« AnteriorContinua »
A prayer for the morning 7
Bishop Stillingfleet's testimo-
A Form of Examination.
himself and by St. John i 7
warranted from the word of tress
An account of this work iiiA prayer to conclude our de-
vi A meditation for the morn-
The Week's Preparation.
VA meditation for the mon-
A prayer for the morning 66|A prayer after consecra-
A prayer after you have re-
103 Occasional Prayers.
Reasons for publishing this Book.
HOUGH I may possibly incur the displeasure of those whose secular views may be frustrated or disappointed by the publication of this New Week's Preparation; yet I have the consolation of being fully assured, that this present undertaking will want no apo logy to those who have religion truly at heart. Nor am I under any apprehension of being condemned for adding one more to the number of devotional books, already extant upon the subject of the holy sacrament of the Lord's Supper; because the tempers and talents of men are so different, that what does not affect one may possibly touch another. I am also persuaded, that the present Proprietors of Keble's Old Week's Preparation, cannot desire the continuance of a book which has already been found so injurious to Christianity; for it abounds with rapturous and wanton expressions, and warmth of constitution, not reason, much less religion, has the chief and sovereign influence. Undoubtedly writers of this cast have shamefully suffered the softer passions to mix too strongly with their zeal for religion.
By what means true devotion is destroyed.
Here the true spirit of devotion, which is in its own nature a liberal and reasonable service, is made wholly to evaporate in unnatural heats, and ecstatic fervours, such as are a disgrace 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 flights of unhallowed love, and strains of mystical dissoluteness; or, as an ingenious author terms it, spiritualized concupiscence, invented by the carnal and wanton appetites and wishes of the unmarried nuns and friars; and thence either by design, or by the delusion of the devil, or both, foisted into the devotions of the reformed church, under a pretence of purer flames of divine love and spiritual. rapture; whereas they pollute the soul with luscious images, warm it into irregular ferments, and fire it with a false passion; dissipating all due composure
and recollection of mind, and laying open the heart to all the wild extravagancies of frantic enthusiasmr; a manner of address much fitter for a dissolute lover, than an acceptable worshiper of the all-pure and all-knowing God.
It was against this kind of devotion, that great light of the church of England, the learned and pious Bishop Stillingflect thus exclaimed: " Is it possible (said he) that any man can imagine, it is no dishonour to the Christian religion to make the perfection of the devotion of it to consist in such strange unaccountable unions and raptures, which take away the use of all (modesty) reason and common sense!"
In what the love of God consists.
"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 languishing passion; no, the love of Christians towards God is no fond amorous affection, but a due apprehension and esteem of the divine excellencies, a hearty sense of all his kindness to us, and a constant readiness of mind to do his will. And thus the beloved Son of God hath declared what he means by the love he expects from his disciples: If ye love me, (says Christ,) keep my commandments; and ye are my friends if do whatsoever I command you. And if (says St. John) any man say I love God, and hateth his brother, he his a liar; for he that loveth not his brother, whom he hath seen, how can he love God, whom he hath not seen? No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Thus the beloved disciple, who understood the great mysteries of divine love, hath expressed them to us. And,
"Here (you see) are no blind elevations of the will; no ecstatic or luscious expressions; no,it is very plain that all such mystical notions, and luscious metaphors and expressions had another spring and a more impure fountain, than the Christian doctrine." For, as the said devout and judicious prelate adds, "supposing that mystical way of perfection were possible, I could see no necessity at all of Christ's coming into the world, nor of