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8. Remeniber that Despair belongs only to pasiionate Fools or Villains, (luch as were Achitophel and Judas) or else to Devils and danmed Persons : And as the Hope of Salvation is a good Difpofition towards it; fo is Despair a certain Confignation to eternal Ruin. A Man may be damned for defpairing to be
saved. Despair is the proper Passion of Damnation. 5. Bide. God hath placed Truth and Felicity in Heaven; Curi
osity and Repentance upon Earth: But Misery and Despair are the Portions of Hell.
9. Gather together into your Spirit and its Treafure-House (the Memory) 'not only all the Promises of God, but also the Remembrances of Experience; and the former Senses of the Divine Favours, that from thence you may argue from Times paft to the prelent, and enlarge to the future, and to greater Blefžings. For although the Conjectures and Expectations of Hope are not like the Conclusions of Faith, yet they are a Helmet against the Scorchings of De1pair in temporal things, and an Anchor of the Soul fure and stedfast against the Fluctuations of the Spirit in Matters of the Soul. S.Bernard reckons divers Principles of Hope by enumerating the Instances of the Divine Mercy; and we may by them reduce this Rule to Practice in ihe following Manner. 1. God hath preserved me from many Sins : His Mercies are infinite : I hope he will still preserve me from more, and
I have finned, and God sinote me not : His Mercies are still over the Penitent: I hope he will deliver me from all the Evils I have de served. He hath forgiven ine many Sins of Malice, and therefore surely he will pity my Infirmities. *3. God visited my Heart and changed it: He loves the work of his own Hands, and so my Heart is now become: I hope he will love this too. * 4. When I repented he received me graciously, and therefore I hope if I do my Endeavour he will totally forgive me.
5. He helped my flow and beginning Endeavours ; and therefore I hope he will lead me to Perfection. * 6.When he had given me something first, then he gave me more : I hope therefore he will keep me from falling, and
give me the Grace of Perseverance.
7. He hath chosen me to be a Disciple of Christ's Institution he hath elected me to his Kingdom of Grace and therefore I hope also to the Kingdom of his Glory: * 8. He died for me when I was his Enemy; and therefore I hope he will save nie when he hath reconciled me to him, and is become my Friend. 9. * God bath given us his Son; howe Mould not be with him give us all Things else ? All these S. Bernard reduces to these Three Heads, as the Instruments of all our Hopes : 1. The Charity of God adopting us; 2. The Truth of his Promises ; 3. The Power of his Performance : Which if any truly weighs, no Infirmity or Accident can break' his Hopes into undifcernible Fragments, but some good Planks will remain after the greateft Storni and Shipwreck. This was St. Paul's Instrument : Eaperience begets Hope, and Hope maketh not ashamed.
10. Do thou take Care only of thy Duty, of the Means and proper Instruments of thy Purpose, and leave the End to God : Lay that up with him, and he will take care of all that is intrusted to him : And this being an Act of Confidence in God, is also a Means of Security to thee.
11. By special Arts of Spiritual Prudence and Ar. guments secure the confident Belief of the Resurrection, and thou canst not but hope for every thing else which you may reasonably expect, or lawfully defire upon the Stock of the Divine Mercies and Promises,
12. If a Despair seizes you in a particular tempo ral Instance, let it not defile thy Spirit with impure Mixture, or mingle in Spiritual Considerations ; but rather let it make thee fortifie thy Soul in Matters of Religion, that by being thrown out of your earthly Dwelling and Confidence, you may retire into the Strengths of Grace, and hope the more strongly in that, by how much you are the more defeated in this, that Despair of a Fortune or a Success may become the Neceflity of all Vertue.
SE CT. III.
of Charity, or the Love of God.
Love is the greatest thing that God can give us, for
intermedial Appetites, and reaches at Glory through the very Heart of Grace, without any other Arms but those of Love. It is a Grace that loves God for himself, and our Neighbours for God. The confideration of God's Goodness and Bounty, the Experience of those profitable and excellent Emañations from him, may be, and most commonly are, the first Motive of our Love: But when we are once entred, and have tasted the Goodness of God, we love the Spring for its own Excellency, passing from Passion to Reason, from Thanking to Adoring, from Sense to Spirit, from considering ourselves to an Union with God : And this is the Image and little Representation of Heaven; it is Beatitude, in Pi&ture, or rather the Infancy and Beginnings of Glory.
We need no Incentives by way of special Enumeration to move us to the Love of God, for we cannot love any thing for any Reason real or imaginary, but that Excellence is infinitely more eminent in God. There can þut two things create Love, Perfection and Use
fulness; to which answer on our Part, : 1. Admiration; and, 2. Defire; and both these are centred in Love. For the Entertainment of the first, there is in God an infinite Nature, Immensity or Vaftness without Extenfion or Limit, Immutability, Eternity, Omnipotence, Omniscience, Holiness, Dominion, Providence, Bounty, Mercy, Justice, Perfection in himself, and the
End to which all Things and all Actions must be directed, and will at last arrive. The Confideration of which may be heightned, if we confider our distance from all these Glories : Our Smallness and limited Nature, our Nothing, our Inconftancy, our Age like a Span, our Weakness and Ignorance, our Poverty, our Inadvertency and Inconfideration, our Disabilities and Disaffections to do Good, our harsh Natures and unmerciful Inclinations, our universal Iniquity, and our Necessities and Dependencies, not only on God originally and essentially, but even our Need of the meanest of God's Creatures, and our being obnoxious to the weakest and most contemptible. But for the Entertainment of the second, we may consider that in him is a Torrent of Pleasure for the Voluptuous, he is the Fountain of Honour for the Ambitious, an inexhaustible Treasure for the Covetous. Our Vices are in Love with phantastick Pleasures and Images of Perfection, which are truly and really to be found no where but in God. And therefore our Vertues have such proper Objects, that it is but reasonable they should all turn into Love: For certain it is that this Love will turn all into Vertue. For in the Scrutinies for Righteousness and Judgment, when it is en S. Aug. 1. 2: quired whether such a Person be a good Man or no, the Confei. c. 6. Meaning is not, what does he believe? or, what does he hope but, what he loves.
The Afts of Love to God are, 1. Love does all things which may please the beloved Person; it performs all his Commandments : and this is one of the greatest Instances and Arguments of our Love that God requires of us, [ This is
Love that we keep his Commandments. [Love is
advance the Interest of the beloved Person : It relieves all that he would have relieved, and spends itself in fuch real Significations as it is enabled withal. He never loved God that will quit any thing of his Religion to save his Money. Love is always liberal and communicative...)
4. It suffers all things that are imposed by its Beloved, or that can happen for his Sake, or that intervene in his Service, cheerfully, fweetly, willingly, ex
pecting that God should turn them into Good, and 3 Cor. 13. Instruments of Felicity Charity hopeth all things, en
dareth all things. Love is patient and content with any thing, fo it be together with its Beloved.
5. Love is also impatient of any thing that may displeafe the beloved Perfon, hating all Sin as the Enemy of its Friend, for Love contracts all the fame Relations, and marries the same Friendships and the fame Hatreds ; and all Affection to a Sin is perfectly inconfiftent with the Love of God. Love is not divided between God and God's Enemy : We must love God with all our Heart, that is, give him a whole and undivided Affection, having Love for nothing else but such things which he allows, and which he commands or loves himself.
6. Love endeavours for ever to be present, to converse with, to enjoy, to be united with its Object, loves to be talking of him, reciting his Praises, telling his Stories, repeating his Words, initating his Gestures, transcribing his Copy in every thing; and every