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SermonIndex.net : Christian Books : TO THE VENERABLE AND R. LADY D. CATHERINE GASCOIGNE

Holy Wisdom Or Directions For The Prayer Of Contemplation by Ven. F. Augustine Baker

TO THE VENERABLE AND R. LADY D. CATHERINE GASCOIGNE

THE LADY ABBESS OF THE RELIGIOUS DAMES ON THE HOLY ORDER OF ST. BENEDICT, IN CAMBRAY;

AND TO ALL THE RR. DAMES, ETC., OF THE SAME CONVENT.

MADAME,

If I had not any pressing obligation (as I have many) to take all occasions to acknowledge both my worthy esteem and resentment also for your many favours, yet without injustice I could not but return unto Your Ladyship, &c., these instructions about the prayer of Contemplation, which from your full store I first received. I could wish it had been in my power to commend them to the liking and practice of others, as the admirable piety of the Venerable Author (whose memory will always be in benediction with you) did to yours. But being able to boast no other virtue in this matter, but only diligence and fidelity (asserted by Your Ladyship's own testimony), I should doubt that the unworthiness of the compiler would to their disparagement prevail against the excellency of the Author, and his argument, were it not that I am confident that a view (apparent to all that know that Convent) of the many most blessed effects that they have produced there, will have the force to recommend them to strangers, and to defend them against contradictors. Your great charity (RR. DD.) makes you think yourselves not unbeholding to me for dispersing thus abroad to all that will accept them these your richest jewels, your most delicious provisions, your most secure armour, that is, all that makes your solitude and scarcity, &c., deserve to be the envy of princes' courts, the habitation of angels, and temples of God Himself. For prayer is all this, and more good than yourselves can express; and yet you can express more than any others but such as yourselves can understand. Since, therefore, you have been pleased to say I have obliged you by this publication, let my recompense, I beseech you, be to be sometimes thought of in your prayers, that I may become seriously mine own disciple, and learn by this book to pray as you do; and that this work may invite the readers, whoever they be only to make a trial (though at first but even out of curiosity) whether we have boasted too largely of the treasures here exposed. This, if through the Divine assistance they shall do, it may be hoped that many unawares to themselves will become converts not only to piety, but even to Catholic Truth and Unity. And surely none will suspect that any danger can come from pure spiritual prayer.

Madame and RR. DD.,
Your servant in our Lord most humbly devoted,

Br. SERENUS CRESSY.

Doway, this 23d of July, 1657.

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