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As, in order to furnish a number, the work was to be reduced to about one quarter of its original dimensions, it became much more difficult to determine what to omit, than what to extract.
We have endeavoured to select such parts, as are best adapted to general edification. Some whole chapters are omitted. Others are new modelled. Many characters, which are drawn with a masterly hand, it was necessary to reject ; because they do not apply to the state of society in this country. Others are retained with but few exceptions.
As the style of the author did not need, it has received no material alterations.
May that gracious providence, without whose smiles all human endeavours are vain, prosper this work, and make it instrumental in exciting the attention of many by serious consideration to a devout and holy life!
On the nature and extent of christian devotion,
Devotion signifies a life given or devoted to God. He therefore is the devout man, who lives no longer to his own will, or the way and spirit of the world, but to the sole will of God; who considers God in every thing, who serves God in every thing, who makes all the parts of his common life, parts of piety, by doing every thing in the name of God, and under such rules, as are conformable to his glory.
We readily acknowledge, that God alone is to be the rule and measure of our prayers ; that in them we are to look wholly unto him, and act wholly for him ; that we are to pray in such a manner only, for such things, and such ends, as are suitable to his glory.
Now let any one but find out the reason, why he is to be thus strictly pious in his prayers, and he will find the same as strong a reason to be as strictly pious in all the other parts of his life. For there is not the least shadow of a reason, why we should make God the rule and measure of our prayers, why we should then look wholly unto him, and pray according to his will ; but what equally proves
necessary for us to look wholly unto God, and make him the rule and measure of all the other actions of
It is for want of knowing, or at least considering this, that we see such a mixture of ridicule 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 but like those, who 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 labour and diversions, they are like the rest of the world. This makes the loose part of the world generally make a jest of those, who are devout; because they see their devotion goes no further than their prayers, and that when they
are over, they live no more unto God, till the time of prayer returns again ; but live by the same humour and fancy, and in as full an enjoyment of all 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 appear to have no other devotion, but 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 trifling to please him ? if you ask him, why he never puts his conversation, his time, and fortune, under ihe rules of religion ? Julius has no more to say for hiinself, than the most disorderly person ; for the whole tenour 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 ac