IF you have any regard, good Philotheus, to your own eternal happiness, it ought to be your chiefest care to serve and glorifie God. 'Tis for this end God both made and redeemed you, and two excellent rules He hath given you in Holy Scripture, by the conscientious observation of which, you will be able, through His grace, to dedicate your tender years to His glory.
The one teaches you what you are to do, Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth.
The other teaches you what you are to avoid, Fly youthful lusts; that is, all those sins which are usually incident to young persons.
You cannot imagine the unspeakable advantages a pious youth gains by the practice of these two Rules; and how many ghostly dangers that Soul escapes, which is seasoned betimes with the fear of God, before he is sullied with ill Company, before he hath contracted vitious habits, which will cost him infinite pains to unlearn, before his affections are too far engaged in the World, to be easily recalled, and before the Devil hath got too strong a hold in him, to be suddenly dispossessed.
O Philotheus, do but ask any one old Penitent, what fruit, what satisfaction he hath purchast to himself, by all those pleasures of sin, which flattered him in his youth, and of which he is now ashamed. Will he not sadly tell you, he has found them all, to be but vanity, and vexation of Spirit? How will he befool himself, for the many good opportunities he hath lost, and wish a thousand times, that he were to live over his mispent days again? And how bitterly will he with David, bewail the sins of his youth?
Learn then, good Phil. by the dear-bought experience of others, to accustom your self, to bear Christs yoke from your youth, and his yoke will sit easie on your neck; for your duty will grow natural to you, by beginning betimes.
Do but consider, how welcome a young Convert is to God; it was to young Samuel that God revealed himself, and that at such a time too, when the Word of God was pretious, and very rare, to shew how much God honoured a young Prophet; and you know that St. John, the youngest of all the Disciples, is the only person of all the twelve; who was permitted to lean on our Saviours bosome, at the last Supper, as dearest to Him in affection, and who is emphatically called, the Disciple whom Jesus loved: and this is suitable to that gracious promise, which God hath made to encourage all young persons to serve him; I love them that love me, and they that seek me early shall find me.
O Philotheus, let this Heavenly promise, excite in you a great zeal to seek God, and to seek Him early; for if you do seek, you are sure to find Him; you are sure, when you have found Him, He will love you, and you shall reap, all the happy effects of Gods infinite Love, and of an early Piety.
An early Piety! then which, nothing will make you a greater comfort to all your friends, or a greater blessing, to the very Colledge where you are bred; nothing will make you more universally esteemed, and beloved by all men, or more successful in your Studies; and besides, that peace of Conscience, and the pleasure of well-doing, you will at present feel; think if you can, how unconceivable a joy it will be to you, when in your elder years, you can reflect on your well spent time, and the innocence of your Youth; how great a Consolation it will be to you, on your death-bed, how easie it will render your accounts, at the great Day of Judgment, and how much a whole life spent in Gods service, will increase your glory in Heaven.
God of his great mercy, Philotheus, make these and the like considerations, effectual to create, holy Resolutions in you, and give you grace, to make good use of these following Directions, which are designed to teach you, to fear the Lord from your youth, and are suited to your particular Age, and Condition, in hope they may the more affect you. God grant they may. Amen.
AS soon as ever you awake in the morning, good Philotheus, strive as much as you can, to keep all worldly thoughts out of your mind, till you have presented, the first fruits of the day to God, which will be an excellent preparative, to make you spend the rest of it the better; and therefore be sure to sing the Morning and Evening Hymn in your Chamber devoutly, remembring that the Psalmist, upon happy experience assures you, that it is a good thing, to tell of the loving kindness of the Lord early in the morning, and of his truth in the night season.
When you are ready, look on your Soul as still untill you have said your Prayers.
Remember that God under the Law ordained a Lamb to be offered up to Him every Morning and Evening. A Lamb! which is a fit emblem of Youth, and Innocence; Think then that you are to resemble this Lamb, and be sure every day, to offer up your self, a Morning and Evening Sacrifice to God.
If you are a Commoner, you may say your prayers in your own Chamber; but if you are a Child or a Chorister, then to avoid the interruptions of the Common Chambers, go into the Chappel, between first and second Peal in the Morning, to say your Morning Prayer, and say your Evening Prayer when you go Circum.
Now that every one, may have his duty proportioned to his capacity, the best way is to distinguish, two degrees of young Christians in this Colledge, namely, those that are of an Age capable of receiving the Holy Sacrament, and those that are not; and in one of the two degrees you are to rank your self.
IF you are very young, good Philotheus, that Gods commands may not seem grievous to you, at your first setting out, I shall advise you to no more, then your Infant Devotion will bear; and that is, To take great care, to learn your Catechism without Book, and to learn to understand it; for 'tis impossible you can ever perform your duty, unless you first know what it is; 'tis impossible you can ever go to Heaven, unless you learn the way thither: and that you may beg Gods dayly blessing, and his grace to assist you, learn these two short Prayers by heart, and say them every day.
Glory be to Thee, O Lord God, for all the blessings I dayly receive from Thee, and for Thy particular preservation, and refreshment of me, this night past.
O Lord have mercy upon me, and forgive, whatsoever Thou hast seen amiss in me, this night; and for the time to come, give me grace, to fly all youthful lusts, and to remember Thee, my Creatour, in the days of my youth.
Shower down Thy graces and blessings on me, and on all my Relations [on my Father and Mother, on my Brethren and Sisters] on all my Friends, on all my Governours in this place, and on all my Fellow-Scholars, and give Thy Angels charge over us, to protect us all from sin and danger.
Lord bless me in my Learning this day, that I may every day grow more fit for Thy service. O pardon my failings, and do more for me, then I can ask, or think, for the merits of Jesus my Saviour, in whose holy words I sum up all my wants. Our Father which art in heaven, &c,
Glory be to Thee, O Lord God, for all the blessings, I dayly receive from Thee, and for Thy particular preservation of me this day.
O Lord have mercy upon me, and forgive, whatsoever Thou hast seen amiss in me, this day past, and for the time to come, give me grace, to fly all youthful lusts, and to remember Thee my Creatour, in the days of my youth.
Lord receive me, and all my Relations, and all that belong to this Colledge, into Thy gracious protection this night, and send me such seasonable rest, that I may rise the next morning, more fit for thy service.
Lord hear my prayers, and pardon my failings, for the merits of my blessed Saviour, in whose holy words, I sum up all my wants. Our Father which art in Heaven, &c.
This, good Phil. is the lowest degree of duty, and it should be your dayly endeavour, to improve in your devotion, as well as in your learning, and the more effectually to move you to so happy an improvement, I advise you on Sundays and Holy-days, attentively to read over this following Meditation, and to propose to your self, the Holy Child Jesus, for your example.
Glory be to Thee, O Lord Jesus, Glory be to Thee, who when Thou wert twelve years old, didst go up to Jerusalem with Thy Parents, after the custom of the Feast, to eat the Passover, and to worship Thy Heavenly Father.
O blessed Saviour, give me grace like Thee, to make Religion my first, and chiefest care, and devoutly to observe, all solemn times, and all holy Rites, which relate to Thy worship.
Glory be to Thee, O Lord Jesus, Glory be to Thee, who when Thy Parents returned home, didst stay behind in Jerusalem, and after three days, wast found of them in the Temple, sitting in the midst of the Doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.
O blessed Saviour, who in Thy very Childhood, didst triumph over all the vain delights of youth; and wouldst choose no place, but the Temple to reside in, Mortifie in me, all inordinate love of sensual pleasure, which may pervert me from my duty; raise in me an awful reverence of Thy House, an early devotion in my Prayers, and a delight in Thy Praises.
O blessed Jesu, who didst choose before all others, the company of the Doctors, and didst both hear them, and ask them Questions; give me grace to abhor all lewd company, and all filthy communication, give me grace to love wise, and sober, and profitable, and religious conversation, and to be diligent, and inquisitive after learning, and whatsoever is good.
Glory be to Thee, O Lord Jesus, Glory be to Thee, who when Thy Father, and Mother had sought Thee, sorrowing, didst reply to them, How is it that ye sought me, wist ye not that I must be about my Fathers business?
O blessed Jesu, who from Thy infancie didst make it Thy whole imployment, to do Thy Fathers will, kindle in me a forward zeal for Thy Glory, that I may consecrate my youth to Thy service, and make it the great business of my life, to know and fear, to love and obey, my Heavenly Father.
Glory be to Thee, O Lord Jesus, Glory be to Thee, who didst at last return home with Thy Parents, and wert subject to them!
O blessed Jesu, give me grace to honour my Parents, and Governours, and readily to obey all their lawful commands!
Glory be to Thee, O Lord Jesus, Glory be to Thee, who in those tender years, wert blessed with such Heavenly wisdom, that all that heard Thee, were astonished at Thy understanding and answers, who didst dayly increase in this Heavenly wisdom, and in favour with God and Man!
O Lord Jesu, bless me with all abilities of mind and body, that may make me dayly increase in my Learning; but above all, bless me with Wisdom from above, and give me Thy Holy Spirit to assist, and enlighten me, that as I grow in Age, I may dayly grow in Grace, and in the knowledge of Thee, and in favour with God and Man; and every day more and more conformable to Thy Unsinning and Divine example.
Amen, Lord Jesus, Amen.
WHen you have attained to more knowledge, and proficiencie in grace, and are of an Age capable of receiving the Holy Sacrament, God then expects more from you; and 'tis high time for you, good Philotheus, to lengthen your prayers, and to begin to add some ejaculations over and above, such as these are which follow.
Awake, O my Soul, and Sing praises to God.
Glory be to Thee, O God, for watching over me this night.
Lord raise me up at the last day, to life everlasting.
Early in the morning will I cry unto Thee, Lord hear my Prayer.
Glory be to Thee, Lord God Almighty, Glory be to Thee, for renewing Thy mercies to me every morning; Glory be to Thee, for refreshing me this night with sleep, and for preserving me from the perils of darkness.
O do away, as the night, so my transgressions; scatter my sins as the Morning Cloud!
Lord forgive, whatever Thou hast seen amiss in me this night, [my -- Here if you are conscious to your self of any sin committed in the night, confess it.] O Father of Mercies, wash me throughly from my wickedness, and cleanse me from my sin.
And let Thy Holy Spirit so prevent, and accompany, and follow me this day, that I may believe in Thee, and love Thee, and keep Thy Commandments, and continue in Thy fear all the day long.
Lord make me chaste and temperate, humble and adviseable, diligent in my studies, obedient to my Superiours, and charitable to all men.
Lord deliver me, from sloth and idleness, from youthful lusts, and ill company, from all dangers bodily and ghostly, and give me grace, to remember Thee my Creatour, in the days of my youth.
Bless and defend, and save the King, and all the Royal Family, and all Orders of men amongst us, Ecclesiastical or Civil; Lord give them all grace, in their several stations, to be instrumental to Thy glory and the publick good.
Together with them, I commend to Thy Divine Providence [my Father and Mother, my Brethren and Sisters,] all my Friends and Relations, all my Superiours in this place, and all my Fellow-Scholars; O Lord vouchsafe us all, those graces and blessings, which Thou knowest to be most suitable for us.
Unto Thee, O my God, do I dedicate this day, and my whole life; O do Thou so bless and prosper me in my Studies, that I may every day grow more fit for Thy service.
Hear me, O Lord, and pardon my failings, for the merits of Thy Son Jesus, in whose holy words, I sum up all my wants. Our Father which art in Heaven, &c.
When you have said your Morning Prayer, good Phil. you may then go cheerfully to your study, and relie upon the Divine Goodness for a blessing.
But first, if you have time, I advise you to read before second Peal, some short Psalm, or piece of a Chapter, out of the Gospels, or Historical Books, because they are the most easie to be understood; Remembring the example of young Timothy, who was bred up to know, the Scripture from a Child.
But if you want time on ordinary days, to read the Scripture, be sure to read somewhat of it on Sundays, and Holy-days; and consider, that you have it dayly read to you in the Hall before Dinner and Supper, and at night when you are just going to Bed, that you may close the day with holy thoughts; and if you hearken diligently to it when it is read, you do in effect read it your self.
Now to make your reading, the more profitable to you, begin with one, or more, of these Ejaculations.
Wherewithal, Lord, shall a young man cleanse his way? even by ruling himself after Thy Word.
Lord open my eyes, that I may see the wonderful things of Thy Law!
O heavenly Father! I humbly beg Thy Holy Spirit, so to help me at this time to read, and understand, and remember, and practise Thy Word, that it may make me wise to salvation!
When you are thus prepared, good Phil. then begin to read, and consider, that it is Gods most holy Word you read; and that all the while you are reading, God is speaking to you, and therefore read with attention, and humility, and endeavour as much as you can, to suit your affections to the Subject you read.
For instance, If you read any of Gods commands, they should excite in you a zeal to keep them.
If you read any of Gods threatnings against sinners, or his judgments on them, they should excite in you a fear to provoke him.
When you read any of his gracious promises, they should encourage and quicken your obedience.
When you read any of Gods mercies, they should excite you to thanksgiving.
When you read any great mystery, recorded in holy Writ, you are to prostrate your Reason to Divine Revelation.
And to this purpose in the midst of your Reading, say,
Lord give me grace to obey this command; Or,
Lord deliver me from this sin, or this judgment; Or,
Lord I relie on this good promise; Or,
Glory be to Thee, O Lord, for this mercy; Or,
Lord I believe and adore this mystery.
Say any of these, according as best agrees with the subject you read; and when you have read as much as conveniently you can, conclude with one of these Ejaculations.
Blessed be Thou, O Lord, O teach me Thy Statutes!
Lord make Thy Word a Lanthorn unto my feet, and a Light unto my paths!
Lord make Thy Word my delight, and my Counsellour!
O Philotheus, you cannot enough thank God for the order of the place you live in, where there is so much care taken to make you a good Christian as well as a good Scholar, where you go so frequently to Prayers every day, in the Chappel, and in the School; and sing Hymns and Psalms to God so frequently in your Chamber, and in the Chappel, and in the Hall, so that you are in a manner brought up, in a perpetuity of prayer.
Be sure Phil. that you are accountable to God for all these opportunities He gives you of serving Him; and think how many blessings for your self, and for the Colledge you might obtain, if you prayed and praised God, rather out of a devout affection, then meerly to comply with the custom of the place.
Prayer, good Phil. is the very life of a Christian, and therefore we are so frequently commanded to pray without ceasing: Not that we can be always on our knees, but that we should accustom our selves to frequent thoughts of God, that where-ever we are He sees us; and when we think on God, we should have always an ejaculation ready to offer up to Him, and by this means we may pray, not only seven times a day with David, but all the day long.
In your reading holy Scripture, especially in the Psalms, you may easily gather those short sentences which most affect you, for they are most proper for this use; and when you have learned them without Book, say one of them now and then, as they occur to your mind, or as occasion requires, or as your devotion prompts you.
But be not troubled, if being otherwise lawfully imployed, or if being indisposed, you pass a whole day without saying any, for to omit them is no sin; nor be you scrupulous in what posture you say them, for they being short breathings of the soul to God, require not that solemnity, as Set Prayer does.
Now to give you some instances of ejaculatory Prayer, take these following.
Lord bless my going out, and my coming in, from this time forth for evermore.
Lord be merciful to me miserable sinner, and for the merits of my Saviour, lay not this sin to my charge.
Glory be to Thee, O Lord, for this Blessing, or, for this Deliverance!
Praise the Lord, O my Soul, and all that is within me, praise His Holy name.
O Lord, who didst not despise the Widows mite, Accept of this little I now give, to relieve one of Thy poor members!
Not unto me, O Lord, not unto me, but unto Thy Name be the praise.
Lord succour me with Thy Grace, that I may overcome this Temptation.
Consider, good Phil. how many that have gone to Bed well over night, have been found dead the next morning; and therefore it highly concerns you to take care, to make your peace with God, before you go to sleep.
I advise you therefore towards night, or when you go circum, to call your self to an account how you have spent the day.
Examine your thoughts and discourses, and actions, and Recreations, and Devotions, and see what has been amiss in any of them.
Consider what Idleness, or Unchastity, what lying or stubbornness you have been guilty of; or whether you have had a quarrel with any of your fellows; and if you have, be sure to be friends with him, before you say your prayers.
Again, Consider what particular blessing, or deliverance, God has vouchsafed you the day past, that you may give thanks for it, and then say as follows.
Let my prayer, O Lord, be set forth in Thy sight as Incense, and the lifting up of my hands, be as an Evening Sacrifice!
Holy, holy, holy Lord God, I miserable sinner humbly acknowledge, that I have offended Thee this day, in thought, word, and deed, [Particularly by -- Here mention any sin you have been guilty of.] But I fly into the Arms of Thy fatherly compassion, Lord, for Thy Mercies sake forgive me, cleanse me from my wickedness, and strengthen my weakness, that I may overcome all the temptations which daily surround me, and continue constant in my Obedience.
Accept of my Humblest Praise and Thanksgiving, O Lord, for all the goodness Thou hast this day shewed me; for all the Helps of preventing, or restraining grace, Thou hast vouchsafed me, for whatever I have done this day, which is in any measure acceptable to Thee, for whatever progress I have made in my Study, for Thy Preservation of me, from all the miseries and dangers, which frail Mortality, is every moment exposed to; [Particularly for -- Here name any particular blessing, or deliverance, God has sent you.]
Praise the Lord, O my Soul, who saveth thy life from destruction, and crowneth thee with Mercy, and Loving-kindness.
O Heavenly Father, to Thy Almighty Protection I recommend my self, and all my Relations, and all that belong to this Colledge; O Thou that never slumbrest nor sleepest, watch over us, to preserve us from sin, and danger.
Lord, let it be Thy good pleasure, to refresh me this night with such seasonable rest, that I may rise the next morning more fit for Thy service; O pardon my failings, and hear my prayers, for the sake of my blessed Saviour, in whose Holy words, I sum up all my wants. Our Father which art in heaven, &c.
Lord as I now go to my Bed, I must one day go to my Grave, O make me wise to consider my latter End!
I will lay me down in peace, and take my rest, for 'tis Thou Lord only, makest me dwell in safety.
IF you chance to wake in the Night, or cannot sleep, Beware, Phil. of Idle and Unclean thoughts which will then be apt to crowd into your mind, and therefore to arm your self against them, I advise you to learn the 130 and the 139 Psalms by heart, or treasure up some Ejaculations in your mind, which will be excellent matter, for your thoughts to feed on. For instance.
Thou Lord hast granted, Thy loving kindness in the day time, and in the night season will I sing of Thee, and make my Prayer to the God of my Life,
O Lord the Holy Angels are now before Thy Throne in Heaven, they never rest, day or night, from Thy Praises, and with them do I now sing Hallelujah, Salvation, and Honour, and Glory, and Power be unto our God, for ever and ever. Amen. Amen.
Lord I know Thou wilt one day call me, to give an account of my Stewardship, but when Thou wilt come I know not, whether at Even, or at Midnight, or at Cock-crowing, or in the Morning.
O do Thou give me grace, to Watch, and to Pray always, that at Thy coming Thou mayest say to me, Well done, good and faithful Servant, Enter into the Joy of thy Master. Amen Blessed Lord, Amen.
But have a care Phil. you fix not your mind too much, neither strive to repeat too many devout expressions, for fear of hindring your sleep, and of indisposing your self, for the duties of the day following.
A Good Christian, Philotheus, that takes care to spend every day well, will take more then ordinary care, to sanctifie the Lords day, it being the proper imployment of that day, to attend Gods Worship, and to provide for our Souls, and therefore 'tis fit you should add some Petitions to your Morning and Evening Prayer, Relating to the solemn duties of the Day, such as these are which follow.
O My God, I humbly beseech Thee, to prepare my Soul to Worship Thee this day acceptably, with Reverence, and Godly fear, Fill me with that faith which works by love; Purifie my heart from all vain, or worldly, or sinful thoughts, fix my affections on things above, all the day long; and O Lord give me grace, to receive Thy Word, which I shall hear this day, into an honest and good heart, and to bring forth fruit with Patience. Hear me O God, for the sake of Jesus my Saviour. Amen, Amen.
When you come into the Church, or Chappel, not only on the Lords day, but on any other day, use this short preparatory Prayer, at your first kneeling down.
O Lord I humbly beg Thy Holy Spirit, to help my Infirmities at this time, and to dispose my heart to devotion, that my Prayers, and Praises, may be acceptable in Thy sight, through Jesus Christ my Saviour. Amen.
Glory be to Thee, O Lord God Almighty, Glory be to Thee, who hast permitted me, to appear, before Thee this day, and to tread Thy Courts!
Lord pardon all my failings in Thy Service, this day past, the wandrings, and coldness, and indevotion of my Prayers. For the sake of my blessed Saviour, have mercy upon me.
Lord make me a doer of Thy Word, and not a hearer only, lest I deceive my own soul.
When you are called to Repetition at Night, remember Phil. to make some amends, for your negligent Hearing at the Church, and treasure up in your memory some little portion of those Instructions you have heard, to direct your Practice.
The Receiving of the blessed Sacrament, good Phil. is the most divine, and solemn act, of all our Religion, and it ought to be the zealous endeavour of every true Christian, by Gods assistance, to prepare his Soul, with the most serious, and most devout dispositions he possibly can, to approach the Holy Altar: you are therefore to consider, what you are to do before Receiving, what in the time of Receiving, and what after Receiving.
The duties you are to perform before Receiving, are all comprehended, in that one Rule which St. Paul gives us, Let a man examine Himself, and so let him eat of that Bread, and drink of that Cup, which are in a manner Commented on by the Church, in the Exhortation before the Sacrament, which I advise you to read over in your Common Prayer Book.
To put this Rule in practice, 'tis your best way Phil. at some convenient time, to withdraw your self, into your Chamber, or into the Chappel, and there to begin to commune with your own heart, and to call your sins to remembrance; but first pray heartily to God, for His grace to assist you.
Hear the voice of my humble Petition, O Lord, now I cry unto Thee, and lift up my hands towards Thy Mercy Seat.
Behold Lord, I am now about to search into my own heart; but alas, alas! my heart is deceitful, and desperately wicked, How can I know it? O Thou therefore, that searchest the heart, and triest the reins, Discover to me all the evil, and deceits of my own heart, that I may confess, and bewail, and forsake them, and obtain mercy. Lord hear me, Lord help me, for the Merits of Jesus my Saviour. Amen, Amen.
Having prayed for Gods assistance, doubt not Phil. but he will vouchsafe it you, and to guide you in your examination the better, observe these following directions.
When you examine your self, either by the following Catalogue, or by that in the Whole Duty of Man, or by any other. Pause a while on every particular; and if you find your self not guilty, then say, Glory be to Thee, O Lord, for preserving me from this sin! and so go on.
When your Conscience answers guilty, then it will be your best way, having said, Lord have mercy upon me, and forgive me this sin, to write down that sin in a Paper, that you may have it ready to confess to God, when your Examination is done.
You are to consider Phil. that there are several degrees of young Penitents, and some are more, some less sinful. For instance:
Some there are, who either through want of conscientious Parents, or through often stifling good motions, or through Inconstancy, or Heedlessness, or Unadvisableness, or Vitious Company, or Ill Nature, or Youthful Lusts, and the like, have been from their Infancy very negligent of Learning, or at least of practising, their Duty.
Again, Some there are amongst these, whose sins are more heinous then ordinary, in regard they are accompanied with several aggravations: For any sin is Much aggravated, if it be committed Knowingly, or Deliberately, or Frequently: More then that, if it be committed Obstinately, or presumptuously, or on slight, or no temptations, or against Checks of Conscience, or against Reproofs, or Admonitions, or Chastisements, or Vows to the contrary; but most of all, If it be committed so long, and so often, till it becomes habitual, till the sinner does take delight in it, or boast of it, or make a Mock at it, or tempt others also to commit it. All these and the like Circumstances, do very much heighten the guilt of any sin.
You may easily from hence guess, what progress you have made in wickedness, and if you find your self in the number of any of these, by all means, good Phil. Resolve to repent immediately, and to confess your sins with all their aggravations; for be sure of this, that every other step you run farther from Heaven, every other hour you continue longer in a sinful course, makes your sins the more hard to be mastered, and your repentance the more difficult.
On the other side, some there are, though I fear but few, who having been brought up in the Nurture and admonition of the Lord, have been by the goodness of God, secured from violent temptations, and enormous sins; who have like Josiah, while they were yet young, sought the Lord, and have in a great measure kept their baptismal vow, and preserved a sense of their duty.
Such as these, have fewer sins to confess, and those sins less aggravated, and therefore have greater obligations, to Magnifie Gods Mercy, then others; but if you are in this number, have a care of growing careless in your examination, or of presuming on your own Innocence: for if we say, or think, we have no sin, we miserably deceive our selves. O Phil. the best of men, God knows, have very much evil in them to detest, and bewail, and have infinite need of a Saviour, and therefore let him that standeth, take heed lest he fall. Whatever you do then, be sure to keep your heart with all diligence, and to pray for constant supplies of Gods grace, for perhaps the Devil defers his tempting you, till you are grown up, and become your own Master, and have not that tenderness of offending, or that awe of Parents, or Superiors, which you now have.
Be not over scrupulous, Phil. either to make your self guilty of more sins, then really you are, or to reckon up all your infirmities or dayly failings, or sins of Omission, which would render your Examination endless, and impossible; but examine your self chiefly, about your wilful sins, or sins of Commission; and know there be many sins, even of Commission, that you may doubt whether you have committed or no, many that you have quite forgot; but be not disheartned at it, for Holy David hath taught you, that a general Confession for such sins is enough, when he prays to God, to cleanse him from his secret faults.
That you may gain a true sense of your sins, by your examination, Labour to imprint in your mind, awful apprehensions of the day of Judgment, and of God the great Judge, in whose presence you now are, and to raise such apprehensions, Dwell a while, on such Meditations as these.
O My soul, Thou art now in the Presence of the great Judge of Heaven, and Earth, before whose dreadful Tribunal, thou must certainly appear at the day of Judgment, to give a strict account, of all thy Actions, of every idle word, of every evil thought, and thy own Conscience will then be thy accuser!
Think, O my Soul, think if thou canst, what unimaginable Horrours, will seize an impenitent sinner, when the last trump calls him out of his Grave, and the Devils begin to drag him to Gods Judgment Seat! what would such a Wretch give, to purchase one such opportunity of Repentance, as God now in great mercy gives thee? If ever thou hopest to escape, those horrours, O my soul, Make thy peace with God, Judge thy self here, lest thou be condemned hereafter!
I Adjure thee, O my soul, in the presence of the great Judge, who knows all the secrets of thy heart, I adjure thee, as thou wilt answer, before Gods Judgment Seat at the last day, to tell me:
Does not thy dayly experience teach thee, that thy whole Nature is corrupt, Prone to all that is evil, and averse to all that is good?
How hast thou spent thy time from thy Childhood to this very moment?
How hast thou kept the solemn Vow of thy Baptism?
What good duties hast thou Omitted?
What sins hast thou Committed?
In particular, What sins art thou guilty of, more immediately, Against God?
Art thou guilty of, Any Infidelity, or Atheism, Any distrust in, or Presumption on, or despair of Gods Mercy?
Art thou guilty of, any Wilful Ignorance of God, or of any Idolatry in Worshiping any Creature? Hast thou loved any thing more then God, or feared any one Above him?
Hast thou been guilty of Hypocrisie in Gods service, or of forsaking God, and of resorting to the Devil, to Witches, or Wizards?
Art thou guilty of repining or murmuring at Gods providence, or of being impatient under his afflictions, or of being unthankful for His Mercies, or of being disobedient to His Commands, or of being incorrigible under his Judgments?
When, and in what manner hast thou been guilty of dishonouring God?
By blasphemous or irreligious thoughts, or discourses; or by tamely hearing others blaspheme?
By taking Gods most Holy Name in vain, or by Customary, or false swearing, or by the breach of any lawful Oath, or solemn Vows?
By any Sacriledge, or Irreverent behaviour in Gods House, or mispending the Lords day, or any neglect of, or Inattention to, Gods Word, read, or preacht, or unprofitableness, under the means of Grace?
Have I dishonoured God, by Coldness, and Wandrings, and Indevotion, or Carelessness in my Prayers, or by any Weariness in His Service, or by any total neglect of it, or by Unworthy Communicating?
By Impenitence, or putting off the evil day, or superficial, and partial repentances, or frequent Relapses, or Resisting the good Motions of Gods Spirit?
By abetting any Schism, or Heresie, or Prophaness?
O my soul, what sins art thou guilty of, more immediately, Against thy self?
Art thou guilty of Pride, either of thy Clothes, or of thy Estate, or of thy Credit, or of thy Parts, or of thy own Holiness, or of boasting of thy own good deeds, or of commending thy self, or of being greedy of Praise, or of performing good duties to gain applause, or of committing sin to avoid reproach of men?
Hast thou been immoderately greedy of Riches, or of sensual pleasures, or guilty of peevishness, or of too violent, or too lasting fits of anger, or of Inconstancy, or of inconsideration, or of discontentedness, with thy condition?
Hast thou been guilty of mispending thy time, or of negligence in resisting temptations, or of not improving those opportunities of Learning, and Piety, which God gives thee in this place, or of Abusing Thy Natural parts to Sin?
Hast thou been guilty of any Intemperance in eating, or in drinking, or in sleeping, or in recreations, spending too much time on them, or being too greedy after them?
Hast thou been guilty of Idleness, or of downright drunkenness, or of laughing at it in others?
Hast thou been guilty of any Uncleanness, of the Eye, or of the Hand, or of the Fansie, of any lasciviousness, or Lust, or Fornication, or Adultery, or hast thou taken delight in lewd Company, or in vitious, or Unchast, Songs, or Stories, or expressions?
O my Soul, what sins art thou guilty of, more immediately, Against thy Neighbour?
How, when, where, Against whom, hast thou been guilty of, Any Injury, or Injustice, or Oppression, or breach of Trust, or Promise, or of any Fraud, or Theft, or Flattery, or Dissimulation, or Treachery, or Lying, or of giving any just Scandal?
How, when, where, against whom, hast thou been guilty of, Any Ill Language, or detraction, or slander, or tale-bearing, or rash censuring, or back-biting, or of Contemning, or Scoffing, at thy Neighbour, either for his Infirmities, or for his being religious?
How, when, where, against whom, hast thou been guilty of any Contentiousness, or Spight, or Revenge, or of delighting Causlesly to grieve thy Neighbour, or of Railing, or of actually Hurting him, Or of murdering him in thy mind, by Ill wishes, or Curses, Hast thou been guilty of bitter imprecations, or bearing false witness, or Covetousness of any thing He possesses?
Hast thou been guilty of, Unthankfulness to those that have done thee good, or have reproved thee, or of Uncharitableness to the Poor, or to any Christian in distress, or of any Unnaturalness to any of thy Relations, or of any Evil-speaking, or Dis-respect, or Stubbornness, against any of thy Governours, either Civil, or Ecclesiastical, or in particular Against thy Parents, or Superiours in this place, or of any Wilful Disobedience to the lawful Commands of all, or either of them?
Hast thou tempted any other to sin, by Connivence, or Encouragement, or Command, or Perswasion, and Mightily increased thy own Guilt, by furthering the damnation of thy Brother?
In case Phil. you do find this Examination, too difficult for you, or are afraid you shall not rightly perform it, or meet with any scruples, or troubles of Conscience, in the practice of it, I then advise you, as the Church does, to go to one of your Superiours in this place, to be your Spiritual Guide, and be not ashamed to Unburthen your Soul freely to Him, that besides His Ghostly Counsel, you may receive the benefit of Absolution; For though Confession of our Sins to God, is only Matter of duty, and absolutely Necessary, yet Confession to our spiritual Guide also, is by many devout souls, found to be very advantageous to true Repentance.
If upon your Examination Phil. you find you have any way wronged your Neighbour, Resolve upon the first opportunity, to make him some suitable satisfaction, and to ask his forgiveness; for you are first to be reconciled to your Brother, before you come to the Altar, to offer your Gift.
If you are guilty, of tempting any other to sin, Ask Gods pardon for him, as well as for your self, and if you have any opportunity to do it, exhort him to Repentance.
But if any hath wronged you, forgive the Injury presently, for you beg forgiveness of God, on this very condition, that you your self forgive your Brother.
This Examination of your self, Phil. I suppose will be task enough for you at one time, and therefore that you may not tire your self, you may conclude, with this short Prayer.
O Lord God, I have now by Thy Assistance, considered my own evil ways, O Thou who only knowest the Heart, and who only canst change it, Create in me such a broken and contrite heart which thou hast promised not to despise, and so deep a sense of my own sin and misery, that my Repentance, may bear some Proportion to my Guilt. O my God, Pardon all my failings, and perfect that good work, thou hast begun in me, for the merits of Jesus my Saviour, In whose Holy words, I sum up all my wants. Our Father &c.
At the very next opportunity of retiring you can get, Resolve, good Phil. with the Prodigal, to return to your Heavenly Father, and humbly to beg forgiveness, and having brought your Catalogue of Sins with you, Kneel down, and with the lowest prostrations of soul and body, make your Confession to God, of your Sins, and of their aggravations.
O Thou great Judge of Heaven, and Earth, before whose Glorious Majesty, even the Good Angels, who never sinned, fall Prostrate and tremble.
With what debasement, and dread, ought I to appear before Thy Awful presence, who am but dust, and ashes, and which is infinitely worse, a miserable, wretched Sinner!
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, Thou art of purer eyes then to behold evil, with the least approbation, The way of the wicked, and the sacrifice of the wicked, is an abomination to Thee!
Wo is me then, O Lord, wo is me, for I have inclined unto wickedness with my heart, but for, the sake of thy well-beloved Son, Cast not out my prayer, nor turn Thy Mercy from me.
Miserable wretch that I am, I have gone astray from the very womb, I was shapen in wickedness, and in sin did my Mother conceive me! Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? What is man then, O God, that he should be clean, or he that is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?
Thou Lord puttest no trust in Thy Saints, and the Heavens are not clean in Thy sight, and the very Angels Thou chargest with folly!
How much more abominable then, and filthy am I, who dayly drink iniquity like Water!
Lord pity, and cleanse, and forgive, and save me, for Thy Mercies sake.
I know, O God, that in my flesh dwelleth no good thing, for when I would do good, evil is present with me, and I see a Law in my Members, warring against the Law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity, to the law of sin.
Lord have mercy upon me, and deliver me from this body of death, from this Tyranny of sin.
Alas, alas! My whole Nature is Corrupt, Infinitely prone to all evil, and averse to all that is good, my Understanding is full of Ignorance and Errour, my Will is perverse, my Memory tenacious of all things that may pollute me, and forgetful of my duty, my Passions are inordinate, my Senses the inlets of all impurity, and I have abused all my faculties, I am Unclean, Unclean!
Lord Pity, and Cleanse, and forgive, and save me, for Thy Mercies sake.
O Lord God, How have I through my whole life, violated the solemn Vow, I made to Thee, in my Baptism, by eagerly pursuing, the vanities of this wicked World, by easily yielding, to the temptations of the Devil, by greedily indulging my own Carnal desires, and lusts, by a fruitless and dead faith, and by disobedience to thy Holy Will, and Commands.
Father I have sinned against Heaven, and in Thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called Thy Son.
I have sinned, O Lord God, I have sinned Against Thee, by--
Here confess out of your Paper, the sins which you have committed, more immediately against God, with those aggravations that accompany them. For instance, Lord I have committed this sin, or these sins, frequently, against Checks of Conscience, &c. and then add:
Father I have sinned against Heaven, and in Thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called Thy Son, O Pity, and Cleanse, and forgive, and save me, for Thy Mercies sake.
I have sinned, O Lord, God, I have sinned, Against Thee, and against my own self, by --
Here confess the sins you have committed more immediately against your self, with their aggravations, &c. and say as before:
Father I have sinned against Heaven, &c.
I have sinned, O Lord, God, I have sinned, Against Thee, and against my Neighbour by --
Here confess the sins you have committed more immediately against your Neighbour, with their aggravations, &c. and add as before:
Father I have sinned against Heaven, &c.
O Lord God my wickedness is great, and my iniquities are infinite, they are more in number then the hairs of my head, and my heart would fail me, but that I well know, Thy mercies are more Numberless then my sins.
Have mercy upon me therefore, O Lord, according to Thy great goodness, according to the multitude of Thy mercies, do away my offences.
Who alas, can tell how oft he offendeth! O cleanse Thou me from my secret faults, from all my sins of Ignorance, or Infirmity, or Omission, or which I have not observed, or which I have forgot, Lord lay none of them to my charge, Father forgive me, Lord Jesus have mercy on me.
O remember not the sins, and offences of my youth, but receive me, O Heavenly Father, into the arms, of Thy Fatherly Compassion, as Thou didst the returning Prodigal, and forgive me all my transgressions, for the merits of Jesus, Thy only well-beloved Son, and my Saviour. Amen, Amen.
When you have thus confest your sins, good Phil. endeavour to be still more sensible of them, and to bewail them, with a true Penitential Hatred, and Shame, and Sorrow for them, then make steady resolutions of forsaking them, and cry earnestly to God for pardon and grace, for you must as well put on the New man, as put off the Old; of all which acts of Repentance, I give you, the following instances, and advise you to say them over, as devoutly, as possibly you can.
O Lord God, I am ashamed, and blush to lift up my face to Thee, for my iniquities, are increased over my head, and my trespasses, are grown up unto the Heavens!
O my Soul, what fruit have I reapt from all the pleasures of sin, which flattered me, but vanity, and vexation of Spirit!
Lord I am ashamed of my own folly, and madness, and disingenuity, when I call to mind, how greedily I have sucked in my own Pollution. How treacherously I have betrayed my own Soul to temptations, and combined with the very Devils, to hasten and increase my own damnation; How obstinately, I have fled from Thee, when Thy Mercy pursued me with promises of Pardon; How unworthily I have abused Thy Goodness, and forbearance, and long-suffering, which should have led me to Repentance.
Surely, after I was turned, I repented; and since I have considered my ways, I am ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I bear the Reproach of my youth.
I hate all evil ways, O Lord, but Thy Law will I love!
O Lord God, nothing is more abominable in Thy sight, or more Diabolical; Nothing more defaces Thy Divine Image, or makes me more odious in Thy Purest Eyes, then Sin, and therefore I hate and abhor it!
O Lord God, I confess I have Nothing good in me, Nothing that can any way move Thee, to compassionate so loathsome a Sinner, but Thy own free, and Undeserved, and Infinite Mercy, and the merits of my Saviour!
O Lord God, I cannot but admire the Riches of Thy Goodness, who hast spared me so long, and hast given me this opportunity of Repentance, O do Thou yet Magnifie Thy mercy more, in my forgiveness; O Cleanse me from all that Filth my soul hath contracted, which now renders me odious to my own self, as well as to Thee?
Miserable Wretch that I am, that I should begin so early to offend my Creatour, and sin so much, in so short a time!
Lord I fear, I never yet throughly considered, how evil, and how bitter a thing it is to depart from Thee, O make me every day, more and more sensible of the errour of my ways, and of my own Infinite vileness!
Miserable wretch that I am, that ever I should commit those sins which expose me to all the vials of Thy wrath; to all the Curses of Thy Law, to all Thy Judgments temporal, or spiritual in this life, and to all the Horrors, and despair; and torments of the Damned, in the life to come!
Miserable wretch that I am, that ever I should transgress that Law of Thine, O God, which is so Just, and Holy, and good, and perfect, and so condescending to my infirmities; and in keeping of which there are so great, so Unconceivable Rewards!
O that with Mary Magdalene, I could weep much and love much, having so much to be forgiven!
O Gracious Lord, look on me, as Thou didst on Peter, and let Thy Compassionate look so pierce my heart, that I may weep bitterly for my sins.
O Lord God, Break this hard heart, for Thou only canst do it, and melt it into tears of Contrition! Miserable wretch that I am, that I should sin so much and yet grieve so little!
Wo is me, Miserable wretch, wo is me, that ever I should offend so Indulgent, so Liberal, so tender a Father!
Wo is me, that ever I should repay the infinite love, and the intolerable Sufferings of my Saviour for me, with Nothing but those sins, which occasioned those very sufferings!
Wo is me, that ever I should grieve the Holy Spirit, by rejecting so many of His good Motions, from whom only, I derive Grace and Consolation!
O Lord God, every slight worldly trouble, is apt to draw plenty of tears from mine eyes, but when I should weep for my sins, which are the greatest calamities that can possibly befal me, either my eyes are dry, or my tears too few, to bewail so many Provocations!
O Blessed Spirit, instil true penitent sorrow into my soul, Make my Head Waters, and my Eyes Fountains of tears, Or do Thou supply the want of them, with sighs and groans Unutterable!
But alas, I know all the tears I can possibly shed, can never wash away the least of my sins, 'Tis Thy blood only, Lord, that can do it!
O Blessed Saviour, how can I ever sufficiently lament the guilt of my sins, which was so great, that nothing but Thy own inestimable bloud could expiate!
O Heavenly Father, in the defect of my own tears, I offer Thee the bloud, of Thy own well-beloved Son, for His sake, Have mercy upon me. Amen, Amen.
O Lord God, with shame I confess, that Other Lords besides Thee, have hitherto had dominion over me.
I have been in the Snare of the Devil, and have been led captive by Him, and Sin hath reigned in my Mortal body, and I have obeyed it in the lusts thereof, But henceforth I resolve to serve none but Thee, and from this very moment, I utterly forsake all my sins, and turn to Thee!
O my God, I do from my heart Renew, my Baptismal Vow, which alas, I have hitherto so often violated, I do for ever Renounce, the Devil and all His works, and all His temptations, I do for ever Renounce, all the vanities of this wicked World, which may pervert me from Thy Service, and all the sinful lusts of the flesh.
O my God, I do stedfastly believe, all the Articles of the Christian Faith, and I will keep Thy Holy Will, and Commandments, and walk in the same, all the days of my life.
All this am I bound to do and believe, and by Thy help, so I will, and I heartily thank Thee, O Heavenly Father, who hast called me to this state of salvation, through Jesus Christ my Saviour, and I humbly pray Thee for His sake, to give me grace, that I may continue in the same to my lives end.
Blessed be Thy Name, O Lord God, who hast set before me life and death, and hast bid me chuse life!
Behold Lord, I do with all my heart chuse life, I chuse Thee, O my God, for Thou art my life!
Save Lord, and Hear me, O King of Heaven, and accept my Sacrifice, even the Sacrifice of my whole heart, which I now give Thee.
O my God, I offer Thee my Senses, and passions, and all my faculties, I offer Thee all my desires, All my designs, all my studies, all my endeavours, all the Remainder of my life, All that I have, or am, I offer up all entirely to Thy service.
Lord sanctifie me wholly, that my whole Spirit, Soul, and Body, may become Thy Temple; O do Thou dwell in me, and be Thou my God, and I will be Thy Servant. Amen, Amen.
O Lord God, I do from henceforth Resolve, to love my Neighbour as my self, and to love him not in word only, but in deed and in truth!
I do from my heart forgive all men their trespasses, Do Thou Lord forgive them also!
Lord bless them that Hate me, and do Good to them that have any way despitefully used me, O Repay them, Good for Evil!
O my God bless all those that I have any way wronged, Have mercy on All those, to whose sins I have been any way accessory, and give them all grace to forgive me, Amen, Amen.
O Thou Father of Mercies, and God of all Consolation, be merciful to me a miserable sinner!
Lord Remember all Thy Gracious calls of sinners to Repentance, All Thy Protestations that Thou delightest not in the death of him that dies, and that Thou wouldst have all to be saved!
Lord Remember all the exceeding great, and pretious promises, which Thou hast made to Penitent sinners!
Lord Remember, that Thy mercy is over all Thy works, that in mercy Thou delightest, and that all the Holy Angels seeing Thee well pleased in the exercise of that Mercy, Rejoice at the Conversion of a Sinner, that the greater my sins are, the more will that Mercy be magnified in my forgiveness!
Lord Remember, that Thou didst so love the world, as to give Thy only beloved Son, a Ransome for it!
O Heavenly Father, Thou that sparedst not Thy only Son, but deliveredst Him up for us, wilt thou not with Him also freely give us All things? and if all things, wilt Thou not also, give us the pardon of our sins?
O my God, I firmly believe Thou wilt, on that ransome my Saviour hath paid for me, and on all Thy gracious promises of pardon, which for his sake Thou hast made to me, I wholly rely; Here only is the sure, and stedfast anchor of my soul, to which my Faith, and Hope, shall for ever adhere.
All this Lord do I plead, to implore Thy forgiveness.
Behold Lord, though my failings are many, yet to the utmost of my power, I have confest, and bewailed, and forsaken my transgressions, Behold Lord I come at Thy Call, and I come weary, and heavy laden, with the burthen of my sins; Be it unto me according to Thy Word, O Thou that art faithful and just forgive me my sins, and cleanse me from all Unrighteousness. Lord do Thou in no wise cast me from Thee, but Heal my Backslidings, and love me freely, Ease me of my Burthen, that I may find rest in Thee, and say unto my Soul, Be of good chear, thy sins are forgiven thee.
O Heavenly Father, for thine own Infinite Mercies sake, for Thy truth and Promise sake, for all the merits and sufferings of the Son of Thy Love, in whom Thou art always well pleased, Pardon all my sins, and failings, and receive me into Thy favour.
Amen, O Lord God, Amen, Amen.
O Lord God, I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep Thy righteous Judgments.
But alas! I am able of my self, to do nothing that is good, not so much as to think one good thought, and I no sooner shall rise from my knees, but I fear I shall be tempted, to those very sins, I have now so solemnly renounced, and those temptations will certainly overcome me, unless Thou Lord, dost seasonably interpose Thy grace to with-hold me.
But I can do all things through Thee strengthening me: Do Thou then, O blessed Saviour, perfect Thy strength in my weakness, for in Thee only is my trust.
O my God Thou hast promised to give Thy Holy Spirit to those that ask it. Behold Lord, I do humbly, I do earnestly ask Thy Holy Spirit now of Thee, O fulfil Thy gracious promise to me, O vouchsafe me that Holy Spirit I pray for, to purifie my corrupt nature, to strengthen my weakness, to comfort me in troubles, to support me in discouragements, to succour me in temptations, and to assist me in all parts of my duty, that I may ever hereafter live in Thy fear, and in constant, sincere and universal obedience, to all Thy righteous Laws.
Thou O searcher of hearts, knowest the sin (or sins) I am most inclined to, [here name it or them] and herein will lie my greatest danger of back-sliding; But O my God, I beg a double portion of Thy invisible aid against it, (or them.) Hold Thou up my goings in Thy paths, that my Footsteps slip not; O work in me that victorious Faith, by which I may overcome the World, the Devil and my own corrupt Nature.
True it is, O Lord God, that there are many sins which upon examination I find, through Thy grace I have not yet committed, and therefore not unto me Lord, but to Thy name be the glory; but alas! there is in my corrupt nature so great a proneness to evil, so great a curiosity to try what sin is, that without Thy restraining. Grace, every temptation when I shall have more age and liberty and opportunity to enforce it, will be apt to draw me from my obedience, and to overthrow all my present Resolutions.
But my Help standeth in Thee, O great Creatour, who hast made Heaven and Earth, and I commit my Soul to Thy keeping, O Thou that art faithful as well as Almighty, keep that safe which is committed to Thy trust, watch over me, that I may not be beguiled by the deceitfulnes of sin, or betrayed by my own treacherous heart, or surprized by my ghostly enemies, and give me grace to watch and to pray incessantly my self, lest I enter into temptation. Hear Lord from Heaven, and succour me, for the alone merits of Jesus my Saviour. Amen, Amen.
O That my ways, Lord, were made so direct that I might keep Thy Statutes, for then shall I not be confounded, when I have respect unto all Thy Commandments!
Vouchsafe me Thy Holy Spirit, therefore O Lord God to work in me, whatever is well-pleasing in Thy sight, that for the time to come, I may bring forth fruits meet for repentance!
O let it be Thy good pleasure, to create in me a saving Knowledge of Thee and of my duty, justifying Faith, true sanctifying Grace, and a purifying Hope, an ardent Love, and a filial fear of Thee, a constant desire of pleasing Thee, and a great tenderness of offending Thee!
Lord create in me, a penitent heart, a resigned will, and mortified affections, an habitual mindfulness of Thy presence, and a steddy devotion in my Prayers, sincere intentions, and Zeal for Thy Glory, Perseverance in all Holy purposes, and constancy in all trials, and temptations.
Lord create in me, a Reverential awe of Thy Name, a delight in Thy service, a sacred regard to Thy day and house of Prayer, and a great attention to Thy Word; a dayly care of my time, and diligence in my studies.
Lord make me chast and temperate, humble, and adviseable, and patient of reproof, and create in me a chearful and meek, a contented and considerate, a quiet and peaceful spirit.
Lord bless me with Health and Competency of living, with a good understanding, a retentive memory, and a ready apprehension, and with such a measure of temporal good things, as Thou seest fit for me, and give me grace to make a right use of all those blessings, I have already received.
Lord Purifie my thoughts, Bridle my tongue, Guide all my actions, Guard all my senses, Stop my ears, and turn away my eyes, from sin and vanity.
Lord give me grace, to be just in all my dealing, to do to all men, as I would they should do to me, to be subject to my Parents, and to all my Superiours, to the King as supreme, and to all Civil Magistrates, To the Pastors of Thy Church, and to all my Governours in this place, O grant that I may render due honour and obedience to them all, in their several stations.
Lord make me willing to forgive injuries, and unwilling to offer any; Make me grateful to my Benefactors, friendly to my equals, condescending to my inferiours, compassionate to the afflicted, charitable to the Poor according to my ability, a Lover of good men, and kind to my enemies, and give me grace to keep always, a Conscience void of offence, towards Thee, and towards men, and to continue in the Communion of Thy Church, without wavering.
O Merciful God, keep Thy servant, from all wilful, deliberate or presumptuous sins, and let no wickedness have dominion over me.
From stubbornness and pride, idleness and sloth, intemperance and youthful lusts, inconstancy and lying, Good Lord deliver me.
From irreligious principles, and false Teachers, unruly passions, and violent temptations, from contracting vitious habits, or taking pleasure in sin, from prophaneness and ill company, envy and malice, detraction and uncharitableness, Good Lord deliver me.
From the errors and vices of the Age, and all remanent affections to sin, from the sin, (or sins) my corrupt Nature is most inclined to, [Here name it or them,] from whatsoever is offensive to Thee, or destructive to my own Soul, Good Lord deliver me.
Hear me, O Heavenly Father, , and conform my whole life, to the Example of my Blessed Saviour, and that for his sake in whose holy words, I sum up all my wants, Our Father which art in heaven, &c.
You have now, Good Phil. by Gods help, gone over the hardest part of your preparation for the Holy Sacrament, the next thing you are to do, is to examine your self, whether you do sufficiently understand what the Sacrament is, then to ask your self, with what intentions you do approach it, and to pray for Gods grace to dispose you for Worthy Receiving, and all these particulars, together with all that you are to know, and believe, concerning the Blessed Sacrament, are contained in these following Meditations, which I advise you to read over devoutly, at several times, till you are in some measure, affected with them.
I Adore Thee O Blessed Jesus, My Lord, and my God, when I consider, what that Sacrament is, to which Thou now invitest me, and of what parts it consists; Of an Outward and visible sign, and of an Inward and spiritual Grace! For Thou Lord, who knowest our Infirmities, and how little able we are, to conceive things heavenly and spiritual, In pity to our dark and feeble apprehensions, hast Ordained Outward, and Obvious, and Visible signs, to represent to our minds Thy grace, which is Inward and Invisible; Thou hast ordained bread and wine, which is our Corporal food, to picture out to our Faith, the food of our Souls.
I know O my God, that I must look through the Outward Elements, and fix my faith on that which they signifie, and which is the Inward, and Invisible Grace, even Thy own blessed Body and Bloud, which is verily, and indeed, taken and received of the faithful in the Lords Supper.
But tell me, O Thou whom my Soul loveth, How canst Thou give us Thy flesh to Eat?
Lord Thou hast told me that Thy words, they are Spirit and they are life, and are therefore not Carnally to be understood, Lord I believe, Help Thou my Un-Unbelief!
I believe Thy body and blood to be as really present in the Holy Sacrament, as Thy Divine Power can make it, though the manner of Thy Mysterious presence, I cannot comprehend.
Lord I believe, that the Bread that we break, and the Cup that we drink, are not bare signs only, but the real Communication of Thy Body, and Thy Bloud, and pledges to assure me of it, and I verily believe, that if with due preparation I come to Thy Altar, as certainly as I receive the Outward Signs, so certainly shall I receive the thing signified, even Thy most Blessed Body and Bloud, to receive which inestimable Blessing, O merciful Lord, do Thou fit and prepare me. Amen, Amen.
I Adore Thee O Blessed Jesus, my Lord, and my God, when I consider, that this Holy Sacrament, was Thy own Institution, For it was Thou Lord, who in the night Thou wast betrayed, didst take Bread, and after that the Cup, and didst bless them, and give them to Thy Disciples; O blessed Saviour, let Thy Divinity thus stampt on it, strike into my Soul, an Holy Awe and Reverence in approaching it; O Create in me Heavenly dispositions, to celebrate so Heavenly an Institution! Amen, Amen.
I Adore Thee, O Blessed Jesus, My Lord, and my God, when I consider, for what end Thou didst institute the Holy Sacrament, implied in Thy own Command, Do this in Remembrance of Me.
But what need This Command, O Gracious Lord, is it possible for me, ever to forget Thee my Saviour, who hast done so great things for me?
Alas, alas! my own sad experience tells me it is, wo is me, every temptation, every vanity is apt to make me forget Thee, though Thy own Dying words bid me remember Thee!
But O Blessed Lord, for Thy infinite Mercies sake, Pardon all my stupid forgetfulness, and ingratitude hitherto, and do Thou now Create in me, such a thankful and lively Remembrance, of Thy Dying for me, that may excite me, to give up my self entirely to Thee, as Thou didst give up Thy self, on the Cross for me. Amen, Amen.
O Thou my crucified Saviour, Glory be to Thee, for causing Thy sufferings to be registred in the Gospel; There I have read and Remember the Wonders, and Triumphs of Thy Almighty Love, for which I will always Adore, and Praise Thee!
I Remember, O Gracious Lord, How Thou who thoughtst it no robbery to be equal with God, wast made in the Fashion of frail man, of the vilest, and most contemptible of men; for Thou tookest on Thee, the form of a very Servant; I Remember how many reproaches and contradictions, and blasphemies, and persecutions, Thou didst endure, from a wicked and perverse generation, and all this to save us sinful men.
O Lord Jesus, was ever sorrow, like unto Thy sorrow? Worthy art Thou, O Lamb that was slain to receive, Power, and Riches, and Wisdom, and Strength, and Honour, and Glory, and Blessing!
I Remember, O gracious Lord, How Thou didst indure, a most bitter Agony, and didst sweat great drops of blood, falling to the ground, How Thou who art God above all, Blessed for ever, wast treacherously betrayed, and apprehended, and bound as a Malefactor, How Thou wast set at nought by Herod, and his men of war, and forsaken of all Thy Disciples, and denied by Peter, and all this to save us sinful men!
O Lord Jesus, was ever sorrow, &c.
I Remember, How Thou O God of Truth, wast accused by false witnesses, How Thou whom all the Angels adore, wast blindfolded, and buffeted, and mocked, and spit upon, and stript naked, and scourged, and all this that we might be healed by Thy stripes, and to save us sinful men!
O Lord Jesus, was ever any sorrow, &c.
I Remember Lord, How Thou that art the great Judge of Heaven and Earth, wast Thy self dragged to the Judgment-Seat, and condemned, How Thou O King of Heaven wast crowned with thorns, and opprest with the weight of Thy own Cross, and all this to save us sinful men!
O Lord Jesus was ever any sorrow, &c.
I Remember O blessed Saviour, How Thou who art the Lord of Glory, and the sole Author of life, wast put to a most ignominious death, How Thy hands and Thy feet were nailed to a Cross, How Thou wast Crucified between two Thieves, and numbred with the Transgressors, How Thou hadst a potion given Thee, to imbitter Thy very last gasp, and all this to save us sinful men!
O Lord Jesus, was ever any sorrow, &c.
I Remember O Gracious Lord, How when Thou wert hanging on the very Cross, Thou wast scoffed at and reviled, How infinitely then Thou wert afflicted, and bruised for our transgressions, when the Iniquities of us all were laid on Thy shoulders, How Thou didst then express an anguish, greater then all the tortures of Thy Crucifixion, when Thou didst cry out, My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me, and how Thou didst at last give up the Ghost, and die Thy self, that we might live!
O Lord Jesus, was ever any sorrow, &c.
I Unfeignedly believe, O Gracious Lord, that Thou didst suffer all this for sinful men, and in particular for me, when we were all Thy utter enemies; and had nothing in us to move Thee to pity us, but our extream misery, Nothing to move Thee to save us, but our great Unworthiness, and Thy greater Mercy!
O the depth of the Riches of Thy Love, Blessed Lord, How Unutterable is Thy Mercy, and Thy Love past finding out!
O All ye Holy Angels, Behold, and Wonder, Wretched Man hath sinned against God, and God, himself has suffered the Sinners Punishment!
Was there ever any sorrow, like that which my Lord and my God, endured for me!
Was there any Love, like to that Love, my Lord and my God has shewed to me?
Help me then, O ye Blessed Host of Heaven, to celebrate that Unknown Sorrow, that Wonderful Love, which you your selves so much Admire, Help me to praise my Crucified Saviour!
O my Gracious Lord, my heart is now full, of the sense of Thy Love, and what have I to return to Thee, but Love again? 'Tis all I have to offer Thee, Accept it O merciful Lord, imperfect as it is, and Do Thou daily heighten my sense of Thy Love to me, that I may dayly heighten my Love to Thee!
O Thou Infinite Lover of Souls, with all my Heart I Love, I Praise, I Adore Thy Love to me, but alas, I can never do it enough!
O do Thou at last Gracious Lord, translate me to Thy Kingdom of Glory, that there I may Love Thee to the Utmost Capacity of a Creature, and Praise Thee to all Eternity.
Amen Lord Jesus Amen, Amen.
I Adore Thee, O Blessed Jesu, my Lord, and my God, when I consider the Benefits, which through Thy Mercy, we receive by the Holy Sacrament!
Glory be to Thee, O Lord, who there makest Thy own Body, and Bloud, to become our spiritual food, to strengthen, and refresh our Souls!
Glory be to Thee, O Lord, who by this Heavenly food dost mystically Unite us to Thy self, for Nothing becomes One with our Bodies more, then the bodily food we eat, which turns into our very substance, and Nothing makes us become One with Thee more, then when Thou vouchsafest to become the very food of our souls!
Glory be to Thee, O Lord, who by this Immortal food, dost nourish our souls, to live the life of Grace here, and doest raise us up to life everlasting hereafter! Lord do Thou evermore give me this bread! Amen, Amen.
O Blessed Saviour! what more powerful Motives can I have, to perswade me to Communicate, then Thy Command, and the Admirable effects of the Holy Sacrament!
But alas! my corrupt Nature, is apt to suggest to me, low and base inducements to this duty, such as are, fear of my Superiours displeasure, if I abstain, or shame of not appearing as devout as my Equals, or the meer Custome of the Place, or of the Season!
But Lord I do from my heart, Renounce all these, and the like Carnal Considerations, and I come to Thy Altar, to renew my Baptismal Covenant, with, Thee, of which Thy Sacrament is a Seal.
I come to Testifie my sense of Thy Love, O Heavenly Father, in So loving the World, as to give up Thy only Son to die for me.
I come to testifie my Faith in Thee, and my Love toward Thee, O Blessed Saviour, and thankfully to Commemorate, Thy Wonderful Love in dying for me.
I come Lord, to testifie my stedfastness in the Communion of Thy Church, and my Charity to all the World.
I come to Thy table O Lord, out of the sense I have, of the want of that Spiritual food, to which Thou there invitest me.
Alas, Alas! I am soon apt to grow weary of welldoing, a few prayers, every little duty is apt to tire me, Every slight temptation is apt to overcome. me, and I know there is no food can strengthen my Soul but Thy Body, No Cordial can revive my drooping Obedience, but Thy Bloud, and 'Tis Thy most blessed Body, and Bloud, I hunger and thirst after, O Gracious Lord, Grant that I, and all that communicate with me, may feel its saving efficacy, O Feed, O Refresh, O Nourish our Souls with it, to life everlasting, and that for Thy own Infinite Mercy sake, which moved Thee to offer up Thy Body and Bloud for us! Amen, Amen.
Blessed Lord Jesus! I even tremble when I consider, that He that eateth and drinketh Unworthily is Guilty of Thy Body and Bloud, and eateth and drinketh damnation to his own Soul, and this severe Sentence on Unworthy Communicants, makes me afraid to come to Thy Altar;
But when I consider, that Thy Sentence is as Severe against those, who being invited refuse to Come, for Thou hast said, they shall not taste of Thy Supper, and Unless we eat Thy flesh, and drink Thy bloud, we have no life in us, I am then afraid to Keep away;
But Blessed be Thy Mercy O Lord, for in this streight my Soul is in, Thou art my Guide, Thou by giving me this opportunity of Receiving, Invitest me to Thy table, Thou callest me to seek Thy face, and my heart replies, Thy face Lord will I seek!
If Thou Lord should be extream, to mark what is done amiss, Alas, alas! I am then Unfit not only to Communicate, but to say even my daily prayers.
I Know Lord, that if I should stay till I am Worthy to come, I should then never come, and therefore though I am Unworthy, of so Unspeakable a mercy, yet I come, to beg Thy Grace to make me Worthy, or at least Such as Thou wilt accept!
O Blessed Jesus, do Thou so open my eye of faith, to discern Thy Body, and Bloud in the Holy Sacrament, Do Thou so Dispose my Soul, at this time to Communicate, that I may feel all the happy effects of Thy own Divine Institution, that my Soul may receive such lasting impressions of Thy Goodness, and be so Ravisht with the Love of Thee, and with the Incomparable Delights of Thy Service, and with such an early fore-taste of Heaven, that all the pleasures of sin, which in my growing years may tempt me, may appear to me tasteless and Unwelcome.
O Heavenly Father, Cloath me with the Wedding Garment, even the Graces of my Blessed Saviour, for then am I sure to be a Welcome guest to Thy Table, when I shall come thither, in the likeness of Thy only well-beloved Son, in whom Thou art always well-pleased!
O Heavenly Father, Fill me with a lively faith, profound humility, filial obedience, enflamed affections, and Universal Charity, O raise in my Soul, all those Heavenly transports of Zeal, and Devotion, of Love, and desire, of Joy and delight, of Praise and thanksgiving, which become the Remembrance of a Crucified Saviour, which become one Redeemed by the Bloud of God, and that for His sake only, that Redeemed me, in whose Holy Words, I sum up all the Graces and Blessings I stand in Need of. Our Father which art in heaven, &c.
This Prayer, Phil. is proper for you to add to your Morning Prayer, the day on which you are to Receive.
IN time of Receiving, Good Phil. Labour all you can, to keep your heart affected with the Publick Prayers, and to fill up all the vacant minutes with Holy Ejaculations, such as these which follow!
In the multitude of Thy Mercies, O Lord God, do I now approach Thy Altar, O Pardon my sins, and Receive me Graciously! Amen, Amen.
Blessed be Thou, O Lord God, for all things come of Thee, and of Thy own do I now give Thee!
O let this Alms be an Odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, and well-pleasing to Thee!
O Blessed Jesu, In the bread Broken, I call to mind Thy Body torn with Whips, and Thorns, and Nails; and in the Wine poured out, I call to mind Thy precious bloud, shed for my sins!
Glory be to Thee O Lamb of God, that didst offer Thy self a Sacrifice, to take away the sins of the whole World, Lord have mercy on me, and take away Mine also.
O my God, whom have I in Heaven but Thee, and there is none on Earth I desire, in comparison of Thee.
As the Hart panteth after the Water brooks, so panteth my Soul, after Thee O God!
My Soul is athirst for Thee, O God, my God!
Blessed Saviour, I am Thine, I am wholly Thine, for Thou hast bought me with a Price, with the inestimable price of Thy Own bloud!
Lord suffer not the price of Thy own bloud to perish, and I will always glorifie Thee in my Body, and in my Spirit, which are Thine.
If there be many Communicants, and thou hast much vacant time, Phil. and doest want devout Matter to imploy thy thoughts, till All have communicated, thou mayest then repeat, the Thanksgiving for Christs sufferings, either in whole, or in part, as thou seest it needful.
O Lord God, I now desire to renew, my Covenant with Thee, and to seal it in this Sacrament!
Lord put Thy Laws into my mind, and write them in my heart, and for the Passion of Thy Son, which I now commemorate, be merciful to my Unrighteousness, My sins, and my iniquities, remember no more, and be Thou my God, and I will be Thy servant. Amen, Amen.
O my Soul, taste now, and see, How gracious the Lord is!
Glory be to Thee, O Lord, who feedest me with the bread of life.
O Lord God, who didst sanctifie us, by the offering of the body of Jesus once for all, sanctifie me, even me, O Heavenly Father!
Glory be to Thee, O Lord Jesus, who permittest me to drink of the fountain of life freely!
My Beloved is mine, and I am his!
Blessed Saviour, Thou hast Loved us, and washed us from our sins in Thy own bloud, and therefore to Thee be Glory and Dominion, for ever and ever. Amen, Amen.
Glory be to Thee O Jesus, My Lord, and my God, for thus feeding my Soul, with thy most blessed body and bloud, O let Thy Heavenly food transfuse new life, and new vigour into my Soul, and into the Souls of all that Communicate with me, that our Faith may daily increase, that we may all grow more humble, and Contrite for our sins, that we may all love Thee, and serve Thee, and delight in Thee, and Praise Thee, more servently, more incessantly, then ever we have done heretofore! Amen, Amen.
After the Congregation is dismist, Phil. if you cannot get privacie in your own Chamber, I advise you at the first opportunity to go into the Chappel, and there to give God thanks, for that great blessing, of which He has now made you a partaker.
O How plentiful is Thy Goodness, My Lord, and my God, which Thou hast laid up for those that fear Thee, which Thou hast laid up for those, that put their trust in Thy Mercy!
Was it not Love Infinite enough, Dearest Lord, to give Thy self for me on the Cross? Was not that Sacrifice of Thy self, sufficient to expiate, the sins of the whole world? What Lord couldst Thou then do more for me?
All the mighty Host of Heaven stood amazed, to see the bloud of God shed, to see their King of Glory, to whom from everlasting, they had sung, their Hallelujahs, Nailed to a Cross; and all this to save Sinners!
Sure Lord, None of all those Blessed Spirits, with all the Glorious illuminations they had, could ever have Imagined, how Thou couldst give Thy self more to us then Thou hadst done.
And yet for all this, Thou hast wrought new miracles of Love for us, and as if it had not been Love enough, to have given Thy self for us on the Cross, Thou hast found out a way to give Thy self to us in the Holy Sacrament, to Unite Thy self to us with the most intimate Union, that 'tis possible to conceive, to become the very food, the Life, the strength, the support of my Soul, to become one with me, to become the very Soul of my Soul!
O Lord God, This is so Unconceivable a blessing, this is so Divine an Union, that the very Angels, who so much desire to look into the great Mystery of our Redemption, who learn Thy Manifold Wisdom from Thy Church, and frequent the Places of Thy Publick worship, do crowd about our Altars, and with aweful Admiration, contemplate the Holy Sacrament!
What thanks then Gracious Lord, can I return to Thee for those wonders of Love, Thou hast shewed to me wretched sinner, which the very Angels, who never sinned, so much admire!
O dearest Lord, raise Thou my devotion, to the highest pitch it can possibly reach, to Praise Thee, Enlarge my Soul, to its utmost extent to Love Thee!
How can I ever more offend, such Riches of mercy, as are in Thee, O Crucified Saviour? and yet whilest I carrry this body of sin about me, I fear I shall, But Lord I do from my heart, Renounce and abhor all things that displease Thee, I resolve to the Utmost of my power to Resist all temptations, and to become as totally Thine, as my frail Nature will permit me.
O Gracious Lord, who hast so Infinitely Loved us, and given us everlasting Consolation, and good Hope through grace, Comfort my Heart, and for ever establish it, in every good Word, and Work!
Blessing, and Honour, and Glory, and Power, be unto Him that sitteth on the Throne, and unto the Lamb for ever!
Rejoice in the Lord Jesus, O my Soul, for of Him cometh my salvation.
I will love Thee, O Lord my King, and I will praise Thy name for ever and ever!
Glory be to Thee, O Lord God, for giving me this blessed opportunity of coming to Thy Altar! O grant I may never more Pollute my soul, which Thou hast now made Thy Temple to reside in, who art the God of Purity!
Praise the Lord O my Soul, while I live will I praise the Lord, as long as I have any being, I will sing praises Unto Thee, O Blessed Saviour, My King, and my God,
O gracious Lord, Pardon all my failings, Accept all my prayers and praises, and supply all my wants which I sum up in Thy Own blessed words. Our Father, &c.
Remember good Phil. that when you have received the Holy Sacrament, your Greatest Work is then but beginning, which is, to observe all the promises you have made to God, of future Obedience, and therefore 'tis good for you, to read over now and then, and to renew your Resolutions, and to examine your self, How you have kept them, that you may preserve in your soul a serious sense of your duty, and a conscientious care to perform it.
Worthy art Thou O Lord of heaven and earth, to receive Glory, and Honour, and Power, for thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are, and were created!
Thou hast made heaven, the Heaven of Heavens with all their Host, the earth and all things that are therein, Thou preservest them all, and the Host of Heaven praiseth Thee!
Glory be to Thee O Lord God Almighty, for creating man after Thine own image, and making so great variety of Creatures, to minister to His use!
Glory be to Thee who givest us life, and breath, and all things, who givest us fruitful seasons, and fillest our hearts with food and gladness!
Glory be to Thee O Lord God, for all Thy many blessings, and deliverances, for all Thy forbearance, and long-suffering to this sinful Nation; Glory be to Thee O Lord, who hast made me also share in those publick mercies, and for that light of the Gospel Thou vouchsafest us, of which the greatest part of the world is totally ignorant.
Glory be to Thee O Heavenly Father, for my being, and preservation, strength and health, understanding and memory, friends and benefactors, and for all my Abilities of mind, and of body.
Glory be to Thee O heavenly Father, for my competent livelyhood, for my education in this Colledge, for all my known, or Unobserved deliverances, and for the guard Thy holy Angels keep over me!
But above all, Glory be to Thee, for giving Thy only Son to die for my sins, and for all the spiritual blessings, he has purchast for me, for my Baptism, and all the opportunities Thou givest me of serving Thee, or of receiving the holy Eucharist, for whatever sin I have escapt, for whatever good I have done, or thought, for all my helps of grace, and hopes of Heaven, Glory be to Thee!
Praise the Lord O my Soul, and all that is within me, praise His Holy Name.
Glory be to Thee, O Lord Jesus, for Thy inexpressible Love to Lost man, Glory be to Thee O Lord, for Condescending to take our frail Nature on Thee, Glory be to Thee, for all Thy Heavenly Doctrine to Instruct us, Thy great Miracles to Convince us, and Thy unblamable Example to Guide us!
Glory be to Thee, O Blessed Jesus, for Thy Agony, and bloudy sweat, for all the torments and anguish of thy bitter passion!
Glory be to Thee, O Blessed Jesus, for Thy Glorious Resurrection, and Ascension into Heaven, and Intercession for us at the right hand of Thy Father!
O Gracious Lord, Thou that hast done so much for me, How can I ever sufficiently, Praise and Love Thee?
Praise the Lord Jesus, O my Soul, and all that is within me, Praise His Holy Name!
Glory be to Thee, O Blessed Spirit, Glory be to Thee, for all the Miraculous Gifts, and Graces, Thou didst bestow on the Apostles, to fit them to Convert the World, and for Inspiring the Sacred Pen-men of Holy Scripture!
Glory be to Thee for Instilling Holy Thoughts into my soul, for all the Ghostly strength, and support and comfort, and illumination we receive from Thee, for all Thy Preventing, and restraining, and Sanctifying Grace, Glory be to Thee;
Blessed Spirit! let me never more by my sins grieve Thee who art the Author of life, and Joy to me!
Praise the Lord, O my Soul, and all that is within me, Praise His Holy Name.
Here Phil. if you recite this Thanksgiving, on any great Festival or Saints day, you may add,
Particularly, O Lord, am I bound to Praise Thee, for the great blessing we this day Commemorate, [Here mention it, For instance, the Nativity of our Blessed Saviour, or the like.]
Or for the Saint, whose memory we this day celebrate, [Here you may name him] and add,
Praise the Lord therefore O my Soul, and all that is within me, Praise His Holy Name,
Blessing and Honour, and Thanksgiving, and Praise, more than I can Utter, more than I can Conceive, be unto Thee O most Adorable Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, by all Angels, All Men, All Creatures, for ever and ever. Amen, Amen.
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty, I miserable sinner, humbly acknowledge that I am altogether Unworthy to pray for my self, but since Thou hast Commanded us, to make prayers and intercessions for all men, in obedience to Thy Command, and in Confidence of Thy Unlimited Goodness, I commend to Thy Mercy, and Divine Providence the Wants, and Necessities of all Mankind.
Lord let it be Thy good pleasure, to restore to Thy Church Catholick, Primitive peace and purity, and to preserve it against the Gates of Hell.
Particularly, O Lord God, I implore Thy Mercy for this sinful Nation, for the iniquity of the land is exceeding Great.
Alas, alas! we are Unthankful for Thy blessings, incorrigible under Thy Judgments, and unprofitable under all the means of Grace, and what can we expect from Thee, but to drink deep of the Cup of Thy Wrath?
And Wretch that I am, my sins, have increased the heap of the Publick Impieties, and made their Cry the louder to Heaven for vengeance!
But O Lord God in the midst of Judgment Remember Mercy, Turn Thou us, Lord, and so shall we be turned, O be favourable to Thy people, and give us all Grace, to Turn to Thee, in Fasting, Weeping, and Mourning, To put a period to our provocations, and do Thou put a period to our Punishments:
O Lord God, out of the Multitude of Thy Mercies, give us grace to fear Thee, and to keep Thy Commandments always, that it may be well with us, and Thou mayest Rejoice over us to do us good. Amen, Amen.
O let it be Thy good pleasure, to bless us all, from the highest, to the lowest, in our several stations.
To defend the Church of England, from all the Assaults of Schism, or Heresie, or Sacriledge, and to bless all Bishops, Priests and Deacons with Apostolical graces exemplary lives, and sound doctrine!
O let it be Thy good pleasure, to save and defend our Sovereign Lord King Charles, from all His Enemies, grant him a long and happy reign over us, and endue him with all those gifts and graces, which may make him a terrour to evil works, and a great promoter of Thy Glory,
Bless Him and all His Royal relations with a great measure of all temporal good things, and with eternal Glory in the world to come;
Lord let it be Thy good pleasure to grant,
To the Privy Council, Wisdom from above,
To all Magistrates, Integrity and Zeal for Religion,
To the Gentry and Commonalty, Pious and just, peaceable and loyal Hearts.
To our Armies, and Navy, Protection and Victory,
To the whole Nation, Healthful, and fruitful, and peaceful times.
Lord let it be thy good pleasure, to grant,
To all Jews, Turks, Infidels, Atheists, and Hereticks, Conversion.
To all Malefactors, and wicked men, timely Repentance.
To all Holy persons, increase of grace, and perseverance.
To all that I have tempted any way to sin, or with whom I have been a Companion in evil, Contrition and pardon.
Lord let it be Thy good pleasure, to bless all those I have any way wronged, and to forgive those that have wronged me, To Comfort the disconsolate, to give health to the sick, ease to those that are in pain, Patience to the afflicted, food to the Hungry, Clothes to the Naked, liberty to the Captive, and a safe delivery to women with Child.
Lord be Thou a Guide to the traveller, safety to those that are at Sea, a Refuge to the oppressed, Be Thou a Father to the fatherless, Take care of Widdows, Pity and Relieve all poor Prisoners of debt, and Have mercy on all Ideots and mad persons.
Lord let it be Thy good pleasure, to Bless my Parents, my Brothers and Sisters, and All my Relations, All my Friends, All my Governours in this Colledge, All my Fellow-Scholars, All who have commended themselves to my Prayers, [Particularly -- Here you may name them if you see occasion,] Lord Thou best Knowest all our Conditions, All our Desires, All our Wants, O do Thou therefore sute Thy graces and blessings, to our several necessities of Body or Soul!
Hear O merciful Father, my Supplications, and that for the sake of Thy Son Jesus, who died for us all, in whose Holy words I sum up my own, and the wants of all I pray for: Our Father which, &c.
If you are a Child of the Colledge, Good Phil. I advise you now, and then to say that usual Collect, wherein you give thanks for the Founder, and pray for the Colledge, both which you have great reason to do, in private, as well as in publick, when you Consider, that God has made the Founder, an Instrument of doing you much good, in advantaging your education, and the blessings you pray for on the Colledge, you have your self a part in.
I Give Thee Humble and Hearty thanks, O most merciful Father, for our Founder William of Wickham, and all other our Benefactors, by whose benefits, we are in this Colledge brought up, to Godliness and good Learning, and I beseech Thee to give us grace, so to use these Thy blessings, to the Glory of Thy Name, that we may become profitable members, in the Church and Commonwealth, and may be at last partakers, of the immortal Glory of the Resurrection, Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen, Amen.
Have a great care, good Phil. that you make not any of the Rules here given you, a pretence to neglect the Orders, and duties of the place you live in, or of the School, for that were Idleness rather than devotion.
When you fix on a day to examine your Soul, or to confess your sins in, Believe me Phil. nothing will more enforce your Prayers and Repentance, than if they are accompanied with Fasting and Alms, as you may see in the example of Cornelius, whose Prayers, and Fasting, and Alms all joyned together were so acceptable to God, as made Him send first an Angel from Heaven, and after the Angel, an Apostle, and after the Apostle, the Holy Ghost, to confirm, and enlighten Him.
But take notice Phil. that all the Fasting I advise you to, is only on some Fasting-day, on some one Friday, or Saturday, when your Commons are less than on other days, to Content your self with your bare allowance, and withal, to lay aside some small matter according to your stock, for the Poor.
But beware, you do not your duty, only to be seen, and approved of by Others, for this were Hypocrisie, and take heed your performances, do not puff you up, with a vain conceit of your Holiness, and that you are better than your fellows, for this were abominable Pride, and alas! when you have done the best you can, you fall infinitely short of your duty, and 'tis Gods mere Mercy, not any the least worth in you, makes your service any way acceptable, to Him.
When you have once throughly examined your self, Good Phil. and made a particular Confession of the sins of your whole life, and begged Pardon, there is not the same Absolute Necessity, of such laborious Examination, at your next communicating, especially if you examine your self carefully every Night, and dayly repent of the evil of the day past, and are not Conscious to your self, of any Great, or Notorious Sins, since your last Confession, for if you are not, the Examination and Confession only of what past since your last Communicating, together with a General Confession of your former sins, and a solemn renewing, of your former acts of Repentance, may serve the turn.
But if your Conscience Accuses you of any Culpable neglect in your last Examination, or of any great relapses, or of any wilfull violations, of your last Vows and Resolutions, in those, and the like Cases, 'tis the surest way, to begin all your Repentance again.
Remember Phil. that though 'tis God that works in you to will and to do of his good pleasure, yet God also commands you, to work out your own salvation your self, and therefore you are to labour for those blessings, and to practise those graces you pray for, so that you are to read your duty in your prayers.
If you find any particular Sin you are guilty of, or any particular grace which you want, or any particular blessing which you are to give thanks for, which is not here mentioned, 'tis easie for you to add it, to your prayers, as occasion requires; in like manner if you meet with any passage, in any prayer, which does not either so directly, or so fully express, the sense of your Soul, as you could wish, leave it out.
If Opportunity, Leisure, and Devotion altogether, do at any time, when you go home, or at times of liberty incline you, to make some present addition to your dayly prayers, or like Daniel and Holy David, not only at Morning and at Evening, but at Noon day to Pray to God, thou mayest then Use the Prayer for particular graces, or those Acts of Resolution, and Oblation, or on Sundays and Holy-days the Form of General Thanksgiving, or on Fasting-days, the Form of General Intercession, as may best sute with the season, and with your own Affections.
IF after all the Care and pains you can take, and your petitions also for Gods grace, you find in the performance of any duty, in your dayly Prayers, Examination, Receiving the Holy Eucharist, or the like, great Coldness, and Wandrings, and indisposedness and weariness of Spirit, and that your heart is little affected with it, and that you fall very much short of the Rules here laid down, and therefore are ready to Conclude, that all you have done is in vain, and displeasing to God;
Be not disheartned at this Phil. 'tis a good sign to be so much grieved for your failings in your duty, 'tis an argument of a filial tenderness, and desire to serve God better, that your spirit is willing though your flesh is weak, and if you still continue your endeavours, and prayers, patiently relying on Gods infinite goodness, and on his gracious promises of Hearing you, He will assuredly Hear you, in His good time.
Know, good Phil. that this is the case of thousands, as well as of your self, the very best of Christians, sigh under the perversness, and impotence of their corrupt nature, and even the Just man, falls seven times a day, through sins of Ignorance, or Infirmity, or sudden surreption, or inadvertency, or the like; though it is true, he riseth again by an Habitual repentance, and therefore be not discouraged, but dayly beg pardon, for your daily failings.
To ease you in such indispositions, or when you are also streightned in time, or diverted by any Unavoidable avocations, I advise you to shorten your prayers, and for the longer Morning and Evening prayer, say the shorter; and as for the other parts of Devotion, throughout this whole Manual, they are cut into so many breaks and divisions, on purpose, that you may lengthen or shorten your prayers, as may best comply with your Occasions, and Infirmities; Onely let me warn you seriously, that under colour of Indulging your infirmities, you do not indulge your sloth.
Be not then afflicted, good Phil. if you cannot come up exactly, to the Rules here given you. Believe me, it was never imagined you would; it was onely hoped that you would endeavour it; and know that it is a great errour of many devout souls, to think all they do signifies nothing, because they fall short of the Rules laid down, in their Books of Devotion; little considering, that 'tis Sincerity God requires of us and not perfection; for if there be a willing mind in us, it is accepted, according to that which a man hath, and not according to that a man hath not; so that your Infirmities ought to humble, but not to discourage you.
For instance, Suppose you should not be able, after all your endeavours, and prayers, to shed any, or but few tears for your sins, Be not too much cast down at it, for to be troubled for want of tears, is one sign of godly sorrow; and 'tis certain, though tears are very desirable, yet they are not always signs of true Repentance, for Hypocrites may shed them, and there may be true godly sorrow without them; and perhaps God will at last give them to you, when his wisdom sees your Heart, in a fit temper for them.
Whensoever then you are troubled, with an afflicting sense of your infirmities, and for your many failings, I advise you to say this Prayer following, and to rest satisfied that He that died for you, will both hear, and accept, and succour you.
O Thou Compassionate Saviour of sinful man, look down from Heaven, and have mercy upon me wretched sinner; O save me, O help me, for without Thee I can do Nothing as I ought!
Miserable man that I am, my very Prayers, and Repentance, are accompanied with so many failings, that I am sometimes afraid, that Thou Lord wilt not hear such Prayers, nor regard such Repentance!
But O Blessed Saviour, my Lord, and my God, 'tis Thy promise, not to discourage, the least measure of grace, Thou wilt not quench the smoaking Flax, or break the bruised Reed.
'Tis Thy practice Lord, to comply with the weakness of Thy servants, Thou art the good Shepherd who carriest the tender Lambs, in Thy very bosome, and gently leadest those that be with young!
Nay Lord, 'Tis Thy very Nature so to do, for Thou Thy self, hast felt humane infirmities, and canst not but commiserate those, that sigh under them!
Why art thou then so heavy, O my Soul, and why art thou so disquieted within me! O put thy trust in thy Saviour, who is the help of my Countenance and my God!
O gracious Lord, do Thou Pity me, and Accept my weak and imperfect performances, and supply by Thy boundless mercy, all the defects in my duty; and if it be Thy pleasure, I should serve Thee better, O Lord God, increase Thy succours of Grace, and I shall then increase my obedience!
O Thou lover of Souls, for the sake of that infinite Compassion of Thine, which moved Thee to die for me, Hear me, and Help me.
Amen Lord Jesus, Amen, Amen.
Far be it from you, good Phil. to Counterfeit your self sick at any time, to avoid the School, or the like, Lest God send you sickness indeed, to punish your Idleness and dissimulation.
But if it please God, to visit you with a real disease, let it be your first care to make your peace with Heaven, for God by taking you off from your usual Studies, does give you a Call to Repentance, and the examination of your self in the beginning of your sickness, is as seasonable, and necessary, as before your Communicating; besides, if your sickness prove dangerous, you will then, I doubt not, desire to Communicate, so that to fit you both for the Holy Sacrament, and for Heaven, examination, and Repentance ought to be first in your thoughts.
Beware, Phil. of deferring this duty, because you are young, and think you may have time enough to repent Hereafter; for you see, that persons younger then your self die, and you are not sure, to out-live this distemper; and if you should put it off, till your sickness grows more on you, it may perhaps take away your senses; or if it does not, be sure it will much more indispose you, to Prayer, and Recollection.
In the beginning then of your sickness, begin your Repentance, and say over this following Prayer, and do not only say, but practise it.
O Heavenly Father, who in Thy wisdom knowest what is best for me, Glory be to Thee!
Lord, if it seem good in Thy sight divert this distemper from me, which I now feel seizing on me, that I may imploy my health to Thy Glory, and Praise Thy Name!
But if Thou art pleased, it should grow on me, I willingly submit to Thy afflicting hand, for Thou art wont to chastise those whom Thou dost love, and I am sure, Thou wilt lay no more on me then Thou wilt enable me to bear.
I know, O my God, Thou sendest this sickness on me for my Good, even to Humble, and reform me, O grant that it may work that saving effect in me!
Lord create in me, a true Penitent sorrow for all my sins past, A stedfast Faith in Thee, and sincere resolutions of amendment for the time to come!
Deliver me from all frowardness, and impatience, and give me an entire Resignation to Thy divine Will; O suffer not the disease to take away my senses, and do. Thou continually supply my Thoughts, with Holy Ejaculations; Lord Bless all means that are used for my Recovery, and restore me to my Health, in Thy good time; But if otherwise Thou hast appointed for me, Thy blessed will be done. O wean my affections from all things below, and fill me with ardent desires after Heaven; Lord fit me for Thy self, and then call me to those joys Unspeakable, and full of Glory, when Thou pleasest, and that for the sake of Thy onely Son Jesus, my Saviour, In whose Holy Words I sum up all my wants. Our Father, &c.
Father if it be possible, Remove this Cup from me, Nevertheless not my Will, but Thine be done!
Trouble and heaviness have taken hold on me, but my sure Trust, is in Thee, O Lord!
Forsake me not, O my God, when my strength faileth me, Haste Thee to help me, O Lord God of my salvation!
Lord teach me so to number my days, that I may apply my Heart to wisdom!
Deal Thou with me O Lord, according to Thy Name, for sweet is Thy Mercy!
Lord what is my Hope! truly My Hope is even in Thee!
O my Soul, Tarry thou the Lords leisure, be strong and He shall comfort thy heart, and put thou thy trust in the Lord!
Into Thy Hands I commend my spirit, for Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord, Thou God of Truth!
In my Fathers house are many Mansions, and Thou Lord Jesus art gone before, to prepare a place for us, that where Thou art we may be also!
Lord be merciful to me Miserable sinner!
O Lord God, we must all at the last day appear, before Thy Judgment Seat, O Cleanse me from my sins, that I may be found blameless, at the Coming of the Lord Jesus!
As the day goeth away, and the shadows of the Evening are stretched out, so passeth away my life even like a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and vanisheth away!
Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, the good things which God has laid up, for those that love Him: Lord do Thou therefore enflame my soul with Thy Love!
I know Lord that Thy Judgments are right, and Thou of very faithfulness, hast caused me to be troubled.
O Heavenly Father, my Hope is wholly in Thy Mercy, and in the merits, and sufferings of my Saviour, O for his sake forgive and save me!
To these and the like Ejaculations, Phil. which thou mayest gather thy self, thou mayest now and then, either read a Psalm your self, or have one read to you, as particularly the 23. or 25. or 27. or 51. or any other, that does best suit with thy Condition.
I need give you no further directions, for the time of sickness, because I presume, Phil. that when you feel your sickness prevailing on you, you will then send for a spiritual guide, who will give you more particular Advice, and minister to all the necessities of your soul, and therefore I shall only add this form of Thanksgiving.
Glory be to Thee, O Heavenly Father, for the sickness Thou hast in mercy sent me!
Lord, the stripes Thou didst lay on me, were the stripes of Love, Glory be to Thee!
Before I was troubled I went wrong, but now will I keep Thy Word.
It is good for me, that I have been in trouble, that I might learn Thy Statutes!
Glory be to Thee, O Lord, Glory be to Thee, for delivering me from the terrours of death, and restoring me to my health again, Glory be to Thee!
I called upon the Lord in my trouble, and the Lord heard me at large!
I shall not die but live, and declare the works of the Lord!
Praise the Lord therefore, O my soul, as long as I have my life, which at first God gave thee, and which he has now restored me, I will sing praises unto my God!
O Lord God, Who hast in Thy tender mercy, prolonged my days in this World, give me grace to spend that life, Thou hast now lengthened, in Thy service. O give me grace, to perform all my Resolutions of new Obedience, and so to live in the filial fear of Thee, all the Remainder of my time, that I may at last die at peace with my self, at peace with the whole World, and at peace with Thee; and that for the sake of Thy well-beloved Son, and my Saviour, in whose Holy words, I sum up all my wants. Our Father, &c.
To this you may add, if you think fit, the 103 Psalm.
To conclude, good Phil. if you have reapt any good, from these Prayers, and Instructions, be sure to give God hearty thanks for it, and let this encourage you, to make the more frequent use of them, and God of his Infinite mercy, bless them, every day more and more, to your growth in grace, and to his Own Glory. Amen.