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according to the advice of the Psalmist, “ commune with thy heart, and be still;" that thou' mayst feel regret and horror for sin. Thou wilt find in the closet, that which thou often losest abroad. The closet long continued in, becomes delightful; but, when seldom visited, it is beheld with reluctance, weariness, and disgust. If, in the beginning of thy conversion, thou canst keep close to it, and cultivate the advantages it is capable of yielding, it will be ever after desirable as a beloved friend, and become the seat of true consolation.
8. In solitude and silence the holy soul advances with speedy steps, and learns the hidden truths of the oracles of God. There she finds the fountain of tears, in which she bathes and purifies herself every night : there she riseth to a more intimate union with her Creator, in proportion as she leaves the darkness, impurity, and tumult of the world. To him who withdraws himself from his friends and acquaintance to seek after God, will Gop draw near with his holy angels.
9. It is better for a man to lie hid continually, and attend to the purification of his soul ; than, neglect
one thing needful,” to go abroad and work miracles. It is highly commendable in all that are devoted to a religious life, to go seldom abroad, to decline being seen of men, and to be as little fond of seeing them. And, indeed, why shouldst thou desire to see that, which thou hast neither power nor permission to enjoy? for the world passeth away, and the lust thereof." : Our sensual appetites continually prompt us to rang'e abroad, in search of continual gratification ; but when the hour of wandering is over, what do we bring home, but remorse of conscience,
and weariness and dissipation of spirit? A joyful going out is often succeeded by a sad return ; and a merry evening brings forth a sorrowful morning. Thus all carnal joy enters delightfully, but, ere it departs, bites and kills.
10. What canst thou see any where else, which thou canst not see in thy chosen retirement ? Behold the heavens, the earth, and all the elements ! for out of these were all things made. What canst thou see there or any where, that will “ continue long under the sun?” Thou hopest, perhaps, to subdue desire by the power of enjoyment: but thou wilt find it impossible for «the eye to be satisfied with seeing, or the ear to be filled with hearing." If all visible nature could pass in review before thee, what would it be but a vain vision ?
11. Lift up thy' eyes, then, to God in the highest heavens, and pray for the forgiveness of thy innumerable sïns and negligences. Leave vain pleasures to the enjoyment of.vain men, and mind only that which God hath required of thee for thy own eternal good. Make thy door fast behind thee; and invite Jesus, thy beloved, to come unto thee, and enlighten thy darkness with his light. Abide faithfully with him in this retirement, for thou canst not find so much peace in any other place. : 12. If thou hadst never gone abroad, and listened to idle reports, thou hadst continued safe in the possession of peace. But from whatever time thou delightest-to hear and to tell news, thy heart will be the prey of disappointment and trouble, anxiety and perturbation,
OF COMPUNCTION OF HEART.
1. IF thou wouldst make any progress in the Christian life, keep thyself continually in the fear of God; and love not licentious freedom, but restrain all thy senses within strict discipline, and guard thy spirit against intemperate mirth. Give up thy heart to compunction, and thou wilt soon feel enkindled in it the fire of devotion. Compunction opens a path to infinite good, which is instantly lost by dissipation and light merriment. It is wonderful, indeed, that any man should rejoice in this life, who considers his state of banishment, and the multitude of dangers to which he is continually exposed : but through levity of heart, and the neglect of self-examination, we grow, insensible of the disorders of our souls ; and often vainly laugh, when with just reason we ought to mourn. There is, however, no true liberty, nor any solid joy, but in the fear of God united with a pure conscience.
2. Blessed is the man, who can throw off every impediment of trouble and dissipation, and recollect his spirit into union with holy compunction! Blessed is he, that can renounce every enjoyment that may either defile, or burthen his conscience! Strive manfully! one custom is subdued and extirpated by anoth
If thou canst divorce thyself from men and their concerns, they will soon divorce themselves from thee, and leave thee to do the work of thy own salyation in peace.
3. Perplex not thy spirit, therefore, with the business of others, nor involve thyself in the interests of
the great. Keep thy eye continually upon thyself, as its chief object'; and admonish thyself, in an especial manner, above all that are dear to thee. Grieve not, that thou dost not enjoy the favour of men ; but rather grieve, that thou hast not walked with that holy vigilance and self-denial which become a true Christian, who is the devoted servant of God.
4. It is more safe, and more beneficial, not to have many consolations in the present life, especially those that are carnal. That we are destitute, however, of spiritual and divine consolation, or but seldom enjoy its sweetness, is owing to ourselves ; because we des sire not compunction of heart, nor abandon those con solations that are external and yain. Acknowledge thyself not only unworthy of Divine consolation, but worthy rather of much tribulation.
5. When a man feels true compunction, the pleaa sures and honours of the world become burthensome and bitter, and he finds continual occasion for grief and tears: for whether he considers himself, or thinks of others, he knows, that no man lives with. out much tribulation. And the more he considers . himself, the greater will be his sorrow : for the ground of true compunction and sorrow, is the multitude of our transgressions, and the strong possession that sin has in us; by which our faculties are so subdued, that we are scarcely ever able to contemplate the enjoyments of the heavenly state.
6. If thou didst more frequently think of the time of death, than of the length of life, thou wouldst undoubtedly exert more ardent resolution in resisting the power of sin : and didst thou truly consider the awful purifications that will be necessary to restore a neglected and ill-governed spirit, I think thou wouldst
gladly submit to a life of labour and penance, and not be afraid of the most rigorous austerities; but because we suffer not these considerations to impress our hearts, but turn them off by yielding to the blandishments of sense, we remain, both to the evil of our fallen state, and the means of redemption from it, cold and insensible.
7. It is owing to that imbecility which dreads compunction, that the wretched body complains upon such trifling occasions. Pray, therefore, most humbly and most ardently to the LORD, that he would bless thee with the spirit of compunction, and say, with the Royal Prophet, “ Feed me, 0 LORD, with the bread of tears, and give me plenteousness of tears la drink..!"
OF THE CONSIDERATION OF HUMAN MISERY.
1. WRETCHED thou art, wherever thou art, and to whatever thou tórnest, unless thou turnest to God. Why art thou troubled, because the events of life have not corresponded with thy own will and desire? Who is there, that enjoyeth all things according to his own will ?' neither I, nor thou, nor any other man on earth. There is no human being without some share of distress and anguish, not even kings and popes. Whose condition, therefore, is the best? His, surely, who is ready to suffer any affliction for the sake of God.
2. Many weak and ignorant persons say, “Behold, how happy a state does that man enjoy ! how rich, how great, how powerful and exalted !" But turn thy attention to the unfading glories and unperishing riches of eternity, and thou wilt perceive that all these