OF THE DECAY AND RUIN OF CHARITY.
THAT THE SOLE CAUSE OF THE DECAY AND COOLING OF CHARITY IS IN THE CREATURE'S WILL.
As it would be an impious effrontery to attribute the works of holy love
done by the Holy Ghost in and with us to the strength of our will, it would
be a shameless impiety to lay the defect of love in ungrateful men, on the
failure of heavenly assistance and grace. For the Holy Ghost cries
everywhere, on the contrary, that our ruin is from ourselves: Destruction is
thine own, O Israel! thy help is only in me:  that Our Saviour brought
the fire of love, and desires nothing but that it should be enkindled in our
hearts:  that salvation is prepared before the face of all peoples: a
light to the revelation of the Gentiles and the glory of Israel:  that
the divine goodness is not willing that any should perish,  but that
all should come to the knowledge of the truth: and will have all men to be
saved,  their Saviour being come into the world, that he might redeem
them who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
 And the wise man clearly warns us, Say not: it is through God that she
(wisdom) is not with me.  And the sacred Council of Trent divinely
inculcates upon all the children of holy Church, that the Grace of God is
never wanting to such as do what they can, invoking the divine assistance;
that God never abandons such as he has once justified unless they abandon
him first; so that, if they be not wanting to grace they shall obtain glory.
In fine, Theotimus, Our Saviour is the true light which enlighteneth every
man that cometh into this world.  Some travellers, one summer's day
about noontide, lay down to repose under the shade of a tree, but while
their weariness and the coolness of the shadow kept them asleep, the sun
advancing on them threw just upon their eyes his strongest light, which by
its glittering brightness gave glimpses of itself like little flashes of
lightning about the pupils of these sleepers' eyes, and by the heat which
pierced their eyelids, forced them by a gentle violence to awake. Some of
them being awakened get up, and making way get happily to their lodging, the
rest not only do not rise, but turning their backs to the sun and pressing
their hats over their eyes, spend their day there in sleeping, till
surprised by night and yet being desirous to make towards their lodging,
they stray, one here, one there, in the forest, at the mercy of wolves,
wild-boars, and other savage beasts. Now tell me, I pray, Theotimus, those
that arrived, ought they not to give all their thanks for their good success
to the sun, or to speak like a Christian, to the sun's Creator? Yes surely;
for they thought not of waking when it was time: the sun did them this good
office, and by the gentle invitation of his light and heat came lovingly to
call them up. 'Tis true they resisted not his call, but he also helped them
much even in that; for he spread his light fairly upon them, giving them a
half-sight of himself through their eyelids, and by his heat as it were by
his love he unsealed their eyes, and urged them to see his day.
On the contrary, those poor strangers, what right had they to cry in that
wood: Alas! what have we done to the sun that he did not make us see his
light, as he did our companions, that we might have arrived at our lodgings
and not have wandered in this hideous darkness? For who would not undertake
the sun's or rather God's cause, my dear Theotimus, to answer these
wretches. What is there, miserable beings, that the sun could really do for
you and did not? His favours were equal to all ye that slept: he approached
you all with the same light, touched you with the same rays, spread over you
a like heat, but unhappy ye, although you saw your risen companions take
their pilgrim's staff to gain way, ye turned your backs to the sun and would
not make use of his light, nor be conquered by his heat.
Now, Theotimus, see here what I would say. We are all pilgrims in this
mortal life; almost all of us have voluntarily slept in sin; God the sun of
justice darts upon us most sufficiently, yea abundantly, the beams of his
inspirations, warms our hearts with his benedictions, touching every one
with the allurements of his love. Ah! how comes it then that these
allurements allure so few and draw yet fewer? Ah! certainly such as, first
allured, afterwards drawn, follow the inspiration, have great occasion to
rejoice, but not to glorify themselves for it. Let them rejoice because they
enjoy a great good; yet let them not glorify themselves therein, because it
is by God's pure goodness, who, leaving them the profit of their good works,
reserves to himself the glory of them. But concerning them that remain in
the sleep of sin: Oh! what good reason they have to lament, groan, weep, and
say: woe the day! for they are in the most lamentable of cases; yet have
they no reason to grieve or complain, save about themselves, who despised,
yea rebelled against, the light; who were untractable to invitations, and
obstinate against inspirations; so that it is their own malice alone they
must ever curse and reproach, since they themselves are the sole authors of
their ruin, the sole workers of their damnation. So the Japanese,
complaining to the Blessed Francis Xavier, their Apostle, that God who had
had so much care of other nations, seemed to have forgotten their
predecessors, not having given them the knowledge of himself, for want of
which they must have been lost: the man of God answered them that the divine
natural law was engraven in the hearts of all mortals, and that if their
forerunners had observed it, the light of heaven would without doubt have
illuminated them, as, on the contrary, having violated it, they deserved
damnation. An apostolic answer of an apostolic man, and resembling the
reason given by the great Apostle of the loss of the ancient Gentiles, whom
he calls inexcusable, for that having known good they followed evil; for it
is in a word that which he inculcates in the first chapter of his epistle to
the Romans. Misery upon misery to those who do not acknowledge that their
misery comes from their malice!
 Osee xiii. 9.
 Luke xii. 49.
 Luke ii. 32.
 2 Peter iii. 9.
 1 Tim. ii. 4.
 Gal. iv. 5.
 Eccli. xv. 11.
 John i. 9.