« 前へ次へ »
When thou feelest thy Heart burn with Love and Devotion, return thy Thanks to God for kindling these holy Fires. I did it, not because thou art worthy of such Grace, but because I had Compassion on thy Weakness and thy Wants. When thou findest thy self cold and insensible in Religious Duties, double
thy Diligence and thy Prayers, lament thy Matth. vii.
Deadness, and continue knocking. For if
thou persevere, and wilt take no Denial, thou fhalt not ask in vain, but be fed, at least with the Crumbs that fall from thy Master's Table. Thou standest in need of Me, but I have none of Thee. It is for thy Benefit, not my own, that I vouchsafe to meet thee at this Sacrament. Thou comeft hither to be filled, and strengthened, and fanctified, to return better than thou camest, to receive Increase of Grace, to be One with me, and dwell in me ; and those, who come sincerely disposed to receive nie, and amend their Life, I will in no wise send empty away. Do not then neglect those precious Opportunities; Do not absent, or come carelesly; but make me room in thy Heart, and let it be a clean and fit Reception for fo
pure a Guest, and He whom thou loveft, will go home.with thee to thy House.
But then observe, that there is the fame Necessity of Care and Watchfulness after this Sacrament, as of Prayer and Preparation before it. For a constant virtuous Life, and strict Guard over a Man's felf, are the best and most effectual Preparation to every Sacrament, and the surest Means of obtaining more and greater Degrees of Grace. A Man, who presently returns to the World, and gives himself a loose to the Liberties and Affections, the Business and the Pleasures of it, undoes what he had taken Pains to do before ; and defeats the good Effects of his most folemn Preparation. Be not fond of Variety of Company and Diversions ; nor lavish and unwary in thy
Discourse; but rather chuse to retire into thy Chamber, and converse much with God in Solitude and Silence. When thou haft Him, thou hast a Treasure which nothing can take from thee. I am worthy of thee all, and I expect thee all. Divide not thy self between Me and the World, but let Me be thy Love, thy Joy, thy Desire. So all thy Life be bid with Christ in God; and, tho thou can'st Colos. iii. not live in thy Self, yet thou shalt live in Me; full of Tranquility and Peace, far above the disorderly Pallions, and ruffling Cares, of sensual and earthly-minded Men.
CH A P. XIII.
The Soul's Defire of Union with Christ.
Hear thy gracious Words, my dearest
Lord, and easily believe the inexpressible Happiness of Them, whose Souls thy heavenly Presence fills. . But how, O! how shall I attain that Bliss? How shall I seek and find my God alone? How open my Heart to entertain thee, so as to exclude all other intruding Guests ? O! that no Man, no Creature, might from henceforth find place in my Affections and Defires, fo as to interrupt my Converfation with Thee! When shall I break loose from Company and Care, and Enjoy and Talk with Thee alone, in Language free and kind, as that of dearest Friends ; and soft and tender, sweet and charming, as the unreserved Retirements and endearing Whispers of the moft paffionate Lovers? This is my earnest Wish, This my constant Prayer, that my Heart may be knit entirely to Thee; and, weaned from every earthly and fenfual Delight, learn to taste heavenly and eterY
nal Joys, by frequent Returns to thy Holy Communion. Ah when, my God, shall I be wholly thine, regardless of my self, swallowed up quite in a blissful indif
soluble Union with Christ? Thou, Lord, in
Me, and I in Thee ; and thus may we continue One for ever!
Thou verily art my Beloved, my Chofen, the Chiefest among Ten Thousand, the Friend of my Bosom, with whom I desire to dwell all the Days of my Life. Thou art my Peace, and only Comfort ; Without thee I find nothing but Labour and Sorrow, Vexation, and Torment, and Misery insupportable. Thou art a God, that bidest tby self ; Not dealing thy Blessings promiscuously, but, with wise and just Distinction, fatisfying the Humble and Meek with the Pleasures of thy Word, while thou concealest thy Counsel from the Wicked, and leavest them to groan and howl, in the Anguish and Horror of their guilty Souls ! O how great is thy Bounty ! how sweet thy Mercy! who re
freshest thy hungry Servants with the deliFohn vi. Deut. iy.
cious Bread, which came down from Hea
ven; that thy Faithful might eat thereof and not die. Surely there is no Nation under Heaven, which hath God so near to them, as the Lord our God is unto Us, in all that we call upon him for.
For he healeth the broken in Heart, be Pfalm cxlvii, cxxxviii,cxiii.
bath respect unto the Lowly.; he lifteth the
Simple out of the Duft, and raiseth the Needy from the Dungbil, to set them with Princes, to equal them with Angels; nay, to give them his Flesh for the satisfying their Hunger, and, when they are thirsty, the Wine of his Blood to drink.
What Society of Men can boast of Privileges, worthy to be named with those of the Christian Church? What Creature is there under Heaven, whofe Excellence and Happiness is comparable to that of the Pious and Devout Soul, where God takes up his Residence
sustains the Heart that entertains him, with his own glorious Body ? O Grace unspeakable! O Condescenlion most amazing! O Love unmeasurable! Lord, what is Man, that thou should'st thus visit him? Or what can he render unto his God for these inestimable Ben nefits? Alas! I have no Return to make, buť a poor worthless Heart. And this is yet a farther Instance of thy Goodness, that thou expectest no other Testimony of Gratitude, but my self, and my sincere Affection. Thus haft thou made our Duty our greatest Happiness: For then shall my Soul be glady and all that is within me leap for Joy, when my Heart is perfectly united to my God. Then shalt thou say, If thou wilt be mine, I will live and dwell with thee for ever : And I with humbly Joy reply, Disdain not, Lord, this mean and homely dwelling, for I most willingly, most thankfully embrace the Offer. Lo I am thine entirely from this Moment, and, above all things, wish, and pray, That the Ina timacy and Friendship thus contracted, may continue firm and inviolable, that nothing may abate our Love and the Delights of it, or ever part our Persons any more.
GH A P. XIV An Ałł of Exciting Devotion by the Example
of Others. Disciple. Hoe plentifier is the secondo
Plit. xxxi. up for them that fear thee! When I reflect with what ärdent Piety, with what affectionate Devotion, with what an eager Zeal; thy Saints approach this heavenly Supper į Shame and Confulion overwhelm me quite, conscious of my own, but lukewarm at the best, and too often perfectly stupid and frozen, Heart;
with what Indifference and Coldness I approach thy Mysteries, and how unaffected with thy Mercies, how unprofitable under the gracious Dispensation, I return. What a Reproach is it, that my Heart should not be all inflamed with the Excess of thy Love ; that I should have no Sense, no Apprehension, of my greateft Happiness, no Hungrings and Thirstings after it? But, notwithstanding the moving Examples of many excellent Persons, should still continue void of all Im pressions ; so scandalously unlike those pious Souls, whose Zeal overflow'd in Tears of Joy, whose Hearts, as well as Mouths, drink greedily at this Fountain of Life, whose Appetites were so strong as never to be satisfied, till they had filled themselves with thy blesfed Body, and fed liberally, and with a sort of holy Luxury indulged, at the Celestial Banquet.
A Faith so eager, fo exalted, plainly confess’d they | felt thy gracious Presence ; and, that their Lord was known to them, as heretofore to the Disciples at
Emmaus, in breaking of Bread. The burnLuke xxiv.
ing of their Hearts within them was an irrefregable Testimony of it. But how far short, alas! do I come to their Zeal and Devotion? Look mercifully, Lord, upon my Infirmities. And, if an equal Portion of thy Grace be too great a Favour for thy poor unworthy Servant; yet grant me such a Degree, such a Sense of thy Goodness and wonderful Love, that I may be as fincerely, tho' not so strongly, affected with it. If Raptures and Extasies of Delight may not be my Portion, yet deny me not Improvement. But let my Faith be strengthened, my Hope confirmed, my Love fo warmed with this Sacrament, that, after having once tasted this heavenly Manna, I may never more desire the Onions and Garlick of Egypt, nor in my Heart turn back from so good a God.
I know thy Mercy and thy Power, to which nothing is impossible, nothing hard. I know thou canst,