MEDITATIONS FOR EVERY DAY IN THE YEAR

BY BISHOP CHALLONER


1ST SEPTEMBER

ON THE EIGHT BEATITUDES, ST. MATT. V.

Consider first, how the Son of God, the eternal wisdom of the father, being come down from heaven to be our father, our light, and our guide, in order to reclaim us from all our errors, to dispel our darkness, to redress all our evils, and to conduct us into the way of truth and everlasting happiness, opened his heavenly school for these purposes by his divine sermon upon the mount; in the beginning of which he has laid down in a few words the principal maxims of true wisdom and all the fundamentals of Christian morality comprised in what we commonly call the eight beatitudes. Christians, we all desire to be happy for ever; and behold here the wisdom of God, which can neither deceive nor be deceived, declares to us in clear and distinct terms what it is that is to make us happy here and to conduct us safe to a happiness that shall never end. O let us embrace, then, these blessed lessons! Who would not study them well since the learning of them is to make us wise indeed, and to bring us infallibly to the very source of all wisdom and happiness - even to an eternal union with God himself? O heavenly master, who would not frequent thy divine school since, in the very first entrance into it, thou thus directest us into a plain and easy way to eternal bliss?

Consider 2ndly, that the ancient philosophers, with all their pretensions to wisdom, were strangely in the dark with regard to man's true happiness, his last end, and his sovereign good, about which they ran into many errors; and not one of them all ever came near the truth. And, as they knew not the end, so were they also strangers to the true means that were to bring us to this end. They never once imagined that to be poor in spirit, to be meek, to morn, to suffer persecution, & c., was the way to happiness, much less did they suspect that such as these alone were actually happy. This was a doctrine never heard of in their schools. This was a lesson that was to be taught by the Son of God. This truth he brought down with him from heaven, and delivered to his disciples in his first divine sermon. O my soul, let us embrace with all our affections these divine truths, taught us by so great a master; let us be practically convinced of them, and conform ourselves to them in the whole conduct of our lives.

Consider 3rdly, how miserable are all the children of Babylon, that is, all poor deluded worldlings, who under the name of Christians, whilst they profess themselves followers and disciples of this divine master, take no notice of these lessons which he came from heaven to teach, but live on in an affected ignorance of them; so as to apprehend all those to be miserable whom he pronounces blessed, and those alone to be happy, who wallow in riches and sensual pleasures, whom he declares to be miserable, and against whom he pronounces his woe. And do such people as these believe the gospel indeed? whilst they pretend to seek for happiness in the very way which (if the gospel be true) must needs betray them into many errors, labours, and sorrows here, and shortly conduct them into endless misery. O let us at least be more wise! Let us open our eyes to this great light, which is come down from heaven, to shine upon them that before sat in darkness and in the shadow of death. Let us believe and adhere to this great teacher, who has the words of eternal life. Let us follow him and we shall not fail, under his conduct, to find the true way to solid happiness and eternal life.

Conclude to be ever thankful to the Son of God for all these great gospel truths which he has brought us down from heaven, in order to set loose our souls from the earth, and so to carry us up to heaven. O! if we desire to fly up to this happy region of pure and immortal joys, it must be with the wings of these virtues that are recommended to us in these eight beatitudes.


2ND SEPTEMBER

ON POVERTY OF SPIRIT

Consider first, that the first of the eight beatitudes is expressed in these words: 'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,' Matt. v. 2. This beatitude or happiness, which brings with it a title to the kingdom of heaven, belongs in the first place to them that are poor by condition and in effect, Luke vi. 20, provided they be contented with their poverty, and cordially embrace it as the beloved companion and favourite of Christ and his saints. The Son of God came down from heaven to seek poverty upon earth: he was born in poverty, he lived in poverty, and he died in poverty, and shall we, my soul, disdain, shall we fly and abhor what the wisdom of God made choice of for him and his? especially since he has declared, that to be poor here is the true way to be rich hereafter, and that the men of riches, who have their consolation here, after they have slept out their short sleep, shall find their hands empty; whilst the poor, after their short sufferings, shall be admitted to the immense treasures of a happy eternity. 

Consider 2ndly, that this beatitude belongs in the second place to them that are poor in affection; that is, who set not their heart on their worldly wealth, but are in readiness of mind to part with their riches, whenever God shall call for all, or any part of them; and in effect, willingly resign them up, when he by any occasion is pleased to take them away: as also to all such as are poor by choice, for the love of Christ, who, when they understand such to be the will of God, actually relinquish all they have to follow him. In fine, to all such as have their affections disengaged from all perishable things; from all worldly honours, possessions and pleasures; from all that is earthly and temporal; in a word, form all that is not God; for such as these, and only such as these, are in a proper disposition to fly up to the kingdom of heaven. There is no flying thither as long as we are tied down by affection to any thing upon earth. O who will give me the wings of a dove, that is, of simplicity and purity in all my intentions and affections, that being let loose from this wretched earth by this true poverty of spirit, I may fly up freely to my God, and eternally repose in him!

Consider 3rdly, that this beatitude belongs in a particular manner to the humble; for such as they are truly poor in spirit; for such as they have not their spirit puffed up with windy pride, nor with any conceit of any ability of their own; like him to whom it is said, Apoc. iii. 17. 'Thou sayest, I am rich and made wealthy, and I have need of nothing, and thou knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind and naked:' nor are they high-spirited or high-minded - which is being rich in spirit - but are poor, mean, little in their own eyes, and therefore exalted by God: who to such little ones as these gives his grace in this world, and his heavenly kingdom in the next. O teach us, dear Lord, to be thus poor in spirit; teach us to be little and humble.

Conclude to begin thy study of true wisdom by applying thyself to learn well this first lesson of poverty of spirit; especially since thy great master expects, and requires of all his disciples that they should enter into his school with a disengagement of their heart and affection at least from every thing else - that they should leave all to follow him.


3RD SEPTEMBER

ON MEEKNESS

Consider first, that after poverty of spirit, in the next place meekness is recommended to us, as the true road to everlasting happiness: 'Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the land.' These two virtues of poverty of spirit and meekness are nearly allied to each other, they go hand-in-hand. Our Lord joins them both together, and expects we should learn them both from him, Matt. xi., when he calls upon us all 'to take his yoke upon us, and to learn of him, because he is meek and humble of heart.' But what will he give us, do you think, if we learn to imitate his meekness? O! he assures us, that we shall find in the exercise of this virtue refreshment, rest, and peace for our souls here, and shall inherit the land of the living hereafter. Happy portion of meek souls, even the possession of the Lord of life himself, in the land of the living! Christians, who would not embrace this lovely virtue, which brings with it a calm serenity and tranquillity of soul even during our pilgrimage through the region of the dying, and secures to us, in our true country, the eternal repose and life of the saints?

Consider 2ndly, what this meekness is which is entitled to this beatitude. Meekness is a virtue which restrains all anger and passion; which suppresses the swellings of the heart, under real or imaginary provocations or injuries; which stills and tumults of the soul on all these occasions; keeps in all heat or violence of words; and allows no thoughts to the soul of any other than that truly Christian revenge of overcoming evil with good. Such was the practice of the Lamb of God, both in life and death; of whom it was written, Isaia xlii. and Matt. xii., 'He shall not contend nor cry out, neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets: the bruised reed he shall not break, and smoking flax he shall not extinguish,' &c. 'He shall not be sad nor troublesome.' and 1 Pet. ii. 23, 'When he was reviled, he did not revile; when he suffered, he threatened not; but delivered himself to him that judged him unjustly.' Now 'tis this meekness, this sweet, mild, gentle behaviour, this evenness of soul, joined with courtesy in words, and affability to the little and to the poor, as much as to the great and to the rich, when joined with true humility of heart, makes up the proper and distinctive livery of the true servants and followers of Jesus Christ; which if we do not all endeavour to put on, he will not own us for his. It was this made up the amiable character of the primitive Christians. The sweet odour of these truly Christian virtues attracted thousands in those days to the faith of Jesus Christ; and will be found at all times more effectual, in order to the conversion of souls, that the strongest arguments or even miracles, if not recommended by meekness and humility. O let us embrace these lovely virtues! 'My son,' (says the spirit of God,) 'do thy works in meekness, and thou shalt be beloved above the glory of men,' Ecclus. iii. 19.

Consider 3rdly, what we must do that we may effectually learn to be meek, and may obtain a complete victory over anger and passion, and all that train of evils, which are the usual attendants, or consequences, of anger and passion. First, We must watch. 2ndly, We must pray. 3rdly, We must fight. We must watch over our own hearts, that we may not be surprised by the sudden motions of anger, and hurried away before we are aware; we must forecast the occasions, in which we may meet with temptations or provocations, that we may be prepared for them and armed against them. We must upon all occasions pray, with all the fervour of our souls, for the divine assistance against so dangerous an evil as passion, as being a capital enemy of charity, the queen of virtues; we must often lament our misery in this kind, at the feet of the Lamb of God, and sue for redress, by the intercession of the blessed virgin, and of all the saints; we must for this purpose frequent the sacraments, the sources of heavenly grace. We must fight, by diligently suppressing the first motions of wrath: we must be convinced that no man upon earth, nor all the men upon earth, no nor all the devils in hell, with all their malice, can do us half so much harm as we do ourselves by venting our passions, and seeking revenge; and therefore we must resolve to fight till death, with the best arms we are able, against this wicked passion, as an enemy which is continually seeking to betray our souls to Satan.

Conclude to spare no pains that thou mayest effectually learn of Jesus Christ to be meek and humble of heart. There is no other way to peace here, nor to heaven hereafter.


4TH SEPTEMBER

ON MOURNING

Consider first, those words of our Lord, in the third beatitude; 'Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.' And reflect how widely distant are all the maxims and notions of worldlings with relation to a happy life, from the doctrine of this beatitude, which is the doctrine of truth. The children of this world imagine that mirth, and jollity, and pastimes, and worldly pleasures, are the chief ingredients of a happy life; and that such as laugh now are much more happy, than such as weep and mourn. But they are certainly deceived: for he that cannot err, has pronounced a woe, (implying the worst of miseries,) against them that laugh now, 'for they shall mourn,' (saith he, 'and weep,' Luke vi. 25; whilst on the other hand he has declared them happy, that now weep and mourn. And the holy Spirit long before has told us, by the wisest of men, Eccl. ii. 2. 'Laughter I have counted error, and to mirth I have said, why art thou vainly deceived?' and again, Eccl. vii. 5: 'The heart of the wise is where there is mourning, and the heart of fools where there is mirth.' O let us then mourn now with the wise and with the saints, that we may rejoice with them for ever.

Consider 2ndly, what kind of mourning is here recommended in this beatitude. Not worldly sadness of which it is written, Eccles. xxx. 25, 'Sadness hath killed many, and there is no profit in it;' and 2 Cor vii. 10, 'The sorrow of this world worketh death.' Not a sullen melancholy, or any such mourning as is turbulent, or accompanied with the impatient wishes for death, or anxious solicitudes or despondency; but a more calm and peaceful mourning, viz., of compunction for our sins, daily bewailing them in the sight of God, and doing penance for them; of compassion for our neighbours, lamenting their miseries and the dismal havoc that sin is continually making amongst souls; of condolence with Jesus Christ for the outrages he daily receives from impenitent sinners, who are continually crucifying him by their wicked lives; in fine, of devotion in consideration of our long and wretched banishment, our great distance from our true country in the midst of wars and dangers, and no security but in continual watching, praying, and labouring to work out our salvation with fear and trembling; of our absence from God our sovereign good, who alone can satisfy our souls; and therefore daily mourning for the length of our sojourning in this Babylon, with longing desires after our heavenly Zion. Happy they that are always mourning in this manner!

Consider 3rdly, what the reward is that is here promised to them that mourn, 'They shall be comforted,' saith the Lord. Yea, they shall be comforted, even in this life, with the sweet visitations and grace of the Spirit of God, the true comforter of souls - with the satisfaction and peace of a good conscience, and with the experience of the inconceivable sweetness that is found in the love of God - one hour of which is capable of affording more solid pleasure and delight to the soul than many years of worldly enjoyment. And in the life to come they shall be comforted without measure or end, where 'they shall be eternally inebriated with the plenty of God's house, and shall be made to drink of the torrent of his pleasure,' at the very head 'of the fountain of life,' Ps xxxv. 9, 10, the streams of which afford immortal joys to the whole city of God above. O when shall we, my soul, be so happy as to drink at this fountain!

Conclude to make it thy choice to mourn now that thou mayest rejoice for ever. Remember, that 'they that sow in tears shall reap in joy,' Ps. cxxv. 5. As on the other side, the children of the Babylon of this world, who seek their delight and comfort here, must expect hereafter to fall under that sentence of Babylon, pronounced Apoc. xviii. 7, 'As much as she hath glorified herself, and hath been in delicacies, so much sorrow give ye to her.'


5TH SEPTEMBER

ON HUNGERING AND THIRSTING AFTER JUSTICE

Consider first, the words of the fourth beatitude: 'Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice, for they shall have their fill.' O happy hunger and thirst, which brings the soul to the possession of all true justice, virtue, and perfection, and to a blessed union with the very fountain of justice, which is God himself! Reflect, my soul, how the desire to be good is indeed the beginning of all good; the desire of wisdom, according to the Scripture, is the beginning of wisdom; the desire of the love of God, is the beginning of the love of God; and so of all other virtues. But then this desire must not be a half desire, like that of the sluggard, or whom the wise man says, that 'he willeth and he willeth not,' Prov. xiii. 4; but a full and earnest desire. And when this desire is strong and perseverant, when it grows to vehement hunger and thirst after divine love and after all true justice and Christian perfection, it then sets the soul upon seeking diligently, praying heartily, knocking earnestly, at the gate of divine mercy, and employing all possible means to procure the satisfying of this hunger and thirst; and thus it easily overcomes all obstacles, and never leaves off its pursuit till it has obtained what it so earnestly seeks and desires. O happy souls that hunger and thirst in this manner!

Consider 2ndly, more in particular, what it is we are to hunger and thirst after, in order to be entitled to this beatitude. The justice of God in ourselves; the justice of God in our neighbours; the justice of God in himself. We hunger and thirst after the justice of God in ourselves when we earnestly seek and desire that we may, by the grace of God, fulfil all justice; that we may acquit ourselves of every branch of our duty; and that the love of God may take full possession of our souls, both for time and eternity. We hunger and thirst after the justice of God in our neighbours when we earnestly desire, and, as much as lies in us, seek and procure that all others may know, love, and serve God, and be eternally his. We hunger and thirst after the justice of God, in himself, when we are in love with his own infinite goodness, as it is in itself; with the beauty of his divine attributes, with his greater glory in all things; and with the perfect accomplishment of his holy will. Such was the hunger and thirst after justice that our Lord himself had here upon earth, who says of himself, St. John iv. 34, 'My meat is to do the will of him that sent me.' My soul, have we any share in this blessed hunger and thirst? Or do we not rather loathe this heavenly food, and only hunger after the fleshpots of Egypt, and thirst for muddy waters, drawn out of broken cisterns. which can never satisfy us? 

Consider 3rdly, the reward here promised to them that hunger and thirst after justice: 'they shall have their fill,' saith the Lord; their fill here of divine grace, of true devotion, of heavenly charity, of all Christian virtues, of a store of good works, and the fruits of the Holy Ghost; in a word, of that justice which they hunger and thirst after: and hereafter they shall be still more happily filled with the beatific vision and the eternal enjoyment of God himself, the only true and sovereign good, which alone can satisfy the heart of man - according to that of the psalmist, Ps. xvi. 15, 'I shall be satisfied when thy glory shall appear.' Here they shall be filled with the grace of God, raining down upon them from the great ocean above: hereafter they shall be drowned in that immense ocean of the deity, where they shall be brimful of God for all eternity.

Conclude to direct thy appetite towards 'the good things of the Lord, in the land of the living;' and in the mean time towards the fulfilling of all his justice. But O! take care not to be depraved with the false sweet of worldly, sensual, and carnal pleasures! These will take away from thee all relish for the things of God; they will never fill thee or satisfy thee themselves; nor suffer thee to taste, either in time or eternity, how sweet is the Lord.


6TH SEPTEMBER

ON BEING MERCIFUL

Consider first, the words of the fifth beatitude: 'Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy;' and reflect on the necessity we continually lie under of the mercy of God, and how easy a means our Lord has here furnished us with for obtaining this mercy. All our good must come from God; and, as we have rendered ourselves absolutely unworthy of any good at all by our sins we can allege nothing for ourselves, but can only appeal to the divine mercy, that he may give us the graces we have not deserved, and forgive us the punishments we have deserved and the sins by which we have deserved them. So that the finding mercy with God is all in all; and the means of finding this mercy is to show mercy to one another. 'Forgive, and you shall be forgiven. Give, and it shall be given to you,' Luke vi. 37, 38. O how lovely, how beautiful, how beneficial, both for time and eternity, is this virtue of mercy! How sweet are all her fruits! She is the favourite of heaven; and makes all her lovers favourites of heaven; she is the eldest daughter of the great king, (whose mercy distinguishes itself, and shines most brightly over all his works;) she shows herself to all them that seek her; she carries them home with her to her father's house, even to the sacred mansions of a happy eternity.

Consider 2ndly, the divers ways of showing mercy that are recommended to us by the word of God. Such are, first, the works of mercy corporal, by almsdeeds; by feeding and clothing any of the poor members of Jesus Christ; by visiting and relieving the sick or imprisoned, &c. Such works as these, according to the scripture, Tob. xii. 9, 'deliver from death; they purge away sins, and make us find mercy and life everlasting.' 'Such works as these entitle us to an eternal kingdom,' Matt. xxv. 34, 35. 2ndly, The works of mercy spiritual, by assisting or relieving our neighbours in their spiritual necessities, by giving them good counsel or instruction; by comforting them under their afflictions; by encouraging them in temptations; but especially by reclaiming them from their errors and vices, and by that means delivering their souls from the second and everlasting death; and putting them in the right way of coming to live for ever with the ever-living God. O how acceptable to God - how precious in his sight are these spiritual works of mercy! The Son of God came down from heaven to exercise these kinds of works upon earth; in these he employed the days of his mortal life. O let us be glad to follow this great example as far as our weakness will allow us!

Consider 3rdly, the reward that is here promised to the merciful, viz., that they shall obtain mercy; and that both here, as well temporally as spiritually, by having their own wants redressed and their sins forgiven them, and hereafter by their being received into everlasting dwellings by those to whom they had here shown mercy, and finding there the fruit of all the seed of the works of mercy they had here sown multiplied a hundredfold. Alas! how wretched shall the best of us be if God does not show us mercy! For who can stand the judgment of God if his mercy be set aside? How happy, then, are they who, by being merciful to one another, ensure to themselves the mercy of God, to stand by them in the time of need. But, on the other hand, how unhappy are they who refuse to show mercy to their neighbours! For 'judgment without mercy to them that have not done mercy,' saith St. James ii. 13.

Conclude to be ever merciful to thy neighbours, that thou mayest find mercy with God. For 'with the same measure you shall mete withal it shall be measured to you again,' Luke vi. 38; yea, with infinite advantage, according to that of the same gospel: 'good measure, and pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall they give into your bosom' ibid.


7TH SEPTEMBER

ON CLEANNESS OF HEART

Consider first, the words of the sixth beatitude, 'Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.' God is not to be seen by the eyes of the body, but only by the eyes of the heart, that is, by the interior eyes of the soul. Now, as the bodily eyes, in order to contemplate their proper objects must be clean, (for if any speck interpose itself and cover the sight, the object cannot be seen,) so the interior eye of the soul, in order to see God, must be clean; the sight must not be covered with any speck of earthly dirt, that is, with any disorderly affection to any thing in this world. This cleanness of the inward eye requires two things, viz., simplicity in the intention, purity in the affection: with these two wings, a man is lifted up above the things of the earth: simplicity aims at God alone; purity takes hold of him, embraces him and adheres to him. 'Seek God,' says the wise man, 'in simplicity of heart,' Wisd. i. 1: that is in the uprightness and sincerity of a single heart, of a heart free from all double-dealing, and all the guile of an artful selfseeking, instead of seeking God. Let the eye of the intention be simple, that is single and sincere, and truly directed to God; and then the whole body of the actions shall be lightsome, - Matt. vi. 22. Let God be the great object of thy love, so as to admit of no affection that takes off thy heart from him: and thy heart will be truly pure and clean, and qualified to contemplate and embrace God.

Consider 2ndly, the degrees by which we are to ascend to this perfect purity and cleanness of heart. The first, and most necessary purgation, is from all mortal sin, and from the affections to it. For the heart that voluntarily admits of the affection to mortal sin, (whether it be the sin of impurity or any other vice,) is absolutely unclean, and is possessed by an unclean spirit, and therefore can have no share in God. The second purgation goes farther, and not only settles the soul in a fixed determination never to consent upon any account, not even in thought, to any one mortal sin, but also cleanses the heart from all wilful affections to venial sin, and fixes her in a resolution, never with a full deliberation to commit a known venial sin; much less, to indulge any habit or custom of any such sin. All these sins, when fully deliberate, are so many spots and stains, which strangely disfigure the beauty of the soul, make her unworthy of the embraces of her heavenly spouse, and darken the eye of the heart, so as to disqualify it for the seeing of God. And therefore such spots and stains as these must be purged away if we would be truly clean of heart.

Consider 3rdly, that in order to be perfectly clean of heart, the heart must also be purged from all affection to worldly honours, riches, and pleasures; from all disorderly love of the creature, to the prejudice of the love of the creator; and from every affection that takes off any part of the heart from God: which indeed is always the case when we love any person or thing which we don't love for God's sake, or with a due subordination to the love of God. Whatsoever love cannot stand this test is more or less an unclean love; it divides the heart; it makes the heart unclean; it sullies its purity; and disqualifies it for the seeing of God. O see then, my soul what an evil it is to suffer any irregular affection to possess thy heart; since it hinders thee from so great a good, even the sight of God, the only true and sovereign good!

Conclude to be ever jealous of the purity of thy heart; labour daily to purge it more and more, not only from all wilful sin, but also from every earthly affection that can any way sully it, or overcloud its inward sight, with the exhalations that are aways arising from sensual and worldly love.


8TH SEPTEMBER

ON THE NATIVITY OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN

Consider first, that on this day the church devoutly celebrates the birth-day of the great queen that brought forth to us the king of heaven, our Lord, and Saviour Jesus Christ, the source of all our good. This birth of hers was like the first dawning of that happy day, which the Son of God the true Son of Justice, brought us from heaven, in the light of which if we duly walk, during our mortal pilgrimage, we shall come securely to that blessed day which knows no night. On this festival of the blessed Virgin, mother of God, we ought, in the first place to praise and bless God, and to give him thanks for all his graces bestowed upon her; by which he prepared her soul and body, from her very conception, to be a worthy dwelling for his Son, holy and without spot or blemish: 2ndly, to honour him in this blessed virgin, and to rejoice in all the wonders of his power, goodness, and mercy, by which he paved the way for our redemption: 3rdly, to show a true and solid devotion to our blessed Lady, by an earnest application to her for her prayers and intercession, and a zealous imitation of her virtues.

Consider 2ndly, the grounds which all good Christians have, and always had, to be devout to the blessed Virgin: as we find in every age the more eminent any persons have been in the love of Jesus Christ, the more devoted they have also been to his blessed mother; verifying by their practice, in this regard, that prophecy of hers, St. Luke i., 'that all generations should call her blessed.' These grounds may be reduced to three heads - her dignity, her sanctity, and her elevation of glory: - 1. Her supereminent dignity of mother of God; the nearest alliance which any pure creature can have with him. and how can we love him, and not love his mother? 2. Her supereminent sanctity: 'for she was full of divine grace, even before she conceived,' St. Luke i. 26; how much more after carrying in her womb for nine months the source of all grace and sanctity? And what shall we say of the thirty years she had him always before her eyes, and still more in her heart; and of all the remaining space of her life, during which she was continually growing in grace; God on his part never ceasing to bestow, with a most bountiful hand, and she on her part never receiving his grace in vain, but ever corresponding and co-operating with it; and by this means continually drawing down new blessings? 3. Her supereminent elevation in the eternal glory of heaven, in proportion to the supereminent grace and sanctity to which she arrived here upon earth, (as the one is always the measure of the other,) and the interest she has with her divine Son, in consequence thereof. See, my soul, how many and how pressing motives thou hast to be devout to this blessed Lady.

Consider 3rdly, that as God is the sole author, and the original source of all the dignity, sanctity, and glory which we honour in the blessed Virgin; so all the veneration, which the catholic church pays to this blessed lady, has God both for its beginning and its end. Our devotion to her proceeds from the love we bear her son: we honour in her his gifts and graces: we love and honour her for his sake, and all the extraordinary respect we at any time show to her, we refer to his greater glory. So far then from robbing God of any part of his honour, by the veneration we give her, we honour him indeed so much the more, because all this our devotion finally tends to him, and terminates in him. and thus we always find, that such as are truly devout to the blessed virgin, fail not to be also true lovers of God, and pursuers of all good works.

Conclude to embrace this devotion to our blessed Lady as an excellent means to advance thee in all good; but do not imagine thyself to be truly devout to her, if thou art no ways solicitous to imitate her virtues. True devotion loves, esteems, and honours in her that which God loves, esteems, and honours, viz., her virtues and sanctity. And how can we better show our love, esteem,and honour for virtue and sanctity than by labouring to imitate them?


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