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discourage me. Many steps of grace and true obedience shall bring me insensibly thither. Only, let me move, and hope: and God's good leisure shall perfect my salvation.
O Lord, give me to possess my soul with patience; and not so much to regard speed, as certainty. When I come to the top of thy holy hill, all these weary paces and deep sloughs, shall either be forgotten, or contribute to my happiness in their remembrance.
XVIII. On the rain and waters. What a sensible interchange there is in nature, betwixt union and division! Many vapours, rising from the sea, meet together in one cloud : that cloud falls down divided into several drops : those drops run together; and, in many rills of water, meet in the same channels : those channels run into the brook, those brooks into the rivers, those rivers into the sea. One receptacle is for all, though a large one: and all make back to their first and main original.
So it either is, or should be, with spiritual gifts. O God, thou distillest thy graces upon us, not for our reservation, but conveyance. Those manifold faculties, thou lettest fall upon several men, thou wouldest not have drenched up where they light; but wouldest have derived, through the channels of their special vocations, into the common streams of public use, for Church, or Commonwealth.--Take back, O Lord, those few drops, thou hast rained upon my soul; and return them into that great ocean of the glory of thine own bounty, from whence they had their beginning.
XIX. On the same subject. Many drops fill the channels; and many channels swell up the brooks; and many
ooks raise the rivers over the banks. The brooks are not out, till the channels be empty: the rivers rise not while the small brooks are full: but, when the little rivulets have once voided themselves into the main streams, then all is overflown. Great matters arise from small beginnings: many littles make up a large bulk. Yea what is the world but a composition of atoms?
We have seen it thus in civil estates; the empairing of the commons hath oft been the raising of the great: their streams have run low, till they have been heightened by the confluence of many private inlets: many a mean channel hath been emptied to make up their inundation.
Neither is it otherwise, in my whether outward or spiritual
, per multa
quàm dejicit mihi animum. Multa gratiæ et veræ obedientiæ vestigia illo me sensim perducent. Tantùm, movere mihi fas sit, et sperare: divina bonitas opportunè tandem salutem meam perficiet.
Da mihi interea, ô Deus, animum meum constanti quâdam patientiâ possidere; et non tam celeritatem respicere, quàm certitudinem. Ubi ad summitatem sancti montis tui adspiraverim, omnes hi molesti gressus viæque sive cænosæ paludes sive ardua præcipitia, vel prorsùs oblivioni dabuntur, vel certè memoriâ sui ad fælicitatis meæ cumulum haud parùm adjicient.
XVIII. Ad conspectum pluviæ et aquarum. Quam certam ipsique sensui obnoxiam vicissitudinem constituit natura, inter unionem ac divisionem! Vapores multi, è mari exorti, in unam conveniunt nubem: decidit illa nubes in plurimas guttas divisa : concurrunt hæ guttæ illico; stillicidia, in eundem canalem desinunt: canales illi in rivulos, rivuli in flumina, flumina in mare confluunt. Receptaculum unum, vastum illud quidem capaxque, omnia hæc suo sinu complectitur: istuc nempe velut ad primum ac originale principium refluunt ac recurrunt omnia.
Pari modo se habet, aut habere saltem debet, cum donis spiritualibus ac divinis. Tu, ô Deus, charismata super nos tua ubertim diffundis, non servanda nobis ilicet, sed aliis derivanda, Multijuges illæ facultates, quas in varium hominum genus depluere tibi placuit, non eo abs te animo dimissæ sunt ut eo ipso in loco absorberentur in quo decidunt; sed, ut per diversarum vocationum canales, in fluenta communia, universali sive Ecclesiæ sive Reipublicæ bono, deducerentur. Recipe à me, Domine, pauculas illas guttulas, quibus animam meam irrigare voluisti; faxisque redeant affatim in immensum illud gloriosæ gratiæ tuæ oceanum, unde originem sumpserunt.
XIX. Ad eundem, rursus. Gutt£ multæ canaliculos implent; canaliculi multi, rivulos: rivulorum multorum incursu turgescunt flumina. Haud excedere solent ripas suas rivuli, donec se evacuaverint canaliculi: neque intumescunt Alumina, dum pleni sunt rivuli: sed, ubi semel Auvioli se in amnes exoneraverint, tota vallis subitâ exundatione operitur. Ex parvis initiis oriuntur magna: è multis minimis larga concrescit moles. Mundus iste, quid tandem est nisi quiddam ex atomis conflatum?
Etiam in rebus civilibus ita factum vidimus: imæ plebis diminuta supellex potentiorum opes haud parùm auxit: quibus nempe satis angusta res fuit, donec privatorum quorundam influxuum accessione crevisset : quot evacuatis canalibus debent isti tantam potentiæ inundationem!
Neque aliter se mecum habet, in quâcunque sive externâ sive
condition : O God, thou hast multiplied my drops into streams: as, out of many minutes, thou hast made up my age; so, out of many lessons, thou hast made up my competency of knowledge: thou hast drained many beneficent friends, to make me competently rich : by many holy motions, thou hast wrought me to some measure of grace. Oh, teach me wisely and moderately to enjoy thy bounty; and to reduce thy streams into thy drops, and thy drops into thy clouds : humbly and thankfully acknowledging whence and how I have all that I have, all that I am.
XX. On occasion of the lights brought in. What a change there is in the room, since the light came in! yea, in ourselves! All things seem to have a new form, a new life: yea, we are not the same we were. How goodly a creature is light! how pleasing, how agreeable to the spirits of man! no visible thing comes so near to the resembling of the nature of the soul; yea, of the God, that made it. As, contrarily, what an uncomfortable thing is darkness! insomuch as we punish the greatest malefactors with obscurity of dungeons; as thinking they could not be miserable enough, if they might have the privilege of beholding the light : yea, hell itself can be no more horribly described, than by outward darkness. What is darkness, but absence of light? The pleasure or the horror of light or darkness, is according to the quality and degree of the cause, whence it ariseth.
And if the light of a poor candle be so comfortable, which is nothing but a little inflamed air gathered about a moistened snuff; what is the light of the glorious sun, the great lamp of heaven! But, much more, what is the light of that infinitelyresplendent Sun of Righteousness, who gave that light to the sun, that sun to the world! And, if this partial and imperfect darkness be so doleful, which is the privation of a natural or artificial light; how unconceivable dolorous and miserable shall that be, which is caused through the utter absence of the allglorious God, who is the Father of Lights! O Lord, how justly do we pity those wretched souls, that sit in darkness and the shadow of death ; shut up from the light of the saving knowledge of thee, the only True God! But, how am I swallowed up with horror, to think of the fearful condition of those damned souls, that are for ever shut out from the presence of God, and adjudged to exquisite and everlasting darkness ! The Egyptians were weary of themselves in their three days' darkness; yet we do not find any pain, that accompanied their spirituali conditione: O Deus, tu guttas meas in undas multiplicâsti: ut, ex plurimis temporis momentis, ætatem meam conflasti; ita, ex multis documentis, hunc mihi quantillum cognitionis modulum complere voluisti : ex multorum amicorum beneficà largitione, quantillas opes congessisti: multis denique Spiritûs tui sanctis motibus influxibusque, ad aliquam saltem gratiæ mensuram me suaviter perduxisti. Doce me, ô Deus, sapienter moderatèque bonitate tuâ frui; daque ut quas impertiisti mihi undas in guttas tuas reducam, guttas verò tuas in nubes : adeoque unde et quomodo quicquid habeo, quicquid sum, humili gratoque animo agnoscam.
XX. Lucernâ introductá. QUANTUM verò mutatus, ex quo lumen introiit, videtur locus iste ! imò, et nos ipsi! Omnia profectò novam formam, et vitam quasi novam induisse visa sunt: neque nos ipsi iidem sumus. Quàm pulchra res lux est! quàm jucunda, quàm spiritibus humanis apprimè congrua! nec qua rerum visibilium uspiam est, quæ ita propè accedit ad naturam animæ nostræ ; imò, creatoris, Dei. Uti, è contrà, quàm tristes sunt tenebræ! adeò ut sceleratissimos quosque carcerum obscuritate punire soleamus; utpote, quos satis miseros esse posse non arbitremur, modò lucis hujusce privilegio frui liceret: sed, et ipsi damnatorum cruciatus non atrociore quopiam, quàm extimarum tenebrarum nomine, describi solent. Quid aliud sunt tenebræ, quàm mera lucis absentia? Lucis verò tenebrarumve sive jucunditas sive horror, secundum qualitatem gradumve causæ, unde ortum habet, solet æstimari.
Quòd si pauperis lucernæ igniculus, qui nihil aliud est nisi pauxillum inflammati aeris fuliginosi cujusdam lini oleaginosæ pinguedini circumfusi, ita oculos animumque afficiat; quantò magis gloriosis solis radiis, cælestis lampadis splendore delectamur! Quantò, verò, adhuc magis supremi illius æternùmque splendentis Justitiæ Solis, qui hoc lumen soli visibili, hunc solem mundo donavit, beatificà luce refocillamur! Et, si dubiæ hæ imperfectæque tenebræ, quæ præter luminis sive naturalis sive artificialis privationem nihil omnino sunt, tantum tristitiæ secum afferre solent; quantum horroris incutient diræ illæ tenebræ, quæ ab æternâ gloriosissimi Dei, Patris Luminum, absentiâ oriuntur! Quantà, ô Domine, quàmque justà miseratione prosequimur infælices illas animas, quæ in ignorantiæ tenebris ac umbrâ mortis securè usque sedent ; ab omni salutari tui, Veri nempe Dei, cognitione miserrimè exclusæ! Sed, quanto horrore concutior planèque consternor, ubi subit animum tremenda damnatarum illarum animarum conditio, quæ à facie divinâ perpetuò arcentur, exquisitissimis sempiternisque caliginibus adjudicatæ ! Pigebat sui Egyptios etiam ob tenebras triduanas ; nusquam tamen comperimus cruciatuum genus ullum,
continuing night: what shall we say to those woeful souls, in whom the sensible presence of infinite torment shall meet with the torment of the perpetual absence of God?
O thou, who art the True Light, shine ever through all the blind corners of my soul; and, from these weak glimmerings of grace, bring me to the perfect brightness of thy glory.
XXI. On the same occasion. As well as we love the light, we are wont to salute it, at the first coming in, with winking or closed eyes; as not abiding to see that, without which we cannot see. All sudden changes. though to the better, have a kind of trouble attending them, By how much more excellent any object is, by so much more is our weak sense mis-affected in the first apprehending of it.
O Lord, if thou shouldest manifest thy glorious presence to us here, we should be confounded in the sight of it: how wisely, how mercifully hast thou reserved that for our glorified estate ; where no infirmity shall dazzle our eyes; where perfect righteousness shall give us perfect boldness both of sight and fruition !
XXII. On the blowing of the fire. We beat back the flame; not with a purpose to suppress it, but to raise it higher, and to diffuse it more.
Those afflictions and repulses, which seem to be discouragements, are indeed the merciful incitements of grace. If God did mean judgment to my soul, he would either withdraw the fuel, or pour water upon the fire, or suffer it to languish for want of new motions : but now, that he continues to me the means and opportunities and desires of good, I shall misconstrue the intentions of my God, if I shall think his crosses sent rather to damp than to quicken his Spirit in me.
O God, if thy bellows did not sometimes thus breathe upon me, in spiritual repercussions; I should have just cause to suspect my estate: those few weak gleeds of grace, that are in me, might soon go out, if they were not thus refreshed: still blow upon them, till they kindle; still kindle them, till they flame up to thee.
XXIII. On the barking of a dog. What have I done to this dog, that he follows me with this