Obrázky na stránke

him greater than the loss of the world? for what can the world profit thee, without Jesus? To be without JESUS, is to be in the depths of hell : to be with him, is to be in paradise. While Jesus is with thee, no: enemy hath power to hurt thee.. He that findeth JE.. sus, findeth a treasure of infinite value, a good transcending all that can be called good : and he that loseth, Jesus, loseth more than the whole world ; for he loseth the heavenly life and light of his own soul. That man only is poor in this world, who liv.. eth without Jesus : and that man only is rich, with whom Jesus delights to dwell. A

3. It requires great skill to converse with JESUS, and great wisdom to know how to keep him ; but not the skill of men, nor the wisdom of this world. Be humble and peaceful, and Jesus will come to thee ; .be devout and meek, and he will dwell with thee. But thou mayst soon drive away Jesus from . thy heart, and lose the grace which he has given thee by turning aside to the enjoyments of the world : and when thou hast driven away and lost him, to whom wilt thou then fly, and where wilt thou find a friend? Without a friend, life is unenjoyed; and unless JESUS be thy chosen friend, infinitely loved and preferred. above all others, life will be to thee a scene of desolation and distress. It is madness, therefore, to place thy confidence and delight in any other; rather choose, that the whole world should combine to oppose and injure thee, than that Jesus should be offended at thy preferring the world to him. Of all that are dear to thee, then, let Jesus be the peculiar and supreme ob-, ject of thy love. Men, even those to whom thou art united by the ties of nature and the reciprocations of friendship, are to be loved only for the sake of JESUS ;


but Jesus is to be loved for himself: Jesus alone is to be loved without "réserve and without measure; becauses of all that we can possibly love, he alone is in finite in goodness and faithfulness. For his sake, and in the power of his love, thy enemies are to be dear to thee, as well as thy friends: and let it be thy continut al prayer for all, even for thy enemies, that all may be blest with the knowledge and love of him.

4. Do not desire to be admired and praised for the goodness that is in thee, as if it was thy own; for the praise of being good is the prerogative of God: his goodness alone is absolute and underived; and thou art good, only by the communication of that goodness. which from eternity to eternity dwells essentially in him. Neither desire to engage the affections of any particular, person, nor suffer thy, own affections to be engaged by any; but, let it be thy sole wish and joy, to have Jesus dwell in thy own heart, and the hearts of all others, as the eternal life, light, and peace of all,

5. Aspire after such inward purity and freedom, that no affection to any creature may


power to per: plex and enslave thee: thou must have a heart, divested of all selfish affections and earthly desires, before thou wilt be able, in peaceful vacancy, to “stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD." Indeed, to this exalted state thou canst not arrive, without the prevention and attraction of his grace; which, by delivering thee from all attachment to created life, will bring thee into union with his blessed Spirit, and he will be one with thee, and thou with him..

6. When the grace of God thus liveth and reigneth in the heart of man, he hath power to “ do all things ;" but when its Divine influence is suspended, he feels himself left in the poverty and weakness of

fallen nature, exposed to the lash of every affliction Yet, in this forlorn' and desolate state, thou must not despair; but with a calm and meek spirit resign thy Belf to the Divine will, and for the glory of CHRIST patiently bear whatever befalls thee; remembering, that winter is invariably succeeded by summer, night by day, and darkness and tempest by serenity and sun. shine.



CHAP. IX. ili?


1. IT requires no considerable effort to despise human consolation, when we are possest of Divine'; but it is transcendent greatness, to bear the want of both; and, without self-condolence, or the least retrospection on our own imaginary worth, patiently to suffer * desolation of heart" for the glory of God. What singular attainment is it, to be peaceful and devout; while "the light of God's countenance is lifted up upon ihee?" for this is the hour that all creatures most de siré. That man cannot but find his journey easy and delightful, whom the grace of God sustains: and what wonder, if he neither feels burthen, nor meets with obstruction, when he is supported by Omnipotence, and conducted by truth.

2. We perpetually seek after consolation, from the dread of the want of it; and it is with difficulty that man is so far divested of felf, as not to seek it in his earthly and selfish state. The holy martyr, Lau. fence, overcame the world and himself, in subduing his great affection for his good bishop. Xystus : for though all that was delightful to him in this life, cenfered in their personal endearments; yet, with calm resolution he bore à sudden and violent separation from him, to which death only could put an end. By the love of God, therefore,.he overcame the love of man, and steadily preferred the Divine will to the comforts of human converse. With the same patient rés signation, must thou also, for the love of God, learn to part with thy dearest and most intimate friend, And some argument against impatient sorrow at such events, may be drawn from the inevitable mortality which sin has introduced; under whosé universal dominion, it must be the trial of every man, to be sepa• rated from that which in this world he held most dear.

* 3. It requires long and severe conflicts to subdue the earthly and selfish nature, and turn all the desire of the soul to God. He that trusts to his own wis dom and strength, is easily seduced to seek repose in human consolations : but he that truly loves CHRIST, and depends only upon his redeeming power within bim, as the principle of holiness and truth, turns not aside to such rain comforts, nor, indeed, seeks after any of the delights of sense; -but rather chooses the severer exercises of self-denial, and, for the sake of CHRIST, to endure the most painful labourş.

4. When, therefore, God bestows upon thee the consolations of the Spirit, receive them with all thank fulness: but remember, they are his gift, not thy de. sert; and instead of being elate, careless, and presuming, be more humble, more watchful and devout in all thy conduct : for the hour of light and peace will soon pars away, and darkness and temptation will succeed. Yet, when this awful change intervenes, do not immediately despair, but with humility and patience wait for the return of the heavenly visitation; for God,

who is infinite in goodness'as well as in power, is both able and willing to renew the bounties of his grace in more abundant measures.

!?:11 5. This vicissitude of day and night in the spiritu al life, is neither new nor unexpected to those that are acquainted with the ways of God; for the ancient prophets andi most eminent saints have all experien: ced an alternative of visitation and desertion. As an instance of this, the Royal Prophet thus describes his own cases: " When: Ii was in prosperity;" says he, and my heart was filled with the treasures of grace, « I said, I shall never be moved." But these treasures being soon taken away, and feeling in himself the pova erty of fallen nature, he adds: “Thou didst turn thy face from me, and I was troubled." Yet in this dis consolate state he does not despair; but with more ardour raises his desire and prayer to GOD: « Unto thee, O LORD, will I bny, and I will make my supplicat tión unto my God.", He then itestifies, that his prayer is accepted, and his prosperous state restored : « The LORD hath heard me, and hath had mer: cy': upon ime''; the LORD is: become my helper." And' to shew how this merey and help were manifested, he adds: “Thou hast turned my mourning into joy, and hast compassed me about with gladness." And if this interchange of light and darkness, joy and sorrow, was the common state of the greatest saints ; surely, such poor and infirm creatures as we are, ought not to despair, when we are sometimes elevated by fervour, and sometimes depressed by coldness; for the HÓLY SPIRIT cometh and goeth, "according to the good pleasure of his will?" and upon this principle the blessed Job saith, 6. 7'hou visitëst man in the morning, and of a sudden thou provest him."

« PredošláPokračovať »