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CHAPTER I.

THE CONFIDENCE IN GOD OF A REPENTANT SINNER,

FEAR and love God (Levit. xxv. 17, 30; 1 Pet. ii. 17), With all watchfulness keep thy heart (Proverbs iv. 2:)): in all places take heed that thou keep it pure; be always solicitous lest thou offend God by sin. But yet if thou hast sinned, distrust not His mercy. How ever many and enormous may have been thy sins, thou shouldst never despair of pardon. Hast thou fallen? arise, turn to the Physician of thy soul, and the bowels of His pity will be open to thee. Hast thou fallen again! again arise, groan and cry out; and the mercy of thy Redeemer will receive thee. Hast thou fallen three, four times, yea oftener? arise again, weep, sigh, humble thyself; and thy God will not desert thee.

He never has despised nor will He ever despise a contrite heart (Psalm l. 19); He never has rejected and never will reject those who fly to Him in true 2repentance, If thou cease not to arise, He will not cease to receive thee. Wherefore, if thou shalt have fallen a hundred, yea even a thousand times within the space of one short hour, do thou arise as many times as thou hast fall on, with the holy hope of pardon; and arising give thanks to thy Lord, who has not permitted thee to fall more grievously, or to lie longer in perdition. And even if, after receiving innumerable gifts of grace, thou hast denied thy God (though far be it from thee), and hast trodden under foot His Sacraments; do thou humbly acknowledge thy guilt, detest thy wickedness, heartily determine to sin no more, firmly resolve to lead a better life, and feel secure of pardon.

For thy malice or thy infirmity cannot be so great as to surpass the mercy of God, which knows neither measure nor limit. God is omnipotent; He remits in one moment innumerable myriads of sins with the same facility as one single sin. He is most gracious; He is most willing to spare thee, to be propitious to thee; if thou wilt humble thyself, if thou wilt abstain from sin, and amend thy life. Therefore let not the memory of past sins disturb thee; but let these words of the Apostle console thee: “And such some of you were; but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and in the spirit of our God.” (1 Cor. vi. 11.)

Thou canst not put too much confidence in His goodness, if only thou dost not abuse it by sinning more easily.

Oh! if thou knewest how ready is Christ our Lord to 3 appease God the Father by His innocence, and to reconcile to Him His elect, who have sinned through human frailty, and resolve for the future to avoid sin! He is our advocate and pleads for us; that repenting of evil, we may always obtain a most ready pardon. For thus saith the elect disciple, St. John: “If any man sin, we have an advocate, Jesus Christ the Just; and he is the propitiation for our sins ” (1 St. John ii. 1, 2).

Therefore, let not thy crimes make thee faint hearted, but humble: since them dost indeed lute that which is evil, and desirest to please God.

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