Consider first, that the most necessary of all prescriptions and precautions against impurity is to keep at a distance from the danger and to fly all the immediate occasions of it, more especially the company and conversation of all such persons as are a temptation to us; as also the reading of loose or idle books, such as romances, plays, & c., the frequenting of masquerades and comedies; the indulging too much the sensual appetite in eating and drinking; the giving too great a liberty to the eyes, (which are the windows through which the death of lust usually enters into the soul,) or to roving imaginations and dangerous amusements, and the leading of an idle and dissipated life. The indulging of one's self in all or any of these ways opens the gates of the soul to lust, and 'he that loves the danger shall perish in it,' Ecclus. iii. 27. This enemy is ever lying in wait for us to shoot his fiery darts at our heart; we must, then, be always upon our guard, and keep ourselves as much as possible out of his reach; we must take approach of danger; we must not play nor daily with him by taking or admitting of any freedoms or liberties, even of a lesser degree: he that will venture to play with a wild beast must expect a mortal gripe. If our Lord has assured us, (Matt. v. 28,) that a wanton glance of the eye is capable of bringing death to the soul, how much more a wanton touch or embrace?
Consider 2ndly, that our corrupt nature is so prone to this evil of impurity, and the allurements and temptations to it are so common, and withal so violent, especially in youth, that the flight of the occasions alone will not suffice to gain the victory over this vice without frequent conflicts; (for whither shall we fly where the flesh and the devil will not follow us?) and therefore it will be also necessary for us to fight, and consequently to provide ourselves with proper arms for this warfare; and as we are not strong enough of ourselves to overcome such formidable enemies, we must engage heaven on our side, in order to secure the victory. This infers the necessity, if we would get the better of lust, of a diligence in all spiritual exercises; of frequent and fervent prayer; of frequenting the sacraments; of daily reading and meditating on divine truths; of having frequent recourse to the precious blood of Christ, the source of all grace, by a constant devotion to his sacred passion and death, and of earnestly craving the prayers and intercession of the blessed Virgin and of all the holy angels and saints. More especially, when we find ourselves assaulted with these temptations, we must resolutely resist the first motions of the enemy by turning ourselves immediately to Jesus Christ crucified; calling upon him with all our power, "Lord, save me, or I perish;' hiding ourselves in his wounds, and not ceasing to implore his mercy and grace till the temptation ceases.
Consider 3rdly, what kind of arms we must provide for this warfare, viz., a lively faith and a strong confidence in Jesus Christ, joined with an humble diffidence in our own strength, (for if we have any dependence on the strength of our own resolutions we shall certainly fall,) a sense also of the presence of God, and above all things the fear and love of God. The fear of his divine judgments that always hand over the heads of wilful sinners; the remembrance of the approaches of death; the consideration of the worm that shall never die, and of the fire that shall never be quenched, prepared for the punishment of lust, are certainly powerful restraints to keep the soul from consenting to a crime which she has reason to apprehend may be followed the next moment by death, judgment, and hell. but the love of God is a still more powerful restraint; because it discovers such charms in his infinite beauty and infinite goodness as make all the allurements of lust appear not only most wretched and contemptible, but also most odious and abominable.
Conclude to make use of all these prescriptions against this mortal enemy of thy soul. Fly whenever thou art able, for this is a war in which thou art not allowed to seek the occasions of meeting the enemy or of facing him. When thou canst not fly, fight; but with thy eye turned away from the enemy, and fixed on Christ crucified. Make a good provision for thyself by the help of daily meditations on the fear and love of God, and he will give thee the victory.
Consider first, the excellence of the virtue of chastity, which makes us in this mortal flesh resemble in some measure the angels in heaven, (Matt. xxii. 30,) and which entitles us to be the special favourite of Jesus Christ, the lover of purity and the spouse of pure souls, who, when he came amongst us, would not be born but of the purest of virgins, and ever showed the most particular love to his virgin disciple St. John, (to whom also, on account of his purity, he recommended his virgin mother when he was dying on the cross, John xix. 27,) and who in heaven is ever followed by virgins
whither soever he goeth, who sing before the throne as it were a new canticle, which none of the rest of the blessed can sing, Apoc. xiv. 3, 4. Chastity is the lily of virtues; the bright ornament of the soul; the profession and practice of which by so many thousands is one of the greatest evidences of the truth and of the excellency of the Christian religion; of the wonderful grace it communicates to its followers, and of the purity and sanctity of the author of it. O my soul, let us ever esteem, love and embrace this angelical virtue, which makes its lovers the favourites of heaven.
Consider 2ndly, in what manner this virtue is recommended to all Christians, by the apostle, 1 Thess. iv. 3, 4, 7, 'This is the will of God,' saith he, 'your sanctification, (that is that you should be pure ad holy,) that you should abstain from fornication, (from all uncleanness,) that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel, (his body,) in sanctification and honour, not in the passion of lust, like the Gentiles, who know not God - for God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but to holiness,' that is to purity and chastity. Yes, Christians, the virtue of chastity, by the will and law of God, and by the sanctity of the Christian calling, is for all; married, as well as unmarried. The married must be chaste, not only by keeping their bed undefiled by adultery or any unnatural excess; but also by refraining from every thought, word, or action, that is not confined within the several limits fixed by the divine law of matrimony; or that is not referred to any of these holy ends, for which God instituted marriage. O how necessary is this conjugal chastity! O how many thousands are lost in this state, by allowing themselves many criminal liberties; and falsely imagining everything to be lawful for them which their unbridled passions suggests! The unmarried must also keep themselves pure and chaste, by a constant care absolutely to resist and to renounce all carnal pleasures, and all the irregular motions or impressions of lust, either in body or in mind.
Consider 3rdly, that, in order to procure or maintain this precious virtue of chastity, besides the necessity of fervent prayer, (for no one can be continent, except God gave it, Wisd. viii. 21,) two other virtues are also necessary, without which chastity will not be able to stand her ground for any long time in the soul, viz., mortification and humility. By mortification the flesh is brought under subjection to the spirit; and by humility the spirit is subjected to God: and thus the whole man becomes regular and orderly, and easily resists the passion of lust. But where the flesh is unmortified it grows headstrong and unruly; and where the spirit is proud it is justly abandoned by God to the slavery of those shameful passions, from which it shall never be delivered but by humility.
Conclude to labour with all thy power for the acquisition of this precious jewel of purity and chastity. O spare no cost to purchase it: it is worth all thou canst give for it and infinitely more. But remember, it will never stay long with thee if thou give entertainment to its mortal enemies, intemperance and pride.
Consider first, that anger, in the sense in which it is numbered amongst the capital sins, is an inordinate love or desire of revenge, and is a mortal sin, as often as the evil it wishes, or the vengeance or punishment it pretends to
take, is considerably contrary either to justice or to Christian charity; that is, to that love we owe to every neighbour, by the law of Christ, even to our greatest enemies. Our anger, or desire of revenge, is contrary to justice whenever the person we are angry with has not deserved the punishment we desire to inflict; or, though he has deserved it, if we do not observe the order of justice; but make ourselves both judges and executioners too, by taking revenge for ourselves, by our own private authority, which is never allowable. Our anger and desire of revenge is contrary to fraternal charity; when, let the cause be ever so just, we prosecute or punish the offender, not out of the love of justice, but out of hatred or ill-will to the person; or merely to gratify a disorderly passion - in such cases as these our anger and revenge are criminal, because it strikes at one or both of those principal virtues of justice and charity; and where either of these is grievously wounded, there is no soundness in the soul.
Consider 2ndly, that anger, passion, and desire of revenge, when deliberately consented to, are also infinitely opposite to those other favourite virtues of Jesus Christ, meekness, humility, mercy, peace, patience, long-suffering, renouncing our own will, bearing the cross, and the like; which are all of them strongly recommended in his gospel, and jointly make up the amiable character of his disciples. These are the livery of his servants, by which he expects they should be known and distinguished. These we are to learn of him, Matt. xi. 20. If we do not endeavour seriously to study and practise these lessons, he will not own us for his disciples; if we do not wear his livery, he will not acknowledge us for his servants. But O! how irreconcilable is this passion of anger, when it reigns in the soul, with every one of these Christian virtues! It directly destroys all meekness, and consequently humility, its individual companion; for anger generally springs from pride and self-love; it is a stranger to mercy, according to that of Solomon, Prov. xxvii. 4. Anger hath no mercy; it is even a short madness, that is capable, for the time it lasts, of inflicting the worst of evils, or desiring the worst of judgments: it breaks peace both with God and our neighbour, and banishes it from our own souls; it is the mortal enemy of patience and long-suffering, for it will endure to suffer nothing; much less will it admit of the renouncing of our own will, or of our submitting to take up the cross: because these are virtues that strike at its very root, and destroy it wherever they meet with it, and therefore it cannot endure them. And shalt thou, my soul, any longer indulge a passion that robs thee at once of all these lovely virtues; and instead of a servant and a disciple, makes thee an enemy of Jesus Christ?
Consider 3rdly, what a train of other evils and sins usually accompany or follow this passion of anger; what oaths, curses, and blasphemies; what affronts, reproaches, and injuries; what quarrels, strife, and brawls; yea, sometimes bloodshed and murder too; what malice hatred, and revenge; besides the scandal that is given those we are angry with; the robbing them not only of their peace, but also of the grace of God, by provoking them to sin, as one fire is apt to enkindle or nourish another; not to speak of many other sad effects of this vice, which is frequently pernicious to the health of the body as well as that of the soul, and makes them that are slaves to it insupportable both to themselves and to all that have any dealings with them. O my soul, let us ever detest this infernal fury which daily produces so much mischief in the world, to the eternal damnation of innumerable souls.
Conclude to give ear to the heavenly lessons against anger and revenge, so often inculcated in Holy Writ - to learn them well, and to follow them in practice, Rom. xii. 17, &c., 'Render to no man evil for evil; if it be possible, as much as in you, have peace with all men. Revenge not yourselves, my dearly beloved, but give place of wrath; for it is written, revenge is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. But if thy enemy be hungry, give him to eat,' &c. 'Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good,' Eph. iv. 24, 26, &c. 'Put on the new man,' &c. 'Let not the sun set upon your anger; let all bitterness, and anger, and indignation, and clamour, and blasphemy, be put away from you, with all malice; and be ye kind to one another,' &c. Gal. v. 19. 'The works of the flesh are manifest; enmities, contentions, emulations, wrath, quarrels, dissensions,' &c. 'Of which I foretell you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the spirit is charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, long-suffering, mildness,' &c. O how happy are those souls in whom the Spirit of God produces these fruits! But how miserable are they in whom the opposite spirit brings forth those other dead works of the flesh, the end of which is the second death!
Consider first, that in order to subdue the passion of anger, and to keep it within the bounds fixed by the divine law, we must watch, we must pray, and we must fight against it. But to the end we may be quite in earnest in this warfare, we must, in the first place, be thoroughly convinced how dangerous an enemy we have to deal with; that our all is here at stake; and that, if we suffer this tyrant to hold the dominion in our souls, neither the gift of tongues, nor prophecy, nor knowledge, nor faith, though strong enough to move mountains or to raise the dead to life, nor giving our whole substance to the poor, nor our bodies to the flames, will ever bring us to Jesus Christ. Because, as long as we refuse to take up his yoke upon us, by denying ourselves, and learning of him to be meek and humble of heart, we are none of his, for we have not his spirit. And therefore he will declare to us, 'depart from me, ye workers of iniquity.' O ye slaves to anger and revenge, have you ever well considered this? O, how is it possible that so many thousands that pretend to believe the gospel, and that expect to be saved by it, should be so indifferent about the subduing this mortal enemy to the spirit of the gospel and to the salvation of their souls?
Consider 2ndly, more in particular, those three prescriptions against this passion, viz., watching, praying, and fighting. First, we must watch the motions of this enemy, whose attacks are the most dangerous when they are sudden and unforeseen: and therefore we must forecast, for example, in the morning the occasions in which we may be likely to meet with provocations or temptations; that so we may either decline them, or at least prepare and arm ourselves against them. Secondly, we must pray, with all the fervour and earnestness of our soul, for the victory which God alone can give; and we must pray with an humble distrust in ourselves, and an entire confidence in God, through the merits of the precious blood of Jesus Christ, the great pattern of meekness, patience, and humility. Thirdly, we must fight - by resisting without delay the first assault of the enemy; by calling in all the powers of the soul to still the storm that begins to arise; by running to the embraces of the cross; by turning away from the temptation, and going out of the company, or at least by keeping silence till the commotion is over, or answering nothing but with sweetness and meekness.
Consider 3rdly, that in order to overcome this passion, we must also learn to despise and humble ourselves: for anger usually proceeds from an unhappy pride, which makes us ever unwilling to be thwarted, or contradicted, or opposed by any one; and therefore makes us swell with indignation, and fly at them that oppose us, and seek to revenge every little slight we receive, either in word or deed. Alas! if we did but know ourselves, and what poor wretches indeed we are, and what we have deserved by our sins, there would be no room left for our being angry with any person for either slighting or offending us; who, by our having so often, and so grievously offended our creator, have justly deserved that all his creatures should rise up against us, and revenge his cause upon us, and that they should both despise us and abhor us.
Conclude to make use of all these remedies against this unhappy passion and never to make any truce with it till thou hast brought it under; otherwise it will fill thee with sin, and will never suffer either peace or grace to abide in thy soul.
Consider first, that another capital enemy of the soul is the vice of intemperance; that is, of immoderation or excess in eating or drinking, which is a mortal sin, as often as it exposes a person to the danger of a considerable prejudice, either in his soul or body, health or reason; or when it shortens his days, as it frequently happens, like a slow poison, though the effects of it are not immediately perceived: and in general, when, for the sake of the pleasure in eating or drinking, a person does not scruple to transgress the commandments of God or the church: or otherwise set his affections so much upon gratifying his sensual appetite, as to make this the study and business of his life; like those of whom the apostle says, Phil. iii., 'that they make a god of their belly;' and of whom he pronounces with tears, that ''they are enemies of the cross of Christ, and that their end is destruction.' O how true it is that the vice of intemperance is absolutely irreconcilable with the spirit of Christianity, and with that penitential and mortified life which is enjoined by the gospel as the narrow way that leads to everlasting life. O, it is an enemy indeed to the cross of Christ.
Consider 2ndly, the innumerable evils of every kind that are the daily consequences of sins of intemperance. How they change men into brutes; rob them of their reason;; destroy their health; bring upon them a variety of diseases; shorten their lives; consume their substance; disturb the peace of their families; withdraw from their wives and children their necessary subsistence; give scandal and bad example to their neighbours; foment their passions and lusts; enslave them to their sensual inclinations; make them unfit for prayer and other spiritual exercises, and quite dull and insensible to the things of God: in a word, how they shut the gate against the grace of God and all that is good, and open it to all that is evil. The consequence of which is, that these sins, when indulged and once come to a habit, are most difficult of all to be cured; and too often, not to say generally, follow men to their graves, and plunge their impenitent souls into those flames, where, with the rich glutton, (Luke xvi.,) they shall hunger and thirst for all eternity, and never obtain the least refreshment.
Consider 3rdly, in what manner the Holy Ghost declares himself against the vice of intemperance in the word of God. 'Who hath woe?' saith Solomon, Prov. xxiii. 29, 30, 'Whose father hath woe? Who hath contentions? Who falls into pits? Who hath wounds without cause, & c. Surely they that pass their time in wine, and study to drink off their cups.' Ecclus. xix. 2, 'Wine and women make wise men fall away, & c.' Isaias v. 22, 'Woe to you that are mighty to drink wine and stout men at drunkenness'. St. Luke xxi. 34, 'Take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and that day come upon you suddenly.' Rom. xiii. 12, 13, 'Let us cast off the works of darkness,' & c. 'Walk honestly as in the day, not in rioting and drunkenness', & c. I Cor. vi. 9, 10, 'Be not deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor drunkards, & c., shall possess the kingdom of God.' Gal. v. 19 & c., 'The words of the flesh are manifest, which are fornication, uncleanness, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of the which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God.' O see, ye gluttons and drunkards, enemies of the cross of Christ, where your portion is like to be, since you have no share in the kingdom of God.
Conclude to meditate well upon these scripture truths, and these dreadful woes pronounced against intemperance; and never be so foolish and mad as to see thy birthright in God's eternal kingdom, with all the ravishing joys of his heavenly banquet, for so mean, so unworthy, so hasty a thing as the gratifying for a moment thy sensual appetite.
Consider first, that in order to overcome the vice of intemperance, one of the first and most necessary prescriptions is to fly the occasions of it, and to keep as much as possible at a distance from the danger which is always at hand, in the revellings or drinking hours of worldlings, and ought always to be apprehended in such places and companies where excess is promoted and encouraged by common practice and example. Let not him that has already experienced his own weakness, by falling into sin on such occasions, venture himself any more there. The burnt child ought to dread the fire. Much less should he that has unhappily contracted a habit of intemperance expose himself to such places or companies, whatever the consequence of his refusal may be; he will never get the better of that pernicious habit as long as he frequents such places and such company. Let no man here deceive himself with pretexts of civility or necessity - his soul is at stake, eternity is at stake. O let him not risk his all for fear of displeasing drunken companions. The plague is amongst them; let him fly far away from the infection. The devil is amongst them; there is death in their cups, a mortal poison that reaches even to the soul. Hell is following them close at the heels; let him keep off from them, lest he be also involved in their destruction.
Consider 2ndly, that the arms which are to be employed against the vice of intemperance are particularly prayer and mortification. Fervent prayer, frequently repeated, draws down the powerful assistance of God's grace, without which this evil, which is too natural to our corruption, is not to be overcome. And mortification disarms the enemy, by restraining the sensual appetite and bringing it into due order and subjection. Every Christian as such, ought to aim at leading a mortified life, in quality of a disciple of a crucified God; he must endeavour to walk in the narrow way by a general self-denial, if he expects to arrive at true life, and would be acknowledged by his Lord and master for one of his. How much more is every sinner - if he hopes to secure to himself the remission of his sins, by being a penitent indeed, - obliged to expiate them by fasting and other mortifications, and penitential exercises? Now the putting in practice this mortification and penance, which is so general a duty, will effectually deliver us from the tyranny of intemperance, and even cut off all the approaches of this enemy. O let us embrace then this happy means of gaining a complete victory over this mortal evil and all its wretched train of sins.
Consider 3rdly, that the most sovereign means of all for subduing intemperance, and indeed all other vices, is a daily application of the soul to the study of true wisdom, by the exercise of recollection and mental prayer, and the contemplation of heavenly truths. This helps the soul to another kind of appetite, which will grow daily upon her for the things of God, and give her a loathing and disgust for all sensual and carnal satisfactions. The relish of truth, the sweet savour of the heavenly manna, found in the conversation with God in our interior; the consideration and meditation on his eternal feast, where he shall inebriate his guests with the never-failing plenty of his house, and make them drink of the torrent of his pleasure, at the very head of the fountain of life, which is with him is sufficiently abundant to wean the soul that accustoms herself to this kind of diet from all sensual affections, and to give her an effectual and eternal abhorrence for all those husks of swine that keep earthly-minded Christians both from the table and from the kingdom of their heavenly Father.
Conclude to follow these prescriptions, if thou wouldst effectually be preserved from, or cured of, this mortal disease of intemperance. Even in thy ordinary meals and necessary refreshments let not sensuality hurry thee away to indulge thyself in eating and drinking, merely for the pleasure of it, but take that necessary support of nature with a pure intention, in obedience to the will of God, as a medicine for the preserving of thy health, and season it with the remembrance of the gall and vinegar of thy Saviour.
Consider first, that envy is a repining or an uneasiness of mind at another's good; which the envious man conceives to be an evil to himself, as lessening or obscuring his glory, or the esteem and excellence which he aims at. So that envy, though commonly reckoned among the capital sins, because of the many other crimes that spring from it, is indeed a daughter of pride and, generally speaking, bears her company, and keeps close to this her unhappy mother. 'The proud,' as St. Augustine takes notice 'through the love they have of their own excelling, envy them that are their equals, because they come up to them; their inferiors, from an apprehension they should become their equals; and them that are superior to them, because they cannot equal them' This envy, like her mother, is a mortal sin of the spiritual kind, which makes a dreadful havoc in the soul; and yet, too often, is scarce taken notice of by the unthinking children of the world. Christians, look well into yourselves that this devouring serpent may have no lurking hole in your interior, there to prey upon the vitals of your soul. Watch and pray continually against it.
Consider 2ndly, that the malignity of envy proceeds from its direct opposition to charity, the queen of all virtues. For charity is a joy in the glory of God, and in the good of our neighbours; whereas envy grieves at both the one and the other. God ought to be glorified for all his gifts and graces, which with a bountiful hand he so plentifully bestows upon his creatures. Now the envious man, instead of giving glory to God on those occasions, is grieved at his goodness, and would willingly, if he could, stop the channel of his divine bounties; and can there be a greater perversity? Again, the love that we owe to our neighbours, by Christian charity, requires that we should consider their good as our own, since we are to love them as ourselves; and thus the good Christian meets with daily occasions of satisfaction and joy in every good thing that befalls any one of his neighbours, because the charity he has for them makes him consider them all as his dear friends and brethren in Christ. But envy grieves where charity rejoices, and makes its slaves every day more and more miserable by giving them fresh sadness and pain, as often as they see or hear of any advantage of their neighbours. And is not this again a strange perversity, to prefer sadness before joy, and all the gnawings and gripings of envy before the sweets of charity? But how true it is that sin can never escape unpunished, since every vice, (but more particularly envy,) carries with it, even here, its own torment, besides the judgment of hell it will meet with hereafter. Oh! thou art just, O Lord, and thy judgment is right!
Consider 3rdly, the malignity of this vice of envy, from its hideous offspring, that is, from the innumerable crimes it gives birth to. Envy is the parent of hatred and malice. The envious are always prone to judge, censure, and condemn their neighbours; to put the worst construction on all they say or do; and daily to backbite and slander them. They are generally whisperers and tale-bearers, seeking upon every occasion to set all others against them whom they envy; they ever oppose, both by word and action, whatsoever tends to their good, and take a malicious satisfaction in all the evil that happens to them. And what mischief is there that such a disposition as this is not capable of? Oh! 'tis true that even the greatest of all crimes have often proceeded from envy. It was envy made Cain murder his brother Abel; it was envy made the brethren of Joseph sell him into Egypt; it was envy made Saul so often seek the life of David; in fine, it was through envy the Jews crucified the Son of God.
Conclude to detest this monster with all its imps, and to resist with all thy power even the first motions of it. It is a child of the devil, by which envy, death, and all other evils first came into the world, and who is continually seeking our ruin, through pure envy, without any manner of advantage to himself. O let us hate and abhor it!
Consider first, that in order to subdue effectually the passion of envy, we must lay the axe to the root by a serious application of our souls to extirpate pride and vainglory, and all that unhappy self-love which gives birth to this passion, and which continually nourishes it; and to plant in its place the true knowledge of ourselves and humility. These two blessed virtues always bring along with them light and truth, and easily dispel the darkness and errors which serve for a covert for envy. Because the true knowledge of ourselves and humility clearly show how little reason we have to be either conceited of ourselves or of our own excellence; and how groundless and unjust all our pretensions are, either in the favour or esteem of others, or to any preference before others. Now this conviction makes us willing to be overlooked and despised by every one, and to sit down in the lowest place, as most suitable to our deserts, and consequently leaves no room for us to repine at any one's being esteemed or preferred before us, or having any other advantage whatsoever. And thus the light of truth, which humility communicates to the soul, effectually banishes from her this vice of envy, which delights in darkness and cannot endure the light. If then, my soul, thou wouldst be out of the reach of this hellish monster, learn to be truly humble, for an humble soul can never be envious.
Consider 2ndly, that the most sovereign remedy against envy is to labour to settle the soul in that perfect union and universal charity which the Son of God requires of us all, as absolutely necessary to our salvation and as the true test of our being his disciples. This charity directly attacks the monster wheresoever it finds it, and gives no quarter to any of its offspring. Wheresoever charity reigns, envy, hatred, malice, backbiting, and all the rest of that cursed train, immediately fly away. O blessed charity, which bringest along with thee all other virtues, and which drivest away all vices! Come thou then and take up thy eternal abode in my soul; I know that without thee I am nothing; and that whatsoever other advantages I may possess, if thou art wanting, they will avail me nothing. But all good things will come with thee. Oh! I will seek thee then without ceasing; I will prefer thee before all the treasures of the universe; I will spare no pains to find thee, nor cost to purchase thee; I will live and die in thy embraces; and thou shalt deliver me from my vices and passions, and bring me to my God. For my God is charity.
Consider 3rdly, that envy, like all other vices, is to be overcome by fervent prayer imploring the divine assistance, without which we can do nothing, and by serious considerations and meditations upon the great Christian truths, more especially such as may effectually open the eyes of the soul to see the emptiness and vanity of all these worldly toys, and of all earthly and temporal things which so suddenly vanish away, and the greatness of things eternal; that so the soul may despise and loathe these lying follies - the love of which nourishes both envy and pride - and set her heart only upon the eternal honours, riches, and pleasures of the kingdom of heaven, where envy has no access, and where the perfect charity reigns, which makes the blessed take an inexpressible delight in each other's happiness, to the great increase of their own. O thus it ought to be with all Christians, since they all aspire to this same heavenly country, the place of everlasting peace and love, and have all manner of ties to oblige them to the strictest unions and love; as they have all the same Father and mother, God and his church, are all brethren in Christ, are all redeemed by his blood, and sanctified by his spirit in baptism, and all partake of his body and blood, the sacrament of unity and love and therefore ought all to have but one heart and one soul. O what a heaven we should have upon earth, if it were so with all Christians! There would be no occasions for prescriptions against envy.
Conclude to have recourse upon all occasions to these three excellent antidotes, humility, charity, and prayer, and the subtile poison of envy will not have any force upon thee. Oh! how blind, how unhappy are they who, through envy, become evil themselves, by occasion of another's good, and are so perverse in their choice, as to prefer the bitterness and racking pains of this ice, before the pleasure and satisfaction of charity.
Contents of Challoner's Meditations
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