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did consecrate the beauty of her head to the ornaments of religion,-Conon, the astronomer, told her, that the gods had placed her hair among the stars :' and to this day they call one knot of stars by the name of Berenice's hair.' For every such worthiness like this, will have an immortal name in some record, and it shall be written above the stars, and set by the names of the sons of God, who, by doing worthy things, have endeared communions and societies of mankind.
In all the sacrifices of the ancients, they were hugely kind to one another; they invited their friends to partake the sacrifice, and called them to a portion of pardon, that they might eat of that mercy and that forgiveness, which they expected from their god. Then they sent portions to the absent; then they renewed leagues, and re-established peace, and made marriages, and joined families, and united hearts, and knitted interests by a thread and chain of mutual acts of kindness and endearment. — And so should we, when we come to this holy sacrifice; we must keep our hearts entire to God, and divide them amongst our brethren, and heartily love all them who feed upon the same Christ, who live by the same faith, who are entertained by the same hope, and are confederate by the laws, and the events, and the causes, by the acts and emanation of the same charity. But this thing is plain, no discourse here is useful but an exhortation : all that can be said is this; that it is decent, and it is useful, and it is necessary, that we be very kind, and very charitable to all the members of Christ, with whom we are joined by the ligatures of the same body, and supported by the strength of the same nourishment, and blessed by influences from the same divine Head, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Of Speaking good of our Neighbours. Ie it be not in our hands to do well, it must be in our hearts; and the contrary must never be upon our tongues: we are sure we can speak well, or we can abstain from speaking ill. If it be otherwise with us, we cannot be welcome here, we shall not worthily communicate. God opens his mouth, and his heart, and his bowels, his bosom, and his treasures to us in this holy sacrament, and calls to us to draw water as from a rivera, and can we come to drink of the pleasant streams, that we may have only moisture enough, to talk much and long against the honour of our brother or our sister? Can it be imagined that Christ, who never spake an ill word, should take thee into his arms, and feast thee at his table, and dwell in thy heart, and lodge thee in his bosom, who makest thyself all one with the devil; whose office and work it is to be an accuser of the brethren? No: Christ never will feast serpents at his table b; persons who have stings, instead of tongues, and venom in all the moisture of their mouth, and reproach is all their language.
We should easily consent, that he that killed a man yesterday, and is like to kill another to-morrow, were not this day worthy to communicate: now some persons had rather lose their lives than lose their honour: what then think we of their preparation to the holy communion, that make nothing of murdering their brother's or their sister's fame ? that either invent evil stories falsely and maliciously, or believing them easily, report them quickly, and aggravate them spitefully, and scatter them diligently? He that delights to report evil things of me, that will not endure so much as
* 'Aρύετε ώς έκ Νείλου.
gravior terras intestat Echidna,
to have me well spoken of, hath certainly but little kindness to me: he would very hardly die for me, or lay out great sums of money for me, that will not afford me the cheapest charity of a good word. The Jews have a saying, that "it were better that a man were put into a flame of fire, than he should publicly disgrace his neighbour.” But in this there are two great considerations, that declare the unworthiness of it. 1 1. They who readily speak reproachfully of others, destroy all the love and combinations of charity in the world; they ruin the excellency and peculiar privilege of mankind, whose nature it is to delight in society, and whose needs and nature make it necessary. Now slander and reproach, and speaking evil one of another, poisons love, and brings in hatred, and corrupts friendship, and tempts the biggest virtue by anger to pass unto revenge. For an evil tongue is a perpetual storm; it is a daily temptation; and no virtue can, without a miracle, withstand its temptation. “If you strike a lamprey but once with a rod,” saith the Greek proverbo,
you make him gentle; but if often, you provoke him.”. A single injury is entertained by Christian patience, like a stone into a pocket of wool; it rests soft in the embraces of a meek spirit, which delights to see itself overcome a wrong, by a worthy sufferance: but he that loves to do injury by talk, does it in all companies, and takes all occasions, and brings it in by violence, and urges it rudely, till patience being weary goes away, and is waited upon by Charity, which never forsakes or goes away from patience. “A wound with the tongue is like a bruise; it cannot be cured-in four-and-twenty hours.”
2. No man sins singly in such instances as these. Some men commit one murder, and never do another; some men are surprised, and fall into uncleanness or drunkenness; but repent of it speedily, and never again return to folly : but an evil and an uncharitable tongued is an accursed principle, it
• Και μύραινα, πληγείσα νάρθηκι εισάπαξ, ήσυχάζει: ει δε πλεονάκις, εις θυμών. εξάπτεται, ,
• Sed miserere tui : rabido pec perditus ore
Fumantem nasum vivi tentaveris ursi.
is, in its very nature and original, equal to an evil habit; and it enters without temptation, and dwells in every part of our conversation, and injures every man, and every woman.
It is like the evil spirit that was in love with Tobias's wife, if you drive him from Nineveh, he will run to the utmost parts of Egypt; there also, unless an angel bind him, he will do all the mischief in the world; for there is not in the world a worse devil, than a devilish tongue®.
But I am not now to speak of it as it is injurious to our neighbour, but as it is an hinderance to our worthy communicating. “The mouth that speaketh lies," or stings his neighbour, or “boasteth proud things," is not fit to drink the blood of the sacrificed Lamb. Christ enters not into those lips', from whence slander and evil talkings do proceed: and the tongue that loves to dispraise his brother, cannot worthily celebrate the praises and talk of the glorious things of God. Let no man deceive himself; an injurious talker is an habitual sinner; and he that does not learn the discipline of the tongue, can never have the charity of Christ, and the blessings of the peaceful sacrament. Persons that slander & or disgrace their brother, are bound to make restitution; it is as if they had stolen a jewel,--they must give it back again, or not come hither. But they that will neither do nor speak well of others, are very far from charity: and they that are so, ought to be as far from the sacrament, or they will not be very far from condemnation. ' But a good man will be as careful of the reputation, as of the life, of his brother; and to be apt to speak well of all men, is a sign of a charitable and a good man; and that goes a great way in our preparation to a worthy communion.
• Cede Hyrcana tigris, Erymanthi bellua, cede;
Tuque genas obnube tuas, natura, pudori;
Lingua cruenta serens, non uno in fupere ludit. - Nefas enim est per os, quo profertur Nomen illud sanctissimum, quicquam turpe progredi.
s De Catone dixit Plutarchus, Mepsam imprimis putabat esse amicitiæ conciliandæ aptam; ac frequens illic laudatio egregiorum virorum introducebatur; frequens etiam malorum et improborum oblivio: nec vitupera. tioni eorum, vel commendationi permittebat in convivium suum Cato
Forgiveness of Injuries a necessary Part of Preparation to the
This duty is expressed, not only as obligatory to us, but as relative to the holy sacrament, in the words of our blessed Savioura; “ When thou bringest thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee, leave there thy gift; and go, first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer.” This precept was indeed instanced in the Levitical sacrifices, and Jewish altars; but because, as St. Irenæus observes; “ the precepts of Christ, however expressed, relate to Moses' law but less principally, and chiefly design an evangelical duty;" and, therefore, he refers these words to the celebration of the Christian eucharistical sacrifice and oblation; concerning which he hath these excellent words : “ From the beginning God respected Abel's offering, because he offered in righteousness and singleness of heart. But God regarded not the sacrifice of Cain, because he had a heart divided from his brother, full of zeal and malice: and, therefore, God, who knoweth all secrets, thus reproves him; ' If thou dost rightly offer, but not rightly divide, be quiet; God will not be appeased with thy sacrifice.' For if any one, in outward appearance, offers a clean, a right, and a pure sacrifice; but, in his soul, does not truly apportion his communion to his neighbour, he hath sin within, and by his external sacrifice does not bring God unto him; neither will the oblation profit him at all, unless the malice that he hath conceived within, does cease; but that sin will make him every day more and more a murderer.”—In pursuance of this, St. Cyrild tells, that the ancient Christians were wont, before the communion, to kiss each other, as a symbol of reconciled minds and forgotten injuries ; and, in confirmation of this practice, brings the preceptive words of our Lord now recited.
a Matt. v. 23, 24.
6 See this discoursed and proved, Rule of Conscience, Book' ïi. chap. ii. rule 15.
c Irenæ, lib, iv. c. 34. a St. Cyril. Hier. Mystag. Cat. 5.