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Have I not remembered thee in my bed; and thought
upon thee when I was waking ? The life of God in the soul of man, as it is sometimes emphatically called, the Christian life, that is, or the progress of Christianity in the heart of any particular person, is marked, amongst other things, by
, religion gradually gaining possession of the thoughts. It has been said, that, if we thought about religion as it deserved, we should never think about any thing else ; nor with strictness, perhaps, can we deny the truth of this proposition. Religious concerns do so surpass and outweigh in value and importance all concerns beside, that, did they occupy a place in our minds proportioned to that importance, they would, in truth, exclude
other but themselves. I am not, therefore, one of those who wonder when I see a man engrossed with religion: the wonder with me is, that men care and think so little concerning it. With all the allowances which must be made for our employments, our activities, our 'anxieties about the interests and occurrences of the present life, it is still true, that our forgetfulness, and negligence, and indifference about religion are much greater than can be excused, or can easily be accounted for by these causes. Few men are so busy, but that they contrive to find time for a any gratification their heart is set upon, and thought for any subject in which they are interested: they want not leisure for these, though they want leisure for religion. Notwithstanding, therefore, singular cases, if indeed there be any cases, of being over-religious, over-intent upon spiritual affairs, the real and true complaint is all on the other side, that men think not about them enough, as they ought, as is reasonable, as it is their duty to do. That is the malady and the mischief. The cast and turn of our infirm and fleshly nature lean all on that side. For, first, this nature is affected chiefly by what we see. Though the things which concern us most deeply be not seen ; for this very reason, that they are not seen, they do not affect us as they ought. Though these things ought to be meditated upon, and must be acted upon, one way or other, long before we come actually to experience them, yet in fact we do not meditate upon them, we do not act with a view to them, till something gives us alarm, gives reason to believe that they are approaching fast upon us, that they are at hand, or shortly will be, that we shall indeed experience what they are.