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which he could possibly finish it, in the service of his country, and of mankind.
Having thus considered the important effects of.in an habitual regard to God in all our ways, I come to treat of the most proper and effectual methods of promoting this temper of mind.
1. If you be really desirous to cultivate this ha. bitual devotion, endeavour, in the first place, to , divest your minds of too great a multiplicity of the cares of this world. The man who lives to God, in the manner in which have been endea ux vouring to describe, lives to him principally, and loves and confides in him above all. To be soli. citous about this world, therefore, as if our chief happiness consisted in it, must be incompatible with this devotion. We cannot serve God and Mammon. If we be christians, we should consį.. der, that the great, and professed object of our religion, is the revelation of a future life, of unspeak. ably more importance to us than this transitory: ... world, and the perishable things of it. As chrise tians, we should consider ourselves as citizens of Heaven, and only strangers and pilgrims here benes: low. We must, therefore, see, that, as christians, there is certainly required of us a considerable degree of indiference about this world, which
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was only intended to serve us as a passage to a better.
The Divine Being himself has made wise provision for lessening the cares of this world, by the appointment of one day in seven, for the purpose of rest and avocation from labour. Let us then, at least, take the advantage which this day gives us, of calling off our eyes from beholding vanity,and of : quickening ourselves in the ways of God.
This advice I would particularly recommend to those persons who are engaged in arts, manufactures and commerce. For, highly beneficial as these things are in a political view, and subservient to the elegant enjoyment of life, they seem not to be so favourable to religion and devotion, as the busia ness of agriculture ; and for this reason, therefore, probably, among others, the Divine Being forbad commerce to the people of the jews, and gave them such laws as are chiefly adapted to a life of hus. bandry. The husbandman' is in a situation peculi. arly favourable to the contemplation of the works of God; and to asense of his dependence upon him. The rain from heaven, and various circumstances relating to the weather, &c. on which the goodness of his crops depends, he receives as from the hand of God, and is hardly sensible of any secon..
dary, or more immediate cause. If he understand any thing of the principles of vegetation, and can account for a few. obvious appearances upon what we call the laws of nature ; these laws he knows to be the express appointment of God; and he cannot help perceiving the wisdom and goodness of God in the appointment; so that the objects about which he is daily conversant are, in their nature, a lesson of gratitude and praise.
Besides, the emploment of the husbandman being, chiefly, to bring food out of the earth, his at tention is more confined to the real wents, or at most the principal conveniences of life ; and his mind is not, like that of the curious artist and manufacturer, so liable to be fascinated by the taste for superfluities, and the fictitious wants of men. . Nor, lastly, does the business of husbandry so wholly engross a man's thoughts and attention, while he is employed about it, as many of the arts. and inanufactures, and as commerce necessarily does. And it should be a general rule with: us, that the more attention of mind our employment in life requires, the more careful should we be to .. draw our thoughts from it, on the day of rest, and at other intervals of time set apart for devotional purposes. Otherwise, a worldly-minded temper,
220 .ON HABITUAL DEVOTION.
2. This brings me to the second advice, which
i in our frame is strengthened . by the proper and natural expression of it. Thus
intercourse and conversation with those. we love promotes friendship, and so also the inter. course we keep up with God by prayer, in which we express our reverence and love of him, and our confidence in him, promotes a spirit of devotion, and makes it easier for the ideas of the Divine Being, and his providence to occur to the mind on other occasions, when we are not formally praying to him. Besides, if persons whose thoughts are much employed in the business of this life had no time to set apart for the exercise of devotion, they would be" in danger of neglecting it entirely; at least, to a degree that would be attended with a * great diminution of their virtue and happiness. *****
But, in order that the exercises of devotion may be the most efficacious to promote the true spirit, *. }} and general habit of it, it is adviseable, that prayer's.. properly so called, that is, direct addresses to the ***
dotatoelefonit dort d.crs 10 Divine !
Divine Being, be short. The strong feeling of reverence, love, and confidence, which ought to animate our devotions, cannot be kept up in such minds as qurs through a prayer of considerable length; and a tedious languor in prayer is of great disservice to the life of religion, as it accustoms , the mind to think of God with indifference; whereas, it is of the utmost consequence, that the Divine Being always appear to us an object of the aut greatest importance, and engage the whole, attention of o’r souls. Except, therefore, in publicana where prayers of a greater length are, in a mans ner, necessary, and where the presence and con. currence of our fellow-worshippers assist to keep :up the fervour of our common devotion, it seems... more adviseable, that devotional exercises have inc. tervals of meditation, calculated to impress : our... minds more deeply with the sentiments we ex- ,, press; and that they, be used without any strict : ; regard to particular times, places, or posture of body, a
This method of conducting deydtional exerci.... ses, which makes them consist chiefly of meditatirea: on ypon God and his providence, has in many cases several advantages over a direct address to God, which should peculiarly recommend it to :,