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fuch an one: could I, as I may fay, behold both miracles and wonders there, and yet not Jesus Christ, nor hear any talk of him, I count all but amusement of spirit, lots of time, and a very dangerous precipice. Let us encourage ourselves, to lead this life unknown, and wholly hid from men, bu: most known to, and intimate with God; divesting ourselves, and chasing out of our minds all those many superfluities, and those many amusements, which bring with them so great a damage, that they take up our minds instead of God. So that when I consider that which thwarts and cuts into so many pieces this holy, this sweet, and amiable union, which we should have continually with God, it apa pears, that it is only a monsieur, a madame, a. compliment, and chatting, indeed a mere foolery; which notwithstanding doth ravish and wrest from us the time that is so precious, and the fellowship that is so holy, and so desirable. Let us quit this, I pray you, and learn to court it with our own Master; let us well understand our part, our own world, as we here phrase it, not that world I mean, which we do renounce, but that wherein the children of God do their duties to their Father. There is nothing in this world fo separate from the world, as God; and the greater the saints are, the greater is their retirement into him. This our Saviour taught us, whilst he lived on earth, being in all his visible employments united to God, and retired into the bosom of his Father. Since the time that I gave up my liberty to God, as I told you, I was given to understand, to what a state of annihilation the soul must be brought, to render it capable of union with him : I saw my soul reduced into a small point, contracted and shrunk up to nothing: and at the fame time I beheld myself, as if encompassed with whatsoever the world loves and possesseth; and, as it were, a hand removing all this far from me, throwing it into the ocean of annihi. Jation.
. In the first place, I saw removed all exterior things, kingdoms, great offices, stately buildings, rich houshold-stuff, gold and silver, recreations, pleasures; all which are great incumbrances to the soul's passing on to God; of which therefore his pleasure is, that fhe be stripped, that she may arrive at the point of nakedness and death, which will bring her into possession of folid riches and real life. Assure yourself, there is no security in any estate, but ihis of dying and annihilation; which is, to be baptized into Christ's death, that we live the life of mortification. Our best way is therefore to divest ourselves of all, that the holy child Jesus may govern all. All that can be imagined in this lower world, is of small concernment, though it were the losing of all our goods, and the death of all the men in it; this poor ant-hill is not worthy of a serious thought. Had we but a little faith, and a little love, how happy should we esteem ourselves, in giving away all, to attend no more, fave on God alone; and to say, Deus meus & omnia ; my God, and my all. Being (faith he) in a chapel richly wainscotted, and adorned with
very excellent sculpture, and with imagery, I beheld it with some attention, having had some skill in these things, and saw the bundles. of flowers de luce, and of flowers in form of borders, and of very curious workmanship; it was on a sudden put into my mind, The ori. ginal of what thou feest, would not detain thee at all in seeing it. And I perceived, that indeed all these, and those flowers themselves, not in pictures, would not have taken me up; and all the ornaments which architecture and art invent, are but things most mean and low, running in a manner only upon flowers, fruits, branches, harpies, and chimeras, part whereof are in their very being but things common and low, and part of them merely imaginary; and yet man, who croucheth to every thing, renders himself amorous and a slave of them; no. otherwise than as if a good workman should stand to copy out, and counterfeit fome trifles and fopperies. I considered by this right how poor man was to be cheared, amused, and die verted from his sovereign good. And since that time, I could make no more Itand to consider any of these things : and if I did it, I should reproach myself for it, as no sooner seeing them in churches or elsewhere, but this is presently put upon my spirit, The original is nothing; the copy and the image is yet less; each thing is vain, except the employinent of ourselves. about God alone. An absolute abnegation will be necessary to all things, to follow in simplicity, without reserve or refle&tion, what our Saviour shall work in us, or appoint for us,
let it be this or that. This way was shewed me, in which I ought to walk towards him: and hence it is, that all things to me ordinarily are without any gust or delight. I assure you, it is a great shame to a Christian to pass his days in this world more at ease than Jesus Christ here passed his : ah! had we but a little faith, what repose could we take out of the cross?'
I will conclude his fayings with his dying blessing to his surviving children.
I pray God bless you, and may it please him to bless you, and to preserve you by his grace from the evil of the world, that you may have no part therein : and, above all, my children, that you may live in the fear and love of God, and yield due obedience to your mother.'
Expressions of that weight and moment to the immortal good of man, that they abundantly prove, io all sensible readers, that the author was a man of an enlightened mind, and of a foul mortified to the world, and quickened to fome. tastes of a supernatural life: let his youth, let his quality, adorned with so much zeal and piety, so much self-denial and conftancy, become exemplary to those of worldly quality, who may be the readers of this book. Some perhaps will hear that truth from the several authors I have reported, whose names, death and time have recovered from the envy of men that would hardly endure it from me, if at all from the living. Be it as it will, I shall abundantly rejoice, if God shall please 10
make any part of this discourse effectual to persuade any into the love of holiness, without which, certain it is, no man shall see the Lord: but the pure in heart shall behold him for ever. '
To conclude, I cannot pass this reflection upon what is observed of the sayings of dying men, and which to me seems to have great instruction in it, viz. All men agree, when they come to die, it is best to be religious; to live an holy, humble, strict, and self-denying life; retired, solitary, temperate, and disincumbered of the world. Then loving God above all, and our neighbours as ourselves, forgiving our enemies, and praying for them, are folid things, and the essential part of religion, as the true ground of man's happiness. Then all sin is exceeding sinful, and yields no more pleasure: but every inordinate desire is burthensome, and 'severely reproved. Then the world, with all the lawful comforts in it, weighs light against that sense and judgment, which such men have between the temporal and the eternal. And since it is thus with dying men, what instruction is it to the living, whose pretence for the most part is a perpetual contradiction? O! that: men would learn to number their days, that they might apply their hearts to wisdom; of which, the fear of the Lord is the true and only beginning. And blessed are they that fear always, for their feet shall be preserved from the fnares of death,