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.
OF THE SEVENTH PRIVILEGE OF VIRTUE, VIZ., THE TRUE LIBERTY WHICH THE VIRTUOUS ENJOY, AND OF THE MISERABLE AND UNACCOUNTABLE SLAVERY THE WICKED LIVE IN.
§ I. Of the Slavery of the Wicked. —Should you ask me, Whose slave is he, who is under such confinement ? I answer, he is a slave to the most hideous tyrant we can possibly represent to ourselves ; I mean, to sin. For hell's torments being the most abominable thing, sin must of necessity be yet more abominable, inasmuch as these torments are but the effect of it. It is to this the wicked pay their slavish homage, as appears plainly from the words of our Saviour so lately cited: " Whosoever is guilty of sin is a slave to sin John viii. 34. And can a man possibly be oppressed with a more deplorable slavery than this is?
Nor is he a slave to sin only, but, what is still worse, to those who incite him to it, that is, to the world, the devil, and his own flesh, depraved by sin, and to every disorderly appetite the flesh is the occasion of; for he who is -a slave to the son must be a slave to his parents. Now there is none of us but knows, that these three are the parents of sin, and on this account they are styled "the enemies of the soul," because they are so prejudicial to it, as to take it prisoner, and to put it under the power of such a cruel tyrant as sin is.
But though these three agree in this point, yet there is some kind of a difference in their manner of proceeding; for the two first make use of the third, which is the flesh, like another Eve, for the deceiving of Adam, or like a spur to drive him on to all manner of mischief. For this reason the Apostle calls it sin, as it were by excellence, giving the name of the effect to the cause, because there is no manner of sin whatever, which it does not tempt us to. The divines, on the same account, term it fomes peccati, that is, the bait and the nourishment of sin, because it serves, instead of wood and oil, to keep in and increase the fire of sin. But the name we generally call it by is sensuality, flesh or concupiscence, which, to speak more plainly, is nothing else, but our sensual appetite, the cause of all our passions, as it is spoiled and corrupted by sin, it being the incentive and provocative, nay, and the very source of all manner of vices. This it is, particularly, that makes our other two enemies employ our sensual appetite as their instrument for the carrying on of the war against us. It was this that gave St. Basil occasion to say, " that our own desires are the chief arms with which the devil fights against us; because the immoderate affection we have for whatever we desire, makes us endeavor to possess it right or wrong, and break through all that lies in our way, though forbid by the law of God; and from hence all sins take their rise and origin; " St. Bas. Hom. 23, de non adher. reb. saecularibus.
This appetite is one of the greatest tyrants the wicked are subject to, and by which, the Apostle says, they are made slaves ; and, though he calls them slaves, he does not mean that they have lost that free-will with which they were created; because this never was nor ever will be lost, as to its essence, though man commit ever so many sins; but that *sin, on the one side, has so weakened this free-will, and on the other lent such forces to the appetite, that the stronger, generally speaking, prevails over the weaker.
Besides, what greater subject of grief can we have than to see man, whose soul is created according to God's own image, who is enlightened from heaven, and has an understanding so subtle as to fly above all created beings, and to contemplate God himself; it is, I say, a deplorable thing to consider that this soul should take no notice of all these noble qualities, but let herself be governed by the blind impulse of her beastly appetite, which has been corrupted by sin, and hurried on by the devil? What must a man expect from such a government, and from such directions, but dangers, calamities, and all kinds of unparalleled misfortunes?