Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

the path of light and glory is found only by the sera vants of the cross, who " through much tribulation must enier into the kingdom of Gov."

DISCIPLE. 3. ORD JESUS! thy way is narrow and painful, and despised by the world: do thou, therefore, enable me to walk in it, and with meekness and patience to bear the contempt of the world;" for the disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.Let thy servant be continually exercised in the study and imitation of thy most holy life, in which all his perfection and blessedness is centered. Whatever else I hear, or read, or think of, gives me neither instruction nor delight.

CHRIST. 4. Son, “ if thou knowest these things, happy art thou if thou doest them."

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth thèm; he it is that loveth me: and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him," and make him to sit down with me in the kingdom of my Father.

DISCIPLE. 5. LORD, I beseech thee, that this gracious promise may be accomplished in thy 'servant! I have received the cross from thee; and by the strength of that Almighty Hand which laid it up, on me, I have borne it, and will bear it even unto death. The life which thou quickenest in thy disciples, is, indeed, a continual cross to the appetites and passions of fallen nature; but it is the light that must guide them back to paradise. This important journey is begun: 0) suffer me not to look back with a partial and selfish fondness for the good of this world, however specious; lest I incur the dreadful disqualification for the inheritance of thy kingdom .!"

6. Come, my beloved brethren, let us take courage, and hand in hand pursue our journey in the path of life: JESUS will be with us! For Jesus' sake we

have taken up the cross; and for Jesus' sake, we will persist in bearing it: he, who is our captain and our guide, will be our strength and our support. Behold, our king, who will fight our battles, leads the way! Let us resolutely follow, undismayed by any terrors; and let us choose death, rather than stain the glory of which we are made partakers, by deserting the

cross.

CHAP. XLIII. AGAINST EXTRAVAGANT DEJECTION, UPON

BEING SOMETIMES BETRAYED BY HUMAN WEAKNESS.

CHRIST. 1. HUMILITY and patience, my son, under adversity, are more acceptable to me, than much joy and fervour when all is prosperous without and peaceful within.

2. Why art thou offended and grieved at every little injury from men; when, if it were much greater; it ought to be borne without emotion? As fast' as such evils rise, let their influence be banished from thy mind: they are not new; thou hast met with many, and, if thy life be long, shalt meet with many befal thee, but what may be made productive of a much greater good.

more.

3. When adversity stands not in thy path, thou boastest of thy fortitude; and canst also give excellent counsel to others, whom thou expectest to derive strength from thy exhortations; but no sooner do the same evils that oppressed them turn upon thyo. self, than thy fortitude forsakes thee, and thou art destitute both of counsel and strength. Olet the frequent instances of the power which the lightest evils have over thee, keep thee continually mindful of thy great frailty. No evil, however, is permitted to

4. When thou meetest with injury from the violence or treachery of men, exert all thy resolution to drive the thoughts of it from thy heart; but if it toucheth thee too sensibly, to be soon buried in forgetfulness, let it neither depress nor vex thee; and if thou canst not bear it cheerfully, at least bear it patiently. If any censure that is uttered against thee be too severe and cruel to be heard in silence, suppress thy indignation before it bursteth into flames; and suffer no expression of impatience and resentment to escape thy lips, that may give occasion of scandal to the weak. . The storm that is thus, raised within thee, will soon subside; and the wounds thy heart has received from the arrows of reproach, shall be healed by the influence of restoring grace. I live forever; ready to help thee upon all occasions, and to bestow more abundant consolations upon thee, if thou put thy whole trust in my aid, and devoutly call upon me for it.

5. Keep thy mind calm and patient, and girded for severer conflicts. But because thou art often strongly tempted, deeply troubled, andeasily subdued, thou must not, therefore, think, that all is lost: thou art man, not God; a spirit fallen into a corrupt animal body, not a pure angel: and how canst thou expect to continue in one unchangeable state of holiness, when this was not the privilege of Lucifer in heaven, nor of Adam in paradise, who stood not long in their original perfection? Give up thyself wholly to my mercy: I am he, who comforteth all that mourn; and raiseth to a participation of Divine strength, all that are truly sensible of their own weakness.

· DISCIPLE. 6. Thy words, O Lord, distil as dew, and are, sweeter" to my taste “ than honey, or the honey-comb." What would become of me, in the midst of so much darkness, corruption, and misery, without thy HOLY SPIRIT to illuminate, sanctify, and comfort me? I will regard not what nor how much I suffer, if I can but be made capable of enjoying thee, my supreme and only good! Be mindful of me, o most merciful Gop! grant me a safe passage through this vale of sin and sorrow, and in the true path conduct me to thy heavenly kingdom! Amen.

CHAP. XLIV.
AGAINST THE VAIN AND PRESUMPTUOUS IN.

QUIRIES OF REASON INTO SUBJECTS THAT
ARE ABOVE THE COMPREHENSION OF THE
NATURAL MAN.

CHRIST. 1. FORBEAR to reason, my son, upon deep and mysterious subjects, especially the secret judgments of God. Ask not, why this man is forsaken and that distinguished by a profusion of grace; why one is so deeply humbled, and another so eminently exalted. These things surpass the limits of human understanding ; nor can the deepest reasoning investigate the proceedings of the Most High. When, therefore, such questions are either suggest'ed by the enemy, or proposed by the vain curiosity of men, answer, in the words of the Royal Prophet, 16 Righteous art thou, O LORD; and just are thy judgments! The judgments of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.” My, judgments are to be feared, not discussed; for they are incomprehensible to

every understanding but my own. -,,2. Forbear also to inquire and dispute concerning the pre-eminence of the saints; who is the most holy,

and who the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, These questions produce the strife of unprofitable debate, and nourish the presumption and vain glory of which they are born : and while one, in the pride of human wisdom, insolently contends for the superior excellence of this saint, and another for that ; it is impossible, but that envyings and dissensions must rise among those who should « love as brethren :" but I am not a God of dissension, but of peace ; and the interests of peace are promoted by meekness and humility, not by strife and self-exaltation.

3. That love, which, with such passionate ardour, preferreth and exalteth one saint above another, is not born of THE SPIRIT, but is earthly and sensual. I am he, who formed all the saints ; I

gave
them

grace,
I have exalted them to glory : I conferred the pecu-
liar excellence which distinguishes each," presenting
him with the blessings of goodness :" I knew my be-
loved before the birth of time ; and chose those out
of the world, who had not chosen me : I called them
by the free determination of sovereign goodness, drew
them with the cords of love, and led them in safety
through various temptations : I poured upon them
the consolations of my Spirit, and crowned the pa-
tience which I enabled them to exercise : I own the
last as well as the first, and embrace every one with
inestimable love : I alone, who am always to be blest
and praised, am to be “ admired and glorified in all
my saints." He therefore, who despiseth the least of
these my servants, honoureth not the greatest ; for,
I have made both the small and great, and care for all
alike :" but by despising one member of the kingdom
of heaven, he not only dishonoureth the rest, but dis-
honoureth me : for all-are united, by Divine CHARI-
:78, into one body, of which I am the head; all will

[ocr errors]
« PredošláPokračovať »