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It is very sweet and flattering to self to imagine ourselves in great works of devotion and charity; living at the foot of the cross, content with scanty fare and raiment, and the love of Christ alone : but if we are cold in our private prayers, we should be earthly and dull in the most devout religious order ; if we shrink from the sick bed of a servant, we should have no charity to turn the pallet of Christ's
if we cannot bear the vexation of a companion, how should we bear the contradiction of sinners ? If a little pain overcomes us, how could we endure a cross ? If we have no tender, cheerful, affectionate love to those with whom our daily hours are spent, how should we feel the pulse and ardour of love to the unknown and the evil, the ungrateful and repulsive? In all this we should be simply deceiving our own souls. What we are in one place we should be every where ; as uncertain and fastidious, as sensitive and capricious, as full of partiality and prejudice, which are the leprosy of the heart, fretting its life away. Manning
Patiently suffer that from others, which you cannot mend in them until God please to do it for thee; and remember that thou mend thyself, since thou art so willing that others should not offend in any thing. Bp. Jeremy Taylor.
We can suffer nothing by the wickedness of men, but what God for wise reasons sees we should suffer. God orders these sufferings for us, without whom no man can hurt us; therefore we must not be angry with men for our sufferings, but reverence God. Whatever their per
sonal hatred, or malice, or revenge be, we may securely despise them, for we are in the hands of. God. These considerations will calm and temper our passions.
Come what may, hold fast to love. Though men should rend your heart, let them not embitter or burden it. We win by tenderness; we conquer by forgiveness. F. W. Robertson.
The cure of general conversation is like the reformation of the world. “ It is an extraordinary talent to be able to improve conversation to the advantage of religion," says Bishop Wilson ; so extraordinary, indeed, that very few have it, and those not the
DIVINE PROVIDENCE. Take therefore no thought for the morrow : for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Matt. vi. 34.
Take heed and beware of covetousness : for a man's life consisteth not in the things which he possesseth.
Luke xii. 15.
therefore wise as serpents, and harmless
Matt. x. 16.
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Cor. x. 31.
Covetousness is a boundless, unreasonable pursuit of the principle of self-preservation.
Providence rewards nothing but good sense, which follows the simple rule of adapting means to ends.
We live in the dark, and know not what is good for us; we disturb our minds with vain hopes, and with as vain fears ; it becomes us to leave all to God, and to depend securely on His Providence, who overrules all things with His sovereign will: this is the only way to be easy and safe,—to choose nothing for ourselves, not to prescribe to Providence, but to do our duty, and then quietly expect what God will do. Is it possible there should be a happier temper than this, more honourable to God, or more secure for ourselves ? Does any thing more become creatures ? Is there any more perfect act of religion than to depend entirely on God, without hopes or fears, in a perfect resignation to His will, with a full assurance of His protection ? Let us do our duty, and mind our own business, and leave God to take care of the world, and allot our portion in it. Sherlock. There is no man
so happy as a Christian. When he looks up to heaven, he thinks,
“ This is my home; the God that makes it and owns it is my Father; the angels, more glorious in nature than myself, are my attendants: mine enemies are my vassals ;” yea, those things which
are most terrible of all to the wicked, are most pleasant to him. When he hears God thunder above his head, he thinks, “ This is the voice of my Father;" when he remembers the tribunal of the last judgment, he thinks, “It is my Saviour that sits in it ;" when death, he esteems it but the Angel set before paradise, which with only one blow admits him to eternal joy; and, which is most of all, nothing in earth or hell can make him miserable. There is nothing in this world worth envying but a Christian.
The common benefits of our nature entirely escape us.
Yet these are the great things. These constitute what most properly ought to be accounted blessings of Providence, what alone, if we might so speak, are worthy of its care. Nightly rest, and daily bread, the ordinary use of our limbs, and senses, and understandings, are gifts which admit of no comparison with any other. Yet because almost every man we meet with possesses these, we leave them out of our enumeration. They raise no sentiment, they awaken no gratitude. Paley.
Rich and multiplied are the springs of innocent relaxation. The Christian relaxes in the temperate use of all the gifts of Providence. Imagination, and taste, and genius, and the beauties of creation, and the works of art lie open
to him. He relaxes in the feast of reason, in the sweets of friendship, in the endearments of love, in the exercise of hope, of joy, of gratitude, of universal good-will, of all the benevolent and generous affections, which by the gracious ordination of our Creator, while they disinterestedly intend only happiness to others, are most surely productive to ourselves of complacency and peace !
Little do they know of the true measure of enjoyment who can compare these delightful complacencies with the frivolous pleasures of dissipation, or the coarse gratifications of sensuality.
Piety requires us to renounce no ways of life where we can act reasonably, and offer what we do to the glory of God. All ways of life, all satisfactions and enjoyments that are within these bounds are no way denied us by the strictest rules of piety. Whatever you can do or enjoy, as in the presence of God, as His servant, as His rational creature that has received reason and knowledge from Him; all that you can perform conformably to a rational nature, and the will of God, all this is allowed by the laws of piety. And will you think that your life will be uncomfortable, unless you may displease God, be a fool and mad, and act contrary to that reason and wisdom which He has implanted in you ?
Where shall we find that wise and happy man who has not been eagerly pursuing different appearances of happiness, sometimes thinking it was here, sometimes there ? And if people were to divide their lives into particular stages, and ask themselves what they were pursuing, or what