Discourse 7. Perseverance in Grace

{124} THERE is no truth, my brethren, which Holy Church is more earnest in impressing upon us than that our salvation from first to last is the gift of God. It is true indeed that we merit eternal life by our works of obedience; but that those works are meritorious of such a reward, this takes place, not from their intrinsic worth, but from the free appointment and bountiful promise of God; and that we are able to do them at all, is the simple result of His grace. That we are justified is of His grace; that we have the dispositions for justification is of His grace; that we are able to do good works when justified is of His grace; and that we persevere in those good works is of His grace. Not only do we actually depend on His power from first to last, but our destinies depend on His sovereign pleasure and inscrutable counsel. He holds the arbitration of our future in His hands; without an act of His will, independent of ours, we should not have been brought into the grace of the Catholic Church; and without a further act of His will, though we are now members of it, we shall not {125} be brought on to the glory of the kingdom of Heaven. Though a soul justified can merit eternal life, yet neither can it merit to be justified, nor can it merit to remain justified to the end; not only is a state of grace the condition and the life of all merit, but grace brings us into that state of grace, and grace continues us in it; and thus, as I began by saying, our salvation from first to last is the gift of God.

Precise and absolute as is the teaching of Holy Church concerning the sovereign grace of God, she is as clear and as earnest in teaching also that we are really free and responsible. Every one upon earth might, without any verbal evasion, be saved, as far as God's assistances are concerned. Every man born of Adam's seed, simply and truly, might save himself, if he would, and every man might will to save himself; for grace is given to every one for this end. How it is, however, that in spite of this real freedom of man's will, our salvation still depends so absolutely on God's good pleasure, is unrevealed; divines have devised various modes of reconciling two truths which at first sight seem so contrary to each other; and these explanations have severally been received by some theologians, and not received by others, and do not concern us now. How man is able fully and entirely to do what he will, while God accomplishes His own supreme will also, is hidden from us, as it is hidden from us how God created out of nothing, or how He foresees the future, or how His attribute of justice is compatible with His attribute of love. It is one of those "hidden things which belong unto {126} the Lord our God;" but "what are revealed," as the inspired writer goes on to say, "are for us and our children even for everlasting". And this is what is revealed, viz.:—on the one hand, that our salvation depends on ourselves, and on the other, that it depends on God. Did we not depend on ourselves, we should become careless and reckless, nothing we did or did not do having any bearing on our salvation; did we not depend on God, we should be presumptuous and self-sufficient. I began by telling you, my brethren, and I shall proceed in what is to come more distinctly to tell you, that you depend upon God; but such admonitions necessarily imply your dependence upon yourselves also; for, did not your salvation in some sufficient sense depend on yourselves, what would be the use of appealing to you not to forget your dependence on God? It is because you have so great a share in your own salvation, that it avails, that it is pertinent, to speak to you of God's part in it.

He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, as of all things, so of our salvation. We should have lived and died, every one of us, destitute of all saving knowledge and love of Him, but for a gift which we could not do anything ourselves to secure, had we lived ever so well,—but for His grace; and now that we have known Him, and have been cleansed from our sins by Him, it is quite certain that we cannot do anything, even with the help of grace, to purchase for ourselves perseverance in justice and sanctity, though we live ever so well. His grace {127} begins the work, His grace also finishes it; and now I am going to speak to you of His finishing it; I mean of the necessity under which we lie of His finishing it; else it will never be finished, or rather will be reversed; I am going to speak to you of the gift of perseverance in grace, of its extreme preciousness, and of our utter hopelessness, in spite of all that we are, without it.

It is this gift which our Lord speaks of, when He prays His Father for His disciples, before He departs from them: "Holy Father, keep in Thy name those whom Thou hast given Me; ... I ask not that Thou take them out of the world, but that Thou preserve them from evil". And St. Paul intends it when he declares to the Philippians that "He who had begun a good work" in His disciples, "would perfect it unto the day of Christ Jesus". St. Peter, too, when he says in like manner, that "God, who had called His brethren into His eternal glory, would perfect, confirm, and establish them". And so the Prophet in the Psalms prays that God would "perfect his walking in His paths, that his steps might not be moved;" and the Prophet Jeremias declares in God's name, "I will put My fear in their hearts, that they draw not back from Me". In these and many other passages of Scripture the blessing spoken of is the gift of final perseverance, and I will tell you how and why it is necessary.

This is what we find to be the case, not only in matters of religion, but of this world, viz., that, let a person do a thing ever so well, the chance is that he {128} will not be able to do it a number of times running without a mistake. Let a person be ever so good an accountant, he will add up a sum wrongly now and then, though you could not guess beforehand when or why he was to fail. Let him get by heart a number of lines ever so perfectly, and say them accurately over, yet it does not follow that he will say them a dozen times and be accurate throughout. So it is with our religious duties; we may be able to keep from every sin in particular as the particular temptation comes, but this does not hinder its being certain that we shall not in fact keep from all sins, though that "all" is made up of those particular sins. This is how the greatest Saints come to commit venial or lesser sins, though grace they have sufficient to keep them from any sin whatever. It is the result of human frailty; nothing could keep the Saints from such falls, light as they may be, but a special prerogative, and this, the Church teaches, has been granted to the Blessed Virgin, and apparently to her alone. Now these lesser or venial sins do not separate the soul from God, or forfeit its perseverance in grace; and they are permitted by the Giver of all grace for a good purpose, to humble us, and to give us an incentive to works of penance. No exemption then from these is given us, because it is not necessary in order to our perseverance that we should be exempted; on the other hand, what is most necessary is, that we should be preserved from mortal sins, yet here too that very difficulty besets us in our warfare with them which meets us in the case of venial. Here too, though a man may have grace {129} sufficient to keep him clear of all mortal sins whatever, taken one by one, still we may prophesy surely, that the hour will come, sooner or later, when he will neglect and baffle that grace, unless he has some further gift bestowed on him to guard him against himself. He needs grace to use grace; he needs something over and above to secure his being faithful to what he has already. And he needs it imperatively; for, since even one mortal sin separates from God, he is in immediate risk of his salvation, if he has it not. This additional gift is called the gift of perseverance; and it consists in an ever-watchful superintendence of us, on the part of our All-merciful Lord, removing temptations which He sees will be fatal to us, succouring us at those times when we are in particular peril, whether from our negligence or other cause, and ordering the course of our life so, that we may die at a time when He sees that we are in a state of grace. And, since it is so simply necessary for us, God grants it to us; nay, did He not, no one could be saved. He grants it to us, though He does not grant even to Saints the prerogative of avoiding every venial sin; He grants it, out of His bounty, to our prayers, though we cannot merit it by anything we do for Him or say to Him, even with the aid of His grace.

What a lesson of humility and watchfulness have we in this doctrine as now explained! It is one ground of humiliation, that, do what we will, strive as we will, we cannot escape from lesser sins while we are on earth. Though the aids which God gives us are sufficient to enable us to live without sin, yet our {130} infirmity of will and of attention is a match for them, and we do not do in fact that which we might do. And again, what is not only humbling, but even frightful and appalling, we are in danger of mortal sin as well as in certainty of venial; and the only reason why we are not in certainty of mortal is, that an extraordinary gift is given to those who supplicate for it, to secure them from mortal, though no such extraordinary gift is given to secure them from venial. In spite of the presence of grace in our souls, in spite of the actual assistances given us, we owe any hope we have of heaven, not to that inward grace simply, nor to those aids, but, I repeat, to a supplementary mercy which protects us against ourselves, rescues us from occasions of sin, strengthens us in our hour of danger, and ends our days at that very time, perhaps cuts short our life in order to secure a time, when no mortal sin has separated us from God. Nothing we are, nothing we do, is any guarantee to us that this supplementary mercy has been accorded to us; we cannot know till the end; all we know is, that God has helped us hitherto, and we trust He will help us still. But yet the experience of what He has already done is no proof that He will do more; our present religiousness need not be the consequence of the gift of perseverance as bestowed upon us; it may have been intended merely to prompt and enable us to pray earnestly and continually for that gift. There are men who, had they died at a particular time, would have died the death of Saints, and who lived to fall. They lived on here to die eternally. O dreadful {131} thought! Never be you offended, my brethren, or overwhelmed, when you find that the good and gentle, or the zealous and useful, is cut down and taken off in the midst of his course; it is hard to bear, but who knows that he is not taken away ą facie malitię, "from the presence of evil," from the evil to come? "He was taken away," as the Wise Man says, "lest wickedness should alter his understanding, or deceit beguile his soul. For the bewitching of vanity obscureth good things, and the wandering of concupiscence overturneth the innocent mind. Being made perfect in a short space, he fulfilled a long time. For his soul pleased God; and therefore He hastened to bring him out of the midst of iniquities. But the people see this and understand not, nor lay such things in their hearts: that the grace of God and His mercy is with His Saints, and that He hath respect unto His chosen."

Bad is it to bear, when such a one is taken away; cruel to his friends, sad even to strangers, and a surprise to the world; but O, how much better, how happy so to die, instead of being reserved to sin! You may wonder how sin was possible in him, my brethren; he had so many graces, he had lived and matured in them so long; he had overcome so many temptations. He had struck his roots deeply, and spread abroad his branches on high. One grace grew out of another; and all things in him were double one against another. He seemed from the very completeness of his sanctity, which encircled him on every side, to defy assault and to be proof against injury. He, if {132} any one, could have said with the proud Church in the Apocalypse, "I am wealthy and enriched, and have need of nothing;" that he had started well, seemed a reason why he should go on well; strength would lead to strength, and merit to merit; as a flame increases and sweeps along and round about, as soon as, and for the very reason that, it is once kindled, so he had on him the presage of greater and greater triumphs as time proceeded. He was fit to scale Heaven by an inherent power, which, though at first of grace, yet, when once given, became not so much grace as a claim for more grace—as by the action of a law and the process of a series, in which grace and merit alternated, man meriting and meriting, and the God of grace being forced to give and give again, if He would be true to His promise. Thus we might look at him, and think we had already in our hands all the data of a great and glorious and infallible conclusion, and might deny that a reverse or a fall was possible. My brethren, there was once an Eastern king, in his day the richest of men; and a Grecian sage came to visit him, and, having seen all his glory and his majesty, was pressed by this poor child of vanity to say whether he was not the happiest of men. To whom the wise man did but reply, that he should wait till he saw the end. So it is as regards spiritual wealth; because Almighty God, in spite of His ample promises, and His faithful performance of them, has not put out of His own hands the issues of life and death, and the end comes from Him as well as the beginning. When He has once given grace, He has not therefore simply {133} made over to the creature his own salvation. The creature can merit much; but as he could not merit the grace of conversion, neither can he merit the gift of perseverance. From first to last he is dependent on Him who made him; he cannot be extortionate with Him, he cannot turn His bounty to the prejudice of the Bountiful; he may not exalt himself, he dare not presume, but "if he thinketh he standeth, let him take heed lest he fall". He must watch and pray, he must fear and tremble, he must "chastise his body and bring it into subjection, lest, after he has preached to others, he himself should be reprobate".

But I need not go to heathen history for an instance in point; Scripture furnishes one a thousand times more apposite and more impressive. Who was so variously gifted, so inwardly endowed, so laden with external blessings, as Solomon? on whom are lavished, as on him, the titles and the glories of the Eternal Son, God and man? The only aspect of Christ's adorable Person, which his history does not represent, does but bring out to us the peculiarity of his privileges. He does not symbolise Christ's sufferings; he was neither a priest, nor, like David his father, had he been a man of strife and toil and blood. Everything which betokens mortality, everything which savours of the fall, is excluded from our idea of Solomon. He is as if an ideal of perfection; the king of peace, the builder of the temple, the father of a happy people, the heir of an empire, the wonder of all nations; a prince, yet a sage; palace-bred, yet taught in the {134} schools; a student, yet a man of the world; deeply read in human nature, yet learned too in animals and plants. He has the crown without the cross, peace without war, experience without suffering; and all this is not in the mere way of men, or from the general providence of God, but vouchsafed to him from the very hands of his Creator, by a particular designation, and as the result of inspiration. He obtained it when young; and where shall we find anything so touching in the whole of Scripture as the circumstances of his obtaining? who shall accuse him of want of religious fear and true love, whose dawning is so beautiful? When the Almighty appeared to him in a dream on his coming to the throne and said, "Ask what I shall give thee;" "O Lord God," he made answer, "Thou hast made Thy servant king instead of David my father; and I am but a child, and know not how to go out and come in. And Thy servant is in the midst of the people which Thou hast chosen, an immense people, which cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude." Accordingly, he asked for nothing else but the gift of wisdom to enable him to govern his people well; and as his reward for so excellent a petition, he received, not only the wisdom for which he had asked, but those other gifts for which he had not asked: "And the Lord said unto Solomon, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life, nor riches, nor the lives of thine enemies, but hast asked for thyself wisdom to discern judgment, behold I have done to thee according to thy words, and I have given to thee a wise and {135} understanding heart, so that none has been like thee before thee, nor shall rise after thee. Yea, and the things also, which thou didst not ask, I have given to thee, to wit, riches and glory, so that none has been like to thee among the kings in all days heretofore."

Rare inauguration to his greatness! the most splendid of monarchs owes nothing to injustice, or to cruelty, or to violence, or to treachery, nothing to human art or to human arm, that he is so powerful, so famous, and so wise; it is a divine gift which endued him within, which clothed him without. What was wanting to his blessedness? seeking God in his youth, growing up year after year in sanctity, fortifying his faith by wisdom, and his obedience by experience, and his aspirations by habit, what shall he not be in the next world, who is so glorious in this? He is a Saint ready made; he is in his youth what others are in their age; he is fit for heaven ere others begin the way heavenward: why should he delay? what lacks he yet? why tarry the wheels of his chariot? why does he remain longer on earth, when he has already won his crown, and may be carried away in a happy youth, and be securely taken into God's keeping, not with the common throng of holy souls, but, like Enoch and Elias, passing his long mysterious ages up on high, in some fit secret paradise till the day of redemption? Alas! he remains on earth to show us that there might be one thing lacking amidst that multitude of graces; to show that though there be in a man all faith, all hope, all love, all {136} wisdom, though there be an exuberance of merits, it is all but a vanity, it is only a woe in the event, if one gift be wanting,—the gift of perseverance! He was in his youth, what others hardly are in age; well were it, had he been in his end, what the feeblest of God's servants is in his beginning!

His great father, whose sanctity had been wrought into him by many a fight with Satan, and who knew how difficult it was to persevere, when his death drew near, as if in prophecy rather than in prayer, had spoken thus of and to his son and his people: "God said to me, Thou shalt not build a house to My name, because thou art a man of war, and hast shed blood; Solomon, thy son, shall build My house and My courts; for I have chosen him to Me for a son, and I will be to him a father; and I will establish his kingdom even for ever, if he shall persevere to do My precepts and judgments, as at this day. And thou, Solomon, my son, know the God of thy father, and serve Him with a perfect heart and a willing mind, for if thou shalt forsake Him, He will cast thee off for ever." And then, when he had collected together the precious materials for that house which he himself was not to build, and was resigning the kingdom to his son, "I know," he said, "O my God, that Thou provest hearts, and lovest simplicity, wherefore, have I in the simplicity of my heart and with joy offered to Thee all these things; and Thy people too, which are present here, have I seen with great joy to offer to Thee their gifts. O Lord God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep for ever this {137} will of our hearts, and let this mind remain always for the worship of Thee. And to Solomon also, my son, give a perfect heart, that he may keep Thy commandments, and Thy testimonies, and Thy ceremonies, and do all things, and build the building for the which I have provided the charges."

Such had been the dim foreboding of the father, fearing perhaps for his son from the very abundance of that son's prosperity. And in truth, it is not good for a man to live in so cloudless a splendour, and under so unchequered a heaven. There is a moral in the history, that he who prefigured the coming Saviour in all His offices but that of suffering, should fall; that the King and the Prophet, who was neither Priest nor Warrior, should come short;—thereby to show that penance is the only sure mother of love. "They who sow in tears shall reap in exultation;" but Solomon, like the flowers of the field which are so beautiful, yet are cast into the oven, so he too, with all his glory, retained not his comeliness, but withered in his place. He who was wisest became as the most brutish; he who was the most devout was lifted up and fell; he who wrote the Song of Songs became the slave and the prey of vile affections. "King Solomon loved many strange women, unto them he clave with the most burning love. And when he was now old, his heart was depraved by women, to follow other gods, Astarte, goddess of the Sidonians, and Moloch the idol of the Ammonites; and so did he for all his strange wives, who did burn incense and sacrifice unto their gods." O, {138} what a contrast between that grey-headed apostate, laden with years and with sins, bowing down to women and to idols, and the bright and youthful form standing, on the day of Dedication, in the Temple he had built, as a mediator between God and his people, when he acknowledged so simply, so fervently, God's mercies and God's faithfulness, and prayed that He would "incline their hearts unto Himself, that they might walk in all His ways, and keep His commandments, and His ceremonies, and His judgments, whatever He had commanded to their fathers!"

Well were it for us, my dear brethren, were it only kings and prophets and sages, and other rare creations of God's grace, to whom this warning applied; but it applies to all of us. It is indeed most true that the holier a man is, and the higher in the kingdom of heaven, so much the greater need has he to look carefully to his footing, lest he stumble and be lost; and a deep conviction of this necessity has been the sole preservation of the Saints. Had they not feared, they never would have persevered. Hence, like St. Paul, they are always full of their sin and their peril. You would think them the most polluted of sinners, and the most unstable of penitents. Such was the blessed Martyr Ignatius, who, when on his way to his death, said, "Now I begin to be Christ's disciple". Such was the great Basil, who was ever ascribing the calamities of the Church and of his country to the wrath of Heaven upon his own sins. Such was St. Gregory, who submitted to his elevation to the Popedom, as if it were his spiritual death. Such too {139} was my own dear Father St. Philip, who was ever showing, in the midst of the gifts he received from God, the anxiety and jealousy with which he regarded himself and his prospects. "Every day," says his biographer, "he used to make a protest to God with the Blessed Sacrament in his hands, saying, 'Lord, beware of me today, lest I should betray Thee, and do Thee all the mischief in the world'." At other times he would say, "The wound in Christ's side is large, but, if God did not guard me, I should make it larger". In his last illness, "Lord, if I recover, so far as I am concerned, I shall do more evil than ever, because I have promised so many times before to change my life, and have not kept my word, so that I despair of myself". He would shed abundance of tears and say, "I have never done one good action". When he saw young persons, he began considering how much time they had before them to do good in, and said, "O, happy you! O, happy you!" He often said, "I am past hope," and, when urged, he added, "but I trust in God". When a penitent of his called him a Saint, he turned to her with a face full of anger, and said, "Begone with you, I am a devil, not a Saint". When another said to him, "Father, a temptation has come to me to think you are not what the world takes you for," he answered, "Be sure of this, that I am a man like my neighbours, and nothing more".

What a reflection on ordinary Christians is the language of Saints about themselves! Multitudes indeed live in mortal sin, and have no concern at all {140} about present, past, or future. But even those who go so far as to come to the Sacraments, never trouble themselves with the thought of perseverance. They seem to take it as a matter of course that, if they are in a good state of mind at present, it will continue. Perhaps they have been converted from a sinful life, and are very different from what they have been. They feel the comfort of the change, they feel the peace and satisfaction of a cleansed conscience, but they are so taken up with that comfort and peace, that they rest in it and become secure. They do not guard against temptation, or pray for support under it; it does not occur to them that, as they have changed from sin to religion, so they may, if so be, change back again from religion to sin. They do not realise enough their continual dependence on God; some temptation comes on them, or some vicissitude of life, they are surprised, they fall, and perhaps they never recover.

What a scene is this life, a scene of almost universal disappointment! of springs blighted,—of harvests beaten down by the storm, when they should have been gathered into the storehouses! of tardy and imperfect repentances, when there is nothing else left to be done, of unsatisfactory resolves and poor efforts, when the end of life is come! O my dear children, how subdued our rejoicing in you is, even when you are walking well and hopefully! how anxious are we for you, even when you are cheerful from the lightness of your conscience and the sincerity of your hearts! how we sigh when we give thanks for you, {141} and tremble even while we rejoice in hearing your confessions and absolving you! And why? because we know how great and high is the gift of perseverance. When Hazael came with his presents to the prophet Eliseus, the man of God stood over against him, in silence and in bitter thought, till at last the blood mounted up into his countenance, and he wept. He wept, to Hazael's surprise, at the prospect of the dreadful butcheries which the soldier before him, little as he himself expected it, was to perpetrate when he succeeded to the throne of Syria. We, O honest and cheerful hearts, are not prophets as Eliseus, nor are you destined to high estate and extraordinary temptation as Hazael; but still the tears which the man of God shed, what if some Angel should be shedding the like over any of you, what time you are receiving pardon and grace from the voice and hand of the Priests of Christ! O, how many are there who pass well and hopefully through what seem to be their most critical years, and fall just when one might consider them beyond danger! How many are good youths, yet careless men; blameless from fifteen to twenty, yet captives to habits of sin between twenty and thirty! How many persevere till they marry, and then perhaps get inextricably entangled in the cares or pleasures of this world, and give up attendance on the Sacraments, and other holy practices, which they have hitherto observed! how many pass through their married life well, but lapse into sin on the death of wife or husband! How many are there who by mere change of place lose their religious habits, and become {142} first careless and then shameless! How many upon the commission of one sin fall into remorse, disgust of themselves, and recklessness, avoid the Confessional from shame and despair, and live on year after year, burdened with the custody of some miserable secret! How many fall into trouble, lose their spirit and heart, shut themselves up in themselves, and feel a sort of aversion to religion, when religion would be all in all to them! How many come to some great prosperity, and, carried away by it, "wax fat and kick, and leave God their Maker, and recede from God their Saviour"! How many fall into lukewarmness almost like death, after their first fervour! How many lose the graces begun in them by self-confidence and arrogant impetuosity! How many, not yet Catholics, who under God's guidance were making right for the Catholic Church, suddenly turn short and miss, "like a crooked bow"! How many, when led forward by God's unmerited grace, are influenced by the persuasions of relatives or the inducements of station or of wealth, and become in the event sceptics or infidels when they might have almost died in the odour of sanctity! How many, whose contrition once gained for them even the grace of justification, yet afterwards, by refusing to go forward, have gone backwards, though they maintain a semblance of what they once were, by means of the mere natural habits which supernatural grace has formed within them. What a miserable wreck is the world, hopes without substance, promises without fulfilment, repentance without {143} amendment, blossom without fruit, continuance and progress without perseverance!

O my dearest children, let me not depress you; it is your duty, your privilege to rejoice; I would not frighten you more than it is good for you to be frightened. Some of you will take it too much to heart, and will fret yourselves unduly, as I fear. I do not wish to sadden you, but to make you cautious; doubt not you will be led on, fear not to fall, provided you do but fear a fall. Fearing will secure you from what you fear. Only "be sober, be vigilant," as St. Peter says, beware of taking satisfaction in what you are, understand that the only way to avoid falling back is to press forward. Dread all occasions of sin, get a habit of shrinking from the beginnings of temptation. Never speak confidently about yourselves, nor contemptuously of the religiousness of others, nor lightly of sacred things; guard your eyes, guard the first springs of thought, be jealous of yourselves when alone, neglect not your daily prayers; above all, pray specially and continually for the gift of perseverance. Come to Mass as often as you can, visit the Blessed Sacrament, make frequent acts of faith and love, and try to live in the Presence of God.

And further still, interest your dear Mother, the Mother of God, in your success; pray to her earnestly for it; she can do more for you than any one else. Pray her by the pain she suffered, when the sharp sword went through her, pray her, by her own perseverance, which was in her the gift of the same God of whom you ask it for yourselves. God {144} will not refuse you, He will not refuse her, if you have recourse to her succour. It will be a blessed thing, in your last hour, when flesh and heart are failing, in the midst of the pain, the weariness, the restlessness, the prostration of strength, and the exhaustion of spirits, which then will be your portion, it will be blessed indeed to have her at your side, more tender than an earthly mother, to nurse you and to whisper peace. It will be most blessed, when the evil one is making his last effort, when he is coming on you in his might to pluck you away from your Father's hand, if he can—it will be blessed indeed if Jesus, if Mary and Joseph are then with you, waiting to shield you from his assaults and to receive your soul. If they are there, all are there; Angels are there, Saints are there, heaven is there, heaven is begun in you, and the devil has no part in you. That dread day may be sooner or later, you may be taken away young, you may live to fourscore, you may die in your bed, you may die in the open field, but if Mary intercedes for you, that day will find you watching and ready. All things will be fixed to secure your salvation; all dangers will be foreseen, all obstacles removed, all aids provided. The hour will come, and in a moment you will be translated beyond fear and risk, you will be translated into a new state where sin is not, nor ignorance of the future, but perfect faith and serene joy, and assurance and love everlasting.

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