Imatges de pÓgina
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The Author to the Reader.

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REASONS for publishing this BOOK. THO' I may possibly incur the displeasure of those whofe fecular views may be fruftrated or disappointed by the publication of this NEW Week's Preparation; yet I have the confolation of being fully affured, that this prefent undertaking will want no apology to those who have religion truely at heart, if they will, with a little attention, compare this performance with the Old Week's Preparation, formerly printed for SAMUEL KEBLE. Nor am I under any apprehenfion of being condemned for adding one more to the number of devotional books, already extant upon the fubject of the holy facrament of the Lord's Supper; because the tempers and talents of men are fo different, that what does not affect one may poffibly touch another; and, provided that fubftantial piety and devotion are improving, too many inftruments cannot be employed for that purpose. I am alfo perfuaded that the prefent Proprietors of KEBLE's Old Week's Preparation, cannot, as chriftians, be fo deflitute of principle and good-will to the public caufe of the chriftian religion, as to endeavour, or even defire the continuance of a book which has already been found fo injurious to chriftianity, and has brought fo great and many fcandals upon the reafonable fervice of almighty God, as it will ap pear that book has already done: and therefore it is certainly moft unfit to be put into the hands of devout and well-meaning, but otherwife undifcerning chriftians. To demonftrate that these complaints are juft and fairly grounded, I have tranfcribed a few paffages from the editions of KEBLE's Week's Preparation; the one printed 1738, the other in the year 1742; and aefire the impartial reader, after he has confidered the tendency of those rapturous and wanton expreffions, to judge whether that book deferves to be blamed and fet afide, or not.

The pages before the lines refer to the small edition printed
1742, and the pages after the lines to the pompous Edi
tion printed 1738.]*

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129 Art thou afraid of being too much enamoured with this 137) Jefus, O my Love, my Joy, my Jejas, my Lord, be thou prefent with me in the Sacrament, prefent more 901, than by Infpiration, and make me prefent with thee, sal 4 w2 546 (and that more than by Meditation in a spiritual, real eternal Communion. O mý Love, be thou nigh in my Mind, nigh in my Heart, and nigh to aid me, for 117 languish thro' Love. O what shall I do, to have my Souls wholly poffeft w with, and in thee, io to enjoy 142 the perpetual Embraces of When fhall I enjoy 95 thee? O my Life take my Soul, my Joy draw my Heart à 1357 142 unto thee. When fhall I fully please thee? I will not):1] $105 I let thee go till thou haft bleed r my Life, my Love, 67 my Defire, my Delight, O that may faint in myself, 67, 114 and depend on thee. Satisfy me quith thy Blood. He bowed down his Head to kiss me. He stretched forth 74, 126 80 his Arm to embrace me, From his interior Love burst 8 forth fuch exterior Signs and Demonfirations as were fufficient to mollify a Heart more frozen than Ice itself,» 166 and more hard than any Marble. Such are thy Gifts, 96 fweet Saviour, fuch are the Works and Delights of thy 143 Love. O that I was fo faftened unto thee that I might 142 never depart. Thou wert within me. Thou only pleafefine, and thee only I defire, &c. &c. &c. Thefe without difpute, are the wanton exercises of a warm imagination, and of a luscious fancy; where warmth of conftitution, not reafon, much less religion, has the chief and fovereign influence..

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Undoubtedly writers of this caft, have fhamefully fuffered the fofter Paffions to mix too ftrongly with their Zeal for religion.t By

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The following is the APOLOGY of no less an Author than Dr. Ifaac Watts bimfelf:

Let it be obferved, that it was much the Fashion, even among some Divines of Eminence in former Years, to exprefs the Fervors of devout Love to our Saviour "in the Style of the Song of Solomon: And I must confess, that several of my « Comp.fures in Verse, written in younger Life, were led by thofe Examples unTrack. But, if I may be permitted to speak the Sense of ma

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warily can hardly think this the happieft Language in which Chriftians

* turer Age,

should discover their warm Sentiments of Religion, fince the clearer and more fpi"ritual Revelations of the New Teftament." To this Apology we may add, that in thefe our Meditations and Prayers are no vifionary Scenes of vild Extravagance; no Affectations of that Style, which spreads a glaring Confufion over the Underfanding. Here are none of those incomprehenfible Pbrafes which may amife the Ear with founding Vanity, and bold Reafon in fovereign Contempt. In fbert, bere are no fecret Pantings after a mortal Love, in the Language of Devotion and Piety.

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The AUTHOR to the READER.

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By what Means true Devotion is destroyed.

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Here the true fpirit of devotion, which is in its own nature a liberal and reafonable fervice, is made wholly to evaporate in unnatural be, and extatic fervours, fuch as are a difgrace and reproach to the dignity of a rational nature. And instead of Speaking the language of a serious, rational, unaffected piety, they abound wholly with rapturous fights of unhallowed love, and ftrains of myftical diffoluteness ; or as an ingenious author terms it, fpiritualized concupifcence, invented by the carnal and wanton appetites and wishes of the unmarried nuns and friars; and thence either by defign, or by the delufion of the devil, or both, foifted into the devotions of the reformed church, under a pretence of purer flames of divine love and fpiritual rapture; whereas they pollute the foul with luscious images, warm it into irregular ferments, and fire it with a falle paffan; diffipating all due compofure and recollection of mind, and laying open the heart to all the wild extravagancies of fran tic enthusiasm: a manner of address much fitter for a diffolute lover, than for an acceptable worthiper of the all-pure and all-knowing God.

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It was against this kind of devotion, that great light of the church of England, the learned and pious bishop STILLINGFLEET thus exclaimed. Is it poffible (faid he) that any man

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can imagine, it is no dishonour to the chriftian religion to "make the perfection of the devotion of it to confift in fuch "Strange unaccountable unions and raptures, which take away the ufe of all (modefty) reason, and coinmon sense !” Some caufes of the decay of chriftian piety. It is to fuch effufions as thefe que may afcribe, in a great mea fure, the decay of chriftian piety: Because, they tend to mislead mens minds from the true fubject both of their duty and happinels, and bring them to acquiefce in their false and mistaken fubftitutes: they give great and fignal Difcouragement to the ge**neral practice of piety in the world, by exposing it to ridicule, A 3

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and the charge of affected fingularity. On the one hand, they throw many honeft and well-meaning, but weak minds into a depair of ever fucceeding in the Bufinefs of religion; becaufe, upon examination, they difcover in themfelves, little or no acquaintance with thofe tumultuous heats, and ungoverned fallies of paftion, upon which fo great a stress is laid by thefe pretenders to fuch glorious frenzies and heavenly follies: and on the other, they harden the diffolute and unthinking part of mankind into an obflinate reluctance towards the very first efforts of refor mation, by confirming them in a prejudice, they are of themfelves too willing to entertain against religion: that it is a rigorous impracticable fervice; a flate of unnatural refinement, altogether incompatible with the common meafures of human life. And

This is no more than what the above-mentioned bifhop had before afferted against the Romifh devotions. This myftical divinity, fays he, is not only unintelligible, but it leads per “fons into flrange i.fions of fancy; and this I take to be a very "great injury, not only to thofe melancholy fouls, that are led "through this valley of fhades and darkness; but even to the chri"ftian religion itself, as though the way of perfection taught by it were a low, mean, contemptible thing, in comparison of thefe myftical flights.

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In what the love of GOD confifts.

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"It is true, we are commanded often to love God with all our heart, but withal we are told, we must not fancy this love to "be a mere languifhing paffion; no, the love of Chriftians "towards God is no fond amorous affection, but a due ap prehenfion and esteem of the divine excellencies, a hearty fenfe of all his kindness to us, and a conftant readiness of mind to do his will. And thus the beloved fon of God hath declared what "He means by the love he expects from his difciples: If ye love "me, (fays Chrift,) keep my commandments; and ye are "my friends if ye do whatfoever I command you. And if (fays St. John) any man fay I love God, and hateth his << brother

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