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Author: Lalemant, Pierre, 1622-1673.
Title: The holy desires of death. Or A collection of some thoughts of the fathers of the church: to shew how christians ought to despise life, and to desire death. By the R. P. Lalemant, prior of St. Genovese, and Chancellour of the University of Paris.
Publication Info: Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Library
2011 April (TCP phase 2)

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Print source: The holy desires of death. Or A collection of some thoughts of the fathers of the church: to shew how christians ought to despise life, and to desire death. By the R. P. Lalemant, prior of St. Genovese, and Chancellour of the University of Paris.
Lalemant, Pierre, 1622-1673.

[London: s.n.], Printed in the year, 1678.
Subject terms:
Death -- Religious aspects
Life -- Religious aspects

title page
patristic quotation
The CONTENTS of the Principal Matters contain∣ed in this Book.
To the devout Peruser of these Collections.
THE Holy Desires OF DEATH.
Article I. The First Principle of St. Au∣gustin. That the Difference which is between a Perfect and Imperfect Christian, is, That the first desires Death with Ardour, and endures Life with Patience; where∣as the second only receives Death with Submission, and hath not yet quitted all the Tyes which ordinarily fasten men to Life.
Article. II. The Second Principle of St. Au∣gustin, That proportionally as the Christian feels his Love for Virtue to encrease; he feels also the Desire of Death to en∣crease within him.
An Excellent Passage of one of St. Augustins Disciples, who made a Collection of his Sen∣tences and of his chief Max∣ims: where the tow precedent Principles are united.
Article III. St. Augustin having establish'd these two Principles; proposes to himself the Objection of some persons of Piety, who fear the Judgments of God, and who say, That they do not be∣lieve they should do well in de∣siring Death; and that it seems better to them to demand of God Time for Mortifica∣tion, and for becoming more Perfect.
Article IV. The Third Principle of S. Au∣gustin: That there are among Christians two sorts of Fear to displease God; One of which is destroyed, and the Other strengthened by Charity. From whence this holy Doctor concludes, That Faithful Souls which are the true Spouses of Christ Jesus, fear nothing so much as to be for a long time separated from this Divine Bridegroom.
Article V. Other Principles of St. Au∣gustin: That we are not happy in this Life, but by the Hope and by the Desire of Eternal Goods: That to be worthy to enter into the Celestial Coun∣trey, we must be willing to go forth of our Exile: That the whole Life of a Christian is but a holy Desire of things to come, and a generous Contempt of present Goods.
Article VI. There are an infinity of other such-like Thoughts and Ex∣pressions in St. Augustin. But it will perhaps suffice to have related these which we have collected from many passages of his Writings to serve for the Foundation and for the Principles of this Work.
Article VII. That which Tertullian hath so well expressed in few Words, hath been very largly expli∣cated by St. Cyprian in ma∣ny passages of his Writings; and Principally in the Dis∣course he composed upon Mor∣tality. We have collected some Maxims of this great-Bishop concerning this subject, and particularly of the eager∣ness which true Christians ought to have to get forth of this Life.
The First Maxim of St. Cy∣prian; That the Christians who fear Death, are Unjust and Unreasonable, since in saying to God every day in the Lords Prayer, Thy Kingdom come, they desire our Lord to hasten their Death.
The Second Maxim of St. Cy∣prian: That 'tis no wonder if Infidells and Wicked peo∣ple fear Death; but that this Weakness is not tolerable in Christians.
The Third Maxim of St. Cy∣prian: That Christians ought not to love the World be∣cause the World hates Chri∣stians: and That when Death delivers them from all com∣merce with the World, 'tis a subject of Joy for them.
The Fourth Maxim of St. Cy∣prian: That Death ought to be consider'd by Christians as a passage from the mise∣ries of this Life to a glori∣ous Immortality.
St. Gregory of Nazian, in his Funeral Orations, fur∣nishes excellent thoughts con∣cerning the obligations which Christians have to despise Life and to desire Death: and particularly in the Elogium he composed for his Brother Cezarius.
Article. IX. St. Gregory Bishop of Nisse, hath made a Discourse to shew: That we should be so far from lamenting them who go forth of this Life, that we ought to envy and desire their happiness. He proves this Truth by many reasons, which we give in brief; and in the end be explicates it by an excellent comparison of the state of men in this present Life, wiih the state of an Infant enclosed in his Mothers Belly. He says afterwards, That they who lament the Death of their Neighbour, or who are a∣fraid to die, are as little reasonable as Children who cry when they are born into the World, because they are not sensible of the happi∣ness they have in being de∣livered out of the most dis∣mal of all Prisons.
Article X. Among all the Fathers of the Church, St. Ambrose is one of them who hath spoken best of Death. He made a parti∣cular Treatise De bono mor∣tis,Of the good of Death: where he says, That it frees us from the miseries of this Life, and from the servi∣tude of Sin. He teaches, That 'tis Death which procures Im∣mortality to our Soul, and a glorious Resurrection to our Body: and finally, That 'tis Death which gives us the means to testify our Grati∣tude, our Love, and our Zeal to Christ Jesus. Whence he concludes that if we have Faith, we ought to desire Death.
Article XI. An Excellent Doctrine of St. Ambrose, which establishes two manners of Living and of Dying set down in the Sa∣cred Scripture. The first is that of just men, who Live of Life, that is, who being in the Grace of God, enjoy the Life of Body and of Soul: And the second, is that of Sinners and wicked men, who Live being dead, and who leading an exteriour life upon Earth, are dead inte∣riourly before God, As to the two manners of dying, the One is of them who die of death, that is, who in dying impenitent, endure a double Death, that of the Soul, and that of the Body: and the Other is of the Sole Predesti∣nate, who die to live; which is understood of the Elect, who endure the corporal Death with patience and with joy, to go to possess an eternal and glorious Life.
Article XII. The Homelies of St. John Chrysostom are full of ex∣cellent Instructions concerning Death. We have made choyce of such as seem'd most pro∣per for this Work.
You Page  100stick not either at the Benedi∣ctions, or at the Maledictions of the World: but you are as an Angel of our Lord.
Article XIV.
Article XV.
Article XVI.
Article XVII.
Article XVIII. An Exhortation of St. John Chrysostom; where he speaks against remiss and im∣perfect Christians who dread Death: and instructs couragi∣ous and perfect Christians to desire it.
Article XIX. As St. Jerome is one of the Doctours of the Church, who hath testified the greatest de∣sire of Death; so we have few Ecclesiastical Authours who have spoken so clearly as he, either of the Advanta∣ges which Death brings to Christians, or of the obliga∣tion they have to prepare themselves for it, and con∣tinually to think of it. Be∣hold in what manner this great Saint explicates him∣self concerning it, in several places of his Writings.
Article XX. St. Jerome teaches us the temper we ought to keep in the dis∣gust of Life, and in the de∣sire of Death.
Article. XXI. An Excellent Instruction of the same St. Jerome: That Death ought to be looked on as an order of the Divine Providence, rather than as an effect of human Infirmi∣ty: and that so we ought to die by Obedience and by Love.
Article XXII. St. Jerome, or the Authour of some Epistles attributed to him, which are placed at the end of his Works; urges this Doctrine yet farther; and teaches, That a Christian ought not only not to dread Death, but that he ought also to desire it and to love it if he will imitate Christ Jesus.
Article XXIII. The order of time demands now that we return to St. Au∣gustin: For besides the Principles of Doctrine, upon which we in the beginning established the whole design of this Treatise; there are moreover found in his Wri∣tings an infinity of pithy pas∣sages, where he repeats and deeply prosecutes this matter.
Article XXIV. A pithy reflection of St. Au∣gustin, upon the shortness of this Life, and upon the Eter∣nity of the other; to stir up Christians to unfetter them∣selves more and more from the Earth, and ardently to breath after Heaven.
Article XXV. A most true and edificatory ob∣servation S. Augustin, That God by a particular mercy, besprinkles the greatest Sweets of this World with bitter∣ness; and permits that his Elect should be afflicted with Diseases, with contradictions, and with Calumnies, thereby to give them cause to con∣temn Life, and to desire Death.
Article XXVI. St. Augustin teaches in many places of his Writings, as an assured Doctrine: That the most solid virtue of Christi∣ans, and the most visible cha∣racter of the Predestinate, is to sigh continually in the ex∣pectation of Death, and in the hope of another Life.
Article XXVII. A Comparison between true Christians and the faithfull Israelites, in which St. Au∣gustin shews, That as the first comming of the Messias was the object of the conti∣nual Desires and Devotion of the true Israelites, so the second comming of Christ Je∣sus should be the scope of the most solid Piety and of the most fervent Desires of Christians.
Article XXVIII. An Instruction of St. Isidore of Damiet to all Christians, to excite them to a perfect desire of Death.
Article XXIX. St. Eucherius Arch-Bishop of Lyon, exhorts Christians to observe attentively the dif∣ferent agitations of human Passions, the shortness of Life, and the uncertainty of Death, to the end they may never engage themselves in the tumults of the World, and that they may be ever∣more prepared to die.
Article XXX.St. Fulgentius and S. Pauli∣nus prove, That Death is a Recompense for the Just, and a Chastisement for the Im∣pious: That the length of Life is to be computed by the number of Good Works one hath performed, and not by the number of days one hath lived.
Article XXXI. As St. Gregory the Pope was himself very infirm and sick∣ly; so he speaks and writes frequently of Death. He is one of the Ecclesiastical Au∣thours who hath fill'd his Works with the strongest re∣flections upon this subject. We have drawn out four or five of them, which best re∣late to our proposed Design.
Article XXXII. 2. Reflexion of St. Gregory: That naturally all the Desires and all the Actions of man tend to Death: That Grace should do that in us which Nature doth of it self: That according to the thought of Job, Life resembles the day of a hireling, a pilgrimage, a warfare, where no one en∣roll's himself but to die in fighting against the Enemies of our Salvation.
Article XXXIII. 3. Reflexion of St. Gregory: That they who have the World, love some reason to fear the end of it; but that they who serve Christ Jesus, ought not to appre∣hend the destruction of the World: on the contrary, they ought to endure with patience, War, Famine, Pestilence, Detraction, Per∣secution, and the other Scour∣ges wherewith the hand of God chastises men; because these are the signs of the se∣cond coming of our Saviour.
Article XXXIV. 4. Reflection of St. Gregory: That there are few Just who can truly say with St. Paul: God forbid that I should glory of any other thing than of the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ; be∣cause the World is dead and crucified for me, as I am dead and crucified for the World: That al∣tho' the major part of good people employ all their Life to die to the World, yet it frequently falls out that the World dies not to them; but on the contrary that it strives to corrupt them by its flatteries and by its illu∣sions. From whence this ho∣ly Doctour takes an occasion to exhort Christians to be willing to go forth of this place which is so dangerous, and to desire Death as the sole Remedy of all their Evills.
Article XXXV. A pithy Description made by the Great St. Gregory, of the Necessities and of the Miseries of the Body and of the Soul. From whence this holy Man concludes, That men should desire to die, in order to enjoy a better Life, in which they shall be no longer exposed either to Sor∣row or to Sin.
Article XXXVI. St. John Climacus distinguish∣es the desires of Death which the Devil suggests unto us, from those which Grace in∣spires: and of this Doctrine he composes one degree of his holy Ladder; where he shews, That the Meditation of Death is the most profitable of all Spiritual practises.
Article XXXVII. St. Bernard teaches us, That Hope is the portion of true Christians, and that this Virtue enables them to suf∣fer patiently all the evills of this Life, and to Love and De∣sire Death.
Article XXXVIII. S. Bernard proves, That to the end we may not fear Death, but may endure at with patience, and even receive it with Joy; we must prepare our selves dayly for it by sincere Repentance: That by this means Grace o∣vercomes Nature: That what appears so terrible to a sin∣ful man, becomes pleasing to a just man, but particular∣ly to them who have embra∣ced the Religious and solita∣ry Life.
Article XXXIX. Reflections of St. Bernard, concerning the contempt which perfect Christians ought to have of Health and of Life. From whence he takes occa∣sion to speak of the Patience they are to practise in their Infirmities, and of the Joy which the continual thought of Death affords them, if they are true Disciples of Christ Jesus.
Article XXXX. Altho' the Book of the Imitati∣on of Christ is in every ones hands, yet it will not be un∣profitable to extract out of it some pithy passages, concern∣ing the contempt of Life. There is, if we may say it, a Moysture and an Ʋnction of Sanctity in all the Words of that Authour, which pe∣netrate even to the bottom of the heart, and which give an admirable Idea of the Death of the Saints. There is sure∣ly Just cause of admiration, that so many persons of Pie∣ty, who continually read this Work and approve of it, should still nevertheless pas∣sionatly love Life, and trem∣ble with fear when one speaks to them of Death.
Article XXXXI. The admirable Prayses which St. Laurence Justinian gives to Death: from whence he concludes, that 'tis no wonder if the most perfect a∣mong Christians are they who most desire it.
Article XXXXII. It may perhaps seem strange that we should place the thoughts of St. Teresa in a collection of those of the Fa∣thers. But the Writings of this great Saint are replen∣ish'd with so sublime a piety, that one may compare them in this point to the most beautious Works which the Spirit of God ever dictated to men. Wherefore we con∣ceiv'd that it might not only be permitted, but that it would prove profitable to in∣sert here some of the admi∣rable Sentiments she hath left us upon the meditation of Eternity, and upon the de∣sire of Death.
The Conclusion of all this Collection.