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.
As we call God our shepherd, because he guides us, so we may call him our King, because he protects us; our Master, because he instructs us; our Physician, because he heals us; our Foster-father, because he carries in his arms; and our Guard, because he watches so carefully over all our actions. The holy Scripture is full of such names as these. But yet there is none expresses a more tender love, or discovers his providence more than that of spouse, a title he often gives himself in the Canticles, and in other places of the Bible. It is by this he invites the sinner to call on him: "Thou art my Father, the guide of my virginity" (Jer. iii. 4); which name the Apostle highly extols; for after those words which Adam spoke to Eve, "Wherefore a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be two in one flesh," he goes on saying, "This is a great sacrament; but I speak in Christ and in the Church," which is his spouse (Gen. ii. 24; Eph. v. 31, 32), and we may in some respect say the same of every one in the state of grace. What, then, may we not hope from him who goes by such a name, and that with so much reason ?
But what need is there of recourse to the Bible to seek for names, since there is not one that promises us any good, but may be applied to God? For whosoever loves and seeks him, shall in him find whatever he can wish. For this reason St. Ambrose says, " We have all things in Christ, and Christ is all to us. If you want "a cure for your wounds, he is a physician; if you are in a burning fever, he is a fountain; if you are tired with the burden of your sins, he is justice; if you are afraid of death, he is life in you; if you hate darkness, he is light; if you would go to heaven, he is the way; if you are hungry, he is your food." L. 3, de Virg. See here how many names God has, who in himself is but one; for though he is but one in himself, yet he is all things for us, that he may relieve all our necessities, which are infinite.
It would be tedious to count all the authorities of this kind in the Holy Scriptures. These I have taken notice of, for the comfort and encouragement of all that serve God; and for the gaining of such as do not; for it is certain there is no greater treasure under heaven than this. As, therefore, those persons who have served their prince upon some extraordinary occasions, and received certificates under his hand, and promises of considerable rewards for their services, are very careful to secure those authentic papers, comforting themselves, in the midst of dangers, with the hopes of obtaining the reward of their labours; so God's servants lay up in their hearts, all these divine promises, which are much more securely to be relied on than any that are made by mortal kings. In these they place their hope, these are their support in all their toils, their trust in all their dangers, and their comfort in all their miseries. To these they have recourse in all their necessities; they inflame them with the love of so good a master and oblige them wholly to his service; for, as he assures them, he will give himself entirely up to the procuring of their good, for he is their all. Thus we see that the main foundation of a Christian life is the practical knowledge of this truth.