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THAT THE SOUL MUST SEEK HER REPOSE ONLY IN GOD.
DISCIPLE. 1. WITH all endowments of nature, and all gifts of grace, at all times, and in all places, whether in heaven or on earth, thy repose, O my soul, is to be found only in the Supreme GOD, the everlasting rest and blessedness of the saints!
2. O most lovely, and most loving JESUS! grant. me the will and power, above all created being, to rest in thee above all health and beauty, all glory and honour, all power and dignity, all knowledge and wisdom, all riches and all arts; above all promise and hope, all holy desires and actions, all gifts, and graces which thou thyself canst bestow, all rapture and transport which the heart is able to receive : above angels and archangels, and all the hosts of hea ven; above all that is visible and invisible; and finally above every thing, which thou, my God, art not !
3. For thou, O LORD GOD! art above all, in all perfection! Thou art most high, most powerful, most sufficient and most full! Thou art most sweet, and most abundantly comforting! Thou art most lovely, and most loving; most noble and most glorious! In thee all good centres, from eternity to eternity! And, therefore, whatever thou bestowest on me, that is not thyself; whatever thou revealest or promisest, while I am not permitted truly to behold and enjoy thee, is insufficient to fill the boundless de
* M. VALART has printed this chapter as a continuation of the preceding; but if it is not a distinct chapter, it seems to be more naturally connected with the chapter that follows, and with that it stands united in all the editions prior to M. VALART'S.
sires of my soul, which, stretching beyond all creatures, and even beyond all thy gifts, can only be sat isfied in union with thy all-perfect Spirit.
THAT GOD ALWAYS HEARETH THE PRAYER OF THE HUMBLE.
DISCIPLE. 1. DEAREST JESUS, most beloved spouse of my soul, supreme source of light and love, and sovereign Lord of universal nature ! O that I had the wings of true liberty, that I might take, my flight to thee, and be at rest! When will it be granted me, in silent and peaceful abstraction from all created being, to "taste and see how good" thou art, O LORD, MY GOD! When shall I be wholly absorbed in thy fulness! When shall I lose, in the love of thee, all perception of myself; and have no sense of any being but thine!
2. Now I groan continually, and bear with pain the burthen of my wretchedness: for innumerable evils spring up in this vale of sin and sorrow, that darken, deceive, and distress my soul; so that I can have no free access to thee, nor enjoy that ineffable communion with thee, which is the privilege and perfection of beatified spirits. O let my sighs move thee, and the multiplied desolation which I suffer in this fallen life!
3. Holy Jesus, ineffable splendour of eternal glory, sole comfort of the wandering soul! my heart is lifted up to thee, and without voice speaketh to thee in" groanings that cannot be uttered!" How long will my LORD delay his coming? O may he come
to me, his forlorn creature, and turn my sorrow into joy! May he reach forth his Omnipotent hand, and bid the winds that howl about me, be silent; and the sea that threatens to devour me, be calm! "Come, O LORD JESUS, come quickly!" In thy absence, no day nor hour is joyful: for thou art my only joy; and without thee my table is empty! I am a wretched prisoner in the darkness of this fallen world, bound with the chains of sin and misery, till thou revivest me with thy presence,' restorest me to liberty, and liftest up the light of thy reconciled countenance upon me.
4. Let those that prefer to thee the gratification of some prevailing desire after the enjoyments of the world, seek that happiness which they can never find; I will pursue no good, present or future, but thee alone, my God, my hope, and everlasting salvation ! nor will I cease from my importunity, till thou turnest back to me again, and I hear thy blessed voice speaking within me.
N CHRIST. 5. Behold, I am here! Behold, I am come to help thee, because thou hast called upon me "in sincerity and truth." Thy tears, and the desire of thy soul, thy humiliation and contrition, which I never despise, have inclined me and brought me to thee.
DISCIPLE. 6. LORD, I have called upon thee in my distress, and I desire truly to enjoy thee, for I am prepared to renounce all things for thy sake. It is thou who hast given me both the will and the power to seek after thee: and forever blessed be thy name, O LORD!, who, in the multitude of thy tender mercies, hast shewn this transcendent kindness to thy fallen creature.
7. What hath thy servant to say more in thy presence, but to beg, that he may humble himself ex
ceedingly before thee; and be ever mindful of his own darkness, impurity, and malignity. There is none like unto thee in all the wonders of heaven and earth; and all that thou doest, is, like thyself, supremely good: thy judgments are true; and thy providence governeth the whole universe, that it may finally partake of thy perfection and blessedness! Praise and glory, therefore, be unto thee, O wisdom of the Father, forever! "Bless the LORD, all his works, in all places of his dominion; bless the LORD, Q my Soul !"
OF THE THANKFUL REMEMBRANCE OF THE MANIFOLD MERCIES OF GOD.
DISCIPLE. 1. OPEN my heart, O LORD, in thy law, and teach me to walk in thy commandments. Give me understanding to know thy will; and to remember, with faithful recollection, and profound reverence, thy innumerable benefits, as well general as personal, that I may be always able worthily to praise thee, and give thee thanks.
2. I know, indeed, and confess, that of myself I am not able to render thee due thanks and praise for thy smallest benefits for I am less than the least of all thy mercies; and when I attempt to contemplate thy excellent Majesty, my spirit fails, unable to sustain the vast idea.
3. All the faculties of mind and body, all the endowments of nature, and all the advantages of grace, are the gifts of thy hand, and proclaim the infinite love and munificence of the Giver, from whom all good eternally proceeds; and though one receiveth
more, and another less, yet it is all thine, and with out thee the least portion cannot be enjoyed.
4. He that hath received greater gifts, hath no reason to glory in his own merit, nor to exalt himself above others, nor to insult his poorer brother who hath received less : for he is the greatest and best, who ascribes least to himself, and is most devout and humble in the acknowledgment and praise of that infinite liberality from which every good and perfect gift proceeds; he only whọ esteems himself the vilest, and the most unworthy of receiving the least favours, is best qualified to discern and bless the bounty which confers the greatest.
5. But he that hath received more sparingly, ought not, therefore, to be troubled, nor to murmur at or envy the larger portion of his more wealthy brother! but rather in humble resignation to
thy will, O God, extol that universal goodness, which is so abundantly, so freely and voluntarily, and without respect of persons, dispensed to all. Thou art the inexhaustible fountain of good; and for all that flows from it, thou only art to be praised. Thou knowest what is fit to be given, and what to be withheld ; and why one hath more, and another less, it is not in us, but in thee only to discern, who hast weighed the ability and state of all creatures in thy righteous balance.
6. Therefore, O LORD God, I esteem it a signal mercy, that I do not possess many of those qualities and endowments, which in the eyes of men appear glorious, and attract admiration and applause : and he that truly considers his own personal poverty and meanness, so far from being disquieted, grieved, and dejected, should rather deriye comfort from this