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ticular deliverances, particular relief recently experienced, specially and critically granted in the moment of want or danger, or eminently and supereminently vouchsafed to us individually. These he bears in his thoughts: he applies as he proceeds; that, which was general, he makes close and circumstantial; his heart rises towards God, by a sense of mercies vouchsafed to himself. He does not however confine himself to those favours of providence, which he enjoys above many others, or more than most others; he does not dwell upon distinctions alone; he sees God in all his goodness, in all his bounty. Bodily ease, for instance, is not less valuable, not less a mercy, because others are at ease, as well as himself. The same of his health, the use of his limbs, the faculties of his understanding. But what I mean is, that in his mind, he brings to church mercies, in which he is interested; and that the most general expressions of thankfulness attach with him upon particular recollections of goodness, particular subjects of gratitude, so that the holy fervour of his devotion is supported; never wants, nor can want, materials to act upon. It is the office, therefore, of an internal spirit of devotion to make worship personal. We have seen that it will be so with thanksgiving. It will be the same likewise with every other part of divine worship. The confession of sins in our liturgy, and perhaps in all liturgies, is general; but our sins, alas, are particular: our conscience not only acknowledges a deplorable weakness and imperfection in the discharge of our duty, but is stung also with remembrances and compunctions, excited by particu

lar offences. When we come, therefore, to confess our sins, let memory do its office faithfully. Let these sins rise up before our eyes. All language is imperfect. Forms, intended for general use, must consist of general terms, and are so far inadequate. They may be rehearsed by the lips with very little of application to our own case. But this will never be so, if the spirit of devotion be within us. A devout mind is exceedingly stirred, when it has sins to confess. None but a hardened sinner can even think of his sins without pain. But when he is to lay them, with supplications for pardon, before his Maker; when he is to expose his heart to God, it will always be with powerful inward feelings of guilt and calamity. It hath been well said of prayer, that prayer will either make a man leave off sinning, or sin will make him leave off prayer. And the same is true of confession. If confession be sincere, if it be such, as a right capacity for devotion will make it to be, it will call up our proper and particular sins so distinctly to our view, their guilt, their danger, their end; whither they are carrying us; in what they will conclude; that, if we can return to them again without molestation from our conscience, then religion is not within us. If we have approached God in his worship, so inffectually as to ourselves, it is because we have not worshipped him in spirit; we may say of all we have done, "we drew near with our lips, but our hearts were far from him."

What we have said concerning thanksgiving and confession is likewise true of prayer universally. The spirit of devotion will apply our prayers to our wants.

In forms of worship, be they ever so well composed, it is impossible to exhibit human wants, otherwise than in general expressions. But devotion will apply them. It will teach every man, in the first place, to know how indigent, how poor a creature, without a continued exercise of mercy and supply of bounty from God, he would be; because when he begins to enumerate his wants, he will be astonished at their multitude. What are we, any of us, but a complication of wants, which we have not in ourselves the power of supplying? But, beside those numerous wants, and that common helplessness, in which we all partake, every man has his own sore, his own grief, his own difficulties; every man has some distress, which he is suffering, 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.

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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 afflicting 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 per ceived.

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, heartfelt 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 Father; and thrice he used the same words: repetition 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 enticed 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


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