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.
We are so strictly obliged to the performance of this duty, that it is the advice even of worldly philosophers never to be ungrateful to God. Hear how Epictetus, a very noted Stoic, speaks upon this matter. " Have a care," says he, " O man, of being ungrateful to that sovereign Power, and forgetting to return thanks, not only for having given you all your senses and life itself, but for all those things that support it: not only for the pleasant fruits, for the wine, the oil, and for whatever other advantages of fortune you have received from him; but praise him particularly for having endowed you with reason, by which you may know how to make that use of every thing which it ought to be put to, and understand the true worth and excellence of all things." If a heathen philosopher obliges us to such acknowledgments for these common and ordinary things, what sentiments of gratitude should a Christian have, who has, beside all these, received the light of faith, which is a most inestimable favor.
But you will perhaps ask, What obligations can these benefits lay upon me, which are common to all, and seem rather to be the ordinary graces of God, since they are nothing but the consequences and products of such causes as work always after the same manner ? This objection is so much below a Christian, that a heathen would be ashamed to make it, and none but a beast can be guilty of such baseness. That you may the more easily believe me, hear how the same philosopher condemns it: " You will say, perhaps, that you receive all these benefits from nature. Senseless and ignorant creature that you are! do not you see, that when you say so, you only change the name of God ? For what is nature but God, who is the Author of nature? It is therefore no excuse, ungrateful man, to say you owe this obligation to nature, not to God, because without God there is no such thing as nature. Should you borrow a sum of money of Lucius Seneca, and afterward say you were obliged only to Lucius, and not to Seneca, that would only change your creditor's name, but not your creditor."