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Che Chird Book.
Digested into Conferences between CHRIST

and the Soul of his Disciple.

i'

CH A P. I.

The Happiness of such a Conversation.

Disciple.] Will bear what the Lord God

Pfal.lxxxv.8. will say concerning me. For blessed is the Soul, which hears the Lord

speaking, and feels the transporting Comforts of his Gracious Words. Blessed are the Ears, which, with a greedy Attention, drink in the soft

, and gentle Whispers of his Spirit ; while they continue obstinately deaf to the treacherous Insinuations of this deluding World. And doubly blessed are They, who hear the Sound of Truth, not only in the Outward Administrations of the Word, but by the Inward and Familiar Communications and Motions

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of infused Grace. Blessed those Eyes, which are shut to all the Objects of the World, and constantly wakeful and open to the Affairs of the Soul, and turned inward upon one's self. - Blessed are they whose Sharper Sight enters deep, and pierces into the secret and fublime Mysteries of Heavenly Truth ; purged and prepared by Spiritual Meditations, and Daily Exercise of Holy Duties

. Blessed indeed are they, who disengage themselves from all Worldly Incumbrances, and gain Leisure and Opportunities for attending continually upon God alone.

Consider this, my Soul, and shake off Sensual Defires, which must be first abandoned, before thou canst listen with due Reverence and Attention to those Things, which the Lord God will speak. And, O!

what comfortable Words are those, I am Fobn xiv. Gen. xvii.

thy Peace; thy Life, thy Salvation, and ex

ceeding great Reward. Come unto me, thoil Matth. xi. that art weary and beavy laden, and thou

Malt find rest unto thy Sout. Set thy AffeColof. iii.

{tions on Things above, and not on Things 2 Cor. iv. on the Earth. For the Things that are seen

are temporal, but the Things that are not seen are eterial. What are all things here below, but dangerous and empty Delusions? And what could it profit a Man to gain, though it were all the Creatures, if he be forsaken and cast off by the Creator? In him alone is Pleasure, and Blifs, and Glory. Therefore let go those cheating Shadows, and embrace the only subItantial Good ;-bid a final Adieu to the Deceits of the World, and place all thy Love and Endeavours upon thy God; for in his Service and Acceptance thou shalt attain the End of thy Wishes, the Fruit of thy Labours, folid Satisfaction and true Happiness.

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Peak,

I Sam. iii. heareth. Bebold, I am thy Psalm cxix. Servant, and the Son of thy Handmaid; O give me Uilderstanding, tbat I may learn thy Cornmandments. Incline my Soul to the Words of thy Mouth,

Deut. xxxii. which drop down as the Rain upon the tender Herb, and distil gently, like Dew upon the Grass. The Ifraelites indeed befought Moses heretofore, Speak thou unto us, and we will hear, but let not God speak unto us, left we die. But let it Exod. xx. 19.1 not be so done unto me, my God. I rather chuse to make my humble Petition in the Prophet Samuel's Form; Speak, Lord, for thy Servant beareth. Let not Mofes, nor any of the Prophets be my only Instructor, but do thou thy self also vouchsafe to teach me by thy self. For thou art the Source of all their Light and Knowledge. They could not utter Truth without thy Inspiration and Heavenly Guidance;, but Thou art Effential Wisdom and Truth, and canst communicate thy self effectually to my Soul.

Their Words, alas, are Air and empty Sound, but Thine alone are Spirit and Life. Their Expressions may be proper; their Arguments moving, but unless thou break Silence, my Soul will still continue deaf and insensible. They deliver the Words, but thou art the Interpreter, and lettest me into the true and hidden Sense of their abftrufe Oracles. Their Books are sealed, and only Thy Hand can open and explain them. From Them we receive the Command, but only from Thee the Disposition to Obey, and the whole Power of performing it. They shew the Way, but thou impartest the Strength to walk in it; All They

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can do, is still remote and without us. Thou only entrest into the Soul, and, by a secret Conveyance, pute'st

Truth in the Inward Parts. Paul may i Cor. iii.

plant, and Apollos water, but except thou

be pleased to give the Increase, the Word Ifc. iv.

will return unto thee void, and accomplish no part of the End, whereto thou senteft it. The Voice of their Cry pierces our Ears; but the knowing what they cry, and the Impression upon our Hearts, is thy peculiar Gift.

Therefore, I cannot but implore again thy Grace and Mercy, and beg, that Moses may not speak to me, but Thou, my Lord, my God, the only and Eternal Truth, left I die; Not by the Terrors of thy thundring Voice, but by the effectual Communications of thy Will. For if I be instructed and admonished by: the Outward Ministration only, and be not inwardly disposed, and zealously affected to Obedience, the Advantages of Instruction will but aggravate my Condemnation. For this is the dismal Consequence of

the Word preached 10t profiting, when it Heb. iv.

is not mixed with Faith in them that bear it. And mixed with Faith thou knoweft it cannot be, except seconded and enforced by the Voice of thy Spirit ; except thou incline me to love the Good I know, and enable me faithfully to fulfil the Doctrine I believe. Speak therefore, Lord, I say again; To thee

thy Servant listens gladly, for Thou haft Fohn iv.

the Words of Eternal Life. Speak pow-, erfully to'my Soul, and carry the Saving Truths home to my Conscience and Affections; that thy Words may bring Comfort and Peace, Reformation and Ho, liness to thy attentive Servant, and to thy self immortal Honour and Praise.

Сн А р.

CH A P. III.

Of the General Disregard to God's Word, and the

Obedience due to it, ;

. Ince then,

fireft , Ears to my Words. Words, which well deserve, and will abundantly reward thy most diligent Attention; For they are sweet and charming, far above all the engaging Arts of Human Eloquence; useful and instructive, beyond the most laboured Systems of Philofophy. The Wisdom of this World could not invent, or order, nor can it comprehend them. The Mysterious Truths they declare are too strong for Human Sense to behold ; nor canst thou enter into their Secrets, till guided by that Light from whence they flow. My Precepts are pure and spiritual, such as a Carnal and Impure Heart can find no Relish in. My every Word is of Weight; and spoken, not to entertain the Curious, and tickle Itching Ears, but to subdue the Heart, and command a strict Obedience. Hear therefore, but hear as becomes thee, with respectful Silence, and entire Submission ; with profound and awful Humility; with an earnest Desire to be taught ; and sincere and vigorous Resolutions of doing as thou art taught.

Disciple. ] I own the mighty Favour, and heartily acknowledge, with thy Holy Prophet, That Blessed is the Man whom thou chastneft, O Lord, and teacheft him in thy Law; That thou Psal. xciv. mayeft give bim Strength in time of Adversity, left be fall away with the Ungodly.

Chrift.] That Prophet spoke what I inspired, and so did all those Holy Men of old; for they were all of my sending. Nor is my Care at all abated now, tho'

the

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