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They are now presented to the public in a separate volume ; so that pious christians may, at a reasonable expense, distribute them among such people, as either will not or cannot buy them ; and the petitions, peculiar to the clergy, are thrown out.
The pious reader will find these Meditations and Prayers too long, according to the
present division of them, to which there is no occasion of adhering. He may take them up, and lay them down, at his own discretion and convenience. It is recommended to him to go thro' them regularly, and to continue the use of them his whole life, selecting such parts for more frequent ineditation, as are best adapted to his necessity and disposition.
As prayer is one of the most important works, in which a man can be engaged, and few find themselves able to discharge it in the manner, they wish to do ; it is humbly hoped, that this book, if attended to, as it deserves, may with God's assistance teach them to pray; may lead their thoughts to meditate on religious subjects ; and habituate them to clothe their meditations in the language of decent, pious, and fervent prayer.
That this valuable book may have this effect, is the earnest
TRUE devotion consists in having our hearts always devoted to God, as the fountain of all happiness ; who is ready to hear and help his otherwise helpless, miserable creatures. It is to be attained,
1st. By earnest prayer. He, THAT HUNGERS AFTER RIGHTEOUSNESS, WILL CER
TAINLY BE FILLED.
2dly. By possessing our hearts with a deep sense of our own misery, wants, and danger; this is the grace of humility.
3dly. By considering God's goodness, pow. er, and readiness, to help us ; this is called faith in God.
Lastly. By convincing our hearts of the insufficiency of every thing else to afford us any real help or comfort ; this is to be effected by self denial.
Dying persons are generally more devout
than others, because they then see their own misery, that nothing in this world can help them, and that God is their only refuge. We
must change our lives, if we desire to change i our hearts. God will have no regard to the
prayers of those, who have none to his commands. The Spirit of God will not dwell in a divided heart. We cannot feel the pleasure of devotion, while the world is our delight. Not that all pleasures are criminal ; but the closer union we have with the world, the less is our union with God. A Christian there. fore, who strives after devotion, should taste sensual pleasures very sparingly, should make necessity, not bodily delight, his rule.
In order to dispose our hearts to devotion, an active life is to be preferred to a contemplative. Doing good to mankind disposes the soul most powerfully to devotion. Indeed we are surrounded by motives to piety and devotion, if we would mind them. The poor are designed to excite our liberality; the miserable, our pity; the sick, our assistance ; the ignorant, our instructions ; those, that are fallen, our helping hand. In the vain we see the