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and this knowledge shalt thou rather endeavour to obtain by fervent desire and devout prayer, than by high study and outward labour: It is the singular gift of God, and certainly very precious. Pray then,
2. “Most gracious Lord, whom to know is the very bliss and felicity of man's soul, and yet none can know thee, unless thou wilt open and shew thyself unto him, vouchsafe of thy infinite mercy, now and ever, to enlighten my heart and mind to know thee, and thy most holy and perfect will, to the honour and glory of thy name.
Amen." 3. Then lift up thy heart to consider (not with too great violence, but soberly) the eternal and infinite power of God, who created all things by his excellent wisdom; his unmeasurable goodness, and incomprehensible love: for he is very and only God, most excellent, most high, most glorious, the evețlasting and unchangeable goodness, an eternal substance, a charity infinite, so excellent and ineffable in himself, that all dignity, perfection and goodness, that is possible to be spoken or thought of, cannot sufficiently express the smallest part thereof.
4. Consider that he is the natural place, the centre and rest of thy soul: if thou then think of the most blessed Trinity, muse not too much thereon, but with devout and obedient faith, meekly and lowly adore and worship.
5. Consider Jesus, the Redeemer and Husband of thy soul, and walk with him as becomes a chaste spouse, with reverence and lowly shamefulness, obedience and submission.
6. Then turn to the deep, profound consideration of thyself, thine own nothingness, and thy extreme defilement and pollution, thy natural aversion from God, and that thou must, by conversion to him again, and union with him, be made happy.
7. Consider thyself and all creatures as nothing, in comparison of thy Lord; that so thou mayest not only be content, but desirous to be unknown, or, being known, to be contemned and despised of all men, yet without thy faults or deservings, as much as thou canst.
8. “ O God, infuse into my heart thy heavenly light and blessed charity, that I may know and love thee above all things; and above all things loath and abhor myself. Grant that I may be so ravished in the wonder and love of thee, that I may forget myself
, and all things ; feel neither prosperity nor adversity; may not fear to suffer all the pains of this world, rather than to be parted and pulled away from thee, whose perfections infinitely exceed all thought and understanding. O! let me find thee more inwardly and verily present with me, than I am with myself; and make me most circumspect how I do use myself in the presence of thee, my holy Lord.
« Cause me alway to remember how everlasting and constant is the love thou bearest towards me, and such a charity and continual care, as though thou hadst no more creatures in Heaven or earth besides me. What am I? A vile worm and filth."
9. Then aspire to a great contrition for thy sins, and hatred of them, and abhorring of thyself for them; then crave pardon in the blood of Jesus Christ; and then offer up thyself, soul and body, an oblation or sacrifice, in and through him, as they did of old, laying wood on the altar, and then burning up all; so this shall be a sacrifice of sweet savour, and very acceptable to God.
10. Offer all that thou hast, to be nothing, to use nothing of all that thou hast about thee, and is called thine, but to his honour and glory; and resolve, through his grace, to use all the powers of thy soul, and every member of thy body, to his service, as formerly thou hast done to sin.
11. Consider the passion of thy Lord, how he was buffeted, scourged, reviled; stretched with nails on the cross, and hung on it three long hours; suffered all the contempt and shame, and all the inconceivable pain of it, for thy sake.
12. Then turn thy heart to him, humbly saying, “ Lord Jesus, whereas I daily fall, and am ready to sin, vouchsafe me grace, as oft as I shall, to rise again; let me never presume, but always most meekly and humbly acknowledge my wretchedness and frailty, and repent, with a firm purpose to amend; and let me not despair because of my great frailty, but ever trust in thy most loving mercy, and readiness to forgive.”
1. Thou shalt have much to do in mortifying of thy five senses, which must be all shut up in the crucified humility of Jesus Christ, and be as they were, plainly dead.
2. Thou must now learn to have a continual eye inwardly to thy soul and spiritual life, as thou hast used heretofore to have all thy mind and regard to outward pleasure and worldly things.
3. Thou must submit and give thyself up unto the discipline of Jesus, and become his scholar, resigning and compelling thyself altogether to obey him in all things; so that thy willing and nilling, thou utterly and perfectly do cast away from thee, and do nothing without his license : at every word thou wilt speak, at every morsel' thou wilt eat, at every stirring or moving of every article or member of thy body, thou must ask leave of him in thy heart, and ask thyself, whether, having so done, that be according to his will, and holy example, and with sincere intention of his glory. Hence,
4. Even the most necessary actions of thy life, though lawful, yet must thus be offered up with a true intention unto God, in the union of the most holy works, and blessed merits of Christ; saying, “ Lord Jesus, bind up in the merits of thy blessed senses, all my feeling and sensation, and all
wits and senses, that I never hereafter use them to any sensuality!"
5. Thus labour to come to this union and knitting up of thy senses in God, and thy Lord Jesus, and remain so fast to the cross, that thou never part from it, and still behave thy body, and all thy senses, as in the presence of thy Lord God, and commit all things to the most trusty providence of thy loving Lord, who will then order all things delectably and sweetly for thee; reckon all things besides for right nought; and thus mayest thou come unto wonderful illuminations, and spiritual influence from the Lord thy God.
6. If, for his love, thou canst crucify, renounce and forsake perfectly thyself, and all things; thou must so crucify thyself to all things, and love and desire God only, with thy care and whole heart, that in this most stedfast and strong knot and union unto the will of God, if he would create hell in thee here, thou mightest be ready to offer thyself, by his grace, for his eternal honour and glory, to suffer it, and that purely for his will and pleasure.
7. Thou must keep thy memory clean and pure, as it were a wedlock chamber, from all strange thoughts, fancies and imaginations; and it must be trimmed and adorned with holy meditations and virtues of Christ's life and passion, that God may continually and ever rest therein.
PRAYER. 8. “ Lord, instead of knowing thee, I have sought to know wickedness and sin; and whereas, my will and desire were created to love thee, I have lost that love, and declined to the creatures; while my memory ought to be filled with thee, I have painted it with the imagery of innumerable fancies, not only of all creatures, but of all sinful wickedness. Oh! blot out these by thy blood, and imprint thine own blessed image in my soul, blessed Jesus, by that blood that issued out from thy most loving heart, when thou hangedst on the cross; so knit my will to thy most holy will, that I may have no other will but thine, and may be most heartily and fully content with whatsoever thou would do to me in this world; yea, if thou wilt, so that I hate thee not, nor sin against thee, but retain thy love, make mę suffer the greatest pains.”
Rule 1. Exercise thyself to the perfect abnegation of all things which may let or impede this union; mortify in thee every thing that is not God, nor for God, or which he willeth and loveth not: resigning and yielding up to the high pleasure of God, als love and affection for transitory things; desire neither to have nor hold them, por bestow or give them, but only for the pure love and honour of God: put away superfluous and unnecessary things, and affect not even things necessary.
2. Mortify all affection to, and seeking of thyself, which is so natural to men, in all the good they desire, and in all the good they do, and in all the evil they suffer; yea, by the inordinate love of the gifts and graces of God, instead of himself, they fall into spiritual pride, gluttony and greediness.
3. Mortify all atfection to, and delectation in, meat and drink, and vain thoughts and fancies, which though they proceed not to consent, yet they defile the soul, and grieve the Holy Ghost, and do great damage to the spiritual life.
4. Imprint on thy heart the image of Jesus crucified; the impressions of his humility, poverty, mildness, and all his holy virtues; let thy thoughts of him turn into affection, and thy knowledge into love; for the love of God doth most purely work in the mortification of nature; the life of the spirit, purifying the higher powers of the soul, begets the solitariness and departure from all creatures, and the influence and flowing into God.
5. Solitude, silence, and the strait keeping of the heart, are the foundations and grounds of a spiritual life.
6. Do all thy necessary and outward works without any trouble or carefulness of mind, and bear thy mind amidst all, always inwardly lifted up, and elevated to God, following always more the inward exercise of love, than the outward acts of virtue.
7. To this can no man come, unless he be rid and