Consider first, that ‘tis a most certain truth that nothing happens in the world, excepting sin, which does not come directly from the hand of God, and which is not the effect of his holy will. So that all our sufferings, of what kind soever they may be, are all ordained by him, and all thus pass through his hands before they can reach us. Which is so true, that even those sufferings, which seem to be brought upon us immediately by the wickedness of men, are in effect , all of then sent by the ordinance of God; who, though he abhors whatsoever there is of malice and sin in the will or design of the men or devils, whom he suffers to afflict or persecute us; yet most certainly he not only permits, but absolutely wills, the afflictions, trials, or punishments which we suffer on these occasions. And ‘tis his intention and our duty that in all these sufferings we should not look so much at the visible hand of the unjust creature, as at the invisible hand of the just God; and that in all these cases we should in such manner detest the malice or wickedness of the men that afflict us, as ever to submit to, and even to embrace the chastisements of the Lord, as of a tender father, who often makes use of a rod for the correction of his children, which he afterwards casts into the fire. O how resigned should we be if we always remembered these truths!
Consider 2ndly, that all our sufferings not only come to us from the hand of God, but all are designed by him for our greater good. He is the best of fathers; his fatherly providence and his tender love for us exceeds all that we can express or conceive. The holy scriptures are full of repeated declarations of this truth; it cannot be called in question without contradicting both the divine word and the perpetual experience of the servants of God. So that we ought to be always fully assured, considering God’s infinite wisdom, goodness, and love for us, that all that he sends is for the best, and is indeed the best for us. See, my soul, that thou always remember this truth, in all thy pains, sicknesses, crosses, and afflictions; and in general in all things that happen to thee contrary to thy desire, expectation, or inclination. Upon all these occasions thou must consider Jesus Christ himself as offering thee this cup, or this cross, desiring thee to receive it for his sake; and assuring thee that it shall be the means to bring thee to heaven. O! how true it is, as we shall clearly see one day in the light of God, that these very things which we are apt to consider as evils, are indeed great and solid goods; and that through them, millions of souls shall be brought to eternal happiness, which without them might have been eternally miserable. O let us learn then to resign ourselves without reserve to all the appointments of a merciful and loving providence!
Consider 3rdly, the degrees by which we ought to endeavour to advance towards the perfection of this great virtue of the resignation of ourselves in all things to the divine will. The first and lowest is, to support at least with patience the evils that befall us; and this because they come from the hand of God; and humbly to submit to them as the just punishment of our sins, saying with the prophet: ‘I will bear the wrath of the Lord, because I have sinned against him,’ Mic. vii. 9, and with the psalmist, under afflictions, ‘I was dumb, and I opened not my mouth, because it is thy doing,’ Ps. xxxviii. 10. The second degree, which is much more perfect than the first, is when we not only endeavour to bear our sufferings with patience, so as not to murmur or repine on those occasions, or otherwise offend God; but also are ready and willing to suffer, because such is the will of God; so that the consideration of God’s holy will and pleasure makes the cross (which according to nature we dread and abhor,) agreeable to us, inasmuch as the will of God is thereby accomplished in us. The third and most perfect degree of resignation, which carries with it the perfection of divine love and charity, is when we do not only readily and willingly accept of the cross from the hand of God but even rejoice in suffering for the love of him; and take an unspeakable content in crosses, in adversities, in humiliation, in poverty, in being condemned by the world, & c., so that we would not even wish to be without them, out of the pure love of him who chose a suffering life for the love of us; and because the accomplishment of his will is the whole object of our desire, of our love, and of our joy, O! what a heaven should we find upon earth if we could once arrive at this third degree of divine resignation! For what can disturb that soul that always rejoices at the accomplishment of the will of God, and finds her pleasure and content in suffering?
Conclude to make it thy study to ascend by these steps of resignation to the holy will of God in all things, from virtue to virtue, till thou arrive at the top of the ladder where thou shalt find thy God, and be for ever inseparable united to him.
Consider first, that the capital enemy of the love of God and of all our good, especially of the resignation and conformity of our will to the will of God, is the vice of self-love, or a disorderly inclination to gratify and please ourselves; which is the unhappy consequence of the corruption of man by sin, and the fruitful parent of all our evils. All our vices and passions spring from this poisonous root; all the seven capital sins are but so many branches of this inordinate inclination to ourselves: take away self-love and you will shut up all the avenues of hell, and establish everywhere the reign of the love of God, and a most blessed heaven upon earth. Hence the virtue of self-denial, the business of which is to suppress and root out this dreadful evil of self-love, is one of the most necessary of all Christian virtues, and must ever go hand-in-hand with the great virtue of conformity to the will of God, which can never take root in our souls as long as we are unhappily attached to our own wills and fond of gratifying our own inclinations. Hence the very first condition the Son of God requires of all that would be his disciples is to deny themselves, Matt. xvi. 24. This self-denial is the great lesson he came down from heaven to teach. Happy we if by his grace we can but effectually learn it in practice.
Consider 2ndly, that this virtue of self-denial is usually called mortification, from a word signifying slaying or putting to death: inasmuch as by this continual fighting against ourselves and against our own corrupt inclinations and passions, we put to death, as it were, and crucify the old man of corruption, Rom. vi. 6, with his vices and sins, (according to that of the apostle, Gal. v. 24 that they that are of Christ have crucified their flesh with its vices and concupiscences,) and so die to ourselves, that we may put on the new man, Jesus Christ, and live in such manner to him as to be able to say with the same apostle, ‘I live now, not I, but Christ liveth in me,’ Gal. ii. 20. See, my soul, what this virtue of mortification means which is much talked of and but little understood, and less practiced, and yet no virtue is more necessary for our true welfare. We may even apply to it what St. Paul says of charity, 1 Cor. xiii., ‘That if we speak with the tongues of men and angels, and have the gift of prophecy, and all knowledge, and all faith, so that we could remove mountains, and are not mortified, we are nothing;’ and that whatsoever other qualifications we may have, or whatsoever good we may do, as long as our passions and corrupt inclinations remain unmortified, we shall still be nothing in the eyes of God.
Consider 3rdly, how this general mortification of our passions and our inordinate inclinations is everywhere strongly inculcated in the Word of God. We are even assured there that we must hate ourselves in this life if we hope to be either true disciples of Christ here, or to be eternally happy with him hereafter; (St. Luke xiv. 26, and St. John xii. 25); ‘that if we live according to the flesh we shall die, but if by the spirit we mortify the deeds of the flesh we shall live,’ Rom viii. 13. ‘And that they who are in the flesh,’ that is, they who are unmortified, ‘cannot please God,’ v. 8, besides many other texts which abundantly demonstrate that no one can be a good Christian without waging a perpetual war against his own sensual inclinations, and diligently taking up the cross of daily mortification. Hence the flesh with its passions and lusts is always reckoned by divines amongst the three great enemies of the soul, and is indeed of all the three by far the most dangerous enemy, because the world and the devil, with all their suggestions, would not easily draw us into sin and hell if our own flesh, that is, our corrupt inclinations and passions, did not pave the way and furnish them with the arms with which they fight against us. The world and the devil besiege us from without, but could never force their way into the soul, if our own evil inclinations did not hold a correspondence with them, and open the gates of the soul to let them in.
Conclude if thou desirest to overcome the world and the devil, to make it thy business to subdue the flesh and to bring it under subjection by wholesale self-denials and mortifications. Without this restraint upon the passions and inclination, there will be no soundness in thy soul – the whole head will be sick, and the whole heart sad, Isaia i. 5.
Consider first, that as the business of mortification in general is to reform the whole man, and to retrench all that is evil and vicious in us, or that might disqualify us for that union with God, by divine love, for which he made us, and gave us these immortal souls, by tying down our hearts and minds to created objects; so that kind of mortification in particular ought to be most diligently exercised by a Christian that refines, polishes, and reforms our interior, in which we ever carry about with us the image of God, and in which he delights to reside, provided he finds it in a proper condition to receive and entertain him, that is, provided he finds it mortified. O my soul, what ought we not then to do to qualify ourselves for so great a happiness as this, of having God with us, and of being interiorly united to him! In order to this, thou must observe well all the irregularities which thy inward powers and faculties are liable to, that thou mayest retrench them by mortification, and so purify thy interior. Believe me, this mortification of the interior is an exercise far from difficult, but withal far more necessary for thee, and far more acceptable to God than any corporal austerities whatsoever.
Consider 2ndly, what those irregularities are of thy inward powers and faculties that stand in need of being retrenched by mortification. Alas! if thou wilt but give thyself the leisure to study well what passes in thy own interior, and to know thyself, thou wilt find thy understanding liable to pride, self-conceit, self-sufficiency, presumption, a variety of empty curiosities, and many errors of dangerous consequence in practice; such errors I mean as oppose the maxims of the gospel and represent things in false lights, and weigh them in false weighs, so as to influence the poor soul to prefer the temporal before the eternal. Thou wilt find thy judgment liable to be rash and precipitate, and quite clouded with the exhalations that arise from thy passions and self-love. Thou wilt find thy memory liable to many vain wanderings and evagations, ever full of empty things, and forgetful of God. Thou wilt find thy imagination ever dissipated in the pursuit of worldly toys, vain schemes, or sinful objects, and all thy affections, appetites, and desires, strangely bent upon evil, and averse to everything that is painful or laborious. See, my soul, what a piece of work is here cut out for thee, and how much thou hast to mortify in thy interior, to qualify it for a union with God!
Consider 3rdly, that amongst the powers of the soul, that which most of all stands in need of being mortified is the will – as the will is, or should be, the mistress of the rest; and is obliged to keep them all in order, which she can never do, if she herself be disorderly. Hence the Holy Ghost admonishes us by the mouth of the wise man, Eccles. xviii. 30, 31, ‘Go not after thy own lusts, but turn away from thy own will; if thou give to thy soul her desires, she will make thee a joy to thy enemies.’ Hence also he tells us, Prov. xxix. 15, ‘The child that is left to his own will bringeth his mother to shame.’ Because this will of ours, when indulged, is capable of hurrying us away to all that is evil. and therefore we are called upon in the gospel to hate our own soul, (animam suam,) that is, our own wills in this world, if we hope to be happy in the next. For the fire of hell, says St. Bernard, can burn nothing but our own will.
Conclude to apply thyself seriously to this most necessary mortification of thy interior, and more especially of thy own will and desires. This mortification is to be exercised, first, by denying to thy own will whatever it craves contrary to the will of God; secondly, by accustoming thyself in things indifferent often to contradict thy own will, and never to do anything merely to gratify thy own inclinations; thirdly, by curbing, even in things that appear to be good, that eagerness and hurry which nature, passion, and self-love are apt to prompt thee to; and setting before thy eyes, and quietly following on these occasions the will of God, and not thy own.
Consider first, the necessity we lie under, ever since the corruption of our nature by sin, of keeping our passions also in order by a continual mortification of them. Before man was corrupted by original sin his whole soul was regular and orderly, and all his passions were under proper command. But as soon as the superior part of the soul had withdrawn herself from her allegiance to God, the inferior part began to rebel against the superior; and all its appetites and passions were let loose to run into all manners of disorders; because the bridle of original justice was now flung off with which they were kept in and restrained before. Hence arises an indispensable necessity of our ever mortifying our passions if we would secure our souls. For as our nature is now corrupted, our love and our hatred, our desires and our fears, our joy and our grief, our anger, &c., all share in this corruption, and are all apt to be disorderly, if not curbed and corrected by daily mortification.
Consider 2ndly, that this most necessary branch of mortification which relates to our passions, chiefly consists in the duly regulating all their motions – by directing them in a proper manner to their proper objects, and restraining all their excesses – so that they may all be brought under subjection to reason and religion, and made even serviceable to the true welfare of our souls. Thus we are to regulate our love, our desires, and our joy, by turning them away from all disorderly affection to perishable creatures to the living God; from running after vanity and lying fooleries to the pursuit of virtue and truth; and by keeping them always within their proper bounds, that they may not disturb the peace of the soul or distract its application to God. In like manner we must mortify our fear, our anger, and all our other passions by watching over all their motions, and restraining all their disorders and excesses. O how happy are they who by the daily practice of this mortification are arrived at that command of their passions, which is the blessed parent of true peace and certain image of heaven upon earth. Happy they who turn their fear and all their love to God, and to what God would have them fear and love; who hate nothing but the offence of God; desire nothing but the will of God; rejoice in nothing but God; grieve at nothing but what is contrary to his honour and the good of souls; and are angry at nothing but sin!
Consider 3rdly, that as love is the strongest of all the passions, and that which principally influences all the rest, so the regulating of love and mortifying its disorders ought to be at all times the great object of the Christian’s attention. “My love is my weight,’ says St. Augustine, ‘thither am I carried wheresoever I am carried.’ Now our love is regular and orderly when we love all things according to the great rule of the will of God; when we love our friends in God, and our enemies for God’s sake; when we weigh all things in the scales of the sanctuary, and prize them according to the weight they have there, and allow them no other love than what will stand this test. But then, on the other hand, whatever love, whether of any person, or any creature, or anything else, offers to captivate our affections, or to divide or take off any part of our heart from God, or to carry us any way out of the bounds of moderation, reason, or religion, is disorderly and must be restrained, corrected, and mortified. All such love as this strikes al the very root of the welfare and salvation of the soul, by violating the very first and chiefest of all God’s commandments, which is to love the Lord our God with all our heart.
Conclude to watch over all thy passions, that thou mayest keep them all in subjection; but principally to take care to restrain thy love and thy desires from all unlawful, dangerous, or vain objects; and from all excess or immoderation, in being too strongly bent, or too eagerly carried, even to lawful ones. For whatsoever the object be, ‘tis a criminal love to affect anything more than God.
Consider first, that the passions of love and desire, when they are unmortified, branch out into all manner of vices and vicious inclinations commonly ranged under the seven heads, which are usually called the seven capital sins – though St. John brings them into a narrower compass, when he reduces them all into these three, ‘the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the
pride of life,’ 1 John ii. 16. Now, amongst these vicious inclinations which wage war against the soul there is usually some one or other that is stronger and more violent than the rest, or that occasions more or greater sins, and this is named by divines the predominant passion, the mortification of which is one of the chief businesses of a spiritual life. For this predominant passion being, as it were, the captain and commander of the rest, when this is overthrown, the rest will more easily be subdued and brought under, as when their champion Goliath was slain the Philistines were all immediately put to flight.
Consider 2ndly, that as this predominant passion, this reigning love, this strongest desire or affection whatever the object of it may be, has already unhappily gained the heart, it is but too apt to impose upon the poor soul with specious pretexts, in order to keep its hold, and to maintain its ground against the remonstrances of conscience and all the calls and graces of heaven. It is the Agag, which the deluded soul, by a false compassion, would willingly spare, through with the risk of being cast off by God, as Saul was for so doing, 1 Sam. xv. Ah! Christians, deceive not then yourselves; this predominant passion, this favourite affection, which has taken possession of your heart, is indeed the capital enemy of God and your souls; it must be slain, it must be sacrificed to the living God. Beware of the traitor which you carry about with you; suffer him not to impose upon you; it is very easy, if you have not a mind to be wilfully blind, to discover what he would be at; because upon the least examination of your hearts you will find him always busy in undermining the reign of the love of God, thrusting himself upon his throne, and setting up an idol in his temple, by challenging the chiefest place in your heart to the prejudice of divine love.
Consider 3rdly, what you must do in order to get rid of this worst of all your enemies. O! you must make yourself thoroughly acquainted with the depth of his malice and all his stratagems, that you may not be surprised or imposed upon by him; you must observe all his motions to resist them at the very beginning; you must study all the secret springs by which he acts upon the heart, and sets the other passions on work to fulfil his irregular inclinations. Ah! Christians, ‘tis of infinite importance in this spiritual warfare to know the true state of your interior, and to watch all the motions and secret ambushes of your enemies! You must also single out this enemy in such a manner as not to allow any one of your passions or vices to remain unresisted in your soul, yet you are in a more especial manner to turn all your forces against this predominant passion by directing your daily and most fervent prayers, your confessions and Communions, your particular examination every night, and the rest of your spiritual exercises, towards the total subduing of this evil, and acquiring the contrary virtue.
Conclude, if you hope to succeed in the great work of the mortification of your passions, to begin by declaring an eternal war against their chief, and never cease to attack him upon all occasions till you have brought him down. All the rest will yield themselves up when he is subdued, and you will begin to relish the sweets of peace and true liberty, which you shall never enjoy till you have broken the chains with which he enslaves you.
Consider first, that our sensual appetite, that is, the strong inclination we have to gratify our
senses, and to indulge them in their pleasures, is one of the most dangerous enemies the soul has, and stands most in need of being restrained and corrected by mortification. The flesh, with its senses, was designed to be the servant of the soul, and to be subservient to its true welfare and happiness. But if the sensual appetite be not kept under subjection by mortification, the servant will quickly become mistress, and the poor soul will be made her slave, and will be dragged along by her irregular inclinations into all kinds of evils. Our sensuality therefore must be mortified; we must absolutely deny ourselves all unlawful, sensual, and carnal pleasures; we must fly them more than death; we must retrench all excess and immoderation in the use even of lawful pleasures and diversions; we must never suffer ourselves to affect them much less to have a passion for them; we must accustom ourselves to curb and thwart the inclinations of our senses in things lawful or indifferent, that so we may acquire a greater facility in overcoming our sensual appetite when it inclines to things unlawful, and may at the same time punish our having formerly indulged ourselves in them. In fine, we must never do anything merely for our pleasure.
Consider 2ndly, the opposition there is between a sensual life or a life of pleasure and a truly Christian life, which is agreeable to the maxims of the gospel and the practice of Christ and of all his saints, who have taken up their crosses to follow him, and have always borne in their bodies the mortification of Jesus, and have been, as it were, crucified with him. This opposition is so great that the apostle cannot speak without weeping for those half Christians who give themselves up to their pleasures; of whom he says, Philip. iii. 18, 19, 'that they are enemies of the cross of Christ; that their end is destruction; that their god is their belly; that they glory in their shame, and mind only earthly things.' Christ did not study his own pleasure. 'He did not please himself,' Rom. xv.3. His whole life was a cross, which he voluntarily chose for the glory of his Father, and for the love of us. The apostle 'chastised his body, and brought it into subjection,' by voluntary mortifications, 1 Cor. ix. 27; all the saints have walked in the same footsteps, they have all crucified their own flesh Gal.v. 24. 'The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and none but they that use violence upon themselves beareth it away,' Matt. xi. 12. And shall Christians think that a sensual life will ever bring them thither? No; true 'wisdom is not found in the land of them that live in delights,' Job xxviii. 13. And we are not to imagine we may give ourselves up to our pleasure here, and yet promise ourselves 'the good things of the Lord in the land of he living' hereafter.
Consider 3rdly, that there is no one but what may and ought to practice the mortification of the flesh and of its sensual appetites; and that too by restraining it often from things otherwise lawful. The guilty must do it to punish themselves for their past sins; the innocent must do it, in order to keep themselves from falling into sin, which will be the unavoidable consequence of their not mortifying and keeping under so dangerous an enemy. None must excuse themselves here on account of their want of strength or health; 'tis easy for a Christian of a good will to contrive and to put in execution a variety of self-denials that neither require any bodily strength nor prejudice the health. If we are not able to wear the hair shirt or use the discipline; if we cannot fast or lie upon the hard floor, we may at least retrench many superfluities and affected niceties in our eating, drinking, clothing, & c.; we may shorten the time we give to unnecessary lying in bed; we may upon many occasions withdraw ourselves from such things as we are inclined to, and which perhaps are less wholesome for us, and choose such things as are less agreeable to our own inclinations; in fine, we may daily and hourly mortify, in many things, our eyes, our ears, our tongue, &c.
Conclude to make it thy daily business to mortify on every occasion thy sensual appetite, lest otherwise flesh and blood prevail on thy soul and she fall an everlasting prey to her mortal enemies.
Consider first, that besides the evil of sensuality, which must be mortified in order to subdue the concupiscence of the flesh, there is another dangerous evil that must also be mortified in order to subdue the concupiscence of the eyes; and that is, the vice of curiosity, which St. Augustine (Confessions L. x., c. 35,) supposes to be understood by this name. A dangerous evil indeed, and the mother of many evils; which makes men busy themselves about things either hurtful, or at least nothing at all to their purpose, whilst they neglect things profitable and necessary, yea the only thing necessary. Alas! how many things are there that men take much pains to inquire into, which are dangerous to their souls? How many which are absolutely useless and unprofitable, and which answer no manner of end, either of the glory of God or of their own or neighbour's good? And how much loss is here of their precious time! What dissipation of thought! What distractions in prayer! What forgetfulness of God and eternity! What an enslaving of the soul to meet toys and vanities! And what account shall they be able to give at the last day, of a life spent so unprofitably, so unworthily of the great end for which they came hither; and so perversely, because so contrary to the holy will and law of their maker? Ah, the dismal consequence of indulging this unhappy curiosity!
Consider 2ndly, the particulars in which we must mortify the lust of the eyes, if we hope to keep the soul pure, and to prevent death from coming in at those windows. We must turn our eyes away from vanity; and much more from such objects as allure the soul to impure love: an unguarded glance of an eye has a thousand and a thousand times been the death of the soul. unhappy they who are ever indulging their curiosity in looking after such dangerous objects! And much more unhappy they, who affect by their light carriage and indecent dress to draw the eyes and hearts of others to lust; as also with relation to the reading of all such books, as being either lewd, or profane, or irreligious, tend to debauch the soul, and to draw her into sin. In which number romances, play-books, and such like, are certainly to be comprised; because they only serve to heighten the passions, to soften the soul, and to dispose her to carnal love, and to shut out from her the spirit of devotion and of the love of God.
Consider 3rdly, the necessity of mortifying in like manner the ears; since those also are an avenue through which, if not well guarded, death oftentimes makes its way into the soul. This branch of curiosity must be corrected, first by stopping the ears to all loose narrations, jests, or songs - all which are apt to convey a mortal poison into the soul - secondly, by restraining them from hearkening to scandal and detraction, with danger of either taking pleasure in it, or countenancing and encouraging so great an evil; thirdly, by keeping a guard upon them, to prevent their taking in a still greater infection, by hearkening to irreligious and impious discourses, which strike at the deity and his revealed truths, or tend to the discouraging of virtue or promoting of vice. In a word, the Christian that would save his soul must ever have a guard upon himself in all company and conversation, lest the curiosity of his ears induce him to hearken with pleasure to any such speeches or words as may let in the corruption of sin into his heart.
Conclude ever to watch and pray against the evil of curiosity, which has so many ways of poisoning the soul. But it thou wouldst indulge the desire of knowledge, (which is so natural to man,) let it be by inquiring into useful truths, and such as may serve to bring thee to the sovereign truth. 'But woe to them that inquire of men after many curious things, and at the same time are but little curious of knowing the way to serve God!' - Kempis.
Consider first, how our Lord, designing to make choice of his twelve apostles, by way of preparation for this great work, went out into a mountain to pray, and there passed the whole night in the most earnest and fervent prayer. Learn from hence, my soul, in all thou takest in hand, to begin with prayer, in order to draw down the blessings of heaven upon thy undertakings; learn also of thy Saviour to be fervent and earnest in thy prayers: learn to retire with him as often as thou canst, for thy private devotion, from the noise and distractions of the world. Recollection, solitude, and the silence of the night are great helps to devotion. O! what oughtest thou not to do, to secure the salvation of thy own soul, when the Son of God has passed even whole nights in prayer for the love of thee? He stood not in need of prayer for himself; but has given us an example, to teach us how much we ought to take to heart upon all occasions this execise of fervent prayer.
Consider 2ndly, the fruits of this night's prayer, in the great things our Lord performed the next morning; which we may reduce under three heads. 1. His choice of his twelve apostles. 2. His divine sermon on the mount. 3. The many miracles he wrought when as the gospel informs us, 'a very great multitude of people came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases; and a virtue went out from him, and healed them all,' v. 17, 18, 19. Contemplate, my soul, all these wonders of divine grace, wrought in consequence of the prayer of that night. See a company of poor, weak, illiterate fishermen, wonderfully advanced on a sudden to be the great pillars and founders of the church of God, and prime ministers of his kingdom upon earth. Bow thyself down, and embrace the heavenly law, published on this occasion by the Redeemer, in that admirable sermon in which with a most amiable simplicity, joined with a wonderful authority, he has laid down all the fundamentals of Christian morality; and do thou also learn to approach in spirit to his feet with his disciples, to receive of his doctrine, and to be healed by him of all thy diseases. O! ever remember, that the true way of all good, and the source of all light, grace, and benediction, is to go up with him to the mountain and to converse with God by recollection and prayer.
Consider 3rdly, what we read herein the gospel 'that all the multitude sought all to touch our Lord: for virtue went out from him and healed all,' verse 19. If virtue went out from our Lord to heal the corporal diseases of all them that touched him, whilst he was here visibly present, during his mortal life, can we suppose he has either less power or less goodness, to heal the spiritual maladies of such as properly apply to him, now he has entered into his glory, after shedding his precious blood for us? No certainly; but as 'all power is given him in heaven and earth,' so virtue never ceases to go out from him, in favour of all that spiritually approach to him, and that seek to keep him company in their own interior; and how much more in favour of them that verily and indeed touch him, and receive him within their house, by means of their holy Communion. O let us always endeavour to keep close to him, and his virtue will always be with us.
Conclude to go up with Christ, upon all occasions to the mountain, by retirement and prayer. In all dangers let this be thy refuge. Run thither to be delivered from all thy evils. Here thou shalt meet with thy sovereign good.
Contents of Challoner's Meditations
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