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the gratification of inordinate desire, he is immediately stung with remorse ; for he has not only contracted the guilt of sin, but is wholly disappointed of the peace which he sought. It is, therefore, not by indulging, but by resisting our passions, that true peace of heart is to be found : it cannot be the portion of him that is carnal, nor of him that is devoted to a worldly life ; it dwells only with the humble and spiritual man.
OF VAIN HOPE, AND ELATION OF MIND.
1. HE that placeth his confidence in man, or in any created being, is vain, and trusteth in a shadow. Be not ashamed to serve thy brethren in the meanest offices, and to appear poor in the sight of men, for the love of Jesus CHRIST. Presume not upon the success of thy own endeavours, but place all thy hope in God: do all that is in thy power with an upright intention, and God will bless with his favour the integrity of thy will. Trust not in thy own wisdom, nor in the wisdom and skill of any human being ; but trust in the grace and favour of God, who raiseth the humble, and humbleth the self-presuming.
2. Glory not in riches, though they increase upon thee ; nor in thy friends, because they are powerful : but glory in God, who giveth thee riches, and friends, and all things ; and, what is more than all, desireth to give thee Himself. Be not vain of the gracefulness, strength and beauty of thy body, which a little sickness can weaken and deform. Please not thyself with flattering reflections on the acuteness of thy natural wit, and the sweetness of thy natural dis
position, lest thou displease God, who is the author of all the good that nature can dispense. Do not think thou art better than others, lest, in the sight of God, who only knoweth what is in man, thou be found worse.
Be not proud of that in which thou: art supposed to excel, however honoured and esteemed by men ; for the judgment of God and the judge ment of men are infinitely different, and that displeaseth Him which is commonly pleasing to them. Whatever good thou art truly conscious of, think more highly of the good of others, that thou mayest preserve the humility of thy spirit: to place thyself lower than all mankind, can do thee no hurt ; but much hurt may be done, by preferring thyself to a single individual. Perpetual peace dwelleth with the Humble, but envy, indignation, and wrath, distract the heart of the Proud.
OF AVOIDING THE FAMILIAR INTERCOURSES
OF THE WORLD.
1. “ OPEN not thine heart to every man ;" but en. trust its secrets to him only that is wise, and feareth God. Be seldom in the company of young men and strangers. Flatter not the rich ; nor affect to be seen in the presence of the great. Associate only with the humble and simple, the holy and devout ; and let thy conversation with them be on subjects that tend to the perfection of thy spirit. Be not familiar with any woman, but recommend all women to the protection and grace of God. Wish to be familiar only with God and His holy Angels, and shun
the notice and intimacy of men : charity is due to all ; but familiarity is the right of none.
2. It often happens, that a stranger, whom the voice of fame had made illustrious, loses all the brightness of his character, the moment he is seen and known: we hope to please others, by entering into familiar connexions with them; and we presently disgust them, by the evil qualities and irregular behaviour which they discover in use
OF SUBJECTION AND OBEDIENCE. 1. IT is more beneficial to live in subjection, than in authority; and to obey, is much safer than to command. But many live in subjection, more from necessity than the love of God; and, therefore, pass a life of continual labour, and find occasions of murmur in the most trifling events: nor can they possibly acquire liberty of spirit, till, with the whole heart, they are resigned, in all situations, to the will of God. Go where thou wilt, rest is not to be found but in humble submission to the Divine Will: a fond imagination of being easier in any place than that which Providence has assigned us, and a desire of Uange grounded upon it, are both deceitful and tormenting:
2. Men love to act from their own judgment, and are always most inclined to those that are of the same opinion with themselves. But if God dwell in our hearts, we shall find it necessary frequently to abandon our own sentiments, for the sake of peace. And who is so perfectly wise, as to comprehend the causes and connexions of all things ? be not too confident,
therefore, in thy own judgment, but willingly hearken to the judgment of others. And though in a question of speculative knowledge, or a case of worldly prudence, thy own opinion may be good; yet if, for the sake of God, thou canst quietly relinquish it, and submit to the opinion of another, it will greatly conduce to thy spiritual perfection. I have often heard, that it is more safe to take advice, than to give it. In some instances, it may happen, that each man's opinion may be so equally good, as to produce suspension on both sides rather than submission on either; but to refuse submission to the opinion of another, when truth and the circumstances of the case require it, is a proof of a proud and pertinacious spirit.
OF SUPERFLUOUS TALKING.
1. AS much as lies in thy power, shun the resorts of worldly men; for much conversation on secular business, however innocently managed, greatly retards the progress of the spiritual life. We are soon captivated by vain objects and employments, and soon defiled: and I have wished a thousand times, that I had either not been in company, or had been silent.
2. If it be asked, why we are so fond of mixing in the familiar and unprofitable conversations of the world, from which we so seldom return to silence and recollection without defilement and compunction; it must be answered, because in the present life we seek all our consolation, and, therefore, hope, by the amusements of company, to efface the impressions of sorrow, and repair the breaches of distraction; and
because, of those things that we most love and desire, and of those that we most hate and would avoid, we are fond of thinking and speaking. But alas ! how deceitful is this artificial management ! for the hope of consolation from outward life, utterly destroys that inward and Divine consolation which the Holy SpiAIT gives us, and which is the only support of the soul under all its troubles. Let us, therefore, watch and pray without ceasing that no part of our invaluable time may be thus sacrificed to vanity and sin; and whenever it is proper and expedient to speak, let us speak those things that are holy," by which Christians edify one another."
3. An evil habit of negligence and inattention to our growth in Grace, is the principal cause of our keeping no guard upon our lips. Spiritual conferences, however, are highly serviceable to spiritual improvement, especially when persons of one heart and one mind associate together in the fear and love of Gop.
OF TRUE PEACE OF MIND, AND ZEAL FOR SPIR
ITUAL IMPROVEMENT. 1. WE might enjoy much peace, if we did not busy our minds with what others do and say, in which we have no concern. But how is it possible for that man to dwell long in peace, who continually intermeddles in the affairs of another; who runs abroad seeking occasions of disquietude, and never or but seldom turns to God in the retirement of a recollected spirit? Blessed are the meek and single-hearted, for they shall possess the abundance of peace.