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A Devout Exercise of the Purgative Way
Appointed for each day of the week
by Denys the Carthusian

On death
 
My soul, ponder well how soon shall strike the hour in which thou must
put off this mortal frame, this world and all its interests, which now thou lovest above measure, and go into an unknown land, to stand before the awful judgement-seat of Christ! Swiftly shalt come upon thee the bitter day of death, when thou shalt not be able to call back the time thou hast frittered away. None of the things which now thou dost evilly or lovest too well shall then have power to help thee, or bring thee comfort! Both deeds and omissions shall follow after thee; then shalt thou shed tears for the life thou hast lived so carelessly, or after so worldly a fashion. Terror shall pierce thee through, and fears shall swarm around thee: and the tooth of conscience shall rankle thee sore. Have in mind now, o my soul, how it shall then fare with this mortal body, which now thou dost pamper with choice viands, with over great care for raiment and appearance. O think, how then
the listless hand shall fall helplessly, the cheek take on the pallor of
death, and the mouth close in silence. The eye shall grow dim and be cast up: the pulse and breath of life flicker out. Then shall the rending pains and sweat of death give tokens of life's defeat. Horrible demons, too, shall stand around, calling back to memory all thy past sins, to drag thee down into despair.

Do not thou, o my soul, suffer thyself to be taken unawares. Do penance now! Mend thy life; daily prepare thee for death. Consider seriously the shortness of life's passage, its false promises and uncertainties, lest too late, and fruitlessly, thou implore from God, but one hour!

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