صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

Part I. and that thou hide not thy felf from thine own flefh? Then fhall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health Shall Spring forth Speedily: and thy righteousness fhall go before thee; the glory of the LORD fhall be thy rere-ward. Then fhait thou call, and the LORD fhall anfwer; thou shalt cry, and He fhall fay. Here I am: if thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke; the putting forth of the finger, and Speaking vanity: And if thou, draw out thy foul to the hungry, and fatisfy the afflicted fou.; then fhall thy light rife in obfcurity, and thy darkness be as the noon-day. And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and fatisfy thy foul in drought, and make fat thy bones and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a firing of water, whoje waters fail not. And they that hall be of thee, fhall build the old waste places: thou shalt raife up the foundations of many generations, and thou Shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell In.


§. 15. Ageneral Morning Prayer on all fingle Fafts.

I Acknowledge, O God, my own vilenefs by reafon of my Sins, and am heartily griev'd for the lofs of thy Favor. What Humiliation, O Lord, can fufficiently exprefs the greatness of fuch a Lofs! But I will weep and mourn becaufe I have offended Thee, and I will repent, as it were in Duft and Afhes. I will (mortify thofe inordinate Appetites which have fo fadly betray'd me; I will contradict all thofe Inclinations which have made me ftray from the ways of thy Commandments. And do Thou, O Lord, wean my foul from the Pleafures of the Body, which fo often corrupt it, and render it incapable of relifhing Spiritual Injoyments: Let it not contract too great Familiarity with the Delights and Satifaction of Senfe, fince it was created for more exalted Pleafures, and muft fhortly quit thofe here below; that fo when I come to leave this World, I may be qualified for the bleffed Converfation of Spirits in thy heavenly Kingdom, thro' Jefus Chrift our Lord. Amen.

[ocr errors]

§. 16. EVERY Fryday in the Year (except when Chriftmas-day falls upon one) is injoin'd to abridge our felves as to the Pleasure of Eating and Drinking, and to Examine and Humble our Selves, in compliance with the Custom of the Primitive Church, because our Savior, upon this


Day of the Week humbled Himfelt, even to the Death of 43 the Crofs, for us miferable Sinners.

§. 17. THE Fafts called Vigils, are to prepare our Minds for a due Obfervation of th' infuing Solemnities, without Intemperance, Lightnefs, or Vanity.

§. 18. TH' Ember-Days are fet apart for confecrating to God the four Seafons of the Year; and alfo for imploring his Blessing upon th' Ordinations perform'd only upon the Sundays immediately following.

. S. 19. THE Rogation Days are to prepare our Minds to celebrate our Savior's Afcenfion; and likewise to appeafe God's Wrath and deprecate his Displeafure that He might be pleas'd to blefs the Fruits, (with which the Earth at this time is cover'd) and avert Peftilence and War, which ordinarily be gin in this Seafon. ¿

Svo20. THE Lent-Faft, Practised by the first Christians, wherein they did eat and drink what was leaft delicate, may have refpect to Mofes his twice fafting forty daies; Elias 40 daies; the Ninivites having precifely as many days allowed for their Repentance; and our blefsed Savior's obferving the fame length. of time; as the common Number belonging to extraordinary Humiliation, and in order to promote Piety and Devotion.

§. 21. A General Prayer for every day in Lent.

ALMIGHTY God, give me Grace to ufe fuch Abftinence during this Seafon dedicated to the exercife of Repentance, that my Flesh may be fubdued to the Spirit, and my Mind left free to Approach Thee with Ardor and Fervency of Affection. Inure me by Self denial to bring my Body into Subjection, and to punish all thofe Exceffes I have been guilty of in the ufe of thy Creatures. Let my Retirement from the World make me fee the Vanity and Emp tinefs of it: & teach me to Relifh the Pleafures of Spiritual Injoyments. Let me fpend thofe folitary Hours in improving my Chriftian Knowledge, and do Thou open my Eyes that I may fee the wondrous things of thy Law. Make me heartily to bewail my fins, and do Thou work in me that godly Sorrow not to be Repented of. Grant that I may fincerely Examine the ftate of my own Mind, and do Thou fearch and try me, and lead me into the way everlaft'ing. That perceiving how evil and bitter a thing it is to depart from the Living God, I may no longer continue at a

C 4


Parr. I. distance from the Fountain of all Ioy aud Happiness; but that by Confeffing and forfaking my fins, I may be intirely converted unto Thee, and they may be blotted out, when the times of Refreshing shall come from the Prefence of the Lord, thro' Jefus Chrift, my only Savior, Amen.


Seventeen Meditations Before the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, to be read in the Family, two or more at a time, fo as to read them all, once at leaft, Yearly, on the Evenings of the Warning.

Section 1. NEW-YEARS DAY.

LET us confider before we go to the Holy Table, for what Ends we go thither; and with what Hearts we ought to go. Is it not to admire the greatnefs of God's Love in giving his Son to us; and the greatness of Chrift's Love in giving Himself for us? Is it not to render our highest thanks and praise to the Father and the Son', for this ineftimable Love in giving his Bloud a Ranfom for us; and then offer up our felves wholly to his Love? Is it not to renew our Baptismal Covenant, wherein we promised to forsake all his Enemies, and to lead a mortified life in all obedience to his Will? To reprefent to God what his Son has done for us, and humbly to hope in Him for all the Benefits of his Paffion? To receive increase of Power to overcome the World, and farther Teftimonies of his Love, and ftronger defires after the Confummation of it in heavenly Blifs? To Unite our hearts in Brotherly Affection to all the faithful fervants of Jefus; and to Rejoyce in the holy Communion of Chrift and his Saints? O blefsed Jefus, who can have hearts dispofed to do all this without Thee? We come therefore to Intreat Thee that Thou wilt reprefent thy felf moft lively to us. If we could have feen Thee hanging on the Crofs; or if Thou wouldst appear to us as Thou didst to Saul; if the Heavens were opened and we could behold Thee, as did S. Stephen; what strange Pafsions, what holy Affections would it raise up in our hearts! Let us open our Eyes, heartily and ftrongly Believe, and our loy fhall be full. He will be in the midft of us, when we are Aflembled together in his Name; according as He promifed. He prefents Hiinfelt before us in thefe Signs of his Body and Bloud. Let us Behold how



the Word was made flesh: how He was Circumfifed and fulfilled the Law under which He was born; that He might bea pure and unspotted Offering to God; and fee how He fuffer'd upon the Crofs; how his Body was broken, and his Heart-bloud pour'd out to reconcile us unto God. And then we cannot but come with thankful hearts; and with humble, reverent, and devout affections prefent four felves unto him, bitterly bewailing our offences, chearfully refigning our felves to his Will, and joyfully hoping for his Mercy. When He fays by his Minifter, Take eat, drink this; what is the meaning, but as if He fhould fay, I am thy Salvation? Aud when we ftretch ont our hands and do this; what is it, but to fay, My Lord, and My God? And happy are they, who not only call Him, Lord, but do the things that He fays. Blessed are they that do his Com mandmenie, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in thro' the gates into the City. Behold, I come quickly; (fays He) and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his Work shall be. He that overcometh shall inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he shall be my Son. Amen. Even so, come Lord Jefus. Rev. 22, 14, 12, 20. & ch. 21. 7.

§. 2. JANUARY.

WE muft Confider with our felves, fome time before we intend to communicate, that we are invited to come,, not only into the Prefence, but unto the Table of God: to be Guests of the Lord of the whole World. What a grace, what an honor is this; fhall any bufinefs, any pleafure on Earth put by the thoughts of it? It is impofsible, if we remember what the great God is who calls us to Him and that He fets the Body of his Son before us upon his Table; and that our Cup is filled with his Bloud; that the Angels think it not below them to wait on us, and minifter unto ns; and the Divine Spirit will be ready to breath upon us, and fill us with fuch holy Love, that we shall fend up our fouls in joyful hymns of Praife and thanks to Gol our Savior. With what Admiration fhould we receive the News of this Invitation' With what Reverence ought we to approach Him? With what forwardness of Love; with what gladness of heart, fhould we go to meet our blessed Lord! Was there ever any Kindness, (should we think with our (elves) like unto that of his? Did there evere fuch a furnace

45 of Love, (if I may fo reprefent it) burn in any heart? could He do more than dy the bloudy and fhameful death of the Grofs, for to fave finners? How is it pofsible, that the Remembrance of this tender Love and compaffion should ever dy? or that any heart fhould freeze over fuch a fire?. Unless we be wilfully careless, we fee that he will have our Love: He will not fuffer any thing to rob Him of the purchase of his Bloud. For left we should prove fo ungrateful, as to let Him flip out of our Minds, He has left Himfelt ftill among us in fenfible figns and reprefenrations. By these He fhows us his bloudy Death and Passion. He makes Him felf present to our faith and we may fee that He is defirous to do more than dy for us; having contrived a way to live for ever in us, and be firmly united to us. What manner of Love is this that Heaven has manifefted unto us? Who can refrain from tears of grief and forrow to think of his own Ingratitude; and from tears of joy to think of the wonderful kindness of the Lord? Can we look on Him who was pierced for our Sins, and not lament and mourn? can we fee his bleeding Wounds and not be tronbled? No pious heart can be fo hard. And yet when we confider that by thofe ftripes we are healed; and that He has wafhed us from our fins in his Blond; that faithful fouls may take Sanctuary in his Wounds, and be fecure and fafe: we can't chufe but rejoyce in the Lord, and be glad in his Salvation. Let us call to our fouls then and bid'em awaken in themfelves the livelieft thoughts of Him, and the devouteft affections to Him; Call to 'em to put themselves in tune, to ftring (as I may so speak) the Inftruments of Joy and praife; and ftir up all the graces of the Holy Spirit: that fo we may go with a deep humilify; a godly forrow; a perfect hatred of all fint, both of the flesh and of the fpirit; a strong refolution against them; with a lowly Faith; and in the heights of Love; with inlarged Defires, and great longings to this holy Feaft. Let us Ask our fouls, what do you think of? what do you love? what do you long for? with what intentions are you going to the Lord's Table? Are the Treasures of Christian Wisdom and Knowledge more in your account than thoufands of Gold and filver? Do you heartily believe the holy Gospel of Chrift Fefns; and love Him and his Religion in fincerity? Is all fin already bleeding to death in you, and had


« السابقةمتابعة »