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CHA P. XXIII.
all Occasions, and above all other Dependances; for he is the only sure Refuge, the Eternal Rest of the Saints. Grant me thy Grace, O fweeteft, kindest Saviour, to value, and love and trust in Thee, above all Things. Make me to prize thee far before Health and Beauty, to desire thee more than Honour and Advancement, more than Riches and Power, more than Wit and Learning ; To rejoice in thee more than in Pleasure and Prosperity, more than in Reputation and Praise, more than in the largest Promises, the highest Deserts, the most exalted Giftság the most transporting Joys, which thou canst impart, or my Heart, when most enlarged, is able to receive. Let me admire thee above Angels, and Arch-Angels, and all the Host of Heaven ; above all Things visible and invisible, more than all that is, or can be, which is not thy own self.
For Thou, my God, art the best and most excellent Being ; In thee alone is Plenty and Fulness, sweet Refreshment, peaceful Comfort, and ravishing Delights ; the Perfection of Beauty and Charming Graces ; true Honour, and adorable Greatness : In Thee, as in its proper Center, all Good meets, and dwells, and hath and doth, and will, continue to abide, from, and to all Eternity. Give then thy self, my dearest Jesus ; for all thou givest, and all thou promisest to give besides, is poor and little, when com pared with the Sight and Fruition of Thee. And I have found, by long Experience, that all thy other Favours, nay, all Nature is too short and narrow to fatisfy my Soul ; whose unbounded Desireş exalt and 4
stretch themselves far beyond all present Enjoyments, and can be filled, and rest contented, with nothing less than Thee.
O my beloved Lord, King of the Universe, knit me to thee with the Bands of an entire and holy Affection. Set me at Liberty from this Clog of Earth, and give me Wings of ardent Zeal, and pure Devotion, that I may soar aloft, and take my flight higher than Heaven it self; and find my Rest in thee. Oh! when will that happy Time come, when I shall be set at liberty from Sin and Corruption, from the Body and the World, and without Interruption, without Állay, taste and feast upon the Sweetness of my God? When will the necessary Cares of this Life cease to distract me, and leave me Power and Leisure to indulge those Longings and Pleasures, which refined and unbodied Spirits feel ; when swallowed up in the Contemplation of thy Divine Excellencies, and even raised above themselves, they know and love, and retire wholly into Thee ? At present I am oppressed with a Load of Infirmities and Corruptions, and often groan under the Sense of my heavy Burthen. The inward Joys, with which thy Grace fupports me, are mingled and embased with Pains and
which cloud, and darken, and deject my Mind; distract my Thoughts, obstruct my eagerest Wishes and Endeavours, and fasten me down to Earth and Misery, when I would fly to thy Embraces. I cannot, in this Vale of Sorrow, enjoy my Lord, my Love ; but wait with Hope, and long fore for that happy Change, which shall translate me to the Spirits of Just Men made perfect, and render me Partaker of their Bliss. But let not, Lord, my Sufferings, and Tears be loft ; Remember and compassionate my present Wretchedness, and grant my Sighs an easy and effectual Access into thy blessed Presence.
Thou Lord, art the Brightness of thy Father's Glory; dart thy reviving Beams into my Soul ; enlighten its dark Place, and scatter its Discomforts: To thee the very Thoughts and inmost Desires of every Heart are known ; By Thee the most secret and silent Wishes are thoroughly understood. O hear me, when I speak in this Language, and pour out my Supplications in Sighs and Griefs, which Words cannot utter. Even when my Tongue lies still, my Thoughts are in motion ; and my Heart within my Breast burns with Inarticulate Ejaculations. “ How long (fay I to my “ felf) how long will my Lord, my Bridegroom de
lay his coming ? O! that he would vouchsafe to “ enter under the Roof of his unworthy and afflicted c Servant ! O that he would stretch forth his Almigh
Hand, and deliver this Wretch, just ready to “ fink, out of all the Misery and Trouble, which “ furround, oppress, and are ready to devour him!
Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly. For without Thee, no Day, no Hour, is easy or comfortable ; for thou art my Hope, my Joy, and all my Worldly Plenty ; but without Thee is the very Extremity of Poverty and Want.
See how I lie in this Prison of the Flesh, Fettered and Bound up with the Chain of my Sin, till the Pitifulness of thy great Mercy loose me, and the Light of thy Countenance, breaking into this darksome Dungeon, assure me of thy Favour and Friendship. Let
Others covet and set their Affections upon such “ wretched Objects, as deluded Sense thinks valuable;
but, as for Me, I will love and long for Nothing, " but Thee, my God, alone ; for Thou, my God,
alone, art my Hope and Happiness ; the only Stay " of my present, and the only Bliss of my
future “ and Eternal State.” Such is, and such shall ever be my Address and fervent Prayer. Nor will I let thee go, until thou bless me ; till thou inspire new Life
with thy Favour ; and dwell in, and converse familie arly with my Soul, by thy Spirit and gracious Presence.
Chrift.] Behold me here, my Son, always attentive to thy Prayers, always ready to extend the Comfort and Relief thou so zealously implorest. Thy Tears and fervent Desires, the Sorrows of thy perplex .ed Heart, and the strong 'Cries of a wounded Conscience, have pierced the Skies, and brought me down to thy speedy Succour and Comfort ; for I am ever nigh to such as be of an humble and contrite Spirit, and my Ears are always open to the Prayers of my Suffering Servants.
Disciple.] I did indeed presume, in the Anguish of my Soul, to beg what I am sensible I cannot deserve, and flee to thee, my God, for Help. And lo! I am sincerely disposed to forfake all and follow thee. Nor will I ascribe to my self the Glory of fo zealous, fo resign’d a Temper: For Thou, Lord, didst work this good Thing in me, and, by thy own preventing Grace, kindle and excite my very first Desires. I prayed, but thou preparedst my Heart
. I sought thee, but it was by thy Impulse and Direction. And for this first Disposition, I return thee my most humble and unfeigned Thanks ; acknowledging it thy best, thy sole Gift, that I have been able so much as to think or intend any good Thing. Since then the whole of what I do or desire well is Thine, my part shall be to cherish every holy Motion, to improve the early and happy Assistances of thy Grace, to submit my
self without any Reserve to thy Holy Guidance, and, in the midst of the very best Performances thou qualifiest me for, constantly and humbly to remember my own Vileness and Impotence. For who, O Lord, is like unto thee? Or what in Heaven or Earth, which hath, or boasts of, any Excellence, can be compared unto my God and Saviour ? Thy Works are just and
true,Thy Precepts right and equitable, Thy Providence great and glorious, And all things are governed by it, after a most wise, and holy, and good, and wonderful Manner. All Honour, and Glory, and Praise, be therefore ascribed to Thee, Eternal Wisdom of thy Eternal Father: May Heaven, and Earth, and all the Creatures, set forth thy Excellencies, and in this general Consort I will join ; My Mouth shall sing thy astonishing Works, thy great Glories ; and I will never cease to praise and adore my God, while I have any Being.
.CH A P. XXIV.
A Thanksgiving for God's Mercies.
Lord, that I may see and obey the Pfal.cxix.
wondrous Things of thy Law : Give me the perfect Knowledge of thy Will, and poffefs me with a reverent and thankful Sense of all thy Goodnefs and Loving-Kindness to Me and to all Men ; that I may shew forth thy Praise, and publish thy Mercies. I know these are so numerous and great, that I can never magnify them worthily : The least of them exceeds my Power to express ; and when I consider them, I am so far from any vain Pretence of Merit, that all my Thoughts are over-pow'er'd and loft in Wonder. For all our Advantages of Mind and Body, of Person and Fortune, those which are Endowments and Ornaments of Nature, and those which exalt and fupply the Defects of Nature, are all the Effects of thy
Bounty and Beneficence ; from whom eveFam. i. 17.
ry good and perfect Gift cometb. Thou art the Common Source, the Universal Rem pository, from whence our Benefits are drawn down. Not to All in equal Proportions, 'tis true ; but, be