« السابقةمتابعة »
no man loveth himself so well as he. He is most reproached, yet most honoured. He hath most afflictions, and most comforts.
9. The more injury his enemies do him, the more advantages he gains by them. The more he forsakes worldly things, the more he enjoys them.
10. He is the most temperate of all men, yet fares most deliciously; he lends and gives most freely, yet he is the greatest usurer; he is meek towards all men, yet inexorable by men. He is the best child, husband, brother, friend; yet hates father and mother, brother and sister. He loves all men as himself, yet hates some men with a perfect hatred.
11. He desires to have more grace than any man hath in the world, yet is truly sorrowful when he seeth any man have less than himself; he knoweth no man after the flesh, yet gives all men their due respects; he knoweth if he please man he cannot be the servant of Christ; yet for Christ's sake he pleaseth all men in all things. He is a peace-maker, yet is a continual fighter, and is an irreconcileable enemy.
12. He believes him to be worse than an infidel that provides not for his family, yet himself lives and dies without care. He accounts all his superiors, yet stands stiffly upon authority. He is severe to his children, because he loveth them; and by being favourable unto his enemy, he revengeth himself
13. He believes the angels to be more excellent creatures than himself, and yet accounts them his seryants. He believes that he receives many good things by their means, and yet he neither prays for their assistance, nor offers them thanks, which he doth not disdain to do to the meanest Christian.
14. He believes himself to be a king, how mean soever he be: and how great soever he be, yet he thinks himself not too good to be a servant to the poorest saint.
15. He is often in prison, yet always at liberty ; a freeman, though a servant. He loves not honour amongst men, yet highly prizeth a good name.
16. He believes that God hath bidden every man that doth him good to do so; he yet of any man is the most thankful to them that do aught for him. He would lay down his life to save the soul of his enemy, yet will not adventure upon one sin to save the life of him who saved his.
17. He swears to his own hindrance, and changeth not; yet knoweth that his oath cannot tie him to sin.
18. He believes Christ to have no need of any thing he doth, yet maketh account that he doth relieve Christ in all his acts of charity. He knoweth he can do nothing of himself, yet labours to work out his own salvation. He professeth he can do nothing, yet as truly professeth he can do all things: he knoweth that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, yet believeth he shall go to heaven both body and soul.
19. He trembles at God's word, yet counts it sweeter to him than honey and the honey-comb, and dearer than thousands of gold and silver.
20. He believes that God will never damn him, and yet fears God for being able to cast him into hell. He knoweth he shall not be saved by nor for his good works, yet he doth all the good works
21. He knoweth God's providence is in all things, yet is so diligent in his calling and business, as if he were to cut out the thread of his happiness. He believes before-hand that God hath purposed what he shall be, and that nothing can make him to alter his purpose ; yet prays and endeavours, as if he would force God to save him for ever.
22. He prays and labours for that which he is confident God means to give; and the more assured he is, the more earnest he prays for that he knows he shall never obtain, and yet gives not over. He prays and labours for that which he knows he shall be no less happy without; he prays with all his heart not to be led into temptation, yet rejoiceth when he is fallen into it; he believes his prayers are heard, even when they are denied, and gives thanks for that which he prays against.
23. He hath within him both flesh and spirit, yet he is not a double-minded man ; he is often led captive by the law of sin, yet it never gets dominion over him; he cannot sin, yet can do nothing without sin. He doth nothing against his will, yet maintains he doth what he would not. He wavers and doubteth, yet obtains.
24. He is often tossed and shaken, yet is as mount Sion; he is a serpent and a dove ; a lamb and a lion ; a reed and a cedar. He is sometimes so troubled, that he thinks nothing to be true in religion ; yet if he did think so, he could not at all be troubled. He thinks sometimes that God hath no mercy for him, yet resolves to die in the pursuit of it. He believes, like Abraham, against hope, and though he cannot answer God's logic, yet, with the woman of Canaan, he hopes to prevail with the rhetoric of importunity.
25. He wrestles, and yet prevails ; and though yielding himself unworthy of the least blessing he enjoys, yet, Jacob-like, he will not let him go without a new blessing. He sometimes thinks himself to have no grace at all, and yet how poor and afflicted soever he be besides, he would not change conditions with the most prosperous man under heaven, that is a manifest worldling.
26. He thinks sometimes that the ordinances of God do him no good, yet he would rather part with his life than be deprived of them.
27. He was born dead; yet so that it had been murder for any to have taken his life away. After he began to live, he was ever dying.
28. And though he hath an eternal life begun in him, yet he makes account he hath a death to pass through
29. He counts self-murder a heinous sin, yet is ever busied in crucifying the flesh, and in putting to death his earthly members ; not doubting but there will come a time of glory, when he shall be esteemed precious in the sight of the great God of heaven and earth, appearing with boldness at his throne, and asking any thing he needs; being endued with humility, by acknowledging his great crimes and offences, and that he deserveth nothing but severe punishment.
30. He believes his soul and body shall be as full of glory as them that have more; and no more full than theirs that have less.
31. He lives invisible to those that see him, and those that know him best do but guess at him ; yet those many times judge more truly of him than he doth of himself.
32. The world will sometimes account him a saint, when God accounteth him a hypocrite; and afterwards, when the world branded him for an hypocrite, then God owned him for a saint.
33. His death makes not an end of him. His soul which was put into his body, is not to be perfected without his body; yet his soul is more happy when it is separated from his body, than when it was joined unto it: And his body, though torn in pieces, burnt to ashes, ground to powder, turned to rottenness, shall be no loser.
34. His Advocate, his Surety shall he his Judge; his mortal part shall become immortal ; and what was sown in corruption and defilement shall be raised in incorruption and glory; and a finite creature shall possess an infinite happiness. Glory be to God.