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Faculties and Powers originally inspired by my creating Spirit.
The High and Honourable, as well as Mean and Low, the Rich and Poor, all drink of this common Fountain, and the most Powerful of the Sons of Men can doinothing, till furnished will Ability from hence. This Spring is inexhaustible, and They who receive most, and are grateful in their Returns, I water with more liberal Measures of Grace. Them that honour me, I never fail to honour and bless in a visible and eminent manner; But, if Men glory in any thing but the Lord, I blast their Devices, disappoint their Hopes, make them ashamed of their vain Boastings. For so have I ordered Matters by my Providence, that no true lasting fatisfaction shall ever fill that Heart, which fets its Affections upon private and paltry Advantages, Crosses from without, and Perplexities from within, are the certain Consequence of Worldly Defires, and Selfish Principles.
If therefore thou haft received or done any good Thing, take care of misplacing the Honour and Thanks due forit, upon thy self, or any other Perfon. For This is robbing God of his Due, from whom Men receive whatever they have, or are; and itand in Dury and Equity bound, to pay him their Acknowledg'ments. Since therefore the whole is my Gift, when I demand the whole Thanks and Praise, I demand but the Product of my Own ; and this is what, as I injure no Man in requiring, so I resolve never to de
This is the true Principle of Justice. Necessary to be considered, and thoroughly submitted to; because it checks and utterly confounds that other most pernicious Principle of Pride and Vain-glory, to which Mankind are lo exceeding prone. Nor is it less conducive to their Happinels, than to their Dury ; for, where this generous Love and Regard of Me takes
place, it does not only engage my Favour, but secures che Man from Envy, and Discontent, Partiality, and every other Passion, that uses to torment little and worldly-minded People. For this refpe&ful Deference, and fervent Love of God enlarges the Soul, and fills it with great and truly noble Thoughts. And therefore this is a certain Mark of true and heavenly Wisdom to make Me its only Joy, and Hope ; For, how can He be wise, who does not see, that God is the Perfe&ion and Original of all Good, and that the necessary Consequence of his being so, is, that He is to be Praised, Honoured, Admired, in, and for, and above all : Since all the Good which Men pretend to esteem, is by Communication from him; an Emanation from his Fulness, an Effect of that Sole, that Universal Cause ?
God's Service is perfect Freedom,
unto the Lord; Nor ought I indeed to hold my Peace, but address my self to Thee, my Lord, and God, my heavenly King, that fittest onthy Throne far above the Skies, and thus will I proclaim thy Mercies and my own Happiness. How pure, O Lord, how sweet, how exquisite are the Pleasures thou refervelt for them that fear Thee, that delight themselves in thy Love, that are entirely devoted to thy Service ? No Tongue can worthily express the wondrous Joys, the Transports, and ravishing Extasies, which fill these pious Souls, enfamed with the Love, and employed in the Contemplation of Thee. For This is a Subject, boundless as thy Goodness; That
Goodness, which exerted it self in commanding me out of Nothing, and, when that Being which thou gaveft was rendred liable to Eternal Misery, a fresh, and yet more valuable Instance of thy Mercy, was that of bestowing upon mea new and better Life, when I was worse than nothing. For thou hadft Compaffion on my Weakness, and my Wandrings, Thou soughtest and with tender Care broughtest back thy loft Sheep, taughteft me the Right Way, helpedít me to walk in it, and didst instruct and guide me in thy Love.
O thou overflowing Spring of endless Love, how shall I worthily magnify thee, how can I forget thee; Thee, who in my lowest Ebb of Misery, didft condefcend so graciously, fo effectually to remember Me? Whose Kindness refcued me from Death, and far exceeded all my Hopes ; restore me to that Favour, which my Sinshad forfeited, and shewed it self a Friend to that Wretch, who was become Thine, and his own, Psal. cxvi. Enemy. What fhall I render to the Lord for
all the Benefits he hath done unto me? If I refolve to serve thee, yet how poor a Tribute is that, to Him whom all Created Nature is bound to serve? This is so far from a sufficient Return, that I ought rather to admire thy Mercy, and esteem it an honour to my self when thou vouchsafest to accept the Service of so poor, so worthlefs a Creature, and doft not disdain to reckon me among those, whom thou sufferest to do thee Homage. . For even in this I pay thee but thy own, since I and all I have are thine. But why do I speak of ferving thee, when by a most astonishing Condescension, even Thou, the mighty God, art pleased to serve me? For this is the Effect of that excellently good Providence, which hath contrived and ordered Heaven and Earth, and all the Creatures in such a manner, that they should be useful and beneficial to Mankind; which hath appointed Blessed Spirits above for Guards and
Ministers to the Heirs of Salvation; And, which is most surprizing, when Thou thy self
, for my fake,hadst taken upon thee the Form of a Servant, and wert made a frail, an afflicted Man! When thou didst give thy Life for undone Sinners, and still doft give thy self in Grace, and haft engaged to give thy self, even the full and eternal Fruition of thy glorious Godhead, to every sincere Believer, .
O! that it were in my Power to make a suitable Return, for Love which passes, not my Thanks only, but even my Knowledge! O ! that my Ways were made so direct, that my whole Life might be one continued Act of Gratitude and Obedience ! Nay, such is
my Infirmity, that I must be content to wish, that any one Day of that Life might be employed as it ought in thy Service. I know, O Lord, that Thou art worthy to receive all Duty , and Honour, and Praise for ever. I am sensible, that thou art my rightful Lord, and I thy poor Servant ; That the utmost i can do is thy just Due, and that I ought to take unspeakable Delight in Thanking and Obeying Thee; That nothing else but this should give me any Satisfaction, and that, when I have laid my self out entirely upon it, I Atill have done too little. This is the real Persuasion, this is the earnest Defire of my Soul ; and where my Power falls short of my Inclination, there do Thou,I beseech thee, strengthen and supply what is wanting, by thy Grace, that my Deeds and Deportment may bear Testimony and Proporcion to my Pious Disposition.
To be the teanest of thy Servants is the highest Advancement ; To despise and forsake all for Thee, is true Riches and Honour. They who thus enter themselves into thy Family, and cheerfully undertake this Task, shall have a glorious Reward ; and will feel the Pleasures of this World, infinitely paid, infnitely outdone, by the better and larger Amends of Grace and
Divine Comforts in exchange. They who thus bind themselves to thee, that abandon Worldly Cares, and attend to the One thing necessary, attain to true and generous Freedom of Soul ; and the strait Way of thy Commandments, is the only perfect Law of Liberty. O happy Confinement ! which fets Men at large from the Slavery of Sin, from Worldly Cares and Incumbrances, from the insupportable Tyranny of unruly Appetites and domineering Passions! O blessed Dependance! which makes us of the most high God's Retinue, raises us up to a Level with the Angels, renders us Dear to the Almighty, a Terror to evil Spirits, Conquerors over our greatest and fiercest Enemy,and recommends us to the Love, the Praise, the Imitation of all good Men. Who would not greedily embrace such a Service, where the very Work is pleasant, the Encouragements paid down in hand noble and great, and the Wages promised in Recompence for our Labours, Happiness exquisite, unspeakable, and everlasting
CH A P. XII.
Of Regulating our Desires.
Son, there are many things, in which thou art not fufficiently inftructed.
Disciple. ] Lord be thou pleased to let me know and enable me to receive, and do them.
Chrift.] Thy Delires must be reduced into Subjection, and my Will take place in every thing ; Nor must thy own Private Interest, but the Zeal and Regard for my Honour, and the Obedience due to my Comniands, be the governing Principle of all thy