I always feel vaguely (and sometimes not so vaguely) unworthy reading and posting the Boston Unitarians and never more so than when Henry Ware Jr. is the subject. His "Formation of the Christian Character" is a foundational book for me and today I continue the process of excerpting it (for all posts Ware see here.)
Ware has taken us thus far through what we are to seek, and the means by which we are to seek it. Today in Chap. 5, "The Religious Discipline of Life" the rubber hits the road:
THE RELIGIOUS DISCIPLINE OF LIFE.
Next to the means to be employed in the promotion of personal religion, we must attend to the oversight and direction of the character in general. The means of which we have taken notice, consist of a series of special and stated exercises, whose object is to prepare us for the right conduct of actual life; and they may be compared to the daily drill of the soldier, by which he is made ready for the field. Watchfulness and self- discipline belong to all times and occasions, and may be compared to the actual use which the soldier makes of his preparation in the camp and the field...
Why you are to be always watchful over yourself, is easily perceived. In this world of sensible objects and temporal pursuits, you are constantly exposed to have your thoughts absorbed by surrounding things, and withdrawn from the spiritual objects to which they should be primarily attached. You are incited to forget them, to slight them, to counteract them. The engagements, the anxiety, hurry, and pleasures of life, thrust them from your thoughts; and desires, propensities, passions, are excited quite inconsistent with the calm and heavenward affections of Christ. All these tendencies in your situation are to be resisted...
Now, while your mind is warm with its early interest in divine things,—now, while they press upon you in all their freshness,—now, take heed that you do not concentrate that interest, and use all its strength, in the luxury of devout musing or the excitements of study and devotion ; but carry it into your whole life; let it be always present to you in all you do, in all you say; let it form your habitual state of feeling, your customary frame of mind and temper. Make it your constant study that nothing shall be inconsistent with it, but every thing partake of its power. This is the watchfulness in which you must live. This is the purpose for which you must exercise over yourself an unremitting and ever-wakeful discipline; seeing to it, like some magistrate over a city, or some commander over an army, that all your thoughts, dispositions, words and actions be subject to the law of God, and the principles of the Christian faith."
Easiest thing in the world...Blessings