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reason, why we should make God the object of our prayers; why we should then look wholly unto him, and pray according to his will; but what equally proves it necessary for us, to look wholly unto God, and make him the object of all the other actions of life. ways of life, any employment of our talents, our time or money, that is not strictly according to the will of God; that is not for such ends, as are suitable to his glory, are as great absurdities, as prayers, that are not according to the will of God. For there is no reason, why our prayers should be according to the will of God why they should have nothing in them, but what is wise, and holy, and heavenly; there is no reason for this, but that our lives may be of the same nature ; full of the same wisdom, holiness, and heavenly tempers; that we may live unto God in the same spirit, that we pray unto him. Were it not cur strict duty, to live by reason, to devote all the actions of our lives to God; were it not absolutely necessary, to walk before him in wisdom, and holiness, and all heavenly conversation, doing every thing in his name, and for his glory; there would be no excellency or wisdom in the most heavenly prayers. Nay, such prayers would be absurdities; they would be like prayers for wings, when it was no part of our duty to fly.

As sure therefore, as there is any wisdom in praying for the Spirit of God; so sure is it, that we are to make that Spirit the rule of all our actions; as sure, as it is our duty, to look wholly unto God in our prayers ; so sure is it, that it is our duty, to live wholly unto God. But we can no more be said to live unto God, unless we live un: to him in all the ordinary actions of our life ; unless his will be the rule and measure of all our ways; than we can be said to pray unto God, unless our prayers look wholly unto him. So that unreasonable and absurd ways of life, whether in labour .or diversion ; whether they consume our time or our money; are like upreasonable and absurd prayers, and are as truly an offence unto God.

It is for want of knowing, or at least considering this, that we see such a mixture of absurdity, in the lives of many people. You see them strict as to some times and

places of devotion ; but, when the service of the church is over, they are like those, that seldom or never come there. In their way of life, their manner of spending their time and money, in their cares and fears, in their pleasures and indulgences, in their labor and diversions, they are like the rest of the world. This makes the loose part of the world generally make a jest of those, that are derout; because they see their devotion goes no farther, than their prayers ; and that, when they are over, they live no more unto God, till the time of prayer returns again ; hut in as full enjoyment of the follies of life, as other people. This is the reason, why they are the jest and scorn of careless and worldly people ; not because they are really devoted to God ; but, because they ap. pear to have no other devotion, than that of occasional prayers.

Julius is very fearful of missing prayers; all the parish supposes Julius to be sick, if he is not at church. But if you were to ask him why he spends the rest of his time. by humour or chance ? why he is a companion of the silliest people in their most silly pleasures? why he is ready for every impertinent entertainment and diversion? If you were to ask him why there is no amusement too trilling to please him ? why he is busy at all balls and assemblies? why he gives himself up to an idle gossipping conversation? why he lives in foolish friendships and fondoess for particular persons, that neither want nor deserve any particular kindness? why he allows himself in foolish hatreds and resentments against particular persons, without considering that he is to love every body as himself ? If you ask him why he never puts his conversation, his time, and fortune, under the rules of religion ; Julius has no more to say for himself, than the most disorderly person. For the whole tenor of Scripture lies as directly against such a life, as against debauchery and intemperance. He, that lives in such a course of idleness and folly, lives no more according to the religion of Jesus Christ, than he, that lives in gluttony, and intemperance.

If a man tell Julius that there was no occasion for so much constancy at prayers, and that he might, without

any harm to himself, neglect the service of the church, as the generality of people do; Julius would think such a one no Christian, and that he ought to avoid his company. But, if a person only tell him that he may live, as the generality of the world does; that he may enjoy himself, as others do; that he may spend his time and money, as people of fashion do ; that he may conform to the follies and Trailties of the generality, and gratify his temper and passions, as most people do ; Julius never suspects that man to want a Christian spirit.

Yet, if Julius read all the New Testament from the beginning to the end; he would find bis course of life condemned in every page.

Indeed nothing can be imagined, more absurd, in itself, than sublime and beavenly prayers added to a life of vanity and folly ; where, peither labor, nor diversions; neither time, nor money., is under the direction of the wisdom and heavenly temper of our prayers. If we were to see a man, pretending to act wholly with regard to God in every thing he did, that would neither spend time, nor money, nor take any labor or diversion, but so far, as he could act according to strict principles of reason and piety; and yet, at the same time, neglect all prayer, whether public or private ; should we not be amazed at such a man, and wonder, how he could have so much folly with so much religion ?

Yet this is as reasonable, as for a person to pretend to strictness in devotion, to be careful of observing times and places of prayer; and yet letting the rest of his life, his time and labor, his talents and money,

be disposed of, without any regard to rules of piety and devotion ; for it is as great an absurdity, to suppose holy prayers, and divine petitions, without holiness of life, suitable to them, as to suppose a holy and divine life without prayers.

Let any one therefore think, how easily he could confute a man, that pretended to great strictness of life without prayer, and the same arguments will as plainly confute another, that pretends to strictness of prayer, with. out carrying the same strictness into every other part of

life. For to be weak and foolish in spending our time and fortune, is no greater a mistake, than to be weak and foolish in relation to our prayers. To allow our. selves in any ways of life, that neither are, nor can be offered to God, is the same irreligion, as to neglect our prayers.

The short of the matter is this, either reason and religion prescribe rules and ends to all the ordinary actions of our life, or they do not. If they do, then it is as necessary, to govern our actions by those rules, as it is to worship God. For, if religion teaches us any thing concerning eating and drinking, or spending our time and money; if it teaches us, how we are to use and contemn the world; if it tells us, what temper we are to have in common life ; bow we are to be disposed toward all people; how we are to behave toward the sick, the poor, the old, and destitute ; if it tells us, whom we are to treat with particular love, whom we are to regard with particular esteem; if it tells us, how we are to treat our enemies, and how we are to mortify and deny ourselves; he must be very weak, that can think these parts of religion are not to be observed with as much exactness, as any doctrine, that relates to prayer.

It is very observable, that there is not one command in all the gospel for public worship; and perhaps it is a duty, that is less insisted on in scripture, than any

other. The frequent attendance at it is never so much as mentioned in all the New Testament. Whereas that religion or devotion, which is to govern the ordinary actions of our life, is to be found in almost every verse of scripture. Our blessed Saviour and his apostles are wholly taken up in doctrines, that relate to common life. They call us to renounce the world, and differ in every temper and way of life, from the spirit and way of the world. To renounce all its goods, to fear none of its evils, to reject its joys, and have no value for its happiness. To be, as new born babes, that are born into a new state of things; to live, as pilgrims in spiritual watching, in holy fear and heavenly aspiring after another life. To take up our daily cross, to deny ourselves, to profess the blessedness

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of mourning, to seek the blessedness of poverty of spirit. To forsake the pride and vanity of riches, to take no thought for the morrow, to live in the profoundest state of humility, to rejoice in worldly sufferings. To reject the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life ; to bear injuries, to forgive and bless our enemies, and to love mankind, as God loveth them.

To give up our whole hearts and affections to God, and strive to enter through the strait gate into a life of eternal glory.

This is the common devotion, which our blessed Saviour taught, in order to make it the common life of all Christians. Is it not therefore strange, that people place so much piety in the attendance of public worship, concerning which there is not one precept of our Lord's to be found; and yet neglect the common duties of ordinary life, which are commanded in every page of the gospel? I call these duties the devotion of our common life, because, if they are to be practised, they must be made parts of our common life; they can have no place any where else.

If contempt of the world, and heavenly affection, is a necessary temper of Christians; it is necessary, that this temper appear in the whole course of their lives; in their manner of using the world, because it can have no place any where else.

If self-denial be a condition of salvation ; all, that would be saved, must make it a part of their ordinary life. If humility be a Christian duty; then the common life of a Christian is to be a constant course of humility in all its kinds. If poverty of spirit be necessary ; it must be the spirit and temper of every day of our lives. If we are to relieve the naked, the sick, and the prisoner; it must be the common charity of our lives as far, as we are able to perform it. If we are to love our enemies; we must make our common life a visible exercise and demonstration of that love. If content and thankfulness; if the patient bearing of evil be duties to God; they are the duties of every day, and in every circumstance of life. If we are to be wise and holy, as new-born sons of

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