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to deny to their first Requests, for the Petitioners mighty advantage.
Should Mens earliest Expectations be answered, or prevented, the mighty Blessing would be too exquisite for frail Nature to bear. And therefore holy Raptures, and exalted Virtue, are wisely made the flow Fruit of long Time, and much Pacience. But, when thy Desires are not fulfilled, when thou receivell no Increase, or when the Grace thou once enjoyed'ft is insensibly withdrawn; charge not God foolishly, but lament thy fins, as the Occasion of this Unhappiness
. A small Provocation may sometimes be a Bar to great Advantages. Tho'nothing indeed ought to be reputed small, which intercepts and hinders so valuable Blefsings. But be it little or great, let it be thy care to vanquish and remove this Obstruction, and then thy Heart's Desire shall be performed.
When once corrupt Self-love is subdued, and thy Soul entirely submitted and resigned to God, Peace and Satisfaction will flow in apace upon thy Mind. For nothing can be grievous or unpalatable, to one, who hath renounced all Interests of his own, and hath no Inclinations or Desires left, but only, that he may be made an Instrument of God's Glory, and have all the Counsel of the Divine Will, which is always best fulfilled in and upcn him. This Man so weaned from private Respects and all created Comforts, is in a proper Posture for receiving Grace, and tasting the spiritual Delights of Contemplation and Devotion. The Vessel must be empty, before Grace can be poured in; and when it is perfectly so, God delights to fill it up to the Brim. The more a Man is dead to the World and himself, the more heavenly-minded, the more mortified and humble : the swifter are the Motions of heavenly Grace towards him, the more liberal are its Distributions, the more sensible, and delightful, and wonderful, its Comforts and Effects upon his Heart.
Then shall he see the loving Kindness of the Lord, then shall he feel his Soul and all its Powers enlarged, and even stand amazed at the happy Change. Lol thus shall the Man be blessed that feareth, and seeketh the Lord with all his Strength, and suffereth not his Heart to wander after Vanity. This Man shall receive the Blessed Sacrament with wondrous Efficacy, He shall as truly be united to Christ in his Soul, as the Bread and Wine, which represent him, are incorporated with the Substance of his Body. And that which inclines God to be fo particularly Propitious and Bountiful to such a one, is that resigned Temper of Mind, which proposes the Advancement of God's Honour and Glory, rather than his own Profit ; and comes, more out of a Sense of Duty and just Homage to his Saviour, than with a Prospect of Comfort and Satisfaction to himself.
C H A P. XVI.
A Prayer for Relief in our Wants and Spiritual
Ear' me, O sweetest , kindeft Jesus,
whom I now approach, with most hearty desires of receiving thee into my Soul. But how can I expect, that thou wilt not despise a Place so unfit to entertain thy pure , thy glorious Majesty ? Thou knoweft, Lord, my Weaknesses and my Wants ; how great my Sufferings, and how black my Sins; how. I am oppressed and afficted, tempted and overpower'd; disordered with Passion, and stained with Pollution. To Thee I fly for Succour against my Infirmities, for Physick against my Diseases, for Support under my Calamities and Distresses. I cannot dissemble my Con
Book IV: dition, I need not publish it ; when addressing to One who knows all things, to whom my very inward Parts are naked and open ; To Him, who alone can give effectual Relief to my Sorrows, and supply my crying Necessities. Thy Wisdom knows what Succours are most seasonable and proper for my Circumstances, and how very slender and low my Stock of Virtue is.
Behold, I stand before thee, a helpless Creature ; Rev. iii.
Miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked,
and weak, imploring thy Grace, or at least some Fragments of it, to this hungry starving Beggar. Olet me not be famished, but revive this sinking Wretch with some Crumbs of heavenly Sustenance. Let me not perish with Cold, but warm me with thy Love; Let me not fall into the Pit, but enlighten my blind Eyes with the Shine of thy gracious Presence. Give me a settled Disrelish of worldly Pleasures, and make all here below insipid and bitter to me. Reconcile me to Crosses and Aflictions by Submiffion and steady Patience ; and lessen
every thing in this World, whether Enjoyment or Suffering, by teaching me to despise and forget it. Raise my stupid Heart up to Heaven, and secrle my Affections there, that they may no longer wildly rove after the trifling Objects of Flesh and Se.se. Let me henceforth taste Delight in nc
thing but Thee, nor Spend my Money and fa. iv.
Labour for that which is not Bread; for thou alone art Meat indeed, and Drink indeed, my Love and Joy, my Delight, and exceeding great Reward, my perfect and fole Good.
O that, now I am approaching the Throne of Grace, thou would'st command thy Divine Fire to descend from Heaven into my Soul! O that my Sins and corrupt Dispositions might be the Burnt-offering confumed by it that it might flame, and burn, and inele me down, purge away all my Dross, and by the violence of its powerful Heat refine, and change, and
incorporate me with thy felf. Let me not, I beseech thee, be sent empty away, let me not return hungry and thirsty from fo fplendid an Entertainment ; but work in me mightily, and deal bountifully with thy Servant, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy Name. I hope to find a wondrous Alteration, and cannot think it strange, if I feel my benummed Heart all sublimated, when I come to that Fire which ever burns without consuming ; Or if I find an entire Separation of all my worldly and gross Affections, when heated throughly with that Love, whose Excellence it is, to purifie the Heart by the Activity, and to enlighten blind Understandings by the brightness of its Flame.
C H A P. XVII.
An A&t of Praise.
Disciple. Look down, Lord, wich Favour and
good Acceptance thy . worthy, but sincere Servant, now proftrating himself before thine Altar; with a most devout Zeal, and all the passionate and tender Resentment of which my Heart is capable: Wishing still, that these good Atfections were greater and worthy of thee, and that I might meet and embrace my Lord, with all that Perfection of Holiness and eager Joy, by which thy best and dearest Saints recommended their Prayers and Praises, and so eminently signalized themselves in the Celebration of this Blefled Sacrament Love and Life, my only and eternal Biiss, Were but my Power proportioned to my Will, None of those excellent Patterns ever express d more awful Reverence, more ardent Devotion, more cager Love, more
O God! my
humble Gratitude, than I at this time am difpofed, and most carnestly wish to express.
I know, O Lord, how far I am from being worthy to receive at thy Hand such plentiful Effusions of Grace, such distinguishing Marks of thy Kindnefs, as enabled them to be so pious and exemplary in all their Addresses to thee : But yet my Heart, and all its Affections, such as they are, I dedicate to thy Service. The utmost a devout Mind can conceive or desire, I offer in thy Presence with all possible Respect, with Sincerity as unfeigned, as if 'my Zeal were much more bright and fierce. I do it without the least Referve ; All I have and am, is entirely thine ; most freely consecrated to thy use, my God and Lord, my Almighty Creator, and most merciful Redeemer : Take then a full Poffeffion of One, upon so many Accounts thy own. Enter, and dwell, and reign in me, absolute, and for ever. Behold, I open my Arms wide to embrace my Lord, and Spouse ; I desire at this time to receive thee into my Heart, with the fame Reverence and Humility, the same respectful Gratitude and Love, the fame Faith and Hope, and chafte Desire, with which thy holy Mother received thee into her Virgin-womb;: when she returned that pious Answer to the Angel who brought the glad
Tidings of thy mysterious Incarnation, Luke i.
Behold the Handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to thy Word. And, as thy Servant John Baptist, that greatest a
mong them that are born of Women, thy Like i.
Messenger sent to prepare thy Way before thee, felt the powerful Influence of the Divine Prefence, and confess'd it, by leaping in his Mother's Womb for Joy; As He, ascribing nothing to himfelf,
did afterwards declare himself the Bride
groam's Friend, whose Joy was full in hearing the Bridegroom's Voice ; So do I desire to offer my self with