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c heavens, and from the throne of thy, • glory, that being present the may la« bour with me, that I may know what “ is pleasing unto thee. For she know“ eth and understandeth all things, and “ The shall lead me soberly in my do« ings, and preserve me by her power " --- For what man is he that can “ know the counsel of God; or who “ can think what the will of the Lord “ is, except thou give wisdom, and send “ thy Holy Spirit from above a?" Such gracious promises are made, and are ready to be fulfilled to the retired Christian. Let but the pollutions, and diftractions of the world be removed, and the wisdom which “is first pure, and « then peaceable,” will enter in. To receive the law, Moses was called away from the congregation to the top of the mount. Ezekiel beheld the visions of God, while a solitary captive upon the banks of Chebar. Daniel was informed concerning the restoration of Jerusalem, and the advent of Meffiah, on the evening of a day dedicated to retirement, for the purposes of fasting and prayer. a Wisd. ix, 4.

St. John

Şect.III. St. John was an exile in the desolate m Patmos, when the glorious scenes de

scribed in the book of Revelation were made to pass before him, and he was enabled to extend his view, through all the different revolutions of empires, and periods of the church, to the end of time. And although we no more look for visions and revelations from heaven, yet from thence we expect, according to the most sure promise of our Master, the gift of the Spirit, to bless and profper us in our studies, to open to us the scriptures, and our understandings, that we may understand them. The same Spirit that gave the word, giveth likewise the interpretation thereof. And the latter, as well as the former, is best received in folitude, which appears to be thus admirably calculated for the attainment of wisdom, as it requireth study and attention, a dispassionate and unprejudiced mind, and that illumination which is from on high.

Sin, in the language of fcripture, is styled folly, to intimate to us, that true wisdom and boliness are inseparable companions. That, therefore, which


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conduceth to the acquisition of one, Secr.IlI.
can never bear an unfavourable aspect in
towards the other; and solitude will be
found the best nurse of fan&tity, more
particularly as it consisteth in the exer-
cise of mortification.

This is a work which no man can
fet about, until he knoweth what those
failings are, to which he is subject. And
such is the power of self-love, that the
person concerned is generally the last
who comes to a knowlege of this most
important point. If neither the fidelity
of his friends nor the malice of his ene-
mies let him into the secret, there is
only a third way in which it is possible
for him to become master of it, which
is self-examination, constantly, sincerely,
and thoroughly practised. And this re-
quireth stated seasons of retirement ;
for want of which, we see those, who
are engaged in a circle of business, or
pleasures, living entire strangers to them-
selves and their own infirmities, though
intimately acquainted with the follies
and foibles of all around them. “ In
“ the night,” the psalmist tells us, he
“ communed with his own heart, and

“ his

Sect.III.“ his fpirit made diligent. search a.”

Then silence and solitude afforded him an opportunity of scrutinizing the tempers of his soul, of discovering the maladies to which he was inclined, and of applying the proper remedies to each.

THAT medicines may be administered with success, it is necessary to cut off the provisions, which nourish and increase the disorder. The world, in the case before us, is full of such provisions ; and therefore the patient must withdraw, for a while, from the influence of it's temptations, “Where “ no, wood is, the fire goeth out b.” Remove the object, and the passion will by degrees die away. In solitude, the pleasures and glories of the world no longer strike upon the senses, and solicit the affections. The foul, therefore, in this situation, like one escaped out of . a battle to a place of security, hath leisure to reflect upon her condition, and to provide for her future safety. By looking into herself, the perceiveth how much the standeth in need of mercy

a Pf. 1xxvii. 6.
b Prov. xxvi, 20.


and grace; and then she is naturally Sect.III. led to look up to heaven, as the only place from whence they are to be obtained. The former of these prospects filleth her with compunction, and causeth her to mourn for her fins with that godly sorrow which worketh a repentance never to be repented of; the latter encourageth her to pour forth herself in continual prayer to the God of her falvation, until he have mercy upon her. St. Peter, when reminded of his offence by the crowing of the cock, and the affectionate look of an abjured Master, went out from the high priest's hall where he was, and in solitude, with strong crying and tears, made supplicaţion for pardon and peace. In retirement it is, that we find ourselves best able to practise all the holy arts of abstinence and felf-denial, fo needful for the perfecting repentance by mortifying the whole body of sin.

When men cannot be induced voluntarily to take this course, they are often forced into it by Providence visiting them with some heavy calamity, which by a stroke, like the amputation

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