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- walk before thee in “ the glorious liberty of the children of God!” CHRIST. 5. I will teach thee what is
my good and acceptable and perfect will." Think on the evil that is in thee, with deep compunction and self-abhorrence ; and think on the good, without self-esteem and self-exaltation. In thyself thou art a .wretched sinner, bound with the complicated chain
of many sensual and malignant passions. Thou art always tending to nothing and vanity ; thou soon wa. verest, art soon subdued, soon disturbed, and easily seduced from the path of holiness and peace. There is in thee no good, which thou canst glory in as thy own ; but much evil, as the ground of deep shame and self-abhorrence: thou art even more dark, corrupt and powerless, than thou art able to comprehend.
6. Let not, therefore, pride deceive thee into false notions of the holiness and perfection of thy life; for thou hast nothing great, nothing valuable, nothing worthy of admiration and praise, nothing exalted, good, and desirable, but that which is produced by the operation of my Spirit. Let eternal truth be all thy comfort and thy boast, and thy own sinfulness thy displeasure and thy shame. Fear, abhor, and shun nothing so much, as the evil tempers of thy fallen nature, and the evil habits of thy fallen life ; which ought to offend and grieve thee inore, than all the losses and distresses thou canst meet with in the world.
7. Some men walk not before me in simplicity and purity of heart; but moved by that curiosity and arrogance which deprived angels of heaven, and Adam of paradise, neglect themselves and their own salvation, to search into the counsels of infinite wisdom, and
fathom the deep things of God. These fall into dan
gerous errors, and aggravated sins; and their pride and presumption I continually resist. But do thou fear the judgments of God, tremble at the wrath of Omnipotence; and, instead of questioning the preceedings of the Most High, search into the depths of thy own iniquities, that thou mayst know how much evil thou hast done, and how much good thou hast neglected.
8. Some place their religion in books, some in images, and some in the pomp and splendour of external worship: these honour “ me with their lips, but their heart is far from me." But there are some, that with illuminated understandings discern the glory .which man has lost, and with pure affections pant for its recovery : these hear and speak with reluctance of the cares and pleasures of the present life, and even lament the necessity of administering to the wants of animal nature : these hear and understand what the Holy Spirit speaketh in their heart, exhorting them to withdraw their affection from things on earth, and ." set it on things above;" to abandon this fallen world and day and night aspire after regunion with God.
OF THE POWER OF DIVINE LOVE. Disciple. 1. I BLESS thee, O heavenly Father the Father of my LORD JESUS CHRIST, that thou hast vouchsafed to remember so poor and helpless a 'creature! O Father of mercies, and God of all consolation, I give thee most humble and ardent thanks, that unworthy as I am of all comfort, thou hast been
pleased to visit my benighted soul with the enlivening beams of heavenly light ! Blessing, and praise, and glory, be unto thee, and thy only begotten Sony and thy Holy Spirit, the Comforter, forever and ever!
2. O LORD my God, who hast mercifully numbered-me among the objects of thy redeeming love, when thou art pleased to visit me, all that is within me shall rejoice : for thou art my glory and my joy, my hope and refuge in the day of my distress. But! because my love is yet feeble, and my holy resolutions imperfect, I have continuial need of thy strength and consolation : do thou, therefore, visit me continually, and instruct me out of thy law ; deliver me from malignant passions and sensual desires, that be ing healed and purified, I may love with more ara (dour, may suffer with more patience, may persevere with more
constancy. CHRIST. 3. Love is, indeed, a transcendent excellence, an essential and sovereign good; it maketh the heavy burthen light, and the rugged path smooth; it beareth all things without feeling their weight, and from every adversity taketh away the sting:
4. The love of Jesus is a noble and generous love, prompting to difficult attempts, and kindling the desire of greater perfection : it continually looketh up to heaven, and abhors the restraints of its earthly prison: it panteth after its original and native freedom ; and, lest its intellectual eye should be darken ed by earthly objects, and its will captivated by earth ly good, or subdued by earthly evil, sighs for deliver-> ance from this fallen world.
5. Love surpasseth all sweetness, strength, height * depth, and breadth ; nothing is more pleasing, noth
ing more full: nothing more excellent in heaven or in earth ; for love is born of God: and it cannot find rest in created things, but resteth only in him from whom it is derived.
6. Love is rapid in its motion as the bolt of heaven ; it acts with ardour, alacrity, and freedom, and no created power is able to obstruct its course. It giveth all for all, and possėsseth all in all ; for it possesseth the Supreme Goods from whom, as from its fountain, all good eternally proceeds. It respecteth no gifts, but, transcending all imparted excellence, turneth wholly to the Giver of every perfect gift.
7. Love knoweth no limits, feeleth no burthen, considereth no labour : it desireth to do more than, in its present state, it finds itself able to effect ; yet it is never restrained by apparent impossibility, but conceiveth that all things are possible, and that all are lawful; it, therefore, attempteth every labour, : however difficult, and accomplisheth many, under which the soul that loveth not, faints and falls prostrate.
8. Love is watchful, and though it slumbereth doth not sleep: it is fatigued, but not exhausted; strait ened, but not enslaved ; alarmed by danger, but not confounded ; and, like a vigorous and active flame, is ever bursting upwards, and securely passeth through all opposition.
9. He that loveth feels the force of this excla. mation, " My God! my love! thou art wholly mine, and I am wholly thinę !" and when this is the voice of love, it reacheth unto heaven.
Disciple. 10. Expand my heart with love, that I may feel its transforming power, and may even be dissolved in its holy fire! Let me be possessed by
love, and ravished from myself by fervour and ecstasy ! Let the lover's song be mine, “ I will follow my beloved on high !” Let my soul rejoice exceedingly in love, and lose itself in thy praise ! Let me love thee more than myself ; let me love myself only for thy sake ; and in thee love all others, as that perfect law requireth, which is a ray of the infinite love that shines in thee !
Christ. 11. Love delights in the communication of good : and with a swiftnete equal to thought, diffuses its blessings with impartiality and ardour. It is courageous and patient, faithful and prudent, longsuffering and generous, and never seeketh itself; for that which seeketh itself, falls immediately from love.
12. Love is circumspect, humble, and equitable ; not soft and effeminate, sickly and vain, but sober, ehaste, constant and persevering, peaceful and calm, and free from the influence of sensible objects. It is submissive and obedient to all, mean and contempti. ble in its own esteem, devout and thankful to God, resigned to God's will, and even when his consolations are suspended, faithfully dependent upon his mercy ; for, in this fallen life, love is not exempt from pain.
13. He, therefore, that is not prepared to suffer all things, and, renouncing his own will, to adhere invariably to the will of his beloved, is unworthy of the name of lover. It is essential to that exalted charac. ter, to endure the severest labours and the bitterest afflictions, and to let nothing in created nature turn him aside from the Supreme and Infinite Good.