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thy good will, and not according to our sins in thy sight, nor as our iniquities deserve, but deal with us according to thy great mercy. My God, thou art our Father and our Redeemer ; thou art our peace and our consolation, our hope, and eternal salvation. From thee alone do men expect all good thou dost give them, they gather, thou openest thy hand, and dost replenish all creatures with thy gifts ; but if thou turnest away thy face, they become troubled, thou dost withdraw thy spirit, and they fall into weakness and return to dust. Send down thy Holy Spirit, and they shall be created, and do thou renew the face of the earth. O Saviour of the world, of what use, I conjure thee, will be the damnation of so many millions of men ? Hell is filled up, and thy church is daily abandoned. Rise up, o Lord, why sleepest thou? Rise up, and cast us not off to the end. Deal favourably, O Lord, in thy good will with Sion, that the walls of Jerusalem may be built up. What is this Jerusalem, which is interpreted, vision of peace, but that Jerusalem which is our mother? Its walls fell with Lucifer and his angels, but thou fillest their places with just men. Shower down, then, O Lord, so much mercy on Sion, that the number of thy elect may be filled up; that the walls of Jerusalem may be rebuilt with new stones, and may ever praise thee, and subsist to all eternity.

Then shalt thou accept the sacrifice of justice, oblations, and whole burnt offerings; then shall they lay calves upon thy altar.

When in thy good will, thou didst shew mercy to Sion; thou didst accept a sacrifice of justice. I say accept, because by the fire of thy charity it was consumed. Thus thou acceptedst the sacrifice of Moses and Elias. And dost thou not accept the sacrifice of justice, and testify it, when thou dost enrich with thy gifts the souls of such as use their endeavours to live according to thy justice? Why offer sacrifice to thee if thou wouldst not accept it? O Lord, how many offer sacrifice to thee this day which are not grateful in thy sight, but are rather an abomination ; we offer in our sacrifices not indeed justice, but only exterior ceremonies, and therefore thou dost not accept them. Where do we r-w unr shine forth the glory, which, : the asas

tles, was so resplendent? Where the courage of the martyrs ? Where the fruits produced by the preachers ? Where the pious simplicity of the monks? Where do we see the virtues and works of the primitive Christians ? Such sacrifices as theirs thou didst accept, and fill their souls with thy graces, and with all the virtues they desired. If then thou wilt deal favourably with Sion, then shalt thou accept the sacrifice of justice; thy people will begin to live well, to keep thy commandments, and, doing justice, thy blessing will be upon them. Then the oblations of thy priests and clergy will be acceptable to thee; being detached from this earth, their lives will be more perfect, and the celestial unction of thy benediction will flow more abundantly on their heads. Then will the holocausts of the truly religious be grateful to thee ; for having forsaken the torpid and tepid state, in which they began their course, they will be perfectly inflamed with divine love. Then shall bishops and priests offer victims upon thy altar ; being perfect in all virtue, and replete with the Holy Spirit, they will not shrink from laying down their lives for their flocks. What is thy altar, O my good Jesus, but the cross on which thou wert immolated ? Our bodies represent the material and gross victims of the ancient sacrifices, and thy ministers shall say they offer victims to thee, when for thy name they immolate their bodies on the cross ; that is to say, when they give themselves up to torments and to death. Then shall we behold thy church flourish, extend her bounds, and make thy praises resound from one extremity of the earth to the other. The universe will be filled with joy and gladness. Thy saints shall be exalted in glory, and will praise thee joyfully on their beds, expecting to be united with us in the land of the living. O Lord, I now beseech of thee that in me all this may be fulfilled. Have mercy on me according to thy great mercy. My God, receive my heart as a sacrifice of justice, as a victim immolated on the altar of thy cross; render my oblation holy, and may I be consumed as a holocaust worthy of thee, that so I may go forth from this vale of tears to that incomprehensible glory thou hast prepared for those who diligently love and serve thee. Amen.

Amen. Amen.

No. V.

EXPOSITION OF THE LORD'S PRAYER.

TRANSLATED FROM THE EXPOSITIO ORATIONIS DOMINICE

FRA. HIER. SAVONAROLA.*

GENERAL PREFACE.

Piety is a virtue, by which one renders to God the worship which is due to him, as to the universal principal and Ruler of all things. This worship is paid in two ways, exteriorly and interiorly ; but the exterior worship is rendered only in connexion with the interior worship. The sacraments of the Church, the chaunt, and all the exterior ceremonies, are only instituted for the edification of the interior spirit. This is why the first care of all Christians, in the rule of their life, ought to be to honour God by inward acts ; without, however, omitting the exterior ones, particularly those that are obligatory. The interior actions are reading, prayer, meditation, and contemplation: these depend on the understanding, and serve to excite in us hope, charity, and devotion, and other emotions of the will, which, combined together, lead men to the perfect knowledge and perfect love of God. But as the action of the understanding precedes the effect of the will, and that we can only love that which we know, it is necessary that he who would fill his heart with the love of God, in which consists all the excellence of a spiritual life, applies himself as much as possible to know Him by the interior action of the understanding. It is with this design, that the Eternal Wisdom has dictated to us the sacred Scriptures, in order that by the knowledge which they give us of the goodness of God, they strengthen in our hearts that love which we ought to have for him and for our neighbour, without which love, though we could do every thing pleasing to him, we should otherwise have done nothing.

* Ex. Edit. 16mo. Remboldi Ascensii, 1510.

But whoever would acquire a knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, should begin by reading them often, and render themselves familiar with them. When he shall have an understanding of them in the ordinary sense, which is called the literal sense, he will penetrate by means of meditation to the most lofty mystical sense of them by the assistance of those lights, which other

passages, more intelligible, would have furnished him with. But because it is nothing to know, if one does not act, when they have come to the knowledge of the mystical sense, he must have recourse to God by prayer, and he must pray to Him to conduct him by his grace to love him, and to do good works.

If he takes care every day to renew this exercise, he will draw from it so much profit, that he will soon raise himself up to contemplation.

In order that what we say may be the more easily and clearly understood, and that we may trace the road that we must follow to penetrate deeply into the Scriptures, let us take the Lord's Prayer, which is so well known throughout the world ; and that we may understand it well, let us examine every word therein: let us study it in its literal sense: let us make it the subject of meditation, of some prayers, of some contemplation : and that what shall

say upon this subject, serves to shew us the means by which we may arrive at the knowledge of other passages of the Holy Scriptures.

we

FIRST EXPOSITION OF THE LORD'S PRAYER.

PREFACE.

He who undertakes to read the Holy Scriptures without being enlightened by a supernatural light, embarrasses and deceives himself; for he will read, and will not understand them, and it is employing time uselessly. Natural sciences can be acquired by the natural lights which reason gives to all; but divine sci

ence cannot be attained, without some rays of light from on high. From thence it happens, that many of those who read the Holy Scriptures do not comprehend their beauty. That which Isaias predicted, is accomplished in them. The visions which the Prophets have had shall be unto you as the words of a book that is closed and sealed, because the blind cannot see colours. Would to God, that at least they might answer with humility what Isaias says immediately after : This book is such, that when they shall deliver it to one that is learned, and they shall say to him,-Read this book, he shall answer, I cannot, I cannot, for it is sealed. And the book shall be given to one that knoweth no letter, and it shall be said to him, Read, and he shall answer, I know no letters. Because no one, be he learned or ignorant, can understand the Scriptures without the aid of that light which alone can impart the knowledge of them. Therefore, let no one take them up who does not keep himself pure and disengaged; for as it treats of things the most sublime, it requires an extreme application of the mind.

Let him therefore, who would profit by reading the Holy Scriptures, begin by purging himself of his sins, and disengage himself from the cares of the world ; let him shut himself up alone in his chamber, that he may then place himself in prayer, with great faith and humility, to the end that, having received, by the efficacy of prayer, some participation of celestial light, he may acquire a perfect knowledge of what he reads, and, above all, feel it within himself-that is to say, that it may be his good works which will enable him to penetrate the mysteries, and that he may thus be more assisted by the interior light which God shall have communicated to him, than by the convictions of experience, and the commentaries of others. Let him not read hurriedly, but let him examine carefully each word, and he must believe firmly that all he reads is perfectly true, as having been dictated by him who cannot err.

Let us then read these holy words of “The Lord's Prayer” with much fear and respect, in order that, by the mercy of him who composed, it we may attain to the true knowledge of them.

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