Friday, September 30, 2005

From Discourses to Mixed Congregations
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

You cannot decide, my brethren, whether you are outrunning God's mercy, merely because the sin you now commit seems to be a small one; it is not always the greatest sin that is the last. Moreover you cannot calculate, which is to be your last sin, by the particular number of those which have gone before it, even if you could count them, for the number varies in different persons. This is another very serious circumstance. You may have committed but one or two sins, and yet find that you are ruined beyond redemption, though others who have done more are not. Why we know not, but God, who shows mercy and gives grace to all, shows greater mercy and gives more abundant grace to one man than another. To all He gives grace sufficient for their salvation; to all He gives far more than they have any right to expect, and they can claim nothing; but to some He gives far more than to others. He tells us Himself, that, if the inhabitants of Tyre and Sidon had seen the miracles done in Chorazin, they would have done penance and turned to Him. That is, there was that which would have converted them, and it was not granted to them. Till we set this before ourselves, we have not a right view either of sin in itself, or of our own prospects if we live in it. As God determines for each the measure of his stature, and the complexion of his mind, and the number of his days, yet not the same for all; as one child of Adam is preordained to live one day, and another eighty years, so is it fixed that one should be reserved for his eightieth sin, another cut off after his first.


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