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long, finds the Delusion out at last : And what he imputed to the Spirit of God, proves in the End a Suggestion of the Devil, or the eager Longings of his own vain Mind.
The surest way then never to offend God in thy Desires, and to be accepted in thy Addresses to him, will be to temper all thy Inclinations with his Fear, and not so much as indulge a secret Wish, without such Reservations as may testify an entire Submission to the Divine Disposal. And when those Wishes break out into Words, Men shall do well to conceive and present them in such Forms, as may express some 4 Check upon themselves, and mighty Caution in reftraining their Tongues from asking any thing in a Peremptory Manner ; but leaving the Matter entirely to God's better Choice. As thus; “ Lord, there
knowest whether the baving, or the being denied the Mat"ter of my Petition, be most convenient; and therefore all
I beg is, that what thou leeft most expedient may be done; "I ask, indeed, as is my Duty, but I presume not to prescribe to thy Heavenly Wisdom : Give there
fore, Lord, fuch Things, and in such Measures, "and at such times as thou feeft fit. Deal with me
as thou knowest is necessary : For that I am well assured is best for me, which is most agreeable to thy Will, and most conducive to thy Glory. Appoint me any Poft, and use me as thy own; turn and change me and my Fortune at Pleasure : I on
ly beg to be qualified for thy Dispensations, to use "them rightly, and greatly to improve under them. "For I am thy Servant, devoted to thee without the “least Reserve: I defire not to live to my seif, but
to Thee ; Oh! that I might be enabled faithfully “and worthily to perform that Homage and Duty,
to all which my Heart is most freely and sincerely disposed.
C H A P. XVII. .
A Prayer for Grace to do the Will of God.
Disciple.)“ H'humbly befeech thee, and let thy
Ear me, most merciful Saviour, I
humbly “ Grace be ever present with thy weak unworthy
Servant. I am not of my self able to do, or think any thing that is good ! O! let thy Spirit affift my
poor Endeavours, vanquish the Temptations that so " thick beset me, fix my inconstant Mind, and follow
me all the Days of my Life, that I may persevere " in good Works unto the End. Regulate my Affe“ctions and Desires, and confine them to such Ob"jects only, as are well-pleasing in thy sight. Let
thy Will be the Guide and Measure of mine, and
let mine steadily conform to thy Pleasure. Remove “ far from me all Inclinations and Aversions, but such
as agree with those of the Blessed Jesus. Help me
to die daily to the World, and to the Things of " the World ; and mortify my Vanity to that
degree, that even Shame and Contempt, for “thy fake, may be not only supportable, but wel
come to me. Let all my Hopes and Wishes center in Thee alone ; and nothing appear desirable, in "comparison of a pure Heart and peaceful Consci
ence : For Thou, O Lord, art my Peace, Thou
my only Reft ; in Thee alone is Pleasure and true “ Satisfaction, and all without Thee is Misery and “ Torment. Oh! grant me this Blessed Retreat, " this happy Security ; that I may abandon all the “ false Appearances of Happiness here below, and " find soft Ease and sweet Repose in thy Love and “ Favour, Thou True, Thou Chief, Thou Eternal " Good of Pious Souls.
Disciple.) Whatevere. Comforts on dhe Happiness Place of enjoying them, but I expect that Blessed Fruition in another State. For, what would it avail, could I attain the utmoft Delights the World can afford, when a very short space must of necessity put a Period to them Do not then mistake thy Happi-, ness, my Soul, for these things are not, cannot be thy Rest: The fulness of Joy and undisturbed Pleasure is no where to be found, save in God only ; He is the Comforter of the Afflicted, He the Wealth of the Poor, He the Support and Strength of the Weak, He the Glory and great Reward of the Humble.
Nor let it disturb thy Peace, or discourage thy Hope, that thou canst not yet aspire to thy promised Felicity ; For God is Faithful and cannot Lie : Only wait his own time patiently, and thou shalt not fail of his Mercy, and an abundant Recompence of thy Faith and patient Trust in due season. But if this delay draw off thy Affections to present Comforts, and abate thy Zeal for future and distant Rewards, thou shalt desire Earthly Blessings and not be filled; and at the same time lore those heavenly and eternal Joys, which alone can satisfie, and make thee happy. Use then these Temporal things, but love none but the things that are Eternal. The present were not designed for Enjoyment, but for Necessity and Convenience. Thy Nature is not cut out for them,nor is it in their Power to make thee perfect, though all this mortal State is capable of, were united together for that purpose : For God alone is a Good, large enough to fiil the deGires of an immortal Soul ; He only is proportioned to
Weight, orthe Continuance of any Burthen thou shalt lay upon me in the present World. If any thing here seem heavy, yet it is rendred much easier and more supportable, by the
Assistance of thy Grace,by the Contemplation of thy Example, and by the many Patterns of Constancy and Virtue, which thy now glorious Saints, but once afflicted Servants, who travelled the same rugged Journey of Life, have in all Ages set for my Imitation and Encouragement. I plainly see under this Gospel-state, a mighty Support, which even thy own peculiar People wanted under the Old Law. For then the way to Heaven was dark, and the Prospect at their Journey's end less glorious and inviting. Few then applied themselves with Zeal to seek a Future and Spiritual Kingdom; nor could they do so with equal Encouragement, tillthy Meritorious Death had open’dan Entrance into the High and Holy Place. But, how contentedly, how thankfully, ought I to tread in thy blessed Steps, sustained by the Assurance of Eternal Rewards, and directed in the Right Way by
the Light of thy Doctrine? For thou art John xiv.
the Way, the Truth, and the Life; Thy Afflictions have taught Me and all Believers, that Tribulation is the Passage to thy Heavenly Kingdom ; and that the proper Methods of attaining thy Crown, is being made a Partaker of thy Cross. Hadst thou not gone before us, who would have the Heart to follow ? who could persevere in a Course of Sufferings? Nay, though thou hast thus shewed us the way, yet how loth, how backward are we to follow still ? And, if neither thy Miracles, nor thy Precepts, thy wondrous Humiliation, nor thy glorious Exaltation, can warm us into greater Zeal and Resolution, than by lamentable Experience we daily see and feel they do; How wretchedly flothful, alas! how cold, and motionless should we have stood, had not thy Grace and marvelous Condescention vouchsafed to grant us the Advan·*
tage of fo clear a Light, and the powerful Motive of so bright an Example
CH A P. XXI.
Of bearing Injuries ; and how we may judge of true
] YEase thy
Adictions threaten or attack thee, call to remembrance what I endured for thy Sake : Nay, not what I endured for thine only, but what so many brave and generous Saints have since couragiously endured for mine. Alas! thy Trials yet are small, nor hast thou resisted unto Blood, as I and They have done. Their Difficulties were greater,their Temptations sharper, their Sorrows more piercing, their Exercises more severe, and yet in all these they were more than Conquerors. It will therefore be of great Service to the confirming thy Hope and Patience, if thou diligently compare thy very light, with their much heavier, Burthen; and reproach thy self for sinking under a Weight, which they would scarce have felt. But, if thy own Load seem so unsupportable, and thou canst hardly be brought to think the Case of others so much more deplorable; consider, whether this false Eítimate do not proceed from Partial Affection , Tenderness to thy self, and a fretful Impatience , rather than from the true Nature and Reason of the Thing. For These corrupt Mens Judgments, and make them see their own and other Peoples Circumstances with very different Eyes. But be thy Ideas true or miltaken , yet still the greater and the less Calamities call cqually for Submission and Conftancy. And it is not the Degree or Measure, but the Author and the Consequence