Imatges de pàgina
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lancholy, which apparently proceeds from the excessive love of God, (if we may be permitted to make use of such a term,) but in reality originates in the love of ourselves. We wish to feel the assurance of God's grace being in us; we desire to think ourselves certain of his favour; yet we are not willing either to follow the Divine Laws, or to resign those objects of our pursuit, which entice us to sin. We desire God's favour, that we may feel at ease concerning our state in a future world; we cannot divest ourselves of the fear of God, nor the hopes of happiness hereafter, yet we cannot bring ourselves to give up the world and its sinful enjoyments. We are not blind to our faults; our pride is grieved and mortified at the knowledge of them, but we do not take the trouble of correcting them. We are, however, willing to mistake this uneasy sense of mortification, for repentance; and as it is only to true penitence that

a God will grant pardon, we neither feel

any improvement in ourselves, nor that peace which proceeds from his favour, and hence arises qur melancholy. The inference is obvious; this melancholy is our wounded self-love. But, as our Lord said to Martha, we need not be careful and troubled about many things; a strict obedience to the laws of the Gospel is the one thing needful, and in this obedience alone we shall find peace unto our souls. Let us then practise this, and calmly receive what each day brings to us. This alone can make the present scene easy to us, and this will be our best preparation for the life to come.

9. In proportion to the reflections of wounded pride and mortified self-love, is the peaceful calm and holy tranquillity which a conscience at ease must produce: but it is not from ourselves, nor. with our own powers, that we can combat sin, or resist our enemy the devil.Vain must be all our efforts, unless we call God to our assistance. If, however, we are of a phlegmatic and melancholy disposition, and notwithstanding our sina cere endeavours to fulfil our duty, still subject to desponding and mournful reflections upon ourselves, we must have recourse to regimen, and treat our malady as a distemper of the body: this it really is, and we must bear it patiently, as we submit to a fever, or any other disorder, with which it may please God to

afflict us.

10. You must not suppose

that

you are forsaken of God, because you do not feel a certain kind of rapture and enthusiasm on religious subjects, or a wish to be constantly talking of holy things. The presence of God is never more truly with us, than when we are in silence and deeply impressed with a sense of our own unworthiness. The Scripture says, “Commune with your own heart, and in your chamber, and be still.” Though you do

not at all times feel the influence of God upon your soul, you have no reason to complain ; you have only to keep yourself in a proper state to receive it, both by doing your duty, and avoiding the sinful allurements of the world, and all voluntary dissipation. Those amusements in which passion and vanity take a share, always draw the mind from God, and render us careless in his service. But you will perhaps say, am I to live without any relaxation or enjoyment ? No, God is not a severe master; you may find many amusements which are innocent in themselves, and which will relieve your more serious occupations, without having recourse to those which are displeasing to God; and you may partake of

your very amusements in such a manner, as to make them also a part of God's service.

11. Do not let your piety assume a melancholy and austere aspect. Where the Spirit of God is, there is true liberty; if you really love God, you will habitually feel an inward content and satisfaction; but if you seek him through fear alone, you will find only constraint and alarm.

:. 12. When you are conscious of any error, which separates you from God, and makes

you fear to pray to him, first repent of your fault, then humble yourself :before him, and receive this very terror of his displeasure as the punishment which you deserve : return with all possible alacrity to your duty, and you will by degrees regain that tranquil confidence in God's mercy, of which the sense of your faults has deprived you. Be scrupulously faithful to your stated times of morning and evening prayer. Be not discouraged if you cannot always avoid languor and involuntary absence of mind in this exercise ; but endeavour to recal your thoughts to God. Persevere in

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