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true state of him, who hath lived fo long in the course of an unsanctified life. In all that while, he never said one prayer that did him any good; but they ought to be reckoned to him upon the account of his sins. He that is in the affection, or in the habit, or in the state, of any one fin whatfoever, is at such a distance from and contrariety to God, that he provokes God to anger in every prayer he makes.
And then add but this consideration; that prayer is the great sum of our religion; it is the effect, and the exercise, and the beginning, and the promoter of all graces, and the consummation and perfection of many; and all those persons who aspire towards heaven, and yet are not experienced in the secrets of religion, they reckon their piety, and account their hopes, only upon the stock of a few prayers. It may be they pray twice every day, it may be thrice; and blessed be God for it; so far is very well, But if it shall be remembered and considered, that this course of piety is so far from warranting a course of fin, that any one habitual and cherished
fin destroys the effect of all that piety; we shall see there is reason to account this to be one of those great arguments, with which God hath so bound the duty of holy living upon us, that without an holy life we cannot in any sense be happy, or have the effect of one prayer.
But if we be returning and repenting finners, God delights to hear, because he delights to save us. ..
When a man is holy, then God'is gracious; and an holy life is the best, and indeed is a continual prayer.
And repentance is the best argument to move God to mercy; because it is the instrument to unite our prayers to the interçeffion of the holy Jesus,
The true Foundation of Tranquility. [From Bishop Hall's “Heaven upon Earth.”]
· JOB xxii. 21." Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at .
peace. THESE words point out to us the
true grounds of peace, and tran
quility, and satisfaction of mind; namely, by securing an interest in the great Author and giver of peace. Many of the Heathens treated learnedly and wisely concerning those things which create happiness and contentment; but they erred in the main point, by, not referring the same to the account of religion and duty towards God. They have been more skilful in describing that good estate of the mind which is called tranquility, or that more perfect ftate of the mind which is called happiness, D 4
than in pointing out the means to obtain them.
They teach us, that the tranquility of the mind is, as of the sea and weathera when no wind stirreth, when the waves do not tumultuously rise and fall upon each other, but when the face both of the heaven and waters is still, and fair, and equable: That it is such an even disposition of the heart, wherein the scales of the mind neither rise up towards the beam, through their own lightness, or the over-weening qpinion of prosperity ; nor are too much depressed with any load of forraw; but hanging equal and unmoved betwixt both, give a mạn liberty in all occurrences to ens joy himself. Not that a person of the most temperate mind can be so far the master of his paffions, as that sometimes his grief. Thall not exceed his joy, or his joy exceed his grief, according to the contrary occalions of both : for not the evenest weights, but at their first putting into the balance, somewhat sway both parts therecf, not without forne shew of inequality ; which yet, after some motion, settle themselves
. III. Of Tranquility. in an equal poise. It is enough, that after some sudden agitation, it can return to itself, and rest itself at last in a resolved peace. And this due composedness of mind is required unto our tranquility, not for some short fits of good humour, which soon after end in discontentment, but with the condition of perpetuity. For there is no heart makes fo rough weather, as not sometimes to admit of a calm ; and the man that is most disordered, finds some refpites of quietness. The balances that are most ill matched in their unsteady motions, come to an equality, but stay not at it. So then the calm mind must be settled in an habitual rest; not then firm, when there is nothing to shake it; but then least Thaken, when it is most assaulted.
Whence it easily appears, how vainly tranquility hath been fought, either in such a constant state of outward things, as fhould give no distaste to the mind, whilst all earthly things vary with the weather, and have no stay but in uncertainty; or otherwise in the natural temper of the soul, directed by human precepts, so as not to.