CHA P. LVIII. The Grace of God dwells not with Worldly-minded


Cbrift.) T Hind; than that they should submit to be rivall’d by the Blessings of this World; for Heavenly Comforts disdain to mix with those of Earth. If then, my Son, thou desire to be filled full of my Benediction and Grace, all that' obstruct its free Possession of thy Heart must be effectually discarded. Covet Retirement, and prefer private Conversation with thy God, before all the Diversions of Human Society. Esteem no Company fo delightful as thy Glofet and thy Devotions; and there, by fervent Prayers, pour out thy Soul alone, that thy Zeal may be quickned, and thy Peace of Conscience fecured. Let the whole World be mean in thy Esteem, and account it a greater Honour to be called and chosen of God, than any Advantages of Fortune or Advancement can confer." For, be affüred, thy Soul cannot admit of two fuch different Affections, as the Love of Me, and transitory Pleafures. The most intimate Acquaintance and dearest Friends must not stand in Gompetition with Me; but they who will be mine in good earnest, muft follow the Apostle's Pet. jii.

Advice, and behave themselves as Strangers

and Pilgrims in a World which must mortla be disolved. And when that time of this, or their own, Diffolution approaches; the Joy and holy Trust of that Mind, which sits loose to all here below, is more blessed, than Words can express.

But to live thus abftracted and disengaged from the World, is a Perfection not attainable by every common Man; nor can the sensual Person taste the Delights, or enjoy the Liberty of a true fpiritual-State. For this re


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quires a distance to be kept from all external Objects, that those things Human Nature loves most tenderly should be renounced; nay, even that himself thould be fo; for each Man is his own worst Enemy, and the most threatning Dangers rise from within. He that hath gained an entire Conquest over himself, will find no mighty Difficulties to subdue all other Opposition ; and this is a compleat Victory indeed. And when the Sensual Appetite submits readily to the Rational Powers, and those Powers again as readily submit to my Will, this Man is Master

of himself and all the World But they, who would aspire to this perfection, muft set out with Resolution, and early lay the Ax to the Root of the Tree ; that no darling Sin, no corrupt or inordinate Affection, may be left standing. For all that Bitterness and Sin, which is neceffary to be hewn down, in order to an entire Reformation and Heavenly Purity of Heart and Life, are but so many Branches of that corrupt Stock, the irregular Love of a Man's own felf. And when that Stock is killed and cut down, profound Peace, and uninterrupted Happiness, are the Confequents of such Mortification.

The only Reason why so many continue ftill en tangled in fenfual Affections, and find themselves unable to foar above themselves and the Incumbrances here below, is, that very few have attained to the Skill of dying to their own Inclinations, and divesting themselves of narrow and selfish Designs, For He, who affects to converse freely with God, muft first abandon all carnal and immoderate Desires, and get loose from those Intanglements, which clog and fåsten down the Soul to Earth. They who still retain a Fondness of any created Being, by minding temporal Things, shew, that they are content to set up their Rest, short of Heaven and God himself. Set therefore thy Affe

Coloff. iii. 2. {tions on things above, and not on things on the Earth ; for no Man is sufficient for the Service of

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Mat. vi. 24.

two Masters ; nor canst thou Love Me and Mammon both.

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CH A P. LIX. The different Motions of Nature and Grace. Chrift.] E careful, my Son, to distinguish be

tween Nature and Grace, and nicely to observe their different Tendencies and Prospects. For these are so very diftant, fo contrary to each other, and yet withal so intricate, that they require a Spiritual and enlightned Understanding, exactly to difcern them. In the general Desire of Good all Mankind agree. This is the Spur and Spring of every Word and Action; but that which produces so very different Effects from the same Original Caufe, is that Men often mistake Shadows for Substance, and are imposed upon by false Appearances of Good.

Nature acts craftily, allures, ensnares, cheats those that attend to her Wiles, and proposes the gratifying her self, for the end of all she does. Grace deals candidly and sincerely, complies with no Evil, puts no Cheat upon Men, does all with Regard to God, and rests in Him, as its supreme and only End. Nature declines Death and Sufferings, hates Trouble and Sorrow, Subjection and Obedience: Grace is exercised in perpetual Mortification and Self-denial; chuses to be over-ruled, to submit; nay, restrains even lawful and innocent Liberties; does not affect Dominion and Superiority, but chuses to live in a State of Humility and Subjection ; and esteems no Hardship, no Compliance, uneasy, for the sake of God and a good Conscience. Nature is felfish, and always computes what Profit every Action may bring to the Person that does it ; Grace overlooks all private Gain, and


labours chiefly to promote the publick Good. Nature
delights in Honours and Preferments, in a celebrated
Name, and the Commendations of Men: Grace ascribes
all the Honour and Praise to God, and thinks, that
Things done well,are well rewarded by his Acceptance
and Approbation. Nature dreads Ignominy and Con-
tempt: But Grace accounts it Matter of great Joy to
be exposed and vilified in a good Cause. Nature is
pleased with Ease and Indulgence, and bodily Reft:
Grace is ever active, and undertakes Business and Toil
with Chearfulness. Nature is charmed with Beauty
and Curiosity, and disdains Things that are mean, and
vulgar, and common : Grace is delighted with such as
are plain and low in the Esteem of the World, dis-
dains not those that are unpalatable, nor thinks her
self the worse, for the Want of outward Gaieties and
Ornaments. Nature aims at transitory Enjoyments, is
fond of Wealth and Increase, tenderly affected with
Losses and Disappointments, and provoked to the last
degree with Insolence and Reproach: Grace keeps E-
ternal Advantages in view, neglects the fading and pe-
rishing, bears Losses with Evenness of Temper, en-
dures Contempt and Scandal patiently. For these, she
considers, are Things of no mighty Concern, to one
whose Heart and Treasure are in Heaven ; a Place,
where they are fafe, and no Misfortune can reach
them. Nature is niggardly and griping, and chufes
rather to receive than give: Grace Bountiful and Kind:
despising fordid Gain and Parsimony, content with a
little, distributes liberally and chearfully, and
esteems it more blessed to give than to receive.

Nature inclines to Creature-comforts, to Fleshly Delights, to Worldly Vanities and Pomps, to wandring and idle Diversions : Grace fixes the Heart upon God and Goodness, concerns it self with the World as little as may be, hates Fleshly Lufts, checks and confines roving Imaginations, and affects Privacy and


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As xx.


Solitude. Nature is much delighted with fenfual Plea* fures: Grace feels no Pleasure, but in God alone; and prefers that before all the Delights that the Objects of Sense can afford. Nature does nothing without some Prospect of Interest, and for every Kindness expects as good or better Returns, either of things in kind, or at least of Favour and Applaufe for its pretended Generosity, and sets a very high Value upon all the Obligations it lays : Grace dèfires, no Recompence in this World, but looks upon God as her Reward ; nor are th: Supplies and Conveniences of Life

any farther of Consideration with her, than-as* a comfortable Subsistence in this World may be será viceable, in promoting and facilitating the Endea vours after another.

Nature values her self upon a diffusive Interest, and Multitude of Relations and Friendsh Quality and Noble Blood; and therefore fawns upon, or favours Men in Power, courts and caresses the Rich, commends, and is partial to, Persons of the fame Condition, or Opinion, or Party : Grace is Charitable and Kind, even to Enemies; is not exalced by great or numerous Friendships; and thinks the Defcent and Family of a Man a very despicable thing, unless his Virtue be as much more eminent than those of his Inferiots, as his Birth and Rank is above theirs. Grace favours the Poor rather than the Rich; and is more cořicerned for the hard Fortune of an Innocent Person, than of a Great One ; pays its Respects to true intrinsick Worth, not to the mere Signs and Trappings of it, which often only shew where it ought to benot where it really is ; encourages the Good in Virtue, instead of flattering and foothing up the Mighty in their Wickedness and Folly; and labours indefatigably, to conform those who profefs themselves God's Children, to the Likeness of their Heavenly Father's Excellencies, by propagating all Manner of Piety and Goodnefs.


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