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Disciple.] Lord; I most willingly commit my Concerns to thy Management, for all that little I am capable of is very inlignificant. And therefore I cannot but wish, that this Sense, to how little purpose all my own Pains and Contrivances are, might free me from anxious Thoughts concerning future Contingencies, and dispose me calmly to acquiesce in thy wise and good Pleasure.
Christ.] Alas! my Son, eager and greedy Men covet they know not what. An Object at a distance engages their Desires, while they see only the fair and glittering side ; but upon closer and more distinct View, it Enjoyment undeceives them: and they grow fick, even of their own Desires; for their Desires are various and mutable, and ever veering about to fome fresh Object. It is therefore of some consequence for a Man to forego his own Inclinations, even in Matters of no great Importance; but he who hath attained to the Faculty of doing this in any case whatsoever, is truly free, and great, above the Reach and Envy of Fortune, and at the highest Pitch of Human Perfection. Yet even this Man will find his Virtues called to the Test : For the old Enemy of Souls is ever framing some Stratagem to undo good Men; and lies in Ambush Night and Day, to catch an Opportunity of ensnaring unwary Souls. Let then his Diligence provoke yours, and be not less afliduous to save, than he is to deftroy you. For this is the Purport of thy Matth. xxvi. Lord's Command ; Watch and Pray, that
ye enter not into Temptation.
H A P: .
CH A P. XLV.
In Man dwelleth no good Thing
art mindful of him,.er the in
much more, to complain unto my God, if he withdraw his Presence, and leave me to my self? Or if I
beg and pray for Comforts, what have I to alledge in - my own behalf, how can I take it ill.if he reject my
Petitions ? This I am sensible is all I ought to think, e or can pretend to say, That I have Nothing, and am
Nothing, and in my own Nature tend to and pursue after Vanity and Nothing. A miserable Creature; faint and feeble, incapable so much as of one good
Desire, till animated and strengthned by Thee. Fickle z and mutable, subject to Inírmities innumerable, and . perpetual Decays; but Thou, my God, Heb. xiii: v.
art the same, Yesterday, and to Day, and for o ever, ever happy, and just, and wife, and good, and
ordering all things for the best, after the Counsel of
thy Divine Will." Well were it, if I were but equal! tly disposed to Good and Evil; but the Corruption of - my Nature, alas! preponderates strongly to Vanity
and Vice ; I easily fall from my own stedfastness, and am carried about with every shifting Wind of Time, and Chance, and Passion.
And yet, thus weak and veering as. I am, thy helping Hand can Comfort and Confirm me. Thy powerful Grace, without any Human Aids, can work Wonders in me ; strengthen my Resolucions , scatter my Fears, and fill my Soul with Rest and sweet Content. If, when I thirst after higher Degrees of Vir
prefire, tillan, Tubject to Thou,"
tue and Devotion, or if I fly to thee for Succour in Distress, when all other Succours fail me, (and all but thine will and must prove ineffectual ); If then I could but abandon all other Hopes, and repose my whole : Confidence in thee alone; then might I entertain some expectations of thy Favour; and wait with Joy, for the cheerful Returns of Grace and Comfort from above. For all my Successes are thy free Gift, and I my self a despicable Wretch, not able to effect any good, not in a condition to merit the least of all thy Mercies.
'What therefore can I have to boast of, who, till I despise and go out of my self, am not so much as qualify'd to receive Amistance from Thee? Or how can I desire the Applause and Admiration of Men? What! Shall I pretend to Glory of Weakness and Inconftancy, and Nothing. This were a Vanity beyond Example, an Extravagance beyond Imagination. How foolish and absurd, nay, how hurtful and destructive a Vice is Ambition, which, by undue pursuit of Honour, robs us of true Honour, and affecting Favour with Men, incurs Punishment and Displeasure from God? For he who labours to please himself, is fure at the same time to offend Thee; and loses true subftantial Virtue, by covering empty Praise. For true Honour and Virtue consists in Glorying, not in our selves, but in Thee, O Lord; in Magnifying, not our own Attainments or Performances, but thy free Grace ; and in loving and delighting in nothing, but so far only as may advance thy Honour.
TV Not unto me, therefore, not unto me, but
untothy Name be the Praise ;May Men commend and extol, not my works, but thy Power, which inspired, produced, and perfected them: And may this Commendation devolve so entirely upon thy Grace, that not the least part of it may fall upon my Concurrence with it. Far be it from me to arrogate any
thing to my self ; for while I rejoice in thee, I find I nothing in my self to glory in but my Infirmities: And
in them I will gladly glory ; because the greater my Weakness is, the more visible and eminent is thy
Strength, which is so conspicuously perfect in it. * Let Unbelieving Zews feek Honour one of
another, but I, who profess my self one John V. of the Faithful, will seek the Honour which cometh from God only. For what is all the Fame, and Respect, and Greatness of thisWorld, if put into the Balance of thy
Eternal Glory, but exquisite Folly, deceitful Bubble, i and altogether lighter than Vanity it self? All Hos ç nour therefore, and Praise, all Might and Majesty be i ascribed to thee, blessed Trinity, my God, my Light, my Truth, my Succour and Defence, my Refuge and Comfort, for ever and ever. Amen.
CHA P. XLVI.
Cbrift. If thou seest others grow great in Repucat
I tion and Preferment, while thou art overá looked and despised, let this, my Son, be no Confi cern to thee. Look up to Me, and set thy Affections fine and Hopes in Heaven, and then the Neglect and Contempt of Men will give thee little Trouble.
Disciple.) Were it not, Lord, for the Blindness and Corruption of Nature, which makes me fond of Va. nities and Joys, I should have juster Notions of these Matters. For he who rightly understands himself, cannot but discern, that it is not in the Power of any thing without to do him real Prejudice ; and consequently, that he can have no reasonable Ground to complain of thy Providence, however it thinks fit to
difpose of such Matters. The Consciousness of my own Sins convinces me, I have deserved that all the Creatures should conspire and make War against me. To me belongs Shame and Confufion, but to Thee only Honour and Praise is due. And thou haft taught me, that to bear Contempt, and Hatred, and Barbarous Treatment with Humility and Patience, is the only Method of attaining inward Peace, and true Satisfaction; the Virtue which must recommend me to thy Favour ; the best Predisposition for Light and Grace; and the surest, closeit Band of Union with thy self.
CH A P. XLVII. Happiness is not to be had by the Favour or Friend.
ship of Men.
Chrift.] LTE that proposes to be Happy by the Af
O fection or Acquaintance of the best, the greatest Man alive, will always find his Mind unsettled and perplexed. For even the Best and Greatest are but Mortals; and the effectual Remedy against immoderate Concern for their being taken away from thee; will be to court the Favour of an Eternal and Immortal Friend. Now the less Confidence any Man reposes in any Earthly Comfort, so much the more he ingratiates himself with God. And the better he acquaints himself with his own Vileness, the less he is in his own Eyes, the higher he rises in God's Esteem. But they who vainly fancy any thing that is good or meritorious in themselves, put an effectual Bar to Divine Grace. For this is given to the Humble, and the Spirit of God chuses the Contrite Heart for the place of his peculiar Residence. Would chou aban