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power can preserve us. Not only must we say with the Royal Prophet: "Thy hands," (O Lord), “have made me and formed me;' "1 but we must add with the same Prophet: "If Thou turnest away Thy face, Thy creatures shall be troubled: Thou shalt take away their breath, and they shall fail and shall return to their dust."2 Let Him but withdraw His allsustaining hand, and we not only cease to live, but we lapse into our original nothingness. He is the Life of our life. He is the breath of our nostrils. He is the invisible Sun that illumines our path. Every day we live, every breath we breathe, every pulsation of our heart, is a fresh manifestation of divine power and a new expression of divine
Our thanks are due to the "Giver of all good gifts not only for the blessings that we receive directly from His hands, but also for the favors that we receive at the hands of men. What are our parents, what our friends, what our benefactors but the agents of God's mercy, the stewards of His bounty, the channels of His providence? Who was it but God that inspired them with benevolence toward us? Who but God that implanted in the father's and the mother's breast that love stronger than death, that tender solicitude, that spirit of self-sacrifice for their child? So clearly did the Patriarchs and Prophets see the hand of God in all the blessings that came to them by those of creatures, that they lost sight, as it
1 Ps. CXVIII., 73.
'Ps. CIII., 29.
were, of the secondary agents that ministered to them, ⚫ and referred all to the Lord of heaven. The Patri
arch Joseph is exalted by Pharao from a dungeon to a throne. His chief thanks, however, are bestowed not on Pharao, but on God, who made Pharao the instrument of His mercy.
We should thank God not only for the temporal favors that He vouchsafes to send us, but even for the afflictions and humiliations with which He visits us. We should bless Him not only when as a Father He fondles us, but also when as a Physician He holds to our lips the cup of sorrow and tribulation. should kiss the hand that strikes, as well as the hand that caresses us; for whether He smites or caresses, He is always our Father. It may seem paradoxical, nevertheless I believe it is true that, when the day of final reckoning will come, when the mysteries of life will be made manifest, we shall very probably discover that we owe a heavier debt of gratitude to God for the trials we have endured than for the comforts we have enjoyed. For how many more are drawn toward Him by sufferings than by consolations! What are those heavy rains of tribulation that fall upon us but the refreshing waters that quicken and revive the seed of faith in our soul, and make it grow into fruit of sanctification! What are afflictions, if righteously borne, but the raw material, out of which we can weave the royal garment that we shall deserve to wear in heaven at the banquet of the great King! "We glory also," says the Apostle, "in tribulations; knowing that tribulation worketh patience: and
patience trial; and trial hope. And hope confoundeth not, because the charity of God is poured forth. in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who is given to us.'
And yet, alas! there are many who, both in propitious and adverse circumstances, fail in this essential act of religion. They do not thank God in prosperity; for in the delirium and intoxication of delight, they become oblivious of their Benefactor. They do not give Him thanks in adversity, for the bitterness of sorrow hardens their heart. The only time that they are disposed to make some pretence of expressing their gratitude, is when they have some favor to ask or some impending danger to escape; so that their gratitude may be defined, "a lively sense of future benefits."
But if we should be grateful to God for the gift of creation, how much more should we be for the supernatural blessing of Redemption ! Plato is justly considered the most profound philosopher of Pagan times. He was the light and glory of ancient Greece. He is called "Plato the Divine" by his admiring disciples, on account of the sublimity of his writings. He soars aloft on the wings of reason, as John the Apostle on the wings of Revelation. Taught by reason alone, he arrived at the knowledge of the one, true God. This great philosopher was accustomed to thank his Maker for two things: 1st, that he was born in a country so enlightened and culti
1 Rom. V., 3-5.
vated as Greece; 2d, that he had Socrates for his
How much more reason have we to be grateful to God that our "lines are fallen in pleasant places;' that we were born not amid the darkness of idolatry, but in a civilized and Christian country; that we were nurtured by Christian parents; and that we live under the benign influence of humane and Christian legislation! Above all, how thankful we ought to be that we have Christ the Lord for our Teacher, who "is the power of God and the wisdom of God," whose wisdom surpasses that of Socrates immeasurably more than the light of the sun excels that of the flickering lamp! He teaches us not by word only, but also by His example. He preaches to us not only from the pages of the Gospel, but also from the wood of the cross. He is not only our Teacher, but our Saviour and Redeemer as well. He has brought us out of the darkness of idolatry to the admirable light of His Gospel. "Ye were once darkness; but now light in the Lord." He has rescued us from spiritual poverty, that we might be rich in conscience, rich in grace and in good works. "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that being rich, He became poor for you, that through His poverty, ye might be rich." He rescued us from the bondage of sin, that we might enjoy the glorious liberty of children of God.
1 Ps. XV., 6.
2 I. Cor. I.,
3 Eph. V., 8.
II. Cor. VIII., 9.
The Prince of the Apostles thus eloquently proclaims our Christian dignity and the duty of adoration and gratitude that it involves. "Ye are," he says, "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people, that ye may declare the virtues of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His admirable light." We are "a chosen generation," chosen from thousands of others that know not God. "He hath not done in like manner to every nation: and His judgments He hath not made manifest to them."2 "A royal priesthood!" royal, because we are sons of the Most High, the King of kings and Lord of lords; a "priesthood," though laymen, because we were consecrated in baptism to offer to God on the altar of our heart, the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. "A holy nation," for in the words of Moses we can truly say: "Neither is there any other nation so great that hath gods so nigh to them as our God is present to all our petitions." "A purchased people "-purchased "not with corruptible gold and silver,” but with the Precious Blood of Christ.
If, therefore, we should be thankful for our temporal life, how much more for the supernatural life with which God has endowed us! If in common with our fellow-beings, we should be grateful that He has sent His sun to shine on us, how much more that He has sent His Holy Spirit to illumine our mind and to inflame our heart!
1 I. Pet. II., 9.
3 Deut. IV., 7.
2 Ps. CXLVII., 20.