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Discourse; but rather chuse to retire into thy Chamber, and converse much with God in Solitude and Silence. When thou hast Him, thou hast a Treasure, which nothing can take from thee. I am worthy of thee all, and I expect thee all ; divide not thy self between me and the World, but let me be thy Love, thy Joy, thy Desire; fo fhall thy Life be bid with Christ in God; and, tho' thou canst Coloff. iii. not live in thy Self, yet thou shalt live in Me, full of Tranquility and Peace, and above the disorderly Paf. fions and ruffling Çares of sensual and earthly-minded Men.
CHA P. XIIT.
The Soul's Desire of Union with Christ. Disciple. ] Hear thy gracious Words, my dearest
Lord, and easily believe the inexpressible Happiness of Them, whose Souls thy heavenly Presence fills. But how, Oh! how shall I attain that Bliss ? How shall I seek and find my God alone ? How open my Heart to entertain Thee, so as to exclude all other intruding Guests? O! that no Man, no Creature might from henceforth find place in my Affections and Desires, so as to interrupt my Conversation with thee! When shall I break loose from Company and Care, and Enjoy and Talk with Thee alone, in Language free and kind, as that of dearest Friends; and soft and tender, sweet and charming, as the unreserved Retirements and endearing Whispers of the most passionate Lovers? This is my earnest Wish, This my constant Prayer, that my Heart may be knit entirely to Thee, and weaned from every earthly and sensual Delight, learn to taste heavenly and eter
nal Joys by frequent Returns to thy Holy Communion. Ah when, my God, fhall I be wholly thine, regardless of my self, swallowed up quite in a blissful indif
soluble Union with Chrift? Thou, Lord, John xvii.
in Me, and I in Thee, and thus may we continue One for ever.
Thou verily art my Beloved, my Chofen, the Chiefest among Ten thousand, the Friend of my Bofom, with whom I desire to dwell all the Days of my Life. Thou art my Peace, and only Comfort; Without thee I find nothing but Labour and Sorrow, Vexation and Torment, and Misery insupportable. Thou art a God, that bideft thy self
, Not dealing thy Blessings promiscuously, but, with wise and just distinction, fatisfying the Humble and Meek with the Pleasures of thy Word, while thou concealeft thy Counsel from the Wicked, and leavest them to Groan and Howl in the Anguish, and Horror of their guilty Souls. O! how great is thy Bounty! how sweet thy Mercy! who re
freshest thy hungry Servants with the deFoln vi.
licious Bread, which came down from Deut, iv.
Heaven, that thy Faithful might eat thereof and not die. Surely there is no Nation under Heaven, which hath God so near to them, as the Lord our God is unto Us, in all that we call upon him
for. For he healeth the broken in Heart, Pfalm cxlvii.
he hath respect unto the Lowly, he liftet6 сxxxviii, схііі.
Simple out of the Duft, and raiseth the Needy from the Dunghil, to set them with Princes, to equal them with Angels ; nay, to give them his Flesh for the satisfying their Hunger, and when they are thirsty, the Wine of his Blood to drink.
What Society of Men can boast of Privileges worthy to be named with those of the Christian Church? What Creature under Heaven, whose Excellence and Happiness is comparable to the Pious and Devout Soul, where God' takes up his Relidence, and sustains the *
Heart that entertains him, with his own glorious Body ? O Grace unspeakable! O Condescension most amazing! O Love unmeafurable! Lord, what is Man, that thou should'st thus visit him? or whac can he render unto his God for these inestimable Be. nefits? Alas! I have no return to make, but a poor worthless Heart; and this is yeč a farther Instance of thy Goodness, that thou expecteft no other Testimony of Gratitude, but my Self and my sincere Affection. Thus hast thou made our Duty our greatest Happiness: For then shall my Soul be glad, and all that is within me leap for Joy, when my Heart is perfectly united to my God: Then shalt thou say, If thou wilt be mine, I will live and dwell with tbee for ever. And I with humble Joy reply, Disdain not, Lord, this mean and bomely Dwelling, for I moft willingly, most thankfully, embrace the offer. Lo I am thine entirely from this moments and, above all things, wish and pray, That the Intimacy and Friendship thus contracted, may continue firm and ina violable, that nothing may abate our Love, and the Delights of it, or ever part our Persons any more.
CH A P. XIV.
An Act of Exciting Devotion by the Example of
Disciple.) O he which thois hoft laid Psalm xxxi
. imp for them that fear thee! When I reflect with what ardent Piety, with whac affectionate Devotion, with what an eager Zeal, thy Saints approach this heaven ly Supper; Shame and Confusion overwhelm me quițe, conscious of my own but lukewarni at the best, and too too often perfectly stupid and frozen Heart';
with what Indifference and Coldness I approach thy Mysteries, and how unaffected with thy Mercies, how unprofitable under the gracious Dispensation, I return. What a Reproach is it, that my Heart should not be all inflamed with the Excess of thy Love, that I should have no Senfe, no Apprehension, of my greateft Happinefs? no Hungrings and Thirstings after it ? But, notwithstanding the moving Examples of many excellent Persons, should ftill continue vcit of all Impression, fo fcandalcusly unlike those picus Souls
5 whose Zealoverflow'din Tears of Joy; whose Hearts, as well as Mouths, drink greedily at this Fountain of Life, whose Appetites were fo Itrong as never to be fatisfied, till they had filled themselves with thy bleffed Body, and fed liberally, and with a sort of holy Luxury indulged at this Celestial Banquet.
A Faith so eager, so exalted, plainly confessd they felt thy gracious Presence; and that their Lord was known to them, as heretofore to the Disciples at
Emmers, in breaking of Bread; The burnLuke xxiv. ing of their Hearts vithin them was an irrefragable Testimony of it. But how far short, alas! do I come of their Zeal and Devotion. Look merci fully, Lord, upon my Infirmities, and, if an equal Portion of thy Grace be too great a Favour for thy poor, unworthy Servant, yet grant me luch a degree, such a sense of thy Goodness and wonderful Love, that I may be as sincerely, tho' not so strongly, affected with it. If Raptures and Extasies of Delight may not be my Portioil, yet deny me not Improve· ment; but let my Faith be strengthened, my Hope confirmed, my Love so warmed with this Sacrament, that, after having once taited this heavenly Manna, I may never more desire the Onions and Garlick of Egypt, nor in my Heart turn back from so good a God.
I know thy Mercy and thy Power, to which ncthing is imposible, nothing tard. I know thou canst,
and I hope in thy good time thou wilt visit me with more abundant Measures of thy Grace, and fulfil all my desire. This Confidence I cherish, because
ту very Defires are from thee: And it is some Comfort to me, that, tho'I am sensible of my Weakness and my Wanits, yet Ilong and pant after Supplies and Strength; that I am not content with my Misery, but labour, and pray against my Defects, and would fain be better. . And thus I will continue to do, till thou remove and vanquilh my Frailţies, inspire a bright andar.dent Zeal, and make me a happy Partaker, first of the virtuous Disposition of thy devouter Saints, and then of their Reward and Happiness.
CHA P. XV.
Grace is the Reward of Humility and Self denial.
Cbrift.] Ince thy Wishes are so commendable, and
thy Defires of Grace, fincere, I will instruct thee, how thou shalt obtain it. Know then this Blessing is suspended upon certain Conditions. It must be fought inftantly, asked fervently, waited for patiently, received thankfully, preserved by Humility, improved with Diligence, and the Time and Measures of receiving it submitted entirely to the Wifdom and Goodness of the heavenly Giver. If thou feel few or no Sparks of it in thy Mind, this is a proper Sabject to exercise thy Meekness and godiy Sorrow, but not to provoke Despair or immoderate Concern. For God frequently gives that in an Instant, and with a liberal Hand, which Men had long expecta ed without Success. He gratifies their Conitancy and Patience, their Importunity and Perseverance in Prayer, with Benefits, which excellent Reasons moved limu