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INTRODUCTION.

God’s attributes being infinite and our intellects limited and also darkened by the fall, we see these attributes only in part and “as afar off and through a glass.” In contemplating His awful sanctity, we are overwhelmed with fear and forget His ineffable mercy. Our views are also greatly influenced by our natural temperaments, whether joyous or sad, and change with our environments and moods.

As the blue firmament is ever the same, so is the great God Himself—“the King of Ages immortal and invisible, without change or shadow of vicissitude.” But as the clouds that hang as veils of the sanctuary are movable and variegated, now dark and gloomy and again brilliant in silver or gold, now opening into vistas of the firmament above and again closing in darkness, except when arrows of light pierce them and show their outlines, so are we variable and inconstant and need spiritual direction adapted to our peculiar wants. The naturally joyous, hopeful vi and sometimes presumptuous, need that wholesome fear of the Lord which is “the beginning of wisdom.” The constitutionally severe, scrupulous and almost despairing, need to remember God’s tender paternal character and to learn that “His mercies are above all His works.” To such souls this little book must prove invaluable. Its theology is sound, as the various episcopal approbations testify. Hence its statements can be entirely trusted. The fact that it has passed through twenty editions in French is sufficient evidence of its appreciation in that country. May it continue its holy mission of light and consolation and joy in this country and act like the angelic messenger to Peter in prison, liberating the soul from the chains of doubt and despondency, illuminating her by the light of God’s holy truth and bringing her out of the darksome prison into the company of the confiding, prayerful, joyous saints of God.

✠P. J. RYAN.

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