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grant that I may rest in thee, and in thy peace possess my soul! Thou art its true peace, thou art its only rest; for, without thee, it is all darkness, disorder, and disquietude. In this peace, O LORD, even in thee, the supreme and everlasting Good, I will“ sleep and take my rest."
THAT TRUE COMFORT IS TO BE FOUND ONLY
Disciple. 1. WHATEVER I can desire or conceive as essential to my peace, cannot be the production of this world, and in this world I seek not for it. If all the good of the present life was within my reach, and I had both liberty and capacity for its enjoyment, I know that it is not only changeable and evanescent, but is bounded by the grave. Thy full” consolation and perfect delight, therefore, O my soul, are to be found only in God, the comfort of the poor, and the exaltation of the humble. Wait a little while, wait, with patience and resignation, for the accomplishment of the Divine promise which cannot fail, and thou shalt enjoy the plenitude of good in heaven. By the pursuit of earthly and finite good, thou losest that which is celestial and infinite : use this world, therefore, as a pilgrim and a stranger," and make only the next the object of desire.
2. It is impossible thou shouldst be satisfied with temporal good, because thou wert not formed for the enjoyment of it: and though all that the creatures comprehend was in thy possession, thou wouldst still be unblest ; for it is in the Creator, the supreme God alone, that all blessedness consists ; not such as
is extolled and sought after by the foolish lovers of the world; but such as the faithful Christian admires and sighs for ; such as the spiritual and pure in heart, whose “ conversation is in heaven," have sometimes a foretaste of.
3. How vain and transient, is all human comfort ! how substantial and permanent, that which is derived from the Spirit of truth living and ruling in the soul ! The regenerate man continually turneth to Jesys, the comforter within him, and saith, “ Be present with me, LORD JESUS! in all places, and at all times. May I find consolation, in being willing to bear the want of all human comfort. And if thy consolation also be withdrawn, let thy will and righteous probation of me, be to me as the highest comfort: for “ thou wilt not always chide, neither wilt thou keep thine finger forever !”
CHRIST. 4. Son, sufer me always to dispose of thee, according to my will; for that which is most profitable and expedient for thee, is known.only to me. Thy thoughts are the thoughts of a man, and partial affections too often pervert thy judgment.
Disciple. 5. LORD, all thy words are truth! Thy care over me; is infinitely greater than all the care I can take for myself; and his dependence is utterly vain, who casteth not all his care upon
thee. 6. Bring my will, O LORD, into true and unalterable subjection to thine, and do with me what thou pleasest ; for whatever is done by thee, cannot but be good. If thou pourest thy light upon me, and turnest my night into day, blessed be thy name ; and if thou leavest me in darkness, blessed also be thy iname : if thou exaltest me with the consolations of thy Spirit, or humblest the under the afflictions of fallen nature, still may thy holy name be forever blessed!
CHRIST. 6. This absolute resignation, O my son, must be the prevailing temper of thy spirit, if thou wouldst live in union with me : thou must be as ready to suffer, as to rejoice ; as willing to be poor and needy, as to be full and rich.
DisciplE. 7. LORD, I will freely suffer, for thy sake, whatever affliction thou' permittest to come upon me : I will indifferently receive from thee, sweet and bitter, joy and sorrow, good and evil; and for all that befalleth me, I will thank the love that prompts the gift, and reverence the hand that confers it. Keep me only from sin, and I will fear neither death nor hell : cast me not off forever, nor blot my name out of the book of life, and no tribulation shall have power to hurt me.
THAT, IN CONFORMITY TO THE EXAMPLE OF
CHRIST, THE MISERIES OF THIS FALLEN LIFE ARE TO BE BORNE WITH PATIENCE AND RE. SECITATION.
CHIST. 1. I CAME down from heaven, my son, for thy salvation, and took upon me the miseries of thy sinful nature, not from constraint but love, that thou mightest learn patience, and bear without murmuring the evils of thy fallen state. From the hour of my birth in the flesh, to the hour of my expiration on the the cross, I found no intermission of sorrow: I felt the extreme want of the necessaries of life ; I heard the continual murmurings of the world against me in silence, and bore with meekness its reproach and scorn : my benefits were treated with ingratitude,
my miracles with blasphemy, and my heavenly doctrine with misrepresentation and reproof.
DISCIPLE. 2. O LORD! since thou, in whom was no sin, hast by a life of patience and obedience fulfilled thy Father's will ; it is meet that I, a most wretched sinner, should patiently fulfil thy will, and bear the evils of my fallen state, till the purposes of thy redeeming love are accomplished.
3. Though the present life be in itself a grievous burthen, yet, through the power of thy grace, and the influence of thy holy example, and of the saints who have followed thy steps, it is made supportable and light even to the weak. It is also enriched with comforts that were not experienced under the law, when the gate of paradise remained shut, and the way to it was obscured with shadows, and so few desired to seek after the kingdom of God. Nor could even those whom thou hadst chosen to salvation, and numbered among the just, enter into the holiest," till, by thy stupendous passion and bitter death, “ a new and liv. ing way was consecrated" for them.
4. O what thankfulness and praise are we bound to render thee, who hast thus condescended to open for every faithful.soul a good and sure way to thy eternal kingdom! Thy life, O Lord ! is our true way ; and in the exercise of that holy patience which thy Spirit inspires, we approach nearer to thee, who art our righteousness and crown of glory. If thou hadst not shewn us the path to life, and, led us on by the united aid of thy example and thy grace, who could have found it, or who would have desired or been able to walk in it? If, blest as we are, not only with the splendour of thy miracles and precepts, but with the irradiations of 'thy own Spirit, we are still
cold and sluggish, and indisposed to follow thee ; what should we be, if we were left in the darkness of fallen nature ?
CHRIST. 5. What hast thou said, my son ? In the contemplation of my passion, and of the sufferings of those who have "followed me in the regeneration," suppress thy complaints : “ thou hast not yet resisted unto blood.” What are thy labours compared with those of the saints, who have been so powerfully tempted, so grievously afflicted, so variously tried and exercised ? in the remembrance of theirs which were so heavy, thou shouldst forget thy own which are so light. That thou thinkest thy own sufferings not light, is owing to the impatience of self-love : but whether they are light or heavy, thou must endeavour to bear all with patient submission.
6. The more truly thou disposest thyself to suffer, the more wisely dost thou act, and the greater will be thy recompence : by fortitude and habitual suffering, the severest evils are disarmed of their sting. Say not, “I cannot brook this injury from such a man ; and the injury itself is what I ought not to bear ; for he has done me irreparable wrong, and reproached me for evil that never entered my thoughts. From any other person I could have borne it without emotion ; and there are many things that it is fit I should suffer." These are foolish distinctions, founded only on the nature of the offence, and the relation of the person that commits it; but regard not the virtue of patience, nor by whom it will finally be crowned,
7. He is not patient, who will suffer but a certain degree of evil, and only from particular persons. The truly patient man considers not by whom his