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Why art thou so disquieted, O my soul, and why so full of heaviness? O put thy trust in God; for I will yet thank him who is the help of my countenance,
and my God. Ps. xlii.
Domine Jesu! in te speravi, miserere mei! Ne sperne animum miserrimi peccatoris.
The love of Christ is the only source from whence a Christian can hope to derive spiritual happiness and peace. Now the love of Christ will not reside in the bosom already preoccupied with the love of the world, or any other predominating affection. We must give up every thing for it, and we know it deserves that distinction; yet, upon this principle, unless the energy of Divine grace were what it is, mighty and irresistible, who would be saved ?
The excellence of our liturgy, and our establishment, is more and more impressed upon my mind : how admirable do her confessions, her penitentiary offerings, her intercessions, her prayers, suit with the case of the Christian! It is a sign that a man's heart is not right with God, when he finds fault with the liturgy.
Contempt of religion is distinct from unbelief: unbelief may be the result of proud reasonings, and independent research; but contempt of the Christian doctrine must proceed from profound ignorance.
LORD, give me a heart to turn all knowledge to thy glory, and not to mine: keep me from being deluded with the lights of vain philosophy; keep me from the pride of human reason ; let me not think my own thoughts, nor dream my own imaginations; but, in all things acting under the good guidance of the Holy Spirit, may I live in all simplicity, humility, and singleness of heart, unto the Lord Jesus Christ, now and for ever more. Amen. [The above prayer was prefixed to a manual, or
A PRAYER. ALMIGHTY FATHER, at the close of another day I kneel before thee in supplication, and ere I compose my body to sleep, I would steal a few moments from weariness, to lift up my thoughts to thy perfections, to meditate on thy wonderful dispensations, and to make my request known unto thee.
Although the hours of this day have not been spent in the busy haunts of society, but in the pursuit of needful and godly knowledge, yet I am conscious that my thoughts and actions have been far from pure; and many vain and foolish speculations, many sinful thoughts and ambitious anticipations, have obtruded themselves on my mind.
I know that I have felt pleasure in what I ought to have abhorred, and that I have not had thy presence continually in mind; so that my ghostly enemy has mixed poison with my best food, and sowed tares with the good seed of instruction. Sometimes, too, the world has had too much to do with my thoughts; I have longed for its pleasures, its splendours, its honours, and have forgotten that I am a poor follower of Jesus Christ, whose inheritance is not in this land, but in the fields above. I do therefore supplicate and beseech thee, Oh! thou my God and Father, that thou wilt not only forgive these my wanderings, but that thou wilt chasten my heart, and establish my affections, so that they may not be shaken by the light suggestions of the tempter Satan; and since I am of myself very weak, I implore thy restraining hand upon my understanding, that I may not reason in the pride of worldly wisdom, nor flatter myself on my attainments, but ever hold my judgment in subordination to thy word, and see myself as what I am, a helpless dependant on thy bounty. If a spirit of indolence and lassitude have at times crept on me, I pray thy forgiveness for it; and if I have felt rather inclined to prosecute studies which procure respect from the world, than the humble knowledge which becomes a servant of Christ, do thou check this growing propensity, and only bless my studies so far as they conduce to thy glory, and as thy glory is their chief end. My heart, O Lord ! is but too fond of this vain and deceitful world, and I have many fears lest I should make shipwreck of my hope on the rocks of ambition and vanity. Give me, I pray thee, thy grace to repress these propensities: illumine more completely my wandering mind, rectify my understanding, and give me a simple, humble, and affectionate heart, to love thee and thy sheep with all sincerity. As I increase in learning, let me increase in lowliness of spirit; and inasmuch as the habits of studious life, unless tempered by preventing grace, but too much tend to produce formality and lifelessness in devotion, do thou, O heavenly Father, preserve me from all cold and speculative views of thy blessed Gospel ; and while with regular constancy I kneel down daily before thee, do not fail to light up the fire of heavenly love in my bosom, and to draw my heart heavenward with earnest longing [to thyself].
And now, O Blessed Redeemer! my rock, my hope, and only sure defence, to thee do I cheerfully commit both
my soul and my body. If thy wise Providence see fit, grant that I may rise in the morning, refreshed with sleep, and with a spirit of cheerful activity, for the duties of the day, but whether I wake here or in eternity, grant that my trust in thee may remain sure, and my hope unshaken.
Our Father, &c. [This prayer was discovered amongst some dirty loose papers
of H. K. White's.]
Mem. SEPTEMBER 22d, 1806. On running over the pages of this book, I am constrained to observe, with sorrow and shame, that my progress in divine light has been little or none.
I have made a few conquests over my corrupt inclinations, but my heart still hankers after its old delights; still lingers half willing, half unwilling, in the ways of worldly-mindedness.
My knowledge of divine things is very little improved. I have read less of the Scriptures than I did last year. In reading the Fathers, I have consulted rather the pride of my heart than my spiritual good.
I now turn to the cause of these evils, and I find that the great root, the main-spring, is-love of the world; next to that, pride; next to that, spiritual sloth.
REMARKS ON THE ENGLISH POETS.
THE sublimity and unaffected beauty of the sacred writings are in no instance more conspicuous, than in the following verses of the xviith Psalm;
• He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet.
And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind.'
None of our better versions have been able to preserve the original graces of these verses. That wretched one of Thomas Sternhold, however (which, to the disgrace and manifest detriment of religious worship, is generally used), has in this solitary instance, and then perhaps by accident, given us the true spirit of the Psalmist, and has surpassed not only Merrick, but even the classic Buchanan. This version is as follows :
• The Lord descended from above,
And bowed the heavens high,
The darkness of the sky.
« On cherubs and on cherubims
Full royally he rode,
Came flying all abroad.' Dryden honoured these verses with very high commendation, and, in the following lines of his Annus Mirabilis, has apparently imitated them, in preference to the original :
• The duke less numerous, but in courage more,
On wings of all the winds to combat flies.' And in his Ceyx and Alcyone, from Ovid, he has
• And now sublime she rides upon the wind,' which is probably imitated, as well as most of the following, not from Sternhold, but the original. Thus Pope
• Not God alone in the still calm we find,
• Rides in the whirlwind and directs the storm.'