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10. Dispose thyself, therefore, like a true and faithful servant, to bear with fortitude and resolution the cross of thy blessed LORD, to which he was nailed in testimony of his infinite love of thee. Prepare thy spirit to suffer patiently the innumerable inconveniences and troubles of this miserable life; for these thou wilt find, though thou runnest to the ends of the earth, or hidest thyself in its deepest caverns; and it is patient suffering alone, that can either disarm their power, or heal the wounds they have made. Drink freely and affectionately of thy LORD's bitter cup, if thou desirest to manifest thy friendship for him, and " the part thou hast with him." Resign to the will of God the dispensation of his comforts, and wish only for tribulation, in its innumerable forms, as the choicest blessing of thy earthly life; for the sufferings of the present time," if they were all accumulated for thy portion, “are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in thee."
11. When thou hast obtained so true a conquest over self-love, that the love of Christ shall make tribulation not only easy but desirable; then all will be well with thee, and thou wilt have found the gate of paradise: but while every tribulation is painful and grievous, and it is the desire of thy soul to avoid it, thou canst not but be wretched, and what thou labourest to shun will follow thee wherever thou goest. The patient enduring of the cross, and the death of self upon it, are the indispensable duty of fallen man; and it is by these alone, that he can be delivered from his darkness, corruption, and misery, and restored to the possession of life, light, and peace. Though, like St. Paul, thou wert “caught up to the third heaven," yet thou wouldst not be exempt from suffering; for of
St. Paul'himself, his Redeemer said, “ I will shew him how great things he must suffer, for my name's sake." To suffer, therefore, is thy portion; and to suffer patiently and willingly, is the great testimony of thy love and allegiance to thy LORD.
12. O'that thou wert worthy to suffer any “ afflic, tion for the name of Jesus !". what glory would be Jaid up in store for thyself, whát joy would be diffused among the saints of God, what holy emulation excited in thy neighbour! Though patience is extolled by all, yet few are willing to suffer ; but thou mayst well suffer a little for CHRIST, when men endure so much for the world.
13. Know, that thy life must be a continual death to the appetites and passions of fallen nature; and know also, that the more perfectly thou diest to thyself, the more truly wilt thou begin to live to God. No man is qualified to understand the stupendous 'truths of redemption, till he has subdued his impa tience and self-love, and is ready to suffer any advero sity for the sake of CHRIST. This is so acceptable to God, and so beneficial to the soul, that if the condition of thy present life was left to thy own choice, thou shouldst prefer suffering affliction for the sake of CHRIST, to the uninterrupted enjoyment of repose and comfort; for this will render thee conformable to CHRIST, and all his saints. Indeed, the perfection of our state, and our acceptableness with God, depend more upon the patient suffering of long and severe distress, than upon continual consolation and ecstasy.
14. If any way, but bearing the cross and dying to his own will, could have redeemed man from that fallen life of self in flesh and blood, which is his alienation from, and enmity to God; CARIST would have
taught it in his word, and established it by his example. But of all universally that desire to follow him, he has required the bearing of the cross; and without exception has said to all, “ If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow
15. When, therefore, we have read all books, and examined all methods, to find out the path that will lead us back to the blessed state from which we have wandered, this conclusion only will remain, “ That through much tribulation we must enter into the kingdom of God."
END OF BOOK THE SECOND
IMITATION OF CHRIST.
OF DIVINE ILLUMINATION.
OF THE BLESSEDNESS OF INTERNAL CONVEN
SATION WITH CHRIST. DISCIPLE. 1. I WILL hear what the LORD my God will say within me.
CHRIST. Blessed is the soul that listeneth to the voice of the LORD, and from his own lips heareth the word of consolation! Blessed are the ears that receive the soft whispers of the Divine breath, and exclude the noise and tumult of the world ; yea, truly blessed are they, when deaf to the voice that soundeth without, they are attentive only to the truth teaching within! Blessed are the eyes that are shut: to material objects, and open and fixed upon those that are spiritual! Blessed are then that examine the state of the internal man; and, by continual exercises of repentance and faith, prepare the mind for a more comprehensive knowledge of the truths of redemption! Blessed are all, who delight in the service of GOD; and who, that they may livé purely to him, disengage their hearts from the cares and pleasures of the world!