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neither entangled by its pleasures nor seduced by its vices. He treads among dangers; but as he knows on whom he has believed, his confidence is not shaken, neither is his peace destroyed. For his attentive mind, his mind fully bent upon all the harmonies of religion, becomes itself harmonious; and he, in the language of St. Paul, “ with
open face beholding as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, is changed into the same image (with hiin] from glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the Lord.”
No XXI. No XXI.
On religious Meditation.
And wisdom's self
When the mind of man is fully impressed with the necessity of attaining divine wisdom, it becomes an object of no common solicitude to inquire, how this important point is to be accomplished. Too long accustomed to expatiate in the fields of dissipation, and to direct every energy to the gratification of momentary pleasures, the thoughts are too unsettled to rest at once in that tranquillity, which opens the path to
* All to entirely. Warton.
193 so desirable a companion as contemplation. If we look down upon the world from the elevation of a calm retreat, it is like viewing the ocean from the point of a promontory: the waves rise and fall; they recede with the wind, or the tide; then return in tempests, and foam over the projecting rock. The avocations of mankind, now agitated by contending passions, now hurried by the tumults of business, naturally recall this image to the mind. And if we add, the perpetual distractions of what are falsely called amusements; the various and tormenting phantoms which float from one place of public resort to another; what can we conclude from so tumultuous a prospect, but that the earth, as well as the sea, is subject to a violent and restless agitation ?
Where, then, we may ask, shall wisrt don be found? and where is the place of
understanding ? Man knoweth not thé
price thereof, neither is it found in the “ land of the living. The depth saith, it " is not in me; and the sea saith, it is « not in me.” Too true it is, that if we seek for divine wisdom on the stage of the
world only, she will elude our search. So frail is our resolution, so impotent our strength, that if we throw ourselves unguarded into this dangerous vortex, we shall hurry only to our own destruction. But let us pause upon the brink of the torrent. Let us consider “how fearful and dizzy it " is to cast our eyes so low.” Let us recollect that when means are sought, means never will be wanting to restore us to the true dignity of human nature, to the enjoyment of those privileges assured to the sons of men by the appearance of their Redeemer.
If our danger arises from too indiscriminate an acquaintance with tle world, from the indulgence of a turbulent and restless disposition, from an earnest and unceasing pursuit of pleasure, we should seek our remedy in the opposite behaviour: we should withdraw into scenes of quiet, we should inure our minds to recollection, and contemplate piously and seriously, the end and aim of that being which the bounty of the Almighty hath bestowed upon us. Meditation becomes a powerful mean of grace, when employed in the service of religion ;
and retirement from the busy world for this important purpose, will be found not only an advantage to the man, but the duty of the christian. “ Solitude,” says an eloquent preacher *, " is the hallowed ground which
religion hath, in every age, chosen for “ her own. There, her inspiration is felt, « and her secret mysteries elevate the soul.
There, falls the tear of contrition; there, “ rises towards heaven the sigh of the heart; " there, melts the soul with all the tender“ ness of devotion, and pours itself forth " before hiin wlio inade, and him who re" deemed it.”-Here, abstracted from foreign objects, the soul rests only on itself., God alone is present; and awful are the meditations which are then presented to the mind. Every thing which can engage, every thing which can command attention, rushes into the heart. It is then evident that man is a religious being. His soul is fired with devotion. Hc perceives the ne cessity of gospel-righteousness, to restore within his breast the defaced image of his