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7. The duty of Prayer is to be regulated by situation and opportunity, and by the disposition and necessities of each person. But daily Prayer to God should never be neglected, except on the most urgent occasions. Meditation is also of the greatest use in our way to salvation, on the wonderful works of God in the creation, and his infinite mercies in the Redemption of mankind. ·
The laws and precepts of the Gospel can never be too deeply or too frequently considered by us; we should reflect upon, and examine them, till they become so habitual to our minds, as to be imperceptibly the rules and springs of our conduct, and the only light and guide of our souls. When the Divine Grace is thus cherished and strengthened in our hearts to the utmost of our power, its sacred light operates at once upon our conduct, and directs us in the way in which we should go; and this it does with a force and steadiness, which no longer require
us to examine into its source: nor does it allow us to doubt its truth, any more than to question the reality of the sun's existence, when we behold that glorious luminary arising, to dispense to us the blessings of light and heat.
8. Our method of Prayer should be directed by our own reason and experience. Those who find an exact form of words, most capable of confining the attention, and raising the soul to God, should always make use of it. Those who find their devotion restrained by adhering to one settled form of Prayer, are not commanded to do so; they are both at liberty to address their heavenly Father in what terms they choose. Let both parties take care that their Prayers be such as are proper to be made to the Almighty, and that they are made with their hearts; they may then rest assured that God will graciously receive them.
9. The grace of God is particularly promised to the observance of that last and divine command of our blessed Lord, that we should receive the holy Sacrament, which he has left us as a pledge of his love, as a remembrance of his most precious death, and as a means whereby, through faith, we become partakers in all the benefits of it, If we receive this holy Sacrament worthily, with a true repentance for our sins; with love and charity to our fellow-creatures, and with a lively faith in the mercy of God, and the merits of our Redeemer, it will afford inexpressible comfort to our souls: But should we presume to approach our Lord's table unworthily, that is, without a strong faith in the Gospel, and without a strict examination of our own hearts, we should increase our danger, instead of enlivening the hope of our future salvation.
10. Too many good people are, however, deterred from receiving this most strengthening and refreshing food of their
souls, by scrupulously fearing that, after all the preparation they can make, they are still unworthy to come. Thus they deprive themselves of the greatest blessing on earth, the greatest comfort of their pilgrimage in this life, considering God rather as a severe Judge, than (as he truly is) a merciful Father. But those who thus feel, should remember, that, though none of us are worthy of being received at that sacred table, yet we are all commanded to come: and hence we may hope, that by humbly attending, we may each time become less unworthy. And surely, after we have endeavoured to prepare ourselves, to the best of our knowledge and ability, we may go without fear, and in time we shall find all our scruples and unwillingness vanish; and it will become not only an act of obedience to our God, but of so much comfort and happiness to ourselves, that we shall account it the greatest pleasure we are capable of enjoying in this world. By
distrusting God's mercy, by giving admittance to these scruples in our hearts, and thus fearing to come to Him, we become guilty of a great sin. Let us, then, at all times, thankfully receive the holy Sacrament; and, as we must live with our fellow-creatures, let us do unto them as we would they should do unto us. Let us live with faith and humility, and we may then be satisfied that we are accepted in the sight of God; not offering to Him the constrained obedience of slaves, but the voluntary service of children, to an allwise and all-merciful Father.
11. We are sometimes inclined to believe that our prayers are not accepted by God, if we do not feel a certain degree of pleasure arising from the performance of this duty; an enthusiasm of love towards the Divine Being, arising in our souls. This is a wrong idea: Prayer is not a charm of the imagination, or a sweet delusion of the soul; neither does it