Being the other day at Armaignac, on the estate of a kinsman of mine, I there saw a country fellow who was by every one nicknamed the thief. He thus related the story of his life; that being born a beggar, and finding that he should not be able, so as to be clear of indigence, to get his living by the sweat of his brow, he resolved to turn thief, and by means of his strength of body, had exercised this trade all the time of his youth in great security; for he ever made his harvest and vintage in other men’s grounds, but a great way off, and in so great quantities, that it was not to be imagined one man could have carried away so much in one night upon his shoulders; and, moreover, was careful equally to divide and distribute the mischief he did, that the loss was of less importance to every particular man. He is now grown old, and rich for a man of his condition, thanks to his trade, which he openly confesses to every one. And to make his peace with God, he says, that he is daily ready by good offices to make satisfaction to the successors of those he has robbed, and if he do not finish (for to do it all at once he is not able) he will then leave it in charge to his heirs to perform the rest, proportionably to the wrong he himself only knows he has done to each. By this description, true or false, this man looks upon theft as a dishonest action, and hates it, but less than poverty, and simply repents; but to the extent he has thus recompensed, he repents not. This is not that habit which incorporates us into vice, and conforms even our understanding itself to it; nor is it that impetuous whirlwind that by gusts troubles and blinds our souls and for the time precipitates us, judgment and all, into the power of vice.
I find this an odd remark. Dr. Senior wrote out a list. Then it was typed. After several years, it was photo-copied, retyped, and eventually sent around by email over the course of 30 years. It was put in print recently in his book, The Death of Christian Culture (also available in ebook format). In the process of writing this article, I received version by pdf and email. Now I have added the original list to a website, which is– for many readers– linked to their Facebook or LinkedIn pages. I believe your own posting in the “com box” testifies to the success of putting these “excellent ideas” “within that reality.” No? That John Senior’s list has appeared in so many media attests to the enduring worth and ongoing attraction of his views.
Lord, for to-morrow and its needs I do not pray;
Keep me, my God, from stain of sin, Just for to-day
Let me both diligently work And duly pray;
Let me be kind in word and deed, Just for to-day.
Let me be slow to do my will, Prompt to obey;
Help me to mortify my flesh, Just for to-day.
Let me no wrong or idle word Unthinking, say;
Set Thou a seal upon my lips, Just for to-day.
Let me in season, Lord, be grave, In season, gay;
Let me be faithful to Thy grace, Just for to-day,
And if to-day my tide of life Should ebb away,
Give me Thy sacraments divine, Sweet Lord, to-day.
In Purgatory’s cleansing fires Brief be my stay;
O bid me, if to-day I die, Go home to-day.
So, for to-morrow and its needs I do not pray;
But keep me, guide me, love me, Lord, Just for to-day
S. M. X