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suffer, and constancy to persevere ! Give me, instead of all worldly comfort, the Divine unction of thy Hole SPIRIT ; and for all carnal love, pour into
heart the love of thy blessed name !
9. Behold, the care of food and raiment, which it is difficult to separate from vain decoration, and the indulgence of the sensual appetite, is grievous and burthensome to a fervent spirit ! Grant me grace, therefore, to use all things pertaining to the body with moderation ; and not anxiously to desire the possession of them, nor bitterly lament the want. To cast all away, the law of nature does not permit; for nam ture must be sustained : but to desire superfluity, and that which ministers to delight more than to use, thy holy law forbids, lest the flesh should grow insolent, and rebel against the spirit. In all these difficult and dangerous paths, let thy wisdom and power govern and direct me, that I may not deviate to the right hand nor to the left. :
CHAP. XX. THAT SELF-LOVE IS THE CHIEF OBSTRUCTION TO THE ATTAINMENT OF THE SUPREME GOOD.
CHRIST. 1. MY son, thou must give all for all, and make an absolute surrender of self-possession and self-enjoyment. The love of self is more hurtful to the soul, than the united power of the world : for the creatures of the world have no dominion over thee, but in proportion to the affection and desire with which thou adherest to them for thy own sake ; and if thy love was pure and simple, and fixed only upon me, no creature would have power to enslave thee. Covet not that which thou art not permitted to enjoy ; retain not the possession of that which will ob
struct thee in the pursuit of true good, and rob thee of inward liberty. How wonderful is it, that from the depth of thy heart thou dost not resign thyself, and all thou canst desire and possess, to my will !
2. Why dost thou pine away in useless sorrow : why is thy strength consumed by superfluous cares? Establish thyself in absolute resignation to my good pleasure, and thou canst suffer no evil. But if, for thy own appropriate good, and the gratification of thy own will, thou desirest change of enjoyment, and seekest change of place, thou wilt always be tormented with anxiety, and made more restless by disappointment ; for in all earthly good thou wilt find a mixture of evil to embitter its possession, and in eve ery place meet with some adversary to oppose thy will.
3. It is not, therefore, the acquisition nor the increase of external good, that will help thee to repose
and peace; but rather the contempt of it, and rooting the very desire of it out of thy heart 3 and this is true, not only of the luxury of wealth, but of the pomp of glory, and the enjoyment of empty honour and delusive praise, which suddenly pass away with the fleeting world where they are sought.
4. Neither can change of place avail, if there is wanting that fervent spirit devoted to me, which - makes all places alike. Peace sought for abroad cannot be found ; and it will never be found by the heart, that while it is destitute of me, wants the very foundation upon which alone peace can be established. Thou mayst change thy situation, but canst not mend it: the evils which thou hast fled from, will still be found, and more may soon arise ; for thou hast taken with thee, the fruitful root of every evil, thy own unsubdued selfish will.
DISCIPLE. 5. “ Uphold me, O God! with thy free Spirit.” “Strengthen me with might in the inner man," that being emptied of all selfish solicitude, I may no longer be the slave of restless and tormenting desires ; but with holy indifference may consider all earthly good, of whatever kind, as continually passing away, and my own fallen life as passing with it : for there is nothing permanent under the sun, where “ all is vanity and vexation of spirit."
· 6. But what wisdom, O LORD! can consider this truly, but that which “ was present with thee, when thou madest the world; and knew what was acceptable in thy sight ?" O send me this wisdom “ from the throne of thy glory, that I may learn to know and seek thee alone, and thus seeking find thee; that I may love thee, and delight in thee, above all beings; and that I may understand all that thou hast made, as it is in itself; and regard its various forms only according to that order, in which thy infinite mind hath disposed them.
7. Grant that I may carefully shun flattery, and patiently bear contradiction ; that neither disturbed by the rude breath of impotent rage, nor captivated by the softness of delusive praise, I may securely pass on in the path of life, which, by thy grace, I have be| gun to treada
CHAP. XXI. THAT THE PERVERSE JUDGMENTS AND CRUEL CENSURES OF MEN ARE NOT TO BE REGARDED,
Christ. 1. BE not impatient, my son, when men think evil of thee, and speak that which thou art not willing to hear. Thy own opinion of thyself should be much lower than others can form, because thou art conscious of imperfections which they cannot know. If thy attention and care were confined to the life of the internal man, thou wouldst not feel the influence of fleeting words that dissolve in air. In times of ignorance and wickedness like this, it is most wise to hear reproach in silence, and in full conversion of thy heart to me not to regard the judgment of men.
2. Let not thy peace then depend upon the commendation or censure of ignorant and fallible creatures like thyself, for they can make no alteration in thy real character. True peace, and true glory, are to be found only in me ; and he that seeking them in me loves not the praise of men, nor fears their blame, shall enjoy peace in great abundance : for by such love, and such fear, nothing but disorder and disquietude are produced.
CHAP. XXII. OF SUBMISSION TO GOD IN THE HOUR OF TRIBU. LATION, AND CONFIDENCE IN RETURNING GRACE.
DISCIPLE. 1. BLESSED be thy name, O LORD, forever, who hast permitted this tribulation to come upon me! I am not able to fly from it ; but it is ne. cessary for me to fly to thee, that thou mayst support me under it, and make it instrumental to my good. I am in deep distress, and my heart faints and sinks under the burthen of its sorrows. Dearest Father, encompassed thus with danger, and oppressed with fear, what shall I say?-O save me from this hour !--But for this cause came I unto this hour, that after being perfectly humbled, thou mightst have the glory of my deliverance. « Be
pleased, O LORD, to deliver me!” Poor and helpless as I am, what can I do, and whither shall I go, without thee? O fortify me under this new distress ; be thou my strength and my support; and whatever be its weight, whatever its continuance, I will not fear.
2. And now, what doth thy Spirit enable me to say? LORD,“ thy will be done !” This tribulation and anguish I must bear as my due: 0 that I may bear it with patience, till the dark storm be over-past, and light and peace succeed ! Yet thy Omnipotent arm, O God, my mercy! as it hath often done before, can remove even this trial from me; or so graciously mitigate its severity, that I shall not utterly sink under it: the more difficult it seems to me, the more easy to thee is this change “ of thy right hand, O Most High !"
CHRIST. 3. “ I am THE LORD, a. strong hold in the day of trouble :" when, therefore, trouble rises up within thee, take sanctuary in me. The support of heavenly consolation comes slow, because thou art slow in the use of prayer; and, before thou turnest the desire and dependence of thy soul to me, hast recourse to every other comfort, and from the world and thyself seekest that relief which neither can bestow. But thy own experience will convince thee, that no profitable counsel, no effectual help, no lasting remedy is to be found, but in me, When, therefore, I have calmed the violence of the tempest, and restored thy fainting spirit, rise with new strength and confidence in the light of my mercy; for I, the Lord, declare, that I am always near, to redeem all fallen nature from its evil, and restore it to its first state, with super-abundant communications of life, light, and love.