Imatges de pÓgina

I assign, therefore, as the first effect of a right | our Lord justly notices the absurdity,) that they spirit of devotion, that it gives particularity to should really be heard for their much speaking. all our worship. It applies, and it appropriates. Actuated by the spirit of devotion, we can never Forms of worship may be general, but a spirit offend in this way, we can never be the object of of devotion brings them home and close to each this censure. and every one.

One happy consequence of which is, that it prevents the tediousness of worship. Things which interest us, are not tedious. If we find worship tedious, it is because it does not interest us as it ought to do. We must allow (experience compels us to allow) for wanderings and inattentions, as amongst the infirmities of our infirm nature. But, as I have already said, even these will be fewer and shorter, in proportion as we are possessed of the spirit of devotion. Weariness will not be perceived, by reason of that succession of devout feelings and consciousnesses which the several offices of worship are calculated to excite. If our heart be in the business, it will not be tedious. If, in thanksgiving, it be lifted up by a sense of mercies, and a knowledge from whom they proceed, thanksgiving will be a grateful exercise, and not a tedious form. What relates to our sins and wants, though not of the same gratifying nature, though accompanied with deep, nay, with afflicting cause of humiliation and fear, must, nevertheless, be equally interesting, or more so, because it is of equal concernment to us, or of greater. In neither case, therefore, if our duty be performed as it ought to be, will tediousness be perceived.

I say, that the spirit of devotion removes from the worship of God the perception of tediousness, and with that also every disposition to censure or cavil at particular phrases, or expressions used in public worship. All such faults, even if they be real, and such observations upon them, are absorbed by the immense importance of the business in which we are engaged. Quickness in discovering blemishes of this sort is not the gift of a pious mind; still less either levity or acrimony in speaking of them.

Lastly, and what has already been intimated, the spirit of devotion will cause our prayers to have an effect upon our practice. For example; if we repeated the confession in our liturgy with a true penitential sense of guilt upon our souls, we should not, day after day, be acknowledging to God our transgressions and neglects, and yet go on exactly in the same manner without endeavouring to make them less and fewer. We should plainly perceive that this was doing nothing towards salvation; and that, at this rate, we may be sinning and confessing all our lives. Whereas, was the right spirit of confessional piety, viz. thoughtfulness of soul, within us at the time, this would be the certain benefit, especially in the case of an often-repeated sin, that the mind would become more and more concerned, more and more filled with compunction and remorse, so as to be forced into amendment. Even the most heart-felt confession might not immediately do for us all that we could wish: yet by perseverance in the same, it would certainly, in a short time, produce its desired effect. For the same reason, we should not, time after time, pray that we might thenceforward, riz. after each time of so praying, lead godly, righteous, and sober lives, yet persist, just as usual, in ungodliness, unrighteousness, and intemperance. The thing would be impossible, if we prayed as we ought. So likewise, if real thankfulness of heart accompanied our thanksgivings, we should not pray in vain, that we might show forth the praises of God, not only with our lips but in our lives. As it is, thousands repeat these words without doing a single deed for the sake of pleasing God, exclusive of other motives, or refraining from a single thing they like to do out of the fear of displeasing him. So again, every time we hear the third service at church, we pray that God would incline our hearts to keep his commandments; yet immediately, perhaps, afterwards, allow our hearts and inclinations to wander, without controul, to whatever sinful temptation entices them. This, I say, all proceeds from the want of earnestness in our devotions. Strong devotion is an antidote against sin.

Moreover, the spirit of devotion reconciles us to repetitions. In other subjects, repetition soon becomes tiresome and offensive. In devotion it is different. Deep, earnest, heartfelt devotion, naturally vents itself in repetition. Observe a person racked by excruciating bodily pain; or a person suddenly struck with the news of some dreadful calamity; or a person labouring under some cutting anguish of soul; and you will always find To conclude; a spirit of devotion is one of the him breaking out into ejaculations, imploring from greatest blessings; and, by consequence, the want God support, mercy, and relief, over and over again, of it one of the greatest misfortunes, which a uttering the same prayer in the same words. No-Christian can experience. When it is present, it thing, he finds, suits so well the extremity of his gives life to every act of worship which we persufferings, the urgency of his wants, as a con- form; it makes every such act interesting and tinual recurrence to the same cries, and the same comfortable to ourselves. It is felt in our most call for divine aid. Our Lord himself, in his last retired moments, in our beds, our closets, our rides, agony, affords a high example of what we are our walks. It is stirred within us, when we are saying: thrice he besought his heavenly Father; assembled with our children and servants in faand thrice he used the same words. Repetition, mily prayer. It leads us to church, to the congretherefore, is not only tolerable in devotion, but it gation of our fellow Christians there collected; it is natural: it is even dictated by a sense of suffer accompanies us in our joint offices of religion in ing, and an acuteness of feeling. It is coldness of an especial manner; and it returns us to our affection, which requires to be enticed and grati-homes holier, and happier, and better; and lastly, fied by continual novelty of idea, or expression, or action. The repetitions and prolixity of pharisaical prayers, which our Lord censures, are to be understood of those prayers which run out into mere formality and into great length; no sentiment or affection of the heart accompanying them; but uttered as a task, from an opinion (of which | from it are complete.

what greatly enhances its value to every anxious Christian, it affords to himself a proof that his heart is right towards God: when it is followed up by a good life, by abstinence from sin, and endeavours after virtue, by avoiding evil and doing good, the proof and the satisfaction to be drawn



We love him, because he first loved us.

1 John iv. 19.

stant referring of our enjoyments and our hopes to his goodness. This is in a great degree a matter of habit; and, like all good habits, particularly mental habits, is what every person must form in himself and for himself by endeavour and perseverance. In this great article, as well as in others which are less, every man must be the author to RELICION may, and it can hardly, I think, be himself of his train of thinking, be it good or bad. questioned but that it sometimes does, spring from I shall only observe, that when this habit, or, as terror, from grief, from pain, from punishment, some would call it, this turn and course of thought, from the approach of death; and provided it be is once happily generated, occasions will continu sincere, that is, such as either actually produces, ally arise to minister to its exercise and auginentaor as would produce a change of life, it is genuine tion. A night's rest, or a comfortable meal, will religion, notwithstanding the bitterness, the vio- immediately direct our gratitude to God. The use lence, or, if it must be so called, the baseness and of our limbs, the possession of our senses; every unworthiness, of the motive from which it pro- degree of health, every hour of ease, every sort ceeds. We are not to narrow the promises of of satisfaction, which we enjoy, will carry our God; and acceptance is promised to sincere peni- thoughts to the same object. But if our enjoytence, without specifying the cause from which it ments raise our affections, still more will our hopes originates, or confining it to one origin more than do the same; and, most of all beyond comparison, another. There are, however, higher, and wor- those hopes which religion inspires. Think of thier, and better motives, from which religion may man, and think of heaven; think what he is, and begin in the heart; and on this account especially what it is in his power hereafter to become. are they to be deemed better motives, that the re- Think of this again and again: and it is impossiligion which issues from them has a greater pro-ble, but that the prospect of being so rewarded for bability of being sincere. I repeat again, that sin- our poor labours, so resting from our past troubles, cere religion, from any motive, will be effectual; so forgiven for our repented sins, must fill our but there is a great deal of difference in the pro-hearts with the deepest thankfulness; and thankbability of its being sincere, according to the diffulness is love. Towards the author of an obligaferent cause in the mind from which it sets out, tion which is infinite, thankfulness is the only species of love that can exist.

But, moreover, the love of God is specifically represented in Scripture as one of the gifts of the Holy Ghost. The love of God shed abroad in the heart is described as one of the works of the Spirit upon the souls of Christians. Now whatever is represented in Scripture to be the gift of the Spirit, is to be sought for by earnest and peculiar prayer. That is the practical use to be made of, and the practical consequence to be drawn from, such representations; the very purpose probably for which they were delivered: the mere point of doctrine being seldom that in which Scripture declarations rest. Let us not fail therefore; let us not cease to entreat the Father of mercies, that the love of him may be shed abroad in our hearts continually. It is one of the things in which we are sure that our prayers are right in their object; in which also we may humbly hope, that, unless obstructed by ourselves, they will not be in vain.

The purest motive of human action is the love of God. There may be motives stronger and more general, but none so pure. The religion, the virtue, which owes its birth in the soul to this motive, is always genuine religion, always true virtue. Indeed, speaking of religion, I should call the love of God not so much the ground-work of religion, as religion itself. So far as religion is disposition, it is religion itself. But though of religion it be more than the ground-work, yet, being a disposition of mind, like other dispositions, it is the ground-work of action. Well might our blessed Saviour preach up, as he did, the love of God. It is the source of every thing which is good in man. I do not mean that it is the only source, or that goodness can proceed from no other, but that of all principles of conduct it is the safest, the best, the truest, the highest. Perhaps it is peculiar to the Jewish and Christian dispensations (and, if it be, it is a peculiar excellency in them) to have formally and solemnly laid down this principle, as a ground of human action. I shall not deny, that Nor let it be said that this aid is superfluous, elevated notions were entertained of the Deity by forasmuch as nature herself had provided suffisome wise and excellent heathens; but even these cient means for exciting this sentiment. This is did not, that I can find, so inculcate the love of true with respect to those who are in the full, or that Deity, or so propose and state it to their fol- in any thing near the full, enjoyment of the gifts lowers, as to make it a governing, actuating prin- of nature. With them I do allow that nothing ciple of life amongst them. This did Moses, or but a criminal stupefaction can hinder the love of rather God by the mouth of Moses, expressly, God from being felt. But this is not the case with formally, solemnly. This did Christ, adopting, all; nor with any at all times. Afflictions, sickrepeating, ratifying, what the law had already de-ness, poverty, the maladies and misfortunes of life, clared; and not only ratifying, but singling it out from the body of precepts which composed the old institution, and giving it a pre-eminence to every


will interrupt and damp this sensation, so far as it depends upon our actual experience of God's bounty. I do not say that the evils of life ought

to have this effect: taken in connexion with a fuNow this love, so important to our religious ture state, they certainly ought not; because, when character, and, by its effect upon that, to our sal- viewed in that relation, afflictions and calamities vation, which is the end of religion; this love, I become trials, warnings, chastisements; and when say, is to be engendered in the soul, not so much sanctified by their fruits, when made the means by hearing the words of others, or by instruction of weaning us from the world, bringing us nearer n others, as by a secret and habitual contem-to God, and of purging away that dross and defileof God Almighty's bounty, and by a con- I ment which our souls have contracted, are in truth

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amongst the first of favours and of blessings: ne- | namely, humanity of temper subsisting along with vertheless, as an apostle himself confesses, they the most criminal licentiousness, and under a total are for a season grievous; they are disheartening; want of personal self-government. The reason is, and they are too apt to produce an unfavourable that the principle of conduct, though excellent as effect upon our gratitude. Wherefore it is upon far as it goes, fails in comprehensiveness. Not so these occasions most especially, that the aid of with the love of God. He, who is influenced by God's Spirit may be required to maintain in our that, feels its influence in all parts of duty, upon souls the love of God. every occasion of action, throughout the whole

Let those, therefore, who are conscious to them-course of conduct. selves that they have not the love of God within them as they ought to have it, endeavour to acquire and to increase this holy principle by seriousness of mind, by habitual meditation, by devout reading, devout conversation, devout society. These are all aids and helps towards inducing upon the mind this most desirable, nay, rather let me call it, this blessed frame and temper, and of fixing us in it: and forasmuch as it is declared in Scripture to be shed abroad in the heart by the Spirit of God, let us labour in our prayers for this best gift.

The thing with most of us to be examined into and ascertained is, whether it indeed guide us at all; whether it be within us an efficient motive. I am far from taking upon me to say that it is essential to this principle to exclude all other principles of conduct especially the dread of God's wrath and of its tremendous consequences: or that a person, who is deterred from evil actions by the dread of God's wrath, is obliged to conclude, that because he so much dreads God, he cannot love him. I will not venture to say any such thing. The Scripture, it is true, speaking of the love of God, hath said, that "perfect love casteth out fear;" but it hath not said that in the soul of man this love is ever perfect: what the Scripture hath thus de

The next consideration upon the subject is the fruit and effect of this disposition upon our lives. If it be asked how does the love of God operate in the production of virtuous conduct, I shall an-clared of perfect love is no more than what is just. swer, that it operates exactly in the same manner as affection towards a parent or gratitude towards a human benefactor operates, by stirring up a strong rebuke in the mind upon the thought of offending him. This lays a constant check upon our conduct. And this sensation is the necessary accompaniment of love; it cannot, I think, be separated from it. But it is not the whole of its influence. Love and gratitude towards a benefactor not only fill us with remorse and with internal shame, whenever, by our wilful misbehaviour, we have given cause to that benefactor to be displeased with us; but also prompts us with a desire upon all occasions of doing what we believe he wills to be done, which, with respect to God, is in other words a desire to serve him. Now this is not only a restraint from vice, but an incitement to action.ence; but it cannot, I am afraid, be said to be our Instructed, as in Christian countries mankind generally are, in the main articles of human duty, this motive will seldom mislead them.

The love of God, were it perfect, that is to say, were it such as his nature, his relation, his bounty to us deserves; were it adequate either to its object or to our obligation, were it carried up as high as in a perfectly rational and virtuous soul it might be carried, would, I believe, absorb every other motive and every other principle of action whatever, even the fear of God amongst the rest. This principle, by its nature, might gain a complete possession of the heart and will, so that a person acting under its influence would take nothing else into the account, would reflect upon no other consequence or consideration whatever. Possibly, nay probably, this is the condition of some higher orders of spirits, and may become ours by future improvement, and in a more exalted state of exist

condition now. The love of God subsists in the heart of good men as a powerful principle of action: but it subsists there in conjunction with other In one important respect the love of God excels principles, especially with the fear of him. All all moral principles whatever; and that is, in its goodness is in a certain degree comparative; and comprehensiveness. It reaches every action; it I think, that he may be called a good man in includes every duty. You cannot mention an- whom this principle dwells and operates at all. other moral principle which has this property in Wherefore to obtain; when obtained, to cultivate, the same perfection. For instance, I can hardly to cherish, to strengthen, to improve it, ought to name a better moral principle than humanity. It form the most anxious concern of our spiritual is a principle which every one commends, and life. He that loveth God keepeth his commandjustly yet in this very article of comprehensive- ments; but still the love of God is something more ness it is deficient, when compared with the love than keeping the commandments. For which of God. It will prompt us undoubtedly to do kind, reason we must acquire, what many, it is to be and generous, and compassionate things towards feared, have even yet to begin, a habit of contemour friends, our acquaintance, our neighbours, and plating God in the bounties and blessings of his towards the poor. In our relation to, and in our creation. I think that religion can hardly subsist intercourse with, mankind, especially towards in the soul without this habit in some degree. But those who are dependent upon us, or over whom the greater part of us, such is the natural dulness we have power, it will keep us from hardness, of our souls, require something more exciting and and rigour, and cruelty. In all this it is excellent. stimulating than the sensations which large and But it will not regulate us, as we require to be re-general views of nature or of providence produce; gulated, in another great branch of Christian duty, self-government and self-restraint. We may be exceedingly immoral and licentious in sinful indulgences, without violating our principle of humanity; at least, without specifically violating it, and without being sensible of violating it. And this is by no means an uncommon case or character,

something more particular to ourselves, and which more nearly touches our separate happiness. Now of examples of this kind, namely, of direct and special mercies towards himself, no one, who calls to mind the passages and providences of his life, can be destitute. There is one topic of gratitude falling under this head, which almost every man,



Have I not remembered thee in my bed: and thought upon thee when I was waking ?— Psalm lxiii. 7.

THE life of God in the soul of man, as it is sometimes emphatically called, the Christian life, that is, or the progress of Christianity in the heart of any particular person, is marked, amongst other things, by religion gradually gaining possession of the thoughts. It has been said, that, if we thought about religion as it deserved, we should never think about any thing else; nor with strictness, perhaps, can we deny the truth of this proposition Religious concerns do so surpass and outweigh in

who is tolerably faithful and exact in his self-recollections, will find in events upon which he has to look back; and it is this: How often have we been spared, when we might have been overtaken ⚫ and cut off in the midst of sin! Of all the attributes of God, forbearance, perhaps, is that which we have most to acknowledge. We cannot want occasions to bring the remembrance of it to our thoughts. Have there not been occasions, in which, ensnared in vice, we might have been detected and exposed; have been crushed by punishment or shame, have been irrecoverably ruined? occasions in which we might have been suddenly stricken with death, in a state of soul the most unfit for it that was possible! That we were none of these, that we have been preserved from these dangers, that our sin was not our destruction, that instant judgment did not overtake us, is to be attributed to the long-suffering of God. Sup-value and importance all concerns beside, that did posing, what is undoubtedly true, that the secrets of our conduct were known to him at the time, it can be attributed to no other cause. Now this is a topic which can never fail to supply subjects of thankfulness, and of a species of thankfulness, which must bear with direct force upon the regulation of our conduct. We were not destroyed when we might have been destroyed, and when we merited destruction. We have been preserved for further trial. This is, or ought to be a touch-life, it is still true, that our forgetfulness, and neging reflection. How deeply, therefore, does it be- ligence, and indifference about religion are much hove us not to trifle with the patience of God, not greater than can be excused, or can easily be acto abuse this enlarged space, this respited, pro- counted for by these causes. Few men are so tracted season of repentance, by plunging afresh busy but that they contrive to find time for any into the same crimes, or other, or greater crimes? gratification their heart is set upon, and thought It shows that we are not to be wrought upon by for any subject in which they are interested: they mercy that our gratitude is not moved; that want not leisure for these, though they want le things are wrong within us; that there is a de- sure for religion. Notwithstanding, therefore, sinplorable void and chasm in our religious prin-gular cases, if indeed there be any cases of being ciples, the love of God not being present in our hearts.

But to return to that with which we set out: religion may spring from various principles, begin in various motives. It is not for us to narrow the promises of God which belong to sincere religion, from whatever cause it originates. But of these principles, the purest, the surest, is the love of God, forasmuch as the religion which proceeds from it is sincere, constant, and universal. It will not, like fits of terror and alarm (which yet we do not despise) produce a temporary religion. The love of God is an abiding principle. It will not, like some other, (and these also good and laudable principles of action, as far as they go,) produce a partial religion. It is co-extensive with all our obligations. Practical Christianity may be comprised in three words; devotion, self-government, and benevolence. The love of God in the heart is a fountain, from which these three streams of virtue will not fail to issue. The love of God also is a guard against error in conduct, because it is a guard against those evil influences which mislead the understanding in moral questions. In some measure, it supplies the place of every rule, He who has it truly within him, has little to learn. Look steadfastly to the will of God, which he who loves God necessarily does, practise what you be lieve to be well pleasing to him, leave off what you believe to be displeasing to him: cherish, confirm, strengthen the principle itself which sustains this course of external conduct, and you will not want many lessons, you need not listen to any other


they occupy a place in our minds proportioned to that importance, they would, in truth, exclude every other but themselves. I am not, therefore, one of those who wonder when I see a man engrossed with religion: the wonder with me is, that men care and think so little concerning it. With all the allowances which must be made for our employments, our activities, our anxieties, about the interests and occurrences of the present

over-religious, over-intent upon spiritual affairs, the real and true complaint is all on the other side, that men think not about them enough, as they ought, as is reasonable, as it is their duty to do. That is the malady and the mischief. The cast and turn of our infirm and fleshly nature lean all on that side. For, first, this nature is affected chiefly by what we see. Though the things which concern us most deeply be not seen; for this very reason, that they are not seen, they do not affect us as they ought. Though these things ought to be meditated upon, and must be acted upon, one way or other, long before we come actually to experience thein, yet in fact we do not meditate upon them, we do not act with a view to them, till something gives us alarm, gives reason to believe that they are approaching fast upon us, that they are at hand, or shortly will be, that we shall indeed experience what they are.

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The world of spirits, the world for which we are destined, is invisible to us. Hear St. Paul's account of this matter: "We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." We walk by faith, not by sight; faith is the evidence of things not seen." Some great invisible agent there must be in the universe; "the things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." Now if the great Author of all things be himself invisible to our senses, and if our relation to him must necessarily form the greatest interest and concern of our existence, then it follows, that our greatest interest and con

for. This is a flagrant inconsistency, and proves decisively that religion possesses a small portion of our concern, in proportion with what it ought to do. For instead of giving to it that superiority which is due to immortal concerns, above those which are transitory, perishable, and perishing, it is not even put upon an equality with them; nor with those which, in respect to time, and the uncertainty of time, are under the same circumstances with itself.

cern are with those things which are now invisible. "We are saved by hope, but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? but if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it." The first infirmity, therefore, which religion has to conquer within us, is that which binds down our attention to the things which we see. The natural man is immersed in sense: nothing takes hold of his mind but what applies immediately to his sense; but this disposition will not do for religion: the religious character is founded in hope, as contradistinguished from experience, in perceiving by the mind what is not perceived by the eye: unless a man can do this, he cannot be religious: and with many it is a great difficulty. This power of hope, which, as St. Paul observes of it, is that which places the invisible world before our view, is specifically described in Scripture, as amongst the gifts of the Spirit, the natural man standing indeed much in need of it, being altogether of an opposite tendency. Hear St. Paul's prayer for his Roman converts; "The God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost." Again to the Galatians, how does he describe the state of mind of a Christian? "we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteous-and computing; the weak, and foolish, and stuness by faith."

Thirdly; the spiritual character of religion is another great impediment to its entering our thoughts. All religion, which is effectual, is, and must be, spiritual. Offices and ordinances are the handmaids and instruments of the spiritual religion, calculated to generate, to promote, to maintain, to uphold it in the heart, but the thing itself is purely spiritual. Now the flesh weigheth down the spirit, as with a load and burden. It is difficult to rouse the human constitution to a sense and perception of what is purely spiritual. They who are addicted, not only to vice, but to gratifications and pleasures; they who know no other rule than to go with the crowd in their career of dissipation and amusement; they whose attentions are all fixed and engrossed by business, whose minds from morning to night are counting

pid; lastly, which comprehends a class of manAgain; another impediment to the thought of kind deplorably numerous, the indolent and slothreligion is the faculty and the habit we have ac- ful; none of these can bring themselves to mediquired of regarding its concerns as at a distance. tate upon religion. The last class slumber over A child is affected by nothing but what is present, its interests and concerns; perhaps they cannot and many thousands in this respect continue be said to forget it absolutely, but they slumber children all their lives. In a degree this weakness over the subject, in which state nothing as to cleaves to us all; produces upon us the same effect their salvation gets done, no decision, no practice. under a different form; namely, in this way, There are, therefore, we see, various obstacles when we find ourselves necessarily disturbed by and infirmities in our constitutions, which obstruct near or approaching evil, we have the means of the reception of religious ideas in our mind, still forgetting the nearness or the approach of that, more such a voluntary entertainment of them as which must bring with it the greatest evil or the may bring forth fruit. It ought, therefore, to be greatest good we are capable of, our change at our constant prayer to God, that he will open our death. Though we cannot exactly offer any ar-hearts to the influence of his word, by which is guments to show that it is either certainly or pro- meant that he will so quicken and actuate the bably at a distance, yet we have the means of re-sensibility and vigour of our minds, as to enable garding it in our minds as though it were at a us to attend to the things which really and truly distance; and this even in cases in which it can-belong to our peace. not possibly be so. Do we prepare for it? no: So soon as religion gains that hold and that why? because we regard it in our imaginations possession of the heart, which it must do to beas at a distance: we cannot prove that it is at a come the means of our salvation, things change distance; nay, the contrary may be proved against within us, as in many other respects, so especialus: but still we regard it so in our imaginations, ly in this. We think a great deal more frequentand regard it so practically; for imagination is ly about it, we think of it for a longer continuwith most men the practical principle. But, how-ance, and our thoughts of it have much more of ever strong and general this delusion be, has it any foundation in reason? Can that be thought at a distance which may come to-morrow, which must come in a few years? In a very few years to most of us, in a few years to all, it will be fixed and decided, whether we are to be in heaven or hell; yet we go on without thinking of it, without preparing for it: and it is exceedingly observable, that it is only in religion we thus put away the thought from us. In the settlement of our worldly affairs after our deaths, which exactly depend on the same event, commence at the same time, are equally distant, if either were distant, equally liable to uncertainty as to when the disposition will take place; in these, I say, men are not usually negligent, or think that by reason of its distance it can be neglected, or by reason of the uncertainty when it may happen, left unprovided I

vivacity and impressiveness. First, we begin to think of religion more frequently than we did. Heretofore we never thought of it at all, except when some melancholy incident had sunk our spirits, or had terrified our apprehensions; it was either from lowness or from fright that we thought of religion at all. Whilst things went smoothly, and prosperously, and gaily with us, whilst all was well and safe in our health and circumstances, religion was the last thing we wished to turn our minds to: we did not want to have our pleasure disturbed by it. But it is not so with us now: there is a change in our minds in this respect. It enters our thoughts very often, both by day and by night, "Have I not remembered thee in my bed, and thought upon thee when I was waking?" This change is one of the prognostications of the religious principle forming within us. Secondly,

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