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wretched sinner, but that he should heartily repent, and humble himself for his sins.
In true contrition and humility of heart is brought forth hope of forgiveness ; a troubled conscience is reconciled ; grace that was lost is recovered ; a man is secured from the wrath to come, and God meets the penitent soul in the holy kiss of
peace; Humble contrition for sins is an acceptable sacrifice to thee, () Lord; of far greater odour in thy sight than the burning of frankincense.
This is also that pleasing ointment which thou wouldst have to be poured upon thy sacred feet. For thou never yet hast despised a contrite and humble heart. (Ps. 1.)
Here is a sure place of refuge from the face of the wrath of the enemy. Here whatever has been elsewhere contracted of uncl ness, is amended and washed away.
CHAP. xliv. That the Grace of God is not communicated to the
Earthly-minded. Son, says Jesus, my grace is precious ; it suffers not itself to be mingled with external things, or earthly consolations.
Thou must therefore cast away every obstacle to grace, if thou desire to have it infused into thee.
Chuse a retired closet for thyself ; love to spend thy time in solitude; seek not the conversation of any one ; but rather
pour forth devout
prayers to God, that thou mayest keep thy mind in compunction, and thy conscience clean.
Esteem the whole world as nothing: prefer the attendance on God before all external things.
For thou canst not both attend to me, and at the same time delight thyself in transitory things.
Thou must be sequestered from thy acquaintance, and from those that are dear to thee, and keep thy mind disengaged from all temporal comfort.
So the blessed apostle, Peter, beseeches the faithful of Christ to keep themselves as strungers and pilgrims in this world. (1 Pet. ii.)
how great confidence shall he have at the hour of his death, who is not detained by an affection to any thing in the world !
But an infirm soul is not yet capable of having a heart thus perfectly disengaged from all things, neither doth the sensual man understand the liberty of an internal man.
But if he will be spiritual indeed, he must renounce as well those that are near him, as those that are afar off, and beware of none more than of himself,
If thou perfectly overcomest thyself, thou shalt with more ease subdue all things else.
The perfect victory is to triumph over one's self.
For he that keeps himself in subjection, so that his sensuality is ever subject to reason, and reason in all things obedient to me, he is indeed a conqueror of himself, and lord of all the world.
If thou desire to mount thus high, thou must begin manfully, and set the axe to the root, that thou mayest root out and destroy thy secret inor. dinate inclination to thyself, and to all selfish and earthly goods.
This vice, by which a man inordinately loves himself, is at the bottom of all that which is to be rooted out and overcome in thee: which evil, being once conquered and brought under, a great peace and tranquility will presently ensue.
But because there are few thai labour to die perfectly to themselves, and that fully tend beyond themselves; therefore do they remain entangled in themselves, nor can they be elevated in spirit above themselves.
But he that desires to walk freely with me, must mortify all his wicked and irregular affections, and must not cleave to any thing created with any concupiscence or private love.
CHAP. xlv. I of the different Motions of Nature and Grace.
Son, says Christ, observe diligently the motions of nature and grace; for they move very opposite ways, and very subtilly, and can hardly be distinguished but by a spiritual man, and one that is interiorly illuminated.
All men indeed aim at good, and pretend to something of good in what they do and say; therefore under the appearance of good, many are deceived.
Nature is crafty, and draws away many, ensnares them, and deceives them, and always in tends herself for her end.
Bat grace walks with simplicity, declines from all appearance of evil, offers no deceits, and does all things purely for God, in whom also she rests as in her last epd.
Nature is not willing to be mortified, or to be restrained, or to be overcome, or to be subject: neither will she of her own accord be brought under,
But grace studies the mortification of her own self, resists sensuality, seeks to be subject, covets to be overcome, aims pot at following her own liberty, loves to be kept under discipline, and de-sires not to have the command over any one ; but under God ever to live, stand, and exist; and for God's sake is ever ready humbly to bow down herself under all human creatures.
Nature labours for her own interest, and considers what gain she may reap from another.
considers not what may be advantageous and profitable to herself, but rather what may be profitable to many.
Nature willingly receives honour and respect.
grace faithfully attributes all honour and glory to God.
Nature is afraid of being put to shame and despised.
But grace is glad to suffer reproach for the name of Jesus.
Nature loves idleness and bodily rest.
But grace cannot be idle, and willingly embraces labour.
Nature seeks to have things that are curious and fine, and does not care for things that are cheap and coarse.
But grace is pleased with that which is plain and humble, rejects not coarse things, nor refuses to be clad in mean clothes.
Nature has regard to temporal things, rejoices at earthly gain, is troubled at losses, and is provoked at every slight injurious word.
But grace attends to things eternal, and cleaves not to those which pass with time; neither is she disturbed at the loss of things, nor exasperated with hard words ; for she places her treasure and her joy in heaven, where nothing is lost.
Nature is covetous and is more willing to take than to give, and loves to have things to herself.
But grace is bountiful and open-hearted, avoids selfishness, iš contented with little, and judges it more happy to give than to receive. (ACES xxii.)
Nature inclines to creatures, to her own flesh, to vanities, and to going abroad.
But 'gruce draws to God and to virtue, renounces creatures, flies the world, hates the de
sires of the flesh, represses the love of wandering, and is ashamed to appear in public.
Nuture willingly receives exterior comfort in which she may be sensibly delighted. But
grace seeks to be comforted in God alone, and beyond all things visible to be delighted in the Sovereign Good.
Nature doth all for her own gain and interest; she can do nothing gratis, but hopes to receive something equal, or better, or praise, or favour, for her good deeds, and covets to have her actions and gifts much valued.
But grace seeks nothing temporal, nor requires any other recompence but God alone for her reward, nor desires any thing more of the necessaries of this life than
may be necessary
for the obtaining a happy eternity.
Nature rejoices in a multitude of friends and kindred; she glories in the nobility of her stock and descent; she fawns on them that are in power, fatters the rich, and applauds such as are like herself.
But grace loves even her enemies, and is not puffed up with having a great many friends, nor has any value for family or birth, unless when joined with greater virtue: she rather favours the poor than the rich; she has more compassion for the innocent than the powerful ; she rejoices with him that loves the truth, and not with the deceitful; she ever exhorts the good to be zealous for better gifts, and to become like to the Son of God by the exercise of virtues.
Nuture easily complains of want and of trouble.
But grace bears poverty with constancy.
Nature turns all things to herself, and for bere self she labours and disputes.
But grace refers all things to God, from whom all originally proceed: she attributes no good to