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Consideration of dust is an excellent remedy to cure vice

From a meditation on Ash Wednesday in “Entertainments for Lent”

Basil Brooke
Basil Brooke

This consideration of dust is an excellent remedy to cure vice and an assured rampart against temptation. St. Paulinus saith excellently well, that holy Job was free from all temptations when he was placed upon the smoke and dust of his humility. He that lies upon the ground can fall no lower; but may contemplate all above him, and meditate how to raise himself by the hand of God, which pulls down the proud and exalts the humble. Is a man tempted with pride? The consideration of ashes will humble him. Is a man burnt with wanton love? (which is a direct fire), fire cannot consume ashes. Is he persecuted with covetousness? Ashes make the greatest leeches and bloodsuckers cast their gorges. Everything gives way to this unvalued thing, because God is pleased to draw the instrument of his power out of the objects of our infirmities.

— from a meditation on Ash Wednesday in “Entertainments for Lent,” translated from the French of Nicholas Caussin (d. 1651) by Basil Brooke.


Sir Basil Brooke (1576–1646) was an English metallurgist and recusant Catholic in the time during the English Civil War. Having inherited a grand estate from his father, which contained iron and steel works and a coal mine, Brooke begin experimenting with ways for making steel through the early but now obsolete cementation process. The authenticity of his Catholic faith is reflected in his translation of Lenten exercises by Nicholas Caussin, confessor to King Louis XIII of France.

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Basil Brooke
Basil Brooke

This consideration of dust is an excellent remedy to cure vice and an assured rampart against temptation. St. Paulinus saith excellently well, that holy Job was free from all temptations when he was placed upon the smoke and dust of his humility. He that lies upon the ground can fall no lower; but may contemplate all above him, and meditate how to raise himself by the hand of God, which pulls down the proud and exalts the humble. Is a man tempted with pride? The consideration of ashes will humble him. Is a man burnt with wanton love? (which is a direct fire), fire cannot consume ashes. Is he persecuted with covetousness? Ashes make the greatest leeches and bloodsuckers cast their gorges. Everything gives way to this unvalued thing, because God is pleased to draw the instrument of his power out of the objects of our infirmities.

— from a meditation on Ash Wednesday in “Entertainments for Lent,” translated from the French of Nicholas Caussin (d. 1651) by Basil Brooke.


Sir Basil Brooke (1576–1646) was an English metallurgist and recusant Catholic in the time during the English Civil War. Having inherited a grand estate from his father, which contained iron and steel works and a coal mine, Brooke begin experimenting with ways for making steel through the early but now obsolete cementation process. The authenticity of his Catholic faith is reflected in his translation of Lenten exercises by Nicholas Caussin, confessor to King Louis XIII of France.

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