Book Talk Tuesday – Introduction to the Devout Life, Part 5, Chapter 10
CHAPTER X. First Consideration–of the Worth of Souls.
CONSIDER how noble and excellent a thing your soul is, endowed with
understanding, capable of knowing, not merely this visible world around
us, but Angels and Paradise, of knowing that there is an All-Mighty,
All-Merciful, Ineffable God; of knowing that eternity lies before you,
and of knowing what is necessary in order so to live in this visible
world as to attain to fellowship with those Angels in Paradise, and the
eternal fruition of God.
Yet more;—your soul is possessed of a noble will, capable of loving
God, irresistibly drawn to that love; your heart is full of generous
enthusiasm, and can no more find rest in any earthly creation, or in
aught save God, than the bee can find honey on a dunghill, or in aught
save flowers. Let your mind boldly review the wild earthly pleasures
which once filled your heart, and see whether they did not abound in
uneasiness and doubts, in painful thoughts and uncomfortable cares,
amid which your troubled heart was miserable.
When the heart of man seeks the creature, it goes to work eagerly,
expecting to satisfy its cravings; but directly it obtains what it
sought, it finds a blank, and dissatisfied, begins to seek anew; for
God will not suffer our hearts to find any rest, like the dove going
forth from Noah’s ark, until it returns to God, whence it came. Surely
this is a most striking natural beauty in our heart;–why should we
constrain it against its will to seek creature love?
In some such wise might you address your soul: “You are capable of
realising a longing after God, why should you trifle with anything
lower? you can live for eternity, why should you stop short in time?
One of the sorrows of the prodigal son was, that, when he might have
been living in plenty at his father’s table, he had brought himself to
share the swine’s husks. My soul, you are made for God, woe be to you
if you stop short in anything short of Him!” Lift up your soul with
thoughts such as these, convince it that it is eternal, and worthy of
eternity; fill it with courage in this pursuit.