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Patience; and it is by denying yourself, that you become mortissied to the Things of this World. And let me advertise you of one Thing, that the longer you defer to practise any Virtue, the more difficulty and Pain you will sind whenever you set about it: When as, on the contrary, the sooner and the oftener you exercise yourself in it, you will, by Experience, sind it more easy and delightful.
3. Meditate upon it, and pray to. God for it. When one has seriously for a long Time meditated upon a Thing, and considered its Necessity, Beauty, and Usefulness, it is easily loved and stuck to. This is common to Virtue, with all other Things that are amiable; if you osten dwell upon the Excellency of any Virtue, if you consider its Necessity ari Advantage, the Example of Jesus Christ, ..nd the Saints that have practised, you will iiad it much more easy to exercise, whenever an Opportunity presents itself to that Purpose. Let therefore the solid Virtues I have recommended, be the Subject of your frequent Meditations: For by the vigorous and constant Application of your Minds to them, you will sind yourself animated to acquire them. To this we must join our hearty Prayers to God; and in order to be heard, you must aik with such a Faith as consists in sirmly believing you shall' receive the Thing you desire, when you have performed
those those Conditions, upon which God has promised to bestow it. You know, -Courage is necessary to do Violence to ourselves, and to overcome the Difficulty there is in the Practice of Religion: And it is from God only we can expect this Strength and Assistance, who must osten be applied to for the Influences of his holy Spirit, that we way be able to mortify our Passions and abound in every Virtue.
4. Examine yourself concerning it. The frequent Reflection that we make in the Examination of our Consciences, is a good; Means to advance our Progress in any Virtue. Upon those Occasions you must-not -only call yourself to an Account for' your Sins, but also for your Virtues, to fee how you advance in your spiritual State: what Occasions have presented of practismg any Virtue, and how you have behaved yourself in relation to them; and this not only in general, but particularly in respect to the Virtue you dcsign to acquire, and is the Subject of the Day's Meditation: In order to this at your Morning Devotions, make a sirm Resolution of practismg that particular Virtue that Day. If in the Day-time you omit any Occasion that presents for the putting it in Execution, immediately alk God's Pardon, and call upon Jesus for fresh Strength. In the Evening, when you recount the Actions of the whole Day, particularly reflect upon the" i. .j" Pro
Progress you have made ili the fame Virtue; compare the Advance you have that Day made, with the Prosit you reaped the Day before; form new Regulations to neglect nothing that may poflibly tend to make you perfect in this Virtue.
5. Ovkiicome all those Obstacles and Hindratices which oppose the PraQiceofthis Virtue* These Objects are either particular or general: The particular ones relate to your natural Temper and Constitution, and take their Rise from your Humour and your Inclinations. It is possible you may be naturally Choleric, now this is an Hindrance to Meek? ness and Charity: You may be fanguine, and naturally of a sost and gay Temper, given to Pleasure: now this is an Obstacle to Self-denial and Mortisication: You are, it may be, of a melancholy Disposition, touchy and positive: now this is an Obstacle to Patience: You are inclined to Complaifance, and to aim at the good Opinion of Men, and to distinguish yourself from others; now this is an Obstacle of Humility. These Hindrances mult be pulled up by the Roots, and Nature niust be resisted, if we design to cultivate her to Purpose; you must overcome your Humour, do Violence to your Inclinations, if ever you mean to fee the Seed of Virtue thrive in your Soul.
Nov the general Obstacles which must be conquered, are Cowardice and Inconstancy,
SelfSelf-love, and amusmg ourselves continually with Trifles, and several other Vices, which nre Enemies to all Virtues. It is by great Courage and constant Perseverance, that you will overcome all the Difliculties of the World; therefore never be disheartened by the Pains and Labour you may meet with in the Way of Christian Perfection: The Devil may be apt to insinuate to you, that you aim too high, and that it is impossible for you to practise any one Virtue as you ought; but give no Ear to his Suggestions; provided you do but bring your best Endeavours, the Grace of God will always be ready to crown them with Success. •
„ "CHAP. IV.
The Love of GOD.
The first Exercise I shall recommend to you is, the Love of God; a Virtue of the greatest Importance: Of all our Passions, Love is the most agreeable; and of all Beings, God is the Only one, that is insinitely perfect, and therefore the only sit and proper Object of it. If we place our Afsections
upon Creatures, we shall always be liable to Difappointment; they are empty, and cannot iatisfy us, and when we think ourselves most secure in the Enjoyment of them, they make themselves Wings and fly away. God only is a solid and durable Good, and He only can sill all the Powers and Capacities of our Souls; therefore we ought to entertain our Minds with. such Motives as are proper to kindle his Love in our Hearts. Let us therefore consider,
1. TavPeifocltionsofGOD. Ifsomefainjt Strokes of Beauty and Wisdom, in the Persons of those we converse with, are apt to engage our "Asfection; what Love ought. we to have for God, who is insinite in all Excellencies, who has Wisdom without the least Imperfection, and Goodness without any Alloy, and whose Perfections insinitely surpass the brightest Footsteps of them in all his Creatures? Who in Heaven 01: Earth can be compared icith our Gcd!
2. TnvMercies of GOD. Benesits are as so many Chains which fasten our Hearts, and, oblige us to love those that do us Good. What surprising Manifestations have we re-; ceived of the Love and Good Will of God towards us-r The Creating us aster his own Image and Likeness, and the Redeeming us by the inexpressible sufferings of his onlybegotten Son, the Graces and Assistances of his holy Spirit, the Publication of Pardon