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It is prompted by the desire to do the will of God, any personal element of self-satisfaction which enters the motive vitiating it more or less.
External penances even in the saints, are regarded with suspicion. Jerome, whose proneness to austerity makes him an especially valuable authority on this point, thus writes to Celantia: Be on your guard when you begin to mortify your body by abstinence and fasting, lest you imagine yourself to be perfect and a saint; for perfection does not consist in this virtue.In the Christian dispensation the neighbour is not only one of the true faith, but the schismatic, the outcast, and the pagan.Love is extended even to one's enemies, and we are bidden to pray for, and to do good to them who revile and persecute us.Again, because of this sonship the love of one's neighbour ascended to higher plane.The "neighbour" of the Jew was one of the chosen people, and even of him rigorous justice was to be exacted; it was an eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth.
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It is not to be relied upon for serious efforts and may easily give way under the strain of weariness or temptation.