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my soul. How shall I pass them unhurt? How shall I break my way through them, and adhere to thee?
CHŘIŠT. 4. I will go before thee, and humble the lofty spirits that exercise dominion over thee : I will break the doors of thy dark prison, and reveal to thee the secrets of my law.
DISCIPLE. 5. Do, 0 LORD! what thou hast graciously proinised : lift up the light of thy coun tenance upon my soul, that every thought which is vain and evil may vanish before it.
This is my strength and comfort, to fly to thee in every tribulation, to confide in thy support, tó call upon thee from the lowest depths of my heart, and patiently to wait for the superior consolations of thy Spirit.
6. Illuminate me, most merciful Jesus ! with the splendour of thy presence, and cast out all darkness from the secret dwelling of my heart. Restrain my wandering thoughts that are carried out after evil, and repulse the temptations that so furiously assault my soul. Fight thou my battles; and with thy Om. nipotent arm scatter all my enemies, those deceitful lusts, and malignant passions, that are continually at work to betray and destroy me ; that in thy power I may obtain peace, and my purified soul, as a living temple consecrated to thee, may résound with song's of thankfulness and praise ! Rebuke the storms that rise up within me : say to the sea, Be still ;" and to the north-wind," Blow thou not;" and a heavenly calm shall instantly succeed !
7. Send forth thy light and thy truth, that they may move upon" this barren "earth" I earth, without form, and void ;” a deep covered with darkness, till thon sayest, “ Let there be light." Pour forth thy treasures from the throne of grace ; water
my heart with the dew of heaven, that the barren soil may produce good fruit worthy to be offered up to thee. · Raise my fallen soul, oppressed with the burthen of sin ; draw all my desire after thee ; .and give me such a perception of the permanent glories of heaven, that I may despise and forget the fleeting vanities of earth! O force me from myself! snatch me away from the delusive enjoyment of the creatures, who are unable to appease my restless desires. Unite me to thyself by the indissoluble bonds of love : for thou only canst satisfy the lover, to whom the whole universe, without thee, is “vanity and nothing !"
CHAP. XVIII. OF AVOIDING A CURIOUS INSPECTION INTO
THE CONDUCT OF OTHERS.
Christ. 1. SON, indulge not vain curiosity, nor surrender thy spirit to the dominion of unprofitable
w what is" this, or “ that to thee? follow thou me." What, indeed, to thee, are the words, the actions, and characters, of the idle and the busy, the ignorant and the vain? The burthen of thy own sins is as much as thou canst bear, and thou wilt not be required to answer for the sins of others : why, then, dost thou perplex thyself with their conduct? Behold, I understand the thoughts afar off, and nothing that is done under the sun can escape my notice. I search the personal secrets of every heart, and know what it thinks, what it desires, and to what its intention is principally directed. All inspection, therefore, and all judgment being referred to me, do thou study only to preserve thyself in true peace, and leave the restless to be as restless as they will ; they
cannot deceive Omniscience ; and whatever evil they have done or said, it will fall upon their own heads.
2. Hunt not after that fleeting shadow, a great name ; covet not a numerous acquaintance, nor court the favour and affection of particular persons ; for these produce great distraction and darkness of heart. I would freely visit thee with instruction, and, reveal my secrets to thee, if, in abstraction from useless cares, thou didst faithfully watch my coming, and keep the door of thy heart open to receive me. Be wise ; " watch and pray;" and humble thyself con tinually, under the sense of thy numcous imperfec, tions and wants.
CHAP. XIX. IN WHAT TRUE PEACE OF MIND AND SPIRIT,
UAL PERFECTION CONSIST. CHRIST. 1. SON, I once said to my disciples, « Peace I leave with you ; my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you." Peace is what all desire ; but the things that belong to peace, few regard. My peace dwells not but with the humble and the meek, and it is found only in the exercise of much patience. If thou wilt hearken to me, and obey my voice, thou mayst enjoy a large portion of true peace.
DISCIPLE. LORD! what shall I do? CHRIST. 2. Keep a strict guard over all thy words and actions ; and let the bent of thy mind be to please me only, and to desire and seek after no good but me : and if, with this, thou refrainest from ; censuring the words and actions of other men, and dost not perplex thy spirit with business that is not committed to thy trust, thou wilt but seldom feel trouble, and never feel much.
3. Indeed, to be wholly exempt from trouble, and suffer no distress either of mind or body, belongs not to thy present life, in which is much evil ; but is the prerogative of that perfect state, where evil is not known. Think not, therefore, that thou hast found true peace, when thou happenest to feel no burthen of sin or sorrow; that all is well, when thou meetest with no adversary; and that perfection is then ato tained, when thy life regularly corresponds with thy own inclinations : neither exalt thyself in thy own esteem as the peculiar favourite of heaven, because thou hast felt the raptures of devotion, and tasted the ineffable sweetness of spiritual fervour: for by these marks the lover of perfection is not known; nor doth perfection itself, and man's progress towards it, consist in such exemptions and enjoyments.)
DISCIPLE. In what then, O LORD?
Christ. 4. In offering up himself, with his whole heart, to the will of God : never seeking his own will either in small or great respects, either in time or in eternity; but with an equal mind weighing all events in the balance of the sanctuary, and receiving both prosperity and adversity with continual thanksgiving
5. If thou wert so courageous, so patient and persevering, that when deprived of spiritual comfort, thou couldst prepare thy heart for severer trials, not justifying thyself, and extolling thy own holiness as that which ought to have exempted thee from such suxerings, but justifying me in all my appointments; then wouldst thou walk in the direct path to true peace, and mightst support thy spirit with the sure hope of seeing my face again in unutterable joy. The ground of this high attainment, is an absolute contempt and forgetfulness of self; and when that is eso tablished, know that thou wilt enjoy peace in as full abundance, as it can possibly be enjoyed in this state of exile from thy native heaven!
DISCIPLE. 6. Lord! it is the prerogative of a regenerate man, never to relax in his desire after his first state in thee; and in the midst of the innumerable cares and dangers that surround him, to pass on without solicitude, not from insensibility, but by a power of liberty peculiar to the mind, that is delivered from inordinate affection to the creatures.
7. I beseech thee, therefore, O my most merciful God! to preserve me from the cares of this fallen life, that my thoughts may not be darkened and perplexed; from the importunate wants and necessities of the body, that I may not be ensnared by the love of sensu, al pleasure ; and from all the impediments of the regenerate life, that I may not be subdued, and utterly cast down by trouble and despair. I mean not from those things only, which the vain men of this vain world pursue with all the energy of desire ; but from those awful miseries, which, as the consequence of the penal sentence of mortality, so encumber and depress the soul of thy servant, that she cannot enter into the liberty of the Spirit.
8. O my God! benignity and sweetness inexpressible ! turn into bitterness all carnal consolation, which is perpetually drawing my mind from the desire of eternity, and by the intuitive communication of delight from some good of this present life, alluring me more and more, and binding me faster to herself. Let not, O my God! let not flesh and blood subdue me ; let not the world, and the transient glory of it, deceive me; let not the devil, and his subtil reasoning, supplant me. Give me courage to resist, patience to