Imatges de pàgina
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succeed, and to which God has promised assistance. Establish the love of God in your heart: your life will then be holy, and your conscience clear. Pray, therefore, fervently to God, that he would give you the grace of his Holy Spirit, that

peace,

with confidence in Him, and hope in Jesus Christ.

you may have

4. You cannot too often look into your own heart, it is habitually full of corruption, and must be continually cleansed. It is naturally weak and prone to error, unsteady and timid towards its duties. It is so biassed and occupied by its own affairs and desires, that it does not permit you to bestow'sufficient thought on your fellow-creatures, their afflictions or necessities. The fear of God, and the thoughts of death, arouse you from your worldly dream and false security, and force you to call upon him ; but this sudden and short impulse is not the pure love of God, nor a real delight in his service; it is only the dread of that punishment which he has denounced against sinners; and the heart which is not continually on the watch against its own corruptions, forgets this transient glance at heaven, and returns with increased avidity to the vain pleasures of the world. You may not indeed be guilty of any great vices, such as avarice, revenge, inordinate ambition, (which lead the way to monstrous crimes,) and the world may give you credit for some virtues; but the love of God is not in you, and you are only withheld from these very vices, perhaps by a vague sort of fear of Him, which you can neither discard, nor explain : this is the condition against which you should be ever on the watch, and your constant prayer to God should be, to grant you a steady faith in him, and a sincere piety which may

attach your soul to him, notwithstanding all the temptations of the world.

5. You have frequently experienced,

that through precipitation and weakness, you have committed many faults, and fallen into many errors, which yet are not incompatible with a true love of God, and a sincere repentance; but you do not so clearly perceive, that many more dangerous errors take their rise from a carelessness of heart, and an easy temper of mind, which does not at first appear to us as a state of sin, or a cause of dis. pleasure to God. We may possess the principle of avarice, and our conduct may be tinged with it, even without our consciousness, because we veil it from our interior sense, by specious and plausible pretexts, and give it gentler appellations: Yet if an unexpected temptation were to attack us, we have no strong shield wherewith to defend ourselves. The same may be said concerniog envy, malice, uncharitableness, and almost every other sin, to which self-interest serves as a cloak, Hence, I say, that you are full of imperfections and impurities, though your mind

is truly set upon God, and your will is sincere in his service; because your will, though good, is weak, and is divided and restrained by the efforts and desires of

your self-love.

6. Temptations must come; and those which arise from ourselves, require as much vigilance on our part, and are as painful, as those which we meet with in the world. In some respects the former are most useful to us, since, by shewing us the corruption of our souls, they tend to humble us in our own estimation; whereas, those which arise from the world, only shew us the envy, the pride, and the malignity of those about us ; when, therefore, we look within ourselves, and take a fair view of the errors, and the sinfulness of our minds, we dare not, on comparison, exalt ourselves above our fellowcreatures.

7. If you wish to do well, pray to God

for his grace, that you may be ever on your guard against the pleasing sophistry of your self-love, and the delusive opinion, to which we are all so much inclined, that we are more righteous than our neighbours. If you look only on the

. errors of others, you will soon learn to think yourself superior to them, merely because you are unacquainted with yourself: whereas, in order to please God, you should, by a close acquaintance with your own faults, and by a continual struggle against them, render yourself gentle and indulgent to the faults of others. You may turn your errors to your good, if you thus learn from them humility and candour. Have patience with yourself and with others; repent of your sins; deplore your own weakness, and acknowledge how unworthy you are in the sight of God. If you do this with sincerity before him, he will grant you his grace, and deliver you from your sins, by turning your heart entirely unto him. Seek

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