Billeder på siden

yourself (so that no direct duty suffers by it) rather than you should not meet with your daily discipline. This is one great end of fasting. Make some sacrifice, do some painful thing, to bring home to your mind that you do love your Saviour, that you do hate sin, that have put aside the present world. Let not your words run on; force every one of them into action, and thus cleansing yourself from all pollution of the flesh and spirit, perfect holiness in the fear of God. Newman.


In religious matters there are many habits and views which we bear with in the unformed Christian, but which we account disgraceful and contemptible should they survive that time when a man's character may be supposed to be settled. Love of display is one of these; whether we are vain of our abilities, or our acquirements, or our wealth, or our personal appearance; whether we discover our weakness in talking much, or love of managing, or again in love of dress. Vanity, indeed, and conceit are always disagreeable, because they interfere with the comfort of other persons, and vex them; but besides this, they are in themselves odious when discerned in those who enjoy the full privileges of the Church, and are by profession men in Christ Jesus, odious from their inconsistency with Christian faith and earnestness. Ibid.

Our Saviour expects that all who hope to be saved by Him should be eminent for piety and


religion toward God, as also for charity and righteousness towards men ; that we 66 shine lights in the world. He expects that we do not content ourselves with the bare profession of His religion, nor yet with reading the Scriptures, hearing sermons, and praying now and then; but that we strive and study to excel the heathen moralists, the Jewish and Christian Pharisees, yea, and our former selves, too, in all true graces and virtue; in humility and meekness, in temperance, in patience, in self-denial, in contempt of the world, in justice, in charity, in heavenlymindedness, in faith, in praying, in denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, and in living soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world. Bp. Beveridge.

We are bound to furnish our minds with needful knowledge of God's will and our duty; we are to bend our unwilling wills to a ready compliance with them; we are to adorn our souls with dispositions suitable to the future state (such as may qualify us for the presence of God, and conversation with the blessed spirits above); it is incumbent upon us to mortify corrupt desires, to restrain inordinate passions, to subdue natural propensities, to extirpate vicious habits; in order to the effecting these things to use all efficient means, earnest prayer, devotion towards God, study of His law, reflection upon our actions, with all such spiritual instruments; the performing such duties as it requires great care and pains, so it needs much time; all this is

not dictum factum, as soon done as said; a few spare moments will not suffice to accomplish it. Dr. Isaac Barrow.

Acting, as in this life we necessarily do, through the medium of the body, it is natural that our animal propensities should acquire daily strength from exercise, while the moral faculties, being less continually called into action, are in danger of losing half their energy from disuse. Virtue and religion, however, if they mean any thing, are the instruments, under the blessed guidance of the Divine Spirit, by which human reason corrects this incessant tendency to deterioration which so strongly characterizes all earthly things. Bp. Shuttleworth.

Our Saviour's example was a gentle and steady light; bright, indeed, but not dazzling to the eye; warm, but not scorching the face of the most intent beholder; no affected singularity, no supercilious morosity, no frivolous ostentation of seemingly high, but really fruitless performances nothing that might deter a timorous, discourage a weak, or offend a scrupulous disciple, is observable in His practice; but, on the contrary, His conversation was full of lowliness and condescension, of meekness and sweetness, and candid simplicity; apt to invite and allure all men to approach towards it, and with satisfaction to enjoy it. He did not seclude Himself into the constant retirement of the cloister, nor into the farther recesses of a wilderness (as some others have done), but conversed freely and in

differently with all sorts of men, even the most contemptible and odious sort of men, publicans and sinners; like the sun, with impartial bounty, liberally imparting his pleasant light and comfortable warmth to all. He used no uncouth austerity in habit or diet; but complied in His garb with ordinary usage, and sustained His life with such food as casual opportunity did offer; so that His indifference in that kind yielded matter of obloquy against Him from the fond admirers of a humorous preciseness. His devotions (though exceedingly sprightful and fervent) were not usually extended to a tedious or exhausting durance, nor strained with ecstatical transports, charming the natural senses, and overpowering the reason; but calm, steady, and regular, such as persons of honest intention and hearty desire (though not endued with high fancy or stirring passion) might readily imitate. His zeal was not violent or impetuous, except upon very great reason and extraordinary occasion, when the honour of God, or good of men, was much concerned. He was not rigorous in the observance of traditional rites and customs (such as were needlessly burdensome, or which contained in them more formal show than real fruit), yet behaved Himself orderly and peaceably, giving due respect to the least institution of God, and complying with the innocent customs of men, thereby pointing out to us the middle way between peevish superstition and boisterous faction, which as always the most honest, so commonly is the most safe and pleasant way to walk in. He delighted not to

discourse of sublime mysteries (although His deep wisdom comprehended all), nor of subtile speculations, and intricate questions, such as might amuse and perplex, rather than instruct and profit His auditors, but usually fed His auditors with the most common and useful truths, and that in the most familiar and intelligible language; not disdaining the use of vulgar sayings and trivial proverbs, when they best served to insinuate His wholesome meaning into their minds. His whole life was spent in the exercise of the most easy and pleasant, and yet most necessary and substantial duties,-obedience to God, charity, meekness, humility, patience, and the like, the which, that He might practise with the greatest latitude, and with most advantage for general imitation, He did not addict Himself to any particular way of life, but disentangled Himself from all worldly care and business; choosing in the most free, though very mean condition, that He might indifferently instruct by His example persons of all callings, degrees, and capacities, especially the most, that is, the poor; and might have opportunity, in the face of the world, to practise the most difficult of necessary duties, holiness, contentedness, abstinence from pleasure, contempt of the world, sufferance of injuries and reproaches. Thus suited and tempered by Divine wisdom was the life of our blessed Saviour, that all sorts of men might be in an equal capacity to follow Him, that none might be offended, affrighted, or discouraged; but that all might be pleased, delighted, enamoured with the homely majesty and plain beauty thereof.


« ForrigeFortsæt »