« PrécédentContinuer »
hath sent his angels, and kept me this day from the destruction that walketh at noon, and the arrow that flieth by day; and hath given me his Spirit to restrain me from those evils, to which my own weaknesses, and my evil habits, and my unquiet enemies, would easily betray me. Blessed and for ever hallowed be thy name for that never-ceasing shower of blessing, by which I live, and am content and blessed, and provided for in all necessities, and set forward in my duty and way to heaven. Blessing, honour, glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb, for ever and ever. Amen.
Holy is our God. Holy is the Almighty. Holy is the Immortal. Holy, holy, holy Lord God of Sabaoth, have mercy upon me.
Ejaculations and short Meditations to be used in the night, when we wake.
Stand in awe and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. I will lay me down in peace and sleep; for thou, Lord, only makest me to dwell in safety*.
O Father of spirits, and the God of all flesh, have mercy and pity upon all sick and dying Christians, and receive the souls which thou hast redeemed returning unto thee.
Blessed are they that dwell in the heavenly Jerusalem, where there is no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it for the glory of God does lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof'. And there shall be no night there, and they need no candle; for the Lord God giveth them light, and they shall reign for ever and ever".
Meditate on Jacob's wrestling with the angel all night: be thou also importunate with God for a blessing, and give not over, till he hath blessed thee.
Meditate on the angel passing over the children of Israel, and destroying the Egyptians for disobedience and oppression. Pray for the grace of obedience and charity, and for the Divine protection.
Meditate on the angel, who destroyed in a night the whole army of the Assyrians for fornication.
Call to mind
Psal. iv. 4. 9.
1 Rev. xxi. 23.
m Rev. xxii. 5.
the sins of thy youth, the sins of thy bed; and say with David, "My reins chasten me in the night season, and my soul refuseth comfort." Pray for pardon and the grace of chastity.
Meditate on the agonies of Christ in the garden, his sadness and affliction all that night; and thank and adore him for his love, that made him suffer so much for thee; and hate thy sins, which made it necessary for the Son of God to suffer so much.
Meditate on the four last things. 1. The certainty of death. 2. The terrors of the day of judgment. 3. The joys of heaven. 4. The pains of hell; and the eternity of both. Think upon all thy friends, who are gone before thee; and pray that God would grant to thee to meet them in a joyful resurrection.
"The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night"; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burnt up. Seeing then, that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought we to be, in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hastening unto the coming of the day of God?"
Lord, in mercy remember thy servant in the day of judg
Thou shalt answer for me, O Lord my God. In thee, O Lord, have I trusted : let me never be confounded. Amen.
I desire the Christian reader to observe, that all these offices or forms of prayer (if they should be used every day) would not spend above an hour and a half: but because some of them are double (and so but one of them to be used in one day) it is much less: and by affording to God one hour in twenty-four, thou mayest have the comforts and rewards of devotion. But he that thinks this is too much, either is very busy in the world, or very careless of heaven. I have parted the prayers into smaller portions, that he may use which and how many he please in any one of the forms.
n 2 Pet. iii. 10.
Ad Sect. 2.
A Prayer for holy intention in the beginning and pursuit of any considerable action, as Study, Preaching, &c.
O eternal God, who hast made all things for man, and man for thy glory, sanctify my body and soul, my thoughts and my intentions, my words and actions, that whatsoever I shall think, or speak, or do, may be by me designed to the glorification of thy name; and by thy blessing it may be effective and successful in the work of God, according as it can be capable. Lord, turn my necessities into virtue; the works of nature into the works of grace, by making them orderly, regular, temperate, subordinate, and profitable to ends beyond their own proper efficacy: and let no pride or selfseeking, no covetousness or revenge, no impure mixture or unhandsome purposes, no little ends and low imaginations, pollute my spirit, and unhallow any of my words and actions: but let my body be a servant of my spirit, and both body and spirit servants of Jesus; that, doing all things for thy glory here, I may be partaker of thy glory hereafter, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Ad Sect. 3.
A Prayer meditating and referring to the Divine presence. This Prayer is specially to be used in temptation to private sin.
O Almighty God, infinite and eternal, thou fillest all things with thy presence; thou art every where by thy essence and by thy power, in heaven by glory, in holy places by thy grace and favour, in the hearts of thy servants by thy Spirit, in the consciences of all men by thy testimony and observation of us. Teach me to walk always as in thy presence, to fear thy majesty, to reverence thy wisdom and omniscience; that I may never dare to commit any indecency in the eye of my Lord and my Judge; but that I may, with so much care and reverence, demean myself, that my judge may not be my accuser, but my advocate; that I, expressing the belief of thy presence here by careful walking, may feel the effects of it in the participation of eternal glory, through Jesus Christ. Amen.
OF CHRISTIAN SOBRIETY.
Of Sobriety in the general sense.
CHRISTIAN religion, in all its moral parts, is nothing else but the law of nature, and great reason, complying with the great necessities of all the world, and promoting the great profit of all relations, and carrying us through all accidents of variety of chances to that end, which God hath from eternal ages purposed for all, that live according to it, and which he hath revealed in Jesus Christ: and, according to the apostle's arithmetic, hath but these three parts of it; 1. Sobriety, 2. Justice, 3. Religion. "For the grace of God bringing salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live, 1. Soberly, 2. Righteously, and, 3. Godly, in this present world, looking for that blessed hope and glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." The first contains all our deportment in our personal and private capacities, the fair treating of our bodies and our spirits. The second enlarges our duty in all relations to our neighbour. The third contains the offices of direct religion, and intercourse with God,
Christian sobriety is all that duty, that concerns ourselves in the matter of meat and drink and pleasures and thoughts; and it hath within it the duties of 1. Temperance, 2. Chastity, 3. Humility, 4. Modesty, 5. Content.
It is a using severity, denial and frustration of our appetite, when it grows unreasonable in any of these instances: the necessity of which we shall to best purpose understand, by considering the evil consequences of sensuality, effeminacy, or fondness after carnal pleasures.
Evil consequences of Voluptuousness or Sensuality.
1. A longing after sensual pleasures is a dissolution of the spirit of a man, and makes it loose, soft, and wandering; unapt for noble, wise, or spiritual employments; because the principles, upon which pleasure is chosen and pursued,
are sottish, weak, and unlearned, such as prefer the body before the soul, the appetite before reason, sense before the spirit, the pleasures of a short abode before the pleasures of eternity.
2. The nature of sensual pleasure is vain, empty, and unsatisfying, biggest always in expectation, and a mere vanity in the enjoying, and leaves a sting and thorn behind it, when it goes off. Our laughing, if it be loud and high, commonly ends in a deep sigh; and all the instances of pleasure have a sting in the tail, though they carry beauty on the face and sweetness on the lip.
3. Sensual pleasure is a great abuse to the spirit of a man, being a kind of fascination or witchcraft, blinding the understanding and enslaving the will. And he that knows he is free-born or redeemed with the blood of the Son of God, will not easily suffer the freedom of his soul to be entangled and rifled P.
4. It is most contrary to the state of a Christian, whose life is a perpetual exercise, a wrestling and warfare, to which sensual pleasure disables him, by yielding to that enemy, with whom he must strive, if ever he will be crowned". And this argument the apostle intimated: "He that striveth for masteries is temperate in all things: now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we, an incorruptible"."
5. It is by a certain consequence the greatest impediment in the world to martyrdom: that being a fondness, this being a cruelty to the flesh; to which a Christian man, arriving by degrees, must first have crucified the lesser affections: for he, that is overcome by little arguments of pain, will hardly consent to lose his life with torments.
Degrees of Sobriety.
Against this voluptuousness, sobriety is opposed in three degrees.
1. A despite or disaffection to pleasures, or a resolving
• Tu si animum vicisti potius quam animus te, est quod gaudeas. Qui animum vincunt, quam quos animus, semper probiores cluent. Trinum. 2. 2. 29.
P Μόνον σκέψαι πόσου πωλεῖς τὴν σεαυτοῦ προαίρεσιν, ἄνθρωπε· εἰ μηδὲν ἄλλο, μὴ ὀλίγου AUTÙY πwλhons. Arrian. c. 2. 1. i.
4 Θέλεις ὀλύμπια νικῆσαι; Δεῖ σ ̓ εἰτακτεῖν, ἀναγκοτροφεῖν, ἀπέχεσθαι πεμμάτων, γυμváltodai πgós áváynny, &c. Epict. c. 29. 2. ed. Schw.
1 Cor. ix. 25.