« PreviousContinue »
ing to his will, and holy example, and with sincere intention of his glory. Hence,
4. Even the most necessary actions of thy life, though lawful, yet muft thus be offered up with a true intention unto God, in the union of the most holy works, and blessed merits, of Christ; saying, “ Lord Jesus, bind up in the merits of thy blessed “ senses, all my feeling and sensation, and all my “ wits and senses, that I never hereafter use them 6 to any sensuality !"
5. Thus labour to come to this union and knitting up of thy senses in God, and thy Lord Jesus, and remain so fast to the cross, that thou never part from it, and still behave thy body, and all thy senses, as in the prefence of thy Lord God, and commit all things to the most trusty providence of thy loving Lord, who will then order all things delectably and sweetly for thee; reckon all things besides for right nought; and thus mayest thou come unto wonderful illuminations, and spiritual influence from the Lord thy God.
6. If, for his love, thou canst crucify, renounce and forsake perfectly thyself, and all things; thou must fo crucify thyself to all things, and love and desire God only, with thy care and whole heart, that in this most stedfast and ftrong knot and union unto the will of God, if he would create hell in thee here, thou mightest be ready to offer thyself, by his grace, for his eternal honour and glory, to suffer it, and that purely for his will and pleasure.
7. Thou must keep thy memory clean and pure, as it were a wedlock chamber, from all strange thoughts, fancies and imaginations; and it must be trimmed and adorned with holy meditations and virtues of Christ's life and passion, that God may continually and ever rest therein.
PRA Y ER. 8. “ Lord, instead of knowing thee, I have fought to know wickedness and fin; and whereas my will
46 and desire were created to love thee, I have lost " that love, and declined to the creatures ; while my
memory ought to be filled with thee, I have paint“ ed it with the imagery of innumerable fancies, not 6 only of all creatures, but of all finful wickedness. • Oh! blot out these by thy blood, and imprint thine
own blessed image in my soul, blessed Jesus, by " that blood that issued out from thy moft loving « heart, when thou hangedft on the cross; so knit
my will to thy most holy will, that I may have no “ other will but thine, and may be most heartily and
fully content with whatsoever thou wilt do to me “ in this world; yea, if thou wilt, so that I hate “ thee not, nor fin against thee, but retain thy love, " make me suffer the greatest pains.
Rule 1. Exercise thyself to the perfect abnegation of all things which may let or impede this union ; mortify in thee every thing that is not God, nor for God, or which he willeth and loveth not: Resigning and yielding up to the high pleasure of God, all love and affection for transitory things; desire neither to have nor hold them, nor bestow or give them, but only for the pure love and honour of God: Put away fuperfluous and unnecessary things, and affect not even things neceffary.
2. Mortify all affection to, and seeking of thyself, which is so natural to men, in all the good they defire, and in all the good they do, and in all the evil they fusser; yea, by the inordinate love of the gifts and graces of God, instead of himself, they fall into fpiritual pride, gluttony and greediness.
3. Mortify all affection to, and delectation in, meat and drink, and vain thoughts and fancies, which though they proceed not to consent, yet they defile
the foul, and grieve the Holy Ghost, and do great da. mage to the spiritual life.
4. Imprint on thy heart the image of Jesus cruci. fied; the impressions of his humility, poverty, mildness, and all his holy virtues ; let thy thoughts of him turn into affection, and thy knowledge into love ; for the love of God doth most purely work in the mortification of nature; the life of the spirit, purifying the higher powers of the soul, begets the solitarinefs and departure from all creatures, and the influence and flowing into God.
5. Solitude, filence, and the strait keeping of the heart, are the foundations and grounds of a spiritual life.
6. Do all thy necessary and outward works without any trouble or carefulness of mind, and bear thy mind amidst all, always inwardly lifted up, and elevated to God, following always more the inward exercise of love, than the outward acts of virtue.
7. To this can no man come, unless he be rid and delivered from all things under God, and be so swallowed up in God, that he can contemn and despise himself and all things; for the pure love of God maketh the spirit pure and simple, and so free, that without any pain and labour, it can at all times turn and recollect itself in God.
8. Mortify all bitterness of heart towards thy neighbours, and all vain complacency in thyself; all vain glory and desire of esteem, in words and deeds, in gifts and graces. To this thou shalt come by a more clear and perfect knowledge and confideration of thy own vileness, and by knowing God to be the fountain of all grace and goodness.
9. Mortify all affection towards inward, sensible, spiritual delight in grace, and the following devotion with fenfible sweetness in the lower faculties, or powers of the soul, which are nowife real fanctity and holiness in themselves, but certain gifts of God to help our infirmity.
10. Mortify all curious investigation or search, all speculation and knowledge of unnecessary things, human or divine ; for the perfect life of a Christian confifteth not in high knowledge, but profound meeknefs ; in holy fimplicity, and in the ardent love of God; wherein we ought to desire to die to all affection to ourselves, and all things below God; yea, to sustain pain and dereliction, that we may be perfectly knit and united to God, and be perfectly swallowed
up in him.
II. Mortify all undue fcrupulousness of conscience, and trust in the goodness of God; for our doubting and scruples oft-times arise from inordinate self-love, and therefore vex us; they do no good, neither work any real amendment in us; they cloud the soul, and darken faith, and cool love; and it is only the stronger beams of these that can dispel them, and the stronger that faith and divine confidence is in us, and the hotter divine love is, the soul is so much the more excited and enabled to all the parts of holiness, to mortifications of passions and lusts, to more patience in adversity, and to more thankfulness in all estates.
12. Mortify all impatience in all pains and troubles, whether from the hands of God or men, all desire of revenge, all resentment of injuries, and by the pure love of God, love thy very persecutors, as if they were thy dearest friends.
13. Finally, Mortify thy own will in all things, with full resignation of thyself to suffer all dereliction, outward and inward, all pain, and pressures, and desolations, and that for the pure love of God : For, from self-love, and self-will, spring all fin, and all pain.
A PRA Y E R. 14. “O! Jesus, my Saviour, thy blessed humility! “ impress it on my heart; make me most sensible of “ thy infinite dignity, and of my own vileness, that
may hate myself as a thing of nought, and be « willing to be despised, and trodden upon by all, as " the vileft mire of the streets, that I may ftill retain “ these words, I AM NOTHING, I HAVE NO“ THING, I CAN DO NOTHING, AND I DE" SIRE NOTHING BUT ONE."
1. Never do any thing with propriety and fingular affection, being too earnest, or too much given to it; but with continual meekness of heart and mind, lie at the foot of God; and fay, “ Lord, I defire no“thing ; neither in myself, nor in any creature, fave
only to know and execute thy blessed will, (saying “ alway in thy heart), Lord, what would it thou have
me to do? Transform my will into thine; fill full,
and swallow up, as it were, my affections with thy “ love, and with an insatiable defire to honour thee, “ and despise myself.”
2. If thoų aspire to attain to the perfect knitting and union with God, know that it requireth a perfect expoliation, and denudation, or bare nakedness, and utter forsaking of all fin, yea, of all creatures, and of thyself particularly : Even that thy mind and understanding, thy affections and desires, thy memory and fancy, be made bare of all things in the world, and all sensual pleasures in them, so as thou wouldft be content that the bread which thou eatest had no more favour than a stone, and yet, for his honour and glory that created bread, thou art pleased that it favoureth well : But yet from the delectation thou feelest in it, turn thy heart to his praises and love that made it.
3. The more perfectly thou livest in the abstraction and departure; and bare nakedness of thy mind, from all creatures, the more nakedly and purely shalt thou have the fruition of the Lord thy God, and