counsels, evangelical

That the Christian life demands from all a serious discipline of natural affections, is clear. "He that loveth father or mother, son, or daughter more than me, that taketh not up his cross and followeth me is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it." (Matthew 10) Or this the narrowest interpretation must be, that one ruling his life by the love of worldly goods is outside the way of salvation; to be in it one must be ready to keep the Commandments at any cost. This does not exhaust the possibilities of Christian-life, a service of love. "If thou wilt be perfect, go sell what thou hast and give to the poor. And come follow me" (Matthew 19) Since to keep the Commandments suffices for salvation, the call to perfection is generaily of counsel only. To be complete the renunciation must include worldly possessions, family ties, and personal initiative, wherefore Christians have always held poverty, chastity, and obedience to be its matter. Because in this they follow the Gospel teaching, which not only praises such complete renunciation, but also invites all to undertake it, promising a great reward, they have termed poverty, chastity, and obedience, made permanent by vows, the Evangelical Counsels.

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