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2. The spiritual man prefers to all other cares, the care of his own improvement, and he that is strictly watchful over his own conduct, will easily be silent about the conduct of others. But to the Divine life of the spiritual man thou wilt never attain, unless thou canst withdraw thy attention from all persons, and the concerns of all, and fix it) wholly upon thyself. He that purely and simply intends and desires only the re-union of his soul with God, will not easily be moved by what he heats or sees in the world.
3. -Tell me, if thou canst where thou hast been wandering, when thou art absent from thy own breast: and after thou hast run about, and taken a hasty view of the actions and affairs of men, what advantage bringest thou home to thy neglected and forsaken self? He that desires peace of heart, and reunion with the Divine nature, must cast all persons and things behind him, and keep God and his own spirit only in his view.. ! : 4. As thy progress to perfection depends much upon thy freedom from the cares and pleasures of the world, it must be proportionably obstructed by whatever degree of value they have in thy affections. Abandon, therefore, all hope of consolation from created things, not only as vain, but dangerous; and esteem nothing honourable, nothing pleasing, nothing great and worthy the desire of an immortal spirit, but God, and that which immediately tends to the improvement of thy state in him. The soul that truly loves Gop, despises all that is inferior to God. It is God alone, the Infinite and Eternal, who filleth all things, that is the life, light, and peace of all bles: sed spirits. 7: 116
€". THE " rejoicing" of a good man is the testimony of his conscience." A pure conscience is the ground of perpetual exultation : it will support"a man under the severest trials, and enable him to rejoice in the depths of adversity • but an evil conscience, in every state of life, is full of disquietude and fear. Thou wilt always enjoy tranquillity, if thy heart condemn thee not. 12. Do not. hope to rejoice, but when thou hast done well. The wicked cannot have true-joy, not taste of inward peace : for “ there is no peace to the svicked;" saith the LORD ; " but they are like the trous dled sea when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mite and dirt." If they say, "We are in peace ; no evil sliall come upon us; and who will dare to hurt us?" believe them not : for the anger of the LORD will suddenly rise up within them; and their boasting shall vanish like smoke, and the thoughts of their heart shall perish,
3. Toglory in tribulation," is not difficult to him that loveth ; for thus to glory, is to glory in the cross of our Lord JESUS CHRIST." That" glory is short and painful, which is given and received among men: it comes with fear and envy, and vanishes in disappointment and regret. The glory of the just is proclaimed by the voice of conscience, and not by the mouth of men: their joy is from God, and in GOD; and their rejoicing is founded in truth. He that as. pires after true and eternal glory, values not that which is temporal; and he that seeketh after the
temporal glory of the earth, or that does not despise it from his heart, proves, that he neither loves nor considers the eternal glory of heaven.
4. He only can have great tranquillity, whose happiness depends not on the praise and dispraise of men. If thy conscience was pure, thou wouldst be contented in every condition, and undisturbed by the opinions and reports of men concerning thee ; for their commendations can add nothing to thy holiness, nor their censures take any thing from it : what thou art, thou art ; nor can the praise of the whole world make thee greater in the sight of God. The more, therefore, thy attention is fixed upon the true state of thy spirit, the less wilt thou regard what is said of thee in the world. Men lookonly on the face, but “ God looketh on and searcheth the heart ;" men consider only the outward act, but God the in. ward principle from which it springs.
5. To think of having done well without self-ese teem, is an evidence of true humility ; as it is of great inward purity and faith, to abandon the hope of consolation from created things. He that seeketh not a witness for himself among men, shews that he has committed his whole state to God, the witness in his own breast : for it is “not he who commend eth himself, nor he who is commended by others, that " is approved ;" but him only, saith the blessed Paul," whom GOD commendeth."
6. To walk in the presence of God manifested in the heart, and not to be enslaved by any worldly affection, is the state of the internal man.
OF THE LOVE OF JESUS ABOVE ALL.
1. BLESSED is the man who knoweth what it is to love Jesus, and for his sake to despise himself. To preserve this love, thou must relinquish the love of thyself and all creatures ; for JESÚS will be loved alone. The love of the creatures is deceitful and unstable : the love of Jesus is faithful and permanent. He that adhereth to any creature, must fail when the creature faileth ; but he that adhereth to JESUS, will be established with him forever. Love him and cherish his love, who, though the heavens and the earth should be dissolved, will not forsake thee, nor suffer thee to perish. Thou must one day be separated from all that thou seest and lovest among created things, whether thou wilt or not: living and dying, therefore, adhere to Jesus, and securely commit thyself to his faithful protection, who, when all temporal nature fails, is alone able to sustain thee.
2. Such is the purity of thy Beloved, that he will admit of no rival for thy love ; but will himself have the sole possession of thy heart, and, like a king, reign there with sovereign authority, as on his proper throne.
3. If thy heart was emptied of self-love, and of the love of creatures whom 'thou lovest only for thy own sake, JESUS would dwell with thee continually. But whatever love thou hast for men, of which Jesus is not the principle and end, and. whatever be their returns of love to thee, thou wilt find both to be utterly vain and worthless. O place not thy confidence in
man, lean not upon a hollow reed ! for 4 all Alesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass : the grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth. away."
4. Of men thon regardest only the outward appearance, and, therefore, art soon deceived ; and while thou seekest relief and comfort from them, thou must meet with disappointment and distress. If in all things thou seekest only Jesus, thou wilt surely find him in all : and if thou seekest thyself, thou wilt, indeed, find thyself, but to thy own destruction : for he who in all things seeks not JESUS alone, involves himself in more evil, than the world and all his enemies could heap upon him.
OF THE FRIENDSHIP OF JESUS.
1. WHEN Jesus is present, all is well, and no labour' seems difficult ; but when he is absent, the". least adversity is found insupportable.' When JESUS is silent, all comfort withers away ; but the moment he speaks again, though but a single word, the soul rises from her distress, and feels her comfort revive in greater power. Thus Mary rose hastily from the place where she sat weeping for the death of Lazarus, when Martha said to her, 6 The Master is come, and calleth for thee.” Blessed is the hour, when JESUS calls us from affliction and tears, to partake of the joys of his Spirit !
2. How great is the aridity and hardness of thy heart, without JESUS ! how great its vanity and folly, when it desireth any good but him ! Is not the loss of