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A Meditation for the Exercise of our Mortification

He that will be ready in weighty matters to deny his own will, and be obedient to the will of God, had need accustom himself to deny his desires in matters of less weight, and to exercise mortification of his own will in trifles. For if our affections by this daily custom are now (as it were) half slain, surely when the plunge shall come, we shall find the more to do. If we cannot watch with Christ one hour, as he said to Peter, we undoubtedly can much less go to death with him. Wherefore that in great temptations we may be ready to say with Christ, "Not my will, but thine be done," since this commonly comes not to pass, but when the roots of our lusts by thy grace, dear Father, are almost rotten, and rooted out by a daily denial of what they desire, I humbly beseech thee, for Christ's sake, to help me herein. First, pardon me my cherishing and, as it were, watering of my affections, obeying them in their devices and superfluous desires. Wherethrough since they have taken deep root, and are so lively in me, I secondly, do beseech thee to pull them up by the roots out of my heart, and so henceforth order me, that I may continually accustom myself to weaken the principal root, that the by-roots and branches may lose all their power. Grant me, I beseech thee, that thy grace may daily mortify my concupiscence of pleasant things, that is, of wealth, riches, glory, liberty, favour of men, meats, drinks, apparel, ease, yea, and life itself; that the horror and impatience of more grievous things may be weakened, and I may be made more patient in adversity. Whereunto I further desire and pray thy goodness, dear Father, that thou wilt add this namely, that I may for ever become obedient and ready to thy good will in all things, heartily and willingly to serve thee, and to do whatsoever may please thee. For doubtless, although we accustom ourselves, in the pleasant things of this life, to mortification and denial of ourselves, yet we shall find enough to do when more bitter and weighty crosses come; for if thy Son our Saviour, ever wont to obey thy good will, prayed so heartily and so often, "Not my will, but thy will be done," whereby he declared himself to be very man; how can it be but that we, whose nature is corrupt, not only in our birth but in our whole life also, shall find both our hands full in great and grievous temptations, and should wholly resign ourselves unto thee? Grant therefore, dear Father, for thy Christ's sake, to me a most miserable wretch, thy grace and Holy Spirit to be effectual in me, that I may daily accustom myself to deny my will in the more easy and pleasant things of this life, that, when need shall be, I may come with Christ to thee with a resigned will, always steadfastly expecting thy mercy, and in the mean season continually obeying thee with readiness and willingness, doing whatever may most please thee, through Christ our Lord, who lives with thee, &c.

 

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