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that to another, which I am unwilling another should do to me.
6. How peaceful and blessed a state must that man enjoy, who takes no notice of the opinions and actions of others; who does not indiscriminately believe, nor wantonly report every thing he hears; who, instead of unbosoming himself to all he meets, continually looks up to thee, the only searcher of the heart ; and who is not “ carried about with every wind of doctrine," but studies and desires only, that every thing both within him and without him, may be directed and accomplished according to thy will ?
7. It is of great importance, LORD, for the preservation and improvement of thy heavenly gift, to shun the notice of the world ; and, instead of cultivating attainments that attract admiration and applause, to aspire, with continual ardour, after inward purity, and a perfect elevation of the heart to thee. How often has the growth of holiness been checked, by its being too hastily made known, and too highly commended! And how greatly hath it flourished, in that humble state of silence and obscurity, so desirable in the present life, which is one scene of temptation, one hinwal warfare !
OF CONFIDENCE IN THE RIGHTEOUS JUDG
MENT OF GOD, UNDER THE VARIOUS ACCU. SATIONS OF MEN.
CHRIST. 1. PLACE all thy hope, my son, in my. mercy, and stand firm against the accusations of men : for what are words, but percussions of the air, that are of short continuance, and leave no imprese sion ? If thou art guilty, resolve to make the accusa
tion an occasion of amendment ; if thou art innocent, resolve to submit to it willingly, and bear it patiently, for my sake. It is surely a little matter for thee, who hast not yet endured the lasting pain of cruel stripes, sometimes to bear the light buffeting of transient words. And could so small an affliction make such a deep impression upon thy heart, if thou wert not still carnal, and didst not set too high a val. ue upon the favour and applause of men ? Thou art afraid of being despised ; and, therefore, canst not bear reprehension, but labourest to conceal thy iniquities, or palliate them by mean But examine now the state of thy heart ; and thou must confess, that the world still liveth in thee, and that a vain desire of pleasing men is the governing principle of all thy actions : for whilst thou reguisest to be brought to shame and buffeted for thy faults, it is evident, that thou art not yet truly humbled, not yet crucified to the world, nor the world to thee."
2. Give ear to my word, and thou wilt not be more ed by ten thousand opprobrious words of men. Consider, if every thing was said against thee that the most extravagant malignity can suggest, what hurt could it possibly do thee, if thou only let it pass without resentment, regarding it no more than a mote that floats in the sun-beams ? could it even pluck from thy head a single hair ? He that liveth not in my presence manifested in his heart, is easily distụrbed by the lightest breath of human censure : but he that referreth his cause to me, without the least dependence on his own partial judgment, shall be free from the fear of man. I am the sole judge of man's actions, and the discerner of his most secret
thoughts : I know the nature, the cause, and the effect of every injury ; and make a just estimate of the wrong that is done by the injurious, and sustained by the sufferer. The word of reproach came forth from me ; it was uttered by my permission, “ that the thoughts of many hearts might be revealed :" for though the innocent and the guilty shall be judged in the face of the whole world at the last day, yet it is my will to try both beforehand, by a secret judgment unknown to all but myself.
3. The testimony of man is fallible, partial, and changeable ; my judgment is true, righteous, and permanent as my own being. In its general comprehension it is hidden to all, and in particular parts known only to a few ; yet it never errs, nor can possibly err, though in the sight of fools it seemeth not right. To me, therefore, thou must refer thy cause in all human accusation, and not trust to the blind and partial determinations of thy own mind. The righteous will never be moved by whatever befals him, for he knows that it comes from the hand of God: whether, therefore, he is falsely accused, he will not be cast down : or whether he is justly de. fended, he will not triumph ; for he considereth that
I, the LORD, search the heart, and try the reins ;" that I judge not, as man judgeth, by deceitful appearances : and that, therefore, what is highly esteemed by him, is often abomination in my sight.
DISCIPLE. 4. O LORD God, the consciousness of innocence is not sufficient to sustain me under the pressure of false accusation : be thou, therefore, o most righteous and most merciful Judge, the Omniscient and Almighty, who knowest all the darkness, impurity, and frailty of man, be thou my confidence and my strength!
5. Thou knowest what I know not; thou knowest my secret faults, and how justly I deserve continual reprehension and rebuke : I ought, therefore, whether I think I deserve it or not, to humble myself under every reproof of man, and bear it with meekness, O pardon me, as often as I have not done thus; and mercifully bestow upon me the grace of more per.. fect submission !
6. It is, surely, much safer for me to depend for deliverance from all my evil, upon the free and boundless mercy manifested in thy sacred humanity ; than presuming upon particular instances of imperfect righteousness, to justify myself before men, when there is so much evil in me that escapes the notice of my own mind : and though in many instances my conscience condemns me not, yet am I not, therefore, justified; because, without the merciful “ gift of righteousness” which is in thee, no man living can be justified in thy sight."
CHAP. XXXVII. THAT ALL THE AFFLICTIONS OF THE PRESENT STATE ARE TO BE PATIENTLY ENDURED FOR THE HOPE OF ETERNAL LIFE.
CHRIST. 1. MY son, neither let the labours which thou hast voluntarily undertaken for my sake, breakthy spirit ; nor the afflictions that come upon thee in the course of my providence, utterly cast thee down: but make my promise to be with thee and bless thee, thy strength and comfort in every duty, and in all events. I am an abundant' recompence, above all, comprehension, and all hope. Thou shalt not long labour here, nor groan under the pressure of contin-, wal trouble. Wait patiently the accomplishment of
ny will, and thou shalt see a speedy end of all evil : the hour will quickly come, when labour and sorrow shall cease ; for every thing is inconsiderable and short, that passeth away in the current of time.
2. What thou hast to do, therefore, do with all thy strength. Labour faithfully in my vineyard; I myself will be thy reward. Write, read, sing my praises, bewail thy own sins, keep silence, pray in the spirit, and with patient resolution bear all afflictions : eternal life is worthy not only of such watchful dili.. gence, but of the severest conflicts.
3. On a certain day known only to the LORD, the reign of the Prince of Peace will commence ; when, instead of the vicissitudes of day and night, joy .and. sorrow, that are now known, there shall be uninterrupted light, infinite splendour, unchangeable peace, and everlasting rest. Then thou wilt no longer say, s who shall deliver. me, from the body of this death?" nor exclaim,“ woe is me, that my pilgrimage is prolonged !” for “ death shall be swallowed up in victory," and “ the corruptib?e will have put on incorruption.". Then“ all tears shall be wiped from thy eyes," and all sorrow taken from thy heart ; and thou shalt enjoy perpetual delight in the lovely society of angels, and the “spirits of the just made perfect.”
4. O was it possible for thee to behold the unfading brightness of those crowns, which the blessed wear in heaven; and with what triumphant glory, they, whom the world once despised, and thought unworthy even of life itself, are now invested ; verily, thou wouldst humble thyself to the dust, and rather choose to be inferior to all men, than superior even to one : instead of sighing for the perpetual enjoyment of the pleasures of this life, thou wouldst rejoice in suffering all its afflictions for the sake of