Prayers, for the Use of the
Scholars of Winchester Colledge.
Good Christian Brother or Sister,
WHatsoever the Calamity be, whether sickness, or lameness, or want of Children, which brings you to this place, I am sensible how tender a regard I ought to have for you; since you are come within my Fold, in imitation of our most merciful Redeemer, who in respect even of our bodily distempers, Sympathised with our miseries, bore our griefs, and carried our sorrows Isa. liii. 4. Mat. viii. 17.
For this reason I could not satisfie my self, in only praying for you, as I daily do, unless I did also send you these Directions and Prayers, which are few, and short, and familiar, to comply with the Infirmites of your Condition, and which I hope by Gods blessing, may be words spoken in season; nor can I doubt, but that All of you who want such helps, will seriously persue them, and observe the advices of your spiritual Physitians, as you are wont to do those of your Corporal.
Do not think the Baths can do you any good, without Gods immediate blessing on them; for it is God that must first heal the waters, before they can have any virtue to heal you.
The River Jordan could never have cleansed Naaman of his Leprosie, 2 King v. 10. had he washed himself in it, seventy times seven times, had not God blessed it to his clensing. The Pool of Siloam, Joh. ix. 7. could never have restored sight to one born blind, had not our Lord sent him to it. And the Pool of Bethesda could never have made sick persons whole, but that an Angel was sent by God to trouble the waters Joh. v. 14.
I cannot then do better, than to send you to that Angel, who according to St. John, Flyes in the midst of Heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth, saying with a loud voice, fear God, and give glory to him, and worship him, that made heaven, and earth, and the Sea, and the fountains of waters, Rev. xiv.6, 7.
This was the Angel's Sermon; and I beseech you to become his Auditors, and to observe how after the Heaven, and the Earth, and the Sea, he particularly mentions the Springs or Fountains of waters, as a very wonderful part of the Creation: for out of the dark places of the Earth, through Passages, and from Causes, unknown to the search of the wisest of men, God makes sweet, and fresh Springs to rise, to water the Earth, to give drink to every Beast of the Field, and to supply all the necessities of human Life, and Springs of different kinds, some to allay our thirst, some to Cure our Diseases.
Look therefore on the Bath, as a very admirable and propitious Work of Divine Providence, designed for the good of a great number of infirm persons, as well as for your self. Praise and Adore God, who has signally manifested his Power, and his Mercy, in Creating so Universal a Good; and the first thing you do when you are come to this place, worship God who made the Fountain.
To this end you may use the following form at your first coming, and all the time of your stay: and be pleased to observe that this, and all the other forms which you find here, are penned in distinct parts, on purpose that you may choose those which are most suitable to your condition, or recite one at a time, if your Weakness will not bear any longer intention of your mind.
WIth all Humility of soul and of body, I praise, and adore, and worship thee, O Lord God, Allmighty, and All-gracious, who hast made the Fountains of Waters; thou sendest the Springs into the Vallies which run among the Hills: some for our Refreshment, some for Medicine, and in particular, thou hast sent us this Spring, as a general good to infirm persons. And therefore all Glory be to thee.
Thee only, O Lord, do I acknowledge the Author of the Spring, thou only canst make it effectual to my Cure in thee only I trust, on thee only I depend, to thee only, I commit my self, all my hope is only in thee.
Behold, O merciful Lord, I am come to the Bath, as Naaman to Jordan, O may I feel the like happy effect, O may I wash and be healed!
I come Lord, like the blind man to the Pool of Siloam; I come, for thou thy self hast sent me, as thou didst send him. Thy Providence by laying on me this Distemper, has bid me come hither. O may the Bath be as powerful to restore my Health, as the Pool was to give the blind man his sight.
I come Lord to the Bath, like the Infirm man to the Pool of Bethesda; O send thy Angel to move the Waters as I step into them, to move them, not only for me, but for all other Infirm persons also, whom thou hast sent hither, that we may be made Whole, of whatsoever Diseases we have, if it seem good in thy sight.
Lord be thou pleased to guide and counsel my Physitian, that he may throughly discover the cause of my Distemper, and prescribe proper means for my Recovery, and do thou so bless those means, that in thy good time, they may become successful.
O my God, hear me, and help me, for the merits of Jesus thy beloved. Amen.
You have great reason to begin with God, not only because he is the Author of the Bath, and can only bless it to your Health; but also because he is the Author of that very Distemper that brings you hither. For affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither does trouble spring out of the ground, Job. v. 6. It is not a thing that happens to us by chance: it does not proceed only from Natural Causes, which are secondary, and instrumental; we must look beyond all these, to the permission, and appointment of Divine Providence, from which it first took its rise, and by which it is wholly conducted.
Since then it is certain, that your Affliction comes from God, and it is as certain that God does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men, Lam. iii.33. but that he has always a most Righteous motive, to incline him to afflict them. It very highly concerns you to examine your self with all the care you can, that you may discover what there is in you, what you have done, to move the God of Mercy to grieve you.
There is no Calamity, whether it be Sickness, or Pain, or Lameness, or the like, that can befall us, but it is the natural consequence of our depraved, frail, mortal condition, and is incident to good Men, as well as to bad; to the former, it is a punishment, to the latter it is a trial.
Holy Scripture teacheth us, that God has threatened very many, and very sore bodily Diseases to Disobedience, Deu. xviii.58, 59, 60. and that they who are sick, are stricken by God, 2 Sam. xii.15. The Corinthians, who profaned the blessed Sacrament, were for that cause, many of them weak, and sickly, 2 Chron. xxi.18. 1 Cor. xi.30. And our Saviour, in his advice he gives to the Man whom he cured of an Infirmity of thirty eight years continuance, intimates that sin was the cause of that inveterate Disease, Jo. v.14.
But when God is pleased to afflict righteous persons with Sickness, as he did King David and Hezekiah, then Sickness is not an effect of God's Anger, but of his Paternal disciplin towards them, Ps. xxxviii.7. Isa. xxxviii.1.
The like may be said of Lameness, which happens by the Divine Direction, to good Men, as well as to the wicked: King Asa who did that which was good, and right in the eyes of the Lord his God, in the time of his old, age, was diseased in his feet 1 King. xv.23. Mephibosheth was lame from five years old, 2 Sam. iv.4. And the poor Man whom St. Peter and St. John miraculously healed, was lame from his mothers womb, Acts iii.2.
Since then both Sickness and Lameness are strokes given us by God, to him we must chiefly, and in the first place, betake our selves for Cure; and the Holy Ghost has set a mark of spiritual disgrace on Asa, who was otherwise a good King, That in his disease he sought not to the Lord, but to the Physicians, 2 Chr. xvi.12.
Not that the Scripture does in the least condemn, or discourage our going to the Physicians when we are sick, or our use of all due means for our Recovery. Our Saviour himself, when he says, They that are whole need not a Physician, but they that are sick, Mat. ix.12. sufficiently intimates, that they that are sick did need one.
The Son of Sirach gives excellent advice to both the sick and the Physician: Honour a Physician with the honour due unto him, for the uses which you may have of him, the Lord hath created him, the Lord hath created Medicines out of the earth, and he that is wise will not abhor them, and with such doth he heal men, and taketh away their pains, Ecclus. xxxviii.1. &c. But then he adds, My son, in thy sickness be not negligent, but pray unto the Lord, and he will make thee whole; leave off from sin, and order thy hands aright, and cleanse thy heart from all wickedness; give a sweet savour, and a memorial of fine flower; then give place to the Physician. There is a time when in their hands there is good success; for they also shall pray unto the Lord, that he would prosper that which they give for ease and remedy, to prolong life.
I earnestly recommend to you this Counsel of the Son of Sirach; and therefore to you that are sick, or infirm, or lame, I recommend Repentance, and Prayer, and Sacrifice; the Sacrifice of Alms, by which you will offer to God a sweet savour. To your Physician I also recommend devout Prayer to the Author of Health, and Sickness, that his Physick may prosper; and then is Physick like to procure a Blessing, when both the Patient, and the Physician joyn in their Prayers for it.
I exhort you to begin with Repentance, and to read Devotional Books on that Subject, of which, blessed be God, there are good store; for it is Repentance that must dispose you for Prayer.
The Prophet complains of the obdurateness of those, who, when God had stricken them, did not grieve, Jer. v.3. God forbid you should be thus obdurate. God forbid! but since he has stricken you, you should grieve, and grieve with that godly sorrow which worketh Repentance to Salvation, not to be repented of.
I beseech you then to examine your selves very seriously, whether you have ever repented of your sins, so as to bring forth fruits meet for repentance; for if you are guilty either of total Impenitence, or of an universal relapse into your old sins, or if you lie under the dominion of any one wilful sin, look no further for the original cause of your Distemper: God has in Justice sent it you for your punishment.
But the most merciful God, who delights not in the death of a sinner, in his very Punishments designs rather to awaken, than to destroy us; and if this punishment, by which God calls you to repentance, does awaken you out of your former security, it turns to a Blessing, to a happy occasion of your eternal Bliss; be of good cheer then, and repent.
Your very bodily Distemper will present you with a lively Idea of your sins, and Holy Scripture makes use of the former, to picture out to us the latter. Think then of the weakness, and the pain, and the indisposedness, and the restlessness, and the danger that afflict the sick Man, and compare them with that impotence to good, that anguish of a wounded Spirit, that universal indisposedness to Duty, that restlessness of Conscience, those horrors of eternal torment, which attend the sinner, and which without Repentance are for ever incurable; and make this reflection with your self, that if we are so very sollicitous for the cure of our Bodies, much more ought we to be sollicitous for the cure of our Souls.
But if your heart does not condemn you, if you are conscious to your self, you have truly repented, and have never returned to your vomit again, and indulge no one wilful sin, and have nothing to accuse your self of, but your daily failings; which are the unavoidable infelicities of lapsed nature, and for which you daily beg pardon, then is your Distemper a fatherly Chastisement only, and you ought to rejoyce in it rather than in the least to regret it. However it is your best way to renew your repentance on this occasion, and to be sure to bear Gods Rod, and to learn that Lesson from it, in which you are sensible you were deficient before, and which God has sent this affliction on purpose to teach you.
True Repentance will rightly dispose you for Prayer, and you will come with boldness, with an humble, but firm confidence to the throne of Grace, when you can look on God as reconciled to you in Jesus, and shall be sure to obtain help in time of need. To obtain either the Cure of your Distemper, or if God sees the continuance of it to be more for your spiritual advantage such Grace which is sufficient for you, such Consolation in your own Soul, and satisfaction in God's good pleasure, as shall abundantly over-balance your Calamity.
Prayer is a Duty alway obliging, and to be practised by all, because all stand alike in need of the Divine Mercy, and Benediction; but it is more especially the Duty proper for the time of affliction, because our needs are then most pressing, and therefore says St. James, Is any afflicted, let him pray, Jam. v. 14.
Nor is it enough for you to pray for your selves, but according to the same Apostle's advice, and as soon as you come to this place, whether you are poor, or rich, send for, or if you are able, go your self to the Elders of the Church, to pray over you as God's Ministers, and to give you Ghostly Counsel, as they are Guides of Souls; desire them that you may have the daily Prayers of the whole Congregation for you, that the Waters may be blessed to you, and be sure you daily frequent the publick Prayers your self, or as often as your Infirmity permits.
In all your Prayers, for deliverance from your present affliction, you must always remember to pray with resignation of your own will, to the Divine Will, as our Lord hath taught us, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me, nevertheless not my will but thine be done, Luke xxii.42. This short affectual Heavenly Prayer I beseech you to have always in your Heart, and in your Mouth; and the oftner you repeat it, endeavour to repeat it with more and more fervency, committing your condition, all your sorrows, and the answer of all your Prayers wholly to God, Committing your soul entirely to him in well-doing, as into the hands of a faithful Creator, 1 Pet. iv.19.
Of the two Prayers which follow, you may use daily one, or both, in whole, or in part, as they best suit with the temper of your Soul, and with your particular condition.
O Holy Lord God, I wretched Sinner, humbly acknowledge, that thou in thy Justice hast laid this Calamity on me for my sins. Glory be to thee, O Lord, that thou hast not given me over as incorrigible, that thou hast sent this Punishment to awaken, and to humble me. O may it have that blessed effect on me, that from my very misery, I may date my salvation!
Thou Lord hast stricken me (with Sickness) (with Lameness) and it is just I should bear thy Indignation, because I have sinned against thee.
Blessed be thy infinite Goodness, that my Punishment is not greater, that Thou hast not suffered thy whole displeasure to arise.
O Lord God, in the midst of Judgment remember Mercy, that Mercy which is over all thy Works, that Mercy in which thou thy self delightest; Behold, a great, a miserable sinner, a fit Object of that Mercy here prostrate before thee: Lord have mercy on me.
Ah Lord, my spiritual Distemper, is infinitely more mortal than my corporal; O that it might be thy good pleasure to forgive the one, and to remove the other.
O thou that art rich in Mercy, give the Grace of true Repentance to all that come to the Waters; and give it to me, the greatest sinner of them all.
Lord, give me Grace to examine all my mis-spent life, in the bitterness of my Soul to confess my sins, with a broken and contrite Heart, to bewail them with utmost abhorrence to forsake them, and do thou so order my steps in thy Word, that for the time to come, no wickedness may have Dominion over me, that I may bring forth fruits meet for repentance.
I confess, Lord, that I have abused my members, and made them Instruments of unrighteousness to sin, Rom. vi.13. and thou hast most justly punished them for it; O restore them to me again, and I will endeavour all my life, to make them Instruments of Righteousness to thy Glory.
Ah Lord, it is the Cure of my Soul, for which I pray more earnestly, than for the Cure of my Body. I go to the Bath for my bodily Health, and bless it, if it be thy will to my perfect Recovery, and to the Recovery of all those that come thither with me: But for the Health of my Soul, I fly to the blood of Jesus, to the Fountain set open for sin and for uncleanness: I consult my bodily Physitian for my Distemper, but with much greater concern, I fly to thee, O Lord, who art the Sovereign Physician of Souls.
Heal my soul, O God, for I have sinned, grievously sinned against thee, and by my sins have provoked thee, who art the God of Mercy, to anger. O Heal my backsliding, and love me freely, and take away mine iniquity, and receive me gratiously, and turn thine anger from me.
I humbly pray to thee, O Lord, for my Bodily Cure; but because I know I may be eternally happy hereafter without Health of Body here, I pray for it with a resolution, to acquiess in thy good pleasure, shouldst thou think fit to deny it. But, O my God, when I pray for the Cure of my Soul, I resolve I will not be denyed, I will never give over importuning thee, till thou givest me that Godly sorrow, which worketh repentance to salvation, not to be repented of, till thou hast begun to kindle thy love in my Heart.
Turn thou me, O Lord, and I shall be turned. I will give thee no rest, till thou hast turned me to thy self. Turn me then, O my God, O Turn me, O Pardon me, O Succour me, O Heal me, O Save me, for thy own infinite mercies sake, and for the merits of Jesus thy beloved, in whom thou hast made sinners accepted. Amen. Amen.
I Know, Lord, that thy Judgments are right, and that thou of very faithfulness hast caused me to be troubled, for before I was afflicted I went astray, but now have I learned to keep thy Word, blessed be thy goodness for afflicting me.
True it is, O my God, that thou hast most seasonably sent me this affliction, (this Sickness, Lameness,) because thou in thy propitious Wisdom didst see that I wanted it. O may it have its most gracious, and full influence on my soul, that I may be bettered by it.
I humbly beg of thee, O merciful Father, that this affliction may strengthen my Faith, which thou sawest was growing weak: fix my Hope which was staggering, quicken my Devotion which was languishing, unite me to my first Love which I was forsaking, rekindle my Charity which was cooling, revive my Zeal which was dying, confirm my Obedience which was wavering, recover my Patience which was fainting, mortifie my Pride which was presuming, and perfect my Repentance which was daily decaying: for all these and the like Infirmites, to which my Soul is exposed, O make thy Affliction my Cure.
Grant, O my God, that this Affliction, thou hast in mercy laid on me, may wean all my affections from the World, which I was apt to grow too fond of; rescue me from those occasions of evil, of which I was in danger; secure me from those temptations which were ready to assault me; restrain me from those sins, to which my nature most strongly inclin'd; preserve me from all those abuses of Health, I am apt to incur; and purifie my Soul, from all that dross, and from all those vitious propensions, which either my Repentance had left behind, or which I have since contracted.
O my God, let thy Affliction produce my Amendment, and all the happy effects in me, which it is wont to do in thy Children, and which thou in mercy doest design it should; and then continue thy Affliction, if it seem good in thy sight: behold, Lord, Happy is the man whom thou thus correctest, Job. v.17.
What is best for me, O my God, I know not, my Flesh desires a deliverance from this Distemper, and if it be thy pleasure, O Lord deliver me: my Spirit desires that thou only wouldst choose for me: do thou then O Heavenly Father choose for me; choose for me because thou art my Father, and out of thy Fatherly tenderness, wilt be sure to choose what is the best for me: I resign up my own will entirely to thine. Father if, thou be willing, remove this cup from me, nevertheless not my will but thine be done.
O my Father, if it be thy blessed will the Waters should not be effectual to me, make them effectual to all other Infirm Persons besides: I will rejoyce in thy goodness for removing their Affliction, I will acquiesce in thy goodness for continuing mine.
Hear, Lord, and have Compassion on me, for the Merits and Sufferings of Jesus, whose perfect Resignation may I always imitate. Amen. Amen.
Next to the great Duties of Repentance, and Prayer, I am to exhort you to Sacrifice of Alms-giving, which is a Duty appropriate to the Rich, or to those who have a Competence of the things of this World, so that as hitherto I have united the Rich and Poor together, because both are alike obliged to Repent and to Pray, I must now seperate them, and give distinct Exhortations to them both.
IF you are Rich, or have wherewithal to relieve others, then be sure to be rich in good works, and according to your ability give alms, Luke xi.41. and give them in this place to those poor Christians, who come to the Bath for the Cure of the like Distempers as the Rich do, but have nothing to sustain them, or to defray the Charges of their Cure.
From what you feel your self, learn to compassionate the like Miseries in others; that Relief you would desire others should shew to you, were you in want, do you shew to the Poor; Those Blessings, that Ease, that Health, and that Patience, you beg of God for your self, beg of God for all others, which you see are in the like distress, and beg it as you would for your self, and with a like concern.
Such Charity as this will be an unspeakable Comfort to you, whatever your Distemper is; there is a present Temporal Blessing promised to it, and promised to Charitable persons in that very time, when they most of all want it, namely in the time of their trouble, and on their sick Beds: For Blessed is he that considereth the poor and needy, the Lord shall deliver him in the time of trouble, the Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing, thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness, Psal. xli.1, 3.
Learn then of our most Compassionate Saviour to shew Mercy to the Sick, and the Lame, and to contribute all you can to their Healing; lay aside money for that very Use, and pray to God to direct your Charity to those who most want it, and who are most worthy to be relieved: by this means you will be able Conscientiously to say with Job, I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame, Job xxix.15.
ALL Glory be to thee, O Lord God, for that portion of the good things of this Life, thou hast been pleased to vouchsafe me; Thou Lord hast made me thy Steward of them, and at the great day, I must give an account to thee of my stewardship. O make me a faithful Steward of them, that I may give an account to thee with joy, and not with grief.
Thou Lord hast made it an argument of my love to thee, to open my bowels to my Brother in need. Behold, Lord, I see many of my Brethren and Sisters here in need, and destitute of those Conveniencies for using the Waters, which thou in great goodness hast vouchsafed me, and out of a grateful sense of thy infinite Love to me, I desire to shew Love to them, and to my power to contribute to their Comfort, Support, and Cure: Glory be to thee who hast enabled me to do it.
O Blessed Saviour, I see thee, in every one of thy poor Members, here lying at the Pool, and thou hast none to help thee in. O give me grace to undertake that merciful Office; to open my Bowels, and my Purse wide to help thee; and do thou vouchsafe help to me, in my time of need.
O my God, do thou direct me, in the distribution of my Alms to those who most want, and who best deserve relief; that I may dispose of them most agreable to thy will, and to those who shall most glorifie thee for them.
O make me ever merciful, as thou, O Father in Heaven art merciful; indulge me a share in that mercy, with which thou hast promsed to bless the merciful, and send me deliverance in the time of trouble.
Hear Lord, forgive, and save me, for thy own infinite mercies sake, for thy truth, and promise sake, and for the merits of Jesus thy beloved. Amen. Amen.
BLessed be thou, O Lord God, for ever and ever; for all things come of thee, and of thy own do I now give thee, 1 Chr. xxix.
Lord, let these Alms be an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to thee, through Jesus the son of thy love, Phil. iv.18.
If your own Charitable disposition incline you, and your Spiritual Guide do also advise you, to devote a particular Sum to Pious Uses, you may express your Vow, in this or the like manner:
O my God, if thou wilt be with me in this place, and keep me in thy way, and deliver me from my (Sickness, Lameness) and bless the Waters to me, then shalt thou, O Lord, be my God, and of that thou hast given me, I will surely give (here name the Sum) to thee, and to the Poor, that they may be relieved by it, and Glorifie thee for it.
An Exhortation to the Poor.
YOU that are Poor, though you cannot exercise your Charity in giving to others, yet you may, and ought to do it, in praying for them, especially for your Benefactours.
The greater your Temporal Wants are, the more they should teach you to depend on God; and the fewer are your Temptations; and your very Poverty, if you make a sanctified use of it, will teach you Poverty of Spirit, Humility, Heavenly-mindedness, of lively Faith, and a firm confidence in God, who is your only Refuge, and Help in your greatest need.
O Lord God, the Refuge of all mankind, but especially of the miserable look down with thine Eyes of tenderest pity, on my low and destitute condition.
Thou Lord, hast been pleased to deny me the good things, the Conveniencies of this Life, blessed be thy Name for it; thou sawest I should abuse them, and therefore hast in mercy with-held from me those occasions of sin. But since thou art pleased, beyond my poverty to lay this further Calamity, (this Sickness, Lameness) on me, which has brought me hither, O be thou also pleased to succour, and to support me under it.
Ah, Lord, I come to my Remedy, but have not wherewithal to apply it: I come to the Waters, but have none to assist me, none to help me into the Bath; O let thy infinite Love, kindle a compassionate Charity in the Hearts of the Rich, and incline some merciful persons, to relieve me.
Send seasonable relief, O my God, to all other poor and needy persons, who come hither calamitous like my self! O bless the Waters to our Cure, that being restored to our health, and strength, we may return to our Labour, and according to thy Divine Appointment, In the sweat of our brows may eat our bread; Bless the Waters, O Lord, to all other infirm persons, but especially bless them to my Benefactors.
Lord, sanctifie my poverty to me, that I may be humble and constant under it, and submissive to the Disposals of thy most wise and gracious Providence.
O my God, though I am poor in this World, make me rich in faith; I will gladly want Riches here, so I may have Treasure in Heaven hereafter, and be an Heir of the Kingdom, which thou hast promised to those that love thee. Lord pity me, Lord hear me, Lord help me, Lord save me, according to the multitude of thy Mercies, and the Merits of my Saviour. Amen. Amen.
GLory be to thee, O Lord, for my Benefactors; Glory be to thee who hast given them ability, and inlarged their Hearts, to relieve the poor and needy; Glory be to thee for directing them in particular to relieve me.
O my God, I earnestly beg of thee, to shew mercy to them, who have shewed mercy to me: I have had the comfort of their Alms, Blessed be thy Name: O give them a plentiful recompence for it, reward them sevenfold into their Bosom, through Jesus thy Beloved. Amen. Amen.
AS for me I am poor and needy, but thou Lord, carest for me, and on thee, Lord, I cast all my cares.
Glory be to thee, O Lord, who deliverest the poor in his affliction: O let it be thy pleasure to deliver me.
O Lord, the poor committeth himself to thee, for thou art the helper of the friendless; and to thee, poor as I am, I wholly commit my self. O be thou my Helper, O be thou my Friend.
Thou, O God, hast of thy goodness prepared for the poor, and the poor and needy shall give thanks unto thy Name.
O my Soul, put thy trust in the Lord, and by doing good dwell in the Land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
Having thus allotted to you that are Rich, and to you that are Poor, your distinct Duties, I must now again joyn you together; and I most passionately beseech you, if you have a concern for the eternal wellfare of your Souls, any Honour for that most Holy Religion you profess, any Reverence for the Pure All-seeing Eyes of God, to take all imaginable care, that you do not abuse the Bath, by any Lasciviousness, or Impurity, which may defile your selves, or others: for this is the way to turn the means of your cure, into an occasion of the more outragious sin; and to provoke God to send you away with a dreadful Curse, instead of a Blessing.
If after a due use of the Baths, you find any benefit by them, and that your Distemper is either removed, or abated, as you desired the Prayers of the Congregation at your first coming, for God's Blessing on the Waters; So it is most just you should desire the Congregation to give thanks for you, and to render to God a publick acknowledgment for the Mercy he has vouchsafed you.
Be very careful, that when you are well, you do not forget you were sick: but let that advice which our Lord gives to the impotent Man, be deeply impressed on your mind, say it often to your own Soul, Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.
Renew all those good Resolutions you made in the day of your distress; be very watchful and jealous over your self for fear of Backslidings; avoid all occasions of sin for the future; and dedicate that Health, to which God has in tender mercy restored you, to his Glory.
ALL Praise, all Glory be to thee, my Lord and my God, for hearing my Prayers in the time of my trouble, for blessing the Waters to my Good, (to my Ease) (to my Cure;) O, may I never forget this Blessing, O may I ever give thee thanks for it.
Lord, I am jealous over my own treacherous Heart, that now thou hast (abated) (freed me from) my Calamity, I shall grow cold in my Devotion, and that the sense of my Duty will be apt to wear off with my affliction: but my sure and only Trust is in the assistances of thy Grace. O, hold up my goings in thy paths, that my foot-steps slip not, O, keep me as the Apple of the Eye.
O, may I sin no more, left a worse thing come unto me.
Praise the Lord, O my Soul, while I live will I praise the Lord, as long as I have my Being, I will sing Praises unto my God.
I called upon the Lord in my trouble, and the Lord heard me at large, therefore will I praise him.
Thou art my God, and I will thank thee; thou art the Lord, and I will praise thee.
Praised be the Lord, who hath not cast out my Prayer, nor turned his mercy from me.
O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is Gracious, and his mercy endureth for ever.
I will not only praise thee, O Lord, in private, but I will tell abroad what thou hast done for my Soul.
I will give thanks unto thee in the great Congregation, I will praise thee amongst much people.
Accept, O my God, this my Sacrifice of Praise and Thanksgiving; and since the longer I live, the more I experience thy most adorable, and boundless Goodness, the more devoutly may I daily praise thee, the more intensely may I daily love thee, through Jesus thy Beloved. Amen Amen.
To this you may properly add the hundred and third Psalm.
IF after you have used the Waters, you find no relief by them, be not discouraged: it may be God designs to effect your Cure some other ways; it may be he sees it best for your spiritual good, that your Distemper should continue, and it is your Duty patiently to submit to his good pleasure.
If you are conscious to your self, that you have truly repented of all your sins past, and that the desire of your Soul is towards God, you may be then assured, that God chastened you because he loves you, that he dealeth with you as with a Child, and that his paternal Bowels are ever yearning on you.
'Tis most true in common experience, what the Apostle affirms, That no Chastning for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous, and so will your Chastning seem to you; nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceble fruit of righteousness, unto them which are exercised thereby, Heb. xii.11. and such fruit it will in the end infallibly yield to you.
Believe me then, that you will at last to your unutterable joy, experimentally find that all things, even the sharpest and the most continued afflictions, work together for good, to those that love God, Rom. viii.28.
DEal thou with me, O Lord, according to thy Name, for sweet is thy Mercy.
Thou hast been my Succour, leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my Salvation.
I should utterly have fainted, but that I verily believe to see the Goodness of the Lord, in the Land of the Living.
I will wait on the Lord, from whom cometh my Salvation.
Though I am somtime afraid, yet put I my trust in thee.
Thou shalt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is staid on thee, because he trusteth in thee.
O what great Troubles and Adversities hast thou shewed me, and yet didst thou turn, and refresh me.
As for me, I patiently abide alway, and will praise thee more and more.
In the multitude of the sorrows I had in my heart, thy comforts have refreshed my Soul.
Unto thy entire disposal I resign my Spirit, for thou hast redeemed me, O Lord, thou God of Truth.
O, may I always Do and Suffer thy will.
My God, though thou slayest me, yet will I put my trust in thee.
It is the Lord, it is my God, it is my Father, it is my Friend, it is infinite Love that afflicts me: let him do what seemeth him good, he can will nothing but good to me; his Will be ever done, and not my own.
To these Ejaculations may be added that Prayer for Amendment when God is pleased to try us, which went before.
IF want of Children good Christian, and hopes of Benefit from the Water, bring you hither, then I beseech you, as I did those who were sick or lame, to begin with God: Repentance and Prayer, and Resignation and Charity, are all as proper for your condition, as for them.
Be assured, that Children are the Gift of God, and let your first and chief recourse be to him, and from him, only expect a Blessing.
'Tis true, the Blessing of the Womb are temporal only, yet they are such which all married persons regularly ought to desire, and for which they ought with humility, and submission to Pray.
Though the blessing of Children is very often indulged to wicked persons as well as to good, yet we see many times that God denies them to both, though they never so passionately desire them.
When God denies Children to wicked persons, it is in his anger, and for punishment. Thus Nadab and Abihu for offering strange fire, died before the Lord, Num. iii.4. and as an aggravation of their punishment it is remarked, that they had no children. And the doom that God pronounced against wicked Coniah was, Thus saith the Lord, write this man childless, Jer. xxii.30. God threatens incestuous persons, That they shall die childless, Lev. xx.20, 32. And sometimes when hopes of Issue appear, he gives the Wife a miscarrying womb, and dry breasts, Hos. ix.14. It is therefore most needful, that you should ground your hopes of Children, on a previous Repentance.
Children are no certain marks of Gods Favour, and therefore the good often want them. Never were there two better married Couples, than Abraham the friend of God, and Sarah, than Zechary and Elizabeth; who were both righteous before God, walking in all the Commandments of the Lord blameless, and yet Sarah, and Elizabeth were both barren, and never had been mothers but by Miracle.
Rebeckah, and Rachel, and Hannah, had all for a long time their wombs shut up, and by Prayer they were all at last opened.
However, when God foresees Children like to prove either Temptations, or Calamities, or Curses to their good Parents, it is a great blessing then to deny them which our Lord imitates to the Daughters of Jerusalem when he told them, The dayes were coming in which they should say, blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps that never gave suck. Luke xxiii.29.
But when God denied Children to Holy Persons he makes up the blessing some other way, and gives them a name better than of sons, and of daughters, an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off, Isa. lvi.5. so that, which way soever God thinks fit to deal with you, you have all the reason imaginable, to assure your self that what is Gods Will is best for you, and chearfully to acquiesce in his good pleasure.
O Lord God Almighty, who formest us from the womb, who coverest us there, and seest our substance when imperfect, and all our Members, and how they are curiously formed, Ps. cxxxix.16. All Glory be to thee.
I know Lord that Children, and the Fruit of the womb, are an heritage and gift that cometh of thee, and therefore of thee only I beg it; O vouchsafe me that gift in thy good time. Glory be to thee O Lord, who makest the barren Woman to keep House, and to be a joyful Mother of Children. O that it might please thee, to make me a joyful Mother.
Deliver me, O my God, from either a barren, or from a miscarrying womb, and from dry Breasts; and if it be thy will, bless the Waters, that they may dispose me to be Fruitful, and to Conceive; and do thou, O Lord, most tenderly preserve the Fruit of my womb, that I may at last happily bring forth, and may forget my pangs, and may praise thy Name, for joy that a Child is born into the World.
To thee, O Lord God, do I Vow this Vow, that if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thy handmaid, and remember me, and wilt give unto thy handmaid Children, then I will give them unto thee, 1 Sam. i.11. I will early devote them to thee in Holy Baptism: I will do my utmost to bring them up in thy nurture and admonition; in thy filial Fear, and reverential Love, that they may become instruments of thy Glory on Earth, and may at last become Saints in Heaven, to sing eternal praises to thee there.
Bless me, and my Husband, O Lord God Almighty, bless us with the blessings of Heaven above, and with the blessings of the deep that lyeth under, bless us with the blessings of the Breasts, and of the Womb, if it be thy will.
O Lord, if thou art pleased, for most wise and gracious purposes, to deny us the blessings of Children; thy most Holy Will be done: O give us an entire contentedness without them; and though it is not thy pleasure to make us Fruitful in our Bodies, yet make us Fruitful in our Souls, Fruitful in all saving Graces, which will in the end, prove a much greater joy, and comfort, and blessing to us both, than Children. Hear me, O Lord, and help me, and grant my Petition if it be thy Will, for thy infinite Goodness sake, and the sake of Jesus the Son of thy Love. Amen. Amen.
If it please God to bless the Waters to your Fruitfulness, then use the forgoing Form of Thanksgiving.
And if you, or any one besides, who have made use of this Paper, have received the least good from it, to God be all the Glory. Amen.