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all duty and for all events ; that it is greater toil to resist evil habits and violent passions, than to sweat at the hardest bodily labour; that he who is not careful to resist and subdue small sins, will insensibly fall into greater ; and that thou shalt always have joy in the evening, if thou hast spent the day well. : Watch over thyself, therefore ; excite and admonish thyself;; and, whatever is done by others, do not neglect thyself. Thou wilt make greater advances in imitating the Life of CHRIST, in proportion to the greater violence with which thou deniest thyself. Amen.

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OF THE

IMITATION OF CHRIST.

BOOK II.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE MORE INTIMATE

ENJOYMENT OF THE SPIRITUAL LIFE.

CHAP. I.

OF INTERNAL CONVERSATION. 1. The kingdom of God is within you,” saith our blessed REDEEMER. Abandon, therefore, the cares and pleasures of this wretched world, and turn to the LORD with all thy heart, and thy soul shall find rest. If thou withdrawest thy attention from outward things, and keepest it fixed upon what passeth within thee, thou wilt soon perceive the “ coming of the kingdom of God;" for “ the kingdom of God” is that " peace and joy in the Holy Ghost," which cannot be received by sensual and worldly men.

CHRIST will come to thee, and bless thee with the splendour of his presence, if thou preparest within thee an abode fit to receive him : all his glory and beauty are manifested within, and there he delights to dwell; his visits there are frequent, his condescension amazing, his conversation

I

sweet, his comforts refreshing, and the peace that he brings passeth all understanding.

2. O faithful soul, dispose thy heart for the reception of this bridegroom, who will not fail to fulfil the promise which he hath made thee in these words ; If a man love me, he will keep my words : and my Father will love him ; and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." Give, therefore, free admission to CHRIST, and exclude all others as intruders. When thou possessest CHRIST, thou art rich, and canst want no other treasure : he will protect thee so powerfully, and provide for thee so liberally, that thoa wilt not any more have need to depend on the caprice of men. Men are changeable and evanescent as “ ¢ke morning cloud :" but CHRIST abideth eternally, and in him the fountain of strength and peace will flow forever.

3. Thou must not place any confidence in frail and mortal men, however endeared by reciprocal affection or offices of kindness: nor art thou to be grieved, when from some change in their temper, they become unfriendly and injurious; for men are inconstant as the wind, and he that is for thee to-day may to-morrow be against thee. But place thy whole confidence in God, and let him be all thy fear, and all thy love : He will answer for thee against the great accuser, and do that which is most conducive to thy deliverance from evil.

4. Here thou hast " no continuing city ;" and whatever be thy situation, thou art a stranger and a pils grim," and canst never obtain rest till thou art united to Christ. Why then dost thou stand gazing about the earth, when the earth is not the seat of thy repose? Thy dwelling-place is in heaven ; and earthly

objects are only to be transiently viewed, as thou re-turnest to it; they are all hurried away in the resistoless current of time, and thy earthly life together with them ;. beware, therefore, of adhering to them, lest thou be bound captive in their chains, and perish in their ruin. Let thy thoughts dwell with the Most High, and thy desire and prayer ascend without intermission to CHRIST.

5. When thou art not able to contemplate the high. mysteries of redemption, and the wonders of the glorified.state ; think on the passion of Christ, and let thy soul dwell securely in his most holy wounds : for if, in the severest tribulation, thou canst devoutly by for refuge to the wounds and stripes of Jesus, thou wilt find abundant strength and comfort ; and wilt be so far from being disturbed by the contempt of pride, that thou wilt bear with meekness and tranquillity the most envenomed shafts of calumny.

6. Christ was rejected of man; and, in the estremity of distress, forsaken by his disciples and " friend3. CHRIST chose to suffer thus, and to be thusa deserted and despised; and dost thou complain of injury and contempt from others ? Curist had enemies and slanderers ; and wilt thou have all men to be thy friends and admirers ? How can thy patience be crowned in heaven, if thou wilt have no adversity to struggle with on earth? Cinst thou be the friend and follower of CHRIST, and not the partaker of his sufferings ? Thou must, therefore, suffer with CHRIST, and for his sake, if thou indeed desirest to reign with him.

7. If thou hadst but once known the fellowship of the sufferings of JESUS," and been sensible, though in a small degree, of the Divine ardour of his love, thou

wouldst be wholly indifferent about thy own personal share in the good and evil of the present life; and far from courting the favour and applause of men, wouldst rather rejoice to meet with their reproach and scorn : for the love of Jesus hath the peculiar virtue of making the soul in which it dwells atterly despise itself. . He that loves Jesus, who is the TRUTH, as the Sac viour within him, and is delivered from the slavery of inordinate desire, can always freely turn to God : and, raising himself in spirit above himself, enjoy some portion of the blessed repose of heaven.

8. That man is truly wise, and taught not of men but of God, who perceiveth and judgeth of things as they are in themselves, and not as they are distinguished by names and general estimation. He that has known the power of the spiritual life, and withdrawn his attention from the perishing interests of the world, requires neither time nor place for the exercise of devotion : he can soon recollect himself, because he is never wholly engaged by sensible objects; his tranquillity is not interrupted by bodily labour or inevitable business, but with calmness and composure he accommodates himself to all events as they take place ; he is not moved by the capricious humours, and perverse behaviour of men ; and his constant experience has convinced him, that the soul is no further obstructed and disturbed in its progress towards perfection, than as it is under the power and influence of the present life.

9. If the frame of thy spirit was in right order, and thou wert inwardly pure, all outward things would conduce to thy improvement in holiness, and work together for thy everlasting good : and because thou art now disgusted by a thousand objects, and dis

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