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in conduct, because it is a guard against those evil influences which mislead the understanding in moral questions. In some measure it supplies the place of every rule. He, who has it truly within him, has little to learn. Look stedfastly to the will of God, which he who loves God necessarily does, practise what you believe to be well pleasing to him, leave off what you believe to be displeasing to him; cherish, confirm, strengthen the principle itself, which sustains this course of external conduct, and
you will not want many lessons, you need not listen to any other monitor.
MEDITATING UPON RELIGION.
PSALM LXIII. 7.
Have I not remembered thee in my bed: and
thought upon thee when I was waking ?
, is sometimes emphatically called, the Christian life, that is, or the progress of christianity in the heart of any particular person, is marked, amongst other things, by religion gradually gaining possession of the thoughts. It has been said, that, if we thought about religion as it deserved, we should never think about any thing else; nor with strictness perhaps can we deny the truth of this proposition. Religious concerns do so surpass and outweigh in value
and importance all concerns beside, tlrat, did they occupy a place in our minds proportioned to that importance, they would in truth exclude every other, but themselves. I am not therefore one of those who wonder when I see a man engrossed with religion: the wonder with me is, that men care and think so little concerning it. With all the allowances which must be made for our employments, our activities, our anxieties about the interests and occurrences of the present life, it is still true, that our forgetfulness and negligence and indifference about religion are much greater than can be excused, or can easily be accounted for, by these causes. Few men are so busy, but that they contrive to find time for any gratification their heart is set upon, and thought for any subject in which they are interested : they want not leisure for these, though they want leisure for religion. Notwithstanding therefore singular cases, if indeed there be any cases, of being over religious, over-intent upon spiritual affairs, the real and true complaint is all on the other side, that men think not about them enough, as they ought, as is reasonable, as it is their duty to do. That is the malady and the mischief. The cast and turn of our infirm and fleshly nature lean all on that side. For first this nature is affected chiefly by what we see; though the things which concern us most deeply be not seen ; for this very reason, that they are not seen, they do not affect us as they ought. Though these things ought to be meditated upon, and must be acted upon, one way or other, long before we come actu. ally to experience them, yet in fact we do not meditate upon them, we do not act with a view to them, till something gives us alarm, gives reason to believe that they are approaching fast upon us, that they are at hand, or shortly will be, that we shall indeed experience what they are. The world of spirits, the world for which we are destined, is invisible to us. Hear St. Paul's account of this matter; look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen, for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." « We walk by faith not by sight: faith is the evidence of
things not seen.” Some great invisible agent here must be in the universe ; " the things which were seen were not made of things which do appear.” Now if the great author of all things be himself invisible to our senses, and if our relation to him must necessarily form the greatest interest and concern of our existence, then it follows, that our greatest interest and concern are with those things which are now invisible.
« We are saved by hope, but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for, but if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” The first infirmity therefore, which religion has to conquer within us, is that which binds down our attention to the things which
The natural man is immersed in sense: nothing takes hold of his mind but what applies immediately to his sense; but this disposition will not do for religion: the religious character is founded in hope as contra-distinguished from experience, in perceiving by the mind what is not perceived by the eye; unless a man can do this, he cannot be religious