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nitely better than that which, arrogantly glorying in its extent, can comprehend the utmost circle of sci
66 better is it to be of an.humble spirit” with the ignorant, “ than to divide the spoils” of learning 6 with the proud."
5. That man acteth indiscreetly, who gives himself up to the joy of present riches, forgetful of his former poverty, and divested of that chaste and holy fear of God, which makes the heart tenderly apprehensive of losing the grace it has received. Nor has he attained the fortitude of true wisdom, who, in the day of distress and sadness, suffers his mind to be subdued by despair, and deprived of that absolute confidence in me, which is my right, and his own best : support : but those that are most elate and secure in time of peace, are most fearful and dejected in time of war.
6. If thou wert always meek and lowly, and : couldst keep thy spirit under the peaceful restraints of holy moderation, thou wouldst not so often incur danger nor fall into sin. In the hour of spiritual fer. vour, it is useful to consider how it will be with thee, when those rays of comfort are withdrawn, and the shades of night succeed. And when that awful change takes place, thou must support thyself with the hope, that the light of day, which, for thy instruction, and my glory, I have suffered to depart for a season, will break again upon thy soul with new effulgence.
7. The trial of this vicissitude of light and darkness, will contribute more to the perfection of thy spirit, than the gratification of thy own selfish will in the enjoyment of perpetual sun-shine : for the safety and blessedness of man's state in this life, are not to
be estimated by the number of his visions and conso. lations ; nor by his critical knowledge of Holy Scripture, nor his exaltation to superiour dignity and power ; but by his being grounded and established in humility, and filled with Divine charity ; by seeking, in all he doth, the glory of God with purity and integrity ; by his knowing and despising himself as nothing and vanity ; and by his rejoicing more in contempt and abasement, than in honour and esteem.
DISCIPLE. 8. “ Shall I take upon me to speak unto my LORD, who am but dust and ashes ?" If I deem more highly of myself, and arrogate any excellence ; beħold, thou standest in judgment against me, and my own iniquities oppose my claim by such a true and forcible testimony as I can neither contradict nor elude. But if I feel and acknowledge the darkness, impurity, and wretchedness of my fallen nature ; if I empty my heart of all self-esteem, and become humble as the dust of which I was made : then wilt thou look upon me with a favourable eye ; then thy light will illuminate my heart ; and then every degree of arrogance and self-esteem, however grēat, shall be swallowed up, and lost forever, in the abyss of my own poverty. There thou shewest me to myself, and teachest me what I am, what I have been, and from whence I came : for I am nothing, and knew it not.
9. When I am left to the disorderly workings of nature and self, behold, I am all weakness and misery! but when thy light breaketh upon my soul, my weakness is made strong, and my misery turned inta joy. And transcendently wonderful it is, that a creature, which, by its alienation from thee, is always Within the central attraction of selfishness and sing
should be so suddenly enlightened, purified, and blest, by a participation of the Divine life ! But this astonishing change is the pure effect of thy infinite love, preventing me in all holy desires, succouring me in all necessities, protecting me from imminent dangers, and delivering me from innumerable unknown evils.
10. By the love of myself, I lost myself; but by the love and pursuit of thee alone, I have both found thee, and found myself ; and this love, the purer it hath been, the more truly hath it shown me my own nihility : for thou, O most amiable Saviour, hast been merciful unto me, beyond all that I could either ask, or hope, or conceive.
11. Blessed be thy name, O my God! that unworthy as I am of the least of all thy mercies, thou continuest to heap 'such innumerable benefits upon me. But thy love embraceth all, perpetually imparting light and blessing even to the ungrateful, and those that are wandered far from thee. ( turn us back to thee again, that we may be thankful, hum-, ble, and wholly devoted to thy will : for thou art our wisdom, our strength, our righteousness, our sanctification and redemption !
THAT ALL THINGS ARE TO BE REFERRED TO
GOD, AS THE ULTIMATE END; AND THAT THE SERVICE OF GOD IS THE HIGHEST HON. OUR, AND THE MOST PERFECT FREEDOM.
CHRIST. 1. IF thou wouldst be truly, blest, my son, make me the supreme and ultimate end of all thy thoughts and desires, thy actions and pursuits.
This will spiritualize and purify thy affections, which by an evil tendency are too often perverted to thyself and the creatures that surround thee : but if thou seekest thyself in the complacentiał honours of as. sumed excellence, or in the enjoyment of any good which thou supposest inherent in the creatures, thou wilt only find both in thyself and them the imbecility and barrenness of fallen nature. Refer, therefore, all things to me, as the giver of “ every perfect gift," the Supreme Good, from whom all excellence in the creatures is derived, and to whom alone the praise of excellence is due.
2. From me, as from a living fountain, the little and the great, the rich and the poor, draw the water. of life : and he that willingly and freely drinks it to my glory, shall receive grace for grace : but he that glories in any thing distinct from me, or delights in any good not referred to me, but appropriated as his own, cannot be established in true peace, cannot find rest and enlargement of heart; but must meet with obstruction, disappointment, and anguish, in every desire and every pursuit. Do not, therefore, arrogate any good to thyself, nor ascribe good to any other creature ; but render all to me thy God, with out whom, not only man, but universal nature, is mere want and wretchedness. I, who have given all, demand it back in grateful acknowledgment, and require of every creature the tritute of humble thanksgiving and continual praise. In the splendour of this truth, áll vain-glory vanisheth, as darkness be
fore the sun,
3. When Divine light and love have taken possession of thy lieart, it will no longer be the prey of envy, hatred, and partial affections ; for by Divine light
and love the darkness and selfishness of fallen nature are totally subdued, and all its faculties restored to their original perfection. If, therefore, thou art truly wise, thou wilt hope only in me, and rejoice only in me, as thy everlasting life and light, perfection and glory : for “ there is but one that is good, and that is God;" who is to be blessed and praised above all, and in all.
DISCIPLE. 4. I will now speak again unto my LORD, and will not be silent; I will say to my King, and my God, who sitteth in the highest heaven, 160 how great,” and manifold are the treasures of thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee'!" But what art thou, O LORD, to those that love thee with all their heart? Truly, the exquisite delight derived from that 'privilege of pure contem-' plation with which thou hast invested them, surpasseth the
power of every creature to express. 5. How free, and how exalted above all blessing and praise, is that goodness which thou hast manifesto ed towards thy poor servant; which not only called him into being, but, when he had wandered far from thee, by its redeeming virtue brought him back to thee again, and, with the command to love thee, conferred the power to fulfil it! O source of everlasting love! what shall I say concerning thee? How can I forget thee, who hast condescended to remember me, pining away and perishing in the poverty of sinful nature, and to restore me to the Divine life I had lost! Beyond all hope thou hast shewn mercy te thy servant, and beyond all thought hast made him capapable of thy friendship, and dignified and blest him with it. Poor and impotent as I am in myself, what can I render thee for such distinguishing grace?.for,