Imatges de pÓgina
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us.

evil choices estrange the will from His will, so evil thoughts cloud the soul, and hide Him from Whatever sets us in opposition to Him makes our will an intolerable torment, a foretaste of the worm that dieth not." So long as we will one thing and He another, we go on piercing ourselves through and through with a perpetual wound; and His will advances moving on in sanctity and majesty, crushing ours into the dust.

If you will keep your life in harmony with His intercession, you will find the tokens of His prevailing prayer. We are wont to be faint believers in the power of prayer, and therefore we fail either to obtain or to recognise His answers of love. We utter our petitions as children let arrows fly, without aim, or care to find them. If we would keep a watchful note, both of our prayers and of our life, we should find them solving each other as a key and cipher. Both in answers and in refusals, or rather in all answersfor refusals are answers more full of love, perhaps, than all-we should see the accomplishment of our own petitions. Whatsoever you specially desire, ask before the altar. What He does in deed and truth on high, the Church does here in representation and memorial. He offers the one great sacrifice, and prays with perpetual intercession: we spread before Him the memorials of

His sacrifice, and pray over them in the virtue of His one great oblation. Bring your deepest desires, the unuttered craving of your soul to Him in that blessed sacrament, and persevere in your petition. Though He be long silent, even though He say, "It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs;" still wait, and persevere. You shall have the desire of your heart, or something better than you can either ask or think. He is standing with the blood of atonement before the mercy-seat. We are worshipping in the outer courts of the eternal temple, awaiting His return. When He comes forth again, it will be to bless the Israel of God. Until then, the prayers of hearts no man can number, of saints, penitents, and in all lands, the perpetual intercession of His whole body, as one great waterflood, lifting up its voice on high, ascends through Him, who for us

which

mourners,

has "

entered into that within the veil." Wherefore let us draw nigh to Him; for He is able "to save to the uttermost" the greatest of sinners from the deepest abyss of sin, with a perfect salvation,

even unto the end.

1 St. Matt. xv. 26.

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SERMON XV.

PRAISE.

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PSALM cl. 6.

Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye

the Lord."

THESE words end the Book of Psalms-the volume of the Book of God's praise. The Spirit of God, who filled psalmists and seers with these songs of Divine joy, utters here the great law of creation as the last note of this heavenly strain. God made the world for His glory; and the breath of all living is due to Him in praise. "Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord." straiten these words to the letter. and it is a summons to all living, in earth and under the earth, to all spirits of men and angels, to pay their homage of praise to the Lord of all.

We need not

Breath is life;

heaven and in

It is a remarkable token of the unity of the

mystical body of Christ, both before and since His coming, that the Catholic Church should receive from the Church of Israel its chief songs of praise.

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Though they without us" could "not be made perfect," yet we without them should have inherited no Psalter of Divine joy. Without doubt, the Spirit of Christ, who dwells in all fulness with His Church, would have multiplied the sweet singers of His true Israel, so that praise should never have been silent before His altars. But it may be, that He would teach us a lesson of perfect sympathy and of mutual help among the members of His body; and above all, a lesson of humility and fear. He has so ordained His kingdom, that the Psalter should every day admonish us to remember that we bear not the root, but that the root bears us; lest, being high-minded, we, like them, should be cut off.

In the history of Israel there is, perhaps, nothing more striking than the spirit of praise which broke forth at solemn seasons from the whole people of God. They seem to move before us in a procession of joy. "Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea. . . . And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand and all the women went out after her

with timbrels and with dances. And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea." Again: "So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom into the city of David with gladness. And it was so, that when they that bare the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, he sacrificed oxen and fatlings. And David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet." "And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers with instruments of music, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy. And David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that bare the ark, and the singers, and Chenaniah the master of the song with the singers: David also had upon him an ephod of linen. Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouting, and with sound of the cornet, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, making a noise with psalteries and harps." again: "It is well seen, O God, how Thou goest;

1 Exod. xv. 1, 20, 21.

31 Chron. xv. 16, 27, 28.

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2 2 Sam. vi. 12-15.

And

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