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CHA P. XIV.
Now, my Son, that the Man who refu.
ses Obedience, rejects the Grace, and excludes himself from the Favour of God; And, by seeking his own private Advantage inordinately, breaks the Order, and obstructs the Good of the Publick. Disrespect and Contumacy to Superiors, is an infallible Mark of Rebellious Appetites, and of Paffions not reduced to the Governance of Reason and Religion. Submission therefore is of great Use, for fubduing the Flesh and its Lufts; and a good Preservative against Temptations. For the foreign Enemy will be more successfully opposed, when thy Domestick one is first vanquished, and All quiet within. And Man himself is his own worst Enemy. Nor are his Circumstances ever more full of Danger, than when the Sensitive raises Insurrections, and would dethrone the Rational Soul. And, in order to this bringing the Inferior Paculties to Reason, an humble Opinion of your self is necessary ; For Partiality and Pride are at the bottom of all the Disorders in thy own Breaft, and all the Disturbance given by unruly Men to Society, and good Government, of all Kinds.
And what such mighty Merit is there in this Submission ? What Disparagement can it be thought to Thee, who art Duft and Vileness, when thou remem breft, That I my self, the Almighty Majesty of Heaven, and the Lord of all the Universe; I, who created
Thee, and the whole World, out of Nothing, did yet condescend to a State of Subjection, and appeared in the very lowest, most servile, and despicable Form, for thy fake, who art Nothing? And why, but that so
thy Pride might have no Pretence to support it, after so eminent a Pattern of Humility ? Learn then, thou Wretch, to humble thy self; and like that Earth, of which thou art, be even content to be trampled upon, and trodden under Foot : Lay thy self, like the Streets, to the Feet of insulting Men who walk over thee, and never rest till thou hast broken thy own Perverseness, and art in a constant Readiness to comply with every just Command of all who have Authority over thee.
Till this be done, pursue thy Passions with remorseless Indignation, and spare them not, till the Remains of Pride be absolutely suppressed and killed in thy Heart. And if thou sometimes find ill Usage and Tyrannical Barbarity, yet still consider, thou art but a Man, and ought'st not to complain ; nay, rather consider, that thou art a Sinner, in Juftice configned over to Hell and Eternal Fire ; and let the Anger of an offended God, which strictly is thy Portion and Desert, check thy Resentments of the Infolence and Injuries, the Reproachful Treatment, and unjuftifiable Hardships, which Men may sometimes offer to thee. This Wrath of God thou haft provoked, but I in Mercy spared thee, I had Compassion on thy Soul, and ranfomed it from Death by my own Blood. And canst thou think, that no Return is due for such Mercy? Yes; know, that I require thou shouldst be fensible of the astonishing Greatness of my Love, and fhew that Sense by Gratitude and Humility ; by a modest and respectful Observance of my Representatives here below; and by not disdaining to suffer any Shame and Contempt, any Injustice and Barbarity, when Providence and Duty call thee to it, which I, thy Mafter, thy God, did not grudge to undergo for thy Sake, whilst conversing in human Flesh upon Earth. .
С на Р.
CH A P. XV.
TE R in
Disciple.] Hen thou, Lord, utterest thy Voice in
Judgments, my Joints are loosed, my Limbs quake for Fear, my very Soul is confounded, and trembles at thy Thunder. In the midst of these
Horrors I begin to reflect, that the Heavens Fob xxv.
themselves are not pure in thy fight, and that even the Angels thou baff charged with Folly. If then those exalted Intellectual Spirits were not able to stand before thee, and kept not their first Eftate, What must become of such a Wretch as I am ? If even the Stars fell from the Firmament, how can Duft and Alhes hope to escape ? They, who did eat Angels Food, degenerated from their Primitive Excellence, and fed on Husks with Swine ; how then should a Creature pre serve its Innocence, whose yery Original is impure?
This, Lord, convinces me, that there is no Holi ness but what is derived from thee alone; no Wisdom without thy Governance ; no Strength a sufficient Defence, if thou withdraw thy Gracious Protection ; no Continence or Abstemiousness effectual, except thou guard it ; no Watchfulness against the Enemy, unless thy wakeful Eyes keep all our Approaches, and repulse the Affaults of the Tempter. If thou cease to support us with thy mighty Hand, the Waves fwallow us up ; we sink and perish without thee, and with thee walk upon the Sea in Safety : Weak and unstable are our Resolutions, but thy Grace gives Strength and Per, severance. Cold and timorous are our Hearts, but thou warmest them with Zeal, and inspirest them with Courage: Lift up then, Lord, our Hands that bang
down, and our feeble Knees, that we faint not in this Spiritual Warfare ; and enable those who can do no thing without thee, to conquer all Difficulties through thy Strength.
Í know, O Lord, that if any good thing seem to be in me, yet even this deferves my meanest Opinion, and will in no degree justify my thinking otherwise of my self, than as a most vile and worthless Wretch. And therefore, when thy angry Justice afflicts me, it is my Duty, with the profoundest Humility, to lay my Mouth in the Dust, and meekly submit to thy correcting Hand. For, though I cannot discover all the Reasons of thy Mysterious Judgments ; yet this I find no Difficulty to discern, that I myself am nothing, and that I proceeded out of nothing. O the dark Abyfs ! in which I can find nothing relating to myself, but Vanity and Nothing. Where then is the Presumption, where the Pride, the lofty Conceit of my Worth and Virtue ? Whither are all my vain Confidences, and towring Imaginations Aed ? Thy Judgments, Lord, have swept them away like a Torrent ; and all are sunk in those unsearchable Depths. These shew me to my felf, and justify the Prophet's Rebuke, Shall the Clay exalt it self against the Pot- [a xiv.
Jer. xviii. ter that fashioned it? Behold, as the Clay is in the Hands of the Potter, fo is every Mortal Man in thị Had, 0 Lord.
And is it possible for that Soul to swell with Info, lence and vain Conceit, which is duly sensible of thy Majesty, and submits to it, with that Lowliness and resigned Submission which thy Truth directs ? No, no, Not all the Voices of Mankind, conspiring unanimously in his Praise, can blow him up to fond Conceits of his own Excellence, when once his Hopes and Heart are fixed on God. For he considers, that all these are but so many Copies of himself; frail and fee ble, deceivable and perishing, Emptiness and Nothing.
That they, as well as their Words, are only Air and Sound, and both will quickly vanish together; but God
and his Truth remain for evermore. Cease
therefore from Man, for wherein is be to be accounted of? and endeavour to have Praise of
Him, who refifteth the Proud, but in his I Pot. iv.
own due time exalteth them, who humble themselves under his mighty Hand,
C H A P. XVI.
ET this, my Son, be the Language and
Style of all thy Prayers ; Lord, if it be tby Pleasure, grant me this Request ; If what I ask comduce to thy Glory, do thon be pleased to give and prosper it ; Lord, if Thou, to whom all Things and their consequences are perfectly known, seest that this will be for my true Advantage, not only bestow it, but, with it, Grace to use it to thy Glory : But if thou seeft it may prove hurtful to me, do not only deny my Petitions, which proceed from Ignorance and Miftake ; but remove far from me the very Desire of that, which cannot be obtained without my Prejudice. This last is a very reasonable and expedient Re
because many Desires, which seem, not innocent only, but even virtuous and wife, profitable and praise-worthy, in a Man's own Eyes, are yet neither inspired by God, nor agreeable to his Will : Nor is it easy to discern, whether one be acted by a good or evil Spirit ; or whether, in the Matter of his Prayers, his own Inclination and private Respects do not determine him. And many a one, who hath fancied the Impulse of Divine Grace, and persuaded himfelf, that he hath been directed and acted by it all a