« AnteriorContinuar »
me, and I will lift thee up. Yet that is what Calvin is fain to say, (being pinched with that text, Exek. xviii. 23, Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die, and not that he should return from his ways and live.) “ That God wills not the death of a sinner, so far forth as he wills his repentance; experience teacheth us, he doth so will, as not to touch his heart that he may repent :” which is all one as to say, he wills it so, as to command it: but he does not will it so, as to leave it possible; that is, he wills it in shew, but not in reality. Now dare we think, that the Father of all Mercies, and God of all Consolation, who spareth when we deserve punishment, did determine us to punishment, without any respect to our deservings? He that had mercy upon wicked Ahab, 1 Kings xxviii. 29, merely because of his attrition, sure did not damn him absolutely before he had done good or evil, yea, even before the foundation of the world. He doth not afflid willingly, nor grieve the children of men, Lam. iii. 33, much less doth he damn men for his mere will and pleasure. When God doth execute a temporal punishment only upon those that have deserved it, he comes to it with reluctancy, and therefore calls it his strange work, Isai. xxviii. 21, a work he loves not to be acquainted with: a work which he doth sometimes execute, because he is just, but still unwillingly because he is merciful ; and therefore he so expresses it, as we are wont to do a thing we are not used to, and know not how to set about it. How Shall I give thee up, Ephraim? How shall I deliver thee, Ifrael? how shall I make thee as Admah ? how shall I set thee as Zeboim ? Mine heart is turned within me; my repentings are kindled together. And again : I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, for I am God and not man, Hosea xi. 8, 9.
[To be continued.]
The LIFE of GREGORY LOP E Z.
[Continued from page 307.]
CHA P. IV. God exercises Lopez in another manner; he removes from the
Valley of Amajac. THE conflicts of Lopez were not with the devil only;
1 he suffered from men also. As the Spanish soldiers passed by his cell to make war with the Indians, some called him heretic and Lutheran; others said, he was a fool or madman. But this servant of God had nothing to fear: he remained unhurt, either by one side or the other; and in the midst of the dangers to which he was exposed, he continued without interruption, in his ordinary exercise of conformity to the will of God.
2. After he had continued three years to repeat without ceasing, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven, he found himself so strengthened, that he had no longer any will but that of God. He then entered upon another exercise, which consisted not so much in words as in actions: and this was, an ardent love for God, and for his neighbour. This he praclised in fo excellent a manner, that he was daily going on from strength to strength, without relaxing or abating any thing in this exercise of perfect love.
3. He was so advantageously situated at Amajac, that he would never have quitted that place, had he not thought himself obliged so to do, by the love of his neighbour, whom he earnestly desired to serve. Several who heard, of his manner of life were offended, that he did not attend the service of the church; although he had no opportunity of so doing, the church being seven leagues off. In condescension to their weakness, he resolved after having stayed at Amajac between
three and four years, to remove thence and settle in one of the villages of Alphonso d'Avalos. He received him with much humility and affection, and offered him a lodging in a place planted with trees. He accepted it gladly, but not the food provided for him ; for he lived wholly on milk and cheese,
4. After he had spent two years here, God put it into his heart to return to his little cell: the night before his journey, that great earthquake happened, in the year 1567: and opening his window, he saw the joists of his chamber fall, without receiving any harm.
He stopt in the way at Sebastian Mexia's, who entertained him gladly. He recompensed' him by his good example, and the excellent counsels which he gave him. These made so deep an impression upon him, that instead of the fine rich cloaths, of which he was so extravagantly fond before, he wore for that time, only coarse brown cloth like Lopez.
Mexia conceived so strong an affection for him, and had so great an esteem for his wisdom, that he resolved to leave all his estate to his disposal.
But Lopez being apprised of this, and not judging'it proper, after he had renounced all his own goods, to embarrass himself with those of another man, resolved immediately to proceed in his journey, whatever instances could be used to detain him.
5. Father Dominic Salazar, a Dominican, was preaching to those who were working in the mines round about Zacatecas. He was a man of great virtue, and the converse he had with Lopez made him conceive such a high esteem and love for him, that he prest him extremely, to go to the monastery of St. Dominic at Mexico; where he would give him a little cell, saying, that by this means, he might without danger or hinderance pass his life in retirement and prayer : and yet without being deprived of the advantages that may be received in a religious society. Lopez yielding to his reasons, accepted his offer, and resolved to return to Mexico. 6. He had passed near seven years in the valley of Amajac,
in the village of Alphonso d'Avalos, and with Sabastian Mexia, living every where with the same austerity. His habit was then so worn, that it was absolutely necessary for him to have a new one. He might easily have had it, for a word speaking, from any of the persons above-mentioned. But he chose rather to gain by the sweat of his brow, as much coarse cloth as he had need of; not so much to keep him from the cold, as to cover his nakedness. He went therefore to a rich Innkeeper, who gladly intrusted him with the management of his family. He acquitted himself with so much care, tenderness, and humility, that they were struck with admiration. After having earned in two months as much as he wanted, he took his leave of them; nor could all the prayers or tears, or the money they offered, prevail upon him to stay longer.
How poor soever he was at that time, he never asked alms of any one; but entirely abandoned himself to the providence of God, having nothing to live on, but what was given him without asking. And if nothing of this was left, he laboured with his hands till he had gained more.
7. For a long time (as we observed) he lived wholly on parched corn, and during Lent, upon herbs. But hence he contracted such a weakness of stomach, as continued all the rest of his life. He often worked in his little garden; but what grew there he gave in charity to those that passed by. Sometime every day he spent in reading the holy Scriptures, and particularly the epistles of St. Paul.
During all the years he spent in solitude, the afore-mentioned assaults and temptations of the devil continued.But these in a great measure ceased when he quitted his retirement, yet others arose in their place. Many highly condemned his manner of living: others raised numberless calumnies against him: so that he did not want enemies in the world, any more than in solitude; but in all these things he was more than conqueror.
What wonder, while he was out of God's way;
CHA P. V.
He goes to Mexico; thence to Guasteca, and falls fick.
Noming to Mexico, he was informed, that Father Dominic de
U Salazar, was not yet returned: after waiting for him some time, he believed the Providence of God called him to resume his solitary life; for which purpose he went into the country of Guasteca, which he judged to be most proper for his defign, as being wide and thinly inhabited, and abounding with wild fruits. Here he fixed his abode, resolving not to remove, till the Providence of God should plainly call him to it. He fed on fruits, roots, and herbs, which the earth brought forth of itfelf, and valiantly fought the battles of the Lord, continuing his exercises of the love of God and his neighbour.
2. He had from his early youth an ardent desire of reading the holy Scriptures: and he now more frequently than ever, besought God, to enlighten his understanding, and to nourish his soul with the important truths which are contained therein. That he might neglect nothing in his power in order thereto, he resolved to learn the bible by heart: and he had so happy a memory, that he never forgot any thing which he once knew. In this he spent four hours a day for four years. And during this time, God gave him the understanding thereof.,
3. At the same time, and all his life after, he read several books, both of ecclesiastical and profane history. Many were glad to lend them to him, and he read entire volumes in three or four days. His manner of reading was so extraordinary, that it might be thought even supernatural: for he frequently read over in ten hours, a book which another would scarce read over in a month. In twenty hours he read the works of Teresa, and that so effeétually, that hardly could any one give a better account of all that is contained in them.