The Catholic Church Alone
Excerpt from The Catholic Church Alone: The One True Church of Christ, Sumptuously; Illustrated With Famous Paintings by the Great Masters As in corporal distempers a total loss of appetite, which no medicine can restore, forbodes certain decay and death; so in the spiritual life of the soul, a neglect or disrelish of pious readings and instruction is a most fatal symptom. What hopes can we entertain of a person to whom the science of virtue and eternal salvation doth not seem interesting or worth his application? "It is impossible," says St. Chrysostom, "that a man should be saved, who neglects assiduous pious reading." No less criminal and dangerous is the disposition of those who misspend their precious moments in reading romances, which fill the mind with a worldly spirit, with a love of vanity, pleasure, idleness, and trifling, which destroy and lay waste all the generous sentiments of virtue in the heart, and sow there the seeds of every vice, which extend their influence over the whole soul. Who seeks nourishment from poison? What food is to the body, that our thoughts and reflections are to the mind: by them the affections of the soul arc nourished. The chameleon changes its color as it is affected by sadness, anger, or joy, or by the color upon which it sits; and we see an insect borrow its lustre and hue from the plant or leaf upon which it feeds. In like manner, what our meditations and affections are, such will our souls become, either holy and spiritual, or earthly and carnal. By pious reading the mind is instructed and enlightened, and the affections of the heart are purified and inflamed. Reading religions books is commended by St. Paul as the summary of spiritual advice. (2 Tim. 14, 13.) Devout persons never want a spur to assiduous reading, or meditation; they are insatiable in this exercise, and according to the golden motto of Thomas a Kempis, they find their chief delight in a closet with a good book. Worldly and tepid Christians stand certainly in the most need of this help to virtue. The world is a whirlpool of business, pleasure and sin. Its torrent is always beating upon their hearts, ready to break in and bury them under its flood, unless frequent pious reading oppose a strong fence to its waves. The more deeply a person is immersed in its tumultuous cares, so much the greater ought his solicitude to be to seek repose, after the fatigues and dissipations of business and company; to plunge his heart by secret prayer in the ocean of the divine immensity, and by pious reading to afford his soul some spiritual reflection; as the wearied husbandman, returning from his labor, recruits his spent vigor and exhausted strength by allowing his body necessary refreshment and repose. Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, has declared that He was sent by His heavenly Father "to preach the Gospel to the poor." About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.com This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.