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tyrant? We seem like those unhappy women devoted with passionate attachment to some ruffian, who devours and gambles away all that they possess, and moreover ill-uses them, while they still continue madly in love, and follow him in miserable subjection and bondage.

To sum up all that has been said : If it is plain by so many reasons, by so many examples, and by so much experience, that the rest and happiness which we all seek are not to be found in the world but in GOD, why do we not seek them in GOD? S. Augustine gives this advice in few words, saying, “Compass sea and land, and go whithersoever thou wilt, for wherever thou art thou wilt be miserable, if thou goest not to GOD."

CHAPTER XXIX.

The Conclusion of all that is contained in this Book.

E may plainly gather from what has been said that every

sort of good that the heart of man can attain here, is included in virtue. And it follows that it is a good so universal and so great that there is nothing in heaven or in earth with which we can better compare it than with God Himself. For as God is so universal a Good that the perfection of all goodness is to be found in Him, so is it found in some degree in virtue. For of created things some are seemly, some beautiful, some profitable, some pleasant, and some have other perfections; and they are more perfect and more worthy to be loved as they possess more of these perfections. How worthy of love, then, is virtue, wherein all these perfections are found ? For if we consider seemliness, what is more seemly than virtue, which is the very root and fountain of all seemliness? If we look for honour, to what are honour and reverence due but to virtue? If we value beauty, what is more beautiful than the countenance of virtue? If mortal eyes could see her beauty, she would draw the whole world after her, as Plato says. If we desire usefulness, what more useful, what more full of hope than virtue? for by it we obtain the Supreme Good.

“Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour." (Prov. iii. 16.) If we long after happiness, what greater happiness than that of a good conscience, of charity, of peace, of the liberty of the sons of GOD, and of the comfort of the HOLY GHOST, which all accompany virtue ? If fame and reputation be our object, “the righteous shall be had in ever

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lasting remembrance,” (Ps. cxii. 6),“ but the name of the wicked

hall rot,” (Prov. x. 7), and vanish like smoke. (Ps. lxviii. 2.) If we aim at wisdom, there is none greater than to know GOD, and understand how to direct our life by right means to its last end. If it is a sweet thing to be loved by men, there is nothing more lovely or more fit to gain their affection than virtue. For, as Tully says, as from the symmetry and proportion of the members of the body there arises a corporal beauty which attracts all eyes ; so from a well-regulated and orderly life there arises a beauty of the whole man, which not only enamours the eyes of God and of His Angels, but is attractive even to the wicked and to His enemies.

This is that Good which is altogether good, and has no mixture of evil. Not without reason, then, did God send to the righteous that short but glorious message with which we began this book, and with which we will now end it, “Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him.” (Isa. iii. 10.) Say to him that in a happy hour he was born, and in a happy hour he shall die, and that blessed shall be his life and his death, and all that follows after. Say to him that in all things it shall be well with him ; in his joys, and in his sorrows; in his labours, and in his rest; in his honour, and in his dishonour : for “all things work together for good to them that love God.” (Rom. viii. 28.) Say to him, that though all the world should be troubled, though the elements should be in confusion, though the heavens should fall to pieces, he has no cause to fear, but to look up, and lift up his head : for his redemption draweth nigh. (S. Luke xxi. 28.) Say to him that it is well, for the best of all good things is prepared for him, namely, God, and he is free from the worst of all evils, the companionship of Satan. Say to him that it is well, for his name is written in the Book of Life, (Phil. iv. 3), and God the FATHER has taken him for a son, and the Son for a brother, (S. John xxi. 17), and the Holy Ghost for His living temple, (1 Cor. iii. 16.) Say to him that it is well, for the path that he has chosen and the party that he has joined, are good for him in every way: good for his soul, and good for his body ; good towards GOD, and good towards men; good for this life, and good for the next; for to those who seek the Kingdom of GOD, all other things shall be added. (S. Luke xii. 31.) And if in any temporal matter it is not well with him, this house with patience is a greater good; for to those who have patience, losses are turned into gains, afflictions into rewards, battles into crowns. As often as Laban anged Jacob's wages, thinking to benefit himself, and to hurt his son-in-law, the dream had to be interpreted the contrary way, for he benefited his son-in-law, and hurt himself. (Gen. xxxi. 7.)

Then, O my Brother, why wilt thou be so cruel to thyself, and so much thine own enemy as not to embrace a thing which brings thee much good in every way? What better counsel, what better party canst thou follow than this? Oh, a thousand times “blessed are those that are undefiled in the way, and walk in the law of the LORD. Blessed are they that keep His testimonies, and seek Him with their whole heart.” (Ps. cxix. 1, 2.)

If, then, as philosophers say, Goodness is the object of our will, and in consequence the more good a thing is, the more it deserves to be loved and desired, why is thy will so depraved that it neither relishes nor embraces this great and universal Good. How different was it with that holy king who said, “ Thy law is in the midst of my heart.” (Ps. xl. 10, Vulg.) Not in the corner, not in a secondary place, but in the middle, that is, in the first and best place of all. As much as to say, “ This is my greatest treasure, my first business, my chief care.” Oh, how different are men of the world : they give the laws of vanity the first place in their heart, and put God's laws in the lowest place. But this holy man, although he was a king, and had much to value and much to lose, put all these things under his feet, and the law of God alone in the midst of his heart, knowing very well that if he kept that faithfully, everything else was safe.

What more is wanting to make thee resolve to follow this example, and embrace this great good? If thou considerest obligation, what greater obligation is there than that we owe to the LORD our GOD, only because HE IS THAT HE is—for all other obligations in the world cannot be called obligations in comparison of this, as we declared at the beginning? If thou

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regardest benefits, what benefits are greater than those we have received of Him-for besides that, He created us and redeemed us with His Blood, everything within and without us, our body, our soul, our life, our health, our property, our grace, if we have it, every instant and moment of our life, every good purpose and desire of our soul, everything whatever that has the name of existence or of good, proceeds originally from Him Who is the Fountain of existence and of good ? If thou lookest for future gain, let all men and Angeis say, what greater gain can there be than to receive everlasting glory, and to be delivered from everlasting torment? And this is the reward of virtue. And if we seek present good, what greater good can there be than those twelve privileges that are enjoyed by all good men in this life, of which we have spoken above at length, the least of which is more able to give us joy and satisfaction than all the rank and treasures in the world ? What more can be put in the balance to weigh it down on this side than is promised here? I have so entirely refuted the excuses that worldly men are used to make, that I see no loophole for their escape, unless they wilfully stop their ears and shut their eyes against so manifest and plain a truth.

What remains now but that, having seen the perfection and the beauty of virtue, thou shouldst repeat the words that the Wise Man spake of wisdom, virtue's sister and companion, “I loved her, and sought her out from my youth, I desired to make her my spouse, and I was a lover of her beauty. In that she is conversant with God, she magnifieth her nobility ; yea, the LORD of all things Himself loved her. For she is privy to the mysteries of the knowledge of God, and a lover of His works. If riches be a possession to be desired in this life, what is richer than wisdom, that worketh all things? And if prudence work, who of all that are is a more cunning workman than she? And if a man love righteousness, her labours are virtues, for she teacheth temperance and prudence, justice and fortitude, which are such things as men can have nothing more profitable in their life. Therefore, I purposed to take her to me to live with me, knowing that she would be a counsellor of good things, and a comfort in cares and grief.” (Wisd. viii. 2-7, 9.) These are

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