Topic - Sin Discourse 2. Neglect of Divine Calls and Warnings

{22} NO one sins without making some excuse to himself for sinning. He is obliged to do so: man is not like the brute beasts; he has a divine gift within him which we call reason, and which constrains him to account before its judgment-seat for what he does. He cannot act at random; however he acts, he must act by some kind of rule, on some sort of principle; else he is vexed and dissatisfied with himself. Not that he is very particular whether he finds a good reason or a bad, when he is very much straitened for a reason; but a reason of some sort he must have. Hence you sometimes find those who give up religious duty altogether, attacking the conduct of religious men, whether their acquaintance, or the ministers or professors of religion, as a sort of excuse—a very bad one—for their neglect. Others will make the excuse that they are so far from church, or so closely occupied at home, whether they will or not, that they cannot serve God as they ought. Others say that it is no use trying to do so, that they have again and again gone to confession and tried to keep out of mortal sin, and {23} cannot; and so they give up the attempt as hopeless. Others, when they fall into sin, excuse themselves on the plea that they are but following nature; that the impulses of nature are so very strong, and that it cannot be wrong to follow that nature which God has given us. Others are bolder still, and they cast off religion altogether: they deny its truth; they deny Church, Gospel, and Bible; they go so far perhaps as even to deny God's governance of His creatures. They boldly deny that there is any life after death: and, this being the case, of course they would be fools indeed not to take their pleasure here, and to make as much of this poor life as they can.

And there are others, and to these I am going to address myself, who try to speak peace to themselves by cherishing the thought that something or other will happen after all to keep them from eternal ruin, though they now continue in their neglect of God; that it is a long time yet to death; that there are many chances in their favour; that they shall repent in process of time when they get old, as a matter of course; that they mean to repent some day; that they mean, sooner or later, seriously to take their state into account, and to make their ground good; and, if they are Catholics, they add, that they will take care to die with the last Sacraments, and that therefore they need not trouble themselves about the matter.

Now these persons, my brethren, tempt God; they try Him, how far His goodness will go; and, it may be, they will try Him too long, and will have experience, not of His gracious forgiveness, but of His {24} severity and His justice. In this spirit it was that the Israelites in the desert conducted themselves towards Almighty God: instead of feeling awe of Him, they were free with Him, treated Him familiarly, made excuses, preferred complaints, upbraided Him; as if the Eternal God had been a weak man, as if He had been their minister and servant; in consequence, we are told by the inspired historian, "The Lord sent among the people fiery serpents". To this St. Paul refers when he says, "Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them tempted, and perished by the serpents;" a warning to us now, that those who are forward and bold with their Almighty Saviour, will gain, not the pardon which they look for, but will find themselves within the folds of the old serpent, will drink in his poisonous breath, and at length will die under his fangs. That seducing spirit appeared in person to our Lord in the days of His flesh, and tried to entangle Him, the Son of the Highest, in this very sin. He placed Him on the pinnacle of the Temple, and said to Him, "If Thou art the Son of God, cast Thyself down, for it is written, He has given His Angels charge of Thee, and in their hands they shall lift Thee, lest perchance Thou strike Thy foot against a stone;" but our Lord's answer was, "It is also written, Thou shall not tempt the Lord thy God". And so numbers are tempted now to cast themselves headlong down the precipice of sin, assuring themselves the while that they will never reach the hell which lies at the bottom, never dash upon its sharp rocks, or be plunged into its flames; for Angels and Saints are {25} there, in their extremity, in their final need,—or at least, God's general mercies, or His particular promises,—to interpose and bear them away safely. Such is the sin of these men, my brethren, of which I am going to speak; not the sin of unbelief, or of pride, or of despair, but of presumption.

I will state more distinctly the kind of thoughts which go through their minds, and which quiet and satisfy them in their course of irreligion. They say to themselves, "I cannot give up sin now; I cannot give up this or that indulgence; I cannot break myself of this habit of intemperance; I cannot do without these unlawful gains; I cannot leave these employers or superiors, who keep me from following my conscience. It is impossible I should serve God now; and I have no leisure to look into myself; and I do not feel the wish to repent; I have no heart for religion. But it will come easier by-and-by; it will be as natural then to repent and be religious, as it is now natural to sin. I shall then have fewer temptations, fewer difficulties. Old people are sometimes indeed reprobates, but, generally speaking, they are religious; they are religious almost as a matter of course; they may curse and swear a little, and tell lies, and do such-like little things; but still they are clear of mortal sin, and would be safe if they were suddenly taken off." And when some particular temptation comes on them, they think, "It is only one sin, and once in a way; I never did the like before, and never will again while I live;" or, "I have done as bad before now, and it is only one sin more, and I shall {26} have to repent anyhow; and while I am about it, it will be as easy to repent of one sin more as of one less, for I shall have to repent of all sin;" or again, "If I perish, I shall not want company;—what will happen to this person or that? I am quite a Saint compared with such a one; and I have known men repent, who have done much worse things than I have done".

Now, my dear brethren, those who make such excuses to themselves, know neither what sin is in its own nature, nor what their own sins are in particular; they understand neither the heinousness nor the multitude of their sins. It is necessary, then, to state distinctly one or two points of Catholic doctrine, which will serve to put this matter in a clearer view than men are accustomed to take of it. These truths are very simple and very obvious, but are quite forgotten by the persons of whom I have been speaking, or they would never be able to satisfy their reason and their conscience by such frivolous pleas and excuses, as those which I have been drawing out.

First then observe, that when a person says, "I have sinned as badly before now," or, "This is only one sin more," or, "I must repent anyhow, and then will repent once for all," and the like, he forgets that all his sins are in God's hand and in one page of the book of judgment, and already added up against him, according as each is committed, up to the last of them; that the sin he is now committing is not a mere single, isolated sin, but that it is one of a series, of a long catalogue; that though it be but one, it is not sin one, or {27} sin two, or sin three in the list, but it is the thousandth, the ten thousandth, or the hundredth thousandth, in a long course of sinning. It is not the first of his sins, but the last, and perhaps the very last and finishing sin. He himself forgets, manages to forget, or tries to forget, wishes to forget, all his antecedent sins, or remembers them merely as instances of his having sinned with impunity before, and proofs that he may sin with impunity still. But every sin has a history: it is not an accident; it is the fruit of former sins in thought or in deed; it is the token of a habit deeply seated and widely spread; it is the aggravation of a virulent disease; and, as the last straw is said to break the horse's back, so our last sin, whatever it is, is that which destroys our hope, and forfeits our place in heaven. Therefore, my brethren, it is but the craft of the devil, which makes you take your sins one by one, while God views them as a whole. "Signasti, quasi in sacculo, delicta mea," says holy Job, "Thou hast sealed up my sins as in a bag," and one day they will all be counted out. Separate sins are like the touches and strokes which the painter gives, first one and then another, to the picture on his canvas; or like the stones which the mason piles up and cements together for the house he is building. They are all connected together; they tend to a whole; they look towards an end, and they hasten on to their fulfilment.

Go, commit this sin, my brethren, to which you are tempted, which you persist in viewing in itself alone, look on it as Eve looked on the forbidden fruit, dwell upon its lightness and insignificance; and perhaps {28} you may find it after all to be just the coping-stone of your high tower of rebellion, which comes into remembrance before God, and fills up the measure of your iniquities. "Fill ye up," says our Lord to the hypocritical Pharisees, "the measure of your fathers." The wrath, which came on Jerusalem, was not simply caused by the sins of that day, in which Christ came, though in that day was committed the most awful of all sins, viz., His rejection; for that was but the crowning sin of a long course of rebellion. So again, in an earlier age, the age of Abraham, ere the chosen people had got possession of the land of promise, there was already great and heinous sin among the heathen who inhabited it, yet they were not put out at once, and Abraham brought in;—why? because God's mercies were not yet exhausted towards them. He still bestowed His grace on the abandoned people, and waited for their repentance. But He foresaw that He should wait in vain, and that the time of vengeance would come; and this He implied when He said, that He did not give the chosen seed the land at once, "for as yet the iniquities of the Amorrhites were not at the full". But they did come to the full some hundred years afterwards, and then the Israelites were brought in, with the command to destroy them utterly with the sword. And again, you know the history of the impious Baltassar. In his proud feast, when he was now filled with wine, he sent for the gold and silver vessels which belonged to the Temple at Jerusalem, and had been brought to Babylon on the taking of the holy city,—he sent for these sacred {29} vessels, that out of them he might drink more wine, he, his nobles, his wives, and his concubines. In that hour, the fingers as of a man's hand were seen upon the wall of the banqueting-room, writing the doom of the king and of his kingdom. The words were these: "God hath numbered thy kingdom, and hath finished it: thou art weighed in the balance, and art found wanting". That wretched prince had kept no account of his sins; as a spendthrift keeps no account of his debts, so he went on day after day and year after year, revelling in pride, cruelty, and sensual indulgence, and insulting his Master, till at length he exhausted the Divine Mercy, and filled up the chalice of wrath. His hour came: one more sin he did, and the cup overflowed; vengeance overtook him on the instant, and he was cut off from the earth.

And that last sin need not be a great sin, need not be greater than those which have gone before it; perhaps it may be less. There was a rich man, mentioned by our Lord, who, when his crops were plentiful, said within himself, "What shall I do, for I have not where to bestow my fruits? I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thy rest, eat, drink, make good cheer." He was carried off that very night. This was not a very striking sin, and surely it was not his first great sin; it was the last instance of a long course of acts of self-sufficiency and forgetfulness of God, not greater in intensity than any before it, but completing their number. And so again, when the father of that {30} impious king, whom I just now spoke of; when Nabuchodonosor had for a whole year neglected the warning of the prophet Daniel, calling him to turn from his pride and to repent, one day as he walked in the palace of Babylon, he said, "Is not this great Babylon, which I have built for the home of the kingdom, in the strength of my power and in the glory of my excellence?" and forthwith, while the word was yet in his mouth, judgment came upon him, and he was smitten with a new and strange disease, so that he was driven from men, and ate hay like the ox, and grew wild in his appearance, and lived in the open field. His consummating act of pride was not greater, perhaps, than any one of those which through the twelvemonth had preceded it.

No; 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 {31} 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. Why this is, we know not; but it is parallel to what is done in human matters without exciting any surprise. Of two convicted offenders one is pardoned, one is left to suffer; and this might be done in a case where there was nothing to choose between the guilt of the one and of the other, and where the reasons which determine the difference of dealing towards the one and the other, whatever they are, are external to the individuals themselves. In like manner you have heard, I daresay, of decimating rebels, when they had been captured, that is, of executing every tenth and letting off the rest. So it is also with God's judgments, though we cannot sound the reasons of them. He is not bound to 1et off any; He has the power to condemn all: I only bring this to show how our rule of justice here below does not preclude a difference of dealing {32} with one man and with another. The Creator gives one man time for repentance, He carries off another by sudden death. He allows one man to die with the last Sacraments; another dies without a Priest to receive his imperfect contrition, and to absolve him; the one is pardoned, and will go to heaven; the other goes to the place of eternal punishment. No one can say how it will happen in his own case; no one can promise himself that he shall have time for repentance; or, if he have time, that he shall have any supernatural movement of the heart towards God; or, even then, that a Priest will be at hand to give him absolution. We may have sinned less than our next-door neighbour, yet that neighbour may be reserved for repentance and may reign with Christ, while we may be punished with the evil spirit.

Nay, some have been cut off and sent to hell for their first sin. This was the case, as divines teach, as regards the rebel Angels. For their first sin, and that a sin of thought, a single perfected act of pride, they lost their first estate, and became devils. And Saints and holy people record instances of men, and even children, who in like manner have uttered a first blasphemy or other deliberate sin, and were cut off without remedy. And a number of similar instances occur in Scripture; I mean of the awful punishment of a single sin, without respect to the virtue and general excellence of the sinner. Adam, for a single sin, small in appearance, the eating of the forbidden fruit, lost Paradise, and implicated all his posterity in his own ruin. The Bethsamites were {33} irreverent towards the ark of the Lord, and more than fifty thousand of them in consequence were smitten. Oza touched it with his hand, as if to save it from falling, and he was struck dead on the spot for his rashness. The man of God from Juda ate bread and drank water at Bethel, against the command of God, and he was forthwith killed by a lion on his return. Ananias and Sapphira told one lie, and fell down dead almost as the words left their mouth. Who are we, that God should wait for our repentance any longer, when He has not waited at all, before He cut off those who sinned less than we?

O my dear brethren, these presumptuous thoughts of ours arise from a defective notion of the malignity of sin viewed in itself. We are criminals, and we are no judges in our own case. We are fond of ourselves, and we take our own part, and we are familiar with sin, and, from pride, we do not like to confess ourselves lost. For all these reasons, we have no real idea what sin is, what its punishment is, and what grace is. We do not know what sin is, because we do not know what God is; we have no standard with which to compare it, till we know what God is. Only God's glories, His perfections, His holiness, His Majesty, His beauty, can teach us by the contrast how to think of sin; and since we do not see God here, till we see Him, we cannot form a just judgment what sin is; till we enter heaven, we must take what God tells us of sin, mainly on faith. Nay, even then, we shall be able to condemn sin, only so far as we are able to see and praise and glorify God; He alone can {34} duly judge of sin who can comprehend God; He only judged of sin according to the fulness of its evil, who, knowing the Father from eternity with a perfect knowledge, showed what He thought of sin by dying for it; He only, who was willing, though He was God, to suffer inconceivable pains of soul and body in order to make a satisfaction for it. Take His word, or rather, His deed, for the truth of this awful doctrine,—that a single mortal sin is enough to cut you off from God for ever. Go down to the grave with a single unrepented, unforgiven sin upon you, and you have enough to sink you down to hell; you have that, which to a certainty will be your ruin. It may be the hundredth sin, or it may be the first sin, no matter: one is enough to sink you; though the more you have, the deeper you will sink. You need not have your fill of sin in order to perish without remedy; there are those who lose both this world and the next; they choose rebellion, and receive, not its gains, but death.

Or grant, that God's anger delays its course, and you have time to add sin to sin, this is only to increase the punishment when it comes. God is terrible, when He speaks to the sinner; He is more terrible, when He refrains; He is more terrible, when He is silent and accumulates wrath. Alas! there are those who are allowed to spend a long life, and a happy life, in neglect of Him, and have nothing in the outward course of things to remind them of what is coming, till their irreversible sentence bursts upon them. As the stream flows smoothly before the {35} cataract, so with these persons does life pass along swiftly and silently, serenely and joyously. "They are not in the labour of men, neither shall they be scourged like other men." "They are filled with hidden things; they are full of children, and leave what remains of them to their little ones." "Their houses are secure and at peace, neither is the rod of God upon them. Their little ones go out like a flock, and their children dance and play. They take the timbrel and the harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ. They spend their days in good, and in a moment they go down to hell." So was it with Jerusalem, when God had deserted it; it seemed never so prosperous before. Herod the king had lately rebuilt the Temple; and the marbles with which it was cased were wonderful for size and beauty, and it rose bright and glittering in the morning sun. The disciples called their Lord to look at it, but He did but see in it the whited sepulchre of a reprobate people, and foretold its overthrow. "See ye all these things?" He answered them, "Amen, I say to you, stone shall not be here left upon stone, which shall not be thrown down". And "He beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, and in this thy day, the things that are for thy peace, but now they are hidden from thine eyes!" Hid, indeed, was her doom; for millions crowded within the guilty city at her yearly festival, and her end seemed a long way off, and ruin to belong to a far future age, when it was at the door.

O the change, my brethren, the dismal change at {36} last when the sentence has gone forth, and life ends and eternal death begins! The poor sinner has gone on so long in sin, that he has forgotten he has sin to repent of. He has learned to forget that he is living in a state of enmity to God. He no longer makes excuses, as he did at first. He lives in the world, and believes nothing about the Sacraments, nor puts any trust in a Priest if he falls in with one. Perhaps he has hardly ever heard the Catholic religion mentioned except for the purpose of abuse; and never has spoken of it, but to ridicule it. His thoughts are taken up with his family and with his occupation; and if he thinks of death, it is with repugnance, as what will separate him from this world, not with fear, as what will introduce him to another. He has ever been strong and hale. He has never had an illness. His family is long-lived, and he reckons he has a long time before him. His friends die before him, and he feels rather contempt at their nothingness, than sorrow at their departure. He has just married a daughter, or established a son in life, and he thinks of retiring from his labours, except that he is at a loss to know how he shall employ himself when he is out of work. He cannot get himself to dwell upon the thought of what and where he will be, when life is over, or, if he begins to muse awhile over himself and his prospects, then he is sure of one thing, that the Creator is absolute and mere benevolence, and he is indignant and impatient when he hears eternal punishment spoken of. And so he fares, whether for a long time or a short; but whatever the period, it {37} must have an end, and at last the end comes. Time has gone forward noiselessly, and comes upon him like a thief in the night; at length the hour of doom strikes, and he is taken away.

Perhaps, however, he was a Catholic, and then the very mercies of God have been perverted by him to his ruin. He has rested on the Sacraments, without caring to have the proper dispositions for attending them. At one time he had lived in neglect of religion altogether; but there was a date when he felt a wish to set himself right with his Maker; so he began, and has continued ever since, to go to Confession and Communion at convenient intervals. He comes again and again to the Priest; he goes through his sins; the Priest is obliged to take his account of them, which is a very defective account, and sees no reason for not giving him absolution. He is absolved, as far as words can absolve him; he comes again to the Priest when the season comes round; again he confesses, and again he has the form pronounced over him. He falls sick, he receives the last Sacraments: he receives the last rites of the Church, and he is lost. He is lost, because he has never really turned his heart to God; or, if he had some poor measure of contrition for a while it did not last beyond his first or second confession. He soon taught himself to come to the Sacraments without any contrition at all; he deceived himself, and left out his principal and most important sins. Somehow he deceived himself into the notion that they were not sins, or not mortal sins; for some reason or other he was silent, and his confession {38} became as defective as his contrition. Yet this scanty show of religion was sufficient to soothe and stupefy his conscience: so he went on year after year, never making a good confession, communicating in mortal sin, till he fell ill; and then, I say, the viaticum and holy oil were brought to him, and he committed sacrilege for his last time,—and so he went to his God.

O what a moment for the poor soul, when it comes to itself, and finds itself suddenly before the judgment-seat of Christ! O what a moment, when, breathless with the journey, and dizzy with the brightness, and overwhelmed with the strangeness of what is happening to him, and unable to realise where he is, the sinner hears the voice of the accusing spirit, bringing up all the sins of his past life, which he has forgotten, or which he has explained away, which he would not allow to be sins, though he suspected they were; when he hears him detailing all the mercies of God which he has despised, all His warnings which he has set at nought, all His judgments which he has outlived; when that evil one follows out into detail the growth and progress of a lost soul,—how it expanded and was confirmed in sin,—how it budded forth into leaves and flowers, grew into branches, and ripened into fruit,—till nothing was wanted for its full condemnation! And, oh! still more terrible, still more distracting, when the Judge speaks, and consigns it to the jailors, till it shall pay the endless debt which lies against it! "Impossible, I a lost soul! I separated from hope and from peace for ever! It is not I of whom the {39} Judge so spake! There is a mistake somewhere; Christ, Saviour, hold Thy hand,—one minute to explain it! My name is Demas: I am but Demas, not Judas, or Nicolas, or Alexander, or Philetus, or Diotrephes. What? hopeless pain! for me! impossible, it shall not be." And the poor soul struggles and wrestles in the grasp of the mighty demon which has hold of it, and whose very touch is torment. "Oh, atrocious!" it shrieks in agony, and in anger too, as if the very keenness of the affliction were a proof of its injustice. "A second! and a third! I can bear no more! stop, horrible fiend, give over; I am a man, and not such as thou! I am not food for thee, or sport for thee! I never was in hell as thou, I have not on me the smell of fire, nor the taint of the charnel-house! I know what human feelings are; I have been taught religion; I have had a conscience; I have a cultivated mind; I am well versed in science and art; I have been refined by literature; I have had an eye for the beauties of nature; I am a philosopher or a poet, or a shrewd observer of men, or a hero, or a statesman, or an orator, or a man of wit and humour. Nay,—I am a Catholic; I am not an unregenerate Protestant; I have received the grace of the Redeemer; I have attended the Sacraments for years; I have been a Catholic from a child; I am a son of the Martyrs; I died in communion with the Church: nothing, nothing which I have ever been, which I have ever seen, bears any resemblance to thee, and to the flame and stench which exhale from thee; so I defy thee, and abjure thee, O enemy of man!" {40}

Alas! poor soul; and whilst it thus fights with that destiny which it has brought upon itself, and with those companions whom it has chosen, the man's name perhaps is solemnly chanted forth, and his memory decently cherished among his friends on earth. His readiness in speech, his fertility in thought, his sagacity, or his wisdom, are not forgotten. Men talk of him from time to time; they appeal to his authority; they quote his words; perhaps they even raise a monument to his name, or write his history. "So comprehensive a mind! such a power of throwing light on a perplexed subject, and bringing conflicting ideas or facts into harmony!" "Such a speech it was that he made on such and such an occasion; I happened to be present, and never shall forget it;" or, "It was the saying of a very sensible man;" or, "A great personage, whom some of us knew;" or, "It was a rule with a very worthy and excellent friend of mine, now no more;" or, "Never was his equal in society, so just in his remarks, so versatile, so unobtrusive;" or, "I was fortunate to see him once when I was a boy;" or, "So great a benefactor to his country and to his kind!" "His discoveries so great;" or, "His philosophy so profound". O vanity! vanity of vanities, all is vanity! What profiteth it? What profiteth it? His soul is in hell. O ye children of men, while thus ye speak, his soul is in the beginning of those torments in which his body will soon have part, and which will never die.

Vanity of vanities! misery of miseries! they will not attend to us, they will not believe us. We are {41} but a few in number, and they are many; and the many will not give credit to the few. O misery of miseries! Thousands are dying daily; they are waking up into God's everlasting wrath; they look back on the days of the flesh, and call them few and evil; they despise and scorn the very reasonings which then they trusted, and which have been disproved by the event; they curse the recklessness which made them put off repentance; they have fallen under His justice, whose mercy they presumed upon;—and their companions and friends are going on as they did, and are soon to join them. As the last generation presumed, so does the present. The father would not believe that God could punish, and now the son will not believe; the father was indignant when eternal pain was spoken of, and the son gnashes his teeth and smiles contemptuously. The world spoke well of itself thirty years ago, and so will it thirty years to come. And thus it is that this vast flood of life is carried on from age to age; myriads trifling with God's love, tempting His justice, and like the herd of swine, falling headlong down the steep! O mighty God! O God of love! it is too much! it broke the heart of Thy sweet Son Jesus to see the misery of man spread out before His eyes. He died by it as well as for it. And we, too, in our measure, our eyes ache, and our hearts sicken, and our heads reel, when we but feebly contemplate it. O most tender heart of Jesus, why wilt Thou not end, when wilt Thou end, this ever-growing load of sin and woe? When wilt Thou chase away the devil into his own hell, and close {42} the pit's mouth, that Thy chosen may rejoice in Thee, quitting the thought of those who perish in their wilfulness? But, oh! by those five dear Wounds in Hands, and Feet, and Side—perpetual founts of mercy, from which the fulness of the Eternal Trinity flows ever fresh, ever powerful, ever bountiful to all who seek Thee—if the world must still endure, at least gather Thou a larger and a larger harvest, an ampler proportion of souls out of it into Thy garner, that these latter times may, in sanctity, and glory, and the triumphs of Thy grace, exceed the former.

"Deus misereatur nostri, et benedicat nobis;" "God, have mercy on us, and bless us; and cause His face to shine upon us, and have mercy on us; that we may know Thy way upon earth, Thy salvation among all the nations. Let the people praise Thee, O God; let all the people praise Thee. Let the nations be glad, and leap for joy; because Thou dost judge the people in equity, and dost direct the nations on the earth. God, even our God, bless us, may God bless us; and may all the ends of the earth fear Him."

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