To abandon sin is of the utmost importance, and the flesh, the world and the devil will wage war against those who attempt it

October 28, 2021 • 3 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 315



It is not sufficient to persuade men to love virtue; we must also teach them how to acquire it. The first condition, a wise man has said, is the absence of vice. We shall therefore first treat of the most common vices and their remedies, and afterwards of the virtues and the means of acquiring them.

Before entering upon this subject bear in mind that there are two principles in which you must be firmly established if you would change your life and give yourself to God.

The first is a just appreciation of the importance of the labor you are about to undertake; you must be convinced that this is the sole interest, the sole profit, the sole wisdom in the world.

This is what the Holy Ghost Himself teaches us: “Learn where is wisdom, where is strength, where is understanding, that thou mayst know also where is length of days and life, where is the light of the eyes, and peace.” [Baruch iii. 14.]

“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, and let not the strong man glory in his strength, and let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me.” [Jer. ix. 23, 24.]

The second principle with which you must be imbued is that as this is such a glorious and profitable engagement, you must undertake it with vigor and a firm determination to conquer. Be persuaded that all the dangers which you will encounter will be of little moment compared to the sublime end you have in view.

It is a law of nature that nothing great is accomplished without labor and trouble. You will no sooner have resolved to give yourself to God than hell will send out its forces against you.

The flesh, corrupted from its birth by the poison of the serpent, will assail you with its insatiable desires and alluring pleasures. Evil habits as strong as nature itself will fiercely resist this change of life and exaggerate the difficulties which you will encounter. To turn a river from its course is hardly more laborious than to change a life confirmed by inveterate habits.

The world, as powerful as it is cruel, will wage a fierce war against you. Armed with its pleasures and bad examples, it will hasten to compass your downfall. At one time it will seek to captivate your heart with its pomps and vanities. At another time it will strive to entangle you in the net of its ways and maxims. Again it will boldly attack you with ridicule, raillery, and persecution.

The devil himself, the arch-deceiver, will renew his warfare and turn all his forces against you. Enraged at your desertion from his party, he will leave nothing undone to ruin you.

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