TURN, O my soul, into thy rest,"[Ps. cxiv. 7.] saith the royal prophet unto God. If to every man it is natural to love his own comfort and rest, then, O my heart, thou oughtest to despise the things of this world, and the affairs of time which hinder and disquiet one; and collecting thy thoughts, return to God and fix all thy care upon Him. O what rest and quietness wilt thou find if really closing the door against every other care thou wouldst place thyself in the hands of Jesus Christ, thy Spouse! There thy tears shall be wiped away; there shall cease the complaints which thou makest against the men who so disquiet thee; there shall all thy sorrows, vexations and toils be ended, and thou shalt find inward peace, joy of heart and paradise on earth. Thou sufferest many hardships, being perplexed and distracted by outward things, and while longing for rest dost not attain to it, though thou mightest find it without trouble. The dove of Noah[Gen. viii. 9.] found no place to rest in outside of the ark, and so necessity compelled it to return thither. Thou, O my dove, wilt not find rest out of the reach[note 1] of the true Noah, Jesus Christ: wherefore return to Him in "Whom thy rest consists. In seeking peace elsewhere, thou forsakest thy God, to Whom thou must return if thou desirest to find what thou seekest. Thou must return to the same Being Whom thou hast offended, as the prodigal son did,[Luke xv. 20.] though thou dost not desire it. Jonas fled from God,[Jon. i. 3 seq.] and in departing from Him, he found nothing but storm and tempest on the sea; but when converted returned to Him Whom he had forsaken, he found rest and a haven of safety. Hagar[Gen. xvi. 6-7.] went out of the house of Abraham, her lord, and repaired to the wilderness, but the angel commanded her when she was spent with fatigue and hunger to return to the house of her master, Abraham, where she would secure life and refreshment. Leave then, my soul, this good and the other good, and return to Him Who is the true Good. Thou oughtest not to desire to love this or that good, that is to say, a finite and limited good, but love the infinite and unlimited Good. Do not seek this or that sweet thing, but seek and love that essential sweetness which subsists by itself. Thou must not love this or that beauty, but Beauty itself; nor this or that good thing, but the Supreme Good. If thou desirest true sweetness and delight, thou wilt not seek it in fruits or in honeycombs, nor in bread or flesh, nor in any other food or other material resource whatever, but in the Delight and the Sweetness which exist in themselves and are dependent on none; a Sweetness not derived from anything else, but solely Sweetness itself in its entirety. And in the same manner, if thou seek beauty, seek it not in the sun or the moon or the stars, nor in man, nor in the heavens, nor in apparel, nor in gold or silver or precious stones, but seek it in Beauty itself; since that is not the beauty of this or that, but pure Beauty itself; which is not a medley of natural qualities, but is a Being of complete beauty, and is Sweetness, Goodness and pure Beauty, and so must needs be infinite and illimitable. Oh how will that abundance satisfy us, and how wilt thou, my soul, enjoy repose in that rest! Who could say, although he should be endowed with a hundred tongues and as many mouths, how satisfying that pleasure will prove, and how grateful that enjoyment! Oh how will that same gladness rejoice me, and how will that complete perfection of all goodness fill us with all that is good! If a honeycomb is delicious because of the sweetness which is in it, how much more so shall Sweetness itself be! If bread tastes of the flavour which is mixed with it, how much more will the flavour itself taste! If gold imparts delight by the beauty which the artificer has wrought in it, how much more will Beauty itself confer delight! Let who will boast himself and say that he has been labouring since the morning, bearing the burden of the day[Matt. xx. 12.] and of the summer; let another praise himself, saying that he is not like other men, and that he fasts twice in every week;Luke. xviii. 11-12.] yet Thou art very good to me, O Lord, to unite me to Thee, and to put my hope in Thee.[Ps. lxxii. 28.] Let others trust in their sciences and the subtlety of their genius, in the nobleness of their blood, and in their dignities, honours and vanities of this life; yet I look upon all this as mere offal,[Phil. iii. 8.] because Thou, Lord, hast been my hope, a tower of strength.[Ps. lx. 4.] Let them fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches,[1 Tim. vi. 17.] but I put my trust in Thy Word, for the love of which I have despised all things. Thou sayest that we should seek first the kingdom of God, and that all other things will be given to us.[Matt. vi. 33.] "To Thee is the poor man left: Thou wilt be a helper to the orphan."[Ps. x. 14.] "If a battle should rise up against me,"[Ps. xxvi. 3.] I will hope only in Thee, for Thou, Lord, art my rest, my refuge and my only good. O my soul, quit this and that good thing, and enjoy the Supreme Good itself, viz., the true and real substance of goodness from which and through which springs all the good that there is. This is what thy God promises, and bestows on His friends and chosen ones, not rewarding them with any kind of good, but with Good itself and Bounty itself. Hence it is that when Abraham asked of God what He would bestow upon him in reward for his labours, the answer was returned to him, "O Abraham, all My bounty is given to thee".[Gen. xv. 2 seq.] This is to be the wages of thy work, and this the guerdon[i.e., reward, Ed.] of thy labours. Turn thee again, therefore, according to the advice of the Psalmist, to thy rest; go back to thy God and Lord, for in Him alone shalt thou find in full perfection all that thou hast been continually craving by means of miserable and poor creatures. At least love thy God for thy peace and comfort, since in Him only is thy true repose.

1. Literally "out of the hands". [back]