Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

of spirit that it can be silenced and subdued : the old serpent will deceive and trouble thee, and tempt thee to revolt ; but he must be put to flight by ardent prayer ; and his future approaches must be opposed by continual vigilance, and continual employment in some holy exercise, or some innocent and useful labour.

CHAP. X.

OF MEEK OBEDIENCE, AFTER THE EXAMPLE OF JESUS CHRIST ; AND OF THE AWFUL CONSID, ERATION OF THE DIVINE JUDGMENTS, AS A MOTIVE, TO AN HUMBLE OPINION OF OUR. SELVES AND OUR STATE IN GRACE.

CHŘIŠT.: 1. HE that withdraws himself from obedience, withdraws himself from grace ;, and he that seeketh his own fallen life, loseth that Divine life, which I came to restore. He that doth not freely, and voluntarily submit to that superiority, under which my Providence has placed him, demonstrates, that the flesh is not yet overcome, but frequently; murmurs and rebels. If, therefore, my son, thou desirest to subdue thy own flesh, learn ready and cheer., ful submission to the will of thy superiours : for that, outward-enemy will be much sooner overcome, if. the mind is kept under strict discipline, and not suffered to waste its strength in dissipation and indulgence. There is not a more violent or more dan-, gerous enemy, than thy fleshly nature, when it does. not freely consent to the law of the spirit : thou must, therefore, be established in true self-abasement if thou wouldst prevail against flesh and blood.

2. It is the inordinate love thou still indulgest for thy fallen self, that makes thee abhor submission to the will of others. But is it a great thing for thee, who art dust and nothing, to submit to man for the love of God; when I, the Supreme and Almighty, . who created all things, submitted to man for the love of thee? I became the least and lowest of all, that human pride might be subdued by my humility. Learn, therefore, to obey, O dust ! learn to humble thyself, thou that art but earth and clay, and to bow down beneath the feet of all men ! Learn to break the perverse inclinations of thy own will, that with ready compliance thou mayst yield to all demands of obedience, by whomsoever made. With holy indignation against thyself, suppress every intumescence of pride, till it can no longer rise up within thee ; and thou art so submissive, sò little and worthless in thy own eyes, that men may walk over thee, and as the dust of which thou art made, trample thee under foot. What hast thou to complain of, who art vanity itself? What, O base and unworthy sinner, canst thou answer to those who reproach and condemn thee, thou who hast so often' offended God, and incurred his terrible wrath? But thy life was precious in my sight, and my eye hath spared thee, that thou

mayst know my love, which passeth knowledge ;". and in a perpetual sense of 1 my mercy and thy own unworthiness, devote thyself to unfeigned humility and cheerful submission, and patiently bear the contempt of mankind.

DISCIPLE. 3. Thou breakest the thunder of thy judgment over me, O LORD, and my bones are shaken with fear and trembling, and my soul is filled with unutterable dread. I stand astonished, when I con

sider, that the heavens are not clean in thy sight. If thou hast found folly and impurity in angels, and hast not spared even them, what will become of me? If the stars have " fallen from heaven," if “ Lucifer, son of the morning," hath not kept his place; shall I, that am but dust, dare to presume upon my own stability ? Many whose holiness had raised them to exalted honour, have been degraded by sin to the lowest infamy ; and those that have fed upon the bread of angels, I have seen delighted with the husks of swine.

4. There is, therefore, no holiness, if thou, LORD, withdraw thy presence ; no wisdom profiteth, if thy Spirit cease to direct; no strength availeth, without thy support ; no chastity is safe, without thy protection; no watchfulness effectual, when thy holy vigi. lance is not our guard. For no sooner are we left to ourselves, than the waves of corruption rush upon us, and we sink and perish ; but if thou reach forth thy Omnipotent hand, we walk upon the sea and live. In our own nature we are unsettled as the sand upon the mountain, but in thee we have the stability of the throne of heaven : we are cold and insensible as darkness and death, but are kindled into light and life by the holy fire of thy love,

5. O how abjectly and meanly ought I to think of myself! How worthless and vain should I deem the good that appeareth to be mine! With what profound humility, O Lord, ought I to cast myself into the abyss of thy judgments, where I continually find myself to be nothing and nothing! o depth immense! O fathomless and impassable gulph! in which my whole being is absorbed and lost. Where, now, is the lurking-place of human glory, where the confidence of human virtue? In the awful deep of

A

thy judgments which covers me, all self-confidence and self-glory are swallowed up forever!

6. LORD! what is all flesh in thy sight? Shall the clay glory against him that formed it? Can that heart be elated by the vain applause of men, that has felt the blessing of submission to the will of God? The whole world hath not power to exalt that, 'which Truth hath subjected to himself; 'nor can the united praise of every tongue move him, whose hope is' established in thee : for those that utter praise, behold they also are nothing; like those that hear it! they shall both pass away and be lost, as the sound of their own words; but “ the truth of the LORD endureth forcver !"

[ocr errors]

CHAP. XI.

THAT OUR DESIRES MUST BE EXPRESSED IN * TERMS OF ABSOLUTE RESIGNATION TO THE DIVINE WILL.

CHRIST. 1. LET this, my son, be the language of all thy requests : "LORD, if it be pleasing' to thee, may this be granted, or that withheld.

LORD, if this tend to thy honour, let it be done in thy name. Lord, if thou seest that this is expedient for me, and will promote my sanctification, then grant it me, and with it grace to use it to thy glory : but if thou knowest it will prove hurtful, and conduce not to the health of my soul, remove far from me my desire.” For every desire that appeareth to man to be 'right and good, is not born from heaven : and it is difficult always to determine truly, whether desire is prompted by the good Spirit of God, or the evil spirit of the enemy, or thy own selfish' spirit, so that many have

found themselves involved in evil, by the suggestions of Satan, or the impulse of self-love, who thought they were under the influence and conduct of THE SPIRIT of God.

2. Whatever, therefore, presents itself to the mind as good, let it be desired and asked in the fear of God, and with profound humility ; but especially, with a total resignation of thy own will, refer both the desire itself and the accomplishment of it to me, and say, “LORD, thou knowest what is best ; let this or that be done, according to thy will. Give me what thou wilt; and in what measure, and at what time thou wilt. Do with me as thou knowest to be best, as most pleaseth thee, and will tend most to thy hon. Qur. Place me where thou wilt, and freely dispose of me in all things, Lo, I am in thy hands ; do thou, lead and turn me whithersoever thou pleasest: I am thy servant, prepared for all submission and obedi

I desire not to live to myself, but to thee : O grant it may be truly and worthily !"

DISCIPLE. 3. Send me thy Spirit, most merciful JESUS," from the throne of thy glory," that it may be

present with me, and labour with me, and illuminate, sanctify, and bless me forever ! Enable me always to will and desire that which is most dear and acceptable to thee. "Let thy will be wholly mine : let it reign so powerfully in me, that it may not be possi. ble for me to oppose it, or to like or dislike any thing, but what is pleasing or displeasing in thy sight!

4. Enable me to die to the riches and honours, the cares and pleasures of this fallen world ; and in imi. tation of thee, and for thy sake, to love obscurity, and to bear contempt. But transcending all I can desire,

ence.

« PredošláPokračovať »