we doe not pursue or rather throughly persecute self love lurking in us, and put not this domestique enemy to the sword. It's no charity to save the life of an enemy to the pre­judice or endangering of our own by giuing ear to his pernicious counsels. We harken to our appetits as to so many Oracles, although they utter nothing but lyes. He that lends his ear to soothing flatterers must needs give cre­dit to many things that are false, and he that attends to the fawning charmes of self love shall ever and anon be deceived.

Tell me, o my soul, if a court or Senate of wise and cōscientious men should all with joynt consent determine a cause, and the malefactour alone, pleading nevertheles guilty and con­vinced by witnesses, one as foolishly fond as [Page 4] desperately wicked, should stand out against the verdict of the whole Court as unjust and partial; wouldst thou believe this one wretch rather then so many wise and upright Sena­tours? Why then dost thou follow the toyes and fancies of self love and its brutish appe­tites? how darest thou oppose its verdict alone to that of God, of his Angels, of the Doctours of the Church, of ancient Philosophers, of reason it self, nay even of thy own conscience all these condemning for naughty what it ap­proves for good, yea condemning its very di­ctamens and defires. Perswade thy self that that is false which God holds not for true, which the Angels disapprove, which the Do­ctours impugne, Philosophers refute, reason disallows, nor squares with Conscience. All these find this self love, this crafty fox ful of wiles, guilty of forgery. We are ful of de­ceyt because ful of self love; and so much the more perniciously ful by how much it is not onely a domestique cheat but so linkd to us, yea so engrafted in us that it never leaves us, nor gives us the least respit from errour. Hence not onely custome but even prescription in cozenage hath so hardend us, that what is done viciously, we maintain many times as done very prudently, yea and according to gospel, and seek to sanctify by the doctrine of Christ, what is clearly repugnant to reason. The mist of ignorance which man walks in ren­ders him sufficiently miserable, he needs not be missed with forgery: yet ignorance is but a [Page 5] petty and inconsiderable misery, its darknes being easily dispeld as soon as the light of in­struction shines; but the night of errour is so wilfully and pertinaciously blind that it is in­capable of being illuminated with any pre­cepts. O, it were hartily to be wishd we were onely ignorant and not seduced also!

This folly and imposture of worldlings rai­gnes in a manner among all sorts and conditi­ons of them. Let them account themselves never so wise, let them be the prime Doctours and professours of Vniversities, they are idiots and ill-maximd, and unworthy of such titles, unles they be good and vertuous. Pick out any one of these, such as all the world holds for an Oracle of knowledg; if thou shouldst but once see this man voyd his curious cupbords and cabinets of jewells and vessels of gold, and throw away pearles and pretious stones to fill them up with dirt and dung, couldst thou perswade thy self, that this were a wise man who so prizeth the latter and misprizeth the former? And how then shall he be accounted wise, who not once but allwayes is stuffing his hart with aspirements to honours with desires of riches and pleasures, and contemns the love of God, the treasures of divine grace, the merits of Christ, yea God himself? All which incomparably more surpass worldly honours, treasures, pleasures, then gold doth dirt, as much to wit, as God the Creatour surmounts his creature. What imports it if thou sayest, that this proceeds not from his ignorance in [Page 6] undervaluing things, but that this man knew well enough the difference betwixt spiritual things and temporal, a thing which no body can doubt of though his proceedings be con­trary? what, I say wil this avail; for nether wil he be excused from madnes, who should say that he knowes wel enough the value of gold above other things and how base dirt is in comparison of it; yet nevertheles keeps dirt, courts it, embraces it, kisses it, yea and refu­seth no danger nor labour in search of it; but if gold be tenderd him he throwes it away and daigns it not so much as a look. Certainly this hidden madnes and visible darknes is far more to be admired; and thou darst not call such a one a wise man, or well in his wits least thou should be houted at by all having lost thine owne. How much more will he expose himself to the censure both of laughter and madnes, who professing that the spiritual trea­sures of grace are much to be preferd before all the goods of this world, covets nevertheles the latter and rejects the former. Could he be accounted a learned man or sound in judgment or a good Christian, who should cast the B. Sa­crament of Christs holy Body out of a golden Ciborium consecrated to its conservation, and place there insteed of it a piece of clay? And how deserves he the name of a wise man who expels the Divinity it self out of his soule, where it took complacence to reside as in its ta­bernacle, and sets up in its place not dung but more filthy vices and sordid desires, as the [Page 7] idols of his licentious devotions? Therfore we must conclude that there is no wisdome no truth to be found in a worldly life. The dread fullest instruments of revenge which Christ shall make use of to punish the sensles in the day of judgment, shall not be the conflict of confounded elements, nor the fall of the stars, nor the eclipse of the sun, nor the conflagra­tion of the world, nor the frightful voice of the Archangel, nor that shrilsounding trum­pet of God, nor the countenance of the angry judge, but truth alone: Truth, I say, which shall then be rendred illustrious to all, though now as it is veyld with our naughty desires we contemne it.

But although truth be certainly found in a spiritual life, yet not altogether refined from the dregs of forgery; both by reason of t [...]e subtilty and soothings of self love, (for soothing and flattery every where corrupts and sophisticates truth.) as also the wiles and ma­lice of the divel, who labours by all meanes to destroy created truth since he cannot the in­created. Therfore Christ our Saviour recom­mends to us as the glory of Euangelical perfe­ction, that we adore God in spirit and truth. The true God ought not to be worshipped with a false life. The onely begotten Son of God is truth, and he that will be the Son of God must love truth and possess himself of it. Wherfore whosoever evading the precipices of the flesh, treads now the plaine paths of spirit, let him not hold himself altogether out of dan­gerunles [Page 8] he walk the roadway of truth. And to the end thou mayst follow this more secu­rely, take these admonitions which will teach thee to adore God, and serve him unfaignedly in uprightnes of hart; and make thee under­stand what truth speaks, least some deceit mi­slead thy spirit: but rather doing truth in cha­rity we may increase in Christ by all our pro­ceedings.

The II. Chapter. Of the Truth of the Spirit.

DO not think that thy life will be ren­dred any whit more unpleasant and tetrical by the fellowship of truth: it is a mere aspersion to say that truth is bitter and unsavoury. A false imputed nick name must not make us out of conceit with a thing in it self most delicious. Do not frame this discourse: If the very outward name of truth be so bitter, what may we judge of its interi­our rellish: if anothers discourse concerning it be noysome, what will our own study and practise of it be: if it sound so harshly to our hart, to our conscience, to our whole life? Make not, I say, such illations; for it is not the fault of honey if it tast bitter to a tainted pallate. One that is giddy thinks the earth runs round when it stands stock-still. We jud­ge [Page 9] of every one by our own misdemeanours, and seek to patronise our humane frailties by ascribing the same to the Divinity. Truth is innocent sweet and displeasing to none but the c [...]nal and such as are displeasing to God. The same royal colour of purple recreates men and exasperates buls: this purple truth of God, this lustre of sanctity, delights those that un­derstand it, what makes matter, if it offend those that have neithet wit nor braines to con­ceave it, yea this makes more for its commen­dation.

Nothing shewes the inestimable worth and comelines of truth more then that it seems worthles and deformed to the wicked. Con­sider but the causes of this their aversion, and thou shalt see that they render it much more a­miable. Of all crosses and afflictions truth seemes the most harsh and burdensome: be­cause particular afflictions impugne either one onely pleasure or at least but some few, but truth fights them all together, and proclames warr at once against all other kind of vices. Therfore they hold it the saddest adversary they have; and for the same reason think they can revenge themselves no wayes more upon their enemys nor sting them more picquantly then by speaking truth to their disadvantage: the reason is, because what harme soever one most dreads to himself, his passion makes him wish the same to his enemy; and because he dreads no kind of evil more then truth, ther­fore he tels all he knowes to his adversarys pre­judice, [Page 10] and seeks thus to wound him as with so many poysonous darts. But these causes of offence are arguments which ought to heighten our love and esteem of truth: is not that worthy of all love which hath all vice in such hatred and detestation? If thou hadst one po­tion which would cure thee of all diseases, thou wouldst not contemne it for being bitter and distastfull, nay thou wouldst prize nothing more highly: so truth upon that same score is to be loved and adored, although it be even nayld to a cross, though voyd of beauty and unhandsome. But it is comely of sight and plea­sant of tast, not deformed but de [...]forme, not unwise but the wisdome of God: the voyce of truth is sweet, and its countenance amiable. It hath God for its seasoning it cannot be un­savoury, or disgustfull, or tainting. That which makes God happy must not be noy­some, neither can it make thee miserable. What shall I say? God is truth, and can he be either more distastfull to thee then gal, or not more lovely then light? Go to then take the courage to look it in the face, to affect it, to put thy self under its tuition and patronage. This is the main maxime of a spiritual life, that as carnal people hate nothing more then truth, so those that walk the paths of spirit have nothing in higher esteem or desire. What is more dear or useful to an archer then his eyes; and what ought to be more desirable to a reasonable man then truth which is the eye of his soule. Archers and other creatures also [Page 11] made for the behoof of man, if they want their eyes become altogether unserviceable; so our whole life without truth proves but a fruitles busines. No one of the senses is more delectable then the sight; and truth surpasseth all the other facultys of the mind; neither is it more pleasing a midst the smiles of prospe­rity then the frownes of adversity.

Let us therfore beg [...]n with an upright con­ceit of truth to exclude falshood; deeming nothing more delightful nothing more excel­lent then sincere truth of spirit. Most men be­cause they believe not this are apt to grant themselves now and then a little indulgence to nature, and self love, and the propensions of the flesh, though but in petty matters, mixing with a most subtle dissimulation and self co­zenage forraign comforts, that so they may mittigate the austerity which they conceive or fear accompagnies the spirit; and not trust­ing sufficiently to it and God, they reserve as yet some reliques of their flesh and will, of which they are loath to dispoyle themselves, that they may make their retreat thither in time of need; not daring by a total self denyal to give themselves entirely to God and the spi­rit, as if some corrosives did attend his inti­mate familiarity. These people deceive them­selves; for this is not the spirit of truth. This spirit is a most simple and transparent thing; and therfore that will not be true and genuine which is so confounded and intoxicated. The flesh and the spirit are two things so different, [Page 12] that they cannot be combind into one simple. The spirit of truth ought to be so refind and sincere, that it is not enough to dread and ab­hor all the faigned soothings of the flesh, all the pernicious dictamens of worldlings, and the forciblest insinuations of self love, but one must moreover dispoil ones self of himself and his own soul, and renounce totally his own will and all created contentments, yea even in­tellectual and otherwise lawful, to seek God alone and in him possess all things.

The spirit is somewhat more sublime and re­find then is the soul, the understanding, or na­ture. Hear thy Iesus saying, God is a spirit and those that adore him must do it in spirit and truth. Wherfore that thou mayst adore God as thou oughtest, and serve him perfectly in truth of spirit, thou must reare thy self, above all creatures and created affections; and breath after and be enamourd upon the divine truth alone; and as one ready to depart out of this world, bid adieu to thy self and all creatures, adhering by pure charity to our Lord, becom­ing one spirit, as S. Paul speaks, with God who is truth it self. Force thy self from thy self, that is, from thy vicious stock, that thou mayst be engrafted in him: sever thy self from thy self that thou mayst be united to thy Creatour: loosen thy self from thy self that thou mayst be fastned to the cross of Iesus; root thy self out of thy wicked self, that thou mayst be im­planted in all goodnes: fly from thy own na­ture, and thou shalt find a sanctuary in God: [Page 13] loose thy self unfaignedly and thou shalt find thy self really.

The III. Chapter. Of Purity of Spirit.

DO not in any thing, o coheyre of Christ, become like unto the beasts thou who mayst be one spirit with God; thou must resemble them in nothing at all. Thou oughtest to tread underfoot all the delights of flesh and nature not reserving any one from a total renunciation. One alone is able to marr the rellish of truth; one alone wil tarnish the lustre of the spirit. Great things are oftentimes over powrd by little ones, a smal quantity of vinegar spoyles a whole vessel of the strongest wine▪ a little drop of ink infects and discolours a violl of the fairest water. Why wilt thou blemish the can­dour of truth and noblenes of the spirit with a petty delight so triviall and momentary? Why dost thou debase thy self so much below thy sublime condition? why wilt thou leave the bosome of God and his sweet embracements to solace thy self with the silly dregs of creatu­res, since thou ought not to descend from the cross of Christ for all the kingdoms of the world. O miserly and base-minded man since thou hast already employed so many talents to­wards [Page 14] the purchase of an invaluable margarite, wilt thou at last break of the bargain for one single half penny? Nay thou art more foolish then this: for such a marchant would loose nothing, he onely would not gain the jewel, all his mony would be restord him again: but restitution wil not be made to thee of those in­comparable delights thou didst forfeyt; and because thou wilt not relinquish a frivolous toy thou loosest a genuine spirit. Why, having consummated so happily a long race, dost thou fall short of the prize at the very goale for want of running a little further? Doe not think it burdensome and noy some to abstaine from all; as thou couldst weane thy self from greater so mayst thou from lesser, as from many so from more, as from most so from all.

What is the reason that having embraced so many mortifications, corporall austerities, hu­miliations, disgraces, fastings, lying on the bare ground, thou art vanquishd and made prisoner to thy own appetite, by some bit of meat, or other sensual delight? Wilt thou be undone, thinks thou, if thou wholly mor­tify thy pallat? The Angels fast continually, and yet live most happily; yea the divels are not tormented by their long abstinence, no nor creatures; for there are some of them which without this grosser food enjoy nature plea­santly, and live onely as it were upon the spirit. Hold alwayes thy self to be rankd in a higher class then apes and wolves, and by that meanes thou shalt never be tempted with their pleasu­res. [Page 15] Art thou sorry that thou sings not like a grass hopper? I believe not; or that thou feeds not with the vultur upon carrion? much less: and the reason is, because these contentments are of another kind and order; so if thou hold thy self a man thou wilt contemneal these plea­sures which are proper to beasts, as being im­pertinent. What if thou consider thy self an associate of the Angels? What if thou ad here to God, becoming one spirit with him? Thou mayst want now and not be miserable, what thou art to want for all eternity, and yet be happy. As thou wert not sorry being come to mans estate to want the toyes and bables of children, so being made an Angel or demy-God, thou shalt not grieve for the pleasures of men. If thou mighst at a wish be changed from being a man into an Angel, wouldst thou not be content, vpon supposition perpetually to abstain from eating? Behold, now for a time thou mayst enjoy thy w [...]sh. When thou hast glutted thy self with good chear, thou canst with out any difficulty despise all dain­tyes; and why canst not thou doe the same out of a strong appetite to vertue? Sicknes of body m [...]kes thee abhor and loath them and why ca­not health of mind? Why deemst thou that impossible to vertue which is soe easy and ne­cessary to infirmity? If feeblene [...] of nature can make all sensuall delights irksome why cannot the strength of grace doe the same? If thou find sometimes a loathsome tediousnes of hea­venly and spiritual things, perswade thy self [Page 16] the same of carnal. Thou canst live in this exile even with danger of incurring hellfire though thou be not inebriated with the joyes of heaven; so mayst thou also upon the future hopes of paradise though thou bid a long fast to these muddy and dreggy pleasures. How many millions of men eat their daily bread in toile and sorrow and nevertheless stil main­tain life; and shalt thou alone dye because voyd of such contentments? Thou hast lived some­times in anguish, live now without pleasure: thou hast been often oppressed with griefe be now only not jocund. If thou art ashamed to think with the commonalty of men, be a­shamed also to seek thy content with the com­monalty of beasts. Nay beasts are more abste­mious, as who are satisfyd with fewer and more obvious pleasures then the most part of men. And thou must frame the same dicta­mens concerning other solaces both of sense and soul or whatsoever enjoyment of our own will.

Thou must be eternally divorced from all things, and thou mayst be so, and that with­out any danger to thy self, yea without trou­ble. But if thou desire to renounce all plea­sure renounce thy own will, even in the smal­lest things, even in things just and lawfull. Beware least if thou be found with the cloak of self will, the domineering flesh which makes use of all advantages, catch hold of its skirts as the Aegyptian lady did of Iosephs, that is to say, of thy appetites so linkt with thy will, [Page 17] and sollicite thee to play the naught. The very skirts are hold enough wherby to draw thee to such a fact: great over throwes are occasi­ond by petty neglects: unles thou wholly dis­robe thy self and walk naked, thou wilt not be altogether void of danger. Dispoyle thy self I say intirely of thy own will, doe not wear thy own undoing, doe not cloath thy self with danger of thy self. When Elias was car­ryed up to heaven, he left his cloak behind him; and each one that betakes himself to a heavenly life if he will doe it securely must re­linquish his own wil. Quit all self-interest and self delight, quit thy self of thy self in all things: having broken the greater cords which manicled thee, why wilt thou indure the lesser with such an abridgment to the liberty of thy spirit. A mastif thats tyd up is not at free­dome because his chain is so long that he can frisk and play a little to and fro. It fares with the most part not much otherwise then with a sparrow which a child holds by a thred at its foot; which being let of his hand, thinks it self free and flyes cheerfully the length of the thread but then being checkt it falls to the ground and finds it self still captive: so a soul remaines as it were with a thred at its foot if it doe not totally quit all, and thinking it self at liberty after some time it will disgracefully fall into the filth or pudle of some gross imper­fections. Yea although it escape the ensnare­ments of the flesh and demeane it self upright­ly, nay even soare by contemplation up to hea­ven, [Page 18] if it be clogd with its own will, it will be detaynd and entangled even in those sublime regions. Although a sparrow make an escape out of the prison of the childs hand, if it carry the thred along with it, it will find its de­struction nigh to heaven, being incumbred and entangled by it on the tops of trees.

But perchance thou wilt yet hold it very in­supportable to be wholy deprived of thy own wil and pleasure. What if I should tell thee that it is not insupportable even to wish for sorrow and suffering? for it will not seem bur­densome to be deprived of all pleasure, if the privation it self be pleasant and delectable: The vigour of the spirit reacheth to this, the inuentivenes of grace can bring it to pass, rendring all gustfull rellishes so distastfull that all sweet things become unsauory and fastidi­ous; and bitter on the contrary, delicious and toothsome. Nature many times effects, that what is harsh to one is gustfull to another, and will grace be less operative? The long­ings of women make them couet ridiculous extravagancies, coales, clay, mortar, and to loth meats exquisitely seasond: and that which happens so obviously to a womanish indisposition, shal it be thought impossible to divine healthfulnes? A corrupt and queasy stomack rules the appetite, and shal a sound and masculine mind have less or no sway over the wil? Be not then frighted, o dejected creature, with what thou hearest of a spiri­tual life, for it is not at all troublesome or noy­some, [Page 19] although it necessarily imbrace al trou­blesome and noysome things. Let not an em­pty name or conceyt terrify thee; be but confident and accoast them, and thou shalt frighten the very difficulties themselves. Some relate of certain enchanted treasures which are in the custody of terrifying ghosts and sprits; but if any one be so resolutely hardy as contemning those phantasmes▪ to assaile them, they are presently put to flight and vanish to nothing, in such sort that they appear no more, but permit the accoaster to enjoy those riches in all peace and security. Nothing more is requisite to effect this but courage and resolution. Be but valiant in pur­chasing these spiritual treasures and all those bugbeares of pretended difficulties wil sud­dainly disapear. Set upon them undauntedly and thou shalt enjoy without any great plains-taking the hidden manna of a spiritual life. Bees work hony shelterd under the homely roof of a rough-cast hive.

The IV Chapter. How Truth is made manifest by faith: and of the fruit and practise of this vertue.

HE walks in falshood and forgery not in truth nor spirit who takes not faith for his path and guide. Truth dwels [Page 20] very remote from sense, This heavenly flower growes not in our gardens; it is not nourished with flesh and blood; it is not to be found am­idst the dung of our muddy and material sub­stances. We are at al turnes cheated in corpo­ral goods even those which we behold with our eyes and fingar with our hands. A whole oare in the water seems broken; a square tower to one that stands at a great distance seems ro­und: the very light of the sun, which is al the faith our eyes are endowd with, cozens them oftentimes by representing colours that are not existent: and how then shal we avoid being misled in the affaires of our soul which we see not, and in spiritual and divine things which are so much above our reach and capa­city. All the race of mankind was grown quite blind through the night of errour; like one shut up in a dark dungeon without either window or chink to let in the least glimmer­ing of light. The learneder sort of Philo­sophers were of opinion we knew no more, then what we knew was false: or rather that we knew only this one truth, that we knew nothing at all; and they were so swoln and puffd up with vanity that none but heaven could give an allaying remedy. One among them did think that the master of truth was to be some Son of a God: Behold now, o thou Son of the highest, o thou eternal Truth, behold o thou wisdome of thy father, thou didst descend from heaven, o light of the world, to illuminate it, to teach us truth; [Page 21] and why do not men make more account of so great a benefit, why doe they contemne this blessing of faith? What imports it to believe truth if we our selves practise falshood? saving truth is good works, and the true word the deed of the word. The word of God became flesh that the work of man might become truth, because the Truth of God is become operative.

All is mere falshood and vanity which is not according to the doctrine of IESVS: why doe we neglect the practise of this great blessing, contenting our selves with a dead kind of faith? We should reap great advantage from our faith if we knew how to use it, and work as we ought according to its prescript, greater then if we beheld those things it affirmes with our eyes. All by faith believe true things, but they ought also to believe truly which all seem not to do. If thou believe, o malepert soul, what Christ taught, work accordingly. If it be true that it behooud IESVS to suffer, and so to enter into his glory; if it be true that God ordaines all for the good of the just, why art thou afflicted at some trivial crosses and cala­mities? Why dost thou account them losses, which when they are patiently taken, faith teacheth us to be the soules greatest enrich­ment? If thou believe this to be true as in very truth it is, thou oughtest rather to rejoyce and comfort thy self. If thou shouldst behold some one of the H. Prophets with thy corporal eyes as David or S. Iohn Baptist, if thou shouldst see [Page 22] one raised from death, or an Angel from hea­ven, who were to tell thee from Almighty God, that his will is, that thou beare this cross patient­ly because it will be for thy greater good and no little gain: would it not suffice to make thee refrain from all impatience? nay would it not replenish thee with such joy as siezd the Apo­stles, when they went away rejoycing because they were made worthy to suffer reproaches for the name of IESVS? And why dost thou not now do the same? Thou oughtest not to esteem that miraculous message as infallible as a matter of faith: for in that case one might lawfully somtimes entertain a doubt, since the evil spi­rit might delude him or he himself be deluded in his senses. Therfore if this truth as matter of faith be more certain, then if an Angel had teveald it from heaven, why ought it to be less perswasive? Our manner of working followes the certitude of our knowledg and the judgment we frame of a thing; and pro­portionable to this knowledg must needs be the excellency of our operation. Wherfore whosoever desires to walk in truth let him square the actions, and paths of his life ac­cording to the model of his faith, believing not onely true things but after a true manner: least he become ridiculous to the Angels and joynt-sectary with the Divels who are all soli­fidians, their beliefe being barren of works.

What availes it to know the way to hea­ven, if we doe not walk it. The wicked spirits know it better then we, and nevertheles be­cause [Page 23] they stand stil and advance not, they are divels. Tel me, who is in a better condition, thou that wilt not doe good or the divels that cannot. It is all one in most things not to have a will and to be impotent; yea it is more damnable and reproachful to thee who wilt not when thou mayst. The divels believe and tremble; I wish thou when thou believest, wert possessd with a just fear. Why dost thou not tremble at the judgments of God consi­dering their certainty and the uncertainty of thy own condition either to eternal punish­ment or joy? what is the reason if we believe the greatnes of the divine goodnes in it self, and his immense charity and inestimable bene­fits towards us, what is the reason, I say, that we doe not correspond in love, fidelity, and observance? but rather dare offend him though but venialy, and do not worship and love him indefatigably with all the extent of our strength, who employd all the force of his omnipotency in creating and conserving us, and loves us both perfectly and eternally, and loves us even to the end, yea even unto death? what is the reason that we are alwayes senseles to our own good, and shameles towards his majesty whether we believe or believe not tru­ly, while we remain so senslesly benumd? If we have not a firm beliefe, what greater fol­ly, since men give credit in all things to flatte­rers, because they speak according to their pallat and profit, then to disbelieve matters of faith so much importing us to be so, and [Page 24] redounding so much to our credit and profit, that they be true and undoubted? What greater irreverence then to believe a man, all men being obnoxious to lying and deceit, and not believe God speaking things profitable to us, and attesting them by so many miracles? But if we believe these things and belye them with our actions; what greater absurdity and deri­sion of God then to reject his most amiable goodnes, contemn his love, his blood, his benefits, and either not dread the paines of Purgatory and hell, or not hope for and most ardently desire the glory of heaven, which God esteems matters of high concernment, and as such eggs us on both by threats and pro­mises to good works. What greater madnes then to expose our selves by our own negli­gence to the hazard of forfeiting eternal glory, or at leastwise enduring a long Purgatory.

We must be sure to make our works square in all exactly with our beliefe and adhere more tenaciously, then if those objects were patent to the eye or any other sense or experiment. Thou hast received the sacred body of Christ, or art present at the dreadful Sacrifice of the Masse, if thou believe that Christ is really there present with thee, thou oughst to behave thy self with greater submission and veneration, then if thou didst clearly behold him with thy eyes, and to pray to him with a livelier confi­dence, then if the heavens were opend to thee as they were to S. Stephen, and thou beheldst the Hierachies of Angels accompanying Christ [Page 25] coming to thee to receive thy petitions: for thou mayst be more infallibly ascertaind by faith that he is upon the Altar, then if thou didst see him with thy corporal eyes. Let eve­ry one procure after this manner to penetrate the truths of divine faith, and strengthen him­self in their certainty, making his works con­sonant to his beliefe. But how dost thou pro­ceed consequently and not rather cozen thy self when thou sayst thou esteemst the least de­gree of glory more then the empyre of the whole world; and nevertheles to gain heaven thou wilt not deny thy self the least pleasure; and art so be sotted upon temporal things, that thou toylest and moylest without respit for their purchase. This certainly cannot stand good unles thou esteem earthly and perishable goods more then heavenly and eternal.

The V. Chapter. Of the hope of pardon, and zeal of pennance.

THe more vertuous one is the more he hates sin; the more he hates it, the more he desires its destruction: and therfore God desires more to par­don sin then the Penitent himself who begs pardon. God is most accomplished in all goodnes, and therfore he of all others most hates sin. If the sinner who is evill hates his [Page 26] own sin and desires its destruction, how much more God who is supremely good? Every one seeks his own ends and commodity; God alone seeks thine, and covets thy salvation; doubt not then of pardon and the divine assi­stance. We have a most sufficient suerty, the Son of God, if we would but resolve upon our conversion. There is neither good nature wanting to the creditour nor ability in the bonds man: do not then dispaire, o sinner, by reason of the vastnes of thy debt; it is but a trifle in regard of the infinite mercy of God and endles merits of Christ. IESVS cru­cified is our inexhaustible treasure. It were a simple thing to think that the exchequer of a vast Empire, if it were granted to thy use, were not sufficient to defray thy petty debt of a few pounds: and it is more simple to make delayes in discharging thy debt to Almighty God, hoping he will be content to accept the merits of IESVS for thy payment.

It will be ridiculous, if thou be unjust to thy self, who seeks to be profitable and bene­ficial to others. How much content would it cause thee, if thou hadst occasiond the con­version of S. Austin, or S. Mary Magdalen, or S. Paul the Apostle or some other great sin­ner, and drawn him to God: and without all doubt thou wouldst endeavour that now, if thou thought it lay in thy power to make any one become truly penitent and as holy as Mag­dalen. Remember that it is in thy power me­diating the grace of God to operate this in [Page 27] thy self, that is, to become truly penitent and hartily compunct for thy offences even small ones, and very fervorous and devout. Convert thy self, and glory far more in thy own conver­sion then anothers. What man that's wel in his wits: if he himself were at the point of starving would give a loafe of bread to ano­ther who were scarce pincht with hungar, and stood but in small need of that merciless cour­tesy, suffering himself in that utmost extre­mity to perish with famine? Admonish thy self, exhort thy self, preach to thy self; noth­ing is wanting to a remission of thy sins but thy desire, thy sorrow, thy disposal, and this also by a special favour. Behold God stands expecting thee, ready to give greater supplies if necessary. Thou hast already a pled­ge of his good will, thy own will and desire of good, which is from God.

I know not how it comes to pass, that thou being compounded of a body like to brute beasts and a soul allied to God, thou seeks all wayes and meanes to preserve thy body, and sleights and neglects what may make for the health and integrity of thy soul. Thy chiefe sollicitude ought to be placed upon the chiefest thing. Let thy first care be concerning thy soul for which thy body was framd and mould­ed: and if the first, then for these reasons it must be the sole and only. The diseases of the soul are greater and more in number, and more pernicious; its cure is certain and with out all peradventure, since they are [Page 28] cured who onely have a real desire to be cured: but the cure of the body is deceit­ful; for those that are cured recover not pre­sently but by degrees; besides corporal me­decines are harder, bitterer, and more costly, not alwayes at hand, but must be fetcht from beyond the seas and almost the worlds end: but the remedies of the soul are more easy and ob­vious, and may not onely be had at home but even with in thy self, nor needst thou goe further then thy own will. Why dost thou not then give redress to so many maladies of thy soul, since thou art so sollicitous for any the least indisposition of thy body.

O supreme truth of God illuminate me, for this proceeds out of ignorance: for the soul resents and feels the alterations of the body but the body feels not the diseases of the soul; they can only be felt and known by the mind: but seeing that very thing, to wit the soul, which ought to judge of them is in such a languishing condition, therefore it resents them not, as being past all sense, nor seeks for re­dress; and by how much the worse it is so much the les sensible it is of the evil; how much more sick it is, so much the less doth it appre­hend its sicknes. Even as the members of our body are never worse then when they are past all sense of being ill. O Lord, in what a lan­guishing state are our soules which ressent not [...]o many defects, distractions, negligences, and irreverences towards thee, who dwelst in them grant me grace that I may wash away [Page 29] with a torrent of teares even the least fault, and that I may sorrow with my whole hart forit; nor ever endure in my self the least of­fence against thee.

What pretence can man alledge why he de­layes his conversion and adheres not to God with all his forces? Is it because he is insensible of the evil it being not patent to the eye? but now we are taught it by faith which is more certaine then our eyesight. Or because our nature is infirme and prone to vice? but for this very reason it ought to seek the support, and supplies and favour of God: least being destitute of all help and redress, it lye still in its infirmity exposd to its enemies. Is it because there are more incentives to sin. It is much mistaken, there are both farr more and more forcible ones to justice, and to make head a­gainst sin. If the world exhort us, God dis­swades us: if nature incline us, grace refrai­nes us; if the diveltempt us, the Angels in­spire us. Or is it because the wicked flourish in a prosperous condition? O pure madnes! to love a momentary prosperity, and not feare an eternal calamity! Or because thou hopest to have time in thy old age to reform thy self; for God hath patiently expected many. O sen­seles! life is not promisd thee, but pardon is proferd thee: o ungratefull thou abusest the grace and patience of God: look what thou dost; God will not be taxd of injustice, if he grant thee not pardon when and how thou wilt, since thou wilt not accept it when he makes a [Page 30] profer. Or is it lastly because the way of ver­tue and a spiritual life is thorny and trouble­some? but will that of hell or the flames of Purgatory, trowest thou, be any whit more ease full and pleasant?

The VI. Chapter. The model of a sinner is set before our eyes.

O You Cherubins and Seraphins who veyle your face and feet, because you are ashamd that ye love not my good God sufficiently; lend me your tongues, lend me the voyce of an Archangel and the trumpet of God, that I may allarme the whole world, and sound a summons to all mortals: arise ye dead even while ye live and come to judgment: come that ye may give your verdict upon a strange and stupendious fact which happend but very lately. Come that ye may be moved to indignation, come that ye may be moved to laughter; or rather come that ye may be moved to teares. Ile tell you a lamentable story which I know to be certainly true, and you shall judge whether it be not such. Certain robbers dragd a woman tyed neck and heeles through foul and stenchy places and would needs cast her into a glowing furnace too too dreadful for its raging flames- As they were going they met a king, one that for power and [Page 31] other princely qualities was matchles; nay he was in all points so accomplishd, that nature seemd to have bestowd all her perfections upon him. He was more valiant then Samson, more wise and wealthy then Salomon, more fortu­nate and bountiful then David. He taking compassion upon this poor woman, to rescue her out of their bands (for he was all alone) ex­posed himself to death; and having received many wounds, and lost much blood; he put the robbers to flight: and to cleanse her who was all covered over with filth, there being no fair water at hand, he made her a bath of his own blood: he took her for his spouse though she were a Black a more and very deformed, he crownd her queen, he built her a magnifi­cent pallace, he adornd it most artificially, en­graving every where his own images, which were to be so many memorials of him and in­centives of love to her: he allotted her a family, and gave her a fair retinue of servants: and which is more he doated so upon her, that he himself would become her servant even in mean offices: his sole joy was to be alwayes in her company or thinking upon her; desiring no o­ther recompense of so much kindnes but a reci­procal affection: lastly he made her heir of his kingdome, promising that this should be the least expression of his bounty, if she would onely prove kind and loyal. Nevertheles as if so many benefits had tended onely to procure treachery and hatred contemning her spouse and king, she sollicited his very slaves and [Page 32] grooms of his stable to acts of adultery: yet they more loyal to their king did partly fly, and partly were murderd out of meer passion; for they chose rather to perish then be eye witnesses of such disloyalty to their king and his spouse. In a word every one resented with detestation the queens unworthines; nor did [...]he for all that desist to compel them, prosti­tuting her self to all. Neyther did she here put a period to her wickednes: but seeing him stil kind towards her, she hatchd a piece of unpa­ralleld treachery; she betrayd him into the hands of his enemies whom he hated even to death; this wicked woman made him their slave and compelled him to serve his deadlyest foes; who blind-folded him, and made him their laughing stock: and which was the stran­gest of all being altogether insensible of so ma­ny guifts and curtesies, she raignd most im­pudently in all security and jollity, as if she had done a piece of remarkable service. Now judge, o ye men, now give your verdict; tel me if there be any one among you who wil not be replenishd with indignation against this wo­man, and wil not say; the Lord liveth be­cause the woman that did this is a child of death. But the story is not yet at an end: hitherto I have shewd her wickednes, now I must shew her folly. For while she thus hated and scornd her faire spouse and king she never­theless kissd the pictures of him which stood engraven here and there in his pallace, and re­verened them exceedingly for their beauty, [Page 33] which not withstanding in comparison of the king himself were ugly: nor did they intirely resemble all his features, but one his eyes only, another his hands, a third his counte­nance: and they being both together, if he desird to imbrace her she turnd her back disdaignfully, and loathing his person sought after his image. Iudge now o mortals: The Lord liveth, because the woman that doth this is a child of laughter.

O I wish I could intrap thee in the snare of Nathan and make thee relent with the pe­nance of David! Thou o my soul art this woman. This saith the Lord God of Israel. I have annoynted thee, o man, king over all the creatures of the world: I have created all things for thy use; I have deliverd thee out of the hands of Saul and robbers, to wit, Lucifer and the divels; out of the filth in which thou didst wallow, out of the flames of hel to which thou wert sentencd; I cleansed thee with my own blood, I gave thee the hea­venly mansion-house of thy Lord and God and all the delights of heaven together with it; I appointed thee the house of this world as a kingly pallace and all creatures to be thy at­tendants: and if these benefits of thy creati­on, redemption, and glorification be but slender ones. I will heap far greater upon thee: for which of all these dost thou persecute and contemne me? do my kindnesses seem crimes to thee? thou art angry at me and punishes me as men do malefactours who are chastizd with [Page 34] the instruments by which they offended: thou abusest my very guifts, condemning me in them, as if I became criminal by my wel doing. Which of my favours deserves these thy injuries? tel me and I will amend it; ile be thy revenger upon my self, because I desird nothing more then thy good wil, nor do I de­sire, nor shall I. To make thee love me Iam ready to destroy the world, if it were injuri­ous to thee that I made it. If I were faulty in dying for thee, Ile dye again to make satisfacti­on and come to an attonement. If it were a crime that I prepard my glory and heaven for thee; upon condition thou wouldst pardon me, I would relinquish it once again and eva­cuate my self, depriving my self of my Ma­jesty and glory. Why dost thou think those things, which if they were done betwixt man and man would be accounted vertues worthy of praise, being now done to thee by God, to be crimes deserving nothing lesthen dis­grace and death? But if thou esteem those things as benefits, which I have heapd upon thee with all the extent of my omnipotency and purchase of my sufferings, why dost thou seek to affront me stil more and more. Per­chance my offence was in this that my bene­fits were so many and great, (for in each par­ticular I can acknowledg no fault) and ther­fore thou wilt punish me with the greatnes and multitude of contempts and strive to out number my kindnesses by thy affronts: Be­hold, thou alone hast pickt up the most no­torious [Page 35] debaucheryes of the lewdest woemen against me thy lover to cast them into my dish. Thou didst take complacence in the impuden­cy of Putiphars wife, and thou itching to pra­ctise the same against me, covetest to play the harlot with the servants which I assigned thee, to witt, creatures: and thou compelst them to this; nor wilt thou learn by their loy­alty who run from thee like Ioseph, and ey­ther pass away presently or perish: they all are ful of a deep resentment and replenishd with sorrow for the throwes and pangs of those that being violated by thee, are ready to be deli­vered, it being much against their will that thou sinnest with them, or art enamoured up­on them to the prejudice of thy spouse and their Lord and Soveraign. But thou heap­ing iniquity upon iniquity slanderst them for giving thee the slip, and complainst of them for running away. This is the common complaint of mortals, that their Gods are mortal, that creatures are fading and perishable. Thou criminatest them for being the occasion of thy adultery; when they as innocent, faithfull to their God and thy wel wishers, fly from thee that thou mayst not commit it by loving them with an inordinate affection. But thou re­pliest, saying if I were wealthy, if I had riches, if I enjoyd this or that commodity, I would serve God peaceably nor desire more: but be­cause I have lost all, and the goods of this would fly me, I can not but doe thus: want compels me to sin, poverty puts me upon [Page 36] unlawful desires to the great prejudice of my own spirit. Leave of complaining, cease to blame them, and rather give eare to creatures, who teach thee thy duty better then Ioseph. Behold say they, our Lord forgetful of him­self gives thee all; neither is there any thing which he hath not subiected to thy power, to doe with it what thou wilt, this onely exce­pted, not to love us; how canst thou be so il-naturd, as to offend thy God? how can we admit of this thy love which thy Creatour hath reservd to himself? He hath given us to thee that thou mightst give thy self to him: we serve thee that thou mayst serve him: learn of us to serve him to death, and play not the a­dulterer. We are destroyd that thou mayst subsist; for we have neither scandalizd thee, nor given thee il example: we covet not to be loved by thee, but rather wish thee to give him the best thing thou hast, to wit, thy love. Love him and praise him as we doe. Learn zeale of us, for to the end thou mayst do so we willingly suffer our selves to be destroyed: Learn to dye that the glory of God may live, for to the end thou mayst live we dye. Learn humility of us▪ for being thy sisters equal in noblenes of parentage, yea elder by birth, we disdain not to serve thee even in abject things that thou mayst reign with thy spouse and love him. That thou mayst live eternally with him we are turnd into filth and corru­ption nor do we detrect any the meanest offices for thy sake with manifest hazard of our destruction: [Page 37] only we cannot brook that on the altar of God, that is thy hart, idols of us should be placed through a disorderly affection to­wards us, thou thinking oftner upon us then him, and sacrificing to us not beasts but thy own soul. Fy fy, be ashamd to make a cele­stial soul the victime of a piece of earthly met­tal, or vain honour, or momentary pleasure, & in it divine grace, & by that eternal glory.

Thou tookst content moreover, o soul, in the treachery of Dalila, and forthwith attem­ptedst to practise the like upon me thy God and thy lover. Thou betraydst me into capti­vity like Samson to my greatest enemies, and madest me a slave to the Philistians of thy sins: for thou madest me serve thee in them, thou madest me toile in thy iniquities, neither have I any other foe so hateful to me as sin: thou nevertheles art the occasion, that I who make the sun to rise, and send showers at due sea­sons, watering the fruits of the earth, ri­pening the apples on the trees, furnishing the pastures with grass for the cattles sustenance, thou I say art the occasion that I serve thy gluttonous appetite, and in the mines which I engenderd in the bowels of the earth be­come a drudge to thy avarice. O villany! to make God the servant of villanies, the capti­ve of iniquity, the caterer of wickednes, the steward of malignity! Thy vices also made a scorne of me as one that were blinded: no man would dare play the thiefe in presence of a severe judge, nor do boyes any unseemly act [Page 38] before their master; but put out his eyes and they'l dare any thing, they'l use ridiculous ge­stures and flout him without controule or dan­ger: so thou also though thou knewst me to be present didst commit all kind of wickednes, because thou wouldst make me blind. Thy sins, my foes, did that, which blinding thee, made thee judg the same of me; & in such a cō ­dition thou deliveredst me into my enemyes hands, that I could not kill them but I must dye my self; nor could I indeed justly, Sam­son like, better kill sin then by my own death.

The VII. Chapter. The second part of the Parable: and how we must use creatures.

YEa and that thy ridiculous proceed­ing, o my soul is to be deplored with inconsolable teares, when contem­ning the true beauty of thy spouse, thou adorest its imperfect shadowes in the mean images of creatures. If a great Empe­rour should appoint a day and place for his in­auguration, by the due homage of his Pears; and the people being assembled for that end, he should come forth in robes of state carry­ing his crown, scepter, chain of gold, and other venerable ensigns of majesty, and seat­ing himself in a conspicuous throne in the [Page 39] midst of the market place, expected each mo­ment the rites and ceremonies of Consecrati­on: if in this expectancy they should all for­sake him and turne themselves to his statue ill-polishd, half defacd, and carrying scarse so much as a resemblance of his features; and should all adore and do homage to it, leaving the good Emperour all alone, no body regar­ding him nor shewing him any respect at all; what a cold entertainment would this be? how would he blush and remain confound­ed? But what if they should not onely desert him but his statue also, and do their obey­sance to the print of his foot, and that in no better element then clay, frustrating all his expectation, and sleighting his majesty. Thou dost this, o my soul, while thou lovest and adorest the mangled and mishapd goodnes of creatures which is but a trace or imperfect print of the divine, contemning that origi­nal goodnes so majestique so compleat so be­autiful. O men, why leave we God alone in his majesty, and turn our backs unseemingly to him whome we were created to adore, pre­ferring a piece of clay before him! what an indignity was it that Barrabas should be pre­ferrd before Christ, and Christ sentencd to the cross; and how great a one will it be, for dirt to be preferrd before the Divinity and be a­dord as God.

Why art thou thus cheated, o my soul? know that all created goodnes what soever is only a rude and duskish image of God. Why [Page 40] does a blurrd and slubberd draught please thee when thou mayst delight thy eyes with the po­lishd & lively original? Place before a weary traveller a living & a carvd horse, will he chuse the carvd one, since he must be forcd to carry it and not it him, to come more commo­diously to his journeys end? why dost thou burden thy self with created goods to walk more easefully the journey of this life? they are only resemblances of the living good: he onely shal walk without wearines who hath God for companion of his journy. Set a real and painted dish of meat before one that is hungry, will he covet to feed on the painted? and why then desirest thou shadowes & ima­ges and seeks not after a real good? Man is more absurd then a dog who if he light on a piece of bread he takes it, and leaves it not to bite at a shadow: but thou leaving God; embracest his shadow. Why desirest thou a part rather then the whole? if one that is thir­sty see two pitchers, the one whole, the other broken, wil he leave the whole one and con­tent himself with the eare of the broken, or some other fragment to take up water to quench his thirst? creatures are onely partial images of the divine goodnes, whose perfe­ctions are divided among created natures; why wilt thou choose a part rather then the whole, and a part of that whol, which availes not but in the whole, neither do creatures con­duce singly a part nor all together but only in God: broken pitchers nor any fragment of [Page 41] them in particular, nor all together are useful to take up water; and the thirst of our appetite can onely be satiated with the integrity of the divine goodnes.

Learn the true use of creatures they are not to work upon the will, but to help the me­mory. Thou, forgetting God, amuzes and busies thy will, but does not satiate it; and because it is not satiated, thou mayst easily know thou art deluded. Albeit thou love all the goods of this world, yea and enjoy them all, yet stil thy desire will be as empty and hungry as ever. Painted bread doth not fil one, but is onely a figure of that which fils; so created goods do not satiate the appetite but are resemblances of that which satiates, to wit God. All the goods of this world stand proportiond to our will as a painted fire to a cold hand; one may take it and apply it, but shal find neither warmth nor refreshment. A picture of burning coales pleaseth the eye but contents not the touch of him that is cold, and created things affect the m [...]nd, but doe not satisfy the affection. God gave his people monitory memorials of his law, which they were to sow in the skirts of their gar­ments, to hangat their wrests, write in the posts and gates of their houses, least forget­ting the true God of Israel they might fal to adore false ones. No less provident was he in the great house of this world which he built for man; he engrav [...] every where in it mo­nitories of himself in the posts, in the gates, [Page 42] in the pavements of the earth by such variety of natures, in the rooff and arches of the hea­vens by so many refulgent lights. All the good that is among creatures are so many comman­datories to make thee love God, and adore no other: why then Pharisy like contemning this admonition, dost thou dilate them and magnify these borders, possessing more, or covetting more, or deeming any thing great besides him.

Thou crosses and thwarts the designes of God, adoring that very thing for him, by which he forewarnd thee, that thou shouldst adore nothing but him. Go too, cross thy own desire, curbing whatsoever it covets by interposal of the divine goodnes, that in the desire of things thy appetite may ayme at no­thing but God. Is any thing presented as plea­sant and delightful? oppose God forthwith as a strong shield, and say, how wil this be in my spouse. I will not busy my self about this crum of handsomnes, about this mote of sweetnes, but wil drink larged raughts of plea­sure in God, and glut my self with his deli­cious relishes: I wil no longer feed with Laza­rus upon crums. If a slubberd busines can delight thee, will not much more a fair coppy? Bulls are diverted and amuzd by casting a cloak or some other thing before them on which without hurt to the man they spend their fury: and doe thou object God to thy roaming desires, that spending themselves fruitfully on him they may be diverted from [Page 43] created things. By this meanes, o effeminate spirit, thou shalt both wholsomely and in its own kind defeat the poison of thy own appe­tite effecting that the very affection to things which induceth an oblivion of God, become to thee a memorial of divine love and incen­tive of charity. The desire wherewith the co­vetous man thirsts after a piece of mony wil be more hightend, if an offer be made of a piece of gold; because the value of silver is not only equalizd but outstript in gold: so must thou object God to thy itching desire of riches and pleasures, the value of them all being containd in him with a vast excess. Hence thou shalt experience incredible fruit. God shal inces­santly be proposd to thee as present, and thy love towards him shal be so improved, that thou mayst traffique among the necessary af­faires of wordly employments without any great prejudice; til thy-spirit being more re­find and robustious, thou beest admitted to the strayter embracements of thy spouse, crea­tures now not disquieting thee but becoming so noysome, that this very visible heaven, wil be loathsome to thy eyes in comparison of my God and my IESVS. He that sees the sun is blind to the stars, and creatures com­pard with their Creatour are unsightly and un­savoury. Stars because they borrow their light from the sun are as it were nothing in his presence, they being invisible: so all things that are, because they take from thee, o God the lover of men their essence and beeing, [Page 44] as it were nothing before thee, before thy superessential essence and goodnes.

But there is yet another important commo­dity redounding to him that loaths creatures. Dost thou hear of any one that loves or desi­res them? blush and lament that one so leag­ved with thee in nature should be so forgetful of God: and stir, up thy self, and labour to repaire this common disgrace by loving thy Creatour for both. Deem thy self guilty of all the affection which the world bestowes up­on perishable things, and make satisfaction by loving eternal. Account thy self a debter for all the inclinations by which things are carried to their center, nor prolong the pay­ment, rearing thy mind and love more impe­tuously towards heaven then a stone is carried downwards from heaven. All created things seeking by an in bred propension to partake of happines, shew that they love a trace of the divine goodnes: be thou confounded and la­ment that thou lovest not more eagarly true goodnes and happines it self, since grace is prevalent above nature. O what a thing must that needs be, whose shadow creatures love with so much vehemency, to which the total love of all things lives and breaths! do thou endeavour to collect in thy self all the dispersd inclinations, all the errours of desires, that thou mayst hasten towards God and make amends for the forgetfulnes of man.

The VIII. Chapter. The affections of a true Penitent.

TRansfer transfer my sins from me, o most loving father, who art in hea­ven; for so I am confident to cal thee▪ animated therto by the consent and doctrine of thy best beloved Son IESVS, so to distin­guish thee from that father in hel to which I adopted my self by my sins, chusing by them to become a child of the divel and such I was for a long time. I lay open my horrid and numberles crimes before thee, which if it were in my power, I would conceale from thee, and wash them away with my harts blood, that thy sacred countenance might not be defild with such a spectacle. But be­cause the blood neither of al men nor beasts can cancel so much as one of them, therfore I shew them to thee that with one drop of the blood of thy beloved Son IESVS thou mayst quite obliterate and deface them. I shew to thee what I have committed against thee; for my malice doth not lessen thy goodnes. Af­ter all my malignity and innumerable misde­meanours, thou, o father, remaines still good. If then I, who am evil, nay stark nought, am replenishd with horrour at the sight of my offences, how much more wilt thou who art good, yea goodnes it self, how wilt thou be able to endure such monsters & not forthwith [Page 46] abolish and destroy them. Thou being so good dost more detest sin then I that am so bad either now hate it, or ever heretofore loved it. I tried to wash them away with a flood of teares, but no soap will take out these staines besides the blood of thy beloved IE­SVS. I am in the hel of my own wickednes, and demand not a drop of water as that rich glutton did of Father Abraham, but I that am rich and most wealthy in all iniquity beg a drop of Christs blood of the father of mer­cies. My intent is not to defraud thy justice by this my petition, but only not to offend thy goodnes; I do more earnestly beg that thou wilt wash of the staine then remit the paine.

O heavenly father I do equally and with the same armes embrace and welcome thy ju­stice upon me as I do thy mercy towards me: I do not so much beg a forgoeing of the pe­nalty, as pardon of my faultines. I wish most earnestly and from the bottome of my hart, that I could collect the desires of all creatures into one, and could make them all beg with joint consent that thy justice would take re­venge upon my delinquency. I would willin­gly undergoe all the paints of hell inflicted both on men and divels, neither should they appale me, upon condition that thy counte­nance might not terrify me. Sin is a more hideous evil then they; yea beyond all com­parison; because my sin alone is evil, they are good, because thou inflicts them. Yea [Page 47] and if they were all heapt upon me, they would not render me more evil, my malice being mixt and attemperd with their good; neither should I be compounded meerly and purely of malice but should have some ingredient of good from thee, derived to me from thy ju­stice.

But, o father of mercy, I am afraid least while I seek to detest sin humbly, I sin a new arro­gantly. I could wish I went to hel if it were pos­sible, by doing so, to obtain thy grace. But how dare I, that am nothing but an extract of sin, wish that, which thy greatest Saints and choisest favorits have made their suit and hum­ble petition. How dare I wish onely a hel, who alone am the sinner of sinners. What place shall I pretend to there? Shall it be in the very center of it at the feet of Lucifer? If some one of thy friends had an ambition to be there how dare I pretend it? that place was desird by some of thy Saints and proved to them a ladder to heaven. Thy servant B. Vri­gman of the Order of S. Dominick, when he could find no fit place for himself but in the bottome of hel under Lucifer, was invited by a voice from heaven to mount up thither to a most sublime throne, the hart of God the father: and how then dare I covet that place? what then? will there remain some other place for me below all who am a sinner above all? Shal it be at the feet of ludas? but this is already taken up by thy servant, Saint Francis Borgia, who not withstanding quitted [Page 48] it, when he reflected that sometime it had bin the seat of my Lord and master the humble IESVS. What place then remaines for me? Shal it be at the feet of him who gave IESVS the buffet on the face I having given him ma­ny more such injurious blowes? or at the feet of Caiphas, being I daily condemn Christ and his doctrine: or at the gate of hel that all who enter there may tread upon me? or shal I ex­pect the precipice of Anti-christ into that in­fernal pit, that I may suffer under his feet? o most bountiful soveraign, worse then the worst of all sinners am I, there is no place for me in hel who am unworthy of al place. I hold my self not worthy even of the fellowship of divels; in so much that according to my de­sert a viler and more penal hel ought to be prepard for me: I am the disgrace of nature the scum and refuse of mankind! If thou, o father, wert capable of shame, thou wouldst be ashamd of nothing save only preserving me in the world, such a horrid and abominable mo [...]ster as my sins have made me.

Nay I am a discredit even to the divels them­selves, and they might deservedly discard me from their infernal community. Am I not worse then the divels? It is clear I am in my nature, and I do not deny it in my behaviour and carriage; yea I see many things in my self which force me to grant it. For they were damned for one sin and that of thought only, whereas mine are infinite and most enormi­ous, and of fact also. What difference then [Page 49] or excess is there betwixt my malice and theirs? as much as there is betwixt a single unity, and a number that's numberles: But though we alter these conditions, yet stil I must acknowledge my malice greater then theirs, although they had bin damnd for innu­merable offences and I but for one. For they did not sin against a God, who for their sakes became an Angel, neither had they such a ful proof of his goodnes: they did not sin against a God, who for them vouchsafd to be cruci­fyd: they did not sin against a God, who made himself the food of their soules: they did not sin against a God, who left them such a su­blime Priesthood: they did not sin against a God, who by his example gave them the do­cuments of a good life, and did undergo the incessant labours of 33. yeares in inculcating them. But I have sinn'd (and why dost thou not, o my soul, dissolve into teares at the very thought of it) against a God, who so often hath bin so immensely good on my be­half, who dy'd for me, who wept for me up­on the cross with loud out-cryes, and not a joint of his body but bewaild each of my of­fences, in the garden with teares of blood. I am more unworthy then Lucifer, more un­worthy then the divels, more vnworthy then Iudas, who had not as yet seen Christ dying for him, more vnworthy then Anti-christ, who will not so often as I, experience the great mercy of God: deservedly therfore may they disdain my company; neither is hel [Page 50] worthy of me, nor would it willingly receive my sinfulnes.

Tis more then this hel that I deserve; I have merited to be cast out of all nature, least I dishonour it, who have disgraced its graceful glory. I have murderd as much as lay in me, its parent; I have taken the crown of creatu­res from of his head: I have dishonourd each creature by contemning their Creatour: ther­fore I ought to be the but and object of all their hatred, and they all rejoyce at my de­struction. Perchance I should beg this, if it were possible that I who am the reproach of nature, the dispite of grace, the moth of the divine wil, could not have had a being; Notwithstanding because I deserve to be tor­mented, what place shal I find fit for it?

Thou o infinite power, o incomprehensi­ble wisdome, o immense justice, thou canst tel what to doe with me. In the meane time till a place be found and prepard, Ile expect not beneath Satan, nor at the feet of Iudas, nor wil I before hand take Anti-christs place, of all which as yet I acknowledg my self un­worthy; but I wil place my self at the feet of the Son of God, and his B. Mother, standing & weeping at the foot of the cross of my IESVS; for they are better stored with patience, and wil tolerate me, whom neither the divel, nor Iudas, nor the rout of the damned, would be able to endure. Pardon me I beseech thee, if I intrench upon the patience of thy Son and his Virgin Mother. Let me lie at the feet of [Page 51] IESVS and Mary; they know long agoe how to tread underfoot venimous creatures. I am that poysonous and sauage Chimera, that four-formd deformity, that manifold mon­ster having the eyes of a basilisk, the head of an asp the clawes of a lion, and the fier­cenes of a dragon. But, o father of mercy, because my IESVS cannot as now walk upon me a basilisk and aspe, nor trample down this lion and dragon (for my sins keep his feet fast bound to the cross) therfore let the heel, of the most B. Virgin Mary my Mother, in the interim bruize this malice of mine, let her crush the head of this serpent, by her mer­ciful intercession. I am cause of her sorrow, & guilty of her teares; she may justly complain of me and take revenge upon me. The feet of the purest IESVS are welinurd both to to­lerate and take away the monsters of our sins. I seek not them amidst banquets and delights as did the Magdalen, but among nailes and sorrowes; and because I cannot water them with my teares, I covet to be washd with their blood. I wil not intangle those feet which I behold, with my locks, least my Lord be for­ced to fly from the horrour and nastines of my sins: I behold them fetterd with sharp irons, and that was my doing. But if it were a gra­teful piece of service, which Magdalen did to these feet, the torment also which was oc­casiond by my sins could not be ungrateful. I, o Lord, fastned them, my malice was more prevalent towards this, then the goodnes of [Page 52] all other creatures. The Angels grieve and stand amazed; creatures tremble and com­plain; all law disavowes it, all right cryes a­gainst it; my sins alone exacted the death of thy onely begotten Son and compasd it. I m [...]ke publique profession of this, to the end [...] m [...]y have some share in the prayer of IE­SVS. He, he it was that prayd for those who crucifyd him. Behold me here pre­sent, I was the chiefe Crucifyer, the prime executioner. I furnishd his hands putting a hammer in his right and a naile in his left: I first of all others gave that hand the dint which transpiered those tender feet. O how much more heynous was my offence then theirs, who executed only Pilates sentence and the will of the Iewes! They being comman­ded crucified, him whom they held no more then a man and a malefactour, and one so dis­figurd in his whole countenance, by that hi­deous nights work. I have again, as much as in me lay, crucified him being now glori­ous, who for me was heretofore crucified. Which of the Iewes beholding Christ as Saint Stephen beheld him, at the right hand of God, durst cry out aloud crucify him? but I have bin so impudently bold as not only to say it, but even more then do it. I clear and quit the executioners of Christ: they will be confounded in the latter day beholding him glorious whom they treated so ignomi­ously: I seeing him that was crucified for my sake glorious, am not confounded but have [Page 53] again crucified him. What excuse then shal I be able to pretend?

O Father as often as I call this to mind, considering thy infinite mercy, by which thou didst patiently sustain my so great in gra­titude, I cannot but wish thy exemplary ju­stice upon me; I cannot detrect the paines of hell as due to my iniquity, supposing the paine were voyd of guilt. Shal divine love be les forcible then humane, or charity more feeble then concupiscence, the love of thee, then the love of me? If my self love could make me contemne God, why cannot the love of God make me throughly dispise my self, and debase my self even to hel? Again, again I im­bracingly kiss thy justice: punish and revenge upon me thy affronts and just indignation; for I who prophaned and violated all thy at­tributes, seeking to destroy them by sin as much as I could, do now wish such a penance and remission, as would make a ful restituti­on of all, and leave them in their integrity. They wil remaine so, o Lord, if out of thy mercy thou give me thy grace, and out of thy justice my due punishment. Thy servants Moyses and Paul desird to be anathem [...]tizd for their brethren, and I wil become accursed and Anathema for my God, and the justice of my God, as Christ IESVS was for me. That skinner of Alexandria wishd others the joys of paradise, but allotted for himself the paines of helfire and surmounted in perfection the great S. Anthony. S. Christina chose rather to un­dergo [Page 54] here unspeakable torments for the re­lief of the soules in Purgatory, then to go im­mediately to heaven: and I to render the ju­stice of God, which I have violated, undam­nifyd, ought not to refuse the punishments of hel. O if I could imitate my IESVS, who when he was unseparable from his heavenly Father, stoopt to our misery, that he might be acure for us: and I unseparable from thy cha­rity, would become also accursed and anathe­matizd to the very pit of hel; and even there would [...] embrace my IESVS. I have two ar­mes, the one is humility, which I would put un­der him, and unite my self to his Humanity: the other and that the right is love, and by it I would embrace his Divinity. O Father, prostrate at the feet of IESVS, I beg and beseech of thee for his sake that thou wilt cleanse me from the ordure of my sins: I hope for his sake to obtain pardon, for whose sake thou couldst not obtain of me to forbear sin­ning. Thy goodnes is greater then my ma­lice; and thy crucifyd Christ is prevalently powerful to bend and incline thy goodnes, though he prevaile not with me to avert and decline my malice:

The IX. Chapter. Of the ardent desire of those that desire God.

IT is not meet that thou, o faintharted spirit, have but a faint desire of that which is the chiefest good. Grace and na­ture are sisters, and they have the same Au­tour & parent God. If thou learnst not of thy IESVS how to frame thy desires, who desird so earnestly to suffer for thee▪ that thou mayst be ashamd not to desire most ardently to re­joyce with him: learn at least of natural things how thou art to covet heavenly. Nature af­fords no good to any creature, unles a strong appetite therof did go before and if there be not such a precedent appetency arising from grace, thou shalt never be guifted with any signal vertue. Natural things ayme at more then they can attaine to: fire when it mounts upward covets nothing more then to reach its element, and yet it never can reach its home: but yet that excess of desire was requisite, to carry it to a higher region. A stone when it fals, covets to descend even to the hart or cen­ter of the earth, and yet it remaines on the surface or superficies. What a vehement affe­ction is inbred to beasts towards their of spring? A cow in the absence of her calf bel­lowes without end, and hastens thither as fast [Page 56] as she can where she thinks to find it. The same innate love, armes other creatures which are of a more fearful and soft disposition, and exasperates and renders them fierce and hardy: and this strong desire, was necessary to make them break through all difficulties in rearing their young ones. Perfect vertue and union with God is a busines ful of opposition; and how canst thou overcome this unles thou ea­garly and earnestly intend it. A natural appe­tite is a disposition to natural perfection; and a great and supernatural appetite disposeth a soul to supernatural perfection, and to receive the graces and guifts of God in greater plen­ty, Christ compard those that traffique for the kingdome of heaven to marchants & ban­kers; and stiled them happy that hunger and thirst after justice; combining in the self­same thing two most vehement appetites. There is no stint in desiring to please God: there is no other meane nor stint, but that one alwayes without all meane and interruption, wish and imbrace indefatigably the cross, & never be satiated with suffering. So ought thou to serve God with the whole extent and intensenes of thy mind; and all this is very requisite, that thou faint not under the bur­den of difficulties; neither is any strength imaginable equivalent to the least particle of the divine infinitude.

God is infinite; and how then darest thou, o strait-harted creature, limit and bound thy desires? The fading goods of this world are [Page 57] desird a hundred, yea a thousand times more then they covet or deserve to be, and are not for all that obtained. God is immense and in­finite, and ought to be desird more then infi­nitely; and why breathst thou after him so faintly and rem [...]sly, and labourst to possess thy self of him being void of this flagrancy of affection? zowze up thy self and be confound­ed that thou dost not covet him more then an ordinary man covets created goods; yea more then ever any other creature coveted him. A most intense desire is a golden key that un­locks the gates of heaven, and opens the pas­sage to all our spiritual progress: for as no meane thing is compassd without some pre­cedent desire of it, so the most difficult and pretious of all others cannot be attained but with a most ardent one. To obtaine terrene joyes, it is requisite that our desire far exceed their worth and value, that so it may make us master all rubs that occur in their purchase; and is it not an arrand shame, that our affe­ction to the eternal joyes of Gods infinity, should be so pitty fully remiss, and rate them so much below their worth, below what they exact and we may afford?

Grant me grace, o Lord, thou who out of thy excessive desire of suffering for me, wert straitned so far, as to be baptizd in thy own blood, that I may be carried with a most intense desire towards thee. What ought to be dear to me either in heaven or earth besides thee, my God and the lover of me; and next [Page 58] to thee, what but to suffer for and with thee? It is a profound act of contrition, and a love due to the divine goodnes, to be willing to suffer for the least vemal sin, yea to impede the least in any body else, as much as in me lyes, the paines of hel through all eternity: and how much, o Lord, should I covet to suffer for my spiritual advancement and rather then I my self commit that? And notwith­standing how little am I sollicitous for thy glory? my whole employment ought to tend to the compassing of this by desire, prayer, sighs, and teares; and since all I can do, is litle or nothing in comparison of thy greatnes, my good wil must make amends for my inabi­lity and supply for my defectuousnes.

The X. Chapter. Of contemning and relinquishing the world.

VVOrldly joyes as wel as discon­tents conclude alwayes with sorrow and bitternes: but a vertuous course is so priviledgd, that not only its consentive part, but also the harsh and burdensome, both containes and attaines true delight. Why walkst thou the way of spirit with such heavines and tepidity? Thou canst not set thy affection upon any thing of this world without thy great peril and hazard; yea [Page 59] thou seekst thy own danger, where those things which it prizeth for good are bad, and [...]ul of corruption, and will corrupt thee also. If a little leven mar the whole batch, how can he be untainted and unlevened, who is so incorporated with the world, whose whole lump is stark naught, where the bad a lone are accounted good, and they so numerous. He that is once dead to the world, let him beware he revive not to it again by dying to God, or coveting worldly things, although he neither possess nor enjoy them. The love of temporalities is wont to harme us more then the use and possession of them: its not the thing but the affection to the thing which hurts us, which affection is more restlesly pres­sing in its absence. Be not according to Saint Iude a tree twice dead and unfruitful. He dies to the world who relinquisheth the world; he is defunct to God who returnes to it again. Such a one having lost the fruit and commo­dities of a worldly life, looseth also the be­nefits of a spiritual, and consequently is alto­gether unprofitable and barren to himself. The world cannot endure the sight of one that is dead; a worldly life is a sea, and it har­bours not dead bodies, but within three daies space casts them up.

Beware thou be not deceived, if now thou deemst it good when thou hast no commerce with it, remember that it was evil when thou traffickst with it, and knewst it not superfici­ally and at a distance; and therfore didst re­linquish [Page 60] it. Believe rather thy own certain experience then a deceitful opinion; believe rather thy self an eye witnes, then one that is absent. Know that it is not changed since thou left it, nor grown better by length of time, nor that it affords any more security then it did, but is rather worse every day then other. It decayes daily; it doats more and more by age: an errour gaines autority by being old; its wine, drinks with a stronger re­lish of malice, for being long kept: vices the more inveterate they are get a more undenia­ble prescription, and new ones arise daily. Because the world was evil thou couldst not brook it, now when it is grown worse, why wilt thou embrace it? It is intollerable and perfidious even to those who, did stick con­stantly and without breach of trust to it, what will it then be to thee, who hast revolted both from it and God, loyal to neither? wherfore the world wil chastize thee as a fugitive, and God will not defend thee, by reason of thy treachery. There are more urgent reasons now of not returning to the world, then there were at first of leaving it, or at least the same are now in force which forcd thee then to quit it. It is blind and a cheat, both to it self and thee, of a base nature, and to be despisd even although otherwise not despicable; because it hinders great good and torments its lovers, be set on all sides with the dangers, not only of temporal things, but which is more of eternal also: it is nothing else but falshood and for­gery; [Page 61] for besides that it is malicious and ha­bituated in cozening others, it is also cozend it self, in so much that worldly men will decei­ve thee, even when they intend nothing less then deceits The very wisdome of the world is pure folly: how then shal truth appeare in it? and when all the light it hath is darknes, how great darknes must that needs be? its whole train of attendance & foundations, are instruments of blindnes and dim the eyes of our judgment, to wit pride gluttony, lust, envy, ambition, anger, to which we may add treachery, in so much that Iudas▪ like even when it fawnes most upon them it betraies its darlings by that kiss to perdition and the power of darknes.

The world is a cheat: it sels its glory, which is nothing, at a high rate. And it were a smal matter if it were only nothing, and not igno­minious also. Men glory in those things of which they ought to be ashamd: it lies against all experience in telling them that their riches wil be permanent, since they pass through so many hands to come to them who now pos­sess them. It holds those things forth for good, each one wherof is no less then a triple torment: the number of evils and vexations are in such an excess, that it affords more then two real afflictions for one seeming happines. Ther's no one thing of all we possess, but rackd us with toile and sollicitude how we might compass it; and having compasd it, we are no les tormented with fear and iealousy [Page 62] of it; and when it is lost, with grief for its absence and privation. O heavenly truth, what great God a mercy, if I do not covet this meer chaos of deceitfulnes and vexation? if I contemn for thy sake a thing so contem­ptible, which were to be contemnd if not for it self at least for my self? many heathen Phi­losophers quitted the world for their own quiet, and why shal not a Christian do it for his and thy glory? They left it because despi­cable in it self; and why shal not we do it be­cause thou art inestimable, and the glory which we hope for invaluable. Although the world were good, yet it were folly to prefer it be­fore that, which containes all good.

The XI. Chapter. How Peace is to be obtained.

THou canst not live wel unles thou dye forthwith and overcome thy nature. Thou canst not enjoy peace unles thou make war upon thy self; this is the way to purchase true liberty. Be readier alwayes to comply with anothers will then thy own & thou shalt not know what it is to be at jars: love rather to have little then much, and thou shalt have no occasion of complaint: chuse alwayes the meanest place, and to be every ones underling, and thou shalt scarse ever be [Page 63] sad: have a desire to suffer and undergo som­thing for thy IESVS sake, and thou shalt think no body burdensome: seek God in all things that his will may be fulfilld in thee, and thou shalt never be disquieted. If thou ought to accommodate thy self rather to anothers wil then thy own, why not to the divine wil, and rejoyce that it is fulfilld by thee? keep these things in thy hart that thou mayst enjoy an uninterrupted peace. True tranquillity of mind cannot be obtaind but by a contempt of the world and conquest over our selves. This may be done two manner of wayes; either by forcing thy self, contrary to what seems good and delectable in the world and nature; or by knowing them to be nought, and weighing all things in the ballance of truth: this latter way is the sweeter and more permanent, although it must alwayes be accompanyd with a fervor­ous contradiction of our appetite. He ne­vertheles who in faith and spirit is convined of the verity and vanity that is in things, shal with much facility overcome himself and dispise the world.

Nothing conduceth more to a happy pro­gress, then to frame an unbyazd judgment of things, and to relish them according to the doctrine of IESVS. What hearst thou pro­nouncd by that most holy mouth of truth it self? blessed are the poor of spirit; blessed are they that mourn; blessed are they that suffer persecution. Why wilt thou esteem those things harsh and burdensome which the truth [Page 64] of God held and deliverd for beatitudes? how canst thou avoid being deceivd, if thou ac­count those things evil, which faith teaches us to be good, and to render us happy? we believe the mystery of the most B. Trinity because Christ reveald it to us: the same IE­SVS also reveald, that those things which the world so much abhors, poverty, sorrow, in­juries, are not bad but good; neither is he to be ratherd is believd in this point, by him that knowes he taught so, then when be teacheth the unity and Trinity of almighty God. Let us then make a true estimate of truth, and frame our dictamens point blank opposite to worldly maxims. O eternal truth, grant me grace that according to thy doctrin I may judg all temporal things meer lyes, and those far from containing great good, which bring so much hurt. Grant me that I may not live in an errour by prizing those things highly which I ought to have in hatred. If it be a matter of faith that poverty, humilia­tion, affliction, are not only good but bea­tifying; why do not I rather chuse to have litle then much, to be dispisd then praysd, to be afflicted then swim in delights?

He that walks in faith and truth, account­ing those things truly good which CHRIST judgeth such, ought to be so far from being contristated for any want or vexation, that he should covet them with his utmost desires, and rejoyce in them, and abhor wholy and not in part only, all things which the world [Page 65] loveth and embraceth, and admit and desire with his whole hart, with his whole soul, with all his strength, with all his mind, what soever IESVS loved and embracd. Like as worldlings who follow love and seek with great earnestnes those things which belong to the world, to wit honours, fame, and the opinion of a great name upon earth, as the world teacheth and deceives them: so those that make a progress in spirit and truth, doe seriously follow, love, and ardently desire whatsoever is altogether opposite to these, that is, to be clad with the same livery and en­signes of contempt which the Lord of glory wore. Insomuch that if it could be done with­out any offence of the divine Majesty and sin of their neighbour, they would suffer con­tumelies, false witnes, affronts▪ and be thought and accounted fooles (they giving neverthe­les no occasion of it) because they desire to resemble and imitate in some manner the Son of God. For this purpose let thy chief aym and study be, to seek thy own greater abne­gation and continual mortification as much as thou canst in all things. Why wilt thou live in guile and deceit, making no reckning of those things which God prizd and honored so highly, that he thought them worthy of his best beloved and only begotten Son.

Verily although they were not ra [...]kd amōg good things, yet for this sole reason that IE­SVS chose them for himself, they are honored sufficiently, and worthy to be sought by us, [Page 66] with the whole extent of our hart: and for this sole cause that he dispisd all worldly goods, though men have them in so great esteem, they are to be held base and infamous, and deservedly to be abhord more then death it self. IESVS overcome with love of us, made choice of these things the world hateth, and why shal not we for his sake at least accept them. What do I say for love of IESVS? we ought to do it for love of our selves. He that loves his soul and his life, let him love to dye even while he yet liveth. If thou lovest life, why wilt thou not rather love an eternal and happy one then this wretched and momenta­ry? whosoever loves any thing as good to himself, aymes alwayes at that which is more perfect: and by good consequence, he that loves life, must not love a temporal but eternal life; who loves good things, must not love earthly but heavenly goods: wherfore our very affection to things compels us to disaffect all worldly things. Ther's no body that loves any good thing but he wisheth it perpetual: though the contrary be absurd, yet we alwaies do it; for through our love to life and goods, we suffer great detriment both of life and goods. Tel me, o thou wretched of the world, who art so forgetful of eternal life, whether dost thou despise these transitory things or love them? If thou dispisest them, it must be for this reason because thou seekst after bet­ter; if thou lovest them, how much are greater things more worthy of love. How ever the [Page 67] case stands, it is convinced that we ought to love eternal things, which will accrue to us so much more copiously, by how much the more we are impoverishd disesteemd, & afflicted for God. Notwithstanding all this, the sufferings of this life are in no degree pro­portionable to the future glory; for what is here but light and momentary, works in us an eternal poize of the same. Our provision for eternity may be prepard with much facility, and ought to be kept with all carefulnes. Each one furnisheth most plentifully the place he intends for his longest abode: and where his residence is to be but for a short time, that he regards but sleightly and provides it but su­perficially. An eternity expects us in the other life, we must lay up store of merits for it, least we make our provisions preposterously, bestowing great care on a short abode, and little on a long.

But we ought to have transitory things in hatred not only in regard of the eternal life, but even in respect of this temporal, they dis­quiet and vex us with a thousand cares while we are procuring them, and with a thousand feares and frights least we fal short of them: we brook any loss but impatiently which hap­pening so frequently as they do, we are tossd in a continual sea of griefe, anger, and endles vexations. He alone who goes contrary to the world lives without contrariety and in a holy repose. How then do these things de­serve the name of goods which are so noysome [Page 68] and tormenting to us? rather the quite op­posite ate to be stiled such, which far sooner render us such, by putting us in mind of our present condition, by making us think upon God and have recourse to him, by occasion­ing our greater merit, and assimilating us to the only begotten Son of God. The lover of men IESVS did most truly tearm those not only good but also beatifying Yea the choy­sest of the heathen Philosophers, held not those things, which the world so much ado­res, good, but their contrary. Some of them hated and rejected temporal riches, that at least in this life, void of care and fear and per­plexity of mind, they might enjoy a tempo­ral felicity. It redounds to our great shame that heathens should do so, who wanted the example of the Son of God, who were out of hopes of other goods, and this when the world was in its youth and verdure, and a­bounded more with such allurements though false and counterfeyt. But we have the glory of imitating IESVS, and the incentive of a heavenly reward: the world moreover is now grown worse and more deformed, and wants not only solid goods but also fading. Now it scarse hath where with all to bait a deceitful book; its false varnish is washd of, in so much that it cannot deceive us, unles we deceive our selves.

The XII. Chapter. Of the excellency of one that is in the state of grace.

VVHy seekst thou any thing of the world, if thou be above the world? why lovest thou any earthly thing since thou art beloved of God? How can he stick in the mud of nature who is elevated to the state of grace? O good as little understood as much neglected! God hath bestowd large and pretious promises up­on us to make us sharers of his divine nature. Why seeks he any thing besides God who hath found the grace of God, which raiseth him above all nature, yea even that of the highest Thrones, Cherubins, and Seraphins, if therrs be considerd in it self, though so far surpassing all other created substance; by which we have God for our Father, for our friend, and unseparable Achates. It's account­ed a matter of high concernment among men to have precedency of place or dignity before others; and what wil it then be to have a pree­minence above all the degrees of nature? Al­though the world were never so estimable, & the things in it beyond our valuation, yet they ought to be contemnd by one in the state of grace. The divel is intolerably proud; yet [Page 70] he regards not the opinions of men concern­ing him, nor deems himself one iot the worse for being revild by them he seeks not popu­lar applause, he sleights material things, he loaths what we relish so savourly, he scofs at our affaires, and all this for no other reason but because he is of a more sublime nature; why then is man who is raisd to a participation of Gods nature, who is rankd in the highest class of creatures, so sollicitous about these base trifles? certainly if he understood throughly the dignity that is conferd upon him by being rightly confessd and put in the state of grace nothing else would be requisite to make him contemne and deride these fopperies of crea­tures; nor were any great store of vertue need­ful to move him to this, but he would do it even by his vicious nature, unles we should hold it impossible that grace could be the au­thour of a misdeed. The wicked spirits with­out any vertue at all have a most mean conceit of these sublunary things, and why, but be­cause they are of a Superiour nature and rank above them? What then ought man to do with vertue, who is elevated above all nature? If a great king in his robes of state, should find a spade or sickle lying in the way, he would scorn to stoop to take it up, as being of a more eminent condition then a peasant; and why doth man, when he hath once possessd his soul of Gods grace, stoop and debase him­self to earthly things, since his dignity over­tops the heavens?

O how great is the excellency of grace! It lies conceald many times under a course and contemptible garment in a weak body, feeble, and sometimes loathsome to the eye. Consi­der how much the noblest nature of a Sera­phin surpasseth the basest of a silly worme; yet ther is not the meanest slave and ugliest Lepar if he be in the state of grace, but doth much more exceed the nature of a higher Angel. If God should create a select nature in which all under-natures, vegetative, sensitive, rational & Angelical were comprehended, in so much that these sublime intelligences of the world Principalities, Dominations, Seraphins, were to acknowledg it of a Superiour Order as crea­tures did Adam; what height of dignity would such a one carry? But would it be decent thinke you, that such a refind creature should sort himself with brute beasts, & in his carriage stri­ve to become like them? o man thou art exalted to a higher rank; while thou art in grace thou excelst not only all created natures but also creable. How wouldst thou wonder, if thou shouldst see a despicable worme in a dead dog, become not only a glorious spirit, but equal even to the Seraphins: and why dost thou not admire as much thy own elevation from sin to a divine state, which is far greater? Would a worme become a spirit covet to lodge in a rot­ten carcass? & why dost thou love perishable things, since thou art become after a wōderful manner & priviledge a kind of God, & a child of the increated God, who made thee by crea­tion [Page 72] a man, & by redemptiō, divine? Although thou seest not this dignity, thou must believe it, and frame a great conceit of thy self more groundedly, then if thou beheldst it with thy eyes. If all the perfection, excellency and beauty of all natures both existent and possi­ble were all collected into one, it were all nothing in comparison of the least particle of grace, which gives a soul preeminence above all preeminences, & a beauty above all the beauties of nature. Thers no resemblance betwixt God and all natural perfection; so he that is en­dowd with grace exceeds all the good thats found in creatures; for he is in a divine degree.

Suppose when thou wert yet in the abiss of nothing & God was about to give thee a being that he demanded of thee in what class thou wouldst be created, whether a mere element, or a rock, or some piece of mettal, or a brute beast, or a man, or an Angel or one of the Seraphins? wouldst thou not account this a great benefit? wouldst thou chuse to be an in­sensible creature, or rather to be classd among the intelligible? or peradventure durst thou hope and presume to aspire to the same divi­ne degree with God, surmounting all the afore mentiond natures? Behold how God hath of his own accord granted thee what thou durst not so much as cōceive in thought. He did not place thee among the formes of animated creatures, nor among the inanimate, nor among the unreasonable, but raysed thee not only to the degree of reason and im­materiality, [Page 73] but even to a certain divine one. One man alone is more endebted to God for the least degree of grace, then all creatures besides from the Seraphins to the sands of the sea, for the creation of all other natures. Thou art more endebted to God for making thee partake of his nature by grace, then if he had made all created natures subordinate to thee, even from the Angels to the beasts of the field.

All creatures are distributed into their pro­per files: the lower mix not with the higher; in animate things cannot attain to the perfe­ction of the animate, living creatures fal short of the sensitive, the sensitive of the intellectual, & corporeal things of spiritual. The eye cannot know an Angel, they are of a different order; so nature cānot reach God in himself, he exceed­ing all created substances in a higher degree of disproportiō then spiritual things do sensitive. No body can operate after a divine manner unles he be in a divine state: wherfore to know God in himself, and treat with him, it was re­quisite we should be eleuated to a higher or­der above nature, and plac'd in a supernatural: and grace effects this, carrying man beyond the bounds of nature, and setting him in a deifical state and order, making him partaker of the divine nature, and by a wonderful man­ner and prerogative a kind of God. For man by grace partakes of God according to the highest degree of the divine nature, for as much as it exceeds all nature; not only as it is [Page 74] existent, living, knowing but as it is God and above all being, life, sense, and under­standing. He partakes of the divine Essence in as much as it is above all essence, he partakes of the divine substāce in as much as it is super­substantial & superessential: therfore a man in the state of grace is above nature; above essen­ce, and all substances. If this prerogative were granted to one Angel or soul alone to be in the world and adornd with grace, though less then that wherewith an infant dying immedia­tely after baptisme is endowed, it would be lookt upon as a stupendious miracle, and no creature but would adore it. O my soul, how canst thou but deem thy self worthy of vene­ration, if thou humbly suspect thy self to be in grace? do not trouble thy self for things that are below thee; and indeed all things are below thee.

Notwithstanding it is not the sole prero­gative of grace to excel all nature, if we con­sider that it makes man a child dear to God. O father, what a charity didst thou bestow upon us, that we both are, and are stild the Sons of God? we receive the Spirit which ad­opts children, that justifid by the grace of Christ we may be coheyres of IESVS, and thy inheritours. O that we could understand how great a dignity it is to become the Sons of God! men account it a great matter to be the allies or retayners of an earthly king; why make they not greater account of being the Sons and heyres of God? we are wont to [Page 75] glory in the pedegree of men defunct, of the discent of flesh and blood that ends in dust, in our earthly parentage; but why do we not glory, in being in grace, in sharing the nature of God, and such a divine filiation? One that is of the blood-royall even afters divers gene­rations, is had in great esteem by the world; how much more ought he that is a kin to God and allyd to him in the same nature.

A parent loves his child more affectionately then he doth another who is of the same com­plexion, of the same speech and features, be­cause he partakes of his nature; so God loves him who is in grace more tēderly then he doth the Angelical order, because he shares with him in nature, though he be otherwise the most contemptible creature in the world. There is a larger difference betwixt the substance of a Cherubin considerd in it self, & one that is in grace, then there is betwixt a painted man & the living original: although each creature par­take of God in some sort, yet there is a vast disparity. They partake of his nature much after the manner of a picture; When a limmer drawes himself to life, the picture partakes of him by way of representation in resem­blance, in colour, in his lineaments, and all his exteriour; but not in the degree of life and a rational soul. All natures are so many rude draughts and expressions of some divine perfection, but without any part of the di­vine spirit: he alone that is in grace, is a living image of God quickned with his spirit, and [Page 76] as it were the child and image of his parent by participation and communication of nature. What a deal of difference is there and how far falls a material picture or statue of some king short of the kings own beloved Son? the no­blest essence and natural perfection of the highest Archangel falls much shorter of a soul that is in grace: for there is no substance or nature but it represents God only after a dead manner, no otherwise then an Emperour is re­presented by a piece of wood or marble or a painted tablet. Among those that partake of the same nature there is not so much a simili­tude as an identity or selfsamenes: & therfore the H. Fathers stile one that is in grace, the same with God, like as the father and the Son in hu­mane generations are accounted the same per­son. The natural Son of God himself said; let all be one, as thou o father in me and I in thee, that they may also be one in us. For although each just man, besides the just of justs IESVS, becomes only such by adoption, there is a greater tye & unity betwixt him & God, then is found betwixt natural parents and their children. The children of men have only a smal parcel of base matter and their parents flesh, but he that is in the degree of grace re­ceives the whole divine spirit within him. Therfore the adoptive filiation of God is a more sublime manner of filiation, then that which is naturally found among men.

O man rejoyce in this thy dignity, and do not degenerate from the divine condition [Page 77] thou art raysd to: have a care of Gods ho­nour, be zealous in his quarrel, if not because he is thy God, at least because he is thy father and all that he hath shal be thine. Children because they hope to inherit their fathers pa­trimony; follow their fathers busines; thou being heir to God, must not carry thy self like a stranger or alien. Although God had not given us our creation, yet for this only that he adopted us his children, we owe him a cordial love, and must discharge our duty in things appertaining to his service with a great deal of zeal. O most loving father, why am not I touched with a deep resentment for being en­rolld into thy family, and tasting so singu­larly of thy providence. Wild beasts out of love to their yong ones expose themselves to a hazard of death; and what wilt thou do, who hast given such a remonstrance of love even for us who condemnd thy natural Son, as to take us for thy children. O what con­fidence ought a soul to have in this filiation! although God were not a God of providence, yet he would be watch fully careful & sweetly sollicitous over him that is in grace: no les then a mother in widowhood over her only and beloved child; yea far greater then this is Gods affection and vigilancy in regard of the just.

To this we may add that by grace we be­come the friends of God. IESVS himself utterd these words sweeter then honey drops; ye are my friends. For by grace there accrues [Page 78] a certain dignity betwixt God and man, not of a disproportionable degree but so dignify­ing that it elevates him to the order of things divine; and of a mortal man makes him a friend and favorite of the immortal king. Al­though we did not become the children of God, yet for this sole respect, that grace en­titles us his beloved, its worth exceeds all va­luation. A friend is preferrd before a kins man, and is held more trusty then nature it self: allies are often neglected or become the objects of hatred, friends are alwaies belo­ved: men do more for their friend then for their brother: what then shal we conceive of friendship with God? There are two things which endear much, alliance and love, and both of them are found in grace. To be loved by God is a rich mine of heavenly gold, and a magazine of all divine blessings. The love of God is not [...]oytering and sluggish but most effectual and operative. To love one is to wish him wel: in God it is the self same to wil and to do, and consequently whomsoever he lo­veth he enricheth him with the treasures of heaven. The love of God is an ever flowing conduit or rather a river of celestial blessings. If he exposd his life for his enemies what will he do for his friends? There is no incongruity or inconsequence to be found in God; wher­fore if he did so much for those that hated him, he wil do incredible things for those that love him, carrying a special providence over them. If he have so much care of our [Page 79] enemies as to command us to love them, what wil he have of his own friends? He loved us so affectionately when we were yet his foes that he seemd to love us more then himself; and if he did this when we were his enemies, wil he do les when he both stiles and accounts us his friends?

Thou wouldst be glad to have a friend as faithfull to thee as Ionathas was to David; but all humane fidelity is a meer toy, yea to be accounted but treachery, in regard of that which God shewes on thy behalf. Men hold it no smal favour to be taken notice of by a terrene king, what wil it be to be loved, & so affectionately loved by God? wilt thou know, o my soul, how signally remarkable Gods friendship & fidelity is? He is so enamourd upon his friends that he cannot endure to be sepa­rated from them. If his immensity were confind only to heaven, he would relinquish it to come to one that is in grace, nor would he ever be from him, but would make himself his cōstant sejourner, that our society may be with the fa­ther & his Son Iesus Christ by the mediation of the H. Ghost who is diffusd in our harts. Deer and lambs and pigeons, are sociable crea­tures they willingly sort with one another, & love those whom they know to be of the same kind. God is sociable, the Son of God is a lamb, the divine spirit is tame and affable, it loves those that become divine, affecting the fellowship of his nature, and as it were of the same feather with him. If the most sacred Hu­manity [Page 80] of Christ took such complacence in any one as to be alwaies present with him, what should we think of such a singular privi­ledg? and why do we not admire that the Di­nity never departs from the just man, but becomes his unseparable companion? and not only dwels with him as his fellow sejourner, but even in him, in whom he placeth his ta­bernacle much more willingly then in the sun.

What parent so loves his child, as with his good wil never to be from him, but alwaies in his company? yea such a one assignes him a tutour and commits him to his custody. But God our parent and friend entrusts us to no body else, he wil alwayes be with us himself. What mother loves her child so tēderly as that she wil continually have him in her armes? Yet God doth this. Grace is a knot which tyes God and man together; it is the sweet and mu­tual embracement of the spirit divine and hu­mane. Among men the father may not be where the Son is, but God cannot but be with him that is in grace. Although God be existent in creatures both by his essence, pre­sence, and power, this is so because he is God, and it cannot be otherwise, not for any dignity or desert in them, but by reason of his immensity and infinitude. But grace not nature hath this attractivenes, that al­though God could be absent, and were limi­table to locality, yet it would make him pre­sent and existent with one in grace, residing with him, and becoming one spirit: yea albeit [Page 81] he could forget his creatures, he would be al­waies sweetly present to his memory, & share of his providence; although he could relinquish them, and not operate in them nor conserve & maintain them, yet he would stil be working some good in the just: for as love is effectual, so it never intends any good but it compleats it.

What a benefit and dignity is it to have God alwaies for our companion? certainly we should be struck with amazement to see any creature so beloved by God, and so no­ble, that he commanded his celestial spirits those thousands of thousands that attend him, to accompany it whether soever it went, and be followd by all that traine so stately and majestical: yet this would be but solitude in comparison of the fellowship and attendance of God. What are all things before thee, o lord, but as it were a mere nothing and va­cuity? If we should admire such a creature, why do we not also admire a sould in grace, since it hath God for its attendance, not wait­ing at its elbow, but as it were in its essence enlivening it: O most fortunate dignity of man and dignation of God, to have that highest Majesty alwaies accompanying the Sons of men! for God will not be a lazy and unprofitable companion to a soul, not pro­viding what is beho offul to it. Wil he be like one that is sluggish or blind, who neither sees nor resents the necessities and miseries which press it? certainly God doth not asso­ciate himself to the just for nothing. They [Page 82] may wel neglect both themselves and their temporal, if only they be careful of what concerns him: he wil have a care of them. O my Father, o friend, o companion! I beg of thy Majesty, that I may alwaies carry a due reverence, fidelity, and affability to­wards thee: I wil demean my self to thee as a child doth to his parent, taking all thy affaires to hart, reputing them my own: not other­wise then towardly children are industriously careful of their parents busines, because they look upon it as their own. I beseech thee that I may be a faithful friend to thee, seeking at all turnes thy greater honour & glory, advancing what concerns thee & loving thee more then my self. Grant that I may keep with thee all the rules of good fellowship, least by my con­tinual defects I may contristate thy holy spirit.

But if all grace be of such vertue and effi­cacy in it self, that it makes us kinsmen and al­lies of God, most dear to him, yea in a man­ner Gods, and this because it is given by Christ; hence it followes, that that portion of it which befals man, is more happy, more vene­rable and highlyer priviledgd then that which was bestowd upon the Angels, or our first pa­rents in the state of innocency. Those chil­dren are ordinarily first in their parents affe­ction, who were deliverd into the world with the strongest throwes of a hard labour: and what wonder then, if our grace be dearer to Christ since it cost him so many sorrowes, and he for it bestow on us greater priviledges, af­fording [Page 83] us more helps, tolerating us more patiently and longanimously, raysing us to great spiritual advancement; in so much that the very Angels themselves do honour men for this respect that they have grace by Christ, & are struck with a reverential fear to see our nature now prostrate before them, which they sleighted so much before God became Incar­nate by assuming it; and this, because a spe­cial dignity accrues to the grace we partake of, we being made therby living members of Christ & computed the same with him. There redounds a certain veneration from the head to the members: how can the Angels despise our nature, which they admiringly behold exalted above theirs, even to the throne of the Divinity and fellowship of God? what won­der if they treat us not as their inferiours whome the Son of God the first begotten a­mong many brethren, under the title of equals, exalted above the celestial spirits themselves, calling men his brethren and esteeming them more then Angels. He never honored any of the Seraphins so much as to call him brother. This is the highest prerogative of grace which renders it so honorable, and elevates it above all nature. Moreover our nature it self, by grace through Christ is dignified and exalted above all other natures, for as much as the Lord of glory communicates the same his glory with his joyntly united members and living allyes. Our grace also is founded up­on the merits of IESVS and his union, as if [Page 84] therby it gave us a juster title to merit from God, and makes us do it after a perfecter man­ner. For we are all children of sorrow, we are Gods Benjamins the Sons of his right hand, and dear above all, others. O most lo­ving father, who sacrificd they only begot­ten Son to death, that I becoming thy Son might live, grant that I may alwayes have a true esteem and knowledg of this inestimable benefit. One Angel is more endebted to thee for the least degree of grace which he received then all creatures together for all the goods of nature and creation of the universe. But I a silly wretched man, owe thee more for the least particle of grace bestowd upon me, then all the Hierachies of Angels for all the super­natural guifts conferrd upon them all toge­ther. For to the end that I through grace might live a divine life, thou wouldst have thy son in humane nature to suffer an unha­mane death. Thou hast done more for me then for all the Angels; thou hast heapd more o­bligations upon me then upon the Cherubins and Seraphins.

There are two reasons for which men are obligd to preserve and highly magnify divine grace. The one is its inestimable worth and unspeakable dignity; the other is thy most pretious blood, o IESVS, which thou didst shed to merit grace. If we be not satisfyd of its value in its self, this may throughly con­vince us, that thou wouldst purchase it for us at so deare a rate. It must needs be a rare [Page 85] and stupendious thing, which God who can­not err in his choise chose rather to give us then save the life of his own Son so pretious to him.

The XIII. Chapter. How Penances and Corporal afflictions help us.

THorns conserve plants in a garden, & austerities grace in a just man. A fresh vigour of mind flourisheth many times in a tottering and witherd body. That Physitians may cure the body, they more and more afflict it by bitter potions, by absti­nence, by breathing a veine, by searing it, and other wayes yet more penal: if it be exa­cted of thee to afflict it in some sort for the good of thy soul, no great matter is demand­ed. He that is ill at ease amidst his gripes and paines casts up what annoyd him: so the pec­cant humours of our soul, are not purgd by living pleasantly, since the maladies of our bodies are not curd without annoiance. A flint being beaten yealds flashes of light, and the flesh by chastisements illuminates the mind. That soul shewes it self a very beast, which treats not its body like a beast. Even as affli­ctions and crosses sent by God, make men relent, think upon him, indoctrinate them enkindle fervour, increase familiarity with [Page 86] God, and raise their harts; so voluntary au­sterities have like effect; they make man have a more frequent recourse to God, and being voyd of sensible gust they dispose him better for divine illustrations.

The curbing of nature is a fit disposition for increase of grace: this is the ayme and endeavour of grace to divorce us from tem­poral, corporeal, and visible things; and a penitential life finds this half done to its hand, supposing it be accompanyd with divine grace, without which nothing is beneficial to us, nothing profitable. The depth of our humi­liation together with bodily austerity is the throne and kingdom of grace, and a step to glory; and the crucifying of our flesh, the exalting of the spirit. Thou armest thy self with voluntary afflictions against necessary ones, learning thus in the school of patience how thou art to embrace those which are sent thee from God. By these skirmishes thou art taught to overcome thy self, and conse­quently disable thy greatest antagonist by whom the rest assaile thee; thou also findest a more speedy redress at the hands of God in thy addresses to him. Although Christ cruci­fyd be a sufficient warrant for our penitential austerities, yet we might specify many more and principally our innumerable defaults and penalties due for them, that we may make amends for what is past, and lessen future misdemeanours. Thy soul must be the exe­cutioner of thy flesh; for this end through [Page 87] the great mercy of God, it is repriev'd and rescued from the paines of hel fire. Some­times it happens that of two criminals sen­tencd to death the one partner is quitted upon this condition that he execute the sentence of death upon his companion, becoming his hangman for want of another. Our soul and body are joynt sharers in sin, let the soul be the executioner of divine justice over the body, and punish it in a due manner, she when she first sinned being repriev'd from eternal damnation.

Suffer nothing to pass unpunished: make thy self formidable to thy self, as one that can be cruel against thy self, a most impartial and severe chastizer of all the delinquencies and soothings of the flesh: all must undergoe their due penalty. There's no citty wel go­vernd, unles its penal lawes be in force and vigour; nor can that conscience be wel orderd, where so many depraved affections are on foot without its courts and sword of justice. The punishment thou inflictest upon thy self must be corresponding to thy fault: beware God call thee not to an account for contemning & corrupting justice. Take pennyworths of thy self, both because thou pleadest guilty, & hast playd the naughty judge in acquitting thy self so often by being indulgent to thy self. Iustice is exercisd in cityes rather to ter­rify others by such an example from offend­ing, then to lessen the guilt and punishment of him that is nocent: but thou reapest more am­ple [Page 88] fruit by chastizing thy self; thou shalt not onely henceforth deter others from of­fending but thy self, that thou mayst not commit new ones, and diminish the punish­ment due for the committed. Thy severity is not a piece of justice but indulgence; for mans revenge works Gods pardon. Yet in all thy proceedings be mindful how prayse worthy is obedience, and how profitable discretion, least thou practise austerity unadvisedly, with decrease of thy own profit, and les increase of Gods honour and service; for the divel is ready to catch at all turnes. Nevertheles be careful above all and at all times, rather to chastize thy will then thy body: but as far as a prudent cir­cumspection divested of self love, and the ad­vice of thy superiour with regard to each ones age, condition, strength, inclination, em­ployment, and necessity shal permit such au­sterities, thou must without mercy and self-flattery not be sparing in inflicting them.

O mercyful truth, how can I flatter and pamper my self, if I call to mind the hardship and torments which my most innocent IESVS sufferd for my sins, and the paines that are in­dured by the soules in Purgatory. It would be accounted a huge priviledge, if God should permit a soule in those scorching flames to re­deem its sufferings, as we now may, by un­dergoing voluntary afflictions. Let us now make use of this his indulgence. If a creditour should remit to one a debt of a hundred ta­lents upon this condition, if within a prefixt [Page 89] time he payd him only one, would he, think you, refuse so gainful a bargain. What a madnes is it in us to chuse rather to pay a hun­dred in the other life then one in this? But what need of remission of these terrifical pai­nes? the gracefulnes and beauty which ac­crues to our flesh in the life to come is a suffi­cient incentive.

Remember how glorious and seemly our bodies will be in the future resurrection: which shal share of comelines and splendour accord­ing to the rate and proportion of their now-present sufferances. The robes which are to vest them in eternity are woven by the home spun & temporal afflictions of this life. Some not to appear deformed to the eyes of men have sufferd their limbs and bones to be cut and rackd half the tearm of their short life: eternal beauty is purchasd at a far easier rate; it is not requird that we cut them, but only that we do not pamper them, & a litle vex & annoy them. Our H. Patriarch S. Ignatius understood this excellently wel; who being not as yet con­verted to almighty God, to avoid deformity commanded a bone to be cut out, enduring the pain without a tear, without a sigh, with­out the least sign of grief or torture; but af­ter his conversion, he judgd it an act far more heroical, upon consideration of a future co­melines, that is to invest us in the resurrecti­on, to undergoe austerities, to fast for whole weeks together, to disciplin himself thrice a day, to make prolix genuflexions, lying on [Page 90] the bare ground, wearing a rough hair-shirt, clad in sackcloth, going barefoot, treating his body in the harshest manner he could both for apparrel and rigour of fare. The auste­rities also of barbarous hethens destitute of our hopes may make us blush at our own te­pidity: they wore shirts of iron, which goard their bodies on all sides with sharp pricks; they shretchd themselves upon tenter hooks singing the whilst hymnes in praise of their God; they cast themselves under the wheeles of the chariots which carried their Idols and sufferd themselves to be bruizd to pieces; they abstaind from meat for many dayes together. Let it confound us, that superstition is more powerful then religion, and the phantastical­nes of men then the love of God.

The XIV. Chapter. That too much love of our flesh hinders the spirit.

IF our flesh although it be born with us, and the blood which enlivens us, be such domestique enemies as to hinder the life of our spirit, can flesh that's only al­li'd and consanguinity much avail? The spi­rit ought to blush at the name of alliance; how much more at the allies of a fond and disordinate love? If the flesh be ashamd of its kindred of the same flesh, if it disclaime from [Page 91] obscure kinsfolks and progenitours, how much more ought the spirit to be ashamd of all flesh and blood, and such like affinity? The soul ought to renounce her own flesh which she animates, and why doth she disor­dinately love anothers, and that void of life, which servd others, and perchance serves now only for food and lodging for wormes. The noblenes of grace and our alliance with Christ should in all reason be forcible enough to make us forget and blush at our nature, with­out needing the incentives of its basenes, cor­ruption, and loss of allies.

O divine truth, thou commandest me to hate my kindred that I may become thy dis­ciple; If I love them more then thee, how shal I become thy spirit, adhering to thee, one spirit with thee? Grant me by thy blood that I may not love my blood but in thine: let the blood of Christ obtain so much at our hands, that we love not too much the blood of sinful men. Christ by his sacred blood would redeem us, and become our allie by blood; for he was not ignorant of the tain­tures and defects of our blood and our allies by blood, and therfore vouchsafed a repara­tion.

The spirit is not bound to follow the lawes and dictamens of the flesh: see then o my soul, that neernes of blood do not taint thy love. God commands thee to hate thy self and thy own flesh and blood, how canst thou then love thy friends and kinsfolks otherwise then for [Page 92] God, and according to the prescript of ver­tue? Thou mightst with as much reason love gnats or flies as thy allies, which never­theles thou seek'st to destroy. Wormes are en­genderd by the same carnal parents with thy brethren; why adhor'st thou them with such a loathing of stomack more then all, and lovest thy kindred with such affection of hart more then God? If the ground of this extraordi­nary love beyond the dictamens of vertue, be, for that they are engendred of the same Pa­rents: wormes have more from them then thy brethren, for they gave not these their soul, nor are they totally producd by them; as the others are. Hence kinsfolks and parents love and regard only the bodies of their kindred, being little sollicitous for what concerns the good of their soul; it being Gods handywork not theirs. Yea neither didst thou receive thy body from thy parents, but by them from God. What? lovest thou thy allies because they are parts of thy common progenitours? by the same reason thou oughtest to love any of their disseverd members yea though infect­ed with a loathsome canker. If thou lovest them for resemblance sake, by the same con­sequence thou mightst love their statua or any other ordinary man.

What is it to descend from the same family, but only to have drawn a litle stenchy matter and corruption out of the same stinking foun­tain, and what is worse, sin also? Can two with any reason boast because they fel toge­ther [Page 93] into the same puddle, and were bemird with the same dirt? Thy parent begot nasty wormes of a purer nature then thee, they being void of sin, and thou staind with the filth of original; neither wert thou sooner parta­ker of life then guilty of death. He that vainly glories in the nobility of his carnal pe­degree, seeks to entitle to honour the disgrace of common nature. What els is disordinate affection to kindred, but a vaunting of that common basenes, which we should be ashamd of, and a complacence in the ignominy of sin. The viciousnes of our nature takes growth and increase by flesh and blood, and our misery prospers & gaines ground; thence the flesh is maximd in principles wholy repu­gnant to the spirit. Our soul no sooner be­gins to be, but by meanes of the flesh it is in­fected with sin, and the contagiousnes spread­ing still more and more, it is the prime cause of all our sinful mortalities. We must renounce both blood and kindred, that we may be freed from this death of sin, by the eross of Christ which we must carry. We shal not meet with such harsh encounters as many children and youths have done, who by vertue of his cross trampled under foot all flesh & blood. S. Iohn Goto a Iaponian of our Society, at the place of his martyrdome, beholding at an equal di­stance on the one hand the teares and sighs & sweet embracements of his weeping parents, & on the other crosses and gibbets & bloody executioners; nothing dismaid with such en­signes [Page 94] of cruelty, chose rather to cast himself into the armes of the cross then those of his kindred; and sleighting couragiously all their enticing allurements, [...]ann to that which stood prepard for him; where dying he purchasd the kingdom of God, which is not bought by flesh and blood.

The XV. Chapter. Of the loss of temporal things.

THe spirit is not much troubled at the loss of temporalities, for which it hath more reason to rejoyce. One that lies groaning under a heavy waight, would he lament if a friend should remove it? That which is to be taken away, its much better that God take it then death. If divested of all thou be pleasing to God and he pleasd with thee, to what purpose seekest thou by the access of creatures and cares to become gra­teful to him. Let himself alone content thee without his guifts and the assurances of tem­poral commodities. God loves not what is thine but thee; do not thou love so much what is Gods, as God himself. Christ dis­poild of all mounted the cross, dispoild of all he came out of his sepulcher; there he left his shrowd behind him; naked also he took the citty of heaven and enterd it trium­phant. [Page 95] For love of thee who art naked he d [...]d naked, not for love of thy goods and for­tu [...]es; therfore he seeks thee, not them; and because he seeks thee, he takes these things from thee expecting thee naked in heaven. He prepares thee for his espousals, while he dis­poseth of what is thine, and dispoiles thee of all. Why art thou afraid to become poor, if thou canst carry a kingdom in thy hart? The kingdom of God is within you.

O ridiculous cause of teares which takes away the causes of sin! it is a high piece of impudence against God, to grieve and lament at the loss of temporal things, which we ought to have in hatred. A woman though never so much a harlot hides the griefe and teares which she sheds for the losses and injuries of the adulterer, she conceales also the joy she takes in his presence: thou even to Gods face rejoycest in the prosperity of those things with which thou playest the naught; thou art sorry for their loss, and darest ask of him either that he take them not away, or els restore them. What woman surprizd in adultery durst beg of her husband, that he would not interrupt that unlawful pleasure, when she should rather beg pardon for the offence? Her husband would deale mercifully with her, if he only took away the adulterer; and how shameles art thou who deemst it an injury? what wife could be so impudent as to say to her husband, bring me that Blackamore that I may enjoy his em­bracements, for I like him better then thee: [Page 96] & thou darest be so frontless as to make God the pandar of thy disorderly concupiscence by begging temporal things of him. When thou askest any thing of God besides God, thy very prayer betrayes thy adulterous spirit: for it is the selfsame as if thou shouldst say give me, o Lord, something wherwith to offend thee. It is bad enough to play the fornicatour to his dishonour, without begging of him the increase of that store, by whose fruition thou undoes thy self; and such is the preservation of riches, honours, gusts, colours, and cor­poreal beauties.

He that were pesterd with a loath some canker would not be offended with the Chi­rurgian for lancing the infected part, but of his own accord would profer it to be cut of, though with grief and horrour: but if per­chance waking out of his sleep, he should find it done to his hand imperceptibly, and without any concurrence of his own, he would esteem it a miraculous cure, and render thanks to God for it as such. Thou art not depriud of thy joints and limbs but hurtful darts which poyson thy hart; give God thanks that this privation is made unsensibly and without de­triment to thy patience. Thou who shouldst relinquish all, do not grieve at the loss of some. To make them a matter of merit, thou shouldst give them to the poor; if God take them why takest't thou it not patiently? Ger­son spoke piously when he said:

[Page 97]
If thou o father redemand whats lent,
Take, I restore most freely what's unspent
VVilt thou by theeves, by sword, by fire it take,
All's one to me; I quit it for thy sake,
Perchance even so more grateful it wil be,
Then if in almes the poor had it from me.

If having nothing thou have all, why art thou troubled and vext? o amiable truth, invert my perverse hart, and work so in it, that hence forth it may be noysome to me to have any thing besides thee: disburden me of all earthly things & first of all of my self, who am the heavyest burden to my self. I will not, o Lord, have my self, that I may have thee. If many Philosophers depriv'd themselves of all these goods for love of themselves, because they held them base and great hindrances to their course of life, what do I, who for love of thee repine to be depriud but of some?

O feeble spirit, why grievest thou to be circumcisd in a few superfluous things, since indeed a few only are necessary. What do I say a few? Nothing but God is necessary to me. I congratulate with my self; God is my sufficiency who knowes no deficiency. I knew not, o sweet truth, what a comfortable thing it was to have nothing; yea to know more clearly then the sunshine, that it is al­together impossible, although I endeavoured it never so much, to have any thing besides God, which can be mine and not Gods alone. [Page 98] But because all things are his, and he mine, all things are mine, and then most mine, when I have them least, because they have me least, and I have them better in God, then if I had them in themselves. If I were truly humble, I should not grieve at the loss of temporal things: He that is to esteem himself nothing, how can he esteem other things some thing, which are baser then himself. When one dies all things die to him; so he that deems himself nothing, deems the whole world nothing All things are dead to one that is dead, and all con­temptible to one truly humble.

The XVI. Chapter. How profitable temptations are.

HOw canst thou expect to be crownd if thou dost not combat? and how wilt thou combat, if thou be not as­saulted and tempted? Without an enemy there is no combat; and without a combat there is no victory. Nay it were disgraceful and litle to our credit, to be crownd without fighting, to triumph without a victory, and challenge or usurp an honour not due to us; therfore do not take it ill, that thou art vext with temptations, for there is the store house of merit, and occa­sion of humbling thy self. God hath permit­ted many to fal into grievous sins, that they [Page 99] might become humble: he dealt more merci­fully with thee, permitting thee only to be tempted. Resist valiantly in Gods quarrel: although it be troublesome enough, in the very conflict and assault of temptations, to fight and make resistance, yet the victory over it, is more delectable then the pleasure of the sin to which it drawes thee. Thou must not compare the sweetnes of the sin, with the noysomenes of the temptation, but with the joy that ariseth from the victory; nor the combat with the pleasure, but the fruit of the victory with the practise of the vice. Try a litle what it is to overcome temptations, who hast tryd so often what it is to be overcome by them.

When thou prevailest, think that eer long thou art to fight again: when thou fightest, think that in that victory the enemy is to be totally routed, and thou to enjoy an eternal peace. Perchance in part it will so fall out: for the divel put to confusion and flight wil not dare to assaile thee again, and God wil give thee some truce, as he knows it expedient for thy good. He who permitted it for thy ad­vantage, knowes at what time it is best to free thee. An artificer takes not gold out of the furnace til it be purgd sufficiently: and if thou be not purifyd enough and improved, he wil not free thee from that molestation. In time of victory be mindful of the combat, in time of the combat of victory. Thou shalt be in per­petual joy if thou overcome, in perpetual shame if overcome: why dost thou misprize [Page 100] the secure joy and integrity of a good con­science, for a vain and momentary delight? All the time of this life is lost, which is not spent in suffering. Do not refuse the trouble of re­sisting, since thou must not expect, so long as thou livest here, to be without some trouble. What māner of life soever thou embracest still must thou undergoe some afflictiō; chuse then to be afflicted for vertue. No place is exempted from all annoiance and contrariety; but it is a happy one and easy to be born, which is un­dergone for the purchase of eternal happines. Even for humane ends, we sustain a longer con­flict, with greater expense of labour, and less fruit. The tearm of our temporal labours concludes in a new lab our, and that many ti­mes an eternal one; but this other, as light and short as it is, works in thee an everlasting poize of glory, to which all the sufferings of this time bear no proportion at all. At least wise take this tribulation not repiningly, which thou oughtst to wish for, out of a thirst of greater glory, which will increase, when it is waterd with that fire. Yea although noe reward were allotted for it, it is enough that therby thou art more conformable to the ex­ample of Christ. Great necessity forceth thee to fight valiantly and make resistance: thou art under the eyes of thy judge, and maintai­nest a quarrel, in which his honour lies at stake, the Saints and Angels being spectatours. Thou must resolve rather to dye a thousand deaths then once be vanquishd, and put to the shame [Page 101] of suffering a foyle. How darest thou com­mit adultery in the presence of thy spouse, the Hierachies of Angels looking on, and quires of Saints being eye witnesses of such disloyalty.

It cannot be, but that thou must often be annoid and tempted in this life; wherfore look well to thy self and stand upon thy guard: al­though thou hast built in thy self a castle ne­ver so strong, and fencd it with the ramparts of all vertues, expect temptations, because it is founded upon thy own nature, together with the weak and frail infirmity of thy flesh. What availes it to the security of a house that its wals are very strong and made of stone, if it have a ruinous foundation? what imports it that thou art armd from head to foot, if thou stand upon slippery ground, or ride upon a boggling, unruly, and head strong horse? wel mayst thou furnish thy self with vertues; but stil thou art environd with flesh, which is more dangerous then a resty and untractable iade, and more unstable then sand, unles it be solidated in the grace of God. Wherfore the most universal remedy, and effectuallest an­tidote against temptations, is to dispoyl thy self of thy nature, as much as thou canst, with its appetites, to extirpate al self-seeking interests, and become sincere and untainted with the least blemish of thy own wil: for eve­ry one is tempted by his own concupiscence. When we seek temptation we shal find it. He that seeks himself wil find himself: and what [Page 102] wilt thou find in thy self, who art so wretched, but wretchednes, trouble, and affliction.

The XVII. Chapter. That we must fear God and hope in him.

OVr enemy lays his snares on all sides; there's no part of our life free from danger, but the greatest of all is our own security, for that comprizeth all dangers. Who can be secure in the midst of his ene­mies, or when they border upon him, and chiefly a domestique enemy? How canst thou besecure, since thou art thy own foe, and hast all the world opposite to thee, and all the divels at a deadly feud with thee? If ten men should come against one, if twice as great an army aslail a General, he would fear, were he never so valiant; and why art not thou a fraid since no les then the whole world is an enemy to thee, and fights against thee?

Thou must also fear God, both because thou hast offended him, and mayst offend him hereafter. What woman taken in adul­tery, if her husband let no word of pardon fall, could chuse but be in fear and suspense? thou also must be so, for thou knowest evi­dently that thou hast sinnd, but thou hast no evidence nor revelation that it is pardond; neither shouldst thou covet to have, because an humble fear and sollicitude wil benefit thee [Page 103] more then such a favour from heaven. For as those that fear, are wont to be thirsty, so a holy fear of God wil procure a thirst & more earnest desire of pleasing and serving him in all things. But if thou hast not sinnd, or wert by some revelation from God ascertaind of pardon, yet for all that cease not to fear: some after they have wrought many miracles, and lead a most holy & austere life for divers yeares in the wildernes, have miscarried miserably. The Angels in heaven, Adam in paradise, Saul and Iudas who were chosen by God before so many others, sufferd at length a lamentable shipwrack. Heron after he was arrived to a high pitch of perfection and eminent vertue; after labours, sweats, abstinences, and many other prodigious things (for he eat but once in 3. months space, and then only a wood sal­lad, refraining in the interim from all food, besides the most sacred Body of Christ our Lord) falling at length most lamentably, he haunted taverns, becoming first a drunkard, and afterwards luxurious. Thou art in the vale of sinners, nor wilt thou pretend that thou art elected by God, nor art thou conscious to thy self of so rare sanctity, but on the con­trary that thou art a sinner: how then art thou not afraid of thy self, why dost thou not stand in dread of God? The Angels and Seraphins do tremble, though they know themselves secure both from sin and damnation, because they see a possibility only of some creatures being damned; why dost not thou tremble [Page 104] since thy damnation is also possible?

God permits many great Saints to fal, to teach thee that all proceeds from him, and that we must not presume and confide in our own merits and diligence, but in him alone. Thou hast no reason to rely upon thy self, al­though thy merits be not inferiour to those of Saint Iohn Baptist, but on God thou mayst, though as desperately wicked as Antichrist; and how frequent and enormous soever thy misdemeanours are, thou hast no reason at all to dispaire or be dejected, but must trust so much the more in God, by how much thou hast les reason to trust in thy self. This is true divine hope when a man confides not at all in himself; the more he feares God, the more wil he trust in him. S. Prosper said very wel:

He that from feares himself wil free
God must his Sanctuary be.

How much more just any one is, and how much more enamoured upon God, so much more anxious is he with fear: for he knowes how much he deserves to be loved & reverened; insomuch that a man ought to wish and beg to be in torments through all eternity, that so he might in some sort be thankful to him for so great goodnes; but because the multipli­city of his defects makes him fal far short of such desires, he is siezd with no smal fear, he not doing what he ought and might do; and for that reason he is afraid least he loose God, which renders him so much more anxious, by [Page 105] how much he knowes him more worthy of love.

Nevertheles the anchour of his hope, must be cast in him that created him, as wel in great as little fluctuations of the mind. Our confi­dence for the most part failes in this, that in great affaires it flies to God, as if in smal ones we were able to do some what of our sel­ves. As we lin petty as waighty matters, we must place our sole hope in him, because we are wholly impotent of our selves to do any good. Some faulter because they can hope for mean things, but dare not extend it to greater, either because they hold themselves unworthy, or else for that they frame two meane a conceit of Gods excellency, and the merits of IESVS. What makes thee doubt or be dismaid in the pursuit of vertu and emi­nent sanctity, as if grace were to be obtaind by thy own strength and deserts, or God were of an envious, or covetous, or needy dispo­sition? The arme of God and not thy forces enable thee to follow vertue. God is bene­volent, he envies not thy good. His divine riches are so priviledgd, that to be liberal, it is not requird he should be good and a lover of us, he looseth nothing when he gives, he improverisheth not his exchequer and reve­nue, he doth not lessen his stock but au­gments it. If any man had a treasure of that nature, were he never so miserly and hide bound, he would not deny what were askd; but the more covetous he were, the more [Page 106] bountiful would he be, and would take it for an affront, if a trifle were demanded. Who is so ill naturd as to deny light, although he had never seen one ask it before; and why? be­cause by giving it he looseth nothing, his light remaining as intirely to himself as for­merly. Why shal not we without presumption expect such a liberality from the father of lights, from whom each best guift discends? We injure the Divinity by not hoping from so good a God & our father, what one might hope from the worst of men though a barba­rian unknown to us. Do not doubt of ob­taining thy request, he hath promisd far more then thou requirest. Do not mistrust his pro­mise, he hath done stranger things then he pro­mised. He promised thee his kingdom; but he became a servant for thee; he promisd that thou shouldst live with him, but he sufferd death for thy sake: it is more wonderful that God died & became a servant, then that man should live & raign in glory: now then we have a pledge, which is an assurd one. Wherfore sometimes thou dost not so much purely trust in God as tacitly presume of thy self, when thy hope pitcheth but upon some things, and those not great, nor all. Of thy self thou art as impotent in order to smal things as great, but in God equally powerful to both.

O Lord, how fondly proceeds he who hopes not great matters from thee? for what in respect of man is but hope, in respect of thee, is wish and desire. If one, o my soul, [Page 107] should desire thee to do a thing, and again and again intreat thee, and offer his assistance, and for that end out of the ardour of his desire should expose his life to manifest danger: if thou at length hadst a mind to do it, and now nothing were wanting but his concurrence, who had so long and earnestly sought and la­bourd it; wouldst thou not go to him with an assurd confidence of having redress, and beg his assistance, especially if he had be­fore promisd it. This is our case with God, whom thou must importune with winning in­treaties, and a ful confidence of reliefe. On his side there is no cause of fearing a repulse: how can it be that he will deny, what he so earnestly desires should be asked. Dost thou expect to be heard, God expects that thou cry to him. Fear him alone, because of thy self thou ne­ver art secure in this life so beset with dan­gers. Although one lead never so holy and vertuous a life, he shall not want entrapments: for the divel impugnes such with greater spleen and malice, because their manner of life is so very conspicuous: A thief will rather steal pearles and pretious stones then peebles or flints. God permits these dangers for our ex­ercise of humility: for this life being most pretious, he wil have it most humble. He permits us to be so many wayes assaulted, that we may stil have dependance on him, and so be most safe when we think ourselves least safe, and remain so stil by trusting in him, if we ne­ver venture to presume of our selves. In this [Page 108] manner, dangers render our life secure; thus by fearing only God, thou quitst thy self of all fear; and if thou fearst him only, thou shalt more confidently hope all things from him: Hope & fear of God are two admirable com­panions: they extremely help one another, & thou must never forsake them; they wil help thee not a litle, if in thee they help them­selves: for one without the other wil litle avail either thee or it self, yea of times proves very prejudiciall.

The XVIII. Chapter. That we cannot but suffer something and of the good of patience.

HE that cannot avoid suffering must seek to furnish himself with patience. Why do we not fortify, our selves with this most powerful vertue, since it is im­possible not to suffer something in this world, God wonderfully disposing it so. He that ho­pes to avoid the troubles of this life, presu­mes to countermine the divine providence: it is so orderd, so decreed, and all for our good. God cannot be deceivd in his appointments, nor frustrated in his disposals. The occasion of our suffering is born with us, because we are born with sin; nor will it be removd, till we be taken out of this place of sinning. God [Page 109] could have placed us in heaven without any more ado to himself or us, at the first cast, as they say, without the long circumference of this miserable life; he could with the same fa­cility produce bread, that he doth the eare and wheat: but that man might take paines and suffer some what, he so orderd, that bread must necessarily be made of corne: He would have labours be precedent to glory, that he might honour us the more, & heape upon us the boons of his liberality, by making them as it were a due debt. O the gracious proceeding of God, that he would become our debter! He that covets to be rankd among the prede­stinate, let him not refuse to suffer, it being the mark and cognizance of the elect, if im­bracd with patience. It was truly said by one, that it was a wonder all the stones under the feet of those who are to be damnd are not turnd into roses, so to mitigate the miseries they are to suffer. But on the contrary, it is more to be wonderd that under the feet of those who are to be saved, they are not changd into thornes, and leaping from thence upon their heads, do not punish them for their offen­ces; such unspeakable fruit shal they reap of their so short labour.

What is the reason, since Christs redemption is most copious, that it took away sin, and would not also take away those annoinances which in this life arise from sin, but because afflictions are beneficially sal [...]tiferous. How should we ever aspire to eternal life, if this [Page 110] momentary were pleasant and caseful, since we now love it, though ful of miseries, and conceive but remiss desires of the others bea­titude. That blessed and elevated man F. Bal­tazar Alvarez said very well, that tribulations are so many wingd horses to carry us a main pace towards heaven. How much the more we debar our senses of their delights by suffering, sorrowing, or sicknes, so much the more are we forced to fly to God, and seek true goods in heaven. The tops of trees if the under branches be cut away reare themselves much higher; and our mind by depressing and keep­ing sense under, flourisheth and taketh better growth. After the lapse of Adam God found out the rare invention of suffering, a heavenly devise against sin. An invention worthy of God was labour and affliction, that we might be in our body as if we were bodiles, and by that meanes our rellish might be the purer, our mind being disaffected to sense, and the plea­sures of the flesh, that by suffering it might be preservd from all contagion by its passions and desires. It is a heavenly devise to supply the commodity and prerogative of death, that we may not be taken with these fading & sen­sible things. Patience was extolld by the Phi­losophers, because they esteemd suffering, which it mitigates, an evil: but because suf­fering is extreme good, therfore I say that pa­tience is good, it making us not shun, but per­sist in what is good.

God is neither ignorant nor unwise (far be [Page 111] such a blasphemy from us) but the refinedst wisdome; nevertheles he chose afflictions for his best-beloved Son, he chose them for his Mother; for the Apostles companions of his Son, and others his friends. That zealous and devout Father Christopher Rodriguez was wont to say; that he would have no body to compassionate him in his sorrowes and suf­ferings, but rather congratulate and jointly with him give thanks to God: for as one friend shakes hands with another and pressingly wrings them in token of friendship, til they ake again; so God with his hand presseth his friends and wrings them, which is an argu­ment of signal love. Punishments many times are greater tokens of benevolence then guifts and benefits, because in that case the punish­ments themselves are the greatest favours and most beneficial. Reprehension and chastize­ment is a more pregnant signe of charity then indulgence and cockering. One benevolous to foraigners and aliens wil be found more ea­sily then a reprover and rebuker; but chasti­zement is only usd towards friends and dome­stiques. Indulgence and liberality extend themselves even to enemies; correction only to children and familiars: wherfore the pu­nishments of this life are surer pledges of love then the favours of fortune.

Tribulations are not alwaies the penalty of delinquency: although no fault precede they are good; and do thou beare them patiently, whether they be inflicted immediately by [Page 112] God or by men, and take them so much more joyfully, by how much less thou seemst to have deservd them. Even as we ought to re­joyce much more if God afflict us, and not for our sins; so ought we also to be more pa­tient and joyful, when we are persecuted, slan­derd, and revild by men, if we be conscious of our own innocency, and that we suffer without desert. What cross wouldst thou rather chuse, and with whome to dye? with the theives on theirs, or with Christ on his, The thieves crosses had their merits, they were pun­nishd for their sins: but the cross of Christ was a cross of innocency, it was not erected for de­linquency, that were horrid blasphemy; ther­fore thou must glory in no cross but that of our Lord Iesus Christ. Our nature fel & in its fal it lost its rectitude and uprightnes; it must be repaird, renewd, and rectifyd, by hard and heavy duties. The hammer is hard and heavy, but it moulds and fashions pieces of plate, which it makes beautiful to the eye, and rec­tifies what was crooked and amiss.

Tribulation carries a kind of divine autori­ty a long with it, in so much that the H. Ghost breaths more effectually many-times by it then by the Prophets and H. Scriptures. We are sometimes refractory to the word of God, and the good admonitions of H. Fathers and Doctours; but tribulations, I know not how, make God when he speaks, be so ap­plauded, that without any more ado we yeald & obey. He that desires to be heard speaking, [Page 113] by knocking, with his fist, or making a noise with his hand▪ [...]bids silence and gaines his au­ditory; so God striking with his, makes us attentive to what he sayes. Pharao resisted him speaking by his servant Moyses; he became plyable and obedient, when he afflicted him by any contemptible creature. The people would not hearken to Ieremy, til captivity at length made them relent. No body is deaf nor ob­stinate to tribulation: it is Gods eloquence and the chaire of the H. Ghost. it is a sacred thing, and as it were the Altar and throne of God, although harsh and repugnant to flesh and blood. O how awfull and terrible is that place! but in very deed, it is no other then the house of God and gate of heaven, the sanctuary of vertues, whether we fly from vice, as into a sacred place of refuge.

Go to then, o soul dear to Christ, fly not affliction as if it were venimous: it cannot hurt thee; thy IESVS hath already tasted it; it is neither evil nor untoothsome, when God is there to season it: how can the bitternes of a drop of gal be perceivd in an Ocean of hony? whatsoever God sends, or howsoever he dis­pose of me, I shall never want this comfort, that it is pleasing to him. Let this be a solid comfort to thee; and yet if thou suffer with­out comfort do not shun it. Let it confound us that we love God les then dogs do their masters. Although a dog be chid away, al­though beaten, although ston'd, yet he can­not be kept of, but comes more and more, he [Page 114] followes him, he fawnes upon him: so must we serve and approach to God, by how much the more we are beaten and afflicted: for if these should cease, our chief occasion of me­riting would cease, nor could we give a suffi­cient proof, that we truly love him, and not serve him as mere hirelings.

OF ADORATION IN SPIRIT AND TRVTH. THE II. BOOK.

THE FIRST CHAPTER. Of diligence in Prayer.

I Am not worthy, o most sweet­naturd God, who being ineffa­ble art more affable then any, I am not worthy to be the object of thy eyes. How wouldst thou have me appear in thy presence and speak to thee, o humble majesty, who disdainest not the speeches and prayers of men, yea desirest & exhortest us to pray without intermission! and such is mans clownishnes that he loaths [Page 115] thee and thy conversation, and makes no other esteem of thee, the lover of souls, then one would do of a deadly enemy. What is the first affront one puts upon his enemy, but to deny him speech? and we, o sweetest truth, will not converse with thee, because we love not truth: for what else would men do, if thou hated them, but what they now do when thou most tenderly lovest them? as one enemy asks not advice of another, concerning his affaires and dangers, though he be held never so wise; so men in the midst of perils and non-plus of redress, will not seek to be ad­visd by thee, giving no eare to thy oracles and instructions, with which thou dost fur­nish us in time of prayer. Passionate men chuse rather to perish, then beg reliefe for their want of their mortal enemy, that they may not be forcd to speak to him: and such an ob­stinate malepertnes do they use towards thee, o affable ineffability; they are often pressd with want, they are afflicted, they perish, because they demand not redress of thee, nor will speak to thee: what greater signe of en­mity, then that two living in the same house will not speak to one another? man lies if he say he loves God and does not speak to him, residing in him. Dumb freindship is not distin­guishd from hatred.

God from all eternity, o ungrateful spirit, cast his thoughts upon thee and thine: it is but good reason, that we in this short tearm of life, consider his divine beauty, and ap­proach [Page 116] him, who would be so neer to us, that he united himself to our nature, and lodgeth so often in our breast: and that he might not depart from us, when he ascended to his fa­ther, he invented that artificial master piece of his divine Sacrament, that he might stil remain with us. But our impudence and rech­lesnes, found also out a way, that when we come to God by prayer, even then we leave him, & become absent, by letting our thoughts wan­der abroad, and busy themselves with distracti­ons: we procure to be estrangd from him, that when he comes to us in his most amiable Sacrament, we fly to the vain thoughts of other affaires, and having entertaind such a guest, we quit the room and appear no more.

But if, o man, thou carry not this reve­rential respect to God, have at least commi­seration upon thy self; let thy own necessity perswade thee to a love of prayer, if love of God force it not. Thou art nothing but ig­norance, nothing but indigency; in prayer alone wilt thou both grow rich and wise: in prayer God will open thy eyes, to the disco­very of wisdome, and thy hands to receive reliefe for thy needines. Our prayers are as pleasing to God, as it is acceptable to him to give, that which is most pleasing of all the fruits of a beneficial nature. God did not create the world out of avarice, that he might have more then he had: but out of munificence, that he might have to whom to give: for this reason he created all things, that he might [Page 117] have both to whome and what to give. But because we have made our selves unworthy of his liberality, the end for which the universe was created fayling, our prayers are grateful to God, because they make satisfaction for our unworthines by sin, by giving occasion to him of doing for their sakes, that for which he made all things, which is to be beneficent; in so much that it seems in a manner to be the same, to pray God and restore the universe. God cannot hold nor contain himself from being liberal, he is perpetually coveting to be beneficial; and therfore he exhorts us to pray without intermission, because he desires to be giving without intermission. Why do we frustrate his desire and our own good? beg importunely; for this importune impudency in begging is grateful to him.

God many times differs to grant our de­mands, although he be desirous to give, either because we ask after an unworthy manner, or not sorrowful for our sins or too confident of our own merits, or not with due reverence, or begging temporal things too earnestly, and spiritual too remisly: and for the most part we demand such things, and after such a fashion, that the very granting our request is some­times deservedly its punishment. Were it a decent manner of asking any thing of a pa­rent, if the murderer of his only Son, car­rying in his hands, as yet imbrued with blood, the sword wherewith he murderd him, should beg of the father the Sons inheritance? what [Page 118] an unparalleld impudence were this? he de­servd to have taken from him, what wa [...] grant­ed before, not to receive new courtesies. Men frequently proceed thus; either not detesting their faults, or remaining impenitent: they were our sins that murderd Christ. We must go to pray pure and undefiled, and not pre­suming upon our own merits, but acknow­ledging our unworthines, dress our selves in the garments of our brother IESVS, according to the craft of Iacob, that so we may receive a blessing from God. Let us cloath our sel­ves with the merits of IESVS which are ours; for he lent us them: not that they make us for­mally just and grateful to God, but because they are the cause of our sanctification. Being so apparreld, let us appear in prayer, using the mediation of his only-begotten, begging of God what he cannot deny us: then thou begst not for thy self, but for Christ and the favour is done to him. If thou make account thou givest to Christ what a beggar asketh in the name of Christ; the same is done by the heavenly father. If thou be moved when it is demanded for Christs sake; how much more readily will God be moved to give an almes? is he less merciful then thou art miserable?

Nevertheles many times thou art not effe­ctual with the father, although thou alledge the merits of his Son; because the merits themselves and sufferings of Christ are not ef­fectual with thee. They say, if an Oratour would perswade his auditory he must first of [Page 119] all perswade himself? Thou canst not com­plain of God, if he grant thee not those graces which thou demandest by the Passion of his Son; since thou wilt not quit thy faults and daily defects for the same; how canst thou expect to incline the will of the father to thee for the blood of his Son, if for the same thou wilt not yet quit thy own will. If thou ask after a les decent manner, how canst thou hope to gain thy suit by a petition that's worthy of punishment? men expect to be petitiond, not only civilly but submissively; and thou pre­sumest to be essicacious with God being proud-harted, immodest, distracted? Learn of Christ in the garden how to pray; lying prostrate on the ground, each joint as is were shivering and quaking, and all bathd in a bloody sweat. If he had taken thee a part with him, to pray together to his heavenly father, the quires of Angels standing amazd, and ac­companying that Angel who comforted IE­SVS himself; wouldst thou also sleep then as the three Apostles did, or employ thy thoughts about the toyes and trifles of worldly com­modities, beholding Christ in the interim in such a plight for thy sins, and the Angels so absorpt in a reverential amazement. Thou that art about to intreat for thy own offences with teares, why wilt thou busy thy mind with sportive entertainments? how earnestly doth a lawyer plead before a man, in a cause which concerns anothers life and death? be not thou wrechlesly slothful before God, [Page 120] while thou pleadest for thy own crimes.

Consider also what thou askest: what pa­rent if his child ask a stone or Scorpion, will not be readier to give him an egg or a loafe of bread! why complainest thou of God, if de­manding temporal things, which are a poy­son, wherewith thou wilt intoxicate thy self, and play the mad man against him, he grant thee spiritual? one must not give a sword to a frantick person to hurt another, although he demand his own; how much les, if it be to hurt him that gives it? why dost thou judge God so wicked or foolish, that asking what is not thy own, thou wouldst have him give thee weapons, to hurt both thy self and him? learn yet further of Christ how to pray: o most amiable and loving truth, let it not be as I will, but as thou: thy will be done in all; thou knows best what is expedient. Even spiritual guifts also are sometimes differd, because we ask them not with a due esteem, neither are they sought with like ardour and desire that temporal things are. He asketh a little un­worthily, who asketh great things but coldly and remissly. God will have us ask seemly what beseems him to give; and by differring the guift, he enkindles our desire and disposeth us more worthily. Men think to draw God to their frivolous ends, with any kind of wor­ship, and sooth him up with any piece of ser­vice, and still him as we do a child with a rattle. Therfore it behoves God, not to be alwaies too facil, but give worthily guifts worthy of [Page 121] his han [...], either preventing all our prayers, or if he e [...]ct them, expecting worthy ones. For when of his own accord he will not im­part his guifts unles intreated, he does it not for want of liberality, but out of a desire of our profit, and a trial and exercise of our af­fection. Therfore it is but good reason, that he expect complete prayers, and seeming de­sires, and not render his grace contemptible by giving it to him, who shewes he contem­nes it while he begs it so tepidly; for we va­lue not sleightly what we compass with diffi­culty, and procrastinated hopes have a more welcome issue. God for the most part chan­geth our petitions into other favours more hidden from us, paying us, but in another coyne, or else he expects a fitter opportunity: for if he should impart th [...]m now, perchance we should swell a little with pride, and sooner be obnoxious to ingratitude.

Thou must also pray for others: he that petitions for another, hath the first share and fore tast of the favour obtained. He that will anneale another, dips fi [...]st of all his own fingar in the oile pot. But be sure thou be al­waies mindful of thy own needines: thou must like Lazarus, beg an almes of God and his Saints and Angels, covetting to fil thy self with the crums of celestial blessings. Tra­vaile about, walk from dore to dore, among the ranks of Angels and quires of Saints, beg­ging every where an almes of grace, and chie­fly of the most B. Virgin Mary, who has am­ple [Page 122] power given her to divide it forth; who being as it were the mistress of the family in the house of God, she carries at her girdle the keyes of mercy. Cry aloud, shew thy soares, thy nakednes, and mendicity. Be confounded that any beggar, should demand more earnestly relief of his temporal necessi­ties, then thou redress of thy spiritual; and procure to comprize in thy self the importu­nity of all beggars together, in order to ob­taine the least degree of grace. One must with more eagarnes, seek reliefe of the least spiri­tual necessity, then of all temporal ones toge­ther, were they all pressing upon him. Blush to see so many needy souls, that groan with thee under the same calamities, with how great humility and plenty of teares they beg redress, while thou sits with dry eyes, re­joycing amidst such want of spirit, insensible of thy pressing necessities. Humble thy self as beggars do, win affection, expect patient­ly, urge importunely, be only not impu­dent in wearying God with prayers, that at least thy importunity may force an almes.

The II. Chapter. That we must not intermit our practise of prayer.

AS much as the soul surpasseth the body so much must we prefer prayer before [Page 123] all other corporal conveniences. What a deale of care in our lodging, bedding apparrel and daily sustenance is requird to preserve life and our bodily health; much more will be requisite for the life and safety of our soul, which hath more numerous and heavier ene­mies then the body. The body is annoid with the injuries of the weather, and the pinching gripes of hungar: but the soul hath even these very enemies of the body for its ene­mies, yea and also its commodities, and the body it self, the whole world moreover & hel with all its hoast, & sometimes the very favours from heaven, and its own vertues, if it know not how to use and conserve them in humility. Against all these, it hath but one only help and refuge, and that is prayer. How then can it be neglected or intermitted at any time, since the body, being better fencd against fewer enemies will have almost the whole day spent upon it, and that custome never omitted. Many because they find themselves firme and constant in their good purposes, think they can suffer no prejudice by intermitting the ex­ercise of prayer for some laudable employ­ment▪ let them beware, let them beware they be not deceived: perchance they will faulter although they find themselves strong and able. He that is lusty of body, if he should forbear eating to gain more time for labour, would without all doubt at length decay, and find his body in a weak condition: so he that ex­perienceth himself constant in the service of [Page 124] God, if he detract time from prayer, to spend it in other exteriour employments though pious; will at length grow faintish, and easily discover his own imbecillity. We must never omit prayer, because we never omit our corpo­ral refection: and if at any time it be omitted, we are careful afterward to make amends. If one for three or fower daies together, should refrain from sleep, out of a mere covetousnes of labouring, in a short time he would goe mad: five houres or more are necessary each day for our corporal rest: the repose of our soul is prayer: very many, because quitting their good purposes, they betake themselves so late to it, become giddy-braind, and be­sides themselves.

Our prayer which is the food and repose of our soul, must be quiet and free from distur­bance: for we take our bodily sustenance, though corruptible, and shortly to be together with our selves the food of wormes, sitting and with quietnes. The benefit of prayer is not stinted to that hour or time we are at it, but hath influence upon the whole day. A little leaven seasons the whole batch, and a little prayer will season the whole day. Prayer is not only beneficial, for that respit of time wherin we pray, because we spend it well and to our own advantage; but much more in regard of the whole day, that we loose it not wholly. A long times profit depends upon a short moment: if thou wilt make purchase of the ensuing day, let thy rising in the morn­ing [Page 125] be seconded at least with one houres pray­ers After a due and fervent prayer, one is re­plenishd with holy illustrations, which in­terlace themselves ever and anon amidst our succeeding employments. After a great noise is past, there remaines a ringing and buzzing in our eares, and the daies actions become fre­quently the subject of our dreames: so from the repose of prayer, certain images of what past in it, diffuse themselves through our daily affaires, and holy inspirations do frequently recur: he that looks stedfastly upon the sun, what soever he beholds afterwards, seems to carry a resemblance thereof. Although one know compleatly what appertaines to his du­ty, prayer conduceth much to ground him more solidly in it. Truths themselves gotten by prudence, experience, learning and read­ing do penetrate more profoundly when in prayer they come from above: corne fields prosper better when they are waterd from heaven, then by the inlet of a brook or fountain: the higher a stone fals the more impetuous is its motion, and makes a dee­per dint in the ground. The same truth coming from heaven, strikes the hart with a deeper impression and excites more vigorously to fervour and devotion. They are our wick­ed propensions, that mislead us from the paths of vertue, and this obstacle is removed by the benefit of prayer, which by devotion be­gets inclinations to good, and is a kind of fuel which feeds the ardour of doing well, pre­venting [Page 126] the fuel of sin. But why do I insist so much upon the advantages of prayer? its enough for me, o divine truth, that thou shewest thy self most affable in it, & most boun­tiful towards me: there thou discoverst thy self, there I embrace thee; and repose as in thy armes in this tumult of affaires. Thou shewest thy self in it o clear-shining truth, to my endarkned spirit as in thy throne, that it may harbour no guile nor deceit.

Our prayer must also be prolix, while health and age permits, that so we may supply for the time of sicknes when we cannot, and must alwaies think we have prayd but little. That most elevated man and great zealot of God F. Didacus Martinius, made every day with great diligence and strict account 4. thousand acts of love to God; and added a part ano­ther sum, purposely to make recompense for the time of his last sicknes, if perchance then he should not be able, as he desird, to attend to God: he moreover spent every day ten houres with great recollection in conversing with him by fervent prayer. That devout Father Michael Sosa when old age and inten­senes of pain in his long and last sicknes inter­rupted his exercise of prayer, exhorted his Brethren and complaind of himself saying: make, make amends, o Brethren, for all re­missnes in the exercise of prayer, while age and strength enables you, providing thus a­gainst the future injuries of nature, when ye would pray, and neither age nor sicknes will [Page 127] permit it: I am sorry now that I cannot pray when I would; I am sorry I did not when I could. So did he accuse himself, whose mind was so absorpt in God, that he would walk up and down like one in an extasy: when he was about to wash his hands, forgetting to turn the cock of the lavatory, he often rubd them, as if the water had fallen upon them, & afterwards wipt them with the towel as if they had bin washd. Somtimes being trans­ported in spirit, he sufferd a rapture for 8. hou­res together, and being come to himself he thought it no more then a little quarter. O confusion, and our benumdnes! we that stand in far greater need of praying, are quickly wea­ry, and think that short respit of time, which we bestow upon God, or rather purchase to our selves, very long; but when it is lost dis­coursing with men, it seemes but short: and if we persist as long in prayer as worldlings sit at a banquet, we think we have done more then enough.

The III. Chapter. How efficacious the grace and favours of Christ are.

I Wish any one knew and could utter, what my mind aymes to conceive and as yet cannot! O how much I labour to com­prize [Page 128] in my hart and cannot sufficiently com­prehend it! Grant, o eternal truth, that I may clearly discover something that I have in Christ and the immense riches that are reservd for me in my IESVS. We know not, we know not, o mortals, what treasures we pos­sess in Christ! The brethren of Ioseph were afflicted with famine, because they were ig­norant that he raignd in Aegypt: why are we afflicted? our brother raignes in heaven. Re­joyce all ye sinners and beggars, ye that are in calamity and distress, because that brother of yours, that loves you more tenderly then does all the world besides, who of all others sticks closest to you, is highest in Gods fa­vour, is most wealthy, is God, and for your sakes hath bin afflicted. I congratulate, I con­gratulate with sinners, because Christ in him­self hath most fully satisfyed the divine ju­stice, frustrating all its hope of making a prey of you, and this without any double deal­ing, yea in all rigour of equity. Christ is the comfort of divine mercy, and the treasure of Gods clemency. I congratulate with the nee­dy, I congratulate with the miserable, I con­gratulate with the distressed; because it is your most loving brother, who hath the dividing of the divine treasures as he thinks good, who gives charters of beatitude, and grants of true joy. God hath placd for master of his family not a forraigner, not an Angel, but your very own brother.

Christ is our most faithfull friend: for when [Page 129] we, as being naked and miserable, were alto­gether unworthy to appeare before the king; he that we might come into the presence of God our soveraign, not only not unworthily but after a most honorable manner, and so obtaine mercy at his hands, he I say, clad us with a most rich purple died in his own preti­ous blood, to wit, divine grace merited for us by his Passion, and remaining inherent in us. He satiates our hungar with his own Bo­dy, he quencheth our thirst with his sacred blood, he enricheth our penury with the am­ple treasure of his inexhaustible merits. If thou wilt know how much Christs merits are thine, & how thou maist employ them to gaine grace, & offer them to God to obtaine mercy, hence gather it; to wit, because he reput'd thy sins his. It was said in the person of Christ; the words of my offences. Yet we must not think his merits so to be ours, as that it is not needful to have any of our own, but may be saved by sitting stil & doing nothing: for Iesus died not that we might be negligent but fervent and zea­lous in the divine service. Even as the soul of Christ could not suffer damnation for thy sins unles he committed some himself, which was impossible; so neither shalt thou be saved by the merits of Christ, unles thou do good works and have grace inherent in thee, which nevertheles is also from Christ. He gave us then his merits, that we might use them as our own, to appease Gods wrath and indignation, no otherwise then he took upon him our sins [Page 130] as his own to make satisfaction; he grieved he deplored them, he satisfyd for them as if they had been his own delinquencies. He gave us not his meer naked works but cloathd in their robes of dignity, that is, as performd by a divine person: insomuch that as he took upon him our sins, as committed by most vile and abject creatures his servants; so we should partake of his merits, as treasurd up by the Son of God equal to his heavenly father.

Let us imitate Christ in as much as he ap­propriated to himself our faults, that we may learn how to use his merits and appropriate them to our selves. Deem o sinner, Christs merits thine, and upon that account make thy demands with great confidence: for this is to ask in the name of Christ. His merits given to us are far more available to this, then if we had done the same our selves & had been cru­cifyed for the glory of God: for in that case they would not be the works of God but man a sinner. Lo then how much thou art obligd to Christ, who took upon him thy sins, and gave thee his merits; who quitted thee of so great evil, and bestowd upon thee so great good. These two scores upon which he demands this satisfaction of thee, are infinitly obligatory; to wit, that as he satisfyd for thy sins as if he had committed them; so thou must not offer the merits of Christs otherwise to God and procure grace by them, then as if they were thy own.

O most sweet IESV, that I could but under­stand, [Page 131] what benefit and advantages have & do accrue to us so wretched from thee! we were monsters of horrour; and now by thy meanes we are become a spectacle grateful to God: we were in the very mud and bottom of hel; and now we are in the bosome, I wil not say of A­braham the father of nations, but of God thy father: we were in the throat of the infernal dragon; now we are in the hart of God him­self: we were an object unworthy of the di­vine eyes; now we are worthy of his embrace­ments: we were slaves comdemnd to the pri­son of hel; now by thee we shal be crownd kings of heaven. Who can conceive whither we had precipitated our selves, and to what thou hast exalted us? our misery ought to have been throughly contented, if thou hadst only freed us out of hel; but not thy mercy, unles thou hadst also elevated us above the heavens and so many Angels: thou hadst done too­much, when we were involud in an irrepara­ble misery, and so desperately, that all redress seemd wholy impossible, if thou hadst only obtaynd of thy father a surcease of his anger; but thou gottest us also our pardon: thou hadst done too much in getting our pardon; but thou moreover ga inedst us his good will, his love and his favour: thou hadst done too­much and a thing deserving admiration, if thou hadst only won his good will; but thou obtainedst for us also guifts and graces: thou hadst done too much, and what might worthi­ly make us amazd if thou hadst obtaind for us [Page 132] but the least guift at Gods hand; but thou hast gotten us his kingdom and thy own inheri­tance. thou hadst done too much, if thou hadst effected this but once; but thou hast effected that it should be given us innumerable times, if we faulterd so often, supposing we had re­course to thee by true pennance: lastly thou obtainedst for us whatsoever God possesseth, & vouchsafedst to admit us, as loathsome & a­bominable as we wer, to share with thee in thy patrimony. Behold, o man, from whence Christ hath deliverd thee, and where he hath installd thee! if thou unwittingly and at hap­hazard hadst freed another not from death, but some casual distress, what thanks and grati­tude wouldst thou expect from him? savage beasts are grateful even for some benefits: a fierce lion, for one thorn pulld out of his foot, was mindful of the good turn after a long time and requited it: and why make we the immen­se benefits conferrd on us by Christ, of an infe­riour rank to those of wild beasts, and rather stand not amazd and at a nonplus through de­sire of gratitude? but perchance Christ was obligd to do for us what he did, or did it with case and with out expense? nay we were his enemies; and the busines was most difficult and desperate; and the atchieving it cost him no less then the price of his blood and pretious life.

O Immense charity of God, what hast thou done for hatefulman! when we were in an impossibility of salvation, and knew not [Page 133] which way to turne our selves, thou o most merciful God, foundest out a remedy, a devi­se, a stratagem of stupendious mercy: and when the compassing of it was out of our reach, thou thy self wouldst execute the design. But what kind of remedy was it? what captive durst wish, much less ask of his king, that to gain his freedom he would become prisoner? Thou, o my IESVS, wert content for our sakes to do more, then we durst either hope or wish. Thou being the king of glory, wert bound for us hand and foot; and treated as one that pleads guilty, yea condemnd and executed for us thy enemies, that stood im­peachd of high treason. It were an act worth admiration, if an Emperour should daigne to visit a peasant cast into prison for his misde meanours; and how much more if his own betraier? what if he should quit his throne for him, and in a disguisd habit remain pri­soner, while the malefactour made an escape? Thou didst this, o most loving IESVS. His praise is never sufficiently renownd, who made himself captive to redeem his friend; nor that servant, who to rescue his king, exposd himself both to his enemies & death; nor that parent who lost one of his own eyes, to save one of his sons, who otherwise had lost both. But what wonder if a friend for a friend, a servant for a king, a parent for his child did such a feat? how much more did my IESVS for me not a friend but an enemy, not his king but a base slave of the divel, not [Page 134] his child, but a child of perdition. If he had pardond me my trespass, it had been enough; but he relinquishd his throne, he lost his life, and over and above enthrond me in his king­dom. If he had only canceld the disgrace and infamy of my sin, he had shewd a rare cle­mency, though the punishment due for it had stood good; but he hath pardond the penal­ty, and replenishd me both with joy and glo­ry. Are these things perchance false, or is fayth infallible? if they be truth it self, how chances it, that while we relate them with our mouth, we are not affected towards the per­son of Christ with our hart, who gave us his hart, and inclind and stil inclines the hart of God towards us? O how dear ought IESVS to be to us, by whom we are so dear to God? how much beloved by us, for whom we are so much beloved by God!

Consider what great good thou enjoyest in Christ: infallibly God would not endure us and our impudency, if Christ were not our mediatour: he beautifies our deformity and renders us comely in the eyes of God: he cloathd our nakednes with grace and attir'd us in his own robes, when we were so miserably tatterd, that we could not appeare in the pre­sence of God; and enricht us with his merits that we may appeare. How gratefuly did he take it at S. Martins hands, that he gave him but the one half of his cloak. IESVS glo­ried and made as it were a flourish before the Angels with that torne rag: and we are un­grateful [Page 135] to him, who clad us in purple and a divine garment, when we were naked, un­worthy, and infected with leprosy: not that he might only cloak the soare, but throughly cure the loathsome disease; and being washd, like Naaman as it were in a Iordan, make us truly sound and beautiful: neither do we prize the garment, and grace, and his merits for whose sake his Father tolerates us, takes no­tice of us, and, which is the chiefe, makes us the object of his love. O ungrateful mor­tals! how comes it to pass, that your harts are not forc'd after Christ who is our treasure our riches, and our beauty? without him we are deformed and unsightly to the eyes of God, by him comely and conspicuous.

God stands proportionably in order to mankind, and Christ its redeemer, as doth our eye to its object, which is colour & light. Without light all colours are invisible, they are void of all beauty; it by only illuminat­ing them beautifies them: so Christ who was a light to the revelation of nations, makes God look regardingly upon us men, now visible and sightly to his eyes, who were bu­ried before in darknes and the shadow of death. Light is the first and chief in the class of visible things, very agreable to good eyes; by it all other things are seen and only seen so far forth as they partake of it: for only with light, or in light or by light, colours are dis­cernable: light resides in the colour, with our eye, and in the space intermediate betwixt [Page 136] both. So Christ is that which is the first and most visible in the divine eyes; most grate­ful and acceptable to those of his Father; o­ther men only are so, for as much as they par­take of him: by him, and with him, and in him they are conspicuous; tis he that dispo­seth them and makes them regardable before God. All the lustre and grace of colours con­sists in light, and by its meanes hath its being; and all the glory, honour, and grace of men is by Christ, it is all his blessing and benevo­lence. Mark how regardles the choisest and lovelyest rarities are by night, they are as if they were a sleep or rather not at all: so soar­ing spirits and subtle wits without Christ lie shrowded in darknes, and are no more regar­dable then a nothing. Why then dost thou glory in any thing besides him? without light fair and foul is all one, and both of them in a sorry condition: without grace by Christ a sharp and piercing wit and a dul and doltish one is much the same, and all other endow­ments of nature, art, and industry are no more then if they were not at all. The hea­vens also and the sun are only beneficial by their light, by which they effect all their pro­ductions; so God by Christ alone communi­cates all the blessings he imparts to man. Of all our sublunary simple qualities the heavens admit none besides light; so neither shall any man ascend to heaven, but he whom the light of Christ irradiates; neither shal any prayer be heard with acceptance which petitions not [Page 137] by his sacred name.

O IESVS the light of men, the true light which illuminates every man coming into this world, illuminate me, that thy Father may behold me, who if he see in me any thing of thine cannot reject me; if he hear thy name in my mouth cannot but harken to me. O the force of the grace of our only-begotten Christ, which begets so many children so grateful to God! where Christ is or his name is heard, thither mercy flies immediately, there mercy is certainly to be found. O how efficaciously sounds the voice of Christ, by which we as­suage his Fathers anger, and press him to our relief! How can such obsequiousnes of his only Son most obedient, most holy, most of­ficious, most loving, but move most ten­derly such a parent, especially since he sees himself beloved by him alone according to the fulnes of his desert, amidst so many ex­ulcerating affronts of men? The name of a child, prescinding from all respects of duty, is grateful even to the most unnatural and miserly; what then will it be to a most bene­ficent God, especially if we add so many servi­ces exhibited even to his unthankful enemies. He that considers Christs dutifulnes towards his Father, wil adjudge all rewards more then due to him. His father lost the world by the sin of man; but such was the officiousnes of his Son that he regaind it, & restord it to him; & was this a smal piece of service? All mankind and innumerable Angels became rebellious & [Page 138] refractory to his Father; the Son took upon him to quel their stubborness and teach them obedience, and this at the expense even of his own life. All mortals fel into a high con­tempt of the Father; the Son by honouring him would make amends for all: he finally restord him so many servants, he gave him so many worshippers, so many lovers, so many praysers, he peopled heaven that was void of inhabitants: and were these but sleight servi­ces? But with what affection, what diligen­ce, what love, what seemlines performd he this? it was altogether infinite, and such, that neither power nor knowledge remaines to the Father, whereby to exceed in rewards the merits of his Son.

If God then be of such a munificent nature, that of his own accord he is beneficial to sin­ners: if so just, that he rewards them beyond their merits, and goes out of himself that he may be bountiful to all, expecting no just title which exacts his beneficence: wil he pro­ceed partially with his Son alone, and not have regard to the prescript of their agree­ment, of which as yet the divine liberality in all its extent fals short? what will he do when he sees that he cannot outstrip the me­rits of his Son; but that all the rewards he gave him and all men for his sake, are infinitly below his services? will he that was profuse to sinners, be injustly pinching to his own Son? will he refuse to give what he demands or we ask for his sake, supposing he cannot [Page 139] reward him too much, nor hath hitherto done it sufficiently? if God be munificent beyond all expectation, to wit, when men judge punishment more due then favour; wil he be niggardly and sparing when they think him bound, not only to do it by way of friendship, but also in a manner claymd as a due debt? if God hath bin bountiful to some masters for a silly servants sake, because he did his duty: what will he be to his beloved Son, in whose sole service he took more complacence then in all the world besides? if he esteem men so highly, that he usd those expressions, for la­cob my servants sake and Israel my chosen; and elsewhere, for David my servant &c. and this when he was in a veine of indulgence; wil he misprize his beloved Son most dutyful to him, and be harsh and unmerciful to him, in whom he so gratifid us? o men, let us make our demands securely, nay most securely by Christ; let us approach with confidence to the throne of his grace; because how great guifts soever we demand, God wil remaine indebted for greater; and because he excuseth not himself nor disclaimes the debt, he will never remaine ungrateful or unjust, but will give what we ask, since he neither hath nor can give all that his Son meriteth. Behold, behold, I now see more clearly then the sun, that it is wholly impossible for him to deny whatsoever [...]e ask for his Sons sake, suppos­ing our petition be made as it ought: for we seem many times to petition, but perchance [Page 140] do it so coldly and foolishly, that it is no bet­ter then a mock-petition. But he that makes it truly and really in the name of Christ, not only intreats, but as it were conjures and exacts.

Christ is the object and delight of all the divine senses: God sees nothing that's seemly, but by Christ: he hears nothing that's harmo­nious, but by Christ: nothing is fragrant & sweet to him, but the good odour of Christ: he annoints & heales nothing with his mercy but by the oyle of the name of Christ: noth­ing lastly rellisheth savourly to his pallat, but what is seasond and sweetned with the passion and gal of Christ. Whatsoever he feels all is grateful by Christ, so regarding us in him: because we resemble Christ, we are pleasing to him: as one that looks through a green glass, all that he sees is green and agreable to his sight, though before disagreeing; that colour which of all others is most pleasing to the eye, tempering the incongruity of the object. O how far would God be from tole­rating our loath somnes and nastines if it were not for his sake! o how often would he be out of patience with us, even after we are once put in the state of grace, which we deservd to forfeit for our ingratitude and non-compli­ance, and many other venial sins, if he did not think upon him who sustaines us and sup­plies for our defects. He alone is a lenitive to his Father to make him relish les noy somely, our impudence and unthankfulnes. The world [Page 141] had perishd a thousand times long ago, unles it had been detaind & maintaind by him, who by offering a daily sacrifice infinitly pleasing to his Father, conserves both it and us so sha­melesly impudent. Christ interposeth him­self betwixt us and his Father, who behold­ing us in him, our deformity doth les offend him; as he that beholds a dead dog but in a looking glass, feels not the stench it sends forth: hurtful objects when they are seen through a glass are not offensive to the eyes: It fares with God as it did with that Emperour who having a very faire emerald, which like a mirrour reflected objects, he beheld in it all spectacles of horrour as combats of duellists, slaughters, and whatsoever causd aversion; to the end that the pleasingnes of the stone might abate and sweeten the distastfulnes of the fact: so our misdemeanours do les exasperate God, when he beholds them represented in Christ. Christ is a gem and most pretious emerald: nothing is more pleasing to the eye then that stone, whose only sight is said to exhilarate it; and it shuts not up this grateful colour within its own inclosure, but imparts it to the neigh­bouring aire, void otherwise of all colour. So Christ causeth joy to God, and communi­cates his merits to us, who have none of our own, to the end that being endowd with his grace and the verdure of hope, we may con­fide that by him we shall be acceptable to God. All our good and graces are but only the exuberancies & as it were the superfluities and offals of the merits of Christ:

The IV. Chapter. How devoutly we ought to be affected towards the most B. Virgin Mary.

HOw great is our misery and malice, since though the mercy and goodnes of God be infinite, it nevertheles [...]ands in need of other helps and industries for our redress! Christ the incarnate truth was a wonderful invention to satisfy the divine justice; but because this instrument of mercy was to be our Iudge, Gods love towards Christ provided another organ of pure mer­cy, his most sacred Mother; for which among other immense benefits of the divine goodnes we ought to be thankful. What had become of us if Mary the mother of mercy had not been? by whose prayers, though our ma­lignity and shamelesnes, which is alwaies af­fronting God, deserve a continual scourge, yet his revenging hand is suspended, and the scourge changd into a guift. Christs reve­rence towards his Mother is more prevalent then our irreverence towards him: If he of­ferd his life for his enemies, and those who by crucifying him deprivd him of life; what wil he not do for his dearest Mother, of whom he received life? if God did so great and re­markable things of his own accord and unre­quested [Page 143] for creatures to whom he gave a being; what will he do for her of whom he took his substance and Humanity; she especially me­diating and urging him by her intercessions & as it were commanding him by the right and prerogative of a Mother? the intreaties of a Mother are as good as a command to toward­ly children: and what child more towardly then Christ? or what Mother better then Ma­ry? what greater obligation imaginable, then that of the best of children to the best of mothers? the obligation of CHRIST is not like that of other children to their pa­rents, but like that of creatures to their God: It is not only such a one as interceeds betwixt the begetter and the begotten (although this also is greater in Christ, since it is not divided betwixt two, like as other children owe their being both to father and mother: for he took humane nature of his Mother alone, he having according to it no father, and therfore he owes solely to her his being a man) but it is also a moral obligation.

Children owe duty and respect to their pa­rents, although they intend not this child in particular but any other; yea although they beget him against their will, and would in­deed have begotten none, nevertheles this tie of nature is so sacred, that even Barbarians & hethens were of opinion, that parents were to be worshipped as second Gods, & that the debt which was owing them could never be dischargd. O IESVS, whose doctrine trans­cended [Page 144] the subtilest capacity of Philosophers; whose example surpassd all humane opinion; if Ethnicks deliverd such precepts about ho­nouring parents, what wilt thou, o Son of God, do in honouring thine? that was the respect which Gentils afforded; how much more perfect will thine be, o IESVS? thou who didst build upon the vertues of the an­cients, and added to their precepts; thou who to the lawes of love superadded that of loving our enemies, & in the command of cha­rity declard even concupiscence to be forbid­den: so also in the precept of reverencing pa­rents thou didst excel in reverence towards thy mother; wherin besides the debt due by na­ture thou owest another of free election. O­ther parents have nothing of choise in the child they beget, but with thy most holy Mother it fared much otherwise: she not only bore thee but would only bear thee alone and no other but thee. Her good will was expect­ed and desird by God the father and his An­gels: therfore because thou art endebted to her for this elective will, thou repayst it by deny­ing her nothing which she wils. Thou dost acknowledg a stricter obligation towards her then other children have to theirs; one like to that which creatures have towards their Crea­tour. This is the great debt of creation, that God did not only create us, but selected us in particular and producd us rather then others, whom he left in that heap of things only possi­ble and their own nothing.

O stupendious excellency of Mary, seing God is in like manner obligd to her that crea­tures are to him which is infinite! and then, as there is an immense distance betwixt being and not being, so the obligation of him that re­ceives being and life, infinitly surpasseth all other obligations arising from other common benefits which presuppose being and life. If then, o God worthy of all love thou art most liberal towards those that are most deeply endebted to thee, and most indulgent to those that offend thee; how canst thou be griping or hard harted to thy own Mother, to whom alone thou art endebted, and in such a manner endebted for the riches of thy mercy and goodnes. How canst thou deny any fa­vour where thou acknowledges so great a debt? thou dost deservedly impart all by her who imparted life to thee: for as children can, by no goods whatsoever make recompense to their parents for the benefit of life; because it is the foundation of all other benefits; and all the actions & natural endowments of chil­dren are properly belonging to parents, be­cause they gave them their first being: in like manner thou wilt deny nothing to her who gave thee humane nature; insomuch that gi­ving all by thy Mother, thou seemst to give all to thy Mother; and moreover putst us upon a necessity of honouring her, since thou wilt have us to obtain what we obtain by her: and because thou hadst of her thy na­tural being, that is, humane nature; so wilt [Page 146] thou also, that we have from her a supernatu­ral being, that is grace: that so by making us the children of Mary supernaturally, thou mayst satisfy for thy humane filiation by her naturally.

True it is that all things are from God, & this very thing that he is a debter to his Mo­ther is one of his benefits: but this imports not much towards our right understanding how much he is ready to do for the most B. Virgin; for this is the custome and fashion of God, to regard his own favours no otherwise then if he had no hand in our merits, though they proceed from his grace; but is as boun­tiful in rewarding them, as if they were whol­ly our own: he will give as ful a recompense for our good works as if these good works were not his guifts, nor he assisted us with his grace, but we performd our services by our own strength, and carried of our selves that proportion to glory; after the same man­ner will he correspond with the duties of his Mother as if he had contributed nothing to them; but will proceed as if he had receivd essence, nature, and life from her indepen­dently of any benefit and divine grace, by which she was prevented and preelected to that stupendious work of the divine Conception.

If Christ acknowledg and esteem himself thus obligd, will he perchance infringe the precept of honouring parents, or rather seek to fulfil it with pressd & heapt measure? if the obligation wherewith other children are tied [Page 147] to their parents be so great that Philosophers judgd it indissoluble; since Christ acknow­ledgeth a greater then any other, can he possi­bly faile in gratitude? if God recompense with glory the minute services of men even beyond their desert, he will not be wanting in any kind to discharge and satisfy this debt to his Mother which exceeds all rewards and recompense. Who can doubt but that Christs gratitude towards his Mother surpasseth the love and gratitude of all other men? If then ethnicks were of opinion, that children, how obsequious soever, cannot be gratefull enough to their parents; can we imagine that Christ will let slip any occasion of gratitude to her? in a word he was so grateful towards his dearest parent, that not content with that reverence which he exhibited to her the while he lived in the exercise of infinite theandricall acts with which he honoured her, in being subject to her; he would have all us to honour her also, and help him as it were to do the same. For that end he would have all us become her children, that for him we might love and ho­nour her as our Mother. For as there was an obligation due to her as Mother, he would also have such satisfaction and gratitude as is proper to children. Which filiation he dedi­cated on the altar of the Cross, when he be­queathd all his to her in the person of his be­loved Disciple, saying, behold thy Son. He did it, to wit, when he was at the very point of death, as if he had only desird life that he [Page 148] might be dutiful to his Mother: but being not expedient that he should avoid it, he left a deputy of his filial care and obedience in Saint John, and of observance in the rest of the faithful: that by this meanes he might both redeem us by dying, and also be grateful to her, by leaving so many to supply for him in exhibiting respect, as if he confessd himself not to have fully accomplishd his desire in that behalf. There at the foot of the cross Mary took us for her children, there she brought us forth, not of her womb but her hart, which is a more pretious member, and its filiation more efficacious. For each child of the womb is not alwaies beloved but the child of ones hart cannot but be so. Ther did she bear us together with Christ amidst thro­wes and pangs which she felt, not in her carnal labour or child bed. She took us very op­portunely for her children at such a time when her bowels were wholly replenished with an af­fectionate compassion towards her Son, that she might transfer it upon us, and by it en­noble her mercy: as if IESVS had recom­mended to his Mother what he said to the woemen; Weep not over me but over your children. And therfore hanging on the cross ful of anguish and torment, remitting as it were to others all compassion due to him, he said to his weeping Mother; Mother behold thy Son: behold each faithful Christian & my Dis­ciple is thy child: do not so much compas­sionate and weep over me as over these thy [Page 149] children, poor wretches and miserable sin­ners, whom I recommend to thy motherly tuition. Christ knew that the misery of sin was a greater object of mercy then any cor­poral pain whatsoever: for his soul did more feelingly resent our offences, then his body did its own torments. Therfore he would ha­ve his Mother transfer her compassion and mercy to the defects, faultines, and mise­ries of our soul, that she might chiefly assist us in them. And because Christ by his suf­ferings deservd well of the divine justice for his superabundant satisfaction, therfore was he worthy of that attribute of being judge of all men, according to the prediction of David; give, o God, thy judgment to the king & thy justice to the kings Son: the Mother of Christ by compassionating and commiserating him, deservd well the attribute conferrd upon her of compassion, & commiseration that we also may say; thou hast given, o God, thy mercy to the queen, and thy pious affection to the kings Mother: therfore no grace nor mercy is derivd to us but by Mary. From hencefor­ward, o most pious Mother, I take thee for mine; & will have this to be the first pledge of thy piety, that thou imitate thy first begotten Son, who as he not only gave thee to Iohn, but Iohn also to thee; so thou give me to God, since thou also gave God to us.

Therfore since our misery finds no redress but in Gods mercy, and the disposal of it is Mary's power to whom her Son denies noth­ing, [Page 150] and she ful of commiseration; why are we so slow and backeward in the discharge of our duty and devotion towards her? we must for 4. reasons be very officious in the ser­vice of the Virgin Mother. The first is the necessity and advantage of her intercession; for without her intercourse and sollicitation no guifts discend from heaven: grace depends far more upon Mary then the showers of hea­ven did on Elias. The second is the will of Christ; whose desire is that we honour his Mother; and in honoring her, we do him a piece of grateful service. For he turnes over to her all the debts we owe him, and she is our creditrice, who must see them cancelld. If what we do to the poor be so acceptable to him, that he takes it as done to himself, and makes them his substitutes in this behalf; how much more gratefully will he take what is done to his Mother, whose debter he acknowledgeth himself, to whome all are endebted.

The third cause is the excellency of the most H. Virgin; to whose worship though nei­ther the tie of necessity, nor the explicite will of her son IESVS did move us; neverthe­les the sole title of her rare prerogatives and perfections ought to endeare us extremely to her. She is the glory of all pure creatures, and especially of mankind; the next in dignity to God himself; to whom he granted this priviledg which he alone by reason of the infi­nitude of his nature enjoies, to be together a [Page 151] Mother and a Virgin, and Mother of God. God is both a father and a Virgin; Mary is also a Mother & a Virgin. And like as Christ according to his divinity was most chastly be­gotten in the splendours of Saints by a Vir­gin father without a Mother, so according to his humanity, he was most chastly begotten in the splendours of sanctity refulgent above all Saincts, of a Virgin Mother without a fa­ther. O double miracle! both that a Virgin brings forth, and that she brings forth God! and indeed what should a Virgin bring forth but God? grace and nature are two sisters; the same artificer gave them both a being: and therfore their proceeding in their different functions is much a like. Even as God after he had created all things made an abridgment of them all in Adam and Eve; and all the de­grees of life and nature are more eminently in man then in the natures themselves, heavens, plants, and living creatures; insomuch that one man is more valuable then the whole world besides, and is as it were a little world by himself, and all things do him homage, and were made for his use: so in like manner because Gods workmanship is no les exactly curious in matters of grace, he also compen­diated in the second Adam and Eve, the whole extent of grace, that ever hath or shall be im­parted to men and Angels. And Mary alone containes all kind of blessings, and superna­tural guifts and degrees of grace in a more sin­gular manner then all the Hierarchies of B. [Page 152] Spirits and quires of Saints: in such sort that she alone doth equalize all their sanctity and perfection. Not piety only but reason also attesteth this assertion; and now it is manifest enough by the revelation made to that B. Man and martir of Christ F. Martin Gutierez whom S. Teresa beheld in heaven adornd with the ensignes of martirdome, he dying in prison under the heretiques, wearied out with their fetters and il usage. The Virgin her self gave many thanks to this her servant for defending her sanctity in these eminent tear­mes. The very Seraphins themselves, and all the other ranks both of Angels and Saints doe homage to her and reverence her as queen of all: no otherwise then the brute beasts in paradise to Adam, while he stood as yet in the integrity of his nature. Man was created in a degree much superiour to other creatures; Mary was exalted above the Cherubins, glo­rifid more then all these glorious intelligences, surmounting them as far as Adam did the common creatures. She alone seems to be twice as great with God, and much deeper in his favour then the whole world besides; towards which though the Son of God shewd a wonderful dignation in descending from heaven for its redemption; yet it could not receive the H. Ghost unles heaven first re­ceivd him again: but the Virgin Mother at the self same time entertaind both him and the H. Ghost in his superventions.

Therfore the prayers of Mary are effectual [Page 153] with Christ for two respects; both for obser­vance due to a Mother and for the consum­matenes of her merits and sanctity: for she is heard both for respect and reverence oweing to him, and worth and dignity due to her self: for the reverence of her maternity, for the worth of her vertue and sanctity: and we also are heard for her sake: whose inter­cession is not only proficuous but also ne­cessary. Therfore let us fly to Mary in all our distresses, as the child doth to his Mo­ther who is beaten by a stranger: she knowes how to support and uphold the tottering world with her prayers, nor think that thou laiest a heavy burden upon her.

The fourth cause may be an assinity and kind of alliance contracted with the most B. Virgin, not only spiritualy and after a mysti­cal manner, but even real and according to the body and nature. For no body is nigher in kindred to another then the sacred Virgin is to thee. He that receives Christs body in the Eucharist, becomes by a real kind of union one flesh with him: insomuch that there is no other union among men straiter then this, not even betwixt man and wife: wherfore thou must also esteem thy self akin to the Mother of Christ, and perswade thy self, that thou sharest in the same flesh with her. There in­terceeds also a greater physical and real con­junction betwixt God and thee, then there is betwixt thee and thy father: how great then will that be which thou contractest with [Page 154] the Mother of God? what created and real union can be imagind greater then that which passeth betwixt the divine word and his most sacred Humanity, derived from the very bowels of the most H. Virgin? and what link of consanguinity can be straiter then that betwixt Christ and his B. Mother. Therfore the affinity and tie which we have even accord­ing to nature with her exceeds all affinity among men. And if men upon this score of alliance by blood and kindred do mutually help one another, and have recourse to them for reliefe in distress; why shall not we have recourse to her, with whome we are linkt in the straitest bonds?

What shall I say of the neernes, and as it were spiritual kindred which we have con­tracted with her? he by whom thou receivedst the grace of baptisme, or stood for God fa­ther to thee in that Sacrament, becomes thy kinsman and thou art bound to honour him as thy parent; how much stricter a propinquity and filiation contract we with the Virgin by whose meanes we have so often receivd grace, who hath so frequently brought us forth to God, and into the light and truth of a spiri­tual life?

I acknowledg thee, o Mother of God, Mother of grace and mercy for my Mother, and beseech thee, that thou wilt not forget that sweet name in which thou thy self takest so much complacence. Thou art stild Mother of grace and mercy; and what ennobled thee [Page 155] with this title but our misery, because we stand in such need of thy grace and commise-ration? wherfore since I am the most misera­ble of all, I challenge a greater right over thy maternal bowels then all. Thy dignity accrues from my indignity, thy sanctity from my sinfulnes: and therfore I claime the first place in thy mercy, because I am the first and greatest and unworthiest of sinners. The sins of men made thee the Mother of God: and my sins alone were sufficient to make thee the Mother of mercy: discard me not from thy protection, since all the Religious of our Society are shelterd under thy mantle, as thy most devoted child F. Martin Gutierez beheld once in a wonderful vision. For who can lay a better claime to mercy then he that is most miserable? remember that I alone by my innumerable offences, can only maintain this title of honour in which next to that of a Virgin Mother thou art wonto glory above all others. I that am most miserable confide, o Mother, in thy mercy: for heaven and earth wil sooner perish, then thy mercy and grace wil frustrate those that truly and seri­ously implore [...]y assistance, and bestow themselves in thy service. Admit me among them, that with joyfulnes and teares I may employ my self in honouring thee: but be­cause my tepidity keeps me cold and dul, as one that am wholy of an earthly complexion, I envy thy clients a little of their fervour; and wish, as did that most devout Father Iohn [Page 156] Trexus, to sweep thy chappells with my mouth and water them with my teares. And to accomplish this in deed, that good zealous Father and devout child of the Virgin made on foot a pilgrimage of some miles.

The V. Chapter. That we must imitate Christ, and of the sorrow and suffering of his most B. Hart.

HOw can that man relish any thing of gust, who thinks upon IESVS afflict­ed for the gust of men? One drop o [...] his blood was more then sufficient for our redemption: how happens it then that the effusion of the whole, and such a world of sorrowes, afflictions, and disgraces are not an effectual incentive to imitation? did the Son of God suffer such, and so much in vain and to no purpose, since the least prayer he made was a superabundant satisfaction for a thou­sand worlds, and able to purchase grace for all mankind. And yet so great an excess of tor­ments sufficeth not to stir up me alone to his imitation! for Christ sufferd for us leaving us an example. The least swarvings of our wil cost God no les then the most exorbitant of our offences. O if I did but seriously ponder my works, o Lord how should I be siezd with fear! Thy works are wonderful, I wish [Page 157] my soul could throughly know them; pro­digious wonders which thou hast placd upon the earth, wonderful testimonies of thy love and my ingratitude and hard hartednes. I wish my hart would become like melted wax, I set thee as a signet upon it, that so I may rellish no gustful thing in this life, but imi­tate thy griefes and afflictions. I will place that sad hart of my IESVS, which was in a perpetual crucifixion, as a signet upon mine; so shall I have it alwayes in my mind and my soul will wast within me. What can be ima­gind more effectual to extinguish in us all gust of our own will, then the memory of IESVS tasting gall, and the whole series of his bitter Passion. Its consideration is so feelingly ef­ficacious, that it made Christ himself become irksome and fearful so far as to sweat drops of blood. What more efficacious to debar us of all gust, then to compassionate with the sorrowful IESVS? It was not without myste­ry that those who so perseverantly persisted with Christ, upon the Mount Calvary and jointly suffered there with him, concluded their life with no other Martyrdom; wheras the rest of the Apostles and Disciples were crownd by the hands of persecuting tyrants. For the most B. Virgin Mother, of IESVS, S. Iohn Evangelist, and the Magdalen dyed not Martyrs: a greater sorrow then any death or passion, tormented them by meer com­passion, and was in lieu of a cruel martyrdom. Let us then suffer jointly with IESVS and let [Page 158] our sufferings be joyfully voluntary.

IESVS is the way, the truth; and life: what way will we take to arrive at a life truly happy but the life of IESVS which was a con­tinual death and perpetual crucifixion. It might suffice to make us eternally condole & compassionate with IESVS, and loathingly abhor all self-seeking appetites, if we consi­derd what torture he sufferd that last night and day of his life in all his members, there being no whole bit to be found in him from the sole of the foot to the crown of his head. His tongue which the torments left untouchd, that it might not go scotfree seems to have shard as deeply as any of the rest: for the most patient IESVS complaind of no disjoynt­ings anguish of his limbs but only of his thirst: to let us understand, that even those parts which seemd to be vacant, wanted not also their torment. Neither did the in­tensenes of the pain stupify or benum them; but all were preservd strong; lively, and vi­gorous, that they might be more able to suffer: and therfore he being ready to give up the ghost cryed out with a loud voice; wherby also he gave a remonstrance of the ne­ver-relenting fervour with which he sollicited our cause amidst such bitter torments; and of the humble acquiescency wherewith he accepted death by the bowing of his head; and the profound respect and reverence he usd in fulfilling his Fathers precept so ful of diffi­culty.

Notwithstanding all this we ought to re­sent most feelingly what he sufferd all his life long in that one little member of his most holy Hart: whose paine was unsufferably great even from the first moment of his conception, and continued so all the time of his life. It was his hart that did first and last partake of tor­ment. It was so much the more feelingly res­sentive, by how much the unsupportable an­guish of all the rest of his members met in it, the most delicate of all others, as in their center. No les affliction harbourd in the hart of IESVS from that moment, then he felt in the garden when he swet blood through his whole body. And even as there he was siezd after an unwonted and frightful manner with a lively apprehension of all the anguish and paines of his passion; so also no les inten­sely did he apprehend the same in the womb of his most loving mother. For Christs know­ledg was not obnoxious to any imperfection, at that time especially when he took upon him the grand affair of our redemption; and all the difficulty he was to undergo and break through, was without any dissimulation clearly represented to his understanding. He did there most perfectly apprehend all the se­ries of his sufferings, the innumerable la­bours of his whole life, his contempts and revilements; and from that time this know­ledge was as afflictive (and perchance more, if there could be any inequality) as it was after­wards in the garden: for there the sense of [Page 160] paine broke out and diffusd it self through all his body; in such sort that the anguish dispersd through the whole did remaine les pungent in the hart: but in the womb of the most glorious Virgin, the whole sea of grief was confined within the narrow channel of one smal member, the little tender hart of the infant IESVS. When one sheds teares he is les sensible of an affliction, then when the anguish is shut up and smotherd in the hart, the eyes remaining dry and tearles: so Christ when he did not sweat, nor the blood trickld out, sorrowd perchance more because no particle at all of that sorrow did evaporate; nevertheles it was behoofful for our instructi­on, to shew once exteriourly how much he continually sufferd interiourly. That grief accompanyd him all along through the whole course of his life. IESVS enjoyd alwaies a most perfect and intuitive knowledg of all things as they are in themselves. Vnles by di­vine priviledg and dispensation he had bin particularly assisted, the intensenes of the pain had causd death in that first instant he be­gan to live: and therfore his whole life was a signal and continual miracle. Neither did his own Passion alone afflict him, but much more his compassion over others: he was moved to it, while he considerd the distress of his most loving and innocent Mother: he was moved to it in behalf of us: he resented more feelin­gly the torments of Martyrs, the austerities of confessours, the discases and maladies of his [Page 161] Saints, then they themselves who did under­go them. If an affectionate Mother do more grieve at the sicknes of her child then the child himself: who can deny but Christ loved his more tenderly then any mother doth her only child. He did truly bear our labours, & our griefes did he sustain. How great then must his pain needs be, if it surpass that of Martyrs, Penitents, and sick folks comprizd in one? But above the rest he was touchd with a lively compassion over us, for all and each particular sin of all and each particular man, who hath been or shal be to the worlds end: The immensity of this pain will strike him that considers it into amazement; it being able, if it had not been miraculously suspended, to have a thousand times be­reaud him of life. If some men have sor­rowd so intensely for their sins that the vehe­mency of their contrition causd death; how could it be but that the sorrow of IESVS for one alone, and that the least venial sin, of any one man, must needs extinguish life in him; he penetrating so perfectly the deformity of the fault, as also the majesty of God his Father who is offended, and the basenes of man the offender, and loving so ardently both the one and the other? as no body can reach the hight of this his charity, so neither can any sound the depth of his sorrow. If he conceivd so great griefe for one venial sin, how much will he conceive for all and every venial and mortal so horrid and abominable? he bore an unsup­portable [Page 162] weight of sin who imposd upon us a sweet yoak and a light burden; and we charge IESVS with the abominable fardel of our iniquities which forced a bloody sweat from his body, as the press doth wine frō the bunch of grapes. If any one should have sufferd all the torments of Martyrs, all the diseases and anguish of all men, even from the first day of Adams transgression til such time as Christ comes to judgment; all this would not be equivalent to his paine; which also upon this score that it was spiritual, was bitterer in its kind then any corporal affliction whatsoever. The fulnes of the Divinity resided in Christ, and the clear vision of God did illustrate him: which nevertheles obstructed not some effects; but it was miraculously so orderd, least by it a tyde of joy should over flow his whole body and the inferiour portion of his soul, that place might be left for sorrow as it fel out in his sacred Passion. But in the hart of IE­SVS grieving for our offences, it did not only give way to extreme sadnes, but did extremely augment it, by reason of his perfect knowledg of God offended: for how much more perfect this knowledg was, it causd a sorrow so much greater; and CHRIST alone had a more perfect intuitive knowledg of God, then all the Cherubins & Seraphins, then all the other Angels and Saints in heaven. Christs love also towards God of­fended was corresponding to the vision of the divine Majesty, wherfore his sorrow exceeds [Page 163] the comprehension either of word or thought; for he let no opportunity slip of suffering as much as he could, and was beseeming him to suffer: yea prodigious miracles were wrought in his most holy soul, that sorrow might have its ful effect. Why then are we so sollicitous to compass joyes, and rack ourwits so much in the search of new pleasures, if IESVS suf­ferd all this in his hart, which none ought to think upon without teares, and each good Christian ought to make it the theam of his thought.

How darest thou, o my hart, slacken the raines to joy? consider the cause why thy IESVS sufferd? it was for thy offences that he might work thy salvation. Because I trespassd, therfore he loves me so tenderly and confers blessings upon me. Why doth not this lover of me and benefactour to his enemies, heap coales of fire upon my head, & make me blush at my own proceedings? why doth he not heap coales of fire upon my hart, that I may burn with love of him and a desire of his imi­tation. I wil place the sad hart of IESVS up­on my obdurate hart, that he may find me at length according to his hart, a frend and de­sirous of suffering. Compassionate, o my hart, with the suffering IESVS, and com­fort him in his sufferings. How wilt thou ob­tain mercy by the sufferings of Christ, if thou hast not compassion over Christ suffering? be not unmindful of such a courtesy from thy suerty. S. Iames Guisay not to be unmind­ful [Page 164] of it, besides his daily meditation and other devotions to it, carried it alwaies about him written in a little Book, in token that it was engraven in his hart and faild no day to read it over. This memory of his Saviours cross was so acceptable to Almighty God, that he vouchsafed him, after his entrance into the Society, a true conformity with it, that is, to be crucified for his sake, and by his sufferings to adumbrate the death of his B. Son: and Christ was not backward in re­compensing the devotion of the Saint: for up­on the place where he and many other Saints were crucified, miraculous lights were seen every friday in the ayre, approving and at­testing the comformablenes of their suffering with that of Christ. The memory of his Pas­sion is grateful to him and that we might have a perpetual memorial of it before our eyes, he instituted the admirable Sacrament of his most holy Body.

But if thou be midful of Christ suffering, why art thou not unsufferable to thy self, and hartily angry at thy own proceedings. The king of Moab sorely straitned by the siege of the Israelites, being quite out of hope of all relief, took his eldest Son who was to succeed him in his throne and offerd him in holocaust upon the wals: and it causd such a commotion & indignation in the Israelits camp that forth with they raisd their siege and departed. Be­hold the holocaust of the first and only be­gotten Son of God upon the altar of the cross! [Page 165] why art thou not replenishd with disdain a­gainst thy self, quitting all self will and plea­sure? we use to compassionate even externs yea even brute beasts; why do we not so to our God, to our Father, to our brother? o our shameles obstinacy! who, insteed of commiserating him, crucify IESVS again by new offences! remember that God is thy Fa­ther not thy foe; that he suffers for thee his foe, not for the beasts of the field or their salvation; for thee not for himself, the bit­terst of all punishments, wounded in all his members, not only afflicted with some smal ach of his head or stomack; because he did thee and the world a good turne, not because he put cities into combustion; publickly on a day of solemnity and in a mountain betwixt two thieves as their captain and ringleader, not in a by-corner and secretly, the ob­ject of all mens hatred disgrace and scorne; in so much that the mercy of men was wanting to him alone who is mercy it self. Neverthe­les he suffers willingly and lovingly, not for­cedly not frettingly not complainingly be­cause it was for thee; of his own people not of barbarians and Scythians; for the space of 33. yeares, not for an hour or two. Compas­sionate then with IESVS, and make not all he has done fruitles: forbear to offend him, begin to imitate him: and that his Passion may truly benefit thee, make it the model of thy imitation.

The VI. Chapter. How far we are to follow Christ.

GOD doth not tempt us though he hath made our salvation ful of diffi­culty. Nothing is more acceptable to him, he having done and sufferd so much, then that we imitate him. The words of a man placed in autority are held for lawes and must be fulfild; why are the deeds of God less observable? he that sets the hum­ble and most sorrowful hart of Christ as a signet upon his own, let him set it also upon his arme that he may imitate what he commi­serates. Love is not soft and effeminate but strong and masculin, and the cross of Christ will crucify Gods zealot by compassion and emulation. The imitation of Christ is harsh and unsavory: some have it in as much hatred as hell it self, but for all that we cannot emu­late better graces. Fear no cosenage when he perswades thee to take the cross for thy de­lights, disgrace for thy honour, poverty for riches; he is the prime and undoubted truth. The eternal wisdome and divine in­tellect hath so orderd, hath judgd it expe­dient. Be not diffident, he is the supreme goodnes and highest power; by these never­theles he redeemd thee, and by the same thou [Page 167] must complete thy salvation: that work is be­gun & accomplished by the same instruments: by these Christ ascended into heaven; and the members must not think of going another way then by which the head leads them. They are not poyson; Christ himself sanctified them and tasted them first of all himself: yea that a smal parcel of them might only pass to us, he drunk up almost the whole chalice of sor­rows and afflictions; and yet for all that, he lives eternally and sits at the right hand of God. How canst thou but be confounded, whilst seing Christ accursed by all, thou seekest so much to be honoured and praisd? behold­ing him prostrate at the feet of Iudas, thou preferst thy self before thy betters? seing him thirsty and in want of a little water, thou co­vets plenty and delicate fare?

It is the greatest glory of a servant to follow his masters footsteps. To imitate Christ is a busines not only of necessity but dignity: and for this respect the main difficulty is re­moved, and a sufficient reward allotted for others that occur. If it be a credit to imitate Christ, then it wil not be difficult to suffer contempt and the revilements of men: for that wil be a high point of honour; and there is no contempt, where it is a credit to be con­temned. It wil be also no hard matter to de­bar ones self of pleasures and superfluous ri­ches to obtaine true glory: for worldlings & even heathens did more then this, when they abstaind even from necessaries for a seeming & [Page 168] only apparent glory. Let it confound us that some barbarians have bin found so loyal and loving to their soveraign, that if he wanted eyes, they would put out theirs; if he wanted hands, they in like manner would cut of theirs; and gave this as a pledge of their fidelity and imitation in others: why do not we that are calld the faithful, imitate the king of glory, in things of far les difficulty? If Christ had only told us what we were to do, though he had not held forth the torch of example, we were to have done it: how much more when he did it first himself, and did it to the end we might do it after him; and not only said so in a word, but made large encomiums of the happines of afflictions. If a Prophet had but intimated it, we could pretend no excuse; and how much les can we, when the very wisdom of Prophets, and Gods own mouth hath exaggeratively recommend­ed it, and made himself a model of it? IE­SVS never let fal the least idle word, and yet he lest so many prayses and magnify­ing speeche [...] of the happines of poverty and af­fliction? if it behooud us not to suffer, the examplary life of IESVS would be to no pur­pose and his austerity wholly unuseful to us, who should be unsensible of his charity who payd such a vast and superabundant sum for our ransome, neither should we be taught by so lively an example to love his imitation, and detest all sin and sensual pleasures. Would God have needlesly thrust his only begotten [Page 169] Son upon such thornes, if it imported noth­ing at all to do what he did, that those whom he preelected and predestinated might be made conforme to the image of his Son, that he may be the first begotten among many brethren? God is not a God of impiety, as who could take complacence in being so cruel towards his only beloved child. Fierce and savage crea­tures are most passionately tender over their young ones: and how could God, who is most meek and ful of mercy; be so tyrannically cruel towards his Son, if it were not needful for us to suffer. The enormity of our sins exacted not such heavy penalties for their re­demption: one drop I will not say of IESVS blood but of his sweat was superabundant. It was therfore our behoof of imitating Christ and suffering (it being the road way to hea­ven) that requird such outragious torments and rigour of life. God is either cruel and impious, or else it is altogether needful for us to be humble, afflicted, and needy, to have a high esteem of divine charity, and a meane one of our selves.

No body knowes the way to heaven who hath not gone it: no body ascends up to heaven but he who descended from heaven Christ Iesus; & who treads the path which he chalkd forth. It was a way wholly unknown, nor could any give better directions then Ie­sus who knew it & had gone it. Iesus did not as some peasants do, who with their fingar or speech point out the way to travellers while [Page 170] they themselves sit quietly at home, no whit sollicitous whether afterwards they hit or miss: for besides that by word he had taught the path that carries to heaven, he goes him­self before and leads the way that we may be secure from errour. Tel me, if we were cer­tainly assurd, as now we are, that there were such a thing as heavenly joyes, and that one were to go thither on foot, and no more were requird to compass these joyes, but only to know the way which he is wholly ignorant of, and another good body should instruct him in that; who would not buckle himself to this journey, though crabbed and ruggy, especially if he that shewd us the way would accompany us and go before? why then do we not believe Christ and follow him? do we feare, the wisdome of God being our guide, to go astray? do we think we can miscarry our B. Saviour going before? no certainly. Christ shewd us a secure path, and traced it out to us, so secure, that although we die in it, the very danger and death breeds security: yea if thou didst love Christ, thou wouldst not stick to die with him. He loves not Christ who doth not imitate him, for the vertue of love is assimilation or resemblance. O that one could truly say; I live, now not I, but Christ liveth in me: carrying the mortification of IESVS about in my body and implanting it in my soul!

If then thou lovest the Son of Mary & wilt become his tabernacle as she was; behold with [Page 171] accuratenes and do according to the pattern which is proposd to thee in the mount Calva­ry, and take a view of the whole life of IE­SVS. He chose to live and die in contempt, he was derided and set with the wicked, accoun­ted not only an idiot but a fool: he was beaten as one would not beat his slave, he was punishd as if he had been the worst of crimi­nals: of his own accord he shund all temporal honour when it was exhibited: ther was no miscalling or slanderous nickname that was not appropriated to him: they calld him Sa­maritan, idolater, possessd person, false Prophet, seducer, belly. God, devourer, drin­ker of wine, blasphemer and transgressour of the law: he was thought to be a traitor and conspiratour against his country, a friend and abettour of sinners. What creature can be namd, to which he did not humble him­self? He humbled himself to the Angels: what need was there that an Angel should come to comfort him who was God, since with one sole word he could have destroid the whole frame of this universe? what needed he say that legions of Angels would vindicate his cause and gainstand his apprehenders, as if he himself had been unable? what need when he was fasting and hungry, to take a little meat and as it were an almes from the Angels; since the least word of his mouth could turne stones into loaves of bread. He humbled himself to men, being obedient & subject to his mother and Ioseph. He humbled himself to the wick­ed [Page 172] Princes Herod, Cesar, Caiphas, Pilate, by fulfilling their unjust commands & obeing their decrees and impositions. He humbled himself to the vilest of men and very servants as Malchus, his executioners, and others. He humbled himself to all creatures permit­ting heat, cold, iron, thornes, reeds, spittle & the cross to exercise their rigour upon him. He lastly subjected himself to the very divels: in the time of his Passion he was delivered over to the power of darknes, and he sufferd him­self to be carried up by the divel to the pinnacle of the temple. Thers no creature from the noblest to the meanest, from the best to the worst, to which my Creatour subjected not himself for my sake: and he that made all things and was Lord of all, would have noth­ing that he might have me: he possessd no mannours, he had no yearly revenues; even of almes he took les then necessity exacted: he went apparelld not like a philosopher or Do­ctour or nobleman, but after the manner of a poor beggar: he was also in penury of true friends; in so much that no intreaty was made to save him from so much as one box on the eare: he divested himself of his kingdom and principality, he himself becoming the mask and guize of his own Majesty.

In as much also as he was God he gave us like documents of humility. That redoubted infinitude and awful omnipotency is most conspicuous for its humility. For mans sake it made choise of these things which have [Page 173] more of labour and les of credit: when he created man he would not make him as he had done the rest of creatures by one commanding word of soveraignty but by serving & moiling with his hands, as if he had been some potter or labourer. In the work also of our redemp­tion he would not ransome us, as he might, by assuming some noble and refind nature, as that of a Seraphin, but he would espouse the meanest of all rationals, infamous, and in disgrace for the disloialty of our first parent, and falling of it self into decay and ruin. In his glorification when he is to satiate us with the glory of his majesty, and as supreme Lord, give a full and final reward, he tels us he wil play the serving-man and wait. For Christ is truly the Son of God, and both taught and practisd the fashions of God in his man­ner of proceeding. The Father acknowledg­ing his spirit of humility in his Son deserved­ly said: behold my servant I wil receive him, I have breathd my spirit upon him. We never­theles who glory in being Christians, and seek to be entitled the children of God, shun those things, which Christ the Son of God loved so dearly. How could we hate poverty, humi­lity & the cross more hartily, if Christ should command it under paine of damnation, then we now do, when for them he hath promisd a reward of glory? our eares are as open to the lies of the world, and we as pliable to the suggestions of the divel, as if he had bin cru­cifid for our sakes: and we so loath Christs [Page 174] manner of life, and set as little by his counsels as if some fool or raving buffoon had blabd them out at randome in the market place.

If any earthly king should offer far les pay to his soldiers, they would without reply follow him through all kind of waies and weather: especially if he should treat them no otherwise for diet, lodging, & apparrel then he doth himself, they would serve him gratis and meerly to avoid shame; & we can be mov'd neither by love nor shame, nor fear nor gain, to follow the king of kings and Lord of Lords. O that I were as faithful to Christ as was that young esquier to Ionathas! do said he, what­soever seems good to thy mind, go whither soever thou wilt and I will wait upon thee through all. He forced his passage through rocks, through drawn swords, through the enemies camp, and all this that the kings Son might not go alone. But Ionathas mounted the hil creeping upon his hands and feet, and his esquier followd close after him. Why do we leave CHRIST to tread the winepress alone, and no body accompanies him in his labours and sufferings. What we are ordina­rily to undergo for Christ is nothing so formi­dable, as what that esquier attempted for Io­nathas. What souldier would desert his king in the midst of an enemy army, and could have the face to return home wel and jocund, and would not rather chuse to fal by his side? and why do we leave Christ all alone? he com­plaines not without reason: I have trod the [Page 175] winepress alone, and of nations no one man assisted me. Although a souldier by staying with his king could bring him no rescue nor himself relief, yet he were not in duty to aban­don him: how much less oughtst thou, since so great advantage accrues to thee, so great comfort to the king of kings Christ Iesus in his sufferings, and the end intended is accom­plishd, which is his imitation. We must either renounce the name of a Christian, or imbrace that which makes a Christian. If thou refuse to follow Christ, whom wilt thou fol­low? it can be no other then the Prince of this world the divel. He that traceth the foot steps of IESVS shuns such a leader and guide; in so much that he ought to do so only to shun him: he followes such a guide that he were to follow him, although thereby he shund no other evil; and how much more when these two are linkt together to follow what is best and shun what is worst, to follow God and shun the divel.

Its only long of our own malice that we do not what Christ did and taught. No body can excuse himself upon the pretence of im­potency: our salvation and perfection is placed in these things, which every one may have if he list: every one may be poor, every one may be patient; its in every ones free choise not to be ambitious of honours. This is the wis­dom and love of God to make choise of those things that are obvious to all, and which all may compass with smal labour. He excludes [Page 176] no man from his kingdom, neither would he have any one want what is requisite for its pur­chase. If he had placed our salvation in ho­nours riches, and pleasures, more would be damnd then now are; for the number of the poor, ignoble, and oppressd are without number, and in that case would yet be grea­ter; for the more they were that sought to be rich and happy, the fewer would attain their desire. What then shal I now say to thee? if thou wilt not imbrace the poverty, humility, and cross of IESVS, or see'st not the incom­parable good that is acquird by his imitation, but that this is it which he himself saith; he that followes me walks not in darknes? thou see'st it not because thou walkst in darknes whilst thou followest another guide then IESVS.

The VII. Chapter. That necessities and afflictions sent by God are to be born patiently.

IF thou wilt not follow Christ, at least do not shun him: if thou darest not imitate him, how darest thou withstand & sleight his similitude? It is an unsufferable im­pudence and a miserable blindnes since the superabundant charity of God is so singularly beneficial to some that it makes them, even whether they wil or no, conforme to his Son, [Page 177] not expecting that they labour in the busines, [...]east perchance they faint in the combat and yeald to the difficulties of a voluntary assimi­lation to the life of Christ; but God daines to do all by himself, putting them in a condi­tion of poverty, of humbling themselves, of undergoing labours and afflictions; never­theles they reject this opportunity and are so far from covetting to resemble the only be­gotten Son of God, that they are ashamd of all those things in which the Lord of glory did glory so much, and seek by all meanes to shun IESVS, whom they are bound in duty to follow. They owe many thanks to God for that without any paines or danger to themsel­ves (for in that case one is secure from pre­sumption or vain glory) they carry the simili­tude of his only Son, in which he takes so much complacence, and out of an affectio­nate indulgence towards them, when he only cals others to his imitation, he places them already in it. But they, ungrateful as they are, thwart his good intentions that they may resemble the proud Lucifer; nay they be­come more haughty then he: for Lucifer never thought himself better then God; but they, as if they were better and greater, when they behold IESVS guiltlesly punished, with all their guiltines must remain untouchd; and desire that themselves be better thought of & deemd less worthy of punishment, then the most innocent IESVS the least worthy of all. Why do we so fret and chafe when any cross [Page 178] or adversity befals us? for if it come through our own default, it is a high insolency for one to except against afflictions who his nocent, he seing Christ undergo them who is innocent. If no default occasiond them, let him yet re­joyce more, because he more resembles Christ who was crucifyd faultlesly. Do not through impatience incur that blame in the sufferance which thou avoidedst in the cause; being ob­ligd to be thankful to God on a double score; both because thou art afflicted, and without desert innocently afflicted. When one is pu­nishd for his default, he must at least have pa­tience; when without default joy also; then reaps he a richer harvest of grace, there is a stricter similitude with the innocent IESVS, & hopes of a better advance, since this cross is not so much for amendment of what is past as for increase of future merits, and to be an antidote against ensuing infections. He must acknowledg the great indulgence of God to­wards him, which he used towards his own B. Mother, to wit, this preserving preserva­tive. Christ sufferd himself to be nayld to the cross for thee by the naughtyest of men; and why canst not thou brook with patience to be touchd by God? a better and more bene­volent hand molests thee.

A child when he is corrected by his parent, if he cry too eagerly is wont to be corrected again; & now he is beaten not so much for the first fault, as for the secōd of his impatient cry­ing: so when thou repinest at a cross or scourge [Page 179] which God is pleased to inflict upon thee, it happens many times that it is aggravated be­cause thou murmurest, because thou complain­est because thou art quite out of patience. Its [...] fault, great enough to deserve punishment, that thou contemnest the similitude of his B. Son, that thou wilt not acknowledg thy own faults, that thou art so void of patience. O king of glory, on whom the Angels delight to gaze! thou didst not turn thy face from those that smote thee & spit upon thee, thy cheeks thou permittedst to them that pinchd them, thou exposedst thy body to those that beat it, thou expectedst nothing but revilement & misery for my sake, and why am I so wret­chedly, averse and a fugitive from thee, my God and my Father, my chastizer and my benefactour? Rejoyce, o my soul, in con­forming thy self to the example of the Son of God in necessary poverty, tribulation, hu­mility, and disgrace. The Apostles went re­joycing from the sight of the councel, be­cause they were thought worthy to suffer a contumely for the name of IESVS. S. Paul Michi, a Iaponian of our Society, went re­joycing in the sight of the people; his eares being cut of for his greater ignominy and he sent from citty to citty to be a subject of de­rision and infamy to all spectatours: he not withstanding laughd first at them, and put on such a cheerful countenance, so confident, so pleasant, so little dismayed, as if he had trium­phed, for this sole resemblance with the Son of [Page 180] God; and he deserved to have that perfected even to the cross, which he embraced with great alacrity. If thou wilt not comfort Christ by taking up his cross, do not contri­state the H. Ghost by rejecting it, if thou canst not of thy own accord seek it; at least when it is found and profered thee do not in vain refuse it. If IESVS, when in his jour­ny to Mount Calvary he fel under his burden, had willd thee to bear it for him, wouldst thou have denied him that courtesy? what if he had layd it on thy shoulders with his own hands, wouldst thou have withstood him & cast it of? or rather have kissd that horrid piece of wood, and adord those sacred hands that loaded thee? certainly thou wouldst not only have been content to bear the cross, but have earnestly sought and coveted to be cru­cified in his place. Behold God hath imposed upon thee the cross of this grief, of this hu­miliation, of this needines, why dost thou reject it? it is lighter then the cross of Christ. If thou wilt not comfort IESVS by compas­sionating him, comfort thy self in the com­passionate IESVS.

O comforter of soules, what can befal me, whereof I shal not abundantly find redress in thy necessities? If I be ill at ease; in thee there was not a whole bit to be found from the sole of the foot to the crown of thy head, a man of sorrows and knowing infirmity; thou didst truly bear our languours and carry our griefs. Am I hungry? thou expended [Page 181] thy fast even to 40. dayes together, & felt such pinching gripes of hunger that the divel perswaded himself, that to asswage it, thou mightest be induced to sin. Am I thirsty? and so wert thou also, and upon the cross; nei­ther was their any body that offerd thee a re­freshment: I am not in such a condition, and easily find those who afford me that courtesy. Am I cold? thou didst quake and shiver when thou lodgedst in the māger. Am I disturbed in my repose? thy Disciples did also awake thee, when thou slept in the ship. Am I injured by any one? thou pleading innocent wert sen­tenced to death. Am I affronted or suffer re­proach? thou wert publickly produced by Pi­late in the view of all the people, he crying aloud, behold the man! am I weary? thou didst sit at the fountain quite tyrd with travelling about. Am I falsely accused? and so wert thou also in the house of Caiphas. Am I rebuked for my good deeds? and thou also for curing on the Sabboth. Am I slanderd? they mur­mured against thee, that thou cast out divels in the Prince of divels. Am I mocked and de­rided? thou wert also taunted and flouted at by those who sayd, he hath saved others him­self he cannot save. Do I receive cross and harsh answers? thou receivedst far harsher, and over and above a villainous servant gave thee a box on the eare. Am I forsaken by my friends? thou wert abandoned by thy own Disciples. Do I depart from my kindred? thou departedst from thy Mother to go to thy Passion. Am I [Page 182] sleighted in my advice? thy doctrine also both was and is contemned. Am I annoyd with temptations? thou also wert pesterd with them in the desert. Am I sorry for my brothers mis­carriage? and thou didst grieve for the Apo­stasy of thy Disciple become a runnegate to truth. Am I sorry for my own defects? thou beheldst them before me & ressentedst them: Do I feel want of devotion? thou didst cry upon the cross, my God why hast thou for­saken me: what distress then is there eyther corporal or spiritual, of which we find not re­lief in Christ first of all distressed for us? This is it which he saith; come to me all yee that labour and are burdend, and I will refresh you. O most sweet and comfortable pro­mise, the very hearing wherof is so recrea­tive! If Christs labour doth ease ours, how much more will his glory do so? if his distres­ses be so effectual what will his power and ri­ches be? but I, most meek Lord, covet only thy helping hand that I may suffer with thee, not that thou mayst comfort me in this life, in which my soul desires neither corporall nor spiritual joy, but onely to suffer for and with thee.

The VIII. Chapter. How purity of body helps the spirit.

HE that dwels in a fenny & unwhole some country, what wonder if he be often ill disposed; as on the con­trary, he that breaths in a pure and sweet ayre, healthful: so a soul in an undefiled body is lusty and vigorous, in a foggy and corrupted one drooping and sickly. The mind in unspotted and Virgin flesh is as it were in a flowry and fragrant mead. Chast bodies are the delights of God, what wonder if they be healthful to their soules? They let their mind attend wholly to God free from the di­sturbance of temporal things; they exhila­rate the conscience in a loathsomnes of all sensual pleasures, loving God, without let or obstacle. O my love, o most pure and sin­cere truth, I am endebted to thee, o God, not only for the half of my hart but for the whole; I will not onely purify my mind but also sanctify my body. We are members of Christ: let not one corrupted and unseemly limb defile and mishape a most beautiful body. Who would prize the beauty of a graceful spouse, if she had a putrid nose or a face and cheeks which were a receptacle of wormes. Christs glorified body is a thousand times [Page 184] more pure and refulgent then the Sun. O mortal man, thou art a member of the im­mortal CHRIST: consider how much thou oughtest to regard the sanctity of thy body, and to thy utmost imitate immortality and incorruption, least thou be disagreeing from his purity. Thou art made one spirit and one flesh with Christ by the communion of his most H. Body: do not defile thy own flesh which by a wonderful kind of real union is become the flesh of Christ. Thou wouldst deem it no les then a sacriledge, if one should clothe the statua of a Saint in a spotted & nasty garment: why art not thou at least ashamed to defile that flesh which is a part of the living Christ, and add an obscene and polluted mem­ber to it? thou thy self wouldst not weare a piece even of royal purple, if it were steept in dirt and clay: and why wilt thou weare thy own flesh staind so pittifully with filthy blem­ishes, and make it a part of Christs body?

As both our soul and body shal in the next life glorify God in unspeakable purity, so must we in this also strive to serve him in cleanenes of both. Thou must not only seek beatitude by the sanctity of thy soul; but must endeavour also to merit the felicity and resurrection of thy body by the sanctity of thy flesh; least siding with thy mortal part, at the instigation of some pleasant object, thou sentence thy self to a perpetual death. But learn now so to behave thy self in flesh, as that thou mayst resemble the Angelicall spirits [Page 185] who shall neither marry nor be married. Learn now the incorruptibility and being of a single nature and life abstracted from all sense. Thy body must emulate the purity of the celestial Thrones, in whom God hath seated himself; since it is the temple of the H. Ghost, chosen to be a vessel of honour. We are the good odour of Christ: Christ breathes purity every where; his attendance is Virginity, his delight chastity. In almost all the calamities of this world chastity was, as it were, a lenitive to God & a repayrer of its dammages: he found an excellent way of repayring the ruines of the Angels chiefly & principally out of Virgins & chast persons, & by them; chusing a Virgin Mo­ther and Precursour, having his Disciples and the peers of his Church, & the more eminent part of his Saints, for the most part Virgins, or living in continency, or without the use of their wives▪ or separated from them, and all of them most chast: he mitigated the sad disaster of Adams fal, with the hopes of a Vir­gin that was to bruize the head of the Serpent: those whom he saved in the deluged world kept chastity while they were in the Ark: Christ solaced himself upon the cross with his B. Mother and beloved Disciple both Vir­gins. How can he chuse but love chastity & Virginity, both his Parents being Virgins & he having all his being derived from Virgini­ty? Christ had a Virgin Father according to his divine nature; and a Virgin Mother ac­cording to his humane. He would moreover [Page 186] have the type and substitute of his Father, to wit S. Ioseph, a Virgin, though he were to beare onely the name and title of parent. He made choyse of two Virgins Abel and Isaac for figures of his innocency and obedience: The first fruits that were purchased by the blood of the lamb were Virgins, and so they follow him whithersoever he goes; whatsoe­ver they do or say, imitating Christ and his modesty which was so rare, that nothing was ever objected against him in that behalf. And when the Iewes invented many lyes against IE­SVS, and heaped many aspersions upon him without any shew of probability, yet they never taxed him for impurity, though they knew him to have held conferences with woe­men, by reason of his rare modesty and the shamefast composure of his countenance, which alone cleard all suspicion and calumny of les exact chastity. A meane is chiefly to be observed in the sight for as S. Orontius ad­monisheth

Love, like those teares which wrongs do from us wrest,
Breeds in the eye but passeth to the breast.

From the eyes to the hart is an easy and ob­vious passage. That venerable Servant of God B. Alphonsus Rodriguez never be held the face of a woman for the space of 47. yeares, nor any thing else that was recreative; to wit, the modesty of Christs eyes in a certain ap­parition to him made such an impression in his hart all his life long, that their very me­mory [Page 187] was sufficient to compose his: and by this meanes he preserved his hart in great pu­rity, and joyd only interiourly in God. Do thou also shun exteriour effusion if thou desir­est internal and external purity.

The IX. Chapter. That our practise of mortification must be continual.

LEt no occasion slip of doing good & shunning evil: he that borrowes an ass of another is not willing to keep him idle. One might doubt whe­ther it were more conducible to tolerate evil or do good? but for me I am throughly per­swaded that next after God, nothing is more regardable then that by which one is made ac­ceptable both to God and his Saints. That in­deed is the best of all, when one joyning these two together, does good by treating him­self ill. Let not, o afflicted spirit, the difficulties of vertue, and importunity of thy passions contristate thee, rather rejoyce in the occasion of merit. Assaile and overcome: that merit is not so highly prized which is ac­quird, by living peaceably as patiently, amidst the assaults of our perverse inclinations, in the solidity of our service, in the violence and sufferance of our selves and the cross of Christ. Take it not ill, that thou art enriched by God with more numerous and fruitful instruments [Page 188] of merit then the Angels: he gave thee a bo­dy that thou mightest have so many organs of merit, to wit so many crosses as it hath senses and powers of the soul: he priviledgd thee above the Angels with that charge of thy bo­dy, and creditted to thee the carrying of that muddy lump of earth into heaven. One only care was committed to the Angels, to pre­serve their spirit, which was a single one sin­cere and intire: but a double burden was im­posed upon the soul of man though of a fee­bler nature, both to raise it self and its trou­blesome flesh, to an equality with the Angels & heavenly glory. It seemd somewhat unjust that the Angels who were in a ready equip­page, expedite, free from all clog or carriage, and man who was retarded and loaden with the luggage of his body, & charged over & above with a thousand crosses, should be cal­led to the same journy of heaven; the soul especially being more imperfect and infirme then an Angel: but Gods assisting grace can easily recompense the grievances which arise from the society of the flesh in order to merit, that it may equalize or surmount the dignity of Angels. If thou didst but know how to make use of thy massines to thy advantage, it would rear thee much higher: dancers to make themselves nimbler assume some weight by holding stones in their hands: thy body will help thee, if thou do but force it. This is no easy task but a busines of great contention: and the gain thou reapest from thy endeavour [Page 189] must animate thee against all occurrent diffi­culties. How many engins and how much force is requird to rear a great stone into a to­ [...]er? and thou canst not raise thy massy lump of earth above the stars without violence and the engin of the Holy Cross.

In this state of mortality, after the accom­plishment of our redemption by the Son of God, Saints are no les eminent then they would have been in the state of innocency: wherfore they become equally holy in this shortnes of life, as they would have been in the space of many ages, had men stil remaind immortal. The multitude of afflictions toge­ther with the grace of IESVS recompenseth the multitude of yeares. The redemption of Christ was more copious then the damage we sustaind by our prevarication; and yet for all that, he would not free us from the necessities and incumbrances of our flesh, nor wholly extinguish the rebellion of our appetites, least he might deprive his elect of a very compen­dious way of meritting; that by this meanes he might present them to his heavenly Father in a shorter time, loaden with equal or greater merits, then could otherwise have been ac­quired in many ages. He who vanquishd the world by the cross will have thee to vanquish thy self by the same. The copious grace of Christ triumphs most in a thwart and reluctant nature: and it helps it self by that very reluc­tancy to increase its merits. The stronger the enemy is, the more glorious is the triumph: [Page 190] therfore it must not be burdensome to thee to he burdensome to thy self: but enjoy this thy violence and patience upon all occasions of meritting, in overcoming, in sacrificing, in crucifying thy self in all things. Let not the grace of Christ be idle and ineffectual in thee. Combat and the cross is necessary to make thee good whether thou wilt or no. Some great commanders after they had landed their men, burnt or destroid their shipping, that all hopes of returne being quite cut of, their souldiers might fight more resolutely: in the same manner God hath tied an enemy to us. Why do we hope to avoid all combat? the necessity of combatting must necessitate us to victory and merit. Christ redeemd us by his cross, and by it we must be saved, dying con­tinually that we may live and vanquish by our patience. The way of salvation is rightly tearmd the way of perdition: destroy and seal up thy senses with the signet of Christs cross and they shal be in security, blindfold thy self or rather put out thy eyes, and thy sight wil be much better: become deaf and thou shalt hear with facility: become mute and thou shalt speak wel; heep thy self fasting and thou shalt rellish wel; be without hands and employment, and thou shalt labour wel; be odious to thy self and thou shalt love wel; be dead to the world, and thou shalt live wel; be fearful and thou shalt be secure; be con­temptible to thy self and thou shalt be honor­ed; be laborious and thou shalt enjoy repose, [Page 191] sustain all evil, and so thou shalt possess all the good which is containd in the cross.

O truth, o most loving IESVS, if I love thee, how can I hate that cross which thou lovedst so ardently! how can I shun that cross which none but divels shun who hate thee? it is the divels task to fly from the cross; it is Christs to die upon it: let a Christian consider whether of these two he ought to imitate? let him be sure to imbrace self-victory and self denyal, and not divide himself for a trifling pleasure or the disturbance of a petty incom­modity from Christ, depriving himself of so much merit and satisfaction. Do not go about to excuse thy self from that which is altoge­ther inexcusable: although thou be one of the elect, thou must suffer either in this life or in purgatory, where patience is extremely barren. If one must needs suffer, judge whether it wil be more commodious to do it in this life, where with light afflictions thou redeemest excessive torments, and sins, and moreover gainest glory by increasing thy merits: or in purgatory where by vast sufferings thou makest but slen­der satisfaction, & meritest nothing at all be­sides? in purgatory there is no merit, small satisfaction, huge punishment; but in this life the punishment is extreme easy, the satis­faction great and merit most ample. What marchant would buy wares at such a time when they are both worst and dearest; and not rather when he may have them in a manner for nothing?

But above all love to suffer for love of Christ. Is there any one, that having once imbraced him would relinquish him for that cup of water which David powred upon the ground? tell me, o thou lover and zealer of Iesus; if thou wert naild on the other side of Christs cross back to back with thy beloved, crucified together with him for the glory of God on mount Calvary; and if some should make promise of belief in him & to acknow­ledg him for the Son of God if he would des­cend, & he for all that would not desert thee, nor descend; & again, some other should offer thee as one would do a child a morsel of meat or an apple, as Eve did Adam, upon condition thou wouldst desert the company of thy belo­ved IESVS; wouldst thou really desert and abandon him? o! our arrand shame and con­fusion! how often do we for a toyish plea­sure, or the fulfilling of our perverse will relinquish the cross, and leave Christ to suffer all alone without the comfort of our com­pany?

Go to, o my soul redeemd by Christ upon the cross, take up thy cross and follow thy IESVS, and deny thy self: learn self deny al by what it is to deny another: he that is alie­nated from another whether he be kinsman or friend, if he see him beaten, or in want, or imprisond, he comes not at him, he succours him not, nor condoles with his distressed condition: and so must thou proceed with thy own body and stand affected towards it, as if [Page 193] an alien or enemy groand under such a cala­mity. Its not enough to take up thy cross but t [...]ou must also deny thy self by dying upon the cross, on which thou must be crucified by dying with thy IESVS. In no desire of thy hart nor propension of sense must thou seek thy own content; even as he that is nayld to a cross hath not power to move any member as he listeth, nor do what his list suggesteth. One that were crucified would have small re­gard to things present, nor be sollicitous for the future; he would not labour to hoard up riches nor bespeak pastimes: but would fix his eie only upon the other life, and though as yet living, reckon himself among the dead: in such a condition must he be that is crucified with Christ: he must also number himself a­mong the dead not only defunct to the plea­sures and vices of this life but even to life it self.

The X. Chapter. Of the sufficiency and good of Poverty.

HE that hath God what needs he seek any thing else; or how can he but be ashamd to have or covet any thing be [...]des? one that had costly furniture or a rich cupboard of plate would be far from keeping an earthen dish among it, chusing [Page 194] rather to break it in a thousand pieces then it should be a blemish to the rest, and an eie sore to them that behold these rarities, and make them laugh at the owners rusticity. O infinite majesty and unparalleld beauty; how dare I be so bold as to hang any terrene thing at thy girdle, and possess it together with thee? all the harts of men who ever have been, are, or shal be, all the wils of the Seraphins or other celestial Spirits suffice not to employ or exhaust his immensity; and why then do I, a silly imp, employ my hart which is but one & a narrow one upon other things, and not rather dis­engage it from all to give it entirely to him? if I have any thing besides him, I neither possess it fully nor him; if I have nothing but him, I do not only possess him▪ but all things also together with him. Who can be found so little a friend to his own advantage that if he could gain a thousand crownes for a hundred would not willingly employ his mony? can any one think God les valuable then a thousand crow­nes? why then are not men content to ex­change for him I wil not say a hundred crow­nes, but even toyes and trifles which clea­ving to our hart extinguish devotion; and sometimes either expel him thence, or like a brazen wall obstruct his entrance. O the in­estimable value of poverty which breaks down these barriers of our hart, that God may enter into man; and unlocks the gates of heaven, that man may enter into it and God.

If one should make this profer to a Gentil [Page 195] void of faith who stood ravishd with the visi­ble beauty of the stars and magnitude of the heavens; what wouldst thou give to contem­plate these faire creatures for a dayes space nigh at hand, and even touch with thy fingars the matter they are made of? would he not give all he were worth, at least out of curio­sity, to be among them for a little time, or at leastwise that a piece of a star might be shewd him upon earth? and how much more ought we to give and do that we may be car­ried up to heaven, not to behold them for one day, but possess them for all eternity and raign there like so many princes. And how much more estimable is it, that thou hast God descending to thee upon the earth & residing in thee, then if one should once shew thee a fragment of the sun? if this be so, what reason can we yeald of so great madnes in contemn­ing spiritual things and doating upon tempo­ral, but because our faith is so faint and lan­guid? which if it were lively and vigorous the first time we hear that saying of Christ; Blessed are the poor of spirit because theirs is the kingdom of heaven; the last sillable should no sooner be pronunced but we should forth with renounce whatsoever is in our possession.

O; our shame and confusion! there have been some philosophers who have relinquishd all their goods, gold, silver, and whatsoever els, for this sole end that with les disturbance they might contemplate this material heaven; and we refuse to quit meer toyes to become [Page 196] Lords of the empireal. Ethnicks, though they denied the immortality of the soul, did preach up and chuse poverty, even out of a temporal motive, that they might rid themselves of all cares: and we neither for any commodity of this life, nor hopes of an eternal can be indu­ced to imbrace this vertue. Thou esteemst content of mind and temporal repose more then all the kingdoms of the world; how much more oughtest thou to value eternal cō ­tent, and above all God himself? one should make a most rich purchase, if he gave all the treasure of Croesus, the revenues of Salomon, the Empyre of Augustus for one buffet for Gods sake; and why dost not thou buy of God at a far cheaper rate, the kiss of friend­ship, his sweet imbracements, his intuitive and beatifical vision? when Adam was cast out of Paradise and a guard placed at its entrance with a flaming and two-edged sword; if he had been hopeles of a redeemer, but were to bribe the Cherubin with mony for a returne to his ancient and happy state, where he lived in such poverty, that he was not worth a suit of appa­rel; would he not willingly have given all he had in the world, so fertil of briars & waterd with his sweat? how much more industrious must we now be to come to the glory and frui­tion of God to gain and possess God him­self? shall we perchance be more excusable for having a redeemer, since for this respect we are much more obliged, if we be capable of gratitude, to imitate him and follow his ad­monitions, [Page 197] and believe his words who said, that it was harder for a rich man to enter into heaven, then for a camel to pass through a need­les eye.

O most amiable Lord, if thou be the re­ward of poverty, take what is mine, and in the first place my self I wish I were so poor that I were not owner of my self: for he is rich enough who hath himself, since he is ma­ster of a man. He that hath relinquishd other things and not himself doth no great feat in contemning those things which are of them­selves but earth and dust; which for the most part contain some evill, and by which we be­come evill; the compassing whereof is ful of vexation the possession of fear, the deprive­ment of sorrow. It is no great busines to leave those things that otherwise will leave us, and in the interim are many wayes hurtful. Thou o Lord becoming man gavest thy self to man for man, that by such traffique thou mightest gain man and not the riches of man: man must render himself into thy hands and not esteem himself more valuable then God. It is a high piece of injustice for man to deny himself to God who bought him at so dear a rate. Man must set a true estimate upon God and retaliate the injury he sufferd by Iudas who rated him only at 30. Pence. A Christian must prize Christ more then the whole world and a crea­ture rate God higher then it self. He that re­linquisheth other things and not himself is so far from lessening his desire, that oftentimes [Page 198] he more augments it. Privation causeth an appetite and want stirs up desire. All things are only a just price for him that is all. All things must be abandoned in which man himself is concerned: for if one retaine an appetite though he relinquish the thing it self, his smootherd desire will soon revive.

We must not only relinquish the things them­selves, but the very desire of them. It is not enough to abandon what thou hast, but thou must moreover not seek any thing else, nor accept of what is offered or given thee, nor, as much as may be, even borrow things for thy use. It is not the propriety but use of things that is noxious. Let it be grateful to thee to have less then the rest, avoiding singu­larity which is a stumbling block of ill exam­ple, laid to the detriment and overthrow of the rest: It is a singular beast, or beast of sin­gularity which wasts and depopulates the vin­yard of our Lord: many religious men are less cautious in this behalf: they think their spirit is not disquieted so long as they feel no anxiety nor desire; but when any thing is pro­ferd and given without perceivance of these in themselves, they deem themselves free from all danger, especially when they are not fur­ther annoid with sollicitude of other things. But they are not out of danger: for although there be none in acquiring the thing, yet there is in the use and possession of it. The things themselves cause an appetite of other things; wherfore although the man himself [Page 199] have no desire of others yet the things them­selves have and they stir up an appetite in their possessour: for one thing is alwaies craving another. Besides if thou hast relinquishd thy own, why wilt thou have another man an­null thy fact? that which thou approvedst as conforme to the doctrine of Christ, why makest thou another to disapprove? it is be­cause thou intendest to dismiss & relinquish again what is now given thee? thou mayst make a shorter cut then this by not taking it. The chiefest prayse of poverty consists not in leaving much, but in having nothing, & reser­ving nothing for his own use. Why was the glory & commendation of the Apostles so emi­nently great? was it perchance because they a­bandond their poor fishing nets, or rather be­cause they retaind nothing? for that indeed is to relinquish all. If another importune thee to take any thing, thy poverty must contend with his liberality: thou wilt prove thy self a poul­tron, if thou be overcome. Thy own po­verty over came thy liberality, why cannot it do so to anothers? thou didst rather chuse to be poor and needy then reserve any thing of thy own wherwith to be liberal: why pre­ferst thou anothers liberality before thy own poverty? would he be thought to give good advice who should say, keep this that thou mayst not abandon all: no certainly; neither must thou acquiesce to his suggestions which are repugnant to the counsel of Christ. Suppose him that gives to say in like manner, beware [Page 200] thou yeald not, but having forsaken thy own do not accept of whats anothers; but con­temne for the love of God, those things also which thou hast not nor art in possibility of having. Such a love of poverty is wont to be ingenderd in the servants of Christ, that if even IESVS himself, for whose sake they quitted all, should restore them something, or command them to possess the goods of this world, they would reply, and appeale to the throne of his mercy as deeming that two great a punishment.

O how rich will he be, who is so poor of spi­rit, that not so much as in affection he covets any thing of this world! for as soon as he hath made this renouncement of worldly trea­sures in his hart, he transfers them into hea­ven; becoming Lord of them and selling them to Christ, without any prejudice at all either to him that ownes them or that hath them in use. Such a one is strangely enrichd by those things which neither are his nor ever shal be, having treasures in heaven and no want upon earth for poverty is not burdensome to him that loves it, but ful of sweetnes and con­tent; unsavory only to them that hate and in­veigh against it, and what wonder if it be of­fensive to its persecutours and enemyes. Ne­vertheles it is hurtful to none, but good to all: for it is no hindrance at all to those who contemne all from their hart for God; and very advantagious to those that gape after ter­rene commodities; making them even against [Page 201] their wils forbear a great many sins which in plenty they would have committed plenti­fully. Wherfore although it seem to such bit­ter and distastful, yet they cannot deny i [...] to be extremely beneficial.

The XI. Chapter. That Patience is necessary in all occasions.

PAtience is a thing to be wished above all others: thou must regard it more then thy life; for there is a greater ne­cessity of suffering then can be of li­ving. Thou art not born to live easfully for a time but thou livest that thou mayst suffer for a time, and thou sufferest for a time that thou mayst live eternally. Thou art born to a life which shall not be interrupted; it is requisite then that in this its interim thou suffer with­out interruption. This life is not for it self: for neither do passengers travel that they may only be sayd to be in motion: we live for a more sublime end. What is this life but toile and labour, to which man is born that by it he may purchase beatitude; God could have created us in glory: what needed we fetch such a circuit about & pass through so many wind­ings, unles we were to go by the path of suffer­ing. Give credit to what I now say, & register it in the book of thy hart; nothing is more ne­cessary [Page 202] to life then patience because nothing is more obvious in it then sufferance. In trou­bles which cannot be avoided it is a lenitive & asswageth griefe, which impatiēce augmenteth. Thou mightst have some pretext for being impatient, if thy impatience would ease the affliction, but it is a thing beyond all excuse to forfeit the ample fruits of patience, which thou mightst reape almost out of every action and adversity, without any fruit at all. Do not omit nor performe thy vertuous exercises perfunctoriously, by reason of any incum­brances of this life, or the hard measure thou hast from men; for it would be esteemed injustice to make God pay for an injury done thee by man. God who is innocent must not satisfy for the default of the nocent.

If thou inure thy self to take these tribula­tions patiently, thou shalt become after a manner impassible, and a lover of afflictions. Fire doth not burn ashes, nor suffer they any harme from it; they rather love the fire, fo­ment, and help to its conservation: so the more patient one is, the more joy many times by a certain divine priviledg, doth he feel in his greatest pressures. Patience doth not les­sen the labour but the pain, and thats enough: it is so deserving at our hands, that it wil not defraud us of any part of our merits, but only asswage the noy somenes of the affliction: & so it hath found a meanes to make us enjoy both the fruits of our labours and not be con­tristated with the labours themselves. God [Page 203] takes complacence in nothing almost more then in sending adversities, confusions, hu­miliations to him thats truly patient; be­cause he loves most cordially one that is thus throughly mortified, & enricheth his friends with merits, whose harvest is in labours and afflictions. God shewes no greater argument of love, nor imparts any guift with more tendernes and affection of hart then labours & the bitter cross of his B. Son: and nothing ought to be higher then this in thy desires. The most loving hart of Christ expected revi­lement and misery: and how canst thou be his disciple if thou hate and shun it? seek not to beloved by God upon other motives then was his only-beloved Son; nor covet to affect any thing besides what he loved and affected.

Thou wilt not be patient enought, unles thou desire practise of patience, which is suf­ferance: thou wilt be but half-patient if thou only beare the wrong done thee, unles thou be also ambitious of them; but this without any others default. To what end makest thou thy complaints? the true patient speaks not of his wrongs, nor makes rehearsals of his aggrievances to another; because he placeth not his comfort in excuses and condolements, but stands indifferent whether his griefe be eased or no. Why resentest thou so heavily to supply what is wanting to the sufferings of Christ? he for the glory of God would not only endure scourges and the cross but in de­sire and preparation of mind he covered all [Page 204] the afflictions of all men, and this very anguish that now annoyes thee, which was wanting to his Passion, that is, to a most ar­dent desire of greater sufferance, and all tor­ment imaginable. Rejoyce that thou endu­rest this for Christ, who oughtest to deem it an inestimable favour to receive one stripe that it might not be inflicted on him: but if thou brookst this sleight affliction, which was want­ing to his desire, with patience, Christ will take content in it, and thou wilt afford him no smal comfort. O most loving IESVS, why am I afflicted in my tribulations, if I have this solace, that thou art solaced by them. Thou didst seek, o Lord, some one who would condole with thee, & couldst find none: behold me here of my own accord, I wil be afflicted and sorrow with thee, that I may be a companion of thy sufferings and death. Who wilgrant me that I may die with thee, o Son of God? and if thou be pleasd to send me only this light tribulation, why do I refuse to be lightly afflicted for thee? others solace themselves if only some men be joint-sufferers with them; why should not I solace my self, if I be joint-sufferer with my God. This is enough for me; neither do I covet the com­passion of men. I will grieve no more, o Lord, that I see my self alone injured, my self alone contemned; nay this shal be a comfort to me, that besides the fellowship of my suffering IESVS I suffer all alone, and behold none of my brethren involved in the like distress. O [Page 205] my IESVS I find nothing in this tribulation which gives me just subject of complaint: why shal I esteem what is done to mea con­tempt if with thee it be reputed a dignity? why shall I esteem it an injury, if thou reckon i [...] one of thy favours.

Who would not think himself well sped if being in a continual expectancy of death for an impeachment of high treason, he be only fined in a pecuniary mulct, or suffer forfeiture of his estate? would he take it impatiently or think himself hardly dealt withall, and not rather judg himself worthy of congratulati­on? thou, o sinner, art guilty of treason against the divine maiesty; thou deservest to be punished with fire either in hell or at least in purgatory: why dost thou not take it in good part, if in lieu of that, a pecuniary fine be only set upon thee by loss of thy temporalities or decrease of thy reputation, or some other commodity or worldly respect. He that were to suffer death on a publick gibbet, if he chanced to be reprieved by reason of some sicknes, he would not a little rejoice although the disease were very painful; yea he would wish it of a long continuance: in which case nevertheles the penalty is not pardoned but only procrastinated: and why dost thou re­pine at this light fit of sicknes if by it thou escape eternal death, because it stirs thee up to compunction, or at least the paines of purga­tory.

Be mindful upon all occasions of the pa­tience [Page 206] and fellowship of thy suffering IESVS, that it may make thee bear injuries, and stand in a true contempt of thy self. If that suf­fice not, remember how patient the Divinity is in tolerating the sins of men. We contemne God even to his face and offend him in his very presence, yea even while he cherisheth us in his bosome and carries us in his armes; nor for all that doth he cast us thence, or an­nihilate us, but makes his sun rise equally up­on the good and the bad. Who would hold a lighted candle to an enemy lying in wait to ensnare and undo him, that he might use its light to his undoing, and would not rather forthwith put it out? O the wonderful pa­tience and humility of the Divinity! which is both as obsequious to its contemners as any servant, and while we contemne him, pro­vides us sustenance, and ripens and seasons the delicious fruits of the earth, that we may fare both plentifully and deliciously.

The XII. Chapter. VVhat a great good it is to be subject to another.

O Inscrutable Wisdome! what thanks can I render thee for communicating thy self to me so ignorant by a holy and humble obsequiousnes, which is the highest providence and knowledge of [Page 207] man. It is proper to the divine wisdome to be inerrable in all; and the obedient is also such, while he humbly obeyes the commands of his superiour. O how great and discreet a pru­dence is the obedience of the simple, regard­ing all with an indifferent eye! how great a blessing must it needs be amidst the darknes which our passions induce, and the labyrinths of errour which our concupiscence weaues, and the ignorances into which the depraved conversation of men and the customes and practises of the world lead us, to hold the right way, and be guided most securely with­out feare of errour, no otherwise then if we were steerd by a heavenly conduct and discre­tion. The invention of holy obedience effects this, which is the vice-gerent of the divine wisdome, the profitablest compendium of prudence. What greater signe of wisdome can be imagind, then to be secure from errour in all his undertakings? prudence must lead the way to other vertues, and that is not acquired but with great difficulty: but sincere obedi­ence is an easy-purchasd prudence. The subject hath this preeminence above his superiour, that he cannot err in his function. A superiour in commanding may err and be faulty, but an inferiour in obeying cannot. Well may a su­periour command imprudently, but a subject in obeying cannot go against prudence, unles when that which is commanded is a manifest sin: and in that case it were not so much a pre­cept as a temptation. A prelate may be defe­ctive [Page 208] in commanding but not the obedient; because in obeying he cannot but do the will of God. The obedient man is alwaies secure and assurd of the divine will: although what is enjoined be contrary to the will of God not approving such an injunction, he nevertheles that obeyes works according to his wil and sometimes much more meritoriously. A su­periour may be naughty and command naugh­tily: but because it is alwaies in our power to obey wel, so long as no evil thing is imposed, each superiour is to be loved, yea and an evil one to be tolerated; there accrewing thence a twofold merit both of charity and patience. A subject may sometimes perswade himself that his own dictamens are more conducing to the good of his soul then the precepts of his superiour; but for all that he must not omit to comply with his injunctions; for nothing can be more advantagious, then out of the motive of charity to relinquish and abandon his own wil and judgment.

There can be no safer conduct then that of obedience; and therfore shutting the eyes of our mind we must without reply do what is injoind, supplying by a prompt and affectio­nate wil, what our understanding is not bound to discuss. Obedience is such a welcome and rich commodity that no syllogistical discour­ses are required to induce us to it. Obedience is a most evident inspiration from God, and an unquestionable revelation, wherin one can­not doubt whether it be from God or no. If [Page 209] thou be heldst an Angel approaching thee, and denuncing Gods wil concerning the perfor­mance of any good work, thou wouldst not be slow in compliance with it though it were accompanied with great difficulties: thou must be more prompt in accomplishing thy su­periours commands, because thou maist be more secure of Gods wil in what man com­mands, then in what an Angel. And therfore a mans injunction being once made, there needs no great busines of consideration nor tergiversation, but the greatest praise is in a speedy execution: but after the denounce­ment of an Angel, one ought to consider who it is that treats with him, whether a spirit from God or the divel; whether what he com­mands be good or the opposite better? one would take it for a great favour if in all his a­ctions it were suggested to him by some Sera­phin sent from God what he were to do, this or that; & it is no les profitable for us to obey God in man his substitute and our superiour, he being as secure a domestick oracle, as if one were immediately inspired by the H. Ghost. There are two primary causes of sin, inconsideratenes of mind and depravednes of wil: obedience annuls both these; for the obedient submits to anothers judgment, and by doing so not only supplies but exceeds the advantages of self-consideration & prudence; & that his wil may not be distort he regulates it by the wil of God, endeavouring confor­mity in all his proceedings.

O what a comfort it is to one that loves thee, o IESVS, to operate not only to please thee, but because it is pleasing to thee! this is the prerogative of obedience, that so the obedient may not be frustrated of any part of the reward, which he expects not only from the work but which he finds in it; he obtain­ing his end in the beginning which is to please God: and this depends not on any future thing, it being anticipated by obeying. O most welcome task of obedience! why do any complain or seek to be excused from it, for this reason, that if they obey with humi­lity and promptitude, more is enjoind them: for superiours are wont to be more forward in commanding them that are most prompt in complying with their commands. It is a very fond complaint when we complain of what we ought to wish for. A king is thought to do one a favour if he commit any businesses to his trust; and the more and weightier they are, the greater is the favour esteemd: if God pro­ceed after this manner with us, why do we complain? masters for the most part employ those servants about their commands who are most deare and intimate with them, and of whose fidelity they have good proof; & why do we resent that God treats us as such? o God of my hart, if thou heldst this favorable manner of proceeding with thy own Son in this world who was obedient even unto the death of the cross, shal I dare presume that any favour wil be shewed me of a higher strain? [Page 211] o IESVS, thou who becamest obedient in all, grant that I may never refuse any compliance with obedience. Thou atchievedst all by being obedient, from thy nativity to thy very death; thou wert no les subject to Caesar and Pilate then to it. There was also a time when thou wouldst subject thy self to the powers of darknes, giving way to the divels, and per­mitting thy self with great obedience to the fury of hel in the executioners and malice of the Iewes: and because thou couldst not be­come Incarnate by it, thy Humanity being not as yet existent: thy Mother supplied for this, she conceiving thee by that rare act of obedience and submission of mind.

O most welcome task of obedience! since it is most certain that nothing is better or more grateful to God. Adam with drawing himself from it knew good and evil: obedi­ence is most innocent; it not only knowes not good and evil, but is also ignorant of good and better: for all the works of obedience are in the superlative degree, that is, best; in comparison of which the acts of other moral vertues carry no comparison in this, that none of them is to be preferred before commands: for though one practise all the rest, but yet do against obedience, they all avail nothing yea he does evil. But if he omit them for it, he shal have the merit of them all. The obedient man knowes no such comparative discourses, as, it is better to do this then that; but that it is best to do what is commanded. He that hath [Page 212] obedience hath all other vertues in a compen­dious abridgment; he that is obedient wil be both chast and a lover of poverty. Adam after he became refractory felt presently the stings of the flesh and sought a garment to conceal them; while he was obedient he was most chast and remained a Virgin; & being content with his own nakednes, he stood in an exact po­verty. O most welcome obedience to him that is emulous of vertue, and makes God the sole object of his love!

Comfort thy self, o my soul, who covetest & longest so much to see his face which the Angels love to contemplate, comfort thy self in the interim and reverence thy superiour, whosoever he be, as an apparent Christ and visible God: God is not worshipped in him­self only, but in every superiour also. Per­swade thy self that the divine goodnes in its eternal love and providence hath ordained and decreed thee this Prelate, that by him and no other he might communicate his grace, and enrol thee one of the predestinate. Gods auto­rity resides in him, enquire not why he com­mands this or that? Gods wil stands for a rea­son; and so it must be in him who is here his vice-gerent. Why demandst thou a reason for putting thy self into the hands of God? Tell me, what was the reason he created not ano­ther man, who perchance would have been better, when he created thee, and gave thee to thy self? if thou canst not assigne any, why demandest thou one for resigning thy self [Page 213] to God with all the latitude of thy will? it is an unspeakable glory and content to the hea­venly spirits to be alwaies praysing God; but it is far more considerable that it is a property inherent to him & inbred, then if it proceed­ed only from their mouth.

The XIII. Chapter. How great harme proceeds from daily and light defects.

VVHy dost thou contemne in thy own soul what men af­fect so much in their bo­dies; they providing not only for lifes maintenance, but also for health and comelines. It would be held an unsuffe­rable misery to be alwaies sick, and a horrid deformity to have ones body composed of man and beast. Thou must not only stand in horrour of great sins but also dread the very desires and thoughts that are culpable, yea any imperfection. How unseemly an object would it be, if a serpents mouth stood upon thy face? and yet every smal word whether but lightly detractive or offensive or idle, is far more deformed. O truth, o immense goodnes! I beg of thee by the merits of Christ, that thou wilt remove this veile from before my eys, that I may throughly know how stupendious an evil is involved in the malice of the least default! o man, how [Page 214] monstrous a creature wouldst thou seeme to the eyes of men, if thou shouldst at any time appeare with the head of an oxe: or horse in thy humane body! and yet it is far worse if before God and his Angels thou conceive in thy soul deified by divine grace, dispropor­tioned and idle thoughts of terrene things, & a brutish longing after thy own commodity: nay there is more proportion betwixt a mans body and that of a beast, which are in the same degree or order of things then there is betwixt grace and any sin even the smallest. Wherfore the deformity of the least venial de­fect exceeds all monstruosity and corporal mishapednes whatsoever, not only what is now extant but also imaginable or possible. I beseech thee, o zealot of Christ, by his most sacred blood, pause here a while and ponder what I say with an unbiazd judgment: and thou who wouldst not have the least ble­mish in thy body, permit not to thy utmost these monsters in thy soul the spouse of IE­SVS. Employ all the faculties of thy mind, set all the inventivenes of thy imagination on work, and frame a deformity as ugly as thou canst, & such a mishapdnes as the very thought of it will fill thee with dread and horrour, & this will be small in comparison of the defor­mity of a small offence. The more excellent a thing is, the more we ressent its corrupti­on; and crookednes proves there the greatest eye sore where straightnes is most requird: what more excellent then our minds and will [Page 215] which is in an eminent degree above any other creatures? wherfore its least defect is very ugly, neither can understanding humane or Angelical penetrate to the ful the harme it causeth to a soul. What a prodigious thing would it be if thou carriedst thy hart in thy belly and not in thy breast? it is a greater pro­digy that a soul made to love God should co­vet pleasures or deforme it self with the in­temperance of gluttony or neglect in any other depraved affection.

Thou must have a horrour not onely of enormous sins but also of all venial which are esteemd little, material, and faslely tearmd petty ones. That is not justly stild light and little, which only hath above it another which is great. A venial defect is not little, which hath only above it another greater, that is a mortal one: yea for this reason it is to be thought great, because it hath above it but one evil which is greater. Men esteem not only death evil and dread it as such, but also a feaver or a deadly wound. That must needs be a vast evill which is only less then one evil: a vast evil which is greater then all others, wants, disgraces, sicknesses, torments and hell it self: it is a vast evil greater then which or equal God neither knowes nor can inflict, although he should heap all the punishments of the damned upon thee.

Thou wouldst think it unsupportable to have a canker which rotted and consumed thy limbs: what if other diseases much greater [Page 216] were added to this; leprosy, stoppage of breath, the palsey, dropsey, loathing of the stomack, the gout, blindnes, phrensey, dumbnes, extinction of natural heat? One sole venial sin is more hurtful then all these. Venial sin is a canker; it spreads insensibly even to death, inducing many others and at length a mortal, unles the depraved affection be cut off. It is a leprosy, debarring the scab­by and loathsome soul of the embracements of her spouse: it is a stoppage, causing diffi­culty of breathing after heavenly things and admitting divine inspirations, grieving and contristating the H. Ghost: it is a palsy retard­ing the nimble motions of our mind towards God and making us dul and stupidly insensi­ble in the divine service: it is a dropsy beget­ting a thirst & high conceit of temporal things and a neglect of divine and wholsome ones: it is a loathsomnes of stomack causing aversion from spiritual affaires: it is a gout impeding us in the advancement of a vertuous progress: it is a blindnes making us dim-sighted in the knowledg of truth, & heavenly goods, veyl­ing our eyes with fond worldly principles as if a thick mist were cast before them: it is a phrensy, making the soul go out of her right wits; what greater phrensy imaginable, then that he, whom the king to honour him, to have him his courtier, yea and adopt him for his Son had clad in royall purple, should go dip it in a dirty pudle, and then ridiculously appear in his presence? in like manner one [Page 217] that is vested with divine grace and the purple of God, defiles himself with venial sin, and though he be not stript of that pretious robe, yet he pittifully bedaubs and misuseth it; and dares in this pickle appear before the Angels, and come into the presence of God. Venial sin is also a deprivement of speech rendring our praiers so ineffectual that we deserve not to be heard nor obtain redress at the hands of heaven: it is a wasting consumption disabling the mind to resist the divel: it is a decay of vital heat much diminishing the fervour of charity. Can that be little which is the cause and source of so great evils? how can a soul in this equipage desire to repose in the bosome of her spous? stench of breath alone is a suffici­ent cause of divorce in order to marriage bed: how then dares she that is struck with a leprosy palsy, dropsy, she that is miserably bleer-eyd presume to aspire to a kiss of her spouses mouth? if we should spoil our apparrel with spittle or dirt, yea though it were only wet with fair water, we would presently put it of and lay it aside refraining to appeare in it be­fore company: how then can we have patience not with our apparrel but our selves who are nasty, sordid, defild, diseasd, and yet even thus we covet the embracements of God, never thinking of being first cured or putting our selves in better array? if thou wouldst be content on condition of being cured of any of the afore said diseases, suppose it were the canker alone, nay out of hopes of being [Page 218] cured, though with hazard, to have some limb cut of; how much more to be cured of them all? o the stupidity of man I who is so insen­sible of so many maladies that befall his soul, and procures not, what in him lies, an easy and obvious remedy in order to a certain and invaluable recovery of its health from so many dangerous diseases; since for the uncer­tain recovery of his body he spares neither limbs nor any kind of torment.

Go too, silly fool; be sure in the first place to provide for thy soul; and use as much cau­tion as thou canst by avoiding venial sins not to incur so many diseases, and for that end be sparing neither of care nor industry. Thou maist conjecture the greatnes of the malady by the difficulty of the cure. Behold what a medecine purgatory, which is the hospital of such diseasd soules, applies to them: can it be little which must be cured with that fire and such bitter torments? would one suspect that fault little for which he sees a nice and tender woman tormented in a flaming furnace for an houres space, and that by the command of her most indulgent and affectionate spouse? certainly either her spouse might be thought some furious fellow or the fault was highly displeasing. Why do we esteem venial defects of smal concern, for which God who is so loving and merciful towards men, wil have soules so dear to him to lie daies and yeares in scorching flames without the least resentment of compassion? either God is very unjust and [Page 219] cruelly bent, or the least offence is a fearful irreverence & vast ingratitude. Thou o Lord, art no tirant but an humble lover of soules, and thy mercy is above all thy works: this is [...]y impudency too too enormous and stupen­lious; which thou who art most just, most meek, and humble of hart, who wouldst be glad to remit much of that pain, art forced to correct with so much severity, least thou prove defective in point of justice.

If one should behold a dog struggling in the midst of flames and perishing in a burning pile, he would be touched with a sense of compassion; and how much more if he did see his own child in such a calamity? o most mercyful Father, how can that venial fault be tearmed little, which it is unseemly for thee to compassionate, though thou seest thy own children by grace, whome thou affectest so tenderly, so scorched and tortured in that pia­culary fornace? and yet for them it was thou gavest thy life & pretious blood. Neither pa­ternal bowels replenished with pitty nor infi­nite wisdome was wanting in thee: thou art not an ignorant God who can be deceived in the estimate of a fault, nor a cruel one who takes content in punishing but against thy wil: wherfore if thou tormentest him so ri­gorously whome thou lovest so tenderly, it must needs be a vast evil towards which mercy it self is so unmerciful.

Let us imagin a man void of all knowledg of hel or purgatory, and beholding only by [Page 220] revelation the state of some one soul pittifully afflicted by those flames for a venial sin, but wholly ignorant what might occasion such a punishment: what, I beseech thee, would he guess to cause it? any smal or petty trifle or rather some huge exorbitancy which so benigne a God resolved to chastize with so much rigour?

Again shal that be tearmed little which he in this life punisheth with the greatest of all punishments, death. If God cannot err in inflicting penalties, since he inflicts so dread­ful ones, how great must that needs be for which he inflicts them? behold for one venial sin he punished his own servants Moyses▪ and Aaron with death: for one venial sin also, as is probably thought, Oza and lots wife were suddainly struck with the like disaster. For one venial sin the Abbot Moyses was deliverd over to the divel and for a space possessed by him: and in very deed it were a les evil to have a thousand legions of divels in ones body and be vext by them, then to have the least venial sin in his soul, and take complacence in it. The divel laboured tooth and nail for 40 yeares, together, to make a certain servant of God commit but one venial trespass. Is the divel such a fool that he would wait and lie in ambush so long to surprize him for a matter of smal moment? why shal not we be watchful at least one day to avoid so great mis­chief? o most pure truth purify my impure spirit from such an evil; and illuminate me, [Page 221] that I may not esteem it light because I regard it but lightly, since the divels themselves take it so to hart; but let me esteem that great which is done against a God so great; nor let me repute that contemptible and sleight, which I a contemptible, sleight, and incon­stant creature commit by sinning upon all oc­casions and constantly; but therfore let me hold it great, because I who am vile and con­temptible, dare do it against a God the best and greatest.

How great must that needs be, which ra­ther then we must but once commit delibera­tely, it is better to embrace a thousand deaths, it is better that heaven and earth returned to their first nothing, and all mankind were sen­tencd to damnation. If choise were given to the Virgin Mother while she stands at the foot of the cross, bewailing the torments and death of her beloved Son, whether she would have him released from these paines and dis­graces, and behold him presently seated at the right hand of his Father, and the salva­tion of a thousand worlds accomplished at that instant, or consent to one sole venial sin; she would chuse not to do this latter, and would also perswade me to do so too; nay rather then this, she would chuse to see her Son and the Son of God once more naild to the cross, yet without any default at all, and if it were need­ful and lawful would strike in the nailes with her own pious hand and sacrifice him with greater charity then Abraham did his. Tel me [Page 222] I pray, would it be a slender courtesy and com­fort to the Virgin & her Iesus if some one man were found who would put himself upon the mount Calvary in the room of Christ and be crucified and suffer in his steed? perswade thy self for all this that they would rather desire a greater comfort at thy hands, which is, to eschew all venial sin. Consider now whether that would be little which should preponderate such a piece of service; nor do thou deny this solace to thy suffering Christ and his com­passionate Mother. Let us then cancel and abolish this opinion, that that evil can be light or little, which the Virgin, Christ, & God his Father deem so great and punish so exem­plarly.

That is not little which hinders things orderd to a great and sublime end; which lessens the love of God in this life and delaies his vision in the other. It is no smal rub which puts as it were a stop and let to the most speedy and powerful mercy of God and his desires. Would it be accounted a smal violence that should suspend a millstone falling from heaven in the aire while it were poasting to the earth its center? it is therfore no smal sin which suspends the divine munificence, and the ardent desires of an enamoured soul, that they cannot reach their center God and the promisd holy land of beatitude, but detaines it in the flames of purgatory. That is not a little displeasing to God which hinders him from giving out of hand what he hath such a [Page 223] mind to give, and we so willingly would receive. That is, not little which stops the current of Gods great favours and even in this life obstructs the outlets of his profuse libe­rality. Let us tremble at such an evil, and to the very utmost of our power use all possible diligence to avoid it; not enduring to brook the shame and disgrace which the name of a fault imports.

How can that soul take complacence in the name of a servant or a child, or a spouse, which is not carefull to please God and comply in all things with his sacred will? how naughty a servant would he be thought, that would do nothing as he ought, unles his master threat­ning death stood over him with a drawn sword; and can upon no other tearms neither by faire meanes nor foul be brought to his duty? how untoward a child who is allwaies crossing his parent, and seeks to please him no further then meerly to keep himself from being dis­inherited: for the rest is wholly wrechles in accomplishing his wil and desire, and is lead in all with a spirit of contradiction? how disloial a spouse, who should only so far forth shew her self faithfull and loving to her fellow spouse as not to provoke him to take her life; in other things perpetually crossing and vexing him; and were she never so often corrected, shewd no signes at all of amendment? what ar­gument of love would it be in a child or spouse to say; I really love my parent or fellow spou­se, but little regard notwithstanding what af­front [Page 224] I put upon him besides death or a deadly wound: I will uncontroulably do what I think good nor ever labour to humour him further, then may serve to save my life and secure my inheritance. Who could have patience with one that should speak thus & do accordingly: Iust thus proceeds he who contemnes venial sins and serves God meerly to avoid the death of his soul or forfeiture of heaven by a mor­tal. Is there, think you, any master of a family to be found who would give house room to such a servant or Son or spouse? this is the prodigious patience of God, who tole­rates us even while we abuse his toleration.

Let us then not misprize these faults as little; which although they were so, yet are they many, and God is great and but one. Grains of sand are smal, yet they may be so multi­plied that they wil overwhelme one sooner then a great stone. One locust is an inconside­rable creature, yet what greater destruction to the fields then their multitude? great citties are delugd by smal drops of raine. If we had so many little wounds or pricks in our body so many pushes or blisters in our face, so many rends or holes in our garment as we commit venial sins, we should be halfe dead, loathsome to the eye, and almost quite naked; and why do we suffer those miseries in our soul, but because we are less ressentive of its harmes then what concerns our body and apparrel. O how dare we appear before God so reple­nished with confusion! but why do I insist [Page 225] upon the number? one sole fault is to be dreaded, because one cannot think any thing little who thinks God to be infinite; nor will he account it smal whose love is great: what love resides in him who makes no reckning of displeasing God? he that displeaseth him in a little, really displeaseth him; he that displea­seth him, transgresseth the lawes of an ardent love.

The XIV. Chapter. Of exactnes in small things.

GOd is immensly great; in his service thou must esteem nothing little: he were not great enough unles he ex­ceeded all littlenes. If thou lovest him, true friendship is tried in the least duties. Art shewes it self in little things: the perfecti­on of vertue is no les polite, and therfore it stands not altogether upon ample subjects. Nature is most admirable in the least things; it is most tender over the minutest creatures. Grace is no whit more dul, nor ought to be more backward. Those things which seem more minute are to be more nighly regarded. Since God is so great nothing is little which eyther pleaseth or displeaseth him. In good & evil there is no minutenes. Whatsoever is good, for that very respect is great: whatsoe­ver [Page 226] is bad, upon that very score is not little. An infinite goodnes exacts by claime all our forces: he that owes all doth an injury if he deny any thing. Vse not these manners of speech; what makes matter for this; this imports but little, this is of no moment at all. Yea this which thou deemst nothing is a busi­nes of great concern: because what thou thinkest much or of great moment is nothing in comparison of Gods greatnes and thy obli­gation. O immense truth, how can any thing be thought little or great, if the measure of my obligation & diligence be thy immensity, where there is no little nor great, but an ex­cess of all meane. How can I say this is little, if whatsoever I do for thee is nothing.

It is not little which is held the least, since perfection consists in the least. Little things are not to be sleighted because greater are con­temned. If thou let a spark of fire fal into a pile of dry sticks which thou keepst under thy roof, a great flame will be raisd which will consume the whole edifice. Our corrupt na­ture is as apt to take the infection of malice as a little dry flax to take flame. If thou sleightest smal things by little and little thou wilt be perverted. Regard not the littlenes which ap­peares at first, but by the beginning measure the end. Seeds are allwaies extreme little, and yet there is more vertue and efficacy in them then in any part of the whole plant. The part­ing of two high waies insensibly protracted into length ends at last in a great interval of [Page 227] distance and may proceed to an infinitude though at first les then a step would have con­cluded the difference. If thou once swarve from thy good purposes and remit that vigour of mind, thou wilt by degrees find thy self very remote from thy former fervour. Great things take their beginning from little; wher­fore a little is not the least if it be but the be­ginning. The beginning of every thing is its chief and principal part: yea it is not calld a part but the half of the whole.

Our H. Father S. Ignatius did with reason hold that it was more dangerous to contemne little things then greater: the dammage of these latter is more patent and may forthwith be remedied: but the prejudice we sustain by the former is not perceived but by length of time, when being inveterated by custome it is scarse capable of redress. The very nature and enormity of sin makes us abhor & detest great ones; but little defects because they seem little for this very reason are contemned; and this being so, our mind is not bent against them. Our concupiscence is sharpend and set on edge by little things, as thinking that it may wander in them without any great danger when it is not so venturous in great ones, it being curbed and kept in by the apprehension of a patent ensuing harm: but when our de­sire is once enkindled & a little traind up, how wil it then lash forth, what wil it not encoun­ter? and for this reason we must sometimes proceed with more warines and sollicitude [Page 228] against smal defects then great. Custome which, gaines prescription upon vices, breeds from little things, not from great because they are less frequent: nor shal we find it an easier task to resist custome then nature. One shal sooner have an action in law against a publick invader and forcible seizure of our goods, then one that hath had them by long prescription. Those things which seem light take from us all remorse and shame of committing them; & that towards God being once cast of what good can be expected from us? past shame past grace.

Be ashamd to refrain from great things and yeald to little: for it is disgraceful and a sign of a coward to be foild by a dwarf or weak enemy. That little is not to be sleighted in which great worth may be comprized. A pearl is not contemned by reason of its littlenes; nay for this respect it is valued the more as containing great worth in a little body: why dost thou sleight that little, wherin perchance thou maist do God a piece of better service then in greater. Obsequiousnes and diligence in small things gaines greater esteem: for as art commends it self most when it compre­hends great skill in a little compass, and we admire nature for compleating in each minute creature all the requisites of life; so it is loves masterpiece to bestow its whole mind upon little things and shut up in them an ample and enflamed affection: and such a diligence is much more praiseworthy, the want of great­nes [Page 229] being supplied by our affection; and that is it which adds worth and only is prizable. No true estimate of things is made but accord­ing to ones affection: the least service is great when the affection is great; but that many times is greater in little things; and therfore an exactnes and compliance with our duty in them will not be les acceptable. Great things of their own nature stir up to attention, and are les troublesome because les contingent: smal things make les impression upon the mind, nor awake it so throughly, and because more frequent therfore more noisome: wher­fore the mind that is exact in them takes them more to hart, & makes it her task to be more vigilant, more constant, and perseverant in obeying. Wherfore he will be held no great zealer of Christ who zeales only great things: he will be esteemd no great lover of God who hath relinquished the world and himself in things of higher concernment, unles he also do it in minute. The perfection of a statuary consists not in unbarking a piece of wood or hewing it into great blocks, any rude hand can do this; but he only is a cunning artist who leaves not a superfluouschip, who carues it to a complete shape, the least bit not escap­ing him unaccomplished. Any novice-painter can lay the first grounds or shadowes of a ta­blet; but to bring it to perfection is the task of a skilfull hand and subtile pencil; and to consummate such a piece the least limb must be elaborate: in like manner, Gods image in us is [Page 230] compleated by the least duties of a vertuous compliance. That is no absolute picture which hath only a head, belly, and feet; but in which all the parts are wrought to an exact proportion: why wilt thou present thy self to God a rude and deformed image for want only of some petty trifle?

O infinite and most absolute Lord, what can I deem little which causeth the least simi­litude or dissimilitude with or from thee? why shal I repute little what thou wishest me to do or avoid? why shall omit the least thing that may redound to thy majesty or glory, & not accomplish all, since thou wert pleasd to em­brace all without exception for my vile un­worthynes and sin. O remiss spirit, if an An­gel from heaven should come and tell thee that God for his greater glory, and in thanksgi­ving for all the benefits conferred by Christ upon mankind, would have thee suffer the torments of S. Laurence, how ungratefull wouldst thou shew thy self if perchance thou shouldst sleight the favour and make but small reckning of it. Behold what wilt thou say? God exact not now of thee the girdiron or racks, or imprisonment, or other torments, but only that thou apply thy self to the per­formance of this petty action and do it not perfunctoriously: esteem this a main busines: the will of God is that thou do this, and it sufficeth. Martyrs are esteemd Saints for their patient sufferance of great torments: Con­fessours acquire sanctity by a patient shunning [Page 231] of little faults. The former tolerating great pain eschewd the fault, the latter tolerating no faults eschewd the paines of Purgatory much greater.

The XV. Chapter. That self praise is to be avoyded.

HE that loves to be praysed loves an impossibility. Prayse proclaimes one good; but for this very reason that thou wilt be praised thou art not only void of all good but full of great evill, to wit, a diabolical evil, pride and am­bition. Although thou hearst thy self praised, not thou shalt be praysed but another. Praise is only for the good; but thou art stark naught who covetest to be praysed. He cannot be good or prayse worthy who is so vain as to hunt after commendation. Wherfore he ceaseth to be prayse worthy who seeks to be praysed; and if he be not prayse worthy he is wholly uncapable of prayse; for that will not be for the future, which could not be for the time precedent. If thou smilest upon thy prayser, thou dost in reality applaud thy disprayser: because thou art most unjust, whether thou thinkest thy self just or no: for if thou holdst thy self not such thou rejoycest at a lye: if thou holdst thy self just, this is unjust enough, [Page 232] that thou be preferd before others who art nothing. When thou hearest men say, thou art extreme just, extreme good; he that really is such receiveth prayse, not thou who ney­ther art just nor good, and so to thee it is ra­ther a dispraise. The praise of the just is the dispraise of the unjust. For this very reason he is unworthy of commendation and worthy of contempt for grieving at his being con­temned and vilified, or vainly puffed up with self esteem: he that doth not hold himself contemptible pleads an excuse for his con­temners.

Self conceit is the daughter of a lye and Mother of ignorance, confusion, shame & danger: self humility is the daughter of truth, and mother of merit and instruction: whether will be better to be confounded and deceived, or to merit and be instructed? love only to be praise worthy not praised, and this sufficeth. Thou shalt only be praise worthy by seeking solely the praise and glory of God and thy own vilification. Why hadst thou rather seem good then be so; since thou ceasest to be good by labouring to seem such and be vainly esteemd: Why lovest thou more to deceive and see others deceived then to frame a true estimate of thy self. Why dost thou vilify thy self below a stone, thou procuring not only that it be of a sparkling brightnes, but that it be not a counterfeyt; insomuch that each one is ashamed to wear for an orna­ment a spurious gem.

O most laudable truth, o glory of crea­tures, with what face durst I so much as once seek my own praise and credit, who have so often contemned thee? with what face do I seek to be esteemd, who although I had been but once negligent in procuring thy greater glory, deserve eternally to be vilified? how notoriously impudent or rather frantick would he shew himself, who should covet to partake of the honour and credit he got, who dishonoured thee by buffetting thee, or cal­ling thee, blasphemer, or mocking thee with a reed in the time of thy Passion. I am worse then all these, and am convinced to be a lyar, if I prefer my self before any of them: how then dare I so much as think of self praise and esteem? what madnes and wickednes is it to seek it; nay what impudence, o faint harted spirit, not to judg thy self worthy of all disgrace, nor wish to be contemned by all?

Thou shalt not therfore be really good be­cause others stile or think thee such. A sick man is not cured by being said to be cured. Which wouldst thou rather chuse, to be in very deed able and strong in health although others did think thee infirme; or rather to be truly sick and esteemd by others sound and robustious? Why dost thou chuse, to be held good, since thou are so very bad? yea it would be highly displeasing to one that is sick or in payn, even more then the malady it self, if others should say he did but counterfeyt, and [Page 234] loved to complain without cause? why takest thou complacence in being accounted upright when thou art the quite contrary? sick peo­ple are so far from desiring to be thought sound, if they be not so, that they them­selves are wont now and then to aggravate the disease, and love that others do so too: so one that is truly humble exaggerates his own unworthines and is glad when others do the same, augmenting his contumelyes and dis­graces: therfore the conclusion is, he that seeks to be praysed, seeks not only an impos­sible but ridiculous thing.

Thou wilt commit a piece of injustice if thou be desirous of prayse and not of dis­grace, since a plurality of votes conclude thy contempt. If thou ballance thy self, thy misdemeanours and innumerable defects will preponderate thy good deeds they being very few and depending upon others. Wilt thou know in plain tearmes that it is impossible for thee to deserve prayse? it is impossible for thee to have any thing of thy self for which to be esteemed. And hence thou mayst gather mans insufficiency, for labouring to gain cre­dit by what is anothers: which if he had them of his own he would never glory in another mans right: as worldly men are wont to do for having brave horses, faythful servants, or rich apparel, generosity being onely the qua­lity of the horse, and a generous horse may have a vicious or base minded owner. Fide­lity is the glory of a servant, and a good ser­vant [Page 235] may have a very naughty master. Splen­did apparrel is a commendation rather due to the tayler or weaver; and a fine coat may co­ver a foul body and ulcerous conscience. By the same vicious manner of proceeding men appropriate to themselves what is only proper to God, even those who have abandoned the world, while they do not wholly abandon themselves.

The XVI. Chapter. Of the basenes of man.

IF thou desirest peace with God, humble thy self beneath all men and all things. It is a terrible saying, God resists the proud; neyther is that les terrible, the proud resist God. God resists the proud that they may not commit wickednes: the proud resist God that he may not do good. God resists the proud that they become not evill and wholly bad by their pride for which end he seeks to humble them: the proud resist God, that he be not good and beneficial by stopping the current of the divine blessings: Make hence an evident conjecture that thou art extreme base, that is extreme proud, since thou resistest God; otherwise he would have enriched thee with innumerable benefits, gra­ces, and vertues. It is palpable that a cloud [Page 236] hangs over thee which keeps off the sun, if at midday in an open Champian his beames do not forcibly beat upon thee: thou wilt as then be all in the shade, although thou seest nothing that can overshadow thee. None is more vile and defectuous then he who ack­nowledgeth in himself no vilenes or defect, because his mind raisd above it self stands in opposition with God and his clarity. There is no more evident sign of our pride then the surcease of the divine beneficence; because it puts a stop to Gods ardent desire of commu­nicating himself; it impedes the efficacy of Christs Passion, the intercession of the Vir­gin, and the prayers of Saints. Great is my malice and bottomles my misery since I being but one can resist so many, obstructing as much as in me lyes the 5. Fountains of Christs blood, and the torrent of the divine libera­lity. Although we were so mad as not to acknowledg any sin or defect in our selves, we ought to take this for a most pregnant token of extreme pride and basenes; nor were our sins insufficient, ought any thing els to keep us more in humility; not the wormes in which we are to end, not the clay of which we are moulded; not the ordures with which while we live we are stuffed, not the miseries of our body which insult so over us, nor the igno­rance of our mind which thwarts and frustra­tes our counsels. It is more then enough to humble us beneath all things to see God com­municate himself no more to us, and permit, as he doth our defects.

O humble Majesty of God! how deare and desirable is our humility to thee? Christ dyed for our sins; but he permits them for our hu­miliation. Did the humility of man cost dea­rer then the life of God? Did IESVS prize our humility more then the benefit of his re­demption; since he carries himself permissi­vely towards our sins, for the cancelling wher­of he spent both his blood and his life, and humbled himself by descending from heaven, that he might give redress to our pride; and he that redeemd sin by his own humiliation and death, makes sins themselves as it were the purchase of our humility? what is this which seems almost incredible, that God should do incredible things to make us hum­ble? it seeming otherwise inconceptible that ever we can conceive thoughts of pride: for it is impossible to find what may source them.

We are nothing and we have nothing. Nay though we were some great matter, consider­ing nevertheles how we have behaved our sel­ves, I see not how we can with confidence lift our eyes up to heaven. We are in all res­pects most vile both for what we are and for what we are not; both for what we have done, and for what we have omitted; both for what God hath done for us and for what he hath not done in us. And because he is so great, and we such a nothing; who is there that considering the sins which he hath committed, will not debase himself to the center of hu­mility? And yet he must no les do it for the [Page 238] trespasses he hath not committed. For there is no share of this ours, and least of all is it to be attributed to us that we did not trespass; and for as much as concerned us we had tres­passed. Vpon this account thou art as much obliged to God, with whose grace thou didst not cooperate, and hast equal cause to hum­ble thy self as if thou hadst trespassed. Things are not to be prized according to their actua­lity but their intrinsecal vertue. A sword is not sold dearer for having slain many, but because it could and is fit for such a piece of service: thy malice was sufficient for so many trespasses; that it did not actually compleat them, is not to be ascribd to thee but God. Others offences ought also in good reason to humble thee as much as thy own: for although that thou didst thus offend be not a thing a­bove thy reach; yet that thou didst not share in others transgressions is a peculiar favour from God above nature, and thou art pecu­liarly endebted to him upon this account: be­cause it is more remarkable that he preserved thee from them, then if he had pardoned them being committed. Wherfore if thou be not guilty of punishment, at least thou art of greater gratitude and humiliation. What sins soever thou hearest committed by others, deem thy self forthwith guilty of them. The Virgin Mother had greater motives of hum­bling her self, for being preserved from sin, then Magdalen who had so many and such enormous ones forgiven her, yea although [Page 239] she were dispossessed of 7. divels. Our wretch­losnes also in the omission of many good deeds must in like manner humble us as wel as those which we performed; for the first are totally ours, the second Gods alone. No man can justly boast of what belongs wholly to another, but ought to be confounded at his own ingratitude, and double his dili­gence for the obligation. We moreover mar many good actions and do them after a su­perficial and imperfect manner, besides that they are both very inconsiderable and few.

But who is there that proposing to himself what thou, o humble IESVS, didst for our sakes dare glory in his own good deeds? com­pare, o ungrateful Spirit, thy goodly and ri­diculous action for which thou art so vainly puffed up, with the infinite work of the In­carnation, of the Eucharist, and Passion: Wilt thou be able to shew thy face and not blush for shame? God who is all fulnes eva­cuated himself for thee; and thou who art nothing holdst thy self some body in opposi­tion to him, though all thou dost for so loving and zealous a Lord be far from eyther fervour or zeal. If any one would bethink himself what God hath forborn to do on his behalf, would he not humble himself for his not pre­cipitating him into hell after his first sin, as he did the delinquent Angels?

O man, the bain and infamy of creatures, what hast thou of thy self that is honorable, or why layest thou claim to any thing, and [Page 240] makest not forth with an oblation of all to God, to whom thou art endedted for so many benefits. If we had store of things which, were really our own, it were our duty to offer and give them all to him, for what he hath been pleasd to bestow upon us; how then are we so senseles, ungratefull, and unjust as to appropriate to our selves what is absolutely his, which, if we could tru­ly own as ours, it would be an unsuffera­ble impudence not to make them his. What wonder if thou givest some petty toies to God, since he gave all things and himself to thee. I wish thou hadst much to offer him; but since thou hast not, rejoice so much the more and glory in thy poverty beholding all to be his already; which if they were thine, thou wouldst make his: rejoice that thy de­sire is his nature.

It is a thing of greater confusion that some­times we glory in our misdeeds as if they were good; and present God with our corrupt acti­ons, as if we intended therby to oblige him. What greater phrensy imaginable then to think to oblige him whom thou canst not pay, & to do it by those things which render [...]hee more obnoxious to punishment? but if [...]ny of thy good works were intire & perfect, [...] hath not that compleatnes from thee, and [...]erfore thou oughtest not so stile it thine: & [...]ow canst thou oblige thy Lord and satisfy [...]y creditour with what is not thy own but [...]others. Nay if the good work were totally [Page 241] ours & God had no hand nor share in it, why dost thou boast of it, and think therwith to make him full satisfaction, since what measure thou affordest others the self same shal be af­forded thee? if this proceeding be held with men, why not with Almighty God? thou measurest his guifts with a very short ell: hast thou such a mean conceit of what he hath done for thee that thou thinkst to recompense it with such a slender piece of service? we must measure God with a larg ell and deem him so great that all we do falls hugely short of his humility and passion, to say nothing of his majesty and beneficence.

He that is not meanly conceited of his own actions both for number and worth is injuri­ous to God, esteeming him only worthy of smal services. Make God the pattern of thy humility, who after so many benefits heaped upon thee thinks he hath don nothing; beha­ving himself so towards thee, and rewarding thy merits which without him had bin none, as if he had contributed nothing to them: why then wilt thou ascribe thy services and good works to thy self, as if they proceeded wholly from thee & God had no hand in them, when nevertheles all is chiefly depending on him? why dost thou also vaunt thy self better then others, since thou shouldst rather be contristated that they have less goodnes then they ought, and must recken their want thy loss? neither is the charity nor clarity of God conspicuous in thee if thou fixest thy eyes [Page 242] rather upon thy own perfections then thy nothing. Stars when they are in a remote di­stance from the sun, and partake not so fully of his light, one seems to exceed another, & this is when they shine clearly: but all this proceeds from the darksomenes of the night; for in the day-time though they more ap­proach the sun as being in the same hemisphere with him, and one then exceed another and share more copiously of his light, yet we can­not see which shines brighter, yea none of them all is exposed to our view; they are then as if there were no star in the firmament, but all a mere though pretty vacuity. He wanders as yet among his own imperfections, and cannot be cald an illuminated soul, on whom heaven derives its light but sparingly. He that is in the night of self love and self seeking dares think himself some body, and much better then his neighbours: but Saints which adheer to God, though they be loaden and chargd with merits, prefer themselves before none, but esteem themselves a meer nothing, fulfilling with their IESVS all justice, that is, all humility. The just man is humble, be­cause he will not admit, nor have any thing that is anothers fatherd upon himself. He that esteems himself nothing how can he wrong his conscience, by being unjust either to his neighbour as thinking himself better then him or against God as being highly con­ceited of his own goodnes? for no body is good but God alone; and if none good cer­tainly none better.

Thou hast no reason at all to prefer thy self before others whom thou beholdest poor, humble, ignoble, for any goods of fortune; but shouldst rather have them in great venera­tion for the resemblance of CHRIST which shines in them. IESVS was poor, humble accursed of the Iewes, obscure, he subjected himself to all power and princes though ne­ver so wicked; what Christ made choise of and esteemd, do not thou contemne and vi­lify.

The XVII. Chapter. VVhat things ought to humble man: and that he can have nothing besides God alone.

TWo things there are which ought to make thee humble, thy own base­nes, and the basenes of creatures & honours. Although thou thy self wert great yet thou shouldst contemne all wordly dignities as little, vile, and unworthy of thee; and though they were great thou oughtest to reject them, because thou art base and un­worthy of them. Thou art nothing but for­gery and sin: deceive not thy self nor seek to excuse thee; thy iniquities will proclaime thee such. Being so overcharged with sin why dost thou extol thy self for some one work but apparently good? an eagle could not scare [Page 244] on high if she had but one only feather. The peacock though beautifull in his displayd train is soon quaild for the sole deformity of his feet; thou being full of defects how darest thou wax proud for some one feignd vertue? remember that even from thy cradle thou art infamous for original sin: as one that is branded with ignominy appears in an assembly of noble men, so must thou stand in the pre­sence of the unspotted Angels. Thy sins have made thee a parricide of the Son of God and thy own brother IESVS: the wicked Cain was quite out of countenance, and doth thine become more brazen? account thy self all­wayes his equal, and behold not thy most loving Father but with the eyes of fear and shame.

Thou who hast contemned the word of God and his Son, why standest thou so much upon the words of men? what makes thee so presumptuous, since hitherto thou hast done little or nothing, who when thou hast done all, wilt stil be but an unprofitable servant? yea this title is too great and much above thy desert, since thou hast nothing where with to serve God, all being his already, & he rather serving us. Thou art so wretched and needy, that thou neither hast any thing nor canst have: which if thou understandest aright, thou wilt at first be much contristated seing more clearly then the sun thy own poverty, and despair­ing to be able to have any thing of thy own; but thou wilt soon be replenishd with unspea­kable [Page 245] joy, beholding the riches of God and how he possesseth all. I rejoyce, o Lord, that it is impossible for me to have any thing be­cause it is impossible for thee not to have all. Why am I sorry that nothing is mine, if it be in my power to make God mine? what an ineffable joy is it, that I can have nothing, no not so much as my self, besides God alone! a pregnant sign wherof is, for that it is not lawfull for me to have any thing in fruition besides him alone. I must only use the rest of creatures and my self as anothers, not enjoy them. He is not master of a thing to whome the use of it is granted only for a time, that is rather said to be possessed which one may en­joy for all eternity. He that hath only the use of the world shal have the issues and profits of the Lord of the world.

I congratulate with my self, o Lord, that I have nothing to offer in oblation to thy sa­cred majesty: for what worth can accrue to things for being mine, to make them appeare in thy sight? but because I have of thine wherwith to offer, it wil have worth for being thine, & on that account be acceptable. How can I have any thing of my self who am noth­ing? yea for this very reason that thou esteemst thy self something, o proud spirit, thou must repute thy self more vile and abject. While a sickman keeps his bed he perceives not so wel his own imbecillity; but when he is upon recovery and sits up then he feels his own weaknes not being able to stand by him­self. [Page 246] The more thou appliest thy self to the service of God and advancest in the way of vertue, the more humble and circumspect must thou be, & then thou wilt discover thy own basenes. While a sickman keeps his bed he needs not fear falling; but when he rises and begins to walk about, then conscious of his own infirmity he trusts not to himself but mistrusting a fall leanes upon another.

Why then dost thou so magnify thy self, since for this very respect that thou dost so, thou art more debased. Thou art in a manner more ridiculous then Lucifer himself, since thou magnifiest thy self upon far les grounds. What is thy nature compared with that of the Cherubins? what is thy sanctity in compari­son of the sanctity of that grace wherwith the first Angel was enriched by God? what wouldst thou seem to be and appear to others? thou canst have nothing of thy own; and that which thou canst least of all have, is honour. All glory is only due to God, who though he impart other things to men yet it he will not. If thou dost wel it is sufficient that he knowes it, that he see and approve it who is to reward it, and whome thou intendest to please. Certainly if thou didst love God fervently, and wert a faithful servant thou wouldst wish, if it were not altogether impossible, to do something for his sake which he were not to remunerate nor to come to the know­ledg of; making it thy sole ayme to be loyal to him, never regarding the reward at all. [Page 247] Among faithful friends one is careful of an­other and does him good offices though he be wholly ignorant of them, yea many times he conceales them from him: for he aymes at no other salary besides fidelity and obse­quiousnes towards his friend: so he that loves God sincerely, desires no recompense more then to serve him and comply with his trust. Let me, o Lord, imitate thy fidelity to­wards me who am so perfidious, who dost me so many good offices, who heapest so many benefits upon me wholly ignorant of them though thou knowst that I am alwaies un­grateful. When men commit acts of wicked­nes they desire not to have thee an eye wit­nes: I, o Lord, will recant from this and change my manner of proceeding: wherfore as often as I trespass which will be very often, I covet thee a spectatour to the end thou mayst chastize me, and assist me that I fall not into a relapse: but when by thy assistance I do good, I had rather thou didst not see me at all, then that men did. If the fervent lover of God do not good for the testimony of God; how deceitfully wil he love, who seeks the approbation of men.

The XVIII. Chapter. How much we owe to the grace of God and Christ.

IT wil be an act of pride in thee to esteem thy self dust and ashes since thou art nothing but imposture and sin. Thou hast nothing good, why dost thou stand in opposition with God? thou art replenishd with evils why dost thou not blush even be­fore men? thou art capable of having all evil; why art thou not in perpetual fear? thou art capable of doing all evil; why dost thou not dread thy own condition? thy own very es­sence is not thine but Gods: yea what thou hadst before thy being was none of thine nei­ther; thou hadst then a mere nothing which had a possibility of being; and even that thou hadst not of thy self but from God; who if he were not, thou couldst not be. Why reputest thou thy self great since the very nothing which thou hadst before thy creation was not of thy self? Therfore thou owest more then thy self to God; for this also is a part of thy debt that when thou wast nothing he gave thee a possibility of being.

Thou receivedst the benefit of creation: tell me what member was moulded by thy design­ment or to what joynt of any one fingar didst apply clay, or afford materials wherof [Page 249] to frame it? or by what prayer didst thou obtain of God to be created and calld out from among infinite natures and better indi­viduals which sleep still in the dust of their own nothing? what diligence of thine pre­vented that thou wert not born blind, lame, frantick or some savage barbarian? dost thou glory in thy talents of wit, handsomnes of bo­dy, noblenes of birth? yes thou mayst law­fully do so, if God at thy suggestion made thee such. But thou wilt say, I glory not in being created, but in being created such a one, so industrious, so witty, and so toward of behaviour. Tel me, I pray, if thou didst not advise God in the point of thy creatiō, couldst thou advise him to create thee so witty, and after such or such a manner? if thou didst not suggest to him to endow thee with such a mind, why dost thou boast of its piercing subtilty? didst thou make choise of that mind, and cunningly sift into that bottomles abyss of things possible, extracting thence the best qualifyd? I do not, (wilt thou reply) brag of my natural endowments; but of the ver­tuous practises I embrace while others sleight them; I glory that I am better then they, an upright man, and one that fully complies with my duty. Nay be ashamd that scarse once thou compliest with it, and hast been neglective a thousand times. O unjust and partiall sharer! thou allottest to God the worst share; to him thou attributest thy being and clay mest to thy self thy being good: it is [Page 250] more to be good then only to be: Why dost thou play the usurper in the better half, since thou canst challenge no interest not even in the worst? there is a larger distance betwixt being good and being a man then there is bet­wixt a man and being nothing. God could make thee a man out of nothing only by com­manding, by acting, by living; but of a man to make thee good he was to serve, to suffer, to dye. Thou art a most unjust distri­buter who ascribest nature to God, and grace to thy self.

I never saw any body proud for his exi­stency, but almost all are for their being good and better; and yet the former arrogance is more excusable: for thou hadst had more (supposing thou hadst any thing) by having a being when thou wast not; then after it in being good and just: for we only not contri­buted to our creation; but we moreover put a let and obstacle to our justification. O most patient truth of God! how canst thou tolerate our lying arrogance, were it not for its ridiculousnes; while we make our selves the authors of what we most oppose and seek by all meanes to destroy. If we carry our sel­ves so modestly towards those things which are left in their nothing as not to vaunt over them for our being: why are we so impu­dently vain-glorious against God for our being good, and against men for our being better then they? why takest thou pride, o my soul, in that which ought to put thee [Page 251] most to confusion? for thy being nothing thou hast no reason to be confounded, it is enough thou be not proud; for that hath nothing of ignominy in it: but thy being an impediment to God by thy sins, that affords matter enough to plunge thee in a deep sea of shame and confusion.

The self-same that gave thee a being wil give thee a good being. As thou hadst noth­ing of thy self towards thy existence; so being created, thou hadst nothing towards thy being good. If thou hast nothing of thy self and in thy self towards nature, so neither hadst thou towards grace. Yea although thou didst nothing to deserve a being, thou didst no evil to deserve a not being: but to be good thou didst contribute nothing of thy own, and not to be good, thou didst con­tribute much evill.

Although humane nature had still remaind in that integrity and dignity in which it was created, it would not preserve it self by it self but by God: wherfore if it could not of it self preserve the grace which it received, how can it repair what it lost, and glory in that reparation. Remember the infamy and cor­ruption of our nature after its fall by sin: if when it stood intire and in a flourishing con­dition it could do nothing of it self, being now weakned and renderd contemptible what wil it be able to do? A pot glories not in the presence of the potter of its forme and use fullnes though wel it may of its matter in [Page 252] which he had no hand: thou hast nothing at all before God wherof to glory, thou being moreover made of nothing; why then dost thou glory of thy forme and usefulnes, who mayst wel be confounded at thy misusage; and canst not glory in thy matter, because thou proceedest from nothing. Thou hast no source which can derive any goodnes into thee, because of nothing nothing is made as by way of causality. If thou be nothing of thy self, thou canst do nothing nor operate any thing of thy self, for operation followes the being. If thou be nothing of thy self, if thou canst do nothing nor operate of thy self, how much les any thing thats good? if what is nothing of it self have or can do nothing of it self, then it is only powerful to sin which is a defect and nothing, yea les and more con­temptible then nothing. The eye of it self hath capacity to darknes and to exclude sight or not to see; but in order to actual vision it can do nothing without the assistance and concurrence of light.

That which is above nature and above thy self, to wit, an abnegation of nature and thy self, thou canst not have immediately of thy self and nature, but from God who is above both thee and nature. If thou believest not reason in this point believe faith: thou art nothing but imposture and sin: of thy self is only thy perdition: we are not suf­ficient to think any thing of our selves as of our selves, but all our sufficiency is from [Page 253] God. If we cannot so much as have a con­gruous thought, how shal we be able to per­forme meritorious actions? it may be born with that thou wouldst seem foolish; but I cannot be perswaded that thou wouldst be held an heretique: why, I pray, dost thou dispise the world and conceive a love of things eternal? because thou hast experienced the inconstancy of temporal things, and beheld unexpected calamities, as the death of wealthy and powerful men, and the like. Was it thou, or God, who combined things into such a series? didst thou forecast the death of that king or Potentat which moved thee so feel­ingly by beholding the instability of humane things? besides, these self-same things passed in publick and were known to others; why were not they as wel as thou stird up to a con­tempt of the world? why when one is re­claimed doth another stil persist in his wicked courses? thou must needs acknowledge some supernatural cause of this difference which neither is in us nor of us alone. Perchance thou gloriest for thy being moved and not others; as if it proceeded wholly from thy self. Tel me, I beseech thee, how often have such like casualties, nay more forcible then this, happened, and yet thou felst no such motion? therfore that now it is effectual to thy conver­sion, proceeds not from thy self but from some hidden and provident vertue, from his love and sollicitude over thee, who would not have thee detaind any longer in an error, but [Page 254] excited thee sweetly to an acknowledgment of the truth, and orderd things so, as he knew they would move thee efficaciously. Thou wilt reply, that therfore now and not before thou art moved, because some hurt­full friend of thine was absent or dead, by whose company thou wert drawn to thy in­vererate and sinful proceedings or because a fit opportunity of committing them was not presented. Wilt thou perchance acquiesce in this? was the death or absence of thy wicked consort or this opportunity in thy own hand? or was it not rather God who dis­posed things so, and moreover furnished thee with vertuous company, that thou mightst be incited by its imitation.

In like manner what good soever thou hast or dost, or what evil soever thou wantest and shunnest, it is, because God disposing things for thy good removed all obstacles, and sea­sonably gave thee incitements to goodnes, & moreover infused supernatural habits and helps to very many things which exceeded al­together the reach of nature. What share hast thou in these? if thou findst none, what insolency is it to ascribe all to thy self? eyther thou must acknowledg the grace of God and thy own nothing, or together with Epicu­rus confine God, and remove him from the government of the world, leaving him no part of providence. O most wise truth, take compassion upon me most senseles, who am like to doat much more then that Philosopher [Page 255] who never was so fond as so say that his own providence mannagd and orderd things; for [...] he would make himself better then God: [...]ut he that presumes upon his own force in a [...]eritorious action, besides that he takes away all providence from God, he necessarily usurps it to himself: because if there were an­other concurrence of things, he would not exercise a good act but a vicious: and although things were contingent by mere chance or carried with an inevitable destiny, yet he had no reason in the world to attribute any thing to himself.

He that applauds himself only in the goods of nature denies that he is created by God; but he that glories in his talents of vertue, denies that the whole world and all creatures in it are made by him and disposed and or­daind for our good: in the first he deprives God of the dominion of one only nature, to wit, his own; in the latter he deprives him of the dominion of the whole universe: in the first he robs him of his omnipotency, in the latter, of his wisdome also and goodnes, deny­ing that his fatherly providence had with due forecast orderd things so for our advance­ment towards salvation. What shal I say of them that glory in those vertues which are above all nature, & being rankd in the highest class carry a kind of proportion with God, & eyther make us as it were Gods in a divine de­gree, or at least suppose us such by a sublime participation of the deity it self; as also in [Page 256] those which have God for their immediate object, faith, hope, charity? in which who­soever glories, he must necessarily eyther deny God to be above nature, or think himself of himself, equal or better then God.

The XIX. Chapter. That man must not only esteem himself nothing, but also a great sinner.

THOV art far short of being truly humble if thou thinkest only that of thy self thou hast no good; thou must also hold thy self very bad. Saint Paul stild himself the first of sinners; and that mouth of the H. Ghost could not tell a lye: wilt thou perchance hold thy self better then such an Apostle, or think thou speakest very modestly or with exaggeration, if thou call thy self the ring leader of the wicked? esteem thy self in good earnest the first among sinners and the last among creatures, because thou must prefer thy self before none at all. No body ever had meaner perswasives t [...]n thou, to incline Gods mercy towards thee; do not esteem it an act of modesty to think thus; for divine faith teacheth that no good at all preceded. Thou hast no ground nor reason to think that any other who had experienced the like mercy and favors from God, that [Page 257] thou hast done, would have been les grate­ful then thou art: neither is it lawful to judge so rashly of another, who shouldst hold it almost impossible, that greater ingratitude can be found any where, then thou evidently acknowledgest in thy self. If thou wert truly compunct for thy sins, thou wouldst be seri­ously of this opinion. He that is tormented with an intense and stinging pain thinks no other so great as it, and that no body els suf­fers such anguish: the affection, to wit, in­clines and overwayes the judgement. If thou didst bear any love to humility, thou wouldst easily judg thy self the worst of all others. The proud man out of a desire of being exalted prefers himself before all; as also because he regards not so much in others their perfections as defects: thou if thou wert truly humble wouldst account thy self the worst of all; thou wouldst consider thy own imperfections not anothers, fixing thy eye wholly and solely upon their vertues.

O majesty of the supreme truth, what needs any interpretation? I consess before thy An­gels before men & malign spirits, without any tergiversation, that I am the unworthyest of all creatures; the moral dignity of a rational crea­ture which grounds his chief praise, worth and vertue, consists in the knowledg and ad­vertence of his obligation, and his proceed­ing according to it; these in no body are ob­noxious to greater abuses then in me. Al­though many vertuous men have been more [Page 258] illuminated, and some to the outward ap­pearance have for number outgone my sins, but this juncture, to have sind more grie­vously and les cooperated with my obligati­ons in such knowledg of them, such re­morse of conscience, such inspirations from heaven, all these concurr in no body besides my self. If any one perchance have commit­ted fewer sins then I, he hath received also fewer inspirations, and had les obligation: if any be found more calld upon & favoured by God, he find les and corresponded more faithfully: but if perchance, which I can scarse believe, some one may be found who sind more heavily, & had a profounder know­ledg of his duty; I do not for all this deem him worse then me, because such a one wil not know nor ressent such obligations as I do: and although another had in very deed greater tyes, though I think it cannot be; yet acts of vertue are to be weighd by the conscience they proceed from; and since I am perswaded that my obligations to serve him are greater then all others and yet serve him les, I may wel be held the vilest and ungratefullest of all. Although the sins of Anti-christ exceed mine in number, yet his knowledg, light and obli­gation wil not exceed mine: for he shal not obtain pardon of his trespasses so often as I have done, nor wil he be urged with such ef­ficacious and present benefits and inspirations, nor preserved from so many occasions of of­fending: Although Lucifer had greater light [Page 259] communicated to him, yet he was damned but for one only sin, nor had he so many tyes upon him as I: the Son of God became not man for his sake, nor shed his pretious blood. Iudas also had fewer obligations from Christ then press me; for as then he had not felt the stings of death. O humble and meek im­mensity of God, how canst thou tolerate me, for not being confounded and swallowd up, in the gulph of my own basenes! Let me not I beseech the prefer my self before any one, since I find no ground to suspect any body worse then my self.

Acts which render one sinner greater then another, are but of a limitted number: how then am not I worse then any of them, who can without any stint adde sin to sin; and have poyson enough in me to infect the whol world? for after so many benefits received, after such an excess of Gods love, so many divine inspirations, I am still extreme wicked: & what if he by his grace in me & others had not curbed the unbridlednes of my malice? I am daily by addition of new sins more and more disposed to deprave both my self and others more perniciously. If one sin of Adam was able to infect his whole innocent posteri­ty, if one theft of Achan could render all Is­rael liable to divine vengeance such an infinite multitude as mine are what must they needs effect? I see not, o infirme spirit, how thou canst chuse but be confounded, considering thy own despicable meanenes together with [Page 260] the vast multitude of thy offences, if thou confrontest these with Gods immensity, with the excess of his benefits, the incomprehen­sible work of Christs redemption, with his ineffable love and loialty towards thee; in comparison of which last, all the stupendious things he hath done for thee are little regarda­ble, & by which alone he was as it were forced to do what he did. But all this is nothing and much short of truth whatsoever can be con­ceived concerning thy basenes and infamy: yea esteem it nothing; for thou wouldst still find thy self more and more contemptible if thou wert but throughly enlightned by God. O most pretious truth, if the case stand thus with me, why do not I dispise my self, dis­daign my self, abhorr my self so far as not to know what either to do or think of my self? I wonder that I endeavour not to reverence God more profoundly, I am amazed that I seek not my own contempt more fervently!

One sole crime renders him that commits it infamous, even among sinful men, who cannot penetrate the malice of sin, nor con­ceive a worthy detestation of it. How then must so many defaults of mine, so many cul­pable neglects disgrace and deforme me before the sanctity of God, his pure Angels and glo­rious Saints. For although I may wel hope that many sins through the mercy of God are forgiven me; what I was once of my self I am allwayes, nor shal ever of my self be more. If I had once of my self, for what I might [Page 261] account my self contemptible, why not all­waies? for of my self I never have more: rather shame must increase in me, and how much the more I have received, so much ought I to humble my self for my sins past. Since I have learnd by experience the divine mercy, shame ought I say, to increase for having contemned so good a Lord, and stil persisting in my ingratitude. O most vile and wretched spirit, why in so great ingratitude dost thou not deem thy self unworthy of all grace? how darest thou be so bold as to beg any? why, if it were voluntarily given thee without thy demanding it, dost thou not tremble so far as almost to doubt, whether it were not better to want that guift of God, then be exposed again to a hazard of abusing what thou hast so often contemned? but hoping in thy mer­cy, o Lord, I wil be bold and forward, yea importune to the whol court of heaven, dis­covering to it my basenes and ulcers: neither will I cease to cry to all and each Saint in par­ticular, till I be even troublesome to them s & at least by my importunity, since I have no better title of my self, I wil obtain greater grace & mercy of my IESVS, that he desert not me for deserting it.

The XX. Chapter. VVhat it is to stile ones self nothing and a great sinner.

THou wilt abuse others by tearming thy self nothing and a great sinner, if thou really thinkest not so: but thou wilt deceive thy self if thou thinkest so, and proceedest not accordingly, treating & demeaning thy self as such. What thinkest thou is it to be a nothing! to be no more sollicitous over thy self, that thou maist atchieve Gods greater glory, then thou art over those things which are not touched at all nor moved for wholly relinquishing and eva­cuating themselves. Wouldst thou fret at him that should beat the aire or chafe at another, who being placed in those vacuities of the imaginary spaces should spend his tongue and fists in chiding & striking that empty nothing. So thou, if thou esteemst thy self also noth­ing, and hast evacuated thy self of thy self, thou must not, as much as may be, resent any injuries; otherwise by so doing thou wilt esteem thy self something. It will be as ridi­culous and childish for thee who tearmest thy self nothing to seek thy own repute and in­terest, as if thou shouldst be extremely anxi­ous how to wish honour & prosperity enough [Page 263] to one that is not as yet created nor ever shal be. Wherfore thou must be no otherwise af­fected towards thee and thine, then if thou hadst not as yet a being.

But by truly and seriously holding thy self nothing, thou dost wonderfully purify thy self, and puttest thy soul in a fit disposition to receive without stop or let, the guifts of God & God himself. Nature cannot endure a vacuity, nor can God suffer the humble man to remaine evacuated but he must forthwith replenish him. That God might become man he evacuated himself and that man may be­come God, one spirit with God, must not he do so too? it wil be an evacuation of thy self, to esteem and regard what concerns thee no otherwise then if thou wert a mere noth­ing, to let no thought which favours of thy self or earthlines be predominant, to divest thy self of all evil habits and affections, dispoiling thy self of thy self, as much as if thou wert but newly created of nothing. God evacuated himself for thee, demeaning him­self as if he had not been God, and procur­ing thy salvation in such sort as if thou alone wert to be saved: thou must take divine things, as much as lyes in thee, so to hart, as if thou wert God himself. Thou must eva­cuate thy self in the highest degree and recede from thy self almost to an infinite distance, more then if thou wert not at all: which thou wilt compass, if thou becomest quite another creature by grace and love, passing from thy [Page 264] self to God who is infinitly remote from nothing and all essence. There are two glo­rious prerogatives of the divine wil, love and power; but love seems in some sort more po­werful then that very power which can, tis true, reduce thee to nothing, but cannot promiscuously make thee another thing, nor the nature of a man the nature of an Angel; in which case thou wouldst be more distant from thy self then if thou didst become noth­ing: but he that is beloved by God and reci­procally loves him, that fire eating off the dross of all self-affection and humbling and annihilating his will, he becomes in a man­ner a God breathing nothing but the divine wil and pleasure; for although he remain still in his own essence, yet he remaines not in self-affection, but is conforme to Gods appoint­ment, as far distant from himself as if he were another thing. One man feels not the smart of anothers wounds nor resents the affronts that are put upon others: in like manner thou must not, as much as is possible, be ressen­tive at all of thy contempt for Gods glory, no more then if it concerned not thee but another.

Again, if thou reputest thy self a great sin­ner, thou must consequently perswade thy self that all the crosses and calamities which befall even others are caused by thy defaults and negligences. What affliction soever God inflicts is for a punishment and redress of sin, and in the course of this life he many times [Page 265] chastizeth the sins of one upon another. Therfore since I am the greatest of sinners, they are my offences which occasion all mise­ries; and being they are the effects of sin, why of others and not them that are the most heynous? wars, plague, famine, are penal­ties and remedies of my delinquencies, they are all to me both favors and punishments: in my behalf the divine mercy and justice are every where engaged; justice and peace give a mutual kiss, mercy and truth embrace each other, that every where and in all I may o Lord, fear thee and love thee, be confounded in my maliciousnes, and hope in thy good­nes. I wonder not at all that the world is pla­gued with so many calamities since it harbours me: I like another Ionas am the occasion of this shipwrack and that tempest which invol­ves many, For one sin of Achan the inno­cent people of God was pittifully scourgd: I am a greater delinquent then he; why may not I presume that many innocent people are for my sake afflicted with general calamities. I, o Israel, am an anathematizd person in the midst of thee; I alone suffice to prophane the whole world. I am so impudent that though I share the deepest in sin, I make the least satis­faction for my self and others whom I behold groaning under such miseries, believing my self to be the occasion. I have wrongd all men by my sins, I am a debter to all and guilty of all their punishments and humiliations.

The XXI. Chapter. That Gods glory is alwayes to be sought.

THou must acknowledg great obli­gations to Gods glory; and it is but meet that thou be gratefull and a fervent zealer of its advancement: We are endebted to Gods glory for our es­sence, for our redemption, beatitude, and all the good we have. God wrought all for his own glory; and being he was so beneficial to us for its sake, it is but reason that we con­secrate all our endeavours solely to it. O God of majesty, thou seekest our honour upon all occasions; is it not meet that man endea­vour thine in all he can? Thou didst honour man in his creation, making him thy own task above other creatures, and moulding him with thy own hands: nor didst thou con­tent thy self with creating him as thou didst the heavens and other creatures by a word of command, but thou wouldst as it were labour in it, being obsequious to him even before his being. Thou didst honour man in the pro­vision thou madest for him, preparing him the magnificent pallace of this world, and subjecting all creatures to his beck, that he might use them as so many servants. Thou didst honour man in his conservation allotting [Page 267] him an Angel Guardian a most noble creature who sees thee face to face, and stands in a per­petual fruition of thy beatitude: and this thou didst to honour us in all respects deputing for our custody one adornd not onely with the endowments of nature and grace but also of glory. Thou didst honour man in his re­demption, elevating humane nature to the fellowship of thy throne and majesty. Thou didst honour man in his remuneration, afford­ing him for his light and momentary afflicti­ons no les salary then thy own kingdome, and preferment into thy family. Thou hast through all a studious regard to mans greater glory.

Let it confound thee, o ungrateful spirit, that thou seekst not the greater glory of thy God. Procure his glory by thy own contempt: he will be so much the more exalted in thee, by how much the more thou art depressed. God & man stand proportioned as doth a cōtinued and severed quantity. A number may be au­gmented without end: a stick may be lessend to an infinitude: the more a stick is diminished by an ablation of its parts, the more the number is stil enhaunced: the meaner conceit thou hast of thy self the sublimer wil be thy knowledg of God. Thy knowledg of God may be augmented without end: self con­tempt and the knowledg of thy unworthines may increase to an infinity, because thou art infinitly despicable. Employ thy self in pon­dering thy own ignominy, and how thou art [Page 268] nothing but dust and ashes; so shalt thou be­hold the glory of God which was the end of thy creation. Thou wilt spend thy time much les profitably in other subtilties which rather hinder then further the knowledg of God. It is certainly known by a wonderfull experi­ence that a vessel fild and stuffed with ashes wil hold as much water as if it contained nothing at all; which notwithstanding being taken up with other materials, is so much les capa­ble of that liquour for whose reception it was made. Knowledg of thy self doth not hin­der thy knowledg of God; these two stand very well together, the one drinks in the other as ashes do water. The beholding of thy own ignominy wil make thee seek the glory of God for which thou wast created, and hinder thee from intrenching upon it. A tree at one and the same time spreads its root downward and its branches upward; so much it aspires in hight as it gaines ground in depth: thy mind wil be elevated if thou keepst it under. Wilt thou plainly know that praise and glory are not thy goods, nor any of thy appurte­nances? consider that praise ads nothing in­trinsecal to thee nor superads any perfection although thou be a beggar and imperfect: thou standst more need of a redress which wil rather better thee then only tearm thee such, thou still remaining wretched and needy. Praise then and glory are properly only found in him who is in no kind of indigency: for that very respect that praise availes him noth­ing [Page 269] to whom it is exhibited, we conjecture that it ought to be bestowd on him only who knows not what it is to want. Give glory to him to whom nothing is profitable, and that wil be most profitable to thee. God seeks thy advantage in all not his own; do thou de­sire all glory to God, none to thy self. As no creature is conducible to God, so no self-honour is appetible to thee. Let all the glory of thy actions be intirely referred to God, as all the profit of his works redounds to thee. The glory of God & benefit of man are sisters and mutually imbrace each other, God or­ders nothing to the amplification of his own glory, which makes not also for the benefit of man. God is not inconsiderate to put his hand to work he knowes not why: he is not vain to work unprofitably without any advan­tage; he is infinitly perfect immensly good. By reason of his perfection he is indigent of nothing; and therfore it remaines only, that the end of his working be his own glory, and prayse to be exhibited by creatures which is a thing altogether extrinsecal: by reason of his goodnes all he doth is beneficial, but because he himself wants nothing, all the benefit re­dounds to creatures. As he can do nothing prejudicial to his own honour so neither doth he to thy profit. Thou being a man all com­pounded of imperfections and wickednes, thou must in nothing at all ayme at thy own credit. One must first be perfect in himself before he deserve prayse from another; exte­riour [Page 270] glory is consequent to interiour good­nes accomplished in it self: but by doing all to Gods honour thou shalt do all also to thy own advantage.

That only is advantagious to man which is glorious to God: if thou wilt seek thy own profit, seek not what is profitable to thee, but what is honorable to God: yea if thou wilt not be unprofitable both to the world and in the world, make Gods glory thy whole task and employment, that being the end of thy creation. As soon as man declined from this, he immediately became unprofitable. He is superfluous and a supernumerary in the world who makes it not his busines to advance the honour of God. All things take their profi­tablenes from their end: if they swerve from that they become unserviceable. If thou takest a plain to warm thee withall, it wil not only be useles for that end, but thou also foolish: if thou takest fire to smooth a table, that which is serviceable above all other things, wil not only be unserviceable but also pernicious; it wil burn and destroy what thou intendedst to polish and perfect. All the uten­sils of arts take them besides their proper ends and they are all disproportioned and to no ef­fect: so man who consecrates not himself to the glory of God, the end for which he was ordained, he is wholly useles and superfluous. Thou expectest grapes from the vine thou hast planted; thou covettest to reap some benefit from all thou hast, why wilt thou thy self [Page 271] only remain unprofitable? that fig tree which bore no fruit was accursed, and so shal that man be that is unserviceable. How great is thy madnes, o man, in not seeking Gods greater glory? greater then if thou shouldst take [...]now to warm thy self withal, or a painter make use of a carpenters saw insteed of a pen­cil. Nothing can be imagined more dissonant, more from the purpose, more absurd, then to seek, I will not say, thy own credit but only thy profit if thou seekst not together Gods greater glory by thy vertuous practises.

Propose to thy self an end in thy manner of life, and understand it wel, that thou be not like a blind archer. Thou desirest to know the proper ends of all things that thou mayst be able to use them in order to it; so, not to err in the use of thy self have thy end alwayes before thy eyes. Thou undoest thy self if thou endeavour any thing that makes not for Gods greater glory. Fix thy attention up­on nothing els, prefix this as the scope and butt of all thy actions. Regard not whether they be painful or pleasant, but whether they be acceptable and honorable to the divine majesty. A sick man that longs for health re­fuseth not a potion because it is bitter, nor takes a draught of cold water because dele­ctable, but he only reflects upon this, whether it be conducing to health: and upon that ac­count accepts of what is unsavory and sweet. Thou must be equally indifferent to all. When a traveller inquires the way, he accounts it [Page 272] all one whether he be directed to the right­hand or the left, so it lead to the place he goes to: he that playes at tables determines not to move this man rather then another, but only that by which he may win the game: so must we stand in the course of this life, inclined no more to health then sicknes, to plenty then poverty, to the point of credit then to disgrace. We must use the things of this world no further then they conduce to the glory of God; they are only meanes and are not to be used for themselves. Embrace nothing which tends not to its end, although it be never so desirable: refuse nothing which makes for it though otherwise harsh, for that wil prove but too pernicious. All wil be vain and unprofitable which conduceth not to Gods greater glory. Can that be profitable to a tree which helpeth not to make it fruit­ful? what wil it avail if its leaves be guilded, its stock wrapt up in silk, its boughs hung ful of sparkling diamonds? all these wil be to smal purpose and wholly unserviceable; a little dung is of far more consequence. All the tresures and riches of the world wil afford thee no commodity, unles they help to glo­rify God.

O Lord, let all be as dung to me upon con­dition I may gain thee: let me esteem this one thing in all, if I know them base in compa­rison of thee; if I seek thee alone in them & in my self. All things are nothing in thy sight; why then shal I prefix any other end to my [Page 273] actions besides thee who art all? shal I not [...] good as nothing, and all I do will be to [...]mall purpose? o light of truth, grant that [...] of my mind may be sincere, behold­ing the [...] simply & singly in all, that my whole body may be lightsome, and all my works [...]cceptable to thee. Deceive not thy self, o ignorant spirit; he that errs in his intention [...]rs small; and he that performes a laudable work if the intention of Gods honour be w [...]ing, he will reap but smal fruit: for he that mistakes his way, the further he goes the more he mistakes. He that after a long jour­ney [...] navigation hath [...]issed of his desired port and knowes that he is out of his way by finding himself in a contrary coast how sen­sibly and deeply is he afflicted? o how often after the course of this life do many find themselves in an error, frustrated of all their conceived hopes, and dispoiled of all their good works because a zeale of the divine glo­ry was wanting. If thou wilt not be deceived seek Gods glory and not thy own.

To the king alone of ages immortall and invisible be honour and glory: it is honour enough for me that thou wilt o Lord, be ho­noured by me. Let me esteem it a great ho­nour to see thee honoured. Honour exhibited to a parent redounds to his child: respect done to the head of an unjuersity or rector of a college hath influence into all their members and subjects. Thou art the head and source of all things, thou art the rector of this universe, [Page 272] [...] [Page 273] [...] [Page 274] thou art my parent, all thy honor is also mine. A creature cannot truly be said to re­ceive honour otherwise then by participating of the honour of his Creator. Let me see thee o Lord, honoured, and I shall be honoured; let me seek thy glory and I shal be glorious. Not only my profit, o Lord, but also my honour is linkd with thine: grant that as thou didst seek in all thy works only my ho­nour and my profit; so I and all creatures may only seek thy honour; and from thence alone will redound to us both honour and profit. Whatsoever I shall do, say or think I sacrifice it all to thy glory. If I chance through ne­gligence or inadvertence to do otherwise, even from this moment I retract it and blush at it. The Angels apply themselves with all their affection to sing thy praises, they highten their voices, and rest notwithstanding still con­founded; how then shal not I be ashamd of my tepidity and great negligence.

O man consider the dignity to which thou art raisd; from the deepest pit of non-entities, from an abiss of nothing, from thy native dirt and clay to the glory of a God of infinite excellence and purity. Raise thy intention, purify it: deceive not thy self; thou wilt perswade thy self sometimes that thou seekest the pure glory of God, and thou tacitly desirest thy own gust and commodity. What makes thee so anxious and out of patience when things fall not out as thou didst intend, but because thou soughtest thy self? the [Page 275] glory of God is peaceable, it is joyfull, it is never frustrated of its effect in those that seek it. Although things happen not as the just man expected, yet they will happen as he desired, to wit, as the will of God disposed them, and that sufficeth. If I loved God with the whole extent of my affection in all and through all. I should desire only his goodnes, seek his praise, be replenished with zeale, and breath his glory. He that is past breathing, is dead; and he is no better then a dead man who does his actions for any other end but God. All time is lost which is not spent in seeking eternity. How can we chuse but loose the fu­ture eternity which is not ours, if we loose the present time which is ours, by not working with a pure intention.

THE III. BOOK.

The I. Chapter. How carefull we must be to do our actions wel.

THY whole dayes task must be a doing of good & sufferance of evill: make it thy whole employment to suffer evil, and do good. Neither is it enough that thou be chearfull & prompt [Page 276] to this, but thy alacrity must extend it self even to evil and harsh things, that thou be not affrighted with their greatnes and noyso­menes; as also to patience in good and lauda­ble things that thou be not cloyd with their multitude & continual exercise. The necessity of patience is more transc [...]ndental then any function or casualty of our whole life. Vpon all occasions there is a necessity of suffering; but it ought to be pleasant and according to thy pallat to suffer in order to the doing of good: in this there is a twofold merit, both of patience and the good work. Thou canst never shun the undergoing of some labour, and indeed without labours nothing exquisite will be a [...]chieved. We often faulter in our vertuous purposes out of a hope of non-suf­fering; which leaves us in the lurch while it makes us forbear to imbrace the labour and difficulty which accompanies our good pur­pose, as if perchance at another season the way of vertue would be less thorny. Thou deceivest thy self if thou be not persuaded that it is more necessary to suffer then to live; or that there can be any part or parcell of our life void of sufferance. One affliction is heyre to another; if thou eschewest this another will not be wanting to succeed: be throughly possessed of this, and a false hope will not make thee remiss in thy pious endeavours, by presuming upon some fitter opportunity wherin thou thinkst to accomplish thy ver­tuous exercises with less pain and toile. It is [Page 277] impossible to live with out some labour, do [...]o [...] refuse any that is fruitful of vertue: if thou declinest this, thou wilt be forced to imbrace another more harsh and untooth­some. We can only exchange labour not avoid it. Thou maist notwithstanding eschew many defects and faults, if thou seekest not curiously to avoid what is unavoidable, labour is certain; either it must be embraced with patience, or repentance, or pain and punish­ment. Love and repentance is not sufficiently perfect and such as beseems thee, and the in­finite goodnes and mercy of God exacts at thy hands, unles thou be content to suffer for many yeares space, and as much as in thee lies, the very paines of hell for the least venial trans­gression [...]: yea to render one venial trespass uncommitted thou oughtest willingly to un­dergoe all the torments of the damned. If therfore it be behoofful to embrace such a hell to render undone what is done: what must thou do by way of prevention eer it be done, that it be not done at all? o wretched spirit! be confounded, be confounded: it will not cost thee so deare to eschew sin; it will be enough to shake of slothfullnes.

Many make but a slender advance because they perswade themselves that such an endea­vour towards perfection is not requisite to salvation. O ungrateful and pusillanimous creature! why dost thou frame such a misera­ble conceit of thy beatitude, or settle such dangerous principles concerning thy eternal [Page 278] weal, and have so narrow & ignoble thoughts of Gods glory which is immense? I beseech thee, if thy salvation depended not only upon the keeping the commandments but also the counsels, and on it did hang the salvation of all men, Angels, and the most sacred Virgin, and Christs reprievement from the cross, wouldst thou not use all possible endea­vour to compass it? certainly thou wouldst: consider then that something of main conse­quence, to witt, the glory of God and his good will & pleasure (which is of higher con­cernment then the salvation and happines of the whole world considerd by it self, then the life of Christs humanity) exacts perfection at thy hands. If then it be so very important have a care to be exquisite in each minute action, and this according to the manner of Gods proceeding, whose workmanship is most admirable in little things, as an emmet, a gnat, a bee; and the cunning he shewed in the composure of the heavens and stars sur­passeth not them in point of art.

Commence each action with a resolution to performe it, Christs grace assisting thee more perfectly then ever hitherto, to the be­nefit of the Church militant to the glory of the Church triumphant, to the greater ho­nour of God; as if he expected no other be­nefit from the creation of the world, from the redemption of man, from the goodly furniture of heaven where he is to be glorified by all the blessed, besides this action of thine; [Page 279] no otherwise then if thy salvation, the weal of the universe, and glory of the divinity depended upon each thy least work; as if thou wert not to iterate it again nor hence forth to do any other, but forth with to give up the ghost. Be not sparing then of a little labour with loss of such a commodity. God desires that thou shouldst performe this work most exactly; and if thou considerest this his desire, thou wilt shew thy self extremely perverse if thou compliest not with it, or darest reflect upon any annoyance of thy own. Sufferance is of it self desirable only to imi­tate Christ our Saviour, without the juncture of any other good: neither will it be less accep­table towards the avoiding some fault, and accomplishing all most absolutely to Gods greater glory.

Mans emploiment is doing good: for this end hadst thou thy beeing to do good: but remember that man is born to labour because without it no good work can be durable or of continuance. Do not frustrate thy self of thy end but endeavour by the assistance of Gods grace to imitate the brave attempts of nature, which strives alwaies what it can to yeald thee her fruits most complete, that thou mayst serve God in the compleatest manner thou canst. Be allwaies mindful that thy ser­vices are in all respects extreme slender, nor carry any proportion at all with that glory which is promisd thee, nor with the paines of hell which thou hast deserved by thy sins, [Page 274] [...] [Page 275] [...] [Page 276] [...] [Page 277] [...] [Page 278] [...] [Page 279] [...] [Page 280] nor the labours which thy redeemer did un­dergo for thy sake, nor the divine benefits which he hath heapt upon thee, nor the im­mense goodnes of that God to whom thy services stand consecrated.

The II. Chapter. That we must shake off all negligence.

BE ashamed, o lukewarm spirit to sit still upon the race when time and place requires thy running. Behold how puddles & standing pooles do putrify, and iron that lies useles becomes rusty: go to; the way of spirit is like the eagarnes of racers; one must not lag, and how much les stand still? how will one have leasure to sit, when he hath time neither to be weary nor so much as to fall. All indeed run, but one only wins the prize; run so as to reach the goale. If God had created all men at the same instant endowed with the use of reason, and equal in the enrichments of grace, and shewd to them all, on the one side the treasures of heavens glory, and on the other the hideous torments of hell; and let them know by re­velation that one onely of all that number were to be saved, to wit, he who served God with most fervour and diligence, who sur­passed the rest in sanctity and charity; and that all others were to be sentenced to dam­nation: which of all these contemplating the [Page 281] horrour & terrour of that infernal pit, would not bend all his forces to excel his competi­tors in sanctity, and so escape those dreadful punishments and obtain happines, becoming that one, who were to be saved? with how much zeale of serving God would each ones hart be replenished? Every one striving to ex­ceed others, none would be found who would not employ his whole endeavour to the end he might out do the rest. There would be no place then for loyterers, tepidity would not dare to shew her head. But with how much more powerful incentives oughtest thou to be inflamd to serve God with greater fervency then any saint hath hetherto ever been who trod the paths of this mortal life. The glory of God, and compliance with his holy wil ought in reason to be beyond all compa­rison a stronger motive and more pressing en­dearment to the service of God, then that incumbency of thy salvation. O eternal truth, why should my profit move me more then thy wil? why should self love be more urgent then love of thee? it is a benefit in­comparably greater, that many are entitled to heaven, and for this my obligations to thee are much hightned; why then art thou now, o infirme spirit so tepid and sloathful? be mindful of the labours which Christ em­braced for thy sake; put before thy eyes so many youths who forestall thy victory, and tender Virgins who lead the way: behold the fervour of the ancient Fathers, the pennance; [Page 282] humility, charity and torments of Martyrs: why art thou so lazy since thou hast so many precedents?

Yea although thou aymedst more at thy own commodity then the glory of God, yet it behooud thee not to slacken the raines so much to tepidity. Thou needst not fear least thy advantage be les, then if thy fervour were eminent above all others, and thou that one who were to be saved: nay it impots thee now to be more fervourous and more inten­sely bent upon Gods glory. No services now are frustrated of their salary, and the better they are the greater glory wilt thou purchase▪ This would not be so in case one onely man were to be saved; since one might undergo great labours and reap no profit at all, neyther would a greater reward be corresponding to greater services; which as then would run hazard of being null and ineffectuall though they were great, for this respect that they were not the greatest: nay although thou didst outrun a great many, almost all, if one alone outstripd thee the prize would be lost and all as good as nothing. Now our merits are at a greater certainty and more fruitful, now not the least of our works perisheth, now all our services are recompensed according to the degree of their fervour. Why then should we now be so pittifully sluggish with certain forfeyture of a secure reward? what? if thou wert ascertaind that none at all should be damned, but all partake of salvation, that [Page 283] ought not to give thee a pretence of being negligent but rather highten thy fervour to­wards a more ample enrichment of merits and increase of glory.

Go to, the sufferings of this life are not condigne or commensurate to the future glo­ry: suffer not lazynes to reside in thee, for it is the moth of merits and scab of vertues tak­ing away all the grace of our actions, rendring them so light of weight, and distastful to God, that his stomack wil not disgest them. If thou yealdst thy self to slouth, sadnes wil not a little annoy thee, being forced to su­stain the heat and burden of the day without any comfort the sting of conscience bereaving thee of that: but promptitude and alacrity wil make thee insensible of the incumbrances of this life, and is highly pleasing and acce­ptable to God. What master of a family loves not to see his servants pleasantly merry and going cheerfully about their work? If man love to behold a pleasant countenance, so doth God a cheerful mind. Let not the sad look of thy negligence contristate Almighty God, neither do thou superadd to the bit­ternes of this life the wormwood of sluggish­nes: a sluggard partakes neither of the joyes of God nor of this world. A tepid religious man in most things is in a worse condition then a wordling. This, though he share not of spiritual comfort, yet he doth of temporal, the tepid for the most part is deprived of both. He that is habituated in sin is not [Page 284] without hope of being coverted and acquir­ing sanctity; but he that growes tepid after his conversion, hath forfeyted part of that confidence, there being greater hopes of a sinner then of him. Great sinners very often become great Saints; but it is a piece of a mi­racle, if he that is tepid become such a one. Experience teacheth us that it is more difficil for the lukewarme to become fervorous then for a sinner to become a Saint: for a tepid man is far from resenting his condition as evil; & because he deems himself secure, and that a mediocrity in vertue sufficeth to salvation, he doth acquiesce in this: he must notwithstand­ing be wary and dread his security, for the danger is very eminent. But which is no mean subject of terrour, God cals & makes enquiry after sinners, Christ takes his refection with them; but as for the frigid they turn his sto­mack and he loathingly vomits them out of his mouth. Shal I say somthing no les fright­ful? the tepid obstruct the current of Gods mercy, and suspend the influences of his pro­fuse liberality, while he is bountiful towards the greatest sinners; but towards the negli­gent he is as it were sparingly parcimonious, not communicating to them what he often­times more willingly confers upon the other. I wil add something yet more formidable, which ought to make each bone of our body shiver and quake. God who is stil giving to all, erecting every where trophees of his bounty, with the tepid he is on the taking [Page 285] hand, depriving them of those talents which he had mercifully lent them before. What more noxious then to debar him, as much as in us lyes, from being beneficent? what worse then not to suffer him to be good, im­peding the activity of his goodnes and muni­ficence. Is not he accursed who is the occa­sion of such a curse? how deservedly then is he accursed who doth the work of God ne­gligently!

Many things which are evil are at least ser­viceable in some respect; but slouthfulnes is so naughtily naughty, that it is in no sort conducible. What can be imagined worse then heynous sins? yet these many times through the wonderful wisdome and goodnes of God who knowes how to extract good out of evil, conduce to our conversion and sanctification, we seeking him after such foul lapses with greater fervour and humility. Slouthfulnes obstructs all this; it is so hurt­fully evil that it shewes it self in part less good and proficuous then the very malice it self of greater sins, Slouthfulnes is the worm of time, it eats and spoiles the choisest things we have, yea it is an enemy to eternity, lessening life eternal by lessening our merits, and it also wasts our temporal by its mortiferous idlenes. If thou demand whose life is shorter, I wil undoubtedly reply, that of the negligent, though he protract it to a hundred years: if thou ask whose is longer I wil answere that of the diligent, though he live but for a short [Page 286] space: death and slouthfulnes is equivalently the same thing. What marchant would sit idle at home, if by one dayes paines he could compendiate the return of a thousand years? do not thou set light by time; one day of fervour is more available then a million of re­misnes and tepidity. A short life ful of a vi­gorous ardency is equivalent nay prevalent to a long one if it be cold and phlegmatique. If thou covet to live long, live diligently.

But how shameful is the shame of sluggish idlenes? how ridiculously infamous would he be, who being picked out from among all the peers of the realm to fight a duel in his kings behalf, having before boasted much of his valour should now in the very lists of com­bat, where his soveraign and all his court stand spectatours, not have the courage to draw his sword, nor move his arme to make a thrust but bend all his forces to flight, leaving his adversary an unbloody victory. O sluggard, thou maintainst Gods quarrel, many Angels beholding and enuying thy hap­pines, who would take it for a great honor to suffer and combat for the glory of God as thou mayst; this favour is done thee to be his champion: thou art become a theater or spe­ctacle to God, the B. Virgin, his Saints and Angels: thou hast often promised to behave thy self valiantly, why art thou now, being come to the push, so dastardly cowardish? o infamy of nature! do not defame the grace of God, nor frustrate those supplies which are [Page 287] kept for a reserve: why art thou so hartles in this work? consider how fervently God de­sires that thou performe it with fervour.

The III. Chapter. How incommodious a thing is sleepines.

VVHAT more seemly to sea­son the first thoughts of the day, then the ancient of dayes my God, that so our mind in its first undertakings may be conse­crated to him? The thought and love of God must not be intermitted, and how much less denied at a seasonable time? Pay the first fruits of life to the Authour of life presenting thy self in the morning before him. We must prevent the sun to thy benediction, and adore thee, o Lord, at the rising of the same in the midst of our sleep, it being as yet night, when the pulse of the bel or some inspiration calls us to rise, and behold, thou our spouse comest and it is requisite to go forth to meet thee.

To make this encounter fruitfully, it con­duceth not a little to prepare oyle over night, least the lamp of thy love, o my soul, want fewel to feed its flame and thou like a foolish Virgin be shut out which is too terrible. Pre­meditate what language shal deliver thy first [Page 288] salutes to thy spouse, and what affaires thou art to negotiate in time of prayer: this being done if thou betake thy self to rest with sor­row thou wilt rise with cheerfulnes; if thou hast a loathing of sleep, thou wilt covet watch­ing with much alacrity. How can a soul enamoured upon God chuse but grieve that it must cease to love him, prayse him, improve its stock of merits, and that all advantages of increasing his glory and its love towards so dear a spouse, must be suspended? how can it endure to see it self sustained by God loved by him, and regaled in this interim with in­numerable benefits, and not to be able to relove him, or as much as be thankful for such high favors. Wherfore it is requisite both before and after sleep, to make amends for that suspension of love and merits with more ar­dent affections and celestial desires, supplying that loss of life, wherin we cannot power out our whole harts upon God, and be ab­sorpt in him. We must procure by this very cessation of merit and love, to merit as much, if it were in our power, as if we were awake. Vsurers even while they sleep increase their mony; and thou wilt do the same if conform­ing thy self to the disposals of heaven with obedience and resignation, thou make an ar­dent oblation of thy self, and beare with pa­tience this misery and the incident necessities of mans life. He that embraceth patiently a necessary death, whether it proceed naturally from some disease, or be violently caused by [Page 289] another man, he merits by it; and so shalt thou if it be harsh and noisome to thee to re­pose and sleep, as it is to those that serve & love God fervently; if, I say, thou accept of this necessary burden with equanimity, it being wisely so ordained by the author of all wisdome. Perchance if thou consider things in themselves, and how much more burden­some sleep is then death to a true lover of God, thou maist merit by sleeping patiently for his sake, as by dying for patience. Merit resides amidst great patience, and patience is there greatest, where greatest aggrievances are born most patiently.

Among all the burdens of mans life and all the annoyances which besiege it so closely, none is greater then that of sleep or more worthily to be repented, sin being excepted. Other calamities are only tormentours of life; sleep for its interim bereaves us of it: other calamities are only opposite to the com­modities of life; sleep for a time impugnes its substance: other calamities are in such sort noisome to our temporal life that they exceed­ingly conduce to eternal by affording matter of merit, by raysing our minds towards God, and drawing our affections as by an attractive quality; sleep in it self during its raign, is an enemy both to corporal and eter­nal life, for as much as it causeth a vacancy both from merit and all thought of heavenly things: other calamities are most welcome to Gods zealot, because in them he doubles his [Page 290] spiritual advantages, love is put to the rest, God is glorified; but sleep hath nothing at all desirable, a cessation both of loving and honouring God attending it, step by step: wherfore sleep is more noisome and for a two fold yea manifold reason more burdensome then death it self to one that is enamoured upon God. Death tyrannizeth only over the body; sleep over both body and soul: sleep on this behalf seems so much worse then death, by how much the soul is better then the body; nay much more, to wit, as much as the whole man soul and body is better then the body alone: for death only deprives thee of thy body, but sleep of thy soul also as wel as of it. Death aymes only at the destru­ction of our body a thing frail and corrupti­ble; sleep at the soul also, a thing eternal & immortal which gives life to the body, it being wholly insensible but for it: death de­stroies a man, sleep doth as much for a space of time as annihilate him. Death is not to be dreaded, for it leaves the best part of man untouched, to wit, his soul which makes him a man by which he loves God and appre­hends his mercy and goodnes, which is the glory of a man and ought to be his sole con­tent and joy; yea it leaves it more refined, without impediment, that it may honour & love God more expeditly: sleep overwhelmes and enters the noblest part of man, unsoul­ing, as it were, the soul it self. Tel me, I pray, which wouldst thou resent most, to die or to [Page 291] be annihilated? if thou give glory to God by dying because such is his B. wil; wilt thou not do the same, if thou covet upon the same motive to be annihilated? therfore if a patient acceptance of death be meritorious, so wil also a patient acceptance of sleep, if thou relish it as an equal burden. If thou merit by embracing with patience the vexatious incum­brances of this life, why shalt thou not also merit by sleep if it be the greatest incumbrance of all, yea it being the sole and only thing which living and dying we must deem cumber­some: for neither in this life nor after death is there any thing, sin being set aside, more burdensome to one that is feelingly devoted to the service of God. What are accounted the burdens which press so heavily upon this life, but its sufferings and miseries? but one should be so far from esteeming sufferance a burden that it ought to be the scope and but of his desires: next after God there is noth­ing more expetible then to suffer for God, exhibiting this as the credentials of our love: for by so doing we perfect the knot of true charity being more straitly united to him, we dilate the confined raies of his glory, and merit to be partakers of the same. No body knowes throughly how burdensome sleep is to us besides him who is able to make a true esti­mate of the immensity of Gods glory, the invaluablenes of his love, and the least degree of grace, in order to all which for this in­terim there is a dead surcease, & a suspension [Page 292] of all traffique for new merits. After the cloze of this life what is noisome to the just besides purgatory; but if thou be then in a condition of suffering it ought not to be resentive at all, thou being therby refined and purified, thy spouse trimming thee up in such a dress as may wel beseem his bedchamber. If he leave it then wholly in thy power to love God, what cause of tergiversatiō, since he leaves arbitrary to thee what thou wishest and desirest? where thou hast opportunity to suffer and love, there is no just ground of complaint. If it were put to thy choise whether thou wouldst sleep or die for half an houres space; a soul truly in­flamed with the ardours of charity, would of it self prefer death that it might not be reduced to a cessation of love: yea it would not, thirst more after the resurrection of the body then after avoiding all unnecessary excess of sleep though but for a quarter of an hour, as much as might be without impairing its cor­poral health. For the mean of discretion is every where to be observed, and we must take a necessary repose though against our will that the functions of our mind may be vi­gorous and masculine, fitly disposed for all enterprizes to Gods glory, as also for praier: least if we indiscreetly deprive our selves of it, we be heavy at our devotions, too drowzy and languishing, and so by little and little quite benumd; and what then wil be the issue, but that we perform them with little fruit. But to be too indulgent to sleep beseems [Page 293] the dead rather then the living; and a soul weighing things in themselves, that is, with an impartial ballance, and siezd with the heat of divine love, to avoid this inconvenience, all acts of love and prayse surceasing for that interim, it would perchance rather make choise of a perpetual death of the body; be­cause in that case one may love & enjoy God, which alone sufficeth and is the chief desire of an enamoured soul but being so charmed and stupifyd it cannot: although one wil not easily conceive this who doth not experience in himself the avaricious incentives of divine love and its restles longings and motions, nor how contemptibly an enflamd hart spurns at all self commodity. But we must not measure the ardour of true love and a devoted affection by the ell of our lukewarmnes: rather by what we behold in those that fondly doat even to madnes upon a perishable beauty, we may guess at the feelings and flames of a pre­tender to an eternal and never fading one. But if thy breast harbour not fuel for such a heat, shun at least as much as thou canst the chilnes of tepidity and sleepines.

If it were intimated to thee that forthwith thou must be annihilated; such tydings would fil thee with horrour why then wilt thou so joy in sleep, it being all one as if for such a respit thou wert annihilated. Apprehend the incommodities of sleep which is an evil & ma­nifold death, it being very opposite to a 4. fold life; for sleep deprives us of the chief life of [Page 294] our body, in which it is equivalent to death it self: it takes away the life of our soul, which is then as if it were not at all, & in this it sur­passeth death: sleep is also in some sort inju­rious to the life of grace, and the eternal life, by causing such an interruption of merit. What then can be more prejudicial to us? wherfore one that burnes with the true flame of divine love, and is siezd with an ardent de­sire of praysing so great a good, is hugely covetous of the least advantages of time, and deems any unnecessary expense in that kind an irreparable loss: and consequently he goes to sleep with much regret, accepting with patience this necessity imposed by God upon life and making to him an oblation of it; taking in good part, since his holy wil is such, to be deprived for this interim of what he much more covets, which is to love & prayse God and be restles in his service; and as much as in him lyes he covets not to sleep but rather busy himself in the former actuations, think­ing every hour a day til he return to his wont­ed employment. Thou also must put on this disposition of wil and offer it to God & com­pose thy self like one ready to give up the Ghost saying with Christ, into thy hands o Lord I commend my spirit. By thus behaving thy self thou shalt after a manner merit by that death and vacancy of sleep so untoothsome and distastful to thy rellish.

Conceive also ardent desires of that ever during life, when without interruption thou [Page 295] shalt enjoy God, and bewail the miseries of this life, since thou must seek repose and relaxation for thy exhausted spirits in a thing of all others most burdensome to thee and prejudicial to all, to wit, sleep. How can life it self chuse but be noysome, its very rest being so restles, and its advantages so disadvantageous? it is a lamentable thing, that life must be repaird at the very charges and expenses of life, since the lover of God esteems somtimes a short sleep more damma­geable then the loss of a long life. When thou art laid to repose, endeavour to seal up thy eyes and hart with the ferventest act of love which ever thou didst make in thy whole life, and even before thou fallest a sleep desire to rise as soon as may be, purposing at thy first waking to unseale thy hart and actuate it in more fervent e [...]aculations then hitherto thou hast done, so to compass in that instant a new purchase of grace. It wil not a little conduce to this to beg the concurrence of thy Angel Guardian as also to use a spare and frugal diet. Strike up this bargain with thy body; in the meane while repose, take thy penny-worths, but be sure to rise as soon as the bell calls thee to work. Like as the soul for the good of the body dies as it were by night and is buried, so must the body die by day for the good and benefit of the soul: while it is awake let the body be dead to this world as when the soul is a sleep it is dead for that respit to heaven, that is, to meritorious actions and pious [Page 292] [...] [Page 292] [...] [Page 293] [...] [Page 294] [...] [Page 296] thoughts. Procure in the meane while that thy body as much as may be supply the eleva­tions and obsecrations of thy soul, the which not being as then in a capacity to pray, the body must do it by lying modestly in a be seeming posture, and for more decency not right upward. We compose coarses and em­balm them against corruption, though they must shortly be the food of wormes, and spoile of time: so let us compose and dispose our selves in this death of sleep that we may be fit for the chast embracements of Christ. Lye with thy armes or fingars a cross: such treasures as these must thou coffin up together with thy self till the morning revive thee; for treasures were wont to be buried and depo­sited with the dead. Be sure thou never desert the cross; but whilst thy mind cannot cling to it thy body must, carrying alwayes about with it the mortification of IESVS. Christ when he was dead would bequeath to us a pledg of his love by receiving a wound with a speare: thou also in this short death must give such an earnest-penny of thy affection. And by this meanes as Christ in his sleep of death merited at thy hands by shedding water and blood, a special pledg of love, at his harts wound: so thou also in thy death of sleep shalt even then merit at the hands of Christ for such a precedent desire and disposition. Let this be an argument that while thou sleepest thy hart wateheth; not unlike cranes who while they sleep carry a stone in their tallon, the [Page 297] fall wherof forthwith awakes them.

The IV. Chapter. That we must rise fervorously to our morning prayer.

IF with loathing thou didst betake thy self to rest, thou wouldst with a cheer­ful alacrity rise in the morning to thy task; neither would it be necessary for the master of the family to hire so early his workmen. Thou wilt shew thy self too effe­minate if thou be not valiant against sleep, but suffer thy self to be vanquishd by a thing of all others the most unmanly, being chaind hand and foot like a captive without tye, in such sort that thou canst neither help thy self nor others, but must be content to sit in the shadow of death. It would not be needfull that the voice of thy beloved knocking at the dore of thy hart should rouze thee; con­ceive the sound and pulse to be the noise of thy spouse calling and inuiting thee with most sweet and amorous language to open the dore; and he cals thee his sister, his love, his dove, his unsported. Open to me, saith he, o my sister, my love, my dove, my unblemishd. Love makes him call thee so often his, nei­ther can he be satiated with calling thee so. O Lord, what beholdst thou in me that can so transport and enamour thee! can it be reaso­nable [Page 298] that I disgust thee for a little ease? but if thou hasten not, o my soul, to open be­cause thou art his and for love of him, do it at least out of mere compassion. To move thee more forcibly he presently adds; because my haire is full of dew and my locks of the drops of the night. Thou wouldst not demur to open even to a stranger and an enemy in this pitteous plight, and why not to thy God, thy lover, who does it all for thy sake. Be­ware he depart not if thou linger. What can be imagind more attractive and comfortable then this voice of the spouse, knocking so friendly, that he may bannish all lazynes from a pious soul? who will not be more con­founded then was Vrias to lye in bed, while Christ stands expecting not under a pavillon but in the open ayre, exposed to the injuries of the night.

Robbers stick not to rise by night to make their booty and massacre others; and wilt thou when the good of thy soul and Gods glory lyes at stake be so tardy? the Angel cal­ing Peter when he was a sleep, said, rise quickly. Thou art more then dead when thou art buried in sleep, imitate at least the dead in rising. In the twinckling of an eye, in a moment shall the dead bodies arise at the command of an Angel: IESVS will not have thee be flower when he cals then when an An­gel. The heavenly spirits take it ill they being by nature most quick and agile, to see any one whom they awake any whit sluggish, or [Page 299] fearing themselves with stretchings and yawn­ings; and they waken us most willingly, be­ [...]use the very sight of this drowzines, so op­ [...]osite to their agility is not a little offensive to [...]hem. A certain servant of Christ one of our society, by name Iohn Carrera, was every morning before day called by his good Angel to go to praier: but this heavenly monitor once absented himself for many dayes, till being appeased with continual praiers and long fasts he returned at length to his charitable office, admonishing Iohn that for this reason he with drew his comfortable presence, because being once overcome with the drowzy wea­rines of the precedent dayes labour he had not risen with such speed to his accustomed devo­tions. So inconsiderable a fault (if it were a fault) so highly offended the Angel although it were not perceived by his conscience which was so tenderly nice and delicate. They esteem the fervor and prayers of us miscreants so much, that they deem not their own offici­ousnes to equalize the others worth; and give us a gentle correction, that there may not be so much as a false shadow of idlenes where we traffique in such real goods.

Therfore be not slow at the hour of rising; labour with great speed to overtake any one that is before thee, that thou maist be the first that our Lord coming loaden with his guifts shal light upon, so to have the first choise and handsale of his graces, he disburdening him­self upon the first he meets. Thou shouldst [Page 300] run towards Christ charged with his cross to ease him of it and be crucified in his place run to him fraught with grace to be enriched by him. What soul can be so sensles and pro­digal as not to rise with all speed to receive so many guifts, and impart kisses to her spouse? how can she be said to love God, if she re­turn not swifter then any thunderbold to love her beloved, whom over night she desired so vehemently. One must rise more expeditly then if the bed and bed clothes were all in a flame: one will rise more expeditly if the fire of love be enkindled in his hart.

Procure at that instant to make amends for the vacancy of sleep, wherin thou couldst not actuate thy self in the love of God, by a most fervorous elevation of mind, by a most flagrant charity and a total holocaust of thy self, the perfectest that hitherto thou ever didst offer upon the altar of thy hart. Suppose thy self in such a condition as if in that mo­ment of thy awaking thou wert newly created by God to love and serve him for that day alone: for that sole end is this daies life gran­ted to thy use. If one that is in a state of bea­titude were annihilated by God, and forth with created anew with all his qualities and former perfections, with what impetuousnes of will in that very moment would he engulph himself in the abiss of the divinity? do thou endeavour to put on a like fervour after this thy annihilation by sleep and resuscitation by awaking. How deep a sense and profound [Page 301] reverence did Adam and the Angels conceive [...]wards their Creator in the first instant of [...]eir perceived creation? imitate the B. Vir­ [...]n who being in the first moment of her con­ [...]ption created in grace, and priviledgd which [...]e perfect use of reason; with what inten­ [...]nes of affection did she cast her self into the [...]mes of almighty God? what thanks did Christ our Lord render to his heavenly Father [...] the first instant of the hypostatical union? yea with how great love did he then particu­ [...]arly think upon thee by name? when it stood [...]ritten in the front of the book that he was to do the will of God, he said, o heavenly Father even for that contemptible Caytif Iohn will I also undergo a whipping a crown­ing a cross, ignominy, even death it self; I give, I offer, I sacrifice my self wholly for his salvation. And will it not be also thy duty to reflect upon Christ and say, o my God, this day for my Saviours sake wil I embrace all corporal labours and anguish of mind, that I may love, serve and glorify him with all the extent of my affection?

If God had created thee in the state of grace in an ample freedome of will, and had by di­vine revelation indoctrinated thee in all the mysteries of our faith; and thou didst see thy self dear to him and his B. Son become man and crucified with unspeakable love for thy sake; were it not thy duty in these circum­stances to give thy self wholly to God and power thy self forth upon him? it is all one [Page 302] as if he had but just now created thee: be o [...] good courage, thou shalt awake in the state of grace: behold thou findst thy redemption accomplishd to thy hand by the death and tor­ments of thy God; and this with so early a love, that Christ sufferd for thee a thousand and so many yeares before thou wert born, that he might have plenty of grace in store for thee. Neyther Adam nor S. Michael nor Ga­briel, nor any other of the Angels, no nor their queen her self the sacred Virgin found such preventing diligence, such a feat of love, to wit, that God had already died for their releasment. Be inflamed then forth with with a recipocal love and burning desires towards so magnificent a goodnes, so speedily pro­vident over thy affaires and do not contemn such an anticipation in what concerns thy eternal weal. Adam stood in expectation of this benefit the space of 4000. yeares: but the benefit it self hath expected thee already above 1600: and it is neyther right nor rea­son that thou requite such sedulity and quick­nes with so much sluggishnes and delay. Pro­crastinate no longer thy conversion to God, who hath so long expected thee in a great deal of patience.

Put case a proffer of coming to life were made to the soules which now are only in a possibility of existence; and this upon the same conditions helps and favours which God hath daignd to bestow this day upon thee; how would they joy, how happy would they [Page 303] esteem themselves; how officiously would they spend that day, how would they in the very entrance of life sacrifice themselves to such a benefact or. And what if he should make this proffer to those whom this very night he hath sentenced to hel fire, while he so lovin­gly stood centry over thee in thy repose, with what incredible fervour would they at their first return to life consecrate themselves to Almighty God, as also the remnant of that day and their whol life, if they did but once behold themselves adornd with divine grace with supernatural habits, and such op­portunities of serving so beneficial a God. Be thou confounded for not sacrificing thy self more fervently to him who is much more munificent towards thee: it is a greater mat­ter to have preserved thee from damnation, then to have reprieved thee being once con­demned. Spur up thy self to outstrip the fer­vor of many just soules, and be thankful that thou findst not thy self this morning plungd in hell, but freed from it, as also from so many dangers and sins which innumerable others have this night incurd. Do thou alone wish to give him, if it were possible, that glory which all the Saints will be still render­ing through the great day of eternity: which desire thou must unfaignedly iterate in the course of the whole day, and that with sighs from thy very hart; neither in the morning only but oftner as if then newly set on foot and created, begin the journey of Gods ser­vice [Page 304] allwayes with a fresh and vigorous cou­rage.

The V. Chapter. That our daily fervour must be retained.

THOV providest but fondly for this dayes life, neyther art thou secure of that, if thou delayst it till to mor­row. If the use of this dayes life be granted thee, live wel and perfectly; for he only is said to live who lives wel. Thou diest miserably being yet alive if thou leadest not a good life. Each morning when thou awakest purpose to live that day as wel as possibly thou canst, as if thou wert undoubtedly to dye the same night. Delay not the amend­ment of any defect till another day which perchance thou wilt never see: eyther the day or thy wil wil fayl thee. The day to come wil go wel with thee, if the present do. One must never hazard a thing so good as is a good life, but be alwaies in an active fruition of it. Thou art industrious in avoiding any thing that may endanger life; and why dost thou by delaying prepare and call danger to a good life. Live to day, and protract not to amend what is amiss after this week or month or the dispo­sall of this affair. To day God is our Lord, and to day must thou be the servant of God; [Page 305] for he is thy servant to day▪ since he to day makes the sun rise to thy behoof. He delaies not his guifts till to morrow neither must thou thy services. To day God heaps benefits up­on thee which thou canst not challenge: be not thou wanting to services which he exacts▪ The services of another day wil not suffice for the beneficence of their day; why wilt thou have them satisfy for the day past and for the benefits of the present? its own good­nes is not sufficient to pay its debt; why wilt thou make it pay for the malice of another, God especially redoubling thy debts and his graces? to day God is God, and to day thou art his creature: to day Christ is thy redeemer, and thou to day his redeemed. IESVS is Christ yesterday & to day: thou hast a being to day and shalt perchance not have one to morrow. To day and every moment art thou a debter to God, who impends continually his omnipotency to thy behoof; thou also must each moment impend all thy forces in his love and service. How darest thou incur the loss of one hour, since thou canst not make recompense for the least benefit which thou receivest this instant, flowing from the ocean of Gods infinite love. How darest thou sus­pend the quitting thy obligation for the inter­val of one day or hour? for if God suspended his munificence but for a piece of an hour thou wouldst not be in the world; or if he suspended his indulgence, thou wouldst be in hell. An eternal salary is promised thee, [Page 306] thou must not merit by interrupted services. If thou wilt truly live never intermit to live wel: this is an eternal truth. O Truth, give me grace to serve thee truly henceforth for all eternity: and that I may eternally live with thee, teach me how I may truly live to day.

Thou must, o remiss spirit, daily arme thy self to combat, and awake with great chear­fulnes as one would do to battail, the sign of falling on being given, as it were, by this trum­pet; thou shalt love thy Lord God with all thy hart with all thy soul, with all thy mind, with all thy strength. Let this precept allarme thee in the morning, & perswade thy self that each day of thy life is not only a day of warfare but a set day for combat. How cheerfully do sol­diers rise that morning wherin they receive orders to prepare for batail; a soldier is not found unarmd in the day of combat: thou must make account thou art to fight every day: arme thy self early in prayer with a most fervent charity, with a most profound self contempt, with patience, mortification, & all the stratagems thou canst invent. The sole suspition of a batail armes a souldier and makes him continue so for many dayes, be­cause he expects to fight one day; what ought the certainty and belief of a daily conflict to operate in us? dispose all thy actions in the morning, and depose them in the hands of God; and purpose to be twice as good to day as thou wast yesterday, least in the day time the divel interpose himself, and prevail [Page 307] so far as to make thee abate of thy fervour.

Rise wel animated against all the difficulties which attend this life; and if any of them [...]ccost thee, or thou become slouthful, be not faintharted but rather joyful. For why? [...]n occasion is presented of a greater victory: assaile them undauntedly like one valiant soul­dier encountring another; who is not dis­maid at his presence nor seeks a starting hole, but stands his ground and joyes to have met him, whom otherwise he would have sought. Fight stoutly all day long and at night expect to die. The life of man is a warfare in which life is allwaies hazardous and labour certain. As often as thou art but a little foild fight more eagerly; and perswade thy self that such foiles wil be frequent, for the just man is foild 7. times a day: but rise forth with with redoubled courage. as a souldier who having received a wound flies more keenly at his adversary. Where thou perceivest any breach make it up incontinently, and fortify it more strongly by calling a squadron of rea­sons to thy assistance which must be at hand like a valorous and approved reserve, muster­ed from thy morning meditation, repentance and humility leading them up. And delay not to repair that negligence, for otherwise thy vigour of spirit wil easily slacken. He that receives but a sleight wound will faint unles he stop the effusion of blood; and by delay that which is otherwise but an inconsi­derable hurt wil become mortal. Apply a re­medy [Page 308] out of hand, & differr it not till night or another day: for although it seem nothing it will hinder the progress of thy other acti­ons. If any one have got a thorn in his hand or foot he puls it out immediately; he lets it not alone till night or some few daies after; otherwise he will be able neither to walk nor do any thing else: and the delay may be such that by festering it may prove a canker, and cannot be cured but by cutting of.

Yet for all this be not so contristated for any smal defect as that it smel rather of pride then repentance, and thou be hinderd thereby from performing thy other exercises which require a great deal of alacrity. B. Aloysius Gonzaga had reason to say, that those who were too anxious over their smal defects did not sufficiently know themselves. Thou art all misery, but thou hopest one day to be happy. be les contristated and more humble. If thou acknowledg thy misery a fixt hope in almighty God will lessen thy anxiety; and dispair of any good will increase humility in thee. Many are therfore dejected because they grieve not so much for having offended God as for their own infirmity and vilenes, while they find themselves so impotent and faint harted; and because this affection naturally sympathizeth with self love it is more re­sented, and sometimes occasioneth no smal harm. Grieve only for having offended God; but rejoice forth with by a confidence in IE­SVS: and congratulate with thy self for thy [Page 309] own vilenes; for thou art nothing of thy self but only by God, which is much better for thee. By this meanes the defect it self wil more animate thee, and render thee more confident by putting thy trust in God, since thou dost actually experience and as it were by groping palpably perceive, that by thy own strength thou canst do nothing, but only by God and with God, on whom thou maist much more securely rely: for he is far greater in goodnes then thy good will can be in con­stancy.

Perswade thy self that perchance each hour thou wilt faulter a hundred times; but pur­pose, Gods grace assisting thee, to rise again a thousand. By how much more frequent thy lapses are, rise so much more confidently be­cause thou art more conscious of thy own insufficiency. Then is our hope more purely and sincerely fixt in God when we dispair to­tally of our selves; and then experience it self will teach us this when we see our selves with­out end to fail in our good purposes: God permits that because we do not sufficiently humble our selves. If thou wert truly hum­ble thou wouldst redress many inconvenien­ces, and speak nothing but victories Hum­ble thy self in the presence of God; mistrust thy self and trust in him; and being armed with this, live this day with much circum­spection, diligence, and desire, as if the whole multitude of men were created this day, and of all that world one only were to [Page 310] be saved, he who attaind to the highest pitch of charity and most resignd indifferency of will: for which end though to others were al­loted the space of a hundred years, yet thou shouldst have but this dayes respit. Thou art obligd to do more now to honour and plea­sure God, then in any contingency and sup­position whatsoever for any other respect, even that of salvation.

The VI. Chapter. Of maintaining our fervour.

OVr spiritual life depends no les upon the hart then our corporal: our hart being kept untainted and wel guard­ed our spirit will be in safety. Mans hart is the consecrated altar of God and the throne of the H. Ghost. Thou must preserve it with all sollicitude, that it may be free from this world & not defiled with the images of terrene & impertinent things, with which the world and the divel by the windows of thy senses batter thee as with so many engins. Thou must be more careful of thy hart then of an altar, an Oratory, and consecrated chalices, where we offer sacrifice, worship, and keep the very Body of Christ in the Sa­crament. With how much diligence, and under how many locks do usurers keep their [Page 311] mony and the instruments of death? with how much nicenes do those that delight in rarities keep any choise jewel, or forraign no­yelty, making presently a cabinet for it that the least grain of dust may not tarnish it? & canst thou think that the gemm of the Divi­nity and the H. Ghost can be preserved with requisite decency, without an exquisite care­fulnes? If thou didst carry the most H. Sa­crament of the Eucharist in thy hands, how sollicitous wouldst thou be not to let it fal; and if thou carry God in thy hart, why wilt thou be less attentive? The hart is a most de­licate member any little offence to it is ex­tream prejudicial, any trifling wound is mor­tal to the body: and in like manner any negli­gence in the custody of our hart doth much prejudice the spirit.

The kingdom of God is within us: why do we beg miseries abroad by our senses? an unblemishd hart is the oracle of God: he speaks within us: how can we harken attenti­vely if we be gazing and wandering abroad? while thou conversest with one thou givest not eare to another that interrupts thee: how canst thou hear God, being distracted with so many affaires? Why dost thou desire to gaze abroad upon any beautiful object, to tickle thy eares with pleasing sounds, to feed thy fancy with forraign newes, since thou hast God within thee in whom all beauty is comprizd, all plea­sure resides as in in its center, and a perpetual newnes is discoverable even to the B. Angels [Page 312] themselves, though they be in a perpetual fruition even from the very infancy and nona­ge of the world? they beheld him before the prevarication of Adam and stil he is new to their eyes. Which of the blessed would re­linquish the vision and conversation of God, and separate from him to behold any curiosity upon earth, or who, that is placed but at the gates of heaven, would for that end re­cede thence? o how much also is he to be pit­tyed, who in expectation of this earthly trum­pery, hinders his progress in spirit, forsaking the portal of heaven, which is a wel guarded hart; leaves God alone, and sometimes his own hart too, expelling God from it, in such sort that he can neither know him per­spicuously, nor hear him expeditly that thou mayst be able to contemplate thy self in a myrrour thou first of all wipest off the dust: how canst thou hope to see God in thy hart, if thou daube it over with the clay of terrene affections?

If one should tel thee that S. Paul the A­postle newly come from the third heaven, were in the streets explaining and unfolding hidden mysteries, thou wouldst leave all though ne­ver so pleasing and profitable, & wouldst run with much speed, though far distant to hear & see him. Behold thou needst not go one step to hear God inculcating things salutiferous, and teaching hidden secrets while he comes to thee and sejourns with thee: why dost thou not leave these exteriour things so fruitlesly [Page 313] burdensome, overcoming all itch of novel­ties and vain curiosities, by which thy fer­vour doth so evaporate? this ought to be so highly prizd that the servant of God F. Fran­cis Villanova was wont to say, that although it were told him that an Angel were come from heaven and stood in the market place disclosing wonderful and stupendious myste­ries, and that great concourse were made thither, he would not stir one foot, only to overcome curiosity. And certainly it were much better not to see an Angel, then to be overcome by it, if that were the only motive of seing him. What retainest thou now of all the vanities thou hast beheld besides some im­pediments perchance of contemplating God, thy mind being burdend with vain fancies and images of things both false and frivolous. The les thou seest the more thou lessenest thy desire and occasions of errour. A hart shut up to the world is the open gate of truth, which gate is shut by giving free scope to our exte­riour senses: they are these material things that shut it: Wherfore thou must alwayes keep within at home and not go forth to ex­terns but with leave from God, and for obe­dience and his glory. Then they wil cause no hindrance: but forthwith as soon as ever thou hast done thy busines retire home again, resaluting and speaking to God who is there expecting thee: yea recolect thy self now and then privily in the very dispatch it self: steal thy self from thy employments, and put thy [Page 314] self in the presence of God. Whatsoever thou art to enterprize weigh it wel before hand, & offer it up to God, and as much as thou canst have perpetual recourse to him: visit him in thy hart, ask his advice, and implore with hu­mility his favorable assistance.

But the chief gate which man must set a guard upon, is his mouth least its words prove the outlet of devotion. O how often do many sel God at a lower rate then did Iudas, since they sell him for one word! Simon Magus was cashierd for covetting to buy the H. Ghost with mony: others loose him not for mony but a little breath and ayre of their mouth. O most holy spirit, who utterst nothing but Oracles of truth, how can I relinquish thee to attend to the forgeries of men, or my self to speak vanities: conduct me with my IESVS into the desert of my hart, that there thou mayst instruct, illuminate, and streng then me to beare thy cross. O God, o Christ of my hart, grant me grace to follow thee out of the world and worldly crowds, that I may dye with thee out of the city. Thou, chargd with thy heavy cross, didst walk out of Ierusalem to dye for me, and accomplish my salvation in the solitude: instructing me how I am to go out of this world and seek thee in my self and bear thy cross and be cruci­fied to the world in the solitude of my hart. I wish my life could be sayd to be like a war­fare upon earth! a souldier forsakes parents, allyes, friends, country, commodities, and [Page 315] embraceth as it were a voluntary bannishment in a forraign land exposing himself both body and soul to most evident danger for a little base pelfe: why will not a soul desirous of Christ, in order to gain the chiefest good and lock it up in the cabinet of its hart, with draw it self from the tumults of men, and quit the miseries which attend their affaires, so to evade more present dangers both of body and soul & be replenished with heavenly consolations.

The VII. Chapter. How constant one ought to be in the practise of good works.

MEN toil many years with great con­stancy for the inconstant and fleet­ing goods of this world: why then are we so variously sickle in the pur­suit of a constant and eternal glory which ne­ver wil fade? men though they cark and care, toile and moile their whole life long cannot get temporal goods, albeit they pursue them without respit: how can we presume to gain eternity, since we are as changeable as any weather cock? what paines do robbers, usu­rers, and the lecherous undergo to compass their wicked designes though they attempt things both unknown and uncertain? why can [Page 316] we for love of vertue and the honour of God sustain nothing with constancy? he that ho­pes for a continual and eternal good, unjustly shuns labours in its pursuance: he that is to be alwayes happy must be alwayes good: for

Each day condemns mans irreligious facts;
All seasons open are to vertues acts.

as saith S. Prosper. The greatest grace of all other is to preserve the grace which is given thee, and thy chief work not to surcease from doing works. As a creature would be very deformed without head and life, such a monster is a good life without a correspond­ing end. We have received grace without any paines, but we must conserve it both by grace and paines. The beginning of a thing is ac­counted half its accomplishment; but unles it end wel all comes to nothing. In the matter of perseverance the end is all in all: for noth­ing is done so long as any thing remaines un­done. It imports little to have laboured hard all ones life long, if he faulter in the end. The sole last moment of perseverance is more avai­lable then all the years by past; for all their fruit proves rotten if it did not borrow thence a preserving soundnes.

Thou wilt think it a hard task to persever, but it is much harder to begin again, and much more then that to begin often. Wher­fore it is both more easy and more conducible, to persever once then to begin often. Horses force themselves les in a continued course of [Page 317] drawing a chariot, then, after having stood stil, when they are to move it again. Water which hath been once heated, being taken of the fire, becomes more cold then at first. If fervour be wanting in thy proceedings thou also perchance wilt be more tepid then in the beginning. Many grow faint-harted in the course of perseverance because they find diffi­culty in doing good; but they do not ther­fore evade that difficulty; for it is only per­severance that makes all easy. If thou hadst the courage to begin a hard task, thou mayst wel continue it, that being much more easy. Thou hast found so long by experience that it is neyther disproportioned to thy strength nor grace; why then contrary to so long proof art thou now diffident, thinking thy self unable to bear it? what is eyther past or to come is not burdensome for the present: do not grasp the difficulty all at once, for it comes not so but by piece meale, cōmensurate to the parts of time. As thou wast able before to sup­port it so art thou now, and wil be henceforth. It wil not be more noysome then it was, but the heat of the difficulty wil remit by length of time and custome. Accustome thy self to do wel, and thou wilt forget to do ill. Cu­stome overcomes difficulty because it over­comes nature, and what then wil grace do? if custome overcome nature much more wil a wel-orderd charity in thee overcome the deordinations of nature.

It is better many times to fulfil a good pur­pose [Page 318] or consummate a work already begun then to begin another though otherwise more perfect; because by inuring thy self & yeald­ing to a ficklenes of mind, neither wilt thou performe that other. Seldome can any work occur which is better then constancy in ful­filling a good purpose. Good purposes are to be kept although they be not of any great regard; because albeit in themselves it im­ports but little whether they be kept or no, yet it is extremely important to be constant & no wayes changeable. Who is more constant in making good purposes then he who least intends to keep them. If thou learnst a firm perseverance in one good against another, thou wilt learn it more firmly against evil, & wilt not vary like time in this time of ser­ving God. O eternal truth, grant me grace to serve thee eternally: help, o Christ my weaknes, thou who with such indefatigable love tookest upon thee all our infirmities; thou who never art weary with tolerating my impudent negligences, grant that I may never be negligent any more, nor desist impudently from thy service, but may learn to brook & swallow all morsels of difficulty. Let me learn, o Lord, perseverance by thy love, who when thou lovedst thine, thou didst love them even to the end: thou who didst persever hanging upon the cross, and wouldst not desert it, though the Iewes promised upon that condi­dition to believe in thee the Son of God: who being ful of irksomnes anguish, and a bloody [Page 319] sweat didst persist nevertheles, and seeke re­dress by red oubling thy prayers.

Go too, o remiss spirit, tel me, what must thou covet to do for thy IESVS, who persevered for thee amidst the sorrowes of death and the cross: who when he loved thee loved thee even to death, what, I say, must thou covet, but to do good and suffer evil. These are the chief ambition of a soul that loves IESVS, that which makes most for perseverance. A good work presents it self; what hinders thee from doing it but the trou­ble which accompanies it? but mark wel that here concurs a second commodity of suffer­ing evil, and attend now that the good is doubled: ther is superadded to this work both to suffer evil and do good. Thou canst pre­tend no excuse for thy non-perseverance, be­cause that only hinders thee which ought to be the sum of thy desire, to suffer for thy be­loved. If the love of IESVS were enkindled in thee, all backwardnes tribulation, and extrinsecal impediments would no more op­press thee then fire is with wood, which forth­with more inflames it. But if thou be so coldly chil that the love of God finds no fewel to feed on, let thy own advantage and hope of future joy incite thee. Dispair of coming off with life is wont to add valour to souldiers & make them way through the thickest dangers: divine hope of eternal life is yet more forci­ble, and wil make thee more valiant and dar­ing. With this hope attempt thy enterprizes, [Page 320] and persever cheerfully. A cheerfull accep­tance feels neyther labours nor trouble, though otherwise the thing be laborious enough. He that exerciseth himself in mili­tary games or at ball is wont to take more paines then one that hires himself forth to day-task; and yet he feels it not, because he takes it by way of pleasure and content.

If thou wilt conclude happily in the last hour, be sure to begin each hour; if thou intend to persever, begin alwayes a new. Ex­cuse not thy negligence by indisposition of body: self love for the most part deceives thee, and makes thee do thy actions remisly. Thy body is able to do more then thou thinkst if thy fervour of mind were but vigo­rous, its force infusing strength even into weak and feeble limbs. A lunatique person though exhausted with sicknes can do more then 4. that are sound: the vigour of our mind sometimes communicates it self to the body. If the infirmity of a malady can make one strong, how much more the strength of grace and health of soul when he loves God and confides in him.

The VIII. Chapter. How sollicitous we must be to increase grace.

GO to the covetous man, o remiss spirit, and learn sollicitude and arts of industry. No great matter is de­manded of thee if to become the best thou be set to imitate the worst. No greater diligence is exacted of thee to please God then many use to please no body, yea to dis­please all. Be confounded not to do for the kingdom of heaven what is ordinarily done for a trifle of money. No more is required of thee to obtain great grace and glory, then the sinner of his own accord undergoes for vice & hell. Thou maist with credit be cove­tous of grace; and canst not be too minutely attentive in improving thy spiritual stock▪ studious habits incline to action: for which reason it is proper to vertue to reflect not what is don but what is to be done, not what is acquired but what is behind: and therfore it never is in a stable possession but allwayes in pursuit and sollicitude. It delights not in things past, but takes incentives from things to come. It is covetous, it thirsts, it burns; seeming still to it self more indigent the more it gets.

Those that hunger after temporal things [Page 322] incur the hatred of all men; because they are profitable neyther to themselves nor others: yea they endammage others either by usurp­ing or hindering or denying them transitory goods, and depriving themselves of eternal. Contrary wise those that hoard up spiritual treasures are deemd harmles, they are in the favour & esteem of all, because they enrich themselves without the prejudice of another. True goods are of this nature that they are able to satisfy all parties without fear of con­suming, or causing impeachment to anothers wealth. In spiritual goods avarice is commen­dable, in temporal it is detestable: for the first are to be hoarded up, the latter to be distributed abroad; otherwise they are not goods unles they be emploid after a good manner: but spiritual avail not unles they be conserved; yet nevertheles they are not dimi­nished but rather augmented by communica­tion. Disdain not then to do that with cre­dit and profit which others forbear with the general dislike & disadvantage both of them­selves and all. The miser prizeth one half penny as dearly as his life, and if he chance to loose it he takes on pittifully: and so must thou, if through thy negligence thou sustain any detriment of grace, or slip any oppor­tunity of improving it. The covetous rack their brains to invent new wayes of gain; & thou must employ thy wits in devising how to advance in grace. Esteem nothing little, but have a most high conceit of all that stands in [Page 323] the rank of heavenly goods. Even as reason corrects the eye judging the stars to be as little as they seem, and convinceth it that each of them is much greater then the whole globe of the earth: so must thou rectify thy dicta­mens in a false estimate of these things, and perswade thy self that the least improvement of grace is more valuable then the soveraignty of the whole world. Let thy eye lids all wayes precede thy steps, that thou maist be able to distinguish and pick up the little Margarits of merits amidst the dung of humane employ­ments.

Let this be thy chief care, next to good works, in the frequent and fervent use of the Sacraments. O immense liberality of God, which hast left those immense treasures of thy Church unlockt, that every one might take as much as he listed. Let us rate the trea­sures of the Sacraments duly, and let the ap­petite of our avarice discharge and disburden it self upon them, for they are the mines of grace. A miser that looseth whole nights sleep for a trifle of money, that sets so many en­gins on work for that end, that puts himself upon the tenter hooks of a carking pain, if he should see the exchequer of a most wealthy king standing open, and the king himself begging of him to take thence as much and as often as he would, and should still importune him to carry away more and more, would he let slip this fair opportunity of enriching him­self? this is Christs proceeding with thee in [Page 324] the institution of the Sacraments. Thou must not only dispose thy self in such sort as not to be frustrated of their effect; but thou must love them, and frequent them often, and dispose thy self worthily to receive more co­pious grace. Disposition is the vessel that re­ceives it and the greater that is, and more ardent thy affection, the larger portion shal befall thee; the least grain wherof is more to be valved then all kingdomes and natures universe. The blood of Christ distils into these vessels as did the oyl from the widowes oylpot; neyther wil it stop its current til they be all fully replenished.

Vse also this little craft in thy holy avarice, and procure by all thy works to gain, if thou canst, a double grace: offering them to beg a worthy access to the Sacraments; and by so doing thou shalt both receive grace for the merit of thy work and thou mayst hope to receive yet another in regard of thy better disposition, which God wil give beholding thy affection and sollicitude for a good prepa­ration. Beg likewise of thy Ghostly Father that all thy works may be enjoynd thee for satisfaction of thy sins. Be also devoutly af­fected towards all the sacrifices of Christs sa­cred Body and blood that are offerd through the whole world; covetting if it were possible to be present at them all; however offer them up to God; being thus disposed thou shalt reap more ample fruit. Carry also a sembla­ble devotion to all the general prayers of the [Page 325] Church for her children, as also to those of the faythful, that being thus piously disposed thou mayst partake more plentifully of them. Yea he that is in mortal sin which cannot be thought on without horrour, must not omit to do all this in token of the reverence he car­ryes to a worthy reception of the Sacraments, with a good purpose and earnest desire of con­fessing his sins. By this meanes his good works which otherwise are barren of grace in respect of merit, wil afterwards in some manner be fruitful in the Sacrament by reason of the dis­position to which they conduce: for although grace shal not be given for their regard, yet it wil for the good disposal which he may hope for by so diligent a preparation. This soare being thus cured, covet also to dispose thy self worthily towards the Sacrament of Extreme-Vnction, that thou mayst have it in store when thou shalt chance to stand in need of being anneald.

The servant of God must be attentive over such smal nyceties, and not permit one crum of grace to fall which he may save; & using this industry all his life long he shall gather a vast treasure: neyther must be suffer that in­strument of gain, a desirous wil, to lye idle; let him be desirous to do what he is not able to execute. Let him be most wealthy in good desires: when he sees, heares, or reads any signal act of vertu let him wish to have enter­prized it; let him burn with a holy and emu­lous envy; perchance he shal obtain like grace. [Page 326] To approve sin is the self-same as to commit it, in like manner to desire earnestly an act of vertue wil not want its due reward. God is more facil and forward in rewarding then punishing. The covetous man leaves nothing which he comprizeth not in desire, although that make only for his greater tor­ment: what would he do, if no sooner de­sird but forthwith possessed. This felicity and facility of usury is only to be found in a holy and spiritual avarice. Desires wil not prove a torment to the servant of God but a fruit and comfort: he shal presently be made partaker of like merit. Let us covet eternal goods with advantage, since worldlings co­vet temporal with grief and disappointment. How easy a gain is it which is purchased at the cost of a sole desire! consider the ample reve­nue of desire, and how rich thou mayst be by onely willing, and suffer not that which yealds such a plentiful incoming to lye vacant. Be upon all occasions wishing to have not only the actual but even possible merits of all the Angels and Saints in heaven, so to be more pleasing to God; and thou shalt reap a most rich harvest from the labours and services of others. Wish likewise to thy utmost power and unfaignedly to suffer what is possible for a creature to endure: and since all the volun­tary actions thou canst do for him, consider­ing the excess of thy obligation, are but very few, glean here and there some more; and make advantage even of thy necessary [Page 327] works seating, sleeping, and the like; and of them also make an oblation. Procure more­over to elevate works of themselves but in­considerable to the highest pitch of vertue: & by so doing thou shalt acquire more copious grace. Do all what thou dost for the love of God. What greater felicity imaginable then together with so great gain not to be sepa­rated from him whom thou covetest & oughst to covet above all. Be ambitious of the ad­vance of grace and use of the Sacraments, that thou mayst be more pleasing to God, more comely and gracious in his eyes. Ney­ther must thou be more sollicitous to in­crease grace then fearful to loose it through idlenes by light defects and lazynes. Vnite all thy works and labours and offer them joyntly with those of Christ; for so they wil deserve a more gracious regard at the hands of God. Mony which is les currant being mixt with store of currant passeth for such and receives its full value: a drop of water falling into a vessel of wine puts on the nature and rellish of wine. And to the end thou mayst serve God in all cleannes of hart, be devoutly affected towards Indulgences. Purpose daily at thy rising to gain them all, and to use for that end thy utmost endeavour: offer and conse­crate them to God, having first dedicated thy self and all that is thine to his sole glory; and thou must reiterate this thy intention fre­quently through the day: if thou considerst what he is towards thee and what in himself, [Page 328] thou wilt find that thou hast not as yet given him a satisfactory discharge of thy obliga­tions.

The IX. Chapter. How God is to be praysed.

IF he be accursed that doth any work re­lating to God negligently, what wil he be that prayseth him negligently? and such is he who performs this task of the divine prayses, wherin Gods busines is chiefly concernd, with southfulnes and impudency. Men are wont to be a litle troubled out of a reverential respect, if they be to speak to the King in their own behalf: and shal we be more sluggish and disrespectful in the kings own concern, he himself being both spectatour and auditour? deservedly shal he be accursed who praiseth not God with such diligence as be­seems him. Behold the Angels and all crea­tures busied in praising and honouring their Lord and Creator be thou ashamed by slouth, silence, or sinfulnes to contemn him. How absurd and extravagant a pallat hath he that is allwaies disliking what all the world besides extols and magnifyes? o Lord, let not me by my distractednes and negligence make my prayers and thy prayses evil and sinful, all evils being to be redressed by them. How can [Page 329] I find any place for distractions, since it be­hooves me to make amends in this hour for the distractednes of so many men who scarse lend thee a good thought? with what respect must I behave my self, since thou wilt have me supply for all sinners that dishonour thee, for all infants that are ignorant of thee, and all creatures that are speechles. But why; o Lord, dost thou so much esteem the prayses of so vile a miscreant? is the master of a fa­mily any whit more glorious for being praysd by his children or meanest servants? that may be so, because they shew the content they find in his service and house, where all from the highest to the lowest are extre­mely pleased with such a master. It was Da­vids glory that his victory was celebrated not only by his courtiers but hand-mayds also. God is glorified by being praysed by his An­gels whom he glorifyes, and sometimes much more by men whom he humbles & mortifies. How good indeed art thou, o Lord, that even those, to whom thou shewest thy self harsh and bitter, are lowd proclamers of thy goodnes! each day will I magnify thee and in all seasons promiscuously▪ without distin­ction of day, of joy, or affliction.

Learn, o man, how acceptable it is to God to be truly praysed and with desert, by that joy thou thy self conceivest when thou art praysed falsely and without desert. It is much alike to prayse God as if thou gavest him his divinity. God is wont to accept the affection [Page 330] in lieu of the effect, when this implies an im­possibility. He takes so much content in ha­ving a holy soul gaze upon him, that he begs of her to look another way, because her eyes make him as it were proud, and force him to withdraw his presence: but how much more will she afford him when she stands admiring his perfections as one absorpt, seeking access by love songs and Panegyricks full of sweet affection? we offend thee, o Lord by our tongue as an Vniversity which makes pro­fession of all iniquity: let me purge and re­form it by the regulated Vniversity of thy goodnes and attributes. Let me wipe off that infamous stain of mans tongue which cryed thee to the cross, and let me extol thee above the Cherubins and Seraphins. Thou didst loose, o Lord, many Angels whose sole em­ployment was to praise thee: I am bound to give thee many thanks for chusing me a poor miscreant to supply some one of their places even among the blasphemies of those that offend thee. O how grateful is to thee the prayse of a pious soul amidst the curses of so many infidels, as if one should hear a night­ingal warble amidst a confused quire of chat­tering sparrowes. Thou demandest o Lord, that thy voyce may sound in my eares: how can I deny my voice to God speaking to me and giving his word. O immense Father, who gavest me thy Son thy word to be a revi­lement to all for my sake; all my words are due to thee, that thou mayst be praised in all [Page 331] by me. By thy word thou gavest all things their being; it is but equitable that by words at least we acknowledg and be grateful for what thy word did.

If I were a labouring beast I would carry a burden; if a fat beast I would go to the shambles; if an oxe I would stoop to the yoak; I would comply with the duty of all these: but because I am a rational creature; I wil do whats proper to me, that is, prayse God: this is mans duty, this is the task of a reaso­nable soul, the song that it must sing, and I wil invite all creatures on all occasions to joyn in quire with me. My task is not a task of burden and labour but of tongue and song, of that which lessens and easeth labour. Hus­band men and artificers are wont to sing so to mitigate the irksomnes of their work: why am I negligent in a thing so easy and delight­full.

If I were a nightingal I would take plea­sure in singing and do my duty: I am a man; why shall not I take pleasure in magnifying God, complying in this with my nature? I will practise my self here in the school of hu­mane miseries in this exercise of the B. An­gels, which must be my task through all eter­nity; and now as it were by way of trial I am to shew how I will act my part in that scene of glory. I will intrude my self into the quires of Angels that the jarring discords of my song may be drownd in the melodiousnes of their harmony. If Angels have been seen to [Page 332] consort with men while they religiously sing in the quire; I will consort my self with the quires of Angels, and imagin my self present there while I sing divine prayses; or among the Disciples and Christ when having supped they recited a hymn of thanks giving. O most sweet IESV, who will be able to imitate the affe­ction with which thou saydst or sungst that hymn? it was equivalent to that, though it shewed not it self exteriourly which thou shortly after didst exhibite in thy bloody sweat when thou stoodst in need of an Angel to comfort thee eyther by praysing thee or compassionating thy case. Grant, o Lord, that I may laudably performe the office of an An­gel by praysing thee laudably. Grant, o Lord, that in memory of thy passion I may at all times compassionate and comfort thee. But thou much more covetest this smal solace of thy affliction to see me attentive, humble, & fervently zealous in discharging thy prayses, chiefly in the divine Office that I do it not with precipitation, but at a fit and seasona­ble hour.

We must be allwayes praysing, and mag­nifying thy holy name at al times▪ what is the reason that no convenient time is allotted to that which requires all time? all things have their season: onely prayer and praysing thee which should have most, are wont to find none at all. Because the divine Office is recited in private that must not be a pretence to perform it more remisly or negligently: [Page 333] but thou must endeavour by a devout obser­vance to supply the fruit which redounds from prayer in common or publick, in such sort that thy very reverence may attractively invite thither the Angels; as did that devout servant of God Iohn Fernandius a Father of our Society who by a special favour from hea­ven said divine Office with an Angel: do thou at least imagine one to be present and recite with thee, that thou mayst learn reverence of him, and how thou art to discharge that ob­ligation both worthily and profitably.

O soul, how useles art thou to God whilst neyther his prayse nor glory possesseth thy hart nor mouth! he denyes himself to be the work of God who neglects to prayse God, to whom each creature is barren that yealds not this harvest of prayse. Divine prayse & glory is the fruit of man; God can or rather daignes to reap this increase and advantage his bene­fit, from his creatures. O immense goodnes to be magnifyd by all. If thy creature owe thee prayse because he is the work of thy hands, how much will he owe thee because thou praysedst him first? thou createdst all things, o Lord, as wel as praysedst them by approving them as good, and giving them thy blessing: why shal not I bless thee, and an­nounce and see how good thou art? how great a dignity is it, o man, that God should covet thy approbation and prayse! thou must prayse him with as much seriousnes, as if all his re­putation depended upon thy prayse and ap­probation. [Page 334] Procure to be good and just: for prayse from the unjust is held by wise men disprayse, and they account it the same to be praysd by the lecherous and for lechery. One had good reason to say that our credit was les beholding to a slack and faint prayser then to a bitter detractor: may it not happen now and then that a blind ignorant & blasphemous heathen may les obstruct the exaltation of Christ and glory of God then some religious man who performes his dutyes of devotion with drouzines, immodesty, distraction, & irreverence. A frigid commendation is esteemd among men no better then a plain reproach: and perchance such an irreverend manner of praysing God may somtimes be held next to blasphemy.

The first inventer of prayse was God; and the first doctrine he taught me was to prayse him: the first benefit he bestowd upon crea­tures in their infancy, was prayse and com­mendation of their goodnes. O the dignity of prayse which God alone was worthy to invent! he would have other inventions to be ascribed to man, but he himself would own that of prayse. Thou didst not only create us but also indoctrinate and instruct us in our duty which is to pr [...]yse thy works and thee in them: A tender [...]arted parent doth not content himself to have be gotten his child but he moreover provides carefully for his education. Thou, o Lord, didst prayse thy creatures as soon as thou hadst made them; & [Page 335] because they cannot retaliate prayse to thee, [...] being dumb, they imposed this burden up­on me for the services they do me, to prayse thee in lieu of them: they demand no other salary of me for their obsequiousnes, then that I with my tongue supply for their in­fancy. My prayse is the prayse of the ele­ments and heavens, as when one is thankful to a benefactour in an infants behalf, the acknowledgment is attributed to the Infant: Thou, o Lord, requirest my prayse as a re­ward of thy works: let me not be so unjust as to defraud thee of so just a demand. At­chieve, o Lord, great things and wonderful; and I though ill versed, wil be careful to ce­lebrate them. Be thou o Lord exalted in thy vertue, and we wil sing and sollemnize thy vertues.

The X. Chapter. How great a dignity it is to offer the sacrifice of Christ.

THE chief glory of the servants of God is to imitate Christ, how glo­rious then wil it be for a Priest to be equal with him? it is a matter of great joy to suffer for God, but how great would it be to dye in lieu of God? o what an inestimable favour would it have been judged, [Page 336] if when Christ crownd with thornes, steept in his own sweat and blood, loaden with his cross, pinioned with cords, exhausted in his strength, through waight of the tree and feeblenes caused by the foregoing torments, fell to the ground, if, I say, thou hadst then heard the voyce of this Father speaking from heaven most lovingly to thee in these words: my wil is that thou dye for mankind in place of my only begotten Son, and accomplish the work for which I designed my own be­loved child. O the desire of my hart, how come I to be worthy of this? who would con­fer such a blessing upon me, which I am much more ambitious off then to be in a present possession of glory? how unspeakable a cur­tesy should I repute it if I were thought worthy only to help thee with Cyrenaeus in carrying thy cross? I would esteem it an im­mense favour to receive but one stripe for thy sake: what would it be to carry thy whole cross, and put my self in lieu of thee to be crucifyed? melting into teares out of meer joy, I would go to my IESVS and demand of him his crown of thornes, and would press it feelingly upon my temples: I would de­mand his cords, and would pinion my self with them; I would demand his cross & load my self with it, marching under that standard to the mount of Calvary. O how all the An­gels and the very queen of Angels her self would enuy my happines, how the heavenly spirits would environ, accompany, & reverence [Page 337] me for this work of redemption! if this ho­nour were granted to S. Michael the Prince of Angels to suffer in place of Christ our Lord, with what fervour would he accept the [...]ery paines of hell, and burning with a zeal of Gods glory would cry out with greater ardour then before, who is like to God? the rest of the Angels would esteem it the greatest glory that could befall their nature, & would attend upon that vice-gerent of Christ. A much greater favour and more special grace is granted to a priest.

Consider in the mean time when the priest comes to sacrifice, that thou receivest a precept from the eternal Father to be Christs sub­stitute in order to dying: when thou puttest on the sacred vestments thou dost nothing else but transplant the crown of thornes from Christs hand upon thy own head, put on his garment, bind thy self with his cords, and carry his cross. Consider what thou goest to do, and take those sacred ornaments as if thou receivedst from Christs hands the en­signes of his passion which he preferred much before the heavens thou contemplates. Now when the priest comes forth thus vested what atrain of Angels doth attend him? if fewer had been created then de facto are, perswade thy self, they would sooner have left heaven va­cant and the guardianship of men, then the attendance & assistance of him that celebrates. When a king deputes a Vice-roy or sends an Embassador about his affaires or publick con­cernments, [Page 338] all the peers and nobles accom­pany him, though for that interim they re­linquish both king & court: such a concourse make the Angels to honour and assist Christs deputy; and they are the more forward since by so doing they honour the Person it self of their king and Lord of glory, who becomes after a wonderful manner present in the mass. With what humility and modesty ought a priest to approach the altar▪ but now when the time of sacrifice is at hand, let him redou­ble his wishes of dying in lieu of Christ for the ransome of all mankind. He may con­template the whole world hanging in a deep suspense, the doleful cries of the soules in purgatory, the endles sins of men, the innu­merable dangers of the just, the necessities of the distressed, the inflamed desires of the blessed, the profuse joy of the Angels, and all these contemplating his sacrifice: and the priest then knowing that his own death can­not be satisfactory for all, let him rejoyce exceedingly that Christ is again allotted for the sacrifice, he who alone was able to make a full satisfactory amends; as also for that God accepting of the priests good wil, as he did formerly of that of Abraham and Isaac, would again substitute for victime an innocent ram and lamb who takes away the sins of the world: one that will abundantly satisfy for all, freeing the priest from becoming an obla­tion or being immolated; but conferring nevertheles upon him the honour & dignity [Page 339] of so great a function and embassy. The vi­ctime that is to be offerd for the sins of the world must be without blemish of sin: but because none but Christ is so qualified, it was requisite that that high priest & Prelate should offer himself, he who needs not to make an oblation first for his own misdemeanours, & then for those of the people.

I see not, o priest vicegerent of Christ, how thou canst chuse here but melt and evapo­rate away through an excess of joy and love, if any one did lie in prison as being lyable to some great crime or debt which he were not able to clear or cancel, and another should come & as bountifully as unexpectedly bestow upon him what were requisite for a full dis­charge, how would he be overwhelmed with joy. Behold thou art wholly uncapable of making God any proportionable satisfaction either for his favours or thy own fault, thou being infinitly obliged to him upon so many other scores, and hopeles of thy self ever to quit them; and if thou lovest God after a sincere manner this ought to be an afflicting corrosive to thy hart: what jubily must needs sieze thee when Christ comes into thy hands, and makes himself thy oblation to his Father for a plenary satisfaction? certainly he that loves God ought both day and night to be in expectation of this hour wherein poor mis­creant man offers to an infinite God that which will be infinitly pleasing to him, inso­much that he needs not now dread the debt of [Page 340] his own sins as not having wherwith to dis­charge it. Pay thy self, o Lord, for my sins, and restore to me what is overplus and I shal be rich enough, the residue amounting to an infinitude. I offer moreover, that to thee in all their behalf for whome Christ of­ferd himself upon the cross for thy glory, for thy mercies imparted to the whole world, for the coming of the H. Ghost that he may breath upon my soul and inflame it with his lightsome ardours.

But with how great charity and obedience must I make this oblation of Christ? with so much greater then Abraham did when he was to sacrifice his dearest Son, by how much Christ exceeds Isaac, and the common cause of all mankind the particular of one single man. If God should have commanded the most B. Virgin as he did Abraham to sacrifice for mans redemption her only and dearly beloved Son; and she full of a motherly affection were to naile his hands and feet to the cross; with what vehement flames of love amidst a torrent of teares, with what quick­nes, promptitude, and obedience would she have done it, deeming her self happy for such a task? o priest, consider what an office is deputed to thee, that thou thy self art the sacrificer of the Son of the Virgin the Son of God. But a greater favour is done to thee then would be done in that case to the most H. Mother of God: for thou never canst thank God sufficiently for inventing a meanes [Page 341] how thou mightest sacrifice the Son of God without any payn to him, without expense of blood or the torments of death, and mayst offer all the paynes of IESVS, all his blood and deadly pangs to his Father, in the self­same manner as if they were here really exhi­bited.

Stand amazd, o Priest, at thy function, behold the world all in suspense over thee! how dreadfull is it to see thee stand voyd of all attention, where thou shouldst be replenishd with an awfull veneration, and immersed in the dregs of creatures, while thou performest an office next in dignity to the divinity it self? when thou elevatest the body of Christ thou drawest all the Saints to such a spectacle, and engagest (as I conceive) the eyes and knees of the admiring Angels; and yet for all this canst thou be distracted? the very dead them­selves adore God in thy hands, as a devout servant of God F. Peter Savedra beheld the body of S. Didacus to arise and worship Christ in the hands of the priest: and canst thou thy self who elevatest him, be in the mean time unmindfull of so redoubted a majesty, and not reverence him from the depth of thy hart? contemplate round about thee the Hierarchies of Angels with bended knees and multitudes of divels forced to an humble ac­knowledgment: for if each knee both cele­stial, terrestrial, and infernal bend at the name of IESVS, how much more will they at the presence of IESVS?

Consider how signal thy purity ought to be who art appointed Christs substitute to cleanse the world by him from its sinful ordures. Thou shouldst not appear like a man but a very Angel, and shine more purely then the hea­vens themselves. What do I say? o how mean and disproportioned is the comparison of an Angel to a priest! since the power of priestly dignity is higher exalted above the preroga­tives of a nature Angelical, then is an Angel in its kind above a worm. God who is so pro­fusely good was pleased to honour his crea­tures by calling them into part of his charge and providence: he designd the Angels chiefly for his coadjutors and Vice-gerents in natu­ral things; and therfore made them publique ministers of nature not dispensers of grace and his substitutes in the work of our redem­ption. They preside over the parts of the earth and chief quarters of the world: it is their task to conserve the kinds and natures of things: but as for producing in others the su­pernatural guift of grace they have no lawful nay nor any ordinary authority, as Priests have, whom he chose for his immediate coad­jutours in the stupendious work of our re­demption and justification: they as the Vicars of Christ dispence forth grace and make men the children of God. They exercise a kind of power over the naturall Son of God him­self IESVS while they consecrate his Body and offer sacrifice. They work prodigious miracles. The Angels take complacence in [Page 343] serving a Priest, as they did Saint Eusebius, esteeming this service a high piece of ho­nour. How much is grace elevated abo­ve nature? certainly more sublimely with­out comparison then the nature of an Angel is above dung. How much will guarding a man fall short of making a man God by elevating him to a divine state. Which is more hono­rable to have a care of one or of all; to pro­vide for one or all; to govern some particu­lars or appease God for the generality? thou mayst hence conclude how eminently a Priest is priviledgd in power above an Angel. The sole dignity of Christ is onely worthy of Priesthood: IESVS alone as being the first be­gotten of God obtaynes by title of right a dignifying dignity. Notwithstanding this, o Mary most loving Mother, Mother of Christ and all sinners, cloath me in the garments of thy first begotten by a perfect imitation of life, as Rebecca did Iacob, that I may at least with less unworthines offer that lamb to his eternall Father which thou gavest me for a delicious dish, on which thou knowest him to feed with much gust and appetite.

The XI. Chapter. That God is to be desired and received with longing in the Eucharist.

O Desirable truth, what do I hear from thy mouth the oracle of all truth? with [Page 344] a desire have I desired to eat with you this Paschal. How comes it to pass that a man of desires obtaines of God whatsoever he covets; and the God of desires cannot obtain of mis­creant man his just demands? the abstemious Daniel obtaind grace of God by desiring; and thou, o Lord, the replenisher of soules and divider of the bread of heaven, shalt not thou prevail so far with me by so many desi­res, and engins of love, as to make me yeald up the cittadel of my hart to thee who seekst entrance by so many stratagems and services? o languid spirit, what canst thou desire but what God desires desiringly? but what, o Lord, desirest thou by entring into my body? dost thou covet to become identifyd with me, whilst thou covetest to be united to me? what object suitable to the greatnes of thy majesty canst thou desire besides thy self? thou co­vetest o Lord, to be with me; but after such a manner that I may be transformd into thee, becoming one body or concorporeal with thee as the members are with their head: as also one spirit adhering to God that he may be with me and I with him. Charity used a strange disposall when it ordaind that I should be thy mansion-house and thou shouldst re­maine in me and I in thee, I living for thee as thou for thy Father; thou desiring nothing of me nor for me besides thy self, nor ceasest thou to covet upon so due a score or just pre­tence, though prescinding from thy self, thou findest nothing in me desirable.

Come, o Lord, come and take possession of my hart, which thy desires most justly challenge. O how much do I betray my nothing, nor can I resist this claym of desires! was it not sufficient, o benesicent truth, to have obligd me with deeds and guifts; why was it necessary to engage me with thy desires? my miseries have bereaud me of all comfort: for seing my works to carry but smal propor­tion with thy benefits, it was some relief to endeavour satisfaction by wishes and desires: but they also becoming due to thee, what now is remnant? o Lord, how worthily art thou the butt, of all desires who desird so desir­ingly! how can I have leasure to fix my desi­res upon any thing els besides thee, the God of desire! how can my thoughts or concu­piscible powers suspend themselves from the desire of thy most H. Body where the whole man becomes Christ? In other Sacraments & participations of grace, he is made one spi­rit with God; but in this he moreover be­comes one flesh with Iesus, such a strict union interceding that it is tearmd by the H. Fathers substantial, natural and real: in so much that now I am wholly thine and one with thee, & regard and reverence my self as flesh partaking of thy flesh, which the most B. Virgin hand­led and worshipd with so much devotion: being jointly two in one flesh; I being able to glory and say, I am now flesh of Christ, & a bone of the bones of IESVS. This is a great Sacrament in Christ and his Church, by that [Page 346] mystery in which we become concorporeal with the king of glory, the Son of God and the Virgin Mary. Now loving thee, o Lord, I wil love my self; for no body ever hated his own flesh: and thou loving thy flesh, lovedst me also making both thine & mine joynt-sha­rers of the same favours, treating mine as thy own by the priviledg of the resurrection: for although other just men both antient Pro­phets & Patriarchs, were not to enjoy a resur­rection, yet those should who dye partakers of this Sacrament of our Lords Body; neyther shal this befall them only in regard of the me­rits of their soul, but also for the dignity of their flesh. O Lord, thou wast desired by all nations that common nature might share of thy communications: why do not I desire thee, that thou mayst become individual to me & one with me by that admirable inconfused conjunction with my particular flesh & spirit?

Therfore, o Lord because we do not de­sire as we ought, thou didst vouchsafe to do it, least so great a benefit should be deprived of its due love & esteem. Thou causedst other blessings to be sought, and chiefly that of the Incarnation; but thou wouldst have the institution of the venerable mystery of thy body and blood to come merely gratis with­out the expense of the desires of all nations. That Sacrament came as an unexpected boon and unlookd-for charity, that all our desires might be reserved and employd in a due rece­ption of it, and yet for all this we are not [Page 347] enflamed! a desire of this mystery is so ac­ceptable to thee, that thou wonderfully se­condest it, and condescendest to a soul that longs to receive thee. B. Stanislaus a novice of our Society being more then once in such acondition that he could not satiate his long­ing desire by feeding on this celestial bread, with much ardour of devotion desired what he could not then enjoy, and forthwith the Angels brought what he desird, and made him eat of that sacred banquet. Because the Body of Christ is seldome received with a due desire, God would not let this occasion of a worthy reception slip or frustrate it, be­holding that B. soul in such a spiritual famine and eagernes of appetite.

Thou taughtst us, o IESV, teacher of all truth, to come to this Sacrament with much tendernes of devotion: but we do not imi­tate the devotion thou exhibitedst towards it, by desiring. I know not how we can, if we love Christ, behold this mystery without weeping eyes: for a spouse cannot behold the pledg which her fellow-spouse, bidding adieu towards a long journy, left her for a memorial, without a longing desire of his return. We must not only endeavour to re­ceive it worthily but even as worthily as possi­bly we can. For besides that an infinite ma­jesty requires all possible reverence, and the immense sanctity of IESVS all purity imagi­nable, we shal derive thence a great increase of grace. Thou gavest us, o Lord, 3. docu­ments [Page 348] to make us approach it with greater worthines; a fervent love in desiring, an ex­quisite purity, a profound humility which thou didst exhibit in washing the feet of thy Disciples. What shal I say of purity? thou oughtest, o lover of Christ, in thy access to this table, to possess it in such eminency, that its beames must be no less refined, then if thou wert presently to give up the ghost. Thou must endeavour with more earnestnes, desire, and sollicitude to prepare thy self to the Eucharist then to death; nay, in some respect of profit, more then if thou wert a­bout to enter into the glory of God. IESVS washed the feet of his Disciples being to im­part his Body to them although they were al­ready clean; and notwithstanding when he sent them like lambs in the midst of wolves, in such a present hazard of death; & when he took them along with him to Mount Tabor as eyewitnesses of his glorious Transfigura­tion he used no such preparative; nor when in glory he eat with them after his resurrecti­on. One would be pretty wel disposed for death if he were but in the state of grace: for although he were not altogether free from tax of paine or venial culpablenes, yet before he stood in the presence of God he would be pu­rifyd by cleansing flames. I wish with all my hart that a Purgatory did precede the recei­ving of this Sacrament! but because it doth not, it imports me to look most narrowly into my self, and prepare and refine my self from [Page 349] the least blemish of imperfection or debt of any penalty, and supply as wel as I can by di­ligence and an ardent love the fire of purga­tory: and although all immunity both from paine and fault be requisite to gain admittance into glory, nevertheles no respect is had but to precedent grace and works; neyther is the divine indulgence doubled in regard of the disposition as it is distinct from merit: but in the Eucharist a more ample clayme and title to glory wil be acquird even in regard of each ones disposal, over and above that which is allotted to his merits: & he that makes it his task to till the soyle of his soul and dispose it better and better, the richer Crop shal he reap thence, besides the reward of his good works: one ought to be much more ambitious of pleasing God and standing gracious in his eyes which is the effect of grace then of joying in the fruition of his glory, if the amplenes of his beatitude were not commensurately corres­ponding to his grace & the proportion which God holds. All mediums that dispose us to glory by good works, distinct from the Sacra­ments, obtaine grace under one only title; but preparation to the Eucharist under a double & gains afterwards a double degree of beatitude.

Purity is so beseemingly requisite in order to this Sacrament that the divine providence hath ordaind, that, even as it precedes the sacrifice of Christ, it be propitiatory for our sins, it having vertu to remit the very pain due to their fault; Christ himself whom we [Page 350] receive is pleasd first of all to cleanse us, as he did the feet of his Disciples, cer he would give himself to us or deliver himself for us. He shewd by that washing, that not any kind of purity was sufficient but that a special one was necessary; for he would not only have the hands of his Disciples clean, which suffi­ceth for ordinary banquets, but their feet also which signifyes a very extraordinary dili­gence. God declard hereby that we are to come to the Eucharist not only with clean hands, that is, works devoyd of all fault, but also with clean feet, that is to say, without so much as any print or sign of fault, viz, the paine due to tepid actions or sins remitted being quite abolished: and in this sort grace proper to this sacrifice is powerful to cancel the pe­nalty due to sin.

How shal I come worthily, o Lord, to re­ceive thee? what a treasure of sanctity was bestowd upon S. Iohn Baptist that his mouth might figuratively entertain not thee but thy name, saying behold the lamb of God; and he express the shadow of one of thy Sacra­ments? but what purity ought to invest me who am to approach that venerable Sacra­ment, and receive thee truly and really into my mouth? o I wish I could entertain thee with as much reverence, as the most B. Vir­gin Mother did in her sacred womb in that stupendious hour of thy Incarnation; or as she embraced thy most H. Body in her bosome when it was taken down from the cross, and [Page 351] thy heavenly Father received thy spirit at thy expiring, when it was recommended into his hands. What thou dividedst o Lord, in thy death betwixt thy Father and Mother, all that do I here adore in this Sacrament after thy re­surrection: for thy soul remaynes not separate from thy Body. Thou affordest me that body which thou bequeathedst to thy Mother, to­gether with thy spirit which thou recom­mendedst to thy Father. O that any one could have applyed his mouth to that of the expir­ing IESVS, and gatherd thence his sacred breath worthy to be gatherd by the hands of God that it might animate and steer my body! o that any one could with the effusion of his own blood wash the disfigured Corps of IE­SVS, and make himself the viol of Christs blood shed for my sake, to cleanse my soul so ill-favourd and ugly! o that any one would hold his mouth to receive and tast the water & blood which flowed from the side of Christ, that not so much as one drop of it might fall to wast! but thou, o Lord, desirous and desirable complyest with my wishes in this dreadful mystery. How great joy did the An­gels conceive in thy Ascension when thou en­tredst triumphant into heaven, what longing desires preceded thy return thither? o the de­sired of all the Hierarchyes of heavenly spi­rits, with what jubily of hart ought I to exul [...] when thou entrest into my breast.

I alone upon many scores owe thee all the reverence which all the Angels exhibited when [Page 352] they entertaind thee returning from this world and passible life: for thou frequently enterst into me, that thou mayst delight me alone, thou who once only enterd into heaven to cause joy to all the Angels. Thou frequently dost for me alone what thou didst but once for all the quyres of blessed spirits. If this favour were imparted to one alone of all the multitudes of men, that once only through all eternity Christ should enter after this most amiable manner into his sole breast, what a stupendious benefit would it be deemd? who­soever should hear of it, ravishd into extasy with this excess of bounty, would scarse believe it: he that received him, absorpt in admiration would stand like one besides himself without voyce, without motion, yea without life, through amazement, fear, joy, and love, unles he were miraculously sustaind, by reason of such unheard-off be­nevolence: why then do not I worthily reve­rence and admire a greater benefit conferd not once but often, not on me alone but all, wherein I acknowledg the favour done me much hightned. O that I or any one could entertain thee, o amiable IESVS, becoming my guest, as thy Father entertaind thee en­tring into heaven after a world of torments and death! for the sanctity of all the Angels, their devotion, their joy, pomp and celebrity fell far short I wil not say of thy majesty but even of that humility wherwith thou daignest to shut thy self up in the narrow cottage of [Page 353] my hart: grant me grace by so rare an exam­ple to humble my self below nothing. I that cannot humble my self sufficiently in respect of thy humility, how can I do it in respect of thy majesty and glory? o how happy is that soul that shal humble it self before this Sacra­ment, what honour will accrew to it? how wil the Angels reverence and honour such a one, that it may receive its Lord with ho­nour! S. Teresa oftner then once beheld the Brothers of our Society, when they went to communicate in our Church, accompanyd with Angels and these holding a most rich and beautiful canopy, over their heads that like royal and consecrated soules they might more honorably entertain their soveraign: but when others approachd that heavenly Table, she beheld no such obsequiousnes in these B: Spirits; and the reason was want of humi­lity in their devotions. Let us then procure with all humility, devotion, fervour and cha­rity to receive that supersubstantial daily bread. Let us so receive it daily, as if we were never more to receive it; though we come very frequently, let us come so, as if it were to be but once in our whole life: Let our daily communion be so performd as it ought, to be the first day of our life and last at our death.

The XII. Chapter. That in time of refection we must not be more indulgent to our body then necessity requires.

THE Angels expect thee at their sup­per, glut not thy self like a beast with corruptible food. He that is invited as a guest to anothers table eats nothing at home: thou art invited a guest to heaven do not at least glut thy self upon earth. If one that is cloyd with earthly food cannot be a competent guest at an earthly banquet, how can he be at a heavenly one? fulnes hinders the relish of material meats, how much more then of divine? the fasting Lazarus who could not so much as feed upon crums, is now a constant guest at the heavenly supper; but that glutton who cramd himself with exquisit daintyes is shut forth. Men at a banquet abstain from several dishes reserving their appetite for some choyse one intending to make their repast upon that: o Lord, if I shal be satiated at the appearance of thy glo­ry, I reserve my self for it and wil refrain from these grosser meats of the earth. Vpon hopes to feed more savourly at a wel furnishd table, the guest is content to protract his fast: it is but meet that upon hopes of the divine sup­per we at least keep abstinence. Remember [Page 355] that Christ hath made thee equal with the An­gels, and wil it not then be a shame to do like a beast? he that cannot wholly wipe off an in­famy, lessens and dissembles it as much as he can; let it confound us to renew daily the brand we received by gluttony in our first fall from a state of happines, and that with so much gust and savour. If we had heaven eyther in esteem or hunger, we should loath earth and earthly things: where, when we are to eat, for as much as concerns gust, we must carry our selves as if there were none at all.

God himself invites thee a guest to the sup­per of eternal glory: in the interim sitting down to table let Christ be thy fellow-guest and thou wilt be abstemious, if thou suppose thou art to divide with him. What soever thou subtractest from thy necessary sustenance, offer it to IESVS. The Pharisees and Publi­cans invited IESVS; thou being a Christian must not think much to do the same. He that invites another, labours not so much to please his own palat as his guests, for whom he carves the best piece: so when thou sittest down at table, strive not to content thy own rellish, but study how to pleasure Christ and the only way to please his gust is to take no gust at all. Consider him where he refreshed those 3. dayes when his Mother lost him in the Temple: pre­pare a banquet for him together with Saint Mathew. Contemplate Christ & his disciples when through want of necessaries they pulled [Page 356] cares of corne: call him & making him share of thy provisions prepare him a feast together with Zaccheus. Behold him fasting 40. dayes for thy sake: and if thou wilt not minister to him with the Angels, invite him with Simon; and he will be as much refreshed with thy ab­stinence, as if a table were furnished for him by the Angels. He begd a draught of water of the Samaritan; do thou give him of thy cup. I thirst, cryed he, from the cross; let him tast of thy Chalice. O that any one would give me gall & vinegar, & I would exchange cups with Christ, relieving his thirst with my drink! how could I chuse but relieve thee, o Lord, in such extreme necessity? now I am able to do it, and undoubtedly thou wilt rellish my good will and desire of abstinence more savourly then if I offerd thee a most de­licious draught. How unnatural were he that would not relieve thee? now I may do it, if I drink not more then is necessary. Why shal I not refresh thy thirst? behold, o soul, thy IESVS desirous to eat his Pasch with us: accompany the Apostles that thou maist par­take of so desired a table. Carry thy self there with modesty and humility: seek the lowest place, but chuse not for all that the place of Iudas. Thou art not worthy to sit at such a table; place thy self at the feet of thy com­panion the betraier: the most humble IESVS will even there also find thee out. Contem­plate how he fed so many yeares with his most H▪ Mother and S. Ioseph: she perchance [Page 357] sometimes eat very sparingly and defrauded her own mouth of many bits purposely to give them to her most loving Son their pover­ty not sufficing for both: deprive thy self of some parcel & give it as an almest to the Virgin wherewith to feed her dearest child. Remem­ber how this Mother of love gave suck to her Infant IESVS: how the Son of God even then would fast for thy sake, & abstain some­times from these sweet breasts: do thou also for his sake refrain at least from some particle, and offer it to Christ with a most ardent cha­rity, with such, to wit, as she nursed him: imitate to thy utmost her love. In this man­ner thou shalt stifle with pious meditations and forestail thy appetite by an affection to things divine. One desire wil drive out ano­ther, and one rellish drown another. Per­chance gluttony wil be no les extirpated, and thy mind by ruminating what is read at table and such pious employments more purged then by fasting it self.

If the motive of doing a thing acceptable to Christ do not urge thee, the dignity of ab­stinence & the profit which redounds from it ought in all reason to prevail. Nothing is more contrary to the spirit then an unmorti­fied appetite. Eat to refresh thy body not to overcharge it. Many when they eat do rather oppress then nourish their bodies; making that which ought to be the refection of life its oppression. Is it not very absurd to load and stuff ones belly as one would do an asses pack, [Page 358] since our flesh is elevated above the Cherubins? if the kingdome of God and tabernacle of the H. Ghost be within us, why are we so base-minded as to make our stomacks the charnel-house or Sepulcher of dead beasts? he that ought to be the Temple of the living God, cald to a divine life, why doth he de­base himself to the meanest of all lives? to wit', a dead life and the very dregs of all life. Plants having only a nutritive life, are void of all sense. We loose so much of our mind as we bestow of it upon meat: what more unworthy then the loss of an Angelical life & mind? if thou feedst too greedily & sensually, thou hast reason to fear least thou degenerate not so much into a beast as into a tree or a stock. Adam being overcome with gluttony clad himself with leaves like a tree, as if he meant to become one, carrying its shape in his flight from God. Gluttony and nutrition is not only a life proper to unreasonable crea­tures but to the very insensible plants, nutri­tion being only peculiar to them. Therfore a full belly obstructs all sense, it evacuates the mind, it disposeth one to insensibility by hindring the use of reason which after dinner is dull and sluggish, it induceth sleep in which a man differs nothing at all from an elme or plain tree, save only that this at set times affords the benefit of a shade: but the life of gourmandizers is the life of sleepers and the life of sleepers the life of a gourd which is allwaies in a lying posture. Hence it followes [Page 359] that he who is les abstemious is les obsequious to reason, as being more insensible: the sole life of trees is uncapable of command. Nu­trition it self is not in the power of a creature. When we check our desires or curbe savage beasts they become tame and pliable to their keepers: but plants which regard nothing as I may say but their belly, that is, to feed themselves, they harken to no body nor re­gard reason. This kind of life is the scum and refuse of all lives, and most remote from a soul endowed with reason; how much more from a spirit which breaths God. A dog will hear his masters call so will not an oak or fig tree the husbandmans, nor he that over feeds himself the voyce of God. He to keep Adam to his duty enacted the first law of fasting, & the only one of that most happy state; so to recommend more earnestly to us the vertue of abstinence, as if it alone were sufficient to preserve innocency and other vertuous en­dowments, putting man in a fit disposition to hear and adhere to God. Our Lord would commit the tuition of his beloved child Adam and his Benjamin of creatures to no nurse but fasting; into whose faithfull hands he entrusted him, that it might be the foster-Father of man and his instructer to obedience. But this precept being violated Adam forth with fled from the voice of God, caring so little to adhere to him that he would not only not seek nor approach him but sought to avoid God who sought him. He renders [Page 360] himself wholly unfit for all who is not abste­mious: he will resist Gods holy inspirations and withdraw himself from his familiarity, being weand as much from the divine breasts as he yealds to these sensual appetites.

What commerce betwixt God and ones belly? how can God affect him who affects only his gut as his God? How canst thou en­dure, o divine truth, to dwel in him who is such an arrand idolater? it was anciently held a high strain of folly for men to kneel by way of worship to those things that were the handy-work of men: and how fond a thing is it for thee an intemperate man to set thy hart upon that which thou destroiest and wil destroy thee, towitt, meat and its rellish. How intendest thou to feast with God, to lead a celestial kind of life, to fly with him upon the wings of the winds to immortality; if thou takest complacence in the life of those things which stick to the earth, and are rooted and half-buried in it. The life of self-pam­perers is extremely mortal: for such is the life of plants which are in part overwhelmed with earth. Those that feed their belly in­crease their mortality by fatning what is mor­tal in them, becoming more mortal by hin­dering eternal life, by defiling their mind, and so contracting their soul as to render it only corporeal. Adam by breaking his fast became forthwith mortal: thou becomest every day more mortal by stuffing thy self with dead things, and feeding greedily on [Page 361] slaughterd creatures, and seasond for this end that they may be entombed in thee: but so much more happy shalt thou be by how much thou partakest of immortality; and thou shalt partake so much the more of it, if thou inure thy self to a spare dyet and to feed on unsavory meats. All our life in this world is bitter, full of labour and afflictions: wher­fore it is impertinent to go about to repayr & maintain it with sweet things. Eat only that thou mayst live: let thy meat be such as is the rest of thy life. Thou livest not to eat, but to dye; and thou eatest that thou mayst not dye quickly. Death assailes him sooner that feeds too plentifully and delicately. Food must be the medicine of life not its poy­son and destruction.

Let thy own hunger and the gall and vine­gar of Christ be all thy sauce and seasoning: who for that end drunk it upon the cross, be­cause whosoever combats against sin must not seek after savory meats: and the adjoyning of hyssop with a spunge signifyes the vertue of cleansing, that we might have a model how to purge our soules. By frugality and un­toothsome meat, the divine character which is engraven in us becomes more resplendent and the holy purity of our mind is refind, that it may be united to God, & made more capable of divine impressions: for if fasting drive out the stubbornest dive is from anothers body, much more forcibly wil it attract God so facil and benign into our own. If such be [Page 362] the vertue of fasting that by it thou canst pu­rify others; much more wil it sanctify thy self. He breaths somewhat divine who breaths abstinence and hunger: the body it self is in a certain manner elevated by the force of a disengagd spirit. Iron is ponderous; but it becomes light by the spirit and vertue of the loadstone: and if thou also fasten and hang thy self upon God he wil sublimate thy body by the vigour of thy spirit rendring it intel­lectual and incorporeal. The composition also of thy body is rarefyed by abstinence, in such sort that divine irradiations penetrate more easily into the soul▪ and she more dex­trously steers the other squard more fitly to it by a proportionable demolishment, as being disbarked of that fat rind that environd it; for a great weight is no wayes weildy or commo­diously mannageable.

Lastly abstinence containes so great a good that there is nothing to which it is not ex­treme beneficial. Other vertues adorne the soul, but abstinence is salutiferous both to body and soul. Both Saints & Philosophers by embracing it protracted their life to a faire old age. We men designd to be immortal had contented our selves in that most happy state of innocency to feed only upon hearbs & the fruits of the earth: now temperance also restores to man that golden age. Spare diet conduceth to the health of the body, it is a natural restaurative, an universal medecine fit to be applyed to al kinds of diseases. The [Page 363] skilfullest Physitians prescribe it for the first recipe in all maladies: for oppletion is the metropolis or head-city of diseases and deaths chief sergeant. All the untimely deaths of yong people are in a manner caused by excess in diet. But if frugality be effectual against all the indispositions of the body, it wil also give redress to those of the soul. Hunger makes the proud to stoop, the covetous to disburse, the lazy & slouthful it forceth to work; it renders the luxurious chast & the angry man calmely patient. If then frugality even when it is forced, makes head against all vices; if when it is no vertue it can engen­der vertues; what remaines, when it is a true and sincere one, but that must needs asso­ciate God to a soul and make him its constant sejourner. God took complacence in con­versing with Moyses and Elias when they were both in a long fast.

But after the same manner that it expels & puts the divels to flight, saturity bereaves us of God. Vnles thou resolve to banish this vice and establish in thy soul the vertue of temperance, thou maist wel dispaire of the rest. It wil be the same as if one being desirous to beat away a troublesome dog should in steed of a stone throw at him a crust of bread. A domestique enemy must first be vanquishd, ere, we can fal abord with a foraign.

The XIII. Chapter. That one must take account of his proceedings by a frequent examen of himself.

MEN do seldome cast a reflex eye back upon their life, and therfore frequently they find it very bad: for the most part they never deliberate about their actions: if now and then, at the most it is what they are to do, seldome what they have done; and yet they can scarse know how it is to be wel done, unles they reflect what hath been amiss. Future gaines arise from the consideration of losses by past. Mer­chants summ up their dayes traffique, and if they find themselves loosers, they purpose to make it up another day by other advantages. Masters exact an account of their servants even to a minute busynes; and why is the soul of man, more pretious then heaven and earth, sleighted as a thing of no reckning? in the expense of a three penny matter they are pre­cisely scrupulous; but can easily disgest the loss of an eternal gain. The commonwelth without magistrates wil become the mere sink of villany; a field untild, a nursery of brambles. The sin of Adam corrupted our heart more then it did the earth. If thou dost not culti­vate thy conscience it wil branch forth into innumerable vices.

Thou must o remiss spirit, be unmerciful in exacting an account of thy self, that thou mayst deserve mercy at the hands of God. Many have run evident danger of miscarrying by reason of their hidden sins. The world is involved in darknes thou wilt scarse be able to know thy self when thou searchest into thy self, how wil the case stand if thou search not at all? but if thou knowst not thy self, why art thou sollicitous eyther to know or have any thing els? for although thou possess the whole world, and be expert in all sciences, thou wilt both be a fool, and poor, and des­picable, because thou dost not possess thy self, who art better then all things, and by whome thou shalt have all: and not possessing thy self thou wilt possess nothing, and thy knowledg wil serve to no other purpose but make thee err and abuse creatures. The sole wise man is rich: happy is he who is master of himself acknowledging his own vilenes, and makes that his search, and comes as it were to finger it. One loves to know the horse he is to ride on, one wil have the number of his cattle and sheep, and is content to be only ignorant of himself, and sin without number. Why wil man be such a great enemy to him­self as not to regard himself? but if thou wilt hate thy self to thy advantage, do it, I pray, by abhorring thy self not by forgetting. By looking into thy self thou wilt abhor thy self, by abhorring thy self thou wilt correct thy self, and by correcting be acceptable to God.

Although we wil not examine our selves, God wil leave nothing unrevengd. But if we would judge our selves, we should not at all be judged. But while we are judged we are chastizd by our Lord that we may not be con­demnd together with this world. O meekest truth, who appointest us judges of our selves in a case of delinquency against thee! what more merciful? o unspeakable clemency, that the divine justice rests satisfyed with our hu­mane verdict! if any one that is assoild for some heynous fact, expected a judge to be designd by his Prince to determine the cause and give sentence, how desirefully sollicitous would he be that some one of his kindred, or country, or acquaintance should be deputed? how would he rejoyce if one allyed by blood or intimately familiar with him were appoint­ed? behold thy happy lot and the divine be­nignity, who wil have thee to be judge of thy self! if two courts of judicature were pro­posd to a criminal, in one wherof presided an uncouth & rigid man who proceeded with the strictest severity; in the other his kinsman & of a milder temper, who used a more favora­ble interpretation of the law; if he would chuse to be arraignd at that most rigorous tri­bunal, what would such a choise differ from madnes and dispair? o how madly desperate would that man shew himself, who should re­fuse to be brought to a bar, where I wil not say his friend and allye, but even the crimi­nal himself shal be judge; but would stand to [Page 367] the verdict of that other most impartially just, where God shal be the severe inquisitor and of­fended judge. If thou wert to have thy wish in chusing an umpyre of thy misdemeanours eyther thy partner in the same fault, or thy accuser and the party offended, wouldst thou refer thy self to this latters arbitration? not thy companion but thou thy self or God of­fended must be thy judge, and he who is un­doubtedly to punish thee. It is impossible for thee to avoyd some punishment and condem­nation: eyther judg thy self, or our Lord wil severely adjudge thee to torment. Do not then shun thy own judgment; for so thou shalt shun the divine, and not be condemned at that tribunal.

Be sure not to make greater account of any temporal thing, then of exacting an ac­count of thy self; neyther is there any thing more reasonable then this. If we be desirous to reforme others, why wil we leave our sel­ves deformed and irregular? summon thy self at least twice a day to the bar, and judge thy self most impartially, as if that were the dread­ful day of the last doom. If at that hour, when all mankind standing appalld with horrour & perplexity before the judgment seat of Christ to receive their definitive sentence, the judge should deal so favorably with thee alone as to separate thee from that huge mass, content thou shouldst on this condition be thy own examiner, that if thou judgd and punishd thy self in good earnest, he would stand to thy [Page 368] judgment; but if superficially, thou wert to be added to the main heap to be adjudgd with­out all mercy together with them to torment; what immense thanks wouldst thou deem this favour of Christ worthy off? with what sol­licitude wouldst thou search, prye, and sift into thy self not sparing thy self in the very least? such a favour is now granted thee; ne­gotiate in thy daily examens and Confessions Gods cause, seeking seriously his greater glory and thy own confusion. Next consider Christ judging with all severity the rest of mankind, and pronouncing the concluding sentence of damnation: beholding him on the other side crucifyed for thy sake, and thy self alone busy in discussing thy self at his feet on Mount Calvary together with the Mother of IESVS, Iohn, and Magdalen melting into teares, even the beloved IESVS himself weep­ing and crying, father forgive him for he knowes not what he doth. Employd in the self-same thoughts come to thy Confessors feet in full hope of pardon if thou be not too indulgent in pardoning thy self; considering thy IESVS little regarding thy sins and their punishment, and only sollicitous to sign thy pardon, laying aside all thought of their num­ber and greatnes, as being only desirous to shew favour and indulgence, because he had committed to thy care and trust a diligent en­quiry into them and a due revenge by way of satisfaction. Be faithful to Christ, and let nothing pass unpunished, and he most faith­ful [Page 369] to thee, will exhibite nothing but mercy.

Reduce first of all into thy mind the matter wherof thou art to give account, to witt, all the benefits heaven hath conferred upon thee: next examen in what thou hast abused them together with thy ingratitude: lastly humble thy self, be sorry, bewail even thy least defects, and purpose firmly by Gods assi­stance never to fall into the same Strengthen this thy purpose as men are wont to streng­then their contracts, first before witnesses: renew it in the presence of the Angels and Saints, and then security for performance being given, call the B. Virgin and thy spe­cial Patrons, and appoint them suerties, adding also a penalty of forfeiture. Impose upon thy self in case of relapse some voluntary affliction by way of pennance; strive allwaies to advance in goodnes; for if the Angels conceive joy for one sinner becoming repen­tant, why will there not be much more jubily for the just in his progress from vertue to ver­tue? wax not negligent in this search into thy self, it being the key which unlocks all the treasures of fervour. Many religious men become tepid by reason of their remissnes in this exercise: hence many grow lukewarm: hence diverse old souldiers in the service of piety have forsaken their colours after a la­mentable manner, because contenting them­selves with a sleight and superficial search and sorrow, what they seemd to bemoan this hour, they committed the next.

Thou neglectest not daily to renew and reenforce the decayd spirits of thy body twice a day by corporal refection: it imports thee to be no les industrious in recruiting the forces of thy soul and good purposes by sifting into thy actions: yea not twice, but at the end of each work, whether thou hast performed it wel or no? God who was no way obnoxious to errour considered & examined all his works as soon as he had made them. He created light and presently taking a view of it, saw that that fair creature was good. He made the lu­minary bodies, and forthwith contemplating them, perceived they also were good. He daily entered into examen of each work in particular and then a general survey of them all▪ and found that they were very good. So must thou view each of thy actions apart, & then all of them together. If thou hast not performed them well, thou wilt by the line & square of a due discussion of thy conscience discover what is amiss, to amend it for the future. Moyses in the bosome-retirement of his breast cleansd that hand which he found coverd over with leprosy. This serious exa­men of ones self is the storehouse of vertues: there the fear of God, there humility, self-knowledg, compunction, perseverance, fer­vour, there prudence is minted to a currant coyn. Lay wait chiefly to intercept some one vice, which thou must with importunity both prosecute and persecute till thou hast utterly vanquishd it: and after this manner [Page 371] by little and little must thou endeavour to subdue them all.

The XIV. Chapter. How we must be affected towards others.

LET this be thy employment all the day long in all thy own actions, even those that are commendable, to ac­cuse thy self, and in thy neighbours, though discommendable, to excuse others. It fares not with our conscience as it doth with our countenance; we see other mens faces not our own, but we behold our own conscience not anothers: wherfore we ought and are only able to judg and condemn our selves. If thou thy self who art only able to discerne thy own conscience findst it a difficult busines to pass verdict upon many of thy actions whether they be good or bad, whether thou hast gi­ven consent or no; how darest thou judg others, whose harts are unfolded to none but God? If thou canst not discover thy own mind, why dost thou judge of anothers? if thou art unable to discern thy own, how darest thou pass sentence upon thy neighbours? If thou weighest not thy own proceedings, why dost thou draw others into thy ballance? but for the most part those that stand idle in the market-place are the people which busy them­selves [Page 372] in murmuring and slandering others: so he that neglects his own soul spends his cen­sure more freely upon his neighbours. We might long ago have learnd by experience how lyable our judgments are to errour. Even in corporal things and those which have but an extrinsecal appearance and colour, our senses are very frequently deluded; how much more obvious is it to err in judging the harts of men, of which they have no per­ceivance at all, whose motions are swaid by free will, and in which Gods grace works se­cretly so many miracles. Although one seem to have clear arguments to ground a sinistrous suspicion, yet one ought not to judge sini­strously, because he may easily judge amiss. While the companions of S. Boniface were busy in his search, they suspected not with­out ground according to the tenour of his former behaviour that he was in the company of some lewd harlot: but he in the meane time burning with a far different flame of the love of God, was suffering cruel torments for the faith of Christ. So fallacious was a probable judgment: how much then wilt thou miscar­ry in thy groundles and improbable suspici­ons? he that is in superiority over another, and is by office to judge, must not condemn him, unles he prove evidently faulty; in things doubtful the criminal is absolved: how darest thou of thy own uncertain and erroneous brain condemn him who is better then thy self, & by whom thou art to be judged?

If thou didst love others as Christ com­mands thee, thou wouldst not judg them: charity covers a multitude of sins. [...]or this reason thou forbearest to judg thy self, be­cause self love inclines thee to excuse thy self: and if thy love towards thy brethren were such, thou wouldst not censure but excuse them. Christ being to judge mankind, he himself became man, and vested himself with our nature: and thou also if thou wilt judg or reprehend another must put on his person, and proceed with him as thou wouldst be proceeded with all. Let this be the first feat of thy charity not to be scandalized or offended with thy brother; the second not to offend him; the third to help and assist him in what thou art able; nevertheles because thy love is but lukewarm thou art often defective in thy duty, and takest offence unjustly even at the innocent, disdaining them many times that are acceptable to God. Where is thy charity towards him, where is thy love to IESVS, if those be a displeasing eye sore to thee who are so pleasing to him, so deep in his favour, and do him better service then thou a sinner? if thou lovedst God and his immense goodnes, thou wouldst love all for his goodnes; the good because they are good, the bad because they may be good. Not only an elaborate piece of workmanship, but the very materials of which it is made are had in no smal request. Of evill many become good, we must not disdain them: this is to love all for goodnes: [Page 374] this is to love all in God when we love for that which cannot be loved without God, as goodnes, justice vertue and the like.

If thou didst love the goodnes of God thou wouldst love all in God, and covet that all loved him, and wouldst put to a helping hand and be sollicitous in this behalf. Of a much different strain is the zeal of humane and divine love. Humane goodnes is finite and narrow bounded not suffising for all, nay not even for many but les wil fall to each ones share: & therfore men endeavour what they can that none els love whats dear to them: but be­cause the goodnes of God is infinite and more then abundantly sufficient for all, and our love of such a limited condition that it cannot correspond to so great goodnes; therfore Gods desire is that each one love it, and ap­prove our love, and cooperate towards it, to the end they may discharg and satisfy for that goodnes which we are not able with any love of ours to equalize. Thou lovest God imprudently, unles thy desire be that all love him; for thou must love him more then thy self, & thy desire is that all love thee though thou be so very bad; why are thy wishes on Gods behalf more barren and bounded, he being so extremely good?

O infinite goodnes of God, who loved me so much the meanest and very outcast of sinners, that being not content to love me, thou wouldst moreover that all should love me, and commanded it too; why shal not I [Page 375] covet that all love thee and procure it to the utmost of my power? yea thou hast obliged all by thy precept & blood, that they should love me no less then thou lovedst me, and every one loves himself. Give me grace, that I also may observe these examples of love that I may love all. Thou saidst; this is my pre­cept that you love one another as I loved you. And again; thou shalt love thy neighbour as thy self. Thou, o Lord, lovedst me eer I loved thee; thou, o Lord, lovedst me not for any commodity redounding to thee but to me: thou lovedst me with an immense love, for none hath greater charity then this that one give his soul for his friends: thou didst love me with a perseverant love: thou art he who when he loved his who were in the world he loved them to the end. These are the con­ditions with which thou lovedst me, and must be the rule conformably to which I must love others. O my soul, learn love from the love of Christ, & love them as thy own life whom Christ loved more then his, and wil in then be loved and worshipd.

If Christ lay sick in bed (thou wilt not deem it indecency that he be supposed lan­guishing for our good, who for our salvation took really upon him our languours) or pinchd with hunger; and some other poor body lay also sick in another bed and were pressed with the same want; and thou shouldst demand of Christ whether of the two he would have thee to relieve first, himself or [Page 376] that other party; I believe he would piously answere, that other: for Christ himself would defraud his own mouth of meat to asswage a poor mans hunger. Serve then and reverence Christ in such a one: if thou canst not do it in fact, do it at least by prayer and compassion; not only in corporal necessities but much more in spiritual. God prizeth so highly an almes bestowd on the body, that he promiseth heaven for its reward, nor assignes any other cause of acquitting them in the dreadful day of doom; how much more wil he esteem an almes bestowd on the soul, for which he daignd to dye? o the infinit charity of God, o most loving Saviour who gavest thy soul for sinners, grant that I may love their soules as thou lovedst them. I wil take a pattern from thy love to know how I am to love those whom thou lovedst and not from my own; neyther wil I love my neighbour as I loved my self for then I shal love him but untowardly. I knew not how to love my self, how can I love others. How could I love my self who loved my own wil, who loved iniquity? but I wil love my neighbour as I ought to love my self, desiring thy wil may be accomplishd in him, and he more plenti­fully enrichd with thy grace; that all may serve thee most fervently, and adore thee in spirit and truth.

THE IV. BOOK.

The I. Chapter. How ungratefull we are to God.

HOW unhappy is our hart in thy benefits, o happines of Saints, since a slender courtesy afforded us by some poor miscreant, yea even by a savage creature stirs us up to an act of benevolence, and yet we are not struck through love into an amazement of the immense beneficence of thy benefical nature! how comes this to pass, that if a man had done it we should deem it a huge fa­vour, and for this very reason that God does it, though he do incomparably more, we sleight the benefit and seek not to shew our selves grateful? doth water loose its nature because it is in its center the sea and not in some sorry vessel? shal it forfeit the nature of a benefit because God is the authour of it whose nature is to be beneficial? we should rather argue thus; it is water because it is drawn out of the sea. Can heat, because it is in the fire, be thought not to becalefactive, [Page 378] and that only to be so which is in a forraign and violent subject) the ardour of fire is more effectual and warmes more intensely then heat in wood: so the blessings from God are more benefical then those from men because God sourceth them. It is the nature of g [...] ­nes to be benefical, as it is of fire to heat. [...] neficence in men is nothing so vigorous or taking; because it is not so proper to their nature, indigence only being connatural to them. Water is purer in the fountain then in the stream, and benefits derived from God are more refined then those from men, who for the most part mar the nature of a benefit. Why then shal blessings loose their preroga­tive and respect because they are imparted by God; which, though much meaner, if they proceeded from any contemptible man, unles we expressed our gratitude for them, we could not have the face to appear before men, but should blush with confusion, so far as to be ashamed of ourselves, and become infamous in our own conceit: and yet because they are from God, we hold our selves priviledgd to be ungrateful and dare without blushing ap­pear before him and his Angels. Why are guifts les valuable and of an inferiour rank because they come from God since in them alone are verified all the conditions of being truly beneficial and giving us relief in our greatest distress? is a benefit more unhappy for flowing from the fountain of all happines?

Why do we not love thee, o Lord, who [Page 379] gavest us our whole creation, & are grateful towards robbers who pillage us but in part, yea even towards dogs for guarding what is ours? we love him that supplies us in our want, and we melt not into love of thee who gavest as both essence and life when we were no bet­ter then nothing. What greater want or pe­nury then to have nothing, yea to be nothing? if God relieved us then by giving us a life and being, why are we not mindful of such an almes, since we are grateful to him who affords us but a mean support of life? can it be judgd a more signal mercy to give wherewith to live then to give life it self? benefits are esteemd much greater for coming in the nick of time when our indigency was most pressing, and when what is given comes voluntarily and without paying so much as a begging for it. What greater penury then to have nothing which is the greatest of all? God then did us a great good turn worthy of the greatest love, in relieving so urgent a necessity: it is an ine­stimable benefit that he gave it so freely of his own accord, when nothing of ours preceded which could exact it. The more pressing ones want is, although what is given be but a trifle, it is more highly valued then when more is given in a less exigence: thou, o Lord, when we were extremely penurious in our nothing didst not bestow a little upon us but all what­soever we are.

Let us sum up all the benefits conferd upon men & because it were too prolix to recoūt all, [Page 380] let us consider that which in the judgment of all nations is held the greatest and beyond all recompense, and let us compare it with the least divine benefit of our creation. Nature teacheth and preacheth that we can render no equality of recompense to our Parents: and they what have they given us? a stenchy body subject to sin and diseases, and all the miseries of this life; insomuch that they are in a cer­tain manner more benevolent towards loath­some wormes then towards their children: for they produced them undefiled with any fault nor lyable to the divine wrath; but they bring forth their children, accursed, wearing the badg of sin, worthy of death and impri­sonment. How, o Lord, can we be unmind­ful of thee, and impudent in our carriage towards thee, since thou gavest us all our being; a body at that instant sitly accommo­dated, unblemishd, qualifyd with diversity of endowments; a soul of a most excellent nature, pure, immortal, spiritual? the be­nefit we receive from our parents cost them but little, for they gave us only of their su­perfluities, not a whole body but a smal parcel of most loathsome matter and corruption: thou, o Lord, gavest us all our selves, our whol body, our whol soul, pure and unspot­ted; which benefit cost thee no less then the expense of thy omnipotency. Moreover what we have from our Parents they gave it not but thou by their meanes: they of themselves gave us only a lyablenes to sin and an ill o men [Page 381] of future miseries. What they afforded us was [...]ot out of pure love to us, but to their own [...]mpure pleasure: thou, o Lord, out of an excess of charity to us, createdst us. Per­ [...]hance our parents begot us against their wil, they having many times a positive desire to the contrary: it was not an effect of their affection that they begot us and not some other, that being neither in their power nor choyse: thy love, o Lord, created me and no other, it was thy election; thou, o Lord, beholding an endles multitude of men which thou couldst have created, who would have servd thee much better then I, pickt me out, a poor miscreant, for no merits of my own: neither was thy love impeded by foreseing that I would prove more dissoyal then any of the rest, and the greatest and wretchedest of sinners, more ungrateful then Lucifer the first begotten of sin, and Iudas the betrayer of thy Son, and Anti-christ his opposite.

Behold, o Lord, for one only of thy be­nefits I stand not only endebted and owing my self to thee, but am upon many scores end eb­ted: how then shal I be able to acquit my self of others? I owe my self wholly to thee, be­cause thou gavest me wholly to my self; I owe my self wholly, because thou disbursedst thy omnipotency upon me: I owe my self wholly, because thou gavest me my self not repiningly: I owe my self wholly, because thou didst it lovingly: I owe my self wholly, because thou didst it calling me by design out of mil­lions; [Page 382] I owe my self wholly, because thou didst it foreseing that I would surpass all in ingratitude. O Lord since I stand endebted my whole self under so many titles for one sole benefit, grant that once at least I may pay my share for thy endles ones; grant that I may make by way of discharge an oblation to thee of my whole hart: and since thou con­ferredst not once only this one benefit so va­riously manifold, but art still continuing and daily enlarging it by a perpetuated con­servation, this debt of my whole self is daily doubled to an infinitude: be then endlesly taking my hart, not for the good thy benefit works in me, but for the good it effects in thee by making thee beneficial to me, as also for the fruit I reap from it. If therfore this least of thy favours be so great that I owe no les then my whole self upon so many several claymes for it; what shal I do for my redem­ption, that excelling my creation as much as God excelleth man? in my creation thou ga­vest me to my self, in my redemption thou gavest thee and restoredst me.

The II. Chapter. That Gods benefits are without number.

BLess yet more and more, o my soul, our Lord, and be not unmindful of his retributions, whether towards his [Page 383] enemyes or towards his friends, towards his Angels or the beasts of the field: whether to­wards the blessed in remunerating them or the divels in tormenting them: all his retributions are so many thy peculiar favours. O God, how am I engulphd in an Ocean of thy bene­ficence! whatsoever thou dost is a benefit, yea and my peculiar benefit. The actuations and productions of light are light: & a light that is exposd for one mans direction, illumi­nates all that stand about him: so dost thou, o light of truth, o nature of goodnes; and therfore because thou art beneficial, thou canst do nothing which is not beneficial: and it is necessarily consequent that the benefit thou bestowest upon one is not only proficu­ous to him but all. Each best guift and per­fect blessing is descending from above from the Father of lights; because thou diffusest them like unto the diffusions of light, thou communicating thy self to all and for all with­out any decrease or impoverishment. A light remaining still intyre divides its beames to all, and another, without any prejudice to it, may borrow some from its flame. Whatsoe­ver the sun darts forth is light; all may see by meanes of it, unles they wilfully seale up their eyes. All the effects which God produceth are so many benefits; and by them each one may help and profit himself, unles he wil be foolish and perverse. Thy ardent love doth alwayes, o Lord, accompany thy guifts as heat doth light: this is an immense priviledge conco­mitant [Page 384] to them, that they are so many pawns and pledges of thy love: although this be not patent to the eye, yet it discovers it self in the benefical effect. For though we see only the light which the sun communicates not the heat, yet this doth still attend the other.

O Father of lights what thanks am I en­debted to thee for the university of thy bene­fits conferd upon all, those credentials of thy love, which love I chiefly embrace and adore in thy works! who wil not stand amazd at the inventivenes of thy goodnes, making the be­nefit of all, the benefit of each one, and the benefit of each one the benefit of all, private ones publick & publick private? all the works of nature, all the wonders of grace, all the predestinate, all the blessed are my benefits: all the prosperity, all the calamityes that be­fall man, are so many favours which thou lovingly bestowest upon me. O ungrateful man, wouldst thou not love God with the whole impetuosity of thy hart, if he should exempt thee from damnation, thou carrying the guilt of hell fire by dying in some dam­nable sin; but should create another much better then thee, deputing him in thy place to suffer for thee that hell of torments? God did much more then this: I omit that he fatherd our faults upon himself daigning to dye for our sake; this now amazeth me, although it be incomparably less, that he would shut the gates of mercy against many & sentence them to damnation to save thee: for if thou didst [Page 385] see but few condemned, thy fear would be much less & thou perchance thy self make one in that heap: if two onely or three; thy fear would yet be more lessend, and thou mightest presume with more certainty, one of them would be thy self: if none at all; thy fear would be none; and mayst wel think that thou alone wouldst incur that misery; or which is worse be much more frequent in sinning and less observant towards God. Therfore the torment and damnation of so many soules is to me a great benefit. O light of my hart, with how bright beames doth thy love shine towards thy elect! thou madest other creature [...] for man, and him thou damnest for other men whom thou hast elected to salvation. An­gels become servants to men, yea thou thy self being made man: what if thou wouldst have one man serve another? If for some res­pects of temporal life thou permittest man to serve man, and a slave his master: for the at­tainment of eternal life and increase of glory a reprobate must serve an elect. Behold, o ungrateful spirit, if an evil so prejudicial as that of punishment is, proves thy advantage, the advantages also of others wil turn to thy benefit.

With such skill doth God mannage his works that each one redounds to the good of all, & the very paines of the damned are so be­neficial to all, that they are beneficial even to them themselves: for in that height of misery their cup is not temperd merely with malice, [Page 386] but hath some mixture of divine justice, which is very savory. God is so bountifully good, such a skilful Alchymist, that he turnes dross into gold, that is, our very miseries into mer­cies; and which is yet more, out of the worst minerals of sinfulnes, they alone being only bad, he extracts pretious mettals, and some­times even the most pretious. Thou, o Lord, conferrest thy benefits with such a strong and open hand, that even from sin, where thou hast neyther power nor activity (thou being both impotent to act in it or concur to ano­thers acting) thou both drawest and art able to draw great good. Thy skil knowes how to extract immense blessings and vertues out of sin. Light reverberating upon a condense and obscure body uncapable of its operati­ons is so far from being eclipsed that it dou­bles it self by reflection: neyther is thy beneficence ever defeated or renderd ineffe­ctual. Out of sin, where nothing is but pre­posterously bad, thou rectifyest all to my good, decreeing thence thy beloved sons In­carnation. As well from my own sins as those of others, thou knowest how to take an occasion of being beneficial on my behalf: when I hear of a crime committed by another, I am sorry for the misfortune of my brother, but take an occasion thence of thanking thee, because I hope for mercy at thy hands eyther for him or me. I yeald thee thanks because thou wilt derive thence no smal good to me, unles I wil become quite blind and shut my eyes against the light.

Sing prayse once more o my soul to the Fa­ther of lights, and be not forgetful of all his retributions: for they all are his guifts, even those that seem to flow from men, and thou receivest immediately from them: for if thou must perswade thy self that all the cross ag­grievances which befall thee from men, come from God, why wilt thou not also be of the same mind concerning good, his nature being goodnes it self, and he so prone to communi­cate it? all the light which beautifies the hea­vens though some little star or the moon by night do dart it forth, proceeds from the sun though he the Author be not seen: in like manner each blessing & benefit though receivd from man, flowes from God, and is but a ray of his goodnes. This is the main comfort which sustaines mans life amidst such a world of miseries as attend it, that nothing can hap­pen but by Gods permission; and whatsoe­ver he permits can be no other then a benefit according to the nature of his goodnes: and what benefit soever befalls us proceeds from him, and whatsoever proceeds from him is my benefit, and orderd to me and my good▪ Corporal afflictions and the miseries of this life, whether I or any other tolerate them general dearths, diseases, pestilences, all these are my benefits, o Lord, thou afflicting others for my good. O God, how deeply am I endebted to thee, who to the end I poor miscreant may receive thence some good inspiration stickst not to strike the very [Page 388] kings and Monarchs of the world dead, being little or nothing moved with the teares and calamities of so many kingdomes, that I may draw thence some good document. A con­gruous thought of some poor peasant becom­ing contrite, is more prevalent with thee then the diadems of some kings, and sometimes whole nations of people. Grant, o Lord, that I may be thankful for these, and both in my own behalf and others, love thee in all thy works, as thou lovedst me in all thy benefits.

The III. Chapter. That Gods love in our Redemption appeares infinite.

O Immense love, how dost thou ex­haust thy self in deserving wel at my hands, since thou hast left thy self no power to act, nor wisdome to in­vent, nor wil to wish greater matters then what is already done for me! for no remedy more noble and effectual could be invented to give redress to mankind then the Incarnation of the Son of God which was a mercy beyond expression. O immense beneficence and ex­cess of love to which the divine omnipotency submitted and yealded it self as it were over­come! thou hast gone beyond all the strata­gems of God, and put a stint to these his sa­cred and unlimited desires; why dost thou not [Page 389] make use of my infirmity, suspend my thoughts, bounding my desires in such sort, that I may endeavour, think, and wish nothing besides thee? we thy children, o Lord, whom thou hast nurturd up by creation, dispised thee; how can we, whom thou hast honoured and exalted even to be sharers of thy majesty, how can we I say, contemn and rather not love thee who for love of us vilified thy self so far as to partake of our vilenes? o Lord, how comfortable is this benefit of our redemption to me, when I behold thee groaning under a heavy burthen of afflictions, joynt-sufferer in our miseries and all this out of mere love and affection to us: couldst not thou contrive some other meanes of redeeming us with less lyablenes to the rigour of justice? couldst not thou have created some nobly-qualifyed Angel who might undergo at least the paines of hel? yea couldst not thou thy self, even complying with the strict tenour of justice have accomplishd it without such a world of torments? but thou didst it to take up and possess the whole extent of our love. Per­chance if our redeemer had been different from our Creator, that is, one redeemd us another created us, we should have had more love for our Redeemer then Creator, and for that reason thou wouldst be both the one and other, so to become the object of all our love and that this thy love might be more conspi­cuous thou didst not ayme at a bare sufficiency or equality, but at an over-abundance and [Page 390] inundation; that in such a boundles sea we might see thy love which knowes no bound.

Thou who madest all things in number weight, and measure, thou who being Au­thor of nature rejectest superfluities, why wouldst thou, as it were, confound all in thy redemption? transported besides thy self and thy ordinary manner of proceeding thou observedst no number of torments, no weight of thy pretious blood, no measure of neces­sary satisfaction; but in an overmeasure of thy sufferings thou gavest us a superabundant re­demption measuring out all without any mea­sure at all. Surely the reason was because an immense love was chief Architect in so great a work, in which work thou intendedst to ren­der thy love conspicuously visible, we▪ that are so incredulous, not believing it out of other thy feats & benefits. But though thou proceededst with such a loving extravagancy, thou art not changed from thy former princi­ples, & what thou wast before: thou keepest proportion in all thy works, and here also didst thou observe a meane, but it was to do all without meane, because thy love is so, & otherwise there would be no exact equality. In like manner I behold here, thy infinity, for as much as thou carryest thy self without any restriction or proportion at all. This benefit forceth love from me, because it convinceth thee to be a lover: out of thy other benefits I conjecture thee to love, in this I see it. The rest hinder not but that one may judge them [Page 391] to proceed from some other motive then love; of this none can suspect other but that it is done with immense love. Although the rest excluded love, nothing would be derogated from thy majesty, nor the divine honour suffer detriment: here would be a defect of congruency, if we regard the autority of the divinity, supposing they should flow from any other fountain. The rest though done without love, would yet be worthy of prayse and reverence: but this, if love interceded not, would seem an eye-sore, I wil not say in God, but even in man, & a thing worthy of dispraise and contempt. But because it implies an impossibility that thou do any thing less beseeming thy self, I am ascertaind beyond all peradventure that thou lovest me. It would be deemd a kingly busines to main­tain, uphold, enrich, and be each way beneficial even to those who deserved no love; this, I say, would well become the highest majesty: but if a great monarck should de­base himself to mean drudgeries, should consort with scullions & cooks & the grooms of his stable, and dressing himself in their liveries should sit at their table; who would not sleight him, and account him no better then a mad man? nothing could be pretended for his excuse but that he were transported with love, & yealded for a time to this trans­portment, so to work upon the affection of the party beloved, or used it as a stratagem to bring his desires to a happy issue. The Phi­losophers [Page 392] themselves confess loue to be so pri­viledged, that it can never be blemished with infamy, yea that it wipes of all these staines which if contracted without love, would be held undecent and ugly: but love turns them all into merit, and transformes infamy into glory▪ Thou, o Lord, canst do nothing un­beseeming thy divinity: wherfore whatsoever thou didst by evacuating thy autority and stooping to the condition of an abject crea­ture, all was done out of love to me.

Lock up in thy hart, o my soul, this il­lustrious pledg of divine love, divine humi­lity; which by loves prerogative is the highest glory. Love excuseth the majesty of God, the same exalteth the humility of God. This love forceth a reciprocal love from me: fire enkindles fire, and love provokes to love: let thy love, o Lord, enflame me with love of thee; thou who camest to send this fire: but couldst thou not, o Lord, send it without coming thy self, and becoming Incarnate? why was it necessary that thou shouldst be­come man to enflame men? was it because fire doth not operate but upon an approxi­mated subject? for fire in the purity of its na­ture and in its element is sayd not to be active nor enkindle any solid matter; but it is re­quisite that it be in a foraign subject & renderd visible: so thou o Lord though in the refindnes of thy purest nature thou be love and a burn­ing fire, yet thou didst not enflame man but by becoming man: like as elementary fire is [Page 393] not active upon wood unles it be first enkind­led in wood or some other matter more gross and condense then is the firmament: as then it wil enkindle other wood, it becoming a conspicuous and visible flame. Thy visible love, thou being made man, cannot but en­flame and set man all on fire.

That benefit is much heightned which an­ticipates all intreaty, and is conferd without any intercession: and much more if it come unhoped for or unexpected; for blessings un­lookd for affect one more feelingly, & most of all if they prevent all wishes and desires: for nothing befalls us more agreeably and to our harts-content, then what is given without the expense of so much as a wish: now what must that needs be which forestals all kind of expectancy: what wil that be which could not so much as enter into our thought? such a one is this benefit and unexpected Sacrament of our redemption, which if any one, before it was intimated to us, had begd to be done after the manner it is done, his prayers would have been thought blasphemy, his hope a mad rashnes, his wish a sacrilegious wil, his fancy impiety. An unexpected guift is most grateful: what wil that be which was never so much as conceyted? thy beneficence indul­gently granted what our indigency fancyd impossible.

But above all, the frontispice and inscrip­tion of love which this benefit carryes engra­ven (that being the prizer and taxer of guifts) [Page 394] doth most affect me: all guifts are testimonials and credentials of love; what more credita­ble then this? Guifts are not rated according to their bulk, but the remonstrance of love that accompanies them. This is an immense favour, which that it may stand in the rank of benefits not of disgraces, it carryes in its front in capital letters the immense love of God. O Lord, if I be endebted to thee whatsoever I am for my creation, what shal I owe thee for thy love? I acknowledg my self to owe more then my self, yea as much more as thy greatnes exceeds my nothing, thou who gavest thy self to me in thy nativity, in thy life, in thy death, in thy resurrection, and lastly in that sacred banquet of thy most holy body. Effect, that whatsoever was thine by creation, and thou repairedst by redemption, I may make it all thine by love. I were not able to make condigne recompense for the least of thy be­nefits, though by way of thāksgiving I should endure all the paines of hell for all eternity; the reason is because it proceeds from the infi­tude of thy love, which infinitly exceeds any infinity of recompense from creatures: what then shal I be able to do for so many & those so signal, and chiefly for this in which thy boundles charity reflects more perspicuously then do the sun-beames.

The IV. Chapter. How deservedly God is to be loved and chiefly for himself.

I Wil sum up the titles by which thou most justly exacts my love, and the de­linquencies of my tepidity and ingrati­tude. I ought with all ardency to love thee, o most amiable Lord, both because thou art good, and because thou art loving; both because thou art a benefactour and my bene­factour; both because thou art my maker & a patient endurer of my imperfections.

God is so good and beautiful in himself, that though he had not made us the object of his love nor the subject of his beneficence, nor the issue of his creation, yet he were to beloved above all lovers, benefactours, and Creators whatsoever; yea although he should hate us and be injurious on our behalf; for that bottomles Ocean of goodnes & beauty would expiate any injury whatsoever, and much more effectually then doth beneficence. If God had beheld thee hereto fore as an ob­ject of hatred, and being at enmity had of­fended and sought revenge, wouldst thou not pardon and even love him, he making so large satisfaction by so many benefits, so far as not to spare his own son but give him up to death [Page 396] suffering a privation of that, the absence whereof causeth the greatest grief: one must pardon an injury in him who is beneficial; for the force of a benefit ought to extinguish re­venge and anger: but Gods previous merits being so great, he deserves more then pardon. If then his beneficence would suffice to clear him of alinjuriousnes; much more would his goodnes the cause of beneficence, it being more noble, and sufficiently effectual to make amends for all losses and injuries sustaind by him. Gods goodnes is greater then his bene­ficence because this flowes from that; and effects rather fall short of their cause then otherwise. One said of an ill deserving man; I have receivd no good from thee but much harm, and yet for all that I cannot but love thee. O true goodnes, let me rather say of thee then thy image of clay: I cannot but love thee although I should receive no good from thee but much evil: what then shal I say now when thou lovest me without meane and art beneficial above measure.

We sometimes love men whom we never saw nor heard off, nor they us, nor do they rank us in the legend of their love; but we affect them merely for the report of their ho­nesty: we could take content in their con­versation, rejoyce at their sight and honour the very memory of them: & can the goodnes of God be unworthy of that which a mere humane goodnes claymes as its due? A mans honesty may be such as to deserve love with­out [Page 397] any obligation of piety, he not being our parent; without any obligation of thank­fulnes, he not being our benefactour; with­out any obligation of love, he not loving us at all; and shal not the authority of the di­vine goodnes suffice of it self to the same ef­fect? who is not moved with some sense of benevolence towards Ionathas for the loyalty of his friendship, notwithstanding the emu­lation of his Fathers kingdome? or towards David for his clemency in sparing the life of his enemy Saul, though it had purchased him no les then a good empyre? who hath not some affection for Iudas Machabaeus for his singular love towards his law and country? and it is not any allyance with them or other particular interest, but mere vertue that gaines this good wil. Sum up into one man the per­fections of all others and suppose him com­posed all of miracles; let him have the wis­dome of Salomon, the fortitude of Sampson, the beauty of Absolon, the fidelity of Iona­thas, the meeknes of David, the fortune of Iosue, and as loving towards his people as Moyses: who would not be ambitious of that mans friendship, or covet once at least to treat and converse with him? of how dul a rellish would that man be thought, who did not take gust in his acquaintance, even prescinding from all hopes of gain? o immense God, thou art an aggregate of all good things and the total sum of all goodnes; why do not we love thee and aspire to thy familiarity? o Lord he [Page 398] that loves not thee upon the mere score of thy goodnes, how ill-rellished is he, how baseminded, how unwise! he that admires not it alone to the full, how ridiculous? let us suppose our selves created independently of God, and that we should hear of him, as of one that ruld in another world, what we now believe; who would not covet to have such a God, who would not admire and love his goodnes and carriage towards the men of that his world, whose happines we might wel envy? his goodnes then is not one whit the les for his being Creatour, neyther ought our admiration and love towards him to decrease upon that pretense.

A very forcible motive also to make us love God is because he is of a loving nature. No ingredient is more operative in producing love then love it self: we carry a good wil towards wicked men merely upon this score that they seem to love us; and we take a kind of com­placence in being loved by dogs: although God were not good, nor our benefactor, nor Creator yet because he loves he were to be loved, and chiefly because he is such an ar­dent lover. The greatnes of which love is renderd perspicuous by the greatnes of its guifts: what a love must that be by which he so loved the world, as to give his only-begot­ten Son for its redemption? o men, what can you admire if you do not admire this, that God should love the meanest of creatures with such a tender and feeling hart.

But let us grant that God neyther had lov'd [...]s nor made us, nor been beneficial to us; it is our part at least to love him because he was so to others If the vertuous actions of men deserve praise at the hands even of a stranger or Barbarian, and force a kind of benevo­lence from them; shal so many feats of Gods beneficence deserve les their excess both in number and quantity amounting to an infini­tude? an upright and beneficial man is loved by every one, even those that have not tasted his beneficence: but although God had left no great monument of his liberality to others, yet because he hath towards us, although it proceeded not from the motive of love (which cannot be done without some love) we were still bound to love him yea although he were neyther good, nor loving, nor beneficial to us or others (which nevertheles implyes an impossibility) for that sole reason that he made us, he were worthy of all love and res­pect? Our Parents although they be wicked, though they themselves nursd us not up, yet they are to be loved and reverenced: souldiers spend their lives and blood for their lawful king though otherwise notoriously naughty: God is Father of all things and the lawful head of the world.

Neyther is his patience a light shaft to wound us with love, he tolerating and par­doning us by it while we play the impudent delinquents. The patience of an offender and harmer in accepting punishment and standing [Page 400] in a preparation of mind to admit revenge and penalty for the wrong, turnes the anger of the party offended into benevolence: and how can the patience of an unjust offender force benevolence from one justly displeased, and not the patience of the party offended obtain love of him that offends unjustly? O Lord with how good title doth my ingratitude and thy pardon exact my love! but if this alone be not weighty enough to sway the ballance, add to it that he is our Father, our benefa­ctour, yea and beneficial towards all: how much am I bound to love thee, whose merits on my behalf are innumerable, and love boundles.

But these impulsives are not the most con­vincing, though they be severe exacters of my love: I am much more engaged to love thee for thy sole benevolence wherewith thou lovest me then for all thy other benefits be­sides: for that is the source of them all, and consequently more to be prizd: and thy love is so far from being exhausted, that it is for­cible enough, if need were, to redouble thy benefits and multiply them without stint, if they which already abound, suffised not for my salvation. Thy love is equivalent not only to thy benefits already conferd, but even to those in possibility, if any greater be possible, and comprizeth them all in it self; yea if we may use the manner of speech, even impossi­ble ones: for true love is not confind to the li­mits of a real power but imaginary wishes; [Page 401] which though they have no place in God by reason of the perfect fecundity and all­powerfulnes of his nature, the excess of his love is not therfore any whit diminished; but [...]e are as much endebted to him as if they were. The sole love then of God alone is a more convincing motive of love then his boundles beneficence: for that comprehen­deth all his benefits not only now actual but possible and impossible, if any such were un­fesible to God.

There is yet another more pregnant cause of loving him then all the precedent: for if we owe him more love for his love to us then for his benefits, because these are only its issue and so many sparks leaping from that glowing furnace of divine charity: much more must we love him for his goodnes, this being the cause of love. How great must that goodnes be which is mother of so numerous a progeny of loves, and the stock from whence sprout so many benefits! yea we owe not only incre­dible love to the divine goodnes for the pre­sent affection he beares us, but much greater on our parts, for the love he would bear us, if we would but dispose our selves better and become less ungrateful, and consequently more capable of a more ample charity. We are not only endebted to the goodnes of God one infinite love of God, but as it were infi­nitudes of love to an infinite God. Where­fore we must love him more ardently for that he is good in himself, then for that he is good [Page 402] and beneficial to us. O Lord, I love thee for thy benefits because I read, reverence, and embrace in them thy love: and I also love thee for thy love, because in it I behold, adore, and love thy goodnes. The love of God is one perfection in God: but there are many more for which he is amiable, all which are comprized in the infinite divine goodnes and perfection which is for infinite respects most worthy of love. I see not, o Lord, how my hart can cease or suffer any interruption in loving thee, since thou who art infinite, pu­rely out of thy own goodnes lovedst us so in­cessantly from all eternity.

The V. Chapter. That we are not able to satisfy the goodnes of God.

HOw do I loose my self, o Lord, in the consideration of thy goodnes, which neyther pen, nor tongue, nor thought is able to comprehend! if all the spirits both of heaven and hell, all soules created and creable, should make it their task to describe it; and if each one had a sea for their inkhorn and a heaven for their paper, both the one and the other would be exhausted ere they could make a fit expression of its least parcel. If each star and drop of rain were so many tongues their breath would [Page 403] fayl them and they grow mute eer they could utter a congruous elocution. If all the mi­nute sands of the sea were changd into so many intelligences, all their conceptions would prove but shallow even in respect of its least particle. But what am I doing while I dare de­clare thy goodnes by these similitudes? I con­fess, o infinite God, that all these exagge­rations are ridiculous, although they be ownd by most grave Doctours; they are all ridiculous in order to express it, and they destroy themselves: and he will shew himself to be ridiculous who hopes to express him­self competently by them. I am afraid, o Lord, least while I go thus to work to prayse thy goodnes, I may be thought to jeer and deride. Would not one that took upon him to set forth in magnifying words the wis­dome of Salomon: be judged to scof if he should say; so great is the wisdome of Salo­mon that the lame-handed can not describe it, nor the dumb utter it, nor the distracted make a true estimate of its greatnes? if this commendatory be thought derision these other comparisons in respect of thy goodnes are much les to the purpose, in order to whose expression each creature is lame, dumb, and senslesly foolish. O Lord, my desire is to love thee in the simplicity of my ignorance; & I will brook it patiently if I do not clearly under­stand how thou art, which is not possible for me to do in this life: and although I can conceive nothing worthy of thy goodnes, for [Page 404] as much as my conceptions of it are obscure & incongruous, yet I solace my self in this, that thy goodnes is too great ever to be equalized by love: I solace my self, o Lord, that al­though thou hadst not created us, nor been beneficial to us, nor made us the object of thy love but hatred, as my deserts at least exacted, yea although it were impossible for thee to be beneficial, and repugnant to thy nature to love us as thou dost: nevertheles by reason of thy perfection and goodnes and its matchles worth no body could love thee to the ful. Although all the leaves of the trees and piles of grass, all the sands of the sea and motes of the sun were all harts, yea although they were so many wils of burning Seraphins; yea further, though all these and all other possible creatures were each one a Hierarchy of Seraphins whose love at each instant redou­bled it self through all eternity, all this love of them all would be as nothing in recom­pense of thy goodnes, nay it would blush to appear in its presence, neyther is my meaning that it would love thee congruously for the whole extent of thy goodnes, but not so much as for thy sole patience wherewith thou toleratest me, not only while I so heynously offend thee, but am so defectuously languid and remiss in loving thee so great a good.

But in this also I solace my self that though thou art not sufficiently loved, neyther canst thou be sufficiently loved by creatures. Ac­cept, o Lord, for my share a smal pittance of [Page 405] love in wish and desire: I offer up to thee all the love of all creatures, even of those that are as yet but possible, sumd up into one obla­tion: I my self alone would for each instant have all that their love, which wil actuate them through all eternity; and though I were thus furnishd yet stil should I have cause of shame and confusion. Pardon, pardon me, I most humbly beseech thee great Lord, nor resent these my slender votes and desires, as affronts put upon thee; but let my infirmity and thy greatnes plead my excuse. Accept of this my wish which cannot worthily be stild a love worthy of thee: accept also of the payn I am put to in grieving that all creatures are not enamoured on thee I grieve that so many soules espoused to thee by the ring of fayth, and so many harts of men fit to love thee most ardently, who might make themselves kings of the world and overtop the heavens, should lye wallowing in their own ordures, and pe­rish by loving themselves and the fraile and loathsome goods of this earth, neglecting thee, o beauty of creatures and love of the universe.

The VI. Chapter. How great a benefit of glory we hope for.

GOd is so good and beneficial that he suf­fers us while we set a false rate upon his [Page 406] benefits & our own good. Men are vexed with toyling and moyling all their life long to pur­chase some temporal good, and at length are frustrated of their expectation, reaping little or no fruit at all of their labours: how can they hope to gain eternal, it being no part of their sollicitude, they scarse ever admitting it into their thoughts? the goods which they make their dayly busines are not obtaind with all their endeavours; and those which are distant as far as heaven, they hope the earth will afford them without any labour: they are deeply afflicted for trifling goods, and are not so much as shallowly affected for the most important. How is it possible that one can proceed so ridiculously in a joy most seri­ous, & so stupidly about a stupendious good? o most humble majesty of God, when I con­sider this last miracle of thy love, I loose my self in a maze of amazement!

How great is that good, whose greatnes made it an unseemly thing in God to be libe­ral; but was to expect the additional worth of vertue and our services, though they also be divine benefits. In our creation and redem­ption thou wast munificent when we least ex­pected it, anticipating the wishes and intenti­ons of man; but to enter upon a state of glory thou expectest our joynt-concurrence with thy grace. Good God! how vastly great must that good needs be, which obstructs by its greatnes the full current of the divine beni­gnity, and requires our endeavour and la­bour. [Page 407] And God sels it at a dear rate, though he love otherwise to give all gratis: he sold it to S. Laurence for a broyling, to S. Paul for the price of his head, to S. Felicitas for her chil­dren, to S. Peter for the death of the cross. Yea that he might sell it us so dear, he him­self would buy it at an intolerable rate, to wit, his own death and the ignominy of the cross. God was pleased to bestow and con­fer his other benefits to make us covet and acquire this; how great must that needs be for the coveting wherof his guifts & deeds were so stupendious? and yet for all this our harts dilate not themselves sufficiently, nor are raised to a congruous strain of desire. If God attempted so many meanes to make us covet it; what ought we not to attempt to enjoy it? if God did and sufferd so great things to legitimate us to a true title of such a guift, what ought we to do and suffer to enter upon it? it is plain non-sense to perswade our sel­ves that we can attain glory without labour, since God laboured so much to be able to give it. Notwithstanding all this we incur here a double delinquency in this guift more then in others; being lyable both to ingratitude, and an action of contempt; for as much as we en­deavour not to acquire that for the acquiring wherof God was at such expense, yea steerd to that end all his actions. For his other be­nefits we are ungrateful, for this comtem­ptuous, while we pursue it not with all the cagernes of our hart and spirit, but prefer a [Page 408] momentary pleasure before the grand affaire of eternity.

What is it that we are so ambitious off? unles we be very greedy of glory what hunt we so earnestly after? one moment sufficeth for the purchase of eternity. If the largest ex­tent of the earth be but a point in respect of heaven which is limitable, what will the nar­row bounded life of man be in regard of an unlimited eternity? and is it possible that time can be spard from the pursuit and attainment of glory? if having exposd a full exchequer of gold, God should, say to some needy beggar; thou art yet to live a thousand yeares and shalt have nothing to sustain thy want for so long a respit of time, but what thou canst carry out of this treasury in the space of an hour, would he thinkst thou, play the trewant in that short interim or spend that remnant in play or sleep? why do we not bestir our selves? an eternity expects us; nor can we lay up provision for it but in the short interstice of this life: why do we interrupt so laudable a commerce and sit still with our hands in our pockets? a thousand yeares carry les proportion to an eternity then a moment to a thousand yeares: what then wil ten or twenty yeares, the utmost tearm of thy life, be in regard of an endles duration? why ceasest thou from doing good? life flyes from thee, death runs towards thee, eternity stands still, and thou nevertheles art slow in coffer­ing up eternal riches.

What a tedious journey under took the queen of Saba for no other end but to enjoy the sight of Salomon; her intention aymed not at any long stay, but to return presently to her country? many come from remote lands to behold a man whom fame hath cryed up for some rare talents of wit or art: & with how much more reason ought we be content to employ before hand prolix endeavours, to be able but once to contemplate God in the height of his majesty? if permission were gi­ven to all of making our journey to heaven on foot, and nothing else were prerequired but only a pilgrimage of a thousand yeares, no body I believe would decline the enter­prize. Thy journey thither is much more compendious; thou needst not lift thy foot over thy threshold nor out of thy bed; and why dare we not aspire with all our might to compass a good which is so nigh us? the sole lustre of gold or flashings of a gem are able to make men brook the roughnes and danger of the seas; and the clarity of God strikes us no more then if we were insensible, neyther do we prize an invaluable good at so much as the value of a little labour. But what do I insist upon eternity? although glory were not eternal but momentary, yet it is a good so boundlesly great, that an eternity of suf­fering should not be deemd too much to pur­chase it but for a moment, we beholding God intuitively in that instant.

O how exquisite must that needs be which [Page 410] God hath provided for his friends, if he prepared and gave himself to be crucifyed even for his very enemyes? how exquisite must that needs be which cost God so dear, for which he was at so great expense, at no les then his life, auctority, passion, and omnipotency. If Gods manufactures as the heavens, the motions of the stars, the nature of beasts, orderd onely for the use of man be to us such an object of admira­tion; what will that be which he exhibits to the ostentation of his majesty? if we ad­mire the artifice of an eye though in a loath­some creature or carriage-beast, what wil that be which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor can enter into the hart of man? if he hath made the fabrick of this world which is but the cottage of miserable Adam, a bridewel of sinners, acave of brute beasts, of such an admirable structure, that heathens at its con­templation were rapt into extasy, what shal we think of his own royal Pallace? as much as a nasty stable falls short of the court of some great Monarch, which is adornd with guilded roofs, paved with pretious stones, hung with most rich tapistry; yea as much as the magni­ficence of the heavens exceeds the horrour of a stinking prison; so much & far more must thou imagin the dwelling place of the blessed to surpass the beauty of this universe, which respectively will be found but an object of loathsomenes. All the comelines of this world falls so far short of the seat of the blessed, [Page 411] that all this artifice, which the Philosophers admired with so much astonishment, is in respect of it but an eye sore and blemish of deformity. If heaven and nature, which God provided as it were by the by, and with as much ease as one can speak, be so ravishing; what wil that be which he hath from all eter­nity on set purpose prepared for those that make him their love? In the guifts of nature God carried himself master-like, he made them all with a commanding word; but in his glory he resembles an industrious servant pas­sing to and fro, seeking as it were to give content. If the beauty of this visible world where he was not so sollicitous to please, be so winning and enamouring; how much more pleasing wil he be in that, where he made it his task & study to please. The whole machin of the world was no more chargable to him then the expense of one voyce; he made it with a word: but glory made him as it were set his wits on work, and as obsequious as a servant, yea most patiently to brook disgraces, tor­ments, and death it self.

If thou shouldst bestow a hundred yeares in speculating the greatnes of glory & shouldst frame some high conceit of its worth, thou mightst wel deem all to be nothing and thy conceptions to fall so far short of compre­hending it, that thou canst not so much as conjecture thy self to have come nigh it. But in that imperfect idea which thou hast con­ceived, rayse thy self to the gates of heaven & [Page 412] beholding it open, take as clear and exact a view of it as thou canst; that being done, cast thy eyes upon the earth and what is remar­kable in its rarities: compare then the goods of both together, and see whether earthly things wil abide the test. Wonder then at so many unfortunate endeavours of men in pur­chasing a little worldly pelf or rather nothing, and their trewantly sluggishnes in seeking after the true good. Contemplate thence from the top of the stars the frustrated labours of mortals and their certain hazards in ob­taining an uncertain good: and do thou hear thy soveraign inviting thee in such like words; come enter into possession of my kingdom & heavenly treasures. This is a most certain guift seald with no les a promise then that of divine faith, and recommended to us by the diligence and death of Christ, heaven having so voted it. Where is our ambition, our de­sire, if it do not display and power it self forth upon this harvest of joyes and magazine of true riches.

I should take it for no smal dignity to be a sharer of Christs ignominy; what then wil it be to partake of his glory? if the ignominy, of IESVS be glory, the glory it self of God what wil that be? if he so magnifyd the con­tumely of the cross as to exalt it upon the diadems of Emperors, if he did so honour his torments, what wil he do to his faithfull friends? if he impart greater honour to the bones of Saints here among us, then all the [Page 413] Monarchs of the world enjoy, how much [...]il he impart to their soules while they are re­ [...]dent with himself? wilt thou make a rude [...]ssay of the greatnes of glory how much it [...]xceeds our labours. Calculate how much [...]he celestial globe exceeds in magnitude the [...]errestrial, this latter being but a point in re­gard of the first heaven, and the first heaven another point or rather nothing in regard of the highest: in whose circumference to one fingers breadth of earth (so vast is the dispro­portion) thousand thousands of miles are cor­responding in that heaven. The self-same God is author both of grace and nature, and in point of bounty he would have his guifts in heaven much exceed our labours on earth.

Let the expectation of this so great a good be to thee alwaies a satiating repast. What­soever thou seest good on earth contemn it, as perswading thy self that thou shalt enjoy others in heaven excessively greater. What evil soever annoyes thee fear it not as hoping to be out of its reach for all eternity. What­soever is violently plunderd from thee grieve not, as believing that all is depositated for thee to be made good out of the treasures of heaven. Whatsoever thou dost contemn or relinquish for the love of God, deem it not lost or cast away, as supposing that it is not onely to be layd up but also restord with a hundred fold: seek not to shun transitory la­bour, thou who hopest for a permanent good. Thou whose desire should animate thee to [Page 414] suffer in conformity with Christ upon the Mount Calvary without all hope of quitting cross; be sure not to quit patience, that thou mayst be conforme to God in glory, with an assurd confidence of arriving to so great joy. If we believe all this to be true, why put we not hand to work, but stand like peo­ple in a dream.

How is it possible to have terrene things in any esteem if we make heavenly things a part of our belief. Perchance we believe not so rightly as we ought. Wilt thou know how thy mouth belyes thy hart when thou affirmest that heavenly things are only great? if thy fortunes amounted to the value of a thousand pounds, wouldst thou not willingly give them all, if thou wert perswaded that by so doing thou couldst enhance them to a hundred thou­sand? but how doth it appear that we hold heavenly goods more valuable since we are loath, even being put in mind of the advan­tage, to give, what men both joyfully and of their own accord give for the base trum­pery of the earth? a hireling toyles all day long for a poor salary; a souldier exposeth himself to a thousand deaths for anothers kingdome; and we for the glory of God and our own purchase of the Empyre of heaven, cannot watch somtimes one hour & pray with Christ as it behooveth. Let us despise base & petty trifles, that we may receive immense rewards. It is not so estimable in it self to receive litle as to expect great matters. O lover [Page 415] and zealot of God, be sure to thirst & breath after so great a good; but regard not so much thy own repose and commodity, as that thou shalt there securely love God without fear of interruption: and the greater thy glory is the more shalt thou love him. I am bound to thank thee, o God of truth, for joyning the reward of our labours with the love of thee, and the desire of my wil which is noth­ing els but thy love.

The VII. Chapter. Of suffering death.

HOW much, o Lord, doth thy be­neficence transcend mans hope and expectation, since those very things which he accounts the greatest of evils, and natures penalty, prove to thy faith­full an unparalleld benefit. He esteems it the worst of evils to dye, and it is a great good, without which we shal never arrive to the frui­tion of all good. Thou dost very fondly, o man, in declining death which is indeclina­ble, and not declining tepidity and faultines which may be declind. For death hath no evil it which life gave not: the sin of Adam caused in death, but was not so powerful as to make it evil: this dammage only proceeds from thy sin. Avoid sin & culpable negligence, & death wil be a thing desirable.

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Men fear little and regard les the death of the soul which only is evil and may be avoided; but the death of the body which is not evil and cannot be avoided they seek to shun, though it be rather to be desird then that we adhere to this wicked world. O the madnes of men, who abuse & play as it were bopeep with that precept of Christ about lo­ving our enemyes, while they care for none but the world who hates us & is our professd enemy! why do we affect this fleeting life which flyes us, and do not affect that perma­nent life which expects us? Why are we so sollicitous for our temporal life which we cannot retain, and neglect eternal which we may obtain? we may have life everlasting if we wil; we shal loose this transitory whe­ther we wil or no: and notwithstanding all this, men wil not do profitably for eter­nal, what they do unprofitably for this tem­poral: they covet not the first, and they dread the death of this second as one would do a mischief.

Death moreover is a rare invention of Gods mercy: for it easeth us of all the molestations of this life, and takes away an eternity of miseries. What a pittiful thing would it be, if we were for all eternity subject to the ne­cessities of rising daily and going to bed, of eating, of cold and heat, of toyl and sick­nes, of seeking our sustenance of carking, & caring, of suffering affronts, or spending our whole life in a sordid and laborious drudgery? [Page 417] what a misery would it be if one were to be a [...]orter, another a husband man, a third a smith, a fourth a servant, and this for tearm [...]ithout all end or respit? many that were [...]otoriously wicked sought death and made away with themselves merely to avoid these inconveniencies: at least let us not dread it that it may be a passage to future felicity, and for both these respects let us patiently accept it. When God beheld us involved by the sin of Adam in such a labyrinth of woes, he in his most indulgent clemency invented for our good the devise of dying, that our calamities might not be perpetual, combining in the same thing a penalty and a benefit, justice & mercy. Therfore because death is so great a good, so proper and secure an effect of his goodnes, he would not have it lyable to mans free wil, or the hatred of an enemy. For although it be in any ones power to bereave thee of life, no body, not even the uncon troulable violence of kings can bereave thee of death. This is the property of things of the best quality, to be out of the reach of hu­mane power, & not to be obnoxious to ano­thers pleasure. If one were entangled in any one danger or incumbrance, it would be no smal content to find a meanes how to evade it: why do we then grieve or dread death, which, is the gate wherby we may rid our selves of the hazards and incumbrances of this life. Many for a meer puntillio of worldly glory have sought and covetted it; at least for the [Page 418] glory of heaven let us not fear it.

O immortal God, who wast born not to live (for thou wast life eternal as now thou art) but to dye a most mortal and bitter death for me: why should I that am mortal be un­willing to dye, to live a vital, eternal, and most pleasant life with thee and for accom­plishment of thy wil? since the desire of a christian is to be with Christ, I know not why he should not desire death, since but by it he cannot come to that fruition. What misery can death bring or what happines can it be­reave him of, who is not besotted upon the world, but hath placed all his felicity in hea­ven? but besides this ocean of content which flowes from the sight and fruition of our be­loved, it hath moreover this advantage that it puts us out of further danger of offending God. Death then is not evil, which takes away all evil.

But if it be evil and an enemy to mankind, why do not men treat it like an evil, and as one would treat an enemy? I wish we would proceed in this manner with it, and deal no otherwise then with a foe, forecasting that we carry nothing about us, which he may make booty of, or give him cause of trium­phing over us. Souldiers are wont to secure their provisions and baggage or els quite spoil them, that they may not be serviceable to their enemyes. We must leave no plunder for death; but if there be any thing subject to its rapine, it must eyther be wholly aban­doned, [Page 419] or sent before us with a safe convoy to heaven, where all will be throughly secured. We must keep no spoiles about us in which it may glory but the luggage of our flesh; and we must extenuate it by fasting, labour and other pennances that he sieze it not entire. If death be evil and adverse to us let us resist it, and object a buckler by relinquishing things and all affection to them, that its wounds may bite the les upon us: if death be evil let us make it good by doing good. Why should we dread death more then our selves, since it cannot be worse then we are evil? yea it is we that make it bad, because we do not become good. Let us do this now when we have time and may do what we shal wish at its hour we had don and cannot. A little respit only re­maines for labour, and in comparison of eter­nity not so much as an instant. Behold now so many years of our life are past and those which remain are no longer.

But death is not evil in it self but rather good: and we should be very good if we did imitate it, and practised what it puts in ure, by dispoyling our selves of all things: so that if nothing were grateful and delectable in this world, it would be pleasing and savory to our pallat. He only needs fear death who loves other things and not Christ. He is not a faithful servant who refuseth to appear in the presence of his master. If I did love thee, o Lord, I should not have such a horrour of death: for it would be contentiue to me to [Page 420] behold thee face to face, and cast my self into thy embracements, rejoicing that thy wil were accomplishd in me: otherwise I play but the hypocrite when I daily beg that thy wil may be done in earth as it is in heaven. Thy pleasure was to dye not that we might be im­mortal in this mortality, but that we might dye wel by leading a better life. Grant me grace, that as thy wil is to be fulfilld in my death though against my wil, so I may wil and death fulfil it in a good death by a better and more perfect life.

I give thee thanks, o most benign Lord, for this benefit of death as thy wisdome hath disposed it: I give thee thanks that I am to dye: and that I know not when, or where, or how I am to dye. The certainty of death is good and comfortable to me, it being a se­cure passage to bring me to thy sight, and rid me of the miseries of this life, and make me despise its deceitful and counterfeyt goods. What man, if he have but any one grain of wit, although he were sure never to expe­rience any adversity, but were to be success­ful in all the contingencies of this life, would not contemn it and all its goods, since he must needs see that he is to quit them all in death which is wholly unavoydable. In which moment all past joyes, all present goods now to be relinquishd are no more then if they never had enjoyd a being; nay they are les conducible, for their very relinquish­ment wil prove a torture. That only which [Page 421] man neyther loves nor possesseth wil not af­flict him in that hour of affliction. The un­certainty also of the manner, place and time of dying is acceptable to me, that I may more certainly serve thee, o God, in all requisite manner, time, and place as thy worth and dignity doth require. This is a divine dispo­sal which breeds in us a certain sollicitude of a better life, by reason of the uncertain con­dition of a contingent death.

I am throughly perswaded, o Lord, that I know not whether I am worthy of love or hatred, and how it wil fare with me after this life: neither do I covet to know, because it is expedient for me to be ignorant of it accord­ing to the ordainment of thy wisdome. But I will not therfore more dread death then de­sire thee, and confide in thy mercies. I ac­cept most willingly its great uncertainty, this being most certain, that it is enough for me that thou art most merciful, and a cordial lover of me, and both canst and wilt save me if I but humbly trust in thee. What imports it that I know not how and when and where I am to dye, if I be assurd that thou dyedst for me, and dyedst the death of the cross, and at noon day, and betwixt two thieves upon Mount Calvary to clear all doubt of thy love towards me, that I may fully confide in thee? Of my self, o Lord I am able to do nothing, neyther to live wel nor dye wel; but by thee I can do both, I hope for both and wil effect both; and if I have not lived wel thou hast [Page 422] given me a desire, o Lord, to become truly penitent, and I hope by thy meanes to amend henceforth my future life; why then shal I not also hope to dye wel? my hope wil not be entire, nor my confidence sufficient if I hope the one and dispair of the other. I both have been and am an enormous sinner: but is it not perchance in thy power to dispose of thy cre­ature as thou thinks best? Thy desire is, o Lord, to save me, thou wilt I know, be merciful to me.

The VIII. Chapter. That man must give himself to God for his benefits.

AMong all the Gods there is none like thee, o Lord, there is none according to thy works. Thy good­nes was sufficient to make me love thee, why dost thou force me with works & benefits? thou createdst me when I had no being; thou soughtest me when I was upon the point of perishing; thou foundst me when I was lost; thou redeemedst me when I groand vnder the curse of sin; thou savedst me when I was condemnd; thou hadst patience with me when I was obstinately refractory to thy commands; thou chastizeth me when I offend; thou art indulgent when I plead guilty; thou instructest me when I do amiss; thou feedest [Page 423] me when I am hungry; thou givest me drink when I am thirsty; thou warmest me when I am cold; thou coolest me when I am too hot; thou guardest me when I am awake; thou pre­servest me when I am a sleep; thou helpest me up when I arise; thou rearest me when I fall; thou supportest me when I sit; thou holdest me when I stand; thou carryest me when I walk; thou entertainest me when I come to thee; thou bringest me back when I recede from thee; thou recalst me when I go astray; on every side within and without the ocean of thy be­nefits surrounds me with a boundles inunda­tion. That very thing which I have not I ac­count my benefit, because thou, o Lord, art the giver who dividest according to each ones expedient and exigence, and deniest nothing but for our good. Whatsoever also thou conferst upon others all that I reckon as a be­nefit done to me. Thou obligest me with so many good turnes that I cannot but love thee, o fountain of Goodnes, although thou wert not good, yea although thou wert evil. Thou, o Lord, art in very deed so good, that although in lieu of so many benefits as thou hast conferd upon me, thou hadst heapd so many injuries, I could not chuse but love thee. It is not need full to make me love thee to have bin so bene­ficial, it is not needful to have loved me: thou art so good, that although thou didst hate me, I were to love thee, & ought to love thee more then all my lovers and benefactours, al­beit thou hadst been injurious & malevolous.

Why was it needful to overwhelm him with innumerable blessings, whom by one thou extractedst out of nothing? thou deman­dest nothing more of me then my self alone. I owe my self now to thee for the first benefit because by it thou gavest me wholly to my self: why then dost thou superadd so many more? why after the giving of me to my self, dost thou over and above give thy self to me? I my self & all that's mine am no trifling debt of thine; neyther have I any thing besides my self: what I have I most willingly give to wit my self. But why wilt thou enhaunce the debt which I am not able to defray, by giving thy self? Go too, o infirm spirit, find meanes to discharge this also. Thou mayst restore God to God if thou hast God. God seeks thee and whatsoever thou possessest lawfully; neyther canst thou lawfully possess any thing but God. Possess God, and thou shalt pos­sess thy self lawfully, and so be able to dis­charge both these benefits. God gave him­self to thee; for thou canst not give thy self to him unles thou be thy own; and thou wilt not be thy own unles God be thine; for by having him thou hast thy self: so when thou givest thy self to God, thou mayst also give God who becomes thine. But thou shalt ney­ther have God nor thy self unles thou love God; for by loving him thou possessest him; and thou alienatest him by not defraying the debt by which thou owest thy self to him. Christ gave himself to the end thou mightst [Page 425] labour to become Christs, if thou wouldst pay thy debts by giving thy self. For by so doing thou wilt give Christ crucifyd a thou­sand times the day, while thou dyest daily so often to the world and all its pleasures.

The IX. Chapter. That God alone is to be loved.

THou committest injustice against thy self, o miserable man if thou lovest those goods which cannot love thee, or men who can, at least, not love thee: and although they do, thou mayst wel doubt of it, or they cease to do so. It is much better to love God who loves to his utmost, and without any stint, who cannot but love thee if thou lovest him. O immense goodnes, why dost, thou love me whom all creatures have reason to detest? Why dost thou covet to be loved by me, picking me out from among so many lovers of thine? me who am moreover unworthy to be rankd among the divels, to whose service I mancipated my self, in so much that a peculiar and more raging hel is due to me for contemning thee after so signal and shameles a manner, who vouchsafedst to dye for me and not for the Angels.

It is but meet that I at length begin to love [Page 426] him who from the beginning loved me with­out beginning, & loves me to the end without end, expecting from all eternity that I should love him. I have loved some that love not me; now I wil love him who loved me before I knew him; who being loved never fayles to correspond in love, and by loving forceth others to love him: whom to love is the flower of vertue and by whom to be loved is the top of felicity. Why doubtest thou, o my soul, to love him who is forced to love thee faith­fully, if thou love some, who perchance wil love thee perfidiously. Thou wilt have but a hard bargain in loving goods, which, if thou hast a rival do vex thee; or men, who, if they love any other, do make thee jealous. The love of God is free from all sorrow and care; that it loves others wil occasion thy joy; that others love it, wil be thy harts-desire. This is the all sufficing goodnes of God, that it both loves and is beloved by all without any ones prejudice eyther the lover or beloved, but with the great content of all. Other things are narrow-bounded and needy, they suffice not to love two or be loved by two without detriment to one party.

Settle not thy affection upon things perisha­ble for thou wilt daily perish in them without end. Settle it upon things eternal that thou mayst live happily for all eternity, and con­tentedly in this interim till it commence. Quit thy self of all love of corruptible things, and thou shalt quit thy self of al the miseries which [Page 427] befall man. Thou who seekest to be happy by loving, why dost thou love those things, which by merely loving them render thee mi­serable? love him rather who will make thee fortunate even among the misfortunes of this life. Why dost thou love those goods whose fruition makes thee evil, whose desire makes thee unhappy? why dost thou love men, whose non-correspondence makes thee angry, whose correspondence, ridiculous and effeminate. Fix rather thy love upon God, whose desire wil make thee good whose fruition wil make thee happy. Love not those beauties which deforme thee; but love him, whose love wil render thee beautiful. It is a great fondnes to love those goods, the sole love wherof deprives thee worthily of their possession; and not to love that good which is only to be enjoyd by love. The goods which thou lovest are not thine but thou theirs; wherfore thou art in want of them: God being beloved by thee be­comes thine; whom if thou lovest thou canst not want, & only wantest him when thou dost not love him: by not bestowing thy love upon other things, God in himself bestowes them upon thee.

Why dost thou love a good which is needy of another good, & not that which abounds with all goods? when a good is loved which needs another good, the misery is augmented not the want diminished. All the goods of this world are necessitous, none of them is all-sufficient by it self, but requires the ad­junction [Page 428] of another: love that good which is so good of himself as to be indigent of no other good: All good things are good by goodnes, and consequently all stand in need of it to make them good. Goodnes sufficeth of it self and requires no additional consort: if thou lovest it, thou wilt both be good and happy: love him alone who alone is all things. Do not love those goods which covet not to be loved by thee; but love him whom all things covet to love, thy Creator who both loves thee and covets to be loved by thee, and created all good things for thy sake. It is a kind of absurd stolidity not to love God who covets to be loved by thee, and to love a piece of clay which hath no such resentment. Why art thou so inquisitive after what may please thy eye and delight thy pallat, and art so insensible of what doth perfect thy wil?

Love is to be squard out only according to the rule of God; and therfore it is to be re­gulated by no other line, nor doth it ac­quiesce in any thing else. The shoe of Golias wil never exactly fit the foot of Zacchaeus. Love is the first guift; to whom is it due but to the first good and prime benefactor? love is a guift by it self; on whom is it to be be­stowd but on him who is good by himself? love is a guift by its own nature, to whom is it to be offerd but to him who is good by his own nature? love is a guift which is the source of all other guifts; to whom is it ra­ther to be consecrated then to that essence of [Page 429] good which is the source of all essences. Love of it self without the access of other guifts is acceptable, and others without it are little pleasing; to whom doth it square better then to God, who of himself is amiable & pleas­ing, and without him nothing must be pleas­ing? o Lord, how can I love thee worthily since I cannot serve thee worthily, I being not able to afford thee any competent service▪ All things are thine; and whatsoever I have it is from thee, becoming as it were a servant to me. Thou who lovest me as much as thou artable, grant that I may love thee more then I am able.

The X. Chapter. That self love must be rooted out.

TO the end thou mayst love and ho­nour God as it behooves thee, it is not enough not to love thy self and the world, but thou must hate thy self, and esteem thy self the meanest of crea­tures, & an obiect provoking all their hatred. When a ship sayles too much on one side the mariners ballast it to the other. Thou doat­edst on thy self in an extremity of love, now thou must change it into an extremity of ha­tred. To be able to improve ones leap to the best he must go back some paces and take his [Page 430] race from a further distance: to be able to ap­proach God with a more impetuous love, yea to be able to love thy self truly and rationally, thou must gather force from self disdaign. A racer is so much nigher the goal the further he leaves the stand behind him: and thou shalt approach the nigher to God the further thou recedest from thy self. Thou must de­part from thy self to come to God the final end & conclusion of all things. Thou hast no greater opposite then thy self: thou must be at a deadly enmity with thy self, because thou art more then a deadly enemy to thy self: thou art more offensive to thy self then all the world besides. We resent an affront more feelingly at the hands of a friend then of a stranger, because it happens beyond expecta­tion and wil sound more ill-favourdly & re­lish more rankly of hatred, that thou shouldst be thy own undoer, who oughtst to be fur­thest from any such thought. We take it ill if we suffer any bodily hurt from an enemy, & worse if from a friend of whom we expected a protection: how can we brook it patiently if our soul be endomaged and that by our sel­ves and our own exorbitances. it would vex us to the hart to have our bodies enslaved though to a great Prince or potentate; and we have no difficulty at all to enslave our mind to a vulgar creature, or base dung, when we are passionately troubled for any affront or injury or other loss. O what a burden and discredit are we to our selves! shame and [Page 431] discred it follow those properly that do amiss; trouble and burdensomenes those that suffer: both these miseries attend our condition: we are evil towards our selves, and we suffer evil from our selves: we are a misery to our selves and unmerciful, violent and violated, provd and base-minded. O how pittifully pittiles & mercifully merciles are we to our selves when we soothingly compassionate our follies, and take not revenge upon them. Commiseration and self love in such a case is all one as if out of compassion one should cherish a frozen snake in his bosome, which being revived will kill the benefactour with its poysonous sting.

Most evident it is that in all reason we ought to carry a greater spite and deadlier feud to our selves then all our enemies: & for as much as concerns self-affection the les it makes thee regard the glory of God, and comply with his holy wil, and seek the advance of the di­vine honour, thou oughtst in all reason to be more immeasurably cruel against thy self then against any enemy or the whol camp of hel; although in effect, and in the exteriour ma­ceration of thy body a discreet mean is to be held, according to the direction of thy superi­ours and ghostly Father and the prescript of right reason; to the end that in this also thou maist seek Gods greater glory, for whose sake it is expedient not to be immoderate in chastizing thy self; as for the same reason and our own salvation we are forced to pardon our [Page 432] other enemies and afford them a place in the list of our charity: for that which God exacts chiefly of us, and wherein we ought to take revenge of our selves is the death of our will not of our body. And according to this, I say it is most evident, that thou hast more reason to be displeased with thy self then all thy enemies and ill-wishers whatsoever. Sup­pose a man, who had many capital foes who sought his life, were delivered into a strong and safe castle, there to be kept and defended by his intimate friend, one assured to him by all the tyes of alliance and friendship, who alone were both esteemd and should be most faithful to him; and that there were no san­ctuary elswhere for that man nor place of re­fuge; and that it were in his power to let no enemy hurt him nor wrong the least haire of his head, unles that friend did introduce him thither, and deliver to him the keyes of the castle, giving his consent by subscribing let­ters with his own hand. If he who ought to be both faithful and friendly should prove so perfidious as to unlock [...]he gate to all his per­secutours and give [...]hem entrance with intent to let them abuse him, wrong him, and ex­ercise the utmost of their cruelty upon him; and he himself moreover who were to shield him, should be more raging and malicious then the rest; should impede any benevolence that were intended him, permitting nothing good nor conducing to his health to come to his hands, which he intoxicated not first with [Page 433] poyson or some other noxious ingredient: a­gainst whom then ought this miserable man to conceive a spleen? against some one of his ene­myes, or that friend and allye who proves so treacherous, whose malice alone is equivalent to all the rest? it being certain that without him all their hatred would have availed noth­ing at all. What an incredible brand of perfi­diousnes, cruelty, & in humanity would fall up­on that man, he would incur the detestation of all, as being much more blame worthy then all. O most beneficent truth! thou hast committed my safety only to my own trust as who would be trustyest to my self; but I prove most dan­gerous above all others, divels, men, hell, & the world, all of them are my sworn enemyes, but they all remain disarmd, if I my self do not arme them, they all wil be innocent, if I to my self be not nocent. All the prejudice I can receive is within the reach of my own po­wer, neyther can any body really hurt me but by my permission, unles my wil be such, unles I betray my self. I alone am the Archi­tect of all the injuries which befal me from others, though I impute them falsely to others▪ I stop the influences of Gods beneficence, I hinder the effects of his guifts; I infect his graces and corrupt his vertues, abusing both the one and the other; how then shal I flatter my self who am so burdensome to my self, how shal I cherish and sooth my self who am such a mortal enemy to my self? All the hatred I can vent is not equivalent to my own inju­riousnes. [Page 434] How often have I cheated my self, how many faults have I contracted? I have defrauded my self of heaven, I have neglected the blessings of Gods grace; and not to num­ber up all my spiritual losses which are with­out number, what pensivenes of hart, what affliction of mind, what disasters in my goods, what losses in my temporals, how many bo­dily diseases, contempts, revilements, de­risions have I brought upon my self, by the disordinatenes of my passions, by my little circumspection and following the gust of my appetite? If just occasion being given any one contristate me I am highly offended; and why am I not so with my self since upon alloc­casions I am injurious to my self? If thou, o lying man, hadst but once catchd one in a lye thou wouldst never trust him afterwards; and having so often belyed and cozend thy self, thou yet trusts thy self, and art not at all sus­picious of thy proceedings.

But why do I recount my own injuries? it is a sufficient motive to make me abhor and prosecute with a pious hatred whatsoever is mine, for that all have proved as so many obstacles to retard my endeavours in loving God. O most holy & faithful truth, I ought to loath and hate my self for being so wicked and disloyal to my self; how much more for being wicked and perfidious to thee? for my own sake it behoovd me to detest my self; how much more, o Lord, for thine? because I loved not my self orderly I should in reason [Page 435] have hated my self; how much more because I loved thee not at all, who alone should be lo­ved in all. I loved not thee because I knew not how to love my self; yea I loved not my self, because I loved not what in reality I was, but some what else les considerable. I loved not my soul which is my chief and noblest portion; but only my body, as if I were noth­ing but it, which is absurdly false: for I have also a soul for whose ransome the Son of God by way of exchange gave his. To love a part of my self I loved not my whole self; and what is more to be lamented I loved not that which to me is all in all, God my Saviour.

If thou be carried with a zeal towards God, o perfidious man, thou canst not but be fraught with hatred towards thy self; I per­mit, that so far as thou hast prejudiced or wrongd thy self, thou be indulgent to thy self; there remaines yet sufficient cause of selfrevenge for not loving God and transgres­sing his commands. Thou art not a litle moved when thou hearest the perversenes of Caiphas and the treachery of Iudas, and the very nam­ing them puts thee into chollar: why then wilt thou be partial and soft-natured to thy self? tel me, o proud spirit, if thou hast but one dram of true humility, that is, of truth, dost thou not hold thy self the worst of all sinners? nay this is nothing extraordi­nary since S. Paul framed no better conceit of himself. Wherfore thou must deem thy self the perversest of creatures, & when thou [Page 436] hast done so, thou proudly rankest thy self above thy degree. Nevertheles I demand of thee, if thou holdst thy self such, then by consequence worse then Iudas or Caiphas or any other: but if thou judgest so in very deed, proceed consequently lest thou be taxed and derided by the Angels; and either out of love, or hatred, or zeal take severe punishment of thy self as being the ring-leader of all that crew: Consider now out of this, whether the sin of Iudas, and those of Anti-christ de­serve love yea or no? if God had committed to thy charge the doing justice upon him who gave IESVS that injurious blow, or him that spit first in that face on which the Angels love to gaze, or on the accursed Arrius and Nesto­rius, or the malignest of men Antichrist, or the Father of lyes Lucifer, to punish con­dignly their sins, as justice and equity should dictate to thee; how wouldst thou carry thy self towards them? wouldst thou perchance sooth and flatter and seek to humour them to thy ability; or rather strive to shew in the sight of all creatures, how much the glory of God and his honour so often violated were preva­lent to a just revenge? thou oughtst to exer­cise no les severity against thy self: for thou must needs hold thy self worse then any of them, if thou makest not a counterfeyt esti­mate of thy own basenes; and I suppose thou intendest not to cozen eyther God or thy self. It behooves thee to be moved with a more se­vere and fruitful indignation against thy self [Page 437] then against the perversest of divels. The di­vel committed one sole sin & that in thought only, for which he incurd eternal damnation: thou hast committed innumerable and those of fact also. He sind against God to whom his obligations were not so binding: for an Angel did not become God, nor did God suffer torments for them; he did not at any time pardon them, as he became man for thee, shedding his most pretious blood for thy sake, sealing thy pardon, and ready to seal it for the future, not seven times only but se­venty seven & more. Consider now whether it would be accounted laudable to contract familiarity with that great Prince of divels, & seek his honour & content in all? why holdst thou too strict a friendship with thy self de­siring thy honour procuring thy ease, and seeking thy wil and pleasure in all? I demand of thee once more, if God should deliver into thy hands that malign spirit who hath so often deceived thee, tempted thee, and induced thee to sin, misleading thee from the way of salvation, & then another who were les hurt­ful, commanding thee to punish both accord­ing to the qualities of the losses wherewith they damnifyd thee: against which wouldst thou be more cruel? against him that were les noxious or the other who proved thy hea­vier enemy? But how canst thou be so indul­gent to thy self, thou being more insolent towards thy self and more pernicious, I do not say then the worst of these divels, but [Page 438] then both, since neyther of them could en­dammage thee in the least, unles thou coo­peratedst & gavest consent? thou hast often playd the seducer and enemy to thy self; thou hast often tempted and proved a stumbling block of scandal to thy self; I know not then with what eyes thou canst look upon thy self, thou being more prejudicial and a greater un­doing to thy self then Caiphas, Arrius, Anti­christ or Lucifer: O soul, I conjure thee by the love of IESVS, to consider these things, whether they be not true: if it be true that thou art a greater cross and loss to thy self then the accursed Lucifer could have been, love not thy self disordinately, if thou be touchd with any sense of promoting the ho­nour of God or amplifying his glory: for by how much thou swelst with the tyde of self esteem and self affection by so much in order to the effects of grace and vertues doth God flow in thee at a lower ebb: and by how much thou drainest thy self of thy self by an humble self hatred, so much the more wil God re­plenish thee with his waters of grace even to a great profundity. Who then is a greater enemy to thy self then thou thy self, who wilt not let God be exalted in thee?

But if thou wilt not hate thy self, o un­worthy man, more then the rest of thy ene­myes; at least look upon thy self as upon an enemy, and bear thy self as little good wil, nor take too much complacence in that fit of self-prosperity and corporal delight. When [Page 439] any adversity befals him whom thou owest a spite, thou art not a little contented therewith; and so must thou proceed with thy self: when thy enemy is sleighted or derided it causeth joy and complacence in thee; and so must it do when thou thy self art so treated. One wil not make much of an enemy, nor feast him at a table of delights; neyther must thou do so with thy self. One would alwayes be vexing and molesting an enemy, sitting close upon his skirts and taking all occasions of re­venge: so must thou also do if thou wilt act that part, for this is properly to be spiteful. If thou dost not hold this tenour, thou art pittifully seduced, as thinking thy self not sick of self love. Where Gods divine plea­sure interposeth not it self thou must with a masculin courage for his greater glory kil all self affection in thee. Yet out of the same mo­tive in the practise of exteriour austerities, one must permit himself to be guided by some discreet person zealous of the divine honour, that so he may also offer in sacrifice an obla­tion both of his wil and judgment.

Yet thou must not frame such a conceit as if the life of self denying people, and those that loath & persecute themselves were harsh and insupportable: yea of all others it parta­kes most of joy. The love of God is much more light-harted then is self love. If self hatred brought no other advantage besides lo­ving God, that were sufficient. It is much more available that God love thee ardently then [Page 440] that thou love thy self. God can be much more advantageous to thee, and he takes content in communicating joyes, to give us a fore-tast of his inebriating and beatifying sweetnes, comforting us amidst the troubles of this life and recreating us by exhibiting an experiment of his deliciousnes. The Apostles went rejoycing from before the face of the councel, because they were made worthy to suffer a contumely for the name of IESVS. Call to mind that admirable but true saying: deem it all joy when ye fall into several rem­ptations. God could draw relief for the chil­dren of the Babilonian furnace from their very flames and turn their scorching heat into a re­freshing dew; he is also able to make adversi­ties no wayes burdensome. Further more if we rejoyce in their evils whom we hate, thou wilt do no les in the miseries which befall thee: and since thy crosses are much more numerous then thy crownes, there must necessarily be more frequent occasions of joy, then self love could ever minister. Incommodities are all­wayes ready and at hand; commodities rare and long to be sought for: wherfore he must needs have frequent occasions of rejoycing who rejoyceth in his adversities, since he shal never want matter of suffering in this life. Evil things are not so obnoxious to casualty [...]s as good. The fruition of good things is sayd to be casual, because they happen casually & but seldome: so doth not the multiplicity of evils; wherfore his joy wil suffer les interrup­tion [Page 441] who joyes least in wordly solaces. O what a content is it to disburden ones self of him­self, and to live exempted from all impor­tune and carking care of self seeking interest! I conceive that he who hath quitted and relin­quished himself, hath evaded in greatest part the miseries and vexations of this life.

Neyther is it a mean fruit of a serious and sincere hatred of our selves, that it causeth us to love others. Consider how insolent and powerful an enemy self love is: it hath so much of the tyrant that it intrencheth upon charity and outing it, supplies its functions both towards man and God himself, it alone consuming and devouring all the affection in­tended for both. He that loves himself dis­ordinately knowes neyther how to love God nor his neighbour: he that truly hates him­self will love even those that annoy and per­secute him; he wil rejoyce if any one do wrongfully oppress him, knowing that to be depressed in him which is his main obstacle & opponent, and ought in all reason to be hated and persecuted by him: and since no body takes it ill, if one jointly together with him molest and infest his deadly enemy, but rather holds him worthy of thanks; so he that is a hater of himself wil rather love then be other­wise affected towards one that lends a helping hand to persecute him.

Another and no sorry fruit of self hatred is, that it makes us detest sin: all that vipe­rous brood descends lineally from self love [Page 442] which is the parent and nurse of all vice and concupiscence, and from it all the rest of that gang derive their pedegree. He that rejoyceth at an injury, wil not offend by being angry; nor he that covets to be contemned, by pride; nor he by impatience who esteems himself worthy of all punishment. It is no mean fruit that it removes all impediments in the love of God; it is no smal benefit that it subdues thee to thy self, and puts thee in a full and peacea­ble possession of thy self. Lastly if thou wilt know what huge advantages arise from self hatred thou must consider how much grace surpasseth sin and vertue vice: it is so much more excellent to hate ones self out of vertue then to love out of vice. If men even to their utter undoing hate those that have much les endammagd them then thou thy self; thou who of all others hast been thy saddest foe, must out of the motive of vertue, prayse, & recompense, do no les.

The XI. Chapter. How we are to love our neighbour.

O Amiable Truth, grant that I may love thee above all, and all others for thee: give thy self and not riches nor deceitful goods, unworthy of love, to my friends and all those whom I wish [Page 443] wel. Learn, o infirm spirit; to love crea­tures without being injurious. Many times the manner of loving stands parallel with that of hatred or contumely. Thou wilt do a friend whom thou lovest a great injury, if thou wish him riches as a real and solid good; for by so doing thou shewest thy self to love them better then him: for them thou lovest as being all sufficient, him as needy: where­fore thou wilt rather chuse to want him then them. Hence fortune is the umpyre of friend­ships; and its vicissitude is the death of love and birth of treachery. Hence an equal dan­ger ariseth to sincere fidelity, whether thou lovest thy friend for riches, or riches in thy friend. As it is also a like tenour of true friend­ship, when thou lovest all for God, & when thou lovest him alone in them, because he alone is the object of thy love. Thou wouldst love nothing els but God in all, if thou lovedst nothing but him. This must be the touch stone of thy love to try whether it be true charity or no. He that loves not riches at all, cannot love them as good to another. Let God be the common benefit which thou in­tendest to bestow upon all; whom alone if thou give, thou wilt make them rich enough. And be sure to regard more such benefits in which thou lovest all, then such by which thou shalt be loved by all: for he that loves all truly as it behooveth, shal be saved; but he shall not therfore be saved because he is loved by all.

We must not be so base-conceyted of love as to hold it saleable at any rate: it must all­wayes be given gratis. He sels God who be­stowes a charity upon another, out of any other motive then charity. Cast thy courte­syes into no bodies dish: but as thou esteemst whatsoever is conferd upon thee by others as so many blessings coming from God, and thankfully attributest them to him alone; so must thou esteem it Gods blessing not thine whatsoever thou impartest to others: yea reckon this as the greatest of all, that he would be pleased to use thee for his instrument and Almner in dividing his benefits. Ground thy love towards others not upon temporal moti­ves but spiritual; for that foundation which is layd upon them and not upon the H. Ghost is covetousnes not charity, not love towards man but list and lust of creatures. In like manner be as forward in doing good offices to others, as thou wouldst have God to be to­wards thee: proceed upon no other tearmes with others then he doth with thee. Grant, o love of loves, that I may love all as thou lovedst me and all: grant that I may love all for thee, and none love me for my self. I could rather wish if it might be done without sin, that each one should hate me rather then love me, if they would love me for my self: for if each one did hate me I should have but my due; if they loved me for my self I should usurp what is thine. All that love is impure which is not purely for God. The sole love [Page 445] of God alone is onely sincere and refind from [...]ll dregs, since it neyther mixeth it self nor suffers mixture with contrary affections. Other loves are wont to occasion eyther en­vy, or anger, or hatred against the party be­loved or some other: the love of God is im­mutable and eternal; other loves are flitting & [...]eeting. Therfore I shal reckon it among my gaines to be loved for thee, my God & not for my self.

The XII. Chapter. That nothing is to be covetted but what God willeth.

VVHich is more conforme to reason, that thou by con­formity subject thy wil to the divine, or that it ser­vant-like become conforme to thine? wilt thou perchance be so self conceyted as to think, that thou eyther art better then God in thy wishes, or more sound in giving advise? remember how often thou hast preferd evil be­fore good, how often thou hast stood in thy own light; and on the contrary what a sure and certain proof hath God given of his good wil? was it perchance a sinister wil to become Incarnate for love of thee? was it such to remain with thee in the ever B. Sacrament? was it such for thy sake to embrace death? lo, [Page 464] it is one & the self same wil which hath done all this for thee, and which now orders that thou suffer this affliction, trouble▪ griefe, or injury. He ordaines both out of the same motive of love and for the same end; attend­ing with much sollicitude what wil make most for thy good. But if it made wel for thee that God daignd to suffer torments, want, and ignominy, that thou mightest not suffer them: thou must also perswade thy self, when he calls thee into the lists of suffering, that it is very expedient and wil prove for the good & ad­vantage of thy soul. That most excellent act of his wil which made him become man for our sake, merited throughly at our hands a preparation of mind to undergo some hard task, if he should think it expedient; why doth it not also merit, that we be confor­mable to him, since he covets nothing but for our good? it was our duty to suffer much that in something at least we might comply with his wil; we seing it now accomplished in much, why shal we not willingly suffer some­what? what canst thou wish better then to wish and have what is best? and this alone is that which he, thy God who is best both in himself and to thee, wils and covets. God is infinitly powerful, infinitly wise, infinitly good and benevolent: he loves thee far more then thou dost thy self; he desires far more & seeks thy good; he knowes much better how to compass it, he is of force to remove all obstructions and to effect what is conducing [Page 447] to that end: what is thy meaning then, when thou takest on and grievest for some cross event, when thou repinest at some malady, wrong, vexation, misfortune, whether ap­pertaining to thy self or another, whether publick or private? doth God err and is de­ceived, or doth he afflict us out of enuy and malice? did his omnipotency fall short that he could not go through with what he in­tended, to avert this which thou deemst a loss? it happend not through any weaknes in God, or malice, or deceit, but out of his power, providence, and immense goodnes: why dost thou reject and seek to annul what the divine attributes ratify and make the subject of their employment?

Put thy self into the hands of God, that he who created thee to his glory may con­duct and govern thee; he orders all to this end, and without all doubt wil bring thee thither unles thou frustrate his designes. Co­vet not to be governd according to thy own fancy. He that makes a journy by sea takes not upon him to steer the ship, but leaves that entirely to the Pilot; & when a storm ariseth then is he most tractable, and wil neyther do nor permit any thing to be done contrary to the others appointment. Dost thou hold God les skilful in ruling the world then a pilot in steering his ship? what thou permittest then to a man who is to land thee safely in thy har­bour, why wilt thou not permit to God who is to carry thee to the port of heaven? God [Page 448] knowes most exactly wel how to mannage his family, the world I mean; he needs not thy advise; leave all that care to him, he wil carry thee to the land of salvation.

God is either propitious or angry when he sends thee these crosses so disrellishing: if propitious, why wilt thou not acquiesce to thy own good, and add thy own suffrage to those things which make so much for thy ad­vantage? if he be angry, thou must give way, if it be but to mitigate it. An angry man if any contradict him waxeth more angry; if no body cross him he is presently calme: in like manner God will be pacified if thou not only hold thy peace and brook it, but also be con­forme and thankful. O sensles man how darest thou say, I wil not have this, or I wil have that, being thou knowest not what wil make for thy good? why dost thou refuse to suffer crosses, injuries, & humiliations? perchance thou hast forgotten that thou art a sinner, or rememberst not that God can turn these af­flictions and humiliations into instruments of glory? the hatred of the brethren, and that inhumane sale of his dearest child occasioned safety to Iacob, and glory and a kingdom to Ioseph that was sold. for although

Consuming envy made the brethren sel
Their brother; to the just all falls out wel:
This is the work of grace &c.

as devoutly saith the great Alcuinus. God in the heavenly chimistry of his beneficence kno­wes how to extract great good out of ewil; [Page 447] and this is the chief art and master-piece of grace. Why dost thou repine at the loss of thy health or goods, or of any ones that con­cerns thee? for eyther they were to be lauda­bly expended; and then God wil accept of thy good wil in lieu of the fact, and wil also aug­ment the merit of thy patience; or to be sin fully wasted in riot and vanity; and then thou hast reason to congratulate with thy self be­cause such a stumbling block of offence is to thy hand removed out of the way.

Esteem thy self to stand in a superiour de­gree to thy wil and content▪ and that thou art created for much greater matters. Thou art not made to thy own glory, nor to enjoy thy own wil nor pleasure, nor to save thy self alone, nor to enrich thy self, nor advance thy fortunes, nay nor only to enjoy God in his kingdom: thy end is more sublime then all this: thou art, to witt, created to the glory of God, which was the but and scope of his wil and power in creating all things. O end of a high elevation! and it maist thou compass by suffering, whether it be in ordi­nary labours or extraordinary torments. Thou art not thy own but Gods; nor born to thy self but to him: so neyther must thou aym at any thing but the glory of God and how to pleas him, and that his wil be accom­plished in thee. That wil only prove fuel for the fire of purgatory whatsoever nourisheth in thee thy own wil. Covet nothing whether it be spiritual consolations or other guifts [Page 448] though very holy, but what God covetteth above all; since he wisheth thee more hap­pines and sanctity then thou canst thy self; & by this meanes thou shalt enjoy, though it be not to be sought for continual comfort. All the afflictions and miseries which annoy man in this lifes intercourse consist in the wil, because it stands not in a true conformity with the divine. The harts of men are disquietted eyther because they have not what they would have, or because they would not have what they have: wherefore he that quits himself of all self wil, quits himself also of all trouble. He that stands parallel with God in willing or not willing shal possess perpetual joy, because he shal perpetually enjoy his wish: for that is al­wayes done which God wil have done ac­cording to his order or permission.

The XIII. Chapter. That we must give no eare to our own wil.

HIs triumph over himself wil not be complete who leads pleasure cap­tive, unles he can master his own wil: it is not enough to be rigidly se­vere against our senses, but we must carry our selves also after the same fashion towards our soul and its free wil: neyther must we debar our selves only of unlawful pleasures, but also [Page 449] of lawful desires; nor mortify only our flesh but loose also our soul, that so we may gain it totally at long running. Both our flesh & our spirit have been found delinquents to almighty God. It were a piece of injustice to punish one co-partner and quit the other; to fine the servant and let the master go scot free. We must do justice both upon flesh and soul; not as many, who contenting themselves with outward austerities, are not sollicitous to re­duce the interiour. But since the soul is the prime criminal, she in the first place must smart for it; and there is no other way of se­questring her but in her wil, by denying or cutting short whatsoever she likes or takes gust in. The soul which hath been contemp­tuous towards God is worthy of death; there­fore it must die to its own wil in all things, & suffer in that wherein it hath been delinquent. In nothing at all neyther little nor great must it procure or regard its interest: otherwise if it be thus open-eyd it is not to be numberd among the dead. Be mindful in nothing of thy own wil. Do the wil of God, do the wil of thy brother, do the wil of thy enemy & him that injures thee rather then thy own, if it may be accomplished without sin. Thou wilt not arrive to a sufficient degree of mor­tification, unles thou resign and transmit thy wil not only to God but also to man, yea even to thy very enemies.

Be not too credulous in those things to which thy wil is carried with an impetuosity [Page 450] without having regard to the rule of reason; but hold them all suspected, although they hold forth never so faire a shew of good: they are for the most part but a mere officiousnes or branchings of the sensual part which the di­vel makes use of to cloak his craft. Let thy wil seek the glory of God, and not grieve at the contempt of men; let it attend and be sensible of the divine pleasure not thy own affliction: let it be wholly emploid upon God, and it wil find enough to do: let it learn to wave all self content and proper gust though spiritual. Although God relinquish thee to thy self in thy hardest pressures, in thy spiri­tual desolations amidst the very powers of darknes, assaild on all sides with tribulations and temptations, thou must still persist faith­ful, seeking no redress of comfort, being ready to sustain that shock and any other in­culpable calamity of thy soul, so long as God shal be pleased to continue it, though even to the day of judgment or for all eter­nity. He that covets to serve God in truth must serve him gratis, rather wishing and beg­ging to be debard of all comfort; deeming this abundantly sufficient if he can but con­serve that place of his soul, where God hath fixt his residence, pure and unblemmished; not permitting any thing else to enter and ap­pear there as in the holy of holyes. Thither must the high Priest IESVS only find entrance▪ Some servants of God who were deluged with a sea of comforts obtaind by prayer the shut­ting [Page 451] up of these heavenly sluces, and to be deprived of all sweetnes: neyther would they afterwards admit of any such infusions though from heaven: for some have not been want­ing who refused Angels for their comforters. For what great matter dost thou in rejecting acorporal gust which wil rather prove an af­fliction? that bodily solace which hinders divine joy and sweetnes of spirit is too afflict­ing: God deserves more at our hands then this. For him thou must contemn all jubily of spirit, and whatsoever is pleasing to nature and self wil. The service of a hireling is ney­ther constant nor faithful. If thou serve God out of hope of comfort or relief though it be spiritual, thou lovest not God himself, and this comfort failing thee, thou wilt often become slouthfully tepid. Hence it is that we are subject to so many mutations, that we are remiss, that we make smal progress; for as mariners hope for the wind so do we for the spirit of devotion and consolation, with­out which we are becalmd, and any adversity, like a contrary blast, beats us back: yea we are much worse then mariners who know how to make way with a side or adverse wind. Let us learn to advance forward even amidst oppo­sitions, aridities, and tribulations. It im­ports not whether thou serve God for the sensibility of interiour comfort; or for some corporal commodity, but only that thy ser­vice comes of les freely; because requiring this gust of spirit thou sellest it at a dearer rate. [Page 452] God is more valuable then thy gust: it is bet­ter to have God then joy: and yet where canst thou be, o most delicious and sweet-rellishing God, and the spirit shal not exult, if thou discoverest thy self to it? where shal thy benignity display it self & the soul shal not be replenished with excess of joy? but grant me that I may never wish my own joy, but that thou maist be it; never seek the gust of my own wil, but the good pleasure & accom­plishment of thine.

O afflicted spirit, if thou wouldst never seek thy own content & comfort, how much content wouldst thou find! he that leaves house or land for God shal receive a hundred fold reward: there is no equity that he who relinquisheth more should receive les. He that relinquisheth his own wil and its content, shal receive a hundred fold more in the same species for denying it, then if he had given way to it; for he doth the wil of God and shal deser­vedly receive a more ample recompense. The more thou divorcest thy self from all gust of self wil and interest the more deliciously wilt thou rellish the divine wil; a heavenly kind of tast and joy wil be infused into thy hart. If God had made any one man so happy as to be in a perpetual fruition of his own wil, no sooner said but done; and so powerful as to be able to compass all his designes and that lawfully; yea and were securely certain of the continuance of this power and good hap: I am perswaded such a one would enjoy les con­tent [Page 453] then another who followd his own fancy in nothing, but renounced it in all for the love of God. A certain contentive rellish of the wil doth accompany its fulfilling: and there is no content nor complacence greater then that which God hath in the performance of his wil. If God should communicate to thee one drop of that delight of his wil which he imparts to those who only do and desire his wil; thou wouldst take incomparably more joy in a total denial of thy own, then if it were allwayes accomplished: for he that enjoyes his own wil hath only the joy of a humane wil: but if he renounce it to do the wil of God, he wil partake, mediating the grace of the divine goodnes, of the gust of the divine wil. To be allwayes doing what one listeth is esteemd the height of humane fe­licity; what wil it then be to do what God listeth. Mans wil is impure, it is accompanied with anxiety and sprinkled with the hysop of unsavory contrarieties; the divine wil is most pure, and in a continual possession of joy: Wil and pleasure are one & the self same thing in God, wherefore he that hath the former must needs have the latter. In God appetite is not distinguished from joy; in creatures it is much otherwise. In the elements motion to a place is one thing, and repose in a place another; in heaven they are all one: light & heat in the fire are two things, in the sun and stars the self same: so mans wil and joy are things distinctly different, in God uniformly [Page 454] the same. Neyther can one safely place his joy els where but in the fulfilling of the divine wil and total renouncement of his own: for a man having then in wish and possession the di­vine, is so priviledgd that joy inseparably at­tends him; for all falls out according to his harts desire. Therfore it is no such sad busines to stand at a defiance with his own wil, to dis­poil himself of all propriety, and wholly deny himself in all. No body stands in such an utter abnegation of this, nor dies so intirely to it, nor renounceth so fully all self-interest as do the blessed in heaven, who are without the least touch of willing or not willing: & never­theles in such a rigorous mortification of it they find a special gust, and live most con­tentedly. Why then dost thou refuse to deny thy self who seekst salvation in that hea­ven where there is the highest self denial? train thy self up to glory and relinquish thy self. Perswade thy self that thou canst not be happy there but by doing that which now thou esteemst a great unhappines. Goe to then and begin that, which if thou be saved▪ thou shalt never cease to prosecute. Do that at length, which, if thou comest to a state of happines, thou shalt do for all eternity. In that endles perpetuity of bliss thou shalt never seek thy own wil, being for ever and ever not only conforme to the divine but also transformd into it through the ardours of charity.

Who is there that being thirsty and having [Page 455] an earthen pot and it empty, had not rather have a golden one and full of some sweet and refreshing liquour? who is there that being ill at ease and having a crazd body, would not rather chuse to have one sound and robusti­ous? who is there that being dul of capacity and doltish in conceiving things would not covet the intellect of an Angel, and to be as quick of comprehension as a Cherubin? O man, why wilt thou not exchange thy un­happy, frustrable, diseasd, foolish wil for the wil of God infrustrable, joyful, and consummated in happines? if thou desirest to understand as doth an Angel, which thou art not able to compass: why dost thou not desire to wil as God willeth, this being within thy reach? he that wil be alwayes in joy let him never seek it in himself nor to himself, yea he must extirpate all private and created love; otherwise whither soever he flyes, what­soever he goes about, he carryes lets and in­cumbrances along with him, yea multiplies them; insomuch that the further he flyes, and the more he undertakes, the more he is entangled, being les capable of the repose he seeks. Who goes once astray from the right path the further he goes the more he wanders: how much the more a man busyeth himself in chusing this or that in order to joy or ac­quiescency, the les shal he find it, because he is in a greater exercise of self wil, which is the cause of his disquiet and trouble, and makes him stray further from the way of joy [Page 456] and repose. A sparrow falling into a net, the more it struggles to free it self, the more it is entangled.

God is so good that an overplus of his goodnes remains for a more capacious wil then thine and all the Seraphins: why dost thou then strayten thy humane wil busying it about thy self, as if in half of it self it could sufficiently satisfy the divine goodnes? if God be to be loved, there is no room left neyther for self love nor any thing els. Take, o Lord, my whole love take my whole wil: nor let me slip this happy exchange, by which for this my naughty one I may own thine the best of all others.

The XIV. Chapter. That we must continually be mindful of God.

HOw canst thou, o ungrateful spi­rit, be at any time unmindful of God who is so mindful of thee as if he were forgetful of the rest and thou the only object of his thoughts; who is allwayes sollicitous for thee and thine, re­gistring in the table of his sweetest memory all the good thou ever dost? it is held a match­les favour if an earthly king be mindful of any one and admit him to his presence: and I esteem it scarse an obvious favour that the king of heaven never is forgetful of me nor [Page 457] absent from me. A sick person is not a little comforted if any one give him a visit; and why doth not a sick and miscreant soul exult with joy that her God hath her continually in his eye & providence. If a Prince cast but once a favorable look upon his servant it rejoyceth him to his very hart; and I, o Lord, am nothing moved though thou never cast thy eyes off me nor divert thy hands, being wholly taken up and busyed in mercy towards me. Men run through hast to behold a tem­poral king as he passeth by: and I am slow in reflecting upon thee an eternal king being present and permanent with me. Men are sol­licitously curious to behold a monster & stick not to give mony for that end & I though gratis care not to behold thee the beauty of heaven and earth, on which the Angels them­selves love to gaze. The queen of Saba made so many dayes journey to see the magnifi­cence of Salomon and his court; and I re­gard not thee, my God, though so nigh me as to sejourn in my house. If my very slave gave me but a cup of cold water I would look him in the face and daign him my coun­tenance: and yet I wil not look upon thee, but desist from praysing thee, the Lord of Angels, who art perpetually serving me in all, and replenishing all for my sake with thy blessings. O Lord, thou who art so opera­tive as to work all in all for me, why am I so useles in thy behalf as not only not to make thee the subiect of my action, but not so [Page 458] much as the obiect of my memory. O most loving God, how could I behave my self worse towards my capital enemy then I do to­wards thee: not so much as daigning thee a look when thou meetest me and meetest me so often, though thou be stil ingratiating thy self by new favours and services.

O how continually, o God, art thou pre­sent in me, and yet I so little present to thee, and take so little notice of thee! thy essence penetrates each part of me much more intirely then the sun beames penetrate each part and parcel of a transparent christal, more per­fectly then our soul is diffused through our body. The presential assistance of thy wis­dome provides for me and playes it self the purveyer that nothing may be wanting, and if I do any good, that it may impart a reward: thou committest not this to the intercourse of thy Angels only and their relation, but thou thy self becomest my overseer. Thy power carryes me in thy bosome as a nurse or mo­therdoth her dearest child: and because these duties of being in me, of seing me, of preser­ving me in my being, are necessarily annexd to thy divinity, thou wouldst have me engaged to thee, o good IESV, for a voluntary pre­sence; and there being but one way wherein thou couldst necessarily be absent, thou didst invent a meanes even in that to be also present in thy most holy body, that thou mightest be present with me both corporally and spiri­tually. O ungrateful soul, why wilt thou [Page 459] not be thankful to so loving a Lord? and if thou canst not bodily be present with this di­vine Sacrament, be not forgetful at least in spirit and thought of so benefical a soveraign, who hath made thee his tabernacle and place of residence.

Carry, o soul, respect to thy self and the Altar of thy mind, where God dwels by grace, which thou perchance now partakest of, and woe be to thee if thou dost not, the divinity being there communicated. We reverence in­animate things, and deservedly which are imbrued in the blood of Christ: but why do we not the same to a part of our soul & spirit, where the H. Ghost diffuseth himself? we dare do no unseemly action before an Altar where the sacred body of Christ our Lord is kept nor darest thou do les before thy self, because thy mind, as thou maist wel hope, is by grace the Altar and throne of God, he re­siding in it with greater pleasure then in a Pix of gold. How dost thou compose and recol­lect thy self when thou art to receive the Body of Christ? habituate thy self allwayes in such a modesty, such a decency, since God is thy guest, lodging not in thy body only but within thy soul. If the Body of Christ being thy guest, thou compose thy self with such de­cency; thou must stil retain the same, since the spirit of God becomes resident in thy spi­rit, since the Father and the Son come to thee, and take up in thee their dwelling place.

Whether in publick or private comport [Page 460] thy self allwayes after the same manner: God beholds thee, God is nigh thee, God is with thee, God is within thee. If Christ should come visibly to thee when thou art all alone in thy chamber, wouldst thou in his presence put thy self in any les seemly posture, or ra­ther stand in a reverend, submissive, composd manner, trembling at the aspect of such an awful majesty? Behold the divinity is all­wayes present with thee, and we owe it no les dutyes of respect. The divinity is present not after one manner but many, by filling and surrounding thee with his boundles essence as the ocean doth a spunge; by carrying thee in the eye of his all seeing providence, by su­staining thee by his power, by cherishing, imbracing, and adopting thee for his child by his heavenly grace. O soul, why sendest thou thy desires, in so long a pilgrimage, since God is so nigh at hand; why dost thou aspire to other joyes he being present? thou hast a speedy redress for all thy miseries, why art thou contristated? a refuge & sanctuary against all thy calamities is close by; what needst thou fear? let all thy affection spend it self in em­bracing and kissing this thy most loving pa­rent, in whose bosome thou art nurturd and brooded up. Consider thy self more neerly allyed to God then to thy brother, then to thy Father, then to thy mother: for the kindred and allyance betwixt thee and God is greater then betwixt a child and his parent. Let him then be allwayes present to thee who [Page 461] is present after so many wayes. As a mirrour becomes the image of that which is present to it; so a holy soul in some manner will become divine, if it have the divinity present with it.

This presence of God is the vital action of grace: a holy soul is so long in an actual and waking exercise of life as it loves God and is mindful of him▪ whether it be employd in the contemplation of his perfections, or seek actively to advance his greater glory. For as God is not only present to us by his essence & knowledg, but also by his power and activity; so the best method of framing the presence of God, is to consider him playing the good Operarius, and directing his actions to our behoof. Who wil not become active on Gods behalf, since he works all in all for ours? but yet though a soul surcease from this, she shal not therfore dye by sin, but wil be like one that is a sleep, not dead but yet scarse alive, as not enjoying the use of life: so a soul that is in oblivion of her God though she be not voyd of life yet she is in so sound a sleep that she reaps no benefit of her spiritual vitalityes. O how long-lifd wil one be that is stil mind­ful of God! o how many ages wil he com­plete, which even those that otherwise are held spiritual do ordinarily forfeyt! this pre­sence of God is also the sense of grace; for without it the soul lyes like one in a palsey. The palsey is a disease not a death; but it de­prives ones limbs of all sense and vital mo­tion: life and grace are then to smal purpose [Page 462] when the memory of God is benumd and ob­stupifyed whether it be in action or contem­plation.

One palm tree becomes fruitful merely at the presence of another; and the soul at the presence of God is loaden with all variety of fruit. Without the presence of the sun all is buryed in obscurity, nothing doth partake of beauty; by the presence of God a soul is illustrated and is made most comely to the eye. The elements cannot brook to be absent from their center; and no les is a soul carried to her center of repose God. As a stone if it be de­taynd in the ayre keeps alwayes a propension to the earth, and if it be left to it self tends thither without any more adoe; so a soul en­amoured upon God, even when it is detaind from its repose, by reason of occurrent duties eyther of life or state of life, even in that kind of violence, it breaths with tacit but connatu­ral aspirations after God: and these employ­ments being ended and she left to her self, she hastens to her center, recollecting her self in her closest retreats with God, that to her ut­most she may become like the Angels who see allwayes the face of their Father, and covet to see it more and more: which desire ought to be as connatural and recreative to our harts as is the ayre in which they breath.

The XV. Chapter. That the incomprehensible goodnes of God is to be loved.

VVHAT am I who am but an abyss of malice in compa­rison of thee, O ocean of goodnes, that thou shouldst love me? like loves its like: why then dost thou who art the best, love me who am the worst? things more amiable are loved by others: thou being most amiable covetest to beloved by me the vilest and loath somest of creatures. O love of the world, what am I in comparison of thee who deserve to be the hatred and horrour of the world? whats the reason that thou commandst me to love thee? why was it needful to lay an injunction upon this? what necessity to intreat and sollicit it by so many wayes? o sollicitation, o most sweet voyce! child, give me thy hart! o pe­tition iterated and reiterated to deaf [...]are [...] thou makest an exhibition of thy self in each of thy creatures, that thou maist be seen at all turnes through the cazements of nature, melting away in this most amiable demand, in thy search after me. Thou accostest me in each creature that thou maist beg it by them all; dividing out thy love in so many wayes [Page 464] to gain mine. What window soever I open thou as a suiter occurrest to my eyes standing behind the wall, looking through the win­dowes, looking forth through the grates. If I see, if I hear, if I smel, if I tast, lo, thy lovely face presents it self, thy sweet voyce, the odour of my God, a honey comb with its honey is forthwith at hand; every where suit is made for love. If fower or five grave men should avouch any thing, or invite others to an enterprize, each one would doe and be­lieve what they said: why give not I eare to so many creatures while they all invite me to the love of my God? since he hath so many vouchers of his comelines why am I so back­ward in belief? if men allurd with the beauty of things thought them endowed with a dei­ty; how much art thou, the soveraign and aggregate of all beauties more beautiful then them? for thou being the source and author of it al I, thou allottest to each one the pit­tance it hath.

All creatures represent thy love and beauty with silent cryes, and invisible colours, but what voyce or pourtraiture wil bring us to thy knowledg? creatures are not able to paint thee forth. All the perfections they contain seem nothing else but so many blemishes. Who art thou then, or where, o my beau­tifully faire? who though thou be every where present with me, yet I find thee no where; and though thou comprizest all, yet thou art none of that all. Creatures object [Page 465] themselves to my view as if they carried a re­semblance of thee, but I look upon them as a riddle. Thou art not that, o Lord, which they delineate thee to be; who though they tel not a plain lye, yet they chalk thee so forth, that thou art not truly what they represent. In this manner I sought whom my soul loveth: I sought him but found him not. I wil rise and make a turn about the citty, through the lanes of nature & the streets of the heavens, I enquir­ed of the formes of creatures, of the consorts of musique, of the fragrancy of parfumes, the tasts of inebriating rellishes, the embra­cements of lovers; and they all said we are not thy beloved: he shines in such sort that no place is capable of his splendour, he sends forth a sound but such a one as no wind doth carry a long: he yealds a sent, but so as that no ayre disperseth it; he gives such a rellish that no hunger can bite upon it; he is so inherent that no satiety can cause a separation. I enquired of the earth, and it made answer I am not he; if the heavens of beavens do not contain him, why art thou so inquisitive of me? I en­quird of the sea, and it trembling said I am not; his abyss much exceeds mine, and it is no wayes to be waded through. I enquird of heaven, and it said I am not thy God; he mounts much above my sphere. If none of all you creatures be he, tel me where I may re­ceive some [...]ydings of him? the watchful in­telligences and guardian spirits of this world made reply; he made us seek him above us. [Page 466] When I had passed a litle beyond them I found the beloved of my soul, whom I could not find among creatures. In this respect only I behold and find thee, o light placed in the midst of lights, that I am able neyther to be­hold nor find thee: for how can I comprehend what is incomprehensible? fly fly my beloved: in this respect I wil comprehend thee because thou fliest me: I know so much the more of thee the more I know thee not to be knowa­ble: and I approach nigher to thy knowledg, the more thou recedest from my comprehen­sion. I sought in my bed and the retirednes of my solitude night by night the beloved of my soul. The splendour of things beautiful in respect of thee is a night: the seemlines of the heavens is a night: the very beauty of the sun, its refulgency, and any other, I wil not say, created but falsly imaginable comelines is a night. If each star were more resplendent then the sun, and the sun himself did by as many degrees exceed these stars as there are sands of the sea and motes illustrated by the sun, he would be an eye sore in respect of thee, nor would be more conspicuous then the stars now are in presence of the sun.

But to what purpose do I bring these de­formed beauties of visible things, these rustick forms even of the sun, & morish lights. Let us draw into resemblance these spiritual and candid ones, whose lovelines is such, that an Angel appearing to the devout Father Iohn Fernandez of our society, the sight so affected [Page 467] him that he fainted through excess of joy, & was not able to support himself: affirming that all the beauties of this world were but blemishes and deformities in regard of this. Imagin then that the comelines of that Angel were as much greater then it is, as there are [...]omes in the aire, and that each Angel were endowed with such comelines; & there being millions of millions of them, or in a manner a number numberles, sum up all this comelines of them all into one; it would be ill-favourd and ugly in comparison of the beauty of God, and I say not would seem a mote, but a mere nothing. O my hart why art thou not extasied with such amiablenes, and set on fire with such an abyss of light? o my hart thy hardnes and heavines is greater then one of iron, if this immense loadstone of love do not elevate and attract it.

But art thou perchance, o Lord, that clarity and seemlines which I conceit, in regard of which, so great light of the sun or an Angel multiplied to such an infinity seems no more then darknes? no; but thou art infinitly seemlier: nor after so great light do I see thee, though thou be most refulgent. I only know that that refulgency is not thee, because compared to thee it is darknes: but what a one thou art is wholly unknown to me, thy light dazlingly blinding me: and the brighter it shines it leaves me in greater darknes: But I never behold thee more clearly then in this mist; nor do I find true day, that is, the an­cient [Page 468] of dayes, but in this night at noon day; clear to me by reason of its obscurity and mid night. O eternal love, take now my hartand all my love. But why do I say take it, if thou hast forcibly siezd it: why commandst thou me to give thee my hart, if thou hast already robd me of it; not in one hair or one eye of thine, but in my blindnes and the hair-braindnes of my extravagancies. Thou hast robd me, because so great thou art that I cannot discerne thee: thou hast robd me, because though I so contemptibly dwarfish, have offended thee, thou so majestically great covettest to be loved by me. But thou, o Lord, who hast wounded my hart with thy goodnes, must out of the same, power into it the oyl of thy mercy, that it may be a healing salue to the wounds of my sins.

O hidden God, if thou, even in this ig­norance of thee, be pleasing to me above all I know; what wilt thou be when I shal know thee intuitively and face to face in thy clear sun shine. Sieze and dispoil me of my hart; take all my wil & never restore it to me again; permit not a knife to be in the hands of a mad­man, but reserve to thy self mannagement of it, for what remains for me in heaven, or what do I covet besides thee on earth. I rejoice that my hart faileth me, because thou hast taken it from me. Let my hart be alwaies upon thee because my treasure is placed in thee. O truly God of my hart, because now thou art Lord of it! but because thou art mine, though [Page 469] my hart hath faild me, yet a better then mine wil not: thou wilt supply its room: thou o God, art my hart, thou art that part which hath faild me. To witt, thou shalt be my hart eternally; & therfore supply for the functions of my hart, Thou canst actuate my wil for me, & provide what thou knowest expedient in my behalf: it shal only be my task and emploiment to love thee. Thou shalt love me insteed of my self, that all my love may be wholly bestowed on thee, in such wife that self love may no way impede me. O happy loss of my hart, if God supply in lieu of it!

The last. Chapter. Of the superessential light of the most B. Trinity.

O Most clear shining light of the di­vine Vnity, if thou be so great that thou dazlest the eyes even of the strongest understandings by thy dim shadow appearing in creatures, and renderst them more purblind then the sun beames do the owl, what an abyss of light wil invest thee in thy Trinity, a shadow wherof is not af­forded by creatures, but it was to be reveald by IESVS? if thou be here so refulgent to our eyes, how wil these splendours of sanctity which never break forth shine within thee? if the shadow of thy unity be so illustrious, [Page 470] how radiant wil the light of thy Trinity be which cannot be shadowed? O most light­some darknes when some clarity of such a mystery is communicated to a soul! that light is an abscurity because a soul sees not it self but is lost as in a maze. Like as one that walk: in darknes & knowes not where he is; so the mind surprizd in that light is ignorant what becomes of it self: and having regaind it self in that brightnes (which must needs be so, it being in God) there it looseth it self because it finds God which happens when being se­questred from the traffique of inferiour ob­jects and becoming conforme to Christ cru­cifyd by a constant mortification and crucifi­xion of its wil, it fixeth an undazled eye and humble mind upon the stupendious secret of the Trinity; there it rellisheth life in its ori­ginal purity as in its fountain: there it admi­res the nature of a most simple simplicity in all points consonant with a Trinity.

When we know any thing worth our admi­ration: we are touchd with a pleasing desire of beholding it. What more admirable, and consequently more pleasing then to know that most simple unity into which the Tri­nity of Persons combines it self; as also that Trinity which a most simple simplicity doth not destroy? Vnity doth shine distinctly in the Trinity; the Trinity, for as much as it re­lates, to what's within, is conspicuous in Vnity. The Father is the source of the Son: the Son issues from the Father according to [Page 471] the distinction of a Person, and remaines in him according to the unity of Essence: from the Father & the Son proceeds the H. Ghost, and his substance remaines both in Father and Son: where a Trinity hinders not Vnity, nor Vnity impedes Trinity: yea where Trinity furthers Vnity, and Vnity favours Trinity. Therfore God is more one because he is also three.

What more pleasing then to see those things mutually conspiring, which seem repugnant to one another? There would not be in God the greatest simplicity imaginable unles there were the greatest efficacy: there would not be the greatest efficacy unles there were a Trinity of Persons; there would not be a Trinity of Persons unles there were an Vnity of Essence. The divine simplicity is so far from obstruct­ing a Trinity that both Trinity contributes to unity, and a most united Vnity requires a Trinity. Therfore the more simple God is in his nature the more is he triplifyd in Persons: and as no greater simplicity is conceptible then that of the Divine nature; so there can be no truer distinction then that of the Per­sons in that Vnity. The more things partake of simplicity and purity, the more efficacious they are according to the tenet of Philoso­phers. Because fire shares more eminently of these two qualities, it is the most active a­mongst the elements; and upon this score the heavens more then sublunary natures, and spirits then bodies. Vertue the more it is [Page 472] united and condensd the more forcible it is in its operations: and the more simple a thing is the more it hath of the forme, which is both its act and activity: now in an infinite simpli­city which is a most pure act, and a forme the simplest of all others, as being most refind and remote from matter, there must needs in­tercede an infinite efficacy in the production of an infinite Person by the communication of an infinite substance from all eternity. My soul stands amazd while it contemplates this simplicity, and transported out of its self it adores this divine perfection in the equality & eternity of the Persons: for the more sim­ple things are, as they are more effectual, so are they also more perfect in themselves. Per­fection is not taken from the matter but the forme: wherfore the more any thing partakes of the forme, the more it also partakes of perfection; and by consequence being the simpler things are the more they have of the forme, the more also they have of perfection: and for this reason Angels are more perfect then sensitive creatures. Seing then that the greatest simplicity is the chiefest, sole, and total forme or act, it must by good sequele be the most perfect: wherefore the Son of God is equal and Coeternal to his Father by reason of the immense simplicity of the divine nature. Among men the Father is greater then the Son, because to make a creature ca­pable of engendring it is requisite that he be in a perfect state: and since God from all eter­nity [Page 473] is immensly simple, he is from all eter­nity perfect, and consequently from all eter­nity generating, and the Father is not grea­ter then the Son. Among men no body is born a Father: God from all eternity is Fa­ther, nor was he sooner God then a Father▪ Among men it is highly prizd if the Son pro­duced carry a resemblance with his Father in the lineaments and features of his face; and that child which most resembles him is most in his love: what a fecundity doth it intimate where the Son is produced not only like in ac­cidents but the same in substance? how great a subject of love where the Son so resembles his Father, that the Father is not liker him­self, nor more himself; and after so great simi­litude the Son is only one, and begotten by him without intermixture: where the Father is a Virgin and begets him a Virgin, and the Son not an infant, and born without a Mo­ther? wherfore the Son doth not lessen affec­tion as dividing it with a Mother, there being none here, nor the Father with a spouse. But the Father loves intimately his only Son, & the Son loves intimately his only Parent. Where the Son is not begotten of a particle of his Father but of his whole paternal substance: & whatsoever the Father, beholds in his Son is own & of himself; & whatsoever the Son be­beholds in his Father, he knowes him to have cōmunicated without envy or partiality. How can they chuse but infinitly love one another, they being so infinitly one? while these and [Page 474] such like are after an ineffable but intelligible manner, by a profound silence thunderd forth to a soul and are made apparent to it; how can it chuse but be all set on fire, when in so great light and with all its powers it shal be enamoured upon that superessential and super­excellent perfection of Vnity and Trinity, challenging all the Angels and Seraphins in that smoak which replenisheth the house aris­ing from this furnace of ardent charity; and crying Holy, Holy, Holy, flying thither with the spread wings of its hart, partly re­frigerating this heat of love and partly raising new flames?

But there chiefly it remaines like one ex­tasied, wholly inebriated with divine love, when it considers that Ocean of goodnes wherwith an infinite nature is communicated to the Son, and those ardours of love in which is made the Procession of the H. Ghost. Here a created Spirit is at a non-plus, and through excess of affection perisheth as it were in it self, becoming a prey both to fire and water: it is drownd in an Ocean of so great goodnes, it burnes in the pile of that stupendious love. Nothing can be imagined more efficacious to convince and attract our harts to a pure and sincere love of God then that inconceptible goodnes wherewith the Father communicates himself to the Son and both of them to the H. Ghost. Nothing can be imagined more devoutly, more tenderly, more sweetly affecting, then that out-burst [Page 475] and excess of goodnes in the eternal emana­tions: nothing more cheerful, more pleasing, more delectable to a soul, then the Nativity of the eternal word. For if it be goodnes in it self which is allective, and the booty which wel­orderd love preys upon, that towards which the wil is carried with all the poyze of its af­fection, what greater goodnes imaginable then that the infinite goodnes it self which ac­cording to the nature of good is diffusive, communicate not a part but all it self entirely, not only what it hath but also what it is. This prosutenes of communication is a greater subject of admiration then any other infinite perfection of the divine nature. If a man had some new and out landish jewel or some other exquisite rarity, for which all esteemd him hap­ [...] ▪ and had nothing at all but it, that being the sum of his treasures; verily though that pearl seemd strange to thee, yet this would seem much stranger, if he without any hopes of gain should give it gratis to another. The divine nature is an object of wonder; but wil not this seem a greater wonder, that it should be gratis bestowd upon the Son by that admi­rable communication; and yet a greater then this, that it should be done after such a man­ner as stil to remain in the giver. Besides if love be an argument of goodnes (for diffu­sion and communication never proceed but from love) where can greater love be imagind then where all that is, is love. Love seeks equa­lity in the lover and beloved; and here is so [Page 476] great love, that the parties beloved carry not only a similitude but even an identity betwixt them, in so much that both their loves are one and the self-same. From whence neces­sarily followes the greatest fidelity and joy conceptible, since they cannot chuse but love and be beloved equally. This their love is so efficacious and legitimate that though the Fa­ther and the Son were not by their eternal ge­neration one & the same nature, the H. Ghost would make them such. This is the aym of charity, this is the function of love, to make the lover and beloved one, and since that love is of a God most infinitly perfect towards him that is also God, it must needs be most in­tense and wholly efficacious. But if it wrought not an Vnity it would not be altogether per­fect but like the love of a thing limited and towards a thing limited, not towards an in­finit only begotten, equal to his infinit Fa­ther; where both the lover and beloved are infinite. Where there is such an excellent and genuine love how much goodnes must needs intercede? so that the Trinity is a most preg­nant argument of an infinite good, and con­sequently of a divine perfection, (that being good which is perfect) as also of Gods simpli­city: wherfore the Trinity of Persons is an authentical testimony of the divine Vnity. What complacence doth a soul take in know­ing this! not as I have rudely explicated it, or as it can be explicated; for this is only felt by an inexplicable manner: for as there are no [Page 477] natural species which can bring us to this knowledg, so neyther are there words signifi­cantly expressive of what is manifested to some pious soules concerning the word eter­nal. Therfore the soul of a creature is so over joyd when the mutual proportion and har­mony of the increated Trinity and Vnity, and the necessity of both to the accomplish­ment of the divine perfection, is communi­cated to it, that it is all in jubily and exulta­tion, transported besides it self, and quite spent through amorous desires and the lan­guishments of true charity, thirsting earnestly to discover in the other life this stupendious goodnes of the Trinity.

Why longst thou, o my soul, to see any thing else besides this great spectacle of the world, for whose sight alone the Seraphins and all the Hierarchies of Angels and Saints were created, and introduced into heaven, as so many spectatours. Where is thy curiosity? where thy desire of knowledg, if thou covet not to be dissolved and contemplate that my­stery and to dive into this hidden secret? but thy longing must remit thee to the other life, and not put thee upon inquiry in this, how he is three and one. Thou must not search the cause why he is so, since thou art not able to give the cause of what he is. Thou seekst in vain a cause in him who hath no cause. God were not to be stiled great, if he were not greater then our capacity. Thou must not [...]nquire after what manner he can be so, who [Page 478] never could be before he was so. Philosophers could never sufficiently penetrate into the na­ture of divers wormes, and no body knowes himself throughly, how then canst thou hope to make a ful discovery of the divine nature, thy Author? wherfore thou must captivate thy reason to the simplicity of faith in this supernatural mystery: for that perspicuity which the divine indulgence daignes someti­mes to insinuate belongs not to all; but only to whom God calls out of the number of those who dwel with his Son in the mount Calvary, and in a totall ejurement of them­selves: who denying self wil have taken up their cross & followed IESVS to that mount, and wil have them follow him thence to the mount Olivet & glory: those he priviled geth somtimes in such sort as to make them parta­kers of his majesty. Where I am saith IESVS there also shal my servant be. He that shal par­take with Christ in suffering shal also partake of this extraordinary light and joy. So when our Holy Patriarch Saint Ignatius had wasted & exhausted himself with corporal pennances and austerities, it was more copiously and clearly imparted to him then one is able to ex­press. So that mirrour of fervour F. Didacus Martinus did almost allwayes behold himself environed with a glorious light of the Tri­nity or some one of the three Persons. Ne­vertheles it appertains to all to covet with most ardent desires the sight of this ancient and eternal novelty in the life to come. It was [Page 479] reveald to that holy servant of God F. Iohn Fernandius that a certain religious man of our society was long detaind in purgatory, because he had omitted to wish with ardency the sight of the most B. Trinity. O my soul, why art not thou more enamoured upon the sight of this theatre of the blessed, to whose spectacle all minds are summond, allrational creatures are invited?

What a joy wil it be to behold that which now by reason of the narrownes of our thoughts or ignorance, through an excess of jubily and love we are not able to comprize? how exultingly shall we rejoice while we con­template these first fruits of the divine per­fection, that fore-tast and new expression of the divine goodnes where it communicates it self to the Son, and that primitive bounty of God? what a pledg and assurance wil a soul receive of the divine benignity towards it self, when it beholds this profusenes of benevo­lence? if God without deliberation gave all that he is, wil he not by the advise and vote of his goodnes grant that we may at least see what he is? if he permit us not to be what he is, he wil permit us to admire what he is: if not to possess him, at least to enjoy him: if not to live by the same life, at least by such another, and that eternal, of which a soul hath a pawn when it beholds a generation ex­cluding death. How can we chuse but love God with all our mind and strength, consi­d [...]ring that purple morning of ardent charity [Page 480] which he displaid, where the first and Virgin dew of his guifts is the furnace it self of cha­rity, love it self in the same substance; so that the love is as great as God & in the same guift of love he gives his own infinite essence: for love it self is the first guift and all that in­finite being which is in God. What assurances of benevolence wil a soul take hence, behold­ing such a happy and ominous essay of Gods future bounty, and such a promising be­ginning of his goodnes? insomuch that it takes huge complacence in being loved by that unparalleld love, and doth what it can to love him reciprocally, by imitating so great goodnes, by giving it self to God, by lea­ving it self nothing, since the Father leaves himself no parcel of his substance which he communicates not to the Son, and both of them to the H. Ghost. In the excess [...] this consideration and the consideration of this excess, by means of a mysterious darknes, there passeth an ineffable communication and intimate union betwixt God and a soul. The soul passeth into God by grace & love; which though she remain in herself by nature, yet not by affection: and God passeth into the soul by indulgence and charity, though he still remain in his majesty.

O immense goodnes of the Father, im­mense wisdome of the Son, immense sweetnes of the H. Ghost, grant that I may reverence thee in thy Vnity, adore thee in thy Trinity, admire thee in thy goodnes, imitate thee in thy [Page 481] love: grant that I may humble my self to thy [...]uperexcellency, that I may enjoy thy Vision, [...]dhering to thee through all eternity, becom­ing one spirit with thee, and in this interstice [...]n adorer of thy majesty. In spirit and truth [...]et me desire truth, & spirit, & to contem­plate face to face the more then most true, the more then most spiritual and superessential excellency of thy Trinity and Vnity.

To the honour of the ever B. Trinity; the word Incarnate, and his V. Mother, S. Ioseph and all Saints.

FINIS.

A TABLE OF THE CHAPTERS

Contained in the I. Book.

  • 1. THe deceitfullnes of a secular life. fol. 1.
  • 2. Of the Truth of the Spirit. fol. 8.
  • 3. Of Purity of Spirit. fol. 13.
  • 4. How Truth is made manifest by faith and of the fruit and practise of this vertue. fol. 19.
  • 5. Of the hope of pardon and zeal of pennance. 25.
  • 6. The model of a sinner is set before our eyes. 30.
  • 7. The [...] part of the Parable: and how we must use Creatures. fol. 38.
  • 8. The affections of a true Penitent. fol. 45.
  • 9. Of the ardent desire of those that serve God. 55.
  • 10. Of contemning & relinquishing the world. 58.
  • 11. How peace is to be obtaind. fol. 62.
  • 12. Of the excellency of one that is in the state of grace. fol. 69.
  • 13. How penances and corporal afflictions help us. f. 85.
  • 14. That too much love of our flesh hinders the Spi­rit. fol. 90.
  • 15. Of the loss of temporal things. fol. 94.
  • 16. How profitable temptations are. fol. 98.
  • 17. That we must fear God and hope in him. 102.
  • 18. That we cannot but suffer something and of the good of patience. fol. 108.

In the II. Book.

  • 1. OF diligence in Prayer. fol. 114.
  • 2. That we must not intermit our practise of Prayer. fol. 122.
  • 3. How efficacious the grace and favours of Christ are. fol. 127.
  • 4. How devoutly we ought to be affected towards the most B. Virgin Mary. fol. 142.
  • 5. That we must imitate Christ, and of the sorrow and suffering of his most B. Hart. fol. 156.
  • 6. How farr we are to follow Christ. fol. 166.
  • 7. That necessities and afflictions sent by God are to be born patiently. fol. 176.
  • 8. How purity of body helps the Spirit. fol. 183.
  • 9. That our practise of mortification must be conti­nual. fol. 187.
  • 10. Of the sufficiency and good of poverty. fol. 193.
  • 11. That Patience is necessary in all occasions. fol. 201.
  • 12 VVhat a great good it is to be subject to another. 206.
  • 13. How great harm proceeds from daily and light de­fects. fol. 213.
  • 14. Of exactnes in smal things. fol. 225.
  • 15. That self-praise is to be avoyded. fol. 231.
  • 16. Of the basenes of man. fol. 235.
  • 17. VVhat things ought to humble man and that he can have nothing besides God alone. fol. 243.
  • 18. How much we owe to the grace of God & Christ. fol. 248.
  • [Page]19. That man must not only esteem himself nothing, but also a great sinner. fol. 256.
  • 20. VVhat it is to stile ones self a nothing & a great sinner. fol. 262.
  • 21. That Gods glory is alwayes to be sought. fol. 266.

In the III. Book.

  • 1. HOw careful we must be to do our actions wet. fol. 275.
  • 2. That we must shake of all negligence. fol. 280.
  • 3. How incommodious a thing sleep is. fol. 287.
  • 4. That we must rise fervorously to our morning prayer. fol. 297.
  • 5. That our daily fervour must be retaind. fol. 304.
  • 6. Of maintaining our fervour. fol. 310.
  • 7. How constant one ought to be in the practise of good works. fol. 315.
  • 8. How sollicitous we must be to increase grace. 321.
  • 9. How God is to be praised. fol. 328.
  • 10. How great a dignity it is to offer the Sacrifice of Christ. fol. 335.
  • 11. That God is to be desired and received with longing in the Eucharist. fol. 343.
  • 12. That in time of refection we must not be more in­dulgent to our bodyes then necessity requires. fol. 354.
  • 13. That one must take account of his proceeding [...] by a frequent examen of himself. fol. 364.
  • 14. How we must be affected towards others. fol. 371.

In the IV. Book.

  • 1. HOw ungrateful we are to God. fol. 377.
  • 2. That Gods benefits are without number. 382.
  • 3. That Gods love in our redemption appears infinite. fol. 388.
  • 4. How deservedly God is to be loved, and chiefly for himself. fol, 395.
  • 5. That we are not able to satisfy the goodnes of God. fol. 402.
  • 6. How great benefit of glory we hope for. 405.
  • 7. Of suffering death. fol. 415.
  • 8. That man must give himself to God for his be­nefits. fol. 422.
  • 9. That God alone is to be loved. fol. 425.
  • 10. That self love must be rooted out. fol. 429.
  • 11. How we are to love our neighbour. fol. 442.
  • 12. That nothing is to be coveted but what God willeth. fol. 445.
  • 13. That we must give no care to our own wil. 448.
  • 14. That we must continually be mindful of God. 456.
  • 15. That the incomprehensible goodnes of God is to be loved. fol. 463.
  • 16. Of the superessential light of the most blessed Trinity. fol. 469.
FINIS.

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