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.
O! that you had but ears to hear the voices of the creatures, you would easily understand how they all agree in their inviting you to the love of God ; for they silently declare they have been created to serve you : that you may, therefore, love and adore this common Lord, not only for yourself, but for them. The sky says, It is I, that by my stars continually furnish you with light that you may not walk in the dark. It is I, that by my different influences occasion the production of all things necessary for life. The air, on the other side, tells you, It is I who gives you breath ; it is I who refreshes you with my gentle blasts, and tempers the heat of your vital spirits, that you may not be scorched up by it ; it is I who maintains this almost infinite number of different kinds of birds, pleasing your eyes with the beauty of their feathers, charming your ears with the sweetness of their notes, and satisfying the niceness of your appetites with their delicious taste. The water says, It is for you that I pour out my seasonable and moderate rains; it is for you that my streams and fountains are always running; it is for your nourishment that I engender such variety of fish. I water your lands and your gardens, that they may bring you their fruits in due season. I make a short passage for you through the sea, that you may thereby have the opportunity of making use of the whole world, and of joining the riches of other countries with those of your own. What shall I say of the earth, the common mother of all things, and the universal shop, as it were, of nature; where all the different causes produce their several effects ? She may, with a great deal of reason, speak to you, as the rest have done, and tell you, it is she that, like a mother, carries you in her arms; it is she that supplies you with all the necessaries of life; it is she that maintains you with the variety of her products; that, to serve you, she holds a correspondence with all the other elements, and with the heavens themselves, for the procuring of their influence; and that she, in short, like a tender mother, neither forsakes you whilst you are alive, nor leaves you at your death; for she it is that nourishes and supports you during your life, and takes you into her bosom when you are dead, and there gives you a resting place. To conclude, all the world cries out aloud to you, Behold, O mortal man, and consider, what a love your Creator has had for you; since it is for your sake that he has made me, commanding me, at the same time, for the love of him, to serve you ; that so you may love and serve him, who has created me for you, and you for himself.
This, O Christian, this is the general voice of all the creatures; and can you, after this, deny, that you are most strangely dull and stupid, if you have no ears to hear the same ? How can you avoid confessing, that you are guilty of an unparalleled ingratitude, if you take no notice of so many favors ? If you are not ashamed to receive an obligation, why do you refuse to make a simple acknowledgment of it to him from whom you have received it, that so you may escape the punishment your ingratitude otherwise deserves ? For, according to a great writer, there is no creature in the world but what speaks these three words to man : "Receive, give, take heed; that is to say, receive the benefit, give what is due, and take heed of the punishment which follows ingratitude, if you do not do so;" Rich, de S. Vict.