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and doctrines of the church, tlian from the loose maxims of worldlings or the practice of too many penitents in this degenerate age. Let us give ear then to those lights of the church, and follow their directions on this ima portant subject. “ God himself has taught us, says St. Cyprian, (L. de Lapsis )“ in what manner we areto crave mercy
of him. He himself says, “ Return to me with your whole heart " in fasting, and weeping, and mourn
ing , Joel ii. Let us then return to
the Lord with our whole heart; " let us appease his wrath by fasting
Weeping and mourning, as he admon" ishes us Let the greatness of our
grief equat the heinousness of our sins.-We inust pray earnestly , wę
must pass the day in mourning " and the night in watching and
weeping, spending all our time in “penitential tears. Our lodging should
be on the floor strewed with ashes; our covering hair cloth, &c. After having cast off the garment of Christ,
should not now seek any (worldly) cloathing.-- We must enploy ourselves now in good works,
“ by which our sins may be purged
away. We must give frequent alms
by which our souls may be delivered « froin death. So far St. Cyprian, With whom agrees St. Pacian, in his exhortation to penance : “If any one a call you to the bagnio , you must
renounce all such delights. If any one invite you to a banquet, you
must say, such invitations are for " those that have not had the misfor
tune to lose their God I have sin"! ned against the Lord, and an in “ danger of perishing eternally. What “ have I to do with feasts, that have offended
God? You must make your court to the poor: you must beg the prayers of widows ; you must cast yourself at the feet of the
priests ; you must implore the in* tercession of the cliurch you must
try, all means, which may prevent
your perishing everlastingly. And Sl.Ambrose, in his second lanok of penance, chap. x.“ Can any one imagine " that he is doing penance , whilst he " is indulging his ambition in the pur" suit of honours , whilst he is fol“lowing wine, &c. The true peni
tent must renounce the world, must abridge even the necessary time of sleep , must interrupt it with his
sighs, and cut it short with his “ prayers." And St. Cxsariuis of Arles, Hom. viii. " As often as we visit the « sick, or those that are in prison
or reconcile together those that are
ac variance with one another; as is often as we fast on days commanded
by the church-give alms to the poor that pass by our door, &c.
By these, and such like works , ou “sinall sips are daily redeeined. But “ this alone is not enough for capital
crimes; we must add cars and las ", mentations, and long fasts; and give “ large alıns to the utmost of our
power. Thus, as the same saint tells Hom. i. By present morifica s tion will be prevented the future
sentence of eternal death. : thus by 56. humbling the guilty will the guilt “ be consumed, and by this voluntary
severity , the wrath of a dreadrul u Judge will be appeased. These " short, penitential labours will pay
s off those vast debts, which obber. 56 wise everlasting burning will nevs
u be able to discharge. Christian's let us follow in practice these excel lent guides.
Against Delay of Repentance.
Onsider, first, that of all the
deceits by which Salan deludes sinners to their eternal ruin, there is none greater or more dangerous than wlien he persuades them to put off their repentance and conversion from time to time, till no more time reBains for repentance. Alas! thousands and millions of poor souls have been thus betrayed into everlasting flames who never designed to damn themselves by dying in sin, any more than we do at present. But , by putting off their conversion', they have, by a just judgment of God, been surprised by death, when they least expected it; and , dying as they lived, have been justly sentenced to that second and everlasting death.Unhappy wretches ! who would not believe their just Judge, who so often cautions them to watch : and de. lares in the gospel, that otherwise he shall come.
at a time when they least expect hiin. Ah ! how dreadful and how common are these unprovided deaths !
Consider', secondly, the great presumption of sinners, who put
off their reconciliation with an offended God till another time, shutting their ears to his voice, by which he calls them at present, and refusing him entrance into their hearts, where he stands and knocks. Alas! if he withdraws him. self, they are undone for ever : how dare they then treat himn with so much contempt ? Is it not an infinite goodness, and inexpressible condescension in this sovereign Majesty ; to call after them, when they aie running from him; and so earnestly to press them, without any interest on his site, to return to him who is their only good, and supreine happiness? What then ought they not to apprehend from his justice, if they obstinately and insolently refuse to embrace his mercy ? How dare they pretend to dispose of the time to come, or promise themselves greater graces hereafter, than those which they now abuse? Do they not know that God alone is master of time and grace;