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upon Human Nature ; but even these will turn to good account, if born with Meekness and Modesty, and Silence. For these are the very Methods by which God brings the Fidelity of his Servants to the Touch ; 'tis thus that he discovers whether they have gained a Conquest over Nature and themselves. And no sort of Mortification is of happier consequence that that which exposes Men to the Sight and Suffering of things, to which their own Minds are most violently averse; especially, when what they cannot but conceive most unfit, most absurd and odd, constrains them to go against their own Sense, and submit to a higher Power, without any reserve to the private Judgment of their own Reason in the Case. This is indeed hard, and a Perfection of Submission nor eafie to be compass'd; but did Men but consider how vast the Advantages of a Temper so resigned are at present, how glorious the Reward of it hereafter, and how quickly the Troubles it exposes them to will end in that Reward, the Comforts of such Discipline would be sensible and great and they would even enjoy their Afflictions and Temptations, sustained with so sure, so bright a Prospect of the mighty, the approaching Recompence.
For this short empty Pleasure, which now thou chuseft for my fake to decline, shall be compensated with solid and everlasting Joy in Heaven: And there thy largest Wishes Thall be gracified; there shall be plenty of every thing that is good, Fruition perfect and secure, free from the least Allaỹ of Fear, or Pose sibility of future Losses; between thy Willand mine shall then be perfect Harmony; no Opposition there,no Ob
struction; but every thing shall conspire to fulfil allthy, Heart's Delire, and render thy Happiness as exquisite as Finite Nature is capable of. Thy present Ignominy., born with Patience, shall there be påid with brighter Glory ; thy Mourning Weeds exchanged for Robes R 2
of Light and Joy; and he who fits here in the lowest Place, shall there be seated on an Eternal Throne. Let it not then be grievous to thee, to humble and submit thy self to the capricious Humours of Men with whom thou converseit in this world.; but rather so compose thy Mind, and order all thy Actions, as readily and meekly to comply with the Commands of thy Superiors, the Desires of thy Equals, the Requests of thy Inferiors, to do for all what lawfully thou mayest, and to endure patiently whatever they shall, but ought not, to do to thee. Let Vain Men pursue Vanity, leave them to their own Methods; let chem place their Glory and Happiness in such Objects as their own Mistaken Judgments shall determinethem to; let them admire, and above all things covet a celebrated Name, and popular Applause , but do thou place thy Excellence and Honour in the Contempt of thy self, thy Diligence in discharging my Commands, thy Zeal in seeking and advancing my Honour and Kingdom; and let this be first and chief in thy Desires,
That whether thou live, thou may'st live Rom. xiv.
unto the Lord ; or whether thou die, thou
may't die unto the Lord; that whether by Phil. i. 20. Life or Death, the Lord Fefus may be mag
nified in thy Body.
CH A P. LV. Ax Act of Resignation to God in Time of Ad
versity: Disciple.] RLessed be thy Wisdom and Goodness,
D O holy Father,which performs all thy Will; for what thy Will decrees, cannot be otherwise than good and wise. Give me 'Grace, I beseech
thee, to rejoice, not in my self, or any other, but in thee alone ; for thou only art my Hope and Crown, my Joy and Glory : AllI have is received at thy bountiful Hand , bountiful to a most unworthy Creature, who neither could procure, nor deserve the least of all thy Mercies : And thou, by giving and compleating, hast not loft chy Property and Right in all, which by thy means I enjoy or do. For what am I, alas ! but a weak helpless Wretch ? acquainted with Misery from my very Cradle, and watted with Trouble and Vexation ; my Face grown old with Tears, and my Heart perplexed and broken with Doubts and Sorrows, and vehement Passions. I beg and long most earnestly for the Blessing of Peace, that Peace and inward Consolation which thy Children feed and feast upon. If thou shalt fill my Soul with this, it will overflow with Joy and Praise, and continually breathe out holy Hymns to the Honour of thy Name; but if thou turn away thy Face, as sometimes thou seeft fit to do, I find my self unable to run in the Way of thy Commandment; and proftrating my self in the Anguish of my Soul, I bear my Breast, and wring my. Hands, for the loss of that Light and Comfort, that Strength and Protection which I enjoyed, while under the Shadow of thy Wings, and defended from the Affaults of Sorrow and Adversity.
Righteous Father, (then say I) the time is come when thou art pleased to try me, but even at this time, and at all others, praised be thy Name. Dearest Father, it is very meet, that, now thou call'st me to it, I should suffer in obedience to thy Will. Most honoured Father, this is thy Hour, even that important Hour, which thou from all Eternity haft ordained to be the Season of my outward Oppression and Discomfort, becoming the Instrument of endless Life and Joy to me : But, though this Heaviness may endure for a Night, yet Light, and Glory will return
in the Morning. This, holy Father, is thy own Appointment, and what thou willeft thou never willest in vain. For even this Suffering in the present Life is a Mark of thy Favour aud Friendship ; the Returns, the Instruments, the Manner, the Continuance of my AMictions are all of thy permitting; for nothing is or can be done without thy Providence and Direction, without some wise and excellent Design. Even I my cris self am sensible, how good it is for me to
have been affli&ted, that I might learn thy Statutes and utterly discard all Pride and Carnal Confidences. The Shame and Self-reproach I laboured under, hath taught me to expect Relief from God, and not from Man. And all my Afflictions put me upon contemplating the unsearchable Depths of thy Providence, which with a wonderful Temper of Juftice and Equity, layeth these Burthens upon Bad and Good, without any nice or Discriminating Marks of Love or Hatred in this present World..
I will therefore render most unfeigned Thanksgiving to my God, for that in marvellous Kindness he hath not spared the Rod when it was convenient for me : I acknowledge his Mercy, even in the Pains and Crosses, and Sorrows I have endured, whether of Mind, or Body, or Estate ; and yet much more for those Refreshments and Remedies, which thou alone haft afforded me. For vain is all the Help of Man but thou art the true, the powerful Phyician of Souls, Deat. xxxii. thouwcundest and healest ; thou bringest down
to the Gates of Hell, and raiseft up again. Thy Chastisement shall teach me Wisdom; thou shalt beat me with the Rod, and I shall not die. Behold me, Lord, most willingly submitting to thy Discipline; O strike, and spare not, so thou bend my 1tubborn Heart, and bring down my high Spirit; and make me traAtable and obedient. I, Lord, and Mine are at thy dispofal, put forth thy Hand and touch them as thou
. . .plea
pleaselt. For this I know, that how grievous soever these Temporal Crosses may be, yet better is it to feel the weight of thy hand here, than hereafter. All things are naked and open to thee, even the inmost Recesses of our Hearts; Thou knowest the things that will be before they are, and needest not that any Thould inform thee'what is done upon Earth. Thou feeft what will contribute moft to my Improvement in Goodness; how great and good effect Distresses have, to scour the Ruft from our unactive Minds, and brighten all our Virtues; Take then, my God, thy own Measures; I only beg, that thou would'st not disdain and give nie over, and think me unworthy thy Care,for those Blemishes and Misdemeanours of my Life, which none are better acquainted with ; which none indeed are thoroughly acquainted with, but thou the Searcher of Hearts alone.
Work in me, I intreat thee, a true Amendment: Instruct me in all things fit for me to know, Dispose me to love all things worthy my Affection; to think, that every thing deserves my Praise in proportion as it pleases thee; tổ esteem nothing highly, but what is precious and honourable in thy fight; to look with a generous Disdain upon all that thou thinkest vile, and never be reconciled to what thou hatest. Let me not, I beseech thee, judge by outward Appearances, the seeing of the Eye, or the hearing of the Ear, which are subject to infinite Delusions and Mistakes ; but give mea right Judgment in all things, whether they relate to this or another State, to the outward, or the inner Man, and, above all, let it be my fpécial Care to inform my self in thy Will concerning me. Men, who form their Judgment upon Sense , often err; Men, who fet their Affections upon the sensible Objects of this World, are frequently disappointed and miserable : For is a Man, for instance, one whit the better, because he is grown greater in other Mens
seein i bje& tor judgmes