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false Bottom, seeks her self what she values in others, and is oftentimes deceived and disappointed : The latter reposes her whole Hope and Love in God, and is never mistaken, never deluded by false Expectations.
CHA P. XXXVII.
Chrift. THou canft not, Son, be entirely free, till
I thou hast first attained to such a MasteL ry, as entirely to subdue, and deny thy self. For he covetous Persons and Lovers of themselves, the Luft
ful, and Busy, and unsettled Men, the lovers of Pleasure more than lovers of God, are all Slaves ; Vile
and Unprofitable Slaves; condemned to fruitless endi less Toil; seeking what they cannot find , and conte triving what they cannor compass ; or if they could,
what they cannot long enjoy. For every thing which this is not of God, is soon brought to nought. Observe 23 this short, but certain Aphorism : Forsake all, and thou E fhalt find all; let go Desire, and thou shalt lay hold on
Peace. Consider this Rule diligently, and transcribe E it into thy Practice, or Practice will explain and prove · it to thee.
Disciple.] This, Lord, is not the work of a single Day, a Maxim not fitted for weak Capacities, but such as in one short Sentence contains the utmost Perfection of a pious and resigned Christian.
Christ.] And why, my Son, should that Perfection affright or discourage thee? Call up thy Zeal, aspire to true Greatness of Soul, and the nobler the Virtue is, the more eager and generous Resolution do thou exprels of attaining to it. Oh! that thou wert of that
happy Disposition, which utterly discards all narrow and selfish Considerations, and submits it self entirely to the Obedience of my Commands and the Disposals of my Providence! So should thy Person and thy Behaviour be acceptable to thy God; so should'st thou enjoy great Satisfaction, and Peace in thy own Breaft. Alas! there are still many things which must be abandoned, Many, which till thou hast Sacrificed to me, the Happiness thou aimest at can never be obtained. Buy therefore of me the pure refined Gold of a heavenly and refined Disposition ; for that shall make thee Rich, above all the Treasures of this world. Cast off the Wisdom of this Generation, and do not footh thy self with their foolish Imaginations : for they purfue Shadows, and take delight in Vanity and Nothing. Remember I have told thee, that the things which are lightly esteemed, must be purchased at the expence of those, which this World esteems most precious. For what is more despised and mean in coinmon Reputation, what more neglected and forgotten than that true heavenly Wisdom, which renounces all Merit of its own, and is content to be disregarded by the Men of this World ? This mortified and humble State of Mind, is what indeed some People profess, and in Words commend; but their Practice plainly condemns it, and gives the lie to all their dissembled Praises. Matth, xii. And yet this Wisdom, poor and despica
ble as it appears to common Eyes, is that Pearl of great Price, for which all other Possessions are wisely given in exchange. That hidden Treasure, which is always like to continue hid, since it 1 lies low, and few either do, or care to find it.
CHA P. XXXVIII. The Changeableness of our Temper, and how to fix it. Christ.] N O not, my Son, depend upon any pre
sent Disposition of Mind, with which thou feelest thy self affected, for this is fickle and of Thort duration Variety and Change is what Men must be subject to, so long as they carry the Frailties of Flesh and Blood about them; and all their endeavours cannot so fix their Hearts, as to keep them conftantly the same. Sometimes they find themselves disposed to Mirth, sometimes to Melancholy; now they are Even and Serene, by and by all over. Disorder and Confusion; this Hour Fervent and Devout, the next Lukewarm and Cold ; Studious and Industrious to Day, flothful and unfit for Business to Morrow; Se. rious and Grave, and Thoughtful now; and anon, again, Gay and Trifling, and light as Air. But the truly wise Man, who is acted by the Spirit of God, gets above this changeable Region of the lower World; He suffers not himself to be carried about with every Blast and Impulse of Inconftancy, but settles upon the Basis of the one excellent End, which is always first and most in his Thoughts, the Port to which he makes, and the Compass by which he Steers all his Designs and Actions. For by this Method it is very possible for a Man to continue unshaken, and unmoved, by any Gust of Inclination from within, or Accident from without. The natural Changeableness of Human Affections being yet more improved , by Mens own voluntary Uncertainty, and proposing no constant End or Rule to themselves. Now that Intention, which fixes upon God as its only End, will keep Men steady in their Purposes; and deliver them from
being being the Jeft and Scorn of Fortune ; and this in Scripture is stiled a Single Eye, because it ever looks and aims but at one Object.
The more intent then that Eye is in this Prospect, the less diverted from its Mark, the firmer and more consistent Men are with themselves ; and the less Impression does any Change of Wind or Weather make upon such diligent and wise Pilots. But still infirmity prevails in most, and if some Pleasure or Profit come betwixt, they retain so much Tenderness for themselves, and their temporal Advantages; as to be diverted from the same vigorous pursuit of their first Prize, and allow this fresh one a part at least of their Endeavours and Desires. They love God, but they would love the World too; and in this State of di
vided Affections somewhat resemble the John xii. 9. Fews: who, as the Evangelist observes, came to visit Martha and Mary at Bethany, not only that they might see and hear Jesus, but that they might satisfy their Curiosity in gazing upon Lazarus, whom he had raised from the Dead. It muft therefore be your great Care and Business to compose this Diftra&tion of Thought, to fix your Heart to one Purpose, to seek one Good, one End, so zealously, that nothing else may come into Competition or Partnership with it ; to look upon every thing which diverts you from, or cools you in this Pursuit, with an Eye of Contempt ; and constantly to keep your Hope, and Desire, and Love ( which are the Spring and Guide of all your Actions) upon Me alone.
CH A P. XXXIX. The Happinefs of them who love God. Disciple.]T N having God, I have all things : - Fur
I whom can I have in Heaven but Thee, and what is there upon Earth that I can Pfal. Ixxiii. defire in comparison of Thee? Oh fweet and comfortable Words ! But this is a Sweetness, which none can tafte, but they who love the Word of God, and not the World, neither the Things that be in the : World. My God to me is All; I need add ; John ii. 15. no more, the Men of purified Understandings, find this enough, and they of purified and heavenly AffeEticns cannot repeat it too often. When thou art prefènt , Affliction and Death are pleasant; for in thy Favour is Life and Joy. When thou art abfent, Life it self is a Burden; for thy Difpleasure is worfe than Death. Thou makest a merry Heart, a cheerful Countenance, in Thee is abundance of Peace, and a continual Feast. Thou giveft me right Notions of all Events, and rendrest every Accident a Matter of Joy and Praise to me; without Thee Prosperity it felf is nauseous, and I loath my very Mercies. For nothing here below can please our Palate, unless thy Fa. vour and Wisdom give it a grateful Relish. To him that feeds delightfully on thee, every bitter Morsel is fweet; but they who want or flight that heavenly Enicrtainment, find the most delicious Dainties harsh and bitter.
They who are wife for the World and the Flesh, are most defective in the true and heayenly Wisdom.
The Carnal Wisdom ends in Guilt and Death, and the worldly Wisdom pursues Vanity and empty Pomp. But they who are wise indeed conform themselves to thy Example, by a Contempt of all earthly Greatness,