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CHAP. XII.

 

Treats of the same.

 

88. Know that thou canst not fetch one step in the way of the Spirit, till thou endeavourest to conquer this fierce Enemy, thy own judgment: And the Soul that will not know this hurt, can never be cured. A sick man that knows his Disease, knows for certain, that altho’ he is adry, yet it is not good for him to drink, and that the Physick prescribed him, tho’ it be bitter, yet is profitable for him: Therefore he believes not his Appetite, nor trusts in his own Judgment, but yields himself up to a skilful Physitian, obeying him in every thing, as the means of his Recovery and Cure: The knowledge that he is sick, helps him not to trust to himself, but to follow the wise judgment of his Doctor.

89. We are all sick of the Disease of self love, and our own judgment; we are all full of our selves; we are alwaies desiring things hurtful to us; and that which does us good, is unpleasant and irksome to us: ‘Tis necessary therefore for him that is Sick, to use the means of Recovery; which is, not to believe our own judgments and distemper’d sentiments, but the wise Judgment, of the spiritual and skilful Physitian, without reply or excuse, despising the seeming reasons of self-love; and so, if we obey, we shall certainly recover, and this love of ours, which is the Enemy of our ease, and peace, and perfection, and the spirit, will be overcome.

90. How often will thine own judgment deceive thee? And how much wilt thou change thy judgment with shame, when thou hast trusted to thine own self? If any man should deceive thee twice or thrice, wouldst thou ever trust him more? Why therefore, dost thou repose confidence in thine own judgment, which has so often cozen’d thee? O blessed Soul, believe no more, believe not; subject thy self with true submission and follow blindfold this Obedience.

91. Thou wilt be much satisfied to have an experienced Guide, and wilt esteem him a great Happiness; but ‘twil little avail thee, if thou valuest thy own judgment more than his Counsel, and dost not submit to it in all truth and simplicity.

92. Suppose a great man be sick of a dangerous Disease: He has in his House a famous and skilful Physitian; and he quickly knows the Disease, the causes, the conditions, and the state of it, and knowing for certain that the Distemper is to be treated with severe Cauteries he orders Lenitives for it: Now, is not this a great disorder? If his sure that Lenitives will do little good, and that Cauterizing is the proper way, why does he not apply it to him? Because, altho’ the sick person would have his health, yet the Physitian knows best, and that he is not disposed to take those strong Medicines, and therefore like a wise man, orders him gentle Lenitives; because tho’ he may not presently get up again by ‘em , yet he keeps the Disease from being mortal.

93. What matter is it, if you have the best Director in the World, if yet not withstanding you want true submission? altho’ he be a man of skill and knows the grievance and the remedy, he doth not apply the proper Physick, which concerns you most to deny your Will; because he knows your very Heart and Spirit, that it is not disposed to let the infirmities of your own judgment be removed. So you will never be cured, and it will be a Miracle, if he can keep you in Grace, with so fierce an Enemy of your Soul about you.

94. Thy Director will scorn all manner of Favours, if he be a wise man; as if thy Spirit may not be well grounded, believe him, obey him, embrace his Counsel, because with this contempt, if the Spirit be feigned and of the Evil One, the secret Pride formed by him that counterfeits these Spirits, will soon be known; but if the Spirit be real: though thou find’st displeasure in this humiliation: it will serve thee for an extraordinary good.

95. If the Soul take delight in esteem, and in having the favours which it receives from God, made open and publick; if it doth not obey and believes not its Director, which thinks meanly of ‘em, ‘tis all a lie and cheat, and the Devil is that Angel that transforms himself. The Soul seeing that the skilful Director despises these cheats, if the Spirit be evil, withdraws the feigned affection, which it shewed him, and endeavours by little and little to get from him, seeking some other that its cheats may take with: for the proud can never keep company with those that humble ‘em: but on t’otherside, if the Spirit be true and of God, by these means the love and constancy increases by enduring ‘em, desiring much more its own contempt, from whence the soundness and sincerity of the Spirit becomes qualified without deceit.

 

 

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