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A Commemoration of our Sins, for which our Conscience doth reproach us, and whereby we have lost all these things.

BUT when thou considerest to what good things and to how great thou hast been by His grace advanced, remember also what good 70things and how great thou hast lost through thy fault, into how evil a state thou hast by thy sins been cast down. Consider with sighing the evil that thou hast done in thy wickedness; think with groaning upon the good things which thou for that evil’s sake hast miserably lost. For what good thing did thy most excellent Creator out of His goodness bestow upon thee; what evil didst thou not render Him, thou that wast nurtured in detestable unrighteousness? By losing the good thou hast deserved the evil, nay by casting away the good thou hast chosen the evil; and losing or rather rejecting the grace of thy Maker, thou hast to thy misery increased His anger. Nor canst thou prove thyself guiltless, when the multitude of thy sins, like a mighty army, encompasseth thee about; here casting in thy teeth the reproach of thy wicked deeds; there bringing forth a store exceeding great of idle and (which deserve a greater condemnation) harmful words spoken by thee; there again displaying the vast mass of thine evil thoughts.

These are those things for whose sake thou hast lost things good beyond all price; for the sake of these hast thou endured to be without the grace of Him that made thee. Groan as thou thinkest upon them, renounce them as thou groanest, condemn them as thou renouncest them, renounce them by changing thy life for a better. Strive inwardly with thyself, lest anon, even for a moment, thou assent to some vanity, whether 71in heart or in tongue or, what hath the greatest condemnation, even in deed. Let there be in thy mind a daily, nay, a continual warfare, lest thou keep any league with thy sins. Strictly examine thyself always, search out the secrets of thy heart, and whatsoever thou findest in thy self that is reprobate, smite it with severe reproofs, throw it down, crush it, root it out, cast it forth, destroy it altogether. Spare not thyself, be not gentle with thyself, but in the morning (that is, in the contemplation of the Last Judgment, for the Last Judgment followeth like the morning light upon the night of this present life) destroy all the ungodly that are in the land (that is, the offences and sins of a worldly conversation) that thou mayest root out from the city of the Lord (which thou oughtest to build within thyself) all wicked doers (that is, all suggestions of the devil, all delights that God hateth, all deadly consentings, all perverse deeds).9494   Ps. ci. 11. The Vulgate has in the morning (A.V. early) for the soon of the Prayer-book version. From all such thou shouldest, as a city of God, be purified, that thy Creator may find and take in possession and continually hold a habitation within thee, wherein He may have pleasure. Be not of those whose obstinacy God Himself seems to lament, saying: There is no man layeth it to heart and saith, What have I done?9595   The quotation is a composite one, from Isa. lvii. 1, and Jer. viii. 6. If they are rejected, because they refused to be ashamed 72for the evil which they have done, and to reprove themselves, wilt thou not take care, in order that thou mayest come soon into the number of the elect, to call thyself to account, to judge thyself, to correct thyself with severe discipline? Consider then diligently in thy meditations the benefits which thy Creator hath bestowed upon thee, wherewith without any merits of thine He hath exalted thee; and call to mind the innumerable evil thoughts words and deeds, wherewith thine unrighteousness unworthily recompensed His kindness, and conceiving great sorrow in thyself, cry aloud, What have I done? I have vexed God, I have provoked my Creator to wrath, I have recompensed His innumerable benefits with innumerable sins.

What have I done? As thou sayest this, smite upon thy breast, utter thy voice in groaning, pour forth thy tears. For if thou weepest not now, when wilt thou weep? If the turning away of the face of God from thee because of thy sins stir thee not to sorrow, let at least the greatness of the torments of hell, which these same sins of thine have provoked, break the hardness of thy heart.

Return then, return, thou wanderer from the right way, unto thy heart, draw thy foot back out of hell, that thou mayest be able to escape the evil things which thou hast deserved and win back the good things whereof thou art justly deprived. For if thou have respect to those things which are evil in thee, thou wilt find that 73thou hast lost all the good things which He had bestowed upon thee. Thou must therefore ever turn thine eyes upon the evils within thee, and especially upon those whereof thy conscience most seriously accuseth thee, that He may turn away His eyes from them. For if thou by a worthy purpose of amendment dost turn away thy sins, He turneth away from them the eyes of His vengeance; but if thou forgettest them, He remembereth them.

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