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pleasure, perpetually seeking their own luxurious ease, and not the interests of their self-denying crucified SAVIOUR; but often pretending this, and erecta ing a fabric of hypocrisy that cannot stand; for all that is not of God, must perish.
But do thou, my son, keep invariably to this short but perfect rule: “ Abandon all, and thou shalt possess all: relinquish desire, and thou shalt find rest." Revolve this again and again in thy mind, and when thou hast transfused it into thy practice, thou wilt understand all things.
DISCIPLE. 2. LORD! this is not the work of a single day, nor an exercise for children ; for in this short precept is included the high attainments of " perfect man in" thee.
CHRIST. Start not aside, my son, nor be depressed with fear, when thou hearest of the way of the perfect; but rather be excited to walk in it, and, at least, to aspire after it with all the energy of desire. O that sell-love was so far subdued in thee, that with pure submission thou couldst adhere to the intimations of my will, as well in the government of thy spirit, as in the disposals of my providence with respect to thy outward situation! thou wouldșt then be pleasing and acceptable in my sight, and thy life would pass on in peace and joy. But thou hast still much to abandon, which must be wholly surrendered up to me, before that rest which thou so earnestly seekest can be found. “ I counsel thee," therefore,“ to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayst be rich;" heavenly wisdom, which trampleth the earth, and its enjoyments, under her feet. Renounce all earthly wisdom, and all consplacency"both in the world and in thyself.
3. I have told thee, that what is low and vile in human estimation, is to be purchased at the expense of
what is exalted and precious: and most vile and contemptible among men, most unworthy of thought and remembrance, is heavenly wisdom; that wisdom, which vaunteth not herself, nor seeketh the applause of men; and which many “honour with their lins," but in their hearts renounce; and yet it is “the pearl of great price," which, while thus despised and rejected by men, must be hidden from them.
OF THE INSTABILITY OF THE HEART, AND OF DIRECTING THE INTENTION TO GOD ALONE.
CHRIST, 1. TRUST not, my son, to the ardour of a present affection, for it will soon be past, and coldness will succeed. As long as thou livest in this fallen world, thou wilt, even against thy will, be sub- s ject to perpetual mutability; now joyful, and now sad; now peaceful, and now disturbed; at one time ardent in devotion, at another insensible; to-day diligent, tomorrow slothful; this hour serious, and the next trifling and vain. But he that hath true wisdom, and deep experience in the spiritual life, is raised above the fluctuation of this changeable state: he regards not what he feels in himself, nor whence the wind of instability blows; but studies only, that his mind may be directed to its supreme and final good. And thus, in all the various events of this changeable life, he remains unchanged and unmoved, by directing aright the eye of his intention, and fixing it solely upon me.
2. In most men, this eye of the intention soon waxeth dim; it is easily diverted by intervening objects of sensual good, and it is seldom free from some natural blemish of self-seeking; thus, those Jews, who
went to Bethany, to the house of Martha and Mary ; went, not only to see and hear Jesus, but to gaze upon Lazarus, whom he had just raised from the dead. The eye of the intention, therefore, must be continually purified, till it becomes perfectly single, and beyond all intermediate objects of pleasure and profit, looks solely unto me.
[Something is wanting here.-M. VALART.]
CHAP. XXVI. THAT THE SOUL WHICH LOVES GOD, ENJOYS
HIM IN ALL THINGS, AND ABOVE. ALL; AND IN HIM FINDETH PEACE.
DISCIPLE. 1. BEHOLD, thou art my God, and my all! What would I desire more ? what higher happiness can I possibly enjoy ? O sweet and transporting sounds! but to him only who loveth, “not the qoorld, neither the things that are in the world," but thee. My God, and my all ! Enough to say, for him that understandeth; and often to say it, delightful to him that loveth.
2. When blest with thy presence, all that we are and have is sweet and desirable ; but in thy absence, it becomes loathsome. Thou calmest the troubled heart, and givest true peace, and holy joy. Thou makest us to think well of all thy dispensations, and to praise thee in all. Without thee, the highest advantages cannot please long: for to make them truly grateful, thy grace must be present, and they must be seasoned with the seasoning of thy own wisdom.
3. What bitterness becomes not sweet to him, that truly tasteth thee? and to him by whom thou art not relished, what sweetness will not be bitter? The wise of this world, and those that delight in the enjoyments of the flesh, are destitute of the wisdom that enjoyeth thee; for in the world is found only vanity, and in the flesh death. But they, who, by the contempt of the world, and the mortification of the flesh, truly follow thee, know, that they are wise in thy wisdom; and find themselves translated from vanity to truth, from the flesh to the Spirit. These alone enjoy God; and whatever is found good and delightful in the creature, they refer to the praise and glory of the Creator. Great, however, infinitely great is the difference between the enjoyment of the Creator as he is in himself, and as he is, discovered in imperfect creatures; of eternity, and of time;, of increated light, and of light communicated.
4. O Eternal Light, infinitely surpassing all that thou illuminatest, let thy brightest beams descend upon my heart, and penetrate its inmost recesses ! 0 purify, exhilarate, enlighten, and enliven my spirit, that with all its powers it may adhere to thee in raptures of triumphant joy! O when will the blessed and desirable moment come, in which thou wilt satisfy me with thy presence, and be in me and to me all in an? for till this is granted. me, my joy cannot be full.
5. Wretched creature that I am!. I find the old man still living in me; he is not yet crucified, he is not yet perfectly dead. The flesh still strongly lusteth against the Spirit, still kindles the rage of war, and suffers not "thy kingdom within ne” to be at peace
6. But do thou, O GOD! " who controllest the powa er of the sea, and stillest the raging of its waves," arise, and help me!“ scatter thou those that delight in war."". O break them in pieces with thy mighty power! Shew forth, I beseech thee, the wonders of thy greatness, and let thy right hand be glorified ! for there is no hope nor refuge for me, but in thee, O LORD my God! Curist. 7. As long as thou livest in this world, my son, thou canst not live secure, but wilt always have need of " the whole armour of God." Thou art encompassed with enemies, who assault thee behind and before, on the right hand and on the left; and if thou dost not defend thyself on every side with the shield of patience, thou canst not long escape some dangerous wound: if thy heart is not fixed upon me, : with a true and unalterable resolution of suffering all, things for my sake, thou wilt never be able to sustain the fury of the conflict, nor obtain the palm of victory that distinguishes the saints in bliss. Thou must, therefore, with a lively faith, and a holy resolution of conquering all opposition, pass through the various dangers that surround thee; and “to him that thus overcometh, I will give to eat of the hidden manna," while for the slothful and unbelieving is reserved the portion of various misery.
8. If thou seekest rest in this life, how wilt thou attain to the everlasting rest of the life to come ? Thou must prepare thy heart for the exercise of inany and great troubles, not for the enjoyment of continual rest: true rest is to be found, not on earth, but in heaven; not in the enjoyment of man, or any other creature, but of God. For the love of God, therefore, thou must cheerfully and patiently endure labour and sorrow, persecution, temptation, and anxiety, poverty and want, pain and sickness, detraction, reproof, humiliation, confusion, correction, and contempt. By these the virtues of “the new man in Christ Jesus” are exercised and strengthened; these form the ornaments of his celestial crown ; and for his momentary labour I will give him eternal rest, and endless glory for transient shame.