BLTC Press Titles

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Esoteric Buddhism

A. P. Sinnett

Some Experiences of an Irish R. M.

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross

The Secret Doctrine, Volume I Cosmogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky

The Secret Doctrine, Volume II Anthropogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky


by Jean Pierre de Caussade






Father Caussade's Doctrine.

There is no truth however clear which does not become error the moment it is lessened or exaggerated ; and there is no food however salutary for the soul which may not, when illapplied, become a fatal poison.

The virtue of abandonment does not escape this danger; the more holy and profitable it is in itself the more serious are the dangers we risk by misunderstanding its just limits.

These dangers, unfortunately, are not mere possibilities. The seventeenth century witnessed the birth of a heresy,—that of the Quietests,—which, while claiming to teach its followers perfect abandonment to God, led them into the most terrible disorders. For a time this sect wrought its ravages in the very capital of Catholicism, and put forth such specious sophistries that the pious Fenelon himself, while abhorring the practical consequences drawn from this teaching, was for a time misled by its false appearance of perfection.

To preserve Father Caussade's readers from these dangers, we think it well to add to these writings a succinct exposition of the rules which should guide us in a matter so delicate. By the light of the principles jointly furnished us by reason and faith, we shall have no difficulty in determining the just limits which should mark our abandonment to divine Providence; and it will be easy for us afterwards to elucidate the points in our author's doctrine which might be wrongly interpreted.

Father Caussade explains very clearly in his " Letters" the two principles which form the unalterable basis of the virtue of abandonment.

First principle: Nothing is done, nothing happens, either in the material or in the moral world,which God has not foreseen from all eternity, and which He has not willed, or at least permitted.

Second principle: God can will nothing, He can permit nothing, but in view of the end He proposed to Himself in creating the world ; i.e., in view of His glory and the glory of the ManGod, Jesus Christ, His only Son.

To these two principles laid down by our author we shall add a third, which will complete the elucidation of this whole subject: As long as man lives upon earth, God desires to be glorified through the happiness of this privileged creature; and consequently in God's designs the interest of man's sanctification and happiness is inseparable from the interest of the divine glory.

If we do not lose sight of these principles, which no Christian can question, we shall understand that our confidence in the Providence of our Father in heaven cannot be too great, too absolute, too child-like. If nothing but what He permits happens, and if He can permit nothing but wh'

is for our happiness, then we have nothing to fear, except not being sufficiently submissive to God. As long as we keep ourselves united with Him and we walk after His designs, were all creatures to turn against us they could not harm us. He who relies upon God becomes by this very reliance as powerful and as invincible as God*and created powers can no more prevail against him than against God Himself.

This confidence in the fatherly providence of God cannot, evidently, dispense us from doing all that is in our power to accomplish His designs; but after having done all that depends upon our efforts we will abandon ourselves completely to God for the rest.

This abandonment should extend, in fact, to everything—to the past, to thei present, to the future; to the body and all its conditions; to the soul and all its miseries, as well as all its qualities; to blessings; to afflictions ; to the good will of men, and to their malice; to the vicissitudes of the material, and the revolutions of the moral, world; to life and to death; to time and to eternity.

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