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it, because we want the taste which alone can enable us to relinquish such delights.

Nay more: with the taste which we have upon the earth, such and such a joy of the blessed above, would appear the severest of punishments to the greatest of saints among us. The essence of the felicity of saints in glory, consists in loving God only, and all other things in reference to God. The sentiments by which they are animated relatively to other beings, are not sentiments of blood, of the spirits, of temperament, like those by which we are actuated here below, they are regulated by order; they refer all to God alone : the blessed above are affected with the felicity and the misery of others, only in so far as these relate to the great moving principles by which they are governed. But that felicity depicted to men upon earth, and applied to particular cases, would appear to them a real punishment. Could a father relish a felicity which he was told he could not possibly share with his child? Could the friend enjoy tranquillity, were he haunted with the thought, that the friend of his heart lay groaning under chains of darkness? Have we so much love for order; are we sufficiently disposed to refer all our inclinations to God, so as to have that taste, which considers objects as amiable and interesting, only as they have a relation to that order, and to that glory of the Creator? And do we not feel, that a felicity relative to a taste which we do not possess, nay opposite to that which we now have, is a felicity unspeakable.

3. The third notion which we suggested to you, of the heavenly felicity, is that of sensible pleasure. A defect of faculty prevents our perception of their pleasures.

Be not surprized that we introduce sensations of pleasure, into the idea of a felicity perfectly pure,


and perfectly conformable to the sanctity of him who is the author of it. Do not suspect that we are going to extract from the grossly sensual notions of Mahomet, the representation which we mean to give you of the Paradise of God.

You hear us frequently declaiming against the pleasures of

But do not go to confound things, under pretence of perfecting them; and under the affectation of decrying sensible pleasures, let us not consider as an imperfection of the soul of man, the power which it has to enjoy them. No, my brethren, it is, on the contrary, one of its highest perfections, to be susceptible of those sensations, to possess the faculty of scenting the perfume of flowers, of relishing the savor of meats, of delighting in the harmony of sounds, and so of the other objects of sense.

If we declaim against your pleasures, it is because you frequently sacrifice pleasures the most sublime, to such as are pitiful and insignificant ; pleasures of everlasting duration to those of a moment.

If we declaim against your pleasures, it is because the attachment which you feel for those of the earth, engages you to consider them as the sovereign good, and prevents your aspiring after that abundant portion, which is laid


in heaven.

If we declaim against your pleasures, it is because you regard the creatures through which they are communicated, as if they were the real authors of them. You ascribe to the element of fire the essential property of warming you ; to aliments, that of gratifying the palate ; to sounds, that of ravishing the ear. You consider the creatures as so many divinities, which preside over your happiness : you pay them homage : you prostrate

your imagination before them: not reflecting that God alone can produce sensations in your soul, and that all these creatures are merely the instruments and the ministers of his providence. But the maxim remains incontrovertible: namely, that the faculty of relishing pleasure is a perfection of our soul, and one of its most glorious attributes.

But what merits particular attention, is, that this faculty which we have of receiving agreeable sensations, is extremely imperfect so long as we remain upon the earth. It is restricted to the action of the senses. Its activity is clogged by the chains which fetter, it down to matter. Our souls are susceptible of innumerably more sensations than we ever can receive in this world. As progress in knowledge admits of infinity, so likewise may progress in the enjoyment of pleasure. In heaven the blessed have the experience of this. There God exerts the plenitude of his power over the soul, by exciting in it the most lively emotions of delight: there his communications are proportional to the immortal nature of the glorified spirit. This was produced in the soul of our apostle. “ The pleasures which I have tasted,” he seems

“are not such as your present faculties can reach. In order to make you comprehend what I have felt, I must be endowed with the power of creating new laws of the union subsisting between your soul and your body. I must be endowed with the capacity of suspending those of nature : or rather, I must be possessed of the means of tearing your soul asunder from that body. I must have the power of transporting you in an extasy, as I myself was. And considering the state in which you still are, I am persuaded that I shall represent to you what my feelings were much better, by telling you that they are things unspeakable, than by

to say,

attempting a description of them. For when the point in question is to represent that which consists in lively and affecting sensations, there is no other method left, but actually to produce them in the breasts of the persons to whom you would make the communication. In order to produce them, faculties must be found, adapted to the reception of such sensations. But these faculties you do not as yet possess. It is therefore impossible that you should ever comprehend, while here below, what such sensations mean. And it is no more in my power to convey to you an idea of those which I have enjoyed, than it is to give the deaf an idea of sounds, or the blind man of colors.”

You must be sensible then, my brethren, that defect in respect of faculties, prevents our conception of the sensible pleasures which the blessed above enjoy, as want of taste, and want of genius, prevents our comprehending what are their inclinations, and what is their illumination. Accordingly, the principal reasons of St. Paul's silence, and of the silence of scripture in general, respecting the nature of the heavenly felicity, present nothing that ought to relax our ardor in the pursuit of it: they are proofs of its inconceivable greatness, and so far from sinking its value in our eyes, they manifestly enhance and aggrandize it. This is what we undertook to demonstrate.

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