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winter; so we find it here: other sins and spiritual distempers are more common; but this distrustful fear and despair of
mercy, which chills the soul with a cold horror, is more mortal. For the remedy whereof, it is requisite, that the
-with the heart should be thoroughly convinced of the super- Remedy thereabundant and ever-ready mercy of the Almighty; of. of the infallible and unfailable truth of all his gracious engagements: and, in respect of both, be made to confess, that heaven can never be but open to the penitent. It is a sweet word, and a true one, of St. Bernard; “In thy book, O Lord, are written all, that do, what they can; though they cannot do, what they ought*.” Neither doth God only admit, but he invites, but he entreats, but he importunes men to be saved : what could he do more, unless he would offer violence to the will; which were no other than to destroy it, and so to undo the best piece of his own workmanship? It is the way of his decree and proceedings, to dispose of all things sweetly: neither is it more against our nature, than his, to force his own ends; and, when he sees that fair means will not prevail to win us from death, he is pleased feelingly to bemoan it, as his own loss: Why will ye die, O house of Israel ? As for the stable truth of his promises, it is so everlasting, that heaven and earth, in their vanishing, shall leave it standing, fast : his title is, Amen; and, Faithful is he, that hath promised, who will also do it: his very essence can no more fail, than his word. He, that fears therefore, that God will be less than his promise; let him fear, that God will cease to be himself. It was the motto of that witty and learned Doctor Donne, the late Dean of Paul's, which I have seen, more than once, written in Spanish with his own hand, " Blessed be God, that he is God." divinely, like himself: as the being of God is the ground of all his blessed ascriptions, so of all our firmitude, safety, consolation : since the veracity and truth of God, as his other holy attributes, are no other than his eternal essence. Fear not, therefore, () thou weak soul, that the Almighty can be wanting to himself, in failing thee. He is Jehovah, and his counsels shall stand. Fear and blame thine own wretched infirinities: but, the more weak thou art in thyself, be so much the stronger in thy God: by how much more thou art tempted to distrust, cling so much the closer to the Author and Finisher of thy salvation. Thus, if we shall hold an even course, betwixt se
Conclusion. curity on the one part, and horror and distrust on
A Recapitulathe other: if the fortified and exalted eyes of our tion of the souls, being cleared from all inward and ambient impediments, shall have constantly fixed themselves upon the ever-present Majesty of God; not without a spiritual lightsomeness and irradiation, and, therewith, an awful complacency of soul in that glorious sight; and, from thence, shall be cast down upon our own vileness, thoroughly apprehending how much worse than nothing we are, in and of ourselves, in the sight of God: WE SHALL BE PUT INTO A MEET CAPACITY OF A HOLY AND WELL MIXED FEAR. And, if now, our hearts, thus enlightened, shall be taken up with an inward adoration of the infinite power and greatness of God, manifested in the framing and ordering of this visible world, and of the infinite goodness and mercy of God, shewed in the marvellous work of man's redemption; and shall be careful to express this inward worship in all due reverence, upon all occasions, to the name, the word, the services, the house, the messengers of the Almighty: withal, if our humble souls shall meekly subject and resign themselves over to the good pleasure of God, in all things; being ready to receive his fatherly corrections with patience, and his gracious directions with obedience: lastly, if we shall have settled in our hearts a serious care of being always approved to God, in whatsoever actions; and a child-like lothness and dread to give any offence unto so dear and glorious a Majesty: WE SHALL HAVE ATTAINED UNTO THIS BLESSED FEAR, which we seek for; and be happily freed from that wicked inde. votion and profaneness, to which the world is so much and so dangerously subject: which I beseech the God of Heaven to work out in all readers, to his glory in their salvation. Amen. TO ALL
* In libro tuo scribuntur omnes, qui, quod possunt, faciunt; etsi, quod debent, non possunt. Bern. Apol. ad Gulielm. Abbat.
CHRISTIAN PEOPLE WHERESOEVER;
BUT ESPECIALLY TO THOSE OF THIS WESTERN DIOCESE;
TO THE HONOURABLE NOBILITY, THE REVEREND AND LEARNED CLERGY,
THE WORSHIPFUL GENTRY, THE HONEST AND FAITHFUL COMMONALTY, OF THE COUNTIES OF DEVON AND CORNWALL,
WISHETH THE CONTINUANCE AND INCREASE OF (THAT WHEREOF HE TREATS) ALL CHRISTIAN MODERATION, BOTH IN OPINION AND PRACTICE.
RECENSUI Dissertationem hanc de Moderatione Christiana, duabus partibus absolutam, quarum altera de Moribus agit, altera de Doctriná; utraque et bonis moribus, et doctrinæ Ecclesia Anglicane consentanea.