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of all my desires! Let all teachers be silent; let the whole creation be dumb before Thee ; and do Thou only speak unto my soul.
4. The more a man is devoted to internal exercises, and advanced in singleness and simplicity of heart, the more sublime and diffusive will be his knowledge ; which he does not acquire by the law bour of study, but receives from divine illumination, A spirit pure, simple, and constant, is not, like “ Martha, distracted and troubled with the multipli, city of its employments,” however great ; because, being inwardly at rest, it seeketh not its own glory in what it does, but “ doth all to the glory of Gop: for there is no other cause of perplexity and disquiet, but an unsubdued will and unmortified affections. A holy and spiritual man, by reducing them to the rule and standard of his own mind, becomes the master of all his outward acts; he does not suffer him. self to be led by them to the indulgence of any inordinate affections that terminate in self, but subjects them to the unalterable judgment of an illuminated and sanctified spirit.
5. No conflict is so severe, as his who labours 19 subdue himself; but in this we must be continually engaged, if we would be more strengthened in the inner man, and make real progress towards perfeça tion. Indeed, the highest perfection we can attain to in the present state, is allayed with much imper fection ; and our best knowledge is obscured by the shades of ignorance ; " we see through a glass, dark, ly ;" an humble knowledge of thyself, therefore, is a more certain way of leading thee to God, than the most profound investigations of science. Science, however, or a proper knowledge of the things that
belong to the present life, is so far from being blameable, considered in itself, that it is good, and ordained of God; but purity of conscience, and holiness of life, must ever be preferred before it ; and because men are more solicitous to learn much, than to live well, they fall into error, and receive little or no benefit from their studies. But if the same diligence was exerted to eradicate vice and implant virtue, as is applied to the discussion of unprofitable questions, and the “ vain strife of words ;" so much daring wickedness would not be found among the common ranks of men, nor so much licentiousness disgrace those who are eminent for knowledge. Assuredly, in the approaching day of universal judgment, it will not be inquired what we have read, but what we have done ; not how eloquently we have spoken, but how holily we have lived.
6. Tell me, where is now the splendour of those learned doctors and professors, whom, while the honours of literature were blooming round them, you so well knew and so highly reverenced ? Their prebends and benefices are possessed by others, who scarcely have them in 'remembrance : the tongue of fame could speak of no name but theirs while they lived, and now it is utterly silent about them : so suddenly passeth away the glory of human attainments! Had these men been as solicitous to be holy, as they were to be learned, their studies might have been blest with that honour which cannot be sullied, and that happiness which cannot be interrupted. But many are wholly disappointed in their hopes both of honour and happiness, by seeking them in the pursuit of science, falsely so called ;" and not in the knowledge of themselves, and the
love and service of God : and choosing rather to be great in the
eyes of men, than meek and lowly in the sight of God, they become vain in their imaginations, and their memorial is written in the dust.
7. He is truly good, who hath great charity: he is truly great, who is little in his own estimation, and rates at nothing the summit of worldly honour : he is truly wise, who “counts all earthly things but as dross, that he may win CHRIST:” and he is truly Jearned, who hath learnt to abandon his own will, and do the will of God.
OF PRUDENCE WITH RESPECT TO OUR OPIN.
IONS AND ACTIONS.
1. WE must not believe every word we hear, nor trust the suggestions of every spirit ; but consider and examine all things with patient attention, and in reference to God; for so great, alas! is human frailty, that we are more ready to believe and speak evil of one another; than good. But a holy man is not forward to give credit to the reports of others'; because, being sensible of the darkness and malignity of nature, he knows that it is prone to evil, and too apt to pervert truth in the use of speech.
2. It is an evidence of true wisdom, not to be precipitate in our actions, nor pertinacious and inflexible -in our opinions ; and it is a part of the same wisdom, not to give hasty credit to every word that is spoken, nor immediately to communicate to others what we have heard, or even what we believe. In cases of perplexity and doubt, consult a prudent and religious man ; and choose rather to be guided by the counsel of one better than thyself, than to follow the sugges. tions of thy own blind will.
3. A holy life, however, makes a man wise accord ing to the Divine Wisdom, and wonderfully enlargeth his experience : and the more humble his spirit is, and the more subject and resigned to God, the more wise will he become in the conduct of outward life, and the more undisturbed in the possession of himself.
ON READING THE SCRIPTURES AND OTHER
1. NOT eloquence, but Truth, is to be sought after in the Holy Scriptures, every part of which must be read with the same Spirit by which it was written. And as in these, and all other books, it is improve. ment in holiness; not pleasure in the subtilty of the thought or the accuracy of the expression, that must be principally regarded ; we ought to read those parts that are simple and devout, with the same af. fection and delight, as those of high speculation or profound erudition.
2. Whatever book thou readest, suffer not thy mind to be influenced by the character of the writer, whether his literary accomplishments be great or small ; but let thy only motive to read, be the pure love of Truth ; and, instead of inquiring who it is that writes, give all thy attention to the nature of what is written. Men pass away like the shadows of the morning : but “ the word of the LORD endureth
forever :" and that Word, without respect of persons, in ways infinitely various speaketh unto all.
3. The profitable reading of the Holy Scriptures is frequently interrupted by the vain curiosity of our own minds, which prompts us to examine and discuss, and labour to comprehend those parts, that should be meekly and submissively passed over. ; but to derive spiritual improvement from reading, we must read with humility, simplicity and faith : and not affect the reputation of profound learning.
4. Ask with freedom, and receive with silence and respect, the instructions of holy men : and let not the parables and allegories of ancient times disgust thee ; for they were not written without meaning; and without design.
OF INORDINATE AFFECTIONS.
1. THE moment a man gives way to inordinate desire, disquietude and torment take possession of his heart. The Proud and the Covetous are never at rest ; but the Humble and Poor in Spirit possess their souls in the plenitude of peace.
2. He that is not perfectly dead to himself, is soon tempted and easily subdued, even in the most ordinary occurrences of life. The Weak in Spirit, who is yet carnal and inclined to the pleasures of sense, finds great difficulty in withdrawing himself from earthly desires ; he feels regret and sorrow, as often as this abstraction is attempted ; and every opposition to the indulgence of his ruling passion, kindieth his indignation and resentment. If he succeeds in