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Gift of God; the distinguishing Character of his Chosen ; the sure Pledge of everlasting Salvation ; for it raises a Man's Affections from Earth to Heaven, and changes him from Flesh to Spirit. And, because these two Principles are acted by such different Motives, proceed in such different Methods, and pursue such differing Ends; therefore, in proportion as Nature is weakened and subdued, the larger Measures of Grace are imparted, the more Mens Virtues are improved, and the glorious Image of God renew'd in their Hearts, by holy and heavenly Dispositions.
C H A P. LX.
The Weakness of Corrupt Nature, and Efficacy of
Disciple.] THou hast indeed, my God, created me IT
in thy own Image after thy Likeness,
and commanded me to be holy, as thou thy self ! Pet. i.
art boly. O grant me, I beseech thee, that Favour and Affistance, which thy own Word hath taught me, is so important, 'so absolutely necessary to Salvation; that I may vanquish my own Nature, whose Inclinations are now so degenerate, so.corrupt, that they have a strong and constant tendency
to Sin and Death. For I feel and lament
a Law of Sin in my body warring continually against the Law of my Mind, drawing me to Compliance with the fleshly and sensual Appetite, and disabling me from any resolute Resistance against its fatal Motions, except thy Divine Grace, pour in fresh Succours, and help me to stand in the Day of Battel. Lord, I have need not only of thy Grace, but of very plentiful and powerful Communications of it, to
turn the Byass of Nature, which from my very Infancy, preponderates to Evil. For this Infection is derived from the first Parent of Mankind and the Punishment of his Offence diffused upon his whole Pofterity ; so that the Human Nature, which came pure and good out of thy creating hand, is tainted and perverted, and all the Motions now remaining draw the wrong way, and bend to Sin and Earth.
The little Power left in us to do good is like a very small Spark covered with a huge Heap of Embers : Light of Reason clouded with a thick noisom Mift of Darkness and Error : And, though by this all the Distinctions of Good and Evil, of Truth and Falsehood are not utterly loft, yet the Power of performing what our better Sense approves is gone; the Light of Truth is dim and feeble, and the Integrity of our Minds, and Affections is blemished, and diverted from attending to it impartially. Hence it comes to pass, that, though sometimes I am delighted with thy Law in the inner. Man, and fully convinced, that the Commandment is holy, and just, and good, condemning Wickedness, and warning me of the Rocks and Precipices, which in steering my Course through the Waves of this troublesome World, I must be watchful to avoid; yet still with the Flesh. I serve the Law of Șin, and find a greater Disposition to fol- Rom. vii. low Luft and Sense, than to be governed by Reason and Religion. Hence I so often feel the Will to do well; but how to perform what I thus will, I find not. Hence I often make and repeat good. Resolutions with great Sincerity ; but, for want of thy Afiftance to counterpoise my Infirmities, quickly fall from my own Stedfastness, and am beaten off with the very approach of Difficulty and Opposition. Hence I discern the Way I should walk in; but when I am informed of my Duty, and endeavour to raise my self above the World and its Temptations, a fatal innate Weight
draws me down again, and checks my Soul in its intended Flights to Heaven and Thee.
How absolutely needful then, my God, is thy Grace to help me in beginning, in carrying on, in accomplishing every good Work! since without it I can do nothing, and yet with it can do even all things; yet not 1, Lord, but Thou, who art in me, and strengthenest me. O Gift truly Divine! without which no Desert of Man, no Endowments or Qualifications of Nature, are of any worth or fignificance at all! Sciences and Arts, Riches and Power, Beauty and Strength, Wit and Eloquence, What are they, Lord, or what to be accounted of, if not seconded, affifted, exalted , perfected by Grace? These are Accomplishments diftributed promiscuously to Good and Bad, but Grace is a Gift peculiar to thy Children and Chofen; and such as renders the happy Men that have it worthy of Eternal Life and Happiness. A Gift so singularly excellent, that neither the Gift of Prophecy, nor the Power of working Miracles, nor the Understanding of fublimest and most abftrufe Mysteries; nor Faith, nor Hope, nor any cther Virtue or Privilege can recommend us to God without it.
O blessed Efficacy of Grace! which makes the Poor in Spirit rich in Virtue and Good Works; and that Man so enriched, humble and poor in Spirit ! Come, fieavenly Gift, descend from above, shed thy felf into my Soul, and fill every dark Corner there with Light and Comfort ;. rouze and shake off my Sloth, moisten the dry Soil, and command Fruitfutnefs out of that barren Ground. Vouchsafe me, Lord, this Blelling; for this alone is sufficient for me, though thou shouldīt think fat to deny or withdraw all, that Nature can either bestow or is most fond of acquiring. Give me but this Defence, and no Temptation shalt confound me, no Calamity dismay or make me afraid. For this alone is Strength and Courage, Wisdom and
Protection; stronger than all my Enemies, and wiser than all Human Counsels and Contrivances; the Teacher of Truth, the Mistress of holy Discipline, the Light of the Soul, the Solace of Troubles, the Resolver of Doubts, the Balm of my Wounds, the Dispeller of Melancholy, the Banisher of Fear, the Cherisher of Devotion, the Parent of Contrition, the Spring of holy Tears, and all those Streams that wash and purge Polluted Consciences. What am I without this but dry Stubble, a rotten Trunk, dead to good Works, useless and unprofitable, and fit for nothing but to be trodden under Foot, and cast into the Fire? Let therefore, O my God, I most humbly and heartily entreat; O! let this Grace and Favour of thine always prevent and follow, and make me continually to be given to all good Works; that Collect for in all my Actions begun, continued and ended xvii. Sunday in Thee, I may glorifie thy Holy Name; and Collect after finally by thy Merey, oltain Everlasting Life. Communion. Amen, Amen.
CH A P.
Self. denial enforced from Christ's Example,
Chrif.) T felf
, the nearer Approaches thou ma
HE more, my Son, thou forsikelt thy
kest toward Me: As the Desires and intemperate Love of Things without, must be discarded in order to the Peace of one's own Breaft; so even the Love of one's own Self must be laid aside in order to a perfect Union with God. Learn therefore absolutely to deny thy own Will for mine, without Contradiction or Complaint. Follow Me; I am.the ley, the Truth, and the Life. Without the Way can be no Walking with
out the Truth no Knowledge; without the Life no Living : Keep then in thisWay, for it is unalterable; believe in this Truth, for it is infallible; hope for, and afpire to this Life, for it is true, happy and eternal Life. Continue in my Way, and thou shalt know the Truth, and the Truth shall make thee free, that thou
may'st inherit Everlasting Life. If thou Matth. xix.
wilt enter into Life, keep the Commandments. If thou wilt know the Truth, believe my Words. If thou wilt be perfect, fell that thou haft. If thou wilt save thy Life hereafter, despise it here. If thou wilt be exalted in Heaven , abase thy self upon Earth. If thou defire to reign with me, take up the Cross with me. For none but they who imitate my Cross, are in the right Way to Happiness and true Glory.
Disciple.] This Way, O Lord, is strait and rugged, such as the World decline, and cannot endure to think of; therefore I beg, thy Grace would enable me to. despise the World, and dissent from the General Opinion of Men, in compliance with thy Command and
Example. For the Servant is not greater 70bn XV.
than his Lord, nor ibe Disciple above hisMaster. Let thy Servant then be guided in thy Steps, for with thee is Life and true Holiness. And all I read or hear from any other hand, gives me no Refreshment, no true Delight. Christ.] If thou knoweft these things, my Son, happy art
thou, if thou do them. For Practice, and Fon xiii,
not Knowledge, shall inherit the Blessing.
He that keepeth my Commandments and doch John xiv.
them, he it is that loveth me, and I will love bim in return, and manifest my self to him, and set hini upon a Throne with me in my Father's Kingdom.
Disciple.] Lord, make me a Partaker of this Gracious Promise. The Cross which I have received from thy Hand, I will bear with constançy even unto Death.