ページの画像
PDF
ePub

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 Tothy Soul. But while these employ thy Thoughts and - Desires, thou art diverted from all higher Objects, and

by being too intent upon his Works, losest and forgetreft 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 prizd, 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.
Cbrift.] N o not, my Son, suppose that the Excel-

L 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 Fine-
ness of Parts, but in Innocence of Life and Good
Works. Let my Words be thy principal Study ; for
these awaken Attention, enlighten the Understand-
ing, kindle a Holy Zeal, provoke true Contrition,and
heal the Wounds they make with the Spiritua! 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 Passions. For this is Im-,
provement 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

the Tongues and Pens of wrangling Logicians, Philo. sophers 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 sublime 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 enlightned 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 upon the unprofitable Curiosities of Human Wisdom, and take no Pains to inform 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 sound every Con

science to the bottom. Then shall Jerus Zeph. i. falem be searched with Candles; then shall the hidden things of Darkness be brought to Light; and no Man's Eloquence or Subcilty of Arguing shall do him any Service before that All-seeing Judge. I raise the Meek, and Man of Mean Sense, in an instant, and teach himn 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 Cao villing Sophiftry, or Regular Dispucing. Of Me alone Men learn to despise the World, to think Things present below their Pains and Care, to love and seek those that are Heavenly and Eternal; to dea cline Honours, to bear Injuries and Affronts to

gruft

of Things with Suitems, or Vain:couting. Of Me

Solittihed Men; of could have mão not commu

trust and hope in me alone, and to wish for nothing but my Favour, and to esteem all things but

Dross and Dung, so they may win Chrift. Phil. iii. á Some Disciples of mine have made such wonder

ful Improvements under me, as even to speak things' el above Humane Comprehension ; and grow wiser in I Solitude and Cloisters, than any conversation of

Learned Men, or Volumes and Libraries never so

carefully perused, could have made them. But this ne is not every Man's Case; for I do not communicate

to all alike. Some I instruct in common Matters, q others in abstruse and peculiar Notions; and as the Ć Measure and Quality of the Matter, so the Manner .) of Imparting it is very different. To some I shew 1 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 de 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
Thoughts, inspire Good Desires, promote and finish
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.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

a Man dead,, Affections are cumany things

CHA P. XLIX. Of Meddling with the World as little as may be. Chrift.] IN many things, my Son, content thy self

Twith 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 Objects, 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 ErroneousOpinions, 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 7 Alas! Lord, what a wretched Case is this World in. How distant from this meek and abstracted Temper of Mind! Trifling Loss 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, fo totally immers’d in sensible Objects and worldly Cares; and

TOW.

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. L.
Against a Fond and Easie Credulity.

Disciple.] [ Ord, be thou my Help in Trou

L 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 imposed upon, yet is his Deliverance generally more spee-. dy 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 ; but

Q 2

Thou

[ocr errors]
« 前へ次へ »