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1, 2. On the abandonment of self to God, its fruit, and its irrevocableness.
3. Its nature; God requires it.
4. Its practice.
Here we must begin to abandon and give up our whole existence to God, from the strong and positive conviction, that the occurrences of every moment result from his immediate will and permission, and are just such as our state requires. This conviction will make us content with everything; and cause us to regard all that happens, not from the side of the creature, but from that of God.
But, dearly beloved, whoever you are who sincerely wish to give yourselves up to God, I conjure you, that after having once made the donation, you take not yourselves back again; remember, a gift once presented, is no longer at the disposal of the giver.
2. Abandonment is a matter of the greatest importance in our progress; it is the key to the inner court; so that he who knows truly how to abandon himself, will soon become perfect. We must therefore continue steadfast and immovable therein, without listening to the voice of natural reason. Great faith produces great abandonment; we must confide in God, “hoping against hope.” (Rom. iv. 18.)
3. Abandonment is the casting off all selfish care, that we may be altogether at the divine disposal. All Christians are exhorted to abandonment; for it is said to all; “Take no thought for the morrow; for your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. (Matt. vi. 32-34.) “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Prov. iii. 6.) “Commit thy works unto the Lord and thy thoughts shall be established.” (Prov. xvi. 3.) “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him and He will bring it to pass.” (Psalm xxxvii. 5.)
Our abandonment, then, should be, both in respect to external and internal things, an absolute giving up of all our concerns into the hands of God, forgetting ourselves and thinking only of Him; by which the heart will remain always disengaged, free, and at peace.
4. It is practised by continually losing our own will in the will of God; renouncing every private inclination as soon as it arises, however good it may appear, that we may stand in indifference with respect to ourselves, and only will what God has willed from all eternity; resigning ourselves in all things, whether for soul or body, for time or eternity; forgetting the past, leaving the future to Providence, and devoting the present to God; satisfied with the present moment, which brings with it God’s eternal order in reference to us, and is as infallible a declaration of his will, as it is inevitable and common to all; attributing nothing that befalls us to the creature, but regarding all things in God, and looking upon all, excepting only our sins, as infallibly proceeding from Him.
Surrender yourselves then to be led and disposed of just as God pleases, with respect both to your outward and inward state.45
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