St. James exhorts us to treat the body and its lusts as we would treat a horse. We put a bridle in the mouth of a horse, and we bring him wherever we please. We put bits in the mouths of horses, that they may obey us, and we turn about their whole body (James iii. 3). Hence, as soon as we feel the cravings of any bad passion, we must restrain it with the bridle of reason; for, if we yield to its demands, it will bring us down to the level of brute animals that obey not the dictates of reason but the impulse of their appetites.
A dying man may appear to have true and sincere sorrow for the wickedness of his past life. But is his sorrow true sorrow? The wailings of many careless Christians on their death bed do not proceed from sorrow but from fear. As St. Augustine says; They are not afraid of sin but of burning.
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