Imágenes de páginas

which will compose your tumultuous Affections, stir up your flat and cold Desires, and engage all the Powers and Faculties of your Souls in his Service.

V. KespeB and Reverence. The modest Behaviour and Deportment of the Body, contributes very much to the Desire and Attention of the Mind. The Greatness and Majesty of God, to whom you speak, and the Quality of a Supplicant, which belongs to you when you pray, ought to inspire you with great Reverence and profound Respect, and ought to oblige you to make use ot iuch an humble Pofture, as may be proper not only to' excite Devotion in ourselves, but to have the fame Influence on those that behold you. And if you pray upon your Knees, with your Eyes sixed down, and your Hands joined together, it is much more likely to have this Effect, than if you stand up, and give yourself the Liberty of gazing about; which does but distract and dissipate'your own Mind, and dispose your Neighbour to the fame Carelessness and Negligence

Whenever your- Prayers are vocal, never pronounce your Words with Haste and Precipitation: What Reason is there you should be in such Haste? Are you tired with the great Honour you have of addressing yourself to God, and therefore endeavour to get out of his Presence as soon as you can? Qr do you run over. your Prayers in such a

Hurry, Hurry, that you may the sooner have Leisure for your worldly Employment? Alas! Can any Employment be of greater Importance to us than our Addresses to God? And ihould any Thing animate us, and revive us more, than the Liberty of approaching the Throne of Grace? Besides, when we speak so fast in our Prayers, and hurry ourselves aster that Rate, we cannot have Leisure to think of what we fay: This makes our Devotion look more like a Talk, which we are obliged to go over, than a Piece of Worship to God, in which we should be always serious and composed. It is no Wonder that we return from such Prayers with as little Relish of Piety and Devotion, as when we sirst set about them; because neither our Hearts no1: our Heads are much asfected by them.

VI. Union with God. It is this Union of Thought and Affection with God, that the devout Christian ought to aspire aster. You ought to be so disengaged from the Love of the Creatures, that the great Bent and Inclination of your Soul may be towards God. If you make any Progress in this Union, it will certainly have this Effect; it will make you think less of the Creatures, that you may have more Leisure to six your Thoughts on God; the happy or unhappy Accidents of Life will have but little Influence upon you, because you put your whole Trust and Considence, in God,, and make Him the


Center of your Happiness. The Hours of Prayer will become pleasant and delightful, because your chief Satisfaction will consist in Communion with God. Your mind will be then more intent upon God in your Prayers, and in your Actions; and during the Business of the Day, you will sind your Soul attracted to Him, and inflamed with divine Love: In fliort, you will have a particular Joy and Pleasure, whenever any Occasion offers itielf of doing or suffering any Thing for the Sake of Him to whom you have given your Heart, and with whonl you desire to -be most intimately united. < You must unavoidably be sensible of the Happiness of such a State and Condition, which ought to excite you earnestly * to contend for it: I shall content myself at present to hint at thofe Things which "tend-to hinder this happy Union, that you may Jay them aside, and get rid of them.

1. Too great an Engagement in worldly Asfairs, and being overwhelmed by a Multitude of Employments.

2. Too great a Passion and Concern for any Thing whatsoever; an Object that we love or hate extremely, will frequently present itielf to us, and interrupt our Attention.

3. Too great an exerting ourselves in reference to outward Things, over-much speaking, too great Curiosity in seeing and hearing every Thing that passes,

4. Want

4. Want of Care, in avoiding little Faults. All these Things hinder our Union with God, and prevent that divine Relish we should otherwise sind in our Devotions. For ordinarily we are such in our Prayers, as we approve ourselves in the Course and Conduct os our Lives.

Chap. xv.



Reading the Holy Scriptures, and other Books of Piety.

That the Soul jhould he without Knowledge, the wife Alan tells us, is not good. Now how is this to be attained, but by searching into those Fountains, from whence it flows? In order to the regular Pra6Uce of our Duty, it is necessary our Minds should be acquainted with the true Principles of Religion and Virtue, which are laid down in the holy Scriptures, and farther explained and enforced by the judicious Writings of wife and good Men; so that they who neglect to apply themselves seriously to acquire necessary Knowledge, render themselves incapable of

discharging discharging their Duty both to God and Man. The Goodness of God has manifested itself to us in so large a Measure, that we are not abandoned to the dim Light of our own Reason; but he has given us his holy Word to guide and direct us in the Path that leads to everlasting Life: these Revelations contain what is neceflary for us to believe and practise, and therefore we are obliged to learn and digest them. This appears,

1. From the Nature and Design of them. The great End and Design of writing the holy Scriptures, was to instruct Man in the Knowledge of true Religion, and to persuade and engifge him to the Practice of it. Whatever Things were written aforetime, were written for our Learning and our Admonition, that we might earnestly contend for the Faith once delivered to the Saints. Rut how can the "Writing of it contribute to these Ends, if we do not seriously and frequently peruse them? How should our Minds be informed in the Nature of that Salvation which is purchased for us, if we do not acquaint ourselves with what is revealed concerning it? How can \Ve be stirred up to Remembrance, if we do not read what it suggests to our Memory? How can we be preserved from offending God but by Motives and Persuasions? Bat how can Motives and Persuasions esfect our Minds, if we do not consult and understand them? How can we contend for the Faith once 2 delivered

« AnteriorContinuar »