selected from the annals of history unto our current day
OF THE DIGNITY AND THE WOE OF MAN'S ESTATE
To praise God eternally the end of our creation.
Are, then, these so incalculable benefits of thy Creator inducements enough to thee for continual thanksgiving in return, and for discharging the debt of an endless love; when thou considerest that out of nothing -- rather, out of clay -- thou wast raised by His bounty to so excellent a dignity in the very beginning of thy state? Test thy life, therefore, by the master-feeling of the saints, and note well what is said of the saint, "With his whole heart he praised the Lord" (Ecclus. xlvii. 10). Behold the end of thy creation, behold the task set thee as God's servant! Why should God have graced thee with the privilege of so illustrious a lot, if He had not willed thee to apply thyself unceasingly to the praise of Himself? Thou wast created for the glory of thy Creator, that, making His praises thy employment, thou mightest ever advance towards Him by the merit of justice in this life, and mightest live happily in the world to come. For the praise of Him yields the fruit of justice here, and of beatitude hereafter.
And if thou praise Him, praise Him with all thy heart, praise Him by loving; for this rule of praising has been laid down for the saints -- "With all his heart he praised the Lord, and loved God who made him" (ib.).
Praise then, and praise with all thy heart; and whom thou praisest, love; for, for this wast thou created, to praise Him, and to love Him also. For that man praises God, but not with all his heart, who is charmed by prosperity into blessing God, but checked by adversity from the privilege of blessing; whilst that man praises, but without loving, who amid his praises of God seeks for some other good in praising than God Himself. Praise therefore, and praise aright; in such wise that there be in thee no care, no aim, no thought, no anxious bent of mind, uninspired by praise of God, grace helping thee. From praise of Him let no prosperity of this present life seduce thee, nor no adversity restrain thee; for thus shalt thou praise Him with all thy heart. But when thou shalt praise Him with all thy heart, and praise with the homage of thy love as well, then wilt thou desire nothing from Him but Himself, and thou wilt pray that the object of thy longing may be God; the reward of thy toil, God; thy solace in this life of shadows, God; thy possession in that blissful life to come, God.
Yes, indeed, thou wast created for this; to praise Him, and to praise Him without end; which thou wilt then more fully understand when, entranced by the blessed vision of Himself, thou shalt see that by His sole and gratuitous goodness thou, when thou wast not, wast created out of nothing; so blessed, and to such unspeakable bliss created; created, called, justified, glorified. Such a contemplation as that will give thee an untiring love of praising Him without end; from whom, and through whom, and in whom thou wilt rejoice in being blessed with blessings so great and so unchangeable.
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