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§ 1. The thought of death.

REMAIN united to God in perfect peace whatever may befall thee. For by this means thon wilt lead a life pleasing to God here, and at length pass hence by a holy death. Thou wilt die in the grace and friendship of God; and thy death will be the entrance into true life, according to the promise of the Lord Jesus, who saith, “He that believeth in Me, although he be dead, shall live: and every one that liveth and believeth in Me, shall not die for ever” (St. John xi. 25, 26). Christ also will gently whisper these or the like words to thy soul as it issues forth from the prison-house of the body; “I am thy salvation. I thy Creator, thy Redeemer, and thy Lover, have sought thee and found thee through the agonies of death; thou shalt be ever with me, fear not.” In this manner will the Lord thy God then console thee if thou art a man of good and resigned will.

Wherefore let not the remembrance of death immoderately sadden thee, but let it rather bring thee joy, as it rejoiced a certain holy virgin,88   St. Gertrude. who said to God; Lord, when will my body (destroyed by 200Thee) at length return to dust and my soul be reunited to Thee its source! She certainly desired death and had patience with life. Think not anxiously by what manner of death thou wilt pass hence; but commit thyself entirely and securely to the disposal and will of God.

And if death be not perhaps desirable to thee, let it be at least endurable. Say to the Lord, “Thy will be done.” Jesus thy King by dying prepared the way for thee and made it easy; follow humbly where He has gone before. Even if thou art fearful and terrified, persevere still in holy hope and trust in thy good Lord, who willeth to act towards thee not as a severe Judge, but as a merciful Father; and who Himself (as we have said above,) chose to be fearful and sorrowful before His Death, that He might console thee in thy fear and sadness. Offer to Him, to His eternal praise, thy sadness united to His; and commend thy death to Him in union with His Death. If thou lovest and fearest God, death will bring thee in numerable benefits. When thou shalt have passed through this life, thou wilt assuredly be no more stained by sin, no more wilt thou offend God, nor will this corruptible body be any longer an impediment in thy way.


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