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Am I afflicted with bodily pain and sickness, which banish all sleep from my eyes, and exercise me with a lingering torture? Ere long this momentary distemper shall end in an eternal rest.

Am I threatened with the sword of an enemy? Suppose that man to be one of the guardians of paradise, and that sword as flaming as it is sharp, that one stroke shall let me into that place of inconceivable pleasure, and admit me to feed on the tree of life for ever.

Cheer up then, O my soul, and upon the fixed apprehension of the glory to be revealed, whilst thy weak partner my body droops and languishes under the sad load of years and infirmities, sing thou to thy God, even in the midnight of thy sorrows, and in the deepest darkness of death itself, songs of confidence, songs of spiritual joy, songs of praise and thanksgiving; saying with all thy glori. fied ones, "Blessing, honour, glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever." Amen. Rev. v. 13.

THE BREATHINGS

OF

THE DEVOUT SOUL,

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SECTION 1. BLESSED Lord God, thou callest me to obedience, and fain would I follow thee; but what good can this wretched heart of mine be capable of, except thou put it there? Thou knowest I cannot so much as wish to think well without thee; I have strong powers to offend thee; my sins are my own; but whence should I have any inclination to good but from thee, who art only and all good ? Lord, work me to what thou requirest, and then require what thou wilt.

11.

Lord God, whither need I go to seek thee? Thou art so with me, as that I cannot move but in thee. I look up to heaven; there I know thy Majesty most manifests itself; but withal, I know that being here thou art never out of thy heaven, for it is thy presence only that makes heaven. O give me to enjoy thee in this lowest region of thine heavenly habitation; and as in respect of my natural being, I live and move in thee, so let · me not live and move spiritually, but with thee, and to thee.

III.

Whither now, O whither do ye rove, O my thoughts? Can ye hope to find rest in any of these sublunary contentments ? Alas, how can they yield any stay to you, that have no settlement in themselves! Is there not enough in the infinite Good to take you up, but that ye will be wandering after earthly vanities ? O my Lord, how justly mightest thou cast me off with scorn, for casting any affectionate glances upon so base a rival! Truly, Lord, I am ashamed of this my hateful inconstancy ; but it is thou only that must remedy it. O thou who art the Father of mercies, pity my wildness, and weak distractions ! Take thou my heart to thee, it is thine own; keep it with thee, tie it close to thee by the cords of love, that it may not so much as cast down an eye upon this wretched and perishing world.

IV. Lord, I confess to my shame, thou art a great loser by me; for, besides my not improving of thy favours, I have not kept even reckonings with thee; I have not justly tallied * up thine inestimable benefits. Thy negative mercies are both without and beyond my account; for every evil that I am free from, is a new blessing from thee. That I am out of bondage, that I am out of pain and misery, that I am out of the dominion of sin, out of the tyranny of Satan, out of the agonies of an afflicted soul, out of the torments of hell! Lord, how unspeakable are these mercies ! yet, when did I bless thee for any of them ? thy positive bounties I can feel but with a benumbed and im. perfect sense. Lord, do thou enlarge and soften

* Reckoned up.

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