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to the parables of our Lord, Luke xi. 8. and xviii. 5. and the idraretles of the zom apostle, I Thess. v. 17. And whoever in de trei considers human nature well, and remem- ar meln it bers how soon pious motions vanish, and che how little they effect, will discern a plain sizin reason, both for vebemence and perseverance is in prayer : for vehemence, that the fouls may be deeply impressed by pious passions; monitze ; for perseverance, that such impressions may , fupp not be effaced and obliterated. Nor leta ad any one fancy, that prayer thus qualified time we g has not a better influence upon God, as inghe pack well as upon our felves : 'ris true, God is void of the painfulness and defects of bile tend the man passions, but not of the Perfection time for of divine ones. Woe were to us, if God l the thi were an inflexible, inexorable Deity, and saving or incapable of being wrought upon by the four hy incessant importunity of his poor creatures: hi we woc were to us, if the softness and the latfort tenderness of the divine Nature did not able to the infinitely exceed the little resemblances of cur new it in man. If, in a word, God did not in But a bound in goodness, mercy, and compallion, there is a inore easily to be moved and excited than even mour those human passions that bear some and, logy to them. Next to conversation with God Relatio by prayer, the conversation of good men does wonderfully contribute to the building using a no up in faith and virtue. How does the kinderen fense and experience of such as deferve. alius 2
our esteem and affection, fettle and establish our judgment when they concur with us! how does their knowledge enlighten us, their reason strengthen our faith, and their example inHame us with emulation ! A pious friendIhip renders religion it self more engaging : it sanctifies our very diversions and recreations, and makes them minister to virtue ; it minds us when we are forgetful, supports and encourages us when we faint and tire, reproves and corrects us when we give back, and recalls us into the right path when we go out of it. This is, or this should be, the business of conversation, the end and advantage of friendship : we should be often talking together of the things of God, communicating and laying open the state of our fouls, our fears, our hopes, our improvements, and defects; we should watch over one another, comfort and support one another ; our discourse should always minister new warmth, or new strength to our holy faith and love. But among all the means of grace, there is no one does so much corroborate and nourish the foul of man as the Holy Eucharift. How many wise and impartial reflections does the preparation for it occasion? What unfeigned humility, and what a profound awe of the divine Majesty, does a previous felf-examination beget in us? What a tender sense of the
divine Love does the contemplation of the whole mystery inkindle? What firmness and resolution do we derive from fresh Vows and repeated engagements; and these offered up with so much folemnity ? And how much, finally, is the habit of holiness improved by that spiritual pleasure, which the sensible assurances of grace and salvation work in us, by that awe and holy fear which the whole action leaves behind on our minds, and the zeal, vigilance, and circumspection it obliges us to for the time following ? Not to mention here, how the participation of this holy sacrament obliges us to a most folemn exercise of repentance towards God, and faith in our Lord Jesus, of brotherly love and charity, and the hope of immortality and glory. Here, in a word, we prepare to meet God, as we would do in death and judg ment; here we make an open profession of our holy faith, renounce the world and Hesh, all our sinful or vain desires ; devote our selves to the service of Yesus; and learn to expect happiness from nothing else, but the merits and the imitation of his Cross. So profound is the wisdom of this institution, that it evidently speaks God the author of it, and proclaims the too common neglect of it in most parts of this nation, an inexcusable fin and folly.
3. A third end of instrumental duties of religion, is the raising and keeping up holy and devout affections. I know not why pasion is so commonly undervalued and disparaged in religion, unless they, who thus treat it, mean nothing by it, but a short-lived and superficial commotion of the mind, which leaves no print or relish behind it, and is presently succeeded by sin and folly. Holy passion is the vigour and strength of the soul; 'tis the state and frame of the mind when it is thoroughly moved and affected. And therefore to form to one's self religion destitute of paffon, is little better than to content one's self with one that is lazy, lukewarm, and lifeless. And tho' there be some tempers very unapt to be moved, yet ’tis hard to imagine how even these can be wrought up to a resolution, or that resolution be supported and continued without their being affected so thoroughly, as to feel either a real passion, or something very nearly approaching one. 'Tis an excellent frame of spirit, when the soul is easily elevated and transported into holy pasion : and I find that all those virtues, or rather acts of virtue, which are described to the life, and which are by all judged most perfect and lovely, have most of pason in them. How warm and passionate was the love of David for his God! what flame, what
vebemence of de fire was he moved by, when he cries out, Psal. xlii. 1, 2. As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, fo panteth my Joul after thee, O God: my foul tbirsteth for "God, for the living God. What awful concusions and agitations of spirit did he feel, when he thus describes his fear! My fejh trembleth før fear of thee, and I am afraid of thy judgments, Pfal. cxix. 120. What afflictions of toul, what tenderness of heart do we meet with in the repentance of St. Peter, when he went forth and wept bitterly ! 'of Mary Magdalen, or whoever that woman in Luke vii. was, when toe wafbed the feet of our Saviour with her tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her bead! and of the royal Pfalmist, when he watered bis couch with bis tears, Plal. vi. 6. Nor were the pleasures of assurance less sensible and vehement than the sorrows of repentance, when the first Christians rejoiced with joy unSpeakable, and hopes full of glory. Shall I here add that holy indignation against fin, that vehement desire of making some rea paration for it, which is the effect of godly forrow, that zeal and fervency of spirit in the service of God, which is the highest character of Perfection it self? Shall I call these passions? I must not; for tho’ they have the heat and agitation of passion, they have in them the firmness and steadines of an habit. And I wish with all my