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Men ought to be afflicted, and humble their Souls, with the Considerations of their own wants and Unworthiness ; yet so,as not only not to give way to sad Despondencies and Distrust of thy Mercy; but, even from this very Subject to draw Matter of Comfort and Joy; because thou haft so particularly declared thy Affection to the contrite and humble Souls, and given them Marks of more than ordinary Favour.
Such were those Apostles, so mean in their ownand the World's Esteem, whom thou madeft choice of for Witnesses of thy Truth, and Attendants upon thy Person. These very Heroes in the Christian Story, whom thou hast appointed Judges and Rulers of the whole World in Matters of Religion, were recommended to that High Promotion, by being Meek and Poor in Spirit, void of Guile, and mortified to the World ; patient in Suffering, content with Insolence, and barbarous Treatment ; and proud of nothing, but being thought worthy to endure Shame and Pain for the Name of Jesus. So distant from common Men, so fingular were their Notions, which disposed them with Joy and Eagerness to embrace, what others dread and detest, and thun with all their Industry and Might. The never-failing Spring of Joy and Comfort, which they who truly love and fear thee, and are thankful for thy Infinite Goodness, find within, flows from the conttant Resignation of their Minds to thy Disposals, and the Reflections upon thy Wise Eternal Purposes, which check their Proneness to Partiality and Dil content, and make every Dispensation of thy Providence welcome to them. They are abased with equal Satisfaction, as others are exalted : And regard not High or Low, Honourable or Despised, according to common Reputation, but consider that their Station and Circumstances in the World are chosen and ordained by Thee; and cannot therefore but be good, nay, better than any other, because the Effect of thy
Divine Appointment, which always knows and chuses the best. Could we but once arrive at this considerate Temper of Mind, the Different Accidents of Life would cease to be either uneasie, or extravagantly pleasant, The violent Shocks upon our Paffions would be effe&ually prevented ; because thy Honour would take place above our own Appetites and mistaken Interests. Poverty and Shame would be acceptable, as coming from the same Hand with Riches and Honour. And even those things which are most agreeable to the Relish and Inclinations of Human Nature, would please and comfort us more, with the Consideration of their being bestowed by thee, the Author of all our Happiness; than upon the account of any Advantages to be had from the things themselves. The Zeal for thy Honour in the extremity of Distress, should support good Men more, and find greater regard from them than all the Wealth or Glory, or other external Blessings, which thou at any time dost or canit confer upon the most prosperous of the Sons of Men in this World. So finall is the Confideration of the greatest Gift, in comparison of the Wise, the Good, the Almighty Giver and Disposer of our Fortunes ; who orders all things for the best, and is in all, our kindest Friend, and constant Benefactor.
CHA P. XXV.
The Things which make for Peace.
] Earken to me, my Son, and I will inform
thee perfect Liberty.
Disciple.] Be pleased, Lord, fo to do ; for such Instruction will prove both acceptable and profitable to me.
Chrift.] Make it thy Business, rather to comply with the Defires and Commands of others, than to indulge thy own Inclinations. Chuse a moderate, nay, a low Fortune, rather than Greatness and Abundance. Be humble, obedient, and condescending in all thy Deportment. Let this be thy constant Wish and Prayer, That God would perform his Pleasure, and dispose of thee and all thy Affairs, as to him seems most convenient. The Man that hath brought himself to this Temper and Spirit, be assured is in the ready Way to Peace of Mind, and true Content.
Disciple.] The Words my Lord hath spoken are few in Number, but full of Sense, and of very comprehensive Extent ; and I can easily discern in this little Space the Grounds of great Perfection in Virtue, Did I but diligently observe these Rules, how happily would all excessive Concern, and violent Disorder at any Accidents of Human Life be suppress’d, or quite prevented ? And if at any time hereafter I find my self oppressed with immoderate Cares or Refent, ' ments, thy Wisdom hath taught me to discover the true Cause of my Trouble; and, that I suffer for neglecting to comply with this Doctrine. But such Compliance, Lord, thou knoweft is not the Work of Nature and meer Reason: And therefore I implore the mighty Alliances of thy Grace, to which nothing is hard, for making those Improvements, which in the present State of Corruption, are to Flesh and Blood impracticable. Nothing is more acceptable in thy sight, than the Conquest of our Infirmities, and bold Advance in Goodness ; put forth thy Hand then, and what thou haft taught me to know, enable me to perform, That I may both approve my own Obedience, and ( what without thee I cannot do ) successfully pursue my own Happiness and Salvation.
c H A P.
CH A P. XXVI..
A Prayer against Evil Thoughts.
] 10 not far from me, O Lord, my God, make
my Breast, and innumerable Fears and Horrors close my Soul in on every side. The sense of my hazardous Condition overwhelms me with Torment and Deep Distress, while I see the greatness of my Danger, and the multitude of my Enemies, but know not how to decline the one or to fight my way through the other.
Chrift.] Remember, Son, my Promise; I will go before thee, and make the crooked Places ftreight; I will break in pieces the Gates of Brafs, and cut
ifa. xiv. in sunder the Bars of Iron: And I will give thee the Trear sures of Darkness, and bidden Riches of secret Places.
Disciple.] Lord, since thou hast applied those Mysti, cal Words
to my Comfort, let me, I beseech thee, ex: perimentally find the gracious Accomplishments of them in my own person : And scatter all my dark and dismal, my vain and sinful Thoughts, by shedding the Light of thy Grace abroad into my Heart. For in the Extremity of Grief and Anguish, this is my Hope and only Support,to take fanctuary in thy Goodness; to repose all my Confidence, and cast the Burthen of my Cares upon thee
; to pour out my whole Soul before thee, and wait with Patience thy own good Time, for succouring me in, and giving me a happy issue out of all my AMictions.
CH A P. XXVII.
A Prayer for Spiritual Illumination.
Hoot forth, O Blessed Jesus, the bright
Beams of thy Heavenly and Eternal Light, that it may enlighten all the Dark Corners of my Heart, and effe&tually scatter every Cloud of Ignorance and Error, which now hang so thick over me. Call home my Wandring Thoughts, and repulse the Temptations, which furiously assault me. Fight thou my Bartels, and subdue those fierce Wild Beats, those Brutish Lusts, which range in this Defare, and are ever striving to devour ne ; that by thy Power the Wilderness may be turned into a Palace, and instead of the violent Cries and Howlings of raging Passions, no Sounds may be heard there but Songs of Praise. Thou,
Lord,Who commandeft the Winds and the Mark i.
Waves, and they obey thee, filence the Storms within my Breast; fay to that Troubled Sea, Bestill and immediately there shall be Peace and a profound Calm. Send out thy Light and thy Truth, and warm this Barren Soil, for such am I, till mellowed and impregnated by the Sun of Righteousness. Pour down thy Grace upon me plentifully and water me with thy refreshing Moi sture, which like seasonable Showers and gentle Dew, may fatten my Soul, and enable it to bring forth generousFruit in great abundance.Raise and refine my Mind, preft down with the Dross of earthly Desires, and draw my Affections up to Heaven and heavenly Objects; that the sweet relish of that Bliss above may give me a disgust and loathing to all the nauseous Pleasures here below.Deliver,or rathersnatch me away with a holy Violence from all the perishing Comforts of this Mortal State ; for my Thirit of Happiness I find is greater