Abelly: Book 2/Preface
Although we spoke in Book One of the great works that engaged the virtue and zeal of Monsieur Vincent, we had to do so succinctly, not interrupting the flow of his life story by too frequent or too extended digressions. This is why we have judged it necessary to include a more ample account, here in Book Two, so that the readers will not be deprived of the consolation and spiritual advantage that may come from a more extended treatment. By this they may be moved to admire the wisdom of God in his directing his servant for the salvation and sanctification of a great number of souls, to thank him for the abundant graces he lavished in this last age by the ministry of Monsieur Vincent, and to draw lessons for their own edification and imitation for those occasions when they too may participate in similar good works. Holy Scripture says that the way of the just shines forth like the light, growing to perfect day, enlightening all who would follow. It is perfumed with the good odor of Jesus Christ, which they spread by the practice of virtue, which consoles and strengthens those who would walk in their footsteps. To praise God perfectly for his presence in the saints means to recall the noble actions of their lives, to study their virtues, to imitate their piety, to perpetuate the good works they began, and to try to glorify God on earth as they did, and as they will do eternally in heaven.
It is true that this second book may appear a bit long, and those who appreciate brevity may not savor its length or the development given in some of the chapters. If these persons would consider the nature of the things discussed, and the end proposed in writing, they would see that we could not be dispensed from doing otherwise.
We are trying to make known in more detail the great deeds God accomplished through Monsieur Vincent, the motives that inspired him to undertake them, the means he used to bring them to a successful conclusion, and the great fruits which these charitable works produced. Our hope is to inspire our readers to thank and glorify God, and provide them with the thought of undertaking something similar should the occasion present itself for helping their neighbor. This could come about only if we go into considerable detail. If we stick only to general terms much less light would be thrown on these marvelous enterprises.
If it should be the case that our readers do not have sufficient time to read what is given in this second book an appreciation of the life and virtues of Monsieur Vincent could be derived readily from Books One and Three alone.
Introduction to Book Two, Chapter One: The Missions of Monsieur Vincent
Abelly: Book Two