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don Self-conceit, and wean thy Heart from all Fondness for the Creatures, it is not to be imagined what Comforts, what overflowing Joys I would infuse into thy Soul. But while these employ thy Thoughts and Desires, thou art diverted from all higher Obje&s, and by being too intent upon his Works, losest and forgettest the Almighty Maker. Learn then to subdue thy own Will, that thou may'st clearly understand, and readily comply with mine. For any other Object, tho'never so trifling and inconsiderable in its own nature, yet, if unduly priz’d, and immoderately loved, corrupts the Mind, and checks its Aspiring after the Chief, the only Good.
CH A P. XLVIII.
Against Vain and Pompous Learning.
lence of a Man consists in Subtilty of Wit
, or Quaintness of Expressions: For the Kingdom of God does not lie in Elegance of Speech, or Fineness of Parts, but in Innocence of Life and Good Works. Let my Words be thy principal Study; for these awaken Attention, enlighten the Understanding, kindle a Holy Zeal, provoke true Contrition,and heal the Wounds they make with the Spiritual Balm of Grace and Solid Comfort. Let not the growing Wiser and more Learned be the End thou propofcit to thy self in Reading ; but read, that thou may'st be qualify'd to practise, and let thy Knowledge be seen, by subduing thy Vices and Paflions. For this is Improvement indeed, and will turn to better Account, than the nicest and most distinguishing Skill in all the Controversies and difficult Points that ever employed,
the Tongues and Pens of wrangling Logicians,Philosophers and Divines. And when thou haft run thro' the whole Compass of Learning, yet all will turn at last upon one single Point; and the whole Profit of thy Pains lies in a narrow room.
If thou wilt be known indeed, learn of Me; for I am the only Master that teach Men Knowledge; I give more perfect, more fublime Understanding to Babes, to the Humble and Sincere, than all the Celebrated Sons of Art have ever been able to do: And those whom I instruct, grow truly wise, are presently enlighted and refined, and by an astonishing Proficience in Virtue, outstrip all the admired Schemes of Morality. Most wretched are those Vain Men, who with infinite Toil and Time, lay themselves out upoti the unprofitable Curiosities of Human Wisdom , and take no
Pains to infortii themselves in their Duty to Me. The Hour, alas ! draws on apace, when their Master Christ shall come with terrible Pomp, and call each Man to strict Account, and found every Con
science to the bottom. Then Mall Jeruta Zeph. i.
Salem be searched with Candles; then shall the hidden things of Darkness be brought to Light; and no Man's Eloquence or Subtilty of Arguing shall do him any Service before that All-feeing Judge. I raise the Meek, and Man of Mean Sense, in an instant, and teach him at once the Grounds of Eternal Truths, better than a Course of many Years spent in Laborious Study, and the most exquisite Methods of Schools and Universities. I bring Men to Righe Apprehensions of Things without any Noise of Words, without the Formality of Systems, or Vain Oftentations of Cavilling Sophistry, or Regular Disputing. Of Me alone Men learn to delpife the World, to think Things present below their Pains and Care, to love and seek those that are Heavenly and Eternal ; to de cline Honours, to bear Injuries and Affronts , to
trust and hope in me alone, and to wish for nothing but my Favour, and to eļteem all things but Drofs and Dung, so they may win Chrift.
Phil. iii. Some Disciples of mine have made such wonderful Improvements under me, as even to speak things | above Humane Comprehension ; and grow wiser in | Solitude and Cloisters, than any Conversation of
Learned Men, or Volumes and Libraries never so carefully perused, could have made them. But this is not every Man's Cafe ; for I do not communicate to all alike. Some I instruct in common Matters, others in abstruse and peculiar Notions; and as the
Measure and Quality of the Matter, so the Manner E) of Imparting it is very different. To some I shew
my self in Figures and Parables, Dreams and mystick . Representations ; to others I reveal the most impor
tant Secrets in the most clear intelligible Method. Books speak alike to all, but all are not qualified to be taught by them alike. But I, instead of dead Letters presented to the outward Senses, perform my Business within. I fill the Mind with Truth, suit my self to each Man's Genius and Capacity, search every
Corner of the Heart, understand their most retired 1. Thoughts, inspire Good Desires, promote and finish I those Desires by bringing them to Action, and deal
to every one the various Gifts of my Spirit, in such kinds and proportions, as I see most useful and season nable.
CH A P. XLIX.
Of Meddling with the World as little as may be. Chrift.] N many things, my Son, content thy self
with being ignorant, and chuse to Live as a Man dead, while among the Living; One, whose Thoughts and Affections are crucified to all the World; and all the world to Them. Many things are to be overlook'd, as if you saw them not : Thy Mind drawn off from the distracting Variety of Obje&s, and fastened close down to the things that make for thy Peace and Salvation. In controverted Points, ’tis generally much better to content one's self with avoiding Erroneous Opinions, and their Vicious Consequences, and leave others to abound in their own Sense, ( where their Difference from thee does not apparently hazard their Souls ;) than to engage in hot Disputes, and spend thy precious Hours in wrangling and fierce Contention. And even in Disputes, not to be hot and pertinacious; for if God and Truth be on thy side, and thou canst with Comfort appeal to thy Judge above, thy Concern will not be great for Victory and Approbation below.
Disciple. ] Alas! Lord, what a wretched Case is this World in. How diftant from this meek and abstracted Temper of Mind! Trifling Lofs is seriously lamented. A little sordid Gain engages Mens Time, and Labour, and Thoughts. The Day is too short for their Vigorous Pursuits, and Anxious Cares break their Sleep; while all their Spiritual Concerns lie neglected and forgotten. Their Diligence and Study is determin'd to Matters of small or no Importance; and the One thing Necessary is laid aside, as if it were not worth a single Thought. So vain is Man, so totally immers’d in sensible Objects and worldly Cares; and
so contentedly does he perish in Vanity and Vexation, unless thy Grace make him wiser, and raise his Mind to better and eternal Concerns.
CH A P.
Against a Fond and Easie Credulity.
Disciple.] Lordbe thou my Help in Trour
ble, for vain is the Help of Psal. cviii. Man. How often have I fail'd of Succour, and true Friendship, where I had most reason to expect it? How often found it, where I entertained no such Expectations ? So vain and uncertain is all Trust in Man, so entirely does the Safety of Good Men depend upon Thee alone. Blessed therefore, and for ever admired, be that Good Providence, which orders and disposes all Events, to thy Impotent and Fickle, thy Ignorant and Silly, thy Deceitful and Deceivable Creatures !
Who among all the Sons of Men ever behaved himself with so prudent Care, and exact Circumspection, as not sometimes to be over-reached by Treachery. and Trick, and involved in Difficulties and Troubles, which the most Jealous Foresight knew not how to defcry or suspect? But he who places no Confidence in Human Subtilty, and rests in God alone, and acts with downright Honesty, and a good Conscience, is less subject to such Inconvenience than cunning and Intrieguing Men : Or, if he be surprized and impo
upon, yet is his Deliverance generally more speedy and effectual, and his Comforts in the mean while more sensible and supporting; for thou, Lord, never forsakest those utterly, who
put their Trust in Thee. A faithful Friend, and such as will stand by us in Adversity and Want, is exceeding hard to be found ; buc Q 2