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Another Meditation to the Same Effect

The beginning of all evil in our sinning springs out of the depravity and corruptness of our judgment, because our will always follows that which the reason judges should be followed. Now that which every man takes to be friendly and agreeing to his nature, the same he judges necessarily to be good for him, and to be desired. Thus meat, drink, apparel, riches, favour, dignity, rule, knowledge, and such like, because they are thought good and agreeing either to the body or to the mind, or to both, (for they help either to the conservation or to the pleasure of man,) are accounted by every one amongst good things.

Howbeit, such is the weakness of our understanding on the one part, and the blindness and too great rage of our lusts on the other part, that we, being left to ourselves, in the desire of things which we judge good and agreeing to our nature by the judgment of our senses and reason, cannot but overpass the bounds whereby they might be profitable unto us, and so we make them hurtful to us, which of themselves are ordained for our health. What is more necessary than meat and drink, or more agreeing to our nature? but yet how few there are who do not hurt themselves by them! In like manner it is with riches, estimation, friends, learning, &c. Yea, although we are in these most temperate, yet when the Spirit, our Regenerator, is wanting in them, we are so drowned in them, that we utterly neglect to lift up our minds to the good pleasure of God, to the end we might imitate and follow God our Maker, by yielding ourselves over, duly to use his gifts to the common and private utility of our neighbours. But now God only is life and eternity, and he cannot but demand of his handiwork, that we should render ourselves and all we have to the ends wherefore we were made, that is, to resemble for our portion, his goodness, as those who are nothing else but witnesses and instruments of his mercy. So that when we wholly and naturally strive against thaw kind of life whereto he has created us, by seeking always ourselves, what other thing ought to ensue, but that he should again destroy us, and take away his notable gifts, wherewith he endued us, that by all kinds of well-doing we should resemble his image? Yea, what other thing may ensue, but that he should leave us, and that eternally, that we might feel, and by experience prove, how bitter a thing it is to leave the Lord, in whom is all goodness? Oh! that therefore I might find such favour in thy sight, dear Father, that thou would work in me, by thy Holy Spirit, a true knowledge of all good things, and hearty love to the same, through Christ Jesus our Lord and only Saviour Amen.

 

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