Open, O Lord, my heart in Thy Law, and teach me to walk in Thy commandments (Ps 119). Grant me to understand Thy will, and with great reverence and diligent consideration to remember Thy benefits, in general as well as in particular, that henceforth I may be able worthily to give Thee thanks. But I know, and confess, that I am not able, even in the least point, to give Thee due thanks and praises. I am less than any of the benefits bestowed upon me (Gen 32:10); and when I consider Thy Excellency, my spirit faints before its greatness.
All that we have in soul and in body, and whatever we possess outwardly or inwardly, by nature or beyond nature, are Thy benefits, and proclaim Thee bountiful, merciful, and good, from whom we have received all good things. Although one have received more, another less, all notwithstanding are Thine, and without Thee even the least blessing cannot be had. He who has received greater cannot glory in his own desert, nor extol himself above others, nor insult the lesser. For he is the greatest and the best, who ascribes least to himself, and who in rendering thanks is the humblest and the most devout. And he who esteems himself viler than all men, and judges himself most unworthy, is fittest to receive the greater blessings.
But he who has received fewer blessings ought not to be discouraged, nor to take it grievously, nor envy him that is richer. But rather he should turn his mind to Thee, and exceedingly praise Thy goodness, for that Thou bestowest Thy gifts so bountifully, so freely, and so willingly, without respect of persons.
All things proceed from Thee, and therefore in all Thou art to be
praised. Thou knowest what is fit to be given to everyone; and why this man should have less, and that more, and that is not for us to judge, but for Thee with whom every man’s deserts are exactly marked. Wherefore, O Lord God, I even esteem it a great mercy, not to have much of that which outwardly and in the opinion of men seems worthy of glory and applause. For so it comes, that he who considers the poverty and unworthiness of his own person, is so far from conceiving grief or sadness, or from being cast down, that he takes great comfort and is glad; because Thou, O God, hast chosen the poor and humble and the despised of this world for Thyself (I Cor.1:27, 28), for Thy familiar friends and household. Witnesses are Thy apostles, and yet they lived in the world without complaint (I Thess. 2:10), so humble and simple, without all malice and deceit, that they even rejoiced to suffer reproaches for Thy name (Acts 5:41); and what the world abhors they embraced with great affection.
Nothing therefore ought so to rejoice him that loves Thee and knows Thy benefits, as Thy will toward him, and the good pleasure of Thy eternal appointment. And therewith he ought to be so contented and comforted, that he would as willingly be the least, as another would wish to be the greatest. And he would be as peaceable and contented in the last place as in the first; as willing to be a despised castaway, of no name or great report, as to be preferred in honour before others, and to be greater in the world than they. For Thy will and love of Thy honour ought to surpass all things, and to comfort him more, and please him better, than all the benefits which he either has received or can receive.