« PreviousContinue »
It will be disputed by none who enjoy the benefit of experience, that the habit of daily devotion is essential to the support of true piety. It is this alone that can render it a constant living feeling of the heart, and an incitement to virtuous action. Regular communion with the Author of our being creates confidence in the assurances of his protection, and enables us to bear up against the evils and vicissitudes inseparable from human life. The most thoughtless and giddy may, nay doubtless have, moments of devout and religious sensation, but these are transient; they fly off with the first breath of temptation, and are quickly dissipated in more gay and frivolous pursuits ; such occasional feelings, therefore, are of little avail, unless they can be arrested, confirmed, and rendered habitual.
Reflexion and meditation do not find an easy access to the youthful mind; and even those who are further advanced in life are too apt to consider themselves sufficiently informed upon a subject if they discover its general tendency, and conceive that they have derived every possible benefit from it, if they are able partially to discuss its merits, or assent to a general eulogium on its beauties. This may be of little consequence on topics uninteresting in them, selves, or unimportant in their result; but when the principle involves a higher consideration, when it concerns our moral duties, or the claims of religion, it is not by simply admitting their excellence, or concurring in their efficacy, that the errors of mankind will be dispelled, or our own