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back into the abyss of nothingness, which theo-
logians call a perpetual redemption.

5. Mercy to mankind, going beyond mercy to angels

(1) Fall. (2) Incarnation. (3) Iteration of
Sacrament of Penance.

6. Mercy to sinners

(1) Meekness does not let His anger break out,

is not disgusted.

(2) Patience waits for sinners, dissembles, tires

out our passions by longsuffering.

(3) ( Benignity always ready to receive; no num-
ber of sins, or kind, repel Him, yet think
what siii is.

(4) Clemency dtra condignum in hell.

7. Mercy to the good, whom St. Paul calls vessels of


(1) Anyhow greater than to sinners.

(2) Ways 1. Adoption. 2. Protection against

evil spirits. 3. Affability. 4. Punishments
in this life. 5. Magnificence of gifts, conso-
lations, and augmentations of grace.

(3) Unspeakableness of heaven and beatific vision

at last.
III. Special adoration of God's Mercy.

1. Picture of mercy (1) In hell. (2) In heaven.
(3) The whole being of Purgatory. (4) Spread
like the waters of an ocean over earth. (5)

14 PART I.

Gloriousness of it in God Himself, in the depths
of the Unspeakable Godhead.

2. Mary a vessel gleaming full of mercy, without

judgment, that men might fall in love with its
beauty and adore it in her it is apart, not as
in the Sacred Heart of Jesus ; her consequent
devotion to this attribute.

3. So take the hint from this, and daily get her to

worship the mercy of God and bless it for us.
Spirits gazing on the Divine attribute of mercy
unreckoned centuries of eternity go by still it seems
ever new, ever wonderful, ever fresh, as the dilated
spirit drinks in the view. Will the time ever come,
when we, imprisoned here amid the weariness of life,
the captives of our own offensive littleness, the victims
of pain, age, and want, shall be ourselves a beauty, a
bright spot, a notable magnificence, thus, in the full
blaze of the golden heavens, worshipping with the
strong thrills of an immortal ecstasy the mercy of the
Holy and Everlasting God, the Simple and Undivided


We want many things of God : we shall never
cease to want many things of Him ; when we possess
Him in the incredible happiness of our grand eternity,
though we shall possess Him, we shall still want Him.
If He were to speak to me now, and I had to say

* Feast of the Precious Blood, 1860.


the one thing, only one, which I most wanted of Him,
could I hesitate in my answer for one moment ? Father!
I want mercy. If I think of the past I want mercy ;
of the present, mercy ; of the future, mercy ; of eternity,
mercy. St. Paul, prisoner at Rome, writes to the Ephe-
sians, and calls God God who is rich in mercy : this
name of God is exceedingly sweet ; it sings in my ear
like an angel's song : beautiful things came out of that
marvellous mind of St. Paul's : none ever more beauti-
ful than this God who is rich in mercy.
I. What is it for God to be rich. To be rich is to

have superfluity, more than we want. God more

than He wants ! What a thought !

1. The immensity of His treasures.

2. The variety of them.

3. Their delightfulness to creatures. Can God pos-

sibly create two things more insatiable than the
spirit of an angel and the soul of a man ?

4. His liberality.

5. But in mercy, St. Paul hints, eminently, unspeak-

ably, unimaginably rich.

II. The inside of the treasury of God.

1. Creation what a vastness it is, what an outpour-

ing it was !

2. Grace, its beauty and abundance.

3. Mary with her sorrows, joys, glories, and dear


4. Jesus, with His immensities of Bethlehem, Naza-

reth, and Calvary.

5. The unsearchable magnificence of His own ever

blessed Self.

III. Mercy sweetening life.

1. Are* we in trouble about our past life? Hark,


how sweet that apostolic voice ! Listen, it is an
angel singing, Rich in mercy !

2. Trouble about present vileness? The very wild

flowers from the earth breathe forth the words,
the silence tingles into a sound, and articulates,
Rich in mercy. It is like one of those beams of
God which sometimes fall athwart the darkness
of our prayer.

3. Trouble about those we love, whom we have long

prayed for, and who seem past prayer ? Rich in
mercy ! Blessed be St. Paul for that lucky word,
or rather, Blessed be the Holy Ghost for that
tender inspiration !

4. Trouble about our dead, whose faults come perti-

naciously to mind ? Rich in mercy !

5. A death to die, and a judgment to go through?

These are panics such as to be almost unbeliev-
able yet they are infallible: Rich in mercy.
Yes ! in a torture of believing love, we cry, it
is the utterance of our human faith, Rich in


IV. We often talk of a thing we know till it strikes us
that we do not know it. Familiarity has a way
of making things strange to us. What is mercy ?
What an unanswerable question ! but let us try
to answer it.

1. It is all the wants of the creature satisfied in one.

2. It is all his difficulties answered and turned into


3. It is all the sweetnesses of God put into one.

4. It is the beautifulness of God to us : (1) Power

become gentle. (2) Wisdom dissolved into kind-
ness. (3) Magnificence made tender. (4) Justice


grown indulgent. (5) Love's delight in us,
fidelity to us, inability to do without us.
5. Oh no ! mercy is far jnore than all this ; look
up into God, wait awhile till your eyes get
accustomed to the blaze, look up to His highest
heights, gaze into His deepest depths there
now, you see mercy. Oh, how unutterably
beautiful! and you may read the new name
God gave to mercy and when He gave it the
songs of the angels thundered round the throne
as they had never done before Thou shalt call
His name Jesus ; for He shall save His people
from their sins.

All this is incredible: it is incredible; but faith
manages to believe many incredible things. If all this
be true, what becomes of the justice and sanctity of
God? I do not know, I cannot think, I must not ques-
tion. Sin is encouraged? I hope not ; but if men take
scandal with the justice of God, no wonder they take
scandal with the mercy of God : for it is more exces-
sive, more unexpected, more out of place, more unac-
countable. God must see to it. God must provide.
I grant it is a difficulty, a miracle, a secret, a mystery ;
but to faith one phrase, which St. Peter invented, and
which I will put alongside of that word of St. Paul's on
which I have been commenting, one phrase unlocks the
whole, answers the whole, illuminates the whole, the
whole Church is sounding it to-day as through a silver
trumpet : The Precious Blood !


18 PART I.


Each one's life is a miracle of mercies : like the lives
of the Old Testament Saints and patriarchs.
I. The multitude of God's mercies.

1. God is not distracted by the numbers of His


2. The continual outpouring of His mercies upon


3. What a mercy from God must be like ; think

then of their multitude.

II. The variety of God's mercies, like vernal and

autumnal woods.

1. Different to different persons.

2. No two of the same person's mercies are the same.

3. Varieties, slow and sudden, unasked and long

prayed for, silent and loud, direct and indirect,
secret and public.

III. The way in which He does them.

1. As if laying Himself under an obligation instead

of conferring one.

2. For the purpose of gaining our love.

3. In such a way as to make us feel more free with

Him instead of less free.

IV. The way they are mingled with sorrows.

1. They come before sorrows to make us better able

to bear them.

2. The sorrow is always less raw than it seemed as if

it inevitably must be.

3. They follow like the rain when the lightning has

come: then be on the watch for His mercies;


as the flower which the hot sun has caused to
droop, when the rain comes, lifts up its colored
eye to heaven, and breathes sweet odors on the

V. Their perseverance.

1. They do not cease because of our ingratitude and


2. They do not wear out like human kindnesses.

3. They multiply as we grow older.

VI. Their sweetness.

1. Special sweetness in the circumstances and adap-

tations of each.

2. Timely sweetness always in season only God's

kindness is always seasonablehuman kindness
is often harsh for want of this.

3. Extra sweetness, more than needed or promised,

or than is natural ; every mercy of God is a
very supernatural thing.

VII. Conclusion.

1. What a picture of God it gives us ! He so loves


2. Also what a picture of ourselves, yet what a joy

to have such a God as ours.

3. Yet all this is only a shadow of the mercies of


Yet earth's mercies end in heaven's mercies. How
many secret mercies of each one of you is but the
beginning of a gladness and a glory that shall be
eternal. Oh let us go home and think of our good
God, and weep secret tears of joy over the beauty and
the pleasantness, over the patience and the plenty,
over the freedom and the kindliness, of our Father's
exceeding goodness.



The immensity of the Majesty of God, and so the
dreadfulness of offending Him, and the unspeakable
wonder of His being so patient and still under it all.
London at this hour.
I. God's forbearance generally.

1. With individuals, nations, and the world.

2. His silence.

3. His continuance of blessings, and so seeming


4. His forbearance lasting even through a quiet


5. Then the awakening.

II. His forbearance with our own selves ; which none

but we can know, for none else know the depth
of our own badness.

1. The graces heaped upon us.

2. Our relapses and fresh rebellions.

3. Continual hourly new forgivenesses.

4. Negligence in His service.

5. Poorness and ungenerosity of it.

III. Our present state.

1. We on earth many less guilty in hell.

2. God's present love of us.

3. The reason of this because He sees us in Christ.

4. Our resolutions for holiness.

5. Present practice for the rest of Lent Devotion

to the Passion.

Shut out the world from our hearts, even while
working for the world with our hands catch His


voice hear the dropping of His Precious Blood His
low sighs, not so much of suffering as of love by
Easter we may kiss His wounded feet.



I. His slowness to anger.

1. Number of our offences.

2. Increase of graces.

3. Delay of punishment.

4. Gentleness of punishment.

5. Even when punishing He often is not angry.

II. His disinterested sweetness in His disappointments

with us.

1. As if His glory was nothing to Him.

2. What He cannot get in one way He tries to get

in another.

3. If He fails He will not give it up.

4. He acts as if He had made a mistake in asking

too much.

5. He does not make things decisive, as if He said,

Well, now try this Cross, my child.

III. His incredible allowances, and the interpretations

of His wisdom.

1. His knowledge of us as our Creator, fountain of

millions of mercies, which would seem foolish
to the sharp-eyed blindness of the world.

2. He sees no fault when we often see much.

3. What He sees in secret all goes to extenuate our


4. He sees how much are stupidities well meant.

22 PART I.

5. He sets such a value upon efforts. No mother is
so blind as the all-seeing-God.

IV. His marvellous indulgence.

1. Evil ways less heavy in His scales than in those

of man.

2. While good weighs far more heavily.

V. His own astonishing placability.

And all this because He is the Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ.



Is there any one present who does not wish to change
his life ? However good, he must be in a sad delusion.
At this present moment where should we be, if we had
our due? In eternal punishment, for sin, and through
the absence of grace to which we have had no title.
If we could always think this thought, how changed
our lives would be !
I. The benignity of God is what has saved us and

it is the characteristic of His benignity always to

be leading us to penance.

1. At last it overcomes our hardness, by its very

patience and forbearance.

2. Were there less benignity, penance ever being

accepted Avould be simply incredible.

3. It makes the penance not only possible, but even

sweet, by supernatural aids.


4. Think of the punishment of resisting such a

benignity, and the reward of obeying it.

5. It is because it is benignity that it presses

penance, because it knows we cannot be saved
without it.

So then penance is necessary to salvation look at it
as we will.

II. Practice.

1. Have we ever done worthy penance for our sins?

2. Anything like worthy penance ?

3. Any penance at all?

4. Are we going to do any ?

5. What steps are we going to take ?

III. That I leave to yourselves: only I would urge

upon you the three grand helps, and not helps
only, but facilities also, of penance.

1. Continual remembrance of our sins.

2. Continual remembrance of His Passion.

3. Continual remembrance of an undoubting faith

in. hell. The devil's worst and most fatal
preparation for the coming of Antichrist is the
weakening of men's belief in eternal punish-
ment. Were they the last words I might ever
say to you, nothing should I wish to say to you
with more emphasis than this, that next to the
thought of the Precious Blood, there is no
thought in all your faith more precious or more
needful for you than the thought of Eternal

* Fourth Sunday in Lent, 1863. This was the last occasion but
one on which Father Faber preached.

24 PART I.





Many things in life are questionable : but this at
least is unquestionable : here we are all agreed.

I. If there be one thing more certain than another

it is that we must not go into the eternal fires
of hell : this is beyond controversy.

1. No difficulties in religion are to be thought of in

comparison of this necessity.

2. No sacrifices are too great to be made to ensure this.

3. No length of efforts is too long to be sustained in

order to escape this appalling doom.
Hence we must take religion as we find it : we must
accept God on His own terms.

II. The many beautiful descriptions of God and of

our Saviour in the Bible ; none seems to me
so beautiful as that one in Isaias xlii. : The
bruised reed He shall not break, and smoking
flax He shall not quench.

1. Observe that the Father says of our Lord's

Sacred Heart, My soul delighteth in Him: I
have given My spirit upon Him ; then after-
wards, The bruised reed He shall not break,
and smoking flax He shall not quench.

2. Then our Lord in St. Matthew xii., hurt at their

wanting to stop His doing good on the Sabbath,
tells those that He heals not to make Him known
and the Evangelist quotes Isaias, and says our
Lord did this to fulfil that prophecy.


3. The beauty of the Three Years' Ministry comes
from this : the woman at the well ; the woman
taken in adultery ; the great clear shining love
of the great apostles, even that prince of divine
lovers, that model of heavenly enthusiasts, St.
Peter, once it was only smoking flax ; that con-
flagration of love, which has set the Church on
fire for centuries, the Heart of Magdalen, once
it was only smoking flax ; that furnace in which
millions of hearts are for ever being molten, the
heart of Paul, once it was flax that smoked so
little and so feebly that it needed the Eye of God
to see that it smoked at all.
III. The ways in which this is true of God.

1. The immense value He sets on the slightest

smouldering of piety and love in our souls ; how
He nurses beginnings ; how He coaxes fears and
entices relapses ; we read of no feast days among
the angels, but those to celebrate the return of
sinners to their Father and their God.

2. In falls the huge allowances He makes ; Jesus

even gave scandal by it ; slow to anger, swift to
pardon ; long in leaving, instantaneous in coming
back ; nay, effort is always victory in His sense,
even when it is defeat.

3. He sees good where we do not see it ; it is greater

to Him than it even looks to us, and He makes
more of it ; St. Teresa even says that often what
seems faults to us are not faults at all to Him.
Comfort of this. Surely without offending against
humility we may trust we have some bruised pur-
poses, ah, sadly bruised, of good, some smoking
flax, to the eyes of Jesus visible, of divine love !

26 . PART I.

Now, look at ourselves, at the kindest amongst us,
how different we are: we go about life doing just the
reverse, breaking the bruised, quenching the smoking ;
our very love is ungainly and unloving, and our charity
such a poor miserable shadow of what it is in God ;
we are so clumsy, so awkward, so harsh, so dry, so stiff,
so pedantic, so unaccommodating, so humiliatingly un-
tender and ungraceful.

And what a miracle the opposite is in God! how
the vastness of His immensity can leave us so at ease
and at large ! the terrific extremity of His power can
be so smooth, so soft, so light the frightening exac-
tions of His spotless holiness, so kindly, so forbearing,
so easily contented, so sweetly unimperious. Oh what
an incredible God ! what must heaven be simply as the
place where God's goodness has its own unhindered
and eternal way ! See how beautiful this is the ex-
treme indulgence of an earthly mother has to come out
of the very foolishness of her love ! the far more extreme
indulgence of our Heavenly Father would be impossible
to anything but the boundless wisdom of a God. Ah
Lord ! with such a God as Thee it will not be hard to
save our souls.


I. The beauty and consolation of this idea.

1. It destroys the sense of loneliness in the world ;

2. Gives a new and consoling view to afflictions and

chastisements ;


3. Makes the sense of weakness more endurable ;

4. Enables us to trust God for problems we cannot


5. Sense of relationship with all our fellowmen.

II. How it enters into all spiritual actions.

1. In sin.

2. In sacraments.

3. In aiming at perfection.

4. In temptations.

5. In suffering.

III. How God is our Father, and proves Himself so.

1. In the ordinary events and course of life.

2. In protection from evils which we shall only know

at the day of doom.

3. In answers to prayer.

4. In doing good to those we love.

5. In forbearance, and the continuance of grace.

IV. How He is our Father.

1. Not nominally, but really.

2. This comes out of creation.

(1) Marvellous sensible love.

(2) Identity of interests.

(3) Reflection of Self.

3. The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

4. He has made Himself still more our Father by

covenant ; and He effects what He promises.

5. Additional ties of grace and glory.

Happy sunshine of this thought (1) more trust in
Him ; (2) more freedom with Him ; (3) more gene-
rosity towards Him.

28 PART I.



There is one wish ruling over all mankind, and it is
a wish which is never in any single instance gratified ;
each man wishes to be his own master. It is a boy's
beatific vision, and it remains the grown-up man's
ruling passion to the last. But the fact is, life is a
service ; the only question is, whom we will serve ?
I. What it is to become the property of our own selves.

1. Habits of sin which imperiously rule us even to

pain and to death.

2. Misery of many wants, which gnaw us if we do

not satisfy them.

3. Continual mortification of not getting our own


4. The few ruling passions so as often to upset


5. There is not a vestige of liberty left to us.
II. The property of the world.

1. Success is a perpetual struggle what absence of


2. Unbearable tyranny of human respect.

3. False promises of worldly pleasures.

4. Total want of sympathy, and kindliness in the


5. Way in which all about us, reputation, privacy,

time, passes from under our own jurisdiction.
Moreover those two services make us in effect the
property of Satan.


III. The property of God. "I belong to God what is
all else to me ! " Blessing of this indifference to us ;
most unhappiness is from want of indifference.

1. We belong to Him by all titles; but He will

have us give ourselves to Him of ourselves.

2. In His service every hardship has its own

reward, every sorrow its special consolation.

3. In sorrow the sweetness,

(1) As coming from our Father.

(2) As deeply compassionated by Him.

(3) As eternally rewarded.

4. In joy,

(1) That it is pleasing to God.

(2) Of a heavenly character, and

(3) Leaves the soul at rest.

5. In work,

(1) It is for God.

(2) No fretfulness about success.

(3) Full of spirit and courage.

6. In weariness,

(1) Sweet sense of fatigue for God.

(2) How He rests us with beautiful soft thoughts
and visitations.

(3) He is no taskmaster.

7. In death,

(1) Full of solemnity but not of terror.

(2) A beginning, not an end.

(3) Tremulous joy of increasing nearness to God.
And then He takes His property back again, dearest

of Masters, and we go to Him, and then and not before,
and there and not elsewhere, we are at rest; for His
bosom is the weary man's own house his very own
delightful home!

30 PART I.



A soul of mediocrity : its unexciting commonplace-
ness to us.
I. God's view of it.

1. Intense interest simply because it is a goul.

2. Eternal choice of it, and mysterious preference

of it to other possible souls.

3. Desire to have its eternal companionship, as if

an augmentation of His glory.

4. A certain peculiar glory destined for it.

5. It represents some definite peculiar beauty and

excellence in God Himself.

II. His behavior to it.

1. Every single perfection exercised for it, and

livelily interested in it.

2. The yearning character of His immense love for it.

3. The way in which He interests all other crea-

tures in it.

4. His separate devotion to that one soul.

5. The devices and condescensions with which He

makes love to it.

III. The Three Persons. '

1. The Eternal Father

(1) Is stirred in all the abysses of His Paternity;

(2) Would give His Son a second time for its
salvation ;

(3) Receives it, as a returning prodigal, again
and again.

2. The Eternal Son.


(1) The immensity of His wisdom makes Him

love it all the more.

(2) Ready to be crucified a second time for that

one soul alone.

(3) Continual communication of Himself to it in

grace and sacraments.
3. The Eternal Spirit.

(1) His immense Will bent on that one soul.

(2) His faithful, pathetic pleadings with it, as

if almost there might be some unhappiness
in God.

(3) How tenderly His omnipotence handles that

single soul.

So it is as if the Holy Trinity could not bear to part
with the creature who had been an eternal idea in His
mind, an eternal love in His affections.

And all this is for my one soul my soul juet as it is
now my soul just as I know it to be ! Surely, I must
either lose my faith, or die of love.




Many persons go about the world without in the
least seeming to see anything strange or preternatural
in life ; nay, none of us realize how much is involved
in common things and everyday expressions. God's
love of us we take it for granted let us look into it.
I. How do we know God loves us?
1. It is not our own loveliness.

32 PAET I.

2. Nor the state of the world, with sickness, death,


3. We find a difficulty in religion, from the facility

of sin, chance of hell, &c.

4. Yet there is something in our nature which refuses

to let us believe in the possibility of the Creator
not loving His creatures.

II. Why does He love us ?

1. Not for our merit's sake.

2. Not for any dignity or intrinsic worth we have.

3. Because of His own adorable perfection of infi-

nite love.

III. What kind of a love does He love us with ?

1. The very absence of all worth on our part shows

that His love is a wonderful thing, quite different
from human love.

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