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21. Religion, in a great measure, consists in renouncing ourselves, in combatting our self-love, and resigning all to God. The pure love of God consists in our will; the greater our humility, and the more implicit and unhesitating our acquiescence in the will of God, the nearer we approach to that virtue and that love of him which he demands of us.
22. The strong truths of religion make it a terror to weak minds; but the reason of this is, that they do not properly understand it. They know not what it gives, and what it promises, so that to them it appears a system of severe and painful sacrifices, of gloomy and sorrowful practice. They will not understand that bond of love between the Creator and his creatures, which is the very essence of religion, and which makes easy all the duty which it requires. Those who possess the true love of God are at all times cheerful and happy; they find
that the yoke of Jesus is easy, and his burden light; they find that he gives rest unto their souls, and that he refreshes all those who are weary and heavyladen with the burden of this life. But those divine words of our Lord can afford no comfort to those cowardly and debased souls, which cannot shake off the dominion of the world, and renounce the service of the devil. God's holy service, his supporting grace, and his refreshing comforts, are incompatible with a life devoted to the world, and to the slavery of sin. You must either give your heart to God, or to the world; you can make no reserves with your duty; the first commandment of the Law most clearly points out to us what God requires : “ Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy mind and with all thy strength.” How then can they pretend to love God, or to serve him, who do not love him above all things ? and what effect should our love of God have, but that of keeping his commandments ? Those who call themselves Christians, and yet obey the laws which Christ has set before them, only when they find it conducing to their own pleasure or profit, resemble the multitude which followed Jesus, not for his doctrine, but " because they did eat of the loaves and fishes, and were Alled.” To such we may attribute that speech of St. Peter, “ Lord, it is good for us to be here, and let us build here three tabernacles for ourselves ;" but, like St. Peter, they know not what they say. They are willing to be the disciples of Christ on Mount Tabor, but they will not follow him to Calvary. Those only are truly his disciples, who are always ready to accompany their Lord “to prison and to death, and this in defiance of the world, the flesh, and the devil.
it follows the calls of the Holy Spirit, the greater is its progress in simplicity ; not that it becomes blind to its own faults, and unconscious of its infirmities; it feels them with redoubled force, it regards them with horror; the knowledge of its own sinfulness increases every day, but it does not arrive at that knowledge through pride, vanity, or self-love; it discovers its own faults by comparing itself with the perfections of its Creator : thus it is free in its course, it goes on with its God, singly and uprightly, without turning out of the way for the profits or allurements which sin offers. It thinks more of God than of any thing which he has created. It has no vain and self-approving reflections, neither does it give way to any dejecting scruples about its own coudition, which so often produce, on weak minds, superstition and melancholy, and in those which are stronger, a presumptuous confidence incompatible with the love of God.
24. Nor do we require much time to cultivate the love of God in our souls; nor will it cost us 'any great pains. On the contrary, we shall find this duty easy and delightful, if we only make it our constant thought and remembrance that we are ever in his sight. Lift up your heart continually, and on all occasions, towards him ; adore him in the sincerity of your soul, and resign all you have to him :- This state will raise us above the troubles of the world. If, however, the importunity of our senses, or the vivacity of our imagination, should injure or impede this state of recollection, and the constant resignation of our souls to God; yet we must still be careful to keep up in ourselves the wish of acquiring such a frame of mind. If this is sincere in us, God will accept it, and he will pardon our involuntary wanderings, when we really and truly lament them, and endeavour with all our heart to renew, from time to time, the desire of wholly,