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Method and Arrangement
If these little sparks of holy fire which I have heaped together do not give life to your prepared and already enkindled spirit, yet they will sometimes help to entertain a thought, to actuate a passion, to employ and hallow a fancy.
Epistle Dedicatory to Taylor's Life of Christ.
Prayer is the peace of our spirit, the stillness of our thoughts, the evenness of recollection, the seat of meditation, the rest of our cares, and the calm of our tempest; prayer is the issue of a quiet mind, of untroubled thoughts, it is the daughter of charity, and the sister of meekness; and he that prays to God with an angry, that is, with a troubled and discomposed spirit, is like him that retires into a battle to meditate, and sets up his closet in the out quarters of an army. Anger is a perfect alienation of the mind from
and therefore is contrary to that attention, which
presents our prayers in a right line to God. For so
have I seen a lark rising from his bed of grass, and soaring upwards singing as he rises, and hopes to get to heaven, and climb above the clouds; but the poor bird was beaten back with the loud sighings of an eastern wind, and his motion made irregular and unconstant, descending more at every breath of the tempest, than it could recover by the libration and frequent weighing of his wings ; till the little creature was forced to sit down and pant, and stay till the storm was over, and then it made a prosperous flight, and did rise and sing as if it had learned musick and motion from an angel, as he passed sometimes through the air about his ministries here below : so is the prayer of a good man,
Prayers are but the body of the bird; desires are its angel's wings.
OTHERWise do fathers, and otherwise do mothers handle their children. These soften them with kisses and imperfect noises, with the pap and breast-milk of soft endearments; they rescue them from tutors, and snatch them from discipline; they desire to keep them fat and warm, and their feet dry, and their bellies full ; and then the children govern, and cry, and prove fools and
* The Return of Prayers, Serm. v. f. 33.