Saturday, 5 November 2016

The Catholic Church Alone. The One True Church of Christ. Part 170.



When man, finding himself naked, and become an enemy to God, endeavored to hide himself in the most concealed parts of the terrestrial paradise, who would have made him believe a time would come, when this base and vile substance should be united to God, in one and the same person? This alliance was so strict and close, that it could not be separated even by death, which broke the union between soul and body, but could never divide the divinity and humanity, because God never quitted what he had once taken on him for our sake.

Thus our peace was concluded; this is the medicine we have received at the hands of our Saviour and Mediator. And though we are infinitely more indebted to God for so sovereign a cure, than we are any wise able to express, we are no less obliged to him for the manner of applying it, than for the remedy itself. I am infinitely indebted to thee, O my God, for having redeemed me from hell, and restored me to his favor; but I owe thee much more, for the manner of restoring my liberty, than for the liberty itself. All thy works, O Lord, are to be admired in every part of them; and though man may seem to lose himself in the contemplation of any one of thy wonders, the same disappears, as soon as he lifts up his eyes towards heaven to reflect upon another. Nor is this any discredit to thy greatness, O Lord, but an argument of thy glory.

What course, O my God, hast thou taken to heal me? Thou mightest have procured me my salvation by an infinite number of ways, without putting thyself to the trouble or expense; but thy bounty was so great and surprising that to give me a more manifest proof of thy goodness and mercy, thou hast chosen to relieve my miseries by thy own pains and sufferings, which were so vehement, that the very thoughts of them drew a bloody sweat from thy veins, and thy undergoing of them rent the very rocks with sorrow. Let the heavens and the angels praise thee, O my God, for ever; and let them never cease to publish thy wondrous works! What need hadst thou of our goods, or what damage were our miseries to the ? " If thou shouldst sin," says Elihu to Job, "what hurt wilt thou do to God ? And if thy transgressions should be multiplied, what wilt thou do against him ? On the contrary, if thou shalt do that which is just what wilt thou give him, or what can he receive from thy hand ? " Job xxxv. 6, 7. This great God, who is so powerful, and so far above the reach of any misfortune; he, whose riches, whose power and whose wisdom can neither be increased nor lessened; he, who was neither greater nor less after he had created the world than he was before; he, who can receive no more glory from all the praises men and angels are able to give him, than he has always had from all eternity ; he, who would be no less glorious, though each particular mouth were to be employed in cursing and blaspheming him: this Lord, I say, whose majesty is so great and infinite, notwithstanding our infidelities and treacheries have been such as deserve his eternal anger and hatred, has vouchsafed, even when he had no need at all of us, and upon no other motive but that of his excessive love to us, to bow down the heavens of his greatness, and to descend into this place of banishment, to clothe himself with our flesh, to undertake the payment of our debts, and, that he might discharge us, to undergo the most dreadful torments that ever were, or that ever shall be undergone! It was for my sake, O my God, that thou hast been born in a stable, laid in a manger, circumcised the eighth day, and forced to fly into Egypt: it was for the love of me, that thou hast been so affronted and injured: it was for me that thou hast fasted, watched and wandered from place to place; that thou hast sweated, wept and subjected thyself to all those miseries which my sins have deserved, notwithstanding that thou wert so far from being the offender, as to be all this while the party offended; it was for me, that thou wert apprehended, forsaken, sold, denied, and brought before several courts and judges; it was for my sake that thou wert accused before them, and that thou wert affronted, buffeted, spit upon, whipped, blasphemed, put to death and buried. Thou hast, in fine, vouchsafed, for the healing of my wounds, to die upon a cross, in the sight of thy most holy mother, in so great poverty, as not to have one drop of water at the hour of thy death, and in so stupendous a manner forsaken by all, that thy heavenly Father himself seemed to neglect thee at that time. Can any thing enter into the heart of man more lamentable than this, to see a God of most infinite majesty come down upon earth to end his life upon a cross, like a notorious malefactor?