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Lord, what are we that Thou shouldst thus regard such poor and vile and inconsiderable wretches?
What can our goodwill avail Thy bliss, that with so many charms Thou wooest us to love Thee?
What can our malice prejudice Thy content, that Thou threatenest so violently, if we love Thee not?
Is there not, O my Father, felicity enough in the sweetness alone of loving Thee?
Is there not, perhaps, misery enough in living deprived of Thy blissful love?
Yes, yes, dear Lord, and that Thou knowest; and that is the only cause which moved Thy goodness to court our affections.
Thou knewest we else should cast away ourselves, by doting on the follies of this deceitful world ;
Thou knewest the danger of our wilful nature, and therefore strivest by greatest fears and greatest hopes,
And all the wisest arts of love and bounty, to draw us to Thyself and endow us with Thy kingdom.
Unhappy we, whose frowardness required so strange proceedings to force upon us our own salvation !
Happy we, whose wants have met so kind a hand, that needed but our emptiness to engage Him to fill us !
Happy yet more, that our Lord that thus favours us now will at last give us Himself.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, shall be, world without end. AMEN.
PSALM. COME now, my soul, and choose, for life
and death are set before thee; Choose while thy gracious Lord allows thee day, lest the night of darkness overtake thy neglect;
Choose, but remember thy eternity is concerned, and examine well ere thou make thy resolve.
Call all the pleasures of the world before thee, and ask if any of them be worth such pains;
Ask if to satisfy some irregular passion can recompense the forfeiture of such felicities?
Ask if the vain, forbidden things thou lovest, deserve thy affection better than thy Maker ?
Are they more worthy in themselves, or beneficial unto thee, that thou canst prefer them before thy Redeemer?
Dost thou expect to be quiet by enjoying them, or everlastingly happy in their procurement?
Will they protect thee at the hour of death, or plead thy cause at the day of judgment ?
Oh no; they but deceive me with a smiling look, which I too often have proved by dear experience.
It is God alone that yields a true content; it is God alone that fills us with delight.
Take away, then, thy flatteries, false world, and leave me free for better thoughts.
Turn Thou Thy face to me, dear Jesus, and keep mine eyes still turned towards Thee;
That I may look continually on Thy glorious beauty, and be ravished for ever with the charms of Thy sweetness.
It is Thee alone I choose, and dedicate myself entirely to Thy service ;
Thou art my sole and absolute Lord, be Thou my Portion and Inheritance for ever.
But, O my dearest Lord, do Thou choose me, and guide my uninstructed soul to choose Thee. Oh make me choose to love Thee, till I come to see Thee; and then I cannot choose but love Thee, and be ravished with Thee for
Here we, alas ! move slowly in the dark, led on by the argument of things not seen.
Did we but clearly see what we say we believe, we should certainly change the course of our lives ;
Did we but see the damned in their flames, or hear them cry in the midst of their torments,
How should we fear to follow them in their sin, which we know hath plunged them into all those miseries!
How should we strive against the next temptation, and cast about to avoid the danger!
Did we but see the glories of the saints, or hear the sweet hymns they continually sing,
How should we study to imitate their lives, which, we know, have raised them to all their happiness!
How should we seek all occasions of improve