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thod is indeed highly necessary, and will advance the sou better in a short time, than any other in a course of years.

I have mentioned, that our direct and principal exercise should consist in the contemplation of the Divine Presence; we should be also exceedingly watchful and diligent in recalling our dissipated senses, as the most easy method of overcoming distractions; for a direct contest and opposition only serves to irritate and augment them; whereas, by sinking down under a sense and perception of a present GOD, and by simply turning inwards, we wage insensibly a very advantageous, though indirect, war with them.

It is proper here to caution beginners against wandering from truth to truth, and from subject to subject: the right way to penetrate every divine truth, to enjoy its full relish, and to imprint it on the heart, is dwelling on it while its savour continues.

Though recollection is difficult in the beginning, from the habit the soul has acquired of being always from home, yet, when by the violence it hath done itself, it becometh a little accustomed to it, it will soon be rendered perfectly easy, and become delightful. Such is the experimental taste, and sense of his Presence, and such the efficacy of those graces, which that God bestows, whose One Will towards his creatures is to communicate himself unto them!

CHAP. III.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR THOSE WHO ARE WHOLLY ILLITERATE,

THOSE who have not been learned to read, are not, on that account, excluded from prayer; for the great book which teacheth all things, and which is legible as well internally as externally, is JESUS CHRIST himself.

The method they should practise is this: They should first learn this fundamental rule, that the kingdom of " GOD is " within them," (Luke xvii. 21.) and that it is there only it must be sought.

It is as incumbent on the Clergy to instruct their parishioners in prayer, as in their catechism. It is true they tell them the end of their creation; but should they not give them sufficient instructions how they may attain it? They should be taught to begin by an act of profound adoration and abasement before God; and closing the corporeal eyes, endeavour to open those of the soul: they should then collect themselves inwardly, and by a lively faith in God, as dwelling within them, pierce into the Divine Presence; not suffering the senses to wander abroad, but withholding them as much as may be in due subjection.

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They should then repeat "The LORD's Prayer," in their native tongue; pondering a little upon the meaning of the words, and the infinite willingness of that GoD who dwells within them, to become, indeed, "Their Father." In this state let them pour out their wants before him; and when they have pronounced the endearing word, "Father," remains few moments in a respectful silence, waiting to have the will of this their heavenly Father made manifest unto them. Again beholding themselves in the state of a feeble child, sorely bruised by repeated falls, and defiled in the mire, destitute of strength to keep up, or of power to cleanse himself, they should lay their deplorable situation open to their Father's view in humble confusion; now sighing out a few words of love and plaintive sorrow, and again sinking into profound silence before him. Then continuing The LORD's Prayer, let them beseech this King of Glory to reign in them, yielding to his love the just claim he has over them, and resigning up themselves wholly to his divine government.

If they feel an inclination to peace and silence, let them continue the words of the prayer so long as this sensation holds; and when it subsides go on with the second petition, "Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven!" upon which these humble supplicants must beseech GOD to accomplish in them, and by them, all his will; and must surrender their hearts and freedom into his hands, to be disposed of as he pleaseth. And finding that the best employment of the will is to love, they should desire to love GOD with all their strength, and implore him for his pure love; but all this sweetly and peacefully and so of the rest of the prayer, in which the clergy may instruct them. But they should not overburthen themselves with frequent repetitions of set forms, or studied prayers; (Mat. vi. 7.) for the LORD's Prayer once repeated as I have just described, will produce abundant fruit.

At other times they should place themselves as sheep before their shepherd, looking up to him for their true substantial food: "O Divine Shepherd, thou feedest thy flock with thy"self, and art indeed, their daily nourishment !" They may also represent unto him the necessities of their families: but all upon this principle, and in this one great view of faith, that "GOD is within them."

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The ideas we form of the Divine Being fall infinitely short of what he is a lively faith in his presence is sufficient: for we must not form any image of the Deity; though we may of the second person in the ever-blessed TRINITY, beholding him in the various states of his incarnation, from his birth to his crucifixion, or in some other state or mystery, provided the soul always seeks for those views in its inmost ground or centre. Again, we may look to him as our physician, at present to his healing influence of all our maladies; but always without

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violence or perturbation; and from time to time with pauses of silence, that being intermingled with the action, the silence may be gradually extended, and our own exertion lessened; till at length by continually yielding to God's operations, they gain the compleat ascendency, as shall be hereafter explained. When the Divine Presence is granted us, and we gradually relish silence and repose, this experimental feeling and taste of the presence of GoD introduces the soul into the second degree of prayer, which, by proceeding in the manner I have described, is attainable as well by the illiterate as the learned: some favoured souls indeed are indulged with it, even froin the beginning.

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CHAP. IV.

OF THE SECOND DEGREE OF PRAYER.

SOME call the second degree of prayer, "The prayer of contemplation," The "Prayer of faith and stillness;" and others call it, "The prayer of simplicity." I shall here use this latter appellation, as being more just than any of the former, which imply a much more exalted state of prayer than that I am now treating of.

When the soul has been for some time exercised in the way I have mentioned, she finds that she is gradually enabled to approach Gon with facility; that recollection is attended with much less difficulty; and that prayer becomes easy, sweet and delightful: she knows that this is the true way of finding GOD; and she feels" his name is as ointment poured forth." (Cant. i-3.) But the method must now be altered, and that which I prescribe, followed with courage and fidelity, without being disturbed at the difficulties we may encounter therein.

First, as soon as the soul by faith places herself in "The presence of God," and becomes recollected before him, let her remain thus for a little time in a profound and respectful silence.

But if, at the beginning, in forming her act of faith she feels some little pleasing sense of the Divine Presence; let her remain there without being troubled for a subject, and proceed no farther, but carefully cherish this sensation while it continues as soon as it abates, she may excite the will by some tender affection; and if by the first moving thereof, she finds herself reinstated in her sweet peace, let her there remain the smothered fire must be gently fanned, but as soon as it is kindled, we must cease that effort, lest we extinguish it by our own activity. I would warmly recommend it to all, never to finish prayer, without remaining some

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little time after in a respectful silence. It is also of the greatest importance, for the soul to go to prayer with courage; and such a pure and disinterested love, as seeks nothing from GOD, but the ability to please him, and to do his will: for a servant who only proportions his diligence to his hope of reward, renders himself unworthy of all reward. Go then to prayer, not that ye may enjoy spiritual delights, but that ye may be either full or empty, just as it pleaseth GoD: this will preserve you in an evenness of spirit, in desertion as well as in consolation, and prevent your being surprized at aridity or the apparent repulses of GOD.

CHAP. V.

OF SPIRITUAL ARIDITY.

THOUGH GOD hath no other desire than to impart himself to the loving soul that seeks him, yet he frequently conceals himself from her, that she may be roused from sloth, and impelled to seek him with fidelity and love. But with what abundant goodness doth he recompence the faithfulness of his beloved? And how sweetly are these apparent withdrawings of himself succeeded by the consoling caresses of love? At these seasons, we are apt to believe, either that it proves our fidelity, and evinces a greater ardour of affection, to seek him by an exertion of our own strength and activity; or that this exertion will induce him the more speedily to revisit us. No, no, my dear souls, believe me, this is not the right procedure in this degree of prayer; with patient love, with self abasement and humiliation, with the reiterated breathings of an ardent but peaceful affection, and with silence full of the most profound respect, you must wait the return of the Beloved: thus only you will demonstrate, that it is himself alone, and his good pleasure, that you seek and not the selfish delights of your own sensations. Hence it is said, (Eccles. ii. 2. 3.) "Be not impatient in the time of "dryness and obscurity; suffer the suspensions and delays of "the consolations of GOD; cleave unto him, and wait upon "him patiently, that thy life may increase and be renewed."

Be ye, therefore, patient in prayer, though, during life, you can do nought else, than wait the return of the Beloved, in deep humiliation, calm contentment, and patient resignation to his will. And yet how this most excellent prayer may be intermingled with the sighings of plaintive love! This conduct indeed, is most pleasing to the heart of Jesus; and, above all others, will, as it were, compel him to return.

CHAP.

CHAP. VI.

OF ABANDONMENT, OR RESIGNATION.

IT is now we should begin to abandon and give up our whole existence unto God, from the strong and positive conviction, that the occurrence of every moment is agreeable to his immediate will and permission, and just such as our state requires. This conviction will make us resigned in all things; and accept of all that happens, not as from the creature, but as from God himself.

But I conjure you, my dearly beloved, who sincerely wish to give up yourselves to GoD, that after you have made the donation, you will not snatch yourself back again: remember, a gift once presented, is no longer at the disposal of the donor.

Abandonment is a matter of the greatest importance in our process; it is the key to the inner court; so that whosoever knoweth truly how to abandon himself, soon becomes perfect: we must, therefore, continue stedfast and immoveable therein; nor listen to the voice of natural reason. Great faith produces great abandonment: we must confide in GOD, " hoping against hope." (Rom. iv. 18.)

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Abandonment is the casting off all selfish care, that we may be altogether at the Divine Disposal. All Christians are exhorted to this resignation; for it is said to all, "Be not "anxious for to-morrow; for your Heavenly Father knoweth "all that is necessary for you." (Matt xx. 25.) "In all thy

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ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.' (Prov. iii. 6.) "Commit thy ways unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established." (Prov. xvi. 3.) "Commit "thy ways unto the LORD, and he himself will bring it to pass." (Psalm. xxxvi. 5.)

Our abandonment then should be as fully applied to external as internal things, giving up all our concerns into the hands of God, forgetting ourselves and thinking only of him; by which the heart will remain always disengaged, free, and at peace. It is practised by continually losing our own will in the will of Gop; by renouncing every particular inclination as soon as it arises, however good it may appear, that we may stand in indifference with respect to ourselves, and only will that which God from eternity had willed; by being resigned in all things, whether for soul or body, whether for time or eternity; by leaving what is past in oblivion; what is to come to Providence, and devoting the present moment to GoD, which brings with itself God's eternal order, and is as infallible a declaration to us of his will as it is inevitable and common to all; by attributing nothing that befals us to the creature, but regarding all things in GoD, and looking upon all, excepting only our sins, as infallibly proceeding from him.

Surrender

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