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God; and wouldst count it great gain, to be despised and rejected as nothing among men.
5. If thou hadst a true sense of these astonishing glories, which are offered thee as the object of thy faith and hope, and didst suffer the thought and desire of them to enter into the depths of thy heart, couldst thou dare to utter one complaint of the evil of thy own state ? Is any labour too painful to be undertaken, any affliction too severe to be sustained, for eternal life? Or is the gain or loss of the kingdom of God, an alternative of no importance ? Lift up thy thoughts and thy desires, therefore, continually to heaven. Behold, all who have taken up the cross, and followed me, " the captain of their salvation,” in resisting and conquering the evil of this fallen state, now rejoice, are now comforted, now secure, now at rest ; and shall abide with me forever in the kingdom of my Father.
Disciple. 6. () most blessed mansions of the heavenly Jerusalem! O most effulgent day of eternity, which night obscureth not, but the Supreme Truth continually enlighteneth ! a day of perennial peace and joy, incapable of change or intermission ! O that all temporal nature was dissolved, and this day would dawn upon us! It shineth now in the full splendour of perpetual light, to the blessed ; but to the poor pilgrims on earth, it appeareth only at a great distance, and through a glass darkly.” The redeemed sons of heaven triumph in the perception of the joys of this eternal day, while the banished sons of Eve lament the bitterness and irksomeness of the day of time. The days of this life are, indeed, short and evil, teeming with distress and anguish ; in which man is defiled with many sins, agitated with
many passions, disquieted with many fears, tortured with many cares, embarrassed with many resinė. ients, deluded with many vanities, encompassed with inany errors, worn out with many labours, rexed with temptations, enervated with pleasures, and tormented with want!
7. () when will these various evils be no more? When shall I be delivered from the miserable slav. ery of sin ? When, O Lord, shall I think and speak of thee alone; when shall I perfectly rejoice in thee? When shall I regain my native liberty ? O when will peace return, and be established; peace from the troubles of the world, and the disorders of sinful passions; and universal peace, incapable of interruption; that "peace which passeth all understanding ?” When, O most merciful JESUS ! when shall I stand in pure abstraction from all inferior good, to gaze upon thee, and contemplate the wonders of redeeming love? When wilt thou be to me all in all ? . when shall I dwell with thee in that kingdom, which thou hast prepared for thy beloved before the foundations of the world? I am left a poor and banished man in the dominions of my enemy, where perpetual war rages, and every
evil has its birth. 8. O soften the rigour of my banishment, assuage the violence of my sorrow; for my soul thirsteth after thee, and all that the world offers for my comfort would but add more weight to the burthen that oppresses me. I long, O LORD, to enjoy thee truly, but am not able to lay hold of thee: I would fain rise to a constant adherence to heavenly objects; but the power of earthly objects operating upon my unmortified passions, deprésses me, and keeps me down: my mind labours to be superior to the good and evil of this animal life, but my body constrains it to be
subject to them. And thus, “ wretched man that I am," while the spirit is always tending to heaven, and the flesh to earth, my heart is the seat of incessant war, and I am become a burthen to myself!
9. O what do I suffer, when raising my soul to thee, a crowd of carnal images suddenly rush upon me, and intercept my flight! " O my God, be not far from me! Put not away thy servant in anger. Cast forth thy lightning, and scatter” the illusions of the enemy;
shoot out thine arrows, and destroy” his power! Call in my wandering thoughts and desires, and unite them to thyself; efface the impressions of worldly objects; give me power to cast away immediately the imaginations of wickedness! O Eternal Truth, establish me in thyself, that no blast of vanity may have power to move me ! O Immaculate Purity, enter the temple of my heart, and let all that is unholy be driven from thy presence
10. In merciful compassion to my great infirmity, pardon me, O LORD, whenever, in prayer, my thoughts have been engaged by any object but thyself! I must confess that my distractions are great and frequent; and instead of being present where I stand or kneel, I am carried to various places, just as my roving thoughts have led ınc. Where my thoughts are, there I properly am; and my thoughts are chiefly with that which I most love: those objects too soon recur, which corrupt nature or sinful habit have made delightful. Upon this ground it is, that thou, O Truth, hast expressly declared, that " where the treasure is, there will the heart be also.” And accordingly I find, in the various resolutions of my changeable heart, that when I love heaven, I take pleasure in meditating on heavenly enjoyments; when I love the world, I think on its advantages with delight, and with sorrow on its
troubles; when I love the flesh, my imagination wan, ders through its various pleasures; when I love the Spirit, my faculties are with holy joy devoted to spiritual exercises: whatever I chiefly love, of that I delight chiefly to hear and speak; and I carry home with me the diversified images of it, even to my most secret retirement.
11. But blessed is the man, who can calmly dismiss all creatures from the dwelling of his heart, that thou mayst take possession of it; who resolutely denies his fallen self, and with a fervent spirit endeavours to exclude all earthly objects, and suppress all earthly affections, that free from distraction, he may continually offer thee the sacrifice of pure prayer, and be made fit to mingle with the choirs of angels, and cel-, ebrate thy praise forever!
CHAP. XXXVIII. OF THE DESIRE OF ETERNAL LIFE; AND THE
GREAT BLESSEDNESS, THAT IS PROMISED TO THOSE WHO RESOLUTELY STRIVE TO OBTAIN IT.
CHRIST. 1. MY son, when thou perceivest the heaven-born desire of eternal life to be breathed into thee, and longest to be dissolved, that free from the dark covering of the body, thou mayst, without obscurity, contemplate my unchangeable brightness; open thy heart wide, and with all the eagerness of hunger receive this holy inspiration. But, without any mix, ture of complacence and self-admiration, let ail thy thanks and praise be faithfully rendered to the Sovereign Goodness, which so mercifully dealeth with thee, so condescendingly visiteth thee, so fervently ex. citeth thee, and so powerfully raiseth thee up, lest, by the propensity of thy own nature, thou shouldst be im. movably fixed to the earth: for this new principle of life within thee, is not the production of thy own rea-, soning, and thy own efforts; but is the pure offspring. of Divine grace, the free gift of redeeming love, to lead thee on to holiness, to fill thee with humility, to sustain thee in all conflicts with sinful nature, and to enable thee to adhere to me with all thy heart, and serve me with fervent duty and the absolute surrender of thy own will.
2. The fire of devotion is often ardent, my son; but the flame ascends not without smoke: thus, the desires of many, while they burn for the enjoyment of heaven, are sullied with the dark vapours of carnal affection; and that which is so earnestly sought from God, is not sought wholly and purely for his honour; and such is thy desire, however restless and importunate; for that cannot be pure, which is mixed with, self-interest. Make not, therefore, thy own delight and advantage, but my will and my honour, the ground and measure of all thy requests; for if thou judgest according to truth, thou wilt cheerfully submit to my appointment, and always prefer the accomplishment of my will to the gratification of thy own desire,
3. I know thy desire, and thy groaning is not hid from me. Thou wouldst this moment be admitted into the glorious liberty of the sons of God; thou longest for the immediate possession of the celestial mansions, and the unfading pleasures of the heavenly Canaan: but thy hour is not yet come: a far different time must first take place; a time of probation, labour, and contest. Thou wishest now to be filled with the Sovereign Good; but thou art not yet capa. ble of enjoying it. I am that Soversign Good; wait patiently for me, till the kingdom of God cometh.