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stretch themselves far beyond all present Enjoyments, and can be filled, and reft contented, with nothing less than Thee. ..
O my beloved Lord, King of the Universe, knit me to thee with the Bands of an entire and holy Affection. Set me at liberty from this Clog of Earth, and give me Wings of ardent Zeal and pure Devotion, that I may foar aloft, and take my flight higher than Heaven it self; and find my Reft in thee. Oh! when will that happy time come, when I shall be set at liberty from Sin and Corruption, from the Body and the World, and without Interruption, without Allay, taste and feast upon the sweetness of my God? When will the necessary Cares of this Life cease to distract me, and leave me Power and Leisure to indulge those Longings and Pleasures, which rei. fined and unbodied Spirits feel, when swallowed up in the Contemplation of thy Divine Excellencies:and even raised above themselves, they know and love, and retire wholly into Thee? At present I am oppressed with a load of Infirmities and Corruptions, and often groan under the Sense of my heavy Burden. The inward Joys, with which thy Grace fupports me, arę mingled and embased with Pains and Tears; which cloud, and darken, and deject my Mind ; distract my Thoughts, obstruct my eagereit Wishes and Endeavours, and fasten me down to Earth and Misery, when I would fly to thy Embraces. I cannot in this Vale of Sorrow, enjoy my Lord, my Love; but wait with hope, and long fore for that happy Change, which shall translate me to the Spirits of Just men made perfect, and render me partaker of their Bliss. But let not, Lord, my Sufferings, and Tears be loft; Remember and compassionate my . present wretchedness, and grant my sighs an easie and effectual Access into thy blessed Presence.
Misery, Vale of hope, a
Thou Lord, art the Brightness of thy Father's Glory; dart thy reviving Beams into my Soul ; enlighten its dark Places, and Scatter its Discomforts : To thee the very Thoughts and inmost Desires of every Heart are known; By Thee the most secret and silent Wishes are throughly understood. O hear me, when I speak in this Language, and pour out my Supplications in Sighis and Griefs which Words cannot utter. Even when my Tongue lies still, my Thoughts are in motion; and my Heart within my Breast burns with inarticulare Ejaculations. “How “ long ( say I to my self ) how long will my Lord, “my Bridegroom delay his coming: Oh! that he “ would vouchsafe to enter under the Roof of his “ unworthy and afflicted Servant ! O that he would “ stretch forth his Almighty Hand, and deliver this “ Wretch, just ready to sink, out of all the Misery “ and Trouble, which surround, oppress, and are “ ready to devour him. Come, Lord Jesus, come “ quickly. For without Thee, no Day, no Hour is
easie or comfortable ; for thou art my Hope, my “ Joy, and all my Worldly Plenty ; but without thee “is the very Extremity of Poverty and Want.
See how Í lie in this Prison of the Flesh, Fettered and Bound up with the Chain of my Sin, till the Pitifulness of thy great Mercy loose me, and the light of thy Countenance, breaking into this darksome Dungeon, assure me of thy Favour and Friendship.“ Let v others cover and set their Affections upon such “ wretched Objects, as deluded Sense thinks valuable;
but, as for Me, I will love and long for Nothing, “but Thee, my God, alone; for Thou, my God, “ alone, art my Hope and Happiness; the only Stay "S of my prefent, and the only bliss of my future “ and eternal State.” Such is, and such shall ever be my Address and fervent Prayer. Nor will I let thee, go, until thou bless me ; till thou inspire new Life
and flee to footed to forlathe Glory of didit work this
with thy Favour ; and dwell in, and converse familiarly with my Soul, by thy Spirit and Gracious Presence.
Chrift. ] Behold me here, my Son, always attentive to thy Prayers, always ready to extend the Comfort and Relief thou so zealously implorest. Thy Tears and fervent Desires, the Sorrows of thy perplexed Heart, and the strong Cries of a wounded Conscience have pierced the Skies, and brought me down to thy speedy Succour and Comfort; for I am ever nigh to such as be of an humble and contrite Spirit, and my Ears are always open to the Prayers of my Suffering Servants.
Disciple. ] I did indeed presume, in the Anguilh of my Soul, to beg what I am sensible I cannot deserve, and flee to thee, my God, for help. And lo! I am Sincerely disposed to forsake all and follow thee. Nor will I ascribe to my self the Glory of so zealous, so resign'd a Temper; for Thou, Lord, didst work this good Thing in me, and, by thy own preventing Grace, kindle and excite my very first Desires. I prayed, but thou preparedst my Heart; I sought thee, but it was by thy Impulse and Direction. And for this first Disposition, I return thee my most humble and unfeigned Thanks; acknowledging it thy best, thy sole Gift, that I have been able so much as to think or intend any good Thing. Since then the whole of what I do or desire well is Thine, my part shall be to cherish every holy Motion, to improve the early and happy Assistances of thy Grace, to submit my self without any Reserve to thy Holy Guidance, and, in the midst of the very best Performances thou qualifieft me for, constantly and humbly to remember my own Vileness and Impotence. For who, O Lord, is like unto thee? Or what in Heaven or Earth, which hath, or boasts of any Excellence, can be compared unto my God and Saviour? Thy Works are just and
hy very Art: I soughtnd for this
true, Thy Precepts right and equitable, Thy Providence great and glorious, and all thingsare governed by it, after a most wise, and holy, and good, and wonderful manner. All Honour and Glory and Praise, be therefore ascribed to Thee, Eternal Wisdom of thy Eternal Father: May Heaven, and Earth, and all the Creatures, set forth thy Excellencies, and in this general Consort I will joyn; My mouth shall sing thy astonishing Works, thy great Glories; and I will never cease to praise and Adore my God, while I have any Being.
CH A P. XXIV.
A Thanksgiving for God's Mercies. Disciple.] Pen thoie the Eyes of my Understanding,
W o Lord, that I may see and obey the PJalm .cxix. wondrous Things of thy Law: Give me the perfect Knowledge of thy Will, and possess me with a reverent and thankful Sense of all thy Goodness and Loving-Kindness to me and to all Men ; that I may Thew forth thy Praise, and publish thy Mercies. I know these are so numerous and great, that I can never magnify them worthily: The least of them exceeds my power to express; and when I consider them, I am so far from any vain pretence of Merit, that all my Thoughts are over-powered, and loft in Wonder. For all our Advantages of Mind and Body; of Perfon and Fortune, those which are Endowments and Ornaments of Nature, and those which exalt and supply the Defects of Nature, all are the Effects of
. thy Bounty and Beneficence; from whom Fam. 1. 17. every good and perfe&t Gift cometh. .Tihou art 13 common Source, the Universal Repository, from whence our Benefits are drawn down. Not to All in equal Proportions, 'tis true; but, be
the Measure less or more, 'tis still thy Distribution. He who receives most is indebted for the whole to thy Liberality; and he who hath least, could not have had that little but from Thee. He to whom thou hast
dealt chy Blessings most plentifully, is not from that i Dispensation to take an Estimate of himself; lis Plen
ty will not justifie any Confidence or Boast of his own Merit, nor may he insult over his Brethren, or behaye himself uncomely, and disesteem or despise thofe, from whom thy Mercies have distinguished him. For the Greatness of Mens Deserts is most eminently discovered by a Modeft and Mcan Opinion of themselves, Courtesie and Condescention to others, Gratitude and Devotion towards God. And the more they are sen-' fible of their own wants and Unwörthiness, the berter they qualifie themselves for fresh and greater Demonstrations of thy Love and Liberality. Again, the Man to whom thou hast distributed more sparingly, must not repine and be discouraged, nor free and grudge the larger Portion of his wealthier Neighbour ; but keep his Eyes and Mind wholly intent upon thee, and admire the Freedom of thy Grace, which, as it cannot be obliged to any, so gives to all largely, and without parcial Respect of Persons.
For thou art to be praised in all thy Gifts by every Man, because all comes from thee: And thou art Ma
fter of thy own Favours; thou givest without Up ini braiding, and withholdest without Injustice : Thy;
Wisdom knows what Measures are proper and expedient for each Person; and the Reasons why one Man differs from another, lie not within the compass of our Knowledge, but must be left entirely to thy Judgment, to determine the Fitness of them.
In this. Perswasion, Lord, I readily acknowledge and adore thy Mercy, in suffering me to want many of those Advantages, which the generality of Marikind set a mighty Value upon. Nay, I am fatisfied, that