Of occasions to fall

Of occasions to fall

Of little Children. Our duties towards them.

(The Gospel History, Section 75)

Woe unto the world because of occasions of stumbling! for it must needs be that the occasions come; but woe to that man through whom the occasion cometh! And if thy hand cause thee to stumble, cut it off and cast it from thee: it is good for thee to enter into life maimed, rather than having thy two hands to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire. And if thy foot cause thee to stumble, cut it off: it is good for thee to enter into life halt, rather than having thy two feet to be cast into hell. And if thine eye cause thee to stumble, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is good for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell; where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

Of occasions to fall

(The Saviour of the World, Vol IV Book IV Poem LXVIII)

A grievous vision saw the Son of man:
His tender plants, the Twelve, and all who hung
Insatiate on His word, saw He beset
With occasions manifold to make them fall;
Their path must they pursue as men who tread
’Twixt points of spears uplifted; no escape
Was possible for them; it must needs be
That th’ occasions come which make a man to fall;
But, “Woe to the world that scattereth stumbling-blocks,”
And, “Woe to the man through whom the occasion comes,
For the fall of one of these, My little ones,
Become as children in simplicity!

“But, ah, My children, many things without
Shall be as offences fallen in your way
Which your feet shall scarce avoid; the lusty world
Compels you in his pride; insidious friends
Woo to disaster which they name your gain,
And spread those tempting things that work your fall:
A man may save himself from all offence
Which he keeps without him;—but how hard his case
When his own heart and hand, his eye and desire,
Stretch out in longing for the forbidden fruit,—
So good to feed those raging hungers there,
In a man’s secret heart! so apt withal
To make him wise with the wisdom of the world!
‘Who shall forbid,’ say ye, ‘what a man desires
And may take at his will to please himself?’
He shall forbid himself; shall see the fruit
Fair, luscious, of desire, nor stretch out hand,
But be as maim’d, his reaching hand cut off!
Nor lets himself perceive the tempting thing
Dangled before his eyes; an eye plucked out
Were as open to images: nor shall he go
There, where the wicked sitteth to entice;
Unable he to run in the ways of sin
As man with foot cut off who halting goes:
Better to enter as one halt, blind, maimed,
Into th’ Kingdom, than hurry with both feet
To where the fire of lust goeth never out;
Or with eyes covet, greedy hands snatch, fruit,
That burns who eats with thirst unquenchable!”

St. Matthew xviii, 7, 8, 9.
St. Mark ix, 43-48.