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and these being instanced in acts of mercy, he mingled the glories of heaven to transmit them to earth, to raise us up to the participations of heaven: he was pleased, by healing the bodies of infirm persons, to invite their spirits to his discipline, and by his power to convey healing, and by that mercy, to lead us into the treasures of revelation; that both bodies and souls, our wills and understandings, by Divine instruments, might be brought to Divine perfections in the participations of a Divine nature. It was a miraculous mercy that God should look upon us in our blood, and a miraculous condescension that his Son should take our nature; and even this favour we could not believe without many miracles and so contrary was our condition to all possibilities of happiness, that if salvation had not marched to us all the way in miracle, we had perished in the ruins of a sad eternity. And now it would be but reasonable, that, since God, for our sakes, hath rescinded so many laws of natural establishment, we also, for his, and for our own, would be content to do violence to those natural inclinations, which are also criminal when they derive into action. Every man living in the state of grace is a perpetual miracle, and his passions are made reasonable, as his reason is turned to faith, and his soul to spirit, and his body to a temple, and earth to heaven; and less than this will not dispose us to such glories, which, being the portion of saints and angels, and the nearest communications with God, are infinitely above what we see, or hear, or understand.
O eternal Jesu, who didst receive great power, that by it thou mightest convey thy Father's mercies to us, impotent and wretched people; give me grace to believe that heavenly doctrine, which thou didst ratify with arguments from above, that I may fully assent to all those mysterious truths which integrate that doctrine and discipline, in which the obligations of my duty, and the hopes of my felicity, are deposited: And to all those glorious verifications of thy goodness and thy power add also this miracle, that I, who am stained with leprosy of sin, may be cleansed, and my eyes may be opened, that I may see the wondrous
things of thy law; and raise thou me up from the death of sin to the life of righteousness, that I may for ever walk in the land of the living, abhorring the works of death and darkness that as I am, by thy miraculous mercy, partaker of the first, so also I may be accounted worthy of the second resurrection; and as by faith, hope, charity, and obedience, I receive the fruit of thy miracles in this life, so, in the other, I may partake of thy glories, which is a mercy above all miracles. Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. Lord, I believe; help mine unbelief: and grant that no indisposition or incapacity of mine may hinder the wonderful operations of thy grace; but let it be thy first miracle to turn my water into wine, my barrenness into fruitfulness, my aversations from thee into unions and intimate adhesions to thy infinity, which is the fountain of mercy and power. Grant this for thy mercy's sake, and for the honour of those glorious attributes, in which thou hast revealed thyself and thy Father's excellencies to the world, O holy and eternal Jesu. Amen.
END OF THE SECOND PART.
THE LIFE AND DEATH
BEGINNING AT THE SECOND YEAR OF HIS PREACHING UNTIL HIS
RIGHT HONOURABLE AND VIRTUOUS LADY,
COUNTESS OF CARBERY.
SINCE the Divine Providence hath been pleased to bind up the great breaches of my little fortune, by your charity and nobleness of a religious tenderness, I account it an excellent circumstance and handsomeness of condition, that I have the fortune of St. Athanasius, to have my persecution relieved and comforted by an honourable and excellent lady; and I have nothing to return for this honour done to me, but to do as the poor paralytics and infirm people in the Gospel did, when our blessed Saviour cured them; they went and told it to all the country, and made the vicinage full of the report, as themselves were of health and joy. And, although I know the modesty of your person and religion had rather do favours than own them, yet give me leave to draw aside the curtain and retirement of your charity; for I had rather your virtue should blush, than my unthankfulness make me