ON OUR FIRST BEGINNING
Consider first, my soul, that not very long ago thou hadst no being at all, nor any share in the transactions of the world; thou was not even so much as thought of by any creature upon earth. In this low abyss of nothing thou hadst been engulphed from all eternity; and there of thyself thou must have remained to all eternity, infinitely beneath the condition even of the meanest insect, or the most inconsiderable of all God’s creatures; so that whatsoever thou hast at present above this mere nothing is no acquisition of thy own, nor any property of thine, but the pure gift of thy Maker. Down, then, with all self-conceit and presumption; down with all vain-glory; acknowledge thy true original, thy original nothing; sit always down in the lowest place; ascribe nothing to thyself as of thy own growth, but thy manifold sins; give the whole glory of all the rest to thy Maker.
Consider 2ndly, who it was that drew thee out of the deep abyss of nothing into this being which thou now enjoyest; who gave thee this power of thinking, this conscious life, this will, this memory, this understanding; who made for thee this soul and body. No other but he that made heaven and earth – even the eternal, immense, infinite Deity. and how came this great God to think of making thee? What did he see in thee that could move him to love thee, and to bestow this being upon thee? O! it was nothing but his own infinite goodness, for there could be nothing in thee worthy of his love: he stood in no need of thee; thou couldest do him no service. O! embrace, then with all the powers of thy soul, this infinite goodness of thy God. Give thy whole being to him who has given it all to thee. Dedicate thy whole self to his love and service, for time and eternity.
Consider 3rdly, that God made thee after his own image and likeness, that he might engage thee the more to love him. This image and likeness is in thy soul, which is a spiritual being; and in the spiritual powers of thy soul; in thy free will, which nothing controls, and which can be satisfied with nothing less than God; and in thy understanding which is capable of soaring above all things, visible and invisible, and reaching to the contemplation of God himself. O! let not, then, this noble spirit lie any longer groveling in the mire of the earth! Let not this will, that was made to be a queen, be a slave to flesh and blood. Let not this understanding, this mind, this thought, that should contemplate heavenly truths, be bowed down to empty earthy toys.
Conclude to be ever mindful of thy own nothingness, and that thou hast received all thou hast from the pure bounty of God. The sense and remembrance of this truth will teach thee always to despise thyself, and to love thy Maker with all thy strength.