Friday, 10 March 2017

The Catholic Church Alone. The One True Church of Christ. Part 223.

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. 


All this being undeniably true, what greatei honor can man receive, than to have such a master and such a school to go to, where the Lord himself teaches his elect this heavenly wisdom ? If, as St. Jerome says, men in former times went as far as Rome, from the remotest parts of France and Spain, to see Livy, a man so renowned for his eloquence (Ep. 120, ad Paulin) ; and if Apollonius, who had the false reputation of one of the wise men of his age, went to Mount Caucasus, and traversed the greatest part of the world, to see Hiarchas sitting among a few scholars, on a golden throne, disputing with them on the motions of the heavens and of the planets; what should men do to hear God, seated on the throne of their hearts, not to teach them how the heavens move, but how they themselves may move thither?

And, that you may not look on this doctrine as contemptible, hear the royal prophet's commendations of it: "I have more understanding than all my teachers, because thy testimonies are my meditation; I understand more than the aged, because I have sought after thy commandments ;" Ps. cxviii. 99, 100. Nay, the Lord promises more than all this, by his prophet Isaias, to those that serve him. "The Lord," says he, " shall give thee rest, and shall fill thy soul with brightness, and shall set thy bones at liberty; and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters should not fail;" Isa. lviii. n. What brightness is this, wherewith God fills the souls of his servants, but the knowledge he gives them of things necessary to their salvation ? For it is he that shows them how beautiful virtue is, and how deformed vice: he it is that tells them how vain a thing the world is, that informs them of the worth of grace, the greatness of eternal glory, the sweetness of those consolations which the Holy Ghost bestows, the goodness of God, the malice of the devil, the shortness of life, and the general mistake of most men. God, as the same prophet observes, by virtue of this knowledge, makes his servants dwell on high, "that they may behold the king in his beauty, and look down upon the earth that is very far off;" Isa, xxxiii. 17.

Therefore, the things of this world are of so little value with them, because, besides their being generally so, they see them only at a distance; but as to the riches of the other world, they prize them at what they are worth, as having a very near view of them. The wicked, on the contrary, having a distant prospect of heavenly things, and standing so close by the earthly, undervalue those, and overrate these. This is what preserves such persons as partake of this heavenly gift from being either puffed up with prosperity, or cast down by adversity; for they, by the help of this light, see how little what the world can give them is in comparison of what they have from God. And, therefore, Solomon says, "The goodly man remaineth in wisdom like the sun, but the fool is changed like the moon;" Ecclus. xxvii. 12. Upon which words St. Ambrose says, "That, as for the wise man, neither can fear move him, nor power change him; amidst his prosperity he is never proud (Epist. L. 2), nor melancholy in the midst of troubles (Ep. 7); because virtue, strength and courage are the perpetual attendants on wisdom." Such a man's soul is always in an even temper; no change makes him either greater or less; nor is he to be carried away by the winds of a new doctrine, but remains steady in Jesus Christ, immovable in his charity, unshaken in his faith.