« 前へ次へ »
CH A P. XXXIX.
Disciple.] J N having God, I have all things. For whom can I bave in Heaven but
Pfal.lxxiii, Thee, and what is there upon Earth that I can desire in comparison of thee? Oh sweet and comfortable Words ! But this is a Sweetnefs, which none can taste, but they who love the Word of God, and not the World, neither the Things that be in the World. My God to me is All ; I need add 17obn ii. 15. no more. The Men of purified Understandings find this enough, and they of purified and heavenly Affections cannot repeat it too often. When thou art present, Amiction and Death are pleasant; for in thy Favour is Life and Joy. When thou art absent, Life it self is a Burthen; for thy Difpleafure is worse than Death. Thou makest a merry Heart, a chearful Countenance, in Thee is abundance of Peace, and a continual Feast. Thou givest me right Notions of all Events, and rendrest every Accident a Matter of Joy and Praise to me. Without thee Prosperity it self is nauseous, and I loath my very Mercies. For nothing here below can please our Palate, unlefs thy Favour and Wisdom give it a grateful Relish. To him
that feeds delightfully on thee, every bitter Morsel is sweet ; but they who want or flight that heavenly Entertainment, find the most delicious Dainties harsh and bitter.
They, who are wise for the World and the Flesh, are most defective in the true and heavenly Wisdom. The Casnal Wisdom ends in Guilt and Death, and the worldly Wisdom pursues Vanity and empty Pomp. But they, who are wise indeed, conform themselves to thy Example, by a Contempt of all earthly Greatness,
and a vigorous Mortification of their sensual Appetites and Passions ; they disdain the Shadow, and lay hold on the Substance ; pass from Fallhood to Truth, and from Body to Spirit. These are the Men, who love and delight in God; and find no Satisfaction in the Creatures, farther than as they promote the Honour, and serve the Purposes, of the great Creator. The Joys they minister are subordinate and limited : Not inherent and natural, but by reflection only ; and every Thing is esteemed, in proportion as it tends to its Maker's Use and Praise. So very unlike, so infinitely different, is the pleasure we feel from the Creator and the Creature ; from the boundless Ocean of Eternity, and the narrow Tract of Time ; from the original Self-existent Light, and those faint Beams shot down on Things here below.
Shine then, O Light everlasting, in comparison whereof, all created Lights are but a lefs degree of Darkness. Convey thy self into my benighted Soul, purge and dispel the Clouds of Error there, purify my polluted Affections, cheer my Sadness, enliven my stupid Mind and all its Faculties; that I may rejoice and triumph, and bask in thy bright Beams. O! when will that happy, that long-wished for Hour approach, when I shall be filled with thy Luftre, and satisfied with thy Presence, and my God be my All in all? For sure I am, till that blessed Time, my Joys must be imperfect. I feel, alas! I feel and lament in my felf, fome Remains of the Old Man ftil. Scourged he is, but not entirely Crucified ; Wounded and Bruised, but not quite Dead. My Flesh, in despight of all my painful Labours,continues to lust against the Spirit ; and a domestick War distracts and breaks the Peace and good Government of my Mind. This cannot exercise its just Dominion without perpetual Broils and tumul
tuous Insurrections. But, o thou, who Pfal. Ixvi. ruleft the Raging of the Sea, and filleft the
Waves thereof, when they arise, come speedily to my Affistance, and quell this Storm. Scatter ny Enemies that delight in blooch and beat them down, O Lord, my Defence. Exert thy mighty Power, and get thee Honour by this Conquest. For thou, O Lord, my God, art my only Hope and Helper: O save, or I perish.
Ć HA P. XL:
O not suppose, my Son, that in this World
thou ever canst be in a Condition absolute Safety. Dangers and Enemies await thee every where. Violence and Stratagems are perpetually employed for thy Ruin; and therefore the Weapons of thy Spiritual Warfare must not be laid aside ; for useful they are, and always necessary, during this State of Mortality. Cover thy self then with the Shield of Wisdom, and Faith ; for, if thou expose thy Person without this Defence, the fiery Darts of the Wicked will quickly gall and wound thee. And, if Dexterity and Diligence in the Use of thy Arms be not animated by a Mind fixed entirely upon Me, and a vigorous Resolution of enduring the worst that can happen for my Sake; the Engagement will be found too hot, and that Crown of the Blessed, which is the Reward of Perseverance, can never belong to thee. Call up thy Courage then, and exert thy uia most Strength, as Occasions of Combat Rev. ii. fhall offer. For to bin that overcometb will I give the bidden Manna ; but Misery and Destruction is the Portion of faint: hearted and feeble; slothful and sleeping Soldiers.
If then these are the Conditions of thy Obedie and Reward; think how abfurd it is for them who dulge their Ease here, to expect Peace and Happi hereafter. In one of the two States Enduring 1 be thy Lot; and therefore tough Patience, and soft Repose, is what thou fhould'st labour for at sent. For Rest and undisturbed Content have no Place on Earth, nor can the greatest Afluen worldly Good procure them; but their Dwell. in Heaven only, and they are peculiar to the and Fruition of God alone. In Obedience to his Will, you should contentedly undergo Labour and Toil, Tryals and Troubles, Distress and Anguish of Heart, Poverty and Want, Infirmities and Diseases, Injuries and Affronts, Scandal and Reproach, Disparagement and Disgrace, Punishment and Torture. These whet and brighten a Christian's Virtue, exercise and distinguish him. These Thorns are woven into Wreaths of Glory ; and to fuch faithful Servants I repay for their short Hardship an endless Recompence; and, for the Shame, which is prefently forgotten, Lawrels that never fade, Crowns always bright, and Honours firm and immortal, as my own.
These are the Difficulties of the present State, which Men are to be upon their Guard against from without. But alas! they must not hope always to enjoy Peace and Satisfaction within. No, even the Saints of old, whose purer Innocence and eminent Virtues might better entitle them to this Tranquillity, yet often found
occasion to complain, That their Heart Pfal.lv, cxliii.
was disquieted, their Spirit defolate, and an borrible Dread overzuhelmed them. Doubts and Scruples, Temptations and Fears, and cutting Perplexities of Heart, are frequently the Lot of the most excellent Persons. But in all these Streights the Good behave themselves with Meekness and Patience, reposing their Confidence in God, and humbly distrutting them
selves, but fupported with the Hopes of Divine Grace and Favour, to comfort and assist them; and with the Consideration, that the Sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the Glory that sha!l be revealed in them. This was the Case of those glorified Saints, who are thy Patterns. And, what Pretence canst Thou have, to hope for that Joy in present, which They waited long for, and purchased at the Expence of fore Pains and many Tears, and great Difficulties; and thought themselves well paid even thus? Wait then thy Master's Leisure, quit thy self manfully, banish Impatience and Distrust, persevere in Faith and good Works; Grudge not to lay out Per-fon, Life, All, for the Service and Glory of God;
and doubt not, but I will one Day abundantly reward, and in the mean time will stand by thee, to sustain and deliver thee in every Danger and Calamity.
CH A P.
Of despising the Vain Cenfures of Men.
Christ.] Y Son, repose thy Soul upon God,
cast all thy Care there, and let it be thy great, thy only Concern, to approve thy self to Him. When this is done, a Man should not much regard what the World thinks of him, nor fear the Censures of Others, while his own Conscience bears Testimony to his Piety and Innocence. To be ill thought of, is sometimes for thy good; it conforms thee to the Image of thy Saviour; and if thy Soul, like his, be meek and humble; if thou seek not thy own Glory, but his that sent thee; the AMiction will not be very grievous to be born. The Opinions of Men are: as many and as different as their Perfons;