Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER IX.: THE TRUTH OF THE FAITH PROVED BY ARGUMENTS FOUNDED ON THE PRAYER AND CONTEMPLATION OF CHRISTIANS. - The Triumph of the Cross
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CHAPTER IX.: THE TRUTH OF THE FAITH PROVED BY ARGUMENTS FOUNDED ON THE PRAYER AND CONTEMPLATION OF CHRISTIANS. - Girolamo Savonarola, The Triumph of the Cross 
The Triumph of the Cross, trans. from the Italian, edited, with an Introduction by the Very Rev. Father John Procter, S.T.L. With a frontispiece portrait of the author (London: Sands & Co., 1901).
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THE TRUTH OF THE FAITH PROVED BY ARGUMENTS FOUNDED ON THE PRAYER AND CONTEMPLATION OF CHRISTIANS.
Faith, and meditation on the Holy Scriptures are not only the cause, but also the nourishment and perfection, of the Christian life. Experience, both past and present, shows that Christians given to continual prayer, acquire great perfection in a short space of time, and find such delight in spiritual things, that everything else seems worthless to them. This is the case not with a few learned men only, but with many also of the uneducated. In fact, this is the experience of all, both men and women of every degree, who exercise themselves in prayer. On this fact we intend to found an argument for the truth of our faith,
First. Since God is Pure Act, Supreme Truth, and Infinite Light, it follows that the nearer man approaches to Him (in spirit not in body), the more he will partake of the Divine purity, truth and light. Now, as the Christian life is more pure and perfect than any other, it must be nearer to God than any other life; and Christians approach most closely to Him when they are engaged in the exercise of prayer and contemplation, which renders the soul peculiarly capable of receiving the Divine purity, truth, and light. Since, then, it is by prayer and contemplation, that Christians are confirmed in their Faith in Christ Crucified, and fired with love of Him, it is undeniable that the Faith is Divine truth and light.
Again. Our understanding is naturally inclined to delight in truth, to desire it, and to shun falsehood; and the more a natural inclination is purified, the more vehement it becomes. Prayer purifies the understanding more efficaciously than does any other mental act; and therefore, if in time of prayer, the soul be more drawn to embrace the Faith of Christ than at any other time, this is a proof that the Faith is truth and not falsehood.
Further. Christians, when they pray, make their supplications to God for the sake of Christ Crucified, and through His merits; and nevertheless they ask for great things. Even should this assertion be disbelieved, it cannot, at least, be denied that the chief prayer of a Christian is for grace to live a Christian life, and for joy and peace of soul. Now, if Christ were not the One whom they think Him to be, God would surely enlighten them to see the truth. Or, if they preferred to remain obstinately in error, their prayers would not be, as they now are, heard for the sake of Christ.
Again. No cause prevents matter from receiving a form; and no natural motor prevents a thing from tending to its end. As beatitude is the end to be attained by a good life and by prayer, and as man cannot move himself to pray and to live virtuously, but must be inspired thereto by God, who inspires Christians to so perfect a life, and to such sublimity of prayer, and confirms them in Faith, it is manifest that Faith is the means by which we are to attain to beatitude, and that this Faith must proceed from God.
Every cause listens, if we may so speak, to the prayer of its effect, and by this prayer we mean the desire of the effect for its perfection, which, if its dispositions be ordered aright, it will seek to obtain from its cause. We see in the natural order, that when matter is duly prepared, the cause does not delay in giving it form; and this proceeds from the goodness of the cause, for the characteristic of good is to communicate itself. Hence, as God is Supreme Goodness, He exceeds all causes in listening to the prayer of His effects, when they are disposed to receive His influx. Now, the Christian life, especially as exhibited in the act of prayer and contemplation, is the best possible preparation for being heard by God; and the prayers of Christians are, most surely, not made in vain. There is nothing which Christians more earnestly implore of God than to be enlightened as to the truth. Thus David, in the name of all, prays, saying, “Enlighten mine eyes, O Lord, that I may never sleep in death” (Ps. xii. 4). And therefore we must believe that true Christians are enlightened as to the truth which pertains to salvation. The more they pray, the more confirmed do they become in their faith in Christ. Thus, we have good grounds for believing this faith to be true, and not false.
A further argument is, that if Christ be not God, it would be blasphemy to believe and to confess that He is God—One with the Father and the Holy Ghost—and to pray through His merits. How could the Divine Goodness leave in such blindness Christians, the best of mankind, always ready to extirpate any error which may dishonour the Divine Majesty? It is absurd to say that God leaves them in their misbelief, because they obstinately persevere in it. For, were this the case, why should He hear their blasphemous prayers? Why, on the contrary, should He not punish them severely?
If, again, the Faith of Christ be false, could there be a more absurd superstition than to adore a crucified man as God? Our understanding naturally loves truth and abhors falsehood; how then could it be possible, that innumerable Christians, amongst them men of vast genius and great learning, could so delight in the contemplation and love of Christ Crucified, as for His sake, not only willingly to bear, but even eagerly to desire, hunger and thirst, labours, threats, opprobrium, scourges, imprisonment, and even death? Truly the finger of God is here.