Monday, 31 October 2016

The Catholic Church Alone. The One True Church of Christ. Part 168.

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. 


HOW TO SHUN EVIL; OR, THE SINNER'S GUIDE

CHAPTER III. OF THE THIRD MOTIVE THAT OBLIGES US TO SERVE GOD, WHICH IS THE BENEFIT OF OUR PRESERVATION AND DIRECTION.

Now, if it be so great a crime to forget this Lord, what must it be to affront him, and to convert his favors into the instruments of our offences against him? Seneca says, that not to pay back the benefits we have received, is the first degree of ingratitude; the second is to forget them ; the third is to render evil for good; and this last is the highest degree. But what is all this to the affronting and abusing your Benefactor with those very kindnesses he has shown to you? I doubt whether there is any man in the world, who has ever dealt with his fellow creatures, as we frequently deal with God. What man would be so ungrateful, as to go immediately, and employ a considerable sum of money he had received from his prince, in raising an army against him ? And yet you, base and miserable wretch! never cease to make war upon God, with those very bounties you have received from him. What can a man think more abominable than this ? Should a husband make a present to his wife of a necklace of pearl, or a rich set of diamonds, to oblige her to honor and love him the more; what would you say of the perfidiousness of this woman, if she should throw all away immediately upon her gallant, to tie him the more strongly to her, and make herself more the mistress of his affection ? Every body would certainly look upon this as the basest action she could be guilty of; and yet the offence here is only between equals. How much more heinous, then, is the crime, when the affront is offered to God? And yet this it is those persons are guilty of, who waste all their strength, and spend their estates, and ruin their health, in committing sinful actions. Their strength makes them proud, their beauty makes them conceited, and their health unmindful of God. Their wealth enables them to devour the poor, to vie with the great ones, to pamper their flesh, and to corrupt the virtue of some unthinking maid, making her, like Judas, sell what Christ purchased by his blood, whilst they buy it with money like the Jews. What shall I say of the abuse of other graces ? The sea serves but to satisfy their gluttony, and the beauty of creatures their lust. The fruits and product of the earth serve to feed their avarice, and their wit and natural gifts go to the increasing of their vanity. They are puffed up in prosperity, even to folly, and cast down to despair in adversity. They choose the darkness of the night to hide their theft, and the light of the day for the laying of snares, as we read in holy Job. In short, whatever God has created for his own glory, they have devoted to satisfy their inordinate passions.

What shall I say of their essences and perfumes, of their stately furniture, their sumptuous tables, and niceness and superfluity of their dishes, with their different sorts of sauces, and their several ways of cooking ? Nay, sensuality and luxury are so much in fashion, that men have made a trade of these scandalous excesses, and published books to instruct us how to sin in this matter. They have corrupted all things by their misusing them, and, instead of taking an occasion from them to praise God, the end they were given them for, they have made use of them as the incentives to their debaucheries and vanities ; thus perverting the lawful use of the creatures, they have made those things help and assist them in vice, which ought to have encouraged and excited them to virtue. There is nothing, in fine, which they have not sacrificed to the gratifying of their senses, and the pampering of their flesh, whilst they have quite neglected to relieve their neighbor, though God has so particularly recommended him to their care. They never complain that they are poor, but to those that are so themselves; nor do they ever so much as think of paying their debts, unless when any body comes to beg an alms of them; take them at any other time, and you shall neither find them poor nor in debt.

Have a care this be not laid to your charge at the hour of your death. Do not suffer so heavy a burden as this, to be pressing upon you at that time. Consider that the greater the concern is, the more strict account you must give of it. To have received much, and to have made but small acknowledgment of it, is a kind of judgment laid upon you already. It is a great sign of a man's reprobation when he continues to abuse those favors God Almighty bestows on him. Let us look upon it as the utmost disgrace, that beasts should surpass us in this virtue; since they requite their benefactors with gratitude, whilst we neglect to do it. If the Ninevites are to rise up in judgment against the Jews, and condemn them for not entering into a state of penance after our Saviour's preaching, let us take care that the same Lord have no reason, at' the last day, to condemn us upon the examples of beasts, for taking so little notice of our Benefactor, when they have expressed much love to theirs.