Concerning the nature and extent of Christian devotion.
An inquiry into the reason, why the generality of Christians fall so far short of the holiness and devotion of Christianity.
Of the great danger and folly, of not intending to be as eminent and exemplary as we can, in the practice of all Christian virtues.
We can please God in no state or employment of life, but by intending and devoting it all to His honor and glory.
Persons that are free from the necessity of labor and employments, are to consider themselves as devoted to God in a higher degree.
Containing the great obligations, and the great advantages of making a wise and religious use of our estates and fortunes.
How the imprudent use of an estate corrupts all the tempers of the mind, and fills the heart with poor and ridiculous passions, through the whole course of life; represented in the character of Flavia.
How the wise and pious use of an estate naturally carrieth us to great perfection in all the virtues of the Christian life; represented in the character of Miranda.
Containing some reflections upon the life of Miranda, and showing how it may, and ought to be imitated by all her sex.
Showing how all orders and ranks of men and women, of all ages, are obliged to devote themselves unto God.
Showing how great devotion fills our lives with the greatest peace and happiness that can be enjoyed in this world.
The happiness of a life wholly devoted to God farther proved, from the vanity, the sensuality, and the ridiculous poor enjoyments, which they are forced to take up with who live according to their own humors. This represented in various characters.
That not only a life of vanity, or sensuality, but even the most regular kind of life, that is not governed by great devotion, sufficiently shows its miseries, its wants and emptiness, to the eyes of all the world. This represented in various characters.
Concerning that part of devotion which relates to times and hours of prayer. Of daily early prayer in the morning. How we are to improve our forms of prayer, and how to increase the spirit of devotion.
Of chanting, or singing of psalms in our private devotions. Of the excellency and benefit of this kind of devotion. Of the great effects it hath upon our hearts. Of the means of performing it in the best manner.
Recommending devotions at nine o’clock in the morning, called in Scripture the third hour of the day. The subject of these prayers is humility.
Showing how difficult the practice of humility is made, by the general spirit and temper of the world. How Christianity requireth us to live contrary to the world.
Showing how the education which men generally receive in their youth makes the doctrines of humility difficult to be practiced.
The spirit of a better education represented in the character of Paternus.
Showing how the method of educating daughters makes it difficult for them to enter into the spirit of Christian humility. How miserably they are injured and abused by such an education. The spirit of a better education, represented in the character of Eusebia.
Recommending devotion at twelve o’clock, called in Scripture the sixth hour of the day. This frequency of devotion equally desirable by all orders of people. Universal love is here recommended to be the subject of prayer at this hour. Of intercession, as an act of universal love.
Of the necessity and benefit of intercession, considered as an exercise of universal love. How all orders of men are to pray and intercede with God for one another. How naturally such intercession amends and reforms the hearts of those that use it.
Recommending devotion at three o’clock, called in Scripture the ninth hour of the day. The subject of prayer at this hour is resignation to the Divine pleasure. The nature and duty of conformity to the will of God, in all our actions and designs.
Of evening prayer. Of the nature and necessity of examination. How we are to be particular in the confession of all our sins. How we are to fill our minds with a just horror and dread of all sin.
The conclusion. Of the excellency and greatness of a devout spirit.
From the Introduction to the Methuen edition.