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Preface by the Author . . . v
COUNSELS AND PRACTICES SUITABLE FOR THE SOUL’S GUIDANCE FROM THE FIRST ASPIRATION AFTER A DEVOUT LIFE TO THE POINT WHEN IT ATTAINS A CONFIRMED RESOLUTION TO FOLLOW THE SAME.
I. What True Devotion is . . . 1 II. The Nature and Excellence of Devotion . . . 5 III. Devotion is suitable to every Vocation and Profession . . . 8 IV. The Need of a Guide for those Who Would enter upon and advance in the Devout Life . . . 11 V. The First Step must be Purifying the Soul . . . 15 VI. The First Purification, namely, from Mortal Sin . . . 18 VII. The Second Purification, from all Sinful Affections . . . 20 VIII. How to effect this Second Purification . . . 22 IX. First Meditation—Of Creation . . . 24 X. Second Meditation—Of the End for which we were Created . . . 27 XI. Third Meditation—Of the Gifts of God . . . 30 XII. Fourth Meditation—On Sin . . . 32 XIII. Fifth Meditation—On Death . . . 35 XIV. Sixth Meditation—On Judgment . . . 38 XV. Seventh Meditation—Of Hell . . . 41 XVI. Eighth Meditation—On Paradise . . . 43 XVII. Ninth Meditation On the Choice open to you between Heaven and Hell . . . 45 XVIII. Tenth Meditation—How the Soul chooses the Devout Life . . . 48 XIX. How to make a General Confession . . . 51 XX. A hearty Protest made with the object of confirming the Soul’s resolution to serve God, as a conclusion to its Acts of Penitence . . . 53 XXI. Conclusion of this First Purification . . . 56 XXII. The Necessity of Purging away all tendency to Venial Sins . . . 57 XXIII. It is needful to put away all Inclination for Useless and Dangerous Things . . . 60 XXIV. All Evil Inclinations must be purged away . . . 62
CONTAINING SUNDRY COUNSELS AS TO UPLIFTING THE SOUL TO GOD IN PRAYER AND THE USE OF THE SACRAMENTS.
I. The Necessity of Prayer . . . 64 II. A short Method of Meditation. And first, the Presence of God, the First Point of Preparation . . . 68 III. Invocation, the Second Point of Preparation . . . 72 IV. The Third Point of Preparation, representing the Mystery to be meditated to your Imagination . . . 73 V. Considerations, the Second Part of Meditation . . . 74 VI. The Third Part of Meditation, Affections and Resolutions . . . 75 VII. The Conclusion and Spiritual Bouquet . . . 77 VIII. Some Useful Hints as to Meditation . . . 78 IX. Concerning Dryness in Meditation . . . 81 X. Morning Prayer . . . 83 XI. Evening Prayer and Examination of Conscience . . . 85 XII. On Spiritual Retirement . . . 87 XIII. Aspirations, Ejaculatory Prayer and Holy Thoughts . . . 90 XIV. Of Holy Communion, and how to join in it . . . 98 XV. Of the other Public Offices of the Church . . . 101 XVI. How the Saints are united to us . . . 103 XVII. How to Hear and Read God’s Word . . . 105 XVIII. How to receive Inspirations . . . 107 XIX. On Confession . . . 111 XX. Of Frequent Communion . . . 116 XXI. How to Communicate . . . 120
CONTAINING COUNSELS CONCERNING THE PRACTICE OF VIRTUE.
I. How to select that which we should chiefly Practise . . . 124 II. The same Subject continued . . . 131 III. On Patience . . . 136 IV. On Exterior Humility . . . 142 V. On Interior Humility . . . 147 VI. Humility makes us rejoice in our own Abjection . . . 153 VII. How to combine due care for a Good Reputation with Humility . . . 158 VIII. Gentleness towards others and Remedies against Anger . . . 163 IX. On Gentleness towards Ourselves . . . 169 X. We must attend to the Business of Life carefully, but without Eagerness or Over-anxiety . . . 173 XI. On Obedience . . . 176 XII. On Purity . . . 180 XIII. How to maintain Purity . . . 182 XIV. On Poverty of Spirit amid Riches . . . 185 XV. How to exercise real Poverty, although actually Rich . . . 188 XVI. How to possess a rich Spirit amid real Poverty . . . 193 XVII. On Friendship: Evil and Frivolous Friendship . . . 196 XVIII. On Frivolous Attachments . . . 198 XIX. Of Real Friendship . . . 201 XX. Of the Difference between True and False Friendship . . . 205 XXI. Remedies against Evil Friendships . . . 208 XXII. Further Advice concerning Intimacies . . . 212 XXIII. On the Practice of Bodily Mortification . . . 215 XXIV. Of Society and Solitude . . . 223 XXV. On Modesty in Dress . . . 227 XXVI. Of Conversation; and, first, how to Speak of God . . . 229 XXVII. Of Unseemly Words, and the Respect due to Others . . . 231 XXVIII. Of Hasty Judgments . . . 234 XXIX. On Slander . . . 241 XXX. Further Counsels as to Conversation . . . 249 XXXI. Of Amusements and Recreations: what are allowable . . . 252 XXXII. Of Forbidden Amusements . . . 254 XXXIII. Of Balls, and other Lawful but Dangerous Amusements . . . 255 XXXIV. When to use such Amusements rightly . . . 259 XXXV. We must be Faithful in Things Great and Small . . . 260 XXXVI. Of a Well-balanced, Reasonable Mind . . . 264 XXXVII. Of Wishes . . . 267 XXXVIII. Counsels to Married People . . . 270 XXXIX. The Sanctity of the Marriage Bed . . . 280 XL. Counsels to Widows . . . 281 XLI. One Word to Maidens . . . 289
CONTAINING NEEDFUL COUNSELS CONCERNING SOME ORDINARY TEMPTATIONS.
I. We must not trifle with the Words of worldly Wisdom . . . 290 II. The need of a Good Courage . . . 294 III. Of Temptations, and the difference between experiencing them and consenting to them . . . 296 IV. Two striking illustrations of the same . . . 300 V. Encouragement for the Tempted Soul . . . 302 VI. When Temptation and Delectation are Sin . . . 304 VII. Remedies for Great Occasions . . . 307 VIII. How to resist Minor Temptations . . . 310 IX. How to remedy Minor Temptations . . . 311 X. How to strengthen the Heart against Temptation . . . 313 XI. Anxiety of Mind . . . 315 XII. Of Sadness and Sorrow . . . 319 XIII. Of Spiritual and Sensible Consolations, and how to receive them . . . 323 XIV. Of Dryness and Spiritual Barrenness . . . 333 XV. In Illustration . . . 340
CONTAINING COUNSELS AND PRACTICES FOR RENEWING AND CONFIRMING THE SOUL IN DEVOTION.
I. It is well yearly to renew Good Resolutions by means of the following Exercises . . . 346 II. Meditation on the Benefit conferred on us by God in calling us to His Service . . . 348 III. Examination of the Soul as to its Progress in the Devout Life . . . 351 IV. Examination of the Soul’s Condition as regards God . . . 354 V. Examination of your Condition as regards yourself . . . 357 VI. Examination of the Soul’s Condition as regards our Neighbour . . . 358 VII. Examination as to the Affections of the Soul . . . 359 VIII. The Affections to be excited after such Examination . . . 361 IX. Reflections suitable to the renewal of Good Resolutions . . . 362 X. First Consideration—Of the Worth of Souls . . . 363 XI. Second Consideration—On the Excellence of Virtue . . . 364 XII. The Example of the Saints . . . 366 XIII. The Love which Jesus Christ bears to us . . . 367 XIV. The Eternal Love of God for us . . . 369 XV. General Affections which should result from these Considerations, and Conclusion of the Exercise . . . 370 XVI. The Impressions which should remain after this Exercise . . . 372 XVII. An Answer to Two Objections which may be made to this Book . . . 373 XVIII. Three Important and Final Counsels . . . 375
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