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Chapter XIV.

Of The Exercise Of Patience And Love.

He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter.Isa. 53:7.

Whosoever would rightly prepare his soul for union with Jesus Christ, must, like him, be clothed with the meekness and patience of the lamb. Yea, he must have the very same mind that was in Christ, and become a lamb even as he was. Let this be thy rule and thy guide in all thy actions. He tells us himself, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves.” Matt. 10:16. This is truly thy case; and whatever way thou turnest thyself, remember that thou art in the midst of wolves, to whose violence thou art continually exposed; and against this thou hast no other remedy but patience, meekness, and submission, according to the example of the Lamb of God, thy Saviour, Jesus Christ. And as this meekness of the blessed Jesus was acceptable to his Heavenly Father, so also is thine, when by patience thou dost triumph over persecution. So that it is thy business to submit cheerfully to his will, whensoever he shall be pleased to lay his afflicting hand upon thee, either more immediately from heaven, or by any suffering which may fall upon thee by means of any creature. It must all be borne with patience, as coming from the hand of God; and assure thyself that the faithful Shepherd is at hand to seek and save the lost sheep, and bring it home “upon his shoulders, rejoicing.” Luke 15:5. Thus the patient soul is, by every impetuous wave of affliction, wafted nearer to God. But if thy blind carnal reason suggest to thee any excuses or objections against thy submission, hearken not to them; but fix thine eyes upon the exemplary patience of thy Redeemer; look steadfastly to thy crucified Saviour, who did no evil, yet suffered all injuries without thoughts of revenge.

2. Endeavor to acquire more and more the meekness of the Lamb, and, above all things, preserve the love of God, which cannot abide in a wrathful soul. And here consider well with thyself what that love is. Do not 405 fancy it to be that inward joy, that unspeakable pleasure, which sometimes elevates devout souls; that is not the essence of love, but the brightness of it, differing from its root and cause as much as the light does from the fire whence it proceeds. But the true essence of love to God is, to be resigned to the will of God, to depend entirely upon him, and to submit to every affliction as coming immediately from his hand. Thus did Job, who, taking the loss of his children, his goods, his health, and his honor, as coming from the hand of God, still “blessed the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21. So, too, David humbly submitted to the curses of Shimei, as being ordered by the Lord. 2 Sam. 16:10. By this means the essence, the root, and spring of love, are preserved pure and unshaken; and by love we rest in God, and rejoice in all his dispensations. So that if it should please God to sink such a man with Christ to hell, he would not open his mouth, but rest satisfied with the will of God, in which only he finds happiness and rest. In this love true peace is to be found, when in God, and for God's sake, we love everything, crosses and tribulations not excepted. True love unites us to God, and to all the world: and the happiness of such a state is inexpressibly great.

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