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permission, we shall then be affected with common things, as they would be, who saw a miracle.
For as there is nothing to affect you in a miracle, but as it is the action of God, and bespeaks his presence ; so when you consider God, as acting in all things, and all events, then all things will become venerable to you, like miracles, and fill you with the same awful sentiments of
the divine presence.
You must not reserve the exercise of this pious temper to any particular times or occasions, or fancy, how' resigned you will be to God, if such or such trials should happen. For this is amusing yourself with the notion or idea of resignation instead of the virtue itself.
Do not therefore please yourself with thinking, how piously you would act and submit to God in a plague, a famine, or persecution ; but be intent upon the perfection of the present day ; and be assured, that the best way of showing a true zeal is to make little things the occasion of greater piety.
Begin therefore in the smallest matters, and most ordinary occasions, and accustom your mind to the daily exercise of this pious temper in the lowest occurrences of life. When a contempt, an affront, a little injury, loss, or disap
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pointment, or the smallest events of every day, continually raise your mind to God in proper acts of resignation, then you may justly hope, that you shall be numbered amongst those, who are resigned and thankful to God in the greatest trials and afflictions.
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Recommending self-examination and a particular con
fession of sins at the time of evening prayer.
THE evening is a time so proper for devotion, that I suppose nothing needs be said to recommend it, as a season of prayer, to ail people, who profess any regard to piety.
As the labour and action of every state of life are generally over at this hour, so this is the proper time for every one to call himself to an account, and review all his behaviour froin the first action of the day. The necessity of this examination is founded upon the necessity of repentance. For if it be necessary to repent of all our sins, if the guilt of unrepented sins still continue upon us, then it is necessary, that not only all our sins, but the particular circumstan
ces and aggravations of them be known and recollected, and brought to repentance.
The scripture says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”. Which is as much as to say, that then only our sins are forgiven, and we cleansed from the guilt and unrighteousness of thein, when they are thus confessed and repented of.
There seems therefore to be the greatest necessity, that all our daily actions be constantly observed, and brought to account, lest by negligence we load ourselves with the guilt of unrepented sins.
This examination therefore of ourselves every evening is not only to be considered as a commendable rule, and fit for a wise man to observe; but as something, which is as necessary, as a daily confession of our sins ; because this daily repentance is of very little signification, and loses all its chief benefit, unless it be a particular confession and repentance of the sins of that day. This examination is necessary to repentance in the same manner, as time is necessary.
You cannot repent nor express your sorrow, unless you allow some time for it ; nor can you repent, but so far, as you know, what it is, which yoll
are repenting of. So that when it is said, that it is necessary to examine and call your actions to account; it is only saying, that it is necessary to know what, and how many things you are to
You perhaps have hitherto only used yourself to confess yourself a sinner in general, and ask forgiveness in the gross, without any particular remembrance or contrition for the particular sins of that day. By this practice you are brought to believe, that the same short, general form of confession of sin in general is a sufficient repentance for every day.
Suppose, another person should hold, that a .confession of our sins in general once at the end of every week was sufficient; and that it was as well to confess the suns of seven days all to. gether, as to have a particular repentance at the end of every day
I know, you sufficiently see the unreasonableness and impiety of this opinion, and that you think it easy enough to show the danger and folly of it. Yet you cannot bring one argument against such an opinion, but what will be as good an argument against such a daily repentance, as does not call the particular sins of that day to a strict account.
that, which only in one and the same form
As you can bring no express text of scripture against such an opinion, but must take all your arguments from the nature of repentance, and the necessity of a particular repentance for particular sins; so every argument of that kind must as fully prove the necessity of being very particular in our repentance of the sins of every day. Since nothing can be justly said against leaving the sins of the whole week to be repented for in the gross, but what may as justly be said against a daily repentance, which considers the sins of that day only in the gross.
Would you tell such a man, that a daily confession was necessary to keep up an abhorrence of sin, that the mind would
hardened and senseless of the guilt of sin without it? And is not this as good a reason for requiring, that your daily repentance be very express and particular for your daily sins ? For if confession is to raise an abhorrence of sin, surely that confession, which considers and lays open your particular sins, which brings them to light with all their circumstances and aggravations, which requires a particular sorrowful acknowledgment of every sin, must, in a much greater degree, fill the mind with an abhorrence of sin, than