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13.) Towards God, we shall be studious to do nothing that can offend him; to omit nothing that can give him pleasure. We shall love him as our Father, our Friend, our Benefactor, and at the same time fear him as our Judge. Walking always in his presence with filial love and filial respect, we shall earnestly deprecate his anger, and implore his mercy; we shall look up to heaven as our true country; the land to which we are directing our steps; the ultimate object of all our desires. Contemplating the beauties of those happy regions, we shall see with comfort the thousands of our fellow-creatures who have reached the harbour of safety, and are now viewing our progress, anxious that we should escape all the dangers to which we are yet exposed, in our voyage through this life, and solicitous that we should partake of that happiness, the fullness of which they now experience. We shall animate ourselves by their example; beseech them to interest themselves in our behalf; and united with us, in the same communion, beg them to assist their yet contending brethren, and to obtain for us the same graces, which have rendered them triumphant over the world, the flesh, and the devil.
Let it be then your care and practice, my brethren, henceforth often and attentively to meditate on the judgements of God, who will
render to every one according to his works. So speak and so do, as beginning to be judged. This is the advice of St. James (ii. 12.) to which I shall add in conclusion, the excellent and instructive counsel of the author of the Following of Christ, L. 1. cxxiv. “ In all things regard thy end, and how thou shalt stand before a severe judge, from whom nothing is hidden : who is not appeased by bribes, nor receives excuses, but will judge that which is just. 0 most wretched and foolish sinner, what shalt thou answer to God, who knows all thy evil; thou who sometimes dreadest the countenance of man in anger! Why dost not thou provide for thyself against the day of judgement, when no one can be excused or defended by another, but every one will find sufficient concern and burden in himself. At present thy labour is profitable, thy tears are acceptable, thy sighs are heard, thy sorrow satisfactory, and may purge away thy sins.” Attend to this counsel, my brethren, frequently place yourselves in spirit, at the tribunal of your heavenly Judge, and judge yourselves now with such a just severity, that he may then judge you with mercy, and admit you into the abodes of everlasting bliss.
NINTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST.
ON IMPENITENCE AND HARDNESS OF HEART.
When he drew nigh, seeing the City, he wept
over it. (Luke xix. 41.)
A SPECTACLE the most affecting is here exhibited to our view. We behold Jesus Christ, the world's Redeemer, shedding tears over the unhappy City of Jerusalem, in which he foresaw that, in a few days, he should be put to death. Amidst the shouts and acclamations of the multitude, rending the air with hosannas to the Son of David, he casts his eyes upon their city : he yields to the impressions of sorrow, caused by the reflection on the many graces of heaven that had been showered upon it in vain, and weeps over the approaching guilt which was to complete the measure of its iniquities, and occasion its final reprobation. This it is that calls forth his tears, while all around would seem to
inspire gladness. It is not the near approach of his own sufferings that intimidates him ; no, he is offered because he wills it: no, he grieves for the wretched inhabitants of Jerusalem, who refused to recognize in him the Messiah, so strikingly depicted to them by their prophets ; he grieves at the thought of that train of terrestrial and eternal woes, which they were going to draw upon themselves, by crucifying the Son of God incarnate. Even this his triumphant entry ought to have opened their eyes to discern their Messiah ; for it had been distinctly foretold, long before, by the prophet Zacharias. Rejoice greatly, 0 daughter of Sion, shout for joy, 0 daughter of Jerusalem: behold thy King will come to thee, the Just and Saviour: he is poor, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt, the foal of an ass. (ix. 9.) This prophecy alone, so minutely fulfilled, ought to have convinced them that Jesus was the expected Messias. But they had hardened their hearts against the first motions of grace; they had shut their eyes against the light of heaven, and the spirit of obstinacy had taken possession of their souls. O Christians, Jesus, your Saviour and your God, addresses you in the same terms in which he addressed the inhabitants of Jerusalem. He weeps over the multitudes of blinded and obdurate sinners, who resist his graces, re
fuse his mercies, and defer from day to day the work of their conversion. This is the cause which draws tears from the eyes of Jesus, the fairest among the children of men, the beloved of his Father.
That we may guard against this worst of earthly calamities, a hardened and impenitent heart, we will consider by what steps men arrive at this state of insensibility and guilt, and on the first convenient occasion, we will take a view of the dreadful consequences which follow it in this world and in the next.
As in the practice of virtue none arrive at eminent sanctity but by degrees, so in the career of vice no one becomes wholly abandoned to iniquity on a sudden. The first steps which the sinner takes in the broad road that leads to death, are not without pain : he feels an uneasiness which embitters his pleasures; the enjoyment which he had represented to himself as so delightful, in the exercise of liberty without restraint, is interrupted by frequent checks of conscience. He stops as he proceeds, he is alarmed, looks back, like one who has lost his way; and while he is going farther from the paths of virtue, he wishes he had never ven; tured from the region of innocence. He sighs from time to time, yet proceeds; and hopes to stifle at last the painful remembrance of duty,