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may fo speak, by such 'outward actions or words as are made the signs and tokens of it; and in the use of these that sense, and those affections may be highthened and increased. | I say true piety, devotion, &c. consists in such a just and worthy fenfe of God as is suitable to his natural and his moral perfections. For, were we to conceive of God as a bard and fevere master, as one who lays burthens upon his servants that are great and grievous to be born, who requires brick where he gives no Araw, reaps where he has not fown, gathers where he has not strawed, and watches for the halting of his servants that he might take occasion from it greatly to punish them: or were w.e to conceive of the Deity as an arbitrary and tyrannical governor, who acts unreasonabły in his legislative capacity, by commanding for commanding fake, and thereby extorting Tuch obedience from his subjects as no ways answers the end of government to them: or were we to conceive of God as an unkind and cruel parent of mankind, who takes pleasure in their unhappiness and misery: and were we to be affected suitably: this would be so far from being true piety, that it would be just the reverse, viz. it would be the height of impiety and profaneness. .
Again, I say, that true piety is in the mind, tho' it may be made visible as aforesaid. And, agreeably to this, the founder of our (viz. the Christian) Sect, hath justly observed, that God, in distinction from, and in opposition to, body
ór matter, is a spirit or mind; and therefore,
constituted the former. But then, tho' the
As true piety consists in our having a just and worthy sense of God impressed upon our minds, and in our being suitably affected therewith ; so it is founded in nature, God is not only compleatly perfect in himself, but he is also the fountain of being, and of all good to us; and, as such, the nature of the thing requires, or it is just and reafonable, that we
should frequently and upon all proper occasions awaken in our felves a juft and worthy sense of God, and be suitably affected therewith. This, I say, is a suitable and proper behaviour for such dependent beings as we are, towards their great and kind Creator, from whom we have received our being, and by whose providence we are continually upheld and preserved. It is likewise fit and reasonable with regard to the purpose it is subservient to, as it naturally tends to excite and engage our imitation of the Deity, and thereby to render our selves approvable in his fight. Moreover, perfetion is, in the nature of the thing, preferable to imperfection, and, as such, it is the proper object of our choice, and this makes it reasonable or our duty to make use of those means that are proper to lead us thereto, of which means, I think, it must be allowed that true piety is the principal. When we entertain our minds with a just sense of the wisdom and goodness of God, and how that wisdom and goodness has been exemplified in promoting our own and the common tranquillity; and when we are suitably affected therewith; this is, not only acting properly towards the Deity, but it also tends to excite our imitation of him, and therefore, it must be our duty or it is reasonable that we should be frequent in such exercises. Again, when we reflect seriously upon the rectitude of the divine nature, viz. that God's affections and actions are always most pure, as they are perfectly conformable to that rule of action that is founded in the reason of
things; things; and when we likewise view our felves as it were in a glass, and see how greatly we þave departed from this rule, and when we are fuitably affected therewith; this naturally tends to humble us in our own fight, to engage us to be watchful of our behaviour for the time to come, and to endeavour to render our felves the proper objects of God's mercy, : And as this is our case; To our present circumstances require or make it reasonable that we should be frequent in such exercises. · If it should be said, that prayer, in this view of the case, is a needless performance, because meditation and reflexión may answer the end without it. Answer, admitting that one branch of piety, by a constant and proper application, may be sufficient to answer the forementioned purpose ; yet, I think, that will not be a sufficient ground for discouraging or laying aside. the use of the rest, when, perhaps, the use of all may scarce be sufficient to call in, and retain, our attention, and engage our affections and imitation as aforesaid..
If it should be asked, that if true piety confists in having a just and worthy sense of God imprefsed upon the mind, and the being suitably affeEted therewith, and if St Paul's remark. be just, viz. that bodily exercise profiteth little, and if our Saviour's doctrine be true, viz. that God is a spirit, and they that worship him (truly and acceptably) must worship him in ipirit and in truth, for the Father feeketh such to worship him, then, to what purpose can