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-6. In what, therefore, can I hope, or where ought I to place my confidence, but in infinite goodness, and the life, light, and peace of the Divine SPIRIT ? For whether the conversation of holy men, the endearing kindness of faithful friends, the melody of music in psalms and hymns, the entertainment of ingenious books, nay, the instructions of the oracles of God; whether any or all these advantages are present, what do they all avail, what joy can they dispense, when the Holy Spirit is withdrawn from my soul, and I am left to the poverty and wretchedness of my fallen self? In such a state, no remedy remains but meek and humble patience, and the total surrender of my will to the blessed will of God.
7. I never yet found a man 50 invariably holy and devout, as not to have experienced the absence of grace, and felt some decay of spiritual fervours and from this severe trial no saint has been exempt, to whateter degrees of rapture and elevation his spirit may have been exalted. It is a trial, however, that when patiently endured for the love of God, prepares and qualifies the soul for the high state of Diving contemplation. It may always be considered also as the sign of approaching comfort ; and to those who suffer it with resignation, humility, and faith, is the uninterrupted felicity of Paradise chiefly promised : « to him that overcometh,” saith he who is “The FIRST AND THE LAST, will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God."
8. The ground of this vicissitude of comfort and distress, is, in general, this : the consolations of the Spirit are given to man, to enable him to bear the adversity of his fallen states and thiey are taken
away, lest he be so much elevated with the gift, as to forget the Giver.
9. After all, remember, that the devil slumbereth not, nor is the flesh yet dead : be, therefore, continually prepared for contest ; for, on the right hand, and on the left, thou art beset with enemies that are never at rest.
OF TRUE THANKFULNESS FOR THE GRACE OF
1. WHY seekest thou rest, when thou art born to labour? Dispose thyself for patience, rather than for consolation ; rather for bearing the cross, than for receiving joy.
2. Who among those that are devoted to the world, would not gladly receive the joys and consola. tions of the Spirit, if they could be obtained without relinquishing the pursuits of honour, wealth, and pleasure ?, The joys and consolations of the Spirit transcend the delights of the world and the pleasures of sense, as far as heaven transcends the earth : these are either impure or vain; those alone are holy, substantial, delightful, the fruits of that new nature which is born of God. But those no man can enjoy st what time, and in what measure he pleaseș ; and he finds, that the seasons of temptation return soon, and last long.
3. False freedom and self-confidence greatly oppose the heavenly visitation. God, who is infinite in goodness, manifests that goodness, in bestowing the gift of his Holy Spirit; man, who is wholly evil, shews that evil, in not rendering back the gift with
the thankfulness and praise of dependent wretchedness: the power of the gift is destroyed by ingratitude to the giver : the course of Grace is stopt, by diverting and confining its streams, and not suffering them to flow back to their Divine Source. For the influences of God's SPIRIT are in large measures poured only upon the truly thankful, and from the proud is taken away that which is always given to the humble.
4. I wish for no consolation that robs me of com: punction; nor aim at any contemplation that will exalt me into pride: for every thing that is high, is not holy; nor every desire pure; nor every thing that is sweet good; nor every thing that is dear to man, - pleasing to God. But acceptable, beyond measure, is
that grace, by which I am made more humble and fearful, and more disposed to deny and renounce myself: for he that hath experienced the Divine gift, and been taught the infinite value of it, by feeling its loss, so far from daring to appropriate any thing good to himself, will in the deepest humility acknowledge and lament the poverty and nakedness of his fallen spirit. “ Render, therefore, unto God, that which is God's," and take to thyself that which is properly thy · own: give him the glory of all thy good, and leave for thyself only the shame and punishment of all thy evil.
5. Set thyself in the lowest place, and the highest shall be given thee: for the more lofty the building is designed to be, the deeper must the foundations of it be laid. The greatest saints in the sight of God, are the least in their own esteem; and the height of their glory is always in proportion to the depth of their humility. Those that are filled with true and
heavenly glory, have no place for the desire of that 'which is earthly and vain; being rooted and established in God, they cannot possibly be lifted up in selfexaltation. Whatever good they have, they acknowl. edge it to be received; and ascribing the glory of it to the Supreme Author of good, they “ seek not honour one of another, but the honour that cometh from God alone:" and that God may be glorified in himself, and in all his saints, is the prevailing desire of their hearts, and the principal end of all their actions.
6. Be thankful for what thou receivest, and thou wilt be deemed worthy to receive more. Let that which is thought the least of God's gifts, be unto thee even as the greatest; and that which is held contemptible, as a singular favour. The dignity of the giver confers dignity on all his gifts; and none can be small, that is bestowed by the Supreme God. Even pain and punishment from him are to be gratefully received: for whatever he permitteth to befal us, he permitteth it to promote the important business of our redemption. Let him, therefore, that desireth to preserve the grace of God in his heart, be thankful when it is given, and patient when it is taken away; let him pray ardently for its return; and be particularly watchful and humble, that he may lose it no inore.
OF THE SMALL NUMBER OF THOSE THAT LOVE
1. JESUS hath now many lovers of his heavenly kingdom, but few bearers of his cross; he hath many that desire to partake of his comforts, but few that are willing to share in his distress; he finds many companions of his table, but few of his hours of abstinence. All are disposed to rejoice with Jesus, but few to suffer sorrow for his sake: many follow him to the breaking of bread, but few to the drinking of his bitter cup: many attend with reverence on the glory of his miracles, but few follow the ignominy of his cross. Many love JESUS, while they are free from adversity; many praise and bless him, while they receive his consolations : but if JESUS hide his face, and leave them but a little, their confidence and their devotion vanish, and they sink either into murmur or despair.
2. But they who love Jesus for himself, and 'not for their own personal comfort, will bless him in the depths of tribulation and distress, well as in the most exalted state of consolation. Nay, should he continue to withhold his consolations from them, they would still continue to praise him, still give him thanks. O mighty power of the pure love of Jesus, unadulterated with any base mixture of self-love and self-interest! Do not they deserve the name of hirelings, who are forever seeking after comfort ? do not all prove, that they are lovers of themselves, more than lovers of Christ, who desire and think of nothing, but the repose and pleasure of their own minds?
3. Where is the man that serveth God, without the hope of reward? Where, indeed, is that true “ poverty of spirit to be found, which is divested of all that is thought rich and valuable in the creatures and self?' This is the pearl of great price,” that is worthy to be sought after to the utmost bounds of nature !! Though a man give all his substance to feed the poor, it is nothing; though he mortify the desires