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“ASTE FOR DEVOTION.
e of such persons for the present out the for the com estion, and I consider only the case thing of the
ho, knowing and believing the wore table his so
It is not for us to presume to speak particular.
out to man terrors as well as promi. ment after death as well as reward. - he intended those motives, which red as a coposes, to operate and have their inherever they operate. good ensues; rutefal gratis ind important good, compared with - which they do not operate; yet not ve would desire, not all which is atall which we ought to aim at, in our arse. The fear of the Lord is the knowledge; but calling it the be. es that we ought to proceed farther;
his fear to his love. his distinction to the subject before who serves God from a dread of his nd, therefore, in a certain sense by enjoyment of all devotion, and west part of beyond all comparison, in a better ouching his salvation, than he, who read, and breaks through this conna word, who obeys, from whatever edience springs, provided it be a re.
, is of a character, as well as in a nitely preferable to the character of the man, whom no motives what
ce to perform his duty. Still it 15 - feels not within himself a taste and
in wor k s in religion will give him this evidence, but
mor are speaking, is what good men, in all ages, have
am pears in their writings. The book of Psalms, in
dit is one test of the religious frame of our own
grateful gratifying sentiments towards God, in
fore feltAnd what we are saying of the Book of
Amongst these I particularly recommend the prayers.
derdtions anexed to the new Whole Duty of wan, Vakop Barnet; ia speaking of such kind of books, very Wy says, "By the frequent reading of these books by de relish that one basin tiem, by the delight they
the effects they produce, a man will plainly percent
her bis soul is made for divine mallera or no whereas where is between him and then, 200 meter
Wuched with such a sense of tellion, 2 008
ervice, which he performs (to say = consideration, how much less acervice may be,) and for devotion it
one satisfactory evidence of his ght towards God. A farther procon will give him this evidence, but ttained: as yet, therefore, there is ency. and relish for devotion, of which we , is what good men, in all ages, have
It appears in their history; it apir writings. The book of Psalms, in vas, great part of it, composed under ion of this principle. Many of the ritten in the truest spirit of devotion, test of the religious frame of our own serve whether we have a relish for ositions; whether our hearts are stirread them; whether we perceive in s alone, a mere letter, or so many atifying sentiments towards God, in · what we ourselves feel, or have beAnd what we are saying of the Book of true of many religious books, that are r hands, especially books of devotional rhich though they be human composiothing more, are of a similar cast with nal writings of Scripture, and excelalated for their purpose.* We read of ins, who passed the greatest part of
in acts of devotion, and passed it with : " Anna the prophetess, was of great h departed not from the temple, but t these I particularly recommend the prayers, os annexed to the new Whole Duty of man. net, in speaking of such kind of books, very By the frequent reading of these books, by int one has in them, by the delight they give, cts they produce, a man will plainly perceive, soul is made for divine matters or not; What there is between bim and them, and whether ched with such a sense of religion, as to be ca. licating himself to it."
TASTE FOR DEVOTION
eiged, heart-piercing, heart-sinking sorrow
TASTE FOR DEVOTION. od with fastings and prayers, night and The first Christians so far as can be gathertheir history in the Acts of the Apostles epistles, as well as from the subsequent
that are left of them, took great delight ses of devotion. These seemed to form, the principal satisfaction of their lives in d. “Continuing daily with one accord mple, and breaking bread,” that is, ce.
the holy communion, "from house to cey eat their meat with gladness and sinof heart, praising God.". In this spirit
s set out, finding the greatest gratifica. y were capable of, in acts and exercises on. A great deal of what is said in the stament, by St. Paul in particular, about
g in the Lord, rejoicing in the Holy ejoicing in hope, rejoicing in consolation, in themselves, as sorrowful, yet always " refer to the pleasure and the high and comfort, which they found in religious · Much, I fear, of this spirit is fled.
a coldness in our devotions, which are ecay of religion amongst us. Is it true
in these days, perform religious exer. requently as they ought? or as those did; - gone before us, in the Christian course! e question to be asked: but there is also uestion of still greater importance, YIZ. nd in these performances that gratifica ch the first and best disciples of the re sually found? which they ought to find,
they would find, did they possess to relish, concerning which w and which if they do not possess, u
qning which we are disgreat proof of their heart being rigor Cod. pirit of prayer, as it is sometimes called, e and relish for devotion, if a devotion. -f mind be within us, it will shew itsell
rn and cast of our meditations, in me and earnestness, and frequency of
Bet itis not in in our private religion alone, that the effect and benefit of this principle is pertired. The trae taste and relish, we so much twell opon, will bring a man to the public wore thing di Gon; and what is more, will bring him in such a frame of mind, as to enable him to join in i with effect, with effect as to his own soul; with efect as to every object, both public and private, intended by public worship. Wanderings and ingeidnes, remissions and intermissions of attention, there will be; but these will be fewer and shorter, in proportion as more of this spirit is prevalent within us; and some sincere, some bearty, some deep, some true, and, as we trust, weeptable service will be performed, before we pave the place; some pouring forth of the soul unto God in prayer and in thanksgiving, in prayer meited by wants and weaknesses, I fear also, y la and neglects without number; and in thanks. grans, such as mercies, the most undeserved, Det to call forth from a heart, filed, as the
secret applications to God in prayer; in the deep, unfeigned, heart-piercing, heart-sinking sorrow of our confessions and our penitence; in the sincerity of our gratitude and of our praise; in our admiration of the divine bounty to his creatures: in our sense of particular mercies to ourselves. We shall pray much in secret. We shall address ourselves to God of our own accord in our walks, our closet, our bed. Form, in these addresses, will be nothing. Every thing will come from the heart. We shall feed the flame of devotion by continually returning to the subject. No man, who is endued with the taste and relish we speak of, will have God long out of his mind. Under one view or other, God cannot be long out of a devout mind. “ Neither was God in all his thoughts,” is a true description of a
e de. reliction of religious principle: but it can, by no possibility, be the case with a man, who has the spirit of devotion, or any portion of that spirit within him.
But it is not in in our private religion alone, that the effect and benefit of this principle is perceived. The true taste and relish, we so much dwell upon, will bring a man to the public worship of God; and what is more, will bring him in such a frame of mind, as to enable him to join in it with effect, with effect as to his own soul; with effect as to every object, both public and private, intended by public worship. Wanderings and forgetfulness, remissions and intermissions of attention, there will be; but these will be fewer and shorter, in proportion as more of this spirit is prevalent within us; and some sincere, some hearty, some deep, some true, and, as we trust, acceptable service will be performed, before we leave the place; some pouring forth of the soul unto God in prayer and in thanksgiving, in prayer, excited by wants and weaknesses, I fear also, by sins and neglects without number; and in thanks. givings, such as mercies, the most undeserved, ought to call forth from a heart, filled, as the
TASTE FOR DEVOTION. -t of man should be, with a thorough con. asness of dependency and obligation, Il forms of publie worship must, by their very cre, be in a great degree general, that is, must alculated for the average condition of human of Christian life; but it is one property of the otional spirit, which we speak of, to give a Ecularity to our worship, though it becarried on
congregation of fellow Christians, and expresEn terms, which were framed and conceived he use of all. nd it does this, by calling up recollections, ch will apply most closely, and bring home t nearly, to ourselves, those terms and those ressions. For instance, in public worship, we
k God in general terms, that is, we join with congregation in a general thanksgiving; but a out man brings to church the recollection of eial and particular mercies, particular boun.
particular providences, particular deliveres, particular relief recently experienced, spely and critically granted in the moment of ut or danger, or eminently and supereminent uchsafed to us individually. These he bears
ghts: he applies as he proceeds; that, ch was general, he makes close and circumtial.; his heart rises towards God, by a sense nercies vouchsafed to himself. He does not rever confine himself to those favours of provi. ce, which he enjoys above many others, or re than most others; he does not dwell upon inctions alone; he sees God in all his good, in all his bounty. Bodily ease, for instance, ot less valuable, not less a mercy, because ers are at ease as well as himself. The same his health, the use of his limbs, the faculties is understanding. But what I mean is, that is mind he brings to church mercies, in which s interested, and that the most general ex. 3sions of thankfulness attach with him upos ticular recollections of goodness, particular ects of gratitude, so that the holy fervonrol
a deplorable weakness atral imperfection in die discharge of can draty, but is sung also with re membrances and compunesina, ezeted by pare tioder offences. When we come, theatare, to szfess our sins, let menery do its office faithful. H. Let these sits rise up before our eyes. All barnvage is imperfect. Forras, intended forgental nee, must consist of general terms, and are oferiradesiate. They may be rebeared by the Tags prith very little of application to our own ease. But this will never be so, if the spirit of devotion le vithin us. A derout mind is exceedingly stirned, when it has sins to confess. None but a hardenied inner can even think of his sins without win. But when he is to lay them, with supplie ways live garden, before his maker, when he is to expose his heart to God; it will always be with powerful in ward feelings of guilt and calamity, Ithath been well said of prayer, that prayer will either make a man leave off singing, or sin vill make him lane off prayer. And the same is true of confession. If confession be sincere, il itbe such as a right capacity for devotion will make it to be, it will call up our proper and par ticular sins so distinctly to our view, their guilt, their danger, their end; whither they are carry ing w; in what they will conclude that, if we can return to them again without molestation to our conscience, then religion is not within 15. We have approached God in his worship, so iner. lectually as to ourselves, it is because we have not worshipped hizo in soirit: we may say of all we have done, "we drew near with our lips, butout hearts were far from him."