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heart, that all those other excellent affections of soul, which I before named, could be rendered natural and habitual. The nearer we come to this, undoubtedly the perfeSler. I doubt mortality is incapable of any such height: but the move frequent as well as the more vehement and fervent such affeSlions are, the better certainly; for great is the force and virtue of holy passion; the flame of love refines our nature, and purifies it from all its dross; the tears of a godly sorrow extinguish all our carnal and worldly lusts; and the agitations of star preserve the chastity and purity of the soul. 'Tis plain then, that our religion ought to be animated by holy paffions; that the more frequent and natural these grow, the more perfect we are j that being the most excellent frame of spirit, when we are most apt to be sensibly and thoroughly affected by divine truths. By what means we may attain to this, is now briefly to be considered. 'Tis certain, that great and important, wonderful and glorious truths, will not fail to affect us, and that throughly, unless lust or infidelityhave rendered us stupid and impenetrable. And that gospel-truths are such, is no doubt at all; let the conviction be full, the representation lively, and the truth will do its work. 'Tis for want of such circumstances and such sensible notions of
an an object as may strike the imagination; for want of close and particular applications, when divi?ie truths do not move us. This now does not only call us to the frequent meditation of the most affeSling subjects, the majesty and omnipresence of God; the suffering of Christ, death and judgment, heaven and hell; but it shews also, how to model and form our meditations, that they prove not cold and sluggish. Let the object of our thoughts be described by the most sensible images or resemblances; let it be clad with the most natural circumstances; let it be made as particular as it can, by fixing its eye upon us, and pointing its motion towards us: but above all, and in the first place, let the proof of it be clear and strong. Prayer is an exercise very apt to move the passion: the mind having disengaged it self from all earthly and bodily affections, is prepared for the impression of truth and the Spirit of God; it draws nearer into the presence of God, and the sense of this sheds an awful reverence upon it; it has a clearer, calmer, and more serious view of divine things, than when it is obscured and disturbed by worldly objects- In a word, meditation js in this exercise rendered more solemn and more particular; and when the holy fire is kindled in the foul, it dilates and diffuses it self
more and more, till the strength of desire, the vehemence of holy love transcending the weakness of this mortal nature, we faint under the pafjions that we cannot bear. The Lord's Supper is an holy rite, wonderfully adapted to raise excellent paf Jions: Here Christ is, as it were Jet forth crucified among/I us; we fee his body broken, and his blood poured forth ; here with a devout joy we receive and embrace him by faith and love in those symbols of his body, and blood, and pledges of his love. The soul must be very ill prepared, it must have very imperfect notions of sin and damnation, the cross of Christ, grace and salvation, which is not sensible of a croud of holy passions springing up in it at this sacrament. Hymns and Psalms have, by I know not what natural magick, a peculiar force and operation upon a pious mind. Divinepoetry has a noble elevation of thoughts; it does not devise and counterfeit pqjjions, but only vents those which it feels; and these are pure and lovely, kindled from above. Therefore are all its characters natural, its description lively, its language moving and powerful; and all is so directly suited to a devout mind, that it presently enters, moves, and actuates it, inspires and informs it with the very pajjions it describes. And though all good men are not equally moved in this
duty, duty, yet all, I believe, are more or less moved. It was very much the business of the prophets, and all of prophetick education; our Lord and his disciples practised it frequently; it was ever a great part of religious joy, and one of the greatest pleaiures of pious retirement: and I wish from my heart the esteem of it were revived in our days; I perfwade myself it would add much to the warmth and plea~ fare of devotion; it would contribute to introduce religion into our families; and, for ought I know, into our very recreations and friend/hips. And this minds me, that as I have under every foregoing head taken notice of the advantages of convert fation, so I should not forget it here. This has a lively influence upon our minds, and always kindles in the foul a gentle heat. And did we but accustom our selves to entertain one another with discourse about another world ; did we mingle upraises of God with the feasts and joys of life; did we retire to our country-houses to contemplate the variety and riches of divine wisdom and bounty in those natural scenes of pleasure which the country affords, and did we now and then invite our friends to join with us in offering up Hallelujahs to God on this account, with brightness and serenity, what calm and pleasure would this difiuse through all our souls, through
all our days \ to this that I have said touching the exciting holy passions, I will only add one observation, formed upon those words of the apostle, James v. 13. Is any among you assti&ed? let him fray. Is any merry f let him Jing Psalms. That reh'gion must be accommodated to nature, and that devout pasjions will soon shoot up, when they are engrafted upon a natural stock. With which I will join this other, that since we are most affected by such truths as are most particular, circumstantiated, and sensible, and therefore imprint themselves more easily and deeply on our imagination; for this reason I should recommend the reading the lives of saints and excellent persons, were they not generally writ lb, that we have reason to desire somewhat more of the spirit of piety in the learned, and more of judgment in the pious, who have employed their pens on this argument.
$. 4. The immediate ends of discipline are the subduing the pride of the heart, and the reducing the appetites of the body; By discipline, I here understand whatever 'voluntary rigours we impose upon our selves, or whatever voluntary restraints we lay upon our allowed enjoyments. And when I say, that the humiliation of the heart, and subjeStion of the body are the