Obrazy na stronie
[ocr errors]

by it. It is unreasonable for us to expect, that those who make a Conscience of serving God with Devotion, but are strangers to

our Methods, shou'd immediately Change * their way of Worship, and heartily Close

with ours; tho' better in it self, and they were fatisfi'd that there were nothing unlawful in it. Time and Pains mult Work that happy Change.

In his Devotions both Publick and Private, he avoided every thing, that had the least Appearance of Affectation, or might any way Minister to Vanity; all violent Motions of the Body, and unnatural Modulations of the Voice. His Behaviour was Grave and Simple, Natural and very Plain. And though never Man, was less apt to entertain hard Thoughts of Others, yet he cou'd not but suspect those, who were very Noisie in their Prayers; who aifected strange Gestures of Body, and a forc'd Tone of Voice. And I believe the Reader will excuse me, for delivering his Judgment of the true and false Signs of Devotion, in his own Words : He will find it fo rational and clear, as must needs be very satisfactory to him.

• We mistake our felves oft times in Signs The true and ! of Devotion ; outward Actions of the Bo, false Signs of dy, may be Signs of Devotion; but we are

Devotion. to judge aright of them, and give them " their due weight. Devotion is to the Soul, • what Blood is to the Body, which is the < Life of it: Now the best state of the Body is, when the Blood moves regularly, and

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

evenly in it; fo as for us to be least sensible, s that we have such a thing as moving Blood ' within us; which is, when it is in its natu

ral Condition, and we are in firm Health. We don't think we have inol Life, when

we have convulsive and extraordinary Mo. ' tions in our Bodies; these things proceed

not from the free moving of the Blood, but . from the stoppage of the Blood and Spirits;

from which Nature endeavouring to set it ► felf free, excites those violent Motions in

the Body. These are not signs of Health, but of Sickness. In respect of our Souls, the

best state is, when our Minds in our Devo' tions, have a compos'd and gracious Inter

course with God, in such intentness, and re' collectedness of Thought, that we are hard

ly sensible our seives, that we are at our « Devotions. Thus it is when we are in firm & Health of Mind, our Conscience right be

fore God, and our Affections fanctifi'd and free from incumbrances. It is when we come short of these, in any respect, that

our Devotion becomes tuniultuary, and < fhews it self in outward signs: Bodily Mo

cions proceed only from the Convulsions

of our" Devotions; and are signs of Ob"structions in them, not of their free Paf$ fage. The Conflict that arises between our

Flesh and our Spirit, begets those odd Symptoms. It is when we find it difficult to raise up our Minds to God, hard to keep our Thoughts intent and recollected, as we wou'd have them, that we beat our Breasts,


[ocr errors]

that we cast up our Eyes, that we move our Hands. They are signs at best, not that we are Devout, but that we wou'd be fo. Every sudden Motion of the Head, or Ha d, or Eye, is not a sign of an orderly, but of a

convulsive Devotion; and is the Effea of 'a troubl’d and discompos'd State of Mind.

Not that these are always to be cenfur'd: Such Troubles are many times our Unhappiness, not our Sin. Thus perhaps it was with Hannah, when she pray'd unto the Lord

in the bitterness of her soul. 1 Sam. 1. 10. ' And Eli observing her outward Gestures, particularly the motion of her Lips, thought

hardly of her. Our Blessed Lord, when he 'offer'd up his last publick Prayer to his Fa

ther; the perpetual and most gracious Legacy of his Love to his Church, and the Model of his continual Intercession in Hea

ven for us; began it with a fixt lifting up ' of his Eyes to Heaven. When Jesus had spo

ken these things, he lifted up his Eyes to Heaven, and said, Joh. 17. I

This cannot be rec'kond of the fort we are speaking of; for ic

was only a compos'd setting of his Eyes in one Posture. If his proftrating himself on the Ground, in his great Agony, be offer'd as an Instance of the other fort, and it be atgued from thence, that such violent Motions of the Body, are not Arguments of a Discompos’d, or more Imiperfečt Devotion ; because our Lords Devotion, cannot at any time be luppos'd Imperfect: It is not necellary to say any thing to it; only this,



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

e that such Discompos’d or Imperfect Devo

tion, as cou'd be without Sin, may be safely apply'd to our Saviour, in respect to his Humane Nature; but in respect of Us, it is certain that such Trouble or Distraction as our Blessed Saviour underwent, at that time, wou'd necessarily make our Devotion more Imperfect; tho' not necessarily less prevalent with God, when we offer unto Him the best service we can, in the Anguilh of our Spirits.

" What has been said of Bodily Motions, ' is to be said also of the Tone of our Voice

in Prayer. The Vetement Earnestness of this, is not always a sign of the Intentness of our Thoughts,or Devotion of our Minds; but rather the contrary. A Modest, even fram'd Voice, with a chearful Accent, or Modulation of our Words, is the natural

Expression of a Devout Spirit; much less ' can I look upon that Voice to have any

part in Devotion, which runs all in one Tone of a Melancholy Dejectedness. (I will not call it Whining, because prophane Men who are ready to Scoff at all Religion, have made this word too light:) But 'tis certain, the thoughts of the praying Person, may be at the other end of the World, consistently enough, with such a Tone; fo little necelsary connexion is there between it and true Devotion. The Mind of such a Person perhaps has been Devout, and he is Melancholy that he is not so stiil; but unwilling to be at pains enough to make himself fo.


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

& If there be any that take up such a Tone,

purely out of Hypocrisie, 1 shou'd be loath to pass so hard a Censure upon them, as the Poet does ; unless they manifestly discover,

great Contrariety to their Devotions, in " their Lives and Practices.

Quisquis ficto fub Damone prodit,
Crede mibi, multum Damonis intus habet.

That great Infirmity of Humane Nature, with which the best Men are frequently disturb’d, Unattention and Wandring Thoughts in Prayer, Mr. Bonnell had very well considerd; he himself not being intirely free from it. It is what he often complains of, with great Pasfion, and for which he prescribes the properest Remedies. His Meditations upon Wandring Thoughts in Prayer, are too many to be here inserted; yet a few of them I can't pass over. They shew a Mind so deeply affected with the sense of its Imperfections; so defirous to have its Burdens remov'd; yet so patient and fubmissive under them; that they must needs make. due Impressions on every Devout Reader.

His Com. 'Lord (says he in one place) it is but a plaints of bem

few Hours ago, that I was Triumphing in ing disturb'di lthy Favour ; and in the Blessed Liberty witho men

thou gavest me, of attending upon Thee. dring tloought 3 • What have I done fince, to make my self in Prazet; "fo Miserable, and lose all this Privilege ; medics he pre" that from being attentive to a whole Prayer, fcribes for I can now scarce attend to a few Sentences.that infirmie

Surely ty.

[ocr errors]
« PoprzedniaDalej »