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Meditations adapted to the preceding. *
Now, O my soul, let me ask thee, as in the presence of the all-knowing God, hast thou ever seriously considered thy nature, thy interest and thy dangers ? That thou art a spiritual being, reasonable and immortal, capable of other and nobler pleasures than thou receivest from the enjoyments of the world, and by the instrumentality of the body ; of a higher and more permanent felicity than falls within the limits of this transitory life; that, without a great deal of thought and care, thou art liable to be excluded from all title to this, which is thy proper portion, and at the same time deprived of all those inferior blessings which thou art too apt to mistake for it, and to place in the room of it ;—instead of attaining happiness, the thing thou art seeking
** These Meditations, to page 30th, are, with little alteration, taken from Grove on the Lord's Supper.
after, to fall into a state of misery from which there is no rising again? Hast thou considered, O my soul, what the Son of God hath done to awaken thee out of the common lethargy, to cure thee of thy blindness, to purchase happiness for thee, and to direct, assist and animate thee in the pursuit of it ? Acknowledge, O my soul, under God, the first Mover, thy obligations to the Redeemer of mankind, who, to ransom them from the evils they suffered, or were exposed to, and to raise them to the highest degree of perfection and blessedness, of which their nature and faculties would admit, came down from the bosom of the Father, was made flesh, taught the most excellent doctrine, enforced it by the most perfect example and the most precious and divine promises, and freely sealed it with his own blood; who established a church or society of faithful persons, and took care that nothing should be wanting for its preservation in the world, and continual edification in faith, and holiness, and charity, and consolation! And
canst thou deny any thing to such a friend, such a benefactor as Jesus hath been to thee? When he hath provided thee with all the means and assistance thou needest, in order to thy going on to perfection, among others the institution of the holy supper, shouldst thou not thankfully accept, and faithfully improve them ? O my soul, resolve, and let nothing turn thee from thy purpose, that the serving and imitating thy Saviour, and preparing thyself for that blessed immortality which he hath procured for, and revealed and promised to thee, shall be thy chief aim, thy constant employment, during the rest of thy pilgrimage upon earth!
But what is it, O my soul, that thy Saviour requires of thee? I hear him saying -Do this in remembrance of me. But what is it he would have us do? Is it to make ourselves of no reputation, and become poor for his sake, as he did for ours; to renounce every thing that is most valuable and pleasant in this life; to afflict the body with painful and useless austerities; and to retreat from all the affairs and conversation of the world into barren deserts, and frightful solitudes ? No such thing; though had he bid thee give him some such severe proofs of thy remembrance of him as these, thou couldst not, in gratitude, have refused him, how much more when he only enjoins thee, in a religious manner, to make use of bread and wine as memorials of his body broken, and his blood shed for us! How easy the command! And how inexcusable those who, calling themselves christians, will not, through some faults of their own, be persuaded to do as they are commanded, or do it negligently and indevoutly? Hast thou never heard and been astonished at the cruelties which the worshipers of false gods, not only voluntarily, but with a sort of pride, have practised upon themselves in honor of dumb idols? Thy merciful Lord calls
for no such test of thy love to him. He makes this, indeed, a necessary qualification for thy being his disciple, as it is in the nature of the thing, that thou keep his commandments; but either thou knowest not what his commandments are, or must be obliged to own that they are not grievous. That I love my fellow disciples, and cultivate a benevolent disposition towards all mankind; that I be humble, meek, merciful, temperate; that I be not anxiously thoughtful about future time and events; that I lay up for myself a treasure in heaven, that, my treasure being there, my heart may be there also; these, and such as these, are the commands of the blessed Jesus, who, as a means admirably adapted to my delightful progress in these, and all other virtues of the christian life, does further enjoin a devout attendance at his Table, there to receive the pledges of his love, and grace to help in every time of need.