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I SHALL now leave this Subject to the Reader's own Meditation, with this one farther Observation.
We see the Height of our calling, that we are called to follow the Example of our Lord and Master, and to go through this world with his Spirit and Temper. Now nothing is so likely a Means to fill us with his Spirit and Temper, as to be frequent in reading the Gospels, which contain the History of his Life and Conversation in the World. We are apt to think, that we have sufficiently read a Book, when we have so read it, as to know what it contains, this reading may be sufficient as to many Books, but as to the Gospels, we are not to think that we have ever read them enough, because we have often read and heard what they contain. But we must read them, as we do our Prayers, not to know what they contain, but to fill our Hearts with the Spirit of them. There is as much Difference betwixt reading, and reading, as there is betwixt praying, and praying. And as no one prays well, but he that is daily and constant in Prayer, so no one can read the Scriptures to sufficient Advantage, but he that is daily and constart in the reading of them. By thus conversing with our Blessed Lord, looking into his Actions and manner of Life, hearKk
ing his Divine Sayings his Heavenly Instructions, his Accounts of the Terrors of the Damn'd, his Descriptions of the Glory of the Righteous, we should find our Hearts form’d and dispos’d to Hunger and Thirst after Righteousness. Happy
Happy they, who saw the Son of God upon Earth converting Sinners, and calling fallen Spirits to return to God! And next happy are we, who have his Discourses, Doctrines, Actions, and Miracles which then converted Jews and Heathens into Saints and Martyrs, still preserv'd to fill us with the same Heavenly Light, and lead us to the same State of Glory
HOEVER hath read the foregoing Chapters with Attention, is, I hope, sufficiently instructed
in the Knowledge of Christian Perfe£tion. He hath seen that it requireth us to devote our selves wholly unto God, to make the Ends and Designs of Religion, the Ends and Designs of all our Actions. That it calleth us to be born again of God, to live by the Light of his Holy Spirit, to renounce the World and all worldly Tempers, to practice a constant, universal Self-denial, to make daily War with the Corruption and Disorder of our Nature, to prepare our selves for Divine Grace by a Purity and Holiness of Conversation, to avoid all Pleasures and Cares which grieve the Holy Sprit, and separate him from us, to live in a daily constant State of Prayer and Devotion, and
as the Crown of all to imitate the Life and Spirit of the Holy Jesus.
IT now only remains, that I exhort the Reader to labour after this Christian Perfeâion. Was I to exhort any one to the Study of Poetry or Eloquence, to labour to be Rich and Great, or to spend his Time in Mathematicks or other Learning, I could only produce such Reasons as are fit to delude the Vanity of Men, who are ready to be taken with any Appearance of Excellence. For if the same Perfon was to ask me, what it signifies to be a Poet or Eloquent, what Advantage it would be to him, to be a great Mathematician, or a great Statesman, I must be forc'd to answer, that these Things would fignifie just as much to him, as they now signify to those Poets, Orators, Mathematicians, and Statesmen, whose Bodies have been a long while loft amongst common Dust. For if a Man will but be fo thoughtful and inquisitive, as to put the Question to every human Enjoyment, and ask what real Good it would bring along with it, he would soon find, that every Success amongst the Things of this Life, leaves us just in the same State of Want and Emptiness in which it found us. If a Man asks why he should labour to be the first Mathematician, Orator, or Statesman, the Answer is easily given, be
cause of the Fame and Honour of such a Distinction, but if he was to ask again, why he should thirst after Fame and Honour, or what Good they would do him, he must stay long enough for an Answer. For when we are at the Top of all human Attainments, we are still at the Bottom of all human Misery, and have made no farther Advancement towards true Happiness, than those, whom we see in the Want of all these Excellencies. Whether a Man die before he has writ Poems, compild Histories, or rais'd an Estate, signifies no more, than whether he dy'd an hundred, or a thousand Years ago.
On the contrary, when any one is exhorted to labour after Christian Perfection, if he then asks what Good it will do him, the Answer is ready, that it would do him a Good, which Eternity only can measure, that it will deliver him from a State of Vanity and Misery, that it will raise him from the poor Enjoyments of an animal Life, that it will give him a glorious Body, carry him in spite of Death and the Grave to live with God, be Glorious among Angels and Heavenly Beings, and be full of an infinite Happiness to all Eternity. If therefore we could but make Men so reasonable, as to make the shortest Enquiry into the Nature of Things, we should have no Oc