Imágenes de páginas

to the parables of our Lord, Luke xi. 8. and xviii. 5. and, the a<ftaA*Vf«s of the apostle, 1 'shess. v. 17- And whoever considers human nature well, and remembers how soon pious motions vanish, and how little they effect, will discern a plain reasbn5 both for .vehemence and perseverance in prayer: for vehemence, that the soul may be deeply impressed by pious passions; for perseverance, that such impressions may not be effaced and obliterated. Nor let any one fancy, that prayer thus qualified has not a better influence upon God, as well as upon ourselves: 'tis true, God is void of the painfulness and defects of human passions, but not of the Perfection of divine ones. Woe were to us, if God were an inflexible, inexorable Deity, and incapable of being wrought upon by the incessant importunity of his poor creatures: woe were to us, if the softness and the tenderness of the divine Nature did not infinitely exceed the little resemblances of it in man. If, in a word, God did not abound in goodness, mercy, and compassion, more easily to be moved and excited than those human passions that bear some analogy to them. Next to conversation with God by prayer, the conversation of' good men does wonderfully contribute to the building us up in faith and virtue. How does the fense and experience of such as deserve

our our esteem and affection, settle and establish our judgment when they concur with us! how does their knowledge enlighten us, their reason strengthen our faith, and their example inflame us with emulation! A pious friendship 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 «, or this should be, the business of conversations tile end and advantage of friend/hip: 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; oxx: 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 nourissh the soul of man as the Holy Eucharist. How many wife and impartial reflections does the preparation for it occasion? What unfeigned humility, and what a profound awe of the divine Majesty, does a previous Jeff-examination beget in us? 'What a tender fense of the

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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 offere'd up with so much solemnity? 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 tor the time following? Not to mention here, how the participation of this holy sacrament obliges us to a most solemn 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 judgment; here we make an open profession of our holy faith, renounce the world and flesh, all our sinful or vain desires; devote our selves to the service of Jesus; 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 neglecl of it in most parts of this nation, an inexcusable sin and folly.

3. A third end of instrumentalities of religion, is the rafing and keeping up holy and devout affeBiom. I know not why passion 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 fin and folly. Holy pajsion is the vigour and strength of the foul; '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 pas fan, 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 pajsion: and I find that all those virtues, or rather ac~ls of virtue, which are described to the life, and which are by all judged most perfect and lovely, have most of pajjion in them. How warm and pajsionate was the love pf David for his God I what flame, what


vehemence of desire was he moved by, when he cries out, Pfal. xlii. i, 2. As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God: my soul thirfieth for God, for the thing God. What awful concussions and agitations of spirit did he feel, when he thus describes his fear! My fiesh trembleth for fear of thee, and I am afraid of tby judgments, Pfal. cxix. 120. What afflictions of foul, what tenderness of heart do we meet with in the repentance of St. Peter, when be went forth and wept bitterly! of Mary Magdalen, or whoever that woman in Luke vii. was, when Jhe washed the feet of our Saviour with her tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her bead! and of the royal Psalmist, when he watered bis couch with his tears, Pfal. vi. 6. Nor were the pleasures of ajjurance less sensible and vehement than the sorrows of repentance, when thefrst 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 reparation for it, which is the effect of godly sorrow, that zeal and fervency of spirit in the service of God, which is the highest character of Perfection it self? Shall I call these pajjions? I must not; for tho' they have the heat and agitation of paffion, they have in them the firmness and steadiness of an habit. And I wish with all my


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