Imágenes de página

For this is to live in God, united to him, both for time and eternity. Would you have done with error, scruple and delusion, consider the Deity (as I have said) to be the greatest love, the greatest meekness, the greatest sweetness; the eternal unchangeable will to be a good and blessing to every ereature ; and that all the misery, darkness and death, of fallen angels, and fallen men, consists iu their having lost this divine nature. Consider yourself, and all the fallen world, as having nothing to seek or wish for, but by the spirit of prayer to draw into the life of your soul, rays and sparks of this divine, meek, loving, tender nature of God. Consider the holy Jesus as the gift of God to your soul, to begin and finish the birth of God and heaven within you, in spite of every inward or outward enemy. These three infallible truths heartily embraced, and made the nourishment of your soul, shorten and secure the way to heaven, and leave no room for error, scruple, or delusion. The poverty of our fallen nature, the depraved workings of flesh and blood, the corrupt tempers of our polluted birth in this world, do us no hurt, so long as the spirit of prayer works contrary to them, and longs for the first birth of the light and spirit of heaven.

All our natural evil ceases to be our own evil, as soon as our will-spirit turns from it; it then changes its nature, Joses all its poison and death, and only becomes our holy cross, on which we happily die from self, and this world, into the kingdom of heaven.

I much congratulate you on your manner of prayer; so practised, it becomes the life of the soul, and the true food of eternity. Keep in this state of application to God, and then you will infallibly find it to be the way of rising out of the vanity of time, into the riches of eternity.

Do not expect or look for the same degrees of sensible fervor.–The matter lies not there.--Nature will have its share ; but the ups and downs of that are to be overlooked. While your will-spirit is good, and set right, the changes of creaturely fervor lessen not your union with God. It is the abyss of the heart, an unfathomable depth of eternity within us, as much above sensible

fervor, as heaven is above earth; it is this that works our way to God, and unites us with heaven. This abyss of the heart, is the divine nature and power within us, which never calls upon God in vain, but whether helped or deserted by bodily fervor, penetrates through all outward nature, as effectually as our thoughts can leave our bodies, and reach into the regions of eternity.

I am, with hearty prayers to God for you,
Your truly affectionate friend and servant,

W. LAW. LETTER III. My dear LI am greatly rejoiced at your expressing so feeling a sense of the benefit of prayer; and hope you will every day be more and more raised to, and united with God, by it.

I love no mysterious depths, or heights of speculation, coyet no knowledge, want to see no ground of nature, grace, and creature, but so far as it brings me nearer to God, forces me to forget and renounce every thing for him, to do every thing in him, and for him; and to give every breathing, moving, stirring intention and desire of my heart, soul, spirit, and life to him.

It is for the sake of the spirit of prayer, that I have endeavored to set so many points of religion in such a view, as must dispose the reader willingly to give up all that be inherits from his fallen father, to be all hunger and thirst after God, and have no thought or care, but how to be wholly his devoted instrument, every where, and in every thing, his adoring, joyful, and thankful ser. vant.

When it is the one ruling, never ceasing desire of our hearts, that God may be the beginning and end, the reason and motive, of our doing or not doing, from morning to night; then every where, whether speaking or silent, whether inwardly or outwardly employed, we are equally offered up to the eternal Spirit, have our life in him, and from him, and are united to him by. that spirit of prayer, which is the comfort, the support, the strength, and security of the soul, travelling by the help of God, through the vanity of time into the riches of eternity.

My dear friend, have eyes shut and ears stopped, to every thing, that is not a step in that ladder that reaches from earth to heaven.

Reading is good, bearing is good, conversation and meditation are good; but then they are only good at times and occasions, in a certain degree; and must be used and governed with such caution, as we eat and drink, and refresh ourselves, or they will bring forth in us the fruits of intemperance.

But the spirit of prayer, is for all times, and all occasions; it is a lamp that is to be always burning, a light that is ever shining ; every thing calls for it, every thing is to be done in it, and governed by it. Because it is, and means, and wills nothing else, but the totality of the soul, not doing this, or that, but wholly, incessantly given up to God, to be where, and what, and how he pleases.

This state of absolute resignation, naked faith and pure love of God, is the highest perfection and most pu. rified life; of those who are born again from above, and through the Divine Power, become sons of God. And is neither more nor less, than what our blessed Redeemer has called and qualified us to long and aspire after, in these words, " Thy kingdom come; thy will be done, on earth as in heaven."

Near the conclusion of yours, you say, since your last to me, you have met with a great many trials disagreeable to flesh and blood, but that adhering to God is always your blessed relief.

Yet permit me on this occasion, to transcribe a memorandum or two, from an old scrap of paper, which has long lain by me for my own use.

1. Receive every inward and outward trouble, every disappointment, pain, uneasiness, darkness, temptation, and desolation, with both thy hands, as a true opportunity and blessed occasion, of dying to self, and entering into a fuller fellowship with thy self-denying, suffering Saviour. 2. Look at no ioward, or outward trouble, in any

other view, reject every other thought about it; and then every kind of trial and distress, will become the blessed day of thy prosperity.

[ocr errors]

3. Be afraid of seeking or finding comfort in any thing but God alone. For that, which gives thee comfort, takes so much of thy heart from God. “Quid est cor purum? cui ex toto, et pure sufficit solus Deus, cui nihil sapit, quod nibil delectat, nisi Deus.” That is, What is a pure heart? One to which God alone is totally and purely sufficient; to which nothing relishes or gives delight, but God alone.

4. That state is best, which exerciseth the highest faith in, and fullest resignation to God.

5. What is that you want and seek, but that God may be all in all in you? But how can this be, unless all creaturely good and evil, become as nothing in you and to you!

“Oh anima mea, abstrahe te ab omnibus. Quid tibi cum mutabilibus creaturis ? Solum sponsum tuum, qui omnium est author creaturarum, expectans, hoc age, ut cor tuum ille liberum et expeditum semper inveniat, quoties illi ad ipsum venire placuerit.” That is, O my soul! withdraw thyself from all things. What hast thou to do with changeable creatures? Waiting and expecting thy bridegroom, who is the author of all creatures, let it be thy only care, that he may find thy heart free and disengaged as often, as it sball please bim to visit thee.

I thank you for your kind offer about the manuscript in the sale, but have no curiosity that way. I have had all that I can have from books. I leave the rest to God. I have formerly given away many of the lives of good Armelle, so can have no dislike to your doing the same. I have often wished for some, or several little things of that kind, though more according to my mind ; by which the meanest capacities might, in an easy manner, be led into the heart and spirit of religion.

Dear Man, adieu.





Concerning the Nature and Extent of Christian Devo


DEVOTION is neither private nor public prayer; but prayers, whether private or public, are particular parts or instances of devotion. Devotion signifies a life devoted to God.

He therefore is a devout man, who lives no longer to bis own will, or the spirit of the world, but to the will of God; who considers God in every thing, who serves God in every thing, who makes all the parts of his common life, parts of piety, by doing every thing in the name of God, and under such rules, as are conformable to his glory.

We readily acknowledge, that God alone is to be the object of our prayers; that in them we are to look wholly unto him, and act wholly for him, that we are to pray in such manner, for such things, and such ends, as are suitable to his glory.

Now let any one find out the reason, why he is to be thus strictly pious in his prayers, and he will find the same as strong a reason to be as strictly pious in all the other parts of his life. For there is not the shadow of a

« AnteriorContinuar »