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tain. We must not, however, presumé ; but be particularly upon our guard against the first assaults ; for the enemy will be more easily subdued, if he is resisted in his approaches, and not suffered to enter the portal of our hearts:
8. A certain Poet gives this advice : Take physic early; med’cines come too late, When the disease is
grown inveterate. And the caution may be successfully applied to the assaults of sin, the progress of which is gradual and dangerous : for evil is at first presented to the mind by a single suggestion ; the imagination kindled by the idea seizes it with all its strength, and feeds npon it : this produces sensual delight, then the motions of inordinate desire, and at length the full consent of the will. And thus, the malignant enemy, that was not resisted in his first attack, enters by gradual advances, and takes entire possession of thë heart : and the longer opposition is deferred by habitual negligence, the power of opposing becomes every day less, and the strength of the adversary proportionably greater.
9. To somė, temptations are more severe at the beginning of conversion ; to others at the end : some are afflicted with them during the whole course of a religious life ; and some experience but short and gentle trials. This variety is adjusted by the Wisdom and Equity of Divine Providence, which hath weighed the different states and dispositions of different men, and ordered all its dispensations so as most effectually to tend to, the salvation of all. Therefore, when we are tempted, let us not despair ; but rather, with more animated fervours of faith,
.hope, and love, pray to God, that he would vouchsafe to support us under all our trials, and, in the language of St. Paul,“ with every temptation to make also a way to escape,” that we may be able to bear it : " let us humble our souls," as “ under the hand of God," who hath promised to save and exalt the lowly and the meek.” 10. By these trials of affliction in the spirit of
man, his proficiency in the Christian Life is fully proved, the power of Divine Grace is more sensibly felt in himself, and the fruits of it are more illustriously apparent to others. It is, indeed, a little matter for a man to be holy and devout, when he feels not the pressure of any evil : but if, in the midst of troubles, he maintains his faith, his hope, and resignation, and 6 in patience possesses his soul,” he gives a considerable evidence of a regenerate nature. Some, howev. er, who have been blest with victory in combating temptations of the most rigorous kind, are yet suffer. ed to fall even by the lightest that arise in the occurrences of daily life ; that being humbled by the want of power to resist such slight attacks, they may nev, er presume upon their own strength to repel those that are more severe.
OF AVOIDING RASH JUDGMENT. 1. KEEP thy eye turned inwardly upon thyself, and beware of judging the actions of others. In judging others, a man labours te no purpose, commonly errs, and easily sins : but in examining and judging himself, he is always wisely and usefully employed.
2. We generally judge of persons and things, as they either oppose or gratify our private views and inclinations; and, blinded by the impetuous motions of self-love, are easily led from the judgment of truth. If God alone was the pure object of all our intentions and desires, we should not be troubled when the truth of things happens to be repugnant to our own sentiments and opinions : but now we are continually drawn aside from truth and peace, by some partial inclination lurking within, or some apparent good or evil rising without.
3. Many, indeed, secretly seek themselves in every thing they do, and perceive it not. These, while the course of things perfectly coincides with the sentiments and wishes of their own hearts, seem to possess all the blessings of peace ; but when their wishes are disappointed, and their sentiments opposed, they are immediately disturbed, and become sorrowful and wretched.
4. From the diversity of inclinations and opinions tenaciously adhered to, arise dissentions among friends and countrymen, nay, even among the professors of a religious and holy life.
5. It is difficult to extirpate that which custom has deeply rooted ; and no man is willing to be carried further, than his own inclination and opinions lead him. If, however, thou adherest more to thy own reason and thy own will, than to the Meek Obedience of Jesus Christ, as the principle of all virtue within thee; thou wilt but slowly, if ever, receive the illuminations of the Holy Spirit : for God expects, an entire and absolute subjection of our will to His ; and that the flames of Divine Love should infinitely transcend the sublimest heights of human reason.
OF WORKS OF CHARITY.
1. LET not the hope of any worldly advantage, nor the affection thou bearest to any creature, prevail upon thee to do that which is evil. For the benefit of him, however, who stands in need of relief, a tomary good work may sometimes be intermitted, or rather commuted ;- for, in such a case, that good work is not annihilated, but incorporated with a better.
2. Withcut Charity, the external work profiteth nothing ; Lut whatever is done from Charity, howera er triling and contemptible in the opinion of men, is wl.olly fruitful in the acceptance of Gov), who regardtth more the degree of love with which we act, than what or how much we have performed. He doth much, who loveth much ; he coth much, who doth well; and he doth much and well, who constantly preferreth the gcod of the community to the gratifcation of his own will.
3. Many actions, indeed, assume the appearance of Charity, that are wholly selfish and carnal; for inordinate affection, self-will, the Lope of reward, and the desire of personal advantage and convenience, are the common motives that influence the conduct of men.
4. He that hath true and perfect Charity,“ seeketh not his own" in any thing, but seeketh only that
may be glorified in all things :” he envieth not,”*. for he desires no private gratification : he delighteth not in himself, nor in any created being; but wisheth for that which is infinitely transcendent, to be blest in
the enjoyment of God: he ascribes not good to any creature, but refers it absolutely to God; from Whom, as from its fountain, all good originally flows; in Whom, as in their centre, all saints will finally rest.
5. O that man had but one spark of true Charity! he would then know, by an experimental feeling, that himself, the world, and all creatures, were altogether vanity. siis
OF BEARING THE INFIRMITIES OF OTHERS.
1. THOSE evils which a man cannot rectify either in himself or others, he ought to bear with humble resignation, till God shall be pleased to produce a change : for this state of imbecility is perhaps, continued, as the proper trial of patience, without the perfect work of which we shall make but a slow and ineffectual progress
ss in the Christian Life. Yet under these impediments we must devoutly pray, that God would enable us, by the assistance of His Spirit, to bear them with constancy and meekness.
2. If“after the first and second admonition thy brother will not obey the truth," contend: no longer with him; but leave the event to God, who only knoweth how to turn evil into good, that His Will may be done, and His Glory accomplished in all his creatures.
3. Endeavour to be always påtient of the faults and imperfections of others; for thou hast many faults and imperfections of thy own, that require a reciprccation of forbearance. "If thou art not able to make