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The Love of
JE S U S.
A sure and short, pleasant and easy Way
Meditations, Directions, and Resolutions to
Love and Obey Jesus unto Death.
138. g. 31
THE demand for books of devotion and
meditation which was created by the mise
of the Catholic Revival in the Anglican Communion has been hitherto very efficiently met by the adaptations of Roman publications, which have admirably served their purpose and done their work. And much of that Christian desire for Re-union, which is obviously increasing, may be attributed to the more accurate impressions of the faith and practice of other portions of the One Catholic Fold, thus obtained.
It has often been asked, however, whether or not there could be found original treatises written by members of the Church of England during the past three hundred years, which, in republication, might assist to deepen the great principles of Catholic truth energizing amongst us, and to promote the practice of meditation and mental prayer. It was not to be expected that an age of vast religious and political excitement like that which immediately succeeded the changes of the sixteenth century would produce many such books. And so, on enquiry, we discover the case to be. Most of our divines were too much engaged with the petty details of theological controversy to find time for such important labours. And in what such controversy resulted we too well know. The principle of division and national independence in matters ecclesiastical- however beneficial in some particulars, wrought manifold evils in others. The lesson explaining and recommending these principles, which had been recently taught with such energy-so as to promote purely personal gains by those high in authority -in the sixteenth century, and had been generally received with rapturous applause, was turned to account by the sectaries of a later period with deadly results. What was good for a nation, it was argued, might be equally beneficial to a portion of the nation; and so the multitude of sects arose
and flourished. With this, systematic works of devotion were contemned and cast out as carnal, unprofitable, and irreligious. They were "priests of Baal” who wrote them, and “ devotees of a black idol” who used them. Little, therefore, was done until the Laudian Revival began. At and after that period so many returned to the old paths, and sought out once more that which was good and true and of good report, that books of devotion began to multiply abundantly. And what was happily begun under the great Archbishop Laud was continued under his immediate successors. Admirable works were compiled and distributed.
Bishop Cosin's adaptation of the “Hours” obtained a signal popularity, while Bishop Gauden's Book of Devotions for the Blessed Eucharist, (perhaps the most thoroughly satisfactory of any Anglican manual of his period,) went through eleven editions in as many years; and was no doubt the means of preserving successfully many most Catholic traditional practices which had not died out when the Oxford Revival began.
The book which is now produced, entitled “Claustrum Animæ, the Reformed Monastery;