Dr Wright, in his car on his way to address a conference at Swanwick, was furious with the Government. "There is no way that the Catholic Church is going to change its mind on this one given 18 months or so." he said. "This completely fails to take into account the views and beliefs of all those involved. The idea that New Labour - which has got every second thing wrong and is backtracking on extended drinking hours, is in a mess over this cash-for-peerages business, cannot keep all its prisons under control - the idea that New Labour can come up with a new morality which it forces on the Catholic Church after 2,000 years - I am sorry - this is amazing arrogance on the part of the Government.
"Legislation for a nouveau morality is deeply unwise. That is not how morality works. At a time when the Government is foundering with so many of its policies - and I haven't even mentioned Iraq - the thought that this Government has the moral credibility to be able tell the Roman Catholic Church how to order one area of its episcopal teaching is frankly laughable. When you think about it like that, it is quite extraordinary. I suppose the hope is that in 18 months time there will be a different Prime Minister who might take a different view, and this will kick it into the long grass until then."
In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, "I don't see the use of this; let us clear it away." To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: "If you don't see the use of it, I certainly won't let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it." This paradox rests on the most elementary common sense. The gate or fence did not grow there. It was not set up by somnambulists who built it in their sleep. It is highly improbable that it was put there by escaped lunatics who were for some reason loose in the street. Some person had some reason for thinking it would be a good thing for somebody. And until we know what the reason was, we really cannot judge whether the reason was reasonable. It is extremely probable that we have overlooked some whole aspect of the question, if something set up by human beings like ourselves seems to be entirely meaningless and mysterious. There are reformers who get over this difficulty by assuming that all their fathers were fools; but if that be so, we can only say that folly appears to be a hereditary disease. But the truth is that nobody has any business to destroy a social institution until he has really seen it as an historical institution. If he knows how it arose, and what purposes it was supposed to serve, he may really be able to say that they were bad purposes, or that they have since become bad purposes, or that they are purposes which are no longer served. But if he simply stares at the thing as a senseless monstrosity that has somehow sprung up in his path, it is he and not the traditionalist who is suffering from an illusion.
Strongest Dad in the World [From Sports Illustrated, By Rick Reilly] Eighty-five times he's pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in marathons. Eight times he's not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars--all in the same day.
RP: What’s at stake here in this relationship between church and State at this particular moment?
ABC: I think what’s at stake ultimately is whether the church is answerable finally to the State as the only court of appeal or whether the church can rightly appeal to other sources for its moral compass and whatever one’s views on this particular issue, I think that remains a question of basic political and philosophical importance.
Orthodox polemics against the primacy of Rome depend, broadly speaking, on Roman Catholic theology. This is not surprising, since the actual aim of Orthodox theology is to refute arguments put forth in favor of Roman primacy. Now the Catholic doctrine of primacy is founded on their doctrine of the primacy of the Apostle Peter: and therefore Orthodox theologians concentrate their attention on this subject. Exegesis of New Testament texts on the position of Peter results in a discussion between Orthodox and Catholic theologians. Meanwhile, a similar discussion has arisen concerning the oldest Patristic evidence about the Church of Rome. Rome’s role in history is also under dispute, and so far no agreement has been reached on the matter. No one denies, today, that she has held a leading position, but we have still to ask what position it was and what was its nature. In other words, we started discussing the primacy of Rome before we raised the question: what is primacy itself? Can primacy—whether of Rome or of any other church— really exist in the Church? This is the really important question, and the answer, whether positive or negative, will help us to work out our own views of the Church of Rome. If we are to solve the problem of primacy within the Church, our starting point must be ecclesiology; i.e., we must ask, does the doctrine of the Church contain the idea of primacy (in its present or any other form), or exclude it altogether? This method can be used to solve problems of exegesis and of history too; it is really the most natural approach, for the problem of primacy is inherent in the doctrine of the Church. We can thus pose the problem of primacy in general, for Orthodox and Catholics alike. But we must not think of such a method as involving any renunciation (even provisional) of our confessional allegiances. That sort of thing would only be possible for a bad Orthodox or a bad Catholic. As we study the problem of primacy in general, and especially the primacy of Rome, we must not be ruled by polemical motives: the problem is to be solved to satisfy ourselves and Orthodox theology. The solution of the problem is urgent, since Orthodox theology has not yet built up any systematic doctrine on Church government. And although we have a doctrine concerning Ecumenical Councils as organs of government in the Church, we shall see presently that our doctrine is not enough to refute the Catholic doctrine of primacy.
Again, the Eucharist is not aimed primarily at the individual. Eucharistic personalism is a drive toward union, the overcoming of barriers between God and man, between "I" and "thou" in the new "we" of the communion of saints. People did not exactly forget this truth, but they were not so clearly aware of it as before. There were, therefore, losses in Christian awareness, and in our time we must try to make up for them, but still there were gains overall. True, the Eucharistic Body and the Lord is meant to bring us together, so that we become his "true Body". But the gift of the Eucharist can do this only because in it the Lord gives us his true Body. Only the true Body in the Sacrament can build up the true Body of the new City of God.The scriptural text for this week's prayer for unity is selected from Mark 7.31-37. It reads,
Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32 They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33 He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. 34 Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, "Ephphatha," that is, "Be opened." 35 And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36 Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37 They were astounded beyond measure, saying, "He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak."
Those who spend much time seeking the wisdom of the Church Fathers or the great scholastics are thus given a challenge to dialogue with this new and growing theological movement. I will offer some reflections on Chauvet’s Heideggerian critique of Aquinas’s doctrine of sacramental causality found in his Symbol and Sacrament and propose a Thomistic response. Chauvet is a major representative of a significant theological movement, and he has devoted considerable attention to
Aquinas. He is thus an ideal partner for a dialogue between postmodern and Thomistic theology. Furthermore, Chauvet is opposing what is perhaps the best theological expression of a doctrine that appears to be quite central to Catholicism, that is, the belief that the sacraments cause grace. It will become clear that Chauvet’s critique of Aquinas inevitably targets patristic sacramentology as well.6
THE ULTRA CATHOLIC
I am an Ultra-Catholic -No 'Anglo, I beseeech you!
You'll find no trace of heresy in anything I teach you.
The clergyman across the road has whiskers and a bowler, (Derby hat)
But I wear buckles on my shoes and sport a feriola.
My alb is edged with deepest lace, spread over rich black satin;
The Psalms of David I recite in heaven's own native Latin,
And though I don't quite understand those awkward moods and tenses,
My ordo recitandi's strict Westmonasteriensis.
I read the children in my school the Penny Catechism,
Explaining how the C. of E.s in heresy and schism.
The truths of Trent and Vatican I bate not one iota.
I have not met the Rural Dean. I do not pay my quota.
The Bishop's put me under his 'profoundest disapproval'
And, though he cannot bring about my actual removal,
He will not come and visit me or take my confirmations.
Colonial prelates I employ from far-off mission stations.
The music we perform at Mass in Verdi and Scarlatti.
Assorted females form the choir; I wish they weren't so catty.
Two flutes, a fiddle and a harp assist them in the gallery.
The organist left years ago, and so we save his salary.
We've started a 'Sodality of John of San Fagondez,'
Consisting of five young men who serve High Mass on Sundays;
And though they simply will not come to weekday Mass at seven,
They turn out looking wonderful on Sundays at eleven.
The Holy Father I extol in fervid perorations,
The Cardinals in curia, the Sacred Congregations;
And, though I've not submitted yet, as all my friends expected,
I should have gone last Tuesday week, had not my wife objected.
Lewis's Mere Christianity presents itself as inescapably rational. It's an apologetic that traps you in its logic, a very modern approach. But you present a different kind of rationality that seems more attuned to a postmodern world.
I'm quite sure that Lewis would be rather cross at being told that he was some kind of modernist, because his self-description was that he was the last surviving dinosaur from the pre-Enlightenment period. But he was an Oxford-trained philosopher from the early years of the 20th century, and he was conscious of the need to explain things to people who thought in a certain way.
I'm sure Lewis would say he was talking about something that would blow apart the assumptions of modernity, nevertheless addressing people who were within those assumptions. In the same way, I wouldn't want to be thought of as a postmodern writer, but I'm addressing people who live in that world.
And if the argument has a compelling force, it's not the force of A plus B equals C, where there's no escape. I want you to try seeing yourself as part of the picture that we've painted. Or try humming one of the parts of this symphony that we're writing, and see if it doesn't make an awful lot of sense while nonetheless being very challenging. And that's the apologist's dilemma, that if you simply address the God-shaped blank that people think they've got, the God you end up with is the God shaped by the blank. The real God specializes in taking the blanks in people's lives and pulling and tugging and turning them into a new shape.
The Voice of Christ
`COME TO ME, ALL WHO LABOUR AND ARE HEAVY LADEN, AND I WILL REFRESH YOU, says the Lord (Matt. 9:28),
`THE BREAD THAT I WILL GIVE IS MY FLESH, FOR THE LIFE OF THE WORLD.'( John 6:51)
`TAKE AND EAT; THIS IS MY BODY WHICH SHALL BE OFFERED FOR YOU; DO THIS IN COMMEMORATION OF ME. '( Luke 22:19; I Cor. 9:24)
`WHOSOEVER EATS MY FLESH AND DRINKS MY BLOOD, DWELLS IN ME, AND I IN HIM.'(John 6:56) `THESE THINGS THAT I HAVE TOLD YOU ARE SPIRIT AND LIFE. ' (John 6:63)
On the Deep Reverence with which Christ should be Received
THE DISCIPLE. 0 Christ, Eternal Truth, these are Your own words, although not spoken all at one time or in one place. And since they are Your words and are true, I must accept them with gratitude and trust. They are Your words and You have spoken them; they are also mine, since You have given them to me for my salvation. Gladly do I receive them from Your lips, that they may be the more deeply imprinted in my heart. Your words, so tender, so full of sweetness and love give me courage; but my own sins appal me, and a stricken conscience restrains me from receiving so high a Sacrament.
You command me to approach You in faith if I wish to have part in You and to receive the food of immortality if I desire life and glory. `Come to Me,' You say, `all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you.' 0 Lord my God! How sweet and loving in the ears of a sinner are these words, with which You invite the poor and needy to the Communion of Your most holy Body! But who am I, O Lord, that I should presume to approach You? The very Heaven of Heavens cannot contain You; (I Kings 8:27) and yet You say, `Come you all to Me.'
What is the meaning of this kindly invitation? Unaware of any good in me on which I may presume, how shall I dare to come? How shall I invite You into my house, who have so often done evil in Your sight? The Angels and Archangels do You reverence; Saints and holy men stand in awe of You ; yet You say, `Come you all to Me'! Unless You Yourself had said it, who would believe it true? And who would dare approach, unless it were Your command?
Noah, a good man,(Gen.6:9) is said to have worked a hundred years to build the ark, so that he and a few others might be saved .(I Pet. 3:20) How, then, can I in one short hour prepare myself to receive with reverence the Creator of the world? Moses, Your great servant and especial friend, constructed an Ark of imperishable wood, (Ex. 25:10) and covered it with purest gold, in order to house the Tablets of the Law : and how shall I, a corruptible creature, dare so lightly to receive You, the Maker of the Law and Giver of life? Solomon, wisest of Israel's kings,( I Kings 5:7) spent seven years in building a splendid Temple in praise of Your name. For eight days he kept the Feast of its Dedication, and offered a thousand peace offerings. To the sound of trumpets, he solemnly and joyfully bore the Ark of the Covenant to its appointed resting-place. How, then, shall I, unworthiest and poorest of men, welcome You into my house,(Luke 7:6) when I can hardly spend half an hour devoutly? If only I could spend even haf an hour as I ought!
0 my God, how earnestly did all these strive to please You! And how little, alas, can I do! How short is the time that I employ in preparing myself for Communion ! Seldom am I entirely recollected, and very seldom free from all distraction. Yet in Your saving presence, 0 God, no unbecoming thought should enter my mind, for it is not an Angel, but the Lord of Angels who comes to be my guest.
How great a difference there is between the Ark of the Covenant and its relics, and Your most holy Body with its ineffable powers : between those sacrifices of the old Law which foreshadowed the Sacrifice too come, and the true Victim of Your Body, which fulfils all the ancient rites!
Alas, why does not my heart burn within me at Your adorable presence? Why do I not prepare myself to receive Holy Communion, when the Patriarchs and Prophets of old, Kings and Princes with all their people, showed so great a devotion in Your holy worship?
The holy King David danced before the Ark with all his might,(2 Sam.6:14) recalling Your blessings to his fathers; he wrote psalms, and taught his people to sing with joy; inspired by the grace of the Holy Spirit, he often sang and played on the harp ; he taught the people of Israel to praise God with thewhole heart, and to bless Him every day. If all these performed such acts of praise and devotion before the Ark of the Covenant, how much greater devotion and reverence should I and all Christian people have in the presence of this Sacrament, and in receiving the most adorable Body of Christ?
Many make pilgrimages to various places to visit the relics of the Saints, wondering at the story of their lives and the splendour of their shrines ; they view and venerate their bones, covered with silks and gold. But here on the Altar are You Yourself, my God, the Holy of Holies, Creator of men and Lord of Angels! When visiting such places, men are often moved by curiosity and the urge for sight-seeing, and one seldom hears that any amendment of life results, especially as their conversation is trivial and lacks true contrition. But here, in the Sacrament of the Altar, You are wholly present, my God, the Man Christ Jesus ; here we freely partake the fruit of eternal salvation, as often as we receive You worthily and devoutly. No levity, curiosity, or sentimentality must draw us, but firm faith, devout hope, and sincere love.
O God, invisible Creator of the world, how wonderful are Your dealings with us! How sweetly and graciously You welcome Your chosen, to whom You give Yourself in this Sacrament! It passes all understanding; it kindles the love and draws the hearts of the faithful to Yourself For Your faithful ones, who strive to amend their whole lives, receive in this most exalted Sacrament the grace of devotion and the love of virtue.
O wonderful and hidden grace of this Sacrament, known so well to Christ's faithful, but hidden from unbelievers and servants of sin! In this Sacrament, spiritual grace is conveyed, lost virtue restored to the soul, and its sin-ravaged beauty renewed. Such is the grace of this Sacrament, that from the fullness of devotion You afford greater powers not only to the mind, but to the frail body.
We cannot but regret and deplore our own carelessness and tepidity, which hinders us from receiving Christ with greater love, for in Him rests all our merit and hope of salvation. He is our Sanctification ( I Cor. 1:30) and Redemption : He is the comfort of pilgrims, and the everlasting joy of the Saints. How sad it is that so many have small regard for this saving Mystery, which is the delight of Heaven and preservative of the whole world. Alas, man is so blind, and his heart so hard, that he does not appreciate more fully this wonderful gift, and, from frequent use of it, grows even less reverent towards it!
If this most holy Sacrament were celebrated in one place only, and were offered by one priest only in the whole world, men would rush to this place and to the priest of God, to be present at the divine mysteries. But there are now many priests, and in many places Christ is offered, that the grace and love of God may be better known to men, the more widely Holy Communion is diffused through the world. 0 good Jesus, eternal Shepherd, we thank You that You deign to refresh us poor exiles with Your precious Body and Blood, and invite us to receive these Mysteries, saying, `Come to Me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you.'
Priest and people were united in facing eastward; that is, a cosmic symbolism was drawn into the community celebration--a factor of considerable importance. For the true location and the true context of the eucharistic celebration is the whole cosmos. 'Facing east' makes this cosmic dimension of the Eucharist present through liturgical gesture. Because of the rising sun, the east--oriens--was naturally both a symbol of the Resurrection (and to that extent it was not merely a christological statement but also a reminder of the Father's power and influence of the Holy Spirit) and a presentation of the hope of the parousia. Where the priest and people together face the same way, what we have is a cosmic orientation and also an interpretation of the Eucharist in terms of resurrection and trinitarian theology. Hence it is also an interpretation in terms of parousia, a theology of hope, in which every Mass is an approach to the return of Christ.
In the years since the consecration of Gene Robinson, about three dozen American Episcopal churches have voted to secede and affiliate with provinces overseas. But things seem to be coming to a head in recent weeks. On Sunday, December 17th, the story was all over the newspapers. As the New York Times' reporter phrased it, "the family is breaking up." On December 17, nine Episcopal churches in Virginia announced an overwhelming vote by their parishioners to cut their ties with the Episcopal Church. The Falls Church and Truro Church in the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington voted to join the conservative Convocation of Anglicans in North America organization, which is linked to the Episcopal Church of Nigeria. Other churches are considering joining Anglican dioceses in Asia and Latin America. As the Reverend John Yates, rector of the Falls Church, puts it, "The Episcopal ship is in trouble. So we're climbing over the rails down to various little lifeboats. There's a lifeboat from Bolivia, one from Rwanda, another from Nigeria."The writer of the email follows:
Rwanda? Bolivia? Nigeria? Why not Rome? There have been some notable Episcopalian conversions to Catholicism, of course, but not a great wave. What is holding the Episcopalians back?
Some will argue that recent events in the Catholic Church make that step unattractive for them, everything from the sex scandals to the tampering with the liturgy. No doubt there is something to that proposition. If I were an Episcopalian serious about my beliefs, and I thought of the Catholic Church as the church of Sr. Joan Chittister and Fr. Robert Drinan, I wouldn't be lining up for conversion classes. But there must be something else going on. Intelligent and informed Episcopalians know that Drinan and Chittister do not represent Catholicism. They know the percentage of Catholic priests caught up in the sex scandals is no greater than that of Protestant clergy involved in the same sort of shameful behavior. We have to look elsewhere.
Some will contend that it is certain Catholic teachings that hold the Episcopalians back, specifically the Church's teachings on divorce and birth control; that Episcopalians who are genuinely convinced that these practices are not immoral cannot reconcile themselves to joining a Church that forbids them — and which therefore is demonstrably in error, in their eyes. Fair enough. But here's the rub: Episcopalians who take this position are saying that their forebears in the Episcopal Church who first challenged their Church's traditional teachings on birth control and divorce — which took place not that long ago — were correct to do so, but that people like Bishop Robinson are not entitled to challenge the current teaching on homosexuality.
How does the logic go? That we should extend the line on acceptable morality to include behaviors and beliefs of mine that clash with traditional Christian beliefs, but not so far as to include those of my less righteous fellow congregants? That sounds like worshipping the spirit of the age to me — just a different spirit of the age. Are we to believe that that is what Jesus wanted for us? I can't help but think that large numbers of Episcopalians have thought this thought.
Which leads me to believe that there is something else that holds the Episcopalians back, something they would be reluctant to admit to in public, not due to any dishonesty on their part as much as to their characteristic good manners. I submit that becoming a Catholic would seem to them too much a betrayal of their people and their family heritage.
We know the stock images of the Episcopalians: tweedy WASPs, the "blue-stocking" crowd, the upper crust, the guardians of the Social Register, the people who can be found at the opening of the Metropolitan opera and at polo matches in the Hamptons. It is a caricature, of course. Not all Episcopalians are like that. But many are, especially those in positions of influence. Central to their understanding of the Episcopal Church is their belief that educated, refined, high-minded, socially conscious people like themselves do not need Rome to preserve a virtuous social order.
Let me be blunt: their belief is that they do not need the Church of the lower-class Irish, Italians and Slavic immigrants to instruct them on righteousness; that their collective religious endeavors will lead to a preservation of what Jesus wants for the modern world. Turning to Rome would mean abandoning the church that was central to the lives of the men and women of their stock who built not just the businesses, grand homes and country clubs of upper class America, but also the museums, universities, libraries and hospitals that represent the best of the American experience.
It is not unfair to say that Episcopalians have traditionally thought of themselves as the moral guardians that would lift the huddled masses to a higher understanding of how one behaved in a well-ordered society, one more enlightened than the priest-ridden world the immigrants left behind. They were convinced that proper people of their class did not need the church of Bishop Sheen and Mother Cabrini to preserve and extend for future generations the correct understanding of what it means to be a good Christian. The serious deliberations of well-intentioned folks of good breeding were enough for that.
It will not be easy for them to say, "I guess we were wrong." Better to turn for leadership to an Anglican bishop in Rwanda or Bolivia, who they believe has correctly preserved the dispensation given to him by the Episcopal Church of old, than to Rome. Even if there is no guarantee that doing so will preserve those teachings for any length of time.
Submitted by Andrew Bowyer
As a convert to Catholicism from the Church of England, I can easily see the parallels between the mother of Anglicanism and the American Episcopalians. Both have become essentially middle-class, old money organizations; both share the engrained English belief that decency is at least equal to holiness, if not preferable to it; "decency" being defined by the polite society of the well-meaning and well-informed - which in our day, means adherence to all the mantras of political correctness.
However, I think Mr Fizpatrick omits two major obstacles to more widespread conversions. Although the remnants of "Anglo-Catholicism" are still there, conservative High Anglican clergy are a dwindling band; and for many congregations that view themselves as High Church, it is the trappings of Anglo-Catholicism - the vestments, the neo-Gothic architecture, the well-polished liturgy - that define their religious life. Preserve these, and after some harrumphing, many will go along with fundamental doctrinal and moral shifts. Indeed, a similar method was employed when the C of E was originally foisted on Catholic England! And to be fair, when the Church first converted the ancient pagan world.
No - it is conservative Evangelicals who both offer the greatest resistance to the liberal Protestant agenda, yet find the thought of converting to Rome problematic. Why? Some - relatively few - undoubtedly still see Rome as the whore of Babylon: the enemy of true, personal faith, substituting for it a legalistic religion of observances and submission to human authority. In pursuit of truth, they go on arguing and splintering into ever smaller factions: the classic experience of sincere Protestantism.
To a great many more, however, the Catholic Church is simply outside their experience. They have no great animus against the Church; many will have admired the late Pope John Paul as a man of obvious vision, faith and holiness; but the Catholic church , certainly in England and Wales, has been very diffident about reaching out to them, partly out of an historic fear of rocking the boat, but largely because the same is true of Catholics - they have little knowledge of what happens outside, despite the obvious debt much current Catholic liturgical practice and thought owe to the Reformed traditions. As an organist, a lady recently approached me after mass to tell me that she loved the "old hymns" like the one I had just played - Charles Wesley's "Love divine, all loves excelling", and that she had heard that Protestants had started singing that sort of devotional hymn too! I hadn't the heart to tell her they had been singing it ever since one of them wrote it. This is of course anecdotal, but illustrative of the sort of religious isolationism common in England, and I suspect in the US too. It is not something our fellow Christians in say, Pakistan, suffer from - they will have a very full awareness of the doctrine and practice of Islam. The Catholic church itself has to reach out, both clergy and laity, if it is to reclaim what is its own.
The second point follows from this: if we are looking to convert whole bodies rather than individuals, there is no harm in adopting or adapting practices compatible with Catholic truth. The wording of the Book of Common Prayer and its modern derivatives requires very little alteration to render them unambiguously Catholic. I hope the Pope's advisers are looking at this.
Already in the encyclical Mystici Corporis of 1943 the thought [participation of the faithful] finds expression. In that part where the eucharistic sacrifice is discussed we find: 'The sacred ministers represent not only our Saviour but also the whole Mystical Body and each one of its members; in that sacrifice the faithful are associated in the common prayer and supplication and, through the hands of the priest, whose voice alone renders the Immaculate Lamb present on the altar, they themselves offer to the Eternal Father this most pleasing Victim of praise and propitiation for the needs of the whole Church.'
Now solitude is of the greatest use for this purpose, inasmuch as it stills our passions, and gives room for principle to cut them out of the soul. [For just as animals are more easily controlled when they are stroked, lust and anger, fear and sorrow, the soul's deadly foes, are better brought under the control of reason, after being calmed by inaction, and where there is no continuous stimulation.] Let there then be such a place as ours, separate from intercourse with men, that the tenour of our exercises be not interrupted from without. Pious exercises nourish the soul with divine thoughts. What state can be more blessed than to imitate on earth the choruses of angels? to begin the day with prayer, and honour our Maker with hymns and songs? As the day brightens, to betake ourselves, with prayer attending on it throughout, to our labours, and to sweeten our work with hymns, as if with salt? Soothing hymns compose the mind to a cheerful and calm state. Quiet, then, as I have said, is the first step in our sanctification; the tongue purified from the gossip of the world; the eyes unexcited by fair colour or comely shape; the ear not relaxing the tone or mind by voluptuous songs, nor by that especialmischief, the talk of light men and jesters. Thus the mind, saved from dissipation from without, and not through the senses thrown upon the world, falls back upon itself, and thereby ascends to the contemplation of God. [When that beauty shines about it, it even forgets its very nature; it is dragged down no more by thought of food nor anxiety concerning dress; it keeps holiday from earthly cares, and devotes all its energies to the acquisition of the good things which are eternal, and asks only how may be made to flourish in it self-control and manly courage, righteousness and wisdom, and all the other virtues, which, distributed tinder these heads, properly enable the good man to discharge all the duties of life.]
3. The study of inspired Scripture is the chief way of finding our duty, for in it we find both instruction about conduct and the lives of blessed men, delivered in writing, as some breathing images of godly living, for the imitation of their good works. Hence, in whatever respect each one feels himself deficient, devoting himself to this imitation, he finds, as from some dispensary, the due medicine for his ailment. He who is enamoured of chastity dwells upon the history of Joseph, and from him learns chaste actions, finding him not only possessed of self-command over pleasure, but virtuously-minded in habit. He is taught endurance by Job [who, not only when the circumstances of life began to turn against him, and in one moment he was plunged from wealth into penury, and from being the father of fair children into childlessness, remained the same, keeping the disposition of his soul all through uncrushed, but was not even stirred to anger against the friends who came to comfort him, and trampled on him, and aggravated his troubles.] Or should he be enquiring how to be at once meek and great-hearted, hearty against sin, meek towards men, he will find David noble in warlike exploits, meek and unruffled as regards revenge on enemies. Such, too, was Moses rising up with great heart upon sinners against God, but with meek soul bearing their evil-speaking against himself. [Thus, generally, as painters, when they are painting from other pictures, constantly look at the model, and do their best to transfer its lineaments to their own work, so too must he who is desirous of rendering himself perfect in all branches of excellency, keep his eyes turned to the lives of the saints as though to living and moving statues, and make their virtue his own by imitation.
4. Prayers, too, after reading, find the soul fresher, and more vigorously stirred by love towards God. And that prayer is good which imprints a clear idea of God in the soul; and the having God established in self by means of memory is God's indwelling. Thus we become God's temple, when the continuity of our recollection is not severed by earthly cares; when the mind is harassed by no sudden sensations; when the worshipper rites from all things and retreats to God, drawing away all the feelings that invite him to self-indulgence, and passes his time in the pursuits that lead to virtue.]