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THE soul, considering the obligations of its state, seeing that “the days of man are short;”1111Job 14:5 that the way of eternal life is straight;1212Matt. 7:14 that “the just man shall scarcely be saved;”13131 Pet. 4:18 that the things of this world are empty and deceitful; that all die and perish like water poured on the ground;14142 Kings 14:14 that time is uncertain, the last account strict, perdition most easy, and salvation most difficult; and recognizing also, on the other hand, the great debt that is owing to God, Who has created it solely for Himself, for which the service of its whole life is due, Who has redeemed it for Himself alone, for which it owes Him all else, and the correspondence of its will to His love; and remembering other innumerable blessings for which it acknowledges itself indebted to God even before it was born: and also that a great part of its life has been wasted, and that it will have to render an account of it all from beginning to the end, to the payment of “the last farthing,”1515Matt. 5:26 when God shall “search Jerusalem with lamps;”1616Sophon, 1. 12. that it is already late, and perhaps the end of the day:1717Matt. 20:6 in order to remedy so great an evil, especially when it is conscious that God is grievously offended, and that He has hidden His face from it, because it would forget Him for the creature,-the soul, now touched with sorrow and inward sinking of the heart at the sight of its imminent risks and ruin, renouncing everything and casting them aside without delaying for a day, or even an hour, with fear and groanings uttered from the heart, and wounded with the love of God, begins to invoke the Beloved and says:

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