페이지 이미지

rendered thus great, thus rich, thus honoured, thus happy, thus immortal. God, I am a miracle to myself, when I consider myself. My soul is thy gift; this soul that thinks of thee, that fears thee, and loves thee. Thy gift also is the immortality to which it is destined. Thy mercy too is it, that I can serve thee with a contented spirit, and honour thee with a tranquil heart. Thy goodness supports my faculties; it maintains my energies; it crowns my life; it prospers my ways. Lord, what I was, what I am, and what I shall hereafter be, is all thy gift, is all thy goodness.

Meditate, O my soul, and ponder upon the richness of the goodness of God. Renew every moment thy remembrance of that mercy that has raised thee out of thy nothingness to so exalted a condition: think of this especially, whenever thy proud heart would seduce thee, to mistake thy own meanness, and the eminent dignity of thy Maker. What wert thou, if the All-beneficent had not compassion upon thee? And what would all thy advantages avail, if the hand of the Omnipotent, which vouchsafed them to thee, should not continue to preserve them for thee? Through his compassion art thou thus further advanced in the path of thy existence. One morning more has the Lord prolonged the days of thy pilgrimage, and the period of thy preparation for eternity. Accomplish this day the affectionate designs of thy Preserver. Glorify his goodness through every thing which thou shalt this day undertake. Be every thought of thy soul, every sentiment, every inclination of thy heart, directed to the Lord, through whom thou art able to think and to feel. If he grant thee to-day a quiet and satisfied mind, if he rescue thy life from dangers and destruction, then think of him, then love him, then glorify him. Yes, God of all kindness, it

is my earnest purpose to praise thee, both in my spirit and my body, of which each alike is thy gift. Do thou guard me, that, through unthankfulness and ungodliness, I render myself not unworthy of thy benevolence; nor, amid the vast number of thy benefits, forget thee my benefactor. Guided by thy goodness, spared by thy compassion, protected by thy providence, and blessed by thy beneficence, I will go boldly forward in the course which thou hast prescribed to me, and at every step, on the reception of every benefit, rejoice in thee, as in my propitiated father.


The Consideration of Christ's Sufferings an Antidote against Disappointment.

WHEN I go with joyfulness and zeal to my daily occupations, when out of reverence and love to God, and out of an earnest affection for my fellow mortals, I perform indefatigably and assiduously that which duty and my profession demands from me, to whom do I owe this pious disposition of mind? To thee, my Saviour, who hast both left for me a pattern of love and fidelity, and gone before me in the way that leads to God. How can I complain of the burdens of my own calling, when I think of those thou hadst to endure, and with what patience thou didst bear them? How can I sigh over the ingratitude of men, when I think how sorely thy heart was wounded by human blindness and unthankfulness! How can I murmur, if God this day command me to follow a rough path, when I consider how thorny the way was that thou wast forced to pursue, and how faithful and obedient

thou didst continue even unto the death of the cross! thus then will I look up to thee, when my pusillanimous heart trembles, when my soul is sad, when my courage is ready to sink. That thou disdainedst not to become like to us, and to endure the sorrows of life, this reflection shall console and cheer me in every melancholy hour, in every careworn day. Do I live here, in this life of trial, amidst a warfare that never ends, still I will not be dismayed, for what might can overcome me, since thou standest beside me, as an example of fortitude? My life is a complication of woes and troubles. But thy first healing tears, thy lowly birth, thy despised appearance, thy deep humiliation, O thou, for me, debased and suffering child, these render my misery supportable, and assuage the poignancy of my pains. Immanuel! my soul loses itself in these contemplations. O! how then would it have been with me, if I had beheld thee in this profound humility, and heard the thanksgiving hymns of the angels thy servants! Yet, my soul, a greater happiness is in store for thee. Thou shalt see him, even thy Saviour shalt thou see! And if once thou wouldst have shed tears of pity at his debasement, so shalt thou hereafter at the spectacle of his elevation and his divine greatness, exult with loudest jubilee. O Jesus, restorer of blessedness, thou, who wast born for me, lead me to that state of joy, always to behold, and incessantly to worship thee. But here, so long as I am yet a pilgrim, here let me live worthy of the dignity to which thou hast destined me. As thou didst voluntarily strip thyself of thy divine majesty, so give me grace to renounce the ungodliness and the lusts of the world. Teach me, my Redeemer, to live for thee, since thou for my good didst sacrifice thy entire earthly existence. Then, too, when I draw

near to my end, let me die to thee, who didst die for me; and relying on thy merits depart into that better world which thou vouchsafedst to quit in order to win it for me. As long as I live, the recollection of thy humbleness and thy faithfulness shall powerfully strengthen me in belief in, and in love towards thee. I will extol thee by my songs of praise, but yet more by my life. For thou, O my God and my Saviour, alone deservest honour and adoration, glory and thanksgiving.


Contemplating his Saviour's Resignation and Patience, the Christian resolves to imitate him.

How were it possible, that amid such powerful incentives to godliness I could remain insensible! But yet how often does my heart contemn all these encouragements! Neither the example of the blessed spirits, nor the conduct of my Saviour, tempt me to pursue the way in which life and felicity are found. But be it enough, that for so long a time I have neglected my real good! This new day is a new incitement to me to select the path of holiness. I am determined to follow it: but, O God, do thou thyself show me the track in which I ought to go, and rule my steps that I may abide in the same. Teach me to act according to thy pleasure, and let thy good spirit carry me along in the straight way.

Under thy gracious guidance, O my God, I desire thus to tread the course to which thy will and my salvation call me. But where, in the instability and obstinacy of my heart, shall I obtain the power that may render me ready and fit to walk in the prescribed

direction? I see beforehand how often I shall stumble, become weary, fall, stand still, or even turn back. O then, if my heart is thus weak, let my soul be strengthened and encouraged by the example of the glorified spirits. Yet still more let the pattern of my Saviour influence me, who not only points out to me the road to heaven, but has himself travelled it. And how thorny was the way in which he went! Yet was he never tired. With a ready and a patient heart did he hasten to do the will of his Father. And I, shall I not imitate him? shall I shudder at the sufferings which may chance to beset my pilgrimage? No, I will tread in the footsteps of my Mediator, and, as truly and as constantly as he did, proceed in my appointed journey. However small may be the number of my companions, I will not forsake the route in which I have the angels for my fellow travellers, all the pious for my co-mates, and God himself for a witness. Their society and their approbation are more valuable to me than the intercourse and the applause of the vicious. Hard as the duties of Christianity may ap pear to my feeble heart, in the same degree will they become easy to me, when I look up to thee in faith, thou Prince of my salvation.

These are the resolutions with which I enter anew upon the career which is this morning opened to me. But, O God, fortify me and support me in my purpose! That I may continue true to virtue and sanctity, that I may not let myself be seduced by the allurements of the world, but may freely and manfully pursue my course, and may be well pleasing to thee-all this must thou thyself effect, thou Lord and Father of my life. I supplicate thee on high for this grace. O thou who hearest the petitions of thy children, let me not proceed in my destination without thy guidance and defence.

« 이전계속 »