life ; but then meditation comes afterward; it only comes when the mind is already filled and engaged, and occupied, nay, often crowded and surcharged with worldly ideas. It is not only therefore fair and right, but it is absoltutely necessary, to give to religion all the advantage we can give it by dint of education : for all that can be done is too little to set religion upon an equality with its rival; which rival is the world. A creature, which is to pass a small portion of its existence in one state, and that state to be preparatory to another, ought, no doubt, to have its attention constantly fixed upon its ulterior and permanent destination. And this would be so, if the question between them came fairly before the mind. We should listen to the scriptures; we should embrace religion, we should enter into every thing which had relation to the subject with a concern and impression, even far more, than the pursuits of this world, eager and ardent as they are, excite.

But the question between religion and the world does not come fairly before us. What surrounds us is this world; what addresses our senses and our passions is this world; what is at hand; what is in contact with us; what acts upon us, what we act upon, is this world.

Reason, faith and hope are the only principles to which religion applies, or possibly can apply: and it is religion, faith and hope striving with sense, striving with temptation, striving for things absent against things which are present. That religion therefore may not quite be excluded and over-born, may not quite sink under these powerful causes, every support ought to be given to it which can be given by education, by instruction, and above all, by the examples of those, to whom young persons look up, acting with a view to future life themselves.

Again. It is the nature of worldly business of all kinds, especially of much hurry or over-en ployment, or over-anxiety in business, to shr and keep out religion from the mind.' T!


op sert That

do SAL

Suid, which this cause whi

a d, which this cg t as ?

we want of serionen or t

Dess and indifference felt

Epi'operly a want of se.

Let? I think it is; and is spi:

...e serious upon any matter not

wiebing That is impossible

Curatard a thing as trifling, which anc L

attivan ut our habitual thoughts, in em entges i en chat other things do. the comparison with wal older things do.

ther. The world, even in its innocent mise. But farther:

od pleasures, has a tendency unfavoura. affee pursuits and I diste diste ble to the religious to the religious sentiment. But were these all

Send with, the strong application it led to contend with, the strong

on makes to the thoughts, whenever it at all; the strong interest which it

might enable it to overcome and


is another adversary to oppose much ble, and that is sensuality; an adal pleasures. It is the flesh which The Spirit: that is the war which

[ocr errors]

tter what may be the cause, that noes, over and above their proper ins, as offences against God's comDecifio effect upon the heart of man e religious principle within him : mely in preventing the formation

either induces an open proCorsation and behaviour, which

apeligion: a kind of profligacy

des at naught the whole thing : the heart an averseness to the Alike and reluctance to enter up.

any way whatever. That a rew set himeslf against a religion, o sin, is not to be wondered at. on, because religion is against

h he has entered, and self willing to give up. aor is it the bottom of

[ocr errors]

the matter. The effect we allude to is not so reasoning or argumentative as this. It is a specific effect upon the mind. The heart is rendered unsusceptible of religious impressions, incapable of a serious regard to religion : and this effect belongs to sins of sensuality more than to other sins. It is a consequence which almost universal. ly follows from them. We measure the importance of things, not by what or according to what they are in truth, but by and according to the space and room which they occupy in our minds. Now our business, our trade, our schemes, our pursuits, our gains, our losses, our fortunes, pos. sessing so much of our minds, whether we regard the hours we expend in meditating upon them, or the earnestness with which we think about them; and religion possessing so little share of our thought either in time or earnestness; the consequence is, that worldly interest comes to be the serious thing with us; religion comparatively the

Men of business are naturally serious; but

seriousness is absorbed by their business,
on they are no more serious than the most
aracters are : than those characters are
tray levity in all things.

T'he want of due seriousness in religion
sure to be the consequence of the absence
of religious ordinances and exercises. I
erms; absence” and “ disuse.” Some
er attended upon any religious ordinances
ised any religious exercises, since the time
ere born : some a very few times in their
With these it is the “absence of religious
ses and exercises. There are others (and
e fear of this description), who, whilst up-
guidance of their parents, have frequented

ordinances, and been trained up to reliCercises, but who, when they came into ablic life, and to be their own masters, and in the pleasures of the world, or to engang Ives in its business and pursuits, have otai these duties in whole or in a grea, and bas.

2 sug pus GOFO ojar

16]? Le


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

With these it
Shade it the “disuse” of religious ordi.

e xercises. But I must also explain

en bir "religious ordinances and exersoos " Br " ligious ordinances” I mean the

antenere in our catechism in our youth. beia ins

in unon public worship at church, the conins bols the Lord's day regularly and most Martieniach together with a few other days in the Ir by which some very, principal events and osseries at the Christian history are commemo

and its proper season the more solemn omaeiving the Lord's Supper. These comarr rites and ordinances of Christianity : coming all which it may be said, that with the

pes of mankind, especially of that class Sund, which must or does give much of its

ont care to worldly concerns, they are little Boa thar absolutely necessary; if we judge it to Sinuary to maintain and uphold any sention or impression, any seriousness about reli.

in the mind at all. They are necessary to ere in the thoughts a place for the subject; Les necessary that the train of our thoughts interen be closed up against it. Were all

the week alike and employed alike; was a difference or distinction between Sunday cik day; was there not a church in the na. were we never from one year end to anoth

and together to participate in public worwere there no set forms of public worship; wicular persons appointed to minister and indeed no assemblies for public worship

joint prayers; no preaching : still reitself, in its reality and importance, in od event, would be the same thing as

"we should still have to account for let: there would still be heaven and

on and perdition: there would still of God both natural and revealed ;

ion which the authority of a Creae upon a creature; all the gratitude

om a rational being to the Author

na porticular persons app

oll; no joint prave Hem, in itself, in IN iad and event.

iris ; we should still


and Giver of every blessing which he enjoys ; 4 lastly, there would still be the redemption of the

world by Jesus Christ. All these things would, with or without religious ordinances, be equally real and existing and valid; but men would not think equally about them. Many would entirely and totally neglect them. Some there wouldalways be of a more devout, or serious, or contemplative disposition, who would retain a lively sense of these things under all circumstances and all disadvantages, who would never lose their veneration for them, never forget them. But from others; from the careless, the busy, the followers of pleasures, the pursuers of wealth or advancement, these things would slip away from the thoughts entirely.

Together with religious “ ordinances” wementioned religious "exercises.” By the term religious “exercises I in particular mean private prayer; whether it be at set times, as in the morning and evening of each day, or whether it be called forth by occasions, as when we are to form some momentous decision, or enter upon some great undertaking; or when we are under some pressing difficulty or deep distress, some excruciating bodily pain, or heavy affliction; or, on the other hand, and no less properly, when we have lately been receiving some signal benefit, experiencing some signal mercy; such as preservation from danger, relief from difficulty or distress, abatement of pain, recovery from sickness: for by prayer let it be observed we mean devotion in general; and thanksgiving is devotion as much as prayer itself. I mean private prayer, as here described; and I also mean, what is perhaps the most natural form of private prayer, short ejaculatory extemporaneous addresses to God, as often as either the reflections which rise up in our minds, let them come from what quarter they may, or the objects and inci dents which seize our attention, prompt us to ter them; which, in a religiously disposed na will be the case, I may say, every hour, and w! ejaculation may be offered up to God in any i

« 前へ次へ »