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prayers, they may pass them over ; even when thou dost scourge us, as but at the present moment especially, by thy said Holy Word, thy gracious and in the approach of the ensuing promises, and the examples of thy national solemnity, we think them saints in thy Holy Scriptures exwell worth transcription.
pressed for our comfort, thou hast “ It had been best for us, O most assured us. Grant us, O most merrighteous Judge, and our most mer- ciful Father, that we fall not into the ciful Father, that in our welfare, uttermost of all mischiefs, to become health, and quietness, and in the worse under thy scourge; but that midst of thy manifold benefits con- this thy rod may, by thy heavenly tinually bestowed upon us most grace, speedily work in us the fruit unworthy sinners, we had of love and effect of true repentance, unhearkened unto thy voice and turned feigned turning and converting unto unto thee our most loving and gra- thee, and perfect amendment of our cious Father, for in so doing we whole lives; that as we through our had done the parts of good and impenitency do now most worthily obedient loving children. It had feel thy justice punishing us, so by also been well, if at thy dreadful this thy correction we may also feel threats out of thy holy word con- the sweet comfort of thy mercies, tinually pronounced unto us by thy graciously pardoning our sins, and servants our preachers, we had of pitifully releasing these grievous pufear, as corrigible servants, turned nishments and dreadful plagues. from our wickedness. But, alas ! we This we crave at thy hand (O most have shewed hitherto ourselves to- merciful Father) for thy dear Son wards thee neither as loving children our Saviour Jesus Christ's sake. (O most merciful Father), neither as Amen. tolerable servants, O Lord most “O Lord, we have sinned, we have mighty. Wherefore, now we feel sinned, and multiplied our abominathy heavy wrath, O most righteous tions in thy sight; the wanton proJudge, justly punishing us with vocation of lust in our meats, the grievous and deadly sickness and unclean pollution of whoredom like plagues, we do now confess and ac- that of Israel is on our tables and knowledge, and to our most just in our tents; and we have magnified punishment do find indeed, that to ourselves in the multitude and mighbe most true which we have so often tiness of our nation as did David, heard threatened against us out of and thy wrath is incurred, and the the Holy Scriptures, the word of plague is great amongst us : just thy eternal verity, that thou art the art thou (O God) in thy judgments, same unchangeable God, of the same and it is thy mercy that we are not justice that thou wilt, and of the utterly consumed. And yet (O Lord) same power that thou canst, punish such is the hardness of our hearts, the like wickedness and obstinacy of and so great is our security in the us impenitent sinners in these days custom of sin, as that we are not as thou hast done in all ages here. truly touched in our souls and contofore. But the same thy Holy sciences either with that feeling Scriptures, the word of thy truth do apprehension of thine indignation also testify, that thy strength is not against us, or with that fearful exshortened, but that thou canst, neither pectation of further calamities, as thy goodness abated, but that thou might direct and cast us down before wilt, help those that in their distress thee with that consternation and do fly unto thy mercies ; and that confession as becometh such mithou art the same God of all, rich in serable and wretched sinners as we mercy towards all that call upon thy are. Notwithstanding (O Father of name, and that thou dost not intend pity and much mercy) deal not with to destroy us utterly, but fatherly to us according to our sins, neither correct us; who hast pity upon us, reward us according to our ini
quities, but sanctify unto us this thy through thy mercy and compassion, visitation ; wound our flesh with thy into thy eternal glory without end. fear; possess our souls with an awful Amen. dread of thy power, thou which hast “ O Lord our God, most gracious the hearts of all men in thy hands to and merciful, we most miserable prevent and prepare as it shall please wretches humbly beseech thee in thee. Convert us, and we shall be mercy and compassion to behold our converted; turn us, and we shall be grievous affliction ; for thine indigturned unto thee; take our wicked- nation lieth hard upon us, thine arrows ness from us and thou shalt find stick fast in us, and the venom thereof none. But being pleased to be re- doth drink up our spirits, and thy conciled again unto us in the name terrors do fight against us. We and mediation of our only Advocate confess, O Lord! that these thy judgand Saviour Jesus Christ, burying ments are just; for we have multithose great and grievous sins of our plied our transgressions like the sand nation in the grave of that thy Son; of the sea, and the cry of them hath heal us again, O Lord, thou that been so great that it hath pierced hast wounded us; let the voice of the heavens, and called for vengeance joy and health be in our dwellings; against us. But yet we beseech so shall we give thanks unto thee in thee, O Lord! forget not thou to be the great congregation, and record gracious, and shut not up thy loving thy mercies for ever and ever. kindness in displeasure: turn thee
“Thou hast smitten us, O Lord! again at the last, and be gracious thou hast plagued us, and scattered unto thy servants. Help us, O God the noisome pestilence in our chief of our salvation, for the glory of thy cities, and in our habitations round name : O deliver us, and be merciful about; and we cry unto thee, O Lord! unto our sins, for thy name's sake ; but the sore runneth and ceaseth take thy plague away from us, for not. Yet is not thine ear heavy that we are even consumed by the means thou canst not hear, neither is thine of thy heavy hand: cause thine angel arm shortened that thou canst not to sheath his sword again, and prehelp; but our sins have made a se- serve thou those which are appointed paration between thee and us. Teach to die. O satisfy us with thy mercy, us, therefore, O Lord ! truly to re- and that soon; so shall we rejoice pent us of all our wickedness, that and be glad all the days of our life. thou also mayest repent thee of the Comfort us again now after the time evil intended against us.
that thou hast plagued us; so shall the loathsome savour of our sins hath we, that be thy people and the sheep ascended up into thy nostrils, to of thy pasture, give thee thanks for provoke thy wrath and procure this ever; and we will always be shewing plague against us, so let our humble forth thy praise from generation to supplications, testified with our tears generation. Grant us, O Lord! we and sighs poured forth before thee, beseech thee, these graces, for Jesus sanctified through faith in the inter- Christ his sake, thy only Son and cession of our Saviour, and thy Son, our only Saviour. Amen. Jesus Christ, come up into thy sight, Almighty God and heavenly Fa. as did the incense of Aaron when he ther, whose justice and judgment is stood between the living and the most severe and fearful against those dead, to turn away thy wrathful in that wittingly and willingly transdignation from us. Oh, let us live, gress thy holy commandments, and and we will praise thee, and thy stubbornly continue in their sins and judgment shall teach us and inform wickedness: whose mercy again is us in thy fear, that we may frame infinite, and most ready to pardon the rest of our life in all holy obe- and succour all such as in true redience according to thy will; and in pentance turn from their sins unto the end of our days may be received righteousness, and come unto thee CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 362.
in the faith and mediation of Jesus will and pleasure, seek thy merciful Christ. We, thy humble servants favour for our release and succour, and miserable sinners, now visited by true faith and repentance: use and sore afflicted with this grievous the means for ease which thou givest plague and pestilence, most worthily us with care and diligence: help the sent amongst us for our iniquities and afflicted, and preserve the whole, with transgressions, in true acknowledg- compassionate pity and charity : and ment of our manifold wickedness, and finally depend upon thy providence, thy just judgment upon us for the and wait for thy gracious deliverance same, in unfeigned repentance and with constant hope and patience. hearty sorrow for our sins, with a full Hear us, and help us, O Lord God purpose and promise, by thy gracious of mercy and Father of compassion, assistance, of a better life hereafter, do in the name and for the sake of thy now come unto thy throne of grace, in dear Son, our most gracious Mediator the name and mediation of thy dear and Redeemer, and most glorious Lord Son (in whom thou art well pleased, and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen." our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ) It pleased God to hear and to in assured faith of atonement pur- answer the prayers of his servants ; chased for us by his blood, and full so that some time after, in the same confidence of thy general pardon year, we find set forth " a short form proclaimed unto us in the Gospel; of thanksgiving to God for staying most humbly beseeching thee, for the contagious sickness of the plague, his sake, to pardon and forgive us all to be used in common prayer on our sins past, in thought, word, and Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays." deed, any ways committed against The preceding form of humiliation thy Divine Majesty and holy laws: which was, as we have stated, very to give unto us every day more long, and took in both Morning and earnest and unfeigned repentance Afternoon Service, was confined to for the same ; to plant in our hearts, Wednesdays. This form of thanksby the grace of thy Holy Spirit, a giving is printed with peculiar neatsettled fear of thy name, and full re- ness; the copy before us being as solution to lead the rest of our life in smooth as if hot-pressed, anda beautithe careful obedience of thy holy willful specimen of black-letter type, with in our callings and faithful hope of a a frontispiece containing pictures of better life to come : and so to remove faith, humility, and other allegorical from us speedily this heavy plague representations. We copy the first and grievous affliction which now collect as a specimen of the comporeigneth and rageth amongst us, lest sition.we be utterly consumed. Grant us, “ Almighty Lord, the Father of good Lord, of thy grace and mercy, mercies, and God of all consolation, all means needful hereunto; season- we do with all humbleness confess able weather and good air, whole- that, as our sins have surpassed the some meats and medicines, and what number and measure of the transsoever else thou knowest profitable gressions of our fathers; so thou hast for us; together with a due care and most justly and deservedly laid upon conscience in ourselves to use the us thy heavy hand, by sending a same accordingly; that neither we plague more dreadful than hath been tempt thy Majesty by presumption, felt in their days. Yea, in the very in contemning of the contagion, or time of thy visitation, whilst thy neglecting the means of avoiding, angry countenance was bent against removing, and repressing the same: us, we have not performed that deneither despair of thy goodness or mur- gree of repentance and humiliation, mur against thy providence, if we be which so sharp a scourge did call for not so soon eased and delivered as we at our hands; but rather in the midst desire; but that we may, submitting of that danger did hold on the same ourselves in all things to thy good our former course of carnal security and neglect of thy commandments. vice, and a Homily or Exhortation, Yet now (O gracious Lord), to thy is not accompanied by an order for glory and our comfort we acknow. fasting. Much of it relates to the ledge thy unspeakable mercy in stay. subject of the war in which the naing the hand of thy destroying angel, tion was then engaged; and services and restoring suddenly, beyond expec- of this nature are always apt to tation, the voice of joy and health in jar upon a sensitive Christian mind, our habitations. It is thy goodness, however patriotic, as breathing someand mere favour to us, that thou hast thing of a spirit of imprecation. But, rather chosen to glorify thy mercy our present topic being pestilence, in saving us, than to magnify thy we shall confine our notice to that, justice in our destruction. Go on, presenting our readers first with a merciful Lord, we beseech thee, portion of one of the prayers, and continue and perfect this thy bless- next with some passages from the ed work of preservation throughout Exhortation. every congregation and family of The following is a portion of one this kingdom : enlarge thy favours of the prayers, which we do not reto thy church, our king, and state; collect seeing in any former service, enrich them with all inward and and which was probably composed for outward blessings ; and give us such the occasion. The fluctuation of the effectual grace, that we, looking every pestilence from place to place, is in of us into that plague of his own close parallel with the history of the heart, may abhor our own corrup- passing moment; and we doubt not tions, and turn from our evil ways, that the prayer will be offered to the evermore acknowledging that thy Throne of Grace by many of our long suffering calleth us to repent. readers from the heart, as the lines ance; that the prolonging of our meet their eye or echo from their lips. days should be the breaking off of “ Look down, O gracious King of our sins; and that this restoring of glory, look down from the habitahealth and safety unto thy people, tion of thy holiness, and behold us is to work in us a perpetual thank- with the eye of pity, that lift up fulness, both in word and obedience our hearts and hands unto thee for to thee, by the merits and interces- mercy. At the footstool of thy sion of thy blessed Son, by whose throne of grace we prostrate our stripes we are healed of the wounds souls and bodies, with fasting, with and infection both of soul and body. tears, and supplications, beseeching To Him, our only Saviour, with Thee thee, for the death and passion of and the Holy Ghost, be all praise our blessed Saviour, to accept this and glory. Amen.”
our unfeigned submission. To thy Human life is a chequered scene; glory, O Lord, and to our own shame, and in the aspirations of the Chris- we confess that thy favours and tian towards his God, prayer and blessings have made this kingdom praise, the cry of affliction and the to be admired by our friends, and voice of joy, are blended, or rapidly envied by our enemies; but the sins succeed each other. And thus it thereof have called for such punishwas on this occasion; for the very ments upon us, as may make us to next year after the above thanks- be pitied by all. Grievous it is, and giving-namely, in 1626—we find even a part of this our humiliation, issued another “ form of prayer ne- to remember the waste of late made cessary to be used in these danger- in the principal parts of this kingous times of war and pestilence.” dom by the devouring pestilence. The plague (so called in the service) And this thy scourge, though ceasing had re-appeared, or rather, after now to smite where it struck deepleaving the metropolis, had visited est before, yet making still further other places in the country. This entrance into other parts of this form, which consists as usual of the land, it reviveth our sorrow, and whole Morning and Evening Ser redoubleth our humiliation before
thee; that thou mayest hear the against us; wherefore we may much groans of thy afflicted children, and suspect ourselves, that we, by God's bind up the wounds of our dear bre- late affliction, were rather humbled, thren. Stop the course of thy de- than truly humble; being, as it were, stroying angel, O Lord, and for the forced to that our outward humiliastinting of this dreadful infection of tion, more by a slavish fear than by our bodies, cleanse, by thy purifying any filial sorrow for our transgresgrace, the sinful stains of our souls.” sions of his will, and for abuse of his The Exhortation is also, so far patience; much less by love of that
we can discover, original ; by his mercy towards us in our marvelwhom composed we know not, and lous deliverance. Yet may you not we are not aware that it has ever understand this so spoken of us, as been reprinted. We shall extract a thereby to condemn all outward huportion of it, chiefly relative to the miliation in fear, whensoever we are pestilence, omitting the interwoven under God's hand of correction. No; topic of war. It contains important for the Holy Ghost noteth such spiritual instruction ; and much of obstinates, who being stricken of it applies with striking appropriation God, grieved not at all, nor tremto the affairs of the present moment. bled at his presence, nor said in What Christian can read without their hearts, Let us serve the Lord; deep emotion, the passage beginning and condemneth them as foolish and O but some will say,” &c. ignorant of the ways of the Lord
It is not long since (as you and the judgments of their God, know) that Almighty God, who and accordingly denounceth God's justly scourged us with his chasten- just vengeance against them. For ing rods of famine, and the latter by what greater affront and irreverence pestilence, did, after that his fatherly can be done to the Majesty of God correction, upon our public humilia- than not to quake and tremble when tion, both satisfy our hungry souls they see God's hand of vengeance with plenty, and likewise so mira- present before them; or how can culously deliver us from the jaws of they conceive that God will compasdeath, in the principal part of this sionate their miseries, whose hearts kingdom, as if we had heard him are so hard that the furnace of God's command his destroying angel, say wrath cannot melt them. Know ing, Stay thy hand, it is sufficient, ye therefore, beloved, and let it be and immediately the plague ceased. printed in your souls, as a necessary As, therefore, the sense of his fiery truth, that the greatest cause of fear, indignation may terrify us from all is our not fearing of the visible judgfurther provocation of his wrath, by ments of God. This God himself custom of sinning; so ought the ex- sheweth, by binding himself with perience of his exceeding mercy chal- an oath, that they who give themlenge from us an humble thankful- selves to eating, drinking, and reness and constant obedience to his joicing, in the days of mourning and will. Notwithstanding (O the per. weeping, should certainly die and fidiousness of the carnal heart of perish. (Isa. xxii, 12.) man !) who seeth not that God hath “Nevertheless, all they that would discovered our hypocrisies, by his truly understand themselves, that plague yet remaining in divers parts their conversion unto God is sincere of this realm ; seeing that we can- and unfeigned, let them not be connot but know that these coals of his tented to be driven to a religious fierce wrath had not further burned, walking before God, only by fear of except they had been kindled by our punishment; but contend especially rebellious affections, which are set by all holy means, to be animated on fire of hell. For what else are with that love of the goodness of the visible judgments of God, but God, whereof the Apostle speaketh, real reproofs of our sins and ex- saying, (Rom. ii.) “ The goodness of pressions of his wrathful displeasure God leadeth to repentance : the root