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he is sussering, or fearing. Nay, were worldly wishes satisfied, was worldly prosperity complete, he has always what is of more consequence than worldly prosperity to pray for, he has always his sins to pray against. Where temporal wants are few, spiritual wants are often the most and the greatest. The grace of God is always wanted. His governing, his preventing, his inspiring, his assisting grace is always wanted. Here, therefore, is a subject for prayer, were there no other; a subject personally and individually interesting in the highest degree; a subject, above all others, upon which the spirit of devotion will be sure to fix.
I assign therefore, as the first effect of a right spirit of devotion, that it gives particularity to all our worship. It applies, and it appropriates. Forms of worship may be general, but a spirit of devotion brings them home, and close to each 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 acknowledge 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 aMicting 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.
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, heart-felt 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 him breaking out into ejaculations, imploring from God support, mercy, and relief, over and over again, uttering
the same prayer in the same words. Nothing he finds suits so well the extremity of his sufferings, the urgency of his wants, as a continual recurrence to the same cries, and the same call for divine aid. Our Lord himself, in his last agony, affords a high example of what we are saying. Thrice he besought his heavenly Fa
and thrice he used the same words: repctition therefore is not only tolerable in devotion, but it is natural: it is even dictated by a sense of suffering, and an acuteness of feeling. It is coldness of affection, which requires to be en. ticed and gratified 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 our Lord justly notices the absurdity;) that they should really be heard for their much speaking. Actuated by the spirit of devotion we can never offend in this way: we can never be the object of this censure.
Lastly, Lastly, and what has already been intimated, the spirit of devotion will cause our prayers to have an effect upon our practice. For exam. ple; 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