prised that there were not more, con sidering the malice sinners were ca pable of; that, for his part, he prayed for them; but knowing that God could remedy the mischiefs they did when He pleased, he gave himself no fur ther trouble. That to arrive at such resignation as God requires, we should watch at tentively over all the passions which mingle as well in spiritual things as in those of a grosser nature; that God would give light concerning those passions to those who truly desire to serve Him. That if this was my de sign, viz., sincerely to serve God, I might come to him (Brother Law rence) as often as I pleased, without any fear of being troublesome; but if not, that I ought no more to visit him. That he had always been governed by love, without selfish views; and that having resolved to make the love o f God the end of all his actions, he had found reasons to be well satisfied with his method. That he was pleased when he could take up a straw from the ground for the love of God, seeking Him only, and noth ing else, not even His gifts. That he had been long troubled in mind from a belief that he should be damned; that all the men in the world could not have persuaded him to the contrary; but that he had thus reasoned with himself about it: I en gaged in a religious life only for the love of God, and I have endeavored to act only for Him; whatever be comes of me, whether 1 be lost or saved , I w ill always continue to act purely for the love of God. I shall have this good at least, that till death I shall have done all that is in me to love H im .' That this trouble of mind had lasted four years, during which time he had suffered much; but that at last he had seen that this trouble arose from want of faith, and that since then he had passed his life in perfect libertv and continual joy. That he had placed his sins betwixt him and God, as it were to tell Him that he did not deserve His favors, but that God still continued to bestow them in abundance. That in order to form a habit of conversing with God continually, and referring all we do to Him, we must at first apply to Him with some dili gence; but that after a little care we should find His love inwardly excite us to it without any difficulty. That he expected, after the pleas ant days God had given him, he should have his turn of pain and suf fering; but that he was not uneasy Second Conversation September 28, 1666
about it, knowing very well that as he could do nothing of himself, God would not fail to give him the strength to bear it. That when an occasion of prac tising some virtue offered, he ad dressed himself to God, saying, Lord, I cannot do this unless Thou enablest me; and that then he received strength more than sufficient. That when he had failed in his duty, he only confessed his fault, saying to God, 1 shall never do other wise if Thou leavest me to myself; it is Thou who must hinder my fall ing, and mend what is amiss. That after this he gave himself no further uneasiness about it. That we ought to act with God in the greatest simplicity, speaking to Him frankly and plainly, and im ploring His assistance in our affairs just as they happen. That God never failed to grant it, as he had often experienced. That he had been lately sent into Burgundy to buy the provision of wine for the society, which was a very unwelcome task for him, because he had no turn for business, and because he was lame and could not go about the boat but by rolling himself over the casks.. That, how ever, he gave himself no uneasiness about it, nor about the pufchase of the wine. That he said to God, It was His business h e was about, and that afterwards he found it very well performed. That he had been sent into Auvergne the year before upon the same account; that he could not tell how the matter passed, but that it proved very well. So, likewise, in his business in the kitchen (to which he had naturally a great aversion), having accustomed himself to do everything there for the love of God, and with prayer, upon all occasions, for His grace to do his work well, he had found every thing easy during the fifteen years that he had been employed there. That he was very well pleased with the post he was now in; but that he was as readv to ouit that as the for mer, since he was always pleasing himself in everv condition by doing things for the love of God. That with him the set times of prayer were not different from other times; that he retired to pray, ac cording to the directions of his su perior, but that he did not want such retirement, nor ask for it, because his greatest business did not divert him from God. That as he knew his obligation to love God in all things, and as he endeavored so to do, he had no need of a director to advise him, but that he needed much a confessor to absolve
him. That he was very sensible of his faults, but not discouraged by them'1 that he confessed them to God, but did not plead against Him to excuse them. When he had so done, he peaceably, resumed his usual practice of love and adoration. That in his trouble of mind he had consulted nobody, but knowing only by the light of faith that God was present, he contented himself with directing all his actions to Him, i.e., doing them with a desire to please Him, let what would come of it. That useless thoughts spoil all; that the mischief began there; but that we ought to reject them as soon as we perceived their impertinence to the matter in hand, or our salvation, and return to our communion with God. That at the beginning he had often passed his time appointed for prayer in rejecting wandering thoughts and falling back into them. That he could never regulate his devotion by certain methods as some do. That, neverthe less, at first he had meditated for some time, but afterward that went off in a manner he could give no account of. That all bodily mortifications and other exercises are useless, except as they serve to arrive at the union with God by love; that he had well con sidered this, and found it the short est way to go straight to Him by a continual practice of love and doing all things for His sake. That we ought to make a great difference between the acts of the understanding and those of the w ill; that the first were comparatively of little value, and the others, all. That our only business was to love and de light ourselves in God. That all possible kinds of mortifica tion, if they were void of the love of God, could not efface a single sin. That we ought without anxiety to expect the pardon of our sins from the blood of Jesus Christ, only en deavoring to love Him with all our hearts. That God seemed to have granted the greatest favors to the greatest sinners, as more signal mon uments of His mercy. That the greatest pains or pleasures of this world were not to be com pared with what he had experienced of both kinds in a spiritual state; so that he was careful for nothing and feared nothing, desiring only one thing of God, viz., that he might not offend Him. That he had no scruples, for, said he, when I fail in my duty, I readily acknowledge it, saying, I am used to do so; I shall never do otherwise if / am left to myself. If I fail not, then I give God thanks, acknowledging the strength comes fcom Him. END.
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