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cording to our Meafures and Proportion, to the Maintenance of a decent folemn Worship of God among us. All these Particulars may, I think, be gathered from these Passages of our Saviour's Life that I have now quoted to you.

These Instances may serve to give you a Tafte of our Saviour's Devotion in publick, and of the Nature of it, and of what Principles he was acted by, and what Temper and Carriage was in Matters relating to the outward Worship of God. Application hereof I make none. I leave that to be made by every one's self, as he finds Occasion for it.

But farther, which deserves our special Consideration : Our Saviour was not more exemplary in his Devotions in publick than he was in private ones. He was much conversant with God by Prayer and Meditation. He frequently took Occasions of retiring himself from all Business and Company, that he might the more freely contemplate, and the more intensely fix his Thoughts upon spiritual Things, and the more ardently pour out his Soul to God, and enjoy Communion with him ; and very considerable Portions of Time did he spend in such devout Privacies. When the Time came that he was to enter upon his Office, which was at his Baptism, we find he prepared himself for it, by a


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Retirement of forty Days, which he spent in Fasting and Prayer, in conflicting with the Devil, and in all the Exercises of Faith, and Trust, and Devotion towards God, in Imitation of which our forty Days Fast of Lent was appointed). Here he gained his first Victory and Triumph over the Devil and his Kingdom; and here he experienced all the Sweetness of an uninterrupted Converse with God and Angels, and found the Influences of it his whole Life after.

And as he thus begun the great Work committed to him, so in the same Manner he carried it on, though never any lived a more publick Life than he did ; though never any was more crowded with Company, or had his Hands fuller of Business than he had; yet nevertheless he would cither find, or make his Times for his Privacies and Devotions: If he could not have it in the Day, yet would he take it from his Rest in the Night ; nay, sometimes in such Portions as to continue a whole Night in these his Retirements, as you may see in the ift of St. Mark, verse 35. Luke vi. 12.

This Practice of our Saviour's may convince us how necessary it is that we should be frequent and diligent in the Performance of our private Devotions; that we often take occasion to abstract ourselves from


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worldly Business, that we may the better be at leisure for pious Thoughts and Meditations, for devout Prayer and other reli

gious Exercises. If our Saviour found it fu

needful so to do, who had attained to the Perfection of Virtue, who had a constant Presence of Mind, who was Master of himself and his Business, and could not be supposed easily to be prevailed upon by any Temptation either from without or within ; how absolutely needful will it be for us to put this Duty in Practice, who

are pitiful, forry, weak Creatures, apt 1

every Moment to be distracted by worldly Objects, and to be drawn away by the Temptations and Allurements of Sin that are round about us.

People may imagine what they please about the mighty Feats that may be

performed through the Strength of a good Resolution. But when all this is done, they will find that there is no getting such a Victory over their Lusts and Corruptions ; no living such a Christian Life, as the Gospel requires of us, without the Practice of earnest and ardent Prayer to God, and a constant Attendance to Reading and Meditation, and other such devout Exercises. Though we have formed our Purposes, as we think, never so strongly, and doubt not but we shall be sufficiently able to stand upon our Guard; yet, if we do not daily


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apply ourselves to the Throne of Grace for Strength, and Influence, and Support ; if we do not frequently take Times to recollect, and renew our Resolutions, and fortify our Minds by strong consideration, by repeating to ourselves the great Obligations we have to God, and the absolute Necessity there is of forfaking our Sins, and pursuing a Course of Virtue and Holiness; and lastly, by fixing our Thoughts on the vast, immense Rewards that await us at the End of our Pilgrimage, if we behave ourselves worthily: I say, if we do not daily give ourselves to the Practice of these Things, how good soever at the present our Intentions and Purposes may be, yet there is little Hopes we shall make any great Progress or Advancement in Chrifti. anity, but shall at last insensibly sink down into a State of Carelessness and Indifferency as to those Matters, if not return to a worldly, sensual, or vicious Life.

But, Secondly, let us propose our Saviour to ourselves as a person that, as he was very devout towards God, so was he also very diligent in the Business he had to do in the World. He did not so spend his Time in Solitude and Abstractions, as to hinder the Discharge of any of the Works of his Calling. On the contrary, he lived more publickly, because of his frequent Privacies.

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His Retirements served for no other Purpose, than to make him more active and vigorous in doing Good when he came into Company. He so managed his Devotions towards God, that they were no Obstructions, but a great Furtherance of the Duties he owed unto Men; and hereby, as he gave us the true Notion and Measures of a perfect Life, so did he effe&tually confute the superstitious Fancies, that too many of his Followers have entertained concerning Religion.

There are a Sort of Men, we know, in the World, that place the Perfection of Christianity in living at a Distance from the Concernments of the World. With them, to serve God in the best Way, is to dwell in a Wilderness, or to be cloistered up

within the Walls of a Monastery, and to sit loose from all the Business of common Life. And so far hath this Notion of Religion obtained, that none are accounted among the Number of the Religious, but those that have taken upon them this kind of Life. I wish there were not also some among us that are too much Popish in this respect, tho' they yet sufficiently hate the Name of Papifts

. Are there not those that make Religion wholly to consist in doing of Duty, as they call it ? If they do but go to Prayers often enough, and hear Sermons cnow, and spend

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