Wednesday, 19 July 2017

The Catholic Church Alone. The One True Church of Christ. Part 238.

SIX VOLUMES IN ONE BY THE DISTINGUISHED EXPONENTS OF CATHOLICISM

REV. HENRY DODRIDGE, D. D. REV. HENRY EDWARD MANNING, D. D.REV. F. LEWIS, of Granada REV. STEPHEN KEENAN REV. BERNARD VAUGHAN, S. J. REV. THOMAS N. BURKE, O. P. 


CHAPTER XVII. OF THE SIXTH PRIVILEGE OF VIRTUE, VIZ., THE HOPES THE JUST HAVE IN GOD'S MERCY, AND OF THE VAIN CONFIDENCE OF THE WICKED.


THE comfort of a good conscience is always accompanied with that particular hope virtuous men live in: of which the Apostle says, "That they comfort themselves up with hopes, and are patient in their tribulations" (Rom. xii. 12); advising us to make our hope the subject of our joy, and, in virtue of the same, to suffer with patience whatever crosses may happen, assuring us that God himself is our assistance, and the reward of our sufferings. This one of the greatest treasures of a Christian life : these are the riches, this the inheritance of the children of God; it is the common haven against all the storms of this life, and the best remedy we have against all our miseries.

But not to deceive ourselves, we must observe here, that, as there are two sorts of faith, the one, a dead faith, which performs no actions of life, and is that which bad Christians have; the other, a lively one, the effect of charity, by which the just perform the actions of life; so there are two sorts of hope, the one a dead hope, which neither enlivens the soul, nor assists her in her operations, nor comforts her in her troubles; such a hope as the wicked have; the other is a lively hope, as St. Peter calls it (1 Pet. i. 3); because it produces the effects of life, as those things do which have life in them; that is, because it encourages, enlivens and strengthens us, in our way to heaven, and gives us breath and confidence amidst all the dangers and troubles of this world. Such a hope as this the chaste Susanna had, of whom we read (Dan. xiii. 42, 43); that after she was condemned to die, and as they were leading her through the streets, to be stoned to death, yet her heart trusted and confided in God. David had such a confidence, when he said, "Be mindful, O Lord, of thy word to thy servant, in which thou hast given me hope. This hath comforted me in my humiliation; because thy word hath enlivened me;" Ps. cxviii. 49, 50.

This hope works many and very wonderful effects in the souls of those who are filled with it; and that in a greater measure, by how much the more it partakes of charity and the love of God, which gives it life. The first of these effects is to encourage man to continue in the way of virtue; in hopes of the reward he is to receive; for as all the saints testify, the surer man is of his reward, the more willing he is to run through all the miseries of this world. St. Gregory says "Hope is so strong as to be able to lift up our hearts to the joys of heaven, and to make OS quite insensible to the miseries of this mortal life;" Moral. 1. xvi. c. 13. Origen says, "The hope of future glory gives those persons much ease, who are toiling in this life for obtaining it; as we see the hopes of victory, and of reward, mitigate the pains of the wounds the soldier receives in war." St. Ambrose says, "An assured hope of reward makes toil seem less, and lessens the apprehensions of dangers;" St. Ambr. in Ps. xii.

St Jerome says, "Any labor seems light and easy when we put a value on the reward; because the hopes of what we are to receive make us think there is no trouble in what we have undertaken;" Epist. ad Demet. c. 9. St. Chrysostom is much fuller on this matter: " If," says he, " a tempestuous sea is not able to frighten seamen, if the hard frosts and violent rains of winter are no discouragements to the husbandman, if neither wounds nor death itself can daunt the soldier, and if neither falls nor blows can dishearten the wrestler, whilst they think of the deceitful hopes of what they propose to themselves for the reward of their toils and labors; how much less ought they, who aspire to the kingdom of heaven, to take any notice of the difficulties they may meet with in their journey thither! Therefore, O Christian, consider not that the way of virtue is rugged and uneven, but reflect on what it will lead you to; and do not, on the contrary, falsely persuade yourself, that the path of vice is smooth and pleasant, but think of the precipice it will bring you to; " St. Chrys. Hom. 18, in Genes.