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we yield for an hour, or a moment. Some have expressed a doubt, whether, when the mind is harassed with vain thoughts in prayer, it were not better to desist altogether from the attempt: but this would certainly be giving place to the devil. No religious duty is to be declined, because of the obstructions or imperfections which attend its performance. If

you meet difficulty in duty, you will assuredly incur positive danger by turning from it. “ Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." Yield, and he will follow you, and draw you from God, and entangle you in his snares. He has a thousand artifices and wiles ready to employ, ten thousand alluring baits and bewitching scenes to exhibit before you. By restraining prayer, and remitting vigilance, you put yourself in his power. The following words of an old divine, when speaking on the subject of temptation, may afford a useful general direction to them who are tempted: “ Dwell as with God, and you will dwell as in eternity; and will still see that, as time, so all the pleasures, and advantages, and dangers, and sufferings of time, are things of themselves of little moment. Keep your eye upon judgment and eternity, where all the errors of time will be rectified, and all the inequalities of men will be levelled, and the sorrows and joys that are transitory will be no more : and then no reasons from the frowns

or flatteries of the times will seem of

any

force to you. Be still employed for God, and armed and on your watch, that Satan may never find you disposed to take the bait.”

3. Bar up all the avenues of the mind, during the exercise of devotion.

When Cato had retired to pursue the study of wisdom, the people, while passing his residence, used to say, That man knows how to live alone. It is not, indeed, so easy to guard the mind, as the house from intrusion; for the latter may be secured by locks and bolts, but to the former no contrivance of equal facility and effect can be applied: yet something may be done, if the philosopher's resolution be directed to a nobler object. In the act of devotion, make it a rule not only to repel impure images and impious notions, but also to refuse admission to those ideas, which, though they carry no stain of evil in them, yet, being extraneous, are a bindrance to present duty. Even a good thought should not come in out of season.

Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life. Set centinels, like a good general, and guard every post, both in the camp and in the field.

4. Cry to God for his assistance. Infidels, and such as imbibe infidelity, yet retain the Christian name and profession, have always discovered a haughty self-sufficiency, and an

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eagerness to deny or ridicule the doctrine of a divine influence on the mind. But a firm belief of this doctrine, together with a conduct grafted on his faith, and growing out of the affections produced by it, peculiarly distinguishes the man of real piety; nor will the imputation of enthusiasm, or mysticism, or even madness, deter him from its avowal. “In the day when I cried, thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.” (Psalm cxxxviii. 3.) “ Under the law,” says Bishop Taylor,

" God gave bis Spirit to some; to these irregularly, and in small proportions, like the dew upon Gideon's fleece. And the Jews called it • Filiam vocis,' the daughter of a voice, still, and small, and inarticulate, and in the way of inspiration, rather than instruction. But in the Gospel, the Spirit is given without measure : it is first poured forth upon our Head, Christ Jesus; then descending on the fathers of the church ; and thence falling, like the tears of the balsam of Judea, upon the foot of the plant, upon the lowest of the people. It is not now the daughter of a voice, but the mother of many voices. It is the parent of fortitude in martyrs, of learning in teachers, and of all things which are excellent within the bounds of the Catholic church : so that the old and the young, the scribe and the unlearned, the priest and the people, are full of the Spirit, if they belong to

God.” Let us then seek the grace of the Holy Spirit, especially as experience has taught us the vagrancy and instability of our own minds in religious duties, when left unaided from above. He that is exercised in piety, well knows that prayer is a sacred action, which cannot be

performed aright, without a steady command of the thoughts; and that a steady command of the thoughts, depends in a great measure on the habitual rectitude and government of the will; and an apostle hath assured us," that it is God that worketh in us both to will and to do of his own good pleasure.” He, therefore, who can say, “ My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed,” has abundant cause to add, “ I will sing and give praise.

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SECTION III.

ON WORLDLY CARES IN DEVOTION.

By worldly cares, I mean those perplexities and agitations of mind, which arise from an inordinate concern about earthly objects, and temporal pleasures. Stupid indifference, and a fond over-heated affection to these things, are both culpable; and the chief difficulty with a good man, is, in finding and keeping the middle course, which runs between extremes on the right and on the left. Some, indeed, are alternately inclined to opposite faults; by turns cold and hot, covetous and profuse; such are well described by the couplet of the poet,

as

“ Men, who at sometimes spend, at others spare,

Divided between carelessness and care." Aristotle, the most acute and laborious of all the ancient philosophers, the tutor of Alexander the Great, and the oracle of the learned through a series of ages, is said, as he expired, to have uttered this sentiment:"Helpless I entered

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