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Moses (Num. xi. 28). I had rather thy work were undoné, than done better by another than by myself : had rather that thine enemies were all alive, than that I should kill but my thousand, and others their ten thousands of them. My corruption repines at other men's better parts, as if what my soul wants of them in substance she would supply in swelling. Dispossess me, Lord, of this bad spirit, and turn my envy into holy emulation. Let me labour to exceed them in pains, who excel me in parts: and knowing that my sword, in cutting down sin, hath a duller edge, let me strike with the greater force ; yea, make other men's gifts to be mine, by making me thankful to thee for them. It was some comfort to Naomi, that, wanting a son herself, she brought up Ruth's child in her bosom. If
soul be too old to be a mother of goodness, Lord, make it but a dry-nurse. Let me feed, and foster, and nourish, and cherish the graces in others, honouring their persons, praising their parts, and glorifying thy name, who hath given such gifts unto them.
Have I prayed !--Lord, this day I disputed with myself, whether or no I had said my prayers this morning, and I could not call to mind any remarkable passage whence I could certainly conclude that I had offered my prayers unto thee. Frozen affections, which left no spark of remembrance behind them! Yet at last I hardly recovered one token, whence I was assured that I had said my prayers. It seems I had said them, and only said them, rather by heart than with my heart. ... Alas! are not devotions thus done, in effect left undone ? Well Jacob advised his sons, at their second going into Egypt, "Take double money in your hand; peradventure it was an oversight.” So, Lord, I come with my second morning sacrifice: be pleased to accept it, which I desire and endeavour to present with a little better devotion than I did the former.
Personal Preaching.-Lord, the preacher this day came home to my heart. A left-handed Gibeonite with his sling
(Judges x. 16) hit not the mark more sure than he my darling sins. I could find no fault with his sermon, save only that it had too much truth. But this I quarrelled at, that he went far from his text to come close to me, and so was faulty himself in telling me of my faults. Thus they will creep out at small crannies who have a mind to escape; and yet I cannot deny, but that which he spake (though nothing to that portion of Scripture which he had for his text), was according to the proportion of Scripture. And is not thy Word in general the text at large of every preacher? Yea, rather I should have concluded, that if he went from his text, thy goodness sent him to meet me; for without thy guidance it had been impossible for him so truly to have traced the intricate turnings of my deceitful heart.
Unprepared Death.—Lord, be pleased to shake my clay cottage before thou throwest it down. May it totter a while before it doth tumble. Let me be summoned before I am surprised. Deliver me from sudden death. Not from sudden death in respect of itself, for I care not how short my passage be, so it be safe. Never any weary traveller complained that he came too soon to his journey's end. But let it not be sudden in respect of me. Make me always ready to receive death. Thus no guest comes unawares to him who keeps a constant table.
Forgotten Vows.-Lord, I read how Jacob (then only accompanied with his staff) vowed at Bethel, that if thou gavest him but bread and raiment, he would make that place thy house. After his return, the condition on thy side was over-performed, but the obligation on his part wholly neglected: for when thou badst made his staff to swell, and to break into two bands, he, after his return, turned purchaser, bought a field in Shalem, intending there to set up his rest. But thou art pleased to be his remembrancer in a new vision, and to spur him afresh who tired in his promise : "Arise, go to Bethel, and
make there an altar," &c. Lord, if rich Jacob forgot what poor Jacob did promise, no wonder, if I be bountiful to offer thee in my affliction what I am niggardly to perform in my prosperity. But, oh! take not advantage of the forfeitures, but be pleased to demand payment once again. Pinch me into the remembrance of my promises, that so I
old vows with new resolutions.
Hurtful Kindness.-Lord, I read when our Saviour was examined in the high priest's hall, that Peter stood without, till John (being his spokesman to the maid that kept the door) procured him admission in. John meant to let him out of the cold, and not to let him into a temptation; but his courtesy in intention proved a mischief in event, and the occasion of his denying his Master. Oh let never my kindness concur in the remotest degree to the damage of my friend. May the chain which I sent him for an ornament never prove his fetters ! But if I should be unhappy herein, I am sure thou wilt not punish my good will, but pity my ill success.
Comparing Scripture with Scripture.-Lord, the apostle saith to the Corinthians, God will not suffer you to be tempted above what you are able. But how comes he to contradict himself, by his own confession in his next epistle? where, speaking of his own sickness, he saith, We were pressed out of measure above strength. Perchance this will be expounded by propounding another riddle of the same apostle's: who, praising Abraham, saith, that against hope he believed in hope. That is, against carnal hope he believed in spiritual hope. So the same wedge will serve to cleave the former difficulty. Paul was pressed above his human, not above his heavenly strength. Grant, Lord, that I may not mangle and dismember thy Word, but study it entirely, comparing one place with another. For diamonds can only cut diamonds, and no such comments on the Scripture as the Scripture.
“ Immortal till the work is done.”—Lord, I read of the two VOL. II,
witnesses, "And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them" (Rev. xi. 7). They could not be killed whilst they were doing, but when they had done their work; during their employment they were invincible. No better armour against the darts of death than to be busied in thy service. Why art thou so heavy, O my soul? No malice of man can antedate my end a minute, whilst my Maker hath any work for me to do. And when my daily task is ended, why should I grudge then to go to bed ?
The Favoured Brother.-Lord, I read at the transfiguration that Peter, James, and John were admitted to behold Christ; but Andrew was excluded. So again at the reviving of the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue, these three were let in, and Andrew shut out. Lastly, in the agony the aforesaid three were called to be witnesses thereof, and still Andrew left behind. Yet he was Peter's brother, and a good man, and an apostle ; why did not Christ take the two pair of brothers ? was it not pity to part them? But methinks I seem more offended thereat than Andrew himself was, whom I find to express no discontent, being pleased to be accounted a loyal subject for the general, though he was no favourite in these particulars. Give me to be pleased in myself, and thankful to thee, for what I am, though I be not equal to others in personal perfections. For such peculiar privileges are courtesies from thee when given, and no injuries to us when denied.
"I have prepared a place for you.”—Lord, I read how Paul, writing from Rome, spake to Philemon to prepare him a lodging, hoping to make use thereof; yet we find not that he ever did use it, being martyred not long after. However, he was no loser whom thou didst lodge in a higher mansion in heaven. Let me always be thus deceived to my advantage. I shall have no cause to complain, though I never wear the
THE PSALMIST'S SYLLOGISM.
new clothes fitted for me, if, before I put them on, death elothe me with glorious immortality.
Bad Appetite.—Lord, I discover an arrant laziness in my soul For when I am to read a chapter in the Bible, before I begin it, I look where it endeth. And if it endeth not on the same side, I cannot keep my hands from turning over the leaf, to measure the length thereof on the other side ; if it swells to many verses, I begin to grudge. Surely my heart is not rightly affected. Were I truly hungry after heavenly food, I would not complain of meat. Scourge, Lord, this laziness out of my soul; make the reading of thy Word not a penance, but a pleasure unto me; teach me, that as amongst many heaps of gold, all being equally pure, that is the best which is the biggest, so I may esteem that chapter in thy Word the best that is the longest.
David's Logic.-Lord, I find David making a syllogism, in mood and figure; two propositions he perfected. (Psalm lxvi.)
18. If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not
19. But verily God hath heard me, he hath attended to the voice of my prayer.
Now I expected that David should have concluded thus :
Therefore I regard not wickedness in my heart. But får otherwise he concludes :
20. Blessed be God, who hath not turned away my prayer, nor His mercy from me.
Thus David hath deceived, but not wronged me. I looked that he should have clapped the crown on his own, and he puts it on God's head. I will learn this excellent logic ; for I like David's better than Aristotle's syllogisms, that whatsoever the premises be, I make God's glory the conclusion.
Agur's Prayer.-Lord, wise Agur made it his wish, Give me not poverty, lest I steal, and take the name of my God in vain. He saith not, Lest I steal, and be caught in the manner,