Transcribed by E.T.H. III from A Christian Directory, Guiding men to Eternal Salvation commonly called the Resolution. Consisting of two Parts ; whereof the former layeth down the Motives to Resolution, and the other other removeth the Impediments. Both of them having been reviewed, corrected, and augmented, by the Author himself, a little before his death, for the greater commodity, and utility of the Reader. Written by the R. Father Robert Persons Priest of the Society of JESUS. Permissu Superiorum MDCL.
¶ If a poor afflicted man that were out of his way, wandering alone in a deep, miry, and dirty lane, in the midst of a dark and tempestuous night, far from company, destitute of money, beaten with rain, terrified with thunder, stiff with cold, wearied out with labour, almost famished with hunger and thirst, and near brought to despair with multitude of miseries ; should upon the sudden, in the twinkling of an eye, be taken out of that affliction, and be placed in a goodly large and rich palace, furnished with all kind of clear lights, comfortable fire, sweet savours, dainty meats, soft beds, pleasant music, delicate apparel, and honourable company ; all prepared for him alone, and all attending his coming, to receive and embrace him, to serve and honour him, and to anoint and crown him a King forever : what would this poor man do trow you? how would he look? what could he say? Surely I think he would be able to say little, but rather, breaking forth into tears, would for joy remain mute and dumb, his heart being not able to contain the sudden and exceeding greatness of so inestimable comfort.
¶ Well then (dear Brother) so shall it be, and much more with these twice happy souls, that come to heaven from the troubles of this life. For never was there cool shadow so pleasant in a hot burning sunny day ; nor the well-spring to the poor traveller in his greatest thirst of the summer ; nor the repose of an easy bed to the wearied servant after his labour at night : as shall be this rest of heaven to an afflicted soul which cometh thither. O that we could conceive this! that we could imprint this in our hearts ; that we had a feeling of this that I say : would we follow vanities as we do? would we neglect this matter as we do? No doubt, but that our coldness in purchasing these joys, doth proceed of the small opinion we do conceive of them. For if we made such account and estimate of this jewel of heavenly bliss, as other merchants before us (more skillful and wiser than ourselves) have done ; we would bid for it as they did, or at leastwise would not let it pass so negligently, which they sought after so carefully. S. Paul saith of our Saviour : Proposito sibi gaudio sustinuit Crucem : He laying before his eyes the joys of heaven, sustained the Cross. A great estimation of the matter, which he would buy at so dear a rate. But what counsel giveth he to other men about the same? surely none other, But to go and sell all they have, to purchase this treasure. S. Paul of himself, what saith he? Verily, that he esteemed all the world as dung, in respect of the purchasing of this jewel. S. Pauls scholar Ignatius, what addeth he? hear his own words : Fire, gallows, beasts, breaking of my bones, quartering of my members, crushing of my body, all the torments of the devil together, let them come upon me, so I may enjoy this treasure of heaven. S. Augustine that learned Father, what offereth he? You have now heard that he would be content to suffer torments every day, yea, the very torments of hell itself, to gain this joy. Good Lord, how far did these holy Saints differ from us? how contrary were their judgements to ours in these affairs? who will now marvel of the wisdom of the world, judged folly by God, and of the wisdom of God judged folly by the world? Oh children of men (saith the Prophet) why do ye love vanity, and seek after a lie? Why do you embrace straw and contemn gold? Straw (I say) and most vile chaff, and such as finally will set your own houses on fire, and be your ruin and eternal perdition?