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9. Dost thou expect to enjoy the consolations of the Spirit, as long as thou pleasest? My saints expected it not, neither did they enjoy it; but with humble resignation endured painful labours, severe tempo tations, and protracted desertions, confiding not in themselves, but in me: for they knew, that “ the sufferings of the present time were not worthy to be compared with the glory that should be revealed in then." And wouldst thou enter into the immediate possession of that, which these men, after so many tears, and such severe conflicts, scarcely attained ?“ O wait on the LORD; be of good courage ; and he shall sirengthen thy heart.” Distrust me not, neither depart from me ; but continually devote both soul and - body to my service, and my glory. “Behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me ;"? and till I comes. any Spirit will be thy comforter in every tribulation.
CHAP. XXVII. AGAINST THE FEAR OF MAN. CHRIST. 1. MY son, fix thy heart stedfastly upon the LORD ;- and while thy vn conscience bears testimony to thy purity and innocence, fear not the judgment of man. It is good and blessed to suffer the censure of human tongues; nor will the suffer: ing itself be grievous to the poor and humble in spirit, who confideth not in himself, but in God.
2. The opinions and reports of men are as various as their persons, and are, therefore, entitled to little credit. Besides, it is impossible to please all: and though Paul endeavoured to please all men in the LORD, and was 56 made all things to all ;' yet, with him, it was “a very tmall thing to be judged of man's judgment. This faithful servant laboured continyal
ly to promote the edification and salvation of men ; but their unjust judgments, and cruel censures, he was not able to restrain : he therefore committed his cause to God, who knoweth all things; and sheltered himself against the false suggestions of the deceitful, and the more open reproaches of the licentious, under the guard of patience and humility : yet he sometimes found it expedient to support his character, that he might not give occasion of scandal to the weak, who are too apt from silence to infer guilt. 3. “ Who," then,
art thou, that thou shouldst be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man who shall be made as grass, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven ?" Fear God, who is consuming fire," and thou wilt no longer tremble at the terrors of man. What hurt can man do thee, by his most malignant censures, or his most cruel actions ? He injureth himself more than he can injure thee; and whoever he be; he shall not escape the righteous judgment of GOD. Set God, therefore, continually before thy eyes, and strive not with the injustice of man: and though at present thou art overborne by its violence, and sufferest shame which thou hast not deserved : yet suppress thy resentment, and let not impatience obscure the lustre of thy
Look up to me in the highest heavens, who am able to deliver thee from all evil, and will render to every one according to his deeds.
CHAP. XXVIII. THAT PERFECT FREEDOM CAN ONLY BE OB.
TAINED BY A TOTAL SURRENDER OF SELFWILL.
CHRIST. 1. “ HE that loseth his life, shall find it." Forsake thyself, my son, and thou wilt find me. Renounce all self-seeking, all peculiarity of possession, and thou shalt enjoy the true riches. For the moment thou hast made such an absolute surrender of thyself as to leave no ground for resumption, thou wilt be qualified to receive those abundant measures of grace which I am ever ready to bestow.
DISCIPLE. 2. How often, Lord, must I perform this solemn act of resignation, and in what instances is self to be thus relinquished ?
CHRIST. At all times, my son, as well this hour as, the next; and in all interests, not only of thy temporary, but thy everlasting state : I admit no exceptions, but expect to find thee divested of all that can be called thy own. And till thou art stripped of self-will, with respect both to thy outward situation, and the state of thy spirit, it is impossible, that thou canst be mine, and I thine. The sooner, therefore; thou makest this surrender of thyself, and the more sincere and pure it is, the more acceptable will it be to me, and the greater, consequently, thy own gain.
3. Many boast of this act of resignation, who perform it with secret reservations; they place not their whole confidence in God, but keep back some supports of self-dependence. With others it is at first sincere ; but as soon as the storms of temptation beat upon them, they resume the gift they had made; and turning back to themselves, find they are at a vast distance from the path of liberty and peace which they had begun to tread. These cannot possibly attain the freedom of a pure heart, nor enjoy the transporting intercourses of my friendship; for without a total resignation and daily sacrifice of self, the beatific union cannot be formed.
4. I have said to thee often, and now say to thee again, forsake thyself, resign thyself, and thou shalt
enjoy the plenitude of heavenly peace. Give all for all; seek nothing for thyself, call for nothing back ; adhere firmly and unchangeably to me, as the condition of possessing me ; and thus thou wilt attain the freedom of a heaven-born spirit, and darkness shall overwhelm thee no more. Let it be thy continual thought, thy living desire, thy unceasing prayer, that stripped of all self-possession and self-enjoyment, thou mayst naked follow thy naked master ; die to thyself, and live eternally to me. Then, the phantoms of vain imagination shall disappear, the tumults of evil passions subside, and the torments of anxiety be felt no more; then immoderate fear and inordinate love shall alike be driven from their dwelling in thy heart.
CHAP. XXIX. OF SELF-GOVERNMENT IN THE CONCERNS OF
THE 'PRESENT LIFE, AND OF HAVING RE. COURSE TO GOD IN ALL ITS DIFFICULTIES AND DANGERS.
CHRIST. 1. ENDEAVOUR, my son, in every place, and in every external employment and action, to be inwardly free, and master of thyself ; that the business and events of life, instead of ruling over thy spirit, may be subject to it. Of all thy actions, thou must be, not the servant and slave, but the absolute lord and governor; a free and genuine Israelite, translated into the inheritance and liberty of the sons of God; who stand upon the interests of time, to contemplate the glories of eternity; who cast only a hasty glance on the transitory enjoyments of earth, and keep their eye fixed upon the permanent felicity of heaven; and who, instead of making temporal objects and interests an ultimate end, render them subservient to some purpose of piety or charity, even as they were ordained
by God, the Sovereign Mind, who formed the stu. pendous fabric, in which nothing disorderly was left.
2. If thus, in all events, thou sufferest not thyself to be governed by appearances, nor regardest what is heard and seen with a carnal purpose ; but in every difficulty and danger enterest immediately into the tabernacle with Moses, to consult the LORD; thou shalt often receive an answer from the Divine oracle, and return deeply instructed both in things present and things to come. And as Moses always retired to that holy place, for the determination of doubtful and disputed questions ; and fled to prayer for aid, in times of danger and wickedness ; so shouldst thou also enter the sacred temple of thy heart, and, on the same occasions fervently implore the guidance and support of Divine wisdom and strength. Thou hast read, that Joshua and the children of Israel," because they asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD," were betrayed into a league with the Gibeonites, being deluded by fictitious piety, and giving hasty credit to deceitful words.
AGAINST ANXIETY AND IMPETUOSITY IN THE
CONCERNS OF THE WORLD.
CHRIST. 1. COMMIT thy cause invariably to me, my son, and I will give it a right issue in due
Wait patiently the disposals of my providence, and thou shalt find “all things work together for thy good.”
Disciple. LORD, I would most willingly resign my state, present and future, to thy disposal ; for my own restless solicitude, and feeble reasoning, serve