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herself, nor does she arrogantly presume of herself: she does not contend, nor prefer her own opinion to others; bot in every sense and understanding she submits herself to the eternal wisdom, and to the divine examination.
Nature covets to know secrets, and to hear news; is willing to appear abroad, and to have experience of many things by the senses; desires to be taken notice of, and to do such things as may procure praise and admiration;
But grace cares not for the hearing of news and carious things, because all this springs from the eld corruption, since nothing is new or lasting upon earth.
She teaches therefore to restrain the senses, to avoid vain complacency and ostentation, humbly to hide those things which are worthy of praise and admiration, and from every thing, and in every knowledge, to seek the fruit of spiritual profit, and the praise and honour of God.
She desires not to have herself or what belongs to her extolled; but wishes that God may be blessed in bis gifts, who bestows all thro' mere love.
This grace is a supernatural light, and a certain special gift of God, and the proper mark of the elect, and pledge of eternal salvation, which elevates a man from the things of the earth to the love of heavenly things; and of carnal, makes him spiritual.
'Wherefore in as much as nature is kept down and subdued, in so much the greater abundance grace is infused; and the inward man, by new visitations, is daily more reformed according to the image of God.
If Of the Corruption of Nature, and of the Efficacy of Divine Grace.
0 Lord my God, who hast created me to thine own image and likeness, grant me this grace which thou hast declared to be so great, and so necessary to salvation, that I may overcome ray corrupt nature, which draws me to sin and perdition.
For I perceive in my flesh the law of sin contradicting the law of my mind, and leading me captive to obey sensuality in many things; neither can I resist the passions thereof, unless assisted by thy holy grace, infused copiously into my heart.
I stand in need of thy grace, and of a great grace, to overcome nature, which is always prone to evil from her youth.
For the first man, Adam, being corrupted bysin, the punishment of his sin has descended upon all mankind. So that nature itself, which by thee was created good and right, is now put for the vice and infirmity of corrupt nature; because the motion thereof, left to itself, draws to evil, and to things below.
For the little strength which remains is bat like a spark hidden in the ashes.
This is our natural reason, which is surrounded with a great mist, having yet the judgment of good and evil, and of the distance of truth and falsehood, though it be unable to fulfil all that it approves; neither does it now enjoy the full light of truth, nor the former integrity of its affections. i
Hence it is, O my God, that according to the inward man I am delighted with thy law, knowing thy command to be good, just, and holy, and reproving all evil and sin, as what ought to be shunned.
And yet in the flesh I serve the law of sin, whilst 1 rather obey sensuality than reason.
Hence it is, that to will good is present with
me, but how to accomplish it I do not find. (Rom.
Hence 1 often make many good purposes; but because I want grace to help my weakness, thro* a slight resistance I recoil and fall off.
Hence it comes to pass, that I know the way to perfection, and see clearly enough what it is I ought to do;
But being pressed down with the weight of my own corruption, I rise not to those things which are more perfect.
O how exceedingly necessary is thy grace for me, O Lord, to begin that which is good, to go forward with it, and to accomplish it!
For without it I can do nothing. But I can do all things in thee, when thy grace strengthens me.
O truly heavenly grace, without which we have no merits of our own, neither are any of the gifts of nature to he valued!
No arts, no riches, no beauty or strength, no wit or eloquence, are of any worth with thee, O -Lord, without grace.
For the gifts of nature are common to the good and bad; but grace and divine love is the proper gift of the elect, which they that are adorned with, are esteemed worthy of eternal life.
This grace is so excellent, that neither the gift of prophecy, nor the working of miracles, nor any speculation, how sublime soever, is of any value without it.
Not even faith, nor hope, nor any other virtues, are acceptable to thee without charity and grace.
O most blessed grace, which makest the poor in spirit rich in virtues, and renderest him who is rich in many good things, humble in mind:
Come, descend upon me, replenish me betimes with thy consolations, lest my soul faint thro' weariness ant^ dryness of heart.
I beseech thee, O Lord, that I may find grace in thy sight; for thy grace is enough for me, though I obtain none of those things which nature desires.
If I be tempted, and afflicted with many tribulations, I will fear no evils, whilst thy grace is with me.
She is my strength; she gives counsel and help.
She is more mighty than all my enemies, and wiser than all the wise.
She is the mistress of truth, the teacher of discipline, the light of the heart, the comforter of affliction, the banisher of sorrow, the expeller of fear, the nurse of devotion, the producer of tears.
What am I without her, but a piece of dry wood, and an unprofitable stock, fit for nothing but to be cast away?
Let thy grace, therefore, O Lord, always both go before me and follow me, and make me ever intent upon good works, through Jesus Christ thy Son. Amen.
PSALMS OF DAVID, SELECTED.
PSAL. i. Beatus vir.
Blessed is the man who hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the chair of pestilence.
But his will is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he shall meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree which is planted near the running waters, which shall bring forth its fruit in due season.
Anil his leaf shall not fall off: and all whatsoever he shall do shall prosper.
Not so the wicked, not so: but like the dust which the wind dnveth from the lace of the earth.
Therefore the wicked shall not rise again in judgment, nor sinners in the council of the just.
For the Lord knoweth the way of the just: and the way of the wicked shall perish.
PSAL. iii. Domine quid multipliedi. Why, O Lord, are they multiplied that afflict me? many are they who rise up against me.
Many say to my soul: There is no salvation for him in bis God.
But thou, 0 Lord, art my protector, my glory, and the lifter-up of my head.
I have cried to the Lord with my voice: and he hath heard me from his holy hill.
I have slept and have taken my rest: and I have risen up, because the Lord hath protected me.
I will not fear thousands of the people surrounding me: arise, O Lord, save me, O my God.
For thou hast struck all them who are my adversaries without cause: thou hast broken the teeth of sinners.
Salvation is of the Lord: and thy blessing is upon thy people.
PSAL. viii. Domine, Dominus noster.
O Lord, our Lord, how admirable is thy name in the whole earth!
For thy magnificence is elevated above the heavens.
Out of the mouth of infants and of sucklings thou hast perfected praise, because of thy ene