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dispose of such Matters. The Consciousness of my own Sins convinces me, I have deserved, that all the Creatures should conspire and make War against me. To Me belongs Shame and Confusion, but to Thee only Honour and Praise is due. And thou hast taught me, that to bear Contempt, and Hatred, and barbarous Treatment, with Humility and Patience, is the only Method of attaining inward Peace, and true Satisfaction ; The Virtue which must recommend me to thy Favour; the best Predisposition for Light and Grace; and the furest, closest Band of Union with
CH A P. XLVII.
Friendship of Men.
fection or Acquaintance of the best, the greatest Man alive, will always find his Mind unsettled and perplexed. For even the Best and Greatest are but Mortals; and the effectual Remedy against immoderate Concern for their being taken away from thee, will be to court the Favour of an Eternal and Immortal Friend. Now, the less Confidence any Man reposes in any Earthly Comfort, so much the more he ingratiates himself with God. The better he acquaints himself with his own Vileness, and the less he is in his own Eyes, the higher he rises in God's Esteem. But they, who vainly fancy any thing that is good or meritorious in themselves, put an effectual Bar to Divine Grace. For this is given to the Humble, and the Spirit of God chuses the contrite Heart for the place of his peculiar Residence. Would'st thou aban
don Self-conceit, and wean thy Heart from all Fondo ness for the Creatures, it is not to be imagined what Comforts, what overflowing Joys, I would infuse into thy Soul. But, while these employ thy Thoughts and Desires, thou art diverted from all higher Objects, and by being too intent upon his Works, lofest and forgettest the Almighty Maker. Learn then to subdue thy own Will, that thou may'st clearly under
stand, and readily comply with mine. For any other ni Objećt, tho never fo trifting and inconsiderable in its th own Nature, yet, if unduly priz'd, and immoderate
ly. loved, corrupts the Mind, and checks its afpiring after the Chief, the only Good.
CH A P. XLVIII.
O not, my Son, suppose, that the Excel
lence of a Man consists in Subtilty of Wit, or Quaintness of Expression. For the Kingdom of God does not lie in Elegance of Speech, or Fineness of Parts, but in Innocence of Life and Good Works. Let my Words be thy Principal Study; for these awaken Attention, enlighten the Understanding, kindle a holy Zeal, provoke true Contrition, and heal the Wounds they make, with the Spiritual Balm of Grace and folid Comfort. Let not the growing Wifer and more Learned be the End thou propofest to thy self in Reading ; but read, that thou may'st be qualify'd to practise, and let thy Knowledge be seen by subduing thy Vices and Paffions. For this is Improvement indeed, and will turn to better Account, than the nicest and most distinguishing Skill, in all the Controversies and difficult Points, that ever employed 4
the Tongues and Pens of wrangling Logicians, Philofophers, and Divines. And when thou hast run thro the whole Compass of Learning, yet all will turn at last upon one single Point; and the whole Profit of thy Pains lies in a narrow room.
If thou wilt be knowing indeed, learn of Me; for I am the only Mafter that teach Men Knowledge. I give more perfect, more fublime Understanding to Babes, to the Humble and Sincere, than all the Celebrated Sons of Art have ever been able to do. And those whom I instruct, grow truly wise, are presently enlightned and refined, and, by an astonishing Profícience in Virtue, outstrip all the admired Schemes of Morality. Most wretched are those Vain Men, who with infinite Toil and Time, lay themselves out upon the unprofitable Curiosities of Human Wisdom, and take no Pains to inform themselves in their Duty to Me. The Hour alas ! draws on apace, when their Master Christ shall come with terrible Pomp, and call each Man to strict Account, and found every Con
science to the Bottom. Then fball Jeru
salem be searched with Candles ; then shall the hidden Things of Darkness be brought to Light; and no Man's Eloquence or Subtilty of Arguing Thall do him any Service, before that All-feeing Judge. I raise the Meek, and Man of Mean Sense, in an Instant; and teach him at once the Grounds of Eternal Truths, better than a Course of many Years spent in Laborious Study, and the most exquisite Methods of Schools and Universities. I bring Men to Right Apprehensions of Things, without any Noise of Words, without the Formality of Systems, or Vain Oftentations of Gaviling Sophistry, or Regular Disputing. Of Me alone Men learn to despise the World, to think Things present below their Pains and Care, to love and seek those that are Heavenly and Eternal, to decline Honours, to bear Injuries and Affronts, to
trust and hope in Me alone, to wish for no-
Some Disciples of mine have made such wonderful Improvements under me, as even to speak Things above Human Comprehension ; and grown wiser in Solitude and Cloisters, than any Conversation of Learned Men, or Volumes and Libraries never so carefully perused, could have made them. But this is not every Man's Cafe ; for I do not communicate to all alike. Same I instruct in common Matters, Others in abftrufe and peculiar Notions. And, as the Measure and Quality of the Matter, so the Manner of Imparting it, is very different. To Some I have
self in Figures and Parables, Dreams and Mystick Representations ; to Others I have reveald the most important Secrets in the most clear intelligible Method. Books speak alike to all, but all are not qualified to be taught by them alike. But I, instead of dead Letters presented to the outward Senses, perform my Business within, I fill the Mind with Truth, fuit my self to each Man's Genius and Capacity, search every corner of the Heart, understand their most retired Thoughts, inspire good Desires, promote and finish those Desires by bringing them to Action, and deal to every one the various Gifts of my Spirit, in such Kinds and Proportions, as I see most useful and seasonable.
CHA P. XLIX.
bea N many Things, my Son, content thy felf
with being ignorant, and chuse to live as a Man Dead, while among the Living; One, whose Thoughts and Affections are crucified to all the World; and all the World to Them. Many Things are to be overlook'd, as if you faw them not : Thy Mind drawn off from the distracting Variety of Objects, and faften'd close down to the Things that make for thy Peace and Salvation. In controverted Points, 'tiş generally much better to content one's felf with avoiding Erroneous Opinions, and their Vicious Confequences, and leave others to abound in their own Sense, (where their Difference from thee does not apparentsy hazard their Souls) than to engage in hot Difputes, and spend thy precious Hours in wrangling and fierce Contention. And even in Disputes, not to be hot and pertinacious ; For, if God and Truth be on thy fide, and thou canst with Comfort appeal to thy Judge above, thy Concern will not be great for Victory and Approbation below.
Disciple.] Alas! Lord, what a wretched Cafe is this World in? How distant from this meek and abstracted Temper of Mind ? Trifling Lofs is serioufly lamented. A little fordid Gain engages Mens Time, and Labour, and Thoughts. The Day is too fhort for their Vigorous Pursuits, and Anxious Cares break their Sleep ; while all their Spiritual Concerns lie neglected and forgotten. Their Diligence and Study is determin’d to Matters of small or no Importance ; and the One Thing Necessary is laid aside, as if it were not worth a single Thought. So vain is Man, fo totally immers’d insensible objects and worldly Cares; and