ON THE CONFORMITY WITH THE WILL OF GOD
Consider first, that a conformity of our will in all things with the holy will of God is the sovereign perfection of a Christian life, inasmuch as it is the very perfection of divine love and charity, which is the queen of virtues. For there can be no greater love than to have no other will than the will of our divine lover; so as ever to adore in all things his holy will, ever to embrace and love his holy will. This kind of love is perfect indeed – it resembles the love of the angels and saints of heaven. The most acceptable offering we can make to God out of our poor stock is that of our will; whatsoever else we give him, as long as we keep any part of our will from him, will never content him. He claims our whole will without reserve when he says: ‘My son, give me thy heart,’ Prov. xxxiii. Now this we give him when we conform our will in all things with his blessed will. but if we refuse to submit our will in anything to his holy will we refuse him our heart; or, at the best, we only offer him a divided heart, which he will never accept of. O my god, let my whole heart be ever thine! Let my whole soul be ever subject to thee. Let my will be ever a faithful servant and true lover of thy ever-blessed and holy will.
Consider 2ndly, the great advantages that come to our souls from a perfect conformity with the will of God. It gives a certain dignity and perfection to all, even the meanest of our actions, and to all our sufferings, by making the will of God the rule of them all. It purifies our intention in all things by continually directing the eye of the soul towards God. It brings with it a certain uprightness and simplicity of heart which is highly agreeable to God; it makes us even, as the Scripture says of David, ‘men according to God’s own heart.’ It places the soul in the hands of God, for him to dispose of her in all things according to his holy will and pleasure. It brings along with it a perfect peace and tranquility of mind in all events, as being all ordered and directed by him who is infinitely good and infinitely wise, and who orders all things for the good of them who cast their whole care upon him and seek to have no other will but his. O blessed conformity, how rich, how sweet and delicious to the soul are thy happy fruits! Thou makest us enjoy even a heaven upon earth.
Consider 3rdly, that this conformity of the soul with the will of God rids her of all her evils, and puts her in possession of all other virtues. ‘Tis the sovereign means to bring all our passions into order and subjection, and to mortify all our irregular inclinations. For that which makes them disorderly and irregular is their opposition to, or their resistance of, the will of God; whereas this blessed conformity obliges them all to stoop down and submit to his sacred will. It humbles the soul under the mighty hand of God; it teaches her to be meek under all injuries, affronts, and provocations, considering them all as coming from the just appointments of heaven; it makes her willing to take up her cross, and to bear it till death, with perfect patience and resignation: in a word, it teaches her to be obedient unto death. O grant us, dear Lord, this blessed conformity.
Conclude to set a great esteem upon this excellent virtue of conformity with the will of God: it is the greatest treasure thou canst enjoy in this mortal pilgrimage. But then it is not to be obtained without thy being in earnest in seeking it, fervent in praying for it, and ready to part with thy own will and humour for the purchasing of it.