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characters of his living image, given it a nature suitable to his own, and thereby made it capable of rational and intelligent converse with him, he hath it ever in his power to maintain a continual converse with his creature, by agreeable communications, by letting in upon it the vital beams and influences of his own light and love, and receiving back the return of its grateful acknowledgments and praises. Wherein it is manifest he should do no greater thing than he hath done. For who sees not that it is a
. matter of no greater difficulty to converse with than to make a reasonable creature ? Or who would not be ashamed to deny that he who hath been the only author of the soul of man, and of the excellent
powers and faculties belonging to it, can more easily sustain that which he hath made, and converse with his creature suitably to the way wherein he hath made it capable of his converse ?"
That worship may exist without the intervention of words, on account of this constitution of the soul, is a sentiment which has been espoused by many pious persons who were not Quakers. Thus the ever me
morable John Hales, in his Golden Remains, expresses himself: «
himself: “ Nay, one thing I know more; that the prayer which is the most forcible transcends, and far exceeds all power of words. For St. Paul, speaking unto us of the most effectual kind of
prayer, calls it sighs and groans, that cannot be expressed. Nothing cries so loud in the ears of God as the sighing of a contrite and earnest heart.
“ It requires not the voice, but the mind; not the stretching of the hands, but the intension of the heart; not any outward shape or carriage of the body, but the inward behaviour of the understanding. How then can it slacken your wordly business and occasions, to mix them with sighs and groans, which are the most effectual kind of prayer.”
Dr. Gell, before quoted, says, “ Words, conceived only in an earthly mind, and uttered out of the memory by man's voice, which make a noise in the ears of flesh and blood, are not, nor can be, accounted a prayer, before our Father which is in Hea, ven.' Dr. Smaldridge, bishop of Bristol, has
the following expressions in his Sermons ;
Prayer doth not consist either in the bending of our knees, or the service of our lips, or the lifting up of our hands or eyes to heaven; but in the elevation of our souls towards God. These outward expressions of our inward thoughts are necessary in our public, and often expedient in our private devotions; but they do not make up the essence of
which may truly and acceptably be performed, where these are wanting.”
And he says afterwards, in other parts of his work, “ Devotion of mind is itself a silent prayer, which wants not to be clothed in words, that God may better know our desires. He regards not the service of our lips, but the inward disposition of our hearts.”
Monro, before quoted, speaks to the same effect in his Just Measures of the Pious Institutions of Youth : “ The breathings of a recollected soul are not noise or clamour. The language, in which devotion loves to vent itself is that of the inward man, which is secret and silent, but yet God hears it, and makes gracious returns unto it. Sometimes
the pious ardours and sensations of goodsouls are such as they cannot clothe with words. They feel what they cannot express. I would not, however, be thought to insinuate that the voice and words are not to be used at all. It is certain that public and common devotions cannot be performed without them; and that, even in private, they are not only very profitable, but sometimes necessary. What I here aim at is, that the youth should be made sensible that words are not otherwise valuable, than as they are images and copies of what passes in the hidden man of the heart; especially considering that a great many
appear very, angelical in their devotions, if we take our measures of them from their voice and
soon, after these intervals of seeming seriousness are over, return with the dog to the vomit, and give palpable evidences of their earthliness and sensuality, their passion and their pride."
Again: “I am persuaded,” says he, “ that it would be vastly advantageous for the youth, if care were taken to train them up to this method of prayer ; that is, if they were taught frequently to place themselves in the divine presence, and there silently to adore their Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. For hereby they would become habitually recollected. Devotion would be their element; and they would know by experience, what our blessed Saviour and his great apostle meant, when they enjoin us to pray
without ceasing. It was, I suppose, by some such method of devotion as I am now speaking of, that Enoch walked with God; that Moses saw him that is invisible ; that the royal psalmist set the Lord always before him; and that our Lord Jesus himself continued whole nights in prayer to God. No man, I believe, will imagine this his prayer, during all the space in which it is said to have continued, was altogether vocal When he was in his agony in the garden, he used but a few words. His vocal prayer then consisted only of one petition, and an
pure resignation thrice repeated. But I hope all will allow that his devotion lasted longer than while he was employed in the uttering of a few sentences.”
These meetings then, which are usually denominated Silent, and in which, though not a word be spoken, it appears from the