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OF THE

IMITATION

OF

Jesus Christ .

The Third Book. Digested into Conferencès between CHRIST

and the Soul of his Disciple.

CH A P. I.

The Happiness of such a Conversation.

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Disciple.] Will bear what the Lord God

will say concerning me. For Psal.lxxxv. 8. blessed is the Soul which hears the Lord

speaking, and feels the transporting Comforts of his Gracious Words. Blessed are the Ears, which, with a greedy Attention, drinķ in the soft and gentle Whispers of his Spirit; while they continue obstinately deaf to the treacherous Infinuations of this deluding World. And doubly bleifed are They who hear the Sound of Truth, not only in the Qutward Administrations of the Word, but by the Inward and Familiar Communications, and Motions of infused Grace. Blessed those Eyes, which are shut to all the Objects of the World and constantly wakeful and open to the Affairs of the Soul, and turned inwardeupon our selves. Blessed are, they whose sharper Sight enters deep, and pierces into the secret and sublime Mysteries of Heavenly Truth ; purged and prepared by Spiritual Meditations, and Daily Exercise of Holy Duties: Blessed indeed are they who disengage themselves from all Worldly Incumbrances, and gain Leisure and Opportunities for attending continually upon God alone.

Consider this, my Soul, and shake off Sensual Defires, which must be first abandoned, before thou canst listen with due Reverence and Attention, to those Things, which the Lord God will speak : And, O!

what comfortable Words are those, I am Stobr xiv.

thy Peace, thy Life, thy Şalvation, and ex

ceeding great Reward. Come unto me, thou Matth. xi. that art weary and heavy laden, and thou

Jhalt find rest unto thy Soul. Set thy Affectia Colof. iii.

ons on Things above, and not on things on 2 Cor. iv.

the Earth. For the Things that are seen are

temporal, but the Things that are not seen are eternal. What are all things here below but dangerous and empty Delusions ? And what could it profit a Man to gain, though it were all the Creatures, if he be forsaken and cast off by the Creator? In him alone is Pleasure, and Bliss, and Glory; therefore let go those cheating Shadows, and embrace the only subftantial Good; bid a final Adieu to the Deceits of the World, and place all thy Love and Endeavours upon thy God; for in his Service and Acceptance thou shalt attain the End of thy Wishes, the Fruit of thy Labours, solid Satisfaction and true Happiness.

Gen. xvii.

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CH A P.

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CH A P. : IT.

God is in the small still Voice. Disciple.] Peak, Lord, for thy Servant 1 Sam. iii. beareth. Bebold, I am thy.

"Psal. cxix. Servant, and the Son of thy Handmaid ; Ogive me Understanding, that I may learn thy Commandments. Incline my Soul to the Words of thy Mouth, which drap down as the Rain upon the, tender

Deut. xxxii. Herb, and liftill gently, like Dew upon the Grass. The Ifraelites indeed befought Moses heretofore, Speak thou unto us, and we will hear, but let not God speak to us, left we die. But let it not be so done

Exod. xx.

19. unto me, my God. I rather chuse to make my humble Petition in the Prophet Samuel's Forms Speak, Lord, for thy Servant heareth. Let not Mose's, nor any of the Prophets be niy Instructor, but do thou thy self vouchlafe to reach me by thy self

. For thou art the Source of all Their Light and Knowledge. They could not urter Truth without thy Inspiration and Heavenly Guidance; but Thou arç Essential Wisdom and Truth ; and canft, without their Ministry, communicate thy self effectually to my Soul. • Their Words, alas, are Air and empty Sound, but Thine alone are Spirit and Life. Their Expressions may

be

proper, their Arguments moving, but unless thou break Silence, my Soul will still continue deaf and insensible. They deliver the Words, but thou art the Interpreter, and letreft me into the true and hidden Sense of their abftrufe Oracles. Their Books are sealed , and only Thy, Hand can open and explain them. From Them we receive the Command, but only from Thee the Disposition to Obey, and the whole Power of performing it. They fhew the Way,but thou impartest the Strength to walk in it; All They

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can

I Cor. iii.

can do, is still remote and without us. Thou only en: treft into the Soul, and, by a secret Conveyance, putt'st

Truth in the Inward Parts. Paul may plant, and Apollo water

, but except thou be ifa. iv.

pleased to give the Increase, the Word will

return unto thee void, and accomplish no part of the End, whereto thou lenteft it. The Voice of their Cry pierces our Ears; but the knowing what they Cry, and the Impression upon our Hearts, is thy peculiar Gift.

Therefore, I cannot but implore again thy Grace and Mercy, and beg, that Moses may not speak to me, but Thou, my Lord, my God, the Only and Eternal Truth, left I die; Not by the Terrors of thy thundring Voice, but by the effectual Communications of thy Will. For if I be instructed and admonished by the Outward Ministration only, and be not inwardly disposed, and zealoudly affected to Obedience, the Advantages of

Instruction will but aggravate my Condemnation. For this is the dismal Consequence

of the Word preached rat profiting, wben it Heb.iv,

is not mixed with Faith in them that bear it, And mixed with Faith thou knowelt it cannot be, except seconded and enforced by the Voice of thy Spifit; except thou incline me to love the Good I know, and enable me faithfully to fulfil the Doctrine I believe. Speak therefore, 'Lord, I say again ; To thee thy Ser,

vant liftens gladly, for Thou baft the Words John iv.

of Eternal Life, Speak powerfully to my Soul, and carry thy Saving Truths home to my Conscience and Affections, that thy Words may bring Comfort and Peace, Reformation and Holiness to ihy attentive Servant, and to thy self immortal Honour and Praise.

CH AP.

CHA P. XX.
Of the General Disregard to God's Word, and the

Obedience due to it.
Ince then

firest Ears to my Words. Words, which well deserve, and will abundantly reward thy most diligent Attention; For they are sweet and charming, far above all the

engaging Arts of Human Eloquence; useful and in Estructive, beyond the most laboured Systems of Phi

losophy. The Wisdom of this World could not invent, or order, nor can it comprehend them. The mysterious Truths they declare are too strong for Human

Sense to behold, nor canst thou enter into their Se- crets,

till guided by that Light from whence they flow. My Precepts are pure and spiritual, such as a Çarnal and impure Heart can find no Relish in. My every Word, of weight; and spoken, not to entertain the Curious, and ţickle itching Ears, but to subdue the Heart, and command a strict Obedience.' Hear therefore, but hear as becomes thee, with respectful Silence, and entire Submission; with profound and awful Humility; with an earnest Delire to be taught ; and sincere and vigorous Resolutions of doing as thou art taught.

Disciple.] I own the mighty Favour, and heartily acknowledge, with thy Holy Propher, That Blessed is the Man whom thou chaftenest, O Lord, and teachet him in tby Law; That thou mayest Psal. xciv. give him Strength in time of Adversity, left he fall away wwith the Ungodly.

Cbrift.] That Prophet spoke what I inspired, and So did all those Holy Men of old; for they were all of my sending. Nor is my Care at all abated now, tho®

the

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