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other words, that this firm trust and confidence in the great disposer of all things, contributes very much to the getting clear of any affliction, or to the bearing it manfully. A person who believes he has his succour at hand, and that he acts in sight of his friend, often exerts himself beyond his abilities, and does wonders that are not to be matched by one who is not animated with such a confidence of success. I could produce instances from history, of Generals, who out of a belief that they were under the protection of some invisible assistant, did not only encourage their Soldiers to do their utmost, but have acted themselves beyond what they would have done, had they not been inspired by such a belief. I might in the same manner shew how such a trust in the affistance of an Almighty Being, naturally produces patience, hope, chearfulness, and all other dispositions of mind that alleviate those calamities which we are not able to remove.
The practice of this virtue administers great comfort to the mind of man in times of poverty and affliction, but most of all in the hour of death. When the
soul is hovering in the last moments of its separation, when it is just entering on another state of Existence, to converse with scenes, and objects, and companions that are altogether new, what can support her under such tremblings of thought, such fear, such anxiety, such apprehensions, but the casting of all her cares upon him who first gave her Being, who has conducted her through one stage of it, and will be always with her to guide and comfort her in her progress through eternity ?
David has very beautifully represented this steady reliance on God Almighty in his twenty third Pfalm, which is a kind of Pastoral hymn, and filled with those allufions which are usual in that kind of writing. As the poetry is very exquisite, I shall prefent my reader with the following Transation of it.
The Lord my pasture Mall prepare,
When in the sultry glebe I faint,
Tho' in the paths of death I tread,
Tho' in a bare and rugged way,
Religentem effe oportet, Religiofum nefas.
Incerti Autoris apud Aul. Gell.
T is of the last importance to season the passions of a child with Devo
tion, which feldom dies in a mind that has received an early tincture of it. Though it may seem extinguished for a while by the cares of the world, the heats of youth, or the allurements of vice, it generally breaks out and difcovers itself again as soon as discretion, consideration, age, or misfortunes have brought the man to himself. The fire may be covered and overlaid, but cannot be entirely quenched and smothered.
A state of temperance, fobriety, and justice, without devotion, is a cold, life
less, insipid condition of virtue ; and is rather to be styled Philofophy than Religion. Devotion opens the mind to great conceptions, and fills it with more sublime ideas than any that are to be met with in the most exalted science ; and at the same time warms and agitates the Soul more than sensual pleasure.
It has been observed by some writers, that man is more distinguished from the animal world by Devotion than by Reafon, as several brute creatures discover in their actions something like a faint glimmering of reason, though they betray in no single circumstance of their behaviour any thing that bears the least affinity to devotion. It is certain, the propensity of the mind to religious worship, the natural tendency of the soul to fly to some superior Being for succour in dangers and distresses, the gratitude to an invisible Superintendent which arises in us upon receiving any extraordinary and unexpected good fortune, the acts of love and admiration with which the thoughts of men are so wonderfully tranfported in meditating upon the Divine Perfections, and the universal concurrence of all the nations under heaven in