Page images
PDF
EPUB

upon which most Depends, would not be put (as it too often happens) into the worft Hands; who for want of Right Qualities, are neglected by those, whose Business it is to Secure them from Contempt, and whose Exam. ple Influences Others, till they lose all Authority, even with those who are under their Care, and consequently all Capacity of doing them Good. But with Mr. Bonnell, 'twas entirely Otherwise; He was every way Qualify'd to gain Esteem, His Learning and Pru. dence, his Behaviour and manner of Life commanded just Respect; His Fortune secur'd him from all Temptations to mean Compliances, (for on that alone he could have Subfifted) and the great severity of his Life, Exacted Reverence from all he Convers’d with. · During Mr. Bonnell's stay in Mr. Freeman's Family, he had frequent Returns of Sickness and Pain ; his Constitution was . Tender and easily Injur'd: And I find by the Meditations he then Compos’d, That his Body was an 'uncomfortable Companion to his Mind; and that he was frequently Disturb’d in his Religious Course, by Bodily Disorders. He complains with great Pallion of himself, for being sometimes Uneasy under a load of Sickness, and wishing its removal with too much eagerness. One or two of these Meditations Written in the Year 1680, in the Twenty Seventh Year of his Age, will give the Reader a View of of his happy Progress in Piety; and how Bravely he encountred the Difficulties he met with, from the World and Himself; from a

Distem

Distemper'd Body, and those other I'nfirmities which all Mankind feel, and are not to be entirely conquer'd while we are in this World.

Thus in one place he confesses his Weakness to God, and Prays for his Help. "O my 'God! What shall I think of my Self? What 'Mall I say to Thee! What am I but a Sinful 'Discontented Creature, whose Obedience

has at best been very Imperfect! Thou hast ' long Affiliated me with a Lingring Sickness ' in the Flower of my Life; and hast added • (because I have not duly Improv'd by this) 'other Chastisements besides, and which I 'hope have not wanted their Effect upon my 'Soul. Thou Lord art Wise, and thy Wifdom is deeply to be ador'd by us, which I

humbly desire to do. But ah! Lord had 'my Wisdom been to choose my Chastisement, 'I would have had less of a Painful Sickness, 'and more of such other Aflictions, as thou 'layeft upon Men; and this, not to please my

Flesh, but for the Good of my Soul; having

found by so much Experience, that this is not · 'so proper to kill our Sins, and turn our

Hearts to thee; not so mortifying to the “Pride or Discontent of our Minds, not so ' quickening to Repentance, and other Chri'stian Graces, as the loss of Estate, and dis' pleasure of Men ; the falseness of Friends,and ' injuries from others. True indeed, when

once Thou didst raise my Sickness so, as to • 'consume my Body, and make even my Life 1.Dangerous, through the Blessing of Thy

Grace

• Grace, it had a saving Effect upon my Soul : • But in all other times, the Natural Effect of 'it has been, to make me Intermit my Devo« tions, and Disturb my Pious Thoughts; to

make me Uneasy and Discontented with my ' Condition, and Impatient after Change. "But in other Affli&tions, while the Health of ' Body remains Entire, the Heart is Humbled, 'our Devotions are Quickned, and we Fast ' and Pray to good purpose, till our Soul is " brought over to Thee, and confirm'd in thy • Ways. If I now fast, it is not only all the 'time in Pain, but ends in more, by Encreasing 'my Distemper, and Indisposing my Mind for 'the Exercises of Religion, the constant Pra• etice of which alone maintains the Life of 'my Soul. And yet Thou choosest thus to ' Amict me still! However Lord, I will Fast,

and O! that I may never omit to Pray. And 'do Thou, O Lord, Fortify my Soul I be' seech Thee, that in That I may ever Persea

vere: Let me consider that the Life of my "Soul is above the Health of my Body, how' ever I find it daily to Decay.

Upon the whole, O my God, I am weary of being Discontented and Murmuring a'gainst Thee. I humbly confess, that I have

found in the Depth of my Heart, that my Prayers to Thee, for making me Contented with my Condition, have had too often this 'meaning, that Thou should't make my Con'dition such as I might (vouchsafe to be contented with; and that when I have resolv'd to submit my self to Thee, and be contented, ' it has been with a prospect, or secret hopes, ' after such a Condition, and that therefore, “when Thou hast disapointed there wilful and 'groundless Hopes, I have resum'd my former

Impatience: This, Lord, upon a Serious Re'view, has been too often the sense of my · Heart. But behold, I am truly Displeas’d at ' my Self, and both Weary and Alhamid of 'my Impatience; and therefore do desire ' most humbly to Return unto Thee, and with 'Thee, to Condemn my Self. Thou hast vouchsafed often, to enlighten and quiet my

Soul, who have not deserved that favour ' from Thee: And this one Consideration 'shall satisfie me, as it has done, that Thou

only know'st the time of my Life here, and how to make a suitable Provision for that

time. Yet, O Lord, I groan under the Bur• den of an Aking Flesh, and many (tho' not 'Extream, which is thy Mercy) never intermitting Pains. My Sins indeed deserve this, and more: But might I choose for the good of my Soul, as I said, (which I know thou ' dost favour,) I shou'd with Submission to thy ! Wisdom, desire some other kind of Chastise. 'ment and take leave to wonder at thy Dispen'sation to me. But I am abundantly satisfy’d, ' and allur'd in my self, from thy immense Wisdom and exceeding Love, to which I

heartily and cheerfully resign up my self, • that even this is best for my Soul, however unlikely it seems to me. Thy Wisdom is above my Shallow Comprehension, and there• fore to Thee I Sacrifice these Glimmering

C 2

Sparks

• Sparks of my faint Reason, and shall repose 'my Self upon Thy mighty Love.

Another time Reflecting upon the Sins, which had been the Effects of his Sickness and Affliction, he endeavours to quiet his Mind, by proposing to it the more dafgerous Sins, which generally attend Prosperity and Health, " You see, O my Soul, (says he) what Sins Sick'ness and Affliction lead you to, (which in' deed are Ill, and the Lord in Mercy grant 'me Pardon for them,) but you do not fee to “how much greater, Health and Plenty, Free

dom and Applause, Honour and the good ' things of this World, wou'd have brought

you, had God vouchsafed them. It is not possible for thee, to have a prospect of these ; but from the wickedness of thy Heart, thou may'st guess what wou'd have become of thee, had he dealt with thee with a more ! bountiful Hand, and as he does with some o'thers. The Child that dare Sin even under "the Rod, what wou'd it have done in the (midst of Smiles ?

"O Let the consideration of those Sins, from which the goodness of God has kept thee, make thee heartily contented with the way that he hath taken with thee; and ex

ceeding joyful with that Condition, which " hath been a means to thee of avoiding any "one Sin. It is a Cursed Delusion of the

Devil, who plunges Souls in Sin, that have 'begun only to Tamper with it; and draws

them wholly away from God, who have • wantonly turn’d a little out of the right Path;

by

« PreviousContinue »